Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kitchen Objects I: The Grapefruit Cutter

I found it buried in the bottom
of a wicker basket in an antique shop
on the plains of eastern Colorado,
a town called Hugo, waiting to
be discovered and put to good use.
I imagine she
had long dark braids and freckles,
four children milling about the kitchen,
getting dressed for school, bickering, and
she smiled as she expertly sliced grapefruit
into their bowls using her Florida Grapefuit
tool she got at the county fair last year,
at a discount, when she bought a box
of grapefruit from Harry, her
high school sweetheart.
He’d showed her how to use it
since it sure wasn’t obvious to her,
but she had to admit it worked mighty
fine and she got to using it all the time.
I wish he was here to show me how to
use it, I’m sure it’s mighty fine.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hostess

she cooks carefully, the plain brown carton
of eggs balanced perilously on a stack of
her mother’s and grandmother’s cookbooks
adjacent to the stove; a platter lined with
six half empty bottles of syrups,
from Fredericksburg, Austin,
her last trip to Boston, random others
perches at the edge of the sink, next
to a stack of vintage tablecloths she
bought on sale at auction last weekend.
she carries the food to her guests seated
at the immaculately presented table,
matching tablecloth, napkins, silverware,
glasses, butter dish, enough room
for everyone to sit comfortably,
even the tall young man sitting next to
his cute little blonde girlfriend.
she hurries back into her kitchen,
skirting the stack of dog bowls on the
floor next to the New Yorker magazines
that she hasn’t caught up on yet.
After breakfast, she murmurs to herself,
she’ll have to sit down a spell after breakfast
and get some reading done.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Manager's Plight

The boss shuffled in,
his legs slightly bowed
from years of carrying the
weight of The Bureaucracy; the
balancing on the shifting sands
of political battles, time cards,
employee reviews, adhering to
every policy, bending to the
corporate machine, while also
pretending he cared about the
person waiting to speak with him,
another barrier to leap, and he
glances up at the clock, his
chair protesting as he sits down heavily
and waits to hear
what he has to deal with next;
what unhappiness, what personnel conflict,
what request for more money, a different
cubicle, a different job, a different life.
the Manager, his legs slightly bowed from many
years of carrying the weight of the Bureacracy,
knows that he has no power to change anything,
above him, below him, or perhaps,
even within himself.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weeds among the Bricks

he told me one summer
he laid brick, one piece by one
piece for a patio for his parents,
the hot sun burned his back,
years later he had melanoma
and had to rush to the hospital
for emergency surgery.
he left home, and every year
visited his father, the spaces
between the carefully laid bricks
filled with weeds, purslane and
thistle, milkweed and mallow,
the sharp edges he laid so carefully
now crumbled with age and neglect.
years later, he laid brick again
for his new wife,
straight rows of aged brick he
gathered from his father’s house,
the same small gaps to gather
the seeds which infested the patio
so long ago, places for the same
weeds, this time he left the weeds
to his new wife
to weed alone, never
looking back.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Liquid Glass

A man made volcano
so brilliant white as to
burn your eyes, sunburn
your skin, from which
liquid glass sprays
downward, towards earth,
disappearing into a
cloud, hissing, cooling,
solidifying, back to glass
now in wonderous shapes
and sizes, fragments,
sheared, shrapnel.
we shade our eyes and
watch in wonder.
This was amazing to watch, solid glass was melted with
a powerful arc torch,
the liquid glass flowing from the reactor
into a water cooled vat. All part of a media event
at Zybek Advanced Products.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Making Popcorn

i wondered if it would really pop.
how long has it been since a kernel
has popped in hot oil on the stove,
in a mere saucepan, without having
been prepackaged in a flimsy Aluminum
pan where we marveled at how the
aluminum foil billowed in front of
our eyes on the stove, or if we were
really lucky, over a roaring campfire.
would it really pop, i wondered, if
i didn’t unwrap the cellophane, flatten
the folded packaging onto the
microwave tray and listen
for when the pops were more than 5
seconds apart.
would the corn really pop if it
was not previously drenched in
fake butter and salt, do farmers
really still grow popcorn that pops
the old fashioned way, the way that
i remembered and it felt so strange
to heat up the oil in the saucepan
and put a single kernel in and then i
remembered as that kernel popped to
quickly add in more and put the lid
on and shake the pan over the heat,
the steam billowing out whenever i
lifted the lid and the kernels popping
furiously, the smell of hot pop corn
filling the kitchen, the taste of simple
pop corn in my mouth,
on my tongue, just as

i remembered
it, so long ago.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Eye's Illusion

