Thursday, June 30, 2011

How To Read a Poem

I’m reading how to read a poem
with an open mind and heart, as one
reads a piece of paper pulled from a bottle
washed up on shore while the wind rages,
rain pummeling your macintosh,
the dog pulling his leash to go home
and have dinner and a nap by the fire.
his words sent to you while he lies
at death’s door, in the arms of his lover,
or perhaps baking bread in a hot apartment.
who knows from where this came, this
particular choice of words put to page
in this book that I happened to pick up
in the heat of this evening, a cars headlights
flashing in front of me, read me, it says
with an open heart and mind, hear me.

Note:  Yesterday I read all the poems I wrote in June in 2010.  Many of them referred to specific events that happened in my life, in particular traveling to France and Switzerland with Karen to celebrate her graduation. Others were quite mysterious...what was I writing about?  what prompted those words?  I wished I had made little notes when the poems were clearly unrelated to what was actually happening.  Thus, I make a note here that this poem comes from my starting to read the book How To Read a  Poem by Edward Hirsch.  This book was recommended by Elizabeth Austen;  I heard her read at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore in Boulder. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I didn't know

I didn’t know I loved the earth until
wet mud squeezed up between my toes
cooling their ardor for constant motion,
settling me down into daydreams in the grass.
I didn’t know I loved a daisy until its
petals dropped one by one onto the
hard blank floor, now decorated with random
splashes of white and yellow.
I didn’t know I loved a plane until she
was inside hurtling towards me from far off
lands, soon to land within arms reach.   

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


behind her hands
tears fall to the table
seen even if no one
is looking.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Climbing Ladders at Bookstores

arriving at the top rung of the ladder
I thought I had made so much progress until
the ladder swung north, me south,
book dropped to the floor, opened

spine broken, , pages, dog saliva splashed across
the title page, the authors name literally smeared with spit.

lovely.  such is life.

the kitchen smells of burnt eggs and left over fish,
boyfriend dropped the toothpaste cap into the toilet,
my boss, the only one I ever loved, marched out in handcuffs.

here by the pond, koi glide gracefully through still clear waters
only to disappear into the swirling waters of the culvert
trapped by a grate to drown in their own waters

Such are the mysteries of life, the first born a motley
assortment of words only a mother could love, seeing
their beauty beneath a slick layer of blood and mucus.
a triumph to join the many that follow ending up
in a blue recycle bin.

one day words fall in place like dominoes, the first good poem,
I climb the ladder again, tattered, slobbered upon, broken book
under arm to rearrange all the books that teeter precariously
shedding single words like tears to the floor only to be
swept up by an indifferent clerk at the end of the day.

Picture by Marty Caivano

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is Daisy Dead?

lying on her side, lolling head, eyelids half shut,
the lens of her eyes dried over
is she dead?
finally dead after thirteen years
blind with blue cataracts, blundering into the
walls, wondering where she is
is she dead?
guilt rises in my throat that I ever wished
her dead when cleaning messes, refilling food,
taking care
is she dead?
in the summer the soil is soft and yielding
for a new grave next to the others,
a good time to die,
but is she really dead?
I call to her and she rouses herself,
bumps into the wall going the wrong
direction, then dashes towards
another bunch of carrot tops.
she’s alive.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Shy Neighbor

he wandered in, tentatively.....
timidly scanning the crowd until he saw my hand
and rushed towards us smiling
the relief was written on his face,
we all know it, that moment when
a welcoming face meets yours in

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birthday Cards and Cupcakes

early morning los angeles coffee and cupcakes
twenty dollar bills and birthday cards twenty-three
years later after countless dirty diapers and Harvard
degrees in no particular order.
she rises with the sun, tossing her curls towards
New Zealand, shuffles out in pink slippers to
read the New York Times, what does Paul Krugman
have to say, or maybe Maureen Dowd, maybe a new
posting on Le Poeme, CarboConfidential or some
other nugget, the smell of coffee fills her nose
life is good at twenty-three.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Twenty Texts

twenty texts so far or more
of love, of food, adventure, futures
of faro, of flour, baking and biscuits,
hiking and hellos too long delayed,
twenty texts gone, twenty more to go
or more before she comes home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Poetry Reading at Innisfree: Elizabeth Austen

whereas they mouthed their poems into the mike
she sashayed across the stage singing so succintly.
what a difference one night makes, a different venue,
a crowd of poets instead of a crowd of drunks,
stone sober, sensuality expressed without a c and an f,
who knew a poetry reading could be so good.

Monday, June 20, 2011

2nd try at a Poetry Reading at laughing goat

we waited a moment to honor a dead poet
who didn't write such trash as this, who
needs to use such words, such ugly words.
she turned in her grave to look west
from her home town grave towards the mountains,
aghast that they honored her like this,
the microphone went dead, the lights flickered,
an empty chair scraped across the floor,
she made her case and disappeared into the
darkest wind rushing back to fill her place.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

just look up

just look up, above the crowd of weeds reaching for the sun,
flowers gone to seed wafting on the wind towards adacent gardens.
just look up above graffiti'ed garage doors and peeling fences, 
above piles of dog shit, in bags or covered in flies, the stench rising
towards your unseeing nostrils, your unsuspecting footstep.
just look up, bats are swirling as gracefully as acrobats, the
moon and the stars circle in the heavens above you,
just look up, and enjoy the view, whenever you can.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A white dress, a yellow tie...and socks

