Monday, October 31, 2011

Birds Dance

Birds dance to a mating ritual
like folkloric dancers with wings
they spread and sashay back and forth
attracting the attention of their intended

From peacocks to ostriches,
the steps are instinctual
for the male of their species,
strutting and puffing as appropriate

and when the dance is done
and a partner selected they’ve ensured
pogeney for another generation.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Compact Car

Somehow another clown will squeeze
into that small sedan
all body parts to fit somewhere

eyes on him to see
if his size is make-believe
or he will use a trick

to compress or disassemble to stuff
in along with the other clowns
packed into that compact car.

Will it be worth the price of a ticket?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The conference was one-on-one
to create a vision -
measurements were taken
then a date set to complete
the drawing and provide a ritual
so the infusion of ink into my skin

created a memory larger than the pain
with symbolism in every line
part of a prayer
each time I look at my arm

I will see the silver trail of my ancestors
a bracelet tattooed on my wrist
turquoise and a broken arrow

to remember when they walked the earth
in harmony with the Great Spirit
preparing the path for me to follow.

I met with Jennifer from Mermaid's Tale
to set up for my tattoo 11/11/11.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Garlic Necklace

There is a time when spirits wander
seeping out from graveyards and corpses.

All living beings are vulnerable
when souls roam free
vampires and zombies abound.

It is wise to carry symbols
like crucifixes and holy water
to guard against most phantoms

but sometimes it is necessary
to bring out serious repellent,

like a necklace made of garlic,

to protect humans from ghoulish
intruders, keeping them safe
until the sun rises at daybreak.

Better than potions and amulets
they are low cost and readily available
and when the night is done

can be chopped and added to sauces,
adding flavor to foods and lingering

long after the meal to keep those
who are possessed
away from your throat.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pity Those Who Seek The Limelight

Cameras flashed, heads turned
crowds pressed close to her...
Was she a Hollywood star, politician
or a notorious criminal?

When her movie career stalled she thought
of running for office to use her fame
to garner votes for an election
with the support of her political party

but since she couldn’t think on her feet
and needed scripts to sound articulate
decided a criminal path served the same purpose:
to keep her name in the headlines.

By breaking parole she stimulates media coverage
her image always in the public consciousness
so they know what she is doing
but can’t remember why they cared.

Have pity on fading starlets
who will do anything to keep their
face in the limelight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


watercolor by drice

He gets up early
sits in a blind
waits, watches,
rifle ready

hears the flutter.
takes aim and shoots.
If he is lucky gets one
but if the bird is blessed
she gets away.

This relationship of hunter
and hunted plays out in waterways
around the world
for some it provides food
for others sport

but for the prey
it is a matter of life and death,
no romance, bravado or myth
a real bullet tears into her flesh

enters her heart
leaves her bleeding
easy for the dog to locate
and carry to his master

who will then gut and de-feather her
for his family to enjoy
she'll be roasted and garnished
with an orange glazed sauce.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Poor by any standard
washed all her clothes by hand

grew her own food - staples
like beans, chilies and tomatoes

but when the work was done
and she could go out for awhile

she took out her pin curls
put on her red lipstick,

donned a simple cotton dress
looking more glamorous than a movie star.

Monday, October 24, 2011


She came into the house
with a sneezing fit
achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo

face flushed then another sneeze
"Allergies," was all she said.
Started on her trip down here
achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo

memories of too many hurts,
loss of her mom, death of her dog
ostracized at the local high school
achoo, achoo, achoo, achoo

stopped sneezing as soon
as she was on the road
heading away from those
dark memories

back to the new world
she invented
where she was the star
newly created.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Art Critique

The pictures receiving the most attention
Lobster, Aspen, Moose and Big Wave
all evoked memories of places they’d been

Main, Colorado, Michigan and Mexico
took time to share their stories
listened politely while I shared mine

Main, Flagstaff, Alaska and Huntington
but in the end they walked away
not having purchased anything.

Was the art show worth my while?
Yes, because my art brought pleasure
even for a little time.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Art Show

Hours of work, several tubes of paint
arranged on canvas for others to inspect
trepidation in the stroke,
shyness in the shape
composition and overlay of color and form
displayed for others to critique
and hopefully
to purchase and give as a gift
or to exhibit in their home
for their own pleasure.

My stomach gripped tight,
buckled in fright
would rather hide away
than expose myself
for strangers to peruse.

What am I thinking?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Countryside Massacre

18 Bengal tigers, 17 lions, 6 black bears
2 grizzlies, 3 mountain lions, 2 wolves and
one baboon, all killed by the upstanding
sheriff and local yokels out in the wilds of Ohio.

