Wednesday, May 31, 2017

to faint

to faint,
lose consciousness for long enough
to crumple to the ground,
a sprained finger, skinned elbow
and bruised knees.
I'm thankful for my head,
to faint
from what
I am not sure.
to faint from terrible news,
from trauma or surprise,
I'd faint any day for a happy reason
if there was a pillow on which to fall.
I could fall from despair into

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tucked between the pages

The credit card, never activated,
tucked in a book of poems, the sticker,
slightly faded, still attached
"To confirm you have received your card
American Express 1111 1234 567 abc
please call 1 800 233 1515"
The paper never read
"An Atlas of Solar Spectra between 1175 and 
1959 Angstroms Recorded on Skylab"
faded, tucked between some pages,
A picture of an ancient love
flame long extinguished,
children long gone
their cherubic innocence transformed to street hardness,
the world of business and science,
an old blanket
a missing sock
a forgotten letter
poetry waiting to be read
a garden to be weeded,
Tucked behind the mock orange bush, I spot between
fragrant arching branches
an orange toy truck, rusted,
once tucked between the pages of

Monday, May 29, 2017

still alive

I love the picture of my kids on the computer screen,
both smiling, leaning in towards each other, so beautiful.
Imagining, with horror,
how the expressions on their faces would change at the news of
what could have been today, was so close today,
to hear the news of their mother, me, killed by a driver who
needed to get down the canyon a little bit faster,
having to choose between hitting the cyclist or the Mini-Cooper
that appeared out of nowhere.
In his mind, less damage done in hitting the cyclist,
Six inches or less,
A narrow canyon road does not have room for a cyclist,
and two cars on a blind curve.
I'm still here, still alive and imagining the devastation
to the lives of those I love if six inches became none.
Six inches from almost certain death.
Too close.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Making room with lists

I didn't want my life to be a list
so I made a list with wide open spaces
for the unknowable to show up.
I shoved the "to-do"' items around the perimeters
and put a "done" basket at the bottom 
for my accomplishments to collect.
Making the list is fun - whether to vacuum
or play improv, collect poems or pull weeds,
make a beautiful garden or pay the IRS,
and then there's that space in the middle
where there is nothing, and there is even a 
little piece of paper that says "nothing".
The roots will push their way up through
the openings in the list and reach for the sun.
I will rise with the branches.

Friday, May 26, 2017

finding the crown

it was hard to explain
my belief that we are trees
a spreading crown of possibility
so often we are stuck somewhere half way up the trunk.
he asked me if I would be disappointed to have ended
life only having explored half the branches
of my own possibilities.
and how to even know what exists up
that branch that is leaning towards the west
or the one that reaches highest towards the sun
I have no idea but it seems exciting,
having nothing to do with duty or the
expectations of others, only this open yawning
pathway to possibility.
why stop here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

stopping at the side of the road

I pulled over onto the side of the road
to step into the rain to admire
A rainbow, a double rainbow, straddling a
dirt road through pasture lands.
this is paradise.
Just me and the rainbow, no other cars
or people, not even a single sheep or cow.
just a vibrating power line.
only the sound of drizzle on the windshield,
the sound of droplets falling to the ground
from the open car door,
a distant sound of highway traffic.
this was the moment to stop at the side of the road.
experience tells me that such beauty is
évanescent, I need to stop now,
now, on the side of the road, in this drizzle,
in the moment, now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I've been thinking

I've been thinking about writing,
really writing, 
I'll use the knife to remove the white stubs
from the strawberries that I picked from the garden.
not just writing like this at night for five minutes,
poetry that no one reads,
except a few devoted friends,
but really writing.
It took years for the idea of a speckled blue countertop
to really gel even though I hated the stained yellow
formica from the 1950's.
It takes time.
I don't have time now, but I'll have time in the future.
I'll plant more strawberry plants and I won't have
to decide again on a counter top, I'll have time to write,
really write.
I've been thinking.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

what children and dogs teach us

the joy of innocence
of living in the present.
that still-warm waffles are the most delicious
thing in the universe until another treat wanders by.
Sitting, mostly, at a table for four, the boys
stuffed their mouths with waffles as fast
as their father brought them.  
children and dogs are food oriented
and mostly eat everything that's available
and tastes good.
a dog wags her tail, a kid falls off the chair.
once the food is gone, one of the boys
wanders out into the street crowded
with Saturday shoppers
until he's hauled back in by dad,

