pardon my absence


My apologies for not posting – I did put something up earlier today but took it down because it was so disjointed.  I am sick as a dog (still searching for the origins of that expression and not satisfied with anything I’ve found as of yet) and the only thing coming from my brain is a substance that resembles a raw oyster–hence my aversion to raw oysters.

But, ah, I did discover something today that I want to share. From the article, Why I Blog, by Andrew Sullivan:

“The word blog is a conflation of two words: Web and log. It contains in its four letters a concise and accurate self-description: it is a log of thoughts and writing posted publicly on the World Wide Web. In the monosyllabic vernacular of the Internet, Web log soon became the word blog.”

Of course.  And I thought it came from blah, blah, blah.  Stay thirsty, my friends.


from eleven minutes by paulo coelho




“I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.

The meeting of these two women is a game with serious risks. A divine dance. When we meet, we are two divine energies, two universes colliding. If the meeting is not carried out with due reverence, one universe destroys the other.” – Paulo Coelho


How does he know these things?


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mary naruta, right


I once wrote a poem about my mother, and although my poet peers seemed to like it a lot, I never thought it was very good. Or at least I thought it didn’t convey what I wanted to convey—that my mother filled me with rich impressions and experiences that are with me still, long after a multitude of memories have ceased to exist. Her name was Mary and the poem, which I am gladly turning into prose, was about the priceless times when there was no one available to watch me, and my mother had no choice but to take me to work with her.

She was a shopgirl in a bra and girdle store, “foundations” as they were called in the late fifties, “spanx” as it is known today. She rode (of all colors!) a maroon bus to and from work, downtown New Brunswick, a city big enough to have a Chinese neighborhood, two department stores, three movie theaters, and a somewhat ominous but busy train station. She worked with women with names like Nina, exotic women, working women, women who wore straight skirts and stockings and little sweaters, who smoked cigarettes on the sidewalk, who sat on bra boxes behind a curtain in the back of the store, drinking cold coffee and talking about their husbands. I watched my mother put big women in little garments, I watched her powder, probe, and compliment their curves. Sometimes she would let me push the buttons on the cash register and the customers would smile knowingly at my mother and I knew they liked and respected her. I was so proud. Sometimes we had lunch at Woolworths but my favorite spot was The Scarlet Restaurant, right next to Rutgers and always filled with smart people. The Scarlet served ice tea with a side of simple syrup in tiny milk bottles and it surely had to be the most exciting place to have lunch in all of New Brunswick. But the biggest wow was always my mother—how she could navigate the city, how she knew all about business and the working world, how beautifully stylish she was. Too much for a novice poet to try and capture.

She worked many years in retail. The bra and girdle shop morphed into a sportswear store and my mother became a successful and sought after manager. My first job was as a gift wrapper in her store during the Christmas rush, and I worked my way up to operating the cash register all on my own. But after I graduated from high school, Mary began a second career as a supervisor on a pharmaceutical assembly line, the straight skirt replaced by a hairnet and monogrammed lab coat that somehow never seemed to diminish her style. She was capable, forthright, independent, loving, a memory maker. She took care of me like no one has before and no one ever will. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.



boys and mothers

An awesome Billy Collins poem that was given to me by my awesome son. Read it if you have boys, read it if you have a mother. With another mother’s day post to follow, I didn’t realize that I had a “thing” for Mother’s Day but apparently I do.





The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past —
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even. – Billy Collins


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mother’s day




I never liked my mother-in-law. Well, okay, I did when I was drinking, as we were able to share easy conversation over a shared love of martinis. She was a difficult woman, intelligent and arrogant, an only child whose only child struggled with her demeanor as well. She was never a warm person, which my husband and I as adults could certainly deal with, but I wished in vain she had been so with her grandchildren. She asked to be called Grandmother – which should have been my first clue. She loved to read to her grandsons but never played with them, she never baked with them or for them (thank God for my dear mother), she never baby-sat but once spent a solid forty five minutes watching the boys on the beach while my husband and I took a walk—and we were seriously reprimanded for leaving her alone with the children for so long. She required thank you notes for every gift given, including the smallest of trinkets, and in a timely fashion or the giving would stop—and it often did. She was tough on little boys. And still they loved her, as little boys will do.

When my husband and I were cleaning out her apartment, my eye was drawn to a small, vibrant, framed elephant print, African or Indian looking, a little gem in an old lady world of brown-edged photos and fading fabrics. I packed it in my luggage and on returning home put it on the bookshelf, never opening the back of the frame nor examining it in any way. And then one day I did, and the print was a postcard from my son when he was working in Africa. He wrote, “…I saw this very nice postcard and thought of you, Grandmother. I hope you are well. I love you.” And she loved him and loved the card enough to frame it, and even though I knew nothing about its origins, or rather, even before I knew of its origins, I loved it, too. I was so proud of my son, as I often am, and called him in tears—but never had I been so touched by this cold and distant woman. Happy Mother’s Day, Becky.

evening in paris




She searched the entire city

for the man with the round face

but couldn’t find him.


And so she had to find another.

The dark one, with the room

across from the opera,

and the prayer rug, and the sleep mask,

and the hidden riches of contemporary kings

and older men.


And she laid in his bed and sang along with the soprano,

God forgive me, God forgive me. – pn



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another poem by wendell berry





Sometimes hidden from me

in daily custom and in trust,

so that I live by you unaware

as by the beating of my heart,


Suddenly you flare in my sight,

a wild rose looming at the edge

of thicket, grace and light

where yesterday was only shade,


and once again I am blessed, choosing

again what I chose before. – Wendell Berry


for todd and beth, aaron and amy


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David to Claire: (subject) Her

He felt her as he had no other woman, and even when they were not together, he always longed for her and her little-girl voice and her sexy, throaty laugh. He loved the way she dressed to provoke him, sometimes the demure and conservatively dressed woman but always the sluttish wanton underneath, smoldering with mostly unseen but deeply felt allure. He loved to feel her walking next to him, her perfumed softness, her subtle curves and the fire in her eyes as she silently challenged and played with him, the playing of roles, the token resistance as he pushed himself into her, the loving opening when she enticed him to deeper efforts, the deliberately whorish behavior that attended their lovemaking. Sometimes they drove each other to a new plateau of sensuality, finding that through cataclysmic upheavals, crossing conventional boundaries, using the tools of submission, lust and complete abandonment, that their connection, the cloth that bound them, became stronger and more permanent, with love woven discreetly but intricately into the fabric. xx d


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