Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Poem which needs to Ripen

a poem was written tonight, so
opaque as to conceal the identities
of the players, obscure as to meaning.
As diffuse as the moon hidden behind
endless banks of thick cloud cover.
no clarity to the reader or the writer
was or can be achieved.
this poem will dance around the
edges of my mind and ripen
in its own time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Relief

evening brings no relief
from the sweltering heat,
there is no cool night breeze
billowing the curtains,
only the sound of barking dogs
and the rhythm of crickets
I wonder how they all chirp in

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lessons from Buddy

Lessons from Buddy

At the end of a long day
filled with so many frustrations;
not being allowed to chase skateboarders,
Dad forcing me to wear a gentle leader,
and having my little sister bite my ear
to make me play with her,
I get to eat my dinner in peace
(three times as much as my sister gets),
and then do what I do best,
and love best,
and must have,
chew my rawhide.
In my doggie opinion,
if everyone chewed a rawhide
at the end of their day,
there would be no more war.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Man from Namibia

The Man from Namibia

when the wind blows
he pedals, the stronger the wind,
the faster he pedals,
his jointed wooden legs pumping
up and down, round and round.
his green safety flag waves in the wind,
his face is one of grim determination
but alas, he goes nowhere.
Only his view of the garden changes
with the prevailing wind.
Karen bought this little man in a rural market in Namibia. There is only one craftsman who makes them. I feel honored to have him pedaling in my garden when the wind blows.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Voicemail vs The Real Thing

he kept calling my voicemail,
I know it wasn’t me he wanted,
because he just chatted away
to Jenny’s voicemail.
I felt ignored, hurt, actually.
In passing he told Jenny’s voicemail
to let Jenny know he called, but then
in a perfectly happy voice, cheerily
end the call by saying it was great to talk
and thanks for being such a good listener.
Finally, I caught his name on the caller
id and hurried to pick up the call
before he’d start his conversation
with my, I said it, my voicemail.
Although surprised, and perhaps somewhat
disappointed as I’m not a very good listener,
he was a good sport about it and we
managed to maintain a conversation
for a few moments, before he ended
by saying it was good talking with you,
and I look forward to talking with Jenny’s
voicemail soon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Day in the Mountains

The Photographer

We passed each other on the trail
like a set of double yo-yo’s,
one stopping to photograph chiming bells,
passing the other admiring stands of bistort.
She pointed out a patch of alpine phlox, almost
stumbled over me as I bent close to the ground
photographing yellow stonecrop.
And so we went up the winding trail,
surrounded by dizzying abundance of
larkspur, monkshood, old man in the mountain,
and shooting stars.
At home, a picture reminds me of the day, but
never captures the transformative experience
of a day in the mountains.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr. Seven Step

Dr. Seven-Steps

Two experts discussing the treatment of depression on NPR.
Dr. Seven-Steps delivers the recipe in a glossy brochure
over radio waves;
exercise, friends, getting “back in the swing of it”,
meditation, find a guide,
nutritional supplements, can’t remember the seventh,
the recipe that when it doesn’t work
results in more despair and sense of failure.
And by the way, if it doesn’t work, just embrace it.
“You’re just stuck, out of balance, boy do I have the solution for you.
I used it and it worked, and by golly,
It’ll work for you, too! “
Just buy my book!
Now Dr. Prozac Nation, the one who,
has slammed overuse of antidrepressants,
explained disease, brain chemistry,
how medication can help in some cases
as shown in clinical trials, how loss of function in life
is something to take seriously.
Hardly getting a word in edgewise, he finally
interrupted Dr. Seven-Steps mid-sentence to tell
us, those who have suffered, those who might suffer in the future,
those who care about family and friends who suffer,
how disturbed he was by the moralistic, self-righteous attitude
of Dr. Seven-Steps.
I cheered in the privacy of my own car.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

February 18, 2008

February 18, 2008

At midnight, she burned each
pack of cigarettes, one by one,
watching the smoke curl upwards like
a genie emerging from
a sealed flask.
Free at last.
Photograph by Cristian Paul Bara.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

White Horse

White Horse

thousands of years ago
a magical horse appeared before
the people; snowy white, galloping
across burnt umber fields,
dusky purple peaks hanging
in the background.
White horses did appear thousands of years ago, and were captured and bred. Now scientists have found a single gene responsible for this remarkable and beautiful trait.

