Saturday, February 28, 2009

Looking for Cereal in City Market

Looking for Cereal in City Market
I am looking for cereal.

The aisles seem to stretchout like long lonelystretches of highway,signposts spaced at both ends, I need binoculars to read the one at the far end.I find the cereal aisle.The full 1/8 mile of cereals, from Kellog's,Post, Nature Valley, Udi's, generic; from corn flakes, to granola,Rice Krispies, Cocoa Puffs.I thought I knew what I wanted.My mind spins as my eyes scan five levels of cereal and I look desperately for S., to make a decision.I feel ill all of sudden,the shelves tower over me and the other side linedwith 20 horizontal feet of coffees and teas, hot chocolates and creamers, sugar, flavorings.S. is wavering, studying ingredients, I have to step in so we can leave. Generic old fashioned oatmeal with an ingredient list this is less than 2 inches long and doesn't contain too many words I don't recognize.I can't face looking for anything else. We pay and rush outside,stopped still in our tracks by Venus hovering next to a luminous Moon in velvet darkness.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A tiny text tells a

A tiny text tells a tale of the waxing moon kissing Venus in velvet darkness.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Tyranny of Book Lists

The list gets longer and longer,
all the must reads, the profound,
the erudite, the astounding turn
of words, the layers of meaning.
I’m exhausted.
Midnight’s Children,
The Metamorphosis, The Penal
Colony and other Stories
sit at the top of the stairs.
GoodReads reminds me of the
countless books waiting to be
read, calling out to be
fully savored. Reading them
will make me a better person,
enrich my understanding of
the cultural diversity across the
globe. I’m exhausted.
Instead, I went to the library
and picked up two novels
which would be immediately adjacent
to my book, if I had written one,
in the fiction section.
I plan to enjoy The Guide and The CEO
about a fly fisherman taking a CEO
out for a fishing trip, and
My Favorite Midlife Crisis (yet),
further description not needed.
I’m feeling better already.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A bouquet of Chihuahuas

a dozen tiny Chihuahuas
danced in tidy pirouettes
around their mistress’
practical, but prim black shoes
as she stopped to chat
with another elderly friend
on the Boulder Creek Path.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boxers for Curtains

We wandered the fabric store,
our eyes roving over row by
row of baby dinosaurs, Chinese
dragon ladies, jacks and queens,
fuzzy ladybugs and gingham kittens.
She paused at one bolt,
fingering it carefully, then moving on,
whispering to herself, “Looks too much
like boxer shorts.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

Daisy Takes Over

Daisy Takes Over

everyone who has met Daisy
knows she is bossy,
lunging and growling, herding
us until we, the residents of her
small kingdom,
fall into line.
it’s no surprise then, that as
the sewing business spread
into her territory, she took
charge, demanding to oversee
all production, including
fabric selection, cutting
operations and quality control.
Never mind that she has a
Mohawk and dreadlocks,
Daisy knows style when she
sees it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tree Haircut

every time the wind howled
down Grove Street, we
all trembled in fear that
our big white maple would
crash down upon our houses.
too many flicker woodpeckers
had made their homes within
the mighty trunk; the tree
did not offer much resistance
to their steady hammering
each springtime.
we also feared that our tree
would be completely removed,
leaving an empty place in our
neighborhood, in our hearts.
the workmen arrived early
that morning and I watched
from my bedroom window
as they so carefully styled
her branches, clipping a little
grey here, a little grey there
before moving on to the
next grand old dame a little
further down the street.

