Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My grandpa taught me
to watch where I was going
but keep an eye on the ground
watch for the glitter
in may be broken glass
from bottles of beer or wine
or maybe a dime or quarter
dropped from the pocket
of a nine year old
a piece of jewelry
washed through the sewer
with the last hard rain
fool’s gold or 14 caret
it all glitters just the same
but if I’m not watching
I’ll pass it by
leaving it behind for someone
else to find
So my eyes are always wide open
scanning the places I walk
collecting pieces of this and that
for a collage I’m planning to construct
different colored glass for a mosaic
depicting this cityscape
gathering glass along the beach
for a scene from the sea
aluminum and other metal scrapes
melted to make an alloy
for a unique piece of jewelry
My grandpa was a collector
for the hundred years he lived
little rusted coffee cans
filled with colors of amber, blue, and red
the only thing he left
I wanted just for me
transforming those throwaways
into pieces of art
shown at local art shows
and in galleries
returning to the world
written up in magazines
photographed and displayed
gathered up from city streets
redefined and restructured
from discards to art.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Some fear that space of time
always talking afraid
they will disappear
if the quiet surrounds
them wiping out their existence
Yet for me, those silent
moments are precious
gifts to be valued
I become protective
with anyone who would steal
that treasured stillness
to fill the void with idle chatter
ideas not fully formulated
musing of no relevance
or noise they call music
causing my head to ache.
Gives me time to think
a place of my own
take me to new destinations
solving problems without language
or the constant intrusion
of too many questions
let me unwrinkle my mind
letting it expand
creating new inventions
suitable for the future
beckoning me outside the door
where thoughts can be heard
the space where life is silent
the mind unhurried
the body at rest
then a rush
released by angels
ideas to be acted upon
stories to be written
music to be sung
given by god
let me have my moment
do not disturb
Sunday, November 27, 2011
They’ve known each other since they were small
get together some, but not often enough.
Now that they are school age they enjoy
new adventures, especially the three boys.
All are about the same height, they synchronize
and move as one from one activity to another
from creative play to croquet
a whir of energy fully expressed
no arguments or fights to interfere with play
laughter and shrieks fill the air
cheeks flush, eyes sparkle, minds race
rushing to be included in every conversation
making plans for their dinosaur attack
or why they need to change the rules
and how much they like the pumpkin pie
then complete silence while they paint.
The older two, a boy and a girl
take a little while longer to break the ice
drawn to each other yet repelled
but when they connect they disappear
having conversations only they can hear
sitting in the living room or at the computer
away from adult intrusion
when it’s time to go they’ve connected
and aren’t ready for their time to end
so they stand shoulder to shoulder
until it is time to go, a brief hug
then back to being strangers again.
The newly adopted little one,
flutters like a butterfly afraid to land
plays parallel to the boys heading back
to mom and dad then out again wanting to be included
but not quite able to make the leap
she went from foster home to foster home
sent away because she misbehaved
drugged to keep her in line
now she has to figure out how to self monitor
without pharmaceutical help
and like a butterfly after transformation
she’s delicate and beautiful
trying to figure out where she fits in.
She’s been a cousin for over a year
recognizes the others as her siblings
learning not to cry for the ones who let her go.
The sound of cousins playing in the yard
running through the house, gathering at a table
their different voices and personalities
coming together to make a family.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I met Nancy at a weekly meeting
she asked me if I could take her home
conveniently located on route to my own
so I agreed to take her to her address
a friendship develop and we talked about
our lives she told me about the how the roads
to the grand canyon were made
from cut logs placed over miles of red dirt
the model T’s would wobble and bump
never traveled more than 25 miles an hour
but the spectacular sight made the trip worth it
the roads rebuilt still have only two lanes
always ready when I arrived
a small two bedroom home in Norwalk
she remembered when it was mostly farming town
and saw Cal Worthington, as a young man,
hawking cars at the side of the road
married one of the Oakies, an ambitious young man
named Russ, who pulled himself up by his bootstraps
after the war worked together to get an education
and buy their own business, selling furniture
to the post war crowd moving into California in the 50’s.
The were rich in those days, an attractive couple
active in the community with one daughter with long red hair.
