Thursday, 27 November 2008

Read Write Poem--prompt 54

So the prompt was to break all the why not a monologue/prose poem?



So why can’t women study, I ask. It’s men’s work, they say. This study of Talmud and of Kabbalah, this is not for you. Why not take the classes directed for you?

Why not?

Why not indeed. I glance unhappily at the class list, eyeing with well-placed suspicion at “women’s classes.” They should be subtitled “how to cater to you man and lose your brain.” Call me crazy but I just don’t think that I was created by the Infinite One to spend my days pampering to some lazy man and having his babies. And don’t give me that tired old line about how important it is for the woman to keep the house Kosher.

A great Rabbi once said that if G-d had not given us Torah we would have still learned it from the teaching of the animals and the whisperings of the trees. The Baal Shem Tov himself spend years learning the language of birds and Rabbi Slomo taught that one needs to learn from all the trees, the grasses, the animals and the stones. Even Rabbi Nachman said once to meditate in the grassy field and allow the grass to awaken the heart.

So, I think to myself, if all the great rabbis spoke of Nature as teacher, then who needs those old men at shul? Why not go to the source itself and turn to nature? Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t a million miles away and my folks will be out all day Tuesday, so why not skip school and drive out there?

I can’t believe my parents sometimes. Like this whole religion thing; why join in with the Chabad? They make the Chasidim look like some gay-rights-marching-Peta-protesting-John-Kerry-voting-Move-On-organizing wannabe. I mean, get a grip people. That Rabbi Soloway is just up the street and he teaches Talmud to women, why can’t we hang out with his congregation? And he gets visits from Reb Zalman. But if I ask my mom she’ll go into some pseudo (more like psycho) tirade in Yiddish about what a horrible daughter I am.

And she doesn’t even speak Yiddish.

So, screw it. Tuesday’s here and my car’s got gas, so I point the old girl in the direction of Long Peak and off we go. The Never Summer Mountains guide us along the road through Longmount, Ed rattling her engine in misery as she remembers her glory years on the east coast, before she was expected to drive at the altitude small planes usually fly at. I pat her steering wheel and promise her an oil change soon and don’t tell her we have to climb a bit higher than Boulder’s 5,000 foot altitude.

It only takes an hour to get to the Park. Long Peak’s massive cone is just ahead, surrounded by the jagged mass of granite that are the Rockies. All around, giving us relief from the sun’s radiation attack, are tough old pines with groves of Aspen striking out like a flame here and there.

It’s something about them, y’know? Yeah, I think I’ll do my meditating/praying/whatever you want to call it under them. Once I asked my mom if I could take a meditation class over at Naropa University and she had a fit cos they’re Buddhist and all. But who cares? G-d, she’s so uptight and even if I had ended up a BuJew it’s not so bad. Sarah up the street is and she’s way cool. And anyways it’s not like Jews for Jesus or anything.

We drive a bit more, Ed and I, until I see a particular grove of Aspens. Not sure why that group is calling me but it is. Ed sputters and stalls out in the parking lot, eternally grateful for the rest. I leave her and walk across the pavement and over the ragged rocks. The Aspen grove is small compared to the pine forest all around, their bark gray and sleek next to their craggier cousins., their heart-shaped leaves golden.

I walk until I see one that draws me in. She’s just slightly bigger than the others, the bark on her trunk a bit more jagged. Under her leafy skirt I sit.

And I wait.

And I stop.

At first it’s the constant nagging voice, it slips away, to be replaced with the russle of golden leaves. Then goes the tense muscles in my body. They’re replaced with stronger roots, smoother skin.


The granite underfoot is warm as I slid through it, grabbing a hold, steading myself in the wind. My sister Aspens clasp onto my feet with their own. Through their dancing leaves they greet me as their youngest.

As do the Pines, their voices a gentle whisper. Raven calls out a cheeky hello before settling onto one of my branches.

The winds come.

And the storms.

My golden mane blows away. Snow settles onto my gray branches. My sisters comfort me through the worst blizzards, assuring all that the avalanches can’t reach us here.

The snow melts; the life giving water sinking deep into the soil. My feet drink it in. Sap begins to trickle in my toes, then tickles up my trunk, onto my branches. Small buds sprout over them, ready to burst into life.

I burst.

Blinking, opening my eyes, what’s happened?

Oy, I’m me again.

But I’m not.

When I lean forward, losing physical touch with my sister tree, my long brown hair covers my face, only now on the tips here and there, golden bits like a leaf slowly turning color. The hair my Tallit I give thanks to Ein Sof, the Infinite One. I thank my sisters and my cousins, the Pines and Raven and the mountains themselves.

