Miraloma Life: December 2005

  • MPIC’s Annual Holiday Party
  • Miraloma Playground Meeting
  • Sunnyside Park and Playground
  • A New Year’s Resolution
  • Being a Museum Builder – A News Poem
  • Traffic Meeting
  • Fight Blight: Let’s Keep Miraloma Park Beautiful
  • Getting a Coyote’s Goat
  • Year End Greetings
  • Legal Ease
  • Design Matters
  • NERT Incident Command System
  • Lattice

MPIC’s Annual Holiday Party

Time to fire up the oven and get out your favorite recipe to prepare for the MPIC Holiday Party and Bake-Off on Sunday, December 4, 5 to 8 pm.

Music will again be provided by Laura Lee Brown and Company, a mix of holiday favorites and pop tunes. Also, the ever delightful Boswick Turnstyle, Jr., a clown without equal and magical balloon shaper, veteran of the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus, will perform his holiday magic from 6 to 7 pm.

The banquet will be hosted by the MPIC, who will provide roast turkey, ham, and a variety of hot and cold beverages including our famous champagne punch. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring a dish to share since attendees will vote on the best dishes and their creaters will win prizes donated by local vendors. Categories include Appetizers, Salads/Soups, Entrees, and Desserts. If you are bringing several people, please bring more portions in your potluck dish or more than one dish. This will also ensure that more people taste your contribution and have a chance to vote for it.

Miraloma Playground Meeting

Sixteen interested parties including two toddlers and one two month old attended the community meeting on November 10 organized by Mary Tienken of the Recreation and Park Department. The focus of the meeting was on how to best spend the $225, 000 that Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has obtained to upgrade the Miraloma Park Playground.

Since the most of the attendees were parents of young children, the consensus was that money should be spent in replacing broken down or rusted children’s playground equipment, buying new equipment, bringing more sand into the area and enhancing safety of the children’s area.

Some attendees asked why rubberized scraps such as are used in other playgrounds could not be furnished to Miraloma. Ms. Tienen explained that although the Park department engineers have declared the playground safe, it is not up to the latest code. If rubberized surfaces were installed, many more improvements would have to be made to satisfy the City code and the American with Disabilities Act.

To do so would cost more than 5 times the amount of money that is available. There were a few neighbors in favor of spending some money on the landscaping around the park. It was suggested that money to plant and maintain trees and bushes could be obtained from other sources associated with the mayor’s programs to green up San Francisco.

Everyone present was in favor of large improvements to the athletic field but realized that doing anything significant would probably use up all the money. Ms Tienken warned that the money needed to make the field suitable for athletic programs could be wasted if dog owners continued to allow their dogs’ free access to the area. A counter suggestion that a portion of the field be fenced-off and made into a dog run was not well supported since most present felt that the field was not big enough to serve both purposes.

Ms. Tienken will take the issues raised in this community meeting and report back proposals from Rec and Park and other groups that should be considered.

Sunnyside Park and Playground

by Andrea O’Leary
The Rec. & Park Dept. Planning Div. reviewed Master Plan renovations on October 26. Losing no more time to start construction was the main concern expressed by participants. Although ground breaking is anticipated in September 2006, many believe that being designated a landscape improvement project should reduce the timeline. The only improvement to the building is to replace the roof, and only ADA ramps require engineering and heavy construction. The kids’ play apparatus are ready-made and the bathroom is a pre-fabricated. The kids’ playground will be approximately 9,000 square feet and modeled after Julius Kahn Playground in the Presidio. The area will take advantage of the natural terrain with low retaining walls on two levels to differentiate age group structures.

A phased bidding strategy was introduced to avoid delayed construction due to bids coming in higher than expected Added alternates allow for greater flexibility where elements can be added as the budget allows. The first phase would include the kids’ play area, bathrooms, some leveling of the field, trees, bathroom/storage, an outdoor patio, and linking ADA ramps. Added alternates could include courts resurfacing, fencing and additional ADA ramps. With almost $4M to work with, it is likely there will be enough to cover major priorities included in the Master Plan.

Residents hope to turn the current sandy area into a Plaza to be used as a gathering place for private and community meetings and events. Renovations as tiled flooring, wrought-iron railings, wind screens, tables and benches can be considered. Almost half of the grass field will be occupied by the kids play area leaving the small remaining field to serve R&PD programs, school activities, sports skills practices, neighborhood events and picnics. Some dog owners want to allow their pets unleashed on the field now and when construction is complete, in defiance of Leash Laws. The community has overwhelmingly expressed interest in welcoming well behaved dogs only on-leashes so that the grass will remain as clean and safe as possible for the high use by children and families.