The illusion
that the image
on my retina
is really
you rather than
a reflection
of my own

Sunday, May 24, 2009

such a small world

the muted green pods have
fallen off, onto the damp
earth, and the exposed petals are
now crumpled, no longer
fresh and bright.
now, the ants are receding
from the peony buds as they
prepare to burst into bloom,
then they, too, will fade,
leaving Shasta daisies to light
the warm summer afternoons,
such small movements mark
the seasons, the weather, and
come to my mind when I
review the day at 11 p.m.,
not the wars, nor famine,
peace talks, or the fall of the
Tamil Tigers, as they are all
unknowns to me, they do not
mark my days, as perhaps they
should, I worry about my very
small world of influence as I
watch the birds alight at the

fountain to take their fill.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Rain

it always rains on
Memorial Day weekend, when
the tilt-a-wheel comes to
town, and hordes of yellow
rubber duckies line up at the
creek’s edge in the annual
race to the finish line.
it always rains on Memorial
Day weekend, and
soggy revelers drag themselves
from tent to tent, protecting
their hot dogs loaded with
sauerkraut under umbrellas.
Only the creek is spirited,
torrential rain adding to
already overflowing banks.
I listen to the rain tonight
hoping not to see swollen
rivers flowing through
the streets tonight.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Date at the Hospital

They only get a babysitter
when she goes to the hospital,
to have a new baby, or when
her back goes out, or when he
had knee surgery last fall.
they call the neighbor who
comes over, her hair in rollers,
the old pink sponge rollers that
she can sleep in all night, in
between waking up to her
husband’s snoring.
They don’t believe in babysitters,
having read too many issues
of The National Enquirer about
psycho babysitters cooking small
children for dinner when they
were bad, and fearing such losses
birth several extra children,
which is when they have a date
together alone at the hospital,
enjoying their conversation
in between contractions and
checking on the children with
their neighbor in her pink sponge

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Falling into Fractals

she’s a beautiful girl,
freckled lips and curls
streaming out from under
her bike helmet, racing
headlong into life. i know
though, that she reads dictionaries
in her spare time; she
confessed that she has the
most fun with fractals,
tracing each detail into
the smallest dimension
until it is only exists
in her minds eye.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Opening to Spring

closed still, but a sense
of promise, an opening
towards spring perhaps.
with heat,
today, orange bursts
forth from muted green,
yet still contained,
tomorrow, her
shell will fall away,
petals will stretch
outward, gathering
the suns rays as a
dancer swirls her
floral summer skirt
in a May dance.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Childhood Places I: The Playhouse

the smell of darkness filled my nostrils,
dankness, moisture, earthworms moving
under my feet, tunneling, eating, leaving
behind dark humus buried under wet leaves.
the sound of cars climbing the hill
in front of our house drifted in the
small windows framed by rotting wood,
snails leaving behind a silvery
trail of mucus, otherwise it was quiet,
i could sit and listen to my heart beat
or listen to the seashore in my ears.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lives of Furniture V: My Bed

My bed is tucked into an alcove;
I have to crawl over the bed to
get under the covers, and it’s difficult
to make in the morning, so I don’t.
I wake up in the morning to an
orange glow, the color of that
fake cheese one finds swirled over
cheap nachos at Taco Bell.
I used to sleep on a water bed,
never sure where I was or who it
was sleeping next to me.
Now I nestle into my soft bed,
my companion a stack of books, reading
until that moment when my eyelids
droop and I fall into a deep sleep.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Her Own Apron

she wanted her own apron
for cooking in her first apartment,
something cheery, maybe Pink,
(the name of her bakery one day),
she likes polka dots.
An apron with all her mother’s
recipes, her cooking advice
written in the topstitching,
hidden in the pockets.
She’ll wipe the flour from her
nose and cheeks onto the front
of her apron, untying it in one
movement, hanging it on a hook
in the kitchen as she heads
out to entertain her guests.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Sabbatical

