experiments are best performed under the influence
of chocolate and a glass of red wine, flour scattered on
the dining room table, the same one that convinced me
that I needed to divorce the husband who never realized
it wasn't worth competing with science, a love that does not
demand my constant attention or keep me from playing flute
at 11 p.m.
cohesion of flour can teach us about asteroids hurtling
around our sun, towards us, into a big catcher's mitt
for exploration at our leisure, holding a glass of wine,
savoring the taste of melting chocolate on our tongue,
the final sweet crunch of toffee and salted almonds.
we agreed the grass was enthusiastic
that we had a few days without snow, temperatures
soaring into the 70's.
I did look at her oddly, though when she pointed
to the green in her garden and asked did I notice how
pointy the green stuff was.
What green stuff, oh, the grape hyacinths, their tall spiked
slender leaves reaching up through the grass, long having
dropped their flowers, but thought what
an odd duck she really is, how adorable,
oh, the grass is pointy, she noted as
she pondered that it was probably because
it had not yet been mowed.
She's a brilliant one, that one, the adorable
one who lives a couple houses down,
yes, you know, that one.
Lazy Sundays should be marked on all calendars
like holidays, when we all know what to do, in this case,
what not to do.
No laundry, no dishes, no mopping or sweeping,
no food shopping, cooking, just lazy afternoons
reading novels, trashy or literary, your choice.
No extensive socializing, catching up on everyone's news.
Only snoozing allowing on Lazy Sundays, nestled
in bed with a loved one, or not, the Sunday Times,
pushed onto the floor for lack of reading glasses nearby.
Lazy Sundays should be national holidays, but for our
cultural mania for productivity.
Lucky for me, I can mark them on my calendar.
no more groceries in the refrigerator,
no warm corn bags when I get home,
he'll be tired when he gets home, like me.
paychecks every other Friday, packed lunches,
colleagues, challenges, of all sorts,
it's off to work he goes, like me.
off to the work-a-day world, cubicles,
chats, coffee breaks, new things to learn,
commuting, finding a dog walker, all
in a day's work for someone else to
stroll an old dog around the block
stopping at every possibility of food
lurking under decayed leaves, leftover
food boxes, some hits, some misses.
he'll miss her under his feet, but
won't miss the boredom.
off to work he goes on Tuesday,
like me, we'll have much to talk about
this work-a-day world.
two homeless men were fighting a few yards away,
repelled from each other by the sheer viciousness of their words
their bodies hurtled away from one another, one towards us,
the other bumped against a tree like a drunkard, collapsing on
his bag, venom streaming from his mouth.
when a man approached, entering my peripheral vision
and asked to help, front teeth missing, but at least standing,
I declined politely.
He stood fast straddling his bike, unkempt, half smiling
as I tried unsuccessfully to do that final roll of the bead
back onto the rim, knowing the next step if this didn't work.
He still stood there, now offering that he was quite good
at this, and I relented, reluctantly, because how can such
a man know how to fix tires on a racing bike, if he can't
take care of his teeth, his dress, his sad appearance.
He took the wheel, pressing his thumbs up against that
bead, rolling that tire onto its rim, handed it back to me
she wears orthopedic shoes
but she's not old, her hair hangs lank
over her small shoulders and her
teeth are crooked.
so is her smile.
so is mine, and I liked her,
she was so refreshingly direct
as she commanded me to get a mammogram,
or no more pink pills that roll off the
countertop, and bounce along the floor.
Yes, ma'am, to a young doctor who
will no doubt check on me
to make sure I do what I said,
I love the fresh snow on Christmas morning,
each snowflake sparkles in the sun like a movie star.
Each blade of drab brown grass stands tall
with its new hat of white glitter.
The presents under the tree have been tampered with,
I see the edges of the tape have been re-attached,
nothing escapes my keen eye as I mix
flour and sugar, admire the perfect peaks on
the beaten eggs whites, ah, Christmas waffles.
Christmas in April to celebrate new snow,
surely Thanksgiving is sure to follow soon.
I still see a waist if I stand up tall
if I look at myself in the mirror at a particular angle,
in the right light after a long bike ride
and a hot sauna, a long shower fogs the mirror,
If I look straight ahead and lift my head high,
my neck looks long and elegant, my jowls
An energetic tucking of grey hairs behind my
ears hides them nicely.
If someday none of that works, I will only
look in the mirror when I smile and the line
of wrinkles up my cheeks will look just like
the dimples I always wanted.
their boy is getting married!
unfortunate he can't follow Dad and ...Dad,
no, Mom who is Dad, oh forget it,
they're a family who loves him,
their darling Laurent, but what to do
about meeting the other parents, I wonder
that sometimes when I think of meeting
all the still-married parents of my little one's
classmates, do they look a bit down their
noses at her not-just-once, -but-twice
divorced mother, and how did she come out
so well after all, I see now that Laurent
did just fine with Renato and Albin,
they loved him, maybe that is just
as a young man ran for his life
that erupted in the midst of
two bombs exploding in a square.
