blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Testament of this White Woman of America

My ancestors yes came here and
As it was in 1745,
No doubt they pushed the people 
who lived here first
Or worse. 

Over this, I have no control, 
but I still carry my ancestor’s
to those First Nations
whose rights, ways, and lives
we stone house people have washed over,
A catastrophe hurtling from the sea.

We have lived here now, we albinos members
of the monkey tribe,
For 200 years and more.
We have eaten the food that grows here,
Are born and nourished by this soil.
Can we remain so disrespectful
Of the same land which is 
now OUR birth mother too?
She our soul, 
as she was the soul
of nations she nourished before.

The 1st Nations knew how to live here, 
Lightly in this paradise
Of plenty. 
They understood the cycles, how the
Foxes and rabbits,
Rabbits and foxes, 
Over and over again.

There are 9 billion of us now, 
destroying our range, standing in pens full of muck,
Awaiting slaughter like our enslaved insulted animals—
This is NOW oh oil/gas/poison masters—
we have cancer, our guts fail, our children
are born with autism.

There are other paths than the ones we have been pursuing
And we’d better see the green way of it quick.
We can evolve and if we do
We just
Survive what’s coming.
The way the Mammon's followers would have us go—
into the red pulsing throat of the volcano—

Now we might kill our entire species without too much guilt,
But the idea that we would drag
The Miracle, this one in a million ride
She Upon Whose Skin We Are Privileged to draw breath,
Into our self-made wanton blind abyss …

We all share this planet; 
Air Water Earth.

It is nothing less than Sin to
Curse this holy ground, 
The Mother who nursed us,
One in a million Gaia.
She will succor--or consume--
our grandchildren.

 ~~Juliet Waldron

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Packaging Problems :( By J. Olmstead

Ok !  Hey this is great.. Saves on finding a container to store your unused portions away until your stomach demands a bit of ham.. Or frozen meatballs...
I seemed to have uncovered a small problem with this wonder technology .
And that to get them unsealed to start with.
Dispite little arrows, dotted lines , clearly visible zippers ,  little  printed tiny fingers pointing  to how to get the package opened.  I seem to fail miserably on achieving a clean open.
My packages often end up stabbed, scissored , shredded . Cursed at.. And occasionally thrown hard on the counter with.. I didn't want to eat you anyways...
 Others are left with Ragged plastic edges that defy any form of closing at all.
So, into another container to store... This one with easy snap on lids..another brilliant invention .

If, one can find the right one in a drawer stuffed with containers...and lids...
All seemingly divorced. Or at least.. In a heavy argument.
There are a few places in the mexican market where I shop.. Mainly on the street.. Where life is very simple.
A round of homemade cheese is wrapped in plastic.. No seals.. And placed in a small clear plastic bag. Freshly made this morning .
Fruits and vegetables.. Fresh fish filleted before your eyes. Shrimp.. Similar .
Eggs.. Fresh baked rolls..  All slipped into an open ended plastic bag. Also  Drinks served in a bag with a straw poking out.
I am more and more enjoying that loose, no nonsense way of bringing things home.
While I may on occasion break an egg.. Or want to put my drink down for a moment...
I am not reduced to a blithering idiot trying to get at the product. Stabbing. Cursing frustrated.
Ok, thank you for reading my lament...
On purpose, I did not put it in a sealed bag for you!

~~ Joy Olmstead

Friday, November 11, 2016

An Ancient Fable

Now, dear readers, after the events of the last week, it is time for a retelling of a very old story, first written down in Aesop's Fables. This, I fear, is a prophecy.

Once upon a time there was a lovely pond full of frogs, all happy and fat and singing. Things were  largely good. The pond always stayed full; it didn't dry up like other ponds and leave them stranded in mud. There were lots of bugs and many large green lily pads to sit upon. Still, the frogs were not happy because they were bored. Things were dull here, always the same. They thought they might like to have a king so that he could devise things for them to do. Kings, they knew, paraded about in pomp and splendor, which would be entertaining. So they petitioned Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men, to send them a king.

