Grandma Wing

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Grandma lived in Winter Park,
near Lake Osceola and Rollins College.
The house was two stories, and wide
windows looked out on a fountain
in the circle of the road
On the front porch she waited for us,
shoulders bent forward and in,
but willfully resolute, and keen-eyed;
I felt her cool arthritic palm
Once inside sunlight blazed beyond
Venetian blinds, antiques and a lifetime’s finds,
crystal and china shone in measured light,
and overhead fans kept the rooms cool;
matching the tapestry of her garden
She was never bored: I read,
I think and daydream. At my age
these are the things I do best.

I saw the joys and sorrows of a long life
imprinted on her face, in a window’s sunspot
when we settled in for a game
of double solitaire;
but when she asked me to stay with her
a day or two I made excuses:
parents’ disapproval, homework, school
Don’t you want to?
Yes, I nodded. But I already knew
some wished-for things will never be.
Help me in the garden, she said,
rising from her wing chair
A delicate aroma of tropical flowers
washed over me: I want to stay with you,
I thought, of days in this garden
backlit by water-dappled clouds
She showed me how to water roses
and there’s a right way and all other ways
are nonsense. And we are always there
with the blue beyond us, the blue around us,
the blue within us, and the roses

 

Mary Clark

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March Blizzard Poetry

megabenefit2On March 7, 1983, the day of the “Rock’n’Poetry” Benefit for the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church (423 West 46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, New York City), a major snowstorm hit the city. By late afternoon the streets were empty.

Allen Ginsberg arrived, shaking off a mantle of snow, about fifteen minutes before the reading. He was friendly, but a little shy. I showed him and a friend into the library where lamplight glowed on the blue, green, mauve and earth-colored leaded windows.

Spalding Gray arrived, and shook my hand. (He’d promised he’d come one day.)

Amiri Baraka called to say he was on his way in from Newark and battling the snow.

“I understand if you can’t make it.”

“The roads are still open, and it will be just as bad trying to go back to Newark. And I wanted to get into the city anyway.”

The audience filled the downstairs theatre and I began to worry about over-capacity. More than a hundred people had braved the storm.

Easing open the door, I saw a mound of snow creeping down the street. The mound pulled over to the sidewalk and Baraka piled out with his family.

I held the church door open. “I can’t believe what you’ve gone through to get here.”

“I was determined to be here,” he said. “There aren’t many places like this.”

I left him with Ginsberg and the other poets and their friends in the small library room next to the front office. Poets sat on the sofa, Ginsberg in a low armchair, and others on the well-worn, wine-red rug.

The reading was segue-ing from poet to poet. Spalding Gray said all he needed was a table and a chair. He sat at the table center stage with one spotlight, reading from his notebooks. His words flowed out intuitively, and the way he coupled the words, tangled, bickered, or united in conjugal bliss, exposed his inner turmoil and joy, his triumphs and losses.

Sheri spoke to me and I was jolted back to my responsibilities.

Applause followed me down the front hall. I counted the box office.

It was time to give Baraka and Ginsberg the heads up. I poked my head in.

Ginsberg looked up, making eye contact. “Are you doing well? Did you make money?”

“We did. We’ll be able to go on another year with the money we made tonight.”

He smiled. “That’s great.”

I stared a moment, not realizing before his commitment to poets and poetry groups.

Baraka went into the theater next, giving a reading filled with stamping meter and hard-edged images tempered by, well more than humor, empathy, or sense of injustice and hope, by love I would say.

When Ginsberg spoke people clapped, stamped their feet, howled, and sang, his voice rising like a cantor. The walls reverberated, the theater was heated by the crowd, a night of wonder.

Outside the snow had stopped. The poets left with the crowd, a beautiful sound in the silent snow-cloaked city.

A Mother’s Gift of Reading … the Brontës

bardessdmdenton - author- artist

Today is my mother’s 89th birthday. Since early November of last year, she has been in the hospital and rehab twice, for a total of nine weeks. The first time was because of infections that caused her to have some scary delirium and the second because of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), when she almost fell into a coma, and, again, infection, mainly in her legs. I am so grateful she is doing well and returned home yesterday. Our kitty-boys are, of course, thrilled!

To mark her home coming and birthday, I am sharing the essay I included at the back of my recently released novel, Without the Veil Between, Anne Bronte: A Fine and Subtle Spirit. It is not only about how I came to initially read the Brontës, but, also, a tribute to my mom’s own love-affair with their work that she shared with me when I was a…

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Racing The Sun: Diane Denton’s Review

Thanks OODLES to Diane M. Denton for her review, written with her usual sensitivity and insight, of my book, Racing The Sun. Here’s the review, which is also on Amazon and Goodreads.

Racing The Sun Book Cover Small 1

“Racing the Sun” follows on from “Miami Morning” as a novel with conscience, its protagonist, Leila Payson, living professionally and personally with a sense of urgency, yet not adverse to pausing here and there in appreciation of simpler moments. This engaging narrative is full of conversations of purpose and planning, framed by a sense of place and belonging, but, also, exploration, drawing the reader into a diverse community of friends, colleagues, and new and unexpected acquaintances who support and challenge each other and, ultimately, discover collaboration – that “wealth of experience”- is the way to make positive things happen.

Mary’s writing reflects Leila’s “changes in speed and direction” while following her through transitions of gain and loss, work and leisure, friendship and love. Leila is an alert woman, who literally and metaphorically is ready to slow down for those ducks suddenly crossing the road. Practical and sentient, she realizes on both levels—to quote Mahatma Gandhi—she must be the change she wants to see in the world.

