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. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How Things Work

When it comes to machines,
I find someone who can make sense of it
then ask them do the work
which they do with logic and skill
fixing most anything if they have all the parts

For growing things
it is pretty much the same,
seeking out someone who has the gift
to work the ground and make things grow

this inter-dependency creates community,
a give and take, sharing one another’s gifts
to become productive and cooperative

competition has to be put aside
tapping into the intelligence of many
so all can survive, 

but when greed takes over
exploitation of labor for personal gain,
society falls apart never to be whole again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moving Target

He won the election but what is leadership 
if no one follows?  Being out in front of the crowd
or on a pedestal makes an easy target
for opinions and sniper fire, not able to change
things on the inside, he must venture

to the skinny branches to succeed or fall
better to try rather than to stay in safe spaces
hidden away from greatness, walking a narrow road
where nothing is ever accomplished.

I can remember when I was part of groups
who were responsible for changing things
there were always the big idea guys
sucking up air in meetings but when it came
down to doing work they were nowhere to be found
except when awards were handed out
then they wanted to step to the head of the line.
Others complained at every step
making most action impossible but their negativity
actually revealed what didn’t work, then a handful 
of dedicated workers persisted and
the change they all dreamed about.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I sat on a wooden bench in a museum
to watch a large black and white movie projected on the wall-
archival film clips from Columbia where fair skinned Europeans
live in luxury, dancing at fancy parties,

dress in beautiful clothes,
enjoying the best life has to offer, 

eating at opulent tables with perfect teeth
and bodies adorned in diamonds and gold.

These images are juxtaposed against
the indigenous natives with their dark skin
and rags, life of misery, working for the rich,
sweeping floors, washing clothes,
living in squalor, then flash back 

to the wealthy in late model automobiles
going to the theater, seeking pleasure
in song and dance, laughter along with caviar.

The poor dance upon the dusty ground
accepting suffering as a way of life
until they rebel against the elite,
destroying their cities, forcing them to flee

their strength in numbers doesn
’t make up for the gap
in education, so they align with a dictator
and do exactly what he says. After all,

he knew what was best for them.

Relegated once again to poverty and ignorance
but at least, in this new world, they were not juxtaposed
against the lives of the wealthy,
poverty was equally shared, suffering a common reality

making life easier to bear

when everything
was the same for everyone. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

World View

I asked her if she listened to world news
sports scores were more her speed
didn’t care much about the unrest in Egypt
or the recovery after Super Storm Sandy
the economic downturn was not her issue,
she didn’t have much to say about the election,

except her candidate won.
Her face is wrinkle free, not worried about
problems that are not her own
wants to get home to feed the dog
and get to work on time
marks her calendars for girl’s nights out,

and when she needs to get her hair done,
but what can be done about world problems?
She doesn’t care, not her concern
but did I know April and Kent are splitting?
She’s pregnant with his son, but he's too immature
to stick around. Ashley posted pictures of her trip,

did I want to see them?
She learned a new dance step
tried it out, also a new recipe
for macaroni and cheese,
didn’t like it with mushroom soup
preferred regular milk and sharp cheddar.

Governments fall, soldiers are killed
thousands of people now homeless
none of that crosses her radar,
glad the Buckeyes won and going
to the championship, found some new wine
in Temecula, an aloe lotion for her dry skin.

She's too tired from her job to go to the gym,
her boyfriend is so busy they don’t spend
as much time together as she would like,
the price of gas is going through the roof,
and it costs more at the grocery store
familiar shops have closed nearby

might have to get a second job
at least through the holidays
looks at cat and dog antics
on You Tube, doesn’t read the news
can’t do anything about it anyway
better to keep her eyes on her own problems

rather than being concerned
about people so far away

and things she can't change anyway.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Extinct Tortoise Brought Back to Life

Remnants of his life almost forgotten
last remaining tortoise remembered
was Lonesome George, now through DNA
and test tube breeding, scientists
will bring his species back to life.

How much like the horrors of Jurassic Park
will this regeneration affect the eco-balance?
Should creatures naturally disappear
when they can’t thrive in a modern world?
Ashes to ashes dust to dust ...

Natural coexistence of predators and prey
ample food and water sources, a safe place
to reproduce, protection for the young
from birth to adulthood, genetic memory
of what to do as a tortoise, within a space
capable of annihilating its kind.

