Thursday, October 31, 2013

Things Change

We bought candy expecting a large crowd of youngsters, but the weather dampened the turnout. We did see several princesses and a pirate. Life is that way—you can't always plan.

Small occurrences change the outcome, or the path, or the way you think about something.

Today I drove a friend to a radiation appointment. "Twenty more to go," she said.

I sat in the waiting room with a husband and wife—his first appointment. I imagine that not too far in the past he didn't expect to be in that waiting room. He probably had other plans for his day.

Today I read an email from the minister saying that someone I know from a Bible study is dying.

Two weeks ago when we visited her she said, "The only places I haven't visited were Australia and New Zealand." I asked if she went to Antarctica, "Yes. I wanted to go to New Zealand, but the woman I went with didn't think she should take anymore time away from her husband."

We talked about the Bronx where she lived for over sixty years—remember Bathgate Avenue, pickles in barrels, and "the man selling jellied figs." I told her I loved his jelly apples and she mentioned figs and marshmallows.

We both mentioned the stars on the ceiling of the Paradise Theater and Fordham Road and Alexanders Department Store.

She told me how she came to Concord every summer to spend the vacation time with her aunt and uncle.

We spoke of egg creams and charlotte russes—those deserts in a cardboard holder "with a round of cardboard on the bottom. As the cream went down, you pushed the cardboard up from the bottom, so you could eat the cake.”

We spoke of the peddlers who sharpened knives and the peddlers who shouted " I sell old clothes." We spoke of the trucks that delivered seltzer bottles and a small store that sold buttons and sequins.

I spoke about going to Bathgate Avenue with my mother and she spoke about being a young woman and shopping for food and trinkets on that avenue. Outdoor tables displayed the wares from each store. Awnings kept the sun away from perishables.

Where did all the time go? Plans change—

Reading of her in hospice—her slow release of life was hard to read. Why only last year she was telling us about one of her trips.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Series Game Six

Release me from worry,
of errant throws
of pitches left over the plate
of stolen bases,
Release me from counting
base runners left on base,
missed opportunities ,
too many strike outs,
an anemic offense
Release me from second guessing,
of wondering if the manager
chose his line- up correctly,
of thinking the umpire
suffers from tunnel vision
missing those pitches
that snuggle up to the line,
Release me from reading
every would be manager,
listening to talk radio
the afternoon of the game,
checking to see the odds.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Ofttimes people say, "Act your age." What does that mean? We hear parents utter those words to a child whose behavior parrots a younger age. That phrase, repeated to someone who is older suggests that the person is acting in a childish manner.

I think it's good to sometimes refuse to act your age. Be decades younger-- refuse to be pigeon holed into a box. This is what people your age wear, do, say.

Today, I tried out my new driver ( golf driver)-- the driver that traveled all the way from England. Last night before I fell asleep I imagined each hole and how far I'd go, certainly way beyond my longest drive.

I played an entire game in my mind. Forget the second and third shots, forget the chips, the putts, I honed in on the drives.

Today at 40 degrees we set out for the first hole. My first drive went seriously right and not too far. By the fourth hole my drives went straight and as far as my old driver.

The last four holes that new driver simply went a bit further until the last hole where I nailed it-- for me-- and new territory. That ball traveled way beyond anything I'd hit before. " Yes, Yes". " I've never gone so far."

When that ball was released from its position atop the tee it traveled just the way I imagined.

Just like my daydream. Perhaps tonight I'll add chips and putts.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hot or Cold

This autumn forgot to move ahead and the weather vacillated between unseasonably warm and inching into cooler temperatures.

Thinking of temperatures—the hottest day ever recorded occurred in Death Valley 100 years ago—134 degrees f. That reading was certified by the World Meteorological Organization, an august organization.

As for cold the Vostok Station in Antarctica recorded the lowest cold temperature—128.6 f.

Here in Massachusetts our lowest temperature dipped to —35 degrees in 1981. Our highest temperature recorded and attested to belongs to New Bedford and Chester, 107 degrees f.

I usually like records, but I am content to abide in the center—neither too hot or too cold.

USA Today releases a listing of the coldest temperatures for each state. Alaska wins the award with a —80 f. Idaho isn't shabby with a —60 f low, nor is Wyoming with a —66 f. These are places I'll only visit in the summer.

