‘Retired Ballerinas, Central Park West’ a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In August poet, author, activist, playwright and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti released ‘Writing Across the Landscape’, a record of five decades of travel drawn from his journals. This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Retired Ballerinas, Central Park West’ from a 1994 collection and considers life after work.

“Ferlinghetti felt strongly that art should be accessible to all people, not just a handful of highly educated intellectuals. His career has been marked by its constant challenge of the status quo; his poetry engages readers, defies popular political movements, and reflects the influence of American idiom and modern jazz.”

In a 1993 interview with William H. Honan, Mr. Ferlinghetti shared his observations on the evolution of the American poet.

“Today’s young poets, he continued, tend to come from working-class families and are not college graduates. That’s a change from the Beat poets, many of whom met at Columbia University in the 1950’s, and from Mr. Ferlinghetti, who earned a Ph.D. in modern poetry at the Sorbonne.

“It doesn’t require a great intellect to write poetry,” he said. “Great sensory perception is more important. Also, bright young people today are just as interested in film and video. I would be, too, if I were starting out. The single, unaccompanied voice can’t compete with those images.” ‘Bohemian,’ Not ‘Beat’.”

Retired Ballerinas, Central Park West

Retired ballerinas on winter afternoons

   walking their dogs

   in Central Park West

   (or their cats on leashes—

   the cats themselves old highwire artists)

The ballerinas

   leap and pirouette

   through Columbus Circle

   while winos on park benches

   (laid back like drunken Goudonovs)

   hear the taxis trumpet together

   horsemen of the apocalypse

   in the dusk of the gods

It is the final witching hour

   when swains are full of swan songs

   And all return through the dark dusk

   to their bright cells

   in glass highrises

   or sit down to oval cigarettes and cakes

   in the Russian Tea Room

   or climb four flight to back rooms

   in Westside brownstones

   where faded playbill photos

   fall peeling from their frames

   like last year’s autumn leaves

Lawrence Ferlinghetti   ‘These Are My Rivers’ 1994

The week@work – soccer, tennis, ballet & other places we work – & returning to work after vacation

It was a good week for women and little girls. The week@work began with the US women who go to work playing soccer and brought home the world cup trophy. And ended with the women who go to work on a tennis court, with Serena Williams winning her sixth Wimbledon championship and twenty-first major. And, while I was away, Misty Copeland was promoted to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater.

And now for the bad news, good news – compensation. An article in the Washington Post on Thursday detailed the gap in prize money for women and men in major sport.

“The female players who were just crowned the best in the world brought home $2 million, a tiny fraction of the $35 million the German men’s team pocketed for winning the World Cup in Brazil last year. It was even significantly less than the $9 million the U.S. men’s team took home for getting knocked out in the round of 16.

And yet, some sports have reached parity. When the women take Centre Court this Saturday at Wimbledon, the winner will earn the exact same amount — about $2.9 million — as the winner of the men’s final match on Sunday. Since 2007, when Wimbledon and the French Open joined the other Grand Slam tournaments, tennis has provided equal prize money to men and women.”

The ‘places’ we work and returning to those ‘places’ after vacation were also on the week’s agenda.

Fast Company posed the question on Twitter, are you tired of your cubicle? And suggested working from the woods:

“If a quick view of nature at work—or even a lonely plant on your desk—can make you more creative and focused and less stressed, what would happen if you worked from middle of the woods?

When Amsterdam office workers get tired of sitting in a cubicle, they can head out to work from a forest instead. A new caravan of mobile micro-offices—fully equipped with Wi-Fi and solar-powered coffeemakers—is traveling across a network of national parks in the Netherlands.

“The inspiration to create this comes from a longing to be more deeply connected to nature,” says KantoorKaravaan founder Tom van de Beek. “These times of technological innovation and wireless connectivity provide us with the ultimate combination: getting back to nature and self sufficiency in terms of food and energy, and still be able to do our day to day business. In other words: we can now create the 21st-century equivalent of the Garden of Eden.”

The New York Times reported on a new development in the industrial zone of downtown Philadelphia hoping to attract companies in media, advertising and technology.

“They wanted to be able to recruit, to have millennials think that this would be a great place to work,” said Richard R. Previdi, the firm’s operating managing partner.

Mr. Previdi said the new space — named SoNo, for south of Northern Liberties — will be designed to encourage the collaboration that is highly valued by tenants like software companies. “They want everybody talking; they want everybody sharing ideas,” he said.

The redesign will minimize the amount of individual employee space while allowing more for common areas like a cafeteria, a gym and parking space for 70 bicycles. Alliance plans to begin construction by the end of this year, and to complete the project within 24 months.

Over all, the building’s location and design are intended for a “live-work-play” lifestyle in which young urban professionals live near their workplaces and the shops, restaurants and entertainment sites that spring up to meet that demand in Philadelphia and other cities, Mr. Previdi said.”

For many of us, tomorrow marks a return to our work ‘place’ after an extended Fourth of July holiday. Believe it or not, there is post vacation syndrome – PVS. Really. Glamour Magazine recommends limiting your meetings on your first day back. They also suggest you schedule lunches outdoors to maintain that level of fresh air you grew accustomed to on vacation. Great ideas if they fit into your work culture.

If you love what you do, although you miss the sand in your toes or the views from a mountaintop, you will find a way to insinuate your vacation experience into your work day.