Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A Suburban Tale or Two

At my desk today in my ROMO (room of my own) even though it’s sunny & pleasant outside & a little cool & windy. Yesterday’s laser treatment forbids me to be out in the sun for two to four days. I plan to take a walk around 6 pm when the UV index is low. In summer I always walk after dark due to heat & humidity (this is New Jersey, after all). The house we live in is nearly 100 years old & along with many other houses (too many), it backs onto a 23 acre park. It’s good to just step out the back door and walk the meandering paths lined with mature trees & backyards created by folks who actually like to garden. Their botanical patches of land show it. I’m envious but not one of them—although I love fresh flowers & herbs. If I decided to try it, as I did years ago, I’d have to deal with the wild rabbits who seem to like our grassy backyard above all others. Some lovely green things that bloomed with small purple flowers were planted a season or two ago & we were thrilled to see them grow healthy, tall & pretty, until one day we noticed they were down to an inch above ground before they disappeared completely. We also noticed a fat rabbit hopping away. Another version of  the Mr. & Mrs. McGregor & Peter Rabbit war?  (which suddenly makes me feel like baking current buns). We decided to let the rabbits reign. They are cute. And I can buy bouquets of flowers at the supermarket. Especially in winter.

But it’s Spring,  nearly end of April (so fast) & it’s been a month of every kind of weather imaginable, except maybe a heat wave, although there was a day or two when it hit the 80’s (also 30’s).  Now I’m waiting for May to rescue me. 

My books are being shown & are for sale at the cosy new CoZie Cafe in town. I’ll post a photo next time. I love the way it feels to go in there for my skinny vanilla latte & sit for awhile in view of the open bookcase with books from ‘locals’—I guess that’s me. No sales yet, nor do I expect many (any?). I read something recently that stated as a poet you could expect one thing: you will be immune to income. And so it goes. But it’s not about money, right? It’s about doing (we say this to ourselves because no one else wants to hear or believe it). However, I did have a lovely poetry experience last Sunday when we were invited to a friend’s home for Easter. There were other guests, one of whom was a lovely seventeen year old with long auburn hair who writes poems. After a lifetime of living in many interesting places in the world with her family, she has spent the last six months alone with her grandmother on a small farm in Virginia. And she’s writing. Our friend had read one of her poems to us when he visited us a few days before so I looked forward to meeting her & giving her a copy of my new book, There Was Always Enough Time (Nighthawk Press, NM). She was pleased & I saw her snatching quiet moments reading in a corner of the living room as everyone talked & argued whatever the hot topic was at the moment. As the afternoon filled with debates & mimosas & good food, she & I talked a little. When we left she said she asked would I be her mentor. I was touched. I don’t know about the mentor part, but we hope to correspond about poetry via email. Mostly, I suggested, just write, write, write, read, read, read… & it’s okay to write the worst junk in America in our private notebooks (as Natalie Goldberg so famously tells us in workshops and books). Just write…. 

I’d be pleased if you  buy my book (it’s also available on Amazon, book & kindle) & if you like it, please write a review. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Catching Up With Myself

I really thought April would rescue us from the drear, the cold, the endless rain, the record freezes, but until yesterday it didn’t. Today was a B-day all through our walk on the park paths just outside our door: blue sky, buds, blossoms, breezes, blue jays, butterflies, bikes…wow! 

Another B: Barry Silverstein’s new book The Evolution of Freud, is now featured in the Freud House and Museum in London, as well as on Amazon’s Hot New Releases on psychoanalysis. As I mentioned on facebook today, my newest book, There Was Always Enough Time (poems), is residing quietly on Amazon and in a coffee shop in Fair Lawn, New Jersey! (Stay tuned, though, for some virtual readings coming in May or June). All in all, given the kind of world we are all living in these days, we are grateful for our life, books, sunshine, blue skies, a dry basement after 24 hours of heavy rain, a few hours with my family in CT, health, and that we fall, deeply or shallowly, into the category Joan Didion famously stated of herself: “…hour spent arranging words on pieces of paper…”. 

I will try to post here once a week. Please let me know through comments or on facebook that you are out there. There may be a way of tracing that, but I haven’t discovered it since my return to this venue. I’ll keep on keeping on…

Enjoy spring….

Sunday, March 20, 2022


It’s Sunday night. First day of official Spring. It’s been a busy day, yet I haven’t left my house. Overcast chilly day, but on yesterday’s walk there were daffodil buds. Spent a lovely hour or so today on a zoom session with David Whyte doing one of his Sunday series. If you’re not familiar with his work, check it out. He’s an Anglo-Irish poet whose philosophy is based upon “the controversial nature of reality.” Let your mind wrap around that one for awhile.

