Friday, December 19, 2014

Changes Coming...

Hello All Good Folk who still hang around this blog.  I know this space has been mostly dormant for a while but come the new year I am planning to begin writing again with more frequency.  In the meantime I'm updating things here and making some mostly-cosmetic changes do go along with my renewed commitment to SPEAKING OUT, not being silenced or hidden.  Stay tuned!

A #BlackLivesMatter Silent Night

Thursday, October 23, 2014



by Harvey Shapiro
I am still on a rooftop in Brooklyn
on your holy day. The harbor is before me,
Governor's Island, the Verrazano Bridge
and the Narrows. I keep in my head
what Rabbi Nachman said about the world
being a narrow bridge and that the important thing
is not to be afraid. So on this day
I bless my mother and father, that they be
not fearful where they wander. And I
ask you to bless them and before you
close your Book of Life, your Sefer Hachayim,
remember that I always praised your world
and your splendor and that my tongue
tried to say your name on Court Street in Brooklyn.
Take me safely through the Narrows to the sea.

"Psalm" by Harvey Shapiro, from A Momentary Glory. © Wesleyan Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Perfect Poem for Me

You'll see why.

A Hundred Years from Now
by David Shumate

 I'm sorry I won't be around a hundred years from now. I'd like to
see how it all turns out. What language most of you are speaking.
What country is swaggering across the globe. I'm curious to know
if your medicines cure what ails us now. And how intelligent your
children are as they parachute down through the womb. Have
you invented new vegetables? Have you trained spiders to do your
bidding? Have baseball and opera merged into one melodic sport?
A hundred years....My grandfather lived almost that long. The
doctor who came to the farmhouse to deliver him arrived in a
horse-drawn carriage. Do you still have horses?

"A Hundred Years from Now" by David Shumate from Kimonos in the Closet. © University of Pittsburg Press, 2013.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RIP, Pete

This song makes me cry.

I saw him in concert once when I lived in Tucson.  Gosh, but he had a way of getting people to just SING.  Rest in Power, good man.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lost to the World

Dame Janet Baker.  My goodness but this is stunning.

German/English text here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

O Sweet Spontaneous


O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

               fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched

, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

         beauty                  how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

              thou answerest

them only with


"5" by E.E. Cummings, from Complete Poems 1904-1962. © Grove Press, 1994.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Immigration Action

Sometimes (often) I am overwhelmed by who/how She calls me to be in the world. 

Livestream video of immigration action here in Denver yesterday, which included the arrest of several friends.

Video streaming by Ustream

Thursday, September 26, 2013


"Did you know you sound like that?"

"I've been practicing."

The Top 10 Opera Lyrics, as sung by...

Turn Me Into Song

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.
No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.
No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.
No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.
That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.
~ Gregory Orr ~
(How Beautiful the Beloved)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I Posted This Before, But Still...

What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world?  Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause?  I don't think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance.  The gospel of
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
~ Mary Oliver ~

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Two of My Favorite Things

...those two things being postcolonial theologizing and opera!  Here is a postcolonial look at Rossini's Armida, which also references the Met's 2010 production with Renee Fleming that I wrote about here: "Armida: Bel canto’s Big and Tenor-Heavy Love Affair with Crusade and the Ever-Luring Trope of Oriental(ist) Exotic," by Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro.

You might note some similar points being made...though the author does not seem to be as distracted by certain buttons as I was!  Here's a taste:

The third act consists of a melodious damage control operation to save Rinaldo from the web of Armida’s enchanted parallel universes which are everywhere and nowhere in particular. Crusaders Carlo and Ubaldo find their way to the enchanted island and, an onslaught of nymphs notwithstanding, conjure up a convincing rational argument for Rinaldo to return to his senses, his duty, his war, his masculine self-determination, and willpower. Still hesitant, Rinaldo is finally dragged out of the world of delights by his faithful warrior friends. Invoking God’s goodness to defeat his sacrilegious love for Armida, Rinaldo agonizes over which path to follow–love or valor. Predictably, passion for combat and glory rather than love wins. Armida appeals to Rinaldo’s love and compassion, and ultimately offers herself as a human shield for him on the battlefield presumably against her own compatriots to be able to stay together. But even such an offer would not persuade Rinaldo and company, and Armida is left behind to face the (fervent) music of her own struggle between love and revenge. Having been wronged, Armida’s sense of indignation wins. The opera concludes with a musical fury that sweeps away the palace of unrequited love and offers a splendid vendetta scene where, for once, the woman does not end up dead but expresses her rage to the fullest while treating the listeners to a Rossinian variation on theme of revenge comparable to the fierceness of Mozart’s “Der Hoelle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” from Der Zauberfloete. In light of Catherine ClĂ©ment’s trope of the “undoing of women”2 in opera, one can conclude that perhaps a vengeful but alive woman is better than a woman done in by the joined forces of patriarchal cultural and religious constructs as one can see again and again in the world of opera–and elsewhere. And off to hell–whatever and wherever that might be–Armida goes while denouncing Rinaldo’s cruelty in the fireworks of coloratura.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thought For The Day

"People who go about seeking to change the world, to diminish suffering, to demonstrate any kind of enlightenment, are often as flawed as anybody else. Sometimes more so. But it is the awareness of having faults, I think, and the knowledge that this links us to everyone on Earth, that opens us to courage and compassion. It occurs to me often that many of those I deeply love are flawed. They might actually have said or done some of the mean things I’ve felt, heard, read about, or feared. But it is their struggle with the flaw, surprisingly endearing, and the going on anyhow, that is part of what I cherish in them."

Alice Walker