"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Friday, May 27, 2011

Things I'm reading...and maybe you should be.

I'm writing ...about a book I keep passing on the freeway :)

A discarded volume
blown wide by passing exhaust
as though toxin breathed bird
with biblical wings of rice paper
and aching to fly,
it's effort born of script
across bloated pages

And reading...

Letting go.
For years I thought that meant not feeling anything.
Walking undisturbed down a street of broken hearted people;
thinking to myself: what fools, what god damn fools!

Barely seen and barely seen past
he still carries the weight of old
abrasions, sends possible pardons
to scarlet fires, do-it-yourself hell

I worked like a monk
a trance of oblivion
that day and into the next

My head started looking
like something nearly human,
and the third day it took on
a forlorn expression. 

I made a strange man,
though I think my first vision
was to shape up a woman.
But women are weird
and my fingers were virgin.

To be amused, long before I realized
That I no longer amused you, I gave
Myself a pompadour with a bottle
Of Michelob.

Impulse to animate and dance
And dance they did not caring a whit for consequence
Like sleeping cats dreaming of wild things
To pounce upon and
Babies entering the fray


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I look in the mirror and mourn.

Having just woken, it is unreasonable
but then I am unreasonable
have always been either with or without reason
poorly balanced against whimsy

Tears blink neon above the marquee question
"what in the HELL is wrong with you?"
while the house slumbers alongside my answer

Emotions line the block in colorful lawn chairs
anticipation rising in incremental volume
for this psychological thriller is opening right this very moment!
The hooded crowd huddles in their sleeping bags,
flasks long emptied of warmth and bladders full of tenacity

I am standing at the edge of the stage
toes gripping the beveled edge and g r i e v i n g
....."that music and the way it was recorded...so raw...so pure"
....."the grain of the photos, so raw as well..."
in contrast to my life which seems set...done..not raw at all
no longer a blank canvas with an open future
for there is all that PAINT: responsibility and commitment and connection and economy and children and work and predictability and chorespetshousepaymentsloyaltiespromisesschedulesbaggage
and NOW and then and...

I don't know how!
this morning I don't know how
to feel more than an actor in my life
how to feel it more, FEEL motion, not DO motion
I have cultivated the art of dissociation
(in my own defense, Your Honor, it was necessary for survival)
back then...so far back it seems ovarian
a dropping egg

I don't know how
not to play act, but to be the uncooked egg
reaching out with all my edges
being raw, being new, being open
within a work of art already framed!

My eyes are dark brown
traced with aubergine ink dripping down the maudlin morning mirror
dropping off the precipice of my chin onto the furrowed carpet
and I realize I have done it just now!
Tears have changed the art
I have altered the canvas
It is not static, I am not boiled hard, I am not done!
Messier, uncertain, fearing, doubting
but  o o z i n g  yolk onto the floor
feeling my life
doing my life

(After this morning's harrowing introspection (*ironic smile*...for what have I to cry over when compared to Susan for instance), I got in the turn lane to enter the freeway. A hand painted sign...a canvas...read "Fears and Doubts are OK". No phone number, no website, no agenda but the heralded pronouncement.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Roll In The Hay

(Got you with the title, didn't I? A bait and switch...)

I have a penchant for running off at parties. I can only handle so much mix and mingle. I'm no good at it for long periods of time. Like a windup toy, my arms start moving in slow motion and I tend to spill my wine as well as make evident my ineptitude at small talk. A re-charge is necessary.

The huge field behind the yard was calling me. The sun was low and lit the freshly mown grasses like a golden fleece. I wandered the garden rows behind two wild turkeys hoping to mate...well, I'm not sure the female was so inclined, but the tom continued his chase with the fervor of a teenage crush. I took inventory of all things sprouting. Onions. Garlic. Bad breath central, which matters little when the delicious flavors are mingling on your tongue.

I continued walking to the back of the property, eyes averted from the courtship in hopes that privacy would aid the deed. Two beautiful brown horses lifted their long lashes and slapped at the lazy flies within reach of their tails. Deciding I was innocuous, they continued to graze as the sunlight slipped another notch. As I turned back towards the house it was unearthly quiet. Acres of yellow field spread out in a come hither sigh and I wanted desperately to lie down on it...a vagrant, a stowaway, a field mouse. But I'd have hay in my hair, and weeds in my sweater, and dirt on my ass. Ha! What would our hosts think? I kept walking. Until I didn't.

