Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking into 2014

I am peering through darkness towards
tomorrow's dawn, it is happening already on
the other side, and after a drink to 2013 and another
to 2014, dawn will come and a new year will begin,
a year of stepping to the left with confidence even
when wobbly, and looking up even when my feet seem
to be going the wrong way, looking down will not stop me
from stumbling,
let me, let us all, do this, step confidently on the wrong foot
and look forward to a better future, a
life lived with passion, the chance to reach a little higher
and to embrace someone with a little more love
and understanding
we all know the language of love
let's use it more in 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Working on Christmas Day

she was incredulous that I would work on Christmas Day,
justifiably, I was horrified that it crossed my mind
but I heard the ticking of the clock,the edge of the calendar
was curling at the edges, threatening to turn to 2014.
we took a photo of Bella with a bow on her head and I
sliced bananas on my new mandolin,
we ate waffles topped with blueberries, pecans and yogurt,
drenched in real maple syrup.
the trails were still icy, the foothills dark against
a brilliant blue sky,our breath hung in the air.
nothing so fine as waking from a long nap to
the smell of freshly baked apple pie, still warm
in my lap on the way to Christmas dinner with those
we love, to gorge ourselves in the holiday spirit.
preposterous to work on Christmas Day, sinful,
immoral, un-American, no matter the ticking clocks.
who would do such a thing?
not me.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sharp Teeth and Mandolins

Mandolins and puppy teeth, 
apples quake in front of them, sure to be shredded,
sliced and diced, waiting for fingers and legs
and slippers, anything soft and warm
that could substitute in for a toy, 
another food form, either works.
carefully I approach them both, these 
puppy teeth and mandolins, they both
offer satisfaction and happiness, but
only with caution and respect.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

the ravage of time

once smooth, newly pressed, like sheets
and pillowcases, underwear and white shirts
in the old days, when  Mom stayed home and ironed.
those days, long gone, smooth gone to wrinkled,
cracked, featureless now populated with 
variety and character like this road,
these shoes that have trekked Nepal,
strolled green pastures, jumped between
boulders while wandering up drainage ditches 
now filled with rock and sand, the water
rising now in eastern fields, its time now
to shake the wrinkles from the freshly washed
sheets and let them ride in the wind and sun,
so smooth before settling beneath our
old bones.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Under the hairdryer in the 50's

she reminded me of my mother's friends who I imagined
used to spend Wednesday afternoons at the hair dresser
all lined up one next to the other reading Womens' Day
or Good Housekeeping.
Relaxing under the hairdryer after an afternoon drink,
children took care of themselves and each other, playing
in mud puddles on barely paved streets, fathers were off
working and out of the way and the women could just
let their hair down and gossip, swap recipes and lament
how their husbands did not make enough money for a new
hair color every 6 weeks.
When the stylist lifted the massive dome above their newly
coiffed cuts and colors, the women all stretched like purring
cats, gathered their purses, replacing the magazines onto the
chrome racks, before counting out the dollars and cents to
their respite from the relentless boredom of the
average housewife in the 50's.
kids and husband be damned, at least
her hair looks good.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A leather pen case

A new home for a pen, words will spill from it
telling their own truths, several meters per day
for years, decades, even, sometimes
splotched with tears, sometimes uneven, quivering
with happiness, sometimes holding you securely
so you know you will never fall alone in spite
of yourself.
the leather will wear over the years, the ties
will gradually darken with coffee stains, 
rubbed smooth with so many ties and unties,
the oils of my fingers will glisten so one
day when you hold this worn leather case,
you will remember me, all that was said, 
all that was never said. 
let there be no regrets.

Monday, December 23, 2013

the worst movie ever

it's got to be the worst movie ever,
so bad we hid under the covers and put in
two sets of ear plugs, hoping when we emerged
that it would be almost over, so we could maybe
end it on a high note, that we hadn't wasted the
full $4.99 we sunk into it,
how wrong we were, it was bad to the
very end, I would have rather been reading
technical articles about contact angle

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A man and his dog

searching for the perfect booties, the right harness,
some extra leashes, the perfect companion,
check, check, check and check.  
off they go, man pulling dog, dog pulling man,
alternating black paws on white snow,
white snow all over black nose until little cold feet
don't seem to work anymore and they head back
slowly, puppy in tow now, he's encouraging her
in gentle tones, a man with his dog.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hanging Christmas Ornaments

 although most hang them from the branches of their Tree,
mine hang in the basement on a clothesline after washing.
they're sparkling clean from their scrubbing in the kitchen sink,
the last of the flood washed clean and ready to sparkle on
a Christmas tree upstairs once done dripping, dripping, dripping.
they will sparkle in the lights, N'Sync included next to 
a silvery star and a blue ball of reflected light.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A yin yoga class

everyone is stiff and no one can touch their toes,
we don't even try as we laze on our yoga mats,
blankets under knees, blocks behind us, just lie
there or if you want, try this pose to stretch
your impossibly stiff quads and hamstrings. 
ah, the class for us, the stressed out, the too stiff,
the ones who just can't face 16 flow sequences
in a hot room; we watch them come out before
us, drenched in sweat, grateful it is not us.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


would you say that to someone else, if not,
WYSE up, not behind their back, wish them
and their loved ones well, and leave it there,
walk away and feel good that you wysed up
and made someone happy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Pampered Pen

Lest it not get smudged, scratched, or nicked
it travels in style, as all fountain pens should.
it's own little leather case from Switzerland, now
slightly scuffed at the corners, the zipper not so
smooth as it once was.
this pen, sometimes filled with blue, sometimes with
a brown the color of coffee, sometimes green like
late spring leaves, writes the smoothest lines,
the most beautiful words flow from it, not
because of me, just because, because it's a
beautiful pen in a lovely leather case from

