December 2019
"Acrylic" - 12/31/19
Pouring out paint onto a paper plate
Squeezing tubes of shiny potential nuance
Reflecting on the idea of stillness 
Rejecting what's new in favor of what's constant
A brush picks up only as much as you let it
You guide it with your acumen or intended recklessness
The canvas meets you in the middle anticipating purpose
But what if purpose falls short of your expectation?
It's a question I ask less and less but it still arises
Time is of the essence but the sun so far rises
Silence glimmers but conversation shimmers
Listening to others is far more interesting than ruminating
Nonetheless I am content to be safe and warm
Safety comes in so many forms but gratitude has been
The most comforting companion these last 12 months
As much as it may retreat and then renew the view, oh the view!
"Dissolution" - 12/29/19
When every harmless question 
Is a labyrinth equal parts
Compassion and affront
(I am not quite healed yet)
When every bite of every meal
Is equal parts 
Medicine and poison
(I am not quite healed yet)
When every scene of beauty
Brings on tears I have no particular
Interest in indulging
(I am not quite healed yet)
When the idea of someone
I barely know asking my address ignites 
Memories of installing security cameras
(I am not quite healed yet)
When I freeze like a foal in headlights
Mid-sentence unable to distinguish 
My own ease from awkwardness
(I am not quite healed yet)
And a quick dip in the mikveh
Of meditation's calm assures me 
Once again that that's ok
(It's a process, not a protest)
"Time" - 12/18/19
Today I woke up 2 hours before my alarm went off
That never happens (it was 6 o'clock)
Sometimes the mind knows when 
The spirit requires extra time
To acclimate to overwhelm
As if it wasn't enough to be getting
Results that would hopefully constitute
A clean bill of health at 11am
I had an earlier appointment scheduled 
With an integrative MD across town at 9
She greets me with an outstretched hand
Asking permission for her resident to sit in
(He also extends his hand hoping for connection)
I find myself spontaneously white-lying
"Sorry, I'm not handshaking, I just got over something"
Embarrassingly, I've become one of those...
A few minutes later I'm jotting down reminders
Encouragement to keep journaling (I've never really
Embraced this and the closest I've come is poetry)
To keep sleeping well (someday I will heed this knell)
To continue to rely on "deep breathing" which she
Noticed I was already doing - but I did not.
The resident looks emotional as I convey my 
Ongoing efforts to eat clean, take supplements, 
Let worries roll off me more nowadays 
Eventually I get to music and they seem 
Intrigued by my confession that without it
I'd be somewhat lost and that with it I've no more
Need for last spring's temporary psychotherapist
I look at my watch it's time for me to hurry a few
Avenues away in the sleet and rain to the more
Focal appointment it was no coincidence I had these
Back to back someone behind the scenes
Put some experienced thought into that
The requisite vital signs are taken I'm told
Mine is low how the f-ck is that possible
But I guess it's to prove there are miracles
All around in spite of blood's tendency to 
Drown us in vulnerability the reality is simpler
Moment to moment time is a dancer 
Sitting still is against its nature but either way
The doctor eventually comes in with a smile
On her face that quickly puts my racing heart at ease
Everything is normal, she is pleased! Immediately
She shifts to smalltalk which amazes me I want 
To hug her and ask if it's appropriate she indulges me
Much more relaxed with me than 6 months ago
Seemingly the rain is now snow and I look
Out the window in the waiting room, waiting for 
The disc to take home. They apologize it will be
45 minutes and if time were parylized I would happily
Linger in it "no worries, I have time!" (And I do)
Oy To The World
"Oy To The World" - 12/16/19
Oy to the world 
The laundry's piled
The dishes in the sink
My weekend time to catch up
Has somehow cruelly shrivelled up
And Monday's stressors loom
Like monstrous clouds of gloom
At odds with the Hudson 
Candle's sweet perfume
Oy to the world
I'm underslept
But Hanukkah's next week
The piles of papers laugh at me
Like some distorted effigy
My resolution failed
Somehow I was derailed
Disorganization dismally prevailed
Oy to the world
I learned to write
Replacement songs at camp
Camp counselors imparted this
To me like a fun parlor trick
Imperfect rhymes galore
Childhood's atomic core
Keeping me awake at least 
I'm never bored
Oy to the world
It's almost time 
To force myself to bed
How difficult it is to sleep
With to-do lists coppermine-deep
And yet yoga dictates
To give oneself a break
Don't forget to breathe and 
Forgive each mistake
You are what you speak
And perfection is fake
Joy to the world 
The heat is on
The fridge is full of food
The future's full of mystery
As far as closing eyes can see
And Sunday's satisfied
To gently leave behind
Furloughed expectation 
For the open mind
By this time tomorrow
Latkes will be fried

"Red" - 12/10/19

There is probably nothing
I can add to the topic of getting an MRI
That hasn't been mentioned before
By the millions of people who've
Laid down on the same flat surface
Counting the same deafening clanks
Holding their breath with the determination
Of Olympic synchronized swimmers

There is certainly nothing illuminating
I can share around the idea that stress
Only creates more stress the way the very
Mysteries these machines hunt for divide and
Conquer within the dark precarious
Red is my power color and always has been
My hair, now grown-in down to my brows
Was red for a decade my nails today are too

