Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thanks to Tammie Lee of Spirit Helpers for this week's prompt, wanderlust.
To all who gather at OSI: May your year be filled with reflections of light, laughter and friendship and may love be born in every new moment.


There was a child
who was so hungry
for words
that she gobbled
phone books whole

her mother
did not know
what to do with her
They tried vitamins
filled her shoes with gravel
chanted the names of the dead
still she found her passport
though it was not easy
to break the seal

she dove beneath
the curled lip of fear
slept under many skies
dipped her feet
in cold racing streams
sending a shiver
to the parts of her
longing to be held

she looked up
and saw
geese carrying snow
under their wings
the wind passed through her
She felt warm
It was good

tonight she sleeps
in plain pajamas
beneath a dotted moon
watching birds chase gravity
How many eyes
are painted
on their wings?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Haiku Bones: regret

i sleep into day
trying too hard to repair
impossible dreams

the peel of night waits
fragrant, beneath your window
why bang empty pots?

s and h green stamps
yellowed pages, book half full
red tipped match same drawer

a rush of sparrows
such sudden beauty disturbs
childhood symmetry

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Haiku Bones: Fleeting

poached pears moscata
you reach across the table
which birthday was it?

Monday, December 21, 2009


The photograph was taken in the chamber of Newgrange, Ireland by Fran Caffrey. on December 21st, 2003.

At dawn on Winter Solstice every year, just after 9am, the sun begins to rise across the Boyne Valley from Newgrange, Ireland over a hill known locally as Red Mountain. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December. Given the right weather conditions, the event is spectacular.

At four and a half minutes past nine, the light from the rising sun strikes the front of Newgrange and enters into the passage through the roofbox which was specially designed to capture the rays of the sun.

For the following seventeen minutes, the beam of light stretches into the passage of Newgrange and on into the central chamber, where, in Neolithic times, it illuminated the rear stone of the central recess of the chamber. With simple stone technology, a significant astronomical event and a special time in the annual cycle was captured in a most astonishing way.


make drums of your soles
crack open your head
leave all you have worried at the gate
every thing you cannot live without.
visit terraced footings
tread points of roughness
scream closely held fears
into luminous darkness

For this is no fleeting station
but a repeat destination
a cloudless sky
curved and acrobatic
A featherless dance
five days without name
a time of empty form.

light a dark candle
at the furred edge of doubt
your breath
is my trail to you.

Winter solstice profoundly challenges our tolerance for paradox. Mary Oliver is the best companion I know to share the longest night. Solstice blessings! May the first rays of morning find a soft glow in your heart.

Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

"Starlings in Winter" by Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Thank you Bobbie of Constant Current for this week's prompt, spider webs.


From a crevice
in the molding
a tiny spider
like the sun

she slept
or kept to herself
and we understood
we were alone

Then we would soap
each other’s hair
til it stood in peaks
and clap
the rippled flanks
til the dark
through them

when we were
with each other
she padded
onto the soap dish
a tinkling arpeggio
of legs
we held our breath
so as not

One day
red was gone
the months
each other
only the web remained
into itself
a storm

Saturday, November 28, 2009



a folded atlas
a peregrine gaze
they are coming from summer
and traveling to summer
press dreams
like flowers
they shoulder
into distances
powered by the fat back
of summer

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Silver Needle

This week's prompt is creative from Mindful Mimi.

"Creation, we are taught is not an act that happened once upon a time, once and for ever. The act of bringing the world into existence is a continuous process.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel

Silver Needle*

the middle bridge
get caught
in rough planks
by the time
I arrive,
the water
has been resting
coddled buds
tiny hairs

sit, drink
are the
best hours

*Silver Needle - White tea is the least processed form of tea, made from handpicked silver buds and young leaves which are steamed and dried in open air. Silver Needle (Baihao Yinzhen) is the rarest of all varieties, picked in springtime in the Fujian Mountains of China. When the buds are steeped, they yield a light and subtle sweetness.. Successive infusions release subtle qualities of the tea‘s delicate fragrance.

