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Poet, Artist and co-owner of Lasting Images Photography

Monday, December 27, 2010

For my friend Randy Adams...in response to his poem Tears

Happiness and sanity are an impossible combination
                                                  Mark Twain
What troubles me most
is the sheer number of sane people
crouched under their umbrellas

unable to take the leap off the pier
absolutely certain disaster lurks there

when it is the insane leap of faith
that brings about positive change
one miracle at a time:
After reading about a Chicago toddler
who needed a new kidney 
to overcome a rare birth defect, 
a stranger donates one of his organs
saving the boys life
A French inventor develops
a car that runs on thin air
Petitions from women around the world
stop the stoning of a woman in Iran
Parents of a student volunteer
killed in the Haitian earthquake
build an orphanage in her honor
An anonymous woman 
drops a diamond ring in a Salvation Army kettle
Three graduate students at Rutgers
found “Giving What We Can”
and pledge to donate 10% of their incomes
to relieve suffering in the world
A five year old with a terminal disease 
spends his own allowance money
to buy Christmas toys 
for Children’s Medical Center in Ohio
An Australian mother’s embrace
revives her stillborn baby
after doctors have pronounced him dead
On land poisoned by toxins
of  a long-gone manufacturing era
more than 6500 solar panels face the south sky
ready to deliver power to New England
An off duty Colorado state trooper
pulls a boy from a frozen pond
A Christian Church and an Islamic Center in Memphis
share friendship, practicing the tenets of their faith
No sane person would believe these stories
because he sees what he is conditioned to see
He has his hat drawn down
to block out the sun he is sure will give him cancer
Don’t be accused of being sane, my friend
Take the leap

Sunday, December 26, 2010

And let me preface this post by saying

This is not about my mother.




I don’t mean to be critical but
That’s how the sentence always began
and I knew
I was about to hear my failure again
I put the dishes away wrong
My new haircut did nothing for my face
It wasn’t right to wear slacks to Mass
You were busy
but you still had more than enough time
to be perfect
My friends’ mothers wore polyester pants
with elastic waists
and sometimes forgot their lipstick
Once I left my shoes in the living room floor
I tried never to repeat that mistake
but even in my shoe rack they were scuffed
I told myself
my daughter would never hear me
catalog her shortcomings
I would praise her complexion 
Making a B in Algebra
would be cause for celebration
Maybe I tried my best
I certainly put enough thought 
into her Christmas presents
Now and then I stop
at her bedroom door
and listen to her laughing on the phone
I’ve raised a happy child
Pretty and popular
She knows what a gem she is
I look forward 
to Mother/Daughter Day every year
Want her to know how proud I am
I am standing at my mirror
making sure my make up is complete
when I hear those words again
Mom, I don’t mean to be critical but

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coloring Memory

If I ever have a son, 
I*ll tell him the sky was denim,
stone washed blue, a hand like suede.
An indelible image.
Light filtered through rustling leaves
like some delicate open fabric,
made lace shadows on the grass.

If there was rain
it arose without cause.
Clouds were auras around the sun.
Puddles were dazzling, liquid fire.
Along the water*s edge
purple irises never lost their graceful bearing.

You can call me muddy and confused.
If our stories diverge,
you can say I*m misremembering.

The day was turbid, brown.
An unfriendly wind bent
the line of blooms in different directions.

For years you pored over
the book of purposes only to conclude
that gray gloom entrenched that day
never to release its grip.

So be it.

Remembered or recast,
I*ll retain my belief in denim sky.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Burning Bush (ah brush)

This image was painted entirely with Photoshop brushes and enhanced with Photoshop filters. Not to give technology ALL the credit, I did actually envision, design and execute. I rather like my end product.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Writing can be frustrating

Reverse Metaphors

I wake up in a white room
not a hospital
more like a page in a book
where I am the only line of text

I have no context
in which to place my observations:

there is cold
the smell of strawberries
and a light without any obvious source

If this is heaven I am disappointed
If it's hell I am unimpressed

Perhaps it's a dream
where the metaphors have been reversed

Somehow I've been turned into an inkblot
in someone else's Rorschach Test

and the dream is interpreting me

Friday, November 12, 2010

Found

When the night is cool-
stars spangled against dark sky,
silence spread like arms
pulling you in,
a thread of memory
around your finger-
comfort is a small place,
just big enough to fit your day inside,
with no room for tomorrow

Turning

I don’t understand 
  the revolving door.
Moving, always moving
       in one place.
  There is comfort
in an open door,
       a closed door--
  knowing just where I stand,
one side or the other
       of somewhere.
  But here I turn
forgetting where I got in,
       unsure when to exit.
  Okay, I’m an idiot.
I find I’m transfixed
       by the man two slots
  ahead of me.
He is both fat and flimsy,
       held together 
  by a bow tie, a ghost
between sheets of glass.
       I can’t decide if I  should follow him

or if he is following me.

Still Life

Fat fountain
becomes tilted jug,
spills water turned 
to wine by evening light
across concrete tablecloth.
Glass towers are bottles sparkling 
with reflections.
Sphere of setting sun,
an unpeeled orange.
No hand disturbs
the scene where silence slithers
between dishes set
for one. From the window, 
landscape is still life.

