Rock Star

I just received an advanced copy of the new Joan Osborne CD. It’s a country album called Pretty Little Stranger. Country? Did I say country?

You know that wailing thing she was so good at—a sort of Middle Eastern keening? She still does it, but in a country song. She’s toned down the husky growl and sings like an ordinary every-day good singer, not like the rocker that she once was.

I’m glad she’s trying a new approach, because I like her and she disappeared for a long time, but country? . . .

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Something red not quite under a parked car caught my eye. I slowed my pace a bit and bent down to see what it was. Elmo. Behind the muppet I saw the wide, frightened eyes of a live human girl-child.

I knelt and leaned down to look under the car. “Hi,” I said. “Are you okay?”

No answer, just more fright and less trust in the eyes. She was four–five tops. I stretched out flat on the sidewalk and tried to look nonthreatening. I cursed my decision not to carry my badge while jogging. “Is that your house?” I asked, pointing at the house beside us. . .

Win the Lottery

As 10 p.m. neared more and more tattered residents from the neighborhood gathered in front of the window of Marrit’s Furniture World. Janie jostled her way to the front of the small crowd, so she could get a good look at the TV. It was hard to read the numbers on the lottery balls if she wasn’t close to the window.

This week Janie had two tickets, and she felt lucky. It was perfect, this moment on Wednesday night each week, this moment of hope and possibility. She put her hands on the glass . . .

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Throw. Catch. Throw. Catch. A game of catch. Silly that it’s so much fun. The motion of the swinging arm. the solid smack of the ball in a mitt. It feels like the motion a human body was built to make. Maybe it’s a lot like throwing a spear, so it feels natural to toss a ball. It’s satisfying at any age, from toddler to elder. Playing catch is a natural activity as elementally human as eating or sleeping or . . .

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I don’t want to look like Popeye, I just want to be strong enough to keep my health. So I’ve been experimenting with yoga, spinning, pilates, and water aerobics. I’ve discovered that the whole world is comfortable throwing around the names of muscles in the belief that they are communicating. I don’t know muscle names–guess I was too busy learning HTML or something, but I’m ignorant where muscles are concerned.

The instructor will say, “Tighten those glutes,” and I whisper to my neighbor, “Where are glutes? What are we tightening?” Or the instructor says, “Stretch that hamstring,” and I look desperately around hoping for a clue . . .

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Wish List

Wish lists were once the exclusive property of Santa Claus. Now the whole world is invited to view your list of most coveted items on Since there’s nobody out roaming the geographic regions distant from me who wants to give me anything, I use amazon’s wish list to keep track of things I want to buy but can’t afford yet.

I can imagine the reaction of someone who accidentally stumbled on my wish list: “She likes Cassandra Wilson? Oh, yuk!” Or perhaps, “Does she really read this crap?” Yeah, I think wish lists are better . . .

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Favorite keepsake

“No, don’t put that in the donations pile,” my mother said, “it’s my favorite keepsake!”

I looked again at the squat, ugly figurine: a troll of some sort with a chipped nose and the word Seattle on the base. I knew she’d had it forever. It sat on the tall chest-of-drawers in her bedroom.

“Why?” I said. I was hoping to get a story out of her, she’d been telling me interesting little snippets about her life as we packed her belongings. Now she turned away . . .

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Sunflower Light

Sundown sunflower light.
Honeyed motes of pollen
a mist against
the rubbed rhubarb horizon.
Alive in me
Eternal high plains gold.

Sunflower light.
Honeyed motes of pollen
a mist against
rubbed rhubarb.
alive in me.
Eternal. High plains gold.

Me alive
in honey light
rhubarb sky
and sunflowers.

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Mountain High

I eased off my backpack and sat down on a smooth boulder. The feeling that I was lost had become more of a scream than a nagging worry. I knew I was heading south based on the position of the sun. I looked at the map for the hundredth time trying to figure out where I was and exactly where I strayed off the trail I had followed for two days along the continental divide.

There was no smoke or sign of human life. No sound of running water that might guide me down the mountain to a landmark or houses. A hawk cried high above me and swept into the grass about 300 yards away to pick up some small wriggling creature.

Should I try turning back? I . . .

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I stopped accumulating books. Now I’m eliminating them. At one time in my life there were groaning bookshelves in every room in my house. They bulged with leftover text books, paperback novels, tomes on my ever changing current topic of interest, literature and poetry anthologies, children’s books, coffee table art books. My house was built of books.

My first epiphany was getting novels from the library instead of buying them and dragging them home permanently. My second epiphany was that 20 year old zoology or algebra books or books I didn’t enjoy the first time through would ever be needed again. They had to go.

Another eipiphany involved leaving my books behind in whatever location of was in when I finished them. Perhaps someone else . . .

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