Pursuing the poetical, paradoxical, metaphorical, lyrical, artistical, majestical, and mystical.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kissing the Fat

From Thanksgiving until New Year's I don't eat as healthy as I'd like. I wish my intentions to not have white sugar and white flour in the cupboard handy to bake with, were sustainable. I indulge because the rituals of baking for the holidays overcomes my desire to be healthy. It's an emotional thing. Nothing rational about it. I love making and baking the traditional goodies we grew up with. It makes our home homier. It also makes me gain weight. I cease to be diligent and on purpose. Or care about my health.

Around New Year's I start feeling seriously obese. An unfixable failure. Appalled to look in the mirror.

The spiral happens. The grosser I feel, the more self loathing happens, I think it doesn't matter if I have one more ____.

If you've never had a weight problem, you might not understand. I beg your compassion anyways.

What happens is that the more bloated I feel, the less I want to be active. The more unwell I feel, the more lethargic my mind becomes. Desire for anything becomes inactive. I start to hibernate emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. Metabolism shuts almost all the way off.

The bottom line is that I finally don't care if my hair is greasy a few days longer, or there are a few days in between showers. And the spiral continues, gaining fuel and momentum, a deadly ennui.

The worst part is that I stop feeling attractive or desirable to my lover. The distaste that I feel for myself, I project onto him, falsely. I don't want him,  nor do I want him to want me  - because of my fat uglies. It makes no sense because the history we both have with weight issues should remind me we've loved each through thick and thin. I forget.

Maybe it was the extra doses of vitamin D? Or the special light Loverby got me for Christmas? We sit in front of it for thirty minutes a day while we read something together. It must be restoring my equilibrium. I wanted him. I wanted him to want me.

Dr. Kevin Lehman's famous quote about how "you can't make good sheet music if showers aren't taken first" echoed in my mind. I cleaned up. Shaved. Moisturized. Washed my hair. Perfumed. Wanted to wash the bed clothes. Felt a little dangerous. Enticing. Flirtatious. Shy. Shameless.

Our marriage bed is a safe place. The safest.

I could say that this is figurative so as not to shock you, which it could be, but I would be lying: Loverby kisses my fat, the parts that feel ugly. The parts that make me want to hide and be ashamed. 

It makes me beautiful. Again. And the more beautiful and loved I feel, the more I want to be active and creative. The more desirable I feel, the more desire I have - for everything. The more care is shown me the more care I want to take of myself. But, it is essential that I don't hide from this wondrous, life giving love.

The opposite of bad isn't good. It's loved. 

Beloved, let us love one another. What if we in essence, on a regular basis, kissed each other's fat? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shooting Onions


Pot roasts need onions. Onions need carrots. 
Carrots need potatoes. Potatoes need salt. 
Onion skin doesn't need to be lacy, 
delicate, and glistening red. 

I need to stop and study this. 
So after I wipe my hands on
 a towel, I trade the knife 
for a camera. 

Shooting wonder when it happens 
doesn't hurt anyone. There aren't any laws
 against it. There are no arguments or
 shouting about who's on 
the right side of the situation.

 Frame it. Hang it. Publish it. 
 Don't let anyone take this moment away. 
Shoot first, click fast, and never surrender 
or give up your right to carry 

a camera. 




Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ritual Intervention



Thrifting yesterday, I 
wanted to bring home 
an orphaned shoe polishing
valet box. Inside was a brush
worn out along side rusty Kiwi 
cans, black and brown.

I didn't have courage enough
to twist the tiny brass clasp. 
What if the polish was cracked 
and dried up when I 
opened the lid? 

It turned out to be Pandora's 
box because scents activated
tearful memories of dad's 
nightly shoe shine ritual.
This military standard shoe 
polishing ritual takes up 
serious space in the slide 
carousel always twirling 
around upstairs. It took
determination to leave it
on the shelf. I don't need it
taking up room on mine. 

But now I need to find a
way to make sense of living
in a world where we throw 
our shoes away before 
polishing them. So, 

I stand a warm boiled
egg sturdy and upright 
in an egg cup like grandma
used to do. I tap, tap, tap, 
around the shell's cap,
without her finesse. Rituals
have to be practiced, refined 
over time. Her first egg too, 
was probably a mess.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

53 Aprons Project

I am going to try to make fifty three aprons and send them out this year starting in January. It is quite a commitment. I really want to accomplish this...averaging one a week. Besides, I'll be 53 in 2013.

