At the Crossroads

Monday Morning Musings:

“Standin at the crossroad babe
eee eee eee, risin sun goin down
I believe to my soul now,
Poor Bob is sinkin down”
–from Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”

Clouds over the river ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Hawk flight in dim light, the trees still green–
summer clings, but autumn slings
a cool grey arm, and shadows fall across it all.

Now, the sun’s a sleepy golden ball

when I hear—something—sing
winged hope soars from that throat—to bring

Waiting for the Sun. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

comfort as the days go by, and dawn rises–
what will come—the future surprises.
The sky is cantaloupe and peach—

the eagles fly, high out of reach

Sunrise over the Delaware River ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

of those below
where time moves fast, then slow
in the beat of heron wings

a fish is gone. Do his fish brethren grieve?
Or do they notice? Do they believe
in monsters from above?

Do they love?

Or feel sorrow? What bargains would you make,
come tomorrow? For the sake
of family or self—for fame or fortune, or for glory?

Bargains with the devil–an age-old story.

But for some, the price they must pay,
to live a night, and into the next day

you stand at the crossroads to survive,
to see that cantaloupe sun arrive

then watch the harvest moon–revived
now humming, full and ripe–and you’re alive
in a world both glorious and banal–

rainfall and rainbows, fireballs

In the neighbor–sunlight, rainbows, and flowers. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

in the night. The moon has heard the call
of dinosaurs and seen the flight of pterodactyls–
and all of nature’s fractals,

patterns repeating, parallels, and lines that intersect
and here, we meet again and again—connect
the dots. We’re at the crossroads,

we rise and fall,
but the moon has seen it all.

We had warm sticky days last week, then the humidity dropped, and it’s starting to look and feel like autumn. Climate change means we will most likely continue to experience extreme weather. Right-wing fanatics are trying to overthrow our democracy, and anti-mask and anti-vax crazies are prolonging the pandemic. We know now that the “dark ages” were not as dark as they used to be portrayed, but it certainly seems like we’re heading into them.

And yet. . .there is still beauty, love, friendship, and people who speak the truth. And cats, food, and wine. Tonight is the September full moon, the Harvest Moon.

The Lantern Theater Company in Philadelphia is beginning this season with two digital plays. We streamed the first one, Me and the Devil, this past weekend. Tickets and information here.
There’s a legend that blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his extraordinary talent. It made me think about how throughout time, people have had to make bargains with evil in order to survive. In Johnson’s case there’s a mystery, and that he died young, adds to his mystique—he may have been poisoned by a jealous husband, as he was known as quite a ladies’ man.

Worlds Within and Without

Monday Morning Musings:

Trapped. Colonial Garden at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Trillions of stars, the brilliant dead light
a memory of long-ago pulsations, heartbeats
of the universe,
our own an echo,
a timeless rhythm, with an infinite number
of endings and beginnings.


Cosmic waves and tiny teardrops both ripple
the fabric of space-time, a black hole
where once you stood—
there are more viruses than stars, says the virologist,
trying to predict catastrophe—but what of all the ifs and all the possible impossible timelines?
The chicken not hatched, not carried? The bat that flew in a different direction?
The iron in our blood comes from the stars, unseen sparks
passed through generations, we give it back to earth and sea,
without evolving, or perhaps not quickly enough—


I watch the ancestors of dinosaurs fly into tomorrow,
and in the scent of wine, smell the grapes and flowers of yesterday.

We went out for a bit to a local winery this week. Now that it’s summer, we’’ll be doing that more often.
No movies this week, but we streamed a fascinating play The Catastrophist by Lauren Gunderson. It’s about her husband, virologist Nathan Wolfe, played by William DeMerritt—who is excellent. Gunderson says the play “is a time-twisting, memory-jumping play about family, memory, mortality and viruses.”
Since Dexter is supposed to be back in the fall, we’re watching the entire series now. I’ve seen it, but my husband never did. We’re still on Season 1, but he’s hooked now.
I listened to part of the Ted Radio Hour on NPR, where I heard a scientist describe the importance of both dinosaurs’ lungs helped them to dominate their world, and how birds have very similar lungs. Then a scent historian described recreating historical scents and how important scents and the sense of smell are.

