Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Important Things That Happened to Me This Year

2013 is drawing to a close and YIKES!  Another year is gone.  I'm reflecting on 10 important things that happened to me this year.

1.  I put my house up for sale in the spring.  I'm learning about patience, since the market is slow here.  Someone was shown the house today...

2.  I attended my first writers' conference with a one and a half day intensive poetry workshop.  I wrote 2 poems I'm really proud of as a result.

3.  I started volunteering.  I was assigned to the Breast Care unit at Nash Hospital.

4.  I found out I don't have to have a man in my life.  I made a bad choice last year and ended a friendship.

5.  I became certified as an Arthritis Foundation exercise instructor and work part time in that capacity.

6.  I cleared out old clothes and books that I no longer need.

7.  I became an advocate for the Arthritis Foundation.

8.  I started a children's book and sent it to a publisher.

9.  I visited the Small Library at the University of Virginia to see the Stone Collection.

10.  I joined a new church, the Durham Presbyterian Church.




Writing Fiction

http://writerunboxed.com/2013/12/

Monday, December 23, 2013

My All Time Favorite Christmas Book

    

Cast Off


I cast off the small slights,
the regrets,
the longings,
and wantings

I cast off the past
and the future
and give myself a present,
the present,
which is why it's called a gift.
A present of the present.

So I move 
move with about as much grace 
as I can muster  

The unexpectedness
the spontaneous beauty,
that's a new way of thinking

I cast off,
secure in my knowledge
and hope for the future.

Rain


Rain explodes from the 
clouds, races across the plains,
drenching the parched earth.

"A Beautiful Moment" (for my brother's birthday)

"A Beautiful Moment"

Happened just now
Trees swaying
left
              and
                                 right.
Wind's picking up.

Nature's 
Dance.

A Monet Morning



A mountain range of clouds
Against a Carolina blue sky.
The almost full moon,
starting to fade.

"What Is Green?"


What is Green?


Green is the color of healing.
My yard is green, green is everywhere.
Ireland is green.
Green is calming.
And peaceful.
Here's what Theodore Giesal
had to say about green,

"Green days.  Deep in the sea,
cool and quiet fish.  That's me."

My Front Porch

My Front Porch



Sounds, birds, what kind?
Wind, cooling me.
Green, everything is green.
Like the emerald ring I once had
that was taken by thieves.


































































Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"My Week With Marilyn"



     Last night I happened upon a Netflix movie that I missed when it came out in theatres, "My Week With Marilyn."  Michelle Williams stuns as Marilyn, and does her own singing in the film.

     It's about a young Englishman, Colin Clark, who wanted more than anything to break into film and he managed to talk his way into becoming Laurence Olivier's asst. director on the film "The Prince and the Showgirl," starring Olivier along with Marilyn Monroe.  Olivier was a great actor who wanted to become a film star.  Monroe was a film star who wanted to become a great actress.  They were both very unhappy working together with Marilyn often late to the set and Olivier becoming more and more angry.

     The only thing that placated Marilyn was spending time with Colin.  He visited, they went to the country, visited Windsor Castle, and of course, he fell in love.

     Olivier apparently was thoroughly frustrated by Marilyn's behavior and made he do take after take.  She often forgot her lines.  He got angry at her and sometimes she left the set in tears.  He reportedly commented on how exhausted he was by the experience, that it made him older.

     When the movie was completed, however, and he was watching it play back, he commented on how she lit up the screen, how delightful she was.  Colin Clark remarked that Marilyn brought joy to people.  What a talent!  It's interesting to think about how she would have matured as an actress.

     Colin Clark went on to become a successful director and filmmaker.  And Laurence Olivier went on to enjoy the greatest success of his career.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050861/





Friday, December 13, 2013

On the Road in McCarthy, Alaska


On the Road in McCarthy, Alaska
by Jim Drewry


They're calling for 4-8 inches
 on Friday.
 and more on Sat.. 
But what do they know in Gulkana?

In the meantime,
 the road is smooth sailing. 
 No glacier overflow, packed snow. 

Coming in last night,
 we had that sparkly
diamond reflecting lazy snow. 

