Friday, May 22, 2015

Careful


Did I ever wend my way
through traffic unafraid
of taking a wrong turn?
When did I begin to walk
on the cautious side?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Overwhelmed

This isn't a complaint. It isn't a drawn out whine. It is a factual statement. Our designated parking spot places our car beneath a tree. Each spring pollen encapsulates the car in a yellow shroud. Occasionally red staining buds fall on the car hood and then bake in the sun.

Recently another annoyance entered the fray. Large birds fly overhead or they inhabit nests in trees in the vicinity of our car. Our blue Subaru unknowingly hunkers down in a flight path.

Our car hood endures daily splatter. These spots aren't the nickel variety. They are half dollar size. Perhaps they belong to the wild turkeys who parade about without a care in the world.

This isn't a complaint. When the wild turkey population dwindled to 30,000 and a concerted effort to reintroduce the wild turkey began, no one knew the end result. Imagine seven million wild turkeys.

Now some of those seven million are flying overhead.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Respond

To listen to a witness is to become one.
--- Elie Wiesel

Once hearing what happened, how it happened, and the toll on people, we can't react with silence. To listen and not witness is to become a silent partner.

I'm reading a book about the transgendered community written by a woman who identifies herself as transsexual. As I read and learn more about the fluidity of gender, I am a witness to the rigidity of society.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cartographer's Challenge

Live in the layers,
not on the litter.
--Stanley Kunitz

Not on the mistakes
not on the wrong turns
Ignore the what ifs
and should haves
but remember the errant roads,
the words said that float about
Don't use them to live
They remain as reminders
not as roots

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Holy Spirit Presides


God doesn't require big words,
singing on key, remembering
when to stand and when to sit
God selects unlikely people
to remind us of how to love,
how to praise, how to weep,
Then God envelopes
us with His spirit

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Mirror

               I am not done with my changes.
                   -- Stanley Kunitz

Who resides in the land of chameleons,
where impersonation plays center stage
and the curtain opens and closes 
on a character playing
a multitude of roles


 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Gordian Knot

                  ...a knot of roots, whose flora
               and fruitage is the world.
               -- Emerson

No solution satisfies
the place between 
faith and dogma, 
the breadth between mercy
and redemption, the space
between humanity and grace--
as if one doesn't birth the other 



Friday, May 15, 2015

Strata

             I have walked through many lives,
             some of them my own...
                          --Stanley Kunitz

Immersed in a book,
taking on a new persona,
dreaming of feats
beyond possibilities
and I step outside 
my own limits

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Who Did What?

So what's the truth? Did Brady hatch a plan to use deflated footballs? Did the league take things out of context? Did words change their meaning depending upon who hears them and who wants the word to fit into a particular mindset?

Is this a punishment for a possible infraction or because of a certain arrogance on the part of the Patriots irked the league.

Did Brady take a page out of Bartleby, the Scrivener and respond, when asked to turn over his phone, "I would prefer not to." Did this stir the embers of the league. It enraged Bartleby's boss who didn't know how to respond.

Or did the phone record incriminate or embarrass the Patriots?

Is all this worth the hours of time spent dissecting the myriad possibilities? Is this a tempest in a teapot? Who knows?



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Personal is Political

Trying to weigh issues and not react from a visceral place demands looking without preconceptions.

Critical comments heard within a family circle don't resonate the same way when an outsider makes a similar statement .

What are those issues that touch us? I am sometimes surprised by what I find myself protecting.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Key

My skate key hung on a shoe lace and the shoe lace hung around my neck. When I tightened the roller skate clamps and pulled the strap taut I readied myself to fly beyond Minnie's grocery store, beyond the Chinese laundry, beyond the candy store and egg creams and long pretzels, beyond the shoe maker who held nails in his mouth, beyond the empty lot where we played Hide and Go Seek.

When did I lose the key?

And when did I find myself walking those streets again--looking back to understand.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Looking and Not Seeing

The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."
-- Meister Eckhart


Awakening the eye to see
the hill, a single blade of grass
Focusing on a face
not a name, blind to identity
measured in syllables

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Detached

Irrelevant
quite arbitrary
beside the point
Why bother
Just incidental
parenthetical
of no accord
Mute

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Tomorrow's Story

The hot days approach with a determined step even though it is early May. Our calendar, confused by happenings beyond the norm, takes a heavy step into higher than expected temperatures.

Somewhere a fantasy writer explores the climate phenomenon--possibly penning another dystopian novel.

