Thursday, May 31, 2018

“Sinister Wisdom”

The link arrived in my mail—archive of all seventy-five issues of “Sinister Wisdom”— dating back to July of 1976. I quickly looked through the first two issues and the names of the writers. The past and present joined together. There were names of women who  were at the forefront— who wrote about the difficulties of being a woman , especially a woman who lived a different life style. Familiar names, remembered causes. Powerful writing. Sinister Wisdom still exists, better paper, different names, — but still powerful words. We have come a long way and yet some of the issues talked about are still relevant.

I recalled listening to Audre Lourde condemn Boston for its racism.

Issue 22/23 A Gathering of Spirit was devoted to Native American Women writers. Some wonderful poetry, some poignant stories. Some stories that don’t change. We still pollute their lands.

    “They say no one died.
      Tiny desert flower
      micro beetle bug
      are they not life?
      Their bag of bones
      blown into the wind
      captured in white dust storms
      washed down polluted rivers
      are they not dead?”
               Terri Meyette

And if you open Issue 35 1988 you will find a poem I wrote under my first and middle name: Linda Frances. I taught in a public school in a conservative town and couldn’t chance losing my job.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

An Open Path

       Spirituality is not a destination.
       It is a journey.
                Rabbi Mordecai Finley

One step at a time
Look at the dew on the grass
and call it holy

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Open Letter to Those Who Refuse to See

Too many lies, hidden
agendas mask privilege—
white or class or wealth

Monday, May 28, 2018

Open My Vacation Bookbag

I am collecting
Eccentric main characters
For summer reading

May I recommend The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

To be immediately followed by a sequel
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

I’m in love with the characters and yes the books might be termed quirky—but filled with hope and love.I find myself smiling.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Being a Fan

8:30 pm
Watching the Celtics play Cleveland in game seven and a chance to go to the finals. We bought wine, but no chips or pretzels or dips and veggies.

My fingers are crossed. I’m requesting divine help even though I know that someone watching the game in Cleveland is down on their knees.

Journalists are writing their stories. Headlines, formulated this afternoon, are ready for either win.
I’ll post this now and spend the rest of my time rubbing my good luck talisman.

11:40 pm

It is now later—I ate cereal as an accompaniment to a glass of wine.
I hooted and hollered when they scored.
Sent scorched earth looks toward the other team.
Recognized that I needed to accept the reality—
Am open to saying they gave us a wonderful, unexpected, and fairytale season, but...
Next year I’ll buy the accouterments to the wine—

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Open To What is Sacred

The congregation
Stands and prays the Amidah
Holy and sacred

Kadosh kadosh kadosh
adonai tseva’ot
Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord of Hosts

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Ice Cream Stand is Now Open. Haiku

We park and order
raspberry frozen yogurt
with chocolate chips

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Yesterday Was World Turtle Day

Mea Culpa

Through no fault of my own I missed World Turtle Day—on Wednesday. Actually this is my first year celebrating the holiday— albeit a belated celebration.

Once upon a time I owned a green turtle— purchased after seeing the circus at Madison Square Garden. This was the big top with three rings, aerialists who eschewed nets, clowns who emerged from VW sedans, lions jumping through flaming hoops, elephants attired in tassels, Cracker Jack boxes with surprise toys, kewpee dolls on sticks, goldfish sold in plastic bags, and the ubiquitous  collection of painted turtles for sale.

My grandmother bought me the small green  turtle, a  glass bowl, and turtle food. My mother purchased a bridge for the turtle bowl.

 I recall settling him/ her in the bowl, naming the turtle with a name that neither sounded too feminine nor too masculine. Even then I sensed that gender could be fluid. What I didn’t know was that a painted turtle was doomed. While I loved the yellow and red polka dotted turtle shell, I never realized how dangerous the paint was to a unsuspecting green turtle.

To a child living in a three room apartment with my parents and grandmother— owning a dog or cat was not possible. My mother grew up with a parrot who mimicked her and she forever turned against any pet in the  avian family. So a turtle or goldfish was perfect. My foray into raising fish had gone amok when the goldfish I won at Jones Beach died suddenly. My grandmother thought loneliness killed the fish. My mother thought the fish looked sickly from the moment I emptied out the plastic bag into the fish bowl. My father believed that the fish had died of a broken heart after leaving his love behind.

The turtle seemed like a perfect pet.

The turtle food container warned about over feeding. But my grandmother— who loved cooking prodigious amounts of chicken soup and honey bread—thought I was starving the turtle when I titrated small amounts of food into the bowl. When I went off to school she treated the turtle to bits of lettuce and more turtle food.

One afternoon I found the turtle in a corner of the bowl—dead, stone cold, not moving, inert. I believe he died of over eating although that couldn’t be proved. Nobody mourned his loss, although my grandmother and mother did acknowledge that the loss of a pet was difficult. My mother wondered how attached someone could be to a turtle or “heaven forbid”a reptile. My cousins had pet snakes.

Because I was brought up in secular household I was unaware of any religious rites attached to the demise of a person or animal. Perhaps, I thought, there was an intricate and elaborate service for an animal. My mother thought cremation in the incinerator was the best way to dispose of the body. My grandmother, whose town in Poland had been destroyed and leveled by the Nazis, did not want the turtle to be burned. My father sat with an open book— probably on the Civil War. My father loved history and vocabulary words.

