Just another site

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


leave a comment »

I didn’t think I’d have much to write about for a few days. There are so many planetary positions in retrograde, that I figured it could be quiet. And just when you think it’s safe to come out of the cave, the shadowy side of our collective psyches reminds, not just yet.

My upstate friend had invited me to join her group of artists Art2hrtSoho take 2 painting on the wooden planks used to protect homes and stores from pillaging rioters. Soho had definitely taken a hit and Stefanie was all about turning the violence and criminality into beauty and inspiration.

I had no visual plan in mind, but they supplied acrylics, brushes and boarded up buildings as canvases. So, it was up to me. I grabbed a few colors, something that looked like a sandwich wrapped in foil and went hunting for a space. I’m short so I needed one that I could paint an eye level story upon.

It was fun playing with only 3 colors and I ended up with a profile of a non-gender specific singer. An ice cream truck hovered in the street, playing great rock and roll and I found myself dancing on the step as I brought my painting to life.

Putting on the final touches, the door connected to the board I was working on started to open and I said, “oh please, wait.” I wanted to move the tubes of paint out of the way  A masked Caucasian woman of about 40 came out and started yelling at me…What am I doing there, what right do I have, can’t you see these were already painted, what nerve, out of my  way, and so forth. Firstly, I was so taken aback by her rudeness and dismissal of the good vibes we were all creating, that I stood dumbfounded. When I explained to her my purpose and that I was with a group, she dismissed it and continued to badger and threaten me. I had a mask on that may have slipped during my surprise and she accused me of not having social distance. She was the one unwilling to move and give me space to collect my paints.

I do not see myself as a threatening person. I also understand how the last four months have been emotionally tough on all of us and chose to share with her that, I, too, have been living in isolation and certainly didn’t mean to make her feel unsafe. I might as well have been speaking Latin, for she refused to hear and refused to try and understand. My foil wrapped sandwich also was part of my crime.” And you’re going to have a picnic, here, too? ” she screamed.

I bent down to put the caps tightly on all the paint tubes so I could carry my things back to the control area. The whole time she didn’t stop yelling.

After dropping off the supplies, I looked for an organizer. In general, I’m not a rule breaker and I don’t like confrontation. Perhaps I was in the wrong? NO said Miriam. She assured me that we were only painting on boards and they can be removed. I had actually forgotten that graffiti art ofttimes comes with the challenge of not being wanted. But what we were doing was beautiful –lightning up the neighborhood which had taken quite a hit.

I went back to my painting to take a few photos as was requested. In that short time, the tenant reappeared, and gave me a gift, my day’s Meaning. For at the moment when she started yelling and sticking her cell phone in my face, I was CHRIS COOPER and this was Central Park and she thought she was  vulnerable and I was the threatening African American bird watcher now in the form of a five ft one Jewish woman with a burrito wrapped in tin foil.

She may have said something about calling someone… How did this thing escalate from a picture of a cartoon singing to a frightened and angry woman sticking her camera in my face? If I had been Chris Cooper, I might have done the same to her with my phone…the duel, shoot out on an iPhone and Samsung Note8…  But really, all I wanted was to escape her negativity. As it is, I carried it all the way home, my once beautiful moment of togetherness thrown off my someone’s personal history and  lack of consciousness. Even if she hated my work, this is about something much bigger than her front door …our national  humanity and empathy are in real peril and shouldn’t we note  it, talk about it and change it?

 And besides, who  really knows I’m not Banksy?

Written by nancykoan

June 12, 2020 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Chronicles of Covid,episode 49

leave a comment »

The weather is spectacular. No matter how much grief and rage are in the air, nature ‘does not betray the heart that loves her’ and this moment is spectacular. Perhaps even healing.

I saw friends this weekend I hadn’t seen for months and months and though we all carried the ‘just out of the bunker glaze’ they looked beautiful to me. We had a street cocktail and I felt the first steps of opening up…the city and my heart.

