Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Travel

Reservations and a list
of all the things to do
due dates for important papers
that need to be signed and delivered

make a stop for 
newspapers and post office

then a start for pet care
clear the refrigerator of all food
trash cans emptied 

neighbor contacted to keep an eye
on strangers who might venture too close
to the property while we’re gone.

Take a nap before we pack
while dishes and clothes
go through the cycle

last minute shower
comfortable travel clothes

catch the shuttle
check-in for the flight
then take off and hopefully 

sleep tight until it is time
to disembark

get the luggage
rent a car

find our way to our location
and then have a good time

with our loved ones.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blue Moon

Blue Moon travels across the summer sky
lights the clouds along it's way

Seen around the world 
before the night is through. 

There it is above my home,
can I make a wish on you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One More Baby in the House

I had a dream of a baby dressed in green
she had red hair and was screaming.

The others in the house held their ears
waiting for her to stop crying
and settle into the family routines.

One more baby in the house,
where will she fit in?

There is a large closet in the master bedroom
with plenty of space for her crib
and a whimsical mobile to hang from the ceiling,

a changing table outside the door
and plenty of space to play on the floor.

When she gets older the boys can be in one room
the oldest daughter with a space of her own

and the other girls can have bunk beds
making it a perfect place for them to sleep

but they’ll have to come down stairs 
to play in the living room. 

There is always space
for one more baby 
somewhere in the house.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bits of Wisdom from World War Z

World War Z seemed to be another
zombie movie but what struck me at 65
are the great hints for staying alive.

Those who survive keep moving
No better advice available
from Dr. Oz or other health experts.

Other words of wisdom:

Be Observant

Solutions can be found in obscure clues.
Pay attention to details and maybe
one day it will save your life.

Some people are hammers
every problem is a nail
So...if you keep getting pounded
stay away from hammers, or look
less like a nail, and learn to use
hammers without getting hurt.

If you find a gun, take it
You never know when you will need one
to protect yourself or those
you love.

Look for weakness in strength
Sometimes creatures over compensate
and camouflage when they are afraid.

Loud noises can awaken the dead
So learn to be quiet.
Master the act of silence

Always carry duct tape
Whether you’re building a bayonet
or protecting your arms from bites
have some duct tape handy.

Sometimes extreme measures work

Building protective walls, pulling out your teeth,
cutting off your arm, infecting yourself 
with disease are necessary if survival is at stake.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone

If you don’t want to be discovered
turn off your cell phone, or at least
have it on vibrate. The ring can
reveal your location to your enemies.

Sacrificing your family to serve 
the greater good is too big a sacrifice

unless it is the only way to save them.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


In today’s world everything is temporary
flashing by in a few seconds 
then gone. 

Planned obsolesce is a market strategy
to keep the consumer purchasing 
the newer, better model;
the latest fashion, this year’s dream,
Nothing is designed to last forever.

We expect to repaint our homes
repair water and termite damage, 
redecorate and remodel in time
to keep things fresh and desirable

now we also expect to do the same
with our bodies; enhance the breast
lift the chin, reshaped the eyes, 
color hair, in an effort to stay
young forever. 

Relationships are also superficial

People don’t live in the same town forever,
childhood friendship depend on proximity

who disappear if we don’t take the time
to write letters, make phone calls, 
or get together for visits. 

Families now are also dispensable
separated because of divorce
blended with remarriage

parents abandoned in all the confusion
some children too, people left isolated
can seem to establish themselves 
in the new configuration.

Social groups and work 
become the new centers
filling up time with activities
coming and going without the burden
of past hurts and neglect

but not feeling connected
and sometimes that is 
the greatest threat

and one that can't be


Friday, August 16, 2013

Forty Four Years

We met when I was seventeen
you were eighteen
brought me a giant teddy bear
for my eighteenth birthday.

My mother worried about your intentions;
a young man, ready to head off to the Navy,
was this just a fling or were you already
serious even though you knew me
for only two months?

