Friday, April 30, 2010
First it was the snorkel
and then the mask
that took me below the water’s
where the silence of the sea
coral, fishes and sea anomie
floated in quiet harmony
Along the bottom
I saw things
I had read about
and like a dream
I floated in
short little trips
before I was through
I returned to
I'll need better
I can stay longer
Now I take tanks
and go down,
wearing a body suit
so I can stay
The sound of my breath,
deep in this
world beneath the sea.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Refuse dumped in several places
some houses almost finished
residents determined to return
to the place they once called home
Musicians back on city streets
saxophones evoking a deep wail
trumpets heralding a new dawn
but the blues darken summer skies
and won’t let the sun shine through
Daddy’s car still buried in mud
memories of bodies floating in sludge
“do gooders,’ try to set things right
still wake up late at night
'cause every road leads to hell
Police snipers shot at looters
but no one took aim at the civil engineers
whose levees did not stand
the pounding of the hurricane.
Let the little guy, stealing milk,
take the hit for all that’s wrong
blame the cripple for not leaving town
insurance won’t cover their losses
National guards gain control
but normalcy will never return
many survivors are soon forgotten
Money cannot restore the balance
an "I'm sorry," won’t bring back peace
as they continue to fight to survive
Their will to live can overcome
this devastation. God isn’t mad at them
their faith, though shaken, is not forsaken.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It doesn’t matter if you know
the child looking over her father’s shoulder.
You cover your eyes and surprise her
when you remove your hand
she lets out a squeal, dad doesn’t
know what distracts her and looks
with a warning glance,
“You’d better not be
messing with my baby girl!”
When he turns away
you cover your eyes again
then a quick move
and she lets out a belly laugh
the father decides you’re doing no harm.
A game of peek-a-boo can go on all day.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Two people, ten kids,
the neighborhood gossips
impressed that they did “it” so often
but we knew they loved each other.
She had a hot meal prepared and
hand rolled tortillas ready
when he came home every night.
He had enough energy to play with the kids
and at night we would hear their laughter,
her high pitched giggle, his low rumble.
After everyone had gone to sleep
we dreamed of flying
sitting at the edge of their bed
and breathing in the smell
of Pond's cold cream and Palmolive soap.
She stood by him when he got sick
his hands burning with lime
cracked and oozing
no health insurance,
no disability payments,
a second on the house
and he getting back to work
before he was completely healed.
Working as a janitor at the church
no more plaster to get in his wounds.
She volunteered the kids as repayment
for the priest’s kindness.
They helped out families in the parish -
one with too many children
all of them out of control,
another where the mother seemed
to be sick all the time,
then there was the free spirit,
who we later learned was having an
affair with the assistant pastor.
They didn't gossip or complain
leaning on each other, trusting
the other would be there in good times
and in bad for all the days of their lives.
Monday, April 26, 2010
How would you fare under interrogation?
Would you be able to withstand the tortures
designed to tear secrets from your heart?
In the name of national security
all kinds of actions are deemed
necessary to force the enemy
to divulge plots against the
citizens of our free country.
A standard of behavior toward prisoners
developed when the United States
was a super power, when our will
subjugated all other nations
to our leadership and our visions for peace,
but when greed from corporations
took precedents over diplomatic goals
abuses of power included enforced poverty,
and torture ... in all its forms,
became an acceptable method for interrogation.
Once tempted by quick wealth
radicals emerge from the youth
to take back what was lost.
Now victims of their own weakness,
they pull back to the dark ages of their
evolution, with literal interpretations
of religious doctrine proclaiming
death to all infidels
Each new atrocity
gives the other side another reason to fight
and to perpetuate abuses in the world.
The greatness of Egypt turned to dust,
Rome and China, at one time
were relics along with the Aztecs and Mayans.
Persia and Christianity
have fought battles for generations.
Weeds cover former glory
time decays most structures
mother nature acts up
and destroys all that humans covet
without torture or interrogation.
Tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis
earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions
causing all things to return to their
original state so mother earth
can start all over again.
Maybe she'll get it right next time.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Wishes are available if you
toss a penny in a wishing well
supplicate through a church for a small donation
seek ways to manifest the heart’s
desire just by wishing for it,
“twinkle, twinkle, little star.”