This might be my last foray into THIS field, at THIS time of day, with all these elements hand picked for my enjoyment. To hell with the hay in my hair. I removed my sweater and lay down in the middle of the field. The sky was a solid color blue, as if a construction paper cutout suspended on string. The grasses were even softer than I imagined and I lay upon my huge manger feeling delightfully small. The breeze was gentle enough not to displace anything but my harried thoughts until a tickle against my arm turned my head. Somehow a tall stalk of green grass remained there...just one, and on it a spot of red. I could have easily stepped on it, or lain on it. I bent the stalk to bring the red into focus. Spots. A ladybug.

"What are you doing out here?"

"I might ask the same thing of you!"

(laughter) "Waiting."


"Whatever comes next."

"Which is...?"


"And we lay waiting because...?"

"We'll miss it if we don't."


I left her as I found her, unsure who had spoken first, but glad I'd not missed my connection.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May Be Not

(Harold Egbert Camping is a Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, a California-based religious broadcasting network that spans more than 150 outlets in the United States as well as a website. He has used mathematical predictions applied to the Bible to predict dates for the end of the world. His current end times prediction is May 21, 2011. He had previously predicted that the end would occur in September 1994. It did not. His followers are legion.)

Her petticoat scratched sharply at her skin, and the intimate place where her thighs met was slippery with sweat. She shifted, wishing to billow her skirt…circulate air…but her hands were firmly held on either side by the clammy suction of kin.  A catch in her breath was the only indication she mourned the wind. Eighteen years had passed since the last prophecy. They had been three children shy back then, but the fear on the face of their oldest was forever etched, and echoing now in older lines. Frightened, yes...but something else rode his features and burrowed beneath the surface of a chin, freshly shaved not so long ago. It had been 23 hours since The Preparation, and Matthew now looked haggard and nervous. She could not know his fear was not of doom.

Her husband sat stoic, eyes closed, with determined lashes twitching away the seconds. He had bought into the necrosis willingly and raised his children according to their pre-determined end.  He believed.  He was alone in it.  A loaf of bread sat next to an idle pitcher on the buffet, half filled with the color of sacrament and the taste of strawberries. The only sound in the room was the scuff-ting-thump of Ruthie's little feet bumping her chair legs in time with the clock. Questions hung as silent apparitions, dusty in the closet of their keeping. Doors threatened to pop with tension and even the chairs beneath them felt the unease of something about to go more horribly wrong than any End Of The World might be.

The only light in the room was the bright spots of the news vans...chomping at their microphones in hope of failure. Should tomorrow come, their humiliation would be the menu of all future meals...until the public forgot...and if she recalled correctly, public memory was long. She would not endure such ridicule again. As the clock struck midnight, on what was resignedly not the end and crested into the full moon of just another day, she squeezed the hands beside her and released them. "One last communion. We've twelve bells and this is how we shall commemorate the last."

All six of them reached for the glasses she had poured and grabbed a torn piece of bread. "Drink! Drink!" she encouraged as cups met lips, leaving a stain of tragedy like a mocker's grin. She gulped greedily, watching the adams apple of her husband as he also drank. His eyes closed, his faith unwavering, he did not question the cramp that shot through his gut at the stroke of midnight. She doubled over, surprised at the severity of it, the suddenness with which it threatened to take her. Raising up, she sought her children with one grimaced eye, as they bore the condition of their father's blind faith. What she saw was...unexpected. She shook her head against the blurry vision of Matthew and the rest of the children calmly putting their drinks down side by side.

It was then she noticed their glasses were full.

