Plush carpet was the ground in pink veneer
Tree waved and woman waved back
Held her vaccine card with strong(er) hand
Proud to have traveled this far
sav(or)ing the moment on insta
Showing off the aliveness of it all
Committed to her health
Slaying the pandemic dragon
Seen by the cherry blossom trees as
pedals drifted into the reservoir
Making the present stay
Taking the moment away
Celebrating the Truth Tellers
Everyone knows I love(d) Cuomo
but I love the women who speak up more.
I admire and respect these women for speaking truth to power.
He was wrong and admitted it.
How seriously should he meet the consequences?
Did his apology matter?
What should happen to him? I don’t know.
Ask the women.
Ask the jury.
Ask the pastor, ethicist, expert.
No one wants unwanted advances.
No one wants her name tied to some creeper, older white guy.
And while I admit to loving Cuomo’s communication style —
His emphasis on love, solidarity, etc.
His power points and joviality charmed me.
It is wearing thin.
I admit to wanting to go back to the time when he was a good governor,
not a creepy intruder upon a woman’s space and a woman’s psyche.
Because that’s what happens when creepers creep.
They get inside — as if they plant a worm that grows, makes you doubt yourself and doubt your sensitivity. They invite you to be quiet, to be good. Say nothing.
So the fact that a young woman says,
“Nah, I’m not staying silent. I’m not doubting myself, I’m calling this behavior out.”
I admire that. I admire their truth telling. I wish I had their courage.
I love their courage even more than I love Cuomo’s power points,
even more than his daily pressers.
I love / take hope when anyone without power steps up to the mic and says,
“I’ve got to say what happened. And it’s not right. And I don’t want it to happen to anyone else. People, listen. Learn.”
‘Women, speak your truth. Even if your voice shakes,’ the saying goes.
And if a wriggly worm says: “Be nice. Don’t make such a big deal about it. This person’s one of the good guys.” Tell the worm, “Yes, I hear you. And I will speak my truth any way. Because even the good guys need to learn, even the heroes must not harm others.”
Nah. I doubt his apology will be good enough.
If he uses his power to assume everyone wants a piece of him. Nah.
I love(d) Cuomo but I’m not going to let him silence or bully women.
This women’s history month, I’m celebrating truth tellers — all of the women who speak up when it’s easier to remain silent.
Thank you for your courage.
Ice slides into cracks on bridges. Do not cross. Reports indicate more is on the way. Freezing cold and flakes fall, only following the tug of gravity. Looking to land in a home on sidewalks slick. Just water, frozen, bright, looking to land.
Look what it is to ride out a pandemic the tear of masks from a new pup, call him Brandy, from the makers of masks in China or Russia via your school or workplace not made for the bite of a dog who mistook the mask for a bone. You noticed another pile by the entrance to the M5 bus, comfort to know there is more by the door, paper and cloth masks in a glass bowl or on a silver hook. And look what it is to give your mask away, three times now, and to grab another, in three different multiverses, oh tears for the people, the older, the younger, or maybe born on your same birthday birth year, who forget their masks or must wear the oxygen mask alone in a buzzing room with hazmat suits, flowers by the door, pings on the hospital floor, sirens closer or passing your home where you left no room, only tears, for the M5 ride or the dog walk or the recovery room, torn mask by the door for the freezing long hauler.
Inspired by today’s Poetry Foundation poem Torn Coat by Gerald Stern
Visited by Grace
Grace comes from Latin, meaning ‘pleasing’ or ‘grateful.’
When are you in a state of grace?
Find grace in nature:
that fox there darting across the field.
belongs in a dance.
But also in the way you make your coffee,
set the table,
wipe the counter,
turn the page of the book you’re reading as you snuggle in
before you fall asleep.
Grace is found in dreams.
Grace is found in bedtime prayers.
And before we eat,
children with their heads bowed
mouthing words, an incantation of gratitude,
in remembrance of the hands that grew and picked and prepared
the food we eat.
While there are many things that I miss about life and school
BC (Before Covid)
Oddly, I miss the ruckus of the dining hall
and the hastily said grace,
the pause before the pandemonium of
eating, laughing, arguing.
You still have grace, I remind myself.
There are still dolphins, butterflies,
foxes that dart.
There is still the coffee, the table,
the countertop to wipe.
There are still rote prayers of gratitude
for the hands who grew, picked, prepared our food.
And I am visited by grace as I use my hands to cook,
to clean, to pray,
To turn the page as I snuggle in.
Before the dreams dart like foxes into the night
Spa Day for the Weary Writer’s Soul
on a tear
When writers write and share their words, the words circle above them like fairies who fly to awaken the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses. Then the deities, grand and small, gather, as if around a beach campfire, to send the red crackling words into the air.
It is the author or writer’s task to grab the words before they dim. Words like fireflies who once roamed the land, begin to fade, come Autumn.
another poem – a haiku
central park green lawn
sunbathers, frisbees, babies
grass, a blanket from below
below the earth, worms
tunnel, aerate, make new homes
with roots, turning soil
central park green play
sunny day leads to starry
Shakespeare night, above
These words emerged from last weekend’s writing retreat with J. Ann Craig — so good. We wrote prayers, songs, and erotic poetry.
I sort of organized the day. (I wanted to say ‘helped organize,’ but honestly, I did most everything: found the place, procured the leadership, encouraged attendance, ordered and set out the food.) But it was Rutgers Presbyterian Church who hosted the day at the House of the Redeemer. More than a dozen of us, beautiful women, writers and artists of life, gathered to set the world right.