“I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”
Maya Angelou

Many writers have a ritual, which serves as an induction, a falling into the deep. For example, Maya Angelou wakes at five in the morning and checks into a hotel room. All pictures are removed from the walls so that there is no visual distraction. She writes on legal pads while resting on the bed with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards, Roget’s Thesaurus and a Bible. She leaves by early afternoon, usually with ten to twelve pages of manuscript. Ms. Angelou reflects that she uses this process to “enchant” herself.
This poem is both about crossing the waters and steeping in that place of enchantment

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

starter culture

Thanks to Gautami Tripathy of Rooted for this week's prompt, reincarnation.

starter culture

she called it sour milk
placed a heavy rimmed
glass of lucidity
on the radiator
little did I know
it was a starter culture

From a childhood memory of my mother making what she called “sour milk“. A type of yogurt. Once you have the starter culture, it lives forever…or as long as you keep it going. I see this as a metaphor for infusing “culture” or essence, into life with consciousness and purpose.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Thanks to Nathalie of Spaced Law for this week's prompt, shift in time.

thrice built
beneath the weight
of the living

bulky tourists
exact one more stamp
proof positive
here was maize
daily ground,
rattles shook
at a darkened sky
daughters summered
in cool grottos
fools stuttered riddles
clear as day
royalty strode across
quarried stone

This fugitive hour
I visit the ruins of your hair,
the child in your brow
I roam where your dreams are pastured
fingers spread wide
for night to pour through

how many cities
am I standing on?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the softest footprint

Thanks to Thanks to Leo at Figments of Imagination for this week's prompt, elusive. Please visit all the fine poets at One Single Impression.

the softest footprint
disturbs the ants busy
laying down new scents


As a follow up to my last post, some comic relief from the Yes Men and a wonderful slide show of the worldwide response to the 350 campaign.

Survivaball, the only rational response to abrupt climate change

The 350 campaign has been wildly successful in raising awareness and commitment to a sustainable future.

Friday, October 23, 2009


"Climate change is a reality. Life depends on a sustainable environment. With no world, there can only be nothing--no birds, no animals, no trees, no us. That’s why getting involved in is so important - it's an effective way to take action to turn around the climate crisis."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Maldives under water cabinet

On the dying coral reefs of the Maldives, the government's entire cabinet dons scuba gear and holds an official underwater meeting to pass a 350 resolution to send to the Copenhagen summit.

Seven weeks before the UN Copenhagen Climate Conference, the group is organizing an International Climate Action Day. More than 4,500 events are scheduled to take place in 170 nations on Saturday, October 24.
“” is named after what scientists have identified as a sustainable target for carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million–we are currently at 390 parts per million.

Global Warming: A primer

  • The primary greenhouse gas responsible for global warming is carbon dioxide. The U.S. is responsible for 25% of the carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
  • Since 1990, yearly emissions of carbon dioxide have gone up by about 6 billion metric tons worldwide, that's more than a 20% increase. Almost all of that increase is due to human activities.
  • Carbon dioxide takes 100 years to disperse in the atmosphere, meaning that even if emissions are stopped today, we will still feel the effects for years to come.
  • During the 20th century alone, the average surface temperature of the world has increased by 1.2 to 1.4°F.
  • The eight warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with the warmest year being 2005.
  • The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment has concluded that in the past 50 years, the average temperatures of Alaska, eastern Russia and western Canada have increased as much 7°F. This rise is almost twice the global average.
  • Glaciers worldwide lost an average of about 5 feet of ice in 2006, compared to just 1 foot of ice lost in 2005. Melting glaciers are a major factor in sea-level rise around the world
  • Sea levels have risen between 4-8 inches worldwide during the last century, and experts predict they could rise as much 2 feet in the next 100 years.
  • The World Health Organization blames 150,000 deaths per year on the effects of global warming including extreme weather, drought, heat waves, decreased food production and the increased spread of diseases like malaria.
  • At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, migrating north to escape rising temperatures.
  • Coral reefs are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature. Scientists say if current CO2 emission trends continue, the world's coral reefs could be virtually destroyed by 2050.