Earlier, I carefully stood at the circumference of a demonstration in Washington Square Park and felt the beginnings of a sense of community. My friends who had been to same demonstration later noticed that very few of the police people were wearing masks and my pal courageously asked one of the cops,” why not?” His response wasn’t very polite–it’s disappointing because I, too, have seen very few masks on men in blue. But beyond that hitch, it was peaceful. My neighborhood art center PS122, is set up with a protestor crib center, a place to refresh, get safety supplies, chat and eat. They are well organized and welcoming.

I hope that this re opening doesn’t lend itself to more infections. I can see that people and businesses are trying to be careful, but we just don’t know how this thing works. I said to a friend Rena that I believed that all my years of living with mice have given me an immunity to such things as Covid. In case it hasn’t, I went for the test, both for infection and anti-body and can only trust that their labs are good ones.

Deprivation gives you a real appreciation for the simple things and meeting up with friends and sitting outside is a wonderfully simple joy. I always like the Italian piazzas where people hang for the evening, meeting up for chats and a cafe. My city isn’t designed that way… we are grid like with fewer possibilities for piazzas…still, I believe this summer will see more people finding ways to hang and be.

Preview(opens in a new tab)

It’s hard to gauge how much emotion has been bottled up during these four months. But while watching America’s Got Talent, I found myself crying at almost every act. The tiny ten year old girl who sounded like Lady Gaga; the contortionist whose religious parents didn’t permit dancing, getting all four votes of Yes and a call to his mom from Simon Cowell; and even the three sisters whose dream it is to stand on top of each other in Las Vegas…they all had me weeping… weeping for the life force in all of us, the chi that pushes us through obstacle after obstacle, and our own belief that we may all  truly be here for a reason.

Written by nancykoan

June 8, 2020 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Exhaustion is the word of the day. Last night I had only enough strength to watch a new version of To Tell the Truth. I was thrilled, despite a sleepy brain, to have correctly guessed contestant number 3, the real Ron Stallworth, the police officer hero in Spike Lee’s The Black Klansman on. I don’t know if it was his sincere face or humility but I did less well with the World ‘s Champion Yoyo expert.

Demonstrations for George Floyd took a back seat for a while once the call came in from the hospital. An older friend had been admitted with an infection, and as my name was top on the list, I had to say whether I thought more dramatic actions should take place if her health worsened. I am not the health care proxy, but gave my on the spot opinion, then sat in fear for her life.

One of the ways I’ve gotten myself through these times is with meditation zooms, Shaman meet ups and now breathwork. This process requires the participant to sit or lie down and do deep breathing to a highly evocative soundtrack. It sounds simple and like many simple things, is extremely powerful

After fifty minutes of this, my body is tired, but relaxed.  I had wept audibly for things I wasn’t even aware I was feeling and, of course, for these times and for my poor friend with Covid.

So, with this in mind, I went for the test today. I had only wanted to do the anti-body one, but the good doctor convinced me that the city needs the stats, so I subjected myself to the nasal thing. I know there’s a lot of messed up tests, but it seemed the right time to start opening up. After that I called my haircutter to see when he was opening up. I look like a Yeti by now, but it seems I’ll still have to wait a few weeks more, shaggy and ferocious.

Of course, I’ve seen a lot of news coverage of George Floyd’s murder, but a news show focusing on the sunglasses his killer was sporting stayed a long time on the shot and I kept thinking of Mr. Floyd’s face as he expired. I was at 9/11 and to this day thank the African American uniformed man who stopped me as I was racing towards the buildings where I would have had no choice but to see my fellow New Yorkers jumping to their death. He held me and sent me firmly in another direction. Of course, the television showed images later on, but because of his protection, I do not have that live, indelible moment in my brain. I’m so sorry for the gal who shot the video on her phone. She may never erase that memory.

A week ago, I passed by the lovely William Barnacle Tavern. They were advertising absinthe, made the real way, and though I had no taste for the drink at the moment, figured it would be a good idea to have it in my sheltering spot, just in case. It’s the weekend. It’s the full moon. It’s Absinthe time.

Written by nancykoan

June 6, 2020 at 1:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »


breathegirlIt’s relatively quiet. The droning helicopters have taken a rest and all that’s left is the chirping of birds. Quiet lasting only a minute. The phone rings with calls from relatives having spats that are historic in nature but exacerbated by the tensions surrounding and within us all. I try to pacify them while at the same time adhering to my code of tell ‘no lies.’ The moral ambiguities about what truth is necessary and what is protective aside, I try my best, most often failing on a huge scale. These days we have to be friends, shrinks, pacifiers and if possible, joke tellers. I’m sharpening my skills but have far to go.

