Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Journey of Love

“Most people are so worried about death, they don't live. That was the gift that your daughter gave to you.”Abraham-hicksSydney, Australia workshop14/12/08

When I saw the above Abraham-Hicks quote, although it was not said to me, I knew it was meant for me. The link below will take you to the story, in poems, of my daughter and I and our growth through the years after her death. She died of Reye's Syndrome in 1974.

I've been asked recently by the National Reye's Syndrome Foundation, for permission to publish the prologue to Michelle's book , in a book on the history of the foundation. They have been instrumental in getting out the word about the disease and funding for research in trying to find a cure. I am honored and blessed to be asked to share. I know Michelle is too.

At the FanStory site you don't have to review to look at the next chapter, just click on the link. - Looking For You, Finding Me by Martie

Shared via AddThis


Come with me into the evening now
as the horizon absorbs the pewter sky
and turns it dusky
for the children are blowing horns
and their voices are glee tuned

Across the sloping grass
they wave their bright balloons
with whispers and giggle
as their scooters sweep the street
and scatter the tiny blossoms
of the golden rain tree

They take me into their hello
their eyes shaded for a moment
as I try to share their joy with them

They turn down the moment with a shrug

Fall has not caught the air yet
and summer’s boys still sit on curbs
long into the evening waiting
waiting for the growing to be over
and complete to happen

I could tell them that I wait too
but they would not understand yet

I sit with them just the same
across the street on my own curb
still growing

From a Jar of Air

Marbles and bells
time worn

Listen and feel
how they travel along the crease
to iron the fabric left by hunger
by war and irreverence

Magic to air and land
dirty and dented hope
tumbled and warn
with tint of frolic and peace

Gather a treasure
from one small boy’s pocket
then listen any Sunday

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vernal Stream

Finally, there were no more telephone lines
stretching across the blue, whipped cream sky.
The blacktop had become gravel long ago,
and the lost trees, the ones that perfumed the air
and directed the wind only minutes ago, were gone
somewhere beyond the brown rolling hill's soft, belying appearance.

I was going to write a vernal stream
onto the hot barren dirt,
for I had passed it on the way here,
knew the ripe orange blossom of its proof
and the grasses course green overture,
as if I were the damp, listening wind.

The endless seeming road was ahead and behind me
as I stood with the sun,
wanting to dig barefooted into the dust and rock
until I found what I knew
would quench my thirst.

But instead, I found that I wasn't thirsty.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lay Me Down Gently

Lay me down gently;
I am worn smooth.
A hand can slide across my skin
and not be aware of the striations
from time's window wrapped there.

The umber of my hair
is like shade on sunlight,
and silk to the finger's touch;
slipping through the weave
leaves a song
that passes the bleeding ache of need,
not noticing the cusp of time
in balance there.

I am singing again with the youth
of loud exuberance
and my opera pleases me.
Light the window of my expression
and feel me scratch you with my fingernails
filled with dirt ... damp and determined.

Where are my wings then?
High and mighty there is a place
long past the sky or any crazy bird;
it flies with colors that have no words
and doesn't need explanation.
One day I will know the way there.

Come to me in the twilight,
as the sky descends into the warm earth
and the last flying bat snaps the smallest wing.
Lie down in the tall grass and listen.

The crickets will be stopped
by our rustling breath's loud whirr.

Catch my mouth as you exhale
and lick my fragile lower lip to still the quiver.
Lay me down gently.

The Slipping of Summer

Air moves slowly through the open door

then begs the corner of my eye to watch

as a small thread from a spider's web

turns into a gold chain even as I look away

feeling like I can't bear to know

how fragile this one thing is

and how carelessly it can be destroyed

But I have already seen it

connecting the wooden door frame to the bookcase

where in one corner a book is wrapped up in patient silk

sewn up so tight lace fingers of it

hold its pages in place

I see a fluff of feather there

caught fast by the delicate strings

cast across the air and taken by the sun

like a piece of art holding mighty

a drift from a molting summer bird

I watch a hammock swing

macraméd and filled gracefully with wind

then set on fire with sunlight

and I am captured in the whim

that it is marking a path to the place of bare feet

and the sound of summer's children in the yard

gone too soon and replaced with slamming car doors

and crows quarreling in the shadows of morning

How slowly air moves into the voices of the trees

over my shoulder I sense time moving

made from the slipping of summer even as I turn

wanting to catch the first squeal from a cool-down sprinkler's child

and only find the sound of leaves

Searching for the Wand

I see the open door, come two, come four,
the dry dirt holds its tender cover
where petals all color and blushful
dot the floor.

