Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sentences: Simple, Compound or Complex

Sentences can take you off track
don’t let them
distort your words, form a crack, 
cause mayhem.

Learn the form
to transform
Ohhh yes!

Say what you mean
keep it clean
use sentences that are
simple, compound or complex.

Do it right, get some fame
learn to ask questions,
make statements and express
strong emotions, then sign your name.

can be amazing, in this convoluted
maze of words learning to express,
like a master in a game of chess,
asking questions to get answers
telling stories, becoming authors.

Today we’re here, tomorrow there,
with this treasure chest of specs
using sentences; simple,
compound and complex. 

Did you work on our rap song? I asked,
Not yet, but I have ideas. You stated.
We have to get it done, I commanded.
What a great job!  We shouted.

Look what knowledge did for Shakespeare,
F. Scott Fitzgerald, and R.K. Rowling
brought them fame so enticing
book deals, movies and theater.

So much money and lavish praise
for their sentences:
simple, compound
and complex. 

can be amazing, in this convoluted
maze of words learning to express,
like a master in a game of chess,
asking questions to get answers
telling stories, becoming authors.

Today we’re here, tomorrow there,
with this treasure chest of specs
using sentences; simple,
compound and complex. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Great Grandma’s Lap

She was turning eighty
he could barely sit upright
but she held him strong
close to her heart.

His fingers touched her arm
baby skin on paper thin

one giving love
the other taking it in

One cycle ending
the next one starting

tick, tock, 
time passes on. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hart Street Mayhem

I was sitting in your house
on Hart Street
the new owners had five children,
two girls and three boys,
they were crowded but happy
packed into the small space
with the big yard and plenty

of space but it seems
the road had been closed
to accommodate drag racing
for the weekend.

Drivers revved up their engines
screeching across the asphalt
coming to a stop at the finish line.

Visitors from all over milled around
so residents sold trinkets 
along the sidewalk 
making a little cash for all their trouble.

The neighbors were worried with the changes
then you wandered in upset with the crowds
rushing to the restroom to fix your Mohawk
glad you moved out when you did.

Two dogs started to bark
then we placed our bets 
for the next race
waking-up before the 
night was done. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cold Snap

Reports of a cold snap
heading down from Canada
a frigid mass of cold air
ice crystals on citrus fruit,
highways like skating rinks
layered clothing a must
to withstand the winter freeze.   

The sun will shine through
during this polar front
making the less experienced
dress inappropriately
chilling to the bone 
forcing them inside with a fire
and the family dog close by
to keep them warm.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dreamscape Wedding

Water rushing through the streets,
washing away cars and flooding homes
a wedding in a propped up shelter
the bride holding her dress above her knees
tiptoeing barefooted into the lighted room

standing with her new husband, 
until the ceremony was done. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful for the Many Blessings

pictures to be posted later

It that annual celebration of family and thanksgiving
we gather round the table and notice who is missing
traditions broken by death and living
and yet we gather to give thanks for the many blessings
the breath of life for another day
a new marriage, a new sobriety,
the possibility of a new home
new teeth, and new tattoos
all designed to bring happiness
for a little while
we bow our heads and give thanks
glad for all who have gathered here.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Early Morning Phone Call


The phone rang early this morning
too early for a sales call,
no family or friends,
unless it was an emergency.

My mind tried to predict
who and what and why
only the sound of , “Hello,”
then a click.

It didn’t matter, except,
it sounded like my sister 

who passed
a month ago. 

Her voice was clear
maybe she had to say


but then remembered 
she was dead

and hung-up instead. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

After the Rain

Woke up groggy this morning
couldn’t form my thoughts
words got twisted on my tongue
felt hung over and confused
but I haven't had a drink

still find in difficult to think
then the rain broke through
first a few drops than many

the words 
started to form
first poetry 
then prose 

I worked 
the rest of the day 
until a story was told
and I had said everything


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Another Dream Along a Roadway

Last night I was riding in a car along a mountain pathway.
Bill was driving and we came across a scene
of a serious accident. Many bodies were strewn
across the road. I turned to Bill and asked him to stop

so we could help the injured and cover the dead.
He said, “There are too many we can’t help them
better to keep going and stay out of the way
so the rescue workers can do their job.”

At some point I felt relief, overwhelmed by my helplessness
wondering when I became a burden instead of a helping hand.
We continued to drive around the mountain side
beautifully covered in snow, offering us a tranquil vision

of eternity. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Facing Life

Another report of a super storm
thousands left homeless
many died -
an emergency
for Red Cross and volunteers
to lend a helping hand.