I use laundered reclaimed material from thrift stores. Today I tried my first one with this  bohemian/artsy/poet/gardener/gypsy wrap pattern.

Aprons have a symbolic meaning to me. I believe the ordinary, mundane, and simple things in life are the most important. Invisible to the world at large. Aprons are the icon that symbolize hospitality to me. A hospitality of both the heart and home.

I think hospitality is the highest form of communing with others. Breaking bread together. Sitting in the garden or on the porch swing together. Playing table games together. Cooking together. Chatting by the mailbox with a neighbor. Taking a sick friend a hot pot of soup. Dinner gatherings talking late and lingering long.

Their are women who regularly wear out their aprons. They are that generous. That loving. That creative. Will there still be a neighbor lady around for our grandkids? 

I want to whet your appetite to wear out an apron. Plant a seed this spring. Get your old crusty water color set out and get messy. Try a new recipe. Take your neighbor a pie. Invite some friends over.


Or, do you live like this already? Have you worn out your apron? Do you need a new one?

I will send an apron to you this year if you want one. 53 of you may ask. Send me your address if I don't already have it. There won't be any duplicates or special orders.

Nancy's birthday is Friday. She's the epitome of hospitable. The first sample goes to her.









Hexagon Paper Quilt







Thread, clippers, hexogon stack, paper hexagon templates, and a needle fit inside my beaded pocket clutch. It comes on the plane in my carry-on. I finish a few motifs each time I'm away from home. 

I just pressed all the finished ones. In one year I have done twenty four. I'm enjoying the process. Starting the first one was the main thing. I've always had a quilt on my bucket list.

 I've enjoyed it so much, I hope to do one for each of my daughters. I hope they wear it out during their lifetime. I hope by the time their children are adults it is threadbare. 

The type of quilt is called an english paper quilt. It works while traveling because you hand sew/piece each shape. Easy to take a long. Satisfying therapy. Free. 

Once all the motifs are sewn together in one quilt top, you iron it crisp, then take out all the basting and paper. I'm finding that the paper technique gives the corners a crisp finish I've never easily accomplished with a sewing machine seam technique. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crust and Crumb




The thicker the carmelized, blistered

 crust is, the more it protects

 the tender crumb.

 It stays tender and moist inside 

until this seal is broken. Break it open

 with only your hands, so its cellular

 reputation stays intact.  Cutting it 

with a knife simply will not do. 





I confess, I'm a bread snob. People who cut bread should be hung, shot, or guillotined. No mercy. No amnesty. No trial. No jury. 

Making bread from my treasured sourdough starter brings much sensual pleasure. Oh, if only we could break bread together you and I. 








Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Amish Do

Something came in the mail wrapped in a thick Amish newspaper. I ignored the thing inside and sat down with a cup of coffee and read the paper from front to back. I didn't want it to end. Their lives seem so common. Simple. Clean. Unhurried. Uncluttered. Slow. Hard in a good way. Hard in the way that at the end of the day you've done something worthwhile with what you have in your hand. Creating instead of consuming.

It was full of vignettes of the lives of the Amish all over the map. It brought some entertainment right away. Then this odd sense of longing. Afterward, I sat and puzzled over the riddle of what I was yearning for. It isn't being Amish.

Loverby and I grew up almost that set apart from the world, but not quite. We women didn't have to wear the same pattern of dress or head coverings. Men didn't have to wear the beard and hat. Our world wasn't quite so strict or removed from real life. It was close, but not the same.

Still, we had a tribe, a close knit community. We were each other's entire world. Our circle made for a vibrant social life. Of course there were many negatives to this kind of life. There is hiding, lying, and you get so tired of trying to measure up. But, there are also parts I miss.

 Maybe it was just the time we lived in. Perhaps I'm getting old and long for the good old days that actually weren't all that good - only in hind sight.

I don't want that again, but I do yearn for some aspects of a rural farm life with a village full of people who have known you from birth. Families that grow old together. A Wendell Berry sense of place - the lifestyle, not the religion itself. A bit of earth. Some animals. Neighbors who help each other. Watch out for each other. Eat often with each other. Make a life together. Celebrate and mourn together.

