Tuesday, November 29, 2005


the sky is empty
no redtailed hawk to light it
with summer's gold heat

the finch is silent
winter wind steals through the wood
over the dry creek

earth looks for rain or
bits of dry snow drifting down
it waits open-mouthed

I'm headed out of town and offline for a couple days, back at the end of the week.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Blue hypnotic fragment

alone in the middle of the room
focus drawn close
body overtaken by rhythm
moving in a new language of pulsation
consumed by throb and motion
raw gesture

a sheen of quiet sexuality rising
swinging hair
her tilting expression of pleasure
those hips rolling incessantly
in spellbinding self-seduction

the scrawl of sax riff across
a relentlessly sinuous bass line
with high hat punctuation
charges her torso, legs and arms
hands on hips
thick hair swaying

she glances up
face lit
by an inner spotlight
hips loosened by liquor
a flowing of limbs across spilled music

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I'll be pretty scarce over the holiday weekend. I'm looking forward to gratefully indulging in friendship, love, fine food, lots of sleep and long walks.

Baking pies with pumpkin and pecans, making my favorite cranberry sauce, and some dish of rooty origin (yet to be determined, yes, I know, I'd better decide soon).

Playing with the dog, reading with my child, reading on my own, seeing some sun — enough of this fog!

Playing music and singing.

Sleeping in (did I mention that?).

And maybe I'll get around to writing a poem. Or maybe not.

My great appreciation to those of you who keep me company here and elsewhere in webland. I'll see you next week.

"Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all."

— Anne Lamott

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Retail maelstrom

products flying off the shelves
heaped and overflowing wire carts
wheels crooked and out of line
dragging bits of caught string
crowded aisles men and women
sweating in their winter coats
children crying uncomfortably
wanting drinks or Elmo or a nap
lines of customers backed up
shuffling impatiently or worse
lobbing insults and grim looks
elbowing for place among the carts
cash register tape flying out
landing in cascading spiraling pools
of white paper tinged purple with ink
plastic packaging and plastic bags
hanging heavy and cutting into fingers
slow moving hordes shouldering
through electronically surveyed doorways
out into the sudden brisk winter air
out into sun setting rosy hued over pavement
over rows and rows of cars
embraced by the bare black arms
of a small tree
a single star
shines flawless

Inspired by Sara and written for the word of the day, maelstrom, both at Poem of the Day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Green shoots

from your lambent gaze spring green things
scattered light glancing from the patter of your
dancing feet across the wooden kitchen floor
whistling tunelessly and spinning and smiling
you light our hearth with your soul

young yet, your bones grow long and easy,
stretching upward day by day toward the light
reaching eagerly for stars or the highest branches
laughing at the raven's fearsome caustic cries
the only door you open is to love

bone of my bone, blood of my blood,
it is bright spring that you brought with you,
however brief and out of season, with laughing
and glimmering green and shifting hope
and all manner of light to illumine our lives

Written for the word of the day (um, the other other day),
lambent, at Poem of the Day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

An owl's feather:

"The key then is to find your own mountain, otherwise you will be competing with people who are not even in your event, and running up against the 'shoulds' and 'oughts' of that world, and the inevitable frustration and depression and feelings of failure. A person can be complete or incomplete, but one thing is sure; he cannot be someone else."

— George Sheehan, MD

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Japanese maple
Still drooping rubicund leaves
Rich in slanting light

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Here's to Patry!
May your dream come true.

