Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Learning the Math

Learning the Math

We divided, then subtracted,
one from two,
the one who stayed
never saying goodbye.

She'd given back his love
notes, the Christmas cards,
the years of keeping house,
Yuri's gold-leaf peacock

in its gold-leaf frame.
He'd taken two paintings
she didn't want, thrown
out the two-dogs'

leash, tried to explain why
he'd transferred money
from their joint account.
He barely understood

her need for space,
or time to write her poems
in that room — her own.
She couldn't accept

his need to work those
twelve to sixteen hours
daily, the Saturday
mornings he'd spend away.

What difference did
forgiveness make
when time too mean
with words ill-said

broke her, broke her
mind even more
than her heart. No-contest
was agreed-to,

their settlement cold cash,
one from two arranged
so neatly, how all math
works, its lesson learned.

© 2017 Maureen E. Doallas

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thought for the Day

Never say you know the last word about any human heart.
~ Henry James

Quoted from Henry James's Short Story "Louisa Pallant" (1888) (The quotation is used in the opening of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart: The Intimate Journals of Logan Mountstuart (2002). The novel received the Prix Jean Monnet.)

Henry James (1843-1916), Novelist, Short Story Writer, Poet 

William Boyd, Novelist

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thought for the Day

. . . One of the ways we survive darkness. . .
is to find reasons to laugh.
~ Ayobami Adebayo

Quoted from Patrik Henry Bass, "Great Expectations: An Interview with Ayobami Adebayo", The Paris Review, August 9, 2017

Ayobami Adebayo, Novelist 

Adebayo's debut novel is Stay with Me (Penguin Random House, August 22, 2017).

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Thought for the Day

What does the word last mean in moments of desolation?
~ John Berger

Quoted from John Berger, "John Berger Contemplates Life and Death at the Graveside of Mahmoud Darwish: A Writer and a Poet in Communion", at Literary Hub, August 9, 2017 (This essay is from the Introduction to Mahmoud Darwish's Mural, translated by John Berger and Rema Hammami (Verso Books, 2009, 2017).

Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008), Palestinian National Poet

John Berger (1926-2017), Art Critic, Writer, Novelist

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

House (Poem)


I leave behind all
I know, fifteen years
at their end:

a house that was
never a nest
to be emptied,

three levels
of old wood
floors to clean,

a room stilled
for want of
the dog in my bed,

stairs not he
and not I
need to climb.

The plants wither,
ask to be watered;
the surfaces, dusted.

Through renovation
and effort came
expectation; we added

the close watching
for visible signs
of careful constructions.

We were awful
at trying rebuilders'
new jargon.

Home is not a definition
for house.

House can't convey
more than the space

we sometimes occupied.
Space reminds me

how we started out
so full of desire,
now manage nothing


I loved you — once. Forgive
me. Forgive you. Thank you.

© 2017 Maureen E. Doallas

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thought for the Day

. . . Things get pretty radical in the dark:...
~ Denis Johnson

Quoted from Denis Johnson's Poem "Vespers" in The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly (HarperCollins Publishers, 1995)

Denis Johnson (1949-2017), Poet, Writer (Novels, Short Stories), Playwright

Denis Johnson Profiles at New RepublicNPRThe New YorkerPoetry Foundation

Read Jay Deshpande's essay, "My Denis Johnson" at Poetry Foundation, August 7, 2017; and Lawrence Wright's "Remembering Denis Johnson" in The New Yorker, May 26, 2017.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Counted Down (Cinquain)

Big Ben, London, England
(CCO Creative Commons)

Counted Down

Big Ben,
your heart's damaged.
You need to be silent
four years to chime again and run
through time.

©  2017 Maureen E. Doallas

At noon yesterday, August 21, Big Ben (the name of the bell inside Elizabeth Tower) fell silent for repairs; for the next four years, until 2021, Londoners will have to keep their own timepieces running. Read "Big Ben to fall silent while essential conservation works take place" at Parliament's Website.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cinquains for Today's Solar Eclipse

2017 Earth Day Poster Depicting August's Solar Eclipse

Following are some unrhymed cinquains (they all use the line scheme of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables) I've written to mark today's solar eclipse.

Be sure to check out NASA's Total Eclipse Website.

August's dark day.
Moon tries a new sun block.
Witness the cosmic distraction
pass by.


Chase it?
Even some planes
fail to catch the shadow
moving like a whirling dervish


Path marked;
eclipse forecast.
From west to east light's doused.
Shadow bands like rippling sunshine


Get a filter,
a telephoto lens,
and a tripod for your smartphone.
Shoot it!


or syzygy?
It helps to know your terms.
Study science or play Scrabble.
You'll learn.

© 2017 Maureen E. Doallas

Syzygy is pronounced "SIZ-eh-gee". You can learn about it and transit, shadow bands, and other eclipse-related words at the NASA site.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thought for the Day

. . . if you are someone who leaves, then you must
always be leaving, because to stop leaving is to stay.
The space between staying and leaving is called longing. . . . 
~ Larissa Pham

Quoted from Larissa Pham, "Agnes Martin Finds the Light That Gets Lost", The Paris Review, August 2, 2017

Larissa Pham, Brooklyn-Based Artist and Writer

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Noelle Harper, Darcy, Acrylic on Canvas, 2017
10" x 10"
© Noelle Harper


We are in the "Dog Days of August"* — those lazy days of summer when life is meant to slow down — and to celebrate, we present at Escape Into Life our annual Artist Watch feature on dogs. For this month's "Dog Days" Artist Watch, I've selected a series of commissioned paintings by artist Noelle Harper.

In addition to painting commissioned pet portraits, Noelle, currently a resident of Helena, Montana, is an arts educator and instructor whose various teaching experiences have taken her to Florida, Massachusetts, and Georgia, as well as Costa Rica.

Today's Artist Watch presents six of Noelle's most recent dog portraits, an Artist Statement, and a brief biography.


* Did you know. . . the phrase "dog days" originally referred to the dog star Sirius and its position in the heavens? Read Becky Little's National Geographic post, "Why Do We Call Them the 'Dog Days' of Summer?"