Total Pageviews

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bury the Chains

I would leave the past behind
were it not so pleasant
a place to dwell,
listening to the echoes,
consulting memories.
I can’t wait to see
what’s coming next,
but some recollections,
like that first chocolate pudding,
are too good to discard.
I’ve dropped out of
the axiom world,
did so after I realized
one well-chosen word is
worth a thousand photos.
I’ve left behind regrets,
long ago coming to grips
with my imperfections.
I’ve lost the need for more,
savoring what I have,
and I found the secret to happiness 
(making someone else happy;
pass it on).
I don’t always succeed,
but I know it’s wise to bury
both past and future,
enjoy the now.
Like in a faulty haiku I once attempted:
Tomorrow will not change me,
fall has come,
winter’s close behind.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Nobody knows what to say,
not really, at the moment 
of another’s loss.
We all try, come up dry
more so than not,
nothing equal to the pain,
saying the same things over
and over again:
a better place, they’re at rest, a life
well-lived, in His hands,
it was their time…indeed.
We’d like to tie a ribbon on it all,
but some boxes don’t come with bows.
all lives do not get closure,
to try to find a label for it all
is simply foolish, regardless
of our good intentions.
It is nature’s way
to move forward, so it does,
the world simply does not care.
Those no longer of this world
do not care.
Perhaps it’s best to accept fate
as random, be a minimalist,
but a happy one, sincerely
care for the Loved Ones,
but also move ahead,
enjoy life without the fantasy of
too much self-importance.


There is no one else,
not another soul,
who could have married me
and made me theirs,
lived with me
and remained with me,
loved me so at the start,
and even more later,
a long, long time after
it all began.
She did not need to
stay with me,
and she did.

Heaven on Earth

In the continuum,
from infinite to finite,
to form from light,
from energy to matter,
to human from Divine,
is there a place along the line,
where each begins or ends,
a clue the route portends,
as we blindly drift,
a nexus where we shift?
Perhaps, but it’s unknown,
the heaven we have sewn,
the place we ourselves create,
this thing we call our fate,
where we co-create our place,
between ourselves and God’s grand grace.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cause In the Matter

 Recalling those early television
sets, the ones with rabbit ears,
remembering how we lived,
far out in the country, with
great communication between
neighbors, but lousy reception
on the TV, so we’d stand
to the side, grab the ears with
one hand and do a strange
little dance sometimes, until
the picture cleared. Sometimes,
it was the only way to watch,
so we’d take turns.
I wonder about that now.
Was there something invisible
flowing through us to the tubes?
Was it the same something
making its way from our
cell phones to our ears today?

I wonder, too, what else our
bodies are channeling, what other
unseen images on the stations
we choose in life., what frequencies
we receive, and send.
Maybe we can still
use that rabbit ears trick to
change programs when we
don’t like what’s on,
switch from doom and gloom
to joy-joy, from hot and heavy
to mellow fellow. Should be
easier now, and I bet someone’s
working on an app for it.

Walt Reminds Me...

Sitting quietly, watching
the hummingbird highway
in our backyard sky,
speed freak avians
zipping and diving,
narrowly avoiding collision,
not so much rivals,
more contestants in the 
labor to survive.

They feed or die, those
tiny-hearted birds, 
twenty beats per second.
Pomegranate blooms 
become their arena,
long beaks dueling for
one flower, until they
spy our four-hole feeder, 
competitors no more.

Sitting quietly, reading
my laptop screen
at a backyard table,
variable speed poets
warping and weaving,
neatly creating their art.
Not so much competitors,
more partners in the
need to express.

They write or fade, those
big-hearted bards, one hundred
April images per hour.
Poetic Asides
becomes their stage,
longing for what’s due
their flowing thoughts, yet
loving each other’s works,
competitors no more.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Feeding Time

 There once were four
birdfeeders in our yard,
two seed, two humming.
After we erected
 a glass fence to
keep the neighborhood
coyote from our
household feline,
said cat became too
fond of birds and
the hummingbirds became
too fond of breaking
their necks on glass
they could not see.
Now, the seed beds are
gone, and the sugar
water is elsewhere,
but all the birds remain,
hoping for a change
of heart and mind.
We see them at
their accustomed
feeding time,
large and small,
colorful and plain,
doves and wrens,
tits and orioles,
and one,
very observant


It’s not hard,
learning to swim,
just takes a lake
a long, high pier,
and a drunken uncle
to throw you in.