Friday, November 23, 2012

To Grandmother’s House We Go

There were the days when my home
was the gathering place,
everything scrubbed, table prepared
familiar foods from your childhood
it was where you brought your children

then like a shuffle of cards
everything is rearranged
we drive to your home
adding to the celebration with homemade pies
the bulk of the work on your shoulders
shifting responsibility between two sons

Another shuffle, another hand 
it is time for the grandkids' to take a turn
my contribution relegated to the side dishes,
green bean casserole and candied yams
the turkey is also pushed aside, macaroni
and cheese takes center stage.

I’ll have to rewrite the song

formally known as Jingle Bells:

Rushing on the road
in a four wheeled Durango
o'er the freeway we go
fretting all the way

see the red lights blinking
making spirits sink
it’s no fun stuck in traffic
while the meal is getting cold

Oh, honk the horn, make a call
tell them we’ll be late
it’s no fun being stuck in traffic
in a four wheeled Durango.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Road Rage

Most drivers,
if they’ve driven for a few years,
have witnessed or participated
in road rage.

A driver on the left
moving up too quickly
making it impossible
for you to merge

another cuts closely
to your vehicle
causing you to swerve
you break suddenly

moments like this
make you realize
you’re behind two tons of steel
and can do damage to the offender

normally you are a peaceful person
but goaded by another’s recklessness

you want to squash the culprit

show him who really owns the road
and all that primitive anger
packed into generations of survival
emerges from you like the hulk

sometimes you get it under control

after a slew of expletives #@*&%
and other times you back off

giving the culprit plenty of room
but sometimes, when enough is enough,
you explode like a volcano
letting consequences fall where they may

you are King of the Road
and will not have it any other way. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Other Treats

The tweet from a Helm’s Bakery truck
let us know it was out on the street.
Neighbors and kids swarmed around

to order buns, donuts 
or sliced bread
Suddenly the trucks were gone
when neighborhood grocery stores

started filling up once empty lots
offering Hostess goods
at a lower price, packaged in bright colors.

One day a big surprise,
pre-wrapped lunch treats
Twinkies, Ding Dongs

Sno-Balls, Ho-Ho’s and Suzi-Q’s.
Mother rarely bought them, 

except at the outlet.

Several years later they are still around
iconic for three generations,
promised to be the only food to survive

an Armageddon... but not the worker’s
union. Hostess is facing bankruptcy 

production will stop

and even though I’ve not tasted
one for over fifteen years
I can't find it on the shelves

only on-line for 10x’s the price.
Atlantic surges and super storms,
respected generals 

toppled from their thrones,

fiscal cliffs with dire warnings 

and Hostess bakeries 
closing their doors.

Zingers, pies and cupcakes
Hostess O’s and raspberry donuts
all gone never to return
the end of the world has surely come.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Small Print

Side effects of the medicine:
vertigo, itchy skin, thoughts of suicide,
the cure is worse than the disease

have to decide if the results are worth the risks
some call it white noise... more information
than our brain can process so you stop reading it.

Trust the doctor and go with the flow
but if you find yourself losing your balance
or your skin starts to itch, stay away from knives

and ropes hanging from the ceiling.
Call your doctor and wait patiently by the phone
don’t stop taking your prescription unless notified.

Your home is in foreclosure, your credit past due
you failed to read the small print on the contract
that explained you really 
can’t  afford the home

and after remodeling it will be taken from you.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse for not reading
and asking a question or two.

I can remember when I was a child
my parents were so nervous when they signed their name
barely literate, they knew they could be victims of fraud

if they were not able to make sense of a contract,
getting a loan to buy a car, a refrigerator, a home,
but honesty prevailed in those times

and all their contracts worked out fine.
Today there is a blind acceptance
that someone out there will take care of us

after this experience be more cautious,
skeptical and distrustful learning to read the fine print
before accepting any contract with a stranger.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Petraeus Betrayed Us

The e-mails were found hidden online
written but not sent, available for his lover
to find, a technique learned from the terrorists,
not a confidential secret but sublime.

This man, with all his medals, a strategist;
a killing machine, had the intelligence to move
resources and troops to contain the enemy,
yet protect his soldiers, thought to be a hero by many

awarded with accolades and greater responsibility
but his wife was dowdy so he fell for another,
one who worshiped him and made him feel alive again,
and because he was a head of the CIA, felt invulnerable.

The weakness of any man is to believe his behavior
is above scrutiny, knowing he is smarter than the rest of us
but he didn’t take into account the jealousy
and eye scratching ferocity of two women

competing for the attention of the same man.
Rumors unraveled from bare chested photos
to flirtatious banter all retrieved electronically
cell phones, computers and blackberries.

