Monday, May 20, 2019

My Paintings on Display at 510 Warren Street in Hudson, New York

Some of my paintings will be on display for the month of June at 510 Warren Street in Hudson, N.Y.

The gallery is located in the heart of downtown Hudson and represents the work of artists from the Hudson Valley, New York City and Berkshire County.



The opening reception will be Saturday, June 1, from 3 to 6 p.m. I hope you will join me and several other artists working in diverse media and stylistic approaches.



Saturday, May 18, 2019

What Ways Are There to Celebrate May?

In the meadow this morning are three horses brown white and grey
and today they are playing and whinnying and galloping and they just don’t stop
and
I think to
myself it must be
that they are feeling like me enveloped in the
warmth and
beauty
of spring.
What ways are there to celebrate May?
The dance of the hummingbirds lighting at the feeder

The sprouting of bleeding heart in the garden
The sudden appearance of a messy birds’ nest above the porch light
(with threads of blue twisted into the mix of brown twigs and grass.)
It’s just the most beautiful spring day
It is warmth and breeze and sunlight 
and a sky of blue crystalline perfection.
And whinny I would if I could to say a humble thank you God
for bringing me to this day to this season to all of my blessings
a house
my health
my grandchild
my husband
my children
my puppy dog
two sisters and a brother
a father and a mother in law
my dear friend Sharon
and on and on and on
like the endless shush and whisper of wind
the sweet twitter of birds
the scarlet tanager I saw with my very own eyes
oh and thanks too for these eyes
which help me to behold  
life and creation and bliss
and hands to write this
this poem.
Amen.

Dedicated to Mary Marino and Sharon Flitterman-King, two AMAZING human beings..

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How It Feels and How to Change It

Ask me how it feels and I’ll say
Do you really want to know and
then I’ll tell you:
there’s a swamp rotting away in my gut,
and it’s flooded with something like gasoline
and yes, it will explode into flames if I
touch it with a match. Or, imagine this:
I’m a bear with raw bloody flesh hanging from
my vicious incisors. I shake my head and stare at
you with a savage look in my eyes.
My claws are poised to rip off your face.

Yeah, so, ok, I think that covers the emotions
scissoring through my chest this morning.
Enough of that. Now try this:
Inhale. Close your eyes and take the air
way down deep into your pelvis
and then keep it going until it fills your legs and feet.
HOLD YOURSELF FULL OF BREATH UNTIL
YOU THINK YOU MIGHT POP.
AND THEN DO ANOTHER BREATH
AND ANOTHER AND ANOTHER.
And don’t stop until you are
breathing calmly.

Now open your eyes and look out the
window at that itty bitty hummingbird
sitting on top of the shephard’s
hook. Gaze out into the lush green meadow
where the two brown horses are lazy grazing,
their tails switching.
Then stare at the red tulips and the pale
yellow daffodils in the garden.
Close your eyes again and type the word
SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN
SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN SUN
Until you can see it make everything glow.

Remember this:
there are going to be
moments
so ravaging, so
difficult
you won’t
know how
to move
forward.
So don’t even try.
Just let your (s)words
fall into warm seafoam waters.
Lie back and float on the calm blue seas that
you create out of your own stanzas.
Be grateful that you have a basket full of
four-color images ready
inside your head
and whenever you want to
you can
pour them out on paper
until the crisis passes.            

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Flame Painting

Have switched out of my dream painting series, into something more bold.


I am painting this a layer at a time. The paint is really thick so it's taking some time to dry. I keep it on the easel and keep trying to see what it needs next.

Meanwhile, a painting of mine will be in the Stockbridge art show next week.


I call it "Racing Heart." I've had it so long and I feel so close to it, that part of me really doesn't want to sell it.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Photos Worth A Million Words

We all know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But then there are pictures which are so precious, so close to our hearts, they are worth way more than that.

A million words, easily.

I don't often post family photos on MyStoryLives, but I'm going overboard today. That's because we had such an amazing weekend celebrating Passover. My daughter Jocelyn and her husband Evan made a Seder dinner for 18. My grandson Ronen, who is five, wrote all the place cards.

