Category Archives: writing

“Riot is the language of the unheard”

Lying on the couch after dinner, half-asleep and wondering when all the shows about WWII will finally dry up, I suddenly remembered the dead robin in my bag. Eek! I’d picked it up on our walk yesterday with the intention of burying her here and then forgotten.

Still in my bag? Sleeved in a newspaper plastic but still. I’m going to California in the morning. Imagine if I’d forgotten it altogether.

I found that butterfly tag in my carryon laptop bag. “Riot is the language of the unheard.” Where did I hear that? A slightly haunting relic of the summer of George Floyd? Does anyone know who said it? [thank you Deb and Nancy. This was said by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.]

And, to pick up on Grace’s blog about creative endeavor, there is that question that thrums through the life of a maker. Why? Why do you do it? In particular, what is the point of all these collages, many of which exist purely in ones and zeroes on a screen?

This one is paper, but uses a print out of a digital collage in the background (me, peeking out above the book).

One thing I said in the comments is that there are very few things I do in life that don’t require overcoming resistance. Ugh. This again? Working with pattern in cloth and collage is not like that. I just find myself doing it. For that reason alone it’s a valuable, ongoing exercise.

There’s more to say about this, but as Jude recently noted on her blog, maybe the saying matters a whole lot less than simply continuing.

Right now, I’m “getting” scenes about some characters living in Boulder during the pandemic. I have no idea yet whether this is a viable project. There are ecstatic dancers who appear and disappear (all women) and no one knows what to make of them. There is a feral boy who lives deep in the woods. There’s a mom and her three kids, one of who is decompensating (again). Her middle child is a lawyer working for a social justice group that objects to decisions being made about the former bomb factory at Rocky Flats (turn plutonium-contaminated land into a public park? Really?)

I share this because, like the collages, the scenes keep coming whether I want them to or not. I’m sure Deb can speak to this.

Okay. Off to give Ken a tour of recently planted perennials so he knows what to water in my absence. Mostly divided hosta. Oh those reliable and prodigious hosta!

April 2023 in Haiku

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Needham Street empty
even on a Saturday.
One of rain’s blessings.

Sedum clumped with leaves.
I pick them out, snap old stalks,
revealing green buds.

Mouse turds, balsam, dust.
A page from 9/11.
“I begin to cry.”

Stupid blonde Nazi
lasted only ten minutes.
I love New Yorkers!

Cars parked down the street.
The prayers have likely begun.
Gathering again.

We talk at the curb.
Three out of five in slippers.
The power’s gone out.

The power comes back
with a whoosh, click, and a hum.
Finn barks his head off.

I forgot my phone.
How can I feel this naked?
The dog doesn’t care.

Tennessee Justins —
Galvanizing, beautiful.
Their fire inspires.

Critter annoys us
storing nuts between the joists
living his best life.

Fifty-five by one.
Today the bird bath goes out.
Flapping joy to come.


Always in clumps, some
open, some closed, some pale, some
like neon butter.


Ruby maple buds
litter the ground. Strewn jewels
or kid’s cereal?

Buzzing, insistent
on the wrong side of the glass.
Hello bumblebee!

The canopy starts
to assert itself. Green fuzz,
promises of shade.

The lake holds the sky
and somehow our wishes too.
You don’t have to ask!

In my dream I sew
a go bag. Indigo lace.
Again. And for what?

Mary Oliver
lauds idleness. Someone though
was busy writing.

4/17 Bonus
Crowds out in the rain,
screaming, clapping. Obiri
pulls out for the win.

Jayland Walker ran.
Cops shot him forty-six times.
Handcuffed a dead man.

If a woman says
she has a UTI, then
she has one. The end.

To rake liatris
is to feel satisfaction.
The mop free of leaves.

No forsythia
this year. Temperatures too weird.
Will yellow return?

Twitter is trash now.
Second monied narcissist
ruining stuff. Sigh.

Too cold and rainy
for the loop. Instead we make
the figure eight. Wet!

Bluebells. Chill air. Mud.
Soon the ferns will stretch upwards
with glorious speed.

