Winehouse Brandy

Amy invades

takes up cocktail hour residence 

Soft as shadows she casts silhouettes

tightly cut into shape by her X-acto knife voice

a dollop of dissipation floats in the refrain

She is the hors d’oeuvre served on a Ritz cracker in the local pub

Defiant, her lyrics undulate

sassy sad angry

Amy’s brave wise cracks

Every word snaps

Because her mouth forms the sound before it emerges

Knifes in

Warbles out

Some verses click, they are the essence of castanets spoken

How does she know 

exactly when to breathe

exactly how to stay 

just ahead of the beat?



In her words “laughed at by the gods”

Teasing her hair up just before the show

lining her eyes in long strokes like a Pharaoh

She is sex honest on stage

Brandishing belly she pours her frail brute strength down inside your head like Alambic Brandy, and you smack your lips


that burns so smooth, pour me another

I stretch and relax

The first verse a frisky kitten 

jumps into my reverie and tears through it

emerging as a bobcat

carrying in her jaws the broken limp prey

of yesterday’s arrangements

I acquiesce to her genius

Copyright © Catherine G. Tripp

As published in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal Summer 2022

Lifelong Libertarian leaves the Party

On 10/6/2022 9:42 PM, ‘Catherine Tripp’ via pledge wrote:

I have included all of the email addresses I could find, which really aren’t many, in this my final missive to the Party who has abandoned American women.  My previous attempts to communicate with the Libertarian National Committee have been ignored (see link below for bodies of the letters I sent and posted to my blog).

Because the party I have proudly championed from the time I turned 18 with my first vote in 1976 continues to ignore the single most misogynistic change in our nation’s laws as well as my letters and emails asking for my party to be once again Pro Choice, I must quit.  I will not be updating my pledge, I will be canceling it.  Shame on this party for its cowardly stand on this essential human right.   

And then, like the Democratic Party heard pro-choice Libertarians were looking for a new home, President Biden pardoned all citizens who were convicted of marijuana possession in a federal court, and urged State governors to do the same. Next step, voter registration changes.

Libertarian Silence Letter II


Libertarian Party National Headquarters, 1444 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA  22314

Dear Libertarian Party HQ,

I am writing again (see letter from May) to ask you to REALLY fight for our bodily autonomy.  It is a phrase that has been employed by my party to protest face masks in a global pandemic, but there has been a deafening silence when it comes to Reproductive Freedom.  Since I wrote that letter in May, the Supreme Court has ruled in exactly the way the leaked decision said they would.  As I stated before: “the majority opinion of the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade shows in chilling detail just how autocratic, just how oppressive, just how misogynist the current Supreme Court has become…My party should be up in arms.  Instead, my party, the party of principle, the party of freedom, chooses to focus on anything, literally anything else.”

In the Libertarian Response to the State of the Union, which omitted any words supporting reproductive freedom LNC Chair Whitney Bilyeu spoke of the “heavy hand of government”, she spoke of “the use of force, coercion and theft to control and manipulate us, turning us against one another” and there is no better example of this than the oppressive laws being passed in state after state offering rewards to Americans who turn in doctors and pregnant women who will be jailed for using or providing this basic essential medical service.  These laws will not affect the rich, or the well connected, just poor desperate women who are harassed and harangued at the entrances to women’s health clinics.  I was told by the communications director in February that this is a “Federal Government issue”.  And the Texas LP was addressing the Texas law.  It is NOW a “federal issue”.  A bodily autonomy issue that twenty-six state governments are energetically destroying.  I like to say we, the Libertarians, are pro-choice on everything, but the focus of the Libertarian’s harsh criticism in the light of recent events has NOT been on protecting this fundamental human right, my party is SILENT.  The Libertarian Party must take a strong pro-choice position.  I ask again, if not us, then who?

I would appreciate a response to this letter outlining how my party is planning to end this despicable silence.  

Sincerely yours,

Catherine G. Tripp, Libertarian Silver Member and Monthly Contributor

Libertarians must not be silent on Reproductive Rights. If not us, then who?


