There is nothing wrong with me that ten hours of sleep couldn’t cure

I am tired.

Or on the other side of fatigue.

What makes us feel ready to do anything is sleep.

I am always wishing to overcome my need for sleep so I can get more done.

Maybe I need chocolate.

Or sleep.

Published in: on September 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Friday night I am reading at Bergamot Station at the Building Bridges ADC Gallery with Kim Dower and Brendan Constantine.

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Then dinner with Sarah and Travis.

Thursday Kim and I are going to Mussos.  I love Mussos because of its history and because I’ve had good times there with Teresa and with Kim and because they do make a damned good Ketel One martini, but the food there has slipped off its pedestal.  The waiters are lovely and old fashioned in their green and red and they stay there forever. But my favorite dish there was always the sour cream and herring and now they’ve ruined it.  I can still get the crab salad.

I had a good time in DC with Seema Reza and her sons. I slept on the balcony which was ten floors up.  I slept in a sleeping bag.

It isn’t like I’ve come back to a sleepy week. Hardly.  I teach tomorrow and Thursday I am at the office.  On Monday I fly back to NY for a couple of meetings before I go to Philly and then Minneapolis.

I’m doing Pilates on Thursday and going to the doctor and going to work.

There’s a lizard who lives in our backyard.

Much of California is on fire.

I wake up and can’t remember what city I’m in.

Seeing my mother was such a trip.

My sister’s voice did not sound like mine.  Hers was very high.

We all fear what we don’t understand.

The lizard lives under the comfrey which I plan to use for tea with the lemon grass and mint.

For Thanksgiving we could make pumpkin soup.

I haven’t cooked for a long time.

On this plane a lot of people are sleeping.

Seema made quinoa for dinner last night with leftover chicken.

Her older son didn’t try it.

My son used to eat CPK instead of dinner.  Pick your battles.

At the readings someone said to me, I’m your friend on Facebook!

Well now, isn’t that nice?

If you could be a great writer or a rock star or the president which would you be?

Bono? Barack or Pynchon?

It might be fun to sleep in the White House. I would jump on the bed.

At Walter Reed, there is a fountain outside and there is a fake fireplace.

Everything is very nice and new and the vets like working with Seema.  She’s very gifted with listening and with a kind of rare humility and presence.  She spreads joy and understanding.

We all walk around with secrets.

Wouldn’t you like to visit the moon?

Sleeping on the balcony wasn’t completely restful. I dreamed of tracks. I was above the train.

Quinoa is supposed to be very good for you.

I miss chia seeds.

All God’s children got new shoes to wear.

The first pair of shoes I bought myself were Keds.

I have never bought myself expensive shoes or bags or jewelry or dresses.

I went into Eileen Fisher in NY and played the what if game.

I wouldn’t mind if I could ride a cloud.  Or find myself at the train station with extra money in my pocket.

Finish this book, that’s my main job.

I got shoes. You got shoes.

Published in: on September 17, 2014 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Should you stay home with the kids and be a good wife and a loving mother? Or go back to work?

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One  hears of people who decided to stay home and be a full time mom as if they’re angels from heaven. Seriously.  The two should not be mutually exclusive.

Let’s talk about this situation. If you decide to stay home with your children does it mean that you love them more than working moms?  Does it mean you want to be a better mother than you could otherwise be?

I say no.  First of all the best way you can set an example for your kids is to do work that you enjoy so they can see you making a difference in the world.  If you decide to stay at home, that’s great and fine, but let’s not pretend that you’re a better person or even a better mother.

If you decide to stay at home, it is first of all because you can afford to do so.  Let’s be very clear you wouldn’t even be thinking about this staying at home business unless you either inherited money or your husband made enough money to support the whole show.  You are not better than the mother who is working at Walmart or Dennys or you’re a doctor, teacher, or clown and you are working to support your family, I would certainly give you more applause than a woman who just gets to stay home and kick it.

When my kids were younger, there were a lot of articles about the “Mommy wars,” and I remember a few moms being disdainful of me for working.  Their husbands made a lot of money.  The accusation is that if you had chosen a better man, he’d be making enough that you could spend all your time doing Pilates and taking your kids to soccer practice.  Are men who make more money better men? I’m thinking no.

