Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've discovered I love beets. As a painter I find magenta food particularly amazing to eat! Borscht, along with cabbage, potatoes, kasha, sourdough breads, and beans are my heritage foods. Although I didn't grow up eating them, I've been gravitating towards them for decades along with plain yogurt and accordion music! My Russian, Polish and Hungarian Jewish ancestors would drink clear hot tea in a glass, sipping it through sugar cubes held in their mouths! I can't help thinking these cravings are coded messages deep within me that have risen to the surface like rocks in the spring soil.


I canceled my long distance phone service to continue to support my cauliflower habit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finger Food

In the cemetery I passed a marble Mary statue, palms up with the thumbs broken off. The Jesus statue was missing all of his fingers when we first moved here. The kids would play touch football all around him on the All Saints Church lawn. Now there's a harlequin Great Dane guarding the statue, frustrated by his postage stamp-sized yard, and Jesus has his fingers again. Why didn't the church get a Saint Bernard?

I swam in the river today. I saw our Giguere & Marchand oil man working at one of the houses near the swim spot and said hi. He smiled and said, "You're a long way from home!" He asked me if my dog would eat a biscuit. I laughed and said, "Is the Pope Catholic?" The oil man gave me two large Milkbone dog biscuits to give Lily. She inhaled one; the other I hid in my hand for bribing in case she started to wander while I was swimming. When we got to the river, Lily swam out to fetch a stick while I put on my bathing suit. Before I jumped in I put the dog biscuit in the crook of a nearby sapling. Our swim was quick, I got changed, and we headed home. When I got home I remembered the dog biscuit in the tree! Now some raccoon is having a great snack.

Big Lily

Big Lily dog weighs so much that when I am concentrating I can't tell if Lily or Bill is climbing the stairs into my office, or if Bill or Lily have walked into the room until I look up, of course.

Social Street

Jim + Bill were out having a smoke on Social Street under the yellow-leafed Sycamore trees. They loved Lily! She climbed up and kissed each of them. Good watchdog they asked? I said she kisses to the death! Jim said he had a Bichon Frisse puppy but it would always throw up when riding in his Jeep. Too bumpy, I said! He nodded. So he got her a convertible and the problem was solved! Bill said he had a Doberman Pinscher that rode with him on his motorcycle when it was a puppy. When it got big he would ride holding out a leash and the dog ran alongside him until one day it bloodied it's pads from running long distance on the asphalt. So then they switched to riding on dirt roads. Smart dog, very smart dog, he said.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Success is being engaged in your art and having a community of peers who inspire each other.

Swim Season

I swam in the river today with Lily. The neighbors are beginning to tease me when they see me walk by with my wet hair and wet dog. I tell them I hope to swim until skating season, then I will skate!

A Good Life!

Although we barely pay our way, we are doing the things we wholeheartedly believe in! And sometimes it feels like our life has no wasted motions! We're either reading, writing, painting, tuning pianos, playing gigs, parading, dancing, baking sourdough bread, incubating yogurt, toasting oats for granola, walking Lily, swimming in the river, eating apples, patching our jeans on the sewing machine, laughing, crying or sleeping. A good life!


We had a great three days of shows at The Chester Meeting House this weekend and I wish it was ongoing for ten more days!

The magic of playing in an ensemble is we are all able to mirror each other and the music is a celebration of this alchemy of love and admiration.

I am feeling great hope for how we are all blossoming from each other's sparks and insights!

James Thurber

Humor is a serious thing. I like to think of it as one of our greatest
earliest natural resources, which must be preserved at all cost.

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything.

The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only
limitations those of libel.

-James Thurber

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cinnamon Girl

A girl in the neighborhood rang the bell yesterday. She wanted to give me a letter and a cinnamon candle. I sat down on the back steps and read the letter while she was standing there. It was a love letter!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Doing your art is the ultimate in self love and the ultimate in being subversive.


My favorite thing to do ever since I was a kid is pull the curtains closed, crank up the music, and dance in the full-length mirror to work out my moves. Even though I am shy I love to break-in a dance floor! Even to this day my heart pounds fast and I fill with excitement and adrenalin when I see an empty dance floor while music is playing because I know what I must do! One of my earliest memories is of doing the twist in the center of an empty white dance floor at my parents' honeymoon in Jamaica. I was 5. I thought my stepfather was Cuban just like Ricky Ricardo. They both had the same hairdo and they both listened to boogaloo.