Changing Lanes

In the express lane, I frantically
count items. Ten only, ten only.
If I have eleven, will the clerk notice?
Will she humiliate me, declare
a bunch of grapes, a thousand items?
Store’s so hot,
the guy ahead of me steams.
Behind me, a woman with a dozen eggs
(how many items is that?)
shifts a baby from hip to hip.
The kid reaches for my hair with sticky fingers.
Grapes, toilet paper, bread, milk and peanut butter.
Lean Cuisine, mayonnaise, head of lettuce.
Can of peas, can of beans, shampoo.
Eleven essentials. One extra item,
only one. Let go of my hair!
As the clerk calls me next,
I change lanes.
On the freeway,
trapped between a Toyota
and a semi, I squint 
at the exit sign 300  yards ahead.
Names of streets
are doing a hula in the hot, yellow haze.
I turn on my signal,
squeeze a inch forward,
sneak a glance at the driver
in the turquoise Corolla.
He plays I Don’t See You,
keeps edging forward.
---he wants to shift left,
                   I want to shift right---
this ought to be easy.
Eggs over easy, one wrong move
wrecks breakfast. I hold my breath,
change lanes.
Home. Alone. Haven from choices.
No question where to park
in a one car garage.
Microwave Alfredo, peas in a sauce pan,
sit down to Judge Judy
in the only good chair.
I know this routine, bless its sweet boredom.
Tension uncoils as I sip my iced tea.
I pick up the frame,
study your photo, crinkles of laughter
framing your eyes. 
A picture in winter, still tanned from summer,
hair turning two-tone, still darker than mine.
I stick out my tongue--
half in jest , half in earnest--
at the face and its challenge to all I hold dear.
What the hell, one more time.
I’m changing lanes.

Pears

Lemons

Apples

Fruits

A new series of art images

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Green Eyes

Happy Passings

in the South
we always say someone has passed
it’s a much kinder phrase than death
as a child I always imagined
the deceased drifting by
passing us as a parade float might
we could stand and watch
them smile and wave
on their way out of our everyday world
that’s why we were dressed up
because it was a party and afterwards 
people brought cake to the house
my grandmother passed
and in time my parents too
took that Rose Parade journey
though by that time I no longer expected
passing to be an occasion of joy
even if we do wrap it in flowers
the pageantry of death is grim
no bright streamers or balloons,
no raucous music with drums
we dress somberly
we speak softly as if we are trying
to keep the secret of their death from them
most often it is raining
though I have no idea
why that should be true
I rather hope the parade starts on the other side
that someone is as happy 
to see them arrive
as we are sad to see them go
that they get their brass band
and the chance to ride 
in the crepe paper carriage
my childhood fantasy
never followed the procession
farther than my own field of vision
the march was all about me waving goodbye
so where the passing ended up
was a just great mystery
it still is

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dream Pilot

the moon tumbles
into the refuse bin of morning
all dreams both large and small
contain a splinter
of truth, a chink of reality
which is why the comb 
seems to pull 
certain strands of light
from my hair as I blink
before the mirror
I spent the night flying--
a kite dragged across the sky
by an unseen string
dipping and curving, occasionally 
crashing back into my bed
in a dazed heap
of glowing sheets, luminous
pillows
I pick up my toothbrush
half-expecting 
to be pulled up through the ceiling

Drawing Blood


This won’t hurt a bit, they tell you
as they strangle your arm 
with a rubber tourniquet,
 begin slapping your flesh
to raise a vein.
The needle is small, as if to say 
Don’t fear my bite 
but I always look away at that point
I know it will burn, 
know they will likely withdraw,
stick again,
apologize
It’s like that
Don’t be fooled by cliche promises
Eat your vegetables and you’ll grow up tall.
study hard and you’ll succeed,
cheaters never win
Why can’t they just tell you
you’ll be a pint low after this
but don’t worry
there’s always more blood where this came from

Monday, October 18, 2010

one more....

These are proving to be quite fun.

More "Fema Art"

Art in works

I am working on a full series of art poster images created from Fema markings  on walls of homes post-Katrina in New Orleans. I think it would be cool to create something beautiful out of something intrinsically ugly. Here is an example of what I am going for.

Sunflowers in Glass

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

windows

titleless

Cold  hours
hugging the dark
Rainforest thunder, 
its grumbling bark
Morning runs barefoot
in the sleepwalk grasses
Sun thrusts fingers
through bird-studded branches
Dreams undress,
shed their meaning
I open my eyes
and hear the bread singing

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hopping on the poetry bus




From Karen's prompt: write about school or schooling

I walked home from school
in the days when a child could still do that
in the days before 
the wall-mounted telephone
fell in to disrepute
I carried my books in a plastic satchel
It was plaid with a red handle
and a metal clasp that looked like brass
but wasn’t
All the houses I passed on my 4 block trek 
were either white or gray
except one
tiny pink shotgun 
with a tumble-down porch
and screens full of holes
The lady there didn’t like kids 
to cut across her yard
with its patches of brown grass
sprinkled between the weeds
She glared
from the kitchen window
and sometimes
knocked on the glass
so I  would cross over to the other side of the road and quicken my steps till I was past that house
I crossed the street
without a crossing guard,
I walked home from school sometimes alone
or else I rode my bike
barefoot and without a helmet
with no fear at all
but for an old woman in a sad pink house
on a corner lot
of an old shell road
in a little town
were everyone knew my name

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Title before the Poem/Egg before the Chicken???

I have this unfortunate talent for discovering a title before I can fully imagine the poem that goes with it. I woke up yesterday with such a title and ever since have been trying to come up with an opening line. Anyone else have this problem? Or am I uniquely insane?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Babilu

Some workshopping going on on Babilu this week. Really gets to blood pounding.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Rising Sunflower


Secret countries rival
between the long-legged trees
crowned  with sunbursts,
the happiest orange
This field, 
a world enough of color
to overshadow all 
the dark-damp ground below
One head nods above, petals spread 
like arms of rising sun