As I wake Ed from her restful slumber I say my farewells.

But not for long.

Who needs classes when the real teaches are everywhere?

Thursday, 30 October 2008

OSI: Gift

Sunlight falling
golden on the forest floor
though autumn leaves.


Another gift, not in poem form, is advise I was given once by my dad on a day where everything seemed to be going wrong. In my dispair, I blurted out 'it can't get any worse!'

His advice?

'Oh yes, it can.'

It held me in check this last weekend when a pipe burst in our bathroom and flooded it, half our bedroom and the living room. And then later in the day we noticed one pupil in our son's eye was more dialated than the other, and off we all rushed to accident/emergency.

That was Sat. Sunday saw a lving room with flagstone flooring that seems to have survived Niagra Falls tumbling onto it and our son seems to be well in himself and to just have odd eyes.

Hopefully, all's well that ends well, as they say.

Thanks dad, I love you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

OSI: Never Ending

The love of a mother,
the dance of cranes,
the sun's rising,
the howl in the night,
the courage of a horse,
the blaze of a maple,
the silence of snow.

All these and more
a glimpse of God.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Photo Friday

Autumn is here again....and we never had summer over here....

Sunday, 28 September 2008


on water
a friend looks back
no more

Friday, 26 September 2008

Photo Friday

Done when I still knew where my little plastic fisheye was. :-(

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

One Single Impression--Autumn

in the crisp air
the cry of geese on high
frost dancing on glass

Friday, 12 September 2008

Fiction Friday--toy

They found the boy wild in the wood. He was naked and mute. The rummor that he was with wolves melted into the forest much like the creatures themselves.

The natives had long told of the boy. Only now had some learned men come, to capture him for study. No one asked him if he wanted a life of domesticity; no one asked him what he thought of men's clothes, men's food, or men's ways.

The learned men thought him an extraordinary discovery, a blank slate in which they could inflict their scientific studies. They were from the culture of the enlightenment, after all. In their supiority they never thought to feel for the boy. He was triply cursed; an Indian, a feral child and not even raised by his own kind.

They took him to a house in their town. One room was to be his own, one was for their experiments. In one corner of his room stood his only companion, a dappled rocking horse.

In their own time the boy and the horse talked. Of course the men would say he was incapable of language and the rocking horse was only a toy. But, they weren't the boy and they weren't the horse. The boy told the horse of his life with the wolves, of being free; his former life. The horse told the boy of a life imagined, a life of freedom.

At night, when finially left alone, they dreamed. And in their dreams they were free.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

One Single Impression--defenses down

Standing naked
waiting your approval
you like what you see
you love me.

Pen Me a Poem--Hurricane

a trickle
on the dessert
of the hurricane

Friday, 5 September 2008

Haibun for Fiction Friday

Mt Koya was cold. So cold it froze
the offerings to the Gods.
The Gods were so cold they knew nothing of
the suffering of the monks.

In the shadow the monks lived, in the
coldest corner of the coldest mountain of Japan.
This knowledge came to Akira the morning
he found the tofu offering frozen dried to the alter.

Akira watched the cranes fly through the sky
of ice, as white as the peak of the mountain.
At night he dreamed and in his dreams he became
one of the birds of heaven.
And he flew someplace warm.

The dream would end the moment the cold crept into
the plain room where he slept. It curled around
his toes, and his fingers. It nipped his slender
nose and kissed his eyelashes.
And he knew that Koya-san had caught him back again.

Frozen deep
in the heart of the mountain

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Haiku for Totally Optional Prompts and One Single Impression

Birds gather
suspended in sky like clouds
going home


Since one prompt was 'time to leave' and the other was 'spectacle' I thought they worked well for the same subject, birds flying south for winter.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Fiction Friday--stolen object and OSI--seeds

An acorn I stole.

You can't steal an acorn, I can
hear you say. Oh, but you can, I would
answer. I know.

It belonged to an ancient oak, in the forest
on the mountain of the Sugarloaf. My nan
showed it to me, she said
the forest had once been people,
poeple who grew tired,
tired of the swiftness of life,
busy life no longer worth living. And
so they had stopped.

Stopped to listen to the wind;
stopped to protect their brothers with four legs, their sisters
with wings. They stopped to connect their roots
deep into Mother Earth.

That's what I wanted, to stop.

And so I took an acorn,
to swallow and become one of them.

And be connected.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Haiku for Totally Optional Prompts

calling out
the dead from the grave
hidden heart

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Photos of Sion and his dad.

