Thursday, February 25, 2010


holds me
lets me cry
from the sting
of an old scab
ripped open
feeling like
a fresh wound
bleeding again

Never too much
never not enough~
for him
I'm just right
like the baby bear's

his gift
gives me
to believe again
the future is bright
on a new horizon

reaching forward
together we stretch
casting to hook
even the
tail of it
reeling it in
with a smooth hum

we capture hope
in our net 

cooked over
the small fire
of our dreams
we have enough
more than enough
to share
as it multiplies
able to feed

we gather
what remains
in baskets
woven of one
strand of

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I put my head 
between strong jaws

a hungry lion
 for one such as I
could close down
my innocence 
from my dread 

This lion won't be tamed
a leash falls off
he's not safe 

a walk
through the wardrobe
reminds me
he's gentle and kind
as he eats me
licks my wounds
chews my thoughts
spits my tempers 
throws me up on his back
without a scratch
to let me ride
the wind of his breath

I cling
with ecstacy  
to his thick mane 
flying to

There are tearstained watermarks on this page; if you can see them, I love you for it. This came out whole, as is. A waterbirth, witnessed, midwife'd and doula'd carefully. Provision. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Through the Keyhole

Grandma's garden gate
had curls on top
 loops of a keyhole
to peer through

 beyond it
 the belle of roses
tangled and twisted
 in the muscled trunk 
 and strong arms of 

the lovely scent of their 
lifted the house
 from its foundation
cracking it 
keeping it
 entirely whole

roots twining 
a home with
safe protection 
snug and tight   
 a safety belt

Laura encouraged me to do this from a comment on someone's post. Thanks :) 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pile of Rocks

A pile of rocks 
dry stacked
squared by cornerstones
gathered one by one 
from the riverbed

floodwaters soon will 
scatter them 
swallow them whole

before its purpose 
as marker
as remembrance 
significance ~
epic happenings 
of seeing

It is well 
rests here at my 
Western Wall 
in the cracks 

an altar
 to see in my mind's eye~
 if I look back 
or travel 
this way
once again 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shooting Darkness Dead

A catkin 
pregnant with 
fresh hope
waiting the awakening 
of spring 
a release
a birth

Seeing light
on the edge of darkness
shooing shadows
from the corners 

blood red 
grows wild 
ever since 

Delicate tendrils, whisps of bang
blowing in the eyes of the sun
pistachio green miniatures 
heavy tresses  
long and proud
a waterfall racing
splashing to the ground 

who dares climb it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Get 'er Done

The sun was shining today. A gift. I wanted to go tearing off with Maggie to the river. I reigned it in. Sometimes procrastinating makes my life difficult. I just need to 'get 'er done' sometimes, as Farmboy says.

In spite of not feeling like it, I weeded and raked the garden beds front and back. Vacuumed my disgustingly filthy car. De-grassed the rock pathway to the garden room. Swept the path and patio.

Then took a hot bath and crawled into bed with satisfaction snuggling up with stiffness. Pleasure and pain.

Determination trumped escaping to play. Looking out the window at the difference a day made, I think I'll pick up poop and mow the yard tomorrow. Work was that fun.

Well, the results are.  :)

If I had the money to hire a gardener, I wouldn't. The feel and smell of sweet earth is like a love potion. I like to get nose to nose with each little bit of green popping up; snip a little here, brace it here, adore it there. She's not up yet, but I imagined the lady's mantle holding dew drops like no other. Primroses are so happy, they giggle. Pansies cover their faces when they laugh. Tomorrow I'm buying both to fill a few pots for joy's sake. Some plants are tangled like pretzels. Volunteers are surprises. If the neighbors couldn't see, I would have rolled around in the dirt today. It felt so nice to be outside with evidence of life. Small beginnings that will give and give, all summer.

Plant a seed when it warms up enough. Please? No one can miss being enchanted with a seed popping up, tender and green and full of promise.

Wish you could have tea on the porch swing with me........and look at garden seed catalogues. :)

 "If you have two loaves of bread and have no flowerssell one loaf and buy some flowers to feed your soul." 
~old Persian proverb

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sugar Words

Layers fall away from
folds of need
of want
which almost killed desire
almost doused the fire

Eliminate the critic
decree divorce
cripple his power
his opinion nonsense
waste no time
on offense
blundering words
leave behind

chase the bitter aftertaste
with peaches and sweet cream
art and love sugared
with war

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Twenty Camels?

Two good friends of ours fell in love on a trip to Israel and Jordan. Two people in despair, neither one looking for love.

