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Drawing by hand

A specifier is included

because it could be by machine

by stylus or other means.

My granddaughter asked for a Sharpie; she had a special use in mind.  I gave her white paper from my copying machine and explained this marker was permanent and she would need to sit at the kitchen table.  In case, the market bled through; on the marble-like tile, I think.  It could be faux marble.  What I know is that blueberries leave a stain on it and I have not been willing to crouch on the floor making hands and knees sore and achy to remove the stain.  Quickly, she drew several pairs of eyes and then she was finished.  As I walked around her, we spoke briefly and touched; my hand on her long shimmering strawberry blonde hair so like mine over fifty years ago.  As she moves “states away” our drawings together have been infrequent.  While she was my first and best (our family joke); having two younger siblings means less time together and more time shared; halved, quartered and then gone.



I awoke after writing about the physical act of pen or pencil on paper; I remember touring Ali’s museum in Louisville.

He is part of my life; in my consciousness and now, in my late years; I chose to be like him as I live with the dying pain similar to his.

The memory of the museum came just when I needed it most.  It is similar to Ali’s movement through my life as a young girl and a woman.  How strong he was, how he stood up for justice and against injustice and how hard he fought and set an example for what it means to be an American, a patriot and a human being.

Ali had a buddy who was an artist at a time in the life of personalities when we did not film, video or instagram our every moment:  LeRoy Neimann.  It is my view they inspired each other to capture the moment, the movement and the grace of the man who chose to cast off his “slave” name against the advice of his father.  Ali kept sketch paper and pencils with him all the time.  The paper has a surface, a smell of classrooms and a texture most of us at that time thought was inferior to the beautiful white typing paper which came later.  What we did not realize is that typing paper is for typing.  I am grateful to be able to return to the “raggedness” of the old yellow paper we were given for our last thirty minutes of school with the instruction “draw something”; now, I know what that means.

Pulling a pencil across that surface is creative, evocative and the best use of paper I can think of as it pulls us into the act of drawing.  Ali knew this.  The museum is filled with paper and pencil cubbies.  There are questions to answer, statements to respond to in one’s own words and interesting facts about his lifetime and his contribution to our society.  I am glad I have memo pads, notebooks, journals and colored “pretty” papers.  I am going to find me some raggedy paper and read more about that inspiring man, Ali and hope to catch his spirit in my life.

Writing on Paper

Yes, I know.  Use a processor; save a tree.

I also understand we as a society are going to keep making journals, notebooks and scratchpads whether I buy them or not.

I admit it.  I love the movement of the pen or pencil over the paper page.

I like the ways my finger tips move up and down the wooden pencil as I think my thoughts – yes, I know, pencils also cause trees to be cut.

Ink flows from the end of the pen like when I was in fifth grade, practicing my calligraphy against my best friend.  She always won.  She has traveled to far-flung places writing me about flora and fauna.  Now, she has returned to our small community while I traverse across the face of the United States seeing my family members.  Yes, I know, it would be better for the environment if we do not make “ink” and “plastic” pens any more.

I started my new and return to the old way as I thought of someone else who achieved their objectives by tightly writing on each line; and on front and backs of pages and it helped her get in touch with her feelings in a way which was vaguely familiar to me.  Can I get that same feeling on these “keys” today as I work at my Mac?  I am not sure; but, I am open to the possibilities of combining new and “old” modes of writing as I seek myself on these pages.


I love you so much my heart hurts

you little blonde haired wonder

like me and also yourself

I want to freeze you at five

I want to see your children

I want to know how you talk about the passions of your life

and I want to live long enough for it all.

You run, giggle and walk fast.

You observe and ask questions.  You love family time.

When your head hits the pillow at night as you say you do not want to go to sleep and your eyes are closing, you are the light to the candle of my life.

My Silent Love

she rustled under my polyester top as I walked in the sunshine to the blue Nova.

The doctor declared today would be her birthday; she was already three weeks late, no signs of starting labor.

I held her tightly to me.

Since the time of her birth, I have never put her down; not truly.

She left me to go to college and get married and have a career and start a family.

When she comes back,

I am waiting.

Her love for her daughters is strong and challenged by the times in which she lives.

I grow older; more tired, less able.  A virus catches me and I am laid up for days and her children rebound in minutes, it seems.

Daughter of mine.

How can I say how I felt then, how I feel now?  How fierce is my love?  Fighting every day for her survival and the well-being of her young, I am lost, there is not enough of me.  My energies are on the wane and I must go on to old age – alone.

Still Loving My Baby Girl

She wrenches my heart; it lurches when she says “please.”

Looking at her, I think I could die for loving her and what might be our fate together.  Her coming was like a comet, expected, profound and magical.  Every day I grow older and I wonder how I can face death and leave her?

