Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Walk With the Clock

Tender torn our feet all walk this path
For the street is dense but made of glass
And how it shatters if you trip and fall
It breaks like speed bumps on a freeway fast 

Alone each moves along times fragile dock
With time though blurred veracious and so steady
If you jump it waits just up the road
With its magic pocket opening ready

Ease me over the rim of this feared place
Bring me the grace to read your open face
Don’t try to hold my youth within your arms
truth tells me that a lie is so embraced 

Lover take me in your sweet delay
Usurp the movement forward to that place
Let me steady be in tide that takes
Each grain of sand to sea without a trace

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Close up of Napa from the 101

Wait past the redwoods of the morning mist
the smoke of chimneys rising and caught within the gist
the unseen force of air is there and the repair of boulders
holding in the fall of land so saturated its true

Behind the wire fence stuck with bags of plastic
taking the breeze with sound of modern elastic
on a stage the soldiers upright and still
are tethered to the stake their arms reach up the hill

I watch

Them protect the clumps of yellow mustard
with their ready   can’t wait to be wine
and if you stop for a minute you can hear
the pouring of the sweetest tease of vine

No  cannot stop the day is fast progressing

I am zip tied and back seated certain
that if I look away someone will pull the curtain
the trees and telephone poles are fast by my eyes
and along the curve a cow misunderstood why

and then

the slope of the hills with green so rain induced
that a large fingernail of dirt fell for proof

and the city is so vein across the bridge it’s glass eyed watch
ripples within the ocean water a half past sunset clock

so seen the going home is treat of passing time
with someone in a different place with eyes asleep not mine

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Would Explain the Sky

There are so many big things,
and yet I squint
and catch some small winking
just waiting for explanation.

I would explain the sky,
yet one small star holds me
and whispers of shadows
that stars make
on night sky’s dark plane,
and the music in the void
that causes angel’s to weep.

It whispers of treasure
and to imagine an opening
where brilliance falls all around
like marbles gay and melting color.

There are so many dusty roads
and this one time I found
a dull stone
shaped like a heart,
not perfect but obvious,
and it enlightened me
and quenched my romance
in a perfect minute.

There are questions popping all around
like bubbles,
the big hand blows sweet wind,
wild wind, hot wind, treacherous wind;
and I lean into truth
as if I could see it there
with some enormous righteous intent,
displaying obvious answers,
invisible answers,
that I have to walk around
and study with creased and pressed thought.

sometimes simple seems so complicated.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I Am From

I am From

A slow dance on the shoes of father
into the ocean’s crashing waves
baskets of peanut butter and jelly
and the sand of warm days

The man hiding behind walls
where dimension's invisible hand
weaves lines across a meadow
to my heart that understands

A woman’s still simple warmth
holding porridge with grape jelly
four leaf clovers in her hand
to show me the magic bone from which
my cheek and chin and smile began

The silly shingles of a roof
outside my window’s openness
where I hid my precious things
don’t tell the rain
forgotton now the darning egg
not watching rocking chair take age

From each tiny blade of grass un-kept
as morning glory’s crept along the fence
with continuation circle’s way
regardless of the weather
I came from that kind of day
and midnight's petticoats around the room
ballet dancers as I slept

From the sky laced with wings
gliding on thermal highs and lows
dipping into the pictures in my mind
that grant passage into a poem’s flow

I am from a peacock’s colors
and the sound of doves on phone lines
the cozy keeper of the children of the children
and the soft hand of a teacher

I am from the number of stairs in a house
the timber of their music’s rhythm
the piano of my shouting spirit
and the view from the upstairs window

I am from a grandfather with hair thinning
that loved with unwholesome hands
and sent me wondering into the stars beginning

I am from Sunday questions and gold stars
games of canasta and paper dolls
hand made kites and scooters
flapping sheets and running boards
skate keys and Lassie Come Home

I am from lollygagging and that’s not like you
the ice cream man and Saturday Matinee
coloring turkeys with no feathers
and rubber band fights for play

I am from stick horses plum trees
and wrong choices
from late night wetting
dreams of tidal waves
and loud voices

I am from the time before I was
and in charge of every minute’s
layers of poetry and music
and creating myself within it

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Magnitude of her Unfolding

She stayed out late one day in spring
whispering sighs into the fragrant sky
for she was sixteen and dreams danced
down the dusty weed choked path with her.

It was dinner time
and the air had cooled
but her pounding heart and footsteps
blazed in youthful ardor.

She turned and was bathed in twilight’s glow
floating down a street oh it seemed like floating
of houses stained pink and mauve
against the light of sunset.

She could feel the secrets
that touched her from the window’s glow
of mother’s rocking children’s laughter
and those nesting families touched her soul.

