Jesus in the projects

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I wasn’t going to blog again today, but a poem by Derek Walcott I ran across this morning neatly summed up where I find myself these days, or at leasts rhymed nicely with where I am.

I recommend listening to Walcott read it.


I saw Jesus in the Project. Richard Pryor
Every street corner is Christmas Eve
in downtown Newark. The Magi walk
in black overcoats hugging a fifth
of methylated spirits, and hookers hook
nothing from the dark cribs of doorways.
A crazy king breaks a bottle in praise
of Welfare, ‘I’ll kill the motherfucker,’
and for black blocks without work
the sky is full of crystal splinters.A bus breaks out of the mirage of water,
a hippo in wet streetlights, and grinds on
in smoke; every shadow seems to stagger
under the fiery acids of neon –
wavering like a piss, some l tt rs miss-
ing, extinguished – except for two white
nurses, their vocation made whiter
in darkness. It’s two days from elections.Johannesburg is full of starlit shebeens.
It is anti-American to make such connections.
Think of Newark as Christmas Eve,
when all men are your brothers, even
these; bring peace to us in parcels,
let there be no more broken bottles in heaven
over Newark, let it not shine like spit
on a doorstep, think of the evergreen
apex with the gold star over it
on the Day-Glo bumper sticker a passing car sells.

Daughter of your own Son, Mother and Virgin,
great is the sparkle of the high-rise firmament
in acid puddles, the gold star in store windows,
and the yellow star on the night’s moth-eaten sleeve
like the black coat He wore through blade-thin elbows
out of the ghetto into the cattle train
from Warsaw; nowhere is His coming more immanent
than downtown Newark, where three lights believe
the starlit cradle, and the evergreen carols
to the sparrow-child: a black coat-flapping urchin
followed by a white star as a police car patrols.

Recorded at Poetry International Festival Rotterdam, 1989

NYTimes: Faust on the Potomac

That’s right. It’s what you expect. The GOP has sold its soul.

NYTimes: A Chinese Empire Reborn

Interesting on the ground perspective. Eileen flies to Chine tomorrow to see our Chinese family. I would love to be going with her, but it didn’t work out.

NYTimes: Making Art Lovers Pay

Metropolitan Museum of Art decides to charge instead of allowing people to donate what they want.

The Washington Post: Giving up booze for Dry January? Here’s some advice from the experts.

I need to start skipping martinis again. My BP and weight has suffered from the holidays even though they’re not back to where they were when I first tried to pull them down recently.

NYTimes: The Meaning of Bannon vs. Trump

I’m beginning to think that David Leonhardt, the author of this piece, is someone whose reporting I want to pay attention to. I bookmarked this for some of the links he put in it.

Trapped, and Freed, by the Ice – The New York Times

Dear readers, you probably know that I admire Jennifer Finley Boylan who wrote this little piece. Also the one “New York Times Pick” comment from Deborah of Ithaca, NY,  that recommended The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett quite charmed me.




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