After the storm ghosts linger
wandering aimlessly
death came too soon
their souls not ready to depart

Gradually the debris gets cleared
a new life must begin
restructured and redefined
missing loved ones and precious things
filling the gaps with small acts, 

surviving in the face of no evidence
that life will ever be normal again. 

Prayer helps and falling in love again
is a boost, a baby born 

with all the promise of life
and little by little routines

becomes familiar
and the tragedy 

only a faded dream. 

Prayers for survivors in the Philippines,
Midwest and Italy.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jung Shin

He dyes his hair
to hid his age

and wears it in combed back
so unlike other Asians

he wears a hearing aid
and large rimmed glasses

his smile is sincere
and his talent so amazing

with a few strokes
he finds the face on the canvas

and with expert hands
guides his students to do the same

creating personal masterpieces
for generations to enjoy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pagan Babies

When I was young I used to save
a milk carton of pennies
to feed the pagan babies in China.

Carton after carton was given to the nuns
who packaged those pennies
and took them to the bank.

When enough money was collected
the nuns sent a check to the missionaries
who fed their bodies and saved their souls.

Years later, the population of China
is booming although there are few
Catholics among them

and as our economic systems fail
I wonder if somewhere in their schools
children will collect cartons full of pennies

to save us of from our impending bankruptcy
and deliver us from our financial missteps
so that we can redeem ourselves from collapse?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family Meal

Last night I had a dream
I was standing outside the back door
with my husband

we could see my mom
setting a long wooden table
for a home cooked meal.

The clatter of dishes
and conversation filled
the room.

I opened the screen door
and my mother said,
"This is not for you."

I stepped back onto the patio
and looked at my husband
to tell him we would have to wait.

The next morning I told him
about the dream. We agreed
we still had things to do on earth

so we better get about
doing those things before
we crossed that threshold

to the other side.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Diana Dream

Phase I color blocking and quick paint


Friday, October 11, 2013

Silk Bandannas

When I went to church I wore a silk
bandanna to show modesty
before the Lord

hiding luxurious waves of amber highlights
so the worshipers could concentrate
on the gospel instead of my emerging
adolescences adorned like the Virgin Mary

humble and obedient to the God above.
Sometimes I wore a lace mantilla
but in springtime it was a pastel hat
with feathers and netting adding fashion

with patent leather shoes and matching purse
competing with the other girls
to attract the most attention
with heads bowed in prayer.

Somehow spirituality got lost
in those days when appearance
was more important than substance

but all things change and the bandannas
were discarded along with other traditions

of the church.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heaven’s Path

She saw her brother waiting by the stone bridge
hurried bare footed across the cobblestones

took his hand as they crossed
the stream coursing through a clearing.

Up ahead she could see
familiar faces; her sister, three bothers,
her father and her mother.
She took off at a run

happy after so long
in the embrace of those 

who had been gone

too many years one by one.
A flood of conversation
trying to catch up on all the news

heaven had to wait because on this path
she met so many of her loved ones
didn’t want to let them go

but Saint Peter called
and she had to move along
but the good news

her family traveled with her
for the rest of time.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When Antiques were Modern

They were not antiques in their day
but modern artifact of the time:
the telephone on a party line,
a refrigerator instead of an icebox,
a sewing machine run on foot power,
an automobile to replace the horse and buggy,
the locomotive improved on the wagon train,
the vacuum to replace the broom,
computers made typewriters obsolete,
and on and on with so many things.

Morality and traditions also became outdated
replaced by a different value systems.
Regular church attendance dwindled,
belief in god questioned and ridiculed,
the sanctity of the home was infiltrated
with cable TV and pornography,
seeking pleasure for pleasure’s sake
self sacrifice left for the volunteer soldier
sent to fight, not for liberty, but for corporate greed,
while the government spied for national security
but left their own house in disarray

I found a macramé plant holder out in the garage
a few beads and rope left over from the seventies
when times were simpler and less modern
sometimes I long for that simplicity. 

Monday, October 7, 2013


Photograph taken by Aaron Rice,

Painting by drice

Sunday, October 6, 2013

May She Rest in Peaches

In Memory of Bernice RIP 2013 at 92

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall of Rome

Decline in Morality
Emperors were known for having 
lavish parties.

Political Corruption
Each throne was sold to the highest
bidder, regardless of his ability to lead.

Wars and Military Spending
The cost of maintaining an army to fight
constant battles left Rome in more of a war
state than a social state

Failing Economy and High Inflation
With increased taxes to support wars to protect Rome
and its corrupt line of emperors, the civilian masses
were unable to survive

Lack of Civilian Protection
The military was charged with protecting
but it was no longer regularly paid to do so.