I went INTO a library and browsed for the first time in over a year! I was giddy–so many books!

And a bonus–turkeys

There seemed to be a fight and the exiling of one turkey.

There Might Be Ghosts

Monday Morning Musings:

There might be ghosts in this story–
a tale of family secrets, a haunted house,
nightmares and night terrors

(what if they came for you?)
the spirits, specters, demons, and devils–
a frisson of fear, a shiver and a quiver

as you hear the tale,
it’s not real (you tell yourself)
these things don’t exist

(unless they come for you)
the secret police, the armed agents
to detain, to torture, to turn your life

upside-down, the world we live in now,
where we see the light reflected and wonder how
it is here and there, and wanders

Puddle Reflection, Upside-down World. ©️Merril D. Smith, October 2020

from shore to distant horizon
between what we see
and what we think we see

Autumn refracted and reflected through the mist. Red Bank Battlefield,.©️Merril D. Smith October 2020

in the fog, all is a blur,
sound is distorted, it echoes,
a soft purr of distant cars, the honk of a goose

Heron in the misty ripples of the Delaware River. Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

here birds stop, then soar,
but I stand, rooted like the trees,
in the midst of autumn splendor

(I like to think)
still rising, still growing,
knowing that roots connect underground–

so be it. And healthy cells grow, too,
though the malignant tumors stand out,
they are not the entire body (politic),

Still, I sigh, watch the birds fly,
read the horror tales, feel the feels,
they’re not as scary as what is real–

the ghosts of 215,000, rising, plus,
and thus, what’s to come with the scary clown,
while the Constitution is whittled down

we ache, body and soul,
as the fluff-headed victors sound the death knell
to tell of democracy’s demise—yet the story to tell

is that the moon still hums, the stars still sing,
and scatter the light brightening
all, it radiates, falls

in ripples, like the stone I cast
into the river, watch the ripples pass
flowing on, the present an illusion, it doesn’t last,

past to future, goes, in ridges and waves
like light, with colors we won’t ever see,
an essence remaining, like a ghost of ancestors, or you, or me,

the whispers of earth, the songs of the sea.

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. Autumn Splendor. ©️Merril D. Smith, October 2020

Merril’s Movie/Theater/Book Club:
We watched a live-streamed production this week, STATE VS. NATASHA BENINA, which you probably won’t be able to access, but if you do get a chance, it’s well-worth it. I wondered how a production done live on Zoom would be (the audience was muted, and I turned off my camera, as I didn’t want people to see me in pjs in our living room). The actress was so good, portraying a Russian teen, who was raised in an orphanage, and now is accused of a crime. The audience is judge and jury, and votes at the end, but that serves more as a lead-in to discussion.

We were going to go out to a winery in the late afternoon yesterday, but the weather was not very nice, so we cancelled. I made a dinner, similar to one we might have had after Philadelphia theater dates, and we watched a filmed play, which is now on Amazon Prime. What the Constitution Means to Me is Heidi Schreck’s award-winning play, and it is excellent. I have heard pieces of it on the radio, as she discussed how she paid for her college education by giving speeches as a teen on the Constitution, but the entire play is really wonderful, as she weaves her personal history, her family’s history of domestic violence, women’s rights, and other issues into the narrative.

We also watched the new version of Rebecca on Netflix. We both enjoyed it. I like Lily James, though she seems rather more attractive and charming than the book character, and Kristin Scott Thomas is very good as Mrs. Danvers. From what I remember, this version does not have the overall menacing, Gothic feel of the Hitchcock movie or the book. I think it’s better to take it as it is, and not compare it to either.

We’re also started watching Borgen on Netflix, a Danish political drama. I like it, though it took a couple of episodes for me to get into it (and to understand the Danish political system).

And I finished The Year of Witching, and I’m almost finished with Home Before Dark. Horror reading—not nearly as scary as reality.

More on Heroes and Hearts

Swirls Over Spruce

Spruce Street, Old City

Monday Morning Musings:

“She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.”

–Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

–e.e.cummings “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]”

 

 

Ancient voices carried on a breeze

float beneath the moon

in leaf-rustle, they speak

in each footfall, they keep time

and secrets

 

that whirl in dusty motes

gathering in silvery specks,

specters of the past

the echo of their heartbeats

caught in a laugh, a scent, a cry.