Some proponents of the new age
tell practitioners to cut
pictures out of a magazine
visualize how you want it to be
see that new house and paycheck,
the perfect job or relationship -
act "as if," and "it will be,"
and everything you wish for
will transpire. Just by believing
you can make it happen.
Let me take this lock of hair,
a lizard’s tail
and some nail clippings,
I hear that lady in the woods
has the best reputation
for making wishes come true.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Still experimenting with children's faces. They are beginning to look more like the actual subjects. I'm striving for a lighter more transparent look. Practice, practice, practice.
This scene I've done before but the colors are brigher.
This one is new and I think I'll need another attempt to tone
down the pines in the background.
This scene I've done before but the colors are brigher.
This one is new and I think I'll need another attempt to tone
down the pines in the background.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
She didn’t ask for it
but others recognized her ability
while she was quite young
and told her not to be afraid.
It is a gift designed to help others
but feels more like a curse,
driving a racing car
without any controls -
images flashing by too fast
feelings of impending doom
tendency to keep it hidden
holding back, letting the potential,
stay trapped inside
but some days she had to speak up
gave warnings, hints at possible outcomes
but never revealing the complete message -
dreams filled with symbols,
"Danger is near,"
"Don’t drive to the beach,"
a feeling of suffocation,
"Be wary of your new boyfriend,"
"Hang on to your money,"
"Accept the new job," "Move to New Jersey."
Yes, it is a gift, a misunderstood ability
to tell the future and guide individuals
to their purpose in life,
helping them make the right choices
if only she could release it
and not hold on too tightly.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The president arrived on Air Force 1
and protesters were out to greet him
Gay Rights For Marriage and Military
Stop The Wars In Foreign Lands
Get The Economy Back On Track
No Forced Health Care
Clusters of people without jobs
affiliated with different causes
raising their voice as one
to exercise their first amendment right
Shouting out in a civil manner
some holding signs and banners
others packing guns as is their privilege
according to the second amendment
No Taxation Without Representation
They will vote one out and replace him
if he doesn’t listen to what they want.
There may come a day
when a president is elected
who is completely loved
each voter's best interest
is fairly represented
and their will is acted upon
with speed and determination
but that will never happen
until there is only one voice
to be heard and who wants that
in an democratic institution?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Red clay scorched by the sun
curl and crack from lack of rain
scorpions scurry over the terrain,
potato bugs dig deep underneath.
red and black ants fight when paths cross
bumble bees visit occasionally
caterpillars hid underneath the leaves
now they've all become butterflies
lizards, horny toads and rattle snakes
bake in the sun then slink under rocks
centipedes, grasshoppers, honey bees
and wasps all compete for space
dust devils and thunderstorms
blow tumble weeds across the plain
chili peppers, corn stalks, tobacco
and beans grow in straight rows
junk pile fires fanned by northern breezes
summer is finally at an end
families of field mice move in to the barn
to feast on this season's harvest.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Our rhythms are in sync;
we finish each other’s sentences,
if I need something it’s there without asking,
I remind him what he is thinking.
Our routines bring comfort and take precedent
over discovering something new.
Even the dog knows the drill.
Synchronized to our family unit
but when the grandkids arrive
they create excitement and chaos
and we are excited by their visit,
yet grateful when they’re gone
so we can get back to the habits
of our daily schedules.
A waltz instead of a jitter bug
a different speed now that we are older
a better pace for the rest of our days.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
My bones ache, the dog barks,
there is a threat of rain,
I start wondering what today
would be like if Eve resisted
temptation in the Garden of Eden.
Would my body be young?
Would all creatures live in peace?
Would the weather be sunshine forever?
Whenever I yearn for Eden
I review the lessons I have learned
since our expulsion from Paradise.
I've learned to be grateful for the smallest favors,
to count my blessings on a daily basis,
to be glad this life is temporary and that heaven
awaits for those who endure
suffering with patience and love.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
That red light up in the sky will become our destination.
From Felix the Cat, where every rock is a Martian in disguise
to Ray Bradbury and his tales of life on Mars,
this place has always been familiar in fantasy.
The president’s plan is to focus our scientific mind pool
to reach that planet before my lifetime is through
Somehow that dream awakens me
more than the fight to save the economy,
more than the wars in Afghanistan.