We ended the trip with a day trip into Petra. It is a long, dusty walk. Horses, donkeys and camel rides are options. I was talked into a horse ride on the way back and a camel ride on the way down to the legendary city.  The Jordanian boys pestered us relentlessly. It was good natured and fun. Their eyelashes were long and distracting. We couldn't say no.

They showed us how to wrap scarves around our heads, covering our faces. The owner of my horse whacked it on the butt to make it gallop. I think he wanted to know if I would bounce? Big bottomed girls are, uh, uh, interesting to them. Little did he know, I grew up properly trained. I was a little breathless, but stayed seated because I remembered to clamp my knees. Can't say I was entirely graceful, but grandpa would have been proud. Was I sore the next day? Yes.

The camel ride was really strange. It rocked me like a rocking chair. When the owner swung up behind me by it's tail and made him 'gallop', it just rocked faster. Smooth as silk. I don't know who won the eyelash prize, the camel or the lad. The lad didn't try to bite me or spit.

As we came together again to eat lunch, one of the older boys who had earlier wrapped my girlfriend in a scarf, walked up to Craig and offered 10 camels for her. (He thought Craig was her brother) He said no, then explained she was taken already and pointed out the Lucky Man. The bartering went on and on till it reached 20 camels. Craig sighed and shook his head. He firmly told the boy that it wasn't any use. However many camels he offered, the Lucky Man would offer one more. As we left, the rejected boy hung his head, disheartened.

After the trip, she needed to set her affairs and house in order to move out here to be with Lucky Man forever and plan their wedding. They were separated for their first Valentine's Day.

It didn't stop them. They dressed for dinner. Set the table. Opened an identical TV Dinner and twin bottles of wine. Then called each other to pour the wine. Bite for bite and swallow for swallow, they created magic and playful intimacy, over the telephone.

Last night we had dinner with them. They are 2+ years married now. She mentioned that she had never enjoyed a more romantic Valentine's Day than that first one. It isn't how lavish, how expensive or what location. The only destination is the heart, connecting.

She still feels like it is a miracle; this being the girl in the story. A twenty camel bride.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hope Looks Like a Crocus

Do singing frogs tempt the crocus to pop up overnight from the cold and dark? How do they know when I'm desperate for color's company.....

One day they weren't there, the next, their happy faces welcomed my morning with good cheer and hope for spring.

Rock Salt

Come play
the beach glorious
wants girl with dog
to wipe eyes
with tangled drips of hair

sand shakes into seams
the corral fence of foam
trapping throat lump
before ebbing tide
shuts the gate

grace bounds towards
catch in heart
arms raised
to drench all layers
wringing wet
with laughter
before all knowing love
squeezes hot liquid salt
burning a trail
to fall
as cleansing rain

with youthfulness
a moment only
to freeze
the slackness
like skin blush
on ripe fruit

Pockets bulge
smooth rocks
flat and black
a take away
for another time
to write
words on rocks
a memory
tasting of salt

Tails wag as smiles do

Monday, February 8, 2010

Both Sides of the Coin

Adventure is high on my list of things I value.

When we lost power for over a week in a snow storm, I reveled in figuring out how to make do for collecting water, cooking and keeping our family as comfortable as possible. It was a game - roughing it.

Camping is much more fun for me when the least amount of stuff is brought along. The less the better. Only essentials.

When traveling, my small, worn, carry-on is stripped to the bare necessities. Traveling light makes the trip enjoyable.

When the cupboards quit bulging and the fridge looks empty, I often go a few more days without shopping, to see what I can come up with for a meal. It is fun for me. Sort of a creative challenge. My family doesn't have the same response. Tomorrow-shopping.

It is good to know what I need and what I can easily do without. Sorting out my needs from my wants changes over time. My needs are simple right now.

Outside, I need good coffee with real cream. Words. Water to lay in. Water to sit by. One good down comforter. Flowers to grow. Kisses. Music. Chocolate. A dog by the fire. One good pen. A notebook.

Inside, I need to believe I'm loved in order to give. I need to believe I have something to offer that matters. I need to give. I need to keep learning fresh new ways to think. I need to taste and see and notice the goodness surrounding me. I need to follow a leader who believes and assumes the best about me first. I need my family and friends. I need to practice now to become ~ the older woman who finishes well.

Most of all, I need to wait and see what is unfolding without me pulling it open.

It is possible to wait while being productive and adventurous... 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Peeps

A while back, I read that Charlie Peacock and wife would be at a writing conference. He is a prolific wordsmith, troubadour and writes lyrics that lance wounds with truth.

