Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, dear brother

Happy birthday, dear brother
the one who fixed my post box after a spree of vandalism
the one who held my hand through the flood of 2013
and who listens, sometimes with a wry smile.
happy birthday to my big brother who knows everything,
or at least thinks he does, I've learned to rely on him,
90% is good enough for me, the other 10% doesn't matter.
we used to promise to keep each other company in the nursing home
we both have wrinkles on our necks now
but have younger spouses
Stephen might be pushing me in my wheel chair
Chris might be pushing yours
maybe we will be pushed along side by side
things could be worse.
I'll treasure every day and every conversation with you,
dear brother, every fantastic dinner, every shared bottle of wine.
most of all, dear brother, I am so thankful for our 
conversations, our lunches and laughs, our dinners and delights,
thank you, dear brother, for being my friend. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Color memories on paper

 this color memory on paper
leaning against the kitchen wall in a
house next to a lake.
boats rock in the water nearby
Christmas lights blink in the darkness.
I captured this image digitally
as was the parent of this color memory
on paper
on a Fall day a couple years ago.
there was a beautiful bride and a proud groom
to have finally captured his love
long enough to put a ring on her finger
and call her his wife.
she turned away to capture this color memory
on paper 
to admire her beautiful daughter and niece,
then turned back and smiled.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Still making cookies...two of us anyway

This year, they are healthy.
Whole wheat organic flour, sugar and butter,
they melt in our mouths.
One reads the newspaper and drinks milk.
The other two mix the dough, roll it out and
make cookies.
the one reading the paper eats them.
maybe one day his straw house will blow down
and the two women will be safe and sound in their
brick homes eating cookies they saved in the
freezer for such a day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Finding happiness

Finding happiness in a half empty peanut butter jar,
A quiet spot at the kitchen table amidst the wrapping paper
And an empty suitcase
We have too much to justify.
my mother-in-law's T-shirt hangs loose on me
Everyone is winding down, books are open
Hallelujah, the TV is muted.
I'm nibbling a corner of chocolate chip cookie
Savoring a glass of wine and watching the second hand
Move around the clock.
There are Christmas lights reflecting off the lake
I'll go outside in the darkness,
In the silence with my half empty peanut butter jar
And realize it's half full with more than enough to share.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Capturing the holidays

Christmas eve
polenta and mushrooms
watercress salad and freshly baked bread
children who tower above me
a missing husband who is missed

Christmas morning
waffles, fruit divided into three bowls
so we all get some
otherwise it will all disappear into one mouth
we know who it is
presents of calendars of poems
pie server, agave, wine, an electric mixer
to replace the one from my first marriage,
the one that finally broke, was it the marriage or
the mixer
this new one,  sleek aqua body
completely redesigned beaters silently whip
the egg whites
I was amazed at their efficiency.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Day

I promised I'd write a poem to
capture her disappearing into the distance on
her skate skis, a novice no more.
a few lessons from yours truly, and off she goes.
a rather awkward gazelle, still finding her legs,
but with boundless endurance, energy and
As soon as I catch up, breathing hard, she asks
if I'm ready in a cheery voice and takes off.
Ah, youth!
And so it goes, two rounds of Buckeye Basin,
back on Peterson's and up Roller Coaster.
I am so proud to have survived,
it was even great fun,

Friday, December 23, 2016


the ion source lit up
that is joy after waiting a month
after another day of no success
that is joy
that means I can take a few days off
and not worry about science,
her reluctant secrets
buried in molecules, soils
and the open sky.
i'll sleep well tonight after
dodging capoeria kicks.
I launched a few of my own
in joy
and then we danced
until late into the evening.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wandering through an iPhone

my brother isn't here.
he's the one who patiently shows me
the ins and outs, the pluses and minuses,
the right buttons for delete.
I think I deleted all my photos, or at least
some of them, the important ones.
maybe I stored them somewhere on the cloud
that doesn't really exist since I don't know
how to get there
do you
we all think our stuff is safely somewhere
since we will never need it again
it's probably all a scam
lots of money is made
my brother is watching a woman
dance with fire on a beach in Mexico
it's cold and dark here and
I have lost my photos
precious photos.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

the new you

the new you
shinier, more colorful, topped out!
smiling, radiant, ready
for the new year,
the new job,
the new place!
but alas, away from me,
your dear mother, so keep the
smile going for me, dear daughter,
it warms my heart,
it makes me smile
your topper of a green bow and
red and gold trailing tresses suits you,
my Karen, who will always be my little
girl, no matter how grown up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Making quiche

I gave away the cook-book,
but don't tell Steve, it was such a thoughtful gift
except I couldn't read most of it.
such specialized language for cooking!
I know where it is, on the bookshelf of my 
Canadian friend and she sent me the one
recipe I desperately needed
quiche lorraine with four eggs and 30 cl of 
creme fraiche.
better yet, my daughter will make it for me
for the double Eve of Christmas Eve.
how yummy,
how delightful!

