Session 30: Purgatory Hotline – Featuring RISD Professor and Poet, Claudia Ford

Join us for this Endless Beautiful session featuring the incredibly talented Claudia Ford. Dr Ford is on the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design and serves on the board of Orion literary magazine. Listen in as we dial up the creative spirit!

Claudia Ford

Dr. Ford has had a career in international management, development, and women’s health spanning three decades and all continents. Claudia holds a PhD in Environmental Studies and is on the faculty of Rhode Island School of Design. She teaches ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, global sustainability, global business, environmental justice, and environmental literature in classrooms and workshops. Claudia is on the advisory board of an agroecology program, on 1500 acres of productive farmland in New England, that links ecological and social systems with agriculture for healthy food and farming communities. Claudia serves on the board of directors of The Orion Society, a community that publishes Orion literary magazine – caring for the planet by exploring the connections between nature and culture so that humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously.


  • Purgatory Hotline
  • Plucking the Strings of a Dead Tree
  • Busted Bicycle
  • Sorting Through Drawers
  • Little Purgatory Fast Falls
  • Baby Spoon
  • Dremel Grinder
  • Playing in the Mud
  • Climbing up a Treestand

Claudia’s Result

1. Where watergoes,

The oft repeated wisdom,
wisdom? or is it knowledge.
The oft repeated wisdom is that all rivers flow to the
sea. They do.
Rain falls, ponds and
lakes overflow, rivulets,
streams, brooks,
They babble their way
down slopes, gentle
They rush down slopes
steep. They gather. All rivers,
flow into a distant sea.
But the wisdom does not
tell me where the waters of the body go
Where is the oft repeated
knowledge about
tears? Urine?
Amniotic fluid? Breast
milk? Tears?
Do our sorrows eventually
gather? Form rivulets?
Brooks? Do we release our babies,
our creativity into babbling
now rushing streams
Where do they go? the waters of
human struggle and sadness
Or the milk of human nurture
and kindness?
When I’m searching
for answers, a walk in the woods perhaps,
warm tiny clouds rising from
the pine needle bed that soaks in
a stream of urine
I get up from a squat, wipe
my hands on a leaf and
walk into the sun so
that the salty residue of my doubts
can dry on my cheeks

2. Too Busy To Care

Two minutes to get
out of the house and
make it in time for
my dental appointment.
Too many errands this
To and fro, up and down,
In and out of the house.
No time to sit, think,
ponder, contemplate, observe
And really? Just too busy to care.


On one side of a busy street
stands an 11 year old
boy, on his scooter. bike
helmet on. Waiting for
the traffic to slow so he can
safely cross. I stop, and
he scoots across the street
in front of me.

Lucas’s Result

Mud is Heaven

Thank you for contacting the Interdimensional Prayer Guild Network. Please dial 5 to begin your session.


I’m sorry you have dialed a number that we do not currently recognize. Please…


Behind you, in the yellow box marked “close lid after opening” you will find the SP5876 Intergalactic Pogo Stick. Please grab the red and silver pogo stick marked with the nomenclature number SP5876 Intergalactic Pogo Stick.

Thank you.

This pogo stick can be activated by standing on its pegs and pressing the large red button marked Purgatory. Do not press the button before you are given further instructions.

You have pressed the button. Fortunately for you, the SP5876 Intergalactic Pogo Stick has a safety mechanism that doesn’t allow naughty wannabe intergalactic travelers from accidently activating it.

The SP5876 is rated for a maximum for 350 lbs. After you step on its pegs and activate the Purgatory button you will be jettisoned into space at the speed of light. You will then cross the spectral plane and find yourself on the surface of a planet known as Kansas in the Sigma Y galaxy.

Do not be alarmed. Kansas is nice this time of year. They have wonderful rivers filled with Salmon and a Wendy’s. Once you land on Kansas, you will be greeted by a gentleman named Dave.

Dave is a pleasant grandfather looking fellow with white hear and a broad smile. He always wears white starched shirts, non-slip shoes, and slacks.

Dave will inspect the SP5876 for you and ensure that it is ready to make the next leg of your journey from the planet known as Kansas to the next spectral plane. Mud.

Mud is heaven.

Once you’ve reached the mud, you’ve reached heaven.

Please place the pogo stick on the blue “x” outside of this booth, step on the pegs, and prepare to activate the SP5876.

Thank you for closing the lid on the yellow box. You would be surprised how many people totally forget that step.




Go ahead and hit that button that you’ve been eyeing up this whole time.

And remember mud is heaven.

Carolyn’s Result

Dialtone. What lies at the other end of the line?
What shape is it? A line has no shape.
It is only a geometry of its own.
An it with two dimensions. The word “IT” is made of five lines.
My hand vibrates them into being.
Some say the universe was sung into being.

Birds sing behind the trees.
I like looking p into the shagbark hickory,
its outer layer peeling away from itself,
shedding upturned commas out into the forest –
pause here – pause here. Be as an ant,
its antenna, its divining rods.

Witching. Wishing. Spelling.
To write is to make witchcraft.
I once sat in the middle of a boat on the
one hundred eighty second parallel
and believed I could do magic.
Or at least that others could – that that was possibly close enough.
I liked letting myself get that far away.

The water is monotone. then two toned.
Polar. Unable to align in a straight edged crystalline bond.
It turns in its bonds – expands – is incompressible –
incomparable – inimicable – in – in – in.
“in” has one line – one dot – one curve.
I like this about this word. Saying “in” means
closing the tongue. The word stays in the mouth.
It is contained. “Contain” contains “in”.

I used to make anagrams of my lover’s names.
Change them around when I had little else to say.

CD 7.11.17