We were quiet.

Surrounded by damp
warm air we didnt
move for fear
of disturbing them.


She misses California
in ways that have
               surprised her.
The water of course
and the warm
winds that come
out of the canyons.

Those were givens
but where
are the pomagranates?
      What is this longing
for ivy lawns
and shiny slime
trails on morning walks?


Summer Ride

We rode horseback
winding across
a tall grass prairie.

Blue shadows grew
between knolls
backlit with lowering rays.

This was before the rain.


Stone Wheel

Before anyone
can remember
the mountain broke.

Nameless hands cut chipped
and rubbed the fractured
chunk to round
lifted its immeasurable weight
onto the sister base
and made it roll.


Missing the Record Store

Ten years ago, I could distinguish
between voices.
Sylvia McNair didnt sound like
Renee Fleming.
Sutherland, Cabbale' and Battle
were distinct and elegant.
Today I struggle
to name Angela Gheorghiu
or Anna Netrebko by voice.

It isnt my ears. It's time.
I dont listen.


Of the Sea

Blue turquoise
and green her favorite
skirt flowed down the line
of lithe legs to sandalled feet
that shuffled and skipped
to the bossa beat.


Leave the Door

she said
The draft is nice.

A bit of it stirred
a stone grey lock
of hair on her forehead.

In a chair in the dim
hotel room she quietly
rubbed her swollen knee.
That knee.
The one that needed
to be replaced
but her doctor said it
wasnt bad enough.

She smiled
bright eyes shining
like the photos
from her childhood.


Enigma with Cliches (or Election Theory)

A cloud of suspicion.
A veil of secrecy.
Thick as pea soup
or molasses in January.

It was all done with mirrors
but when the smoke clears
and the cows come home
keep your eyes peeled.

Heads will roll
and it wont be pretty.



On her last bed
breath was difficult
requiring effort
deep concentration.

She had no laughter.

The beautiful eyes
that shone vivid blue
when she spoke or sang
were grey.

When we all had come
the dark goodbyes
had been said
she drew a shallow breath.



The moon
cloaked in our shadow
makes its nightly circuit
horizon to horizon.
Harsh as nothing
we will ever know.

Hear cool water.
Taste a warm breeze.
Feel the song that sings us.


It rained today.

Cloud shadows lay
cool across roads
and barns
.......and buses
that carried children
back to waiting homes.

They dont wear yellow
slickers anymore.


By June

my hair had turned
light as California
worked its changes.

There was nothing of Kansas
left on me
save the fragrance of
freshly mown hay
in the memory
of my nostrils.

Now the smell
of salty water
colors every breath
The touch of it cleanses
freshens and restores.

Old layers waft away
each exfoliated from each
leaving only that part
which is alive behind.


I am brown like bread.

I wish I were golden
like standing wheat
..................in sunlight.
On the street
people passing would say
..................How beautiful!



I wish I were golden
like wheat in sunlight.
When I passed people
on the street would say
...............How beautiful!

I am brown like bread.



Cool white
against grassy green
and cerrulean

catching wind billow
and fall like skirts
of young girls who spin

themselves dizzy
on wide lawns in summer.


What will you do now?

Her words echoed my
own disorganized thoughts.

I knew where she
was leading
and I didnt want
to go there.


He was a minstrel

a balladeer on a shoestring
with a wooden box
of sentiment to melt
a pretty woman's heart
and put a sparkle
in her eyes.

He wasnt worthless
but he wasnt much good
apart from the music.

His forte' was a story
wrapped in common clothes
a pocketful of salty songs
with sand in the shoes
for good measure.


Who writes letters?

Old letters are often
used as vehicles
in plays, books, poetry.

Who writes letters?

We write our thoughts
in emails and blogs.

music, poetry
even art
are composed on machines.


John's Dead

I remember saying the words
still shocked.

I had heard
by accident.
Mom and her sisters
and a cousin or two
hair up in curlers
or being teased into
those high doos that women
wore back then
were getting ready
for the funeral.

I was eleven and he had been
my closest substitute for
...........................a big brother.
He was with me the day
of JFK's funeral.
They shared the name
.....................John Kennedy.
The war that was never a war
had taken him from us.

I had watched one funeral on television.
The other I didnt see at all.


On January Days

I would stand
quiet in the field behind
my grandparents' house
not just looking at the woods
and fields that surrounded me.

Time was
in that

Impressions embedded
gently into subconsciousness
nestling like children under
thick warm blankets.

Cold wind whirred in my ears
pulling a long strand
of hair across closed lips.

Smells of woodsmoke
and frozen prairie grass
mingled with the more
pungent tang of bovine
excrement from the dairy.

