Friday, June 30, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Poetry Thursday-- What if Never should come again

Photo copyright 2003 All Enthusiast, Inc (Bruno, the artist, writes: From the moment we are conceived, we begin our descent through Time. We float and swirl in the innocence of youth till we are dropped into the responsibility of adulthood. With no control of the tempo or duration, we wander in the sands till our bones become dust. Then Father Time flips the hourglass and it begins all over again ...)

What if Never should come again

I must get a new bird
and a new immortality box.
--Anne Sexton

What if Never should come again
Or Why like kisses should happen along
And shatter the day that Daddy made
And Mama shuddered that you were born?

But what if Ever could happen along
And some like They should come again
To swallow the dark that swallows us all
Before we lie all slithery down?

Then we all would shout for the dark to break
Like mahogany splinters and those dark bowls
Of our eyes our hearts come back like birds
To a Somewhere place more here than gone,

Where Sometime frets in the wings for its cue
And Time that begot us and made us new
Is Father and Mother and Lover and Son
And we all are Many, and we all are Few,

And we're counted, One by One.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I borrowed this from Boliyou at Percolation, who found it on National Geographic website, "a circumhorizontal arc" over Idaho. An awesome picture!

Sunday, Beautiful Sunday

... I have made my abode with the ladybugs
and they have chosen me as their guardian,
because the meek shall inherit the earth,
because I found one at rest in the porch
of my ear, because I did not harm the one
that spent the night under the deep ridge
of my collarbone, or the one that crossed
my knuckles like a ring seeking
the perfect finger.

from Nancy Willard, IN THE SALT MARSH, "The Ladybugs")
Photo copyright Andrew Goldblatt 1995-2001-ladybugs

Thursday, June 22, 2006

POETRY THURSDAY-Words, Words, Words

as starshine is

a bubble burst
does float not still
a round and rainbowed
morning's hill
but down like lead,
or yet like rains
upon our even-tempered brains

though never-saids
remain unsung
nor meadowlarks unloose our tongues
or ever else our unsaids sing from not to is
a round as ring is round
and bright
as starshine is
tonight we found

photo credit: Paul Berenson, "Starshine On The Rhone" (after Vincent)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Can You see what's swimming here? Go to knownunknowns on my bloglist, then click on Can You See The Shapes?--if you love the Magic Eye books, you'll LOVE this! Shokupanmanbo found the site on Diggs.


Kurt Vonnegut's Tralfamadorians,in Slaughterhouse Five, seeing into the fourth dimension, perceive the universe in a radically different way:

"All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another, like beads on a string, and once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

"When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition at that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is, "So it goes!"

I like to think of people as the Tralfamadorians saw them--as continuous beings, not unlike long caterpillars, with fat baby's legs at one end and long, ancient legs at the other--beings all-one-piece, integrated and entire.

I'd like that.

I'm Bedazzled!

I used to wonder how and why I am ME, myself, and not someone else--and why not as easily a fish, or a cat, or a tree?

Doctor Lewis Thomas writes in The Lives of a Cell: "Statistally, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprize. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely out-numbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places,

"Everyone is one in three billion at the moment, which describes the odds. Each of us is a self-contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surface of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance. You'd think we'd never stop dancing."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunbathing Cats

Just one of the reasons why Neinke Hinton at The Writing Life doesn't write...or so she says....


Gee, have you ever had a day like THIS?

Friday, June 16, 2006


This spectacular collage of pictures featured daily on APOD (Astromony Picture of the Day) shows images from a website that first appeared on June 16th, 1995. Since that day, APOD has displayed over 400 million space-related images! Check it out! It's my daily fix.


Credit & Copyright: Herman Serrano


So Evil, but so cute!

Hitler Cats is a website devoted to cats that look like Adolf Hitler.

(swiped from knownunknowns who swiped it from Dave at Garfield Ridge)

Thursday, June 15, 2006



Our footsteps cross the shifting wind
where sandpipers dance down the shore.
You buy bananas-on-a-stick
that taste of salt, or tears, before
we lie upon that glimmering bed
below the cliffs, where tides have left
shells like wet, white bones, and sleep
christcrossed where sky and earth are cleft
by sea and froth.

Your lips taste salt, like creatures born
of green sea-water. If you bleed,
pale drops the color of the sea
will fall into the ebbing sand.
We please ourselves deliciously,
we're satisfied, and glad of life.
The world will end this way, won't it?
It will, without a doubt, and at
the speed of light.

POETRY THURSDAY-The War of the Colors

Because I am babysitting at my son's apartment and have left all my books and brains at home, I shall post this short one I sent to the POET'S AGAINST THE WAR Anthology:


Where song fell once
The cobwebs blow,
And blood runs,
Bound and bright,
And canticles of worms follow,
And everlasting night.

