Sunday, December 31, 2017 constant flux, a river...

And the days are not full enough
Ezra Pound
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
       Not shaking the grass

New prayer flags...because life goes on---

Thursday, December 21, 2017

When the Going Gets Rough...New Tattoos

I, who mercilessly made fun of people with foreign language tattoos, went and got a Latin tattoo yesterday.  "I am not what I used to be".  I first saw this line in the book " House of Leaves" by Mark Danielewski, on page 602.  I then learned it was from "Homer".  Life is a giant cross reference.  

And I got a semicolon on my broken ring remind me that life goes on and that there's more to come.  I now have six tattoos and I can honestly say that this one hurt like a motherfucker.  Truly, I'm glad it was small.  I broke the finger fighting off my husband who was strangling me...and had to have my wedding rings cut metaphorical, right?  

I leave you with my favorite Audioslave song...

I Am the Highway

Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don't wait for me
I'll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
Songwriters: Brad Wilk / Chris Cornell / Timothy Commerford / Tom Morello

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Sweetness of Dogs by Mary Oliver

Cody (in heaven now) loving his Garfield kitty.  That sweet dog (a Great Pyrenees mix) loved his rescued cats.  He brought 3 kittens to us in his mouth, one at a time, and I had to bottle feed them all.  I would find the feral mothers and put the feral kittens back, and Cody would go bring them right back to me.  He took such good care of them.  I'm down to two cats from six and no dog or husband.  I miss the two cats that died this year.  Their screaming absence is a sad and painful presence.  It's been the hardest year of my life...

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise. It’s full tonight.
So we go
and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, makes me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven. Thus we sit, myself
thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up
into my face. As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.
“The Sweetness of Dogs” by Mary Oliver from Dog Songs

Friday, December 8, 2017

Mother Nature's Surprise & Robert Frost

Dust of Snow

The way a crow 
Shook down on me 
The dust of snow 
From a hemlock tree 

Has given my heart 
A change of mood 
And saved some part 
Of a day I had rued.

I awoke to a dusting of snow, a rare event here in the deep South, especially so early in Winter, but magical just the same.  I immediately thought of my favorite, old faithful Robert Frost poems.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
By Wallace Stevens


Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.


I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.


The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.


A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.


I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.


Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.


O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?


I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.


When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.


At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.


He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.


The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.


It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

From:  "Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens" by Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954



I have no words.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tin Man by Miranda Lambert

Tin Man, one lucky, heartless bastard...

Tin Man
Miranda Lambert
Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
You don't know how lucky you are
You shouldn't spend your whole life wishin'
For something bound to fall apart

Every time you're feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You'd never want a heart

Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
You don't know how lucky you are
I've been on the road that you're on
It didn't get me very far

You ain't missing nothing
'Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me, darling
You don't want a heart

Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
I'm glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It's in pieces now

By the way there, Mr. Tin Man
If you don't mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart---

Songwriters: Miranda Lambert / Jack Ingram / Jon Randall
Tin Man lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Friday, December 1, 2017

More Loss, 2017 - Year of LOSS - RIP Sophie-Cat

The Universe/God is tearing me open & emptying me out this year---heart, mind and soul---for some reason.  I do not know why.  

First I lost my husband due to domestic violence & Meth (divorce), then my alpha-cat, Catfish, had to be put down because of an ongoing severe kidney condition a month or so ago.  Today, my precious, kind, gorgeous, green-eyed 20 year old Sophie had a horrible seizure and a stroke and couldn't walk.  I had to have her put down at noon. I couldn't watch her suffer any more or keep her here for my selfish love. I am heartbroken and in shock.  So much loss!!!  My animals have become my family, my friends and my healers...

She was my comforter cat who slept cuddled under my arm and who would come and lick the tears from my face when I cried.  I already miss her supremely.  It won't really hit me until a few days from now when her loss become a presence like Catfish's did.  

Having pets is about love and loss.  I have so many Sophie stories, though.  I'm going to write them down today so I won't forget.  When she was younger, she liked to climb very tall trees and get stuck in them...chasing squirrels.  Twice we had to call tree services to come get her out of a Pine and a Sweet Gum tree.  The first time, the guy took off his shoes and literally shimmied up a Sweet Gum tree barefooted to the TOP, grabbed Sophie and shimmied down.  I wish I'd have had a movie of it, but it was before cell phones.  It was a thing of beauty, the way he climbed that tree.  Then Sophie bit him.  :-)   She was a mean bitch when she wanted to be...the alpha female.

