Saturday, August 23, 2014


Each of us is a specific individual, that one and no other, out of billions. I think each of us knows his own mystery with a knowing that precedes the origins of all knowledge. None of us ever gives it away. No one can. We envelop it with talk and hide it with deeds.
Yet we always hope that somehow the others will know it is there, that a mystery in the other we cannot know will respond to a mystery in the self we cannot understand. The only full satisfaction life offers us is this sense of communion. We seek it constantly. Sometimes we find it. As we grow older we learn that it is never complete and sometimes it is entirely illusory.

- Kenneth Rexroth

In Defense of the Earth

The holiness of the real
Is always there, accessible
In total immanence. The nodes
Of transcendence coagulate
In you, the experiencer,
And in the other, the lover.

- Kenneth Rexroth

The Great Nebula of Andromeda

Stars cluster around our table like fireflies.
I pick up the glass
And watch the Great Nebula
Of Andromeda swim like
A phosphorescent amoeba
Slowly around the Pole.

In the star-filled dark we cook
Our macaroni and eat
By lantern light. Stars cluster
Around our table like fireflies.

- Kenneth Rexroth

Kenneth Rexroth

I write for one and only one purpose, to overcome the invincible ignorance of the traduced heart. My poems are acts of force and violence directed against the evil which murders us all. If you like, they are designed not just to overthrow the present State, economic system, and Church, but all prevailing systems of human collectivity altogether... I wish to speak to and for all those who have had enough of the Social Lie, the Economics of Mass Murder, the Sexual Hoax, and the Domestication of Conspicuous Consumption.
- Kenneth Rexroth, Preface to the second edition (1953) of The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1949)

Leo Tolstoy

No matter what the work you are doing, be always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be able to leave it.
― Leo Tolstoy, The Journal of Leo Tolstoy

Sun Tzu

Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Great Hunt

A young wolfhound must meet his first wolf someday, but if the wolf sees him as a puppy, if he acts the puppy, the wolf will surely kill him. The wolfhound must be a wolfhound in the wolf's eyes even more than in his own, if he is to survive.
― Robert Jordan, The Great Hunt

Readiness is All

Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all.
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

All things are ready, if our mind be so.
― William Shakespeare, Henry V

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Emily Matchar


Robert Stone

from Writer's Almanac today:

It's the birthday of novelist Robert Stone, born in Brooklyn (1937). He was raised by his mother, who was schizophrenic, and when she was institutionalized, he spent several years in a Catholic orphanage. Sometimes he and his mother would drive across the country and end up in a Salvation Army somewhere, or a random hotel. He said: "My early life was very strange. I was a solitary; radio
fashioned my imagination. Radio narrative always has to embody a full account of both action and scene. I began to do that myself. When I was seven or eight, I'd walk through Central Park like Sam Spade, describing aloud what I was doing, becoming both the actor and the writer setting him into the scene. That was where I developed an inner ear."

Stone dropped out of high school to join the Navy, then moved back to New York City. He worked as a copy boy at the Daily News, and during his brief stint at NYU, he met Janice Burr, the woman he eventually married. They moved to New Orleans, and Stone found work as a census-taker. He walked every neighborhood of New Orleans, asking questions. He wrote:
"The closer to street level you live, the more you have lessons thrust upon

Stone served as a correspondent in Vietnam for a British magazine, which quickly folded, but he got enough material to return home and write the novel Dog Soldiers (1974). Dog Soldiers is the story of a burnt-out playwright named John Converse who leaves the fading counterculture of California to work as a correspondent in Vietnam and ends up smuggling heroin out of the country. Dog Soldiers won the National Book Award.

Stone's other books include Children of Light (1986); Prime Green: Remembering the
Sixties (2007), a memoir; and Fun With Problems (2010), a book of short stories.

He said: "Writing is lonely. [...] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it's a bad life for a person because it's so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there's not always anywhere to take these emotional states. [...] It's a life that's tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that's not good for you."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Don't Invite them Back!


HPV Vaccine

Given current rates of immunization, somewhere around 2,000 adults every year whose parents had chosen not to give them the HPV vaccine will probably die from a preventable cancer. It’s unconscionable. And doctors will have only themselves to blame.

Charles Darwin

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
- Charles Darwin

Daphne Sheldrick


Nin Andrews poem

My Life after Super Woman

Each night before I go to bed, I tell myself, Do not think of Super Woman. Hardly have I rested my head on the pillow then I think of her rising hips undulating beneath me. I think of her long, long legs. I think of the wind in her hair as she flies, and oh, how she flies. Do not think of that, I tell myself again. And again I think how we climbed the air together. How every level of heaven was our own. How she gathered me to a point. I became like a musical note going higher and higher than I could ever sing
before. Do no think of her, oh please, do not think of her, oh please, please, I think again, and again I think how many others wanted her.

Me! They cried. Me, too. The longer she stayed with me, the more emphatic their words. They could hear our shouts and sobs of ecstasy, and were driven wild. This isn't safe, I told her. This isn’t safe, I told her. This cannot last. You must go. But I could never free myself from her strong, pink arms, her long black hair, her fragrance and salt and sea. Me! I can still hear them cry. Come to me. They flung themselves at our door. They filled the streets below. They brought ropes to catch her with. And chains with locks and keys. And every kind of food and drink as lures. But she remained faithful to me. Only me. She waved happily to those fans but stayed just out of touch and reach. She didn't mind that they licked their lips like hungry dogs. That they engraved her name and face, on their arms and thighs. But at a certain point their enthusiasm reached such a frightening peak. Oh, to be loved by Super Woman, to kiss her red, red cheeks. That became the global fantasy. That was when the hunting and fishing company, Gander Mountain, invented a human-sized butterfly net, especially designed, or so the ad claimed, to catch the super woman of your dreams.

We both knew what that meant. By then the search lights were regularly crossing our ceiling. Soon she would have to flee or die in a net. We huddled beneath our sheets. She had to leave mankind forever to his creepy longing and loneliness and laments. For this is the way of planet Earth. Men trap what is good and true and hold it like a hostage in their hairy hands until it breathes its last.