A New Year’s Resolution

by Joanne Whitney

One of the easiest New Year’s Resolutions to keep is to clean out your medicine cabinet in the first week of January every year. If you are like most of us, your medicine cabinet contains unfinished vials of antibiotics and over the counter drugs, old band-aids, dirty gauze, some never-to-be-used again makeup, empty lipsticks, congealed deodorants, rusty nail clippers, ancient toothbrushes and an endless variety of half-empty tubes and bottles with no labels.

Check the expiration date of all products in your cabinet including herbal, vitamin and homeopathic preparations. When you find expired products, throw out these useless items since they will not be effective and will get in the way of your finding something you really need. Moreover, some prescription medications like tetracycline antibiotics can form dangerous derivatives after prolonged storage. Taking such expired products can make you very sick.

Also consider that the hot, humid and easily accessible bathroom cabinet is not a good place to store medicine. Bathroom conditions hasten the degradation of most medicines. A better place would be somewhere cool, dark and dry where children cannot get to them. A locked closet is an excellent alternative.

Being a Museum Builder – A News Poem

by Stan Andersen

Can’t help glowing
When we see our names
Enshrined on the donor wall—
We among nearly countless
Others owning the museum.

Each name adds its leafy
Shadow to the wall
Meaning money in the bank
For rainproofing works of art
We treasure from times past.

We too take shelter
Like bits of history
That move to new places
As galleries spread
Or turn or narrow.

Something else so vital:
Here at the new de Young
Tendrils of Golden Gate Park
Penetrate the floors; shafts
Of dark and light
Let trees walk with us.

Traffic Meeting

by Gary Noguera

Efforts are continuing to solve the problem of drivers speeding down Teresita and otherstreets, putting residents at risk. A community meeting sponsored by the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) will be held at the MPIC clubhouse on Wednesday Jan 11 at 7:00 PM.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and Capt. Paul Chignell of the SFPD will attend. Dan Provence of the MTA will be the primary speaker. He will give specific updates on traffic calming projects scheduled to be started in 2006. Areas of focus include Teresita/Fowler, Teresita/Isola, Teresita/Bella Vista, Teresita/lower Forester, and lower Teresita.

This will be an important meeting, as decisions about future traffic flow along Teresita will be made based on community feedback. The goal is to change “Teresita Expressway” back to the residential street it is, by calming (disrupting) commute traffic thereby making Teresita less attractive as a speed through street. Please plan on attending.

Fight Blight: Let’s Keep Miraloma Park Beautiful

The original developers of Miraloma Park designed areas for landscaping within the front setbacks of our homes in order to create a garden atmosphere within our city neighborhood. It is critical for homeowners to adhere to this original plan, which is one of the many facets which contribute to our quality of life. Paving front-yard open space degrades the beauty of our neighborhood, lowers property values, and causes stress on our sewer systems from rain run-off.

These negative aspects of front-yard paving led the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously to pass legislation rendering it illegal for property owners to pave more than 80% of their front setback. Specifically, City Planning Code Section 132 requires that without exception, not less than 20% shall remain unpaved and devoted to plant material. The Department of Building Inspection is responsible for enforcing this law and has the authority to impose a fine and to require the illegal paving to be removed.

The Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines, adopted by the city Planning Commission in 1999, also include a provision addressing this issue. Section 3 specifies that every effort should be made when remodeling or building a new home, to minimize pavement for driveways and walkways and to maximize the area available for gardens in front of the residence.

Concreting in the entire front setback area defaces the beauty of our neighborhood and is not appropriate to the general landscaped context of Miraloma Park. (The complete text of our neighborhood guidelines is available at www.miralomapark.org.)

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club consistently advocates for fully Code compliant home remodeling. San Francisco realtors agree that cementing of front yards depreciates the property value of a home, not only for the homeowner who paves his or her yard, but also for neighboring homes. In addition, returning rainwater to the land and minimizing concrete runoff into the sewer system is beneficial to the ecosystem. See for yourself: the photographs above show a desolate looking block blighted by paved front yards and a lush and welcoming block of front yard gardens.

