Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Everything is Fluid

     We’re packing which means that half of what is in the house will be stuffed into our car. Going away for ten days is one step below packing to move cross country. What if it's cold, hot, wet, dry? This year we dragged our rain pants out of their resting place and packed them in case there is an incredible downpour and we are close to being swept away into a fast moving river. 
    But the most important items are books and art supplies. I've changed my mind at least six times and expect that  the morning will being more changes. 
     And do I bring a small sketch book or a considerably larger sketchbook? The possibilities are endless. And what pens? And and …

     Some things I have decided— but then again…

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


     It started in church last Sunday. I looked down and spotted blue toenails. Painted, not frostbitten. Shimmering blue, almost a cobalt blue. Only my proper upbringing stood in the way of my asking about the nail polish— but what to ask? 
     After the service I happened upon a conversation between some rather conservatively dressed women. These were not folks who wore tee shirts emblazoned with graffiti. They were gray haired ladies. Yet, one woman not only sported colorful nails, but she also had a design painted on her big toenail. The other women spoke in glowing terms of going for a pedicure and then having their toes painted. 
     While at the Hair Salon I couldn’t miss the cherry red enamel toenails belonging to one hairdresser nor the cross between maroon and deep scarlet red toenails of the woman clipping my hair. Then when I sat down to wait before the next step in the process, I took out my book, and noticed the blue-black painted  toenails of an older woman. An imposing woman who probably inched close to six feet. I didn’t stare, but couldn’t miss the big toe design.
    And tonight my next door neighbor took me into her backyard to see her flowers— 
and her nails were coral.
     Doesn’t anyone read  the articles warning customers of the health risks? 

     There was even a story about “death by pedicure.”


Monday, June 19, 2017

Luminal Space

That place between
the comfort of the familiar
 and the unknown ahead
Nothing is clear
The door is ahead
This wilderness 
— a passage

Sunday, June 18, 2017


     Someday I'm going to start writing and just keep going until I use up all the ink in my fountain pens, all my bottled ink--my words will fill up notebooks and rice paper scrolls, and then when all the paper is gone I'll write on walls and the floor until my words become breathless and only syllables  remain
     And when it's all done I'll sit down and read the story out loud and pause to explain those parts that resemble myths  because some parts can only be understood as metaphors for reality until the wrapping paper is removed and the bare words remain  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Just a Bit of Grace

     We need magic because miracles don’t happen too often even when you get down on your knees and explain the need for a Jesus type miracle like the ones in the gospel even when you know that those times are long gone  or maybe not gone but redefined although sometimes there occurs a true old fashioned miracle where the lame walk and the blind see and the hallelujahs fly around the room 
        Now Lord we need to talk just the two of us because too many folks are hurting, too many folks stare down an abyss, too many folks need to make decisions that grind them down
        I know that you hold us, love us, gather us, even sing in our hearts
      You want us to talk to you, well i’m talking i’m talking about people I know who need some small miracles  so i’m going to keep asking  and asking 

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Fire in London

Language is asked to explain 
what can’t be fathomed
Our words are not nuanced 
enough to parse the mystery
of why and what, 
of how and when
We live in a world
of uneven terrains

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Stream of Unconnected Thoughts

     It’s rainy, a bit muggy, and the dark gathers itself for the beginning of the evening. The newscast talking heads will continue to explore every nuance of our country’s descent into incivility. The United States Open will feature several beyond belief shots from knee high fescue grass. The weather people will offer their spin on the computer model printouts— rain, humidity, the future.
     And we will hear more about the climate, the rising sea, and the naysayers will plug their ears and say, “made up, not so, not so.” 

