Saturday, March 31, 2012

Poem: Awake


heart beating
beneath laced fingers 

quiet rise
and fall of breath 

sunlight streaming
through the blinds 

sparrows chirping
faintly on the fence 

morning doves cooing
in the lemon tree 

woodpecker tattooing
a utility pole 

surface traffic
sighing past the window 

steady hum of freeway
in the distance 

eyes open 


Poem: Riches

For John and Susie 

Common Yarrow and Morning Glory,
Buckbrush and Black Sage,
Indian Paint Brush and Sweet Pea.
These riches and more we discovered
On our sunny Thursday morning
Irish Hills hike while others worked.
And along the creek-side path
A symphony of honey bees
Buzzing through the head high lilac
On either side of the trail,
A rich musical escort. 

What price for these riches?
A slightly shorter, safer stride?
The ritual sunglass to trifocal exchange
To explore the wildflower manual?
The daily negotiation with this or that
Rebellious joint? The protective hat?
An extra layer against the light breeze?
A small price for such riches on a Thursday morning,
A small price to know such bliss.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Poem: February


Season of grief, it seemed.
First dad, his fire extinguished
By the fire in his glass
Every night for decades,
His great heart smothered
By his own cold ashes. 

Mom followed.
For years she found refuge
In fiery migraines,
Yielding near the end
To the heat of mini-strokes
And dementia, asking,
“Have you seen your father lately?”
Years after his passing. 

Then a gift to balance grief with joy.
A granddaughter born to loving parents,
Their life’s flame alive in her tiny heart,
Fed by the warm love of many. 

Season of grief, season of joy,
Love the fuel that fires our hearts
Through it all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Poem: In Dreams

In Dreams

One spring night long ago, sitting on a farmhouse porch
in a remote part of Pennsylvania, you swear you saw
a trio of UFO’s just above the southern horizon,
their movements choreographed like the old
June Taylor dancers on the Gleason show.
Your face had that dreamy Close Encounters look,
but this was pre-Spielberg, if you can imagine that. 

You remember the time two psychics, several months
and a thousand miles apart, predicted your future.
Both said the same thing, and both times
you were waiting tables and it didn’t cost you a dime.
They told you because they had to, they said. And they were right.
You’re in that future now, and it’s one you couldn’t have dreamed of,
not back then when you thought you were Kerouac’s brother,
would have a similar end. 

Two years ago your phone rang one morning
and it was him, the one you dreamed of for thirty years,
calling to say I’m sorry and maybe you could
be friends again. And now you are, and those
old Ponderosa Pines you used to admire
still stand majestic and snow covered
on that quiet Colorado mountainside,
like time’s sentinels. 

In recent months, men you know of a certain age
came home from exercising, said “I don’t feel well,”
and died before they hit the floor. Another you saw
on the roadside covered with an orange tarp
his bike neatly propped beside him on its kickstand.
It comes to this, you think to yourself,
for all the UFO’s, psychics and joyful reunions
it comes to this. 

And then you sleep and dream of flying,
Low over a rugged landscape,
Or of that gentle faceless lover whose warmth surrounds you,
or of trout dimpling a quiet stream in a deep wood.
Then you awaken, begin another day, waiting, wondering
your heart’s occasional flutter
reminding you of life.