(The War of the Colors by Sarah, age 7, painting her own war against leukemia) Click on the picture for the full effect.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Laws Inscribed on Stone

The Hammurabi Law Code. Babylonia, 1750-1700 BC

(The Schoyen Collection)

For ksq

This is part of a chapter from my book, CHRYSALIS, an old book, now out-of-print but still floating around on

Doctor Sontag, excising a second spot for biopsy under local anesthesia, makes a small incision in my arm and accidentally severs an artery. Blood spurts, and spurts, and spurts with each heartbeat, covering his gloves, his chest, his table, his nurse, and his wall.

"Oooops," he says, never dropping a stitch, never losing his poise.

I am embarrassed at having made such a mess, although I know very well it was not my fault. The nurse, in a stiffening red gown, applies a pressure bandage to my incision to stop the profuse bleeding.

In prehistoric days, the skulls of ancient men were trepanned, presumably without anesthetic, to combat headaches, epilepsy, and to obtain polished roundels for use as good-luck amulets. Some skulls show as many as seven holes. Apparently many of them survived the surgery. It was not always easy for the surgeons, either. According to the Code of Hammurabi, laws inscribed on stone dictated that if a surgeon caused the death of a man, his fingers would be cut off. Such a law must have made physicians more careful -- or maybe the prints of mutilated hands and evidence of chopped-off fingers in Mark's A Study of Human Skeletal Remains were not a magical appeasement for ancient gods or devils, as the book supposes, but evidence of clumsy surgeons.

Medieval and Renaissance surgeries, like prehistoric operations, were bloodbaths. People died screaming in hideous agony, while surgeons literally tore their bodies apart. They still die screaming. Such pain obliterates all embarrassment. It is this indignity that frightens me most. Death, I might be able to handle. But unrelenting, terrible pain and gradual deterioration -- never. Perhaps Longfellow was right saying, "Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad."

Jenny said once, "It's so hard to keep appreciating what you have, day to day. But there are very few things that cannot be overcome by a strong-willed person."

Death is one. In the dreamless times between dark and dawn, in the quiet nights of ticking clocks it comes to us, and we can't be indifferent. It is possible some things have no meaning. But I keep trying to find one.

(Surgeons are better equipped nowadays. Your fingers are in better hands -- if you will pardon the pun -- and you do quite well at documentary reporting. The above was my own method of documentary reporting. I didn't have a camera at the time, many years ago. And I lived to tell the tale.)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cat's Eye

This one is the Cat's Eye nebula, a series of concentric rings and shells. Each ring is actually the edge of a spherical bubble. I posted a cat poem today, too, on Plodding Taurus. Keeping to a theme, I guess. It's an old one, but better than I remembered.

Photo acknowledgment: R. Corradi and Z. Tsvetanov

Thursday, June 08, 2006


The Wish of the Brother with the Swan's Wing

As soon as the shirts touched them, the swan skins fell off,
and her brothers stood before her in the flesh. Only the
youngest was missing his left arm, and he had a swan's
wing on his shoulder instead.


To meet his left arm again.
To pick up pebbles and skip them.
To close ten fingers over a pearl
of great price. To wind the gold stem
of his watch. Or not wind it.
To stop time. To walk up and speak to her.
To play Chopin and move the minutes
to tears. To carve her name on a bench.
To lift her chin toward his mouth.
To dance with her, one hand at the small
of her back, the other clasping her fingers
lightly--they are so small, like the bones
of a bird! With his strong left hand,
to slip a gold band on her finger.
To throw off his shirt, blue as the asters,
that his sister wove from the wild stars
of the field. To be broken yet whole, a ring
of still water. To sleep with his bride
on the floor of a white boat as it floats
out to sea. To carry her on the water's
shoulders. To shelter her
under his wing.


(sohel, sohelart gallery)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The Aleutian Cleveland volcano, 2 weeks ago. The photo from astronaut Jeffrey Williams, looking down on the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. What a great picture!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The North Woods!

Harkin General Store, New Ulm, MN. A real 19th-century general store, complete with clothes, medicine bottles and spectacles. Sit by the stove and enjoy a game of checkers.

Itaska State Park. The Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Where it all begins.

The Missouri River at New Ulm.

Crossing the Mighty Mississippi on foot.

(I love my new camera!)

Self-Portrait, Earliest Memories

Diane and me, in wildflowers. Riding in a baby carriage, being angry, bawling that my friend Diane (being littler) was sitting comfortably in the shade of the hood while I was at the end, in the sun. The carriage was being pushed by someone named Virginia.