Earlier this morning, I read Tao, Chapter 11, about emptiness.  I guess it was karmic.  RIP, my precious friend, Sophie.  

My beautiful girl, Sophie, who gave me JOY & LAUGHTER for 21 years.  

Sophie, my comforter, is in cat heaven with her many cat-relatives.


Tao - 11

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
Gorgeous Queen Sophie, crossed the Rainbow Bridge today.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Masks by Laura Kasischke

A note of encouragement from my Sarah...

Gerbera Daisies, my Christmas decorations.

Masks by Laura Kasischke

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stephen Dobyns

Why are doors more difficult to open
as if some sadness were leaning against them?
Why do windows darken and trees bend
when there is no wind? You call that occasional
roar the roar of a plane and I imagine
a time when I might have believed that. But now the darkness has been going on
for too long, and I have accustomed myself
to the pleasure of thinking that soon
there will be no reason to hold on in this place
where rocks are like water and it’s so difficult
to find something solid to hold on to.”
― Stephen DobynsVelocities: New and Selected Poems, 1966-1992


"It was as if pain were a room he had entered and the door had been locked behind him.” ― Eating Naked: Stories

Friday, November 17, 2017

Before Dark by Wendell Berry

Kingfisher in flight, from: Mike Lane Wildlife Photography

Before Dark

From the porch at dusk I watched
a kingfisher wild in flight
he could only have been made for joy.
He came down the river, splashing
against the water’s dimming face
like a skipped rock, passing
on down out of sight. And still
I could hear the splashes
farther and farther away
as it grew darker. He came back
the same way, dusky as his shadow,
sudden beyond the willows.
The splashes went on out of hearing.
It was dark then. Somewhere
the night had accommodated him
—at the place he was headed for
or where, led by his delight,
he came.
“Before Dark” by Wendell Berry from Collected Poems.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Elegy by Linda Pastan

My witch balls, reflecting Autumn...


Our final dogwood leans
over the forest floor
offering berries
to the birds, the squirrels.
It’s a relic
of the days when dogwoods
flourished—creamy lace in April,
spilled milk in May—
their beauty delicate
but commonplace.
When I took for granted
that the world would remain
as it was, and I
would remain with it.
“Elegy” by Linda Pastan from Insomnia

Thursday, November 2, 2017

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Some beautiful trees on my block, photographed last Autumn.  Trees are masters of letting go...

In Blackwater Woods
By Mary Oliver, from "American Primitive"

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars
of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,
the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
to let it go.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Indigo Dreams by Marion

A fabric dyer's attempt to capture the elusive Indigo...

Purple Kale
Purple glass
                                   Indigo by Graham Joyce---
                                   Indigo kitchen stools---
                                   Indigo's mystery - the scent of Passionflowers---

I once drank Purple Russian Kale
from my plastic purple glass
and it transmogrified into
a misty, holy, Russian mass
in a huge psychedelic cathedral with
melting stained glass windows.


Modigliani was a poet; yet
his medium was paint on canvas.
He loved long-necked women
and Absinthe---green liquor
that took him to other worlds---

Dearests, I love you the way 
purple loves the elusive indigo,
the way paint makes love to a canvas and
the way words and ink love paper...
the way my fingers love
the feel of dirt as I plant silvery-white
moonflowers, Passiflora incarnata
and crimson tomatoes.

I dream of touching your skin as gently 
as the morning sunlight caresses
the tips of the tallest trees...

I dream of your dark, silky hair
tangled in a morning breeze,
your face upturned as words
come to you---pure & unfiltered.

I wake, 
eager to read them.

Marion Lawless, for my loves---
One of my rare Indigo Morning Glories, Godlight shining.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Song of the Witches by William Shakespeare

From:  "Amy Brown's Fairies". The time of fairies is upon us...

Song of the Witches: “Double, double toil and trouble”

(from Macbeth)
Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn and caldron bubble. 
Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the caldron boil and bake; 
Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, 
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 

Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn and caldron bubble. 
Cool it with a baboon's blood, 
Then the charm is firm and good.
Macbeth: IV.i 10-19; 35-38

A little tree frog near my patio last summer.