Monday, December 16, 2013

365 Prompts

No kidding, a book called 365 Prompts, as if we could not come up with them ourselves.
There are 365 prompts in this room, in how you looked at me, the color of your eyes,
each word that asks to be spoken, the unevenness in her smile, the fleeting look that
says everything that needs to be said, but sits in a pool of silence amidst the din of life.
the flames of the fire next to us have so many tales to tell, of carbon laid down in the
days of dinosaurs, of oil wells and of the charcoal she smudged across her eyelids
to lure him to her in some far-off land..
365 prompts!  a measley sum compared with the number in my small leather pen
case that has traveled continents, the coffee-colored ink spills prompts as quickly as
they can be written, the bakery across the store is shutting down its ovens, the foccaccia
is running out, a fly is perched on ther B on the marquee; the foam on my coffee is
shimmering as it ages, the vacuum cleaner brushes up against my legs, whispering that
it is time to leave so the workers can rush out the doors, home to their 365s,
may they all be good.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Picket Fence

one can look through the slats sideways,
like she looks over at him, hoping he won't notice
her freckles, a blush to her cheeks,
that she likes him.
the sun comes in sideways, too, long
shadows splay themselves across the lawn
in the late afternoon and he can't see the
children playing, only hear their shrieks of
laughter, the sound of a dog barking,
he wonders if he is nipping at their heels.
he is alone as he walk, she is lonely as she
looks sideways at him in the cafe, through
the slats of her solitary life.

Friday, December 13, 2013


does a bike ride to work count as travel,
or a walk along a local trail, arriving at a fork,
is this the significant one that Robert Frost mentioned,
the one which will change my life,
right, I will marry a rich man and live in
a big suburban house.
left, I will never marry and only live with dogs
and rabbits that sleep head to head on red rugs.
straight ahead, I will travel forever, making
so many small lefts and rights that I never
know where I am, always wondering at what
life offers, never finding answers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The guy who is always at the gym

I said hello to him as he ignored me, stretching his
shapely calves, plugged in just like everyone else.
usually people notice you are talking to them.
eventually he looked up at me standing a foot away
and pulled the plugs from his ears, I have seen him
some millions of times I 've been at the gym,
it would seem to be a courtesy to say hello and
maybe even, daringly, exchange first names,
maybe even say hello the next million times I see
him at the gym, live a little, Ian, it might be
nice to say hello to a new friend.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

what is she thinking

what is she thinking and where is she looking
off to her left, behind the tree covered in snow and ice,
left behind after an arctic storm,  clinging after Chinook
winds that shake houses, spirits rattling inside like
glass shards in a thermos, carelessly dropped to 
the ground,  the wine glass still showing the stain
of last night's excessive wine.
does it show in her eyes, a slight fog, or does her 
color shine through it so no one would be the 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Puppy Exhaustion

I escape upstairs for a few minutes from
unbridled enthusiasm, the excitement of every moment,
of each shoe not yet tasted, another walk pulling this way and
that so as not to miss anything, the fun of seeing if that moving
target can be snagged with sharp little puppy teeth, even more
fun if its attached to a foot.
Ah, the life of a puppy and those who love them.
puppy exhaustion, when at the end of the day, one wants
 to swing a leg up onto the ottoman without dragging
a puppy with it, and so we go upstairs for a few minutes,
escaping, until she learns how to climb stairs and
then, we're in trouble.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Picking Prompts

I always pick them from books she brings,
delighted at all the clever things everyone else says.
tonight I don't see her, instead skating over frozen streets
with studded snow tires, noting my helmet would only
shatter if my head hits the ground, not a pretty thought.
that's what the man in the bike shop said in a stern voice.
I wonder what the puppy is eating now, the basket is
in shreds and she's no doubt foraging for something
else as soon as the rawhide is properly dispatched. 
Christmas is coming and we already missed the night
when it was -8 degrees to go tree shopping, I wonder
what the puppy will do to the tree.
she sure takes up a lot of space in my brain,
puppy as prompt in the absence of Ana.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Skyping Abruptly

a Skype until an abrupt ending, when
suddenly she says it's over, and it was going so well.
she warned me this could happen, the steam from my
freshly brewed tea would fill the screen and then she'd be
gone as quickly and unexpectedly as she had arrived.
it could be taken as a dismissal, and has been many times,
but he knows it's not, just her whim of the moment to
call, and then hang up suddenly, so abrupt,
it was fun while it lasted.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Picking Music

not too hard, not too easy,
not too many sharps, not too many flats,
Madrigal and Blessed Spirits,
Moon over Ruined Castle
and a Joplin rag.
I'll play for them Sunday, just put it out there,
no need to notice mistakes, just play my heart
and hope they hear it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

the eyes have it

Our ages may span decades,
our attitudes formed in different centuries,
but our eyes say we are from the same stock
that goes back generations, those light colored,
change in the light eyes that aren't quite one color
or another, like the moods that cross a blustery sky,
once fluffy as cumulus, then dark and threatening.
they may collide in mid-stream, pouring down
torrents or the lightest snowflakes.
One never knows.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On the edge

uncomfortable on the edge, never
really knowing if I'll fall off, or pull it off,
somehow coming up with an answer that makes
sense in not too many hours, not too many mistakes,
not too much embarrassment, not too many questions.
what does the imaginary part of Fourier transform represent?
do I really need to worry about space debris in GEO?
oh, I never thought of how contamination affects OSR's,
what I do know is all the path behind me, but I am
standing at the edge of my cliff of knowledge and
sometimes I'd like to back up a few steps
and take a nap, eyes partly open.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cold and Snow

we plummet from 54 degrees to -6 in a matter of hours,
how brutal is Mother Nature, dusting us in the bitter cold
of winter so abruptly, with nary a moment to adjust.
studded snow tires still in the basement, the oil frozen in
the brake lines, even the bicycle has had no time to
dress for the weather, the heat upstairs barely there,
the plumber still busy installing furnaces from the flood.
it's cold up here, the shades drawn, the lip plate on my
flute frigid and unwelcoming.
Winter is not just coming, it is here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Different Zip Codes

he lives in 80302; she's living in 62656.
he runs up mountainsides barefoot,
she writes novels about rural Illinois
where her grandparents live.
She spent every summer there
where the reflection of the full Moon
rippled across window glass that had seen
countless blistering hot and bitter cold
days, he would never understand
how we are formed through generations
of imperceptible movement, he who jumps
from rock to rock, she moves slowly
through the flat horizons of 62656, along
well ordered rows of corn stalks, not carving
wide turns in freshly fallen powder.
They will never meet, hundreds of miles apart,
thousands of zip codes distant.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A new best friend

