Send me a Box of Rain

On this day I am walking into rooms and forgetting why I came, walking in circles, finding irony where one was intended.  Last week, some yahoo named Michael Caputo took a leave of absence from his phony baloney job as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, which wouldn’t normally transition to a slice of rock and roll history, but 2020 continues to be a year of firsts.  After ranting on his personal Facebook page about imagined enemies, he calls a staff meeting wherein he announces the sixty day leave of absence, admitted he had never read the reports he was seeking to alter into fake good news, apologize for – get this – embarrassing the head of Health and Human Services, his boss, and suggesting/recommending that for their mental health, his staff should listen to the Grateful Dead.  So, this unqualified political hack who spews bile at scientists, this Trumpkin sycophant, is right about one thing:  Listen to the Grateful Dead.  And then I wonder if he has really listened to the lyrics or if; in view of the administration’s willingness to sacrifice infected Americans, if maybe, he just likes the name.  Like Elton John’s Levon Tostig, who names his son Jesus because he likes the name, of course Jesus wants to go to Venus, but we’re not talking about Madmen Across the Water.  We are talking about the ethereal lyrics penned by the redoubtable Robert Hunter, who it turns out is the great grandson of the poet Robert Burns, and the mind-bending lyrics of the immortal Jerry Garcia, but I digress.  “Levon, Levon likes his money, he makes a lot they say.  He spends his days counting”  See, immediately the Play Button in my head is activated.  Perhaps Mr. Caputo is inviting us to “Come hear Uncle John’s band, playing to the tide” and honoring the boogaloo militias.  “Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like?  Their walls are built of cannon balls, their motto is don’t tread on me”.  

I am sending out a cosmic request now – could someone send me a Box of Rain?  It’s so dry here in the Attics of my Life quietly reading “the book of love’s own dream, where all the print is blood”.

Ok, so maybe not all of their songs are good for mental health, yet they DO make you think.  Bozo wannabe gangster Caputo gets paid for the next two months to shut up and stay home, lots of time to earn his own Touch of Grey.  There are emails which will forever take up magnetic particles in some midnight spool of archive tape stating in the craziest possible terms that there are “resistance cells in the bowels of the CDC”, a whack job whose ghostly insanity haunts the electronic halls of the Center for Disease Control.  An agency run by a man who strives not to do good but to do the bidding of power-crazed Kleptocrats.

And Uncle John keeps asking a question that shouldn’t be asked, that is asked anyway:  “Where does the time go?”  In the analog world, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Wise words can fall from the lips of idiots.  I implore you my friends to ignore the conspiracy laden rants and luxuriate in American Beauty which is a shoo in for the greatest album of all time.  Especially those who think the pandemic can be quashed by tainting the data.  Here’s hoping the Trumpkins sit out the election getting stoned and space dancing to The Dead.


Quarantine Quarry

These new pets that live in our backyard and sometimes in my office – they’re photobombing my Zoom Room, and we all love it.  Offices in stalwart buildings would never allow that.

The Gingers play in a Quarantine Quarry, jumping from rock precipices, allowing themselves to be momentarily captured for snuggles.  Something carried in my arms can boost my mood so easily.  I cancel the television more often these days, I coddle the kittens.  They are mock ferocious, feral adjacent, they frolic at my feet.  Watching them play, I capsize, saying yes again to the danger of future sorrow by opening my soul to them now.

This twisted now, I contort reality whenever briefly trying to understand fact challenged announcers.  I miss my traveling gal pals.  I commemorate our travels together with digital slide shows and riveted by reminiscences of numerous wine tours and tastings, I mostly chardonnay these summer days, and occasionally I cabernet, tasting the years like grapes in an oak barrel.  The photo has us raising our glasses, a moment frozen in time in a crowded little restaurant in Budapest.  The eight of us – I can almost taste that Hungarian stew – dark cherry memories, awash in comradery.  A celebration now captured in the lenses of our ever present camera phones.  My girls are here and there, all over the world, they too are missing our travels together.  We Zoom toast each other from sunny porches to well-lit home offices

What I count down now are the days without flights in a Quarantine Quarry where the newly domesticated kittens chase pebbles and make new memories.

