A Vase and A Vast Sea

Happy to be in this lovely anthology edited by Jenny Nimon.

Enjoyed “What to do when the lights go out” by Bronwyn Bryant which opens:

I know what you’re thinking
and it’s true that birth rates peak
nine months after power cuts
but this is a family poem

From my poem “Eclipse of the moon at Hotel St. Marie”

you lean from the balcony
trying to see the moon

then make love to me as
if we had just met

A Vase and a Vast Sea

Poem by Lok Fung

Here is the opening stanza of

Instant Love and Coffee

Recently I’ve fallen in love with instant coffee
dissolving you like dissolving my heart
leaving dark stains
on the walls, clothing, drawers
mildewing odorless
perhaps the caffeine has expired
not even love poetry can keep things fresh

From her book “Days When I Hide My Corpse In A Cardboard Box” translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman. Zephyr Press.Lok Fung is the pen name of Natalia Chan, Hong Kong.

To Equality

In a time when public monuments are a focus of conflict, it is beautiful to see a new art work that emphasizes harmony.

The San Antonio Current reports:

Mexican artist Sebastian’s Door of Equality (La Puerta de Igualdad), a 33-foot-tall gateway installed at the San Pedro roundabout a block north of the San Antonio Central Library, emblematizes the ongoing struggle for justice via a pair of tightly wound cobalt blue pillars.

“With the current climate we are living in, one where walls are being proposed, I wanted to create a work that speaks to the importance of keeping doors open and being vigilant about true equality,” the artist said in a press release.

For more, click here.

Time To Turn On The Heat

I was born into a world of rattling radiators. My mother’s house was so warm I’d sleep naked with the windows open, and once woke up sprinkled in snow. Our apartment in San Francisco was so cold it was like camping out, complete with down sleeping bags. I slept under my coat in airports, hospitals, and even my own house. I am Goldilocks, simultaneously too hot and too cold. I had a boyfriend who called me “Miss Sex Appeal Lower Slobovia” because I went to bed in a knit hat and knee socks. My husband, a decade into my menopause, asked “why are you lying there awake in the middle of the night without any blankets?” Which I had been doing for ten years.

I am hot, I am cold, and none of this in a good way.

However, this heater turned decorative outsider art piece cheers me as it snows here in the southern Rockies. I wrote a poem yesterday claiming it is November, but you know that isn’t true.

Aarne Anton on Misfits on FB writes:
“A heater turned into a shrine by an unknown artist. It was part of a show I called Obsessive & Accumulative Art.”

Follow him for unlimited vision.

Diane Di Prima. August 6, 1934 – October 25, 2020

I’ve read her my whole life–I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t know her poetry.

Ariel Gore posted this selection. It remains so fresh.

Diane Di Prima:

Revolutionary Letter #1

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
I have no other
ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life
my spirit measured out, in bits, spread over
the roulette table, I recoup what I can
nothing else to shove under the nose of the maitre de jeu
nothing to thrust out the window, no white flag
this flesh all I have to offer, to make the play with
this immediate head, what it comes up with, my move
as we slither over this go board, stepping always
(we hope) between the lines.

We lived near each other in San Francisco in the 1980s but I didn’t know her. My husband Robert worked at the Zen Center greengrocers on Page and Laguna. Her children would pop in for snacks, wearing their furry slippers. It was rumored that when she was writing she’d lock herself into the bedroom/studio and tell the kids–no matter what I hear, I’m not coming out. I gather they’d jump on the furniture, but she continued to write. For which many are grateful.

Bubbe Report

I spent rather more time than I could have imagined putting a pair of reading glasses on a pastel confetti-covered toro pinata.

I might have created a monster as 19-month old Grainne now expects me to sing from “Carmen” whenever we engage with this bull-shaped pinata.

She was scared at first, and I understand why…the new creature seemed “real.” But unfamiliar and potentially too wild. Now it is part of the domestic scene.

Things are changing and fast. G. has new words such as “mine” and “no.” “Boom” and “dog” seemed easier on the ear. I wouldn’t exactly say the grandma/baby honeymoon is over, but we’re entering a new stage.

I don’t quite remember this feeling, though, from motherhood–that we are entering it together. Maybe I was bossier as a mom.

I bring her into my world and she lets me in to hers.

