Month: April 2015


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I was reading Esperanto on the good ship Esperanza with Eric Estrada who exited drinking espresso, and excitedly I kicked off my espadrilles, opened my expedited letter containing tickets from which would take me on an expedition to Estonia where I’d eventually live in exile.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fearful Symmetry.”




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“If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.”
 Sun Tzu

Forget the moon; forget the dead, tombstone, ashes.
Think of the high sun at noon. Think of asphalt on barefeet,
Bumble bees in linden trees, clean water from the tap.
We long to put words on the sky; to name: to understand.
Speak the language of the living. Hold candles in the night.
Sweet moon, so overdone you are a bane, a parking ticket,
A bill in the mail, a dog that barks all night, sweetest

Light, do you know, every lover loves you?
We watch you from the suburbs; sing your songs,
As you venture close to cities once a decade, you’re a cliché,
Bright cicada buzzing by the back porch light. We listen
Removed, as a two-hundred year old spruce forest burns
Quickly, as the wind gusts through a forest town.
Moon that pulls the tides over beaches,
Shining now on granite wing of angels, shoot no stars
From the heavens.

Look at you moon! So obvious & sacred.
You rise unknowable & scary, like a cathedral ceiling
To a peasant, painted with the hands of mortals.
The beggars & bums gawk at you from the alleys,
The lunatics, lonely & longing, delay their fate
As your brilliance rises in the few moments quiet,
Before the birds settle,
While sunlight disappears, a small torch
On the horizon as night begins to fall.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Full Moon.”

List: things i didn’t tell my mom

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Things I Should’ve Said To My Mom  — Apologies, this is my old blog site.  WordPress is defaulting to this one, so I keep messing up!    Pokergoddess is the real one.
1. I went to Russia & to Paris.   I’d been wanting to go for 20 years, and when I received a partial grant & scholarship I knew it was my one chance.  I didn’t tell her before I left because she would’ve been really worried.  I didn’t tell her when I came back because she would’ve disapproved that I spent the money.  I kept it a secret from her for six years, and then she died.
2.  You were my Rosie-the-Riveter.  She square danced, built a cabin with my dad, raised sons, played piano, read books.  Really, all my friends loved her.  I should’ve told her more often.  When I was in my  twenties I barely called her.  When I had kids of my own I realized all she’d gone through with me and my brothers, and my dad who had gone senile.  We got a lot closer, but how lonely she must’ve been.
3.  Your stories were excellent. One of my biggest regrets was saying to her “do you have to talk so much?”  My mom talked all the time.  Sometimes it was annoying.  It was selfish of me, as often she had no one to talk to.  Her stories were full of life, funny, interesting, detailed. When she grew up there wasn’t electricity. She could sort of morph one story into the next.  She was an expert at transitions.
4.  You were right.  She was right about the boy I lost my virginity to.  She guessed it.  She said she “didn’t trust him.”  I lied. She probably knew that.
5.  Thank you for teaching me to play poker.  I should’ve thanked her for letting me stay up late at the cabin with my brothers playing Michigan poker, teaching me to fish, letting me watch The Twilight Zone & Star Trek when I was little, rocking me to sleep when I was sick with asthma and there was no medicine.  Thanks for sticking it out with my dad who was the sweetest man I’ve known.  Thank you for not squashing my creativity and allowing me to be a kid.  Thanks for the worry, I know you loved me.
5.  Goodbye.  I never had the chance to really say goodbye.  Even at the funeral, I was in shock to such an extent, I don’t remember touching your hand, though I know I did. I didn’t want to cry, which was a kind of tribute I made to you.  I counted roses and got through it with your British stiff upper lip.  Goodbye mom.

My mom unexpectedly died in 2007.  For a lot of very complicated reasons, mostly to do with my ex, my divorce, a lack of money and vacation time, I didn’t see her for almost six years before she died, though we Skyped regularly.


My Bucket list (ever changing):

WSOP ($1000 buy in) in Vegas
Kentucky derby
Kids  to Yellowstone & Mt. Rushmore.
Different trip:  Colorado, the Alfred Packer site. Lake City, CO.  Rock formations there
Hieroglyphs of hands.
Red Rocks concerts – all
Back to St Petersburg to Dostoevsky’s grave
Jim Morrisons grave/Hunter S Thompsons grave
Oaxaca, day of the dead
Cherry blossoms on the D.C. Mall / the Lincoln monument
River rafting again.
Meet Bob Dylan  – he has a song called “buckets of rain”
Do something for charity
Get one of my manuscripts published
Purchasing power, or If-I-had-the-money list
buy cabin
buy cello
send poker player Jack to the bluebird café in Nashville because we’ve written a great song together.
create college fund for kidsLooks like the model for the poster died today. Our lives are intertwined. Coincidence?

“The Satisfaction of a List.”

Bad Larry, Classic & Jules

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Moving this over to my poker blog.  Didn’t mean to post it here!


The mentor’s I’ve had haven’t known they were my mentors.  They never said, “I’m mentoring you.” In fact, to their faces, I stubbornly refused to take any advise.

“Do not ever tell me how to play.”

When I was in grad school and writing full time, I always wanted a mentor.  I was really disappointed that no one ever took me under their wing.  I had potential.  The world is a busy, cruel place, and time is hard to come by.

But poker, however is a game, and in order for it to be a good game, you need good players to play against.   Poker as metaphor.

Ten years younger than me, my friend Classic taught me not to bother to come to the table if I’m not willing to lose what I bring.  And Bad Larry told me to play position.  He said “If you are the last to act you have some power.”  Jules last taught me how to play one-on-one. She showed me not to be afraid to shove all your chips in when you’re the last two at the table.

I’m not a mentor….instead about all I know to do is play a good game, and try to mentor by good play.  The  thing I try to pass on:  never lose your cool.   It’s embarrassing to see someone enraged by losing.  Isn’t it better when someone gets knocked out and they offer up a toast to the poker goddess?   Or, instead of tipping over a chair, they say “Buy me a drink, you donkey.”