Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lost Cat Dream

In a dream, I walk
Clutching my white cat to me,
Stroking her soft fur

I walk down white steps,
Gazing into her gaze. Eyes
One blue and one green.

The green on the left,
The blue on the right, I seek
To remember this.

Etch that gaze inside,
Remember always, which eye
Is which, this white cat.

I miss her grace so,
Love of my heart, blessed Soul
Sweet one, full of purrs...

"Love you", I whisper
In her ear, nuzzle her head
Soak in her love....

How could I have lost
This sweet Soul, forgotten her,
Not returned for her?

She is so dear! Ah!
The softness of her, the bliss,
The sweet tenderness....

I stroke her warm fur,
I whisper my sweet nothings,
Mean to keep her safe.

The dream moves on. They
Always do. She is not here.
I sketch her two eyes.

I yearn for this cat.
How could I lose her? Again...
I torment myself.

Dreaming, I recite
My tale of loss, how this sweet cat
Was forgotten, lost....

The stranger listens,
Nods her head, sympathizes....
I go on and on.

When I pause, "Meow"
Awakens me. I sit up.
My spotted cat stares.

Samantha awaits,
Hazel eyes gaze, grey white fur.
"Feed me," she emotes.

I try to recall
The white cat with those two eyes
A blue eye, a green....

I remember Star,
All white, but two yellow eyes...
Not forgotten, she....

Who was this dream cat?
With green eye and blue? Who now?
I am at a loss.

But the heart knows, yes.
Only the mind does not know.
I am confounded.

Stare into the dream
Chase the meaning like a wisp
Of cat hair, floating….

In a deep far place,
I think I remember now.
But do I really?

Bemused, I ponder.
Was this cat Puff, Star’s grand sire,
Fur like a lamb’s?

All I know is that
This white cat lives elsewhere now,
A green meadow place.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Forest Zen

His mother sits, waits
For him, the visiting son.
She's happy to wait.

Anywhere but there
Where she lives, is good to be.
Old one's common theme.

Sitting a third day
Undoes me. Spine gets cranky.
I stand, lean, and hope.

Husband sits in house
Visiting a friend. I stand.
His Mom waits in car.

Whose idea this? Hers.
I dream of no cars and quiet,
A calm birdsong place.

Waiting turns endless.
Undone, I look for elsewhere,
Cicada song place.

I stand in tree shade.
I write and wait. Small brown
Toto befriends me.

I coo to Toto.
I nuzzle his ears. He sniffs
My leg. Leaves. Returns.

This is Toto's place.
I listen to wind in leaves,
Practice forest Zen.

Toto wanders off.
I remain, pacing the drive,
Breezes soothing me.

His Mom sits and waits.
Toto's back! Camera ready,
I turn to Toto.

"Aren't you getting in?"
His mother asks. I step back,
Startled, say, "Not yet."

Toto ducks, backs off.
No photo for him! Lost now,
This moment is gone.

This Green Forest Here

His mother chokes... Grapes..
Beware the skins! In age,
Lurk many changes.

"Can... we... go now?" she
Rasps, hoarsely, as if movement
Heals stasis, heals all.

My mother would choke
Yet still reach for her dinner.
Old habits die hard.

Momma's beyond now.
In dreams, she is quiet, just
Like brother Richard.

Families... lifetime
To lifetime, how long does this
Process continue?

Momma filled her home
With Chinese art, a lifetime
I too remember.

So many enslaved,
Momma, Poppa, thousands more
Down in the valley.

I and others fought
To free them. Later, freed, they
Walked the long road home.

"You can write poems
Anytime," says he, just like
Momma said to me.

"Look at this!" He points
To fields whizzing by. I lost
Much work by waiting.

Now I write when time
Pauses on life's river here.
Unfurl like ivy.

Reach out, reach up, stretch,
Lift my tendrils to the sun,
Breathe in air, rain, sky.

Hold on, let go, glide.
Life is an amazing leap
In this green forest.

Ode to a Butterfly

In the morning sun
Glitters a Kalanchoe jewel,
Strymon Melinus.

A moth, I think. Ha!
Photo taken, her wings glow
Kissed with light, a jewel.

Fairy princess she,
Silver lace her wings, studded
With paired rubies, poised.

