Sunday, August 31, 2014

Drawing and Loving

do I try to draw all the lines?
which ones do I eliminate?
what's important
what do I ignore
or is it all part of a whole

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Worn But Not Gone

When I retire my tote bag for a new bag  an entire era disappears. Yes, the old bag carried my assorted books and notebooks gallantly for twenty years. She even held on when the shoulder strap, frayed and torn, appeared ready to let go and allow everything to plummet to the ground.

Today I found a bag the same size, well made, sturdy, and with a certain character. I bought the bag knowing that the old purple bag no longer could tolerate her load. Her straps, almost frayed through, strained to stay together.

The bag, purchased at Womencrafts in Provincetown, extolled women writers. The entire front of the bag listed the names of women who wrote as feminists. They wrote to empower women and to take issue with a culture based on male predominance. Many wrote as woman who loved woman.

Katherine V. Forrest, Judy Grahn, Radcliffe Hall, Jane Rule, Starhawk, Jane Chambers, Gertrude Stein, Barbara Deming, Anais Nin, Simone De Beavoir, Elsa Gidlow, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich, George Sand, HD, Rita Mae Brown, Sonia Johnson, Pearl Buck, Zora Neale Hurston, Sonia Johnson, May Sarton, Sappho, Anonymous ( for those women whose voices were silenced)... and some names whose letters disappeared over the years.

I read their words to learn about myself. I carried their names with me. They were the tutors for a generation of women.

I'll find a place to retire the bag. A bag with history, a bag that made a statement,  can't disappear.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Wild Stone Sculptures

Cairns and inuksuits built
with granite rocks

they wait
for the ocean


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Scrambling on a Mountain

Spread your hand
feel the stretch
 place your hand
on the granite rock
and know that you
touch eons

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Concert

strands of rockweed
black turban snails
wait for high tide
wait to respond
wait to join the oratorio

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sounds of a Vagabond

The end of summer and a late afternoon breeze carries the promise of the ocean's timbre. Tomorrow I'll walk down by the water and wonder about other shores.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Farm Stand

push August into
early September
with a taste of fall.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Talk

Whoever you are:
some evening take a step out of your house, 
which you know so well. Enormous space is near.
-- Maria Rainer Rilke

when you see from only one side
know half of what the other sees
tell a story without all the words
repeat the same lines, dialogue
on a circular path, know your lines
without alterations, the space
between becomes overgrown with weeds

Saturday, August 23, 2014


It’s too early
for this morning chill
too soon for fading
evening light, can’t
we compromise—
winter takes up too
much space, autumn
squeezes inbetween,
a guest, wary of staying
too long

Friday, August 22, 2014

Clacking Keys

When I read about an app called The Hanx Writer I immediately, especially since it was free, downloaded it to my IPad. This app simulates an old manual typewriter-- that includes the clicking keys and the sound of the carriage moving.

My first typewriter was a blue Royal. A heavy machine that clacked incessantly as I penned short pieces and my first poetry attempts.

When I bought an electric typewriter with changeable fonts ,I thought I owned the penultimate writing machine.

Who knew that someday I 'd be seated on a comfortable  chair with an IPad on my lap writing.

What's next?

Written on the Hanx

Hearing the sound of the keys takes me back in time. My Royal took up a lot of space in a three room apartment shared by four people. 

I recall not wanting to stand the case on its side because I worried that the keys might get squashed. 

My mother often called out, " It's late and the clacking is keeping us up."

That's when I reluctantly took out a pen and paper. Today I love writing with a fountain pen.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unsent Letter

This morning when I walked my usual two miles around the complex —three times—I both appreciated the hills and the ease of rolling out my door to do this before breakfast ramble, although this morning it felt more like a slog. 

On the second circuit around three boys, probably six to eight, busied themselves by riding up and down the walkways. By the third circuit the group ballooned to six riders, one girl, and they, too, completed the loop.

Do you recall your first two-wheeler? Your brother learned to ride that summer, although I thought that he might wear through his knees and elbows while learning.
You —two years younger and shorter—took his bike and began to ride down the hill. Your feet didn’t reach the pedals and you couldn’t possibly stop the bike. The last neighbor on the block watched you fly down the hill and managed to catch the bike when you arrived at a flat place and your speed slowed down.
Rather than trust you to stay off the oversized bike you received an early six-year-old birthday gift—a two-wheel bike, basket and odometer.

