Good Loving Woman

Good Loving Woman

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The Land of Beginning Again

May 10, 2013 2 Comments

I wish that there were some wonderful place
In the Land of Beginning Again.
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
and never put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be there at the gates
like an old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.
We would find all the things we intended to do
But forgot, and remembered too late,
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The day for one less fortunate.
It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind
In the Land of Beginning Again,
And the ones we misjudged
and the ones whom we grudged
their moments of victory here,
Would find in the grasp of our loving hand-clasp
More than penitent lips could explain…
So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.

“The Land of Beginning Again” by Louisa Fletcher, from The Land of Beginning Again. © Nabu Press, 2011

“Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.”

April 28, 2013

The Undeniable Pressure of Existence

April 15, 2013

by Patricia Fargnoli

I saw the fox running by the side of the road
past the turned-away brick faces of the condominiums
past the Citco gas station with its line of cars and trucks
and he ran, limping, gaunt, matted dull haired
past Jim’s Pizza, past the Wash-O-Mat,
past the Thai Garden, his sides heaving like bellows
and he kept running to where the interstate
crossed the state road and he reached it and he ran on
under the underpass and beyond it past the perfect
rows of split-levels, their identical driveways
their brookless and forestless yards,
and from my moving car, I watched him,
helpless to do anything to help him, certain he was beyond
any aid, any desire to save him, and he ran loping on,
far out of his element, sick, panting, starving,
his eyes fixed on some point ahead of him,
some possible salvation
in all this hopelessness, that only he could see.

“The Undeniable Pressure of Existence” by Patricia Fargnoli, from Duties of the Spirit. © Tupelo Press, 2005. (from The Writer’s Almanac, April 15, 2013)


it may not always be so…

by E. E. Cummings

it may not always be so; and i say

that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch

another’s, and your dear strong fingers clutch

his heart, as mine in time not far away;

if on another’s face your sweet hair lay

in such a silence as i know, or such

great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,

stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be—

you of my heart, send me a little word;

that i may go unto him, and take his hands,

saying, Accept all happiness from me.

Then shall i turn my face, and hear one bird

sing terribly afar in the lost lands.

“it may not always be so…” by E.E. Cummings, from 100 Selected Poems. © Grove Press, 1954.

April 9, 2013

America’s Vision Quest


The first city-to-city television broadcast took place on this date in 1927. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was in a studio in Washington, D.C., and an audience sat in an auditorium in New York City. The broadcast began with a close-up of Hoover’s forehead, because he was sitting too close to the camera. He backed up and said, “All we can say today is that there has been created a marvelous agency for whatever use the future may find with the full realization that every great and fundamental discovery of the past has been followed by use far beyond the vision of its creator.” He was followed by a comedian performing jokes in blackface.


April 7, 2013

S a c a j a w e a

April 6, 2013


It’s the birthday of the Shoshone woman Sacajawea, born in Idaho sometime around 1789. She was kidnapped at age 10 by the Hidatsa tribe, sold into slavery, and bought by a French-Canadian trapper who made her one of his two wives. When Lewis and Clark hired the trapper to guide them to the Pacific, Sacajawea — a teenager with her two-month-old baby on her back — was part of the deal. She was the only woman to accompany the permanent party to the Pacific Ocean and back. images

Officially she acted as interpreter, since she could speak half a dozen Indian languages. But she also knew which plants were edible, and she saved the explorers’ records when their boat overturned. In his notes, William Clark pointed out that tribes were inclined to believe that their party was friendly when they saw Sacajawea because a war party would never travel with a woman, especially one with a baby.

When the trip was over, Sacajawea received nothing. Her trapper husband got $500.33 and 320 acres of land. She died on December 22, 1812, of a “putrid fever,” according to Clark’s records. She was 23. Eight months later, Clark legally adopted her two children — the boy who had been a baby on the expedition, Jean Baptiste, and an infant daughter, Lisette. (The Writer’s Almanac. April 6, 2013.)


Sand Art Rock Star

April 4, 2013 1 Comment

for a friend…

April 2, 2013 2 Comments


 do not stand at my grave and weep
 i am not there. i do not sleep.
 i am a thousand winds that blow.
 i am the diamond glints on snow.
 i am the sunlight on ripened grain.
 i am the gentle autumn rain.
 when you awaken in the morning's hush
 i am the swift uplifting rush
 of quiet birds in circled flight.
 i am the soft stars that shine at night.
 do not stand at my grave and cry;
 i am not there. i did not die.

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off our heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

“Courage,” by Anne Sexton, from The Awful Rowing Toward God (Houghton Mifflin)

COURAGE Anne Sexton

March 31, 2013 1 Comment

Semicolon Seminar

March 24, 2013


Are you semi-curious? Some of us have been flirting with semicolons for some time, but are perhaps not entirely sure if we’ve been utilizing them to their fullest. They somehow make for separating that which is still connected a voluptuous pursuit.

We shall be breaking semicolons into 5 parts over the coming week; you can expect to find follow-up installments here, at the big buffalo. They are excerpts from diva grammarian, Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s book, The New Well-Tempered Sentence. (Mariner Books. 2003.)