he looked older than his identical twin brother standing at his side
it might have been the suit or the serious look on a face when committing
to a life of togetherness, they call it covenant in this part of the world
where women are baby factories, cooks, washing machines and a
salve in the night when all are fed and bathed, the dishes are done.
the yellow socks called out against all that solemnity, against black dress shoes
and grey suits, against the Temple and the bishop standing in front of them,
yellow socks belong in bike shoes pedaling up Cottonwood Canyon
for a picnic by a gurgling stream fit for a young woman in a white dress.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Tight Fit

the middle seat and 50% of the aisle and window seats were occupied
a sprawl of a man, his flesh stretching the buttons to the breaking point
his knees pressed hard into the seat in front, hands like ham hocks
and a smile that could break your face if you looked too long.
he knew what you thought, he knew that sinking feeling you had
as you double checked the seat number and you knew that you had
better "think thin", real thin, suck it in and squeeze by,somehow
you did by constraining his sprawl with arm rests and gently placing
his forearms across his mountainous belly as he slept, snoring like
a baby, a look of innocence splayed across his grizzled face.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The New T.V.

Three years, seven months later I agreed it was time
to upgrade to the smallest LED T.V. you can buy,
a piece of the American Dream to watch T.V. while lounging
on the bed, silk pajamas rustling in the air conditioning,
the Afghan hound sleeping on the oriental rug adjacent
to our King size bed with its matching duvet cover.
The servant brought us a mango margarita and peeled grapes
as we settled in for another exciting episode of 24 before
the butler took our slippers off for the evening, turned
down the bed, leaving us our nightly piece of chocolove.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Humvee Accessory to Home

Khaki green Humvee to match
the color on the house,
a collectors item purchased for porch appeal,
a conversation piece for company coming tonight
for calamari and cake
They'll drink to it, smash a glass, glittering shards
will glisten on the concrete walkway
as they go back inside for a gin and tonic.
the men will retire to the den for a cigar,
the women to discuss chicken recipes.

Monday, June 13, 2011


oh gnarled girdled guardian of the forest
how gracefully your branches graze the sky
a gurgling brook sings to you.
grizzled miners have marched by searching for gold
gnomes have danced at your feet each full moon
Goldilocks has hidden behind your grandiose trunk
Guard us from our greedy ways, 
there is no glory grabbing for gaudy accessories.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

unrequited loves

their eyes never met, their gaze fragmented
by an acute obtuse angle of pain that
never added up quite right for her.
his eyes were on another but hers gazed
out towards the silent hills bathed in
lavender and encroaching dusk, a lone
bicycle approaching along the dusty road.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Working with an Ex-husband

He looks good after all these years,
a little gray around the temples, a few age spots,
but no sign of a receding hairline
his wedding band looks polished, no quick release,
so that must be going well and we fit well
into the tiny conference room filled with gadgets
for my brother.
he yawns like he always did, asks good questions.
I think we do better  this way.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The perfect dog for me

He's quiet and doesn't make a mess, nor does
he howl at skateboarders or snap at visitor's ankles.
She doesn't jump on the couch or shed on my clothes,
he doesn't load up only to come slobber on my lap.
She looks three dimensional and disappears at
convenient angles, she's the perfect dog for me.

Photo taken at the MIT Museum Holography Exhibit (by me)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pie Accessories

dress me up with a border of blueberries
or a swath of strawberries I can fling
over my sweet shoulder draped in whipped
cream, pinch my crust into heart shaped
patterns glazed in butter and brown sugar.
Hug my apricot filling with crenulated
lattices, place me on pristine doilies
laid on Grandmother’s china serving platter,
cut me with the Emperor’s silver saber
with its jewel encrusted handle and serve
my finest slice to the Queen. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Flying: Boston to Denver

flying softly above a pillow of clouds
resting on thirty thousand feet of air
pillow top flying with food and wine,
conversation and comraderie,
all with the swipe of a Visa,
what could be finer that flying
on a diner with company to boot.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Nothing Makes Sense: or, my experiments gave results which make no sense

Ah, grief that knowledge does not indicate understanding
all five girls eating pizza outside are blonde
a Democrat sends lurid photos on Twitter; only Republicans do that
Bernie could he cheat his own people?
since when do aging men carry guitars around like baseball bats
slung over their shoulders as they leer at blonde girls eating pizza,

why do poor people vote Republican so the wealthy don't pay taxes, 

how can polymethyldisiloxane probes stick more to surfaces
that shed dust, that of all things is the most mysterious to me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

34 years later

we were walking down the hall holding hands, Joe and me,
captured in time, a silver emulsion laid down onto cellophane,
a frame frozen onto the window, not together as foreseen
he's over three, up seven and lives
in Seattle with three children and a wife, not me,
on the bottom row so I can get out faster, in
three and a half years, not four.
thirty four years later we were walking up the stairs,
Marc and me to take this photo, thirty
years captured in a microsecond onto a CCD, frozen
in time in a blog post, not on a staircase at MIT
crowds rushing by on the way to class.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Visiting Cambridge

I am here even though you are not,
a shaft of sunshine warms the chair where
you usually sit drinking your coffee,

ghosts haunt this town, the Austrian
isn’t sitting at the bar like he should be,
his smile frozen until I walk in the door,

neighbors are no longer neighbors
although they still have the same names,
carriages are filled with others children,

the poet writes in Vermont, the chess master
no longer huddles in his down jacket; he has
retired to a warmer climate, my professor
is long in the grave.

What to do but warm myself in the sun
where you sat and drink a coffee,
immersing myself in a good book
that you recommended.   

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anniversary Poem

white dress encased in plastic
along with the dreams that came along that
day for the ride, all shiny new
promises that drove away six years
later sitting in the passenger seat looking
at her mother, wondering why she
bought a sports car when her hair
is streaked in silver and dad is waiting
home with the baby
so many cars and dreams
some go to rust in