Tuesday, June 30, 2015

She's French



In Montreal, everyone is bilingual,
shifting from French to English and back
without even noticing they have translated for Karen
and satisfied my need for their language.
I am starved from the lack.
except for Carole
a French woman somehow landed
on Montreal streets who struggles through
each English phrase,
Karen encourages her to
please,
just speak French, it's too painful to listen
to her English.
and as she grinds through endless explanations
of  how to operate a microwave, or how not
to pull too hard on the washing machine door,
I encourage her to
just speak English
to Karen.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kissing a...bird


why not fly,
the bird has wings of steel and a smile
you are dressed in black like batwoman.
you will launch into the sky seeking out 
evil dudes, and shooting them with  
poisoned arrows.
their hearts will stop and their bodies
will crumple to the ground even
as you look back to check your work.
in the square, you will kiss your bird
good-bye, waiting until she calls
again.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A walk in the park

he walked with a cane
she moved in a motorized wheelchair.
it was a lovely day, blue sky, the sun warming their shoulders.
The grass was mowed and they moved slowly towards
the statue in the center of the park.
they had all day, no rush, no job
they had the rest of their lives to get to 
the center of the park, there was no one waiting
because the only one who mattered was
with them.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

walking in circles

I was hungry when we started
my feet tired and swollen.
we climbed up the hill to a street filled with
restaurants, the crowds pushed us
down the hill towards empty streets, the dark
faces of the buildings gazed at us hungrily
as we walked.
my companion, ever the optimist, believed
we would find food: I had lost hope
only hoping to buy food en route
towards home,
better yet to buy a bottle of red en route,
to put my feet up and rest.
full circle, we finally eat and drink
until midnight.
je suis satisfaite.

Friday, June 26, 2015

it's four in the morning

there's something about four in the morning
I heard that on the radio.
not three, not five, that time when the birds
are still in their nests but there is the slightest
intention of lightness in the air.
we know the world will wake up.
I am awake, making sure my bag is packed.
the dog looks at me hopefully and goes
back to bed.
I hear her sigh as she jumps back on
the couch.
she'll be up at six, nuzzling S just as
I drive away.
six will approach quickly, I must get
going.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Somewhere over the rainbow

somewhere over the rainbow where we cannot see,
we can dream.
of all that is good in the world in spite of the news.
or in addition.
we mourn those who are lost, the innocents in South Carolina,
we honor those who have comforted their families.
on the other side of the rainbow is hope, 
through the yellows and reds, indigo and orange,
sadness is filtered away and we stand in awe.
we honor the clouds that billow behind,
the trees that reach to the sky, the flowers
that bloom reliably.
keep dreaming and reaching for goodness.
what else can we do.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She's in the driver's seat


Let there be no doubt,
she's in the driver's seat,
on land or lake
(she gets seasick on the ocean),
she's moving ahead.

happy birthday, lovely daughter.
from the first "me do it" to your explaining
to the world about climate change,
you're moving forward with a confident stride,
while also looking inside, and to those
you love and who love you.

keep moving, dear one, pack your
bags, the ride will continue,
when you go under the waves,
you will come up and carry on.

Monday, June 22, 2015

banishing obfuscation and bullying

we'd like to think we'd do the right thing at the right time.
our memories fade into the distance and we can only hope we did,
knowing inwardly that we probably didn't.
tonight glad to be reminded of chastising a big shot
that his long rambling didn't mean anything,
such obfuscation!
and that i ran up the back stairs, bursting into
their apartment to dress down a bullying husband.
thank goodness i did the honest thing at least twice,
i can  only hope there were  a few more times
and that there will be more
perhaps i'll make a note of them
honesty and courage are
something to be celebrated.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sharing a twin bed

 they would never admit that they shared a twin bed
at their Aunt and Uncle's house, but I saw it
that morning.
Their bodies are as long as the bed so they
fold their knees to their bodies, pretending
that they're comfortable and not really sharing
a bed.
Two adolescent boys could not be more horrified
to reveal that they shared a bed, but I caught
them on film.
I won't tell anyone.

