Monday, December 05, 2016

To Err is Human to Forgive Divine

...the long range weather forecaster predicted a mild winter with nary a snow drop save for a blizzard of extraordinary dimensions in february but he did not list his track record leaving me with more questions than answers and a desire for a quantitative sense of what he means when he describes something as having extraordinary dimensions which may be interpreted differently if you spent your life in texas where 1.5 inches of snow is the usual amount compared to syracuse where 123.8 inches of snow is common and yet i believe the forecaster because i tend to assume anyone who makes that kind of prediction without resorting to a crystal ball has experience predicting weather patterns without losing oneself in the phenomenon known as wet bias and yet nate silver who predicted that hillary would win the election points to weather predictions as "the one area in which our predictions are making extraordinary progress" despite the tendency of forecasters to align rain amounts with a cavalier bravado and then there is the problem of the polar vortex which when spoken of in an offhand manner sends shivers down the spines of usually resilient new englanders when they imagine the earths' coldest air rushing down the continent past the canadian borders and settling into their hamlet which is unprepared for that assault which brings me back to long range predictions and my desire to know the earliest date I can play golf in the neighboring town in 2017

...according to weather trends 360 and their portfolio of predictive business analytics and their "suite of tools developed for golf courses" this information is available for golf courses at $37.50 a month and that only guarantees an 84% accuracy but i can avail myself of their free predictions for 168 hourly forecasts for the entire globe where i discover the following information: "are you ready for siberia to invade much of the eastern two thirds of the country—it's coming" and with it the temperatures will dip fifteen to twenty-five degrees below the average for this time of year

...the frigid air is in montana and it will move across the country which means that i need to get out and purchase thermal underwear and save my sales slip lest this model has errred

Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Life Cycle

When Isaac has only one blessing to give and yet has two sons, he can't alter his thinking.When Esau cried out for a blessing Isaac says he has handed out one—as if his hands are tied, his mind a blank, as if he's been tendered only a few words of blessing.Is  he repeating his own life story with his two sons as the actors? Is that the way some play out  life? Is their life a cycle of repetitions?

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Art Show Reception

Shrimp canapés
Breaded zucchini sticks
dipped in a spicy sauce
Crab meat canapés
Five layer cheese spread,
each layer a color—
i ate three levels
orange, white and green
Two mixed media roosters
The side of a barn
A round of gouda cheese
Four sheep looking through
a barbed fence
Plastic glasses of white wine
A still life made out of cobble
stones,a rusted table,
and a ceramic plate
Muffin shaped chocolate
chip confections
A nude in geometric colors
Two shark jaw bones spread
on a wharf appear to dance
Coats downstairs
Shrimp stuffed peapods
Lotus pod eyes—a voyeur
Another glass of wine

Friday, December 02, 2016

Police Logs in the Local Paper

I discover the underbelly of my community and the adjacent town.

Twice last week a noisy rooster woke one neighbor at 6:43 on Friday and then again at 6:48 on Sunday. Now if the rooster had chosen varying times I'd say there was a problem, but this particular rooster appears to be in synch with his nature. The rooster's owner explained that the rooster was new to her home and had a special purpose. She didn't disclose the purpose, nor how long the rooster might reside in its present domicile. Not offering any information about the special purpose allows me to create my own scenarios.

A possibly sick fox in the middle of the street brought out the Animal Control people who arrived after the possibly ill fellow left the premises. No forwarding address.

Loose alpacas were reported walking across the roadway near the town line. Animal Control arrived in time to herd the alpacas to the side of the road. In time the owners, who had been looking for their alpacas, arrived and took everyone home. Actually they didn't take the Animal Control officers home because they needed to be alert for other animal incidents. The alpacas enjoyed their jaunt and took to the byways again later that afternoon. Despite a report of a call to Animal Control we don't know when and if the alpacas went home. I expect they did because the cost of alpacas ranges from $2,500-$10,000. Again, a mystery. Was someone luring the animals away from their home with an eye to kidnapping and selling the alpacas? I hope they took into account the yearly cost for feed and medical necessities.