Tartan black and white
Antenna tipped with ruby,
She nods to nectar.

Lycaenidae. Oh,
Butterfly Queen, "Gray Hairstreak",
Silver light you are!

Monday, July 26, 2010


A leaf fell in pond.
Many ripples. When they cleared,
Everything had changed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Danube Dreams

She dreams Danube dreams
in a cruise ship, gazing out.
Never been, wants to go

Who says what may be?
Ideas come and go like clouds
Or river ripples

Blessing is each day
Expand the dream, go forth, see...
To stay is to die

To deny a dream kills
Like taking air from children.
We are all children

Now to decide....Danube?
Elsewhere? Now? Next year? Sweet dreams,

On a map mark it,
Spots you want to go. Dream them.
Travel in or out

Many ways to go.
In dreams, on ships, in deep books...
The quest begins now...

See that cloud above?
See that ripple in the bay?
Someday, I'll be there.

July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

That Grayband Quest

"Don't write of the snake,"
says he. "Write of the hunters."
Visions of epics?

Later, she pauses.
An epic for hunters now?
She thinks of the snake.

Who has a choice here?
Ah! The snake chooses to live.
The men choose to hunt.

Who would choose a cage
For a lifetime home? You? Me?
Why would anyone?

She thinks of the snake
Again. Snakes don't think of us.
Is that the answer?

Why must we rule all?
Why not let be? Live in peace.
Archaic but true.

Okay, hunters, here:
What you take is taken away,
What do you give back?

He searches each year
Each year, others find, but not he.
Elusive for him.

If each year, you look
And others find, but not you,
What is learned from this?

Golden-tongued wisdom...
Always around us. Listen...
Let go and hear it.

No one can tell you
But you. Wisdom speaks softly.
Listen with the heart.

In a quiet room
In the dead of night, or noon
Truth awaits each one.

I hear only mine,
Not the truth of other folks.
My heart beats for me.

Snakes lie in their cage,
Or in a pillowcase wait,
For next feeding time.

No one can answer
But the snake what it prefers.
Hard to heart hunters.

Rooting underdogs
Comes naturally for some.
Overcoming all.

Success is like life,
Always in beholder's eye.
I look at the snake.

July 18, 2010


Curmudgeon hoards snacks
In his room, crumbs everywhere
Cookies are his gold

Each thing has a place
For the old man-- don't move one
Or his world tilts up

Half eaten fudge ages
In a drawer, hardening -- but
Cherished as silver

An apple, red grapes,
These are his jewels, treasured
Until they wither

He doesn't notice
When peach has turned to gray dust,
He lives forever

Each day he gets grapes
From the store, puts them away
For a rainy month

Nearing 100,
He stockpiles pears but not time--
He glares if questioned

The curmudgeon rules
His universe is small, but
All is in reach

He forgets time, but
Remembers meals, eats well, nods,
Is polite to staff

"Leave my things alone!"
Means his universe must stay

A pen moved over
Could change the order of things
He rules in his room

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I sit by trees, lawn
Crow caws, answers... small bird chirps--
Garden symphony

Water sprinkles, sweet
Breezes rustle this and that:
Life breathes. So do I

Green leaves soak up sun
Tangelos dangle, red rose
reaches... I breathe in

If I were a tree
In my garden or a rose,
I'd breathe day and night

I'd never come in
If I lived in my garden
rooted, leaved, breathing

Shall I stay here then?
Outside, always in the air?
Become a Garden Soul?

Do you think they'd let
Me do that? Cross over here,
Become the soft breeze?

I'd sit forever
If I could just be, breathe in
The earth's vibrant self.

Tweet of bird, rustle
Of leaves, a slow constant song
Cycling on and on.

Do you think if all
Folks heard, they'd pause, breathe in, out...
Then go on their way?

Would hearing, pausing
Change us? Or would we just breathe
Then forget we'd stopped?

A tree is blessing
A rose a kiss, wind caress:
How the earth loves us!

Should I care who knows?
It just is, with us, without...
Blessing, waiting, deep

When one's body dies,
Can one stay elemental--
Be a pure being?

For a time at least
That sounds good to me, a pause,
A slow renewing

Seasons do that, too,
Breathe in, breathe out, pause, grow, wait...
Who's wiser -- plants? us?

