Arriving Home


Raincoat, steam percolating.
Evening tomatoes, jars.
Children elbow: mystery.


Pole Shift


Here’s what happens when the poles shift
Negative and positive recombine
Magnetism reverses
As it does pretty regular in geologic time,
Which didn’t mean much to us last go.

But oh, the wailing on the wind this time!
You might be able to use that smartphone as a coaster.
Don’t worry about the $600, because all those dollars in your account are a
Sophistry of E.

Your big money coaster is the least of your worries.

No electricity; refrigeration, satellites, TV, computer, cars, trains,
Boats (except the old kinds that don’t need software to float),
Ovens, video games, reverse osmosis water purifiers, vacuum cleaners,
Automatic sprinkling timers, fast food joints, e-cigarettes, agonizing prolonged medical
Zombie deaths gone.

The whole planet – WHAM – lightning fried.

Those cities will empty out.
Junk will rust.
Subways will fill with fish.
People will die.
Those kids who can’t think without their phones will die.
Folks with heroic video avatars and guts propped up on the coffee table will die.
It won’t be pretty. It won’t be fair. No one will deserve it.

But a marginal few will know what to do.
Somebody will remember how flint stone glints in the
Soil and how to use it.

A weaver’s guild will gather where
Shepherds groom their flocks. A barn will have a cache of old
Shears that could use a scrub and a drop of oil.
Someone will dust off the grinding stones and
Trade your wheat and a little extra butter for
Flour and a chat by the creek.


Each of us will know the true price of every gathered seed, each
Thread and vine, each weave and build, every drop of water and bite of food we’ve
Discovered, spun, grown, designed, constructed, carried, or killed and dressed

We will cook together again, listening to the music of
Wolves by our fitful fading light, wandering with our
Imaginations across a background of flame.

Why Dogs Are Better Than Dates




Jaded a bit, I know.
Certainly there are benefits to human dates
No dog can fulfill.
Certainly, no human date should ever feel
Expected to be my dog.

Yet I sleep better with
Comfort and company,
Warmth and breath, heartbeat and
Dream dances.

I sleep best when there is no room for
Doubt of waking with me
Glad to start our day with a few
Sloppy kisses.

Let’s face it, I’m a bitch:
Mother and pack leader,
Warrior, provider, teacher and always
Gentle if, if, if
If you build no pressure against my
Sovereignty or pups.

This is frictionless to my dogs, and I am
Safe as myself among them.

You might not understand I’m
Happy to share power and instead think my
Royalty must be your
Diminishment, which wouldn’t
Work out well, even if the
Lust distracts us awhile.

So dogs are better than dates, though that’s
Jaded a bit, I know.



There are No Words for This, But a Poet Has to Try



How can a jig
Encapsulate life?
Two measures tear me up,
Tighten my throat
Capsize my heart so it floats upside down in my chest,
Rudder aloft and sails under water.

It starts with the swallowtails, of course,
Dipping and diving for insects on the wing
Clamoring in caves
Wooing and brooding.

They fly through a park.
Diving kites mimic the birds, drawing my mind toward a
Flipped edge of skirt and its
Recipient, playing cool on a bench
Sending back a one-sided grin of
Paired hope and disdain.

Children nearby whose folks started
Parenting on nothing much more
Chatter and call through the playground
Already practicing their lives as they’ve been taught.

One chides, one hides and cries,
One bawls so much the others decide to ignore him,
Except the quiet girl who knows what it means to cry alone.
These other two girls juggle a soccer ball with their feet,
That boy tribe steals it and learn some girls aren’t afraid to hit.
One mom praises, the other derides.

A set of five, who will live and die at each other’s sides,
Dig cities in the moist sand, idly daydreaming,
Sharing a high mileage box of slightly gritty caramel corn.

Beneath them blades of grass bend,
Cells vigorous with
Life. Their roots extend into the earth, which
Teems with worms, beetles, mites, fungi,

My mind tries to grasp each life,
Expanding into the trees, the creek, the air.
Each biome on every scale is a festival of entities,
Pulsing with lives grand and pitiable,
Lucky and cursed,
Long and bitterly short.

Twisting in this infinity,
My heart capsizes.
The Fiddler puts down her bow.

At Red They Start To Scream



Autumn red, and the silent leaves
Release that rustle which is a scream for them.

Rolling down the road too fast and it turns red;
they scream.

Crashed and on a gurney, he reaches for her hand;
His red blood spills; she screams.

Feet up in those stirrups and pushing,
She turns red and screams.

Bursting from a womb,
his tiny red face screams.