A life where the most important thing to write in about is how the neighbor boy broke his arm. He fell when the branch he was on, 15 feet in the air - broke off. He's at home, getting well.

A place where boys still climb trees? For fun. What a thing that would be to see again.

Here, let me give you a tiny taste of how the newspaper read:


Weddings.
Births.
The comings and goings of wagonloads of kin.
Housewarmings.
Funerals.
The names of dinner guests and overnight guests.
The Abner's are getting lots of mail. They need it. Keep it up, folks.
Making and putting by raspberry mush.
Helping the neighbors pot mums, and pull ragweed in a cornfield
Horse sales
Reunions
Cooking snitz for pies
Cool spells
Hot spells
A headache from being kicked by a horse
Getting the hay in
Grain fields being bindered and shocked
Buggying over to another family's for dinner
Circle letter gatherings
Someone got pinched between the wagon tailgate and a water tank
A work bee announced to help a son put up a metal shop
The corn has tasseled
Crops are suffering from drought
Cracks in the earth. Her little boy's wagon wheel got caught. 


Strawberries are almost past and many people didn't get enough to satisfy their taste buds. And the way it sounds, other fruit will be rare and expensive, so we might have to eat different in the next years. Gardens are looking good, so if nothing happens, we should get plenty of vegetables. Peas are just starting. Haying is almost past and oats is heading out. 


Levi Elmina's boy's had a runaway with the horses, doing damage to the hay mower and manure spreader. The plow was also involved by don't know if it had any damage. 


Jerry and Joyce, long time neighbors and friends, both passed away about 10 months apart, so now their 170 ares will be coming up for sale here after a while. I'm guessing it could fetch a decent price for as there are a number of people around here that are smacking their lips for it, including but not limited to a few Amish neighbors. 
A sister's brother lost his whole sawmill operation in a fire
Runaway horses
Butchering chickens
Cultivating corn 

I'm going to work on my quilt. The coffee's on.

And so must I decide
and choose again today
to create and make a life
that's worth writing about.







Friday, November 23, 2012

How Lefse Makes a Marriage





Today is the day after Thanksgiving. It was going to be a pajama day. My only plan was to wake up as late as I wanted. Have a leisurely morning. A putts, pitter, pattering, relaxing sort of day.

I got up early yesterday morning.

Made two pumpkin pies. Gave one to the neighbor.

Started the roll dough's first rising.

Sauced the cranberries.

Peeled potatoes.

Prepared grandma's stuffing. I now add dried cranberries and pine nuts to her sacred cow recipe. Hope she doesn't see everything from heaven.

Whipped the cream stiff and chilled it for later.

Prepped that ugly onion topped green bean casserole. Loverby doesn't think it's Thanksgiving without it.

Drank lots of coffee. Some with Baily's Irish Cream. No, you don't need to know.

Set the table with a tablecloth and candles.

In between one daughter coming home from work and another heading off to a required all night shift for Black Friday - we had our meal. We were glad to be together under the candles' glow. We had some time to lean back in our chairs and catch up with each other before the tired one and the leaving one did the next right thing. Go to sleep and go to work, respectively.

Loverby helped me clean up. It was easy. He had been cleaning up after me all day. Keeping the sink empty of dirty dishes, the dishwasher running, and putting pots and pans away to be used again. I thanked him over and over again.

Now comes the making of a marriage part. The part outside the lens of the lovely day I've panned especially for you, maybe causing a bit of envy. Just another one of our smooth, seamless, successful holidays. Right? Happens all the time. Wrong. Making a marriage is messy. Like lefse. 

We have a small, inefficient kitchen. Two people in it makes a crowd. Loverby got a wild hair to make his traditional Norske lefse, while I was making Thanksgiving. I wasn't thankful about that. There is a day ahead prep to this lefse undertaking. He had to peel a bag of potatoes and store the huge pan holding them covered with water somewhere. The mess and the crowding made me a little cranky. I tried not to show it. I wasn't thankful he wanted to make lefse this day.

As we sat at dinner with just the four of us, I wanted to cry. The sadness of it being just us felt so lonely. I love to cook. It isn't hard at all. But, when we were all finished after only 20 minutes - when it took all day to make the meal - I had a let down. I hated it that the girls had to sleep and work. I wanted 30 members of our extended family to sit around and make music and play games till the wee hours of the morning. Like the old days. My heart ached, heartburn happened.....and it wasn't the food.

