Late Spring

Today it is 50 degrees! I peeled off a layer of wool! Another poem that mentions sex! What is spring if not about sex!


Late Spring

I had almost given up on
leaves and blossoms
and the color called blue.

The world had been swaddled,
rain clouds, snow clouds, clouds of emotion,
scud, if that’s a word,
batting and heft.

Then yesterday, nondescript
eruptions on
a nondescript tree.
They were the dirty train of a wedding dress,
they were the accumulation of
tissues from this year’s flu season.

Then yesterday there were
purple corsages emerging from beauty bark,
fake almost, like an Easter centerpiece
someone forgot to take down.

It is almost easier to not want things
to let the callouses form,
to be cataracted.
Now I am bracing myself
for fuschia, I cite it in all my poems
about spring.
Any day now.

It is the way love sometimes comes
when you’ve (not quite) given up looking.
Or when you haven’t had sex in a while
and then do and suddenly it’s all you want.
Spring is like an orgasm,
some seasons are slow to begin,
some sputter,
some start early and keep going.

Spring and sex are fireworks.
So many moments and nuances,
starts and stops
so many different kinds,
the male orgasm from bottle rockets to roman candles.
I always liked the ones called ground bloom flowers.

They are compact, packed tight
like a lipstick tube with a fuse,
like the trees now, steadying for beauty,
like the branches, their tips dipped
in mystery.

Once lit, the ground bloom flowers spin,
gasp and sputter on the earth,
they linger in the air in colored smoke.
The way summer whispers
of what came before remembering
bright exploding petals,
the way lovers lay together after,
just breathing. 

Grocery, Found Poems


Grocery, Found Poems

I. List
I totally forgot to write a poem yesterday.
Some days I wonder why I ask things of myself,
drinking a glass of water as soon as I rise,
picking up classical guitar even though I
often dread practicing,
writing a poem once a week when everyone
else in my household is binge watching Netflix.
Bribes help, tea and chocolate chips by the keyboard,
kombucha and cheese puffs between scales.

There were ideas,
notes scrawled over the mundane to dos
on week Jan 22-28 in my day timer while I drove.
Poems titled Loaded, Spent, Sorry
(in no particular order)
(it had been a challenging week).
Yet they were beat out
when I grocery shopped and found a discarded list in the grocery cart.

(An assumed) mom’s handwriting was on the left,
a meal plan up top, thai peanut, burritos, chicken casserole.
Below were the ingredients, 
world’s of possibilities, every continent and cuisine,
onions, tofu, milk, mushrooms,
apples, bread, lettuce, stew meat.

On the right in two different handwritings,
written most likely by her daughters,
was the fun stuff - pizza, cookies, ice cream,
jelly, crackers, shredded cheese,
string cheese, juice, pickles.
Each female had a section neatly marked off,
an arena for work and two pastures for pleasure!
I am soothed to know this threesome existed,
that their pantry was stocked, their larder large.

I wondered if a man benefitted from their generosity.
The note was written on a pad from Columbia Forest Products,
the kind of pad a foreman might have.
It could have been hers! But I am of THAT generation.
I was impressed their home needed no sundries,
no toilet paper or shaving cream,
no tampons or dish soap this week!

The note was remarkable enough,
yet on the back of the note written in the
way of swirly pre-teenager’s
the following, song lyrics? a young Walt Whitman?
(does THIS generation know who that is?!)
an early accolade of poetry?

Never enough for me!
for me!
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make!
Ok! This is the greatest show!

II. Pasta Sauce
I had to share my spoils and showed
the lady behind me, look at this sweet list!
She was loading a dozen cans
of whole tomatoes and explained
she gets together with a friend and makes meat
sauce which she freezes and also gives away.

She wore a pink baseball cap and had lovely eyes.
She told me about her meat sauce origins,
that when she first went into foster care
she was in eighth grade and her foster mom
insisted on help with dinner, she was given a budget
and had to shop for ingredients,
the boys had to cook too, but were allowed simple
dishes like hot dogs, not her!

She was so helped by her foster mom
she dedicated her life to kids that age
and became a middle school science teacher
who just retired after thirty years of teaching.
Good god woman! I thought,
reflecting on the conversations
with my middle schoolers about science and teachers.
I mentioned my foster girl,
and she said, “Whatever you do, keep following your heart.”
I wished I’d asked if she had her own children
I wish my own children could have been in her class.

III. My Son is Supposed to Write a Poem in the Style of Walt Whitman

He is instructed to stand on a street corner
as Whitman did in New York in the 1800s singing about bodies electric.
I wonder what Walt would expound at the
intersection in a busy suburb in post modern America.
No butchers slinging sides of beef in full view,
no fish monger unloading boats
the egg lady now does data entry,
there are not horses tethered to hitching posts
while their riders visit the cobbler or candlestick maker.

This will not be another poem nostalgic for the past.
I love gliding my Prius into a parking spot.
I reap gas rewards when I buy just cut daffodils
offered in the entry next to rotisserie chickens.
There are twenty kinds of dark chocolate
and berries in December,
liquor and cigarettes beckon from behind locked cabinets.
My mantra while I shop,
you are deserving, you are deserving.
Walt Whitman finished his Leaves of Grass
in his sixties! He was a late bloomer!
Today he’d sing of electric can openers, ball point pens,
shredded cheese, foster care, our society, our humanity
our evolve-ity, our advance-ity! still blossoming! 

Foreplay, Year Eight

Happy Belated Valentine's Day! I always celebrate when trees grow together, like these Madrones.


Foreplay, Year Eight

It takes us a while sometimes,
there are the kids to talk about,
the mortgage due,
damned games like Words with Friends
on our cell phones.
Us becoming one of those couples.