Interesting the news did not break until after the election
ties to Benghazi and our homeland security
more will be reveled as the story untangles
from honor to shame because
a respected man couldn’t keep his pants on. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catch A Rainbow

After the storm a rainbow
appears in the sky
which end holds the pot of gold?

Minds fill with thoughts
of poetry and paintings
extolling this natural beauty 

shown off in clothes,
wallpaper and jewelry
available in bold colors and pastels

promises of blessings
after the rain 
fields of flowers awash in bloom

so much hope after the dark skies.
Fairies return to the forgotten 
with the promise of music, dancing, and song.

Iridescent fishes and waterfalls
remind us heaven exists on earth.  

Dew drops on spider webs,
laughter and play, squeals of delight
on a beautiful day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Sparkle In Her Eyes

Rhinestones on her blouse
catch your eyes as the radiance
dances across her breasts

then her diamond earrings
guide you to her ears,
her glistening teeth to her smile.

Little flashes of brightness
give sparkle like an angel
directing you to the glow in her eyes

Bow your head and genuflect
giving homage to such beauty
enhanced by the properties of light.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Without warning
coyotes attacked
the family pets.

Steve heard the cry 
ran to the backyard
in time to see a pack 

of three scale the fence.

Swifter, the youngest one, 
was injured but still breathing 
Buddy, couldn’t be found
for several minutes then 
a bush where he breathed his last.

The girls were screaming, how could this be,
the perfect home for their family
violated by these canine intruders.

They gathered their pets and headed to the vet
Swifter didn’t make it and died in Anna’s arms
nothing to do but take the remains
and try to explain to her daughters
why something like this could happen to them.

Marie couldn’t be consoled, cried until she fell asleep,
while Sara drew pictures and wrote poetry
of her little pets, so loyal and loving
now gone, it will be awhile

before they get another one. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baking and Making Friends

After her husband died she was lost
wondering how the future would fill her days.
To keep herself busy she pulled out the flour
and other ingredients and made cinnamon buns,
a favorite of her late husband.

The aroma wafted out into the street 
and neighbors dropped by for a taste 
of the sweets. Conversation 
and laughter filled the room.

The next day she baked an apple pie and took it
to the young mother who arrived home with her child.
She didn’t stay but it had a chocolate cake
when the young mother returned it later that week.

Baking was never a chore, something about kneading
the dough kept her mind occupied
and her body strong. She become a favorite friend
throughout the neighborhood. 

Never lonely her kitchen, now a busy place,
friends dropping in sharing gossip and recipes
pumpkin pies and fruit cakes for the holidays
dusting and sprinkling, folding and rolling,
her arms became stronger, her heart larger.

She was favorite for children who knew
when they came home from school
they were welcome to stop by
and have a chocolate brownie
or oatmeal cookie or two.

The more she gave away, 
the more she received.
Days passed quickly
holidays and celebrations 

blended like the ingredients on her pantry shelf
sugar, cocoa, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon
a little bit of this, a dash of that.

Cookies cut out and frosted on a window shelf
stories unfolded, relationships made
lives bound together like pie crusts 
and braided bread, 

It is said a church’s walls hold the tears 
and prayers from it's congregation.
Likewise her kitchen filled with the good will 
and love from all the friends she made.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Dog Climbed Into the Bath Tub

During the night I fell asleep early,
then wandered between 12:00 and 2:00
watched a little bit of late night T.V.
played on the computer
then tossed and turned
tried sleeping on the couch
but came back to bed.  

The dog was spread 
on my side and didn’t move
when I told him to get off,
so I squeezed in beside him. 

There was room for me
if I laid on my side
I quickly fell asleep and dreamed
about my oldest son and his family.

It was time to take a bath
and we climbed into the tub
the water was warm and clear,
conversations were playful.

The dogs were watching
from the floor and then my dog
stepped in, causing a commotion

we told him to get out,
he laid down for a little while
then climbed back in again.

This time we let him stay
he seemed content to be part of the group
their dog, a Dalmatian, joined in. 

I woke up the next morning
still laughing at the experience
everyone was so excited
to have everyone in the tub. 

I remembered
how the dogs forced themselves in
and how good they smelled
once they were cleaned.

I wonder what could it mean?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Baby’s Got A Fever

“Dengue fever,” was what the doctor said,
"can be fatal but we caught it in time
caused by a mosquito bite
the baby should be clear in a few days
all you can do is watch and pray.

Keep your faith
don’t let fear take control of reason
go to the place where spirit resides
and plead for the life of this little one.

