Saturday, January 26, 2019

A Letter a Day

Still haven’t set-up a new blog, but I do have an interesting project for February.

Last year I took part in  INCOWRIMO 2018.  People from all over the globe partake in this fountain pen letter writing marathon. Thus far over fifteen hundred people have listed their addresses —and beginning on February 1, 2019 each participant writes one letter or postcard a day to someone on  the list or to someone they know. Fortunately, February is a short month.

If you are interested check it out—
incowrimo-2019.org

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Stuck

I cannot figure out how to make my blog Eu compliant. It may be that I have to shut this blog down and start a new blog that has the notice embedded. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Cold

It snowed    then frozen rain    then the cold    this morning our outdoor thermometer read two degrees     translated into -17 degrees real feel.
How do people who live in areas where this temperature is the norm survive?
I am not made for this cold. Even my car whizzes and shudders.

Until I looked up the coldest ever in this country —save for Alaska— and found out that Roger’s  Pass ,Montana owned that award—70 degrees, I thought that only Siberia experienced that type of cold. At —70 if you tried to spit into a bucket your spit would morph into ice before reaching the bucket. In Alaska a —80 was recorded.

By those standards our Day was balmy.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Waiting for the Cold

It is time to admit
that we of technological
acumen can do no more
than offer weather predictions 
and purchase milk and bread

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Mary Oliver

 Mary Oliver looked at a landscape through a poetic lens. She watched the small changes in a pond with “risen lilies” and the ocean “galloping in the pitch” as well as when the ocean’s “salted waves with their soft, untroubled faces” gazed toward the shore.

She lived for years in Provincetown, MA where the ocean, dunes, shore fed her imagination. Where she lived with her partner, photographer Molly Malone Cook. When Molly was ill with cancer Mary Oliver spent her days taking care of Molly and at night went outside, sat on a bench and wrote poetry — with a flashlight for light.

Mary Oliver was out as a lesbian before it became acceptable. She was who she was without any excuses and her love poems—both personal, and beautiful celebrate love. She and Molly Malone Cook shared that love for forty years until Molly’s death.

Mary spent months culling through Molly’s photographs for a book that is both an eulogy and a celebration. Our World is a memoir and a deeply felt look at their love for one another. It is filled with Molly’s photographs. 

Oliver relates how they met in the Edna St. Vincent Millay kitchen at Steepletop —“ I took one look and fell , hook and tumble.”

Mary Oliver will be missed. Her careful eye for the details of nature will be missed. 

In her book, Rules for the Dance,  for poets and those who either want to read poetry or begin to write poetry she writes: “ Can you find words to make some living inch of the world vigorous, breathy, fibrous? Upon such bright straws the weight of your work leans. As with any enterprise, practice will make you better.”

And when she writes about other poets she writes about herself.
      “...Poets have, in freedom and in prison, in health and in misery, with listeners and without listeners, spent their lives examining and glorifying life, meditation, thoughtfulness, devoutness, and human love. They have done this wildly, serenely, rhetorically, lyrically, without hope of answer or reward. They have done this grudgingly, willingly, patiently, and in the steams of impatience.
       They have done it for all and any of the gods of life, and the record of their doing so doing belongs to each one of us.
       Including you.”

Rest In Peace , Mary Oliver.



       

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Hype

It’s happening. The local meteorologists have already begun the hype. The dreaded Arctic Vortex is on its way. This means cold cold temperatures and snow. The first of these snows is due to arrive dragging with it other water related phenomenon. There will be sleet, freezing rain, and ice. This ice will drape itself over and around tree limbs. This in turn will cause power outages. The cold temperatures will mean dwellings will lose heat quickly. Ominous warning, dire predictions. People will rush to the stores, buy up everything on the shelves. 
With an important  football game on Sunday the avocados, limes and peppers will be a hot purchase. Wings— barbecued, teriyaki, sesame covered, and any additional coating a chef dreams up will be for sale. Chips and cheese. Crackers. Celery and carrots for the weight and health conscious. And sweets. 

