Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Reality Television

Is our country being run as a reality show? The president announces the time he will tell the country, the world, whither goest the United States in terms of the Paris Climate agreement. Will there be a drum roll? We all know the outcome before the announcement. He's putting America first.

Does the president know that his phrase "America First" has a long history and that history is stained with anti-semitism? Does the president realize that climate change is real or does he think it is a political slogan? 

Waiting for the drum roll?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Shavuot Celebration

All night, until the sun
edges the dark 
they study the texts,
the interpretations and
their own way of seeing
as if they stood at Sinai 
They read passages
from sacred books
and see reflections
in their own lives 
This is a night of study,
of delving deep into
their connection to
these ancient words.

Monday, May 29, 2017

So Many

How do you say thank you
to those who died, those
who returned with visible
wounds and those who
carried unseen wounds?
How do you avoid platitudes?
Maybe I want to say that
there are only a few just wars,
but you were sent anyway--
to the just and the unjust wars
I'm sorry that many of you
carry the bruises of war, I'm
sorry that you had to face
the people on the other side
I want to assure today's children
that we will reach a place where
the other side is only
in history books.
But today we remember
those who faced the other side
and we give thanks
 for their service

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Good Book

We simplify miracles into
metaphors and erase
all possibilities
We push miracles into
commonplace and listen
to the silence

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Shabbat Shalom

Friday, May 26, 2017


two sides to everything
front and back
before and after
laughter and tears
if you hold something
too tight
it will take flight
but let it go 
and it will return

      In the Jubilee year
      let the field return
      to its owner
      you will be blessed

up and down 
heads and tails
silence and noise

let it go
let it fly
open your arms
and compass the world
and receive

Thursday, May 25, 2017


My  grandmother
created lace tablecloths
from crochet squares--
each piece placed
with care

You pick up pieces
rotate them,
find similarities
fit them together
until the parts
form a picture
of a life
and if you're
fortunate they'll
be a good fit

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


the assignment:
      take photos of bricks, stay within a small geographical area and really look at how colors change with time, note the chips, the way the brick layer alternated lines, stop and think of clay bricks, concrete bricks, trowels, sun dried bricks, bricks burnished in a kiln, slaves tempering bricks, red clay in Roman bricks, Greek vertical brick walls, Gothic Cathedrals, bricks made by the Israelites and mixed with straw, the Great Wall of China, and adobe brick of the southwest 
      the red adobe brick in the southwest, totem of the sun's warmth, of the color of the clay that became pottery, of the Great Kiva, of the silence in the kiva, of the spirits within the kiva

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Years Ago

I found someone on Facebook I taught with years ago when we both wandered through a labyrinth of who we were and what we really wanted to do. It was a time when you said, when I grow up I'll become or I'll discover. I took art courses at a museum school and created silk screen prints on a home made screen in my basement --hung wet prints on a clothes line and didn't worry about fumes from the solvent.

How do you catch someone up on years and years? You just jump right in and say I taught for years and years in the same classroom-- she traveled all over Europe. I stayed in the same place. I traveled to the Southwest time after time. I can share the colors of the canyons and the way an arroyo fills up with turbulent water. 

But maybe we can share changes, how we become who we are right now. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Gone

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus 

I watched aerialists perform somersaults 
on wires strung high above the ground,
gasped as men on a trapeze swung
from one swing to another,
counted the number of clowns 
climbing out of a small car,
held my breath when the lion tamer
appeared in the ring , sat mesmerized
when women wearing sequined outfits
rode elephants festooned in dazzling baubles,
laughed at clowns with large shoes and red noses
Ate cotton candy spun around paper cones
and Cracker Jacks and popcorn
The circus was magic, a make believe world
of sawdust, contortionists, glitter
and the circus music
For weeks after I practiced walking on a clothesline 
laid down on the living room rug--

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Sabbath

Peace Be With You

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Right After the Inauguration

