Thursday, May 11, 2017


Spring has sprung; pummeling summer has begun to throw punches. The nasturtiums, their dinner-plate-sized leaves now smaller than casual coasters, and California poppies are just what weary and tired of the party. There are fewer vegetables planted this year, as I rarely have time to harvest and cook the ones I have grown in past years. The eggplant and squash impatiently dry out daily. The heat isn’t even here yet.

But the light is starting.

Those on the East Coast and in the Northern Areas don’t really understand how we could have an aversion to the light, to the predatory brightness. For several hours of the day, life is flat, one-dimensional, without nuance or mercy. If only flat-lining were painless and not ...

There's a little visual palate cleanser. I have no idea where I was going with that comment about flat-lining and too much light.

So, trying to fire up this writing thing again. I did not mean to stop writing back in February, but this slow political smackdownfuckup threw me for a considerable loop. After ScumSuckerShitGibbon gave his first press conference, I got so angry that I made myself sick for a month (the left over stress from Janet's birthday party was a contributing factor).

Then, it was taking care of Janet who was sick for even longer. She narrowly escaped pneumonia. However, the coughing lasted forever. The over-the-counter cough syrup does nothing for us and it was difficult to get a prescription for something with that lovely codeine kick. Janet would wake me with her coughing. But now we have a bottle of the good stuff.

Here was the winter/spring garden.

This was after the ginormous nasturtiums. This is all dying now and looks pretty ratty. I bought some vegetables to plant, despite my swearing I was not going to do this again. I am keeping it more low-key.

SMS and I were chatting about poetry the other day. He mentioned that someone (maybe Marie Howe on Krista Tippett's On Being) said something about only having a few poets that were central to a person, maybe three or four. SMS said Gerard Manley Hopkins was one of his. And I realized that I knew practically nothing about Gerard Manley Hopkins but that he was probably included in the massive Harold Bloom poetry compilation I had recently picked up at a thrift store (The Best Poems of the English Language). And shore 'nuff, there he was. And although his representation therein was slim, they were tasty.


I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.

With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lame
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.

Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see the
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves but worse.


That there is plenty to chew on.

Friday, February 10, 2017


These tomatoes made think of eggs in a bird's nest.

It really is getting me down. I suppose I should be ?grateful? that I only had anxiety dreams about dandelions and Steve Bannon last night. No Donald Dick or poor Kellyanne Conway haunting me.

Yesterday did not start out well. Several things might be causing my emotionality ... lability ... no ... it's more vulnerability. I didn't get hit with severe menopausal symptoms, but you never know. Allergies? A serious yoga practice after many years? Learning of the DeVos confirmation crushed me. 

It was a swim day, but I didn't think I could stand being stuck in my own head in the water. I dropped off Janet at the Senior Center and had a plan to make inroads on the chaos of the house, post-party. As soon as I got back to the house, I instead set myself to gardening. From 11:30 until 4, I stopped only for water and a handful of pretzels. I redeemed my front yard patch, staked the tomatoes that had braved the winter. My hands were cut and bleeding from pulling up grass roots. But I had thyme, sage, nasturtiums, and sunflowers in place of the grass.

It is true that I left most of the clean-up to the regular gardener, but he doesn't do much besides mow the lawn and kill things. Good-bye, calla lilies! I hardly knew ye! 

From there, I continued to the backyard which is a scary jungle of dandelions worthy of county fair competition. Much to my surprise, I found California poppies, several tomato plants, a lot of parsley, some sage, thyme, struggling rosemary and my rau-rau plant gamely competing for space. I was happy to see some dirt!

When I re-entered the house, my despair was in the background. I looked forward to an epsom salt bath and then dinner with KMH. That's when I saw that Sessions had been approved.

Today was worse, upon reading that Georgia Representative Jack Kingston thinks that children receiving free school lunches should be forced to clean the cafeteria and perform other janitorial services so that they learn there is "no free lunch." Because children should be good capitalists from day one.

I cried.

So, my hands hurt from gardening. Even typing hurts, so I will stop. 

I got nothing, no poems, no words of encouragement, even to myself. Save for a pile of poetry volumes and a Siamese cat on the bed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Sometimes, I find, one’s ideas of how something can and should be accomplished are not how said things are actually achieved. In the middle there, there is process. I used to be good at process, at figuring out the steps for how things are done. I did it for a living. On the one hand, she is now dismayed that she has so lost this skill. On the other hand, there is the possibility that skill can be remembered and re-applied to life.

Many years ago, when I started this blog, I had just done a great yoga retreat at the now defunct Lulu Bandha’s Crib in Ojai. I was so fired up about the process that I thought maybe I would use those principles and precepts to write. And, for a time, it worked. I did more writing than yoga, but I wanted to write.

Years have gone by and the writing has quite dwindled from nearly every day to very occasionally.  Part of the diminishment of writing has been the diminishment of my life, which I rather don’t have any more, having been relegated to indigence, poverty, terminal unemployment, and the vast kindness of strangers (well, really friends and family).

All I am really getting at here is that seeing my mother’s dexterity at 90, and feeling the pangs and stiffness of older age, I have decided to try yoga again. There’s a free class at the local senior center. It’s pretty darned easy to get go being only five minutes away.

And what I found, pretty rapidly, what challenge I came up against was that little old winedrinker, me. Oh hell. I am telling me that I am still here, doing the same non-productive, stuck-in-a-rut stuff? That would be a resounding yes.

Later that same awake cycle. (I did take a cat nap.)

I am so upset and dumbfounded by the Donald Dick administration that I am nearly at a loss for words. I can't make any sense of anything. I am so nervous and depressed that I am eating anything that isn't nailed down and it is only with great effort that I am curbing my red wine consumption. Even now, as I try to wind down to sleep, I am almost in tears of frustration, the likes of which I don't think I have felt since I was a three-year old banging my head against the floor. I am anxious and short-tempered. I do things in fits and starts. I just want to cry and melt into nothingness, like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Okay, but I am going to try again tomorrow. The rain, the welcomed rain, is supposed to stop. The temperature will be 72 degrees and I should be able to swim. I will continue to wade back into doing yoga. I raided Janet's yoga library for some inspiration.

The rain falls softly. Butterscotch is on the bed with me, coming down from a catnip high. Emmy has taken over my desk chair. It is quiet.


I think over again my small adventures,
My fears,
Those small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach;
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

— Anonymous 19th Century Native American, World Poetry, Washburn and Major, Editors