Do not doubt for a minute that writing has the potential to heal the world. In this fractured time in our country, there is something necessary about writing down our truths — in our revealing, there is revelation. The authentic self emerges and writers’ words are free to bind the brokenness in our hearts and in the hearts of our communities.
I write to make sense of the world. I write because I am on the hunt to find meaning.
I write because I worry and need to reassure myself.
I write to make lists and tell myself to do tasks.
Sometimes I wonder if a woman should write as much as I do. I wonder if someone took away my keyboard — Would they tell me to get out there and get living? For me, living is writing. And writing is living. Writing is as essential as breathing. As dreaming.
Our dreams are our brains telling us stories. We need stories. We — I — write through the night.
The other night, I had a dream that I was on my phone, texting or scrolling. Scrolling or texting. I woke, feeling like I’d been cheated — you should not be on the phone when you are dreaming or writing.
Although my one writing friend is working on / writing a novel on his phone. I don’t know how the project’s going. He was swallowed into his phone and no one’s seen him for months. Maybe he will come back in a dream. Or in my writing. Like now.
When I ask myself, Why write? It is so that I, Ishmael, do not become swallowed into the big belly of the beast.
I write to find my way out of the whale.
I write my way in and my way out.
We had an assignment to write about light.
speed of light.
an owl lit out from the barnyard squawking.
a mouse flitted from the pasture to the tall green stalks of corn.
Did not know her days were numbered.
the bitty mouse.
She will be bit as mice will bite.
and no one
This dream. Poetry is a dream. why do we dream?
why do i dream? Anxiety dreams?
that i am late for school/work.
that i will forget my lines.
i cannot stop dreaming
i must let go of my anxiety dreams. Before I fall asleep, I tell myself, have a happy sleep, no more worries…
I started this blog post on the Mariandale Retreat in Westchester – a break from my mad dash
cycling, cycling to get to my next big thing,
to my next place
How can I have ease? i would like to know
i know i am only responsible for myself. i know this intellectually, but i also feel i am responsible for all of you. that your happiness depends on me.
who is this YOU? any passerbys, i offer a smile. any family member, i will rent a car and drive you. any friend, i will make a date and meet you. any bank clerk, i will greet you with kindness.
and i feel a tension in my shoulders. i retreated because i needed to remember this:
’tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free.
every single person needs to keep beauty on their map
because there is more to this life than bread and water
we need to play, to immerse ourselves in nature, to have strength
we need to dive in to beauty as if into a pool.
lose ourselves. To find ourselves.
every single day, at the retreat and now at home, i set out to walk for an hour. I heard a neurologist at the Rockefeller University say we need this. this is the secret to happiness – walk an hour a day. but i usually walk for 40 minutes.
And i try to make art every day.
i wanted to light out like the owl from the barn.
i wanted to take flight and swoop down to carry the mouse back to the nest. the hungry tots. but there is also the owl that loves to fly farther and farther
and swoop into the currents of the air stream
the stream in the air
diving and dipping
when the lights dwindle and the stars poke through like mice. a little twinkle, a little glimmer, a little field of effervescence. And there it is:
the ineffableness of you
the secret of you
the only you
the way to find the most of you.
i was tired and lay down
and i lay by the river and i drifted to a deeper sleep and no one ever came to wake me.
and some day i will sleep, but until then I will fly.
A Poem for History and Heritage Day
Who was the nomad?
Was it you?
Did you use a walking stick?
A talking stick?
Did you find — as you journeyed — a sense of home?
Why did you leave?
Were you told to honor your father and mother?
But left any way
And now you are being left.
The natural right loneliness of the child, your child,
who fills his backpack, walks away and never looks back. Not once.
I don’t begrudge my children growing up.
I just didn’t know what you went through.
Until it happened to me.
It explains why everything fell apart.
Ancestors before me, have compassion. Forgive me.
I get to thinking it all began — I began —
when my grandparents and great grandparents came on a big ship
From Ireland and from Denmark and Norway.
Separate big ships. In the turbulent Atlantic sea.
Colliding in me.
Making my brothers and sisters too.
But mostly me.
I was born on three big ships crossing the Atlantic.
But I go back to fields and plains and caves.
Just like you.
We were all of us. Walking.
Walking with sticks.
Singing and laughing and arguing
And wondering who our children would be.
And now we set out, as nomads, again.
Where is your journey?
I hope you will find — as your journey — your way home.
Wrote this and am reading this poem for History and Heritage Day, an alternative celebration to Columbus Day today at the Interchurch Center, NYC.
It Must Be October
I feel old.
It must be October.
It must be the pumpkin-flavored everything.
I am no longer pumpkin-flavored.
I am nutmeg. Nutty.
I see my reflection in the subway window.
“I need Botox.”
I am becoming
invisible – like all the New York belles, wrinkled, made up,
I don’t care – and then
I start singing –
“I don’t care. I love it.”
I am silly, happy. humming to myself on the subway.
I am not yet that creeping cold November.
I am still this playful hot October.
In the beginning of the autumn month.
I am still jumping in a pile of leaves, singing songs to and of myself.
It must be October.
I don’t care.
I love it.
- Rolling in Pumpkin (ottbeerguy.wordpress.com)
- This poem inspired me A Pep Talk for October
- The Daily Prompt: Symmetry This was today’s assignment: Start every line with the same letter.
- Another Fall Writing Retreat – in the Adirondacks