Matthew 24:36 “No one knows the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'll not have a grave ( for Monday Photo Prompt)

Monday Morning Photo Prompt

i am not here

don't kneel beside this stone
or decorate it for the occasion of your varigated mourning
do not tell me your harbored secrets, or
hatchling dreams in the infancy of their awakening
i am not here

don't wick seconds into the knees of your slacks
or clasp your hands over the marker of my passing...
rocking as you do in penitent sorrow
feeling it expected
a thrice yearly payment due this vacant sepulcher
over which even the trees fall silent in monastic posturing
i am not here

kneel beside the bed we lay, hot in our expectancy
decorate the herb garden that knew our knees together
and our hands wrist deep in soil...touching earth, smelling heaven

lay out your sorrow like a sponge
soak in the memories that fall like hail stones
and melt into the burgeoning skin that holds us both enshrined
the skin that is you...still living.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Again x 67

a buzzing like steroid insects stops.
fist pump to the mirror
in acknowledgement that god is reflected
and for reasons unknown

she opens her deed like a letter
contents spilling disagreements
unimpeded by halt of bone
sing it again sweetheart! daddy loves that song...
a g a i n

human fist, the handle of razor sharp psychosis
to the hilt, touching cloth
happy birthday daddy....it's your favorite color...
the blue of my eyes, remember daddy?...
viscous wet hands
finger this, the only barrier against the unexpected
shirttail in disarray
between her thumb and forefinger, she rolls it…tugs
but you said you'd just shut your eyes for a minute...
soft tencel blue now covered in flowers
brilliant yellow, orange, pink
a hillside bursting with life

she fists the mound
plucks at the wild bouquet of colors
did you pick these yourself honey? what a lovely gift for mommy! 
startled as the flowers attempt to speak
stems brushing her moist bangs with a swoosh of sunset
soaking the gurgling stream
in which she dips her hands
a g a i n
A G A I N x 67

(On mother’s day, seventeen year old Shanna, daughter of Susan and Ken, shaved her head, proclaimed to be god, and stabbed her mother and father a total of 67 times. Ken was found dead at the scene and Susan was in critical condition with a punctured lung and other defensive wounds. Susan and Ken were married 46 years. Susan is my co-worker and delightful woman who always wears a smile and flowery scrubs. Does life truly pass before your eyes in violent death. Is there time for viewing such things? The poem is my fictional account from inside the diseased mind of Shanna. Wondering of Susan, perhaps trying to protect her husband, and the memories of a sweet young daughter in an earlier age... juxtaposed with this horror.)


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


She secures her hair
behind the sash of her ears
lifts fringed shades
granting his eyes alight
like newly hatched wings
wet, roosting
that she allows, that she invites
stammering towards
shuttered space

she simply opens
though ceremoniously
unbuttons her mouth
for penetration
stripping off
layer layer layer
pooling like cowled silk stockings

her mind
stands nude
in the shadow of her body
(Which is more intimate....physical sex, or naked exporation of the mind unveiled? Remove from the equation one-night sex, or paid for sex...rather sex within love, a naked mind within love. Which is the greater intimacy? Which is more vulnerable? I imagine the answers as diverse as our minds.)


Monday, May 9, 2011

Lucky to Survive the Weekend

If the weekend officially starts Friday, (which it kind of does around here, when you're itching for it, and the boss is on a flight to Phoenix) it was a very strange weekend indeed. At 8:00 AM, a crew started working on the air conditioning unit at work...directly above my office. Sounded like the sky was falling, and I think it was. Shoulda been four-nineteen!

Around 10:00 AM, a woman had a heart attack or seizure or something...something bad...right outside my office window. She had a man with her but they both spoke only Spanish. I rushed out with a blanket (if you know me at all, you shouldn't be surprised that I have a blanket in my office) to place under her head. Another gentleman ran up with his cell phone. He also only speaks Spanish. I understood the womans request for "agua" and ran back into the building to get water. When I returned, the guy on the phone handed it to me, as the 911 operator did not speak Spanish (huh? We, as white folk, are the minority around here now. Seems like all 911 operators should be bi-lingual in this area!) So I explain she is having chest pains, wants water, and that's all I can figure out. Needless to say, the ambulance finally arrives and denies her the water...takes her away.

Exactly two hours later, I hear a big KABOOM outside my window. A car has run up onto the sidewalk, takes out a parking sign, tries to swerve back into the road and runs smack dab into the taco truck parked outside my window...from the grass side...not the street side! Hell....more ambulances and fire trucks. Told my staff to "run for the hills", save themselves. Weird ass day!
Got a last minute call for dinner at Bob and Janet's house out in the middle of nowhere. Had a lovely dinner! Somehow....SOME-DAMN-HOW (and as I was not hostess, I can blame our hosts for the "how") we are jamming on guitars and mashing out harmonies to "Annie's Latest iTune Downloads" when I glance at my phone. It's 1:30 AM! (If you know me at all, you know I am usually in bed by 9:30 at the latest!). I look at the kitchen counter. 8 bottles of wine are sitting up there like silent sentries to a strange feeling beginning in my gut. HOW? Did. We. Drink. All. That? I do the math....8 bottles, 4 people (and if you know me at all, you know my math ain't so good. I am the only person I have ever known that somehow managed to get a BA without taking a single math course!). So I figure I'm smashed, but I didn't feel bad...just tired.

