Monday, March 20, 2023

Song for Spring Equinox by Diane di Prima


It is the first day of spring, the children are singing

(they are supposed to be sleeping) the clock is ticking

the cats are waiting for supper, one of them pregnant

kittens to herald the spring, nothing is blooming

nothing seems to bloom much around farms, just hayfields and corn

farms are too pragmatic, I look at ads

for hydrangea bushes, which I hate they remind me of brooklyn

for chinese wisteria vines, which I can’t picture

but they sound exotic and mysterious

a kind of blue purple, I decide I’ll get some

will I be disappointed, will they be yellow?

will I hate the Shetland pony we are buying

will we run out of wholewheat flour this week

before a new supply drives up from the city?

oh, it is very like being a pioneer,

but then everything is in this country, and in the country

especially. it was like being a pioneer on 5th street, too

and houston street, and amsterdam avenue

and in brooklyn, under the streetlights growing up

rollerskating at dusk with stickball games in the street

was the most pioneery of all,

it is slightly boring,

it tastes a lot of the times crossword puzzle

and ordering things thru the mail, which never come

or turn out wrong, or come the wrong color (wisteria)

I can’t blame Alan for planning to go to India

to free his kundalini, so that his ears peel

or something dreadful happens to his physique

we are built for the exotic, we americans, this landscape leaves us

as open as a piece of chocolate cream pie

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

In honor of International Women's Day -


19th Amendment Ragtime Parade by Marilyn Chin 

Birthday, birthday, hurray, hurray

The 19th Amendment was ratified today

Drum rolls, piano rolls, trumpets bray

The 19th Amendment was ratified today

Left hand bounces, right hand strays

Maestro Joplin is leading the parade

Syncopated hashtags, polyrhythmic goose-steps

Ladies march to Pennsylvania Avenue!

Celebrate, ululate, caterwaul, praise

Women’s suffrage is all the rage

Sisters! Mothers! Throw off your bustles

Pedal your pushers to the voting booth

Pram it, waltz it, Studebaker roadster it

Drive your horseless carriage into the fray

Prime your cymbals, flute your skirts

One-step, two-step, kick-ball-change

Castlewalk, Turkey Trot, Grizzly Bear waltz

Argentine Tango, flirty and hot

Mommies, grannies, young and old biddies

Temperance ladies sip bathtub gin

Unmuzzle your girl dogs, Iowa your demi-hogs

Battle-axe polymaths, gangster moms

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Lucy Burns and Carrie Chapman Catt

Alice Paul, come one, come all! 

Sign the declaration at Seneca Falls!


Dada-faced spinsters, war-bond Prufrocks

Lillian Gish, make a silent wish

Debussy Cakewalk, Rachmaninoff rap

Preternatural hair bobs, hamster wheels     

Crescendos, diminuendos, maniacal pianos

Syncopation mad, cut a rug with dad!

Oompa, tuba, majorette girl power

Baton over Spamalot!

Tiny babies, wearing onesies

Raise your bottles, tater-tots!

Accordion nannies, wash-board symphonies

Timpani glissando!

                    The Great War is over!

Victory, freedom, justice, reason

Pikachu, sunflowers, pussy hats

Toss up your skull caps, wide brim feathers

Throwing shade on the seraphim

Hide your cell phones, raise your megaphones!

Speak truth to power

                           and vote, vote vote!


Nitwit legislators, gerrymandering fools

Dimwit commissioners, judicial tools

Toxic senators, unholy congressmen

Halitosis ombudsmen, mayoral tricks

Doom calf demagogues, racketeering mules

Whack-a-mole sheriffs, on the take

Fornicator governators, rakehell collaborators

Tweeter impersonators, racist prigs

Postbellum agitators, hooligan aldermen

Profiteering warmongers, Reconstruction dregs


Better run, rascals     better pray

We’ll vote you out      on judgement day!

Better run, rascals      better pray

We’ll vote you out       on election day!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Favorite Spots in Paris, Part Nine - Bouquinistes

 "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

        – Thomas Jefferson

Etching signed "yvon"


From Wikipedia:  "The Bouquinistes of Paris, France, are booksellers of used and antiquarian books who ply their trade along large sections of the banks of the Seine: on the right bank from the Pont Marie to the Quai du Louvre, and on the left bank from the Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire

The Seine is thus described as 'the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves'.

Installed along more than three kilometres of the Seine and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the 240 bouquinistes make use of 900 "green boxes" to house some 300,000 old books and a very great number of journals, stamps and trading cards."

Spending a day walking in Paris browsing book stalls.

What could be more perfect?!

j'espère que vous reviendrez

Monday, March 6, 2023


As I grow old

I will not shuffle to the beat

of self-interest

and make that slow retreat

​​​to the right.

