Monday, August 17, 2015

The Big One, From The Book Of Cascadia

The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable.

                                                                            Kathyrn Shultz, The New Yorker

The gardeners speak in their own language

as they trim the rose bushes -- then suddenly

stop. Dogs wail. The sky spills it sac of dark birds.


Part Mayan or Aztec, they know the strange ways

of wing and fur, the pulse of  rock and water

fearing something is about to erupt.


One of the men whispers ,  She's in her coffin

knocking, telling us  --- she's been  buried alive

for centuries, shifting, stiffening...


Another man hushes his friend,

say nothing more, I tell you, nothing.


They pack up their tools and leave.


A small girl looks through the window

of her house. Her face echoes through the glass

like that of a  moonlit child in a fairytale -- knowing

 something wicked is coming, coming


to drown the world in a cauldron

of saltwater and crushed pine, bones of the forest

mingling with others. The Witch is known

to collect many for flavoring -- her stock, her stay

of just minutes that turns

                                spellbinding, massive.

For more details and information regarding the "Big One" as described in this epigram from
The New Yorker Magazine -- go here --

The drawing is by artist, Alan Lee.




(Thinking of  quiet, Autumn and Brodsky.)

Leaves of the witch hazel

linger golden on the branch

giving light

                       to the timbered dusk.


A tide of evening shadows

filters in -- and the hunter



remembering  his house

in a distant hour by the sea.


His woman

sat near the window folding clothes,

her hair illuming the glass

without a lamp

                      or moon.


Quietly, the waves rolled in

with rain; and he sat quietly, too,

loving how she lit --

                        a small space

in a cool, high-ceilinged room.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


the foreign ghost of it
lingers in sound;
the clock of a cathedral
chiming its two syllables
in the afternoon,
the staccato of heels
turning along a street
metallic in rain-washed stone,
the tremble of leaves
after the collared dove
has flown the lilac bush,
the settling of  pine boards
where my luggage sat
nebulae'd in lace
(the Bohemian air
 of Vuitton)
as I  prepared to leave
and meet you in New York.
This poem is all about the sound connotations of "farewell". The word ,itself, is syllabicly lyrical, and what lingers behind once the initial "Farewell" is initiated is the echo, the ghost of it that disperses into familiar things associate with the place and activity of the person who left. In this case, a woman leaving behind an old European city and going back to New York to meet someone, we assume a boyfriend or lover. The essences of her linger in the resonance of how she left and what happened before, and now what haunts afterward

The Night The Lights Go Out In The High Desert

Late evening
and the power whines. The dead pan hum
of the house becomes unchorused.
We head outside
to see which homes still have light.
The street lamps have dimmed
into darkness claimed by the moon
flashing her own floodlight on the street.
Some  birds rustle in the leaves
restless from a disturbance
they can sense but not assimilate.
The chained terriers yelp madly
in their mangy fur. The neighbor's fence
has several  palings missing. Others stand
upright  as we pass, long shadows between
old  standin stones
searching with our torch
for the source of failure. For what
has stepped in to steal the force
that makes all things  plugged in
gospel. For what has come
to  let stars,  fire and storytelling
possess the next hours --
our lips a stoop
for words coming back
hesitant but remembered.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Addressing The Character

If she wishes to write well she will have to become someone....

                                                                                                      Barry Lopez

I will open the story

through your eyes

when I understand  your soul.


When I have prayed

with your beads,

broken bread with your dreams

in the evening light,


taken shelter

under the roof of your silence

only to find

leaks and lesions,

the tarnished silver

of a moon looming through.

Maiden, mother , crone

woman, wife, mistress --


all of  them, of you

possessed by it -- the powerless 

phase of becoming


slipping through the ruin

of this mortal

condition -- perhaps unleashing

the shadow self.

And there, then -- I unlatch  

 the door, disrobe the notebook

of its immaculate leaf

and let you in,

soiled and shimmering.
Beautifully provocative art-work is by artist, Florian Nicolle.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Snakes Used To Have Ankles


have concurred
that ancient snakes
had small hands
ankles, toes.

amphorae storing

and those
for grasping.
I asked my husband
a scientist
as well.

The storm light
( he said)
through which you slid
into my life.

Your own grip
lineaged from
their sleight of limb

tempting me
to taste a poem.

A swan's egg
that hatched
Helen of Troy.

An onion
Sylvia peeled,
her thumb print
Those blue plums
ripe and cool
Carlos ate.

The infinitude
of salt

Pablo said
would sing
yes sing;

but I never heard
I sparkled some
on an artichoke

stripping it
scale by scale
and felt a voice
shed metaphor.

Low and languid,
girthed in subtlety,
those  green whorls
of lotus

 sang, My Love,
sang  as solely yours!

This poem was inspired by a news article on line with the same title. It showcased a comprehensive study that scientists have done on the movement, bone structure and body composition of Jurassic snakes. And yes, they concluded they had tiny limbs and evolved on land rather than water. So this idea expanded into the idea of a female poet who discusses this finding with her scientist husband. He is bemused and admits that she probably, as a seductress and writer, inherited her "grip" on him from those mysterious and almost mythical creatures; thus tempting him, even leading him to taste the splendor of a poem. Something that is  unscientific and at times defies logic and reason. The allusions here range from  Virgil (The Aeneid )  to Sylvia Plath to William Carlos Williams and Pablo Neruda.


Thursday, May 14, 2015


 Creativity should always be a form of prayer.
                                                             Ben Okri

The moment unhooks her corset of wind
and leaves its blue bells dangling
in still air. Her body becomes  light
stretching through the trees
and beneath  stream water absorbing
the story that  takes shape
from whatever shadow
enters the scene, whatever scent
breathes through the ribs
of bulrush or willow, whatever spirit
webs briar and broken rock.
Disrobed and radiant, the moment
settles into her subtle craft -- waiting
for a voice, a hand and quill
to turn the greenwood's flesh
into words. A prayer, a song --
an act of creation.