"A crisis, they say, is a terrible thing to waste. And there is more than one crisis. First, is the crisis in our climate--we must figure out how to get CO2 down to 350 ppm in a matter of years. Second, is the crisis in our way of life. In the developed world, people suffer from anxiety and depression in epidemic proportions. In the developing world, over one billion people have no access to clean drinking water. We must do better. We have a chance to find an improved way of life, both for ourselves and for our planet. Let's take it."
Colin Beavan, aka "No Impact Man," is an author, and most recently, a film star of the brand-new movie "No Impact Man." The film, and book of the same title, tells the story of his bold experiment to live in New York City making no net negative environmental impact.

An island nation with a 4000 year old culture is searching for a place to relocate. Adelaide, Australia may soon be out of drinking water. Dengue fever is spiking for the first time in 80 years causing the worst viral epidemic in recorded history.

Is it already too late? We cannot reverse what has already happened. But we can put a stop gap on any further damage. We must act quickly and deliberately if we want to make a difference.

"We need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the air. Above all, that means we need to stop burning so much coal—and start using solar and wind energy and other such sources of renewable energy –while ensuring the Global South a fair chance to develop. If we do, then the earth’s soils and forests will slowly cycle some of that extra carbon out of the atmosphere, and eventually CO2 concentrations will return to a safe level. By decreasing use of other fossil fuels, and improving agricultural and forestry practices around the world, scientists believe we could get back to 350 by mid-century. But the longer we remain in the danger zone—above 350—the more likely that we will see disastrous and irreversible climate impacts. "
from website

We have everything we need to preserve life on earth…everything, that is, except political will.

As Al Gore said, the truth is just too inconvenient. Responding to climate change with the vigor that the threat implies would shuffle the economic deck, harming powerful vested interests even as it creates new opportunities. The titans of the past have armies of lobbyists in place right now to defend the status quo.

The U.S. which accounts for 4% of the world’s population and 25% of its emissions is one of the most intransigent parties at the table. Without comprehensive climate change legislation, progress at Copenhagen will be limited. This is the reason to bring pressure on policy makers to pass climate change legislation now. Next week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold three days of hearings to discuss the climate change bill proposed by Senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry. If you are a U.S. citizen, please urge your representatives to support the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733).

There have been some hopeful signs recently. On October 10, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., co-authored an op-ed with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in The New York Times calling for action on legislation. In doing so, he broke ranks with top Republicans who are calling the bill
“a national energy tax.”

"Our partnership represents a fresh attempt to find consensus that adheres to our core principles and leads to both a climate change solution and energy independence. It begins now, not months from now -- with a road to 60 votes in the Senate," they wrote.

We may not have Exxon’s fiscal clout. However, not to be underestimated is the critical mass of a burgeoning movement that crosses all kinds of borders. Then again, the looming specter of extinction is a pretty compelling motivator in its own right.

As a new dawn sweeps across the globe, people will be gathering everywhere to make an impassioned stand to preserve and protect life on our beloved planet. Take hope and join in as we learn to transform our relationships to the earth and to each other, from domination to cooperation, from isolation to community.

You can watch videos and photos of people coming together in common cause.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

green rain

Thank you to Tea leaves ‘n Honey for the suggestion of conquer. It is a word that has many connotations. I have responded to one that called to me and am curious to discover yours.

Green Rain

the final rapping
on the pane
is never as bad
as what we hide
inside green rain
on tears
and more

To My Web Family

Dear Web Family,

We have been in the midst of a family crisis for the past 6+ weeks. Please be patient with me if I do not visit or am slow to respond to your thoughtful comments. Know that I do read them when I can and they bring much comfort. Where ever you may be, I hope that you are enjoying the seasons unfolding.

Much love,

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Thanks to Joseph Harker of Naming Constellations for this week's prompt, talisman.


thoughts dart
‘neath foamy krill
lidded whys
neither heads nor tails

I am a red star
take my years
I am jasper
in your palm

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Birthday John Prine

No, I haven’t been tagged. And yes, I’m doing this meme of my own choosing.