Being a parent isn’t easy whether you make a lot of money or not.  Even rich kids get into trouble.  Staying home with your kids doesn’t mean that they won’t get into trouble, it just means that when your kids get older you won’t really have much to do and your identity will be just being a mom.  Is that what you want?

The mommy wars started 25 years ago, just when I was having my children.  But, there is still a sly big of bragging that women do when they realize they can afford to stay home.  “I just want to take care of the children,” they say as if they’re the Virgin Mary or something.  I don’t consider staying home a privilege.  It wouldn’t be my first choice or even my second choice, but it’s never been an option for me so it’s easy to diss. My first choice would be writing, low residency teaching and the press.  But that’s not an option.   My kids would not have turned out better if I’d stayed home.  I think they turned out just fine.  If you decide to stay home for a while, I wouldn’t suggest bragging about it to women who are working.  We’re not impressed.  We’re fine with our lot in life.  We aren’t wishing for a man who could have kept us in Pilates and Botox.  We’re chilling at our job.  We’re cool.

Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm  Comments (1)  

An Evening of Poetry: Kate Gale, Brett Fletcher Lauer and Alicia Ostriker 6:00 p.m. September 14

McNally Jackson
52 Prince St. New York, NY
Price: Free [ Sunday, Sept. 14, 6pm ]

Join the versatile and gifted poets Kate Gale, Brett Fletcher Lauer, and Alicia Ostriker for readings from new work. Kate Gale is the Managing Editor of Red Hen Press, Editor of The Los Angeles Review and President of the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles. She teaches in Low Residency MFA programs around the country and serves on the boards of A Room of Her Own Foundation and Poetry Society of America. She is the author six librettos including Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis which premiered in October 2010 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. Her latest poetry collections are The Goldilocks Zone and Echo Light, forthcoming this Fall. She is also the editor of several anthologies and blogs for Huffington Post. Brett Fletcher Lauer is the Deputy Director of the Poetry Society of America. He is the author of A Hotel in Belgium (Four Way Books, 2014) and the co-editor ofPoetry in Motion from Coast to Coast (Norton, 2002), Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Wave, 2004), and Bartlett’s Words for the Wedding (Little, Brown & Company, 2007). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harper’s, Tin House, and elsewhere, and he is a poetry editor of A Public Space. Alicia Ostriker is a major American poet. Author of fourteen volumes of poetry, she has published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Antaeus, The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Atlantic, MS, Tikkun, and many other journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has been translated into many languages, and she has performed her work widely in the USA and abroad. She has twice been a National Book Award finalist, and has won the National Jewish Book Council Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the San Francisco State Poetry Award, among others. She will read from The Book of Seventy and The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog. As a critic, Ostriker is the author of Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry In America, and other books on poetry and on the Bible. She teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program at Drew University. She also teaches midrash writing workshops in the United States and abroad.

Published in: on September 13, 2014 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

KGB Bar tonight!

Red Hen Press at KGB Bar! 7 pm

Jeffrey Harrison, Dean Kostos and Leia Penina Wilson, see you there!

The meeting with my mother and sister went well.

I fell asleep afterward almost as soon as we entered the hotel but woke up a couple hours later and then I couldn’t sleep thinking about it.  My mother brought a little photo album.  In it were mostly pictures of her and her husband on honeymoon and camping trips.  He was very handsome when they got married and is still a good looking man.  He also seemed to be a very gentle man.  He told a story of shooting a fox.  She told a story about him hiding their food for a hiking trip and skillfully finding it again.  She was clearly very proud of him. He can hunt, camp, shoot, sail.  He’s a manly man, thin and quiet.  He seemed very fond of my mother.  He’s been to France but says his French isn’t great. My mother does most of the talking.  She seems to be the family story teller.

My sister seemed rather quiet but very lively at the same time.  She has a quiet voice. She told me a little about her five children.  Two have taken lifeguard training. My two kids have also.  She has been married to her husband twenty years.  I have been with my husband for twenty years.  She plays the piano on weekends.  She doesn’t travel much because she has two young children.

They like the Comfort Inn where they’re staying because it has a pool.  They like to swim. My mother seems to need a knee replacement but said she’s going to avoid that.  Oddly my mother-in-law needs a knee replacement but is also avoiding it.

