Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

31 August 2011

You, Me, and Junot Diaz

Just in case you're wondering where the heck
I've been, 
my response is:
when a woman is my age, she should be allowed some lapses --
I get lost--
in thought,
in dreams,
in space,
where-ever --
and then the rest is silence.

This is not to say my heart isn't beating.

I hope yours is, too.


Well, tonight I read an article that made my heart skip a beat,
in the UTNE Reader.

Now, seriously, folks, 
I haven't looked at an UTNE Reader
in a couple of decades,
but there it was, and I started reading --
and found this article:

In this provocative article, Diaz contemplates how the catastrophe in Haiti
embodies Apocalypse,
indeed, it is Apocalypse
for the people of Haiti.

At the same time, 
it - and all other disasters -
reveals the true Haiti --
"Apocalyptic catastrophes don't just raze cities and drown coastlines;
these events, in journalist David Brooks' words,
'wash away the surface of society, the settled way things
have been done.  They expose
the underlying power structures,
the injustices, the patterns
of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities."  And,
equally, they allow us insight into the conditions
that led to the catastrophe, whether we are talking about Haiti
or Japan."  (Diaz)

He proceeds to discuss how these disasters help us see first
the "true face" of a country:
as Katrina exposed "America's third world,"
Haiti exposes "the third world's third world.'

In many instances, these Apocalyptic disasters reveal
the way that humanity has defaced 
the planet, and in so doing, made it more vulnerable,
and susceptible
to disaster.  

The problem is,
according to Diaz,
that we just won't see the writing on the wall,
or on the planet --

I urge you to read this article.  I feel
uncomfortable summarizing and quoting it all.
Suffice it to say I agree with Diaz when he says:
"After all, apocalypses like the Haitian earthquake
are not only catastrophes; they are also opportunities;
chances for us to see ourselves, to take responsibility for what we see, 
to change."

Recently, we have been receiving our fill of
mini apocalypses,
disasters that have left thousands,
even millions,
of people dead, and entire regions

They stay for a day or two in the news,
then fade away from public attention.

But this does not mean they fade away
in real time and space --
locally, in Haiti and in Japan and elsewhere
the dead are still dead,
the dying still dying,
the destroyed still rubble,
etc. etc etc..

As apocalypses propagate, 
the true apocalypse
may be just around the bend,
and when it does,
the potential for salvation
and second coming,
ends up lying soully
and solely
in us and us alone.

I sing along with Diaz when he says:

"One day something terrible will happen,
and for once we will heed the ruins.
We will begin collectively to take
responsibility for the world we're creating.
Call me foolishly utopian,
but I sincerely believe
this will happen. 
I do.
I just wonder how many millions of people will perish
before it does."

25 August 2011

Live To Tell, Madonna -- Live

I have to post this.

I would like to sing it,
but I just can't do the song,
or this singer,
the credit they deserve:

24 August 2011

Today's Diva: Yma Sumac

I want to thank my friend Rose is a Rose
for calling my attention to 

Yes, she IS a diva
in the truest sense of the word:

(This second one, Tumpa, which it appears means "earthquake"
is posted for all of my readers who witnessed an earthquake in the last 24 hours!

Fairy Dust

To see
the shining glitter
of dust on light
         and light on dust
as it dances
         in early sunlight,

To hear
the scolding caw
of morning crows,
and taste
the fresh mid-August

To be 
of worldly things,
and absolutely
of earthly life.

silent, am I,
so content with being.

I have no other answers.

21 August 2011

Makropoulos Sings, Yet Again

(My equipment is limited,
and sometimes the voice is too.
Remember, I'm somewhere around 426 --.

But I really like this song, and wanted to sing it:)

18 August 2011

The Object and The Form

Old friends come bearing  mem'ries of me
                        in overnight bags,
old friends who one time managed to see
                                     the riches through the rags
                                       and visa versa.

And I, too, saw the wealth in them,
and together we found
             a way to bend--
              a way to friend.

Some saw what they sought to see,
and some saw true.
I pray, friend, when I looked at you,
I just saw you.

Now I too, look,
and you, too, look
for the person left behind:

the one etched in memory
of the friendship of 
much earlier times ---

we seek

the one unspoiled,
unscathed by hurt
and others' selfish whims;

we seek to see our better selves
when we meet each other
somewhere down the road.

( funzug )

~ ~ ~

At this, my very advanced age,
I do not want to be
so lost in examination; I
do not want to need
to say 
out of uncertainty.

But I do,

and I say it with you.

I thank you, friends, for restoring me,
                a broken entity,
scattered over time and space:

some bits are beautiful,
some are not;
some are hesitant
some are hot;
some are gentle,
and some burn--

but all is I
and me,
and you.

We live and love together;
we make humanity

Travel gently, friend,
on your journey home.

09 August 2011


As you may recall,
in the Old Testament,
it took God six days
to create everything
(and on the seventh, S/he rested).

In numerology,
Six is the number of marriage, motherhood and harmony --
it stands for balance and equilibrium.

And I
have six orchids!


Now I rest.

Don't Know Much About Money . . . . (Breaking Even)

I never won at the game of Monopoly
and at Life, I always
broke even,
But that is, after all,
all we really need to do,
isn't it? 
square our debts
before we die,
love our friends
and family
unselfishly, and hopefully,
receive equal love in return.

What more can we give and take
during our time on this domain?

Obviously, for a long time, some people in this world have opted to give
and take
a hell of a lot more than that.
This morning, right after I heard a brief accounting of 
yesterday's trepidatious Wall Street plummet,
NPR broadcast a story about 

Flat Line.

