Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting for Company

He knew better
but told Humphrey anyway
that we were expecting
kids and grand kids,
to come by three.

Right now it is noon
so every little sound
has his attention
so he will bark and bark
'til they arrive.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Habits of Those Who Struggle With Money

1.       Didn’t finish school
2.       Bad habits
3.       Live beyond your means
4.       Impulse buying
5.       Play the lottery
6.       Couch potato
7.       Hardly working
8.       Hang with the wrong crowd
9.       Pay minimum payments
10.   Lack goals

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Great Grandmother As Madonna

Great Grandmother in oils by drice

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

He Wasn't Dead

Word in the gossip pool:
he lost it, 

couldn’t be trusted, 
barely hanging on, 
wishing he was dead,

but when I called

he sounded great,
clear headed, compassionate,
and completely involved.

Better to stay in touch one-on-one
then to rely on family gossip
to fill the gaps

and all it took 
was one 
phone call.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Life After Birth

In a mother's womb were two babies. 
One asked the other: 

"Do you believe in life after delivery?" 
The other replies, 

"Why, of course, 
there has to be something after delivery. 
Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves 
for what we will be later. 

"Nonsense," says the other. 
"There is no life after delivery. 
What would that life be?" 

"I don't know, but there will be more
 light than here. Maybe we will walk 
with our legs and eat from our mouths." 
The other said.

"This is absurd! Walking is impossible. 
and eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. 
The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. 
Life after delivery is to be excluded. 
The umbilical cord is too short." 

"I think there is something 
and maybe it's different 
than it is here." the other replies, 

"No one has ever come back from there. 
Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery 
it is nothing but darkness and anxiety 
and it takes us nowhere." 

"Well, I don't know," says the other, 
"but certainly we will see mother 
and she will take care of us." 

"Mother??" You believe in mother? 
Where is she now? "

She is all around us. 
It is in her that we live. 
Without her there would not be this world." 

"I don't see her, so it's only logical 
that she doesn't exist." 

To which the other replied, 
"Sometimes when you're in silence 
you can hear her, you can perceive her.

I believe there is a reality after delivery
and we are here to prepare 
ourselves for that reality...."

An e-mail sent from a 78 year old nun. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014


I don’t know her music
but she also seems popular
for her outrageous costumes
making artistic statements

seeking unabashed creativity
encouraging others to think
or at least be willing
to stretch boundaries.

Teaching self acceptance
to wonder at one’s self
however pretentious
to irritate or amuse

but as long as the cameras
flash and the public
wants to know what she’s doing

she will continue
without mercy
extolling her virtue

marking her place in history
and with that
there is nothing
more to say.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Accidents Happen

He had been a champion
catering to every little need
making sure I was comfortable

then he moved the ottoman
with a single shift
and tore the nail from his big toe.

It looked like he had opened the hood
of a 1956 Chevy
he screamed, I cried

then he pushed the nail back in place
wiping off the few droplets of blood

and all the pain I had been suffering
seem to pale in comparison
and I stopped complaining.

I guess the mystery of the cross
is to bear witness to the crucifixion
making life sufferings manageable

compared to real pain. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Cloak Woven in Pain

He smiled, said everything was alright
but the magnitude of loss 

permeated the air around him
his shoulders bent under 
the weight of the heavy coat

whose threads of pain 
crossed stitched and knotted

were dripping from open wounds 
scabs never healing the injury 

and in his smile the shortfall of hope
his eyes seeking the promise of a loving god
but each step crushed by this mantel of pain. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Gambler’s Cadillac

He drove a shiny new Cadillac
sporting leather seats 

and luxurious upholstery

the car smelled rich but in a month it was gone
so was his wife’s diamond ring
and the living room furniture

but his persistence paid off 

and in a little while she was 
wearing furs and jewels again.

He settled for a Studebaker to transport
his family but like the seasons 

in a little while that too was gone.

He took up boxing to make a buck
used his winnings to gamble as he was inclined
sometimes living flush, other times lean

then his health started to suffer
at his lowest point, so did his marriage 
but yesterday he drove up once again 

in a brand new Cadillac 
...a convertible this time. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Road To Peace

Sometimes the only way to someplace
is through uncharted land
cutting through the tangled thorns

before stepping on the new terrain
where flowers bloom and streams run clear
where wild life thrives in harmony.

Yet, even in this utopia
the give and take of life
is designed to create a balance. 