I’d say my mother was glad to see me.  I told her about gardening , making salsa, about having chickens and camping.  My sister seemed to enjoy the whole visit too.  My mother ordered ahi tuna.  I thought wow, they’re into sashimi.  When it came, they were surprised and had the tuna sent back to be cooked.  The waitress was surprised but she had it cooked for them.  I shared a little appetizer pizza with Mary.  I both was and wasn’t hungry, I didn’t feel like eating.  I ordered coffee.

I was thinking and re-thinking everything.  The reading at River Run Bookstore had gone really well and earlier that day I’d done a radio show on NPR.  We’d driven down from Concord, me singing in the rain to Mary in French and English.  Today, I’m on a train to NY.   What I want to buy to remember this trip is a snow globe.  Inside the little globes, the snow drifts around the tiny figures inside.  You can hold it in your hands and everything is perfect.

They seem quite content.  My mother’s husband told a story about driving to the Philadelphia docks, the dangerous area he had to drive through where flowers were stolen from his truck.

I paid the bill; they seemed confused by the check as they were by the raw fish.

Mary drove me to the train station; when we arrived at the station, I ran, boarding with one minute to spare and no time to print my ticket. The train from Boston to NY is more than four hours.

The water came down in sleeves but nobody drowned.  I have built my own ark and that ark floats well.  I don’t need to sing out for help, I can just sing for joy.  The snow globe will be a park with people or a merry go round.

Published in: on September 12, 2014 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  

There is gold for me in Ghana, I got this letter

Hello Dear Friend,

This is to let you know that we are local Gold miners here in Accra-Ghana and we have readily available kilos of Alluvial Gold bar and Dust ready to be offered at prospective buyers who is interested in our products.Be well informed that our offer prices are lower than that of the world market and you can also negotiate price base on the quantity the buyer is taking from our company.If you are interested get back to me on my email at (  ).Hope to hear from you.

Tel +233541132736

Published in: on September 12, 2014 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Seeing my mother and sister in two hours

We’re drinking wine from So Cal.

In a small hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

I sang Mary gospel songs in English and French as we drove through the rain from Concord.

Mary has a cool swoop of car under the branches of thick wet green.  She drives fast.

Why do we go back?

So we can laugh as we go forward.

I was on a radio show this morning, an NHPR, Word of Mouth.

My friends wrote to say, Breathe! You got this!

Others wrote to say, Kate, what have you done for me lately?

Everything is okay.  There are pine needles falling onto the forest floor.

California wine in NH.

This is the way the world begins. Not with a cry but with full flight.

Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

In New Hampshire, The Problem of Entitlement

Steve Almond’s piece in Poets and Writers, “The Problem of Entitlement,” is something every writer should read. It’s spot on and brilliant.  Why don’t we stop bitching about other writers and just do our own work and do it well?  Read it!


I read the magazine all the way from Newark.  Then I landed in New Hampshire.

Mary Johnson picked me up at the tiny airport.

Breakfast in Nashua.  Cheese apple omelette. Raisin toast.


Her house is adorable. Rugs, curtains, a window seat! Books everywhere.

And the sky is close to the ground.

She has an attic and basement. Fringe spaces. 

So Cal has no fringe spaces. Or it’s all fringe.

Tomorrow. I see my mother.

The sky is very close to the ground.

Tick tock.


Published in: on September 10, 2014 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  

It is now three days until I see my mother who I have not seen for thirty-three years.

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She is bringing her husband, my sister Shura and Shura’s husband. I do not know if I am taller than my mother or my sister. I think of myself as the tallest one in the family, but this may not be true. I do not know my sister’s birthday, but it is in October, days away from my daughter’s birthday which is on Halloween. They are coming to the reading and then we are going to dinner. I have not decided what to read. I have not decided what to say. I have not decided what to wear. I have not decided who I am in that situation. In that world. In their world. I am going backwards step by step into the dark as I think about this visit. Good things come out in the dark. The stars. The moon. Love and wild life. I’ve discovered the cave where light is built and I’ve come back to the surface and still I feel God rising in me.

Published in: on September 8, 2014 at 8:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Today the sky started piling up with clouds, maybe rain soon?

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Published in: on September 7, 2014 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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