Monday, May 31

Dancing on a Steamboat

The Newsboy grabbed my hand and asked me to dance,
Love to, I said, I'm married to the drummer just so you know.
Just having fun here,he said, he's phenomenal, he says,
I'm not used to being the center of attention, really
center of the room, only two on the dance floor, attention.
I let my cape-sweater flowing behind me slip off,
I handed it to someone to hold it and I went back out
Red tank dress revealing my shoulder blades,
a bit shy about it and wondering if I look too.

Two rum and cokes, a couple glasses of white wine
And those warm sticks you suck on and puff from
mingling with the crowds, sneaking in cryptic convo
with those select friends a bit more sought after.
My cryptic visits to the bathroom, only to escape
sitting outside talking to the bouncer about
Don Quixote and his third time reading it,
I breathed in the air slowly trying to slow down
my spinning mind, Oh! but it was so clear.
I convinced those who entered to show me their IDs
since I was standing right by the bouncer anyway.
No I said I was just joking and let them pass.

Whispers and touches in small passageways, wishing
to know if everything's alright? It was so far.
Why is it I'm totally ok being the only feminine aura
in a pool of congealed men? I think it's because
I see them as people, as real boys who
"wear their hearts on their sleeves" as my mother says.
When it comes down to it, they are probably
just as shy and nervous as the rest of us.
I'm not intimidated or hurt by the average male's
failure to ask questions about my life or be interested
to have conversation with someone else's wife.
Afterall, that's only human.

Kitty Kats, Klubs, and Kings of the Steamboats.
Play us another song, sing us a Zelda, enamored by you.
Grab my hand and thoughts and ask me to dance them
out of my head and onto the dance floor.
Afterall, I'm only human.

Thursday, May 27

Today I like everything:

I like the people cursing at each other in the waiting room outside my office,
I like that homeless man who always says hi to me each morning
I like the sickening smell of their B.O. three days old

I like Enrique Inglesias singing overhead
I like the prospects of this evening in a bar
I like your morning glory as you so delicately put it

I like the deadline and the stress I feel capable handling
I even like the Greater Good today, rare
I like facebook and all your faces and insecurities
I like my insecurites too.

Sometimes, nothing can make a good day bad.  Even Enrique.

Friday, May 21

 A Friend or Three

Your smile, my sister friend, floated around the room, evaporating and adding to the room's humidity,
it permeated the air and condensed on the slender wine glass half full of rolling rock,
slid down the stem and, your smile, watered my hand resting there.

Your five o'clock shadow (our was it four?), my dearest, massaged the face of the Cat,
a purr then forced itself from his throat like love shot from cupid's arrow;
he licked your chin, and, with a small leap and after noticing the drips on my hand,
frolicked over and licked my sisters smile clean from my hand.

Your hand, my brother friend, strummed gently upon the strings of an out-of-tune acoustic.
Setting it down and scratching the sofa fabric, the Cat sauntered over to catch the sound.
Snatching him in mid-air, your hand placed him on your lap, each finger gently touching the soft
fur, shedding my sisters absorbed smile onto shirt sleeves and dusty corners of the room.

Why sweep the floor when its so full of you?

Tuesday, May 18

Not a poem; just an experience

I had a dream last night.  I was blurry. I'll describe the most significant piece.

I saw this house on the hill of a cobblestone street.  It was sort of old and decrepid, but not too much. Just probably looked that way because it needed a paint job.  The house was tall and a faded red with a huge staircase winding down from somewhere, I could see through the window.  Following the stairs was a line of curtains hanging from the ceiling on a track.  They were unmatching curtains, but they were big heavy dusty carpet-like curtains, like the kind you see in old victorian homes.  They remind me of a fabric out of Jane Eyre.     The next thing you know I am in the house.  I see a large black woman handling the curtains, trying to move them or hang them up in a different pattern. She was high up near the ceiling, on a ladder or something.    I left the main foyer of the house and meandered into a room.  The room was old and dusty, but beautiful.  Things seemed in transition, furniture semi-covered, piles of things in the corners or middles of rooms.  This room had two pianos.  I went over to the first one:  it had keys but looked to function more like an organ.  It had ugly blue and red keys that were a plastic material. .  I remember calling it a harpsicord in my head.....and I played one key and it sounded horn-like.  I didn't appreciate the sound.
The next piano set up right next to it and actually closer to the door where I came in was a extremely long grand piano, the huge heavy type that aren't shiny or polished.  The sort in old practice halls for choirs and orchestras.  This piano had beautiful keys, ivory colored and clear and cold to the touch, slippery and smooth.  The keys played under a medium to hard weight of the fingers onto the key.  Soft touch pianos make playing too easy and less strenuous on your fingers........but harder touch piano keys give much more satisfaction when one is struck. Strains the fingers a bit more, gives you more weight to push around.  Makes each key, each note, distinct.  I like hard key piano's like a like the spanish language: each letter is pronounced; nothing is slurred. 

