Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Day of 2012

Ham hock cooking on the stove 
aroma floating through the house
the dog drooling while he naps 

early morning frost on car windows
while I recount the events of the last year
checking off the resolutions I kept
noting where I went astray... sometime
at the end of May, acknowledging
the misstep
resolved to do better
in the new year. Everything I own
has gotten old, had to replace
both the furnace and the water heater,
repairmen impressed that they lasted
so long, need to replace my knees
and a few teeth. E
veryone I know
is growing older, the kids getting taller
while the adults are shrinking and getting
rounder. Simple things are harder to do,
cook a meal, tie my shoe, my 
friends are coping with aging parents,
obituaries are two pages long with lists
of names of people who have passed, 
time for elders to retire and make
room for the new leaders to assume
the reins for the future still to live.
Hilary Clinton fainted just before 

she was to go before the court 
has a blood clot, after all those years 
of selfless service, will she die before she gets
a chance to rest? Super storms 

and senseless killings cast a shadow 
on my happiness, trying to push it 
away. Clear the deck, sweep the floor,  
time to make room for so much more.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Emotional Cliff

After so many years 
of nurturing others  
the teat is dry
there is no milk to suckle,
no nourishment to draw
from the once abundant reservoir. 

You must fend for yourself
you are too big to expect to nurse
and now more capable than me.

There is a point every baby
must be weaned
every hatch ling pushed out

sustaining it's own needs and 
the needs of others

Fear cannot keep you
from taking the leap
you might die but that is the cost
of adulthood, you have suffered
trauma but so have the rest 

you must draw from a higher power
or somewhere deep in yourself
if you wish to survive. 

At some point you need to let go
because the teat is dry
and there is nothing here
to draw from anymore. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

End of the Year After the World Didn’t End

This was the year when predictions 
rumbled through the news 
that the world was going to end. 
First it was a Christian prophet 
who declared the end 
sometime in October 

then the Mayan prophecy said it would be
towards the end of December. Neither prediction
came true yet, disasters were many. 

By now I am news weary, too many sad things
going on in the world. I am sure there are times
the suffering will be mine, and I will have to deal
with it, but right now I will let my blessings surround me.

Show gratitude for the bounty bestowed on me.
Don’t let the dark clouds destroy my happiness,
offer help where I can, continue to do good as I will,
and dance in the sunshine to celebrate
each new day. 

Like the birds in the trees and flowers
in the field, I welcome the sunshine
and dwell in the now. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Les Miserables

I’ve seen four different versions of this story 
two as stage plays, one as a film version
and then the one I saw today.
The first one I saw at the Performing Arts Center/

The performance arranged with a technical efficiency,
awakened a love for the music, listening to it
over and over again. The film version
was okay but without the music, it was missing
a key element. 

Then I saw it on a Las Vegas stage after 
the attacks on 9/11. It resonated deep 
in the recesses inside where my soul dwells,
touched the place in my heart that opened
the time Crystal was brought, and we raised her
as our own and how struggle demands strength. 

I looked forward to another attempt
to present the story on film with the music,
but a little worried when they selected actors
over trained singers.

I have to say they may fill their theaters 
but missed the opportunity to do it right. 
Music, when it is sung by trained voices
lets the soul get a glimpse of heaven
something at the cellular level changes
and tears pour from your eyes.

I’ll have to find that favorite CD
put in on the stereo once again
to make up for the assault of singers
who were squeezing out the high notes
making it unbearable to listen to them

giving their best attempt, they’ll probably
win kudos for their effort but it wasn’t
good enough for me. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Story Untold

Most people think that one day
they will write their life story, not for themselves

but for their progeny to study 
and learn about life before they were born.

Maybe they'll discover some essence of themselves
in their family history. Perhaps they can find
a different route and not make the same mistakes
or learn where to step to follow the path of righteousness.

If the story only dwells in the ethers of someday 
then it will never be written. It takes getting paper and pen
or on to a computer, if you know how to work it. 

