Energy … near 90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Katie

Somewhere in her late

Eighties

Warned me this

You’ll lose your

Energy

Not me

I silently replied

Katie was right

My energy is

Evaporating

Like air from a

Balloon

With a tiny pin prick

Hole

Slowly     slowly

Over the years

Hardly noticeable until

It is noticed

Felt in the body

Matter over mind

And do not look

Back

On what an energized

Body

That puts mind over

Matter

Was able to do

And did

 

It now becomes

Acceptance

Yes

This is where I am

Today

Who I am

Still me

Only slowed

Things to accomplish

As always

Get accomplished

The finishing     perhaps

Coming with vermilion

Clouds

The sun leaves behind

Going wherever it goes

Done for this day

As I also

Am done for this

Day

Thanksgiving by Ourselves

It is the week before

Thanksgiving

Already Crepe Myrtle

Has released

Most every small leaf

Attached to her

Ever so skinny branches

To become a coverlet

For the dirt ladened

Ground

 

Sycamore

Has a long way

Still

To finish letting go

Her large leaves

Needing to dry into

Burnished gold

Before they slowly

Fall

In graceful descent

To cover the grass

That surrounds her

Many managing to

Invade

The garden

Where Hibiscus and

Azaleas

Try to bloom

This late in

November

 

We will eat at home

By ourselves

This Thanksgiving

Day

With joyful memories of

Thanksgivings past

Here we will be

Together     together

What more can we

Want

What more could we

Ask

(written November 2021)

To Alice (Mother’s Day, 1991)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother’s years

Fall around her like a velvet cloak

Cover her with folds of silken thread

Of gold, deep blue, of burgundy

Like the colors of cloth in a painting

By Rubens or Rembrandt

But it has a lining of woven straw

This cloak of velvet

That can scratch and tear the skin

Straw on one side, velvet on the other

The fabric of a life

The way it is, my mother says

 

And she gave me straight hair

And thin ankles

And she gave me love

She gave me the markets of Guadalajara

And Oaxaca

And she gave me the truth

Of her own self

 

One July we are very young

We eat lobster bisque together

And watch the seagulls live their lives

On the pier in Monterey

As the sun is going down

Back at the restaurant in the Monterey Hotel

The waiters are on strike

All the others from the tour bus

Cross the picket line

But, my mother says, not us

 

Now the hawks glide in the wind

Over the roof of my house

This is where my mother has never been

And I tell her how they rise up

And soar

How they dip with their wings outstretched

And sway into the currents of air

And I tell her that her years

Fall around her like a velvet cloak

And she is beautiful

Pandemic—One Poet’s Moment


In this quagmire of a virus

That spreads like quicksilver

Over the country     everywhere

Yes     even before here

The world

I would write of the sadness

Concern that borders fear

Inside me

I feel with my every breath

But words are no longer

Liquid

They wrap themselves around

Tears

That speak for them

In inarticulate language

I struggle to express

 

In these weeks of reported

Illness

Reported deaths

Numbers fall into thousands

Thousands

Beyond my ability to conceive

This is real

I pray for them

Pray for the Light of the Universe

To surround every hospital

Every blessed one that cares

For the ill

Closes the eyes of the dead

Alone     alone     alone

Their families

With the rest of us

Sequestered now

At home     at home

 

-2-

Every morning

I open the shutters

Of my bedroom windows

To look up

Into the sky

Is it clear     or covered

With clouds

Is the distant hill

Distinct     or shrouded in mist

Each day is of itself

Hour follows hour

It is as it has always

Been

 

One morning

I look     I see

A new leaf     then another

And another

On the bare branches

Of the Crepe Myrtle

It is late March

Time for new leaves

To arrive on this tree

 

And they do

For everything there is a season
And a time for every matter
Under heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3.1

Truth to Tell

I Love these days

Letting go their light

Into a darkening sky

Late in an autumn’s

Afternoon

As the sun descends

Over the waiting ocean

Sends its final rays

Against the side

Of a distant hill

A canvas for many shades

Of mauve

That signal the end

Of day

 

I love the hints of

Coming night

Street lights on

House windows lit from

Within

Are there children

Around a kitchen table

Heads bent over books

Pencils in hands

Logs in a fireplace

Ready to burn away

A season’s chill

 