Do you recall your first long bike ride? You and a friend decided to spend the day riding up and down the cul-de-sac where we lived. The street was long and had a short hill.
At one end our house and at the very other end your friend's house.
The two of you rode back and forth, stopped to refuel on water and Orange Tang. You both asked for sandwiches for lunch and set them in your basket along with a Twinkie.

The goal—twenty miles.
I know you all made ten miles, but I don’t recall if you ever reached the twenty-mile mark.
Your brother kept riding longer and longer distances as he grew up. Eventually he rode his bike on a two thousand mile jaunt in Asia. You lost interest in riding when you discovered ice skates.

Do you ever think about that day when you pedaled as if you could do anything —especially with the wind at your back?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Can...

Packing comes naturally to some people. They manage to cut down on unnecessary items. They actually identify unnecessary “things”. Their luggage doesn’t bulge. They don’t sit on valises.
They travel to distant places without fretting. They slim down what they take without feeling remorse.
On this upcoming jaunt to Maine—not a great distance—I’ve promised myself to think skinny. It’s not what you can take, but what you refuse to take. Less is more. Simplify.
Throw what if out the window. Refuse to look at the extended weather forecast. If it gets too cold you can layer.

I can turn this around—eschew all possible possibilities and go light.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Sometimes collectors find that their collections subsume their homes. There's a young man who collects pencils-- at last count he owns 14,000 pencils. I wonder how he sorts the pencils?

I wonder how many collections begin accidentally. Recently I found myself with two ballpoint pens--accidental heists.

One came from my dentist's office--Her name, address, and phone number imprinted on the barrel. The second pen hailed from a local restaurant also inscribed with the pertinent information.

I put them both in my drawer and wondered if I should be on the alert for other pens with messages .

Categories. Why not?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Not Here, Go Around the Corner

If you live in a posh place you expect to hang with posh people. And if the developer of your expensive building ,where you pay outlandish money to have the best, wants to cut costs by taking advantage of government programs which cut his cost-- you need some safeguards.

After all you paid a lot of money and those people living in some apartments, or condos, only live there because of those government programs.

In New York City where expensive high rises dot the downtown landscape there's a conundrum brewing. How, the developers ask, can we isolate the two groups of people?

One way-- have two different entrance ways. Only those who pay the full price may enter through the elegant splendrous sumptuous front door. Around the corner and out of sight --- the door for the other tenants.

Visualize having a dinner party and the two strata meet ? You might have to hone down your black tie list.

In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, sumptuary law required a fortune of at least two hundred pounds before you were allowed to wear lace, or have silver or gold embroidery on clothing items. Even buttons were banned to those without the appropriate monetary funds.

In time we moved beyond these regulations.

Now a few residents are questioning second class status in their own homes. Until the right agency figures out where to go and what to do, some buildings will continue to direct some of the building residents to enter -- around the corner.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sorry Isn't Enough

How do I explain to a grandson who is African-American, a granddaughter who is from Bhutan, and another granddaughter who is Mexican-Plains Indian...

How do I explain our country and our history of racism? How do I explain the way we view the other? How do I explain the recent shooting and taking of a life in Missouri?

All our explanations lack substance. They are excuses.

Eli, when you visit, stay close. Don't wear baggy pants, or a hoodie.

Let's not fool ourselves. When do we take out the mirror and look , really look, at ourselves?When do we learn to walk in the light?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Know a Recipe?

Two days ago I replaced our humming bird feeder with a suet feeder. The humming birds probably picked out their feeding locations before we set up our feeder. We set the suet in a suet holder and hung it from our six foot high pole --which was firmly set in the ground.

That night it poured and in the morning the pole and suet feeder no longer stood upright.

"Must have been quite windy last night."

I went outside to right the pole and feeder when I discovered that the pole had not been blown over. The bottom of the pole was bent--wrenched out of its normal shape. A right turn about two feet high created an unusable pole.

Instead of a full slab of suet, 80% was gone--disappeared. All my mystery reading didn't translate into a logical explanation. Perhaps, I thought, the rain pounded so hard that the suet dissolved. Perhaps one of our many wild turkeys wrested the pole from its place and threw it to the earth.

Today the mystery unraveled to reveal the true story. Six adolescent sized wild turkeys, along with their mother, spent fifteen minutes scratching around the area where the suet fell down-- or was pulled down. They pecked away at the ground probably finding tiny specks of suet. Their mother hung out without taking part in an afternoon of frolicking and eating.

