Tag Archives: empathy

2021 0924 rjd ii with texts
One of the blessings of being poets in the Valley of the Sun is that we have in our midst a talented, hard-working, generous Superstar.  How talented? Read her poetry and gasp. How hard-working? Try teaching for twenty years while caring for a child on the autistic spectrum. How generous? She is lavish with her time, having hosted and/or participated many events, both live and on Zoom; lavish with her praise, as I found out when I did an illustration for her publication The Revolution; and lavish with sharing her wisdom, as exemplified by her series of spot lectures under the umbrella “Ars Poetica.” (Latin for “Art of Poetry” and the title of an awe-inspiringly contradictory poem by Archibald MacLeish. Its first line is “A poem should be palpable and mute” and yet the poem is not Mute at all.) (I long ago abandoned my ambition to be any sort of Poet Laureate, but I think I’m an excellent candidate for Arse Poetica. 🙂 )

Rosemarie believes that writing poetry is therapeutic, and frequently she hosts a Therapeutic Poetry workshop. I’ve written a few poems exactly because she says so.  Under that aegis the poems become intensely personal.

In a wonderful demonstration by the Universe that sometimes miraculously fine and good things can and DO happen, some time ago Rosemarie became the first Poet Laureate of Phoenix, Arizona. She was the perfect choice.

Rosemarie Dombrowski

Resilience will meet a special need
Occluding Tragedy, though, offs the feed./O
SEcrets are anathema for whom
Maternity goes far beyond the womb
And so Non-Silence reigns, with child in tow/For
Righteous storytelling makes it so
It makes a fine and free-flow
Ecstasy/To TEACH to Touch to Thrive and with verse Ski


The company I work for, SSP America, manages restaurants at airports. They hired me as a host/cashier in November 2015. I was looking for work that would keep me on my feet all day, and thus reduce my risk of cardiac disease. They were having a cattle call at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and they were looking for dependable, trainable, honest human beings who would agree to work for the pay they offered.

Five years later I have said hello and goodbye to thousands of people I have never met, and the comfort that comes with experience has made me less of an introvert and more of an empath. Sizing people up in terms of what they hope to get out of the restaurant experience we offer is a learned skill, and I am learning.

And one thing I’ve learned is that there is one innocent joke I can tell that is so simple and so harmless and so stupid that if told with just a half-dash of slyness will give most people a boost. I learned it in the summer of 1965, yet none of the hundreds I’ve told it to had ever heard it.

Did you hear the one about the three holes in the ground?


Well, well, well.

2019 0929 cathartiku


i do not now weep
but i Draw me doing so
because LOSS. age. Woe.

When I was a boy a boy who cried was a Crybaby. There was a huge stigma attached to it. I have not quite shed that skin, but my rational mind tells me that catharsis is good for the soul.

Today I was thinking about sadnesses great and small. Two lovely houses I once called Home are now Home to others, and I am not even Unwelcome to the current residents: I am Unknown. I am superstitious enough to wonder if the houses still remember me.

The World seems in sad shape, despite good news here and there. It is truly fine to hear truly young people try to talk sense into rapacious oldsters at the United Nations, but a long record of lip service lends skepticism to speculation about possible change.

Here in the US, an impeachment inquiry is under way, which is just and a long time coming. But a headline says “Market predicts impeachment but not removal,” and, propaganda or not, it’s bad news.

And I’m 65 years old, and my teeth are going bad, and last year I lost my younger brother, and I look at my creations, including the one above freshly completed, and despair at my simple-mindedness and slipshod execution, and feel that I’m nowhere near where I need to be as an artist or a poet.

But my eyes are dry. But a good cathartic cry would probably help. So I did the next best thing, which was a drawing of myself crying, with the background one of my timeslips, which well represents a lifetime of grinding away day after week after month after year, and I do feel a little better.

I also feel like toddling down to the neighborhood dive bar to have a drink or few, and that too is cathartic.

The Power of Suggestion might help someone out there who needs a cry but cannot cry. If you stare at my drawing with the big goobery tears coming down, that may be the little boost you need. If it works for you, no thanks are necessary, but a Virtual Hug awaits you if you want one here. ❤

My latest journal page is topped with “NOTE: If you can figure out what the letters stand for, this page may make sense.” Below that is a series of panels, each with a set of letters and something the letters are illustrating; and below that, in acrostic array, are these words:

Bees sting; scars form — it’s sad
Be strong they say — too bad
Right wrong/go stop/cop plea
Ruled out/on task/at sea
It’s tough to mend w/cheer
In times of melting fear
Gethsemane was stark
Gardena leaves a mark
How we best cope is known
Here ’tis: DON’T roll your own
Take givens in their stride
Toss acorns Far & Wide
Need need’s array — it frees

One other word in square brackets, [also], is there.

Below the acrostic is my signature and date.

I so hope someone in the Blogoverse figures out what the letters stand for!