     Amazon is now in the grocery business? Will drone deliveries be in the horizon? 
     Tomorrow other folks used books will be on sale at the town library. Mysteries and thrillers go first.
      Which brings me to what I began thinking about the moment I entered the house—reading. Should I start the debut novel about a serial killer who buried thirty-one bodies beneath the garage? His wife, according to one reviewer never knew and never entered the garage. It did receive good reviews. Perhaps a book of short stories or the start of another series. Perhaps I should approach tonight’s reading as a smorgasbord and read twenty pages in one book and twenty in another. Will the characters from the serial killer novel emigrate to the dinner party In the short story book?           Or even more disturbing— will the deprived serial killer step into the cozy mystery series?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Bronx

On humid nights we
gathered on the sidewalk
to escape the still air
in stacked apartments

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Delve into a talk about God
when you're selecting string beans
grown with pesticides that pollute
the earth and people will smile and
move on to the bin overflowing
with broccoli from California 
Even if you try and explain that God
wanted us to take care of the planet
they'll still drift off to broccoli
Bringing God's name into the
 grocery store is not acceptable

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Change of Meaning

I went looking for Zachariah 2:14 in my Bible and couldn't find the verse. I finally located the verse in the Jewish Publication translation. It seems as if every Hebrew Bible contains the verse and all the Christian versions either omit the verse or don't think it belongs.

Which version is accurate? Or are omissions a natural occurrence?  Are some words left out or included because they buttress an opinion?or am I not looking in the right place?

  • How often do we delete or add words? All the verses were there just in different places. How quick I am to make assumptions.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Peace Be With You

Proverbs 20:27King James Version (KJV)

27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Eat Your Words

I swore off frozen yogurt more than once a week
and potato chips once or twice a week
but found myself saying again and again
this will be the last week I indulge
I promised to not take on too many challenges
yet I couldn't resist the lure and then spent 
too much time scurrying from one activity
to the next with barely enough time
to finish one before beginning another
I convinced myself to not yearn over the next
book to read before I read the last page 
of the book I held in my hand, but found that
I couldn't resist stockpiling books as if they
would all disappear if they didn't sit on my shelf
I believed that once we spoke the road
to connecting up would proceed slowly
but I didn't really anticipate that it would
sputter as if words were costly commodities

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Trajectory of a Life

The storyline depends
on the words once said
or the words swallowed
The plot cannot subsist
on what might have been
It deals in a concrete landscape
where each character moves
according to the unspooling
of a script dependent
on the words and actions of yesterday,
No erasers are issued
No going backward to insert
different lines, other events
And if you're lucky 
you can jump in and add
some new lines
if the author agrees 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A Brief Note

I just have a few minutes
Shall I tell you about the weather 
of how my plants all suffer from wet feet
because of days of rain
Or perhaps I will share a new recipe
for ratatouille with Indian spices
which I can't make because I am
lacking key ingredients 
Perhaps I'll use the time
to tell you about the library books on my shelf
I'm ready to begin reading a murder mystery
that promises to raise the hairs on my neck
Which reminds me to tell you that
I found the rose colored cloth napkin
we lost two Thanksgivings ago
when you visited with your family
and we all had to eat some  kale salad
because we wanted to create a healthy dish
and then I froze the leftovers in two
half gallon bags which I recently
threw out because I needed the room
to freeze more healthy leftovers
A brief note I s really too short a space 
 to share my new pursuit--
needlepointing cushions for all my chairs
I know that sounds old fashioned
and something from our grandmother's era
but I'm creating splashy flowers in bold colors
I may have overstayed my time
but I've always been loquacious 
or as my third grade teacher told my mother,
" She's a chatterbox."

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

What to Add What to Omit

I came across this question when reading an article about refugees.
        If you had space in your backpack, what would you take to remind you of who you are, or who you want to be?

