16 December 2014

Holiday Travels

I'm in Orlando, Florida for a stretch of time with the grands alone- yes! Then my daughter and her husband join us in Jacksonville at my sis-in-law's for Christmas and New Years- double yes! I'll write when I can but major family fun is job one.

Happy Holidays to you all, hope your family time is fun too!

10 December 2014

Bone Whisperer

Winter solstice, 
short nights 
and cold in our bones,
we gather in the dell 
among the alders
to greet our newest member.
Fear wreaths her head 
as she feints left to run,
so I am called 
to calm her and explain 
the bone scrum we form. 
She doesn't know 
our ways,
the comfort 
we derive
from bone on bone,
but she brings 
the latest news,
other nights
so recently hers,
perhaps she brushed 
a loved one 
lost to us
and carries 
their faint scent.
We have orchards
of hunger
for all she has.

Posted for Mama Zen at the Garden who asked to use homophones in our poem. I used feint and faint. I also found words in another prompt and used dell, alders, wreaths, and orchards but didn't write down the source and now can't find it again. If anyone can tell me I'd be grateful. This is another in my bone poems series. 

07 December 2014

Bone's End

By the end
all I sought
was peace,
pain dove so deep
that disease and suffering 
fused to bone.
Bone's meant to
hold up and not be
source of final fall.
Can bones be haunted?
I was at this failure
so fundamental.
Death came
as sweet escape,
swift descent 
to the ground of all being.

From the bone poems' series, a Flash 55 for Marian at the Garden. I took the photo of a dolmen (portal tomb) in County Clare, Ireland.

06 December 2014

This is My Brick

"We pave the sunlit path toward justice toether, brick by brick. This is my brick."
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

If Tim Cook's brick is his announcement of being gay and the support that that might give someone else, what is my brick? I was going to say apart from raising a daughter to be a thriving woman, mother and environmentalist. But maybe Kelly is my brick even if her outcome is in her hands now. From the moment of her birth, when she first looked around in her old soul kind of way and I breathed in the scent of her, I was utterly and hopelessly in love with her. Her announcement when she was barely three and disagreed with something I said that I should think my thoughts and she would think her thoughts put me on alert that mothering Kelly would have its challenges. 

I can't take credit for her since she was so inner directed from the beginning, such her own force of nature not looking for much direction from me. But being her mother was deeply satisfying, great fun and a unique source of growth for me as a woman. Still is. It's her birthday today. (For the next month and a half until my birthday, my Dad is 98, I'm 68, Kelly is 38 and my granddaughter, Kamala, is 8.) I used to marvel when she was young because she wouldn't hesitate to tell someone what she thought or give them advice even if they were older. She had that clear thinking and confidence. It was the beginning manifestation of her wisdom.

If we're paving a sunlit path toward justice together then my daughter is a vital brick in that path. The justice of saving the rain forest, the justice of interracial harmony, the justice of attachment parenting and educating children based on their interests and inner drives. Plus, she plays a wicked game of Scrabble. I only began her trajectory but she has flown far and true and built a life based on her values. I admire her for that and feel grateful to be her mother. I'm glad we've done the (occasionally) hard work needed to change and solidify our relationship as adults. I love that we're friends and part of each other's lives. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart, I'm really glad you were born.

05 December 2014

Unwitting Evangelists

Some folks live in negative territory every day, 
live on the wrongside of the demographic altogether. 
Errors of brain wiring force them into a granularity 
of vision that would terrify the likes of us. 
They struggle, with unyielding integrity, 
to leverage what right functioning they have 
and build some kind of strategic staircase to normality. 
Aberrant fears drill down into vulnerable minds 
feeding back godawful beliefs they can't quite shake, 
shame cascading over it all as if crazy 
wasn't enough to cope with. It's like some sinister 
reduction in force of brain's powers.

In this space, getting ducks in a row 
becomes an effort in grounding. They try to capture 
their colleagues, stakeholders who must come 
to the party, like Alice to the mad hatter, in another 
effort to keep their doors open, to make
their thinking 360 degrees once again. At the close of play,
though, the paradigm rarely shifts, hallucinations,
like low hanging fruit, pre-prepare them 
for the idea showers that never end. Brain storms abound.
They yearn to be platform atheists to their version 
of holistic cradle-to-grave disorder. Instead, 
they're product evangelists even as it loops back on them

and drives others away. Challenges- 
how to conversate, how to sprinkle magic 
over bizarre behaviors, how to touch base offline, 
overwhelm them while answers steer clear. 
Going forward means being lost in a maze on no one's radar
at the end of the day, actioning damaged from the get-go.

Tony Maude has us writing biz-speak, jargon and buzzwords over at the pub. After 36 years working with the seriously and persistently mentally ill, these phrases, silly in a business setting, became a way to better speak the mentally ill's remarkably difficult story. They have my respect.

01 December 2014

Right Now

The mountains are gone this morning, closeted by gray clouds. Everywhere is wet from last night's rain and the start of more today. Night winds blew the tablecloth on the balcony into the arms of a chair as if purposely placed there. I've kept it on late this year with its golden background and whispy gray-green olive leaves in collaboration with the warm, sunny weather of these last three months, autumn stretched into December. 

The vines are bare, pared back after the recent harvest. Pruned olive branches are piled in the groves of our neighbors. Wind blows bits of fog from the hills' crevices and smoke, like a thicker, deliberately-placed fog, dots the fields as discarded branches burn despite the misty rain. The scent is of earth and rain. 

Sun, behind cloud layers, looks more like moon. Andrea Bocelli, on my playlist, fills the room with his glorious voice. As sky lightens and ground fog creeps back, the mountains are suspended in air, blue ghost mountains. There is only this moment of full presence, of clarity and connection.

For Marian's Open Link Monday at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who talked about the importance of our attention as poets and writing what we experience and who asked us to write about what's going on in our little corner of the world.

28 November 2014

Giving Thanks

I'm struck lately
by the bounty
of time given 
in retirement,

the stretch of day
to do as I want.
The burden is to choose
wisely, to plumb

my heart and play 
my stars, each day.
The grace
is the freedom 

of choice itself. 
What excites me,
interests me, draws me,
expands me? 

How can I move
toward those?
How can I fall
more in love with

life, this life, my life?
Read, write, run,
nurture family,
talk to John,

visit friends,
settle after years of travel,
become a hub,
although the 'of what'

can't be known yet. 
Weigh in
on what matters,
Step toward it.

Be an ally.
That's all. Except to
give thanks 
for this life.

 For Brian at dVerse Poets Pub who asked us to write what we're thankful for. I took the photo of the Swan Boats in Boston this past summer.

26 November 2014


It's the sheer scale of the problem that daunts,
and the skew of things contoured by years
of seeing blacks as shadowed strangers.
Lack of contact clouds judgement, fears

fly without relief from here to the horizon
at each report of black on white crime
with dirt retold on 24 hour news again
and again magnifying fear each time

as if we were waiting to be reoffended.
Are we? Offended is the right word 
but are we? Women are blamed for rape
and violence against them. Absurd.

Only men, allied with women, can stop rape and violence
against women. Only whites, allied with blacks, 
can stop racism. So, increase contact, read, listen,
speak up, speak out, have each other's backs.

Posted for my biracial grandchildren and for Grapeling over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads who gave us a word list inspired by his plane travel but which I took in another direction in the wake of Ferguson, MO and too many similar incidents. In spite of the scale of the problem, we must believe we can effect change and then do it. If not now, when? If not me, who?