Thatched with muscle from the pine,
I pull the plug on holding back
and cuddle up within me,
a tree so high
my sky is colored green,
and under me a bed too soft to lay my head
is for dancing instead.

(Dare I ignite the muffled laughter
of the critters all scurry run beneath me?
After all, I’m standing on their pine needle rafters.)

One after another day, (should I weep?)
as the fabric not tatted falls around my feet?

No downpour from this leak
can awaken youth;
yet, I see another truth.

Ardor in blood is born
and I am torn; each piece must consider
how the wind sweeps the needle’s path
onto a canvas without brush or paint,
knowing that nothing lasts….or does it?

Something wild and wet in loving
can be made fertile again by mulching;
so, to faint upon a ground so considerate
merits knowing who held the wand
that wonder made it
and also tracked the lines across my face
and with one finger traced the fragile lace.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For my Father


My father was a writer before I was born. I can picture his dark head leaning over paper, his long tapered fingers holding a pen. I’m sure he sat at the yellow Formica kitchen table, while my mother hummed at the kitchen stove, the smell of meatloaf around him. He wrote of a war that he never saw except in his imagination; story after story about brave men, men who were like him. His hazel eyes dreamed to life a reality that was published in magazines called War Stories, but his personal war was inside. I know now that he wandered away from his family of English Professors, took the road around the school where diplomas are carried ... yet, he was one of the smartest men I’ve known. He fell up and down a bipolar ladder before there was a word for it except crazy. What I remember is asking him for words, to say what was needed in my growing up paper essay. He had them, and gave them to me mixed with his love. Thank you Vincent Clark for my muse, and for throwing me in the air and catching me with your love of words.

Sweet Pea

I was his sweet pea even then,
after the slamming door
the scream within my pillow,
the radio’s love
where I took a breath of dying.

He gave me that in his waiting,
listening as my mirror broke.
My tendrils slide beneath the door trying to find the sun, around and about, folding and folded, and still I climb the whim of his shoulder moving toward the light of him.

See that curl of hair on forehead under the jaunt of cap, grinning, yes, and leaning into the sun with a tease of freckles? That's my dad. He could write a minute if you asked him, could tell you carefully facts of newsprint and time with his face somber and his long fingers wrapped around the thought.

Stories were in him, some fashioned by the brotherhood of war and some by humor. His small quips were published in The Saturday Evening Post. I didn’t know then to be proud.

"Ships were always landing in pairs," he wrote, on the yellow paper that falls apart now and drops pieces of time on the hardwood floor. An envelope tucked inside the l932 book called, War Aces, requests three dollars for a doctor’s visit.
The address is one that tells me that he lived before I knew him, before I was his sweet pea, he lived this piece of time without me.
I realize today, that I have lived even more time, without him.

Cave Filled

Across the curve of southern coast
eroded time has left a mark
in caves that centuries have birthed
from rise and fall of breathing earth

Yet there I touch the little child
who only yesterday was caught
barefoot in clear water's troth
that families with children sought

She scrambled up the cliff just now
surrounded by the scent of sea
and watched the sea lion’s lazy lay
drenched by salt and sea and day
In that cave of which I spoke

some words engraved on rocks I saw
as timeless as the wind blown tree
and ageless as serenity
There carved boldly in the stone
etched with my breathless watch of youth
my father’s name right next to mine
now fifty years since that dear time

So I filled my heart with memory
that time can’t take nor days erase
and I swear I heard the echo still
my father’s love the cave did fill


Willing to Take on Dragons

Some memories are the color of your eyes
in others I feel the rough side of your face
against the soft paper of me
your cheek like sand

You understood my bare feet
even though you were not the one
the one who applied sunscreen
or combed out the snarls

Apart you played a part

listening with your earphones cocked
to the symphony that built walls
keeping your monotone safe
where there was no need to sell anything

I know now
that you were willing to take on dragons
when I didn’t even know you had a weapon


Picture This
All torn up the grass is bent
and heavy with the sweet smell sent
by something love that passes time
like crickets singing on a line

It moves across dimension’s map
the door gets opened just like that
The old push lawnmower had a song
sleeves rolled up to half past long

And a hat let's not forget the squint
those fine lines turning up by flint
from touch of sun so many times lit
that it wore you or you wore it

The sparkler is still in the street
put on your shoes you’ll burn your feet
can here it echo past the end
where the garden hose and sunburn blend

‘til nine o’clock and a sound like thunder
when horizons fill with the same old wonder


My Very Only (My daughter Michelle loved her grandpa!)