Monday, December 19, 2016

capoeira in a tiny space

i fear
i will kick the iron radiator behind me,
push over the music stand in front,
on one side the wall, a bed frame across.
the rug burns my feet, but the wood floor will freeze them
i'm too old for this
but i'll keep trying like a baby learning to crawl,
a little every day, a few minutes to go with
flute or a poem.
ah, the dishes call to me and then nighttime
will cradle me in her arms and sleep will
come quickly.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


the woman in the back is eating cake,
I know, because I could hardly pull myself away.
Diane was wearing a black sheath showing off her
sculpted shoulders, I was wearing red at my very own
little black dress holiday party, I was holding a glass of
red wine, but had to put it down.
who are these people, my friends, 
Michele, who speaks six languages fluently,
LeRoy, we carpooled for several years, always
dropping my kids at school on the way, we repeated
ourselves so many times we had hand signals to indicate
another repeat.
Barry and Paula, his family, a woman in the back who I
can't quite make out, but I think it's Susan
who works too hard and needs to find a way to
have more fun and the big goof in the back,
my husband, Stephen, peeking over everyone's 
and me, looking happy, being happy
amongst all my friends.

Friday, December 16, 2016

a little boy grown big

milk shake with whipped cream on top,
3-d glasses in hand,
a smile as wide as a Nebraska horizon
his whole body wagging like a puppy
in heaven,
he's ready!
Movie night at the cinema,
Star Wars!
Storm Troopers against Rebels,
Flying machines, mid-air collisions,
Darth Vader and the Force of the Jedi,
the milkshake will somehow disappear
even though we're on a diet,
and we'll forget politics for a moment,
Good will triumph in the galaxy!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I remember

I remember.
a small boy running hell-fire around
the house, sputtering, roaring, his fighter jet
whirling and spinning, finally crashing to the
ground amidst the sounds of explosions,
the cries of wounded soldiers and tanks
rushing to the site of the crash.
it was this jet.
the paint job could be improved
but otherwise not the worse for wear.
the small boy is now a man
chasing after other things that fly
for real this time, although
not intended for war.
the only sounds are those of the birds,
a rushing river, the sound of a city street,
the drone of a motorcycle climbing impossibly
steep hillsides
his flying machine is a mere glint in the sky
it watches him from on high.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The disappearing RSVP

What happened to the RSVP?
You know, where you let a host know you'll be coming,
That little nicety of saying hey, thanks for the invite,
I'd love to come,
That little nicety of saying hey, thanks for inviting me,
So sorry to miss it
Let's catch up soon
Happy holidays.
What happened to hand written invitations that
Reliably arrive in a mailbox
Eagerly opened, treasured
Now an eVite, never received, or worse,
Viewed, but never replied,
Maybe something better will come up.
What happened to the RSVP, gone the way of
Other good manners I grew up with
I must be old.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Contamination by silicone

 silicone creeps along surfaces
from the oven mitts you treasure in your kitchen drawer,
the hand lotion you love, the bathroom caulk.
it crept into the cleaning lab and contaminated the
surfaces and their minds
all of a sudden unable to process the simplest things
their words sticky against each other, their minds
dulled as if encased in glue
silicone contaminates a meeting
it's no longer engaging or new, it's the 
same old same old, who did, what happened
when and how to rearrange everything in 
their tidy compartmentalized jobs
silicone is messy but so 
is life.

Monday, December 12, 2016

between the snow and the sky

between the snow and the sky
a verdant hillside of pine trees
their lovely smell reminds me of Christmas
their branches are covered in snow, like
icing on a gingerbread house
on the hillside,  
our skis find a path through the forest,
the silence broken by an occasional bird
the twang of skis flexing and releasing
on every glide.
this strip of dark green
held between the overcast clouds and
snow holds beauty, smell, feel,
sound and vision,
we hear the silence between
our skis.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

(not) losing weight

calories don't count because the scale keeps 
                  going up and up and up
even though we're not eating any more than usual,
my friend and me,
a cup of yougurt:  137 calories
half cup of fruit:  42 calories
all said and done, less than allotted for today
and yesterday and the day before
she says she's puffy and bloated,
the little pouch on my tummy is still soft
and little spare tires are growing
but today I started counting and
I'm hungry
I don't like dieting.

