Archive for the ‘iPad art’ category

The Grass Said to Me (as I thought of Whitman)

June 14, 2018

The Grass Said To Me  (As I Thought of Whitman)

The grass said to me
”what is a child?”
I did not know how to answer the grass for I do not speak
in shush or spring-back
or any of the many tongues
of green.
I do not feel that I know
how to regroup,
or how to take a death at my roots
and smile it almost equally
into sun and rain–

But this much I do know:
that when a child crawls across me and grass alike,
we all three
grow more alive.
What grounds us cups us gently (even as
laughs tumble)
while what lies beneath that ground strains hard to listen,
and does, in fact, hear,
for the cup that holds us fits too
about its dark grained ear,
oh yes.



Drafty poem for my own prompt on Real Toads to write of “what is….”  Pic is mine .

Hi all!  I’ve missed you. k. 

More Reasons Why I’m With Her–Mom, Me, Moon

October 16, 2016


My mother, not believing that anyone would ever want to marry her, had two choices as a young girl.

I call them “choices”–I should say that she had two dreams.  Only they weren’t actually “dreams”–simply her view of best possible outcomes.

One was to be a teacher, the other a nurse.

My mother was born in the U.S. to an extremely Northern European family that could not “be having with” bodies, so she opted, eventually, for teacher.

Pay attention to the “eventually.”  Long before she could dream of (or, accept) becoming a teacher, her father wanted her to be a hired girl.

A hired girl back in the 1930‘s was someone who basically did dishes–that is, drew, carried and heated water for dishes, made things to be put on dishes, cleaned up what resulted from things put on dishes. Hired girls usually lived in someone else’s house so that they could work just about any time of day (as in, all hours of the–.)

Not that my grandfather thought his daughter could not manage becoming a teacher or nurse–she was the valedictorian of her high school–he just thought she should take the first paying job she could get; being a hired girl had the added bonus of also providing for her keep.

But my mother persisted–and to my grandfather’s credit, he let her persist–and World War II served as a stepping stone out of hired girldom, allowing her, under its heavy cloud, to take on greater variety of work than ever previously available to women.  Her burning desire to visit California turned, oddly, not into a trip to California, but into a job with the U.S. occupation force in Yokohama, Japan where she lived from 1947-1949.

On her return to the U.S., there were her same choices once again–teacher/nurse–and–oh yes–typist. Ironically, after earning (and personally paying for) her college degree, her career dream was to become a typist with the U.S. foreign service. But by that time, amazingly to her, she had found someone to marry her, someone she loved;  being a married woman in the U.S. foreign service was simply not a “go”.

My mother was not a born teacher. She cared deeply about helping kids learn and she worked extremely hard–but she did not have the gift of maintaining control of a class. This meant that teaching (often with 32 or 33 in a room) could be a nightmare (as in, she sometimes cried at night.) Still, she kept at it for thirty years.

Did I mention that in the first full year of my life she had to pretend that I didn’t exist? This, because of a law in Maryland at that time, which automatically reduced a teacher’s pay to substitute’s rates (i.e. maybe two-thirds) if she had a child at home below the age of one.

After that first year in hiding, I had many more choices than my mother, in part because her second salary in our household helped pay for my good education.

But, unlike the male members of my family, I simply did not have what it took to pursue the careers of my heart. How much did this relate to my being a woman? All I know for certain is that I just didn’t have the ego, confidence, self-esteem, or just plain selfishness, to reach for my wishes.  As in the case of my mother, my dreams felt like the moon to me–not because I wasn’t talented enough, but because I wasn’t somehow cool enough, hip enough, deserving enough–qualities that seemed especially important in a girl reaching for the moon.  Because the jobs I needed to take to support myself while I aimed for the moon–i.e. being a waitress to support myself while trying to make it as a writer–exposed me at times to a kind of dismissive treatment from the world that my weak ego just couldn’t stomach.

Then, finally, there was the guilt. My mother really wanted me to to have a clearly defined way of earning a good wage–i.e. “something to fall back on.”  I couldn’t bear to disappoint her.

So rather than become a hired girl, I became a lawyer (a “hired gun” as some used to call it.)  Only it turned out being an attorney is not something you actually fall back on, but rather it is a job you actively need to pursue many hours of the day.

Many things about this choice have been heart-wrenching; yet it also turned out to be extremely fortunate. Because, like many women of my generation, I ended up unexpectedly and for years as the primary source of my children’s support.  (Making me, in other words, very glad to have the steady wage my mother pushed me towards.)

I want to say this first:  I am so grateful to my employers for the jobs I’ve had. There are too many men and women both who have no chance of any good job; too many men and women who don’t even consider fulfilling a dream, too many men and women who, even working night and day, cannot provide for their children.