Learn to trust in the most violent storms
and know god is present and life

will go on... with or without you. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Saving Water

Grew up in a desert land
don’t need much water to survive
if I drink too much I pee often
providing moisture for other living things.

I adapted to dryness like the cacti
a little prickly and comfortable alone
better able to cope with the coming drought
than the people who live near the sea.

Their cells demand lots of fluids
need to immerse themselves in water,
they seek green environments 

while I thrive in the barren landscapes
among the mesas and Joshua trees.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shrinking World

There was a time when
clothes seemed to shrink
but now it's the world growing smaller

steps that lead to the sidewalk
are too high, the distance 

to the curb too far

the weight of a bag 

of groceries, cumbersome
and heavy, 

the height of a cabinet too far
to reach for the slow 
cooker on the top shelf

the mind still expanding, 
still wonder and search
for ideas and conversations,

many of them recollections
of how things used to be
try not to focus on how 

the world is shrinking
and simple things 

have gotten too hard 
to complete.

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Too Many

The evening started badly
couldn’t find anything to wear
finally settled on the red dress
with the flirty skit that moved when I twirled 

my three inch heels, 

a diamond bracelet,
a small clutch, 
and I was ready to party.

My date didn’t show,
my girlfriends tried to console me
offered one drink, then two,
by closing I had too many.

I was loud and wanted to fight
but they held me back from wrestling
with a girl who was wearing
a dress like mine.

I screamed out loud, “Let me at her!”
they held me, didn't let me go
I broke away and stood next to the tramp
but realized she was only my reflection
in the bar room mirror. 

Time to go home
wipe my tears, sleep a few hours
and maybe tomorrow figure out
what to do.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ice Carving

A block of ice, some saws, a torch
and a plan to unlock the sculpture inside.

A faithful team, like a surgical crew,
handing the tools and keeping things clean

change of clothes, a cup of Joe
after the project is completed.

Photos are all that remain when the art
melts and the masterpiece disappears.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Crackle Paint

Spread the canvas in acrylic
smoothing the surface to create a seal

let it dry then paint a landscape 

or still life with oils

after a while the oil will crack 

giving the painting an ancient look
like from a master of another time

your eyes will go back to the texture
noting the patterns and getting pleasure

from crackle paint on your artistic design.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Crow Knows

Roadways leading into 
strange neighborhoods
conversations barely understood
messages given with great urgency
listen carefully actions are required
don’t walk away until the crow has spoken.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let The Rain Fall

Let it fall from the sky and splash on to the roof
down the drains into the gutters and out to sea

let the parched earth absorb the liquid nectar
into the dusty and barren landscapes

Let the soil quench it’s thirst

storing it deep inside in caverns and underground
tributaries, filling reservoirs and river ways

later to nourish plants to provide food, shade

and beauty.

Let the rain fall late into the night

and the next day, gentle and steady

no need for torrents and drama, no thunder and lightning
but a steady flow of water to stem the drought

let prayers be answered and homes be spared

save us from potential fires and mudslides

Let us run out in our underwear and dance in jubilation
let the water drip from our noses and like a hedonistic

wild children let's scream out to the sky a song of gratitude
let our voices join in unison to celebrate

the rain and a promise of new life. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Frozen In Time

Polar storms of ice and snow
force life inside the house.

Entrapment eased by
dreaming of spring 

yet fascinated by winter’s charm: 

perfect snowflakes, 

covered lawns
crystal icicles one by one, 

cherry cheeks, 

woolen clothes,
a colorful hat 

and a runny nose.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Never Too Late To Fall In Love

Her first love was physical attraction
had two kids but he had an untimely end
before the kids were grown
misses him when she’s alone.

The next one was for financial gain
she was tired of living poor
provided an instant family for him
by mutual agreement they made a home.

Then all those years trying to cope
after he lost his wealth and forgot his name
he finally died and left her shy of getting
involved with another guy.  

A third one came along, too old she thought,
but he persisted so she gave in.
His wealth secure, so was his health
his character and his spiritual side

above reproach but most of all
he loved to give and doted on her
like a caring father, devoted lover,
and most of all... a faithful friend.

She’s glad she didn’t resist his charms
found frequently in each other's arms
chatting away into the night
proving it's never too late to love again. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Slow Like a Snail

Take it easy don’t rush the day
leave a trail to smooth the way
let others hurry take time to play

keep things simple carry your home
never be lonely when you’re alone
sleep on a branch or under a stone.

Photo by Bill

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weave A Story

Threads of gold capture the highlight
indigo casts the shadow
while red and yellow reveal the sun

ultramarine brings on the winter chill.
All elements of nature woven into a tapestry
to tell a story for young and old. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Abandoned Truck


     An abandoned truck

   rusted and worn

beaten from carrying

soil and stone.

Designed to make

any load lighter, found

at a farm or

 construction zone.

   Worn out wheels

     with running boards

       friends inside

        going for a ride

          on dusty cushions, ripped and worn.

            Its best days are gone

              but they don't mind,

                 "Let's climb aboard 

                   one at a time."
                     The driver assures

                      the guys and gals

                        there will be plenty of fun

                          to whoop and holler

                           like wild teens

                           after the sun 
                            goes down.

Photo taken in Alaska by Bill

Thursday, February 20, 2014

First Signs of Spring

Photos taken by Bill in Utah

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Desert Sunshine

Photos taken by Bill in Sedona, Arizona

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Love Knows

Roses unfolded from bud to bloom
each pedal, silky, fragrant and red.
A small card, with the words “I love you,”
dangled haphazardly from one of the stems.

We met when we were teenagers,
his hand encircled mine
our footsteps synchronized
we finish one another’s sentences
it was easy to laugh with one another.

We have been together
and will be
for all time.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Shape Poem: Desert Road


Arid                              Abandon                                                        

Bleak                            Blistering        

Cactus                         Chaparral       

    Desolate                 Dangerous          

         Evaporation      Endless                      Empty        
                                  Fantastic                    Forsaken

                                Gorgeous                   Glaring

                               Hazardous              Harmonic

                               Infertile             Isolated   

                              Jagged    Journey     

















Sunday, February 16, 2014

Two Starts To A Story

To tell my story about Tomé, New Mexico I must tell about the environmental conditions that in winter produced snowstorms and torrential rains leaving deep scars permanently changing the fragile landscape while in summer a sweltering stage where dust devils twirled tumbleweeds across mosaics of curled red tiles. A land so flat I can look in every direction and see the occasional mesa and every small adobe houses built haphazardly along a maze of dirt pathways and irrigation ditches. When I see the splash of colors I can locate the vegetable garden of chili peppers, corn, beans, onions, and tomatoes.

To tell the story about my mother I must tell about Tomé, New Mexico where in winter snowstorms and torrential rains leave deep scars permanently changing the fragile landscape while in the summer dust devils appear on the sweltering stage to twirl tumbleweeds across mosaics of curled red tiles. The land is flat except for the occasional mesas and small adobe houses built haphazardly along a maze of dirt pathways and irrigation ditches. The splashes of color reveal the vegetable gardens of chili peppers, tomatoes, beans, onions, and corn. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Time to Get Organized

The first thing I see is the computer 
with a little white post-it stuck to the corner 
and a message written in my grandson's scrawl,
 “I love you a lot!! ” 
Right next to it is a yellow note 
where he wrote  “I luv u,”  
earlier that year. 
His mother worries 
that his handwriting is too sloppy 
but I say he knows how to communicate 
and that is important after all.

He tells me my room is too messy 
and I guess with the Singer sewing machine 
sitting under the romance novels 
with unfinished assignments 
and dream cards within easy reach, 
butting up against the easel 
filled with canvases 
of melting colors 
and swirls of emotion. 
He has a point, 
but the dust settles on everything 
giving it a uniform look 
and one day I will pull it all together,
I promise. 

Maybe one of those decorator shows 
can come and transform the space 
in 30 minutes or less
after they straighten out the chaos
in the front room.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Rock Garden ( w/ expanded description and dialogue)

Stephanie carried in two large envelopes from the mailbox. She opened the first one. The blood rushed from her cheeks, her eyes fluttered and tears spilled down her cheeks. She squeezed her eyes tight to keep her composure.

“Anything wrong?” Jarred asked.

She didn't say anything but opened the second envelope before she spoke, “Talk about coincidence. This letter is from my mom. Uncle Mort died and I’ve inherited his store in Arizona. Here is the deed and the keys to his place.”

“ What are you going to do with it?”

“I think I’m going to move to Arizona.”

“Just like that?”

“I’ll quit my job, trade my BMW in for a pick-up truck and sell this place.”

“Are you leaving me?”

“Yeah.” She tossed the first package at him. “You didn’t think I"d find out?”

“What is this?”

“Pictures of you. My friends thought I should know. They downloaded them from the internet.”

“ I expect you out of here tonight.” Stephanie said. “Anything you don’t take I’ll toss.”

“Don’t you want to hear my side of the story?”

“No. I want you out."

... and just like that he was gone. Getting rid of Jarred was easier than Stephanie expected. She had the facts and there was no way he could defend or excuse himself so he was out of there by night fall.  She was on the road by the next weekend.

The six-hour trip was uneventful but hot. She spread the map out on her legs to keep the sun from burning her thighs through the windshield. She had to drive another five miles after exiting the freeway and then she saw it, a dilapidated artifact from the 1940’s with a tall sign out in front. “Mort's General Store,” was written in large block red letters.

"What have I done?" she said to herself as she drove up to the front porch.

An old woman came out of the front door and watched as Stephanie parked the car.  

“You must be Mort’s niece,” she said. “ I’ve been running the place since he died. Didn’t seem right to close it up since folks around here need supplies and such. I hope you don’t mind. My name is Ellen Haywood.” She moved out on to the porch with her hand extended to greet Stepahanie. “Mort and I have been friends for years.”

“Hello, I’m Stephanie Evans. Mort’s my mother’s brother. Glad to meet you,” Stephanie said walking up the steps on to the porch and shaking Ellen’s arthritic hand. 

“The living quarters are attached to the store. Walk in and you’ll see the blue door towards the back. That’s where you’ll live,” Ellen said pointing through the open door of the store. “I can go on taking care of things while you settle, or leave if you want me out of here. It’s your call.”

“No, that’s fine. You can stay. I need time to catch my breath. I think I’ll get by bags and unpack a few things,” Stephanie said, turning back to the car. She gathered up her purse and her duffle bag. “I wasn’t expecting to find the place so easily,” she said crossing the threshold and stepping into the musty cool darkness of the store. 

“Year’s ago it was busy enough from tourist traffic but with the new highway it was left for the locals but Mort always seem to make enough money to stay in business,” she said following Stephanie close behind. “You can see he beat his costs by keeping only the essential inventory.”

Stephanie looked around. The bulk of the inventory consisted of beer, candy and cigarettes. There were a few soft drinks, some milk and eggs and a rack full of magazines. When her eyes adjusted she was able to make out Ellen’s features which resembled a dried up apple doll with a little scruff of hair peeking out from under her kerchief. Stephanie noticed the sound of Ellen’s breathing and worried the wizen old woman would soon be joining Uncle Mort in the great beyond.

She was grateful Ellen prepared lunch and stayed long enough for her to shower before heading out to the neighboring lot. Stephanie watched her new acquaintance make her way across the dusty pathway to her small rusted blue and white trailer. It was after 1:00 P.M. and the interior of her Uncle Mort’s General store had gotten hotter. No customers had come since she had been there. She looked into the cash register and counted out $84.00 in cash and $10.00 worth of change. “Doesn’t look like there were too many customers here before I arrived either… that’s not good.”

Maybe she wouldn’t have loads of business but she would have the cleanest business in the area and without further hesitation Stephanie found the cleaning supplies and started scrubbing. She washed the counter tops, refrigerator doors, the windowsills, windows and doors. She swept the floor, dusted everything and stopped only long enough to have dinner and then she continued cleaning until past midnight.

When she woke in the morning there were a handful of people waiting at the door. Bill Cranston, Laurie Lawson, her sister Lucy and George Fillmore and his dog Drake. They were chatty enough and seemed more interested in getting acquainted than buying anything although a few purchased some scratch off lottery tickets and cigarettes. The conversation centered around Uncle Mort and what a good guy he was and how much they would miss him and then one by one they went on home.

The day ahead seemed to be an oasis of solitude something Stephanie was not too familiar with so she got busy looking at the accounting books, inventory lists and vendors. Her Uncle Mort was an aerospace engineer before he retired to the desert and his meticulous habits were evident in the almost computer like lettering and numbers and careful filing of all his paperwork. Everything was easy to find and easy to understand. She was done in less than an hour.

The expanse of time before nightfall began to feel like a bottomless pit. She wanted to avoid falling into the darkness so looked around for something else to do. The interior was done maybe there was something to do on the outside.