Hidden inside, heart pounding,
bleeding, a young man must
wonder how he got here,
we wonder at how he got
so lost in his pain, bleeding
now under this boat, not a lifeboat,
a boat that rows towards the
end, dark eddies surround him
punctuated by gunshot, the end
is near, how tragic
(image from front page of New York Times e-edition)
it could be their age range,
a grandmother reaching for her grandson's hand,
forgetting that he's too old for that sort of thing.
it could be the weather, ice and snow
covered the road this morning, the sun
melted my down coat off my shoulders
as I rode home this afternoon.
it's the number of seconds it takes
to accelerate to 60 driving the
even numbers, they speak to each other
across generations and weather,
following the yellow line
down the highway.
a B minor scale
followed by a trill on C, she shivers
in delight as a cool wind blows her
music across the floor, no need,
for the arpeggio flies off her fingers,
a change of key to E, she imagines
the lovers in the glen, the picnic lunch
with wine and fresh bread, Camembert,
her favorite, and she remembers
him as her flute runs up the scale to high C,
strong, supported, fully engaged,
she reached across to him
and asked him to marry
random acts of kindness,
running towards the blast to help those in need
cards, prayers, hugs, money, food,
offering a place to stay.
word of support, courage,
we will stand together,
my hope is for all of us to
stand together in solidarity
for all people across the
is violence everywhere,
running amongst a cheering crowd
suddenly taken to the ground, bleeding,
dizzy, legs blown off in unearthly blasts.
these women in shorts, others around the
world in shawls, thrown to the ground by
men who should protect them,
men in uniforms filling the skies
with sniper fire, barrages of millions of
this was to have been a beautiful day of
celebration and unity, ending in chaos
and death, how
a row of brownies, he thought, until he picked one
up and spit out dirt absent mindedly realizing
brownies for seeds, humid, warm, rousing them
from their slumber in a seed packet, ready to
sprout, for forth and conquer the world, or maybe
a summer salad.
red ones and green ones, white ones and blue ones
a stand of toothpicks lined up like soliders
holding their signs that this one is an Amana and
that one, a Cherokee, a Sweetie there and
some yellow Pears on the far edge.
he said he didn't like those because there
were too many, how can there be too many
tomatoes, they disappear rapidly into
an endless supply of open mouths.
our whole downstairs
would fit in her living room,
we could fold our roof and put it
in her coat closet, leaving plenty of
room for the claw foot tub
under her kitchen sink.
our couch would fill one quarter
of her family room, leaving the
living room bereft, and many of
her bathrooms would be toilet-less
if we had to move what we had
into her big beautiful house.
her house has no room for
the dust bunnies that crouch under
our beds, or the myriad spiders
and their webs decorating our
walls and ceilings, her housecleaner
no doubt does a better job than
ours, who arrives punctually
plugged into his headphones,
and leaves behind some scattered
cobwebs and bunnies to keep
there is something scary about someone
holding your neck and snapping it,
after asking you to relax, you'd never relax
if anyone else were holding your neck that way,
two strong hands wrapped securely while
you lie helplessly on a hard table
listening to gas bubbles cavitate into
places once filled with misaligned bone.
maybe not so bad thinking of it that way,
a xylophone riff up and down your back.
after she walked out,
her mind left the manager, their
inability to communicate and launched
back towards the thoughts that usually
accompanied her, lofting dust, the boundaries
of space and cohesion of asteroids,
how do they hold together she ponders
as she rides the bike path home through
newly fallen snow and silence.
really? yes it's time to bury tulips
they come every Spring only to be buried in white
how lovely, I gathered them this afternoon in high winds,
carefully arranging them in vases to place around the house,
otherwise their stems will be folded in two tomorrow
Snow, yes, to drench the parched soil, to germinate
peas and lettuce, kale and swiss chard, they need
moisture and heat, which will come the next
Snow, the last hurrah, I will soundly sleep
as the flakes bury the sound of students leaving
the bars at 2 a.m., their footsteps and shouts
muffled in white.
He arrived 27 years ago in his original birthday suit,
today I bought him another birthday suit for job interviews,
weddings, funerals, and other adult events, so grown-up
and so much the same the way we are all,
leaving behind childish things while still grabbing a hand
to rub his back, we argue the same as always and he's
right more than I care to admit, loving each other
over pad thai and birthday cake, wine and chips,
somehow I got so short and my hair is greying.
we remember when he got his first bow tied and learned
how to tie it, now he ties his own tie, buys his own
shoes and socks, and goes home after cake to his own
home, holding the hand of his own beloved, and
S. and I climb into our pajamas, warm up a couple
of corn bags, fill a couple little sniffers with cognac
and hit the hay after a good day of celebration.
edges so clearly defined, limits
where the bark ends and air begins,
clouds and branches divided into a multitude
of squares, blue sky background, dusk, the
most lovely time, beauty in abundance,
a soft time, clouds softening to grey,
light blue to grey-blue, the
moon rises in the east, a breeze
blows, we rest our eyes
they don't look like me and I don't like
their language, how they stand, how they lie.
I am surrounded by them, they stand in a
closed circle around me, their incomprehension
doesn't seem to faze them, they lay down
in it happily while I stand facing them
trying not to cry.
many of my people walk away from this
foreign land towards friendlier shores,
but I have never seen these beaches they
talk of, every beach I have walked has
the same stones that hurt my feet.
maybe an unlikely place,
sprouting through the middle of a fungus
on a rock perched precariously on a hillside,
the small green fronds reach out for sun,
collecting small pools of water.
where else after all, bare rock offers no
nutrients, its tiny roots cannot compete
with the grass, fall leaves suffocate
each breath, so why not here, we each
must find that niche where we can grow.
between places, from one embrace
to another, the warmth of her lingering breath
against my neck, a whispered good-bye
that follows me down the rainy street
towards a new destination, home.
I'm not there yet, sandwiched between
an elderly man on the way to visit grandchildren,
a college student on her way home.
we are en route, between, disconnected
but together in a metal box 35,000 feet
above the earth, we look down at clouds,
wondering if it is raining on those we left
Agh, where did the evening go,
collecting mail, playing flute,
clothes that have traveled must
travel south to the washing machine.
The wind swept me back home,
but I'm not fully here yet, I still
want to hold her in my arms,
not yet ready to say good-bye.