She was right to go then, of course and alas, because Super Woman is always right. Super Woman who fled. Super Woman who left me with all those horrible hands. Super Woman who said, just before she left, I will be back, love. I will be back for you and all that is true and good. But do not think of that. Whatever you do, do not obsess. Now all I do is yearn and ache and moan. Every wish I say and every yes is for Super Woman alone. Every page I write is written for her, my Super Woman, the love of my sleepless nights, my lost dreams, and last romantic gasp.

Published with permission from the author.

~ Nin Andrews is also the editor of a book of translations of the French poet Henri Michaux entitled Someone Wants to Steal My Name from Cleveland State University Press. She is the author of 5 chapbooks and 5 full length collections including Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, Sleeping with Houdini, The Book of Orgasms, and Southern Comfort.

Loretta LaRoche

Disconnect to Connect

My ex-husband would always berate me when I spoke to a stranger. He would wait , thank God, until the person was out of earshot, and then the lecture would begin. “Why do you talk to people you don’t know?” “How do you know they aren’t annoyed by you invading their space?”
Well, first and foremost, I am a people person. I love to meet new individuals and discover what they do and where their from. I truly, cannot think of one incident where someone treated me with anything but delight that I had engaged them. My retort to my ex was always the same. “They might have been strangers before, but they’re not anymore.”
He was never amused by my response, but that's part of the reason we’re not together anymore. His life revolved around safety and not making waves. Talking to people he didn’t know could be embarrassing. What if they ignored him or acted uninterested? I on the other hand came from a family of smoozers.
I was born into an Italian family from Brooklyn. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other, and if they didn’t they soon would. Wherever I went with a member of my family you could be sure that they would engage someone they never met and eventually bring them into the fold. Not all of them became a permanent part of the clan. But many of them did and it helped create the fabric of my life. My books have reflected the many characters I met and their stories have been woven into my work as a stress management consultant.
Over the years I have noticed that as a culture we have become more and more distanced from one another. I know that technology has something to do with it, but the wedge that has been driven between us has also been driven by the constant fear messages the media fills us with. What if I talk to someone who might stab me if they don’t like the way I look. Or, what if I inadvertently touch someone that is riddled with the latest plague? And after all, doesn’t everyone want to simply get where their going? They don’t want to take any time to simply have a pleasant chat with a stranger?
How sad, not to realize that the world is made up of many fascinating people that could enrich our lives if we simply said “hello”. Just smiling at someone helps create a connection. Unfortunately we are getting so used to looking down at a gadget in the hopes that someone is trying to reach us, that we have forgotten how to reach out to those around us. Remember when you’re looking up you see the world, when you look down all you see is the ground.

Listening is Receiving

. . . they are talking to me because I am listening.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

George Bernard Shaw

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
- GeorgeB ernard Shaw

Lev Grossman

The first time I wrote a sentence about a person casting a spell, it was like I heard distant alarms going off. I felt like there must be a control room somewhere with a bunch of people sitting wearing headsets and looking at a red dot blinking on a map, and the dot was me, and the people were saying, He’s breaking the rules! We can’t let him get away with this! I was writing against my education and my upbringing. I was writing against reality itself — I was breaking rules, and not just the literary kind but the thermodynamic kind, too. It felt forbidden. It felt good.

The story I was telling was impossible, and I believed in it more than I believed in the 10,000 entirely reasonable, plausible things I’d written before.


Screen Time

The Future

by Leonard Cohen

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant.

You don't know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I'm the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide ...

There'll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There'll be phantoms
There'll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You'll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin'.

Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder.

Things are going to slide ...

When they said REPENT REPENT ...

Yoga for Wrestlers


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kundalini Yoga

A friend of mine cured his heroin addiction doing kundalini yoga. He now teaches this in the prisons.

With the practice of Kundalini Yoga one is thought able to liberate oneself from one's Karma and to realize one's Dharma (Life Purpose).

An uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, this yoga style incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat nam ("I am truth"). The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness.

BASIC PRINCIPLES: Using sound, breath, and posture, Kundalini Yoga aims to develop spiritual awareness by freeing the serpent power (kundalini) that is coiled in the base of the spine and drawing it upward through the seven chakras.

WHO FOUNDED IT: Kundalini Yoga has its roots in the Tantric Yoga tradition, which dates back to the eighth century. In 1969, Sikh leader Yogi Bhajan (born in 1929) brought the practice to North America.

WHERE TO DO IT: Kundalini's spiritual center is the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy) Foundation in Espanola, New Mexico; the foundation oversees 300 centers worldwide.

SIDE BUSINESS: The Yogi Tea Company sells a complete line of medicinal and healing teas.

TEACHERS TO KNOW: Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Shakta Kaur Khalsa.

Reinhold Niebuhr

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Audience and Performer

Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor
I spent the past few days reading a fabulous book that I feel applies to teaching and painting and living in the world. I must buy a copy to refer to again.

Quotes from Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor

On your career:

Don't get lost in the fantasy of how your career should be. It's good to have heroes and inspiration, but not good to compare yourself to others, and the career progressions of others. Each person's path will be different.

On nervousness:

Remember that your audience means a lot more to you than you mean to them. Your performance is more than likely one small part of their whole time out. They may have been out to dinner, may be celebrating a birthday, may be talking closely with friends. If you don't perform at your all-time best, it will not matter to the audience, especially not nearly as much as it matters to you.

Sometimes the worst does happen, and in spite of your best efforts and wishes, you wind up being absolutely awful. This is normal. Don't be so hard on yourself.

On the audience:

They want attention, and they want to feel that their presence is special to you, that it makes a difference in the course of events that make up your show. They want to believe you are glad to be with them. If you're focused on yourself and caught up in nervousness, you're taking attention away from your audience- the attention they want and deserve...Their attention is a gift. Don't throw it away. Even if you think you don't deserve it, receive it graciously.

Look at, and pay attention to, your audience.

If you are tense, your audience will be tense too, and will become exhausted.

Expect that the unexpected will often happen. Work with material that is basic enough to your skill level that, if an unexpected event occurs, you will be able to respond to the event, while still maintaining your composure.

The performer has the absolute right to be on stage. The audience also has the right to not like what the performer is doing. Sometimes people will love what you do, other times not like it at all. Just do your best at the time, and be patient, and enjoy performing to the end of your show.

