Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crisp Around the Edges

Crisp around the edges
almost beautiful
like fried eggs in bacon grease
poached sea turtles and winter grass

Strangled by the current's ember
the hose leans into the brittle claim of leaves
blown about in air of nip-tuck
cameras shutter as they flutter

Fire eats the forest ants
and snaps the smallest thing alive
'til trees are bones and sky is smoke
as branches put on flaming coats

Hold still
the sky has come unglued
the wind is in me not just the air
when my hair falls in curtains
across the aching and I turn away
just not today

Primary Colors and a Stick

Using primary colors and a stick
I said something too sad to name
while curled up in the grass
way back at the bottom of the garden
with my broken looking glass

I could hear the groan that wetted the space
as if I lay in the wisdom of ancient dirt
nodding yes as I eased out my hurt

Waiting for a sign from another place
I watched the slow drawing of a spider's lace
feeling particles of life hitting me like pins
I was weeping with the knowledge
of something deep within

To touch a part of me I felt along a rock
I was sure there would be nothing left
buried in the soft dirt the skunk made
looking for something too
to nourish the long bones
and shine of this impossible hunger
this need to fill
fill with what

Standing weaving strands of braided grass
the rushing wind was taking
within this flight of air
I tossed despair
then sudden joy was growing there
like morning sun caught in dance
in grass a laugh began to thrum
then swung me around the gate of time
not late but mine

Saturday, August 29, 2009

From the Bathroom Window

The old hose ran through it like a river,
creasing the meadow grass of the back-back yard,
where blooming wheat weed grew like last year's candles
and a butterfly took root on the smallest pale flower
weaving light into the movement of air.

I am little and climb on the clothes hamper
to see the Acacia tree,
for it is spring from the bathroom window
and the yellow is like a smudge of joy,
where caught within the plum's prolific fragrance
I clamor for the time of bare feet.

Was safe far upstairs hanging out there,
as if I could see the secrets
of dart of blond brother, with starched legs
and some old dusty car with a running-board,
posing there on the oil slick of the driveway.

As though from an old movie camera,
I watched what I'd captured there in mind
from a Sunday of a long-ago April perhaps,
where the creak of the porch swing,
the steady rhythm of it, like time itself,
is following me or has stopped long enough
for me to watch it again with grown-up eyes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Something About Light

It is always feathers and turning shadows
into something about light;
moving like the morning glory
from the far side of destiny,,
with tendrils of gold
falling from an oval sky.
It warms the slanting chair
then melts across the pathway of cement
into the room towards the crumple of sheets,
still indented by the night.
I close my eyes and turn on the sky,
wait for the fragrance of line-dry
to open doors and let out the danger
of the dragging-down fog,
as the dog, warm and filled with barking,
furs swiftly past my leg
into the mockingbird's song.
Inside this room of bone and skin
I awaken to the possibility of wing.
It is always feathers and flight
and the changing way of shadows
and something about light.

Making Wings that Open

Take the laces from my mourning cloak
for time is open to all seasons as this grass yields
to bare feet and the dew that is not yet frozen
is a giver of memory from the ground then gone
as lit by time the tree has defended the sky beyond

See the very hope of children in the den
with the rhythm of music humming within their bones
their galloping moves in me with the climb of knowledge
for so many steps I've lost to the ill-fit shoe and yet
counting one and two I can't erase the path nor find the gate

Could there be a God within this place of sky
the birds have come and gone and left me flight
yet nowhere to go to find the invisible thread
I yearn to sew but tangle lines instead

There is a pattern single and worthy
feeling silken on the inside lining lost at thirty
where the grace of giving stretch is comfort chosen
as hand to hand together love is spoken
and the sound grinds this dirt and tears together
within a garden's shelter with fence unbroken
planted with a million words and flowing
then finally making wings that open

Monday, August 24, 2009

Banyan Tree


The Banyan tree breathes

absorbing the sky

and dropping it onto the forest floor

making holes of light

Slowly roots descend from high branches

and open the earth

Gratitude feels good

The sky's or the tree's?

