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This is a portrait of the much younger writer and artist Ricker Winsor by Austrian painter Alex Rutsch (RIP).

Expatriation

Standing on the edge of the highway I held a sign that said “London”. It was cold, early spring, and I was hitching from Newcastle. I was nineteen, and the year, nineteen sixty-four. At a pub that evening a Canadian guy told me, “You know, once it starts it never stops.” He was right and…

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My Grandpa

Chicago  in the 1940’s, just after the war, some  houses I visited had no furniture or maybe just a card table with two chairs like the Honeymooners. I was only four or five. Down the street I went to play with a boy and his sister and they had a broken telephone as the only…

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Ten Years in Indonesia

“Everyone is good at the honeymoon.” Have you ever heard that? Recently some friends in the states moved to San Miguel Allende in Mexico, of course. They were retiring and had heard a lot about the wonderful life there for expats. “Wow! Great! Cool,” we all said on Facebook and other places. Do you know…

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Zionist

  We grew up as Zionists in New York in the years after WWII. Even though there were few Jews in our town, Pelham Manor, the few we knew were smart and decent. Micky Schwerner came from our town, went to high school with my oldest sister. He was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan…

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Raven’s Bread No 1

          Thomas Merton, in one of his many books, said something to the effect that,  “Monks are like tall trees in the forest, silently purifying the air.” The life of the contemplative centers on quiet purification through prayer.           Among the many Zen practitioners of China and Japan, the ones we know about wrote poems…

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The Day the Servants Left

from Ricker Winsor’s book Pakuwon City             Muslims fast during Ramadan. For a month between sun up and sun down, no water, no food. Caddies pass out on the golf course or quit after nine holes. Some don’t fast and pretend to do so. Some fast quietly. Some swoon dramatically. For the ruling class this Muslim…

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What I Know about Art

            What are we doing here in this life anyway? For a lot of people, a six pack of beer and a football game answer that question very nicely. For others it’s family, grandchildren, and community. To be an artist is to not be satisfied by those happy ways. To be an artist is…

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Wild Things in Our Indonesian Neighborhood

          We live in a Balinese neighborhood with Balinese people who have home temples, who make offerings every day. One can hear gamelan music and mantras, vendors, kids crying, laughing, playing, cats yeolling, motorbikes and piano lessons making their presence known all at the same time. It is a very rich…

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Drawing and Wabi Sabi

Laotzu’s verse says: “Be like an uncarved stone.” Everyone can draw. It is in the genome. Drawing is one of the earliest things we know about human beings. We admire work they did on cave walls twenty five thousand years ago. Some of it is graceful and refined. Some of it is crude, raw, and…

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Racism IS

hazard avenue, ink drawing, RW           About a lifetime ago, in our loft in Brooklyn, my wife and I watched the light streaming in through the big old factory-building windows and saw, floating in the warm slanting beams, a million dust particles bouncing and floating.           “Am I wrong, or didn’t we just finish cleaning…

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