Friday, April 30, 2010

Earplugs and Crabby Old Women

I must be getting old and crabby.
a little boy comes in to the doctor’s
office with his father, running up
and down between the chairs,
waving his truck up and down,
throwing his toy ball up in the air,
enjoying life to the fullest.
his father sits down, pulls out his
Blackberry and starts reading
emails and texting his friends, at one
point leaving the waiting room
to make a private call, no doubt to
his mistress who does not have children.
I always carry a pair of earplugs;
I ignore the child who seems to
want me to play ball with him
since his father isn’t in the room.
I insert the earplugs and resume

Thursday, April 29, 2010

People on the Bike Path II: The Professor

his head bobs up and down on
his torso balanced so precariously
on his legs, slightly pigeon-toed
feet in black wing-tip shoes;
he hunches like a stork, his long
neck drapes towards the ground as
if looking for small fish;
he is ready to fly away.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Swirling Edges

looking sideways,
the world clicks in an out,
black out and flashing lights,
following by a twirling kaleidoscope
of the beauty of the emerging baby lime green leaves,
the pink skirt of a coed walking by,
a navy blue cap swirls, rising in
cadence with his footsteps.
looking ahead, the world in focus,
a man carrying a briefcase, two
dogs pulling a skateboarder,
a red car with a turn signal.
The edges are disorienting,
ever so much more

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Too Many Sneezes

I’d love to write a poem
but the pile of Kleenex obstructs
the screen and my hands
are too busy
rubbing my eyes and
scratching my throat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Keeping His Line

the wind was howling
like a crazed animal, coming from
one direction, then another,
falling back, only to lunge forward
with renewed venom.
it was tough riding, yet
you would never know it
from watching his line.
He never wavered, cutting
through the wind as if it
weren’t there, or was not worthy
of his attention.
Ahead, a rider dodged in and out,
half wheeling to the left, to the
right, falling back and pressing forward
with the wind.
i rode in his wake, completely protected,
moving slightly up or back, to the left or
the right to find that sweet spot where
the wind didn’t find me,
never having to worry about whether
he would keep his line.

Thank you, S., for being so steady in the wind, no matter from where, or why, you're always there.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


the fish is not responsive,
neither is the fellow across from me
who is wrapped in what looks like
a bath towel; not sure how
he got in the house.
he stumbled in this afternoon
with a dog wrapped in a thunder
blanket; they are both a bit odd.
back to the fish.
he didn’t respond when I asked
what to write about tonight.
not very appreciative for all I
have done for him, rescuing him
from the tank with all the
dead floating goldfish that
the customers can’t see
(hidden as the tank is, in
a dark corner)
the Paris guidebook says I should
have booked the hotel two months
ago; the fish didn’t tell me that
the help is not reliable around here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Learning to Tie my shoes on a Match Date

I hate when shoelaces come untied
on days like today.
It’s too windy to lean over while
holding your umbrella under your chin;
your laces flop on the wet pavement
and you walk like a duck to avoid
stepping on them.
This morning as I leaned over to tie
my shoes, I remembered the Date
when I learned how to tie my shoes
so they would not come untied.
He arrived late in his white Escalade,
certainly no tree hugger that I'd ever met,
a good ten years older than he advertised,
telling me way too many details for why
he was late; I’d be embarrassed to share them.
He actually didn’t work because he was
so old that he was retired and I reluctantly
started up the trail with him, planning
on how to make the hike as short as possible.
My shoes kept coming untied and he
taught me how to tie my shoelaces
so they would stay tied.
This morning I was glad I knew how
although I’m not sure it was worth it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Remembering Earth Day 1976

We loved the Earth;  we were
a bunch of scraggly M.I.T. geeks
who wanted to make full scale models
of solar paraphernalia to celebrate Earth Day.
I signed up to construct a mock-up window
solar thermal panel box out of Styrofoam panel,
10 feet by 4 feet by 4 inches with a glass top
and a lip which would fit over a window sash.
Me, who gets confused screwing in a lightbulb,
was staring at, yes, Styrofoam panels, uncut, at
10 p.m. the night before Earth Day.
I could only think that Brian, our fearless leader,
was going to kill me for not coming through.
It was Cambridge, it was dark, it was probably
rainy and cold, as it almost always was.
Most of the time you muddle through these
things and remember them with a laugh ten
years later, or thirty, or whatever.
I only remember staring at the 10 foot
panels of Styrofoam and panicking.
I think I’ll call Brian and find out what
happened after that, if he’ll talk to

Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dreamin'; Sometimes better than life


