prairie berry


I’m contemplating a bike ride
It’s 4:30 after the year’s first snowfall in Colorado.

Rather late in the day
And late in the year for both.
Still, as soon as the tiniest bit of
Asphalt finds the sun,
I slice through the final
Falling leaves on my
ion powered trike

It’s the only time I’m free of me
When I can feel the sky

My shadow casts long
Making me large as
sugar beet towers
I laugh at myself
Feeling so powerful

Fumbling in the growing chill
with my smart phone

To capture myself in the failing light
As a tornado of pelicans-
A swirling UFO
Torments a
Peregrine falcon.

Dipping low.
She seems to be searching for me

My wish for
Touch sensitive.
Gloves goes unheeded
The flock giggles its way south
Laughing at the falcon left behind
And I have no photographs to show for it.

prairie dogs have made a last
Fall cleaning.
bones of their long-dead
Brought to the surface
Outlined neatly
Like fossils or mummies.
Ribs aligned carefully
As if
Awaiting paleontology
Falcon is not interested in those long-dead

Perhaps it is their final wish
To be free,
finally feel sky.
Safe from her at last

Odd, I find these peculiarities interesting.
Prairie dogs honoring
By burying above ground.
Falcon missing my squeaking trike.

It’s what crazy people do in places like this
Where it snows 6 months of the year
And hails the remaining six

My battery is low.
And the sugar-
beat air is thick.
Falcon, feeling
leads me home free
In the growing dark.


Pandora lost

pandora fish

IMG_0609 - Copy

Just for fun,

Ginny swims in the cool Adriatic Sea off Croatia.

With her team of adventurers.

Aquatics are their creed.

Finding that it can be fun to be a little lost

On the other side of a shrinking earth.

(a place I had to search, since I’d never heard of it)

Croatia is rich with centuries of conquest, invasion, occupation.

Surrender, triumph.

She relives that as she swims for miles.

As She dives, determined,

into wind driven squalls,

in a fishless sea.

she wonders aloud to tempests,

‘Where have all your creatures gone?’

None swim beside tourist or immigrant.

Sealife pushed to brink of extinction

In a warming world.

Netted by need, greed, oil, war.

No pipefish, goby, blenny. No Pandora.

No cuttlefish but the intrepid SQUID.

Just beyond the Adriatic,

Current history finds another flood of migrants

Another tide of humanity,

Becoming a tsunami.

Drowning in turbulent religious fervor.

They flee, anointed by a baptism of terror.

Finding themselves lost

Under a massive surf of inhumanity

Brought to the brink of extinction.

In a cold, shrinking world

Simple it is,

Our desire for freedom.

To do as burns within

Some by choice, piety, or devotion

Others by destiny

Conviction Or captivity

Ginny photographs echoes of stone stockades

Man seems compelled to reprise The Wall.

Capturing tides behind one conquering barricade or other.

As she wonders when fish will return,

She finds how easily she

is One with the tempestuous sea.


Thanks to my Cowriters Ginny West and Lanny Page

Fortress in Croatia from 700 AD

Fortress in Croatia from 700 AD

7th Century Bastions in Croatia

7th Century Bastions in Croatia

the real reason pigs can’t fly

Did you know that pigs can never see the sky?
They’ve never known a sunrise,
Full moon, blood moon, shooting stars
All lost on pigs.

For even while lying on their sides
Caked in clay
They can never see the sky
They don’t know for certain that tomorrow
Is tonight’s sunset rimmed in
crimson and maroon smoke from far away wildfires

It’s a fault in the setting of their eyes
On too wide heads
They only know that there is sky
by its reflection in mucky water
So perhaps that’s why they don’t want so much
To fly

I’ve wondered about myself
How often
Do I look up to see the sky?
Except for the times
Floating on my mat in my tiny backyard baby pool
Searching for UFOs

I’ve flown but I didn’t care for it
Enough to ask for wings.

Perhaps we all decide choose
To live in our mud of choice
To turn
Even one eye
From simple truth of earth
To simple truth of stratosphere

How blue
Must be
The Skeye.


dentistry in Cozad


i worry.
intensifying caliber of events
a grimness which rarely materializes.
like dentist appointments and doctors visits.
Or I worry far more than the actual
event warrants.
Pre-living it over and over
until it has worn an anxiety ridden
groove in my already overwhelmed gray matter.