Once upon a time the wild turkey population was almost depleted in some areas of New England. They were reintroduced and conservation experts consider their efforts a total success. Today millions of wild turkeys roam-- the backwoods, suburbia and even urban areas.

How about this statistic --gleaned from a NPR article. In the early 1900s "there were only about 30,000 wild turkeys left in the whole country."

" Today, there are nearly 7 million wild turkeys."


Friday, August 15, 2014


If you read the newspaper with care, if you read the small articles--the ones that don't report the "In" news, you'll spot some alarming trends.

Anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe. Today I read of anti-Semitism in New Zealand. A few politicians, seemingly with impunity, disparaged the Other. That other may be a Jew, an immigrant, a person of color.

Today when I came out of our local CVS a national political cult had set up a table twenty feet away from the entrance to the store. Their rhetoric, filled with hateful slogans. The workers, all young, were part of a planned youth movement. They wrap themselves up in conspiracy theories, compare the present administration to the Nazis.

It goes on and on. Any little difference may lead to excluding the other, or genocide. Today we read of people who left their homes and sought shelter on a mountain-- away from a group with differing religious views.

I think God cries.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Turning it Around

Topsy turvy
inside out
upside down
what's new ages
upside down cake
rights itself
the sun mimics the moon
and people forget
before they remember

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God Reads the Newspapers

It rained frenetically
creating rivulets,
ankle deep puddles,
abstract window patterns
Was this another Flood?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


My tooth has served me well. It has chomped down on peanuts, carrot sticks, and popcorn. Years ago it managed taffy, carmel candy, and gummy bears. Many hard candies split after being struck by that tooth and the top teeth.

Then when I didn't expect it the dentist said, "You need a crown."

Just like that. My organic tooth pared down to be replaced by an artificial look alike.

Thanks to my old tooth. You did your job well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Diminished Hexaverse


take a few words and
put them together
follow your thoughts and
discover what you
really want to say

pick up a brush
select a scene
choose your colors
be flamboyant

sing a song
change the words
trill, whistle



Sunday, August 10, 2014


The art assignment: draw and watercolor a patterned teacup. I own mugs—heavy mugs. At one time I collected mugs from every National Park we visited. Over time the decals wore off or the mugs developed coffee stains. When collecting park mugs grew old I began to collect mugs from coffee houses. My favorite came from Moab, Utah.

I gave that up when I realized that bookstores began to sell mugs.

When our mug stand gave way and we bought a new stand with fewer protrusions for mugs, I stored them in the closet; however, they took up too much room. Some became containers for pencils, paint brushes, and assorted bookmarks.

But I did have one teacup. My mother collected "look alike" teacups. These were knock-offs—imitations of fine China. Her collection was small—perhaps six or seven. When you live in a three room apartment the size of a collection must be monitored.

She called them her antiques because the patterns were, supposedly, replications of ancient patterns. She also collected, if two is a collection, Chinese bowls. I have one upstairs. It holds a philodendron my mother gave me when I first moved into the condo—thirty-two years ago.

Repotted, cut back and given a window view.

I brought my mother's teacup and saucer downstairs and sketched the cup and saucer—even the gilt edges and floral design.

Too bad I never thought of buying her a top of the line tea cup. But I expect that she enjoyed the hunt for the "almost just like it" cup.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Cascade Poem

A Dinner Conversation

I'll give you the words to say
Remind you of what's important
Wait for you to figure it out

If you ever want to spray graffiti
or stand on a street corner
I'll give you the words to say

If you talk on and on, forgetting the person
on the other side of your words, I'll
Remind you of what's important

And when you wonder why the world
is the way it is, so one-sided, I'll
Wait for you to figure it out

Friday, August 08, 2014


My wireless keyboard refuses to connect with my IPad. A small box asks me if the keyboard is on and within range. Affirmative. The green light on the keyboard keeps blinking -- looking for a mate, but to no avail.

No on and off switch tells me with certainty that the keyboard is on or off, but I expect blinking indicates that the poor thing is seeking companionship. Winking in the dark.

The touch keyboard is only too happy to appear.

Will the blinking continue until the poor thing wrings out every ounce of battery life?

Is this a case of jealousy? I admit that I was seated on a comfortable chair with the IPad on my lap. Using my keyboard wasn't possible so I resorted to the touch screen.

After thirty unproductive minutes I give up and remove the batteries from the wireless keyboard.

