Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ground Hog’s Day

Ground hog gorging
allows for winter's sleep

stirred by it's body clock
gets up to check

if spring is on it’s way.
A shadow sends it down

for six more weeks
of winter cold:

snow falling,
ice and sleet,

cocoa by the fireplace,
warm blankets,

and fluffy slippers
for your feet. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Conversation at Eighteen

She wanted her tubes tied at eighteen
she knew then she wasn’t meant to be a mother

didn’t have the generosity required
to attend to the needs of another

too many unwanted kids anyway.
“Why contribute to the nightmare?”

At that moment I saw her point of view
coated in the precognitive knowing

of what her future would bring
realizing her years of wasted living

came from being an unwanted child
one who was allowed to be born anyway

living under the burden of inconvenience
an unwanted birth better to have been terminated.

Juxtaposed against my view: if life is given it is 
suppose to be lived regardless of the circumstances,

reasoning extended to handicapped children
and the aged, if they are still breathing there is work to do.

Purpose has not been fulfilled until you breathe
your last, an opportunity at every moment to make

life worthwhile. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Wary Widow

What she missed most after he died
was her good dancing partner

they learned to dance together
when they were teens, got married

took advanced classes and went out every
weekend to local clubs and dance halls.

Dancing became their favorite pastime
their steps so synchronized and familiar

after several years he got sick, but could still
hold her in his arms and take a spin

across the floor and as much as she loved
him she loved dancing even more

and now that he is gone when she hears
music from their favorite bands she looks

for him, but he’s not there,
and even if a friend offers to dance

it is not the same, the rhythms are all wrong
she sits on the sidelines rather than be

disappointed once again. She has settled
for companionship, occasional dates

to the theater, dinners out and social gatherings
someday to travel across the sea,

but what she misses most of all
is her trusted partner on the floor,

his strong arms to guide her to the music
in perfect step and synchronicity.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Live Everyday

If today is your last day on earth
how would you live it?

First I would let the ones I love
know I love them, then ask

forgiveness for my missteps
or selfish actions that caused harm

when the slate is cleared
I’ll look for things I still want to do.

Part of me will want to fix
those flaws that get in the way

of happiness, another solution
to toss them out and begin again.

Travel to those places I want to see
dwell in the wonder of life around me

grateful to live another day
to learn, to work, to love, to play. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Spirit in the House

There is a spirit that dwells in my house
invisible, but always felt by the one
who is most vulnerable, it seems to offer
comfort but it is a jealous spirit

and before the victim knows what happened
they’ve lost the will to venture out
content to stay in the warm embrace
of this unholy creature, who substitutes

safety against the challenges of life
holing up in the quiet of four walls.
I suspected it when we first moved in,
the previous owners, she was a fabric designer,

he a psychiatrist, with a good name but
got caught by this spirit and then stopped
going to work, couldn’t do his job
preferred isolation of his own accord.

Stayed hidden away until his wife forced
them to move but the spirit stayed behind,
it caught my oldest son for a time,
he hunkered in, refused to do what he needed

until he was forced out, and once the hold
was broken he was doing what he should.
My niece stayed for awhile, she felt the pull
and broke it early, she recognized the spirit

from one that trapped her mother, didn’t
want anything to do with it, so she was
out of the house and on her way before
she was truly ready but a wise move

on her part. I was always busy until I retired
then the spirit grabbed me for awhile,
I didn’t mind, I was tired and could use the rest
then my sister, moved in and it grabbed her instead.

The time has come to force her out,
not because we don’t want what’s best for her
but because she must break through
to her better self, away from the spirit

that dwells in the house, who holds on tight
and doesn't want to let her go.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fixing Popcorn in the Oven

Woke up from a dream,
in a city far away,
I wanted a treat for the kids
and you suggested a little oil

and a cup of kernel corns
to fix some popcorn
in the oven, and in that twilight

of dream it made perfect sense
and so we pulled out two baking dishes
poured enough oil to cover the bottom

then sprinkled in the popcorn setting
the temperature to 400 degrees
and waited 
for the first pop 

but one of the kids started crying
baby brother had fallen behind
the couch, the middle child squealing

to come get him while the older one,
eyes wide open, tried to rescue him,
you were nowhere in sight.