Common Sense by Miriam Sagan

Let’s hope we all have the sense we were born with–or at least the sense God gave a goose. What is common sense? Actually you might call it critical thinking lite. It is the ordinary way of synthesizing experience, the information that comes in through the senses, and a commitment to simplicity. It partakes of conventional wisdom without being limited to it. Put simply, it is thinking for yourself while acknowledging consensus reality.

It is also currently in short supply–in our politics, our pandemic response, and in our understanding of our own lives.

And common sense is NOT magical thinking. Magical thinking at its most extreme can be full blown paranoia. Even a mild case can obscure reality in dangerous ways.

To practice common sense, consider the following approaches.

1. You Cannot See The Future.

No one can. No expert, no psychic, no adamant friend or relative can. Human beings are not designed that way, and that is probably a good thing. Ursula Le Guin says it is the thing that makes life bearable–and if I examine this I can see she is right.

Years before I was born my dad Eli and his father George were at the race track. George wanted to buy a tip sheet. My dad said: if the tip sheet is right, the guy selling it would be busy betting and winning. He’d be rich today!

In today’s world, people are selling doomsday advice. No need to buy it.

2.The Simplest Explanation Is The Most Likely.

This of course is Occam’s Razor–which is such a cool idea. And you can use it right now! Here is the Oxford definition: The principle (attributed to William of Occam) that in explaining a thing no more assumptions should be made than are necessary.

Conspiracy theories are the exact opposite of this. They aren’t just elaborate, improbable, and often full of prejudice and hate. They are very very unlikely.

No need to buy these either.

3. Actions have consequences.

Not always, and not always clearly. And indeed, evil isn’t exactly punished nor good rewarded. However, common sense tells you broken plumbing will not fix itself, nor will Brownies write your novel while you are sleeping.

Human action is limited. The random quality of the universe, invisible causation, and just plain fate play their daily parts in our lives. Can you have good health habits and still get sick? Of course. Conversely, can you have terrible habits and enjoy perfect health? Not for long.

So my current goals do not include “do not get covid.” Why? I do NOT HAVE GOALS THAT I CANNOT MEET. For example, “wash my hands” is under my control. The trajectory of a pandemic is not.

For me a goal might be to plant a garden, read or write something difficult, show up consistently for friends and family, or cook a nice meal for the homeless shelter. I can do these things, set the goal, and follow through on the action items. I don’t have magical thinking goals like “be famous” or “get rich” or “live forever.” I hate to fail, and don’t want to set up for failure.

Annie Duke, world poker champion, who wrote “Thinking in Bets” says it is difficult to practice critical thinking all alone. And she is right–it’s good to have a partner–or several. Who can help you keep your mind on a rational track, avoid extreme thinking, and never believe giant reptiles in disguise rule the world?

Find that person–or people–and spend your money on a nice treat for them, not a tip sheet at the track.

Three Times Blessed by Maira Ramos

Three Times Blessed
(Written 13 September 2019)

Africa gave me my curly hair, broad nose, and full lips.
Spain gave me my elegance, blended complexion, and eloquent speech.
The Taino gave me my generous heart, desire to help, and compassion.

I am three times blessed.

Africa gave me my passion and rhythm when I hear the drum.
Spain gave me my faith in God, angels, and the saints.
The Taino gave me my sense of tradition, family, and community.

I am three times blessed.

Through conquest and slavery, my ancestors survived to ensure my existence.
Through punishments and torture, my ancestors remained resilient to secure my existence.
Through rebellion and freedom, my ancestors lived to guarantee my existence.

I am three times blessed.

Three completely different races.
Three completely different cultures.
Three completely different peoples.
Forced together under the harshest of conditions…

and yet, I am three times blessed.


My name is Maira Ramos and I was born in Puerto Rico. Words to describe me include, but are not limited to, creative, loyal, fun, introvert, and paradox. I express my creativity via poetry, arts and crafts (making smudging feathers, jewelry, and drums) and cooking. My idea of a perfect day is to burn incense, meditate, play my drums, cook, and enjoy good music. I like to hike along the San Pedro river or go to Carr Canyon and look for raw quartz. I am slow to open up to people, but once I do, I am an open book. I enjoy learning about all cultures and sharing my own. I look forward to sharing my creativity here with you. Feel free to ask me anything because there’s so much more to me than this short paragraph.

Email: piscesdreams68@hotmail.com