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?