Monday, March 31, 2008

50 years later: take our story to the world

Today is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 17 point agreement between Tibet and China following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. Down on the Pearl Street Mall, there was a small rally in support of the Tibetan people. As I have learned more about the plight of the Tibetan people, I have become more aware of the depth of human tragedy.

50 years later: take our story to the world

how our leader crossed a river in darkness
fleeing our country, our homeland,
leaving us fatherless, alone

make our sorrows known today
how we have lived in solitary confinement
our voices, our songs have been silenced.
how we have finally burst from
uncontainable suffering and frustration

his heart is constantly breaking for his people,
he has loved them for sixty-seven years
he is still calling out to the world to listen,
to hear us.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A book worth reading

Dreams of My Russian Summers

Flickering memories of the past;
Paris Boulevards, women in high heels,
cafes and romantic nights imbued her
skin, her hair, her long gazes westward.
We listened, without our ears,
we saw, without our eyes,
we understood, only by seeing her
tears when we threw the stone into the street,
the stone a soldier pressed into her hand.
A mother moves to a foreign land
thinking she has left all behind,
streetlights still flicker in Paris Boulevards,
cafes and shadows linger from romantic nights.
Treasures hide in attic chests, and
memories are never forgotten.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's late

No picture tonight but I'm going to Mikes' Camera tomorrow to look for that little camera that will fit in my purse or pocket for when I see dead pigeons and other interesting objects.

It’s late

I’m glad it’s 11:30 p.m.
and I’m too tired to fully process
any feelings, simply going up and
down the stairs looking for
the accoutrements for camping
in the Namibian desert in June.
Leaving behind a sleeping bag
and pad, gators and Moleskin
at the door, a few lengthy hugs
and a Swiss good-bye, I watch
the porch light go out and I
know she is walking upstairs
to put my things into her suitcase.
I go home, and I’m too tired to fully
process the fact that I won’t see her
for another three and a half months,
how much I’ll miss her as she sleeps
under the African stars.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dinner: The Minimalist's Poem

for Karen

The Minimalist’s Poem


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dead Pigeons and Cameras

Dead Pigeons and Cameras

I gingerly stepped over the dead pigeon
in the gutter across from Tee and Cakes.
The head was gone, as well as half the body,
and I wondered how it ended up in such
a sad state. My day must have been
extremely dull to find that the pigeon
was the most interesting part of my day
up to that point. I didn’t have my
camera with me and so could not
capture the pigeon as it was, surrounded
by candy wrappers, dirty paper cups
and the derelict leaves which had
escaped the fall raking on the mall.
I need a new camera, I thought to myself,
one that fits easily into my purse so
I can photograph men in red convertibles
and dead pigeons.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's a beautiful day

The title is for you, Karen. ; )

It's a Beautiful Day

Spring skiing on a beautiful day
in the mountains with my daughter,
teaching me the most advanced ski moves,
how to step down any slopes of
more than five degrees, modeling the
latest ski fashions. We had the trails
to ourselves, fortuitously, as we
needed the space to sprawl across
in dramatic face forward launches,
and then to turn around three times
before figuring out how to get up.
Yes, a fine day in the mountains
shared with my favorite ski bum.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tough Customers at Le Poeme

I am surely having as much fun reading your comments as writing these poems. I can at least address one complaint by posting my picture at age 50 instead of age 18. As for the others, I can only take the requests to heart and try to do better next time! ; )

Tough Customers at Le Poeme

You’d think they were paying customers
the way they complain whenever there’s no
picture, or the details aren’t exactly right.
For crying out loud, I was reminded
that I don’t listen to commercial radio
so how could I have heard those obnoxious
diamond ads for Valentine’s Day?
My mirror isn’t perfect after all,
and I wasn’t thinking too clearly having
someone else to weed my garden.
Even accused of being “tricky” posting
a picture of me at 18, when now I’m 50.
On the plus side, I have received assurances that
I have my priorities straight:
Dessert comes first.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Red Convertible

Red Convertible

Top down, white rimmed square
sunglasses, a cigar loosely
hanging from the left side of his mouth,
a cloud of smoke wafting behind..
He drove into the parking lot
of King Soopers in his hot red convertible
Even men about town have to shop
for groceries.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Growth Interruptus

New Growth Interruptus

It wasn’t her fault.
The ragged new growth
between the flagstones,
sprouting on the east
side of the large boulder
in the back corner all
looked to be the same
as what I asked her to pull.
Weeds grow vigorously this
time of year and it’s important
to get them early before they
go to seed. I encouraged
relentless weeding.
I napped a bit,
let her work alone
the next few hours.
Looking out back at the
bleak brown sameness,
I noted the result of her
vigorous work. Irises
sprouting from dirt, but
not much else. Bags of
weeds, and thyme
so carefully tended the
last couple years, all jumbled
in neatly stacked paper bags
waiting for spring pickup.
She was my student.
I was the inadequate teacher.
It was not her fault,
but I’m still sad.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

So...what do YOU do?