Friday, December 9, 2016

my new bike

I got my new bike today
tomorrow I'll kick ass.
those  who have whizzed by me all these years
they will only see a streak of red go by
and feel the wind against their faces
I'll disappear into the distance
leaving them far behind
I'll feel so strong, so powerful.
no more stressing about working out,
about not working out.
I'd rather write poetry and make music.
tonight I'd watch TV but my love
is too tired so I'll read my book
and fall asleep, dreaming of my
new bike.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

an invitation

if you are reading this,
come join our party.
we will be merry around a Christmas tree,
wine will freely flow
chocolates will melt on our tongues
the pungent smell of French cheese will fill our nostrils
the dog will be hoping for fallen crumbs
her nose close to the ground
her tail will brush against our stockinged legs
come join our party,
we welcome you to our midst
drink to holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

frozen solid

it will be -4 tonight.
frost will form inside the double paned windows
there is no such thing as perfection.
a breeze will blow off the windows
there is no such thing as a perfect seal
when it comes to the shifting of an old house
that has seen floods, freezes and the killing heat
of a relentless dry sun.
i would freeze, my lips blue, the tears would turn to ice
i am glad to be inside where it is warm,
where a cozy bed awaits me,
I am thankful to be alive in this place
in this moment.
I am lucky not to be frozen solid.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


i visited this place where a building was labeled
New Ideas, the Production building was down the street.
everyone looked smart and capable,
crisp, their brains were whirring with creativity
it was frightening and I wanted to get away.
they came up with ideas like
automobiles stacked one above the other, 
the ugliest building in the world,
each customer had to make an appointment
to get her car.
in my town, I see young men with man buns
and young women with tattoos on their forearms,
they are making new ideas.
I hope they are less frightening.

Friday, December 2, 2016

packing for Mars 2020

I'll wear my nicest pants and my black cashmere sweater.
this is what women think of when they'll be in a review
with the unknowns, mostly white middle aged men.
I could be surprised.
I'll bring my big brain and hope to get a chance to use it,
considering I have no review materials ahead of time
I'll wing it.
that's what the big boys do without hesitation,
I can do that, too
in my cashmere sweater and nice pants.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Supply Chain

Supply Chain.
A chain which prevents movement forward
A faceless crowd of bureaucrats ensnared in
rules of their own making,
Separation of church and state is nothing
compared with the separation of purchase
requisitions and purchase orders. notwithstanding
the material requisition which no one seems to
know how it is made, nor where it is needed.
I wait impatiently, I try to do their job
for them.
I need my project to move forward.

it's been ten days and nothing has been
ordered yet.
The Chain is around my neck,
strangling me and my

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

fighting fascism in my country

I'll never call him President.
Presidents don't tweet and bully,
lie and humiliate all who are not
white and male.
he is setting up the apparatus to destroy
my country, a country of immigrants, of freedom,
still one of hope.
I will fight, I will march, I will call,
I will speak against injustice,
I will send money,
Most of all, I promise myself that
I will not be silent.
I must not be silent.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sulfamethoxazole fatigue

bone crushing fatigue
gravity alone keeps a person from rising
in the morning
bones and muscles complain of being
too tired to move
the dog must be walked
the birdfeeder is empty
I have a job
and sleep evades me.
so unfair and yet it's worth it
as in sleeplessness I do not cough
nor do I snore or sneeze
I am not banished to the upstairs bed
where the sheets are cold and lonely.
I just lie quietly in bed
listening to his rhythmic
breathing, feeling the warmth
of his body.

Monday, November 28, 2016

no response

every time i go east
i call, i text, i email

he used to have a separate bedroom
for his parakeet, Zola.

he never replies
even though he is a writer
of very short prose
it would not be that hard to

email me, text me, write me, phone me
send a postcard of Fenway Field,

i know he loves that place.

our backdoors once opened onto the 
same stairwell.

one year he gave me an address book
with a woodblock print on the front.
i still have it
it still has his address in it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

the power of imagination

let's not be in the moment,
we swelter in the sun, our eyes peering through slits
towards shimmering mirages, our minds take us
to crystal-clear cenotes and Mayan ruins, the 
cool water flows over our bare skin.
let's not be here in the classroom, bored out of our minds,
when we can compose a symphony, conduct a 100
person orchestra.
we'll listen when there is something worth hearing.
where the human imagination can go,
let it go.
the cleaning of dirty dishes does not require the full mind.
I'd rather dream of walking through alpine meadows, 
imagining lying in the softest warmest bed with a good novel,
the dishes can mind their own selves,
they do not need my full attention.

Friday, November 25, 2016


one can go anywhere.
across the expanses of deserts, along a beach,
up mountains, endless roadways facing the wind.
I'll be there.
there are endless possibilities
with a rain coat, a wind jacket and a good helmet,
a friend, a brother, myself with the songs
of birds on the wire.
we'll go anywhere with our hat in hand,
bound to earth by the steady hum of tire on pavement,
a whir of a motor helping us along.
we could all use a hand.
buy an electric bike.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Learning to carve a turkey

thank goodness for YouTube videos,
for sharp knives,
It's Thanksgiving and thank goodness
for friends and family who brought
apple pies and pumpkin pie,
for mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce,
brussel sprouts and freshly baked bread.
thank goodness for our lives,
how privileged are our lives.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