Sometimes there are places other than genitalia,
that demand exploring,
Bendy places in me and Hollow places in you.
Like the other night when I was on top of you
and suddenly seized with shame.

Eight years in foreplay looks like healing.
I am shy sometimes and afraid often.
But wasn’t recently when I felt sexy
and took off my top while cooking dinner.
I pushed out my tummy and showed you.
You said I was sexy
but also “we should lose weight.”
It took me a week to tell you that hurt.
it took me going numb while laying on you.

Eight years in, foreplay sounds like laughter,
like ours when I told you in a mock deep voice,
tell me to get my ass to the bathroom
and wash up because you want to make love to me.

Eight years in foreplay is patterns
and assumptions and routines and regularity.
It is me knowing if I want it, I just need
to turn away from you and press into you
and twitch my bottom like a randy baboon.

Foreplay eight years in is occasionally
wanting you to rub me slowly, differently.
Sometimes it is not asking
and loving what you are offering,
trusting you know what I like.
Sometimes I work up the courage to ask you.
Foreplay eight years in,
is often you knowing me so well,
I don’t have to ask. 

On Corduroy

Valentine's poem coming next week! Hope you survived the super bloody blue moon. My dear friend Rain just called it the "cry of the heart" moon. Bring it. 


On Corduroy

This poem is dedicated to a stranger at Starbucks
who this morning as I stood at the coffee condiment bar
and added half and half to my Americano,
said, “Corduroys, you don’t see those much anymore.”

I glanced down at my brick red cords, slightly bell bottomed
pincord they might be classified, 
I didn't tell him I chose them as I was bleeding
but did accept the invitation for conversation.

Wide wale...
He remarked on how much warmer cords were
and how for men they are no longer in style.
We commiserated about the 90’s,
missing pleated corduroy trousers
and blazers even, those with elbow patches.

Channel and cuff...
I pointed out my wool sweater,
and he said he used to buy cashmere at Nordstrom’s.
When he accidentally shrank his sweaters in the wash
he would donate them at his old church down south,
the girls would take and wear them.
Apparently around here the girls are snooty
and say “we don’t want your old clothes.”

Ridged form of velvet...
He was a little more tailored than I,
wearing designer but understated jeans,
nice black leather boots,
he was well groomed and I imagined nice smelling.
Size XL because of his wide chest,
his cashmere must be a ladies' medium when laundered.
The fibers perfectly felted,
against bare skin, like a hug.


Hope this isn't too far out there! Next week, love poems!



I haven’t been able to spell it,
I keep writing scracthy
scrac thy
I have decided to leave the ytypos in thes
To see what happens,
magic can,
when we let ourselve
make mistakes,
(and perhaps it is too early in the morning to write boems).

Scrathcy is one of those words that sounds
like its meaning, onomatopoeia.
We learned aobut it in grade school,
second grade, a year of buzz, hiss and chirp.

Scratchy has all those consonants,
six or seven depending on how you feel about the letter y......
There is a name for such a phenomena, consonant clusters!
as in catchphrase, latchstring, lengthsman!

I know a man who is losing his hearing
with tears in his eyes he told me he can’t understand
consonants anymore.
(I acutally jjust wrote with teats in his eyes)
He’d love that, he loves women!
He also loves words,
loves storytelling
loves hearing.
He is also scratchy,
because he is homeless.

Scratchy beard and red eyes, scratched tent,
tree branch tear in the last storm.
He hasn’t always been, he describes a little cabin
in Oregon near the beach, he made beach art,
out of sanded driftwood and found glass orbs,
round and smooth as vowels, consonance.

There are a lot of synonyms fro scrathcy
from severe to strident,
from caterwauling to coarse.
I don’t know what caterwauling means.
I can’t even guess!
Some things are better not to google,
I’ll let it be one of those.
I am goingt o use it the next time
my teenager rolls (at first I typed roles)
his eyes at me.
Stop caterwauling!

Because it is February,
I started out this peom wanting to write about sweaters,
cashmere is usually too soft,
I like wool, but merino.
Just scritchy enough when I swear (I mean to write sweat)
it prickles the right amount.
I like pretzels rods,
encrusted salt on cabled crunch.
I suck them until they soften,
swallow the soft pretzel marrow.

There are lots of itches to ignore
from curiosities to addictions,
such as asking my partner “was she better in bed than me?”
I am not good at shoulds and ask everytime.

There are two lies in this poem.
I didn’t leave every typo, only those that serve
and I could’t resist the online dictionary...
Caterwaul means to howl, wail, bawl, cry, yell, scream, screech, yowl, ululate
as in "we could hear those felines caterwauling all night.”
Uluate, now there is a new one,
for that, I’ll wonder.

Touched, An Intake

I don't remember where I found this art, it was in a hospital I believe. I hate to not give credit where it is more than do. This is how I hope to paint someday. 


Touched, An Intake

Can you be undone by a white embroidered curtain?

Have you fallen into an abyss when your beloved turns from you?

Is everyone you meet sage or mystic?

Does the moon serenade you?
Is night often a dirge rather than a daydream?

Do you have cases of books, collections, recollections,
a case of too muchness?

Were there too many kisses, glasses of wine?
Too often, too late, too early, gluttonous, ravenous, rabid, now. 

Is life All or nothing, is the All every facet of amethyst,
would the Nothing be liberation?

Do you picture everyone in the throes of lovemaking?
Are there not enough hours, no room for another silk garment? 

Do stanzas or songs come too quickly,
pink petals swirling in spring breezes?

Have you ever died hearing a trumpet solo?
Whimper, moan, yodel, howl?

Do you pray someday you will paint,
how desperately you hope to paint.