We head home and pass out around 2:00 AM. I am up at 6:00 AM to work the farm with one hell of a headache. As the day progresses, things get worse. I actually considered going to emergency at one point,
'cuz I'm pretty sure I have blood alcohol poisoning. BAD. Real bad day...and I spend the rest of it in bed.

Up at 5:30 AM the next day for church (and if you know me at all, you know I sing in one of the church bands that inevitably ALWAYS plays the holidays). So I sing from 6:30 to Noon for all three services and have no kids for Mother's Day...one workin', one moved. Got a call. Got a text. BUT...the weird thing is, that Pastor Tim read my last poem in church. I've never heard my poetry read out loud before, especially not in church ('cuz if you know me at all, you know I have a 'potty pen'). Very strange sensation for me. It actually sounded okay...like I hadn't in fact written it, but was listening to someone else's words.

Strange weekend. Strange post. I think I'm still a little wacked from the wine. Tried a little hair of the dog on Sunday but couldn't stomach the stuff. Might have ruined it for me for good (but if you know me at all, you know it's not the first time I've said that!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Holy Smoke

Left - Pastor Tim Stevenson

She said,
Evil! Eeeeevil! God would never consort with sinners!
She called him Evil, like a title...couldn't even write it
had to use her mouth as the vile carrier for her twisted truth
that proud pious rebuke she burnt her lips with
then cooled her tongue with thank you...
the minty mouthwash of hypocrisy

She spat you'll go to hell, and all of them with you!
as the phone ran bloody with her curse,
verses like spikes she drove
out of order, and contradicted.

I know Jesus
I know he would sit across the table from a rebrobate
would reach beyond his goblet
wine full...yes WINE, perhaps a cigar
haze like a holy spirit
to share, along with himself

and he'd say
........A real piece of work, that one!
........As fast as I call 'em, she turns them away.
........I love her dearly."

(My brother in law has started Holy Smoke as "a gathering of truth —seekers enjoying a fine cigar and a beverage while discussing the 'deep' questions about life ... A real conversation about things that matter." He's under fire. But that's not unusual.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I can't know everything about tomorrow, what it will present, nor how you or I will move within it. I have no psychic abilities. The future is as wide open as it ever was, though at times I press it into a Jell-O mold and watch it jiggle in mock salute. I want it to set like concrete that can be etched with promises...indelible and intractable.

But these are the fanciful wishes of a child. Promises go forth as our attempts to lasso the beast. Tame it we can. But anything wild is unpredictable at times. We live wild. We are not concrete. We so desperately want to believe we can foretell forever if we word it in prophecy. Promises are fenceless yards where we set the dog, then slap our heads in disbelief when it has run off. Promises are well intended but immature. We cannot move forward or back on their conveyor. Better a leap of faith...no promise of sure footing, no promise of arms catching, no certainty...a leap into the wide open of us, and it being enough to know that it felt like the right thing to do now. Right. Now.

I will never know tomorrow today, but it can know my feet...leaping.

(This is not about the promises of God. Strictly human. There are things I want to know for certain. I clash with the realization there are no human certainties. The choice then...will incertitude be chain, or wing?)

Monday, May 2, 2011


I can't grab hold...
elusive as innocence
as silk ribbons
through the oil slick of my hands
a hooked strand
though blurred
like partial prints under thumb
in astigmatic squint, I strain for focus
gather evidence in the creases of my face
commingle with sweat
and blood, from a forehead

Your impatience swoons
towards my liquid arms...
formless and flowing,
my furrowed brow attempts
levy and dike

I can't grab hold
I can't hold you

you can
become one
with my water

(The difficulty of knowing...really knowing something...an answer, grabbing hold of a niggling thought. Trying so hard to KNOW...ruminating in razors until there is nothing but the shredded thing that you were, and the understanding that you are the only one with thread enough for sutures.)