Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beginnings?

Sometimes collectors find that their collections subsume their homes. There's a young man who collects pencils-- at last count he owns 14,000 pencils. I wonder how he sorts the pencils?

I wonder how many collections begin accidentally. Recently I found myself with two ballpoint pens--accidental heists.

One came from my dentist's office--Her name, address, and phone number imprinted on the barrel. The second pen hailed from a local restaurant also inscribed with the pertinent information.

I put them both in my drawer and wondered if I should be on the alert for other pens with messages .

Categories. Why not?



Monday, August 18, 2014

Not Here, Go Around the Corner

If you live in a posh place you expect to hang with posh people. And if the developer of your expensive building ,where you pay outlandish money to have the best, wants to cut costs by taking advantage of government programs which cut his cost-- you need some safeguards.

After all you paid a lot of money and those people living in some apartments, or condos, only live there because of those government programs.

In New York City where expensive high rises dot the downtown landscape there's a conundrum brewing. How, the developers ask, can we isolate the two groups of people?

One way-- have two different entrance ways. Only those who pay the full price may enter through the elegant splendrous sumptuous front door. Around the corner and out of sight --- the door for the other tenants.

Visualize having a dinner party and the two strata meet ? You might have to hone down your black tie list.


In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, sumptuary law required a fortune of at least two hundred pounds before you were allowed to wear lace, or have silver or gold embroidery on clothing items. Even buttons were banned to those without the appropriate monetary funds.

In time we moved beyond these regulations.

Now a few residents are questioning second class status in their own homes. Until the right agency figures out where to go and what to do, some buildings will continue to direct some of the building residents to enter -- around the corner.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sorry Isn't Enough

How do I explain to a grandson who is African-American, a granddaughter who is from Bhutan, and another granddaughter who is Mexican-Plains Indian...

How do I explain our country and our history of racism? How do I explain the way we view the other? How do I explain the recent shooting and taking of a life in Missouri?

All our explanations lack substance. They are excuses.

Eli, when you visit, stay close. Don't wear baggy pants, or a hoodie.

Let's not fool ourselves. When do we take out the mirror and look , really look, at ourselves?When do we learn to walk in the light?




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Know a Recipe?



Two days ago I replaced our humming bird feeder with a suet feeder. The humming birds probably picked out their feeding locations before we set up our feeder. We set the suet in a suet holder and hung it from our six foot high pole --which was firmly set in the ground.

That night it poured and in the morning the pole and suet feeder no longer stood upright.

"Must have been quite windy last night."

I went outside to right the pole and feeder when I discovered that the pole had not been blown over. The bottom of the pole was bent--wrenched out of its normal shape. A right turn about two feet high created an unusable pole.

Instead of a full slab of suet, 80% was gone--disappeared. All my mystery reading didn't translate into a logical explanation. Perhaps, I thought, the rain pounded so hard that the suet dissolved. Perhaps one of our many wild turkeys wrested the pole from its place and threw it to the earth.

Today the mystery unraveled to reveal the true story. Six adolescent sized wild turkeys, along with their mother, spent fifteen minutes scratching around the area where the suet fell down-- or was pulled down. They pecked away at the ground probably finding tiny specks of suet. Their mother hung out without taking part in an afternoon of frolicking and eating.

Once upon a time the wild turkey population was almost depleted in some areas of New England. They were reintroduced and conservation experts consider their efforts a total success. Today millions of wild turkeys roam-- the backwoods, suburbia and even urban areas.

How about this statistic --gleaned from a NPR article. In the early 1900s "there were only about 30,000 wild turkeys left in the whole country."

" Today, there are nearly 7 million wild turkeys."

Zealots.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why

If you read the newspaper with care, if you read the small articles--the ones that don't report the "In" news, you'll spot some alarming trends.

Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. Today I read of anti-Semitism in New Zealand. A few politicians, seemingly with impunity, disparaged the Other. That other may be a Jew, an immigrant, a person of color.

Today when I came out of our local CVS a national political cult had set up a table twenty feet away from the entrance to the store. Their rhetoric, filled with hateful slogans. The workers, all young, were part of a planned youth movement. They wrap themselves up in conspiracy theories, compare the present administration to the Nazis.

