Friday, May 31, 2013

Cicadas


In the underground
quiet and unobtrusive
living in the dark
mostly ignored

but the love fest
is about to 
commence

time to drop away
the outer shells
pull out those 
iridescent wings

emerge into the sunlight
to find love along 
the tree tops

producing a cacophony 
of song
looking for a mate, 

maybe two or three
spreading seeds for another
generation of cicadas

to hide for seventeen years
then rise again for the best
party above ground.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Dream About A Snow Leopard


In the dream she is only a cub,
black spots on white fur
aquamarine blue eyes.

I reach out to touch her
but she bites me on the cheek,
not enough to break the skin

enough to warn me not to trust her,
even in play she is a predator
not to be mistaken for a pet. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pick Me First


There I was in the back of the classroom
waving my hand up in the air shouting,

“Pick me first!” and when she did
my mind went blank uttering not a word,
turning a bright red, wishing she ignored
me like she had a hundred times before.

Then there was the time my ticket was placed
in a big wire drum, turning round and round
the young woman, who had the keys
to the city, reached in to draw out
the winner, I closed my eyes and prayed,

“Pick me first!” and when she called out
the winning number they all matched mine
I cheered and ran up to claim the prize

but I had four not all five so didn’t win after all.

More recently I attended the Price is Right
with a friend. We waited until the game began
My name was the first one called out

my friend whooped and shouted out loud
I stood in front with all the cameras
guessing price after price, always wrong.

Getting picked first doesn't 
mean anything after all.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Blue Eyed Girl


Does the reflection 
of the sky give her insight 
to the coming storms? 

Sometimes they sparkle 
with sincerity and yet 
are ice cold and disapproving

those pools of sincerity 

look inviting but too soon they're
cold shards of winter glass

cutting right through 
any attention
that is misconstrued. 

Is the world different 
when viewed
through eyes of blue?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Shy Turtle


She pulls her head back 
tries to hunch into her shell
to avoid prying eyes,

hiding from those who peer
into her private affairs
to cast judgement on her. 

If only her secrets
could be kept inside
never to be discovered

by the curious or cruel.

She would be happy
going about her life 


slowly and methodically
and live for 100 years.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shakespeare’s Play for Today


The play was set in the fifties
with pony tails, poodle skirts, 
oxford shoes and bobby socks. 

The girls were as cute as could be
the boys slightly awkward in tight jeans

the lines were not modernized; words
and rhymes from long ago, making
the phrasing clumsy and the meaning

difficult but that didn’t stop 

the teens from memorizing
their lines and entertaining

the audience anyway. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

From Photo to Painting

      Blizzard in Cape Cod


    Photo taken by Aaron of blizzard of 2013 in Cape Cod 



     First layer to block in shapes



    Second layer to accentuate shadows



    Finished painting with final detail and highlights


Friday, May 24, 2013

Fairy Garden




Susan built a fairy garden
under the branches of the dogwood tree
a little surprise for the exploring eyes
a delicate playground 
for little fairies

to explore after the sun goes down.
A tiny  bridge crossing a stream,
two small chairs near the succulents,
the space surrounded by an iron fence

with a decorative arch and ornate gate
so little fairies can enter precariously
along a stone path leading to a pond
where glass catches the moonlight

offering hours of play 

for creative minds.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Gift of Giving



The morning started like any other day
coffee was brewing by the time I got up
sun peeking through the leaded glass

casting rainbows on the wall.
Got half way through the morning paper
when the phone rang, it was my sister,
one I hadn’t heard from for several years.

She started off politely but I already knew
she wanted something, otherwise,
why would she call? I waited for her
to make her request. She conducted herself

in a business-like manner, stating all the things
she had in place and how circumstances
have gotten beyond her control
and could I help her with some cash?

Like an observer on the sideline I looked
at the clock impressed that she didn’t waste
lots of time, her request made within the first

five minutes, she must have others on her list
she wanted to call, like going to a bank
no promise of a relationship, a business deal

pulling on family strings, thinking it means
something. I could have asked her why she
needed it and what her plans were for repayment

but I reminded her she never repaid what she borrowed
before, just disappeared. It would seem foolish to extend
a loan when I know the outcome from past experience.

