Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

29 July 2011

i have a brain: aka: Eckhart Tolle, help me!



i have a brain that constantly moves,
pushes material through
its corners and curves,
through its alleyways
and open doors;
like fuel through an engine,
                         whatever
material I push through it,
it uses --
testing logical connections
and juxtapositions,
applying old formulas,
and looking for new ones ---
No matter what I encounter
or seek to entertain
at any given time
I feed it through
my hungry mind-machine
and produce
                           hypothesis

Some are wild
and fantastic --- others,
just like a child's puzzle --
easily solved and easily
perceived.


This is some of what
I write
here; some
times, it's a 
poem; some
times, it's a 
revelation.

Most of the time,
I feel,
my thinking is a 
disease.



grand opening

one open . . . 


two . . . .

three. . . 



will there be more?
I'm happy just to see the three
after two long years of drought.

Even in the most dry times,
with some of the rarer creatures,

there is hope.










25 July 2011

Somalia

I may sound like a broken record,
but every time I hear a news story about this situation in Somalia,
I get more upset and desperate about the need
to try to help.

Silly me.




You may think that each of us,
individually,
cannot do much about this,
but I tend to feel that if each of us,
individually,
donated whatever funds or talents we could afford,
we could, together, make a difference. 

I just sent a donation to the International Rescue Committee,
that has placed doctors and other workers
in refugee camps in Mogadishu.

Here is a list of other U.S.-based aid organizations.


If you're not in the U.S.A., 
just do a quick Google search
on "Aid to Somalia"
and I'm sure you'll surely find an organization 
in your home country.


I'm not kidding.



24 July 2011

Diva for the Day: go to Menopausal Stoners: Cheryl B - This Death Stuff Sucks

Just read this great entry by one of my blogging friends, about a now late
true New York Diva:

Menopausal Stoners: Cheryl B - This Death Stuff Sucks

Spicy Greens

OK,
so in this heat it's hard to eat
lots of meat.
                 Really.
Especially at my tender, advanced age.
So on this hot un-negotiable night
I thought I'd go light.

I have this almost obsessive interest
in the green salad, and
in how much variety you can get in a salad,
just using green.

So, this caught my eye
at a local cooperative grocer:


Sounds great,  doesn't it?
So I bought it, and when I opened it,
I was struck
by the variety of greens,
and the similarities they hold
to something a cow would eat.

Now, look at it:




I almost felt I could go out
into my backyard
and pick it,

but then I looked closer,
and began to get excited about eating it.

So I'm now going to show you
what I did with it, 
because the salad I'm eating right now
is simply fabulous.

So, of course I cleaned it once, 
then put it in a drainer to clean it
again,
but this time, I started adding stuff,
starting with arugula
from my own porch garden--


Now, I was surprised when my arugula grew in this shape;
it must be the variety.
I'm more familiar with the longer, leafy kind
that I used to be able to get
when I lived in Turkey.

After that,
I added some basil,
also from the porch garden,


Oh, and I should point out,
I put in a handful of mesclun mix,
and then a couple leaves of romaine,


Now, you clean that up and stir it up,
and look at all that color!

So, to this I added 
this rather lovely locally produced feta
(yes, I'm giving some local plugs here)


and I used some dill
(again from the porch! - no I did not use the part
where it has come to flower.
Now, should I?)



in a very simple oil and balsamic vinegar dressing,
and,
well, 
here is the outcome:


Now, will tell you,
I'm just reveling in the experience
of having just eaten
that salad,
and I will tell you -- it was fabulous!
Those Spicy Greens are really spicy --

But while I'm at it,
I'll also tell you
what I ate it with.

My other food obsession
is rice,
and I found this lovely mixed rice,
thanks to my brother --


which I made with a vegetable broth,
and I'll tell you,
its nuttiness really compliments
the greens' spiciness.

And I washed it down with a glass of this,
which I have to say is a very nice
Spanish white wine from the Rioja region,
 which I can get in my area
for below $15.00




So,
there you go --
I was inspired to write a blog entry
about a meal which,
by the way,
was a fabulous summertime meal!


And it all began with the title
"Spicy Greens"



(note: I just noticed the Spicy Green people
have a website named right
on their package --
it is:
and here's a paragraph from their website
about who they are:

"Remembrance Farm is a 90-acre biodynamic vegetable farm located in Trumansburg, NY, in the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes region.  We specialize in growing salad greens and root vegetables for sale to local stores and restaurants, and to individual households through a cooperative Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program known as the Full Plate Farm Collective."