in anticipation

in anticipation
of turkey, of friends and family,
of pumpkin and apple pies.
in anticipation of warmth and the smooth
feel of wine, of slippers on a cold floor,
of a dog that optimistically awaits left-overs.
in anticipation of thanksgiving,
or recognizing all we have to be thankful for,
of friends from far-away
met long ago,
those eating Italian food,
Russian and Vietnamese,
of sadness for those who have hunger
and pain, war and loss.
in anticipation
I await tomorrow,
a warm house welcoming
to all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

youth and old age

to be young
to know so much and so little
at the same moment.
we have heated arguments at dinner.
a quick immature mind does not yet
know wisdom.
oh, to be old, to use a walker,
to vaguely remember what was once
so sharp, at the tip of your tongue.
where we once pranced, we now roll
slowly, and will eventually roll to
a stop.
a passage to an unknown.
we traverse this landscape,
watching those behind us,
believing we truly remember what
we were like,
watching those ahead, and knowing
that we cannot know.
So, we watch.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Building community one glass of wine, one pancake, at a time

after the election
some will turn away from the ugliness,
cancelling newspaper subscriptions
erasing FaceBook accounts,
Twitter - into the trash.
close your eyes, cover your ears, see nothing
and hope this bad dream will go away.
it will not
We will raise a glass on a snowy winter evening
and open our front door to strangers
in a small hope that they will come.
We will offer warm pancakes on a spring morning
in the hope that strangers will eat.
We hope to learn their names and where they live.
We hope to paint a park bench together
in brilliant red with yellow suns.
We will try to remember what we value and
believe in spite.
In spite of this election,
we must go on.

showing up

you work hard
steadily, heading for mastery
always falling short of perfection
how human we are.
yet, you show up with a runny nose
and an unpleasant cough.
you put the flute to your lips,
drain the tension from head to toe
watching it flow away from you.
play with all your heart.

Friday, November 18, 2016

talking with someone who already knows

he needed an answer
he needed my expertise, my experience,
then he talked at me about
his point of view, his solution,
his analysis.
ill-informed, ignorant on the topic.
I waited and then asked what the
question really was,
not being clear at all.
he was paying me to listen,
red in the face, seeking an answer
from me, he finally paused
and stopped talking.
that was a good start.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cleaning the refrigerator.

the refrigerator was full but there was no food
except for a few hard-boiled eggs, some yogurt,
a salad spinner full of spring mix.
and the shelves were dirty.
I started looking for expiration dates
on the three jars of pickles,
I never eat pickles, or the jalapeno jam,
the leftovers in the back, the olives stuffed with
he says he likes them
not enough to eat them though
black bean sauce, fish sauce, red and green curry
the aspiration of cooking was hidden back there
maybe hidden behind the tahini sauce
doesn't that spoil,
or the miso or coconut oil that has
congealed in the back for the last year
I know it's healthy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

stop and join the rat race

I know this stop sign.
it used to be down the street but now
in this garbage strewn back alley,
it calls on us to stop and read the writing on the wall.
Join the rat race.
my dog looks for treats as I consider the commands,
ending up not sure if I'm already part of it, the rat race,
whether the stop sign supercedes the writing.
perhaps stop being in the rat race after having joined it?
bella didn't find any good food so we meandered
on home for breakfast.
I'll have to think on it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

being sick

temporarily out of commission
fuzzy brain, a hacking cough,
too sick to work, mathematical errors may result
in satellites exploding during launch,
a centimeter is not an inch
a foot is not a meter nor is a pascal a unit of length
these are such important things
whereas the hosts in westworld regain memories
i only forget all too quickly.
i will never forget the giddiness of electing our
first black president, nor the despair of others
having elected a demogogue
let him be permanently out of commission
for his years in office and let those with
intelligence and compassion run our
beloved country.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Drawing a blank

I need silence to think.
Redwoods, the explosion of wave against rock,
The ocean,  I mean the silence of solitude.
I need rest to recover
From fun, people, travel
Depleted, I need to sleep, to stop conversation,
I need a world of peace,
Of belief in equality and compassion,
Not what the leaders of this country are
Offering, I need solace
I need optimism,
I need silence.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

what have you heard

what have you heard these
last 1400 years, dear tree, I beg you to tell me.
what can you teach us in these troubled times
I can hear the wind whisper 
but cannot understand the words
your lowest branches tower so far above me.
your bark is dark and rough, 
you straddle the earth and sky, 
sugar from sunshine,
a network of fungus bringing nutrients to your roots,
you feed them in return.
this is your lesson.
we are all interdependent
we need each other.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

a rare gem

she's a rare gem
in a simple blue dress,
no need for heels.
clear skin,
no need for heavy makeup.
open smile that welcomes
innocence and intellect intermeshed
rare indeed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Choking up on the bus

she held strong in the face of defeat,
I didn't as tears rolled down my cheeks on
the airport bus.
calling us to hold strong to our beliefs and values
in the face of ugliness and hatred.
i can hardly hold myself, much less the
her voice hardly cracked and she smiled at times,
waved her classic Hillary wave.
I knew it was good-bye for now,
not knowing if she would get back in any
ring to fight again,
we know we must again
for now, let us grieve and rest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Too depressed for words tonight

Can this be true?
that our country has chosen a misogynistic, racist, narcissist
for president?
how horribly shameful.

what a terrible blow
after four years with a graceful
Mr. Barack Obama.

