Mementos of the Compass of Time by David W. Beatty & Miriam Sagan

For those of you who weren’t at the concert but what like to hear our work–please listen here!

Mementos of the Compass of Time, By David W. Beatty
Summer and Autumn
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Mementos of the Compass of Time, By David W. Beatty
Winter and Spring
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Sunset Crater, AZ

Haiku by Michael G. Smith

to fix my sandal 
thirty rupees
his two-tooth smile

I enjoyed this haiku, which reads like a postcard from Nepal, where it was written. It has an unusual and interesting focus on numbers, not that common in haiku. There is addition and subtraction here. The speaker had two sandals–now one is broken. To rectify the pair, the poet must pay thirty rupees, which is a pittance by American standards.
The poet, however, is rewarded for the transaction by something special. The two-tooth smile might speak of poverty–and lack of dental care–but it is also cheerful and freely given.
We can never know exactly what things are worth–but the exchange is fruitful for all involved.

I Am Still Waiting, A Flash Memoir by Jeanne Simonoff

The others were shocked when we finally left each other – you off to Trinidad,  and me stumbling around in my life like an old trooper, taking three lovers at the same time instead of that monolith who was you and who else could it be after all: the breakups – three and getting back together. And why three? Because that was a good number. Because that was coming back to each other which made it exciting. New to each other after someone else or else it was just missing, hearing our song. There were several but one will do, Dionne Warwick singing, “Walk on by, foolish heart.” And what was so foolish about two young women, girls really, venturing into a big world of beginnings. Beginning a new love, Beginning a concept of two. Like grownups imitating characters of our favorite movies. Writing scripts for our Friday night out to the Mint. You walk in first, then I follow, say it’s five minutes later, enough time to make us new. Enough time to reset a scene that had been played out in our living room overlooking Los Angeles or the smog tainted San Gabriel mountains or looking over the small dog wanting special attention, Call it dinner when time stood still each of us wrapped up in each other furthering the story by one word or one photograph leading us to our beginning together. Once upon a time there were two ever so young women, girls really. Whose eyes locked across the room my eyes haunted by her. The one who looked like Kim Novak and the two of us cherished each other. That first meeting. Say it was at Los Angeles City College.Say it was enchanted, because to tell the truth, (a line from my mother) my heart knocked around in my body and came to rest beside you. There was/there is always beside you because you had the audacity to die years after we broke up. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know there was no hope for second chances. What I lost was palpable, your face appears on every woman who wanders past my soul. Like a shadow even at noon on a hot summer day you are there. How can that happen that someone who is dust and bone can hone into my heart leaving no traces except where only I can see. The rabbits traveling across my three acres you appear. You fill my notebooks with one last script: The day my dog died, the one you gave me. The phone call: She’s dead. They are both dead. What is forgotten is why did we suddenly take up different geographies, longitude and latitude. Or are these just different terms for what I can’t bear to say, dare not say: You loved me. We stood the test of time but time was just not long enough. Fifty years later I still don’t know what wedged, forged, tore, mended and still now, I alone mourn you. This is my fantasy. Keep us as us. No one else dare enter. What I have in a steel safe is love notes. What I have in the safe long lost to me, the combination faded away, the location well marked, is love notes but what good does that do me now? I say help. No one comes to my rescue. Not you, the ghost of you, the sense and smell of you. I have even forgotten your favorite perfume.
I am still waiting.

Ectopic Pregnancies and the Threat from “Pro-Life” Abortion Foes

Editor’s Note: I have strong feelings about ectopic pregnancy because someone I love suffered terrifying from two in a row. This was a life threatening situation. It was only emergency medical care that saved her. And a strength of will that allowed her to persevere afterward and eventually have the family she wanted. Abortion foes are pushing legislation that would limit a woman’s ability to get medical care for this. Without surgery there is only one outcome–the woman will die. I find this too horrible to contemplate. The science is absurd–purely invented. An ectopic has no more chance of becoming a baby than a ruptured appendix does. I understand, too, that this is a culture war and not likely to become law. However, there is such a negative charge on this that I’m reblogging a useful essay below. To read the whole thing:click here.