She apologized for her behavior, stated it was pride
that prevented her from staying in communication
she was a victim of her circumstances and understood

if I didn’t find it in my heart to help her. We hung up after
awhile, but of course I stewed knowing my abundance
comes from my ability to give, and even though I know better

I’ll redirect the money I was sending to the victims
of the tornado and sent it to her instead. Not a loan,
but a gift with no tax deductible advantage.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Phone Message



Bill picked up the phone message,
just as I was falling asleep, he listened to it
twice. What I thought I heard it say,

“This is Sally, brother Chuck is dead
There will be no ceremony.
Call me when you get the message.”

I didn’t feel a panic but a quiet relief
he was suffering and in pain, wouldn’t let
anyone get close. Chose to live in isolation
died alone and didn’t want to be remembered. 

When Bill came into the room,
I asked about the message
he said it was from the insurance and there
was a billing error, he would have to
call in the morning to handle the problem. 

So what did I hear?

Was it a premonition of a call yet to come?

Should I call my brother 

and try to connect
before he’s gone? 

Does my sister need help? 

Needless to say my sleep was ruined
too late to call, so I worried all night instead. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Snap Shot of a Tornado



View a perfect suburban neighborhood
with well kept streets and manicured lawns,
Home Depot, Wall Mart and Costco, 

strategically placed in malls throughout town,

an elementary school with brightly colored
equipment, not too far from a middle school,

surrounding a high school with athletic fields.

The quiet before the storm t
hen 
thunder and lightning followed by that awful 
sound of high winds barreling through town 
like a drunken monster tossing everything 
in its path with no regard for anything, 

leaving a trail of broken homes, 
terror on the faces of survivors
as they scramble to locate loved ones
crushed under the debris. 


The quiet of their perfect lives 
dismantled in minutes, losses of all kinds, 
important files, photographs, antiques 
now scattered across the mid west plains.

Prayers for those who suffer now. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

She Always Wanted to be a Cowgirl



She was five when she got her first 
hat, it was made of straw 
and folded just so

touched her first horse 

on that same day
knew right then she wanted to stay

out along the trails sitting atop
her faithful stead herding cattle
to and from the open fields


lounging on the backdoor stoop
sharing stories with the hired hands
laughing ‘till the sun went down.

Singing songs ‘round the campfire
using her voice to belt a tune
‘bout coyotes howling at the moon.

She always wanted to be a cowgirl
and live out on the open range
where daily chores kept her 
hands busy 

and men were strong and knew
how to make a girl happy
under 
skies scattered with starlight. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Two Death Notices


In one day I received two death notices
one of a classmate who died after a gallant struggle
against disease and the other from a classmate
whose father died in his sleep after ninety- three years.

Two different deaths, two different amounts
of time on earth, I could be sad but the truth
is both had time on earth to live out their dreams. 

The old man lived his in the quiet of family
long enough to marry, have a career, see
his children graduate and marry. Had time
to play with his grandchildren yet, long enough
to bury his wife and eldest daughter.
Overall he lived a satisfactory life.

She, on the other hand, lived life alone,
other than good works for animal shelters
she never married, a hand full of friends,
a house full of cats and life 

was over just like that.

Will I live as long as the father? If so what
are my plans for the next thirty years. The
thirty years between 20 and 50 were my most
productive, finished school, got married,
had two children, helped raise another,
watched them graduate, bought two houses, 
began a career and traveled to faraway places.

It seems the next thirty, from 65-95, can be
more difficult, dealing with health issues,
and losses, The thing I worry most about
is becoming bored because I am already 
loosing interest in things I’ve done before. 

I don’t want involvement in a serious disease 
to become my answer for something to do. 
I would prefer to figure out how to reinvent myself

get excited about living again and doing
things I've thought were completely 
out of my range of possible. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Life Changes





At some point he wanted a tattoo
when is unclear but once he knew


what he wanted
it was inevitable.


I thought he would back out
but he made an appointment


and now I watch as his personality
changes as he becomes someone 


who sports a bright bold tattoo.
I knew he would 
like it 

and now he wants to work out
so his muscles support the art work

he wants to be a strong man 

with a fantastic tattoo. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scrabble




Never had time for television or games
the challenges of working full time and raising
a family kept me hopping from one activity
to another. I can remember when events
were so tightly scheduled putting one foot

if front of the other was the only way to get
through the day successfully. Couldn’t worry
had to keep moving, falling exhausted
into bed, only to start again early next morning.

Today there is time for TV. Watch several programs
and live vicariously in their more adventurous lives
content to solve their problems before the hour is up.

Learned some card and word games,
throw some dice, keep a score, refine the rules
and discover I get better over time.