Into the raw dark

Into the raw dark

I cast my thoughts

Happiness was just there

Skittering briefly through neural pathways

Like mercury without the poison

I would grasp it and work it into the defiant fur

Of my favorite cat

Then in the back of my mind

I bank the glowing embers of a warm contentment

Knowing that even in the land of endless summer

Storms will come

And she will blink, my familiar

Silver balls lit with moonlight drop once again into my hands

We will leave this home office and dance to the tunes only we hear

Spinning out the fear

Into the raw dark

Halloween hopes

The worst job of all has gotta be Director of the Justice Department’s Ethics Office in 2020.  When the Attorney General is pointed at political enemies like a big fat cannon and retaliation is handed out like Halloween candy to earnest citizens, the complaints must be voluminous.  This year’s Trick or Treat entreaty elicits nothing but dirty tricks from the GOP.  One hopes the spirits of dedicated public servants from years past haunts the kleptocracy and hands out retribution for such servile devotion to the Deceiver in Chief and his cronies.

Good people of America are called to join up in the pumpkin patch, sit six feet apart and direct the Great Pumpkin to drop squash on those white-haired sycophants whose crap for brains attracts flies.  His humorless minions hoping for a stray seed hunger for power, not food.  Let’s hope Casper the Friendly Ghost has a mean uncle and for Halloween, we get a seat at the table where the ethically challenged gnaw on the bones of democracy.

This is my room now

This is my room now. 

I need to empty it. 

All those words in all those diaries and all those stories like refrigerator magnets and puzzles they break apart like un-diagrammable sentences

Crowding the room with random utterances

Piling up like walls of word matter

newspaper strips coated in wheat paste,

clinging to this balloon face

retaining images in negative space

the shape is lost as layer after layer of newspaper strips are laid on top of one another

and I can’t breathe

No one ever peels the words off

Criticisms like black rocks thrown violently into baskets of light,

the wet tagliatelle’s of sticky strips of words

block out the light

and I dwell in the negative spaces

surrounded by the implements and detritus

of things I love to do

Books I want to read

Photo albums and home movies to be edited

I hung up my phone

Turned off the ringer

Switched off the TV

Clicking a “like” button, lots of “shares”

Meaningless validations tossed into the ether

I can hear the Makaewa Bay wind

The house, like me, is all closed up

I desire no interaction

Yet crave company

Just a couple more days and nights of not returning phone calls

Staying inside

Writing out, not venturing out

Pull the covers up and turn out the light

This is my room now

I need to empty it.

White Ginger Breath

  • My favorite flower is white ginger.It has delicate white blossoms that pack a wallop of a scent.  When woven into a lei, the wearer can sit next to the hygienically challenged and not even know it – like a halo of perfumed drapery, wear it near your nose, you will not be sorry.  
  • My favorite Hawaiian cultural story is the word “Aloha” – the “Ha” is pronounced with a healthy exhalation – Alo means I give to you – so literally, they are saying, I give you breath.  That is why it means both hello and goodbye – it is neither – it is sharing of life between two humans.  We think they are “nose-kissing” when in fact they are exchanging breath, becoming one being wishing life and survival to each other.  Mouth to mouth resuscitation is the closest we Europeans have come to this mutual blessing, but it is only offered to the nearly dead.  You can survive many days without food or water, but if breathing ceases, it is a matter of minutes.  And the time between now and a maskless future goes slowly, most of us helping where and whom we can. The maskless future where we can kiss and breathe and our faces can be smooshed together, embracing with abandon once again.
  • There is no property in most native world views. It is rather ridiculous to think any one human can “own” land.  It is ever-changing, especially in Hawaii where the lava flows add acres every year. In the Great Mahele – the first land and title codification in Hawaii, the plots were not drawn in straight lines – the islands were sliced like a pie.  Because everybody knows the hills alone cannot support a nutritious diet, just as oceanfront property can offer only fish.  We call the Hawaiian “royalty” kings and queens, but they own nothing – no visitor is allowed to go hungry, and after being offered to the Chieftain first, all food is shared in the luau.
  • The Hawaiians, like the Eskimo and Native Americans, were nearly wiped out by the white man’s diseases.  And then a monotheistic manifest destiny that placed anyone of darker skin into the roles of sub humans, swooped in to kill thousands more.  A mis-reading of the original Aramaic lead them to believe that instead of being good stewards, those who believed in the Lord would “subdue the earth… have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air” (Genesis 1:28).  Anyone who has witnessed an erupting volcano knows with great certainty that we humans cannot “subdue the earth”.  
  • And there were great warriors, tribes fought among tribes – but there is a big difference between warfare and total annihilation.  When the missionaries came, they banned the hula, banned carved statues of gods, banned the use of the Hawaiian language.  The great King David Kalakaua, embraced both Christianity and the native Hawaiian traditions, and restored the dance and chants.  Emmalani, who was Queen before him, built many hospitals and was central to halting the decimation of her people.  If it wasn’t for them, I would not know the word “Aloha”, and the giving of breath from one to another would have never become my favorite greeting.

