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.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

the art of calligraphy, the beauty of a name

I scribbled my name
illegibly with my beloved fountain pen
I bought it in Paris.
he cradled his cheap ball point pen,
waving it in the air like a conductor working
her orchestra, the glitter of her gown
temporarily blinding us
thus I watched him, transfixed
as the tip of his pen touched the paper
in great circular motions to form 
the first letter of my given name,
my name, which had never seemed so
beautiful as then, finishing with a 
grand flourish, releasing his pen
from paper at the same moment
as the conductor
lowered her baton 
to roaring applause.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

three x three

very short poems
use few words
late at night

Monday, September 19, 2016

on being lesbian

I wouldn't know but I read about it
in a poetry book,
about a woman wearing 6 inch stilletto heels
on the arm of her white butch.
she was beautiful, the sheen of her black skin
dark against a glittering white sheath gown.
the whole room turned and gaped
in the biggest small town between
Chicago and L.A.
I would have stared, too,
breaking away from my white balding husband.
I know what he looks like 24/7
and I still love him.
But that would have been something to
imagine them together, the white butch
and her black lover, skin on skin under
flashing lights, who knows what they
could do.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Droplets on Saran wrap

how amazing.
and mysterious
that the condensed droplets near the 
edge of the bowl were so tiny
(steam having risen up from within,
each molecule landing on the inner surface,
migrating across to join another and another,
forming islands of droplets,
I want to know why the middle ones are bigger,
it must because the molecules are more mobile
perhaps the molecules close to the bowl edges
are chilly, a cold breeze blowing off 
the glass bowl.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dictator and Slave

the house is cleaner
because I am the only one who can walk.
the piles of clothes and pillows, books, phone,
computer, and assorted various
have one less vector to spread them throughout.
I pick up after myself when it's just my clutter
for reasons unknown.
As dictator, I feed him what I think he should have, and how much.
As slave, I feed him what he needs, how much he wants and when he needs it.
I do the dishes and pick up before work
and after dinner.
he's starting to move out of the bed and 
pillows, and lawn chairs are migrating,
papers are showing up on the floor 
and my time as dictator and slave may be ending.
I'll kind of miss it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

generosity of spirit

they brought us dinner,
a Dutch oven filled with chili
corn bread baked in a cast iron skillet
best of all, their smiles and good cheer.
it wasn't necessary, but gratefully accepted
even as they enjoyed, then endured, a hundred
photos and not a few videos,
not unlike the old fashioned slide shows where
you had carefully assessed whether the
free dinner was worth an hour of bad photos.
you go anyway to see your friends
and find it's a good time.
Tonight we ate chili and corn bread,
drank beer and wine, had some tea,
pie and ice cream and
Bella licked all the plate clean to a
Cold Water Wash.


it's dawn.
the dog needs to be walked
the coffee pot needs washing for the new brew
Bella waits impatiently for me to feed her
and Stephen waits patiently for his coffee,
his yogurt, granola and fruit,
for me to sit down.
Work awaits me
and once home, dinner needs to be cooked,
my flute calls to me,
Stephen needs me to get more ice for his foot,
and would I get his book, his phone, can I move the TV
and dishes are undone and the laundry is unfolded,
the flute got five minutes
the dog needs to be walked
it's late
I'm exhausted
it's dark
at dawn the dog will need to be walked

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Going back to basics

if a single note can't sing
how can a symphony,
how can a concerto move us
if the players play only to technical perfection.
the composer's heart and soul were spilled
onto these staffs, key signatures and tempos
a distillation of bile and saliva,
the guts of humanity,
music comes from breath,
breath is life.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Choosing Clutter

I chose clutter when I read books to you before bedtime,
feeling your warm body pressed against mine, the
smell of you, of sunshine and dirt,
Right before bed, we took Henry for a ride in
the red toy truck that we left out with all
your other toys, you let me finally take you
to your small bed and say goodnight.
The dishes were left dirty on the counter,
the laundry unfolded on the couch.