I'd rather not get too comfortable with the quiet at home,
he'd rather be greeted at the door.
she'd rather have a warm bed, three walks a day,
treats and someone to love her.
It seems he found the right dog for his new best
four-legged friend, the one to drag him out
the day after tomorrow when the forecast calls
for 5 degree weather, he misses all that.
As for me, I'll greet them when they come home,
pressing their cold noses against me and smiling.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Beating back the flood; New colors in the basement

Yellow and slate blue, a smile, newly pointed flagstone;
we have beat the flood, we have sealed holes, we have
persevered, the wrinkles may be deeper, the grey
has gotten greyer, the wonders of color.
a couch, some paintings, a bed for visitors that annoy us,
all things are possible; clothes can be dried here, 
even the rat has disappeared without a trace, 
he is no longer welcome here.
the basement has transformed from a dark place holding
stuff  held too long, to an open, colorful place
pregnant with possibility; let us hold that, only
carefully repopulating with what we truly treasure.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Home Sweet Home

the dirty clothes in the hamper are still there,
as are a few dishes in the kitchen sink, no one did them,
the plants are a bit droopy and glad to see me.
One has blossomed since I was away.
the bed is unmade, and a last minute pile of
stuff that didn't make it to Mexico is still in
the same pile, still waiting.
the tickets to the ballet are still in the envelope
and at 3:40 p.m I pulled them out and we
walked up the hill to the ballet in clean clothes
from the dresser drawer, different shoes, a
blue barrette instead of the black one.
I'm wearing a necklace that sat on the dressing
table while I was away, the dark stone looks so nice
against my collarbone, contrasted with my white sweater
and black pants, I like the cool feel of it on my skin.
It's good to be home.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Up up and away

there will be desert and sun,
we will wear cool sunglasses and bathing suits,
drinks in hand, we will recline on beach chairs
pretending to read deep novels. 
our eyes are closed, but no one can see
or maybe they are not looking.
I know that he is tracking the blonde girl
in the teeny-weeny blue bikini.
she is not tracking him with his ghostly
white skin and streaks of Zinc oxide across
his face and around his ears.
meanwhile, the rest of us soak up heat
and sun, drowsy with margaritas and
the lull of the waves on the beach,
we doze, we doze.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dredging up the mud and rocks

like tiny ants they swarm up and down the rocky slope,
carrying small loads of wet sand and debris to
the mother ship, the big front loader that pours
streams of earth into a huge dump truck, its motor
humming in the still-warm autumn afternoon.
they move so quickly, one can hardly capture them
in the camera, their conveyer belts rattling down
into the creek bed so the river can flow again
in its original stream bed some feet lower than
where they dig now, hurrying up and down the slope
like tiny ants, amazing how quickly they ferry
their loads.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Count down to vacation

Will I look fat in my bathing suit,
and does my car insurance cover my rental car?
how will everyone get along, and I hope
everyone wants to sleep in like I do.
what electronic devices shall we bring,
and how often can we use them without
garnering angry stares from the children,
I have learned to love my iPhone, I admit
that Spanish is fun using DuoLingo and
I love WordReference, Luminosity definitely
does not make me smart, but it's fun anyway,
I understand why no one has time to have real
relationships like we will, on the beach,
margaritas in hand, feet up on the hammock,
a paperback novel in hand, sunscreen slathered
on each other's backs.
I can't wait.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The ground is dark

The ground is dark
except for the circle of light from the
street lamp at the corner
in front of the community garden.
it flickers sometimes and people stumble in the dark,
on broken sidewalks, across unshoveled sidewalks.
it's dark tonight, the full Moon is hidden in clouds
that let no light shine through,  the cool is
getting cold, the snow is settling into the
bottom of the high clouds, waiting for
the right moment to dance down
towards us standing under the circle
of street light waiting for sparkles
to dance across our eyes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rescuing Christmas Ornaments

I washed the mud out of her hair, and
scraped mud off his pant leg.
The one armed man was happy to be saved
for Christmas, there will be so few brethren
this year.
Gone is the photo of Daniel from 2nd grade
mounted on a wooden ring,  the straw
fish ornaments I so loved are mere piles
of straw, my very first ornament, the silver
rocket ship destroyed.
So, the few dangle outside on a clothes hanger
practicing for the real gig soon, to hang gloriously
on a fragrant Christmas tree branch. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

my most unfavorite colleague

my favorite un-favorite colleague always lets me know
that I didn't help him once again, and I ask him why he calls me
all the time, I'd be happier not seeing his name show up on my caller id.
he could call someone else and ask them to not answer his questions
where he gives no useful information but somehow expects some help.
why does he call me if only to assure himself that he is not the only
one that does not know, except he has all the information.
Ah, those who do not share but who expect, those who demand
but never give, those who are gruff and prickly and wonder that
no one likes to work with them, but of course, that's what they
want, that way they never have to be a mere human like the
rest of us poor worthless, useless colleagues. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sunset in a Parking Lot

There was a line of people waiting to get into Best Buy
for the best deal, some since 7 a.m. and the sun was setting
beautifully in the West,
they didn't even see it as they were crouched facing
east, heads down to check smart phones and watch
time passing by,
maybe checking the stock on the TV they were looking for,
or sending a text to the spousal unit at home to tell
them what number they were in line and to please
bring food and a warm drink, it's getting cold
waiting for this TV.
The pink rolled across the top of one cloud,
illuminating the bottom of the next, rolling
west, leaving behind a grey/blue horizon to
the east,
so lovely, such a shame to miss it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

three notes

three notes fast,
then the next three, fast,
then the next and the next and the next.
and then four, then four, then four,
then, five, six, seven, eight, ten, twenty, thirty
this is how you play quickly
then slowly each note
articulated, trilled,
then largo
then sleep.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


release into softness,
a hard heart is so heavy to carry
on slender shoulders.
feel your skin warm under the sun,
freckles blossoming like flowers,
no need for nail polish or high heels
the sun shines from within you
and warms those around you
only if there is softness, a release
of harsh lines at the mouth, lines
creased across the forehead, a soft
belly and knees.
life is so hard anyway, let it
soften like butter sitting on the
sunny windowsill.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Seeing Things

I opened my eyes and
I saw him smiling at me,
that toothy smile, a big gap between
two front teeth.
I closed my eyes to shut out the morning light, to
search for the dream that lingered at the edge of consciousness.
I see things at night when my eyes are closed,
aloft, I fly for fun and for safety.
I never had that choice before and
I like it.
I hold that thought close,
that I can always fly away.
I open my eyes.
He is still smiling at me.
I notice he has freckles on his lips.
No need to fly, he says,
you're safe here in my arms.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The power of water

that rock fall used to be a trail with a small
creek meandering alongside, wild grasses
and fruiting bushes clinging to the sides of
the steep slope; bears used to wander there in
the fall stuffing themselves for winter.
i wandered there myself many times, the crowds
were on the other side, i heard their laughter
echo across the steep walls of the canyon and
through the lush forest, interrupting the swish
of my courdoroy pants as I walked along.
we drove north today to see houses broken in
two, a family room dangling perilously over
a river bed filled with boulders, the water running
like a small creek again, looking ridiculously
small meandering through a wide bed of boulders,
highway fragments, pieces of a roof once attached
to someone's home, the landscape is no longer
what it was, we walk in a strange land now and
nothing will ever be the same again.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Football games

Friday night and the blare of the announcer
wavers in the wind, bouncing off brick and stucco,
fences and car doors, we don't need to guess who
is winning tonight, it's purple and yellow,
two colors opposite each other on the color wheel
from art class, we chose them for our house.
Toothpaste green worked, too,
We listen after margaritas and chips,
bellies full and glad we're not out in
the wind, we wonder if purple and yellow
will hold the game, or succumb to
blue and orange. 
Sure to find out tomorrow
first thing.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

From one place to another

I start the day at home, more precisely at the
pink and aqua dinette in the kitchen,
we read the New York Times on line except
for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday is the best ever.
I read Week in Review first,
he reads the Business Section, and then
I try to stash all the sections I like upstairs.

He never reads Modern Love anyway.

Weekdays I ride my bike to work,
the bike path is mostly open now after the flood.
I love the crunch of the fallen leaves under my tires
and I hum the annoying alarm that I hear every
morning at 6:30 am from Stephen's phone.
The office, conference room, copy room,
coffee shop, Ian's office, where we talk
about micrometeroids and other fun stuff.
I deliberately ride my bike over the highest
mounds of fallen leaves on the way home,
savoring each crackle as they will soon
blow away in the wind, or become soggy
under snow and rain. 
The pink and aqua dinette waits for me,
I drop my bag, open my laptop and finish
reading the article I left half done this

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Two pianos, a marimba and a flute

Fit for a king and queen wearing their finest
robes and jewels, jesters fallen silent in rapt attention,
two pianos, a marimba and a flute played for us,
mere mortals in auditorium seating, we wonder how
we deserve this lifting of spirit after a day of work,
our jeans may have stains on them, T-shirts should
be blouses and our hair should be done, not tired and
dirty, listening to such fine music honed over hundreds
of hours, what did we do to deserve this myriad
of sounds and emotions, nothing except to be there,
to walk away from everything else and just be there.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Portia: In Memory


In the end, she laid down by the fence,
the sun warming her skin, while shading her eyes
and we waited together for the end, loving her,
her loving us, until her eyes were gently
closed, her body still and soft.
So many seasons of running in the sun
with Buddy, rolling in snow, nose buried
deep looking for hidden treats, so many
morning walks just long enough to turn around
and get home quick for breakfast, so many
late evening strolls, in the summer barking
and growling at skateboarders, snapping at
puppies who try to get too close, licking
the ones who meet her defnition of "wonderful".
Oh, Portia, you big fuzzy bundle of love,
you who spent countless hours scouring the
house for accessible Clif bars, granola, garbage
that hadn't made it outside, you who ate rawhide
with your brother for 13 years and then never
touched one again, you who decided when Buddy
was gone, it was your turn to mark the Haydel territory.
We loved you, we will miss you, run free
in doggy heaven with Buddy and all the other
dogs and cats, bunnies and birds that have
blessed this house. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Portia, A Moon of Uranus

When she is gone tomorrow, her soul will join
the stars in heaven, and she will always circle Uranus
along with her brothers and sisters who have gone before her,
and when we miss her and we look up on a clear cold night,
we'll remember her glimmer here with us, pulling her leash
back towards home where treats lie waiting for her right
inside the door, no, she never forgot that they were there,
we will never forget her.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

A beautiful day

and you wonder how your mood could be black
under a blue sky, amongst the golden grasses, the
foothills magnificent in the distance.
The sun is warm on your skin and the silence
embraces you, it is so precious when it arrives
unexpectedly on a day like today when everyone
would seem to be outside, calling to one another,
their dogs, the roar of cars and trucks in the distance. 
late this afternoon, the blue has been replaced
by grey and snow will fall in delicate shimmering
flakes under moonlight, how can a mood be
black in this, so silly and unproductive,
so altogether human.