She bragged about the days her hair was also red
still wore in long, now all grey, tied in a bun
off set with antique combs she got from her mother
her nails were always polished although underneath
they were dirty, and she smelled of urine
and stale perfume, but in her mind she was still grand
like when she and Russ were young
met senators and presidents since they were active
in the Republican election committee all that ended
when Russ died, it was her birthday
she remembered in clearly, he he was out of town
they talked on the phone then a heart attack and it was over.
Went into shock, breast cancer followed
her lush beautiful locks fell out one by one,
and though she recovered her hair never returned
to the beautiful luster before all her trauma.
One day she called and said I needed to come over
her daughter wasn't home and she had to go
to the doctor. It was the first time I went into her house
overwhelmed by the smell, decayed food and human waste,
papers piled high, a small TV buzzed with static
one chair to sit on then a path in the carpet
from chair to kitchen, bathroom and bedroom
needed help to get her out the door she ended up in the hospital.
I talked to her daughter, describing the mess
she shrugged saying there was nothing to do
her mother was stubborn, wouldn’t let anyone inside
was surprised I had seen the mess
her mom was quite secretive, that is, before she got sick
and what was there to do about it anyway?
Social workers were called to visit her home
volunteers from the church came to remove the clutter
paint the walls replace the carpet, fix the plumbing
put in new toilet, sink and tub
and make the house comfortable when she returned.
Nancy cried when she came home
angry we had gone through her stuff
looking for her treasures from when she and Russ
were the envy of town, couldn’t find anything she loved
how could anyone come in without her permission
to rearrange her house and then she died soon afterwards.
The moral of the story is: just because a place
looks like hell and doesn’t seem a fit place to dwell
you’re better off leaving it alone, because stuff
is more than props, sometimes it holds the strings
that make sense of our lives, so in the future
don't touch just leave things alone.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Up before dawn
bolstered with ads and credit cards
a plan to gather treasures
for half price
pushing and shoving if needed
careful not to lose the prize
then back home again
call up friends
to compare success stories
and make trades if necessary
tired from the hunt
leftovers from Thanksgiving meal
but completely satisfied
taking the time to rest
and plan for next year.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I don’t know how my mother did it,
she pulled together a meal
from a few beans, chili and flour.
She didn’t need extra hands
except if there were kids around
then we had beans to clean
stir and add water while they boiled.
Roll the tortillas, flip them on the grill
wash the dishes, take out the trash.
Like a head chef in a fancy restaurant
she gave out the orders no questions,
no idle conversation, ‘cause company was coming.
Those days are gone
people don’t visit like they used to
my kitchen has become a solitary affair
everything set up for a single cook.
If a larger group gathers they bring food from home
low salt, vegan and other diets self-managed.
Lately there is another woman in my kitchen.
I’m displaced in my own home
she prattles around quite content
chopping, and slicing, and adding her spices
positions herself in the corner, close to the cabinets
with sink and stove within reach to cook up a feast
while I sit displaced at my own kitchen table.
I could demand my place and push her aside
but she wants to help and I’m learning to abide
reminiscent of older days
when it was quite common to have more
than two women in a kitchen.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Be grateful for blessings
and enjoy each other's company.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I’ve sat at deathbeds praying for miracles
only to have the ones I prayed for die anyway.
I’ve prayed to win the lottery
writing out how I would spend the money
but no windfall came for me.
I still believe in miracles going back to the promise
“If I have faith the size of a mustard seed
I can move mountains.”
Therein lies the problem,
it always comes down to a matter of faith.
Do I believe my prayers will be heard
but more than that will they be granted?
Something simple… I wanted a tattoo…
in the scheme of things not a big deal
didn’t require a miracle
but in my life I’ve never wanted anything
because, by wanting, I get the booby prize,
the brunt of a joke, not quite what I meant.
I end up wishing I didn’t get it
because what it brought was more
then I bargained for.
I wanted a tattoo and got more pain
than I imagined and it was not as beautiful
as when it was first done.
So when it comes to miracles or wanting anything
try to be satisfied with what you get
grateful for all blessings.
Bad luck comes with living
but you can minimize the surprises,
by not wanting too much in life.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Babies cry to get attention
for hunger pangs, dirty diapers,
fear and pain. We expect it,
and if we don’t hear their cry
we stir them from sleep
making sure they’re breathing.
Young children don’t cry as often
but when they fall down, don’t get what they want,
or get sick, they cry to let us know they need us
to attend to their discomfort whatever the cause.