Ask yourself where you can add to the audience's enjoyment. If you do something once and the audience likes it, do it again. If they don't like it, don't do it again.

Be patient.

Let your audience know when it's time to respond.

Periodically you need to be still, or at least slow down, as with dancers, or your audience will become tired out.

It's okay to be human on stage...They love you to be normal, to make a mistake, acknowledge it, smile, shake your head slightly, forgive yourself, and move on.

The key to your success lies in making your audience comfortable.

Do not beat yourself up for not being 100 percent. Do the best you can with what you have at the time.

Do not rush the music. This tells the audience you are nervous.

Accept compliments graciously.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Regional Accents

I love the variations on regional accents. Keep your ears open and enjoy.

William Rivers Pitt


Friday, August 15, 2014

Amy Yee


Start here.

Tibetan Painter

story number 8

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Mysteries

Beauty pulls him into a brand new place. Beauty doesn’t require you to remember; it doesn’t even require you to be you.

Invisible Beds

The park benches have been moved against the wall, and under the trees behind the bocce courts. They are painted black so the homeless can have invisible beds.

Dance Mania

I once spent a week dancing in my living room.

Rage Stage


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Surreal Picnic


Twin Alien Planets


Vacation Spot


Puddle Stamping

Today is a perfect day for puddle stamping!


Mental illness isn’t a marketable disease. I’m sure there are many celebrities who suffer from it, but we don’t have a celebrity spokesperson. There are no ice bucket challenges for depression. Cancer survivors can proudly show off their scars, but no one wants to see ours. We don’t have a ribbon or color. Anyone want to buy a gray Kitchen-Aid mixer for mental health research? And depression is one of the more acceptable mental illnesses to have. Imagine a 5k run for bipolar and borderline personality disorders.

Repairing Humans

Science Fiction Becomes Science-Fact: Two Strategies for Repairing Humans
New breakthroughs in the field of regenerative medicine are allowing us to live longer, healthier lives.

Let there be Light!

Mayor’s streetlight restoration program hits milestone
August 12, 2014

WOONSOCKET – Never mind the Supermoon: If nighttime seems brighter than usual in your neighborhood lately, chances are it’s because all your street lights are on for the first time in nearly four years.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt says more than half the street lights that were dimmed by the previous administration in a money-saving move have been reactivated since late February.

“This is something I’ve really enjoyed doing because it makes people so happy,” said Baldelli-Hunt. “People want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. They want to go out at night. They want to take walks.”


Memoir: Little Failure

I am reading Gary Shteyngart's memoir and loving it.
Read more here.

Robert Bly

“Each of us deserves to be forgiven. If only for ‘our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat when so many have gone down in this world.’”

Robert Bly, American Poetry Review, September/October 2011


When Haunted

You have little choice about whether you can listen to those voices. It’s your actions that hang in the balance.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Watermelons by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Mood + Muse

When Joseph Schildkraut, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, studied a group of 15 abstract-expressionist painters in the mid-20th century, he found that half of them had some form of mental illness, mostly depression or bipolar disorder; nearly half of these artists failed to live past age 60.

When you work at the cutting edge, you are likely to bleed.


Poetry in Police Blotter


Swimming in a Cool Pool


Risky + Humiliating

My “real life” mostly consists of sitting in my pajamas daydreaming about gangsters and sexy spies while staring out the window at a cat.

Improv Genius


Monday, August 11, 2014

2 Ruth Stone Poems

Compulsive Organizer

When you. as they say, pass on,
all of your files and categories
will go blind. For who reads
method that figures the invisible
structures of the dead and gone?
Even your cabinets, your hungers,
your decisions to take a bath
or a shower, or use perfume,
will crash into chaos. Order -
exquisitely tuned to your gastric juices,
to your tactile cravings, to the mad
lurches of your infancy, to your need
to consume it all and be forgiven.


I started out in the Virginia mountains
with my grandma’s pansy bed
and my Aunt Maud’s dandelion wine.
We lived on greens and backfat and biscuits.
My Aunt Maud scrubbed right through the linoleum.
My daddy was a northerner who played drums
and chewed tobacco and gambled.
He married my mama on the rebound.
Who would want an ignorant hill girl with red hair?
They took a Pullman up to Indianapolis
and someone stole my daddy’s wallet.
My whole life has been stained with pokeberries.
No man seemed right for me. I was awkward
until I found a good wood burning stove.
There is no use asking what it means.
With my first piece of ready cash I bought my own
place in Vermont; kerosene lamps, dirt road.
I’m sticking here like a porcupine up a tree.
Like the one our neighbor shot. Its bone and skin
hung there for three years in the orchard.
No amount of knowledge can shake my grandma out of me;
or my Aunt Maud; or my mama, who didn’t just bite an apple
with her big white teeth. She split it in two.

Ruth Stone

I’ve been writing poetry or whatever it is since I was five or six years old, and I couldn’t stop, I never could stop. I don’t know why I did it.… It was like a stream that went along beside me, you know, my life went along here, and I got married and had three kids and did all the things you have to do, and all along the time this stream was going along. And I really didn’t know what it was saying. It just talked to me, and I wrote it down. So I can’t even take much credit for it.
- Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone Foundation

