"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things I have lost

What Have You Lost?
The best book of YA poetry I have ever read, okay the best book of poetry I have ever read is called  "What Have You Lost?" by Naomi Shihab Nye and Michael Nye.  It is a collection of poems which answer this question and also its opposite, What Have You Found?

Imagine how easy it is to approach a poem when you already know what question it is answering?  And how easy it is to write when you are asked a profound question-- no matter what you say--you sound like an Emmerson.

What if life were organized into questions:  You enter a gallery and every painting or sculpture is organized into rooms.  One gallery is called "Who have You Loved?"  One is "What Day Changed Everything?" One is labeled "Where did you find yourself?

Now instead of bending over impossibly small texts of useless information trying to figure out what the images are about, you can stand back and enjoy a whole room of work.  You can imagine the stories for yourself. 

Questions are the undiscovered gold of the post modern world.  If we only remembered our questions we might find that we long since found the answers as well.

What Have I Lost?

If I tried to go in historical order,
I'd have to start with ---

My favorite baby blanket with pea green and white
checks.  I rubbed the nubbies between the back and front
as I sucked my thumb.

I lost my best friend when I was six.  She switched
schools to go live with her mother.  Her father wore
a toupee which he kept on a styrofoam head at night,
and her step-mother felt comfortable running around
the home in her shimmery polyester briefs.  My mother
said white cotton was the only healthy kind--
and I had only ever seen hers in the laundry.

My favorite clothes: a red and white skirt
that matched an old felt cowgirl hat I outgrew.  A pink
dress I only wore once after it was washed with a
blue ink pen.  My favorite moccasins I wore to
the art museum so I could hear the leather rub an echo
into the waxed wooden floors.  My flowered
jeans, and pink "dance" shirt.

My great-grandfather who smoked a corncob pipe.
Who I was sure God could bring back to life just
like Lazarus.  The ornate double-door to his bedroom, locked.
In my mind I could see him on the bed, farmer's hands folded
over his overalls.  The white chenille bedspread pulled
smooth, its Braille patterns, fringe, and swirls circled a message
of the world I wished to read-- his red ears, large
and unlistening.

And when his daughter made that bedspread into
seven teddy bears for her seven grand kids, mine had a pink
lace bow and collar, though it was burned in our small
house fire.  Along with the table, nailed together, painted
pink for me, by her brother.  The doll tablecloth she sewed
because I loved strawberry shortcake, and the only real
Cabbage Patch I ever received, named Bunny Darcy.

Though those childhood toys are lost, things I saved
for over fifteen moves of one kind or another,
though my grandmother is gone now after her
eighty-eighth Christmas, and her parents are gone,
their house and farm, along with most of their memories,
I am not lost and my hands are still busy.  I am
sewing checked blankets, quilts, and new bears.

I plant in soil not counted by acres, but little fingers
and little shovels help me.  I fill their pink ears with stories
about everything under the sun--all that I've lost and found
--the meaning of snowflakes, bird seed, and Christmas
until everything blooms into a pattern like a chenille bedspread
and I can almost read Braille, and I am happy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Those baby boy fingers pushed something into my pocket
What have I got in my pocket? Her silver thimble, lost.
Thank you my little Peter Pan, you know that love
is not just in a kiss.


Your star is on my tree
and it is lovely.
Your place is in my heart,
though we aren't together.

Sugar Cookies

I remember her sugar cookies and the smell of the metal bowl, the coldness of the plate cover and the promising lump within-- the oily smell of the colored sprinkles and the
prize of the candied silver balls 

two escaped-- one in my mouth and one of the floor.  I see her hand as we move the ginger bread man together. Her hand over mine until it arrives safely on the baking sheet.

And when I see his face on my kitchen counter
I hear him say he will run away as fast as he can--
only it is in her waggling, serious story voice. 

 I dream she has run away and she has been pretending all the time.  She can run perfectly, even ride a bike.
When I wake up, she is gone-- in an ambulance
with silver wheels.

And there among the emergency rooms we give her water
out of a straw onto her mouth.  She is a featherless fledgling.
The room down the hall reads "nourishment."
And I think of gingerbread men.


I'd like to be a tree
who when one branch is gone
just grows the other way.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Card Angst

this is not a nice poem, but it might be funny if you've never met me.

There are a lot of occasions for which there is no Hallmark card:

-Sorry you're house burned down, belated,--because they couldn't send it without an address.

