The Ravens on the Fence – Hour 18

Some of the best times Mom and I had

as she aged were picking up our weekly groceries

curbside and having hamburgers at Burger King.

It started during Covid.


She uses a walker to get around now,

and getting into and out of the car

has become a fairly major ordeal.

Luckily the car is comfortable and cool.


They built a new emergency health clinic

right in front of where we park for the groceries,

and we normally have a 10 minute wait.

Grackels, ravens and crows fly over to the fence


And look at us with their strange eyes

and head tilts. I read that crows remember

faces, so maybe they are being sociable

with us, and don’t understand our rudeness.


Perhaps I should get out sometime

and feed them something.

I do at Burger King. Mom loves the

Bacon King sandwich with its double meat.


Crows are omnivores, so we can break off

bits of the hamburger meat

and throw them out the window.

Ravens will grab the meat, too, and dart away.


I like to share what I eat with wild life.

Mom, not so much.

She’s of the old fashioned school of thought

when it comes to wild animals and their place.


The burger loving crows seem very unafraid.

They fly instantly to the fence by the car

and tilt their heads as if wondering

when the inevitable snacks will start.


They and the ravens are pretty saucy about walking

right up to the door, like they would like

an invitation to join us in the car

for lunch. Perhaps they do recognize us.


It’s a time of extended drought now.

Maybe I should start carrying a little dish

for water to help the birds wash down the meat.

Seems like the responsible thing to do.



Kaleidoscope – Hour 17

Nothing seems more magical

to a child

than to spend

some hours

with a kaleidoscope.


Endless magical scenes

unfold as the colors

roll and twist and dissolve

one into another.


There may once have been

a purpose for them,

but now we only know

them as children’s toys


that adults will sneak away

and play with themselves

until they are caught and

must give it back.


The effortless blending

of colors relaxes the mind

the way we now use white noise

or fly over undulating landscapes.


Somewhere I have

a beautiful kaleidoscope

I bought for myself. Smooth

wooden stand and brass wheel.


To use it today brings back

memories of the caves

full of rubies, sapphires and diamonds

I read in “The White Cat”,


In a slower time,

at a leisurely pace

that didn’t have to end

until I wanted it to.


Old Senator Roundtree

Old Senator Roundtree


Today we lost a giant sequoia of a man in the Senate.

Senator Thomas Roundtree lost his heroic fight with cancer.

He had served our state for the last 43 years,

a pillar of democratic ideals and an all around

good friend to the working class.


Like his father before him, he never met a voter

he didn’t like. His wife of 51 years Molly Sever Roundtree

told our Hank Brown that while the last 6 years

had been quiet, the cancer suddenly flared again last month,

and caught their family unaware. Doctors could do little.


The Roundtrees are survived by their three children,

Anthony, John and Martha Ann Roundtree Clinton.

The children have established a fund in their father’s name

that will provide saplings and volunteer planters in the area

of the devastating Holbein Fire that blackened 1200 acres in April.


Senator Roundtree would have liked that. He was never one

to miss a gathering that would help to end global warning. He

will be cremated, and a memorial service will be held

in early October. Silent prayers will be held daily for

one minute at noon to help citizens and colleagues

reflect on his impact and how much his good heart will be missed.


Physics and Metaphysics – Hour 15

Today I was at lunch with a physicist I know.

His eyes lit with a golden glow,

his cheeks flushed as he said with relish,

“We don’t know what dark matter is,

but dark matter is everywhere, and is responsible

for all of us being here.”

He was proud to educate me, to be part of

something so new, so vast and grand.


Experiencing his words and the emotion

behind them took me back to another

place 40 years before, where I was the one

with the shining eyes. I sat rapt

in a meditation led by a guru I had never seen before

and knew nothing about. He said earnestly,

“Everything comes from love.

Love is in all things and gives form to creation.”

His whole being seemed to glow, and I felt

understanding grow in me..


Hello, Where did you go? the physicist asked.

I told him my memory, and then realized

I had just solved one of the great mysteries of physics.

“The answer is Love = dark matter!” I said. They are both everywhere,

all pervading, the entire ocean in a drop

as small as one cell.


His face was blank.

“Look at her,” he thought, “thinking she understands physics

in an instant, when I’ve studied it for decades

and am only now learning one of the great problems!

She is so naïve. Love can’t be the same as

dark matter just because some guru sitting on a pillow

says it is! How ridiculous! I can’t possibly stay around

someone who is so easily led, and clearly wrong.”


I watched his struggle, thinking, He will not be able

to let this go, and he is about to blame me.


He waited a few more polite minutes, then stood

and excused himself. It was clear there was no future

here, so we parted ways, not relishing a fight,

each of us knowing we are right.

Redaction – Hour 14

I can’t do this poem.

I don’t know how to start a poem I would redact for changed meaning.

Time is simply flying by and I can’t put a single word on the page. Sorry.

I tried.



The Care Giver – Hour 13

I am a care giver for my aging mother.

Not much humor in that.

Bittersweet at times maybe,

frustrating, yes!

But funny not so much.


If it were anyone else’s mother with dementia

I might find humor in how this lady dresses now.

She was always a clothes horse and

conscious of fashion and her appearance.


Now she wears gym pants with a racing stripe,

A gauzy cotton Indian shirt with a nylon nightgown on top

and a big white sun hat with a blue flower on it.