It’s not about fixing and destroying
It’s about exploring and discovering
and something in that goal gets my attention
and captures my imagination.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Her lips kept moving and the steady hum
of her voice, in her best storytelling lilt,
drummed on my brain. I couldn’t make
sense of her words but I think she
was in the starring position;
the heroine, in her tale of mundane
and petty illusions of grandeur.
She went on for almost twenty
minutes before she took a breath,
I couldn’t make sense of what she said,
stopped listening almost as soon as she began.
I’m sure she walked away thinking I was
enthralled by her story instead of plotting
my escape, planning a route I could take
to avoid future contact.
What do I want in a friend?
Someone who inspires me to act,
and by our involvement,
our lives are enriched
because of the time spent
in shared conversation.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The world moves along at its own pace
tragedies reported worldwide
a dollar here for a starving child,
another sent there for one with a cleft palate,
and across the continent, dollars needed for survivors
of tsunamis, earthquakes, and famines.
Voices reaching out begging
for mercy from those who
have so much, "Please send your
dollars to alleviate our suffering."
Are we god’s hand for miracles?
From our effort comes his blessing?
Is the world reeling from satan’s influence,
punishments meted out for sins and transgressions
committed by church and world leaders? The Jessie James
and Tiger Woods who chose selfish pleasure
over love? For each insignificant individual who harbors
hatred in his heart and self destructs
rather than toils to increase devotion to a greater cause?
Transformation requires us to look outward
and then take action inspired by love.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
What do I do with a person
who has at every turn, made bad decisions
from not completing her education
to experimenting with drugs and alcohol
and falling from one bad relationship to the next?
Now at the close of her life
those decisions ravage her body
with intense consequences
leaving her in ill health with rotting teeth.
If she were a plant with a disease
I’d expect to cut it down
and burn it before it infected others.
If an animal, I’d put her to sleep
rather than let her suffer.
When it comes to humans
I’m forced to let her linger
in those hallways between death and slumber
maintaining her sickness
until she can’t take it anymore.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The hypnotic flash
bouncing off the back wall
and the retinas of our eyes.
We sit immobilized
caught in the fantasy
of sitcoms and mysteries,
from CSI teams
seeking the murderer
in microscopic clues.
Week after week
the cluster of friends
who tolerate all kinds
of immoral behavior
for the sake of a laugh
and the highest number
Monday, April 12, 2010
Recently I was contacted
by someone from my elementary school,
a woman who was a child with me.
We played tether ball on the playground
went from innocence to adolescence
and then went separate ways
for so many years.
What was awoken when we spoke
were the memories of that community
built through childhood based on
playground rules and
When we meet again
how did she do?
What were her life challenges
Did she fair better than me?
Did she keep your weight down?
Did she age gracefully?
Did the C’s on her test, affect her destiny?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
I’m at a new point in my life
with few models for what to do
or what to avoid.
A blank canvas,
warped by past mistakes.
or lack of it, hinders
what I might create.
So I begin,
one step at a time
along the way
from middle age
to much older.
The challenge is to
arrive somewhat healthy
and fairly sane.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The weather has changed
the ground has thawed
it is time to plant for spring.
removed the top layer
expose the damp soil
below the surface.
Poke deep for planting,
cover seeds and let them
for six weeks.
The blades will show
and the buds will form
the yard will bloom.
Flower vases in the foyer,
on the dining room table
and living room mantle.
Bouquets to keep and give
to family and friends.
Soon the plants turn to seed
and the cycle begins again.
Bulbs pulled from the ground
placed in a cool dry place.
Perennials trimmed back,
biannual seeds removed and stored.
Bright sun turns to cloudy skies
cold forces everyone inside
to wait until the sound,
It’s time again
to fertilize the ground
and place bulbs and seeds
six inches under ground.
Friday, April 9, 2010
He knocked on the door,
a small man with brown skin.
Gerardo, was his name,
he asked, “Can I cut your tree?”
The tree, over fifty years old,
usually pruned, stood overgrown
in the front yard and needed his attention.
The price was good so we agreed
he would come in the morning.
I expected the loud buzz of a chain saw
didn’t know he was already working
until I looked out the window.
He worked alone.
branch while he sat at the top
precariously balanced on the largest one.