Is History Repeating itself?

Friday, October 4, 2013


Happiness is interesting, because everyone has
a different idea about what it is and how to get it. 
Here are ten suggested ways to get happy.

Exercise more – 7 minutes might be enough

Sleep more – you’ll be less sensitive to negative emotions

Move closer to work – a short commute is worth more than a big house

Spend time with friends and family – don’t regret it on your deathbed

Go outside – happiness is maximized in nature

Help others – 100 hours a year is the magical number

Practice smiling – it can alleviate pain

Plan a trip – but don’t take one

Meditate – rewire your brain for happiness

Practice gratitude – increase both happiness and life satisfaction

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wesley Remembers Momma

Mom's sweet soul passed away on Sept. 21st 
due to complications with stage 4 cancer.

She lived her life with optimism, grace, 
and a positive light that all who knew her felt. 

She faced this grave experience with the same 
clarity and serenity I could only hope to adopt. 

I will miss her very much, but her love and humor 
will live on through my thoughts and actions. 

I love you momma!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Children Confront Death

They never knew their aunt but she knew about them
but never took the time to meet them
and now she’s dying and apologized for being remiss
for not taking the opportunity but now it’s too late.

Mama won’t let them see her, 
she thinks they will become confused
with the machines and death by her bedside.

The kids think they need to meet her 
before she goes away
but mama says no, and that’s the way it will stay.

Seems that life is wasted when love is waiting nearby
a smile for a stranger is lost when those who could love you
are waiting in the wings and must settle

the memory of being so close
and not getting the chance to say, 

“Hello I’m glad to meet you,
and now you must go away.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Path to Heaven

When she lay dying 
she seemed to linger longer 
than expected.

Her smile suggested 
she was at peace,
and everything was okay.

After she passed, 
her son had a dream...
and asked her, 

why she took so long?

She replied, 

"I took the time 
to mark the path for you 
could follow when 
your life was done."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


She said she didn't believe in an afterlife.
"We die and that is that. 
Our best chance for a good life is here and now."

I said I had experiences to make me believe there is more...
when people I knew were close to death, they saw
members of their family gathering to escort them home.

She said, "It was only the chemical reaction of dying
combined with a strong belief system
that created those images."

I asked her is she knew anyone who had died
and was she with them when they were 
close to death?

She said, "I only knew my husband Burt,
who suffered dementia for several years, he became afraid 
when the men in black appeared at his bedside.

We sedated him and he died without incident."

I guess I wouldn't believe either 
if that was my only experience of death.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life in Fast Forward

She was born the sixth in a family
which grew by four more

but she was the favorite, with a sweet nature
and not part of the competition

among the older ones

Who had to watch out for her

and got in trouble if she got hurt

she didn’t tumble with the rest
her dimples seduced those on the sidelines

became a cheerleader, envied and lusted for
by total strangers

and in the limelight she was alone.

One of the few not asked out for the prom
everyone thought she was spoken for

the boys would shiver when they got close to her
too popular but left alone for the shark

who was older and bolder
so he took her as his own

stealing her away from her brothers and sisters
mother and father, keeping her hidden in isolated areas

where she fell in love with the wilderness
finding comfort in the open air

giving birth to her only son  
who had to compete with him

for her affection. She left them both
to get away to save herself

but told her son she would come for him
and she did and they became meshed as one

neither one able to form their own life
until now... and in death it is done. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Two Poems from Chuck

The Crown of Crows

the crown of crows
fall on you
and peck you
to the end

you look up
and have them pick
each eye
do not cry

brush them off

it is the only way
to remove
the crows

one at a time

by yourself

The 5:25 Tunnel

The passage is non-stop
The passage is one way
The passage comes
The passengers
Are always on board

The direction is safe
Welcome aboard
Everyone loves you
Let everyone go
This is your passage

All your baggage is light
And unnecessary
Keep it or leave it
You will see
You are not alone
Everyone loves you

Leave something for us to follow
We are so afraid of the tunnel
We have so much to think about
Before we enter there
Your message is:

Everyone loves you here 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Creative Imagery

Yesterday I visited Johanna Morgan
she offered an energy healing
based on touch and creative imagery.

She asked for a medical and personal history
then we started, she asked me to quiet myself
by thinking of a peaceful time
then to focus on the part of my body
that was at ease and pain free

After a few minutes she asked me to focus
on another part and once that was completed
she asked me to tell her where I felt pain
then laid her hands on that area.

Our breathing synchronized then she asked
if I felt or saw anything.

I described a mature elephant standing
on a drought ravaged plain. The water hole,
no more than a few puddles. The elephant
was weary with the struggle of life.

