Saturday, January 31, 2009

A beach in winter

Waves of Godness
lapping at cold silence;
a chill gray reredos of sky
frames the play of dark and light;
the land a somber altar
to presence,
and to absence.
A curve of wave
slips along the sand
from me to you,
tracing the kitestring
of divine connection
on which our vision slides.
One key ignites us both, I do believe:
sweet mysteries,
white sparks,
flaring down the edges.
Stop -- and breathe salt-scented air;
watch the hooded mergansers
tip in and out,
sipping from the cup.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ode to a Classic

Here's where the shift began,
in a dream
of WYSIWYG and Wozniak;
of color,
and intuition,
of art and child's play;
a fluid welling up,
a torrent of new ideas spilling over into a new space
exploding with animation, imagination;

lava, contagious and communicable as laughter
gushing right-brainedly
from this left brain province
onto a new desk
populated with dancing mice
and smiling emoticons
beaming us up, Scottie,
from mere intelligence into life itself.

* * *

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peter's Lament

It's a bit tippy up here --
especially when the seas get choppy --
and watching for new fish,
poised to encircle the net,
waiting for that next opportunity to reel them in...

it's exhausting.
So I'm grateful for winters,
though dragging this boat up onto the beach
can be a fearsome struggle;
glad for the rest;
come spring,
to set out again.

What do you mean, this is an outmoded activity?
You're leaving me here to rot?
I dare you to find a more efficient gathering mechanism.
What, no one eats fish anymore?

There AREN'T any fish anymore.
I see.

* * *

"Grandpa tells me fishing is not about what you take from the water.
It's about what you give to the silence." -- Susan Wiggs, The Winter Lodge

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Piecing together a life,
after it has been broken open,
finding the stable background fabric,
waiting for the bursts of color to return,
cherishing those neutral moments,
the steady progression of simple things:
a cup of coffee,
the birds singing on the wire,
the quiet crunch of sand, or leaves, underfoot,
understanding the importance of contrast,
gray -- all working together
in patterns best seen from a distance.

Somehow I understand it will all fit together.

But these days all I can see is that really dark patch in the corner...

tell me it doesn't look like future;
tell me that's not where this is headed.

Find me another place to stand.

* * *

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Journey's end

Like the aging husband
who looks at his wife
and only sees the woman she once was,
I look at you and remember:
that sense of adventure,
my daughters dancing on your deck in rough waters;
the fresh scent of the fog,
the sound of the horn,
the smiles of recognition from the ferry hands;
the sweet taste of belonging.

Yes, those were stormy times,
but you,
my dear beloved and steadfast companion,
held stable through it all.
Take my hand, love;
we'll embark on this last journey together.

* * *

Monday, January 26, 2009

Knitting into spring

Numbed by winter's cold and dark,
breathe through the chill frost
and feel the color seep back in.

Reach down into the dirt,
dig through the frozen earth
and let the light well up,
crystals melting in the slow warming.

As you knit
the colored pattern --
trees, fields, earth and sky --
watch for the silver skein,
that numinous thread that weaves all life --
light or dark,
high or deep,
narrow, wide;
all opposites together.

* * *

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mixed emotions

torn like paper
along the cut already scored
I heard you speak of Word;
heard, too,
that deeper call to phrase and frame
to cage this tiger in a cardboard box
from which I long to leap like flame,
burning through to the essence;
burning away all that comes between
Word and me
burning like that crazy bush,
full of light, but,
not consumed.

* * *

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Your presence glows in the distance,
yet I, bound by my own fears,
cannot even set foot on the dock,
let alone conjure up a boat
capable of carrying me across the water.

They're standing behind me,
but instead of diving in gracefully
I stiffen,
push back;
No, I say,

don't make me leave this safe shore,
don't make me take the plunge;
it will take bigger demons than you
to force me from this rocky shore.

Oh, no;
here they come.
Time to take the leap,
even death would be better than dealing with THAT.

Why didn't you tell me the water was warm?

* * *

Friday, January 23, 2009

Barking at the HPS

Speaking of flamingos --
and we were, just yesterday --
here's one,
on a platter:
not quite what you visualized
but then
life doesn't always deliver what we requested.

And what,
my friend,
did the HPS --
Holy Parcel Service --
angel leave on your doorstep today?