Narcissus, January

I think I've used this picture before. It's worth a double dip. Central Park in NYC!
Spring, oh spring, I am ready for you!


Narcissus, January

There is ice on the roads some mornings,
just a little, enough to be careful.
I love the return to normalcy after the holidays,
take tea on the drive to work,
don't worry about shopping after,
not making things happen.

I love the day after New Year’s
when I sweep the house of red,
love having white paper narcissus forced to bloom
in a ceramic bowl in the entry.

For several years, a friend gifted them,
she’d thrift shop for interesting crockery,
she’d tie a golden ribbon around the bulbs
which begin ugly as onions.
I’d keep them near the sink
so to remember to water them.
Once little blanched nubs emerged,
paintbrushes without paint,
I’d relocate them. Front hallway harkening.

My friend used to be a practicing doctor
and hasn’t worked in years to care for her children and ailing father.
The presents were perhaps a last stand for her,
a few moments stolen in the dishware aisle at Goodwill,
the flowers, dry lockets
chosen at the nursery from a wooden bin,
ancient ritual of hope.

It has been a few years since I received narcissus,
it tells me her responsibilities have increased.
My friend called this Christmas
and I let it go to voicemail, in my own version of caregiving,
I was too busy to answer.

I miss having them now, the long straw stems
which list toward the light,
the roots, little rafts of dendrites.
The blossoms themselves,
as alien as packages wrapped in metallic paper.
Where does the green emerge from
and the little sparkles on the little petals,
what about the yellow?
These gray days, I crave it especially,
delivered in canary coronas.
And their fragrance, I haven’t mentioned the smell.
I’ve always felt sorry for people who hate it. 

Year of the Root

I have been writing weekly poems for almost nine years. In this format, on this website, for five. For five years I have (mostly) considered this weekly poem with the utmost of respect, staying up late to finish a poem, scheduling my writing around when I could get to it. When I started graduate school to become a therapist, I suddenly was busier. The poem seemed less relevant at first. The more I sit with people in therapy sessions, however, the more tenderly I regard this little island of thought and reflection. I have collected these weekly poems in books and am working on the fifth one. I originally saw a series of ten. I am at 13.1 miles in the marathon of my Year of series, working out the kinks, which day is most possible to publish. I needed a break to not write poems for a month, although poems still presented themselves :) My weekly poem has migrated and settled from Wednesdays to Fridays. I love it still. I love that you still read them. Here's to 2017! Here's to 2018! 


Year of the Root

I wanted to call this book year of the horse
but truth be told, I don’t like horses.
Their grace and strength are mythical,
their beauty unending,
but they terrify me,
that much weight should not be housed above
so such nerve,
a savannah of scare,
festival of flinch.

I’ve been startling my whole life.

It is good to have working titles,
Year of the Course,
Year of the Norse,
Year of Source
would also have done nicely,
given I went back to school,
& love a man who loves snow
& finally found a deep reservoir
Is that groundedness?
It is squishy and warm,
a mud bath at a resort where
they offer big fluffy white robes,
dried fruit and nuts are provided in little bowls,
glass cisterns glisten with cucumbered water.

Roots are deceiving,
like glacier ponds and introverts,
not much happens topside.
Rye grass’s feelers extend 378 miles.
There is a colony of quaking aspen called Pando
which is the heaviest and oldest living known organism
boasting one massive root system.
I believe people have one massive root system.
In therapy we call it The Field,
as in there is anxiety in the field.

Back to horses.
I had them once, one twig snap and our patient mare
galloped away with my six year old daughter,
my horse bolted as well and I fell off, 

peed my pants running after them.
It was a hot day, my heart, the muscles hurt for weeks.
My girl was found by a neighbor under a tree,
alive but dazed, our horse grazing nearby.
I don’t deserve horses, not to be on their backs,
I am too nervous, too flighty, they must hate my quaking hand.

Back to therapy.
I became a therapist this year.
I spend my day communicating to the herd,
you are safe now.
I have a pillow with sequins on it,
people like to smooth the shiny circles one way and then the other.
I have bamboo which has been shaped into loops,
some are concerned how it is watered.
One client didn’t notice a wall size tapestry until I mentioned it,
another comments on a small sticker behind my desk.

In my own therapy sessions
I am encouraged to simply feel my feelings.
Not where did the anger come from, not was it your childhood,
sometimes those themes emerge,
but more I am told let yourself be angry.
My therapist has a recliner and a blanket and stuffed animals.
He told me to buy myself a teddy bear as I like to pat its beary bottom
and move its teddy limbs
the way I’ve seen Indian women massage their babies.
The way my middle son needed his legs rocked after nursing
because he had a hard tight stomach.
So many of us have hard tight stomachs.
When I am happy and during particular orgasms,
I feel warmth in my feet, Melting.
This is my practice, to melt.

When I first became a therapist I tried to hold onto myself.
If a client didn’t show up, I took out my journal.
I didn’t schmooze with staff,
I didn’t join the monthly potlucks because I was bored
listening to other therapists commune about movies or television.
I still don’t care for what they talk about,
Crossfit exercise routines and commutes, but I sit there now,
on the banks of something I have wanted forever,
putting my toes in the human race river.
It is too cold sometimes, it often moves too fast.
It is also glacial and refreshing,
there are dragonflies and cottonwoods.

I like to think of the skin of the earth, of topsoil and its fauna.
I like to imagine people, the same way I behold ants and ant colonies,
I like to remember the bugs and beasts of this planet
don’t hurt one another meaninglessly.