Start at beginning as you remember your life
and work through to the point in time
where you are right now.
 They will have to finish
the details of your final days,
but you will have created
a memory for generations to come.

No matter who wins the war, or what governments
are in power to control people’s lives,
your children will know their place in history
and trace their family story along with the more
public one. Just like the records of the old testament
and the new it becomes a model for what is important,
how to make choices in a world that has gone mad. 

Some behaviors will seem quaint and old fashioned
others will seem absurd and unbelievable
but interesting all the same. They can trace
the migration of their family through the years
and the inclusion of new members,
births, marriages and deaths. 

So don't just dream about it,
get started today.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All. Have a wonderful celebration
with family and friends.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ten Thousand Dimes

Last night I had a lucid dream 
with distinct images of me
wandering through the basement
of an old church, cobwebs hung
from the ceiling, filtered sunlight 

peeked through dusty windows

offering enough light for me to see
and in the corner was an old
slot machine with flashing colors
of red and orange and all the sounds
inviting me to play to  

take a chance and win.

I searched through my pockets
and found three dimes,
the maximum bet
for the top prize,
then I dropped them in

one by one and pulled the handle.

The triple flaming sevens lined-up
with whistles and bells and then a cascade
of dimes overflowing into the tray,
some spilling on to the floor.

I looked around to find a container
large enough to carry my treasure
just then, a priest and an altar boy,
dressed in vestments and carrying
the holy chalice, walked through.

I greeted the priest respectfully
but didn’t let him know about the dimes
still clinking into the tray.
He looked around suspiciously
but didn’t bother to stop
or ask questions. 

I found an old hat box 
and filled it to the top
It was heavy and I was afraid
it would break through the bottom
so hurried out to my car leaving
a few dimes on the floor as a donation.

I carried the box up to an apartment
where my family had gathered for
a Christmas party. I handed it to my
grand kids who were surprised
to find buttons and vitamins
and several thousand dimes. 

What could it mean?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Day Before Christmas Eve

Last minute shopping
and gift wrapping
completing those items
that can be baked and canned
clearing a space under the tree

for all the gifts for the family. 
Tamales are prepared,
ready for the feasts

on Christmas Eve
and for any
guests that come next day.

Telling yourself
you won’t make a fuss
but there is something
about the holiday

that causes a rush
of tradition to be fulfilled 
each year.

Silent night,
Holy night
don’t forget 

why we celebrate.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Jaguar Prince and the Winter Solstice

He greeted the new Mayan sun
at the place where the first sunrise
of the day peers over the horizon
but this morning was special, a new sun
for the next 1,500 years,
bringing hope and a release from suffering.

Treasures were planted in sacred places
at the time of the Winter Solstice,
to be uncovered when the first cycle ended.
Now it is a time of enlightenment and healing
a time for forgiveness and love.

Oral traditions kept the story alive
so tribal gatherings were organized
around the world to bind people 
to one another so community 
of humankind can thrive. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World

So much hype about the end of the world
but I made plans for the "day after" 

didn't believe it, with things to buy, parties to attend,
an up coming retirement, it was too soon to let go,

but the night before the predicted end
I had the craziest set of dreams.
They started out on the streets of Rome
outside one of the grand cathedrals

the earth started to shake
with brick and cement falling 

to the ground, spires toppled 
priests and cardinals ran out to the street.

Bill and I grabbed each other’s hand
and moved down to the railway track
heading to another part of town.
At the intersection there was a big commotion

live wires had fallen on the street
there were loud crackles and electric spit
we lost each other in the mayhem
calling out each other’s name.

We were on opposite sides of the road
when a street car came crashing through
exploding into a ball of flame.
I found a bench sat down and waited

for the confusion to subside,
Bill came through the chaos
to stand beside me and watch the sideshow.
He sighed and said, “I think we made it.”

“At least for a little while,” I replied.
We headed home having survived 

the end of the world while visiting Rome.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When Snowflakes Fall

After the storm I sit in my room,
and see the sky with orange hues,

silently erasing the winter's gloom
covering the ground with lavender blue

hiding footprints on well marked trails.
I hear a ruckus at the bedroom door,
the kids run in with the dog at their tails
they climb into the bed to get off the floor

then enjoy the spectacular show
while snowflakes fall. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

He Was Part of the Team

Autism, kept him on the sidelines
getting, water, running after the ball
and cheering the boys on
he never complained ‘cause he
was part of the team.

Things went on like this
for several years, listening
to the squeak of shoes on gymnasium
floors, the thump of basketballs
and the whoosh of every score.

Then on the final day
of the last quarter of the
closing game, coach put him
in to play and the crowd went wild
then he got the ball 
but didn't score
he was given a second chance

ended the same. It was all air
but the team kept feeding him balls
then there was a three pointer 
at the outside
line, soon another, 
then four, the crowd cheered
as did the team because he helped them win the game.

Life will go on as it always does
but he will remember that day
he was part of the winning team
in a way that really mattered. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sound of Rain

Pictures by Danny

Long before the sun rises
rain drops patter on the roof
dancing gang man style,
across the skylight

waking up those who sleep
getting them out early to enjoy  

the rain under the patio awning
and see the sunrise light the sky

exposing droplets on the 
rose petal 
spider web and morning glory.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bad Influence

We make sacrifices to an almighty deity
to bring blessings and a good harvest
rather than the fire and brimstone
of a vengeful god, who punishes those
who trespass against him.

Holy books are filled with stories
like these, providing evidence
that adherence to rules of conduct
are in a community's best interest.

Makes me wonder did the behavior 

of the crew from Jersey Shores bring down
the roller coaster with Super Storm Sandy?
Did drone attacks on foreign lands bring
tragedy to our own?

Seems that becoming a secular society
leaves a gaping hole for evil to infect
our government, social institutions,
neighborhoods and homes?

Most programs on TV and in the movies
show a society whose moral compass
is askew promoting lifestyles and actions
where heroes, who were once the bad guys,

are now thriving and surviving in infamy
living out their sinful ways, advocating
immoral and violent behavior as models
to emulate, godless and disloyal to everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

When Tragedy Surrounds You

After Super Storm Sandy, survivors
looked at what they still had rather than what they lost
otherwise, how could they survive such devastation?
Accounts of all the tragedies,
professionals and volunteers rallied 
to pull together, to save and restore lives.

A sunset is spectacular after a fire
reminding everyone that there is more to life
than possessions, and hope is eternal
with every flower that blooms in spring.

My prayer last night:“Where are you God,
are you out there?” 
The answer came back,

“In every tear you shed I’m there beside you
don’t let evil in the world blind you to my presence.
Know your sacrifice is not in vain, some will hide away
but others will wake-up and get busy with my work
focus on what is important instead
of the trivial and mundane.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

EPITAPH for the Innocent

Horrific murders committed publicly for all to see.
I don’t want another headline with a number count
of innocent people gunned down at their hair salon,
walk-in theater, place of work or where they go to school.
This evil is perpetuated by those we call insane
pictures of their face on every TV screen.

Would things be different if we refused
to tune in to these criminals,
focusing instead, on the innocent 
taken before their future was realized?

Prayers for all who suffered at 
Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Monkey Wearing A Faux-Shearing Coat

An big commotion received mixed
reviews as an 
escaped monkey misunderstood
which way to go in the neighborhood,
attracting crowds who stood transfixed
watching the primate shake his fist
at people taking his picture where they stood,
then a sudden move by someone wearing a hood,
trying to capture him but slipped and missed.

The monkey screamed out a perfect storm
of unintelligible words in a row
clearly they were meant to inform,
the crowd to stay back because they didn’t know
how far the little guy would go to protect his home
in the IKEA parking lot now covered in snow.