I made a choice,
to be with you.
I will always choose the labor of love,
the imperfect, stumbling, fervent,
the love that takes so much time and reflection,
there are no right answers,
you and I winged it, together,
in a messy house.
I have no regrets.

and yes, today
I live with clutter, sometimes crazy clutter,
sometimes a tamed clutter, of books you gave me
that I may never read, but they remind me of you.
my grandmother played with the slightly ratty
stuffed lamb back in a little town looking over a
beautiful lake, a quilt that needs repairs that
was a wedding gift to your father and me.

all could be replaceable with new Ikea stuff,
but the old wooden metronome would no longer tick,
the beautiful layered rocks from Namibia that Karen brought me
would be out in garden instead of falling down from the
little shelf in the kitchen where I see them and
remember that part of her life.

So, my life will be cluttered and chaotic,
flute music will be spread around the floor
and poems will tumble randomly at night.
French verbs will be in the wrong tense and
my husband will tell me the same thing ten times,
I'll listen and then he'll do the same for me.
All of a sudden, it's late and the dishes are
undone and the laundry isn't folded and we
fall into bed, our eyelids drooping in a
cluttered house, our breath settling into the
steady rhythm of night.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Blueberry pie

the crust is hugging the bluberries
warm butter arms folding around each
and everyone, the big and small,
perfect blues and some a little green.
and when I eat the crust hugging the 
berries, the butter melts across my tongue,
still warm, and the cold vanilla bean
ice cream slides along my tongue,
the flavors dance and sidle,
my eyes roll up under my eyelids
and I look towards heaven,
since homemade blueberry pie is 
isn't it?

Friday, September 9, 2016

the picture that loaded three times, hours later

and in case I don't remember
the picture is there in a trio of memories,
to recall the road that ended in a dirt pathway,
the one that called on skills I didn't have
but had to summon from somewhere,
like parenthood
when you bring home this tiny baby
and you're not sure he will make it through the
night and so you watch and listen all night
and somehow he survived to age 30,
and I made it up that gravel path
gunning the electric bike and urging myself
on through my fears
until I was at the top and the dirt
had turned to cement
and I knew that even if I didn't have a trio of
pictures, I would never forget that moment.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

picture won't load

I had a great picture for the poem tonight
a shot of me, in the distance, climbing a dirt path,
a beautiful view of the mountains in France in the background.
I sent it to the blog three times and it never showed up
as if to tell me that the past can never be reconstructed.
a moment gone by, etching neural pathways that
may or may not stay intact as the ever passing
experiences overlay them.
will I remember this view of the French Alps,
the pathway on which I struggled,
loose gravel when I was seeking pavement,
I think so, but maybe not,
especially without the picture
that won't load.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

From the darkness

from the darkness of the street
I can look inside at other lives.
there are no lamps on the corners to blind
my eyes, the softness of darkness envelopes me
and no one can see me from the inside
of the brightly lit houses I walk by.
on Grove Street, I see dreamcatchers in windows,
I hear a flute, and a man downstairs watching
a cycling race.
I wonder if they are happy, or are they 
trying capture new dreams to replace the 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

man and woman

he described the trip,
the hills, the towns, wine and food
and then turned to me, winking,
I'd provide all the corrections.
I described the trip, the beauty, the connection,
its loss, the reconnection,
being lost, trying to find our way,
struggling up steep gravel roads,
my bike gear left behind in the rental car,
trying not to find fault,
knowing we're both doing the best we can.
he is focused on the road,
me on the path.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Poetry at home

In France
I lived and breathed the poetry
of cobbled streets, street markets filled
with fresh picked blackberries, handmade
soaps, baguettes, fennel sausage and endless
arrays of cheeses.
I lived and breathed the poetry of rural landscape,
medieval castles, stone homes clinging perilously
to steep mountainsides,
billions of stars, the moon circling overhead.
I did not need to create poetry,
I lived and breathed it.

Sunday, September 4, 2016