Tweet That

Sparrow beaks tweet ticket-ee tee tee tee

Yer mate tweets back, “Impeach the dude”

And all the kerfluffle of sham and shatter

Nattering a morning’s cuppa jo unsweetened

Enough to make you hate your neighbor or

Honk your horn at a red light to waken her, 

Lap-staring, brown-haired comatose waif.

 
But I read somewhere that choice cuts the

Day in two, yours and mine, theirs often 2

Late 2 make 2 more light seconds matter.


Close your eyes, blink twice, and it’s over

By the next exhale’s end, paused like ice

As you draw the next breath inward ho and

So it goes, so it goes and so it go, go goes.

Dearly Beloved


I’m leaving you soon, a matter of hours,

And before I do, I want you to know that I don’t leave without trepidation.

I’m not one to walk out.
 

Stand and face–even when the blackest eyes pierce my throat–

That’s been my method, fearless.

No doubt I’m getting older, less reliant on speed and jaw.
 

Yet, my resolve stands taller, wider, less compromised 

By shaky passion and toppling ardor.

I know what’s right for me and mine.
 

Perhaps the children have made it so, the will,

The mighty outrage and outpour of righteous indignation,

It’s no mere whim or fashion.
 

I have roots, here in this land, on the soil of my mother.

But they grow wherever my feet touch down, 

When blossom and wither beach.
 

My return, though certain, may not be.

I once traveled far, jungled inside, canopied under

The emergent layer that cocooned and cut me, culled flight.
 

And I never returned, even as surely as my sandals scraped sand,

The water’s edge of me, the tidal flow of drifting ear deep in water,

Listening to Gods and men groan secrets unheard.
 

I left then, returned, leaving my image behind me, left to howlers,

Lemurs, quetzals and Monteverde capuchin, who held my breath

In their seams, and still do.
 

I never came back, and now it’s winter, the summer of then passed,

To retrieve the lost faces, shed skin, the chameleon dreamed,

I’ll need to travel far from you, leave your bigotry and bile.
 

And when my body drifts inside again, your walls, your fever,

Only vespers’ dusk and smokey dawn, crust of the ague, remains

That travel torn, release us from hate’s grip, my form and fold united.
 

I will be new, and you will too, when I slip once more inside your border,

Hear the errant’s disbelieving, horrified roar, the be-trodden masses.

I’ll be ready then, to stand erect, balanced, both arms ready.
 

I hope to say farewell to closed palms, only to be welcomed

In a week or lifetime or two, to open gates, walkways to settle-in wicker

Chairs to my rest, porch to our swings, quieted storms’ memory.
 

I want you, my beloved, healed and hallowed, churched Christly,

Only the love, only the forgiveness, only the compassion, only the humble,

To fight, to triumph’s return, you, my lover, once more mi patria–free.

 

Dear John…Poem 20

Dear John:

You’ve told me a man must have everything.

He must have her love and affection, trust

and cares, woes and fantasies, body and belief.

He must contain and compel her dreams, speak

her mind with her, beside her and be her too.

He must have her body, entirely his own, as she

equally partakes of his, fully accessible any time.

He must give her solace and she his support.

They must build things and break things down,

together, working as a team, united as one.

There must be abundant love everlasting, you say,

and undying even beyond death and delivery.

John, you’ve claimed possession of her opinions,

her bodily secretions, and her style of clothing.

You’ve demanded her attention and hands, her

movements during the day and night, her arms

ever clasping yours, enveloping you enveloping her…

Dear John, my dearest of all, love can’t be swapped

and traded, quantified and qualified, bought and sold.

Love is no cure, can’t fill the gaps, cracks or ailments,

not those inherent or fostered in the care of those who

thought love was power and hurt and discipline and

control, John, mere control that fear spills through you.

Love is not for keeps, never on sale, bundled or peddled.

Especially, love is not had but kindled, like wood fires

warmth and sustenance, dazzling and mysterious, in

properties known and magical too. Love has no rules.

John, let me, if you will, teach you all I know about love.