Libertarian Party National Headquarters

1444 Duke Street

Alexandria, VA  22314

Dear Libertarian Party HQ,

I am writing to ask you to shift your PR focus to loudly and proudly opposing the full on attack on Reproductive Freedom that is going on nation-wide.  I have sent three emails regarding this issue, and am most dissatisfied with the response so far.  I have read and reviewed the Liberty Pledge Newsletter, the various email communications for the last six months, and the Party’s silence is deafening.   Whining about a piece of cloth over the nose and mouth while nearly a million Americans have died from the pandemic – hey – I don’t like mandates either.  But how about the mandate that a victim of rape is forced by her government to bring that rapist’s child to term?  How about the mandate that doctors who perform this essential medical service be sent to jail, or in some cases targeted for execution?

The recent leak of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade shows in chilling detail just how autocratic, just how oppressive, just how misogynist the current Supreme Court has become.  And it was the Court’s latest 98 page screed against human rights that motivated me to write this letter.  My party should be up in arms.  Instead, my party, the party of principle, the party of freedom, chooses to focus on anything, literally anything else.

In the Libertarian Response to the State of the Union, which omitted any words supporting reproductive freedom LNC Chair Whitney Bilyeu spoke of the “heavy hand of government”, she spoke of “the use of force, coercion and theft to control and manipulate us, turning us against one another” and there is no better example of this than the oppressive laws being passed in state after state offering rewards to Americans who turn in doctors and pregnant women who will be jailed for using or providing this basic essential medical service.  These laws will not affect the rich, or the well connected, just poor desperate women who are harassed and harangued at the entrances to women’s health clinics.  And yet, not one word.  Not one word in your latest missive bemoaning the Federal Reserve.  Or the one before that where somehow we are concerned about Disney’s fight with the government of Florida?  Both parties to this kerfuffle have all the resources they need to solve it without our help, certainly more resources than the poor women of this country, who will be forced to bring every pregnancy to term.

I wrote to the communications department on September 10, 2021 in response to the press release September titled “Libertarian Party Reaction to Biden’s Six Point COVID-19 Mitigation Plan”.  Therein was stated “However, what is not up for debate is the right of bodily autonomy”.  Really?  It’s not like pregnancy is contagious, but if the ugly attacks on procreation-related bodily autonomy continue, terminating a pregnancy could well be deadly.  And yet, not a word.  So, I emailed this:  <<As a lifelong member of the Libertarian Party, I am writing to tell you how disappointing this message is.  If only my party could summon up this sort of passion and outrage over the attacks on reproductive rights as you do on opposing public health initiatives, I would be proud.>>.  The response was:  <<I assume you’re referring to the Texas abortion law that went into effect this month. Typically we limit our responses to actions by the Federal government, as there is too much going on in the fifty states for our limited staff to address. However, we are currently adding staff and building out our communications department, so we are optimistic that the situation will change in the near future.>>.  A Federal Government issue?  No.  A human rights issue.  A bodily autonomy issue that twenty-six state governments are energetically destroying.

I wrote to lphq (LP Headquarters) again in October in response to the Anti Mandate Ad.  I quoted the Ad “We will not leave the American people with nowhere to turn”, to which I added “but you will leave Texan women with nowhere to run.  My party should be focusing on Reproductive rights, not this nasty attack on our President.”

Then in February, when I received the Job Notification for Development Director, I wrote “Gosh, I hope they care more about reproductive freedom than some cotton mask on their face.”

So, you see, I have been trying to get my party to support reproductive choice unequivocally, strongly and without reservation for several months.  And I have not, in past years (again, I joined the Libertarian Party in 1976) criticized my party’s positions.  I like to say we are pro-choice on everything, but the focus of the Libertarian’s harsh criticism in the light of recent events has NOT been on protecting this fundamental human right.  You don’t even mention it.  

In the Party Platform, we state:

1.5 Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

And honestly, that’s a little mealy-mouthed as well.  It’s not a sensitive issue.  It is an equality issue – this plank ignores the fact that women, and not men, are being forced against their will to support fetal life.  Yes, the government should stay out of the matter, but right now, they are gleefully wading in like jack booted thugs.  The Libertarian Party must take a strong pro-choice position  –  if not us, then who?  Protecting an individual’s right to choose whether or not to procreate is our fundamental duty.  And it’s time we lived up to it.