It’s not hard,
building a kite,
just takes a newspaper,
some sticks and string,
and a drunken uncle
to laugh at your efforts.

It’s not hard,
planting a tree,
just takes a sapling,
a spot and a shovel,
and a drunken uncle
to sit and watch.

It’s not hard,
staying sober,
just takes some will,
several good friends,
and a drunken uncle
to remember.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Time Share and A Tummy Ache

Across the Sea

 There was a time,
when my legs still worked
and my feet did not hurt
and we were too young
to fear exotic places.
There was a time ,
when drachmas were still used,
before the euro ruse,
and we’d hop on a ferry to
some island
we did not know,
just a place to go,
trusting, without a doubt,
it would all work out.
We even floated on the Nile,
northward, from Aswan
to Luxor, the only way to
see the Johnny Carson ruins,
the temple of Karnak.
That was before the crazies
started shooting people, with
real-life Uzi’s,
real-life bullets,
real-life hate.
Mugged three times,
we still went,
the big cities,
Barcelona, Paris, London, the rest,
all called us and we answered,
driving, walking, snapping,
truly blessed.
Now, I can’t imagine travel,
it’s harder to see,
and there’s a lot more than an ocean
between other countries and me.
I understand my father now,
after they
opened him up,
closed him up,
why he said no
to a trip to the Old Country.
He knew.

Friday, April 24, 2015


The moment of his death had come,
with certainty, and of course, finality,
here in the middle of the night,
no idea of the time,
simply an assurance that it was now,
after what seemed like a month of
watching and waiting,
my step-sisters,
his widow-to-be,
and me.
Together in that apartment,
but each of us alone
with him as well,
receiving guests, family, friends,
first when he was awake,
then during the stove-pipe coma,
finally ushering in
the ministry of Hospice.
All conversations had been
one-way for a while,
all of us wanting to say the things
we missed saying in brighter times.
It was mid-sentence in one such talk
That I knew, then flew about the home,
gathering us all around that bed,
everyone questioning the need,
the urgency, not fathoming
the emergency, when, from
the depths of the disease
that was taking him, he
woke, and smiled
as he never had before,
looked around the bed,
nodding at each of us in turn,
my sisters and me,
then, finding his wife,
found the capacity to speak
of his love once more, and just then,
then the moment came.


Day 24 of the PAD Challenge and we are to write a "moment" poem. I discovered three of them:


small gestures,
shared routines,
rituals and observances,
all coin relationships,
each moment an opportunity
for a healing ceremony,
a chance
to light a lamp,
in broad daylight.


There arrives a moment
in each day,
when the poems are written,
the dishes put away,
both cats asleep on the sofa.
This is the moment
to celebrate,
challenge yourself,
forget that you can’t
sing or dance,
do something that
if caught, will
embarrass you.

dear friend:

yes, it is agreed,
present moment,
wonderful moment,
but nothing good
comes out of nowhere.

doing is easy.
having is easier.
being is easiest.
trying is exhausting,
too much toil,
less of a musical,
more an opera,
with the soundtrack
of a daytime soap.

seems so simple,
but the road to mantras
exacts a hefty toll,
and no one,
 it seems,
easily recovers
from the dis-
ease of birth.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Opening Night

Where did they go,
those poems created
before the written word?
Did they, like dreams,
fade in their fragility and
simply fall away?

Where did it go,
the first poem,
before the keeping of things?
Was it remembered
only as long as
its creator’s last breath?

Where did they end up,
the first poets,
before there was history?
Were they merely left to die alone,
in their solitude, their reverie,
monuments to the mind’s eye?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Old Men

Old men can’t help themselves,
it’s the nature of the beast,
the looking back,
the wondering about change.
The elm trees of Elm Avenue
have long departed,
but what of the pines and firs,
the birches that replaced them?
Have they grown tall
like their predecessors,
creating a canopy,
with just enough space for
the moon to peek through?
How about the lake?
is it still a playground without toys,
loved by local girls and boys?
No matter the age,
one can’t forget the days,
the unfettered joys,
shared with friends
that time did take.
Surely the lilacs still bloom in spring,
great rows of them,
hedges against the road,
flowers picked a few at a time,
nested in canning jars on kitchen tables.
Are there still farms nearby,
unsanitary, with cow smell
wafting over the miles?
Is the sky still cloudy in summer,
white puffs portending the arrival
of the thunderheads to come,
rolling in from the plains?
Do children still see it like a book,
stories ever changing,
always rearranging,
they, the authors, arguing
about the plots – is it a rabbit or mouse?
No! Can’t you see the kangaroo?
And the night,
its sights and sounds?
Still filled with crickets, owls and fireflies?
Children squealing?
Mothers calling?
One can hope.
One can hope.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mind's Eye

