Thursday, October 18, 2018

One More Game

I find myself talking to the television when a player takes aim at a ball too high or too low. I cross my fingers when the pitcher on my team throws too many balls. I worry with men on base. This is serious. I want to will them to win.

Odd isn’t it how we commit to our team, wear their colors, and feel as if we are right there on the field. I may be seated in the northeast, but my heart is right there with the Red Sox. One more win and they we into the World Series.

Yes, we!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cramped Quarters

roots strain 
against red clay 
crack the pot
and stretch

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Books

I spent an hour looking through my books. What can go and what can stay? With a smaller house and fewer bookcases each book must carry its weight. Almost all fiction books are gone or are on my kindle. Gone are the days when my shelves held a number of mystery series and history books and both literary and popular fiction.

Today I noticed that books were beginning to find resting places on top of other books with barely any room for new books. Time to slim down. My collection today— shelves of poetry books, writing books, and religious books. Of course there’s my Complete Flannery O’Connor short stories, her letters, and her book of prose. She’ll always have shelf space.

My poetry collection grows larger. My most recent book ( a present) The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy. A delightful collection of  “.. from Basho to Zagajewski.”

 The editor, John Brehm, says one of his goals  “ has been to show how beautifully the Dharma manifests even in poems by poets who were not practicing Buddhists or knew little or nothing about Buddhism.”

Then I came upon Journeys of Simplicity edited by Philip Harnden. It’s a slim book and was pushed out of view. I found an old photo tucked inside. My how young I looked.

“Traveling light—imagine this meaning: , unencumbered journeying, a graceful way of traveling.  through life like a single leaf...What would it mean to make one’s life ...a journey unencumbered, uncluttered, without distraction—a journey of focus and intention?”

Each piece in this anthology is spare— lists of journeys of simplicity. “Where do our journeys take us? What do we leave behind? What do we carry with us? How do we find our way?”

Harnden writes, “We take delight in things; we take delight in being loosed from things. Between these two delights, we must dance our lives.”

I took delight in taking twelve books to the library and great delight in finding myself rediscovering a few books. 


 And for the time when I truly run out of shelf space  I checked on Google to see if anyone had done a quasi-scientific study of vertical stacking vs horizontal stacking. It appears that horizontal sticking for paperbacks will allow you to add fifteen to twenty more books to your shelf. Of course there are some disadvantages — difficulty taking a book out of a tightly stacked column. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Fair Exchange

my neighbor’s trees
share leaves 
in the autumn
and shade in the summer

Sunday, October 14, 2018

That Special Day That Comes Once a Year

At first I wasn’t sure of how to structure the day? Did I want to wander through a museum? Was there an art movie I desired to see? Then I read about a Plein Air day at a sculpture park. A friend told me of her town’s Open Studio Day — local studios open all around town. It all depended on the weather.

And the weather was dry, crisp, and even sunny at times. We set out for Walden Pond and a walk around the pond. In spots the path, narrowed by recent rains and slanted toward the water, required great dexterity to avoid wet sneakers. Swimmers in wet suits, swimmers without wet suits, walkers, people sitting on rocks reading, some fishing, children collecting treasures — all enjoying the pond. I loved how we walked at a good pace— still able to pass some walkers ( probably because they were strolling).

A quick lunch at a favorite farm market and then to DeCordova Sculpture Park to see plein air artists select their spots, paint, and then wait for the judges to select winners in different categories.

Before the Open Studio artists closed their doors we managed to see two studios— engage the artists in conversation and avoid nibbling on snacks.

We brought Thai dinner in and watched both the Patriots vs Kansas City and the Red Sox against Houston. Winning both games would cap off the day. So far the Sox won.

And just now the Patriots won. Perfect day spent with someone I love.



Saturday, October 13, 2018

It’ s Always this Way

You choose
Where to go
What to do
Where to eat
Decisions
you get to make once a year
I remember the year I turned eleven
my father  wheeled a red bike
into the foyer, or  was it the dining room
In a three room apartment
rooms take on many names
I named the bike Tinker Bell
and  believed she could fly
She was my Magic Carpet






Friday, October 12, 2018

After Reading About Noah

Noah why did you remain silent
Why didn’t you ask God to save
the man who knew how to bind
wounds and heal the ill
or the woman who baked bread
and gave it away 
No arguments
No questioning
No acting for others 
You never said a word
You toiled for years 
followed the blueprint, 
accepted your righteousness,  
a mantle thrown over a shoulder
Did God wait for you to ask
about the other good people
Later on others would argue

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Forever

It’s over. The permanent crown is in— cemented down, mine. For the two weeks prior to today I did not chew on that side of my mouth lest the temporary crown become dislodged. I could swallow it or catch it on my tongue or have it lodged between my cheek and tongue. Since this crown was on the top and the last tooth I thought it best to eschew any chances.