I hurried over and with one quick
swoop had the baby in my arms
a few dust bunnies around his mouth

startled but unhurt, then the smell of
popcorn wafted into the room,
we hurried out to the kitchen

where popped kernels were banging
against the door, I put the baby down
pulled out bowls to catch the treats

before they hit the floor, turned off the heat
but popcorn was everywhere.
The baby started giggling 

his two sisters helped
me gather the white bursts of corn
pulling it from the oven before it burned

and you were standing by the door
video taping the commotion
laughing ‘till you couldn’t stand anymore

and when everything had settled
we ate our treat while we watched
the movie of how our peaceful home
was turned upside down. 

I think I've combined both my sons' lives 
into a funny dream. What could it mean?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Do You Hear The Muse?

Every person has a purpose,
gifts from heaven to guide
their journey on earth

and with these blessings
the plan to manifest
god’s design interpreted

through our hands and minds.
This is where faith expresses
itself, trusting the inner voice
never doubting the inclinations

to greatness, stepping out into
the chasm of doubt, and walking
across to god's expectation

whispered by the angels sent
to inspire and inform
our actions but how can we be sure

it is good and not evil that seeps
through our brain? How do we know
it is not temptation driving us insane?

I believe the challenges are set before us
because any prize won is hardly appreciated
if it comes too easy, so the struggles

are all part of the test, to trust in god
take the necessary steps to perform
the task ahead, using prayer and meditation

to bring clarity and strength to the journey
ahead, and when the job is done praise
to the glory of god above, that his will

on earth be done for everyone.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Liar, Liar, Liar

There are those who lie ineffectively,
a flicker of their eyelash is the “tell”.
A listener can see right through them

never believing a word they say
but if they’re fun, keep them around.

Others lie through exaggeration,
the story told so impossible, it is hard
to accept as the truth, but as yarn
spinners they can’t be beat, so listen

with a grain of salt, never quoting
them word for word, but retelling the tale
subdued, focusing on the part that’s true. 

The con is a more experienced liar
controlling all aspects of the account
to seduce, entrap and cheat a participant

who is often too embarrassed to reveal
the depths they were duped then stripped
of their wealth and dignity. Often victims lie
to keep the secret of how badly they were taken. 

The most dangerous liars are the ones who lie
to themselves, never facing the truth of their situation,

floating along in life, some may call it an
undying faith, others call it stupidity, but all the same
actions to save themselves are never extended

for their own survival, because in their mind
everything is going to turn out fine
depending on others to take the necessary steps

and then complaining when it is not quite
up to their self centered standards. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trophy of War

A tree grows in the forest
holding a trophy from a young boy
who was called off to war.

He chained his bike around the tree
expecting to return home
after two years maybe three.

Several seasons  left it unclaimed
it became a silent 
witness to the boy’s life
of carefree childhood, and there it stood
day after day, while the tree grew taller.

After several years the bicycle and tree
became one, locked in life, the memory of a boy
called off to war and never came home.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Young Women

If you were a young woman in the forties
after World War II, you were more
beautiful than many who came before you.
Your men had been fighting over seas
Hollywood was in the neighborhood
glamour was splashed across the screen

and extra cash was available for red lipstick
tailored clothes, sultry hats, and hairdos.
The men hurried home, to find
beautiful women waiting for them
helping them to forget the horrors of war
while they went about the business

of bringing life back to normal,
getting married, having babies,
buying homes, and finding jobs
to employ them until retired. 

Contrast the innocence of those times
to a young woman of today,
still beautiful, more options available 

but lacking the refined dignity
posting half naked pictures on FB
pumping for another drink
well beyond their thirties.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Day

His first inaguartion was memorable 
never thought I would see it
in my lifetime, his second, still
history making, not every president
gets a second term
and on this Martin Luther Day

Obama is sworn in.
His popularity among the young
gives him the support he needs
to take the bull by the horns
and wrestle it to the ground,
becoming the rodeo champion

and not the funny clown.
After four years of conflict,
and frustration with his leadership
he has developed his team to take
on his opposition and push through
his agenda, healthcare, gun control

immigration, and a plan to get  
out of the slump to a robust economy.
All eyes upon him on this special day
prayers sent to lift him up to become
the leader we need him to be.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Noise in the Night

Two nights ago, I heard
someone rattle the front door
wondering who might be coming home
both my sons and my niece have a key

it was after midnight,
none of them in town, the dog
came out to check the door
but no one was standing there.

