Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poetry Doctor

Doctor believes poetry can soothe and even heal his patients.

Edward Albee

What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn't lived it?
-Edward Albee

A usefully lived life is probably going to be, ultimately, more satisfying.
-Edward Albee

Writing should be useful. If it can't instruct people a little bit more about the responsibilities of consciousness there's no point in doing it.
-Edward Albee

If you're willing to fail interestingly, you tend to succeed interestingly.
-Edward Albee

That's what happens in plays, yes? The shit hits the fan.
-Edward Albee

Creativity is magic. Don't examine it too closely.
-Edward Albee

Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.
-Edward Albee

All serious art is being destroyed by commerce. Most people don't want art to be disturbing. They want it to be escapist. I don't think art should be escapist. That's a waste of time.
-Edward Albee

See Where They Land

Throw words up in the air and see where they land. Repeat.

In the Cemetery
Flowing draperies and vases are made of stone, and the trees are bare.
The women are bare and flowing and the trees are made of stone.

Scrambled eggs with words on the side
Scrambled words with eggs on the side.

Put Someone Up

Today I was wondering about the expression - to put someone up.

Don't Eat Gravel

My friends kids had a pet albino frog that had a problem - it would eat the little bits of fish tank gravel and poop them out. Eventually it got a bright pink butt hole that of course was more noticeable on him being an albino. Moral of the story? Don't eat gravel when albino.

Buddhism is Great Until Your Mother Calls.

That's my little expression because no how much studying we do, life comes along and dishes out a really ripe one.

Ludwig and Amadeus

Someone ought to have two Saint Bernard's named Ludwig and Amadeus.

Monday, February 27, 2012

TV Improv Game

A fun game when you hate TV commercials and love silliness. Turn the TV sound off while television is on, speak your own dialog by improvising what the actors are saying.

A Drawing Meditation

I told my student your best model is your other hand. I told her Draw a line by imagining an ant walking slowly across your hand. A hand meditation? I sink into drawing by drawing my right hand. When I do this every day for a week I notice a rapid improvement in my observation powers and skills. It's so simple and powerful. After drawing I was walking down the street and I noticed the corner of a rocking chair gently moving inside of a window. Perhaps I should teach a drawing class to police detectives.

The Robots are Reading my Poetry

The web robots are crawling over my poems,
leaving love bites on their necks.
The politicians are planting messages on my phone.
Dogs are the only creatures left
not trying to sell me something.
I'm in the bathtub listening to opera.

Robots are in the bathtub reading poetry.
The politicians are crawling,
leaving love bites on the necks of phones.
Dogs, creatures of love and opera,
try not to sell me something.


I was grouchy this morning - the back to school blues. I had no appetite. So I took a very long walk with Lily not the usual way but down Privilege Street to the park with the little waterfall. I climbed up the hill labeled No Trespassing imagining getting arrested and I bushwhacked along the tall chain link fence out to the street. I walked the neighborhood and came upon all the elementary school kids from Edgewater Drive waiting for the bus. They all know Lily. They gathered around and she sat down in the middle while they all were petting her on the head. She'd be purring if she were a cat, I said. The girl with corn niblet teeth laughed and the girl with mini silver Christmas ornaments for earrings said her little sister in the car was going to throw up. Then the kids yelled bus, bus and the big school bus came around the corner and hauled them all away. I kept walking. I ran into the elderly lady wearing her fur-rimmed hooded white coat walking her tiny dog Oreo who was wearing a little red coat. She told me her 89 year old neighbor died. He's lived here over fifty years, she said. I ran into Riley the golden retriever and his mom. By this time I was so hungry my stomach was growling, and I began imagining my next meal. When I got home I fried two eggs in a tiny piece of bacon fat, in my mini skillet and I made toast and coffee. A good morning after all.

John Steinbeck

A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.
-John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, -policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.
John Steinbeck

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.
-John Steinbeck

A sad soul can kill quicker than a germ.
-John Steinbeck

I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.
-John Steinbeck

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Daniel von Bargen

Our thoughts and prayers go out to actor extroidinaire Daniel von Bargen as he clings to life in Cincinnati hospital.

Sammy's Sock Tree

Sammy our cat loves our clothes drying rack - which lives next to the boiler draped with socks and T-shirts. He jumps up to the top falls through and catches himself. He sprawls on his back and dips through the bars and hoists himself up again. It's Sammy's MONKEY BARS - his tree with socks for leaves.

Have a Party, Eat the Chairs!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Day in the 'Hood

Yesterday music blared out of a black station wagon parked in front of Rosie's Variety store (Rosie moved out last week after twenty years, but it's still the Rosie building). I was just heading down the street with Lily, so I asked the young man to turn it down because the people next door sleep days and work nights. He said okay, but didn't do anything. Today he was blaring music out of his wagon again, all the doors and the back wide open, car as boom box. He ran into the building when he saw me. When I closed his car door to mute the sound he came out on the porch overhead with his friend. He called me a bitch, threatened to spit on me, and said he'd call the cops for touching his property. I asked you yesterday, I said, and I am asking you again now, turn it down please, people are sleeping. I repeated the digits of his license plate over and over in my head like a new mantra as I turned back inside to call the police. I gave them all the details. I still hadn't walked Lily. I went out the back way to avoid my loud neighbor and walked the few miles to Harris Pond and back. When I got home, the black wagon and its owner were gone, but his friend was out on the sidewalk with all his belongings. Apparently he was moving out of his apartment.

Poking the Bear

from the Urban Dictionary:

To act in such a way that has a good, but not definite chance, of causing trouble. (You can poke a bear once and maybe get away with it, but if you keep poking him, he's going to get really angry.) To stir things up.

I figure all I have to do is keep hacking that big guy when we play ball with him and eventually, he'll stop driving the lane.

Dude, I think you're poking the bear on that one... you better watch out.

Toma Markov

A poet can do anything, because they sleep with words.
-Toma Markov

Social Status

We are not ambitious for social status. We are fully occupied with going after personal artistic fulfillment. We are not put off or thrown off by sacrifices. People we know fear this path might be a contagious disease and their children might catch it like I caught it from my parents artist friends.

A Poet Can Do Anything

An Interview with Bulgarian Writer Toma Markov

by Jasmina Tacheva

As a poet, novelist, playwright, journalist and musician, Bulgarian writer Toma Markov needs no introduction. If you haven’t read his latest book – the romance novel Luizza Hut – make sure to do it, and if you have – don’t miss his next collection of poems – ANTI-KURT-COBAINIAN DEEDS.

Can a poet write, if they are not in love or wounded by it?

A poet can do anything. Love, unlike poetry is not constant. A poet can do anything, because they sleep with words.

What do you think the future of Bulgarian poetry is?

I don’t look at it that way and don’t divide the poetry into nationalities. The future sucks. People are so rude to poets while they are alive – they first start noticing them when they are dead, that is ridiculous…

Is poetry a child of instinct and the spontaneous emotion of the moment, or should it first ripen in the womb of the poet’s mind, before it is then born on the page in black and white?

I always laugh when somebody thinks that poetry is a matter of inspiration; then I become sad. Normally, you know they say that “in abundance of wisdom is abundance of sadness”.

Do you have a favorite part of the day for writing?