The juxtaposition of these two stories might cause 
a listener to conclude one of three things.
Well, actually, one might take the stance, 
Well, I have a job (trust fund, unemployment, disability, healthy retirement, etc. . . )
so this has nothing to do with me.
one might conclude one of the following three things:

1.  Sure it's bad here, but it could be worse; it could be Spain.
2.  Sure it's bad here, and hold on tight, it can get worse; look at Spain.
3. We are in a global crisis and it's not anywhere near over yet,
and it might look pretty dismal everywhere
before it ends.

I will preface the following contemplation by saying
I am NOT an Economist.
I sincerely do NOT understand Wall Street or High Finance,
and I should probably keep my mouth shut, my pen still,
and leave this type of blogging to those who really know
what they are talking about.

I should, but I won't.  After all, the economists of the world
are not doing a very good job of fixing things,
so what the heck, why shouldn't I take a stab at it?

~ * ~

My overall observation and conclusion is that this is a global crisis, and we
have to stop sticking our fingers in our ears and singing loud.   
What is happening in Spain is impacted by what happens in the USA,
and visa versa.  In other words, there are Macro forces at work
that span beyond nations.  In the 21st Century, where someone
in India can read my words seconds after I press "POST", we have to begin
thinking of things in global terms.  I suspect economists know this, and they are working
on refining equations and strategies for balancing global economies
and crises, but it's a relatively new field, and while they are probably 
silently trying to make deals and fix things, national economies are

And the suffering occurs most visibly locally.

"Locally" in this schema, can include "nationally;" however,
I'm guessing that in the next 100 years (or maybe just 50)
the notion of the sovereign nation state will lose its solvency,
and it will go the same route as feudalism, monarchy, empire
and other antiquated forms of dividing and ruling territory.

As they say in the NPR story on Spain,
it's the middle ground, the middle class, that is disappearing,
and that is, in this shifting global economic topography,
equivalent to national power.

In this emerging global economy, while the notion of nations loses relevance,
the more Micro notion of the "local" will return to currency.

Unfortunately, as the Macro has evolved as a dominant force,
the local has taken a terrific beating.  Consider this: in the USA, first
the Big Box stores put local merchants out of business; now it's interesting to note
that the Big Box stores are being conquered by online stores.

Simultaneously, it appears to me, that (for instance)
that local Mom n' Pop store with the fabulous apple butter they make
from the apples picked in their orchard is becoming more appealing
to us (in the USA in particular, though this may be true elsewhere,
as well) again, because
a.) we know those people; they lost their other job, just like we did;
b.) we know their apples and their orchard.  We used to play in it
when we were kids, and in fact, our son now helps pick those apples;
c.) we trust them;
d.) it may even help us, especially since I just invented a new form
of apple peeler made out of old tin cans that Mom n Pop
love to use -- they even sell it in their shop!

What's even better is the butter could also be sold on line,
if Mom and Pop are computer proficient.  If not,
the neighbor can send their son over and help them;
he's a whiz at computers.

My own humble solution to our current crisis, then, is simple:

Leave the messes of the world to world leaders, and

Do what you can to make sure your neighbors have jobs. 
Support their stores and talents.  This means, among other things,
that we needn't push every kid to go to college: if he's a mechanic,
celebrate his talents, take your car to him, and pay him well if he fixes it well.
If she really does fingernails well, go get your nails done!  And if that
far-sighted child with the thick glasses is really smart,
celebrate her, encourage him, educate them, 
and don't hold them back if they opt to develop their skills
someplace else.  
They will come home to you again.
They may even decide to stay home if they can see
that helping at home can ultimately
help everyone.

In this Micro-Macro vision, 
the Micro (the local) is everything you can walk to or ride a bike to,
and the Macro is everything you can find on your computer,
which is pretty much everything.

And there is a fluidity between the two.

~ * ~ * ~

Well, I suppose this is a pretty naive response to a major economic catastrophe,
but it's the meager thought I had 
while I listened to the radio this morning.
And it's not original.  Just do a Google search on "buy local"
and you'll find others who agree.

I am no fool: I know that neither I alone,
nor you alone,
nor Barack Obama alone,
nor Anyone Else alone
can save the world from Eternal Financial Damnation,
we can each try our damnedest to make sure
our neighbors and friends and family members have a roof over their heads,
and dinner tonight.

That we can do.

And I dare say if everyone took responsibility for that, well, 
perhaps we could turn this economic disaster
into lemonade

or apple butter.

After all, when it all comes right down to it,
when we reach our final moments
here in this earthly life,
we will probably be most satisfied if we each can say
we broke even.

06 August 2011

Excavating The Heart

Just when you think
all its fields 
have been plundered,
all its valleys
have been rendered 
fallow, and all
it mountains stripped
of their precious hold,
you'll discover
there are hidden places there -- 
subtle coves, rich
with luscious, newborn
vegetation waiting for the sun.

The heart is a boundless planet,
regenerative and full,
waiting to reward you
if you treat it with respect and love.

at the threshold,
in the glittering priceless rubble
of memory, past happinesses, pains
and lost opportunities
and behold
the new vistas there.

Tred gently there,
speak softly, using
only words that mean
what they say,
and be silent
when the words are not enough.

to the heart's native tongue
that speaks in birdsong,
rustling leaves,
distant chimes,
and gentle surf.

Be still and allow

03 August 2011

Four, maybe Five

I was happy with three,

for three is a number
of good fortune, magic,
and harmony,
not to mention the divine.

But then came number four

and my delight was complete.

Four is a number of stability,
of foundations,
and integrity.

Four there are of 
and phases of the moon.

I was happy with four.

But now it appears
there may be five --

an odd number, five --
a slight off balancing,
but also a change of course,
a striving for the upper numbers,
and in the case of this twig,
the perfect number
will be six.

But for now, I await number five's completion
and continue to marvel.