Before I Leave This World

I was thinking about the terrible scare recently in Hawaii when an alert was sent in error about a missile threat. Of course there was widespread panic for close to forty minutes. I wondered “how would I react?” Playing out an imaginary scenario is totally different from reacting to a real one, however it does help to look at the situation while in a cool frame of mind. A nuclear threat is as real today as it was in the early sixties during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the East coast was in a direct line for a hit. I remember lining up in our grammar school hallway, away from windows, with our arms crossed over our heads. Ever the realist even at that time, I figured that we were doomed, so what’s the point of false hope and false safety? The only way to survive is to hide/take cover in a real bomb shelter. Ever the realist to this day—that is not a choice or an option for me.

So what would I do?

My first thought is that I would make myself a bourbon sour or smoke a joint (if I had one), turn on some great blues music, hug the dog and head outside. I would want to face the sky. I have a wooden seat swing that overlooks my garden, and the thought of rocking slowly with a light buzz gives me great comfort. I would probably converse out loud with the trees and cosmos. Some words would be of gratitude and some would be profane. I do believe that I would surrender to the inevitable, and hope that I would be in the direct line of fire instead of a survivor. This in turn brings to mind and closer to home/heart —the very real horror and tragedy of Hiroshima. Somehow life went on, albeit forever changed.

The honest truth is that I cannot know in reality what I would truly do, however after all of this, when I slowly rock in my chair swing, I will do it with a grateful rhythm.

The following haiku of mine were written in 2011 about Hiroshima:

heat from the bomb
the charred near the water
left black and bleeding


a baby trying
to nurse her dead mother’s breast
questions of why


the bomb
a moral threshold


always changing
blue and white


and today’s haiku:

grateful or profane a blue sky

© ag ~ 2018



The Dreamers Up Close and Personal

Last night, two dear and thoughtful friends braved torrential downpours and milky fog to pick me up and take me to a charming and intimate Mexican restaurant in a nearby town. One friend drove along unfamiliar, dark and winding rural roads (with a smile), so that two of us could drink some hard cider with our meal. After an appetizer of extremely hot chili pepper poppers and a warm and easy dinner—they ordered a crispy and flaky ice cream-filled dessert with a candle on top that we split. Our waiters and restaurant staff dimmed the lights and joined in a heartfelt rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

My gracious companions are well known for showing up and supporting for their friends this way and more. What made it extra special for all of us, was that the restaurant staff unexpectedly and enthusiastically joined in, enjoyed and shared in the celebration. They were born in Mexico and may very well be part of the 200,000 Dreamers in our country whose fate is yet to be determined by DACA legislation. This local restaurant is popular, a great value and a tremendous asset to our or any community. Last night they were our friends.

yet another candle yet another wish for peace

© ag ~ 2018

Lady Sings Soup

One of my favorite things to do on a dreary grey day with rain-snow in the forecast is to cook soup or stew while listening to music that literally and mentally moves me. Sometimes it’s the blues, sometime rock or oldies-but-goodies. Sometimes Pandora plays just the right mix and my dancing feet simmer with the aromas of mushrooms, shallots and rosemary. Excuse me—they’re playing my song…


carrot as a mic
I channel Rhianna’s
lips and hips


garlic parsley lemon zest
mix with Stevie Nicks

© ag ~ 2018


The Bus Station Of Life

From Wikipedia:

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage) by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.

This found poem was distilled (and collaged) from an article in the New York Times, Sunday, December 31, 2017 titled: “A Watering Hole for the Bus Station of Life” by Alex Vadukul

No words were added—only omitted and all words appear in the order they were originally written in the article.


The Bus Station of Life

On the second floor
a lone Irish bar has no bathroom
and its regulars
drink in 1945.

Bartenders stash beer
into brown paper bags.
Known for its steamtable lunch
and corned beef
it appears briefly in “Taxi Driver.”

It has cracked black and white
checkered floors
and green vinyl couches
bandaged with tape.

Its regulars include
crumpled shirts and loose ties.
A wedding once happened
near the dartboard
and a tryst between two commuters.

“I met my wife at this seat…
we’re still together.”
84 year-old Manny Muniz
rests his cane and ordered
Johnnie Walker Red with soda.

As evening approached
A trio of women—
The Ladies of McAnn’s
took their seats.

Teresa Brewer, 50
ordered a vodka soda.
“We’re all going through
life while we wait
for our bus.”

© ag ~ 2018

The Conversation Of Creativity – 1

“Paint from your vagina,” she directed us. I was in a life-drawing session with other visual artists and a nude female model. We were not really there for instruction — just to practice hand-eye coordination with some creative adaptation.This was the only advice our seasoned (often brilliant) and proficient fellow artist and art instructor, who brought us together in her classroom, would bellow.

“WHAT? Paint from where? What the h_ _ _  is she talking about?” Instead of the often stated and equally important “paint from your heart” – this time it was about painting from your sensuality and passion: a different animal for a different outcome. And fun!

Artistry, be it visual, musical or movement is hard work. It requires patience, persistence and practice. Hopefully, the artist can let go just enough to tap into our body and intuitive wisdom leaving the linear brain behind for real creation. And sometimes, it helps to shake things up by using words we don’t expect. In this case “Vagina” — has its own heart.

how then to paint my feral self along her curves

© ag ~ 2018


Stormku Or Polar Vortex Poetry

nom de bomb
snow hurricane


a bodacious blizzard
in Dixie


polar front at Stop And Shop —
chips and dips sold out


sushi meets snow
in Brooklyn


a polar vortex name
grows in Brooklyn


weather front matchup:
Bombogenesis vs Blizzard


bombshell meets blizzard


a tad bit staid
for a storm name


© ag ~ 2018



The Next Day

“To be in presence rather than results. This is a practice that I can work and play with.”

I wrote these words a year ago today, and I have been “practicing” presence for a year now with generally positive results. At the time, I was speaking/writing of incorporating a life practice rather than forming a resolution as one is want to do at the new year or any new critical venture. Not giving in to worry or fear is difficult, especially at first, however it works with mindfulness i.e. — not getting ahead of yourself. It has served me well on two occasions, the most recent one yesterday, when I went to a cardiologist for a stress test. I had chest pains (think angina) a week earlier. I managed to deal with the episode as well as the in-between time waiting for the test — to be able to compartmentalize the worry and thus walk the dog, paint something exciting (for me), visit with out-of-town friends and family and show up at the doctor’s office ready for any outcome. I did not deny the possibility of test results showing damage and a vastly different course of action, but neither did I dwell on it, or let it ruin time spent enjoying or working through life’s palette. As a visual artist, I have come to appreciate just how much and just how little control I have over the eventual outcome of the end result on the canvas, so I may as well go for whatever I’m doing with verve and nerve. As it turns out, the results are most often not worth the worry if you pay attention as needed. Oh, and the doctor said I have a strong heart, but I already knew that.

the day after
the super moon leaves
a lavender sky

© ag ~ 2018