Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blurry Vision



I was eleven when I noticed the world had a glow
saw an infused light in anything bright
at one point I thought it was god
trying to communicate through the candlelight 


but the 
optometrist said it as an astigmatism 
and could be corrected with eye glasses,
not what I wanted to hear when I was turning twelve
now with my vision corrected god disappeared 


New lessons teach me clarity is my friend
I get a headaches when I take my glasses off
and the world became fuzzy again 


but Van Gogh created his masterpieces
from his distorted vision
those swirls of color were god revealing
secrets in ordinary settings
making them magical and mysterious
for the uninitiated. 

Now with a paint brush in hand
I put my glasses aside
let my eyes see what there is to see
and trust others will revel in the opportunity


to experience splashes of color without straight lines
a flow of energy erratic and expressed
on a canvas that hangs in a gallery
with the best.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Prisons In The Congo



He heard the calling
decided to go to the prisons
in the Congo.

What he expected he didn’t know
filtered through a lifetime of middle class status quo,
American civility, infrastructure,
sanitary conditions, and personal power.

Every person in authority expected
a bribe to open a door or offer a favor

the stench of the public streets
paled by the squalor  

within the prison walls.

Like silver backs in the wild, prisoners assumed
power through strength, subjugating those around them
creating soldiers in their own domain where ideals
of human rights and human dignity were never learned.

He came home a changed man
Decided he would rather work with orphans,

at least they had hope for a better future
contrasted to the oblique despair
found in the prisons of the Congo.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ten Reasons to Take A Road Trip



It is not necessary to pack everything 
you need into a vehicle that gets too small


after days on the road but you do it anyway
because you want to see the countryside.

Miles of desert lands can be overwhelming
and too hot even in the comfort
of air conditioning 

but the first reason to get away
is to break the lull of the mundane.

Second reason is to see the country 

from another point of view.

Number three discover the tourist’s traps
and avoid them if possible.

Four, drive through the farmlands
with the cows and red barns.

Number five, visit Niagara Falls 
six, stay in Cape Cod for three days. 

Seven, sleep in a wigwam motel if you can find one.
Number eight, eat at local restaurants

and visit every Wal Mart along the route
to see American’s in their natural habitats.

Number nine, yearn 

for your own bed and house

Ten, to finally arrive
and sleep for a week.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Artist's Signature


Painting by drice

Every person’s signature is unique
like a finger print
and if a person paints, that too reveals
the intimate working of another’s mind.

How she uses color and line,
pressure on the brush stroke,
exposes a distinctive style 


so when an artist copies another’s work
her signature is lost
forever camouflaged in another’s point of view

Copying can be used to learn another’s technique
and can be imitated for awhile
but for her name to ever be known
she must discover her exclusive expression
and be bold enough to let it stand
on it’s own.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Praying for a Miracle



I’ve been told faith can move mountains
but first you have to be in action 


so grab a shovel and dig...
that mountain isn’t gonna move itself. 

When it’s gone people 
will shout,
“It’s a miracle!”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nail Clippings



The clippings from your toe nails
were gathered up by dust mites
taken to the local witch
who stirred them in a large pot
with hair follicles and lizard snot
stored them in a bottle 

on top of a musty shelf
available to cure 

foot in mouth disease
rheumatism and gout.   

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Frozen In Ice



The lake was frozen over
perfect for ice skating
except for the place where she fell through

didn’t have time to scream, sank
to the bottom weighed down
with a winter coat and ice skates
decided freezing wasn’t a terrible way to go

but drowning wasn’t her cup of tea
held her breath for as long as she could
then let the water fill her lungs 

one by one her fingers froze
no one came before she died
no one missed her 'till she floated
 up 
but by springtime no one recognized her

so she was buried as Jane Doe. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Love Is What Love Is



Some say it is pheromones
that trigger the reaction called love
a biological response to chemical secretions,
when genetic memory tells the brain

which body is for survival of the species
while the Barbie doll is a commercial invention
confusing generations of young men and women
into thinking, this plastic toy is the ideal. The females

of the species now dye their hair and inflate their breasts
to attract Kens who will buy them everything.
They have no sexual organs so these neutered
models objectify each other, using their relationships

to acquire wardrobes for every occasion
they interact with artificial smiles
in attempt to fool each other, suggesting 
a better match than nature’s imprint

but after years of accumulating things
enlightenment comes along
and puts life in perspective. Barbie and Ken
discover what love is and leave each other behind.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midnight Call



She received a phone call
"A friend," he said
needed to let her know what was going on

right in their neighborhood
she must open her eyes
then he hung up

leaving her to dwell on the secrets he revealed
couldn’t be, no evidence to support his revelations
except at night, when she couldn’t sleep

wondering if he had told the truth.  