I teach my clients they cannot pay attention
to more than three sensations,
when a panic attack is cresting to notice sight, sound, skin.
The clock is ticking, the chair is hard,
the car’s brake lights ahead of me are red.
Since we can’t pay attention to several things at once,
it is important to choose wisely.
They wronged me, they hate me, I will never
are not the best affirmations.
The apple is green, my arm is soft, I like the trumpet in that song on the radio.
It is important to swell our playlists with memory as well,
to have wave upon shore, birdsong, cello, a little bass,
to know the magic of the color between orange and red.

I don’t have answers for my religious clients who feel safe enough
while holding my sequined pillow, to ask, if there is a God
how did he make them get in cars with their mother’s drug dealers.
I feel my feet and encourage them to feel theirs,
I teach them to put experiences in bubbles and float them away.
I teach them about cords of energy between people and pasts and to reconfigure.
Some are barbed wire, some are sticky black licorice,
sweet but also pungent, some are handcuffs, chain link.
In session we cut them, we use jaws of life.
Others need more flex, as for our teenagers,
from umbilical to bungee cords.
For loved ones often the bonds need to breathe and be permeable,
like roots, curving around stony obstacles.
Roots remind us to take in nourishment,
we must remember it is with out and within us. 

Fiftieth Birthday Poem

My weekly poem has become bi-weekly at best. I'll reign it in, but am allowing myself its natural flow. The little dog in this selfie is mentioned in the poem below. The bolts coming out of his head was from a backlit tree in a grocery store parking lot. I like to pretend it was lightning :) 


Fiftieth Birthday Poem

I meant to write Here at midlife,
but I first wrote,
Hera at midlife.
Hera, Goddess of all Olympus,
Protector of Peacocks, irrational in judgement.
Verdant eyed, twitching incandescent tail.
I am getting married this year to my own personal Zeus.
I will wear a dress of ivory silk
that shows my shoulders.
I have learned we don’t change so much,
best to find the super power in each neurosis.
My dragons, Jealousy and Anxiety, have a plush lair,
diamond encrusted food bowls, fluffy pillows,
I am finally honoring them for keeping me safe.

Jealousy can be a woodpecker
and you a pock marked stump.
I prefer considering those maps given for free in tourist towns,
imagine our wishes are little destinations to point in the direction of.
I am jealous of people with lake houses,
those who play music and can harmonize,
I want a certain Peace.
I still girlwatch women with long legs and thick hair.
All of the above save the last two
I have some agency about.
A guitar hangs on the wall,
a paddleboard is prone in the garage,
they whisper use me.

I am crushing it!

is my new motto,
Grinding cracked pepper, tossing parmesan sprinkles,
accenting mundane and monumental moments.
skinny jeans (I’d like to think)
choosing my battles with teenagers,
an internship at 50.
My supervisor, who could be my daughter,
smiles so sweetly when I f’up.
Recently in a funk,
I looked for solace on my bookshelf,
the only worthy title was by a woman
who became a monk after raising her family,
shaven head, saffron robe.
I long for her Crush, but not yet.
For the first time in decades, I am a 9 to 5'er.
I have an office and commute.
Power walking at lunch, past homeless men on street corners,
I pass secretaries in skirts and tennis shoes.

I bled for a month and then not for two.
Peri menopause? Maybe.
Peri scope, definitely.
Tunnel vision, blinders on.
Fifty is a fulcrum,
little triangle wedge between before and after.
Until now I have been a gatherer.
It took my teens, twenties, thirties, forties
to assemble a ME, concoct a self,
such a fine nest I feathered.
Now I am poised at its edge
sniffing the air for salt.
I love the gestures of life,
mudra and mantra.
Imagine a come hither made with the arms,
the way you might guide in a jet plane on the tarmac.
It has just reversed and is now a waterwheel,
I am ready to dip again and again into rivers, ready to grind grain.
Crone energy has arrived, a give instead of get.

Mid-life Crisis = My Forties.
The word crisis means to sieve,
discriminate, determine.
Colander your choices,
cheesecloth those chances.
Grief, gratitude, patience and pause
are powdered sugar. Life is a bundt cake,
dense and circular, with ridges and dips.
If I was to embroider, I would stitch
This too shall pass, surrounded by laurel leaves.
So much has,
three children out of the house, one engaged!
Them growing up is like making peace with
an auto-immune disease. Flare and remission.
I watch them travel, partner, move, visit,
choose and not choose to spend time with me.

Between my own brood and therapy clients
I have a baker’s dozen of teenagers in my life.
They listen to music about suicide and getting down at the club,
driving too quickly down country lanes and hand rolling cigarettes,
of first kisses and bonfires on the beach,
songs titled Castle on the Hill,
My Sweet Summer, Spread too Thin, And We Danced.

Life reviews are best offered by another.
Mine was facilitated by my almost-stepson’s playlist.
On my birthday while laying down between dinner and apple pie,
I listened to his music.
I wore a soft salmon colored t-shirt,
my caramel colored blanket was made of bamboo,
the bedside lamp glowed golden.
I was a paper lantern lit from within,
floating up and over my half century,
crying lilac tears, jade tears, tears of flower petals and stone.
A little dog I have grown to adore came in and out
of the bedroom, checking on me,
his toenails, little upticks on the wood floor.

I cried because so many young people I love are on the cusp.
Of mystery, Of pleasure, Of pain,
their muscles flexed for transcendence, for beauty,
they want to sprout wings and fly around the sun.
I still have their yearning, my Pegasus still strains at the gate.
At fifty, ecstasy looks more like dressage,
like prancing, like tango,
all that power contained and channelled.
Still, here, yes, yes, yes
now more than ever. 

Therapist's Lunch Hour

Oh I skipped posting, two weeks. I haven't done that in yearssss. But I have before and I came back. It was heaven. Here is what I also allowed myself: to put on pajamas at seven pm, transition to my new job, practice guitar only when I felt like it, drink diet Coke, get the kids dinner from the taco truck. Oh and I cried and admitted I am afraid and a loser. So wonderful to lose it. 