Dry. 
All is good just now. 

Sweet drive.

Image Credit:  Stacy Moreno

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Safety Zone

Safety Zone

Hushed voices murmurred
in a corner of the room.
She called him closer,
"do you love me?"
"Yes," he replied.
But she knew better.
She shouldn't have had to ask.
The she asked him to leave the room.


She gave one final push,
so hard, she almost forgot to breathe.
Then, out he exploed,
like a cannonball,
a sudden surprise of flesh and blood.


The hush was palpatable.
He wasn't crying.
Not a sound.
She strained to hear something.
Anything.
But nothing...
Just the anxious voice of the doctor,
saying, "c'mon little guy,
breathe..."


There was a peaceful stillness,
then a flurry
of busyness,
as he was taken out
of the delivery room.
She knew, 
somehow,
that everything would be ok.


And it was.

 





Saturday, December 7, 2013

On Meeting James Taylor

They were all there,
Trudy, Kate,
then the man himself, 
strolling in through the front door
of the Chapel Hill Museum.
I was reeling with excitement,
like some silly sixteen year old.

I remembered standing in the cafeteria line
at Virginia Commonwealth University,
remarking to a friend
"Have you heard this new singer,
James Taylor?"
J. T. was the rage.

"Fire and Rain"
was the song that got everyone talking,
about his time at the McLain Institution
in Massachusetts,
where he checked himself into
the psych ward.
"Suzanne, the plans they made
put an end to you."

America's Troubador,"
announced the cover of Time Magazine
for June 28, 1974.

Now, 24 years later,
I'm in the Chapel Hill Museum
watching the DVD of J. T.'s 
"Pull Over" album.
He was rockin' the crowd with
his band 
(Luis Conte on percussion)
playing "Mexico."

                                              Chapel Hill Museum devoted a space for J. T.
For a small donation, you could get invited
to the reception to meet him!
I did just that,
and now I'm waiting for him to arrive.
A tall, lean man soon entered,
greeting guests (people who had known him when he was a kid)
silver haired neighbors.
 Lots of hugs and chatting.
Then, he comes in my direction!
Looked straight at me!
"Dana?" he asked.
How did he know my name?
Oh yeah, the name tag.

"I'm a fan," I replied,
"one of the originals."
He bent WAY down to give me a hug.

That day, everyone was a fan
of J. T.

Now, 10 years later,
J. T. is still America's Troubador.
Coming through the recent door
of memory.
Singing at Red Sox games.
After the Boston shootings.

A million fans on Facebook.
World traveler.
Teacher.
Artist.
But most important,
still humble.

"He's a minister,"
his mother, Trudy, told me.
A minister of music.


Yale Open Courses

    Several years ago, before I went to Paris, I discovered a wonderful French history class online.  Yale University operates Yale Open Courses and it's possible to view or listen to lectures by a number of professors at the University, and other universities as well.  Here's a link to the French course.

http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-276

My next plan is to take a Poetry class


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Gratitude List

1.forgiveness
2, honesty
3.  friends
4. for knowing when to quit
5. love of self and others
6. amends
7. energy
8. hope
9. family
10. a talent for writing
11. the church I attend
12.the gifts of the program
13.a marathon today
14.the concept of "keep coming back"
15.a chance to rest
16.my son and daughter in law
17.Carla
18.poetry of Richard Blanco
19.my friend Beverly in Durham
20,my church
21.Joy in Oregon
22.April in Pennsylvania
23.for having submitted a manuscript
24.for the expectation of spending time with my little grand niece and nephew
25.for my parents because without them I wouldn't be here.
26.for seeing 3 people from church today
27.for my friend Rhea in NY
28.for coming back
29.for Netflix
30.PBS
31.dinner tonight
32.for nice dreams
33.for the writers' conference I went to
34.for the memory of lying on the beach 2 weeks ago in my swimsuit when it was 75 degrees
35.for moderate meals
36.for NC State
37.for Franklin
38.and his wife and children
39.for dark red cherries
40.for writers
50.for having a potential buyer for my house
51.for being open to change
52.for looking at a condo today
53.for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and time spent relaxing
54.for a good night's sleep
55.for a good book to read
56.for energy
57.for connecting with my cousin
58.for a good belly laugh
59.for love in my life


The Pinto Pony


The pinto pony 
turned from an elm tree
and sauntered over 
to nuzzle me.
So still she stood,
noble and proud,
that I could scarcely
believe when i said out loud,
"Her name will be Willow
not Star and not Maude.
For she reminds me of grace,
and especially of God.