Love–

Reaching Out Reaching In: Ten for Today


August 22, 2016
 
How do I make it through this election season without losing friends, lovers and hope? I have never been particularly political in the sense that I cared not overly for the outcomes of elections. In my 40 plus years of voting, I may have voted FOR someone on the ballot twice. And only one presidential tenure had me gritting my teeth and angry too often.
 
But for the most part, my life is lived locally and interiorly. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the results. I do. But I am fortunate enough to live a charmed life where I can choose to live in a cocoon. Going about my daily chores, cares and doings, I burrow down deeply and ignore the rest of the world, or participate to the degree that I wish.
 
Perhaps that’s called first world or birth privilege. I don’t take for granted my genetic demographic winnings to be born where and to whom I was. I vote. I discuss. I inform hundreds of students a year about the world, locally and globally. I am not nihilistic. I hope. I care. I do my civic and personal duties.
 
But this election is different, to belabor the obvious. And not just because of who is running and how. I think I’m different. My eyes and sensors seek the world more, and so am more susceptible to it. My practice leads me to confront this headache nation, this raucous populace, with equanimity. I’m finding it difficult, prone to suddenly remembering books that need urgent reading. 

A kind of kindness (Ten for Today)


We’re in the car. I muse out loud, “I want to carry into the world the kindness and caring I feel when I do yoga or when I write about the garden I peek at sometimes through the fence separating our yard from the neighbor’s or when I’m baking apricot and garlic spread into baguette then topping it with sun dried tomatoes that have soaked in Greek olive oil a good long while, for our dinner guests.”

The one in the front seat is silent, but the wise ass in the back seat, snarkily asks in disbelief, “You?” Then she shakes her head slowly and says, “Nah.” They both laugh.

I laugh. She’s a quick witted funny kid. But as we drive a way into the silence, a momentary pause in conversation, each with our thoughts, I frown inside. 

I meant it. The kindness does not extend far beyond the mat. I don’t want to manufacture it for myself by motion and feel-good-pat-on-the-back exercises and readings. I want to exercise it, stress test it in the throes of messy, even horrible existence, in the battles on the streets, on the road, in the supermarket, and on social media. 

This election circus distracts me (a Trump funk), foments mental terror and pulsing anger that requires the quelling by kindness, everyone’s. But mine is especially important in my world, to the people I touch. Hiding inside words, playing nice with language won’t do. I won’t be jailed by the surrounding toxic vitriol. I vow to melt it, laser it with the heat of my passionate dispassion. 

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love…

I got the last order of halibut tacos: ten for today

July 19, 2016
 
I’m having trouble. I stayed up too late and ruined my sleep. Those sleep-deprived days hit hardest, most difficult to bear. The world seems scary, like one giant acid trip gone wrong that I cannot come down from, no matter how much I talk myself through it. My feet feel as if I am walking in the bounce house.
 
Morning came too quickly, the doors opening and closing to my bedroom. Communal showers suck. I worked late into the night fixing my article for the new French client, only to awaken to stern reprimand from someone half my age, probably. I did not follow directions, too worried about meeting deadline and not the specifics. Certainly my fault but can we just treat each other kindly? Even editors?
 
Hard pressed to inhabit the Zen of it all, I fought all morning with myself. “This is the life of a writer. This is life. Don’t be afraid of rejection, judgment and criticism.” I had to keep myself from diving over the cliff of “I fucked up.” Forgiveness.
 
My nerves still sore, I taught class, guilty that I wasn’t fresh, alert and sharp, but that turned out to be a lie I told myself. The class discussion meandered through colonialism, prejudice, Black Lives Matter, censorship, profanity, the sub-prime mortgage debacle, the abc’s of finance, medicine, medico-legal ethics, euthanasia, and stories, lots of anecdotes, for a breezy four and a half hours. At least it seemed that way. Summer school. Beautiful students.
 
Rounding out nicely with a particularly grapefruit citrus-tinged IPA and halibut tacos ordered at my local hangout–family members all working (except for dad glued to the t.v.)–this day wanes okay, citing my own research on French proverbs (my maybe rejected assignment)–apres la pluie, le beau temps (Every cloud has a silver lining). I’m about to chomp down on my halibut tacos silver lining. Cheers and Bon appetit! 

