Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Shadow in the Garden

Picture by Danny

Long after summer is gone
after the games in the yard are forgotten

his mind now filling with reading and writing
and new loyalties on the playground.

I can still see his shadow in the garden

where he played in the quiet places beside
the bougainvillea and the morning glory
his army men hidden underneath the leaves
ready to battle whatever threat he perceived.

I can hear his laughter and see the butterflies
scatter with his outline in quick pursuit.
Leaves on the hedges shake when his silhouette
prowls along the edges stalking imaginary prey.

For one fleeting moment I can see the flashes
of years disappear when his shadow appears
like a whisper among the flora stomping through
the foliage growing from toddler to teenager

and I running after him trying to capture
this elusive spirit and all I can do is follow

glad to see his shadow staying
to entertain me for a few minutes longer.

Picture by Sam

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


He carries out the trash
like he’s done one hundred times before

stays out after everyone
is gone to clean-up

all their droppings

makes sure to fix the coffee
before he goes to bed

next day sets up the shade, carries the chairs,
purchases the ice, packs the blankets,

does the shopping, fixes the fence,
makes sure others are comfortable

never complaining

about the pain in his hips
the numbness in his wrist

however generous his gift

when time comes around
he is expected to do it again

on his birthday he got
an old wallet from his son
with no pictures in it

his daughter only calls
when she wants
something from him

his sister ignores him
‘till she’s in
over her head

no extra effort to show gratitude

because he is always there
and only thought
about when he is needed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Two six year old cousins
greeted each other then discussed
the potential bankruptcy

of their favorite
fast food restaurants
pondering the wisdom

of investing in hot dogs or pizza
wondering which would have a better
chance of succeeding in this economy.

Others kicked a ball around
for a quick game of soccer
one word exchanges heard

then a hardy congratulations
like, “Good one,” and “Atta boy!”
Families gathered in little clumps

around their portable grills
aromas of carne asada, barbqued chicken
and hamburgers emerged

adding flavor to the weather along Mission Bay.
Some parts of California
were still suffering a heat wave,

temperatures above 105 degrees,
but those who took the time
to drive to San Diego

basked in a nice sea breeze
to fly decorative kites
and play games of croquet.

The last days of summer
were coming to an end
but today people gathered

to celebrate with each other
while the hours slipped away.
Thoughts of work and school

intruded but were pushed aside,
to enjoy laughter in the midday sun,
play tag on the open field,

ride bikes along the shoreline,
before the long shadows of summer
were completely gone.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stephen King Stories

Stephen King has scared me
since I was a young adult,

cars coming to life
and mysterious happenings in the woods.

Normal looking towns
along the coast of Maine

throttled by those things
that cause my bed to shake at night

beings who are not what they seem
however normal in the light

the thin curtain that separates
life from death

is torn asunder by his
storytelling gift.

He creates horror to such a degree
it filters into my dreams

and completely terrifies me
but somehow gives me the tools

to deal with present day anxieties
and cope with the psychology

of grief, sadness, and fear,
because at least my reality

is more manageable
than the situations he imagines

and I am grateful to return
to the daily trials of my mundane life

still startled with the thump
just outside my window

and the scary sounds coming from
my neighbor’s garage at night

I don’t completely trust
the machines in my home

when I wake up screaming
from nightmares inspired by his writing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dye It

Alizarin red for her lips
an ultramarine for her eyes
oils preferred over acrylics

when working on canvas
but when an artist is making a dress
the easiest way to color it is to dye it.

Boil the water then
add turmeric for a yellow
onion skins for a beige

or red cabbage for a soft lavender.
Seep the cloth in this mixture
let it dry then it is ready to cut.

Select silks, cotton or muslin
for a daytime summer outfit
or a evening party dress.

The range of colors can vary
by selecting flowers in every hue.
Wear rubber gloves

to keep from staining your hands,
stay away from synthetic materials,
wools are wonderful but be careful

not to shrink them.
Berries or blossoms should be chopped
then boiled and strained.

Let the cloth soak overnight
wash separately after dying.
Vintage clothes can use a quick facelift

by mixing a new color
to surprise your friends
by transforming dowdy to darling.