Friday, November 1, 2013

the power of words

a few words work,
the caress of a few well spoken words,
i care, i am thinking of you, you are worth 10 seconds
it takes to send a text, those words may lift a spirit
from despair to hopefulness, from loneliness to connection,
i have seen this, i have felt this, from both sides,
i offer and i receive,  i give and i take
because we all know the depths and the gifts
when everything is going our way and we don't need
until we do, and will they still be there
when it's our turn to need a few
well chosen words that make
all the difference between
loneliness and

Thursday, October 31, 2013


the blinds shiver and shake
behind closed windows, latched even
the wind rushes through tiny crevices and cracks
into this room, we hear it rush down the
canyon, crashing against brick, bending trees to the ground,
snapping branches, promising sleepless nights,
restless dogs, birds swaying perilously in their nests. 
we are only now gathering our things
that the flood waters tore from our arms,
let the wind fade away this night,
let the night be peaceful so we
finally can sleep.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


they fall towards Earth no matter from where they come,
the heart most likely, broken in places, a hole where someone
you loved rested and then departed, leaving a gaping
place where water flows like a river, a layer of mud
perhaps, a broken foundation waiting for a stone mason
to show up with trowel and cement to patch together
again until the next flood of loss.
a puppy dog grown old, tired eyes, no appetite
but with a wagging tail at the sight of their loved one
that walked them every day and every night, no
matter the rain or snow, cold or heat, always there
to snap the leash onto the collar with the hearts on
it, hearts meant to be broken, mended and broken again.
that is our life here as humans to break and mend
again and again and again. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tanks falling from the sky

not the usual visitor, a spent propellant tank launched
thirty eight years ago when no one drank bottled water
while inspecting an object that just survived falling through
thousands of kilometers of space, burning hot in our skies
before landing, kerchunk, in someone's backyard.
I wonder if they had a festival in its honor, we would if
it were in my backyard, we'd invite the neighbors, call
our friends, and have a beer and bratwurst BBQ to beat
the band, drums and saxophones, flutes and cellos included.
I wish I had visitors like this one, much better than
visiting floods and thunderstorms, a permanent addition
to our Community Garden and Park.

Monday, October 28, 2013


in her old age, she gets to sleep on the new couch,
it was new not too long ago, now the leather has been
softened under so many doggy toenails.
in her old age, she can eat whatever she wants, as long as
she eats is all we care about and she must wonder why she
didn't act ill earlier, so many cookies and dog treats could
have been had.
in her old age, we fuss over her and give her extra hugs,
she still wags her tail and turns her nose up at what used
to send her into waves of ecstasy, even the chicken fat
left over from making soup no longer interests her.
we have taken to making airplane noises to get her to
open her mouth and hope the food does not drop to the
ground uneaten, unheard of before now.
in her old age, we appreciate her intelligent face,
how she guards the house while sleeping, and
how she licks the wet warmth from your newly
showered skin.
we try not to think past the phrase in her old age,
it would seem to lonely to think of her gone. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Smile Back

I like the one who walks his dog with a bounce in his step
in the rain, snow, wind, or sun, no matter, no importa,
or her over there, preparing the garden for a long white winter.
the most beautiful are those who smile even when you don't,
after you pass by, you may regret not smiling back or saying hello.
who knows how hard their path was on the way to that smile,
behind that smile, there may have been a thousand tears, so many
rainy days without a friend, a mother, a penny, on a bus to
nowhere at 5 a.m. on a Saturday night, finally arriving to
smile, at you, smile back.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Night Off

A night off from thinking of the remarkable
besides the yellow leaves falling in front of me,
tinged in reds and purple as I rode my bike to work.
A day left free of noting the sharp intelligence of young
people who are just starting in life, their excitement
and fears, their vulnerability and courage.
let's take a break from noticing the clouds,
how the one over the mountain is stretched thin
and translucent, while the one to the east is puffy
with dark outlines against space,
I'll not notice the gentle swish of my courdoroys
as I walk, or the mud that is slowly disappearing
from my boots day by day.
what a relief to not have to think of something
special tonight, some remarkable worth writing about,
Instead, I'll savor the sound of a flute, the tapping
of fingertips on a keyboard and the lure of a
warm bed where I can reach across and hug
someone I love.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Light up like the stars you are made of

light up like the stars you are made of, the titanium
and carbon, the silicon and sodium, even zirconium and selenium,
in moments of darkness,  let the furnace of the stars
warm your belly and lift your tired spirits up, we're made of that
stuff after all, as are our torn red sweatshirts with grass stains and
fabulous azure gowns, our pin striped suits and our cupcake brownie,
all made of stars, may life never seem glum or spirits despondent,
lift our hearts to the stars.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a bottle of red on date night

it goes fast, a bottle of  red, passing from left to right
over a bowl of paella, date night tonight
at the place downtown, bike racks waiting to be filled.
ours took a place, helmets tossed in our baskets,
hand in hand, no menus please, it's date night,
paella and a bottle of wine, $30 flat rate,
it's a winner where we lay our hands across each
other and smile, no decisions on ordering,
it's date night, it's just us, a bottle of red,
pass it back and forth, it's empty, we're full.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

hey you're that guy from across the street

hey, you're that guy
from the building across the street,
the one with barking dogs and red rags
billowing on clotheslines.
I'm glad I'm not in charge of laundry.
You whistle as you work, a dog
at each side, I wonder at your
that building, does it smell of wet dog,
bleach, dog food, or your warmed-up
lunch - I love curried chicken, too.
hey, you're that guy I see everyday
when I ride up to my building where
we direct satellites where to fly or mull
over micrometeoroids while drinking
bad coffee.
Let's talk sometime, I'll share my lunch
if you'll share yours.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Space blankets

do you get cold up there
amongst the stars, then postmenopausal heat
as the sun comes into view,
gathering space debris into your apron pockets,
micrometeoroids to embed in silver pendants.
she'll polish her diamonds and gold in
the solar wind, then toss them towards
Pluto for good luck.
why not, the ripples of countless pennies
have yielded nothing
are you cold up there, wrap yourself
in a golden blanket and wish upon
a star.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Smart Phones

if they are so smart, why don't they know punctuation,
commas, exclamation points, a simple question, a slightly pleading
voice at the end.