Dirtland Poet

Not everybody has a farmer
for a grandfather
and that is why
there are so few poets
in the world.
Not everyone gets told
“This isn’t just dirt
you’re walking on,
not just any dirt,
and not just for
turning fingernails black.
This dirt is where you come from.
This dirt goes through you
and is in you all the time.
You like to eat
your grandma’s bread
try doing it without the dirt
it grew from.
When you drink milk,
thank the cow
that ate the grass
that rose from this dirt.
You like red steak
try getting it
without the dirt
that went into it.
You learn to treat dirt right.
And you can start
by calling it soil,
and remember to bless
all the crawlies
that keep it stirred
and don’t forget to kneel down
and thank the sun it came from.”
-Dwayne Thorpe


I am steering the car while my mother drives by leaning from left to right in the back seat.
-A dream I had at age 11, 1972.

I am walking home from school in Larchmont, New York. For some reason my social studies book is way out on the highway (Rte 95). I fly up from the sidewalk on the overpass, swoop down towards the highway traffic, and pick it up. I fly home and tell my mother, "I can fly!" "Prove it," she says. And I fly around the room.
- A dream I had at age 13, 1974

Tobias Wolff

Anyone who survives adolescence has enough to write about for the rest of their life.
-Tobias Wolff

The best writing is writing that trusts the reader.
-Tobias Wolff

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hot September

It was 80 degrees today. I swam in the ice cold river again. I wish I could swim outside through the winter. I'd join the Brighton Beach Polar Bears if I lived in my grandparents' old neighborhood. They were right next to the boardwalk, 711 Brightwater court, top (6th) floor. I'd sit on the end of one of their pink twin beds and all I'd see was ocean and Grandma's gigantic mirrored vanity! When we were 4 and 6 my sister and I would play in the vanity cave where the chair would usually sit. It was a box of mirrors and made a reflection that was an infinity of us. We'd sing and clap our hands and be our own chorus line. Grandma would feed us chunks of cantaloupe and honeydew to eat with toothpicks after a day on the beach. Grandpa would sit on the windowsill watching the sunbathers in bikinis through his binoculars. On rainy days he'd play golf on the green living room carpet.


I just pumped up my tires and rode my black antique three speed bike with missing fender to Fernandes Produce Market and loaded up with red bell peppers, cauliflower, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, zucchini, cukes and pedaled home with my little wicker basket filled, and my back pack stuffed. It's a good day. It's supposed to be 80 degrees! After work I hope to bake a purple plum pie and swim in the ice cold river!


Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. -Mahatma Gandhi


Dawn is my friend.
I am not sure why,
she doesn't talk much
although she is very colorful.

I never feel like I am missing
when I go to sleep at nine,
but I always feel sad
to miss the dawn.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Headless Maiden

I was walking through the cemetery today and I saw the headless maiden statue with a huge black crow standing where her head used to be. I stood and watched for a while. Then Lily and I continued on to the river and we both jumped in. The water was so cold it was hard to catch my breath, like drinking vinegar! But it felt great.


As long as a human being worries about when he will die, and what he has that is his, all of his works are zero.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eye Test

I wanted eyeglasses so badly when I was in 3rd grade I faked the school eye test. The school nurse sent me to an eye doctor and he figured out my game and told my mother. I was so embarrassed. Now I am almost 49 and I need a magnifying glass to read the phone book. When I took my eye test in order to renew my license I couldn't tell which way the E's were facing. Nobody was around. It was the day after Christmas, the eve of my birthday. The lady giving the exam told me the answers, she wanted to go home. Only in Rhode Island I thought. Good thing I don't drive!

Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit was the only news
that made it into the brick fortress
where I spent my childhood.
I was fascinated and amazed
by an acrobat performing
on a high wire strung
between the very tops
of the Twin Towers!
Not my Mother and Father,
those immovable pillars,
who were unaware of the acrobat
suspended between them.

