there is a viscious wind

blue skies    crystal clear sparking skies              blue, that shade of blue

only found in nests                    nests carefully woven by design

with delicate brittle twig            by design                  constructed by tiny beak and claw stitch           perfect to house jelly-bean sized eggs, painted in such a  striking  blue

suddenly, off the coast   rumbling up to meet the season          blew icy            winds heaving mighty over   white-capped waters   plowing into cliffs   up green valley from bodega town

panels of corrugated tin from an abandoned greenhouse            decorated the silent deserted driveway

who lived here, i wonder

what merciless wind                blew love through them like cold metal through a fragile heart

crashing them to the ground

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landmarks and landmines

most parents earmark their lives and those of their children with memorable events: 

first small steps   first words   the feel of tiny arms embracing the mama’s neck in a first hug

the first teenage angst filled i hate you  then

the inevitable, 21st century first:

with all due respect, fuck you, mom

and now               i can die

in peace

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ten outta three ninety nine

three hundred and ninety-nine poems ago

there WAS a poet

inspired by the greats

by life’s adventures

by the need to purge and create

by slapping word-story onto the page…

three hundred and ninety-nine poems on the wall

put ém together and watch ten fall

shake ém out and toss ém about

ten worthy of even mentioning

maybe….

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the literary landscape

i wonder what

the old poets

would think of

the new

literary landscape

are there any worthy

humans

to fill the giants’ shoes?

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the ants go marching..

when i was a little kid, there was this children’s song, remembered from early childhood
my mother hosted a morning playgroup in our santa monica
backyard, where harried 50’s housewives would gather with
their little ones in the mornings
before the ritual of getting to their daily chores of laundry, cleaning, ironing their husband’s shirts, getting dinner ready and freshening up to welcome home their working men…
a handful of small children in the neighborhood ran on the cool, freshly mowed backyard grass
played in the makeshift sandbox and ate crackers and drank kool-aid at a picnic table on the back patio
under the clothesline that later in the day would hold billowing white sheets and old wooden clothespins…
the women created games and taught us old girl scout songs
the darkest tune was about ants marching…the tune was gloomy to me and all i heard were the evil monkey guards marching through the castle while the bad witch held dorothy and toto captive in the wizard of oz movie..
the ants go marching two by two hurrah, hurrah
the ants go marching two by two hurrah, hurrah…
i cried everytime
the song terrified me and i could feel the ants marching on me and
i screamed, closing my eyes tight and trying to crawl inside my mother’s arms. my mother held me and the other mothers laughed and said, isn’t that sweet and oh my, she is
such a sensitive little girl!

last night i awoke remembering the news i received earlier in the day
the ant song came into my head, only the words had shifted:
my friends are dying two by two, hurrah, hurrah
my friends are dying two by two……

barely recovered from the last two who had passed earlier just weeks ago, the latest front page newsflash capturing our aging was delivered, too soon once again two by two
and the cancer that now escorts us to death’s door won out once again
two by two
four by four
death does not frighten me anymore
still, i scream, feeling the ants marching on my skin and now
terrified to be left behind