Of course, not everyone can or wants to devote time and funds to gardening. But there are low cost and low maintenance alternatives to permanently degrading the beauty of a home and lowering its resale value by cementing the front yard. Please contact the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (281-0892) to learn about some of these alternatives. Also, please contact us if you have Code compliance concerns.

Getting a Coyote’s Goat

The goats, courtesy of the SF Water Department, returned to Miraloma Park a few weeks ago to remove the underbrush of the reservoir at Agua and Rockdale. As usual they did a superb job and the area looks great. During their stay, one goat escaped and was corralled and returned to the herd by help from board members of the MPIC. I did not know the full story until this missive from our resident curmudgeon was thrust upon me. I don’t know what we can do to make this forlorn Coyote happy, but there simply must be a way. I welcome all suggestions. Whatever we’ve done so far seems to have backfired, no matter how well-intentioned. On the other hand, he is more than a bit hard to please, don’t you agree? Something of a crotchety bachelor type, with way too much time on his hands (er, paws). Maybe what he really needs is a mate to keep him occupied—not to mention, assuming she’d be a superior hunter, better fed. In any case, here follows the latest communication from our canine neighbor, delivered in the usual manner, but this time affixed to the underside of my garbage can lid with, instead of the usual duct tape, an ample wad of well-chewed bubble gum (I can’t begin to guess what that might mean). – Ed

Being of nocturnal habits, as your editor pointed out in last month’s newsletter, it was only by an unusual scent that wafted past my nostrils when I awakened at twilight that I knew some strange game was afoot. I stayed up late to investigate, and halfway through the morning spied a herd of goats munching away on the Reservoir. Not having dined decently for several days (you can hardly call one tough old squirrel and a smattering of opossums a square meal!), I was keenly interested in the smaller goats, intensely edible-looking herbivores nicely fattened for my table. Access was a problem, as the creatures were fenced in and surrounded by gawking humans: parents compulsively snapping photos and children gleefully giggling running around. But I am nothing if not ingenious and endowed with talents little suspected by my innocent neighbors, though well recognized by the tribes who (as your editor previously noted) named me “Trickster.” So it was a simple matter to plant a sly suggestion in the one-track brain of a little she-goat, that the grass on the other side of the fence was surely far more succulent than the weeds and brambles she was forced to gnaw on within. I led her to a small gap on the far side of the fence and let her know that the very best grass was up on the mountain, where I waited in the woods to lead her to unimagined taste delights. She was well on her way, my friends, well on her way, and my belly gurgled with anticipation when . . .two wretched members of the MPIC Board, not content with having scared away my raccoon morsels last winter, noticed this fine entrée escaping and started running around like animated windmills, forcing her away from her culinary destiny. They were not happy until they had summoned the goatherd to restore my dinner to her flock and leave me to survive another night on a diet of beetles, termites and, with luck, a mouse. Now I ask you, ladies and gentlemen of Miraloma Park, is this anyway to behave, interfering with the sacred forces of Mother Nature, who had seen fit to direct that goat to my plate? And this in our great city, in which naturalness is next to godliness? Such presumption should not go unchallenged, I’m sure you’ll agree. The Ethics Commission will have something to say about this, yes? The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Affairs? Ingleside Police Station, for heaven’s sake—do not I, poor and starving citizen of the quadruped persuasion, deserve protection as much as your two-legged charges? Are we not all equal before the law? I was robbed in broad daylight—the very food stolen from my mouth—and will you do nothing about it? I will not rest content until I have been delivered my juicy goatlet, and the perpetrators are brought to justice. I understand that the Police Department is short-staffed, Chief Fong intimated as much in the Chron, but surely you can spare an officer or two for a matter of such importance! Captain Chignell, when will you act? It’s the future of our precious wildlife we are talking about here! (Oh, I’m so, so hungry, good Officer, may I have please one little goat? Just one?)

Your abject yet faithful friend,

W. Coyote, Esq.

Year End Greetings

by Jim O’Donnell, President, MPIC

It is December and that means it is time to either join or renew your membership in the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC). We have had an exciting year. In the Spring we sponsored a highly successful neighborhood-wide Garage Sale. Our first annual Social for New Residents took part in the Fall and we held a community meeting on how to renovate the Miraloma Playground. Your participation is needed with our on-going efforts on behalf of our neighborhood. Since 1937, MPIC has worked hard to make this one of the most attractive and safe neighborhoods in San Francisco. MPIC exists thanks to the support of all residents, and we certainly do not expect something for nothing. We provide valuable neighborhood services and fun events like the Kitchen, Home Remodel, and Garden Tours and the Holiday Party at either little or no cost to residents. Here are just some of the benefits of membership:

Miraloma Life and MiralomaPark.org. They provide a means to inform our residents about the activities of the Club, local issues, classes, events, and political issues at the city level. We have educational topics like “Design Matters “about simple ways to beautify your home by one of our local architects. Our website features a discussion page to communicate about topics of their choice.