I will be a septuagenarian insurrectionist

marching with the kids. I shall sing

‘La Marseillaise’, whilst brandishing

homemade placards that proclaim


I will be an octogenarian obstructionist,

and build unscalable barricades

from bottles of flat lemonade,

tartan blankets and chicken wire.

I will hurl prejudice upon the brazier’s fire.

I will be a nonagenarian nonconformist,

armed with a ballpoint pen

and a hand that shakes with rage not age

at politicians’ latest crimes,

in strongly-worded letters to The Times.

I will be a centenarian centurion

and allow injustice no admittance.

I will stage longstanding sit-ins.

My mobility scooter and I

will move for no-one.

And when I die

I will be the scattered ashes

that attach themselves to the lashes

and blind the eyes

of racists and fascists.

     - - - Brian Bilston

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Favorite Spots in Paris, Part Eight - Musée Rodin


We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.

―Pascal Mercier, from Night Train to Lisbon

Even if you're completely tired of museums, you'll want to wander through the sculpture garden of Musée Rodin.

I promise.

It's heavenly.

And, okay, it's pretty darn heavenly inside as well.

j'espère que vous reviendrez

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

All Dressed Up by Tarriona “Tank” Ball


I feel like shit, and no one even noticed.

Nobody said: “Aye you straight?”

Nobody saw my water overboiling, or my car running hot, or my marriage failing.

Nobody saw me failing.

Nobody noticed my tire running out of air, or that I was drowning.

Nobody saw me.

Ain’t I somebody?

Ain’t I somebody worth saving?

I dun got all dressed up with no place to go.

I put flowers in my hair.

I soaked in white lilies and honey milk all night.

Wasn’t anybody gonna tell me I look pretty or my skin smell nice?

I made a dress from a bee’s nest.

Got stung 66 times makin’ it, and still found time to get dressed.

I darkened my lashes with oil from the spill.

I made a corset of tape from all the secrets I hold together.

I stole earrings from my aunt Nessa.

One fell down the sink.

I built a fishing pole from my insecurities that went all the way down the drain.

I couldn’t find the earring, but I found some other things.

Like my expectations of men, compliments from nasty uncles, the bosom of women, the security of relationships, the holes in my net.

I was fishing for water. 

Was I too busy looking strong to be it?

Too busy tryna be beautiful than being it?

Busy putting canola oil in my hair and fish grease on my lips. Straightened my hair with heat, I whitened my teeth with a crocodile’s nail, washed my clothes with bleach for the period stain.

I made a bra strap from chains.

Now that’s being a woman.

What’s a woman? What a woman be? Is she bent over trees?

Stolen fruit, rotting misbelieves.

Is she trimmed, gold-plated with no-hair underarms?

Is she perfectly Instagram cropped? Imitated?

Should she be intimate, soft, sweet, delicate?

Or are all these things irrelevant?

Should she get what she ask for? 

Should she ask politely?

Is she traditional, more modern?

Is she wife, she wifey? Sexy?

Is she fat? Are the curves where she asked for?

Is she augmented? Is she dark? Could she afford what she paid for? 

I dun got all dressed up with no place to go.

Ain’t you gon at least tell me I look pretty … ?

Tarriona “Tank” Ball is the lead singer of the Grammy Award-nominated band Tank And The Bangas. In 2021, she published her first book of poems, Vulnerable AF.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Pat Conroy bio "Man on Fire" by Catherine Seltzer

In case, like me, you're still wondering when we might be able to read that biography . . .


"This site will also be the place to come to for news of possible film adaptations of his work as well as for updates regarding the much anticipated biography of Pat Conroy by Catherine Seltzer, "Man on Fire", to be published by his longtime editor Nan A. Talese/Knopf. It is a moving and definitive literary biography of the man and his work, scheduled for publication in 2022 but due to its complexity it has been delayed to second part of 2023.   Your patience will be handsomely rewarded..!!'

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Favorite Spots in Paris, Part Seven - The Gardens


And where better to do nothing than a lovely Paris garden?

The two gardens we hear the most about are Luxembourg and Tuileries, both pretty darn fab.  A lot of bloggers seem to choose one over the other, resulting in "Team Luxembourg" vs "Team Tuileries." 

Me?  I'm totally am an ALL the gardens gal.

There's a lot here to see so don't stop exploring after you've enjoyed the large lawn and palace.

The carousel is the oldest in Paris.

The Medici Fountain is lovely and peaceful.

The little cafe is a perfect spot for a bite to eat, a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine.

men playing boules in Luxembourg Gardens
Photo by Loïc Brohard

It's a wonderful stroll from the Louvre pyramid to the Orangerie to see Monet's water lilies

And - there's a carousel ❤

There's more, lots more, in the way of gardens.

A book I recommend is by Susan Cahill, with photographs by Marion Ranoux.

Many of the gardens and parks have carousels. 