Therapist’s Lunch Hour

Because I work in a busy underfunded agency,
I spend the first half of my lunch writing progress notes
that I am supposed to finish while in session (52 minutes)
something called concurrent documentation,
something I will probably never master (ever).
Because when I am supposed to be filling in the box
called Progress and someone tells me they have
contacted an estranged child or stayed sober this week,
I do not want the computer screen swallowing my kudos.
When I ask “and Challenges?”
I do not want them speaking to my turned head
as they tell me they are now homeless or they found out
their sixteen year old daughter is FaceTiming pimps.

I am eating turkey soup (salty)
and just inhaled a corn kernel into my lung
then drooled on my journal where I am writing.
I am writing to remember I have my own life
which is true AND an illusion (mostly).
I make a note to buy a requested Tootsie roll lollipop for a client.
He is five and his eyes are every color of mossy stone.
For a while he believes a purse in the shape of a fish is magic
and if he writes his feelings (unwanted)
the fish will take away the feeling and leave candy.
Last week it was MAD written in orange with stripes (tiger).
This week it is sad penned in blue with tears (three).

The fish purse, purchased at Goodwill,
is mostly red, with scales of different scraps of fabric,
handmade. I love considering the person
who created it and how pleased they might be
to know it is now a receptacle for healing.
One day the little boy tells me he has figured
out the fish isn’t real and it is me placing treats.
I don’t admit it, nor will I ever,
because we all must have magic helpers.
Go to’s like friends or therapists who wade with us in turbid waters,
paper that records scared scrawling,
walking, (dear clients, you must move)
sweets like tootsie pops
(even now, I like the orange ones)
and prayer (sometimes to mossy stones).

On Perfecting My Pie Crust

Thanksgiving is coming and my family is quite attached to pie. I am really am grateful pie crust no longer alludes me :) This bakery perfection was at the Bread Peddler in Olympia Washington, how excited I was to learn the powdered sugar is sprinkled over a lace template. I felt a similar thrill when I learned sauces are artfully applied using squeezable ketchup-like bottles. It assures me I am not the only one seeking shortcuts. 

IMG_9336 (1).jpg

On Perfecting My Pie Crust

I winced before my mince,
I snapped because of apple,
I was not merry for the berry.
It might seem like a small thing,
but each time I made a pie crust,
I resented it.
I resisted, I protested.
I am embarrassed to pen this poem
but I must...
woe was me.
But now
flow is me,
wow is me.
(I had of all things,
to buying pre-made).

(And if I hadn’t stooped, it
never would have happened).
A Pillsbury beatitude,
a pastry benevolence.
A revelation to cut the butter
into the flour with the Cuisinart.
Magic to refrigerate the dough.
Like some big conglomerate,
I too rolled between wax paper,
I also had no flour gunk on the counter.
No gummy rolling pin.
No ripping when I tried to lift with the spatula.

Such accomplishment to
peel one side and have the crust
lay securely in the pie plate!
Such mastery to slip the second sheet off!
Cooking shows are launched with as much!
Culinary careers began with less!

It was epic.
It came at a time when things felt hard.
Sweet rhubarb,
sometimes we aren’t ready to give up,
but we need a little easy. 

My Son Asks What a Maxi-pad Is

Another late poem, another poem about men/boys. Today at my house there were seven male teenagers playing air soft guns, while a few more watched the football game on the television. Go men! Go women! 


My Son Asks What a Maxi-pad Is

Bravo! I say when my middle school son regards the plump package
of overnights with wings on the counter
and is able to describe how pads
are both similar and different than diapers and band aids
to his little brother who suggested
I just go to the bathroom when I am bleeding.

The bro in the know adds, it’s not like peeing,
“and she’ll be crazy for days before.”
The feminist in me wants to refute him,
but it is true, premenstrual, I pick a fight with my lover,
bemoan my calling as I writer,
I tell these boys to pick up their socks with added fervor,
slam instead of place dirty dishes in the sink.

I laud my elder son’s knowledge,
garnered from health class, am touched by his sensitivity,
already aware of not only females’ bodies, but their burdens as well.
What a good partner he’ll be!
Buying Tampax and ice cream at midnight!
Rubbing her aching feet and lower back!

I think of my grown boys, men who do all the above,
who refer to their partner’s menses as “her moon"
and cancel dinner plans when their sweeties are cramping.
Ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix, milk ducts
are balanced by compassion. Understanding is ballast
mooring the simpler hardware of testicles, penis and prostrate.

When I tell the youngest brother
I would be in the bathroom for three or four days
if I didn’t wear a pad, that bleeding is a slow trickle,
a steady unscripted flow,
he announces when his future girlfriend has her period,
he’ll just skip the whole thing,
“I’ll go do stuff” he insists.
“You’ll go do stuff for almost a week” I challenge.
Yes he answers and I don’t argue,
envious that in reality he could.

I hope he falls in love with someone
with endometriosis, may she have monthly migraines.
May they suffer infertility,
he'll have his sperm counted and concentrated,
pray for her ovulation,
track his woman's temperature, her mucus, her moods,
may they conceive a child,
just one, precious, a daughter.

An Open Poem to My Daughter's Guy Friends Who Google My Poetry Site

I seem to have settled into Fridays for poems! Here an advice poem, for teenage boys, no less. 

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An Open Poem to My Daughter’s Guy Friends Who Googled My Poetry Site

I suspect it was a way to pass time
during a boring elective class,
but I was honored when you asked,
Isn’t your mom a poet?
and then searched to see my content.
I wish I had the forethought
to have a poem in bold letters,
that may have gotten your attention.
My daughter has shared a tiny bit about your lives,
knowing I am passionate about Teens and Feelings.
I hope my liberty here only emboldens you.

