Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Annual Christmas Funk -- Poetry 2009

Life is getting back to a normal routine
after shaking off the winter holiday fever;
slipped into a “funk” a couple times…
Usually Thanksgiving signals the start
of the annual struggle to just get through
without a major emotional crash.
Everyone has reasons for floundering…
break ups, deaths of family or friends, job status;
the list goes on for seasonal confusion and despair.
Short light days when darkness descends
permeating thoughts - clinging to spirit…
plus its never the same as when you were little
surrounded by several generations of family;
gifts seem enormous to small eyes; the magic
of a tree glittering and glowing in the living room.
Children are not yet jaded or fearful, the present
is the present; the future is the next day without
the drag of past history, painful regrets or choices
paralyzing thoughts and coloring the world gray.


Blooming -- Poetry 2009

Tired of holding back the deluge,
I want these words out of my head…
Set free to dance across pages of paper
onto walls, ceilings and floors in full view.
Curved or straight, cursive to scribble…
lines wielding bits of my soul in each drop of ink.
Free to jump, shimmy and shake in wild
motion instead of repressed proper behavior.

Tired of holding back the deluge,
I want these visions out of my head…
Set free to samba across paper and canvass
onto walls, ceilings and floors in full view.
Textured squiggles and smooth splatters…
colors exposing my soul in each stroke of paint.
Free to splash, dribble, and pour in organic
gesture instead of frozen proper technique.
Second childhood or expressive freedom
for a late blooming button downed creative spirit.


No Stardust -- Poetry 2009

No stardust fell to earth last night…
Moisture in the form of fine mist saturated the terrain;
Diamonds from recent frigid days softened and dissolved…
Their radiance replaced with common reflections.
Dripping from bare branches to land upon sodden ground,
their whispers inaudible over hissing tires on asphalt.
The Corgis pad through puddles bending heads to catch
an occasional drink; dog tags faintly jingle and my
footfalls slap the soaked sidewalk… restored by nature’s
nightly exposition, we head home for restful slumber.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Showered with Hearts -- Poetry 2009

The paper punch bites into the red paper
with such force that little hearts fly through the air.
Time and again, hearts shoot skyward in various
shades of pink, red, purple and gold…
mini heart bursts scatter across my work surface
drifting onto my tattered studio clothing, slipping
to the floor when I retrieve more collage paper.
I work with my least favorite color to make cards
for my least favorite holiday – Valentine’s Day.
Lost in right brain activity, my designs pull
together charged with a multitude of hearts
for couples celebrating their loving relationships.
Focused on the process, the hours pass
quickly just as the years have passed since
you left and my heart was broken beyond repair.


Tumbling into a Dream

Tumbling into a dream beyond fitful sleep;
Pulsing particles of light flash the rhythm
of my heartbeat… warm sun and smell of the earth
fill my senses as I gaze upon my surroundings.
Picking up a faded quilt, I unwrap an 1850 school
house clock made of oak; setting it into the back
of my Subaru the clock face dissolves, slipping
off its moorings as a scene unfolds in full color.
The clock’s cabinet door latch pops free revealing
the shinny brass pendulum reflecting a group
of young men in western clothing riding horses,
shouting out to each other, moving at full speed
to toward the distant hills. I called to them to wait…
I wanted to ride with them, gallop across the plains
to where the sky caresses the hills but the horse
hooves pounding the prairie drown out my voice.
Carefully wrapping the clock in the patchwork
quilt, I drive toward morning full of disappointment;
instead flying to dawn on horseback, I have been
left behind confined in my car on solid ground.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bitter Cold

Bitter cold temperatures leave a heavy frost in place
throughout the full sun of day… not just in the shadow
of overhanging trees, shrubs or North sides of a roof
but on exposed lawns, gardens and sidewalks.
Previous night’s fog coated trees and grass with delicate
ice lace; these miniature prisms bounced messages
in semaphore to any who braved chill and icy conditions.
Evening brings blue gray distorted fingers of an incoming
front advancing toward open star studded sky; expunging
the setting sun, the lingering light is sucked into its inky maw.
Without direct light, the crystals descend into darkness;
Headlights, rectangles of house lights, street lamps circles
and my flashlight temporarily spring them back to life.
This dazzling display of frigid moisture is no match
for any holiday decorations no matter how elaborate;
nature’s magic and artistry inundates my midnight walks.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Thinking Too Much!

Images seem paired with each thought…
How do thoughts produce simultaneous
images or images in mind produce thought?
Thinking in color – dreams in black and white...
Do we think in dreams or is it happenstance?
This internal process is automatic with no
conceivable explanation; we take this
deceptively simple process for granted.
Deciphering what each thought formation
means is not the goal; it is to simply recognize
their presence ... thoughts themselves
for the most part remain unexplained;
thinking allow serious and personal thoughts
to proliferate crowding the mind. Release
from chaotic wanderings takes meditation;
slipping and sliding through space the
ramblings speed past with little attachment.