I perused the web sight, then e-mailed a friend to see if she was thinking of going. Uncanny thing; she was looking at the web sight at the exact moment my e-mail came through. We talked on the phone for a little while, laughing at the timing coincidence.

She is a bona fide writer, with a manuscript, a critic group, mentoring and good habits. Real.

Unlike me; the mullet blog, spilling my guts, blood, heart and soul into badly written posts read mostly by my husband and a couple of loyal friends, until recently. The encouragement and 'being heard' part has been a sweet gift after a year of feeling very alone in cyberspace. I wrote to heal and remember. It worked. I have learned so much by doing it almost every day. Slow improvement with new skills.

My friend encouraged me to come to the writers conference. The reason I actually clicked back on the sight and registered after we talked was what she said; "Kathleen, come, come and be with your people."

My people? I realized how much I craved being with creative thinkers, all producing art. A new twitter friend asked if I have anything to pitch. I think that means do I have a manuscript? An idea?

The lingo and the writing world will be so unfamiliar and frightening. But, being hungry and thirsty trumps being scared. Desire wins over fear. Adventure wins over introverted shyness. Passion wins over timidity. Yes, paper covers rock. Connection cures loneliness.

I don't have anything to give or sell. I just want to sit and be with my people. Listen. Absorb. What if I'm not painfully aware of being an ugly duckling, there?  Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of what and who I will be..... someday.

My people. Writers. Swans.

I really like swans.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cook Kills Cat

Ann Kroeker has a Food on Fridays blog post, inviting anyone to link up and share a story about food.
This is it:

Whether this story is true or not, I'm not sure. It was told to me 30 years ago before anyone had PC's. The woman who shared it, told it like it was true about someone she knew. It would be considered urban legend now. But truth is stranger than fiction.

One Sunday afternoon, Martha had made plans for company. As she prepared the meal, she left the lasagna out to pop in the oven at the last minute. Between dealing with the children, setting the table and cleaning herself up, the lasagna was left alone on the counter too long. When she came back in the kitchen, she saw the cat up on the counter, licking its lips. Mad at the cat, she tossed him out on his ear. Desperate, without a backup plan, she smoothed over the top and added more cheese before cooking it.

The afternoon was a great success, the meal wonderful and fellowship rich. As the last guest left, out of the corner of her eye Martha saw the cat laying limp on the porch. Wondering why it was so still, she went to pick it up, only to find it stiff. Dead.

Horrified, she figured it had been food poisoned from the lasagna. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed, Martha called each guest, confessing the fiasco, apologizing and advising each one to go to the hospital, to ward off imminent death.  

In the middle of these teary phone calls, the doorbell rang. Irritated and not in the mood, she answered it. Her neighbor is standing there crying. Gulping, she tells about running over the cat on accident. The neighbor didn't want to disturb the gathering, so placed the dead cat on the porch until everyone had gone home.

Where Are They?

Every other Tuesday night on Twitter, there is a Tweetspeak poetry jam. It's like a game, playing with grown-up. Poets all. I'm the newby. We have a prompt about every three minutes with a line from a poem. Several people feverishly tweet a line prompted from a word, or a word from someone else's line. It makes me sweat, the pace is so fast. I can't think of what to write, so let my fingers write what they want. It is a bit fascinating to see what comes out?

I went back, collected all my tweets, putting them together without disturbing the order of a line. The lines aren't in the order I tweeted them, however. This is a very naughty, nekkid poem somehow. :)  So much fun. Thanks Glynn, for editing and pasting. It would be overwhelming. And the secret wizard behind the prompts? I canna tell thee. But, if you want to read a book by the author, click and don't tell. Can't wait to see the edited version of the whole.  Maureen did this last time, I'm copying her. 

Where are the manly troubadours
 insanity to stay away
gurgling bubbles
I hear laughter from him

who blows the whistle
 to stop the occasion
it is catching
once bitten we bite
help me learn
 to digest more than the gray
like a whirling dervish
centrifical force stifling life

Laura likes
 all the good words
favorite ones
if it's coffee
 how can we sleep  
another hallelujia
 for dumping the bucket
thick red sticky melting
 sometimes confusing jam.