Friday, June 19, 2015

chasing squirrels

I looked the other way and ended up on the ground,
abruptly, on my hands and knees,  a dog that was on my right
magically on my left, the leash dangling uselessly from her collar.
darn squirrel!
and she, this black dog, runs after every one,
barking and jumping at trees as if suddenly she could fly.
me, I'm on the ground with a skinned knee and scraped elbow
cursing squirrels.
I had never seen so many, dead and alive,
darting across sidewalks and streets, or stretched out
in the dry flattened corpse I now see on lawns and
behind bushes.
let them all be flattened and stored
elsewhere.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

how many times


how many times do the innocent
have to die at the hands of someone who
hates, who has an assault rifle, who wants to
go down in history.
Sandy Hook, Aurora, Fort Hood, Wisconsin,
Washington Navy Yard, Seattle
now Charleston.
they have suffered already so much.
how many times do our leaders turn away
muttering meaningless murmurs of regret,
returning to the dollars and cents that win their
re-election.
make that millions of dollars
it's about money, not lives lost.
we bend our heads in sorrow for more
innocent lives lost, more to come,
we do nothing to stop it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

He'll start singing soon

He'll start singing soon.
He'll start writing again soon.
soon, he will be singing to the blackbirds
roosting in the trees while copper pipes gleam
under moonlight.
No one will dare take them
while he's singing.
who would wander into such a place
where such a smooth voice is filling the space,
he thinks no one is listening, but they
are.
we can hear him singing even in our sleep
we know he is singing to make the stars
light up at night, for the Man in the Moon
to finally close his sleepy eyes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gathering Bouquets



we used to gather flowers in the spring.
you were small then, and it didn't matter if the
flowers were what I would consider weeds.
dandelions were as beautiful as any other.
I don't remember seeing daisies back then.
A stranger must have walked by, strewing
seeds in the grasses, waist high, bending
lightly in the breeze.
Many years later, you are now so much taller
than the grasses, so elegant and poised.
Me, I am only a little taller than the grasses
and I wander by the smiling daisies
and think of you as a child.
A smile forms on my lips,
I am grateful for daisies and dandelions. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Making New Friends

At first,
they are unknowns.
I met her on the other side of the creek,
we crossed paths twice and knew we would be friends.
we still are.
I met him on a beach in Oregon, when the wind
was blowing through my waist length hair, and
we walked together holding hands.
We are still friends although separated by
hundreds of miles.
I met him in the Naropa courtyard
at 6:30 am on my way home from that place
across the creek.
there always seems to be water.
I hope we are still friends.
At first they are unknowns,
with time and luck, they become
known.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Living Life in 10 minute increments

the years can't possibly pass quickly.
there are 52,560 ten minute intervals.
two ten minute intervals for flute, another for a poem,
one ten minute torture session for French grammar,
ten minutes tonight for
collecting signatures,  anything can be broken into
ten minute intervals, a timer works for the most unpleasant.
ten minutes for doing some dishes, ten minutes for picking up.
ten minutes of weeding.
and some we cut short because they may be too fun
a ten minute phone call, maybe 5 in a rush, a Skype,
naps take many ten minute intervals, preferably twelve
and a good night's sleep 48 of them..maybe more.
So quickly they add up, the sleepy ones,
I must use my remaining ten minute intervals
judiciously.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Story of Jenny Fly



he calls me that,
Jenny Fly, for the fly that never lands
no one can successfully swat it and bring it
to its knees.
I have small knees but not as small as a fly's.
I fly from flute to poems, from French grammar to work,
home again to a nap, a phone call, finally collapsing
in darkness.
I'm sure flies eventually sleep although I have never
seen one
I wonder if they have a little couch with a little pillow.
I wonder if they snore.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fran├žais le matin