SOMA VAMP excerpt

…The restaurant is not far from her apartment and while walking she muses about “The Realtors”.  They are like a scary girl gang; travelling in packs, conspiring to come up with cutesy names for every neighborhood.  In this case, they adopted a New York City naming convention for this neighborhood in the seedy section of San Francisco.  If Manhattan can have South of Houston (SOHO), then San Francisco can have South of Market (SOMA), a pretentious name, not at all like the district itself.  It is literally on the wrong side of the tracks, if you consider street cars and cable cars to be the tracks in question.  “Live/Work” is another Realtor Misnomer – there is not enough room for either. … She walks to Got You Beet in about fifteen minutes.  It is a typical San Francisco night, and the cool fog-kissed air keeps her from working up a sweat, with the added benefit of fluffing up her hair.  When they made the date, he had promised to wear a green carnation.  A shrewd – if not obvious – move one of her girlfriends had taught her, a safeguard allowing Beulah to turn around and walk out if the guy with the goofy flower is a dud.  Upon entering, she smiles and appraises the spacious vegetarian restaurant, scanning for the bright green flower on some loser’s lapel.  And then she almost gasps aloud.  There, already seated at one of the coveted two tops, was the most handsome man she had ever seen.  There are only five tables -or-two in the family style restaurant, and she is glad he came early, so they could have some privacy.  

Considering the undeniable fact that <oh my Goddess> he is gorgeous, she ponders briefly taking a selfie and IM’ing it immediately to the Women Who Wine.  They would pee themselves.  He is ghostly pale, like LeStat in Interview, and elegant in chiseled black attire.  The collar and cuffs are startlingly white and starched to the thickness of fine stationery.  He had an old fashioned hairstyle, a little long – showing off white blond waves framing a masculine face – not too pretty, not too harsh.  So this guy somehow manages to make a green carnation look svelte.  Wow.  Straightening her shoulders, Beulah insinuates her long legs and swanky coat between the tables, clamping her mouth shut to avoid drooling down the front of her outfit.  He looks up just before she gets to the booth, he has already left room for her to sit down, guilelessly avoiding the awkward scooching coders are known for.  Clearing her throat, she unintentionally warbles:

“Um, Gerard?”

“Beulah?”  He smiles, then says  “It must be you, zere are so few young women attracted to garish green lapel decorations.”

“Yes, it’s me.  I mean, I’m Beulah.  So you must be Gerard, hi.” This cannot be Gerard.  Oh.  Hell.  No.  Angie would have given me a heads up.  There’s gonna be a bait and switch, the real Gerard <fat, balding, Izod shirt in puce> is on his way – this must be Gerard’s gay friend who got here early in order to chaperone.  He is standing up, and <swallow the slobber> he is just the right height.  About six feet tall.  Holy crap.  Mommy, can I lick him?  Hush up Beulah’s Brain.  Wait, that’s not my brain talking….

A secret fear

Today, October 24th, is my big brother Chris’ birthday, he would have been sixty five years old today. I wrote this short memoir in 2017, it was published at in February of 2020. In celebration of this wonderful man who swirled up to the heavens in July of 2010, here is “A Secret Fear”:

My late brother Chris and I were having a conversation one of those many times at the end of the day when he needed a toke.  I would light up the joint, hold it to his lips, then pull it away after he inhaled.  He would hold onto the smoke for a minute, exhale, then take a second, then a third.  I’d puff on it sometimes, but home was twenty to forty minutes away by car.  He lived up in the Oakland Hills, and I had to get back to San Francisco.  Nowadays, you can count on an hour or more in travel time anytime you have to cross the Bay…..

We were the East and West Wind

June 14th, 1990: Thursday evening in the front room, alone. Where does one begin to tell of the end of a journey? Janet Ryan, my friend Janet Ryan (I still can’t believe it) died early Saturday morning. It’s Thursday now, hardly bother with tissues anymore. Janet was an instigator. So am I. The East and the West Wind, we partied like there was no tomorrow. We scared my future husband whenever we went out together. I loved Janet Ryan – she lived life full out, really FULL OUT. When she died, we were thirty-three years old and still thick as thieves.

We were hanging out in the spring of 1982 when we decided we’d had enough of searching for “company” in dive bars and workplaces. We were scraping by at that time, twenty somethings with average salaries, and I remember she brought an entire clam and garlic pizza into a movie theater under her coat so we would have something awesome to eat. Man, I hope she burned that coat.

