Saturday, December 18, 2010

A slight abnormality

Her eye turns inward
seeking the truth.
One tooth is missing,
no nutcracker on the left.
A scar graces her ankle,
lawnmower out of control.
Her heart is aflutter,
perhaps it is love?

Her body--no centerfold-- is yet a work of art.
It does not chart a path by
rules and regulations,
formulas and protocols.

Her body evolves, flows, spirals and,
like a river,
finds its own level
in the container called life/death/life.

That Part of You

The crescent moon
waxing behind clouds.
The ice,
thin crystals separating
pond sludge from air.

One leaf clings to the branch
and lets fly.

Away, away
tumbling across the crust of snow.
So fragile

like the ephemera you collect
that part of you
sensitive, artistic
hidden behind rules and regulations,
tightness and fear.

Now, a scrim forms between you
and what you might become
inviting surprises
inviting a different path than envisioned.
What do you see? What do you see?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Off Course

Our sleigh was horseless,
paint peeled, rusty runners,
the name all but worn away.

Our ride was harried,
steep upward climbs
gleeful downhill careenings:
a wintery marriage.

A hot passion:
the twang of your guitar,
the flare of your welding torch,
the scratch of pen on paper.

Amber liquid, glass after glass
tender eyes shifting to pain.
For ten years we slipped and slid

and then:
the steering broken
the crash echoing among the hills.

Photo taken and shared with us by Willow. Read more poems and stories based on this photo at Magpie Tales.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Magpie Tales #41 Poem Clocking

Steady heartbeat in the bright late morning light.
Chimes bring awareness like a meditation bell:
wake up, wake up.
Reliable hands move, point,
sooth my tedious mind,
mark my course on life's time line as firmly as a stick of charcoal.
On lonely days this grandmother wraps me in her shawl and hums.

Without man's infernal measuring device
what would we have?

Photo courtesy of Willow and Magpie Tales. Read more prose and poetry using this photo as a prompt here.

Click to hear me read my poem. Recording done via my digital camera video selection. This is not intended as a video. Just an audio. I aimed the camera out the window.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Magpie Tales # 40 third fragment of a fable

Summary:An unnamed heroine has been trapped in a castle and is trying to find a way out.
"Let me out, " I whispered to the guardians. I tempted them with the wad of dollar bills I carried in my skirt pocket. I danced. I sang. I told a joke. The mirrors merely reflected back my inadequacy. In frustration I......
(ending of segment 2)

knelt on the cold, tile floor, then eased into a child's pose in supplication. My confused thoughts whirled.

A cold breeze encompassed me, a sweetness like honey filled my mouth. The words"be yourself, not a reflection," filled my mind. I sat back on my heels, my hands in prayer position, my eyes closed. When I opened my eyes, I no longer saw my reflection, but greenery, a stream, a path into the woods. The doors were slowly swinging open. The child had returned. She smiled at me and beckoned once again, then ran into the trees.

Slowly, I stood, no longer as spry and quick as I once was, and walked through the portal into the light, the fresh air. "Wait," I said as I began to follow the child. "I am slow." A wisp of light drew me onward. The pit patter of feet.

The autumn forest filled my senses, the rustle of leaves, the whisper of squirrels gathering their winter stores. The smell of decaying leaves. Now and then a bird cried, a laugh sounded. And then, silence. The single path became many paths. One to the north, one the south, east, west and more. Which path had the child taken?

I raced from one spot to the next. Began to walk the northerly path. Returned and took the southerly path. How to chose? Disconsolate, I sat on a fallen tree and sighed. I felt weary. Alone.

After a time, the sun shifted. I saw a glint in the grass. And there I found a necklace. Here, here is the path. I looped the necklace around my neck and hurried on.

read part one and part two of this fable if you wish.

read more Magpie tales based on the necklace photo here.

Photo courtesy of Willow, the hostess of Magpie Tales. Thanks Willow.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Magpie Tales # 38 All I Have to Say

Many years my bones have lain here among the roots.
Their tangled nerves, where they have penetrated
my wooden shroud, brush my face.

The worms, the ants, the gophers
keep me company in my long sentinel,
tucked tightly into the grit.

Above, scoundrels topple
the witness to my name and days.
Cries of glee mock that soon embracing fate.

Do not be afraid, I want to say.
It is not what you think, this long journey.
This fling into the universal void is not dark, but light.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magpie Tales untitled fragment #2 A Fable

drew on my sweater and slipped my feet into my sandals. My room was on the top floor of a tall tower. The stairs descended in a narrow spiral. The steps were old and worn from the many feet that descended before me.

Down, down, down I crept. Impossible to hurry. Somewhat dizzying. Think Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo. When I at last reached the foyer, immediately I faced myself. Two doors made of large mirrors stood sentinel. The guardians at the gate.

I ran my hands around the wooden door frame, searching for a knob. Nothing. I pressed my hands and then the full force of my body against the mirrors. Nothing. Unlike Alice, I could not find my way through the glass. No surprise. I had tried to leave at least 10.5 times before and never found the magic words or key to unlock the doors.

I stood back and stared at my self. A thin, gray-haired aging hippie dressed in a patchwork skirt and black turtleneck that had lost its spring. Cloisonne earrings dangled against my cheek, my face looked haggard and pale. The small rose tattoo on my left ankle was barely discernible.

"Let me out, " I whispered to the guardians. I tempted them with the wad of dollar bills I carried in my skirt pocket. I danced. I sang. I told a joke. The mirrors merely reflected back my inadequacy. In frustration I......

Scroll down to read the first fragment of this fable. Click here to read other Magpie Tales written using the mirror photo as a prompt.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Magpie Tales untitled fragment

I cant remember how it all started, it was so long ago. I simply know I awoke one day and it was as if I wore blinders. All about me was darkness, I seemed to be in some great stone structure, a castle at best. A prison at worst.