Her giggles tickle my brain.

Her dance with bottom wiggling causes me to dance and wiggle.

The deep brownness of her eyes harkens back to other relatives who blew my life apart

and I stand amazed that this can be so in one lifetime.  I can never enjoy a day with her “grandpa” and I am glad.  Deeper than this gladness, I feel the relief.  No longer burdened by him, his evil ways, his crazy family and even though his genetic material lives on; it seems to have been diluted.  I pray this girl child will carry very little of it in her ovum to the next generation.  I pray for nurture; I pray nurture can curtail nature.

Love like this one feels dangerous.  I would compare it to watching a fireworks display with sheer delight and at the same instant knowing the power behind the elegant display of blues, reds and pure white light in the sky.   She, a rose bud; me a drying and dying bush with no blossoms remaining.

While He is Gone, I am Missing Him and Loving Him in spite of my goals not to

the touch of his fingers kneading my white parchment skin on my arm

made soft by hours of working in cocoa butter

just in case touch came my way.

Social events, wars, and fun times unrelated to a significant other and will he even care when he returns from his great adventure?

I see him when he is not here; I hear his voice and I know loving in older age is not easy nor quick for me.  I was afraid; he was afraid.  I am less afraid now, he has been gentle and kind.  Kindness is such an important virtue, it is to be prized next to love but I did not choose to write about kindness and is kindness love?  Kindness seems to be the action and love the emotion; kindness is also about spirit and it shines through when we have it.  His eye color is green, very light and I never see it because the spirit draws me when we talk.

Having a conversation with him inside my head continues.

Will we have a relationship when he returns?

Is it possible for me to have a relationship while he is in absentia?

What would he answer?

For me, he is a constant object.  Whether he loves me, I do not know.

Loving him and being alive to the loving seems to be the most important thing for me.

I Love Your Impossible Young Self

I am angry with you right now

it is momentary

it will pass

it does mean I need to do things differently.

When you are saying ignorant things; I need to point it out

when it is about me.

I had a full life before you were born.

I had a life the entire time you were growing up of which you were only a peripheral part

and I have had a life since you left me.

Do not judge or I will scratch you.

It is coming I can tell.

There have been too many slights I did not address.

“She does not mean it”; I say.

“She does not understand”; I think

I do not care – I am going to clarify the boundaries between us

and push back.  I know she will look and be startled; maybe, she will think before

words and attitudes start tripping over her tongue in the future.

I love you unabashedly with a depth you may never appreciate

until I leave this planet.

And, enough is enough.  I want my independence back.  I want to be free.  I do not want to answer to you and your thoughts of me; expressed or unexpressed.  I love you

and leave me alone.

My Dearest Love

Our love is intense

I knew you were helpless without me

crying crying and crying.

I was the one who fed you, clothed you and held you during those long long nights.

My body began to give out.

This past twenty plus months, you have cried again.  All four of you cried.  I heard your sobs from the Left Coast and I came running.  There was no question.  You were in hot water and you were unable to get yourself out.  So I came.  So I stayed.

I feel the same wear and tear on my body again; this time, quadrupled.  The love is so much deeper; I doubt I can describe it.  How does anyone describe their need for their own breath, the need for the heart to beat even if it is no mine and the need for succor in this cruel world of war, strife and floods?

Life is so very tumultuous; we  people are tossed to and fro like pecans dropping from large canopied trees in autumn.  We are pelted and become missiles into our lives and others.  You are just beginning to learn your journey of life is already half over.  You faltered for love.  You thought, like I do, love would carry you through.  It did not and you still had me. What will happen next time?  Will you be more careful, less willing to give yourself to love with abandonment?  The only love where this is possible is ours.  In other relationships, if we lose ourselves in love, we will indeed lose.  There may not be a mother’s hand to grasp and pull you back from the edge of all you know.

Along with the poet’s words:  love is kind, patient, etc. I want to add:  love is fleeting like a shadow of an elm tree in fall, love is maddening like a man lost in a crowd with a knife and love is greedy asking for too much like a child whose ice cream cone has melted and she wants her mother to go to the store and get her another one.  The store will be there; the mother may not be.

I Love You Amidst Your Pettiness

The poets say love encompasses all.

Love is the container

it does not leak

not even if it is thrown into the field and neglected

for a season

because a family member

had more than one

and did not understand

some people do not have even one container.

Filled with dirt, algae and moss, love lies on its side


waiting for the one who threw it

to remember

hopes they will remember without being reminded

how hard was the throw

how neglectful the thoughts of containment

as an entitlement.

The vessel stretches out in the warm sun

and waits.

She has more lessons to teach

and is also getting tired.

Will the one from whose hand she was flung

ever grow up and realize containment is not earned or won

it is given and can die or wither if left alone