)

23 July 2011

Ode To An Orchid, Long Anticipated


From out your tangled, tormented weave
of roots, I have wondered, 
           will I see a bloom 
                             again?



One year, two years,
              watering there, 
            watching for
                              a different shoot
among the roots
              that clutch 
                 and cramp
                        your tiny home
              of earth.
My friend --


I recognized the singular sprout
                   a tad too late
                            to keep it straight,
                      but there it is
patience brings
                                     a cluster of blossoms,
                             ready to burst --
but I must extend
                       my waiting state,
                      amazed, though
at your regenerate
                  condition --
my heart, too
                     wells with you


21 July 2011

Air Conditioning: aka: the Great Grid Fear.



(film: Makropoulos' Air Conditoner)


Well,
the heat in my part of the world today was so intense
that it was unbearable.

However, it was not actually all that unbearable to me
because
for the first time in my multi-centennial existence,
I live in a place with central air.

So I sat here, in my cool cool house --
I and all those other select few --
I sat here in my air conditioning
while the rest of the world
smoldered.

I sat here soooo long, 
my guilt became unbearable ---
For so many years, for centuries in fact,
I have sweat it out with the best of you,
and during that time,  I felt like I was participating somehow
in the agony of the planet,
And I felt ethical, and compassionate, and good.
But this time,
I sipped ice tea 
in the a.c.

And it made me feel so two-faced -- I, who advocate love
and peace and togetherness,
sat excluded and comfortable.
So I decided that,
if nothing else,
I should take a walk and participate
in the pain,


and what you see above is the sun
as it shined
somewhere in America
where I happen to live
at around 7:45 p.m.
That's one hot sun.

~ ~ ~

As I walked, the source
of my guilt and self-loathing solidified:
me, and a couple cats, and a friend or two,
sat in my apartment
all of this smoggy, miserable hot afternoon
and zapped that overtaxed power grid
of however many kilowats of energy
that I devoured today.

And in the meantime,
people are hot and starving
in Somalia.

Heck,
they're hot and starving somewhere
in America, too,
I'm sure,
even as I type.

(sprinkling the sidewalk)


You see, I have an intense concern for the Health of the Grid.
The Grid,
by its very design,
could go on infinitely,
or at least it could embrace the entire planet,
if we were disposed to let it do so.

Instead,
largely because of commercial interests,
it's localized;
my Grid, probably
isn't your Grid,
if you don't live
in America,
and even if you live in another part of America
my Grid may not be your Grid.
 ( celsias )
One outcome of 
this Localization of Gridded service is
The Great Grid Fear.


The Great Grid Fear, of course,
is that if we load too much energy on our regional power grid,
we'll blow the fuse,
so to speak,
which is why I was so darned upset
about my airconditioner.

I was so upset that when I came home from my walk, I turned it off.

Now part of the 
Great Grid Fear is that
one too many airconditioners
could "blow the fuse"
so to speak,
and thereby,
destroy the power source
in a large sector of the civilized world,
and if that happens,
well, hell,
we'd have to live like the people of Somalia.

And if we had to live like the people of Somalia,
well,
hot damn,
we'd probably all start dying,
in very large numbers.

And that wouldn't be good,
would it?


So we preserve the health of our
individual Grids
by keeping them local
and somewhat flawed.

In fact,
right now,
I'm quite concerned that if I turn my a.c. back on
tomorrow,
when it's predicted to be even hotter,
I may be that unlucky one
to pop the circuit on my Grid,
and if I am,
well,
I just hope no one can track it
and find out.
(But they probably can,
whoever THEY are.)

~ ~ ~
Anyway,

so after feeling Great Guilt
for the Grid,
not to mention for the emotional and physical health
of all the people in my general part of the planet, I began to think,
as I am prone to do,
that perhaps the Electrical Grid could be made more coherent
and therefore stronger
if we just found the technology to extend it 
so it embraces the entire planet --
same, too, 
with all the other grids.
After all,
that is how we perceive of our planet isn't it?
In terms of a Grid?  So why can't we use the basic model,
and extend our Power Grid
infinitely?



And if that were the case,
perhaps
we could supply electricity,
and ultimately air conditioning
to the Samalis,
not to mention the homeless under a bridge in Manhattan,
or in Mississippi,
or Honduras,
or Ipswich
or Delhi
or Rotterdam,
or San Francisco,
or where ever.