Basically, I don’t have a favorite part of the day. I am a gloomy person. As for writing poetry, I do it just like Steve Jobs makes iPhones. I guess Mr. Jobs doesn’t drink until he is done. I don’t drink only when I write poetry. Therefore, until I finish a poem, I am pretty nervous.

Where do you feel more free – in the realm of verse or prose?

I never feel free. Neither in the realm of verse nor of prose. The only thing which I aspire to is to always aspire.

Is the author (in Bulgarian “creator” – Editor’s Note) solitary by nature, or are they bound to be in the company of other writers?

I don’t like the word “creator”, when used for a human. The sole creator is God. I am an ordinary artist. As for solitariness… I generally try to avoid people. This, however, will not save me from them.

What do you think of the Beat movement, and was or is it still present in Bulgaria the way it was in America of the ’60s, when it propelled a fascinating boom of cultural life?

The Beat? Yes, it was inevitable. The book of poetry in greatest circulation is “HOWL” by Mr. Allen Ginsberg, a great book. In Bulgaria there is nothing, it’s the land of imitation. And each copy, as you know, is a bad copy.

Do you have a guiding star in the field of literature (Bulgarian or World literature) – someone whose work has given you strength in the difficult moments and at the same time has been a well of inspiration to you?

This is a funny question. I am a professional, because I have no other choice – I am honest only when I write, and this is the only thing I can do. Therefore, I have more than two or three hundred writers who have formed my drop-dead style.

What would you say to those who consider you their guiding star?

I would tell them to try and not give up, to be brave, because talent requires a strong character. I would tell them this very quietly.

Would you share with us your unique ability to create verse for every occasion, and write something that comes to your mind right now?

No, I wouldn’t. And not because of selfishness. I don’t know who starts and who finishes my poems. I only know about the middle.

I Don't Like Heaven

by TS
Last night I was sitting in the dining room, toggling ipad, phone and laptop. Obsessively checking email, playing Words, texting and putting off dinner. Basically wondering why no one was replying immediately to my emails and feeling nonplussed.
The back door was open, screen in place copacetic.

Around 9 pm.Jake flew through the room and busted clean out of the screen, after another cat.
Frisco was in hot pursuit.
I jumped up- grabbed her back in, closed the door and headed out right away. JAKEY!!!
He must have gone up the hill so I kept calling him, climbed up the ghetto hill and over to the street- calling and calling him.
No time to think.

Then a young girl comes out of a nearby house and says, 'Hi! Do you have any baking soda?'
"yes, I do" I said, "But I am looking for my cat, he just busted out and is not used to being outside".
'OK, she says, I'll see if my mother can help.'

More calling and wandering around. I call HK and tell him I need his help. He's on his way.

The young beautiful girl comes back outside with a kind of hot guy. We introduce ourselves. They are Chris and Amber. I say to Chris- are you her father?
No, I'm 18, I'm her brother. Me: you look older.
He: I get that a lot.

So Chris, Amber and I go inside to fetch a flashlight and head back out.
I show them the scene of the crime and we chat.
What do you need baking soda for?
Cookies, they are making cookies and some of the other neighbors didn't have any baking soda.

Outside again, ambling around the back with the flashlight.
I have to explain how Jake is a scaredy cat and won't come for favorite food, etc.
Amber says: I hear something. I just heard scratching.
And Chris says. I heard it too.
I'm starting to doubt them, thinking, they're nuts.

Then Chris shines the light into the yard next door and says: There he is, he's right there.
And there's Jake sitting next to the house next door.
Put the light down! I say, and don't move.

I circled over into the yard and using my calm, Jakey you're OK voice -got him.
Grabbed him on his scruff like a mother cat and scooped him up.
He dug into my palm with his claws and I had him in a death grip.
Chris and Amber followed me inside.

With Jake in ( bounding upstairs to safety) we start talking about the neighborhood.
This after hugs and bowing and thank yous and giving them a box of baking soda and a jar of granola as a token of thanks- HK arrives.

Phew! We got him! I said.

Chris and Amber proceed to tell me about their life. He has a big tattoo running down his right forearm that says' Bubba' in gothic kind of font.
He says that it is what Amber calls him.
hmmmmm, I think,
They have a close relationship. They tell me they both love Ozzie Osborne.

They know Heaven, the young girl who lives in the house on the other side.
I used to be Heaven's friend Amber tells me.
I don't like Heaven, Chris says. Her mother is a drunk.

We hang out on my front porch. Talking tattoos and me wondering how I can do something for them. Chris says he promotes the Big Dog Inkx tattoo parlor nearby and if I want to help maybe I can tell people about them.
No problem!

Amber is a beautiful girl, shining eyes, curly hair...and asks me if I have ever heard of cat scratch fever.

She tells me she will put the granola on her cereal and return the mason jar. The she says:
Do you like root beer floats?
LOVE them I say, my mother used to make them for us.
Would you like two? She asks.

I say - one is good. I can't really eat that food. (then I felt like a jerk for saying that).

A couple minutes later they come back with a root beer float in a big red hard plastic cup.
wow. thanks.

HK and I sit in the dining room and he drinks the whole thing. I have a celebratory sip.

We talk about how lucky I was, this time. How things can go either way at any time. How bad luck turned into good luck and how great those kids were.

And we are reminded of the Heart Sutra.
Form is emptiness. Emptiness also is form. How phenomena appears and disappears.
How Jake was here one minute and gone the next.
And how the only way to alleviate suffering is to accept the changing nature of life.

Then, HK went home.

I washed out the hard plastic cup and left it out on the counter, so in the morning, I would have a happy memory.


The lady on Hazel Street sat on her front stoop, smoking, dropping the long dangling gray ash into a red Folger's coffee can. We chatted about Mardi Gras in Woonsocket, and loving the sound of trains. We tried, anyway, but kept missing each other - it was as if we were speaking different languages, and being poorly dubbed. As I walked away frustrated I thought conversation is an art, perhaps a dying one.

The grave diggers at Precious Blood Cemetery were cleaning up. Spring must be here, I'm seeing condoms all over the place! I said brightly. They looked up and stared at me. I added, used ones. But at least they're using them! They laughed, and then we chatted in the warm sun. It was a lively conversation about winters in New England, and how much we loved them.

Poetry is My Food

Poetry is my food, more important than paint, canvas and brushes. I feel so lucky to find poets who inspire me - Nin Andrews, Rick Bursky and more. . .

Friday, February 24, 2012

Noah Capurso


By Noah Capurso

We are taught that the brain
Is a set of highways;
Corpus callosum,
Optic radiation.

But there are other roads, as well.
Scenic neural backroads
That are hidden from view;
Dusty and seldom used.

Sometimes we can see them
When the highways are down;
From cancer,
Or a stroke.

Our patient had a brain tumor.
We tested her highways
With a feather drawing;
“What is this?” we asked her.

And the answer she gave
Came by the scenic route;
“A leaf
That fell
From a bird.”


After watching documentary of Hale the astrophysicist, I dreamed that Bill had two small round flat magnets surgically implanted in his forehead and they showed through the skin slightly protruding. One was located between his eyebrows and one off to the right side of his forehead. In the dream he got magnetically pulled face first to our parked car door. I laughed out loud in my sleep and woke us both up at 2AM.