It's not hard to guess.
Life eternal eternally
Goes forth-- We're extra

5 p.m. Saturday

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Fog

7:06 pm, Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Fog

If I had a camera, I would capture the soft orange brown of those hills yonder neath the lazy river of fog, the orange that seems to burst towards me and then recedes again, as the misty fog descends.

If I had a paint brush that these unskilled hands could paint with, I would color that stand of tall staunch eucalyptus in the park nearby a deep, dark green like a bouquet of giant wintergreen broccoli against the blue gray fog.

Instead, I pick up this pencil and paint with words.

A bloom of bright white glows for a moment over the far off faded brown hills. Nearby, a patch of deep blue blooms for awhile over the park trees, like sapphire through cotton gauze. It’s a thinning of the fog, like a window into the blue sky beyond. A seagull wings past, on his way elsewhere.

Such a moving symphony, this ever changing mist, this light, these shapes, these colors that flow and meander, that sink and rise, that thicken and thin, like a seascape in the sky. Imagine floating in it, on the mists, in the light, like a feather rising and falling. Imagine flying through it, like the gull, wings up, then down, slicing through the air. Twilight by the sea is different than twilight inland. We are in a Breugel softly muted painting, like Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Where are our wings?

7:34 pm

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Baby Aurora
Smiles her Buddha smile at me
Pleased, serene, calm. Ah!

Like a ray of light
She beams at me. I'm in bliss.
Our shared joy expands.

I come as stranger
Leave as besotted grandma
Surprised, delighted, linked up.

This Soul's connection
Beams with pure clear energy
Eternal as God.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Quest for Graybands

After the night rains,
Men go driving slow,
Staring at rock splits.

One sees a wiggle.
Is it apricot and grey?
All hail the Grayband.

The snake halts, frozen.
In the shadows, it waits, still.
The men drive on. Ahh!

Freedom is strange here.
Snakes slow to remain hidden.
Discovery looms.

"It eats, it's fine here."
Do snakes always coil to sleep?
In cages, they do.

Along the rock gorge,
I slither, mists about me.
I am cool and free.

Haiku for Alan Furst

In winter's gray skies
Stores can't stock enough Payne's Gray,
Said the artist Furst.

Blackbird in the Sun

Blackbird in the sun
Airs its wings in a tall pine.
Darkness glints with light.

Nothing moves, bare branch.
Only a void remains.
In the sun, all waits.

Blackbird is back! Tall
Shining in the sun, head up
Staring into sky.

Birdsong, sweet chirping
Then the honk honk of a crow
Feathered life trills on.

Monday, June 21, 2010


In the shadows glows
The white rose, luminous, coy.
I step through the thorns.

I kneel in the mud.
In the last rays of sunlight,
I behold this dear.

O, pale lemon heart
What blush holds you so, dear rose?
I stare deep inside.

In the white roses's heart
Tiny pink blooms sprout where
Golden stamens sway.

Friday, June 18, 2010

UNIVERSAL LAWS (run-on tankas)

“When travelling, rest,
bring a good book,” said my good
Doc. “You’re not cured yet,
it takes weeks. Kick back sometimes
in your motel room, sleep, dream.”

Lord Pneumonia has
a strong touch. So I brought two
good books, sketchpads to
watercolor, a diary
to write, herbal teas to drink

A nice sitting room
at the motel. Never used
but a couple hours.
“Stay at the motel?!” friends said
aghast. “Oh, sit in the car.”

“We’ll drive! You’ll see cute
sights.” I did, when the car stopped,
and I got out, walked
up and down and around and
back again. Yes, I saw sights.

Back at the motel,
for an hour til dinner,
drank three cups coffee
so I could keep going. Oh,
what price, this foolishness here!

The best of intents
didn’t take me far, not far at
all! I’d forgotten
the universal laws. The
laws that say, “If you forget,“

“We remember!” So
I went to bed late, got up
early, climbed down steep
steps to see caverns, gasped for
breath as I huffed back up them.

Sat in the hot sun
surrounded by tourists, sat
in casinos steeped
in cigars and cigarettes,
sat in the car breathing by

A friend with a cold.
Didn’t rest at all, ran like a
wild, wild horse in a
stampede of horses…. back roads,
hot sun, clapboard towns, hills, trees.