Before Loverby and I went to bed we had a small goblet of eggnog with a splash of Irish Cream. Mine was salt rimmed with tears. It was just the two of us. Tasted like a bitter margarita going down.

This morning, the morning I was supposed to sleep in, Loverby woke me with a fresh mug of coffee and a request for his rolling pen sock. He knows I'm not a morning person even after my first cup. What on earth was he thinking. Graciously, he said, "Drink your coffee, love. We'll find it later." I wanted to pull the covers over my head and have a do over. Or scream.

I looked and looked for that missing rolling pen sock. You don't necessarily need one for pie crust, but it is a must for rolling out the ultra sensitive/tender lefse dough.

Hair in my face, robe coming untied, peepers in my eyes, I looked hard for that thing. With a flashlight in the dark corners. On my knees. Banging noise shocking the morning awake. No sock to be found. Stupid sock. I was saving my second cup for a finder's reward.

He called one store after another with no luck. Finally our own little Arlington Hardware had one. The gal who answered the phone asked, "Are you making lefse?" "Yes," Loverby said, as if she was a long lost relative, properly empathetic with his plight.

He got his rhythm. Rolling the balls out, picking them up with his stick, laying them on the griddle, turning them. All is well. Not so. Halfway through the batch of dough, he suspects the flour won't hold out. Wet batch this year. I still haven't had my second cup. I don't deserve a reward. I lost the darn rolling pen sock again. Can a person have some Irish Cream in their coffee at 6:00?

I put my shoes and coat on. Went out in the freezing rain to the store for flour. I start feeling sorry for myself on the way there. Crazy man. Lefse after a Thanksgiving meal? We're already fat enough. This was supposed to be a relaxing day. Tears start. Pitiful, pity party tears. Deluge.

Then I recalled all the times he has heated my bean bag for cramps, bought me feminine supplies, put gas in my car, brought home dinner. I remember him tucking the covers over me, bringing me babies to nurse at night, making me a beautiful garden shed. I thought of all the times he thinks mostly of me and my pleasure, not his. Images of his kindness and thoughtfulness started flooding my heart. The water had to flow somewhere. It came out and down. Birthwaters for something better.

I walked in the door and gave him the flour. He smiled as he lifted one off the grill - as if flour was the most precious gift I could give him.

We all take turns hovering over the lefse griddle as one after another slips warm off on the lefse stick. It gets folded, but is promptly unfolded, buttered, and sugared. I quickly change my mind about how inconvenient this stuff was to make. My heart melted like butter in the rolled up lefse.

There was always a plate of it on the table for his Thanksgiving tradition growing up. I learned to love it, there on the North Dakota prairie with a table full of Norwegians telling dry humored stories.

We needed lefse today. We were without.  Family.

Thank you Loverby. We're such a mess. Let's stay together in our crowded kitchen for always.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ministry of the Moon





Mama sings to her sweetheart,
a mysterious man in the moon. 
She points out eyes and a face, but 
I see only rabbit ears, a crow’s 
beak, or shadows tangled like lace. 

Malcolm explains 
ancient words from the 
mariner’s rhyme: The moon
 knows best how to minister - by 
making brilliance bearable - for
 brides who dare not gaze 
full at the groom. 

Mama’s song 
about kisses and misses 
and grown up blisses 
swirled over my childish head. 
He watched and waited, 
till finally I saw himNow, 
I want to marry him too. 


I read Malcolm Guite's "Faith, Hope and Poetry" slowly. I spent time ruminating long in the section about The Moon and the Mariner. A spiritual feast. 

We met Malcolm at Kindlingsfest last summer. How apt. This is how kindling happens. 










Monday, October 15, 2012

Taking Honey











Hot knife cuts cap
off cells filled with
liquid gold. Spin it, 
force it to ooze out
the spigot. Strain it into a 
cheesecloth covered
bucket. Leave enough
for bee's hard won
winter food.
Bottle some for me to 
sweeten and warm up
winter's bitter chill. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How Fidelity Happens



Blankets knot, sheets tangle.

 Limbs twist, nerves jangle. 

Fragrance floats along for free. 
Kything sent to him, unbeknownst by me. 

The next morning he said, 

“I dreamed the strangest dream

If anyone else dreamed the same

one last night, maybe it 

happened to me.” 

I turn away. 

Pink spreads up my face. 