Man walking in rain

Through the window I watch —
His hair plastered darkly above his thoughts
Rivulets running like secrets
Down through his dark beard
In this pouring rain
His brown coat flaps unbound
Blue sneakers soaked
The words in the book
He clutches to his side
Must be swimming
Rain-sodden, leaking

Here, at the window,
Is where I watched fire ravage the orchard
Dog barking, white swing under the apple tree
Red flames flickering beyond wavering glass

Here, at the window,
Is where I watched police sweep shards
Shiny glass strewn across inky pavement
Sirens wailing late into far air

Here, at the window,
Is where I watched a squirrel grow still
Fast in the dog's jaw
Flailed over the sill of death

May be those leaking words
Are the ones the man is shouting
As he marches down the sidewalk
Yelling into the wind and rain —
Words I can't distinguish through the pane
Spattered with black drops
Moments later, I am left standing
In a puddle of wordless regrets

Drawing found at ssa.gov.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Chilly morning

The ebullient kettle is eager for tea
And so am I
This slow, dry morning

The remaining leaves lap
Against the foundation
In the irritable wind

Sit with me like a deep breath
Bring a biscuit or two
And we'll catch up on news

No small talk, please,
I want to know
About your recent dreams

Look how the steam rises
And dances for us
Lifting the veil

In years we have changed little
I remember tea in your mother's dark kitchen
Drinking poetry with honey from green glass

Now we rest our elbows on the cloth
You a wrinkled raisin
Me a wrinkled cashew

As the days hitch up their skirts
For the numbing slog
Through winter's icy waters

I look for extra warmth
Burrowed in a velvet scarf
Or your hazel eyes

The sun just popped free of clouds
This could be any moment
But I'm dreaming this one, with you

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

Love song for the earth

In fern leaves' whorl about a stem,
or rainbow's elegant diadem,
In mud's apiarian six-fold crack,
or lightning's arrow through the black,
here, too, among the atoms' throng —
is rushing, rocking riff and song!
From sky to earth, without, within,
we move and shout, we bump and grin!

The blue whale's oceanic boom,
a song too bass for untuned ears,
The fieldmouse's tiny tremolo,
a tender lilt too high to hear,
Yet neither song's too far a cry
From rambler gambler radio strains
in whiskey muddied frequencies
that sing of broken hearts and trains

Sing sweet the redwing's oak-a-lee,
the robin's call for vernal green,
the song that snakes a spinal cord
and wakes the sleeping ovaries,
entrancing, belly-dancing codes
Of spiraling DNA melody,
A song to spawn a baby's birth —
relentless, joyful euphony!

Sing a song of the radiant earth,
Of how a star speaks to a ripple
See how the language of the spheres
dangles a daring participle,
In unfinished sentences it shines
And moves through every thing,
A ubiquitous, ecstatic ululation
of life and love — oh, dance and sing!

Friday, November 11, 2005

An owl's feather:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is
translated through you into action, and because there is only one of
you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it
will never exist through any other medium and will be lost."

— Martha Graham

Thursday, November 10, 2005

About this blog

With thanks to Dave, Jean, Leslee and others for all the questions and discussions. And thanks to all of you for your feedback and support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

I don't listen to country music much, not generally my cup of tea. But there's one old song by Marvin Rainwater that wormed its way into my heart years ago — old music, what some call "rough country" — called Gonna Find Me A Bluebird. My heart hain't been broken, but I do have a dream to do with writing. Besides, a Mountain Bluebird is a gorgeous thing, a jewel on wings, and I'm always on the lookout for one of those.

This blog is a little experiment to do with that dream. It's a daily writing practice. The poems I post here are new and I don't look back. That's hard for me, but I'm doing it to shake loose some self-imposed constrictions. Writing this way compromises quality, but accomplishes other things that are more important to me right now.

I have not always written this prolifically. Heck, I haven't always written. I spent years paralyzed by an internal critic. I spent years avoiding many things that make me feel alive, trying to pretend I was someone else. Call me a late bloomer. I finally realized I might as well spend what remains of my lifetime, alive. Might just see if I can shake a feather.

Blogging my writing is a means to make myself accountable for getting it done, and to share a bit with others thereby making it a less lonesome activity. My modest hope is a few can enjoy the little packages I put on my doorstep, and I can learn to write better — and, if I'm lucky, find me a bluebird.