This poem was created from a conversation I had with my neighbor, Mary, who worked as a lawyer, hated it and became an artist instead. She also teaches painting. We got talking about how people respond to what you say you do, or where you study, etc.

So…what do you do?

The conversation opens with
“So…what do you do?” and screeches
to a premature halt if the reply is,
I’m a lawyer, or I go to school in Boston.
(Everyone know that means you go
to Harvard), she assured me.
They treat you as if you have leprosy,
are too brilliant for their ilk,
born with a silver spoon in your mouth,
are immoral or all of the above.
Most importantly, they back away from
what had promised to be a fun repartee.
“It’s different”, she said,
a slightly perplexed look on her
face, pausing and looking at me
to see if I would really understand,
“and it’s not good” she finished.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Unwelcome Celebrations

Unwelcome Celebrations

A volley of gunshot woke me
from my dream of free-falling
from a New York City skyscraper.
My first night sleeping upstairs,
after the bathroom remodel project
(mostly) wrapped up yesterday.
Once awake, reasonably confident
that no one had died, the sweet
darkness of night interrupted by
a single trajectory of sparkling light,
and a house-shaking boom.
Note to self: South-East section
of 18-19th block of Grove St, and
to let Terry know. I’m fighting
for my right to sleep upstairsin my own house

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Editing Someone Else's Writing

Editing Someone Else’s Writing

I wield the editorial sword,
sparing no words, no awkward phrases,
unflinching in my editorial pruning.
I held no attachment to what
they meant to say, or whether they
particularly liked that word having
read it in the latest New Yorker.
I, who love words just because,
who read dictionaries for fun
during long, cold winter nights,
pressed the delete key with no hesitation.
I wield the editorial sword unflinchingly
on someone else’s work,
but not yet on my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The First Day of the Sixth Year

The First Day of the Sixth Year

The sixth year of war began today.
Small protests erupted across the nation,
thirty students at Harvard chanted in rhymes
that made no sense, claiming power
they do not have. My daughter was there.
I was driving to work in my 1992
3-cylinder Justy, following a 3 ton Black
Explorer that pulled into the Conoco at
32nd and Arapahoe to fill up with liquid gold.
Five years ago, Bush’s campaign code-named
Shock and Awe shamed all of America.
Our Marines had orders to guard
the Ministry of Oil, but to do nothing
as looters destroyed stores and burned cars.
Today, my daughter protests, frustrated at
how few people show up to protest this
horrible war. The sad thing is that almost
no one shows up for anything anymore.
Most of us go about our business as if
everything is just fine.
Even when it’s not.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Egg Holder

I so admired this egg holder when I visited my mother that she gave it to me for my 50th birthday present.

The egg holder

The tin egg holder enveloped
yet another hard boiled delicacy,
this time in America,
to be eaten in a sterile
office at a local aerospace company.
Distant memories of picnics
in the Swiss Alps still
echo inside the egg holder, generations
past now, their strength
decreasing ever so slightly
with every opening.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I love my dentist

I love my dentist

I wanted the drill for the first time
in my life, to feel the rhythmic pressure
against my teeth, to hear the high frequency
whine in my ears, to be able to
close my mouth without my front
teeth pushing against each other,
to be able to chew normally.
I love my dentist.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Perfect Mirror

This mirror is for the almost done bathroom, of course. This week, tile gets put in, the shower fixtures go in, the sink goes in! The end is in sight! Now just finish details in the other rooms, like covering the 6" diameter black pipe that runs through my living room, for instance.

The perfect mirror

I almost gave up.
The plain rectangular mirror,
small oak frame looked fine to me.
After five flea markets in three towns,
cool frames with mirrors which no longer reflected,
reflective mirrors framed in white wicker,
nice ones all the way round for $200,
beautiful ones, too big or too small,
Carrie insisted I keep looking.
(in between admiring ice cream dishes, of course)
We spotted it at the exact same moment,
the perfect mirror, old, but not too old,
big, but not too big, nice shape, affordable.
I almost gave up,
but I didn’t.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Remington

The Typewriter at the Flea Market

She sat upon her elegant velour case
the zipper was open so we could
see the forest green interior and
marvel at how well cared for
she was. A baby blue Remington.
How many tales has she told,
from Hanoi, Paris and Vienna, traveling with the
New York Times correspondent,
or perhaps writing romance novels,
her mistress gazing over a moonlit
ocean. Today, I look at her, the neat
little green case and baby blue
exterior and wish that I was not tempted
away by the keypad of my laptop, where
misspellings are so quickly corrected,
and words are so easily erased.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Painter Shaved

