A Post Thanksgiving Poem

IMG_3734.JPG

Origins

 

My maternal grandmother’s grandfather

was a butcher—he was Fleischman.

 

I am a poet

who knows the dreams

of my mother dwell in my sister

 

My paternal grandfather’s grandfather

was a farmer—he was Meier.

 

I am a poet

whose song is sung in

graphite and ink

 

They left Europe

for a similar place of cold and

want. Where gray covers the earth

for months on end, and frozen air

sears the lungs.

 

I am a poet

whose truth rises on

ice-bound floes

 

I am the voice of my mother

a rock of disbelief, her

hope a crumbling house, my

birth her bitter denial. My chilled

moment of delusion lasts a year,

or a lifetime.

 

I am a poet

my sea-weapons

incantations of change

 

I am like and unlike my grandmother.

She certain of her place and lineage, her

favors and grievances, my grandfather’s

acquiescence validating her at every turn,

every slight, every diminishment. Ice

infusing our lungs, our breath.

 

I am a poet

who dreams of snow

gracing a Michigan hillside

 

My mother, her daughter, adoptive

stranger. She who fled the snow

for the warming coast.

An insult my grandma never forgave.

 

I am a poet

whose voice courses through

the blood of German strangers

 

I am the scribe, recording the reasons we hold

ourselves to impossible expectations.

Retelling the tales—ghost stories

that reside in our bones.

 

I am a poet

whose words infuse mitten state

apples hawked from a rusting truck

Unmasked Reading at Tecolote This Wednesday!

Marcia and co-editor Kathleen Barry

Marcia and co-editor Kathleen Barry

Come join us Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 5-7 p.m. at Tecolote Books in Montecito! Several of the women who contributed to Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty will be reading, and I hope some of you can come out to enjoy some titillating poetry and essays, as well as refreshments, of course. Kathleen Barry and I will be reading, as will Maya Shaw Gale, Perie Longo, Lori White and perhaps one or two other special guests.

We look forward to seeing you!

Unmasked Launched; Rabbi Mysteries Unveiled; Yuko Ready to Fly

Unmasked contributors, from left, Renata Golden, editor Marcia Meier, Tania Pryputniewicz, Lisa Rizzo, and Barbara Rockman.

Unmasked contributors, from left, Renata Golden, editor Marcia Meier, Tania Pryputniewicz, Lisa Rizzo, and Barbara Rockman.

Marcia and Kathleen at Carr Winery.

Marcia and Kathleen at Carr Winery.

So much has happened in the month or so since I returned from Greece, both personally and professionally. Kathleen Barry and I launched our new anthology, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty, at two events in October: A reading and signing at San Diego Writers, Ink, with four of the contributors to the book, and a reading and signing at Carr Winery in Santa Barbara. We had a wonderful turnout at both, and look forward to another reading at Tecolote Books in Montecito on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. Also in the works are readings in Venice at Beyond Baroque (8 p.m. January 28), and an early February performance at Center Stage Theater of "Unmasked LIVE, Women Read About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty." Stay tuned for more details. 

Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer signs a book for a fan.

Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer signs a book for a fan.

A week ago, more than 60 people came out to Chaucer's Books in Santa Barbara to celebrate the publication of Rabbi Arthur Gross Schaefer's second mystery novel, The Rabbi Wore a Fedora, and the reprinting of his first, The Rabbi Wore Moccasins

Next Saturday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m., Tecolote Books will help us bring out Dick Jorgensen's second memoir, Yuko, Friendship Between Nations, about his world tour as he traveled back to the States from Japan in 1957, and his subsequent work with The Asia Foundation in San Francisco, promoting improved ties between the two former World War II enemies. Come join us!

Keep all these Weeping Willow Books in mind as you make your holiday lists for the bookworms in your life!

Last Night in Greece

We spent one last night in Athens before catching our home-bound flights to London and LA. Rob and I had dinner at Orizontes, atop Mount Lycabettus overlooking the whole city. It was stunning at night, with views of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. Here are some photos from the restaurant and our hotel.

0F024463-1E2E-41C7-9C15-2F01C092804D.JPG

The colossal Temple of Zeus, which took more than six hundred years to build. There are only sixteen columns left of the original 104. It's more than impressive when you see how enormous the columns are. 