I don’t know what he thought
when a strong winds swept through,
45 miles an hour or so,
afraid he would be blown
to the ground, or worse, taken
to the land of Oz I listened but
no shout or a call
for help, he held his position,
continuing to clip and shape the tree.
Something in his nature;
His patience with chaos, taking time to clip
then rake up the debris. He made me smile.
When his work was done the tree
was shaped like an umbrella
perfect for shade throughout
the work of an artist,
an act of love
for his God above.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Her long blond hair was easy to spot
among the 400 graduates,
but to make sure she was our girl
we took turns looking through the binoculars,
we saw her tassels marking her as summa cum laude.
She was busy talking to friends
only slightly conscious that we
were among the sea of faces.
She wanted her family and friends to gather
to acknowledge her accomplishments.
Today she demanded to be the center of attention
For so long she sat on the outside of other circles
while families gathered to celebrate their children.
She was included as the kid down the street
whose mother was chronically intoxicated
who didn’t know how she spent her time.
She told of a time she and a group climbed a fence
then ran across the rooftops
jumping between school buildings
long after dark. She was headed for trouble,
everyone expected it, but when her mother kicked her out
she had a second chance and with it her life changed.
This day was not predicted from her childhood.
She wanted her family to gather, the ones she chose
after her mother admitted she couldn’t take care of her,
and by letting her go her mother gave her
the opportunity to pursue a different destiny.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The sun rises on schedule,
a brilliant gold across the horizon,
the birds calling before 6:00 A.M.;
a morning dove, three sparrows and a crow.
Easter morning is the same as it has always been
for the last sixty-one years except
there are no eggs waiting to be hidden,
no pink and green baskets to be packed
with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans
and marshmallow peeps.
The magic is hidden on this special day
the kids are on their own adventures far away.
One is visiting Yosemite after the last snow fall,
the other in the high desert along the Colorado,
The youngest working and will celebrate at the sea park,
while my husband and I can’t even find a movie to see.
We don’t eat sugar anymore so we look for other ways
to celebrate this day, that marks the beginning of Spring,
and the salvation of the risen Lord.
Wait I think the phone is ringing. They’re back in town
we’ll hurry over for dinner and hide a few eggs after all.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sometimes, when I least expect it
I see ghosts standing in windows
busy about everyday things
watering plants, talking on the phone.
No one but me sees these ethereal beings
and they have no desire to interact with me.
I think they are spirits who died long ago
but still enjoy this earthly plane.
They hang around the living,
someone who is ready to pass, and they gather
to escort him or her to the other side.
I saw two today, they were standing
in the hallway of my husband’s office.
She looks familiar but I don't recognize the man.
He may have come for Dana,
who died last month,
an aneurysm in her brain at forty-five.
He might be her grandfather
and waits with her in a familiar place
until she is ready to go.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I watch Humphrey, my big yellow lab
his paws are twitching, then he whimpers.
Does he think he's being left behind
and needs to run out the door to catch up?
Is he chasing the neighbor’s cat, the one
who walks past the window and flicks her tail
with a little snap that seems to say follow me?
Does he see his dreams in black and white?
Are they three dimensional
or do they seem flat?
I like to imagine him in an open field chasing
a rabbit through long grass,
then finding another one after that.
I think his dreams are fun and free
and he does what dogs do naturally.
Friday, April 2, 2010
The suitcases, still unpacked,
stand like sentinels
at the foot of my bed.
The small case with toiletries
lies open and ransacked
for shampoo, razors, and deodorant.
The unfinished romance novel
lays open by the bedside table
my night gown tossed in the hamper.
Vacation is over
and the attempt to return to normal
sits like a cat, heavy upon my chest.
beckons with frightening news
of normal days.
No more tours to new places,
no service personnel at my disposal,
no more chocolates on my pillow,
I’ve come home
longing for the way
life used to be.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
She screams when I tug
at the brush tangled in her hair
tears fill her eyes
her shoulders hunch
trying to withstand the pain
I try to figure out the network
of hairs woven into the black bristle,
knowing the pink plastic handle
will snap if I pull too hard.
I bring out a chair
to get closer to her head
and one by one release the
strands making jokes to take
her focus off the hurt.
How did it get so out of control?
When it becomes too difficult we decide
the shears will be an easier solution
and with three quick chops her head is free
but who is this woman,
she doesn't recognize me?