Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ode To Common Things - by Pablo Neruda


I have a crazy,

crazy love of things.

I like pliers,

and scissors.

I love cups,


and bowls

-not to speak,

of course,

of hats.

I love all things,

not just the grandest,

also the infinite-ly

small -thimbles,



and flower vases.

Oh yes,

the planet is sublime!

It’s full of pipes

weaving hand-held

through tobacco smoke,

and keys and salt shakers -everything,

I mean,

that is made

by the hand of man,

every little thing:

shapely shoes,

and fabric,

and each new

bloodless birth

of gold,

eye glasses

carpenter’s nails,


clocks, compasses,


and the so-soft

softness of chairs.

Mankind has built

oh so many



Built them of wool and of wood,

of glass and

of rope:

remarkable tables,


and stairways.

I love all things,

not because they are


or sweet-smelling

but because,

I don’t know,


this ocean is yours,

and mine;

these buttons

and wheels

and little



fans upon

whose feathers

love has scattered

its blossoms

glasses, knives and

scissors -all bear

the trace

of someone’s fingers

on their handle or surface,

the trace of a distant hand


in the depths of forgetfulness.

I pause in houses,

streets and


touching things,

identifying objects

that I secretly covet;

this one because it rings,

that one because

it’s as soft

as the softness of a woman’s hip,

that one there for its deep-sea color,

and that one for its velvet feel.

O irrevocable


of things:

no one can say

that I loved



or the plants

of the jungle

and the field,

that I loved


those things

that leap

and climb,


and survive.

It’s not true:

many things conspired

to tell me the whole story.

Not only did they touch me,

or my hand touched them:

they were so close

that they were a part

of my being,

they were so alive with me

that they lived half my life

and will die half my death.

          - - - Pablo Neruda

Thursday, April 28, 2022



I love to shop.

I refuse to think that's a bad thing.

It's not as though I'm depriving anyone of anything.  There's no baby here in need of new shoes.

I don't do it too often, but when i decide it's time for a spree, i do it right.

I need want a new frock for our upcoming trip to Birmingham to celebrate my in-laws' 70th wedding anniversary.

A pair of cute shoes?  Why not?!  

If you wait long enough, look long enough, dig deep enough, you can find that perfect little frock on sale (and the shoes too).

And this an interesting new phenomenon in shopping you may or may not know about.

  If you go to a retail site and pull up something you like, maybe even put it in your shopping bag, but then leave, well,  you might receive an email offering you a discount.  Yep.  That's a thing.   Big Brother knows what you like, and will offer you 25% off if you'll come back and buy it.

I like shopping at Outlets.  Sundance Catalog is one of my favorite places to shop, but I usually have to wait for their sales and free shipping days.  Sundance also has a fun outlet.  But don't rush - even there the prices will continue to drop.

  Poshmark is a fine fine fine place to dig for that Johnny Was/ Anthropologie/ Farm Rio/ Free People dress you're wishing for.  

I know some of these brands aren't for everyone.  

Don't judge.  

Shop for YOUR look.  

And good luck finding some steals.

Here's my most recent spree treasures - 

The Woman Who Shopped by Carol Ann Duffy

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Art of Forgetting From Letters from Aldenderry by Philip Nikolayev