Alone now, accounts all deep in the red,
she screams.

The little one grows to love the trumpet; her face turns red because
Even out in the garage, practice sounds like screams.

She sits in the stands, cheering and red,
Screaming for his marching band.

She forgets her hat; her thinning grey part blisters.
She forgets the red until she takes a brush to her hair and screams.

They hang a big rainbow money thermometer to fundraise for his trip.
When the red is colored in, they scream.

Judges measure the competition in audience decibels;
They’re screaming for him and the needle swings up red.

Famous now, a deferent doctor calls him about her results. Too many red numbers
Appear on the page. He drops his head but doesn’t scream.

Autumn red, and the silent leaves
Release that rustle which is a scream for them.

Introduction Update

I just quit teaching after 26 years. Between that and all the other art I do and all the other stuff I might be able to sell and all the places in the world I’ve been invited to do aikido, I have been very stuck about a new job. After all, I’ve been in school one way or another almost every week day of my life since I was six.

Nine hours into the marathon and I am sad for those poor people who only signed up for half and have to quit soon.

Nine hours into the marathon and it hits me: I need to make writing my job.

Black Widow Teaches


Out here in the desert,
Everybody bites, pinches, or stings.

When my hound learned rattlesnakes were bad
(I was grateful for the fence between them)
My neighbor taught me to
Pin its head and neck with something heavy
Decapitate it with a shovel (don’t touch it because it can still
Bite) and drop it in the septic access pipe.

The hound was so proud of himself he
Bayed at the garden hose for half an hour.

I use a snake stick now if they’re too close to the house, and
Release those rattlers in their range.
I was a girl with a
Toad in a jar or a jar full of flies for my
Lizards, or a wild snake in my grubby hands
Gently returning him home after a some probably
Terrifying gigantic admiration.

We’ve got scorpions, sun spiders, Gila monsters, coral snakes,
Fire ants, kissing bugs, raccoons, coyote, and
Cougar (she was using the treehouse as a
Feeding perch and it took a pitched pile of rocks before she picked a better

An honored guest
Tarantula lives in my basement and eats

So a black widow in the door jamb
Near the carport
Really didn’t bother at all. I said
Hi to her as I came and went to work.

But the mutual non-aggression policy
Failed when I saw that sack of eggs.

Bleach in a bottle was in easy reach, so I
Squirted it on the cocoon of her lives.

I figured, I figured…
It doesn’t matter what I figured because
Black Widow Mother sprinted to her eggs. She
Leapt back as she approached the stink. She knew it was
Poison; she walked a jittery circle away and back twice.

I figured, I figured…
It doesn’t matter what I figured because her
Frantic legs straddled drops of death clinging to her guy wires and she
Plucked up that sodden silk purse of destroyed hope;
Away she went, wobbling, slowing, absorbing toxic extermination
So she could save her babies.
Aghast, I watched her die, her body in death still
Clutching the corpse cocoon.

I figured, I figured…
It doesn’t matter what I figured because
I was wrong.



theres a dance in the old dame yet

Quote for The Golden Shovel form:
“theres a dance in the old dame yet”
from don marquis’ archy and mehitabel

by now you really ought to know theres
ways and means to this getting along a
willingness to dance
when it may turn out wrong in
this world the
time grinds fast twisting us old
spinning infant to daughter to lady to mother to dame
not that theres any blame of course but you havent seen the best of me yet

Attention Deficit Disorder


Buried far back in time
Fossilized in his silent heart
Daddy and those pounding fists disappeared.

Packed away in his spleen fester the words he learned
While waiting for the pummeling to wane.

There stands his spine:
Rigid, upright, furious now if one asks him to bend.

Under his skin writhe wounds still open though veiled with scars.
A cut for each day of hunger
A scratch for each hate word slung
A little pinchaso each time Mama barked back
A stab each trick his sister turned
Deep punctures for each of Mama’s vicious boyfriends
And a serious slice for the kind one who remembered his birthday and
On the sidewalk
Under the elm
Just getting a jacket he left in the car.

Tats scroll his collar and hands to
Remind Mama he has been long gone for years, and
Emulate his friends, who advise a few tattoos create a look of
Experience and a nibble of safety when
Inevitably entering prison.

Each expensive stitch
Expresses the bank he makes
Selling dank at the junior high and the
Bullshit future world of respect all those teachers
Lie about if only he’d fulfill his

He sets his face in neutral,
Mind tasting the freedoms of night.

Far, far away, almost on a different planet,
His hand rests on a desk holding a pencil that,
uncaptained, dawdles around the blank page.