Friday, May 29, 2015

the optimist living in a quarter world

he probably experiences a quarter life in one plane, neutral to happy
from (x = 1, y = 0 to  x = 0, y =1)
with a grin on every challenge even while collapsing on his feet,
the endless demands, solving problems which should not be his
but end up in his capable lap.
my experience falls within a sphere where nothing
lies within two dimensions, each point a different shade
and intensity, often a vivid  volume showing up in multiple locations
the emotional world is not limited by optimism
it may not be simple, it may elicit a groan but
I did not choose this, it just

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Accomplishments and Good-byes

She's always been pretty in pink.
And now she's not only pretty, but accomplished,
strong, poised and moving forward on her 
self determined path,
No surprise that when she saw me,
she exclaimed how small I am, it is only
that she has become so big.
Look at her in pink, they call it crimson
here and everyone knows what it means.
She's on top of the world and she knows it.

and yet, when all the gowns have been returned,
the microphones and sound systems dissembled.
when the cameras are put away and the large families
have dispersed, there is an emptiness that reminds
us that with moving on is also leaving behind.
I wore that pink robe, and now she.
this stage is over, the tables are being folded and loaded into 
trucks, I will leave this city with no plans 
to come back, no more Ph.D's, no more
crimson robes, 
I'll pack my bags tomorrow 
when I come back Sunday, she won't 
even be here anymore.
Cambridge will be lonelier for it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

he's happier with his ex-wife

she hadn't seen him smile so much in a long time,
far from home, a little alcohol, a good meal.
admit it, they're better together with double Ph.D.'s
and a couple shared kids.
they have both moved on, but she's glad to see
him happy and he, well, no one really knows,
no one has really ever known.
tomorrow there will be more champagne
and wine and good food, and they'll smile at
each other and laugh
over a shared accomplishment.
she will go home and laugh some more,
he will go home and resume his dour attitude
I can't say I blame him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"Slumming it in Slummervile": No More

What happened to the Slummerville
I used to know, where no one willingly ventured
except for the cheap rent and proximity.
I'm not recognizing the rows of trendy restaurants
and cafes on the boulevard,
the heat is oppressive, my mind goes blank
as I sign the receipt after two glasses.
where have all the poor people gone in this town,
the working poor don't frequent $100 restaurants.
It's a lovely evening for a walk down the boulevard
but I wonder where the poor have gone
they are no longer here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Planning ahead for Stephen's 50th birthday party

I hope they have big enough balls for grownups.
The 40th was fun at the Velodrome.
The 50th should be better, we'll line up for hours
to get in our own bubble and play.
The birthday boy will hog his bubble for hours
only exiting for a beer and some tacos, and
finally to blow out all 50 candles.  
not enough play in the this world between 
ISIS blowing up antiquities in Palmyra and
immigrants drowning in sea, the tragedies
will never end.
It's worth having moments of childish fun,
it's hard enough being a grownup.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Trying to remember that no one notices

I know all about the missed notes and the fumbling fingers,
the high notes that cracked and losing the beat, eventually
finding it.
No else noticed.
I'm in my head judging my performance for rhythm, intonation,
fluidity, color, tone, energy and musicality.
They probably don't notice any particular thing except
that I am playing my heart out
in spite of the missed notes and fumbling fingers.
They could only be touched.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I wonder what the pecking order is.
do the hens who lay brown eggs lord it over the 
one who lay in white
satin sheets draped over custom nesting boxes
the larger ones with purple trimming.
I would be so jealous with my worn
flannel sheets and ripped pajama top.
my socks don't match and my car
has peeling paint.
I'd be a hen laying in a satin box, 
receiving a daily massage and a rooster
visiting daily.
I'd croon with pride when my eggs were 
picked up and packed in a purple box 
to match my bed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Playing my solo two days before the recital in front of my teacher

I played the piece well enough.
The major problems worked out,
ok, some of the notes didn't sound
and there were a few faltering fingers
but it was good, good enough,
I thought.
I knew from his face that he was about
to point out "Just a few" things to work on
in the next two days, just the whole way
I play it and how I had lost the alive sound
I used to have that he had me get rid of
so I'd get more the notes to speak,
oh and that chromatic scale and by the way
it would be good if, and if that, too, and
all the comments and suggestions
stilted my playing when I tried to remember
all 17 suggestions and then he told me
that my playing had lost all its life.
The lesson should have been about
not playing for your teacher right before
a recital, or at least, stuffing his mouth with
Kleenex or filling it with wine.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mom, the Constellation

