Thursday, October 9, 2008

Connecticut in Autumn

Fire on all sides of this Internet cafe. Deciduous trees turning russets, reds, and oranges. How long have I been in Connecticut? A week and a half, sleeping in the attic bedroom of Matt Levine's mother's house. He sleeps on the second floor, where he can help her in the night if she needs him. Laura has cancer, emphysema, and a broken hip. Matt has his hands full. Overall he's cheerful, but the strain does show.

Matt and I spent a lot of time together, talking, driving in the countryside, watching the debates, eating well. We're both good cooks who like to eat. I made a delicious cauliflower soup. He made Littleneck clams and pasta.

For me, the peak of this visit was yesterday, an afternoon at Storm King Art Center in the Hudson River Valley. I've visited before. Storm King is one of my favorite landscapes. Yesterday we packed a lunch, drove down, and I spent an hour sketching Autumn exploding behind a 2-story iron sculpture.

We also drove to Milford, Pennsylvania, a tiny hamlet where Matt used to own a gallery. We attended an Oktoberfest party at the house of the richest people Matt knows. And he KNOWS some rich people. I liked the pool house and the lake, but never saw either of the 2 greenhouses. The beer was strong, and combined with the rosy-cheeked Oompah band, I was worried for their rather abundant pre-Columbian art collection. I'm just the kind to knock over or drop sauerkraut onto a terracotta God older than the Gutenberg Bible.

While in Pennsylvania, we visited Luna Park, a fantastical, whimsical house in the woods. The artist/owner Ricky Boscarino was not home, but Matt is a friend, found the key, and gave us the tour. Madness inside and out. We climbed ladders, ducked under rafters, crawled thru narrow spaces. Molded concrete and mosaic tile everywhere, especially in the bedroom-sized bathroom.

We walked around Yale University and their student art gallery. I saw Westport, the last home of Paul Newman. We grooved to a great Jazz combo on Christopher street in NYC, then went next door to riot at the original Stonewall Inn. I've eaten good pizza, ok bagels, and pretty good Thai.

I read two new books while here, Cormac McCarthy's The Road (loved it) and David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed in Flames (liked it). I'm also still digesting Mark Doty's book of poems, Source. I wrote this poem below, Bird House, sitting in the garden of Matt's mother, Laura.

Tomorrow I catch a train for Vermont.

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