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.