Wednesday, August 31, 2011

what are you thinking in the middle of the night

what are you thinking in the middle of the night while the world sleeps
next to you, slightly snoring dreaming of having eaten more than his share
of rhubarb crisp and you are awake
thinking of molecules rushing from place to place until they land
somewhere very cold, colder even than Alaska where my friend
loved to ski, nut that she is with her red nose
we drink together every Tuesday night.
have you felt guilty for eating my rhubarb pie, I ask him
while he sleeps but he does not respond and I wonder
if tomorrow he will weigh more and regret his actions.
thinking of watermelon seeds, research not getting done,
how when your hair gets all grey you must dye it as soon
as you see the grey part, it looks so dreadful otherwise.
the clock is ticking away the minutes of precious time until
I must think again in my office chair, better get to
sleep and stop thinking in the middle of the night...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Life as a Raccoon

A spotlight travels across me and it isn't a fashion show
with me decorated in abundant foliage, purple grapes as mouth jewelry.
That black dog is not my bodyguard with her teeth gleaming in the moonlight.
I'm trapped on top of the pergola waiting for the inevitable
high pressure spray of cold water.
My life is hard for those few moments until
they all go back to their margaritas and chips, TV series
and warm beds as I continue a pleasant evening foraging through
dumpsters, berry patches, gardens flush with ripe corn
until dawn comes and I head back to my storm sewer for
a good day's rest.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lake Isabelle

few visitors on this rainy day
clouded over, windy and cold
only raindrops dance on Lake Isabelle
her entourage consists of picas,
chipmunks and marmots, a few trees
stand by quietly, the stream meanders
continuously, the rocks see no reason
to move, settling heavily into the hillside
for another day of watching the
scenery roll by.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

let me sit quietly

let me sit quietly among my misconceptions
so harmless they are, so comforting on this hot summer night
where the mind protests point and counterpoint
let me gaze at the flames flickering from the two candles
in the middle of the table, past the ones who demand
a deeper consideration of the issue at hand
that don't interest me after all is said
my tongue lingers on the last taste of molten
ice cream, the last sip of wine, facts do not
matter right now, let my misconceptions
last a little bit longer on this lovely summer night.

Friday, August 26, 2011

At work

she was growing her limp hair out
at the same time that I was cropping my exuberant curls
we are always at odds with each other
she looking up to see if the managers are approving
me making sure they are not looking so I can do my job
we sat in my office today talking
and it was all ok.
maybe she will cut her hair since
it looks atrocious
I do not plan to grow out
my exuberant curls,
only to color them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My fantasy front window

Why can't this be my front window
I'd happily change my address from Grove
to Bayleaf, and provide chocolate to all who
chance to come by seeking nirvana in sweet,
dark chocolate, preferably drenched in
roasted almonds, cherries would be ok,
too, and I'd even sink to milk chocolate
if necessary
I'd promise to share after getting a big
tummy ache and when the scale broke
maybe it's better if I have to walk there
and pay $2 a bar, quite a deal
after all.

It's a local business on Pearl Street and the chocolove is 
indeed $2 a bar, screaming deal.  They also have totally cute
and yummy things.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

he'll go far

Prof. JP said, "He'll go far, that boy" as did
M. and S. and ...well the others, too, and
I looked at that tousled head with curly hair,
cut so badly by women who don't know
how to cut hair but love him anyway
in spite of dialogues misunderstood or never
understood but just acknowledged with a
smile and a look of intelligence that may not
be too convincing as it's hard to look intelligent
when you have no idea what someone is even
talking about so we'll watch from a distance
as he goes far and we will wish him well,
hoping he will come back to visit us
from time to time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Po boy

fried soft shell crab squished between
french baguette, cole slaw squishing out
the sides, mayonnaise and other fatty stuff
squishing out between the chopped cabbage
for a good ol' Southern meal replete
with white wine to dissolve
all the fat globules away.
would you like some
pecan pie with that?