One caller reported a hawk incident. The poor bird flew into her window "and was laying on the ground." Animal Control was notified. Again, no follow up. We'll never know if the hawk survived.

And the report ended with this clip: "Police checking on a suspicious vehicle ...advised the parties in the vehicle to continue their adult activities in a more private location.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


i purchased an interweave Bible with blank pages strewn throughout the text ready for words or illustrations or both so the question becomes one of do i illustrate the words chronologically or do i skip around or do i jump from old to new now that i've learned how to page-prep my thin Bible paper not the way i gessoed a board years ago to create a religious poster for a woman who ordered one after she saw a poster I had created and called me and came over to talk about what she wanted which was a board four feet high and two feet wide depicting the horrors of eternal damnation which was a far cry from the one she had seen which was pastoral and filled with words of joy but i told myself that when a customer orders a made to order poster then unless it was immoral just create it since they were paying so i took notes and promised the board in two week's time but something happened to my resolve when I began to create what she wanted and i finally gave up and called her and said it wasn't working out because it was beyond my technical skills which wasn't a lie because i couldn't figure out how to depict a Dante type of damnation so we agreed to abandon the plan as long as i didn't charge her for the board

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Driving Home

the afternoon collapses
into early evening
as darkness closes in
shapes disappear
car lights fracture
into sharp shards of light
radiating from glass globes

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Sound Healing Workshop

He begins
with tingshas cymbals
setting the space for
a deep throated didgeridoo
the chant of language
to a deeper place
where waves of sound
and vibrations
enter each person
and we arise
into the sound

Sunday, November 27, 2016


pick up a christmas ornament and uncover a story a hook into the past entering the present where faces and words replay and years roll back and i remember the christmas it began to snow early in the day and kept up through the evening when the shrubs disappeared and snow balls grew large enough to become the start of a snow person who surveyed the landscape and knew that they all had a few days of life before melting and until then they'd watch the sledders careen down through two backyards attempting to break speed records on flexible flyers, saucers, snow tubes, and several cafeteria trays that caught the smooth areas to pick up speed and fly into the record books for the ainsley road sledding trophy which was a plastic toy sled spray painted gold with the word champion in red glitter

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Creating a Hubbard Park Sandwich

    ...prepared at Darwin's in Harvard Square

Select two slices of seven grain bread,
slather with Honey mustard--
add an avocado straight from Mexico
tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, green
apple slices from a local orchard
and enough cheddar to cover
Wrap in deli paper
and serve to an acolyte
who worships at the altar
of the perfect purveyor
of the Hubbard

Friday, November 25, 2016

Parsha Noach

     Come let us build ourselves
     a city, and a tower with its top
     in the heavens...
           Genesis 11: 4

Rabbi Shila says they built the tower
high enough to spear the heavens,
draining the water to stem another flood
But Rabbi Elazar disagreed-- he imagined
one group of builders erecting a tower
high enough to climb away,
to escape raging waters
if God sent another flood,
a second group wished to build the tower
as a shrine for the worship of idols
while the third group wished to battle God
Some thought the earth might fold
in upon itself if another flood washed
across the land-- the tower
could hold the earth in place
Their goal-- survival
God had bigger plans

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blessings to a Woman I Don't Know

today I watched a mother guide
an adolescent boy into the
ladies room    he was blind
and he held his hands in front
of his body letting them make
repetitive movements in the air
I watched him guide his hands
under the water with his mother
telling him what a good job he did--
he never said a word or made a sound--
later I saw them leave the restaurant
just the two-- she stood behind him
guiding him with her arm while he
manipulated the air with his fingers
and i wondered about the silence
while they ate and if he enjoyed the meal

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


     I have been asked, politely
     and not so politely, why I
     am myself.
               Andrea Dworkin

And who could I be?
someone who wears clothes
that fit a woman of my age--
or clothes that strut their style
with accessories that set a tone
instead of jeans with weathered knees
And who could I be?
someone who reclines in certainty
knows her pew, recites the creed
never questioning rock solid beliefs
and who can sing the correct melody
And who could I be?
someone who isn't a chameleon
changing interests and passions
hoping to alight on the one
that promises a special light