No wonder the dog goes ballistic
when that truck pulls in:
that's always my instinctive response.
Thank God for my calm inner buddha,
Who waits,
keeping focus on the path.

* * *

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let's touch base

I need to touch base with you.
I know we are tethered;
I know that as the waters and tides roll,
we will regularly find ourselves
nose to nose,
breast to chest;
my free-floating anxiety
to your grounded logic.

And yes, there are days
when I long to cut the cord completely.
But today is not one of those days,
and I long to slide into home port.
You know my number:
won't you give me a call?

* * *

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hidden in the keel

In the cool damp of the evening fog,
the far shore lies obscured from view.

All is stillness;
even the gulls have settled in,
their harsh competitive cries
muffled in the gloom.

Water laps quietly at the pilings beneath my feet;
the sharp profile of your boat
is softened to a mere suggestion:
there could be movement,
someday --

Hard to imagine, now,
sails billowing in a rush of wind --
but the promise of motion nestles there,
tucked up inside the keel,
befriending that deep center
that will keep us on course in the storms to come.

* * *

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Praying for inauguration

I watch in prayer,
suspending breath
as hope strains to emerge again.

See how she works to extricate herself
from hearts grown calcified:
Cracks extend like helping hands,
radiate from center outward --

Will these long-buried wings
break forth in light;
remember flight?

* * *

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Trick of Light

Wherever I go,
you are there.
A trick of light,
a cold patch in the woods,
a telephone pole
and I am transported to Gethsemane;
the cross I carry on my back today
transplanted to a hillside
to bear a sweeter fruit.

* * *

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I so don't think

I'm not so sure
about this self-emptying stuff:
won't I be left with nothing?
An empty room,
a broken window,
all pretense of prosperity
lost in peeling paint
and rotting boards;
Nothing to reflect but sky and trees...

I'm Job in this pit,
and you're up there playing games with the devil.
I'm beginning to think you're just messing with me,
and want this whole elaborate structure to collapse.
Everything I've worked for,
longed for;
You expect me to throw it all away!

It makes me want to close the shutters,
board up the windows,
lock the doors:

Like the man with only one talent,
I think I'd prefer to bury it,
protect it --
well, cherish it, really --

Do you seriously expect me to gamble
everything I have
on some divine illusion?

I don't think so!

* * *

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The mask

Twinkling lights in charmed profusion
adorn your columned portico;
your valet takes my key.
More lights beckon
from the two-story tree
beyond the vestibule;
your butler helps me from my coat.

Adjusting the mask I wade into the fray,
Carefully mouth appropriate phrases --
Yes, shopping is so trying this time of year;
No, I didn’t make it to the Messiah;
I’m not sure yet where I’m spending Christmas;
So many invitations, you know --

I smile and nod,
Gracious and elegant,
Sampling hors d’oeuvres
juggling a glass of Dom Perignon,
(’99; such a good year);

Smiling and nodding
Til I think the mask
Might permanently fuse onto my face.

(Too bad they don’t give academy awards
For best performance at an office party…
One of the pretty young fillies –
We still have them, despite the bailout –
would win:
They always do.)

Spilling over with holiday spirits,
your personal assistant
invites me to a movie,
and though I decline,
she drunkenly persists:

“Why not?”
I’m a little tired.

“The night is young!”
But I have an early day tomorrow;
So much work to do.

“Don’t be a spoilsport!”
Given the current economy,
It would probably be wisest for me
To save my money...

And over the edge she goes:
“Excuse me?
When was money ever a problem for women like you?

“I know you,” she continues:
“You live in a house just like this one;
You got it in the divorce
From your ex-husband, who makes six figures easy
And sends you alimony like clockwork
To keep you from spilling all his secrets.

“You’re just too good to associate with the likes of me, aren’t you?”
she says, and storms away,
a trail of rum-scented venom in her wake.


I retrieve my jaw from my chest,
Hand my champagne to the nearest maid,
Tuck a cookie in my pocket;
bid my host adieu.


Climbing the stairs to my third-floor flat
-- those last few steps grow steeper every year --
I’m grateful there is no-one here
to comment on my tears.

Fumbling for the key
I step into the cold:
no tiny lights to brighten up this gloom;
No beckoning tree.

My cookie looks lost
In the empty fridge.