 

***

Harriet was a true hero,

but she was a woman, too,

who loved and laughed and cried

and if the playwright has her move through time

is that so odd

 

because we still hear her voice,

don’t we?

She walked down this street or that one, perhaps

here the enslaved reached freedom,

here refugees still hide

6AF953BE-8DA2-4433-A775-9B04D6446B50

Second Street, Old City Philadelphia (From the Arden Theater) Merril D. Smith 2020

their hearts full

or broken.

I learn my friend’s heart literally broke

the day before Valentine’s Day–

but it is patched, stents installed

 

to let his blood flow.

Another friend has an artificial heart,

but like the Tin Man

she doesn’t need a heart

to love or be loved.

 

I read that the Giant Heart in the Franklin Institute

has been refurbished–

it now has the soundtrack of a real heart

with beats that echo

through time and space

 

like Harriet in the play,

like the memory of my grandfather

popping up from the giant heart’s artificial valves

to show me and my little sister

that it was a safe space

 

a place I carry

a memory of a heart

carried in my heart

his heart and that heart

in my heart, they echo

 

as do the voices of women

leading “lives of quiet desperation”

that the assistant sees in the movie

and what can she do

till enough people speak and the system changes

 

as whistles are blown

and heroes speak the truth

even as rich and petty men besmirch them

retaliating with the power of wealth and position–

tin men without the shadow of a heart.

IMG_6278

But still,

I bake chocolate hearts

for all the hearts I carry inside

and we celebrate love

and heroes–

 

because both

transcend time and space.

E359C1FF-5076-4EDC-9F90-63C3E7125698

 

We saw My General Tubman, a new play by Lorene Cary at the Arden Theatre.

We went to the Wine and Chocolate event at William Heritage Winery.

Merril’s Movie Club: we saw The Assistant, a bleak but excellent movie with an outstanding performance by Julia Garner.

We also finished Counterpart. We really enjoyed the two seasons. It’s on Prime, and apparently Starz cancelled it because they didn’t feel it appealed to female viewers (!).  You know how women don’t enjoy well-developed plots and complex storylines (rolling eyes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Lives in Our Hearts

Monday Morning Musings:

“That was how evil spoke. It made its own corrupt sense; it swore that the good were evil, and that evil had come to save mankind. It brought up ancient fears and scattered them on the street like pearls. To fight what was wicked, magic and faith were needed. This is what one must turn to when there was no other option.”

–Alice Hoffman, The World That We Knew

“Grey Rock centers on the idea that human curiosity is stronger that gravity. I believe that art, which has no boundaries, can influence dialogue.”

Playwright and Director of Grey Rock, Amir Nizar Zuabi

IMG_6130

I am here

in the space between–

sunrise to my front

and moonset to my back,

in between past and future

IMG_6193

I sit

holding the moment

in my thoughts,

where it remains

though the earth continues

 

its revolutions round the sun,

turning on its axis.

We gaze at the moon

with longing,

a part of us

 

that rock

I see rising silver

then gold–

not grey

like the sodden clouds

D2C61D70-2CB1-4FF1-BF1E-B74CC5343D18

Taken from the Commodore Barry Bridge

 

blown away by the wind.

Windswept our dreams fly

free–

we all have the right to dream

the Palestinian man in the play

 

dreams of building a rocket,

sending it to the moon.

He loves his daughter,

he loved his wife,

and love is magic

 

the people in the novel find,

though evil is real,

it is all around them–

the Angel of Death is kept busy

but love has its own power.

 

And so,

we talk as we walk

through city streets

reflecting the past

as we think about our future.

26764F52-312B-42F8-A2E2-22955898E156

Pennsylvania Hospital in a window reflection.

00595B64-6F85-4EAD-98AE-0071459F4207

Spring by David Guinn Philadelphia Mural Arts 13th and Pine

 

There is beauty,

there is magic,

all around us–

are we blind or too afraid

to see it,

IMG_6192

Finding signs of spring

hear it call

in the trill of birdsong

the tumbling crash of waves

the humming of the moon

and the music of the stars

 

floating down to us.