The Clubhouse. Built and donated by the developers of Miraloma Park in 1937, the clubhouse is available for rental at a reduced rate to MPIC members. This rustic and cozy building is an excellent venue for all sorts of events such as weddings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, classes, and community gatherings. Revenues from clubhouse rentals help MPIC offer the free or low cost events.

Preservation of the Architectural Character of Miraloma Park: Due to the leadership of the MPIC Board, the publication “Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines” was produced by the MPIC and adopted by the Planning Commission in 1999. This important guideline helps homeowners and architects improve properties while maintaining the charm and architectural character of our neighborhood. This document as become a template for other neighborhoods in SF to follow.

A Neighborhood Free of Graffiti: For years, Board members have personally eradicated graffiti in and around Miraloma Park. As a result, we have a nearly graffiti-free neighborhood that has become a deterrent to “taggers.”

A Safer Neighborhood: By constant and consistent communication with our local police precinct, we have been able to maintain a safer neighborhood. Traffic problems, such as speeding and running stop lights, have been reduced. Our Safety Preparedness Workshop, held last January, helped educate homeowners about making their homes safer in the event of an earthquake and empowering themselves through

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training. Appearances at our meetings by Officers of the Ingleside Police District give our members the opportunity to interact directly with the Police and to ask questions and discuss problems they may have experienced.

Community Forums on Political Issues and Candidates: In previous years, the MPIC has presented District Supervisor, Mayoral and Assessor Candidate Forums. We provide these important public service meetings so our residents can participate in our representative democracy to get to know the candidates and the issues facing not just the neighborhood, but the City as a whole. Local residents get a chance to ask questions and express their views, and remind elected leaders that our neighborhood has a voice and our opinions must be considered by City Hall.

Opportunities to Meet Your Neighbors: The MPIC sponsors exciting events that give us a chance to get to know one another. Every December we have a Holiday Party and Cook-Off with music and children’s entertainment. Each year we also have a Fundraising Event, such as a Kitchen Tour or a Garden Tour, with a gathering afterwards at the Clubhouse. Throughout the year the MPIC sponsors other free events, which have included birdwalks, native plant slideshows, creative readings, and presentations about public health matters, San Francisco and California history, and home renovation, to name just a few. And this year, we introduced the first annual Fall Social Event for new and old-time residents alike.

Being Part of a Volunteer Organization
Our dedicated, volunteer MPIC Board of Directors and members give freely of their time and effort to help to make these events happen, but they cannot succeed without your support. As you are probably aware, the more members we have, the more credibility we have with City government, and the more effectively we will be able to lobby elected and other officials on behalf of Miraloma Park. Help us continue to provide all of our services and keep Miraloma Park in the forefront of all San Francisco neighborhoods. If you appreciate the quality of life in Miraloma Park, then this is an investment that pays back exponentially to yourself and the entire neighborhood. Just clip and fill in the form included in this issue of Miraloma Life and send it in to the address listed with your check.

We look forward to seeing you at an event soon

Legal Ease

by Steven Solomon

Here’s some pre-holiday advice to arm you as knowledgeable consumers. Remember, while both oral & written agreements are enforceable contracts, ANY contract can be cancelled for legal cause. Any of the following written contracts can be cancelled by the consumer, without cause, within three days: home solicitation contracts (e.g. services worth more than $100 & products worth more than $50); services with a dentist; a weight loss program. A written contract with a credit repair organization can be cancelled within five days from signing it.

It is UNLAWFUL for any retailer to sell you a gift certificate with an expiration date.

NEWS TO USE: October ‘05 was the FIRST month since 1994 that a SUV was not in the top ten vehicles sold that month. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Steve Solomon is an 18 year resident of Miraloma Park. He just relocated his law office to West Portal where he continues to represent consumers and business groups in a variety of legal issues.

Design Matters

Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or topic you’d like considered for a future article please send an email to: pazdesignmatters@aol.com or call 415.334.2868.
Q: What should I do to protect my furniture from the sun?
A: Install new window treatments.

