Saturday, July 30, 2011

History

















All accounts of the past
are his story, the battles won
inventions and works of art created,
all assembled in chronological order

Women are the unspoken part
her story not accounted in textbooks
except when she is a receptacle for his seed
or presents a respectable dowry such as a kingdom

or treaty. Eve is remembered for her sin
and how it was her fault; the Fall of Man.
All of Henry VIII’s wives are only footnotes
to his reign, Marie Antoinette lost her head,

Betsy Ross sewed a flag.
China’s parents want only sons
but without their daughters they will be
obliterated without a war or a plague.

Polygamous marriages are available
to Muslim or Fundamentalist men
no harems or concubines for the females
their stories relegated to reality shows

but who really cares about Hilton, Kardashian or Lohan
it’s Eve’s story all over again but without the class.
Strong women go almost unnoticed in their roles
as leaders, teachers, warriors and mothers.

It seems men prefer to have their women’s faces covered
in cloth or hidden in make-up, keeping them off
balance in bound feet or high heeled shoes because women
can bleed without dying and give birth again and again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Big Sister to Baby Sister

















You were born during my adolescence
at a time I should have been exploring
and pushing away
you came suckling and needy
the last of ten and I had no choice
but to take you in.

You were frequently propped upon
my hip, neighbors thought
I was a teenage mother
most of the time it was okay but
at two you pushed me away

and my efforts to get close to you
were met with loud cries so I let you go
ended up getting married at 20
love had it's influence
but it was also good to be on my own
separated from the tumultuous
environment called home.

Events of your growing up
arrived in letters from mom
but with the birth of my own children
there was little time to notice
and now that you’re older you want to bond
your need forces your action

I wish I had more to give
but I’ve raised two kids
and a grand niece as well
I have six grandchildren
and two daughter-in-laws,

I ran two schools with over 600 kids
I think on the scale of generosity I’ve given

all I can give. The well-spring seems empty
so at this time of my life I want to be selfish
and pursue my put-aside dreams
I like to languish in my own thoughts

responding to tasks at my own time
but here you come worn out from life
forcing yourself into mine
pardon me if I need you to live independently

I want you to find your own strength
you want to suckle on a teat

but it has been dry for a long time

I know the economy is a disaster
the possibilities seem non-existent
but every day you must take an action
to give yourself power and a place
to bring your best efforts to full expression.

I appreciate that my house is cleaner
and that you want to prepare my meals
and babysit my grandchildren

all of these are worthwhile things to do
but then how do I fill my time now that I’ve retired?
You need to find something to do for yourself
formulate your own goals you’re young enough

and smart enough. The challenges will not be easy
I’m willing to give you a resting place in the storm
but like any rescuer I can’t risk my own life
if you’re forcing me underwater
in order to survive you need to be strong.

We can both make it if we try.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

License Plate Game

















My husband and I play a game that begins
on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.

The goal is to find as many license plates
before the summer is through

We go out to a restaruant the winner chooses
and the loser has to pay the tab and tip.

The first license we see is California of course
then all the neighboring states in various orders

Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas
New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Next come the farm states of Idaho and Iowa
Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin and Nebraska

Kentucky, Wyoming and Montana we see towards the end
of summer, South Dakota more often than North Dakota.

Maine, Indiana, Tennessee, and Oklahoma
we usually spot on large commercial trucks

While New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania
can frequently be found near Hollywood and Vine

Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts,
tend to travel along highway 40 and 10.

The southern states can be a hit or miss
but we usually find Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia,

South Carolina and Virginia but West
Virginia we’ve never seen even when

we traveled to the east coast but that was the first
time we saw Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Florida, with all its retirees, can be seen throughout
the year but Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maryland

we only see when we travel to Arizona
to visit Sedona or the Grand Canyon

Because of the military bases in Long Beach
and San Diego we always spot a Hawaii or Alaska

we saw Mississippi and Louisiana quite often
but since Katrina and other disasters not so much anymore

North Carolina was a no show for lots of years
but this summer we’ve already seen it three times.

The game will not save the world
nor solve the national debt

but we’ve played it so often we would
miss it if we skipped a year.