Mary Pezzulo writes:

I have learned that Ohio legislators are considering a bill that is in some ways even more draconian than the one passed in Georgia. This bill would ban all insurance coverage for anything that lawmakers consider a non-therapeutic abortion– and I use the phrase “anything that lawmakers consider a non-therapeutic abortion” deliberately, because the bill isn’t being written by doctors but legislators, and the legislators seem to have some fanciful ideas about what constitutes an abortion.

This bill is sponsored by republican John Becker, who no doubt thinks of himself as pro-life. It includes legislation on what to do with an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby implants in the fallopian tubes instead of the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are always fatal to the embryo and, if not treated quickly, are fatal to the mother as well. She will eventually rupture and bleed out. Treatments for an ectopic pregnancy involve removing the embryo from the fallopian tube and leaving it intact, or removing the tube itself with the embryo still inside. Both result in the the death of the embryo, who is going to die no matter what, but removing the tube is 100% accepted by Catholic bioethics as necessary and not an abortion. That may not matter to non-Catholics in my audience, but I’m a Catholic who studied bioethics at Franciscan University at the graduate level, and we discussed ectopic pregnancies specifically in my classes, so it matters to me. Even by the strictest standards, treating an ectopic pregnancy is not abortion. It’s something else entirely. No one who is pro-life should hesitate to accept that treatment.

Becker doesn’t seem to realize this. He has a fanciful idea about a treatment that’s right out of science fiction: “Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill.”

Actually, no, Mr. Becker, that would not be part of the treatment. And I know that it’s not part of the treatment, because it’s not physically possible to save an ectopic pregnancy by just scraping the baby off the lining of the fallopian tube and stuffing it in the womb. Unborn babies are not cuttings from a hydrangea bush. They don’t take root when transplanted. I wish they did. For the sake of my dear friends who have suffered the loss of a baby and the trauma of an ectopic pregnancy, I wish with all my heart that you could save a tiny embryo by scooping her out of the tube and sticking her in the uterus where she belongs, but you can’t.

And saying that you can is a slap in the face to any woman who’s suffered such a horror.

A Vacation & Food For Thought

I’m taking a much needed break. Miriam’s Well will return to blogging at the end of May. Hopefully, expect some reports of Sedona and Zuni, folk art, chortens, monoliths, and more.
In the meantime, a crowd sourced creativity question:

HOW IS YOUR WRITING (or art) DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS FIVE YEARS AGO? And…do you motivate yourself more with reward or punishment in the creative arena?
I hope to hear from you. Send to
I will be responding to email, as always.

I Am Not Getting More Beautiful With Age–I’m Getting More Anti-Patriarchal

There is a piece floating around on Facebook saying women get more beautiful with age. The woman shown–old and naked–is indeed beautiful. Also white, skinny, and long-haired. I’m sure she was quite beautiful when young, too.
I understand the urge to go against the convention of youth and beauty. However, this continues to annoy me, because once again women are judged by, exhorted about, and limited to…beauty.
I’m not beautiful if we are talking about societal standards. And what other standards can there possibly be? There is no abstract notion of beauty (if you believe there is you just aren’t seeing your own cultural bias.) Women–people–may get wiser with age, or more tolerant, or more creative–but trust me, this is not a given. I’ve cared for parents, in-laws, hospice patients, and friends. None of them seemed automatically improved by age.
And if we are talking about inner beauty (which frankly age might improve or diminish, no guarantees) then why am I looking at a naked woman?
Well, the one thing increasing age has brought me: a stronger desire to not be objectified. To not be reduced to my body or “beauty.” To fight patriarchy wherever I encounter it.
I know this can’t go on forever. Eventually age–and its compatriot, death–will get me. And although I hope it is true, I’m not creating a meme that says “Women get more feminist with age.” At least not one with me naked.