My pooch cost me a wallet full what with being told she needed a harness and not a leash. She’s 13 and never used a harness. I felt like it was putting her into a corset. But now that she’s had so much of me 24/7, that she rules the roost and takes more than a slight tug when walking the New York streets, I must do something. Her fascination with everything disgusting on the ground has grown to such proportions that I am left with only one alternative to just saying NO– a slight yank of her beaded leash. She has also started to do ‘old man’s cough’ throughout the day, and so after getting a clean bill of heart health from the vet, Joe at Whiskers, convinced me that her trachea would benefit from getting off leash/collar. So, too many dollars later she is sporting a harness that isn’t an exact fit…her circumference changes dependent on fur growth and now that she’s looking like a chia plant, there is plenty of fuzz to fill out the harness.

As taxing as everyday life issues are, it’s a relief to take the mind off, even temporarily, the State of the Nation. I thought my mind couldn’t be boggled any more than it has been, but this week really takes the cake. Who could write a screenplay more surreal and horrific than this week in America?  Murder at the hands of police, peaceful demonstrators being hit with rubber bullets and a so-called leader taking photo op suggestions from the original clueless girl, his daughter. We are truly a nation at shame and yes, we must take the knee as well as realizing that we are brought to our knees by years of persecution and injustice of People of Color by government sanctions, privileged white men and perhaps, worse yet, our lesser human nature. The good thing is that all of this can change when we are willing to see it first, wake up second, and do something, third.

I started these thoughts with an image of the harness. It is time to take the emotional harness off of Black people who must have the right to speak of their pain, even if it makes others in this country uncomfortable. And it is time to put a harness on governmental unspoken and spoken strategies that continue to keep this country cruel, non-compassionate, unjust, imbalanced and not what we can be.

Here is a clip from the great Richie Havens.

richie havens

Written by nancykoan

June 3, 2020 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

unionsqCHRONICLES OF COVID, episode 500

Hot time…summer in the city. Those lyrics used to make me think about a different city, at a different time. Today with demonstrations in every major city, many peaceful intentions are being compromised by raging looters, possibly racist troublemakers. Not at Union Square on Saturday afternoon. The crowd was masked and calm, strong and determined. I spoke to a woman who said she reported for WBAI radio complaining that the sound system was much better in Harlem. Of course.  Another journalist from France was confounded by the movement of the movement. She didn’t know where they heading off to. “In Europe, the demonstrations swell in one place, so you can make a statement. All of these smaller groups do not coalesce” she said. She was completely exhausted from chasing the crowd with her heavy gear.  The protest is complicated. Years of racism mixed with economic injustice, and all of it punched up with this pandemic. I wondered if the protesters took the subway from Harlem downtown and felt safe.

Walking down Broadway I couldn’t miss the overwhelming smell of urine overwhelming in front of all the closed businesses doorways. So grim. Two separate angry men, screamed a lifetime of pain into the air, but people were mostly cool, engaged but not enraged.

Neighbors are moving away. There’s lot of great furniture for grabs on the streets. I held a gate for two guys struggling to carry out a Swedish modern bureau. When someone suggested it might be lighter by removing the drawers, they grunted and began again.

One sad looking man was sweeping the floor of one of the historic old bars of Astor Place, now closed for good along with Gem Spa and its infamous egg creams on the other corner.

My mood stayed strong thanks to breath work with Michael Stone and a good report from my vet. I’m working hard to balance the mac and microcosms of daily life.

Life matters…every color, every form. The day was so beautiful… more birds, flowers springing up. Nature there to remind us of the beauty if we can remember to look, though all the injustice. Third degree charges instead of first.

I sat on the roof for a bit listening to the noisy evening sky…helicopters hovering and whirling, almost blocking out the bell ringing for the essential workers   Still the grey clouds were beautiful and the air clear.

