Saturday, January 16, 2010


I'd better get up off the floor;
I'm starting to scare the cats.

In a desparate attempt to feel better,
I cleaned the house.

As soon as I started organizing things,
it all got so much messier.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love Poem

I will keep you in the chokehold of my brilliance
until you acknowledge
that I am
The Other.

I will pour stars into your flowers
until you bloom
into the bliss
of our love.

I will lay at your feet
and wash away
the sins of the world
you carry in your heart.

I will sing your song
into your soul
until you forget the cruelty
and rejoice once again.

I will burn for you
long after the embers
of civilization
blow away.

I will walk in the snow
with holes in my shoes
happy that we are rich
in each other.

I will breathe every breath into you
until the last gasp
we take
from each other’s mouths.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Aplomb (Cat Poem)

It’s the way that they look at you,
as if where else would they be
but sitting upon the roof?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Flowers in the Kitchen

The checker at the grocery store
—also a widow—
remarks longingly
how she misses being brought flowers
as she fingers the blooms
I select for myself.

I tell her:
“I buy my own flowers,
rather than do without.”

She replies:
“He must have loved you very much.”

I had a boyfriend once,
who thought flowers an inconvenience.
He didn’t last long.

Still, he was my favorite.

On Organizing Poetry Readings

It’s always the lesser-known poets,
—the ones who were last published in high school—
who view us as quite privileged
to be hosting them.

It’s not that they lack talent
or insight
or rhythm.

It’s that their perception of their celebrity
far exceeds the reality of human capacity.

You know who I’m talking about:
the poet who wants a daisy in her lavender water;
or The New York Times notified of his participation.

in my poetry series
in my very small town
west of the Rockies.


Ever notice how “there goes nothing” and
“here comes something”
really mean
the same thing?


After the hammering,
a part of you died,
and took with it
the part that held me.

After the shattering,
I’m finally serene.
I see a bit of color;
instead of incessant gray.

Bliss descends
floating on the grief
that I can be
without you.



You are that force
that leaves me wretching and writhing and flailing about.

Yet as I gasp
for my last breath
I fervently whisper:

“Thank you, dear, may I have another?”

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tanka #1

Winter: froze everything.

Finally, Spring hints with its first bloom --

a dandelion.

Personal Ad #37

Like a black rubber stopper,
I am initially cold
but I warm to the touch
of the right woman.

I can stop your leaks
and, when used correctly,
expand to fill the void
left by others.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Difference Between You and Me

You have a cat who
taps you on the shoulder
when he wants attention.

I have a cat who
jumps on my back
when I am on the toilet.

You hide your private feelings
in 887 public, careful words.

I yell sloppy syllables
in your ear
as you sleep.

You smile your slight smile
while pretending to read the menu.

I set fire to the restaurant
with mine.

You have everything in its place;
I have things in every place.

Your lists organize my data;
it is my data that you calculate.

You talk me into silence;
I silence you into verbosity.

Your cacophony sings to my melody;
my harmony is your syncopation.

You knew in an instant.

I knew much later.

On the important thing
we agree.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This poem requires a little background information; it is a "location" poem, if you will.

In December 2005, I broke my left foot completely off my leg. I was told at the time I would never walk again. I wrote this poem in the throes of rehab and steadfast refusal to accept my non-ambulatory fate.

Perhaps this poem is weird or lame out of context; however, it is one of my all-time favorites and this is my blog and I am going to publish it. So there!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Late one morning,
working at home,
I drink the last drop
of the ambrosia that gets me going.

Instead of just getting up
and getting another cup of coffee,
I have to:

search my office for the walker;
remember it’s near the ramp that gets me from one level of my house to the next;
roll over—in the office chair—to said ramp;
hop one-legged [with the walker] up the ramp; and,
roll [in a second office chair] across the house—
“rowing” with my good leg—
to get to the kitchen.

Where the coffee pot is.

Only to discover…

I left the coffee cup

So then it’s back
in rolling office chair #2;
once more across the house;
back to the ramp;
stand up with the walker;
hop one-legged down the ramp;
sit in office chair #1;
roll back into my office; and,
retrieve the cup
from its spot
on my desk.

