Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Burmese Food

Tea salad with green tea leaves
sharpen my palate while I dip
triangles of warm bread in yellow
sauce and drink cold water to stem
the heat, shrimp next to pumpkin slices
and zucchini in a sweet sauce
compete with noodles resting in a tangy mixture
I listen to the conversation and
like the food it changes from dish to dish.

Monday, September 29, 2014

At Least Get Your Feet Wet

It's about fit. Some folks love a frenetic pace and constant activities while others enjoy watching the minutes accumulate while they read a long and convoluted book.

Quick drinkers of coffee or sippers of tea, plain iced coffee or an extravagance of flavors, a horse race or a tortoise trot.

Put them together and compromises are necessary. Without accommodations it's akin to wearing shoes that rub or a tight hat.

I'm preparing myself for a large family vacation with scuba diving, water skiing, skin puckered, water loving relatives, in a place where being in the water, or on the water--takes precedence over everything else and I don't even own a bathing suit.

Perhaps I can find a hill to climb.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Whose Freedom

Butterflies cooped up in a butterfly palace seem aimless in their flight patterns. Perhaps they sense the end of migrations or the false heat. The flowers, while real and colorful, lack some variety. Do the butterflies recall ever living in a garden, or being carefree and liberated?

Maybe everyone is not granted the right to see everything.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Metaphor

why so sudden
why not a longer time
before the leaves begin
their cycle, before the
shades of color fade
and a soft exterior
turns brittle,
a scored surface
before a free fall

Friday, September 26, 2014

Once Upon a Time

To love a place from a distance
is to embellish it with memory,
desire and myth.
—Missy Prince

I recall a bump in a gravel road and riding over that rise in the road. If you went too fast the car gravitated—or so it seemed. That's where I discovered that moonlight flickers, or so it appeared one summer. Today the gravel is covered with asphalt, but my memory strips it down to gravel and bare patches.

I recall a watering hole that wasn't on any map. We found it one day and never found it again. We shared stories of what if and one day. The water murmured and we answered.

I'm certain that body of water still exists somewhere and the questions we asked still remain—waiting.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Family Vacation Questions

a rental with
nine bedrooms
for four children
four adults
two young adults
arriving from four countries

how about space to get away
to reflect
to enjoy silence

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Honor the Day

Today is National Punctuation Day probably not as well known nor as celebrated by the populace but nevertheless an important date for all of us to commemorate for imagine the difficulty of eschewing all forms of punctuation think of people reading aloud without stoping for a period or comma why they'd soon run out of breath perhaps even expire from a lack of oxygen  so let us rejoice in the plethora of punctuation marks at our disposal even those we use less often then the period and the comma and semi-colon or apostrophe let us not forget colons and parentheses or the points of ellipsis or the hyphen or question mark or that overused screaming exclamation point calling attention to himself with nary a concern for decorum yet still there are others the genteel italics or the friend forming hyphen and then let's not turn a cold shoulder toward the lesser lights for if more writers used the inverted question mark we would know that it is merely a rhetorical question  I am drawn to the en-dash and the em-dash but will also use the plebeian dash when necessary remember to honor the founder of the day reporter Jeff Rubin who finally tired of errors and founded the day In 2004 with specific suggestions for celebrating including sleeping late taking a long shower or bath having a speciality coffee or tea and a bagel and then reading the newspaper armed with a red pen to underline or circle all the punctuation errors then take a walk through your town or preferably a large metropolis and seek out  egregious punctuation errors until you tire and go home and write a correctly punctuated epistle such as this one

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


rushing water collects
pebbles and stones—
drops them into
potholes left by glaciers

swirling whirlpools—
 boogying rocks

colors undulate
into abstract designs

Monday, September 22, 2014

Creating a New Language

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

            I am Linda, daughter of Minnie and Larry,
            niece of Rose-- my mother's sister.

Minnie who flattened brown paper bags on the kitchen table and drew dress patterns with a pencil sharpened with a paring knife. Who memorized each year's new Mahjong card and played with the same four women for twenty years.

Larry who read history books and tomes on historiography. Who read the dictionary while waiting for his Postum to cool. Who used handkerchiefs with hand- rolled hems.

Rose who wore high heels everywhere. Who smoked Pall Mall cigarettes and ate in restaurants with white tablecloths. Who slept on a round bed with silk sheets.

           Granddaughter of Yette and Max, Cecilia and David.