The Semicolon 1

The Semicolon 2

The Semicolon 3

The Semicolon 4

The Semicolon 5

March 23, 2013

This book had torn open my ribcage a few years ago. Liv is a devoted single mum, a hard-pressed bread winner, and an alluring thinker and writer. Today, I pulled her off the shelf, blew away the dust, (sneezed), and opened to a torn, paper bookmark. This is what I saw:

“I believe that it is sometimes less difficult to wake up and feel that I am alone when I really am, than to wake up with someone else and be lonely.

I hope that two people can grow together, side by side, and bring joy to each other. Without one having to be crushed so that the other may stay strong.

Perhaps maturing is also to let others be.

To allow myself to be what I am.”

Good Loving Grammar:

That and Which

“These two words are often used interchangeably, even though they’re not necessarily interchangeable.”  Melissa Donovan. Writing Forward. 2012.

Do Tell

Remember: I Needed That and Which?

March 22, 2013 2 Comments

“Snow” by George Bilgere

March 19, 2013


by George Bilgere

A heavy snow, and men my age
all over the city
are having heart attacks in their driveways,

dropping their nice new shovels
with the ergonomic handles
that finally did them no good.

Gray-headed men who meant no harm,
who abided by the rules and worked hard
for modest rewards, are slipping

softly from their mortgages,
falling out of their marriages.
How gracefully they swoon—

that lovely, old-fashioned word—
from dinner parties, grandkids,
vacations in Florida.

They should have known better
than to shovel snow at their age.
If only they’d heeded

the sensible advice of their wives
and hired a snow-removal service.
But there’s more to life

than merely being sensible. Sometimes
a man must take up his shovel
and head out alone into the snow.

“Snow” by George Bilgere

More from GB on the Writer’s Almanac

Magnolia Electric Co.  Jason had no health insurance, so please help his family and donate here. Read more about the impact Jason has had in this loving memorial from NPR music editor, Stephen Thompson.

RIP American singer-songwriter, Jason Molina (1973-2013)

March 18, 2013

Word of the Weak: DOLCE FAR NIENTE

March 18, 2013

"I Am Half-Sick of Shadows," said the Lady of Shalott

noun |ˈdōlCHā fär nēˈentā|  pleasant inactivity; ORIGIN Italian, literally, sweet to do nothing

Taking leave of their usual antediluvian roustabouting. the mastodons gave themselves over to the dulce far niente of a faunal afternoon.

Dolce far niente is also one of the  most popular desserts at Café Frangipane, and comes with complimentary silk pajamas, a tumulus of cushions, a troupe of untroubled succubi and incubi to see you to your door.

from  The Disheveled Dictionary by Karen Elizabeth Gordon

“I Am Half-Sick of Shadows,” said the Lady of Shalott (Oil on canvas. 1913. Sidney Harold Meteyard.)

Joan Dideon’s “Blue Nights” (Ch. 7)

March 17, 2013


Excerpt from a short film of the same title directed by Griffin Dunne

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 10.16.13 PM


The Periodic Table of Comic Books

March 13, 2013

Horses At Midnight Without A Moon

March 12, 2013

by Jack Gilbert

Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.
Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt.
But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down
but the angel flies up again taking us with her.
The summer mornings begin inch by inch
while we sleep, and walk with us later
as long-legged beauty through
the dirty streets. It is no surprise
that danger and suffering surround us.
What astonishes is the singing.
We know the horses are there in the dark
meadow because we can smell them,
can hear them breathing.
Our spirit persists like a man struggling
through the frozen valley
who suddenly smells flowers
and realizes the snow is melting
out of sight on top of the mountain,
knows that spring has begun.

“Horses At Midnight Without A Moon” by Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.


Poems for the Season of Renewal

March 10, 2013

Today We Spring Ahead to Daylight Savings

March 10, 2013

It Is a Spring Afternoon 
(Anne Sexton)

Everything here is yellow and green. Listen to its throat, its earthskin, the bone dry voices of the peepers as they throb like advertisements. The small animals of the woods are carrying their deathmasks into a narrow winter cave. The scarecrow has plucked out his two eyes like diamonds and walked into the village. The general and the postman have taken off their packs. This has all happened before but nothing here is obsolete. Everything here is possible. Because of this perhaps a young girl has laid down her winter clothes and has casually placed herself upon a tree limb that hangs over a pool in the river. She has been poured out onto the limb, low above the houses of the fishes as they swim in and out of her reflection and up and down the stairs of her legs. Her body carries clouds all the way home. She is overlooking her watery face in the river where blind men come to bathe at midday. Because of this the ground, that winter nightmare, has cured its sores and burst with green birds and vitamins. Because of this the trees turn in their trenches and hold up little rain cups by their slender fingers. Because of this a woman stands by her stove singing and cooking flowers. Everything here is yellow and green. Surely spring will allow a girl without a stitch on to turn softly in her sunlight and not be afraid of her bed. She has already counted seven blossoms in her green green mirror. Two rivers combine beneath her. The face of the child wrinkles. in the water and is gone forever. The woman is all that can be seen in her animal loveliness. Her cherished and obstinate skin lies deeply under the watery tree. Everything is altogether possible and the blind men can also see.