Pup . . . . . .

his birthday
is not important
to me

no
it is the day
he died
the day he
left
me behind
the day
I watched
the tide
gently
carry him
away
take his spirit
out to sea
and
still I see him
along the beach
my big wooly
Pup
my dark dog
my big
black Pup
I miss your bark
I miss your breath
I miss your play
I miss my
soul mate
everyday

so I say
to my Pup
never set
me free

I endure
my pain
one that
is so
deep
within
for it is all
that I
have left of
you

until
we meet again
I will pretend
that I hold
you close
and
watch you run
along
the beach
as we used
to do
pretend
we still
snuggle close
as I
nuzzle you

I guess that this is an “unbirthday poem.” It is what came to me for Poet’s United “Birthday Poem.” I know just how much Sherry misses Pup. He was/is the love of her life. I grew up with horses, cats and dogs. I love my animals. I have never been without a cat. Before David came into my life, Max was my great love. He was Siamese and devilish. But what a love – we were inseparable. Sherry writes about Pup today. Her poem is haunting and painful and can be found .

This poem is linked to Poetry United’s Mid Week Motif’s Birthday Poems.

Empty Mind

Today, Becca wrote a haiku mentioning “empty mind” among other things here. Her haiku got me to thinking about “empty mind.” So many spiritual traditions teach you to empty your mind so that you might “receive.” I can remember years ago, most likely in my late twenties or early thirties being told to “let go and let God.” It is interesting to look back and see things through the vernacular of the day. Years ago I studied and practiced shamanism with Michael Harner. More accurately; I studied with him and practiced on my own. He published the Shaman’s Drum magazine. As a shaman one “goes into the void” to seek knowledge, wisdom, truth and healing. At that time I was very interested in healing. The “void” is another manner of emptying one’s mind. I remember my void perfectly. I would travel by car to Lake Carlisle, dive deeply into the ground via this body of water and enter the void. My void was the dark blue night sky filled with stars. It was a very rich and dark, almost velvet sky. I used to travel across it with lightening speed acquiring what it was that I needed, healing, wisdom, spirituality. Have you ever had long periods of time when you felt spiritually void? I am just now coming out of one. I used to criticize myself when I had these periods as if I was sub human. Today I realize that these periods are restful and rejuvenating.

I had an experience with The Christ long ago, an experience of deep and all encompassing love. Among other things this opened me up to the understanding that all religions were simply languages, given by God to the different cultures so that God and the culture could communicate. Thus, bringing more goodness into ones life. So why is it that we constantly war over religion. Perhaps we are too interested in the study of our religion and not in emptying the mind. Empting the mind is fairly egoless. This experience also introduced me to many Christians, first in person and then on line. Forgive me if I offend any of you but for the most part they were not particularly nice people. Not everyone mind you, but many. So, what is it about this “empty mind thing” anyway? I know that it does bring me a calmness.

I have a spectacular view from my bedroom window. It is entirely man made, no greenery and nothing particularly natural. Seven floors up, I look out upon the whole north side of St Louis. Within my vision are several steeples and church spires. But most glorious of all is my view of the Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge. I just love it! It is my bridge. I took possession of it the day we moved in here. There is also space where I can watch the traffic. I like to say that I can see the movement of the city. This calms and pleases me. It makes me wish for a wonderful and interesting view for all who are homebound. My mind empties with ease when watching, looking and seeing all that is behind our building. Following is a photo of my bridge taken this morning. At first I had decided to take a photo of it daily for the new year. However, I have decided that I shall only take photos of it randomly when it exhibits extraordinary beauty to me.

I have to tell you that I just looked at a comment from my friend Becca. It is odd how we humans interpret the words of others. She never said empty mind. No, she spoke of empty bedlam, something entirely different. None the less she did inspire me regarding empty mind.

DSC_1634

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all. Since moving in to our new place I have neither written nor read a thing. I guess that you might say “I have stalled out.” And as they say: “that is just fine.” But now it really is time to pick up pen and paper – or perhaps “turn the computer on.” I am amazed that a new turn of phrase has not joined the American lexicon denoting the “use of the computer.” I have decided that it is time to come back. It is time write again, read again, live again. I have missed the camaraderie and I have missed writing and the reading. Something that David said last night at dinner prompted me to decide that it was time. He mentioned that everyone is afraid to move to the city. Nothing new really, it is quite simply the “vanilla” attitude of most people who live in the county.

You see, the city of Saint Louis had a long standing feud with the County of Saint Louis. The city in it’s heyday refused to join the county when asked to do so to become one entity, sharing both government and services thus saving money. All of the cultural institutions are in the city. Grand events take place within the city. The city is made up of approximately 350,000 people. The county today is made up of approximately 3,000,000 people. The county contains the areas wealth and tax base. The “area” that the words “Saint Louis” comprise include both city and county. But in reality they are two separate places. The city of Saint Louis although poorly integrated is where a large percentage of the areas’ African American population lives. The city is made up of many neighborhoods, each with a distinct cultural flavor. The county today does not wish to “integrate” with the city. It does not wish to share the wealth so to speak.

We have always lived in the city. I cannot possibly imagine living in a place where everyone looks like me. David grew up in suburbia and grew quite allergic to it. The only time that I lived in a suburban neighborhood was in the mid sixties when formerly married. When David and I met we were living in Hyde Park. We pioneered. At that time before the advent of gangs, Hyde Park had been an old mid to late 19th century working class neighborhood filled with nothing but brick homes. Today it is bombed out. Sad really. I bought a 3 story brick home built in 1886 for $5000. David bought a three story brick home “on the park”built the same year, for $6500. I moved their in 1977 to begin a new adventure. It is where we met and became the very best of friends. Shortly there after we fell in love. In 1980 I decided to test the relationship. I simply moved to Murphy Blair a matter of 5-10 blocks away, yet a very different neighborhood. Of course he passed the test. He sold his home and moved in with me. A couple of years later with a minister and a Rabbi, under a Huppa and in front of a space heater we married. Shortly thereafter we moved to my favorite neighborhood in St Louis the CWE or the Central West End. It borders Forest Park, one of the most beautiful and one of the largest city parks in the country. It was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair. It is also the site of St Louis Museum, Zoo, Tennis Courts, Steinberg Skating Rink, The Jewel Box and numerous other beautiful and cultural places. We lived there for 31 years, moving this spring to downtown St Louis. I miss Forest Park terribly. However we do have our own lovely small Sculpture Park. I think it is time to take advantage of it. Yes, it is time to engage in life again. I shall do so here at Noh Where more than likely with haibun and haiku. I shall do so at “My Downtown Blog” (http://mydowntownblog.blogspot.com)by writing about and photographing downtown Saint Louis. It really is a jewel about which so many people have misconceptions – but I shall save that for “My Downtown Blog.”

Books and Magpies

I just found this post (unpublished), so I shall combine it with Tessa’s picture challenge at Magpie Tales as the second part of the post. It has simply been so long since I have blogged that I had forgotten how to actually enter a post! I hope that this finds my friends in the blogosphere well. I do believe that I have finally settled in and actually “feel” this to be home for a change.

I am excited about a project for which I have volunteered. I hope to be doing a writing project with a group of veterans should our Central Library be able to pull together a group. This is meant to take place during January and February. I was also to be a part of a new Haiku Group, but I have found that my commitments are def (as Brian would say) too many. As a result – no haiku group.

When I was a child, I read Mummy’s books. Her book plate stated: “Books Are Like Friends”. And they, (books) have been that way for me for a lifetime. We grew up with a library. It was the most beautiful room in the house. It was filled with leather bound books from the 1800s. They had been my great, great grandfather’s books. I never met him. The books were meant for me one day. Unfortunately, my mother chose not to heat or air condition this room, in Vermont of all places. The books were a complete loss – except for a very few.

David and I bought our first house in 1983 because it had a library. Well that is overstating it a bit. It had significant shelving in one room that became the library. I do not have that here, as we are only 3 rooms, albeit more square footage than our first home. I do have bookshelves enough to place one half of my library into. Leaving the other half of my “friends” behind was difficult. Choosing who to take along was very hard indeed. Quite! Anyway, my books are all in the shelves hodgepodge. Now that I am finally feeling at home I look forward to organizing them. Below please find two haibun. The second is for Magpie Tales.