Monday, May 22, 2017

the road to mastery

I will never reach a final destination but I am on the road.
For me, it's full of rocks, but there are flowers by the wayside,
their brilliant yellows and reds lure the bees and hummingbirds to feed.
I can stop to watch, to catch my breath.
a friend sent me a book called Mastery.
I am in Category 3, starting slowly and improving slowly,
tenacious with painfully slow progress,
I watch the sun rise and set thousands of times
with no progress on this road,
the stones are the same ones and the flowers
bloom and fade.
I remind myself that I am on the road and the
air moves about  me, smells drift by and the
minutae of changing scenery does  not require
much movement on my part.
I must simply keep trying, never give up.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

no place like home

no matter the licorice,
the breathtakingly
heartbrakingly beautiful landscapes,
the wine, the fish and the poffertjies,
there is no place like home,
a drawer of clean underwear and pajamas,
my own soft bed,
the flute that has not been played,
the empty refrigerator,
flattened plants from snow and
spindly tomatoes from cold.
they are still mine, the missed notes
and mismatched socks in the dresser.
there is no place like home
and no such wonder as finding
new licorice and chocolate in other
corners of the world.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The last day

It's the last day in Holland 
Time to celebrate an excellent trip,
Looking forward to getting home to see how
The seeds have burst forth in my garden,
To pick up my flute and see the smile in 
My daughter's eyes.
We've had chocolate and herring,
Have ridden paths through forests and fields,
We have shared carafes of wine, and twin beds
With our own comforters,
Such delights, all.
And now, postcards written, suitcases packed,
We will get up early tomorrow and head home,
Home sweet home,
Home sweet home.

Friday, May 19, 2017

If the shoe fits, wear it

The Dutch clogs will be for gardening.
I'll leave them by the front door, or the back,
For when I am the Gardener.
I have so many pairs of shoes.
The ugly pink running shoes that are so light and fast,
The black pumps for looking smart,
The Ariat shoes for riding the horse I do not have.
When we entered the shop, the old woman said we could 
Not take photos. She was old, mean and fat, dressed in black.
When we were clearly buying clogs, a hat and a toy windmill,
Her smile brightened the store
We had permission to take another photo.
I understood this woman, tired of the tourists who
Take pictures and walk away.
I could understand the difficulty of walking in her shoes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Remembering and enjoying sweets from childhood

He tells everyone he grew up here
And he's looking for poffertjis, those small
Pancakes with ice cream and 
slathered in whipped cream.
So delicious.
we have eaten mackerel and sardines, 
Pannekoeken with wine at lunch
And apple pie in an old windmill.
Dutch cheese and brown breads,
We eat soft boiled eggs for breakfast.
Today we are in sunshine,
Tomorrow we will ride our bikes
In the rain.

Another chance to succeed

I could never climb up the rope.  
Humiliated in front of all my classmates,
Some of the able to shimmy up the rope
Way up up up to the high ceiling.  
Here on the banks of the canal,
I have another chance to climb the rope,
Well knotted and sturdy, I could hang on
And swing
I could swing at age 59.
I only had to wait 55 years for this

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Parking lots

Here they park bikes.
Double decker, they are rusted and dented,
Everyone hopes the thieves will pass by
With the double locks in place.
Husbands kiss wives as they board the train,
The remaining one rides off with all the kids,
It could be husband, it could be wife,
We just pass by when the barrier lifts
And the rails stop rumbling.
We are visitors to this land
Where we seem to pass the same older couple
Riding their bikes, panniers on the rear racks.
They don't smile much, I wonder at this.
And so at the end of this day, 58 km distant
From the Best Westerns Kastell, we arrive in Zwolle,
Our bikes will be protected in a small garage
We only need one lock.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Wandering down the cereal aisle
Is not the same as pondering pages of wine
In a castle in Putten,
If only all choices were so sweet,
So drunkenly sweet at this.
Choices of dorado, lamb or pheasant,
Of chocolates, cream or cakes,
We should be so lucky to have such choices.
Of which brand of ecstasy, of luxury.
Let us forget work and toil, 
Only sweetness and sunshine.


Sunday, May 14, 2017


Freshly squeezed orange juice,
Black tea with cream and sugar,
Croissants and homemade jam and 
Homemade yogurt with muesli and fresh fruit.
He enjoys a strong cup of coffee 
With his brown bread and marmalade.
This is abundance 
For no other reason than the right place
And time.
What luck.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

On the road again

In moments of weakness and fatigue
I wonder what else I'd rather be doing and
I come up empty handed.  
I want to be doing this, paniers fully loaded,
On the edge of rain, longer than planned.
So green, so lush, traversing landscapes
Canals draped in castles, if such a thing exists,
I have never seen it but here.
I have to remember that living life to the fullest
Is hard, that it may be easier in the moment to 
Lie on the couch, but what a dull life that would be.

