Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sage is More Than a Spice

I see prowess and mastery in this
amazing feat, this artistry you do.
But it embarrasses
me to show how much I
admire it and how much I
want to be able to do it too.

I'm weak and don't want to
expose my lack. So I don't ask
or have you show me how.
I'll do it myself. 
You're not the boss of me.
I'll figure it out the long way.
I turn away from your easy offer
to share what you know.
I turn away from your ability
to take time to show.
My insecurity wastes non-renewable
resources - your sage wisdom, skill,
and years of experience.

Recycling is a generous roundabout -
a creative thing to do. Goodwill
begets goodwill. It sprouts, goes rampant.
Rinse it. Strain it. Eat it when it grows
three leaves - faith, hope, and charity.
Love is the greatest of these. 
It twines back upon itself
and swallows the spasm 
constricting my throat.

Only when I become 
a sage
will I know what a gift it is 
when a seeker asks 
and we both receive 
a lesson. Love never ends. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Look Through the Peephole

I see kelp whips 
waiting for wings to rest
 rent free on bulbous  
mooring buoys. 

I see driftwood locked fast 
between roots and rocks needing
 a tip jar for thankful

When Push Comes to Shove

a toy-sized tugboat 
bullies logs bigger than 
him into manageable batches.
Cabled, they wait to be pulled
and pushed into a pile at the mill 
where a blade sinks its savage teeth.
 Torn bark, grain and pitch fills
 cargo containers craned onto 
barge cities sitting fathoms
deep and miles high. 

China buys our oxygen. 
We sell it cheap, then buy back 
dead, wholesale consumable goods -
bankrolling some and bankrupting others.
 It pollutes their asiatic factory air 
and poisons the Puget Sound
 playground we share with 
resident orca whales. 

Ediz Hook - Port Angeles, Washington - September 2014. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


We have a new gas fireplace 
this winter. 
It turns on with a click, 
leaves no wood
chip mess, and cost us
a heap to buy and 
install. I can't put 
a kettle on the hob 
or depend upon it 
if the power goes out. 

I remember another fake fire when we
were newly wed with a need for 
romance after the babies were tucked
into bed. It didn't cost anything. 
The candles feebly flickered a brave flame 
off the cardboard box backed 
with shiny aluminum foil. Stacks of 
 rolled, brown construction paper logs,
wood grained with crayons burned
with orange flames looking like 
limp ocean waves because the cresting
 paper curls were ambitiously high. 

We lounged luxuriously - 
roasting marshmallows 
and toasting our love - 
warming the other's skin 
with kisses and hugs. 
I wonder two things: 
How did we cue up 
our imaginations 
so fast? And how did we 
manage to fit or have any fun
on that postage-stamp sized
sheepskin rug? 


I saw several young people 
carrying weights around
 the block. It didn't seem 
like strength training. 
Did their guide want
 them to experience 
what a twenty five pound 
burden felt like? Some burdens
 may be shared. Many aren't ours 
to carry. The boy hefting the painful
 fifty pounder to his other
 shoulder looked like a friend would
 have to help him make it back. 

Maybe the teacher wanted
 them to know what twenty five 
pounds of extra fat -- around 
your tummy, thighs, and hips -- 
felt like. How breathing 
and moving is made 
difficult and more difficult
 as weight is added 
by default in small,
 easy increments, but 
takes slow purpose 
and dedication to lose. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Applause for Uxurious Husbands

I've heard there are 
uxurious husbands.

These men show excessive
affection and devotion for

their wives. They are undone.
Amused. Charmed. The

wife of such a man is 
cherished and considered

precious. He lets her 
know when he's grateful,

and exactly how and why
he appreciates her. He 

isn't afraid to risk the 
vulnerability of showing

her the degree to which he is
 smitten by her sensuality, 

enthralled by her wisdom,
intrigued by her creativity,

amazed by her strength,
and dazzled by her beauty.

Her influence on him is considered
a welcomed gift, never a threat.

He seems blind to her limitations
and forgets to be offended.

He has her best interests at
heart and believes it's mutual.

It tickles him to indulge her silly
fancies, to care, to be interested.

He cheerfully dotes on her whims
and supports her dreams. 