Yette who went to English classes to learn how to write in "American". Who sent me to the store to buy the DailyForward ,a Yiddish newspaper. Who cut out Isaac Bashevjs Singer's stories and saved them in a cardboard box. Yette who carried coins in her pocket to give to anyone who asked.

Max who believed in unions and was a Socialist. Who brought home stray animals and loved the circus. Who died too early.

Cecilia who placed potato latkes on brown paper and then served them with applesauce. Who kept a kosher kitchen with two sets of dishes and two sets of silverware. Who once bought a purple dress, purple coat, and purple shoes.

David taught his sons how to paint without leaving streaks. Who prayed every afternoon. Who didn't rush, but let the Hebrew flow into the room. Who lost his name when they Americanized it at Ellis Island.

Great- granddaughter of names not known—lost in Poland and Russia.

Like Sheerah I fashioned new dwellings —for words.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Without Thinking

I really wanted to say no
but I had already said yes
perhaps I could change it to maybe,
I'll see, let me recheck my calendar,
something came up , I was precipitous
what was I thinking, rewind, turn back, rewind

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I stacked blocks of time into a pillar
of possibilities. It leaned, circled,
engaging in a dance of uncertainty.
With one hand I removed one block.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Take Back Our Money

I have listened to too many words about domestic violence and child abuse. The NFL spent countless hours explaining how they will now set up new conduct policies as if this is a new issue. Why is it that they didn't react immediately when confronted with unacceptable and violent behavior?

It's disheartening. Every day the newspapers across the country carry at least one story of a dead or seriously wounded woman or child and when that story fades from the public eye it is replaced by the next case of abuse.

When the sponsors began to pull out of their sponsorships, the NFL began a soft shoe and suddenly some players were no longer on the active rosters.

I want to know the sponsors who said nothing, who didn't want to get involved. Since money talks, imagine if women refused to buy the products of those silent advertisers.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Outside a Coffee House

capture warmth
sit in the sun
with a book
ignore cars
and trucks
changing gears
take a breath
inhale the heat

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Union Square, Somerville

Often I need to feel the pulsating sense of neighborhoods—not the suburban laid out, planned, foundation plants, and cookie cutter streets. I yearn for the clutter of a city neighborhood. I like small areas.

I like building murals that aren’t perfect, the flow of languages, restaurants that feature ethnic food, sidewalks that meander, and people sitting —whether at a restaurant, in front of a shop, or on benches.

I like wandering and seeing people wearing clothes that designate their ethnic backgrounds.

I love to read the stickers that surround the metal poles—from unity for workers to advertisements for yoga workouts.

I am not romanticizing the difficulties —but inhaling, as I did today, the creativity of a neighborhood where homogenization isn’t the norm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Chemical List

I want a new shampoo without a list of "ingredients " that I can't pronounce. Go natural, but then I am not familiar with all the botanicals or herbs.

I could spend hours attempting to find out the positives or negatives for everything on the list. But who is compiling the good and the bad?

The answer: don't read any list attached to a cosmetic. It generates too much angst.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mother Knows Best

My mother never left the house without making the bed. I grew up thinking that everyone made the bed shortly after getting up. So I followed her teachings. And you don't just make the bed, but you put some sort of covering on top.

I can count the number of times on one hand that I've left the house without making the bed and that's my whole adult life. "Imagine My Surprise" when I heard  someone on the radio say that people who made their bed every day were 32% happier than those people who didn't make their bed every day.

While I couldn't find any new article attesting to that figure I did locate an article in Psychology Today that also tackled this thorny issue.

In the August 16, 2012 issue, Judy Dutton digs deeper than I did and finds that Hunch.com surveyed 68,000 people about their bed making proclivities. "...71% of bed makers considered themselves happy, while 62% of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy. "

My mother also believed that you showered before breakfast. I wonder if anyone has done a survey on that question?

Another question, what time of day did the people who made their bed every day actually make their bed? I think that may make a difference.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What Did You Mean?

words carry baggage
they stumble on the past
fall over old meanings
carry an edge
depend on sound
the words before
the words after
take care

Saturday, September 13, 2014


just say
what you got to say
don't pretty it up or
add frills and long words
whatever you say
spreads light
or just flickers

Friday, September 12, 2014

The "Just Right "Church

Nothing is perfect. When I looked for a church I wanted a church with a commitment to Bible studies. I found one church within a reasonable driving distance. They offered  several Bible studies-- both daytime and early evening studies. Jeremiah and Job caught my eye. One difficulty: the church didn't want us. I asked someone in the office if the church was welcoming to all folks.

