Monday, July 31, 2017


If you want to write a poem 
just go outside and look around
Maybe you recall the way the lilac
grew until it cleared the fence
or how the ice cream truck
reminds you of how your daughter
always bought a nut covered cone
Perhaps you’ll write about the
student you taught who died too early
or the friend who disappeared one day
Maybe you’ll turn your skin inside out
and write about what no one sees
A poem needs to say what it has to say
It must find a pace and a sound
A poem has a breath and a truth
Tonight I’ll write about my small tomato
plant that grows leaves but no fruit
I’ll start there and let that plant
become a metaphor 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Peace Be With You

And you
And you

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Face of Grace

"God's love is pure grace."
      Rabbi Shai Held

Friday, July 28, 2017


     Perhaps I’m a prude, or straight laced, or even a throw back to a bygone era. Or I am under a delusion or what I hear and see is distorted by smudged glasses and labored hearing.
     What is out—civility. It must be an archaic word. Some people rue the day it disappeared while others think it’s overrated. Then there’s verbiage laced with pugnacious words that are aimed at destruction. And recently a stream of words that were indicative of a small mind, a lack of adequate vocabulary, and a vindictiveness and crassness rarely seen in the public sphere. And please don’t blame it on being from New York. 
     Then there’s the inability to listen, to disagree without rancor, to find common ground. And this new universe doesn’t appear to be ending soon.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Unknown

This road is dusty
and it meanders
without signposts
I look for a place
that’s familiar
but the dust
blinds me

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

And I Shall

If as Shakespeare said “ All the world’s a theatre…”
then I shall play many parts in this drama
of the absurd, of the fanciful, of the incredible
I shall dwell in the realm of irrational choice
and abandon myself to passion
My choices, not reigned in by all knowing  reality
will seek out journeys to uninhabited places
and listen to the wind echo
I shall dance with Miriam and play a tambourine
made from seashells and silver bells
I shall sit on the hill with five thousand
and eat barley bread and fish

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Life moves in increments— 
place markers may point in one direction
but you need to wait for time to catch up
Everything can’t happen at the same time
Our lives are lived moment by moment
with interruptions to our place markers 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Some Folks Have it Hard

     I just read a story, a story set in Florida — not the Florida of money. The locale of the story reminded me of an almost forgotten incident.
     Years ago I attended a feminist writing workshop in upstate New York. Forty-five women from fifteen states as well as one woman from Germany and one from Italy made their way to the workshop.
      Troy, drove a rusted and dented red pick-up truck up from Florida. She kept a loaded gun under the front seat, “ in case of any trouble.” The trouble came when one woman wrote and produced a play for our group and any locals who wished to attend the show.
     A gun prop was needed for a scene. Troy volunteered her gun— bullets removed. Unfortunately one of the locals was a policeman who recognized the gun as the real thing. Fortunately for Troy and our group she was given a chance to hand over the gun and forget about getting it back or deal with New York law . You can’t just wing your way through New York with a concealed weapon. 
     Troy surrendered the gun and then spent an evening damning the entire state for its attitude toward guns. She told us that she lived in a rustic cabin in an isolated area and kept a shotgun under her bed. If we believed everything she told us then she only hit the bull’s eye of a target and shot an alligator in a mangrove swamp. “ One crazed croc”
     “And that gun,” she said was a family heirloom. “ My mother could shoot a southern copperhead right through the head. Once near the Apalachicola River she shot two in one day.” No one accused Troy of hyperbole. 
     When we all drank wine and read our writing in the evening Troy drank whiskey. Before the two weeks were up she read a long short story about a young girl who didn’t fit into a community that , “ had no truck with that kind of craziness." 
    "Some kinds of loving," she said, " bothers people until they stomp it down."  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Books. Books Books

Books for the Coming  Week
Some I’m in the middle and some I’m just starting. A few will continue for weeks. A few will be finished this week.

