What writer wouldn’t hope that a reader of a new publication would find himself deeply engrossed?  Indeed … on seeing the attached photo of one such (discerning) reader,  a warm glow was cast out in a widening, warming oval!

RANSOM NOTES #2/ RIVERS OF NO RETURN IN FIVE FLAVORS  is the second collection of experimental pieces published by TMI Publishing, Providence, RI. The company belongs to Israeli-born Hanaan Rosenthal, is a savvy fellow whose vast talents include design. The first of this pair of non-conforming books was published in 2022, titled RANSOM NOTES/ TRAVELS IN WORD BRICOLAGE.  Each ransom note springs from a single book either read or listened to during these many, many past seasons of monastic reclusion. As it happened, clusters or themes sprang up of their own volition during these years of book-binging. Entries in #1 relate in some way to travel; in #2, each has a connection to rivers though, in the newest volume, other sources were tapped. Additionally: the life saver candy one sucked on or crunched during (and after) childhood sweetly flavored (and colored) the whole.

The following excerpt is from

Part III-a:

AMUR RIVER Peoples Republic of China, Russian Federation 

ever-changing sandbanks

virgin forest

marshlands of northern Siberia

flowing through taiga forests

past frozen mountain ranges

below forty degrees Fahrenheit

“across sunlit country”

“the grasslands are yellowing into autumn”

“now I realize what Igor sees”

something like homesickness

“in sunlight still”

“the Amur mouth yawns three miles wide”

waves of silvered mud

(based on the book The Amur River: Between Russia and China by Colin Thubron, Harper Collins, 2021)


DANUBE RIVER Central and Eastern Europe

Morteratsch Glacier

frozen headwaters of Danube

from the Alps

melting snow

someone’s home

Alpine marmot

as melt waters run on

forests of Bosnia

with miniature waterfalls

over moss

golden shoals

busy trout

the Danube salmon

where there are fish

the trout

trick a trout

in Slovenia

the banks of the Sava

follow the flow

towns, farmland, cities 

outside Vienna

our turtle

the size of a thumbnail

through Germany, Austria, Slovakia

arrives in Hungary

Budapest because

a moving jigsaw

seems slow and sluggish

from the clay

young larvae

only three hours to live

several million mayflies

the Drava, the Jisa, the Saba

Belgrade in Serbia

rapids and whirlpools

enters the lowlands of Romania and Bulgaria

the sturgeon

draining into the Black Sea

through Romania and Ukraine

undisturbed wetland

covered in waterlilies

species of birds

Whistler, Turner, squatter houses

the great white pelican

in giant flotillas

at the end of the Danube

and beyond

benighted by water

(based on Rivers of Life,  BBC films, 2022)


BAGMATI RIVER Nepal, south Asia 

pristine drops fall

from the mouth of a tiger

fields of rice

Nepal’s holiest river

Hindus flock to the riverbanks

through the ages

single women

wash the feet of the dead

stacked wood for funeral pyre

Buddhists too

huts, shacks and brick homes

three decades on the stone steps

(based on “Nepal’s Holy Bagmati River from an article on holy rivers  by Caty Weaver, Associate d Press, 2022)


LIMPOPO RIVER Southern Africa

in a great arc

through Mozambique to the Indian Ocean

mangrove vegetation

then east

finally southeast

(based on: cpwfbfp.pbworks.com from a website edited  by Maya Rajasekaharan, 2013)


OSUN RIVER, Nigeria, Africa 

water has changed color

seen in a flowing white gown

drink or bathe

the river brought her a child

Osun “gets angry”

(based on the article “Nigeria’s Osun River” by Chineda Asado,  The Seattle Times, 2022)

(available on Amazon worldwide)