O, I cry for our country.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Playing capoeira

I am a child
playing capoeira.
I am a child
watching capoeira, graceful
dance, the only
sound that of bare feet on floor,
the movement of air.
inverted body balanced
on one arm, flipping, tumbling
legs kicking, partner ducking,
then swinging round
to find air.
I am a child playing capoeira,
learning to crawl,
watching the others

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cutting rocks

glaciers cut through them, scouring through a millenia
deep down to where dinosaurs once roamed.
a present day archeologist sharpens her tools to
excavate fossilized bones from the rock strewn steppe
pushed from below.
look, the jackhammer has penetrated through
rock into an ancient kiva.
our progeny will pull up thick layer of plastic
pristine as the day they were manufactured.
we cut rocks called diamonds,
formed by the extreme pressures in the earth.
Rock, scissors, paper.
we cut rocks and paper,
we have learned to write.

Friday, November 4, 2016

how could I forget

how could I forget that on Thursday nights
I still want to write a poem
even if I'm tired,
that time with the husband is important,
that the tomatoes need to be picked before a frost.
I forget,
I forget correct grammar, even in English,
much less in French.
I forget my childrens' birthdays and
what combination of layers do  I need.
A sweater and a jacket for 40F,
or just a warm sweater
I remember that I'll be jogging.
How could I forget to respond to my friend,
Scratchy, but I did and just remembered now.
Hello, Scratchy!
how could I forget?
I'm not sure, but
I did
I do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

best friends

after he took off his tux
after he accepted yet another award,
he put on his jeans and old sweatshirt and
we had dinner, the three of us.
he has three pairs of glasses now,
one to examine small features in his laboratory,
one for the computer
and one for looking at faces and road signs.
he likes freckles, I know this about him.
we met on a windy beach 40 years ago
and then we found each other again
like shells on a beach that you pick up
and realize how beautiful they are.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

and when...

and when we have turned to dust
and mud and clay,
we will return, my love as cast iron,
in an eternal embrace, you will hold my
hand and dance to the same rhythm.
you will not step on my feet and 
we will celebrate all holidays
including Halloween.
On Christmas you will dusted
in the purest white snow
like Santa Claus.
On Valentine's Day I will hold a
bouquet of roses,

Monday, October 31, 2016

Adults in Halloween Costumes

Cover a balding head with a
purple and yellow pom-pom from her high school days.
white and black paint to cover a few shaving cuts,
whatever happened to his lovely beard,
she is lovely, with or without her mask,
her black cloak dating from high school.
his black cloak from middle school,
old costumes never go away,
I'm wearing my apron and cooking pumpkin seeds,
the kids are busy trick or treating
in other neighborhoods.
If there are to be costumes, we must don
them ourselves.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I have the easy life

I know I have the easy life.
the sun shines in my window most every day and
as I bike to work, my lunch settled into the bottom of the
bag a dear friend provided for me, leaves crunching under my tires,
I know I'm lucky, I have an easy life.
I'm eating fresh cherry pie from a lovely neighbor,
my jeans fit just right and
I got new shower curtains for the downstairs bath.
my bed is soft,
I get hugs when I want them
I just got back from visiting a dear friend.
I have such an easy life, there is no hardship,
my children are healthy and independent,
the dog doesn't bark when we're away.
the only thing I would change is Bella's habit
for rolling in stinky things.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Arriving in Minneapolis

The flight attendant goaded us to laugh at his terrible jokes
The only thing that would be free on this flight
I knew this, but still didn't laugh
I stretched out across three seats and drank my
$7 red wine, adequate for the task.
We flew in low over Minneapolis, lights
Dancing over the runway, the pilot executed
A perfect landing.
My friend arrived at door #2 as soon as I texted her
Fifteen years ago we hugged good-bye
It was good to hug hello.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

seeds like fish

I swam in a school of fish like this,
my body whirling as one of them in warm waters.
I stirred the seeds in a white bowl and 
they swarmed like fish in an ocean
following unseen currents, head to tail
the outer ones flashing their wide backs,
the inner ones swimming sideways
crammed against one another, finally
diving deep below before rising up
at the very edges only to circle
inwards once again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Disappearing Images

the image disappeared in front of my eyes
one moment, a swirl of black on white
connecting curvatures of beauty
as water is wont to do, each molecule rose
from the surface into the air I breathe
leaving white below
until finally, the design had disappeared into
thin air.