(Inspired by a Dear Abby Letter)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Publicity Blitz



However gentle she imagines herself
she was involved with a married man,
a front running presidential candidate at the time.

She believed discretion would keep the secret
until her baby bump, an accident by all accounts,
it was love after all, passion run amok
adults behaving like teenagers…

After the scandal broke
public humiliations and talk shows
courtroom trials and contrition
the final condemnation by the faithful wife

this publicity whore emerges again
to tell her side of the story. Does anyone
care? She should be buried with her lover

and forgotten before she says another word.
Push her into the river of oblivion, let her float
away never remembered or thought of again. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip



Morning sunlight filters through the darkness
a quiet like no other in the cool mist of dawn
yearning for a cup of 
hot coffee and a donut

covered with sticky glaze

a ritual on this road trip through several states
miles on the odometer tick off in hundreds
with names like Fangboner and Des Moines.

Best Western and La Quinta

reliable sleeping arrangements
any place to lay our heads
after a fourteen hour marathon.

Pictures of farmlands and cityscapes

showing different state landscapes
birds changing the further east we go
sparrows then blue jays now red wing black birds.

After we arrive at our destination we will
chart a different course to go back home.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baby Doll



Amos and Andy, black faced white men,
Rochester from the Jack Benny show,
plus some of the kids on the Little Rascals
were the only black faces I ever saw
but somewhere in my childhood
I was given a little black baby doll
with her hair styled in a hundred braids.

She wore a red flowered dress
had a big smile on her hand sewn face
and sang whenever she had a chance.
I loved my little black, six inch doll.
Hid her away so my brothers wouldn’t
mess with her, took her out to play 


when no one else was around and she sang
every time. She liked nursery rhymes
and church songs but especially the new song
the student teacher taught us in third grade,
“The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.”

I remember lying on a wooden cart
just outside my parent’s bedroom window
I didn’t know my mother was taking a nap 

while the baby was sleeping, 

My brothers had gone with my dad
my sisters went shopping with my cousins
I was by myself with my little baby doll
singing the song over and over again. 


My mom shouted through the window
“Will you please be quiet,
and get rid of that filthy thing.” 


I was startled by her anger
took off without a word
hid behind the large oak tree
putting the doll under my shirt
then into my room 


hiding her 
in back of the closet 
never found her again
but never forgot her
nor the songs she like to sing...


"Your friends will by my friends
and my friends will be your friends
the more we get together, the happier we’ll be."


Monday, June 18, 2012

Dad Hit A Homerun



He was the oldest one on the team
by then a man of sixty
his sons and their friends
virile and strong took their turn at bat 

they each hit the ball with a loud crack
letting it sail through the air
getting a double, triple and base hit
rounding the bases with ease.


When it was his turn the bases were loaded
the other team lead by three
fielders moved in close to the pitcher’s mound
an easy three outs if they acted quickly.

The first ball whished past my dad
“Strike one!’’ the umpire shouted.
The next throw came just as fast
but connected with the bat. He heard it splinter
as the ball flew over the fence.

All three runners came in

the old man strolled from base to base
laughing with his sons knowing 
he had to hit the ball hard
because he couldn’t run. 


A true story from a summer day
in August.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Gypsies



Along the riverbeds of the Rio Grande
gypsies lived in camps hidden from
the pueblos and Spanish governors.
Mothers were told to keep their children
close because the gypsies could snatch them
and raise them as their own. 


Never part of the mainstream
living on the outskirts
entertaining men with belly dances
and 
fortune telling for women 
taking what they could before it was missing 

disappeared when church and government
had enough and needed to address
the sinful ways of their communities
blaming the gypsies as children of Satan,
pagans  who must be punished,
before more innocent people fell into temptation. 