Chard deNiord Poem


We were in bed when a knock came at the door. Our bed was next to the front door since we had given up our only bedroom to our two children and partitioned off a part of our large living room with standing book cases into a second bedroom for us. It was ten thirty on a Sunday night. The knocks resounded hard and quick. I was reading Czelaw Milosz's The Witness of Poetry in preparation for a seminar the next morning. My wife, Rachel, was reading Soren Kierkegaard's The Concept of Irony. "Who could that be?" I asked, rising naked from bed and putting on my kimono. I opened the door onto two police officers. "Come in gentlemen," I said. The uniformed men entered and stood over our bed. Rachel pulled the sheet up to her neck. I stood at the end of the bed. "We're here because a Mrs. Little called. She said she's been trying to reach you since yesterday, but the phone's been busy." I picked up the phone by the bed and heard a faint static through the receiver. "The phone is broken," I said. "We got in this evening, officer, from a weekend trip, and haven't used the phone since we got back. Maybe it was that tornado that knocked it out." The policemen stood sheepishly together. Rachel smiled with embarrassment for her mother. I, on the other hand, had a strange impulse to invite the two policemen into bed with us, but said instead, "Would it be too much to ask one of you to call Mrs. Little back to assure her that we are O.K.?" They were kind Midwestern policemen who said they would be happy to do this. I imagined them climbing into bed with us and falling asleep, while we stripped them of their uniforms and put them on ourselves and held their empty weapons to our necks and heads and groins and kissed each other over their veteran bodies while they slept deeply in their exhaustion. We thanked these men for their prompt response to my mother-in-law's concern for us. I wanted also to tell them, You have given me a larger sense of myself as well as assuring me of something I wondered about before, namely the inherent goodness of the police whose abruptness and armed appearance and lack of tact and laconic style I forgave this time because my mother-in-law was concerned about us and had nowhere else to turn except to you. But I knew also that they didn't expect this and probably wouldn't have understood my sentiment exactly. Strangely, what I think they would have understood and probably responded to if their duty had not prevented them from getting too close to their public was an invitation to come to bed with us fully clothed, for it was late, they were tired, and this is what we wanted.

"The Police" published in AGNI 37.

Kim Addonizio

Manners by Kim Addonizio, Vol. 40 No. 5 American Poetry Review

Address older people as Sir or Ma’am
unless they drift slowly into your lane
as you aim for the exit ramp.
Don’t call anyone dickhead, fuckface, or ass-hat;
these terms are reserved for ex-boyfriends
or anyone you once let get past second base
and later wished would be sucked into a sinkhole.
Yelling obscenities at the TV is okay,
as long as sports are clearly visible on the screen,
but it’s rude to mutter at the cleaning products in Safeway.
Also rude: mentioning bodily functions.
Therefore, sentiments such as “I went balls to the wall for her”
or “I have to piss like a chick with a pelvic disorder at a kegger contest”
are best left unexpressed.
Don’t’ say “chick,” which is demeaning
to the billions of sentient creatures
jammed in sheds, miserably pecking for millet.
Don’t talk about yourself. Ask questions
of others in order to show your interest.
How do you like my poem so far?
Do you think I’m pretty?
What would you give up to make me happy?
Don’t open your raincoat to display your nakedness.
Fondling a penis in public
is problematic, though Botero’s black sculpture
of a fat man in the Time-Warner building
in New York, his pee-pee rubbed gold,
seems to be an exception.
Please lie to me about your pedophilia
and the permafrost layer.
Stay in bed on bad hair days.
When the pulley of your childhood
unwinds the laundry line of your dysfunction,
here is a list of items to shove deep in the dryer:
disturbed brother’s T-shirt,
depressed mother’s socks and tennis racket,
tie worn by soused father driving the kids home
from McDonald’s Raw Bar. If you refuse
your host’s offer of alcohol, it is best to say,
“I’m so hung over, the very thought of drinking
makes me feel like projectile vomiting,”
or, “No thank you, it interferes with my medications.”
Hold your liquor whenever it is fearful
and lonely, whenever it needs your love.
Don’t interrupt me when I’m battering.
Divorce your cell phone in a romantic restaurant.
Here is an example
of a proper thank-you card:
Thank you for not sharing with me
the extrusions of your vague creative impulse.
Thank you for not believing those lies
everyone spreads about me, and for opening
the door to the next terrifying moment,
and thank you especially for not opening your mouth
while I’m trying to digest my roast chicken.

Chard deNiord Interview


Yes, Bly also asks the question in the interview, “Didn’t we used to have more dogs around here—images are so fantastic aren’t they? You just put them down and they run off on their own somewhere.”

Why did you always lie to me? / I thought I always told the truth? Why did you lie to me? / Because the truth lies like nothing else and I love the truth.
- Mark Strand

I’ve got a bird that whistles, I’ve got a bird that sings.
- Bob Dylan

I didn’t send you the pomegranate to write about, / but to eat. / It is from this world where every seed /counts for a day of life.
-Chard deNiord

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Defining Teaching


Hostage Negotiator

I am fascinated by the job of hostage negotiators. Perhaps it's due to my role in my family.

It comes down to this.
Do you really know how to listen?


Host and Guest

Thinking a lot about what it means to be a good receptive guest and a proper host.

When entertaining there's a dance that goes on between host and guest that is not unlike a performer and his audience. It is a dance of control and surrender, or lack of control. A good guest and a good host must let go and be receptive to the adventure. Just like in life.

Whenever I "entertain" I prefer a small gathering of one two or three people since I get more excited than Lily my Labrador and my appetite flies out the window. Even with careful planning my excitement can take over and it may be hours or days before I recover.

When people ask what to bring to my house I always say the same thing. "Surprise me!" I don't want to make demands beyond when to show up and of course I hope my guests will be open minded, polite and willing to receive my environment and offerings. When they are not open or make impolite and cranky demands, I retreat back stage for some quick deep breathing, and self talk, before I go back out on stage.

Why are people so difficult? I think the secrets and customs of the table are dying off.

Everybody eats! The table is a sacred altar. A table changes conversation. It is much different than eating at a counter.

Entertaining is not something I do a lot of for a myriad of reasons, but making a dinner invitation can be a great excuse to clean up the house and yard, and have some fun cooking. I even love washing all the dishes the next day or that night if I am too wired to sleep.

I love to cook for people in their kitchens. People know this about me and I am often invited to be the guest-chef. I could enjoy being a personal chef and culinary tutor. What a great idea!

Brain Health


Sister City

I am very worried about the heroin epidemic. Worcester is a sister city to Woonsocket.

Rebecca Solnit

I love the writings of Rebecca Solnit.

Anaïs Nin

It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.
-Anaïs Nin, volume five of her diaries.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Talk to your Children


Alice Walton

Why your brain cares how you cope. Article

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Dr. Zeyada

The healthy processing of grief and fear works best when those affected feel they are out of danger, Dr. Zeyada said...

...“You are,” he said, “like a prison doctor treating a victim of torture, making the prisoner healthy to be interrogated and tortured again.”