First off:
Cultivate your spirit.
Here, a boost condensed from the book,
The Four Agreements:
1. do your best
2. tell the truth
3. don’t take things personally
4. don’t make assumptions
The last two are basically the same,
rephrased for emphasis, in short,
if someone rejects you, it’s not about you.

About the Friend Zone:
Much to his frustration, my current squeeze was
every girls’ pal in high school.
Now in his late-forties,
he wears a wedding ring to keep women at bay.
Nice guys don’t finish last,
they just finish a little later.
When you do get lucky,
have sex slowly, ask ask ask
and ask again, is this ok? are you ready?
How can I? what would you? like? like? like?

On Role Models:
Don’t let your disappointment in adults distract you.
If those close to you are slumped
in front of the television with a six pack every evening,
thank them for your desire to do a 180.
My father committed suicide when I was thirteen,
although I mourn his death, the rent in my heart
has given me one of my greatest gifts, compassion.

You must:
Find things you are passionate about
whether music, photography, G-spots.
Exercise almost everyday.
Be in nature and read books.
Find your center, literally in your body,
don’t be just a penis and a brain,
know your heart, your diaphragm,
metatarsals, lungs.

Don’t let anger be your endgame.
If someone has a criticism about you,
dissect it, massage and own it.
Your script:
Oh dude (or babe or mom)..
I see how you could feel that way,
I am working on that
(or going to..)
what could I do right now that would
make it better?

Talk, share, talk, listen,
talk much more than you want to,
share about your shame,
talk about your fear, your wanting,
listen without needing to fix, change, own it.

Ode to the Tangerine in the Hotel Room

It's that time of year, citrus already!


Ode to the Tangerine in the Hotel Room

Ode to the tangerine in the hotel room on the fourth floor,
snagged from a welcome luncheon,
big bowl of them, alien ornaments.
Now among conference freebies,
the lanyard and ice bucket,
the pens and notepads, cellophane sealed drinking glasses,
there against the beige and gray wall art and wall paper,
the metal and asphalt outside the locked window,
the fruit pulses,
the color conjures blue lupine or red roses,
its orange as impossible.

its segments
are called carpels.
The carpel
is the female
a flower.

I debated a long time whether to peel
the tangerine,
not wanting to be disappointed
if it was too dry or wet,
flavorless or turned,
perhaps too long away from its home
of waxy evergreen leaves,
its five petaled blossoms thick with scent.
Too long in a crate, on a truck,
in a warehouse, on a shelf.


I wonder if the golden nugget
offered at temples and weddings
feels on the desk of fiberboard and glue,
as I often do in cities, too messy, too biological,
complex, needy.
This is not human scale I complain
as I crane my neck around skyscrapers,
This is not natural I whine when driving a car.

Little ambassador of goodness.
I did not eat the citrus,
rather tested to see if I could fit it in my mouth whole,
(barely, but the oils from the skin
aromatized nicely)
then nestled it in my bra,
(tumor from a more fantastic planet,
a third firmer breast).
Tucked in my shirt sleeve,
the fruit of joy, bracelet bauble,
warmed against my wrist,
(reassuring as a handkerchief),
its nectar,
(sequestered bright tears).


Therapist Intern

This is the journey I have been on since August. This is the reason my poems went from being delivered Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, then a few times not at all. I am finding my groove though! And writing poetry is more important than ever :)

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Therapist, Intern

I have not written about fall yet,
because I have been busy interning part time
and going to school part time
which adds up to Fulltime
and poetry requires this currency,
To Imagine and Investigate Mystery and Memory Enough.
Such a bougie life I’ve had thus far,
two decades raising and nurturing children,
nurturing and raising words and feelings.
Such luxury to languish.
So many Moments I’ve caressed,
such monuments to minutiae.

No more, ALLthis working and schooling.
I am purposeful now.
On a lanyard, I wear a magnetic key
which opens two locked doors.
I wear flats and have sessions every 60.
My lunch is an hourglass and when people
stop to chat in the hallway,
each word is a grain of sand.
I walk at my break,
twenty minutes out and I reach the edge of town
where farm houses are settled amid pasture,
where emotion just cloistered expands like clouds,
stratus, cirrus, cumulus.
I finally understand why people make a big deal about vacations
and don’t clean their gutters
and want to live in condos without lawns to care for
and don’t recycle and open
a bottle of wine every evening.

October is when our schedules fill up
I am told. I am given a windowless office,
which I cozy with twinkle lights,
the bookshelf populates with titles such as
The Body Keeps Score, Wired for Love,
When Things Fall Apart.

I place pillows with fringe on the
generic conference chairs,
the fringe is tenderly played with.
I have a little fan for those who sweat with anxiety,
and a bamboo plant whose leaves
are tenderly touched.
The days get shorter, first frost and suddenly,
I have back to back bookings.
I wake at four every morning, unable to sleep.
My partner parts my legs and I must
tether myself to his tongue to stop thinking
about my fledgling caseload of clients.
Their inner lives are laid before me with a simple,
How are you?
My teenage children respond only fine to such query.

I am Darwin, diviner, I am dream detective.
I am entrusted with stories,
serrated and tempestuous, tender and tragic,
they are the stuff of ballads and blues songs.
They are heavy and old as stones,
they are bottomless buttonless seas
with yet undiscovered species.
My days become a mantra,
You are not crazy, look what you have endured.

