Virus Talk

Viral Landscape, NEH, 3/15/20
This pastel, pencil and collage picture is inspired by a photo of SARS-CoV
credit NAID-RML

I exhibit a consistent propensity to connect with, and study, whatever I fear. I noticed it first during the 9/11 attack in New York when almost immediately, I reached out for understanding Islam and developing friendship with Portland Muslim families. Coronavirus is different, of course, but my fear feels the same. I am learning to adjust from terror into peace with curiosity, openness, experience, acceptance. Here is the most recent process with Coronavirus.

Dialog with Corona Virus

Talking heads say there’s a virus killing us, Hmm. It could be an Asteroid, Earthquake, Hurricane, or a GU-43 BMO Air Blast Bomb. At least Corona is organic with short strands of
RNA, DNA in a protein shell. Right now, he or she needs a host cell, like ours, to grow in. Otherwise they’ll just die away. I wonder if they make us sick and die, wishing they could shoot us like we shoot each other? I’ll check in…
Hi Corona, how are you?
Who me?
Why are you talking to me?
Because I want to know what you are.
Haven’t you heard enough about me on social media?
Yes, I sure have, but it’s all about how bad you are.
Right, what can I say?
Are you that bad?
I don’t think so.
How bad are you?
I’m good at what I do and, according microphotos, I’m good-looking.
Oh? But you kill people, you know that, don’t you?
Yes. That’s not all I can do, but that’s what I’m good at right now.
Why do you kill people?
Well, I didn’t have anything else to do and some guy who loves you humans, suggested this is a good time for you to find out you have no control over your life, your world or each other–and you certainly have no control over your death.
Why should we know that?
Because you have to grow up, get real; give up your materialism, your toys, your gross entertainment. Gather yourself unto yourself; wake yourself up to who you’ve been, who you are, where you are, what you have and if you are worthy of Life.
Do you have sense?
Ask your scientist, maybe she’ knows. Maybe that’s all I have. Now get out of here or I might kill you.

Norma E. Heyser, 3/5/20

Another Day

Hi Virus
Oh, it’s you.
You still killing people?
You bet your boots, that’s what I do–having trouble finding people, I think they’re playing hide ‘n seek. Can hardly wait to get on those cruise ships
Any other complaints?
Yes, I hate this air.
What’s wrong with the air?
It’s getting clean, loosing the pollution I need to keep killing you guys. All because those
government fools are making senseless rules.

Do you think we’ve found our cure?
Don’t be naive, that’s way too simple. You produce, get rich, by killing your planet.
Fact is, you produce me, you’re killing yourselves with me.
Do you expect us to believe that?
No, unfortunately. You’d all end up in Utopia with no money–what then?
Looks like nature and I can win this battle with you humans. The only way out for you is to change your ways.
How so? Give it all up. Divvy up your assets, resources Let go of what you’ve got, want, desire. Conserve, preserve, equalize, sustain. Uncover ground, giving water it’s reason to rain; soil, it’s properties to grow its needs and yours. For those of you too scared or mad to relax, go pollute some other planet. For your God’s sake, help this one recover.
Eat weeds, blossoms and so will I.

Norma E. Heyser 3/22/20

Another Day at Home

Virus, here I am again.
I told you to get out of here once. I’m loosing patience.
Hang out, just a little bit, it’s curiosity, I have questions-about you and death and other things.
Oh, that’s your trouble.You know what happens to curiosity!
Yes, I learn a lot. Tell me what you think about death.
I don’t think about death.
I sure do. After my Daddy died, when I was eight, it made me feel super sad and scared until I grew up. Then, in my sixties, I started thinking about it, listening to it, and now in my eighties, I don’t think it scares me anymore, just makes me sad. I really love life and don’t want it to die.
That’s dumb, life is half and half. I’m half life and half death all the time. It’s all the same. Oh, never mind, you don’t get it, you’re not like me.
Where do you come from?
I have no fossil record but it’s possible I’ve left traces throughout the history of life. There’s a rumor the extinction of dinosaurs was my accomplishment.
You want to know what I think?
No, I don’t care what you think.
Nevertheless, I think, maybe you recently woke up where the polar ice has melted. The Arctic North Pole. Some people think the ice up here is 700,000, or 3 – 15 million, years old. Maybe you went to sleep, tired, after you got rid of the dinosaurs and froze yourself stiff–you could have been asleep a long time.
Nonsense. Logical nonsense.
Were you born?
No. Replicated. I contain key elements that make up all living organisms, DNA or RNA–one or the other. I am a parasite without the capacity to
control my own replication.– needing a host cell, and that could be you.
Do you like me?
Aw, come on, just a little?
Can I come back? Can we talk some more?
No. You are an impudent upstart, your bore me, go away. Take your curiosity and good luck!