In my virtual meanderings, I spotted this meme on Poetikat’s site.

I enjoyed what she did with it and filed it away as a form that could be fun to play with.

So tonight, as a tribute to John Prine, on his 63rd birthday, I offer a potpourri of songs, sorted through the filter of My Life According to John Prine:

1. Are you a male or female? - Donald and Lydia

2. Describe yourself: - Illegal Smile

3. How do you feel? – We Could

4. Describe where you currently live: - Other Side of Town

5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? – Lake Marie

6.Your favorite form of transportation: - Morning Train

7. Your best friend is: - Far from me

8.Your favorite color is: - Blue Umbrella

9. What's the weather like? - Humidity Built the Snowman

10. Favorite time of day: - A Crooked Piece of Time

11. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called? – Linda Goes to Mars

12. What is life to you? – In Spite of Ourselves

13 Your relationships: - I Know One

14. Your fear: - being Pretty Good

15. What is the best advice you have to give? – Fish and Whistle

16. If you could change your name, you would change it to: -- ‘Til a Tear Becomes a Rose

17. Thought for the day: - Let’s Invite Them Over

18. How I would like to die: - Killing the Blues

19. My soul's present condition: - Often is a Word I Seldom Use

20. My motto: - All the Best

John Prine was born in Maywood, Illinois 63 years ago today. He worked at the post office in his hometown. On the side, he began playing in coffee shops in the evenings. One day, the film critic Roget Ebert went to see a movie that he didn't like very much. He left the theater early and headed down the street to get a beer instead. He happened to go to the bar where Prine was filling in with background music. And so instead of writing a movie review that week, Ebert wrote a review called "Singing Mailman Delivers the Message,". Suddenly John Prine had a full house every time he played. This is where it all started.

John Prine’s star shone brightly as he began to expose his gift to the world.

His songs are about the things that each day holds and gives up. He writes in effortless verse that brims with wit, observation and unabashed love.

They made love in the mountains, they made love in the streams,
They made love in the valleys, they made love in their dreams.
But when they were finished there was nothing to say,

'Cause mostly they made love from ten miles away.

from Donald and Lydia

And the gold rolled through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes...
from Sam Stone

When John Prine sings about love lost, your heart breaks alongside his. In listening to Sam Stone’s story, you cannot help but realize that wars do not end on the battlefield.
Simply put, John Prine can make you feel as though you’ve lived a whole lifetime in 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Please feel free to post your own My Life According to (fill in your favorite songwriter) and please let us know where we can find your impressions.
Here are the guidelines:

1) Answer the questions as well as you can, but using only song names from one artist.
2) Try not to repeat a song title.

I hope this inspires you to share some of your favorite songs. And wherever you may be, I hope this finds you well and with music in your heart.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

falling leaves

I have missed wordzzles, playing with the words and reading everyone’s quirky and inspired stories. To say life has been crazy busy would be an understatement. Last night, I took a look at next week’s words, and decided to jump in with both feet now. I must admit to feeling a bit rusty. Anyway, here’s my offering. Hello to all the wordzzle Houdinis. Hope all is well with you.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: Tibetan sky, symbols, won’t you come home Bill Baily, shadow figures, brain cortex, practice makes perfect, life, start of school, lavender, chow down

And for the mini: mental hospital, falling leaves, apple cider, packing crates, clues

It was that time of year where everything from the mullet to the grasshopper was peaking. A full flush fanned the table. The ripened tassels swilled in the hills. Priscilla was afraid that all this brilliance would crest too soon, disappear without a trace. This damned season which caused her clouded blood to slow.

This was the 20th anniversary of the “unraveling‘’ which had landed her in the Oak Hills Mental Hospital. It was painful to think about. For so many years the memory of it had dwelled in her marrow, rebuffed. And the hooded dread had swelled and had its way.

With the start of school, she was hopeful again. Life was full of symbols. The falling leaves carnelian under a wide Tibetan sky.