Meanwhile, my 94 year old brother is still in hospital with a foot infection and still mysterious other symptoms. My daughter has been with him every day trying to coordinate his care and although he has dementia (like our mother) he recognizes and responds to her. It’s been difficult from my perspective to not be there to help. He is thirteen years older and was my hero as I grew up in a difficult family situation. Yet I feel I cannot put myself into a hospital environment at my definitely “over 65” age due to COVID or I’d be there with him.

On another note: I am so pleased that my new book of poems has just been released. I like the way it turned out. It is available on Amazon and directly through the publisher, Nighthawk Press, Taos, NM. Or directly from me, of course—just request it here, leave your email & I’ll send you the details. I will share with you here, the first poem in the book that overall, is about time, love, loss—usual suspects seen through my eyes and pen. For those those of you who know me, you know I tend to always have some sort of camera in my hands—indeed since 4th grade—with my Brownie Hawkeye. Now it’s mostly my iPhone camera, so handy, and I still love and use my ‘real’ cameras. There are a scattering of photos in the book. Wish I still had that Hawkeye, though. 

Let me hear from you. I want to know you’re out there! Stay well…

My Hands

hold a camera
observe    pull back
lens between me and the world
drama or   drown in a river
of craving or elation 

required & unrequited loves
nearly visible stretch of future
so carelessly consumed

when storms come
I’ll pack my bag    return
when the sun comes out again
wind stops   safety overrated

I want the susurration & power
a force greater than me
a constant rhythm that follows

breath    heartbeat    nights awake
or soothed in a cradle
endlessly rocking
as the old poet said
a long time ago

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Crazy March

It’s a snowy, windy, sleety Saturday. I received in today’s mail a skein of sock yarn that I was compelled to try out immediately. It’s Waki Saki by Wisdom Yarns—an interesting combination of fibers: 50% merino wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon. So soft. I located my favorite old well-used Kollage square double-point needles & got down do it. As I worked I heard the wind outside my window & listened to a chapter of Harry Potter (book 4 or 5) on my AirPods (love those pods!). The yarn is lovely in shades of purples, pinks, lavender. It stripes & self-patterns as I knit—somewhat like the magic in HP—my wand being my needles. Years ago when self-patterning sock yarns first came out I got hooked and hundreds of socks later I’m still loving those yarns. I haven’t knit anything other than socks for several years and only when I’m watching movies or listening to books or music. Also still liking the HP books and J.K. Rowling’s intelligent writing. Way back in 2002, I designed and published in Interweave Knits magazine, a Harry Potter sweater pattern along with a short essay that accompanied it. At the time I was heavily into knitting anything, everything, designing, writing, working part time in a yarn shop, editing an annual literary anthology, and marketing my husband’s art. I was thrilled to be in Interweave (they’d already published an essay of mine in their defunct supplement) but they wanted more designs. I was faced with the decision to design or write. I chose writing but never stopped knitting. Just pared it down to socks. Because, as head wizard Dumbledore said, “one can never have enough [knitted wool] socks. People will insist on giving me books.”

And speaking of books, my newest just hit Amazon. A collection of poems: There Was Always Enough Time. It can be ordered from Amazon or publisher, Nighthawk Press, Taos, NM. Since my copies have been delayed (due to snow & ice?), I cannot post a photo.  Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from a chapter in my first book (2017): From Salt to Sage: A Memoir: (2nd Printing 2022 & not about knitting, but it does creep into an unrelated story or two). Stay tuned.

                                                                    Gull Wing

“…I came across an old spiral journal with notes on knitting designs and items I’d made, as well as interesting names of stitches and their histories. I had used the information in a couple of articles I’d written for craft/design magazines. There are many vintage names and histories for knitting stitches, and many were listed in my notebook. One of those, called The Gull Wing, evoked thoughts about my father Dominic, the fisherman, who earned a hard living as an auto mechanic but whose head was always in the salty wind and whose feet were in the sea….

Like my father, I am an escape artist. My path is through words, books, imagination, yarn and color. I get lost in the poetic names of knitting stitches: Sailor’s Rib, Seaweed, Four Winds, Dotted Wave. Gull Wing.”

Thursday, March 10, 2022

She’s Back! (again)


It has been quite a long time since I wrote in this space. I needed a sabbatical. Needed to internalize personal loss and gain. Did I miss it? Not until recently when a few friends asked about it, said they missed it & encouraged me to return. One friend said it was more authentic in some ways than facebook postings. 