Norma E. Heyser, 3/24/20

(S/He won’t get rid of me that easy, I’ve got more to say!)

Last Month

I’m pretty sure my twenty four hour day is seventeen hours long or less. Am searching for friendly time–scientists or mathematicians who will affirm this hypothesis. Consequently, last month is regularly where I think I am. Thinking last month was January of this year, I literarily let So I See blog slip by unattended. Chasing March, at a rapid pace, I am inclined to over do it a bit. Here is Auntie Ant from February, having littered the desktop and printer all month. I suspect March blogs may be hard to stop.

Auntie Ant

This morning, when I turned on my computer to write, or not, a tiny ant skittered out of MacBook’s keyboard. I thought, Oh dear, what now? Do I have to eliminate this sweet thing?” (Shamefully, I’ve done it before when a whole colony insisted on living in my Almond Butter.)
Today was different, she, or he, all alone, walking the keyboard, like a labyrinth–it’s cute! I feel friendly, compassionate, imagining giving her a name and appropriate housing in which we can visit now and then. Perhaps we could share tiny bits of Almond Butter. I would make her an official “she” and name her Auntie Ant. She will live peacefully with Olive, my pet snail, in Olive’s giant mayonnaise jar,
So, I gently chased her off the keyboard labyrinth onto an unfolded piece of white paper with a poem on it. I walk her through the hallway to the dining table where Olive lives most of the time, noticing Auntie Ant’s remarkable ability to skitter over one side of the paper to the other–back and forth, again and again.
Opening the lid to Olive’s domain, I flicked Auntie Ant off the paper, onto the moist, rich, organic soil into, what I now call, Best Foods Park. She has disappeared, of course, I’m not worried because she has Olive’s organic lettuce for now and when I take time off, I’ll add a little Almond Butter expecting to see Auntie Ant in the near future.
The story isn’t over. A few minutes into the rest of this jotting, another tiny ant came right out of the G key. I thought “How sweet, now Auntie Ant has a companion whom I will declare an official “he” and call him Uncle Ant. He was satisfied to skitter my left hand from backside to front, finger to thumb on our way to Best Foods Park where I flicked him in.
Hmm, now, after 40 minutes,10 tiny ants have emerged from MacBook’s keyboard. I am stupefied by my naivety. I can’t imagine what they are doing inside little Mac! So far, they haven’t destroyed anything. I’ll just deny it for now–pretend it’s not happening. It would take a long time for them to get to the Almond Butter from here.

Norma Edythe Heyser, 2/2/20

Auntie and Uncle Ant leading the family to Norma’s MacBook
thank you HP PMG Unlimited

Day Two

Yesterday, large, white flakes blew sideways onto the grassy knoll, apartment gable roofs turned white three times between bouts of warm sunshine. This morning, a cloudless, blue sky, and rising sun throw sunshine shapes all over the landscape at 33° degrees. Each morning’s weather is a new experience, and so is life. Here, in day two of self quarantine, I can’t stop thinking, writing, stretching, writing, eating, writing, walking, writing–what a perfect day!

She Says

Today is both Snow and Virus Days. Days when old people like me are advised not to go out in the world and get into trouble. Actually, for me it’s a great excuse to write, sitting down in one place for hours on end; a quick stretch now and then to keep the systems working. This morning there was a poem on the desk I didn’t recognize nor know how it got there. Sure enough, I wrote it in 2014 and, like most of what I write, it didn’t travel beyond Little Mac’s back-up storage. Today, it actually makes sense to me so I’ll push it out to So I See.

