Saturday, November 29, 2014

for you

now we know love as suffered joy,
that greets pain as a noble friend
at the door
of the heart's holiest chamber.
comes day, again,
accidental next of yesterday,
foreshadow of another tomorrow,
to be crimped and cut by moments
and sweet afternoons,
unfolded and refolded
like paper dolls,
holding hands here and there
dangling out our days
to grow old together apart,
knowing what we have
and what we have not
in a terrible balance of life's treasures.

what is my heart but the human portal
of my singular spark,
transient of this world,
here to learn difficult lessons to mature
the only part of me that is real.
my spirit cheers me on
to something I can't quite discern,
longing for more grace but wondering why
blessed as I am
finally to know my soul's mated love,
so hopefilled and hopeless.

what was it we had in mind
between lives 
when we planned this midlife transect,
where we would come to know
an unconditionality so certain
and yet so unresolved
a permeable heaven
an infinity of home
but nowhere simply to lie down 
when night comes for sleep,
and the moon so close.
even the coyotes have each other this night
singing out their lives
beyond the trees across the river
in the dappled dark.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

transitions

my hands look more and more
like my mother's hands
and yet they are my own
my mind is a slightly different turn from hers
but i hear myself laugh easily, like she did

i sit in her chair on the back porch
and look out at the hundred years' old oak
that speaks to the soul of ancientness and holding on
but the chair will change today
or maybe tomorrow

the space in front of the fireplace is bare
where she sat and waited in warmth
but something new will come for sitting
with bright and downy pillows
fuschia and azure and gold
and something else beside it
for setting a glass of wine
like she did, every afternoon
at four o'clock

i sleep in the bed that was hers
but it sits at a new angle
with new chi and new dreams
walls now a lovely deep warm gray
and new floors to be laid down soon
in a lighter wispier london fog
and the cabinet and millwork gnomes
are making an oak wall of bookshelves
with a magical passthrough space
to create a writing nook for letters and books

and everything inside me holds its breath
all full of reblessing and recreating this space
…surely goodness, mercy...

Saturday, August 18, 2012


no such thing as a little death
it's strong as snake
catches you by the throat
shakes everything hard
til all that's left
is love
leaking out of you
all over the people
all over the bread you give away
all over the thirsty world









Saturday, July 28, 2012


a pansy seed will come up a pansy every time
and never once turn out to be a refrigerator

but the brilliance of the human spirit can be persuaded by the world to accept worthiness according to the qualities of circumstance?

would to God we were brilliant as pansies

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

i.
nothing could be said
with people sitting there at the table...
words would have tumbled out of me

like puppies pushing open the gate,
rolling over each other,
jumping from one thing to the next

all wiggly with nonsense and joy.
but my words had to sit and stay like big dogs.

 ii.
when our eyes caught and held
it's a wonder others didn't notice
the two hotties at the table  
in a holy moment 
over forks and napkins and chicken and asparagus,

...naked to our souls

right in front of them.

iii.
time moves alongside. but we don't feel it.
it's the oddest thing.

is this how it will be to grow old with you?
moments in tablespoons,
years by the gallon?
until we're gone?
you over there, me over here?

iv.
now and again i wonder
if talking takes up too much space. 

thinking and talking get me in trouble anyway.
but how can i sacrifice the words of my heart
on wednesdays...
can there ever be such a thing
as too much love spoken
one day a week?

but if i did it--

held it all back in a burden of silent trust, 

without unpacking my feelings in nouns and verbs--
would it be sacrament enough in this life

to earn my wings to the next level?

v.
hell is weeks into years of getting by, making do,
busying up days, tossing alone nights...

but for wednesdays,
and the music of my own heart,

heaven would be too far.


