Saturday, October 19, 2019

The movies in my head

No really suitable photo for this post. This morning, for the first time since my husband's death, I got back to my old style of dreaming. To wit: longish, detailed, complicated but coherent plots, featuring a mixture of real people, celebrities, and previously unknown people, doing improbable or metaphorically interesting activities. Walter called them three-reelers, and I could always help him fall asleep by telling him a dream (or made-up dream) in a monotone. Or I could just share them and entertain him. Like the time I attended a book signing of George Clooney, who had just published a book of poetry entitled "I'm Just Like You, Only Cooler." George knew my writing buddy Judith Terzi. I couldn't find any pants that didn't have cat hair on them.

But back to our sheep. This morning I slept well and long enough, and woke retaining this dream. Excellent, I thought, stretching, Walter will love this. And then I realized that he was gone, and would never get to laugh and exclaim over this dream. And my dear friend and former analyst Meredith Mitchell had died in 2017. And I don't know anyone--anyone--who has the right combination of intimacy and psychological interest to appreciate this dream. This is the first time in literally 50 years that I've had nowhere to take a dream. I collapse a little bit inside, then a little more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

One of the many hard things about losing my beloved husband Walter is that I can no longer share new experiences or old memories. Inspired by my friend Diane Schifrin, who created a page on Pinterest for her late father, I have established such a page on Facebook. The URL below does not create a link, but you can paste it into your browser.

If you like, visit to see what he used to like and might have liked now. You might like those things too.

Walter had been a photographer since his early 20s, when he took up photography to take advantage of the air-conditioned dark room at his Army base in Bixby, Arizona. He got a big kick out of the sillier composition errors, such as trees or fountains or flower arrangements growing out of people's heads.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Hail, kindred spirit!

I had a fine piece of serendipity today. I'd gone for a walk in our local botanical garden, which features native plants and plant communities of the Southwest. There is a particular oak tree that must be more than 300 years old. Its sign proclaims it to be Majestic Oak, and it is, although Walter and I always rebelled against the un-ironic name and called it "the pretty big oak." It is one of the places where I left some of his ashes, discreetly of course, to become part of the tree.

As I continued my walk, I found myself putting words together about it. Ooo, a keeper! But bizarrely, I had set out without anything to write with or on or in, and I couldn't find the Notes app on my phone. Despite rising heat, I hustled over to the gift shop. "Hello!" I said to the young man behind the counter. "Could you give me a scrap of paper and something to write with?" "That's a nice 'hello'," he said, and handed me both. I jotted down what I had, noting as I wrote where it needed some work. "I totally understand," he said; "I'm a writer, and I'm never without," and showed me his moleskine journal and pen. Turns out he writes YA fiction, and was impressed (!!) that I write poetry. Well, I was impressed that he can come up with plots, which I could not do if my life depended on it. We talked Craft for a while, particularly the Surrealists' tricks for jump-starting information. We exchanged our information, recommended readings to each other. I suggested Richard Garcia and Matthea Harvey for prose poems.

Hail, Avery! Long may you bring the right words to paper!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Notre Dame was burning (posted better late than never)

Live TV coverage of Notre Dame in flames. You can see the huge jets of water being pumped directly from the (adjacent) Seine. Every firefighter in Paris must have been called in on this one.

Old Wood

Halfway through my last dinner, I saw the blaze,
unfathomable as the Grand Canyon creaking shut.
The owner confirmed:  Everyone on staff is following

as firefighters poured the river onto the flames.
When the spire lifted as it toppled, people gasped, 
wailed as though a suicide had jumped.

The day before I’d walked the quais, 
browsed the bookinistes, shot mood pics of the towers,
total cornball, through the mist of new leaves.

Arrow of God, the spire had fallen before the sun was down, 
The fire turned the sky red, turned the cross white-hot.

Not all the water in the world, not even the river could help.
People stood and watched, sang and wept.
Rains came only the next morning.

Ash sifted down catching, reflecting coral light 
I’d brought my husband’s ashes in a carved wooden box.
No need, no need.

After dinner, the owner walked me to the door. We sniffed the air.
Vieux bois, she shrugged, wincing. Old wood.
(published in New Verse News on April 23 2019, Easter Sunday)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Now playing on K-REN? Night and Day

If Renoir had painted Notre Dame

First night in Paris

For the last three weeks, this song has been going through my head. All day long. I don't choose them, I just report them. And, honi soit qui mal y pense.

For Ella,

And alternatively,
for the close harmony!

Night and Day
Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon and under the sun
Tour Eiffel into the night
Whether near me or far
It's no matter, darling, where you are
I think of you night and day, 
Night and day, why is it so 
That this longing for you follows wherever I go?
In the roaring traffic's boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you night and day
Night and day, under the hide of me
There's an, oh, such a hungry yearning
Burning inside of me
And this torment won't be through
'Til I spend my life making love to you
Day and night, night and day