Upstate New York, or Talking

For 31  years we’ve lived part time

in upstate New York a Jerusalem place

true life and contradictions  first summer Alan LaTarte

next door neighbor anti-church Republican man grew up

in the Army he taught fifth grade science

Alan gave me  an Ollie North

for President T-shirt   big chart about photosynthesis

over the years he helped and helped

snowplows and winter he brought books over

once his wife Joanne made surprise meat stew

these days of extreme separation

uncomfortable self righteousness

many  Democrats in our small place

are weekenders transplants  talking to one another

locals talk to one another too we struggle to find

words to say how to say them how not to be

sanctimonious superior we have often ignored differences

for many good reasons gone to Free Will Offering dinners

at the old one room Methodist church

art gallery now an artist lives there

she hosts her own Free Will Offering dinners

and we all go.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. My husband and I retired to Upstate New York. We have experienced what you are writing about, Esther. We are in Washington County, farming country; family farms passed from generation to generation. We learned early on not to talk politics. The farmer who plows the snow from our long driveway in Winter is also the same farmer who mows our almost 3 acreas of rolling hills. He has done these jobs on this property for the family before us since he was a teenager ( he’s at least 50 by now). Never talks, just does the job and moves on with a wave of his hat or hand. In winter, I call him Saint Nick! (Not for free mind you…he charges a whopping $35. Dollars …his prices went up from $30. When we first moved here in 2004.). His uncle told my husband they are Republicans…that’s when republicans were Republicans…and I realize now that’s not such a bad thing. A Good Republican and a Good Neighbor are good to have. Up here, in Washington County, where there are almost more sheep and cows than people, the old truism “Actions speak louder than words” is an everyday reality.

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