They also release a list of the hottest temperatures for each state. Arizona clocks in at 128 degrees f. Nevada hits 125 degrees f and New Mexico hits 122 degrees f.

I love looking at records—on paper, in the newspaper.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Every year new paint colors appear in catalogues. When my recent Daniel Smith artist materials winter catalog arrived, I immediately looked for new shades.

Color names intoxicate me—bohemian green earth conjures up a folk fest in the park. I recall a banjo player singing "Blowing in the Wind". Italian Venetian Red takes me to Venice—the square and pigeons. Opera Pink reminds me of Rome and the outdoor performance of Aida. Lunar blue and I'm staring into Crater Lake in wonderment. How is it so clear?

Iridescent Moonstone and I recall always wanting to read Willie Collin's Moonstone.

Names have a peculiar way of releasing memories—even the names of colors act as entranceways to memory.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Pebble

Tomorrow I will bring a small pebble to church to remember my cousin Bobby.

When her son Warren was diagnosed with AIDS he turned to the Episcopal church's Service of Healing. In time Warren came to embrace Jesus.

When Warren died many of the family turned away-- judging a young man who courted drugs and lost his life to dirty needles.

Two years later my cousin fought brain cancer and invisible battles with family members who, " Didn't care about my son."

She had a few friends who looked in on her, but hers was a lonely battle. When we drove to New York to see her she vacillated between hopeful about defeating the cancer and bitter about family. She never could release the animosity she felt.

" I don't believe in God," she said, " but I'll take prayers from anyone except those who couldn't ask about my son or come to his funeral."

The last time we drove down to see Bobby, a hospice nurse attended to her needs. When lucid, Bobby told us that she didn't want a funeral or a memorial service. She had made plans.

She asked if I ever went to upstate New York where Warren was buried in a small church cemetery. If so, would I place a pebble on his gravestone. That's a Jewish tradition-- some say it's a marker of a visit, some say it represents the permanence of memory.

There's a story that's told about shepherds in Biblical times who needed to keep track of their sheep. Rather than rely on memory they carried a sling filled with pebbles-- a pebble for each sheep. The pebbles allowed them to keep a daily track of their flock.

According to Rabbi David Wolpe, " When we place place stones on the grave...we are asking God to keep the departed's soul in His sling. Among all the souls whom God has to watch over, we wish to add the name--the pebble-- of the soul of the departed."

The summer Bobby died I was in upstate New York and drove to the small Episcopal Church. I roamed through the small cemetery-- starting in one corner and reading the names on the stones until I found Warren's gravestone--and left a small pebble in front of the stone and said a prayer.

Tomorrow I'll leave a pebble for Bobby--part of a memorial service. No one knows where Bobby is buried-- but she's not forgotten.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What Will We Do?

I'm satiated. What does that really mean? I am full after a delectable meal or my day has been so plentiful that I'm satiated with a feeling of fullness.

Maybe it refers to my being chock full of life's gifts or brimming with a sense of plenty .

Then, just when I'm counting the ways I feel satiated, I read an article about homeless school age children in the United States. Their numbers increased every year since the recession.

How can one lean back on a cushioned sofa -- satiated when children are homeless?

A report released September 2012 reported that over 1,5000,000 school aged children experienced homelessness the previous year.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Making of a Luddite

As soon as a new update is released my computer automatically seeks it out and uploads the change. So seamless. I am not even involved—although the question did pop up on my screen, "Do you want to automatically have items updated.?"

I answered yes, but upon reflection perhaps I handed over what little autonomy I possess regarding my computer. Now—in a stealth like manner, probably when I am away, the computer simply adds features.

If I hadn't been so precipitous I could remain the captain. Perhaps I don't want those new graphics or lined paper or smiling faces. Maybe I even enjoy the occasional break down. It reminds me that we all break down at some point.

I can't walk as fast—and when I climb a mountain I'm wary of the edges. I used to love to go close to the rim and stare down. Now I enjoy a decent distance.

On my last update I discovered, too late, that my colorful file labels disappeared. Now a discreet colored dot appears next to the file. I know it looks less cluttered, less like the neon lights of the city, less like the boardwalk—my desktop now looks adult. I miss the glitter.

Of course if I don't keep up with every new update I become the wooly mammoth trudging in a primordial forest while everyone else is advancing toward computer nirvana. But that won't last because the release of another update hovers in the background.