Read Write Poem--in the moment

softly down
leaves dance in autumn
rain falls.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

One Single Impression--prompt 'homecoming'

Haven't tormented anyone with my 'poetry' for a bit, so with little Sion playing with his binky and eyeing me and the cat, I'd thought I'd give it a go with a haiku.

Mated for life
first bud of spring
birds return.

And if I haven't said it yet, thank you to everyone for your words of encouragement. Thanks!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Fiction Friday

Prompt is to write about a stolen conversation.



Dead air. Then, are you?

The voice on the other line full of indifference when it only says, I'm fine, allowing for more dead air. Painful air. An air so thick that the shy one on the other line can touch it, their child-like crush shattered.

This won't do, Sian thinks. And so, she steals it. This is what she does.

Sian steals words.

Hard words, hateful words, cruel words, abusive words, she steals them all. I hate you. I'm leaving you. You're not good enough. No one likes you, go kill yourself.

All these Sian has taken. Every hurt word, every cruel intention, she stuffs them into her hand bag.

A small whisp of a woman, no one looks twice at her. No one sees her theft. At night, in that hour when everyone last peson is asleep, she takes them home and cooks them over her fire.

There, she leaves them for the day to simmer down, to fall apart, to be transformed.

Wiil you marry me? Let's be friends. We'll love you, no matter what. Let's start a family.

I love you.

These are the words she gives back.

Sian knows every word, even the smallest one, counts. Everyone makes a difference.

Words heal.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

For Weekend Wordsmith

Born curious,
touching everything,
tasting, listening, breathing
A slave to none.
Society interrupts,
don't, stop,
you can't, you
Don't touch,
taste, listen inward;
don't think.
Breath shallow.
A slave to all.

Monday, 4 August 2008

a day late for Sunday Scribblings and a haiku for One Single Impression

Do I have to? My last words of English.

Do I have to go to bed?

No amount of whinging swayed my mum. Sent to bed for the crime of being a boy. And perhaps for being a bit on the cheeky side.

The first hour I spent reading a Harry Potter book, I forgot which one now. Being high summer, I didn't have to resort to any such methods as using a tourch under the duvet. It wouldn't go completly dark for another hour.

Around 10 I heard my mum go to bed herself. I gave her another half hour. When I was sure she had to be asleep I quietly put my jeans back on, then tip-toed through the house and out the back door, the one that lead through the garden.

The garden.

Perhaps no one but a child knows what dangers lie in the garden. I should have known better.

My mum loved her plants. She filled her garden full of them. Peonies, poppies, roses, sunflowers, all sorts. The foxgloves reached over my head, as did the granny's bonnets.

That's why I didn't see them at first. They weren't much bigger than me. Maybe that's why I thought the first ones were kids, like me.

Hello, the first one said, from her seat under the rose bush. Only that hello wasn't in English.

I know that now.

And I understood her in the way that only a child can understand.

Her voice was soft. I almost mistook it for the wind stirring through the oak tree at the end of the garden. In the blue of twilight she looked like a little girl until I blinked, looked closer. Her skin was brown and rough, sort of like the rose, or the oak's bark. Her hair would have made the buzzard pair in the woods further back proud.

And her eyes. Like wolves' eyes, they were.


She grinned, a wolf's grin. And she beconned. Away, further into the garden. A part I'd never seen before.

Then I saw the others. They were like her, some were different. Some were more like the flowers, some like wild things.

I went with them. Why, I'm not sure. Maybe it was becasue they seemed like me. It could have been because under that wild look, there was a gentle way. Maybe it was just because it would be like something Harry Potter would do.

It doesn't matter why, I went with them.

Into their world.

wisdom of a child
the Fool.

Friday, 1 August 2008

For Fiction friday, 3WW, and Sunday Scribblings

Serena could gamble with the best of them. The ponies were her passion; Saratoga her shrine. Every year she came to upstate New York for the entire six week meet.

Exacta, trifecta, pick 6, daily double, these were music to her ears; the Racing Form a feast for her intellect. Track conditions, Byer speed figures, grade of race, distance; her eyes pored over each minute detail every night back in her hotel room allowing nothing to be omitted.

Every morning she woke at first light, to rub shoulders with jockey agents at the local bagal shop, and then enjoy her breakfast sitting in the hallowed clubhouse seats while the lady at the loudspeaker announced when a famous horse would step onto the track. Serena had seen them all--Ginger Punch, Inside Information, Fourstardave, Easy Goer, Hansel, Alysheba, Lady's Secret.

After, she went back to get ready for the afternoon. A leopard print dress was her favorite outfit, the sleeveless one that cinched at her waist and then flared around her knees.

