Month: May 2012


Rachel stops by
As I’m popping biscuits
In the oven for supper.

While they rise and bake
Their scent fills the house.
I’m sure she can smell them.

We talk poetry, bluesky art,
Books in progress.

It’s getting hot in the sunroom.
My sweaty feet are squirming under the table.
I hesitate. I hedge.
Her slender, fit, lithe frame
Belies a hearty appetite.
She might not approve of such a meal.
I have to check the biscuits
But fear she will decry
My dinner choice.

“I am making biscuits and gravy for supper”?
it’s a confession not a statement
For she lives in a garden of herbs
She won’t eat chicken soup from a can.
Except for the week when she
Had her wisdom teeth out.

“Heck, ya! I’ll eat biscuits and gravy
I’m from Illinois!
I still say shucks and warsh!”

happily with three at the table.
she and Lan munch
fluffy biscuits and savory gravy.
And make yummy sounds.

My placemat is empty
Rice cakes just won’t work tonight
Sometimes nothing is better than an imitation.
The house is brimming with the sense memory
Of pancakes with Karo syrup,
powdered doughnuts, peanut butter sandwiches
French Toast, toasted cheese.

These would bring fire upon my body
Which now reads grains as poison.

So I stare out the picture windows
at the rock garden where the
cooling sunset paints the Snapdragons.
instead of red and white,
I see the petals
creamy, buttery, tangerine, orange
cherries and burgundy.

now THOSE I can eat.
but I hold an odd residual fear
Of their funny growling faces.

Even the dog barks at them
When I show him how Snapdragons can talk.

it’s a beautiful evening.
a gift to eat with friends.
all of us feeling our oats.

As is often true.
My plate is empty.

but my life,

cry, Wolf.

We’ve managed to raise a generation of stunted screaming kids. We taught them well with our Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Beatles screeches. One rarely hears the discrete giggle of nine year old girls or the solid laugh of teens together who aren’t looking at texts on their iPhones. The mad metal rock scream has replaced laughter and the Patty Cake nursery rhyme.

Oh, we were warned weren’t we? By our parents who barreled out into the yard and hollered “Don’t you ever scream like that again unless you mean it! That’s Crying Wolf, you know. Next time, no one will come when you really need help!”

So our children practice hate and fear for hours every day on American Idol, True Blood, Twilight and Mutant Kombat. The way we used to practice our chants:
Red rover, red rover, send ….
Here we go round the mulberry bush.
We Like Ike!
Heyyyyyy batttah, battttah! SWING!
Flower Power.
Give Peace a chance.
Make love, not war.

No, we have taught them well. Playgrounds, parks, pools and discount stores are filled with children’s shrill petulant and bellicose behavior without the words they need to express the true nature of distress.
Just brats, I had figured, for about 20 years as old age filters into my pained ears.

Then, I began to wonder about a diet of violence and danger we’ve fed them. Constant fears of death from The Other Races, asteroid bombardment, global warming, Y2K, ice caps melting, Mayan Calendar Apocalypse 2012, national deficit, Vampires, shoe bombers, brain tumors from cell phones.

I wondered how to teach a new mantra to a generation to help them rise over our fears. Give them the words to replace the endless screams. I dream of hearing kids calling out to each other or to us:
Ollie, Ollie, oxen free.
Come out and play with me,
Climb up my apple tree,
Slide down my rainbow,
And we’ll be jolly friends,
Forever more, more

I wondered if they are screaming, weary of the omens force fed them by the hour from every media. Perhaps they are crying because they are repeatedly told the Wolf is at the door. They can see it but know they have screamed too loud and too often. Perhaps, no one will come.


Ah, I know this man whose arms
Always ache as if  empty,
And when so,
Cause his eyes 
To stare far into
The bottom of a glass.

He looks at all his memories.
As they stab at him,
Like the warriors
Of Gulliver’s travails.
And the ropes
Seem rather strong.
For the moment.

Many times.”
Says he,
” I’m pretty 
I’ve written all 
The words
That I 
I know no more rhymes
Or stories.
Twists of irony or fate.”

As he stares at the ice
Faster now,
In the evening heat.

to scale

The Aspen is a fine
Bit of tree
Particularly the
Populus tremuloides

The Quaking Aspen
Truly a plant meant
For only a single climate
Zone and soil
Along high mountain
Next to its acid producing
Symbiotic counterpart
blue spruce.

Oh, it chokes its way
here on the plains.
Surviving a decade or so.

Most times
Its bright white bark
With the disease of
parasitic scale.

Lonely without the
Spruce and pine
To hold its roots
In the mucky clay
Or sweeping sands,
A single
Fells it
Likely on house
Or expensive car.

So it’s said
Does a tree falling
In abandoned woods
Make a sound?
They weep
And weep long.

the maker

as she dangled
her legs from
the padded stool
she told me
she found god
i personally hadn’t known
He’d gone, so much
as forgotten.
had she felt The Rescuer?
leading him back
past milk cartons
or pictured posters
on phone poles,
“have you seen My Son?”

perhaps it’s so long
between miracles
none could recognize

i wondered how she knew for sure.
“oh, he’s left his brand, his mark.
and it was something in the eyes,
just something about the eyes.”
she oft repeated.

i had a rebuttal fully planned.

she slipped a little lower
as she sipped the last
off the ice of
her half glass of
Maker’s Mark.

air apparent

I need to hear more music
But I’m a dissonant chord
On an odd instrument
I fret finding the other musicians
I’m possibly airrogant.
others offer to
Play along
But I’m high strung.

Frost, Wilde, Woolf, Dickinson
Did their best work while
Truly lost.
I wonder if one can be
An atmosphere of GPS
Electronic leashes
So while I wait
I atrophy

Butterflies in My Stomach

Lie to Me.
tell me, then
Love is less
Moth to Flame.
Colored in colours
reborn in sun
clinging late to Lilacs
flitting into
scarlet Sunset.

don’t tell me
love is akin to
miller moths
fly maddeningly
elusive and intrusive.
then suddenly silent on
Morning’s window sill.

I won’t believe
Love is like that
Nor life.
nervous now.
a choice.
I hold the
Dark dustywings in
My palm a moment
Contemplating how
Is it
One lives every event
Of an entire life
In a single day?

Open the door
and in waning hour
let it flutter
Toward hazy clouds
the once in a lifetime
superfull moon.

Miles of Sky

no pictures please

Charlie on the runway

Too shy
To pose this cloudy day
Miles, the cat,
Still sleeps
In his loft
Inside the garage.
Outdoor cage
Just a foot or two away
Space for him
To roam
Without annoying the neighbors
And the migrating
Song birds.

He has fallen in love
With his kennel.
Used since he was a kitten.
A place where he
Seeks refuge
And solitude.
For years,
His cage included
A tightly wired top
Coyotes out. Cats in.

So sure is he
That the top
Still exists
That he no longer even attempts
To leap out.
or checks to see if the cage is complete.
Content, he is, with this view
Of the sky.
Like stories of elephants
Trained in chains
But held by strings.
He’s contentedly missing
So much,
Lawn. Tree. Sky. Sea.
Locked into his image
Of himself
In chainlink.

Miles mirrors me.