he bobs up again
 the weight as nothing
stepping on scent
attracting the desert creature

to be caught
must feel broken and lost
purr to the stroke of affection
foreign places inside
big like a venti
burn and be done with it is
 favorite verse

bruised often to sprout
planting seeds makes
tree sized futures promising
clarity is lost
inside dreams of the dayspring
plump again from life giving water

cords of twisted pride
paint the landscape of her heart
 never too cold
never too hot
 just right
like baby bear's porridge

pistachio green salutes boring
races ahead as art
  The humps quiver in a circle
The dizzy dance of poetry
 is rising a rhythm in my heart

pay for stardust
 a collision with words
God laughed 
danced with words
when he made a giraffe

whisper moonlight
 on hard words
lift lightly to heal
lumpy regret twists mouth
into fragile leaf
secret weight of crushing hand
ecstasy and sorrow
float alone

a song
as blossom vapor stories
 disappearing with a breath
writing opens seeds
 secret freedom
 begins inside alone
in the shade
 tares hide
hang out
again, hi, camel

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Being Rustic

Our daughters (20 & 18) took a week off without pay, saved their money to rent a rustic cabin on the beach for 5 nights. It is 45 minutes away. There isn't any wi-fi, telephone or TV. The bathroom and shower are separate. The cabins are vintage, plain, and hand crafted. The beach right outside the door
makes it magical.

They didn't ask for packing advice. None was given. The kitchen has a coffee pot, refrigerator and microwave. I wonder what they are eating. Only curious.

As a parent, it is sweet that they would choose to emulate how I get away.

My musts are; rustic, simple, by water, solitude surrounded by natural beauty. The less synthetic, the more it cures and heals.  It's like they wanted to try it my way, then decide as adults if it works for them.

It looks like they are doing nothing. There isn't anything to be done except be. Be loved. Be delighted. Be enjoyed. Be surprised. Be still. Be cherished. Be bedazzled. Be quiet. Be with. Be noticers and receivers. See the whole sunset, the entire sunrise. Hear the rhythmic slap of the waves go on and on. No clock. No schedule. Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.

Frequent times of solitude, times of being are essential for me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. As their mom, I hope they have a successful first time that makes them crave it as a way of life. I'm very thankful for a husband who has provided this for me.

I believe it isn't what I do that comes first. What comes first is how much and often I allow myself to be loved; the doing part comes after being filled up with the loving part. If the doing comes from fullness, that is.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life Without Linchpins

I'm still reading "Linchpins" by Seth Godin. It has been the bridge for understanding and processing events which have shaped me. Recognizing and seeing myself and others with clarity. Perhaps? This might or might not be true. Sometimes we never know. Another name for the lowly piece is a cotter pin. They hold things together. Hence, indispensable. Linchpins and cogs have nothing in common.

This is about a young man I've never met, but feel like I know. The ripples of his life go out and out -resonating still. This is a tribute. February is his birth and death month. 

He was a linchpin 
when taken
wanted in heaven
since then 
 only cogs are kept 
to run the machine  
it hurts too much
being reminded
losing such a one 

 hundreds of cogs
lined up at the wheel
 begging to fill
 the next empty spot 
close the gaping hole
where a linchpin 
should be 

push linchpins 
down and away 
make them leave
before they go
as safe protection 
passionate need

   the ceiling stays low
control tightens to
dishearten creativity 
freedom clipped 
as fragmented lives 
shift with fear

 cogs in the wheel
usually stay long 
but are easily 

no matter 
if they leave
 there is no pain
when they go

Monday, February 1, 2010

Perhaps Joy

Last year the reward for a summer's worth of hard work in the garden was a fine specimen tree. A star magnolia. A prize in the Pacific Northwest ~ they are one of the first things to bloom. I get desperate for color by March and was looking forward to the display. Sadly, I won't be able to enjoy the blossoms this year.

Maggie had a running frenzy playing with another dog and it broke, down to the dirt.

I cried.  It was expensive, yes; but more than that, it was a lovely symbol of hope for me. I knew what to look forward to. Now, there is a brown stem in the dirt which may or may not recover. If it does, it will take years to take shape again and bloom.

Broken hope, crushed dreams, battered beauty.

I picked up all the stems I could find, cut the ends, dipped them in rooting hormone and stuck them in glass jelly jar in the window.

Doing dishes this morning, I noticed flowers opening on the stems and root nubs growing on the bottom. I'm a baby gardener - it could be a flash in the pan thing before they die. Or:

They could root successfully and pot well enough to form a healthy root ball by summer. I might have several star magnolia's to plant around the yard some day. Possibly a few to give away to friends.

First, I had to pick up the pieces, prepare them, and set them in a prime place to root. I'm watching and waiting anxiously to see if I will be able to plant hope - maybe multiply and divide it.

"Perhaps Love" is stunning duet with John Denver and Placido Domingo. Country boy and opera star. The mix seems incongruent. An oxymoron. A paradox. It is, but it works magic.

Inviting wild possibilities and stretching my capacity for joy is the same.

Perhaps joy. Perhaps.