I started blogging in 2001 after the attack on the World Trade Center. At that point, I already had retired from a well-paying job I liked and had taken on the responsibility of helping out my then 86 year old mother. I had moved into an apartment across the hall from her and was struggling to adjust to the fact that her increasing dementia meant that my ability to have a social life was rapidly decreasing. I finally even had to give up ballroom dancing, which was my favorite exercise, creative outlet, and opportunity to interact with other people.

Blogging helped to keep me sane through 10 years of being a primary caregiver. My mother passed away in November of 2010 at the age of 94, after submitting to the ravages of late-stage dementia and renal failure.

I kept blogging sporadically after I moved to Massachusetts ito be with my family. The last election, however, turned our world upside down, and so it seems time now, in 2017, to re-purp0se this blog into part of the Resistance movement. At the age of 77, I am trying to generate an online venue for elder women to gather and share how we might make this last quarter of our lives as meaningful and thoughtful as possible.


I chose the alias “kalilily” when emailing was in its infancy and women were warned to keep their actual identities secret. The “kali” part is for Kali, the formidable Indian goddess of death and destruction (so necessary for rebirth). The “lily” is for Lilith (another formidable archetype) and for Elaine the fair, Elaine the pure, Elaine the Lily Maid of Astalot, from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Those archetypes suited me well at the time.

I was married in the 60s, divorced in the 80s and was a published writer while and since.

I’ve had several careers, and all of them relied on my communication skills, especially as those helped to promote changes in entrenched dehumanizing systems. For my last twenty years in the workforce, I had various administrative positions with the New York State Education Department, including as a grant writer of a proposal that brought in $10 million for a statewide project in Math, Science, and Technology. I have both a B.A. and M.A. in English and Education.

In my life BC (Before Caregiving) I used to write poetry, and I’ve had some published over the years, the most notable in 1998. Together with another local poet, I published a chapbook, Eating Disorders and other Mastications. Twice I was accepted by and participated in competitive poetry workshops offered by the Writers-in-Residence Program of the New York State Writers Institute — one led by John Montague and the other by Eamon Grennan. The Berkshire Review published one of my poems developed in Montague’s workshop. For several years, I served on the Board of Directors of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild and was a co-editor of Gates to the City, the literary anthology for the Albany, New York Tricentennial celebration. In the summer of 2010, The Ballard Street Poetry Journal published one of my newer poems.

Currently, I facilitate a creative writing circle at a local library, and we occasionally read our works at senior centers. We call ourselves “The Not Yet Over the Hill Gang.” I also give readings when I am invited to do so.

I’ve been a feminist all my life, even before I knew what the word meant. My friends have always included both men and women. My significant others have only been male, and I used to be a pretty good ballroom dance partner for some of the best of them.

I am a media fan of any work that features smart, sassy, kick-ass females. They’re usually written by women, but one of my favorite male writers is Terry Pratchett. I love his irreverence and clever truth-telling. I am a devoted fan of his old Granny Weatherwax, and I aspire to be as good at practicing Headology as she is.

If you have the time and inclination, you are welcome to read a revealing interview with me conducted by Frank Paynter soon after I began blogging. It’s all there, with expletives undeleted.

You can contact me at ekalilily at gmail dot com


KALILILY: We are all both light and dark, and our shadow side is often even more powerful in our psyches than our sunny sides. It is up to each of us to get to know our shadows and learn how to dance them into a positively channeled personal power. Kalilily Time is my place to do just that and to express my personal objections to the attitudes and actions of neocons and the overly right/eous, most of whom seem to have forgotten how to live by the Golden Rule and by the spirit of our American democratic history. It’s my place to take delight, not only in my right to dissent, but also in the pleasures of my constantly changing Croney life.

And, when the dark spirit moves me, to BITCH about the things that drive me personally crazy as I do, for example in the following:

Usually a Woman

Most women will spend 17 years caring for children and 18 years helping an elderly parent.

It’s usually a woman, you know,
who opens a hand, lends a heart.
Usually a woman, you know,
who makes a full plate,
sends a silly card,
welcomes someone else’s child
into softly tireless arms.

It’s usually a woman,you know,
who gives in, gives up, gives.
Usually a woman, you know,
who knits her brow over fevered ones,
endlessly stitching raveled sleeves.
It’s usually a woman, you know,
who nurses, nods, kneels.
Usually a woman, you know,
who comforts, cares — not just, you know,
for moments, but, you know,
for life.

Oh, I know. There are men
who do that too. But how many do

you know?

copyright Elaine Frankonis 2004

An Old Lady Raps Back

you don’t see me
not really
with my edges
grown soft and my
curves gone
to middle thick.

I see that your eyes
don’t stick on my face
laced with time’s
weary tricks.

I’m invisible in your world
of constant noise and sullen bluster,
all the anger you an muster.

I know you got it tough
rough — never enough.

You think that’s new?
I grew my thick skin
long before your tiny hide
slid into snide and sin.

Oh, I know your words —
I was talking hard
long before your sorry ass
passed its first gas.

But I make a choice of voice
to mold a tighter tone
to pose a clearer tune

And then I stand, and I roar
more than you even think
to know.

copyright Elaine Frankonis 2004

UPDATE: It is 2015, and I have organized a creative writing group at my local library and recently gave my first public poetry reading in 25 years. The above “Old Lady Raps Back” was the first poem I read as a “spoken word” piece. I rocked!

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Oh my. Or should I say oh f***? Love the poem. Unlike you, Kalilily, I can’t make things with my hands. I can only make things with my brain. Not really much different. We all have different talents. I do wonder what will happen to the young women who dismiss us because of our faded appearance. I have given up spending much time thinking about them, except to feel a bit sad — for them, certainly not for myself. My physical strength is waning, or I might give one or two of them a good wake-up SHAKE.


  3. Dear Elaine, I am the Granddaughter of Jake Trussell. I am thrilled to see that he still has a following after all these years! I can tell you everything you want to know about my Opa, Jake Trussell, if you want to know! Please contact me! Thank you for your blog post! XO Lisa Painter

  4. Dear Elaine, what a wonderful surprise to find your new book of poetry in my mailbox yesterday. I sat down to read “just one” but I postponed the rest of my morning until I had read every single one. What a gift you bring to the universe. I don’t have your email address any more but now you have mine. Where are you hanging your hat? I am in Arizona for Frank’s sabbatical but heading back east in mid-March. If you decide to take that lovingly-imagined trip down the east coast, please do let me know!

  5. “Low Empathy: The Root of all Evil”
    I have been saying this for years, but not as elegantly as you. The human race is devolving. The cruelty that we engage in daily towards animals is horrific. The slaughter of whales, dolphins, elephants, wolves just to name a few.. And the fastest way to devolve is the practice of “factory farming” and the gruesome experiments we do for “humanity” on innocent animals. We have the intelligence to make a difference but lack the desire to change the “status quo”. It will take some effort to create a society where Empathy rules. And we become the true guardians of this planet and all its amazing life forms, especially us!

  6. When I watch some of the videos of animals showing a lot more compassion, empathy, and humanity than we do — and more intelligence than we give them credit for — I can’t help wonder if we are becoming the least necessary species on the plant. Too bad we are ruining it for all of the other more deserving creatures.

  7. Wonderful!! You go on with your bad self – a woman of crass and sass is a force with which to be reckoned. Should we women all be so fortunate to find our place and our voice 🙂

  8. I’m thrilled to know that you are blogging on. I hope to read more of your poems here: they hit the spot! You can find my own blogs through my avatar: one about ageing (20 cheers for the bonus years) and one just a stream of poems (Poems in the wild).

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