Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Familiar Face

Faces, except for a few lines,
look the same until I become
familiar with the jaw line,
as well as the patterns of
wrinkles around the eyes and lips.

I can recognize
him standing in a line
out of hundreds of men

because the lines of his silhouette are
so familiar, the breadth of his shoulders,
the thickness of his thighs,
and shape of his hands

Because he is adorned with ink
I can draw the tattoos
I've traced so many times.

When he is angry I know two lines
will appear between his brows
and the lines of his smile still cause
my heart to beat faster.

His profile, if only a silhouette
is as easy to recognize
as a photograph.

Long or cut short, his hairline
changes his look but not
the lines of his face,

the familiar face
I've kissed a thousand
times, and recognize
with my fingertips.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Respect is outdated
to honor and care for one another
a relic of another time
before the state could step in

taking over
leaving children
struggling without mercy
prison the only solution

in a society where the family
is obliterated
and all persons fend
for themselves

where a best friend can
slip into the house
and steal everything of value
secrecy lost on the Internet
confidences an open link

people in one of the …istans
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan
can peer in to observe
with nowhere to hide on the
information highway.

files forwarded to multiple addresses
her straw hat barely
covering her breasts
photos of binge drinking
in desert campsites

the imperfect life
masquerading in perfect smiles
her dimples an endearing quality,

making me think I really know her

lost in a virtual reality
connects strangers

with little knowledge
or respect for each other
it camouflages to hide
the blemishes of life.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Indigenous People of Alaska

What were they like,
those first people of snow,
who learned to make homes
from the frozen cold?

How did they learn
to carve out a life
among the eagles, bears and polar ice?

One thing for certain they learned to share
in an environment so severe.

Children took care of their elders,
because their own survival
was at risk without them

but the old ones also knew when to die
in one of nature’s harshest habitats,
death came quickly for any mistake.

All that is left
of these cold weather clans
are what we see on their totem poles,
faded mysteries and ancestral pride.

Today, dressed in blankets patterned
from long ago, they present their memories
for tourists to enjoy and perform
at sideshows off the main highway.

The crippled elders chant,
while the other adults dance
to the beat of the drum
sustaining traditions for their children

who would rather listen to ipods
or be with their play stations
in front of the television.

The drums remember the clans of long ago
who ruled the world deep in the North
Beaver, Bear, Eagle, and Crow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Alaskan Sights

First sight of land from the ship after three days at sea

Medenhall Glacier

Glacier Gardens

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Original Art

Here are some watercolor paintings I did on the ship inspired
by Alaska's amazing scenery.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Imitating Art

Here are some paintings I was inspired to do after the art auction at sea.

The first two are from Tarkay and the second two from Bennet

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Forty-one years

seems like a long time
and some days were very long
but in a retrospect

it flew by so quickly.

If we are together another forty-one
we’ll both be one hundred and three

which isn’t impossible
with today’s medicine
so we’ve got to get busy
to figure out what we will do

to keep the rest of our marriage
interesting, loving and carefree.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Random Snap Shots on the Tarmac

Click, a mother and daughter walking arm in arm,
she hands over forty dollars to buy a chair from a stranger
then walks down the runway.

Click, another shot of a small crowd of skanky women
with a dozen children among them, their men,
muscled and tattooed keep them corralled under the wing
of a giant military transport.

Click, the scream of an acrobatic bi plane
somersaulting in the sky.

Click, the rainbow flags, flying atop
the vendor booths where parents buy souvenirs and food
or gather free items from different armed services.

Click, military personnel dressed in
fatigues from airforce, army, navy and marine corps.

Click, another plane in the sky,
maneuvers too agile for one so big
can’t capture the roar as it speeds
so fast it breaks the sound barrier.

Click, posed shots
of family and grandchildren
having fun among the crowds
from Riverside and San Bernardino.

Click, click, click, people of all ages, sitting in chairs
along the tarmac, men and women, young and old
strangers gathered together to watch the display
of power at the March Air Force Base.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Graduation Inspiration

Five hundred graduates
stacked on the lawn in early June
guests equally packed in rows
on folded chairs

The heat from the sun unbearable

and the words from the guest speaker,
Ray Bradbury, tells of his time in school
when stories were ripped from his notebook

“Stop wasting your time on this drivel.
Find real work to occupy your mind.”

He didn’t listen and went on to write

stories and books of science fiction
telling of make-believe worlds so fantastic
that kids of every generation want to read them

He has become a classic, a must read in schools
all because he stayed true to his own calling.
Then one by one our names were called.

Diplomas handed out, tied in blue ribbon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Life slows down
sick becomes normal

the fight against gravity
is difficult and it is easier
to lie beneath the covers
foul smelling and immobile

the bedding crumpled
no light allowed in

grateful to be
sick enough
others must attend

the specter of death
lingers near my bed

pain, like a jealous lover,
brutal yet appealing

fills my sleep with nightmares
so I beg for relief

ask forgiveness,
offer gratitude,
seek redemption

tell the demons
not to block the light

ask god,
to release me
so I can finally get some sleep.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Play Dough

Bright colors and mounds of dough
inedible but not harmful if swallowed
kneaded in hands of children (Age 3 - 85).
Shape into dinosaurs and little cups

then mushed together to start over
creating families and bracelets,
an automobile or an awesome shark
bits of colorful dough always land

on the carpet to be found later
dried out and useless
but the rest gets put away
brought out for another day.