Later, I experimented with reality. I needed to be somewhere else completely and Irving Berlin provided it with Roundabout Theatre’s presentation of his musical Holiday Inn. Berlin, a refugee to this country, has been considered American’s greatest composer…he loved this country and you feel his joy in every tune. After all, he wrote “God Bless America”. What would he think now?


Written by nancykoan

May 31, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


with one comment




I have truly stepped into an Orwellian nightmare with a smattering of Hitchcock. As if it’s not enough that Minneapolis is burning, demonstrators are being gassed and the president’s still saying cruel and embarrassing things — an old fashioned ice cream truck has been parked on my street playing over and over again that tingly, happy little tune that used to get my six year old self terribly excited, but my much older self finds a bit too ironic to swallow. Not too ironic, however, to keep me from heading down there for a small chocolate cone dip. Hey, you gotta eat.

My sister asked me if I were going to the demonstration. It was dark when she inquired and for the last three months I have never ventured out after sunset. In the early days of Covid isolation, I found the few hooded creatures on the street intimidating. So, I started to wear a hood, but intimidated no one. Nervous, I just stayed home. Now with summer almost here and the longer nights, I may stick my nose out, but not to a demonstration.. My cotton mask is not strong enough to withstand gas and I certainly don’t want to get into a brawl with someone wearing no mask at all.  But that’s only part of it. Last night there were fire engines on my block and the colored lights were spinning in my apartment like I was at Studio 54. I raced down to check it out because tenements are quite vulnerable and I was relieved that a certain movie star’s house and my own were ok. Still. Lots of tension. Then about five hours later, as I was preparing for Amanpour’s news show, I heard something that at first sounded like a car doing whatever cars do that actually sounds like a firecracker or more in fact like a gun. I do believe it was a gun. I have no idea how close it was or if they were blanks (yes, I watch CSI). Darling is losing her hearing, so I was left bearing the burden of barking for both of us. As soon as I heard the first shot, I wanted to hit the deck, but made the decision to simply sit still on the sofa and squeeze the remote control. If someone were blowing off steam, he was heard

Sleeping was crazy after a night like that. Today, I felt it incumbent to rest alfresco and support the Amazon by going to the closest piece of grass and sun I could find. A lot of other people must have had a bad night as the area filled up fast; still Darling and I were able to find a tiny patch of green where she could rub her body and I could lift my mask to breathe. I never take the trees for granted, even more now as the lungs of the world are being so threatened by big money. All the beauty and potential at risk along with the indigenous population facing Covid on top of everything else.

If ever a time were more rife with the number of horrible things that need to be changed, this is it.  We need so much more than recovery; we need discovery. Creating a world that protects first. Yes.

My lungs are whispering to me.

               They cry for their cousins in the south, knowing that we need to Breathe together.

                                            And keep our green skies below.




Written by nancykoan

May 30, 2020 at 4:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

CHRONICLES OF COVID, episode 20020200525_152940


Clouds have taken on a new importance during this Covid chapter of my life. I look to them to be assured that everything changes, sometimes within a matter of seconds. Shapes that shift from spaceships to Lincoln’s profile are a reminder  that nothing is static, even during virus time. With that I go through my days knowing that even my darkest moods will lift and turn their focus towards something lighter and hopeful.

But before I reach that point, I am compelled to keep my eyes open and look at what’s going on, outside my own personal issues. It would be inhuman to ignore the realities of this country and pretend that things are decent. Black men are being slaughtered by the very people our taxes pay to protect us. Churches are being burned by ‘god-fearing racists. Families of undocumented workers live in daily fear. Anti-Semitism escalates weekly and Nature, our Mother, is fighting for her very existence.

Where are we? Who are we? It would be too facile to put blame for this imbalance only on our so-called leadership… much of this havoc has been brewing well before the ascent of these unloving, non- responsive robots.  We either have been too busy, too distracted or have felt too powerless to stop it.

During the weekly dharma talk yesterday, Peter Coyote spoke to one of the bottom lines…the need to vote the better people into office. And the only way to do this, without the influence of corporations and favor makers, is to push for campaign finance reform. As long as a candidate owes something beyond her moral compass, we are all prisoners to big money, guns and bias.