Haibun
Books have for so long been such very good friends to me.
Leaving one half of them behind during our move was
gut wrenching, like leaving family or old friends. I do
so hope that they feel at home with their new owners.

I have forgotten
yes forgotten my friends
left to dustiness

For Magpie Tales # 247:
Thank you Tess for Maurice de Vlaminck’s Snowstorm. Unfortunately I cannot seem to upload it – ah well.

Haibun
I grew up with snow. A lot of snow, in Vermont. In 1965 when I was 19
I moved to NYC. The biggest snow storm of my life took place. My family
sent me photos of snow above the roof line as they tunneled out.
This is November of 2014 and there are places today
that have had this kind of snowfall.

thick strokes of snow
brackish sky dwindling lights
in the outer world

For Magpie Tales # 247

NOT A SELFIE

I give the details here for it might assist another with issues that they, he or she might be having.

I am very grateful that I am able to figure out what is wrong with myself. Meaning that if I am depressed, I can actually diagnose the situation and then take action. Too often people can become depressed or have another illness and not be able to figure out what is wrong without going to the doctor. Then there are trials of medications. Some work, some require dosage changes, some do not work. Please do NOT misunderstand what I am saying. If you feel that you may be depressed and that you need help, seek the aid of a physician. This has happened to me twice before. For me, I have discovered that it is best to figure out what is wrong and then see the doctor and make my request.

The first time that this happened to me was 1984. Right, I am Orwellian. My daughter had gone away to college. It did not bother me one wit. Really! But I stopped sleeping. And I mean that I acquired a real and nasty bout of insomnia that lasted for 6 months. It was bad enough, that I could say that I stopped sleeping altogether (although that was not quite true). I became afraid of “nighttime.” I did not wish to rely upon sleeping pills. I read everything on earth that I could find out about insomnia. I discovered that along with my estrogen, I should be taking progesterone. So, I asked my OBGYN for a prescription. I started taking the new hormone immediately. There was no relief whatsoever. Obviously, I had not quite finished my research. Remember there was no Internet back then. Back to my research. The doctor new nothing. I might add that this town is a pill pushing town when it comes to the practice of medicine. That is simply the medical tradition here.

The upshot of this is that I discovered a prescription, made to order, made from a yam, in suppository form, medication. Yams contain natural progesterone. One dose and I slept like a baby from that day forth. I continue to do so although I stopped taking the drug long ago. The next time that this happened to me my physician gave me Zoloft. In two weeks I felt fine and wished to come off the drug. But, I could not do so. When I told my physician the problem he chuckled and said to me” “yeah, my daughter can’t seem to come off it either.” This was not the response that I hoped for! I got the flu shortly there after. I was ill enough that I needed to go to bed for several days. Low and behold, I slept trough my pill taking time. I awoke, got up, dressed, went about my day and I was off the Zoloft and the nasty effects of coming “off” it. Thankfully.

I have had many life changes recently. When that happens to you when older, if can have depressive effects. I added up all of these changes and said to myself: “of course you are depressed.” But something did not quite sit right, something was off with my thinking. I just felt as if I had not thought it fully through. And I hadn’t. One of those changes is that after 30 years and five failed attempts I actually successfully came off my estrogen, about 4-7 weeks ago. After realizing this I now knew exactly what was going on. Hormones again. I shall seek the assistance of a physician who works with bio-identical hormones. I had looked to switch from traditional hormone therapy to bio-identical about five years ago. No one here had any idea of what I spoke. Today this town is full of doctors who prescribe them. Just Google it. So a poem to lift the spirits:

sO!

“U” “R”

feeling … dePRESSed … R U?

DIS – – – affected

D
O
W
N

you (R) wishing

that U could leave

Go somewhere else

Begin [Again]

DE {pression}

Is not unique
to you

…… But you are
U.

To this
world

there is [no one]

quite
….. like you

(this)
FACT gives

U,u,U,u,

A variety of GI…FTS
Unique to
{you}

Dis

cover what they R

they ///// Will /////

Give you the tools . . . . .
that U need

Tools 2 unlock your…..SELF

self
self
self
self

sELf … selfIE … U.