Yet, on a summer evening when the moon was full,
and music and laughter echoed across the Sandias
bands of teens sought adventure
wandering into camps to consume
the intoxicating ethers of sin. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A New Home



I see him in the kennel and smile
he will grow big, a perfect pal for a man
yet his demeanor is gentle and mild

with 
sad golden brown eyes, make me cry
and his fur a reddish blond like cinnamon
when I stroke him he evokes a smile.

I arrange the deal with a sigh,
put on his leash and he licks my hand,
lead him outdoors where the weather is mild.

He lets out a whimper, however slight,
I open the car door and he withstands
my efforts to get him inside the car, I smile

and talk to him about his new life
cut off the old collar held with a plastic band
and whisper encouragement soothing and mild.

I don’t have to do it twice
he knows what I want and without a glance
jumps in the car and I smile.

He hangs his head 
out to take in the sights 
seems to enjoy the ride, a leisurely jaunt
through city streets, temperate and mild.

We arrive home he lets out a sigh
I guide him inside with my free hand
my husband sees him and smiles
a quick friendship tender and mild. 



The poem is a Villanelle  following
a specific rhyming pattern 
and repetition of words 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tiger Mom



A young mother, worried about her daughter
confides her fears, knowing a creative nature
could be squished under her tutelage
wanting to produce an independent progeny
one who is practical and responsible
yet this genetic strand infused in her offspring
is careless and a dreamer run by emotions
instead of logic, won’t be caged by traditions
laughter, music, make-believe and color
fill her daughter’s waking hours and the To Do List
is forgotten or cast aside.

As a mother she scolds or punishes this behavior
takes her responsibilities seriously
yet when she is sad or lonely it is this child
who comforts her and makes her laugh
never holds a grudge, like a butterfly on the wind
floats between heaven and earth
while she struggles to do what is right
guilty for loving her daughter just the way she is
and fighting the urge to make her into who 

she believes she must become.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Epiphytes



Orchids are epiphytes
they perch atop another plant
but do not depend on it
using it 
as a place 
to grow and thrive

Unlike the parasite,
who lives on, or in the host,
and sucks out all the nutrients

bringing no advantage
but instead harms the plant 



Exploitation and destruction
the only conclusion
to the relationship. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Picture Perfect Place



Layers of luscious greens
splashes of color mostly yellows and reds

spiders' webs of silver silk
woven to hold crystal drops of dew 

Pathways meander through gardens
from Australia, Africa and New Zealand
find rain forest and desert collections
all arranged for public enjoyment

Birds twitter in the cypress and palms

hidden among trees of cork and paper
sculptures of fairies and abstract art
adorn the San Diego Botanical Garden Park.  


picture by Bill

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Botanical Gardens



Small gardens with various plants
from barrel cacti to pin cushion,
palms from Madagascar
and Hawaii plus the Nicaraguan tortilla tree
all  on display for visitors to see.


Take photographs of flowers
like angel trumpets or red corral
wander through paths of New Zealand flora
pose in front of rain forest foliage
look for fairies among the daisies


Discover the wonder of nature
in the detail and differences 
among the array of plants on display
in the Botanical Gardens created
and maintained by donations and volunteers.  



pictures by Bill

Monday, June 11, 2012

Plastic Wrap



Once plastic wrap did not exist
leftovers were stored in
wax paper, then aluminum foil
came along to preserve things longer
cereal was housed in cardboard boxes
and snacks were not readily available.

Nothing lasted too long
plastic brought individually wrapped
single serving treats that could
sit on a grocery shelf or in the pantry
for more than a week.
Made the bakery truck obsolete.

Bottles for milk,
became unbreakable
plastic replaced glass
for condiments and sodas too. 
Potato chips came in tins
then wax paper and cellophane,

now in plastic they last forever
okay… a week or two.
Moon pies were one of the first
sweets made available
to a whole generation the favorite 

until Twinkies came along.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Watercolor Pencils



Pigment wrapped in wood
all the colors of the rainbow
sharpened to a point
add water to the line
and it spreads across the paper
muted and diluted
in a flower, landscape, or portrait.   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dancer



Exercise is mandatory
stretching muscles to their limits
ensuring flexibility to bend and reach

but the dance never really begins
until the dancer learns the power
of centrifugal force
and spins.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

Writing is an Art



Writing used to be a sacred art
reserved for the word of god
preserved on manuscripts in 
leather bound books 

The printing press changed it
typewriters and typesetters
carbon paper and duplicators
made print cheap

Xerox and home computers
made available everywhere
then came blogs and clouds

and life was soon awash with
a preponderance of words
floating on handheld screens
anywhere in the world. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tsunami Debris



A Japanese dock dislodged in the tsunami
floated across the ocean
almost intact
looked suitable 

for Oregon fisherman 
to cast their lines
66 feet long, 19 feet wide, 
7 feet tall...






Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hatfields and McCoys



The Hatfields and McCoys
were two families who killed each other
they knew each other’s names
over time the feud became more serious
the body count never equalized.  

The Serbs and the Croatians
have a similar story, a war 

going on for too long

while the Christians 

and the Muslims started fighting
during the crusades 
and have fought for 1300 years

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Right to Vote



It’s a privilege we say
although many forget to do it
some say it’s too much trouble
and it doesn’t matter anyway
but since I was eighteen I took the responsibility
to register in each state I lived so when the elections
came around my vote was included in the final count.
Sometimes Republican sometimes Democrat
depending on the issues and the choices offered
every so often l would vote for my husband, Bill
because he was a better choice than the candidates listed.

I think there was only one year that I forgot
don’t remember the occasion but I do remember
forgetting to vote in a local election
what I noticed when the results were posted
the same people who won every year
won again, it seemed the city council and mayor
just traded places and any
one new was hard pressed

to get included on the ballot and if they crossed
the ones in power they never ran again
and sometimes had to move out of town.
I never considered running for public office
how difficult could it be?


I’ve seen the smallest amount of power
and notoriety change people
when they go from unknown to an elected official
from housewife to president of the school board
or local business owner to one with political
clout sometimes groomed by foreign entities
starting with small elections and building  
influence and garnering authority. 



Monday, June 4, 2012

Alfalfa and Rusted Bicycles



Random shoots of alfalfa grew
along the perimeter of the barn
like a scattered trail left by a child
ending at the entry 
door.

Light filtered through the wooden slates
revealing a rusted bicycle hidden behind the plow
with a little oil and it would be as good as new.

The rubber on the tires was cracked but held air,
an old t-shirt and some rope to repair the seat,
the foot pedals still rotated 'round and 'round
once the chain's attached the bike will be ready to go.


First around the the barn
crushing the alfalfa sprouts
down the path up the hill 

then back down again.

Grandpa told me the bike 

belonged to Uncle Joe
he did not like riding 

the horse drawn bus


so he flew passed pumping as hard as he could
did this until he fell in love then took long walks
with his Lucille, carrying her books, 

chewing on an alfalfa twig 'til he learned to smoke. 

He forgot about the bike when he got his Chevy.
I heard him laugh out loud when he saw me 

riding by on his discarded piece of junk.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Aloe vera



Imported from Africa
grows in most climates
the leaf is serrated with small white teeth
recognized as a succulent healing plant
good for burns, insect bites and wrinkles
magic of the voodoo chieftains
staple in the naturist’s medicine arsenal.
Easy to grow in a pot or garden
welcomed gift for friend and devotee
found in lotions, yogurt, beverages, and desserts
in China, Japan, Russia, South Africa,                                                                                                     U.S., Jamaica, Latin America and India

Saturday, June 2, 2012

In A Crowded Home



In a crowded house
there is only one room with a lock,
not the bedroom, which is usually
shared with another,


or the kitchen, where the family gathers,
nor the living room, kept clean for company

but a small cell, lined in porcelain. 

A cool room with a slight echo
where one can be undisturbed
for a minute of two


but in a crowded home
the pounding on the door
will disrupt the reverie 


forced to unlock the entry
vacate the premises 
so another can assume the throne 


to secure their own moment of privacy. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Rose Cafe



A favorite place to meet with friends
cups of coffee and 50's ambiance 


clatter of dishes and silverware
regulars throughout the day


favorite tables and desired waitresses
conversations about everything 


new love, musical arrangements and
last night’s game.



Caf├ęs like this in every town
nowhere in particular 


filled with no one specifically
then in a moment the peace is shattered 


bodies lay strewn upon the floor
blood splattered against the wall 


and across town... 

life goes on.


In memory of the senseless killings
in Seattle.