Because the turtle passed away in the spring and the earth surrounding the last tree on the block was not akin to a block of cement, I dug a shallow hole for the green turtle. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any prayers, hadn’t reached a place where I wrestled with God, and had never buried a pet. My friend Nina attended the burial and she recited a prayer her family recited before they ate dinner. That seemed proper.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Outside rain, but then it wouldn’t be inside, state it again with more clarity/ everything feeds on clarity/ rain pounds the ground and a rivulet travels down a slope until it meets up with a stream / water congregates with open water/ engorged / satiated/ it fills and indulges desire/

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Open Response to Time

Waiting for the time
to move beyond an unknown—
to let go of now

Monday, May 21, 2018

Wanted: A Black Tote Bag

roaming through my email i came across a photograph of a woman carrying an open black tote bag with the words — first bronx literary festival — so i  immediately set to finding a similar tote bag which was not possible because it was part of a kickstarter campaign to raise money and establish the literary festival and if you again flash forward the festival became a reality which hardly seemed possible to many who recalled the burning of the south bronx where guns once were more common then books

i did find tote bags with slogans ranging from bronx native to born in the bronx to bronx cheerleader but haven’t yet found a black tote bag with the precise slogan i want because either the color was wrong or the slogan didn’t quite fit although i’m leaning toward born in the bronx

it wasn’t the south bronx but it was the bronx enclave of four or five story apartment buildings fronting streets where rabid games of stickball were played and small shuls were within walking distance and people knew their parish and the church connected to their address

it was the bronx where men played handball and women played mai jong and children used chalk to lay out games on city streets

so why not buy a tote bag?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mothering From A Book Haiku

You learn how to bathe,
feed, open diapers, heal a cold
but not how to love

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Open Your Eyes and Speak. Haiku

If I am asleep
and no words seep out, I will
dance with silent loss

Friday, May 18, 2018

Open the Fridge. Haiku

On the lower shelf
button mushrooms and toad stools
soften and turn brown

Thursday, May 17, 2018

For Those Who Don’t Fit In —-the World is Not Open. Haiku

I will stand outside,
head up, arms outstretched, and roar—
this world is unfair

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Morning Routine Haiku

each morning opens
with the incessant alarm,
a clarion call 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Secrets Haiku

Words buried inside
wait to speak and open their
stories to daylight

Monday, May 14, 2018

A Tree Haiku

I sat on a rock
painting green spring foliage
and blue open spaces 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Open With Ratatouille Haiku

Fry eggplant, onion
zucchini, tomato, spices
and a pinch of love

Saturday, May 12, 2018

An Open Invitation Haiku

Hold on to my hand
as we walk along the edge
between sea and sand

Friday, May 11, 2018

Lament Haiku

Banded fire red claws
Hinged tail and antennas
Seeks the open sea

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Different Church

It started when one of us mentioned what we once called foul language and is now a fairly acceptable litany of descriptive words showing chagrin, anger, frustration, or simply additional color. It is language— once never even whispered or language that rarely appeared in books —now routinely read or heard without a tut tut.

But from the pulpit or in a house of worship we draw or drew the line. There we assumed that a civil tongue prevented slips into a murky quagmire.

Tonight I received a clip that referred to Nadia Bolz-Weber — ex comedian, present day Lutheran minister, confirmed outsider to outsiders— wearer of a clerical collar along with body tattoos, minister who sprinkles liturgy along with salty words. Several years ago I read her book about how she wanted to minister to people who didn’t fit comfortably into your Sunday best, whose language was peppered with colorful words, who wore tattoos rather than button down shirts.

Incidentally, the church she founded is The House for All Sinners and Saints. And in that church they don’t need to get together to decide to be Open to LBGTQ folks because it is truly a welcoming church—I imagine that Jesus is a frequent visitor. As for salty language— the minister sprinkles it around when it fits.

Nadia may not be your stereotype of a minister. She is no stranger to language not often heard in a church, sports an armful of tattos,and occasionally may be sarcastic —but she’s real and she knows the gospel and truly believes that it doesn’t only mean white gloves and Boston accents.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

No Open Space Haiku

Grubs are not welcome
in my garden, on my plants
Perhaps somewhere else

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

An Open Promise Haiku

Tomorrow I will
finish today’s beginnings
before I move on

Monday, May 07, 2018

An Open Warning Haiku

Candles left alone
may exhale their flames and roam
free and unescorted 

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Open to the Change of Seasons Haiku

we walked through fall leaves
listening to crinkle sounds
meld with our laughter

Saturday, May 05, 2018

An Open Love Letter Haiku

You wore a plaid shirt, 
played Scrabble with bravado
and knew arcane words

Friday, May 04, 2018

An Open Book Haiku

Sunrise brings a fresh
page, new possibilities
to begin again 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Spring Haiku

Buds open beneath 
a sky illuminated 
by a red hot sun

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

To Open a Memory Haiku

I sit on my bed
and play  pisha-paysha with
my grandma Yette 

(Yiddish) a card game for two players one of whom is usually a child; the deck is place face down with one card face upward; players draw from the deck alternately hoping to build up or down from the open card; the player with the fewest cards when the deck is exhausted is the winner

Tuesday, May 01, 2018


      It’s time to look around and check for anything winter rubbed up against—
      the evergreen that carried too much snow and bent forward, the chairs that need washing down before you sit down, a hose that must spread itself out from the winter coil, and the remaining fall leaves once buried under snow and released in spring 
     I stand and look around— the metal peacock takes her place next to a large painted fish on a metal pole, a painted frog takes his place at the corner of the brick patio, a whirligig stayed outside all winter— how else could we measure snow amount and the wind’s breath
     This year a metal tree of life hangs on the white fence
     Tomorrow I will pluck the weeds and sit in the sun
    I will open my sketchbook , take up a pen and sketch the tulips