The picture is before Matt shaved. I didn't get a snapshot of him shaven yet....and it's not totally shaven. That is soon to come, I'm sure.
The Painter Shaved

The beard disappeared
A smile instead
New opportunities,
he said.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bus Ride Home

Bus Ride Home

The good news is the bus was full,
but I did have to choose carefully where
to sit. There was one seat next to
a little blonde girl, but she was busy
talking loudly to a young man three rows up,
who had his legs hanging over the back of the
adjacent seat. Seemed rude to interrupt their
animated discussion on how stupid it was
of his girlfriend to run away to Broomfield
when she could have crashed with someone
in Boulder, and how she told her f*cking dad
that she wasn’t coming home for awhile.
I could have sat next to the girl in the back,
but she was whispering into her cell phone
and looked like she was about to cry.
Two seats taken over there by one older
man, looked to be homeless, clutching his plastic
bag even as he dozed on the bus.
The good news is the bus clientele was
diverse; Asians, Blacks, Whites, tattoos,
cigarettes, homeless, older, younger, working,
Vo-Tech kids heading into town.
I should do this more often,
real life does exist in Boulder after all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MIT/Harvard Happy Hour

MIT/(Harvard) Happy Hour

How intimidating to walk cold
into a restaurant to meet a bunch of
strangers who are MIT graduates.
The concentration of brain waves was
staggering., To top it off, there
were a bunch of Harvard graduates, and
some even had children who were at
Harvard, MIT, or both.
Inventors, quantum physicists,
scientists, neuroscientists, entrepreneurs,
and various consultants, it
was downright scary to enter that place
and casually order a beer with these
people as if I belonged there.
Then I realized,
I’m one of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Waiting for Take-Out at The Tibet Kitchen

The Tibet Kitchen is a fairly new take-out restaurant (although you could eat there as well as there is a little counter space). The food is excellent, the owners are delightful (and Tibetan, of course) and I don't think they have been discovered yet. Give them a try! They are located on the NW corner of Folsom and Arapahoe next to Subway.

Waiting for Take-Out at The Tibet Kitchen

I’d never seen Tibetan MTV before.
The singer looked to be a Westerner,
dressed in her silk blouse, her raven black
hair blown back from her face, her lyrics
close captioned in Tibetan characters.
Instead of hip gyrating punkers in the background,
prayer flags flapped on stupas, Tibetan
cowboys thundered across high Tibetan
plateaus or practiced rodeo stunts in
small dusty corrals. Majestic Himalayan
peaks provided a backdrop to ethnic
festivals, colorfully populated with men
and women wearing fantastically ornate
hats and capes. The cashier told me that
the music was a popular national song
about how beautiful Tibet and its customs
are, but there are no English subtitles
because they cannot learn English there,
they must learn Chinese, they are not free.
His smile seemed to belie his sadness.
The Tibetan people, he told me, are nonetheless
an amazing people because they can create a life
full of joy around one single speck of happiness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Poetry Homework

Poetry Homework

Not done.
Not done.
Not done.
Not done.
Baking brownies.
Eating Brownies.
Not done.
(Not my fault.

Sunday, March 9, 2008



I have to admit I like her.
She’s built like a small tank,
solid, reassuring.
At the same time, she’s
cheerful and welcoming.
After receiving instruction on
where to put my feet
and how to be a good passenger,
I hopped on behind my son, who was
sporting appropriate motorcycle
helmet, leathers and boots.
Off we went on a grand
tour of the Goss-Grove alleys.
I leaned into every turn,
didn’t put my feet down when
he stopped and was proclaimed
"a good passenger".
I have to admit I like her.
Maybe one day, when
Daniel buys a new motorcycle,
I can have Miko.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Garden Clean-up

Garden Clean-up

Every garden bed is brown.
once proud irises bent over in sorrow,
frozen and thawed, trampled by countless
dogs, high school students rushing
from warm cars to class.
leaves from last fall form
a dense mat of dark brown.
the tines of the old rake
sing as the detritus of the winter is
deposited onto the sidewalk.
Miniature purple reticulated irises,
lemon yellow crocuses and
newly emerging bulbs are visible;
Spring is here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bathroom Project: Update

Target date for completion...March 20th in time for Karen's arrival back in Boulder. Total construction time will have been about 2 1/2 months.