Republished today in YogiTimes: Yoga and Compassion in Prison

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​Please enjoy my republished article in Yogi Times todaytoday. 

surviving darkness in light of a yoga life

I was a bookish girl from an early age, always about with one under my nose in my Long Island suburb. That early reading passion eventually turned to a career in teaching high school and college English. So it’s no wonder that the first encounter with yoga was through a pocket sized hand book with pictures of a woman in leotard and tights performing various poses. I imitated those pictures as best I could but remember…read more here.

Game 

zero-sum

Your move. Now mine.

Yours, mine, yours,

we play politics, soccer and love.

Games of words and alignments under-girded by

luck, skill, wiles, wit and speed, overlaid intention,

drawing a letter, or a trip and cheat,

fallen, kicked and stalled, all tactics:

dive, grimace and grovel.

End goal?

Save, fail, score, win, promote, chest-bang, leave, shout,

cry out your props, boost your stature, grow tall and shiny or

make other plans; just so you know

might makes right

might makes right

might makes right.

You’re damned right.

No one ever won quietly fostering

connections and alliances, powerful

listening before empathetic action.

Subtlety, often like soccer games, ends

scoreless, some zero game.

 

Image: zero sum portent

Travel Notes Sitting on a Bench at the Farmer’s Market

Woke up to sleeping bodies in the dark, slurping in sleep’s sweet succor. I was ready. Yoga at the hotel fitness center cured the morning blank canvas of what will it be today? It will be all right, says yoga on the mat in a small hotel fitness room with one other exerciser on the treadmill making miles go statically by.

Before long, the world intruded. Breakfast with Pascal and talk of more violence, Facebook posts on how to understand Black Lives Matter and white resistance to the reality that no white person has ever awakened black in America. How can anyone not black know for sure? Listen. What can we do? Keep compassion in our hearts; let it soften fear at the lack of control we all surely have over what happens despite our illusions. And no more than ten minutes pass and my voice raises in anger at the lack of care, people, fear, ignorance, helplessness. People die, no stopping it. But people got to live too, be allowed to live.

For now, however, the warm breeze in a characteristically cold place soothes the upsurge in remembering the world out there spreads chaos inside. But oh, there is a bass fiddle and tuba piping out deep sonorous puffs of scales, notes and contrapuntal tunes, while the appreciative fold claps. Two low lying dogs yap at one another in the passing. There are dogs and people and stores with reggae music drifting in the rests of the two live musicians on this wood and concrete terrace along the store fronts, sidling the quaint corner farmer’s market.

The booth in front of me advertises Capay organic cherry tomatoes 2 baskets for $8. And now the bass fiddle takes up the bow, and there is a sweet, lilting classical tune that tells the story of parlors past with hooped skirts and tight ankled pants, wide buckled shoes. 

The air passes in muted bustle, not quite loud and frenetic as Saturday morning’s cruising in this Sacramento side street tucked between a bank building and artisanal strip mall, boutiques and coffee shops, and Peets coffee, the largest one I’ve entered.

Pregnant young mom, ahead of trailing chapeau’d dad and stroller. They are on their second. He wears mustard colored shorts with his felt feathered bowler and sky blue shirt. She wears running shoes, baggy grey shorts and beige shirt. They scuttle between tomatoes offered here, mini watermelons there and cantaloupes.

Straw stetson’d tattoo young man with a full bust of some man tattooed on his left calf and a mythical looking,  hair-flowing, witchy woman on the right. He and his son pull up on mountain bikes. The son plops the mini melon on the scale.

Colors of the market cheer up the asphalt upon which merchant stands rest under canopies like a parade of white circus tops. One stand sports a red umbrella for shade: Certified California Grown. And the bodies saunter and browse, dogs or kids in tow, some singles and childless, dog less couples. Mostly white folks selling and buying. Very few people of color. And there it is, the crying toddler that incriminates the moment’s peace.

Sipping a one pump vanilla soy long pull latte from Peets, Bob Marley says, “Everything gonna be all right…don’t worry ’bout a thing…” And it’s true. Buy the shirt or shoes if it pleases you. Small pleasures. Dogs bark to each other, communicate or ignore one another, just like we do. Hey, see me, I exist. See me. No, huh? Maybe the next one. And so it goes.