And that means....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting for an Answer

To release: give respite

Perhaps another person
praying the same prayer,
perhaps the sound of one
who knows only a name
and a request—
opens a pathway, a passage
through creeping vines
and spiked plants

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One Step at a Time

It's been several years since I attempted a sestina. I love the challenge.

Internet bloggers delight in creating challenges. Recently one blogger suggested that every day for a month we submit our written work to a journal. The challenge--on day one you submit to a journal with a name beginning with the letter A and so on for twenty-six days. You choose an additional four journals when you complete the alphabet

Another blogger created 365 collages. I'm not certain if she had a large following.

When I mention my personal challenge -- 365 pieces that include the word release I'm greeted with , "Why?"

I believe that I'm on a path. Some roads take dips, others revel in switchbacks, some double back and redo sections.

I am interested in how many hot air balloons are released at Albuquerque's International Balloon Festival.

Or how many prisoners are released from solitary confinement. California houses about 10,000 prisoners in solitary on a given day. That means 22.5 hours in a cell about 7 feet x 11 feet. Hundreds of men have spent ten years in solitary confinement.

From a Mother Jones investigation: In 2011 California "released 78 prisoners" back into the general population. That's 78 out of 10,000.

Another release I follow: how many new books are released in different countries. Now I do wonder if we include all those self- published books.

I've veered from my path.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Misunderstanding

words we hear
filter through our past,
take on the patina
of other words

they transform into
words not meant

we can't hear
unless we release
old versions

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Blogger Asks a Question

A blogger recently put out a prompt titled —RELEASE ME.

She encouraged writers to write about a blog post that was difficult to set free, to release into that super highway— and then how it felt.

Odd, but I imagine readers out there—not responding, but reading my posts. I know that because of my Blog stats. What does someone in Mongolia think of my pieces? And who is reading my release pieces in Russia? Does anything I write resonate?

I have lines I won't cross— not because of language, or fear, or putting myself in less than favorable light—but because it's not my story to tell.

In the beginning of my release pieces I stood at a distance, but as time gets closer to January 6th, the first piece, I find the distance changing between the reader and myself. I'm trying to arrive at some end point—a quasi epiphany—an opening up into an understanding, a realization, a revelation— a disclosure.

Will those last pieces be difficult to post? How will I know until I eventually read what I write.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To Be Recycled

Because I’m going to see an exhibit of art from scrap,
recycled pieces—bent, twisted, shaped into new forms
Because I see shapes in clouds, dragons and tea kettles
spewing their breath into a background of blue
Because I will feast on smoked fish canapes
and puffed pastry filled with crab meat and shrimp
Because I read of tornados and torrential rains,
mudslides and earthquakes—the earth mangled,
I marvel when a flower pushes through the rupture—

The release of a second chance to grow,
to alter, to fit the landscape

Friday, October 18, 2013

Off The Grid

I'm presently reading a book about homesteading in Alaska—old time homesteaders. What about today?

I know of an isolated Maine island that offered free land to families—a New York couple thought it a good idea until they wintered over.

Kansas has some land available as a way to attract new residents. Nebraska gave away free parcels of land —in designated areas—if you built a house and stayed put for three years.

But how about the person who wants to reside in a remote area far away from cities, towns and people?

People who look into arcane questions came up with ten remote areas. There's an area between Green River in Utah and Salina, Utah—"a 105 mile stretch of highway with no towns and only six exits." I've been on that road—it's isolated, but you do see cars.

They listed Supai, Arizona as the "most remote town in the continental U.S." The town is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon—capital of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. But there's an active tourist trade there—

I don't think any of the places mentioned fit the label of isolated and far away from civilization. Where does the hermit go today?

According to a blog hosted by Vincze Miklos— when David Glasheen lost ten million dollars in the 1987 stock market crash he took some drastic steps. First, he divorced his wife and then moved to Restoration Island, Australia. He barters for food using his homemade beer as a trading commodity.

Emma Orbach, an Oxford graduate, "lives in her self-built mud and straw roundhouse" in the Welsh mountains. She does without electricity and running water. She's self sufficient—forages for fruits, tends her vegetable garden and raises chickens and goats . In the evening she plays her Celtic harp.

Reading about Emma I initially thought that I had found a true hermit, but then discovered that she runs a retreat center and has built four other roundhouses for guests at the center.

Perhaps we all yearn for a respite from our technology.

