January has a voice of its own

Like the sound of Styrofoam peanuts

Rattling along edges of  streets lately turned iceseas.icespike

Odd deep resonating crunch of below zero crusted snow under foot

Can rime be colder than freezing?

Reverberations of shotguns echoing forever

Through  leafless valleys

Does time slow in winter?

Longwinded by

Sunless days and moonless nights.


It’s harder

Harder to be heard in the growing chill

Harder to feel in cold-numbed limbs

Achy in rapidly rising and falling barometric pressures


Decades old snow boots hurt when I march

New snow boots aren’t yet broken in.

Deep scars twinge from stiff leather trusses


Decades old teeth hurt when I eat

Because I clench my anguished incisors anxiously

Now must grind my meat in the food processor


It’s nothing new

Woes  of winter

Passage of time


January has a voice of its own

Solitary gives way to solidarity

We all groan alone

ZuZu’s Petals and FailSafe


I want to believe that I’ve made a mark.

I have altered lives .

Rescued some from icy waters.

Reached out. Enriched.

and, in turn, became Richer.

(we all do?)

But  does the past look eerily similar to present?

This old smoky hick town

Has the same sad skyline of soulless eyes

As the day I arrived

I, for one, feel nearly as poor.

Somewhere there has to be a fail safe.

A switch that stops the rich and powerful from

Tippling poor and downtrodden.

Surely Something stands between us and


I want to find  ZuZu’s Petals

Tucked from an eon past

into my pocket.

I want to go on believing

Good triumphs over evil.

One word

One action



That separates  FutureeVile

from past possibles.




It’s a Wonderful Life-ZuZu petals


Nailed it

I pick up nails when Yellowdog walks me.

Disregarding ice cemented by January,

Or scalding asphalt in July.

A dangerous occupation, bending to fish out a single

Rusty nail.

Dirty and foolish.

Vertigo spins  my horizon madly with simple efforts.

But I pick up nails all the same.

It’s a gift I give to you.

It’s all I have.

Seems so little to do for humankind

On a day when I feel so helpless

At a loss how to ensure the survival of kindness.

I hope.

It means each day there will be

One less…..

        Middle of nowhere

        Middle of night

        Middle of a dirt road

        Middle of a blizzard

Flat tire.

It seems so little

But it’s all I can do.


You will do it for me.


One rusted nail at a time.

Dia de Muertos mosquitoes

I slug ice water in the November heat.

Mosquitoes buzz and bite while

I scrape the last seed

From a jack o lantern

Words. I never thought I would put

in the same sentence

Pumpkin carving and skeeters.

Stale sulfur slices hot north gusts

As coal fired sugar beet mountains


Fuel trick or treaters to speed through

Candy routes. Sugar coated wrappers

On their way to landfills or open sea

Rusted leaves rattle sadly.

Ghosts Of trash bags. Past

Clinging to branches.

Withering spectral fingers reach

To the zillion plastic election signs waving

Weaving in wind. whispering to the sky

I’ll be with you soon.  soon

On the Day of the Dead

Corals cry

Ice weeps

And Oceans Die





L[ove] Simply

Check out my niece in action at home based care in Zambia through CSU

Brianna Sargent



American Ideals in Zambian Culture

I experienced some of the greatest bust moments while working on the medical project.  One of the first was in home based care when I visited an old woman in her home in Mwandi, one of the most remote neighborhoods in Livingstone.  We were told that She was blind and unable to walk so I met her inside.  (stay with one pronoun, I or we all the way through the paper) While visiting with her daughter, I saw a curtain slowly being pushed up.  My first impression was that a dog or distracted child was walking through the curtain but slowly a woman sitting cross legged appeared.  It displayed to me what a true lack of resources looks like.  Though the woman was joyful and made jokes, she was never able to leave her tiny and stifling home because she could not go…

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Tiny Tears


I see them now

secret Lines of demarcation
at morning’s  dark
You know, the part just before
The birds begin to sing
When farmers rise to milk cows
a city has yet to yawn
I see a thousand pictures
Across a 4 am brain

Drawn in years.

Sketched in frown
sanded sculptures- our stories
Sweep  our decades
Thumbprints on a negative
Permanent  damage
Visible from divide to digital.

Christmas. Easter. Birthday.

Wagons. Horses. Tricycles

Tiny Tears.

Things just don’t turn out the way we thought

They say a picture is worth a thousand words
If so, then therein lies
Iliad and Odyssey
Of scholars, sieges and sequels
Like those of old
Lions follow Lines

Though Demarcations visible,
Boundaries.  Lack.
You can see them. Still.
If you wish

Key. Hole.


By silver sliver of a

Valentine moon

I drop a golden key

Into prairie dog tunnel depths

For safekeeping

Quiet through a hundred winters

safeguarded through dog generations

Just in case

Just in case

I need an open door again.

I wonder.

Probably because I’m tired

Of endless wind

And gray skies.

If prairie dogs

Hang scarlet crepe curtains

Over bricked up windows


Color same as the shrapnel

Lodged just behind my eyes

from self destruct buttons


tunnel vision

Looks like

A cannon blown

Deep into the ground

filtered silt mixed with bones

On the shrapnel mound

I love to stay burrowed in at home

We’re alike then,

The dogs and I.

There’s a bright sadness

About so much


Like loving boats but not oceans.


I hope when comes the time

I can find the

Right door on which to knock.




Parthenon Frieze


Three Canvases in White

On a base of December blizzard

January slides in.

A mix. Of candy sugar, ice, and stardust.

A sculpture in raised relief.

And grief.

Although it’s hard to paint a story in Winter,

It’s possible

If one loves the delicate lacy bluish powder

Just as it is.

My tracks across vacant field

dusted with daily freezing fog.

Only brief is a gift of the sun here

All is white.

Street. Sky. Meadow. March.

All is quiet.

Hunched over oyster stew,

It’s easy to love the silence of


No barking dogs. No lawn mowers.

Outbound coal trains hushed in fog.

Endless soft swish of sugar underfoot.

Dog’s paws crusted. And painful.

There’s that.

My lungs and heart ache,

As frozen mix bites deep.

Most certainly I will pay later.

But for now. For an Iced Hour.

I will worship these three blank canvases of white.


u’ns’tsi A’da


I found them. Perfect red radishes

on a 60 degree December day

While sun shimmers with snow dogs.
Overhead, jets howl and echo in ice carved tunnels.

Harbingers of flurries. These radishes are the last.

If one wonders how I knew radishes were hiding

Under fall’s brittle remnants.
Leaves curled white by frost

I could hear them,

I guess.


They found me. Amid semis and decorations.
Letters that fluttered down on me like peculiar butterflies.

Symbols slipped from a  passing plane
Or maybe from a UFO?

I looked up to see if I might catch just one more

rippling from sky. But these were the last.

Oh, but I’ve see Them. Once before.
UFOs that is.

Not on an occluded starless night

When fog hides a myriad of fears.

No in heat of summer.
Their formations hovering motionless for a full

Wild Blue day over yonder Pawnee Buttes.

Searching, I thought they were, for smoke signals from lost tipis.

I hear a Chinook wind retreating now

I smell Crystal flakes swirling off Twin Peaks.

I can hear my ancestors singing near home  fires

Under a late December moon. Hearing the whispers of Others

 They would have called for me, then

a’da   hi’wi’ni   a’ga’li   u’lo’gi’lv

Woman Who Talks to Sun Clouds 


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