Teenagers cry when they feel misunderstood,
angry, or left out. If they get physically hurt
they tend to suck it up and deal without
the profuse tears of early childhood.
Adults cry less often maybe at a sad movie
or a death of a loved one or the loss of true love.
Physical pain is usually accompanied with cursing
rather than tears. Women cry more often than men,
at least in our society. Other cultures accept
the expression of tears as a natural way for both sexes
to respond to great happiness or sadness.
We can shed tears until there are no more tears to shed
some faces have the trails of tears permanently etched
on their cheeks. Their lips and eyes turn down
wrinkles are the road maps to their suffering.
Most people go through life not knowing how
wonderful they are, nor receiving all the love
they deserve. Let’s cry for all our losses
not only for ourselves but for all of humankind.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I watched the evening news
a gruesome anniversary remembered
the day a large tornado ripped through Joplin
leaving homes destroyed and several dead.
Every person had their story to tell
where they were, and what they saw.
Some with scars, all with losses
but like Granny said,
“The devil roared into Joplin that day
but the angels were right behind him.”
Many reported seeing a fluttering of angles,
with bright flashes of color from monarchs
and other butterflies. This has become
the symbol of hope for survivors
rebuilding their lives.
Instead of being a flashpoint
for deep despair, many felt the hand of god
and their loved ones close by,
giving them strength amid the catastrophe.
From the darkness a light has risen
and praise for an ever present god.
There is no doubt the devil passed through
Joplin but didn’t stay because the angels
were at his heals and chased him away.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
See the cutout puppets
highlighted with bright light
their shadows cast upon a screen
stiff movements jerking up and down
and artificially acted voices,
but in the shadow land, appropriate.
These creatures without distinct faces
only silhouettes from make-believe.
A princess and her castle,
a brave knight fighting a dragon
can hold life in abeyance
for thirty minutes or more.
Love, humor, and high drama
all played out on the stage
while behind the scenes
puppeteers sweat and scramble
to maintain this fantasy world.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Pictures of grannies on rockers
and crazy granddads
losing hold of reality
humorous anecdotes at best
none of which make
growing old attractive
the other alternative
is to hang on to youth
with the over-use of make-up
and getting involved in adolescent
shenanigans creating an image
of someone lost in life
trying to act out to show they still have life
but what if life has been satisfying
but the body is now wrecked from overuse
and future days are spread ahead?
Death seems a logical consequence
but with modern medicine
many of us will live to be 90
so from this point to that
there’s got to be more than eating and sleeping
even in these diminished bodies.
Active minds still want to learn
but more than that want to contribute
to life rather than be a burden
using up needed resources
that logically, belong to the youth
and future generations.
A woman I know shouted,
“I want to be young again,”
and actively pursued goals
similar to those she sought in her youth
only to become depressed
when most targets were missed.
Another tried to hold back the clock
by getting surgery but was overwhelmed
because the rest of her machinery
still needed overhauling.
The past generation
was surprised they lived so long.
My age group, on the other hand,
knows we might live past 100
but in the meantime
how do we approach aging
to be more than compromise
more than sitting by the window sill
watching life pass us by?
We must be willing to begin like a child
discovering the world all around
with enthusiasm and wonder
learning new things about our mind
and our bodies, learning more about love
and how to actively participate
in making a difference
creating circles of women
with children and grandchildren
having conversations as we sew quilts,
weave tapestries, paint, cook,
build, garden, teach and learn.
Casual conversations to impart wisdom
and to create a peaceful place
where the world is made better
because oldsters and youngsters
spend time with each other
building a more dynamic world
where love is the ideal
and happiness the outcome.
Friday, November 18, 2011
I recall Marie Antoinette and her court
and realize she was the 1% of her time
her affluence kept her away from the places
where peasants barely subsisted
she spent gold on her own pleasures
unaware of the suffering for the masses
until they revolted and demanded more than charity
wanting liberty from the ruling class.
I live in a different time, systems are in place
to disperse the wealth, unions organized for the workers
to get their fair share but since the downturn
the discrepancy of wealth has become skewed.
Once again a 1% has emerged with losses for the middle class,
burgeoning poverty and overburdened public troughs.
With fewer people working there is less cream to skim
everyone suffers and before the 1% lose their heads
it is time for our leaders to come up with a better plan
or a new leadership will emerge.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Cracks form, then enlarge,
creating gapping crevasses
where the road once ran.
