Driving home from the office the other night I noticed a new restaurant across from Hardy Park and stopped to check it out.
"It's an American bistrot," the waitress told me, and I nodded knowingly. Later it occurred to me that, 20 years ago, that designation would have sounded as strange as Thai taverna.
Yesterday this essay of mine on travel's emotional lows and highs appeared in The Morning News: http://www.themorningnews.org/article/a-moving-experience
I hope that it is, in the words of Ezra Pound, "news that stays news."
Went to see Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza over the weekend. There's not much of a story - a Roman journalist enters the winter of his years with romantic and literary regrets - but it's told through aphoristic dialogue, stunning images and hauntingly beautiful music. Even the rolling of the credits is moving.
Friday morning I drove to Miami to see my friend Zosia who is visiting from Warsaw. Listening to Chopin's Scherzo No. 1 on Classical South Florida I thought I heard echoes of my favorite Polish Christmas carol, "Lulajze Jezuniu."
Driving home I listened to the Anna German CD Zosia had given me.
But before I got here, I stopped in Hollywood to see our friends Magda and Ryszard. Ryszard was listening to a Polish radio station that was playing the top ten songs for the week. "They're all sad," he complained while the No. 3 song played. A short time later, the No. 1 song came on. It was by the old rock band Kult. "Nine sad," said Ryszard, "and one angry."
A few weeks ago I heard from a man - an Egyptian-American poet - and I emailed him back suggesting we have lunch. The place I chose, of course, was Rumi Lounge.
Yahia was animated and eloquent in his second (third?) language, which he spoke almost like an American. Setting his speech apart was the rhetorical flourish he gave his sentences. He had grown up in a cultured household in Cairo where his parents would hold literary salons. "As a boy I served coffee to all the great Egyptian writers." The current situation in his homeland depressed him. "People have two choices: the military or the Muslin Brotherhood. And neither of them is good."
He had lived in Miami, which he described as a place fixated on "skin," as in the surface of things. Then he quoted Borges quoting Milton on his blindness: "I have lost merely the inconsequential skin of things."