Heavy Frost -- Poetry 2009

Heavy frost in the garden this morning –
that's a white enough Christmas for me.
The kind that cuts out the need for shoveling…
A nip in the air but no snow drifting
to snarl traffic or delay arrival of company.
The lacy kale leaves resplendent in tones
of gray to purple turned fragile with frozen
condensation and fracture upon touch.
Curled tightly by the frigid night temperatures,
the rhododendron leaves resemble dark green
arthritic fingers unable to flex their joints.
Pond duckweed encased in a skim of ice
are immobilized and easily removed in one big
slice allowing morning’s cold light to reach its depths.
Frozen grass crunches under foot releasing
the accumulated dusting of ice crystals.
The dogs quickly do their duty; rushing back inside,
they bask upon the hearth in the fire’s glow.


Epiphany -- Poetry 2009

I woke to find a shiny new epiphany in my stocking;
A stocking not hung by the chimney with care…
when rummaging in my sock drawer, I came across
the hospital ID band from the surgery last December 24th.
Despite the months I needed for a complete recovery,
the concept of time doesn’t stop for a breather;
rolling on no matter what events transpire, the seconds
sequentially proceed in a determined order…
this syncopated seasonal rhythm continues relentlessly
for this moment in time will never happen again.


Midnight Christmas Eve -- Poetry 2009

At midnight last night, the fog diffused
the holiday lights around the neighborhood;
Pinpoints of color blossomed amid minuscule droplets.
Floating prisms of freezing fog drifted into darkness
and settled to earth, kissing everything with frost.
The stronger street lights reflected off a myriad
of crystals that at first coated leaves and grass.
Walking through a world of gray and glitter,
the branches and treetops began to glisten.
Not a soul was out but the Corgis and I to see
this magical transformation of moisture laden air
blurring boundaries of experience with nature.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Midnight flight words plummet to earth.
Currents shift and I come to rest curled
upon my side beneath layers of comfort…
a song on my lips in a language unknown.
I grope for paper and pen grasping at notes
hung in the midnight darkness; the tune
resonates before fading to fractures.
The illuminated phrases spin out of context;
I fail to recall this paean… this gift of heart
and sound delivered deep in night’s repose.


Dream Catcher

Dreamtime has become dangerous…
I am wary to sleep; I am haunted by bullies.
Last night three rowdy men -menacing -
circled around until backing me into a corner.
Their eyes were hard as they bore into my soul.
Other people seemed not to notice my
Predicament; they went about their business.
The men started to grab at me… not listening
to my voice: Leave me alone, get away from me…
I tried to kick but nothing was there as I twisted away.
Gazing at the dream catcher hanging over my head
with heart pounding, I thought I must recharge it,
give it a good smudge with sage, sweet grass and prayers.


This Season

White could be my favorite color this season…
Symbolically it’s the Western color of purity,
the Eastern color of death, the spiritual light
of shamanic healing, the bright light of near death
experience and the color of a fresh start for a New Year.
I prefer the white of moonlight to sunny yellows.
The chill in the clear air intensifies shades of white.
It’s invigorating to walk through moonbeams
under diamond constellations in cobalt skies.
Days shorten, darkness descends marking
the winter season; I wish for the sparkle
of freshly fallen snow; I desire a traditional white
Christmas sparking childhood memories.
Typical holiday traditions repeated yearly:
making new ornaments; basking in fire’s warm glow;
inhaling the enticing scent of evergreens boughs;
decorating the Christmas tree, drinking spiced cider,
eating roasted chestnuts dipped in melted butter,
and the gathering of family and friends over home
cooked meals that bent the table low; love

and laughter filled those days with good cheer.
So unlike my simpler, less hectic holidays now...
candle light and evergreen scent, reflections
from heart shaped ornaments trigger a new
kind of magic – the turn of the solstice;
the return of longer days proceeds minute by minute.


Hysterectomy Anniversary

Coming up to the one year anniversary date,
does a hysterectomy deserve an anniversary?
Is this something to celebrate? Of course,
the positive side… the mass was not ovarian cancer.
Relief in one sense but saddled with surgical worries,
financial obligations, incredibly long recovery time;
I stressed as the December 24th date grew nearer.
Afterwards printed instructions were clear:
no standing or driving for the first several weeks…
House bound, discomfort with any movement, and
stirrings of deeper levels of trauma from this removal
of a discovered mass on my right ovary.
I strongly object to the word mass in medical records.
Isn’t a mass a sacred religious observation…
How does an abnormal growth become sacred?
Willing to lose an ovary, turned into “At your age”…
How did I manage to drive home with the weight
of a total hysterectomy compressing clear thought.
My life changing eccentric proposition that so many
women face as routine medical procedure... fate.


Wallace Stevens wrote,
"The whole race is a poet that writes down
The eccentric propositions of its fate."