George Ellery Hale


Fredrich Niezsche

One must harbor chaos within oneself to give birth to a dancing star.
-Fredrich Niezsche

Daniel H. Burnham

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir mens blood.
-Daniel H. Burnham, architect

The Belly

In Asia the belly is one's spiritual center and source of power, so rubbing the laughing buddha's belly brings good luck, and is as close to achieving buddha nature as most of us will get.
-Cecil Adams

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chuck Palahniuk

People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were scared of being alone.
-Chuck Palahniuk

The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.
-Chuck Palahniuk

The answer is there is no answer.
-Chuck Palahniuk

The lower you fall, the higher you'll fly.
-Chuck Palahniuk

The only difference between suicide and martyrdom is press coverage.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Two Wallets

two wallets
still, no money.

Chuck Palahniuk

People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.
-Chuck Palahniuk

The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.
-Chuck Palahniuk

All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?
-Chuck Palahniuk

I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That's the moment when you have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about.
-Chuck Palahniuk

I used to work in a funeral home to feel good about myself, just the fact that I was breathing.
-Chuck Palahniuk

If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character, would you slow down? Or speed up?
-Chuck Palahniuk

Maybe humans are just the pet alligators that God flushed down the toilet.
-Chuck Palahniuk

What we don't understand we can make mean anything.
-Chuck Palahniuk

When did the future switch from being a promise to a threat?
-Chuck Palahniuk

Why is it you feel like a dope if you laugh alone, but that's usually how you end up crying?
Chuck Palahniuk

Your birth is a mistake you'll spend your whole life trying to correct.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Everyone smiles with that invisible gun to their head.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Find out what you're afraid of and go live there.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Every woman is just a different kind of problem.
-Chuck Palahniuk

People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messed cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Sometimes the past seems too big for the present to hold.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it's the only way they can get anything really finished.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
-Chuck Palahniuk

Slow Baking Fast Eating

I told a friend on the west coast If we were neighbors we'd have to open a soup kitchen cooking school - psychiatric institute.

I've been making bread by not even using my mixer anymore - or really measuring I just shovel about 6 heaping scoops of medium grind whole wheat flour (fresh from the 100 pound bag in my chest freezer) into a bowl add a heaping tablespoon kosher salt and a cup of my sourdough starter and a mason jar and a half of water until it is like quicksand. It sits for 24 hours and becomes gulteny and springy by itself! Then I shape it and it rises about 6 more hours and I bake it in three loaf pans. I do this 2 times a week.


Lily has a new friend named Juniper and we all meet in the fenced in ball field at Turbesi park. Juniper is a smallish blue tick coon hound very agile and she bays while chasing Lily in big loops. Lily and June run several high speed laps and Lily lays down and rolls on the cool grass to chill out. Juniper's mom says she's never seen June tired. That's how Honey was. June wants to keep running and Lily says no way, I'm done! Lily is so exhausted that when we get home she sleeps all afternoon and night.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Towards the Sun

Years ago I realized my therapist's job wasn't to save me but to turn my flowerpot so I could grow towards the sun without toppling over.

Anne Lamott

You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town.
―Anne Lamott, Grace [Eventually]: Thoughts on Faith

Life on Earth is a head-scratcher for anyone who's paying attention.
―Anne Lamott

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.
―Anne Lamott

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
―Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
―Anne Lamott

Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
―Anne Lamott

I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.
―Anne Lamott

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.
―Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.
―Anne Lamott

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They depen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
―Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life.
―Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won't really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we'll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won't wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.
―Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Laughter is carbonated holiness.
―Anne Lamott

It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
―Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived...Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation... Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
―Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.
―Anne Lamott

You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
―Anne Lamott

I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.
―Anne Lamott

Not forgiving is like drinking cat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.
―Anne Lamott

Joy is the best makeup.
―Anne Lamott, Grace [Eventually]: Thoughts on Faith

I am all the ages I've ever been.
―Anne Lamott

The Year of the Water Dragon

The year of the Water Dragon occurs every 60 years. Historically, in Chinese element theory, water produces wood, which signifies growth and is the natural element of the dragon. The dragon governs the east and southeast, wealth accumulation and the hours of 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. Associated with thunder, lightning and arousal, the Water Dragon personifies creativity at its best. According to tradition the Dragon brings what are known as the Four Blessings of the East: wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. Bigger than life is very much a Dragon thing.

Now is thus the time to take a chance, to reach for the proverbial brass ring, to not only dream but act on that impossible dream. The Dragon gives you the best chance to make it come true.


Tibetans Celebrate Water Dragon Year

In Tibet, people are busy preparing for the traditional Tibetan New Year, where 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon. The 15-day holiday will start on Wednesday.

In Lhasa, The Tibet Autonomous Region’s capital, Potala palace square has been adorned with festival decorations. Major commercial streets have been swarmed with last-minute shoppers since Monday. Beef, fresh yak butter, and tea bricks are all essentials.

Many Tibetans also are buying fresh flowers to bring some color into their homes. And azaleas, revered for their especially bright colors, are favorites. In addition, 5 thousand locals will put on group dance performances at Potala Palace Square on Friday.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Enjoy each moment like it's your last sip of water

Anais Nin

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

I write emotional algebra.

Today is the birthday of Anaïs Nin (books by this author), born in Neuilly, France (1903), the daughter of a Spanish composer and Danish-Cuban classically trained singer. She studied psychoanalysis with Otto Rank, and was a patient of Carl Jung at one time. She wrote in literary obscurity for most of her life, until her diaries began to be published in 1966. She began writing them at age 11 and continued for more than 60 years, and they include accounts of her passionate love affair with Henry Miller in Paris.

-Writer's Almanac

Peace Pilgrim



America's narcissistic romance with consumer spirituality and consumer eating is really getting to me. Perhaps I'll runaway to Nigeria where people share meals. Except I am left handed.

Seattle Bread Baker

It always brings me special joy to bring my faith to life - baking and
then breaking bread with my friends!
-Seattle Bread Baker

Family Myths


Tibetan Prayer flags and Mexican Ex Votos (Retablos)

Tibetan Prayer flags and Mexican ex votos or (Retablos) are my passion. It's pretty funny for being person raised without any religion. Maybe it makes sense.

Tibetan Prayer Flags

I'd love to make my own Tibetan Style Prayer flags with a group of kids. We'd carve linoleum or woodblocks and print on muslin and dye the fabric and sew them to a string and then hang them outside in the wind to rot. Wouldn't that be sooooo cool?
Read about Tibetan prayer flags here.

Length of Day

The length of visible light is 10h 52m and Tomorrow will be 2m 42s longer. It is always very exciting this time of year to feel the days begin to stretch out although I secretly prefer shrinking days and frozen temperatures. I am a polar bear.

Today the moon is waning crescent, 0% of the moon is illuminated.
Weather Underground Forecast here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mr. Samuel, a Rorschach

I've decided Sammy's last name has to be Rorschach because of the symmetrical ink blot style clown face markings on his back. Not sure what the "A" stands for but including it makes his name a complete sentence.