She was a woman in a man's world. She could wear what she wanted, do her hair as she wished; there were no female eyes to criticize her and how she looked. Here, at Saratoga, she could do what pleased her.

True, this was a temporary world, but this was her world, the time when she came alive.

The time when she became complete.

Friday, 25 July 2008

3 WW

The words:


'Hurricane Survivor'

The heady bar in a past life was a place with class, an airport back when women came dressed up and in stockings, and men wore stylish hats. Around the tired building was a forest of banyans and banana trees, their fronds still in the sticky air. In a few hours the sky would be static with thunder and wind. When the hurricane came to Key West, the old building would not be a place to avoid, but would come alive in a party of bravado.

Friday 5

The words:


The old trellis,
its roses and clematis long dead,
the once dignified appearence
now shabby with the neighbor
lady's laundry hanging
over the top; to the youngster,
the boy with the black hair,
he saw not the look
or any such defect, but
an adventure,
a place to play
and a place
to dream.

For Fiction Friday

The prompt was to create a character around an illness we've had or have, and (try) and make it humourous.

Once upon a time Anghared had strep thoat. For three days and three nights she lay in her bed, fevered. And seeing spots.

The doctor said they were a result of the fever. Drink more fluids and don't worry, my love.

But the spots, they wouldn't go away.

Anghared saw them on the bus; she saw them on the train. In the halls of university; at band practice. Even on her favorite stray moggy.

Why fight it, she thought.

In a weekend her outside became as her inside. Spotted dresses; spotted shirts. Spotted shoes; spotted dog. Even her flat was spotted; large spots on the walls, smaller spots on the duvet and shower curtain.

Anghared lived in a kaleidoscope of spots.

And she lived happily ever after.

One Single Impression--prompt 21--Rest

Breathing softly, his
hand clutching a favorite toy,
my son sleeps, I watch.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Poefusion--Friday 5

The five words for the week were:


I've been thinking a lot of Saratoga racetrack lately. It opens this week. From the time I was 12 until just 5 years ago I always went with my dad, until his death. The last 7 years I got to work on it as a photographer. Memories of it are all bittersweet now, I long to go but my dad won't be there anymore.

One story I got to do was about the old timers on the track, mostly African American grooms and exersize riders. This peom is rough (very rough) but it's a tribute to them and the stories they told about growing up in the south.

All my life
I've been a fighter. Had
to be, a black man
in the south can't survive
otherwise. Can't show
it outside, But in me
is a cry, a wail
of pain.
An anger so deep
it'd feel good
to clobber that smug look
from those white folks'
faces. An act
of suicide, that.
Took a job as a groom, my
way out of the south,
the smell of horse
and hay, the rhythm
of hooves on track my
savoir, encouragement that life
wears a smart hat
and scraws art on walls;
it isn't hunched shoulders
or Nazi salutes or
a Southern bell's simpering smile.
A snort from my charge,
a nuzzle on cheek, I watch
her work 22 and change,
and dream our

Friday, 18 July 2008

Write Anything--Fiction Friday

From their site:

'Pick a character who loves the dark, and tell us why. Avoid the obvious choices: stealth, monsters, sex, and anything else you immediately thought of.'

It was the Park. The way the trees danced in the moonlight, the taint of sulfer in the air, the slightest of rumbles as Old Faithful paraded to her wild brothers and sisters; this and more is why young Susan loved the night.

She loved when the moisture began to rise from mother earth in the afternoon, singling the end of the day. She loved when the tourists retreated to their cabins or tents, or just left, leaving the land once again to the elk and the buffalo, to Raven and Coyote. And when the wind rose, teasing the ancient Pine and the playful Aspen, she knew that night was coming.

Before was the between time, when the world turned blue. Pale blue, like a tropical sea, then deepening until all was bathed in velvet. In the between time, the spirits mingled with the physical, the ancestors with the living.

Soon, the moon would rise, the milky way be revealed. An owl would hoot, perhaps an elk bellow for a mate. And then, deep in the night, the wolves would come, howling their welcome.

This is what Susan loved most of all.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Write Anything Fiction Friday prompt 63

(This has to do with writing about an unlucky character and turning that bad lwc into good.)

You would think with a last name like Cohen a really traditional first name like Rebecca or Sarah, or a some hype Israeli/Hebrew title like Shalom or Arielle would be the way to go. But no, my hippie dippy mother gave me the name of Skye.

Skye Cohen.

What a title.

To make matters worse, she foolishly falls away from the usual Boulder crowd and decides that, in order to 'find her roots,' she turns to the Chabad shul. Suddenly my tie-dye Birkenstock-wearing mother is now a hair-hiding-black-stocking-wearing Orthodox-type.