She could feel the undertow
pulling her up into a woman
and she couldn’t say why
she cried into the darkening sky.

A girl is a mighty strong thing
she thought and started running
her bright hair dancing back and forth
and her feet echoing fast go fast.

Her breath felt clean
and her colt legs leaped bursting
bursting was her spirit
on that evening in early spring

the night she glimpsed
the magnitude of her unfolding.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Wall of Time ( in memory of my mother and father-in-love)

They are sitting on black and white
stairs made of ordinary cold cement,
their faces turned towards each other.
Her bare legs in shorts are a dancers
and a scarf only partly hides pin-curled hair.
His pompadour turns up as does his mouth.
They are in love and it is 1951.

Fifty years have passed since that day
that hangs with other years in the hall.

The creak of the floorboards calls out the change
in the way they walk in the morning,
changing, changing from nylon stockings to slippers,
work shoes to sensible, eager to tired.
They wear it with pride.
They wear it with contrition.

The basement echo saddens this listener
knowing time gives and takes,
and holds love accountable for each gruff word,
each wild embrace, every I’m sorry.

The skin grieves, cringes and curls,
and they weave lotion into what might seem harsh
until softness sits with them into the evening,
watching the flickering living room walls
lit by television and the steady rise and fall
of falling asleep early.

On her way to turning down the sheets
she touches his hair and says, “come now”
as he smiles into a dream
and she straightens his black tie on the wall
on their 50th anniversary,
knowing it is more than the walls breathing
that makes a picture crooked,
and much more that straightens it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Loss Ladder

The ladder is lost in the slow creep of vines
laced to the seasons with rain keeping time
forward the laying of names and their place
enhanced with engravings that memory has traced

Reminders drift down from the trees each new year
delighted the waiting is no longer for tears
change turns the leaves of October to blazing
and the sadness of mauve has fallen out of my daydreams

I remember the feel of the brush in my hand
down her tangle of curls in the dampness of morn
still the length of her smile in my dreams after midnight
can still open the time of that long ago storm

Now smoke and ashes dig into the hillside
and fasten the rocks from out of my past
yet will always be present in my still breathing chest
where the cradle still cuddles with my once aching breath

I can see now how dying is another beginning
the song sung within life's cadence is a test
as a lullaby bubbles and rock a byes others
I've learned each new step on the ladder is the best
With loving thoughts of my daughter Michelle who died of Reye's Syndrome in 1974 when she was 8.  October is her birth month

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lesson from Rock and River

Color the canyon walls
warm adobe
fire hearths of brick
places in the heart


The river flows
past hard and stable rock
two different forms of matter
each by uniqueness
gives importance to the other
a perfect relationship

Harmonize with things
that flow by you
like the rock

sweep gracefully past
the stunning fact
gesture with sound
that delights


Sky dark
clouds dense charcoal
the rain stitching lines from sky to earth
in the canyon,
next to the river

Thunder trembles
the sky to open
the flowing current
the river surges
sending hard and stable rock

The rock
as others catch against it
changes the path
of the river

The world's ever changing
nothing stays the same


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

To Find Marian and Vin

I almost passed by you
your proudly waves
the allure of bare feet
the first rush of letting go of skin
the sin of salt
little pins on pressed sand
where sun's reflection plays catch and drown
then draws breath again

I had to pull away to see
your mouth all spray with wind
your rounded clean line embraced by sky
to find the turn of curved arm where I am
still waiting wet and wild with sand

(with loving memory of my mom & dad and how they loved the ocean)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It Came on Wing

It came on wing of air soft-tuned
waif of thought  
loomed by mother’s willing knot
and the 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
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 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

On the Cement at Sunset

The fingers of her heart
tap out the measure of her feeling,
fragile tapered candles they spark
on the cement at sunset.

All around her
is a garden
growing so much whatnot,
lavished with wings,
bees and hummingbirds
surround her hair of dusk
where embers glow
with cinnamon.

Listen to the sound
of the stretching of her mind,
it is stitching now a minute,
growing colors,
see there the lavender of abandon.

I can see her from this window
that distributes time
wrapped in parchment
and tied with twine.

Her wings are splendid
and her eyes are prisms
that cast a shadow that burns,
burns the quiet heart,
torches the waiting pulse,
breaths air into the coals.

