Be kind when you read this
today, or years from now.


I made my first contact with
real life yesterday.
Like a newborn baby,
bursting into the world in wonder
Startled by sights of cars and people
What are these things?

And here is the funny part,

where comedy intersects with tragedy.

Perfect timing to come out of the woods.
I dashed like a woman on fire to the back of the store, nearly closing time, aisles empty of people. Afraid to see anyone I knew in my half-grey hairs and cracked, witches’ fingers.
Prescription ready. Pay. Run. Go.

Leaving the way I came in, I passed the greeting cards, stacked, overflowing, untouched. Except one section.
There were no sympathy cards.
Not one. Not one.
Emptied, like the streets and stores and spirit.
Sold, all sold. Like essentials.
Sympathy is everywhere. Everyone is dying.

But another essential appeared.
Must not dwell on drama or I will drop to my knees,
surrounded by mourning and misery.
(Survivor reality show casting? Call me.)
Is it a mirage?
Comic relief.
Toilet Paper!
Toilet paper from behind the front counter.
I asked for more than one package but the cheerful clerk said,
Sorry, one package per customer.

Insert the depressing organ sound. You are not a winner.
Life is a sitcom and the credits are about to roll.

I took what I could get.
Thoughts and prayers.
TP and Sympathy.

Be kind when you read this.
Be kind to the strangers who
suffer far more than you will ever know.
Some need toilet paper.
Some need sympathy.

REPEAT after me. Re-running an old Live Journal post because I am All Out Of New Words. I Like The Words Here. I sound happy and alive.

From March 30th, 2009. Eleven years ago. Another lifetime away.

Where I’m Coming From:

I can’t say exactly what made me click on John Lundberg’s blog on today’s HUFFINGTON POST. Maybe it was an e-mail alert that Lundberg had uploaded a new blog. Maybe I was reading the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section and something caught my eye about new movies and word of the upcoming release of HOWL, a movie starring James Franco as a young Allen Ginsberg and the obscenity trial brought in the U.S. after the poem’s publication.

Or maybe it was the Google search that blipped from HOWL to Ginsberg to (how? how? I can’t remember!) writing ABOUT music to watching a clip from the Colbert show with his guest, music essayist and blogger Carl Wilson ( talking about his love-hate affair with Celine Dion’s music in his book LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE: A Journey to the End of Taste (pubbed in the 33 1/3 series by CONTINUUM BOOKS (and yes, they’ve already pubbed a Bruce Springsteen title, darn it).

Slow down. It just came to me. I chanced upon Carl Wilson’s blog after a separate Google hit directed me to a YOUTUBE clip of actor James Franco talking on the Red Carpet about the book Franco was reading and loving: Yes, it was Carl Wilson’s LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE which I am SO going to buy when I have a few extra shekels; the completist in me will also have to dig in and pick up the Bruce Springsteen title which seems to be more about the BORN IN THE USA album/tour than about Bruce.

(I should also note here that in a great confluence of great worlds colliding, great actor James Franco– have you seen him in MILK? Oh my g-d– is the son of children’s author Betsy Franco. I also learned from one of the Google hits that James Franco is taking creative writing courses at my alma mater, NYU.)

Deep breath.

Talk about following the bouncing ball! That was one long and winding road to get to what I’m really thinking about tonight but as I’ve mentioned time and again, half the beauty of blogging is understanding why you started writing that certain random something. It may not always make sense but when it does, I admit the connections and directions a mind travels is a wondrous thing to behold.

So. Turn the page. The journey continues. (Just see if AAA could make a better TripTik than me.) ;>

And the Beat Goes On.

Prose. Poetry. Pulse. Though not the first to get there, The Beatniks famously brought music and speech together, making jazz out of words and words out of jazz.

Makes me wish I could be a Beat Chick. Who knows. Maybe. One day.

I can’t write music but I hear it. I hear it in everything I write. Even if I never intend those words to be read outloud, I don’t think I can help but write with the rhythm I hear tracking in my brain.

Now would be a good time to play songs from my favorite Dylan album: BLOOD ON THE TRACKS. (Favorite song: YOU’RE A BIG GIRL NOW.) Because even if the stories I write seem confessional and drenched in real-life blood, they’re not necessarily MY confessional or MY blood– but they are the character’s confessions and dripped in the blood of her voice. Think how many times has someone in your family asked you: “Did this really happen?” as if to ask you to pinpoint the date and time in your life the “fiction” you write about took place, as if all diary entries were based in reality, as if everything you write is true. No. Get it. That’s why it’s called art. Writing. Creativity. It happened. To Someone. Someone YOU made up from some artificial bubble that burst one day and turned into a real-life character with a real-life story to tell. If it’s on the page, it’s real. Play it as it lays.

Producer and composer David Amram worked with Jack Kerouac and together the made stories sing. (And what editor hasn’t urged a writer to make her words sing?)

Even if the only music is in your head.

And if you take nothing else away from this jazzy, hip-hop slop of improvised thoughts today, listen to the advice offered by David Amram, speaking for the Beat Voices of another generation: Flush away people who tell you your art is hopeless. Family and friends may love you but if they tell you to the dream is not worth pursuing, you’re hanging out with the wrong people. {}

Yeah, baby. That.

And the beat goes on.

Where Have You Been, Old Friend?

The Language of a Virus Society is seeping into everything I say and do. So. Eureka! Happiness is finally finding The Great Green Binder where I faithfully stockpiled and stored my poetry for many years. How the Great Green Binder landed in the box it was in is a mystery for the ages. I have been searching for this looseleaf for months. So. Release the poetry! Simple joy!

Reclaiming my Time

Yes. I was born with a pen in my hand and books were my first friends. That should be evidence beyond reasonable doubt these boots were made for writing. And, philosophically speaking, the joy is in the writing. It exists, and therefore I am.

But when I write, it feels like I am on stage, performing for you. I like to entertain people with words. I love the sound of the keys tapping under my fingers. I love the song and the rhythm, the notes and the beats. I hear you reading as I compose.

So no, I don’t just write for me. If the words aren’t getting across, from me to you, making you feel something, something is wrong on my end. Writing is an art. It needs to be shared.

“Let me entertain you…”

The Way We Were: May 2019. An Archie Memory is a One-Way Street

“Would you help teach me one day?”

Oh Dad. You have no idea what you have taught me. Since Day One.

This is Alzheimer’s. Tuesday, May 21st, 2019.
The highs and lows and all the miles in between.

When I realized the level of his clarity on this phone call with my daughter, Alex Ross, I thought to grab my cell and tape the conversation. I will treasure these moments. Is it the way it was? No. It is the way it is. And this is what I have learned to accept. Love life as it is. I cry every day. But then there are moments like this that remind me: I am alive. I have to go on. Not -move- on. And I do want to go on.

It’s a little personal. There’s a broken nose. There is swollen skin. But there is love. And this is what matters most. It inspires me to be the person I want to be. To laugh, to create, to connect. Every day. Every darn day.