Updated 1/11/06.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Remembering that moment

for Tamarika

here among river rounded stones
on moss graced mud
a little jewel rests in a pool of light

hungry for life
she opens herself
shivering in newness
shimmering in wetness
glimmering with new hope
reaching for the day
strong and alive

the stories she could tell
of her darkened days

along the river path
hidden in the shadows
twisted and bound in thread
of their own under the leaves
other cocoons wait
for that moment
when a twig will snap
under the weight of spirit

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The onion

The onion waits there on the counter
I don't particularly want to peel it
But what is a meal without the depth of an onion
And a little garlic?

Under its crisp amber outer jacket,
The next layer is still part paper, part digestible,
Beneath that is the first full layer of
Wholly pregnant, pungent succulence

Beyond each convex sheet the membrane clings
And corked below the membrane the gas
That springs up, startling tears from my eyes
There are various methods for avoiding this

A piece of bread, clenched between the teeth,
Or potato, turning the head away,
Wearing rose-colored glasses,
In the end

The layers still wait to be pulled back to reach —
I remind myself — the increasingly sweet, juicy interior
Layer by layer, tear by tear, there is a reward
I think I've avoided this onion all my life

Onion image found at UCLA.

Monday, November 07, 2005

A reading

Most propitious, she would announce,
Reading the bitter tea leaves
Nestled in the bottom of my pot.

She read books of poems,
The drawings of her father's friend,
The daily newsprint smudges.

She read the horse's whinnies,
The dog's breathing,
The egg as it rested on the straw.

She read the mud on the hill,
The wind as it ran through the treetops,
The slant of coming rain.

She read the burr in her lover's voice,
The timing of his arrival,
The trajectories of his hands.

She did not read the message her ovaries
Wrote to her uterus,
Telegraphing its urgencies,

Tapping out surgical scissors,
A reverberation through the inner
Libraries of her body.

The haze of anesthesia,
The sudden flash of silver,
The tug of thread went unread.

Now, she looks at the rivulet
Of scar left behind, ebbing from red to white
And smiles. Propitious, she announces.

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

Friday, November 04, 2005


On an oak board the dappled apples sit
Their skins tight and composed
Juices secret

The honest knife lies cradled nearby
By warp and weft of yellow cloth
A weave of light against the blade

And here comes the opinionated cheese
Warm and willful, mottled and mouldy,
Emanating the air of ripened sage

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

An owl's feather:

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

— Harold Whitman

Thursday, November 03, 2005

November Winds

These go without saying —
I will breath by breath unravel each night
the worries I knit up during the day
I will step by step move closer each day
to the death I choose not to face
I will heartbeat by heartbeat continue to love
you and the moon

— Let us drop all words
Let us speak with no words
Let us let the air speak for us

I face the beginning of the night
a darkness that frightens me
Why I don't remember that
I will come through this
forged a little steelier
and softened, roughened
and smoothed by the winds
of the dark nights
the drowse of the soul in
which the words are written
quiet and hard to hear
in which the dim sun still
burns, without a shine
but burns on

Don't say a word
Speak to me
Stand here
Help me remember
to breathe

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

All three

when she was three
she sold ice cream
which flavor do you want
chocolate? strawberry? or poetry?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


looking out over the spaces between rumpled blue ridges
the high, thin air like a soft cloth freshly shaken out across a table
spaces that grow deeper and more resonant in this uncomplicated light
while shadows nestle and soften themselves in their lengthening curves

a silhouetted hawk rises silent on circling currents
watching for the small movement of a tasty morsel darting
between the shade of sparse grasses and tumbled stones
as sunlight catches the hunched white shoulders of granite

the sound of a creek threads through mossy rocks
tumbling down cold and light, a susurrant green song
answered by unseen birds in the lichen-strewn pines
and crickets tucked in niches of a warm thicket

gold and soft red delicate blushes hang where
the horizon dips and swings under the weight of the sun's sinking
subtle tints that cling to the tip of a brushstroke of cloud
their colors shifting with the unhurried descent

— and the sun is gone, the last wash of color seen
lingering on the upper lip of granite
the final breath of rosy-gold
before the night sings

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