Shug's is pretty ...well, yummy. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The smell of rain on asphalt

dry, for the moment
perched on metal patio chairs under a cafe umbrella.
we know it's raining in spite of deafness by the smell
and humidity against our exposed summer skin
just for a moment until the rain extinguishes
the heat and rain sprinkles through
an unwilling umbrella.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The coming season of rest

I wish I was that blade of grass
swaying in the breeze on a Sunday morning.
I wish I was that lodgepole pine towering towards the sky
rooted deep yet unencumbered.
I wish I were that bee landing on my shirt, almost too small
to be noticed, essential to the world.
I wish I were the soil beneath my boots covered
in a soft layer of needles, pine cones and rotting branches.
I wish I were that bird flying from tree to tree
carrying small twigs for her last nest
before winter settles in.
The grass will bend its weary head into the snow,
the soil will sleep under a white blanket, sap
will slow down in its journey upward, the bee
will find its hive.
I will go to work every day as if
there were no seasons.
I wish I were a tree, a bee, a bird, a blade
of grass or the soil under my feet where
all embrace the changing of the

Saturday, August 20, 2011


"terrified traders swarm towards gold, the new wampum"
a word pulling forth a memory of squatting 
close to the earth marveling at a small shell in my
childish palm, a tiny disk I could hold up to my innocent
eye, squinting through to see into the past
when a young Indian girl milled this tiny hole
into the shell with a simple tool, so precious
to her and to me, that I placed it in my pocket,
where it survived countless washings and dryings
until a childish hand reached inside to find it again
to marvel and remember and forget
until today
where traders swarm towards gold, the
new wampum.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

the quiet one (mostly)

I understand her lament having a brother
that breaks windows, hangs out on roofs and sniffs crotches.
she smells good tonight, wags her body and smiles
in that cute way that she does.

my twin always got all the attention
by dope smoking, shop lifting, truancy
while I quietly got straight A's and stayed home at night.

now she watches for clues as to what to do
to please me.

I tried all that, too, without success, but she
truly deserves an extra pat on the head
and she gets one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The businessman extolling the virtues of his protege at Zolo on a Tuesday night as I drank champagne

a solid name, history and a number of years,
no question he'll swim upstream through the pack,
a consultant, a good brand.
he leaned towards the
other beards, their guts spilling over their laps,
the bras leaned back smiling through
their red lipstick.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dog on Roof

some run outside to bark at storms,
some hide under sofas and sedans,
some sun themselves, some seek support,
some bark, some cry, some whine and whimper.
one special dog does more, climbing the stairs,
sniffing here and there, looking for anyone,
anyone at all, in the room, on the stairs,
on the roof!
surely someone will pause, anyone at all,
sweet success!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Error Analysis: An Ode to Elizabeth Bishop

whereas the mathematician calculates p values,
the poet struggled with the p-erfect word for her poem
no simple answers there like greater than 0.05 means
there's no statistical difference, what a huge difference a word
can make.
or a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, a book,
a look, a caress,
as he walks in the door and I look his way
I wonder if he knows I love him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Null Hypothesis

the null hypothesis is that they are in love
after watching them kissing in the park
over by the lake, shamelessly with small children so near by,
what is the world coming to the two women
asked each other as they shuffled along in their floral house dresses
and slippers in the early evening, hot still rising from
the pavement, their husbands asleep on a nearby park

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two cookie sundaes

what could be so sweet as two cookies,
chocolate butterscotch and chocolate explosion
pressed against each other across a scoop of
vanilla ice cream, a diffusion profile of butterscotch
and explosions criss-crossing across one another
like two children pulling an arm each of a bewildered
mother, her heart drawn first one, then the other way

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Like Fire

like fire
heat licks
the crevices between dry timber laid one against
the other sparks fly  landing hot on bare skin unprotected
pulling away in pain once burning
now smoke

fire needs air to breathe

a temperamental glow explodes into
flames licking the stars
whirling clockwise then counter
to everything you ever believed.

This poem wrote itself while I was watching a dancing fire while camping in National Forest in Montana.  Photo courtesy of  (Flickr creative commons)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

and back we come

the cooler filled with water, half a sweet potato floating
listlessly like we are after so many hours of driving from
Glacier to Billings, from Sheridan to Cheyenne, home to
green beans in the garden, almost ready to eat blackberries.
camping mats, sleeping bags, boxes in disarray, oatmeal,
bottles carried from Montana destined for the recycle bin,
all this and more laid across the living room floor, so far
from the blue green glacial clarity of Avalanche Lake.