My very only she called you
just a bit of girl stretched along arm of recliner
next to your snoring self

A presence felt along your left side
like sight to the cataracts of your eyes
full of whim and crinkled questions

Read to me she told the paper
folded over your face she took a peek
under the largest letter (it was an M)

My name starts with that she whispered
Grandpa listen listen the paper is loud
it will wake you if you move don’t move

Only while you’re sleeping could you
cross your legs
let me sit on your foot
be my horse now please I’ll hold your knee
make that sound the clop clop with you tongue
sing me the song that horses strum
I’ll close my eyes and we will be
just us two and the prairie

They ride the clouds to the far beyond
on the horse of that recliner wings are drawn

A Certain Degree of Attitude

Here I go again on that wind of road
the one with the precipice on one side
and the sharp rocks on the other

you know the one

where continuing on takes courage
and a certain degree of attitude

So I close my eyes
and I remember how my father taught me
to cross a river on the rocks

You just do it
like you were not in danger
of tumbling into a raging current

You do it with a meadow of grass below you
and your father’s smile


 I Drink in the Light of You

I am remembering the driveway
where the sky burned my eyes,
and your tapered long fingers
that enclosed me in a twirl,
up into the fragrant blue
in delicious giggles.
Your hair and my fingers
smelled like sunshine,
our black curls shined
tight and delightfully alike.

The skin on your freckled brown arm,
colored by the sun and sea,
so caught you
that I listened for waves
in your breath
and could feel my bare feet
nestled in the quick of sand
that oozed with wiggling
in the cement of your love.

I was summered in your knowledge
of the ocean’s magic swirl
and I was drenched and beached
with the sureness of your hand,
though thrashed and twirled
against a might that twisted me
and tried to loose this grip
cemented there by your dear heart,
I tasting with salty squeal
so much of your heart’s delight
that it ignited my ocean lust.

You were like the tide,
your ebb sparkled in green eyes
loving this squirmy blur of girl
and then your flow
was the storm and sail
where my fathoming was drowned.

You have been lost
to this woman who ponders
whether the birds sing
on dark and rain-swept days,
‘til now
when I became full of you
and the memory was so sweet
that I could almost smell
your sun drenched hair
flowing across the bay tree,
delicate and sure as love.

I  hear your laughter now,
as the hummingbird’s twit
in delightful pleasure
at the profusion of nectar
in this gold and blue day
that milks the sky,
and is infused
with your spirit
as I drink in the light of you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Earth's Quiet Scream

How do you draw inside the sky?
Is there a color, whisper, or wing
of energy … a sigh?

A startled bluebird on a twig, shredding seeds;
they fall like sawdust as he watches.
How do you put form to these?

A leaf is curling in a river
drought-gifted with rocks.
Ducks find the only water
and circle until dizzy around the ripple.

Laugh with me it’s spring.

The earth’s quiet scream
is most restless at night
when I dream;
not telling the pattern,
blotted, forgotten, lost;
probably just an ordinary three words.

But I have never spoken before,
or snored like some loud humming bird,
awake and sipping nectar from the heart.
I have not repeated when asked,
as though any idiot should know,
earth’s quiet scream.

Still, the morning glory is creeping,
uncaring of the things it covers;
one could say careless of the drying grapevine.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music from the First of Summer

The grasses move like feathers

in the breezes through the canyon

and the fog in soft of cover

brings the ocean’s fragrant sand in

And the sleepy peace of dawning

with only sheets for cover

softly feather heads on pillows

touch an eyelash still a dreaming

And the buds of petals sing now

with a buzz of frantic movement

giving purpose to the beauty

that has filled the air with fragrance

And I want to dance on green grass

in a dress of yellow sunflowers

lay me down within the arbor

listen as the fruit is ripening

But I feel the clock is ticking

in the shadows past the hedges

caught within the dirt and drainage

of the folding fallen wildflowers

So I hold on to the questions

and I wait for the horizon

to reply with mauve of sunset

warm with dark and heavy breathing

And I know the perfect feeling

is in holding on one minute

to a look that’s filled with loving

falling into drape of silken

For the hum in dark of midnight

under canopy of stardom

singing soft the mad of midday

with a sigh within a love song

is the music from the first of summertime

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Snapshots of Time

A feather drifts
blown from a mother’s delight
just a piece of fluff
crossing the porch
hesitating by the sheets in sun dry flapping
passing the camellia bush
and the laughter of a little girl
falling falling

