Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Story

So here is the scene --
One star burned so bright
Where an infant was born
Who brought forth God's light.

They had only a rough stable--
Yet Three Wise Men stopped by,
With Frankensense, Gold and Myhrr
To lay their eyes on this child.

It is an ancient old story
Yet, folks still tell it today.
If you have heard a better one,
Then tell me, I pray.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Julia's Odyssey

“Which hand?” you asked,

hiding a tiny marble square.

Then you gave me the soap--

black lavender pure.

I inhaled, over and over,

as deep as I could,

“You’ll smell all the scent

out,” you laughed.

I’ve saved it for months,

on the sill of my window,

wrapped in crinkly

white paper.

Like the Flower Girl photos,

in our Fall wedding album,

it’s full of your laughter,

your tenderness and youth,

your splashes in the pool,

your patent leather shoes.

I inhale and remember,

you cut all your hair,

to give to a stranger,

a woman with bad news.

Now you’re moving to Memphis.

Pack your friends in your heart,

leave behind the Brownie dress,

put your cell phone on charge.

Give your teachers and neighbors

one of your big eyed sighs.

You’re moving to Memphis,

the Odyssey of your Mind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Neighbor In The City

New Neighbor in the City

Your blinds are drawn --

they finally came!

I live next door

20 feet away.

Our shrub is trimmed

this side anyway --

my welcome to you

on a sunny day.

An odd, but common arrangement--

at home, in our many rooms --

proximity with privacy;

we all live quite alone.

The leaves hang up tight in the trees,

holding back their autumn splash.

You arrived just in time for our block party;

we welcomed you at last.

But we’ve yet to see your colors --

will you be removing your mask?

Or will you keep your blinds drawn down--

sticking to private tasks?

This is life in the city, as I see it,

options, many as the stars --

neighbors, a dog’s-walk away -- or

anonymously passing in cars.

I see you’ve got a new mailbox!

The old name has been set free.

We heard you play the bassoon --

did I tell you my cat loves reeds?

Your blinds are drawn --

they look just great!

I live next door –

twenty feet away.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


It’s my pal, ellie’s birthday
and she’s too busy, closing
Yellow Pages
ads, to take
a phone call. She's a sales
person you completely trust as
she would not waste your time
or hers simply to make money.
She sells what she believes in,
is proud of the fact that she
can make customers think
about why they should invest
in what she has to sell. She’s
smart, has always been smart,
knows it, isn’t afraid to talk to
anyone about anything. She
will ask any question without
worry. She watches and listens
as she notices the nuances of
people, of their relationships
with one another. This stuff
feeds her soul. I always
lean on her when I need
wisdom. For decades,
when I was single, and
met someone new, I would
call her in Florida to share
my big news. She always
asked me the same thing.
It was muy importante,
yet, I might fail to notice,
right off the bat, if there were
other pulling forces. She’d
listen to me tell her how funny,
how attractive, how romantic
he was. Then she’d make me
wait, while she took a long
drag off of her cigarette,
exhaled and asked, “So,
is his head in a good place?”
el dropped those eight
words over and over
till I got it right.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Poem for My Sister, Marti

Marti's Poem

My words can't hold a tiny
little candle to you. These
lines are just bare feet to
your hundred pair of shoes.

You appear in a room, flash
your thousand watt smile--
Without even trying, you
raise the meaning of style.

Before I've got my coat off, you've
made a dozen new friends. And
each one will be there for you--
from that moment till the end.

You assume success,
and it comes right along--
like a puppy on a leash,
or a new hit song!

You're a whiz on the Internet,
at Trader Joe's and Chico's too--
you always find a bargain,
and you act so cool.

You overbook your days, but
somehow make it through.
You find some time on sale
and toss it in the stew.

You're my youngest sister,
but I look way up to you.
I would put this in a poem--
but I really thought you knew.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maybe They Call it Spring

Maybe they call it Spring

because it's like a leap

across a chasm

from Winter to Summer.

Maybe they call it Spring

since it's like a dream

dripping away at

the shift from night to day.

You tighten your fluttering

eyes against the light,

protesting the loss of your

other life, no matter

how fractured or weird.

Night memories wiggle

out of the bed before you

find your feet on the floor.

Maybe they call it Spring

because it strings together

the two large seasons

we sing out our dharma.

You fight off the darkness

at check your

list, as your lids resist

the urge to rest. You don't

want to leave the day;

it could be your last.

You plead one more icy

glass of kitchen water.

Maybe they call it Spring

because the thrash of rain

is calling your name, back to

the Winter you want to forget.

You fight off the brilliance

of noon day sun. You go

inside and hide in a book,

(the original sun block).

One hour later you check

the clock, change your

clothes, unwrap the hose,

take care of the garden.

Maybe they call it Spring

to draw your face to the earth,

where hyacinths break your

heart, like a one night stand.