-Sorry you're 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 etc and still single-- because it's not nice even if you do wish they had someone and have a few blind dates to set them on-- and the reverse of sorry you've been married for 5, 10 , 20 etc is also not nice.

-Sorry you lost your job, with a holder for a gift card-- because maybe someone else is helping them out and better not to mention it in case they've found one already.

-We're glad you won the lottery-- because people aren't usually that glad-- go buy yourself a card...

-Sorry your dog died-- because the card companies are just catching on that my neighborhood has four dogs for every one person, and that people prefer to be grannies to dogs when their are perfectly good children available who have no one to bake them home-made dog biscuits.

-Don't worry about Social Security failing, enjoy your vacation in Spain-- because kin tend to keep gripes to themselves and settle on complaining about the t-shirts they get from traveling relations.

-Sorry your ex died-- because this one is complicated and is hard to say whether its in the condolence section or not.

-Happy Birthday to my step-daughter twice removed--because when you are a kid where both your parents get remarried, you have four sets of parents and if they both get remarried twice and so on you could have eight sets, and a complicated week end schedule, not to mention how you are related to who-- is muddled, and by then the kid may not want a card  from you and who could remember that many birthdays of children who aren't your own without a maid named Alice to help out?

-Divorce Cards-- this is a market that would be helpful-- Cards with your new name and address would let people know how to reach you. Even a reverse wedding might be in order. And cards back to the couple would be like reverse wedding cards: greetings, questions, jokes, insights, family tree notices of addition or removal, and rumors etc.  All this could be appreciated, but then again they may not, so better not mention it.

-Congratulations on the raise-- because people really don't have time for this many cards really, and they didnt' get a raise, so how are they going to buy one for you.  Get one yourself.

-Glad to know you had good weather-- this is an under appreciated market.  people are so interested in my weather.

- Sorry you lost a pregnancy-- these may be unavailable despite the rumors of fifty some percent of pregnancies ending early, because of the culture war over weather a fetus is a baby or not, and it is "indelicate."

-Sorry about the PMS-- likewise

- Happy surviving the summer-- cards to stay at home moms or dads are simply non-existent.  This is because they have plenty of time to make their own cards right?

-Saw you on Facebook--  is a card that is really needed.  Friending goes unnoticed when you hit over two hundred.  It would be nice to know if the "accept" button meant there would be any further communication.

-Rejected you on Facebook-- this is an especially useful card because you'd like to know if your old high school friends still hate you, or are just serving in the peace corps.

-Thanks for the organ--again this a squeamish topic, the family of a deceased donor may not want this card and the family of a living donor may think a card is a little under the mark.

-Sorry for disowning you -- this would be helpful for people with hardening arteries who yell a lot, the reverse would be helpful too, Disowning you--It would be good to know if your relatives had disowned you or just forgotten that you still lived on Pine street.

--Happy graduation from potty training-- would be okay and might be useful to the very young or very old.

--Congrats on the hybrid--  Not needed, people with new cars with low gas mileage can afford to come see you in person right?

--Congrats on finishing your ...-- Not really needed, as comments can be made online about everything right?


Some say hand sanitizer is bad
some say its good
I'm allergic to it, so my kids use soap
when they remember
They almost never get sick
I'm up with the cough syrup when
there is one cough
I have drops for every allergy from
trees to wheat
They take elderberry juice, probiotics
and drink tea with honey, I've been known
to stick olive oil in their ear and menthol
on their little pink feet---but
oh when someone else's baby
gets sick I want to run right over
and make them better
I want to feed the whole world
peppermint tea and for
nobody to ever get sick again

Snow prints

Apparently we have a rabbit
that goes to school on the bus,
because when the snow finally melted
enough to walk on the sidewalk on Thursday
it was filled with rabbit tracks
going both directions.


couldn't find my thimble so just sewed the shirt anyway.
didn't have my glasses, but it was too much trouble to find em. 
didn't see them around anywhere. 
tried to eat a sandwich and got mustard on the shirt--
washed it in the washer, but forgot the soap.
let the dough rise on the bread too long until it imploded.
threw the whole mess away.
cleaned the kitchen with a tea towel, because the rags were in the dryer,
and the basket was upstairs with clean, and didnt' want to go look for it
took the wet towel downstairs to dry
distracted by organizing the garage entry way and matching mittens
ran upstairs and made an apple pie instead
didn't want to make crust so tried a crumb version
didn't want to look up the recipe so tried to remember
made a mess
fixed the pie
made sure to turn on the light so wouldn't burn it
put it at the oven after it was preheated this time
shook out the bag of flour to make sure it was empty
thimble fell out of the empty bag of flour?
wrote a poem about it . . .
smelled something burning