Moon Dust

a layer of dust darkens the windowsill,
quietly, unobtrusively, wiped away with a rag.
that’s life on earth, live and let live.
at first the dust lay on the moon
as dust lays on your countertop,
then the impacts started, lofting dust upwards
hundreds of meters, creating kaleidoscopes
of reflected and scattered sunshine, earthshine,
dust dervish, now coating everything in its way.
then silence again and darkness.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Moon

The Moon

Suspended luminescent
crescent moon,
how many dreams
have drifted in your wake.
you gaze so impassively,
so steadily at this world embroiled
in turmoil and trouble.
shooting stars decorate you
like diamonds draped
around a beautiful woman’s neck.
I am attending the NASA Lunar Science Institute conference. I am struck by how beautiful and mysterious the moon is.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Evening in Mountain View

The cars roared past,
four lanes each way,
traffic lights, the only safe places to cross
spaced every mile or two.
I’d have to find a place to eat on this
side of the road.

I chose the Garden Café, a Vegetarian Restaurant.
I sat at a table by the window, and peered through
the slats in the blind at a middle-aged woman
dressed in a matching red sweat suit labeled MIT A.A.
I thought I might go introduce myself,
until I realized the fleece jacket was not on her child
sitting at the table, but on her dog
and there were two, one dressed in yellow fleece
and one in blue, and they were both on the table
eating with her.

So, I turned my attention to the fellow diners inside.
in particular, one dressed in a black and white striped flounce skirt,
permed bangs and bobby socks, bright red lipstick,
a porcelain doll face. I love Lucy, except her
hair was blue and she had Geisha eyeliner.

I paid and walked out.
A chill wind blew me back towards my hotel,
past the Alibi Bar where two skinheads loitered
at the entrance, watching me
walk on by.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's Late

the suitcase laid on the bed, unpacked,
a boarding pass, a stack of technical papers and
the conference schedule scattered across the dinette.
it’s time to get ready, instead I toss and turn in
bed, sheets wrapped around my body like a mummy
wrapped for burial, a sense of dread envelops me.
anticipation of travel, airplanes, strange hotels,
unknown roads, leaving my garden, my friends,
all that is familiar, entering conference rooms
overly air conditioned, full of faceless, nameless
men who all seem to know each other, all these
fears whirl around me in the darkness like ghosts.
when the sun rises, the bags are packed, I’m excited
to fly off to meet new people, drive unknown roads
and sleep in clean hotel rooms.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watching the entrance to Liquor Mart

Backlit by the fluorescent vending machine, in one fluid motion
he bends down to grab a cold Coke from the rectangular slot,
orange Kron bag swings behind him, and he pushes off ,
gliding away into the darkness.
A few feet away, the brittle sound of breaking glass,
a young couple stand at the back of their car,
staring stupidly at their lost purchase,
a young man dressed in a Liquor Mart apron appears,
sweeps the broken pieces into an empty cardboard box.
An elderly couple walks out carrying a single bottle of wine,
elegantly strolling, arm in arm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dopers Suck

Dopers Suck

He flew up the mountains,
as if tiny invisible wings on his feet
spun them faster and faster,
stronger and stronger.
It was beautiful to watch.
Sadly, invisible wings exist only
in fairy tales; a beautiful
princess rides off with her prince
on a white horse, fairies flitting
close by, there are only happy endings.
He flew up the mountains,
then was taken from his bike,
disgraced and out of the race.
Dopers Suck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

J'attends devant le Med

One of my new readers has posted as "ami", friend in French. Thus, it calls from a poem in broken French and fluent English.

Waiting at the Med

J’attends mes amis en dehors du restaurant
……………I wait for my friends outside the restaurant
Il fait chaud, et la sueur mouillie ma veste
…………….It is hot, my vest is damp with sweat
Alors, je regarde les gens, ils attendant aussi
…………….So, I watch the others, who are also waiting
Tout le monde est impatients et ils regardent leur montres tout les deux minutes
……………..Everyone is impatient. They check their watches every two minutes
Moi, je savais que mes amis seront en retard, alors je suis relax, je m'interesse aux gens
…………….. Me, I knew that my friends would be late, I relax, enjoy watching
Un homme qui marche devant le restaurant, il se fache, il s’agit, il parle sur son mobile
…………A man paces in front of the restaurant, he’s angry and agitated, he keeps talking on his …………phone
Une petite femme arrive finalement, son amie est en train de parler sur son mobile. Elles s’embracent et entrent le restaurant.
………….A tiny woman finally arrives to meet her friend, how is talking on her cell phone. She ………….hangs up, they embrace and enter the restaurant.
Ma copine d’Italia, Luisa, arrive, en retard comme d’habitude. Elle regrette, comme d’habitude, qu’elle est en retard
………….My friend, Luisa, arrives, late as usual. She is sorry, as usual, that she is late.
Nous sommes tres contentes de se revoir encore et nous entrons le restaurant.
………We are happy to see each other and enter the restaurant.
Dans quelques minutes, mon ami vient aussi et nous buvons sangrias!
………… In a few minutes, my friend arrives and we drink sangria!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Brochure