And then I wouldn't have to participate
in the Great Grid Fear,
and neither would you --
(though on some level,
we'd all participate in it equally).

Now, I'm certain
that someone with more knowledge than I
in these areas could and would
tell me why my idea is absolutely
unfeasible,
and I welcome them to do so.
But anyone who reads this blog should know
that I'm not prone to go by what is scientifically viable.
So let's just entertain the notion for a moment:

what if it were indeed possible to build a Global Power Grid?

What if we took all the money,
from all the wars
and the crime
and the useless laws
and the committees produced to perpetuate Fear,
and what if we put it towards
building global resource grids.
And what if those global grids
would make it possible to provide
food and water to all people equally?
So when the planet enters weather patterns
like we're in right now,
everyone would have equal access
to airconditioning,
and water.

And let's add food.

~ ~
Yes, I'll agree to one argument against this:
it's true that if we get hit by a meteorite,
or a massive sun flare,
it would take out the whole planet,
grid wise,
but it would probably
take out the entire planet,
too, 
so what the heck:
why not spread the wealth?



Well, perhaps,
if you've gotten this far in this goofy entry,
you're thinking: this chick is nuts,
and I'm going to unsubscribe from this blog,
or just not read it again,
ever,
or at least for a long time.


Well,
let me submit this as a final contemplation:
last night, I saw a story on the BBC
that informed me that Somalia
is officially suffering a famine.

Today, I heard that the militant, rebel Al Shahab in Somalia
who are making it impossible for foreign aid to reach some areas,
have claimed that the international declaration of "famine"
in their nation is nothing but a political move.

and I thought:
how many Americans really know about this?
I mean, seriously folks:
we're all sitting around in our air-conditioned homes
watching the news where the headline story is
how hot we are --

and people are dying 
in large large numbers
on the other side of the globe,
and the terrorist system has become so sophisticated
that it calls International Declarations of Disastor
"political propaganda."

They sound like American politicians.


So,
a.) turn off your a.c. for a little while, and send the money you save to Somalia,
or
b.) let's build a Global Grid.

Those are my best ideas --
they're probably both pretty far-fetched,
but at least now I feel like I've contributed positively to the world,
as I sit here
sweating.


19 July 2011

Makropoulos Sings, Again, with gratitude and respect to Stevie Nicks


I know it's frustrating to hear someone other than
the original artist sing a great song like this.

I hope that no one thinks
I'm being pretentious to take this or any other song on.
I just feel like singing --
and saying stuff through singing --
and this song kind of says
the way I sometimes feel
these days.

So here it is.




A note on photos --
nearly all of the photos are by me;
the first few were taken in the desert
North East of San Diego.
the sand/sky photo
was taken on the Outer Banks.
The very last one is NOT mine,
and I'm embarrassed to admit
I can't find its source.
I found it on the internet,
when doing a search on
"Landslide Pictures."
Thanks to whomever took it, 
and posted it.

16 July 2011

heart song



Every time a heart goes forth
on a journey to join
with another,
                         it risks a pain
                                 no body can bear;
                     it risks the 
                        burning tear
of remembering
that true union is impossible
                                                          in the land of the living.

Our hearts/Our souls
are the entity
             full;
our bodies are vessels that demand
division.
My heart
           Your heart
Seek to be whole,
but the walls of our skin
imprison.


Be still and listen


to the voice that is you,
that voice that has no body.


It is the voice of God,
                      and God
is the juncture
at which we all meet.



14 July 2011

More Chain Letter Hopefulness

( artlies )

It appears that
the second most popular post on this blog
is called 

I wrote it about a particular chain letter,
well, really it was a chain e-mail,
that I received about a year ago.

That chain e-mail was called
"My Room of Eight."

(I note that a couple female bloggers have written about that same message now.
For instance, Boston Margy 
and



Well, wouldn't you know it?

I got the same chain e-mail again. 


What goes around comes around, eh?

Anyway, it has been abbreviated.  I like this new version.  It goes like this:


My Table of 8 
> I am supposed to pick 8 women who have touched my life
> and whom I think might participate. Please send this back to me.
> Remember to just read the quotation. That's all you have to do. There
> is nothing attached. Just send this to eight women and let me know what
> happens on the fourth day. Sorry you have to forward the message, but
> try not to break this, please.
> 
> 
> Quote: 
> "May today there be peace within. May you trust that
> you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the
> infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
> May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that
> has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way
> you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul
> the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and
> every one of us."
> 
> 
> Now, send this to 8 women or more within the next 5
> minutes. And remember to send this back. I count as 1. You'll see why.

