Monday, December 3, 2012

Returning from another Chicago Thanksgiving

Peering out my Canadair window at dusk,
we smoothly arc and bank the atmosphere.
I am almost home. I am almost here.

In velvet descent I see the gentle curve of creeks
curling the marshes under the pinkish air.
Ever nearer now, the stars of street lamps peek out there.

As the plane touches down it’s as if the wheels
receive an injection of terra firma. A jolting, squeal,
and then, out come the cell phones--  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Angel's home

Badness be an angel

Badness be an angel
Never done the
right thing feels OK
don’t feel wrong

Not good enough
That’s the truth
that be the girl
I know who is tough

Badness be an angel
Always trying to be more
that be the girl
that is me

Cascading down the river
Carried over the falls
feels right, feels OK
don’t feel wrong

First planning ahead
Then in the moment
movin’, movin’ on
trying not dying … yet

That be the girl who’s smilin’
Badness in her soul, but trying’
            tears in her heart
            eyes watchin’ … you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

White Point Garden

“Count them happy
who for their faith
and their courage
endured a great fight.”

The Battery--marked throughout
with memories of the manned redoubts,
the warriors, the fighters for freedom;
from ship to sub, pirate to historian
capstans, rifles, mortars, and guns--
bears no regret.

You stand upon that point of land
framed by fort and isle and sand
dedicated to struggles lost and won,
but it is the trees, patient and gracious
that say, “Stay, stay a while with us;
you are safe.”

Overspread with carpet grass and leaves--
carelessly brushed by the ceaseless harbor breeze,
White Point reigns as Charleston’s bowsprit.
Bounded by the sea wall, facing off the sea,
in a dulcet undertone, she whispers,
“Bring it on.”

“Count them happy
who for their faith
and their courage
endured a great fight.”

Is it not an apt verse for human life?
Standing on white sea shells, alive;
pointing outward to our soul’s delight;
resting inward,
We too endure.

Charleston, July 15, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Perfect form

Perfect form.
Perfect surface.
Perfect moment.
Standing there
in stillness
he and I.
Both waiting
I could have stayed with him
until all the others left
the noisy admirers,
the dutiful,
until we were alone together;
until we were locked up in darkness.

But it seems that
despite his eternal gaze,
his pure white skin,
his immobile stance--
stone resting in his hand,
the strap cast over his shoulder and back--
his ever ready watchfulness
his confidence and clear intent,
that I am the one
who is actually alive;
I am the one who is breathing.
I am the one who must move.
Not so. David.

What have I learned about Italy?

(Chaperoning 9 Ninth graders for 10 days in Italy)

We were an amoeba.
A group of cells--
living and breathing
stretching and pulling this way and that--
usually with imagined purpose
doing what we were designed to do:
seeking nourishment
like krill in a whale’s bale.
We were a messy lot.
We came, we saw, we conquered nothing.

The Italian peninsula is big and hilly--
full of stones and grass and trees
and cities rich with reminders
of those who came before.
It has sought to tell their stories
of discontent and relief;
of desires of family;
of struggle and victory;
All the stories.
It has done rather well at that.

It is a good thing we were together--
our hearts and minds
willing to see, to take in.
Busy with picture taking and
memorizing tableaus
of our foolishness,
whether I realized it or not,
our amoeba was seeking joy
and joy we received.
Ciao Bella! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sad little demitasse cup and saucer...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

We hold onto things

I folded over the table
where I was  folding newsprint paper
around a picture of something
I wanted to hold onto.

But I couldn’t; I folded it tighter
hugging my fist wrapped picture
to my forehead,
but the tears just came anyway.

It was a picture of a toddler
in a tiny swimsuit
with safety bubble on her back
by a swimming pool.

She is carefully guiding the pool skimmer pole
with her little hands
gathering those annoying bits of leaves and fly parts
that she doesn’t want to swim with--

--little master of her domain.

A sweet moment captured in a frame
a symbol of all the moments I am holding onto. 

                                    PART II
I have held onto so many things.
There are millions of emblems
bouncing around me.
with their nagging little voices:
Remember me, Love me, Save me;
receipts, old financial papers—
how long do I keep these?,
pictures of everyone I ever knew,
a broken demitasse cup—
a little glue and it would be like new;
an earring missing a pearl—
surely I can find a little pearl to restore it--
handmade baby clothes—
really? Do I need handmade baby clothes??