It goes on and on. Any little difference may lead to excluding the other, or genocide. Today we read of people who left their homes and sought shelter on a mountain-- away from a group with differing religious views.

I think God cries.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Turning it Around

Topsy turvy
inside out
upside down
what's new ages
upside down cake
rights itself
the sun mimics the moon
and people forget
before they remember



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God Reads the Newspapers

It rained frenetically
creating rivulets,
ankle deep puddles,
abstract window patterns
Was this another Flood?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Farewell

My tooth has served me well. It has chomped down on peanuts, carrot sticks, and popcorn. Years ago it managed taffy, carmel candy, and gummy bears. Many hard candies split after being struck by that tooth and the top teeth.

Then when I didn't expect it the dentist said, "You need a crown."

Just like that. My organic tooth pared down to be replaced by an artificial look alike.

Thanks to my old tooth. You did your job well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Diminished Hexaverse

Transformation

take a few words and
put them together
follow your thoughts and
discover what you
really want to say

pick up a brush
select a scene
choose your colors
be flamboyant

sing a song
change the words
trill, whistle

alter
your

path


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tea?

The art assignment: draw and watercolor a patterned teacup. I own mugs—heavy mugs. At one time I collected mugs from every National Park we visited. Over time the decals wore off or the mugs developed coffee stains. When collecting park mugs grew old I began to collect mugs from coffee houses. My favorite came from Moab, Utah.

I gave that up when I realized that bookstores began to sell mugs.

When our mug stand gave way and we bought a new stand with fewer protrusions for mugs, I stored them in the closet; however, they took up too much room. Some became containers for pencils, paint brushes, and assorted bookmarks.

But I did have one teacup. My mother collected "look alike" teacups. These were knock-offs—imitations of fine China. Her collection was small—perhaps six or seven. When you live in a three room apartment the size of a collection must be monitored.

She called them her antiques because the patterns were, supposedly, replications of ancient patterns. She also collected, if two is a collection, Chinese bowls. I have one upstairs. It holds a philodendron my mother gave me when I first moved into the condo—thirty-two years ago.

Repotted, cut back and given a window view.

I brought my mother's teacup and saucer downstairs and sketched the cup and saucer—even the gilt edges and floral design.

Too bad I never thought of buying her a top of the line tea cup. But I expect that she enjoyed the hunt for the "almost just like it" cup.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Cascade Poem


A Dinner Conversation


I'll give you the words to say
Remind you of what's important
Wait for you to figure it out

If you ever want to spray graffiti
or stand on a street corner
I'll give you the words to say

If you talk on and on, forgetting the person
on the other side of your words, I'll
Remind you of what's important

And when you wonder why the world
is the way it is, so one-sided, I'll
Wait for you to figure it out

Friday, August 08, 2014

Stymied


My wireless keyboard refuses to connect with my IPad. A small box asks me if the keyboard is on and within range. Affirmative. The green light on the keyboard keeps blinking -- looking for a mate, but to no avail.

No on and off switch tells me with certainty that the keyboard is on or off, but I expect blinking indicates that the poor thing is seeking companionship. Winking in the dark.

The touch keyboard is only too happy to appear.

Will the blinking continue until the poor thing wrings out every ounce of battery life?

Is this a case of jealousy? I admit that I was seated on a comfortable chair with the IPad on my lap. Using my keyboard wasn't possible so I resorted to the touch screen.

After thirty unproductive minutes I give up and remove the batteries from the wireless keyboard.

This is a case of Unrequited love?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

An Abstract Poem

Dame Edith Sitwell introduced a poetic movement when she published her book Facade. She wrote in 1949, "The poems in Facade are abstract poems-that is - they are patterns of sound. They are...virtuoso exercises in technique of extreme difficulty, in the same sense as that which certain studies by Liszt are studies in transcendental technique in music."

According to one site, Abstract poetry communicates through " sound and bizarre images." Despite wild experiments Sitwell's poems have an inherent sense. Whether she knew where the ending was when she played with words or the words led Dame Sitwell to a meaningful ending we don't know.

An orchestral arrangement by William Walton accompanied the recitation of Facade. I listened to a recording of Facade and found it, like Rap poetry, finger snapping and foot tapping.