It is hard to think what anyone would do
if faced with an escape of so many wild animals
but I have to say the news made me sad
their choice couldn’t have been the only way.

The wild animal compound was there for years
it seemed logical to have a plan in place
in the event of such a disaster rather
then the panic that lead to this horrible massacre.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hiding Secrets

Found an envelope folded in fourths
stuffed in-between the two by fours.

Ink faded, date obscure
but the passion on the page
still burned with the touch.

The previous owner of our home
must have felt the same
to hide the note

in a secret place
and not destroy it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Do you own your possessions
or do they own you?

Your working hours
are needed to support the big house
with all its furnishings,
a walk-in closet with too much clothing,
the security system to alert you

if someone tries to steal your things.
The constant distrust you feel from other's intentions,
do they like you or your possessions?

Can you have freedom if your possessions own you?

The velvet comforter is comforting
but it needs special handling
all the art and exotic artifacts
need dusting so you hire someone,

the costs for having so much
can be overwhelming.

Possessing the latest and greatest
better than the neighbors,
jewelry and cars needed to inform strangers
that you're worth something.

Do you have possessions or do
your possessions have you?

If a strong wind or a raging flood comes through
are your possessions something you can hang on to?

Written before I heard about the flooding
in Bangkok. When I looked for pictures I found
those used in the collage.
Prayers out to the survivors.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ethereal Lady

Hovering just below the hillside
awash in a brilliant glow
stood a lady dressed in blue
with roses and thorns around her feet.

She smiled and offered her hands
palms upward, fingers slightly curled
I reached out for her
overwhelmed with love.

Her warm touch like a deep massage
moved up my arms and over my shoulders
down my back all the way to my toes

“Peace be with you,”
was all she said.
I bowed my head and wept

like a little child
who found her mother
after being lost
for too many hours.

When I opened
my eyes
she was gone

I was left
feeling calm
like I haven’t felt
for a long while.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Move or Die

"Move or die,"
she mumbled when she stumbled
through the door
determined to live another day

"Move or die,"
she cried out at night
when the ache in her joints
felt like rivets on fire

"Move or die,"
she whispered, her final breath
before she fell asleep
in a room once familiar

She died and couldn’t move
immobile finally peaceful
floating above looking down
at a stranger in her bed

Some think there is a recipe
for life, others say
it is like winning the lottery

I believe we do the best we can
each existence has some high
and low points

suffering can be a time
for reflection while intense prayer
gives purpose to life before we expire.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Electric Storm

Picture by Bill

Last night I had a dream.
I lived in a big house with other adults
my husband and I stood side by side
while the dark clouds gathered in the sky

an electrical charge whooshed
towards us, a storm of epic proportions
winds tore at the windows
and rain pelted the roof for hours
finally everything settled down

except for the moans and cries
from the survivors outside
standing in water above their thighs
hanging on to buildings completely destroyed

they pleaded with us
to help rescue what was left of their lives
we opened doors to let them inside
and one by one they entered.

I woke up exhausted
remembering how we accepted the destruction
realizing it was the end of time
but were surprised we survived.

I don’t know what the dream means
but in contrast the next day was amazing.

We went to the local park commiserated with the birds
basked in the sunshine and listened to the children play
their laughter carried across the lake like music from heaven.

It was good to open our eyes to the blessings
all around, letting life spread out before us
and not worrying about the meaning of dreams.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Message Of Hope

Imagine an egg solid and whole
with the yolk and egg white safe inside.
A crack, however small,

lets bacteria invade and in a little while
the potential for life is infected
and whatever hope existed
is destroyed.

bad things happen and when they do life is ruined
anyone can tumble into the abyss
potential for living shattered with each mishap.

Sometimes we have to cut away the infection
however painful the process.
It is the wisest choice for survival

we first try to heal, but for some semblance of life
an extreme measure is needed.

Don’t back away take the bold choice

redefine what is possible
and know that your continued existence
can be productive and worthwhile
even in the face of destruction.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Murder in Suburbia

A weekly appointment at the local salon
hair touched up and nails done

who is that man on TV, did they say
he is carrying a gun?

Boom, boom, boom, boom
he shoots one round then five more

six people down, two on the floor
what is the neighborhood coming to?

Years of quiet disrupted in one afternoon
it could have been me on the TV.

The cities are abuzz throughout the county

so many were at their local beauty shops
it could have been anyone.

I expect to be safe in suburbia

my manicured lawns and school P.T.A. can't protect me.

He was not a terrorist with a mid-eastern name
or a gangster in a random drive by.

How can I defend my family when a suburban
neighborhood becomes like a war zone?

