Poet laureate panel today to choose the state laureate of California

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Population of California is just under 40 million. Population of Canada 35 million. A war between Canada and California would probably be won by Canada; however, because like Russia, Canada is large and cold.  Californians marching toward Canada would give up.  We would not want to leave our beaches, our palm trees, the sand and the surf to hike toward the snow.  We would stop somewhere between Oregon and Washington, we might get as far as Vancouver and eat some sushi, we might eat cherries on Vancouver Island, we might see some bears in Banff National Park, but probably at that point, we would turn around.  We would go home.

But we did not turn around and go home from our poet laureate panel today until we had come up with three names to send to the governor of California, Governor Jerry Brown.  Jerry Brown has a difficult job as governor, but I think he’s doing well with it.  I’d like to meet him sometime and I would ask him a lot of questions.  But mostly, I’d say, Good job.  If I saw him right now, of course, I’d talk with him about poetry, and how we should have more of it in schools.

This weekend we are going wine tasting with the finest lesbians in our family, our new graduate Tobi Harper and her artist girlfriend Molly.  It’s so good to be in a wine producing state next to a tequila producing country.

Published in: on May 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tobi graduated today, and she’s coming to work for Red Hen Press.

Tobi graduated today with her Masters in English and queer studies.  I always thought she would stay indefinitely in San Francisco, and now she’s coming home to Los Angeles and she is going to work at Red Hen Press, and I feel my world changing, and I am so happy.  Stephen, Molly and Tobi  and two of their truly amazing friends and I went to the Cliff House.  Molly had suggested it and I had no idea how fabulous it would be, the waves crashing, the whales and dolphins, the food was lovely in all this huge glass room, all mist and grey water in the air.  Tobi was so happy and being with her and Stephen and Molly was great.  Their friends were simply divine and elegant and the most romantic lesbians I’ve ever met like Ginger and Fred.  I’m so lucky to have kids who make us all feel like we are dancing on air.  Off to Sacramento to work and then we are going wine tasting.  A great weekend of graduation, wine, family, magic.  Life is one big adventure.  As Stephen says, Mom doesn’t have time for extreme sports, but she makes her life an extreme sport.  I’m not sure that’s always a good thing.  Keep dancing, I tell myself, and I do.

Published in: on May 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Nebraska there will be lightning bugs

Sometimes after acupuncture, you feel terrible.  They call this blow back.  It’s like having your lights punched out.

Some people like to talk and give you lots of ideas and information about what you could be doing better, but they don’t actually help you.  They like to think their words are enough. I’m not talking about therapy.  The best therapists are giving you tools to change your life like a physical therapist would only it’s mental.  I’m talking about advice givers.  People think that I want advice.  Sometimes sure, sometimes it’s too much like salt in the ocean. Sure we all like salt water, but enough already.

In the Bible, the statue had feet of clay and that meant it had nothing to stand on.

I like ideas falling around me like shooting stars.

In the summer, when I go to Nebraska, Amy, Terri, Karen and I will have some white wine on the patio.  Karen will bring the wine and she brings along little snacks sometimes from her home.  And we’re going to talk about what we’re writing, and we’re going to solve all the problems of the universe, and we’re going to walk in the orchard and see the lightning bugs, and I have a really big idea for Terri’s book that I’m going to tell her and she’s going to love it and it will be epic like falling stars or fireworks or hot summer days at the beach when the waves and the sun melt into each other and you feel that the salt air everywhere and your life is at the top of every wave.

Dinner tonight with Eloise and Colleen at a French restaurant.  I had duck, and we had crème brulee as if we were the thin racy people of the planet and sweet stuff was part of our whole life. A life of candy.

Published in: on May 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Don’t worry. Be Happy

vavoom 081Tobi and Molly on Mother’s Day not worried about a thing

We worry about things we cannot change.

The Spanish word for worry is “preocuparse.”

The French word is “inquiéter.”The Italian word is “preoccuparsi”And the Latin word is “Sollicitudo.” All of these words imply spinning in your head about something you cannot change.Being preoccupied, a lack of quiet.  I like that idea of a lack of quiet.  Because that is what worry does to a person.  Your mind is noisy and turbulent when it should be resting. Your mind makes its way over to some little thing that you cannot solve and keeps circling the drain. You find yourself perseverating when you could be sleeping or relaxing, thinking or breathing. We strain our minds to find a solution that possibly cannot be found. Even if we know that time will solve the problem, or that walking away from the problem would probably yield a solution, we can’t get ourselves let go the mind grip around certain things.  Sometimes we worry about stuff like why does my mother-in-law treat me like that? Other times it’s more serious.   A mind needs rest.  Worry is a lack of quiet.  It is a preoccupation with stuff that holds us back.

I am moving toward breathing.  It’s a journey toward clouds.

Published in: on May 18, 2015 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barking Dog, Boston Court Theatre

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We went to the theatre this afternoon  at Boston Court.  Everyone should see this play.


We were up early walking up to the park where I often see coyotes when I get up early to run. I haven’t been getting up early to run because I have been utterly exhausted.

Los Angeles is full of coyotes; they come into our yards. The drought has driven them down out of the mountains and they roam the neighborhood looking for cats and small dogs.


Our chickens have been invaded by possums and raccoons.  I came home from out of town to find a coyote at my front door.

The play has the coyotes in it, and the coyotes coming into the city. The coyotes coming up the stoop and into the houses.

