Saturday, October 18, 2014


{for Patricia}

Rev. Tim Cho, (Korea) who lives on the 3rd-floor of Bldg. 5 (I live on the 4th floor of Bldg. 4) has accused me of orchid theft, because I once helped Joan Silva (Sri Lanka) choose a plant from his 3rd floor balcony after being told all the plants there were being abandoned. Once I was told they weren't, I quickly brought her choice – an orchid belonging to Tim - back to where it was growing anonymously - to me, but not to the Koreans in Bldg. 5 My previous error is proof, Tim thinks, of my being the current flower thief here in Valley Village, a retirement community (of 251 people) in Santa Clara, bordering San Jose - California.

This retirement community that dates back to 1966, is currently growing increasingly Asian, celebrating the Chinese (lunar) New Year in its Social Center. At the latest I won a California Lottery scratch card which, when scratched, won me nothing when redeemed at the nearby 7-11.

In our tiff, remembering the details of the previous flower theft so enraged Tim that he spat out “I forgive you!” But for which theft? The previous one or the current one - as yet unproven. Not wanting to accept forgiveness for something I haven't done, I insisted that I didn't do it! “You are so frustrating!” he spit out, “You did it before!” I restated my claim of present innocence “But I didn't do it this time!” “I forbid you to come to the 3rd floor!” raged Tim. I agreed, I never will again. We disputed whether my pressing the 2nd floor elevator button could be overidden by someone pressing the 3rd floor button above. Tim- No; me – Yes. It's happened to me a few times. Others concurr. Suddenly we've found the door opening onto the 3rd floor to our surprise. A demonstration can be restaged.

But where is Tim's orchid? Who stole it? I stand accused by Tim as the most likely suspect. Ironically, I've been growing jade plants from cuttings for the past 7 years here, giving them away to anyone interested in them, saying “Please, take any plant you want,” So far, only Asian women have taken any. A young female gynecologist (Tadjik) has recently expressed an interest, saying “When I have my own house, I want one!” I told her she's always welcome to them.

(18 OCT 14, V V, Santa Clara CA)v.6

Thursday, September 25, 2014

rain, finally!


Rain finally falls
on the South Bay overnight

drips off the Jacaranda trees
into the gutters, running fast

drops hit my window 
a few
& are gone by 10 am
 (25 SEP 14, V.V.,Santa Clara CA)v6

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From Scotland Still Brave

Frae folksinger Christine Miles in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland:
To: billcostleybill
Sent: Wed, Sep 24, 2014 6:10 pm
Subject: From Scotland Still Brave

As for the Referendum, the wake of it all looks pretty much like I thought it would.  The burst balloons & torn flags have been swept up off the streets. People in general are getting on with their business.   If there is simmering anger & resentment waiting to burst out,  people making bombs in their kitchens, then I don't see it.  It may have reached some news agencies across the world that on the Friday there were clashes in Glasgow's George Square between a small group of Yes voters, probably a bit too depressed to leave each other's company & go home, who were set upon by a slightly larger group of Union Jack wavers.  6 people were charged (arrested) from that group, so you can see it was no more of a riot in the streets that a drunken clash on the streets of any big city, largely The Glasgow Disease of Orange/ Unionist/ Rangers supporters whose weekly excitement is a reprise of The Battle of the Boyne, who were too stupid (as you know, that's the entrance qualification) to know the difference between Catholics & Yes, voters.

I would have been sorry for the rest of the world to see that, I hope it left before that began, but what has happened in the wake of it is that some guy who runs a Food Bank leapt up & made pleas & a rousing speech for peace; in the wake of that thousands of people brought bags of food to George Square for his Food Bank, which was in his house,  he has had to take on an empty shop, the food just keeps on coming.  It's their way of saying "we don't want that kind of crap"  that moves me to tears yet again. I think this is a country that has more than its fair share of kindness.  I would be sorry to be found to be naive. Those who think that there will be deep divides now may see something I don't see, one tends to think of one's society as being reflected by the circles one moves in, so I don't seek out the company of unreasonable people as a rule.

I sent the previous email to all my friends outside Scotland, (most sent very emotional responses, but hey, I'm used to making people cry) so do now share this news so that people can read about the aftermath of some silly boys with no brains & too much testosterone (the most toxic substance on the planet) the response of ordinary people in Scotland who don't necessarily have that much themselves.  I will let you know when the news features a few billionaires chipping in some bags of groceries.   But don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

CALifornia cubed

California's colonialism is cubed: thrice a colony (Spanish, then Mexican, then American), now an American state the size of many countries, with an economy larger than many countries, a recently failed secessionist movement trying to break it into 6 states!  Colony layered upon colony, it's becoming more Mexican again, frightening Anglos as they see 'Mexicans' (Hispanics) becoming a majority. This is as complex a layered history as Scotland's; living in it as an immigrant, I'm well aware of it, wondering whether it's dynamic or chaotic. New England (6 states) it ain't - yet! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014



My father's country*
was his* home for a while,
taken here @ 5, finally
adopting mine** @ 9.

I went back to his*
to escape mine**, tho
warmly accepted there*,
I had to return to mine**.

From there** I'm observing
his* country's struggle.

Will I go back again?
When? Why?

*Scotland,** USA

(20 SEP 14,V.V. Santa Clara CA)v4

Monday, September 15, 2014



with Patricia

"I am Woman!"
you mug as you
twist off the stem
of a fallen leaf.

"I'm glad you are!"
I say as I watch
you doing it.

Now, I read this
to you, as I sit
here beside you.

(15 SEP 2014, V.V. Santa Clara CA)v3


Somebody'S uprooted my beets, 
leaving me with just one
large, gnarly, greens-less one
I've pressure-cooked, diced, 
& chilled, like beet fudge, 
slowly savoring it cold.
(12 SEP 2014 Santa Clara CA)V2