October page on an old Mary Englebreit calendar. Quote by Abraham Lincoln. :-)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Praying, lyrics to a song by Kesha

By Kesha

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you've done
I can thank you for how strong I have become
'Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"
I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'
I'm proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done

Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
'Cause I can make it on my own
And I don't need you, I found a strength I've never known
I'll bring thunder, I'll bring rain, oh
When I'm finished, they won't even know your name
You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"
I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'
Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you'll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you're gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive
I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'
Songwriters: Kesha Rose Sebert / Ben Abraham / Ryan Lewis / Andrew Joslyn

This Moment by Eavan Boland

Window from  Pinterest

By Eavan Boland

A neighborhood.
At dusk.
Things are getting ready
to happen
out of sight.
Stars and moths.
And rinds slanting around fruit.
But not yet.
One tree is black.
One window is yellow as butter.
A woman leans down to catch a child
who has run into her arms
this moment.
Stars rise.
Moths flutter.
Apples sweeten in the dark.
“This Moment” by Eavan Boland from In a Time of Violence. © Norton, 1994. 
Prayers for the family & friends of those in Las Vegas who lost their lives or were injured.  God help us all... xo

Sunday, September 24, 2017

With Mercy for the Greedy by Anne Sexton

With Mercy For The Greedy by Anne Sexton
for my friend Ruth, who urges me to make an appointment for the Sacrament of Confession

Concerning your letter in which you ask
me to call a priest and in which you ask
me to wear The Cross that you enclose;
your own cross,
your dog-bitten cross,
no larger than a thumb,
small and wooden, no thorns, this rose --

I pray to its shadow,
that gray place
where it lies on your letter ... deep, deep.
I detest my sins and I try to believe
in The Cross. I touch its tender hips, its dark jawed face,
its solid neck, its brown sleep.

True. There is
a beautiful Jesus.
He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef.
How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in!
How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!
But I can't. Need is not quite belief.

All morning long
I have worn
your cross, hung with package string around my throat.
It tapped me lightly as a child's heart might,
tapping secondhand, softly waiting to be born.
Ruth, I cherish the letter you wrote.

My friend, my friend, I was born
doing reference work in sin, and born
confessing it. This is what poems are:
with mercy
for the greedy,
they are the tongue's wrangle,
the world's pottage, the rat's star.
I am reading about nonduality.  (How could Jesus dying brutally, violently, cruelly by crucifixion have such an impact on bringing love, mercy and forgiveness into the world?  A paradox, no?)  How have I not ever studied duality/nonduality before?  I came across the subject in an amazing, 138 page book that Little Flower gave me, "you are here" by Thich Nhat Hahn.  She bookmarked the chapter, "Healing Our Wounds and Pain".  Indeed. It continually surprises & astounds me, page after page.  Some books we are meant to read exactly when we are supposed to read them.  This is one for me.  xo

Friday, September 22, 2017

I Do Not Write Poetry by Carol Carpenter

Datura Moonflower's birth...

I Do Not Write Poetry
By Carol Carpenter
it writes me
into the blue-black center
of my birth back then
when I slid head first
into sterile white with no words
for my life pushed into that mid-afternoon
glare of Detroit time clocked in and out
at the Ford Body and Assembly Plant
and ticked off by the White Castle
belly-buster burgers slammed one after the other
onto the greasy grill and patted flat by the slender cook
who knew her blank-verse days ended Sundays
in the Temple Baptist church on Woodward,
the main drag for the ‘43 Ford V8 DeLuxe coupes
revving up and running lights too red
after the world war I read about in poems
without rhyme
and later, words
slapped me flat as a White Castle
when poetry sizzled blue in my mouth
dribbled onto pages of my life
and wrote me into a simile
as if I could puzzle out
my birth and death rites
and scrawl poems in between.


Happy first day of Autumn!  You'd never know it here in the sweltering, humid swamp, but I have spotted a few red leaves fallen from the trash trees.  The hummingbirds are fewer as are the dragonflies, but butterflies are everywhere, covering my Zinnias and Gerbera Daisies.

May Autumn bring us all peace of mind and an absence of pain...