Documentary Film


Goody Two Shoes Muse

Do you have a goody two shoes muse? I'm curious.

Small Apples

The summer has been dry which is lucky for us since we have roof leaks. I have noticed on my walks the apples on the trees are very tiny.
I love the thumping sound of apples falling off the trees. We won't get that satisfying sound if the apples don't grow larger.

Saint Anne's Arts and Cultural Center

Slide Show

Prohibition of Alcohol in 1930's


Michael Pollan




Bruce Levine


5 Historical Attempts to Ban Coffee

Emmy Blotnick

Coffee may seem harmless, but its historical rap sheet is a mile long.
1. Mecca

Coffee was banned in Mecca in 1511, as it was believed to stimulate radical thinking and hanging out—the governor thought it might unite his opposition. Java also got a bad rap for its use as a stimulant—some Sufi sects would pass around a bowl of coffee at funerals to stay awake during prayers. (Note to Starbucks: Time for a new size, the Funeral Bowl.)
2. Italy

When coffee arrived in Europe in the 16th century, clergymen pressed for it to be banned and labeled Satanic. But Pope Clement VIII took a taste, declared it delicious, and even quipped that it should be baptized. On the strength of this papal blessing, coffeehouses rapidly sprang up throughout Europe.
3. Constantinople

After Murad IV claimed the Ottoman throne in 1623, he quickly forbade coffee and set up a system of reasonable penalties. The punishment for a first offense was a beating. Anyone caught with coffee a second time was sewn into a leather bag and thrown into the waters of the Bosporus.
4. Sweden

Sweden gave coffee the ax in 1746. The government also banned “coffee paraphernalia”—with cops confiscating cups and dishes. King Gustav III even ordered convicted murderers to drink coffee while doctors monitored how long the cups of joe took to kill them, which was great for convicts and boring for the doctors.
5. Prussia

In 1777, Frederick the Great of Prussia issued a manifesto claiming beer’s superiority over coffee. He argued that coffee interfered with the country’s beer consumption, apparently hoping a royal statement would make Prussians eager for an eye-opening brew each morning. Frederick’s statement proclaimed, “His Majesty was brought up on beer,” explaining why he thought breakfast drinking was a good idea.

Emmy Blotnick is a writer and comedian in New York. She's a blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. This story originally appeared in mental_floss magazine.

Social Control

In Hallucinations: Behavior, Experience, and Theory (1975), senior US government researchers Louis Jolyon West and Ronald K. Siegel explain how drug prohibition can be used for selective social control:
The role of drugs in the exercise of political control is also coming under increasing discussion. Control can be through prohibition or supply. The total or even partial prohibition of drugs gives the government considerable leverage for other types of control. An example would be the selective application of drug laws… against selected components of the population such as members of certain minority groups or political organizations
Academic Noam Chomsky argues that Drug laws are currently, and have historically, been used by the state to oppress sections of society it opposes:
Very commonly substances are criminalized because they're associated with what's called the dangerous classes, poor people, or working people. So for example in England in the 19th century, there was a period when gin was criminalized and whiskey wasn't, because gin is what poor people drink.

Wendell Berry

It's extremely important, it seems to me, that those nowhere places should be inhabited by people who will speak for them.

I always loved to listen to the old people, and I heard a lot of talk. At least until the 1980s, I was working in the fields a lot with people whose language had not been the least bit touched by the media. They spoke a beautiful language, direct and strongly referential, as far as possible from 'pure poetry.' I grew up around people who would entertain themselves by talking. There'd be a crew at work and something remarkable would happen, and they would start telling about it as soon as it was over. Three or four would each tell a different version of it, and they'd be trying to get the language right.

I've known writers — I think it's true also of other artists — who thought that you had to put your art before everything. But if you have a marriage and a family and a farm, you're just going to find that you can't always put your art first, and moreover that you shouldn't. There are a number of things more important than your art. It's wrong to favor it over your family, or over your place, or over your animals.

I never felt like I had to write in order to be happy. It has given me great freedom as a writer.

- Wendell Berry

Monday, August 04, 2014

Yunnus Quddus

I met Yunnus today! Visit here.

Spiritually Speaking

The Dalai Lama
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.

If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.

Joan of Arc
Act, and God will act.

I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God's will.

If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.

One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.

C.S. Lewis
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

I gave in, and admitted that God was God.

Anne Frank
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.

Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.

Mary Daly
The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ' to sin.'

. . . Yet, it is essential to realize that without the loyalty of women the church and its churchmen would shrivel and die.

It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.

Why indeed must 'God' be a noun? Why not a verb - the most active and dynamic of all.

Maya Angelou
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember

God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us - in the dreariest and most dreaded moments - can see a possibility of hope.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Cultural Protocols


Black Market in Red


We are Street Artists


Hospital Corners

Hospital corners describes my childhood.

Six Bells

Mother rang the bells three times for supper and told us six times means EMERGENCY jump out the window. When I was 15 I heard the bells but nobody else heard them. I jumped out the window and kept running.

Hayden Carruth

From Writer's Almanac:

Today is the birthday of poet Hayden Carruth, born in Waterbury, Connecticut (1921). He attended college in Chapel Hill before serving two years in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and later he went to graduate school on the GI Bill, fell in love with jazz, learned the clarinet, and began to write poetry. He worked as an editor in Chicago, but in 1953, he suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the next year and a half in treatment for alcoholism and anxiety. He underwent electroshock therapy and left by his own account "in worse shape than I went in."

Carruth then decided to move to the rural communities of Vermont and New York State. He began to farm, worked as a mechanic, hired himself out as a field hand, and wrote nightly, sometimes not finishing with farm work until after midnight. He freelanced occasionally, but his income after several years was a scant $600, and at one point he had to steal corn meant for livestock to survive. He kept up this hardscrabble lifestyle for decades, and his poetry reflected those on the margins who live by their hands: field workers, farmers, jazz musicians, mental patients, war protesters, lonely fathers. The writer Wendell Berry credits Carruth's poetry for showing him that there was beauty to be found in places others considered "nowhere" as he weighed his own return to rural life.

In 1996, at the age of 75, his collection Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey won the National Book Award. Carruth died in 2008 after complications from a stroke.