Friday, May 12, 2017

It rains in Amsterdam

The question of the day is
Why a raincoat would have no hood.
The answers of the day
canal boats are covered because it rains alot
streets are empty and easiest to navigate when it rains
Even the Dutch don't like getting wet
We see ponchos flapping in the wind
Some are talented at holding an umbrella while
Riding one handed
Don't step in front of them
The canal boats glide by our window in the darkness
My love is breathing the gentle breath of
Someone sleeping.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A view from the window in Amsterdam

Through the open window
I see lovers entwined on the opposite bank,
Their feet dangling over a faded wooden boat,
Blue paint chips drifting on the water.
It's dusk for hours and we stagger 
Along narrow walkways as if drunk,
Merely disoriented by change and jetlag,
Quick to learn that bikes rule this city.
Do they know that we cannot avoid seeing them
As the view from our bed faces them directly, 
Until my love, the one who insists on sleeping
In caves, lowers the blinds.
I can only see them in the darkness
Of closed eyes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Packing for Mars

It might as well be.
When Happy Birthday translates to fijne verjaardag.
I can't even pronounce it
I can't even say hello and thank you in Dutch.
we might as well be going to Mars.
I'm packing for warm and cold, wet and dry,
for parties and for bike trails
it might as well be for windstorms and
travel by rover.
I'm never ready for anywhere,
wondering what to wear for when
and what, what do I wear when it's 50F
or 20, 70 or 60?  when it's raining,
wind dervishes or red dust?
it's all the same
the uncertainty always slows me

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sorting socks

If I have eighteen pairs of socks,
I only have to select nineteen and I'll have at least one match.
That's assuming that there are no single socks.
and that, my dear, is the problem.
unsure as to how so many socks have run away,
been eaten in the washing machine or otherwise
spirited away, there an astounding number of missing
socks, and so I spread them all out and start looking
for the pairs
the leopard skin socks
the Darn Good socks that are guaranteed for life,
the striped and the solids,
the others will wait patiently for their mates.
sometimes life is that way.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

like mother, like daughter

like mother, like daughter,
we both have freckles, we smile alot
and are both smart.
we can be funny and we both wear glasses
for different reasons.
I wonder if my mother thought about how similar
we are, and it was the last thing on my mind
there is something about being a mother, of
always being so aware of 
being a mother, its so uneven
I think my mother has suffered at my complete
oblivion of who she was, who she is.
the young have a full life ahead of them,
even as we look ahead in older age,
we also look back at who we will leave
behind, noticing the freckles and the smile,
being aware of how time is short.

Friday, May 5, 2017

last time we talked

last time we talked
you'd quit your job that you hated
with no prospects, no offers, no wife,
no brothers, most men in the family dead
and gone, murdered on the streets.
you fell into depression, a bad time,
you said, you stayed away.
I wondered if you were all the same,
friends for life who changed phone numbers
and moved away, never to be heard from again.
today you surprised me with your happy news,
that you met a good woman, were getting married
in two weeks, were moving away
tomorrow we'll talk
I hope it will not be the last time
I talk to you.
I like you.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

who's having fun?

the scramble of paws on linoleum
the bounce of a squeaky ball
the pounce of a black dog,
the slide of a rug,
foam squares detaching and piling up,
the folding of a rug,
laughter, fun, excitement!
who's having fun!?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

now I lay me down to sleep

now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
may the little seedlings grow since they are transplanted
into larger pots,
may the dishes stay clean
and the dog not wake me up earlier than I
want to be awoken.
May the health care bill fail in Congress
and may the EPA keep its funding.
May we start to say climate change again
without losing funding.
now I lay me down to sleep
I have practiced my flute,
although not as long as I should have,
and this poem is being written
as I write.
may the world have peace tonight
for that I would be especially

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

You've come a long way, baby

You've come a long way, baby,
from wiggling and chubby cheeks 
to standing tall, slender and stylish in shorts
to walking to riding, clad in Lycra, 
with the pack.
your smile was the constant and 
one of the reasons I fell in love with you.
You've come a long way, baby,
from being one with Buddy to 
being two with me, you have your space,
I have mine, we have ours,
we have one travel itinerary and try not
to get lost.
you've come a long way, baby,
with your new car and working hard
to retire early so you can play with me.
I've come a long way, baby.
It takes two to tango and we're 

Monday, May 1, 2017

to those who garden

to those who garden,
we watch every few hours to see if any seedlings
have emerged from warm soil,
even knowing that we have started them too late,
that we'll be wandering the farmer's market gathering
larger plants come those sunny days of late May.
to those who garden,
we know that the thrill is no less that life
springs from the tiniest seeds, as we know that
our own children have sprouted from within
and grown taller than we are.
All parents are gardeners, some with the
patience of the organic gardners, adding compost
and mulch year by year, others pushing for the 
quick fix of high nitrogen synthetic chemicals.
I garden the slow way, patiently, with optimism,
my children are tall and can bend in the wind
without breaking.