At some point the speculative novel turns into long journalism-- no longer a fictive exploration

Friday, May 08, 2015

Waiting

An art honed over time--
queuing up, staring at a clock,
expecting a letter, a phone call,
the result of a test, a photo finish,
the book you requested, an apology,
a change, a chance to start all over
Some waiting lasts a lifetime

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Shibboleths

A word sticks like glue-- shibboleth glommed onto me, took me back to its story. Every word has a story, a tale to tell. This word traces a history back to the Biblical book of Judges, chapter 12: 1-15.

Imagine two tribes engaging in a battle. The Gileadites defeat the Ephramites. They then proceed to set up a blockade across the Jordan River. Their aim-- catch those Ephramites who try to flee their wrath. Now comes the intriguing twist. How do you identify each person? Whose side are you on?

Simple, for those in the know. The sentries ask every person who desires to cross the Jordan to pronounce the word shibboleth. Doesn't seem difficult save for one point. The Ephramite language had no sh sound. A fleeing person unable to pronounce the sh sound was slaughtered.

The word morphs into our lexicon as something that distinguishes a particular set of people from another set. But it also can act as a symbol.

We also use the word when we hear a group repeating some of their old sayings, mottos, which are now empty of any real meaning. Shibboleths may turn also platitudes.

The word, claimed by a weight loss program-- Shibboleth, they say, is a "high powered -- faith based weight loss system."

Ah-- the power of words. The Masons, according to a site on the Internet, practice a "Shibboleth", a secret handshake. In fairness it is one of many secret handshakes.

We love our shibboleths, our tokens of entrance, our phrases that set us apart, our grandiosity.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Surburban Zoo

In the past two days three turkeys walked across the lawn, a deer checked out the fifth fairway before running off into the woods. And at 6:45, with the sun as a backdrop, a flock of wild turkeys serenaded the neighborhood.




Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Rub

What is required in confession of sin?  First, there is the courage of memory.”
                        — Tom Long Testimony

That's the rub. It isn't that memory evades a close look, but we don't want to turn all the stones over. Who desires an eye to eye encounter with a hoary remnant? 

It may take years to take courage by the hand. And to whom is the confession addressed? Is it really confession when done in the dark? 

Unwinding the skein of the past forces intensive introspection and risk. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Finding a Voice

I miss the daily prompts. Now on my own, independent and free lancing is akin to being afloat in the ocean. Just when I tired of trolling for subjects, I found a small book by Sarah Ruhl: 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write. While I've only read one short piece I'm intrigued with the titles for a number of her essays -- On ( fill in the blank).
,
Suppose I wrote a short paragraph titled: On Falling Asleep While Meditating

It doesn't happen often and I always respond to any accusation, " No, I was in a deep meditative state." Am I ashamed? Am I weak or not well versed in how to follow my breath without letting it lead me into a sleep state? Or am I meditating to sneak a nap in without acknowledging the truth?

According to Ursula K.LeGuin, "Essays are always in the head, they don't have bodies the way stories do...Best of all is if they can find bodies and begin to tell a story."

May is Short Story month. And yes there is a challenge-- write a short story a day for the month of May. Probably flash fiction is the way to proceed. Stories may be as short as 500 words or even 300. If I take Ursula to heart I need a character who meditates each day. The character needs a conflict. Perhaps this is the way to go, but it does sound arduous.

Maybe I'll respond or mediate on Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg's new book Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers.

At one point Avivah refers to the " secret cavities of human experience." I'm beginning to see some possibilities. Essays morphing into flash fiction that explores those secret cavities.

,

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Nothing is Perfect

My testimony at church today.


Nothing is Perfect

When we looked for a church, I wanted a church with a commitment to Bible studies. I found one church within a reasonable driving distance. They offered several Bible studies—Jeremiah and Job caught my eye. One difficulty: the church didn't want us. I asked someone in the office if the church was welcoming to all folks.

"Of course, " she said.
" That includes, " I said, " a lesbian couple."
" I'll have the pastor speak to you."

I received a pleasant email from the assistant pastor who explained that a number of congregants would be uncomfortable. He told me that he'd pray for us to find the right church. Of course, he added, we wouldn't ask you to leave—but you wouldn't feel comfortable.

I wrote him back and thanked him for the email and for his prayers. I, too, would pray for the right church and for the doors of his church to truly be open— for everyone.