                                    PART III
This moving thing is not just about packing:
save, give away, trash. Oh no, it’s much more than that.
At my age, I am jettisoning huge tracts of my life,
entire chapters in the shredder, debris down the drain.
Is there any reason to be reminded of any of it anyway?
I shall relegate all memories to that “Where did I put my keys?”
region of the brain.

Their work is done.  Those memories made me.
I need not carry their detritus around with me anymore. 
I need not trail a dust cloud of impertinent minutia.
It is time to fly the coop, leave the nest
of accumulated possessions and lessons learned
and just be.  
So I can just go…

                                    PART IV
Each successive move, I strip more away.

In both possessions and memories.
Soon I will be living in a hut.
Thinking about the present.

Inspired by Suzanne

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Low Sunday 2012

Imagine you are in a great cavernous room;
a place that makes  you feel small, yet safe--
vaulted and open, spacious and free
like a cathedral of trees, or a beech with a breeze.

There, there are many strangers
and acquaintances
from the present and the past
and someone stands and says:

“I am a nobody, no one special.
but I heard something.”
(and—we all love gossip—every ear is ready to hear)
“I have heard that …” he says.

“if you have a secret worry
or a small secret fear--
something you have told no one,
absolutely no one… ever;

or if you did, not in a way that they believe you.
Even your parents did not believe you—
‘oh, poo poo,
you do not mean that’

(because they knew
it was true
and thought if they denied it,
it would not be true)

Well, if you have this thought,
I have heard there is someone
who knows how you feel,
what you think…

In fact, you all have someone,
someone who believes you
and whose eyes drink you in,
whose arms enfold you

without touching your skin
you feel warmth
like when you come in from the cold.
You are transformed ”

He says.  “I have heard this is true.”
I too have heard this for years and years,
but I have not run into this someone.
Not personally.  Have you?

To be polite, I don’t challenge him.
No one does.  It’s such a nice idea.
We all hope we will run into someone like this
for we think we are ready to tell our secrets.

Are they secrets?
What if I have the same secrets?
If I have the same fears, the same worries,
do I need to share my secrets?
Are they still secrets? 

Or do I just think it’s a secret?
What if I go about my business
pretending I know the secrets
of everyone I meet.

Believing them,
drinking them in with my eyes,
enfolding them with my imaginary arms,
sending warmth so they won’t be cold.

Then I would be somebody special.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Lying on my mat lightly breathing with
my body feeling heavy sinking and
weighted down on a non existent floor.

I feel tear drops peaking out when
hands press down on my shoulders--are
my hands softly slipping under these hands?

I massage the palms with my thumbs then
softly slip away like a breath and a caress and
my fingertips too drift away, back to my sides.

I am imagining that it is the end of life and
I am nearing heaven--but not quite yet for
there is too much to do, but less and less.

My lists vaporize, I faintly hear the bells of
the music that surrounds us all beating a
slow steady rhythm calling me inward.

I see tableaus, pictures gone by and
albumen images of the past stalking me on
my closed eye lids—sifting in and out.

Still images of moments fade into view while
I breathe in very, very slowly and let it out just
as slack and easy, for now I have no arms or legs.

I hope it will be like this:  melting away or
heavy and weightless, so very tired that
you really don’t care if you breathe or live or die.

Nonetheless, now I shall float away into
that distant beacon of bright light by
choice, because I can and it is dark here.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thomas O. Morin
Thy name is integrity.

Thank you for welcoming Jack and me into the Asbury church family
many, many moons ago.
Thy name is gracious.

Thank you for sharing your grief while reading many, many condolence cards
when Mary died.
Thy name is brave.

Thank you for encompassing me in your joyous love of the outdoors
when we kayaked the bay, the Salmon River, Fish Creek, the Moose River, the White River and on a very special trip, the Nantahala.
Thy name is happiness.

And thank you for the grace I witnessed as you neared the end
of our lonely struggles here on earth.
Thy name is inspiration.

“Secure yourself to heaven, Tom,
Hold on tight, the night has come.
Fasten up your earthly burdens,
You have just begun.”