Like circles upon circles,

maybe they call it Spring

repeating the lessons,

promising rebirth.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Mother's Day Poem


There is a child who makes
the stars come out at night.
That's how a poem should start.
Don't say: we waited two years to adopt her
and then had only three days to drive
to the next town to bring her home,
like a dish to pass, just in time for Easter.

Don't say you never thought about racism
coming your way when you checked
a small box on a form. Interracial __ yes.
Say the love you imagined was only
a drop of rain in the ocean.
Say she is the light of day.
Say she is the speed of light.
Say she is the ground
on which angels play.
You play music; but she
is the music you play.
You sing; but she is the song.

Don't say you miss walking alone
with your husband every night,
tidying up the house, before slipping
into the bedroom to make love,
wide open--then sleeping
for a blessed eight hours.

Say she keeps us young and laughing
Say she teaches patience and understanding.
Say only this child could show you
what things in life are key.
Don't say: We miss our friends.
Say: she is our guru, our dharma.
our greatest blessing.
She makes the stars come out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

For Lou with love

You're Gone Again

You're gone again...

another plane

to catch

before sunrise

before my eyes

are re-delighted

with your smile.

On our front porch,

potted pansies brag

up their little faces

what they know of

Spring and promises.

While hyacinths are deciding

which perfume to release,

you pass back yard daffodils

wearing nothing underneath

their see-through yellow costumes

heads bobbing, in garden gossip.

Forsythia bushes stretch their

freshly blooming stems

towards still-bare trees

above, sketching the sky.

As you glance through

the garage window,

Buddha sees you off,

his unconditional

peacefulness, his loyal

presence and friendship

solid as ancient stone.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My first commenter!

Wow...someone actually made a comment on my blog. This is so cool, I mean, if you have the time and interest in communicating this way! Zoe's blog is fabulously interesting. She hasn't updated lately; but promises she will.
We met her in Taos at The Writing Salon but she lives in Thailand. Her life lends itself to action; I can see why she liked the screen writing classes. When I read about her stopping in a pub on the way home from work, forgetting to turn her mobile phone back on and discovering 14 messages from The Boyfriend, who was locked out in the Bangkok heat, well, let's just say I felt better about missed calls when Lou's out of town. But I'm never in a pub. Just hard of hearing. Pardon me? Anyway, fun to read something from another part of the world.

Birthday Season

Birthday Season


We call it Birthday Season in my family

starting with April 6th: Peter.

My first memory:

"You have a new brother."

Amy: April 12th. John and

I were teenagers. Mom's last

two pregnancies seemed

embarrassingly late. We

were having friends over

listening to music, practicing

the new dances. Who knew

then how much we'd come to

appreciate and love them.

April 16th, me. How amazing

that my husband, Lou and my

sister Mary's husband, Steve would

be born four years after me, 3 years

before her: April seventeenth, 1952.

Then the musicians:

April 23rd: Bernie, eight years after me,

eleven months after Mary. He was six

when the Beach Boys had their first hit,

seven when the Beatles came on the scene.

April 25th: Brian Heveron-Smith. Mary's

middle child. We have Chip in March then

Mary and Scott, Amy's husband, in May.

There are a flurry of cards, emails, phone

calls as the season ramps up every year.

I still remember the day John pointed

out to me that April was exactly nine

months after Mom and Dad's wedding

anniversary. So, that explained it:

They were celebrating!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Massacre

Like everyone, we are sick at heart over the tragic massacre at Virginia Tech. From CNN we now hear: fellow students said the 23-year-old English major had written two plays so "twisted" that his classmates suspected he might become a school shooter. "very graphic" and "extremely disturbing." "It was like something out of a nightmare," someone wrote in a blog. "The plays had really twisted, macabre violence..."
What can we do to prevent this from happening again? A person's words, his writing, are coming from his head, his heart. This happened at Simon's Rock 15 years ago. If authorities and school administrators are truly trying to prevent another similar tragedy, where is the follow-up to help or remove a person who is writing in such a way? This is a real scream for help.
And why is it no big deal when a student buys a gun and 50 rounds of ammunition, no questions asked?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Seventy Years of Silence

I read about you, Sr. Teresa Maxwell;

your obituary caught my eye.

I saw in the news, in March of this year

that your earthly spirit died.

You were born in Nineteen eleven,

the youngest of sixteen.

Did you choose a silent order as

it promised to be serene?

You took the Habit in

nineteen thirty three.

You made your Solemn

Profession in 'thirty-seven.

Were you able to be wordless

through those years by

envisioning God in heaven?

I imagine seventy years of silence--

I think I'd have gone insane.

Yet when I think of all that I've said,

so much of it is inane.

As life goes on, I promise you Sister,

I will remember your choice.

You gave up what we take for granted--

the sound of your own voice.

When life makes me surrender something,

I'll bow to you in my selfish mind.

