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.

News at Nine

Channel 9 news has this radar app for I
pad. it fast forwards through the past
Course there’s a button for the future.

It varies from day today but sometimes.
I can’t bear one button or the other.

Oh I have wished for such a button for the self.
I wonder which button I would fear the most?

Fall does this to me.
Makes the past come rushing across my vision.
Wondering how the vision will play out.

Must be a leftover college thing.
I sort of feel like I want to take a learning annex class

The Past-Graduate Level 561
A Comprehensive Historical Review of all errors and strategy covering five decades.
The Guessing Your Fortune and Weight- Level 321
How to stay out of trouble and be very rich.
or maybe?
Living in the Present 101 and 102
Just relax and wait for it. (I’ve already taken this and failed both sections)
News at 9.

Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin


In a summer of ongoing garden tragedies

Late frost, hail, cold, wind, floods, more hail, 

powdery mildew, tomato wilt, blight

I’d given up mostly

Only to wake up one morning

To find my tiny pumpkin plants

Had become a backyard entity

Threatening to grow over the fence

Into the garage

Across the drive

And I dreamed of dozens

Of perfectly shaped

Rounded orange pumpkins

I couldn’t see the pumpkins for the leaves

For I had confidence

In the hyperactive bees

Filling mornings with

A hum resounding off

The new garden gate,

Along the trellis

Dorrell made for me

Then I saw this


And that


My disappointment without bounds

And I hosed down the angry bees

Trapped new blossoms in plastic bags

To pollinate them myself


But nature will have her way

Beauty remains a perspective

We love that which is imperfect

That which we have fought the hardest for

Still I dream

I hope

Of just one

Round, reddish Orange

Fall jack o lantern

Haircut in two voces

imagejust a little
Are we exactly the same persons after haircuts?
A little off the top
imageIs the mirror image the same?
To balance things
Does the previous 3 months wash away like a fairy tale?
Make it even all around.image
Are we new selves?
Smooth it over.
Or is it like a photograph ?image
We want the outside to match our inside.
imageIs a part of us taken away?
The inside where We feel warm.
imageDo we enjoy surprise or suffer shock?
Soothe us with your comfortouch.
All I want Is all I want.

Cheats, hacks, hints, steals


I finally figured out how to cheat the system.
Pocket Fishdom and Raising Horses.
My Company
through a stifling night
I’ve played them
Until I developed a case of
iPad stiff neck,
i, eye strain.
letters smudge into double, then
Triple vision

I’m impatient
Waiting for the fish to hatch, then grow, then sell.

horses are always needing more grain
requiring frequent trips to vets and farriers
Eating away at rich reserves

There’s never enough money
In Fishdom or Horses
fish constantly need more seaweed to produce coins
horses tire faster between races,
More. More.

But I can fool the processor
Into giving me more scratch.
By tipping date and time settings
Forward a day, then another
Sort of like daylight savings time
On steroids.
Gold spills. Untouchable.
Along the screen.

It becomes less and less like fun
And reminds me more of work,
When days blur
Staring at green MSDOS computer screens
Trying to crunch numbers into a livable salary
Highway commutes muddy into
Annual performance evaluations

Finally, gritty details of duty
Bog down prospects of buoyancy
In Fool’s Paradise.

Odd how a game reflects life so accurately
So accurate it is
That I can’t even enjoy
The fantail African Butterfly
Nor the dappled Grey
I named IshudnobettahBynow

My bank busted
night passes at an agonizing pace
Sifting thru perception versus reality.

my settings, casually laughing, read
September 2017

Where did the time go?

Reign of hail

A rain of hail

It could happen
The spring rains certainly hard enough
The icy hail frequent enough
So intense
They pounded the garden flat
Left the clay soil
Reformed. Crusted over
Like a child’s try with a potters wheel.

So it happens.
Perhaps. Tapped too many times.
Running into ruin.
We tire of replanting.
Seeds again and again
Cutting away the ratted leaves.
Giving up is so much easier.
Let victorious spurge and chickweed
Claim their soils

I’ll not look
And call it the garden
I’ll not turn that way
At all

Mullin’ Mullein Take two

Rachel writes,

I have risen from near ghost

to near human

I ponder. She is right

as my finicky appetite

nibbles whole pickled garlic cloves

rolled in raw spinach and fresh snow peas

A garden I struggled to plant in March.

The peas in their pods so tiny

My fantail goldfish beg to me from their bowl.

I love to share with them

as they swallow the tiny bites whole.



It’s a far place I am
In my garden, tending, mullein
Far from where I wintered
on the plains as a ghost
stumbling through invisible snowbanks
now flooded banks

I feel rich. Eating radishes more or less washed
right from the bed.
Mullein does that.

Maybe because it, too
feels nameless with a hundred comforting names
Beggars Blanket
Velvet Ice
Oreille de Saint Cloud

Useless weed
with endless uses
heals cough, earache, stomachache
burns, wounds.

Wikipedia doesn’t include
vertigo or rue in its list

I am
float floating a bit, still.
in my horse tank
turned back yard pool
as the fog burns off slowly this chilly summer

Dad texts me.
once lost in fog,
one’s sense never seems the same
feeling as if the sun rises in the north
or the road twists when it should curve

for me, the sun will set in the south from now on
and my dress size settles there too
As the old ache in my belly from doctors orders
is soothed by fried chicken, ice cream, and potato chips
bacon on my organic spinach salad
spiked with mullin’

Rachel writes.
I have come back from
near ghost to human

Riches found
in Beggars Blanket
Welcome de Saint Cloud
Sloughing off the fog