If that's of interest, I have another recommendation -  😊

j'espère que vous reviendrez

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Happy 10th Anniversary, WHIMSEY - Some Thoughts (good ones and mean ones) 😜

Ten years ago this month I published my novel, WHIMSEY

I recently picked it up and re-read it.  

And I liked it.   I still like it.

And I'm still proud of it.

And it made me think of Earl Staggs, who virtually held my hand almost every day across the 1,044 miles from Dallas-Fort Worth to Meat Camp for the two plus years it took me to write it.  

He pushed me, he cajoled me, he taught me.

The day he finally said, "Okay, darlin', time to let it go."  I typed THE END and had a good cry.

If you read Amazon reviews you know they run the gamut.  From flattering and gratifying to truly cringeworthy.

Today WHIMSEY has 85 ratings with a 3.9% ranking.  It's been compared to Nora Roberts, Sarah Addison Allen, and Ellery Adams.  (Yes. It has - i did not make that up!)

And no, not all good reviews were written by friends and people i know.

It had been referred to as "optimistic" and "inspirational."

"Equal parts spunk and elegance, cigar smoke and iced coffee, the book delivers on the name.  "Whimsey is just that: whimsical."

But wait.  Oh, there's more.

It's also been called "cheesy"  (well, maybe it is - a little).

It has also been called "trashy"  (wow.  Really??).

Someone spent the time to write seven paragraphs telling us in great detail what he hated.  Bless his heart.  

Why would anyone exert this much time and energy reading and reviewing a book they hate that much?  I'm lazy and take the easy way out.

I just put the book down, quit reading it, and move along to the next book it my TBR stack.

There's more. . .

It was called boring, predictable, 

and poorly written.

It was also called well written, 

but unbelievable because all the characters were too beautiful.  And too kind.  And too supportive of one another.  This reader really  really hated all those nice people.

Another reader was offended that the writer (that would be me) expected her to believe in fairies and pixies.

Anyway - the reviews were a mixed bag.

Did those remarks hurt?

Some of them.

Some of them made me laugh, some puzzled me.

But keep reading if you want to know what truly did, and still does, hurt.

Several months after WHIMSEY was published,  I received a note in my email box via my webpage from a person whose name I did not recognize, but came to realize was a woman I had known, although not well, from many, many years ago.  Like me, she now has a different last name.

This note from a woman I thought I remembered only from Georgia Tech football games and parties where we were both drinking way too much.  Hearing from her made me happy on several levels.

It's a funny ol' world.

Most of you know I was married before Donald.  


Practice husbands.

And was then a very happy single girl for ten years before meeting Donald.

Because I, apparently, wasn't very good at the marriage thing, I was content with my singlehood, and no interest in getting married a third time.  I had a "family" of close friends and life was good. 

 Obviously, I changed my mind.   After 38+ years with Don Barley, i feel it's safe to say, with the ups and with the downs, it's working out. 

But, getting back on track . . .

The note I received was from a woman who had been married to a fraternity brother of Practice Husband #2 and it was fun catching up with her.  And we have stayed in touch.

Because we were both in occasional touch with acquaintances from back then familiar names did, and still do, come up in the way of  "Hey, remember so & so?  Well, guess what I heard?"

While playing catch up with Carole Ann, I was able to find out about people I had sometimes wondered about.

It's been a mixed bag of life events for this particular circle of old friends and acquaintances.

There have been successes, failures, and far more deaths than I would have expected.  And a couple of real surprises.

When she heard about WHIMSEY, she wanted to tell me she was proud of me for the accomplishment of starting and actually completing the task of writing a novel.  Because she writes, she said that was a struggle she understands.


That note was - and is today - gold.

If you have a friend who has accomplished something in their life that they're proud of, please take a minute to let them know you applaud it, or at the very least, acknowledge it.

Whether they've written a book, finally lost some weight they've been struggling with, just started training to run their first road race, learning to knit, taking piano lessons, whatever.

IF you are truly a friend, you'll, at best, tell them you're proud of them.  At the very least, let them know you're aware.

Believe me.  

Whether you acknowledge someone's efforts and accomplishments, or not.  They're going to remember.

I promise.

They are going to remember.

I remember every single person - friend, family, coworker - who took the minute to say something like, "Wow.  You wrote a book.  Good job!"

I also remember every single person - friend, family, coworker - who just could not be bothered.  

You better believe I remember.  

Those snubs hurt a whole lot more than some lousy one star review at Amazon from a stranger.  

Whether someone I care about likes the book or not is way less important to me than the fact that they acknowledge the effort.


I do understand that not all books are meant for all readers.

Thank you, again, Carole Ann.  You know you made a difference in how I felt, and put a smile on my face.  It was very much appreciated then, and is still appreciated now, ten years later.  You're an angel.  And Earl Staggs would have loved you to bits.

Life is good.

And Karma will handle the bitches who piss you off by pissing on your parade.

Happy 10th  Birthday, WHIMSEY!


I love you to the moon and back!