Listen–

it shimmers

and echoes in our hearts,

beating

 

free–

a dream flying

into orbit,

a thing of magic and beauty—

and here around us.

 

I fear we’re in scary times, but we can’t lose hope or the ability to dream.

It’s the start of birthday month here with more to come.

 

We saw the play Grey Rock by Amir Nizar Zuabi and a Palestinian cast performing in English. It was commissioned and produced by the Remote Theater Project. It was also part of Philadelphia Theater Week. We both really enjoyed the play, which was funny, tender, and moving.

I read Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. It is magical realism mixed with Jewish folklore and history. It is set during the Holocaust, and it involves the bond of mothers and daughters. There is a female golem and birds. A heron also figures prominently in the story. As you might suspect, I absolutely loved it.

No movies this week, but we watched Season 1 of Counterpart on Prime. J.K. Simmons is wonderful, and he gets to play two characters, in this spy thriller that involves parallel worlds.

 

Heroes, Truth, and Lies

Monday Morning Musings:

“If we both describe the same thing at the same time, will one of our descriptions be more true than the other?”

–Rajiv Joseph, Describe the Night

IMG_6130

 

The sun rises each day

truth, whether we see it or not

light bending through air

a neon orange ball, perhaps

a tangerine on fire—

 

does the description change the fact–

a rose by any other name, and all that?

The sun, a fiery ball in our sky,

the horizon, the end of all we can see

of a world that goes on and on

 

through space and time.

Now a whisper of spring hovers–

a bit of honeyed-light

through dragon-flamed clouds,

but is winter waning

IMG_5169

 

or waiting, gathering strength to roar

with gaping mouth and jagged teeth

sending its icy breath to freeze the world,

my world, turning it white,

the sun then but a hazy memory?

IMG_6108

Hazy January sun through trees off of Lincoln Ave, Philadelphia.

Cycles, warm and cold,

sunshine and rain

birth to death,

to birth again

winter fades, spring comes.

 

The woman in the play foresees war,

her fortunes always predict war,

war is a constant, is it not?

War and peace and war and peace

cycling round like sun and moon.

 

My mother is almost a century old,

How many wars have there been–and death.

(Some days she longs for her own death.)

She has good days and bad days,

cycles, laughter and tears

IMG_6107

My mom watching the “wing bowl” at her assisted living facility.

 

Her laugh can light up a room.

I will miss that when she’s gone.

her fading away, I won’t miss that.

Once she was a child, a teen,

a vivid, energetic woman–

 

still, her laugh can light up a room

the way the sun lights up the sky.

Do you see it?

How would you describe it?

A sunrise? A laugh?

 

The days have been dreary

a slow steel sky, heavy with portent,

or dreams–waiting for spring—

there, a hawk cries from above,

there on the ground a hint of what may come

62090077-A13F-4645-949B-BA72ED8861D5

 

Magic all around us lies, lies all around us.

The man in the play extols the black Magic Marker,

it erases the past, a new truth can be told–

it is a crime to be alive when the state says you are dead,

perhaps eat this leech soup, and remember, the women say.

 

Fantasy, myth, truth, lies

this is the world,

and I think we need heroes,

real heroes like Harriet Tubman,

or perhaps the children will lead us now.

 

But now,

I listen to the moon’s hum, the stars’ songs

reflect on the river’s reflections

I bake and cook

trying to stay cozy in a tilting world

And if it tilts,

how will we describe the sun rising

and setting

cycles that are constant but changeable

even if we don’t notice the change till it’s too late.

 

Is it too late?

we watch movies and plays

and drink wine

because life goes on

until it doesn’t

 

but still

but still

light bends and what of time?

Perhaps we may see ourselves

rising again with the sun.

29CA7226-1D56-4F5D-8F32-04F212A4748B

Garden of Delight by David Guinn, Mural Arts of Philadelphia

 

Merril’s Movie (and Theater) Club: We missed the movie Harriet when it was in the theaters, but it’s streaming now. The word hero is overused, but Harriet Tubman truly was one. The movie is sort of a standard bio-pic, good, but not great–but Cynthia Erivo is wonderful in the role. She seems to channel the spirit of Harriet Tubman. Also, for us, it was fun seeing local Philadelphia/New Jersey places and historical figures, such as William Still. We will be seeing a play about Harriet Tubman later this month.