Pictures filled the internet trying to show
this monkey in a faux shearing coat.
One look and a laugh then friends 
would send 
it off to someone else and maybe somehow
find the owner who would allow
her pet monkey to get out-of-hand,
fighting back crowds in his efforts to defend
himself with a rock ready to throw

at anyone who came in pursuit.
Finally the owner appeared and didn’t know
how her little monkey, so loving and cute,
got out of his cage and caused such a row.
She gathered him up in his coat and boots
and gently stroked his furry 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where There is No Santa

There’s no such thing as Santa Claus!” 

my older cousin shouted, his fists clenched, face red
but I didn’t believe him until I asked my mother and father.
They said he was telling the truth, but I knew in my heart

it might be true now, but there was a time he did exist. 
Like all living things, he probably died, couldn’t keep going forever. 
I felt sad my younger brothers and sisters never know him like I did.

My parents said, “Keep his spirit alive, you become the ‘Claus’
for the younger ones, creating the magic and Christmas surprise.”

At some point I realized he never existed, a tale told by parents 
to fool kids every season, for hundreds of years and when it was my turn
I did the same thing, participating in the big hoax, without regret, 
and now my children fulfill the role, will this insanity every end?
Like any infection that festers, it grows too big, it gets out of hand. 

Costs for the holiday differ from house to house, 
poor children must wonder why Santa doesn’t love them
as much as their rich neighbors and how it becomes a relief
to learn it is a lie, perpetuated on consumers to force them to buy
beyond their means because they have become the Santa 
who grants kids their heart's desire. 

I can imagine a child from a different country 
laughing at the silliness of our cultural traditions, 
ridiculing our gullibility, and the extremes we will use  
to control our children’s behavior, 

for them coal could keep them warm
for the winter, while plastic toys give off
toxic fumes when thrown into the fire. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dream After Reading the Final Book of the Hunger Games

I was hosting a Christmas party
people from work and family
gathered in my brother’s house
disappointed by the small kitchen
didn’t have room to prepare the food

when I noticed a brand new kitchen
in another room, wondering why it was left untouched
but it was too late the party had already begun
food was served and people crowded together.
Elvis showed up late and caused a ruckus

he promised to sing after the meal but was tired,
needed to lie down, so I took him to the guest room.
My brother, Jerry, was lying in the dark 

scooted over and told Elvis they could 
share the bed until both of them were rested.

A young couple started to dance
he lifted her up, a beautiful blond, 

and started twirling her around the room
until her dress caught fire, knocking over a candle
set on the mantle. Little by little the whole room

started to burn. We scrambled outdoors
to watch the disaster.
People ran out with their drinks and food
so the party continued outside.
Elvis survived and sang Christmas songs

we all joined in and had a jolly good time. 

Now, what could that mean?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Test Drive

No sign was posted so I assumed
I was welcome to test drive my bike in the store.
I had to make sure it fit my legs, if the extension
was perfect when I pushed on the pedal,

did I thrust forward with enough momentum
to go down one aisle and up the next?

Was the saddle seat comfortable for my behind?
Were the handlebars adequate for my grip?
Did the chain and gears synchronize smoothly?
Was the basket large enough to carry my goods?
Was pink the best color or did I look better in blue?
Was it light-weight enough for me to maneuver,

yet sturdy enough to grip the road?
I could only discover these answers with a test drive
through the toy aisles and around the corner
past the tools and garden supplies.
If old folks can drive their powered scooters
and moms crowd the aisles with baby strollers

then why is the security guard chasing me?
I’d better head to the check-out counter
and out the door before he can complain
or try to constrain me for breaking the rules,
of which, none were clearly posted. 

Lucky for me my exit is flawless
I ride the bike home like a common outlaw.

My family follows in the mini-van,
cheering me loudly while they pass 
I pedal and pump all the way home
on my new bike from the department store.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Permanent Record

Dying seemed easy
one last breath then release
taking the hand of one who is sent
to guide me through the final steps
to where St. Peter sits atop a podium
waiting with others listening for his call,

I hear my name, he opens his book
to look at my permanent record,
the one the nun’s warned me about,
all previous actions determining my eternity.
I feel a panic, can I plead to go back and do more?
Release me let me return to earth, let me soar

back to physical world where I used to live,
let me tell my loved ones I love them
and ask forgiveness for all my sins,
let me gather them around,
kiss their faces, wipe their tears
let me walk on solid ground.