Lanny used to play in a band
Called The Esquires
Or alternately the  Cadillac Cowboys.
They played old country music

behind chicken wire stages
on sawdust floors

Scuffling dancers swung to

“Mac the Knife”
and “yur cheatin Hart”
“Six days on the road”

In Cozad, Nebraska
Over New Years Eve
He would play his hollow body Gibson Guitar
in the shadows
harmonizing with a heavy handed drummer,

And at 2 am wind his way back home through
a hundred miles of blizzard packed interstate.

He worried about New Years Eve
364 days of the year.
It was his first thought in the mornnig and
his last at night.
It ruined his summer sunsets and fall moonrises
because he could only see the sky
through the fog of a smokey bar
on a twenty below night

Sometimes, by  happenstance
at the last moment,
The New Years Eve gig would be cancelled.

Relief would surge through him for an hour
before he began to worry about next year.

so cozad became a verb in the house.
as you can guess, its meaning was to
worry excessively about future events
not quite sure if it may or may not occur.

apply liberally.
we worry about strange pains in our teeth and our feet.
diagnosis ourselves using Webmd.
fuss about upcoming conferences
at altitudes we can not bear.
people we may or may not see
while shopping at a local
we text each other firmly
“you are cozading”
we know. but we do it any way.

It’s far too easy to travel down a well worn default path.
So I write this for you
those of you who join me,
as I pace in the waiting room
of ______________________    (fill in your choice).

it’s 3 am
my car sliding on ice
New Years Eve revelers
weave and swerve all around.

I’m up. Next

When I Turned Two

We are constantly players in lotteries

whether we know it or not.
Genetics scramble our codes and markers

til we end up winners of
that odd rare disease or other.
Nameless faces in strangers’
Cars swerve oncoming into our lane.
New and improved this millennium,
our personal information,
numbers  to which we cling hover

in turbulent skies

One day, the cloud bursts.
The self, as I believed I was
rains down on another.
And they became me.
Buying us clothes, jewelry, smartphones.
While the Real me shrinks,
a fake me grows.
I visit places I’ve dreamed of ….California, Oregon.
places I’ve nightmared of ….
Endless hours of
phone trees,
foggy voices,
while I beg Fraudulent me to be found.

And blame.
I’m good at blaming myself.
Did I not shred my mail?
Burn my credit applications?
Do I shop too much online?
Turns out I’m a just a good American citizen.
I paid my federal income tax.
That’s when the cloud burst and I turned into

Luck is a peculiarly random animal.
On a forgotten page,
torn out of history
Abraham Lincoln’s son was saved from certain death
by John Wilkes Booth’s brother
from a runaway train in 1865.
The odd story gives me hope.

I wait awake.
Burning midnight adrenaline oil,
of which I have little reserve.
as I have always
foolishly vigilant against an invisible capricious flood
Listening to coal trains rumble in rain
across the timeless Pawnee Grasslands.
Waiting a return
reading of smoke signals
listening for hooves of pony express.

Under the Sea

Can fish tears be seen?
Do their salty drops add to the depth of waters?
Do they cry for those

who don’t show up for school?
Or Because the water is too cold?
Or too warm.
Do they weep from hunger?
Or loss?
Like mermaids
Do they dream of sandy shores?

I think under the sea
would actually be the molten core of lava
on which the earth rests
Perhaps that is why fish cry.

perhaps the ocean is tears. Tears

of the thousands and thousands


Under the Sea
Song by Alan Menken, Samuel E. Wright
The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else’s lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin’ for?

Can or Worms

I practice germaphobia, religiously

I don’t shake hands or hug.

I wear mask and gloves to the grocery

(much to the consternation of fellow shoppers)

yet,  I bow to pick aluminum cans from gutters.

this week, it’s all about night crawlers.

the net says they migrate in rain

Fragile. scooting across pebble and pavement

like the rest of us.

But they have yet to learn the art of dodging pitfalls.

i can’t bear to see them in gutters among oilslick

prestone puddles

no neck to lift to view a larger horizon.

they seem to be drowning in asphalt

these sacred beasts who bring life to soil.

i can relate

I’ve been there.

there is a yuck factor

as they wriggle back to life in my bare fingers

(cannot figure out how to do a proper worm rescue with gloves!)

not for long. I fling them to safety. Fast.

where they disappear rather quickly for an invertebrate.

they don’t seem to particularly care for grass blades.

No nod of thanks.

