vinyl

We return every twenty two minutes

turn her over and gently place the needle.

Set her down easy we don’t want a scratch.

 

An afternoon of drawing and vinyl

brings us breathing deeper than we’ve felt yet

“a Love Supreme” John Coltrane delights our

moments like summer fireflies light nights.

 

You can make it lighter with gentleness.

Spinning and spinning she sings a groovy tale

Turn table spinning my Saturday afternoon

Forecast tonight clearer.

 

Posted in poem | 3 Comments

your chanting from the room across the hall

your chanting flows in from the farther room,

like a warm heart bath it calms my trembling horror.

and the unknowingness of the sandskrit comforts

deeply my typical urge to know

i can sit simply in the vibrations of your chanting

never longing for an alteration or altercation

i have read the horrific tales in the daily news

and i have watched the unknowing crowds of jeering haters

and I am lost for a solution, yet you subdue the horrors

with your winsome tune, echoing in my heart beat like a tabla

my spine is a resonator for your marimba beats

Posted in cared for, finding, poem | Leave a comment

rejoice in reading and writing

Gloria Choo loaned me a book “Rubyfruit Jungle” by Rita Mae Brown, and it was shocking, I was leaving home. She took me to a safe house and once there I helped some girl with her math homework. It felt good to be free of him, but I was afraid for my future. The book was like reading “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” only it was women. I had never read or seen anything where females were lovers. It was 15 years later that I started writing poetry for Penny Sartori, a intensive care nurse that convinced me to love life and to believe in rainbows and living, when death is beating on your door. She has written a couple of books about near death experiences and her work helped me to overcome my fear of death. I did not know at the time that I would develop a brain tumor and experience my own near death experience. These days I think a lot about the people who gave me books and hope in life. I think more about teachers and about the past. I no longer contemplate suicide. I remember Karen Blaydes who drove me out to see Flannery O’Conner’s peacocks. She was a great teacher and she inspired me to apply to a great college, Bard. Writing and thinking was primary there and now it is everything to me. It is my history, and my future. I was born to read and write. I was born to chase literature and to fall down the rabbit hole.

I celebrate those who taught me to rejoice in writing and reading.

Posted in existence, poem, teachers, writing | 1 Comment

scion

Not entirely left or right, this or that.

Confused somewhat

of damaged flesh,

staying now with the old ones

my heart has been around.

I stand, a stranger at the edge of the door.

Wondering who can understand

My little estate is a comfort

I look at the cold earth;

I look at those who come before me ,

I am a scion, a chip off the old block

Not one or the other

Contains me.

Posted in poem | 2 Comments

Aunt Demitt, busy hands

Aunt Demitt always worked in the garden

She would head out early in the morning and pull weeds.

Beautiful flowers filled her lawn with roses, daylilies, iris, and amarillis

And she taught me to love the soil and the flowers.

Every summer she worked cropping, and topping the tobacco and largely I recall stringing the tobacco leaves.

At lunch we girls got an RC cola and a moonpie.

Then the work went on.

The women would take the leaves from the beds that the harvesters  had cut and laid out on the flat beds the women grabbed them by the stalks, the stems and lay them out

On the stringer. As a girl, my job was to use a pocket knife to cut the string when the

Tobacco stick came off the stringing machine and lift the filled stick

Me and my female cousin would pass up the stick to the boys who would hang it high up

To dry, starting at the height of the barn and gradually filling each new level.

This process was done three times over the summer gradually the boys would

gather leaves from higher and higher up the stalk. As the sticks were hung lower and lower in the barn Sometimes topping the stalks earlier to make sure they didn’t flower or go to seed.

Aunt Demitt also grew Green beans, purple hulled peas, okra, and tomatoes, to fill the freezers

Cucumbers, squash, corn, Daylilies, sugar cane for making cane syrup, She had chickens, and eggs and grew collards, mustards, and peanuts,

She would  even graft flowers especially the camellia flowers,

In the winter months she quilted with her sisters handmade quilts for the family and for the church.

She shared so much with me.

I will never forget the hard work, sacrifice and love that Aunt Demitt demonstrated all of her life.

Posted in cared for, country stars, hard work, life, memoir, poem | Tagged | 4 Comments

Better With Age

Does Anything get better with Age?