Health experts give lots of advice
to keep us from dying
but when it come to fashion

go with your artistic instincts
select nature's colors
then just dye it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Perfect Bell

Virginia is coal country and as a result
when the earth shook it acted
like a perfect bell causing movement
to ripple across the rock
creating shock waves all the way to Canada.

Throughout Washington D.C. they were grateful
the shaking wasn’t a terrorist attack
relieved in was only an earthquake.
In New York the swaying of the tall buildings
forced citizens out into the streets

where they realized, if this were a major
event, there would be no place to run.
Across the continent in Orange County
residents felt an ache in their gut
wondering if that perfect bell

could force vibrations across the land
with California finally breaking off
and falling into the ocean?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Sitting alone in a church
or out in the desert among the chaparral
I can feel your spirit mighty and true.
Some say it is faith that opens that sense...
an awareness of an all powerful presence.

Others say it is an illusion
created by an anxious heart
but either way I step into that abyss
and find comfort and peace
allowing me to fall headlong

knowing your loving hands will catch me
and, like a child, I believe
you will watch over me
so I can venture out in life
courageous and free.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Long Term Relationship

He reaches for my hand
I take his, then arm in arm
we walk the distance from the car
he pulls out my chair so I can be seated
I read the menu out loud so he can hear it
our conversation sprinkled with laughter

giggling at comments we’ve made before
when the meal is done he pays the check,
then gallantly offers his hand
and we walked out, a slight limp
in each of our shuffles
but love is like that …

sameness and routine
now that we’ve established the boundaries
not crossing those invisible lines that take us back
to our youth when passions ran hot
our fight was all part of the taming
bubbling just below the surface
borders waiting to be broken.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bill's Photos From Sedona

Bill at the Coffee Pot Restuarant

Early Morning Balloon Ride

Another Sedona Sunset

Tree At South Rim Ranch

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Photos From Off Road in Sedona

One road took us to red rocks the other along a dirt road

These shots were taken from the dirt road

Surprises waiting in the backyards

Fantasy and make-believe

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Photos of Red Rocks in Arizona

Spectacular Overview from Highway

Cathedral Vortex

Bell Tower Vortex

Looking Back In Awe

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photos of Arizona Skies

Entering Prescott

Downtown Prescott

Sedona After The Storm

Sedona At Sunset

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garden Delights

My perfect design for a backyard garden
is semi-jungle, wild and free
my husband, on the other hand, prefers
the area tidy and neat.

Of course he is the kind of guy
who doesn’t like his food to touch
he needs distance between his peas
mashed potatoes and grilled meat.

I tend to like casseroles with a good mix
of flavors and colors. A little bit of this
and more of that for a culinary treat.

The crazy part is when it comes to space
his workroom is a tumble of confusion
and mine, while not perfectly neat seems
to have more organization and breathing room.

We don’t impose our view of the world
on the other person, living in harmony
with our differences and as a result

our garden looks like a jungle half of the time
and when he can’t stand it, he cuts it down
and I have to live with the change until
it goes back to being wild again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Last night he stared up into the sky
rushed back to get his binoculars
and there above the horizon
where three flashing lights all in a row.

A fourth light zoomed close to the three
the configuration unlike anything he had seen
not a helicopter, or commercial airline
not an army jet, weather balloon, or Good Year Blimp.

It must be a UFO, an unidentified flying object
coming from afar. He waited for their visit
all of his life. Is he ready to deal with their arrival?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Early Bird and The Night Owl

Teenagers are traditionally late risers
they change so fast they need sleep
to keep up with their growth spurts.

Babies, on the other hand, rise early
grow rapidly but will nap
several times throughout the day.

By adulthood there seems to emerge
two kinds of people, the early bird
and the night owl. Neither understands

the other. The early riser is half way through
the day when the late riser gets out of bed
bills have been paid, newspapers read,

dog walked, and weeds plucked.
She is already out the door
when her opposite comes stumbling out.

The late riser does not warm up until
6:00 P.M. when a momentum is reached
and he will be busy long after midnight

doing whatever the late riser does
‘till just before the sun rises
when the early bird, who is tucked away,

wakes up to start a new day day.

Monday, August 8, 2011


My mother didn’t believe in nicknames
after all we were named after saints

Saints: Joseph, Robert, Judith, Jerome
or were we? Charlene, Sally, Diana.

In order to fit-in we changed our names
Joe, Bob, Judy, Jerry, Charlie, Di, Sal.