(this image is from the little Budha board I have at paint on it with water and watch it disappear.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

golden grasses

the golden grasses,
they are ready to rest, to lay down on 
one another, to let the snow fall over them,
a comforter of white.
the path will still be broken in the winter
by the thousands of feet walking 
walking, running, hiking, most talking
of nonsense, the same nonsense I hear
in my own head, the words that deny
the overwhelming beauty of this natural 
world, the one to pay attention to,
to stop talking, to listen, to see,
to sing.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Sometimes it's money.
When I walk inside the drab building
When I walk inside my windowless office
And the sun is shining outside, or it's raining
Or snowing, but it's ....outside
Where I want to be.
I can convince myself this where I need to be
If I imagine the whirring sound of an ATM
Except it's my computer and every few minutes,
A crisp bill comes out and drops into my purse.
Payment for borrowing my brain for a bit
And I think of what I can do with that money,
A trip to Mexico in March,
An electric bike,
Savings for sunny days when I don't have to go
Into a windowless office in a drab building.
Adventures, visits to friends and family,
Food on the table, flute lessons
And French, and it feels better somehow
To be in that office.
Just keep that cash machine

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mille Bornes, deuxième fois

I lost again
In spite of having a smart partner
Sitting across from me, her cards
Held close to her chest.
I had hoped for better, had hoped to
Hammer the two white males on the opposite
Side of the table, so to speak.
We lost but we laughed along the way
And on on the ride home, when I said it was all
About luck, he told me that every card game takes
 Skill, and I don't have it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

this is the outcome

this is the outcome of first setting eyes on the Rocky Mountains,
of gazing back through the rear window of our 1968 Packard
while heading home, east to Chicago.
I never called it home except in name alone
333 South Highland Avenue, a place of mostly unhappiness,
a shell to hold books to keep me entertained, to live in another world.
and this poem, written a day later than planned, is the outcome of
the squirrely nature of internet connections on the second floor
of this old house,
this old house that is home in all ways,
where a poem starts to write itself and gets paused
for no real reason except for the above stated vagaries.
and so life traveling across the plains in a Packard wagon,
throwing up out the back window since I always got stuck
back there and so car sick,
I ended up here in the beautiful Rocky Mountains
where I belong.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

eating cookies while watching

we could eat chocolate chip cookies while
watching the Trump-Clinton debate
but I couldn't walk the dog without falling off the curb.
I  admit that before checking my injuries I
checked to make sure no one saw me.
yes, my hand and my hip hurt
and all the cookies are eaten so there is
nothing to ease the pain and embarrassment.
speaking of embarrassment, does that man have
no shame, making faces and spewing lies,
not even signing up to accept the election results,
maybe he has fallen off too many curbs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I'll keep him

I'll keep him,
he has a generous smile
and ambles along amiably with whatever
or whoever comes his way.
he makes a mean margarita and knows
how to grill like every man should.
he hugs me at night and tells me I'm beautiful,
even when he says I think too much,
he says it nicely.
I've kept him longer than any other
and it's not just that I'm too tired to go for
number four.
He's the best mate for me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Watching capoeira

bodies dancing at a distance
a side kick sails over the other's head
as he bows, then springs forth with a full
frontal kick as the other side steps
as they have for centuries,
practicing for battle,
never touching the ones
they love.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Selling used books and clothes

Is it worth it
to trot out your old things
to bring to a second hand store,
the ones that can still be worn, that should be
worn, that still call to be loved
by someone else -
how about those books that still look new
that should be read by someone else,
not left to rot in a damp dumpster to be
churned into a new roll of toilet paper,
these things seem too precious to throw away.
that goes against my grain.
regardless of The Magic Art of Throwing Out,
the book I read and want to sell back
because it's not really my way.
I guess it's worth trotting out my old
to find a new home, and to buy their old
as it needs a new home.
I am happy to provide it.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mille Bornes

J’étais la directrice,
reining in the slightly tipsy joueurs,
directing them to play their hand, no
not that one, tu as une carte "crevée"!
jette une carte, et prends une autre.
Ok, toi, c'est ton tour.
And so, it went, me directing every player
to take their turn and, surtout a Michele
de ne pas tricher!
Oui, il nous manquait 10 cartes sur 112,
mais pour notre niveau, ça ne fait rien.
Joan a insiste a suivre les règles, mais
je l'ai ignore.
Ce sont mes cartes de jeu, quand même,
celles que j'ai joue comme enfant,
comme mère des jeunes enfants.
Je sais bien les règles, celles que
je choisis.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I said she looked young for her age,  I noted
         the smooth jawline, firm skin, a nice smile.
she said she worked for the post office delivering mail
         for many years
she must have worn sunscreen religiously and a hat.
we said the young couple across the table were
          good together, that they would go the distance.
he said he was on a plane all the time for his job
          but it was only 45 minutes to the airport at 4 am.
          we ate good food and drank wine and cocktails,
         I asked how long they had been married and
he said 42 years
          that's a long time
               I hadn't even gotten married the first time.
          they seem like super nice people
We said that we'd look forward to seeing them
          again soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

the very tiny neighborhood meeting

the outgoing officers were there,
seated at the big table.
the remaining three of us were scattered about,
trying to look invisible, to dodge being elected
for tasks for the next year.
two of us were prepared, we knew we
would have to dive in again,
head first, headstrong, ideas,
do, ask forgiveness later.
neighbors are like family, you can
never get rid of them so you try your
best to get along, sometimes it's harder
than other times.
I try to stay focused on getting something done
regardless, and if they want to come along,
that would make it easier.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Si jamais