Sister, you were a Carmelite nun,

and you lived to be ninety-five.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Coffee at Java's

It's Not Just The Coffee

I know you think it's a waste of money going out for coffee, Maureen; but please re-consider. It's not just high-priced coffee. It's a social life for people who work alone all day at a computer, or own a one-person business, drive a cop beat, or sit in on endless conference calls, or raise little kids.
A quiet breakfast at home with NPR can be comforting; but if you want stimulating variety in your life, find a nearby cafē and make it your clubhouse. The right coffee shop is Cheers minus the alcohol!

After early morning sittings at the Zen Center, we stop at Java's on Gibbs Street for coffee. It's an art gallery with unique music on a good sound system, excellent coffee and baked goods. Mike, the owner, brings arm loads of flowers from the public market. He buzzes around keeping the place looking inviting from morning till night. His beautiful barristas: Tiffany, Amber and Melanie make us feel like family.

We've re-connected with some old pals like Jerry Laufer, a blues harmonica player and jeweler who knows and ministers to everybody. Through "The Rev" and others, we've gotten to know the policemen who stop in, other business owners. Our cousin, Bill Carpenter might drop in with someone from the County in a suit. We love seeing my nephew Brian or other Eastman Music School students starting their day. We catch up with other musicians we know about upcoming gigs, make plans for the weekend.
Each coffee shop has a different personality. At The Women's Coffee Connection on South Avenue, everyone seems to come in with their best friend and not connect to anyone new. But they do great work, hiring and training women recovering from addiction and Peruvian crafts hand made by women.

Boulder Coffee, so named not for Colorado, but because there are actually boulders in the basement and no one knows how they got there. Twice cars have driven through the front of that shop! They put up a huge sign "Bruised but not Broken, " rebuilt the front, re-opened again. A great community resource in the Highland Park area, they have good music at night, art openings, a Summer neighborhood festival.

It's worth visiting Daily Perks to see Bernie Lehman's realistic, yet magical, artwork hanging on dark orange walls. A variety of good music, easy on the eardrums, is available weekend nights at a decent hour for a small cover.

Sadly, the tiny Patrik's Kulinary Creations has disappeared; the yellow building at Benton and Goodman is for rent. Too bad. The place was immaculate, the scones were hot and delicious and Patrik has the best laugh of anyone you've ever met.
I got stuck at a Starbucks near 12 Corners in Brighton once because my car was being repaired nearby. Everyone in there seemed to know everyone else. Very friendly--"How did your math test go?" "Good luck with the interview!" "Great new shoes!" I'm not kidding. It was like being in the lunch room in building 147 at Xerox, minus the hot peppers and clean-up duty.
It was different from Java's where the greeting is more like "Hey 'sup? Can you believe this?!" (pointing to some D&C or NY Times headline), making plays on words, puns. We jump start one another's sense of humor in the early morning. Sometimes you need that push - that, and the thick foam on a skinny latte with two shots.
You better call me next time you're in town, Maureen. I'm taking you to Java's for a chocolate chunk scone, a latte and some laughs.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Life Without Television


For twenty years, people

would say, "You know

that show--where so

and so. ." and I

would say "I

don't have

a TV."

Looks of horror

came on to me.

It didn't comfort

people that I had

a fantastic stereo,

loads of albums, scads

of books. Or that I took

yoga classes, and I loved

to walk/bike/write/cook.

"You don't watch Friends

on Thursday nights?" my

pal Nikki once asked me.

"No, I said "I have friends

on Thursday nights."

As if I was out of food or

water, friends showed up

at my door, unannounced:

"Here," they'd say," a small

old TV filling up their arms:

"Take it." No one got that I

had no such need; it was

the seventies and 80's.

Did I miss anything?

(c) elaine heveron

Monday, March 19, 2007

War Protest - 4 Years in Iraq

War Protest - 4 Years in Iraq

Yesterday we stood among hundreds along

East Avenue in the cold, holding signs,

No More War - Thou Shalt Not Kill,

imploring our government to bring

the troops back home from Iraq.

One sign carried the remarkable death

tolls. One read simply: "Wage peace."

We sang "Gonna lay down my sword

and shield . . down by the riverside..."

and other songs of hope and determination.

At one point, the groups on the opposite side

of East Avenue started calling across,

"Tell me what Democracy is!" and we called

back: "This is what Democracy is!"

over and over, over and over.

When we began to sing John Lennon's

"All we are saying . . is give peace a chance,"

my throat started to close up,

forcing ancient tears to spill out

again in this too-familiar place.

All the churches in the area were letting out

and it appeared to me that the vast majority

of passengers and drivers were waving with

their fingers formed into the sign of peace

or giving us a "thumbs up" sign at least.

Who is this man who wants this war to continue

so badly and what will be the price in lives lost,

in limbs lost, in cost, in nightmares, in world

mistrust, in our future, in our karmic debt?