If my home town is no longer safe where can I go,
how can I thrive?

The news reporter said two more have died.
Families and friends gather outside to comfort each other.

People who don’t get along have to figure out
how to negotiate without killing

and I've got to figure out how to protect
myself and those I care about when they can't.

Prayers to family of friends of all who
lost their lives in the Seal Beach Massacre.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Secondhand Smoke

I used to watch my father’s smoke
that soft white curl that lifted up from
the end of his cigarette

I inhaled the puff when he exhaled
joined in the conversation when he took a break
breathing in the aroma of that secondhand tobacco

after I heard the scratch of the match on sandpaper
saw the bright light to ignite and then a golden glow.

Smoking is dreadful, damages lungs
took him too young

but not everything that can kill you
is necessarily all bad.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Gangsta - loose fitting jeans
hanging below the waistline not fitting in

skin covered in tattoos black and blue
hiding hurts from long ago

huddled on the corner in the hood
or in the yard near a prison guard

generations of abuse - gang colors
flash signals of their crew - lost warriors

of displaced land barons and royalty
from other tribal loyalties.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Screws Need Screwdrivers

I’ve heard people say they’ve found their soul mate,
someone in this incarnation who is a perfect match,
to help them fulfill their life plan

but two loose screws, however much they resemble
each other, are hardly a fit and don't do anything
to enhance the purpose of another except to help anchor.

Screws need screwdrivers, flat or Philips
large, medium or small to be functional,

and until then, they are not soul mates.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grandpa’s Model T

Like all new inventions there exists a certain suspicion
about those who bring the first one home
whether it is an ice box, kerosene lamp, or Model T.

My grandpa was always first in his neighborhood
the Tin Lizzie, affordable for the average family
but not too practical on country roads.

The dust trail alerted everyone in town
so they gathered round to see his new toy.

It was a carriage without a horse, started with a choke
and a crank, ran on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol.

He showed off the steering wheel and hard rubber tires
turned the lights on and off then honked the horn
it was grand and everyone admired it for hours

but soon, time to eat those who were not family
went home, everyone else assembled round the table inside.

Neighbors were gone for only an hour

but when they returned to admire the car
my grandpa went out to meet them but Sylvia, the goat

had already eaten the stuffing from the front seat
and was pulling the lining off the roof.

Those who were previously jealous couldn’t help but laugh
until they cried. Sylvia was dinner the next night
everyone invited got to ride in grandpa's new Ford.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Busy Doing Nothing

So what if I’m a late riser
I’ll defend that right to the end
all kinds of reasons why I should sleep in…

at the end of the day, nothing to show for my effort
so what is the worry about getting up early?

Little actions make me feel productive
but in the long run they don’t make a difference
to anyone, I might as well sleep in.

I don’t watch television and I’m self righteous
about my inaction, I’m better than those
who lie in repose watching TV for hours and hours.

So who cares if I stay up late
and sleep until noon
nothing is going on and one day leads to the next.

I have nothing to show for my effort
maybe I’ll win the lottery
and then I can get myself together

I’m leaving my future in fate’s hands
I have no doubt life will take care of itself
and I’ll do little jobs that don’t make a difference

but they keep me busy
and tranquil, years’ fortunes
were all taken from me.

I tried to hang on but one by one
everything I worked for disappeared
so now my conversation is sprinkled with stories

about days when my work meant something
unlike today when I sleep in
long after the sun rises. I get up

to do little things that don’t make a difference.
Thank goodness for the dog, who sheds
every day, his hairs are everywhere

gives me something to do
Maybe my state benefits will come through
and I’ll get paid for doing nothing

or maybe I’ll win the publisher’s clearing house,
no purchase necessary to participate in the drawing,
and when I win those millions of dollars

no one will complain when I sleep in
they'll want to be my friend and expect me to share
but I’ll be hard pressed to give them much

because with that
kind of money I’ll be too
busy to sleep in.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Job Well Done

The parable of the talents
tells the tale of three men
given talents by the master

The first one was given
many talents and doubled his
gifts as did the second one
each returning more than was given
and rewarded with even more by the master.

The last man was given only one talent
and he buried it
afraid of misusing it,
afraid of losing it,
and afraid of punishment,

he didn’t take any risks and thought
the master would be satisfied
when it was returned
the same as it was given.

Steve Jobs was like the first two
he imagined products then found others
to help make them realities.

He tapped many great inventions of his time
improved them or imagined them more clearly.

I still see him standing
on the stage in his faded jeans
and black turtle neck
I was wowed with his genius
again and again.

Sleep gentle giant
your legacy will live on
your gifts to the world
enriched many lives and will inspire
others to discover their talents
and use them to the best
of their abilities.