In this, another age of losing,

Does the sense of life improve?

It is harder to remember the day she died.

Is there something you would like to see again?

I do wear my trousers rolled.

My closets are stuffed with color options.

Room by room I search the house.

My favorite perfume will run out

Eventually, everything does.

Is the twilight more beautiful?

The house seems larger.

Less gets better with age.

Making friends with the Fool

Knowing he always returns.

Searching for things forgotten.

 

Spend my entire day searching

For something I can not find

For it is no longer there.

Sleep gets blessed with visions.

Waking and knowing I am alive.

Forgetting fear and loving memory.

Echoes, ringing in from the river.

Spring blossoms blessing my sight.

Geese fly singing overhead.

Always having some place to go.

Being in the advanced stage of life.

Nearing the shadow.

Having nowhere I have to go.

Knowing that it has been worth it.

Loving emptiness,

Yet getting the sense of sensibility.

Posted in after life, aspiration, coping with failure, perception, poem, poetry | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

metamorphosis

Loudly he called so his audience could hear
With admiration, and admiring, she replied in fear
Cried out to heaven in the name of her son,
Who laughed at all the gods, believed in none:
He shook his haughty head, and then replied,
“These myths are no more than pious lies:
You attribute too much to the heavenly way,
I am furious that they give us forms, only to take away.”
  The others, of better minds, in their sense declared
Against this doctrine? You have turned against the herd.
Then turn against, an old experienced man,
And the sober gravity began:
“Listen and understand Heaven’s power is infinite

It permeates earth, air, and sea,
You will attend the mass, and my power you will obey:
My proof will clear your doubt; singing in Phrygian key
Two neighboring trees, Stand on a moderate rise, with wonder shown,
One a hard oak, the other a softer linden one:
I saw the place and them, by the navigator sent

They learned to speak and made grandfather’s government.
Not far from there is a lake, the haunt
Of coots, and of the fishing cormorant