Last night I cooked my socks in the microwave
by mistake. What to do when you’re so absent
minded? As well, I have frequently
refrigerated my poems in the freezer
to the point of having to thaw them later,
and poetry’s what emerges in defrosting.
I have also lost to nature generations
of galoshes, coats, scarves, umbrellas,
even once an Egyptian skullcap,
whose individual names I forget.
The name of the czar escapes my mind
on whom was meant to be my dissertation,
or was it thesis. Water,
all kinds of water under the all-purpose bridge.
If I’ve forgotten so much, via absentmindedness mostly,
then how much have we forgotten as a species?
One day we learn, another forget
everything, including this fact.
It’s possible given enough time and effort
to forget anything,
which’s why we like to reminisce sometimes
on those even who’ve decided they don’t like us.
We’ll fight for our memories, the truth as it appeared once.
But to remember something we need to forget
something, a different truth. My grandmother
believed that if you dab any convenient spot on your body
with iodine daily
it will help you keep your memory in old age.
Head of the Marxism-Leninism chair
at the Ivanovo Energy Institute,
where she taught philosophy and scientific atheism,
she was the kindest soul, loved and spoiled me to distraction,
and her blueberry cakes were of course the best
in this world. Baptized as a child,
on her retirement to a small apartment in the Crimea
she read the Bible, perestroika raging all around.
Everyone wrote, thought and talked of
Stalin, Stalin, Stalin, Beria, Stalin.
She read the Bible, both the Testaments.
Thus dialectical materialism was forgotten
and an ancient faith recovered.
I too would like to forget a few things,
keep trying, but tend to forget instead
all the wrong ones, like submitting payments
by the due date, the need to tie my shoestrings.
Mnemosyne, and her daughters the Muses,
and her grandsons the museums…
Literature too is a museum,
as well as Lenin’s mausoleum,
which is essentially a tomb.
As you must of course know I’ve forgotten
the remote control on the bathroom sink
where my reflection in the crooked mirror
distracted me with its scowl.
This is earth life, but like hailing from outer space.
When my daughter was born,
I spent the night with her and my wife at the hospital
and went home the next day to clean the apartment.
I vacuumed the floor very thoroughly,
my thoughts soaring far and wide. Little did I notice
that the vacuum was running in blow out mode
so the condition of the floor changed
hardly at all. This still makes my wife laugh
and may indeed be worth remembering
against all death. While stress, duress and strain,
the painful neck crane
and other stuff rotten
are best forgotten.
     -  -  -  Philip Nikolayev

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Some Days by Philip Terman

Some days you have to turn off the news
and listen to the bird or truck
or the neighbor screaming out her life.
You have to close all the books and open
all the windows so that whatever swirls
inside can leave and whatever flutters
against the glass can enter. Some days
you have to unplug the phone and step
out to the porch and rock all afternoon
and allow the sun to tell you what to do.
The whole day has to lie ahead of you
like railroad tracks that drift off into gravel.
Some days you have to walk down the wooden
staircase through the evening fog to the river,
where the peach roses are closing,
sit on the grassy bank and wait for the two geese.

       - - -  Philip Terman

Friday, April 22, 2022

Strange Opera by George Bilgere

A dark-haired woman on the third floor
of an apartment building I am walking past
in elegiac September
steps onto her balcony to water the hydrangeas.
And this routine of hers
is inflected somewhat today
by the fact that she looks down
and sees me, and I look up and see her,
and we share a faint nod and smile of acknowledgement.
Acknowledgement of what?
Well, possibly we’re acknowledging
the infinite mystery of our separate lives,
so similar here on Earth
but so enormous in their differences,
the separate spheres in which we dwell.
That, and the fact
that our two immense mysteries just happened
to pass very closely on this September day,
they very nearly brushed against each other,
softly and delicately, like amorous galaxies.
And for a moment, as if we were in a strange opera,
I want to sing an aria about this to her
as she stands on her balcony with her hydrangeas.
The beauty and the sadness.
And then I realize that, well,
actually, this is just what life is,
a stupendous ongoing index
of all the things that don’t get to happen
because of all the other things that do get to happen.
Which is terribly sad,
but if you really think about it,
you can’t very well go around singing arias
about the sadness of every unrealized possibility,
every unblossomed hydrangea of existence.
All you’d be doing is singing arias every five minutes.
You’d never get anything done.

by George Bilgere

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Fictional Characters by Danusha Laméris


Do they ever want to escape?
Climb out of the white pages
and enter our world?
Holden Caulfield slipping in the movie theater
to catch the two o'clock
Anna Karenina sitting in a diner,
reading the paper as the waitress
serves up a cheeseburger.
Even Hector, on break from the Iliad,
takes a stroll through the park,
admires the tulips.
Maybe they grew tired
of the author's mind,
all its twists and turns.
Or were finally weary
of stumbling around Pamplona,
a bottle in each fist,
eating lotuses on the banks of the Nile.
For others, it was just too hot
in the small California town
where they'd been written into
a lifetime of plowing fields.
Whatever the reason,
here they are, roaming the city streets
rain falling on their phantasmal shoulders.
Wouldn't you, if you could?
Step out of your own story,
to lean against a doorway
of the Five & Dime, sipping your coffee,
your life, somewhere far behind you,
all its heat and toil nothing but a tale
resting in the hands of a stranger,
the sidewalk ahead wet and glistening.

