Sunday, December 30, 2012


where answers are found
in swiftly rushing rivers,
slick stones line the banks,
thirsty trees line up
to drink the water.
the animals,
share the bounty.
the wind twists
and returns,
rallying green troops,
bringing the winged ones
to drink,
to feast.
frogs and 
fish and
in endless dance
until man
appropriates the view,
in all its forms,
clears some trees,
loosens soil's grasp
upon the land;
it slips away with the wind,
washes away withthe rain
until only
the deep-rooted plants
can draw the life-sustaining water.
the herbivores that come
will find less food. they move on.
The four-legged hunters will
find less prey.
winged visitors will 
find no bugs, no
no seeds taking root
in the asphalt. with its
scent stil acrid to the nose,
on the tongue.

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author



who has digitized me
has reduced me to
a bar code, 
a string of numbers
telling of my physical location--the street
number, the apartment number,
the suite number
zip plus four:
come find me.
come touch me if you dare.
come speak to me
Area code (XXX)  has changed, again,
changed again.
the physical location, too, has changed
without the burden of ownership.
wherever i travel, I am trailed by nine digits
that prove my eligibility for so many things:
citizenship, of course,
right to work,
right to be taxed,
right to be traced--endlessly
pursued by marketers 
intent on convincing me
that I need what they have to sell.
with sixteen digits embossed in plastic,
rewritten in magnetic patterns,
i purchase my daily bread, 
my freedom to travel,
my daily clutter that
consumes so much energy,
time and talents.

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author


Once the raindrop loses
Its grip on the hovering cloud,
Once the river begins to flow,
Not the tree stumps,
Not the stones,
Not the build up of silt,
Will keep it contained.
As inevitable as
The rise and set of
The son,
The tectonic movement
Of plates,
The birth and
Demise of  fires,
The coming and going
Of waves
On a beach,
The victories and
The losses of nations
At war: words
And deeds are no barrier
Between us.


(For Newtown Connecticut)

angels leaving,
assignment complete,
drain the skies of blue,
the trees of green
just a little 
as their wings fill--
they lift off.
what assignment,
over whom did they 
keep their vigil?
Lightweighted silence,
the only evidence
of their presence. 
by the power of their love,
they lift the leaden sorrow,
the molten anger,
words said and 
those omitted.
New names
with dates of departure
and arrival
freshly scrawled
in ledgers
for divine bookkeeping
purposes.--the book of life
must be maintained

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author



Practical perfection
< Reality
> Than the possibility.
There are always chinks,
Pieces missing from the human puzzle,
Scuff marks placed upon us by life's sharp edges.
Some imperfection is hard-wired
So that we learn--or know by instinct--
To find the pieces to complete the whole
In others.
Not tall enough,
Not strong enough,
Pretty enough,
Smart enough,
Not fast enough,
Patient enough,
Loud enough,
Soft enough  to 
Command attention.
Lord, let me trust
In the necessity
Of being created incomplete.

copyright (c) 2012 by the author


Stones have stories,
Never told,
Stories on top of stories
Make a wall;
held together by mortar/
by skill,
by gravity---
or by fear.
Stones flying through air
Know, but will never tell,
From whose hand they were launched
Into the world--
Across a stream,
Over a cliff,
through a window,
Or skipped over water:
One, two, three, four splashes
marking progress across a pond.
stones mark miles come, 
or left to go,
Paths to follow,
Signals of safety
Or of danger,
For those who follow trailblazers.
Turn here.
Stop here.
Stones in lines mark boundaries
Some might agree upon.  
in circles show where we 
Shall gather.
Stay in.
Stay out.
We leave messages
Without verbs or nouns,
Without a sound.
many colors,
many different values--
words of love,
heft of hate
The final stones mark
Where journey's end--
The terminus from which
There is no return trip.

