In search of story


Disconnections: August 4.18


I’ve written tomato posts before

I hope another won’t annoy ya

this is, I think, but half tomato

the other half’s sequoia.


For many years I’ve planted tomatoes in memory of my Grandpa Mauck. The smell of the plant always brings him back for me. Alas, the smell was about the extent of my harvest. I just couldn’t grow tomatoes. Until last year.  Suddenly those Mauck gardening genes roused up, and I had actual tomatoes! I especially loved the pear tomato, so this year I tried another one, and, even though it was planted late and spindly, and in Someone Else’s Garden, it rallied and has taken exuberance to a whole new level, racing over and through the deck rail, and draping itself over the potted plants. I know that one morning I’ll wake up and find it wound around my ankle.

A pear tomato, marigolds, zinnias, dill…as you can see, dear reader, the garden is slowly, slowly becoming mine. (MINE, you wretched rabbits and Japanese beetles and chipmunks, MINE! Not YOURS!!)



Disconnections: July 28.18

It insists:


Watch the air





with tumbling prism



bow and rise

and bow again

see-sawing fountainous

hypnotic swing

drink and bath.


your toes remember

it’s OK

  if you smile.




Disconnections: July 24.18

Some of us know it

from school days gone by

the rarified glow

of a holycard sky.

Angels and saints

no laggards allowed

canopied ever

by holycard cloud

its edges alive

with a peachy-gold hue

it had to be thus —

plain white wouldn’t do.

It all seemed marshmallowy

pretend, and ideal,

but I see it right now

undeniably real.


A word about holycards: they were tokens of acknowledgement given out in Catholic schools ever so long ago. They all depicted role models. Kind of like baseball cards but more flowy. And with lilies. In that time a coveted laurel.




Disconnections: July 4.18

In an amazing, death-defying feat of coordination and grace, I balanced colander and bowl and camera as I cleaned beans yesterday evening on the swing. There was a hope of incoming storm — how we need the rain — and as I sat there I felt the change: the breeze rose almost to the level of wind, the underbellies of leaves rolled upward, and a blessed cool-down settled on a hot world.

The colander belonged to my Grandma O’Hern. She too cleaned beans in it. In her cotton summer housedresses, shoulder-to knee apron, Grandma shoes, and, yes, hairnet, she was always cleaning something. Except when chores were done and she’d sit on her swing on her screened porch. On my luckiest days, I sat next to her.

She was the daughter of immigrants. Both my grandmas were daughters of immigrants. Neither finished grade school. I sat for a long time yesterday evening looking at that colander. Of course I was no longer on that deck but was in her kitchen, on her swing.

The 4th of July finds me very introspective this year. From sea to shining sea one vast ad-hominem attack.  Purple-mountained alternative facts. Amber waves of tweets. A fruited plain of party lines.

I guess the colander challenged me to fly the flag today for the right reasons.

It never did rain last night; some things we cannot influence. I choose to think the flag says there are some things we CAN influence.



Disconnections: June 14.18

Garden icon

myth and man


as watering can

the story goes

his whispered word

was carried by wind

his followers heard

is he today

sculpted in stone

because he invented

the first smartphone?



With no disrespect intended to Il Poverello, whose bemused expression watches over the pond

from my neighbor’s yard. I just wish he wouldn’t be so welcoming to the chipmunks.



Connections: May 2.18

What’s in a hat?

Besides a head, I mean.

Is there stature, haute couture,

or is it mere windscreen?

An identity enhancer

or a scrim to hide behind?

Does it flop or hold up pertly?

Insouciant? Bold? Refined?

Is it cloche or lightly bouncing

on the wearer’s comely pate

or, cockeyed, sit athwart,

like sliding dinner plate?

Is it manly or so dainty,

beribboned or hound’s-tooth?

Does it, placid, enwreathe age

or bob atop some youth?

Ed Norton knew it well:

there’s ipseity in a hat

gracing the cranium royal

or proletariat.



More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.