Read “The Night Swim”

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautifully crafted and deeply moving, this is a story for our times, and hopefully, we will all learn from its brave protaganists Rachel Krall and Hannah Stills. The dialogue is artfully woven between scripts of Rachel’s podcast (in a different font) and the movement of the main story. It’s a real page-turner, I finished it over two nights, couldn’t put it down.

View all my reviews

This book got me thinking that my efforts to shift the dominant paradigm can be redoubled. Tell the authorities to listen to little sisters. Listen to the victims. Do not enforce the Non Disclosure Agreements women were bullied and blackmailed into. Feel free to jail rapists for a very long time. We don’t need an International Women’s Day – we need to be heard all 365 days of every year.

I just endure

I just endure

she says blithely to an empty room, testing the sound before she writes it down.

Invisible injuries, intimate betrayals hurt

like the physical searing, nestled-in lingering pain of broken bones

Will her legacy be a lifetime of word craft or days misspent on the whiny tidbits

tucked in that lonely smart girl’s diary?

I just endure

she says hopefully in the darkened room

wearing the words like a blanket

The Vapid Magician

Heavy ham fisted sleight of hand

Asked to unsee the visible

See the unseen

The vapid magician elicits oohs and aahs from the willfully ignorant

Governance is a tawdry sham



He is stealing you blind

And you lap it up in the darkness and hear only lies.

Prestidigitation Nation

It’s ripe, pick it.

Tables down, it’s First Class

And you lean in, and you lean back

Mealsnax arrive with white linen napkins and silverware

It’s a real knife

Because in real life,

The rich are not suspected

They get re-elected and each time

It’s for life.

What’s in a name?

When I was born, I was given my father’s last name.  My first name belonged to an Empress, but that did not make me powerful – it is at the top of my resume, stating the necessary gender.  When I married, I had already lived 26 years with this name.  It has been engraved on name plates, credit cards, and school yearbooks.  I am in the phone book, the alumni listings, and personnel records under this name.  I have fleshed it out and make it ring with memories of this unique person.

So, I am amazed when asked, just last month, 

“So wait, your maiden name is Tripp, right?”

“No, I was never a maiden.  My birth name is Tripp.”

“So, your married name is Tripp, too?”


“So, you married your cousin?”

“No, but someone in your gene pool must have.”

The question “Is this your real name?” seems so ludicrous.  It stems from a quaint custom, a rite of passage which is not, nor has it ever been, expected of men.  For women, however, a public pronouncement of love and commitment to a chosen mate is not enough.  A traditional band of precious metal worn on the left hand at all times is also not enough.  For I have been told it is expected that a woman must become an appellative adjunct to her mate; become a “Mrs. John Smith”.  Does anyone LIVE inside that name?  Or is it Mr. John Smith’s portable label for his current spouse, no more personal than a luggage tag?

I may decide to change my name someday – for convenience or pure caprice.  But women have fought long and hard for the right to choose where and when that change may take place.  It was 1974 in California when married women were finally allowed to hold property in their own name “sole and separate”.  The Napoleonic Code has been abandoned, but I am still waiting for the change in legislation to lead to a change in attitude.  When Mr. Jane Smith is a common phenomenon, then maybe the fight will be won, and one’s chosen name will be one’s only real name.

By Catherine G. Tripp (Ms. and Miss and Mrs.)