Riding on my dad's shoulders down the hill in the dark to get ice-cream, and returning home to find Santa Claus had come. He left a set of little blue plastic dishes, and my beautiful Baby Sunshine baby doll. She was also called, sometimes, Baby Dumpling--(after the real baby of a friend of my mama's--actually, Blondie and Dagwood's first baby Alexander was called 'Baby Dumpling,' so that's where it all started, in the funny papers!)

Playing with my mother's old dolls, a blue celluloid baby (which I left outside to be ruined--(all her arms and legs fell off), and another of her dolls which I loved, with a china head, real hair, and a smile with real teeth--(which I also left outside for the dog to ruin). She was my mother's, when she was a little girl. The doll's name was 'Norma,' and she still resides (her china head glued back together) in a box in my attic.

I remember playing in Bacopickle's garden, the fence, the hollyhocks. I always carried a big smooth oval rock around, pretending it was my 'baby.' John, Bacopickle's husband (but never my 'grandpa') once sent me a letter (an exciting thing!) telling me to 'be a good girl,' and to 'go sit on a tack,' or maybe it was 'don't sit on a tack.' Whichever, I was pleased and thought it was funny.

A watermelon 'bust' at Dry Lake. My cousin Jerry and I kick sand on the campfire to put it out. The big people heap praises upon us. We kick more sand on the fire. I am going to marry Jerry. Jerry kicks a big desert turtle on the top of its shell with the heel of his boot. How mean! I am not going to marry Jerry after all.

My brother's black dog, Sparky. My brother jumping over a fence, followed by Sparky. I remember looking for Sparky after he was poisoned, suspecting that he was buried under a red hill of dirt in the yard, digging to find him.

My old black-and-white tomcat, Que-Ball. I dress him up in doll clothes and haul him around in my wicker doll-buggy. He is docile and loving and content. He lays on his back and purrs, wrapped in a little blanket. Sometime later, I am sitting on my Grandma Bacopickle's lap in the big rocker. Que-Ball is on my lap, purring, his claws pushing in and out like cat's do when they're happy. One of his claws catches a big scab already on my knee and pulls it off. The knee becomes infected, and we go to see Dr. Dr. Drummond (the doctor who delivered me), where his pretty nurse, Cherry, fixes me up with a new bandage.

I remember going on vacation, a picnic of sorts. I need to go potty and I'm taken out to a private wooded place. Later on, I discover my privacy was invaded--someone took my picture! I feel betrayed and humiliated. I am enraged and embarassed seeing this photograph.

We are in Whitney, Nevada, where my dad is thinking of buying a store with my Uncle Leffel. I find a nest of kittens, one dangling by its neck between two shelves under a counter. In Whitney, I make a 'cradle' of my hands to rock a tiny baby turtle, (a fingerplay mama taught me): Here are mother's knives and forks, here is mother's table. Here is sister's looking-glass, and here's the baby's cradle. We leave Whitney after a short time and come back to California. (My brother, who was 14 at the time, informs me that there was a big magnesium mine that opened up, and since it was wartime, there was a great demand for magnesiuim. Dad and two of our uncles, Leffel and Ray, thought a store would be a good idea. We stayed there for only six months, so it probably wasn't.)

Someone holds me up to peer over a high fence where a little girl who has no arms plays. They tell me how she can feed and dress herself, and write, anyway, with her toes. I am impressed. Someone holds me up to a window, where a sick girl named Yvonne is darkly quarentined behind a screen. Say "Hello," I am told. "Hello," I say, but I feel something dark inside my chest that I can only equate now to Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year.

The sound tin cans made when they were scraped in the sand. Filling up empty bottles with the sand, patting it down flat when they were full. The taste of sand, the wonderful smell of it. Pouring it out, and scooping it up again.

Making 'pets' out of the little white balls of fuzz that grew on the creosote bush beside the house. In the summer, they turned, like dandelions, into tiny yellow flowers. The smell of wildflowers in the spring. The hillsides were covered with wildflowers.

The tobacco-smell of my grandpa. The powder-smell of Nanny.

Outhouses. Grandpa and Nanny had a seat with a lid on theirs. Ours was just a hole in a board. My little potty chair inside, by the ice-box. My little rocking chair.

My butcher-boy outfit with flowers embroidered across the front. My coat with little buttons shaped like deer.

The 'bean' tree in our yard, a locust tree, I think. I gathered the long, thin green pods and 'cooked' them.

I remember seeing a movie cartoon where Mickey Mouse cut a loaf of bread into slices so thin they were transparent. You could see the knife passing through.

Biting the skin on my mother's elbow because it felt so good to my teeth. --Never hard enough to hurt, but it must've been really annoying to her....

