Sunday, November 27, 2016

It appears that I am writing again, regularly, and happily. I've had a reason to look back at my words over the last few years and some of them may find their way to my blog. Like this one, which is kind of topical for me since the holidays are here and I think about certain people who have come and gone. I'm no fan of that. 

Divine Justice

Twice I’ve tried and failed. I hate regrets and I have two big ones.

Through an intermediary I send word to my first deep and true love. It is 25 years later and I calmly see my part in the painful bitter betrayal that choked us both. The response back is a non response: a dollop of vanilla variety silence. If I read into it, the non words are clear:  ‘I am ignoring you. Leave me alone.”

The second regret is less complicated but equally unfortunate. I lost a good friend to a bad decision, one that was not then and definitely not now worth anything close to the cost. It’s been four years. I’ve sent a couple of cards and left a couple of phone messages, apologizing, lamenting, hoping for a reconnect. I’ve gotten word back, olitely and indirectly, that the time is not right… maybe some other time. 

I am looking for redemption and find it buried in rejection.

Isn’t that just the way sometimes? You have to let go of someone you wished you had gripped harder or softer. You have to accept what you can’t make right. That’s your only chance. 

I’ve phoned my friend Dory and we’re sharing a double scooped hot fudge sundae in downtown Northampton. It is a warm breezy Sunday night in June and gratitude skips around our ankles. Dory has made a few regret calls herself lately, with similar results. 

We are two minds now less emcumbered by several less people. 

It’s a divine loss and the ice cream is also divine. Just ice and no heat. 

Isn’t that just the way sometimes?


Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Can't Say Why...

this is herring cove in Provincetown at sunset. I can view a similar scene
just about every night and I am reassured of holiness.

I should say something,
this week knowing
how much has changed
in the flick of a ballot.
I am not a fan
of the man. 

Anger builds and fear swells. 
This country damaged and misled:
I should tremble but not yet I don't 
I should despise but not yet I won't.

Crazy, I believe the worse won't stand
Crazy, I believe this trouble gets us truth
I'm sorry we are all so pained
But I'm betting in the end we gain.

I can't explain why or how I am reserving judgement about the terrible miscarriage and mistake of electing Donald Trump as America's President.  For some  reason I think he is going to blow the lid off the racism and fear-mongering and divisions that have festered in the land for some years now, and for some reason I think a majority of people--decent people--are going to scream and insist 'Enough' and 'No More.' I don't know what that will look like--how severe the correction will be--but I believe there will be a correction that is already overdue.

I'm sorry the USA is putting us and you though this, World. It must be our Amrican nature to roll the dice. This time that recklessness will break our hearts, but I don't think the damage will drown us. 

I can't tell you why I think this way. But for some reason I do.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Am I an Elite?

It could not be a more beautiful Autumn here. I am writing every day, benefiting from the ocean air and sunsets, and planning for a huge renovation of our kitchen and second floor. We will have to move out of our house for three months this winter and soley by luck, we've found an affordable two bedroom incredible place to stay, directly on the bay. I will watch the tides and the weather coming in and changing with the eagerness of a puppy.

I am also following the human and political drama of the American Presidential Election. I do not support the candidate who targets Muslims and Mexicans and speaks with uncensored vulgarity. Still, I try to dig into how he can possibly have the support of so many Americans. I know at least two dozen decent thoughtful people who agree with him and I find that boggling. 

The candidate likes to point fingers at the 'elite' who are rigging the election against him. "Washington insiders," "Not regular hard working Americans," "People who read the New York Times and watch CNN."

I don't live in Washington DC and I read and listen to all kinds of commentary and news, including the Times and CNN. Am I a regular hard working American? 

I think so. 

I'm a college graduate and I'm white and along with JB we have income and savings that got  us a second home for a time and allowed us to get our daughter through college. I don't worry about making rent and we find ways to travel as we wish. I'm older now so I work only part-time, on my own terms. I spent a recent five years in the middle of an impoverished community serving white, black, and Hispanic families. My Father was a mason who left school in sixth grade and my Mother was a seamstress who came to the USA speaking only French and dropped out of school even earlier. I grew up in a middle class industrial town in Massachusetts, my family owned the house my Father and uncle built themselves, I went to a state college, I started my own business, I'm quick to volunteer. 


When Obama was elected to the Presidency, I accepted, with relief, that the melting pot of different nationalities and races and religions and sexual preferences won out: that the melting pot would finally take root. I knew there was an real and mostly white anger that the country had changed, that manufacturing and employer loyalty had fled, that people on entitlements seemed to have it easier. I knew that but I thought the majority of Americans had spoken democratically and decisively. 

I was so wrong. That anger simmered and Donald Trump has now given it a legitimacy that borders if not crosses race baiting and violence. It's US and THEM.

He blames the problems and the differences on the elites. 