I'm grateful no one can see inside 

bundled and bedded dreams.


My ring's still on my finger. 

I'm awake and longing for home. 

I want my beloved - he waits for 

me in our marriage bed - alone. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Generous Man





He told the rose, "You're
dangerous," many times
that day - for she always
carried a passport in her bag
and a ready yes on her face.

He could easily snap her stem 
from its branch. She wanted 
plucked, and stuck permanently
close in the empty buttonhole 
of some gentleman's jacket.

He bent down often
to smell the rose, knowing 
she couldn't be his. He left
her fragrance blooming for
another to pick and carry
close to his chest for life.

He remembers this rose
whose faint perfume still
curls around his songs, tickles
his dreams, and whispers
his poetry awake.


Ann Dunbar's Paper Dress Sculptures

I drove an hour to go back to Curtis Steiner's shop/gallery in Ballard again. The first time wasn't enough. It is the sort of place that lets you poke around and open drawers to see what secrets are held inside. It feels like walking into a poem. The shop sings with storied art, with lots of uncrowded space to pause and wonder...and breathe. It invites you to come in and linger.

Ann Dunbar makes common paper elegant and eloquent. Even the sunlight was attracted and played dress up with us.






























Monday, October 8, 2012

My Love Lets Me Fly


Wind carries my kite high. 
It fights to be free but if I 
give in and release the taut 
string, the dancing colors 
will know mangled ruin -
be lost. 

You hold me tight without 
letting go no matter how I beg. 

You wrap me untangled 
around the strong handle 
of your love. 

You let my colors
out to fly and play -
but not away.

Outlines and Bounding Lines

The child presses down hard

until black wax builds up. 

Inadequate outlines

printed without sufficient

ability can't keep rambunctious 

colors captive on the page.



"Concentrated, contained energy equals eternal delight." William Blake via Malcolm Guite 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blackberry Songs

I sing deep inside the briar patch
trying to lull the blood hungry
branches waiting to attack my
tender flesh.

I sing deep inside the briar patch
to trade pain for pleasure as ripe
berries roll off my thumb into
my waiting palm.

I sing deep inside the briar patch
with gratefulness to the one who
makes spring wet and cold for
sleepy, thirsty vines.

I sing deep inside the briar patch
as I marvel at bees and butterflies
still busy, finding ways to kiss
blossoms awake.

I sing deep inside the briar patch
to stifle the sting of painful pricks
and ignore the stains of the day's
sweet bounty.

I sing deep inside the briar patch
knowing summer is being stored away,
a frozen token of summer's sunshine
trapped inside.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What a Bother

the boy became when
he knocked on my door
every week asking if he
could mow the lawn earlier
this summer.

I didn't need him to help
because it was a bigger bother
showing him how to keep
the custom up - to - snuff
on my green design.

He didn't quit bothering me until
I caved in to his innocent smile.
Primarily he needs food
and pet litter money to help
support his rabbit habit.

I was bothered last month
when he wasted time petting
the cat and talking to the dog.
I answered in a huff when
he asked me about my day.

Today before starting, the boy knocked
again, disturbing my contemplative
reverie. He tenderly handed me the
cat saying, "She will be frightened
when I turn on the motor."

I hope the grass grows fast
this week so he will hurry back
and come knocking at my
door - to bother me some more - and
disrupt my disturbing intensity.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blessings

I count my days blessed
to the degree eagles and
heart rocks find me.

I count my days blessed
to the degree seals and
whales play with me.

I count my days blessed
to the degree golden light
starts and ends the day.

I count my days blessed
to the degree our family
makes sweet memories.

I count my days blessed
to the degree Loverby
kisses and holds me close.

I count my days blessed
to the degree I devour
books on the porch swing.

I count my days blessed
to the degree a friend
stops by and lingers long.

I count my days blessed
to the degree my children
stop to help and hug me.

I count my days blessed
to the degree meteors sprinkle
the heavens above with light.

I count my days blessed
to the degree bumblebees
and butterflies visit the garden.

I count my days blessed
to the degree berries fill
my basket for free.

I count my days blessed
to the degree enthusiasm
for life lifts me high.



Thank you for blessing me. Why not me? I love you, Star Breather. Smooch. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bathsheba

is her second name. She's black,
a demi panther queen 
who comes to torment me
when the bath water starts to run.
 She rushes to hold court
 on my bath towel laying folded
on the closed lid of the toilet seat. 

