Monday, October 31, 2005


her life
was wrapped up
ashes scattered
to the pellucid sea

nibbled briefly
by the fishes

some nights
she still lives
in the ebb and flow
of fluttering
yellow candlelight

Friday, October 28, 2005

An owl's feather:

"Be patient with everyone,
but above all with yourself.
I mean do not be disheartened by your imperfections,
but always rise up with fresh courage.
How are we to be patient in dealing with our neighbor's faults
if we are impatient in dealing with our own?
He who is fretted by his own failings will not correct them.
All profitable correction comes from a calm, peaceful mind."

— St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, October 27, 2005

No Playground Today

She woke in the night to a terrible sound
A rending and tearing and all falling down
Then "Help me!" a voice cried out from the park
"Somebody, help me!" said a voice in the dark

Like a dream she heard all this and awoke
And thought it was some prankster's practical joke
But sirens were wailing and sound pierced her dreams
And she lay there a-trembling at the ongoing screams

Fal the dal diddle a diddle a day
Do what I do and not what I say
We drink and we drive and we drive us to drink
Rum de dum diddly tiddly wink

Through the window and trees she saw the lights flash
But couldn't make out the scene of the crash
And after a while the lights went away
And sleepy she slept until school the next day

In the morning with dressing and cereal and milk
She was busy with all busy things of that ilk
With backpack and kisses and homework now due
She arrived at the school and was shocked by the view

Fal the dal diddly tiddly whee
Here we go drinking on a grand drinking spree
We drink and we drive and we bang and we crash
Rum de dum diddly tiddly trash

The fence was crashed through, lying torn on the the ground,
The slide was all twisted and monkeybars down
Deep trenching tire marks ploughed through the dirt
And the playground super stood on alert

She woke in the night to a terrible sound
A crunching of metal on metal and ground
It crashed and it twisted, it twisted and tore
And one little playground was no more

Fal the dal diddle a diddle die dough
We drink to forget and never will know
We drink and we drive and we drink and we die
Rum de dum riddly tiddly and high

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Snatch of a song

Some days are empty, like the day before
Lights are out, curtains closed, sign's up on the door
Some days are empty, and I'd give anything
Just to hear a bluebird sing

Find me a bluebird
In my own back yard
Climb me a mountain
Can't be that hard
Sing me a new song
Every day of my life
Going to find me that bluebird
Make it all come out right

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I read the latest, wonderful entry at Via Negativa and, looking to see what well-deserved happy ending Billy the Blogging Poet promised Dave in the comments -- congratulations, Dave! -- was startled to discover this site also listed as one of 100 poets in 100 days. Thank you, Billy.

Update Wednesday morning: Poem of the Day has been added to the list, and Glittering Muse is on there, too. I'm looking forward to checking out the other blogs listed.


like a drum her heart is
bom bomm, bom bomm,
and the murmurs and hums,
the inner sighs of her breathing,
an orchestrated cacaphony
of discrete bodily movements,
motions in rhythms of their own,
each moving as a part of the greater song.

but a sudden kick, a pulse,
for just a moment, pushing taut
the distended surface of her belly,
sounding its own treble bruit,
pressing out an extra curve,
a sudden random beat
out of sync with the chorus,
heralds the start of a new song.

Written for the word of the day, bruit, at Poem of the Day.


It's there, big and huge and cackling and gobbling,
cramming its great maw with gobs of flesh,
flecks of foam and bits of stuff flying everywhere
and you feel disgust and turn away
and as you turn it snakes out an arm,
like a straw it gets into your brain and sucks
everything inside you, all the light
and all the bits of fizz in your mind
get sucked dry and all becomes flat grey,
and you tell yourself it's not real but there it is,
everything flat and grey and listless
and nothing to be done about it,
and you turn back and can't see it anymore,
the great bobbling weaving head is gone from view,
and you realize with growing dread
that it has got inside you,
gruesome and parasitic and bleeding off
light before you can ever see
and the only way to stop this monster
is to stop believing,
to cast off the fear and dread
or at least to look past them
and declare with full conviction,
this is not real, this is not real, this is not real,
reach out and touch the real world,
the rugged bark, hands in real dirt and living leaves,
fingers touching other moving fingers,
eyes seeking the depths of other eyes,
warm arms enfolding,
this, this is real.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Like a diminutive hummingbird
She buzzes from table to table
How ya doin' today, hon? Good to see you!
What can I get you?