… a job well done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Conversation With Ricky Blue Sky

Ricky Blue Sky didn’t know he was poor
until the French missionaries told him.
They offered his family food, shelter
and an education but they took away

his chief and tribal unity.
Mother lived at the mission
but father wandered the outskirts
in a drunken stupor.

No more tales of the great spirit,
no more medicine man and native rituals.

“Pagan practices,” the kind sisters said

so dances around the fire were almost forgotten
but Ricky Blue Sky wanted to go home.

The missionaries served a better table
but the crucified Christ scared him
the sacrifice too great.

Billy preferred the love of his brothers
who tumbled with him in the sand,
pushing him into the cacti
making him strong.

Learning to defend himself
was better than carrying the burden
of guilt from a stranger.

"How poor is too poor?" he wondered
when he ran out of the mission school
to play with his tribal brothers along the prairie.

They chased rabbits and danced
with their ancestors around the campfire

never to return to the haven
offered by the missionaries
who expecte him
to give up his traditions,
to read and write and to believe

in a savior who despised his ways
and demanded he be molded
to a white man's image.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Skies Fall Apart

Clouds gather without fanfare
no thunder and lightning

then skies fall apart
into little droplets

soft rains from recent pain

goes on for days
silently filling up waterways
overflowing sea walls

head bowed, shoulders hunched
an umbrella no protection against

the sadness seeping in between
cracks and crevices of the psych

mildew forms along the eaves

a hot cup of coffee barely warms the soul

steam - several more beads
along the window pane

drips melancholy into mornings
and gloomy into nights
hear the news on the radio

pull the covers over my head

hide away
when the world
falls apart.

Note: I wrote this before
I learned Steve Jobs
died today.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Six Feet Tall

She was a small woman
with tiny feet and tiny hands, delicate fingers
adorn with rings of diamonds and emeralds

uncertain of her status she compensated
by being imposing in both her voice
and her accumulation of wealth

a queen among the peasants
aloof and condescending
yet people would flitter about her

grateful to serve her every whim
few saw her vulnerability
but those who did,

became abusive and controlling
because they knew the truth
and took advantage of that knowledge

but in my dream she was over six feet tall
she discovered she could become a star
with a big Hollywood name

her hair now platinum blond
combed back away from her face
her make-up impeccable

and the confidence she lacked for so many years
was now evident in her eyes, she looked younger
and more slender than she had for decades

those who flittered around became even more intense
determining her needs making sure every desire
was fulfilled. She thrived in the attention

humbled by the fact it was the first time in her life
she deserved the kindness
but also thrilled to display her talent

this story should have a happy ending
the final scene a happily ever after
but as dreams go the truth is revealed upon waking

her moment of greatness was not true in reality
but symbolic of her final demise
good-bye sweet friend

may the hereafter be kinder to you
and may the glory you sought
be yours in the next life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Face Facts

Wherever she goes
her face is there
once pretty now furrowed

sadness her permanent mask
make-up no longer conceals the wrinkles
a constant reminder of her loss

moments in life when the golden ring
was within her grasp
but she held back for something better

only to see those she discarded
get a better life
some modicum of happiness

while she wallowed in misery
her memories her only companion
sorrow permanently etched on her face

once beautiful
she had the world on a string
like a party balloon

buoyant and out for pleasure
but she let it go
then watched it float away


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thunder Storm

Thunder clouds billow
across the mountains
then converged into the center
of town like a rock and roll band
with an electric light orchestra and
bohemian rhapsody

Animals got to get out of this place
children run to their mamas and papas
sirens screamed like Jimi Hendrix’s guitars
as cars slide along the highways
pelted with rock size hail
Please, please, please, let it stop

With the roar of the wind like a locomotive
people run for cover at the hotel California
while the purple rain continues to fall
and the riders on the storm
wipe out along the roadways.

The bridge over troubled waters
sways as the firemen drive across
listening to their radio
screaming their lungs out
survivors stumble on the bank
shouting, “Help! I need somebody.”

The funnel cloud touches down
twisting everyone around
Oh what a night
at last there is a break
after hours of blowing in the wind

purple haze starts to clear
panic subsides
sounds of silence deafen ears
Everyone will get by
with a little help
from their friends

thunderstorms rocking
the summertime blues.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Love Song for Baby

Lashes long and thick
lie upon your cheek
little clenched fists
ready to grasp

even while you sleep
a gentle kiss
near your lips and your
head turns

the dependency between
you and me, familiar
before you were born
I heard this song

from my mom
and she heard it
from her mother

Sleep sweet baby
I am watching over you
Sleep little baby
while I sing you a lullaby