The wild is always coming in toward us. We bought plants yesterday including fifty peppers and then Mark bought 6 Carolina Reapers, the hottest pepper in the world at 2,200,000 Scoville units.  We have habaneros, Trinidad scorpions, ghost peppers, but the Carolina Reapers are in a class by themselves. 

It’s got unemployment and the tedium of that and boring jobs.  It’s a lot about boredom and what we do with it.

We gardened all morning after the walk. Jared and Kelly came to help us and we worked the tea garden, the herb garden and the salsa garden.  We planted fifty peppers. 


It’s about arson, sex, animals and living with the natural world.

In this play, the rules of the natural world are mixed with magic.

The best parts of life have magic mixed in. Don’t miss this play. 


Published in: on May 17, 2015 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

I think therefore I am.  How do we change who we are?

  1. You have to want to change.
  2. You have to realize change is possible.
  3. You have to know how to change.

My son Stephen and I are in a conversation about how we change our identity.  One thing we’ve determined that one must, to the best of one’s ability one must not judge others.  One is not changing because one can be better than others but because one wants to change.  If you want to be generous, to be understanding, to exercise more, to think more, to love more, to listen more effectively, not because others are schmucks for not doing these same things but because you want to.  Come on, that was you yesterday.  Just yesterday you needed to change so let’s not start hopping up on your little high horse today.

I am in the midst of one big endeavor after another.  And luckily for me there are a few people who are helping with those endeavors:  Ann, Nancy, Joe and Peggy, Ron and Bianca, Jacqueline, Jim and Deborah, Kate and Cynthia, Nicelle, Harper, Darlene, Teresa, we are surrounded by people who care about us and Red Hen and speak our language.  We have the luck.  And we carry the luck around with us as we build the press.

I am working on my own soul building.  I have some changes that need to be made, and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and make those changes.

Published in: on May 16, 2015 at 10:59 pm  Comments (1)  

Red Hen Press is on a big adventure

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Mother’s Day was great and Thursday we are going to San Francisco for Tobi’s graduation.  She will start at Red Hen Press as development associate on July 1st.  It is quite an adventure raising funds to bring her on as a permanent staff member.  This will change the course of the press and start us on a big story.  Red Hen’s future is permanent staff and a permanent building.  Literary buildings that I really like:  Poetry Center in Tuscon, the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, the Loft in Minneapolis, Poets House in NY and of course, the Annenberg Beach House.  There will be a literary home for Red Hen and other literary organizations in Los Angeles, a home for poetry, a place for strands of dreams, thickets of music.  Tobi is part of a new adventure for Red Hen Press. We are fund raising and working around the clock, but tomorrow night we will have tamales with the new city laureate of Los Angeles, Luis Rodriguez.

Published in: on May 15, 2015 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

She said that’s how others become refugees isn’t it?


My daughter
                        wouldn’t hurt a spider
That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
She waited
Until it left of its own accord
If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking
She said that’s how others
Become refugees isn’t it?
I’m still wrapping my head around Fady Joudah’s reading last night which blew my heart doors wide open.  He’s reading again tonight at the Rose Gallery. We’ll have wine and yummy food.  Come in the rain.
Published in: on May 14, 2015 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  

You can’t have everything you want.

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When  I was in graduate school, one of my friends married a guy who was almost fifty. I swore then that I would never be married to an old man.

When my husband and I got married, I told him I wanted him to live forever.

I almost choked over sickness and health.  I told him, I am good on the sickness and health as long as you don’t get sick.

For richer or poorer I said was also fine as long as we still could afford cappuccinos. You can’t make this stuff up.  I actually told him when we were dating that it was mandatory for us to make enough to afford for me to have cappuccinos. True love!

I know a guy who is married to his fourth wife. It occurred to me the other day that he had never had to endure menopause.  That’s a thought.  If he hasn’t been married to a woman over forty, has he missed anything wonderful?

While you’re married, at some point, you change the rules.  We all change the rules if we change at all.  Some people cannot stay in a marriage where the rules are changed.

Change the rules. Change the game. Change your dress size. Become a hunter. Give up hunting. Become a swimmer, a runner, a gambler.  Become a thin person. Some men don’t want their wives to be thin because then they’d have to be nice to them. A confident man wants his wife to be as beautiful as she wants to be.

I want my husband to live well, to be healthy, and he is getting better all the time.  We’re going to sushi tonight and then I think we’ll stop and get a cappuccino.

Published in: on May 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Home sweet home


Home for a whole month.  I’m so excited to be home I can’t stand it.  Since Mark had his heart problem, I’ve been to London, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston.  It’s so great to be home for a while.  Mark and I need to have some chill time.  We are going to SF for Tobi’s graduation and then for a couple days of wine tasting, but that’s all in California.  Stephen is going off on another epic journey, but we are glad to be home.  I need to breathe.  We’re going out to Sushi Gen tomorrow night with Bill and Sasha Anawalt.

AA likes to point out that realizing there is a problem is a large part of solving the problem.  I’m not sure that’s true.

I realize that I tend to do all kinds of things for people or organizations, and I should curb my enthusiasm.  But realizing this doesn’t change me.  It really makes no sense to do something for someone if you’re going to just resent it afterwards.  Being generous is a wonderful trait, and it’s one of my favorite qualities in a human being, but being ridiculously generous lacks integrity.  I like intelligent people very much.  Intelligence, integrity, compassion, generosity.  All of those are the elements I admire.  But balance is important and somehow, I struggle with balance.  While I’m working on balance, I need to get some sleep.

Published in: on May 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm  Comments (1)  

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