Gratitude feels good

to me

Mr Blue

I know that to fly
only needs the sky within
and belief in wing
Mr BlueDec 051

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Birth of Night

The season’s summer paint covers the hills bronze
like earth breasts they flaunt their curve
then cover themselves in cloak of fog
as they near the sea

The spirit of small sun's flower
fennel in yellow crown display near the ravine
filled with cattail in the seek of moisture’s last rain
where oak trees rise
like forever in peace of shade

Behind a great rock
the sun sets
diluted by the turn of earth
it mellows and changes form

I watch the others that stop
to give reverence to this moment
when time stops in between
as couples holding hands
and children silhouetted with their sand
all shade their eyes

I hear a song that is timeless
as centuries of human joy
watch the miracle of the birth of night

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Child of Anyday

Around and around we go
up down walls with stairs and pools
carpets of grass the pond all laced green
and the ladder to the slide
call the birds the cat the dog
just any bug in some delight
especially worms will be alright

On the swing a song is running
push rewind and play
hold me past the time of naps
playgrounds sand and the perfect shovel
sing with me your susurration's best
we'll make the shadows dance fast

The tree is opening leaf
and our balloon's all up and bloated
squeeze the monsters from the clay
and hold my hand
the inches wave goodbye at the door
and I will love you again on any day
and more

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coloring Outside the Lines

Playing with words
is how I draw
come see come saw
a cup of living
grace not flaw
currents the bewildered
and stays the gate

Tripping on eccentricity's
not late or fate
or taste of vegetarian
with a hint of straw
to draw the tooth
and grin the truth

Can you name
the holy gist
not quiz of sky
but behind the eye

Listen and wait
mark the path
but keep the turns
straight back
across the free
up so tree
and down so road
just know

Sing past tune
hope and bless
the silent sky
and closed eye rest
as stars fall down
weep not the cost
of what is lost

The sky will dry and all
will sun again
where the shadows live
in afternoon
come some soon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes, love is an ache that feels...

like air still waiting

in a place of moss and fern

inveterate tree

With love

With love because time is too short not to
be opening the door where there’s more
see how it grows color and song is all along
sidewalks crunch the step and sing
letting the holding go from the trees you see
a carpet is so made from time this way

And all the pretty pieces become strong
touching the napkin to the lips drip with a song
and more adore is understood
with color opportunity and aware
I am sitting in the middle of this art with my heart
and because I can I share

Monday, August 10, 2009

Swan Song

He was only ten
and sometimes unsure
teasing seemed to aim its arrow at him
and he fell into thinking
something was wrong with him
with his skinny arms
with his freckles

At a park one day
he was scattering the birds
throwing pieces of bread
into the lake where two swans
were engaged in a love dance
their necks and heads bobbing

His mother explained it
when he was nine and full of questions
neat is what he thought
into the warm spring day

Two boys with bats
snickering behind their hands
throwing rocks
skipped the water
and caught one swan on the side

Anger grew inside him
as he headed towards the two
now collapsed in gales of laughter

They looked up in surprise
at trembling blotched cheeks
and clenched fists
for the words that he hit them with
were power he learned that day
as he left the boys
sitting with their mouths open

He took off his jacket
flung it over his shoulder
and holding it with one finger
he whistled as he walked away
knowing there was something right
something right about him

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Child's Job is to Play

This is a chapter from my novel, Sweet William

A child's job is to play
Sometimes it's hard work

William lay in the hospital bed as the ambient sound from the TV settled around him and his thoughts.

"Hey dad, catch." Tim stood barefoot in the front yard under the avocado tree holding a baseball. A shaft of sunlight lit his hair and his long spindly legs were tan from the sun. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt with a picture of Mickey Mouse on the front. There were three band-aids on his right shin. William saw him and heard his words, but the photo of his child's beauty and the importance of what he asked, didn't click. Tired from a busy day, was an excuse he'd used often since his father's death, when he'd taken over his three garages. The grease and the engine-cranking labor of a car-doctor he'd enjoyed as an employee, was gone as the boss. He'd taken for granted the smooth operation of the business and the nice pay check at the end of the week.

"Hey dad, catch."

"I'm not a business man," he'd told Samantha on that day. "I was never good at math." He was sitting at the kitchen table with stacks of paper work from the garage. Spiral notepads and file folders littered the table-top and there were boxes on the floor filled with accounts.

Got to keep these for seven years, he remembered his dad telling him. Samantha was moving around the boxes trying to put groceries away. She had a container of macaroni and cheese in her hand and was reaching up to a shelf across one of the cardboard boxes at her feet but couldn't quite reach. She turned and looked at William. He remembered thinking how pretty she was. The curve of her breast caught in this graceful movement like a dancer, her slender waist visible as her blouse pulled up. He could see the delicate crease down the middle of her back. He suddenly wanted her, wanted to run his hand down the small of her back, push the boxes away and lay with her on the kitchen floor. He thought maybe if they did that, then all the chaos that he felt growing inside him would calm and the world would be right again.

He reached his hand up to touch her back just as she pushed the macaroni and cheese in place in the cupboard.

"Help me," she said, then down fell a large can of pork and beans and a jar of peanut butter and barely missed her sandaled foot. Then, a glass jar of spaghetti sauce flew in slow motion toward the tile counter top, as William, who was poised to touch her back, tried to catch it. The card board box was in his way too, so the jar hit the sink and he could hear a sharp crack of glass as it fell into pieces on the floor, showering everything with shards of glass, tomato sauce and tiny sliced mushrooms.