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author
Here lies:

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Under the influence of
another boy,
(could I really think myself
truly innocent?)
 I reached under
the doormat for the key
we both knew was there.
thinking no one is watching,
believing ourselves to be
invisible, we moved inside
without concern for the trespass;
we were invincible.
we weren't doing anything wrong
in our own minds.
into the kitchen, we greeted the parakeet
before seeking out the cookie jar.
will we find homemade chocolate chip
or store-bought Oreos--
or cash hidden in
plain sight?
we picked up stray items, examined
someone else's belongings.  
what if someone else did this to us,
entered our parents' house, 
touched our things, 
inspecting for value not always
we had minutes.
we had hours, if we wanted them,
to intrude into the lives
of neighbors who called us friends.
what secrets were kept--and where--
and why.
three bedrooms:
parents, boys'.
we pick up,
examine, cherish, imagine,
bicycle helmet and baseball glove,
soccer ball, (the same
one we've used in neighborhood pickup games--
then replace evidence
of life outside our knowledge.
One girl resides here, but we
are too young to be interested
in anything about her.
at some point, without words,
we retreat just as carelessly,
oblivious to the clues we left behind,
out to the driveway 
by the side door;
two would-be juveniles
leave the scene of the crime
except where it remains
in the back of our minds.

copyright (c) 2012 by the author


One word
Uttered on high
And I, a seed,
Amoeba or
The power of 
Creation lies
Beyond me,
And I, unaware,
Take up space
Set aside just for my body,
My spirit, my
From the mind,
Through intervention, comes
This parade,
After idea.
Unlike my own origination,
The invention of me,
The thought of me,
The sounds and visions
That fall from my lips,
Stream out of my fingers,
Are only the result of
Being the transcriber
Of dreams,
The artist struggling
To find just the right palate,
Just the right weight of words
Before I can place them
Gently, lovingly upon
The page.

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Faithless dreamer:
To be cast out of
The dream pool, harshly
Banished from the gathering,
Scattering and returning
Images. The strength required
To control the night remotely,
Not seeing, not hearing
From the safety of daylight hours.
what tools? What techniques?
Where the lessons?
Who is the teacher?
One dream shallower,
One vision thinner,
One split-second shorter
The length of the night and
All of its shadows
To visit,
To bargain,
To vanquish.
Where is the fun in
Dreamless sleep?
Here to haunt,
Here to taunt,
Here to tickle
And tease
Those words,
The thoughts and
Deeds that
Arise from the id
To be checked by
The superego.
Put the night in the fun,
The fun in the night.
The night gives way
To light,
To sight,
To insight.

Copyright (c)  2012 by the author

Sunday, September 23, 2012



It's the sound of
silver hitting skin,
slap, slap, slap,
fifty coins-- 
atomic number 47,
boiling point 221 degrees--
as previously agreed--
the price of betrayal
too dear to deny,
too high to accept
and the soldier who
only wanted war--
wanted a leader
for a conquest--
left a leader of all leaders
to die between
two common criminals.
silver, shiny silver,
cold silver,
expensive metal
paying for the ultimate
exit from sin
and sorrow and
was this where
triskaidekaphobia took root?
thirteen friends--
twelve disciples and
one teacher
gathered around
a table, breaking
bread, drinking
wine in the final 
hours of 
shared laughter.
malleable men
will take on
final form
before three days
have opened and closed
around them, pledges made,
betrayals foretold come to pass.

Copyright (c) 2012 by the author


the neighbors think
she's crazy: there must be
something wrong.  she never
talks, just walks,
perfectly composed, truly aimed,
words--are there words?--
kept within her head?
she's mad, they are saying.
we have seen the ambulances;
we have seen the police come
(without their sirens)
to collect her. and once,
the neighbors swear it's true,
helicopters hovered, seeking
with a bird's eye view.
when she says hello,
when she stops to pet the dogs,
or to scratch a ferrule cat--
the neighbors don't notice the compassion
or the longing.
or, mostly harmless anyway.
just let her pass.
yield the sidewalk to her: 
she'll be gone in just a few seconds..
what they don't know--
what they don't take time to discover--
is that she is watching,
she is watching everyone,
making notes to herself
in her silent passage each day.
at the second house from the corner, the wife is
always rushing, always panicking, sure
she's forgetting something (or someone).
A few doors away, a man emerges
at the same time each day
to turn on the sprinklers
as if the house were
one large cuckoo clock, and he
has to announce the time.
further down this quiet street, someone
lets out two small dogs no bigger
than squirrels.
the walker notices these things.
she sees everything--
everything the neighbors never 
to notice.
one day,
one door--just one--
may open.
inside the walker's silence,
a dreamer lives,
formulates a response.
"Good morning.  
don't be afraid."

