On Music and These Men


I was raised on guitar, songs, piano,
and books, rather than rockers
my father didn’t approve of. In our house
it was traditional and folk
and only got as wild as Baez sings Dylan,
no small treasures. Plus all those piano lessons.
Before that, the facts are that my dad-maestro
had me playing baritone ukulele
and my sidekick brother singing
This Land is Your Land with me in harmony
as four and three year-olds.
And that I have become him.


Husband one turned me on to jazz, to fusion,
to Corea, Hancock, Zappa, Santana, to epic anthems
like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
To birthing our own music-driven household.
My folks had forbidden me to marry
this longhaired drummer who still inspires me.
The rest is history. For a brief moment Continue reading

Laughing at Death and After

Over dinner with friends, somehow
how we’ll dispose of you after your death
becomes the conversation.

You painted into a wall
or onto individual canvases by all our friends
at a backyard gathering

is most memorable,
and awful. You throw down the gauntlet,
animated, upping the ante

with add-ons that I instantly block
from memory. Yet I get how this pleases you,
laughing at death with good people,

a hedge against times
when things may not be funny.
So I’ll tell you this in the spirit of the evening:

paint party man,
I’ll never leave you, unless
I laugh after death before you do.


#29 of 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Writing Month, April 2017

Image by John Livzey

Something About a Flower

Out walking again
despite self-driven deadlines,
I discover another
and another
and another small sample
of simple
meets sensual,
of beautiful meets primal. Look.
So much of the natural world calls us
to what’s most
in us.

I’m working at simply seeing,
at just living
rather than curating night and day
like some interior designer
intent on what’s in the view finder
conforming to… what?
I’m learning to neglect
all my questions
and answers,
some new


#28 of 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Writing Month, April 2017

Image by John Livzey

Beautiful People

Old man watches us all over coffee
on the patio. Cragged face,
dapper hat, long gray hair
escaping its past,
dress shirt and pants,
phone on the table.
Scanning left and right,
he’s relishing everything.
I want what he knows.

Savvy young one stands
at that fraught juncture
between childhood and her exodus
outa there. So much life,
big dreams, ready anger as old rituals
and rules of family life chafe.
Change is coming.
Sky’s the limit.

Retail woman is impeccably
put together. Spring fashion model
whether she’s paid to be or not,
public artist, beautifier,
inspiritrix to some of us.
She shows no emotion at all
and that’s her call.
More power to her.

Immigrant master shoe and leather
designer’s shop is still named
for his brother who walked away
twenty years ago.
He speaks of old ills,
asks my heritage, tells stories
I don’t have time for.
I stay. What stories
will I tell someday?


#27 of 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Writing Month, April 2017