"Catch dad," Tim called again, but William was deep inside this memory.

"Are you alright?" William asked Samantha. She had dots and globs of red on her legs and arms. A mushroom clung to her blouse. He could see the rise and fall of her breasts beneath it and suddenly he had an overpowering urge to laugh. "I think so," Samantha answered, looking down at herself.

"Good," he said. "Oh, my gosh, look at us..." He couldn't get any more words out. The laughter had come from deep inside and exploded like the spaghetti sauce, first softly and then louder until his sides ached and tears were pouring down his face. Samantha looked stunned at first, then her lips twitched and she smiled and caught William's laughter with her own in a duet that had them in each other's arms rocking back and forth with mirth. Finally, as the laughter subsided William wiped a fleck of sauce from her cheek and licked it off his finger. He touched her lip with his finger, kissed a tear from the crease beside her nose, and then kissed her lips. They were still holding each other amid the clutter of the kitchen when Tim walked in from school. Everything will be alright now, William had thought.

Tim's voice was growing impatient. "Dad, catch the ball, okay?"

"Tim," William said. "I just got home. Give a guy a chance to change his clothes and wash up. I'll be out in a minute." He tried to keep his voice pleasant, but he could hear the edge to it and could see the hurt in Tim's eyes.

Samantha was in the kitchen chopping vegetables for a salad. "Hi honey," she said. "How was your day?" She was wearing her old sweat pants and one of William's old shirts, and was barefoot, like Tim. Her blond hair was tied back in a pony tail and her face was clean and shinny without makeup. She looked like she was still in high school.

"I'm bushed," William said.

"Sit down here, darling, and let me ease those aching muscles," she said as she pulled out a chair.

William sat down and watched her wipe her hands on a towel and put the salad in the refrigerator. He closed his eyes as she came around behind him and started kneading at the muscles in his neck. She was humming softly. It was a song she sang to Tim at night, a bed time lullaby, an always asked for tradition, 'All the pretty little ponies.' Her hands were soft and cool and her touch was firm. When she finally stopped, he didn't want her too.

"I need to finish dinner, and I think you got a boy out there waiting for you", she said.

William went into the bedroom with the intention of changing his clothes. The bed looked so inviting. I'll just lay here for a minute he thought, and stretched out. In a minute he was asleep. He hadn't heard Tim's final call in the open front door, or Samantha later as she peeked in. When he finally woke that evening and looked at the clock, he saw that it was 8:30. He felt disoriented and dirty. He cold smell grease on his hands and his mouth tasted bad. He could hear the soft sound of the television and something else. ... He could hear Samantha's singing in the other bedroom. "All the pretty little ponies," she sang. He got up and went to the door of Tim's room.

Samantha turned as she heard him and put her finger to her lips. "Shh, he's asleep," she whispered.

Tim was laying on his side, curled around his hand which rested under his chin which was still encased in the mitt he had been wearing earlier. The baseball was on the bedside table. William walked in and bent over Tim. He wanted to touch him, but knew that would wake him.

"I'm sorry, sport," he whispered, then turned and left the room.

A feeling of deep sadness grew in him as he took a shower and put on his robe and padded into the kitchen. Samantha was sitting at the table. A plate of hot food was in front of the other chair where William sat down.

"He waited all evening for you to wake up, William. He went outside once and said there was a big moon, that you could still play catch. I tried to explain how tired you were, how hard you work."

"What did he say?" William asked.

"He said he worked hard too, but he still wanted to play ball with you."

The soft sound of the TV filled the hospital room and then he heard the quiet voice above it of Samantha Elizabeth singing ... she was singing, "All the pretty little ponies". How many times had he had to stay late at the garage? How many baseball games and dinners had he missed? He had wanted to be successful. He was sure that he had wanted that for Samantha and Tim, also. If he was successful then they would be happy. If he brought home enough money, then they could have the things they wanted. Had he ever asked them what they wanted? He didn't think so. It came down to something as simple as playing catch and a trip to the mountains. What good was his job and money if it robbed him of time? Where was his self respect from hard work when he was too tired to listen? He needed to mend fences alright.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Finally the fall of rain
creep creep the morning
along the quickening
slow go slow
today from fasting
holds a fortune
call them little pieces of torment
and change

a rag to rage the indifferent dirt
split and narrow crease of sorrow
hanging tree so glory bound dry
golden brown in stages curtained
to the naked almost gone

a cage fast from cloud escapes
the hungry night
and the brittle leaf
the weeping keeps
then falls

all grace of mending water
come save day

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
and find a song no not alone
but filled with fabric cinched not severed
between the clouds I’ve seen forever