How can you protect your new sofa from fading, your floors from becoming bleached out, paintings from getting ruined? Simple. Keep the sun off of them. The Catch 22 is that when you block out the sun, you might also lose your view as well as the natural daylight, which in the end is just solving one problem to create another.

Window treatments are a very broad topic. Entire companies are formed around solving window treatment issues. Besides keeping the sun off your furniture there are many other issues to take into account such as do you need to be able to black out a room, control UV rays, filter the light, maintain a view, close off windows you can’t reach, maintain privacy, and controlling glare off of TV’s and computers. There are various solutions to dealing with all these issues. To begin tackling your particular issues, start by breaking down all of your options into categories. Start off by A) separating Functional Treatments and Decorative Treatments. If it’s purely for show, that’s another topic. Once you’ve done that, B) separate the functional treatments into Hard Goods and Soft Goods. Soft Goods are anything that is made from fabric such as curtains, shear draperies, roman shades, etc. Hard Goods are everything else, such as wood blinds, shutters, vertical blinds, mini-blinds, bamboo, mirror or tinted polyester film and woven fabric roll-up shades. Then C) decide how you want your treatment to open and close: Vertically or Horizontally. And finally D) is it operated manually or motorized.

By going through this process you winnow out the myriad of possibilities and end up with a handful of options to choose from.

  1. Functional Treatments. Decide what the issues are that you want to solve and group your options that meet all or some of those needs while forgetting about the rest. Even though a specific treatment may not solve all your issues you may be able to combine treatments for maximum benefit and flexibility. For example: You have a south facing baby room with a view of the bay so you need to be able to black out the windows and also control glare from the direct sun while maintaining the view. You probably need two treatments. One that blacks out light and another that controls glare while maintaining view.
  2. Hard Goods or Soft Goods. This is where it starts to get personal. Some people like fabric and draperies, others can’t stand them. You also need to consider your homes décor when choosing fabric. If you have a formal traditional home these might be appropriate, if you’ve got a hip urban pied-a-terre, poofy balloon shades and tasseled tie-backs are not going to look very good with your Snaidero euro-style cabinetry. Since many of the same issues can be solved by either hard or soft goods, it’s often a matter of design preference more than purely function. Soft goods are often combined with hard goods to solve different issues with the fabric treatments also acting as a decorative element. In the earlier baby room example you could use a woven shade that you can see through and controls glare, along with a black out curtain that is pulled back to either side.Hard goods such as mini-blinds, louvers, and shutters often come with multiple features allowing you to open, close, and tilt the blades. That’s why these have been so popular, one solution that has flexibility. Another product that is becoming more and more popular in residences is the woven fabric shades that you’ve seen in so many commercial offices. There are several good things about these shades.They clean easily, they don’t take a lot of space and can be concealed in ceilings or behind a valance, they allow you to see through them when shut, they control privacy, solar heat gain, glare and UV rays. That’s a lot of bang for the buck. Plus they come in a variety of colors and some are even dual-toned with a different color on each side to maximize the benefits. It’s easier to see out through a dark color shade, but a light colored shade facing out will reflect solar heat gain. You can specify the density of the weave. The tighter the weave the less light penetration, the bigger the weave the more view. It is usually expressed as a ‘percent open’. So a 50% shade means that the ratio of solid material to open is 1 to 1.
  3. Vertical or Horizontal. Most blinds operate from the top down. Shutters, vertical blinds, draperies open horizontally. When choosing the operation you need to consider your solar orientation and the function of the window or door. If you need to be able to open the treatment to get in and out of a door or to open a window for air, vertical is a good choice. Vertical blinds are also the better choice for east or west facing windows since the angle of the sun is very low when rising or setting. South facing window are best suited with horizontal blinds to control the sun while it is high in the sky. This is why on some office buildings you’ll see vertical blinds on one side and horizontal on the others. With the woven fabrics, to maintain a uniform look on all facades they just change the density of the weave.One other VERY useful operation for horizontal mini-blinds, or honeycomb cellular shades is the ‘bottom stacking’ feature. This allows you to stack the blinds from the top down OR bottom up or anywhere in between. A well positioned blind may be just the ticket to block something undesirable from you view.
  4. Manual or Motorized. Motorized blinds obviously cost more, but they can be very useful and really give the ‘wow’ factor to a living space. Very James Bond. One flip of a switch and the blinds shut, stereo comes on, lights dim. (all of which is actually real in today’s world of smart homes). But even more than that is just the convenience of it. Come home push a button and the windows open up, leave in the morning and they all close protecting all your furniture from sunlight while you’re at work. This can also help moderate your energy consumption by controlling solar heat gain. As alluded to earlier this is now all controllable by computer as well from a remote location. Motorized features are also great for high windows and skylights.
  5. Windows. This is the other place you can make a lot of improvements for controlling sunlight. There are so many options for glass today.Heat mirror, UV coated, low ‘e’, argon filled, tinted…For a really interesting display, go to the Pacific Energy Center at 851 Howard St. They have terrific exhibits, ‘Green’ building demonstrations and free energy and lighting classes. It’s near the Metreon and worth stopping in just to ask about remodeling rebates from PG&E! Take your kids.