2 find within
The key to what WILL

H>E>L>P … u

You might say:

What IS wrong?

Then you may see your
[self]

AND

FIX

what is wrong ??? hMM

U have HA…D many cha{N}ges

So, you know

that {ALL} of those (c) hang es

at
your
age

OH (my) OH (my) Finally . . . . .

(I) get IT

{Y}
[e]
{a}
{h}

!!!!

hor…MONE{s}

aGain.

Mary has shared some incredible photos at the Poetry Pantry of Annell’s. Photos from “Fall Comes to Cimarron Canyon,” New Mexico, USA. They are glorious! So Poetry Pantry it is!

I shall be around to see you Monday morning.

Read a Little Poetry Everyday

How?

How does she do it?
I ask myself.

I ask myself a thousand
timeS.
She is so talented.
Her poetry makes me Happy.
Then again,
so
do her lovely
drawings. Together tHEY make a LOV
ely work of art.

Even during wartime.
I can read her blog and be happy.
I
don’t
have

to be
sad. I can be happy
andGain
MORe happiness after reading her poetry.

There
ARE people
on theInternet
who
simply
seem
to
exude
goODness.

I
have
several
friends.
Poet
friends
who
do
that.

I wonder
IS
that not our mission?

Perhaps
it should be the mission
of each of us
to exude
goodness.

For then
goodness
would
aBound.

WAR
and petty
theFt
even
murDer
would
end.

We would
have
no
need
for
BuLLeTS
or
buLLshIT.

Inspired by Claudia – a truly inspirational poet and artist here upon the Internet. Her work shows us how we can “get together” and “be together” in this world.

Posted at dVerse.

I Am Sickened!

I am absolutely sickened by what has happened here in Missouri! To be precise, I am sickened by what has happened here in Ferguson, MO my neighbor to the north. Can someone please tell me why this primarily African American community has a primarily white police force? Can someone please tell me why this police force does not have or use Taser guns? This is grotesque. Has no one thought that this young African American male might have become a doctor and served his community in that capacity?

Why has it “apparently” become acceptable for a police department to gun down a young African American boy (I am sorry but at 18 you are a kid, a boy, a youth)? And since when did we do away with Right to Assemble peacefully laws? When did it become practice within communities for peaceful protestors to be confronted by police tanks or tactical vehicles, tear gas and rubber bullets? When was lawful, peaceful protest by citizenry meant to be met with a militarized show of police force? What sickening photos have come out of Ferguson Mo, my neighbor to the north. This no longer feels like a civilized country but a police state with African Americans being targeted as if they were a threat to that state.

Two Eyes

For my friend Jamie, for whom I have much admiration and love across the great divide.

I hate war
there is
no greater evil

everything in war
hurts
it hurts everyone

death is the
responsibility of many
on either side

but if you are
the stronger
you must see

not with one eye
you must see
with two eyes

protect yourself
through seeing
with your right eye

protect the innocent
by seeing
with your left eye

oh Israel open
your left eye
and see

you must protect
all of the children
not just your own

that will be the
only way to
protect your own

Israel my great
passion I love
you

but I must
ask myself for the
sake of my friend

you are my friend
knowing you across
the great divide

I know that
you too suffer
and I ask myself

what about your
friend your friend
in Gaza

your friend suffers
your friend may be
lost in the war

of the powerful
how can I wish
your friend well

when I cannot see
the Palestinian
minority

how can I pray
for your friend
whom I cannot see

I must first
open my left eye
to see to pray

peace cannot
come to one for
it will not be peace

peace can only come
to both sides or
it is not peace

war kills so many
more innocent
than guilty

somehow the guilty
seem too often
to escape war’s pain

there is too
much rhetoric
around the world

too much noise
being fueled by
too much opinion

turn your opinions
into prayers
for both sides

pray for peace for
both sides or it
will not be peace

yes today I will
pray for peace
peace for the children

peace for the women
peace for the old
peace for the young

God bring peace today
make a peaceful
cease fire to last

today I have two eyes
I can see from both
let peace reign in Israel