America Will Never Be The Same

After the election, everything got quiet for a few minutes.  We all said to each other, what just happened?  We all said to each other, How did I get here?


Then things got noisy really quickly. And we couldn’t hear ourselves think because there was so much noise and so many people saying something loudly.  It is the end of the world.

This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

This was not how we expected the world to end, or the empire to end.  We expected the trumpets to sound as God promised.  The trumpets shall sound and the dead shall be raised.

But no trumpets sounded when the whole world changed.

We now have a disaster of a president, who among many other faults supports white supremacy.  We have a president who doesn’t respect women and is a white supremacist who is against caring for the environment.  The news of his administration gets progressively worse.

This disaster puts other issues in perspective; other problems that loomed large are not large.   What is a disaster?  After a disaster, your life is never the same.

America will never be the same.

Published in: on November 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Make change happen

Americans are no longer asleep at the switch.  We are not waiting to see what others are going to do.  We are changing the world.  We are calling Congress; we are holding our government accountable.  We are not allowing racists to sit down at our tables in our houses and tell us that it’s okay to hate Muslims, Jews, African Americans, Latinos, members of the LGBT community, disabled Americans.  We can change the world. We will.  We are awake.


We are still creating and working and loving our family while making change happen.

Published in: on November 16, 2016 at 9:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Be the Change

In many countries, if the populace voted for an unfit demagogue of unnatural proportions, the population would have to simply sit it out.  In many countries, dictators take power and keep it for decades.  There are parts of the world where a madman rises to power and the rest of the world watches for a generation before change is made.  In the United States, we have elected in our cowardice and our shame an unfit president.

I spoke to one of my friends last night who is always the first to be involved in national politics.  His students are in mourning, and after comforting them, he is doing what Americans do; he is going back to work.  He plans to not watch politics for the next four years.  He’s hibernating from politics. I understand. You get tired. You get beaten down, and this election has taken the wind out of our sails.

Some people say, “That’s what Trump wants, for us to be beaten down, for us to want to move to Canada,” and I say, “I’m not interested in the least in what he wants.”  We’ve spent months hearing what he wants and none of it was good. I’m not interested for a moment in getting inside Trump’s head.  I’m sure it would be a sordid place to be.  I’m interested in what can make America a country of which I can be proud.  I travel to Europe several times a year; I’m interested in who we are and how the rest of the world sees America.

But our young people are not tired and beaten down.  They are protesting as is their right.  They are protesting across the nation.  Protests are a way of showing national outrage, they are a way of letting the far right know that we will be watching, that we will not hibernate, that they will be held accountable. I support the millennials’ right to get out there and mourn collectively.  Why do we go to concerts when we can hear music at home?  It is to be with like-minded people.  I love the millennial energy.  I love them blazing toward change and taking the country with them. They know how to crowd source and they know how to mobilize, and they are going to change the world.

The movement gathering steam on to request that the Electoral College follow the popular vote and vote for Hillary now has nearly four million signatures.  But it is not being covered by much of the mainstream media.  People Magazine and Huffington Post have covered it.  It may be a way of venting, a way of processing fear, outrage, and anger, but it is better than hibernating, it is better than crying at home,  This administration needs to know that the American people are engaged.

And to my hibernating friend? Bears hibernate and then they come out of hibernation, eat some honey and fish and start walking around.  If you need to be a bear, be a bear, but come out at some point and be part of the change that is coming.

If all the Americans who are outraged wake up every day and be the change we are asking for, we can make America great because what makes America great is a celebration of individual identity of people of all race, religion, ethnicity, gender preference, and ability.  It is compassion; it is creating safe spaces and safe cities.  I read Bill Moyers and Viet Thanh Nguyen’s writings about the end of empire, and it is a time for the end of empire.  But conquest is not what makes this a country a place that people flock to, it’s inclusion.  Jazz was born in New Orleans because it was a city with so many different ethnic identities and musical influences that they comingled and created a new art form.  That’s America at our best.  We’re creating jazz for the world, a musical syncopation of flexibility, spontaneity and rhythm.   Living together, celebrating, making music, writing stories, building community.  We can still do this.  The three branches of government rest on the will of the people and are supposed to serve the people. The world will judge us not on how we lie down but on how we get up and fight.  Asking the Electoral College for change may be a symbolic ask, but it is part of the Constitution; it is possible, and just because it hasn’t been done in our lifetime, doesn’t mean it can’t start now.  Where would we be if Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks and Cesar Chavez had said, “It can’t be done?”   Making change in America starts with me. I ask you this, if Hillary had won, would the Trump supporters be pressuring the Electoral College?  Of course they would.   The progressives are too timid; we must take action.  Our lives are at stake as is the life of the planet. Let’s step up to the plate and ask for the change for which the Constitution makes room.   We the people.  We Americans.  Be the change.

Published in: on November 12, 2016 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

I want to believe that the Millennials will save us. They have collective force, they have crowd sourcing and sharing. Our generation mocks their hive mind, their techno babble, but maybe with their protesting and their collaborating, they are on to something. They may be our only hope.

We used to tell our children the good guys win in the end, and when we said that, what we meant is that in big American movies, the good guys win in the end.


In life, sometimes the bad guys win, and this moment in American history is the moment when evil won.  When bigotry and hatred have triumphed.


Americans voted for a man they knew hated people of color, hated African Americans, Latinos, and women and he wasn’t fond of Jewish people either.  A man who despised disabled people.


A man with no morals, no plans for America’s foreign policy, a man who plans to destroy everything Obama did, a man who encouraged people to shoot Hillary Clinton.


