Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Was Edna St. Vincent Millay Writing about a Booty Call or is this just a more elegant "Bye Felicia"?

I'm warming up for poetry month (April is the cruelest month) and can't help wondering if this tidy gem was a lyrical description of a booty call, a "Bye Felicia", or was Edna just a player.  As poems goes, it is a delight with magnificent first and last lines.

I, Being Born a Woman and Distressed

I, being born a woman and distressed
By all the need and notions of my kind
And urged by your propinquity to find
Your person fair and feel a certain zest
To bear you body's weight upon my breast:
So subtly is the fume of life designed,
To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
And leave me once again undone, possessed,
Think not for this, however the poor treason
Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
I shall remember you with love, or season
My scorn with pity,--let me make it plain:
I find this frenzy insufficient reason
for conversation when we meet again.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Attending to The Last Business of a Child's Life. Chris Martinez

When I worked for a plaintiff's firm, we represented the wife and mother of a young man who had been murdered at his place of employment.  We were pursuing employer liability while the criminal case against the killers proceeded in the courts.  The wife and mother, both spoke only Spanish, and were often accompanied by the murdered man's brother when they came to the office.  The brother spoke English and he and I would chat.  One day he expressed dread as the second criminal trial was approaching and he wondered if he had the strength to sit through it.  He said that he though it was easier on his mother and sister-in-law as they did not understand the language and did not have to hear the horror of this terrible death.  He wondered aloud, why he felt compelled to attend, as it was so unbearable.

I told him of Dominick Dunne, the author and father of the murdered young actress Dominique Dunne.  He was asked a similar question as he sat every day in the small Santa Monica courtroom, a few short feet away from the man who choked the life out of his only daughter.  He said that he had to be there as he was attending to the last business of his child's life.

I told this bereft brother, that Dunne, a famous author who traveled in the highest circles of wealth, privilege and social class shared with him a duty to family that crossed all strata of human society.  The brother nodded, looked off in the distance and said softly, "Yes.  It is the last business of my brother's life.  That is why I go." I have never forgotten this and was reminded of it when I saw my friend Rich Martinez on television responding to the senseless murder of his son, Chris, in Isla Vista in yet another grotesque mass murder that has once again, stained our nation.

Too early for grief, Rich's anger and blame was no more than an extension of the devoted parenting skills he and Chris' mother had exercised for the last twenty years.  Through his grief, he directed his words toward improving our social good--the very thing he did as a parent in shaping Chris to be the kind, loving, generous boy that he was.

I am gobsmacked at the bravery of Richard's last parental act, to think of others and to try to achieve social change. I don't know if I have ever seen anything so brave as Richard Martinez attending to the last business of his child's life.

Friday, May 1, 2015

I am a cautionary tale of woe.

I don't know how it got by me.  I'm pretty good about health care. But I really never thought about the shingles vaccine.  Perhaps I didn't know anyone that got it.  Maybe in my mind's eye I am not a little old lady but still in my thirties and still cute as a biscuit.  But I did not get the vaccine and I am now a cautionary tale.  I think that as a public service, they should prop my shell of a body up in public place (perhaps in the stocks in the village square as we did in Puritan New England) and tell people, who are looking at my anguish with concern. "See that pathetic woman. SHE didn't get the vaccine. She knew about it and she has money and health insurance.  It is inexplicable."  And then the on-lookers, will all go "Ahhhh, and she doesn't even look stupid" as they race to the nearest pharmacy for the shot.  I am the Johnny Appleseed of shingles vaccination.  I travel the country (via Facebook) and drop seeds of my woe and hope they sprout and bear the honey-crisp fruit of preventative action by others.

It is not only shingles that has struck its blow, but a family thing that I won't talk about now other than to say that even without postherpetic neuralgia I would have been struck low in anguish.

If I were Ian Fleming, I would title my book, "The Woman Who Saved Me" (The Spy Who Loved Me, for those of you who weren't James Bond obsessed at the age of eight).  Sukey Buchanan showed up on my doorstep.  I would tell you that her being in her pajamas illustrated the depths of her concern and worry but Sukey has been known to just go out in her p.j.s . I've been way too self-absorbed to take a picture of her bad self as she sits next to me and makes me stop working.  I wish y'all could have seen us listening to "Mack the Knife" yesterday--oozing life.  Two old ladies carried away by...