Jupiter, understanding the true nature of kings, thought the little frogs were foolish, but decided that, as they weren't very bright either, he'd send them a king who would neither hurt them nor take advantage. He dropped a huge log into the pool. This fell with a tremendous splash, and the frogs, naturally, were terrified. They all hid, some down deep in the water, others under the lily pads and behind rocks. Trembling, they waited to see what this new king would do. Of course, the log did nothing.

After a while, the frogs recovered from their initial fright. They approached the log and swam around it. Nothing happened. After a little while, the young frogs jumped up on the log and took turns diving into the pond. Growing braver, they began to sit on the log and take in the sun and hunt for flies. The log was excellent for these purposes.

This was entertaining for a time, but pretty soon the frogs were again sitting around complaining about how boring things were in their lovely green pond. This king that Jupiter had sent, they said, was "a milk and water king," nothing to be afraid of. This king made no great displays of his power or courage; he didn't go to war. This king held no ceremonies filled where they all had to bow and salute. Eventually, the elder frogs made the log their meet-up place and here they sat around for hours upon hours, complaining endlessly about the state of the government. Near the end of summer, the log grew sodden and sank.

Once again the frogs petitioned Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men, saying that this king he'd sent hadn't added up to much. In fact, he hadn't been a king at all, hadn't done a single kingly thing during his rule. Now, he'd sunk, leaving them in the same state as before,
without a king.  "This time," they said, "Oh great God, send us a REAL KING."

Jupiter had pretty much had it by now. After all, he'd been listening to them gripe all summer, so, this time he sent a large crane to be king over frog land. The crane was different right from the start. As soon as he landed, big feet entering the shallow water with a splosh, he began to gobble up frogs as fast as he could choke them down his long skinny neck. He ate and ate and ate while the frogs scattered, hopping and swimming in utter terror. The crane used his long bill to probe the mud where they tried to hide; he turned over rocks. When he found them, he skewered them like shish-kabobs.

The frogs who survived the first onslaught
cried out pitifully, once again calling upon Jupiter, Father of Gods and Men. "Oh, please, no! This is not the king we wanted! Save us! Take the crane away! He's cruel; he's a tyrant! His belly is a bottomless pit! His appetite is insatiable! If this continues, he will soon devour every single one of us!" 

"How now!" Jupiter said. "Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes."

Aesop for Children (translator not identified), 1919. Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956). Available online at Project Gutenberg


Sunday, August 21, 2016


Elizabeth w/violets and dandelions


A not very encouraging beginning,
Here.  We cain’t keep’er no more.
Lucky you.  Lucky my best friend.
Lucky me.

I was your wuffler, your
Trained human,
And you never got enough,
Elizabeth Rex.

You, of glittery eye,
Barely veiled contempt,
Going comatose in my hands,
Drooling on my jeans.

You and I
Understood each other.
Evil spirits separated
At birth.

You were.
You are.

Radiant bows to a fellow cat person, one who truly gets it.
Juliet W.

Kimi in the wuffle seat.
Now that the old Queen is dead, it'll be the new Queen's turn all the time!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Element of Fire

I wait for sunrise
Beneath the white oak.

Dew bejewels young corn,
Static pillars of fog arise
In the valley.

Morning stars fade.
Birds wake in the prescient glow.
Twilight sublimates into blue,
Ending the unfixed time.

For years I have come to bear witness,
But only in this year of heart-break
Does the full glory greet me.

Now, through a door of silence
Steps Sun,
First, a crescent of fire.

Serpentine arms flourish and glitter,
Reaching from  the horizon
To warm my heart.

I am
No longer solitary, but
Among a rejoicing multitude
In an infinite well of space and time.

A billion souls,
And mine...

Past and Present,
Quick and Dead,
All One, incandescent,
On the altar
Of Sunrise.

~~ Juliet Waldron

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


On this, the 29 day of June, 2016, at 12:37 a.m., I hereby declare war on cellular phone service in general, and so-called ‘Smart’ phones in particular.  It has always been my conviction that this monstrous invasion of privacy was perpetrated upon us by the young Millennials, to prove their superiority by their creations of unparalleled stupidity, having no taste, no style, and no integrity.  It is the cesspool of a wireless age.  It is distasteful at best and dangerous at worst. 