Plugging in the electric kettle,
I step out of my champagne velvet skirt
And wrap my Christian Louboutins,
return them to their box.

Shrugging into father’s flannel robe,
and mother’s ancient slippers,
I wrap their quilt around my shoulders,
and stretch out on the shabby couch that doubles as my bed;
trace again the water stains
That mark the ceiling overhead.

All this time,
I think,
closing my eyes, flexing my tired feet,
All this time I worried
They’d see right through my mask.

And now I see
It’s sadder when they don’t.

Alone, untended in the kitchen,
The teapot squeals in morbid defiance
Till all the water burns away.

* * *

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pride, crucified

Thank you for the applause,
I love you all.
And yes,
wasn't that a perfect leap?
Look! I landed on my feet --
surely that is worth a higher score.
Excuse me,
could you shift that spot a bit?
It seems to be missing my face.

What's that you say?

What do you mean I haven't gone yet?
This isn't the winners' platform?

This is the diving board,
the edge of the mat,
the starting gate?
The whistle hasn't even blown yet?
I've not yet vaulted the horse,
mounted the parallel bars;
I've not even begun to run your race?

OMG. This is so embarrassing...
What will I do with my arms?
I feel so exposed...

* * *

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cracks in the mask

Some things,
there are,
that we are meant to see;
some walls,
meant to be broken through.

If we take our time,
tunnel neatly,
clean up after ourselves,
and stop at the first obstacle,

we're just clearing the way
for the universe
to take over the task and break us open.

Perhaps you had better pick up those tools again,
keep pushing through,
pick up the pace a bit,
lest an earthquake come along
to break that painted fortress of yours
wide open.

* * *

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Between the lines

In the midst of the blues,
the relentless repetition
of assembly line lives,
a white hand cups the light,
holds the door ready,
offers up the sweet green grass.

Hope flares like love
between the cracks of a sidewalk;
always triumphant.

Forever returning,
restoring, redeeming;
Guide us
as we read between the lines.

* * *

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Decorating purgatory

Living on that knife-sharp edge
twixt human and divine,
never blessed with infinite compassion
yet never fully present, grounded,
rooted in the real,
we're caught in the ache of peeling,
distracted by the shadows,
busily decorating purgatory
with our alien thoughts and plans.

Step outside obsession,
if only for a moment:
feel the forest pressing at your back --
the fresh green-scented air,
entangled branches drinking in the sky,
roots swimming synchronated in wet dark earth --
and know the oneness of I AM.

* * *

Monday, January 12, 2009

After the Epiphany

All the signs are there:
this path will take me off the page:
The clear blue welcome of home
recedes into the mist;
new fences bar the way,
declare new ownership,
new rules,
new life.

Someone has coated this bright road with silver
to lure me down the trail
but I've been here before
and know the stronger light means darker shadows.

Hold my hand:
Perhaps in sharing this downward rush
I'll beat the odds,
and will not slip this time.

* * *

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Swimming on this sea of shadows,
facing down,
encircled by Not-Now,
I breathe the dark and choke:
Only my head can turn and gasp
for the clear sweet air that whispers along my spine.

These churning hands,
weighted with the responsibility of forward movement,
keep me entangled in the dark divide,
fighting wet resistance.
Who is it longs
to float upon my back,
to turn away from dark and shadows,
to bask and breathe in air and light?

Listen, cries the voice of wholeness:
Step out of this picture; turn it on its side.
Nothing there is, that is not God!
That impenetrable boundary,
slicing all we know in two,
is just the floor where light and darkness move into the dance.
Any surface will do,
and this could just as easily
slide clockwise to become a wall;
Those fanciful dramatic colors,
elusive waves of hope, despair and pain
are merely painted on
the tame facade constructed by your dreams.

Distracted by the worldly stage,
you cannot see
the pleasures of the street behind you.
Deluded, drawn by this perceived duality --
blinded by contrast, lured by the illusion of color,
the promise of riches in this heavy door --
you miss the cold threat of snow that lies beneath the shadow.

Stop groping for the key.
When will you learn?
The air "in there"
is just like yours,
though dusted with decay,
Why wait for some benighted stage manager
to engineer a strike,
to hack the wall,
revealing paper, paint and boards,
the fabric of illusion?