Misunderstood! I am standing in the front seat of the car, between Mama (who is driving) and Mrs. Lambly, (who is all dressed up) and who has white hair and shiney dangling earrings. I admire her earrings, am about to touch them, when mama scolds me, tells me to "stop it." I realize that she thinks I will pull them through the piercings in the lady's ears. My feelings are hurt that she thinks I'd do something so stupid. I just thought they were pretty things, and I was going to tell her so.

The rusty water towers on the hill above our house. The silver milk cans in the barn. The way the cream wrinkls on top of the milk.

Rinaldi's Meat Market; It smells of the thick sawdust covering the floor, ankle-deep, and of salt. I like to come here with my mother. The earthy smells of the mine shafts daddy works in, of the burning carbide in the miners' lamps, of cool wet rocks.

All of these before I was four, before we moved away from Red Mountain.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


In light of the interest in riddles, etc. (thanks to DaVinci Code) here are some good ones from Some of the best ones from the Anagram Hall of Fame include:

Clint Eastwood = Old West Action

Tom Cruise = So I'm Cuter

Alec Guiness = Genuine Class

David Letterman = Nerd Amid Late TV

Elvis = Lives

Madame Curie = Radium Came

The Eyes = They See

Schoolmaster = The Classroom

Western Union = No Wire Unsent

Desperation = A Rope Ends It

The Morse Code = Here Come Dots

Slot Machines = Cash Lost in'em

Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler

Snooze Alarms = No More Z's

Eleven Plus Two = Twelve Plus One

The Meaning of Life = The Fine Game Of Nil

(Thanks to Brian Campbell)

Hubble Photo for a Sunday Morning


Photographing Angels

for Lilo Raymond

The first angel you brought us stands high
over a city which does not appear in the picture,
yet no one who sees the angel doubts
the city is there. He folds his arms,
swathed in stone, and turns his blank gaze to heaven.
His hair seems newly hatched, snaky curls,
his wings chunky as bread, the feathers cast
from a mold like a big cookie.
When he clarified himself in your darkroom,
you saw what the lens did not show you:
a fly perched on an angels's head.

The second angel you brought us slumps
on a wall by a dump which does not appear in the picture.
Broken from the start, she will never be whole
except in the eye of the beholder
who praises the mosaic painter's art,
through bricks and cement cake
the hem of her robe like a scab. Her head on her hand,
her eyes closed, her wings ashen, she drags her dark torch
on the ground like a broken umbrella.
She has sunk so far into herself not even you
could bring her to brightness,
though you brought her out of hiding.
Those years you photographed white curtains blowing
in white rooms over beds rumpled like ice floes,
you were honing your eye for what might dwell
in space as pure and simple as an egg.

The third angel you gave us holds a rose
so lightly it must have grown in a bed
where each rose chooses the hand that plucks it
and turns its open gaze on what rises and sets,
like a camera gathering the souls of pears,
the piety of eggs, the light in a dark room. Angels.


A Sestina for Charlotte, Auschwitz, 1943

Sunday morning, Charlotte,
and the radio plays a Jesus song,
sings me awake, a separation
of my deeper alpha-self and day:
apple juice, wheat flakes, a blue
flutter of birds, and light.

My window is a sequence of light
into your bleak world, Lotte.
From your self-portrait on the wall, your blue
eyes reproach me, your song
of a life cut too short, your dark semite Sunday
and my crucified Jesus, a separation

of me from you. But this separation
of some forty-five light
years, to the day,
when the Nazi boys sang
Heute gehoert uns Deutchland, acres of blue

sky above their aryan blue
eyes, so like yours, the circles of their separation
from you and your kind in the words of their song:
und morgen die ganze Welt! And what light
illumes this deep gulf, Lotte?
None, even today.

But it is the Age of Aquarius, the Day
of Brotherhood. Yet our colors, blue,
white, and red, my dear Lotte,
have lit distant wars from 'Nam to Nicaragua, a separation
littered with blood and rubble. What light
illumes this modern gulf? What guilty songs

of Auschwitz do I know? What war songs?
Again, none. But someday
we will both know the stars are not cold lights
that give no life, but are instead, blue
fires that warm. I am you, you me, no separation
here. I am dumb with happiness, Charlotte

just to be alive. Bist du Bei Mir, our song, Lotte;
Be Thou with Me. This robin's egg, this flight into blue
may be today an end to the world's separation.

Thursday, June 01, 2006



This house is all enchanted.
Wild things disturb the air
behind the polished cupboard doors
and underneath the stair --

a tremolo of whisperings of drowsy, sleepy love,a hungering of haunted springs that foam and boil above

the gentle whorl of fingertips on cups of tea, the toast and jam, a fever under lock and key that burns a withered epigram.

This house is all enchanted.
Wild things disturb the air
behind the polished cupboard doors
and underneath the stair.

(Painting: Your place or mine, James Christensen)