If Only

If only
it had been raining that day.
If only someone else had
gotten in the way of the bullet
that sped
directly toward his head.

If only
the bubble to had been
in place
to block his face.
If only the car hadn't slowed down.
If only his head hadn't been turned just so.

If only someone had just
looked up,
and seen the open window.
What then?
What then?

We would have gotten a little
more time in Camelot,
and a perhaps a quicker end
to the blot of war.

Facebook

I don't wanna
see a giant vagina.

or a child molester,
only things that attest to
 people in their best moments.

Things that are up-lifting and kind, 
Sublime...

I don't wanna
hear about your latest operation
or your Rio vacation.
Not your heart on your sleeve,
just what you believe.



Whirling Dervishes

In silken shirts,
one hand to heaven, 
other to earth,
dervishes are spinning
in their feverish meditation.
I wait.
I watch.





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tonight

Wind chimes are
humming in the background
like a Tibetan chant.
The rain makes a gentle patter on my roof
like a thousand tiny footsteps. 
Fig preserves are fresh on my tongue.
A story by Flannary O'Connor is fresh in my mind.
I'm leaving everything else
behind for now,
like prepping the house.
chores.
Those things can wait till tomorrow.

The Influence of Flannary O'Connor on Bruce Springsteen

     A lot has been written about O'Connor's influence on artists:  Bono, Springsteen, Dylan, Keottke.

The following is an article that really articulates how O'Connor impacted Springsteen, who is also Catholic. 

https://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2006/03/30/114375114932053766/

Re-visiting Flannery O'Connor

I'm reading "A Good Man is Hard to Find" and am struck by the vividness of O'Connor's characters.  Especially the boy Bevel in "The River," the second story.  I'm remembering the conference I went to in Millegeville in 93 at Flannery's college.  So many people there, and from all over.  Sweden, LA, but not many from Georgia.  Leo Keottke was there.  Lee Smith.  All to pay tribute to O'Connor.  I read recently that Bruce Springsteen was highly influenced by her.

I like this description of the location in "The River:"  "Across the river there was a low red and gold grove of sassafras with hills of dark blue trees behind it and an occasional pine jutting over the skyline.  Behind, in the distance, the city rose like a cluster of warts on the side of the mountain.  The birds revolved downward and dropped lightly in the top of the highest pine and sat hunch-shouldered as if they were supporting the sky."  She certainly had a way with words.

I emailed my poem of Flannery to Toby Aldrich, the resident curator of the Flannery O'Connor childhood home.  He said he's seen Flannery as a child several times and that once she woke him up.  Said it didn't scare him a bit!  It sure would freak me out tho.

It would be interesting to visit the O'Connor conference again.  Last time, they showed films of her books that had been made into films.  Wise Blood, for example.  It would be great to see her childhood home also, as well as Andulusia.  That would be a great vacation!  I could even ask to overnight at her home in Savannah to see if she might pay me a visit.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home

I'm back home now,
after four days at the Writers' Conference.
My cat, Annie,
greeted me anxiously,
then tore
out the door.

I bring in my luggage,
computer,
notebooks.
Business cards.
Read some poems by Makuck.
(Man, can he write!)
You feel your life richer,
fuller,
after reading...
My brain is reeling
trying to find the poem
about an ocean rescue.
How Makuck swam out to sea
to help a boy who was drowning.
I cannot find the poem
in the Long Lens of verses.

Patience...
Every poem is a revelation.
Reading them, I wonder
if I missed my calling.

I scan the things I've unpacked --
a lush magazine called Salt
with an article about a woman
who prints from a 1907
printing press,
and another one about an artist
referred to as the Mystical
Queen of Cape Fear.