Based on education and income, that must be me.

But that must be him too. And all of government. And all of our educational institutions. And all of Congress. And the Generals. It looks to me like it's everyone but the powerful mostly white males who like to rule with authority and are not interested in nuance or balance. And it's not the folks who feel like the wrong direction has ruined the country.

It's not the folks who have felt powerless, who long for job security and a time that won't be coming back again no matter who is President . This man says he will take the country back to the 1950's. Back to when jobs were permanent and unions had clout. Back to when black people were second class citizens in silence. Back to when the United States had no interest and no need to collaborate or cooperate with other countries. 

It is my hope that the damage already done settles down and enough people understand we have to heal. 

Am I an elite? I must be; I qualify. But I don't feel a whole lot different than most other people I meet and know. I'm likable and fair and it shows. 

My biggest fault is that no matter how hard I try I cannot understand how and why good people I know continue to support a man who is pretty much a pig.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A September Song

I look at this scene almost daily.  It is a view from my side yard, where JB and I sit, a block from the bay, and where I imagine what it must be like to live in a treehouse.  

I haven't said much lately about the land by the sea where I now live. That's because I stepped away from the the rhythm of the ocean tides and the pink-orange colors of sunset at Herring Cove. I stepped away because of real problems but no longer.  I've still not returned--not yet--because I am consumed with finishing a novel I started writing six years ago. I am into that lovely zone of timelessness when one is doing something one loves and because of that, I have to push myself away from the manuscript. 

And this too: my daughter and her family have bought a lake house in Maine. They've watched the sunrise and sunsets this summer, and every night they speak about the beauty of that. Their young children  each morning walked into a back yard that is a beach, a beach yard with a hammock and kayaks and a small boat and rocks to fish from. I don't know if I've ever felt as content for my Jess as I do now And I say this after eight weeks of surety that she had cancer. (Misdiagnosed!)

Because of that surety, in a panic I found a studio apartment near her so I could help with the kids and help my daughter when she lost her hair and became too tired to move. I had to sign a one year lease and that has turned into a blessing--the apartment is adorable and cozy and convenient. We never would have spent the money to rent it had the circumstances not been critical, but now that we have, I can be here a couple of days a week, hanging out with my grandkids, learning to play the guitar, writing, writing.

There was a sophomoric time in my life when I longed for a soho-type loft. With this place, I have it.

The reason I'm writing this post tonight is not for any of the reasons I've just talked about. I'm writing because I visited my 99 year old Godmother today. Our visit was about planning a party in late October for her 100th birthday.  I'd asked her for  a list of people she'd like to invite. In her best handwriting she's written out names, addresses, phone numbers, an explanation of who is who. 

My Godmother is an amazing woman. She lives alone, she gardens, she feeds birds and squirrels in her driveway, she cooks and bakes, she reads the newspapers every day. Today she showed me an article on Koko the ape, his daily routine and how he mourned the loss of his pet cat. 

And she told me how she remembered me as a fun little girl, how I crawled into bed with my grandmother when she was sick and how I visited my grandparents every day, evaluating if the supper menu was better than my mother's. I asked her if I had been a good kid. She said yes, yes, you were.

I am organizing this 100 year old birthday party in late October. I asked my godmother if she wanted to speak at the party and she said, 'maybe, but mostly I want people to meet each other.'

I want that too. Her family was separated when she and her sisters were orphaned so I don't know her sisters or nieces and nephews. I don't know her friends. She gave me a list of 40 names today. I expected 15. On her 100th birthday she will celebrate with all the important people in her life.

I'd say that will be a great gift.

Happy September, everyone. FYI: the optimist in me has made a comeback.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Return of Me

No new photos, no extra wisdom, just a feeling that it's time I checked in here and confirmed that I am finally healthier and more grateful than not.

I'm coming off probably the hardest year, or two, of my life. My mother died, JB's been emotionally unwell, Jess had cancer before they told her it was a misdiagnosis, and my annual physical brought up more body systems with problems than any one person could even have. That last part, except for a painful and stiff back and pelvis, I'm actually alright and every day feeling more like my old self.


JB and I moved to this lovely ocean community just a year ago. Living here in Provincetown, at the land's end, is a dream to many, a goal for many for some day. For us, however, it's been burdensome to live somewhere so special and to have too many challenges and problems to even minimally partake and enjoy its beauty, its light, its people, its zaniness. 

I think that limitation is now changing. Jess is well, JB's improved, I'm okay. This means I've been able to write again. I started my second novel about 18 months I finished my first. Never did I think six years would pass and I would not have finished this story.  It's about an American family and about devotion. Parts of it are funny. 

Now I'm in a groove and if I had the time I could write 12-14 hours a day. As it is, I'm writing regularly and I'm psyched. I have a goal of a finished draft by December. Then I will search for an agent and a publisher. If no one bites, I will publish it myself. 