I roll once more to the ramp;
place the cup in the basket on my walker—
now one of my most prized possessions—
and go through the whole process

once more.

I fantasize about the day
when I can do
what others do
What others can do in one fluid motion
instead of 37 choppy steps.

Going through the process twice more,
I finally arrive
back at my desk
in my office.

I raise the cup to my lips
ready to begin again
the ritual
of work.

I’ve forgotten the cream.


It happens every semester.

Some young man enters
my classroom
and assumes
he knows more
than I.

He refuses to call me Dr.;
he refuses to participate.
When he does,
it’s wildly

He refuses to study;
he refuses to prepare.
He’s upset when he fails;
it’s all my fault.

He refuses to give up
his Freudian ideal
of the inferiority of women.

I love a good challenge.

I thrive on proving
them wrong.

This term,
not only am I a woman,
I’m disabled.
The young man is now
also threatened
at the sight of
physical disability.

I have never wanted to stand up so badly.

I don’t know which is worse:
my frustration with the oblivious narcissism of the young;
my frustration over the unending battle between the sexes; or,
my frustration with a body
that doesn’t work
like it used to.

Then, I realize
what I endure
is what some people endure
every single minute of
every single day.

Then, I feel ashamed.

My frustration melts away
as I understand
I have nothing
about which
to be

That frustrates me, too.

I think a lot about
what it would be like
to be

You command;
they do.
You primp;
they pamper.
You sigh
they dote.

Since the accident,

My friends are all
so very willing
to do my
every bidding.

They make sure
I do
on my own.

They smile
and they
my every whim.

It’s all so making me…


“Be careful what you wish for—
you just might get it…”

I would give my kingdom away
to walk through it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The end of the story is: A mere four years later, defying all medical prognostications, I am completely ambulatory. On warm days, I even walk without a limp. So there!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Second Chances

Does anyone else notice that thing about Life?
How it twists when U-turn?

The way it takes you by complete surprise—
when you’re sure nothing will change.

The way it prostrates you
before the Lord of Unexpected Consequences;
and castrates you
with your hands behind your back.

First, the funny;
next, the sad.
Finally, the last tragedy;
and after, the bittersweet.

If it weren’t for moments
of sublime interspersed,
what would be the point,

The hand held,
the tear shed,
the smile given,
the second chance.



in Oregon

is what God meant
when he came up with

the concept.


You were my Mirror of Erised
reflecting back
my heart’s deepest, most desperate

Like the others before me
I fell under your spell.
I became entranced by
the dream of you
and forgot to live.

Now the Mirror has shattered
and its curse has been unleashed

I’m slowly driven mad by the unanswerable:

Was it ever real
or even possible?


I’m at that age:
I remember the times
young men would catcall
and whistle.

It never offended me.
I was impressed by their taste.

Walking to our reunion,
I hope you recognize me.
Time and circumstance have
rendered me different.

Jittery with anticipation,
I drop my purse as a car
full of those young men
drives by.

Bent down,
picking it up,
I hear
“Nice ass.”

I’m ready to see you again.

Marines Can Be Poems

The Irish: a race of people known for drinking and fighting

You salty old dog.
Cursing and swearing and brawling and rumbling.
Never once letting old age or infirmity
slow you down.

I bet no one suspects
you are a poem.

In that very first dance class
I was too shy
to dance with the “Big Girls.”
(I was only two).
You took the class with me
and became my shuffle ball-changing hero.

You faithfully attended
all those Bobby Sox games
only to watch me
do cartwheels in right field.

You never got over the one game you missed,
the one where I hit
the game-winning
grand slam.

I cried to you in high school
about my unwavering unpopularity with boys.
You told me my day would come.

You love it when I ask your advice
and tell you
to “pretend you’re a man”
not my Dad.

When my life unraveled
and my career derailed
and my Mama became ill,
you silently urged me,
willed me
to feel better.

Not knowing how to help,
you wordlessly picked up the pieces
that incessantly kept falling.

When your wife of 46 years died
it was my duty was to take care of you.
You said “No.”
My duty
was to finally find
my own place
in this world.

You said you’d be fine.
And you packed me up
and you moved to me my home
1,000 miles away.