My turn.


Turkey Shoot

A wild turkey sat in a tree
croaking, branches creaked
under her weight
She spread her wings
singing lullabies to five naked babes
Craw, cluck, cluck, cluck
Cackles cracked the air
Sizzling scorched twigs sparked
Her babes hopped
jigging and jogging


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Blitz Poem

Spaces for Paths

Ignore obvious flaws
Ignore empty spaces
Spaces create a void
Spaces allow for change
Change your ways
Change the words
Words move mountains
Words push boundaries
Boundaries remain uncertain
Boundaries stop you
You can cross
You may plant
Plant forget-me-nots
Plant for tomorrow
Tomorrow happens
Tomorrow starts soon
Soon a chance
Soon forgiveness
Forgiveness begins
Forgiveness allows
Allows breathing
Allows room
Room to start over
Room to begin
Begin new stories
Begin to talk
Talk into the night
Talk and tell stories
Stories beneath the moon
Stories of years
Years of silence
Years lost
Lost to laughter
Lost to love
Love silent
Love waiting
Waiting to walk
Waiting to start
Start breathing
Start with one step
Step quickly
Step down
Down an unfamiliar way
Down new paths
Paths blend together
Paths join
Join...
Together...




Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lights Out

It didn't seem likely, but as soon as Dorothy touched the half-empty potato chip bag the lights went out. In fact everything electrical went down. A quick walk outside assured me of a darkened neighborhood rather than a ominous response to our snack. We usually don't indulge in chips, but sometimes chips act as comfort food.

Out came the large candle, two flashlights, the battery operated radio, my IPad, and Kindle. Readiness, just like the Scouts.

Forty-five minutes later the lights returned. We blew out the candle and turned off the radio. We'd watch the Red Sox on television--in the background.

Darkness. In the dark. Dark horse. I rather like the dark. My imagination conjures up myriad scenarios. I wander in the land of shadows. A sliver of light reminds me that we live in the land of dualities where stars appear against a dark backdrop.

I think that stories reside in the gray tones between the two extremes.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Depends Upon Whom You Ask


How much water does an 18-hole golf course use? Depends upon where you live. Depends upon who is doing the figuring.

Isn’t that often the answer to a question? Who is answering and do they have an agenda. And who is framing the question?

If our agendas differ we’ll have a response that is in concert with our ideas. Recently I’ve been reading a number of Op Ed pieces about the Middle East. Each writer, each editorial, makes a case for their opinion—sometimes leaving out salient facts or highlighting specific facts.

Even when everyone agrees on a problem—the solutions may differ—often drastically. The drought in the Colorado Basin area is not conjecture. The lower water level of Lake Mead is a reality. The use of ground water is a reality.

So how much water does an 18-hole golf course use?

Who is going to decide on regulations? How will allocations of water be determined?


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Gap

Memories come unbidden
A smell, a place, the words of a song
the cadence of speech, an accent
The turn of a phrase
as if yesterday interrupted today





Saturday, August 02, 2014

Surprised

Imagine using a ballpoint to create a sketch? That was the assignment.

If it was good enough for Andy Warhol to use on some of his art work I could give it a go.

So I took a blue Pilot fine line ballpoint and began to draw...

My good pens stayed put, my mechanical pencil and eraser never left the shelf.

And I found myself enjoying the lowly ballpoint.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Waiting

…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
—Isaiah 2:4 KJV



It’s hot, but I don’t want to turn on the air conditioner.
I’m waiting until it gets humid.
Odd, how we often set up arbitrary pronouncements.
We say, “I’ll wait another ten minutes and if I don’t receive a call I’ll leave.”

What are the Israelis and the Palestinians
saying during the seventy-two hour truce?

What are they waiting for?
Is it to see who will make the first move?
Are they waiting to begin talking?
Are they waiting for a sustainable peace?
Are they waiting to feel safe?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Too Much

Behind the times.
Unaware of what’s new.
How did it happen that I found out about new” things, or “new” trends years after their inception? This not knowing “what’s in” follows me around.

Two days ago I read a blog post mentioning Discardia. Another word I thought that developed airs. When I tried finding the word in the OED or Urban Dictionary—no listing.

