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2002-07-07

Peter Minuit
B. 1580 Wessel, Germany / D. 1638 At Sea
Drowned

Sick cat at the vet, sick and dehydrated—near-casualty of the recent heat wave in this part of Pyromerica; the one conceived in gunpowder and bright beads which reflected blue skies, puzzled painted faces, trees. . .bursts of razzmatazz by the handful, overflowing.
One man, one block, one town (say, Bayville) on Long Island Sound—$40 thousand worth of fireworks, professional-grade, to set off at the beach, amid bonfires, on Fourth of July. Multiply him by hundreds, for miles in either direction, all competing for size, noise, and length of show; then add dozens of town displays, geysering silent, lichen-tiny, along a north-westward arc to distant Darien; then add a busy ground-level fabric of intimacies with tikki-lights, Roman candles, firecrackers and sparklers. A panorama extinguished as a violet sky-spanner sizzles and booms overhead; the waves whiten to plaster.
The back yard, scorched pale by the heat wave. For its wildlife—squirrels, birds, also pigeons—I've put a Tupperware pool under the trees. The other day I remembered that mini-serving of Evian in the ice box—took it out, broke the seal, poured it in. (C'est Park Slope!) Then I brought the bottle back indoors and threw it in the garbage. First time I'd done that in years but the city's just stopped recycling plastic—glass too for that matter.
More for the trash barges, and the more accommodating southern states—watch for the fleets from a shoreline near you while there's still novelty: discarded slabs of New York City, mica-sided with empty plastic water bottles; in sea-light seemingly aglow.

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