Lily is a Social Butterfly

My Lily is a social butterfly. I have been collecting the e-mail addresses of all the dog owners we meet in the park. Lily loves to fun herself silly in the fenced ball field. She runs like a greyhound. Her new boyfriend is Samson a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Her longtime pal is Jake a black lab. She loves to try to keep up with a coon hound named Juniper. They are all great running pals. We meet at Turbesi park ball field on my street. Angelo Turbesi built the park, he was a real neighborhood social activist and my friend. I miss him. He died at 94. He is smiling over us enjoying his park.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Doggie Social

I've begun collecting e-mail addresses of all the dog owners I meet. My dog has a great social life, one dog at a time. We meet at the fenced-in Turbesi Park ball field and the dogs run themselves silly.

Breaking Bread

I am sad. I am an avid sourdough baker (twice a week for 35 years), and I am a woman, and the combination sends other women running in horror. So many women I know have decided that bread is as dangerous as heroin, chocolate, meat, or potato chips, and mustn't be found in the home. They are also self-conscious around my baking skill, believing they fall short of some domestic ideal. When visiting, they often flat-out refuse my bread, the bread one breaks for the sake of community, calories be damned.

Bread and chocolate and meat are daily in my life, as is dancing and running and walking and bicycling. I am not obese or unhealthy or overly domestic. I love my appetite, and I love to think about, dream about, and share food. A sad day is a day with no appetite, and a sad year is a year with nobody to share my bread.

Retriever de la baie de Chesapeake

Lily has a new boyfriend in the 'hood ~ Samson the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. They ran eachother silly in Turbesi Park ball field yesterday.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Grow Up

Community Garden here.

Deadlines, Napping, and Breathing

Back when I had illustration deadlines that required a same-day sketch and subsequent finished art by 4PM for the Boston Globe, or NYT, I would first nap on 4 flat straight-backed wooden orange chairs lined up to form a bench. I'd sleep for 20 minutes on my back, and it always helped me solve the puzzle of the day and come up with my sketch. I'd get my approval from the art director and execute the finished art just in time to bicycle it down to the bus station where the taxi from the Globe waited to pick it up. I did this every week when I was fresh out of art school. Those were the days before faxes and then computers. I loved it all and miss it terribly. I developed a huge crush on the art director who continually believed in me week after week. But I think that was to be expected, like a pregnant woman falling for her pediatrician. I was thrilled and petrified every time I got hired, and never quite mastered the art of breathing while talking to the art director on the phone.

Bat Cave

I incline toward the early hours, and at times I require naps later in the day. Since daylight sometimes fools my body into thinking I don't need sleep when I actually do need it, I have devised what I call the bat cave. I hang thermal blackout curtains or a dark blue blanket over the bedroom window and crawl into bed for a 90 minute nap. What I have discovered works even better than the bat cave is to take a 3-4 mile walk which invigorates me and makes me sleepy when I need to be.

The Somatosensory Homunculus


Anthony Shadid

Some suffering cannot be covered in words. . . This had become my daily fare as reporter in the Middle East documenting war, its survivors and fatalities, and the many who seem a little of both. In the Lebanese town of Qana, where Israeli bombs caught their victims in the midst of a morning’s work, we saw the dead standing, sitting, looking around. The village, its voices and stories, plates and bowls, letters and words, its history, had been obliterated in a few extended moments that splintered a quiet morning.
-Anthony Shadid

Sunrise 6:38

I walked Lily through Oak Hill cemetery morning sunshine coming over the hill lighting up the treetops and houses and grave stones was beautiful.

I ate leftover sesame green beans for breakfast.

I love to cook but nobody eats with joie de vivre and gusto anymore.

I should invite people to sit at my round table in my unheated house with overflowing junk mail on the couch and an 80 pound Luscious Lily-dog who will jump in your lap and my monkey Sammy-cat who steals food off your plate. A REAL bohemian tea in my ghetto palace.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Childhood Foods

I ate a hot dog last night and it brought me back to my childhood weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's. Nathan's on the boardwalk served fat stubby crinkled french fries in a paper cone. They were so good with a squirt of ketchup. Sunday mornings Grandpa would take us on a drive in his convertible from Brighton Beach to Manhattan. He'd smoke a cigar as we cruised a quiet, deserted Midtown, and we'd stop and eat hot dogs under the Sabrett umbrella. Later Grandma would take us for slices of NYC pizza on Coney Island Avenue. Once a fat lady walked by, and Grandma said under her breath God forbid I ever get that big.

My grandparents ate like 12-year-olds who had just come into money.


Magazine of Contemporary Illustration

Sue Coe

3x3 Interviewer:Tell me a little about your working process now? how do you start?

SC: It starts with direct seeing of some event, that is disturbing, and needs the light of day to shine on it, or an attempt at illumination, such as the most obvious weapons of mass destruction, like factory farming, and poverty - so much is concealed in this culture, so it is my trying to find out the information about these subjects. The images could stay in my mind for years, or minutes, before that scene is filtered through my memory to the paper. Around an image, I do a lot of research to make sure that the series of works is accurate, I tend to work sequentially, in a mode that I think of reportage, or visual journalism. The work process is one of reminding myself, that content creates the form, not the other way around.

3x3 Interviewer: Tell me about one of your most favorite assignments.

SC: I loved working for the NYTimes, all the overnight op-ed page jobs, as coming up with something visually interesting in a few hours, that meets the requirements of editors is a real challenge. Mirko Ilic was the art director, and he did not give a damn, he pushed the envelope of what was acceptable, as he knew he did not want to keep the job for very long! My favorite assignments are ones I give myself, and then get published - and those are issues of which I am ignorant, and am curious about, whether it be how slaughterhouses work, or what makes the avian virus such a threat, or what makes for contradiction and why we accept and cooperate with systems that are not in our interest.

interview here.

I don't believe in friendship

Good thing I don't believe in friendship, there's just people you perhaps once knew better than you know now.

I do believe in peers.

Developmental psychologists, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Harry Stack Sullivan, have all argued that peer relationships provide a unique context for cognitive, social, and emotional development, with equality, reciprocity, cooperation, and intimacy, maturing and enhancing children's reasoning abilities and concern for others. Modern research echoes these sentiments, showing that social and emotional gains are indeed provided by peer interaction.

Pie Fidelity

"We must have a pie," David Mamet wrote in "Boston Marriage," his 1999 play about Victorian women. "Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie."


The Great Recession

I've been thinking a lot about my beloved Brighton Beach Grandparents Nat and Sophie and wish they were here to discuss the Great Depression with me. We have a lot more in common now but they are in heaven. Would I tell them of my finding unopened foods in the street and taking them home to eat? Would I tell them stories of my finding abandoned clothes in parks, and taking them home to wash and wear, maybe not.

My pal Joe Doherty is a magnificent writer and historian and he told me a Lincoln RI woman recalled from her childhood during the Depression, that her family kept Blackstone River snapping turtles in their basement for food. Another Woonsocket mother during the Depression used to hunt and trap squirrel fox raccoon muskrat and fish on the Blackstone River for her family.

We're getting ready.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two Black Hats

I lost track of my black hat for the third time in ten years. I am not ready to live without it. It is the only thing that makes me feel beautiful. This morning I realized it was gone as soon as I got indoors after my morning walk. I turned around and ran as fast as I could retracing my walk with Lily. I found an identical muddy black hat on the sidewalk, near Diamond Hill Road, picked it up and then turned the corner onto Ethel Street and found my hat on the sidewalk. I took them both home and washed them. Now I have my hat and it's understudy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Computer

My computer keyboard has a problem and can't make e's so all of my words are missing e's until I go back and put them in.