A sorrowful woman,
fully clad in black,
riding the back
of a Mykonos mule.
Too weary for a wave,
too tired for a full yiasas,
just one raised finger,
and a barely audible yia..
Perhaps merely elderly,
surely a widow,
but indications of
an incurable illness,
one part disease,
nine parts melancholy.
No sorrow or regret,
nothing universal about her,
simply a person,
patiently waiting
for the end.

Whozit Rag

He like walking meditation, seldom goes on a vacation, enjoys his trashy books, soups and casseroles he cooks, in public he is charming, writes in ways that are heart warming, can’t sing at all, not a lick, can’t dance either, it’s just sick, he has known a deeper sorrow, still sees a bright tomorrow, likes to walk without a care, simply strolling, being there, other poets he is wooing, not always knowing what he’s doing, he isn’t rich but doesn’t mind, knowing he can still be kind, has his ways to find his worth, still has hope for Mother Earth, keeps the future sharp in sight, knows the past ended last night, has no room for pain and woes, much to do before he goes, strives with all his might, not for correct things, but the right.

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Brothers and Sisters, The Marines

 The only war that matters
is the one you fought in.
All warriors
have this understanding.
All veterans
have this agreement.
So many wars,
yet only one was the worst.
It’s the one you fought in.
Because it happened to you.
There’s love for the nation,
rich and powerful and beautiful.
(but not perfect).
So many battles,
even when there was
nothing to win.
My brothers and sisters
did not, do not,
fight for a nation, not really.
They did not, do not,
fight for some higher authority.
nearly never.
They fight for each other,
keeping their pledge,
abiding by their oath,
operating with ruthless honor.
They fight together,
my brothers and sisters,
protecting the living and
attending to their higher obligation,
remembering the dead.
My brothers and sisters,
The Marines.
I love them and appreciate them,
even when I have not met them,
I know them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Judgment and Evaluation

Sometimes I think
I’ve gotten the upper hand
on living, especially when
I stop looking only
for fastballs.
The thing is,
there are mirrors
in our home,
and I’m long-time wed,
so I know
I’m no authority
on anything.
There have been
too many mistakes,
so many wrong judgments,
it all seems like
a research project,
in progress.
I do know one thing for sure, though.
If you want to be respected,
do everything you say you’ll do,
no matter what.
No Matter What.
Now, all this nattering,
most of this chatter,
coming from me
at this stage of life,
might just be
a sign of age.
Or, I might be right.
You never can tell.

Friday, April 17, 2015


How long does it take,
I wonder,
for a war to become
a tourist attraction?
What’s the rotation time,
I ponder,
for foxholes to fill in,
become reconciled with villages?
How drawn out the years,
I muse,
before land-mined rice paddies
return to a timeless Shangri-La?
For the Vietnamese,
far removed from the American War,
time is not the issue,
as they play the long game.
But looking ahead,
turning forward,
how long will it take
before the tourists become
an even bigger enemy?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Faith and Science

You don’t have to search for heaven.
There’s nothing to look for.
It’s already here,
within and without you.
The world as it is
is far bigger than the one that we see.
Everything’s in motion,
vibrating with its own rhythm,
accessible on a primal frequency,
resonating with its own identity.
Not just the oxygen breathers,
also the earth, rocks and trees,
certainly the oceans, lakes and rivers,
trembling with their voices,
open to your senses.
There is nothing to fear,
only to capture,
to feel and remember.
If you can allow that this is so,
not subject it to the test of
some scientific method,
if you can just have it be,
why you can move mountains.
There’s no need for me to prove this,
solely to share my experience of it,
like the Santa Rosa plum tree
I planted over a septic field,
on a mountain side
in Penngrove, California.
I am in that tree,
and that tree is in me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


 It would be nice if America would
clean up its act,
mind its P’s and Q’s,
sweeten its style,
brush up on its manners.
It would be great if Americans would
take things a bit easier,
did a few more favors,
read a lot more books,
ate way less meat.
It would be grand if America had
less traffic and more libraries
less trash and more art,
less texts and more conversations,
less clothing racks
and more comfortable chairs
in women’s clothing stores
so waiting husbands didn’t
have to stand around,
looking dumb,
for so long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Honest Day’s Work at the Triolet Factory

Some things simply should never be said,
no matter how much one wants to reveal,
should honesty fill a dear friend with dread.
Some things simply should never be said,
letters are worse, re-read and re-read,
No matter how truthful, no matter how real,
some things simply should never be said,
no matter how much one wants to reveal.


