No one sees the
gray-haired lady in
a wheelchair, hands shaking
Parkinson’s pulsating through her
whole body. But when
Sinatra sings, eyes aglow
grandma is someone again.
She belts out the
best part, you have
a head start, if
you are among the
very young at heart.
Used to sing this
song with my 4th
graders in a classroom
of barred windows and
boys who fought over
pencils. But when they
joined sh-boom, we forgot
about all the rest,
everyone sang like paradise
up above, and life
was a dream, sweetheart.
Sam was short for Samurai,
a lion like Akita, let me eat
from his bowl when no one
else was looking. He killed
neighborhood cats, then
one night a car killed him.
There was Popcorn, named
by my sister, part husky
she loved to run away,
nose against screen door, then
escaped on down the road.
We’d yell Popcorn like circus
vendors, until she came back home.
Ginger was part sheltie, but
thought she was a cat,
never more happy than
sitting on our lap. She
loved us, and we loved her
back, there was no other way.
My son made 100 baskets,
really quite a feat, for
he’s not a natural athlete.
He stood in the sun
and watched the rim, again
and again and again. Mostly
he missed, but that was
no matter, because he never
quit. And after many minutes
over an hour, in fact,
he drained his last bucket,
arms triumphant in the air.
I hugged him very close
my best moment all summer
It is only a house, wood, paint, single pane glass windows,
but ten years pass and it is no longer ours, no longer
that two-story blanket that covered us in our laughter,
held our bare feet on floorboards that knew our family’s
groove, from Gangnam Style to I ain’t your mama, no I
ain’t your mama, not anymore. Sold, our Spanish
American War casa, Victorian era, master bedroom in
the San Francisco fog, where I daydreamed through
tree leaves and power lines, pondered this and that, scribbled,
loved and prayed on dark rainy nights. This place held
us in moments, just moments that always go on to the next,
the goodbye was always waiting, we left and it said hello.
I was born in 1972
when the drafted were
fragging officers, rolling
grenades under cots,
because going on patrol
Raised by teachers who
listened to Joan Baez,
had us play earth ball. That
world was better than agent
orange cancer, napalm blasts,
M-16 bullets and exit wounds.
They spoke of peace,
harmony, we held hands
and sang so many songs.
This land is made for
you and me, and it’s
alright to cry.
In the closet I still saw
my dad’s green Marine hat
that he wore on Veteran’s Day.
We never spoke about the war,
what to say to a ten-year old
kid about sand bags, and
But he took me to the
memorial, we touched
names, our dark shadows
together in the wall.
I wake before light
before bits of sun streak
under shades, memory whole
in this place, this silence
I should thank you more
for life shared
where diapers once were
pitter-patter of feet
us tucked together in
warm white sheets
We sit in this white bucket, usually once a year to
rest on the counter near lottery tickets and cash
register. In warm water, spayed, our thorns are gone,
left somewhere in Ecuador, swept off the floor,
before they packed us tight to fly far away, then taken
in trucks all over paved roads into rectangular buildings
where fluorescent lights are always on. We watch them
buy beer, cigarettes, some stare at us in wonder that we
have petals, red color, were once alive. They touch,
fondle, rustle our leaves, remembering a moment
with us, that wasn’t us. Others grab us, a dozen at a time,
the number of true love, when money doesn’t matter at all.
Days go by and we start to droop, no one smiles anymore,
wilted, jilted, until one day, they just throw us away.
I see all the plastic bottles filled and shiny,
pasted labels over clear water within. I’ve
never been jealous of that crinkle sound,
sad little ache after the last drop is gone.
Always wondered what disposable meant,
dented, crushed, twisted, one on top of the
next, in bins, trashcans, on streets. Others
tossed off boats, or tide taken away from sand
into sea. Gulped by curious pelicans hungry
for more than digestive death.
Me, I like lips that touch my rim again and
again, tender sips when I’m brimming with cool
life-giving liquid. But I’m a romantic, I believe
in everlasting love, that you will want me forever.
she wanted to dig up the body
not his body, but the wooden box
with ashes, he is too far from me
she said, need him closer, away from
rain seeping under dirt, talk never
turned to shovels, chardonnay, chardonnay
and words, words, left him in ground
but he wasn’t there either, missing
husband, reward upon return
she put up signs, but
no one ever called