This second book in the series is as vibrant with interesting characters as the first. I found it more playful, but never without consciousness of how humans opening their minds and hearts to those seen as weaker through disability or circumstance can strengthen the integrity, effectiveness, and, perhaps, most importantly, the soul of a society.

Once again, Mary Clark offers much to think upon, but not just to think upon. To use the words of Leila’s significant other, Mark, “… we can’t be spectators. We have to act, and to act with ethical courage.”

Racing The Sun on Amazon

Racing The Sun on Smashwords

Racing The Sun on Barnes and Noble

Racing The Sun on booklaunch.io

Author Spotlight – Mary A. Clark

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AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

Welcome back to another Author Spotlight! This week, I’d like to introduce you to Mary A. Clark.

Mary A. Clark was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to parents who lived on the MaryClarkSept2010Rutgers University campus. Her family moved to Florida, where she spent her formative years, and was infused with awe and respect for the natural world. She was also aware of the lives of migrant workers, segregation, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Upon moving back to New Jersey, she attended a county college and graduated from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences with a B.A. in psychology. She had a strong sense of being a misfit, which propelled her to find her own place and occupation. She moved to New York City, and worked at the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church, in the then outcast wilds of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For…

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DIY Printed Art

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EPHEMERA was a type of printed art and writing produced by fine printers in the late 19th ad early 20th century. They could be postcard-sized, leaflets, and broadsides.

This is a modern example: “Sunset in Waves,” composed of a few stanzas from my epic poem, Children of Light. The document can be downloaded, and the font and color changed, printed on cardstock or colored paper, to be used as a card or note in person or online. Use an excerpt of the poem (with attribution) if you like.

You can find many examples of modern ephemera, ready to print, on Pinterest. Here’s my Printable Ephemera Board.

Current News – Bataan Mile Markers

Pacific Paratrooper

Bataan mile marker, before and after.

CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines – Jungle moss and roadwork are threatening historical markers along the Bataan Death March trail in the Philippines, says an American who’s waging a lonely battle to preserve them.

Bob Hudson’s father, Tech. Sgt. Richard Hudson, was among tens of thousands of troops forced to march nearly 70 miles from the Bataan Peninsula to Japanese prisoner-of-war camps after the surrender of U.S. and Filipino forces on April 9, 1942. Thousands perished during the trek, which included intense heat and harsh treatment from the guards.

Bataan Death March

The government of former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos installed the first markers — made of metal — along the path in the 1960s, Hudson told a group of veterans last month in Angeles City, Philippines. In 2000, the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment, or FAME — an organization seeking to preserve the nation’s war memorials…

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Existential Leaper by Richard Spiegel

This poem is relevant today, words for the telling of what is happening to us in the USA. Boxes, dogma, closing in and closing off. Some poems reach deep into our European-Middle Eastern past: religious, social, and linguistic.

“Musings” begins with:

Are we contained in cardboard boxes?
Prison cells? Bureaucracies that shut
us off and turn the locks are staking
psyche’s territory; but we collude
too easily, taking what we find
at hand then brooding over changes.

These bureaus contain moments
of yesterday’s crash. Unclocked
comments race with fantasies
and lies along the synapse
of knowing, while pretenders
to power stay doggedly perched.

You can read the whole poem here: Existential Leaper

A Perfect 10 With Author Mary Clark

Author Don Massenzio

Today’s perfect 10 interview session is with author Mary Clark. The questions in these interviews are designed to gain more insight into the inspiration, background and strategy of the authors that stop by.

Please enjoy this edition of A Perfect 10 and look for an exciting announcement regarding all of the participating authors for 2018.


MaryClarkSept2010 Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing brings my energy to a new level, as I’m coordinating various thoughts, emotions, memories, points of view, and attention to detail as well as a feeling for authenticity. There’s an emotional background music playing all the time I’m writing. In other words, writing isn’t only a mental exercise, it’s a visceral experience. I’m not fully conscious of the emotional background while I’m writing, but those emotions and feelings act as a sounding board for being as accurate and honest as possible in what I’m trying to convey with…

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A Novel of Conscience

I’m happy to share these words about my novella, Racing The Sun, by Diane M. Denton, whose most recent book is Without The Veil Between, Anne Bronte: A Fine & Subtle Spirit.

Here is what she said:

Racing the Sun follows on from Miami Morning as a novel with a conscience, its protagonist, Leila, living professionally and personally with a sense of urgency, yet not adverse to pausing here and there in appreciation of simpler moments. This engaging narrative is full of conversations of purpose and planning, framed by a sense of place and belonging, but, also, exploration, drawing the reader into a diverse community of friends, colleagues, and new and unexpected acquaintances who support and challenge each other and, ultimately, discover collaboration is the way to make positive things happen.

Thank you, Diane. Collaboration, that is, working together to solve problems and create new ideas and approaches, is needed more today than ever – and yet we are more  distrustful, more easily persuaded by language that divides us. At one point in this book the factions agree to a “Big Tent Meeting.” After some venting, the antagonists eventually agree to sit down and talk.

And Leila asks, “What is the root problem here?”

“It’s that people don’t agree on how we should live together,” Sam said. “Don’t you hear the extreme points of view on TV and radio? You can’t talk about working together, much less compromise, without being ridiculed.”

Leila threw her shoulders back. She felt ready for this. “We have to do it anyway. We start here.”

Racing The Sun on Amazon   Racing The Sun on Smashwords  Racing The Sun on B&N

Racing The Sun Paperback Cover Small