The New Toilet

The toilet arrived today,
shiny, white and new
fifteen years, 3 months
and 17 days since I bought
this house, making a mental
note that the one bathroom
in this old house I call home
was awfully….small.
Two children and one husband
later, my house and I
have landed a second toilet.
What luxury! What decadence!
No more scheduling your “time”,
brushing teeth in the kitchen
(unless you want to so you can
admire the flowers in the back yard),
or just plain hoping you can stay
in the tub as long as you want.
It’s a happy day.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Gecko on the Moon

Nature is an amazing thing. Scientists have just figured out why Geckos can climb up glass, or anything else for that matter. Van der Waals forces, those normally weak forces between polarizable surfaces. How? By millions of tiny pads on their feet which have close atomic spacing to the surface. And why important on the moon? To suck up particles, kind of like the lint brush on your pants! Well, we'll have to develop Geckos that don't need oxygen first! ; )

The Gecko on the Moon

The gecko went to the moon
to save the astronauts from
engulfment by lunar dust
using his finest toes, their
setae in fine repair, running
around and around on the
astronauts lunar suits, collecting
dust, only to drop it in designated
waste baskets. Yes, the gecko went
to the moon, his fine shoes polished
to a fine gleam, her toe nails
colored with cherry red polish,
the NASA geckos, no one else
can do their work as well
as nature herself.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

17th Avenue

From the bottom, 17th Avenue, in Boulder, at Eldora,
does the same, it climbs, at times steeply,
off camber, its horizon sustaining hope
that the climb ends around the corner, our
ragged breath will smooth to a more dignified
panting and our skis, our bikes, will not slow to a stop.
On skis today, 17th Avenue was conquered by our
arrival at Four Corners, our victory attended no less
significantly by the more than 12 stops we made along
the way, hearing the instructor calling out to us the
same thing over and over again, “Shift your weight!”,
“Move your hips”, and “Atta, Girl” upon realization that he
was wasting his breath, instructions falling on deaf ears.
So, we huffed and we puffed up 17th Avenue, although mostly
of poor form, we were of good intention, occasionally pulling
in our guts, shifting our weight and most important of all,
moving in the right direction,
sweet success.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

WANTED: Sharp eyed editor

WANTED: Unflinching editor!

The poems sound
pretty good on that first reading,
even better the next day,
like a stew that has sat overnight.
After a week or so, the flavor has
flattened, even turned a bit rancid.
What seemed to be a clever stream
of consciousness shows nothing more
than a lack of disciplined editing,
an overabundance of so-called speech clutters,
the ands, you knows, thens, and so-ons.
Repeatedly scanning the poems under
a focused beam of concentrated light
and pressure allows the words to interdiffuse,
the clutters to evaporate, and for the transformation
to proceed from an ugly lump of coal
into a brilliant diamond .

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Poetry Reading

Tonight I attended a poetry reading at a local coffee shop. Quite an interesting mix, with one poet reading his work while getting a Mohawk (!), a few poetic rappers, a woman who sang her poem beautifully, one describing his experience at a public urinal...I read a couple short poems myself, a first for me.

A Poetry Reading

Tonight, he leans back in the decrepit
chair on the small stage, we listen as he
recounts his twelve hour trips on methamphetamine,
how he diluted a mescaline high by
washing down six packs of Budweiser,
by all counts, every event in his life
accompanied by a cloud of Camel smoke,
yet another beautiful woman in his bed.
Tonight, he leans back in the decrepit
chair on the small stage, we witness his aging face
framed by greasy black hair,
we wonder at what
new has happened in
his last twenty years
and of this,
why he is so silent.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Paleo diet and burnt cookies

I have to admit that there seems to be a theme revolving around cookies in my blog. It also seems that I intend to share the cookies with Stephen, but he doesn't end up getting any of them somehow.....

Paleo diet and burnt cookies

It was a paleo diet dinner, a sparse
plate covered with multiple colors
of suitable root and cruciferous vegetables,
hold the white potatoes, please.
A few chewy pieces of grass-fed, free range,
humanely raised, Boulder County
buffalo purchased frozen from Vitamin
Cottage, our all-organic local food market.
How unsatisfying!
Then I remembered those cookies from
Mom that I threw in the freezer a month ago,
after eating the first half of what she sent
in one sitting. Peanut butter criss-cross cookies,
one of my favorites from childhood.
My mouth started watering as soon I
put four of them in the microwave,
two for Stephen and two for me.
Alas! Smoke poured from the microwave
when I opened the door. Not wanting to
offer Stephen poor quality cookies, I had to eat
the unburnt portions all by myself.
It’s all in the name of love after all.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

One More Gone

I can look across the street at one of our regular residents who is not going anywhere, as she dives and spins into the wind.

One more gone

We chatted in the grocery store,
I was expecting to share neighborhood news,
they’ve been neighbors for awhile now,
not going anywhere, garden well established,
you know, one of the regulars.
They’re moving out next week.
I wonder why it bothers me anymore,
why I get attached to what is so transient,
human connections which I rely on
for a sense of rootedness, when I know
there is really only what is within yourself,
or, if you’re lucky, with a few other close
friends or family. Stephen says people
come and go, but does no one else
grieve from the loss of all those who
have been part of our lives, all of us
knowing that we will not see each,
in spite of what everyone wants to
believe in that moment of parting.