The Brochure

Two beefy men in red t-shirts and dark sunglasses
glare from the front page of Brochure 1,
reminding us to Say No Way to Corruption!
Mugabe might think about contacting
the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia
for some tips on how to do the same in his country.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Man in the Darkness

he was crouched low to the ground
in the darkness I could not tell
if he was drunk, passed out, squatting,
waiting for the bus.
my bike crawled through the heat,
my head pounding, sweat drenching
my sleeveless blouse,
a white beard coalesced from the darkness
and a face and a shopping cart.
we drifted past each other
he was enjoying his evening sitting
on a turned over shopping cart,
watching the traffic roll on by.

Sunday, July 13, 2008



dusk falls.
they emerge from gutters and storm sewers.
mothers, fathers, cubs, singles, in pairs or groups.
spreading like soliders fanning across the disputed territories,
climbing up on roofs, stealing from bird feeders, eating
crops sown for local families, berries, corn, ransacking
garbage bins, crawling into dumpsters, grazing compost piles.
they destroy small trees, set dogs to barking and panting at back doors,
release the stench of raccoon, overpowering smell of honeysuckle and roses.
the stars reel overhead and the raccoons move from house to house.
sleepy husbands and fathers turn on porch lights and shout
at them to go away but they just glare back, and hiss.
They have claimed the night and slither back into
gutters and storm sewers to rest.
dawn arrives.

If you have never seen raccoons come out of storm sewers, here is a video of it, compliments of YouTube:

Saturday, July 12, 2008



on hot summer nights
the humming of cicada wings
almost kept you awake, even as you
shifted your body across the sheets
trying to find a cooler spot,
not soaked in your own sweat.
Your rode your bike out
the old Prairie Path to Elgin,
the heat shimmering off the old
railroad tracks they hadn’t removed
yet as they ran out of money.
the trees were covered in cidadas,
luminescent wings shimmering
in the humid heat, the glare
of reflected sunlight burning your eyes.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I wear skirts on days like this.
so as to cool as much bare skin
(as can be decently exposed)
by the slight breeze as I ride my
Royal 3-speed to work.
Sidewalks and parking lots
shimmer in this heat,
trees swelter, leaves droop.
cars drive by with windows rolled up,
air conditioning on full blast.
sweat rolls down my back, and
dampens the waist band of my skirt.
It’s hot today, and I ride slowly as
to not generate any internal heat.
I wear skirts on days like this,
but it doesn’t help much at all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A flower vase of cherries

A flower vase of cherries
a flower vase of
cherries presented at
my front door this morning,
freshly picked,
freely given,
quickly eaten.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


wasted gallons of gasoline moving two ton vehicles along city streets
urban guerrillas dressed in high heels, business suits, talking on cell phones
three chipped coffee cups filled with fountain pens with clogged tips,
dried up marker pens, calligraphy pens long abandoned, pencils with broken leads,
twenty-four 12 oz plastic bottles filled with sparkling water from France,
shipped across the Atlantic ocean to refresh an American’s lips
shoes from Italy, socks made in China, mangos grown in Peru,
a dozen wineglasses, books on the shelf never read, seven bicycles
stored in the side room, half of them in working order,
tonight, trying to clear out, give away, recycle, the excessive,
to separate the excessive from the psyche, the soul
it’s not me, it’s not us
it’s excessive.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Glass Vase