Saturday, February 21, 2009



We used to run
down to the lake
in the moonlight,
ditch our clothes
and swim out to
the dock,

cleansing ourselves of
all the demands of the day:
the guests at the lodge
who needed clean sheets
or a crib for their new baby,
the cook who needed two
dozen potatoes peeled immediately,
the owner of the camp needed
one of the boys to
stack wood outside
Owl’s Nest cabin.
back on shore, we shake
ourselves like dogs,
slip back into our clothing,
and head back to bed.
Morning will come too soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bolo Tie

He stood in line waiting
to pay for his coffee,
draped in a two tiered
turquoise bolo.
he wasn’t a cowboy either
far as I could tell.
that tie has a story to tell
about the airport being shut
down by a winter blizzard,
passengers pacing up and
down concourses, every seat
in every bar filled, eyes
scanning the news for a break
in the storm.
one man decided he had
enough of the waiting, the
nervous energy, the crying babies
and he set off in the snow
until he arrived at the
Denver Stock Show.
he wandered the stalls,
breathing in the pungent odors
of straw, manure, dander,
leather, gazed at countless displays
of western ware, boots, jewelry
until he saw it, displayed against
a black velvet cloth.
he paid for his coffee and
wandered off to a small
table in the back corner.
five minutes later, I turned
to go talk to him but
he was gone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weight Training Brings Results

That evening she called out to him,
after lifting weights, after sweating
next to each other, after hearing each
other’s breath
She called out to him between
snowflakes, to see if he might
want to do something
they were both alone in
the world, everyone seemed
to be going home
to someone.
He turned towards her
and said yes
and a week later,
he pulled her towards him
and kissed her.
He will still never
admit such a bold
move, that shy Texas

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Matchmaker, matchmaker

three matches down, she’s
already guaranteed
a place in heaven.
but that’s not enough,
other lonely hearts are beating,
they need a lovie, too.
a vivacious spirit needs a
gentle nurturing touch,
an eccentric needs someone
with a more mainstream pantry.
miles do not matter at this
age, the heart’s desire will
find a way to overcome
distance and time.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Swinging in the Wind

The wind threatened to carry
off the porch swing, the one
with the names of long lost
lovers carved in the wooden
backrest, the one with the cushion
which used to be cheery and bright,
but is now drab and covered with
hair from the cat who sleeps there
in the sun on better days.
Yes, it blows in Boulder in the
late winter and early spring.
Even the most hardy of cyclists
stay home or go to the track,
tree branches tumble to the ground,
new windshields no longer look new.
The porch swing is still there, wedged
sideways and twisted, three out of
four chains still attached.
Somehow I find it comforting to
see such perseverance against
such an opponent, even if it is just
a wooden swing.

Monday, February 16, 2009, or both?

I think they might make a good match,
she’s a special ed coordinator,
does yoga, and asked me about
traveling to far off cities, finding a
free place to crash using,
and whether to date guys from Match.
I met him, how else, because I slept
on his couch while visiting my daughter.
He rides bikes, works with troubled kids,
and he might even do yoga.
Certainly, he has the weirdest collection
of unlabeled foodstuffs in his kitchen
and I didn’t gain weight from eating
delectable late night snacks
(like I am doing right now, calipers
or not…).
They might make a good match.
Should she couchsurf with him,
go on a date with him through Match,
or both?

Sunday, February 15, 2009



My toothbrush hangs out
on the kitchen counter, erect
in its electric charger stand,
next to the wooden cutting board
that used to be twice as big
before it split in half five years
ago, when David left.
I see most toothbrushes stored
in bathrooms, on vanity countertops,
or maybe hidden in drawers, next to
a tube of Crest toothpaste.
Tonight I saw a toothbrush on
the edge of a bathtub, next to the
bottles of shampoo and cream rinse.
I see my friend standing in
her shower in the morning,
warm water streaming
down her back, her face uplifted,
brushing her teeth.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hamsters Step up to Battle Climate Change

Hamsters Step up to Battle Climate Change

All dressed up in little lycra exercise suits
stitched with piezoelectric threads,
hamsters step up to stop climate change.
they go round and round on their wheels
while we sleep, from dusk to dawn.
each movement generating a tiny amount
of electricity which feeds into the
massive power grid spread across America.
Inedible cellulose in one end, fertilizer
out the other, and power in between,
hamsters are the miracle animals for
the 21st century.