~ ~ ~


If you read my earlier post,
you'll see why I think it's really cool
that this little message is still
in circulation.

( constable )


So I again chose my room of eight.
I chose them from the women I know closely,
and the women who I would like to have know
that I write this blog.

You see, not many people know
who writes this blog.
And that's just fine.

And I included a link to my earlier entry,
and asked them to read it,
and send it on.


This is the message I sent to them:

"This is kind of goofy.  About a year ago, I got a chain letter just like the
 one below.  And now I'm getting it again.  After receiving the first, I wrote
 something about it.  I'm attaching a link to what I wrote.  Yes, I wrote it
 under another name.

http://makropulos.blogspot.com/2010/06/hopefulness-of-chain-letter.html


Yes, you can ignore this message, and quite frankly, I don't care if you do.
 Or you can read it and send it on.  Include my link, if you want to.  And
 know, please, that you are in my room of eight."




Pass it on.
Pass it on.


12 July 2011

Birdsong From Inside The Egg, by Jal al-Din Rumi



Sometimes a lover of God may faint
in the presence.  Then the beloved bends
and whispers in his ear, "Beggar, spread out
your robe.  I'll fill it with gold.

I've come to protect your consciousness.
Where has it gone?  Come back into awareness!"

This fainting is because
lovers want so much.

A chicken invites a camel into her henhouse,
and the whole structure is demolished.

A rabbit nestles down
with its eyes closed
in the arms of a lion.

There is an excess
in spiritual searching
that is profound ignorance.

Let the ignorance be our teacher!
The Friend breathes into one
who has no breath.

A deep silence revives the listening
and the speaking of those two 
who meet on the riverbank.

Like the ground turning green in a spring wind.
Like birdsong beginning inside the egg.

Like this universe coming into existence,
the lover wakes, and whirls
in a dancing joy,

then kneels down
in praise.


(Rumi)


(also from Rowdyblue )

11 July 2011

Casey Anthony, Betty Ford, and Barack Obama

I have to do this:



For the past week, I have been visiting family
which has meant I have watched a heck of a lot more television
than I usually do.
The week began with coverage of
the Casey Anthony verdict -
 I actually had very little knowledge of this trial
until this week.

I guess I'm one of very few in the U.S.A. who can say that.



So, the verdict is in;
we know what it is;
folks are angry,
lots of folks have an opinion,
and lots of folks are looking for ways
to continue to make money
off of this sad case --

On the day the verdict came in,
I vowed to not say a thing on this blog
about Casey Anthony,
because
I figured every blogger in the USA
would have something to say about it.




( please see Yahoo News
for the source of this photo & obituary )

Then,
Betty Ford died.



And today,
Barak Obama held an unusual Sunday meeting
to try to keep the U.S. government
from going into default.
No decisions were made --
the government is still divided,
and can't seem to find a way
to set aside differences and realize
exactly what is at stake.

U.S.Debt Clock

~ ~ ~

I did Google searches on all three topics,
and found that there is much more being written 
still
on Casey Anthony
then there is on
Betty Ford,
a very dignified woman who had the nerve to admit her shortcomings.
As one British newspaper article I read said, if given the chance,
Betty Ford may have been a better president
than her husband was.
-- May she rest in peace -- 

And the Anthony case may also surpass the U. S. economy
on the amount of media attention it continues to receive.

This leads me to form the hypothesis that
the American public is probably more informed on the sundry details
of a very sad murder
and a case of very poor and irresponsible parenting
than it is on their economy.

As a professional educator
in higher education in the U.S. of A.
who every year meets a new crop
of the children of the average American public,
I would venture to say that most citizens here
really do not understand
the crisis the government is in,
yet,
some have the nerve
to criticize the work of our own president,
who after a mere two years has not been able
to clean up the mess he inherited
from about 50 years (or more)
of increasingly irresponsible
government spending.


But ask most Americans about Casey Anthony,
and you will get a very informed opinion.



You know,
even a search on
"duct tape"
brings up,
first and foremost,
a number of entries
about Casey Anthony.


In fact,
I'm willing to bet that I will get quite a few hits on this blog
simply because I wrote something with
Casey Anthony's name in the title.

Let's see if I'm right.