You made it OK to leave
the only life I’d ever known
by telling me you'd kick my ass
if I worried one moment
about leaving you
so soon
after Mama did.

You said it was time for my Spring.

I had no idea you were so sentimental
until that first Christmas in my own house
when you gave me my childhood stocking
carefully preserved
for over 30 years.

You salty old dog.
Cursing and swearing and brawling and rumbling.
Those are the stories, anyway.
All I see, all I remember
is you are always there
when I really need you.
Just like a good Marine.

Semper Fi.


I wanted to be a nun who believed
women should have control
over their own bodies.

For this offense, I’m going to hell.

I’m going to hell because I believe
all people who love each other
should be allowed to make
the commitment of marriage.

I’m going to hell
because I question the accuracy
of a tome written
400 years after the fact.

And I envision
God despairing
over a 2000-year-old game
of telephone.

I’m going to hell because I believe
gets in the way
of spirituality.

I’m going to hell because I asked the nuns
intolerable questions:

Why do we condemn those who are different? Didn’t Jesus admonish not to judge?

Why is it moral to sin and then repent and sin again and then repent again? Those people are going to heaven and I’m not?


The forced solitude --
to reflect upon the error of my ways --
yielded more questions,
not penitence.

For that I’m going to hell, too.

I believe children should be raised
by people who love them;
not brought into this world
to be raised by an institution.

Yet, the conscientious blue pill
is far more wicked
than the licentious
blue pill.

I treat people as I
wish to be treated.
I pay forward
all I have been given.

Still, my lack of remorse
over my mortal sins
ensures me a place
next to Pontius Pilate.

If not for that,
I’m sure I’m going to hell
for the sacrilege
of this poem.

People laugh, are shocked
When I tell them
I wanted to be a nun.
How could I,
an unrepentant sinner,
love God
with all of my heart?

Imagine how the nuns felt
when informed
of my heresy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


After that last dickhead
was SUCH a dickhead,

I feel sorry for the next one...
because now


am the dickhead.


Those commercials!

You know the ones…

They promise quick relief;
instant stain removal;
instant polish;
instant shine.

No matter how much I apply
or how much I scrub
or how much I wipe;

Nothing has EVER been relieved
or removed
or polished
or shined

just like that.

What I’ve found to be instant
are the things that are not.

My Mama died just like that.

I was crippled just like that.

You left just like that.

Clorox Bleach Pen

(with all appropriate deference to Shakespeare and Lady MacBeth)

“Out, out damned spot!”
she bellowed at the cloth.

Little did she know
it would someday be so easy

to wipe away
the stain of blood

as if

it never


Not only strains on cloth—
but those intractable stains
that appear on tile and porcelain, too.

“Out, out damned spot!”
she bellowed into the mirror.

Scrubbing furiously at her soul,
trying to cleanse it
of the stain
they left behind.

If only there were a product for such stains


If I had known

that last time


the last time…

I would’ve said something entirely different.

Jigsaw Puzzle

She sat at the table
—all the pieces laid out in front of her
trying to determine
which one didn’t fit.

Why? Why? Why?

the question pecked at her
like the drip drip drip
of Chinese water torture.

She started with temper:
everyone mentioned that.

She smiled, recalling
the shock of those
who did not heed
the puff of smoke.

She put her temper back.

Next, she picked up intelligence –
which frightened and intimidated most.


intelligence gave her
treasured experiences;
hearty laughter;
and true love.

She put her genius back.

Perhaps it was her taste for vengeance.
Oh, how she loved to dance on graves.

That was too much fun.
She put tenacity back.

Staring at the pieces left,
she held close to her heart
the one
she hoped
was not

Her compassion for others had left her unsettled.

“Love me as I am or love me not!”
she declared,
putting the past
back in its place.

Faster and faster
she sorted through the pieces
the “why why why” dripping louder and louder.

intractable stubbornness;
cruel wit;
odd sense of humor;
fondness for expletives;
skin like rice paper.

Which one? Which one WAS IT?

Which one of these pieces
all her favorites
which one made her not fit?

Spent, all the pieces back in place,
she finally considered:

perhaps the problem lie
in other puzzles.