Goodbye sweet prince of a man
Thy name is etched upon my heart.

"Secure Yourself" Indigo Girls
Amy Elizabeth Ray and Emily Ann Saliers

Sunday, February 12, 2012

As I lie in bed (My faithful dog)

As I lie in bed
on a Saturday morning,
warm, cozy and content--
gazing at 6” of new snow,
my faithful dog comes by
tail waggin’ around
and says:
“Hey, you’re up!
Let’s go out!
Right now would be good!”

As I settle myself
at my desk ready to work,
the household chores done--
and all my errands run,
my faithful dog arrives
grubby toy in her mouth
and says:
“Hey, you’re up!
Let’s play tug-o-war!
Right now would be good!”

As I rest on the sofa
a little tired and sad
my nook in hand--
the remote close by.
my faithful dog sidles over
and says:
“Hey, there you are!
“I’m hungry, feed me now!
Right now would be good!”

Her eyes say it all:
“Whatever I want
would make you happy, right?
Right now would be good.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Our every  movement  planned
(grocery shopping)

Before me a sea
of fruits and veggies…
and tended grocery carts

Between mustard greens
and the fresh string beans
I see an old friend of mine

We are most likely
to cross paths and meet
if I thread my way towards her.

Just the two of us
amid the shopping chaos--
making a chance encounter--

I hurry a bit
so as not to miss
smiling all the way.

An instant before impact
we spy and react
Bump, shock, “Hi!”

Not as expected:
delight un-reflected--
Just a “hi-how-are-you?”

I sigh, “fine-and-you?”
So embarrassed.
I roll on towards potatoes.

our every movement planned

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Am I…

Am I relaxing or wasting time?
Who names my act,
you out there or I?

There is the laundry: 2 piles  on the bedroom floor
one darks , one whites, waiting patiently, I might add,
to be washed; their very presence a bore.

There  are dust bunnies of doggie fur
lurking in the corners—hoping for sunlight
to reveal themselves to me—yet I defer.

Dishes to wash—usually a satisfactory task—
sit and sulk in the sink.  The peanut butter
caking; milk painting the bottom of the glass.

I know they are there.
They mount up like ghosts around me
ceaselessly hovering in the air.

The stacks of paper all about call out.  
Read me! Sort me! File me!
I can hear the rustling sound of credit card bills.

Messages to reply, couched on my computer
and the smart fone silently cries: answer all of me!
Really, must I?

It is my mind that listens and decides
I am wanton,  a bad girl…
I should, I could, I ought.

Reset, breathe, let this laziness be my choice,
the frame of the puzzle of my life;
the edge that holds “to do” in place.

I am the namer.  So be it that today
I rest in refreshing stillness
not a naughty willingness to run away.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Occupy Rochester January 2012

Occupy tent village

I think those little Occupy tents are so cute.
The whole thing gives me a little giggle.
An outpost in the middle of the city--
Tidy signs posted along the commuters’ route.

Canvases tied to trees and tethered to the earth,
The symbolism is too much to bear: 
Little soldiers shabbily sheltered against the elements;
Little Robin Hoods demanding recompense for our true worth.

What are they thinking, the 1%?  Do they care?
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Rochester, Occupy my couch.
The 1% is greedy, of that there is no doubt,
And the 1% is not concerned with what is fair.

My dad said people give for very personal reasons. 
Does the 99% need to provide the 1% a reason to give?
To provide the 1% a reason to do business differently?
Because now, what they do, seems like treason.

To the 1%, Occupy is like an ant under a tank tread. 
And the 1% actually pays taxes and donates to needy.
It just doesn’t pay enough or donate enough--
Because it’s not in the 1%’s job description to share.

So, if the greedy 1% will not change of it’s own will ,
What does that leave the lowly 99% to do besides Occupy?
We must change the rules of the game, carve up the mighty 1%’s pie!.
Reform the regulations! Revise the laws! Write a bill!

Oh my goodness! This is turning into work.
Camping and marching sounds ever so much easier.
But can 99 of us change the will of 1 legislator?
Is it a responsibility that the 99% can not shirk?

It’s a daunting task to vote them in or vote them out.
If only we did not feel like ants under tank treads.
If only we felt powerful, if only we believed in change.
Perhaps we do, those darn tents are so cute.