-Emily Lisker

Neighborhood Adventure

I just headed out to walk to the library and Genesis, the girl next door, asked me if she could come along. I said sure if it's okay with your mom and dad. So I waited on the sidewalk with Lily while she ran up to ask her parents. She told me her dad used to take English classes at the tall building we passed, but he had to quit when he got a job. Now she is teaching her father English. I said do you make him have a conversation, to teach him? She laughed. We walked on the green paths and I tied up Lily to the lamp post in front of the library and we went in to get my stack of books at the circulation desk. Genesis looked to use the computer in the children's room but they were all occupied. So we sat on the grass next to Lily and looked at my books together. Then we headed home. When we got back to Rathbun Street there was a guy walking by with a creature in his hands. I asked him if it was an iguana. He said no, it's a baby alligator. He'll grow to be 15 feet, he said! It was small enough to fit in his hand! What's his name I asked? Danger, he said. Do you keep him in a tank? Can he breathe without water Genesis asked? Then Genesis asked the young man if he spoke Spanish. He said yes and they spoke a few words. I said What did you say? She said I asked him if the alligator has bitten him and he said Not yet! And we all laughed. I noticed the alligator was smiling. Then Genesis wanted to cross the street to pick up all the pretty colored leaves that had fallen on the ground next to the health center. She said she wanted to press them between wax paper and then she picked a pink rose from the bush next to the empty apartment house. When we got to my house I ran in to get her a few sheets of wax paper and I gave her the peach I had promised her and a Cortland apple from the orchard.

Red and Blue

Today Mario the plumber came to fix the three leaking pipes leading to the boiler
He replaced the broken metal pipes with red plastic pipes and blue plastic pipes. Just like veins to the heart. I said! He shut off the house water to perform the heart surgery. While I prepared my lunch I remembered living in a tipi in North Carolina with no plumbing! I hope we can stay warm this winter I said because we never turn up the heat past 50. Where there's a will there's a way, he said. We talked about the origin and meaning of names I told him Bill's name means Helmet of will; Willhelm. And my name means Emulate. I told him I would look up his name. When he left I looked it up. Mario means manly, I can't wait to tell him!

Sam Hamill

The Orchid Flower

Just as I wonder
whether it's going to die,
the orchid blossoms

and I can't explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure

comes from one small bud
on a long spindly stem, one
blood red gold flower

opening at mid-summer,
tiny, perfect in its hour.

Even to a white-
haired craggy poet, it's
purely erotic,

pistil and stamen, pollen,
dew of the world, a spoonful

of earth, and water.
Erotic because there's death
at the heart of birth,

drama in those old sunrise
prisms in wet cedar boughs,

deepest mystery
in washing evening dishes
or teasing my wife,

who grows, yes, more beautiful
because one of us will die.

-Sam Hamill

New Year

Yesterday morning I baked raisin almond sunflower sourdough breads using leftover whey from making yogurt cheese. I am writing my first Polka! At 4PM we went to the river while the sun was pointing at us. I swam with Lily and it was ice-cold! I loved it but I didn't linger. We stopped at the BIG APPLE apple orchard in Wrentham and got 1/2 a bushel of peaches (seconds) and big fat shiny Cortland apples. A great way to start the new year.

My Polka

Down at the Local Deli

I want to smell like a Jewish Deli,
Pickle juice in my hair,
Down at the local deli,
Everyone's noshing there.

Kreplach, kugle, lots of struedel,
Rye bread everywhere,
Down at the local deli,
Your relatives will be there.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

John Haag

If a Simple Meditation Works, Trust It

Somewhere a disaster, however small, is refusing
to happen. An infant falling from a 6th-story window
lights uninjured on an awning. This time the mouse
escaped the cat, the gnat evaded the nighthawk.
Someone said Yes when who’d have thought it.
Hundreds of mineshafts didn’t quite collapse
and John Wayne missed on his first shot. Well
I admit my luck hasn’t been all bad. And since
each instant, once it arrives, will be exactly
like this instant, I have a lot to think about:
A jackknife at the bottom of a lake; an asteroid
in someone else’s galaxy; your warm night-smell—
things too far or too near for ordinary attention.
Six weeks from now I’ll pack up and drive East,
and I’ll say, Here I am driving East, as I knew
I would. And each mile will be its particular mile
and I'll be there just as I am here, and just as
I will be the moment I know I’m dying, which will be
the same instant I’ve always lived for, and it’s been,
all the way, a fantastic instant, and I’m convinced
it’s worth more than ordinary attention.

-John Haag

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blushing Hydrangea

The bushes of white hydrangea look like Sheepdog heads. Now they are blushing rose. They look like they've been spray-painted!