We could tell how old we were
when we met people by the name they called out

Dolores - Dee Dee, Charles – Chuck,
but Jess was always Jess

sort of named after my father whose name was Jesus…
go figure, Jess didn't need a nickname.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


When I was a teenager
there was an older boy who
lived at the corner and worked on his car
a 1956, blue and white Chevy.

The chrome sparkled in the sunlight
his face reflected off every surface
his chest bare with skin that glistened
all the girls secretly adored him.

Francisca learned his name was Gaylord
all muscled and stripped down to his waist
buffing and rubbing that car
each afternoon when we walked by.

Vera was the bravest but with the darkest skin
hesitated to say anything to him.
Francisca, a buxom blond, said her freckles
and glasses made her too shy to make the first move.

They dared me, and not being one to back down,
went over to say hi. We talked about his car
he smiled and with a soft cloth
rubbed a smudge off the left fender.

He asked if I would like to go for a ride.
I couldn't date yet but I made
arrangements to meet at his house
then to the beach along Pacific Coast Highway.

When I slid into his car he reached across
the seat. I thought he was making his move
but he carefully wiped my fingerprints
off the chrome door handle.

The trip seemed long 'cause all he talked
about was his customized Chevy.
We walked hand in hand down the pier
he admired himself on every mirror

then put his arm around my waist, drew me close
to kiss me on the lips but his mouth
smelled like wet rags and car wax.
I pulled away and asked to go home.

We didn’t speak another word
When I got out he said, “Don’t slam the door.”
He was drafted shortly after graduation
and I never saw Gaylord again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nature’s Lesson

Nature works in cycles
of destruction and renewal
the ebb and flow,
life and death

and in those changes she creates beauty
butterflies, birds, lizards, fish, flowers
diverse and wondrous in their complexity
interdependent on each other

colors of the subtlest hue
detail to the tiniest scale
and in this world humans are given
a chance to recreate her beauty

to stand in a field awash with sunlight
frozen ice crystals and snow
recognizing nature’s loving hand
and with some effort

capture a hint of her spirit
and bring it to life for others
to enjoy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interpret This Dream

Last night I had a dream
of a woman carrying
a dark mahogany frame
made for a piano.

She met a custodian
of Hispanic descent
and asked if he could help
the piano make music again.

He took a long thin strip of gold
carefully cutting slits for the keys
then played a melody
making the angels weep.

She thanked him
leaving the piano behind
then walked down
a dark hallway.

From out of the piano
emerged an old woman
who embraced him
then arm in arm

they walked toward the light
she humming the tune
then whispering
his name, “Hey Zues.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reality Check

Yesterday on my old school network
one by one the students recalled
an action taken by a teacher

and for one act or severe word
they condemned their teachers
as been unworthy saying
they should never been allowed
to work with kids

but my experience with children,
and I’ve worked with many,
is that even the best students

make mistakes and need to be corrected
most are not destroyed in the process.

As a student, I didn’t like to be yelled at
or scolded and cried when we were kept
after school for the misbehavior of a few
but that was the practice in those days

spankings and discipline designed to make
us behave and to respond to authority
immediately and without a word.

Children were very much the responsibility
of the parent, whose authority came before the state.

Today the belief is it’s a parent’s duty
to make children happy
responding to every whim

and keeping their self-esteem elevated
so they don’t become burdened with self doubt

or should have to worry about how the world
will continue to respond to their every need.

Ironically we’re starting to live in that world
created on make-believe, jobs are lost,
budgets can’t be passed, our educational system,

with inflated grades, is producing students
who can’t even do the minimum requirements.

They expect everything to be handed to them
while they twitter away and engage in virtual play
unaware of the hungry masses who are actively
at work in taking their place in the world.
It’s only a matter of time

when protests and angry rants
won’t subdue the new leaders
in science, math, and economic power.

Disney had it wrong,
fantasy to lift us from misery
is just that… fantasy
it was never meant to be reality
even our Reality TV is fantasy.
How many truly believe they can win the lottery?

Hoping what is wrong with their lives
can be wiped out and they will become the center
of attention and everyone who they encounter
will be nice to them and everything they want
available. They won’t become drug addicts
and passed out drunks… or so depressed

when reality creeps in
and they realize
there has got to be more
to life than make-believe.