Only one more bag to unpack --
 books by Egerton,
Blanco,
Rumi

Reflecting now on my holy
day at Wrightsville Beach.
I feel complete.
Grateful that I took an extra day
to inhale the exquisiteness
of that place.
75 and sunny on the 18th
of November, 2013,
a perfect day.

Now I have seen some beaches --
Del Ray
Monteray
Sitka
Santa Cruz
La Jolla
Laguna
Corolla
Cocoa
Manhattan
Miami
Tybee
Tangier
Ocracoke.

But none so splendid
as this...
except maybe Ocracoke.








Thursday, November 14, 2013

Allen Gurganus

Allen Gurganus came to the Rocky Mount library tonight.  He dazzled the audience with a reading from his latest book, "Lost Souls."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NC Writers' Conference

     I'll be attending my first conference for the North Carolina Writers' Network in two days.  It's at Wrightsville Beach.  I'm having some real anxiety over this.  Fear at reading my poetry in front of a group.  Heck, I did it last week-end.  What's so different about this week-end?  I can do this.

My choices are:  "Getting Old Sucks" and "Pink Slip."  Read them both to a friend, she liked them.

My brother, John, has become my muse.  He edited "Good morning, Tarboro."

What will the weather be like on the Coast?  Will the car hold up?  Will I hold up?  I hope there aren't too many poems about death, violence, and suffering.  God!

I just read over NC State's MFA in creative writing program.  It is awesome.  Ten students a year.  Hmmmm....do I dare?

Taking some food on the road Friday....let's see.  Quiche and NUTS!  and fruit!  Just wish I could play some cd's but the danged changer is broken.  STILL!

Tomorrow morning I interview Fleet Sugg.  Recorder's ready and I have my questions.  Planning for 30 minutes.  Deep breaths, and bring on the camomile tea.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Getting Old Sucks" (c)


"Getting old sucks,"
the film star said.
But it's really not so, 
Not if you live
to take care of yourself,
and continue to grow.
Keep learning,
Keep smiling.

Bette Davis
said, "getting old sucks."
But I don't believe it.
And how would I know?
Because of Mick Jagger
and Barry Manilow.
And what about Paul McCartney?
 These guys rock, they don't suck.
They will die standing up.


I listen to rock,
I volunteer,
and create
(I'd rather not hate).
I talk on the phone.

I dye my hair.
Have an affair (or maybe not).

 I like to keep boringness 
out of my life
I seek out those
who are spontaneous.
I stay positive,
move,
Don't put on airs.
(Call me Dana,
not Miss Dana,
not Miss Stone.)

Take a vacation,
find inspiration
in my work.
My work.
I'm worth it.



Why I Drive an Hour and a Half to Church (c)



Sunday morning, and I have my
breakfast of tea and cantalope,
then scope
the forecast for the weather.
I don't know whether
I should venture go or stay,
but hey,
my Sundays are not complete without church.

I don't know many folks
who drive an hour and a half to church
but really -- what difference does it make?
I take
my time...
being certain that the oil in the car
is topped up.
Then I have another cup
of green tea,
taking one cup for the road.
I leave behind names like
Bailey,
Spring Hope,
Red Oak,
Battleboro...
as I listen to Leo Keottke
playing on the car stereo.
and eventually find
myself on the way to Durham.
 God, thank you for this day.

I take
a right
as a tape of
my son plays
from 25 years ago...
"Mama, can I please go play on the slide?"
"You know there's not much pollution here."
"Power Rangers!"
"Let's sing Bingo!"
"There was a man who had a dog,
and Bingo was his name o,
B-i-n-g-o-...."
(repeat three times.)

Just then I turn onto 177...
almost heaven...
almost there,
a commitment to share --
truly a great day to be alive
and to come to church.

Stephen is greeter
smiles all around--
hugs abound,
life couldn't be sweeter
there are no strangers here.

On the third of November
 I remember
how the fall colors pop.
I stop
worrying
about selling my house,
or surgery...
or what's for dinner.