But Sukey is an artist and she gave me some of her work.  A life book, which is a moveable feast of her art.  One is interactive with it. Some paintings that I love.  I know why.  My life is filled with pain and anguish and she wants me to be distracted by beauty.  So she comes every day and sits with me and when I was maniacal she let me run on (How you talk) and then gave my pick(s) from a lovely collection of her beautiful work

  I figured out what she is doing.   She sees me consumed by pain, grief and anger and is applying the balm of beauty to it.  She gave me a lovely avian coloring book and asked me to color ONE picture. I refused. I cried.  I told her she was pressuring me.  But I just didn't want to because I thought I wouldn't be any good.  But she flipped some switch in my brain and now I have all these IDEAS for making things.  I want a glue stick.  NOW.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Emmylou, Peggy Sue and the Burrito Connection

     I think of two scenes when I think of the movie Peggy Sue Got Married.  One, where Peggy Sue, newly time-transported from her twentieth high school reunion back in time to her senior year of high school in 1960, answers the phone in the hallway of her childhood home and once again hears her  grandmother’s voice; 

 and, of course,  the scene where she reacts to her father's proud purchase of a new car.

     But it was her interaction with the then, high school geek, Richard Norvick, that came to mind as I listened to Emmylou Harris in concert the other night, and how the two fictional teenagers briefly touched on Richard's theory of relativity, time and space in the context of a not as yet familiar Mexican food.

Richard:  Well, then we have Richard's Burrito.
Peggy Sue:  What's that?
Richard:  That's my own theory based on Mexican food called a burrito.  I had it once when my parents took me to Disneyland.
Peggy Sue: I KNOW what a BURRITO is.

      Richard’s analogy of time and relativity as a tortilla folding over the filling until its curved ends fold over to touch each other, came to mind last week as the mister and I listened to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell sing perfect harmony, as they have done for forty years. We sat in the midst of a group of Vietnam veterans, together again (as the Buck Owen's song of the same name played in the pre-concert warm up) for one of the reunions of their time spent in the military debacle that set our generation apart and which was largely responsible for the music and political activism that defined our times. Those of us that are old enough to remember those times, remember Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers and know that he and Emmylou were friends and musical partners and that it was he who convinced Emmylou of her talent and whose musical vision of his, all too short life, influenced hers.  "There are two kinds of music.  The blues and zippety-doo-dah", says Emmylou.  We have listened to her tribute to Parsons at every concert, change over the years, from grief to gratitude, (She is his Achilles--as long as she is alive we will remember his name) yet, when I see her turn her back to the audience and start blowing up that flat top box, I know that Luxury Liner is coming, and my throat aches a little with the unrecoverable loss of promise and youth.  But then that voice comes soaring from my girlhood and envelops us old folks trying to recover the glory days of our youth and music, and we are wrapped in that familiar sound,  both past and present, and in the words of the old A.P. Carter song that Emmy and Rodney have been singing together for so long, that I am unable to unbraid the plait of their perfect harmony, I feel my husband slip his loving hand in mine.

Hello, Stranger, put your loving hand in mine
Hello, Stranger, put your loving hand in mine
You are a stranger
And you're a friend of mine.

Was Ruby talking about the Repubs and their planless Gov't shutdown?

"Every piece of this is man's bullshit.  They called this war a cloud over the land.  But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say "Shit! It's Raining."  Cold Mountain.

You don't say hi to strangers--says the cop--at least not in this neighborhood.

Philadelphia police conduct an abusive "stop and frisk" motivated by racism which permeates the entire stop.  Probable cause for the stop---they had said "Hi" to someone suspicious.

Philly cops incompetent as they appear to be--let this audio/video recording slip by

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My conviction, right or wrong.

Sworn to do justice get convictions, or else.  Prosecutor disciplined for dismissing charges she couldn't prove.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


"You know I'm good for it. It's just that all my money is tied up in, uh, assets and stuff."  Vernon Hightower  (Nadine)