This is a case of Unrequited love?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

An Abstract Poem

Dame Edith Sitwell introduced a poetic movement when she published her book Facade. She wrote in 1949, "The poems in Facade are abstract poems-that is - they are patterns of sound. They are...virtuoso exercises in technique of extreme difficulty, in the same sense as that which certain studies by Liszt are studies in transcendental technique in music."

According to one site, Abstract poetry communicates through " sound and bizarre images." Despite wild experiments Sitwell's poems have an inherent sense. Whether she knew where the ending was when she played with words or the words led Dame Sitwell to a meaningful ending we don't know.

An orchestral arrangement by William Walton accompanied the recitation of Facade. I listened to a recording of Facade and found it, like Rap poetry, finger snapping and foot tapping.

My turn.

Turkey Shoot

A wild turkey sat in a tree
croaking, branches creaked
under her weight
She spread her wings
singing lullabies to five naked babes
Craw, cluck, cluck, cluck
Cackles cracked the air
Sizzling scorched twigs sparked
Her babes hopped
jigging and jogging

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

A Blitz Poem

Spaces for Paths

Ignore obvious flaws
Ignore empty spaces
Spaces create a void
Spaces allow for change
Change your ways
Change the words
Words move mountains
Words push boundaries
Boundaries remain uncertain
Boundaries stop you
You can cross
You may plant
Plant forget-me-nots
Plant for tomorrow
Tomorrow happens
Tomorrow starts soon
Soon a chance
Soon forgiveness
Forgiveness begins
Forgiveness allows
Allows breathing
Allows room
Room to start over
Room to begin
Begin new stories
Begin to talk
Talk into the night
Talk and tell stories
Stories beneath the moon
Stories of years
Years of silence
Years lost
Lost to laughter
Lost to love
Love silent
Love waiting
Waiting to walk
Waiting to start
Start breathing
Start with one step
Step quickly
Step down
Down an unfamiliar way
Down new paths
Paths blend together
Paths join

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lights Out

It didn't seem likely, but as soon as Dorothy touched the half-empty potato chip bag the lights went out. In fact everything electrical went down. A quick walk outside assured me of a darkened neighborhood rather than a ominous response to our snack. We usually don't indulge in chips, but sometimes chips act as comfort food.

Out came the large candle, two flashlights, the battery operated radio, my IPad, and Kindle. Readiness, just like the Scouts.

Forty-five minutes later the lights returned. We blew out the candle and turned off the radio. We'd watch the Red Sox on television--in the background.

Darkness. In the dark. Dark horse. I rather like the dark. My imagination conjures up myriad scenarios. I wander in the land of shadows. A sliver of light reminds me that we live in the land of dualities where stars appear against a dark backdrop.

I think that stories reside in the gray tones between the two extremes.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Depends Upon Whom You Ask

How much water does an 18-hole golf course use? Depends upon where you live. Depends upon who is doing the figuring.

Isn’t that often the answer to a question? Who is answering and do they have an agenda. And who is framing the question?

If our agendas differ we’ll have a response that is in concert with our ideas. Recently I’ve been reading a number of Op Ed pieces about the Middle East. Each writer, each editorial, makes a case for their opinion—sometimes leaving out salient facts or highlighting specific facts.

Even when everyone agrees on a problem—the solutions may differ—often drastically. The drought in the Colorado Basin area is not conjecture. The lower water level of Lake Mead is a reality. The use of ground water is a reality.

So how much water does an 18-hole golf course use?

Who is going to decide on regulations? How will allocations of water be determined?

Sunday, August 03, 2014


Memories come unbidden
A smell, a place, the words of a song
the cadence of speech, an accent
The turn of a phrase
as if yesterday interrupted today

Saturday, August 02, 2014


Imagine using a ballpoint to create a sketch? That was the assignment.

If it was good enough for Andy Warhol to use on some of his art work I could give it a go.

So I took a blue Pilot fine line ballpoint and began to draw...

My good pens stayed put, my mechanical pencil and eraser never left the shelf.

And I found myself enjoying the lowly ballpoint.

Friday, August 01, 2014


…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruninghooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
—Isaiah 2:4 KJV

It’s hot, but I don’t want to turn on the air conditioner.
I’m waiting until it gets humid.
Odd, how we often set up arbitrary pronouncements.
We say, “I’ll wait another ten minutes and if I don’t receive a call I’ll leave.”

What are the Israelis and the Palestinians
saying during the seventy-two hour truce?

What are they waiting for?
Is it to see who will make the first move?
Are they waiting to begin talking?
Are they waiting for a sustainable peace?
Are they waiting to feel safe?