Americans voted for a man they knew to be evil.


America is a shadow of the country we once were.  No longer great or proud, no longer inclusive or just, not merciful, not loving.  Not a country to be proud of.


I want to believe that the Millennials will save us.  They have collective force, they have crowd sourcing and sharing.  Our generation mocks their hive mind, their techno babble, but maybe with their protesting and their collaborating, they are on to something.  They are my only hope.

Published in: on November 11, 2016 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time to work for change

A  day of national mourning for many of us

who wanted to believe that we had moved beyond hate.

If you were surprised by a vote for hate,

it’s because you surround yourself with loving people.

We have a lot of work to do in this country to make change happen.

In line at the grocery store today, the Vons checker,

said to the woman in front of me, “It’s a glorious day in this country.

They have finally been put in their place.”

They are us.

We are them.

Our place is this country; it is our country to change.

Published in: on November 9, 2016 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

America is already great.

The election is tomorrow.

We have champagne in the fridge.

We believe in Hillary Clinton.

Madame President

No need to make America great.

As we move from Obama to Clinton,

we are great.

Published in: on November 7, 2016 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  

This election is making me crazy.

It’s hard to think about anything except the election.

We are at the edge of a precipice in American life

I wanted Obama to win both times.

I wanted W to lose both times, but it’s never seemed more crucial than now.

Trump would return us to a terrible time in American history—a time when it was okay to boss women around, discriminate against people based on their ethnicity or religion, a time when gay people were mostly in the closet.

America is in danger of not being great at all.

I know people who are voting for Trump and I cannot see the world from the point of view where that makes sense. I can’t put myself in those shoes.

If Hillary is elected next week, I’ll start to breathe again, but now, watching the polls is using all my free time and thinking about where I would want to go if Trump wins.

Hillary will win because America is great and because we want to live in a world where respect for other humans is how we live.

Published in: on November 2, 2016 at 9:52 am  Leave a Comment  

The dream of poetry opening.

Tobi’s birthday is today and she is turning 27.  She’s off to celebrate.

Great benefit yesterday.

There are these events we have at Red Hen, parties and readings, and those events feel effervescent, sparkling, and joyous, and those events are like the candles that keep us going between the hard work.

Jill Bialosky.

Alan Lightman

Rita Dove

We have quite a bit of candy and if no one comes for the candy, we will eat it .

So, if no little trick a treaters come by, we’ve got that to look forward to.

We’re watching Ghost Town.  The dead speak to the living all over Central Park.

Published in: on October 31, 2016 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Basic American values include

Manifest Destiny—US expansion is ordained by God

Individualism—we are special, and we deserve privacy


Equality—we deserve to be treated equally

The comfort clause—we have the right to be comfortable and judge others based on their comforts


Science and technology are good—they make our life better

Optimism—we can do anything


Work is good, being idle is bad

Competition is good


Move up whenever possible

If where you live sucks, move


Set goals, measure results, get things done


There is a lot of talk about American values.

But, as this election shows, we have different values.


Some of us value guns and borders and control.


Core values are sometimes taught by our parents,

but sometimes they just come to us as we grow.


I value family and loyal friends.

I choose to live in a city with diversity.


I value gardens, children, boats, travel and books, art and music.

I value the landscape of love, the moments when you are with the people dear to you.


Great conversations that last your whole life, that set your brain on fire.

Like seeing a painting or listening to music.


The world is on fire.  It is changing quickly.

Sometimes people leave your life and never come back.


It’s the ones who stay that count.

Value love.

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Loathing for her clothing and Hilary’s pantsuits



“You are looking good” means you are looking thin.   I want to be good, I want to be fine, but often being thin is just out of reach.  At the Frankfurt Book Fair, for my first day of meetings, I wore a black skirt I had bought at Zara’s. I could barely button it.  Perhaps you’re thinking I’ve grown too big for it, but when I bought it a year ago in New York, I couldn’t actually put it on at all.  But I bought it anyway.  I’m an aspirational shopper.  My wardrobe is invaded by many clothes that I’ve never been able to wear, but this doesn’t stop me from buying more clothes that are a size too small for that glorious future Kate who will wear these outfits like a swan with her feathers.  I can tell you this now, future Kate has a far sleeker wardrobe than present Kate. Before this trip, I tried on a pink dress that frankly, I will never get my body into.   My husband was watching this and he said, “Your ribcage is never going to fit.”

What I would give for a smaller ribcage!  That’s what we say to ourselves, ignoring the fact that we are entirely beautiful, pink dress or no. We are living in the only body we will ever have.  We are dancing in the only body we will ever have, making love, making mistakes, making hay, making books, making houses and bridges, wheels and music in the only body we will ever lilt across the lawn in the light watching the stars come out one by one.  We are our own lilies of the valley.

I wish the media would stop tripping on what Hillary wears.  You don’t hear criticism of Obama’s suits or ties.   I don’t care whether she wears pantsuits or not; I just want her to do a great job for children, for women, for people of color, for the LGBT community, for all Americans.   I hope she finds a designer who works with her body and helps her feel every day like she can conquer the world.   I hope she dances in the White House ballroom and feels like a princess.   She’s forging new territory for all of us women.  For many of us, the idea that women could hold the real power in this country has always seemed as far off as the light that comes from stars.  Our first woman president, Hillary Rodham Clinton, I see smiling at cameras, the way we did at the beginning of the world, at the first campfires, our surprise at all that heat, and energy and light.

Published in: on October 27, 2016 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment