Friday, February 29, 2008


It is really quite odd when you know something about someone that is quite personal, but they don't have any reason to expect that you would this poem for that twist.


You can’t be blamed for incompetence
they said to each other, but I disagreed.
Why not? …if someone chose to
be incompetent, rather than being
incompetent through no choice of their own.
We discussed this at length, then,
by the coffee pot, which makes such
a terrible brew, ..who drinks this stuff?
We decided that in this case, the manager
who hired the incompetent person was
accountable, and could be blamed,
not the poor sack who showed up for a
job for which he had not a thread of
aptitude or desire. We had never really
spoken before, although I had seen
his divorce papers at the fax machine one day.
A nice fellow really. I hope we’ll
talk again some day by the coffee pot.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Orbital Debris and Feelings

Seems that the main thing I think about lately is how to protect a satellite in orbit high above the earth from the threat of micrometeroids and orbital debris. Yet, that has little to do with my life as a human being, until I realized how closely they are related.

Orbital Debris and Feelings

Debris is generated by the high velocity impact
of an orbiting satellite with a rogue, uncatalogued
object traveling at 15 kilometers per second.
The satellite is obliterated into millions of shards,
tools, paint chips and spent rocket boosters which,
in turn, orbit around the earth, some at higher altitude,
some lower, with velocities described by a Gebbard diagram.
The unidentified debris of my feelings is generated
by an unexpected high velocity, high impact
collision between my concealed feelings
and his unspoken ones. The shards of this
collision, in turn, orbit around and into our
relationship, until they are further identified
and carefully de-orbited in a fiery descent
back to earth.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ski Lesson #2

Ski Lesson #2

I didn’t cry this time.
I laughed instead, and
put my skis down flat
and shifted my weight
from left to right
flying down hills
sometimes without falling,
and yes, struggling up hills,
always making it to the top,
Progress, how sweet
it is!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Her Boyfriend is a Republican

I'm delighted whenever my daughter is
happy, but I have to admit I smiled yet a bit
wider when she told me, "

Her boyfriend is a Republican

OH, her voice is so cheery,
my liberal, oh so liberal, daughter,
who organizes her dormitory to recycle,
who fights for freedom of speech
for Che, the ultimate icon of revolution
and she tells me she is dating a
Republican? Mr. Andrew, no less,
a rather proper name, I’d say, a gentleman,
no less, someone with manners, are
there no Democrats with manners out
there at Harvard University? As for me,
I am delighted that my left wing daughter
is dating a nice young man, regardless of
his politics.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Bathroom Project

The Bathroom Project

when will it be done, I wonder
as I wander through my living room
which resembles the two rooms upstairs
and the downstairs bathroom, since everything
from those rooms resides in my living room
a dissembled desk, a bucket of sponges,
a stack of towels, a medicine cabinet
and boxes overflowing with the miscellaneous
in all our lives, the half used soap, the half
empty bottle of shampoo, a broken chair.
when will it be done, I wonder, as I
step over the broken stair, a beautiful honey color
of newly refinished pine boards, once upstairs
admiring the new blue-grey paint in the back
room, which will be my studio and that the
front room wears its golden coat again,
but the bathroom is not done yet, half painted,
the shower is not tiled, the fixtures yet to be
selected, much less installed, no toilet, no sink,
no lighting, just a beautiful oak floor,
when will it be done, I wonder,
I hope soon.

Join this Group

Last night I started the process of moving our neighborhood e-Group from Yahoo Groups to Google Groups. This is why:

“Join this Group”

The first commitment is to click “Join This Group”
and so many don’t even do that, perhaps confused
as to whether they must click that button,
or if they do, are they committed to action?
Perhaps they don’t remember that sunny afternoon
near my front gate, chatting about the garden and
the neighborhood, and how much they wanted to be
“in the know” and how that conversation culminated
in their desire to write down their email address on
that small scrap of paper they found in their pocket.
Being ever the optimist, with so little supporting evidence,
I assume they are confused and want to be part of the
neighborhood group, and so I stay up late and make lists
and change groups so that I can just add them to the group
without asking them to reconsider or to even make
such a commitment as to click “Join this Group”.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Loading the Dishwasher

This poem was inspired by how four different people loaded the dishwasher this weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch. Everytime I opened the dishwasher, I thought how badly it was loaded!

Loading the Dishwasher

More marriages break up over differences
in dishwasher loading,
he wants to put the bowls in the top rack,
she only wants the bowls in the lower,
wine glasses should never go in the dishwasher
she informs him coldly and he insists
no less rigidly that his knives with the
wooden handles must be washed by hand
and dried immediately. Every day, after
dinner, she clenches her teeth as she
moves the bowls from the upper rack to the
lower, takes out the wine glasses, her expression
turning to glee as she takes the clean knives
off the magnetic strip over the stove and puts
them in the dishwasher, until one day he
tells her he has filed for divorce,
over how she loads the dishwasher.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Our Classmate at Eldora

Our classmate at Eldora

I was right.
She was not happy,
not getting her money’s worth
after paying so much for lessons
Her scowl cleared as she stated her case
and I agreed wholeheartedly that she was a
much better skier and of course it would be a
waste of her time to ski with us doing the basics.
By this time, her face had brightened substantially
and she was happy we were so kind,
we of such limited skills
and such small

Friday, February 22, 2008

Vincent's 46th Birthday

Vincent’s 46th birthday

We teased him relentlessly,
mumbling under our breath,
claiming he was deaf
and using obscure words like “dour”
and trying to explain that
“bust your buffers” from his 5 year
old son’s book really was
extremely rude and could get him
in big trouble. His wife swore
that she had told him my bike
had been stolen and that I
had a poetry blog, and he looked
confused and uncertain. Did he
really forget all that? His face
belied his worry even as he chuckled.
And we all ganged
up on him, so unfair, and
laughed at his elderly state of
confusion and disorientation,
even though he had just
calculated in his head the speed
of the earth around the sun
and compared it with that
of the solar wind, while we
pretended we all knew the answer
but were really just drinking wine
and winking at each other.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cold Season

Cold Season

Half the doors are closed,
pink sticky notes posted “Out sick”,
“Back next week”, “See my boss”,
those who are still here are serenaded
by the guy who keeps coughing
down the hall, and we walk
through a cloud hanging in the
air after the sneezer walks by.
Even the young are affected,
salving their raw skin with
their mother’s lipsavers, too cheap
to buy the softest kleenex,
too inexperienced to have considered
the full consequences of using toilet
paper to wipe their noses,
We are all affected, the healthy ones
hoping to stay healthy a bit longer
and the sick crying of boredom
and fatigue.

Skiing Lessons

Skiing Lessons

I cried.
Not wimpy tears that may not be noticed
if you’re wearing sunglasses, but the kind that form a river down your
cheeks accompanied by that embarrassing rasping for breath
where your shoulders shake and you can’t talk anymore.
This was supposed to be fun
and it was,
I fell those last seven times, and
the last of the seven backwards,
onto my head and
stars lit up in my eyes,
the world spun.
I stopped crying
after awhile.
Ate lunch.
Went skiing.
Had fun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Imogen and Twinka

Imogen and Twinka

I went out one chilly fall day
in my long black overcoat,
looking for mushrooms, first,
but also interested in capturing
how light and darkness played
against each other in the dense
forest. I covered my head with my
favorite red scarf, strapped my
Brownie camera around my neck,
put on my glasses to better examine
the minute mosses and lichens I
expected to encounter in my
explorations. I looked forward
to escaping the oppressive silence
of my husband, Edouard and to
being alone in nature. Imagine
my surprise when I rounded my
favorite twin tree trunks and
all but stumbled onto a young
woman, completely naked! I
admit I probably looked completely
put out, and she indeed looked
so friendly and shy. I excused
myself politely from the situation
and continued looking for rare
mushrooms in another part
of the forest.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Getting Ready for a Trip

This poem was written before I was leaving for Phoenix, AZ, to visit my mother a couple of weeks ago. The last couple days of my life have had to do with taxes and financial aid forms, and I just have not had a good poem in my head for taxes yet!

Getting Ready for a Trip

It’s the usual, 30 minutes ‘til I have to walk out the door
and my suitcase is not yet packed, the rabbit bowls are empty,
the litter box is dirty, the bills are unpaid, I’m not sure when
the bus leaves from the station, I wonder if I’ll forget my
boarding pass and I won’t make it to the coffee shop
to say good-bye to my sweetheart before I go. It’s the usual,
alright, as I look outside and see the birdfeeder needs filling,
and I can’t leave, knowing the birds would be hungry, so I
go outside to fill it, and there are so many dirty dishes on
the kitchen counter, and I hate coming back to a dirty house,
and the garbage needs to be emptied, the compost stinks,
I forgot to tell the painter what color I want the bathroom
and the paper I was supposed to have finished at work is not
It’s the usual alright, and I know I have to pack, because now it
is less than 20 minutes until I must walk out the door, knowing
that I have forgotten something important, because I always do.

My new bike

My new bike

It’s rusty brown Royal, a
Sturmey Archer 3 speed marvel
Made in Japan! (Must be old
as they don’t deign to manufacture
anymore, kind of like us.)
I’ve put Karen’s Pink Cadillac
back in her dad’s garage,
bought a new lock, had
Stephen turn the seat back
around so it stays put
(he does the strangest things sometimes),
and raised the drooping handlebar ends
I’m now out and about
again, in style, on my Royal,
Sturmey Archer 3 speed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Pink Glass Lamp

The pink glass lamp

They gathered around, admiring my purchase
first at a bit of distance, inching closer to better examine it
the pink glass lamp, even with its chipped edges,
was elegant indeed.

I could sense the appreciation of one of the customers
she with her bluish grey hair in short thinning curls,
She had one in her living room many
years ago, her frail face clouded with memories.

The Reappearing Cookie

The reappearing cookie

He felt better last night,
looked for his cookie
but it was
this morning when
I hopped on the scale.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Abandoned Valentines' Day cookie

Abandoned Valentine’s Day Cookie

He’s sick again, he didn’t want his Valentine’s Day cookie
and so I ate half of it. Everyone in Boulder County is sick,
and we wondered if we could prevent a pandemic of bird flu
if we just washed our hands? As dawn broke this morning, the dogs
started rustling and I knew I couldn’t sleep through it. The only
good news is that Portia doesn’t show me her teeth when I
put on the gentle leaders, like she does to Stephen.
She knows better.
So does Buddy when I call him to put on his gentle leader,
I won’t walk to him, he has to walk to me. They are
trained with me, I have no tolerance, having raised two children
and not wanting anymore. So I walk in the early morning,
our breath forming clouds in the air and we all know he’s sick
again, with the flu this time, and we’ll be spending lots of time
together these next couple of days while Stephen lies in bed
and his half eaten cookie sits on the plate, waiting for me to
finish it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Perfect Valentine's Day Cookie

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Cookie

This one is for Stephen,
I said, licking the last bits of icing from the knife
Unless I eat it first, I said regretfully,
knowing that it was all too possible,
Having painstakingly decorated my favorite
kind of cookie with pink and white icing.
sugar cookies, the perfect combination
of butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour,
cut into big hearts and browned to
perfection. I do want to give the cookie
to Stephen for Valentine’s Day, but
I knew I might not be able to keep myself
from eating it in a weak moment.
so I asked my neighbors to save it
for when Stephen can claim
what I want to give him but
cannot safely keep.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Valentine's Day Hoax

St. Valentines’ Day

Finally, an end to Shane Company’s
obnoxious ads, exhorting the poor males
of the country to spend “only” $175 for the diamond
pendant that will show her how much he loves her,
or Jarrod and Co. peddling the beautiful Rose
diamonds, only $500 to $5000 dollars,
extracted from the blood of black miners
in Africa, do the females of this country think
of that when they ask for a show of true love,
or is it them who ask, or They who tell.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Call to Action

A Call to Action

Whereas we used to do sit-ins at City Council meetings
to demand parking permits for our oft-neglected neighborhood
and we would roam the streets, armed with orange garbage bags
picking up broken fragments of beer bottles and unopened
newspapers, it’s been quiet the last couple of years.
The community garden has been planted for three years now,
the dragonfly swoops and dips in the Chinook winds,
the streets are reasonably clean even though we have not
visited them in great detail in two years. We see each other,
but only to say a brief hello, nothing urgent, and I kind of
miss that sense of camaraderie and joint purposefulness.
Now we are awakening again, graffiti splatters across our neighborhood,
ugly graffiti in words, not just aesthetics, my bicycle stolen.
Last night at 2 a.m. I reviewed membership records as part of the
gathering of the troops. We will rouse ourselves to exorcise this
ugly energy from around us. No doubt, in the process,
we will rediscover ourselves.

Small Blues

the blues

small blues really
I’m well fed, I have good friends
and children who are doing well
but I’m missing my bicycle
my gate has been defaced
the house is a disaster zone
and the compressor kept turning
itself on last night, my left
shoulder hurts and I have way
too much to do at work,
but mostly I’m missing
my bicycle, the one that rode
over the yellow and red leaves of fall
where I felt so happy
small blues are blues

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Stolen Bicycle

My stolen bicycle

I felt her absence all of a sudden
that emptiness in the east garden
which used to be red year round,
regardless of weather, a bright spot
in my life, a steed always ready to go,
to work, to happy hour, anywhere,
anytime, flashing lights at the ready,
a yellow plastic duck mounted out front
a great companion, gone, gone, gone
I searched the neighborhood, scouring
dirty back alleys, stopping to look twice
at any combination of red and black,
My red Schwinn is gone, and my life
feels stripped of a small thing, yes,
but a dear one.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


The Spider

I opened my eyes this morning
to see a small, light brown spider
perched on the edge of my water glass
her spider whiskers waving at me
before she slowly edged her way down
to water’s edge for her morning
refreshments. Half way up, she paused
as if to rest, or perhaps take in a morning
meditation, upon arrival back
back upon the precipice of the glass,
she waved her spider whiskers again,
rappelled off the side and was gone.