Sunday, February 28, 2021

"... She was here; she remains."

Although I don't often have the patience to listen to hour-long interviews, after reading Lynell George's book about the world of Octavia E. Butler, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing what Lynell George had to say about her experience in writing the book.

"... She was here; she remains." (excerpt from Lynell George's A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky:  The World of Octavia E. Butler)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Remembering "Nelson Wilbury" on what would have been his 78th birthday

Of all the Beatles, it is George Harrison and his songs that have meant the most to me for the longest time, especially his final album, "Brainwashed," released in 2002.  R gave me the triple album "All Things Must Pass" for Christmas a few weeks after he returned from Vietnam in 1970.  R first heard the album while he was still in Vietnam.  It was R who called me from California in November 2001 with the sad news that George Harrison had died. 

Today when George Harrison would have been 78 years old,  I am remembering him in his role as one of the Traveling Wilburys.  In this song, his presence, his voice, and his guitar work are particularly distinctive and heartening to me:

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Honoring the life of Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)


Little Boy was published when Lawrence Ferlinghetti was 99 going on 100 years old.

"Tyrannus Nix" is a poem worth revisiting time and again.  I'm grateful that there is a recording.  I'm grateful for his presence in the world for all these years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Old Lovers / Painting Dream / Drawing Dream

In 2000, I wrote this poem:


No one can paint this desire.
No one can paint this forgiveness.
Her hand drawing his.
His hand drawing hers.
They carry silence between them
as if it were a newborn child.
In my dream we were an old man and an old woman
walking by the ocean.
Who painted this desire?
Who painted this forgiveness?

"Painting from Memory of the Future / Evolution of Forgiveness" (painted in gouache and watercolor by am sometime in 2006):

Last night I dreamed that a young woman, using a 6B pencil, had done a series of beautiful drawings of people on 18 x 24 inch drawing paper and had carried them into a cafe and set them down in a pile on a table so that they could be seen. They looked like drawings I did in the early 1980s.  I asked her if I could photograph them.  She consented.  I took her drawings outside where there was more light.  I placed the first drawing on the sidewalk, being careful not to damage the drawing in any way.  

When I tried to photograph the drawing, there were problems.  The first obstacle was my shadow blocking the light on the drawing, but I changed positions and resolved that issue.  Then I couldn't seem to get the whole drawing into the camera's viewer.  While I was trying to address that difficulty, I noticed that there were bystanders' reflections mysteriously superimposed over the people in the drawing, creating a pleasing meaningful effect on the image of a large family or of a group of friends.  Passersby were gathering around me to see what I was doing.  As I looked at my camera's viewer, the drawing became more and more detailed, almost photographic.  I continued to try to photograph it but found that to be impossible.  Somehow, this failure turned out to be a positive experience.  

When I woke up, I was grateful to have seen the drawings.

Something is shifting in my psyche, healing lifelong grief and giving me choices I didn't know I had.  This is no easy process, but I welcome it.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

1955 Revisited / As COVID Spring 2021 approaches

1955 was the year we received our polio shots.

Ours wasn't a musical household.  There was no record player or musical instruments.  We didn't sing.  My father listened to baseball games on his radio.  I don't recall hearing music on the radio. We did have a television, which is where I would have heard some of these songs from 1955:

From the list of the top 30, I remember hearing these songs that year when I was 5 years old going on 6.

2 Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets 3 The Yellow Rose of Texas - Mitch Miller 13 Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford 18 Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes 22 The Ballad of Davy Crockett - Fess Parker 27 The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane - The Ames Brothers


August 28, 1955: Emmett Till a 14-year-old from Chicago is brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a white woman. His murderers are acquitted, and the case bring international attention to the civil rights movement after Jet magazine publishes a photo of Till’s beaten body at his open-casket funeral.

December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her defiant stance prompts a year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Except for on television, I had never seen anyone who wasn't the same race that I was.  I remember hearing the name "Stalin."  I had heard about Nazis and feared them.  I sat alone in our living room and watched a documentary about farm workers and felt empathy.  One day I was absorbed in playing quietly while the television was on and heard Mahalia Jackson singing in a way that moved me as I had never been moved before.  I remember being taken with a group of children to visit war veterans who were being cared for in a place called "The Fort" in our small San Joaquin Valley town in south central California.  I remember standing next to a bed of someone who appeared to me to be an old man, meaning that he was older than my father who was nearly 40 years old.  I remember feeling confused, seeing how sad and tired he looked.  I was so terrified of the wicked witch of the north, upon having seen "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time, that I ran out of the living room and hid behind a door, shaking with fear.  I had nightmares about witches and bulls who took the top of their heads off to reveal that there was nothing inside them.  There were sexual predators in our small community of families with fathers who worked for Standard Oil in various capacities.  The neighborhood kids and I all watched Mickey Mouse Club on TV and wanted to go to Disneyland.  We roamed through the neighborhood freely with no parents supervising us. We even walked outside our neighborhood once to a farm where there were horses, donkeys and turkeys.  We were told never to do that again. 

We went to "The Fort" to get our polio vaccines.


No COVID vaccine for me yet.  I keep checking the webpage for the clinic where I get my medical care.  Several of my friends have already received their vaccines through their health care providers.  We are almost to COVID Spring 2021.  