Dear Sandi,
I hope you read this and don't throw it away.  I'm sorry.  I know you took me in
when I was a foster kid.  You took me in after I was in juvie. And you took me in
when I should have been able to pay for a place of my own. You were a real
mother to me.  I hope you don't hate me for leaving without telling you why.
I lost my job.  Well I quit.  It didn't pay enough anyway and that Kirk was
a jerk.  You know.  I know you didn't need a 22 year old mouth to feed.
I took Sam with he since he was my dog from the beginning.
We're out on the road having adventers.  I thumbed a ride north to Kansas City.
Its a lot colder here than I expected. I wish I had a good coat.  And I'm stuck out here by the airport
where the trucker dumped me out.  I figure the city is at least thirty miles more south.  I didn't
really think things through.  I can't get a job without a place to live and I can't get a place to
live without a job.  Now that I've been buming around a few days, I can't get a strait anser
from anybody.   I probly smell. I asked people for money to ride the bus and they told me to get a job, or
go to the shelter.  I'd like to, if I could figur out where it is.  I finaly came to a library last night, but I didn't relize you can't look up any info on the computers without a local adress and all that.  I can't turn in my
heating bill from "behind-the-Chinese-Resterant dumpster" where Sam gets a good dinner.
And I can't get back to you very easy.  I don't know what to do, but I'm
going to walk on back south.  I figure I can get downtown in a couple of days if I'm careful.
Some random lady threw this paper at me out of her car window.  Well that's not
really true.  She gave me a blanket and inside was beef jerky and socks and this stamped
envelope.  I figure the only address I knew was yours.  So Merry Christmas.
Sam and I are doing okay.  We're finding out a lot about being homeless and
it suits me, being a foster kid and all.  Maybe I"ll write a book about it someday.
I'm sure I'll find work downtown and I can get a shower and some help at the men's shelter I keep hearing about.  I got their card from the library with a map.  Now if I don't do anything dislexic,
I'll be there soon, get a job, a  pay by the minute cell phone (all the homeless people have them now some guy told me) and I'll give you a call then.  Sorry, they don't have pay phones any more.  I guess I never noticed.
Tell Tom and the kids hello.  Hope Sara is enjoying my old room.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Kiwi Kiwi on the floor
Kiwi Kiwi out the door
Kiwi Kiwi I don't know you anymore

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for:
my quirky kids who can sneak down
a half flight of stairs in tandem
with a blanket over their heads--
like a Chinese Dragon
on Double Ten, and my
heart pops like fire crackers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Warding Wreath

I bind this vine
a circle then a line
a line, a circle
ivy for friendship
marigold for sight
and morning glory
for reunion.
This wreath to
remind that the
beginning is the end
and the end
is the beginning
light to half light

Better and Better

The sign on the door read
Better and Better
--ironic if we went in
since everything has only been
worse and worse and worse--
Under the lentil nothing changed,
at first, we felt the same.
Looking back I think the saying may be true-- when things start getting better, they tend to go on that way for
a long while--  Here's to that, and to
Digory and Polly, silver
apples, talking lions, and
doorways that are never

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ADD with Jesus

You may think that a writing desk is like a raven,
but I have no idea how this is true
I do know that a writing pen is like a ram caught  in the bush
How do I know this?
Because I am never prepared, whether I think ahead or not
I go off to an important lecture without a pen or pencil
I bake bread without checking how much flour I have first
I pour my cereal and then look for the milk
You could blame it on ADD but I always thought it
was because whenever I needed something I'd look
over and there it would be waiting for me like Abraham's
old goat when he needed it most.  How odd.  Yes.
But that's what I've done, and it's always worked.
Living like Abraham can be odd, expecting angels to come
to dinner or bargaining with God when he's used to
bows and scrapes.  Well that's what I've done, and that
is why when I showed up on my turn in the class last July
I wasn't worried--
when I had no pen.  I look up and to the left and like usual, one is
sitting there lost by some other student.  No one else is yet in the room.
Its for me.  I hardly say thanks.  I used the pen until today when
it ran out of ink while I was writing a list of things to be thankful for. 
I was sorry,
but glad to know that when I needed something for one hour
Jesus made sure the ink ran for 4,320 hours.
Now that I have Rx reopening my brain power against ADD
I plan ahead just great and I miss the old days when it was Jesus, me
and the goat caught by the horns.  So sometimes
when I drive to the store and they open up a new lane
just for me, I know that my goat is still there
if I ever need one.
Thanks Jesus- you sure know how to catch a good one
and by the way, my taxes are due, know where I can
find any good fish?