Si jamais,
no one from the group responds within 24 hours,
I'll read my own book with my favorite cup of tea. Or
I'll call a friend who actually shows up
even if it's just for a bit, or to play some cards.
the others will miss the laughter when she
puts her "Crevée" card on my 200
and we'll even share a bottle of champagne.
Si jamais, someone from the group responds
at the 11th hour, we'll invite her, too,
but she will have missed the first hand
the most important one.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Life is Elsewhere

I reached across the shelf for a book of poetry.
Milan Kundera pointed out that Life is Elsewhere,
not in a poem, or in this room, not in this city
or this mind,
yet elsewhere.
I seek it, this elsewhere
even far from the beautiful mountains,
the bike path and this room filled with radiant
sun bouncing off yellow walls late in the afternoon.
life is so short and he says
it's elsewhere,
with a new preface,
the cover illustration of a dog in a suit
looking across a forest of a woman's 
torso and breasts, her chin tilted towards 
the sky.
maybe she is looking elsewhere.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

up with the sun

tawny grasses contrast with the
pine forests behind us
it's early yet 
and quiet
the shadows are still long
the buttons on my sweater are 
opening now to the heat of the sun
when I wake in the dark
I have to remember this beauty
to rouse myself
the dog is waiting at the door
as I pull on my clothes
and grab the car keys.
when I feel the cold morning
on my face on the other side of the door, 
I remember how this wakes 
me up to beauty.

Friday, October 7, 2016

what is boredom

what is boredom but
a lack of imagination
not bothering to get out of bed
to explore the world,
not bothering to stay in bed while
imagining new worlds of ideas,
composing poems in your head,
concertos or feeling the muscles in your
toes move as you stretch them.
what is boredom but a certain laziness,
why not come up with 10 new ideas,
I did that one day.
the choice is yours, my friend.
push past boredom or at least
find it interesting!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Straightening up

it's time to be a grown-up.
no need to keep buying bags of spices from 
organic hippy shops to save ten cents,
for them to gather dust in a handwoven basket
for the next ten years.
let the herbs drift into the compost bin
and the plastic bags melt into new
picnic tables for the next generation.
in the morning, I want to see a clean kitchen
counter and a clear space for my breakfast,
a place to put my tea cup and the morning news.
it's time to grow up and 
move past clutter and disarray, to put away
my clothes and rake the yard.
No one is making me do it anymore so
there is no one to fight against,
I just like it more this way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Looking for a prompt and finding one

I watched the movie Young Frankenstein at the theatre tonight.
Before the show, there was a screening of Mel Brooks at a theatre somewhere,
slowly climbing three stairs to a large stage.
His tie was garish and crooked, and his face was gutted by age.
a few of his old cronies were in the audience, the rest are dead now.
he will be, too, probably soon.
the film was funny but I kept thinking of the conveyor belt of life,
like the toasters at restaurants where the bread goes in soft and white
on the left, travels through a heat zone and drops out the other side brown
and crunchy.  Sometimes it falls in the trash.  Mostly it gets eaten, nutrition
for another life.
I think about these things alot
I see the youngster in every old face, a jump and a hop in each
leaden step, the bright eyes behind every cataract.
I wonder if everyone goes through this phase of looking
at death, not imminent, but creeping up every minute, hour and day.
the years go by and Mel Brooks and Gene Hackman are very old.
President Obama entered office with black hair and is now grey.
I enjoyed the movie and I laughed.
It was a good movie.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nusil CV-2946

Confirmation of the perfect process,
Nusil buttered into the slot of a 3D printed template, 
leveled with a steel ruler and with the template lifted off,
the exact right thickness of a perfectly formed
rectangle of Nusil CV-2946, expertly
handled with white gloves,
all this in preparation for bonding two surfaces
bound for GEO.
and yet, remember that this all started with 
peanut butter smeared into a template cut out
from old business cards at my desk
 in a windowless office
in a non-descript office building.
This is likely not the NASA way.
It is my way.