Mostly, she loves me,
sometimes she likes me not,
always adores her animals,
I mean, she loves them a lot.
And she’s fond of her treasures
in ways I can’t measure.
To me, it’s just stuff,
yet she loves them enough
to cherish, to hold to,
so what can I do.
I move things and dust them,
pay the credit card bill,
there’s no end to collecting,
say what I will.
I can argue, I’ve tried
on many a day,
but in the end it’s just clear,
she lets me have it her way.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Squealing On Myself

When I am asked about
the source of my writing,
I usually pretend
not to know.
Sometimes that’s the truth.
More often, it is not,
at least with the poems
that I think are more
than just okay.
I don’t live in the past,
have no use for regrets,
and made peace with
my imperfections
a long time ago.
I’ll own up to the fact
that, at fifty, it seemed over,
I’m no longer of interest,
end of story, all she wrote.
That’s the picture I drew,
how it looked then,
no chance to start life anew.
But age flattens a man,
small tasks bringing big pleasure,
big thoughts a small treasure.
Two decades later, and
sometimes I can’t believe
how much belief I have.
So, my writing sources:
for the best of it,
I go way back,
not wishing to return,
not dreaming of the good old days,
but honoring them,
cherishing the memories,
even the ones about
the dead trees on Elm Avenue,
or the ones about my mother,
who died so abruptly
in football season, 1958.
Mostly I write to find out
what I’m thinking,
to check my mood,
to always to tell the truth,
which does indeed set one free,
but not until it sometimes

pisses you off.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


 My monkey mind’s been busy,
thinking about revolution,
or maybe the idea of it,
the impulse to rebel now and then.
Not the youthful cries
for freedom,
not political demands
for change.
Been thinking more about
being happy all the time,
doing something radical,
like being nice to everyone.
Every day, my body gets closer
to its expiration date.
Sooner or later,
this physical self won’t exist.
There are only so many sunsets,
so few full moons to enjoy,
yet so many other people
to enjoy them with along the way.
This body’s a bit of a wreck,
definitely well-used,
but it’s still good fortune
to not die young.
I have no fear of dying,
but death waits for all of us.
The body might be bruised,
but there need not be

collateral damage to the soul.

Saturday, April 11, 2015



I want to be
and how I am
requires someone
in my life
to tell me
what’s what.
I speak of
heart and mind.
How it is
requires someone
to speak to me of
blood and bone.
A writer’s job is to speak.
A friend’s job is to answer.


Trees tremble in fear
Earth’s fever drains its lakes
Spring lambs remain sleeping

My heart sings with joy
Spring rains on the horizon
We must mend the roof

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Heavy Work

Been working on my weight
for 55 years now,
and so far,
I’ve lost 1500 pounds.
Walked a lot,
worked both sides of the street.
Ate a lot of tofu,
but that just gummed up the works.
Worked out, worked off, worked through dinner,
still a struggle.
Made every effort, every endeavor, exerted like mad,
shot the works with what I had.
Nothing worked.

I quit.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


When one is as
imperfect as I, it
takes a lot of
guts to try to
spread hope,
inspire faith,
promote love,
go for broke on
what matters to Spirit above.

Oh, there’s a lot I won’t do,
not anytime soon.
I won’t dance,
I’m an unsightly lump,
I won’t soar
in a hot air balloon,
not afraid to fall,
scared I might jump.

But I audaciously write of
great hopes, of grand schemes,
daring to be the artist
of my very own dreams.
Not really fearless,
not in any way,
I write to discover what
I don’t know how to say.