But never rested,
not once, just kept going and
going and going
as if racing the wind and
the sun, galloping onward.

Sometimes it’s hard to
stand alone, say, “No, not now,
I’m resting, napping
dreaming awhile now. Later.”
The best of intents except

Free time, mates coax and
suggest… Ahhh… the stickiness
of friends. I didn’t rest!
Even at meals, two plus
days running, ate casino

Buffet food so the
finicky eaters would be
happy with choices.
It didn’t matter. I could have
jumped off a cliff and declared

I had wings, I could
have stepped out onto a lake,
if there had been one,
and declared I would walk on
water….didn’t matter what I

Thought or what I said,
only mattered what I did,
what I didn’t do. There
are laws, invisible laws,
silent, lying in wait here

All the same….. Perhaps
these laws have Lords, as well. Do
these Lords of Karma
laugh? Do they frown? Do they care?
Probably not. So acting

Like a fool, thinking
I wasn’t one, I returned
home. Put balm on my
stiffening legs so I could
work next day, thought I was fine.

Two days later, I
coughed, sucked homeopathic
pills to send the bad
cough away. Three days later,
I wheezed. I swallowed herbal

Tinctures with garlic
onion and goldenseal, to
send dread plague away.
Then it began to get hard
to breathe….. Count two inhalers,

A lung xray, vick’s
vapor, antibiotics,
three doctor’s visits
later and a fourth to come,
not to mention doses of

Guaifenesin and
BT syrup, prednisone.
I with the word ‘FOOL’
blinking on my head like an
advertisement, cough cough cough

Think I might survive
without contaminating
the rest of the race.
Dream of air, air so clean, fresh,
a joy taken for granted!

To breathe in…. To breathe
out….To fill one’s lungs with air….
sweet, nourishing cold
air….Luckily, I am still
alive. So I can try to

Apply the lessons
I have learned—as I am, of
course, not yet healed. Lord
Pneumonia reigns. All hail the
Lord, and the Lords of Karma

For they are strong and
I am weak. I will see how
well this lesson lasts.
Soul’s awareness I have learned
Ebbs and flows, like the sea tides.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Dad thanks me for the
light bulb. Apricots, I give
him next. "Aaah!" he says,
a softness to his voice now
as the golden balls roll out.

He asks for green grapes
next time, seedless, though I've asked,
"Pears?" The grapes will sit
and some will rot, growing white
caps, like elders sitting quietly.

Other juicy ones
will leap into the velvet
red cavern of this mouth
singing as they slide down to
the lake. "Aaah!" he will murmur.

Apples wait for days
too big to be eaten, but
saved anyway. Milk
and juice sit out covered like
treasures hoarded, liquid jewels.

MAY 22, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Life in Slow Motion: Look, See, Sleep

Into a still pond
I float, grateful for thin air.
Leaves eddy by me.

It wasn't the flu.
Who knew? But Lord Pneumonia
Gracing me with pause.

Dream cough syrup
Dreams, wild visions that meander
Like river currents.

Waking, I gather
Memory, like twigs and moss
From the water's edge.

Fashion a land quilt
To remember my dreams by,
Pull it close for warmth.

Step out into Sun,
Taking out the garbage now;
Water the wilted kale.

May 6, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010


On thermals, vultures
soar, wide winged, elegant
as eagles. Behold!

My friends, the three palms
wave brown fronds this spring. I stare
Til green shoots appear

Gold. I catch the light.
Dark branches silhouette the fire.
Everything glows! Ah! Sun!

Influenza Dream

Flu like a phantom
crept in with a silent sneer
setting up camp here.

All hail the warriors,
Golden Seal, Echinacea,
Etheric Healers.

I sleep for three days.
On the third day, I learn
flu causes sleep, not colds.

I rise from a dream
of white kites over a lake,
a cat curling by me.

White face like a mime's
mask, she gestures, black eyes blink.
I reach for her name.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

18 Haiku

Grey wet plop plop plops
Not so bad... except, look up---
I can't find the sun!

I don't hear the wind
I look & see quiet trees
But the heat is out.

Cavemen built fires
Out of the wind. They survived.
Modern man doesn't know.

I light the pilot.
Heat roars. Ten minutes later
it's out again. Rats.

I watch the greyness
Spirit slumps. I'd rather dance
On the tips of leaves.