But I thought I heard the earth sigh

her sweet soughing.

but that’s an whole nuther

can or worms

mozart’s sons

How painful to be Wolfgang’s child
Musical Notes in blood
But never remembered as genius

Artisians select our preferred pain.
Penning out privatepoet biographies

some searching for just one chord
Painters Hunched over portfolios
Eyes seared by mineral.
Spirits. And oils
Fingers dyed like Easter eggs

in charcoals and azures

Some found. Some lost.
Compositions drifted over by dust

Maria wrote me
She once found an oval hollow
Of gray and white feathers
On a clump of spring’s greening grass
A red stained glass

So it must be
The dove falls
The peregrine soars

frying bacon

it’s too hot in Colorado this March

i spent most of the day slipping along pavement

on my motorized tricycle

wondering if the snow was already melted

on Long’s Peak and Twin Sisters.

i saw him by the auto parts store

a 100 year old farmer in blue bib overalls

in the surprisingly scalding noon sun

hunched over the engine of his matching ancient pickup

reminicent of my Nebraska uncles

with four giant pigs in the back bickering in straw.

it was a glorious blue sky,

first sunburn of the spring sort of day

85 degrees.

i started to worry about the hogs towards 2:00.

and the farmer at 3:00.

it wasn’t until sunset

That a rig from Wyoming with young oilmen

stopped to help him

Finally, then I asked what I could do.

“The kids are mad at me!” He laughed

“they need water, soon!”

i saw

listless animals. Breathing shallowly.

their eyes crusting from thirst.

I could think of no remedy 3 blocks from home

with my tiny water bottle.

I twisted and and mourned in my sleep

i worried about him rattling along the dirt roads

toward Yuma and Wray. No food or water.

as he and his precious cargo despaired

in a land of plenty.

solutions and could-haves poured through

The cool dark of myopen window

Rich with odors of feedlots

and abundant too-soon pollinating vetch.


imageI lose something,
Maybe two things everyday
One accidentally
One on purpose
My cell phone. My glasses. The remote. My cell phone

I find a thing everyday
Usually long long lost.
The garage door opener. My library card.

We are together
He and I
In a pushme
Pullyou struggle
Of energy over age
I hold tight against his
He tugs against harness.
He needs to feel the wind.

We find A single togetherness
patch of winter blue sky
A tiny window tossed open

Out in the mucky hay field.
He slips his collar.
I let him go on purpose
It’s easier than trying to
Waltz through boundless energy.

I find a little of my old self
To my surprise
My legs shaking from too many
Couch Hours spent watching movies

He’s made a find of his own
Bigger than a prairie dog

I can still sprint a little
Yelling and slinging my hickory stick
A bright red fox pretending to flee us
Then turning abruptly to protect her kits

He hears me finally
Above the din of primordial

I discover. I have lost him.
There’s a huge space among the three of us
Filled with feral and fear.
Closing now.

I find him among the tumble.
weeds And the Worst

I leave my lost cell Phone
Clicking and pinging
In the mud.
I’ll find it another day

Just a spoonful




I have found the summary of life. At least for mine.
When I say “found” I mean “stole”. Seems to me, every morning we wake up with a single spoonful of energy, determination, vigor, patience, courage, pain tolerance. (I used to think we had a glassful but that might be when we are young.)
It’s easy to get tripped up in the details of life, rationing a single slippery spoonful. (Mine is more like one of those ‘sporks’ with an egg yolk on it. I can’t hold on to it no matter what I try.) Depression, chronic fatigue, pain, allergies, undiagnosed illnesses, long icy highway commutes, really bad jobs, old age. Thorns slid under our bare feet. BAM! There goes Our spoonful for the day.

It’s hard to explain to anyone who has a full glass why our spoons are already empty at noon. Especially if those around you don’t speak ‘Spoonese’.

My Jack Russell terror doesn’t get it at all.
It’s sunset. We haven’t walked today.
From cold red tiles on the back porch, he cries for me


Sturm und Drang

There’s little romance in January with
below zero nights
stress of a quiet storm.

Holiday decorations smashed flat
frozen, up against houses
Til some epiphany of spring
no words rhyme in silent
prairie wind hangs in the air
a shadow putting a voice to paper
paints the field while bending the grass.
Each breath a grainy gasp like reeds with broken ribs.
The sound of tearing out a leaf and tossing it aside

With skies peculiar shade of a colorless bruise
And the 3 pm sunset haze,
The forecasters’ promise of 32° does not come,
As January turns.

The dog’s ruff grows over his collar
I can find it no more than my footing
On polished glass

Christmas snow still piled 3 feet deep
behind the feed and grain store
makes the odd sort of old joints squeak
even with steel studded boots
On crusted glacier drifts
alternating with soft powder
I plunge through every footfall
walking is precarious at best.