Then images of the many

With no place of their

Own

Nowhere to go

Push their way into my

Thoughts

Of home     of comfort

Full bellies

Stark realities of days

Growing shorter     nights longer

Colder

It is a duality of feelings

Inside me

Long in my life

Have I Loved fall’s dwindling

Days

Loved a friendly dark

Closing in

But there are two sides

To this picture

I would it were not

So

Would it were not

So

Not so

For Now

I cannot put my words

Together

It is as if they are trapped

Inside my brain

Words I need

To express my distress

Feelings of disbelief

And if I am truthful

Horror

At what is being allowed

In the unraveling of my country’s

Beingness

I cannot get the words out

Write them down

Will have to let other voices

Be heard

Other voices exclaim

The anger     bewilderment

Outrage

Like silt building up

In the pristine waters

Of a mountain stream

I will listen

Follow where they lead

Trusting it be

Into the light of reason

Again

 

For now

My hibiscus blooms large scarlet discs

Under my window

 

For now

I watch crazy flights

Of a Phoebe bird

As it snaps up insects

On the wing

Am mesmerized

By these different sized evergreens

On a hill

Above the Camino Real

Swaying as one

In the wind

 

For now

Music     laughter

Kind voices from anyone

Anywhere

Human and animal

Voices of my children

My True Love

Sounds from my own world

The only real word now

For me

Clouds …

… My ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

It matters not where I am

In the comfort of home

A car on the freeway

Among other drivers

The slow     the speeders     motorcycles

That startle as they roar

Past

My attention is out the

Window

My eyes on the sky

 

Clouds are like people

Like everything in the natural

World

Different shapes

Colors

Different purposes of existence

Exuding an aura of diversity

Like everything alive on earth

Diversity is life

 

As a child

I imagined myself lying down

On big white puffy comforter

Clouds

But never on those forecasting

Storms

Darkly ominous blankets of solid gray

Over my head

Then rushing across the sky

Pushed by erratic winds

Still drawing my eyes upwards

Always upwards

 

Nothing has changed

Clouds     my ever moving art gallery

My daily weather report

Awake each morning

I open the shutters

Look through branches

Of the Sycamore     Crepe Myrtle tress

To find the clouds

Only to discover     now and then

The sun has risen on this day

Into a cloudless blue sky

 

Spring

Today

The first day of spring

Already Sycamore births her

Small green leaves

That will evolve into larger leaves

Adorning her branches

Until far into fall

Then drop     one by one

Slowly to the ground

I cannot remember the song

From the very first robin

Singing its arrival

Early in an Illinois spring

Its song brought me joy

After a long cold snowy

Winter

California springs brought

Mockingbirds

Their songs ringing out

Through the Myoporum

Over the canyons

Then eerily at midnight

Into the early hours

Of the new day

I’d hear their trills

I miss that first robin

I miss the mockingbirds

Heralding spring for me

The air around me feels silent

Save the lone mourning dove

Who calls     calls     calls

No one answers

Then

Mating season for crows

Arrives

Their squawking voices

A different harbinger

That spring is here

I tell myself

They too

Are of the natural world

For I am given

Love everyone everything

Yes

Even noisy crows

Three Poems – Plus One

The Sycamore’s dried leaves

Of burnished gold

Hang expectantly

From their branches

Ready to fall

Onto the waiting

Ground

***

January cold

Wraps itself around

Southern California

From my window

Three plants

Bitten by frost

In the night

Their leaves shriveled

Browned

On emaciated stalks

In shocking contrast

Green leaves on the hibiscus

Live     untouched

***

You live in my heart

Little girl     little boy

Never forgotten

Children

Walking to freedom

From Guatemala

Die in Mexico

At the border

Denied America     forever

***

Like a flock of songbirds

All colors     all sizes

My children     my grandchildren

Gather around me

A few precious

Hours

We eat     we sing     we laugh

Until they fly away

Again

And I am left

To sing their songs

Alone

When Leaves Fall From the Trees

The Crepe Myrtle’s leaves

Turn golden

As they let go their branches

Fall to the ground

Lie close to each other

A carpet of gold

Then scatter in the night

When rains finally

Come

 

Sycamore begins dropping her

Leaves

Before Halloween

Such a large tree

Has more to drop

Then the Crepe Myrtle

And any of their neighbor’s

Sycamore leaves

Lie on the ground

Different shapes

Different sizes

I see them

As miniature sculptures

No two alike

 

I want to let go

Of bewilderment

Of despair I feel

From the chaos

Invading the life

Blood

In the government

Of my country

Stress I hear

In voices around me

Everywhere I go

I want to drop my worries

My heart’s concerns

Like leaves

Falling from the trees

To the welcoming

Ground

Not to resist

What is

And know with

Trust

This too must

Pass