Copyright (*c) 2012 by the author

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Just because I am legally blind, and use a cane, doesn't mean that just anyone can touch me, grab my hand, take me by the arm, without first asking me if I need help.  Still, people do this all the time.  Sure, they think they're doing me a favor.  They're doing a good deed.  As the target of two attempted sexual assaults however, I am very touch sensitive.  No matter what the intent of the person who touches me, if I don't know the intention, I reserve the right to react both verbally and physically if necessary.
Not long ago, I was walking from a bus stop to catch a commuter train.  As I descended the stairs to the train platform, I heard a train approaching.  Suddenly, someone was grabbing me by the arm and hustling me down the stairs.  
Not being able to see the stranger, I shook them off roughly: "Hands off the body!" I had to yell to be heard over the noise of the train and the freeway.   While I might imply that they are trying to help me, they were knocking off my balance, and potentially causing me to fall down the stairs.  And that was the least of my worries at that moment.
Fortunately, the stranger, a woman, was too rushed to be offended.  I let her run for the train.  I decided to wait for the next one.
Five years ago, on an empty Berkeley street, I was walking toward the local BART station after meeting with friends for a few hours.  As I walked, I was approached by a man.
He started asking me questions.  At first, I saw no harm in talking to him as I walked, but then he started touching me, putting his hands on my arms, my breasts.
I shook off his hand.
I brushed off his hands with my own hands.
When I told the man to stop, he pushed me so that I fell against a parked car.
It was then, when someone across the quiet street noticed and shouted for my unwanted companion to stop, that I made a break for it.  I managed to put some distance between us while the two men got into a verbal altercation.
That evening I happened to wear a long dress, which made hurrying through an unfamiliar neighborhood a major challenge.  Even so, I kept moving, kept the stranger at some distance until I reached a major boulevard full of college students and bright lights.    All the while, the man I now knew was intoxicated, shouted at me.  He alternated between pleading for understanding and swearing at me.
I didn't stop to catch my breath until I was safely down the stairs and inside the BART station. Once there, I sought out the station agent, and together we called the police.
There is no reason why a good Samaritan can't ask me first if I need help.  That Berkeley night is always at the back of my mind.  That place will always trigger memories.  That date--it happened to be my daughter's fourteenth birthday--will always be tainted now.
In 2011, while leaving a college campus where I was pursuing my paralegal certificate, there was a nearly identical incident.  This time, the location was southern California.  It was also broad daylight. Leaving the building after meeting with my professor, I was approached by a man who wanted to ask me a question.  (Sound familiar?)  Now, questions I don't mind.  IN fact, I encourage them.  But then he wanted to touch me.  When I forcibly removed his hands and started moving away, his attempts to touch, to grab, me increased.  Only when I pulled my cell phone from my purse--I didn't have one on that first night--did the man melt away.  Whether or not he followed me from the school to the transit mall, I don't know.  My primary concern was seeking the shelter of people.
I entered the 7/Eleven on the corner, and I waited.
The next day, I notified both the building managers and the college about the previous day's event.
these are but two events--the most serious, by far.  There have been others.  Annoying encounters with pranksters.  Would-be Good Samaritans who want to "help" me cross a street--even if I'm just waiting for a bus.
Trust, once broken will not be restored.

Monday, February 6, 2012



Where once the pain

Was uniform

And universal,

Now synapses transmitting signals

Are scattered—

Many pieces,

Separate sources of energy:

The souls of my feet,

The soft tissue behind the knee,

A blood vessel in my left hand,

The scab on my little finger

From being scraped against the wall:

Each source has its own clock,

Separate triggers,

Varied cycles.

Each fraction becomes its own whole

As the body ages and the great clock

Leaps forward tick after tock.

Pain becomes normal:

Peace the exception

And not the