I don't rememeber what happened next but I know that I suddenly had to run out of the house and away from it becasue someone was trying to find me and I was being chased. I did not feel alone but I did feel like I was supposed to run from something.  I looked back at the house from a block's view away.  Then I got in a car that pulled up and drove off.......

Monday, May 17

A Little Less Than Cumulus

Mr. Gray felt gloomy today.
Sun, shining, took all the credit.
Mr. Gray's clouds were overcast  by the
ingrateful passer-bys
wondering how high the bird is in the sky
and why the grass is sometimes
a yellow green.

No one gave a thought to the work done
slowly over nights and weathers and
air pressures and humidities,
the long slow process of collecting
each dewy puff to form
his bathtub hair substance,
(hair meant to grab their attention,
the hair of a child spiked and glopped up
with sudsy shampoo)

Mr. Gray didn't feel so confidently cloudy today.
He felt sunny, and that really sunned on his parade.

Somnambule 23

I did not dream of this a lot last night
Nor did the birds achirp or frogs trumpet
Not in my wakeless dancing did a fright
Jump out at me and snare me in its net.

I didn't watch the shadowed valleys fall
Onto my walks, nor did I let the cup
Of mine to overflow, I did it all,
'Cept with my enemies at table sup.

And surely Goodness will you follow me
Despite all of the days of my own life?
And dwell with me thou Good and Evil Tree
Deciding to postpone eternal strife?

     I did not dream of this at all last night,
     Not in my sleep, but in my waking light.

Tuesday, May 11

Cave of All Wonders

I spoke my minds truest truths
My words walked on the sofas and took a seat next to you
scratched at the thread hanging off the arm rest and
pulled open the fold-out legs to piecefully listen and
take snapshots with letters and quotations and phrasings.
Your smiles became "driftily dazing in the raindrops dew"
and your darting eyelids and lashes "the glass of gems and geniuses". 
My prose stood up for a minute and left to run to the loo,
but turned instead to view the living room's poem from a
wider horizon, zoomed out and up, even climbing onto the table.
Fermented juice swishing around in each's glass read
"I am the captain of my ship" and the stain that swished out of the glass
onto your faded white t-shirts replied "Oh captain my captain"  and
the shoes staring up from below you both blinked and quietly whispered
only to me "I took the road less traveled by"
I winked, which was of course the corresponding line to finish his thought.

Dazzling dungeon of works and words!  Cave of all wonders and warlords!
Grant me always the poems in each room.

Thursday, April 8

Waking Up to Fever Ray

My heart beats for the trees outside,
for sacred naked blurried waves on the sheets,
for an occasional friend, and friends, and the right attitude to enjoy them.
for Leiv Schreiber and the Phantom of the Opera,
for high heels, dark eyes, and big messy pastey hair that swings,
for cigarettes, I pine!  I'm an addict already. They make me high.
for camping to come, and small touches from people I love.
for one particular memory which I will keep to myself. ; )
for my own breasts, and for the edge of your chin,
for writing, and for the dreams I have each night that are so vivid and convincing.

And these imaginary clouds that surround my head today soothe my wounds,
and through their mists, I hear the quiet spray that says,
"It's all gonna be Ok."

Wednesday, March 31

Small Town Plays


They see actors, yessssss
Acting out characters they met
Many times before. They've seen
Scrooge, and Wendy's rubied toes,
They recognize clearly the little
orphan Annie, Anne Frank, 
 Romeo and Cinderella.

They see actors, yessssss
But actors they've seen before
Seen play the Panthers on the court last week
Seen grow from 3 foot 4 to 6 foot 3
From chests flat to biblical curves
From boys and girls climbing trees
To climbing the seats in backs of cars
And corners of basements.