An intriguing question. If you have a response let me know and I'll post it -- meanwhile I'll try and find my own answer to what at first appears as a simple question, but in fact is complex. What is left out is equally as telling as what is put in.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

With Thanks to Wallace Stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Rainy Day

The lilac bush collects 
water on its leaves 
until drops spill 

Our grass swells
beneath the
pounding rain

A small stream 
fills up and seeks
a place to overflow

Gray and black
clouds stay put
and empty out

We look outside
and wait for
a clearing

Soon we gather
books and pens
and leave

The library's silence
dims the drumming
of raindrops

A young woman
stares at her book
while doodling

I look at a shelf 
of poetry books
and select two

The rain splatters 
against library windows 
but cannot enter 

We leave 
and enter
a wet world

Wind and rain
continue to dance
to their own music

We enter a dry house
and look outside
at the puddles

Monday, June 05, 2017


This is an experiment, a way to see cohesiveness in randomness. I open books without looking at page numbers or chapter headings and close my eyes. I point to a place on the page, open my eyes, and write down part of a sentence. Does the universe put together these disparate thoughts into a whole?

    Consistency of Themes            

I tell him it's hard to believe
the pious of the nations
The shifting nature of the sand 
must encompass all of reality
I tell him it's hard to believe 
in a bucolic landscape
drawing me forward 
Shivering all at once,
memory halted
no reality independent of God

The books:
The Great Spring by 
Natalie Goldberg

Contemporary Jewish Poetry
Deborah Ager & M.E. Silverman

Available Dark
Elizabeth Hand

Books of the People
Edited by S.W. Halpern

  1. I wrote down the sentences 
  2. I moved them around
  3. Only selected parts from each sentence 
  4. Then played with them
  5. The title also came from one of the books

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Beneath the Exterior

Look at a face
Follow its contour
until you know
where each line
leads, each place
where a shadow rests,
every place where
there's a highlight
Look closely
Are those smile lines 
or lines drawn by
difficult times
Describe what you see
beneath the skin

Saturday, June 03, 2017

A Day of Rest

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Woman at Mercy Shelter

The Woman at Mercy Shelter

In the morning
she is like a rooster
talking to the sun,
to patches of light
on a wood floor.

She accounts for yesterday's 
passing, telling of her trip
to buy vegetables.

“Two cantaloupes so soft when I press
their skin. My thumbs get wet.”

“Asparagus on hidelike stems
stood like wood soldiers
in a bucket of water. I tiptoes past.”

She talks to cats and dogs,
to people on trains
who bury their eyes.

She talks to shadows
on sidewalks.

At night she holds
a hand mirror,
and talks to her face
bloated with words.

and Tomorrow, she says

I'm going home

Thursday, June 01, 2017


After listening to the president's words and the lack of understanding, the lack of appreciating that we live in a global world, I am at a loss for words-- so I'll cite the wisdom of Rabbi Hillel.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when? 

      Rabbi Hillel

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reality Television

Is our country being run as a reality show? The president announces the time he will tell the country, the world, whither goest the United States in terms of the Paris Climate agreement. Will there be a drum roll? We all know the outcome before the announcement. He's putting America first.

Does the president know that his phrase "America First" has a long history and that history is stained with anti-semitism? Does the president realize that climate change is real or does he think it is a political slogan? 

Waiting for the drum roll?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shavuot Celebration

All night, until the sun
edges the dark 
they study the texts,
the interpretations and
their own way of seeing
as if they stood at Sinai 
They read passages
from sacred books
and see reflections
in their own lives 
This is a night of study,
of delving deep into
their connection to
these ancient words.

Monday, May 29, 2017

So Many

How do you say thank you
to those who died, those
who returned with visible
wounds and those who
carried unseen wounds?
How do you avoid platitudes?
Maybe I want to say that
there are only a few just wars,
but you were sent anyway--
to the just and the unjust wars
I'm sorry that many of you
carry the bruises of war, I'm
sorry that you had to face
the people on the other side
I want to assure today's children
that we will reach a place where
the other side is only
in history books.
But today we remember
those who faced the other side
and we give thanks
 for their service

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Good Book

We simplify miracles into
metaphors and erase
all possibilities
We push miracles into
commonplace and listen
to the silence