Priscilla stared at the packing crates stacked in a self satisfied configuration in the SW corner of the room. They stared back at her. Filled to the brim with keepsakes not worth keeping. Spiral journals penned in lavender ink. It was the close of her 19th summer and she was tired of tracking down clues. Shadow figures lurked on every corner. Paul’s unsandeled feet portended death. The Phrygian caws were a certain sign. And the jam between her toes was full of mold.

She sat at the piano, fingering chords that filtered through her brain cortex like shadowed figures. Won’t you come home Bill Baily. Won’t you come home? She wanted to hear the refrain again. Practice makes perfect. She cupped the mulled apple cider closer. Then chuckled to herself, reinforcing the comfort that flooded. The falling leaves were at once beautiful in their covenant. Soon she would chow down blissfully on butternut soup. And open her books.

These were the burning times!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Thanks to Sweetest in the Gale for this week's prompt, fog.


heavy and damp
as doppelgangers

I have been
here before
at times like this
the tired air
must be plucked

Monday, September 7, 2009


Thanks to Geraldine of My Poetic Path for this week's prompt,”romance”.
Please visit all the poets at One Single Impression to sample this week’s offerings.


the thrill of being dislodged

to court and to woo

(personal derivative meaning)

a lovely stranger
in the wings
shakes loose
a talus
of regret and old English

Summer’s End

A Temporary Blindness

a temporary blindness
overtakes you
and you wonder
out loud
how can liquid particles
exhaled in this way
later return
so sweetly as rain.


even the most
among us
become unhinged
in the presence of
excrescent splendor

the hours turn green
all the waiting is done
we wrap our legs gladly
around the plump stalk
of summer
exhaling pleasure.

Tall Grass

Sonny’s long sleeved manicure
of summer’s overgrowth
tries in vain
to bring
the neighborhood back.


a fugitive sound
hurries by
on padded feet

Chinese checkers

bashful and unrehearsed
queen each other

syllogism is comfort
in dark corners

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One leaf knowing

One leaf knowing
it starts
at the crown
with only
one leaf

soon the shoulders
catch on
and the whole
of rings
in quiet ecstasy

Black Bark
a nomadic kiss
makes waves
of consonants
and sets
black bark
to chattering

I am a spotted fawn
whose folded legs
fall into

I am a turkey
drunk with rain
crossing the road
with lips parted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Thanks to Sweetest in the Gale for this week's prompt, ocean. Please visit those who were inspired to weave words out of the mist at One single Impression.

“Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing never happened, it is still conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never.”

Franz Kafka


I am
drunk on her song:
bob like gulls
silver bream
angle in conference
carmine lips
part before leaving

bird woman!
who can resist
your sibilant guile
in a blind sun,
in windless calm?

one day I grow weary
of asylum
stick my thumb out
in spoken mist
a rusty trawler
lists his load
“Can you play anything?”
he asks.
“I can whistle.”

We motor
through midnight
chasing dawn

I arrive altogether empty
of souvenirs
Crusted with pink salt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Rays

Thank you Christine of Quiet Paths for this week’s prompt, windows. Please go now and drink in the light of words.

morning stroll in old San Juan, Puerto Rico, spring 2007

The Dancer

coaxes her green body
through rigors
in a blinded room
becoming crooked
for light

The Dormer

white moths flicker
silky, translucent
moving seamlessly
through the hours

loss floats
in aspic
and gravity
is negotiable

First Rays

the louvers:
a host of
top stitched shadows
breaks loose
of promise
and tumbles
into morning

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stone fruit

Thanks to Geraldine of Poetic Paths for this week’s prompt, fragrance. Be sure to spend time at all the poets’ roosts, drinking in their words.

Stone fruit

You have heard
about such things
shamans, midwives
reaching in with the blades
of their hands
pulling up
the size of pomelos

one day it came to her
as she was shelling peas
now that the flesh
was falling away
and the lining
of what had defined her
was shaved to its pith.

