The Cleansing Storm

 Change comes slowly, sometimes takes a couple of generations for a society to let go of an old and obsolete tradition. It takes time to get it that what was once a solution has become a problem. The stream of time flows placidly because we like it that way, undisturbed and undisturbing. But sometimes a …

A SUMMER AFTERNOON

Heavy as hot wet flannel, every breath…I hate to sit or move againstthis August afternoon.Sticky-damp, clothes cling,a drag against ambition. Birds, lethargic, dull,sing only if they must,fly ghostlike if at all through dusty drooping trees.Cicadas ratchet on and on–maddeningly constant;mosquitoes whineor strike unheard, the devils! Roses overblown and bright,relishing this tropic season,exude aromas heavy and too sweet.I …

It has never been about “race.”

It doesn’t take a degree in anthropology–which I have–nor a lifelong love of words and the precision of words, which I also have–to make the case that we are all ONE RACE, that there are not multiple races of mankind. The word is used because it has always been used, but it has always been …

THE MAGIC HOUR a sonnet of art and age

Stare not at the Sun, we’re oft reminded,But in the Magic Hour, as the Poets tellEyes can gaze and be not blinded–The day’s work’s done, for good or ill. The Farmer comes home from the field,The Baker from the baking;The Vintner casks the final yield,The Maker ceases making… The Magic Hour, the Artist cherishes–The Hour …

CALIFORNIA SUMMER

I lived three summers, age3 to nearly 6, in northern California. This is how I remember it. Summer heat–sweet reliefin darkened hallbeneath the fan,the rumbling wind,the stormthat blew the coolall through the house…I’d catch a chill and die,they claimed.Disbelieving,driven out to play,I’d waitanother chance… Summer feet–freed from socks and kedsnot alwayssufficiently awareof bees among the …

LONG ISLAND SUMMERS

When I was nearly 6, I was sent across the country to live on the outskirts of New York City. That was where I lived the next 12 summers, in Glen Cove, Long Island and then in northeastern New Jersey. I’d go backfor just a moment,perhaps as longas one day and a night,enough, I think,to …

Remembering the 60s

I was beginning to pay attention to the world outside my own life in the 60s, a time of gentle sprouting flowers inviting peace and simple happiness, even as Vietnam body-counts traumatized the country daily. There was the enthusiasm for new freedoms and the abuses of those freedoms; the flowers were tainted with drugs, and …

Familiarity Breeds Compassion

The basic problem with passive racism is that we who live in the gated zone of white privilege simply don’t know enough about black lives, black families, black cultures. We, like most descendents of colonial conquerors, never inherited the genes for sincere curiosity nor for respect for The Other. We accepted so many core beliefs …