When it came to writing his mother's card, he wrote her name, Jocelyn, and on top of that he wrote "Tarzan," because Jocelyn is pregnant and he long ago named the baby Tarzan.

Yesterday, we had breakfast in a wonderful Jewish deli cafe called Mamale's, which is in Cambridge.

And then we walked up Newberry Street, stopping for coffee and ice cream, and some shoe shopping. All in all, we had a wonderful time.


 Here are me and Jocelyn and my husband, Richard, at Mamale's.

And here is me and Ro at Seder, cuddling on the sofa. If you look to Ronen's right, you will see the baby doll he has begun caring for, in anticipation of being a BIG BROTHER TO TARZAN. Jocelyn has explained to him that the baby's name definitely WON'T be Tarzan after she is born.

I haven't asked, but I'm pretty sure they are not considering naming her Jane either.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Poetry as a Mining Tool

Two Drops of Ink has published a new essay of mine, called "Poetry as a Mining Tool. "

It starts this way:

There are many reasons I love to write poetry –
it makes me feel good
it centers my emotions
it is exhilarating to feel my way through words --
but there is a very practical reason I write it too. 

(Continue at Two Drops of Ink)




Thursday, April 11, 2019

Reaching Toward Heaven, Take Two

By now, most of you probably know about my dream of last December, the one where my 1850's farmhouse in Austerlitz was modernized. The most amazing thing about the dream is what happened when I opened the back door.

The sand and the ocean were right there, even closer than the pond!

This was followed up by the appearance of a painting, the most beautiful (and celestial) painting I've ever seen. I knew it was a painting of heaven and I woke up dying to try to paint it myself.

The first version of the painting is called "Reaching Toward Heaven."


And today I think I've finished the larger version of the painting, the one I'm calling "Reaching Toward Heaven, Take Two."


The reason I say that I think the painting is finished is that when I stand in front of it (it's about 18 by 30 inches) I feel the same excitement I had when I woke up from my dream. It's a feeling in my torso and abdomen, one that is both tingling and expansive.

Oh, and another thing: the painting makes me want to smile.

Now I think it's time to do something new. I'm thinking of painting a large canvas a dark blue.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Rejoicing the Pond



I sit here pondering
my pond.
I sit here trying to
find just the right words
to describe
the precise shade of its
grey green surface.
Not silvery,
except for spots
at certain angles.

Not pewter,
except now and then
when the light disappears
pewter fits a large patch.

I could say the pond is the
color of an elephant's
hide but then I'd have
to say that doesn't
capture the way the sunlight
plays in winter, skating
across the absolutely
smooth and frozen crust of water.

Why am I so hellbent
on communicating the color
of the pond? Why
am I compelled to freeze into words
the warm excitement I feel staring
out the window at this sight? 
It has everything to do with
the play of light.

Still, I ought to stop trying
to find the right words
and just let my eyes settle
and fill with the awesome 
beauty of the water.
I move my
mind to the bench and there,
I pull my bathrobe tight and
breathe in the breeze and 
rejoice in the pond and the glowing sunlight
which 
suddenly
turns the surface white
and slightly mirrored.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Poetry as Prayer, Painting as Meditation

Yesterday I painted a larger version of


"Reaching Toward Heaven." That was the painting I did after a dream like no other.


I was in the other house, the old one, although it was now modernized. The best thing about the dream about the house was, when you opened the back door, there was the sand and the ocean.



And at the end of the dream there was a painting of heaven.


I had the dream in December and I am still trying to paint that painting.


Today I sit. And I contemplate the new painting, and the original.



 

Then I turn my attention to the pyramid candle. I stare into the white lick of flame, and the blue core at the bottom of the wick. 

 

This is always the same flame.  The same flame I stare into every morning.  

 

What?  You say what? What are you saying?

 

Yes, I pray.  My prayers are my poetry, my poetry is prayer.


I pray to Mary.  And to all of creation.

 

I say, Mary, stay with me.  Let your blue silk cape drape over me.  Make it a tent over the world in which I move.