When I grow up

When I grow up I want to 
be a morning glory vine.  Yes I do too.
First you'll think I'm so innocent
until I spread sky high with hearts greener than green
I'll swirl and twirl and lock myself in place around and around
until it's impossible to get me down
Then I'll bloom every morning and on full moons too
I'll soak up the sun and drink vats of dew
The hummingbirds will love me and butterflies coo
at the nectar I make which is not all I will do
Then the best part will come for I will make seeds
heaps and heaps of them in balls that are green
And then comes the part where I get profound
No matter what happens or who cuts me down
I'll last forever in a black pearl gown
of the seed with everything in it that's me
because there are so many-- you'd count indefinitely
and have to give up in the end
for if you pull me out you still can't win
the least little touch and my seeds will give way
and fall to the ground where they will grow some day
and do all that I taught them and meant them to be
little sunlovers and dewdrinkers they'll be
Once a morning glory gets going there's no way
to stop her or slow her or make her to stay
And maybe a mother is just alike that way

Here is the link to pictures of the morning glories in my garden...


Way to go you
I tell myself when I fix the tricycle
wash another load of whites that stay white
repair the laundry rack with a screw driver

It's the big tasks
like the bits of broken glass all over the front yard
the uneven drive-- in the crevices, the rock mulch
the flower beds, the logs-- from the fireman's grateful axe

Help for hire
is the first thing I tried, but the man
who said he'd "clean up the yard," only blew
away the leaves, leaving the shards behind

Cry a little
is my second approach
or maybe an angry letter about what "clean" means--
oh yeah, and the leaf guy stole my rake

Compose a phone call
never helped anyone especially if you
never actually make the call to complain
that the world has cheated you and life is unfair

Do it yourself
is the little red hen's motto
that I often have to follow when nothing else works
I get out the broom and sweep up the glass in Thanksgiving

That's not enough
I told myself and I knew it already
I scraped up shards of glass with the shovel--during, before
and after Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and all the rest

Safety first
I taught my toddler not to put glass in his mouth-- and
washed away more menacing diamond grains when I watered
the the new rosebush in the front yard with the hose

I found the light
helped because as the sun sets in the evening while the kids are riding
little toddler bikes the rays catch on two or three bits of glass
every time I think this is the last piece

I found the light
helped because the sun sets at a different angle each day of the year--
its more noticeable when the season changes-- a different angle each day
shows there is always another shard of glass I miss

I see the light
reflect on the pile of glass on the low wall where I collect them
the rain washes them clean from smokey yellow to icy white
I put them in a little jar in the garage to save them and remember

It's half empty
there is room left for the shards I may find tomorrow
more bits to be brought out of the soil by raking and rain storms--
squirrels, worms and birds will help me find the rest

I knew it all along
I tell myself when I look at the jar full of splinters
I've prevented-- by picking up each shard
I see that impossible tasks are always solved like this one

One day at a time

Sendak's Window

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time)Here is a poem about my thesis paper I've just written.  It's in the last revision now.  I just read that Madeleine L'Engle lectured on "Myth, Fairy Tale, and Fantasy."  Since my paper was on this subject I wonder if I can find these lectures somewhere.  When I do, I'll find that my paper was already written most likely.  Well there is nothing like doing things the hard way all on your own-- which seems to be a pattern I follow-- Then you really know them.

"What looks inside and outside?"
"My Window? says Kenny

How do I open it?  Pull out
the dragons and swords from within,
piles of books, keys, spoons and a gnome or two--
and let them loose onto the pavement
fire, smoke, clanging filling up
the empty street I live on where
no children ever go outside to play?

I will study my reflection where
everything is backwards and upside down,
and I will make my frown into a smile.
Then I will run in place until I've flown a mile.
I will see a butterfly made of bread and spread.
I will close my eyes to walk where I've been told not to tread.
There in the dark, I will catch a small star then
bring it back to where you are.

We'll play catch with it and
jump rope too.  I'll be St. George and we can do
all the stunts ourselves.  We'll save England
then on to the next until each country comes out dressed
with flying banners that wave all the best names:
Joan and Romeo and John and Jill
and we'll tell each story 'til we've had our fill.

