Friday, October 31, 2008



In darkness,
her eerie smile lights the room.
It’s Halloween
Until that moment,
there was only
an unopened bag
of candy by the
door to mark the
Now, at 6 a.m.
Halloween has arrived
as surely her eerie
smile lights
my day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Humming on the Way to Work

Riding into work today, I realized I
was humming that song about the
birds and the bees and the flowers
and the trees, and the Big Rock
Candy Mountain.
Later as I looked for the lyrics
to my morning song, I found that
the Big Rock Candy Mountain
is not part of the birds and the bees song.
I’m sure these songs which rise up in
me early in the morning tell me
about my day, so I’m not sure
how to take the latest song which
popped into my head in the last five
minutes, “Good-bye, Joe, you’ve
got to go, to the bayou.”, realizing
later that those weren't the lyrics either.
I’m certainly glad I already saw
my therapist this week or we would
spend the whole session on the birds
and the bees and the Big Rock Candy
Mountain. I can only imagine how
she'd want to explore that one.
Way too transparent for my

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How Not to Prune a Tree

How Not to Prune a Tree

her branches reached for the sky,
only to be hacked to the ground,
her trunk sliced in two,
her energy pushed down into
the ground, the result of
a red neck with a chainsaw
and nothing better to do.
But wait, she tries again, sending
out small branches, each of them
reaching up to the sky.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



I was vacuuming the living room,
zoned out, thinking of how I should
do this more often and why I don’t,
deep thoughts like that.
The light changed in just a few minutes,
from the time it took to vacuum from
the kitchen to the living room, from an
ordinary late afternoon sunshine to a
preternatural dusky rose cast.
The housewife in me focused on
getting the vacuuming done, the poet
in me dropped the wand and ran to
the door to catch a glimpse of magic.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Bad Part about Writing a Great Poem

writing a great poem makes
it harder to write a mediocre one,
as if the bar has been raised
permanently, no room to slip
underneath when no one is looking.
a paralysis sets in, an expectation
of greatness that you achieved once
and maybe will never achieve again.
what a burden, then, to write a
great poem and then to never enjoy
writing again.
Give me the joy of writing many
mediocre poems any day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Write Proposal or Go to Obama Rally?

The deadline is looming
and everytime I look over
at the stack of papers, my
stomach sinks. There is so
much to do, and
so little desire
to do it.
I’ve got to do it,
but the sun is shining,
a beautiful day to
go see Obama speak
in Denver at 10 a.m.
Home by noon, nap,
write the proposal,
should be fine.
Obama wow’ed us at 11:30,
appropriate to celebrate
the event with an Amber ale,
Scottish sausage and kraut,
and ..chocolate.
Actual: home at 4, nap, start
the dreaded proposal at 8.
No way to finish it and
so it waits for me again
The deadline is one
day closer. I can’t
wait for it to arrive
so I can finish writing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Penultimate Movie Goer

A quiet evening at home with
no interruptions…Friday night
at the movies!
Freshly made popcorn, the kind
I like, no compromises, the
natural stuff with no salt,
no fake butter, no taste.
Haagen Dazs vanilla bean ice
cream for my second course.
I settle into the spot in the
dinette bench where
the spring is broken, stretch
my legs across to the other bench,
slouch into the movie watching posture.
Aaah, no dogs underfoot, no one
else hogging the other bench,
battling for limited real estate.
Open up the laptop, plug in the
speakers and log into Neflix,
survey the vast array
or possibilities with that delicious
feeling when you make all the choices.
I settle on a Spanish film to get
ready for Costa Rica and a fun
film to finish off my night
of popcorn and vanilla
ice cream.
Twelve minutes of Belle Epoque,
seven of Ratatouille, popcorn
and ice cream gone.
The penultimate movie goer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Lonely Guidebook