Siri, that cute gal, on the other end of the line,
always willing to meet my needs if I state them
clearly and within her vocabulary, like real life when
we don't communicate between curved  planes that don't
intersect in a point, much less a line for parallel.
It's snowing outside, or trying to, like Siri when she
doesn't understand, spitting out random phrases,
it gets wet and cold, and I hover in my black coat
even though the plumber says the heat is working.
I'm tired from a cold blast of air when he gets up to
let the dog out, I will sleep, she will charge to
the hum of 120 volts, if only rest were so effortless.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Geese overhead,radiators will be tapping soon

the blankets are too hot, his warm breath on my face
smells slightly cognac and popcorn.
the radiator went from dead to full blast today
while it rained and the mud dried in the basement, periodically
clicking as it cracked into pieces, each edge curling
gracefully upward.
today the geese were flying south in a wobbly V formation,
it must be a young group leaving a little late with a light snow
already dusting the foothills.
The old black dog must find it hot also, stopping for a drink
of water on the way to the bedroom before
flopping on the cool wooden floor, soon
she snores in concert with my love, the one with
breathing the slight scent of cognac and popcorn.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Neighborhood Meeting Action!

some homemade brownies, a glass of wine for all,
folding chairs, a couch, conversation, good cheer,
ideas, commitments, plans, energy for good.
the best neighborhood meeting, all are welcome,
we bridge differences and move forward, this is
the way government should be, maybe the ones in
Washington can take note.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Boehner Slinks Out

Boehner slinks out, head held high
as Cruz congratulates himself on the power of
his Party to shut it all down, from baby formula
to museums, from park to space satellites, what power
and satisfaction, smugness, to shut it all down
as they call their wives in their mansions, interrupting
her from talking with the maid, from dinner with
their 2.1 children who are above average, let them
eat steak while children go hungry, it's all
about politics and power, white middle aged
men too used to the scent of success, let them
smell skunks, boiled cabbage and sewage. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fickle radiators

her necklace only has one diamond rather than two,
like the thermostat that shows the actual temperature,
but not the set, heat on may mean heat on, or not, like
the young man at the counter who likes how the pants fit,
until he doesn't, and leaves them in a pile on the counter,
texting as he walks out leaving the cashier wondering
where he learned his  manners, or didn't. 
the radiators are like that, unreliable and fickle,
leaving us cold all day, then suddenly running hot
all night as if they forgot their estrogen patches
on their bedside table when they left for their last

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soft White Hands

you'd think the mud was concrete, laced with arsenic,
doused in pesticides in a pool of raw sewage
the way they recoil having never gotten their hands dirty.
oh, precious ones with soft white hands and pushed back cuticles.
I'd do it myself, rhythmically brushing loose mortar mixed with
dried river mud from between flagstone that knew the
Andersons from Sweden and the Firth family with the
grocery on 15th before the City bulldozed it in the 30's.
These stones watched laundry dry over many decades.
I would wield that straight edged shovel to flake mud
off the cracked concrete floor that has felt the small
bare feet of children who now lie in their graves, their
giggles long lost to the wind that blew among the
plum and peach orchards that graced these fields, their
toes once delighting in the squishness of soft mud. 
This is the same stuff, coughed up from the river bed,
still the same softness when wet, now flaky and dry
waiting for the right hands to rhythmically brush and
shovel it away.
It's just dirt.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Four Somalians versus the U.S. Navy

helicopters, navy ships, drones, special forces
against a ragtag foursome of Somalians, high on quaat,
nothing to lose, a bullet waiting on shore, six million
dollars scattered to the winds.
rotten teeth, scraggly and bloodshot, everything
going to be alright, Irish, bobbing in a Yellow Submarine,
everything goin' to be alright with a pistol to his forehead,
a knife to his throat.
billions of U.S. dollars on display, the finest minds,
the most powerful nation on earth, ultimately
we learn again there is nothing so powerful as desperation
and nothin' left to lose, Irish.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Waiting for Pestilence

six feet of muddy water in the basement,
a river flows through it, the pink T-shirt on the clothesline
now brown speckled, like a robin's egg at Easter,
we wake to high winds shaking the bricks, mortar
spewing from houses, fences blown to the ground,
we wait for the locusts now to fly in from Eastern
plains, ready to feast on what's left of green, fading
asters, to push aside the hummingbird at the
trumpet vine, to sing us into a dazed dreaminess
of incomprehension.
welcome to climate change.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


balls of flames drift through the Space Station
spheres of tears float away from her eyes, and
her legs face the ceiling, he releases his tether
and floats away towards the stars, just another
piece of space debris with a frozen heart.
we will always miss George Clooney.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Daytime Soap

I have lived one myself,
going to work teary-eyed, blubbering
about the man I  love who loves another,
and what will I do
then go home for more.
One day I washed my hands and face with
newly purchased lavender soap
the same scent that repels him, but
attracts butterflies and honeybees,
the soap that has scrubby granules that
cheerfully scrub out stubborn dirt and stains.
it smells so good that daytime soap became
evening glasses of wine, popcorn and
movies in bed, the smell and touch of

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dirty Dishes

he could tell I had been snacking
on left-over cherry pie and vanilla
ice cream, this after telling him I
needed to lose a few pounds
starting today.
The weight chart was taped to
wall right over the dessert plate
waiting for the data from tomorrow's
weigh in, ironic really.
I know he had finished the cognac
even though the empty bottle was
neatly hidden under newspaper, I
saw the empty shot glass, still
fragrant on the bedstand.
the last kernels of popcorn at the
bottom of the blue bowl, salt glistening
on the sides, a smear of peanut butter
on a knife, such are the dirty dishes
in our lives, left behind undone
as we chase rainbows and

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Ball of Twine

Inside this ball of twine, under overlapping layers of
coarse string, lies a gold coin
embossed with the image of the Statue of Liberty,
symbol of freedom, give us your tired, your poor.
how many have finally breathed the fresh air of the
the New York Bay, viewed the glistening skyline
for the first time.
rain and fog never completely conceal her,
have you seen her,
taller than Saturn rocket that took mankind
to the Moon, more powerful than the five
engines that launched us towards the stars
only for us to look behind us, breathless
at the beauty of the coin which will drop into
your hand one day, suddenly, as it
tumbles from beneath the last inch of
twisted coarse twine.