Last night I heard a thump,
startled me from a deep sleep,
got up to look around
almost tripped on an easel

that had fallen to the floor
with a painting of a lobster
from an outdoor restaurant
along the coast of Maine.

Once again the dog came over
with all the commotion
but nothing to be worried about
so we both went back to bed.

All three kids are in a crisis,
life changes of great magnitude,
one has moved across country
the other adopted three children

and the third one, the girl, 
broke up with her boyfriend
of two years. Each one is making
significant life choices right now.

Maybe their souls are wandering
in the dream world, wanting to come
back to a safer place where they don’t
have to be an adult, or maybe it is

my baby sister, who moved in and stayed
too long. Now my husband and I are plotting
our escape, looking for our own safe place

where we don’t have to be the adult
maybe we'll find someone who will be there 
to take care of us for a little while.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

She Wore a Parachute


Most people think of sky diving
when wearing a parachute,

a silk cloth that mushrooms out
capturing air, allowing the wearer

to float safely to the ground. 

He lived through World War II
and like many who returned, his
pack was stuffed with souvenirs. 

Some chose guns,
helmets, knives, something to 
remember their time in the war.

My dad took a silk parachute
thinking it would make a 
gift for someone back home.

It took him a year to find 
the woman he loved,
one he remembered when 
he was young.

He was thrilled when she 
accepted his proposal 
then showed her a surprise,

yards and yards of white silk 
“Use this to make 
your wedding dress.”

She smiled and complied. 
Took a little while, removing
cords, then cutting a pattern
to make a gown.

Ordered lilies from Hawaii, 
wore perfume he brought
from France, 

the whole town was invited
to celebrate
each taking turns to dance

getting a chance to touch
the silk of her wedding dress
feelling like they were floating

through the skies
for all who survived.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Change in the Neighborhoods

I drove down the street the other day
just south from Disneyland.
The signs on the markets were

sanskrit, when did it transform?
Reminded me of another time
I had a doctor’s appointment

in a place where my best friend
from high school moved after she
married, but now it looks like little India

faces peer out from the stores
women adorned in sari’s and veils,
foreigners who now call this city home

In my own neighborhood,
once inhabited by professionals,
then one by one the houses sold

a new group moved in, now claims
to be the majority, and on their holidays
their flags fly beside the red, white, and blue.

As populations shift, people
from different countries with different
ideologies, congregate in tight

groups in neighborhoods once filled
with people who looked more like me.
I’ve become the stranger in my own land.

In American history, land was stolen from
the Native Americans by the Spaniards
then by people coming west in wagon trains.

Land ownership is vulnerable
when new waves of immigrants arrive
however friendly their faces may seem

how deep into our systems will their leaders
submerge, will the choices they make
benefit every citizen or will they skew

the results to promote their own agenda?
Sometimes a chill runs down my back
realizing change is the only constant

will we learn to live together in peace?

Is it really a small world after all?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

After Her Husband Died

I met her when she was ninety
a wrinkled mass of energy
still going strong thirty years
after her husband died.

She met a beau shortly after his death
never expecting to fall in love again
he was on her team at the bowling alley
lived together five years before he passed.

Within a month she met another
this one from church, who sought to comfort her
moved into her house where they lived
for ten years or was it twelve?

Before he was gone a fellow from high school
contacted her, professed his love after all these years
said to give him a call when the old guy passed
which happened soon after they talked.

He is the fourth man now to share her bed
they’ve been together for over a decade
but now he is sick, doesn’t know how long
he’ll last, never expected to live to be so old. 

Her kids appreciate she never remarried
keeping their father’s estate intact
glad she found companionship in her old age
maybe after this one she’ll find another. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conversation between a Chef and Engineer

“I will be serving the quintessential French stew,
boeuf bourguinon - beef cooked in a burgundy
red wine. I have taken a flatiron steak

and braise it until tender keeping it moist
with wine instead of water, adding vegetables
and garnished with a sprig of parsley.

The aroma from this food cooking
on the stove will have you ravenous
by mealtime and the meat will melt
in your mouth as you savor the taste.”

“I would rather have a good cut of meat
grilled without sauce, placed on a plate
with a baked potato and whole kernel corn

arranged so none of the foods touch each other
but each easy to identify and readily available
when I eat my meal.”

 “Perhaps you would prefer a cumin
scented casserole with an irresistible
cheesy-crisp topping.

I will cook the onions and bell pepper
in olive oil adding ground beef,
cumin, tomatoes, and macaroni topped
with a sharp cheddar cheese.”

“I prefer seeing each food I’m eating
I don’t like my meal to look like it
has already been chewed.

If you want to use ground beef
make it a simple hamburger,
no spices other than salt and pepper

a slice of tomato and onion
with a leaf of lettuce all placed
on a bun, I will add mustard

or ketchup to my taste.
The meat should be cooked medium
to well done or I will return it.”

“Your tastes are quite bland
I have no patience for your rules
where is the creativity and expression

to stimulate your palate and expand
your mind? I find your tastes repulsive,
boring and lacking imagination.”

“In my defense, I’m easy to feed
predictable and constant, you can
count on me to get the job done,

I will be where you want me
on time and ready to work,
but I need my food to be simple
and conventional, no spices or flavors
to upset my system, I want to see
what I’m eating, no surprises for me.”

The chef gained fame as a remarkable
cook, employed at the finest restaurant

while the engineer built bridges
and buildings throughout the city.

The two never crossed paths again. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Winning the Prize

Women adorn themselves 
in the latest fashion, clothing
identified by designers, even
in cold weather they appear
sleeveless with shoulders bare
catching the attention of the cameras
vying for the best dressed
but any attention is better
than none.They pose for the most
flattering angle, letting their smile do the rest
standing beside men, who in contrast,
are dressed the same, each hoping
to be the one chosen for the prize
for a few hours of work, pretending
to live another person's life
swept up in the fa├žade of Hollywood
a place where people sell their souls
to be the darling of the hour for a trophy

and accolades from their peers.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Unwritten Manuscript

It swirls about in my brain 
keeps me up at night 

begging to be expressed 
a turn of a phrase like a jewel 

in a treasure chest 
or a golden thread woven
through the tapestry 

but when I sit before 
the typewriter, the words
avoid my fingertips 
sometimes it is better 

to start in the middle then go forward
and backward to reveal the whole tale
but when the lights are out 

and I start to dream the words flow
like a gushing stream 
until I get up to put it on paper

then my mind goes blank
and I must begin again. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Death of the Daily Newspaper

All innovations have a season 
the town crier became obsolete 
when the printing press was invented
allowing news to get out quicker.

As distribution improved 
and the machines became automatic 
owners built empires keeping the public

informed using advertisements
to pay for the papers delivered
to the front steps of individual homes.

Then little by little, the costs 
overwhelmed the smaller companies,
who could no longer compete with 
the big boys, than all of it went away. 

An invisible intruder entered
the airways, available to hand
held devices allowing people 
to be connected worldwide
often times getting access 
to events as they occurred. 

Word of mouth and social networks
dispersed the news at herculean speed
leaving the newspapers scouring 
the internet for leads. Then one
by one the publishing houses closed,

creating websites to handle digital

code, and then, like the town crier,

the newspapers eventually folded.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gumball Prize

Ever since I was small 
I loved the gumball machines
they stood like little soldiers 
along the walls of small business stores, 
restaurants, and in the mall.

Sometimes they held M&Ms, 
sour tarts, or small toys. They used 
to cost a penny, then a nickel and a quarter
but didn’t matter what they were, my dad

always dug deep
into his pocket to come up
with the correct change 
so I could take a turn
and get my special treat. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Catching a Cold

My oldest son, at five years old,
ran around the house

in his underwear, his feet were bare
he was holding a little string 

twirling it in the air
then opened the door and ran 
outside, I shouted, 

“Where do
you think you’re going?” 
He answered back as clear as he could,
“I’m going out to catch a cold!”

Before I could say anything 
his younger brother followed him.

