Cathy

My sister says you are 

the best thing that ever 

happened to me.

You are strong 

and kind

and loving,

As I get older and,

I admit, less

competent, 

your presence

impacts even more.

You let me know when 

I am a jerk.

The humiliation

Is coming from me,

You have a growing presence 

In politics and culture upstate.

It complements what we 

have built in five decades

of progressive activism

from NYC to Arizona

People follow you

as much from love 

and respect

as from cognitive

agreement on 

program and tactics.

You are beautiful 

And sexy.

Your pale blue eyes

welcome and invite.

I have accepted the invitation

and we’ve built a life together

with integrity and caring.

My sister is right.

You’re the best thing

That ever happened to me.

And so much more.

January 26, 2023

WHAT’S NEXT

I can’t do the things

I used to do.

It makes me sad.

I sit at home and 

see myself eat breakfast,

put on my waders

and drive to the river.

Park the car,

get out the gear,

and tramp along a cornfield

to the beach. 

A few steps into the Battenkill.

Gentle casts cross stream,

move a little down river 

after several tries.

A tug on the line.

A trout has taken the hook.

I pull in the line

until I can put the catch

into the net or it escapes.

Is memory a substitute for fishing?

January 22, 2023

No Regrets

When I think of what 

I used to do

I cry.

Walks by the river,

Fishing and catching a few,

Walking my big baby Samantha.

Life has changed.

Cancer is no joke.

It has dampened my spirit

But it hasn’t broken.

You don’t have to be a hero.

I never was and never will.

But I want to live,

To love as best I can

with those for whom I care;

With those with whom I share

what life has given.

January 16, 2023

Ode to the CAT Scan

I’ve been to and thru

hospital beds

and equipment since my 

bout with cancer began.

I am taken,

perhaps smitten, with the

CAT scan.

It’s smooth round portal,

It’s calm grey interior

It’s quiet, but mighty energy.

A blinking of lights,

A quiet hum.

Your body and being

relax as you glide

back and forth

until it says you are released.

Then up you go

and about your business;

Intact, but scanned.

A Beautiful Statement by My Friend Jan Wootten

In between the ‘40s and the ’20s

In between the dizzying kaleidoscope –through the 60s looking glass

In between the marches and militancy, the tactizing and legal assaults

In between the dingy, dungeonous court rooms, the lockdowns,

“the fighting people’s attorney”

In between the traditions, the solidarity, the slogans, the posturing and profundity

In between and through again

You live in all of us and all we have created

Woven tight in strands of steel.

January 4, 2023

In Between

My body aches,

My throat is tight.

Cancer has not loosed 

Its heavy grip.

Cure not even

on the agenda.

And the spark persists;

The need to write;

To express as poetry,

the neither here

nor there place we live

Under the circumstances.

December 31, 2022

Fear

It can paralyze

It can mobilize

It can take us by surprise.

Cognitive,

Instinctive?

Doesn’t matter.

We can’t let it

overwhelm us.

And we can’t

Ignore it.


November 19, 2022

Dream

Last night I

Had the strangest

Dream.

A young man

Appoached me

at a polling place.

Said he

voted for Trump only

as the others

might be Jews 

I said I was sad to hear 

He felt that way;

That I was Jewish.

We parted without rancor

and a sadness 

I think we shared.

November 15, 2022

Community

Our official leaders have failed so badly;

Embroiled us in an escalating war

And a failing economy.

They would have us choose

One of two self interested 

political parties.


And yet are there are signs of hope,

Rays of sunshine.

Ordinary people stepping forward to help a neighbor,

To give love and support.

“Don’t worry, I can walk your dog 

while you get better.”

“I’ll Ask my grand kids to come and help you winterize  your house.”

“We’re not rich, but if you need help with medical bills, we’re here.”


Can we build a new world under and alongside the old one?

Are we doing it?

We’ll walk together.

No questions asked.

No quid pro quo.

November 10, 2022

The Sick, the Well, the In-between

by my dear friend Caroline Donnola

The Sick, the Well, the In-between

The body parts begin to fail,
each taking its own time
to ache, break, unravel.

The aging heart
slows down/speeds up,
while cancer cells multiply,
indifferent to our history
of a healthy routine.

The shoulder gets weaker,
the bones turn brittle,
the nervous system
plays its games.

Some friends are seriously ill,
while the heartier ones
play nursemaid.
We stroke their hair,
bring them nourishment,
swap old stories,
warm their spirits.
Or do they warm ours?

We don’t say, What about me?
but we wonder it all the same.
We try to put a positive spin
on this last stretch of years.
We plan to travel,
paint, write, or knit.

But we’re not in control.
We don’t know our expiration date.

We think, but don’t say,
I’m dreading the thought
of a drawn-out death.
We think, but don’t say,
I don’t want to be
the last one standing.

We decide, again and again,
to live anyway—
baking cookies
driving to the country
singing in the car
feeling the cool air on our necks.

We do these things
while our loved ones
struggle to heal.
Together—
the sick, the well, and the in-between—
we learn from our challenges
and stay close to each other,
determined to be together
for as long as we can.

Determined, most of all,
to love—
more truly, more deeply
than we have ever loved before.