It was a terrible day.
So, I ended it
by going back to bed
(and flying in an airplane
The air was turbulent;
the plane bucked in the
wind and we were headed down.
(Maybe I should wake up
after all, real life was maybe
We went into warp speed.
This was fun after all.
My fellow passenger
told me I passed out
and started crying,
but I knew that nothing
could go wrong
and to just trust.)
It was a good dream
after all.
I woke up

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


three of them sat on the curb,
their heads wobbling slowly, giggling
and burping occasionally as if
they were stoned, which they were.
It’s 4/20 after all.
The roads are blocked with minor
fender benders; the police
are taking forever to get the basic
information from drivers who can’t
remember who they are or where
their license is and they’re happy
to just shoot the breeze with the nice
man in blue at the window.
A blue cloud hangs over town,
the slightly sweet aroma of dope
pervades the air, even cheering up
the middle aged housewives like

Monday, April 19, 2010

Poem in a Poopy Bag

they wonder what I can write about
every day; they don’t know I
often stare at this computer screen
at 11 p.m., cursing this misguided
dedication to the written word, this
ideal that there is something worth
writing about, and then as I sit, I
remember what M. said that was
so funny, or the look at D’s
face as we rerouted around the
pixels that make us puke and she
gave me another poem title and how
someone who is not a dog person
has poopie bags in all her pockets.
Must be to capture all those moments
in life that otherwise would get

Friday, April 16, 2010

pushy women who need to be right

you’ve met a few of them.
short ones with stiletto heels, an imperious glare;
they walk down the sidewalk with their
Doberman pinschers; miniature so
that they can look taller than they are,
more powerful than they really are.
there are others; you’ve met the ones
who pretend to be sweetness and light
with their cute curls and softspoken voices,
but who hammer you relentlessly, biting
at your legs like a junkyard dog with a pink
ribbon, until you jump over a barbed wire
fence just to get away.
watch out for pushy women who need to
be right, especially the nice ones, the ones
who offer help; run quickly before you
agree to something you’d regret.

Thanks to EM for prompt for this poem

Thursday, April 15, 2010

People Walking on the Bike Path I: Soldier

he walks as gracefully as a dancer,
his stride even and unhurried, each
foot placed with confidence.
He could be a business man or
a professor, but he is a soldier
marching down the bike path in
his combat fatigues and well polished
boots, a dark cap gracing his head.
His gaze is straight ahead and calm,
except when I call out my usual morning greeting
when we cross paths near the bridge;
I am rewarded with a nod and
a slight smile.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Eve of Tax Day

does the city use more electricity tonight,
when thousands of residents open file drawers
reluctantly pulling out disorganized stacks
of W-2’s, bank statements and random
slips for charitable donations.
we wait until the sun has dropped below
the horizon, reluctantly putting away
garden tools, closing our novels,
opening our laptops and burning
the midnight oil for tomorrow is
tax day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Waking up, I see that
my arm has creases in it,
the inverse of the creases in the sheets
on which it rested the last hours.
is this why the dead rest facing
up on their satin pillows so
as not to arise from the dead
with creases in their faces?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Found Treasures While Picking up Garbage

Three of us in orange vests
flitter in and out of ditches
lined with stands of broken
stalks and matted grasses
looking for trash; the usuals are
in good supply:
empty bottles
of Budweiser and Southern Comfort,
crushed Marlboro packets and countless
cigarette butts.
We talk about latest novels, sisters,
getting dropped on a “B” ride,
until we realize Sharon has fallen behind,
like a dog does when he has found a
particularly tasty morsel where even
a stern call from his master will not
pull him away.
She came towards us holding her
treasure, a small jawbone with teeth
still intact.
We dutifully admired it and got back to our
chatting; Jim’s bad back, Jamie Oliver’s
new weekly show and where to buy
good quality meat.
I always find friendship in those ditches
amongst the dead bones and
cigarette butts.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Doggin' it up to Jamestown

I ponder the electrical behavior of sodium ions
in window glass as I watch Sharon’s blue
jersey disappear around the bend. 
(and when I’ll actually sit down to
write that paper because I know I’ll
need to sleep after this ride.)
She slows down  to let me catch up;
we discuss the merits of
women’s colleges, tuition costs
and Spring training in Tucson.
It’s amazing how a tiny amount of
impurity dramatically affects the work
function of a surface and how it then
interacts with other materials in contact.
Sharon slows down again and I tell
her I’m hungry and want to eat a pancake.
I wonder how badly the forests will be
affected by the pine beetle, and I
hope that it’s not going to be so bad
as on the other side of the Divide,
and can’t wait to eat one of those
blueberry pancakes, and I’m not sure
when I’ll write that paper that’s due
Wednesday when I haven’t even
started, but if I can get all the way
to Jamestown, I’ll call the day
a success.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Haircut on a Friday Night