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

World of Separation

alma deperuda

apart by words
apart by happenings
full of black holes
years roll into decades
with memories shortened
by the hourglass of time, and
then the world of reunion, of
being together--alma deyiuda
yet this reunion is sparse
with unfilled black holes
and mute voices--
not unlike alma deperuda

Monday, November 21, 2016

Listen to the Answer

Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you?
II Kings 4: 2

they threaten to take her children--
split up the family
unfit the court says
unable to support her children,
neglect the court says,
she is in a hard place
the woman living
in the flat with peeling paint
and heat that comes and goes
what can I do for you?
"the only thing I own,"
she says, "is my tiredness."
at the end of her day

What shall I do for you?

Sunday, November 20, 2016


and i tell you that we all replay the past changing some facts while keeping others to fit a different history we play the what if game but then go back to the reality moving the facts back into place as best we remember but memory is what some refer to as a slippery slope changing with years and the stories we construct i remember jean whose husband collected records and sat in a wing back chair in the middle of the living room wearing earphones listening to opera loud enough so that the sound leaked out into the kitchen where jean cooked meals for her three boys who really preferred cans of spaghetti o's or hot dogs rather than her meatloaf and sweet potato casserole but they loved her cakes with their inch deep frosting and her fruit juices which she shared with every child in the neighborhood and the neighbors referred to her as mother earth and her three boys--matt,ben,and joey--loved how she let them build castles in the basement and run train tracks around the washer and dryer and they brought all their friends into the house and because she didn't have any daughters she loved her friend's daughters she taught them how to string beads and shells i can't remember if jean made the necklace i hung on a nail in the basement until the dental floss frayed and the beads slipped down and rolled on the floor or if a child beaded the floss with help but it didn't matter I loved the feel of the shells and the way they caught the light when eric's job took them to chicago we wrote long letters for several years and then we wrote shorter letters until we wrote three times a year until we wrote only at once a year and it was a letter tucked inside a christmas card where I'd read about her singing in a choir and her foray into managing a book store and what the boys were doing and sometimes we missed a year and i'd wonder about their life and then a letter would come with an apology for its lateness and a litany of what everyone was doing and in time how all the boys were going to marquette and what they thought they might want to do after school and then i received a letter in the middle of the year a letter that didn't fit into a card it was a short letter because what she wanted to say could be said in a few words her youngest boy joey was dead and she told me how it happened and how they all never saw it coming and couldn't understand the why and all I could remember was how he had long straight bangs that hung down over his eyebrows and how he loved hamburgers from mcdonalds, caught fireflies in a glass jar, and won a one legged race

Saturday, November 19, 2016

66 degrees December 24th 2015

i pretend that autumn lasts through december
despite trees reduced to bare branches
a sun that spends itself out by mid afternoon
tired after working for hours to warm the day
before it exhausts itself and lets the day go

Friday, November 18, 2016

After the Phone Call

you remember people the way they were when you saw them last even when the days number years even decades because it's impossible to envision them any other way and so that is how i recalled anna who once lived next door to me and had a honey maple table in her kitchen where she spent many hours seated at a captain's chair strumming her guitar and singing hymns or folksongs although sometimes she played a hammered dulcimer until the notes slid under the front door and surrounded the house and traveled across an empty lot and continued up the hill until they turned around and came back again into her home and settled on the piano and transformed into clear notes like the notes anna sang when she wanted to jump over words and rest in the music just the way she knew how to jump over the small rocks in the stream that ran along the campground in montreat north carolina where the water was ice cold but warmer than the stream we all walked in after climbing down from old rag mountain which was my first mountain and I wore new boots and my blisters were a quarter big while anna wore her old hiking boots that still had embedded dirt from hiking parts of trails that meandered all over the south the same way she meandered in my house speaking to me of jesus and eternity while living on the earth as someone who loved women and fought against that love while losing because it's hard to chop off part of who you are even when you try and try she did while getting on her knees to ask for a way out the same knees that no longer work for her and the same legs that walked for miles now refuse to move without pain and the woman who roamed outside singing songs and scat singing now stays in and rarely leaves the house but this is not who i recall who awakened me to who i was who opened the door...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