Life Happens so Fast

Granddaddy passed away when I was five;
Tall, thin, wiry – he never woke from a nap.
His shock of white hair and smiling eyes
magnified by wire rimmed glasses reflected
sunlight while he walked holding my small hand.
I wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral…
Confusingly gone, I took to burying road kill;
under the shelter of maples, little stick crosses
marked creatures not quick enough to doge traffic.

A few years latter, anger surfaced once I realized
George was no more; next to Santa that mistruth
really upset me – parent’s lie about my best friend –
the wired haired terrier given to us by Aunt Chris.
Where’s George? After many repeats, finally
I was told about his last trip to a veterinarian.
I ran to my room slamming the door behind me
to wail for hours – some trust dissolved that day.

Hysterical after mutt Buddy was hit by a truck –
He was a replacement for George. A real Houdini,
He managed to escape frequently. I had called to him.
Hit by a truck, I felt guilty that I caused his death.
Not having a second vehicle, he lay covered in a basket
crying and writhing for hours until my dad came home.
No pets graced our house for a long time.
Birth, growth and death was still a puzzle. Cycle
of the seasons, cycle of life… but death is not unexpected.

At age 10 my paternal grandmother passed;
Why didn’t they let me go to the wake?
“An open coffin – no child should see that.”
What preparation was given for the meaning of death?
After the funeral, the farmhouse filled with family and friends.
Lost among the grownups, I was puzzled by their reaction
to her death; they told stories and laughed while eating
Pierogies, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage and other Polish delights.

Sophomore year of college, my material grandmother passed
just before Christmas; Why didn’t you wake me to say she died?
What a dismal time that was and it signaled the break up of the family.
Finishing college, many cousins had begun moving across country.
Senior year my Uncle Alfred lingered while cancer consumed his body.
I skipped senior activities while grief rode its course.

Until my mother died on the 23rd of December, I forgot the taste
of grief and didn't miss it. A co-workers son died accidentally
around that time; we would periodically burst into tears as the
pain of loss worked slowly from our beings. Some people seem
on the surface to recover quickly from death events of family or friends.
I guess it’s the surprise at the nonsensical way in which death takes place,
destroys routine and the opportunity for physical contact, for expression
of love, for sharing of memories, for hearing their voices and more.


Melting Clocks

Another winter storm moves in from the sea;
Dripping water falling from every surface
drifts into my sleep melting clocks: mantel,
grandfather, alarm, and electric models liquefy
to their demise with the soaking onslaught.
Dissolving their wood, metal, plastic, or glass
cases, their unique forms shiver and warp…
A slow collapse viewed in time lapse images.
Gears, pendulums, springs, and circuits engorge
as numbers slip from faces; hands drift downward
to Salvador Dali-esque fate of surrealism.
Puddles of a these former time keepers blend
fantasy and reality in monotone gray; seeking
meaning, a shaman examines the depths.
Peering into each pool, the congealed gelatinous
residue only reflects his venerable features.


Snowy Trail

Flowing white grosgrain ribbon unwinds around clumps
of silver birch and evergreens. Three inches of snow
defies moonlight hidden behind scurrilous low hung clouds.
Woodland path more visible than in a full moon pulls me
through an undersea landscape… trees bent under snow load
Resemble coral on an atoll; octopi flattened ferns upturned
to reveal sucker covered tentacles; pine cones, small branches
and leaves littering this mirage sea floor parallel pebbles,
seaweed, flotsam and jetsam. Slight wind provides the sea current;
I swim through this night sea bundled for warmth against the chill;
my breath sends a fine mist toward surface while my boot
encased feet leave a trail reminiscent of footprints in sand.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gray on Gray -- Poetry 2009

The sky slithered into Puget Sound.
Gray on gray – dissolving features
from nature: no surface ripples,
Cormorants swimming, seagulls flying
or tree line reflections marred the meld.
Not even man made objects …
Moored boats, buoys, piers, cranes
broke the spell of cement clouds
polishing chromed steel water.
The fine gray mist inoculated fog;
Inundated flat light, mesmerizing,
disorienting… extinguished landmarks.
Streetlamps glowered; the pinkish cast
spotlight spewed into stagnant air.
House and store front incandescent
lights foraged in the gloom; headlights
barely pierced the congealed atmosphere;
concentrated beams, cones of yellow,
dove into heavy vapor …
Evening sank into a sedated scene.


Sorting through Boxes -- Poetry 2009

Since moving years ago three boxes moved from closet to closet
finally taking up residence on the washer then onto a garage work table.
Studiously I avoided the chore of sorting the past…Who wants to go back?
The boxes of jumbled photographs from my childhood through my son’s accident took on moisture periodically spilling bits of their contents onto cold concrete…
Stooping to gather a handful, I was brought unexpectedly to tears by an old wedding photograph and remembered briefly what it felt like to love.