And the actors perform for their audience, yesss....
An audience that's dark against the hot
spotlights in their eyes, mere shadows,
bespectacled, glaring back at them in
anticipation, emotions ready for whatever
the commanding actors demand of them,
strangers in a strange sea of seats.

The actors perform for that audience, yessss....
But an audience they've seen before,
Seen shake their hand after they beat the Panthers,
Seen drive them around and package them lunches,
Seen grow from blonde to brown to cinnaberry,
From fit to fat, from smooth to wrinkles.
From worrying about the heights of trees
To the depths of seats in backs of cars
And basements.

Tuesday, March 30

Why I Hate Jobs

Because now we don't farm for a living, we starve our souls.
Because now we don't sweat in the sun, we freeze in the air conditioning.
Because now we don't sing spirituals together in pain, but make our mouths smile to elevator music.
Because now we don't drink fresh-sqeezed lemonade on porches for our break, but bottomless bottles of bitter liquor in tinted windowed bars.


Saturday, March 27

England's Dry Cider Strongbow

And who says that a bit of aged cider can't be good for the heart???
I tell you, I'd go mad if I didn't have something funny to be around...
And though my large Irish husband isn't really English and isn't really
five point zero percent alcohol, who wants to be that anyways???? ?
And well he isn't really Irish. Though once we are buying firewood in
A small northwestern gas station slash "convenience store" (what   an
Oxymoran in the rural forests of Washington) when all of a     sudden
He opens the door at the same time another red headed bearded man
Reaches for that same handle (awkwardly) and stops short  and  waits
And Ben says "Oh thank you" and the man nods and says in his rural
Accent "For an Irishman".

Ben walks out and he walks in, pretending to be Irish. Spiritus Sanctus.


Originally uploaded by gratro78
Skiing. A nice photo of Ben and me.
Sorry it's not a poem. ; )

Wednesday, March 24


A piddly this a piddly that
You wear your dress, I"ll wear your hat
And rendezvous with Suits and Sue
A piddly poo a piddly you.

You try and you trill, a triddly dill
But wriddly wriddly wrongidly spill
You stupidly stupidly step on your hat
You riddly rattily rattily rat.

I'll wear the dress, and you wear that hat
Who cares about that, you sneakily snat!
You curse and you cry you criddily crat,
you sneaky and criddily crattily brat!

A pity on you and pity on me
For piddily piddily pityingye
And snappity snap your stupidy stupe
And rippity dressity hattily paddily wattily rattilly piddly poop!

Job Searching the Abyss

I can wade through all the options
Storm through all the brains
I can hold my breath and swim

But the water isn't water
and the storms are only drops
And I dip into thick sands

I can climb down into options
Lower myself into the caves
I can spalunk into that dark

But the climbing isn't down
And the top is very far
And there's no dark to look for light

There aren't any options
And there aren't any jobs
There's no sense in looking

For something not there.

Saturday, March 20

Show and Tell

I wish to have a show and tell party.
Each friend brings a creation to share.

One can bring a poem or two,
serious or funny, or both.

One can show his paintings,
drawings, artist's delight.

One can bake or cook a snack
and explain why it was chosen.

One can build an polish a stool
with rusty nails and recycled wood.

One can share a secret.
One a true confession.

One could tell a story
or read one from a book.

One could make a short film,
or act out a soliloquy.

One could even preach a sermon
so passionate and striving.

One could stand-up-comedy
One could sing a song.

And in the end we'd take a vote
and two would be the winners
For favorite show-and-tell
one serious, one fun,
And some small prize would be given.

Wednesday, March 10

Breathing Water

A wave immerses me, covers my head
My toes are drenched, I more than dipped
Into this asthma of the soul ----
I gasp for breath as iron lead
Swallows my lungs, esophagus, my lips,
The air that opens a black hole.

I try to think of things to come
Of springtime sun on trees and sprouts
And gardening flowers and baking bread,
But Present worries are my home
With snow in April amidst my doubts,
In place of flowers, ice instead.

Singing is my thermomater
It tells me when I'm up and down,
Singing sweet tunes or silencing them.
I look to song as lips to water,
In sweet music, myself I drown.
My parched soul drinking from the den.

Can I, may I, find rest, or peace?
(What are those words anyways!)
Consolation only comes---
When all is buried underneath
And years are gone, and past are days.
All will be done, when we are home.

Monday, March 8

Ethics vs Art; The Moral vs the Mystic


Ethics:  the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.