I caught up with the two while they
stood in the yard shivering 

laughing at my distress they turned
and went inside, locking the door behind them.

I didn’t get angry, I was much quicker then,
I ran around to the sliding door 
came up with a might roar

we fell to the ground 
with giggles and squeals

letting the cold slip away
never catching it at all that winter day. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tattered Pictures

Torn photos scattered on the floor
pieces of lives lived before.

Did the rodents come in
for bits of paper 

to insulate their nests?

Grandpa’s face looking out from across
the room, his felt hat slightly askew
his eyes somber, mouth sad.

What stories did he have to tell?
There is my mother with hair freshly coiffed,
lips painted dark red and her first born
held securely in her arms, standing

next to an oak tree smiling at the photographer
who must have fallen in love with her
like the camera did so many years ago. 

Little pieces of this and that, the side of a building,
eyes of a cat, years of history now nothing
but pieces of confetti, tossed it in the sky, 

time to move on and say good bye.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Message in the Cards

Some use prayer to get messages
from on high, others seek out

a medium to disclose directions
and uncover the path of destiny.

The method chosen depends
on beliefs, some go directly to

the one in charge while others
ask for someone to intercede

on their behalf, grease the palm
of one closest to the father.

To the unbeliever either method
is in vain, seeking something

that doesn’t exist, designed to give
responsibility for choice to something

outside themselves, therefore
denying responsibility and leaving life

to chance, or sets of circumstance
from which they have no control.

Easier to think a message can be
delivered through the cards

or whispered from the mouth of god
then to feel alone out in the world.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reflections on the Hobbit

Met a Hobbit who was much smaller than the rest,
prone to harmony and order
victim of barbarians and rabble rousers,
who handled disagreements with clubs,
while he prefered to go about his garden
harvesting bounties from the earth
with the courage to do whatever was required
to protect his home, to the death if necessary.  

Later watched a history channel recount
of the rise and fall of Rome,
peasants were always the ones who suffered
with the chaos of war and other
power struggles. Roads and waterways were
the first to go, then education for a whole generation
people reverted back to superstition and magic
trying to make sense of an ever violent world.

Great journeys are undertaken by great thinkers
breaking the borders of their lives by infusing
extraordinary experiences into the everyday,
expanding understanding of the world
through new medicines, merchandise, and methods
building societies through social rules and architecture. 

Must make a plan to take an unexpected journey

to revise the limits of current thinking
and to venture into unknown territory.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Motorcycle Mama

Sat on top of the motorcycle
too heavy for my strength
but was told that once I got going
I should have no trouble
keeping it on the road.

Simple directions, use hands
instead of feet, one for the
accelerator and the other
for the brakes.

Took off too fast then
braked too hard after
almost losing control
when I took the first turn.

Decided right away
to be a passenger
from now on, leave
the driving for someone else
more capable than I.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dimes, Diamonds and Dollars

Three dreams in three days.
In the first, I won 30,000 dimes
from a slot machine
the next night a stranger gave me
a diamond bracelet that
sparkled in the moonlight.

Finally I walked down a dirt path
and uncovered 
fifty old silver 
dollar coins, worth more than face
value  because of their markings.

In real time no checks have come
to the mail box, no notices about
relatives and wills, no secret admirers,
no lottery wins, no unexpected windfalls, 
so what do these dreams mean? 

Are they just a method to wile
away the hours of sleep, 
don’t think too deep
dimes, diamonds and dollars,
dimes, diamonds and dollars,
dimes, diamonds and dollars
what do they really mean?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Return to Sandy Hook

Everyone was hopeful,
volunteers had spent hours
getting the new space to look
familiar, desks brought in,  

bulletin boards and cubbies arranged
to look like the classrooms before
that day when innocence was lost.  

“…and all the king's horses and all

the king's men couldn't put 
it back together again.”

Prayers for the community as they
struggle to bring peace out of tragedy. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who Is Sleeping In My Bed?

After years of marriage
it was bound to happen
someone took my place in bed.
Brought in as a trusted friend
then little by little intruded
on the sanctity of my spot
beside my husband.  

I should have become suspicious 
but it never occurred
and I was taken by surprise
when I walked in and heard
their synchronized breathing
and there he was, the family dog,
asleep on my side of the bed.