Writers knew that their words were actions--
along with protests, organizing, voting
Each story, every poem--a revolution
Political satire-- leading to social change
Each sentence a path to activism
Each story
Every poem
The words matter
These words voice resistance

Within two weeks after the inauguration of "45" two new magazines of resistance appeared on line.
                     From their home page..
         "In the increasingly convincing darkness / The words become palpable…" —John Ashbery
         "Let us go forth with fear and courage and rage to save the world.” —Grace Paley


Friday, May 19, 2017

The Long Wait

Some books I gulp down, take them from room to room,
unwilling to delay reading one more page
Some books I read slowly, savoring each page,
taking notes, underlining, highlighting whole passages
Some books I read piecemeal, a certain number
of pages a day until the book is completed
Some books on my to be read pile announce
themselves as literary, contemplative, serious
Others cater to my desire to lose myself
in a mystery, a thriller, a roller coaster ride
Tonight I am reading twenty pages in a book
I find excruciatingly slow
I want to get inside the pages
and scream move this along
you're taking my time
and there's a thriller waiting for me.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


When the winter gave us the cold,
the early setting of the sun
and my finger tips turned blue
I waited for the sun, warmth,
buds and new grass.
I forgot to mention a range
of temperatures that I found
acceptable. I assumed that
spring would know her place.
Instead spring edged herself
into summer bringing record heat
on her coat tails.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What's Next

We're living in the funnel of a storm and every hour another tremor upends what we know, or suspect, or conjure up in our imagination. Who lies, who tells the truth, who lives in a fantasy furnished with elaborate fabrications?
The question for me -- how did we arrive in this place? And more important, how do we undo the snarled threads of suspicion and racial disharmony and basic distrust of the other?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


I usually don't write about politics on this blog, but there are exceptions. Why aren't decent politicians, of all stripes, alarmed by a president who considers being able to boast about what he knows gratifying-- irrespective if it is privileged information. And the boasting results in passing this information on to another country. How can any country or its leaders trust us with sensitive material?

I can't believe that all Republicans are cowered by this man. What happened to honesty and morality?I listened to politicians blatantly lie to back up the president's lies.

Each incident is more unbelievable and yet it passes and we move on. When will the congress wake up and accept the fact that the man who sits in the White House plays with fire-- every day.

Listening to the news is an exercise in frustration, disappointment, and fear. Fear of where we are heading, fear for people in the path of unbridled cruelty, fear for minorities, fear for what we are beginning to look and sound like, and fear for the relentless disregard for truth telling.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Fit

what did they think when
they named you
did your mother call you
the name of a favorite friend,
a relative, someone who
left this earth, perhaps a
character in a book, or a biblical
name, Rebekah or Obadiah,
or Milcah daughter of Zelophehad
did your father call you his name
with a junior attached
what did your name mean
is it a fit, or loose, sagging
did they spend hours looking
through books, checking for
popular names, seeking
unusual names
did you grow into your name

Sunday, May 14, 2017


"Az menn lebt , zohl zein gelebt"

As long as you're alive, live to the maximum
Rabbi Gad

push beyond the ordinary
color out of the lines
if you ran up a hill
conquer a mountain
if you order ice cream
expand it to a sundae
eschew repetition
find a new author
sample a new food
live a dream
stand in the rain
and taste the goodness
give thanks

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Shabbat Shalom

Friday, May 12, 2017


     It's green and grows in the shade, needs fertilizer frequently, likes well drained soil, and needs a place in the garden
     I  dig up rocks and glass and an occasional ceramic shard then add the rocks to a border of rocks and pebbles      I collect rocks 
     we hiked old rag mountain     once reaching the top i found a "fit in the palm of your hand" rock and carried it down and washed it and my blisters in a mountain stream
     i found flat rocks in the davidson river   just the right shape to skip stones and watch concentric circles form on the water's surface
     at harper's ferry i  found heart shaped rocks in the potomac river
     i stretched my fingers far apart and placed them against a rock surface at the grand canyon  and spanned eons
     stories are written on rocks   