Let me smell the flowers,
taste my favorite meals, hold hands with my husband
talk into the night, while listening to our favorite songs
recalling all the good times and those that made us sad
watching the logs burn in the flame,
saying our prayers, calling out His name.

St. Peter does not offer that option
I must wait with all the rest,
some squirming at what the record book holds,
others sitting in quite expectation, knowing
they will be blessed and welcomed into
heaven’s fold, while I wrack my brain
borderline greatness, with mistakes along the way
did I not love enough? Did I stop too soon?
What will St. Peter say?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Baby Was Born

I could hear it in his voice
a warmth that comes from
holding a sleeping baby

“Guess what?” he said,

“Annie’s brother has come to live with us
his mom couldn’t care for him either,
Annie is so excited, even at eleven months
she seems to know he is safe now

and has been talking up a storm.
Didn’t know she had so much to say.
The other kids are excited too,
each one wants to take a turn to hold him.”

Alicia, their adopted one see’s
her place in the family and seems
to reconcile to the fact her own mother
gave her up, taking turns with the others

to hold the little infant
All this before the winter rains
as part of season’s greetings
the baby's cry fills the room

lusty and healthy and full of life
and on that Christmas morn,
a star was seen in the sky
when a baby was born. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Antonio, Antonio

I remember when I was young
visiting my mother’s Uncle Antonio.
He sat in a dark adobe house

with his second wife and her sister.
They all sat on worn-out chairs,
my mother got up to clear a space,

clean the table and fix a meal.
He licked his lips when the aroma
of chili, eggs and fresh tortillas

filtered into the living room.
The kids were served plates
to eat outside, while my mom

sat at the table with the man
who beat her, made her life miserable
with his alcoholic ways.

I wondered if she hoped he would choke
on the little pieces of meat she fried
into the chili sauce, or did she spit

on his plate, let her salty tears
flavor the dough he so gingerly tore
before he took a bite?

I always kept watch at the window
listened to the conversation
mostly the tones ‘cause I couldn’t

understand the words. Did they talk
about other things, never mentioning
the days of terror when she was a teenager
under his care?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grandpa’s Garage

It was a maze piled from ceiling to floor
no one allowed in but grandpa.
Occasionally I would sneak in
to take a peek but if I touched anything
he would know, so I only stood
at the doorway and stared 

trying to make out the kinds of tools
on his work bench or looked
up in the rafters where he stored
the Halloween decorations
making out black bags, and occasional
hands or feet of a skeleton,
a witch's pot, a bloody rubber arm.

One day I will be big enough
to be invited in to his mysterious lair
to rummage through his box of electronics
actually touching capacitors, transformers,
wires and old vacuum tubes. 

Learning to read an oscillator
and other electric meters
not to mentions his cache of weapons;
BB guns, cross bows and sling shots.

He also has a variety of games,
left-over from 
the church bazaars 
and company pot-lucks
all horded into dark corners
of his garage.

When he finally cleans it out
and moves from the family home
years of waiting for the time
to explore his stash uninterrupted 

but strangers will also be allowed 
to rummage through it
his insanity will be revealed 

or maybe the wishes of a curious man
who put others before his own desires
and now that he has the time
he no longer has the interest.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Molasses Flood in Boston

It was an unusually warm day
after days of winter freeze
nature’s invitation to come out and play,
do some shopping, mill around,

gossip with friends in downtown Boston
but then a loud pop and then another,
suddenly a flash flood of molasses
oozed from the large storage tank

with waves over fifteen feet high,
knocking buildings from foundations
burying paper boys by their stands,
along with horses, buggies, and automobiles.

All covered with the sweetener used in rum.
The horror of that moment logged down
in history, seared in memory
for witnesses of the tragedy.