Article and photo by

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Hem Dragging Through the Dust

A Hem Dragging through the Dust

they are completely silent,
their hems drag in the dust
of streets lined with Taliban fighters
which they dimly see through
the screen of their burkas
a young boy is at their side
escorting them as required
by law, a law that ensures
complete suffocation of spirit,
complete subjugation, complete
servitude to the male
this silence is heard around
the world by other women,
we wish freedom for them.

I just finished reading The Bookseller of Kabul
and am horrified by the terrible repression of
women by the Taliban.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Late

the heat turned off for the night
about six hours ago and it’s cold.
The clocks stopped ticking,
they were tired and went to sleep.
the rabbit is sacked out under her chair,
and the city is dark and quiet.
it’s time for me to go to bed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Collision in Space

Space is not so infinite,
so pristine, so innocent.
we are filling it so quickly
with our toys, our guns,
our tools, our telescopes,
satellites tethered to our
human needs and desires.
Satellites race past each other
at breathtaking speeds,
each must follow their
prescribed paths through
the heavens, no
starry eyed wandering
through the universe looking
for love.
A Russian did that today,
his collision with the American
blew them both to smithereens,
we will see their tears
as shooting starts rain
down upon the earth.

Graph from NASA Orbital Debris Newsletter: Orbital debris is a serious problem in space, particularly at 800 km polar orbits. This area is of great interest to me in my work, as well as just being interesting in general. Some of the larger debris generated in this collision will fall through the earth’s atmosphere as shooting stars.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Waiting Alone at the Bar

She was sitting alone at the bar,
her coat and bag hanging on the
empty chair to her left,
clearly waiting for someone.
I watched her from my table,
as she ordered a drink,
then after another ten minutes
ordered her food.
She removed a small
notebook from her purse and
started writing.
It was then that I overheard
her say to the bartender that
she took advantage of these
unexpected free moments
to write her daily
poems, this one was
to be about

Monday, February 9, 2009

Two week countdown

the trainer reminded us that
we have to weigh in on the 26th,
that she’ll pull out the evil
calipers, lifting our shirts
and measuring our remaining
rolls of fat, carefully recording
the numbers in our folders, comparing
their values with measurements
from last October when we started
this journey to fitness.
What I dread most is the tsk-tsk
she makes when she notes that
I have not lost any weight, nor have
I gained muscle mass.
Makes me almost want to
stop eating chocolate and drinking
wine for the next two weeks.
photo courtesy of

Sunday, February 8, 2009


you can turn lips into kiss,
and good into home with the
mere (nerd) press of (me)
a button (autumn) but if (he)
you are not careful, you may
find (dine) yourself in trouble.
I have (hate) learned this
by rapid texting.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

To Prevail is Honorable...

Her mother earned her Ph.D. at age 50.
She left five children home alone,
handwritten instructions on the table
on how to bake the meatloaf, a can
of corn and permission to have
two cookies for dessert.
She went to Northwestern University
straight from her work as a French
professor at a small private college nearby.
There was no time to come home,
no real reason to, my friend told me.
The shabby couch and broken TV
provided no sustenance, no comfort.
The kids fed the dog and played
outside on the street.
During those long hours
on the road in the darkness of night,
this mother found reasons to keep
going besides the five kids at home.
To simply prevail is honorable,
to find joy somewhere is better.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My First Sale

The First Sale

before I left to meet my friends,
i heated a newly made corn bag in the microwave,
sure to be a selling point on a chilly day.
who could not resist a warm corn bag
made of cheery yellow cloth sprinkled
with ladybugs and decorative side stitching?
after ordering, i ceremoniously
announced the start of my new business
and passed around the first one for sale.
Cozy Toes Corn Bags!
in no time, i had my first buyer,
and another order placed.
who says it’s so hard to be a
(Corn bags for sale: $20, covers $15)
Turn the thermostat down, heat up your bed instead!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wishes for a better Mind