My computer is narcoleptic and won't wake back up when it goes to sleep. I think it's jealous of my dog who gets long walks to the library and goes out with me to meet other dogs and then gets biscuits when we get home.

My computer doesn't get anything but on off and then the big nap, no biscuits treats or friends. It doesn't even have a name. When it gets narcoleptic I have to shut it off and then I get the blue screen scolding me. 'Wait while we check for disc damage on your computer, next time shut it down properly.

Daniel Asa Rose

essays here.

Bill Harley & Keith Munslow

read here.

Gabriel Byrne

We've been watching our library copy of IN TREATMENT season three compelling, addictive and fabulous!!
NYT review here.

Save the Date

Brave Combo
Sunday June 17 Father's Day
Clearwater Festival
Croton-On-Hudson, NY

Funny Love

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
-Charles M. Schulz

True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.
-Erich Segal

Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.
-Fernando Pessoa

Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times.
-Rita Rudner

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
-Groucho Marx

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.
-Albert Einstein

We don't believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.
-Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.
-Pearl Bailey

It's better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.
-Laurence J. Peter

I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks.
-Steve Martin

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.
-Charles de Gaulle

Husbands are like fires - they go out when they're left unattended.

Dog Courage

I just e-mailed six dog owners that I've met dog walking near Turbesi Park and asked them if we can all run our dogs together in the fenced-in ball field. I would never have had such bold courage without my dog. This is something I've discovered about myself. I can really enjoy people when I can include my dog.


This guy found a bottle on the ocean, and he opened it and out popped a genie, and he gave him three wishes. The guy wished for a million dollars, and poof! there was a million dollars. Then he wished for a convertible, and poof! there was a convertible. And then, he wished he could be irresistible to all women... poof! he turned into a box of chocolates.


Isak Dinesen

In order to love God, you must love the two things closest to his
heart -- change, and a joke.
-Isak Dinesen

Idries Shah

Idries Shah says that fool's gold has value because real gold exists.
Counterfeit gold exists only because there is such a thing as real gold.
-Idries Shah

Mark Twain

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear
and life stands explained.
-Mark Twain

I Love these!

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.
-A. A. Milne

For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.
-Judy Garland

Where there is great love, there are always wishes.
-Willa Cather

Love is a game that two can play and both win.
-Eva Gabor

-Love is being stupid together.
-Paul Valery

If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.
-Michel de Montaigne

I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street.
-W. H. Auden

Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.
-Ben Hecht

We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.

To love abundantly is to live abundantly, and to love forever is to live forever.
-Henry Drummond

Love is the flower you've got to let grow.
-John Lennon

Come live in my heart, and pay no rent.
-Samuel Lover

If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
-Maya Angelou

A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
-Ingrid Bergman

When love is not madness, it is not love.
-Pedro Calderon de la Barca

A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.
-Frank Morgan

Love is what you've been through with somebody.
-James Thurber

Where there is love there is life.
-Mohandas Gandhi

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
-Zelda Fitzgerald

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.
-Margaret Atwood

Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.
-Andre Breton

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
-Zora Neale Hurston

Love is metaphysical gravity.
-R. Buckminster Fuller

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
-Victor Hugo

Valentine's Day Chocolate for Breakfast

I graduated college on Valentine's Day 26 years ago today!

I am eating a McVittie's chocolate biscuit for breakfast with a cup of coffee. We love to light Sabbath candles every night. The mice love candlelight. They love to eat candle wax and our bars of soap when we are asleep. They wait. We have Sammy the Marmalalade-colored symmetrical Rorschach Clown-Face-on-his-back cat who chases Lily the mice, string, and anything plastic. Lily loves to drink our bath water. Such a compliment!

Su Jenkins

For some reason the smell of cigarette smoke gives me searing joint pain in my knees immediately. I am still wondering how my knees smell the smoke before I do!


Monday, February 13, 2012

Richard Jones

The Spoon

by Richard Jones

Some days I think I need nothing
more in life than a spoon.
With a spoon I can eat oatmeal,
or take the medicine doctors prescribe.
I can swat a fly sleeping on the sill
or pound the table to get attention.
I can point accusingly at God
or stab the empty air repeatedly.
Looking into the spoon's mirror,
I can study my small face in its shiny bowl,
or cover one eye to make half the world
disappear. With a spoon
I can dig a tunnel to freedom,
spoonful by spoonful of dirt,
or waste life catching moonlight
and flinging it into the blackest night.

Why do poets write?

by Richard Jones

My wife, a psychiatrist, sleeps
through my reading and writing in bed,
the half-whispered lines,
manuscripts piled between us,

but in the deep part of night
when her beeper sounds
she bolts awake to return the page
of a patient afraid he'll kill himself.

She sits in her robe in the kitchen,
listening to the anguished voice
on the phone. She becomes
the vessel that contains his fear,

someone he can trust to tell
things I would tell to a poem.

Sky Funeral?

by Richard Jones

In a revered Tibetan tradition,
I read aloud to my father,
the dead are borne to mountains
and the bodies offered to vultures.

I show him the photographs
of a monk raising an ax,
a corpse chopped into pieces,
a skull crushed with a large rock.

As one we contemplate the birds,
the charnel ground, the bone dust
thick as smoke flying in the wind.
Our dark meditation comforts us.

I ask if he’d like me to carry him—
like a bundle of sticks on my back—
up a mountain road to a high meadow
and feed him to the tireless vultures.

"Yes," he says, raising a crooked finger,
"and remember to wield the ax with love."

Cherries in the Snow

by Richard Jones

My mother never appeared in public
without lipstick. If we were going out,
I’d have to wait by the door until
she painted her lips and turned
from the hallway mirror,
put on her gloves and picked up her purse,
opening the purse to see
if she’d remembered tissues.

After lunch in a restaurant
she might ask,
"Do I need lipstick?"
If I said yes,
she would discretely turn
and refresh her faded lips.
Opening the black and gold canister,
she’d peer in a round compact
as if she were looking into another world.
Then she’d touch her lips to a tissue.

Whenever I went searching
in her coat pocket or purse
for coins or candy
I’d find, crumpled,
those small white tissues
covered with bloodred kisses.
I’d slip them into to my pocket,
along with the stones and feathers
I thought, back then, I’d keep.

Richard Jones is the author of five books of poetry–Country of Air, A Perfect Time, At Last We Enter Paradise, The Blessing: New and Selected Poems, and The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning. He is editor of Poetry East, for which he received a CCLM Editors Award, as well as two critical anthologies, Poetry and Politics and Of Solitude and Silence: Writings on Robert Bly. He is a professor of English at DePaul University and lives in Chicago.

Anaïs Nin

I think the artist is no more than a hypersensitive instrument of receptivity.
-Anaïs Nin, A Woman Speaks

Facing Up

I was walking Lily down the street and ended up continuing on into a long walk. I ran into Deb and her handsome Golden, Riley who loves Lily. Lily and Riley walked together for a while and then ran in circles in the open field behind the yellow church.
Back on the street we saw Deb's neighbor walking his Doberman with a gigantic freshly killed muskrat dangling from it's mouth. I laughed and wanted to say is he carrying dinner? Deb's neighbor stopped to tell us he couldn't get the dog to let go of the muskrat and doesn't want to go into his house with it. It would scare his wife. While we were chatting his dog was standing in the driveway and dropped the dead muskrat but the man hadn't noticed. I said he dropped it The man thanked me and ushered the dog into the breezeway, leaving the dead muskrat frozen, on his front lawn. His little black claws curled, facing up.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Frank Montesonti

Redundancy of Light

Outside this hotel room
rain falls as pure as its definition.
Call the French, tell them

there should be a word
for shadows of raindrops
on a hotel window.