 

Guide my every

 

Moment.  Let the words I speak I sing when I open my mouth

 

“Pour your chant from the bushes,

 

Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.”

.

Make of my soul’s yearnings a flutter of hope.  A wild cry bent by starlight, far spread by rain, raised on clouds to the mountaintops.  

 

Let me chant inside and out, systematically covering the crops, the animals.  That the Earth be blessed.  

 

Let that chant not be stopped.

 

For.  Ever.

 

AYYYY.  EEEE.  OHM. OOOOH.  AHHH.  MMMMMMMM.  SSSSSSSSS.

            
Amen.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Robins Robins Everywhere

I so wish I had a photo
so you could see what
I saw
yesterday
in the meadow:
dozens of robins
landed there
in the brown
stubble of
winter.
Every which way
they crisscrossed
the field
coming close to
the house.
I would not
say they
were bobbing.
But rather, they perched,
magnificently,
their rust-colored
breasts
tbrust boldly
forward.
Never in my entire
life have I seen
so many robins
promising so
much
spring.
And maybe never
again
will I see it
which is why
I so wanted
a photo
which is
why
I lay
down
these words
here
to save
the moment.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Poetry on an Icy Bridge

The award-winning literary blog, Two Drops of Ink, has published my poem, "Poetry on an Icy Bridge."





Thursday, March 14, 2019

Wonder

The first thing I saw this morning
as I parted the curtains was a
herd of eight deer,
spread across

the brown winter meadow. The dog
miraculously didn’t bark so I
watched as they grazed.
A few minutes later, a pair of
cardinals landed at the feeder.
It’s been many days since we’ve seen
birds so this appearance felt like
another small miracle.
And one other: as I sat in meditation
just now,
the clouds shifted
and suddenly
I could see
the soft baby


blue color
of the sky.
The forecast didn’t predict
sun. I wonder
why not.
Lately,
I’ve begun to try
to live in a constant
state of wonder
documenting the little
miracles, one by one.


Thursday, March 07, 2019

Surrender to Blue

At first there is a curved rim of grey,
And no matter how much light I see inside the ring,
there is  
that edge that stays
and I wonder
to myself
how I will ever get rid of this stubborn shadow?
I continue breathing and breathing, just focusing on love on love, 
on blue on blue,
and in some moment it occurs to me 
that I can let the dark ring sit there, and just BE, I can stare at it, and
stare at it and stare and smile, and
smile,
it’s right there, I swear I can still see it
even as I focus on love on love on love on love 
on golden light
I watch and feel that light that heat crawl wider and wider around my heart see it holding more and more
LOVE. Let it flow boldly now,
if you let it, love swells and swells and swells inside and all around. 
My chest glows in every direction my body grows lighter and lighter
and warmer and warmer until I feel it in my shoulders and hips
Lips knees elbows eyes teeth toes and belly.
One more morning, the ring disappears. I make the transformation to blue
by surrendering.                       

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Fingers Against Strings

Here I sit
wondering what to 
DO
NEXT.
It used to be that I was
busy 500 percent of the time.
But now that I’m trying to cultivate
AWARENESS
by
STOPPING
by
BEING in the present moment
by
feeling the sensations of flesh and muscle and bone 
inside my body
by
watching the things my mind says and
wants to do.
Now that all of that is going on
there are moments 
when
I am confused about what to do.
I think I should be accomplishing
SOME
THING.
SIGNIFICANT.
When really all I want to do is
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Recently I started guitar lessons
because I love the sound and feel of
fingers against strings.
The first lesson was fun
But then I HAD TO LEARN A SONG.
I had to focus on counting
And chord changes
And strumming.
SOMETHING DIDN’T CLICK.
The fingers against strings
and the resounding of the guitar
around my heart
were missing.
So now instead of lessons.
I am gong to pick up the guitar
And cradle it against my chest like it is a baby
And I am going to set
my fingernails against the strings
and see what happens
NEXT.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

"Whatever Heaven Offers"

This is how the dream feels:
simple but full
of a strange
mystery too.
I keep reaching into some
kind of bottle or box
for new

blue contact lenses.
I lay them in my eyes
to see
the color of a pale sky.
I am seeing myself 
as a teacher of writing again too.