We hoped to find a church home where other gay and lesbian folks broke bread, shared communion, and talked about their faith walk. The churches we found that fit that description left Jesus at the door.

We returned to West Concord Union Church where we once attended an evening Bible study and Sunday services.

What did we find? People not only remembered us, but also went out of their way to welcome us as individuals and as a couple.

After a chance meeting with Priscilla at L.L. Bean we joined the Wednesday morning Bible study. What, I thought, did I have in common with this group? I learned that Edna’s peregrinations included all the continents save for Australia. She probably wondered what she had in common with me— the intrepid armchair traveler.

We did share tales of the Bronx—and of our accents.


Every woman in that group carried an inner spirituality and love of God—each path a bit different, but a palpable faith.

Within the past two years two of the women passed away.

A Wednesday morning group still meets. The studies vary with church members taking on more of the facilitating.

I joined an imperfect church filled with people who try to live the gospel, who celebrate diversity, who welcome Christ into their church and into their lives.

The Holy Spirit finds the pews comfortable.


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Celebrate



Today is Independent Bookstore Day. Over 400 bookstores nationwide will celebrate the resurgence of the independents. While places like Borders closed, Indie bookstores increased by 25% since 2009.

You can't stand in front of a computer and smell a book—browse the shelves, find an unexpected delight. I'm actually looking for a book related tote bag—mine gave way earlier in the year. I am pleased with my lobster themed bag— it's just not the same.

Who knows what I'll find today after I enjoy my mint patty frozen yogurt? I still think I need a bit of pampering.



Friday, May 01, 2015

The Maze

You only live one moment at a time even though planning, dreaming, and imagining all add zest to life. Despite all our technological ingenuity, multitasking, assigning tasks, we still can't live  two moments simultaneously.

And why am I thinking of moments a day after I completed the Poem a Day marathon? Simple. With everything done and the sluggish pace of topics suggested by articles, musings, heard conversations, sermons—I intended to write about the lure of challenges.

During an inning break between the Red Sox and Yankees game I chose to run down to the basement , put away my colored pencils, and rush upstairs to see the top of the third inning. An aside our basement, filled with a contractor's tools—many on the cement floor—resembles a mine field. I was well aware of traveling a maze of items to reach my art table, but I was in a hurry.

Instead of turning on another overhead light and proceeding with caution, I strode straight to my art table—ignoring any semblance of a sane crossing.

As to be expected my sneaker caught something and I went straight down hitting my face on a large light with a metal grid covering the bulb. The grid probably saved me from a shattered bulb, but it didn't save me from a nasty cut above my lip, a nose that slammed into concrete or several cuts in my mouth.

Once assessing my face and the blood from the cut we opted to go to Emerson Hospital's emergency room. By 10:30pm my laceration, that's what they call it on the piece of paper I received, sported six stitches. My nose hurt if I tried to touch either side, the cuts in my mouth, and my teeth still smarted—although fortunately my teeth weren't loose.  All the damage happened in one moment. Fortunately I didn't hit my head, the scar—if there is one—will be small and my mouth will heal.

I did not write this piece when I returned from the hospital—I licked my wounds and drank water.
This is May 2nd , but I'm posting it on May 1st. Perhaps I'm stretching it when I say I composed it in my head last night, but never reached the typing part.

Now it's time to put some antibiotic on my wound and look forward to frozen yogurt at Bedford Farms. Even adults need pampering.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bury the Old Regrets

Regrets
they get you nowhere
Just dragging around
what could have been
instead of moving on
Stop singing that lament
The notes, frayed in time
like a player piano, repeat
the same refrains
And stop praying for a miracle
cause miracles have shoes
It turned out different
than the blueprint, so just
move on and forgive


PAD Challenge
Prompt: "Bury the———"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nobody Knows

nobody knows I painted a mustache
on a subway poster, knew how to
make a coin disappear, practiced
my ventriloquist act in the bathroom,
once ate three cones of cotton candy,
wrote to twenty friends, climbed Old Rag
Mountain in saddle shoes, snuck into
 a Coney Island side show, nobody knows
that sometimes I'm not certain what I
believe, that sometimes I am on a high wire
between faith and doubt, sometimes I pray
so hard and the wait is too long ,nobody knows
why some prayers come with answers
that don't seem like answers



PAD Challenge

Prompt: Nobody knows


 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

To Speak the Universe

a poem isn't just matter
with sinews made of words,
nor is it rhythm, what you
hear is the strum of a soul
making sense of the world

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: matter