She is watching me,
across the chasm of my vestibule
she paints me with cinnabar
and waits for me
to walk with her
out into someplace else.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Which Way to the River


Which way to the river

So far   so far

The path
walks with you

A feather notices the breeze
The ribbon of sky
touches the mountain
small thoughts are caught in the tangles
that dot the ridges all bend and bough there

Too far
distance is deceiving
time is its brother

Bathe your feet in rocks
trust the bones of trees
they have captured the way
their flourish marks the path
Sit down with breath
without counting
Listen to air speak
The water runs free
in me

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bend of Sky

Could I but go to bend of sky
see the things that sunrise brings
around the corner I would run
there bare shouldered dream with wings

Could a blooming backwards rose
grow from petals on the lawn
a breeze would take them to the face
and stick them there with dew of dawn

A child would know a wisdom song
an old man whimsy chase around
and ground would hold a crayon’s melt
as night moon glows a suntan brown

Love would surely stay with hands
that promised ever after
and trees would lay their branches down
for climbing faster laughter

Could I but go to bend of sky
see the things that sunrise brings
around the corner I would run
there bare shouldered dream with wings

Sunday, August 3, 2014


The path turns fallow beneath my feet
bare and brown
so much youth beat within
a sin it seems to shod the truth
and casually walk around
as if time wasn't a circle
you woke to

God is the question still
and though I see the warming light
it is my own with wings and flight
and the guts of glory
that came from drowning
and the question who is dead

I have loved the lace in time
such pretty weaving catches me
planting well the seed that wonders
always asking slow or fast
detesting the blood of the righteous
to save the sisters and daughters
from the strangle of skin

The petals mold and droop into goodbye
even from the rigid frozen winter
and to see them stir the air
takes purity
and I despair my lack

Though I have taken songless wind
and with my ear created harmony
unglued the glass
and rubbed the wood until
my fingers ached
and still questioned why I worked the love
into the finish to feel it there smooth
and unafraid of weather
while my soft skin ached from the strum
yet still with joy    succumbed


Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Compromise

All around the roses grew,
their petals open and breathing bees,
the path zigzagged through
to him, benched under a tree.

He knew she was there
and patted the place
where Love held the chair,
though he was curtained
by layers of cascading doubts.

He laughed at her belief
in crossing barriers,
but some of the obstacles he built,
he released
so they could sit together
feeling the naked boards beneath their words,
wondering at the way the other thought,
for the meaning was all wrapped up
in little packages that lay at their feet.

While they sat together contemplating
what to do with all this treasure,
they learned something about each other,
for she was want to tear them open
and he to take his time.

So they sat on Love’s bench
with time ticking the roses closed,
while she learned patience
and he learned to trust.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Under the Mimosa Tree

She swept into summer
with her youth 
and her freckled sunlit arms
and she smiled
oh how she smiled

sliding was how it seemed
with long legs
and her slender dear waist
unaware of the shine
so displayed in her laugh

She didn’t care 
that the grass was damp
and the air sizzled heat
her shoes lay limp
and her toes wiggled in the air

To look up as she lay
was her delight
her elbows projected from her head
like pointed wings
as she saw her dreams dare

Love was an ever thing then
in the days of frills and sequins
she saw white lace and a plump baby
and was so tickled just to be
bare legged on the grass waiting

This tree is so soft she thought
her lashes feathering her view
‘til melding flowed the sky to peach
and her heart mellowed
and then fell like soft feathers
around her head 

She thought there would never be
another magic so fragrant
and she tried to capture its blooming
to press it for time

but the air grew chill
and the sky darkened
and her damp skirt clung to her 
and her flowing was diminished
for lasting she learned 
is only a minute
under the mimosa tree

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Come with me down this street
darling, you are my darling,
and we will notice the trees
heavy with oranges
and the flowering ones will exhale,
their heavy breath
will turn the grass pink.

Come and see
how the blue bird travels
across the ground
his eyes darting
with hunger,

and how the sun slants now
into the afternoon,
for spring is moving
and its blooming cracks
the hard caked soil
and spits out promises.

Turn to me
and see how I move,
as if spirit held me mirthful
and each step is measured
with the fragrance of cut grass.

I will not walk like this tomorrow
or see this burgeoning day,
nor will you look at me with that quick concern
that I know so well
that comes from years of reading gestures.

The language of love
dangles between us
so rare and perfect,
come with me now
darling, you are my darling,
for I will hold your hand
and listen to you weave your words
and we will be quiet
in the sunset,
that is a promise.