And there are people who are homeless who won’t be purchasing food for the game or for their house. They will hopefully find a warm place to sleep and a place to stay during the day. They always need to deal with ordinary cold weather with or without the hype.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Personal List

winter sets in
and my pile of books grows higher
than the armrest of my chair
where poetry and history
weigh each other down
and memoir
chides fiction for a place
where adventure
hobnobs with personal stories
of daring and endurance
where how to be creative
feeds off spiritual books
and Bible commentary
where a softbound book
on learning bibical hebrew
sits on top of a book
on creating collages
winter sets up
genre bending

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Cycle

dusk
catches up to the moon
and leaves behind light
until dawn claims
her place
and brings in light
once again

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Walk Around Walden Pond

Ice cracks
as it stretches
beyond boundaries—
breaking a thin layer
of frozen ice 
with brazen force



Monday, January 14, 2019

To Snack or Not to Snack

Yesterday we watched the post-season patriot football game surrounded by food. what is it about post season football and the desire to consume food? Some snacks were healthy like the celery and carrot sticks dipped in hummus— but the carrot chips, even though they contained less fat then a bag of potato chips, can’t be placed in the category— healthy. And why does an open bag of chips have to be finished— even the crumbs? would shrimp be classified as food and not a snack?

of course the following day i swear off salty, fat laden, high calorie food. a conundrum — next week is  another play-off game. perhaps i will listen to my inner voice and refrain from those chips. or will i be swayed by the ad rhetoric and the advertising and believe that  this particular brand of chips is sugar free, low sodium, low fat and tastes marvelous? But in my heart i know these words are pandering to people like me.

ncidentally, the pats won. i did my part—ate, watched, and cheered.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Marker

honey pot apple orchard 
closed for the season 
and set out their last apples—
“ambrosia” —a bit sweet
like a “ honey crisp”
i miss the tart taste of 
early “gravensteins”
harbingers of autumn
a bittersweet welcome
“ ambrosia” welcomes
the coldest months—
a reminder of the cycle




Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Place of Prayer

wrapped in a cloak,
a tallit 
a womb like space
a tent
a sanctuary
we breathe silence—
we stand on holy ground
and seek 
pray 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Lovers

first 
cut out a shape
place it on bone white paper
stare at it long enough
until it needs another shape
a piece that indents
and juts out so they fit
together — feel just right
in their edges and empty places
in their soft lines
then place them on the paper
and glue them down
but not so tight they can’t be moved
adjusted, turned— 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Tao of Waiting

an upside down world 
turned on its side
shaken, stirred
tumbled
until whatever 
is untethered
falls
off


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Hesed or Loving Kindness

One commentator notes that Hesed is something you do and not necessarily something you feel. The word Kindness ( Hesed) appears many times in the translation of Ruth and the word is used in conjunction with an action. This doesn’t preclude feeling.

Hesed is God’s love, in the Hebrew Scriptures, for the Hebrew people. So how does this word apply to me? I’m beginning to own the word.

The “ Kabbala explains that kindness was, in fact, the reason for the Creation. Since G‑d's "nature" is absolute benevolence and loving-kindness, He created the worlds so that He would have upon whom to bestow His kindness, as is written in Etz Chaim, "It is the nature of He who is good to do good."—-Moshe Miller

A place to start...finding my place.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Letter to a Queer Teenager

         …it breaks boundaries…
                    Edna O’Brien


Breaking past norms
Refusing to follow the crowd
Digging your own path
ain’t easy
You look behind and hardly
a soul follows
But just keep moving
past the words, past
the looks and past their shaming
Keep moving beyond the narrow
places and you’ll find
there are others
dressed in finery
be it a buzz cut and plaid shirts
or leather or a sequin dress
or button down shirt
or a dress and heels
Soon you’ll meet up
Just keep walking