In a drop of dew
In the sunlight, what is seen?
Who dances there? Do I?

Light is sometimes
Only inside looking out.
Blink but remember.

Do you know that place?
The one where sun shines always?
I come from there.

Hiding in a tent
Sheet over table, hidden,
I look out to sea.

The captain hails me.
I spring up, I run outside
And swim out from shore.

The boat picks me up
We sail off. Australia!
Goodbye England.

Old memories don't die.
They linger, like lamps in fog
Lighting the way home.

Spider webs, rocks,
A path I know by heart.
Walking is easy.

Sometimes the hard part
Is to go on to new places,
Let go, don't look back.

We don't have one life.
We have many, but no memories.
Just that tugging, here.

Do you feel it now?
Does it speak to you inside?
I hear it, yes.

To light a lantern
Is to remember the light
Inside. Forget rain.

I dance on the head
Of a pin, endlessly full
Of joy, remembering.

April 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baked Beans & Mom

I went to Boston Market for lunch. They had baked beans, which they hadn’t had for some time, so I ordered them as a side. I watched as the server scraped the tray clean to give me my beans, and was grateful I got the last of them.

Soon, I was sitting at table, munching on some veggies and the beans. As I ate the sweet tasting beans, I remembered how my mother loved slow cooked beans. She would cook up a potful every now and then at home. Later, when she was in the nursing home, we’d wheel her in her wheelchair over to KFC. They served baked beans. She would be happy then, smiling as she munched away.

Now it was me, eying the side of beans on my plate. As I did, I thought, “I’m eating these beans in honor of my mother.”

As I ate the beans, my thoughts wandered. Did Mom love baked beans because her family cooked them a lot when she was growing up? Or was this just a taste particular to her? I wondered if my Uncle Gordon had loved baked beans? If I asked my cousin, would he remember?

I became aware of a figure hovering by my table. I looked up. There stood the hostess, with a tub of baked beans in her hands.

She said, “I didn’t give you the normal serving of beans, so I’m giving you an extra side.”

She handed me the tub. I thanked her and put it on my tray to take home for later. What are the odds of that? I’ve never been given tubs of food before, and I’ve eaten here a lot. But then, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten baked beans before in honor of my mother.

I smiled to myself. “Thanks, Mom!”


November 1, 2009

6:21 pm
Time has a funny way of twisting around. I sit here in my bedroom and I am in a timeless place. No breath of wind comes through the open window. Outside, the late day sun highlights a pink wall a block away. Two parking lots lie in pine tree shade. It must be at least 80 degrees inside. I hear only the constant whir of my cool mist humidifier and occasional scratching as it swallows bits of microscopic debris. My floor fan is on, but drowned out by the humidifier. I could be 12 or 90 years old. I could be in another time and place entirely, somewhere else, staring out a window at day’s end, remembering, wondering…

Time doesn’t matter here. What I remember, what I wonder, are thoughts best held close to my heart. To let them out, even for a second, out of this timeless place, is to risk losing them. So I sit here. I remember.

It’s funny how things keep repeating themselves. I read my diaries earlier today, and heard a relative acting and saying the same things seven years ago as he says now, the same things as he said when I was 13, when he held the power.

Why do these things matter? It’s never easy, this being a family. It’s so much easier to go to work and solve problems there. People don’t get angry so much. Maybe that’s why I like this room, with the view. The sun lights only a wisp of pink wall now. Soon all will be pine tree twilight.

I can pretend here. I can pretend I too am timeless. This lifetime or another, what does it matter? Sitting here looking, I need do nothing. It’s the doing that is hard. Going out there and opening my mouth, doing what I think is helpful only to learn how differently another sees me. I am safe here in this room. No one can reach me here. I haven’t failed anyone, including myself, because here I can sit unseen, yet see.

I read of others who go out into the world and do and do and do. But I am cursed — or blessed, depending – with that part of me that stands aside and sees and hears in a different way. Sometimes I try to speak of it, but inevitably I choose the wrong words, and my listener does not understand. Sometimes I wonder, why try?

Try telling that to the sun or the moon or the stars! They just are. So, too, I suppose am I… It’s the getting from here to there that’s the hard thing.

The sun is gone now, but tomorrow it will rise again. And I will go out my door, back into the world.