-Frank Montesonti, A Civic Pageant


People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.
-James Baldwin

Eyes Like Landscapes

Schizophrenia is the best thing that ever happened to me, he said. I know a lot of people with the diagnosis don’t feel that way, but the experience changed me, for the better. I was so arrogant, so narcissistic, so self-involved, and it humbled me. It gave me a purpose, and that purpose has been very much a part of my recovery.

One day he saw a homeless man in the Athens bus station with eyes "like landscapes that went back into the man's head infinitely far, stretching on for eternity." God’s eyes; who else?

read here.
and here.

Slack Wire


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wrong Nickname

I love to name things and I am the daughter of an advertising writer. I grew up with the catch phrase the nickname the slogan the million dollar advertising hook, and a relative who wrote jingles. A few women I know will never be Patty's or Suzy's. They are Pat and Susan. It irks me that they use a nickname that is so completely wrong for them. There's nothing Patty or Suzy about them except in the eyes of their husbands, and that's a different story. Those are called bedroom names.


Be Subversive
do your art

Vampire Charity

So many nonprofit organizations around are really designed to give a few people a cushy job and suck the blood out of the poor. I call this Vampire Charity.

Then there are the Emotional Vampires.

Bertolt Brecht

Those who take the meat from the table
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

-Bertolt Brecht From A German War Primer

In Pursuit of a Cliché

Once upon a time (I start with this phrase for a reason!), every cliché in our language was said, or more likely written, for the very first time, and when it was written is was entirely original, and it so perfectly hit on the essence of whatever sentiment or phenomenon or human proclivity it was describing, someone read it and repeated it to someone else, and everyone who heard it found that it described just wonderfully some thing they had always thought but never articulated, until it spread and spread more and became so commonplace a way to describe that thing it morphed into a cliché.

Which means, in the end, that it was a fabulous piece of writing, so fabulous that it was the best way that particular sentiment had ever been written.

The goal of a writer, then, should be to come up with just one turn of phrase that is so unprecedented and so unnervingly original and so suddenly necessary to communication that it might also someday join the ranks of the cliché.

Do you know how many of today’s cliches came from Shakespeare?! It’s in the thousands … (a sorry sight, a sea change, all’s well that ends well, all that glitters is not gold, dead as a doornail, one fell swoop, eaten out of house and home, a charmed life, love is blind, and onandonandonandon).

The goal of the writer should be to embed a cliché in the lexicon. Which means you can’t fall back on the cliches that came before you. It means you have to spend hours, if that what it takes, thinking of the best four words that ever described the feeling you had the time when your best friend made fun of you in front of the whole lunchroom, or what have you.

-originally published on A Veblenesque Gorge

I would see women walking Yorkshire terriers and shopping at Gristede’s, and some Veblenesque gorge would rise in my throat.
-Joan Didion

In economics, Veblen goods are a group of commodities for which people's preference for buying them increases as their price increases, as greater price confers greater status, instead of decreasing according to the law of demand. A Veblen good is often also a positional good. The Veblen effect is named after economist Thorstein Veblen, who first pointed out the concepts of conspicuous consumption and status-seeking.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Rabbi

A rabbi who had the Understanding lived in a tiny room with no stools to sit on and a desk which served as his bed at night. Anybody who came to see him had to sit on the ground or stand to talk. One of his visitors said, Rabbi, where is your furniture? The rabbi said, Where is yours? The visitor replied, I am only passing through. The rabbi replied, So am I.


The Brahmin

A Brahmin was having his bath in the river. Then he noticed a scorpion almost drowning. So he lifted the scorpion and put it on the ground. But before he could put it on the ground, the scorpion bit his hand. Many people were sitting around and some said to him, What have you achieved? You have spared him only to get yourself bitten. His answer was, I did what I had to do according to my nature. The scorpion did what it had to do according to its nature.


Today I Am a Scorpion

All known scorpion species possess venom and use it primarily to kill or paralyze their prey so that it can be eaten; in general, it is fast-acting, allowing for effective prey capture. It is also used as a defense against predators. The venom is a mixture of compounds (neurotoxins, enzyme inhibitors, etc.) each not only causing a different effect, but possibly also targeting a specific animal. Each compound is made and stored in a pair of glandular sacs and is released in a quantity regulated by the scorpion itself. Of the 1000+ known species of scorpion, only 25 have venom that is dangerous to humans; most of those belong to the family Buthidae.

Jim Rowe

I am a self taught "outsider" artist with two solo exhibits to my credit, one at the Peterborough Art Gallery 1996, the other at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery 1997. I have an upcoming exhibit at the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg, January 25 2003 to March 17 2003. http://www.quinteartscouncil.org/members/agn.html I was born in 1955, and live in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada. For those who do not know Lakefield, it is on the edge of the Canadian shield, to the north of me it is just rock, trees and lakes for a couple thousand miles, to the south is farmland. The subject matter of my work is a study of myself and my interaction with my environment. I am able to uncover and symbolically sort out what is happening and how it affects me, through doodling. It is a form of automatic writing, only it is automatic drawing. It is really frustrating digging for ideas this way because there is no control over it. It is like, every now and then, an idea breaks loose, from deep inside you and drifts off into space, and if you are doodling at the time, instead of it drifting off into space, it comes out on to the paper. It`s like a lottery ticket, the odds of winning are almost impossible but if you do not buy a ticket, you are not going to win. If you are not sketching you will not catch the idea, but also like a lottery ticket, the chances of you sketching when an idea occurs is pretty slim, so you have to be sketching all the time to catch that one totally amazing idea. To minimize the amount that goes into the garbage I use the cheapest paper and make tiny sketches. I start by sitting down with a piece of typewriter paper, divided into about 12 squares of 2"x3" each, so each piece of paper that I waste represents 12 attempts, it is like panning for gold, you go for days and have nothing to show for your effort. Anyways, I just sit down with my paper and start moving the pencil around, just scribbling. When something finally does appear, because the sketch is so small, I can use an inexpensive photo enlarger to blow it up to the desired size for tracing. I have to trace it because I could not take a chance of changing even the smallest detail in the original sketch, I want it to be completely original. All my paintings are acrylic on canvas that is stretched over pine, that is ripped from a board of 10" wide roof sheeting, I search through the pile in the lumber yard to find boards that are knot free. I prime my own canvas, I feel that the priming is an important part of the painting and to use canvas that is already primed is like having someone start your painting for you. A painting should be 100% you. Edison said in an interview, when they were referring to him as a genius, he said genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, and that is the way it is with my art work, you have to be very disciplined, the results equal the effort. I had a job for the last 15 years where I was on maintenance in a large company, just sitting day after day waiting for something to break down. I had allot of time to develop my sketching techniques. Then I was laid off, so now I have allot of time for painting. I have learned that if you want something bad enough and work at it hard enough, it will eventually happen, things will work out, everything will fall into place.
-Jim Rowe

Pearls Before Swine

This phrase keeps ringing in my ears today. I never knew it was a bible quote. I always thought it was one of Grandma Sophie's Yiddishisms!
Pearls before swine refers to a quotation from Matthew 7:6 in Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, implying that things (such as pearls) should not be put in front of people (or in this case, swine) who do not appreciate their value.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Amateurs can often afford ideal conditions in which to work but I have found that being professional means working under the most challenging ones.

