Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Giving a Webinar: aka talking to the wall

I imagined them glued to
their computer screens as
my disembodied voice filled
their empty minds with fantastical
ideas, the most wondrous theories,
salves to the tedium of their inner
lives; instead they probably read
the latest issue of Newsweek, Cosmo
or The New York Times,
looking up occasionally at
the clock and wondering when
they might politely sign off
without anyone particularly

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 501st

and when it started
it was a dare,
to run across the tracks
when the train was coming,
to eat 15 hot dogs in 1 minute,
to write every day
to someone you love,
the last one was the
easiest, 500 poems later.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Walking Keys

when they stopped
for coffee and sweetrolls,
the keys got bored and went
for a stroll down the avenue,
hitching a ride with a man pushing
his cart, having lost his cane, and
he looked at the keys in his hands,
not thinking they might belong
to someone stopping for coffee
and sweetrolls and he continued
rolling down the street wondering
what to do with them, it being too hard
to turn his rolling cane around
until he came to the post office
and dropped them off to be mailed
to far off lands,
while beautiful damsels, having drunk
their coffee and finished their sweetrolls
searched their pockets and hand bags,
being in quite a dither as to where
the keys had gone wandering off to,
when the man returning from his
rolling down the hill saw them and
told them to run, run quickly to the
post office before the keys were
flown to a far off office, when all they
needed was to be there at the coffee
shop waiting patiently to unlock the
two bicycles secured to the post
while the two beautiful damsels finished
their coffee and cakes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Driving in Queen Anne, Seattle

his mind must be warped to
believe the streets are square,
neatly ordered E-W, N-S,
Avenues and Streets,
not like Boston, he said.
the streets are neither E or W,
nor are they S or N, meandering
alongside the rivers and
seas, only slowly crossing the lines
on the topo map.
it is like Boston, where a right turn
does not unequivocably mean right,
but perhaps right minus 30 degrees,
or right plus ten.
his mind must be warped think
the roads are straight.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


the children were in the street again today,
a six year old boy and his two year old sister,
Guenevere, way too young to be dodging cars.
he had a fascination with sewers.
I often saw him over the last two years
peering way down inside the sewer drain
for raccoons which he saw come out at night,
climbing straight up the brick on the side of his house.
he wondered how they could do that and wished
he could too. He wanted to watch all night
but his dad made him go to bed.
Today, the children were in the street again,
gathering stones for a trail to the sewer
for raccoons or other interested parties.
He was sure other little boys would like
to know of such fascinating things

in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For Cecile and Vincent

Camembert house

after they all left,
picnic baskets loaded in the car,
blankets left behind, folded neatly
on stripped beds, water and electricity
turned off, the Camembert
continued to ripen in the lower
left hand drawer of the refrigerator,
for two months, maybe three,
the smell blooming to fill
not only the drawer, but the
whole refrigerator, impregnating
every miniscule crack, every pore
with Camembert of the strongest
variety so that when they came back,
so jubilant, ready to fill the refrigerator
with the delectable goods they had
just purchased, the house fell silent
as everyone held their noses
and then burst out laughing.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Birthday Present

back then I didn’t
dare wish openly for a girl,
another boy would be a fine
addition to the family, it brings
bad luck to have a preference.
I secretly hoped, keeping
my wish close to my chest
as I waited every day for
the new arrival, everyday
an effort in the unrelenting
heat, to wait, to wait
until I held my newborn
baby girl in my arms
and cried with

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Lives of Furniture VI: The Desk

when she was a little girl,
she curled up in a chair pulled up close to me,
with her markers and construction paper,
her wax sticks and stamp with
the letter “K” engraved on it.
in high school, I held her books
and papers, open, undone,
when she finally collapsed
into dreamless slumber.
I was so happy to store all her
treasures while she was away
seeing friends, riding her pink bicycle,
growing up...:
the small stainless steel can full
of pens, a stack of small notebooks
from each class, The Sun magazines
a stack of at least fifty CDs burned from
friends’ music collection.
She grew up. Nothing to do but sit
in a corner of a room watching the
sun come up and go down.
Such a terrible thing to feel useless.
(NOTE: The desk moved down the street tonight to a new home
where it will feel much more fulfilled.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