Today, the third of November,
I remember
other Sundays
like the one when
the Emmanuel Youth Choir
sang
"Mr. Jesus,
rain down on me."
And the sermon that day--
"Don't make it harder than
it has to be."
I remember what Amanda had to say.
"God, let me be singing
at the end of the day."

What is Durham Presbyterian Church?
 According to Franklin, "We are a small group of people
loving each other fiercely....
telling God the truth of who we are...
Finding God in pain and suffering.
It's in the places of suffering
and fear that
we find joy."
  One morning,
as Franklin preached,
Jesus came down
to Durham Presbyterian Church
and walked amongst us.
The air warmed and
we felt the peace,
transformed by the moment.

This morning, Angie is back!
The choir's going to sing.
And what shall I bring?
Maybe a tambourine?
Jenna is here.
Jordan too.
Peace be to you, and to you.
Tiffany,
Justin,
Brian,
Jared,
Fran,
prayers for Pakistan...

for the people--
Anna's ministry,
Justin's brother,
Tomi's mother

Scott and Liz may be moving to Idaho.
Megan goes back to school soon,
Carlos is in a New York hospital.

Durham Presbyterian Church
reaches out,
to one another,
to the community,
to me.
The minister said,
"If there is a church that does not reach out to the marginalized,
then that place is not a church."
This Church
has created a bridge to understanding
and hope.
Right here,
in Durham, North Carolina.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"The Night James Brown Saved Boston"

James Brown cooled off the crowd in Boston after Martin Luther King's assassination.  The police came up on the stage and Brown said "wait a minute" and pleaded for order.  The show continued and a riot was prevented.

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/james-brown-saves-boston-after-mlks-assassination.html
Credit:  Open Culture

Eleventh Step Questions and Answers

1.  How does step 11 challenge me? 
answer ---  sometimes I still think I'm in control.
Program teaches "to seek more direct contact with God."
Move forward and let go.

2.  What is my belief about recovery through a spiritual relationship with a power greater than myself?
answer ---I can't rely on my own unsteady will power to recover.  I need God's help.  I have to surrender again and again.
3.  In what ways do I actively improve my relationship with an HP?
answer--- I practice Centering Prayer which I feel puts me in direct contact with God.
I ASK   for God's guidance.
I look to God as my strength and guidance.

4.  how important is it for me to have a regular quiet time for prayer and meditation?
answer---  Very important.  I like to do this first thing in the morning.  Centering Prayer for min.
I also try to "check in with God."
I ask for help.  God, help me to do your will.
5.  What do I say when I talk to God?
answer--- 
Whatever feel is right.
Ask God to take away my fear and insecurity
To help me be more trusting.
I say my gratitude
I ask G to help me grow in faith.
I express my gratitude.
6.  Am I afraid to express my honest feelings to God?  When and why?
answer---no because faith is more powerful fear and I ask for G's blessing as I am honest in expressing my feelings.
7.What knowledge do I need to ask God?
answer--for strength to His will for me.
8.When have I felt angry with God?
answer---When my prayers are not answered.  I am impatient.  I've been praying for my house to sell.  It hasn't yet but I continue to have faith.
9.  In what tangible ways can I communicate with God?
answer---what is the next right thing to do.
10.  What is meditation?
answer -- listening to God's voice
11.  What does meditation offer me?
answer--a a chance to be alone with God.  A chance to calm my mind.
12.  How do I know which thoughts are God's directions and which are my own rationalizations?
answer---God's thoughts are encouraging!
13.  How does time spent in prayer and meditation affect me?
answer--  keeps me focused and moving in a forward direction.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Zimmer Knee Replacement

      Zimmer has an answer for women needing total knee replacement

  http://bonesmart.org/sponsors/zimmer/?utm_source=AdWords&gclid=CPqlv4-dyroCFSEV7AodYmgAHQ

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Graitude for Today, November 2, 2013


This morning I'm grateful for
a patch of blue sky, 
and for billowy clouds
that still remind me 
all is well.

I'm grateful for my gratitude partner in California,
who just texted me these words:
"I'm grateful for the freedom I receive as I 
nurture my spiritual life. In meditation today,
I breathe in God and breathe out ego.
My eyes brighten and my soul shines!"

Lovely words from a lovely soul.

"Letting Go"




I recently came across this paper on Letting Go.  I can't remember
where I got it, but I typed on a typewriter, before I had a
computer!

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have.



To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each
day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but
to allow others to affect their destinies.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to try to change another, it's to make the most of myself.

To let go does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.

To let go is to fear less and to live more.

Blessings to all of you

Friday, November 1, 2013

First Fiddle


First fiddle, then fight
Stand firm, and resist the flight
away from yourself,
away from God,
away from the truth
that blocks your 
understanding 
of where you've been.


You've coped,
you've battled,
you've studied in school,
You're ripe,
and rich,
and somewhat cool.



Stand firm.
Continue to learn,
Blossoming 
with new wisdom,
new growth.


I still repeat this old refrain.
change,
change,
change.


Just don't go.
Don't wander far and away.
Stay
at least for today.




Bad Boys (c)



Bad Boys
Came to Roberson School,
They had no other place to go.
They couldn't stay grounded,
And all of it sounded 
like the system struck the final blow.
Bad Boys
come through the metal detector.
They're frisked by the staff,
they sometimes laugh,
then become bitter and dash,
down the hall,

leaving behind cell phones and food
 Homework is left behind.
The students are behind.
No Child Left Behind. Ha!
And who is to blame?
Bad Boy --
Called his teacher a bitch.
Another pull the fire alarm.
The principal stood by,
did nothing but nod,
"It seems that they mean no harm."

Bad principal yelled
at the kids in the hall.
"Where is your pass?
I'm going to call
the police.
That will teach 
You to obey the rules."
Bad boys yell back,
and are getting suspended,
a day or a month or forever.
Bad principals stay 
And keep on offending
Good teachers who try to keep the peace.
Good teachers stay,
And keep on teaching
about poets and history and art.
Martin Luther King and the incredible things
he accomplished by doing his part.

His part to bring peace
in a non-violent way.
The letter he wrote on a warm spring day:
"Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Some of the best writings have come
from prisons and seem
 to speak
volumes and teach
us to turn the other cheek.

Just like Jesus said.

Good teachers believe
that they plant a seed
then leave for other professions.
They write, they keep teaching,
continuing to make their confessions.

Confessions of how the arts
can transform
and build a nation of readers.
They continue to follow
ideas set by all the great leaders.
Leaders like King,
Jefferson,
Douglass,
Gandhi,
Ann Frank,
Kennedy,
and the student body president killed at UNC.

Never give up,
keep trying and see
how the answers will come, 
whether slowly or quickly,
they will come.

Bad boys go on
and continue to want
a new life for themselves.
Who knows where they'll go.
Maybe jail,
Maybe college.
Maybe to the White House.
Who knows?



.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marry Durham




Sometimes I
want to marry Durham 
and divorce this place.
Durham is where I 
feel most at home.
Where I'm not alone.
Where everyone smiles.
You can walk for miles.
Yes, miles.

The Nasher and Duke,
Whole Foods soup,
These things make me smile.

Durham, please,
won't you marry me?
I promise to love, honor, and cherish you,
and promote your beauty,
your culture and art.
I will do my part.
Just,
Marry me.




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Don't Go (c)

Don't go,

Please stay.

Think of what

You could write today.

Or think.

Or do.

Perhaps you could also

help someone too.

Fight, not flight,

that is the thing.

We gain something strong,

an everlasting song,

when we stay grounded.

Grounded in the moment.

Grounded in our beliefs.

Strong.  

Like Boston.

Strong. 

Strong like the

100 year old oak

outside my window. 



Springs That Never Run Dry (c)

Pearl Buck once said:

"Inside myself is a place

where I live all alone.

And that's where I renew my springs

that never run dry."


We discover our inner resources

of strength and courage

when we look within ourselves.

Courage in place of fear.

Action instead of inertia.

Ideas that are challenging.

 Look within for

inspiration.


Pearl Buck,

the great writer

(Nobel Laureate)

and humanitarian,

knew about these things.

She captured the soul of

the Chinese peasant,

merging cultures,

and enriching minds.


Pearl S. Buck -- writer, teacher, humanitarian.


You Don't Know Jack (c)






He looks at you

with his big brown eyes,

Almost as if,

He could read your mind.



Sure, he’s a pain,

When he pulls on a leash,

But you can’t deny

That he aims to please!



And that’s when he poses

On his two back feet

And sits real still

And begs for a treat,



He chases squirrels,

And has caught quite a few,

The birds he lets be,

But the rugs can he chew!



Not a sweeter hound

Will you find in these parts.

Jack is THE dog,

In my heart of hearts.

My pal, Jack

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Homage to Johnny Cash (c)



"I hurt myself today,
to see if I still feel."
Cash's last song,
Simply caused me to reel.
 
Johnny Cash,
the great icon,
recorded perhaps his 
greatest hit
at the age of 71.

No longer the slick young writer,
Wracked by pain and scars,
He delivered his heart on a platter:
"Hurt," 
a song that will always matter.

"I expect to die soon,"
he said to his interviewer that day.
 What courage,
What gifts, allowed him to give
in such a strong and poignant way.

Seventy one and almost gone,
he recorded the song
that touched all souls and hearts.
No surprise that it rose
To number one on the charts.

The numbers are mounting,
60 million and counting.
The You Tube hits attest
to the enduring beauty of "Hurt."

He's so alone--
June now gone,
this shortened his life.
But his legacy lives on.

Lives on in time,
He walked the line,
of failure and fame.
 Music was never the same.
"A Boy Named Sue,"
"House of Blues," 
"Ring of Fire,"
"I've Been Everywhere."

Man, what a legacy! 




"Inside Myself"

"Inside myself is a place where I live alone,
and that's where I renew
 the springs that never dry up."

So said Pearl Buck.  The message
here is about inspiration.
New attitudes, new energy.
New life.
Courage.
Action.
Giving.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gratitude on October 24, 2013

Oh to have a full and grateful heart.


Tonight I'm grateful for --

being nuzzled by my cat

having a safe trip to Charlottesville and back

spending an afternoon on the lawn at U.Va.

A chance to play.

To reflect.

 


Monday, October 14, 2013

Knees

http://orthopedics.about.com/od/hipkneearthritis/a/osteotomy_2.htm     The knees have it.  They get the brunt of the impact from exercise.  As Dr. Kelley put it, after looking at the load on the knees from simply going upstairs, it's a wonder that everyone's knees don't hurt.
     I kept my appoint with Dr. Kelley's office on Oct. 2 and was seen by Jamie Messersmith, his PA.  I still did not schedule surgery, but something Jamie said really got my attention:  "When you are tired of putting on knee braces and all the other things you do, it may be time."
     Yes, I am tired of knee braces, the creams, oils shots, you name it.   Jamie said that all I need to do to schedule surgery is call.
     I have a knock knee.  It's my right one.  It's become unbearable and I wouldn't dare go camping like I used to do last year.  I'm self conscious of it.  It makes my leg look somewhat deformed.  I am depressed about this.
     And I'm still kind of freaked out by the surgery, the rehab, the recuperation.  If I could recoup in the Bahamas, it would be great.  I doubt if that could happen.  Deep breath.  All will be fine.

     On the matter of knock knees, I found this article.

http://orthopedics.about.com/od/hipkneearthritis/a/osteotomy_2.htm

First Poet


Blanco came to Durham last 
night.
Richard Blanco--
first Latino,
first openly gay individual,
first immigrant--
(so many firsts)
to read at a Presidential inauguration.

We came by the hundreds to hear:
from Durham,
Raleigh,
Tarboro,
Greensboro...
We listened...
impressed by the sweet beauty of
"Boston Strong."
The breathtaking scope of
"One Today."

Poems that capture so many feelings,
even his dispair over hearing
his grandmother's advice to
"not pee sitting down."

First poet, he,
The first to be a star,
to pack a hall in Durham for poetry.
To proclaim the joys of his hometown library.
A library where his dreams took flight,
among books on opera and Picasso.

Five hundred of us were
mesmerized by Blanco.
In Durham, North Carolina,
at the Carolina Theatre.
On October 13, 2013.

What a night.




Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Good Neighbor Fence(c)

My new fence went up yesterday,
We call it the "good neighbor fence."
When I moved to my house,
the survey was finished.
Stakes up.
My things were moved in.
Next day,
the stakes were down.
Without an explanation.
Or word of apology.
My neighbor said
that they were on his land.
His land.
Why did he wait...
to say something, until
they were up?
My neighbor once
followed me on my walk.
Came over to talk with me
while I was sunbathing.
A fence, I mused.
I need a good fence.
So a fence went up.
A charming picket fence.
All was fine for a while.
Until he started staring.
He could see over the fence.
Train his eyes on me while I was gardening.
Creepy.
Stared at my visitors.
Made comments.
Insulted me
a time or two.
He enjoyed my views
more than I did his.
So yesterday a good fence
went up.
He came out to watch,
and stare,
make comments.
I said something.
"I feel uncomfortable with
your staring,"
I said.
He shouted:  "Now, I'm on MY property!"
he shouted.
He ranted.
Mean.
I said, "I'm just saying
how I feel, and that's ok."
I created a boundary.
Long time coming.
There is peace now.
The peace fence.
I won.
And that's a good thing.

Imagine

Imagine
how different the world would 
have been if there
had been no John Lennon.
His creative genius still endures
in his music, his art,
his words, his films.
Creative genius.
That was John Lennon.

 
Here is a link to his interviews with Dick Cavette in 1970 and 1971.
http://www.openculture.com/2012/10/watch_john_lennon_and_yoko_onos_two_appearances_on_the_dick_cavett_show.html

Friday, October 11, 2013

John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Interviews with Dick Cavett

    Open Culture has two John Lennon interviews in their entirety.  These took place on the Dick Cavette Show in 1970 and 1971.  You can see John sing Imagine in a video recorded at his home in Ascott in 1970.



http://www.openculture.com/2012/10/watch_john_lennon_and_yoko_onos_two_appearances_on_the_dick_cavett_show.html

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grounded



Grounded
like the roots of
this giant oak,
ancient, 
resolute,
hanging on
until my neighbor
brings it down,

pulverising it into
dust
leaving only the 
stump perhaps
as a testimony
to its magnificance.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Where the Clouds Kiss the Sky (c)


At the cloud's edge,
wispy arrows
pierce the sky,
then wander around
like cattle,
seeking a place to rest.
Edgecombe skies
fill me with wonder,
leave me breathless for more,
more inspiration for
my imaginings.
I escape into their beauty,
thinking of the fields of cotton
and tobacco
that once lay beneath them.
Fields where now,
old hands,  
worn down by labor,
can rest a bit.
Field hands remember 
and share family stories
of tying the tobacco 
on strings
to dry.
We lie
in the sun and remember,
  our childhood
on the family farm.
 We smile,
for all we learned there.
 The cloud's edge
turns up,
as if to agree,
to soothe me.
Edgecombe clouds
fill me with wonder.

Reassure me
that all is well.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Night Time Prayer

It is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
 
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
 
"The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world 
and of our own lives rest in you.
 
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us...
 
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rumi: "This Too Shall Pass"


Rumi (c)

We are here,

An eclectic group of people,

to share an hour together,

an hour at the library.

The professor came

from UNC

to teach

this group of kindred souls

and me,

about Rumi.

Rumi --

"Our Master"--

an enchanting poet,

writer of exquisite poetry,

who encompasses

raw, erotic, romantic,

mystical

love.

Rumi says

we move from "raw"

to "cooked,"

to "on fire."

At the end of our lives,

we are "on fire!"

Not a bad thing!

The professor said,

The Universe "already has God's love."

It is flowing...

He said that all we need to do

"is remove the ego,

the rawness,

and when that happens,

love flows."

What a wonderful thing,

to hear these words

(exquisite words)

spoken at the Durham County Library,

to my friends and me,

on Saturday, 

September 22, 

in the year 2013.

Over 800 years,

since Rumi lived.