Devil's Trill

The Violin Sonata in G minor, more famously known as the Devil's Trill Sonata is a famous work for solo violin (with figured bass accompaniment) by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770), famous for being extremely technically demanding, even today.

"Tartini's Dream" by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1824)

The story behind "Devil's Trill" starts with a dream. Tartini allegedly told the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that he dreamed that The Devil appeared to him and asked to be his servant. At the end of their lessons Tartini handed the devil his violin to test his skill—the devil immediately began to play with such virtuosity that Tartini felt his breath taken away. The complete story is told by Tartini himself in Lalande's Voyage d'un François en Italie (1765 - 66):

"One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and - I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the "Devil's Trill", but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Millionaire's Daughter

millionaire's daughter
can't buy
a quart of milk

Carl Jung

One day, world-renowned psychologist, Carl Jung, had a friend arrive at his door wholly distraught from losing his job that very day. Carl Jung, invited his friend into his home and said, Come. I'll open a bottle of fine Champagne and we'll celebrate as surely, some great good will come about from this.

Roald Dahl

said it best.
A person is a fool to become a writer [or painter]. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
-Roald Dahl

A writer of fiction [or painter] lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.
-Roald Dahl

God's Chocolate

My grandmother
hid chocolate bars all over
her Brighton Beach apartment.

After she was gone
we found her chocolate bars under the mattress,
above the tall bureau,
in drawers,
tucked away with silky pink lingerie.

Perhaps this is why I love the nuns
of Wrentham, with their own white windmill,
making chocolate in the woods at three a.m.
for God.

-Emily Lisker Feb 7th (full moon)

Going to Bed

by George Bilgere

I check the locks on the front door
and the side door,
make sure the windows are closed
and the heat dialed down.
I switch off the computer,
turn off the living room lights.

I let in the cats.

Reverently, I unplug the Christmas tree,
leaving Christ and the little animals
in the dark.

The last thing I do
is step out to the back yard
for a quick look at the Milky Way.

The stars are halogen-blue.
The constellations, whose names
I have long since forgotten,
look down anonymously,
and the whole galaxy
is cartwheeling in silence through the night.

Everything seems to be ok.

"Going to Bed" by George Bilgere, from Haywire. © Utah State University Press, 2006.

Histamine Hell

read here.


Love People
cook them tasty food

Monday, February 06, 2012

Robert Bly

I have been thinking of the difference between water
and the waves on it Rising,
water is still water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?

Because someone has made up the word "wave," do I have to distinguish it
from water?

There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets inside all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.
That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes.

-The Kabir Book by Robert Bly

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

According to a famous Zen saying, bringing Buddhism to a new culture is like taking a flower and holding it next to a rock. Hopefully the flower will take root, but it takes a long time. Our minds are like the rock, and the dharma is a beautiful flower. How long is it going to take for this flower to take root in us?
-Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala Sun, Going at Our Own Pace on the Path of Meditation

Diana Mukpo

There was no occasion in my entire marriage to him that I thought he was an ordinary person. Sometimes I craved that. I’d say to him, “Come on, just be normal for one evening, take me to the movies,” and he would say to me, “I am going to stay at home because it is the best movie of all.”
Diana Mukpo, Shambhala Sun, Married to the Guru

Woonsocket Slumlordism

Poverty isn't a crime, SLUMLORDISM is! The slumlords are the true culprits responsible for taking down the East School Street neighborhood of the city of Woonsocket. They turn a blind eye living in their waterfront homes while up here the quality of our lives rapidly deteriorates. You don't want to rent an apartment here! It's so noisy you can't open your windows in Spring Summer or Fall, you can't walk on the sidewalk it's covered in dog feces. There are ferocious pitbulls everywhere. The streets are pitch black at night. There's always something strange going on in the back of all of the neighborhood garages. People fill their porches with garbage, leave their dogs out to poop and pee on porches, or urinate off of them themselves. Yes we've seen it from our living room. People hang their laundry over the porch railings and the chain link fences creating a real slummy effect for all those driving down East School and Rathbun Street.

Mayor Susan Menard was really good at nipping these sorts of things in the bud. She wasn't afraid to tackle the issues of noise, drug dealing, prostitution, and shabby looking streets. She made a huge display of busting the drug neighborhoods and tackling the slumlords responsible. She understood the importance of good aesthetics in our city. She got reelected every year.

Come back Susan! Save our city!

Flea Market

When we were kids we'd go to Brimfield Flea market and I would follow my eyes and intuition and end up with a whole bag of antique clothes for a dollar or a leather doctor's bag for two bucks. This is my approach every day when I am out walking Lily, deciding which street I turn down, what person I meet, is all chance and intuition. I often do an about face or have a sudden desire to explore a new street or new direction like what happened the other day. I found a new street after 17 years in my neighborhood.

Evgeny Morozov

Consuming great art alone is qualitatively different from consuming it socially.
-Evgeny Morozov, NYT - The Death of the Cyberflâneur

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Good Education

I love my 2nd graders, Xavier, Antonio, Pedro, Ricardo and the others. They are adorable wearing Bill's old flannel shirts as printmaking smocks. One of my favorites is a Puerto Rican Elvis Presley! I want to bring apples so they can make apple sauce using the hand cranked food mill. Or make whipped cream by putting marbles inside cream and shaking until it thickens! I can only be in the moment with them! Their lives I cannot fix, only the moment.

The boys went wild on Wednesday - it's not even the full moon yet! They mixed all the colors into mud and made hand prints on the floor. They danced in stockinged feet across the aluminum cafeteria tables. They spun even more wildly when I asked them to chill out. We stopped the printmaking and washed everything. One teacher yelled at them after class and three of my boys cried. I said it's all forgiven, let's move on. I told them it's sad for me to see your big beautiful eyes fill up with tears. They are all beautiful brown puppies with big eyes. I call them "My Romeos." I cry now imagining them crying.

I remember all of my teachers from elementary school. My kindergarten teacher was Miss Estep. She taught me left from right. For years I had to picture her standing with her back to us saying left with an outstretched left hand in order to know my left side from the right.

My first grade teacher, Mrs Haggerty, taught me to read. Her little OO poster said MOON ROOM COOL SOON TOOTH. She was a million years old and had a sister teaching in the school too. I was always sneaking her books home and getting busted. My mother would bring in a manila envelope the size of me, filled with all of the books I had squirreled away. I was completely ashamed. A bookohaulic at age five.

I recently got to thank my Mary Poppins of a second grade teacher through her son who got his mom on the phone. Mrs Dennison had a pet skunk as well as a son and a daughter. She let me sleep over when I was 7! She was also my math tutor.

My third grade teacher Miss Wood drove a white Karmann Ghia convertible and told us about her two cats who wore glasses.