A Clumsy metaphor for life this is
The sound of each step further away from where we’ve been.

I’m colder inside than outside
warm hands, frozen heart.

frozen through.

And through.

Thanks to D.


Wind always weeps on the prairie.
Sounding much like
A lost kitten in tall grass .

This random winter is worsening
The wind screams and howls
Across miles of frozen tundra
Seems there will be no famous Colorado blue sky winter
No breaks in the clouds.
Wisps of flakes whip up every noontide.

Yellow Dog helps sweep the driveway
For the nth time.
fog and whispering from low cirrus
Suddenly turns to rage
screeching from the north
like an angry atonal twister
The 50 mile an hour
Wind either excites or disorients Yellow Dog
and he disappears into haze.

I replay a video over an over
Of me standing on the walk
Screaming into the unrelenting snow .
Auntie Em calling for Dorothy
In a Kansas quake
but my voice surely can’t be found
In ice and fired flakes.

I wasn’t wearing a coat or boots or glasses.
now I search in my Buffalo Robe coat
But the whole world looks to be
A sprinting Yellow And White Spotted Dog.

A deceptive oneness

he’s certain to know which way is home.
We walk together thousands of times each year.
Along the same four blocks.

The garage fills with snow.
while I am the weeping prairiesong
In a moment the empty drive suddenly drifted a foot
I hold brick wall for security

it’s an old-fashioned Prairie winter
I wonder how all those before us survived
without sidewalks.
Central heat, electric lights, snow tires.

white and white dog suddenly
emerges from nowhere
finding his way home by chorus or cadence.

he’s laughing.
After days of confinement
In the mud room
he’s had quite an outing.
while emptying cars
slide and slip
trying to find their own way home

Anaphoric. An expression which interpretation depends on the previous phrase.

Mustard and Catchup

We worry a lot around this time of year. We worry about food, when we have plenty. We worry about gifts, cards, sales and wrapping. We worry about money because we never seem to have enough, even without the added concern of holiday pressure.
My mom worries less these days about such materialistic trappings and more about her children’s health and spiritual needs. She thinks of a lifetime of sacrifices she made to provide for us in this life and the Next. So this short greeting goes out to her. To ease her mind and soul. Two simple quotes, I think will do just the trick.
I truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Matthew 17:20

And I can remember my confirmation bible verse Hebrews 13:5
Have perfect contentment in all things, for I say, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’
Trust me, Mom, We all have it all.
Merry Christmas
Cheryl Faye

Never the same

Poor Yellow Dog has never been the same
Since he was senselessly attacked this summer
By a wandering chow. Who chomped his back leg
Like an ear of corn. Yellow Dog never saw what hit him
Seems he blames me.
A day spent in the hospital felt like abandonment
Post Traumatic stress disorder
Returning from his puppy shelter rescue
His eyes did not see me for days
His ears closed to years spent training
Hand signals and whistles.

And then there were the pills
Dogs can’t use the slugabunchawater technique
They have to be cajoled, forced, shoved, pried
He learned the silent forebodings of pills
My rigid body language as I tried to do what was best for him
Ease pain. Bring rest.
In vain. He whimpered at the door like a lost child.
His canine mind searched for the cause of his dilemma

I guessed that people might be like this.
Never the same. After
The Wreck, The Baby. The Cancer. The Heart Attack.
Divorce. Onset. Beginning. The End.
Oh the loss. Loss. Loss. Loss of love.

And so it appears for Yellow Dog
As well as I can think like a dog.
He doesn’t remember the attack
Only the change in me.
My fear of losing him. Of being inadequate to solve pain
My own fears of his still sharp teeth
As I nervously shoved pills down his throat.
Long days without his customary walks and bike rides in the basket

He reads it all as loss.
It overwhelms his fuzzy head.
He forgets to test my blood sugars
To steady my own quirky imbalance

He cries when the leash touches his healed leg.
He screams in terror when caught up in his blanket.
When he bumps into the opened door.
He wants to fight now against the dogs in the alley
Raging against their chain links
He retraces over and over the site of his attack
He’s not letting this one go.

So, I guess, is our pattern, too.
Unless I read too much of me
As I smuggle his tablet into a slice of cheese
And he whines endlessly at the threshold.
I have to ask myself, he’s not the same as what exactly?

