Sunday, June 30, 2013

Convoluted Dreams

I saw him bare-chested
and shaved displayed upon a stage

there were, "oohs" and "ahhs,"
about his physique and his light blue eyes

various women offered him a prize.
I woke and spoke to him lying beside me

he was dreaming of dead people,
his sister and brother in rotting flesh

waiting for him 
to cross over.  

We decided we liked 
my dream better. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Let Happiness In

She was recently widowed
spent years caring for him
with his onset of Alzheimer’s
he got mean towards the end
she was relieved when he finally died

only to discover he squandered
their wealth, bad investments
and too much gambling
meant she would have to continue
working to make ends meet.

Then like an angel from heaven 
came a man who had been a friend
he offered love but she rebuffed him
he was a kind soul but too old.

After talking with friends she decided
to let happiness in. She didn’t have to marry him
or fall in love, she could go out to dinner and theater,
take trips, introduce him to her friends.

She’s having more fun than when
she was a teen and all because

she let happiness in. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wash Day

Sheets flap
in the breeze

while the sun
shines throughout the day

arms on men’s shirts
reach out for women's blouses

next are rows of diapers,
socks hung in pairs,

little kids clothes
different sizes

all kicking and shaking
without any music

hung out for 

line dancing

until they are dry.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Too Many Cooks for the Kitchen

All the aunties crowded 
into the modern kitchen,

a step saving design
with everything in reach 

efficient for wives like Donna Reed

but the aunties’ hips were too wide
so they bumped against each other

when they stooped to take out the pots
and pans, or carried things from the fridge
to prepare their meals with pasta, sauce, 

and deserts like tiramisu.

In time they tore down the walls
expanded the area to combine
the rooms providing ample space

for lots of cooks to prepare
their meals in a new kitchen

filled with laughter 
and conversation.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Magic Bowl

He trusts in his world
has the power of faith

he never has to pray
when he is hungry his bowl is full.

In the reality of his life
he doesn’t  want
his needs are filled without request
and that’s how he likes it best. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mother Nature

The rustle of the leaves
dew droplets on the grass

all signs that I am present

the waves crashing to the shore
chattering of the birds in the trees
displaying the complex nature of my work

intricate patterns and colors

all for your pleasure if you take the time
to look and wander out to the open spaces

where my handiwork is exhibited
alongside phenomena that may seem

like mistakes, the tumbleweeds
and disease, violent storms

and earthquakes, but all are part
of my design to challenge and excite
you to encourage your participation

worthy of your best efforts
as you try to harness or explain,

withstand or exploit. This partnership
between the two of us is a relationship

built on love and in that balance

we complement each other and 
the invisible becomes manifest. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Looking Toward the Future

Look at the bundle of energy
arranged in order of age
ready to tumble into the future
and take on what the world has to offer.

The eldest had the greatest promise
he was bright and well liked
took a detour through the seminary
lost his way in Vietnam.

The second one tried to control the others
second in charge for her mother
ended up controlling a school
was grateful to retire.

The twins bounced against the boundaries
going in opposite directions he quieted 

his demons through work and alcohol
she stirred them up and teased them

now a shaman leading others through
social upheaval and spiritual purpose
maybe she’s crazy, no one is sure.

The youngest one almost lost his life at nineteen
an aneurysm should have killed him
the doctor said it was his athleticism that save him
so he still runs, swims and bikes everyday.

Each child took their own path
related to and influenced by each other
remembering the days of childhood
when they played for hours in the sun.

Creativity was the main ingredient
and the days passed into years
finding different routes to eternity.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

First Love

She was the only blue eyed beauty
amist tumbleweeds and red mesas
a shy smile and contagious laugh
saw the humor in everything.

He was celebrated in the town when
she agreed to marry him,
took her away in his Model T
and they lived together quite happily.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Grandpa's Family

Here is a picture of my grandpa's family.
He is the twelve year old boy standing,
like kids that age, separate and yet
dependent on his family.