Thursday, March 29, 2012


perdido key


some days are more magical than others.
but i doubt the author of love sees it that way.
not that magic and wonder and awe are words too small for the divine force,
'just that i can't take it all in as a human in the linear world.
and yet, it is enough just to stand in the sand and breathe 
with the rise and fall of the waves,
and to feel all the magical wonderful awesomeness of this day 
and the pounding and crashing and starry bliss of the coming night.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the exigencies of prayer

when he said ''lift up your hearts''
was that not a call to higher consciousness...?

perhaps to a higher vibration that sets us apart,

a little higher than the intrepid ants
a little more than keening whales?
perhaps the animals have more natural humility and a direct channel.
and humans make it all too complicated.

perhaps we are not all that dissimilar
and we are what we disdain.
we have ant moments
trudging trudging in a line on the highway
with hearts smaller than mustard seeds.
and we have whale moments
when everything we pray sounds like
earnest honking underwater.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

another well.

there's something seldom about
how the words come sideways
how they go here
and not here
and it's all so precious interesting
but what is all this fierceness about writing writing
other than the passionate must
at the intersection of a foolish heart
and the relentless come hither

Monday, January 23, 2012

always on the edge of epiphany

sometimes it's nothin but stars up there
yet how come there's thunder rumbling all around
alleluia on that
songs spring from somewhere in the night
and play a message when i wake if i'm listenin
more alleluia

livin this life may be less than a soulbreath
but 'seems it all comes in either seconds or eternities
mostly merciful alleluia
and most thoughts are streams that current by
with less than a minnow to show for all this fishin
alleluia, alleluia anyway




Saturday, December 17, 2011

woman at the well

all they think about
is the sin of the doing
of hair coming undone
the exotic misery of
life borrowed.
there are worse things.
could've missed it altogether.
not found the dearness of it,
deep to the marrow,
in a softly shared song. 
not a life for the faint.
not a life seemly chosen.
yet even along the small path
of one small spark
is divine purpose
and a radiance of angels fills the rooms within 
with the impossibility of love's goodness,
unconditionally settled for, and joyfully
made do.










Monday, October 10, 2011

for you

o dear God. there we were,
bent at our altars to life
being and doing the daily things
weighing our worth 

as if life were made whole 
by luck or by sweat
when it was all grace.
were it not for mercy

we would have arrived back home 
as accomplished as two motes on a dusty sill.
but here we are
light as angels

dumbfounded by love
tripping over all of the rules of this life.
perhaps it was the plan
we had to come this far

to know how precious it all is.
even without another day,
it would be enough only to have
these moments

knowing who we are 
and holding hands.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

while moonlight is still warm on the bed
and moonshadows play across the floor
a dream form moves
through my dark inner house
and hands feel along the sides of the walls.
is this an angel messenger
concerning itself with
the soundness of my heart?
the strength of my soulseams?
more dark forms wearing police parkas
are looking busy on the front lawn...

am i in trouble? how would i know?
where are fat cows and lean cows in this dreamscape?
and for God's sake where is joseph when you need him?
behold i promise to do yoga and granola
and carefully ponder the mercies of this life
until sufficiently fortified against whatever must come...
but please God make it short and sweet
because i am already up a tree
full of nuts and mischief and honeyblessings
and there be bears out there...





Friday, June 10, 2011

finding, knowing, being

how do you come to know
spirit and flesh
as two beings, not one?
what springs from the heart
and mind to tell?
look at your hand, and whose is it?
why are you in this body and not that one?
stand in the wind, know the chimes
stand on the porch, know the pungent rain
there streams a centering warm blueness
that unfolds and washes over
thrumming the panes, drowning out words
and a feeling of presence
from the awesome unknown
comes to comfort and reveal
bends your soul over the anvil of humility
smiths it in a world of difficult people
strikes you with the thousand tiny hurts
and quiet miseries
pounding out the hardness
until your being vibrates closer to true
in the asking and telling
and doing of love