I am given yellow legal pads for taking notes.
I prefer copy paper, white and blank.
I have a coffee cup holding thin magic markers
that splay like coffee stirrers, 
they ask what color is your sadness, what hue your comfort?
L.O.N.E.L.Y. I write for one young woman.
I draw a bottle with her emotions tightly corked,
we fill it with shaken sadness and fizzy anger,
we talk about opening the cap slowly,
we talk about metabolizing grief,
that we aren’t meant to do it A.L.O.N.E.
I draw circles and we divide trauma into pie pieces
titling them raped at 15, mother using,
foster care, husband died when my son was 2.

I teach clients self-regulation skills with an acronym called TIPS.
We discuss
Intense Exercise
Paced Breathing or Pressure
Sensation such as Scent, Skin and Sound.
I ended the day with a teenager with anger issues,
drawing a rudimentary boat on choppy water,
I labelled the waves, high school, addiction, adolescence.
I talked about having enough ballast in his boat
to not tip over when water floods his decks.
Ballast’s synonyms are safety,
connection, interests, JOY.
I gave him ice to hold,
he ignored the paper towel I provided,
letting cold water drip onto his pants.
He showed me a poem he wrote about wanting more
connection with his father, it was epic, it was better than my prose.
I began the day with a five year old with anger issues.
we rolled a frozen orange back and forth, sitting on the floor.
He showed me how hard he could hit the fringed pillow.

I was born for this,
And I shouldn’t be allowed.
This intimacy, this trust.
Between appointments I bend at my waist,
let my shoulders and head hang toward the ground,
let the ground absorb my clients’ struggles,
let the earth receive my struggle to hold them.

My Son Scores Below Average on the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) Test

Golly, if I had to take a standardized test every year, I'd be toast! 


My Son Scores Below Average on the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) Test

The MSP scores come in the mail
several months after my kids take the test,
it is late summer and they have been children
for two months, lazy children, silly children,
I open the envelopes
and in happy colors, like ads for prescription drugs,
their thought processes are classified
into categories of systems analysis,
inquiry, application, domains of knowledge.

Their results are rendered on a long bar,
reminiscent of a thermometer,
mercurial, as young ones often are,
they are ranked, between boiling and freezing.
On paper, some are roasts not quite done,
a little rare, uncooked in the center.
If we were making candy,
my youngest would be thread,
the sugars not quite coming together. 
hardly Advanced
nor Proficient
not even Basic
but Below.

This youngest son recently spent an hour drive
dissecting the dynamics of middle school dating,
he is the first to alert me when I make a wrong turn.
He carries in five bags of groceries at once
and knows the statistics of all the professional football teams.

Measurement of Student Protest
Massively Stupid Pressure
Misplaced Soul Purpose.
Malevolent Spirit Pulverizer.

When I was in eighth grade a boy
whose name came just after mine in the alphabet
sat directly behind me in most of my classes,
he spent most of that year swatting my ass.
More than Lincoln’s Gettysburg address
or how to diagram a sentence,
I recall immediately
the mixture of shame and pleasure at his attention.
Sometimes kids don’t get breakfast,
occasionally parents fight on school nights,
often students have a crush on a girl two rows over,
the one challenging the dress code wearing
jeans with holes cut right at her thigh.

In Candyland, the highest achievers would be hard crack.
Did you know many of the straight A students
are on Adderral?
my son informs me.
This child, whose scholastic rank is soft crack,
sneaks to watch science videos online,
told me as I filled the cat’s water bowl
there is a mouse in the desert that
never drinks.
I look over his shoulder
as he begins his history homework,
they are reading the Magna Carte.
Today he’s had a tennis match and marching band practice.
It is ten o’clock at night
and he must leave for school in 9 hours.

I think back to the disappointment
my biology teacher felt
when I scored a C on my final.
I lost my virginity the week before
to a boy who ignored me the next day
in the cafeteria, as he had a girlfriend.
I remember trying to study,
an impossibility to absorb the
functions of amino acids while I replayed
the scene in his 280 Z sports car.

My children tell me most don’t try on these tests,
some fall asleep, others guess,
kids bring blankets and pillows to school
to snooze comfortably after.
I threw my youngest son’s scores away.
When he asked after his results,
I lied they must have messed up.
They did indeed. They weren’t able to measure
last night he rearranged his room at ten at night,
moving the heavy wood bed frame himself.

On Lying to My Therapist

I love admitting I lie, so freeing :) This painting is by the artist mentioned in the poem, Yayoi Kusama. 


On Lying to My Therapist

At the end of my last session,
I tried to make an appointment in two weeks
instead of next and my therapist balked.
I took care of him by
rescinding, of course, I’ll come next week,
ven though he coaches attendance to only myself.
Once when I mentioned he hadn’t taken
a sip from his mug in a while,
he grumbled,
who gives a fuck if my coffee is cold.

I do.


I asked for two weeks between sessions
because I am feeling ducky
and rebel by calling at the last minute and lying,
telling his wife I got stuck in traffic.
I was in Seattle, an hour away with my children
seeing an art exhibit at a prominent museum.
The artist was a woman with mental illness
who committed herself to live in a state institution for forty years.
She draws little eyes and tendrils, but primarily polka dots,
but so well people line up for hours to see them.
Who?  needs?  therapy?

I do.
Because sometimes I can’t sleep
and other times I weep,
then there is the going too deep.
And I am creepy
(the first thing I decide upon meeting someone
is whether, with them or not, I’d sleep).

I plan to tell my therapist
about the lying (he knows all about the above __eeps).
However, when I call he doesn’t seem bothered by my absence,
he’s been busy dealing with diverticulitis.
He tells me about it and then says,
but, you didn’t call to hear about my problems.
But you butt, sometimes
I do.

