• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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We’ll Walk in Fields of Gold


How do you pad your brain in cotton? Why do people keep talking? Are all the lights still flashing? How long can a canoe drift down a black lake with no wind or current. I am not going to say what I’m trying to say. In graduate school, a professor once described my poems as incoherent imagery connected by bad grammar. C’est moi. When I was in junior high and high school, I truly believed that poems were difficult to understand because they were meant to hide the truth because the truth was too dangerous. Just sensing what they were about was intoxicating enough for me. Sometimes at readings people ask me if I still write poems. I always feel I’m letting them down when I answer no, I don’t. Though I can still glimpse myself.

Who were you?



17 Responses

  1. The better question is : Who am I? Answer : I am the sum of my ancestry, my upbringing, my education, my work and life experience.
    I have weathered many horrific storms in six decades of life, including surviving having worked in publishing in New York and Chicago.
    What have I learned? Harvest what’s good; try not to focus on the shit that has rained down upon you, no matter whose “fault” it is. It will only drive you mad and make you physically, terminally ill.
    Having said that, do as I say, not as I do. I have struggled with extreme anger, depression, and bewilderment at why/how people can be so cruel, all of my life. Aside from the clear understanding that folks have something called Free Will, I still cannot wrap my mind around the horrible, outrageous acts of seemingly “rational” human beings.
    Our four-legged friends are FAR more ethical than most two-leggers.
    Please explain.
    I am in awe of anyone who has the ovaries OR the balls to try to get published these days. I worked in the big leagues in NY book publishing at the tail end of their halcyon days…the days of the three-martini lunches, and when big houses and small took chances on mid and lower list authors. Not so much anymore.
    Merry meet; merry part; merry meet again. And for those who continue to soldier on, and try to remain true to your voices and memories, I salute and revere you. May you thrive!!
    Bright blessings,
    Deb Rowley, Lafayette, IN…formerly of : Lockport, IL, Urbana, IL, Chicago, IL, Boston, Ma, Cambridge, Ma, New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Bloomington, IN…

  2. I was a secret writer trapped behind a lab coat & stethoscope, due to parental coersion. They died. I broke free and never looked back once.

  3. I was a believer in the possibilities of dreams, in the truth that you can have it all but not at the same time. I was the woman who could not see the end of the road because I always took the off ramp. Now the traffic light has switched to yellow. Do I slow down or speed up? Do I obey the laws of life, the dead end road signs, or go around? Do I look for the hidden road and does it actually exist?

  4. I swear in the days still left, we’ll walk in fields of gold.

    Waking up in Leave Britain this morning, I hope that is true. I was a Remainer………..

  5. Like those who have a steadfast faith in God, I’m envious of anyone who reads/understands/or even tries to understand poetry.

    “Who were you?” One of the ones who preferred standing just outside of the center. A peripheral sort, skimming edges of popular groups, there, but not really. Watchful. Careful. Sometimes irrational. Sensitive. Late bloomer. Oddball.

  6. Sad. lonely, afraid and abandoned. Masked it by befriending others more shattered than me. Surprised when they, too, dumped on me to get the approval of those hipper than I.
    A runner in the rain and interpreter of songs, soon to split and find a kind of redemption on the road, still lost at the street signs but beginning to read the woods and hear the mountains.
    I once believed all would make sense with love and a song in my heart.

  7. I was a moody teenager who listened to the rain. In graduate school I would do anything for a poem. Now I’m a nonpracticing poet, which is like being a secular Jew.

  8. I was stalking the library reading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “The Hobbit,” and Rogers and Hammerstein plays. Finally letting that kid back into my circle. She can hang with me with my Poets & Writers magazine and the Pablo Neruda book I never open anytime she wants.

  9. I was potential. Then my own personal Seven Deadlies took over. The first six were mostly sloth. The seventh, insecurity.

  10. I was the truth-telling liar. The tap-dancer through the minefield of life. The love-monkey swinging from the trees. The mouse in the house. Cheese, please.

  11. I was absent.

  12. In graduate school, a professor once described my poems as incoherent imagery connected by bad grammar.

    You are a genius

    • I was going to say ditto on the genius (incoherent imagery) but Word Press got bossy: You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

      I was just excited too read all your posts again!

  13. Famous koan called Original Face: who am I before my parents were born?

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