How To Give A Hug by Do Mi Stauber

Mmm. Let’s see.

Context: you see someone you care about!
Instructional steps: Hee hee, funny to do this for a hug.
1. Make sure the person wants to have a hug with you. If they come towards you with their arms wide open, you’re good. Otherwise ask: “Do you want a hug?” “Can I hug you?”
2. Open arms wide.
3. One arm over the shoulder, the other arm around the waist.
4. During the hug, be exquisitely sensitive to signals. People like to hug in different ways; follow their lead.
5. If your person is an enthusiastic close hugger, enfold them close, sink into them a little.
6. Take at least one good breath while you’re hugging.
7. Feel how you care for them.
8. Pat them on the back while you’re still hugging.
9. If at any moment they start to release you, let go.
10. Release with a big smile and maybe a cheek kiss if they’re that kind of person.

Just Walking Around SFCC Campus

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Mini interview re: Leonard Cohen with Karla Linn Merrifield

Here is the first in the “What I Know How To Do” series–and what a fun topic!
If you want to participate, check it out.
Karla Linn Merrifield originally wrote me: I’m an expert on poet/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. I’m a Cohen mega-fan, a junkie, a scholar, divinely be-Mused by him.

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Mini interview for Miriam Sagan re: Leonard Cohen
with Karla Linn Merrifield

1. What was the start of this fascination?

Back in the ’60s, when Leonard Cohen’s song “Suzanne” was a big hit, I was your typical angst-ridden teenager living in a household with estranged parents. As I entered puberty, my mother became menopausal while my Methodist minister dallied with a parishioner and punished me for dating Jewish boys. Cohen was one of them in a way. His intimate voice, his seductive but sad lyrics, his older-man sexiness fed the emerging poet in me. I’ve remained passionate about “my” Canadian poet-singer-songwriter ever since, scribbling poems to or about him.

2. How did you become an expert?

Going on three years ago, I finally got to see Leonard in person. Swoon, swoon. Rapture, rapture. I decided that night to assemble the Cohen poems I had in manila folders and computer files to see what I might have. The task became something much bigger. Being a compulsive researcher, I began reading or rereading everything he’d written and anything about him I could get my hands on. From those books of his and others’ biographies and philosophical and literary explorations of the man and his work, and from listening ad nauseum to his music, a Krakatoa of poems erupted. They’re now a completed manuscript under consideration with two publishers. But, as Cohen has emerged at the ripe age of 80 as a superstar, a flood of new books about him have come out just this year, so I’m still reading, still writing him poems, and learning. Just yesterday I found out all of Cohen’s songs are composed from a combination of only six chords from the flamenco tradition, taught to him by a Spanish guitarist. It’s fun, but certainly exposes my compulsive streak.

3. What have you learned about yourself?

Until I was immersed in “the Cohen poems,” I hadn’t realized just how important – vital – a role music plays in our human lives. Cohen’s songs (along with his poetry) kept me more or less sane during those tumultuous teen years. He and his music have been constant companions through other dark times, and, yes, times of joy as well. When I need to smile, I just turn on his “Tower of Song” and instantaneously the knitted-brow of anxiety vanishes and I’m grinning widely. And I now know with absolute certainty that his poetry has informed my poems again and again.

4. Any general words of wisdom on having a muse?

Give thanks to the Universe for your muse. Always leave the door open for him or her or it. Trust that your muse(s) will be there for you. And remember: “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in” (from L.C.’s “Anthem).

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To read more on Cohen, see what some other contributors say.

When You Died by Martin Willitts Jr.

When You Died

Although you were dead after ten days,
you went to the church not far from your farm.
Although not Christian, you knelt in the pew.
The one with red plush carpet to protect
old knees from feeling Penance. You prayed
like a bowl needing to empty its self.
You could hear the wagon nearing. The one
drawn by horses you could not see.
You were praying like falling apples
and a goat was nibbling the worst of them.

Although you could not see the horses,
you could tell how their hooves
clicked on the groves of the ground
following the same trail it always had
with the same purpose
of sending its contents to a final resting place
where death had no control anymore.
You could hear the small colt alongside
its mother, following instinct, like farming
the same crops and falling into more debt.
You could hear inside the wagon,
your own coffin shifting side to side.
It was then you had a type of belief.

What Do You Know How To Do?

Hi friends and readers-
I’m thinking of doing a series of interviews with people about what they know how to do. Can you cook, drive on snow, calm people down, play the drums, create a ruckus, write a haiku, organize grassroots, buy a becoming hat, say no, or…
If you are interested–send me your expertise and a note at msagan1035@aol.com and I’ll send you a mini-interview.

I’m reblogging below at bit of an interview in the same spirit, with my friend Kath, done several years ago in Iceland.

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Question: Kath, you are in search of a good desert. What is your usual process in a foreign land?

“My process is to ask the opinion of whoever happens to be at hand, a local. And if possible I try to get them to tell me why this their first choice and then I assess their standards. Also, hit and miss. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Remember all those times I ordered the wrong thing in China? I would just pay for the meal, mortified, leave, go someplace else, and try again.”

What have you tried so far?

“They have a lot of blond desserts and not that much chocolate.A nice sort of softish cookie with marzipan in it, I had a chocolate muffin but it was really a cupcake (it wasn’t bad) and now I’ve just bought some soft shortbread stuff with rhubard and also oatcakes. So we’ll see. I don’t think these are going to be the end of my searching,but I like the oat cookies!”

Question: off the topic of dessert, what is the U.S.’s best export?

“Bob Dylan–you are so struck it makes you gasp hearing how great he sounds coming out of the speakers at the Samkaup (local store) or the boom box at the gym in Iceland.”

Meetings With Remarkable Poets: in which Peggy Pond Church holds my hand

It’s funny how and when certain memories surface.On Friday, I was honored to be interviewed by Lynn Cline on KSFR. She is very knowledgeable about New Mexico literary history, and mentioned Peggy Pond Church.
In 1985 or so, soon after I came to New Mexico, I had the remarkable experience of giving a poetry reading with Peggy Pond Church in Taos. Already blind and quite deaf, she sat right next to me when I read, holding my hand. She seemed like a darling old lady, but her toughness was also in evidence. I don’t think I had even yet read her masterpiece “The Woman At Otowi Crossing.”

An excellent article about her life appears at
http://taos.org/women/profiles-legends?/item/85/Peggy-Pond-Church

Her death was also to have meaning for me. As the Taos profile says: “Eventually, however, her eyesight and hearing began to decline and diminish her quality of life. She died October 23, 1986, a date of her “own choosing.” In a letter left for friends and family, Peggy explained her decision.
‘It has long been my belief that in old age when the body fails we should be permitted to lay it down at a time of our own choosing and allow the spirit to go free. To a poet, death is another phase of life. In this age of vociferous right-to-lifers, I feel that death has rights too and needs to be made a friend of.’ “
I remember discussing this with my friend Elizabeth Searle Lamb. As a young person, I was somewhat shocked. “Now dear,” Elizabeth began. That “dear” always signaled to me that she was about to impart something important. And she explained to me why she was sympathetic to this way of thinking.
Elizabeth died many years later of natural causes, but as I am now 60 and looking forward with some of the same focus and trepidations I feel grateful to have known of Church’s decision.
And I’m amazed that I held her hand.

Nils Udo

Miriam Sagan:

Simple but thought provoking.

Originally posted on TheAlicesChoice:

NILS UDO LAND ART Red and Green Berries

NILS UDO LAND ART – Red and Green Berries

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO4

NILS UDO land art

NILS UDO land art

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