Why does this country hold so much hate in its collective heart? It’s time we look in the mirror and face this responsibility to be better human beings and heal this amazing country. No amount of money or church or temple going can shift that fact if we are not willing to look deeply into our own eyes, face the truth  and say enough.

After George Floyd’s murder, Christian Cooper’s attack and  UK’s Dominic Cummings’ deceit, it’s hard to find a lighter ending note. But there is one, of course. Friends and good will. Still unwilling to travel by subway, Amy and Skip, artist and poet ferry their way to my neighborhood to share a cookie and and gossip…integral ingredients to a normal social life, one we will hopefully all be participating in soon.


Written by nancykoan

May 28, 2020 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »



Time is so out of whack these days. I can’t recall if it were yesterday or a month ago, I made a spectacular trek out of the neighborhood. I had heard through the grapevine that Clorox wipes were available at a grocery store near Gramercy Park. Leaving my dog at home, I geared up with mask and gloves for the expedition. I had only seen newsreels of how quiet New York was and may have only seen ten people in all on my journey back and forth. Once there, I raced to the back of the store hunting down the precious wipes. Nothing was on the shelf. Bare.  So, it wouldn’t be a complete waste, I bought some exotic food items unavailable at my local bodega and went to the front of the store to inquire as to why they gave me false hope re the wipes. Apparently, I didn’t know the rules, the secret code, or the handshake—the cashier told me I had to ask at the manager’s booth and only one per customer. I was thrilled but felt suddenly like I was in East Berlin getting my monthly ration of kasha.


The mix up of time also produces strange improprieties. Buying an actual ticket, I watched a live comedy benefit fora local candidate. One of the comedians performed from inside a parked car; apparently the car being the only privacy available to her. Cool. She could have been on a space shuttle the way her hair seemed to float around her head. Usually on a zoom, you see thumbnails of the other participants but on this one, the zoom meister kept revealing the audience on a rotating basis, probably looking for smiley faces to help nurture the comedians along.  It was fun seeing people in their smelly t shirts dribbling food down their fronts while seemingly enjoying the stand-up comics. I, for one, donned my usual lampshade disguise so as not to be recognized. I can’t fake laughter. The rotation, however, worked well giving us all a sense of community, that was until a latecomer showed up, naked in a bathtub, apparently enjoying watching and being watched. Ah, decency out the window.

I have had two therapy sessions during these early months. Since I wasn’t able to find the Mayor’s Office of Loneliness on line, I thought it best to speak to a pro on occasion just to stay on top of the burgeoning madness. I liked the woman a great deal, though I was concerned at her concern over my PayPal account. At this juncture, I require speaking to someone without money issues, as they are one of my major roadblocks. Still, it was good to know that everything I’m feeling is normal and that the stretch of unknown time ahead of me is being felt by one and all. I mean I know its spring because it’s so green and the mice are spending more time outside my apartment. But other than that, I have little sense of time except when the 7 pm bells ring out for the essential workers.

I wish I still menstruated. Women are blessed with a natural internal calendar and depending on one’s regularity, can count on misery every 28 days with pre-bloating a week before. The chocolate stash empties out and you know where you are. Can any old sun dial top that?



Written by nancykoan

May 26, 2020 at 12:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Chronicles of Covid, episode 622 (memorial day)


Some days I wake up so crabby that even my dog stays away (till she needs feeding). This day started out in such a manner. i don’t know if it’s a follow up from nightmares, but I believe they do affect the rest of my waking dream state. I had read that astrologically this was a period of reviewing past relationships, live and dead, and that they will come in different ways.

I seem to be stuck on one ex in particular and it always leaves me feeling empty, guilty and full of remorse. In last night’s dream, I found myself moving from an abode. It was very specific what with unscrewing little door plates and keeping the hardware, wrapping up glass figurines, and other similar minutiae. While  packing up one small box, I found a tiny ring and said to my friend to give to my ex when she would next see him. Her advice was sharp and quick. “No, don’t.” As if I might need it for someone else? The abruptness of her response woke me up and all over again I felt a sense of missing in action… my heart primarily.