Before Bras

I can remember back before breasts
or mine at least.  There was
nothing to get in my way from
cartwheels and back bends.
When a backwards flip down from the high
bar was called a "skin the cat."

I can remember back before pantyhose
were a necessity.  There was
nothing to get in my way on a Sunday
from running on the grass; I was never
hampered by elastic digging into my waist
or worried about hair showing through.

I can remember back before computers
were invented, before teachers printed out
banners of dot matrix bunnies.  When
we all had typewriters and ribbons. 
We knew the smell of whiteout could stir
up impatience in even the most even temper.

I can remember back before condiments
came in plastic squeezy bottles.
When jars were glass, and mustard was
something I spread with a knife,
yellow soaking into the dark brown
bread for grandma's ham sandwich.

I can remember back before we met
in another Millennium, on another world.
When I drew in my red sketch book
and you wrote stories in your green one.
We both thought life was all about the future,
but we weren't prepared for the past.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bare Bones

I'm finding that keeping up with poetry is harder when my mind is busy with other things like writing a master's thesis or figuring out a new stage of life.  But I proved my theory in the last 11 months that writing poetry uses a muscle that grows with the exercise.  It's the same muscle I use when I'm trying to remember I dream I had.  Bits of odd ideas and images float through my day and these are poems.  If I can grab onto them, give them a name, and plan to write them I won't forget.  If I go about my life then they clutter like leaves in my subconscious and I never bring them out to examine in the light.  They go to waste. 
I think its cool that this muscle I use to remember the ideas to poems seems to be my imagination.  It grows with use.  A dream come true.  I think I may write a poem every day forever or until I have nothing left to write about.  It's been one of the best things to ever happen to me, whether they are read or not. 
I'm thankful to this poem-a-day to keep me at writing poetry.  Now I guess I will go onto the next step and learn how to revise:)


I never knew what love was until
I knew your hair curled under
that hat you slept in
and wouldn't take off because we
pretended we were sailing and your
sled was a boat that would
take you anywhere if you wore a hat
a hat which made you a man
instead of a baby boy with
new teeth as white as sails

Cricket Hope

I heard a great silence
down by my left foot.
A cricket rested his tune.
I listened but no.  It
was still as a schoolhouse
after the bell. 
Not a song, nor a string,
or a peep or a ping.

The grass breathed alone.

The crickets were silenced
and I've only just come to
tell you. 

I heard the last note.


Sherlock: Season One [Blu-ray]
I know you like Sherlock Holmes knows London.
I read the headlines each morning,
and nothing goes unnoticed
as I solve each mystery whether I am
asked to or not.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nano Wrimo

National Novel Writing Month is here!
Let's all celebrate with a tear and a cheer.
My husband who is usually down in a funk
silent, blue and muttering junk
is now laughing at puns while doing a jig--
he talks about time travel and flying pigs!
He plans to write characters who circle the moon
who meet wise sages and ask for a boon--
National Novel Writing Month is here!
Let's all sigh with relief for fun that is funny
for characters, plots and jokes that are stunning
National Novel Writing Month is here...
a bizarre yet satisfying end to our year.
Fifty thousand words or more, he's giddy
he's gaddy, he's wordy, he's mad, he
sneaks to he keyboard both day and in night,
but when will he go to bed and turn out the light?

Beans and Brandy

It's the end of the month and the cupboard is bare
Let's make a list of what is there:

beans, can of refried
beans, bag of  limas dried

beans, can of pork n'
beens, can of red, dark and

brandy, from last years Christmas pudding
and then there is exactly nothing

I could cook them up in a terrible feast,
they'd make a roaring gaseous beast.

I'll leave them there for another day
I may get hungry again in May.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spirits and Ghosts, Steam and Vapors

In the midst of two or three
It's the mist that I can't see
It's not the white shift floating by
It is a shift in the reason and why--
It's light for dark sight
It's light for dark loads
It's the real milk I need the most.
Give me a teaspoon of truth
each day, no more,
sticky syrup filling out my shadow, bit by bit
and all the lies won't stay and sit.
I'll fill and fill and fill up to the top.
Then Halleluja I won't stop.
I'll be ready for the truth
and the truth will see me free!
No more shadows, no more duals.
I'll see the one is more real than real.
Fill me up and pour me out.
When I'm ready, hear me shout.


Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn--
I push the stroller up the root-knocked sidewalk the neighbors grumble to their dogs and look away
I slouch in the corner booth with the steak menu over my head so they won't recognize me
the mailbox is always empty though it goes out full at least once a month
my messages fly into space every day, but there's a force field which makes them invisible

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn--
the house goes ablaze and everyone watches it go down, who comes to see it back up?
a pantry party is thrown for those with food, while we have ketchup
the grass grows weeds and mushy crops, where is all the fruit?

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn
and we're just asking for a chance
to prove we're pure in heart.

Sometimes it's like we've killed a unicorn
and we're just want to prove
we've been innocent from the start.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hot Cocoa...

Hot Chocolate
A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want ....
the cocoa is almost gone!
I'll measure out some
brownies first and then...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want....
Brownies too I'll
measure first...
The flour is almost gone!
I'll measure out some
pizza dough and then...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want...
Brownies too I'll
measure first...
Pizza then
I'll sift the flour...

A sweet cup of cocoa is
what I want...
The Brownies they
are measured.
The dough it
is just raising.
The milk is getting hot!

Ah, the milk
is just now hot.
The cocoa I'll stir in.
Sugar, salt, butter, milk...
A cup and marshmallows
in...The marshmallows are
almost gone!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Steam Punk

Warning:  Don't read this note if you want to guess what the poem is about from reading it---

Steam Punk seems to becoming a popular genre of fiction today.  I see "steam punk" and the continued love for the Victorian era as a wish to regain something lost. The great experiment of the modern age was not the beautiful new world science envisioned. Science hoped to conquer time travel, poverty, energy and every pain or inconvenience in life. Instead science seemed to be another way to have larger Holocausts and Hiroshimas. In some ways, Postmodernism feels like a constant revisiting of old calculations to find what we've missed-- where we went wrong. My theory is that we missed each other; missed seeing people as the first most important thing. This letter is an allegory for that missed relationship. Here I compare the explosive death of a loving relationship between a beautiful Victorian woman with her inventor-fiancĂ© as an allegory about the nuclear holocaust. 

Dear Steam Punk,
You were breathtaking, a star in your universe
the genius who knew his own duty:
To take science, beauty and justice,
solder them together into a new universe. 
We were going to make it.

I held your dream in gloved hands in the
tea stained light of the afternoon sun.  I too,
in that slanting half light full of a promise,
thought you had a made all things new--
a world where the laws of man were honorable
and the laws of physics were meant to be humbled
under the leathers of our good intentions.

We admired it too long, I guess, under the open
window.  Who knew the weight would break just then,
and the casing come crashing down?  Who could
have told us the world would slip out of my fingers,
drop two stories down, and disappear into the black
hole of a common gutter?  We couldn't know who found
it and altered our victory for dark purposes while
we fought each other over bruised fingers?
Who knew I leave through the door of your curses,
and you, romantic to the end, would burn my letters on
the coals of our most recent love?

A century we've run in place, recalculating
each tick.  Watching the replay on years beginning
with nineteen.  Reliving the horrors our hopes produced
on the back of our eyelids-- every blink
a yellow light surrounded by red.  I still see that
infernal cloud.  I can admit, alone to myself, we misfired.  
I was sure beauty and science were the gods who would
prove perfection came from muscled minds
and creative technology.  How was I to know
that we lost the world the moment we forgot
each other?  When my hand left yours
to see in a better light?

Spare me

Babies are born unable to walk, so they will
stay close to their mothers; learn love over adventure
and so they won't be so excited at the wide world they
might forget to eat and so to grow up.

Babies are born without teeth to spare their mothers who
gently teach them to nurse sweet milk, and with coos and love
pats, what humankind is about. Some say teething with
all its night terrors build tolerance to pain.

Babies are born unable to speak to spare everyone
seventeen odes a day on the wonders of  breast milk, blankets,
and sunshine, every single day for the first three hundred
and sixty five days of their lives.

and most importantly, to spare us their constant
amazement at the complexities of the human
digestive system with all its gas bubbles and
dozens of kinds of spillage out each end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A circle is just a circle, until you draw rays then it's a sun.
A circle is just a circle, until you draw a smile then it's a face.
A rectangle is just a rectangle until you add birds then it's the sky.
A rectangle is just a rectangle until you add a knob then it's a door.
A square is just a square until you add wheels then it's a wagon.
A square is just a square until you add a Christmas tree, then it's a present.
A triangle is just a triangle until you draw a square then it's a house.
A triangle is just a triangle until you draw a family then it's a home.