Here the ancient mariner wore a cormorant around his neck in disguise
As mortal men concealed their Gods;
One angel laid aside his thunder, and one his rod;
And many toilsome steps together trod;
For harbor searching at a thousand doors they knocked,
All but one of a thousand was locked.
At last an hospitable house they found,
A homely shed; the roof, not far from ground,
Was thatched with reeds and straw together bound.
There Betty and Phil lived, and there
Had lived long married and a happy pair:
Now old in love, though little was their store,
Inured to want, their poverty they bore,
Nor aimed at wealth, professing to be poor.
For master or for servant here to call,
Was all alike, where only two were all.
A common settle drew for either guest,
Inviting each his weary limbs to rest.
Upon two cushions stuffed with straw, the seat to raise;
Coarse, but the best she had; then takes the load
Of ashes from the hearth, and spreads abroad
The living coals, and, lest they should expire,
With leaves and barks she feeds her infant-fire:
It smokes; and then with trembling breath she blows,
Till in a cheerful blaze the flames arose.
With brush-wood and with chips she strengthens these,
And adds at last the boughs of rotten trees.
The fire thus formed, she sets the kettle on,
High over the hearth a bit of bacon hung;
Good old Phil seized it with a prong,
And from the sooty rafter drew it down,
Then cut a slice, but scarce enough for one;
Yet a large portion of a little store,
Which for their sakes alone he wished were more.
This in the pot he plunged without delay,
To tame the flesh, and drain the salt away.
The time between, before the fire they sat,
And shortened the delay with pleasing chat.
   A beam there was, on which a beechen pail
Hung by the handle, on a driven nail:
This filled with water, gently warmed, they set
Before their guests; in this they bathed their feet,
And after with clean towels dried their sweat:
This done, the host produced the genial bed,
Which with no costly coverlet they spread;
But coarse old garments, yet such robes as these
They laid alone, at feasts, on holydays.
The good old houswife tucking up her gown,
Then rubbed the bum leg over with newly-gathered mint,
A wholesome herb, that breathed a grateful scent.
They began the feast, where first were seen
The party-coloured olive, black and green:
Autumnal kernels next in order served,
In lees of wine well pickled, and preserved:
A garden-salad was the third supply,
Of endive, radishes, and chicory:
Then curds and cream, the flower of country-fare,
And new-laid eggs, which Phils’ busy care
Turned by a gentle fire, and roasted rear.
All these in earthen ware were served to board;
And next in place, an earthen pitcher, stored
With liquor of the best the poor cottage could afford.
This was the table’s ornament and pride,
With figures wrought: like pages at his side
Stood beechen bowls; and these were shining clean,
Varnished with wax without, and lined within.
By this the boiling kettle had prepared,
And to the table sent the smoking lard;
On which with eager appetite they dine,
A savory bit, that served to relish wine:
The wine itself was suiting to the rest,
Still working in the must, and lately pressed.
The second course succeeds like that before,
Plums, apples, nuts, and of their wintry store,
Dry figs, and grapes, and wrinkled dates were set
In canisters, to enlarge the little treat
All these a milk-white honeycomb surround,
Which in the midst the country banquet crowned:
But the kind hosts their entertainment grace
With hearty welcome, and an open face:
In all they did, you might discern with ease,
A willing mind, and a desire to please.
  Meantime the beechen bowls went round, and still,
Though often emptied, were observed to fill;
Filled without hands, and of their own accord
Ran without feet, and danced about the board.
Devotion seized the pair, to see the feast
With wine, and of no common grape, increased;
And up they held their hands, and fell to prayer,
Excusing, as they could, their country fare.
   One goose they had, (it was all they could allow)
A wakeful sentry, and on duty now,
Whom to the gods for sacrifice they vow:
Her, with malicious zeal, the couple viewed;
She ran for life, and limping they pursued:
Full well the fowl perceived their bad intent,
And would not make her masters compliment;
But persecuted, to the powers she flies,
And close between the legs of Love she lies.
He with a gracious ear the suppliant heard,
And saved her life; then what he was declared,
And owned the god. ‘The neighbourhood,’ said he,
‘Shall justly perish for impiety:
You stand alone exempted; but obey
With speed, and follow where we lead the way:
Leave these accursed; and to the mountain’s height
Ascend; nor once look backward in your flight.’
  They haste, and what their tardy feet denied, the staff gave him a better leg.
Like An arrow’s flight they soared to the top,
And there secure, but spent with travel, stop;
Then turn their now no more forbidden eyes;
Lost in a lake the floated level lies:
A watery desert covers all the plains,
Their cot alone, as in an isle, remains:
Wondering with weeping eyes, while they deplore
Their neighbours’ fate, and country now no more,
Their little shed, scarce large enough for two,
Seems, from the ground increased, in height and bulk to grow.
A stately temple shoots within the skies:
The crotches of their cot in columns rise:
The pavement polished marble they behold,
The gates with sculpture graced, the spires and tiles of gold.
   Then thus the sire of gods, with look serene,
‘Speak thy desire, thou only just of men; And thou, O woman, only worthy found

The woman called out to her son

Can you see now that God can come to us as a simple guest?

Kindness and generosity should be shown to everyone,

For anyone could be coming from the other side.

Posted in poem | 1 Comment

Thread of my life

The greatness of the escape into a book or a movie. When I was a kid there was a book van that came into the neighborhood, like an icecream truck. My parents always allowed me to buy a treat aboard. It was so exciting. I had memorized my Dr. Seuss books before I could even read and I would put on a show for guests. Pretending that I could read got me a lot of congratulatory attention.

When I got older and actually could read, it became a wonderful way to escape my life and to learn about times and places I could never go. Charlotte’s Web, Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, and Later Judy Blume. Then as a teen ager I started reading the Bible. What a terror. Children should be kept away from Leviticus and Revelation. Some readings are inappropriate for  young people. We don’t know what our life will be; But we will be making something. With only Five dollars and a paperclip We can sing and clap and We shall not be moved. We will not be discredited, to experience deniers of truth, To have special researchers who define your report as a need for commemoration, Shouldn’t we all care. It is not an issue of one country or belief, but an issue of ALL people. Is clean water an issue of privilege? Reading and writing are super privileges like clean water.