My complaint is just that there are so many many many women in the non-dream boat–women holding the bag, women raising the kids, women holding the bag and raising the kids. There are so many women, who have so few choices in how they make their living, only knowing that they better hurry up and get busy at it.

Of course, there are men in this situation too.  Many obstacles in life are not gender-based.  Yet the fact remains that in the U.S. and the world, the majority of those living in poverty are women and children.  (The non-dream boat isn’t exactly a life boat, even if one feels stuck in it for life.) This is not because of women’s liberation–women have not “empowered” themselves into lives in poverty–( women’s liberation did not begin in a context in which women had control over their economic and personal lives)–rather, it is because of all kinds of worldwide economic and societal factors.

I am convinced, based on her lifelong career, that Hillary Clinton cares for these women.  I am not saying that she gives preference to women and their work and dreams over the work and dreams of men.  But she understands the special challenges that women face based upon our history and the reality of our present, and she understands that in much of the greater world, especially, helping women to some share of economic power must be a priority.

My own (albeit lucky) history makes my support of HRC extremely personal.  Because mixed in with my devotion to Hillary is my devotion to my mother, my devotion to mother’s sister (who worked for over forty years as a dietician, which then was like a non-body-touching nurse), my devotion to one of my mother’s other sisters (a stay-at-home mom who taught briefly and thereafter seemed to yearn almost desperately for some income of her own), and then to my mother’s other sister (who was brain-damaged and, though beloved, the reason my mother believed that no one in that eugenics-prone age would ever marry any of them)—-

Mixed in with my devotion to Hillary is my devotion to all the wonderful teachers and nurses, I have known, the secretaries and waitresses —

my devotion to my Dad (a scientist), my husband (a nature lover),
and, most strongly, my devotion to my daughters, who may not get the jobs of their dreams but at least are strong enough to choose fields based on their vocations and not their gender–

and to my baby granddaughter, who, every time she sees me, says moon, pointing up–

Giving It A Rest

May 4, 2016


 Thanks as always for your support.

Not I(sle)

April 19, 2016


Not I(sle)

I will not go as I arise
to till another glade
though its clay be good for bean rows
and bees may have it made.

I don’t care to find some peace there–
it won’t happen if we’re there too–
not because we drop things–
but because I’m me, you’re you.

You’re sorry about the singing–
I know–you have explained–
and in bed, you hate that purple glow–
(though I dim my phone when you complain.)

Still, I’ll not go when I arise
for always night and day;
I want your side close-lapping
especially, by the way,

when I’m in the City,
upon the pavement gray,
also when in the country
where linnets’ wings hold sway.

I want your side close-lapping
as we shift limbs old and sore,
even through the fleece and flannel,
to feel your deep heart’s core.


poem of sorts of some number for April–for Brendan’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads about turning something on its tail, poetic surprise.  I fear I’ve cheated a bit here, cribbing  from one of my very favorite (and much mined) poems, The  Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats.   Recycling older pic too.  (Any port in a storm.)  All rights reserved.

message in a bunch of bottles (reposting)

March 6, 2016


message in a bunch of bottles

water once washed
the rocks; then, at least, wet
them, but now this is
an ex-stream–what bubbles is
blown bag, what’s damned is
plastic, what slivers sun
aluminum, canned flotsam,
and what water bobs
is branded–

bottles bottles everywhere
nor any drop
to drink–
bottles bottles everywhere
oh how the flow
does shrink.


draft poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, 55 words arising from an idea of the extreme.  Pic is mine; all rights reserved. 

message in a bunch of bottles

March 6, 2016


message in a bunch of bottles

water once washed
the rocks; then, at least, wet
them, but now this is
an ex-stream–what bubbles is
blown bag, what’s damned is
plastic, what slivers sun
aluminum, canned flotsam,
and what water bobs
is branded–

bottles bottles everywhere
nor any drop
to drink–
bottles bottles everywhere
oh how the flow
does shrink.


draft poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on Real Toads, 55 words arising from an idea of the extreme.  Pic is mine; all rights reserved. 


December 28, 2015



Whatever there is in me
that sights the moon mornings
is you.

Whatever in me
alights in sun, in winter
yahoos it through
the windows, zesting warmth
like lemons,
is also you.

Whatever would, weirdly, if I were a bird,
hook its orange beak (or maybe its
orange toes)
(in the best of ways) to hold on to you
the way that cold days hold on
to hot tea and unwinding to
a breeze is what in me
holds on
to you,
only handed–

Whatever gives rise–be it green
or unseen–
writ or just
there is in me that someone
might care for–
is whatever is tinged
with you–

It sings

And, me, I says,
praise be,
oh, so freely
in the we


Here’s another draft poem of sorts and pic.   