I'm only modestly sorry
if you came to this blog to read
more dirt
on Casey Anthony,
because I'm not going to give it to you.
But I would suggest you
do a search on
the U.S. deficit,
or something else
that probably has a heck of a lot more relevance
to your own life.
And when you do that search,
please make sure you read about 10 articles
from a wide range of sources -
or read at least as many sources as you have read
about Casey Anthony,
and use the same amount of care you are taking
to form your opinion on what to do
with Casey Anthony
to form your opinion about that deficit
and the best way to support our government
so we can solve it,
rationally,
and with respect for every American,
whether we agree with them or not
 .
 .
 .
.
.

09 July 2011

06 July 2011

Old Friends



My mother has a friend  she has known since she was nine.
Both are in their eighties now.

I had lunch with them today.

My Aunt, as we call her,
Though there is no blood shared,
Was always the stronger –
Or so it seemed.  Vibrant,
Provocative, absolutely gorgeous,
With Betty Boop curves
And unafraid to speak her mind,
She lorded over my mother,
Who was the meeker, the less
Confident, the demure
(though notably, my mother drove –
she forced herself to learn after two years
of post-partum agoraphobia;
and my Aunt never learned how.)

Their spouses, my father and my Uncle,
Both now long gone, having now been fully secured
To mythic status for their respective clans
Were also best friends – our families
would camp together,
Boat together,
Holiday together,
Everything together –
We were closer to them than kin,
If that’s at all possible.  Indeed
It is: my sister
Nearly married their son; their elder
Daughter was our babysitter, and knows a few
Of my most painful youthful secrets.

In the meager amount of time I’ve shared with my Aunt’s family
(a half a century or so)
I’ve witnessed her friendship with my mother change –
From buddies
To jealousies
To rivalries
To trivialities
But always, somehow they remained
Friends.

Today they sat together at table,
My Aunt now shriveled and bruised –
A brittle post-bypass diabetic,
Nearly blind.  My mother, the stronger,
Though slowed by arthritis and aided
by six cardiac stints, had made the meal –
A simple chicken salad with melon and iced tea.

The attitude between the two
old friends
is one of constant surprise
-- that they are still together --
and grim acceptance
-- that they are still together --
and gratitude.

We spoke of old times; we spoke
Of new times; or we did not speak
At all.  My former babysitter, too,
My “Cousin,” was in attendance, and we spoke
Of her grandchildren.
For four hours, I was blessed
With the comfort of the company of
People who have known me all my life  -
Who have loved me despite my distant
wanderings, who have applauded my accomplishments,
Though from afar.

The sentiment is trite,
I know,
but triteness often comes
from truth: 
How far must one travel to know
Old Friends. are perhaps
one of the few great comforts
In human existence.


05 July 2011

Today's Diva: Jane Scott, Rock Critic (May She Rest In Peace)



Jane Scott was in her 40's
and had been writing about social events,
when she was asked to cover
a press conference with the Beatles for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

She ultimately came to be known
as the premier rock critic
in Cleveland, Ohio,
despite the fact she looked like most of the artists' grandmother.

( also from photos.cleveland.com )

Though some might disagree with me,
there are indeed some critics
who deserve the title
"diva,"
and, quite frankly,
Jane Scott would have to be up there in the top 10,
as a woman who loved her job
and did it very well, indeed.

She passed away this past Monday,
at the age of 92.

It's very difficult for me,
who will admit to having a bit of a history
with Cleveland,
to let this passing go without mention.

So here's to you,
Jane,
have fun on the other side
where I'm sure you'll probably greet all your rocking buddies
as they join you --




Jane Scott, rock critic
(1919 - 2011)

02 July 2011

The Alchemy of Tears




When seeking out the formula for gold,
Faust, in his blindness,
overlooked the soul.
Its insubstantial quickness
as it grinds
against the course rough edges
of the mind
produces just the proper
substantiation,
                          that
when applied to physical
limitation,
produces the balm of the priceless:
                  
                                            tears.



My tears fall
for the boundless hopes
I've borne
that were cut short
by the miserable, measurable truths
of living among men (and women).

My tears                 Yours, too:
            delicate, 
          painful
&
          fleeting.
They are the priceless
elements we humans
all
have the capacity to produce:
                   the miracles of
                       compassion
                                   loss
                                   and
                                  love
that help us to live on.




(The tiny blue teardrop above comes from the following website,
http://webbyfun.lbbhost.com/Homepage/teardrops.html
and should include the language:
"I put this teardrop here to show my support for all the abused children of the world."




The poem above 
is mine.)