In lavender abandon
stretched toward the open road
these flowers of spring
these cascading wonders of color
expose their fragile elegance
as you pass and look
your dog leashed and eager

I see from the window
as you soften
your vision inhaling
the open petal invitation

Heel to the notion
I think to you
across the lawn
for this bloom is so transient
a velvet that succumbs to minutes
and through the dark and dangerous night
will not linger

Breathe it into reverence
though your tether is bounding
it is still
and in its blooming
cares not of mortal whim
it would make me smile

Listen this gentle house


The tile rings of wear
and surfaces ask repair

How the years have told
the children ringing still
down the hall across the floor
the laughter then the slam of door

Gone   gone

Watch the wooden chair rock
when I was just a lass of three
and my father’s lap was part of me
now it is filled with ghosts
remote and dusty

Feel the living room music
the rug rolled back
and socks on like skates
across the dip and swirl
of late I’ve missed the hold me close
and the songs within my gate

Songs ring me still   its true
and yet I love the love  the you
that fills this place
the embrace is here of years
and gentle house you keep the leak
pushing out the old and torn of wear
and the rain though falling
falls elsewhere

Listen this gentle house


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Under the Skirts of Palms

Under skirts of palms
my ears are full of the river
and the sound the ground breeze makes
combing the tall grasses

Looking under her skirt I see dancing
everything vibrates to her hark
the river the river a song
her skirt in sing a long
especially the rock
rising falling    calling rhyme
I hear it now distribute time

Gasping with bubbles
it percolates and rustles
as a woodpecker drums approval
leaded eyes cast into the depth of me
as I plead insanity

Under the cracked dirt
a river runs with weaving moss
the hungry mouths of babies
chase and gather found the squirm
I can hear them glee
that they have found a really worm

Singing lips so be it kind
I apologize
to the mother’s silver side
and the yellow blood of worms

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Barn Swallows

In the quite backroom
of a hundred small thoughts
nestled cozy under feathers soft
the answers and reasons are circled
holding onto each other
like the wind a tree

A small box opens
giving dimension to thought
and in fly these birds 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Children Teach Their Mothers

Children teach their mothers
to gather pond reflections
and the opera of the sky in just one bird
when one small hand
rolls a bubble across the air
covered with a cloth of clouds
summer melon sweet
love becomes as simple
as sharp rocks and barefeet
and as enchanting as one toothless grin

Each breath like a current
now tracks the sounds left in time
minutes of milk-drained comfort
and musk-scented blankets
hair tatted to one finger
and the whole world at the same time

until one day a leaf is tasted and the tongue knows
there is more then jumping and falling
for there is mud and wind
and the danger of loving too much
or not enough

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lily Talks to Air

Lily talks to air
sultry like jasmine in summer
or a piano out an open window
where the door is closed
don’t touch the handle of such truth
for it is not something that you open
it is a secret lover’s touch
that was always there

Listen to the water   just a sprinkler
then go past that place of dense leaf joy
beyond the sound of scratching dog
and mocking bird’s declarations
past the screen in the door
as it stops making patterns on the opening

Close your eyes and breathe
slow the up sky and down dirt
open the magic


lily talks to air

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Her Shoes are not so Different From Mine

Across the chaparral
toward the mountain I can picture
a young girl’s
bouncing pig tails
a skip from the covered wagon.

She brushes against white sage,
turns to the pungent perfume
that dances in the air unseen
then turns again to the mountain’s
molted color of many browns,
with yucca spikes
staking towards heaven.
A candle, she thinks into the bright day
then catches her long stocking,
now dirt stained with new holes,
old with tatters
already darned by her own hand,
where at her ankle the sharp tongue
of a prickly bush caught her leg
like the porcupines from home.

In the night,
wrapped in her grandmother's quilt,
rain had tapped the creosote bush and turned
the air into a strange and wondrous perfume
that woke her and took her
to breathe, deep and perfect breaths
into the soft black night.

In the morning she tossed her head
at the chill and emerged with a change.
She had fallen in love
with the smell of this land
and a sky that is larger,
more open than she has ever seen,
where no trees tread on the magic glimpse
of the horizon and the sun traces its path
from one side of the earth to the other
without biding time in twilight’s hilly sky.

I am a California native too,
a child of this earth full of acorns,
a sweet and keen land
that still lives in spite of asphalt
and the rise of steel.

So I can feel that little girl
I never knew
but imagined in her long skirt,
and her shoes are not so different from mine.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Poppy

Sturdy   yet fragile
a face of grace
holding on to air that moves
petals like wings
she loves wind’s hands upon her face
but with tenacities fingers
crumbling clods to slowly builds gates
listening she yearns toward the road the river takes
wanting to travel someplace unnamed   like him
to follow the sound he makes    her whim
maybe a mean wind she thinks could take one small part
an orange piece of heart
that could go with the flow
even where cement would ransom beauty
into the arms of the sea
but she turns away instead
to dance naked with the tree
one arm still holding tenacity.

Open me
she calls to sun   guessing the hour
the wind has blown the tresses of the field alive
and on the road to harmony 
she is not the only flower to thrive 
the sound of the river is life sustaining
down down in the middle part of earth
it seeps into the press of dirt around
and fills her with love for river sun and wind
and now     most blessed love of all    the ground