He doesn't mind when other 
men define his submissive

fondness in derogatory terms like --
pussy-whipped, cuckold, sucker, 

whimp, or gullible pushover
whose wife has him by the balls --  

because he doesn't see their wives
looking at them with wanting 

desire in their eyes. He doesn't
mind when other men mock

his attentive, loving attunement
because he doesn't see their

wives reaching out to hold hands
or look big eyed at them like heroes.

He shrugs off the macho advise
about wearing the pants and

being the real leader of the home
because his foolish looking uxorious

ways gives him access as often as he
wishes to come inside her luxurious

secret garden and play. And
heal. And have intimacy. And be

the beloved of the beloved.

Craig and I just came back from a week long tent camping trip out on Sequim Bay. We took our bikes
in order to enjoy Discovery Trail. We averaged about twenty miles a day for 6 days. It was a relaxing, fun, restorative time. I noticed how much ease and enjoyment we have after 26 years together. I really, really like being with my friend and lover. I love to play together. I hope we have many years more to do so.

 I would credit The Gottman's work for giving us most of the tools we needed to get to this place. They mention the uxurious husband. I had never heard the word. When I researched it, it resonated with me and prompted this. I recognized him. He's mine and I am his.

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to Wear Holes in a Poem

There are two ways to wear
a hole in a poem.

Two ways to tear
the edges ragged.

One way exhausts
you and the words.

It happens on a
screen, processing,

rearranging, trading,
deciding, choosing,

worrying, changing,
deleting, and cutting.

The other way to wear
a hole in a poem

is an invigorating
process. It happens

on a cotton rag page
softened to a fine fuzz

by hands persuading and
pleading for one singing

line to pierce your heart.
Transformation like

this happens whenever
it is now. Paper pulp is

woven under water
and pressed. Deckled

edges leave proof that my
imagination got soaked.

Holes worn in paper show
where the baptism happened.

I used C.S. Lewis' quote about George MacDonald's work baptizing his imagination as a prompt. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why I Love Sally Hansen

God, Sally Hansen, Google, Craig, my family, my friends, my home, Puget Sound. 

That's my priority list in the order in which I'm most grateful. You wonder who Sally Hansen is? I'll tell you why she's very high on my list. 

I secretly started shaving more than my legs and arm pits… at about 20 years of age. This was after I tried hair bleach, which turned my upper lip fuzz a disturbing color of yellow. My mustache was presenting thick, dark fuzz like a pubescent boy's. Embarrassing, but not worth wearing a bag over my head for.

After I birthed children, the fuzz turned course and black. The hair on my head started turning grey, but not on my lip, unfortunately. I started dreaming of electrolysis and laser treatments. We didn't have money for such luxuries. 

My kind and generous husband graciously handed me his razor after he used it. He comforted me the first time he did by saying he was sure Christy Brinkley must have facial hair she had to deal with. 

When our girls grew older and money wasn't quite as scarce, I started pampering myself with a pedicure once every couple of months. I couldn't help but notice the posters and menus for this foreign thing called waxing. I wasn't quite sure what some of the items meant, but they made me blush. 

I got the courage to ask my pedicurist to shape my eyebrows. It felt as awkward as ordering my first  latte in a strange town. Looking back, she probably itched to get at the obvious whisker shadow on my top lip and chin while she was at it. 

Graciously, she waited till I was ready. When I found the courage to ask for an upper lip wax, she told me she had a special going that day and would do everything above my neck for a fixed rate and let me see how I liked it. She proceeded to rip my face apart with zeal and gusto. 

She defined the hairline on my forehead. A soul patch I didn't know I had was removed post haste. The inside of my nose, my unsuspecting sideburns, the moles, and the offending fuzz between my eyebrows was zipped off. I was slick and smooth as a newborn baby's bottom. The oil did not help my traumatized skin as much as she promised it would. Waxing treatments should last for 6-8 weeks. 

My hair must be fertilized by all the coffee I drink  because within 3 weeks, I needed help. I couldn't find time or didn't have the money - so I started shaving again. The fuzz turned to whiskers once more. 

If you aren't hairy, you need to know that going to the eye Doctor or the Dentist is exposing. They wear magnifying glasses and get up close enough to count blackheads on your nose. Before your appointment a shave is the last thing one does after flossing and using mouthwash. 

Occasionally, I went back to have a professional wax for weddings or special events so I could feel confident and unconcerned about the time I returned home before the shadow returned. I imagine Cinderella felt the same trauma and time constraints about her pumpkin? 