I am fascinated with people who choose to live off the grid—people who are willing to let go and release the cacophony of the 21st century.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Midrash for a Daughter

Psalm 133

1 Behold how good and how pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

Do you feel the discomfort, the roughness of edges that rub against each other?
Let us smooth away the prickles, release the words thrown into a heap—

2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down the skirts of his garments.

I recall washing your hair with special shampoo. The doctor said, "Just rub the scaly spots until they soften and then comb them away."
"What's in my hair?" you asked.
"A bit of psoriasis, inherited from Uncle Murray. The same uncle who brings bagels and cream cheese on Sunday morning."
I added prayers to the shampoo—lather mixed with "Jesus, please."
By fourteen only a dime size spot on your elbow remained.

3 As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life evermore.

Remember when we climbed Old Rag Mountain? Three friends and four children scrambling over granite boulders, through rock squeezes, past Trillium, Mountain Laurel, Seas of Bluets, to the summit. Remember how we took off our boots and socks at the summit? We passed around ointment for blisters.

Who carried the small book of psalms to the top?
We took turns reading and passing around gorp.

The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. Psalm 97:5

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


His daughter was Sheerah,
who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon
as well as Uzzen Sheerah.
1 Chronicles 7:24

Not many women's names appear in a litany of descendants in 1 Chronicles—which begins with the naming of Adam. We read of Makir who "took a wife from among the Huppites and Shuppites. His sister's name was Maakah."

We read of Zelophehad who only had daughters. We know their names because they appear before Moses after their father died. They ask for a share of their father's property.

The five daughters — Mahiah, Noah, Hogiah, Milkah and Tirzah. Moses decides in their favor.

I love the towns Sheerah built, Lower and Upper Beth Horon and Uzzen Sheerah. Two towns built on a hillside— one above another.

How bold for a woman,at that time, to name the third city after herself. Uzzen Sheerah means "listen to Sheerah". She simply followed the example set by men who built towns and cities.

I guess she did what she wanted to do—she was an uppity woman. Bless uppity women.

Actually I appreciate anyone who doesn't stay in their place—who is willing to expand their boundaries, try new things. A friend once sent me a photo of a butterfly with the words—fly, release any fear and soar.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Power of Verbs

W.W, Norton released a paperback copy of Constance Hale's book exploring " the world of verbs"— Vex, Hex, Smash,Smooch.She also has a blog where she continues to ransack the world for verbs.

In a recent post on Heavenly Verbs, Headache Verbs she explains how to tell the difference between clamber/clamor.

"If you find yourself making as much an effort to write as a bear does when it clambers up a tree, the critics are sure to clamor about it.

Looking at release with a verb mentality—
According to Roget's Thesaurus to release also means to acquit—to exonerate, to discharge.

To release or to break away, to set free—
Those words become the chorus of a country gospel song:

he set me free yes he set me free...
i'm glory bound my jesus to see

To release or to liberate, to dismiss—

Monday, October 14, 2013

Each Day a New Creation

A glorious autumn day and it falls on a holiday. Walden Pond’s parking lots fill up, the ice cream truck takes up three prime spaces, but no one cares. The temperature reaches the high sixties. No wind and a brilliant sun lure swimmers—some wearing bathing suits— some swimming across the pond or around the pond. According to Thoreau’s reckoning the pond is 17.5 rods long— or a little over half a mile. If you swim the circumference it’s 103 rods or 1.7miles.

I count four people pulling on wet suits. Even in the dead of winter and before the water freezes the pond’s aficionados swim back and forth—daily.

This is not a shallow pond—102 feet deep. We call it a pond, but if you want to be precise, call Walden a “glacial kettle hole”.

Two weeks ago a swimmer started out, but never surfaced. For several days everything stopped—no visitors walking around the pond, no swimmers—no visits to Thoreau’s cabin.

Divers scoured the pond; rescuers searched the woods.

Two days after the start of the month a body was discovered, name not initially released—but in time the body was identified as the missing swimmer. He was familiar with the pond, swam there often and was simply taking an evening swim.

You can’t plan for all possibilities; life interrupts our plans—sometimes that intervention, that surprise delights us. Other times we want to step back in time and restore equilibrium.

Yet who wants to know the future?