Art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

The Moral: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.

The Mystic:  involving or characterized by esoteric, otherworldly, or symbolic practices or content, as certain religious ceremonies and art; spiritually significant; ethereal.

I often see those ethically inspired neglect to see the importance of the Arts.  (As if everyone could actually have life if their base needs were satisfied ; food, water, health, shelter, clothing etc.)  We know very well that those clothed and overfed and over-sheltered and in perfect health often have no life at all, often even take their lives. 
I propose that a life lived in pursuit of ethical goals based on numbers, statistics, mass production, and mere financial assistance/support are actually goals that are contributing to the West's apathy, despair, feelings of helplessness, and bitterness- even suicide.

I also propose that a life lived in pursuit of the Arts and of expression of one's own art, while still maintaining a life of generosity toward the people directly in one's life and an eye open and aware to those who should potentially enter into that sphere on a daily basis, will lead lives of spiritual enrichment, purpose, committed helpfulness, and genuine joy- a gratefulness for one's time on this earth filled with wonder and awe, inevitably being contagious to those around and truly showing what (insert )can do for each person within and despite any circumstance this world throws at us. 
never to be continued......

Saturday, March 6

One Night

Life fell upon me like death by the guillotine.
It happened in an instant,
all at once.
And no matter how much you prepare yourself
for that inevitable moment,
-- it is always still unexpected.
"Can I really die?" the head asks the sharp blade above its plane.
"Can I really live?"

Kitchens are no place for connections
The living room connects:
The TV, the commercials, all the couches facing out
and away from each other,
all the faces sitting on the couches
consequently doing the same.

But kitchens are meant for cooking and washing and cleaning and baking.
There's no where to sit and nothing to watch.
There's really nothing you can do but stand in a corner.

This, of course, is a good thing...
because inevitably,
each person will be standing in a corner, four different corners,
and then the corners of the new corners formed from the people standing in the corners
will now be filled and
Lo! and Behold!
A circle is formed.
And people are now standing facing one another
with a drink in hand
and a story being told
or a joke being laughed at
or many stories and jokes and memories, each facing each.

And the part I wait for, the part I know is on its way upon that circle being formed
is the filet mignon of the conversation.
The small carved out piece
found for only a moment or two, or longer, but to get there one must carve through the fat
and the bones
and all the other insides
that are necessary for such a piece, such a bite.

And what a bite it is.

I wait.

And when it comes, I chew slowly,
but eagerly,

so as not to miss a single moment.
I taste it, swallow it all up.

Like a painter who needs no words to think, who dreams only images,
so too must the conversation remain in images and imagination made real.
Like the painter who mixes his pallet and moves the ground
the earth
the element onto a pallet
to mix and mix and to be mixed
with more earth to be moved around and swept up
by the lowly brush to move that very earth onto the canvas,
being a great Mover who merely transports
pieces from one place to the other in a grand display
of artistry and creativity and expression and
spirit (If I may):

the moment is physical.  tangible.
the movement of dust and bones into Life.
A Life that is suddenly displayed by some great Mover,
pushing itself upon you,
like a guillotine that falls just in time to put your head back on.

Friday, March 5

Communion: I cannot eat crackers and drink grape juice with spiritual purpose

Everything freezes.  Implodes, folds in on itself, PAUSE> ...........................................

I should have gone. I should have stayed home. I should have not grumbled and complained. I should have baked a cake and sliced into 20 pieces to be equally shared as a secret communion with others, their unawares of it makes it even that much more an experience of spiritual connection without anyone really even acknolwedging it---------a subtle twinkle inside each's bones, a small earthquake inside, that settles deep down within and lies there tucking itself into whtever bed it falls asleep on and says, "That was good night."

The body and the blood, "whenever you eat of the body, whenever you drink of the blood".  In such a way I pollinate my love in a physical way, and unnoticeable way, but a very very tangible real physical way.  I am do not particularly like human touch.....but the touching I feel is of utter importance. And the physical touching that I pour into the batter as I stir and sift and whisk and pour and slice and frost and serve is extracted from that Body and the touch from mine has been consumed by someone who now partakes in me.  And just as the body needs the blood, so does the bread need the wine, or chocolate stout cake or a raspberry almond torte need the Sauvignon or a Guinness. 

to be continued....

Friday, February 26

The German Opera

I had a picture come to my mind the yesterday.