We saw the play Describe the Night at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Both of us totally enjoyed this play that combines myth and reality, historical figures in imaginary situations, and imaginary people in historical situations. One strand is about “Putin’s” rise, but the play goes back and forth in time. It gave us a lot to talk about afterwards. A real “Merril” play. And my husband was still able to see most of the Super Bowl when we got home. 🙂

And lest you think I only watch serious things–we binge-watched the second season of Sex Education on Netflix. 

Sometimes we do not control what we watch.

C491E4BA-AE18-4BC8-81C9-88B6FF68D033

Who controls the remote?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Storm, the Moon Rises

IMG_5490

Monday Morning Musings:

“Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“Every time I sing this song, I hope it’s the last time.”

–Lisa Petersen and Denis O’Hare, An Iliad

 

After the storm, the moon rises

humming fiercely in the winter sky.

Do you hear her music—

urging, warning, comforting?

Cold, but bright, shimmering

ever-present

reflecting all our ifs

back to us,

and in shadows and dreams,

we sometimes understand.

 

***

It is the season of joy and sorrow

of unexpected gifts

and the kindness of strangers

of carols and bells

and hypocritical politicians

 

It is the season of rain and snow

of a full moon setting as the sun rises

of comfort food and warm clothing—and cats–

of a flock of turkeys that suddenly appear

and disappear

DDFC3618-3904-45B8-9F00-F02AB51AF3C0.JPG

like my mother’s thoughts and memories

delusions and dreams

shadows of things that were

or might have been

things that never were or will be.

 

It is the season of my birth

perhaps a miracle of a sort,

considering the gap of years

between my older sister and myself?

A rapprochement between my parents

 

carrying on to the birth of my younger sister

two years later?

I guess I’ll never know,

and does it matter?

I am here.

 

And so, we celebrate

a weekend with food and wine—

we watch Mrs. Maisel.

We walk in the city

decorated with Christmas lights

IMG_5480

We are reminded of things that were

of things that might be

We are reminded, too, that there is more

in the world

than what we can see

 

96A4F2E0-240C-4B58-81F9-13C819B48C85

Though The Poet is doomed perhaps

to sing her song of war

over and over and over again–

“Do you see?” she asks us.

We do.

 

We see the rage, the endless killing

over what?

A woman?  A piece of land?

We hear the lies.

We see the man rallying his base–

 

evil, madness, pestilence–

Marley’s chains rattle and clank.

The spirits appear

over and over again . . .

 

and yet . . .magic exists all around us

in birdsong, the moon, the stars,

a baby’s laugh,

a deer appearing in the woods,

sunrise, sunset–

 

Do you see?

Look.

Listen.

Sing the songs of joy and peace–

dream.

IMG_5508

I had a wonderful birthday weekend. We watched several episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ate Thai Curry Mussels at Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, saw a wonderful one-man performance of A Christmas Carol (Lantern Theater Company), saw a performance of An Iliad, (Arden Theater Company), a mostly one-woman show (along with a musician), a glass of wine at Pinot Boutique in Old City. Followed by Chinese food, more Mrs. Maisel, and my own flourless chocolate cake (The Oracle told me to eat cake!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here and There and Here

Willow at Dock Creek, October 2019

Monday Morning Musings:

“All I know

Is you are there

You are there

And I am here.

–Irene Sankoff and David Heine, “I am Here,” from Come From Away

 

“Suddenly there’s nothing in between me and the sky”

Irene Sankoff and David Heine, “Me and the Sky,” from Come From Away

 

“Think of it as a ghost play; the actor’s older bodies are haunting these thirteen-year-old characters.”

Clare Barron on her play, Dance Nation

 

“Are you here?” my mother asks

as I, involved in some ordinary task

stand just beyond her sight.

 

The boundaries between mist and light

time and dreams, seems porous, slight

and she drifts, and we drift again and again

IMG_4817

Reflections in a rain puddle, Philadelphia

sunshine, then rain

“Here,” says the woman in the book

“Here,” I say, “Look.”