It is every minute of every phone owner every day.  Do they ever sleep?  Do they not have jobs?  Is it so difficult for them to understand that driving at 60 miles per hour on a major 6-lane resort highway where EVERYONE is in a hurry with their iPhone or SmartPhone clutched in their crabbed little hands, pecking away between glances up to see what’s going on in traffic, is paramount to murder and maybe suicide, as it if mattered. 

How can the vast majority of car driving, phone wielding citizens who wreak havoc on our highways every single day in every single state be absolutely DUMB on the concept of distracted driving?  What kind of generation have we produced who think that whatever it is that THEY are doing at any given minute is infinitely more important that what the other guy is doing.  And on down the line like dominoes.  And when did everyone become so goddamn important?  

So.  Let me tell you what has brought me to raging at the machine.  First of all, I have never been a fan of cell phones.  It became readily apparent very early on that a large majority of users used them EVERYwhere.  And they especially liked theatres.  I knew, from those boxy little flip phones, that life was going to become very much more difficult for the gomers, the geezers,  the folks who are never considered in the design of these various things to make them more geezer-friendly.  It seems as though the Silicon Valley boys really don’t want any help.  They are managing to make simple life functions as difficult as I imagine getting a passport must be. 

Case in point.  There is an outdoor tiki-styled restaurant on the water near where we live.  Before it was taken over by people who obviously had worked for Disney in Florida, it was a nice neighborhood bar/restaurant, very quaint, and very pleasant.  When grands and great-grands visited a week ago, they wanted to go there for lunch, and so we did.  When I talked to the reservation girl to put our name on the waiting list, she asked me for my phone number.  I gave it to her, and she then told me when our table was ready, I would get a text.  “Hold up,” I said, that’s my home phone.  Oh, she said, very sarcastically, don’t you have a smart phone?  “No, I said, “I have a flip phone in the bottom of my purse somewhere, and the condition of its battery is unknown.  Can’t you just come and find us?” 

By now an old guy (55+) came over and wanted to know what was going on.  Repeat the above paragraph.  The restaurant employees are getting nervous, and obviously have no solution.  Now, I’m angry.  I’m angry because what should be a fairly easy function of any major restaurant, i.e., announcing the availability of “Bashore, Table of 7”, has now evolved into a system that makes owning a Smart Phone a necessity.  I mean, how can one expect to function in a world we never even imagined?  The debacle was solved when someone in our party had their iPhone with them, and was able to get the text.  But what it there hadn’t been?  Were they that indifferent about embarrassing customers for being out of the loop that they are also indifferent as to whether or not those customers walk out.  My bill was $100 for lunch ... 4 adults, 3 children, and everything was a la carte.  And they didn’t care if they seated us or not. 

And then yesterday, since my cell phone contract had expired, I visited the local wireless store (the one that lights up all of the United States in their ad) to find out about hooking up an iPhone 4.0 that was gifted to me.  It did not go well.  First of all, he wrote down $30.00, then under it $20.00.  He pointed to the $30.00 and said, “This is your phone plan cost.”  Then he pointed to the $20.00 and said, “This is the cost of your phone.”  No, uh, wait a minute.  Doesn’t the fact that I OWN the phone make any difference here?  “No, he said, this is what it costs to have your phone on the phone plan.”  So I have to pay them to use the phone I own.  So this kid says, “Well, at $50, it’s only $15 more than you pay now, not a big deal.  And I leaned across the table and said to him quietly, Sonny, I’m on Social Security, and $15 IS a big deal for me.”  And then, of course, with all the taxes and hidden fees they don’t tell you about, I’m looking at probably $70 in the bottom line.  And so I did the only honorable thing I could do.  I cancelled the damn phone.  I lived all my adult life without a little box  running my every waking minute, telling me things I don’t need to know, and lots of other things about which I care little.  The fact that an instrument of convenience mostly for purposes of business, commerce and government has become this interconnected web from which no one knows how, or even wants to escape. 

