New life in dying Aleppo

2010 2011 056The newborn, screaming, red-faced,

held by his feet, upside-down,

slapped, pinched into that first

cry, his first breath angry, the mother

unconscious, gutted on the table, her leg

broken, her arm broken, hauled in 9-months

pregnant, shrapnel in her belly,

the house blown to smithereens around her.

All that death. The baby’s

heart silent, the dust, the rubble,

the bombs, almost the last

doctor in ancient Aleppo

saying to a nurse,

“Hand me the scalpel.”




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InterPlay Journal, Friday June 10, 2016

Paris Two 2010 001Krista was an amazing leader, as usual.  Her theme was nurturance.

First, before the Warm-up, we stood in a circle, and she had us close our eyes and feel our feet relax and open the top-of-our head chakra.  She said, “Take a few minutes to move in any way you want” which we did.  She shook a shaker style noisemaker to give us a beat.  After that, with our eyes open, we went around the circle and made a shape to show how our energy felt at the moment.

Krista put on some music, and we did a Walk/Stop/Run in which we connected with others in the room.  After this, we let a partner happen.  Sara was my partner.  We made shapes with our partner both slowly moving to a shape, and then moving quickly to a shape.  Sara and I had a great time doing a ballet together.  We made VERY unusual shapes.  Delightful.   She has a dance background that showed through.  (Also, she once took a welding class at Seattle College in order to work in the shipyards years ago.  Rosie the Riveter!)

We did the Follow the Leader form with partners.  Partner Number One made faces that Partner Number Two imitated.  Then we went back and forth making face-shapes at will with the other imitating the face-shape.  I played with MaryAnn.   Lorraine said during the Noticing that it hurt to make faces due to her Parkinsons.

Krista took the “I can talk about “ form and used it in an unusual way.  This time we talked in gibberish.  We kept the same partner as before.  We went back and forth saying, “I can talk about (fill in the blank with gibberish),” but not talking about it at length.   Then, we “talked” with our partner at length about a topic we had mentioned in gibberish.  After this, we took the topic that we had “talked” about in gibberish at length, and we danced it with our partner as a witness.  I did the gibberish and the dance about reading my poetry tomorrow evening as a featured reader at a poetry venue.  Afterward, we did Noticing with our partner.

Then, the entire group divided into groups of three.  First, in our small group, we went around the group using a word Krista gave us and singing about it individually.  Then, Krista had us do the same thing with different words but for the entire group.  She had us sings about words like Homelessness.   (I sang:  “The Jungle.  The Jungle.  The Beast in the Jungle.  Amen.”)  She gave other groups words like “Politics,” “Urban Planning,”  “Nail Polish.  Our group played with the word, “Body Piercings.”  I sang, “When I lived in Africa, many did body piercings.  They pierced this (pointed to my ears); they pierced that (pointed to my nose) and, they pierced … (I threw up my hands), “OMG, you’re kidding!”

We ended by doing a toning song.  As usual, she had us start incrementally by trying out different ways to tone.  Then, she set up a rhythm sound sequence (form:  foundation sound, decoration sound, decoration sound), and we started to make tones.  We really got in the groove and kept it going for about eight or so minutes.  We really sounded wonderful!   Terrific morning!!

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Shrine for Don

Paris Two 2010 054Crowned

“king of the gods” in high school,

caped with scepter in hand, a gentle smile,

the basketball star in our tiny world,

at 21, a lieutenant in Vietnam.


fell on the green villages

perimeters strafed and over-run

maimed bodies,



all sacked up together like shades of rice

before the boiling pot.


your name

on marble,

held in place

by those who died before

and after you,

carved on black

marble reflecting back the twisted mouths

holding grief high and tight,

hands offering medals,



to names on a wailing wall.



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Giant Pacific Octopus

IMG_0325_1If this octopus escapes an open tank,

look carefully around, then worry.

It can scuttle over land.


Longer than a car,

it squeezes  through an orange-size

hole.  The beak?  In its crotch or armpit,

take your pick.  Ignore the venom

that dissolves flesh.  Stronger than

a body-builder.  Truly its suckers, shape,

ink, brain: Unique.  Not a vertebrate.

Breathes water!


If you see it,

vibrate in your boots,

then scoot.


FEWalls  April 8, 2016

Source:  Sy Montgomery  Soul of an Octopus

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A Church Burns

100th Anniversary House (231 of 370)We gather before the burned-out building

our aged container of our times

together in prayer, sermon, song

both in joy and in sorrow.


We have gathered here for years,

over generations, taught our children,

shared hot-cross buns, coffee, tea,

shed tears as a praying congregation

lighting a candle for the sick, the bereaved,

given thanks together.


We are a singing congregation,

we love the organ’s melodies;

we stand to sing the Hallelujah Chorus

filling the rafters with praise.


Though the holes in the floor gape

though the hallways smell of smoke

though the pews are pushed askew,

the church is the energy of its people

the spirit of God lifting us up,

the house of God.


We will walk from our building

to a new gathering place

and when the time is ripe,

we will return in song, celebrate new beginnings

and the joy of being together.

We are the church.


FEWalls March 31, 2016

(My little church in Ballard burned on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.)

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Cathédrale de Notre Dame

IMG_0164Ah, Cathédrale de Notre Dame at dawn,

in fog, sepulcher white, barely formed,

the façade emerges from the mist

each statue takes his place above the arches

the flying buttresses hold high the nave

the solidity of the wooden doors.

a vast square with the lanterns unlit

even the birds rest silent in the cold

on the banks of the river Seine.


Ah, the nightclubs at dawn

soften the music

spill out their partiers

the liquor still on their tongues and breath

drunk, some shout at young couples

already speeding across Pont Neuf

on their vespas.


One last look at the ghostly church

then we go into the depths of the metro, St. Michael,

where the light then darkness

takes our anonymity into the tunnels

hacked into the depths of the earth

we are miners of the underground

hurrying from Cathédrale de Notre Dame

to destinations unforetold.


FEWalls   December 21, 2007

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Return Flight

IMG_0404_1Some people just wait

you know, just wait until the door is closing

to run up and say, “Wait for me

I’m boarding, too!”

on that plane to somewhere.


Sitting in the metal tube

feeling scared 30,000 feet in the air

going 150 miles an hour

adding your weight to the tons

that must stay aloft for hours.


Wondering if a bomb will go off

yet longing for adventure

(horseback, covered wagon, car, train)

those engines whining for hours

the invisible pilot coping with boredom,


fatigue. Smell the recycled air

enter the germy restroom

knock against your too-close neighbor

with his shoes off, his elbow hogging the entire arm-rest

his body too close


his breath too close

as if he could blow his way home

like the big, bad wolf blowing the house down

around the little piggies

eating up meals in boxes.


(Drink water! Avoid alcohol!)

Wrap yourself in the tissue-thin

blankets, tiny pillow at your back,

eat with the plastic

fork the hot risotto or cold chicken.


Stuff yourself with everything

remotely edible (cheese, crackers, chocolate)

but enjoy the hot towelete

handed you with a metal tong

by the tired attendant


coping with swollen ankles

and jet lag and seniority battles.

Don’t forget you can

track your flight on the screen

count down the minutes elapsing


watch another movie in the darkness

(Casablanca, Everest, Grumpy Old Men)

the blinds pulled down against the light

don’t stand and look down the aisle

at the faces staring at you.


Do stand up every hour

and stretch by your seat

that precious space is yours

until you set down on that runway

the jolt of earth embracing you


now rolling down the asphalt

disoriented but sensing safety

in your bones

certain, finally,

you have come home.


FEWalls March 25, 2016

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