For my dear friend, AL.  Courage, ma cherie!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jenny and Stephen after the Adoption Ceremony

it's a sunny day, warm and happy,
no flood here, just good food, hugs,
heartfelt gratitude for this family of
strangers, a single thread of common DNA
amongst them, one birth mother, otherwise,
brothers and sister, adoptive parents, a niece
and those who love them.
Count me among them, I choose
this one with the red hair, this one
who the adoption agency assured the
parents-to-be that they did not have to
adopt him with his red hair and, yes,
he has big feet, too for a baby.
We're happy today like the little girl on
the shuttle bus from the airport who
asked us all, "Are we happy?"
Yes, in this moment, and that's all
I can ask for, in this moment.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Itchy and Scratchy

itchy in jeans with embroidered flowers on the knees,
a white peasant blouse and long wavy hair, a smile
that brings men to their knees saying things they should
not say, and then regret.
scratchy was one of them, a photo of his girl
on his phone, she noticed that
and he had hell to pay, scratchy with Dockers
and wire rimmed glasses, the old ones, not
trendy and cool
like her, itching to
get out of Dodge to something
big, something  new.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


The mud is lightly covered
as are the piles of possessions outside,
it's not deep enough yet to hide what needs to be done.
we still look the other way, pretending there
is no work to be done, or hoping for fairies,
hefty ones, to show up in the night
to clean the tool box or build shelves
with no hammers; they will assemble
themselves silently, wire shelves and
drawers will fly together, magically
populated with dry camping gear,
skis and gardening pots.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


it needs to be done,
the dishes, the tools still slightly coated in mud
in the back yard on a shelf waiting to be covered in snow
in a couple days, the rust is settling in
for the long term.
my body doesn't move in that direction, not
towards the fan that needs to
pull air from a sodden basement,
Scratchy told me how to do it, why isn't he
here to do it.
the book lies on the shelf, unopened, I don't
even check to see whether it's lies, or lays, I never
remember, do you.
Laziness with a capital L has settled in, only a
timer demands that I keep practicing Hindemith
and that other guy, the composer that
starts with a T, I think, I'm too lazy to
The cushion on this old chair needs to be fixed,
I need to make my lunch for tomorrow,
my laundry basket is overflowing.
Tomorrow, manana, demain
is soon enough.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pillows with Drool on them

my left cheek is sliding across a pool of drool
on my flannel pillow with the  Little Mermaid
design, Karen's dry cheeks used to be there.
gross, no wonder I can't sleep, I turn over the
pillow and my right cheek is soon sliding
over a pool of drool, gross, I get up and grab
the box of Kleenex, it's empty, my nose is
rubbed raw, I'll wake up Stephen, no, then
the dog will wake up and want me to feed her,
no mind it's 2 a.m. and she has to wait
4 more hours.  Nyquil, why have you
forsaken me?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jenny when she's sick

Jenny, when she is sick
is grumpy and pathetic, she texts
for chicken soup and Nyquil while snarfing
small homeopathic granules, fait will cure all.
she walks a block as the sun settles in for a night's rest
and calls it a day, having left voice messages for four,
no voices anymore, apparently not even email
according to the New York Times, sometimes not
even a voice mail is allowed, only a page.
on to Gemini from Apollo, or maybe Moon,
or maybe a few pages from Out Stealing Horses,
surely the conviction that tomorrow she will be
all better, just in time for the government

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Killing rats

they are kind of cute, in the dark, in the forest,
far away from here, in nature, nesting in
well, wood, of course, in a pack, having babies
and eating organic veggies,
wood rat, you will come to your end here,
in this dank basement with holes that lead
to nothing, no spilled dog food, just the
vestiges of flood, pack rat, take your family
home to the woods far away, Hawaii might
be nice, or the Belgian Alps where you
can nest against each and stay warm.
they are not cute in the backdrop of my
basement, or my cabinets, or in the
crawlspace under my kitchen, the holes
will be filled, the mortar will be fixed,
the ones who venture in, or who remain,
shall pass on to their greater rewards.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Unwritten Poem

the words are mingling somewhere, a
drink in hand, some hot hors d'oeurves on
a napkin, they wander from one corner
of the room to the diagonal as if on a
shuffleboard looking for the perfect mate,
maybe a king will capture his queen.
these words may be drifting out the window
on a dream, in someone's stomach with
a morsel of leg of lamb and a sip of wine,
or flipping pages in a dictionary looking
for the home from which they came.
they did not arrive here yesterday,
assembled into a readable package, but
surely they will find their way again
into the perfect poem.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hearing One Another

when he stops talking, I will talk, until
he interrupts and I do,too, and we make our
own versions of history,each to his own liking,
or hers, as the case may be, until we stop,
and listen,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


in some parts of the world, they beg
for food, for water, for medicine.
Here, we beg for a dehumidifier for
a damp basement, dark mortar that
never dries, the smell of wet.
some stood in line early, and received,
others dashed from meetings to find
none, gone in a moment to the
earlybirds, we cannot be earlybirds,
those who work and can't rush out
the door to wait.
I begged, I gnashed my teeth, nicely,
and an abandoned cart rolled up with a
dehumidifier inside, for me, for
my dank, wet basement.
Sometimes begging works.