So my spouse has decided to get a pay as you go phone.  Good.  I’ll use his.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Blizz of 2016

Rough times on the east coast last weekend!

From 70 degrees at Christmas, we descended into an old-fashioned hoot and holler of a snowstorm. I guess in central Pa it did not quite reach blizzard status, although the storm came, as all great blizzards do, from the Northeast, fat with ocean water.

There was wind and snow and snow and more snow. Here, where entire winters can pass without note, it was quite a sight. There was a part of me that found it welcome, after a NY childhood imprinted by stark Lake-Effect White Howlers.

New York State Thruway

For a little, I gazed out the window and sent my consciousness into The Dance of the Snowflakes (Swan Lake) and imagined Dame Helda (the German Calliach) doing her crone dance. It's beautiful when I simply fly on the wind as one of them, but frightening when I'm a human once more, gazing up at the swaying power lines upon which our civilization hangs.

Nearby, from where they'd been sitting, enjoying a grassy golf course, the local "Canadians" squawked. When the sky cleared the next day they flew in circles, bemoaning the loss of the open fields upon which they'd been so steadily grazing.

In the end, it was a local record: 30 inches of the white stuff in a 24 hour period. Briefly, our Hobbit name was "Under-Snow." It took a lot of digging--and some neighborly help--to get both cars out. And it's not so much the "digging" part, either, that's wearying. It's the trudge across the road and the toss up onto a high snow bank that's truly challenging.

Not that there was anywhere to go after we had completed our excavation. For once, most everyone paid heed to the warnings and stayed in. That steady stream of traffic which regularly hurries along "the back way" to the Park and the outlets, for today, anyhow, is silenced. Many neighborhoods in small poor urban areas remained choked with snow; days later, people had not managed to get out to work.

This morning, we chipped ice. As we age, falling becomes not just a concern but a definite possibility, as Gravity's attempts to drag us--once and for all--to the ground, seem to have recently redoubled.
~~Juliet Waldron

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Old Falling People

I hate this falling business that apparently goes with aging. Seems I've fallen more times in the last few years than I've fallen in the rest of my life. And, of course, it gets ever more dangerous to hit the ground as bones age.

My Grandma Liddle, may she RIP, fell and broke her hip at 99, which was the end of her life. The pain after an attempt to pin it became too much for her frail self. Her husband's step-mom also fell, back in the more cavalier 'late 40's. This Grandma Liddle lay in the cold--down the dirt farm road where they'd once farmed dairy cattle--until the postman happened along. Fortunately, the smart collie she owned came to lie against her and kept her from freezing during that long-ago upstate New York winter. She too ended in an old age home, bed-ridden; these were the days before hips were routinely repaired. Here, she too eventually died. These family histories have taught me that there's nothing good about falls after 60!

Now, I clean my house. I go to the gym. I do Zumba; I take weights classes and aerobic classes. I practice my balance in Yoga; I take long fast walks. During clement weather I ride my granny bike around town. I've fallen off that, too, more times than from my road bike that I rode constantly for twenty-five years.  It seriously ticks me off when I find myself, once more, sprawled on the darn ground.

Today I fell in the kitchen. I was vacuuming -- inadvisable for bad backs -- so I was being particularly careful (I thought) about not lunging or twisting. As I vacuumed along the ceiling where the cobwebs of winter have been gathering, I forgot to look down, stepped on a part of the wand I'd discarded a few moments before. When it rolled, I did too and ignominiously ended on the nice yellow linoleum, taking a blow on hip and shoulder as I went down.

As you might imagine, a few moments of quiet contemplation followed, while I checked to see if everything was still okay, the trick back, knees, etc. My husband was no help or comfort. I probably fell, in his mind, to inconvenience him--somehow. Don't ask WTF. Old men, that's a whole other subject.