Houses overlooking the sea
become overhanging cliffs
threatening to fall
with the next earth movement.
Homeowners must decide,
to buffer their homes
with steel support beams
or give up and abandon
their beach view dream.
Remnants of other neighborhoods
can be found along the seashore
washed away with each new storm
but like coastlines everywhere
the waves eventually pound the sand
sufficiently to force it to give up
and grain by gain it falls into the sea.
The people who live along the coastline
know the arrangement is temporary
and like one owner said, “Everyday
by the sea is worth whatever
the cost is to me.”
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The piercing cold cuts through the walls
ice forms on plants and windshields.
After the initial shock from this uninvited guest
who brings with it slush and other messes
comes the dark days and freezing nights.
For those of us who love the sunshine
the season becomes unbearably long.
The few moments of joy captured
in the snow or cuddled by the fire
doesn't make it any more inviting.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
He stood outside the window
watching in the dark
her house vacant except for the light
shinning from her bedroom.
At the right angle he could see her dresses
lined up in the closet
her vanity, adorned with make-up
and hair products. A bottle
of her favorite perfume
reflected in the mirror,
her bed empty, waiting for her return.
He watched her arrive then walked away
a shadow in the darkness
someone who wanted to see her
but didn’t want to be seen.
Monday, November 14, 2011
All things once modern become obsolete
practices of tilling soil or curling hair
give way to newer ways of doing
things, or forgotten all together.
Some reemerge as an art form
using the ancient methods
of the grandmothers
when roles were clearly divided.
Men herded sheep and sheared wool
women washed the fleece and carded it then
spun the thread making it suitable for weaving.
Some bundles were placed in large pots
filled with rabbit bush, sunflowers, walnuts
or cactus bugs, boiled to create color or
dipped in orange chips and golden rod
carefully wrung out and dried in the sun.
Every woman who was wise
spun with her hands; and she brought
that which she wove of sky-blue and purple,
of scarlet and of fine white cloth.
All women whose hearts stirred them up
in wisdom spun fleece. (Exodus 35:25-26)
Yes, the grandmothers were weavers, their designs
handed down from generation to generation.
Tradition was the prayerful connection
to those who lived before.
The spindles were believed to be constructed
in the fourth world; the tip of the spindle
is the center of the zenith, the bottom
pointing to the nadir, with the disk
representing the earth.
An ancient art form given to humans
by the gods in the stars.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I can see from your reflection
the confusion you feel
when you travel out of town.
We’ve been together for so long,
like lost children, we can’t live
without the other.
Even the dog lets out deep sighs.
Our home is disrupted when you’re gone.
I woke up several times
feeling you walk into the room
then reached out when I felt your weight
on the edge of the bed
called out your name
you were not there but
several miles away in a motel room.
Neither one of us slept while you were gone.
The next night was not much better
again the same routine. At 3:30
I heard your footsteps coming down the hall
felt your breath when you stood by the bed.
the weight of your body when you sat on the edge
but you were not there when I reached out to touch you.
You didn’t answer when I called out your name.
Everything is better now that you’ve returned.
I’m glad you're home 'cause I'm lonely without you.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Here is the original bracelet I wore as a child.
Now an overview of the tattoo bracelet created by Jen Schichi/ sacred
tattooing, artist, The Mermaid's Tale Tattoo/ http://mermaidtale.net/
Finally a profile view.
There are ten crossed arrows that represent my siblings.
The silver bands on either side are my sons and their wives.
The turquoise, each of my grandchildren.
The other two circles are Crystal and Lisa, adopted into the family.
The solder at both points, my husband and me, holding family together.
Friday, November 11, 2011
While others sought religion
she found the music, all of life’s
rhythms, written in the songs.
She knew every lyric
and liked to sing along.
All of us get lost in the darkness,
dreamers learn to steer by the stars. -
Rush, "The Pass "
Others quoted Shakespeare
but she recalled each line
from Bob Marley and Billy Joel
and words from those, not
so famous bands. Always appropriate
to the circumstances at hand.
All you touch and all you see
is all your life will ever be.
Pink Floyd, "Breathe"
Lyrics, like genius musings,
making sense of the world
when it is overwhelming.
Freedom's just another word
for nothin' left to lose.
Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee"
Her timing always powerful
her recollections cut to the core
framing in song what artists said before.
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue.
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view.
Carole King "Tapestry"
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Everything I ever wanted to be
I wanted when I was eight years old.