The path behind the house
around the plum tree
a gallop of broom pony
through the hole in the fence
into spring green weeds of the vacant lot
away away

Catch me not grandfather
with your fetid breath and big hands
I will dazzle you with my bravery now
and leave you to your war of feeling
all unsure behind me
grasping grasping

I hold the words I seek
though transient my mind change
spills my color down halls of ivy
and shouts upon the roof the opera
into all the open windows
listening listening

Rock me my baby is gone
take me to the place of grace
where candles burn in wake of grief
tiptoe across the porthole where peace resides
let me be the holder of your warm
again again

Break me with your harsh judgment
watch my pieces fall around you
while I wait for something that I thought was cherish
and find that there are many other feelings
forgiving forgiving

Take me now this love all wild and gleeful
And rearrange my life all mixed and matted
calm the tangled weave and breathe me sweet
for hands can touch a place so kept apart with
healing healing

See this key that time has made
to lock away the bitter feelings
made of wood so finely crafted
from a place far beyond this earth
thrown into the curve of the rolling hills
then grown a tree where I lay me down
dreaming dreaming

Two strong spirits came from seeds
of youth all unsure and folly
building boys all pout and playful
who build another girl all dimpled sweet
and love finds me still
with my arms open
smiling smiling

In this place of day now
I am a marveler of what I find
in the search of all so keenly human
that celebrate a soul of gladdened knowing
nothing can take what cannot break for
loving loving

Friday, June 5, 2009

It Came on Wing

It Came on Wing

It came on wing of air soft-tuned
waif of thought loomed
by mother’s willing knot
and minutes daring sky dark tossed

Saying now is in between of see
a place of dream and slanted time
and if you open mind of eye
past goodbye to winged caprice
where peace holds eager at arms length
you’ll see around the curve of grace
the lovely of a missing face

I know this thought is fulsome want
and bids to see past seem of real
to peel the skin between the strands
such faith is hard sometimes to feel

I’ve seen this bless of rip in fabric
all stitched down with stretch elastic
to leave the room of bright lit tone
to find a song no not alone
but filled with fabric cinched not severed
between the clouds I’ve seen forever

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Looking for You, Finding Me

My daughter, Michelle, died when she was 8 from Reyes Syndrome. That was in 1974, years ago, before doctors knew anything about Reyes and its connection to aspirin. It has taken me a long time and many moods and stages to get to this year, this day, this book. Most of the poems within these chapters were written within a period of 30 years, especially during her birth month, October and death month, February. It is my hope that these poems will help others ... they have certainly helped me. I was young when she died and could hardly feel alive without her.

Mourning is complicated, and yet, most people go through similar stages of grief. When Michelle died, I had no idea what to do or how to feel. I just wanted Michelle back, was angry at God, and buried in depression and denial. I have learned many things since then and feel that her life and death were the birth-place of a knowledge and peace that I would not have, had she not played her part.

It is my belief that she and I agreed on this before either of us were born into this life. As souls we committed to the way it happened. She sure kept her part, and I am finally learning my own. This is my gift to her and her gift to me. We would both like to share it.

Looking for You, Finding Me

Trying to find you
when the sky sends warmth
to February
and all the scattered down clouds
have gone to other grief,
I realize,
to be sleeveless
and skip into your place in time
with a smile,
is not about looking for you,
but about finding me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Assuredly I

A shadow yet not
lit from without
a canopy upon a screen
answers to the knock of light

and eye or even I open the door
for grace of breeze to make dancers
out of just plain leaves

Lit from within
I see the frame of face
turning turning twirl
some music discovers my name

It carries pulse
explodes the quiet
opens the joy of hair to shine
hears the tender and the curse
the fabric of this screen
cannot be destroyed

It bears words oh words
the lovely sound of light and dark
they take the intent and make it tears
they try out loud a laugh

and they can break on the altar
scatter sharp or defuse the passion
and the skin in magic
just sings along knowing not
but loving just the same
the heat that words can thus ordain

Loose they follow any whim
move up the curves without or within
and a face so dimpled by a voice
charms interpretations choice
and eye assuredly I open the door

Making Love

The air fumbles around with day
blending lush of leaf with water
smearing palms within reflection
weaving color green with mellow

More than sun and shadow covering
dirt and lizard all a scurry
a face turns on and reflection cowers
hiding its fish beneath a ripple

The abrupt rocks soften
readying each sparkle in hand
until a stone becomes a diamond
dappled and perfect with belief
because that is what it takes
to make love