 

The twilight and dawn

the days that falter, end with a song

look at them fly

nothing between them and the sky

and we drink wine, talk of movies and why

they did this or that—it’s a metaphor

I say, and we laugh, remember more

to discuss, remember the time when it was just us

or when we were thirteen–

 

remember how life seemed?

All emotions, and the dreams?

Emotions now more settled, but more stress—

I digress.

Time right now to sit in gardens bright

to catch autumn’s glowing light

5A3FC0B8-FA34-4473-93D9-80DF9DDF2C86

F917B72F-47DB-469D-9F1D-B334A1F0737F

 

rain and sunshine, tears, delight

I was there once, now I’m here in sight–

of what? I’m not certain, but you are here

together we’re here,

and there’s magic in theater–and deer

and nature, magic in each day’s dawning

IMG_4740

watching the sun rise, yawning

as it sets, and the cats that sleep, never fawning

honest with their desire

for food and love, we’re the suppliers

but we get it back, their love doesn’t expire

no ghosts in their bodies, at least that I see

 

they can just be–

and sometimes so can we—

here together,

 

I am here,

you are here,

nothing between us and sky–

in my dreams, we fly.

IMG_4852

 

We actually saw two shows this week: Come From Away and Dance Nation. Come from Away is heartwarming without being cloying. It’s about people doing good. It’s about the town in Newfoundland that takes in flights following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It’s poignant, but also very funny at times. The staging is wonderful, and we saw it in the beautiful Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Dance Nation is about a competitive dance team of middle school kids, but it’s also a memory play, as we see glimpses of the girls (and one boy’s) older selves. All the actors are adults. It’s laugh out loud funny at times, but it also makes you want to cheer. There’s a wonderful speech on female empowerment.

And for Merril’s Movie Club members—we finally got to the movies and saw Parasite. Yes, of course it has subtitles. It’s Korean. It’s about class and metaphors, and it’s excellent, but you know, it’s a Merril movie. 😉 Here’s the trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Carried Forward

Monday Morning Musings:

“We can never go back to before.”

–Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, “Back to Before,” Ragtime

“Go out and tell our story

Let it echo far and wide

Make them hear you

Make them hear you”

–Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, “Make Them Hear You,” Ragtime

 

“It’s important to emphasize that hope is only a beginning; it’s not a substitute for action, only a basis for it. “

“The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.”

—Rebecca Solnit , from Hope in the Dark, quoted in Brainpickings

IMG_4481

I wake from dreams

where before and after merge

the past that never was,

the future that will never be,

where old friends visit a house

that is mine

only in a dream–

and I smile when I wake

because dream-world cats

knock objects from tables, too.

Somehow that makes

everything seem right.

***

 

There are hopes so small

scarcely thoughts at all

 

wishes, feather light

almost out of sight

 

they drift

away so swift–

 

a desire for fair days,

and then we gaze,

 

see beauty in the mist,

buildings lightly kissed

 

by grey, yet they shimmer

even as they’re dimmer

a paradox, perhaps

like seeing in the gaps

IMG_4560

what could be.

And then behind a tree

 

a deer, or two, three,

more you see

than what is here—

hope for what could be.

 

And quiet sanctuaries

where history tarries

Garden at Christ Church, Philadelphia    Merril D. Smith, October 2019

Christ Church Garden, Philadelphia Credit: Merril D. Smith, October 2019

telling the story of before

in church steeples, and old doors

 

steps decorated for fall

historic houses call

but we can never go back to before

even if we try to restore

 

a status quo–

you know

 

there is no time machine

only dreams

where past and future blend,

but it doesn’t have to be the end—

 

we tell our stories

of past glories

 

and of little things

our hopes with wings

IMG_4444

for our children, to bring

the awakening of spring

 

and they will hear you

and we hear, too

 

through mist and dreams

hope beams

 

a light,

a torch in the endless night.

 

Bonus Photo: “my willow.” I think people often dream under it.

IMG_4554

“My” willow, October 2019 At Dock Creek, Old City Philadelphia

We saw Ragtime at the Arden Theatre. It was performed in the round with a minimal set (with the clever use of two pianos and benches), but I loved the intimate aspect, where even though I knew the story, the three groups seemed clearer, as was their desire for their children to have better lives. I think there are many people today who want to go back to an idealized past. Well, that is evident in the campaign slogan used by the current U.S. president. But though I tear up at the musical, it leaves me with a sense of hope.