She asked if I saw or felt anything else.

I felt a mist falling from the sky,
the elephant evolved into a woman
the dried grass became her long hair
and she moved up toward the sky.

Her hairs were the layers of color
seen in a sunset as she became the sun
after a while the sky turned dark
and she rose to the heavens as the moon

She had a basket of stars she hung up
in the sky until they became diamonds
and she picked them one by one
and stored them in a leather bag.

Johanna asked if I had another point of pain
I mentioned my left knee.
She touched my knee and asked if I noticed anything.

I described a knotted trunk all gnarled
with roots in the parched earth.

She told me to imagine the roots deep
in the earth and then asked what I saw or felt.

I felt a quick rush of energy or red molten lava
then a liquid gold, flowing into the marrow of my bones
and flooding my body with warmth and energy.
The gold became an amber liquid, like an oil
lubricating my joints and flowing into my arteries
and veins. I cold feel my heart swell as it pumped
the energy through my body.

She asked me to tell her where to touch
to integrate the new experience.

I asked her to place her hands on either side of my head.

I came to the realization my religious training moved my eyes
to the sky and cut me off from the earth
where the source of my energy existed at the center.

I left the session feeling exhilarated.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mother Earth

The father's came from across the sea
told the locals of an every lasting life
in a heaven beyond the clouds

through hard work and occasional small pox
they convinced the tribes to look up to the sky to find
God and, through him, pray for blessings on earth

They were warned to be wary of the molten fire
that burned below the ground
where Satan offered his evil wares

One by one believers gave up mother earth
to immerse in the water of redemption
then sang alleluia to the God above

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Whimsical Painting of Diana

I started the painting before I heard the news
but now the energy of the painting reminds
me of Diana in her youth. She wore her hair long
and was considered, "the pretty one," in the family.

She always lived simply and attracted bad boys. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Diana was feeling ill before she went to work, called 911

Wesley was in a panic because she wasn’t at home or work.
She called to let him know she was in the hospital. They conducted some tests
and determined she had fluid around her heart, blood clots and stage 4
cancer spread throughout her body.

Wesley called family. Charlene and Rosa went to see Diana. The hospital room
was filled with friends from Oliver’s, Home Depot, and local friends.

Judy and I arrived Thursday afternoon. Diana was in high spirits. We laughed
recalling details from our lives together.  Wesley had written two new songs
and sang them for us. We were looking forward to some type of recovery for her.
Diana was scheduled for surgery 11:00 the next morning.

Diana had a seizure and they opted for immediate surgery. She had an area
near her heart  opened to insert a tube and drain the fluid around her heart.
She was in pain after surgery but relaxed after they administrated sufficient pain killers. She spoke a little but was in and out of sleep.  She talked,about Dad driving a big bus but he didn’t stop to pick her up.  She said she was tired and didn’t want to work so hard anymore.  Charlene and Summer were there with the kids all day. Before we left Summer went up with Judy to see Diana. Diana apologized for not spending more time with her nieces. After we left Wesley was with her when she went into a coma. Wesley was upset and got in an accident on the way home.  He called a trusted friend to pick him up after he was released from the hospital.

Judy and I arrived for a family meeting. Wesley was picking up a new car from
Honda, where he worked.  Diana was non communicative but did open her eyes
and did seem to squeeze when we held her hands.
Judy and I only planned to stay three days so we called Wesley to let him know
what we were doing and asked him if he wanted us to stay. We could make the
arrangements.  He said for us to do what we needed to do. He came back to the
hospital by 4:00 and made the necessary decisions for his mom.  Before he left
she said, “I love you.”

Charlene was at the hospital. Diana was still breathing but they were still giving
her oxygen and fluids.  Charlene had an image of Dad holding Diana in her arms,
he looked up to Charlene and said, “I’ve got this.”

Diana will be removed from all support and sent to a hospice facility.
Wesley said he told her, she could go...and coincidentally,  
he mentioned Alaska,  she got all wiggly...;)

Now it is a matter of time.

P.S. Charlene said she as surprised how Diana seemed to rally with all her friends visiting and touching her and saying they loved her. It seemed to give her energy to respond.

P.S.S. I had a dream last night that a pink ball of energy buzzed and snapped just above eye level. Diana was at the center and said she was very happy. 

More post scripts: the nurses are all falling in love w/her... her friends and family are rallying around her... not so bad when filled with love n dignity! what more we can we hope for?? I wouldn't be surprised at this point if she wows everyone and pulls off a recovery seen it more than once...acceptance of whatever comes.

She died 5:25 Saturday morning. May she rest in peace.