Thursday, August 31, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

Took this quote from a beautiful blog
that's a favorite of mine, called
Keep the Coffee Coming,

but as Kat, the author of the blog, says
about it: "it's too good to be wasted on
a single site."

"It's not enough to know the world is
absurd and restrict yourself merely to
pointing out that fact...
It is wrong to expect a reward for your
struggles. The reward is the act of
struggle itself, not what you win. Even
though you can't expect to defeat the
absurdity of the world, you must make
the attempt. That's morality, that's religion,
that's art, that's life."

- Phil Ochs
(Ochs was a talented, if little known,
musician from the '60's.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Bell by Ted de Grazia - Tucson Studio
Photo by S. Auberle

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

- Leonard Cohen

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

While talking with a friend recently, and
bemoaning our mutual lack of writing ideas,
he mentioned that maybe it was time to go
out and live another chapter of our lives
so that we would have something to write about.

Very good advice, and this weekend was
a good chapter. There was a moment--
five little children and five big children, sitting on
a hillside under the night-gathering desert sky.
We watch for the first star to appear in the
clear air, as a lone bagpiper plays Amazing Grace
down by the firepit below.

This is grace, pure and simple.


- mimi

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Photo of doll in antique shop - S. Auberle

Off to play with the grandkids for
a few days...haven't been down on the
floor enough lately; on a bike; a merry-
go-round...and looking forward to much
Picasso-style artwork; uninhibited
poetry--just the best!

"Ah, but I was so much older then;
I'm younger than that now. "

- Bob Dylan


Photo/Collage by S. Auberle


Some days, some places,
give me the feeling

there are gods inside me
and rain and eagles

and flowers.
I don't understand this,

(especially the god part)
but maybe, just maybe,

when boundaries dissolve,
the whole universe laughs

and we tumble together
into a warm sea of love

- mimi

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

"Listen, are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window, and
the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep."

- Mary Oliver
West Wind: Poems & Prose Poems

Monday, August 21, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

A Little Food for Thought:

Everything is holy!
everybody's holy!
everywhere is holy!
everyday is in eternity!
Everyman's an angel! (and woman!)
- Allen Ginsberg

The aim of life is to live, and to live
means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly,
serenely, divinely aware.
- Henry Miller

I'm astounded by people who want to
"know" the universe when it's hard
enough to find your way around Chinatown.
- Woody Allen

Friday, August 18, 2006


Digitally altered photo by S. Auberle

In case anyone has wondered about my
whereabouts the last week, I've been
driving across this incredible country
of ours.

Left the great lake on Wednesday last,
crossed the mighty Mississippi at
La Cross, Wisconsin and into Garrison
Keillor country, and dinner with a friend
in a town called Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Then down through the rolling hills of Iowa,
out onto the high, lonely plains country
of Nebraska. Crossed the Missouri on
an old toll bridge right out of the last
century, with a little white booth at
one end of the bridge and a little, white-
haired lady in it, who took my dollar
and wished me a good day.

Spent the night in sandhill crane country,
near the Platte River--(you may have
guessed I love rivers) and onto the high
plains of Colorado and my first view of
the majestic Rockies. No matter how
often I see them, they always take my
breath away. Down past Pike's Peak, and
Pueblo and Trinidad, Colorado, in driving
rain and the fiercest lightning display I've
seen in a long time.

Over Raton Pass in an eerie darkness at
6:00 in the evening, rain still slashing the
windows. But in spite of the weather, a
magnificent drive. I'm still and always
amazed at this great country of ours. Even
driving the interstates (which I usually
avoid) provides spectacular views.

We are truly blessed. Tread lightly, please,
across this mighty land...

- mimi

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


In Memoriam: Jim Simmerman

It was only a semester
I was lucky to know you,
have a glimpse
into that Pisces soul,
know those crinkly eyes
that gap-toothed grin.
Only a semester to learn from you
where words could take me,
sear me, bless me, kickass
to change the world around me.

You knew, Jim,
and you probably wouldn't think
this was a great poem (it isn't)
but you would pick up every word,
examine it's strength, find it's weakness,
tell me the good stuff about it
and about me--in my new poet's hat
till I believed--in the words
and myself. It's not a great poem, Jim,
but you were a great poet.
Must be the moon's a jealous lover
'cause she's got you now.
Lucky moon.

Regent's Professor Jim Simmerman, of
Northern Arizona University, was the author
of five collections of poetry, including: Once Out of
Nature; Home; American Children; Kingdom Come;
and Moon Go Away, I Don't Love You No More.