I arose from my cot and flung open the heavy wooden shutters. My eyes blinked at the light. Below, I heard a thunderous sound, as of waves upon the shore and from the trees the sharp call of some mysterious creature whether bird or beast I was not certain. My impulse was to slam shut the shutters and retreat again into the dark, safe and unknowing. Silent and self-absorbed.

But as I looked below onto the barren ground I saw a child, dressed in white with long, russet tresses. She was calling to me, though her words were carried away on the wind before I could capture them. She beckoned and then turned away, running as children will over the hillock and toward the forest beyond.

I sat for a moment on the edge of my cot and pondered. And here it was. Simple and clear. Would I choose the dark comfort of my chamber or would I face the challenge of the light and the child calling me. Would I clamber down the narrow wooden stairs and draw open the heavy brass-studded door. I was not one to make hasty decisions, but soon the child would be out of sight if she was not already. Perhaps impossible to follow. I drew my fingers through my hair, rubbed my face roughly, and……..

this is not complete in itself but perhaps the beginning of a story. Forgive the language but I am reading The Historian. Such language is catching. See more Magpie Tales written using above photo as a prompt.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


dedicated to Blue Sky Dreaming and her accepting autumn series


First, a Hansa yellow morning sky
then, on the drive home, a rainbow.

The too sweet taste of Pistachio meringue.
A whiff of fear.

Hair falling to the floor, snip, snip.
Rustling leaves drifting: a gypsy whirl.

This birthday gives pause. This one.
Both feet in autumn now.

What was thought known is now unknown.
I am solitary, banished, exiled.
Bare and thin, my branches face the chill.

Your winter fire will warm me.

Read more writing on this week's theme at Magpie Tales.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A guest in my mother's house

Into the depths of darkness
my mother turns,
turns her back on life
to journey an unseen path.
Turns her back on me, a guest now
in her vacant house.
A visitor, insecure,
uncomfortable on the hard
Puritan pew I inherited.

Though I sleep in her bed, eat
from her dishes,
I am outside looking in
to when
I was mothered
however awkwardly,
to when
I worshiped her competence,
courage, independence.
To when
I released, at last,
my resentment and anger

I squat by the pond

In response to Human Being's challenge to write a poem using a list of words (as many as possible) she has extracted from various comments on her blogpost, I submit the following.

Her list of words is: grateful, life, rocks, a pile, resonates, understanding, appreciating, childlike, tapestry, self, listen, breath, blessings, beneath and survive.

A Pile of Rocks

Childlike, I squat by the pond,
listen to the frogs,
breathe in the tapestry of nature's blessings.
Beneath my feet, earth trembles,
fire, water, wind and rocks
resonate, quake, flare and blow.
Life, so complex yet so simple.

For Rent

Unusual structure near beach:
two arms, fingers beringed.
Two legs, feet bare.
Grey head packed with memories.
Trunk contains well-worn life enhancing systems
though lacks a heart.
But you can get them cheap at Job Lot.
No smoking, pets okay.
Suitable for one person.
$800/month, heat included.
Available now. Lease. References.
Only the serendipitous need apply.


Day after day
I do nothing
but sit in the yard and watch
the marsh water rise and fall,
listen to the hour toll in the village steeple,
watch the kayakers in bright colors
paddle quietly among ducks and swans.

If only I could accept myself,
the being I am
I would be in paradise.

The Poet Makes It Looks So Easy

Words that hum

taut lines

an effortless bridge from image to image

at the end, the aha.

But me

I get a few good line breaks,

a metaphor, a clever image,

a poignant note,

correct spelling even.

Apparently solid and firm.


like night dreams at sunrise,

snowflakes on the window pane,

the words dissolve

and I am left with cross outs and arrows

false starts and a furrowed brow,

letters scattered across the page

like noodles for alphabet soup.


We both startle:
I from the flutter of wings
against water,
she from the grate of my boot
on pavement.
Without a backward glance
seeking shelter, she rises
from the stream, flies low
over the grasses
while I sit on the bench and stare
at the water, regretting my noisy self.

A Touch of Spring

The snow melts
rivulets run down the side of the road
birds chirp
a distant chain saw, the fall of the tree
the rush of the overfull river
my feet squelch in the mud
I breathe in the clean mountain side air
And thank mother nature for this respite
from the cold isolation of winter.



For lack of a bookmark
I lost my place
in the book of life.

If only I'd turned down the page
used one of my frizzy hairs
kept my finger in.

Now, I open the book here
open it there
seek familiar words

The marks seem strange, meaningless:
she did
she said
she was.
She was?

I must begin again
with a blank page and fresh pen,
form new sentences
new phrases

move forward
word by word
chapter by chapter
and make my final mark.

I have learned nothing

I have learned nothing from my years on earth.
No lessons guide me away from mistakes which
accumulate like outgrown but not discarded clothes:

dirty linen locked in a series of trunks
carried on my back from town to town.
I have lost the keys, if I ever had them.

I could discard the trunks, leave them behind.
Instead, in some stubborn grasping
I keep vigil over them,

thinking they will reveal the answers,
thinking the past has some significance
that will lend depth to the present moment,
that will explain it all, point me to the way.


Because you asked about my father,
I will tell you he planted apple trees.
The apples were large and worm free,
plenty for pies and applesauce.
For hours he sat in the barcalounger
reading books such as these:
The Radicalism of the American Revolution,
Cosmogenesis, Quantum Reality.
On weekends there was football or baseball.
He collected stamps, played chess, developed
photographs, looked at the stars.

He was happy, the story goes,
to spend his last years isolated,
except for Mom, in a people barren
He must have been lonely. Who
shared his interests? Mom read romance novels.