I was laying in the bathtub listening to the classical stations and two women began to sing, as if in a play, an opera in German. One had an alto voice, creamier and muted, from the back of the throat.  the other light and clear, a soprano, with just a tiny bit more of a verbrato than my mother, but not by much.

This soprano sounded so much like Mom, Diane, that I thought to myself and imagined that she must be being broadcasted straight from Heaven itself, as some big secret and joke to the world for it being in ignorance of listening to singing voices, a German opera, playing right from the skies above, the heavens, the heavenly realm. 

I envisioned my mother on a stage in a beautiful ornate theatre (pronounced thee-AYter).  She was all dressed in a delicate and grandios costume, golds and ruby colored, with her long wavey black hair all up in a curls pinned around her head with a few strands piecing around her face and brow.  I even thought of her performing with such fervor and fun for a particular man sitting in the audience.....

The man, almost toward the back of the seating area, was a bit unnoticeable and quiet, yet his ears were tuned so finely in to the grand stage presence, amazed and impressed, and so so proud of his creation - not at all as a pride of ownership or credit, but a pride of a parent when his own child becomes a parent herself.  With awe and reverence, he watched and listened to the creative expression of divine worth.

And then the women stopped singing and burst into laughter and German banter- this too sounded like Mom, and if I had more faith, I would have been convinced for certain of the secret reality of hearing Mom broadcasted live and living from the Heavenly theatre.

Thursday, February 18

My prayer for the day:

A human being should be able to change a diaper,

Plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship,

Design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts,

Build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders,

Give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations,

Analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a

Computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects.

–Robert Heinlein

Monday, February 15

When I am in the wrong and all is not
Well in matters heart and soul and flesh,
When wet is dry and course, and ice is hot
And pieces shatter sharply and vanish,
When falling hair does flow away from scalp
And lashes eye bat from the crescent lids
When ribs and bones under pressure do snap
And pure and clear revealing mirrors are hid,
When rooms are circular and all a maze
And hands from basements reach out from the dark
To snatch the throats in ignorance of their haze
And delicately squeeze each dying spark,

        Then with the nails, the lamb of God, behold!,
        Who takes away the sins of every world.

Wednesday, February 10

Fragile Bodies and Flesh

Like a pile of dust
meticulously collected
with the broom.

All the fine elements swept to meet each other starting at one end of the room, of the cold, cement floor, and
brushing to the other.

Painting clean each square foot
from each miniscule particle
that lies waiting to be a sneeze
to some lost one happenchance to pass.

Basting that slate clean-
clean clean, a pile of dust...

...a rib, a pile of dust...

sweeping, nearing the end of all sweeps, the cracks
and corners at the far far end, gently
folding each sweep into the dust pile...

And brushing all piles together
as one, as one, all dust
to be swept

into that sweeping pan, dust dust
brushing, turning round to the pile....

                                                   ....a boot

print remains, small particles floating in the rays of windowsun.

Now only the remains of a pile, dust dust

                                                     A boot, a boot
a stomping meandering boot

print is all that remains.

A ghost, a spirit, of the dust that we are.

Wednesday, February 3


A light the shape of a pine 
the height of Mt Everest captures every knee
's bowing attention and each tongue
is tied to itself. 
Then a blackness-
the kind that no one can work in, 
can think in,
can worry in except
about the blackness.  
Fear sings to the tips of each limb...Do you not see?
And what if it isn't light 
but darkness that saves
the world. Maybe
it must be dark enough
for us to stop bickering,
to see the bejeweled sky, to turn
our heads to Everest and walk
Do you want to go back to tedium? 
The crunching of numbers and hours and of dollars and
of toes and legs 
tired of sitting out its purposelessness?
The saving dark-
Dark chocolate, 
vanilla beans, coffee. 
Black ink, mascara, logs in the fire,
seeds of a sunflower.

I savor each moment, each black moment that brings relief.

Monday, January 4

No title

When Mom has passed and fam'ly is no more
And unity dissolves into our tears
When life is merely time-pores that absorb
And fill with every daily living fear

When humor becomes all that we can hear
And laughter is not happiness but wound
When veils are ripped and middle torn and sheer
And every day is walking glass and doom

When numbness and fragility do win
And fingers type these words and say aloud
"When will you finally forgive our sin?"
And you and I are barely around

        Take heart!  Keep going...."do not let your heart
        Be troubled", let the light into your dark.