There were a total of nine. Some of the oldest
moved away with families of their own
he was the second youngest, lived to be
100, while all the others died much younger.

Aunt Kika, the baby, used to watch us when
we were children, she was old by then
fell asleep, left me in charge, made me
buy her cigarettes from the local store

no one questioned my age, sold me
a pack and offered me free matches
even though I was barely nine.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Exposed Empathy

While visiting with others their ghosts intrude
whispering their sadness into my bones,
sharing withheld tears and cancerous sores.

It is easier to be out in nature
where sunshine seeps into my soul
birds sing god’s praises and flowers

capture dew to adorn their petals.
Creatures scamper through the grass
and life seems blessed and sacred,

but in the company of humans
I can’t resist their worries and fears
where they reveal their darkness

disrupting my tranquility
taking me where they dwell
in dark caverns at the borders of hell.

When I was younger I could resist
but as I age my boundaries are less secure
I can offer comfort but they want more.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fifteen Pounds of Meat

The freezer door was left opened
the day after we had been shopping

all the hamburger meat, two packages
of ribs and frozen biscuits

all defrosted before the mistake was found.
So this morning we’re fixing some spaghetti sauce

with plenty of hamburger meat,
a meat loaf and two platters of hamburgers

the ribs will be cooked for tonight,
freezing the leftovers for other meals.

This is our attempt to salvage the food.
before it goes to waste. The biscuits

we be thrown out, 
they’re too mushy to handle.

My sister’s coming over tomorrow for a birthday
celebration, we’ll have the sauce with spaghetti
we may have discovered a way to put
a day's effort for meals to last for 

a whole week as long as we like the taste of 
reheated, refrozen, cooked meat.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Merge onto the freeway
car after car moving ahead and behind

now part of the flow of metal and glass
a rhythm of red lights and honking horns

imperfectly formed lines of silver and grey
like a discarded necklace at a garage sale.

The drone of the motor always heard under
the sound of favorite music, even hard metal

doesn’t mask the sound. Forget about
a foreign language, or listening to books

on tapes for the best seller's New York list.
Feel like heading in the wrong direction

the other side seems to be moving more quickly
too much time to be sitting so cramped

everything in slow motion, almost
a bad dream silhouettes and faces

of other commuters, like vague creatures
added to give substance to a nightmare

filling lanes in tandem, moving
in and out weaving through traffic

until the exit home is up ahead
pull off until it is time to start again.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cops and Robbers

We played cops and robbers 
in the neighborhood long after 
the sun went down chasing 
each other outside our homes

using toy guns and other props
basically a game of  tag
got the adrenaline rushing
exhausted when the game was done

no one criticized our noise
or our running around, no one was worried
that we were playing with guns
because in our world the good always won

and the smartest wanted to be
the cop, the borderline kids became
the criminals, they never ran as fast
nor thought as quick, no one romanticized

the criminal's role. Now everyone is afraid
we don’t know the good guys from the bad.
Who has the moral aptitude to do the right thing
even when everyone else says, "Let it go"?

Monday, June 17, 2013


Allow copperheads to go undisturbed
they’re venomous but do not attack
but will defend themselves

if anyone tries to handle them
or attempts to destroy them.

Copperheads can cause bodily harm
and will kill if bites are not treated.

Sounds like what’s happening
in the world based on the daily news.

Leave the snakes alone! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Remember My Father

He was always larger than life
gone before we woke
but came home with an exhilaration
that lifted me towards him at a run.

I knew there would be fun and peace
from my mother who tended to be harsh.

He had a great capacity for love
and wasn’t afraid to show it.

He taught me how to observe
before I asked too many questions
and figure things out before I despaired.

He expected me to match his strength
and energy because I wasn’t
as pretty as my mother.

She was crazy about him too
and missed him when he 

went to work each day.

I never competed for his attention
he had enough for everyone.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Las Vegas Villanelle

This is my attempt to write a Las Vegas Villanelle
about the city in the desert for the young and retired
an entertainment Mecca for all to dwell

and act out behaviors that might send them to hell
in the blazing desert where dreams transpire
and become the content for this Las Vegas Villanelle.