So for two weeks I not only avoided the area, but I also stayed away from anything chewy or hard. The instructions warned that leaving the temporary out of your mouth could lead to your teeth shifting. 

Place it, back in your mouth— it can be adhered with Vaseline —until you contact the dentist. I visualized holding this tooth and attempting to fit it in— “It only fits one way.” —to quote the dentist. If I stood up straight there was the possibility of loosing my grip and the tooth slipping. And if I bent over the sink I might have some difficulty finding the exact position for the tooth. 

And then there was the concern of Vaseline— don’t swallow and how much was needed. Of course a preemptive action— the purchase of false teeth adhesive was a possibility which I rejected. 

So I returned to the dentist, stared at the poster of the canyons in the southwest which  replaced a Disney poster when her daughter entered a PhD program in geology. I envisioned myself hiding within the canyon.

Then it was done. I can chew on that side of my mouth again. But I think I’ll give the permanent glue another day to set. Best to be certain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Character Fault

I admit to a character fault — an easy one to acknowledge and possibly shared by a plethora of other people. When I check out a new art blog, or someone sends me an email with a link to their site, I may be smitten with that article And immediately subscribe. I become a follower.

As a follower I begin to receive email messages—sometimes daily messages. My initial delight wanes and I find myself deleting and deleting. Finally, I open up the email, click to get on the blog, scroll down to the bottom of all the written material, and unsubscribe. Sometimes that doesn’t work necessitating a return to the blog.

When the screen appears asking me why I am unsubscribing I always chose — I don’t want to receive these messages.

As I look at the long list of emails I recognize a pattern. When I thought that I’d cook a new recipe every week I began to collect cooking blogs. Today I read about twelve easy dips, seven salmon recipes, and recipes for a football crowd. The only dips I like are made by others, I did have salmon tonight cooked my usual way, and we like to watch football on mute—until the playoffs.

I keep a list of books gleaned from blogs or the book reviews that arrive each week. My present list will allow me to read a book a day through next year. 


On the positive side— I don’t play games on my phone.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

4-3. A Red Sox Win

I watched 
I kept my fingers crossed
When the Yankee crowd
ratcheted up their noise
and fans banged on the
stadium walls I ignored the din
When in the bottom of the ninth
it all seemed to fall apart
and they had a chance to tie or win 
I began to pray although I know
that God doesn’t take sides 
It wasn’t over until the last out
I undid my fingers, took a sip of wine
and thought we live another day


Monday, October 08, 2018

Take a Break

Surrounded by political grandiosity, by falsehoods and Machiavellian machinations , by pundits who predict political trends, by possible future legislative configurations —I  take a walk, buy two new tubes of watercolor paint, read a mystery, and fill my pen with waterproof carbon black ink.

 I took a walk in my neighborhood—past people walking dogs, past pumpkins on stoops, past signs reminding  neighbors to vote against repealing our transgender equality legislation, past signs that remind us that there’s no room for hate in our community. I love the diversity in this town.

Tomorrow I shall paint a still life of two pears—one whole and one halved. Hopefully, I’ll finish my mystery and figure out “who done it” before the last page. 

Then I’ll be ready to read  the paper, listen to the rhetoric. I’ll be ready to join the fray.



Sunday, October 07, 2018

Equilibrium

Light a candle
let it illuminate
corners, edges—
blur shadows
until no sharp
details remain

Saturday, October 06, 2018

What If ?

If only the tides 
turned away
and the signatures
of pipers left imprints
of a dance—pirouetting—
bobbing with delight
along the shoreline
Would it make a difference
to walkers?

Friday, October 05, 2018

A Frightening Slide

I am, as are so many others, beyond disturbed. Totalitarian governments ignore truth, refuse to examine all the evidence, tear into anyone who disagrees, mock other opinions, and engage in sleight of hand to garner approval. They stir the embers of hate, grant permission for people to engage in offensive rhetoric and actions. 