How's sweetie today? Look at you,
aren't you getting tall! You're taller than me, now!

Order up!

She hums continuously as she flies.
More coffee? Can I get you some pie?

Where's your sister today?
Oh, not feeling well? I'm sorry, hon,
maybe she'll be feeling better tomorrow.
You tell her Joni asked after her.

You shoulda seen this fellow the other day.
He was trying to order me from across the room,
while he was talking on his cell phone!

She mimes the man's beckoning finger, other hand to her ear.
Of all the nerve!
You know what I said?

She draws her finger sharply across her neck,
That's what I told him.
Then he told me he wanted to speak to the owner.
So I says, 'You are!'

She laughs and shakes her head.
Some people these days. Honestly.

What's it going to be today —
Let me guess, grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat?
Of course I remember, I remember when you were a baby!

Written for the word of the day, loquacious, at Poem of the Day.

To write a bad poem

I dreamed letter magnets
on the refrigerator
moved themselves
in an unsteady line to spell

my forehead grew damp and
I struggled to rearrange the magnets

the air became heavier than swimming
my slow arms and hands
couldn't catch the magnets
wavering before my eyes

frantically, I turned to ask
why the room was so thick
my feet would not move

I opened my eyes confused and hot
the edge of my bed fuzzy
daylight hesitating behind the curtain

my arms were numb and
difficult to move

Today is the day
to write a bad poem

leaf moon fall

Friday, October 21, 2005

An owl's feather:

"The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my
veins night and day and dances in rhythmic measure. It is the same
life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth into the
numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of

— Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Writing on the waves

for Wilma

Too soon, these typhoons, tripping over the shore
And blasting guns of water and ripped rivets,
Leave us bare and dripping, underbelly exposed,
Swollen and swamped with the fetid farrago
Of remnant foundations and leftover lives.

How soon will we let ourselves hear the tocsin
Sounding in improbably fathomed depressions,
In the capricious contrariety of circling violence,
In the visions of shimmying voracity already
Pounding our doggedly dreaming shores?

Written for the word of the day, tocsin, at Poem of the Day.

Like scotch & chocolate

the long slow notes of a song
plead with the wind's pulse
stay, stay a while with me and let's
drink a toast to the evening's light
just a sip, while it slips away

a rosy hued yellow glow
resting on gauzy pillows,
the melting light rides the wind
rimmed with subtle bitters,
the taste of swaying dark pines

now the sun rolls beyond the horizon,
the wind picks up
night melts the shapes of the trees
dark and sweet into its river
pooled with the scents of the day

and we breathe it in,
the final perfume

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A second look

She smiled at him, a flash in the hall
He barely recognized.
He looked again, bringing her face into focus.
He paused.
A sparkling smile, and lifting eyes,
Hair catching the sun, the sun that almost
Silhouetted her shape.
What was out of place?
He looked for the endearing space
Between her two front teeth, searched for
The tiny crow's feet that predicted her laughs.
Dismayed, he glanced away.
She smiled slyly, delighted with her pelf.

Written in response to the word of the day, pelf, at Poem of the Day.

I will look for you

I look for you
In the crevices of a book's spine
On the shadows of a page

I look for you
Entwined, perhaps, in the piano's strings
Or shut up in the bench with the sheets of music

I look for you
Where the hairs of the brush take root
Clumped with careless flecks of cadmium yellow

I look for you
In the electric touch of the waterfall's spray
And in the swinging nest abandoned to the leaves and wind

I look for you
On the back of his slowly moving hand
Where the hairs whorl golden red

I look for you
Nestled in the swales of warm pillows
Sparking between the sheets

I look for you
In the lights and patterns of my own closed eyes
And the wash of sound lapping at my ears

I look for you
All my life I am looking

And this morning here, here you are!
Looking back at me
I catch my breath, looking back at me

Tomorrow I will look again

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Notre Dame de Paris

Streaming beams of light cut through your
Interior, softly shining shafts that cleave
All darkness. The cold air hangs still and high.
I have seldom felt so small.