Foolish child,
just step away:
Turn your back and step into the real.
Turn and follow the road away
that leads to fields of joy.

* * *

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Were you even listening to me?
I said these three Wise Guys showed up;
I never said they had good taste.

Apparently Herod sued the pants off of them,
or maybe they lost em playing strip poker?
You know how wisdom is:
just because you're clever at following some star
doesn't necessarily follow that you've got a good poker face.

Whaddya mean paparazzi?
No, not like a movie star,
You know, like Betelgeuse.
No, not the movie.
In the SKY.
They're like astrologers or something.
Okay, astronomers. Whatever.


No, I'm not swearing;
That's what his father told me to name him.
What, you're still holding that against me?

Look, your turn will come.
And tell those wise guys to go home by another way.
I don't want Herod to fleece them again.
And speaking of fleece,
Could you tell those shepherds to get outta here
and take the sheep with them?
What kinda place is this to have a kid anyway?

Oh well, what the hay.
His father did say this:
He picked me because he wanted the kid to grow up in a stable environment...

* * *

Friday, January 9, 2009

More a song than a poem...

It’s time to enter the cave of the heart:
Where have you gone, my sun?
This season we move into deep, into dark;
Where have you gone, my sun?

The clouds have devoured the light, the day;
The trees are dripping their cold cold tears,
The fires of passion are embers now.
Where have you gone, my sun?

The shadows slide over snow-tipped hills:
Where have you gone, my sun?
The fir and the cedar boughs shiver with chill.
Where have you gone, my sun?

The color has gone from the rose and the fruit,
The song of the dove has faded away;
The scent of the lilac’s a dim memory.
Where have you gone, my sun?

Where have you gone, my sun, my sun --
Where have you gone, my sun?
I’m standing alone in the cave of my heart
Where have you gone, my sun?

* * *

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I knew
If I waited long enough
You would come.

like a hunter in a duck blind,
I set out the decoys,
each with its own unique laugh track.

Sure enough,
You showed up,
wanting to be let in on the joke.

Now my ears are sighing
with the sussurance of your turning pages;
I paddle happily in the sea of your smiles.

* * *

God's night to cook

God tripped over my pillow last night,
tiptoeing out of the room.

He apologized for waking me,
said he'd gotten high
just watching me sleep.

I shushed him,
and told him to leave before he woke my roommate,
but he had to have that one last kiss.

Our lips met,
and it was a divine conflagration.
Now I am a happy ash,
floating on the wind --

Guess it was his night to cook!

* * *

Body takes the spotlight

Well isn’t that just like life.
Absolutely beautiful,
filled with light and shadow,
rich colors,
obvious paths to follow
and there,
smack dab in the middle…
Is that a pair of panties?

Couldn’t they have hung –
just for me, of course –
a ruffled apron,
a baby’s t-shirt,
a stuffed bunny:

suspended by a pink clothespin
from a long gray ear?

What is it about the body
and its relentless needs –
to breathe,
to eat,
to process and eliminate –
that always has to take center stage?

Today I am that shadow on the right,
the hook that should be closed.
I’m open,
just a trick of the light,
ready to fall.

How about you?

* * *

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eve and the Empty Page

I stand,
The words swooping and swirling;
Butterflies unable to settle on a single flower.

It’s too much;
Don’t make me choose,
I’m not ready to commit,
Too vulnerable,
Breathless with the sheer exuberance of blooming joy.

Is that a pen?
Let it drip beads of water,
Not ink;
It’s too soon to verbalize,
To categorize such unabashed abundance…

Tell me that wasn’t an apple.
I didn’t really want to know;
It was all a mistake --
It’s not my fault –

Don't make me leave
This paradise of indecision.

* * *

After Antietam

When all my hard-earned seeds
have been pecked free by tiny yellow birds,
and I am left
standing in this God-forsaken field,
feathered in owl-gray husks,
trailing woolly remnants
in the blue-clad night of winter,

Who will call to me,
sing me down the wind,
draw me with moonlight,
through the cold dark earth
and into the star of wonder?

When will I get my own wings?
Who will give me voice to cry
the sweet spring’s chirp of rejoicing;
a tongue to sip the nectar of the sun?

Shivering in death-scented darkness --
fragile, chilled, awash in darkness --
lost, afraid, alone in darkness
I wait, and listen for the Light.

* * *