Hello Readers, I'm in need of a bit of a sabbatical after some 45o or so postings over the 16 months. You can look for me next Sunday!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Lives of Furniture IV: The Table

she started painting, tentatively,
from one corner, having penciled in
squares the previous weekend,
when he was gone camping, he said.
the color, baby blue for when she met him
as a young girl, his boyish face.
and from the other side, she painted
in squares, pink, her innocence.
The square of sunlight moved from
the entrance of the kitchen down the hall
way to the front door and she painted,
pink squares from one side, blue
from the other, more and more feverishly
as dusk approached, then slowly,
sadly as the answer become clear to her now.
The pink and blue squares approached
but never merged, passing each other
like two trains at midnight, the moan of
their whistles dissipating into the

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Celebration of Cigars, of Daniel

the one on the left i’ve known
for many years, he in his plaid shorts,
t-shirt culled from racks of clothing at
Nordstrom rack, having applied the same
perseverance to this educational journey
as when he put
away his toys for nine months upon
arrival of his baby sister, preferring
to focus his energy on extensive tantrums
three times a day,
this one who emailed
me from Tangiers to let me know he was on
his way to Senegal, alone, leaving now,
and who arrived there by foot, bus,
train eventually, to the tremendous relief on this side.
this one who pulled out in front of the
pack of racers, calling out, “Hi Mom!”
only to disappear into the pack on the
next lap, and to drop out of the race by
the next, happy.
this one, who celebrates with the
other graduates, this one,
this young man,
my son.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Listening to a Commencement Speech

I am reminded of stopping
at the pull outs of super highways,
dusty roads in the middle of nowhere,
forced to get out of the back seat
of the Mustang along with the
other four children and read the
faded text on the dilapidated sign.
A badge of childhood.

I watch my son wriggling in his seat,
listening to the commencement
speaker drone on and on, we
both endure, wondering why we
inflict this upon ourselves on
a beautiful day in Spring.
A badge of accomplishment.

Badges, symbols of lives lived.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cleaning for Company

I just noticed that the top of washing machine
is grey, with streaks of dried dishwashing liquid
crusted over with dust and dog hair.
There are occasional rabbit pellets scattered
across the frayed carpeting, and the kitchen
floor has fossilized raisin bran once soaked
in milk peeking out from under the stove.
The top of the dresser by the front door
is covered with unopened mail and open
seed packets and the dishwasher provides
horizontal storage space for hand lotion, a
Warriors for Peace poster secured with my
blue neck gator, a small ceramic gnome
and countless other, essential treasures.
What would the guests think if they were
to see such a mess, except to feel relieved
that everyone else lives just like them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Finches

she called them
pulsating pussywillows,
the two baby finches
nestled inside a
the small gazebo
swinging lazily
in the breeze on
my front porch.
pulsating pussywillows,
the small fluffs of down,
not a feather in sight yet,
which pulsate, yes, pulsate
with each breath,
pulsating pussywillows
indeed. Yes.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'd call it Restlessness

People are going places,
winning scholarships,
moving to new places,
learning new skills,
I study the difference
between two tomatoes
started from seed at the same
time, one put inside a water wall
versus the other I kept inside,
I watch the grass grow taller
in the backyard and wonder
when I will mow it,
I build a chickenwire cage
around the finch nest to try
to protect the babies from a
marauding blue jay.
Other people are riding
long distances, reading literature,
advancing themselves,
I struggle to write a poem tonight
about something remotely
I’d call it restlessness.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Matlab Mothering

most daughters call their
mothers for a shoulder to cry on,
a recipe for pie crust,
to tell her about the boy
she just met, or worries about
an exam, a conflict with her best
girlfriend, mine calls me about
whether I know how to do a
Fast Fourier Transform in Matlab.

I can provide a shoulder to cry on,
how to make an easy pie crust,
that he sounds nice,
remind her she always ends up
in the top 5% after “failing” an
exam, that things will work out
with her friends, but I don’t
know how to do an FFT
in Matlab,

even though I should.

I hope I am still a good
enough mother.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

E is for exhaustion

T is for tired,
A is for aching
and S is for sleeping.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Turning 40

a grey hair appeared at his temple
and he swore that his back hurt a bit
more, his neck was stiff and his bunion
was more prominent and painful.
he was scared of that big 4-0,
where everything was supposed to
be figured out, grown-up, where
he would know what he wanted
to be when he grew up, not realizing
most people don’t, anyway.
most people color their hair,
pluck their eyebrows, pump iron,
run their first triathlon, buy a Mini
Cooper or get a younger lover.
turning 40, isn’t it the new 30
just like 60 is the new 50, 70 is
the new 60, but everyone gets old
eventually, and
it’s ok.