When I wake up, absolutely
everything feels possible.
I am skywriting
I am rewiring
I am uncluttered and
bathed in
rays of buttery light.

I tell Mary about the
dream and she says
think about this:
contact has a double meaning:
it describes the lenses yes
but it is also the condition
of new touching.
You have fresh vision in a
blue that is
cleansing and purifying.
It’s a wash that makes you
ready to deliver
whatever heaven
offers up.


Friday, January 25, 2019

More Naming Poems!!

By Sharon Flitterman-King, Ph.D.

The Swampy Cree Indians of northeastern Canada are known for their wonderful “naming poems,” simple narratives of how people earned their names, often in childhood. Here are a few poems I composed in the tradition of the Swampy Cree.

GIFT OF ROSES


Always when she walked, the roses
followed her—
bright and fragrant,
you knew when she was near.

At the end she left
a painting, full of roses

on her easel

A gift
for us to cherish—
all of us,
forever.


CHEERFUL WITH BUNDLES

Singing he went
cheerfully
with bundles
on his back

Laughing, sometimes
chuckling. The creatures
that he met
would greet him
when they saw him.

Scampering,
they followed
as he sang.


LOVED ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL

Morning moonstone
sky, evening sunset,
clouds ablaze
with color, flaming
gold or russet.

Always she was
capturing
the beauty with her
camera.

Walking in the woods,
a leaf. All weathers
were her friends.

That’s how we came
to name her
all things beautiful.

Sharon Flitterman-King, Ph.D., ia a writer living in Hillsdale, New York, with her husband, David King.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Buzzing Inside



Outside the sky is dripping white ice.

Inside, it’s so nice and cozy here by the fire of the words
that are steadily burning.
What a yearning I have to share this feeling that
gallops throooough me this morning.
Try this: close your eyes and focus for a moment on your fingers.
Linger there.  
The energy may come up as a buzzing
or a gentle tremble.
Keep your mind there but now stare into your toes.
And after a bit, go now to your feet.
Can you see where this is leading?
Hands. Legs. Arms. Torso. Head.
No matter how busy you are today, stay alive to your body.
Pause for a moment whenever you can and
just breathe and just feel steadily grateful for that breath.
Let the lung air wander through your body.
So when the weather outside is so much
worse than frightful
we can keep paddling along inside
finding new life in the wave of every single moment.

With thanks for inspiration in part from Eckhart Tolle, especially his book, "The New Earth." Do yourself a giant favor and read it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Naming Poems

By Sharon Flitterman-King, Ph.D.




The Swampy Cree Indians of northeastern Canada have a rich tradition of storytelling. Some of the most wonderful stories are told in their “naming poems,” simple narratives of how people earned their names, often in childhood. Here is an example of a Swampy Cree Naming Poem:

QUIET UNTIL THE THAW


Her name tells of how
it was with her.

The truth is, she did not speak
in winter.
Everyone learned not to
ask her questions in winter,
once that was known about her.

The first winter this happened
we looked in her mouth to see
If something was frozen. Her tongue
maybe, or something else in there.

But after the thaw she spoke again
and told us it was fine for her that way.

So each spring we
looked forward to that.

And here are a few of mine:

PATIENT WITH SHADOWS

She lived 
among the shadows
which she feared.

She lived
among the shadows, loving them
for what they asked
of her.

It was dark,
and it grew darker.
She grew light

And tranquil


DREAMED GREAT THINGS


He went
out to the mountain, dreaming
of his past

adventures, bold and
love—
such tenderness.

This he leaves,
and
dreams.


Try writing your own naming poem; think of something about yourself or another person to use in creating a name—a physical characteristic, personality trait, something you like, something funny, silly or heroic you’ve done.

             “To say the name is to begin the story.”

Sharon Flitterman-King, Ph.D., is a writer who lives in Hillsdale, N.Y., with her husband, David C. King

Reference: The Wishing Bone Cycle: Narrative Poems from the Swampy Cree Indians, gathered and translated by Howard A. Norman.