The Glass Vase

the glass vase reappeared today on my front porch
after an extended visit at the neighbor’s house.
once full of brilliant, erect roses, emanating the sweet
perfume of summer sun, I watched over several
days as the blossoms drooped, each petal falling,
to decorate the dark-grained wood of their antique coffee table,
as if to count off the days of their absence in a far-off land,
their daughter riding bareback to meet her fiancé
in an elaborate Moroccan ceremony.
a fountain of flowers arrived on my porch today
in that same glass vase, a spray of pastel cosmos,
flowers which do not grow in my garden.
(did they know of this terrible lack of cosmos,
perhaps sneaking into my garden while I was away?)
the blossoms will droop, the pedals will fall,
the vase will be filled again with
whatever is blooming in my garden ,
I will quietly unlatch their gate
and leave my flowers on
their front porch in the
same simple
glass vase.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Elusiveness of Knowledge

The Elusiveness of Knowledge

once upon a time in a classroom far away,
I knew this stuff at least well enough to ace a test.
and now, my understanding is as ethereal as a light fog
in San Francisco, landmarks visible for a moment,
only to be swallowed again, leaving me wondering
if I ever saw them in the first place.
I want to just know this again, have a feel for it,
know its truth, breathe it, apply it, sleep well at night.
See all the pixels in whatever resolution I choose.
instead, my understanding is so vague, so unsatisfying
at 11 night, textbook open, my mind unable
to absorb all that is there in plain sight.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Washing Windows

he left us seven years ago, leaving behind
old storm windows covered with grime,
cold and rain leaked in the sides,
there was no protection from the elements.
I bought new windows for myself five years ago,
sunshine streamed in, blue skies,
people strolling by my garden,
walking dogs, talking, enjoying life.
I studied the world alone.
New grime on the windows slowly
built up, like the reluctance to move on,
to let light into my life, too timid to
go outside and enjoy the sun.
Finally, after four years of new love,
I trust the sun streaming through the windows,
the blue sky beckoning me out to play
my windows will be cleaned tomorrow
so we can sit and watch the people
strolling past, walking dogs and enjoying life.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My other kitchen

My other Kitchen

we decided to make crepes for dinner tonight.
only four eggs in my refrigerator,
but my other kitchen is across the street
in the blue house, the one with
the hanging baskets of purple and pink
The keychain is a silver medallion
of the Virgin Mary that I bought
at St Peters in Rome, no connection
to their beliefs.
I wish I still could still enjoy the liturgy.
She had 14 eggs in two cartons, so I just took
the carton with the two eggs and walked
back across the street.
She still has my compost mixer, but
returned the vacuum cleaner.
It all works out in the end.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Independence Day

Independence from the Motherland
whether country or familial,
celebrations lighting the sky,
sometimes legal, sometimes not
The sirens fill the night, police
cars trolling back alleys, young
men making a run for it,
beer sloshing from open cans,
joints, still lit, drop to the ground.
No sleep tonight for this neighborhood.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mom vs Money

Mom vs Money

He might be a criminal but at least
he listened to his mother.
Samuel Israel III, the fugitive financier,
faked his own death for the sake of money.
But when the choice was between Mom
and money, there was no contest.
He surrendered and awaits trial,
just the way it should be.

ROSS INTELISANO, a lawyer for investors, describing Samuel Israel III, a fugitive financier who faked his own death, but surrendered after talking to his mother.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Iranian, the climber and the wildflower photographer

The Iranian, the climber and the wildflower photographer

The snowdrifts rose steeply from the trail,
muddy tracks barely visible among scattered pine needles.
Early in the morning, the snow was icy, treacherous,
and no one was around, only a few birds calling in the distance.
The Iranian appeared from around the bend, carrying a
walking stick, two prongs stabbing the snow at each step.
He passed the stick to me and continued down the trail,
brightening the day, the snowdrifts seemed less daunting.
A young man dashed past me, crampons and ice axe in hand.
Mike and I lumbered towards each other, three
mysterious cylinders and a large box suspended from
his body, the wildflower photographer.
We were four now out here, in the shadow of Arapahoe Peak,
cradled in the valleys formed by ancient glaciers.
The Iranian, the climber, the wildflower photographer and me.
Photo courtesy of Mike, the wildflower photographer. You can find his other photos at

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


You know who this is for....


she reads poetry every day.
Cambridge, New Mexico, anywhere
she can get it, it’s her fix,
a rather harmless habit,
really it is, even if it makes her
cry at another young woman’s
absence, spending her birthday
under African skies instead of
blowing out candles at home,
where she thinks all children
should be on holidays.
she reads poetry every day,
various forms, but always
the same author, at the same
time, yawning, sitting down
with her coffee and cereal,
rumpled pajamas.
A fine way to start
a new day.