Monday, September 23, 2013


mud, flood
torrential flow,
oh no!, save me,
the freshly risen bread,
the crunchy baked granola
and French vinaigrette, save us.
be brave in mud and flood,
the pump will dump
suds and mud in the pit,
I admit I'd rather bake
a cake than don boots
and coat, to soak in
pouring rain.
let me roast my toes
at the fire and sip
a hot cup of

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Doing Laundry

a semblance of normalcy,
clothes hanging outside on a sunny day.
a path of boards, bricks settled into mud,
grass pushing up again, we can
step gingerly there now to hang
clothes out on the line.
it rains again, freshly washed
clothes don't dry after all.
the clouds have not yet finished
their say.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Curry Salmon, Wine and Chocolate

a fine evening of wine,
curried salmon and chocolate,
a symphony of taste, the sound of music
all passes across my lips.
flood waters recede leaving behind
trails of mud and stone, wine will
wash the paths clean, chocolate
will fill river beds and salmon
will leap upstream.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Young Man in the Back of the Band

he's holding drumsticks and shaking tambourines,
he's one of the young men who was hauling water-logged boxes,
dressers and Christmas wreathes from the basement
a couple days ago,
now in his finest, black pants and bowtie, a white
shirt and combed hair, he's in the back of the band
running from marimba to snare drum, cymbals
to keyboard, ringing out over all the horns,
the flutes, the clarinets, they are no match for
him, this young man in the back of the band
all dressed up, and you can bet, somewhere to

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Broken in Two

the sidewalk broke,
water rushing underneath, carrying
so many tons of soil, sand and snails.
cement blocks balance precariously
next to a fallen tree, in the end,
unsuccessful in life, toppling under
the stress of water rushing by.
my route to work is broken,
no more leafy trees sheltering me
from strong sun or vicious winds,
I'll ride along a busy road, exposed
to car exhaust, dusty breezes,
and hot sun.
I will miss this path through the
golden days of fall, but hope to
ride again in the white softness
of winter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to work, back to practicing flute

not working on anything where
someone's life might depend on it,
not remembering anything from the last flute lesson,
the teacher will say, "we talked about that last time"
and I will smile and say, "oh?"
bike ride to work, flood waters lap
the edges, the underpasses are all full of muddy water.
it's good to be back to some normalcy,
staring at a computer monitor, some Matlab code,
some French,
ignoring the mud on the kitchen
floor, it can

Monday, September 16, 2013

Not done yet

a dress for dinner. maybe
now mud, water, more to be done,
an apron to cover it, pink
dishwashing gloves,
the amazing boots.
up and down the stairs,
hauling bricks, boxes of saturated
cardboard, paint cans, dishes,
vases, all that resided on
the sills.
three strong young men worked
in parallel, we passed each
other on muddy stairways like
ships on a dark night,
each on our respective

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trash in the alley: a Flood aftermath

Trash in the alley
once lovable, a warm fuzzy teddy bear, a photo,
a rug soft on the feet, screens to keep out mosquitos
on a warm summer night.
In an instant, saturated, each fiber filled with
mud, destroyed.
We hold the memories in our heads, of small
children smiling into a camera at maman,
graduation, grandmother in Switzerland, there are
no more images on paper, silver granules on white,
only an image burned in our memories.
there will be new soft teddies for a new baby,
we keep going, piling the ruined on top of ruined
there will be new, there will be happiness,
we are grateful for what we have.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Waterproof Boots

Slogging in a basement with waterproof boots
is so much more enjoyable than without, the white
polka dots peak up through muddy waters, the shine
on the black looks like the shimmer of fish.
Best, my feet are dry.  Small pleasures.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Contents of a Basement

All wet, mostly unsalvageable,
good thing it's not life, memories intact
we move on, carrying a bit less.
Probably for the best, we move a little
lighter, a rat in a trap that smelled has
now moved on to his greater rewards.
Life smells sweeter in that case,
the basement cleansed in mud, we
will sleep tonight, our ears open to
the sound of rain, ready to leap from
bed, alert, watchful, hopeful.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How Coloradans Cope with Several Days of Rain

Not well.
Yes, we appreciate it,
It's been so dry.
We get glum, itching to be outside,
ride to work, walk up to music lessons.
Yes, umbrellas exist, but feet get
wet, it's damp, we're soft here,
not used to it, unlike the New
Englanders, the British,
the New Zealanders and Patagonians.
We pour wine early, even the car
It's been more than one brief
gully washer in the afternoon, it's
grey and wet.
We Coloradans don't do well
with all this.
Where is our sunshine.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Art of Recklessness

Look for her on the internet
you have always wondered where she went,
who she is with, does she still like Cat Stevens or
Red Velvet cupcakes,
there is a wine with that name now.
I like it.
Late at night she wonders where he is, the guy
in Germany, her first love, who then betrayed her,
does he drive a wood-sided station wagon, with two
dogs in the back, does his wife stay at home while
he goes to a cubicle in a beige building.
Be reckless, go looking anyway, stalk
virtually when no one is looking,
why not.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Riding in the Rain

riding in the rain
illuminated by lighting flashes,
reverberating in thunder, such
is a summer rainstorm, drenching the
parched ground, we reach our arms up to greet
the torrential rain, water streaming down
gutters, into my shoes, soaking my socks,
pants, through my raincoat to the
blue blouse underneath. 
it's warm this summer afternoon
and cold rain only subdues the heat
two blocks from home.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Night at the Symphony

feeling sophisticated
hovering above the stage in an opera box,
binoculars occasionally perched above the nose
a glimpse of the conductor's red suspenders
flashes between the pianist's hands as
he raises them in triumph after each
impossibly difficult phrase.
the flutist lifts her instrument to her lips,
the bassoonist licks her lips in preparation
for the reed, the cymbals are in position
for the crescendo, the finale.
we will all go home in awe
and happy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Few Minutes From Home

a few minutes from home
a Rorschach cloud hovers at the horizon,
our interpretation a product of lives lived,
loves gained and lost, our ancestors, distant
pasts, paths trodden, many untaken.
Tears fall onto the landscape below.
whether of joy or happiness unknown.
beauty is known in this landscape that
lies so close to home, a mere stroll up
a path up to an abandoned quarry,
let us go there together sometime
and stand at the edge, holding hands
and wishing upon a rising star.