no father in my day,
instead the company
of pine trees and sage,
of new views at every
turn, the chance to stop
and watch the stream
meander through a meadow.
no required phone calls,
no obligations, no special
dinners, nothing but a
glass of wine in my
hand on a summer’s eve.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Lives of Furniture V: The Papasan

she never used to read much
before i showed up, falling asleep
two paragraphs after laying down,
her glasses thrown to the side of the bed,
her book face down, pages splayed
even though she knows it's disrespectful.
i’m here now, she lounges on me, her feet
perched daintily on the window sill,
books of current interest strewn
across the old chest next to me.
i hold her, sideways, long ways,
curled up, stretched out, no demands,
just like a big nest, she seems to like it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brain Explosion

my brain blew up about
three p.m. after working
too many hours on an
impossible problem.
the walls were covered
with goopy gross stuff
so I had to go home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rain III

the rain only stung our
eyes on the way down, having
lain heavy in the clouds during
the climb up, an endless pregnancy
that could last only so long,
breaking loose finally, a birth
of hailstones and raindrops.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Movie Queue

he said

she always picked bad movies,
ones with tortured relationships,

bad parenting, marriages falling apart

or untimely deaths of loved ones.

she said he always
picked bad movies, shoot ‘em ups
with blood and guts everywhere,

impossibly complicated spy films,

or endless scenes inside submarines

where you had to read the subtitles

all the time.

they fought over the Netflix queue
and ended up with the worst
of both genres so they could both

be miserable.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Search for a Cinder Block

He called for a cinder block
and left me
with a poem about a
lad who built pink rabbits,
leaving them
alone out in the fields,
or welded to the sides
of school buildings,
a lad who flirts with the law,
laughing as he disappears
into the darkness.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Watching Storms Roll By

eight a.m., the sun is shining, blue sky, warm;
at ten the wind picks up from the west, the
roses shake on their long stems, waiting for
ten a.m. dark clouds rolling in from the west,
ten ten, the heavens open, lightning spears
penetrating the damp earth, thunder rolling
across the skies, shaking the house.
the sun shines, blue sky, warmth on
the roses still staggering from the storm.
noon, dark clouds clustered around the foothills
to the west, as the wind picks up, they move
in, darkening as they coalesce into
black thunderheads, roaring from
a distance, lighting up the skies,
torrential rain pounds the city,
moves on, leaving behind soaked but
grateful lilies, still attached to long stems
by the mailbox, hesitant to fully relax.
two p.m. the sun shines, blue sky,
darkness gathers in the west for a repeat,
the roses, lilies, geraniums, coreopsis and I
all gaze in astonishment as the winds
pick up to gale force, blowing our faces
like windmills to the east, drenching us,
as if we didn’t know any better.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Best Storage Spot

The scissors had long since
been replaced, but I had to wrap
a towel around his neck when
I cut his hair. Surely
he had wandered off with
my box of haircutting supplies;
some long lost girlfriend
cut his hair, the box now
long forgotten, covered in dust
in the corner of her apartment.
only hitch with the argument;
he always wanted me to cut his hair,
no matter how miserable the result.
I must have stored it somewhere safe,
like we all do when we want
to make sure we don’t lose something.
No better place than in an
old suitcase, stored in the
back of the closet, safe from any
thief who might have their
eyes out for a box full of
haircutting supplies

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Breakfast at the Glenwood Springs Hostel

she’s got a toothbrush
hanging out of her mouth,
toothpaste dripping down her
chin onto her stained
bathrobe, and she’s cooking.
I see she has water in the
electric kettle and am about
to ask her if there might be
some extra for my cup until
I see her dump some clumpy
brown powder into the pot
and disappear into the
communal bathrooms. I
watch her cereal get soggy,
when she re-emerges, smiles
and apologizes for being rude.
I watch her prepare her lunch,
carefully wrapping it in some
used cellophane, wash the
electric kettle and head upstairs.
Her cereal must have been too
soggy to eat; it was sitting on
the counter as I ate my breakfast
and watched her walk out the door.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Color of Sage

a woman’s dress carefully laid
across an old wooden chair,
warmed by the sun, she runs
her fingers through her hair
as she gazes at the dry canyon,
the fragrance of sage fills her,
she watches a few cyclists ride
by on the dirt road outside her
window wondering if they know
that in which they are enveloped.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Swifts among Commuters

