hoping that each note reaches an eager ear,
a willing heart just as mine opened to this piece
after many hours of getting acquainted, we finally
fell in love, like a couple who gently and constantly
rub the sharp edges off each other until they fit together
and know each other as one.
it's a long road to talk about aging
until there is no breath to talk anymore, and
the lungs swell and burn, the legs pumping up
a dirt road called Poor Man Road.
the tires slips on loose gravel, a near
fall averted by quick reflexes, a smile
that erases wrinkles, a wink, the shouted answer
to "I see the top" is a strong "I'm on my way,
no stopping now!", what age was she
talking about, we're not sure anymore
and it's not because we don't remember
at the performance,
you imagine them as the Judges
in black robes, seated in folding chairs,
stern faces, sharpened pencils and notepads
for recording every missed note, every
until one of the Judges gets up and sticks
his tongue out at you inches from your face,
jumps on a chair and laughs, tells you,
"OH, that note is flat, yuck!" and you
keep playing as the other Judges
shrink into judges, into people, into
friends, and the notes still come out in
perfect rhythm and pitch, and the goofy one
turns up the volume on my favorite song
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and I smile
behind the flute and my hips move a little.
Madrigal sings out all the way through
to the end, finishing in harmony.
let those who never show up look in the mirror
and wonder at the tears that are shed in a living room
somewhere by someone that needs them there now.
let those who don't return a desperate call
hear a phone ring in a distant phone booth tucked
in some weeds by a closed gas station in Kansas,
let the phone ring in their dreams until eternity,
with no one there to pick up the receiver.
let those who never show up in times of need
feel the tears of those they have let down, let those
tears run down their faces into their mouths,
filling them with the salt of sorrow.
Why not celebrate Kenyan runners, veterans and brilliant house colors,
it's a beautiful day in Boulder, Colorado, the tomatoes are planted
and stores are closed.
No way to go get seeds or more paint colors, so it's decided, then.
We remember those who have died, those we have loved, those
who suffer, those who rejoice in life, we remember our ancestors,
to mow the lawn and to go to the movies and hold hands with someone
we love, we remember those we love today but who are elsewhere,
The house will be toothpaste green and lavender, yellow and white,
she will gleam in the sun and everyone will smile at us,
we remember the names of the blooms, the irises, poppies and peonies,
remember us as we remember you.
one man from Mongolia arrived in my garden;
he furiously rides his bicycle in a strong wind.
another man came home from Mongolia this afternoon
after chasing vultures that fly away effortlessly
in an afternoon breeze regardless of noisy helicopters.
one wooden man in my garden leads a happy life
here, watching over irises and poppies,
as does the young man who walked in the door
seeking yummy food, like already sliced watermelon,
chocolate ice cream and corn on the cob.
Life is good for the two men from Mongolia.
sweet words for a weary ear,
a heart that has pushed reluctantly
into new countryside, striated granite
that requires unaccustomed scrambling,
your foot will hold firm even as you
fear you will tumble into an abyss.
i am holding your hand, too, and have
a rope around my waist that I have
tendered for 12 years and is securely
attached to a safe place.
trust me, my love, that you will not
go alone on scree fields that slide
down steep terrain carrying you alone,
away from the one who loves you
the most you have ever been loved.
Packages with French books inside,
Letters with stamps on them, of birds and Presidents.
How rare that sunlight strikes a letter when
the mailbox is opened, amongst the circulars
and magazines, mail order prescription drugs
and an occasional paper bill.
I still like my credit card bills mailed to me,
no matter that they always try to convince me
to be environmentally conscious.
I am, except for the occasional drive to the
airport instead of taking the bus,
or throwing away a yogurt container
because I am too lazy to wash it.
French books with so many words inside,
words that I do not know, that will require
dictionaries and more time, how will I
find time to write a letter to someone
every day, we sit down, us perseverent types
and do our thing, play a flute, write a poem,
try to do a Pilates sit-up and trust that one day..
it will happen after weeks of no apparent progress.
it's the everyday that a tiny corner of the mind or
body yields a miniscule amount, opening a little
space for a new idea that wanders in so quietly.
it seemed so obvious, there was no lightning like that
outside my window that just appeared, followed
by thunder, how many seconds away.
the clouds outside my window are ominous
and the storm is yet miles away, will the rain
come down in torrents as my mind wanders
from micrometeoroids to honeycomb panels,
from poems to the psychology of performance,
from basement clean ups to the lovely quiet
of an evening that darkens, the bed beckoning
lightly now, but will soon embrace me in
spite of myself, a full night for the mind
to wander in strange places and come up
with new creative urges.