~ Juliet Waldron

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

~~Science Fiction Madonna~~

Hubble, thank-you! 
Oh Dreamer, green beside
A quiet sea,
Child cradled
Close, flesh to flesh,
Haloed by the infrared
Of your star,
You hug a possible future.
One, together,
Mother and child.
Though shapes, colors,
Genders infinite,
Your essence
On a million worlds,
Out toward

~~ Juliet Waldron

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

On Being Deaf Almost ~~ by Joy Olmstead

I am staying with my daughter , visiting, while I gather my things together to spend my winter in Mexico.

> Since she had moved from my neck of the woods.. To the south, this gives me some family time.
> While it used to be frequent short visits when we lived in the same area, now, it is one long visit twice a year.

> Apparently, I can and do easily stress my daughter out.

> Much as I try to fly under her radar screen, I cause these blips to occur on her screen in the control tower, and she feels the need to pay attention and because otherwise, I'll crash.

> My hearing is not that great  these days. I consider hearing aids, then wonder: Why?

> While I can't understand what someone is mumbling at me in another room... Face to face, paying attention. I can hear just fine. Guess my practical mind is avoiding a few thousand dollars to hear mumbles in another room, when I can walk in and say What? For free!

> So this morning , in the midst of the kitchen breakfast school, work rush. My daughter appears all sleep frozzy and fuzzy robed... And starts putting together her sons lunch.

> She turns to me and says in a very loud clear and slowly spoken manner.
Fine. You?
Ohhhh that's gotta hurt; I am sorry. She asks her son DO YOU WANT TO DRIVE IN WITH US TO TAKE NONNIE TO THE AIRPORT?
Her husband and sons visibly lean away from the loudness. A short discussion ensues...

> I had already planned to be driven in by my son in law , in my car so I could smoke all the way to the airport. I mentioned this to my daughter. Now, I was busy re arranging my plan of action to accommodate everyone.


> I say yes, mentally, I am hearing you say that we are going to leave later than I want, in a rush and my anxiety level will be on high...

> Meanwhile, my grandson says: Why are you talking so loud?
She whispers next to his ear.
Because Nonie can 't hear well. Trying to spare my feelings, I assume. I hear every word. 
> So, back to the car issue.

> I tell her I still,want to be at the airport a few hours before the flight.
> Why, yes, I can , my concern is being at the airport in time.

> I find my voice getting louder and my speech slowing down, perhaps, someone else is being was a natural reaction... I catch myself... Rein it in...
> Alright...

> We are now leaning on the counter chatting. When I bring up my hearing, she mentions that it seems I don't hear what she is saying, so perhaps LOUD and SLOWLY will make it better.

> She and I, although we both use the English language, do talk in a manner which neither of us comprehends.

> I point this out.. And, I can see from the look on her face; she almost wants to agree.

> She tries so hard. I feel bad. Tell her so. I do drive her crazy. She got blessed with a mother who doesn't fit in the peg board no matter which place she tries.

> I am reasonably comfortable with my shape. Mean no harm. And see the torture she goes through.
> Wishing we could both acknowledge the fact the the color blue is two or fourteen different colors in each of our minds, and not struggle with that.

~~Joy Olmstead

Friday, November 6, 2015


In a time when hatred, ignorance, and bigotry are all regularly promoted by major candidates as "patriotic," this letter to the Editor is worth reposting.


              A local paper in my little beach town recently printed a letter from a reader who extolled the virtues of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his extraordinary Americanism, devoted to ridding the free world (or all of it, for that matter) from the Red Peril of Communism.  And since The Donald has also devoted his campaign to ridding the United States of immigrants, legal or not, here’s a story that bears telling.    