(just how unbound
she was. )

she reached into her belly
and pulled out a stone
still warm
wrapped it in parchment
and buried it like
the dead sea scrolls

a girl
coarse plaited hair
and anthracite eyes
toes dug into the slope of summer
spied it among the seaweed
at neap tide

restless fingers traced the grooves
the fragrance of apricot,
Darjeeling tea
it was then
that she caught
a first glimpse of
on the mountain top.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Thank you to Christine of Quiet Paths for the prompt inner voice. Please visit all the wonderful poets who participated this week at

"Truly to sing, that is a different breath."
Rainer Maria Rilke


when he was a fish
a brass trio, a second line
followed him
his ears grew faster
than the rest of him
like big shells
to scoop the brilliance
into his navel

when he was a boy
he travelled in music
like a marsupial
drawing warmth from memory
baby teeth shone like sharks
At dinner hour
Reuben’s charts
spilled from his fingers.

When I met the boy
he kept his drum set
in the basement
we talked about music
all the time
we listened to Monk
and Hillary Hahn
it was lonely then

One day
he called me down
his sticks beat time
in the cool damp
bronze trophies bragged
Zappa’s blessing
framed him
it was then
that I first knew
that I loved him.

Last night the boy dreamed
he was playing piano
but strangely
4 keys as wide as tree trunks
an upright
with the body of a tiger in repose
each of them sang
for him

at the end of the hall
in the last room
was a long bleached bone
he didn’t know how to make it speak
he was afraid
he began to run his fingers
along it spine
music poured out
like water

I told the boy I loved him.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Thank you Jim for the prompt "thinking."

This poem was in part inspired by the brilliant screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and borrows imagery from the film Being John Malkovich.


brush against
the soft body
of the tenant
who makes herself
small for your inquiry.

one day
all the whys
fall out of their follicles
you notice
that you relish the pauses
even more than listening.

Arriving naked and wet
fully out of your mind
on a terraced median
of the NJ turnpike
sniffing for truffles
in native grasses.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Here Be Dragons

Wow! Week 71 of Raven’s wordzzle challenge. Please join in the pleasure of spinning yarns on the virtual wordzzle porch with 15 daunting new words.

Here Be Dragons

This Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: sober, spoilage, knight, laugh and the world laughs with you, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard

The mini challenge: economy, Michael Jackson, ladder, clue, structure

I recognize that people have very strong feelings about Michael Jackson. My sense of kinship and empathy spring from a common experience of having one’s childhood taken. Of course, my stage is much smaller, but one never outgrows the pain and sense of violation.

Michael Jackson. His tragic death shocked me and came as no surprise. Fragile and complicated, at once Norma Desmond and Laura Wingfield, he embodied the paradox we live.


Michael Jackson had no economy of scale. He gave himself away, then tried to recoup his losses at Sotheby’s.

A thoroughbred, drilled to perfection and trained to please, he had no clue how to live in the world. And so the performer retreated to a fairy land of chutes and ladders. And cool everglades. Giraffes and tigers loped the wild with no structure or stricture.

But it was not to be. Haunted by his demons and hounded by a relentless artistic drive, the boy prince could not rest or live in the wild.

ten word:

This Week's Ten Word Challenge is: sober, spoilage, knight, laugh and the world laughs with you, peak, blueberries, owl, drugstore, lampshade, keyboard

When he was at the peak of summer

and felt the thrill of blueberries running down his chin,

when he was dead sober and crashing the apartheid of MTV,

he slept ‘neath the shadow of a lampshade as any boy would;

No need for deadly nightshade or drugstore remedies.

One day the fog rolled in and the keyboard fell badly out of tune. The knight in epaulets surveyed his kingdom and saw the spoilage of the vine.

He called a meeting of trusted advisors and received false council. Laugh and the world laughs with you. He knew better than this. He knew this was no laughing matter. He would call the drugstore and the owl would be a silent witness to dreamless sleep.

James Baldwin made a prophetic statement about this possibility in his 1985 essay “Here Be Dragons.”

“The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring,… money, success and despair–to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated–in the main, abominably–because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires.”

