Good Morning

I am awake, having a cup of coffee, and looking forward to starting today’s marathon. I did my first marathon in 2019 and am happy to say I have not missed one since. I just had my first book of poetry, Hello, Old Age, published. I credit the Poetry Marathon with providing the foundation for most of the poems that were included in the book.


Our regular table

in a used bookstore.

What a fine idea that they sell wine

along with books

and schedule poetry readings

and trivia nights.

What a blessing

that I know women

who love wine and books and trivia.

Women who drive downtown

once a week to find parking

and drink wine

and inhale the scent of books.

How lucky to know women

who prefer cozy places

away from the in crowd

who value conversation

and laughter

and friendship.

Women without agenda

or pretense.

The women who gather

at our regular table

in a used bookstore.

Mystic Cattle

Cattle seem indifferent

when they enter the slaughter house

marching compliantly to their death.

Perhaps they know

and just don’t resist.

Perhaps they hold some cosmic secret

about the next life

or their karmic reward.

Perhaps their seeming indifference

masks a deep mystic certainty.



I wish I had my mother’s gift

for making something out of nothing.

A can of tuna

is creamed tuna on toast.

Flour turns drippings into gravy.

Jello is a fancy desert.

Leftover roast beef

is a Sunday night sandwich.

Rhubarb is a pie.

Apples make a sauce.

Her kitchen was an allegory

for life lessons.



What a joyous guffaw

shook me to my feet.

Humor bubbled down from my brain

then circled to my funny bone.

Words and image meshed and melded

tickling my brain stem

then exiting through my throat

my tear ducts

and, ungracefully,

through my nose.


We used to play mancala
in the evening or on a Sunday afternoon.

Newlyweds with time to enjoy each other,
laughing at a loss
shrugging off a win

wanting only the togetherness
and something to do.

Colored stones clicking
moving faster with each round

faster like time.
We used to play mancala

wanting only the togetherness.
One day we stopped making time
for togetherness.

No more mancala.
No more marriage.

Time and Quiet

Give me time and quiet
to read a hardback book
out under an oak tree
not on some pavement.

Give me time and quiet
and a hardback book
under an oak tree.

Let me carry a satchel
with extra volumes (just in case)
to that quiet space

Nail a sign above me
that says “Do not disturb.”

I’ll return when I’m ready,
when I’ve had enough of time and quiet.

In Memory of Spot

Spot quietly accepted his role as family dog
ate cereal from a spoon
wore a bib
put up with me.

Learned to sit up
and say, “Please.”
Ran to meet me
when I came home from school.

Never complained about being saddled
with a name from Dick and Jane.
Slept in the basement.
Ate Red Heart dog food from a can.

Barked at the mailman.
Broke his back leg.
Thumped around in a cast.

Stayed out of the frontroom
and off from the furniture.
Knew his place.

Except when he didn’t.
Except when he escaped out the back screen door
and raced free through the neighborhood,
looking for girl dogs,
enticing them,
and fathering lots of little Spots.

100 Years Ago

Two years without a drink …
a legal drink.

Two years of ear-to-the-ground
for satisfaction.

Two years of watching criminals
make a killing.
Financial killing.
Bloody killing.

Two years since the government
passed judgment on me,
branded me immoral,
removed my choice.

Oh, Lord, bring me back 100 years from now
to 2022
to a reborn America
to freedom of choice.

If things have not changed by then, Lord,
at least let me have a legal drink.

Birthday Photo

A birthday photo of a dog

says something about the owner

but little about the dog.

The owner loves either all of life

or only one small canine part of life.

Spends money because there is money to spend

or spends beyond budget and reason.

Invites a dozen friends to the party

or celebrates as a party of two.

Thanks the dog for heroic deeds

or spoils the dog for no reason at all.

Rescued an elderly dog from the shelter

or splurged on a purebred puppy.

Welcomes the dog into a large family

or makes a family of the dog.

The dog meantime knows this:


soft couch


and doesn’t care to see the photo.

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