She turns it with one tweak of 
her whiskers into velvet comfort 
cushioning her rightful throne. 

I close the curtains shyly
for some privacy, thinking 
the steam will do my wrinkles good,
 and teach her not to stare. 
Just when the dozing begins
 a delicate tap of water
splashes my dreams awake. 

She doesn't like separated from 
the unlucky object of her current
 affections, or curious obsessions. 
No closed curtains for this Queen 
unless it's her idea. Resigned,
I know there is no escape
 from her round, unblinking eyes.
She sits regally on the corner 
of the tub finishing her 
slow and thorough bathing routine -
oblivious to being an entertaining
nuisance to me - her unpaid
 lady in waiting. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Knock at the Front Door


Notice the new wood on the right side of this picture. This is our new fence. 




We're redoing our twenty plus year old cedar fence before it falls down completely. The style is called a good neighbor fence like the last one - the slats are staggered and it looks the same on both sides. The new one is two feet higher for more privacy. It frames borders and yard with a warm, golden glow. Loverby did a splendid job - the results are enviable. He's a mathematical genius, a craftsman with wood. I love it. 

What we didn't replace were the two built in gates that led from our yard to the neighbor to the west, and the neighbor on the north side. What was common and normal way back then is no longer desirable in our culture at present. We can't even talk over the fence without a ladder anymore. Good neighbor fences need a new name. There is nothing neighborly about them. There will never be a beaten path through our yard to theirs. We all feel enclosed and safe, and isolated in our comfortable walls. We have complete privacy. I am both glad and sad about this. 

There never will be a fence out in the front. Please come knock on our front door. It is has a big welcome for you. Maybe a pot of soup is still warm. I'll put the tea kettle on and we'll sit on the porch swing and linger till the sun drops down over the roof, then the horizon. If you stay to linger longer, I'll light candles. I hope the path to the front door gets deep ruts and never gets overgrown. I want neighbors who need to borrow a cube of butter or a cup of flour once in a while.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Malcolm Guite


Malcolm came out to the wild, wild west 
to kindle us and turn us on. 

  He is the last living village lamplighter 

who knows how to

trim dead wicks and polish

our globe glass so it casts light again.
Afterward, we see poetry in each other 

crystal clear, shining with the 

original glow.
  
I want to nestle under the spell of 
his dancing words and twinkling eyes
forever, but he lives across the pond,

making this is impossible. When time 

is short with someone who wraps 
his arms around the world, the only

thing to do is tuck up close 

 wherever he is, for as long

as possible, and listen.

Be all there - still and quiet, or dance
 along if you must. 

Every poem and song had a double

shake of English flavored BAM! 
 I believe he could spice, rehydrate,
and tenderize the most ancient 
hide bound leather and make 
it not only tasty, but resurrect it 
so it would be able to 

give milk and moo again. 

Here's another poet who honors 

that long ago last supper's last request,
"Do this - you are my poema, and so are they -

 go make poetry now, in remembrance of Me.” 





This is my tribute to an incredible poet, musician, writer, scholar, and warm human being.  

He blessed us greatly at Kindlingsfest 2012 on Orcas Island. Dick Staub coined him as being the closest thing to a real live hobbit that you'll ever meet. I didn't ask to see his feet for proof, but his pipe convinces me. Only someone from the shire could be so full of life and vibrant joy. 
You can try to keep up with him by following him on Twitter.

Lancia E. Smith wrote one, two, three posts from an interview with him. She captured his essence with her words and photos.

He is involved with preserving the G.K. Chesterton Library and is a chaplain at Girton College, Cambridge. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spongy

I say I do, 
then promptly proceed 
to do nothing
for the rest of our lives 
except soak up
every ounce of love 
and affection you give. 

Full and heavy
like a sponge -
  someone please -
 squeeze me, 
wring me out hard,
so I will be useful 
and absorbent
again.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Air Kissed

 Intimacy happens 
without touching. 
Tongues send syllables 
singing indiscreetly by
 word of mouth like air kisses. 
Fingertips wave them windward
 over the crowded listening.

He aims deliberately for oasis faces. 

  I don't stop to wonder if  
they were meant for me before I 
catch them and press them
 to my greedy mouth. 