at the stop light, swallows
dive in between moving cars;
while seemingly
flirting with death, they
gorge themselves on
insects spewed up from the
roadway, nourished by the
hustle bustle of traffic.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buddy's Life Lessons II: Bark at the Sky

while humans carry heavy weights within
their hearts, waking in cold sweats,
terrified of nighttime’s shadows,
a solution is simply found by getting
out in the fresh air;
Drenched by
cleansing rainfall, the body sheds
inner anxieties with each succeeding
thunderclap, the darkest thoughts
illuminated with each lightning bolt,
the complete union celebrated as
dog barks at sky and sky barks
For those of you wondering what Buddy's life lesson I was...it was eating rawhide to deal with negative feelings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

White Plates

white plates lined the cabinets,
signifying order and conformity,
each table setting clean and neat,
uniform and repeatable from
breakfast to dinner, snacks included,
until one day they were all gone
and chaos reigned again; the
subjects of the small kingdom
celebrated by buying various
weird plates and cups, none of them
matching, some were cracked or
chipped and nothing was reliable or
uniform anymore, except love
which once again reigned supreme.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Volleyball Tournament

it was bitter outside;
students gathered in the
gym to watch the final
game of the tournament
before heading off to
homeroom for attendance.
there could not be two
teams more different;
one side in matching T-shirts
and shorts, the other a group
of misfits in striped socks,
and mismatched T-shirts.
The side of the winning team
volleyed back and forth almost
as often as the service;
the kaleidoscope of hair, caps,
jackets, arms and legs in
the crowd focused down to
a sea of rapt faces watching
the court, with the final bell
announcing victory for
the team that looked like
it couldn’t possibly win:
The Butterfingers.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Polka Dots

polka dots are
perky, cons
picuous and
perfect for a
prons for

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fixing the Gate

no further question as
to why it’s so expensive
to fix a gate, with its two inch
square posts,
two foot high metal
kick plate, layers of screws
and counter screws.
he cursed in the hot
sun, sweating, his dog, Buddy, the
source of all this trouble,
basking in the sun beside
his master all afternoon,
what better reward for breaking
the gate than this?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Running with Scissors: A Very Short Film Review

she started out reading aloud
to him, as all good mothers do.
he listened with rapt attention,
as all good boys do,
as each sheet of paper drifted
down from her fingertips after
being read, piling up
around her silver sandals, the reflection
of her face distorted in the base of
the chrome microphone stand.
she started out reading aloud,
telling him her story, not as all
good mothers do, and he listened
for many years as all good sons do.
One day he looked up at her face,
distorted by drugs and therapy,
and back down at the chrome
microphone stand and knew that
now it was his turn,
his story was ready to be told.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Picking Library Books

Let them pick themselves,
I’ll stand at a shelf, my eyes
half shut and let those who
wish to be read pop out
of the shelf into my
outstretched hands, as
if waiting for manna
from heaven.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I saw the shovel somewhere
back there, in the jungle that
calls itself a backyard; I
put on my boots to shed the
water dripping from foot-high
grass and went looking.
I found it, hidden beneath
the coral bells, vinca vines
and entwined in iris rhizomes.
I had to shovel the roof;
water logged blue spruce
needles held water against
my old roof, promising to
drip water like an old sponge
into my kitchen.
After, I carefully placed the
shovel back where I found it;
that way I’ll be able to
find it next time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


i was
pleased to
permission to
post a petite

Monday, June 1, 2009

Writing Letters

I used to write letters
on scented paper, sealing
them with melted wax
stamped with my initials,
and wait at my mailbox for
a reply, opening the letter
with excitement, hoping it’s
a long letter I can savor
while sitting on my porch, the
swing in the backyard, or in the
playhouse in the back yard.
I miss those days when
the mailbox yielded that special
envelope, that familiar handwriting,
the excitement, the pleasure of
opening the envelope, I still hope to
see a long letter I can savor
in my chair upstairs, reading a bit,
then watching the people walk
by the garden, and reading some more.
I still write letters, mostly on the back
of office paper, folded into thirds
to fit into a standard envelope,
but I know my recipient loves
to open my letters, hoping to see
that it is a long letter she can
savor over a cup of chamomile
tea before she falls to sleep
at the end of her day.