Chose the letter "x", an eight point letter, arranged
it going down, spelling the word, lox, for a total of ten
times two. My opponent was impressed went on to
connect two words to spell slots going across using the “o”
from lox and the final “s” from spice two spaces over.

There are people fighting war overseas,
making global decisions at the White House,
discovering cures for disease and getting famous

doing all sorts of things, but I am satisfied scoring
forty-five points, spelling quite, for a triple word score
winning the game ready to play again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Double Mastectomy




She had both her breasts removed
didn’t want to take a chance of infection
wanted the freedom to live her life without
the fear of cancer and after careful consideration
took a bold action and chose an operation
some would consider extreme.

In her explanation she said, “My body
is predisposed to this disease, I could live
my life under the threat or eliminate it before
it takes hold.” Some consider the action brave
others find it somewhat depraved to mutilate
a body but after plastic surgery and tattoos

this is a logical next step. More practical
lacking vanity or artistic expression
but a life enhancing operation adding years
free from worry of a growth that would involve  
suffering more than is necessary. 

Will this become the new normal?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ice Tsunami




Shards of ice blown by the wind
move through the water like a large wave.
Sounds of breaking glass are disconcerting
as it cuts through the wood framed houses
crushing into the living rooms.

Residents along the shore have never seen
anything like it, but with climate change
they'll become like the dinosaurs of long ago,
unable to survive the coming end.

Their bones will be found 

by future generations 
their frozen artifacts 
clues to their habits and lifestyles.



Monday, May 13, 2013

Generations of Mothers

It is interesting to trace 
generations of mothers 

my father was his mother’s favorite
my mother orphaned when she was young
attempted to become a super mom
wanting what her mother-in-law created


a house full of children but sometimes
she became overwhelmed didn’t know 
how to create order from chaos 
didn’t have that magic touch to let
every child know they were loved. 

\

I restricted my family to two plus one
they got along most of the time
found that large extended family
through my work but in the end
it was my children who gave me 
the greatest happiness
















and the grandchildren they brought
through the women they married,
strangers in every way 
except, they are the mothers
of my grandchildren and as a result
sacred in a special way.

Friday, May 10, 2013

No Soundtrack for my Life




Most movies in theaters and on T.V.
are enhanced with a soundtrack
or theme song to capture the essence
of the story unfolding on the big screen.

I wonder what the soundtrack 
would be 
to my average life. A long drone from machines,
a staccato pattern from a computer keyboard,
or just the cacophony of street noise?

No real theme but the daily comings
and goings of ordinary. No real seasons
in the landscape, haven’t spent
time exploring like I used to,
fell in love long ago being 

content has a melody doesn't it?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Things Go Bump in the Night



It started when she was laid off from work
figured it was because she was home for 

longer hours that she never noticed it  but now
she hears things go bump in the night.

Sometimes they stomp on the ceiling like workman
in heavy boots, other times she hears chewing
like sharp teeth cutting through electrical wiring.
She contacted pest control but nothing was there,

called the police and the apartment manager
because of her age they decided 

she was losing her grip but no one 
seems to be able to explain

the footprints in the flower bed or the fact that no
pests have been found. She couldn't sleep in her house
so moved out to get away from whatever 
was crawling

in her rafters. She moved in with her sister's but problems 

continued. Found scratches along the window seals,
hand prints on security lock, food missing from pantry,
plus a whole box of antique knick-knacks gone.

Some say she is crazy but her sister witnessed
the same things. The two think they are being haunted
by other worldly creatures or that relatives are driving them nuts
in order to get the inheritance but everything is too real.

No one helps exorcise the demons or bring peace
to their lives so the two old ladies 
are declared unfit 
to care for themselves and relatives 
come in to pick through their things

and those creatures who went bump 
in the night have finally disappeared.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Oldest Brother



My oldest brother caught the imagination 
of his younger siblings he ventured into the world first, 
well liked and intelligent, elders hung their dreams 
on him, a good boy with a strong faith, the priest

chose him as one of their own, taking him away 
from home, educating him in the ways of the lord 
but couldn’t keep their hands off him.

He had to get away but the war in Vietnam was raging
got drafted within the first year. Sent off to fight 

the 'cong in the jungles. Found a life of debauchery, 

filled with sex and drugs, facing death was easier 
with a drug induced numbness, sent home broken 
and addicted, still seeking the adrenaline high

through Hollywood fame, acting classes, 

black and white photos, comedy routines 
at open mikes, night clubs and all the drugs 
with almost pretty girls who wanted him 
but couldn’t tie him down.