Some go to gamble looking for tells
betting the mortgage and having cash wired
losing the house then hearing the death knell.

Others go to party where they whoop and they yell
perform on the dance floor to be greatly admired
in a town that never sleeps in this Las Vegas Villanelle.

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," but people tell
and secrets are repeated, never forgotten, never retired
even best friends who know better, are persuaded to sell

all the details to the highest bidders who compel
confessions of the most intimate kind to be acquired
and then shown
in places like this Las Vegas Villanelle.

Even pictures of the Prince were exposed to sell
he couldn’t be protected by those he hired
cash for the secret was his privacy death knell.

Visitors from all over the world are fired-
up to visit this oasis in the desert and are inspired,
to write their own script and sound their death knell
then sit at a desk and write their own Vegas Villanelle.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Barbed Wire

Barbed wire keeps cattle from wandering
check it daily to keep them contained.
They only go out to the open range
with cowboys and herding dogs.

Wire stretched from post to post
like boundaries set up by churches and states
to keep the masses controlled and enclosed
because chaos reigns when they break free
getting lost in the open sea of choice.

Better to have choices already made
so the burden of work can be laid
upon their shoulders, producing milk, 

plowing fields, sent to slaughter

without complaint, 
enough food to keep
them satisfied, enough space 

to keep them passive.

Be careful of those 
who stretch limits
and create agitation 

to want more.

Force them up against the barbed wire
to feel the pain and realize life is good
all contained in the orderly routines

in an enclosed life. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Garage Sale Bling

It was a simple thing, gather up this and that
for a community garage sale, a good way
to clear the clutter; some kitchen utensils,
a few of the kids toys, other odds and ends

and a wooden box, never used
only to discover the prize stored within
was the $23,000 wedding ring given to his bride.
Time stands still, no insurance to cover this mistake. 


I wonder about the person who purchased the box
will she decide to keep it 
for herself?
Or is it  waiting to be found 
in the same box left in her car trunk? 

Maybe she has already contacted a buyer
'cause even if she gets half the worth,
it is more than the $10 she spent. 


She didn’t steal it, no one can make her return it, 
it’s like winning the lottery, maybe she will 
negotiate a deal, get a reward, clear her conscience 
and be done with it... but... maybe not. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Poem Never Written

Last night before falling asleep
had an idea for a poem

but didn’t write it down 

now this morning I can’t recall
even a thread of my inspired tapestry
can’t jar it from memory so instead

I write these jumbled words,
like a drunk reciting the alphabet,
while the best I had to offer 

is still tangled in my pillow
or suffocated and lost
somewhere in my head. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lighting Candles for Miracles

Walked into an empty church  
where candles flickered beneath 

statues of saints, a place to kneel
and pray for intercession. 

St. Jude for the hopeless, 
St. Anthony for the lost,
donation boxes with locks

to keep visitors from stealing. 

How many times
were dimes stolen
or candles snuffed out 
and miracles 
never delivered?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Visions and Dreams

Many teenagers hang their future
on a rock star, thinking 
somehow their adoration
will translate to success

so they plug in their 
electric guitars 
sing bad poetry into 
cheap microphones

thinking one day 
fame and wealth
will fill their desires 
but the doors never open

so they become
addicts and drunks, 
wasting their lives 
on failed dreams

but for some the dream
transpires and they live
the music and a life
beyond their dreams. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Brother’s Poetry / Chuck Toledo

Elvis Presley rocked my dream

There he was
It was the King
He gave me a big smile
He shook his hips
Struck a karate pose
And asked
Do you have any size eleven
blue suede shoes?
God keeps hiding mine
It is a technicality I am sorting out with the big guy
It bugs him that people call me
Hell it ain’t my fault
Anyway before you wake up
Can you rustle me up something to eat
The music in heaven rocks
The food just ain’t Southern enough

