We can always start again – proverb on teabag


Those roots were deep,

harder to get out

than I thought,


my neighbor said, bending

to dig out the dead rosemary –

a vast bush in our garden’s center


that hadn’t survived winter’s

record cold.  Only last summer, our

community couldn’t give away enough:


Rosemary for soup, salads,

what have you.  Please clip, trim,

so our elderly plant stays strong. 


Plenty for everyone. Today, we mourn.

Tomorrow, we plant lavender,

owning our love of new starts.


Windy at the marina,

three seals show their sleek

black heads, then dive; gone!


* American Sentence: “This form, invented by Allen Ginsberg, is simply a variation of the haiku. The rules of an American Sentence are very simple. The poem is one sentence, 17 syllables long. That’s it. If you can write a haiku, you can write an American Sentence, though it would also be fair to argue it’s a little more challenging because while haiku don’t have to be complete sentences, American Sentences … well, kind of obviously do.”



after a photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash


Brown cabin with simple porch/steps.  Here to the horizon nothing

but mountains, blue-white snow.  Scads of ski tracks lead

hither and back.  Who will notice if I return?

BUNNY [Hour 4]

I watch Bunny, the iRobot,

scoot along the low carpet, back

and forth, spinning in place


when she detects

a particularly gnarly spot –

dirt alert! – her white whisker


sensors spinning, touching,

leading the way like a rabbit’s

or cat’s. I can’t help


but smile, whistle while

iRobot works. No wonder cats

ride these vacs like Disney’s


spinning tea cups.

Carry on, Bunny,

make my day!

MONITOR [Hour 2]

Making the bed, I pull

the fitted-sheet corner tight,

slide to the next corner,

roll my shoulders. Pause.


Not my bed, but I’m

doing my best.


One more corner.


Out the window, the

garden bustles, bursts with

energy. Stalks bend in the

sea breeze that comes and goes

as the sky pleases.


Tonight, I will

sleep in this bed.


The heat that July was monumental,

rising off the water in shaggy mists

as the local ferry scudded to and fro.

Across Lago Como: Menaggio to Varenna

to _____ , to ______ –  village names

drifting from our heat-stunned minds

like so much melting ice, even as we

spoke them; the boat briefly stopping to let

on / off weary, foot-blistered tourists, lugging

backpacks and large water bottles.


So silent.

Even children too hot to whine, as they

stared at the waves or licked listlessly

on cold geletto.


We rode all day –

faces shaded by hat brims;

bodies brimming with humidity,

eyes dazzled with relief.

DAILY BREAD (hour 11 poem)



I used to bake bread as if

my life depended on it.  And maybe it did.

I was young, broke, and living in a house

with six friends.  One of us saved money

by diving into anoxeria, until she turned orange

from eating pounds of organic carrots everyday.


Another did most of her studying in the bathtub;

I mean she was ensconced in tepid water for splendid

hours on end.  She got used to hearing us pee, as

the toilet was in the same overheated bathroom.


Another played plaintive folk songs on guitar and flute

until my ears rang, and I had to spend some of what

little cash I had on bright orange foam earplugs.


But we were a community – we all had our house tasks.

One person made soup out of leftover vegetable

scraps she saved in our freezer: carrot tops, tough

brocolli stalks, potato peels – nothing was wasted.


And I made the house’s weekly bread – at least six

loaves a week.  Organic whole wheat, sourdough,

and challah, when we had enough eggs come Thursday.

I stirred the dough, beat it down by hand.


The kneading was my saving grace, my meditation,

my entry to a personal dream storefront replete with

sugar maples, periwinkle and cumulous clouds. I walked

that forest often and blessed it daily.





The ash on the car’s windshield

disturbs, as if an extinct species

had landed on the glass,

in ghost form, to call out

her death – Where were you

when I was alive? she asks.

And I have no answer.

I wasn’t nearby, I sigh,

knowing full well that is

not a good excuse.

Where were you? you? you?



                        I count the stars and place them in my hand, my heart.

                        — Zeina Hashem Beck, “Ghazal: Samira Tawfiq Sings A Love Poem”


Near the edge of the rooftop pool,

distance falls away, infinity moves closer.


Still as a heron on a river bank

waiting for telltale movement,


the woman looks up, and away –

her gaze grazing unseen stars, planets.


Twilight approaches,

is coming our way.


Infinity moves closer.



STEP BACK  (DRACULA)             (hour 8)


How could Jonathan have been so obtuse?

A newby British bank clerk, sure; early 20th century,

yes!  But so naive as to travel to far-fetched Romania?

First by train, then overnight horse-and-four

driven by a man who commanded red-eyed wolves –

all to get some unaging stranger to sign

property deeds in London?  Seriously,


bite me!  Why didn’t he turn back

when natives cursed and/or bestowed

on him garlic wreaths and clunky metal crosses?


Ah, well, you know the rest: boy meets

vampire, suppresses homoerotic longings

all while protecting his chaste finance who

lusts after the Count (she’s been bitten,

of course, trying to uncover the mystery

of  her BFF turned blood-sucking Bloofer Lady).


And you know what follows, step by step:

boy and friends uncover conspiracy

to sap ye old merry homeland of its young

and new blood.  Stake driven through heart,

corpses burned or shot.  Girl and country saved.

Case closed.

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