Sunday, October 13, 2013


I remember
my first ice cream cone,
the first book
where letters fit together
to create words
I remember writing
my name in large letters
on primary paper
with lines two fingers wide
I remember the times I forgot
to add baking powder,
adding salt instead of sugar

I retrace in my mind
words released without
knowing or questioning
their longevity, words
whose durability
lasts a lifetime

Other words delight
in staying alive—
like I love you

Imagine swapping
one set of words
for another—

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rawiya: At the Museum of Fine Arts

Rawiya describes an exhibit of photographs by women from Muslim countries.

Rawiya means "she who tells stories."

In these photographs the stories portray the marginalization of women—or women hidden. Other photographs depict women who defy the dominant culture—who take incredible risks.

To release these photographs requires courage.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another Try

prayers are
answered, but not
always the way you expect
figure out what to ask
so you stand a chance

I prayed the same prayer
for years, until I released
the outcome I wanted
and rewrote the request

Thursday, October 10, 2013

All About Change

It's inevitable. Seasons change and while I implore each one to stay a bit longer—nothing works. I must admit to trying to hasten winter into spring.

My heels drag and I avoid heavier clothes, shoes rather than sandals, and , in time, hats and gloves.

Change— disruptive or freeing or a new perspective or a loss.

It all depends where you're standing. If I release all my preconceptions and bound into a new situation with wild abandon I often find the result exciting.

Years ago people stayed in a job for decades. Now ,according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, younger workers stay on the job for 4.4 years. Imagine 15—20 jobs in your career.

Not only did I stay in one town in the same job, but for twenty-five years my classes met in the same classroom. I knew every crevice of that room. In time I measured the buildup of wax on the edges of the room. Anyone who has worked in a school knows that in the summer all the floors are waxed and highly polished.

Other teachers in our school also occupied their rooms for decades. Imagine if someone said to me on my first day in the middle school —"This will be your room for a quarter of a century."

But each new class represented a change. Each new student a different challenge. The room—incidental.

As for the seasons—I enjoy the changes, but if we could extend spring and fall and squeeze winter. And while I'm reconstructing New England—add some weeks to summer.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Trail Markers Needed

And his mother's name was Hamutal,
the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
—2 Kings 24:18

Perhaps her skills as a mother lacked some backbone. She championed a younger son ahead of her older son—but that's been done before. Her sons Jehoahaz and Mattaniah were kings of Judah, but Biblical history remembers them as ungodly and rebellious.

What went wrong?

Pick up the paper and every crime is committed by someone's child. It's too easy to blame a parent, although in some cases the finger points in that direction. Perhaps the environment contains a clue or the socio-economic milieu, or the selection of friends.

We want answers, but remain distanced from causes when it costs money or means changing attitudes. And sometimes we can't point to any specific reason.
"It's genetic."
"It's the way she is wired."
"I don't know who he takes after."

My daughter differed from my son—not unusual in a family. Where he talked the head off a nail she said few words. She picked up a pencil and drew her world. He eventually collected other people's art.

Their personalities released into the world—each one unique.

She loved dressing up, colored nail polish and Peanuts.
I've never worn nail polish.

They followed their own paths—he lives in far away places and travels to towns with unusual sounding names. She stays put in a small southern town.

Somewhere along her path our roads separated. You know how it is without a map and no GPS—it's hard to find your way back.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

My Personal List

Fried food, sugar, salt, fat-- all bad for you. Every day more foods are added to the list of potential killers. Don't eat lobster unless its days are spent swimming freely in the ocean. Careful of aluminum cans. Eat kale.

Take probiotics. Cleanse your liver. Buy organic. Wash vegetables with a veggie cleanser. Drink green tea.

Every day another warning, another food crossed off the list.

I'm ready to release another list. Avoid reading the front page of the newspaper. That way you'll avoid a litany of murder, arson, ponzi schemes, and the latest news of a dysfunctional government. Read restaurant reviews. Write poetry.Learn to play the harmonica.

Read all the books you have stacked on the to be read shelf. Decide to read the Bible from stem to stern, then move on to Shakespeare and Doonesbury.

Add to that list. Unplug.

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Release of Words of Praise

Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
--Hosea 14:2

The leaves are full
and busy with the sun.
--Richard Wilbur

Which words?
Do I wrap myself in words,
—a sari of syllables
draped around
my shoulders.
Are my words enough?
Will they sound empty,
a hollow ring, an echo
of lost repetitions?

Will the years of the locust
be restored if I find the right
words? What more is required?