Turn off the TV and stay away from internet
don’t obsess over things you can’t control
create a prayerful network
pull in the blessings of a higher power

hold your child close to your breast
until the fever subsides
kiss him once and then a dozen times
and thank god for the miracle of healing. 

Prayers for Bobbi’s grandson.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumping Gas

He was sixteen, dressed in a uniform
had blue eyes and a trail of freckles
across his nose, not the best looking
but with hormones peaking it didn’t matter

“Can I filler-up?” he asked through
the window, I said, "A dollar's worth,"

then he proceeded to unscrew
the lid of the gas tank, put the pump
on automatic, while he washed
the windows and rear view mirror
checked the oil and air pressure.

Took my five dollars and brought me change
touching my fingers and staring into my eyes.
I took only a few gallons at a time
since I shared the car with my brothers,
who usually left the tank dry every time

but I didn’t mind, I worked part-time,
and this young man at the Chevron station,
thrilled my heart with his tousled hair
and greasy fingernails, he always greeted

me with a smile and seemed sincere
when he asked, “Can I filler-up?”

Saturday, November 10, 2012


He finally connected, with the use of skype,
to kids like himself

thought it was pretty cool

to have access to people from around
the world with interests like his own
then he moved away and in no time
he was connected again
asked his grandma to join in.

She went on-line and found

directions with words she didn’t understand
reached out for help and in a little while

she was hooked in to another
part of cyber space.
Bought cameras for the both of them
wanted to see his face if she was going

to talk to him.
Everything should be ready to go
once the camera and microphone arrive

until then e-mail or facebook
will have to do.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Star Power

During the economic downturn
her finances went to hell
lost most everything she held dear
her home, her health, her car.

One time during the worst days
she thought of jumping off a bridge
but decided instead to use her head
and float on the wings of change.
She saw her future drift by
whatever she believed she would do
was gone, now everything was possible
so she figured on what she truly wanted

and instead of accepting the limits
she made a choice for the first time.
It looked like she was lazy
no results for all her effort
'till she finally came to the conclusion
that even though she lost her youth
she really wanted to be a star.
She applied for opportunities

to be hired on a cast
dealt with lots of rejection
but finally got a call back
needed head shots, and resume´
and be ready to audition the next day

She was accepted, desired for her age, average looks
and comedic experience. Told to wait by the phone
when the call came she left hoping to find free parking,
took several outfits, maybe one would look good on TV.
It took a total of fifteen minutes to tape the courtroom drama

the judge did most of the talking,
while she frowned and rolled her eyes
said only a few words, but spoke on camera
though she didn’t get union rates
it will still be seen on TV.

Came home excited
said the day went perfectly.
Looked great in her studio make-up
added up her costs: $100 for head shots,
$35 for two days of gas, saved some money 

by getting free parking but only received 
fifty dollars for all of her trouble.

None of that mattered
because she knew it was the first step
to fulfill her dreams
to become a star.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dolphins Meet in the Water

Heading along our regular route
came across a new pod of dolphins
all happy and carefree
chattering about the submarine they raced
outside of San Francisco
talking, at the same time, about the fishing vessel
where one was almost caught in the net
two young males did spontaneous flips
then teenage females rose up
and danced across the water with twirls
and large splashes. They were headed
to Mexico while my group was on to Hawaii
we played together for a little while but then
went off in our own directions. God’s speed
to our new friends. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A gift when the yard was bare
a few leaves on two narrow stems
sold in a potting container
hardly worth the effort it seemed
but dug the hole anyway
making sure to pound the roots
on the ground to loosen the binding
affect of growing in a pot for too long.

As expected all the leaves fell off
seemed to be forgotten in the summer heat
but by next spring green sprouts along the branches
and in no time red purple flowers adding
a surprise of color in the yard. 

Visitors complimented the beautiful plant
while it sent out shoots and increased in size
taking over the wall by the neighbor’s fence
like barbed wire with sharp spikes
had to keep the pets and children away
making it difficult to trim
arms were scratched and bloody
but each trimming made it grow back
bigger and stronger than ever.

My husband wanted to dig it out
a job that would never be done
I was seduced by its lovely color
pleading for it to stay
I hired a gardener to do the job
he doubled his fee the next year.