They moved away when he started 

to arm with guns seeking to protect 
himself from strangers who would take his life.
Some of them real, others imaginary, 

couldn’t live around the familiar 
preferred the dark streets of L.A. 
where other lost souls wandered

and yet in the minds of his family he was still a hero,
misunderstood and abused by a system 

he was sworn to protect, 

no matter the evidence, 
still an innocent boy from long ago
intelligent, funny and spiritual. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

He Was Riding on a Pig





I saw him bouncing up and down
when my eyes focused I could see
he was straddled on a pig

holding on to the reins 
racing past the grand stand 
laughing and squealing with delight. 

The pig was a large white
sow with pink ears,
a pink snout, and a little curly tail
.

They hurried up the hill
and down again leaving nothing 
but a blur and air filled
with laughter.

I walked out to him
when the ride was done
he was covered in mud
and flashed a large tooth-grin. 

I asked him what he was doing,
and he shouted, 
“Can’t you see -
I’m riding a pig
and it is lots of fun.”

I woke up, it was only a dream...

what could it possibly mean?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Artist Needs Benefactor



Inspiration can explode on canvas
or paper expressing the inner workings
of a prolific artists but without a benefactor,

someone to finance the genius, many good works
get lost in the artist’s loft, dwelling in obscurity
unless someone comes in to intercede

offering financial support and market venue
for the scribbling on a page or splashes of paint
on a canvas and once the benefactor is secured

and the world becomes familiar with the artist’s work
she will require a muse to keep the juices flowing
fame alone is not sufficient to keep an artist inspired.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

“Hey Batta, Batta!”




“Hey batta, batta!”
Taunting chants from the outfield
anything to break concentration
and get the batter to swing at the air.

“Strike three!” The umpire shouts
the crowds break into a loud cheer
the Eagles win the game, 7-3,
time for pizza and root beer

head to the local Lamp Post Pizza Inn.
Several boys in uniform from both teams
learn to play the game for competition
and camaraderie. They learn 
it is

more important to play the game
rather than win or lose, but somewhere
the message gets lost and winning 
becomes important at all cost.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Margarine or Butter?



His wife wanted butter 
she felt it was more natural than other fats
tastier than lard, and better than margarine.

He, on the other hand, was raised on
the synthetic brand, neatly wrapped
and advertised to be as good as the real thing.

When it came to toast and corn on the cob
he wanted the artificial taste of vegetable oil
that could be stored at room temperature
yet molded and dyed to look like butter.

The battle in the kitchen extended
to the children who sided with the mom
sometimes, then sided with their father.

In their minds both were interchangeable,
because 
in a taste test they couldn’t 
distinguish margarine from butter. 

So the battle raged on while cookies
disappeared from the cookie jar

and mashed potatoes were made
with whatever was handy.

Now the real question to discuss,
is olive oil better than both of them?

When mother used olive oil 
to make muffins
the answer quickly followed,  "Yuck!"

Friday, May 3, 2013

Playing Jacks




Ten steel stars and a rubber ball
carried ‘round wherever I went.
When things got dull I pulled out my bag
to play a game of Jacks.
Everyone did it young and old.

My mother was a fantastic player
moved so fast and smooth
went from ones to "tensies”
in no time flat
never missed a bounce.

I was the second best, took me
a couple of tries to get to "sixies”
from fives. A great math game
seeing combinations for ten
then sweeping up the right amount

without touching those left behind.
A simple game for simpler times
had to be nice to find others to play.
The owner of the jacks could set the rules
and then everyone took turns. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Personalities of Flowers



Sunflowers are artists, loud and bold
making statements for all to see
not a fragile beauty by any means
shouting out, “Look at me!”

Roses are poets
in all their intricacies,
revealing secrets 
with such delicacy.

Irises are the clerics in the field
they like pomp and ceremony 
with colors of a rainbow 
praising god in all his glory.

Pansies are wives
domesticated to grow in flower beds
bringing pleasure and stability to a home
bred from weed to desired garden variety.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Journal




Blank pages waiting for my ink
to record my doings, 
or inscribe my thoughts
draw a picture or two to express my moods;

a mulching ground for later stories
or country western songs,
a breeding place for new ideas
where plans are made but not forgotten.

I leave scraps of poems and perfect phrases
scattered through the pages
filed away to be found years later
at an estate sale,

purchased by a total stranger
who takes my words to heart
and makes a life I couldn’t start

inspired by dreams I didn’t fulfill
because I was too afraid to take the leap
she took flight from my journal.