I look outside
and see the leaves
full and busy with the sun—
I scoop up handfuls
until I wear leaves.
They settle on my shoes
in my hair, between my fingers.

These are the words I sought—
and I turn and tumble in the leaves
Right now that is enough—
I will start with a few words
and begin to walk

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Communion Sunday

We heard the pastor’s words—an invitation to all to partake. We listened to the words describing the meaning. We watched the bread being broken, the wine poured.

The pastor and a congregant stood on one side and two congregants stood on the other side of the middle aisle. Pew by pew emptied out as we stood and walked to the front—and partook.

The two congregants on my side looked out over the church and waited—then turned and began to walk back up the stairs. Just then the young woman whose wheelchair is pushed to the front pew started making guttural sounds, releasing unformed words and waving her arms about. Locked inside a body she can’t command she strained to be understood.

Usually her attendant dipped the bread for her and fed her, but today he was probably someone new and didn’t realize that she too waited to partake. The two who served communion probably thought that she was unable to eat the bread—today.

Hearing her they turned about and one dipped the bread in the wine and gently placed it in her mouth.
Bread of life.
Cup of Blessing.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Who I Am

It's the time for a release of new fashions. Why can 't I find myself within any of the clothes? I like low shoes--sandals. L. L. Bean style pants and tops. My style remains the same year after year.

Perhaps I should break out of the mold, get frilly. Can 't see myself in frills. It's a matter of accepting who you are— a —L. L. Bean clone.

Friday, October 04, 2013

If and Then

I'm running after the word release—trying to understand our relationship. It's a slippery word—skittish, refusing to help me understand our connection.

A hide and seek game—with me pursuing the word and asking for a personal explanation. When I first picked up the star with the word release I knew we were well mated. But this digging around, foraging for the precise reason eludes me—or is it that I recognize the connection and find it too hard.

It's not what you don't know that upends you, it's those things you do know.

I'll keep chewing on the word, asking questions—but not necessarily expecting answers. It's not as simple as saying if and then. Sometimes the if is greeted by a resounding silence. A deep abyss of silence. The if falls into a crevasse and the echo never reaches the surface. All is mute.

Does it matter? Does the release happen because one confronts the if and longs for the then response—but the liberation isn't dependent upon the reaction, the response.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


...the courage of memory
—Thomas Long

We all remember events and people, but what do we really remember? Do we exclude those things that make us uncomfortable, or the parts that we don't want to acknowledge. Don't we all take part in some sugar coating?

Courage. Bold, fearless—having a backbone, a resolve—audacious.

To look with that courage to the past might entail asking forgiveness—and that forgiveness may be withheld or given freely. It might be a dead end.

Churches use the word—confessing. Perhaps we can substitute come clean or recognize or unmask.

I see a connection between "courage of memory" and release—a cleansing for the soul.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


we are witness to
what we see,
a shrug, a push, a hug,
a raised eyebrow, the way
a mother touches her child
We are witness to what we hear,
snippets of conversation, a song's
lyrics heard on an AM radio station,
the evangelist talking about being saved,
but can we release our own words,
share the way we see the world,
talk about God
Can we be a witness?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


I'm from concrete sidewalks,
from shoulder to shoulder buildings.
I'm from incinerators burning garbage,
the smell of cabbage and gefilte fish
mingling in the hallway.
I am from a pushcart
selling jelly apples on a stick,
        from egg creams at the candy store,
        my grandmother's honey cake
and potato latkes that sizzled in the pan.

I'm from pink spaldeen balls,
stickball in the street,
a hopscotch court drawn with chalk,
I'm from Around the World 
             and Walk the dog
             with a Duncan yo yo.
From cap guns and balsa airplanes
and a shoebox of cut out dolls.

I'm from playing Pisha Pasha,
with my Grandma Yette—
a card game she learned
in a shtetl in Poland 

I'm from "Never cross a picket line"
"Vote the democratic ticket"
history lessons at the dinner table,
a distant relative in the Tsar's army,
a grandfather in the Teamster's union,
and should the Rosenberg's be released.

I'm from walking to the library
with Ellen every Monday after school
        where the librarian knew our names
        and listened to the stories we told
        of mythical kingdoms and good and evil
I'm from my father reading history era by era,
my mother drawing dress patterns on brown paper,
my grandmother crocheting table cloths.

I am from three rooms,
acres of space to roam 
a desk of my own
and a love of words.