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Simple Pleasures

When I sketched a derelict train depot
When I planted lavender plants 
When I sharpened my color pencils
     While reading a mystery
     While cooking ratatouille 
     While folding paper to make a booklet
When I read a passage in Ezekiel 
When I discovered a shoot of a hosta
     While looking at paintings at an art opening 
     While watering my indoor cacti plant
When I unearthed rocks
      While I ate a Mexican dinner
When I ate a Dairy Joy veggie burger
While I listened to a baseball game

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Sketch

     It was too cold to sit on a low stool and sketch the old railroad depot in Littleton so I parked my car in front of a Wine store and faced the depot, took out a pen and started to draw the roof line, contour  building lines, a brick chimney, windows, and countless wood boxes, pieces of plywood, tires, metal pieces, several garbage covers and a rusty stove all stacked in front of the depot, as well as a trailer parked to the side and then added bricks and lines for the window frames and details as well as the trees behind the station
     A train sounded and sped past the depot and I wondered how many derelict train depots are strewn across the country no longer filled with people waiting to leave for somewhere else or traveling from one place to another and then to return and begin the process again

     How many stories were left in the waiting room

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A Possible Blast from the Past

     A list appeared on my Facebook page-- do you know any of these people? Usually the list includes a number of people I know and some who are strangers. This time I recognized someone I once hiked with, taught with, and received phone calls from at outlandish hours. If this was indeed the same person then a small hand blown glass vase, all of three inches high, was purchased during an excursion to a store in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. That vase sits on a bookcase. 
     If this is the same person then she had a Persian saddle in her living room and a miniature Persian painting hanging in the living room. 
     If this is the same person we hiked alongside the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. 
     If this is the same person she hates spiders. 
     If this is the same person she once phoned me at 2:00 am to discuss cows-- a continuation of an earlier conversation.

     So I sent a request to friend her. Now I do hope it's the same person. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

What's Up?

     My newly planted flowers looked cold. In fact everyone I saw today appeared to be dressed for warmer weather. This anticipation of spring and warm days is a yearly rite that disappoints. Some days adhere to the formula, but many drift away to the previous season.
     Anticipation carries the kernel of hope and belief, yet it also may bind one to the future while the present slips into the past. Yet, there's also a delight in savoring what is to come. Often it requires preparation and planning. 
     Yet, this looking ahead also moves days along too quickly. I try to hold my anticipation of future time at arm's length because age has a way of plummeting ahead. 
     Yet, I prefer to look ahead then to wander in the past. The past may be quicksand.
      Don't we all balance on a seesaw?


Saturday, May 06, 2017


     Spring is a time for change-- new shoots, blossoms, and unexpected growth. So to it is a time to take a look at what I've been doing creatively and how to proceed. For the past few years my blog comes out every day. Prior to that pieces appeared in a rather random fashion.
     I want to find a place between those two poles-- neither tethered to every day or a lackadaisical attitude toward posting. So I'm going to take a sabbath break-- an ecumenical type of sabbath. Sometimes Saturday and sometimes Sunday. Occasionally I'll forgo my Sabbath rest and post both days and occasionally I'll post neither day. 
      Also once a week I'll write about the books I'm reading or those books on my to read list. 
      And I'll see how it goes. Perhaps I will miss the daily writing or perhaps I will gain by putting down my pen, or computer for the Sabbath.

Friday, May 05, 2017

What About the Rest of Us?