Ice Cold

I walked with Lily to the pond today. I was warmed up from the walk so I jumped in too. The water was ice cold. I didn't linger. When I was about to put my sneakers back on Lily ran ahead following a scent and I dropped my back pack and ran after her barefoot! Luckily she had stopped to sniff something so I was able to catch up with her. On the way home Lily rolled on the neighbors freshly-cut grass and it made her turn grass-stain green. The neighbor said he lost his yellow Lab after 13 years and he's afraid to get attached again. I said that's what life's about; love and loss. A neighbor came over to ask if we heard about the recent death of the local priest. He jumped from the Newport Bridge. He had been in Viet Nam and Iraq and had brought the local church out of financial trouble. I said I'm sorry. When I passed Armand's house he shouted "Did you go swimming?" Yes I said, and it was cold! He laughed. This is the best time of year if you like contrasts. And I do.


I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being.

-Hafiz, from I Heard God Laughing, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Come Dance




Has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don'ts,

Not the God who ever does

Anything weird,

But the God who knows only four words

And keeps repeating them, saying:

"Come Dance with Me,"



-Hafiz, from The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky


The valve inside our ancient yellow toilet broke yesterday and we had to shut the house water off and call Mario. Mario is Woonsocket's favorite plumber and he is the sweetest man in town. He came right over and Lily put her paw on his left and right shoulder and licked his face. He loved it! We got to share stories and local gossip. Lily loves men and I've never been so happy to have a broken toilet. He's coming back to fix three long standing leaks in our boiler pipes today!

Random Henry

Visit Random Henry; a blog of random facts, anecdotes, reminiscences about poet Henry Hale Gould.

A Poem

A poem is a painting made with words.
A song is a poem you can eat.

Some Kiss

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body.

begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!

At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.

Breathe into me.

Close the language-door and
open the love window.

The moon
won't use the door, only the window.


Translated by Coleman Barks


Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.



Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them,
"Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud;
Someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,
This great pull in us
To connect.

Why not become the one
Who lives with a full moon in each eye
That is always saying,
With that sweet moon

What every other eye in this world
Is dying to

-Hafiz, from The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky


Dance when you're broken open.
Dance when you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you're perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top,
Maybe you don't hear that tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.
Close the ears on your head,
that listen mostly to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see, and hear.
Music. Dance.
A brilliant city inside your soul!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The whole of this world and its container, the universe, is made up of symbols, each standing for a purpose of creation. In this world there are no lights more conspicuous than the Sun and the Moon; symbols of knowledge, seen and unseen, which enable us to explore the life here and the life to come.


Drama drains our energy and moves us away from implementing positive change.
-Janice Taylor

Wednesday Quotes

Time is the wisest counselor of all.

Having knowledge but lacking the power to express it clearly is no better than never having any ideas at all.

We do not imitate, but are a model to others.

I don't wish to be everything to everyone, but I would like to be something to someone.

The pain we feel when someone leaves our life is in direct proportion to the joy they bring while a part of our life for a few moments.

Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes... just be an illusion.

I didn't ask for it to be over. But then again I didn't ask for it to begin. For that's the way it is with life, as some of the most beautiful days come completely by chance. But even the most beautiful days eventually have their sunset.

Listen closely as those around you speak; great truths are revealed in jest.

The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
-Richard Moss

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jon Frankel

The Things That You Wanted

the things that you wanted
are in the bag
grapes and clementines
and a 59 cent comb
(there was a full jar
and I could have gotten 2)

when I feel this way
(your head on a pillow of snow
the remote control near
your spotted hand)
I can't do more
than write a few notes
and leave them on the table
at the top of the stairs
counting keys just to count
something that will add up
looking from the fire to the window
listening to Caspar growl
boot tread full of ice
melting in the Persian rug

the same thing that holds you
the grip of the same eyes
in the same hand holds me
and I am too sad to breathe
the inexhaustible need
a furnace in the heart

my resistance peals in the valley where
doors and windows are lit and closed
and there are no ears

-Jon Frankel

Mary Oliver

Let me
Keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.

-Mary Oliver

Alice Sebold

You save yourself or you remain unsaved.
-Alice Sebold

John Steinbeck

If we could learn to like ourselves, even a little, maybe our cruelties and angers might melt away.
-John Steinbeck

Summer Ice Floes

Yesterday I spent the afternoon playing my baby red Hohner accordion and my bari sax jamming along with the CD Jolly Jump Jive! It's never to early to start working on the holiday favorites! Then, at sunset I walked to the river and dove in. It was very cold, but it felt great! I truly wish I could keep swimming until I have to dodge the ice floes.

