Friday, May 25, 2018



I dug this Philip Roth book out from behind other books last night. I read it in 1985. It says so. I used to put the year and the month I read it in the front of a book.

I don’t have a TV but I tap into a friend’s Comcast streaming channels and I was watching the Warriors-Rockets game.  I’ve been a big sports fan all my life.  I went and found the book somewhere after halftime. I flipped through it, read here and there. Eventually I put the game on silent.

Thursday, May 24, 2018



I was tired this morning. The bright sun outside the window made it worse. It was too demanding. I didn’t want to answer the bell today.

But what I do in the morning is I go hold the sign. If I don’t do that, what’s my day? What’s my life? If I think the message on the sign would change everything, then let’s go kid, I said to myself, even though today is my oldest child’s 49th birthday and this kid’s going to be 71 in two weeks.

I went out with the sign. Like I do.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018



Two months ago I reread Philip Roth’s Zuckerman Unbound. I was reminded before I got to the bottom of page one why he’s been my favorite writer for forty years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


'You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.'

-James Baldwin

Monday, May 21, 2018



This morning’s weather was perfect on Chambers Street where I hold the sign. People had sun on their faces when it came over or came around the tops and sides of buildings. Some people’s faces were smiling more. Maybe still ridng on that wedding.

Sometimes the sun lit up the sign. I look down to see the sign when it’s bright like that. It looks especially good to me then. It’s like looking back at the front cover of a very good book you’re reading .

Sunday, May 20, 2018



Postcards are a favorite way to see artI've learned to look for them in bookstores, museum gift shops. This one is a photo of a school kid on a field trip to the Morgan Library.

Saturday, May 19, 2018



People here live in small spaces. There’s no attic to store things. No spare room. Unless you’re a hoarder who likes to sleep on the bed next to unopened boxes from Amazon, you have to get rid of stuff. Even books have to go. In thrift stores here you find first editions. This crate of French books was sitting by the curb on Sixth Street in the East Village a week ago. I take books I thought I’d keep forever to the local library branch and leave them in the vestibule there thinking maybe someone who couldn’t afford to buy the books will be pleased to find them and like them like I did.