Monday, October 3, 2016


two pink sneakers
four paws
we hit the pavement at dawn,
winding our way through the  neighborhood,
past the Garden, 
skipping across Arapahoe 
headlights are few and far between.
across the bridge into a small forest
the air is cool 
leaves crisp under our feet
it's fall and clouds explode in pinks
and yellows, orange and blue.
Suspend this moment
in time!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

cracks in the rock

just as water turns to ice
and back again, the relentlessness
a fissure forms in solid rock
just as one tooth grinds against the other
the smallest crack opens up
a cavity, tiny opening where
it festers
this hurt in my heart
that no dentist can fix
no steady snow fall will fill
it aches
a bit more with every chafe
and innocent comment
not meant to force open the
tiny cracks, not meant to chill
my bones like cold air on a broken tooth.
no one knows but you
but how long can it stay this

Friday, September 30, 2016

As America sleeps

As America sleeps
across the nation, husbands snore quietly
while their wives grind their teeth,
my daughter smacks her lips,
Presidential Nominee Donald Trump 
into the darkness from his tall tower
of wealth.
he is alone.
there is no one to stop him.
no one really cares.
we are dreaming of a peaceful America
with no wars, good schools and food for all,
or maybe we are dreaming of flying above
the trees, or of dogs chasing us down a street.
surely, we are not tweeting,
least of all about ourselves.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

the empty house next door

they finally moved away
to a bigger house for their bigger everythings
they seemed nice until they weren't,
insulted that you didn't bend to their demands
I just wanted peace
I wanted to like them
but they worked hard to chisel away the good will
I am not perfect.
the house is empty
the windows are dark
and their big white SUV is gone
An opportunity lost to have been friends
but I don't think they have regrets
they are the center of a buzzing hive,
honey drips from their fingertips.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

the witness of long time friendship

she has known me since my kids were infants, toddlers.
she saw me through two divorces, even though she had officiated
for the second wedding. to a narcisstic womanizer.
that one ended
and we both celebrated the ending once I stopped crying.
and tonight we have two drinks each and talk about her
kids who are now, presumably, adults, not really.
and I have witnessed her divorces and her babies grow
to adulthood, kind of,
and we can laugh and compare wrinkles and talk about
the botox that we haven't had yet, or never, and the women who have
who look younger, maybe, than us, but rather
well, artificial.
is that better.
she is still so beautiful and she claims I will always
look young, and that my long hair suits me, why not,
we can do what we want,
and why not.
I saw a woman in the airport a few years ago,
she had long silvery grey hair and as I passed her
I admired her slim body in jeans and a sweater and
her freckles and I knew I wanted to look like her
when I was that age.
and my friend will still have chiseled cheek bones
and beautiful layered hair that hides her big ears,
of which she is self conscious.
we will laugh at the escapes of our 50 something
kids, who maybe have still not grown up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I remember

I remember this lake.
Nepal, in love, 25 years old
so thin and sick, actually,
the lake was beautiful
and we drank mango lassis every 
morning to recover, to regain 
our strength, we smiled at one 
another, so young, so innocent.
33 years later, I look at this photo
of me, so young and innocent,
so beautiful, on my first honeymoon
with my children's father
he gazed at me and the camera found
me in that moment of openness
and love for him.
it's still there in its own little way.

Monday, September 26, 2016


you're really undecided
between a well educated, smart, poised woman
and a rambling, cheating tax evader?
you mumble reasons about needing a change
in the system, how he speaks to "us",
the ones who believe Muslims should be blocked
from this country, the one built on the backs and minds
of immigrants,
"us", the ones who believe a woman should be at home
and that law and order is all that is needed to solve the
black problem, that fear the reality that the power
of the uneducated white man is coming to an end,
good riddance to that.
a small voice makes you undecided, a small voice
resonating in the cranial cavity that knows that Trump
is not the answer, does not have answers, nor the
capacity to find them.
there is a little voice that knows that she is
the better candidate even if she is a woman,
even if she lies sometimes and you don't like her.
she is the better candidate,
so damn it, go vote for her.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

just us

mice rustled in the dry grasses
birds circled
the winds sighed 
early morning,
a woman and her dog stroll
up a quiet trail
there is no one
no voices, no throngs
crowding each other
just us
and the mice
and the birds

Friday, September 23, 2016

the everyday

I went to work
listening to the latest commentary on Hillary versus Trump
as the wheels of my bike turned round and round
like the wheels on the bus
I loved that song.
I smeared peanut butter into a slot cut out of plastic sheet
to simulate smearing silicone adhesive into a 3-d printed
template on the surface of a heat pipe
deep inside a telescope.
they may laugh at me, but I saved them money.
Fast spinning asteroids don't pull apart -
just like columns of flour don't collapse.
we know this from experiments on the kitchen table.
when the propane tank is empty, the salmon didn't cook anymore.
the flute exercises are hard and discourging so I take lots
of breaks and write poetry.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Empowering Women

we are empowered to wear ridiculously tight jeans
and high heels for all our outfits,
from stillettos for suits 
wedge sandals for summer
and high heeled boots for fall
we are liberated with our beautiful calves
and tight butts, our aching backs,
bunions and corns on our feet
all in the name of womens' lib we
compete with each other for the best botox,
how many colors we can weave through our hair,
makeup and face lifts
we are so beautifully liberated.