IMG_8345.JPG
IMG_8344.JPG

I'll write more in coming days about the Greek island of Rhodes, and our visit to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas, the Sanctuary of the Cats, on Cyprus. I left my tzedakah dollar at the sanctuary, where nuns continue hundreds of years of taking in stray cats. The dollar was given to me by my dear friend Arthur Gross Schaefer, a rabbi. In the Jewish tradition, one writes a Jewish blessing for safe travels on the dollar, and at the furthest point of the journey, the traveler gives the dollar to someone in need or a charitable cause. The cats were first brought to Cyprus and the monastery in 326 AD to control venomous snakes, and they continue in that role today. 

IMG_8190.JPG

The mosaic above the entrance to the Monastery of Saint Nicolas.  

IMG_8192.JPG

Two of the residents. They do not necessarily have an easy life. One of the cats we saw was missing half of her face, no doubt from an encounter with a snake.  

IMG_8196.JPG
IMG_8195.JPG

Cyprus, Home of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love

We leave tomorrow after five nights on the island of Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. It remains divided between the Turkish territory in the northern third and the Greek Republic of Cyprus in the south, which is the only officially recognized state. We visited Larnaca, the largest city on the island, with beautiful beaches, and Paphos on the western coast, where there are many ancient ruins sites. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and romance, is said to have born in the sea near Paphos. We visited her famed Baths of Aphrodite and the Temple ruins that were devoted to her before the Roman era and Christianity. 

Paphos has a lovely harbor, where numerous restaurants and tavernas and souvenir shops vie for tourists' attention. We swam in the gorgeous aquamarine Mediterranean several times, and it was clear and warm. Here are some of my photos from our time here. 

702A707A-1EC4-4A57-87A2-BA6AB83CDD1E.JPG

The view of the Mediterranean from our hotel in Larnaca. 

FC6B3F2C-9741-432F-8C39-353140FF38BB.JPG

A traditional Cypriot meze, with sausages, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, ham, fried halloumi (a delicious cheese), and tzatziki (yogurt dip). And, of course Cypriot beer--Leon.  

1C58B619-29FF-4A60-A5EC-C92F5A30EE54.JPG

Rob at the ruins at Kourion, near Lemessos.  

622FC6DD-4806-4AB3-A684-9B2836817A06.JPG

Inlaid mosaic at Kourion.   

22560224-5822-4662-A1D6-4A01188CE9E6.JPG
900372E6-7EB2-4DCA-A9EB-70BA99D180CD.JPG
3A5CC69E-19FF-492B-83F8-C232D301E542.JPG
93953884-89C8-4FF6-8545-85A9E8B873E7.JPG
5BF8CE14-42F5-4B02-AAFD-2EF7F6FA636C.JPG

Crete's Chania and Red Beach Near Matala

Rob and I spent five nights on Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. We flew into Heraklion, then rented a car to drive to the charming harbor town of Chania. Our hotel, Domus Renier, was exquisite and the owner, Litsa Paraskevaki, was warm and welcoming. She spent three years renovating a very old building, and it is beautiful with attention to every detail.  

5313A460-95C9-47B4-9FF2-ACCB14541686.JPG

The harbor at Chania.  

1941089E-E2DC-4831-9F96-E4D3E80C02B1.JPG

Domus Renier is the building with the green and brown exterior.

35523CFE-ACFF-4C89-996B-26080AF599AF.JPG

Yup.  

8D6D5AC9-8B9D-4D9B-BB20-3661ACE7E8D9.JPG
8E7B0635-7D4F-4617-B579-3B6DEAFED01B.JPG

A BIG beer.  

3B12A2D8-F283-41CA-A3C5-5F79F6F502A3.JPG

Chania lighthouse.  

6E8F5EFE-96F4-4882-B58E-920C23EB1856.JPG

A detail--exposed original wall at Domus Renier.  

CFF1BAA7-9864-489A-A38D-76A7F8D3CCBD.JPG

Rob with Litsa, the owner of Domus Renier.  

A4DCF5CF-6FF8-4B97-A191-5B88035563CA.JPG

Original details were retained or re-created.  

E604F8E8-2FB8-4AE0-94C2-B285C66864EA.JPG

Red Beach, near Matala in southern Crete.