I wish I could pick up a book,
flip through the pages
and know everything that
was there to learn, as practical as
how to sew a better corn bag,
as cognitively challenging as
how to numerically solve an ordinary
differential equation using
Matlab 2008b, as important as
how poliovirus replicates.
I wish I could listen to someone
speak and understand all they said,
as well as all that was left unsaid,
whether it was a lecture on
the hypotheses surrounding
the end of snowball earth,
or whether what they were saying
was true or used to manipulate.
I wish I had a better memory
so I could pick up that smooth
serpentine African rock in
my kitchen and remember its story.
I would even stop ordering the same
movies over and over from NetFlix.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste
and I wish I could
inhale the world
of knowledge

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Scenes from the Pool

Hot tub I:
Three young Mexican men
hanging out, talking about work
and girls, their thin white T-shirts
translucent against their lean chests

Swimming Laps:
Two women and one man
swimming from end to end
in a dreamy slow motion of
synchronized dancing in
three keys; backstroke, breaststroke
and free style.

A heavy set man receiving lessons
on scuba diving from an instructor.
He struggles to keep his balance
dressed in scuba tank, meters,
wet suit, flippers, mask and snorkel.

Hot tub II:
It is quiet. I turn on the jets.
A sharply dressed young man
sits nearby in his wheelchair,
facing the hot tub.
His head is slightly cock-eyed
and his tongue does not quite
fit in his mouth.
He looks peaceful and alert.
I wonder why he is alone.
A woman walks up to him,
touches him, talks to him,
gently moves his head to a
vertical position.
She picks up his
arms which have been laying
there motionless and moves
them back and forth and up
and down, in rhythm with
her voice.
I cannot see her face but I know
she is smiling at him and
loving him.
She backs away and I see
him smile at her, the kind of
smile that says he loves her
and appreciates her from
the depth of his soul.
After a few moments,
the effort seems to exhaust him
and his head droops a bit,
his face relaxes into a quiet
I am deeply moved.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Penny Aced the Pomeranian

It was a long drive from Boulder
to Lamar, and the brilliant rash
spreading across the girl’s neck
nixed any thought of buying the Pomeranian.
A tired father glanced around for
another solution and set eyes on
a tiny dog staring at him from a
small cage, huge ears erect, shining eyes.
One look was all it took, an
instant communication; what
took you so long to get me?
Penny quickly became part of the pack,
the alpha member of the family.
All seven pounds.
She let them sleep with her as
long as they didn’t hog the bed,
and she had access to her ladder
to get down in the morning.
Sometimes she forgot she was
so little, looking way up at a dog
she’d been trying to boss around,
Dad sure came in handy then.
Sallie, Ashley, Chuck and Irene
all fell into line nicely.
Seven pounds of puppy,
large as life,
sorely missed.


Penny died last week. She was much loved.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Sewing classes and layoffs.
Inaugurations and empty
plastic containers.
An email rolls in today;
“You are uninformed and

Elegant elderly Italian men
and stubbed toes.
The inconvenience of dogs and
the tyranny of the calorie.
“You’re too negative”, another reader
informs me.

High tea and life on the road
with Justy.
New boots and lunar dust.
They obviously don’t know
me very well,
but it still

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The life of an athlete in Boulder

The life of an athlete in Boulder

They go out in their
fill in the blank….,
Castelli race kits,
Nike's Air Zoom Moire shoes,
Speedo Fastskin swimming suits/
They descend Old Stage Road at 50 mph,
run recklessly at 5 a.m., a small pool of
light bouncing in front of them on the rocky
trail, turn blue with the effort of
swimming multiple laps breathing
as little as possible.
Exhausted they go home
and stub their toe on the doorjamb,
and wake up in the morning with a stiff
neck because the pillow wasn’t quite
It’s the little risks we take.