     Penelope Lively, at 84 , just published her 21st book. No slack in Penelope. No drying up of ideas. No inability to move beyond short prose. I wager she doesn't write six word stories. 
      "Brevity" say those folks who read in spurts and bursts, who digest capsule sized news clippings, and who adore 1000 word or shorter stories. 
     And then there are those who delight in Trollope sized novels. ,
     Dear Penelope just keeps writing for her enthralled audience. 
     Bertha Wood published her memoir at the age of 100. This accomplishment earned her a place in Guinness. Then there's Herman Wouk, a bit better known, who published The Lawgiver, at the age of ninety-seven.
     From a New York Times interview:  
    "And don’t, whatever you do, ask if he ever plans to stop writing. 
    “What am I going to do?” he said. “Sit around and wait a year?” 
     He acknowledged, though, that he occasionally worried what was left to say. 
     “Sometimes, when I’m down, I feel like I’ve shot my bolt,” he said. “But it passes, and I go back to the computer.”
     In fact, his next book is already well under way. “I have written a large section, of which I will tell you nothing,” he said, smiling. "
     So Penelope you have many more years and many more books to go.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Name the ..

     We have our National Spelling Bee and Israel has the Internatinal Bible Contest. " ...which takes place in Jerusalem and is broadcast live across the country." The tournament always takes place on Israel's Independence Day.
     Students from around the world participate in a display of Torah  knowledge and Torah trivia. It's rare for anyone outside of Israel to win-- but it has happened. Three Americans won the top prize--of course this is over a fifty year period.
     You need a photographic memory and the ability to recall the most obtuse details.
     The first American to win--Liora Reich in 1973.
     Who was the first female to win? Yes, it's a coed quiz.
     On May 2, 2017 teenagers from thirty countries participated. In a surprising turn of events --An Israeli secular student won. When interviewed after his win he stated that he studied twelve hours a day for two months. During that time he did not attend school. 
     Day after day study is not unlike some Spelling Bee winners who spent a year studying for the spelling bee.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017


May sidled up dragging promises of warmth, but bringing clouds and rain instead. 

Gardeners and would be diggers in the soil avidly look forward to planting and purchasing new plants. Yesterday afternoon we went to a garden shop or garden farm or nursery --whatever the proper name for those places that entice you with healthy looking greenery and flowers either popping or promising to add vibrant colors to your garden. 

The wealth of plants, bushes, ground covers, trees, bags of soil, fertilizers , pots, tools, bird houses and baths offer tantalizing possibilities to aficionados and overload to the uninitiated.This excess, engorgement, plethora, caused me to feel trapped within a green castle guarded by tickets spelling out the zone needed, watering conditions, soil necessities and directions for planting. How was I to dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the plant, and could I rely on my meager knowledge of nutrients needed to successful feed some behemoth green bush?

I expect some people feel the same way when entering a bookstore or library. What to read, how to decide? I love being surrounded by titles, covers, names I know and unknown authors enticing me with new titles. Instead of a ticket offering me directions, I check reviews to give me direction. I open a book and read the first sentence, first paragraph. Has the writer paid enough attention to craft, am I drawn into the book? 

I expect many people feel the same way when entering a place of worship. They wonder  about the order of service: when to stand, when to sit, when to respond? They may ask, "Am I a worshipper or an onlooker, or even a voyeur watching a drama?" No ticket, no reviews, just a bulletin draws the guest worshipper through the service.

The ticket remains only a preview of what is needed to grow a living plant, the review remains one person' opinion, and the bulletin merely serves as a guidepost to follow a service.

Who said, "Move beyond the fringes and engage." I think it's my embroidery on the lines writ by anyone who encounters the world. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Uzzen Sheerah

                           His daughter Sheerah, who built both
Lower & Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen Sheerah

                                 I Chronicles 7:24

  Not enough, just one line—
           I want to clothe Sheerah
           in a story
           give her a face
I want to hear her words.
I want to know the shape of—
the breath of
this place on the map.
I want to walk
the zigzag of roads—
I want to look hard
at materials she used
test their malleability
their strength
                       I mean to ask
                       if she dreamt of settlements,
                       of thresholds—
                       instead I read the line again
                       and again, until I feel at home
                       in Uzzen Sheerah
                       Magic of names—
                                   Uzzen Sheerah
                                   Uzzen Sheerah