It still grows out in the yard
stands over six feet tall and ten feet wide
I think back to the day when it was small
I could have ended it before it began
by refusing the gift, or tossing it out
after it was given.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Season’s End

Turned back the clocks but didn’t realize what it meant
until it was dark early the next day, winter’s sadness
walked in alongside the darkness
too many days before sunlight returns,
dealing with erratic temperature changes
freezing at night and ninety degrees by midday,
learning to layer clothing, made of cotton and fleece
carry a light-weight bag to allow for changes
hurrying to get home before the light fades
feeling anxious if I don’t get indoors before nightfall
something has changed my ability to cope
with the onset of aching limbs and failing eyesight
preferring the safety of a locked door
when the sun goes down. 

Check-out the T.V. guide for my favorite programs
fixed a simple meal keeping it healthy
falling asleep before the show was over
made-up my mind to sign-up for a class
something to keep me occupied
through this long winter.

My left shoulder starting to hurt
one more pain to befriend because
I’ve learned that once pain arrives
it never leaves again,
all that is left on television are the late night
programs, not so funny men, competing
for my attention, maybe they’ll be funnier
if I take some pain meds, fall back asleep
waking-up before the sun rises
but it is morning and I know daylight
will spread out before me
giving me hope while the sun shines.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The View from My Rooftop During the Storm

I should have evacuated when the warning came
could have been safe from the storm
but instead, I stayed and was terrified by the hurricane.
I thought I would die with the power of those winds

water rose above the pilings so I headed to the roof
and there in the night with a full moon
I saw the Atlantic swell over the seawalls
flowing into the first floor rooms,

I stood in awe of nature’s power
humbled by the sight of the disaster
felt god’s presence telling me everything will be okay
I fell down to my knees and prayed in gratitude

grateful to be spared and allowed to survive this day.
I dreamed of after the storm, making promises
to live a better life, repenting for my sins
waiting for daylight to start my road to recovery. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Trite Conversations

I try to be included in the conversation
about the pounds you’ve lost
the new wrinkle skin application
and I’m sure it’s all important

but it bores me to death
would be better left unsaid.
I’ve really tried in the past
to put in my point of view

to be included in the round table
discussion of the latest reality show
about people two steps below
behaving badly on T.V.

Glad when it is finally over
make excuses not to be included
get lonely sometimes but better
than losing my mind.

I see you driving by in your car
yapping away at fifty-five miles an hour
knowing that what you say could go unsaid
and your life wouldn’t change much anyway.

I’ve overheard you at restaurants
“he said, then she said, oh, believe me when I say,”
sucking up air, gasping for breath
never stopping to look around

to see who else is in the room.
Your children long for your attention
acting out to get your time
eventually looking bored when they realize

they will never interrupt your monologue
like addiction to a drug you can’t pull away
to pay attention to the details of your life
it might give you a panic attack

and you would become the subject of another’s
conversation when they say, “Did you hear,
she went insane, stopped her cel plan,
joined a cult, wanders through the streets

talking to herself, thinks bugs are crawling
on her skin, her kids were taken away
the hospital couldn’t keep her.
She would have been better off

had she never stopped talking on the phone.
It kept her distracted, a 
better price to pay
than her complete break with reality."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Acts of Kindness

All the volunteers are asleep
after twenty hours of digging through
fallen buildings and sand clogged roads
pathways are cleared and spaces tagged
search and rescue efforts fulfilled.

People from every walk of life
hear the call and converge
to the site of any disaster and offer
their hands, their heads and hearts.

Making a difference in total anonymity
for those found under debris,
to families reunited or relieved from

hunger and thirst, for those whose wounds
are cleaned and dressed, and find relief
in a clean commode. These acts of kindness

make a difference to people in need,
dollars help and are the easiest for the majority
but without the unpaid working force
the job would never get done.

Their generosity to strangers
brings food to the elderly in high risers, comfort
to infants in hospitals, support for the disenfranchised

who find solace through this charity
helping them return their 
lives to normal.

After the work is done
and these angels of mercy go back home
life becomes mundane, 

attending to the everyday chores:
getting up, going to work, taking out the garbage
waiting for another disaster to hit 

and a chance to rise to the challenge
to make a difference again.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jersey Shore

On my list of things to do
was to visit Jersey Shore

made famous from movies
and T.V. like so many sites,

a unique place with boardwalks
and a roller coaster, now all tossed in the sea

scattered remnants of how it used to be
all that is left are photographs and memories.

Some entrepreneurs will gather the junk
sell it for scrap while others will make it art

like pendants and other memorabilia
to sell to those who knew the place

treasure hunters of all sorts will comb
through the debris for something to salvage

in memory of a place where romance bloomed,
hearts were broken, and luxury loomed

now washed away by an Atlantic surge
brought ashore by hurricane Sandy.

The dream to rebuild is paramount
turning upright all that is upside down.