A Giver

You are going to have to give and give and give and give, or there’s no reason for you to be writing. You have to give from the deepest part of yourself, and you are going to have to go on giving, and the giving is going to have to be its own reward. There is no cosmic importance to your getting something published, but there is in learning to be a giver.
-Anne Lamott

Every Story

Every story about life includes a story about death,
but if you are lucky it is also a story about love.

Soap and Water

When I was two years old my mother would put out a green plastic tupperware bowl with a squirt of yellow dish soap and warm water and a big pink sponge out on the gravel driveway and I would sit there playing, engrossed for hours.

In college I got a job washing dishes at a fancy Italian restaurant. When I called home to tell my mother I loved my job she screamed back at the top of her lungs

When I ran away from home I stayed at a house with seven university students while I hunted for a job and an apartment, I baked bread and washed the dishes - they let me stay for weeks!

When I visit people, I always wake too early, and after supper I'm often too shy to socialize, so in both cases I sneak into the kitchen and wash the dishes. I am usually invited back.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Annie Leibovitz

The camera gave you a license to go out alone into the world with a purpose.
-Annie Leibovitz

Jeffrey Barnes

Music is more important than a lifestyle accessory. It's soul medicine.
-Jeffrey Barnes

Saturday, September 12, 2009


What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.


Friday, September 11, 2009


Intensity will do the work. Put yourself in a position where you can be intense. You can be intense when you're alone, or with a person that you truly love, really, really love.
-Robert Bly

Martín Espada

Blessed Be The Truth-Tellers

by Martín Espada

For Jack Agüeros

In the projects of Brooklyn, everyone lied.
My mother used to say:

If somebody starts a fight,
just walk away.
Then somebody would smack
the back of my head
and dance around me in a circle, laughing.

When I was twelve, pus bubbled
on my tonsils, and everyone said:

After the operation, you can have
all the ice cream you want.
I bragged about the deal;
no longer would I chase the ice cream truck
down the street, panting at the bells
to catch Johnny the ice cream man,
who allegedly sold heroin the color of vanilla
from the same window.

Then Jack the Truth-Teller visited the projects,
Jack who herded real camels and sheep
through the snow of East Harlem every Three Kings’ Day,
Jack who wrote sonnets of the jail cell
and the racetrack and the boxing ring,
Jack who crossed his arms in a hunger strike
until the mayor hired more Puerto Ricans.

And Jack said:

You gonna get your tonsils out?
Ay bendito cuchifrito Puerto Rico.
That’s gonna hurt.

I was etherized,
then woke up on the ward
heaving black water onto white sheets.
A man poking through his hospital gown
leaned over me and sneered:

You think you got it tough? Look at this!
and showed me the cauliflower tumor
behind his ear. I heaved up black water again.

The ice cream burned.
Vanilla was a snowball spiked with bits of glass.
My throat was red as a tunnel on fire
after the head-on collision of two gasoline trucks.

This is how I learned to trust
the poets and shepherds of East Harlem.
Blessed be the Truth-Tellers,
for they shall have all the ice cream they want.

-by Martin Espada


How you say something is more important than what you say.

Neighborhood Joe

Joe is a trip. He has jet-black dyed hair and it's moussed into an Elvis Presley pompadour. He is in his 70's and believes in ghosts and UFO's. His cologne is so strong it wafts out the door and down the street and hits me as I walk by and when he pets Lily she has Joe's cologne for the day! I smell it and laugh when I kiss her.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pink Sky Swim

Tonight I walked to the pond with Lily even though the sun had set. By the time we got there I was all warmed up so I was ready for the plunge and the water was perfect. The sky had streaks of pink. I felt like I was in paradise. Lily was happy too and she stayed with me while I was changing back into my dry clothes. On the way home I saw another friendly neighbor walking her sweet silver bull mastiff puppy. She told me her husband likes to swim in the river too. She said he likes to cut a hole in the ice and jump in on New Years Day! I would love to do that! And then build a fire on the ice to warm up!


