Friday, August 30, 2013

Talking through traffic jams

it's a time to talk, when he is driving,
the radio is only static, it's dark and
we have a couple hours to go.
the red lights extend well ahead of
us, flashing brakes, stop and go, our
conversation bridges the moments
of silence that can linger in restaurants,
preoccupation means missed opportunities,
when you didn't even see what was
coming because you weren't even
listening, looking or learning.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dream catchers

do the dreams get caught heading out,
or coming in, don't they start somewhere
in the deep unconscious, but is it cosmic
or internally generated, I always wondered
as I picked up the one made in kindergarten
that had found its way into a pile on my desk.
but I have two, one was bought with hard
earned pennies and it hangs on the window
facing the street while the one made with
childish hands hangs at the window
near my bed catching dreams of optimism,
of mud puddles and chocolate cookies,
of puppies and the wind rustling in the
willows where Pooh Bear and Piglet
are stuffing their faces with honey.

(Image from Winnie the Pooh's honey harvest game, for those who are interested!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Seeing Double

if one world is not enough,
double up, each building split in two,
wavering in separation, the clouds wander
from left back towards the right following
the oscillations of the brain.
trust me that one world is enough in
its brilliance and glory, soaring mountains
and rushing rivers, towering skyscrapers,
art that  takes your breath away.
let the eyes settle on one reality
by watching strings and beads,
following dots and making two
squares into one.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Never Here

we're never here anymore, glued to a phone
talking to someone elsewhere, we're never here
when a rhinoceros walks by in a gorilla outfit
our eyes do not see the rain clouds roll in, finding
ourselves drenched and then
clothes wet, cold, we grab our jackets,
holding our phones to our ears only to
run inside somewhere to continue our
conversation with someone who
is not here.
how much we miss.

Monday, August 26, 2013


random piles of paperwork
strewn across all horizonal surfaces, the wind blows in
the window, ruffling and then lofting the mismatched, unfiled
sheaves of white, rising like a cloud under the golden skies of my room.
the moon shines in the west window, casting shadows that bounce
across the closet doors, each sharp line folded in two
and two again, until they drift back slowly
to all horizontal surfaces, stacked
neatly in ordered piles.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

never enough time

never enough time to enjoy
the sound of her voice on the phone,
her laughter when the dishes need to be done
and I wonder at my priorities at reading
about Syria and Egypt when I find Social Q's
so much more entertaining.
There are so many who suffer, thousands
shot in the street and my attention drifts to
dirty dishes and when will I have time
to do them before heading off to
work early tomorrow morning.
never enough time to breathe,
really breathe, hearing the breath,
when all I hear are the crickets outside my
I wear ear plugs to block out their melody
sometimes so I can dream about
the phone ringing, when I will hear
her voice and will have all the time
in the world of infinite time
and space.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Learning to hold a flute all over again

it's like starting over
it is starting over, all over, with the flute
wobbling woefully, my thumb can't find
its place, stressed out and searching like
Goldilocks for the spot, just right, not too
far left, not too far right, not too far up or
down, just right.
it's hard to start over again, the fluent
passages that used to sing from my flute
seem impossibly distant.
they were not fluent enough so
the tall South African sent me back
to kindergarten, and did not
even provide cookies and

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Writing in circles

the meaning was not clear
from this vantage point,looking
west to the clouds hanging over
the flatirons.
too many leaves in the way, a
posted sign admonishing parents
to walk their children across the street.
memories obscure the present.
the purple blossoms to the east
are preparing for autumn, a few
holding on, a few wrinkled and faded,
some gone to seed.
I know this time of life,
where vibrant new growth crowds
up from underneath, pushing us
gently aside.
a woman walks by towards
the south with two daschunds,
their noses perennially at ground level,
close enough for complete clarity.
the lesson is there to be

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

unmade beds

unmade beds mean they rushed out
that morning, no time to make the bed,
put away the dishes or even brush their
teeth, the dentist would be so unhappy.
or it could be they rolled casually out
the front door, having spent time packing
the perfect lunch of garbanzo beans and
garden tomatoes, French bread and
a slice of MouCou camembert, a perfectly
ripened Palisade peach carefully wrapped
in a kitchen towel.
a made bed is overrated.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Case Interviews

in case you're wondering,
I was, too what kind of interview
is a case with questions, answers,
conclusions and recommendations.
in case you're wondering, I'll be asking,
while knowing nothing, except a
scant four pages of mystery in my hand,
to help his case in this interview
of random cases in san francisco,
cleveland, new york or in case it's
raining, he'll have an umbrella,
in case.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Writing poetry in the median of an upscale neighborhood

a steady stream of small, new, fuel-efficient cars
barely slow to a stop next to us;
we're sitting on two rocks in the median,
no cardboard signs asking for $1 or some free food
heads down, feet splayed, a lap large enough for a notebook.
it's dusk, the mulch is well trodden,
a few weeds poke through, there are no flowers. 
this place was never adopted like he was,
a baby red-head in diapers.
the rich could love this piece of soil if
they would get out of their cars and get close
to this patch of earth in the dusk as we have,
quietly watching our pens move across paper,
the cars keep rolling by, California style.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Watching the Clouds Roll By

parked at the side of a gravel road,
a Fat Tire beer dangling from the arm
of the camp chair, a book folded on my lap,
I'm watching the clouds roll by, listening
to thunder rumble in the distance.
it's hot and the shade from the van is
shrinking as the sun rises higher into
the sky, I wonder where he is and why
he was not at the bridge, sweat runs
down the beer and my face is damp,
my legs slightly sunburned, and
the clouds roll by, the rain shadow
moves slowly south pushing blue
sky ahead, leaving behind a landscape
washed clean.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seeking a Poem among the Stars

