Outside the deli
Primroses and daffodils
I open my coat.
I was reminded of this haiku as I ventured out for my walk super early this morning—the only time to honorably unmask outdoors. It’s my favorite entry from the Haiku on 42nd Street project, which took place in 1994, right after I arrived in New York and then-mayor Giuliani closed down all the deliciously seedy Time Square “theaters” (read: pornhouses). While normally bustling 42nd Street was still a ghost town, local poets had their way with all its marquees. These interstitial moments in history offer such stubborn, sad beauty.
I’m sitting with Grace by the window in a treasure trove of sunlight and clouds–of white fur and pleather cubes, and a sapphire velvet chaise lounge draped with blue-flowered and animal-printed pillows and throws. Joni is spilling over both of us and I’m trying to figure out which of us—me, Grace, maybe even Joni–fashioned this little alcove. The question fills me with more pleasure than the morning already has. Which is a lot, actually.
It sounds ridiculous, suggesting my cat arranged fabrics and furniture to create this robin’s egg dreamscape by the window. Can’t you see her dragging everything in her cunning little teeth? But if she didn’t actively arrange this child’s dream turned inside out, she certainly inspired it with her perfectly composed paws, her caramel stripes and gleaming eyes. With how she absorbs and exudes beauty.