- - - Danusha Laméris

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Mary Oliver   ‘Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver’ Penguin Press, 2017

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Building with Its Face Blown Off by Billy Collins

How suddenly the private
is revealed in a bombed-out city,
how the blue and white striped wallpaper
of a second-storey bedroom is now
exposed to the lightly falling snow
as if the room had answered the explosion
wearing only its striped pyjamas.
Some neighbours and soldiers
poke around in the rubble below
and stare up at the hanging staircase,
the portrait of a grandfather,
a door dangling from a single hinge.
And the bathroom looks almost embarrassed
by its uncovered ochre walls,
the twisted mess of its plumbing,
the sink sinking to its knees,
the ripped shower curtain,
the torn goldfish trailing bubbles.
It’s like a dollhouse view
as if a child on its knees could reach in
and pick up the bureau, straighten a picture.
Or it might be a room on a stage
in a play with no characters,
no dialogue or audience,
no beginning, middle and end –
just the broken furniture in the street,
a shoe among the cinder blocks
a light snow still falling
on a distant steeple, and people
crossing a bridge that still stands.
And beyond that – crows in a tree,
the statue of a leader on a horse,
and clouds that look like smoke,
and even farther on, in another country
on a blanket under a shade tree,
a man pouring wine into two glasses
and a woman sliding out
the wooden pegs of a wicker hamper
filled with bread, cheese and several kinds of olives.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Wrong Turn by Luci Shaw

I took a wrong turn the other day.
A mistake, but it led me to the shop where I found
the very thing I'd been searching for.
With my brother I opened a packet
of old letters from my mother and saw a side of her
that sweetened what had been deeply sour.
Later that day the radio sang a song from
a time when I was discovering love,
and folded me into itself again.

 by Luci Shaw

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Reading and Remembering


I hope all of you will read Trudy Krisher's ON THE MARCH.

And then recommend it to others.

Reading this wonderful book had me remembering my own experiences as a woman involved in The Women's March in 2017 which I wrote about here:

More than 3 million men and women world wide marched that day.

It was not a march limited to Washington, DC where an estimated 500,000 marched, more than doubling the number of people originally expected.

That it became a world wide event, crossing lines of gender, race, religion, location, and party politics should never be forgotten.  

This was voices speaking.  Loudly.  Firmly.  

My hope is that those voices continue to speak.  

To be heard.  

To be remembered.

I have had a hard time, even now, explaining what that day meant to me.

Trudy Krisher nails it.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Under the Category "Things That Make Me Happy"

Some of you might know that I have a fairly sizable personal library of books about Paris.

I'm constantly looking for new additions, so I have a list of "Paris Book Filters" I plug in at Amazon in the "Books Category" from time to time to see if there's anything new that I have to have.

Then I'll search for a used copy.

If I find it at a reasonable price, I'll probably grab one, and sometimes another one for a friend.

Here's what popped up today when I did a search in Amazon Books for "Unusual Things to do in Paris."

Life is good.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Having a Coke with You by Frank O'Hara, and more . . .

 is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne

or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully
as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvellous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I’m telling you about it

- - - - -

And This!

Yesterday I posted Frank O'Hara's poem,  Having a Coke with You.  While i was searching for it on-line so i could share it at my Meanderings and Muses, i ran across this poem which is new to me, as is the poet. 
 I love it.