August 16, 2015




Time–she had a stitch or nine,
because she ran so hard and fast;
it sewed itself along her sweep
until she slowed her pace at last;

and all of us who tie our shoes
and dash our morning faces wake,
slippered into sudden sigh,
though carapace began to shake–

By that, I mean our peanut shells
so welded by centripety,
their brittle case won’t whittle down
even under battery

(though we don’t batter much our shells
for arms are thoraxed tight within
and Time’s bright gait so blurs our view
we miss the spinning at our end.)

But as Time slowed, if for scant breaths,
the dervish dance cast by her draft
unspooled and drooped, and feet adrift,
we swayed, then lurched, as on a raft

that washed up from a sea of notion–
each own’s idea of what this ocean
of floating storm is made up of,
this life we row, this row we motion–

Next landed on a slant shore’s sands
and while Time’s hands massaged her side,
we, creatures of a patterned beat,
assayed a waltz through lapping tide–

Soon enough, Time ran again,
with seams unstitched and hands a’scissored–
in her upswings how we whirred,
and at her strokes, how quivered, quivered.

A draft poem of sorts–meaning freshly written and little edited for my own prompt on Time on With Real Toads.   The drawing is an old one, not perfect for this poem,  but my laziness makes me a believer in recycling–


Midtown Midsummer (Morning)

July 22, 2015

This picture is not a true depiction of Central Park in the morning.  The pic was actually taken in the afternoon.

Midtown Midsummer

Morning park feels like yesterday’s
shirt, worn, but rested right now
from a night on the bedroom floor
slumped just below
the blow of your best fan.

(The wood of that imagined floor
has been sanded, by bare soles, soft;
its varnish long
walked away, leaving a cool in its planks
that the weave of the shirt would now seem
to carry,  if, that is, air were linen,
and linen, aged oak.)

And you are conscious,
walking through this day that does not yet
to your body but still supports itself
a breath or so away,
of things you really mean to do sometime,
other days you want to live–like that bright one slightly buzzing
with bug and sun, in which,
beneath a great straw hat,
you will paint landscapes from life
leaning over watercolors
before a spread
of cattails,
and a few in Lake Como, which you know nothing at all about
but whose name connotes blue
misted by wine; and a couple starting with oatmeal
on the Isle of Skye–you add those in just
for the sound–
but mainly days, many days,
before your own wooden table
and your own unwooden
computer, in the company of words that hold hands
to catch a story as if it jumped
from a burning building and those hands supported
a strong round net–

and before you know it,
you’re at 59th Street, a/k/a Central Park South, and tourists,
whose shorts are the color
of street maps, fold over one or the other,
and the curb is cross-hatched
by stain and plastic,
and the light on everything
from buckle to windshield, coffee cart to
door-manned lid, glares
rather than shines,
and you understand
crossing Fifth Avenue at 57th Street,
(just to the front of Tiffany’s where, this early
in the morning, the windows show only
small backdrops of dusky harbors)
that your time must be plotted, alloted–
allocated (which since it has four syllables
must surely be the best term for
this job) if you wish to get
anything done at all–

and you notice, traversing the grid,
how the crosswalks fade in the center
of the tar, and how the words holding the net
for your stories seem to veer slowly,
h’s tripped by d’s, m’s crowding–

Impatient, you dart across the lowering
side streets–
54th now, maybe even 53rd,
even before the light changes,
even when a truck is coming,
in some pretense of saving time, counting
that you can make it.

Another draft poem, or maybe little story.  I wasn’t going to  link this up with anything as it is so long, but will try Real Toads open platform very belatedly.   Thanks much for reading!

I am posting with it an old picture of Central Park, actually from a very hot afternoon rather than early morning.

Before Ever Hearing of Plato (And Frankly Even After)

June 12, 2015


Before Ever Hearing of Plato (And Frankly Even After)

The time was once upon a
and the place the space
between her bed
and wall, her head
and torso wedged
between box spring and

Can a human being be
the gold ring that is found
in the fish’s belly?
That ring, long lost,
that redeems an all?

The mannerless dust fingered
her nostrils; she sipped the air
as if it were a glass she were forced,
but thrilled, to swallow–

How worried they would be,
if they would
but look for her–
she imagined their alarm,
called it love,

though heard their voices leaf soft
as turning pages down
the hall, the changing of
a channel.

But this is not a poem
about love, there for the looking.
This is a poem about
the love of shadows–how sometimes
all three of your wishes
are to be
the mouth of your own cave–

how pressed against
some wall inside your head,
some time once upon a,
you love that dim,
that flickering,
that dance–how she
certainly did.


A poem, much revised but still, I guess, a draft, for Corey Rowley (Herotomost)’s prompt on With Real Toads to write about something you might think about in a cave.  For some reason I thought of both this scene and Plato’s Cave (from the Republic).  The drawing is mine; all rights reserved for it and poem.  Have a good weekend.