The bird song that I can hear, even with the windows closed, becomes more lively each day.  I look forward to hearing the song of a robin.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Walking Each Other Home / Always Coming Home

Reading list for February and March 2021:

Horizon, by Barry Lopez

Walking With the Wind, by John Lewis

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky:  The World of Octavia E. Butler, by Lynell George

Deaf Republic, by Ilya Kaminsky


Thank goodness for public libraries.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da Life Goes On

Had not heard of film "Yesterday" until a week ago.  A suggestion related to it appeared on YouTube shortly after I was looking for John Lennon songs there.  Our public library had a copy.  After watching the DVD this morning, I'm grateful to have had it brought to my attention and want to share it with everyone now.

Below is the ticket I saved from my high school days when my friends and I were at Candlestick Park in San Francisco for the Beatles' final concert.

Listen to the birds and watch for a man on cross-country skis.

We had some snow and temperatures in the teens and then it warmed up and rained.  There may be a little more snow before spring but not much.  During the snowy time I saw a pair of raptors who perched in a cottonwood tree to the northeast of my porch for a sustained period of time as well as a green-winged teal (hard to see -- third from right) walking on the frozen pond with several mallards.  I don't know that I've ever seen a green-winged teal from my porch before.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Stephen Biko


When I was a child growing up in the hills on the outskirts of Redwood City on the San Francisco Peninsula, I spent much of my time reading in my bed and taking long solitary walks with our small family dog, Star, who was a beagle-fox terrier mix, black with a white star on his chest, a compromise because my father had wanted a beagle and my mother had wanted a fox terrier.  When I saw the header for this blog post, I knew I had walked in that place as a child but I wasn't sure where it was.  The simple photo of sunlight and shadow on a dusty path California clay path evokes a flood of rich childhood memories, sounds, sensations and how the California landscape held me and kept me safe.  It wasn't so much what the blogger wrote that brought back memories but his photographs.  He didn't walk in these places as a young girl in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

My best childhood memories are of exploring the natural world with our family dog and visiting the world beyond my world through books.  The blog post reminded me how fortunate I was to have lived where I lived at the time I did.  I doubt that small children or even older children are allowed to walk alone in the places that I walked alone.  I am also reminded that I was fortunate to have a mother who loved books and although she wasn't able to give me refuge in other ways and my deepest emotion in connection with her was fear, she shared her own ways of finding refuge from her own fears through books and art.

I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.
Denise Levertov

Friday, February 12, 2021

Revisiting February 1971

Thanks to Sabine  for this link.  Beautiful synchronicity with my previous post.  I hadn't realized that Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote "Take A Giant Step" in 1966 until I Googled it while writing that post.  I had never heard Carole King singing it.  For me, the most memorable version was the one by Taj Mahal.  The first version I heard was the one by The Monkees.  It turns out that Carole King's first husband and partner in songwriting was born on February 11, 1939 and that "Tapestry" was released on February 10, 1971, two years after their divorce.

".. There'll be good times again for me and you
But we just can't stay together, don't you feel it, too?
Still I'm glad for what we had and how I once loved you ..."

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A music-oriented friend of mine and his grandson are having good mornings

"... Remember the feeling as a child, when you woke up and morning smiled? ..."
(Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

Today when I woke up at 4 a.m., morning smiled.  I could hear the Beatles singing in my mind, "Good Morning, Good Morning."  I wonder if those two young men in the YouTube video are fathers now.  I wonder if they listened to the Beatles when they were young boys of fathers who listened to the Beatles.  A music-oriented friend of mine, age 71, has been spending time regularly with his grandson who is nearly two years old and deeply loved.  He has been texting photos of mornings when he visits his grandson in the home where his grandson lives with his parents and 5-year-old sister.  In one of the photos he texted, his grandson is sitting next to three guitars, listening to music.  In another, he is looking intently at an open book that he is holding, and in another he is resting his head on his grandfather's chest as they relax on a couch, apparently watching a movie together.  The photos are heartening.  I don't have permission to post them here, but I want to say that they are part of the inspiration for this post.

Friday, February 5, 2021

"Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him"


Suze Rotolo (November 1943 - February 2011) / Unconditional Love and Unarmed Truth Meditation

“Time heals, after all -- although the clock that marks that kind of time has no hands.” 

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Love Minus Zero / No Limit

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

"Nobody Sees Me Like You Do" / Yoko Ono cover

"... No one can see me like you do.
No one can see you like I do ..."

I'm patient. (from an old blog post that was brought to my attention just now)

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Goodbye Sadness

Goodbye, sadness, goodbye, goodbye,
I don't need you anymore.
I wet my pillow ev'ry night,
But now I saw the light.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I don't need you anymore.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I can't take it anymore.
Goodbye, sadness, goodbye, goodbye,
I don't need you anymore.
I lived in fear ev'ry day,
But now I'm going my way.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I don't need you anymore.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I can't take it anymore.
Hello, happiness, wherever you are,
I hope you hear my song.
Never want to cry again
Or hold my breath in fear again.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I don't need you anymore.
Goodbye, goodbye, sadness,
I can't take it anymore.

Imbolc 2021 / Groundhog Day / Masked and Anonymous / Here Comes the Sun

"... Can't you feel that sun a-shinin'?
Groundhog runnin' by the country stream
This must be the day that all of my dreams come true
So happy just to be alive
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you ..."