During that summer, we pooled our resources and wrote a personals ad. Gosh we were so broke, we didn’t even run two of them in the newspaper. Janet was a green-eyed brunette of petite and athletic build. I was a 5’ 5” blonde with hazel eyes, and a bodacious figure. We rented a P. O. box and planned to pick up the letters, read them together, and split those boys 50/50. I had just finished reading “A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford, so we played off of that theme. It ran for a week in July 1982 in San Francisco’s local free paper, the Bay Guardian:
All You Young Men of Substance
I am a young woman of 23 years, average height, nice build, and pleasing to look at. I am presently preparing to descend upon graduate school with self-assuredness and ambition. I am an optimist, affectionate, and have an unrelenting zest for life. I enjoy people, travel, music of all kinds, dancing, passion and especially laughing. I seek a substantive confirmed heterosexual male with similar outlook to enhance my life. Picture appreciated, money and good looks exalted.

Several letters arrived, I dated three guys named Jeff and one named Aaron. One of the three Jeffs hung in there, and in November of 1984, I married him. Janet had the ad done up in calligraphy as our wedding present, and without rancor, pointed out that from this ad, I found a mate, and she got chopped liver. One of her “young men of substance” came for his blind date to Liverpool Lil’s, where Janet worked as a cocktail waitress. After her shift, we all four hung out in his “love van”. Amused by the mirrored ceiling of the van, the carpeted floors, the platform bed – Jeff and I suggested a caption for the mirror: “Caution: objects in this mirror are larger than they appear”. Janet told us to cut it out, but it was too late. Mr. Love Van did not call her back.

Janet Ryan inherited my job as apartment manager and transformed the complimentary studio apartment into a Love Den of her own with Christmas lights that blinked like an airport landing strip around the edges of the waterbed. I think it was after she moved in 1986 that she proclaimed a new sexual orientation, pointing out that bisexuality opened up the other half of humanity for ficking, and I was stuck in Hetero Land. Mathematically unassailable.

Sunday June 15th, 1990, 5 o’clock: The “gathering” at Janet’s apartment where Clan Ryan was staying. Norah Ryan had four sons and a daughter. Michael, Patrick, Robert, John, and Janet. It is a seldom mentioned thing that brushes with mortality make mourners horny. Western civilization is so fucked up with their fear of death, their fear of raw sexuality, and their refusal to acknowledge the dual intensity of both. I remember being puzzled by a strange lust in my heart for one of her brothers, I mean he looked SO much like her. Patrick and I both wished that Janet was here to laugh at us both, got drunk with the family and missed her together. An Irish wake with cremains in a box. We told Janet stories to peals of raucous laughter punctuated with silences. We found out that night that Janet had scaled the tower of the Golden Gate bridge with a climber friend not once, not twice, but three times, all after midnight, so they wouldn’t be seen by the cops, and subsequently arrested. Honestly, I had no idea she had done that, apparently, neither did her mom. Makes you wonder, golly – if she survived that, how could she die in a fall from the fire escape? Steve, the climber, went back up a few weeks later, and scattered her ashes over the Bay.

There was very little left unresolved when Janet died. I’m not so sure that was due to her being “ready to move on” and tying up loose ends. It is just as likely due to Janet’s openness. She didn’t keep things inside, and she always kept in touch. Laura, her girlfriend at the time, and I had found Janet’s stash of one-hit-shit in her apartment and we smoked it in the backyard of this sprawling home in Lafayette where her Celebration of Life was held the following week. I had no idea how strong that dope was, laid down because I could not move my limbs, watched the clouds, and heard, I HEARD Janet laughing – the skies honoring her blithe spirit.


When I was in college, for one of my classes in world history, I was assigned a textbook called “Herstory – the underside of History”.   The premise is that human history has been written by the victors, reinforced by denying literacy to women, and that what we are taught in school – tales of geopolitical conquest, tales of religious wars, that these chapters are actually not that important.  Not to our evolution as a species.  Cultural and scientific breakthroughs, changes in the definition of family, the fall of matriarchies and the rise of patriarchies – these are the truly historical events.  Lines drawn on a map, borders and country names changing as soldiers and warriors bled to crest a hill for the right to rename it – what we celebrate – it is all decidedly one-sided, and perhaps progress towards this goal of complete subjugation of the natural world is actually taking the human race backwards.  The so-called Renaissance was the Dark Ages for woman’s rights – the Napoleonic Code and the blithe assumption that women are chattel was the opposite of a giant step forward for mankind.          