To be a wife, a mother, a teacher, an artist
all these longings crystallized inside
longing to be manifested
and in time each goal achieved, now at sixty-three
the slate is blank, what do I want to be?
My spouse and I are still living, so being a wife continues
from mother to grandmother the roles similar but different
teacher always in so many settings
an artist discovering and trying to express
from deep in my soul, that voice
or point of view, worth expressing.
If I could be eight years old again
in today’s world the choices could be different
the scripts not so traditional and predictable.
What would I be?
I would have become an artist sooner
finding ways to study with the greats
a wife and mother later
to approach those roles more clearly formed
and teaching… I would choose a more global
platform to have a wider impact
but like a stone tossed into a pond
the ripple effects go on and on.
My life as I have lived it
are fine choices for me
because I knew everything I wanted to be
when I was eight years old.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Snails are slow
their trails highlighted in silver
maps of their travels
left for others to follow
or to avoid, because food
in the area will be devoured.
Shells of their former selves
will lay littered on the sidewalk
while other snails can be found
hidden in the shade of the leaves.
They may not move or eat fast
but they come in great numbers
their destruction complete
no harvest for those
who compete for the same resources.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Desert surrounds me
the only stream from siblings
urinating in the sand
flowing into the river
then to a clear lake of ancient waters
silent in hollowed canyons underground
where the ancestors wait in gold caverns
sending out a snake and a golden panther
to guide me up through the roots of an evergreen
soaring with the eagle
to the sky to drink the sunshine
and look beyond the moon
where Sirius, the brightest star shines
and to finally understand why
the wolf howls at the moon.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
An invitation accepted
headed out to Orange off the 55 Fwy
an everyday neighborhood where
neighbors, who didn’t want parking
left trash cans to block their curb.
Ten women gathered some tattooed
and pierced, all artists, poets, healers
and together they dreamed
a guided meditation to go deep
into the psych to heal family
Prayers were said
breathed into rose petals and leaves
songs offered, stories told
all arranged into a dispacio,
a layered prayer of stories and symbols
to the underworld, the earth, then the heavens
compiled with prayers from other sessions
then wrapped with yarn and burned in a fire.
Ash floated in the air
our backs turned to the let the laments
and promises disperse in smoke -
memories of golden panthers, dreams
I finally understood
why the wolf howls at the moon
and why I must honor
When the fire was done
we gathered together
to share a meal and learn
more from each other.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Computer screen flickering
ipod music blocking out
of electronic stimulation
can be exhausting at times
separating us from those close at hand
but conversations can be boring
talking about the minutia
of everyday life,
observations and opinions
better left unsaid
strolling in the quiet
of a natural setting
watching butterflies and birds
go about their daily rituals
gathering without worry or hurry
silent except for the occasional call
spreading wings to glide along air currents
no rush hour when the sun is shining
nature’s playground lets in
the healing touch of life.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Waking from a fitful sleep
the dream, like dry crust
falls to my consciousness
images once bleary became clear
then memories congeal
allowing me to examine
and reflect upon the dream.
The more difficult path lies ahead
taking images and making them real
finding appropriate steps
to intervene where necessary.
Last night my dream showed my house
leaking, water dripping from the ceiling
I wondered what could it mean
now I understand someone in my house is crying,
sadness overwhelms her soul
fear about being abandoned and alone
needs reassurance that her world
will not fall apart again
the message is clear
compassion and patience
towards one I hold dear.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
She borrowed the car
was suppose to be home by midnight
and now it is after 2:00 A.M.
the light in the hallway is on
is she home yet?
She’s an adult I shouldn’t be worried
not like a mother for a teenager
she has the right to make her own choices
but she has my car, what if she drinks
will my insurance cover her?
There has got to be a better way
to show someone you care
than having to wait up at night
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
House guest are fun for a few days
the novelty wears off when life wants
to return to regular routines.
There is a hunger for foods with familiar aromas
and longing for fewer hours of conversation.
That is why vacations are not forever
their purpose is to shock the sensory system
but to return home and live contently
in our own predictable surroundings
with surprises kept to a minimum.
The sun rises and sets in the same location
time slots revolve around favorite tv programs
an orderly schedule of planned events
but when guests overstay their visit
and start rearranging your home
trying to squeeze in their normal
it is time to say goodbye
let them find a place of their own.