I'll never forget how amazing it was to dissect a frog in ninth grade biology class. I love frogs alive but I was fascinated by their innards. To me they were little doll-sized humans with elbows, heart, lungs, intestines. All the grossed-out kids in ninth grade gave me their frogs to dissect. Perhaps I should have been a biologist.

When we got to see pond water under the microscope I was totally hooked. Biology was my favorite class besides Art and French. For homework we drew paramecium and amoebas and grasshoppers labeled with words like maxilla and thorax. It doesn't get any better than that. In fifth grade we had to practice drawing an outline map of the whole United States for homework and memorize it! I got a strange tingling feeling when I drew slowly without looking down; explorer's penmanship. I was totally transfixed, I thought for sure I wanted to become a cartographer.

When I was 18 and living in North Carolina my dog Travis got a case of ear mites. The vet took a large Q-tip, sampled the browny wax, and smeared it on a narrow glass slide. He showed me the ear mites in his microscope. Ever since then I have wanted my own microscope.

Night Line

My towels, jeans, and socks on the clothesline, a spectrum of days lit by moonlight.


Infinite star-filled sky above, infinite rocks and worms below.

Wake Up

I'm having my 4 am wake up. It happens in Spring and Fall and occasionally in Winter and Summer too. It's a gift to be awake with music humming in my inner ear and energy swirling in my abdomen. It's 4 AM, the basement of the day, and I love basements. Poor man's travel is being awake in the early hours.


When I wake at four working through dawn, by noon I am ready to take a break and see people. That's when Lily and I walk around town or go to the river and swim.

Butcher Shop Gallery

My painting BLIND DATE that was hanging in Jamie Sullivan's North Main Street Shaw's Meats butcher shop for two weeks just sold! Stay tuned while I gather up another to fill the spot.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Lit From Within

Last night we walked to the swim spot after the sun had already set. The water was very cold; a tingly-cold that feels like swimming in mint. We brought a glow-in-the-dark softball I had found recently. We've discovered that softballs float in water! Lily fetched it a few times. When we climbed back out to the street we ran into friendly neighbors and talked until it was very dark and we were being eaten by mosquitoes. We walked home down the dark streets, looking into the houses along the pond that were lit from within.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sonny Rollins

When I was in India at an ashram, my teacher told me, When you are playing your horn, that's meditation. And that is a way of worship.
-Sonny Rollins

Guided Missles

Guided Missles, Misguided Men!
-a hand held sign

The Artist's Job

The Artist's job is to be one of a kind, not one of any number of.
-Bill Calhoun

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Standing Up

People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.
-Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

Just Keep Quiet and Nobody Will Notice

There is one thing that ought to be taught in all the colleges,
Which is that people ought to be taught not to go around always making apologies.
I don't mean the kind of apologies people make when they run over you or borrow five dollars or step on your feet,
Because I think that is sort of sweet;
No, I object to one kind of apology alone,
Which is when people spend their time and yours apologizing for everything they own.
You go to their house for a meal,
And they apologize because the anchovies aren't caviar or the partridge is veal;
They apologize privately for the crudeness of the other guests,
And they apologzie publicly for their wife's housekeeping or their husband's jests;
If they give you a book by Dickens they apologize because it isn't by Scott,
And if they take you to the theater, they apologize for the acting and the dialogue and the plot;
They contain more milk of human kindness than the most capacious dairy can,
But if you are from out of town they apologize for everything local and if you are a foreigner they apologize for everything American.
I dread these apologizers even as I am depicting them,
I shudder as I think of the hours that must be spend in contradicting them,
Because you are very rude if you let them emerge from an argument victorious,
And when they say something of theirs is awful, it is your duty to convince them politely that it is magnificent and glorious,
And what particularly bores me with them,
Is that half the time you have to politely contradict them when you rudely agree with them,
So I think there is one rule every host and hostess ought to keep with the comb and nail file and bicarbonate and aromatic spirits on a handy shelf,
Which is don't spoil the denouement by telling the guests everything is terrible, but let them have the thrill of finding it out for themselves.
-Ogden Nash

Sunset Swim

Tonight we walked to the secret swim spot and had a sunset swim! Bill threw the stick. Lily went after it and then I swam and threw it further out into the river so Lily had very long distance to swim back to shore! She got tired after about 8 throws. We saw a blue heron fly over us with its wide wingspan and scrunched up legs. It was making noise! As it was getting dark, I ducked into the bushes and changed out of my wet tank suit and put on dry jeans and shirt, sweatshirt, and dry socks and sneakers. For the first time all summer I was not walking home from the pond soaking wet! While I was drying my toes we heard a strange bird call that almost sounded like a horse whinnying but it repeated about ten times exactly the same pitch so we assumed it wasn't a horse. As we walked home through the little neighborhoods we saw people gathered around backyard campfires. We saw solar powered lights glowing in the dark! I was wishing we could swim outdoors until the pond froze solid and it was skating season!


Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

September Joy

Last night Bill and Lily and I walked to the secret swim spot at 6PM and swam when the last of the sun was shining at us from across the river. Lily swam after the stick and I swam in and out with her until we were both tired. When we got home we ate leftover potato curry which was even better than the night we made it. I fell asleep at nine! And at 4:30 I was wide awake. This is the season of magic. I wish I could feel this way for all 4 seasons not just Spring and Fall. Cheers to dawn.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Moon Muse

The moon muse got me!
I wrote and sang this with my little red accordion like the Roy Acuff highway song in the key of "A"

It rains in my house
in four places

My feet are bare
on the ground

What do we do
about healthcare

When they're ain't
no cash to be found

They're ain't no cash to be found
dear brother,
They're ain't no cash to be found

Friday, September 04, 2009

Leonard Cohen

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
-Leonard Cohen

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.
-Leonard Cohen

There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.
-Leonard Cohen

E.B. White

Life will be paperwork; death will be a questionnaire.
-E.B. White

When a glass of wine is poured a wine fly appears promptly- but I never see him at any other time, and wonder where he keeps himself in the meanwhile and what he does for a drink.
-E.B. White

When you can't breathe through your nose Tomorrow seems strangely like the day before yesterday.
-E.B. White

All we need is a meteorologist who has once been soaked to the skin without ill effect. No one can write knowingly of the weather who walks bent over on wet days.
-E.B. White

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
-E.B. White

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
-E.B. White

Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
-E.B. White

Thursday, September 03, 2009

These Legs

It was Summer. I was running through the cemetery and it began to rain. I ran up the hill gathering my dress a few inches so I wouldn't fall. Admiring my legs, I thought these legs are wasted on the dead.

Mark Doty Poem

Oncoming Train

I hate that moment when the train's coming
into the station, hurtling, inviting, so ferocious in its forward momentum,

the most dangerous thirty seconds of my day, twice every day,
sometimes more; sometimes I have to steady myself against a pillar

on the platform, or stand at a distance, against the back wall,
in order to feel that I will more firmly resist the impulse.

Not that I want to be dead, exactly, and certainly not
that I want to suffer, I have a great deal to live for—

But the idea of simply stepping out of forwardness
—that moment is the clearest invitation and opportunity

to strike against time, to refuse to accede, to win some power
over what no one controls. I'm not proud of this,

I wouldn't tell just anyone, but I will tell you.
The train's a huge onrushing refusal,

and who has any power over time, save to refuse?

Or no:
to hurry time, to make him run—that is a radical form of submission.

—Mark Doty from School of the Arts

Recycled Habitat

I just read about this interesting and amazing man Dan Phillips who started Phoenix Commotion, a construction business in Huntsville Texas, where he builds low-income housing out of salvaged items. I think the whole world should follow his lead. Check it out! Click here.

Quiet Hour

This morning there was a magnificent pink and blue dawn sky! My pressure cooker is hissing away, cooking a batch of garbanzos. With the full moon landing on a holiday weekend this might be the only quiet hour.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Most Things

It doesn't take much, but it does take some.

Flying and Landing

The other evening I spotted three black and yellow butterflies flying in our yard. My husband said they were grasshoppers. I never knew grasshoppers had wings! I knew that grasshoppers hopped but I had no idea they also flew and had colorful wings like butterflies.

Speaking of flying, I just saw a hawk fly by with a dead pigeon in its clutches! He landed on top of the little mill building on Hazel Street and began his feast but he flew away as Lily and I approached.

September Light

I love crisp mornings. The river is ice-cold! I love the shock of swimming in cold water and then drinking hot tea.

September light is less harsh. I've taken off my sunglasses to experience the tones.

Yesterday while walking Lily I saw all the neighborhood kids out on the sidewalks wearing new school clothes, carrying backpacks, and waiting for the school buses. The first day of school!

I can feel the energy shifting in our little neighborhood.