Your vast reaches make me feel I could lose myself
There or in the joyous brilliance of your singing roses.

My eyes reach up and out along your
Celestial arches, following the graceful, knowing curves,
Led by lines where we are meant to go.
They built you out of cold stone but made you fly.

Down the cavernous side aisles shadowed like winter,
I enter the pools of warm light from votary candles.
They stand in circular ranks, silent voices in the dark,
Speaking their prayers to the eternal inscrutability
One by one.

This was written in response to the word of the day, votary, at Poem of the Day.

Breaking Open

Standing on the hill with the warm wind wrapping my arms
The sky a stretch of charcoal fading to green about the rim
The roll of thunder unfolds above my head
I feel it as it goes

Questions stretch like a web, questions for which I find no answers
Of what could have been or should have been
For what might yet be
For you, for me

A sharp flicker like a blade bolts across the black
Splitting sky from sky, cloud from cloud
Like splitting open a skin
The water falls

The water falls overwhelming and indiscriminate
Spattering dust upon my leather boots
Rolling in stinging rivulets
Down my cheeks

The water roils and flows on top of the gingery duff
It spits and slides upon my sleeves
Its cold burns my skin as it sinks
Into my upturned hands

Monday, October 17, 2005


Written yesterday for word of the day, lackadaisical, at Poem of the Day:

Sunday newspaper,
Slow coffee, the vase empty,

Thousand Springs

about a green island fed by springs
the river swirls clearest of clear
like glass, just like glass,
holding bouquets of waving grasses

here on a green island fruit trees whorl
ripe with pears, redolent with plums
the grass stained with blood-red pulp
mashed underfoot like summer wine

across a green island lit by music
fields unfold full and festive
musicians weaving under the supple canopy
strangers dancing with strangers in falling sunlight

on a green island cached in the desert
before her soft and sinuous sweeps
an owl sings to us as we sing to her
to close a fat and honeyed day

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Poem of the Day: Abjure

Check it out, in the comments.

For navigational ease, I'm adding it in here:

I've turned my back too many times
And shut too many open doors,
Critical tapes inside my head
Have kept me pacing hopeless floors,
Ridicule and cynicism,
Perfectionism, pessimism,
Nihilism ~ forget it all ~
Refuse to listen anymore!
I abjure, I abjure,
I abjure all sinecure!
I proclaim I want the flame,
A life of passion and desire ~
Forget the pan, I want the fire!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Poem of the Day: Sinecure

Another poem for the word of the day, sinecure, at Poem of the Day:

Oh My Child

These are not my words I speak but those
Of my father or of my mother.
Where are my words?
I am sorry, I swore I would not do this. But
I look down and these are not my hands but hands
made of my father's and of my mother's hands.
Where are my hands?
I know what you are thinking. The same thoughts
I thought when I was young, and your
Father had those same thoughts about his parents.
Whose sighs are these?
And these are not our sighs but sighs we have both
Heard before. There is no sinecure for parenting
Or childhood.

Here now

One step at a time,
Place your foot down,
Feel the shifting weight.

The gingery smell of the duff
Beneath these friendly woods -

Who is it that sings?

One step at a time,
Place your foot down,
Slowly, slowly,
Watch how you carry your self.

These sturdy legs and feet,
World-worn and strong
Are here now.

The sun is setting now, too soon
Behind the fringed limbs
Beyond the stolid hill
And this darkness will soon be
Even darker.

Who lights the candles now?