Marvin Bell

Much of our lives involves the word 'no.' In school we are mostly told, 'Don't do it this way. Do it that way.' But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing.
- Marvin Bell

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Hijuelos Novel Twain and Stanley

Twain and Stanley a novel is due out in 2015.

Morning is Sacred


Amy Freed Interview


Brain Health


Join the 'Hood

Move to our magnificent neighborhood!
And 279 Rathbun has a big yard!

Museum Sleepover for Adults


James Baldwin's Birthday

from Writer's Almanac:
Today is the birthday of the American novelist, essayist, and activist James Baldwin, author of Go Tell It on the Mountain. Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York, in 1924, the oldest of nine children in a family that was dominated by his strict, religious stepfather, a Pentecostal minister with whom James had a difficult relationship and who brought his son into the ministry when he was just 14. Those were the early days of the Harlem Renaissance, but still, as Baldwin recalled in a 1984 interview with the Paris Review, "Given the conditions in this country to be a black writer was impossible. ... My father didn't think it was possible — he thought I'd get killed, get murdered. He said I was contesting the white man's definitions, which was quite right." So the ministry it was, at least for three years, by which point Baldwin felt his faith had gone.

When his stepfather died in 1943, James left home, a period he writes about in the titular essay of Notes of a Native Son. He then immersed himself in the international, artistic atmosphere of Greenwich Village, making his living as a dishwasher, busboy, factory worker or waiter, working multiple jobs at once and writing in the moments around them.

An important moment for Baldwin came when he and his friend, the modernist painter Beauford Delaney, were standing on a street corner in the Village, waiting for the light to change. Baldwin recounts in The Paris Review that Beauford "pointed down and said, 'Look.' I looked and all I saw was water. And he said, 'Look again,' which I did, and I saw oil on the water and the city reflected in that puddle." In that moment, Baldwin felt he'd been taught how to see, and how to trust what he saw, felt that from that moment on he could see the world differently than he had before.

When he was 24 and beginning to recognize his own homosexuality, Baldwin expatriated himself to him France with $40 and not knowing a single word of French. He hoped to find himself in a larger context, somewhere he could see himself as more than "merely a Negro; or, merely a Negro writer," a move that would also allow him to escape American prejudices toward blacks and homosexuals. In Paris, he found the distance he needed to write about his personal experiences and the struggles of black Americans from the point of view of not "merely a Negro," or a victim, but as a man, thus resisting the easy categorization of his work as that of a "black writer."

In the '60s, Baldwin returned to the United States to take part in the civil rights movement. He became friends with Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X, and because he didn't see himself as a public speaker, used his ability to craft stories and essays to write about black identity and race in The Fire Next Time and No Name in the Street. One by one, Baldwin's outspoken friends were killed and, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Baldwin was sick at heart. Unable to escape the pain of his loss, he fled again to Europe, which remained his home until his death in 1987. Despite his grief and the anger of the times, despite the harsh tone of his book If Beale Street Could Talk, which some reviewers criticized for sounding bitter, Baldwin always remained an advocate for universal love and brotherhood.

James Baldwin's influence on other American artists, whether of spirit or love or style, is undeniable. He and the poet Langston Hughes were responsible for getting the singer Nina Simone involved in the civil rights movement. Maya Angelou, remembering Baldwin in The New York Times after his death, said that he "set the stage" for her to write I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. He told Angelou she was "intelligent and very brave," introduced her to his family as one of their own, saying she was his mother's newest daughter, and was, in Angelou's words, "my friend and brother."
Toni Morrison, in her goodbye and thank you in The New York Times, wrote that James Baldwin agave her three gifts: " language to dwell in, a gift so perfect" that it seemed her own; "the courage to live life in and from its belly as well as beyond its edges"; and his tenderness and vulnerability and a love that made one want to be worthy, generous, and strong.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Leggo-Makers at the Library

This summer the library has offered a Leggo making session every Friday from ten thirty until eleven thirty in the side room with a million windows. I offered to photograph the participants for today and it was great fun. The kids each titled their pieces and their captions were as wonderful as their creations.

Sewing Divas

Dressmaking class in Mago Kenya

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We have a treadle sewing machine but it needs a few parts. If we can figure it out and find them I LOVE the idea of the mending library here in the 'hood. We have the perfect corner.

Often when I am walking Lily from my house through downtown or over to the Harris Pond reservoir I feel as though I am a piece of red thread being sewn into a patchwork quilt. Each day I have a conversation or two and over time my friendships are stitched together.
My friend Sally Larrick sent me this article that she read on a plane to Colorado. It is so inspiring to me. I haven't stopped thinking about doing this here.

I'd like to start with a summer night of ice cream making on my corner. There are so many kids out playing on their tricycles each night, it could be perfect. I have a vintage hand cranked ice cream churn. All I need is salt, ice, cream sugar and vanilla.

Sitting behind his makeshift "sewmobile" for the greater part of a decade, Swaine says he's been able to step out of his professional purview to create connections he otherwise wouldn't have.

Michael Swaine, Free Mending Library, San Francisco, Futurefarmers, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, make do and mend, collaborative consumption, California College of the Arts

Sitting behind his makeshift “sewmobile” for the greater part of a decade, Swaine says he’s been able to step out of his professional purview to create connections he otherwise wouldn’t have. Although he’s viewed as a “social artist” by some and a curiosity by others, Swaine insists he is merely a fellow citizen, a teacher, and a “guy who sews.”

Viewed as “social artist” by some and a curiosity by others, Swaine insists he is merely a “guy who sews.”

“I never like picking just one label…it cuts off conversations with groups of people,” Swaine tells Ecoutere. “From my side of things, once a month is a small effort and there are many other people doing big important things. My small act is mostly a gesture and for some it means a lot but I think the bigger importance is the example of participating, of being a citizen and acting outside of what is normal.”

Michael Swaine, Free Mending Library, San Francisco, Futurefarmers, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, make do and mend, collaborative consumption, California College of the Arts

Swaine’s project began in 2001 under the auspices of the “Generosity Project” for the California College of Art’s Wattis Institute. The lines of the original concept have blurred over the years, attracting not just people who need things repaired but also volunteers who sometimes take over with the sewing and mending.