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summer daze

i remember a time when we looked forward to the days of summer, of roaming through pine-scented forests, of climbing wildflower-strewn mountaintops and finding white sand, pristine beaches while searching for the clearest of azure seas to swim in.  summertime meant the freedom of vacation and the glory and release of traveling to places filled with magic and joy… but not today, on this summer’s day.  today, i sit here, immersed in a struggle again for words, hoping that from somewhere a spark will ignite and surpass this dark silence of grief and will release these hands, this heart, into a familiar and comforting place, where hobbling together sticky strands and filament-thin threads of words to climb out upon made sense.  in the past, solace has been found here, amid the disorder and the chaos of life’s twists and winding paths….but this has been a summer of death, of accidents unresolved, bringing loss and impacting finances; a time of near-hopelessness; another time of questioning justice in an unjust world; a time of forgetting to breathe and a time of transience of spirit and strength.   july was not kind in its takings, ravaging those of tender heart who have already had an inordinate amount of loss early in youth from the insidious pandemic that stripped us of our youthful families in their prime.  death in itself is never kind–or fair—in its robbing, and the old tricks that once sustained us for renewal and belief in an afterlife that reunited us all again have faded.   this is a state of being, a fragile time and age where our own abilities to put one foot in front of the other in the attempt to fill each gaping, untenable hole with something other than disbelief and overwhelming, debilitating sadness, lessens with each waking hour.  twice in one lifetime, we have been forced to become old-hands at the art of death and dying, loss and grief and bouncing back into a semblance of what is perceived as “normal”.  no, july and perhaps this entire year (or has it been years now?) so far has not been kind and has challenged our strength of being.   our bones are weary, we are aching for peace of mind instead of the constant struggle to stand again while dodging blow after blow.  someone said today, “you are strong, you have been through worse times, more difficult times, and have bounced back and gotten through it”.   those words brought to mind an old memory of a deflated crimson ball in the corner of an old childhood schoolyard by the seaand today, at the beginning of this, the last month of summertime,  i am simply…..exhausted…

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for michael, donald and rob

Who Has Seen The Wind

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

Who has seen the wind
Scalloping the sea
Or gliding like a swallow
Over villages and trees?
“I have,” said the willow
“And I begged him please to stay
But he went away
He went on his own one day.

And I sing, “One love have I”
And he sings “Now it’s good-bye”
And I sing, “Part of me dies
Until I see you again.”

Who has seen the sun
Through a parasol of leaves
Through scattered ruby cloud fires
Through the silver wings of bees
“I have,” said the waters
“And I held his face to mine,
But he left in time
He went in his own good time.”

Who has seen the stranger
In a coat of simple brown
With his face of many faces
With his eyes turned out of town
I have, and I kissed him
And I begged him please to stay
But he went away
With the sun and the wind away.

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broken

in a life

much can be broken

promises

   hearts

         limbs

               spirits

                          backs

lives and minds, once filled to brimming

with our essence

broken..

 upon a craggy hillside

 grazing goats peer skyward

through dappled light of tree and mountain

hearing the shadow-call

of an eagle, hunting to break its prey

majestically, with wings spanned as if to herd

it dives in and like death, distracts one of the young

driving it to a precipice’s edge

in an instant, immense claws

grab horns  and flip it, bouncing and

broken

off the cliff shelf

to its inevitable end below..

how do we know when death will hunt

us down

distracting we humans

in shadow and

shifting light

lifting us in its tallons

to the final shattering, while

pieces of what we knew as “our lives”

scatter like dust and ash to the winds

carrying us

away

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minding the store, eh buk?

… this event took place, pre-adoration by the global masses….steve richmond, ben pleasants, neeli and the rest of the L.A. Meat Poet men joined the poetry groupies as the singular true fans of a yet-to-be-discovered bukowski in those days..

Shadowdance

you were nervous then

watching shy jailbait

catholic schoolgirls

walk round and round

earth’s plywood tabletops…

watching us

you grinned like a fool

as we  feigned

initial interest

in the soft-shelled chapbooks 

piled around…

from the corner stack

we tucked our copies

of the LA free press

under our arms

for an added effect

of cool…

 

we knew something

was off..

instead of

‘break on through

to the other side’

 blaring

and richmond grinning

or glaring

from behind the

counter,

a piano concerto

fell softly from

the mounted teac speakers…

 

this old guy

instead

was minding the store…

 

your yellowed, white short-sleeved

rayon

had a stain or two

dead-center

your greasy hair

was slicked back

with pommade or vaseline

and reeking of brews

you chain smoked those unfiltereds

one right after another

 lookin’ uncomfortable

and lecherous

like somebody’s

perverted gramps

left minding the store…

 

later you remembered

and wrote a poem

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the muse’s best years

dear readers

when traveling through

this site                                 please be advised

the 2009-2010                          poetry years

was when the muse                          was alive

and kicking

 

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