Friday, May 6, 2011


steely aqua and tawny pink 
smoothing and gentling
glides the morning
an osprey sweeps in high wide circles
the silence of dolphins curl the surface below
a fisherman tends the water's edge
two great blues stand reverently by
the waves offer themselves endlessly
now it comes up all shimmery ivory
and beckons a walk on the sands of eden
...
so before i'm thrown back out on my own
where change and uncertainty loom without a plan
where aging and mortgages and medicare happen
i'm still morning inside
i feel magical and full of wonder at how it will all go
something bids.
we can do this life thing
let's get on with it

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

there's an osprey out there in my beach world
slinging herself high and low in a brilliant sky over the roiling surf
and she hunts tirelessly, in effortless circles, endlessly
swooping, gliding, striking, climbing
slicing the sky in sweet clean arcs
inscribing grace and terror on the may morning air

and there's a haunted mindbeast in here, in my writing world
looking out from behind round glasses and giant porch windows
where i write and unwrite terrible, helpless lines, endlessly ...
taped to the desk lamp there's a picture of you
sticking out your tongue,
pulling up your shirt,
rending my heart with your irreverence.
what a mess i am. and then i remember what this week is all about.
so off i go for a walk out where she hunts,
to feel her energy, to be hawk,
to attempt soaring out
and look at things from somewhere else for awhile.
so to live this moment, so to write another day,
scribing with a lighter spirit after the wind has had it's way with me.

things not unsaid

all of these little messages i leave for you
the clipped typeytypey emails shipped off into the ether
the txt msgs thumbed on a tee-tiny screen
the words from my lips into the little phone holes
after listening politely to all of your instructions

God knows how they stay together in little strings of sounds and letters
how they do their little word lives
how they get from here to there without utterly losing it
how they keep from pressing forward and getting pushy with each other
how they simply and obediently line up and go on as they do
carrying their little bundles of emotions dutifully
not stopping to untie them and sort through what was said
not rearranging things to make better sense
no, they just carry on, the little words
sent from me to you
arriving somehow pristine and crisp or soft or languid 
as when they left my fingers
or slid off my tongue

but when you notice them is another thing in time.
i suspect by then it is all a mush, an untimely revelation
of things said or written. oh well. there they are anyway.

in my mind's eye i see
the clouds of these little electronic nothings
fluttering in the nearby magnetic space
waiting for you to notice them
stuffed in the mouth of an emailbox or on a cartoon speakbubble
languishing in an audio backroom waiting for a tiny door to open
and beckon them to dance and sing into a willing ear
these messengers of love and play and musing
of small anxieties and sweet nothings
live and move and have their being
in this life i share with you
i never know if you get all of them
or even most of them
but if only one gets through
you will have yet a few precious words more
on top of all of the long looks between us
over and above all of the wondrous other moments
you will have these words
tumbling out of me in text and subtext
saying over and over
i want all of you forever
all of you
forever
all of you
forever

Friday, April 22, 2011


screw good friday.
what on earth am i doing here.
life is stupid ugly.
all that heartbreaking everydayness. why should i care.
 the meanies in this world are big. arrogant. indifferent. 
why go out and get myself killed for loving.
i think that's what happened, actually.
for shit shure he didn't die for people's sins
because Love doesnt do that.
we imperfect ones are who do that.
we kill.
we maim.
we pollute whole oceans and defile the good earth.
we are the only ones capable of being not-God.
God please.
dont make me love people who don't love me.
let me just be skinny and beautiful and perfect
so i don't have to be fat and dumb inside.
so i can love me.
so jesus can still be alive and laughing in this world
without me killing him every time i forget 
that he is in all those other people
and in me,
that i am made of the very Love 
that i long for.
i can't bear that.
i can't bear that.
Love and Mercy
please be known to me
in the breaking of everyday bread.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

as fresh and whole as the beauty of i and thou formed
from the Sacred Cry over each new soul 
from the Infinitely Profound into this great world
so are we loved, infinitely, profoundly... 
still and forever does that Love always come 
called or unbidden
and is never not ours, nor far
but here ...waiting, holding, knowing