Swaine considers his setup an ongoing collaboration between himself and the community at large.

There are also customers, many of them regulars, who like to stick around. For them, Swaine brings out chairs so they can linger. Sometimes people don’t need something darned so much as someone to talk to, he says. The term “mending,” he adds, can take on many meanings.

Instead of the one-man performance piece he started with, Swaine now considers his setup an ongoing collaboration between himself and the community at large.

Swaine has many of these life-changing partnerships. An analog designer with Futurefarmers since 1998, Swaine participates with many of the organization’s interdisciplinary projects, which range from fingerprint-based video games to a hand-drawn survey of Toronto’s city center. His work has been featured in exhibitions at New York City’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, as well as San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Folk Art and Exploratorium.

With the breadth of his experience, one can begin to understand why Swaine dislikes labels. “I think ‘doing good’ is a difficult phrase,” he says. “From my side of things, once a month is a small effort and there are many other people doing big important things. My small act is mostly a gesture and for some it means a lot but I think the bigger importance is the example of participating, of being a citizen, and acting out side what is the normal.”
+ Michael Swaine

Petr Sís

On July 31, 1944 was a beautiful day. Saint-Exupéry took off from Borgo (Corsica) to photograph enemy positions east of Lyon. But he never returned... / Přesně před 70 lety vzlétl Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fotografovat nepřátelské pozice. Nikdy se ale nevrátil...
- Petr Sís

Raspberry + Cucumber are Friends

I had a fresh garden cucumber, Francine's home grown raspberries, plain lowfat yogurt and orange juice kicking around, so I combined them in the blender with a sprinkle of kosher salt and 4 ice cubes. It was perfect. Just remember the cucumber is in the melon family.

Royally Screwing Up

Wow, my parents did ALL of these things!

Kim Adonizzio

It's the birthday of poet and novelist Kim Addonizio. I found her books by accident in my library and fell in love with her poetry. Check out her books!


Do you know WHY Batman is my favorite super hero? Cuz of Robin.


He's a sidekick. And sidekicks can read peoples' minds.

-sent by Carolyn Given, spoken by her student who heard side kick as psychic.

Primo Levi

We who survived the Camps are not true witnesses. We are those who, through prevarication, skill or luck, never touched bottom. Those who have, and who have seen the face of the Gorgon, did not return, or returned wordless.

-Primo Levi

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Running to Catch the Train

My step father turned 90 last October. The exercise he got was running 5 minutes to the NYC commuter train.Article

Hello RI, New Jersey Carousel for Sale!

Maybe Woonsocket needs a carousel!!

4 Movie Quotes

"Anything can be great. I don't care, bricklaying can be great, if a guy knows — if he knows what he's doing and why, and he can make it come off."

—Paul Newman, The Hustler (1961)

"The inches we need are everywhere around us."

"In any fight, it's the guy who's willing to die that's gonna win that inch."

"Because that's what living is! The six inches in front of your face!"

—Al Pacino, Any Given Sunday (1999)

"I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic."

—Burt Lancaster, Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Senator: The war's over. Our side won the war. Now we must busy ourselves winning the peace. And Fletcher, there's an old saying: To the victors belong the spoils.

Fletcher: There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.

—The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Wisest Man

The wisest man may be missing teeth.

Stanley Kunitz

My friend painter poet Jacob Knight, (Roger Jaskoviak) knew Stanley Kunitz and painted his portrait.

From Writer's Almanac today:

It's the birthday of poet Stanley Kunitz (books by this author), born in Worcester, Massachusetts (1905). His parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father committed suicide in a public park before Kunitz was born, and his mother, Yetta, erased all traces of Stanley's father from the house, and refused to speak about him. She opened up a dry-goods store and sewed clothes in the back room, working overtime to pay off the debts that her husband had left behind, even though legally she was not obligated to pay them.

One thing his mother did not destroy were the books his father had left behind, books by Tolstoy and Dickens. One of Kunitz's favorite books was the dictionary. He said: "I used to sit in that green Morris chair and open the heavy dictionary on my lap, and find a new word every day. It was a big word, a word like eleemosynary or phantasmagoria — some word that, on the tongue, sounded great to me, and I would go out into the fields and I would shout those words, because it was so important that they sounded so great to me. And then eventually I began incorporating them into verses, into poems. But certainly my thought in the beginning was that there was so much joy playing with language that I couldn't consider living without it."

His first job as a boy was riding his horse down the streets of Worcester and lighting the gas lamps at night. He became a reporter for the Worcester Telegram, went to Harvard, and stayed for his master's degree. He wanted to pursue his Ph.D., but the head of the English department at Harvard told him that Anglo-Saxon students would resent being taught by a Jew.

So he moved to a big farm in Connecticut, and worked as a reporter and farmer. He sold fresh herbs to markets in Hartford. Kunitz was drafted into World War II, and when he came back, he was offered a teaching position at Bennington College. In 1949, the college tried to expel one of his students — Groucho Marx's daughter Miriam — right before her graduation because she had violated a curfew. Kunitz helped organize a protest of the decision, and the president of Bennington showed up at his house and told him to stop immediately. Kunitz took the plant that he was potting and threw it in the president's face, then quit.

He published a second book, but it was barely noticed. He was so unknown that his third book, Selected Poems (1958), was rejected by eight publishers — three of them refused to even read it. When it was finally published, it won the Pulitzer Prize. When someone asked W.H. Auden why nobody knew about Stanley Kunitz, Auden said: "It's strange, but give him time. A hundred years or so. He's a patient man."

It was more than 10 years before he published his next book, The Testing Tree (1971), and slowly but surely, people began to take notice. He was appointed the poet laureate when he was 95 years old. He died at the age of 100.

He said: "It is out of the dailiness of life that one is driven into the deepest recesses of the self."

Double Rainbow

Last night I made tostadas, something I find to be very meditative. When I finished there was a double rainbow. I ran outside and cheered on the corner with all of the neighborhood kids.
Leo asked me if we can have a tea party today out on the sidewalk. All we need is hot water, he said.
I have a teapot, and a folding table, and a tablecloth, I said.
I can bring the bags, he said.
Do you know the story of Alice in Wonderland? I asked.
He smiled.
I'll be the Mad Hatter, I said.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Circus Bicycles and Anthony Santos Songs

My neighbor in the ground floor apartment across the street has made an upside-down tall-handlebar circus bicycle. He also plays amazing Dominican music on his boombox. I am going to ask him for a play list but I need help, he doesn't speak English! Stay tuned.