In a world that demands
pick old or young, black or white, woman or man
Michael Jackson was a border crosser

He was controversial, enigmatic and strange. Aren’t we all?

He made us happy with his brilliance and profoundly uncomfortable with his troubles.

Now he belongs to eternity and we are the custodians of the legacy of his music and the reshaping our ethnic geography.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Whose Hands Are These?

"The stranger" is this week's prompt, courtesy of Beth Patterson.. Thank you, Beth and all who spin words into beauty out of the great silence at One Single Impression.

This poem is for Cecilia, my mother in law, braver than any person I know. How does she do it, daily face these terrible losses with the innocence and clarity of a child? Cecilia was diagnosed with Alzheimer's seven years ago. It is my honor and deep joy to be by her side as she navigates uncharted waters by the sextant of stars.

I was his student
it was raining
he drove me home
but we got lost in time.

Whose hands are these?

whose hands are these ?
so coarsely veined
fingers floating on a lost melody
“you were only coming through in with”
I see her leaving
and can only imagine
she dives into curls of smoke
surfing the ruins
searching the word for absence
she returns with a handful of gravel
shiny schist broken from a great mountain
as we sit I can see
each breath a separate pearl
on the fluttering wings of the moment.

Aside from myself, there are no signs of me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Miss Monks

A tribute to my 7th grade chemistry teacher on the fourth of July.

supernova explosion

Room 102, 7th period

Miss Monks
spinster of combustibles
Bunsen and beaker
bare roots exposed
igniting wonder

the “small cloud” of Andromeda
burst into brilliance
in room 102
the perplexity
of life endured
in inner ring suburbs:
unstable configurations
irresistible attractions
couplings we never dreamed of
no travelling show this
but a daily
into covalent mystery.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Thank you to Just Writing Words for the suggestion of Blue Rain. Please visit One Single Impression to read some inspired writing.

Tall Grass, a painting by Nadine McHenry, Artist

Blue rain

maybe it will rain
and the crickets
anarchists as they are
will wind time backwards
on a broken spring.

I'll Be There

child stars
live in a hollow
of the giving tree
forever ours.

Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's one thing you should know
You've got a place to go
(you've got a place to go)

"Ben" written by Michael Jackson is about a rat named Ben!!

the sacrifice of Isaac

the serial surgeries
the lurid allegations
we ate it up
like birthday cake
we blew out the candles
didn’t we?

The Lord of the Dance

Now you have all of the Pleiades
and the shelter of the ages
dance for joy!

At the time of his death, Michael Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be his greatest comeback. He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena.

Lord of dance, beautiful dreamer, you gave everything everything you had.

You must be so tired.


You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back
Where there is love

I’ll be there

(Just look over your shoulder, honey)

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Thanks for the prompt of Assimilation from Rooted. Please visit One Single Impression for all the singular impressions.

The image of folding egg whites came to me as a memory. My mother loved to bake. I would watch as she ritualistically blended the ingredients together. The purpose of folding the frothy egg whites into the sturdy batter is to retain the air you have beaten into the egg whites. This makes your recipe light and fluffy.

My dad was given a new name when he crossed the border. He was thrilled. He wanted desperately to blend in. He never did. What he kept was beautiful.

Folding in egg whites

Select very fresh eggs

let them rest

at room temperature

Make sure your bowl

is clean and dry

Separate the yolk


do not discard

as you can use

for mayonnaise

or custard at a later time

be sure not

to allow any yellow flecks

or shell pieces

to infiltrate

this takes practice

in Julia’s kitchen

the very best chefs

can strain

the white


their fingers!

beat the whites

until they form

soft peaks


one third of the

whipped egg white

into the prepared batter

and mix it in

this will make it easier

for the rest

of the egg whites

to be absorbed


to always fold the lighter ingredient

into the heavier ingredient.)

tilt the bowl

toward you

using a spatula

or flat wooden spoon

gently turn half the mixture

over onto the other half

continue to do this

until the whites are incorporated

into the batter