We cannot know what we cannot see
except through some inner eye that sees through waterfalls,
each droplet an individual prism of imagination
and color to wash over Apollo's torso.
One day we see in black and white, like the
fancy gallery postcards we send to our friends
to look sophisticated.
we know we are not, and they do, too, but
we pretend to see the profound through waterfalls
that obstruct our vision, the kaleidoscope of colors
will beautifully block the view.
Darling, remember when we gathered flowers in Spring
across the creek to the sound of rushing water.
I carried a Ball jar filled with water and an extra pair of scissors,
Purple loosestrife bloomed in abundance, as did the graceful
dandelion; beautiful blossoms we might otherwise call weeds
in another venue.
You ran ahead and called out "finds" and we stuffed
the jar to maximum capacity.
Remember, Darling, how every year you could reach
a little higher to snip an errant lilac sprig,
our collection broaded to include more color and scents.
Tonight I walked on the path overlooking our wild garden
and remembered the uneven braids, mismatched socks,
and indomitable enthusiasm. my heart ached for the
sweet tenderness of those moments.
Darling Daughter, let us not forget those days
of innocence and wonder in Spring.
seventy people milled around some cold potluck dishes,
a few cold beers tucked into shirt pockets to talk about
how much he had meant to them, how talented he was,
how much they missed him, how truly unique he was,
but did we ever tell him when he was standing here amongst
us, living and breathing garlic breath and spaghetti sauce?
probably not, because we were busy discussing politics
or jet noise over Indian Peaks, wood splinters and curing
time of blue polymer, but not the real stuff like how
incredibly grateful we are that he is in our lives, how lucky
we are that he is standing here dropping some bread crumbs
onto our carpet that we just vacuumed for company.
why wait to read the obituary about the multiple talents,
the many friends, the generosity of this woman, this man,
and hope they got the message up there somewhere, here
on earth, we are not necessarily wise enough to know how
much we are loved, and maybe not generous enough to
share how much we love someone else, who in another day
or week or month or year may not be here to actually
hear it with their own warm to the touch ears, the electrical
signals traveling lickety-split to the brain, the heart warms
and this deep sense of happiness from being told how
special they are today, garlic breath and all.
it should have been a straight shot back the way I came,
befuddled by darkness and lack of direction, I believed the
automated female voice commanding me towards a highway
rushing with traffic, blinking yellow lights and night
construction, bewildered I obeyed.
I can hear K. berating me for not developing a sense
of where I am and I agree with her in these moments
of being lost while a disembodied voice tells me
that I am on my way to "found", just not the way
I would have ever chosen.
She has lost the haggard look, so thin,
now a little thick in the hips, a softness
that makes me happy, her cropped gray
hair frames a cheerful face.
I knew she was well again when I saw
her garden, blooming forget-me-nots
scattered about tidy flower beds,
renegade bearers of precious light
blue flowers that burst forth in Spring.
when Helen asks me how I can remember
her, I reply how can I forget
her when every Spring, the forget-me-nots
she gave me deliver cascades of small
blue letters reminding me to visit
her, and soon!
she was not fearful of poking holes in her flesh.
multiple earrings, eye brow piercings, she was blonde
and beautiful, I wondered where else she was adorned
with gold or silver.
she was carrying a tray of syringes and a bottles,
I admit my prejudice - she did not look like a
phlebotomist, where were the sturdy black shoes
and glasses, why did she have to look so sexy,
after all, you're not supposed to look sexy when
your job is to plunge needles into someone's arm.
I was afraid, very afraid and I offered my arm
reluctantly, reassuring myself that 90% of the time
everything went fine.
Two stabs, some rooting about and an announcement
that my veins don't give blood.
Maybe I don't like to be stabbed with needles,
but usually I do just fine.