Around the house.


Or an orange satin mu-mu over blue jeans

with a green cotton t-shirt over the dress

and a grey furry winter hat that she loves. Why?

To run away from home with her walker. (She’s tried.)


A backwards printed top over inside out pants

rolled up at the cuff, because “that’s how

all the girls wear them this season.” And a purse she made

that is covered in buttons and has nothing inside.


She loves to squirrel things away.


When she passes, I’m sure we will finally find

her two sets of hearing aids, her two missing

pairs of glasses, the gold coins she has always

accused me of taking, and her four missing hairbrushes.


They’ll be with assorted fancy cookie and candy boxes

that she thought too pretty to throw away.

Near my Dad’s practically new black cowboy boots

and the baseball that used to be in the toe of them.

He died in 2004.


And we can’t forget the pictures! Pictures of herself

that she swears are her mother.

Pictures of her children that she swears are not hers.

Plus perfume and lipsticks that are too old to use.

But so is she. And so am I.

And both getting older every day.



Mandalas – Hour 12

Some say mandalas are the footprints left by ancient astronauts flying Vimanas.

To see the base of a Vimana overhead it appears to be a flying saucer,

yet from the side it is like a flying pyramid.


We’ve learned in recent years that sand sprinkled on Chladni plates

creates beautiful geometric patterns, more complex as the tonal frequency rises.

Another type of mandala, equally mysterious.


Tibetan Buddhists labor for weeks with brightly colored sand or rice grains

to help draw certain energies into the earth realm as they pray,

only to sweep it all away in minutes.


South Asian rulers commission extravagant works of art for mandalic jewelry

to be used on turbans and cloaks. Arab jewelers use complex geometric patterns

from nature to enhance their homes and mosques.


There’s something hypnotic about a pendulum swinging over a sand tray,

back and forth, circling round. Gravity or magnetism they say is the force,

but it looks a lot like magic.


Regardless of culture or purpose, a thing of beauty brings joy forever.

The Secret Path – Hour 11

I never believed in fairies or goblins or leprechauns.

I was born to a practical family.

But reading fairy tales and magical stories was all I wanted to do.

I had a willing suspension of disbelief, and could believe the stories

without expecting such creatures to appear in the real world.


Years later I discovered overgrown garden pathways

and mysterious woods full of the sounds I knew

magic would make. No other places are so welcoming

to me today. No other places so much like home.


Down a green tunnel to a fairy castle or a witch’s lair,

Seeking bright eyes and the slight flutter of wings,

I once again become six years old, expecting

the Ice Queen’s sleigh and the wonder of Turkish Delight.

What is Love? – Hour 10

My husband died in February.

We haven’t lived together for years, but

we stayed close. Just as we were when we were together.

He lived across the world, and when he died,

I thought I would somehow know. We had that bond.

But I didn’t. He was buried the following day.

No lengthy goodbyes, no chance to go to the meager funeral.

I miss having him in the world to talk to. I valued his opinions.

He had his failings, as did I, but it didn’t spoil our friendship.

He was always there for me, always looking for ways to help.


We traveled the world, we started a successful business,

we loved nature, we talked about philosophy and religion,

about science and genealogy, about children and politics.

We shared cooking and movies and art and music,

love of animals and gardening and good chocolate.


He loved to read my writing, and I loved to hear his.

(He had to translate, so he always read them to me.)


Two weeks ago, I had a dream.

He came home to our house and brought me

a tiny baby elephant. It must have been two days old.

Its little trunk flapped uselessly, and it still hadn’t

figured out what to do with its feet. It was love at first sight.


We had to go out for a while and had no place for him.

We put him in the empty garage with some blankets and water.

When we returned it was after dark. I was in a panic.

I had forgotten the baby, and was worried about his safety.


The garage was dimly lit, and the baby

was lying on the floor with its head between its front legs,

its rubbery little trunk lying helplessly on the concrete.

As soon as he saw us, he stumbled to his feet and ran out

right past us, across the street, trunk waving, to pee in the grass.

He came dancing back on his little toes, and rubbed and hugged

me excessively. I knew this baby was mine, and it was touching

to see his innocent little face and excitement.


In real life, my husband knew I looked to Karl Jung for dreams,

and when I looked up baby elephant it said,

“You have a lot of power, and you are starting a new enterprise

that will succeed greatly if you nurture it.”


That is just what my husband would have done–

made sure I understood that something good was happening.

Who can ignore an elephant, the harbinger of success?

Maybe he is still looking out for me.


That’s also love.


Summer in Mississippi – Hour 9

Out back of the carport the bayou quivered with mayflies

and June bugs and mosquitoes looking for love.

A normal summer night in the south.

A bare yellow lightbulb sputtered on the porch.

We bet our meager allowances

on how much longer it would last.

We hoped it would go out.

Night is better.

It wasn’t chilly, but you put your jacket around me,

and blushed with the tremor that went through me.

The smell of your skin enveloped me.

I put my hand on your arm and

Your elbow bumped my breast.

I felt you gasp, and I looked down quickly to smile.

There were cinnamon candies in your jacket pocket.

We took two, knowing it wouldn’t be long

before we would be breathing each other’s breath.

We knew where to go, and there was still plenty of time.



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