The Lonely Guidebook

I was never much of a planner.
Vacations were random at best,
disastrous when an expired passport
was discovered three days before
departure for Italy.
A successful trip was when I left
the house with a credit card, clean
underwear and a slip of paper with
the airline and flight number on it.
A toothbrush was a bonus, and
a sandwich, apple and some chocolate
in my bag was a home run.
Tonight, I sit mere inches from
a guidebook to Costa Rica.
I think it might even be calling to me
to at least crack open its cover,
look at a map inside or a few
pictures, turn it over, or
at least, move the paper sitting on
top of it off to side so I can see
the picture on the cover which is
surely lovely.
Not me, I say back to the book.
I’m not getting lured into spending
endless hours with you or your friends.
I was never much of a planner
and it’s not going to change tonight.
I’m busy watching the polls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Slobbering Dogs Interrupt the Latest Polls

it’s hard to concentrate when
all I hear is the slobbering, gnawing
noises of two dogs chewing their rawhide,
punctuated by the cracking of bone.
my obsession with the latest polls
overturned by annoyance at how
loud and obnoxious they can be,
how thoughtless, really!
and then I know they will come
over and lay their slobbery heads
on my lap and look at me lovingly,
fully expecting me to turn my attention
to them since they are now ready.
and all I want to is some peace and
quiet so I can obsess over the latest polls.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Absence

they used to circle in her mind,
as automatically as the blood in her veins.
without a conscious thought, she
knew where they were, how they were.
she was thus able to attend to visiting the neighbor
to pick up her Christmas cactus that
is blooming now under their care.
that space that used to be filled seems
empty now, and worries wander in and
out as ghosts drift in and out of old

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


when she turned away from the sun,
the long scar was visible below her left eye.
I’d never seen it before because her
smile so dazzled me, and her eyes
twinkled blue, grey and green all at once.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Father

He used to laugh when
the tent collapsed on us in
a torrential rainstorm,
and watch with amused interest
when the flames from the fire
licked our young hands
as we tried to cook pancakes
or eggs in a tiny frying pan.
Better than eating cereal
that had been in his trunk
for two years since the last time
he dragged us on a summer
vacation to somewhere we never
wanted to go.
This was the man who knew about
the murder of two young girls,
and maybe participated, who
concealed evidence at the very least.
The man who always called us
spoiled American brats, even though
we had nothing.
All the extra money was used to
satisfy his desires.
This man would have been 90 today.
Thankfully he left us in peace
20 years ago.
I sure don’t miss him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Worland Warriors

The Worland Warriors

The Worland Warriors bus
was parked out front this morning.
I could see their coffee cups
sitting on the table and the
afghan throw folded neatly
on the couch, but no sign
of the itinerant inhabitants.
They’ve been about town,
moving constantly so as to
evade the parking police,
seeking out a roomy four car spot
in a nice neighborhood.
They’re gone now after
such a short stay, only enjoying
the view of my garden for this
one lovely day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Man on the Bike Path

Every day, rain or shine,
I’d see him on my way to work.
I would be riding my bike,
he would be walking and
we’d usually pass each
other by the 30th Street

Everyday he carried two full
plastic Wild Oats bags,
wore those headphones
that have an antenna
sticking up from the left side
for reception, his watery
blue eyes focused
on the sidewalk three feet
in front of him. He never
looked up at me, his expression
never changed, his mind somewhere,
not related
to here.

Sometimes if I was running
very late, he would have arrived
at the bench by 19th Street
He would sit besides his two
full plastic Wild Oats bags and
listen to his radio, thoughtfully
regarding the creek and the sky.

Wild Oats doesn’t exist anymore.
Yesterday I saw him with two spanking
new Whole Foods bags,
filled to the brim.
Even he is affected by
corporate mergers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sleeping under the Stars

Sleeping under the Stars

she lies across the bed
diagonally now,
her head regally perched
on a silk pillowcase
passed down from
her grandmother,
her long legs visible
under the blankets
extending towards the
foot of the bed,
her legs crossed,
gazing skyward
as if casually watching
the stars wheeling overhead

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spilt Milk

Milk and broken glass
exploded from the
impact site, where
thin walled bottle
and asphalt
An unforeseen
and unwanted
It was night,
I was tired,
my sneakers were
now drenched.
I left the $6 for
the milk in the
cooler, going