She Says

She Says, Let go of the past, it’s no longer useful,
You mean like Grandma’s library table I can’t lift anymore? My relationship that hurts whenever it’s not boring?  
Changing, transforming, awakening to all that is. She continues.
You mean our melting planet, Eboli, Isis, the water crisis, food crisis, corruption, revenge, murder, advertising, consuming and video games?
She says. Pure awareness, pure love, pure joy, the essence of all that is.
You mean Nature? The rhythm of Music?  Heart beat? Breathe? Light? Feeling the soles of my feet? Feeling alive and healthy? Happy hugging my kapok-stuffed polar bear?
Receive joy, She says, choose to feel love, passion, desire, abundance, embrace life, relax into it.
You mean let go of thinking about the past, and wanting things I don’t have–be excited about what excites me?
Remain centered in the present, She says, allow yourself to feel your passion, aspirations, the potency of your life. Give more of yourself.
Talent? Shall I recognize my talent?  Devotion to the work I do with pleasure? Making pictures, poems, laughing at my foibles?   
Forgive yourself in this moment, let go of any desire to control reality, move beyond your fear, acknowledge Life
I’m old, there’s a lot to do and a lot to learn. Maybe there’s no such thing as time? Maybe forever is now?  Maybe I know all I have to learn?
You have the power to change and transform.  Each breath gives you another moment to imagine your life expanding, to develop your inner resources, opportunities, to use your talents and capabilities, time to give more of yourself, more of yourself. She says.

Norma Edythe Heyser 11/2014

2020 Blog

In late 2019, each time I sat down to write a So I See post, I experienced a sudden case of lethargy. It feels like losing my keys, except it’s inside me that I can’t go anyplace. Then, on the first day of the new year, I started writing as if I couldn’t stop. Seems thoughts with words were like heavy rain, looking a lot like poems. That means they’re appropriate to read at the Head For The Hills open mic reading on Tuesday, January 28 at the Hillsdale Library. First, I’ll try a few of them out on you, the four blog readers I know about. I love hearing from you, send me your poem if you have one.

Dialog with Voice

Sitting down to write with lots of ideas today–again.
Voice says, Don’t write.
I said, Don’t write.
Don’t be silly. What do you mean, don’t write? That’s what I do.
Don’t bother.
It doesn’t matter.
What doesn’t matter?
What you write doesn’t matter.
Because it has been written.
It hasn’t been read.
It has all been written, it has all been read, it is not important.
You did this to me once before.
Yes, I’ve done it before.
Painting, drawing, environment and concept works. Even conceptual works needed stuff to make them happen. Less stuff, but still stuff. You convinced me there is no place on Earth for the stuff I make. I gave up and lost part of me. I understand what you’re saying, It takes stuff to write–paper, electronic gadgets, road trips, precious resources for the sake of words repeating themselves. Should the buck stop here? What about losing myself?

The buck does stop here, Life is about losing one’s Self. Think about it.

NEH, 1/1/20


It’s a new year, 2020, the one some astrologers anticipate. They say the stars
and planets are arranged, so that everything getting ready to happen, is happening.

I suspect all the things I tried hard to make happen in 2019 happened on the first
days of 2020–finding my ring of keys in a coat-hood was stunning.

Almost every morning’s walk in 2019 was uncomfortably dampened by sudden squalls.
Each day of 2020, so far, I don’t even need the raincoat I tragically lost in 2019.

2020’s news informs me the president of my country shot the top commanding general
of another country. The voice in his head said it would be a good idea.

The other country doesn’t like that idea and wants to shoot back. I wonder if
they will shoot the president of my country, me, my family, or my friends?

A whole host of hope-filled presidential candidates are professing their talents.
No one is better than the other. Seems we need them all, and then some, in 2020.

My planet has been working on a plan to take back the resources we humans have
been stealing to make ourselves rich and comfortable. 2020 may be the time to do so.

I’m old now, on the other side of life. I’d like to think, as my generation moves out, a
new kind of Earth will nurture a new kind of human–sensible, thoughtful, altruistic.

NEH 1/3/20

Road Trip

A jazzed Poet-Quintet sways together in an old, silver SUV from Portland to Seattle on a stormy, black and white day, rain falling, rising, flying lane to lane. A motley, little group of Boomers, Hippies and an old Silent–warm, safe with Driving Poet in charge. All animated, alive, awake with anticipation.