Love Story

I can’t imagine a day without her,
a day when I don’t think about her.
The sun would yet provide its shine,
of course, and there would still be wine,
but surely not as brightly
and purely not as lightly.
I can’t imagine a life without her,
through work, play, joy and strife without her.
She’s everything I need to know,
she’s everything I need, and so,
our love is written in concrete,
not always gay, nor honey sweet,
our quiet passion a poet’s dream,
mates for life, so it would seem.
All this and more I can say about her,
I can’t imagine a way without her.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Anti (war) Lovers

No one hates war
more than the warrior.
This is a given.
This for sure.
So brave, so eager,
the lovers of war,
can’t wait to send kids
to some worthless shore.
Safe in their office,
the hawks, mostly men,
ship children to battle,
boldly, but then,
if they just once would yield,
witness one battlefield,
they’d think long and hard
before they did it again.
Send your own sons
to face enemy guns,
send your own daughters
to witness the slaughters.

True Love

I find it easy
to say I love you,
from my lips,
in writing,
by the things that I do.
Yet, it’s never been clearer
than that post-surgical night,
when I could not wake you up,
try as I might.
Since then I’ve known how close
love is to fear,
and I know that mine
is honest,
and pure.

Monday, April 6, 2015


 Going out for dinner
(or breakfast)
(or lunch)
is really just recreational eating,
and we pay a lot of money
so as not to cook.
I’m no great chef,
but I enjoy serving food to others.
At home, all food is comfort food,
and I even like serving food to myself.
I still have a hundred cookbooks,
the ‘Net has a gazillion recipes,
Food TV is everywhere,
and magazines have the prettiest pictures of meals,
but all I really need to remember is:
when I cut the vegetables, I cut the vegetables;
when I bake banana bread, I bake banana bread;
when I stir the soup, I stir the soup.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

When It's My Turn

I remember fairly well
those few days up north,
my cancer trip and visits,
a few days to say good-bye,
without really saying it.
There were four of them,
prostate, liver, lungs and brains,
three gone now,
only one remains.
The hugs long and real,
at least that’s how I feel
about it now, the words
I don’t remember,
mostly reminiscent,
true and tender.
Now, I wonder who I’ll see
if I’m lucky, at the brink,
what my last words will be.
Though no one has the time they think.
So it might be better
to do it now, in a departure letter,
have some closure, my friends and I,
even leave some things unsaid,
less of a nuisance when I die.
If not a letter, some other form
of signing off I’ll choose.
I’m not in a hurry,
but, really, there’s time to lose.


My second garden was a big one,
3000 feet of terracing
on our more-or-less an acre,
halfway up Sonoma Mountain,
above the weather.
It was our first proud owners home,
and, boy, did we ever need that garden,
since we were also
the proud owners of three mortgages.
I spent every spare minute in that garden,
weeding and feeding,
planting and harvesting.
All I had was a spade,
and a lot of rocky adobe soil to turn,
but it was worth it.
I lost weight, got into farm boy shape,
put up sauces and pickles,
froze everything, from asparagus to zucchini,
and never picked the corn
until the water was boiling.
We gave the excess to our neighbors,
took a little to work,
had a picking party once,
a whitewash fence  reward to my staff.
We are vegetable fans, for sure,
buy the best that we can find,
and we’ve learned how to cook them,
from steaming to creaming,
but nothing compares to those early crops,
those bountiful gifts.
At 70, I don’t know if I could
do it all again.
But I’d like to try.

Friday, April 3, 2015

ex machina

It’s not hard to remember
that younger Marine,
full of himself,
a lean, green machine.
But there are mirrors in the home,
so it’s easy to know
that the warranty passed
a long time ago.
The tank’s low on oil,
some parts in distress,
the flex-drive’s departed,
and this he’ll confess,
the hands are arthritic,
the eyesight is poor,
the homestead, of course,
is only one floor.
The doohickey’s broken,
the gizmo’s a bust,
the thingamabob’s full
of whatsis and rust.
And yet, though much life
is confined to quarters,
he’s still a Marine,
home, awaiting orders.

Living in Balance

There is a fine line
between truth and illusion.
Peace lies on the edge.

So he came out,
strutting, hands on hips,
flower child in his mother’s dress.
Peace at rainbow’s end.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


I want to be seduced
by truth and beauty,
but not all at once.
I need to hold back a bit,
let it come at me slowly,
give me time
to walk around it,
smell it,
get a feel for it,
before I let it enter
my be-do-have world.
When it comes to things
of great grace,
I need to be primed,
relaxed in readiness,
waiting more for wisdom
than just a good time.