Boston police, cadets from the USS
Nantucket, American Red Cross
and members of the Army
tried to help where they could

pulled survivors out of the sticky goo
cleaned up the streets searched
through rubble, tried to set the city
back to normal. Purity Distilling Co.

was blamed for the disaster,
overfilled their tank, made it with shoddy rivets.
The company argued it was the sudden change 

in temperature and not their fault.
Families of the deceased and the injured
were awarded judgments, 
and life went back to normal

but ninety years later,  

on hot summer nights, the smell 
of molasses still fills the air. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Peasants Before a Revolution

Working in the fields, the kitchens, the stables,
service to the upper classes who are refined, cultured, educated
contrasted to their place in society; dispensable, humbled, invisible
herded and bred like cattle, with folk stories and superstitions

to keep them in line, as long as the master is strong
his alpha position assumed they submit
to their miserable lives going about their daily tasks
preparing their children for the same life of misery.

Wealth brings boredom when life and death
are no longer a burden, then gossip and back biting
become the only threat to their social standing
when the rules of the aristocracy make it a gilded prison.

Marriage is a barter for wealth and position,
where love is not even part of the equation
but when the passions are stirred
and animal attraction unleashed

all the systems of organization
tumble to the ground, leaving the master exposed
his position of authority undermined
when the peasants see his weakness they rebel.

It happened in France, in Russia, and England
across the Middle East and beyond,
statues of leaders toppled,
castles invaded, riches dispersed 

and lifestyles ravaged.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Dark Side of Positive Thinking

I always thought it was a sham;
people who suffered much but put on a smile

acting as if everything was fine,
research has proven the discrepancy
in their thinking about their reality

creates a gap… a dark hole 

which happy thoughts and happy words
can never fill. By not acknowledging the truth
they’re quick to anger and aggressively force
circumstances to fit their pictures 

rather than to face what is really happening in their lives.

There can be no growth, if failure is never acknowledged
nothing can change if pretense and make-believe
cover-up the truth with sleeping pills and mood adjusters

better to suffer what there is to suffer,
get strength from the bottom rung of life
make decisions and get moving 

to make the real changes the heart desires. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Alpaca Farm

Tomorrow there is time to plan
for what to do with the undeveloped land
thirty-six acres of grazing space
the perfect place for an Alpaca farm. 

Grade the driveways and divide the plot
build a barn and a house or two
fence the property and corrals,

bring home two females and a male to stud
from the best alpacas in the southwest region.

Brush them daily for their soft fur,
learn to weave rugs and crochet sweaters and caps. 

Advertise on a worldwide website
open the farm for visits from school kids
Thrive in the open space
on an Alpaca farm of your own design. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Musician in New Orleans

To say you’re a musician in New Orleans
is like saying you’re an actor in Hollywood
one of a million in a sea of unknowns.

Talent gets forgotten along with the wannabes
tossed in a heap of anonymity
but the longing in your heart
keeps you trying to get the part

honing your skills, playing
to empty rooms and distracted crowds,
letting the music seep deeper into your bones
calluses on your fingertips

worn off and formed again

looked for a bus out of town
found a train but leads to nowhere,
the music won’t let you go

so you stay another day
write a song for others to play
your words get swept away
leaving your music floating in the air. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rising Star

Outlandish on a public stage 
performer, quite extraordinary
adored and envied by many 

Her eyes are green, deep emerald,
hair, kinky and black; skin like chocolate
athletic body illuminated on the stage.

Crowds wrap around the block,
tickets in hand, ready to listen to the band
pushing to get close but there are too many.

Her songs stir the soul, giving insight
to love and heartbreak, the fans
scream when she dances across the stage

reaching out to touch her
but she is guarded by the man
trained to protect her from so many

When her time in the light is done
she blows kisses then she’s gone
but her perfume lingers on the stage.

She is whisked off into the night
to hide from her fans
to a secret location to be with

members from her band 
who comfort her and hold her hand.
making sure she is ready

for the next time on the stage
tries to count the days on the road
but there are too many.