Monday, January 07, 2019

You Spell it Wimmin

The universe answers serious requests when you think no one is listening. Just the other day I was bemoaning the loss of women’s bookstores—and women’s music. I missed the pulp novels— many of doubtful literary value. I missed the buttons, posters, sweatshirts, car stickers. Yes, you can get all that in Provincetown— the Mecca.
And just after my nostalgia, my walk backwards in time— I read about Butch Heroes by Ria Brodell and published by MIT Press. It’s a queer history from the fifteenth century to the present. I was looking for lesbian books— this book unearths stories of trans people whose stories are buried in arcane books or in a few scholastic and academic books. Her point is that throughout history there have been trans people and non-binary folks. 
Since she is an artist she not only wrote a book, but did a series of twenty paintings of some of the people found in her book. I’ve ordered it from our library system. Any serious study published by a mainstream press is valuable. 
I’ll wait until we get down to Provincetown to walk into a lesbian bookstore, buy a button, and maybe even find a pulp romance. Meanwhile I’ll listen to music of some of my favorite singers over a Bluetooth connection and an app. Margie Adam I hear you playing, Lucie Blue I hear you singing, Alix Dobkin I dig your lyrics. 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

To Seek Meaning

Ofttimes when translators attempt to simplify they erase the myriad interpretations possible when wrestling a meaning for a word. Genesis 37:15 reads “And a certain man found him ( Joseph), and behold he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What are you seeking?” Many translators say instead— what are you looking for? 

Today I read a commentator who asked readers to think about the nuances of seeking and how that word applies to Joseph and how it is applicable for your own life. To seek means searching. Looking, according to the dictionary,  means gazing toward someone or something. 

Seeking implies a quest. It asks many questions. It may take a lifetime to answer or answers will change over time. It’s elusive. Often it is ignored because of its existential nature. And if it is explored it offers clues, but no concrete answers. The answers are shrouded in gossamer—offering hints—until studied. 


Words can’t be simplified to the point that they make us passive readers.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

On a Cold Day

winter 
squeezes 
through cracks
wends 
through space 
caresses 
with a cloak
of hoarfrost


Friday, January 04, 2019

An Alternate Reality

It’s the pursuit
the chase 
to find an answer,
do something
you’ve never done before
that alters 
an ordinary day
when you enter
 it in your calendar 
amidst the daily routine

Thursday, January 03, 2019

A One Thousand Piece Puzzle

The Christmas puzzle’s
nine hundred fifty pieces fit
Fifty green pieces wait 



Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Hesed

Just when I finished complaining about my word, its place in the pantheon of grammar and the difficulty of writing about this cumbersome word —I happened upon the Hebrew word Hesed. Hesed is often translated as Loving Kindness.  There’s something that draws me to the Hebrew word— still the softness of the s Sound, but with more complexity.

The universe has a way of turning everything upside down. A way to suggest another aspect of an issue, another face.

“Know that kindness is sometimes soft and sometimes bold in its appearance.”
———Melissa Myozen Blacker

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Finding My Place

Just when I thought I had it all figured out— go concrete rather than abstract
Just at the moment I found quotations agreeing with my stance
At that moment my edifice of belief cracked
I found a Buddhist magazine with the word Kindness on the front cover
Just at that moment when I read the titles of articles
At that moment I wondered if the universe conspired to give me that word
At that moment I knew that I needed to wrestle with meaning for the universe
At that moment I knew my task was to grapple with my place within the word
Where did I fit
Where had the fit been ungainly
Where did I need to live the word 