Jon Frankel

Jon is one of my favorite writers. We went to high school together in Larchmont, N.Y. He is a poet, novelist, reader of everything and a great cook. When Jon writes about food I go crazy. Read his latest post on steamers here.

In high school Jon read everything. As a kid who had been severely restricted to approved reading material, I was inspired. His mom Marge was an amazing lady too. She let me hide out in their big house when I was running away from home. I remember thinking that one of the window fans in the house had "gone crazy" but it was the neighbor starting up his helicopter to commute to NYC, 17 miles away.

Roz Chast Memoir


Around the World Continued

Sunday afternoon we returned to Onisie's church picnic festival.

We met Laurentiu Rotaru, a Romanian opera singer whose wife is from the same little town in Transylvania as Fr. Onisie. He's performing La Bohème in a few weeks. I love opera!

We met Father Anthony Perkins from St. Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox onion-domed church on Harris Ave. They are still rebuilding from the fire.

Then my lovely niece Rose and I walked down Edgewater Drive to Harris Pond so Lily could swim.

After delicious Romanian picnic leftovers Bill and I watched Bored to Death and laughed until we cried.

A great day. And an amazing weekend.

Poet John Ashbury

from Writers Almanac today:

I don't quite understand about understanding poetry. I experience poems with pleasure: whether I understand them or not I'm not quite sure. I don't want to read something I already know or which is going to slide down easily:
there has to be some crunch, a certain amount of resilience.
-John Ashbury

At North Farm

Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?

Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?

-John Ashbury

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Around the Block, Around the World

Yesterday was a magical day. Father Dennis Reardon from All Saints Church came down the street to meet Father Onisie Maror of Saint John the Baptist Romanian church at this weekend's outdoor church picnic. I have been telling them about each other and how I wanted them to meet to help the neighborhood. It was a great moment to see. They hugged and talked. They both care about the neighborhood and they are both mesmerizing story-tellers. They laugh when I tell them that my family religion was psychiatry.

We need to continue to heal the 'hood through good connections to improve the lives of the residents. We need to educate the landlords. We have had a lot of incidents requiring emergency assistance from the police force and the fire department, most of which could've been prevented had there been some adult supervision.

Our library is the living room to the City for so many residents. It is summer camp and daily free lunch for the kids and an oasis for the seniors. It is a place to get warm and have community in the winter as well. The librarians are all helpful and kind and passionate about their work. Books are salvation. My wish is that we could expand the library further, expand what works well in our city. My fantasy is that we could add a community pool where kids can learn to swim for free, and learn to lifeguard too. We could add a community kitchen where we can teach cooking of all nations. Maybe we could even have the animal rescue adoptions building here too. If I was a philanthropist I would work to make this happen.

At dusk I gave a copy of Sol A Sol to the owner of the Dominican Mini Mart across the street from my house. She was sitting out front with the other mothers and the gang of five-year-olds. She does not speak much English and I can't speak Spanish but she read the poems aloud in Spanish and the titles in English! I feel like I should learn Spanish as a gift to the neighborhood.

Today I met Tom Thipphavong in the parking lot of the Elks Club when I walked by with Lily. People were dressed up carrying bowls and baskets of food and flowers into the hall. Monks were dressed in orange. He and his friends invited me to join the festivities at noon. They are Lao-Americans and their Buddhist temple is on Railroad Street. Today's celebration was special, Boun Khao Phansa so they had rented the Elks hall. I told him about Fathers Dennis and Onisie meeting at the festival yesterday. I ran home to get Bill, and we went to the hall in time to have a delicious lunch and meet a lot of new people. They blessed us with chrysanthemums dipped in holy water.

The most amazing Woonsocket weekend of going around the world by just going around the block continues . . .

Saturday, July 26, 2014

José Manuel Calderón - First artist to record Dominican Bachata


Anthony Santos ~ Bachata


Here too.

Entre dos Aguas ~ Paco de Lucia



Sometimes I realize how precious life is and how powerful and strong love is.

Brain Age

We are in the dawning age of brain research.
Interesting article on creativity madness and the brain.

In A Beautiful Mind, her biography of the mathematician John Nash, Sylvia Nasar describes a visit Nash received from a fellow mathematician while institutionalized at McLean Hospital. “How could you, a mathematician, a man devoted to reason and logical truth,” the colleague asked, “believe that extraterrestrials are sending you messages? How could you believe that you are being recruited by aliens from outer space to save the world?” To which Nash replied: “Because the ideas I had about supernatural beings came to me the same way that my mathematical ideas did. So I took them seriously.”

Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill. And some people, like John Nash, are both.

Inspiring Astronaut

Tanzanian astronaut propelled by potato salad.Here

Generous Donation to Psychiatric Research

Son's mental illness prompts generous donation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good Omen

Yesterday I found three hundred dollars on the ground in joss paper and five dollars in Monopoly money.

Raymond Carver Poem

What the Doctor Said

by Raymond Carver

He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
Something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

"What the Doctor Said" by Raymond Carver, from All of Us: Collected Poems. © Harvill Press, 1996.

Bread for Poems

My new hobby is cleaning the Streets of Paris. Did you know Woonsocket is the Paris of New England?

I was out trimming my bushes this morning. It was quiet and the air was clean. I felt like I was giving the Tasmanian Devil a haircut.

My neighbor Eddie crossed the Street and told me a few jokes. We laughed our heads off, a great way to start the day.

Then he ran home to get three new poems he had written and read them to me. They were excellent.

I ran inside to get with one of my fresh baked baby breads, a sourdough wheat oat cornmeal bread with poppy seeds and sunflower seeds.

"Bread for poems," I said, handing him a loaf.

The House that Sweaters Built


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Turn

A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.
– Helen Keller


To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals.
– Buddha

John Adams

Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.
- John Adams

Danny Kaye

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.
– Danny Kaye


The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
– Socrates