Everyday the press is attacked. A free press is essential for a democracy. In totalitarian countries there is no free press. News is controlled, sifted , and  written to further the blueprint of the leader.

The demise of democracy doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People initially acquiesce. They become sheep. Angry sheep complicit in the downward trend. 

In our country we have swaths of people who willingly gave up any shred of decency and fair mindedness, who refused to accept that there are any other views save theirs, and they are willing to accept this slide in order to see their views enshrined. 

Today a candidate for our Supreme Court, a man who lied, who was accused of sexual assault, garnered enough initial votes to become the next justice.

 A limited FBI  investigation that ignored a number of people who had important information, that ignored over 1,000 law professors who said his temperament and bias precludes him as a justice, that ignored a retired justice who wrote a critique arguing that the candidate’s bias precludes him as an acceptable justice — 

And why? Because they know he will push their agenda. A sham. A slide. 




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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Political Landscape

too many ignore the rumblings
while he incites the mobs
trades in lies, writes a new manifesto
too many chose his words
the words of a tyrant
who will rewrite their common book





Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Let’s All Break Bread

Just a follow-up to yesterday’s concern about a disappearing sign. The sign returns to the church front on Friday. Then the leadership group will write guidelines for signs...banners, flags.  I’m pleased with the return.

But I am saddened to realize that this even became an issue that needed resolving.  Perhaps I need to just rest knowing that a group of people recognized that taking a stand for equality is the only moral choice.
I must admit to an edge. Why is it that every group that is outside of what is deemed the “normal”—prevalent group must wait to be included?  Permission. Gay and lesbian people needed to wait outside the door until they were granted permission to marry. 

But I am pleased that the place of worship, this church in an affluent town, has weighed the pros and cons and decided to return a simple sign of support to their front lawn. 
Someday I hope and pray that no one will need to be given permission to sit at the table.



Tuesday, October 02, 2018

A Sign Supporting a “Yes” Vote

First the sign announced support
Then the sign disappeared
What happened in between—
       
         “ A Yes” vote on Question 3 supports 
           upholding a law that prohibits 
           discrimination based on gender
           identity in public places. The law 
           requires access to areas segregated 
           based on gender —such as bathrooms 
           and locker rooms—to be allowed 
           according to an individual’s self-identified 
           gender identity.”
      
First the sign announced support
Then the sign disappeared
What happened in between—
Stories often take their place 
where one word ends 
and another begins 
Did a few parishioners think 
the sign too political 
or did a few believe that 
Transgendered rights 
were a subject best avoided
Did someone ask if the boundaries 
had been stretched too far
The minister called for church leaders 
to discuss what to do about the sign
Perhaps we need another sign 
Walk in someone else’s shoes
The sign is down 
and straight white leaders 
will write the story








   


Monday, October 01, 2018

Just a Note

Dear Eversource,
     Thank you for sending me your recent epistle comparing my gas usage last winter to ninety-one ( I loved your precision) houses similar to mine. You looked at square footage, locality, and one other measurement. According to your records at one extreme were efficient people with a score of 79 therms. The average of the other ninety dwellers—246 therms. My usage was 267.
     Some questions: did you select homes with open floor plans and high ceilings? Did you ascertain the average age of the occupants?
     Background: years ago I wore multiple layers and gloves in the house. I even purchased flannel lined indoor pants. My nose was always cold as were my ears.
     Now I am older and refuse to wear layers and layers of clothes. I, too, could have a score of 79 therms, and frozen fingers —toes that are close to frostbite status, but I refuse. 
     I do not live in an overheated house. I wear a sweater and warm indoor pants. But when it is frigid out I will have enough heat to hold a pencil.
     I will not go to bed early to escape the cold. And yes, my heat goes down down in the evening. It doesn’t turn on during the hours I’m asleep.
     Once in my younger days I showered in a bathroom that attested to my ability to withstand arctic temperatures——not anymore.
     If you insist on sending out these statistics please include age, weight, ceiling height and open or closed floor plans. What’s the flow of the space?
     And did I happen to see an advertisement printed right on your letter—for an energy efficient dishwasher. I own one. 
    To be polite I expect I should thank you for your concern. Next time please let me know who the neighbor is who only used 79 therms. I believe it’s the one who is a snowbird and misses much of the winter. They probably leave their thermostat just at the level that ensures that their pipes don”t freeze. 
    And next time don’t have an advertisement on the letter. Isn’t there any privacy left?
     Sincerely,

         267 therm 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

To Begin Again

        “The final letter of the Torah is lamed,
         and the first is bet. Together, they form 
         the Hebrew word lev—heart.”