Having “Having a Coke with You” with You

You asked me if I knew the poem “Having a Coke with You”
I said I vaguely remembered it but didn’t really
so you recited it in its entirety. We were walking
from somewhere up by City Hall down toward South Street
and the whole time you were reciting it I was wondering
“Was that the last line of the poem?” after each line
and each time I thought that, I thought it even more
because as the poem got longer the fact that you were reciting it
from memory became incrementally harder to believe
until about two-thirds of the way through the poem
I stopped thinking about how long it was and just started listening
which I had been, but only a little, because of all that. Anyway
then I started listening to it completely, believing
the poem itself to be the sole reason you were reciting it
but as soon as you finished you started to talk about how
you used to think that that poem was just about how
liberatingly banal being in love with someone was
but then you said you’d started to think more recently
it was more about the idiocy of caring about art at all
when you could spend all that energy caring about someone
you loved instead, and you said you were wondering where
I stood on that question now that I had heard the poem
and I was as struck by the question as I was stunned
that you could so casually recite such a long good poem
and that you hadn't even recited it primarily to solicit
appreciation for your recitation so much as to ask
what I thought about what you had thought about it
then, versus how you thought about it now, and this was
when I knew I wanted to be with you forever.

Reprinted from Returning the Sword to the Stone (Fonograf Editions, 2021). Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Used Book by Julie Kane


What luck—an open bookstore up ahead
as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,
and then to find the books were secondhand,
with one whole wall assigned to poetry;
and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,
to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,
the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone of
my chapbook, out of print since ’83—
its cover very slightly coffee-stained,
but aging (all in all) no worse than flesh
through all those cycles of the seasons since
its publication by a London press.
Then, out of luck, I read the name inside:
The man I thought would love me till I died.

- - by Julie Kane

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Upon Discovering My Entire Solution to the Attainment of Immortality Erased from the Blackboard Except the Word 'Save'

Upon Discovering My Entire Solution to the Attainment of Immortality Erased from the Blackboard Except the Word 'Save'

by Dobby Gibson

If you have seen the snow

somewhere slowly fall

on a bicycle,

then you understand

all beauty will be lost

and that even the loss

can be beautiful.

And if you have looked

at a winter garden

and seen not a winter garden

but a meditation on shape,

then you know why

this season is not

known for its words,

the cold too much

about the slowing of matter,

not enough about the making of it.

So you are blessed

to forget this way:

a jump rope in the ice melt,

a mitten that has lost its hand,

a sun that shines

as if it doesn't mean it.

And if in another season

you see a beautiful woman

use her bare hands

to smooth wrinkles

from her expensive dress

for the sake of dignity,

but in so doing trace

the outlines of her thighs,

then you will remember

surprise assumes a space

that has first been forgotten,

especially here, where we

rarely speak of it,

where we walk out onto the roofs

of frozen lakes

simply because we're stunned

we really can.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Snow Fall by May Sarton


With no wind blowing
It sifts gently down,
Enclosing my world in
A cool white down,
A tenderness of snowing.
It falls and falls like sleep
Till wakeful eyes can close
On all the waste and loss
As peace comes in and flows,
Snow-dreaming what I keep.
Silence assumes the air
And the five senses all
Are wafted on the fall
To somewhere magical
Beyond hope and despair.
There is nothing to do
But drift now, more or less
On some great lovingness,
On something that does bless,
The silent, tender snow.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

 We danced

until dawn.

I slept with

My earrings on.

           - - - Valeda Bell

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Red Never Lasts by Anya Krugovoy Silver

Yesterday I had my first manicure in over two years. I chose a subtle pale pink color with tiny flecks of sparkle. Then ran across this poem this morning.

There’s no doubt it’s the most glamorous,
the one you reach for first—its luscious gloss.
Russian Roulette, First Dance, Apéritif, Cherry Pop.
For three days, your nails are a Ferris wheel,
a field of roses, a flashing neon Open sign.
Whatever you’re wearing feels like a tight dress
and your hair tousles like Marilyn’s on the beach.
But soon, after dishwashing, typing, mopping,
the chips begin, first at the very tips and edges
where you hardly notice, then whole shards.
Eventually, the fuss is too much to maintain.
Time to settle in to the neutral tones.
Baby's Breath, Curtain Call, Bone.

- - - by Anya Krugovoy Silver