www.castec.com a major window treatment company
www.hunterdouglas.com a major window treatment company
www.levelor.com a major window treatment company
Pacific Energy Center (415) 973-7268, 851 Howard St., SF
www.snaidero-usa.com sleek euro-style cabinets

* This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified.

Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architects, is an architectural firm in San Francisco specializing in residential and commercial architecture.

NERT Incident Command System

In the event our Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) self-activates in response to a major earthquake or other large-scale disaster, the Miraloma Park-Mount Davidson Team will meet at our staging area at the Miraloma School Playground at Omar Way and Sequoia Way and organize ourselves under the structure we have practiced and studied called the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.

ICS enables a system of cohesive communication and planning by establishing a manageable span of control. It divides an emergency response into five manageable functions essential for emergency response operations: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration.

The head of the operation is the Incident Commander (IC), responsible for all aspects of the response, including developing incident objectives and managing all incident operations. The first responder on the scene, by default, assumes the role of the IC, until the position can be handed-off to someone of greater experience or ability. Among the Incident Commander’s many responsibilities are to establish mmediate priorities, especially the safety of responders, bystanders, and to set up the basic ICS structure of Command & General Staffs.

The General Staff includes a person heading Operations, Planning, Logistics and Finance & Administration. The Command Staff positions would likely include a Safety Officer, Information Officer and a Liaison Officer. Each of these positions has defined roles. All incidents may not require all of them. Large-scale incidents probably would require them to be filled with many people working under each section head.

However, proper span of control management dictates that no one be directly responsible for more than 5 people at one time. The modular organization of ICS is designed to allow responders to scale our efforts in a way that best meets the demands of the incident.

In theory, it can be expanded to meet virtually any need.

We in Miraloma Park have had a number of drills of various kinds around the Incident Command System, both actual and tabletop. The NERT training staff also offers trainings on the ICS a couple of times a year. It is an engaging & interesting plan of action on a compelling subject, one we hope we’ll not have to put into action.


Above our orchids your lattice
when the morning light slants right
casts on the deck lines of diamonds
bounded crisscross by dark bars.
Gazing from our kitchen window
still afloat in sleep’s backwash
in an easy second I am entranced
and towed off to a time far back
when I crawled beneath a porch
into space bounded on three sides
by the vibrant oddness of lattice,
a thing both there and not there—
deliberate with the holes so discouraged
in most things, wanted untorn—
pierced by skin-warming rods of light
transposing its pattern in living patches
to me or the dirty back-wall planks
where they found full being as diamonds.

It was cool there beneath except for those
penetrating seams of light, a source place:
cradle set rocking by the difference energy
sparked when one thing is very much
not like another yet both share the same
name, the same essence: lattice, null-full.
There I lost time and every presence
but my delicious own, filling endlessly.
The pattern of light and dark, beyond
notice by crossing beetles or spiders,
hypnotized me with some enormous
message too far above my age to grasp
but not to feel: absolute difference of there
and not, here and gone, living and dead—
yet each cross-piece yearning for the other:
the frame on which the world is hung.

Then, I knew nothing of later,
nothing of anything but
happy to be alive, yarn in the weave,
mote in the light. Dawns and dusks
later I would know enough to think
to imagine a shroud patchily rotted
might admit such darks and lights,
and ashes cast in a glade might receive
dappled light filtered through trees,
where I would choose to be if ever
I admit the need to choose where
not to be. Such a lattice might be,
in so welling up and seeping down a place,
as friendly to be dead in as that other was
to be alive.

(c) 2002 by Dan Liberthson

Last Updated
June 7, 2018
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