It’s eight o’clock on a Friday night.
As I drive up
I see Angela sitting with Tim
and Tiffany watching headlights
passing by, waiting for the salon
to close down for the night, after
having swept the floor from the last cut.
Not yet, customers trickle in,
happy after a couple drinks at the
local bar, lonely after an evening
without a friend, or just passing by and
realizing they need a cut and Angela
is there; I fit in two of the categories.
She’s a big woman, immersing you
in the details of how her 12 year old
son, her mom, what was wrong
with her first marriage and why she’s
not rushing to do it again, she was just
thinking of you and wondered when
you’d come in again, after only one
cut and you believe her
because how can you

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Raking in the Community Garden

She picked out mulch
from the disorderly pile
I had raked out from
garden beds covered in
last fall’s leaves, carefully
returning each piece
to the beds.
Like a small steam shovel,
I continued raking the next
set of beds, making more piles;
mulch, gravel, leaves, stalks,
pulled weeds, casting a slightly
apologetic glance her way.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrating Daniel

His first night home from the hospital,
we stayed up late watching him sleeping,
afraid he would stop breathing during
the night without the nurses nearby, that
somehow he would sense our incompetence
as parents and in his dismay, forget how
to breathe.
The second night, we were glad he fell
asleep so we could crawl to bed ourselves.
The third night, I think we fell asleep
before he did, although it may be that we
just entered a quasi-comatose state.
The fourth night, his grandparents arrived
and took over; I just woke up to feed him.
He grew, he learned, he played, he loved,
we loved, we played with him, we grew up
with him, we watched with wonder,
amazement, at times shaking our heads.
Eight thousand seven hundred fifty four
days later, after class, he finds
home made chocolate chip cookies in his mailbox
to celebrate his birthday.
I celebrate him.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mullets and Braces

I told her she was beautiful.
She asked me why men don’t seem
attracted to her, all the men on
rejected her.
I said they were dorks.
She asked me how she could meet
a nice man like S.
I said he would not have dated me
if I still had super short hair, that is what
he had told me.
She said, Wow, that surprises me.
I reminded S. about that and how
men are dorks, even him, which he
regularly reminded me of anyway.
He reminded me that I had a short
mullet and braces when we started
I forgot about that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Secret Love Affair

over dinner and drinks,
she told me she had a poem for me,
(as she reached back to caress the silky
waterproof fabric of her new jacket).
she had a confession about a secret
vice she had, that no one knew about,
(as she picked up the silvery-grey
sleeve of her new jacket to inspect
the nicely aligned stitching).
she leaned forward slightly, so as
(to ease her new jacket onto her
slight shoulders), and to tell me more
about this poem material, this secret
vice (that wasn’t so secret anymore).
she stood up (in her new jacket )and
gazed lovingly at the reflection of
(her new waterproof jacket) while
I photographed her for the poem about
her new jacket.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Old Sweat Pants

when they first met,
he wore pressed shirts and clean Dockers;
she wore mascara and high heels.
they sprayed Binaca in their mouths
before they met for dinner
and brushed their teeth before
kissing in the morning.
after a few years together, the dockers
no longer fit (he ate too many cookies),
the high heels had been given away,
they competed in farting contests after
eating too many beans for dinner,
he took to wearing her white
reading glasses with plastic flowers on
the hinges and wore dirty sweat pants to dinner.
she no longer wore high heels,
did not do a very good job of coloring
over her increasing strands of grey hair,
and only brushed her
teeth religiously when she had
to go see the dentist.
they were much happier together.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Relaxing over a glass of wine,
I speak seven languages:
Recognition, Love, Discernment,
Beauty, Friendship, Sensuality
and Knowledge.
while I sleep, I speak the languages
of Fantasy, Dreamwork and Rejuvenation,
and when I work, I speak the
languages of Perseverance, Diligence
and Learning.
we go to school to learn English, French,
Latin, Greek or Italian, still impoverished
we seek new languages that are found
elsewhere, in the embrace of a lover,
a phone call with a child, warm
between the sheets of our beds at night,
in our offices, our noses in
the pages of a book which fascinates us,
not a dictionary in sight.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dog in Thunderstorm Season

before we could detect a sound,
dog is standing erect, ears back,
his tail arrested in space for a
moment before dog starts crying
and prancing, and we moan that
it’s thunderstorm season.
we hear something from our office,
the crackle of lightning, the building
rumbles in response.
no doubt dog has finished panic stage
one and entered panic stage two;
with no intervention in sight.
(we work by the way).
dog goes for window that once
provided escape nine years ago,
easily ripping wood window framing,
then realizing dog door is open and
easier than fully destroying the window
dog exits house and proceeds to
destroy gate
we go home to get dog before
gate completely destroyed, otherwise we
will find him outside in the park
barking at a tree