One step at a time,
Place your foot down.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Poem of the Day

Sara, inspired by Leslee's poem Deliquesce over at Qarrtsiluni, has started a Poem a Day blog based on the word of the day. Check out the responses to today's word conurbation. Here's my contribution, also posted in Poem a Day's comments:

The Old Stagecoach Route

Even when it's slanted and subtle, the light is simple and direct in this country.
The single-track road rounds the hills like a coiling, abandoned ribbon.
In the swale, seven dusty fruit trees have begun to drop their gifts.
The nearby foundation, stripped to its essence on the sunlit slope above,
Is home now to snakes. We know we'll find water nearby.

Reaching the top of the ridge, we stop for cheese, apple
Slices and a sip from the bottle and grin
At the saucy conurbation of crows in the snag
Across the draw, calling their cross challenges
To those who come too close.

The dog, who relentlessly hunts helicopters and magpies,
Stays close, knows this sauciness can easily cross
Into menace. And who wouldn't
Defend their own roost?

We turn down the slope, back toward town,
Packs laden with defenseless apples and plums for sauce,
Consciences almost clear.

Dear Ranger,

As you know,
the leaves are falling,
the forest floor is quite a mess,
the squirrels are stealing all the
smallest branches for their nests
and the fumes
from the mouse poop
are problematic ~
When are you going to
clean this place up?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A common language

I'm looking into your leaves, hanging in shades of green
Searching for the pattern that will unlock a mystery
How many times have I looked — I have my own patterns of questioning

Is it the way your leaves dance with the blues of the sky —
Is it the way their shadows caress the undulating roughness of your trunk —
Is it how many colors I can find in just one leaf—
Is it their whispers as they move with one another
And with the wind
And with the sun
And with my eyes

Where can I find a language understood by leaves and sky
And my own tired eyes

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


spinning out over rolling hills
the grasping straw stretches long in the wind
and coyote works his mischief along the road

under gathering thunderheads
the antelope pace, twitch their modest tails,
and mutter,
tut-tut, looks like rain

how soon will we be home?
ask the grains of sand
shifting on their dunes
how soon?

Monday, October 10, 2005

The little boat

out on the sagebrush sea
floating in blackness
under gauzy ribbons of stars
we stand amazed

one gold, one blue, shimmering
paired in perpetual celestial dance
too far for just our eyes to see
too far through the relentless black

holding still here on the undulating sands
in the unending darkness a tiny smudge of light
the porthole of our galaxy, from one into more
the farthest our eyes can see

so old, so cold, this light
we stand amazed

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Today I want to sing
Words streaming from my open mouth
Hinged from my tongue
Fluttering in the breeze

Today I want my song
To join hands with the meadowlark
That sits on the sage
And fly like ribbons of yellow
Over the yellowing hills

Today I want to have sung
Every ounce of song I have in my bones
Just for today
To feel the stretch, the pull of each song muscle
Chest heaving the air to the mouth's rounding


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Hold still.
Drift a little.
There will come a small movement, soft and silent, just below
what you can perceive —
a current.
And then the feeling of slight electricity
And the certainty of coursing a known path
Following in unseen footsteps that break
Trail ahead.

Hold still.
Place your foot inside each step one by one
Tread softly but with surety
Up the ephemeral creekbed
To the source.

Hold still.
Act as if.
Watch the stone break open blooming thick with fragrance
Watch the water trickle drop by drop gaining momentum
Listen for the song that flies out of its own accord

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


when grey fog covers the earth
what illuminates my path?

Monday, October 03, 2005


yesterday, by the fence sat three
furiously nibbling at the grass
pulling the last of summer's green
glancing briefly as we passed

beneath the hanging autumn leaves
in shades of ochre and blood-red,
they hide from winter's coming cold
and make themselves a cozy bed

they are not wild, it's clear to see,
black and white, no shades of grey,
and though we could not pick them up
they did not choose to run away

today we saw some cabbage leaves
lying loose upon the ground
but even gifts from strangers won't
suffice to keep these three around

they didn't run as we walked by
they do not know enough to fear
the hawk and coyote in the grove
will also look for dinner here