Moment of Today

I’m not a good housekeeper or home owner. Things are vaguely ok, but not great. ALMOST finished with replacing the kitchen cabinets, which looks fabulous, but that is purely due to my son-in-law Tim’s efforts.
Periodically I get the Marie Kondo fit and attempt to sort the bookshelves. I’ve been doing this for several decades. When my first husband Robert died he left many–many–books. About a hundred needed to be returned to the library! A few years ago I discovered some shelves were still double rowed. Obviously despite the passage of time and so much more I’m having trouble getting rid of his books.
However, I think it is finally sorted. There was one book, though, a fat book with a handmade cover of a Buddhist mandala. I was just keeping it because Robert made the cover. But what was inside? No doubt a mystifying tome of Indian philosophy. I opened it–for the first time ever–and found…THE ILIAD.
Which I’ll keep.

Have You Ever Used The Same Imaginary Place

From one novel to the next? I don’t mean in fantasy, more like magical realism. In my novel Black Rainbow I had a huge imaginary club called Babylon, where the teenage lovers end up in the middle of the night, circa 1968. Now I’m working on a novella set in Brooklyn just after the end of the war in Bosnia. Times have changed, so has the club, now called Babel.

Will this work? Should I focus more on how the very different characters experience it or on its own metamorphosis? I don’t expect readers to have read the earlier book, so it is “explained” (it is rather inexplicable!)

From Poetry in Public Places

Got this from Bill Waters off the Facebook site–

So you’re walking around Greenwich Village, NYC, and you see what looks like a periscope from a yellow submarine. But the reality is stranger — in a *good* way!

“The Poetry Jukebox is a jukebox with poetry,” say the inventors of this Poetry Jukebox installation. “We believe that listening to the original voices of poets is one of the most beautiful and inspiring experiences a city can offer.”

It’s free! Just push a button and hear a poem — easy-peasy. So if you find yourself near the Ruth E. Wittenberg Triangle at Sixth Ave. and Eighth St., check it out! :- D

(Thank you, Judy Kleinberg, for pointing me toward this initiative!)…/art-project-pipes-in-poetry-…/


A Difficult Poem

What Rough Beast ( took a half dozen pieces of mine, as they are building up their poem a day feature. They take political work that doesn’t have to be topical, which is kind of how I write.
These poems were written when I was in residence at Agate Fossil Beds in Nebraska. As part of the National Park system it is now closed, and I can’t help worrying about the rangers I knew, and what would be visitors are missing. i was living a cloistered peaceful existence, but the Kavanaugh hearings were raging. Also, outside of my Santa Fe bubble I felt highly sensitisized to the historical suffering of women out on the high plains as part of its dark histories of genocide and more. The scary phrase “rapable/I must be a woman” came to me, and I started with it.
For a long time I’ve tried to crack the koan of a magical woman in a Buddhist context who becomes enlightened and then is told by a misogynist observer to turn into a man. I don’t fully get it, but I added it in.
Agate produced endless musings about the passage of time, the nature of mammals, and extinction. And when I looked up from my desk I saw the neighbor’s kids out playing. I guess what appeared in my mind’s eye then was me as a child.
So here it is:

I must be a woman

although the goddess Tara
attained enlightenment
she didn’t change bodies

so I’m
two things at once

female form

the bones of the Miocene
dance with stars
marking every
mammalian joint

if there is a mouse here
I haven’t seen it yet

just a little girl
with pigtails
drawing on pavement

here at the end of an age
here at the end

Waiting Room Poetry

With a year completed into her two-year term as poet laureate of Taos, Sawnie Morris has an update to share about her “Poetry in Waiting” project. She reimagined this public poetry project as a riff off the successful New York City subway program Poetry in Motion, conceived in 1992. Thanks to Morris’s efforts, poetry now graces the walls of 20 public waiting rooms around Taos.
The patience of waiting is a lost art and is often at odds with today’s plugged-in society. “Waiting is what happens when you are open, receptive. Poetry doesn’t interrupt, it watches for that moment — and slips in,” Morris said.

Courtesy Sawnie Morris
A poem from the “Poetry in Waiting” project can be seen in the radiology waiting room at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos.

Saturday: Pussyhat, Labor, and Buddha Nature

Thirty years ago I was in labor. Pant. Blow. Which didn’t have much effect as I was induced and riding those jagged pitocin waves. The moon was almost full. I vividly remember a partial eclipse, but can’t find any corroboration. Of the two people who supported me in labor, one is dead, one long gone from my social sphere.
I went to the Women’s March today at the capitol. Feeling somewhat crippled up–and saving some energy for the Patti Smith reading tonight (!) I just went to the rally, then into the roundhouse to say hi to Rich who is working seven days a week during our legislative session. I took off my stylish pussyhat and leaned on my cane. For some reason the guards were super kind.
I ended up getting lost in the bliss of the capitol’s art collection. I admire it, but don’t know it well. There is a Peter Hurd of his daughter, a portrait, with mountains and a rider behind her. It reminds me of his painting “St. John’s Eve” which shows a young girl with a candle, scrying her future husband. A cowboy–no doubt that man–rides along the horizon. Here, seemingly perfect for the day, the rider–iconic, free–is the girl herself.
Parked off Webber Street in the old neighborhood. I once cracked a koan–or it cracked me–at that corner. I was sitting in the car asking “What is my original face” when wham–the coming and going intimate nature of things slammed me but good. I had no idea what had happened, except that some war within me was over. Later when my sensei asked if I knew I’d experienced Buddha nature I’m afraid I became mildly hysterical. laughing and crying. and had to admit I had absolutely no idea. Usually I am not lucky enough to be that dumb.
I have a soft spot for that block because I think Buddha nature is there. It’s everywhere, but that takes me a lot longer.

Fabulous crochet hat by Devon Miller-Duggan