Here's one of his:


Maybe it's different
with you.
How I grew up
there was always some kid
bigger than me, some lug,
some stupe, some Ronnie Boone
with fuzz over his lip
and those muscles you get
squeezing tennis balls,
skulking on the playground
before home room or glued
behind some trees somewhere
I have to pass alone
and-boom-he's on my chest
like a stump,
slapping me daffy, his knees gouging
gopher holes in my arms
as he croons take it back,
so soft and close and sweet
he could be telling me
a secret or kissing me on the mouth, take it back
if you know what's good for you.

Somethings I did I didn't
take back I could
say one, embarrass us for all time. Then you
could take your turn,then
somebody else, until
the bullies inside us
get bored and go home;
till we're each of us smack
on his back by himself
in the same stupid life,
and we do it again--
the whole thing pathetic
as a push-and-go-round
where I stick to my guns,
and stew, and spin-the same
tune repeating itself,
the same verse, the opus
of Ronnie Boone: take it
back, take it back if
you know what's good for you.
Which I don't though I do.

- Jim Simmerman
Moon Go Away I Don't Love You No More
Miami University Press (1994)


Digitally altered photo by S. Auberle

Some have called me a nature poet--one comment, I believe,
was "a bit Mary Oliver-ish." Oh god, to be even a little Mary
Oliver-ish makes me crazy-happy. She is my hero(ine).
Nature poet--so be it. This is called:


Rest a moment, and let me tell you
about the dapper beauty of a snail I saw today,
her body a ribbon of copper light,
the house on her back
a palette of orange and brown.
She moves slowly on this earth,
touching gently, delicate antennae
alert to the enormous world around her.

Funny, this poem was intended
to be about bones--the bleached skeletons
of fish I found and stopped to admire,
but the two can exist, I suppose, side by side,
along with news of the latest terrorist attempts,
global warming, a friend's battle with cancer

who would give what time she has left
to live a while like the snail:
a gentle journey down the path of her days,
touching all around her,
then retreat--when darkness comes,
into the house of her body,
safe from this mad, exquisite world.

- mimi

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


Somewhere tonight, under the sultry moon,
a man and woman are dancing the tango.

Somewhere, side by side, they're throwing pots,
baking bread together, making babies,

writing love poems on a Greek isle,
feeding each other sweet cherries and wine.

A woman wakes in the middle of the night,
thinks of these things, and scrawls words in the dark,

then lays her head back upon the hot pillow
and hears a steady rhythmic sound, a low drum

in the night. It's the lake, the burning stars,
it is her heartbeat. In the morning she wakes,

smiling, believing it all a dream, except
for the scribbled words...oh love, here is my heart.

- mimi

Monday, August 07, 2006


Digitally-enhanced photo by S. Auberle


at the Great Lake today, a day like no other
with all I have loved so fiercely:

the waves hurling themselves
onto my rock, glistening stones

with fossils in them, the wild swans
swirling in rolling crests

a bleached fish skeleton, trees, sand,
wind, feathers, a wet log, shells,

gull shadows, a small green snake,
the blue claw of a crawfish, this body

in it's robes of fear and desire
and the soul shouting listen, listen!

one day you'll be a part of this
and what binds you now,

who makes you weep,
will not even be a memory

but since you ask what will remain
I tell you this: perhaps

a flash of deja vu between strangers
a vague yearning in them for water

their joy in a river of stars,
a rock patttern, the light on a wing

they stop to watch, translucent
as it catches the morning sun

- mimi

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle - artist unknown

Am very pleased to announce that this poem
won second place in the special literary edition
of the Peninsula Pulse: Writer's Expose &
Photography Jubilee 2006. Thanks!


Only six people, it is said
separate any person from another
anywhere on this earth.
I want to believe that,
I want to believe
with just six connections
I could know an Eskimo,
an African tribesman,
a mother in Iraq.

I want to believe it would take
only six people to reconnect
with a gypsy I once saw:
that woman in cold rain
on the steps of the Duomo
in Florence, Italy. I would find her
again, her feet knobby and bare,
her black hair tangled in dusty braids.
Begging, she would whisper again
for my bambino, please,
for my bambino

and this time
I would take her chapped brown hand,
place lira in it, close
her fingers around the bills.
This time I would get it right,
not turn aside
as her sleeve brushed my coat.
This time my shame
would not outweigh hers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Digitally altered photo by S. Auberle
an outdoor screen, no artist's name


Some words of wisdom from Trudy, the bag lady in Jane Wagner's zany, incredibly wise play: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Years ago, I was lucky enough to see Lily Tomlin in the original stage version in Chicago, playing all the characters, in an amazing one-woman performance.