Three years later we were married
men had landed on the moon
the Vietnam war raged
protesters on the street

but the cost of living was cheap;
$200 monthly rent,
$600 for a convertible car
$149 a year for insurance

Our son was born in the first year
followed the boat from Hawaii
to South Carolina, spent time in
Virginia and then off to Florida

had a chance to travel at the expense
of the US Navy, second son was
born in Florida,

from there back to California
returned to school, got a degree
in education, soon employed and working
loved my career as a teacher
gave me time to be with my family
we continued to travel and see
most of the US

soon graduations from high school and college
and in no time they were grown

you bought a motorcycle
and we took day trips on weekends

up and down the coast.
Went through the loss of both
our parents, also the heartbreak
of siblings’ dying too young
but we clung to each other

gave each other strength, then came the
marriage of our sons soon, grandchildren
and the arrival of our grand niece
she came to us when she was twelve
stayed until she left for college at eighteen
now life goes on with the challenges of aging.

I’m up for it, I hope you are too!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Playing Kickball in the Living Room

Too much furniture decoratively arranged
with clear spaces to sit, a place to put a cup of 
arrange artwork and collections from foreign travel.

An adult room for conversation but not for children
created after the depression when Home and Gardens
influenced home design and decided what constituted
good taste for the civilized.

Homemakers imitated it
"doing it right,"
making it the mantra
for their lifestyle,

but what if you wanted life
your own way? You make the rules,
however insane, where happiness
for your children is your main desire

for them to be themselves and not aspire
to be good enough to please others
but to know they’re good enough just

as they are.

Then a game of kickball is the perfect solution
for dealing with a humid hot evening
with the sun going down.

A Nerf ball with bases assigned
more important to play than have opposing teams
and to whoop and holler until the game is done.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jumping from a Submarine

It was only a dream
I knew that even while I slept

the submarine was in trouble
we had to evacuate on the double
don our life jackets and jump into
the cold dark ocean.

The water was moving fast
like a river in a flash flood
I headed for the life raft,

two people I knew from work
waved their arms and helped me climb
on board. I reached out to catch

the little girl behind me
comforting her in the night

taking a deep breath, knowing
everything would be all right.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Conversations at the Art Show

"They look like they come from the 40's. They have that glamour
of so many who survived the depression and WWII."

"Look, the lilies are the same as in the wedding picture.
I had Calla lilies at my wedding, had them shipped
all the way from Hawaii. They are still my favorite flower."

"I can remember seeing those trees in Flagstaff. 
We were heading up to Mt. Humphrey to go skiing
and would pass a large grove of Aspens"

"Look at the love between the two children.
I just love their innocence."

"I come from the East Coast, I remember winters 
when the ground was covered with snow. I love 
the light beckoning the traveler out of the cold. "

Monday, August 12, 2013

Art Shows

 Naples August 2013

   Seal Beach 2012

   Belmont Shores 2011

   Seal Beach 2010

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bad Dogs

They lay sleeping on the bed
debris spread out on the floor,

cushions chewed,
silk flowers torn,
carpet pulled out through the doggie door.

They barked when I arrived
so glad I was home
until they heard my guttural roar

their tails between their legs
they  quivered in a corner...

I was the beast 
after all, they were doing
what every dog does

not good or bad...
it is just the way they are.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Addicted to TV

When Time Warner dropped CBS
I was able to see my addiction to TV
with the many hours of entertainment
gone, the station now dark,
what will happen to me?

I’ll take a walk, or visit friends,
read a book, or play a game,
sit outside, like my neighbors do,
have a conversation, maybe two,
and fill my hours with activities.

My friend dropped Time Warner
and signed up for Direct TV
others bought rabbit ears to get
the programs for free.
I’ve decided to let it go

and find other things to do.
There are new recipes I’m anxious to try,
a few classes at the university,
new hobbies to learn, I will
get started on an exercise routine.

Bought a new bike, I’m on the road
every single day new places to see.