That's me, Mom, a special constellation.
A comet whizzes by, trailing its icy tail.
My daughter discovered this special arrangement
of stars on holiday to the Moon, looking back
wistfully at her Earth, the ultimate Mother Ship.
I"d never seen it, head down, too focused on
the immediate, the next project, the next meal,
the next poem, the next recital.
I need to look up at the Mom constellation
and enjoy the recognition that I did
a good job, at least, the best that I could
possibly do. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Remember, why and why not

remember why
and why not.
sometimes the why not is the most important
before jumping into misery
and walking up the road alone.
remember Oregon and reunions,
the mist and fog resting on the hillsides.
the ocean waves, the peacefulness,
the friends who welcomed me.
remember this and also the ones
who did not offer a helping hand
that cost them nothing.
remember them, the ones who
make the next time impossible.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

chirping with my own flock

we may not be much but we are one bird of a feather.
we chirp happily, make nests and eat seeds.
we splash vigorously in the birdbath and nest in nearby trees.
we are happy in this flock,
no need to walk down dark roads alone with no one at our side,
no need to hitch a ride with a stranger or
find a separate room.
we flock together, we fly together,
we love together.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


in the end, there is closure, the 
sun sinks behind the horizon and the day is done.
another day will come, the sun will rise in the east
and different faces will gaze across the abyss.
we hope for friendlier ones with kinder words.
tomorrow the sky will be blue and the fog will have lifted.
I will be protected by someone, the others will have 
gone in their new cars and packed coolers,
their smug smiles intact.
I will go home to a little black dog and a 
kind man with a big gap in his front teeth,
he will smile at me.
I will smile back. 
I can't wait to go 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


envelope my small body
in this vast landscape of ocean 
and sky
the soul
the mind
the heart.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

building an immune system

the mothers who wash the pacifiers when they drop on the floor
quickly realize it's too much effort
for how often it happens, they furtively lick
the dirt off the plastic and stick in back in the baby's mouth,
after ten times doing that, they abandon that as well.
their babies are healthier sucking on dirt, guinea pig hair
and cat and dog dander.
it worked for me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

trading money for serenity

every dollar is hard earned.
not easily, like a walk in the park.
it's work, every dollar, gross minus taxes,
some put aside for retirement,
some put aside for relief from
the vagaries of life.
it's worth it for serenity sometimes
when there is no other way but
to put the dollars down for something
that should be free.
Love should be free.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

broadening our definition of mothering

happy Mother's Day to
those who mother seedlings that produce boutiful harvest in the fall,
the ones who nurture a mix of bechamel sauce and dry pasta into
lasagna that makes everyone go mmmmmmm,
let's celebrate those who mother groups into action, propelling them
towards actions of justice and grace.
motherhood is not only biology, some who have borne children
are not mothers.
mothers are those who work for something bigger than themselves,
birthing new ideas through creativity and hard work.
let us also celebrate them on Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

birthday with friends

we hold him in our arms,
embrace him with our love,
buy cakes, cook lasagna, bring wine,
we celebrate his birth and the
years that follow, our bikes follow him
in a pace line, I am reassured by his gentle
voice, this man makes us happy
a surely as our taste buds love
the cake that Luisa has brought
for the party.
Stefano, you are so special,
we are so lucky.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Butterflies in formation

they gather in his stomach as he faces the audience
raising the flute to his lips, he feels them flutter.
the blue ones with irridescent wings, the yellow and white,
the dusky moths mixed in,, their intricate antennas
rotating on invisible masts.
he breathes in deeply, relaxing his shoulders,
briefly closing his eyes as the butterflies
assemble into formation and in one moment
they carry the sound of the flute forward,
he can only follow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Seashells gathered on the shore
one looks as if it would fit into the other
like the two who gazed at each other across the room,
only to find disappointment when alone in a dark.
one never knows until we are side by side
angling for a way in, to escape the lonliness.
the sand waits and the roar of the surf calls
the shells back to the sea.
he tosses them carelessly into the water,
turning his eyes towards another one
and another, there are an infinity,
he only needs one.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Browsing the "News"

I have never been lost in the wilderness
with a bottle of unopened beer, a spoon
and a desire to drink it,
yet I read every word of this article
on how to solve this pressing dilemma.
no, I didn't read about the efforts in Nepal
to help those in need, or the latest rants
from out political representatives, nor did
I read a good poem or a compelling
news analysis about gender bias variation
across the world.
I admit with embarrassment that
I read how to open a beer bottle with
a spoon during my limited free time.
Perfectly good brain cells were destroyed.

Monday, May 4, 2015


shyness behind bravado
erect shoulders and a straightforward gaze
inside cringing, feeling a fraud
regardless of doctorates, awards,
the admiration and accolades.
we all wear a mask, sometimes we do
not even see them ourselves, our eyes
blinded by fear and reluctance to leave
the cocoon we spun so carefully to protect
ourselves from our beginnings.
we all wear a mask, the light shines
in when we pull it away.
we see ourselves in all our

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking through old pictures

she was beautiful.
dark hair and enchanting eyes,
an open smile.
who was this woman 
holding a small infant, my brother,
her upturned collar, too busy to 
notice and to smooth it down onto
her shoulder, she's a mystery to me,
this woman now approaching 90,
I never knew that open face
now it is too late to ever

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day - Fête du travail

remember flowers on your front step,
the unknown admirer, the friendly neighbor
our hearts could flutter, hoping he was
the one who left them, the timid one,
the handsome one who averted his eyes
when you looked his way.

across the ocean, they celebrate
La Fête du Travail, the day when no one works,
when Lilies of the Valley are passed from
the gardener to the neighbor, from 
the shy young man to a maiden on
the street, they drink a glass that
night in the local pub,
let's raise a glass to a day
without work, a celebration of life.

[Les muguets:  Lillies of the Valley.
I have a full garden of them.
Don't sleep next to them as they
give you bizarre dreams.
Thanks for Michele for letting me
know of this French tradition ]