Naked and ageless
trees pointed their twiggy
fingers up
to a mass of gray
overhanging clouds.

Those things
 the cold and the wind
the smells and the colorless trees
visit me now in these gray January days.



Sometimes I thought it was
her favorite word.

When we met
her hair was a long
black braid that whipped
behind as she ran.

And she ran.

Despacia te!
her mother would shout,
but it was not in her

Like that braid I ran after her
....................for a very long time.



The place with yellow dirt.
Why she settled there I cant say
apart from the solitude
it provided.

After her parents died
she felt misunderstood.

I'm an orphan she once said
gazing into coffee
the color of her eyes.

I loved her then.


A Mundane Snapshot

Turning at the hips to look back
dark glasses against pale skin
she put a hand up for shade.

Silently smooth
blonde hair fell across
the bare round
...........of a shoulder.

Frozen in memory
a mundane snapshot
becomes something more.


Que Bien

She said it without thinking.
In her world the words
were automatic
like muchas gracias
and  quisas.

Her mother made
chile verdé
taught me to use
...........torn tortillas
 as a spoon
and to say Sí, Señora.

Between themselves
they spoke a quiet language
sometimes without words.
a click of the tongue
and she was off
.........to make
café negro
para los hombres.


Casting Shadows

We walk
long strides across
an afternoon.

Imagine ourselves
taller than trees
cooler than water.



Green leaves fan out
shading a flat spot
in the forest floor.

A hawk's dark shadow
dissolves to emerge unchanged
on the other side.


Cinnamon is the color
of her favorite lipstick.

There on the cup
a print left
without thought

warms me more
than the liquid within.


Nothing Much

Grainy scrape
of a knife
on brown bread.

Butter melts slowly
releasing a sweet
familiar aroma

to blend with the redolence
of hot black coffee
resting nearby.

There is jam but I
am a purist today.


as the arrow
that split the arrow
his words addressed
her heart.

A living
fountain sprang up.

Come and see
a man who told me
everything I ever did.

And they came.


A Warm Day in Winter

A familiar breeze lifts
the curtain that masked
a brown sparrow dancing
just out of view.

My teapot sings.


Baton Rouge

She loved the words.
Sometimes she'd say
..............bah-ton rhujh
as though she'd
been there before.
Other times it was
...............batten rooj.
Always though it was
pleasant to hear
...............her voice.


Solitary boat
rocks quietly on
a darkened sea.

Have you heard the gulls
laughing as they fly?

The sound of something
...................... ethereal floats
on invisible currents
above the crash of surf.

Old friend where
...........have you gone?


Reach me

Not "touch me".
Make me see who
.........you are
deeper in.

You've made it plain
that you
want to be my friend.

Open up.


The Girl Could Sing.

Her voice was smooth
and warm and
something indescribable.

Music loved her
and that was mutual.

To blend voices
was to float
rudderless on a wide
deep river.

You knew she'd
take you
drifting luscious
and long
on the undulating current
of her song

to some familiar
unknown place alone
...........strangely satisfied.

The Wrong Thing

It was out there
and shining as
a new coin and I
was helpless
to bring it back.

You knew
it wasnt
what I meant to say
but couldnt
let it go.


About a Girl

Sometimes she was
simply wonderful

but so often
wonderful poison.


We drifted in and out
of shops and galleries.
Had lunch at the Mile High Cafe.
She struggled up
steep streets.
Rested on a short bench
when she needed.

It was a thing she wanted.
Just we two without
complication of others.
Awed by the wide
Verde' Valley.


Up The Alley

Facing the darkness I stood
let the pain go out my
fingers onto the pavement
as a gray evening
slipped across my town.

Hours ago there had been
no one inside
and the yellow sun rode up
like Icarus without wax.

Downtown windows were
transient barriers dividing
my world from others
who drifted where the clock

They were empty
colorless bottles adrift
on the moving
waves of the city
without messages

I waited
drawing breath by moments
exhaling only when I
remembered it was
best to breathe.

My eyes were steady.
Unwaivering monitors they took
in the scene around me
but gave nothing
of my motive away.

Now it was evening and work
was waiting to be done.
With a quick snap I turned
up the alley
tied on the white apron
and stepped inside.


Hidden Deeper In

We frequentlly walked beside
a dead train that sat
on abandoned track against
her father's land.

Afternoons we'd climb
up into the old
playing word games
telling secrets.
Now and then an owl
would call from
..............some tree
hidden deeper in.

Our souls knit.
We shared each other's dreams
walking together even
............................in sleep.



"Hold on", she would say, as if
something urgent
had just come into her mind.

"Did you hear that?" and we
                           ...      ..   never did.
Her senses were sharper.
We were tag-alongs.
                       I hated that.