No Discomfort Intended

it's the way of conversations
dallying around edges-
ask a question,listen
to an answer-- some new
and some with shelf wear--
a few questions unasked
a few answers trimmed
down, held in silence--
this is a social visit

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Tale of Leaves

They change direction when
carried off by the slightest breeze
Unable to pick their resting place
they pile on one another
until another breath of wind
forces a transformation

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

To Argue With a Text

If you want to publish a book on a specific topic ask if there's a similar book available. I did and discovered a wonderful poet whose book on the weekly Torah readings resonates with me. Each poem is a riff on the text--bringing the words into our contemporary scene, wrestling with words until she distills her own personal meaning.

I want to allow the words to ignite my own world. I want to step out of the biblical past and argue, like a reader of Talmud, about the words. When I read of the flood, I intend to drag that story into the world of now, of Katrina, of the tsunami that took so many lives.

It is the wrestling, the distilling, the everyday that I need to reach.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Found Day

When you know that golf
inches toward the end
of the season
When you think that this
might be the last game
of the season
Then a day unseasonably warm
with a robust sun is a gift
Then each drive and
every shot is special
And when you dig
in a leaf pile for
a drive that drifted
And when you lose a ball
in the slant of light
you don't mind
You just hope for one more day

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Outsider Art Exhibit

repetitive lines
numbers that repeat themselves
in an infinite loop and begin again
ballpoint pen marks that brush
against each other and form a shape
the tree of life in bold black lines
a musician holding a guitar
colored in ballpoint pen
and pin sized black ink circles
an acrylic ink design outlined with
a calligrapher's moving line
nine portraits on found album covers
faces that insist on being seen
dots in abstract patterns shapeshifting
across the canvas
as outsider art edges over
into insider art


Saturday, November 12, 2016

After the Election

i can't imagine
what it's like to be a black person,
an immigrant, a muslim, but
i do know what it's like
to belong to the LGBTQ
community, and
i know how i worry about
the hate that's been unleashed
i worry about the young man
who hasn't come out yet
i worry about the young girl
with a buzz cut
i worry about the people
who bash us, call us names
i worry about what's been

Friday, November 11, 2016

Mea Culpa

We sat in Starbucks parking lot reading and indulging in drinking bottled water. I know most people sit inside and read, but we like sitting in the car. Nothing like being quirky.

What I didn't know was that the headlights were on. Everyone knows what happens when you leave the lights on and the car is turned off. It happened. Dead. No sound.

Forty-five minutes later a nice young man from AAA arrived with his cables. And we were in our way.

Arrived home and checked my Page Prep class and discovered that the hamsa I put up next to a map of Palestine was no longer showing. Insistent and persistent I scrolled up and down and it was gone. Gone also was the long comment by Susen and my response telling her about all the materials I had used to create the hamsa.

When I posted the hamsa I wrote about it being an amulet that was popular to all people in the Middle East. It has a long history. Some believe it may be traced to the Phoenicians.

Granted that most others who posted had illustrated biblical passages.

Later I found a message from the woman who is giving the online course. She told me that she had taken down my drawing because she thought it belonged to another one of her courses . She only wanted drawings that were in step with this course.

I had used the proper technique to prep my page. My drawing utilized materials we had spoken about. My crime, I guess, was not illustrating a specific chapter in the Bible or speaking about an amulet.

I did respond by telling the instructor that I was responding to the course and I felt chastised because of what I drew.

She's in England and I don't expect a response until tomorrow. This is the first time I've been thrown out of an online conversation.

Then I made a mistake and read some more news. Too many of the folks on the transitional team are virulently anti LGBTQ folks.

The beat goes on and I don't care for the rhythm.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


tree limbs lose
and horizon fuse
a slim slip
of moon
for the first
curve of light