My daughter just left home. Before she went, she persuaded me to go to a beauty supply store for some waxing equipment and education. Mom, you should learn to wax on a regular basis because shaving takes its toll -- it is demoralizing for a woman. The soft fuzz supposedly diminishes with every wax, coming in thinner and thinner over time - unlike shaving which causes whiskers and 5 o'clock shadows. Ok, no more giving kisses, hugs, and whisker rubs for me. 

We agonized over the warmer, the type and brand of wax, the strips, the sticks. Nobody informed us we needed a collar for the warmer. It took a long time to figure out what it was or why we needed one. 

The first time did not work out like the directions or pictures. Strings of sticky wax dripped everywhere -- our clothes, the sink, the floor, our skin. My skin turned bright red because the temperature was too hot. The damage made my face sag anew with melted wrinkles.  

Curses upon Pinterest and YouTube. They lie. I saw an 'easy recipe' for sugaring. No mess, no fuss, no sticky wax, easy clean up. Not only did the video show how to make it, but how to deplete your hairy legs. 

Because my mom was fun when I was young, when I got to the part where you have to play with the ball of cooling sugar I remembered taffy pulling parties as a kid. Oh boy, this was fun. And familiar. I had some previous skill to put to use. I kept the hot ball of sugar going like a hot potato from one hand to the other until I could stretch it and fold it together again. 

When we pulled taffy, we buttered our hands. I couldn't use butter as it might ruin the recipe. The ball started sticking. I didn't remember it sticking to the girl's hands in the video but I couldn't replay it to see without washing my hands. I forgot to take my rings and bracelets off. Before my hands turned into boxing glove sculptures made with cement-like sugar, I turned the faucet on with my elbow and washed and washed until it dissolved. Shaving seemed like a serene experience. Who cares about whiskers? 

Then I met Sally Hansen. She makes these sticky strips on some tidy, clear plastic. You warm them in your hands, peel them apart and apply to the area you want hair free. And rip or zip as the professionals call it - against the way the hair lays. Simple and economical. They don't mention the involuntary scream that accompanies the zipping part. 

I don't know if you look in the toilet when you're done, or look at your kleenex when you're finished -- but do look at Sally Hansen's wax strip when you can breathe again. Nothing equals the pleasure or intense gratification of a patch of hairs imbedded permanently in thin wax with their follicles still quivering in shock. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


 He left home every morning
a stranger in crisp fatigues blousing 
over boots polished like glass. 
Hugs wrinkled ruin into his day’s fresh start. 
Stepping on his shine was not allowed. 
Mom’s perfunctory kiss -- necessarily chaste -- 
religiously kept 
his starched uniform in shape.
 Anything warmer might
mess him up or make him late. 

 I dreaded the interval between 
his homecoming and the symbolic 
shedding of his soiled shirt. But the saving
scent of his thin, soft undershirt 
 proved him safely familiar 
and mine once again. 

 My messy need for contact
shed my shyness faster than 
his race to bust open the brass 
buckle on his olive drab belt, 
loosen the top button on his pants,
 and lay his scuffed boots aside. 

All in one motion 
he relaxed against the couch, 
offered his arm for a step, hoisted 
me onto his shoulders and proffered
his black pocket comb. 

 I welcomed the whisker burn 
on my legs dangling tangled 
around his neck.

His hair had enough 
pomade left to stay put
 in exotic or comic styles
 I slowly groomed in, 
 and combed quickly out.

By the time rhythmic purring 
came from his sagging 
throat and heavy head --
 tyranny returned. 
I scolded him to wake up, 
to straighten his neck
so I could put the final flourish
on the glistening masterpiece. 
His black curls became 
a conduit translating love
 through hungry, 
interpretive hands. 

Friday, September 5, 2014


 When I was young,
 I heard the worn out 
overused promise like this:
 Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy 
would follow me 
all the days of my life. 
They have indeed, but at 
first they irritated me.  
Sometimes I've bumped
smack into them 
when I turn around
because they are
 following so close. 
Sometimes they look 
like scary shadows 
over my shoulder. 
Sometimes they flat-tired
 my heels and tripped me up. 
But surely, I'd be bereft without
  the triage of their consistent,
 constant company.