Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I dreamed I rang T's bell unannounced. I was at her door feeling heat leaking out from the rim of the door. She's got heat, I thought. Then I was embarrassed that I rang unannounced so I stepped back and hugged a porch pillar. When she opened the door I said I was just tree hugging.

Neighborhood Blues

The tenement garages were open as they are on most days. Guys stand around with car hoods open tearing apart their run-down cars drinking beer talking yelling all day and into the night.

The drug dealer kid next door has a steady stream of friends coming to his apartment. They are all desperate for drugs, 'round the clock. When I catch them in the alley I tell them they can't come on my property. They do this every day, banging on the dealer's window to get drugs without his mom knowing.

The landlords are never around and the tenants know it's a free for all. The same is true across the street where there is another bunch of packed-in unsupervised tenement buildings.

The whole city knows this major intersection is the heart of illegal activity. The police know too, and they get here in a hurry when the calls come in.

Monday, October 27, 2014


I have a love-hate with my radio. Sometimes I crave her company and other times I unplug her. I took her out of my kitchen because I feared she might wake the kid next door. His bedroom window is eight feet from my kitchen window and he goes to sleep just as we are waking up.

I brought the radio up to my studio but her volume knob is stuck at medium which is too loud for me. I want a faint whisper of classical music, not too loud as to drown out my inner dialogue. So I covered her with a National Geographic magazine and three smocks to quiet her down.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


We just picked yellow delicious apples from the tree our friend John takes care of on Rathbun and Privilege Street. Most of the apples were very high up so we used our picking basket on an expandable pole. Then we ran into Billy and he invited us to pick pears from the trees in his yard right around the corner. It was so much fun to pick the fruit using this tool. The apples are so sweet and the pears are as juicy as watermelons.

Tuna Fish, Apple, Onion, and Olive Salad

One day I opened a can of tuna drained it and added mayo, wine vinegar, and chopped red onion. Then I added chopped green pimento olives and a chopped apple to it. It was delicious and I have done it several times since.

The Hunt

I love the hunt whether it's visual research, finding a pet to adopt, or doing detective work. When employed the hunting mechanism generates a buzz. It's addictive!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Agonies

I have a case of the agonies. When walking Lily this morning I knew it was crucial to keep walking in order to alleviate suicidal thoughts. This is just how it is in what I call "receive mode."

Another lady I know understands the mental health necessity of walking. "I hear you," she said when I ran into her on my afternoon walk. I feel shame sharing this but perhaps that is the best reason I should.

When the agonies come there is no logic as to why, it's just a cycle. Everything hurts emotionally, and anxiety and anguish swirl within a sea of drowning desperate inner voices.

But there is hope. There is proper self-care. This knowledge comes from years of learning that this is half of my yearly cycle and always has been.

The simplest little things can be restorative and crucial: taking a shower, walking my dog, smiling at a person I pass on the street, keeping my routines of writing and home chores.

I told a friend who has this same cycle that I see my moods divided but necessary, like antique stereoscope cards. The two different views create the image of three dimensions. In other words I cannot have this mood without the other. The contrast in moods is profound and would be dangerous if I didn't constantly monitor and employ them, creating balance. Writing, walking, painting, all build a home for me in both my inner and outer worlds.

Maybe we need to discuss the taboo of depression and its turmoil to open the dialogue and shed the shame. This is how we were made.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What's-in-the-House Stew

I decided to cube defrosted chicken breasts and put them in the slow cooker with chopped garlic. Then I chopped three white onions, added pesto and two cans of tomato puree. I chopped seven stalks of celery and about six carrots and the last three potatoes and added them. Then, I chopped black olives and added them too. The pot is full. In a few hours I will taste it and probably add olive oil and salt and pepper. It's gray out and the aroma of the simmering stew is comforting.

It came out great. There was no need to add olive oil, just salt and pepper. We topped it with grated Romano cheese. The chicken and vegetables were moist and firm. It was just like beef stew but it was a chicken stew.


I dreamed I broke into Robert Bly's house to bake him a surprise bread for his birthday. He had a huge ornamental cast iron cookstove in the center of his kitchen. I opened an oven door that was a drawer and I put in the raw bread dough. Somehow it was pre-sliced at the unbaked stage. He and his wife seemed happy about the fresh bread.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Venetian blinds are fun because you can direct the light, but when I walk into my back room my abdomen flies out the window between all of those little horizontal slats. I needed something solid so I hung curtains. I can still see out over the top and get light yet the curtains provide psychic protection and help me focus.

Sometimes it's best not to see everything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


We play on the word trapeze
I catch your ankles
and you catch mine


I was about to drive a vintage French car. It was indoors surrounded by antique wooden benches and dark wooden furniture. I was nervous about starting her up.

I noticed the hatch back doors were held together by thin metal hasp resembling a button on a dress shirt. Only the French would make something so elegant, I thought.

In another room there were harvest figures with limbs made of thick woolen braids seated upright on a wooden bench. They were goats and they smelled of wet wool. I loved the smell and thought it was sexy. I flirted with them and they became animated.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


We drove up to Vermont to see a friend in her farmhouse. It was cold and there was snow on the ground. The minute we arrived she brought out lasagna and cups of tea. I saw her cut two slices of lasagna, one for each of us and then pat down each portion to appear larger on our plates.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Siri the Sidekick

Gus: “Siri, will you marry me?”

Siri: “I’m not the marrying kind.”