How does this abstract noun become mine

Monday, December 31, 2018

Kindness is an Abstract Noun

Kindness is an Abstract Noun
       they confuse your reader and take you down a circuitous path of too many words to describe rather than show

stick with a verb rather than string your reader onto a path of interpretation and anarchy

and please don’t engage in “nominalization” where you take a good hard working verb and turn it into an abstract noun

head down the road of vivid alive concrete verbs and leave the abstract words by the wayside

use sparingly—be aware of overuse

don’t be fooled into thinking that abstract nouns dwell in the land of clarity 

find the perfect verb but ignore those other meaning sappers— words that end in “ly”—

do you want to go weak or strong— concrete or abstract— rant about equality and hunger,— all abstract notions or write about the school that educates both Israeli and Palestinian children, or the 40 million people in the United States  who don’t have enough to eat, or or or...
         Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean  More people died don’t say Mortality rose.     —- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, December 30, 2018

I Wanted a Verb

I am the child who waited for a gift and unwrapped a pair of rain boots when they had hoped for a rag doll. Disappointment. A feeling of being duped. 
      For the past three years the pastor at the church I attend bought into the One Word phenomenon. Select a word, live with the word, grow with the word. Each year words are written on gold or silver stars and those stars are placed face down on the sanctuary floor. The congregation listens to the rules : no peeking, no exchanging. And the pastor says if the word goes against your grain it is probably exactly the word you need. “ You have won the jackpot.”
     Today, the day of the stars. I sang all the hymns—even the many I didn’t know. Ok I mouthed them because I can’t carry a tune. I kept looking at my watch willing the time to proceed rapidly. Today I’d pick my word. 
    Finally the call. Walk, don’t run — and pick up a star. I noticed that some people just bent down and selected any star— not me. I walked about looking for a sign, a magnetic pull, some sort of divine intervention before I made a selection. When it appeared as if I was on my own I selected a star and walked back to my seat. 
    Then, without any drumroll, I turned the star over. There in bold letters my word stared back— kindness. A fine adjective turned into a noun. I wanted a verb.
    The first year my word release tugged at me and every day for a year I included the 
word release in my blog entries. I hounded myself into thinking of all the ways release applied to me, to life. I unearthed news stories and spiritual biographies. 
    I wrestled with the word. The word took me by the hand, by the throat, through the past into the future. I painted, collaged, wrote poems, found myself drawn to the concept, to the philosophical understanding of what it means to actually release something. I was drunk on the implications of release. 
     My word for 2019— kindness. An adjective turned into a noun by the addition of ness. No verb for me. The  word on my star couldn’t survive without its suffix. Yes, I know that kindness is an important virtue. Yes, I agree we should all indulge in kindness to one another. And I admit to not always being a paragon of kindness, but a year of residing in the realm of kindness. It sounds like a year of being forced to watch Hallmark dramas or a year of reading goody good fiction. Kindness, civility are powerful and need to be practiced by everyone. Now that I’ve agreed...what comes next?
    How do you wrestle with kindness. I wanted a strong verb—
    When you add —ness to a noun you find yourself handling an abstract noun. Not substantial, not showing its sinews, lacking muscle. I reside in particulars. You can’t see or touch an abstract noun. I have nothing against abstract nouns — save to live with this one for a year. 
    Then again I can apply myself to Ness.

      Ness is a character, actually the protagonist, of Earthbound ( a game). According to WikiBound Ness comes from the town of Onett and he is both witty and gifted. 
      Ness carries a geographic pedigree: the village of Ness, Cheshire, England and Ness Islands in the River Ness, in Scotland
Ness Waterfall in Scotland and River Ness 
Ness City, Kansas
Ness Township, Minnesota
Mount Ness, Antarctica
Ness Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Of course there’s the Loch Ness monster

And there’s NESS New England Skeptical Society
As well as HMS Ness, two Royal Navy ships
Ness Award, annual award of the Royal Geographical Society
NESS a mission of the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite 

Things are looking up. I will kinda become a roving, without leaving home, investigator studying and reporting on places or groups that have used or gravitated toward ness. And in the spirit of kindness I promise not to indulge in too many words when reporting my findings. And if you must reply to this long and convoluted writing — do so in the same spirit.