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