She should get into sales,
a suitable career choice for a
if it's really dark, you may feel my arm
but will you know my face, whether smiling
or scrunched up to restrain crying.
how could you know when I do not know
myself, only finding out behind drawn shades
and after the streetlight has stopped flickering,
descending to darkness.
you will not know if I am with you, nor
will I know if you are with me, or
off to other lands where lovers stare
in each others' eyes across a small table,
or where nomads trap vultures with nets.
Perhaps I am shopping for a cashmere sweater
and you are pondering tent designs that will
not blow away in the wind.
are you with me in this darkness?
I can reach across and touch your face,
feel your lips press against my fingertips.
Come home, be with me in this darkness.
chicken pox and hot baths, oatmeal
for breakfast, brown sugar, bananas, milk.
tears, smiles, raisin bran in backpacks on rainy nights
after tantrums, then bedtime books and jammies.
words that you swallow because you are the adult.
love so deep that rivers run over it
and somehow you don't drown.
report cards, homework, cub scouts,
bad teachers and good, locks that change
lockers at midnight, followed by police dogs.
it's all in a day's work being mother.
you just show up and keep loving them.
the dinner where he shows up with flowers
because he won' t be here on Mother's Day
and you didn't even know it was coming, and
she texts you first thing in the morning to say
she loves you, even posting a photo of the two
of you calling you the best maman in the world.
Somewhere in there, they grew up and see you.
Being a mother, thick and thin, all you can do
is be there and love them, then one day they
grow up and fly away, you are thankful
but miss them all the same.
elegance, her red evening gown
sparkled sequins in every movement of her body
poised over the keys, intent, the sheen of
her black tresses, jeweled barrettes, the whole
of it left us breathless, our hearts in our chests.
she was no slave to sheets of music, no
anonymous page turner perched above her,
no need for sychronized nodding of head followed
by a swift sound of paper against molten air,
no, she alone, moved the air, the keys,
we, who were parched,
are now drenched,
the creek, once reduced to a mere trickle,
roars and rippled over submerged rocks,
water gathers for an extended conversation
along gutters and roadways.
we are drenched in moisture,
fields are green, grey skies promise
more, we are drenched enough now,
snowpack is high, we thank
you for your abundance, and now
politely and with humility,
we ask for sun.
who says they like soaring in the sky,
we admire it because we can't
except in metal tubes.
there must be birds who want to ride
a bicycle, that's why they soar above
me as I ride from home to work,
and home again.
the owl that swooped over my head
was checking out my gear, no doubt,
wondering what modifications may
an owl on a bike,
stranger things have happened.
the slights, the backstabbing,
the alliances and wars, the primo assignments,
the special relationships, the betrayals.
All in a day's work.
I never thought of that until you mentioned
it under a crystal blue sky, surrounded by
towers of rocks millions of years old.
The Game after all is as old as we
are, a few hundred thousand years
or so, we have only graduated from
loincloths to three piece suits, grunts
to sophisticated social media, caves
the cap rock is a few hundred million years old
having seen dinosaurs, the bottom of an ancient sea,
the walls shed a continual stream of sand, frozen and thawed,
wet, dry, sunbaked, the tower stands a bit taller, a bit
more sleek, elegant, promising an arch here or there.
the tree, black, gaunt, watched 300 years go by, its roots
still wedged securely between two rocks, a single root
still visible threading its way into the sandy bank.
one hour here, one minute to take a quick photo
before moving on, what would I see if I stood
here three hundred years, or a million?
so much more than I will ever see in my lifetime.
He passed as the snow was falling somewhere,
rivers were running, a cactus was opening her blossoms
in the desert that he loved.
I will remember him every day when the sun shines through
the translucent blue veins at my window, when I pick up
a book from from the shelves he built in my sun-filled
I will remember him when the squirrels chatter outside the hole
where they used to enter, angry that he has sealed it.
I will remember him when the ceiling fan blows
cool air on us on hot days.
Scott had that hand, that eye, that heart, to lay
his mark, a scroll, a curve, color, over the day
to day grind to help us remember that Beauty
lies in the mundane if only we open our eyes
to see it.
Let Scott now run in the rivers without pain,
feel the breeze against his cheek, the love
we have for him that will transcend time