 After the final word,
 the last letter,
we turn
to the first word—
and begin with creation
Familiar words
veer into uncharted places 
A different slant,
life intrudes
meanings change,
another perspective— 





Saturday, September 29, 2018

Words to the One Nominated


Just because you teethed 
on a silver spoon
Attended prestigious schools
Lived in a neighborhood
with covenants of exclusion
No blacks, no Jews
belonged to your clubs
Just because you thought
it is your right to claim
the prize doesn’t mean
it belongs to you. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Day After

Perhaps it’s a family feud
Perhaps listening is possible 
Perhaps lies will shrivel up
and the story will be told
Perhaps elitism will shrivel up
and lies will be uncovered
Perhaps blue suited white men
with preconceived ideas
will learn to bend

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Listen

Because I made a mistake and arrived at the dentist—for a crown—an hour early, I spent the time in my car ( at the library) listening to the senate committee hearings. Three women had accused the nominee for the Supreme Court of sexual inappropriate behavior. So there I sat in my car riveted to the testimony of one of the women. To really listen and hear the anguish thirty years later —as if it happened only yesterday —underscored how this type of trauma remains etched into survivors. 

By the afternoon the accused, the nominee for our Supreme Court, took his seat and presented his version, his denial of attending the specific party, his denial of ever being involved in any sexually inappropriate behavior. He was angry, cried, made himself out to be the victim, and blamed everything on the other political party — the “left”. It was, according to him, a ploy, a plot, to discredit him employed by the other side. I hoped that those senators who are on the fence will think carefully before committing their vote to this man. 

Our country is so divided, so crass at this moment in history. There are those who believe that they have the right to impose their religious views on the country. Those views disrupt the lives of others, cause emotional harm, remove protections for some citizens. Because some people are so focused on abortion they are willing to accept any behavior, any deceit, lies, lying to chip away at the right for a woman to choose. They turn their backs on sexual accusations if the person accused is in a position to further their agenda.That agenda includes erasing any equality for gays and lesbians, transgendered and non binary Americans. 

Faust is alive and well. Too many Americans have bedded down with the devil. 

I still hope that there are senators out there who listened, really listened yesterday. If they even have a single doubt about the veracity of the nominee’s words, if they even had a single moment when they believed the testimony of the accuser then don’t vote to put this man on the Supreme Court. 

More is at stake here then a life time job on the highest court of our country. This may be one of the most significant votes— 

This is not the time to be partisan, not the time to worry about yourself. This is the time to put the brakes on the slide this country has taken into narrowness, mean spiritedness, and cruelty. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Discussion

What does it mean?
 Is that a metaphor?
Do we suspend disbelief? 
How about the ending— 
did it work?
 Did the author earn the ending? 
Compare. 
Contrast.
 Decipher. 
Delve.
Dig deep.
Breathe.
The author does not
tell you where they
started out, their home.
The geography
of place
does not need a name.
I am from six trees
surrounded by cement,
from fire escapes
and subway cars
where the smell of sweat
can’t be hidden on hot days
I am from knowing how
to fold the newspaper
from a butcher shop
with sawdust on the floor
I am from the candy store
that sold the Yiddish paper
and a grandmother who cut
out stories and saved them
in a box in her closet
I am from three rooms
and windows with chains
I am from study hard
and read books
from different shelves 
in the library.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Creation

Only ask questions
that move beyond an answer
that requires no thought

Monday, September 24, 2018

Walking Around Walden Pond

Today I met a heron high stepping along the water’s edge. We stared at one another—across a distance of four feet. Fortunately I had left my IPhone in the car. Usually, I took the phone with me on Monday mornings when I walked with the meditation group— but not today.

Instead of staring at a screen, I looked at the heron. Is it my imagination or did the heron also engage me. We both appeared to check each other out. I observed her leg movements and she watched me almost stumble over a root. Her posture, when erect, was far straighter. I slumped a bit with the cold. 

We didn’t share any words, but I believe she probably understood that my walk around the pond was both meditative and done in silence. 

She was all grace.