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Not Ready to Go Grey

I’m not ready to go grey,
regardless of my feminist leanings,
my full and unequivocal support
for those who do.
Grey doesn’t match the color
of my freckles, the color of
the seat on my 50 cc scooter,
or the warm color of my skin.
I’m not ready to go grey
even though I know I should.
I am so vain as to enjoy when
people seem surprised that
I’m fifty and have two kids in college.
Even if they don’t really mean it.
One day, my hair will be
a wave of silver
and I will be beautiful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Dollar's worth of Calamari

A Dollar's Worth of Calamari

The shiny beige wedge of squid,
reposed on the worn cutting board
waiting for the chef to wield
his newly sharpened knife,
waiting to be sliced in half,
opened, exposing an inner flesh
decorated with a bony saber and
a gelatinous unidentified object,
both summarily picked off the surface
and disposed of out of view.
Next, this glistening surface was
to be sliced across, lengthwise and two
ways diagonal to soften the
rubbery flesh.
We watched in morbid fascination
and with some semblance of doubt.
We, who were used to delicate
fried calamari which dissolved in
our mouths with hardly a chew.
The usual routine, high heat,
oil, minced garlic, Kosher salt,
pepper, saffron from Spain,
diced red pepper and green onion.
The not so usual:
lots of butter and plenty of white wine.
Served up on chipped china from the
home economics kitchens at
Platt Middle School.
Rubbery squid in an excellent sauce!

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Discipline

No Discipline

Two days of blowing it off,
not even an attempt to write a poem
on a spare scrap of paper, surrounded
by new material; the ocean, sand,
long shadows cast behind primeval
rocks as the sun sinks into the
sea, a fireball extinguished by water.
No discipline, only excessive eating;
local fudge, blackberry jam, fish
and chips, killer caramel-brownies.
I arrive home finally, bearing sweet
gifts of dark chocolate walnut fudge,
exquisite caramel-pecan turtles and almond toffee.
I started obsessing that I couldn’t write anymore.
I’d lost my discipline of writing every day.
And then, when I thought he wasn’t looking,
I absently mindedly munched the chocolate
he had left out for himself to eat later,
only to turn my head to see him staring at me.

No discipline, he said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My dear loyal readers- I

My dear loyal readers- I am away from my computer and will not be posting today! How very sad. I will post again tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Good Lutheran

I was blissfully unaware of Lutherans
until one sat next to me on the flight
from Denver to Portland.
I didn't know the Devil was
responsible for the interfaith
strife between various Christian
denominations, much less that
Buddhists and Muslims, Hindus
and Jews were destined for Hell.
He used his pale blue eyes, his intent
probing stare to drill into my brain,
attempting to bypass any semblance
of logic I applied to the matter of hand,
whether the Devil is responsible for all evil,
whether Jesus came to use the sword on
his people, or to teach love.
Lutherans believe in the former.
He was heading back home from a
conference of pastors, newly loaded
with fire and brimstone messages.
I was on my way to see a friend in
need, to share a little friendship,
to offer a bit of comfort.
What would Jesus do?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Man with the Bald Head

Tell me it isn’t so.
A Buddha head tattoo’ed
on a bald man’s head,
the swollen lips purplish blue
as one might find at death.
the outline of head matching
that of the bald spot on his
head, the poor guy.
Dressed in his purple-red
striped yoga pants and
Sarah Palin designer glasses,
he waited impatiently to
get his high blood pressure
medication at the pharmacy.
How fitting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Burnt Popcorn

Burnt Popcorn

the smell wafted across the theater seats,
burnt popcorn
not the theatre’s popcorn either,
that overpriced stuff drenched
in fake butter
that clogs your arteries.
No, the homemade stuff that you
sneak into the theatre to
avoid paying the ridiculous
price they want for that ghastly
popcorn drenched in fake butter.
the top most kernels almost
tasted ok, just slightly smoked,
but the inner kernels were black
and I may have even seen
a few whisps of smoke still
rising from the bag.
I suddenly feared a theatre manager
might turn off the movie
and turn up the lights to find
who had the gall to sneak in
a bag of popcorn, burnt popcorn,
or that the smoke alarm
might go off.
In a complete panic now,
I poured the popcorn into
my messenger bag
and slouched down in the
seat to watch the movie.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Phone Call

