January 29, 2013


Does anyone notice that women's pockets are shrinking, almost disappearing?
Used to be that the expression: "put your hands in your pockets" had meaning for both genders.  Both boys and girls could find soft comfort, refuge, in that extra layer of cloth nestled between skin and outer fabric.

I did when I was young.  Putting my hands in my pockets and suddenly everything was better.  The depth and warmth of the pocket provided security; a place to snuggle cold hands on a frosty day.  A place to put shy hands, hands that could not express inner feelings, because my mouth could not express inner feelings.
I had no tools for cogent expression.  So hands were able to hide, become invisible, because I was invisible.

Later it became a place to put my hands while striding the world in confidence.  A part of my learned toughness.  I could walk down Manhattan streets humming or singing, hands in pockets, happy to feel the cement under my feet, see the sky and feel the rush of air as I hurried along, sure of my mission.  

And they held things.  The found bottle cap just right for putting black top sidewalk tar into for that later game of Skeelzies.  The piece of string which for sure will come in handy...sometime.  The coins to buy penny pretzels and Italian lemon ices.  My pink Spalding ball for our game of stick ball. And, after a near rape, my rabbit's foot and small pocket knife.  That little knife gave me strength.  I knew I'd be able to fend off the blue suited man white penis outside who came at me and were it not for my eight year old legs warp speed climbing six flights of stairs would have had his way.

Today pockets are either non-existent or have shrunk to such size that barely fingers can explore their contents.  A full hand, even to above the wrist, no longer fully fits.  It is women's pockets which have suddenly become too dainty for use.  For comfort.  For practicality.  Men's pockets are deep and many.

I keep a half score of the "old fashioned" pants, those without stretch fabric, with narrow waist, pleats below the belt loops, full hips and narrow bottoms. And with deep, wrist high, pockets.  I keep these out of fashion wonders to wear while kicking around my house.  Can't be caught dead in the "real" world in a pair.

In truth, I keep them to remind me of REAL pockets.  And how wonderful it feels to thrust my hand into that layer of fabric between my skin and the world.

January 18, 2013


Our aunt Veronica fed strays,
cats, dogs, she loved them all.
But did not claim them for neutering.
This is how it was done in Bucsa, Hungary
where she spent her formative years.
When the cats bred, she took the large
metal basin, filled it with water and
drowned the hours old souls.
Not from cruelty, just from unconscious habit.

My brother Rudy recently found four stray
kittens on his acre in Nevada.
Abandoned by their mother.
One I took home. 
Kahtohm, the orange tabby, is now my pride and joy.
One went missing, presumed eaten by the
coyotes who must also eat and breed,
who may have eaten their mother.

The two remaining have been kept,
grudgingly, by my brother and his wife.
In an unheated back room
which is warmer
than the dry, frigid Nevada nights.

Yesterday was the day to take these two
remaining kittens to the shelter --
for their care or killing --
it would not be on my brother's soul.

A county shelter refused them, they were born
in the city.
The city shelter wanted twenty precious dollars
each, for transfer of responsibility, 
being sure to note that they'd soon be put to death 
if no one adopted them.

My brother, also raised in Bucsa and well used to
the routine slaughter of creatures said,
"Well for forty dollars, I can wring their necks myself!"

But he wouldn't; and didn't.

These two strays remain his, and are now part of our family.