I am not a great writer. I wish I were, but I'm not. My skills are basic and I lack technique. So I'm not going to be offering a New York Times best seller; I know that. But I care about these characters and I know not to let go of the manuscript until it reads just right to me. I know I will give it my best try and my best work and I'm satisfied with that. 

Otherwise: I am also taking guitar lessons with my nine year old grandson Ryan. And his seven year old brother Drew is taking piano lessons in the next room. After the lesson the three of us walk to the corner for Asian food. This was my idea because the boys come from a sports family and I figure why not push a bit of music too, and who knows, maybe poetry after that? We've had four lessons and the three of us love the whole time together. 

That's it for now. Oh more more thing: the American political situation is bad. I'm very very very hopeful that no one with orange hair gets anywhere near the White House. 

Love love

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Most Incredible Update

Two days before the start of chemotherapy, a very fancy doctor with cold eyes informed us that the pathologists no longer agreed. He said there were some who now questioned that Jessica age 38 Mother to four young children and my precious daughter had lymphoma. He said more time and tests were needed. 

Four weeks later, this Wednesday, a different doctor, this one engaged and kind pronounced that a misdiagnosis had been made. He said an inflammation had been mistaken for lymphoma. He told Jessica to step back into her life and live it as she had before. 

Lucky. It was not an easy seven weeks at all but luck won out. 

In seven weeks I learned (again) without a sliver of doubt that I would give my life for Jessica. I would on the spot die. (I like myself even more because of this.) I also learned that Cancer and even Fancer (Jess' term for 'fake cancer') shakes up the snow globe of a  life in ways that if you're lucky enough you end up appreciating more not less.

Which brings me to this poem I wrote for Jessica some years back. Slightly edited, but still the same….

(Thank you so much for your support and prayers. It's meant a lot.)


Take both eyes, both hands,
My legs and arms, 
Even take the precious German clock
And every special book.

Take my bank account,
All twenty photo albums,
My garden in August
And the miraculous April rain.

Take it all if you can promise. 
I knew in the instant this would be so.
I’m in to any burning house,
On to a frigid raft at sea,
I’m ripping the mangled steel with my bare hands.

Anything, anything for this girl.
The edgeless corners of the truest love
And the endless reserve of cavernous protection
Surround this child who lives within and without,
This fantabulous kid with the crack up wit
And the tender expansive heart.

Take it all, whether you are a son-of-a-bitch
Or an evolving angel, 
Whether the cost is temporary or forever,
Take it all, and then shelter this child
Through every molecular motion and moment. 

She sits at a prestigious desk; 
Makes decisions, honors words;
Seeks out  bargains and eats salads; 
And on Sundays shebrings Sprite to her grandmother.
She is an anchor in an unsteady world.
She is hybrid fuel to those who love her.
She is a reason to push
And the forever foremost answer
To everything that could ever matter

Given the chance to love like this, 
The price of my sightless limbless body
And wiped clean barren possessions
Amounts to nothing more than shiny pennies and
And effortless will. 

This kind of devotion can't be bought. 
It has no price.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Rosie Girl

I wrote this poem to my dog Rosie soon after she died. That was well more than ten years ago and I came across it again tonight. I'm still asking the same questions….


What’s To Know
Rosie girl, tell me about heaven.
I expect you to greet me, you know,
Your soft stub of a tail wagging so effortlessly
that I will see you even in the back row,
and even in the faraway barley fields,
Your enthusiasm rocked by the flow
of something never lost,
Something never handed over.

Tell me what I should know about living
So I can get it right.
Tell me if abundance is real,
and if it is,
Tell me I can turn in my leash for a dance card
and stroll and roll through the back woods
knowing that every sacred scent is in place.

Tell me, Rosie, that it is enough to try.
Enough to care, enough to prepare,
Enough to get it right simply because
it’s all right.
I’m unable to know these things myself
but I trust you, Rosie. I know you know
what matters most
and what matters not at all.

Can you tell me about hearts?
Mine is pretty deep these days,
but still I wonder how far hearts can stretch
especially in the moments when they work overtime.
I wonder if perhaps a heart does not break
But maybe snaps instead,
a little fragment breaking off so it can rest somewhere in isolation
where certain memories and longings cannot be harmed.

Sometimes I wonder if I am up to the task
of letting every broken fragment finds its resting place--
Even if it means I can’t be whole.

Tell me Rosie, do I have to be whole,
if given the chance for love to stretch me
so far beyond my safe walls
that I forget I am confused and instead
feel only gratitude and greatness?

Rosie girl, I will spend my days
asking questions like this
and letting the answers and clues
Guide me home.
And Rosie girl, I will run straight to you
even before your ears shoot up
For our hearts’ reunion of a lifetime.