Poetry Garden

Let’s just say you have just bought .2 acres off of Agua Fria in a zone 3 residential neighborhood in Santa Fe. (Let’s say you are me!). And you don’t yet know exactly what the city will allow, or how much budget you have. But you have a vision to put up a poetry garden–text installed in numerous ways on this wild sunny lot. How would you hardscape? Would you add a little house or ramadas? Would the feeling be wet or dry?
For the moment–and this is that last moment–let’s leave practicalities out it. Please go wild! I need your fresh ideas, most particularly about how to put poetry text INTO a setting.
Soon enough I’ll be limited by realities, so now is time to dream.
Thank you! Do post below in comments section.

Quatrains by Don Thompson

Don Thompson


Without so much as a sack of dust,
Empty-handed, the wind
Flees south like a refugee,
Only a few days ahead of winter.



Light spatters on stagnant pond water
Like grease on a skillet—
Cast iron, the kind old-timers
Cherished and refused to scrub clean.



Mid-morning train in the distance:
Lonelier than midnight, somehow,
Despite coffee and the raucous birds
That don’t even notice it.


Before Dawn

The first bird of the morning rasps
Some blue notes in a smoker’s voice,
Unanswered: Not up early,
But a lounge singer home late.


Columbus, Ohio. Poem & Images Miriam Sagan

Finally On Our Own

river roll
under James Wright

freight train
in a dead language
I couldn’t begin
to claim kinship

of this
and something else

of a deteriorated

an invisible
watershed, or wellspring
mid-western     manners

what you wanted
was simply an insert
in an industrial scape

praise or curse
so far from the deserts
of my

wind, lead
coverlet, shroud
not everyone
lying down
     was dead
some were
     in the bathtub

some were dreaming

on the dotted line
a nameless bird
from here to there
of the horizon.

The Katz Box: Sustainable Housing

My brilliant nephew Tobias Katz started this project as a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design. His idea was an elegant modular one–to refurbish shipping containers as tiny houses.

The cost per square footage is about half of that of traditional construction. He built the prototype as his thesis, and I had the fabulous opportunity to visit earlier this month, and share ideas as well as an excellent local glazed doughnut.

The initial building was made possible through $30,000 worth of local sponsorship.

The inside has a clean modern feel, although obviously it can be customized to any taste.

Ceramics and glass were designed by fellow students.

He is currently at work on a duplex, and investigating live/garden units with one container given over to agriculture. The possibilities are endless, including housing for the homeless, and emergency response.


Claire Feldman’s Cranberry Sauce

2 lbs cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots diced
1/2 cup orange with peel—diced finely
1/2 lemon with peel sliced finely
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

mix ingredients in saucepan
bring to boil
simmer 20 min
turn off heat let stand covered for 3 hrs
then refrigerate

Made by Isabel Winson-Sagan.

I’m grateful Iz and I are having an eccentric Thanksgiving as both of our husbands are out of town. She’s cooking Sephardic garlic soup and I’m making brisket and asparagus. Claire was my mother-in-law and Iz’s step grandmother–the recipe is perfect.

An Attack on One Sacred Place is an Attack on All Sacred Places by Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev

An Attack on One Sacred Place is an Attack on All Sacred Places

I just returned from a visit to the Bear’s Ears National Monument in Southern Utah in the company of twenty faith and tribal leaders. Our group undertook the journey to stand in solidarity with the indigenous tribes that have held this land sacred for millennia, and to raise a moral voice for the importance of the protection of indigenous sacred sites and public lands that are endangered by the expressed intention of the Trump Administration to diminish or eliminate many national monuments.

On our journey to Bear’s Ears, I was moved by the way that the sacred land brought our group together spiritually. Coming from many faith and spiritual backgrounds, we were united as one by the joy and renewal that the beauty of the land brought to our hearts. We stood in awe before grand, multi-colored canyons. Delight rippled through our group when we saw wild turkeys ambling through the woods and when a large buck turned his antlered head toward us and held us in his gaze. Each of us felt the healing and rejuvenating power of the land as we walked in a flourishing forest.

Each of our national monuments is a unique treasure handed down from our ancestors, a treasure that we must protect for our descendants. In the case of Bear’s Ears, five native tribes put aside past differences to work together with a unified vision to identify scores of sacred sites and then to map the traditional tribal pathways and large animal corridors that linked those sites as one ecosystem. Both Woody Lee, a Utah Diné Bikéyah leader, and Joseph Brophy Toledo, traditional leader of Jemez Pueblo, told our group that Bear’s Ears National Monument is uniquely the work of indigenous tribes to preserve their heritage, the land where they go to hunt, gather medicinal herbs and seek healing. Their work is now a gift to the American people, an awesome and beautiful expanse of land where people from every walk of life can go to be filled with the wonder of God’s Creation.

The sacred land of Bear’s Ears is now under threat. In a secret set of proposals that was later leaked to the press, Secretary of the Interior Zinke recommends diminishing numerous national monuments, including Bear’s Ears. Instead of preserving the entire complex eco-system at Bear’s Ears, Sec. Zinke seems inclined to draw circles around separate antiquity sites and preserve just these isolated locations. This misguided plan highlights exactly why it is vital to protect all of Bear’s Ears. The monument stands as a living testimony to the inter-connected nature of the natural world. The streams, forests, bears, deer, elk and mountain lions are all flourishing in Bear’s Ears because the complex web that gives them life has not been broken. This web of relations is what drew me to Bear’s Ears. What happens at Bear’s Ears happens to me, to my family, to my community. This beautiful land that is sacred to over 30 indigenous tribes is sacred to me, both because of its flourishing beauty and because an attack on one sacred site is an attack on the sanctity of all sacred sites, including the synagogue where I go to be in community, to pray and to heal. I have written to Sec. Zinke, President Trump and my congressional representatives stating that the five indigenous tribes, my own religious community and the American people need and deserve that Bear’s Ears and the other national monuments be left whole and healthy for future generations. I urge you to do the same.

Question of the Week

My friend Baro Shalizi sends me these, with his answer. I write mine for him, and then read his.
It’s a lot of fun, and you are welcome to weigh in.
Although Baro and I are different in many ways (he likes to give dinner parties, for example, and I can’t really cook) our answers sometimes have uncanny overlaps.

QUESTION: How often to you just relax? What do you like to do that has no goal and no stated purpose other than to feel good?

Baro: There are many thing that I do for the pleasure they bring me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are relaxing. For example, I garden and take great pleasure in creating something aesthetically pleasing. However, when a plant dies or bulbs don’t come up, it is irritating and therefore stressful. The same can be said for writing. I enjoy writing. However it is stressful getting not being able to get it published. Granted I could write for the sake of writing, but there is nothing I like to do that doesn’t have a desired outcome. I like matters to progress smoothly, however, more often than not, I don’t have control over the process or the outcome. That is stressful. As I write and reflect on this question, I realize that actually the things I do purely to relax are totally different than what I just wrote. For relaxation, I like to go for a long walk, soak in a hot tub, listen to music. These things, unfortunately, I don’t do as frequently as I should.

Miriam: A LOT. I try to have two hours per day at least to read/sew/dance to music…I miss having a cat. These activities have some “purpose” but the main purpose is to relax. I also, as you know, have lunch out with myself several times a week. I take two hot baths a day–needed for my bad leg but essentially relaxing too. I’m really fond of free time…Rich and I spend a chunk each day chatting or curled up. I guess I think these things have purpose–or really everything has purpose–but these certainly aren’t chores or billable hours. I like to browse too, go out to the Railyard, look in galleries, just hang out.