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

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

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

We hoped to find a church home where some other gay folks broke bread, shared communion , and talked about their faith walk. But the only churches we found left Jesus at the door.

So we decided to give the church with pretty stained glass windows another chance. We had once attended a small Bible study at that church and several months of services.

The church featured one morning Bible study and one woman who was out as a lesbian.

It was; however, close to home.

What did we find? People not only remembered us, but went out of their way to welcome us.

We joined a morning Bible study and were told to speak up because a number of the eight women were hard of hearing. What, I thought did I have in common with this group? Over the year I learned how one woman had visited all the continents save for Australia. She probably wondered what she had in common with me. I am the intrepid armchair traveler.

We had the privilege of sharing communion with her when she was in a nursing home.            

Each one of the women in that group carried an inner spirituality and love of God. Sometimes they were quiet during discussions, but when the questions allowed them to speak about their faith their words were heard.

Last year two of the women passed away.

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

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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th

remembering so we don't forget
what happened, to forget means
that we erase the past, the past
haunts our memory, it asks us
how do we want to remember,
what do we want to recall,
why do we remember,
to honor, to learn
to walk in memory
of those who
no longer

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Electronic Calendar

the dates stay in their place
No more meandering to
a better day or a different
season—content to remain
tethered to a time
Unable to change directions, or

Monday, September 08, 2014

Let Me Tell You...

 Several days ago I bumped into Margaret at the farm market. We had worked together for several years until she became the middle school art teacher. I don't recall her ever talking about traveling. I do recall her saying that she had no desire to climb the Precipice in Acadia National Park.

Metal steps hammered into the side of the Precipice allow anyone who is not leery of heights to ascend a steep incline to the top. It's a rite of passage.

" We've been climbing in the Alps and we're going back again."
"Just," added her husband, " need to figure out the logistics of our next trip. I like to do all the planning myself."

Then comes the inevitable question, " Traveling? "

Is it possible to say that I'm an armchair traveler? Train rides-- Orient Express. Mountains--only the highest. And I must tell you about going down the Amazon-- buggy. Let me add the trip across the Gobi Desert and my encounter with a snow leopard.

We're a committed group of armchair travelers hanging on to every word written by intrepid travelers who go places we wouldn't go, and then write nail biting memoirs for the rest of us to read.

If you, too, travel on the words of a story, let's band together and seek out travel adventures to far flung places-- without apologies.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Why Not Dance?

Change. It's a word fraught with disquietude. Suppose the change frays a comfortable place? Change requires abandonment of what was for what may be. Still some people prefer to remain mired in the familiar.

I expect that those souls who take off for places that hardly show up on a map expect  discomfort. That's preferable to staying stock still.

We change the lock and can't get in without a new key

Times change.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Too Many Books

My stack grows
and yet I add more
Mention an author
and I take out
another book
My bookcase fills
with must read, want to read
and why not read
and still I add more
Perhaps I'm creating
a stack for winter

Friday, September 05, 2014

Red Pen Needed

Why do fiction writers insist on including everything? No detail remains on the cutting floor. And the weight of these tomes makes them candidates for weight lifting demos.

 Why do biographers think that every hiccup is worthy of a line? Too much information makes me feel like an intruder.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Unsolved Mystery

What do you do when everything in your Smartphone calendar disappears? Contact the developers.
One of their questions to me -what did you change? Nothing, I reply.

Now I visualize my dentist appointment floating out there on the space highway. Who will find my note about finishing my diner sketch?

Will my future events land in an unsuspecting calendar? Will a person begin living my life? And what will happen to me?

Did I take advantage of my calendar? Did I overburden it with long convoluted reminders, too many alerts?

I never really trusted that calendar--

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

After a Vacation

I've looked in all the nooks and crannies. Under, over, in between, but it 's gone. Linger. Stay put. I 'm not ready for a dismissal.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A Thank You Note to the Universe

sometimes just say thanks
and that's enough, overbearing
words add clutter, just thanks
no frills, no pontificating
just thanks

Monday, September 01, 2014

Early Morning Walk

mist mutes hard lines
softens contour shapes
and then lifts to let the sun
illuminate surfaces