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eating Digestives

Your poems stick to my 
unsophisticated palette
like peanut butter pasting
my tongue and mind together. 
Soft pink inner linings absorb
this nourishment first
before I swallow it 
fully masticated minus the mess.
It bypasses my stomach,
and goes directly to my heart -- 
the first responder 
to come to the rescue of
my soul's digestion. 


I'm rereading Gregory Orr's book of poetry - How Beautiful the Beloved. I wipe tears away often, as in frequently, unaware of the reason why I'm crying. Sacred places are often found in and on pages. 


The English often have "digestives" with their tea. I've always been fascinated with this idea. What criteria makes a cookie/biscuit a digestive, I wonder? Books are my digestives...... with tea, of course. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kissing

Loverby, 
how do you know 
exactly when
I'm craving one more kiss? Is 
there a magnetic pull from my 
eyes or do 
my lips ask, inviting?
Do you translate the tilt of my chin
as permission or boldness? 

Loverby,
 I read once that women 
who continue
to enjoy kissing 
way past middle age
keep plush
and luscious lips way into
old age, and give smiles 
that send everyone in
the world spinning.

Loverby, thank you 
for giving me a reason 
to smile.
 Keep bending your
dear head and shoulders
down toward me 
to catch and capture and kiss 
my wanton willingness. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bright Wood





This bright wood he built with 
only her in mind. It waited hitched
to a pair of horses for her to ride 
shotgun beside him into the future 
on their wedding night. 

This bright wood -- carved and 
and painted with gingerbread --
colors and details the dreams he 
attempted while trying to persuade 
her and the butterflies to remain.  

This bright wood stays shaded 
under a tree heavy with pears
close by the barren plans they made
together before she was laid 
down in the ground alone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kayaking

Sitting inches from warm river water
I paddle against the current. Pulling
and scraping bottom I dock to climb
stone terraces where water spills
laughing into black pools below.
Sun echoes off  walls smoothed
and sculpted by wind. Hundreds
of years worth of wind still scribing
away hard edges. I want to lay my
cheek against the firm bulges
above me.

Dry wind peels. Howling wind
scrapes. Wet wind makes walls
weep. Hot wind sucks dry. Driven
wind crumbles. Swirling wind
tumbles odd sections away forming
castle fortress parapets.

Now comes a caressing wind that
pursues until the rocks and I both
splay our inward parts wide open.
Left cleft, without scars or a hint of
being forced, I wait for water to
gush and green things to sprout
from here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fireworks

Carnations and dahlias
flare straight up, hot,

dripping fire - fierce at first

then fading harmless

before one final burst.

This is how my heart

feels - lit up by an invisible punk,
a breathing coal sharing heat, flaming

my waiting awake.




I'm ready to glow, ready to trace
hints and clues left by the last

one who set the night ablaze.

Here I go. Catch me if you

want to burn. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sleepover

I was six, potty trained
many years when I surprised
myself and everyone else by
wetting my pants, wrecking
long laid plans for
an overnighter.

What young boy
curious to
be a man
would want
to try
to enter
that?

I came home for clean clothes
and stayed. I also stayed
ashamed, but came away
from that night intact.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Orcas Love Life

We have lived close to the Puget Sound for many years. Just this weekend we finally saw our resident Orca pods when we were camping out on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands in the Sound.

I stopped taking pictures, because I was missing the fun. Missing the magical moments. One of the females has a black heart framing the entry to her promiscuous parts on her white belly. They are all named. The captains and locals who care, know them by the colors and patterns on their saddles and the shape of their dorsal fin. When they die, they disappear. The family is ruled by a matriarch. They stay together for life.

They are tactile and often touch each other with their fins and lie belly to belly even when not breeding.  They roll around and caress each other, smiling all the while.

The things they like most to do are eat, breed, and sleep. In that order. Whatever time is left over, they spend being curious, and playful. Shouldn't we?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Indulgent Sacrifice

Summer comes only 
after strawberries are
willing to bleed full bags 
of life-giving transfusions
filled with sugar
sweetened red
by sunshine's heat.  

They want cut open 
and beg to be
bitten into, leaving
a stain so
everyone knows the 
exact way 
I partook of pleasure
today. 



Sometimes Shalom

whispers like a
will-o-the-wisp,
"I'm with you -
come follow me."

I don't know Hebrew
but surely Shalom
is spelled this way?