Sleeping in Bette Davis Eyes

Spinning and talking and pulling
One new thing after another
If we could fly but needed wings
Our phone would be held in our asses
Maybe they already are
Just look around
Too many channels
Not enough nothing
Or is it all nothing
Taking up my space
I wrote a letter to Bette Davis
Her response was simple
Your world is a dump
Just like mine was
Quit being a sissy

Sinatra Says It’s So

I sleep on my left side
I do it my way
I heard a voice
It was Frank
With a tip of his hat and a grin
Old Blue Eyes agreed
You should sleep the way you want
You should say what you want
To whoever you want
That’s right!
You don’t spend too long
In this crazy world
be cream of the crop
king of the top
leave the slop
for the other guys
And if your wife can’t stand you
Get another one
She is going to get half anyway
Now if you don’t mind
I got to skiddo
Do it your way


Mark One, Mark Two, Mark Twain Snooze 

I was just beginning to doze off

And Mr Clemens arrived

Oh! Not now, I am trying to sleep
He ignored me

He lit a cigar and started chatting

I turned over to ignore the intrusion
He climbed up and sat near me
He talked and talked
I became more and more interested
He had a wonderful way of spinning things
Most of them I forgot
He told me not to worry about things
There is a heaven
And the place has dogs and frogs
There is no hate
But don’t be late for dinner
The fried chicken will all be gone
Those angels are rascals

My O Mao

As I closed my eyes
I thought
It is tomorrw in China
A broken English voice
O it is much later then that
The revolution changed it all
The cultural experience is now
China is once again
The center of the universe
While you sleep China grows
The West is no longer the best
The East is no longer the least
Greed dooms as it looms
Peace thrives without lies
My companion
Join the battle
Long live Rock And Roll

Zelda F Never Looked More Reckless

She strutted into my midnight sleep
Like a hungry, drunken feline
She jumped into bed
She spilled her drink
And kissed me flat on the lips
I thought she was ungettable
Tonight she was mine
She taunted me saying
Let’s do the unimaginable
After all
It is your dream
Let me do all the worrying
Let’s not worry about nothing
This is the dawn
Of your Jazz Age

Brad Pitt Had Coffee with Me

I was barely awake
But then I guess I wasn’t
Brad, what the f**k!
He pulled on his new beard
He just stared, sipping on a cup of joe
He asked me if I had any pot
Well, I guess I do
I got one or two
We rolled it and smoked it
He knows something about rolling
He said all was well
Cleared his throat and espoused:
Being at the top is only dangerous
After that you just should not care
He told me to keep some stash around
You never know who might show up
He was right
You never know

Janice Joplin…U Know
I always loved her 
I even kissed her once
Neither of us held back
It was a moment in my sleep
She told me she loved too much
She didn’t let go
She held on with all her life
Baby, I said
I love you too
I am going to buy you a Mercedes Benz
She let out a loud Texas laugh
Then she held me again
And said
Do you mean it?
I said yes baby, I mean it
I am gonna buy you a new Benz
You were that Mercedes
You were that fancy car
No one loves you more
You  broke all our hearts
When you passed away
You Texas Bitch
Now step on the gas
Of your Mercedes Benz
Jim Morrison Touched Me
He told me to keep my hands on the wheel
 Damn it Jim this is a dream
These are all dreams brother
All dreams from the snake
Your life wraps around things
And sooner
 or later
there you are
You know things that I don’t
So it goes
Just remember
Your mother always loved you
No matter how bad she treated you
Love is a one way street
Forget the past
Fly with me 
in your Mercedes Benz

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Helping Hands

I read once that “helpers,”
forget to draw their hands
when they draw self portraits,
something about boundaries
not stopping at their own skin.

Their energy extends beyond
limits of their body bringing help
to those who need assistance.
Attention to themselves comes
second to the service to others.

Often they are invisible coming
and going before they are seen
cleaning up the messes others
leave behind.

People expect to be nursed,
waited on, pampered and taught
without a thought to those

who offer themselves to help.