Then I googled Discardia and found that the term has morphed into a cult like following. There’s a book, a blog, a huge following, even a holiday created by the author of a book.

It means more life, less stuff. However, if you search around on the Internet —discardia, in Latin, is associated with Discordia. Someone wrote a book about Discordia as the epitome of chaos.

So I guess it works this way—too much stuff may plummet a person into a chaotic state. In order to avoid that discard the unnecessary.

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”
—Henry Thoreau

I once owned a Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity button. I do wonder if the Discardia group sells buttons.

It’s all good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good News


spreads it's arms
rocks to hallelujah, praise be,
dances with the wind
spins across the floor
gives thanks




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On Obsessions

Coca cola obsessives. Smokers. Ice cream aficionados. Even those who succumb to socially unacceptable drugs— or moderately acceptable highs. Reality show followers. Sports fans. Compulsive shoppers.

I have something in common with the entire group. I love libraries. I can't go into a library without borrowing a book. If I'm states away without a library card I'll still visit a library and walk down their book aisles—perhaps I'll see a book I must read.

Several years ago I discovered a small library in Prospect Harbor, Maine—Dorcas Library. During the summer, the library stays open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 1:00-4:00pm. I fell in love with both the view and the history.

According to the posted information they began in two rooms—one room was for the members of the Dorcas Society, a Christian women's group. They met and quilted in one room and the other room held donated books. This was a volunteer operation—still is.

The first time I went into the Dorcas Library I noted a framed placard in a prominent spot: Acts. 9: 36

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha ( in Greek Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor.

The last time I visited Prospect Harbor the placard no longer held a prominent place on the wall—but was still in evidence. I rather missed the first location.


I keep a notebook of books I want to read.

Today I went to my local library to return a book.
"Anything here for me?"
"Two books on their way."

So I went upstairs to browse and passed a display rack of books that people had read, loved, and placed in a box of reader suggestions. The librarian places those books on a shelf—hoping to garner interest. I selected a slim volume by a familiar author. Then I looked on the shelves for the same author and took out another of his books.

In my ever present purple pack I had one barely started book and another halfway done.

At home my stacks grow as if I am busy fertilizing the shelves.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Discernment

Discernment.
It's difficult to know what to believe. Each side tells its own version of the truth, often eliminating those parts that won't fit into their world view. Why, I ask, don't you say this or that? And yet I know the answer—the fit.

Pick up a newspaper—read the Op Ed pieces, the editorials. Yes, they are here or there and also state facts, facts that support their bias.

It's frightening when people read a news article from a source obviously willing to distort facts, or make unverified statements, and they gulp down the entire piece.

When we vilify a group based upon half-truths, distortions or complete fabrications or when only those parts helpful to a particular point of view are stated we set the stage for a frightening scenario.

Let's all be wary of accepting as dogma distorted views. The distorted view isn't content with just leaving out some facts. It paints the other as consumed with evil intentions.

As readers let's be aware of who is telling the story and if we're not sure let's not pass on the story. Let's not enter into partnership with purposefully distorted reporting.





Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Enigma of Time

I can see no reason to be bound by chronological time.
--Jeanette Winterson


If so why not rewind time? Take out an eraser and set things right or play it again.

I'd be sitting on the edge of a curb, a skate key on a shoe lace around my neck, wearing faster then lightning ball bearing skates and Double Bubble gum in my pocket.

I'd find a kinder way of telling Zeporah that I selected the short straw. I had to tell her that she had body odor and it was difficult to change into gym clothes with her aroma.

After practicing in front of the bathroom mirror I thought I knew how to approach the topic. When you're in the seventh grade the task seems insurmountable.

I was neither tactful or kind. I think that after stammering a bit I simply said, "Zipporah, you smell."

If time could be rewound I'd sit on a Flexible Flyer sled and ,holding a child between my legs, I'd take a run down the gentle hill between two houses.

As for an eraser--isn't that called redemption?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Connections

...neither shall a garment mingled
of linen and woolen come upon thee.
Leviticus 19:19 KJV


To link-up
join, to abut,
to border upon,
lump together,
blend, make one
Just ignore
the warning
Weave the threads