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

standing at the door looking out in the garden for sign of laughter
spring has created its usual riot
and i'm about to miss it

taking care of the soul is a hands on job and i'm so weedy,
overgrown and brambly with thinking
some days i'm half-starved for wonder

its well past time to be  digging around, poeming, watering
all the brownish looking things inside...
hoping yet to scratch up green on a deadish stick...

looks promising... will have to work at it. risk sweating.
getting my heart all muddy.
come love. bring your spade.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

another day, another valentine

thing is
love is just as real as rocks


or socks or a fox or a box


people know how to deal with rockses and sockses and foxes and boxes


love, not so much


if we could only see reality for what it is
maybe we could get to know love better
and maybe even know how to live it

Monday, February 7, 2011

song for tura on her 100th birthday - feb 4th, 2011


mama, you are a wonder
you laugh so easily
you always look to see 
that nobody's left behind

mama, you are a picture
sittin by the fire
talkin to people i can't see
waitin at heaven's door

but mama, you're not goin there yet
we've got a little more time here with you

and while you're still here
we'll play a little dominoes 
listen to roger's sermons 
laugh at something we said

and you'll say ''my stars''
and ''land sakes''
and have a glass of cabernet
every day at 4 o'clock

mama, you are a wonder,
you laugh so easily
with people i can't see
waitin at heaven's door

but mama, you're not goin there yet
we've got a little more time here with you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

there is always so much to say that can't get said 
and much more life that waits to be lived
there is time but only enough to take care of this moment
wherein i do what i can for everyone here
and yet i think and hope and pray for you where you are
and wish i could be two people
because there is more to life than just making do
and what waits is a life of passion 
that would never be on hold











Monday, November 22, 2010

now finally in these november days
life begins to shed some of its grimness

and music falls down the misty sky
in ancient hypodorian, o come o come...

it is your tenderness filling my heart that pulls me on, 
and nothing less than the fullness of joy beyond sustains me.





Monday, November 1, 2010



whose feet are these
slipsliding in the ocean of all that is,
what catches up the breath
in the flow of everyday things,
lurching the heart to fear?

so close is love to fear 
and no seam to follow one way or the other...
only a slight lean on the spirit to guide the craft.

this was a hard risk many days, for both of us,
a leap out of the boat for no apparent reason,
other than for love.

of such is the curve of this kind of grace 
precious as foam
on the long wave homing to shore.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

the understanding

taking care of what's Good,
shoved as it is up against Will and Greed,
does not have to be a matter of eeking out a life
in a tiny crack of light.
but there is that.
and one grows slitty-eyed at wondering
what to do with a conscience that knows
its own little accommodations.

as in, how can we let people live on the streets
covered up with cardboard
and drive on by
without smelling the reek of our own shame?
without feeling the pearls choking our neck?
 'they're underprivileged anyway, so this works well for them'...?

how can we not put the heads of british petroleum in public stockades 
for an ongoing kill in the open seas,
the appalling ten-mile death plumes still soundlessly suffocating the deep?
the barrier islands abandoned to their stained and putrid deaths,
the people of an entire way of life sacrificed,
and we do not hear the screams of these ghastly silences?

how can a president of conscience so dishonor himself,
transfixed as he is between starving his people with corrupted hope
and hand-feeding the corporate maw at the altar of power?
where is our holy anger?

 what is all of this love left undone,
  that we too would exempt ourselves from the work?

  from somewhere within the Deep Nudge,
dwelling in salty pools of Light shining behind the eyes,
  Knowing leaks out, as now, and flows along the mind
and pours out on this kitchen counter,
where we sit in our communal quiet, 
you spooning your coffee,
listening to Keillor and Paynter,
i keeping by, tapping out lines,
examining the quality of my fury at joining the collective tacitness
 wherein we have excused ourselves from dealing with reality.

we know that who we are here on this earth, in this kitchen,
is sacred,
and we know that who we are
in the extended consciousness happening out there
is as sacred to our life as our own heartbeat.
so if we do not do That Thing That Changes Us...
the Thing We Were Given To Do...
then
we must live with ourselves
inside.