My fifth grade teacher Miss Naomi Blume also let me sleep over to hear a Shakespearean reading in her apartment in NYC. I was very lucky.

My fifth grade teacher Mr Papierman got me interested in tropical fish.

My sixth grade teacher was Mr Perucci. I made him a painting of an owl because he loved owls.

Middle school was not as wonderful except for my fabulous pregnant French teacher Mrs Aiello who wore cowboy boots and showed us how the French peel oranges. She was married to my Math teacher Mr. Aiello who taught us "rotation flotation," something about triangles. I was lousy at math no matter how many times I stayed for help, but I loved French. I even dreamed in French! I had a great Art History teacher who was receiving acupuncture for deafness, and a Theater teacher who was once a real show girl. I learned to tap dance from my English teacher.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin'.
I see bad times today.

—Creedence Clearwater Revival

Dryer Sheet Murders

Why aren't there murders over dryer sheets? They should be outlawed. As an asthmatic I am enraged when my air is polluted by my neighbors.
In a recent study conducted by UW professor Dr. Anne Steinemann, a research team conducted a small study to understand the effects of fragrances in laundry products (both detergent and dryer sheets). The results found more than 25 VOCs emitted from dryer vents, with highest concentrations of acetaldehyde, acetone, and ethanol (two of which are considered carcinogenic). To put it in context, one of the carcinogenic VOC's, acetaldehyde, had emissions that would represent 3% of total acetaldehyde emissions from automobiles in the study area. That might not seem like a lot, but given how commonplace they are in homes, the findings are significant.

Steinemann states, "this is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated. If they're coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they're regulated, but if they're coming out of a dryer vent, they're not."

The trouble with household products is that companies are not required to list any or all ingredients, making it difficult to decipher how harmful they might be.

Imagine the Angels of Bread

by Martín Espada

This is the year that squatters evict landlords,
gazing like admirals from the rail
of the roofdeck
or levitating hands in praise
of steam in the shower;
this is the year
that shawled refugees deport judges
who stare at the floor
and their swollen feet
as files are stamped
with their destination;

this is the year that police revolvers,
stove-hot, blister the fingers
of raging cops,
and nightsticks splinter
in their palms;
this is the year
that darkskinned men
lynched a century ago
return to sip coffee quietly
with the apologizing descendants
of their executioners.

This is the year that those
who swim the border's undertow
and shiver in boxcars
are greeted with trumpets and drums
at the first railroad crossing
on the other side;
this is the year that the hands
pulling tomatoes from the vine
uproot the deed to the earth that sprouts the vine,
the hands canning tomatoes
are named in the will
that owns the bedlam of the cannery;
this is the year that the eyes
stinging from the poison that purifies toilets
awaken at last to the sight
of a rooster-loud hillside,
pilgrimage of immigrant birth;
this is the year that cockroaches
become extinct, that no doctor
finds a roach embedded
in the ear of an infant;
this is the year that the food stamps
of adolescent mothers
are auctioned like gold doubloons,
and no coin is given to buy machetes
for the next bouquet of severed heads
in coffee plantation country.

If the abolition of slave-manacles
began as a vision of hands without manacles,
then this is the year;
if the shutdown of extermination camps
began as imagination of a land
without barbed wire or the crematorium,
then this is the year;
if every rebellion begins with the idea
that conquerors on horseback
are not many-legged gods, that they too drown
if plunged in the river,
then this is the year.

So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.

-Martín Espada

The Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Poets writing on food.

Leonard Cohen


Friday, February 03, 2012

Martín Espada

here too.

Edward Hopper

Great art is an outward expression of an inner life in the artist.
-Edward Hopper

Henry David Thoreau

I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-Henry David Thoreau

B.B. King

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.
-B.B. King

Bob Marley

Don't gain the world and lose your soul.
–Bob Marley

Bob Kaufman

Everything I planned came as a complete surprise
There were no intermissions so I walked out before the end.
They say my life is interesting, but I don't believe them.

-Bob Kaufman

Tao Te Ching

True words are not beautiful
Beautiful words are not true
Good people do not quarrel
Quarrelsome people are not good
The wise are not learned
The learned are not wise

-Tao Te Ching

Born Before Calculators

Bill mentioned to his students that he was born before calculators.
Born before calculators? You're ooooooooooold! How old are you?

Thomas Wolfe

If a man has talent and can't use it, he's failed. If he uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he uses the whole of it, he has succeeded, and won a satisfaction and triumph few men ever know.
-Thomas Wolfe

You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.
-Thomas Wolfe


Cool never mattered to me.
Consumer Obsession Or Lunacy?

Jeff Alberts

What My Pets Say About Me
by Jeff Alberts
read here.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Yosuke Kawamura, Illustrator

view here.

A Good Day

I was in a panic yesterday because the 50 degree weather caused my lungs to react badly to mold. Bill got home and we ran to CVS to refill my emergency inhaler. HURRAY! We got two for the price of one and it was covered on our insurance. AMEN!! As we were getting into the car I looked down and saw a folded up to an inch - 10 dollar bill on the asphalt parking lot. I picked it up and unfolded it. Look! I said to Bill, A gift from my Grandparents in heaven! We raced off to the dairy farm and got a gallon and a half of milk and with the three dollars left we got a quart of Budweiser. We came home and had my Jambalaya soup and Bill had a glass of beer. A good day.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Three Poems by Rick Bursky

The Separation
by Rick Bursky

My father built a wall in the middle of the yard;
five feet high and seven feet long,
separating nothing there from nothing not there.
At night he whispered to the wall.
Mother didn¹t care, "what a man whispers
in the shadow of his wall is his business alone."
Large flat stones, mortar, moonlight,
the damp quiet ­ father leaned against the wall
like a man waiting in an alley.

After he died mother closed her eyes
and placed her ear against the wall.
One side of the wall was love.
One side of the wall was longing.
Later she donated the wall to a church.
One side of the wall became sky.
One side of the wall became earth.
Mother never said what she heard
or if she heard anything at all.

by Rick Bursky

After my dog was killed by a car
my parents gave me a baby sperm whale.
In a small wooden boat,
father on one oar, mother on the other,
we rowed past the swells.
The only sound was the oars' monotonous
work followed by the sigh
of the ocean pushed behind.

When it passed beneath
mother shouted "there, there"
and pointed at the large dark shape.
Father took photos with an old Instamatic.
On the way back to shore,
the only thing spoken
was by mother who asked
if I named it and I had.

Along with other primitive tools

by Rick Bursky

early evidence of photography was found
in a Neanderthal-era cave in the Pyrenees Mountains.
The discovery was made public seventeen years
after the findings and were released
in an article written by Dr. Murray Wasloff
of the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The article went explained that the idea
of monastery was also created,
somewhere in that dark,
when a frightened man
cupped his hands like a cave
and into them blew warm breath.
There was no evidence to suggest
a successful exposure, this would come
tens of thousands of years later.

from The Myth of Photography
© 2005 Rick Bursky

Originally published in Moonday

Rick Bursky's poems have appeared in many literary journals including American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review and Harvard Review. He works for the advertising agency DDB, and teaches at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His first book, The Soup of Something Missing, is out from Bear Star Press. Reprinted with the author's permission

Benjamen Nugent


Housecleaning for the Body