Author Archive | Martha Shelley


 Leaf-eating beetle This poem, like most of my recent work, grew out of the garden, along with the greens and berries we’re harvesting now. It entered my kitchen on a turnip leaf: one round and perfect beetle that I’d rather not steam with the evening greens, black as patent leather, gleaming, small as a sesame […]

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Memories of Stonewall

   The Stonewall Riot The Stonewall Riot happened on a Saturday night—June 28, 1969. I was passing through Greenwich Village that night and saw young guys throwing things at cops, but had no idea why. I assumed it was an anti-war demonstration, because they occurred fairly regularly during those years. I only found out that […]

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Advice for Passover 2016

 Pharaoh Tutankhamen We were promised a trickle of silver while billionaires swallowed the mint. Instead a mighty river of advice runs down on us, advice like an ocean of corrosion from the faucets of Flint: Don’t ask for paradise. We’ll dribble out an extra dollar or two over a few years, while we hike prices […]

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A Different Species?

 Louis XVI in his coronation robes, 1777 Recently I heard a self-styled “futurist” predict that the super-rich would find ways, with the help of modern science, to extend their lives beyond that of ordinary humans. Even more, they would genetically engineer themselves to become a different (and presumably superior) species. I wasn’t terribly impressed. While […]

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Death Without Dignity in Oregon

Big Pharma–profiting off disease and death IMO, death is never dignified, but it can be made less ugly and painful. However, that’s not necessarily how Oregon’s law is carried out. A bit of background: almost two months ago, Sylvia and I traveled to the home of an old friend in Florida. Marion is 86, is losing […]

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Hate Crimes and Dubious Statistics

Gay Liberation Front members, NYC–the police were major perpetrators of hate crimes against us I don’t remember exactly when Lydia French was murdered, but I’m sure it was a hate crime. It had to be either 1969 or 1970, during the early days of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). What we know is that she […]

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Reviews, and a Holiday Sale!

I’ve just had both books reviewed by Amos Lassen, a gay activist and scholar of Jewish history. A somewhat abridged version of the reviews is below. And these came just in time for the holidays! So I’m announcing a special holiday sale of the second volume, The Stars in their Courses. Normally you can buy […]

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A Woman at the Beach

The Woman in Artichoke Green A late August afternoon: the sun wallows in the breakers like an old dog rolling in something that smells real good, happy as the sea lions on the beach barking. Here on holiday we stand on the sidewalk, watch the slick beasts, and pretend this day is forever— until a […]

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Rabble-rousing in the Big Apple

Speaking at the Stonewall The Stonewall Inn, where gays fought back against a police raid in 1969, is now the first national heritage site honoring gay people’s struggles. (For those who’ve never been there, it’s in Greenwich Village.) I was asked to be part of an event on Sept 20, promoting the idea of making […]

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