We have so far—family and friends—survived the pandemic and have begun to reach out again, maskless, vaccinated, boostered, ready to roll. My heart goes out to those who have gotten seriously ill and still feeling the effects or have lost someone. Of course, the horror of what is happening in Ukraine is a presence in my mind as I go about my daily life. Thankful that I have a daily life. This neighborhood where I live now has a large population of Russians and most probably Ukraines. I do not know them personally, but I pass them on walks in the park around which our homes and apartments are located. They look somber—even the ubiquitous grandmas pushing bundled-up-against-the-cold babies in their prams, the ones who previously have always looked contented, even smug—look worried now & deadly serious. 

I changed the blog profile photo to my new badass self (even with all the reflections in the mirrored sunglasses). Because, frankly, I feel that way: Badass.  (At least to myself. Who knows what others think?). Maybe it’s just that I’m eighty-one now, writing, knitting (socks mostly), still taking pictures, loving, looking toward my new book coming out this month, There Was Always Enough Time, a collection of poems. I will share these posts on facebook, also, so if you are reading this and would like to be a “fb friend” please do so. I’d like to connect again or meet you. Due to arrive this month, besides official Spring, is the 2nd Printing of my 2017 book, From Salt to Sage, A Memoir. I will try out new material on you, my readers, too. My partner’s book, The Evolution of Freud was released yesterday, already with great reviews. More on that later, too. 

I looked through my new material to find a poem or haibun to add to this note but what comes up consistently is a poem by Adam Zagajewski called “To Go To Lvov” and it fits what is going on in Ukraine & Russia. I do not have permission to post the whole poem here, but the first few lines will pull you in and you will be able to find it easily online in its entirety. 

“To go to Lvov. Which station/for Lvov, if not in a dream, at dawn, when dew/gleams on a suitcase, when express/trains and bullet trains are being born. To leave/in haste for Lvov, night or day, in September/or in March…”

Until we meet again…

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Continuous Practice

It is a fine over-the-top Spring we are having this year in northern New Jersey. Along with daily bursts of color, shots of energy, bird song, lots of pink blossoms, and a car covered with tiny green things fallen from the old maple tree above it (a very bad place to have a driveway), I am inspired to begin again to post weekly (or more often) starting on this lovely sunfull-blue-sky-emerald day. For those readers who followed me for a few years, I hope you return, for new readers, welcome. This
post is brief because I plan to go for a long walk in the park (currently a fairyland of pastel blossoms) right outside my back door, before clouds roll in later.

A writer walks (the longer the better), collects ideas in an always-present notebook, a camera, records days and expands ideas in journals, turn them into stories, poems, books. What I do every day. A continuous practice. Things happen. Ideas develop. Stresses and anxieties exist, get written down, become something else. Not necessarily easily or quickly, but at a certain stage of life one does become aware of wasting time upon things that need their own time to resolve or may never be resolved. So be it. I've heard an often repeated NJ mantra since I've been here: it is what it is. A lot has transpired over the last two years or so, some wonderful things, some sad. Angers, loves, losses, gains. Life. All is well and all will be well. Meanwhile here are a few tips someone posted to me, purportedly from Goethe:

Every day:
Hear a little song
Read a poem
See a fine picture
Speak a few reasonable words

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer by the Sea

On Saturday we had a special visit along with some friends and family in my son's new digs with its great views of Long Island Sound.
We enjoyed lobster rolls, hot dogs, quiche, cookies, fruit, wine, and just kicked back to talk and enjoy all of it on a gorgeous summer afternoon. In quiet moments we heard the lapping of water against the stone wall just below his balcony.

and then....
There were some recently received copies of my book From Salt to Sage and I had the very excellent pleasure of signing them.
This is a most thrilling time for me as the book begins to land in the hands of friends, acquaintances and unknown readers. I look forward to all the comments and reviews no matter what they are. I am especially looking forward to my upcoming SOMOS reading in Taos, NM on August 9. I will use this blog and facebook to announce other readings as they are scheduled. I will also insert selected poems and brief excerpts from the book in this space (or the blog I've just set up on WordPress but don't quite understand yet--oh, dear!), so please stay with me as I discover new paths on this aesthetic and practical journey I'm taking. The book is available on Amazon and from the publisher Nighthawk

...from "Gray"

"There is a chill in the air and no shadows. In the pale March light, the sky is flat translucent white. A small piece of it can be seen through gaps between brick buildings and bare branches, but only if you bothered to look up. The frail elderly woman who wears a gray too-large wool coat is my mother. We help her into the back seat of the clean new silver Oldsmobile that belongs to my brother. Elvira sits on the plush burgundy seat--her feet do not quite reach the floor. The seatbelt is high and rests across her thin neck."