This poem is inspired by my daughter's school project she brought home yesterday.  These are mostly direct quotes from her classmates.

Trash Day

The Poky Little Puppy
I love trash day!
No, I hate trash day.
But not today!
Today I'm free.
I'm roaming about.
I can sniff every bag
inside and out!
I run down this street
and now that street.
And if I find a rib or two
I'm not going
to share with you!
I love trash day,
boy, I do.
I love trash day
and the whole
world too!



Little violet handkerchief folded on the ground,
too shy to even show your face.
I remember the brave tip of your chin over
your bare shoulder.  And here your timid visage
darkens a nipped golden wednesday at the edge
of winter.

I know you've come to ease my heart, so
dry of all that is green, so dark from the strange
angle of the distant white globe in the sky.
To calm my sleep filled with the frost-ache,
and dreams of crackled leaves on black ground.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Grandma inside the wolf

Mother Dear,

I don't understand growing old.
What is it? Your ears grow jangling, your
cheeks sag down, your eyes get droopy and frown,
your hands turn clawed like an old gray bear,
and your teeth fall in or stick out. Does age
consume you, or is it a disguise,
Can anyone bail you out? If we cut off the outer
layers could her youth jump up and run about?

Red Riding Girl,
Run along quick. Don't
ask silly questions when
Grandmother is sick. 
Take this wine and bread
past the three Oaks, and
call before opening the latch.
You'll find her there
as she always was.  Go
now and stay on the path.

What's eating you?

Hansel and Gretel (Picture Puffins)

What's eating you, Hansel?
   I'm bothered, that's all, Gretel.

About what?
   It's her and her constant nibbling,
    nagging and snickering.  She's roasting me alive!

You mean the witch, or step mother?
   What's the difference? 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eden Diary 2- part two

      Well... I can answer you question by telling you a little more about the first world war.  This was, of course, between the people of Able and the people of Cain.  Cain wanted to use all the land for livestock and Able wanted to have vineyards and orchards and farms.  They couldn't agree to divide it up in any way that suited both of them, because of the access to the rivers.  It didn't rain very often then.  There was a "rainy season" as we called it, but it was more of a damp season that anything to worry about.
     Now, in Eden, -- no it is not a myth-- it never rained.  It misted.  That was so annoying, and it was one of the main reasons we left.  You can imagine living in a place that is so hot you can't wear any clothes, then on top of that it mists all the time.  I was constantly damp and miserable.  Since it was a kind of nature reserve, and we were there to study the animals; to learn their languages, killing them was frowned upon.  We couldn't make clothes, bedding, or tents without animal skins.  Also that forced into becoming vegetarian.  Eve used to make the most terrible fruit soup all the time.  I could hardly eat.  Where was I?
     Oh yes, the war.  Well we all left Eden because we really needed a change.  And were were very happy to be able to make our own clothes, get settled in homes, even cook proper food.  I remember I went out and butchered a large bull that very first day and made the most wonderful steaks.  We'd never been so happy.
Well, yes.  Now that you mention it, there was that incident with out teeth.  Now I told everyone what to expect, but no one listened.  There was a serious uproar for a few weeks, but it petered out.  Well, yes, our teeth did grow.  See these sharp teeth I have in the front?  Well none of had these incisor teeth for eating flesh back in Eden, we had very straight teeth like horses do.  I explained to everyone our genes had been repressed for the special life style we were forced to live there.  Once we left Eden, our meat eating teeth were allowed to grow just as they are supposed to be.  This didn't go over well.  Our schools then weren't as sophisticated as they are now.  No one understood science.  Many people woke up that first morning with new sharp teeth and fell over dead from fright.  Some ran off into the wilderness and we heard rumors of tribes of Cannibals warring and eating each other.  Eve of course used the wonder of it all to reinforce her snake cult.  Some people were afraid to sleep in case they might wake up with other changes or be bitten by an insane person in the night.  I called it Vampire Syndrome. 
     I counseled most of the young ones until they were able to see their new teeth as natural and necessary.  I set apart the most qualified as cattle ranchers and sheep and goat herders.  I taught them how to butcher meat into cuts.  Eve set about training many in cooking stew with vegetables and teaching farming and gardening.  It was all going so well. 
     I guess I really don't remember how the war started at all.  One day we were fairly evenly divided into two tribes and the next there was an all out war.  People from Abel began sharpening their shovels and hoes into spears.  People from Cain made whips, arrows, and armor.  The war lasted only a few days I should say.  We weren't many then.  The survivors from Abel stole all my writings on philosophy and religion.  They ran off to the North.  I and whoever remained from Cain settled here in Babble.  We branded ourselves with special tattoos on our foreheads to make sure no one from Abel could infiltrate our city unnoticed.
     We like the arid climate, and the vast amounts of clay in the soil have developed new trades of pottery, art, and brick making.  We are building a city.  Our best project is top secret, I can't tell you about it yet.  But you will be so impressed when I do.  Yes we are really the strongest people on earth--we must be-- because we overthrew Abel and its traitors, and rebuilt here the biggest city on Earth.  It's truly magnificent.  Have I shown you my thrown room?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dear Mrs. Giant

