Black & White


Against a grayisch sky
a grayer cloud
rimmed black by the sun.

On the left, that is, the right,
a white cherry branch with black blossoms.

Light shadows on your dark face.
You'd just taken a seat at the table
and put your hands, gone pray, upon it.

You look like a ghost
who's trying to summon up the living.

(And since I still number among them,
I should appear to him and tap:
good night, that is, good morning,
farewell, that is, hello.

And not grudge questions to any of his answers
concerning life,
that storm before the clam).

Wislawa Szymborska

In a Dark Time

 you said Is
there anything which
is dead or alive more beautiful
than my body,to have in your fingers
(trembling ever so little)?
Looking into
your eyes Nothing,i said,except the
air of spring smelling of never and forever.

….and through the lattice which moved as
if a hand is touched by a
moved as though
fingers touch a girl’s
Do you believe in always,the wind
said to the rain
I am too busy with
my flowers to believe,the rain answered

E.E Cummings

The Raven
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
''Tis some visitor,' I muttered, 'tapping at my chamber door-
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow- sorrow for the lost Lenore-
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
''Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-
This it is, and nothing more.'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
'Sir,' said I, 'or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you'- here I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, 'Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, 'Lenore!'-
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-
'Tis the wind and nothing more.'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door-
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
'Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, 'art sure no
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore-
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as 'Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered-
Till I scarcely more than muttered, 'other friends have flown
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, 'Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
'Doubtless,' said I, 'what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never- nevermore'.'

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking 'Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
'Wretch,' I cried, 'thy God hath lent thee- by these angels he
hath sent thee
Respite- respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore-
Is there- is there balm in Gilead?- tell me- tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Prophet!' said I, 'thing of evil- prophet still, if bird or
By that Heaven that bends above us- by that God we both adore-
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.'
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

'Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend,' I shrieked,
'Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my
Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted- nevermore!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Till next Time! Nina

Ian Flemming's Goldeneye

Mid winter, no matter how much I enjoy wearing my Sorel boots and seeing the snowflakes fall into a warm cup of a chai latte, I miss the sun on my skin.

There's a lot of favorites about this season, big, comfy sweaters being more forgiving of an extra pound or five, snow days and Netflix marathons.

But sometime mid February, I dream of sunny beaches and enjoying warm waters in the tropics. Somewhere where a frozen drink doesn't seem inappropriate...

For all my friends and family, they know the level of obsession with James Bond I have is close to unhealthy, so when in need of a mental gateway, there's nothing more perfect than the location in Jamaica, where Ian Flemming wrote all of his novels.

I'd recommend a fantastic documentary on the subject, titled Everything or Nothing about the legacy Flemming left behind.

Ian Flemming loved Jamaica and it inspired him for many years to use the backdrop for Bond's character. The villa he lived and wrote in was owned by many people throughout the decades but in recent years it has been owned by a record executive with deep roots in Jamaican music culture.

Dr.No was filmed on the island itself, and to many Bond fans Jamaica always holds as the paradise that started it all.

What I wouldn't give for a quick gateway from New York to Goldeneye right now. To sit at the desk Flemming used and touch the keys of his typewriter and later enjoy a martini on the James Bond Beach. One can dream...

Till next Time! Nina

But first, coffee...

Growing up in Europe, my obsession with coffee began at a really young age, almost inappropriately young age. Adults in my family used to gather every day, for a cup of coffee. Drinking that cup, smelling the aroma, knowing everyone's way of drinking it, was a ritual. It meant joining "the circle", it meant participating in gossip feasts, discussing politics, soccer matches, holiday gatherings and countless other social occasions. How else will you know the party is almost over if not for coffee?

You can tell so much about a person by the way they take their coffee. Bold and black, means you're a purist, extra milk and sugar means you love to day dream. Weak coffee meant you're probably going to drink more cups in a row and you're in for a slow awakening.

Coffee is my love. Every morning begins with a cup, and it never feels officially as if the morning had begun, until that first cup has seen the bottom of a mug.

I have been chasing a perfect cup of coffee throughout Manhattan, and would love to share some of my favorite spots with you. I encourage you to try these special cup of jo spots and share your thoughts with me.

My go to coffee spot in TriBeca had always been at an Italian baker, Grandaisy Bakery. Located at 250 West Broadway, the morning perfection of well brewed coffee, paired with pistachio pastry, is an orgasmic way to start your day. Their egg sandwich is also a party in my mouth and only their bold morning roast is also invited. Crispy, fresh baked whole grain bread with hard boiled eggs, dill and herb mayo, capers and sea salt satisfies every Eastern European need for cornishons and eggs in the morning.

While shopping in SoHo, I can never resist the radiant decor of Dominique Ansel Bakery on Spring Street. They've won every award for every delicious item on their spectacular menu, and the coffee... well, it pairs perfectly with sunny decor, almond croissants and a copy of the latest Saveur magazine.

My latest discovery since I begun spending more time in the West Village, has been Jack's Stir Brew. It's a real neighborhood spot where baristas know your name and the size of your favorite order. It also fools you by appearing real charming and homey, but they take their coffee very seriously. My fave on the list is the Stella and Mad Max. Make it a double, make it with organic maple syrup and pass on the scone.

Jack's is located on 138 W 10th St. And if you run into Elvis Costello or Sarah Jessica Parker, play it cool.

Till next Time!