               In the early 1950s I was a young child, concerned more with learning to ride my first bicycle than with the state of the Nation, or Senator McCarthy’s campaign to eradicate anyone he believed to be “subversive” and more specifically, allied with the Communist Party in America.  My grandfather, Spero Evanoff, was an immigrant from the old Yugoslavia, and his wife Anna, was from the Ukraine.  He came here at a young age, along with his elder brother, and carried all his worldly belongings in a rye market basket.  (I still have that basket to this day.)  He went to barber school in Western Pennsylvania where he met and married Anna, and became a barber for the rest of his life.  He left the Homestead, PA area soon after his graduation and, green card in hand, with his young family (daughter Eleanor, daughter Margaret, son Harry) moved back to Eastern Pennsylvania to the Harrisburg area.  He had, I believe, cousins and fellow immigrants in Steelton, PA, which had a large population of folks from the Balkans in Central Europe.  After the death of Eleanor from a burst appendix at age 10, and the subsequent total mental breakdown of his wife Anna, and her institutionalization in the State Hospital in Harrisburg, he moved with his two remaining children to Palmyra, a small town East of Harrisburg.  He had friends there, a married couple who ran a tailoring business, as they had in Europe.  Life, as it does, moved on.


              When Senator McCarthy began seeing pink things under his bed and began sweeping with his vicious broom, the good people of Palmyra, fundamentalist Christians of Brethren and Mennonite ancestry, decided that they didn’t want a man with a strange accent from an even stranger country cutting their hair.  His business evaporated, and he was virtually driven out of town.  His son, Harry, could not deal with being ostracized and left home.  His daughter Margaret (my mother) married a local boy and began a lifetime of denial regarding her father. To me, he was my grandpa, and I loved him, and he loved me.


              My grandfather relocated further West and closer to Steelton to another small town, Hummelstown, where there was a greater mix of immigrants and where, frankly, people did not care so much about Senator McCarthy.  They just wanted good haircuts and my grandfather, being one of two barbers, was the only other game in town. 


              So, my grandfather had lost his business, his wife, and all three of his children because he was “a foreigner” from a suspected Communist-affiliated country and highly suspect.  But it didn’t stop there.  He saw friends deported for no clear reason other than the Government saw fit to do it.  He saw other friends lose businesses.  He saw other children alienated from their families.  And through it all, he paid his taxes, and pledged allegiance to this country, the same country who would never grant him citizenship because of his “suspicious” colleagues.  The tailor from Austria.  The Italian businessman.  My grandfather died when I was fourteen, on the Fourth of July, freedom for all, fairness to none. 

              When I was 19, I applied for a position at the former Olmsted Air Force Base in nearby Middletown, PA.  The position required a “Secret” clearance, which usually took 4 to 6 weeks to complete.  Eighteen weeks into the clearance process, I was called by an officer of the OSI (Office of Special Investigation) of the Air Force, who told me that a car would be sent for me at 8:00 the following morning and that I would be “interviewed” regarding my job application.  The “interview” was, in fact, an interrogation, and the only people present in that hot, unvented room on that summer day were a stenographer, three men in dark suits, and me.  The “interview” took over 7 hours, and I was given a bathroom break and a drink of water.  The questions were all regarding my grandfather and his suspected affiliation with an organization called the IWO, or International Workers Order, a Communist Party-affiliated insurance, mutual benefit and fraternal organization.  I had no knowledge of whether or not he was a member, but he had apparently taken out an insurance policy to protect me, his only grandchild, from accident and/or illness.  Not only did they not believe my testimony, they caused my clearance to be “suspended” which is, in actuality, worse than a denial.  So I lost the job before I got it.  Some 20 years later, in Dayton, OH, I was a temporary worker in a very large chemical plant with massive government contracts.  When I was offered permanent employment, I was told I would have to have an AEC (Atomic Energy Clearance) check run.  I told the head of security that I would never get the clearance, and told him why.  They proceeded anyway, and for the second time I had a clearance suspended.  I didn’t get that job, either.  I’ve done a lot of waitressing and barmaid jobs, because no one in those industries cared who my grandfather was.  Now I am a very old lady, on borrowed time, and I cannot let Mr. Foertsch’s letter stand without a rebuttal. 

               I would like to address one other matter, that being so-called security risks in higher government. 