      Conflicted left and right brain working at full capacity in a society willing to accept only one per gender.  Logic reason, intellect, numbers, analytical thinking – not expected from one who pines to take brush to paper and paint EVERY branch of those stark trees silhouetted by the sunset.  Turning a phrase like a lump on the potter’s wheel.  Only I don’t know what shape it is going to take.  How many half-uttered thoughts died aborning because some pitiful pre-programmed inadequacy department determined that no-one wanted to hear them?         

     So I take much of what has been written with a grain of salt.  There was a female Pharaoh named Hatshepsut who ruled one of most peaceful and abundant periods in Egyptian history.  Her name was literally erased from history – the hieroglyphics were chiseled out of the stone monuments and tablets, her name was not included in the lists of rulers.  I always picture that chisel and the chunks of stone where once there was wisdom whenever I read an account of the period I’ve been researching for the book.  Important contributions, I assume, will have been left out if those contributions were made by women.

What’s in a name?

Have you ever been asked:  “What’s your married name?  What’s your maiden name?  How can they be the same?”

This question 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 adjunct to her mate, to be put; like property, in his name.

            Let’s examine the common usage.  Take “Mrs. John Smith” for example.  Does anyone LIVE inside that name?  Could be a Rachel, could be an Angela, could be a nobody.  This appellation is Mr. John Smith’s portable label for his current spouse.  It is not truly a name.  Whose house is that?  John Smith’s.  Whose woman is that?  John Smith’s.

            I was born with my father’s name.  All of us children were.  My first name belonged to an Empress, and it is at the top of my resume, stating the necessary gender.  Prior to marriage, I lived twenty-seven years with this name, the one I have always used, the one I am using now.  It has been engraved on name plates, credit cards and business cards.  I can be found under this name in school yearbooks, personnel records, alumni listings and the phone book.  I have fleshed it out and made it ring with memories of a unique person.

            Consider, for a moment, the name:  “Mr. Jane Smith”.  Does it sound ludicrous?  Your first question may be:  “What’s his first name”?  But you won’t have to ask who he’s married to.

            But what last name will the children have?  Why not both?  If one last name must be chosen, why not the mother’s name?  And why is it assumed I will have children?  That leads to another essay altogether.

            I may decide to change my name someday – for convenience, or pure caprice.  But many women have fought long and hard for the right to choose where and when that change may take place.  In the not-too-distant past, it was illegal for a woman to keep her birth name.   Hopefully the change in legislation will lead to a change in attitude.  For the present, however, I will endeavor to gracefully field questions about the impossibility of having the same name after marriage as before.

The salt licks of remembered dreams

To see the author read this poem, here is the link to Poet’s Choice on YouTube:

Brilliant but crazy, creative but self-destructive.  You know her.  Her breath comes out like broken chess pieces, all their strategic importance gone, like the dust on an abandoned game board.  Sweat in crevices pooled in the matted hair behind her neck, soaked through, she is imagining the pillow stains – they are salt licks of remembered dreams.   Sleep is always hard to come by, searching for the owner’s manual.  There must be some instructions for nights like this.  Elusive Mr. Sandman, furtive, dispelled from the shadows by the light required to write.  This time for sure, when the light is extinguished, this time, he won’t be coy. 

Random thoughts swirl and spin in the eddies of your mind, Hard to catch, hard to ban They flit or hunker down, looping like audio tape.  Repeating like that scratch on your favorite record that jumps the needle, retracing the same lyric over and over.  Decades later you cannot sing that song without the skip.  Despair is like that scratched record.  You have to get up and lift the arm of the phonograph and place the needle past the crack.  You love that record, those songs of your youth.

Happiness was just there, skittering briefly through neural pathways like mercury without the poison.  You grasp it and work it into the defiant fur of her favorite cat, banking the glowing embers of a warm contentment.  Knowing that even in the land of endless summer, storms will come. 

In the morning you and she will dance to the tunes only you two hear.  She listens.  She lingers.  What a luxury to be heard!  Dancing in the rain, swinging on a lamp post, no longer relegated to the spry guy wearing sensible shoes.  Let go, love, she has put together a mix tape.  Locking in the light with a liberal sprinkling of libation, limbs akimbo they will morph into a mambo.  Enough of loss lessons, love wins by a landslide in this daintily possible tomorrow.