Friday, September 3, 2010

he looked out from old eyes and a knit cap
in 95 degree humidity, in downtown Austin
standing on the median with his cardboard sign
a simple message to cars passing by ...  "need help"
and i was on my way to the vet to pick up the family dog
found so many years ago,
in the middle of another road and another life...
and it was going to be a hefty bill this time.
$398 for an ear infection and overdue vaccination.
so, how much for the man?
all i had was a twenty and change.
it seemed unfair, but he wouldn't know
that i would be paying more for the dog,
and i handed it to him out the window.
it was easier than holding on to the anger at reagan
for all of those he turned out on the street
in the 80's... the ones who can't hold a job
and can't afford to be poor and bipolar
all at the same time.
out on the street
we are all just people.
and we have to take care of each other.
because what else is there?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

where the red dragonfly silently hangs over on a reed
preying the mindless mosquito,
and the stiletto gray cat waits underneath, still as death,
slitting her eyes at the silliness of blue jays...
the birdbath quietly holds its small dark mirror.
the dramas of a hundred toad lilies 
have been told and told and blown and bled out,
the sweet freckled blooms long since
cremated in the texas heat.
dust to dust.
all of it lies dirt still.

until dinner is served.
a suddenness of jaws and
tiny beaky screams
strikes a jagged edge to garden life
that even lightning could admire.

nothing compares to the local preds
with murder on their minds.

it's the best i can do. tell you stories
about what goes on in the garden.
in 99 years you've pored over that bible
until there's no good plot left to discover.
and the stuff that goes on outside the window
is still cracking new with possibilities
if i peer at it
with dragonfly detail
through half-closed cat's eyes.

i can do that
for you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

redwood

there is no pretense about 2000 year old trees.
they are what they are.
and they are magnificent. sacred. 
a presence beyond any words to dignify.

it burns a hole in me that only four percent 
of the original coastal groves of these giants remain.

four. percent. of perhaps the largest trees on earth. 
all the rest were cut down. 
all.

what is it about us that condemns greatness
and draws a crowd to watch it fall? 


Friday, August 13, 2010


our bland, middle class american 
stumbling around
wearies him.
he is so healthy, at 70 something,
and weary of his island life,
the years he drove the school bus,
and now the fund raisers for the library,
playing a clumsy lewis carroll 
to two rounds of applause
and a goofy jacob marley
delighting the kids.
he's tired of all that.
he wants monasticism and a woman in thrall.
he loves rachmaninoff and caol isla
finds great beauty in derelict merchants
hawking the boardwalk.
he rails at a gagged culture
that fails to nurture our nascent inner sweetness.
he doesn't see that he has it all.
doesn't know how to revel 
in the bounty of his own goodness,
the culture of his own soul.
the only culture we've got.
we don't just live out there.
we live in here, out there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

molar living on the cusp

all of my teeth are 64 years old
but tooth #19, a lowly molar,
is
acting up... on account of there's

a dark hole beneath one of its roots 
big enough for even a musician to make out 
on a smoky xray that never fails to animate a dental type. 
and this one--an endodontist-- is lively about something 
where nerves and bone and tissue carry out their tiny lives in #19. 
i give in. just do it. and then everything fades to buzzy. 
i don't remember. it was the extra gas. i guess. 
he keeps talking through the haze, explaining 
what each new sound is about, as if it will reduce the anxiety? 
enhance the experience? 


there's a jaw expander holding my mouth open, 
and a sexy little blue spandex skirt stretched around #19. 
dental theater. 


later, in the afterglow, a new picture pops up on the screen. 
so many little white lines where the sleek hair-thin canal tool 
snaked in. 


the modern millie in me appreciates the irony:  
lighter by $740 and yet in more pain.


the pioneer woman in me, with 
native intelligence still intact, 
thinks snake bite and oblivion
could have been a reasonable alternative.