Monday, November 23, 2015


On my way to Massachusetts
 Last year it snowed on the 26th
 It was very beautiful and quite cold
Three Thanksgivings
by Ms.

Always the odor of poultry fat
drippings, onions, sage, and
Fall falling or had fallen, some
years-snow, a fire in a hearth
not in those pines, 'where the
sun never shines' - Mortality.

Never the family entirely, but
some parts of it at each stop;
stop, crushing and dividing.
Footsteps falling or fallen
echo across times pastime.
Borders shift - Bird migration.

Migrating bits of' Thanks', 'No
thanks', no more of war stuff.
Stuffing, bread baking, berry
pie making, enough for all,
all for one Oh - If you suffer,
suffer my love to heal you.

The Aunts; sturdy Anna, squat Margaret, and tiny Mamie Cunningham - How did all of us fit into that tiny Bronx apartment, along with Uncle Dan and Aunt Mary, cousins Danny, Dorothy and Anthony Ryan, plus Mom (a former Ryan), my brother and me?  It had a kitchen the size of a long thin hall, a living room that served as a bedroom when the couch was opened, and a bedroom split into three sections with curtains.  Thankfully, there was a screen door inside the apartment door that opened on to the building hall, so some air circulated in the stuffy, overheated rooms where the oven had been raising the temperature since before dawn.

A folding table, which usually sat flush against a wall, was opened to its full with extra planks, and set with the best utensils, plates, glasses, dishes of cream cheese filled celery, olives and pickled onions, two baskets of dinner rolls, butter, salt and pepper on a white linen cloth at the center of the living room turned dining room, extra chairs borrowed from neighbors all in place.  The couch sat four, a bit lower than was comfortable, so usually assigned to the most compliant.  Once seated we were wall to wall prisoners for the duration of a six course traditional meal plus dessert pies.  Then the discontents of fidgety kids begging to go out to the cool air an elevator ride away.  Aunt Anna, the stoic who made it her duty to read the stack of  mass card prayers for the dead daily, left them in her purse to help with clearing. Fragile Aunt Mamie sat poised, though half asleep, in a corner of the couch, while Aunt Margaret excused herself to lie down in the divided bedroom because of her famous 'upside-down stomach'.  Women snaked back and forth to the kitchen, scraping, washing drying and stacking.  The radio played a football game while Uncle Dan lit up another Pall Mall and ordered Anthony to get him a cold beer before going out.  My mother lit up and sat next to him for access to the ashtray.  There was a steady patter from the kitchen, dominated by Aunt Mary's Irish-lilting instructions about where everything belonged. 

So it was every November after Dad's death in 1953, and for many years through the disappearances that thinned our ranks--another death, then two left for other places, another stopped coming when she fell ill, and so it was till one day, it simply was no more.  My lamp is throwing a circle of light now upon the photographs, fading as we all will when we've finished our feasting.

3. (In process)

May all be well with all of you and every one else
See you in December

Saturday, November 21, 2015

14 -15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20

 "As a lamp, a cataract, a star in space,
 an illusion, a dewdrop, a bubble,
 a dream, a cloud, a flash of lightning;
view all created things like this."
The Buddah - from the Diamond Sutra


Listened to, read and shared

Walking meditation began at Gramercy Park
proceeded down Irving Place to 14th Street
 where Apple bank offers "Totally FREE Checking"
 continued Eastward, crossed 1st Avenue
"Om Mani Padme Hum"
onward to the East River at Avenue C
sauntered along River-Cove Park to 23rd Street
West to 2nd Avenue and South to 21st Street

Downtown by bus to write with my group
'The Moving Pen'
(Ginko Path)
 Two hours later:
A three-part Thanksgiving piece is in process

Returning to wellness
Two hours later:
to Penn Station where I got my ticket for Massachusetts
(They said okay and posed)
 pigeons were sunning at the Main Post Office
Walked home

Returned again
 (mental wellness through yoga)
 Two hours later:
went round the corner on West 25th Street
to the Serbian Cathedral
 then on to the Eternal Light Flagstaff at Madison Square Park
Dedicated on Armistice Day 1923 commemorating the return of soldiers and sailors from World War I.  Commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker at a cost of $25,000, it was designed by Thomas Hastings. Made of Milford pink granite, it's inscribed with the names of significant battles.  The ornamental iron cap of garlands and rams heads was sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett

No photographs, just resting, writing and being

Sheltering inside the Amalgamated Bank
(23rd Street at 3rd Avenue)
A short while later
Found on the street
 Still warm
 No breath
No marks
 Such beauty


Not the end
Return to Innocence

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Sensitively written eye witness account:

Life has loveliness to sell
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,,
And children's faces looking up,
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
eyes that love you, arms to hold,
And for your spirits still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be

-Sarah Teasdale-1917

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Mother and Child
(from the doll collection)

Primary Horses
(Acrylic and pen on Paper)

Playful Worker
(played with me while we folded chairs)

Detail of The Dalai Lama Painting
(from the current exhibit)

Sharon Salzberg
(led the meditation session)

Here are the Prayer Wheels
Returned home in the slick chilly rain and spent the next two days helping the Super find the source of the ceiling leak in my home (apartment) and finally fixedd it (we hope).  Next I'll tackle getting the wall and ceiling repairs.
Life is like this, from sublime to mundane and all that's in between.

Monday, November 9, 2015


 Fading and Resisting

Post Office Murals by Kindred McLeary
Eight Originals painted with Tempera on Plaster
Installed in 1939 and now much faded
How a fallen begonia blossom fades
 How, despite sunlight, this
Print on polished cotton does not fade
Myself faded but Recovering
Reading Mary Oliver
Which arrived in today's mail, and I must owe someone
or something for this unexpected gift, but who? What?


(NYC Supreme and Civil Judges)
Further Recovery Strategies

Change Sheets/Get a Haircut
(from my best barber)
 Appreciate Everything
(Street Find)
Eat Organic Food
(Red Char)
(Diced Raw Carrots and Beets-sesame ginger glaze)
Value Age
(old reliable tools)
(eye level memories behind my desk)
Live Stream With Krishna Das
three hours Saturday night
"Heart of Devotion"
three hours Sunday
(may or may not still be active)

Mural Reference Link

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I did ordinary things, thought thoughts, posted and emailed, even attended a few events, took herbal and homeopathic remedies, but more than anything, I slept.   I kept getting better-then worse-better-worse again and again
That was the reality of my up and down October.
On the 31st the neighbors above me shook my walls and ceiling day into night until I could stand it no more and phoned 311 with a noise complaint. Within a half hour peace returned
When Sunday dawned and I could barely breath,
I felt that I just might be dying
Monday I managed to get a walk in appointment with the clinic I've been using for decades.  Diagnosis--Bronchitis.
Remedy--a Five day course of Azithromycin
This bird is grounded with John Dowland