The Sunday morning news show did little to life my spirits.  I hope that all those enjoying this holiday weekend aren’t being too careless. It’s understandable that folks want to run and play but this urgent need to go to shopping malls eludes me. At this point, I, like every dog I ‘ve ever lived with, would just be happy enough to go for a ride in a car with my head hanging out the rolled down window.

Nostalgia naturally is playing a big role in this moment. My sister and I are most comfortable when speaking about our childhood days and she reminds me of toys we loved. There was one tin comic book rack that I mused about and she insisted it had been hers first. How many times do you have to remind an older sibling that everything was theirs  first by order of birth. Still, I had inherited it and now it is long gone. With that theme we moved on to Winky Dink. I recalled the little star fellow and the kit that came with the brand. It was some type of film that you could put right on the television screen and draw on. How fun. Except that once I remembering drawing with heavy crayons, having forgotten to put up the Winky Dink screen first. It must have been really hard for my mother to wash off.


In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, I went on e-bay and found a slightly battered Winky Dink and bid on it. This is madness, of course, but if I win, I’ll send it to my sister on her next birthday. That is, after trying it on a flat  screen television. I want to see how Stephen Colbert looks with a bright Winky star on his head.

So along with fallen soldiers, today I am mourning the people who died from Covid 19.  My wonderful pharmacist Ali with the heart of gold and Bill Wolf, a friend, film critic and teacher. Good-bye little Winky Dinks… you were  and are loved.



Written by nancykoan

May 24, 2020 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »



There are many wonderful things to enjoy during this pandemic. Stretch waist bands for one. I have never worn one style of pants as often in my life. These K Mart, side striped step in pants have proved a god send, what with too little exercise, IBS and fluid retention from late night taco chips. It’s so easy to go right from sleepwear to day wear and sometimes it’s one in the same.

Darling, the young woman I share my life with, had an appointment at the vet today. We went out and as. soon as she made her daily contribution to the sidewalk (yes, I scooped), she refused to walk another step. She has a sixth sense, this little schnoodle How did she know? Did she read my email? I carried her over to the vet’s office where she shook like a leaf until she was taken in, blood tested and brought out again. She was so relieved that the ordeal was over that she ran jauntily up the street where for a reward, I stopped and bought her chicken bone broth. For me, the cheap stuff is ok, but for her, organic bone broth without sodium.

Dogs are funny during Covid. They know things are strange and they try and conform accordingly, but when they catch a whiff of a passing dog, they can’t help but want to get socially undistanced. So, it’s up to the parent to fathom the expression in the eyes of the other dog’s masked owner. Do they think it’s safe? Are they too frightened to engage?  If the other human is indifferent or more likely on the mobile, I let the dogs decide.  Their dance doesn’t take very long as many New York dogs are fixed.

After zooming a writing class from Sundance and a talk back with activist filmmaker Fisher Stevens through the Woodstock Film Festival site, it was time to manage a pre- fabbed food kit that would invariably be too salty. But how do you suck the salt out of food in a microwave? Adding a potato doesn’t help.

Several glasses of budget filtered water later, it felt like time to make a call. One of the great things about Covid is that heroes are not in short supply. At seven we bang for the essential workers, but one of the news shows turned me on to someone I just had to meet. Pat ‘Mother Blues’ Cohen (no relation) was found in North Carolina singing the most incredible blues outside of the senior home where her brother was sequestered. This incredible woman traveled an hour by car to provide entertainment through the windows to these folks who are truly isolated and especially for her baby brother.

I found her number through a service that helps older blues singers and there we were, talking about her career, life as a card dealer in Atlantic City, singing on Bourbon Street before surviving Katrina and now giving pleasure to a smaller but equally thrilled audience. I guessed she was a Taurus when she talked about her fascination with studying online catalogs and dreaming of the ideal home where she could house all her treasures. I also have way too much stuff in a small space and study Wayfair likes it’s the Torah.


photo courtesy of Music Maker Relief Foundation

I wrote a song for a film I hope to finish someday that I’d love to hear her sing. She’s got the chops so who knows what might happen when life goes back to something more recognizable than this moment. I’m keeping this hero’s number just in case.

Written by nancykoan

May 23, 2020 at 1:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized