Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You Didn't Have To

You didn't have to 
shoot heroin.
You said you never would do that.
Was it worth it?
I know you said you felt
happy afterward.
That it was the only thing that
took away your pain.
Your husband was right to come
get you from the sleazy pad
you were sharing with your
drug addled boyfriend.

You didn't have to sleep around.
Have sex with two guys in an alley down town.
No, you didn't have to
make that toxic choice.
Rough sex.
Enough sex
to last two life times.

No, you didn't have to do those things.
But I'm glad you survived.
And I'm wondering how you avoided addiction.
You are such a contradiction,
dear child,

You take communion now
by the rushing stream under the bridge.
You have redeemed yourself by telling your story.
It's ok.
Everyone makes mistakes.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of Day Random Gratitude

After seeing the film Wild, I'm grateful for my experiences.  While I've never walked a thousand miles, I once biked for 80 and backpacked for nine months.   

I'm grateful for the women who were in my writing class, for their creativity and humor.  Grateful for black-eyed peas on New Year's, and hot cider at Christmas.  Grateful that I experienced childbirth and saw my son grow up into the fine man that he is, for memories and memoirs, photographs, paintings, sculpture, and music.

Grateful for healing and for the wonderful day I've had, for Franklin's letter to Olivia, safe travels, and a warm home.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Year of Miracles

I'll be leaving shortly for Christmas with family.  I will practice gratitude today and tolerance.

Much has been accomplished this year.  I sold my house in a negative market, downsized, moved, re-located, got settled in an apartment, and set about exploring a new community.  Then I had a knee replacement and scheduled surgery for the other knee.

So much to be grateful for and I pray  to be present today, conversational, and tolerant and hopeful.  A very special Christmas indeed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dana's Knee Replacement

     It's been exactly a month since my knee replacement surgery.  Having a wizard like Dr. Kelley helped me to endure the surgery just fine.  In fact, I had no pain immediately after the surgery, to my great surprise.
     Started driving a week ago, and today had my first walk with nature in a month.  Just enjoyed the rustling of the leaves and the beauty of East Campus.
      For now, time to do my PT exercises.  Here goes!

David Rubenstein

     Earlier this year, I was talking with two women at the Duke Gardens.  David Rubenstein's name came up in relation to Duke Libraries, where one of the women worked.  Mr. Rubenstein donated a small fortune to the rare book and manuscripts collection, which was then named the Rubenstein Library.

      I had no idea when this happened until yesterday, when I heard someone named David Rubenstein on the Diane Rheem Show.  It turned out he was a Duke grad in 1970 and worked in the library.

He later wrote about how much he appreciated his student job.  Well, he now helps manage the Carlyle Group and is on the Board of the Kennedy Center, and Chairman of the Board at Duke.  His list of accomplishments is amazing and he wants to give away half of his fortune before he dies.

Here's a Youtube video from May with Mr. Rubenstein speaking at the Fuqua School of Business.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Re-discovering Folk Music

Last night I came across a historic video by the Chad Mitchell Trio done in the early 60's.  I used to listen to them when I was a kid on tv where they played on Hootenanny.  Their version of "You Can Tell the World" is powerful.  The song was performed by Simon and Garfunkel also, and written by Bob Gibson and Bob Camp.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Listening to the Warm

Listening to the warm
notes of a flute playing in 
the distance, while the
colors of morning skies 
sharpen my senses.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dear Sweetheart

I really like Derek Mahon's poem on how everything's going to be all right.  Reminds me how Bob Marley use to sing "don' you worry about a thing, cuz every little thing's gonna be all right."

I might let my baby grand daughter be my sweetheart even tho she is only three months old..."awww, grandma, you are the sweetest grandma ever, and I just luvvvv you. Love your grey hair and brown eyes, and that place on your chest where I can rest my head for as long as I want."

...this is going to be a soft week.  Soft soft soft.  I will think of the Mary Oliver poem she wrote about her sleeping dog and daydream about getting an Italian greyhound.  I will think about what Miro said:  "I don't dream at night; I dream when I'm awake."
I will read about Walt Whitman and his body electric, and Longfellow and his chestnut tree, and again, the Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

i shall plan to be in class next Tues.  I so look forward to this time of softness, warmth, and reflection.

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Wasted Space

Thirty thousand dollars for a cemetery plot?
I think not.  That's money most people haven't got.

There's a better place than wasted space.
Anyway, the dead can't make a case
For their final resting place.

Since it's up to me,
I choose to be
Buried at sea.

Atlantic or Pacific?
I think I'll be specific.

Cape Charles or Cape Cod.
But I could also give a nod

to the Sitka bay,
since I cherish the day

when my son came to be
born in that place by the sea.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gratitude for Today

It's been said that there is no greater comfort than gratitude.  Today I'm grateful for the time I spent on East Campus.  What a jewel it is!  I can almost forgive Washington Duke for making his millions with tobacco.  Almost.  But not quite.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Marsalis and Coltrane

i heard Branson Marsalis give a talk with Ashley Cohen on John Coltrane.  I'm now a huge enthusiast of both Coltrane and Marsalis.

I'm picking up a few facts myself.  Coltrane debuted in 1955 as a side man.  As a child he suffered several losses -- father, grandparents, uncle

Grd. h.s.  hamlet NC, 1943 & moved to Philly -------------    1951   --- he started using heroin

[[  see notes in Moleskin notebook ]]

His son is also a jazz artist  (Ravi or Raja)

where did coletrane go to high school???

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Song for Christiana (unfinished)

The lake was still and shining bright,
when I heard a song that touched my touched my soul.
A simple song, with a lilting air,
Come listen while I sing it for you.

"Your love is extravagant."
It's purely heaven sent.
Come sit with me and be my love,
for a moment so content.

His love is extravagant
to provide this holy place
where canoers are paddling and waves are lapping
in a  peaceful_____ and _gentle_____ space.

Our love is extravagant,
So vast it knows no bounds.
A love that vanished and once was lost
Re-enters and now is found.

Voices sing as quiet as rain.
And we stand in a circle before
 Pine with screech owls and fireflies
and waves lapping by the shore.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

A King, a Prime Minister, and a General

I had a friend who served in the Second World War.

John got to see a King, a Prime Minister, 
and a General,
all on the same day.
"Mighty nice station you have here," said Churchill.
Rumor had it that he smoked seventeen cigars
    and drank a fifth of bourbon everyday.
"They say Eisenhower just wanted everyone to get along.
He shook hands with everyone of us.
That was pretty impressive for a nineteen year old,"
John once told me.   
"I'm not easily impressed these days," he would tell me.

But John, he was impressive.  I'd see him out walking
all over Tarboro,
from Bojangles
over to the hospital. 
He looked dashing in his
Greek fisherman's cap,
with his pipe and cane.

He recalled that during the war,
he carried a good luck piece,
a locket that belonged to
his girlfriend, Gloria,
just nineteen then.
Same age as Lauren Bacall,
who died recently at the age
of 89.
John and Gloria
were together sixty three years.


Friday, September 5, 2014

John Coltrane

Duke Performances scored big last night with an informal lecture by Bradford Marsalis and Ashley Kahn on John Coltrane's seminal work, "A Love Supreme."  Kahn wrote a book on Coltrane titled "A Love Supreme."

Included in the talk was rare film footage of Coltrane and his band playing the piece.  Piano, McCoy Tyner;  Tenor Sax, John Coltrane; Bass, Jimmy Garrison; Drums, Elvin Jones.

Marsalis recalled a comment by Jones about playing for Coltrane:  "you have to be willing to die for the mother fucker."  I've never seen anyone play drums like Jones.  He carried the group along at a perfect tempo and volume.

Also attending the concert were the Campbell Brothers, masters of the slide guitar and pedal steel.  I got to meet lead singer Phil and his son, Chuck, drummer.  The group performs A Love Supreme tonight at Hayti.

John Coltrane

Duke Performances scored big with a lecture by Bradford Marsalis and Ashley Kahn on Coltrane's A Love Supreme, to be performed tonight at the Hayti by the Campbell Brothers.

The Brothers attended last night's lecture, which included rare footage of Coltrane and his band playing the seminal work.  Piano, MCoy Tyner; Tenor Sax, John Coltrane; Drums, Elvin Jones; Bass, Jimmy Garrison.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tam Lin Neville

I just read this poem by Tam Lin Neville -- I love it.

I Study the Sky

how it changes,
a cloud, bursting, its colors,
fierce at first, fast disappearing.
Another brushes in, this whisper I can hear
forming and reforming,
silken mesh dissolving,
unraveled, rewoven.
My self is kin to this cloth,
these shades of pink, purple,
lavender, gray.
Then night sinks over
my cigarette's ember.
Its ash glows red in the wind.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Helping a Broken Bone to Heal


Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.

― Barbara De Angelis 

Monday, August 25, 2014

What I Have to be Grateful For

The focus is once again on gratitude.  Looking back over my first summer in Durham, I'm grateful:

1.  For fun -- the Festival on the Eno, the American Dance Festival, Carolina Theater, free movies, the Full Frame -- all very up-lifting and enjoyable.
2.  The abundance of wellness meetings
3.  Much improved health care over Tarboro
4.  My church
5.  Doing my best
6.  Signing up for a water color course
7.  Having my first grandchild
8.  Finding a doctor and a dentist
9.  Finding a potential place to rehab after my surgery
10. Seeing a ladybug on my desk just now
11. It's quiet now.
12.  I thought of 3 things I like about my upstairs neighbor - she's nice, she wants to be a physical therapist, and she let me borrow 2 eggs recently
13.  My church -- did I already say that?
14. The Y at Chapel Hill
15. The awesome library system here.
16.  Isabella
17.  The Vision for You Group
18.  So much help for my move, especially brother
19,  Hoping a trip to see my granddaughter will work out
20.  Healthy food to eat
21.  The Aldi store nearby
22.  No refined sugar in 2 years
23.  Martha Joy and Ed in Boston
24.  Forgiveness

Saturday, August 23, 2014


    The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi sang their hearts out this year at the Gospel by the Sea Concert in Galveston.  There was a beauty pageant, barbecues...strawberry soda

Two and a half years is a long time for news to travel.  That's how it was in Texas in 1863.  Negroes were free everywhere but here.  Slaves were freed on January 1, 1863.

"We never celebrated the Fourth of July.  Our celebration was in June, Juneteenth."

Negroes in Texas had to wait for their freedom.  Why?
Because a messenger never made it with news of the Emancipation?
Or because a messenger never made it with news of the Emancipation Proclamation?
Or because slave owners withheld the information?
Or because Union troops decided to let plantations reap one last harvest of cotton?

Whatever the reason, slaves of Texas got screwed.

"The people of Galveston are informed that in accordance with Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."

Many left at once for Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Encouragement, picnics, barbecue pit is the center of attention.

State holiday in Texas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thought for Today

"That's the thing about human life.  There's no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed."  Elizabeth Gilbert

"The what if's and should have's can impact us negatively if we let them.  Let's focus on today.  It's all we have and it's pretty great.  If it's not great, we can do what we can to change it, and let go of the rest."   Shannon Byrne

Saturday, August 16, 2014

On Not Wasting Time

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

― Steve Jobs 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Year of Miracles

     I worshipped among friends today.  I love the music there and Jesse wrote the songs:  "You make beautiful things"  and "The Life of the Party"

       "You make beautiful things out of the dust."  Wow -- powerful!

Friday, August 8, 2014

From Small House to Small Apartment

In June, I moved from Tarboro to Durham, North Carolina, from a small house to a small, one bedroom apartment.  One of the things I like best about a small apartment is that the things I hold most dear are right at hand:  my father's engraving of the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, which is to the right of my front door.  I have art that used to be spread throughout the house that is now contained in my living and bedrooms.  And my books are much easier to find!

Yes, I'm glad I moved and I welcome this small space.

Monday, August 4, 2014

For Beverly

I listened to her recite at the Southwest Library in Durham.
She's a member of the Washington Street
Writers Group.
Told us how she used to
keep her poems in a suitcase
under the bed.
Then, she left her husband,
who didn't understand why she
wrote poetry.

she had one published, and
his only response was,
"Well, you have really arrived, haven't you?
But why do you always write about
unhappy things?"

Beverly is a gardner.  That man made her feel like
she was being "choked by honeysuckle. that
false plant that you don't
want to have in your house."
She's glad she weeded him.

Black Mountain

Black Mountain College in North Carolina was a creative place frequented by Alan Ginsburg, and other Beat poets.   Here's a bit of info:

Visiting scholar, David Silver appears at the NCSU Libraries, for a multimedia happening that chronicles the rise and fall of Black Mountain College, founded in 1933 near Asheville, North Carolina. Using the entire Hunt Library as a storytelling building and featuring never-before-seen photographs, this dynamic event will examine the most experimental college in American history. Focusing on the College’s farm and work program, Silver will lead an exploration of the College’s lesser-known but vitally important participants. David Silver is associate professor of media studies, environmental studies, and urban agriculture at University of San Francisco. 

Free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Look at Her!

Look at her!
She was born
early on a Tuesday morn.
Her eyes are gray,
with a hint of blue
and her limbs are long and sinewy.

With mother, Elise
and father, Chris,
she entered the world
filled with bliss
and enough love to last a lifetime.

There is nothing like a newborn babe
to show us what really matters.
It's how we stay 
connected forever
sharing a love that nothing can sever.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The great "I Am" (from Raphel Lopez-Barrentes class in the Nelson Music Room on July 17, 2014)

Six dancers crouched down,
hands on the floor,
fingers spread like
taking in the breath of life 

Left legs are stretched out behind,
right legs forward.
"Hold a cantelope,
or a tomato
in your right hand.
Let it go!
And let out the breath with
the harmonious  sound
of lah..."

Singing "lah,"
six voices form a chorus
of soft sounds.

Then voices rise in a Zambian
Chords integrate.
I concentrate 
on the sounds
that merge into
fluid movement,
creating a blessing
for this place,
or anywhere, really.

The harmony is
this space.
"Your duty as a performer
is to connect."

The sacred sound
from the heart of Africa.
The benediction.

And love.
Love the power.
give me power
and a love
a love 
a love
a love
a love 
that lasts.

IV.  Class ends and I thank Raphel for allowing  me to observe.  I mention that I hadn't done my homework by reading about him, but he's unconcerned.  He is Spanish, and gracious to allow a stranger in to experience his class.  I have no context for what I have witnessed.  But in time I will understand.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Dynamic Possibilities": from Stuart Singer's Modern IV class at the American Dance Festival, 2014)


The teacher
greets students by name.
The two Emmas,
Emmanual (from Montreal, originally from France),
then Kayla, Johnny, Ruth, Kay, Carolyn,
Dylan, Angela…

"And I'm Stuart.  How are you?"

He connects with each student
as class begins.

"Arms, pelvis, skull,
how do these parts harmonize?'


"Get closer to each other if you want
and look closer at this body.
Point the pelvis downward and notice 
a sense of energy.
Cultivate the long,
dynamic torso and think
about how it feels to connect your pelvis with
the floor."

The teacher lies straight down,
then thrusts one perfect leg into the air --whoosh!

s-p-r-e-a-d out…
no need to be touching
but it’s ok to fall asleep!"

Forty-three bodies flat on the floor.
Not judging.
Just paying attention,
letting go.
Listening to details
of wrist bones,
smoothing out the curvature of the spine.

What does this mean to me?
of purpose.
The body as a wonderful machine.

The teacher circulates,
then hesitates
by each dancer, to touch,
to correct, first asking

And I think of my yoga mat
and how with that,
I could participate,
and cycle my right leg out and feel
the weight of my femur,
and other body parts
that start
to ache in this kind of weather.

The exercise concludes.
The music ends.

Dancers on the floor again,
music begins,
and forty three bodies reach and extend,
right legs crossing over, bending,
curving, blending.
Their bodies work well.

Long bodies, satisfied to be 

Now pelvises are on the floor.
Legs rise, then come down with
such force
that I shudder.
Legs pulsate like fish out of water,
and I wish
that I could do this!
Expanding, faster,
the piano chords rise,
reaching up to heaven,
then back down to the ocean's floor.
Feet start circling, then hands,
legs are shaking,
gelatinous and loose,
and soar!
Let it out! Sigh.  Scream!
The music is magic.
Voices, percussion.

Jungle heat.
We sweat.
Bodies are wet.
Finally, a breeze
as the harmony starts.
Music from Africa,
drumbeats, with voices wailing.
It's all original.
bringing out animal instincts.
Power to the pelvis!

The teacher speaks:
"Find the tail bone on your partner.
Press in.
Now walk!"

It's a rapid walk through
unexplored territory.
With power and momentum,
these bodies
march,  propelled by the pressure
on their tailbones.
A Tlingit chant cries out 
above the sound of footsteps.
A coyote howls,
an eagle cries.
The drums get louder.



I concentrate.
And let my imagination flow.

Forty three dancers, fully wired,
watch as Emmanuel from France
Stuart, impressed,
tells her she’s hired.

That’s it for today.
I stay
And chat with the teacher.
Dance matters!
Students swarm him
with questions on technique
while I seek
to pull myself away,
back to the real world of traffic,
and cops and courses.

And a good book on
the history of dance by de Mille,

before tonight’s performance.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

On Leaving Tarboro

Leaving Tarboro

Was a little like getting out of jail.
I wonder what is going to become of this little town?
Seems like it's on its way down.

But I'm out now, out!
And free!
To seek, to learn, write poetry.
And what else...
That's the way
to share the message.
I guess
I'm blessed

to be in Durham,
based on 

The people I've met,
the things I've done.
And what I'd like to do.
Help at the Nasher
or maybe with a school.
Join a writer's group.
Now that would be cool.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thought for the Day

If you think about disaster, you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience.

― Swami Sivananda 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hello, Durham!

     I did it!  The move is over.  I moved into my new apartment on Monday, June 9th, the day after my birthday.  Some things have been hard, missing Annie, for example.  But then again, I don't miss cleaning up cat litter.  And she's happy in her new home.

     Family were extremely helpful in getting me moved in.  Of course, I had too much stuff.  The microwave, the Duncan Phyfe table, and the round revolving table were all taken by Katie to her Sweet Redemptions store.  I may re-claim the Duncan Phyfe table.  It is REALLY old.

     Amanda preached this morning on pornography.  I thought of Carolyn and what she must have gone through.  Then it was over to Whole Foods for lunch:  Qunioa, beets. salad, cantalop.   Yum!
Dinner was at Whole Foods also.  Dinner was at Whole Foods also:  edame, beets, hummus, what else???  Went to see Chef with Neill.  Delightful movie.   Retiring now for the evening.

Memories of James L. Hymes, Jr.

When my son was just one, I travelled to Juneau to an early childhood conference and hear James Hymes speak.  It was unforgettable!  He helped form my philosophy to dealing with children.

He wrote this book in 1994, just two years before he died

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What Remains

It's midnight now
and the move is over,
at least the first leg of it

Feeling extremely uncomfortable right now.
The furniture is stored 
and I'll sleep on the floor.
This house made up so much of my identity.
It was so comfortable

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Family History

     I came across this note I made some years back about my family's connection with the Civil War.
At a family reunion, I was told that the following are wonderful studies of my family's involvement with the Civil War, as well as the Scottish, Irish influence:

1.  History of the Bedford Light Artillery

2.  Annals of the Four Masters

3.  History of Ireland from the time of Christ

4.  Keating's History of Ireland

It's Not Too Late

It's Not Too Late

It's not too late
to try again
So I catch the train
that's going West.

What's best for me
is best for them
and I'll be seeing them again soon
and we'll be family again.

It's not to late to forgive again.
Just get on with it!
Just release, release,
and come back to earth.

Today's Meditation

"Believe that you can have the life you want.  Believe that you can have serenity, peace of mind, and freedom from fear.  Believe these things, and you will have them."

"Believing in something that seems impossible takes faith.  Faith requires that I do what works, no matter what.  We receive what we expect, so expect miracles, because we are all miracles."

(from Voices...for May 18)

My Year of Miracles

The move is happening soon.

To Durham and a downsized life.
I focus on the miracles,
not the mistakes.
There is no failure.

Just for today, I will be led by the spirit.