Because I can’t remember
some of the theories he shares
I do think about
him not loaning his 50 something daughter
any more money and how hard it was,
him telling his flailing thirty something son
he didn’t give a shit the boy never went to college
and the son four months later
having a thriving pool cleaning business.
him claiming at 78 he is offering the best therapy of his life,
him sharing he healed with his third wife
because she truly accepted him.

My therapist has a sticky note by his clock,
in pencil the questions we all ask when meeting anyone.
Do you see me? Do you get me? Do you choose me?
I think we ask it all the time of everyone.
I am trying to pass it on.
Trying to be like him, his wife,
the me before I felt unaccepted. 

When My Partner Didn't Notice I'd Pulled Away

They say it isn't often the big things that erode a relationship, but the small everyday disconnections that add up over time. I am trying to turn toward rather than away when I get my feelings hurt, here a play by play :)


When My Partner Didn't Notice I’d Pulled Away

The particulars don’t really matter,
it was some small slight, but lobbed
the night before I started my period.
We were eating hamburgers,
I’d ordered mine medium
and it arrived rare.

Rather than confront my love or ask for connection,
I turned, thirty degrees away,
orienting myself back toward my plate,
watched the bun soaking the meat’s blood
took great care to arrange each bite,
lettuce, tomato, bacon perfectly aligned
all the while feeling the great distance,
a Golden Gate Bridge’s worth,
I was in Sausalito and him in San Francisco.
I thought he felt it too,
our spaceship door had opened
and I’d been sucked out.

He commented on my breasts,
how nice they looked with my new bra.
I prayed, may we have mercy
and pivoted slightly toward him,
it took pick axes and I chopped at the ice
while small talk scaffolded me back,
thanks, I bought it on sale, how was work...

The next morning while showering I asked him,
Did you notice I got distant during dinner?
No, he said handing me my towel.
There was crimson when I dried between my legs.
I was both appalled and amazed at his answer,
so attuned I am to his every emotion.
constantly monitoring his joy, desire,
irritation, ambivalence, anger.
I am a thermostat. Forever Adjusting.
He’s pissed, I am a cool breeze soothing,
Oh he’s worried, I offer warmth.

How could he not know between ordering
and our food arriving
I’d checked out the waiter,
fantasized about trolling Facebook
for the man I met at a poetry workshop,
then determined any male too dangerous.
I’d cleaned out his side of the closet,
escaped to the nunnery,
at the Chapel of St. Mary, taken my vows.

I reflected on his white flag, a compliment.
So grateful that somewhere deeper than
consciousness, he did notice.
I reflected on my fledgling skill of forgiveness,
so grateful.



I am officially publishing my poems whenever! It sure seems that way lately :)  I started an internship for my Master's Counseling Program, Monday through Wednesday so Thursdays are now my goal. I appreciate your reading so much! 

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I like the verbs
burble (small brooks)
scour (winds above tree line)
flit (monarchs near the maple)
ascend (hiking sculpts the booty and will)
penetrate (hummingbird at the fuschia)
plunge (diving into jade water).

One earthing guru recommends
immersion in a thicket.
At first nothing happens,
then little and big bugs,
then rustling and skittering,
Another suggests laying prone
so we feel the ground beneath us, 
its support and yield, 
its rise and return.
In and Ex.

On a trail, a brisk walk
becomes an hour of Planet Power.
We can’t obsess about our future when
large branches and stones must be navigated.
Who cares what that rude person said
when pebbles and sand need be considered.
Marshy and dry places plump and temper our moods.
Dappled forest light diffuses our defenses.

Loved one not texting when expected
(the cedar branch tips are turning brown this late summer),
surly teenagers left dirty socks on the couch
(blackberries are just flowering),
just started a new job and have idea what to do
(it's getting colder, I can see my breath),
worry about the destruction of the world
(the firs and rabbits didn’t read the headline).

Favorite Kind of Poem to Write

Howdy! I apologize for the delay, I let my domain name run out unknowingly, whoops!  I don't know who painted this lovely, but the colors and textures remind me of dreams (all kinds).


Favorite Kind of Poem to Write

This is NOT My Favorite Kind of Poem to Write
Because I don’t know where it is going.
But there are curiosities that want witness,
Big curious things like a woman whose marriage fell apart
because her husband couldn’t live with her clutter,
all over their house colorful baskets perched,
many with the tags still on.
And medium curios,
like a family who barely communicated.
One day the dad joined the daughter
on the couch while she played video games.
From the kitchen the mother started singing hymns,
while they gamed the daughter and father joined in.

This is my favorite kind of poem to write.
Because what needs to find home, eventually does.
What needs to be elevated, will.
For me it was a TSA worker at a busy airport
who after checking my ID
directed my beau and I to the shortest line
with the flourish,  “Show em how its done,
show em how its done!”
We must say it once a week, my guy and I,
about once a week he exalts, “Show em!”
about once a week I do.

What is the meta purpose? The theme?
Something about hunger.
And safety.
We must never underestimate two, three
even four degrees of separation.
The stories in the opening paragraph are not mine,
they were told to me by a friend
yet I internalized them,
named them Misfortune and Hope.
Let’s show each other how to,
how to fill our empty baskets with hymns,
let us colorfully gather,
our clutter, our emptiness, 
lead me as I sing you into being.

This poem wants me to recall a dream,
a recurring one about rabbits.
Always too many of them, dozens of bunnies
I forgot to feed, always a petting zoo kind of feel.
Two attached their teeth to my elbows needing meat.
Of course you do I thought shaking them off.
For the first time, before guilt
knotted its rough scarf around my throat,
guides appeared to ease my nocturnal neglect.
Two sheep, one on either side,
resolutely herded me toward the exit.
They were noble and steadfast,
so gently, so assuredly, they flanked me.