The following is taken from the book: Meeting the Madwoman by Linda Schierse Leonard:

"We meet Trudy the bag lady on a street corner, where she catches us turning away from her, trying to avoid her eyes. She confronts us head-on about our prejudices toward her. She knows we think her voice is too loud, that she scratches too much, that her teeth are poor, and that her eyes twirl like "fruit flies." Trudy tells us that she yells because no one listens to her, and she scratches because she is on fire with creative energy. If we think she is crazy because she carries around junk, Trudy counters: "what should we call the ones who BUY it?"

Trudy believes that everyone secretly asks themselves whether they are crazy; the difference between Trudy and those who think she is mad is that she acknowledges her madness: "Goin' crazy was the BEST thing ever happed to me. I don't say it's for everybody: some people couldn't cope."

Her madness came when nothing in her life was working. It was a gift, as Socrates described: "a divine release of the soul from the yoke of custom and convention." Released from "reality" in this way, Trudy now refuses to be "intimidated" by it. She thinks it is the leading cause of stress. "After all," she asks, "what is reality anyway?" Nothin' but a collective hunch."

Trudy says her greatest insight is: " the moment you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don't understand, you are closer to understanding it all than at any other time."

And, as Trudy says: "see, the human mind is kind of like ...a pinata. When it breaks open there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the pinata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience."

Check out the video, read the book, you're in for a treat. And you'll go through this zany, scary, screwy world more lightly, I promise you.

- mimi

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The young girl lies on a low cot, her arm trailing listlessly on an earthen floor. Her face hides beneath the arm, just a glimpse of one bright eye looking out at the world. There are no windows in the room, only pieces of iron pipe screwed into the cement wall to serve as a crude ladder. A bright red line like a streak of blood is painted on the wall behind the rungs. A teddy bear lies beside her.

The room exists in an underground shelter in Ben Eliezer, a low income neighborhood of Haifa, Israel. The date on the picture, which appears in the New York Times magazine, is July 17, 2006. The photograph is by Heidi Levine.

The girl appears to be near the age of my granddaugher, Maria--the same dark hair, long, coltish legs, thin arms. Arms that should be flung wide with the sheer exuberance of life, legs that should be in perpetual motion. And when finally the joyful body is ready for rest it should be on clean white sheets in a room with windows open wide to the summer air.

Not this. Oh God, not this.

I ask myself, is this small girl one of the lucky ones? To have survived to this age in that part of the world. To not be one of the countless babies and children sacrificed to the ugly gods of profit, dogma, and testosterone. The last isn't fair--a generalization; a word when no others will come, and I apologize to the male majority who do not deserve to be painted with this brush.

Yet, what woman--Iraqi, American, Israeli, African, would, given the choice, see her child come to this? Would willingly watch her baby bleeding, starving, dying in her arms? What mother would freely hand over her son, grown into a beautiful young man, to come home a quadriplegic, or maimed in spirit for life? Worst of all, to return in a body bag. No perfectly folded flag that is handed to her could ever fill the emptiness left by that sacrifice.

Will this young girl thank us some day--for a life filled with these horrors? Will she ever have a life without them? What about her daughters and sons? Will they? Is the life force so strong that it will endure anything to survive?

Probably. Yet, never having had to make that choice--consciously or unconsciously--I cannot know. I think of myself--born during the terror of World War II. Of my daughter, born in the midst of Vietnam--and now, my granddaughter. We were all lucky as to where we were born. I did not have to see my parents torn from me to die in the gas chambers. My daughter did not have to run screaming down the road, her naked body in flames, as did the child in that unforgettable Vietnam photo. And Maria still sleeps on clean white sheets and not in a bomb shelter.

I feel more frightened every day as world conflicts escalate. Not so much for myself, but for my children and their children and all the children of the world. What kind of place have we bequeathed to them?

The sense of powerlessness to effect change is a debilitating, insidious fear that destroys all of us, as surely as bombs destroy lives. I wish I could end this on a positive note for the generation of Maria and the little Israeli girl, assuming she survives. Instead, I'm filled with the fear that all of our luck has run out.

Perhaps the only power, the only recourse we have, is illustrated in this Native American story:

a grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said: "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other is the loving, compassionate one. The grandson asked him: "which wolf will win the fight in your heart?"

The grandfather answered: "the one I feed."