I decided, mostly he doesn’t laugh as much



Ahhhhooooooo Ungawa!
Lions got the Powa
Hear me? Ya. I say,
Ooooooooo Ungawa
~~~~~~~~~~~~1970s high school cheer

We talk funny these days
And by talk
I mean text
Abbreviations read like military code
syntax that makes English teachers grind
Their teeth
feeling like that grit on ripe purple grapes
If you forget to wash them

K. I c u @ 8?
No. B4!

Voice to text results
In long rambling
Confusing diatribes
Punctuation optional

Ttyl I off work now I no come prty my sines r kilt me

A comma now and again would help
But a full stop seems to be in the past

A sit down conversation, apparently,
Once a parlor art
Now, completed as we sit
Sidebyside in Starbucks
Eyes to the device
Swinging from wire to wire

Still humanity leaks through
Our ongoing feeble attempts
To communicate
We want so to understand
But faster. We haven’t time for a full disclosure

We learned to read again right through
The bizarre, the intangible, the illegible, the irritable
The. And other articles of speech
Apparently another casualty of digitalization

Gong bk 2 ck n
c y u no der
I no u no like dis Wthr

Universal Tarzan language
As he desperately ached to speak to any other being
Cried out as he swung to two vines too


(On my way!)

Winter gardening and redos

image image


Starting over is the hardest
Prairie nights dipping to 45 degrees
There’s no delaying it any more
I rip out not ripening tomatoes
I tear out offensive ornamental squash
That oughta been pumpkin pie

I hate the 6 months foolish waste of time and water
Trying to make food out of alkali clay
I am exhausted of gardening
The thrill is gone, gone, Gone.
Sometimes it’s just time to cut bait.
barely, I care enough, today
To open packets
Before I tamp the tiny living.

Most people think I’m crazy
Tilling the warm fall earth
Just a bit
To create a winter garden
I do feel a little crazy today
But i love the lush green of radish leaves
In winter. Plucking bright reds through rime.
No bugs. No weeds. No watering.

A victory against the odds.
radishes, cabbage, kohlrabi
Bok choy, lettuce, spinach, onions
fence with fragments of dead vines
Still clinging to the steel bars
That might or not keep the dogs from tearing
Throughout the deep dark warm soil
But I barely frown
As they plow thru rows
wild workhorses driven mad by flies
It won’t matter.
Dogs. Rabbits. Squirrels. Frost.
The Cruciferous
(Appropriately named, I think, during my delusions)
hardy seedlings will produce

It’s hardest against foolish dreams
(Rachel and I discuss again on her long drive from Denver to Snyder)
Like starting over every school year
All those teaching years.
In jails, institutions, group homes
Remembering new 100 names.
Fighting against the odds of a society
With its feet in absinthe clay haze

Never knowing if a teacher is the tiller,
The sower, the waterer, the harvester
Of those seeded pupils.
Or they too, ripped out before ripening
Fell crumbled, crumpled
Dry to dust in noonday suns

We start in new careers, towns, houses, cars
Looking for that sproutlike jolt
Of hopefilled adrenaline

These days we wake up
Staring over stacks of pills
That more or less keep us alive.
Seeding chemicals
In hopes of our own Indian summer harvest

It’s the hardest thing
Starting over and over

The strong sun,
Fall’s final blast
Brings burning germination
sprouts nested against newspaper
And remnants of my pool plastic
are up in 3 days

I feel ok again.
Starting over.

Harvest the moon


Let’s write a poem
Said charliedog and I
Let’s make it
So powerful
We harvest the brilliant moon
Sifted soft hues of
Faded summers
Rising falls

I have no pen nor paper
He mourned with
Pouted lip
Still swollen from his encounter
With a pit bull

And I whispered to furred ear
Write then on
Cry sea sky
crystal blueblack laced sky

We have it all


My brothers and sisters joked

When we were young
We all liked to brag
About a crazy thing we’d do
When we hit our milestone
Buy an orange Plymouth

Fall in love

21… marry
30….finish college, again
40…river raft down a raging Colorado

50…pierce, tattoo, dye

Now 60
We have it all

We are young, yet old.
We hate to drive the cars we strove for in our teens.
We have a dozen pairs of glasses
We have bifocals, trifocals.
Still, vision muddled

Noise doesn’t bother us so much
We’ve lost most of our hearing
From the pounding 60’s music

We feel rich even if we are poor.

We are parents, grandparents ..
Now we are our parents’ parents.

We are scared. we are brave.
We are lonely. We are loved.
We are alone. We are crowded.
We are sure we are confused.
We have it all.