And she's a single mom.

With a daughter named Skye.

Call me crazy but this doesn't sound like the most clever move in the world. In the space of a month our quiet life of just mom and daughter and calico cat has become a bedlam of other head covering female types invading our house on otherwise quiet Pine Street and turning the place upside down in order to make my poor mom as Jewish as they can.

I mean, I don't mind that my mom wants to be more traditional and spiritual, it's just the way they go about it. Like, we were raised Reform but these women act like that's akin to being some snake-handling-speaking-in-tongue-type deep in the heart of West Virginia. All my mom wanted in the beginning was to be able to study mystical Judaism and the holy books but they convinced her she should concentrate on keeping her home kosher and other wifely duties.

Speaking of the holy books, it's because of them that the end of my world began to turn around. It all sort of happened this last thursday, just after school.

It came about because I knew those annoying women would be about this time of the day, and also because I liked walking close to Naropa University and catching a glimpse of some of the Tibetian monks that teach there. I like seeing happy spiritual-types and not smug-oh-so-superior ones.

It was after turning right onto Pearl Street and deciding to spend my unused lunch money on a brownie at Blue's Bakery (mmmm....chocolate brownie with carmel melted on it and sea salt sprinkled in...I ask you, who could resist?) that the beginning of my salvation began. As I passed the Co-op just beside Blue a small group of people wandered out of the study hall in the Co-op, the one next to the vegan cafe. I had my eyes cast down, and so at first I didn't notice that they were all holding text books in Hebrew, one of the texts of the Talmud.

Jewish texts.

The Talmud, no less.

And in the hands of women.

Now, if they're allowed to study, why not me to? I stopped at the flyer in the window, pretending to read it, just to get a sneaky look at these people. They sure didn't look like my mom and her posse. Seeing my rather timid glances, one lady smiled and said hello.

Like the perfect fool, I stumbled over a simple reply like 'hello' and instead pointed at the black book in her arms.

'Ah, are you interested in learning the Talmud?'

Hardly believing my luck, I nodded yes.

She smiled. 'Rabbi Goldburg gives classes every other thursday. You're welcome to join in, if you like.'

'Yes, but I don't own any texts.'

'Ah, we have photocopies for people in your situation.'

What, people with weird mothers? Great!

Hardly believing my luck, I felt myself nod and agree to faithfully come to the next class. Now, of course it's during the last hour of high school but I wasn't going to let that deter me. I'm doing this, damn it.

The nagging females in my house didn't even annoy me after I floated through the front door. A chance to study Talmud. I can't believe my luck. I took my non-kosher brownie (I can't even remember buying it) and wandered upstairs into my room.

A chance, a real chance.

How lucky am I?

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

One Single Impression--prompt 20--Myth

Raven steals the sun
black wings illuminating
trickster heals the world.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Weekend Wordsmith--prompt 'Crowded'

She dreams of colours,
primary colours,
laughing, singing,
She dreams of crowds,
heaving, loving,
She dreams of senses,
delicate, spicy,
She dreams.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Friday 5 from Poefusion

Every friday at Poefusion there is a prompt of five words, for you to write a poem or story to. Last fri the words were:

photo album
post office
broken window

This poem is rough but I've no time to rewrite it (it's a bit hard to write whilst also entertaining a 3 month old), and as I said in the last post, if I think about it, I'll never write at all, so this is my way of trying to get creative again.

The boy with no ties
to family,
no mother to praise him,
no father to encourage, no
grandparents to spoil him; this
boy watches the social worker
with the folder
and wonders why
it isn't a photo album
for him.

If it was, what
would they look like, his family.
Would his mother be pretty, his
grandfather kind?
All he can see when he thinks of family is
a broken window where bullets came in,
a stained and dirty mattress to sleep on,
the t.v. that never was quiet.

The social worker glances at him;
the woman who can read minds.
She's seen it all before.
When she thinks of his family
all she can see is a rage
as red as the post office van
that passes the office.
Her thought to strike them down in vengeance.
Instead she offers this
boy a present,
a book instead of an album.

Knowledge instead of pain.
Love in place of indifference.

One Single Impression--prompt 19

Okay, this is crap, I know it's crap, but the thing is...if I don't jump now and just do it then I'll lose my nerve and never do it. So this is my first attempt at Japanese poetry via the OSI prompt 'Through a Window.'

Falling gently down,
the girl from the window lands
soft, a down feather.

A slip was all it took for
her to know that she can fly.

Friday, 25 April 2008

I set up this blog to inflict my 'creative' writings, photography and maybe some sculpture onto the general public for freedback and/or torture. So hopefully things won't be too terribly bad......