Even after McCarthy’s “cleansing,” we were subjected to Richard Nixon, Robert McNamara, George H. W. and George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and perhaps the worst of all, Richard Cheney, who invented a war which bankrupted our nation and killed and maimed our soldiers in order to profit from it.  So much for security risks. 
The defense rests.

~~~ Orb Weaver

Friday, October 23, 2015

How I met Alexander Hamilton


In a dim bookshop,

Where a huge, bad-tempered charcoal

Cat with yellow eyes glared in the sepia shadow

Of a fly specked window,

I found you.


A worn olive drab

A bold gold title

Antique spine, dated 1902.

Mother must have bought you,

The cost a whole $2.

Black and White

Trumbull in front--and

There you were!


You—ecstatic, thin, red head thrown back,

Face shining, 1776 on fire!

No wonder your new friends,

Fellow aides-de-camp to the great

George Washington, nicknamed

You “The Little Lion.”


Accustomed to escape like this,

I read and read, oddly compelled to

Struggle through a dense jungle of

Edwardian prose,

The work of a once lauded,

Now forgotten

Lady Novelist.


Oh, how well she knew you!

Baby-faced orphan who withstood the scorn of

A world where you were “baseborn,”

Who held on, somehow,

To the God Inside.


I started sleeping with you

When I was eleven.

We were both alone and anguished,

Threatened by mean drunks

Who round the clock

Figured chaos.


Outside, in tropical night, the

Rum-soaked party, grown-ups braying,

Men fighting, pawing the women,

A grand finale of blows and vomit.
We hugged each other about the neck,

Knobby knees to knees,

Breathed in each other’s breath—

Yours sharp, redheaded.

We tried instead to hear the

Tree-frogs chorus, to drowse at last to

The rattle of palm and

Whispers of Casurina, to let

Lady of the Night bloom

Inside our nostrils instead of



Together we crept from the hot room,

And stared at the sky, until

Our eyes spilled at

Venus blazing over jet-black surf,

A mirrored path

Across a living,

Phosphorescent sea. 


With that old book,

I traveled on prop airplanes,

On ocean liners, and

When the money ran out, on

Tramp freighters redolent

With diesel,

The rounded corners

My creature comfort

In a sinkhole of

Squandered love,

And money.

Across time, we held hands,

Brother and sister.


We hid from blows,

From nightmarish demands,

From double binds tougher

Than the Gordian knot,

Hid from the

Stink of last night’s whiskey,

Trays of butts,

Hiding, fingers in our ears,

From assaults which might

Include us,

From the harsh slap and roar

Of violent sex,

From the Beauty

With a black eye, who is

Our mother.


Tropic rain,

Sloshing cow’s piss

Splashing the palms, the beach,

Turning Caribbean streets  into an

Odorous garbage-strewn river.

Hurricane weather, gray dragon clouds

Sprawl above snarling surf.

White horses stampede and

Boom, manes tossing on the reef.

We grow up anyway,

Children in peril.


We find more books—

Mine in the trash can

Behind the bacchanalian

Bajan bar from whose stools

Inebriated Brits leap into the sea.


He finds his in the musty,

Cockroach haunted libraries of

Planters, lordly gentlemen

He fetches and carries for,

Merchants for whom he copies,

Dawn to dusk,

Accounts balanced,

Doors he jumps to open so

They can step right through,

He is just another a cheap

Commodity, this brilliant charity child.


We part company.

He goes his never-was-a-kid

Capricorn way, ponders

Philosophy and Law,

Studies Blackstone, Hobbes and Hume,

And the new science,


While I, backed behind the bar,

Sit on the floor and imagine,

Along with ETA Hoffmann,

That an aria can

Kill you.


Alone now, on the beach,

I watch whales court

In neon water, while at my feet, 

Sea foam dwindles into sand.


I am lost

Along with Odysseus,

Groping in the bedrooms of

Murderous Plantagenets.

We grow up separately,

Different centuries,

Opposite sex,

Different books in hand.


His ambition seeks

“War and Preference”

A Gentleman’s Honor,

While I roam the brown-sugar

Strand, talking to myself as he did,

Oblivious to the unblinking stares of

Wrinkled old men,

A tan teen-ager

In a yellow French bikini.



~ Juliet Waldron