Poetry—I try to read one or two poems in each book every day

70 Faces    Torah Poems
By Rachel Barenblatt

The Complete Works of Pat Parker

The Fields of Praise
By Marilyn Nelson

"Sinister Wisdom  A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal"
Edited by Julie R. Enszer


Hope in the Dark. (Essays)
By Rebecca Solnit


A Stone for a Pillow—Journeys with Jacob 
By Madeleine L’Engle

Numbers: The Wilderness Years
By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Backpacking with Saints
By Reverand Belsen C. Lewis


Often I Am Happy
By Jens Christian Grondah

And I’ll be looking in the library tomorrow—

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Day of Rest

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ten Years of Blog Posts

What will I do 
with all these words
Print them
Bind them
Poems, prose
Words that praise
and words that question
Words that seek 
and words that speak
of loss, of love, of  delight,
of doing things in other ways
So many words
pushing against one another
Words that look for  answers
and words that give answers
Some day I’ll read 
all the words aloud,
and discover
what I was saying 
beneath all those words

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Everything Changes

     I recently connected—on Facebook— with someone I worked with decades ago. I’d like to say that she looked the same, but she didn’t. It’s hard to recall one picture and be confronted with a totally different picture. And who is this person? She still loves animals and gardens. I wonder if she still owns any Persian miniature paintings or the camel saddle she once kept in her living room. 
     Perhaps it is best to keep people you haven't seen in awhile in their proper time frames. What is my childhood friend Joyce doing? She shocked my mother when she earned money in college by posing nude for a photographer. Her father bought up as many magazines as he could find when an artistic photo of her in the buff appeared in an upscale photography magazine. We lost contact so I never did find out whether she continued that lucrative activity.
     And it goes on and on— I skipped my high school and college reunions so I never had the chance of following the changes. 
     Several years ago someone I knew in high school contacted me about a reunion. And she asked if I was still creating ink drawings and writing poems. Yes, both. I skipped the reunion, but did ask her if her husband, also a school buddy, still did The New York Times Sunday puzzle with a pen and a timer. 
     “Of course,” she said. It’s heartening when some things stay the same.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Seeing an Exhibit of Abstract Paintings This Afternoon

Non-confirming shapes and bold color
lines lure me from one canvas to the next 
Paint drips, pulsing reds ,quiet yellows
thick paint sculpted with knives
I am pulled into these paintings
and become attuned
to the palpitations of the scene

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Time Warp

     Every afternoon the ice cream truck passes our house—announcing itself with familiar melodies. In fact listening to the tunes is akin to being in a time warp. Years ago an ice cream truck came down Ainsley Road and almost every youngster responded to the music. Now I visit the ice cream emporium and order a flavor in a cup.
     One of these days I’m going to go running out of the house and order the Strawberry Shortcake or the ice cream sandwich or maybe the Orange Dream Bar. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life 101

a road may look flat
smooth without any worn spots 
but check and you’ll spot cracks,
fissures ready to open and expand
swallowing up those who stand in its way--
who has not stood in that place 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Sabbath

Peace be with you.
And you
And you

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Feel of a Painting

My fingertips
record the 
of the painting
An imprint
in my mind
Both singular
and unique
rough or
slippery or
Chalky or
Smooth nor 
Sticky or
Fuzzy or a

Friday, July 14, 2017

Creating a Word

When you need a word 
you can't find in the dictionary
Find a syllable you like
Add a vowel to draw the sound
out until it needs a stop
Add a descriptive word,
but disguise it with an extra letter
Pause and see if you can enunciate 
this new addition to the lexicon
Perhaps another letter or two
or maybe a common suffix at the end
Now define this just birthed word
A garostweeder : a gardener who
cannot pass a weed without 
a compulsion to uproot, demolish,
abolish, destroy, and obliterate


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Repaired, Redeeemed

     A handmade and attractive metal peacock stands on our front steps. Because we left Flannery—named after Flannery O’Connor who owned real peacocks— out all winter, she developed loose legs. Early in the summer one of her legs hung precariously and all her weight was on the other leg. I attempted to attach the leg with masking tape, then with packaging tape, finally with silver duct tape. Everything worked for a few days and then let go. Then both of Flannery’s legs fell away from her body.
     Affixing the legs to her body required more than our tape. Unfortunately the metal pins that initially held her legs in place were broken. 
     A friend took Flannery to her home where she spent two weeks in recovery. She came home with serious looking upper thigh casts. Now--her legs, positioned a bit closer than in her younger days, hold her body in an upright position. Despite the heavy rain of the past few days she’s secure in her stance. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