I just have fifteen more to find and we're
leaving for Sedona next month. Wheee!

Note: I just got back from Sedona -
8/26 Now I only have five to go:
Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire
West Virginia, and Deleware.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Desert A-Z
















Arid

Blistering

Cavernous

Desolate

Endless

Forsaken

Gorgeous

Hazardous

Isolated

Jagged

Kingdom

Lovely

Marvelous

Natural

Overwhelming

Perilous

Quiet

Remote

Sweltering

Tenacious

Urgent

Venomous

Withered

Xerotic

Yielding

Zenith

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Untamed Flute

















Your flute; a hollowed rod
with a series of holes
allowing the flow of breath

desire alone cannot make
music nor can instruction
from an experienced teacher

in order to tame the flute
there has to be a blend
of your spirit; the musician,

with the heart of the listener
and somewhere the fluttering
of a bird's wings allowing

you to catch the breath of wind
capture the song of water
releasing ecstasy and passion

discovering joy and sorrow
and expressing it through
your instrument

permitting your soul to touch
heaven for a little while
peace with the universe

sunlight dancing with the sky,
moonlight laughing with the stars,
lovers' hearts beating as one.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Golden Bell

















An ancient bell made of gold
designed to hang from a skirt
was found in a sewer
the first artifact of its kind.

It’s clattering sound
still attracts attention
thought to have fallen
on the streets of old Jerusalem.

I imagine the woman to be a teenager,
anything to call attention
to her emerging beauty,
still a child in so many ways

she was chasing
her younger brother
who dodged her this way
then that.

She would have caught him
but tripped on a cobblestone
tearing off the bell
sewn to her hemline.

It rolled into the sewer
to be found
2000 years later
reminding the world

styles and politics
may change
but life goes on
pretty much the same.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Nomads

















After the earthquakes, tsunami
and nuclear breakdown in Japan

tornadoes and home foreclosures in the USA
there has been an increase in the number of people

who are now free to wander the world
without roots to tie them down.

If they approach their circumstance
with a purpose larger that themselves,

they have room for a spiritual awakening
using intellectual curiosity to discover

new knowledge and a different
way to view the world.

Rather than consumerism,
which is bankrupting world resources,

they might create a new paradigm for living,
one where true freedom is integral

to the design and where ideas from the past
are discarded in exchange for a new blueprint

where other opportunities present themselves
for an unpredictable future.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Politically Correct

















“I’m tired of being politically correct,”
she said, “and tired of holding my tongue
for those who don’t look like me.
I’m tired of being asked to feel guilt
for the indigenous who lost their land,
they’ve got to get over it,” she said with a smirk
daring me to counter her words
which I’ve done so many times before
but I let her prattle on realizing her voice
was the death rattle of a race who once
dominated the world
but today they are a minority
and all the wealth they once held
will not be available to their children
or their grandchildren
and the hateful, selfish attitudes
they cultivated will not serve them
or their future generations
and her offspring will be the scavengers
trying to scrape out a living
among those she once despised
seeking compassion and charity
from the ones she kept marginalized
I guess turnaround is fair play
power has shifted several
times in history
I've heard it said, "might gives power"
yet in scripture it’s "the meek
who shall inherit the earth."
Numbers matter and if a people have
obliterated themselves through
their traditions and laws:
boy preference,
or limited families,
the consequence will be theirs
and they must learn to rally forth
to reclaim their power
or learn to endure.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Surfer’s Girl


















You paddle beyond the horizon
telling me not to worry

you will return when the moment is right.
I have watched for you from the shore

waiting for you to reemerge from the sea
but you’re lost among the swells

are you tossed in the churning surf
or will you catch a wave and come back to me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunset At the Ocean

















Bright red and violet hues
contrast against azure skies;
a quick glance at buried shoes,
damp towels and sun burnt thighs.

Packing up the family van
watching a full moon rise,
feeling waves pound the sand
listening to the seagull's cries.