In my later teens I became attracted to Flannery O’Conner, William Faulkner, Sam Beckett, and later Kafka, Pinter, and later even James Joyce. I could keep on listing great writers that are worth a careful read. I really dig southern authors Carson McCuller, Harper Lee, Tennessee Williams, there is something about depressing stories that I have always been attracted to, starting with Sylvia Plath and Edna St. Vincent Millay. Poetry is my thing.  So the thread of my life is like a sad sad story that I read over and over again and oddly it makes me happy. Reading and writing gives me resilience it has been the only way that I could find a way to survive. Reading and writing are the thread of my life. Keeping the beauty of love and not being confused by war. I continue to sing my song in the darkest of times.

 

Posted in memoir, poem | Leave a comment

auguries of innocence William Blake

World shows its face in a Grain of Salt
Heaven is in a Wild Flower
Forever is in the palm of your hand
Eternity is ticking in a clock
A little blue bird is in the Cage
All the sky is in a Rage
A Dove is cooing
Hell is shaking
A dog is starving at his Master’s Gate
Predictions are being made
A Horse is running down the Road
the Rider Calls to Heaven for Human blood
Each cry coming from a hunted Hare
the Brain drops a tear
the singing bird does not call with no winging  
Angels often stop their singing
fighting Cocks play their blood sport
frightening but the devil’s betting sport
Wolves & Lions howl
One Human Soul raises up from hell
The wild deer, roaming here & there
Keeps the Human Soul from Care
The Lamb abused brings Public Strife
And yet forgives the Butchers knife
the lamb has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl calls throughout the Night
Calling the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be beloved by Men
He who, like the Ox, has lost his bull

Will never be by Woman loved
The one that kills the Fly
Will feel the Spider’s hatred
He who torments the  scarab’s fairy
Builds a Beautiful home in endless Night
The Caterpillar on the Leaf
Repeats to you your Mother’s grief
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
For the final Judgment is near
He who trains the Horse to War
Will feed the The Beggar’s Dog & the Widow’s Cat
till they grow fat
The tiny flea sings Summer’s tune
Poison comes from a liar’s tongue
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Are the sweat dropping from Envys Foot
The poison from the stinger of the Honey Bee
Is an Artist’s Jealousy
The Prince’s Robes & Begger’s Rags
Are poisonous mushrooms on the stingy man’s Bag
A Truth that is told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
It is as it should be  
Man was made for joy and woe
Once we really get it
We travel through the World with
Joy & Woe are woven fine into
A Clothing for the soul divine
Under every grief & languishing moment
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swaddling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returned to its own delight
The goat’s son the dog’s Bark  
Roaring Waves all Beating on Heaven’s Shore
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of Death
The Beggar’s Rags fluttering in Air
Does to Rags the Heavens tear
The Soldier armed with Sword & Gun
will tremble and shake in the Summer’s Sun
The poor Man’s penny is worth more
Than all the stocks in a rich man’s stock
One dime stolen from the Laborer’s hands
Will buy & sell the Miser’s Land
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole Nation sell & buy
He who mocks the Infant’s Faith
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
The lawyer who sits so sly
Will never know how to Reply
He who replies to words of Doubt
Snuffs the Light of Knowledge out
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
No one can Deform the Human Race
Like the Armors’ iron brace
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
A Riddle or the Crickets Chirp
Will Doubt each fit Reply
Philosophy is crippled to smile
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will never Believe do what you Please
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
They would immediately Go out
To be in a Passion some Good you may Do
But no Good if a Passion is in you
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licensed build that Nation’s Fate
The prostitutes cry from Street to Street
Will work for wage on a winding Sheet
The Winner’s Shout the Loser’s Curse
Dance before the dead man’s Hearse
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish  
God Appears & God is Light

Posted in death, erasure poem, finding, life, poem, poetry | 2 Comments

wake up

There is nothing you can grip 
hold of in the morning sky

The red-eye flights headed east 
bring our west coast friends in on a plane 
listen as the garbage truck beeps in its backing 
the sky fills in turn with day and night

lift your groceries and garbage
in coming and going You don’t see the poem

say anything you can not see in it
jet streams, airmail chased by contrails 

the contrail remains an unmoving streak towards sunrise
disquieting the pale quiet otherwise 

blue and orange of morning    
starts the day                the morning radio plays
Posted in beauty, morning, poem | Tagged , | 1 Comment