I smell the fragrance of mock orange
intermingled with peony, the most delicate pink.
it's breakfast, black dog at my feet waiting
expectantly for a bowl, a few licks of yogurt.
I turn to French grammar and set a timer.
it's too hard to tackle with no limit,
I look hopefully in the middle of drills
on "auquel" and "dont", la raison pour laquelle
I find it all so difficult, French grammar
on the heels of unknown English grammar.
the timer rings and I close the book
a little futher ahead, but not much.
this much is true and M. will know
it. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mock Orange

what is "mock" about it,
the scent envelopes me like a fine mist
surrounding the Niagara Falls,
I could drown in it with a smile on my face.
It blooms only once a year, so if I choose to die
let it be then, when the roses and peonies
are in bloom, the tomatoes are newly planted
and the sun is still low in the sky.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The weeds versus the vegetables

I'm not sure the veggies will win,
the crabgrass has immortal roots and spreads
over the soil,  strangling everything in its path.
how did this stranger arrive, most likely hidden
in a bale of "weed-free" straw
I should have known better.
The tiny seedlings are rising from the soil and
the contest begins, I will raise my sword
against the weeds in the enthusiasm of early summer.
as the heat drains my energy while cheering on
the weeds, I   know I will put down the tools
and retire to my back patio to drink
mojitos, the fresh mint rising into my nostils,
the alcohol relaxing me into blissful
carelessness.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Close the Door Behind You


The officers in the C suites are heading out,
briefcases stuffed with cash, doors swinging on 
creaking hinges, dumbstruck employees. 
should we not be happy at their disappearance
but for the paychecks that add up to zero.
the projects ended, the lunchroom was never built,
no one ever learned enough for the next job,
stuck in a 24/7 of anxiety and job hunting.
the door will swing shut behind the officers
in the C suites, they'll jump off the jet
in a golden parachute landing on sunny 
beaches in tropical islands.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lost in Superior

you live on the other side of the hill,
lost in cookie cutter American suburbia
where one ties a yellow ribbon on the mailbox
to locate the house you try to call home.
it doesn't feel like home to you.
the curve of the roads and multiple cul-de-sacs
confuse your mind which is already reeling
with your loss of the house which seemed not
to be enough, but was,
and as you wander down the silent streets
gazing at all the closed garages, their
nice cars put away for a good night's sleep,
curtains drawn, you wonder that there is
no apparent humanity here, only people locked
up inside cookie cutter houses.
I know tears are rolling down your cheeks.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Strong beautiful women


we will solve the problems of the world.
our power will dissolve the crooks and crannies
of white men, like roots that push up through sidewalks
who once believed themselves invincible.
we'll do it after we drink wine and eat eclairs,
after we laugh until 10 p.m., comforting a black
dog scared of thunder until she cries out in
her dreams of chasing rabbits, her small paws
barely trembling.
it's a small spare living room with an old rug
and chairs with cracks in them, but this is a gathering
of strong, beautiful women.
we do not need a new Porsche or a young wife,
we stand on our own two feet.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Spectacular beauty


in awe
myriad colors
scattered pollen across paper
thin petals
transient beauty
enjoy it
she will fade
by morning

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Traveling Plans


he'll have to do it.  Find
the flights, the trains, the hotels,
they mystify me with the schedules, the fares,
even the dates swim across my eyes and the months blur.
I walk away, towards old Quebec City
and the Marche Atwater in Montreal, mere visions
that need concretization in tickets and schedules.
i want the vision to become reality but such
practicalities are not my specialty,
he will make it happen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Too tired to think straight

I admit that after pizza and margaritas,
 a hot ride in the sun on the way home,
five sets of weights and gathering signatures,
my mind is toast.
unbuttered, lacking a sweet spread of jam,
just dried up and slightly blackened,
there are no new thoughts, not an
ounce of creativity.
I hear the kids outside yelling through beer mugs
as they release pheronomes as young people do,
their minds don't work either,
only their bodies know what to do.
as does mine, to seek a soft comfortable
place to sleep.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mowing the Lawn after a month of rain


I couldn't mow the lawn
each day the rain streamed down the windows
I pressed my nose against the glass and pouted.
the grass kept growing, tall enough for the seed
heads to bend over in a humid, not wet, breeze.
my dog disappeared in the backyard,
only a black tail waved in the grasses.
the mower complained as I pushed her into
the tall stands of grass, I wonder where my 
lawnboy is,  he knows how to cut the grass.