Gus: “I mean, not now. I’m a kid. I mean when I’m grown up.”

Siri: “My end user agreement does not include marriage.”

Gus: “Oh, O.K.”


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I drove to City Hall in Providence early in the morning. There were a few women I knew from grade school who worked there. They were happy to see me. One asked me "What are you doing here?" "I don't know, I just got in my car and drove," I said. "Did you see a big yellow Labrador running around, that's my dog Lily," I said. Someone saw her outside. I panicked. I raced down four flights of stairs and met her at the door.

I was swinging on a trapeze with my friend Gordon holding me up on his lap. I had my eyes closed at first and when I opened them I saw a million little heads below. He had a nickel and a prayer hidden in his shoe. "I'll massage your feet," he said. I told him I don't let just anyone touch my feet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Olfactory Receptors

Over the last decade or so, scientists have discovered that odor receptors are not solely confined to the nose, but found throughout body — in the liver, the heart, the kidneys and even sperm — where they play a pivotal role in a host of physiological functions.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Front Row

I heard yelling and went to the window. Across the street I saw two men in a serious wrestling match on the sidewalk in front of the Mini Mart. I was about to phone the cops when I realized one of the men was a cop. He had a blue shirt on and was smaller than the man he was trying to control. The officer was working to get the man face down on the sidewalk but the man although bent over was still fighting hard.

People gathered in the street and on porches to watch. The uniformed officer spoke into his lapel, presumably to call for assistance. A skinny lady wearing a yellow pullover and jeans jumped in to take a photo. I saw the cop punch the suspect in his lower back twice, holding him down with his other arm. Then the officer took out his taser gun and zapped the man a few times at the punch spot. I heard sirens and four squad cars arrived stopping in the middle of the street. At one point I saw the suspect's exposed pink thigh. They cuffed him. The officers worked to pull up the suspects jeans while he was still seated on the sidewalk. Then two cops tried to get him to stand. I heard one yell "Get up!" and they led him to the back of the squad car.

By this point a bunch of unmarked detective cars had pulled up to the curb facing the wrong way, their strobe headlights flashing. One of the plain-clothed officers was a woman around thirty, with straight brown hair in a bun and khaki pants. She wore a brown leather holster. The Chief arrived and I saw the uniformed officers give him a fast salute. Now there was a huge crowd of law enforcement on the sidewalk in front of the Mini Mart and auto traffic was choked in all four directions of the intersection.

The rain started to come down hard. I saw one cop going through the suspect's back-pack, pulling out packages that had yellow tape on them. One detective was wearing a lavender dress-shirt and tie. Some of the men standing with the police chief had baseball caps with hoodies pulled over them. I bet they were undercover drug officers. Then the Chief and the detectives all went into the store. I saw my neighbor Beth come out holding a gallon of milk, ducking behind them as if nothing was happening. It made me smile. Life goes on. I'll bet the police department had a search warrant on this guy and they were just waiting for their moment and I happened to catch it from my window.

Life in the 'Hood

I thought Bill had arrived home but when I looked out I saw a big silver SUV with the motor running. I didn't know who it was and he was there for a while. I considered calling the police station to ask if it was one of their guys. I let Lily out and tried to get a good look. There was a guy in the driver's seat. With his trimmed beard he looked just like our friend Larry the psychiatrist, except Larry lives in Georgia, and he'd say hi to me and probably come in for dinner. I was too scared to confront this mystery person myself. He might have a gun, I thought.

A few minutes later Bill got home. Did you see the guy? What guy. Did you see the car? Yes I saw the car! Did you see the driver? No. He's been out there a while. Let's investigate.

Can I help you? my husband asked through the closed tinted window. His seat was way back. Maybe he was asleep, I thought. He turned towards us and flashed his badge from behind the glass. Bill laughed. I was embarrassed. I tried to phone you, he said. I could read his lips. We waved and went back in to the house. I was right, I told Bill, he does have a gun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Raymond Carver

At Least

by Raymond Carver

I want to get up early one more morning,
before sunrise. Before the birds, even.
I want to throw cold water on my face
and be at my work table
when the sky lightens and smoke
begins to rise from the chimneys
of the other houses.
I want to see the waves break
on this rocky beach, not just hear them
break as I did in my sleep.
I want to see again the ships
that pass through the Strait from every
seafaring country in the world -
old, dirty freighters just barely moving along,
and the swift new cargo vessels
painted every color under the sun
that cut the water as they pass.
I want to keep an eye out for them.
And for the little boat that plies
the water between the ships
and the pilot station near the lighthouse.
I want to see them take a man off the ship
and put another one up on board.
I want to spend the day watching this happen
and reach my own conclusions.
I hate to seem greedy - I have so much
to be thankful for already.
But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.
And go to my place with some coffee and wait.
Just wait, to see what's going to happen.

― Raymond Carver

Amy Bloom

I had my first little girl and when I was trying to work things out with the mothers in her play group, I made Dieter’s Lasagna. It had ground turkey breast, whole wheat noodles, part–skim mozzarella and fat-free ricotta. One of the other mothers said, “I feel better about myself when I eat this way, don’t you?” I did not. I felt that I had betrayed all of ltaily. We left the lasagna and the educationally stimulating toys and I drove my daughter all the way to Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven. We finished off a small pie and when we got home I washed the tomato sauce out of her hair which I expected, but also out of her underwear, which I think must be the sign that you have really, really enjoyed your lunch.
- Amy Bloom, La Divina Commedia