And, if you’re keeping track, my manuscript for my book on sexual harassment is nearly completed. I’ll be sending in the first five chapters in just a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelers

IMG_4227

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“My baby takes the morning train

He works from nine till five and then

He takes another home again

To find me waitin’ for him”

Florrie Palmer, “Morning Train (Nine to Five),” (Recorded by Sheena Easton)

 

“Why do you write like you’re writing out of time?”

Lin Manuel Miranda, “Non Stop,” Hamilton

 

“Legacy. What is legacy?

It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

Miranda, “The World Was Wide Enough,” Hamilton

 

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

–Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

 

Blue wind soars

into a day of pink and peach

recall this picture– or forget

how the rhythm of earth

turns grey to dazzling bright,

4FB4E4B3-2397-4BC5-92B2-524DDDF1B3E4

and the magic of a cat

in a long, liquid stretch

with a purr that transfers

burrowing into your soul

IMG_3866

How does it happen—

 

that the light of ghost stars

dances into your morning horizon

and you vow to remember this

 

how it travels

in light years

 

but blink—

and it’s gone.

***

We catch the train

walk a cobblestone lane

 

and past the willow tree

where Hamilton’s bank peeks softly

Willow tree at Dock Creek, Philadelphia

through branches still green

past, present, what might have been

IMG_4221

but here we are

to watch women on trapeze bar

 

climbing silks, twirling on a hoop

they move in the air, dance, swoop

 

in transit, a search

for love, a perch

above offers reflection

(and they are perfection)

 

in strength and skill

traveling without a spill

 

from any apparatus

and those hearts grab us

 

the emotions she carries

with colors that vary

 

red, black and blue

well, we understand, do you?

 

The red given to lovers, the black

weighing her down, from the lack–

 

but friends help with the burden

though life is still uncertain.

 

We so enjoy the show

then it’s time to go

 

past a wedding

heading

 

from where the Founding Fathers’ prayed

bridal party and guests all finely arrayed

IMG_4204

and we walk and people-watch

from a little swatch

 

with drinks and apps

then perhaps

it’s time to walk

and talk

 

down streets and alleys

where people have rallied,

 

where a Revolutionary generation

fought, died, and built a nation–

to reflect on light

as we travel into the night.

IMG_4193

 

We catch the train

the next day—again

 

over the bridge, high

above where boats sail by

Delaware River from Patco train

eat a pre-theater meal

and I’m so excited, I feel

happy to be here

(Hamilton walked near)

 

lucky to be alive right now–

and wow!

the show lives up to every expectation

and anticipation,

 

believe the hype, what they say is true

it’s brilliant through and through.

 

I cry a bit after Philip dies

but laugh and clap, too, and time flies

 

till we’re heading home on the train

again.

 

And though moon peaks from a cloud

humming—not too loud

IMG_4059

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

 

I dream of things I don’t understand

of Hamilton, and far off lands

 

of immigrants who get things done–

well, my grandfather was one.

 

But where does a dream go

between slumber and slowed

 

breathing and thinking

thoughts slinking

 

and winking in your mind

till you wake to find

 

the dream’s traveled far

beyond time, and where are

 

they? Where do they go

when they’ve flowed

 

from your brain,

but sometimes appear again?

 

My mother asks if my father’s alive

and I ponder and strive

 

to find a way

to say–

 

cause he died

years ago, not alive

 

but I’m helpless when she insists

and the dreams twists

 

then falls away.

 

So, I write, prose and rhyme

because I’m running out of time

 

planting seeds, a legacy

she’ll never get to see.

IMG_3989

We saw In Transit, a show that’s part of the Philadelphia Fringe line-up this year. We both really enjoyed it, and this group of women of Tangled Movement Art who we’ve seen perform before. They combine theater and circus art. “Morning Train” was a song that was repeated throughout the show. Then, of course we saw Hamilton. The show is a bit of a love song to NYC, but Philadelphia knows Hamilton walked here, too.

I’m delayed today because my computer decided to eat my file, but fortunately, I was able to recover it. Moment. Of. Panic.