Dear Mrs. Giant,
     Thank you for giving me a hot meal the other night.  I know I gave you a start at first, I'm sorry.  I didn't
think Giants existed before either, so I was taken aback myself.  I had no idea there was a whole another world so far above ours.  For we live down below, you see, on the earth.  Most of us don't have castles either I'm afraid.  And unlike Mr. Giant we don't eat a meal of a dozen cows or so because we are each smaller than one full grown cow.  I'm writing to you to ask you another favor.  I'd like to borrow some of your planting seeds: pumpkin, cabbage, tomatoes and the like. 
     You see, our land has had a famine for quiet some time.  We are so very small that what you eat in
one meal for two people would feed our whole town for a week.  The way your bean seeds took to our soil makes me think that I can grow some more super-sized produce and save the whole village, maybe several villages.  And of course, it will be easy to return as many seeds as I take from the crop I produce.
I'm not sure what started our famine here.  We used to be such a happy people.  Every night we'd gather in the square to tell stories, sing songs, dance.  It was wonderful.  People knew us as the town with the saddest songs and the happiest stories.  We had a golden harp painted on every door.  When the land stopped producing we stopped singing.  Though some say it was the other way around.  Others blame the disappearance of our jolliest children, mostly boys.
     A small sack of seeds is all I'm asking, and I can come when Mr. Giant is asleep.  Please send your reply by this same carrier pigeon.  He is very tame and will not bite you.  I hope you can read this for I've written as large as I can.
Yours Truly,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alzheimer Words on Grandm'a 88th Birthday

Hello Grandma!

Why hello there!
It's been so long that...I seen you...on the airplane?

Yes, I haven't been able to come up for a while,
but here we are.  Me and the baby.  We don't have to come
on the plane anymore.

She's .... She's.... She's and she's so... and isn't it....

Yes, you're right he's getting big.  But this isn't my daughter, she's in school now.  She couldn't come today.  This is my son and he looks just like his sister.  You're right.  Can you say hi to Grandma?

....Oh, he's being.... and he's... look at him....he he hmmm.

Yes, he's being shy.  Oh he's playing peek-a-boo with you.

Look at Grandma's doll.  What a great doll and look at her nice dress.

Of course, I just knew you wuz comin' and so I.... set her... just lek that... just so.

And you got her all dressed up real nice too.  And you look nice too.

Well this is... is.... and its not....

I can fix it for you, the button is in the wrong place?  Let's start over.  There.  How's is that?

.....uh huh....hmm.

Do you want me to read your cards to you?

Well sure... if....

Happy Birthday Aunt Eleanor...

Yes, I and there... Happy Birthday..... I see it.... right there....

And I only got one card....

I'm sorry I didn't bring you one.  I didn't think you'd be able to read it.
But we came anyway.  Let's sing Grandma a song...

How is.... How is?  And what is she.... and what......?
Mom is doing fine.  She got a new job and she likes it very much.

Oh, that's so nice.  She likes it huh?
Yes.  She does.

That's nice.  And.....And....
S is in school and my sister is getting married to a very tall doctor.

Awe.  I remember when she was....

Yeah, now she's all grown up and she loves to make cakes.
I bet you'll have cake today for your birthday.

Well now, I don't know.  I don't......  ...n,er know.
Well hopefully. 

And we've gotta go get the baby some lunch and a nap.
But we'll come back soon.

Next time.... Next time... .... ... under ... and then.... under...

Yes, that would be nice.  We could take the baby to the park like
we used to do with his sister.  That would be nice and he could climb
under everything and over everything.  On a nice day we'll do it.


Good bye, Grandma.  We love you. 

Bye, Hon...