I got word from my cable company,
old programming will return, 

but it is too late ...

the break has set me free.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Playing the Piano

I learned to play the piano at twelve
rather I learned to read notes
and find them on the keyboard

never found the music though
always mechanical and stilted.
Somewhere the music lives

and is discovered by a genius
who feels it in her bones
and hears it in the wind.

The notes on the scale
are a way for others to enjoy it
and to recreate it for all time.

Some will give it wings, while others,
like me, will make it ping, ping, ping,
like a broken machine in a factory.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

At Thirteen

It is easy to believe at thirteen
that the world swirls around you

all eyes are on your hair,
your clothes, your shoes and nose

a slight flaw upon your skin
sends you into a tailspin

you will refuse to walk out the door
there is nothing easy about being thirteen.

If you survive there is so much to discover

what is vital and what can be endured
you're still important but as you grow

you will become other centered

and learn how life energy really flows.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Human Race

I joined the race at birth
first tooth, first steps, 

how do I compare 
to all the rest? 

Who got the best grades in school
and who got accepted to the best schools?

Then who got the best job,
the best spouse, the best address?

Who looks 
the best after 55?
Who lives the longest? 

Towards the end I finally realize
none of it matters.

I could have walked
a little slower

and still arrive 
in time to die
like all the rest. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Grandpa Taught My Son to Walk

Down a dirt road to the white washed adobe house
three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.
The bathroom was never plumbed so we had to walk
outside to the wooden shack close to the pig's sty.

My son learned to walk on the linoleum floor
it was higher on one end where the table sat
and sloped down to the wall with the kitchen sink.

The gradual slope was the right trick
to get my child moving on his wobbly feet.
The sun had already set when we drove in
dinner was waiting and grandpa took the baby

and said, “This boy is too old not to be walking.”
He placed him on the floor and my son started walking
before we sat down. I guess after twelve kids,
grandpa knew something about kids and walking. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Old Folks Sitting on a Railroad Track

The young man saw a Pontiac Bonneville
stopped on a railroad track
with all the heroism packed into youth

he flew toward danger and gave a push
saving the riders inside; two old folks
age seventy-six and eighty-five.

They said they were incredibly lucky
should have gotten out but they froze
fortunate now to be alive.

While the young man was adulated
recognized for his fearlessness
getting invited to interviews,
talk shows, and speaking events,

the old folks let out a sigh
they had planned to exit this world
to end their pain and suffering
but they can’t tell a soul, 

it would take away from the young man’s
glory, but they will try again
when no one is around to save them. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Getting Rid of Things

Time to write the checks
not quite ready to go electronic
I like the ritual of balancing the books
placing the payment in an envelope
putting on a stamp and return address
taking it to the post office
before it is marked overdue.

I’ve don't use credit cards much,
buy most items in cash, if at all -
trying to get rid of the things I’ve accumulated
nothing really worth while in the long run.
Younger buyers don’t find my collectibles
desireable, preferring not to be burdened
with too much stuff. They would rather

spend their extra cash on travel
being versatile to relocate
without the burden of all that junk
while women my age, on the other hand,
horde items beyond what is needed
only to be see it all over town when a tornado
strikes or it gets soaked and ruined in a flood.

I’ll finish the payment on a few more items
leaving the balance at zero.
Invite the grandkids over for a yard sale
hope to find a buyer for some old LPs,
glassware and dishes from Japan,
a china cabinet and little knick knacks
collected from my travels to other lands. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Knee Pain

After years of genuflecting
prayer on bent knees
walking for miles to and from church
and the reward for all that devotion
is a purgatory of painful knees. 

I try to trace back to the sin
that leads to bone spurs and tattered
meniscus too much running around
not enough meditation and bonding
to the people in my life. 

Maybe it is a simple answer not a spiritual
consequence. Machines wear down
bodies are machines so…

they wear down, some faster
than others. No magic pill or surgery
but lots of memories of a lifetime 

of hiking trails, housework, and prayers.