Daylight to darkness a passing of time
a new crew arrives upon the shore
young adults in their lusty prime
looking ahead for what's in store;

building fires to reach the stars,
embers glowing and bright sarongs,
strumming on acoustic guitars,
raucous laughter and evening songs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cutting Morning Glories

















The earth would return
to a natural state if shears,
machetes, axes, hand saws,
or gas powered blades to rip
through the flesh of vegetative
growth had never been invented.
Oxygen would be abundant
insect and animal life bountiful.

So on this hot summer day
when so many are out at the beach at play
I’m in my backyard with shears in hand
carefully cutting back the morning glories.
However green and inviting the plant may be
it wants to return to the wild, covering fences
and walls and less aggressive plants.

Even if I cut it down to its roots
and clear it out of the yard,
one little piece can send out tendrils
to root again and in no time take hold
reminding me I’m only a visitor,
but in the meantime I’m ahead of the game
and will sit back to enjoy the bloom
of the trimmed morning glories.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fairy Tales and Hollywood Myths

















Happily ever after,
the promise of fairy tales
to suffer yet recover
all of life’s potential
with a kiss from a prince
in shining silver.

How crazy is that dream
in light of reality?

Hollywood perpetuates the myth
taking headline news
juxtaposing it against fantasy
to make viewers believe
damsels in distress

can survive their kidnap and torture
to go off and live normal lives.

I suppose it could happen,
for their sake I hope so,
but my experience suggests
there is severe darkness before recovery
however much we like to pretend
that everything will be okay...

and that goodness will be rewarded
and evil punished severely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Madame Cezanne, What Season Are You?























What season are you
with chestnut hair
and caramel skin
hint of autumn in your eyes?

Stain of harvest upon your fingertips
kisses of summer on both cheeks
your icy stare and frozen smile
reveal past hurts makes me wonder
what mysteries your heart withholds?

An east wind catches your skirt
billows it up above your head
opening like a giant umbrella
exposing your woman’s body
with thick legs and ample hips

grey clouds split overhead
letting the sun shine through.
Your giggle, like the spring rain,
tells me all I need to know.

Copy of a painting by Cezanne.
Art instructor, Ruth Hollis,
insists the only way to study
a master is to imitate their work.
The Poem is an original.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Desert Drums























Pound on stretched rawhide
wrapped securely around sanded pine
listen to the stories of our ancestors echo
across desert canyon skies.

Original Oil by Dolores Rice

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cheerleader

















She was too old
to be a cheerleader
standing on the sidelines
with the younger girls
holding pom poms,

cheering for the boys
in their last
game of the season.

People in the stands
took a second glance
she was torn from her cocoon
too young and never
reached her full potential

stuck in childhood dreams
longing for her best days
but not quite fitting in.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Not Every Little Girl Needs to Wear a Tutu

















Mama, not every little girl
needs to wear a tutu
or be placed on stage

standing up on toes twirling
for an audience with the sounds
of violins in the background.

Mama, not every little girl
needs to wear a tutu
so give me my baseball cap,

a leather glove, a uniform
with my number, size six
cleats and a wooden bat.

Let me stand out in the field
chase the ball and have some fun.
Cheer with the crowd when I hit the ball

watch me run base to base to score
the winning run, let's go for pizza
with the team, eat, then play again.

Mama, not every little girl
needs to wear a tutu
it’s okay for some but not for everyone.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Looking For Work

















Youth has its advantage when you're looking
for work what a youngster lacks in experience
she makes-up for in enthusiasm
those bright eyes filled with optimism
are seductive and intoxicating

The down trodden can weigh heavy
that compression on your face
distorts your best features, voice,
heavy with too many worries

auto payments due, credit cards maxed out,
other mouths to feed, “I need this job,
don’t turn me away,” you plead.

If an employer sees himself in you
he becomes frightened because
he might become you, so it’s easier
to go with hope and as a result,
your bad luck continues.

When you’re down and out
with nothing more to lose
you become desperate
recalling missed opportunities
and wasted resources

looking for compassion,
your only conversation
is of your recent bowel movement,
the one thing you accomplish each day.

Some people are locked away in prisons
with freedoms kept to a minimum
but the helplessness of unemployment
is more limiting than cages

especially if it lasts longer
than state benefits,
but those payments
don’t include medical insurance

so that rotten tooth
and pain in your gut
will have to wait.