Two Portland poets are featured presenters at seven p.m. The rest will join some of Seattle’s best at a quaint, up-town coffee house open mic. Arriving on time, a necessity, is achieved after hastily securing two one-person and one three-persons rooms in a small, nearby hotel.

Hearing impaired listeners struggled through coffee house, kitchen dish-banging to hear exquisite poetic rhythm and meaning. Applause for Portland poetry seems meager. Seattle poet response for Seattle poetry comes with raucous hand-claps and whistles. Perhaps glasses of wine would help, but was an unwelcome added expense.

A happy coincidence for one Portland and one Seattle poet of the same generation is, they were both born in China, not far from each other. Their poems were serendipitously inspired by the Yellow River. A friendship flowered over tea and talk. Rain never stopped that night. Driving-Poet found her way soberly, safely back to the small hotel.

Silent Generation-Poet assumed her position as Chaperone-Poet in the room for three. He-Poet was on the cot. Driving-Poet chose the bed closest to the bathroom. Driving Poet is beautiful and smart. He Poet declares his love for her, remaining appropriate at all times except when he says, “May I tickle you?”

Old, Chaperone-Poet senses helplessness. Drivng-Poet giggles just right, naming her beloved husband’s attributes and magnetism frequently dampening He-Poet’s ardor sufficiently. The next morning, He-Poet informed both females their snores kept him awake. Then, Portland Poet-Quintet took to the rainy road back home to bright, Portland sunshine.



Looking for Something Special?
Did you know there are thousands of firearms, let alone
all types of outdoor gear available for special order?
Stop by the sporting goods counter at your local Bi Mart!

He, sandy-haired, clean-cut white man–mmm, early 40’s?
Precedes her at Bi Mart’s checkout stand.

She, white-hair, white woman looking for the
right battery to lock and unlock her car door.

His cart holds four, empty, kaki, canvas rifle cases,
four dark, heavy steel boxes, and plenty of ammunition.

She, in characteristic visual acuity, notices two more carts of firearm gear
steered by clean-cut men to other checkout stands.

What is this, she thinks, then taps the young man’s shoulder.
He swings around alertly, making stern, pale blue, wide-eyed contact.
eased by her geriatric demeanor.

“Are you going to kill somebody?” She asks, wishing they could talk.
“Oh no”, he says, after a thoughtful moment, “This is for my father.”

She remains confused, as they move on; imagines standing with the
Christmas bell-ringer, watching for gun gear; asking the question…

“Are you going to kill somebody?”

The Christmas bell-ringer will say, “Careful, gal, you’ll get yourself killed, and maybe
me too.” Curious, she still wants to know the answers to that question.


Neighborhood Nudity, Winter, 2018


In my imaginary dialogs with Jesus, he says he is exhausted. He says he feels used. He thinks he is sometimes used as an excuse for people to misbehave.

He says he isn’t frozen in time or in the stories people wrote about him long ago. He says he is alive, sad, tired, misunderstood and disappointed because the world doesn’t seem to reflect his teachings.

He says he speaks to us all the time, trying to help us appreciate and love ourselves and our lives so that we can appreciate and love each other and all life around us. He notices we are too busy to listen.

He is sorry that his birthday is used to boost the economy–he would like his birthday to remind us of our appreciation for life.

He says he wants to rest. I am imagining this Christmas as a time to give Jesus the gift of rest-filled peace.

NEH, 2005

Earth Poem

Honoring all participants in the UN Climate
Action Summit in Madrid, December 3 - 8. This
is a message of encouragement, gratitude and
hope for international goodwill, cooperation,
discovery, research and creative solutions.
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our
Planet's recovery, healing and sustained health.


Our Mother
Who art the Earth
Hallowed be thy name

You are the bed in which love is made
You are the bed in which seeds of
human-kind grow and multiply
You are the bed in which we rest in peace

May you be blessed and holy
to all who think and act upon you

Give us this day our daily share
of reverence and sensitivity
to the truth of your nature

Give us the clear understanding
that it is out of your womb
all life is born
and every breath is your gift

Help us forgive ourselves our
transgressions upon you
Open our eyes to see
your needs are our needs
Open our hearts to love you
as we love ourselves

Grant us the
to heal your wounds
which are also our own

For thou art
Almighty Mother Earth
the power grace and glory
of our being and
we are your precious children

NEH 12/3/19