Friday, December 30, 2011

I saw Patti at a place in Nashville in 97. A place no longer there. I think it was called 329 Performance Center, but I am most likely wrong. What is not wrong about the memory is what an amazing performer and artist she is. And, as the venue was small and intimate, I was in front of the stage, and as she started this song, I had my hand outstretched hoping she would take hold of it, and she did. And she held my hand for some time. And, I felt energy. I felt connection. I felt the life force. And I mean that in all seriousness. It was profound. Not just because she is Patti Smith, but because I felt there was something she knew. I can feel the touch still. I am not trying to present her as idol or any better than I am. What I felt was the touch of one human who knew pain to another in pain. It was a good moment. "You're not alone. You're not alone. You're not alone."

Happy Birthday to Patti Smith!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve

Now my father carries his old heart
in its basket of ribs
like a child coming into the room
with an injured bird.
Our ages sit down with a table between them,
eager to talk.
Our common bones are wrapped in new robes.
A common pulse tugs at the ropes
in the backs of our hands.
We are so much alike
we both weep at the end of his stories.

Ted Kooser

Monday, December 26, 2011

I did all my best to smile. "Did I dream you dreamed about me?"

There is always some crying going on. I think it's ok, yes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Not An Unexamined Life

Very glad I know this strong woman and get to call her daughter, as she is and forever shall be. She's a feisty little thing who does not back down when things get uncomfortable and who stands by her convictions and works so very, very hard. I am proud of all of my children and grateful for all they do for themselves and others.

One of the songs performed at TADP's (Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty) benefit Monday night, hosted by none other than my little girl.

Merry Christmas, dear visitors! A very blessed holiday to those I know--Laurel, Jim, Karen, and Jo. May you find some moments of peace and joy this holiday season and in the year to come.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Remains

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.

Mark Strand

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Light Snow Alert

As Molly and I walk the streets of the old neighborhood--a light snow falling--I realize I think too much about all of the things I can never be again and too little of all of the things I may be and can be and am.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Laurel, I heard this one night driving in the darkness of the Mojave, the lights of the city still visible. I felt so keenly alone in the midst of my belonging.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Shout Out To Nikky Finney!

I am so stoked that Nikky Finney won this award!
My youngest son has her this semester for his poetry
class at UK. I heard her read about 6 years ago
and fell in love with her poetry.

And, I have to say that my son has much respect
for her as a teacher and a poet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

The latest Food Rules: an eater's manual:

Spinach salad with goat cheese, dried pears, spiced walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette for dinner tonight. Yum!

And a Boo Radley walk with Molly (wind and leaves blowing down some dark streets).

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Yesterday. And the days keep rolling along.

And I post poems here and there and then pull them
because they are unfinished and never fully say
what I am trying to say.

And it's sunny and cool today. The kind of perfect work
in the yard day. But I most likely won't work in the yard.

I have abandoned it.

Thanksgiving in less than 3 weeks. Everyone home, which
will be wonderful. But, oh my, the challenges. Trying
to cook for so many different types of eaters. Lauren
is gluten-free (which makes things like traditional stuffing
out of the question, but I found a Micheal Symon recipe
in Food & Wine that may work for muffins.) And then,
there's my little Isaac with his multiple food allergies.
Dairy, in particular. So, that will mean rice milk for any
dish that requires milk. Weird fake butter to rub down
the turkey and use in whatever other recipes would
require the real deal ( I think it's sacrilege to forego
butter for that fake stuff, but I don't want my sweet
Isaac to end up in the ER!). No cheese products, so that
eliminates a few things on the traditional menu.

But, I shall prevail. I shall figure it all out.


Interesting all these terms one learns when one is the
oldest employee in the office. Nearly all of my co-workers
are in their twenties. One of them yesterday used a term
I had not heard before. It won't come to me now, but
a few weeks ago, she mentioned "motorboating," and
when we went to beach last year, she told me some guy
was wearing a "banana hammock." Ok. And then, Marisa
and I were looking up the word "toboggan" as she and her
new guy have differing opinions on using that word to mean
something one wears on one's head (she tells him a toboggan
is a hat and he says it's a sled and refuses to accept it to mean
hat. She says "cook-out" and he says it's a "barbecue", etc.)
and I could not believe
the definition I found in the urban dictionary (did not even
know there was a UD until yesterday). And then
toboggan led to "modified donkey punch" and this could
have gone on and on, but we did have some work to do.

I am continually fascinated with words and can't believe
how many new words are created daily.


For my birthday, my coworkers gave me Michael Pollan's
newest book Food Rules, and a spa certificate. I had a facial
when I was in FL last month--first one. I am going to get
my second one soon!

So, I am reading Food Rules and rereading 1984. I am ready
to join up with the OWS folks.

To the bed I return on this lovely Saturday morning to read
some more and maybe go back to sleep.

In a nutshell, here is Michael Pollan's approach to eating:

Eat food
Mostly Plants
Not too much

Good advice. And food is the real stuff. Nothing processed.
Don't buy anything with over 5 ingredients listed on the label.
Buy organic when you can. Cook your own. Eat little meat.
Drink some red wine.

Some sample Pollan dishes: Roasted Beets and Carrots with Goat
Cheese Dressing. Spicy Green Bean and Tofu Stir Fry with Ground
Bison. Sesame-Chile Kettle Corn. & Chocolate Wafers with Ginger,
Fennel, & Sea Salt (all in this month's issue of Food & Wine).

The major problem I have with cooking healthier food is how
limited I am in what I can purchase. For example, that first
recipe calls for golden beets. I can't get golden beets here.
I can only get one kind of beet. F & W is filled with wonderful
recipes, but I can't find the ingredients. I can susbstitute,
which I frequently do, but it makes a difference to have the
real stuff.

Ok. Enough of that. Back to bed and reading. Food and Big Brother.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I can picture a labyrinth at the end of the walk with mature trees encircling it (at some point in time) creating a canopy for privacy. I also want a variety of garden beds on the right hand side of the walkway. On the left-hand side, obscured by the very tall and still blooming knockout rose, is my father's memory garden with wisteria and roses and a weeping cherry tree and some other plants. It's still a work in progress.

Friday, October 14, 2011

my father moved through dooms of love
e.e. cummings

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.

Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead he called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely)stood my father's dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.

Scorning the pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
less humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am

though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
—i say though hate were why man breathe—
because my father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

maggie and milly and molly and may
by E. E. Cummings


maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back Home

Took a trip last week with my friend, Becca. We went to Naples, Fl
to stay with my sister. While there, we went fishing one day at
Ten Thousand Islands, which was quite an experience! I will save that
story for another time. We also went to the Everglades and took
an airboat ride through the mangroves. We took a short
swamp walk while there as well, and we visited the Clyde Butcher
gallery. And, we could not leave the Glades behind without
visiting the Skunkape Research Center. To our surprise, David
was actually there! Then my friend and I took the Key West Express
ferry to Key West for a few days.

All the pictures below are from the Key West trip. I loved the
Butterfly Conservatory and could have stayed in there all morning!