Whatever brought you cash has been sold
friendships tapped beyond repair
even churches find their coffers empty

they can only offer prayers to a god
who must be on vacation for all the attention
he is giving you. Maybe it’s payback time,
for when the blessings were many
but you were too busy to give him thanks.

I hope things get better soon
Maybe next round
you’ll be dealt a better hand

but wishful thinking won't change
the outcome, you must start each day
taking steps however small
by doing something to make a difference,

and hopefully to transform
your circumstances in the process.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gramma, Get da’ Shovel

















Dere’s a rattler out there by da shed
get da shovel and whack it on da head
dere‘s a garden we need to plant
get da shovel and swat dem ants

da ‘taters can be buried in da straw
cut stakes for da 'maters wit da saw
don't need no insects on da ripe fruits
Get da shovel, dig deep 'round da roots.

We need a row of strawberries
and a place for garden ferries,
Gramma ,where's da spade?
Did ja leave it in da shade?

Ah Gramma
look at da blue jays and sparrows
we’ll need a scarecrow
or maybe a bow and arrow

to keep dem from da garden soil
or in minutes dey will spoil
our efforts in da garden.
No, da ground won't harden

before we harvest dey’ll eat da seeds.
We need to scare d’em and pull da weeds
later on d'is season
we'll have a reason

to party.
Ah, Gramma!

Look at dis little green sprout
it's strong enuf to survive da drought
if we give it a little time
we’ll see it start to climb

da lattice if dem are bean sprouts
or if de's squash dere'll be vines all about
and if dey're pumpkins
we'll smile like country bumpkins

grow a big one for da country fair
cook some pies with more den enuf to share
so get da shovel Gramma
we’ve gotta a garden to grow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sun Burned

















Her nose is burned
Her lips are burned
Her cheeks are burned
Her arms, fingers, and feet are burned
Her groans are low
Her tears real
Her cost for forgetting
her sunscreen...
yet to be determined.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom For All

















I remember when freedom
meant I could have a dream
and work hard to achieve it

the promise of health,
wealth and peace were intrinsic
in attainment, but today all
of that is thrown asunder.

Greed and selfishness replaced
honor and selflessness.
What was best for society forgotten
by a self-centered attitude

that destroyed families
and created distrust in community leaders.
Even holy men were blinded by the times.

Personal gratification took
precedence over self-sacrifice.
Fathers and mothers tried to fulfill

their children’s desires with material things,
leaving their spiritual welfare to chance
and somewhere in foreign lands

soldiers fight to maintain our freedom.
When they come home they'll find a country
ransacked by bad politicians and voter apathy.

Until we learn to work together
toward the greater good we are doomed
to repeat history and fall like Rome.

Freedom takes individual responsibility
as well as working together
toward common goals.

Happy Fourth of July.
Remember, the struggle for freedom
begins at home.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bouncy Castle

















Children learn to jump at two
they see a bed as a perfect spot
then it's trampolines
and bouncy castles
knees bent and up they go
up and down, up and down.

Laughter and giggles fill the air
soon they learn to tumble,
first flips then summersaults.

At the park the sounds
of children squealing
while jumping in a bouncy castle
while they wait for
family picnics and fireworks displays

but somewhere far away soldiers
offer their lives so
these freedoms of childhood
are available to those at home.

In total oblivion
the little ones bounce,
bounce, bounce and bounce
never knowing the names
of those who make the sacrifice.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Albuquerque Is Home



















Lived in California for fifty years
but when I think of home
I remember Albuquerque
where summers were hot
and tumbleweeds roamed,
people, with faces like mine,
gathered in adobe houses
for laughter and good food,
conversations in Spanish
and English intertwined.
The in-laws, in many cases,
blue-eyed and blond
were more comfortable
in this atmosphere
then where they were born.

Chattering of birds
from branches on a large elm
added to the merriment
but the encroachment of strangers
claiming the land as their own
stealing art forms and heritage
encasing the indigenous into symbols
only they could recognize, mystified
by the knowledge of thousands of years
imposing their ways,
shattering the core...
now all I have are memories
of a place called home.