I laid outside on the roof, my eyes hoping to 
capture the streaming lights of a shooting star.
It would be something to write about, how the star
somehow managed to penetrate city lights, scatter
the rush of traffic, change my life irrevocably.
I waited there for about fifteen minutes until the
kitchen timer went off and the granola would be
perfectly browned and delicious for tomorrow's
breakfast, and as I climbed back in the window,
stubbing my toe on an errant book that had
wandered over to look for herself, I noticed my
life was irrevocably changed, for the better.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Studying Spanish

amazing how many different ways you
can incorrectly translate a simple sentence
from English to Spanish, puedo should
be more nicely said podria, su to the
mesero, not tu, al lado, not proximo.
not so different from so many ways to
put foot in mouth in English, too quickly
blurted not having gone through the three
gates I learned about last week.
at least in a foreign language, they can
assume ignorance, not rudeness.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Silently listening to sounds on Grove Street

one cricket started it
a rhythmic rubbing of one body part against another,
a skateboard cruised by, wheels scratching against pavement.
she was talking in a high voice on her phone
then the cricket stopped, why,
there was no reason, and another one started
in a different pitch, they see-sawed against each other
for awhile as a car drove by, followed by a car alarm.
it wasn't so quiet after all sitting so silently watching
her, larger than life, her eyes and gaze so

Photo by

Monday, August 12, 2013

Watching Clouds

Sunday they were flat like the scales
on a snake's long undulating body, sliding
across each other across the sky, at times
opening to show the underbelly of the sky,
then closing again and moving slowly
across and through leaves and branches,
reflecting in still waters and interrupting
waterlillies from their showy displays
of flamboyant colors and textures.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Perfection on a Cloud Platter

speechless, words rolling off this
lillypad into stillness, clouds drifting
overhead in silence.
how to describe such loveliness except
in silence, a photograph says more
than any words that would roll off
this perfection into an infinite
pond full of waterlillies.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The First Violinist

a large man, his black shirt
stretched taut over many delicious meals,
the finest wines and most decadent desserts,
a voracious appetite for an excellent meal,
deep appreciation for music and the arts.
his coarse wavy hair bounces from his head
with every enthusiast brandish of the bow,
an exclamation point of enjoyment!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Walking in Silence with a Friend

we walked in silence except for
the sound of our boots against stones
along the path
we must trust to walk in silence
doing it so seldom, it feels awkward,
easier to fill the void with words,
mostly meaningless, mindless chatter
that fills the space gaping between us.
we climb silently, only our breath
connecting us, intimacy without
one spoken word. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Forever Snowing Illegible Adjectives

my jacket was covered in illegible adjectives,
like snow on a wintry December day,
adjectives of longing and adventures
unknown as of yet, percolating inside
only to yield their secrets in time, more
slowly if watched too carefully, with too
much focus, they collect on my sleeve
only when I am looking into the
distance at a hawk circling overhead.

Photo taken by BotheredByBees

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


was it the water,
the fog, the wine,
was it the beauty,
the sunshine,
the rhythm of the paddles
in the ocean, the
total relaxation of the
brain that no longer
recognizes orbital debris
or micrometeoroids,
Matlab code or
anything involved with work,
no, it's just the aftermath
of vacation,

Monday, August 5, 2013

saying good-bye, for now

she had to grow up and become her own woman,
I still embrace her as tightly as I did when
she was a young girl, but now I have to say
good-bye and watch her walk away to her life.
I turn the ignition in the rental car, and
load the address of where I am headed
in my own life into the trusty GPS.
We separate from each other, off to gather
life's bounty to share when we see each
other again.

Sea Sunset Seals: The Last evening in the San Juan Islands

they also look west to see the sunset
their heads breaking through the surface,
smiling, it seems, their long whiskers
shedding water droplets back into
the source. 
we are smiling, too, holding star
fish in our slippery hands, its
roughness surprising, we expected
slimy, instead, shininess,
its superb beauty, the sun is
sliding south, leaving behind
stupendous drifting clouds
suspended between the softness
of mountains and shadows.

Friday, August 2, 2013


fog is in season here,
wisps drift above a lazy lake,
the trees dream in it,
the trails fade in the distance.
it rains, droplets tap
on my black umbrella,
my breath, suspended in
air, fog.

Photo taken by Chris Preen
Trees in Mist on Flickrs Creative Commons

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Waiting for the Ferry

waiting for the ferry
with a beer in hand, Brie and
rosemary sourdough bread,
our faces cooled in the sea breeze.
they tell you to come early so
you can picnic by the water
and relax in preparation
for rejuventing sleep in the deep forest,
the sun crossing your face in the
morning, rousing you to a day
unburdened with worries, a day
of pure delight.