The beat goes on
Who  lied
Who told partial lies while
millions starve
Don’t drink the water
in third world countries
People are returned
to countries they no longer know
People are turned away
from countries where
each day is dangerous 
Accept our God
and worship the only true way
Who lies
Who stores their money
in granaries 
The beat goes on

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Only in Reflection

Some folks know how, 
maybe they learned the way
real early, maybe they listened
close and heard the words,
 learned how to give—
Other folks just never learned,
they stood apart and watched,
Later they wondered
about how it could be different

Monday, July 10, 2017

Late Afternoon Shadows

Chair legs stretch 
over the patio,
 inch onto grass
and darken each blade 
 I stand next to the chair
and become a giant
for a few hours

Sunday, July 09, 2017

A Writer Looks for a Story

What to write
when you’ve plumbed life
for threads to follow and all you
found were knots and u-turns
Delve into interior landscapes
where buried stories exist—
Tales you never told hang on
skeleton armatures
Shape them
Model them into narratives,
let them tell their tales,
fact or canard,
trivial or grave,
poignant or frivolous
Let them take a breath
and proceed with the plot,
peeling back layer after layer
until the story finds itself

Saturday, July 08, 2017

A Day to Rest

Shabbat Shalom

Friday, July 07, 2017

Reading Scipture

        Another manuscript and another manuscript,
        Enwrapped, entwined, and coupled together –
        Letters in love with letters.
                A. Leyeles

Page after page, 
a story of ancestors, 
of jealousy between brothers,
of wandering in a barren space,
of complaints and bickering,
of heroes and wise women
who heard God’s voice,
of prophets who raged
against the ease 
of sliding into idol worship
Page after page
we find ourselves--
led to a river,
in the crowd,
being fed,
Book after book of Words
and spirit and the Aleph
of God’s breath



Thursday, July 06, 2017

Creating Text

     Once upon a time people wrote letters—often long letters. They became visits, a  chance to settle down. I recall sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and writing pages and pages. 
     Now I’ve just lost 234 words— simply disappeared into the void.
     I keep track of the peregrinations of my family when  they post photos on Instagram. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. 

I am enclosing a photo of old fashioned wood type. How many words can you make from these letters?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Reading a book review for a book I thought sounded interesting only to discover that every reviewer described the novel as long, drawn out, and mildly dull. Just when I decided that I wouldn’t take it out of the library I  came across these words, “chaotic jeremiad”. 

I love the sound of those two words and the implication of those words. Do people still collect words? They are not trophies, but tools. 

When you look up the past life of jeremiad—which even sounds nice rolling off your tongue— you recognize the connections to the prophet Jeremiah.

  1. a long mournful lamentation or complaint. Word Origin and History for jeremiad. n. 1780, from French jérémiade (1762), in reference to "Lamentations of Jeremiah" in Old Testament.
     Does anyone keep a notebook of found phrases, delectable words, and possibilities for use?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

With Respect To

Life moves forward
 and they forget
to make contact—
perhaps tomorrow
No time to say hello, 
or ask what’s new
No time to connect,
and have a real talk,
 to share thoughts,
and dreams, and then 
tomorrow becomes 
too busy
Keeping in touch 
will wait
until another day

Monday, July 03, 2017

A Washington Free Vacation

     We ate lobsters, walked with the ocean in view—in concert with the ocean’s temperament—sat on the rocks and read, met friends for dinner, and avoided listening to the news— although some news managed to filter in before we had time to turn away. 
     We arrived home and  it was hotter, more humid— the weeds had sprouted—and news surrounded us. Each story a bit more bizarre. “These are the times…”

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sabbath Rest

Peace be with you

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Last Vacation Day

How can I leave these rocks,
 the ocean’s breath, the path
past a cobble beach where
rock cairns stand sentry
until high tide tumbles 
a few into the water
How can I leave
 the scent of the ocean
or the ocean’s ballad