The Phone Call

my phone rang finally.
after searching google maps
for a small house on the beach,
where his phone rang endlessly,
with no answer
writing down the phone number
of the local post office where
maybe they had seen him,
checking whether there is a
local police station that might
be able to find him.
searching the local newspapers
for any information on where
he lived or the name of the
woman who ended her own
life only one wall distant from
where he lay sleeping,
awakened by the thud of her body.
living with fear that he had
joined her in some terrible pact.
my phone fjnally rang.
it was him,

Monday, October 6, 2008


the recollection
of the past, the present,
the café where we sat
and talked about what happened
that fateful day.
A re-invention, integration of
that day, and today.
the storm that shook your house,
one that was approaching
for so many years.
the sunshine that beams
in the clear window today.
a recollection, a new picture,
the past shaded a little less
black because I am sitting here,
next to

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Problem with Pacelines

The Problem with Pacelines

I wish I could say
that I was tough,
could hang with the group
in a left rotating echelon
or a right, pulling up
only to drop back
and pull up again.
But that would be a lie,
of course.
Instead, I pulled off
to the side of the road
and burst into tears.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Please bring me a Junk Novel

a formidable stack of
literature at the top of
the stairs

as soon as I finish
one, another rises to
the surface

about children who are
raised to be organ donors
and dare to fall in love

a child drowning in the local pond

the horrors of industrial agriculture,
unrequited love leading to suicide,
head scarves and death in Turkey,
drugs, rock n’ roll and riots in the 60s,
and let’s not forget the
devastation of

Please bring me a junk novel.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eulogy to Snowflake

Eulogy to Snowflake

He was never much of a leader, but
he had keen ears and was the first to hear
the crinkling of a paper wrapper and corral
his female companion to head that way.
Nipping at her heels, he’d make sure
she cleared the way, only dashing in
front of her when food was in plain sight.
He sure knew how to charm the ladies.
Dapper in his white coat and grey ears,
he’d run upstairs to visit Daisy,
while Butterscotch fumed below.
When he finally hopped back downstairs,
there was hell to pay.
Fur flew everywhere, more white than brown,
I might add.
When Butterscotch died, he was more than
a little interested in the brunette upstairs
and requested a meeting on neutral ground
in the kitchen, where she showed him who’s
boss and he happily transitioned from widower
to married once again.
Now Daisy is alone and she runs on
her own quickly to the sound of crinkling
of a paper wrapper, only now it is
just me who makes sure the path
is clear.

Karen and I adopted Snowflake and Butterscotch when they were babies March 20, 1999. They were probably born in January of that year. They lived very happily until Butterscotch died in March of 2007. I had another rabbit, Daisy, who I had never been able to bond with another rabbit. Daisy and Snowflake bonded beautifully after Butterscotch died, and Daisy was never so happy as with Snowflake. Daisy and I will both miss Snowflake very much. He was a very special bunny.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Past is the Prologue to the Future

the past is prologue to the future

(statement by Senator Joe Biden in response
to accusation by Gov. Palin that we must
only look to the future)

every breath taken
every word spoken
every emotion evoked
lays down a pathway
from which you step
forward from past
to present to future.
every book read,
every conversation shared,
every embrace,
every sweet moment,
and every painful one
propels you from yesterday
to today to tomorrow.
there can be no future without
a today or a yesterday.
the past is the prologue
to the future.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


at least no one’s in jail,
no one’s in the hospital.
a brush with the police
and a bout of strep throat.
nothing too serious in the
grand scheme of life.
merely a nuisance party,
a bit of bad luck,
nothing that a new apartment
and a dose of antibiotics can’t
solve after all.
that’s what someone who isn’t
a parent says.