There is nothing I can possibly gain from
Checking Facebook mere moments before
I am to undress, put my elements of style
Into an empty locker, attempting to focus on 
Positives like how lovely my nurse's smile is
Or that if I have to have anyone find another
Better vein it may as well be someone
With as kind a face as hers

I read about the singer from Roxette.
Sad news at every turn...if it wasn't her
It would have been someone or something else
Gunshots in Jersey City, a beloved actor accused
Today's news is as threatening to our collective soul
As results from my own test are important to me
I am one small but mighty ward in a prison from which
We all will only break out of together

Climate changes everything though
I look again at the woman's face and think
How difficult a job this must be
I appreciate her smalltalk, her thoughtful questions
She tells me she just saw "Waitress" and loved it
I recognize she is unquestionably my target audience
I will most likely never see her again just like
If I am lucky I will probably never see the last

One who helped me through that nearly identical day
6 months ago I went to a different facility
That one was closer to me this morning
I complained to myself about the pending
Greater shlep in realizing this I make myself laugh
I am able to be silly there is abundant humor
In frailty and even in the fact that after my test
I ran into friends who invited me to a movie

I'm dying to see but not tonight...Tonight I need
To check some deadlnes off my list: design a
Postcard for my next gig, weigh in on album art
So much work to be done its too bad I already
Binge-watched Mrs. Maisel it would be such a
Comfort to have that still ahead of me to enjoy
And therein for me lies today's joy not only do I
Have the ability now to strive, yearn, drive myself

Forward, but I actually know how to lie still, breathe
I suppose today was a rough day in many ways 'cause
I chose to do it alone. I did not ask for help, I did
Not want to worry anyone because worry
Only creates more worry the way the very
Mysteries these machines hunt for divide and
Conquer within the dark precarious
Red is my power color and always has been

Bad Neighbor
"Bad Neighbor" - 12/12/19
There's a neighbor on the floor above me
Who likes to throw big, loud, wild (by my standards) soirées
It doesn't matter to him if it's the weekend or not
Every day of the week, apparently, has party-potential
There've been times (like the eve before my Town Hall debut)
When I laid awake, tossing and turning at 2am to sounds of
Incessant foor-on-the-floor, cursing the fact that I lived below
Such a disrespectful, selfish, unneighborly fellow
Past partners have heard me kvetch about this person
And chimed in, assuring me my discontent was warranted
Consoling me when on occasion I even had to check myself
Into an area hotel just to rest assured I would in fact, rest
Tonight, I am grateful that I'm on a vampire's schedule
That tomorrow my morning appointment was cancelled
I will attempt, earplugs in place, to ignore the hubbub above
Without contempt, disruption or aggravation
Knowing that in this exercise there must be some inherent 
Grace. Lol. How'd I do? Believe me? Yeah, I know...
Than you!"

Edges - 11/28/19

What is a holiday?
A holy day becomes holy
Because we make it so
What can I do today to make sure

I don't forget to hold holiness close
Making space for those without
Family, comfort or even a sense
Of their own history; those in yearning

Those in darkness, confusion and mourning
Those in hospital beds, war zones, anxiety, worry
You have my love and inclusion
Given freely within the framework of

Self-care and a new kind of boundary
I am only just learning to build so that
I can be of service to those who need me
More healthily, more gratefully

I realize not everyone has family
With whom they are able or would choose
To spend a long or even a short meal
Let alone loving hugs, stories and latest news

I realize the history of horrors unspeakable
This day conjures for those whose holiest
Losses of life, culture and hope were burned
As wildfires in the name of all fear fosters

I recognize that my opportunity to share
To celebrate to congregate may be for some
A reminder of what is painfully missing
So I gather my love like sand around bare feet

Hoping that after
These hours of reflection
I will be just a little more tuned in
To where life and death's edges meet


Birthday - 11/21/19

At the end of the day
This date is about being grateful
Grateful for having been born
Grateful for a lack of answers to mysteries
That keep me tethered to the earth
Instead of giving up

My mother planned a dinner for me that
Initially felt like it "upset my plans"
Plans I had made for myself
Plans to do the exact things I wanted
In the timeframe that felt easy
Comfort being the Birthday default

But this is the bottom line:
How lucky I am to have a loving family
How lucky I am to have loving friends
How lucky I am to have a warm home
And a roof of reflection, over my soul
Showing me, Yayoi-like, ancestry's infinity

What a privilege it is to be part of something
So painful, beautiful, miraculous and confusing
What a challenge it is to look the future in the eye
While lamenting mistakes and resolving to do better
Knowing, all the while that regret is as ambitious
As ambition is given to driving blind

Today, however many years ago as I feel like
Revealing, my mother went through literal hell
So I could live with glistening hope, aching dreams
Grasping all day, every day, for colors so vibrant
They make it hard to know where to begin
And yet, here I am, a new year, a new chance

To begin again, to learn what every year I forget:
At the end of the day
This date is about being grateful
Grateful for having been born
Grateful for the ability to ask
Humbled by your willingness to listen