Sunday, May 21, 2017

I Give You A Poem That Starts With Cliché

We all die. And whether I drop

Down to the asphalt like a shooting
Star, one moment here the next not,

Or slowly fade in a soft coasting towards
The great below, a rheostat of life
Dialing into darkness beneath breath,

Or disappear like a melted bank
Of tired ice and rock
Slogging into April puddles,

Today there was the satisfying crunch
Of gravel and dirt underfoot running
A hot trail near home, and then

Seven jacarandas glistening
In their motley row,

(ahh these hock-a-rondas!)

Wild life smiling underneath
Springtime shawls
Of purple snow.

Friday, May 19, 2017


The end of a long Saturday, last one
In January. He kicks off both running
Shoes, greets his toes waking
To this luxurious unshod freedom,
Leans back in the easy chair, the one
Tucked in a corner, upholstery
The color of tobacco, of lizards
Living in strange deserts, picks up
A plastic pen from the carpet and writes
Lines in the journal from Ana purchased
In Peru as a car chugs and groans
Up the long slope behind his simple
Home on such a simple night.  Toes
Cavort thoughtlessly, a cavalier few
Start to soar, as the pen drops
To the floor.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

                                      Tetka Eva’s

Into Tetka Eva’s humble wood-frame house we’d walk out of the drizzle.

A living room shining with laughter and shouts, it’s here that our Croatian

relatives swarm, partying it up good. Exuberance overflows from these Nashkis,

fills the space, like downtown at rush hour.

Aunt Sylvia plants a red lip-sticked kiss on my cheek as I reel and stagger

from a gust of perfume, then Uncle Frank bursts from the throng, thrusts

his half glass of brown whiskey my way, “Pe-ter try this. Pe-ter” he invites

me into forbidden territory. I’m more intrigued by his wooden leg,

his strange accent and yellowed fingers than by the warm booze he loves.

Dad’s aunt Eva wears an apron of blue flowers, smiling sweetly as she delivers plates

of meat, cabbage, bread and cakes to the dining room table, to her family. I bathe

for a secret moment in her brown eyes, sensing her quiet joy amidst all this happy clamor.

Excitement and mystery fill me as I wander from room to room in the small house.

It’s like crossing into a foreign county. Discovering my extended family

in a warren of delights, of tobacco smoke, and kids snaking through legs

of preoccupied grown-ups out into the backyard of fig and walnut trees,

a sagging clothesline and garage to hide behind, hoping Maryanne

might wander out here too.

The day is a bazaar revealing itself kiss by kiss in explosions of jokes

and sweet pinches, first crushes on girl cousins, plates of garlicky lamb,

olives and hleb, crunchy nutty and real, everything’s so real here at Tetka Eva’s.

‘Nashkis’—Croatian for ‘Our People’

‘Hleb’---homemade bread

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Real Faith

Real faith

in our


we are forever


Our hearts


like a drop
of mercury

as we

time and again,

into the supple
arms of this



Thursday, April 27, 2017


First the rowdy adolescents
hit the sky--
three butterflies

spin, dive, and soar
in sudden flutters of ivory and orange.

Just below
their field of play
maturity holds sway.

Four diaphanous wings
touch stillness on a stem
the entire translucent

as tantric partners
glistening slowly,

your absence away.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

GOOD FRIDAY (for Heidi)

Morning is a woman glistening winds of gold.
Grasses fine as silken glass whisper someone’s name.

Somewhere lanky girls are laughing in a schoolyard,
homework’s flown the coop, disappeared in a wisp
of dusty past.

Here, underneath a dome of blue, unwinds a path
of stones and sage where breezes blow more slowly.

A solo oak tree guards your ashes in a first
of many graves. Placed at the solid base
not so long ago.

Four years’ before, a day when words bore no solace,
a day of thirsting where no water flows, blackened
heart-sick hills, rock strewn acres torn from drought.

I remember how you danced and shone and shimmered
on that November day. A day shorn from normal time:

you wept and screamed and fluttered in Autumn’s trembling rain.

The day we met the oncologist--‘your life will never be
the same.’  His naming froze the moment, drenching us in diagnosis.

Here, our bewildered shards of rage pierced oak and sky and wind.
Our fear knew no border, now there was no taming.

Earth cracked open, wrenched us from the ground:
and yet, winds of gold still kiss your schoolgirl’s tangled hair,
bless your freckles sparkling in the sun and rain,
and shall forevermore.

Morning is two butterflies mating on a leaf, they’re birthing
earth and grass and a woman giving simple song,
life in silence turns a page.

(And it never was, as he’d prophesied,
your same and normal story)

everything’s replenished, bathed in Friday’s ageless light

You’re here right now I know.

Monday, April 10, 2017

While Waiting at the Honda Dealership a Customer Reflects on His Dream

water crashes and lunges
down a cliff-face.

flotsam suitcases gleam
in sunshine, their travelers
long gone.

as mystery unravels,
a flood-storm chaos
once plunging, now quiet.

the wind whispers one question--

'what's left after wildness?'

this old heart dances its answer--

"sandstone that shimmers,
puddles that thrum."