New rock wall. New deck.
Second floor ready for joists.
Changes on our route.

4/26  three today
Fresh mulch scents my block.
Animal. Woody. Have I
ever loved a horse?

Clunk and whoosh, the T
goes under the Langley bridge.
I find a penny.

New Yorkers have known.
The very day the law changed,
Carroll filed her suit.

“Share something she said.”
Years of writing together
yield jewel after jewel.

Zooey Zephyr holds
her mike high, a new symbol
of the resistance.

Who lives in that house —
the one where father then son
killed themselves. Such grief!

It’s warm enough now
for the lake project to plant.
Sweetspire! Young maples!

How many rain beads
does it take to turn tulips
into a Queen’s crown?

Still cool, the air, not me

In a matter of days, K flies to India, which just happens to be where a new highly contagious variant of Covid is running rampant. Arcturus. The last time my husband traveled, he came home with Covid.

So I’m worried. About his heath. And mine. And since I fly to visit my brother within days of his return, also about my brother’s. We may live in separate rooms when K gets back just to be careful.

When I told my brother, he was pretty cavalier about it. For some reason it took me a full twenty-four hours to remember how much risk he lives with week-to-week. His partner is an emergency room doctor.

Not related to any of that, please find a new digital collage above.

As I wrote on Instagram:

Speaking of my manuscript, I deleted another 1,000 words yesterday. I’m officially under 130,000 now!

And speaking some more about writing, Deb Lacativa and I are critical reading partners (more involved than say, a beta reader) and she has begun feeding me new scenes. Completely captivating new scenes, need I add?

In all my noodling last night, a paragraph from Prophets Tango showed up. I loved reading this passage the first time. And the second. And third. You get the idea.

I can’t share an Amazon link because I’m on my phone (?) but if you just search the title in books, all three volumes come up.

Hybrid meeting

Today my writing workshop was hybrid — one Californian connected by Zoom and was projected through the big living room TV and four of us participated IN PERSON! What an incredible treat.

The day was bright and slightly cool, the maples hazing the horizon with green. In other words, spring added to the cheer.

We only wrote to one prompt* because it was just too nice to chat and catch up afterwards (we usually write to two). Finn mostly behaved.

A few of us had lasagne and salad after. It felt so normal and also so extraordinary.

Because of the tech prep and cleaning the place up, I’m exhausted — but exhausted in a clean house and with a full heart.

* prompt produced some amazing writing and came from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones Deck. It was : “What are you waiting for?” Write for ten minutes. We wrote for longer.

One of last week’s Paris Collage Collective ensembles

1994 Journal July

C is five months old when I wrote this. D just a whisper in the wind. During this time, I often spoke as if someone else as a way to access some deeper wisdom. Lots of dreamwork. I read books back then penned by various channeled entities and consulted one. That might help explain the perspective below.

* * * JULY 1994

I write, I sigh, thinking of all the ways of dullness — the taught ways, ingrained ways, exotic ways, imbibed, snacked, channeled, snuffled — so many routes to dullness. But the precious ore does not diminish even in the face of our riotous attempts to bury it or to live as if we were superficial creatures with nothing to rely on but our paltry opinion of ourselves.

In spite of yourself, your crystal has surfaced, has refracted light and lit our faces with the most spectacular array of complex colors.

Who can forget the Mexican woman in white, her magnificent dance, the clarinet players in the trees? And what about that ledge? Or how that gauzy rainbow we wore fluttered when we jumped. . .

Can you hear us sighing with pleasure as you axe into the ground of your being — a pick to separate out the gold, agate, and crystals, a canvas tarp to hold the rich dirt? Nothing is dispensable and nothing can be saved.

And it goes on some with this metaphor of mining, the presence of shame, the funny business of acceptance while also wanting to change.

… none of us can possibly perspire or shake for you. And yet, as we enter the mine, we touch the sweaty earth, we feel ourselves in the darkness and we are there.

So rest, please, in the sturdiness of having no one but yourself to care for. But rest also in the paradox that in caring for yourself, you bring us all a bit closer to that which we came here for.