We stepped as fools
over the cliff.
Knowing, in the
Center of all understanding,
They decide what degree,
First, second, or third,
A Sunrise, November 7, 2020
Have you noticed
There have been fiery red
Sunsets this month?
On November 7, 2020
A pink sunrise.
A thin band of red
Spread across the clouds,
But when the sun rose
The entire sky
My puny ‘Ahhh’
Just doesn’t compare with
The quiet moaning sound
My neighbor’s dog makes
When scratching his belly
With his left hind foot.
I shop mostly at the
Kamuela farmers’ markets now:
Eggs, bananas, macadamia nuts,
Vanilla, lilikoi jelly. . .
Add a few tablespoons of flour:
Banana nut pancakes!
Drizzle with Amaretto.
Gathering a Poem
Newly cut grass and citrus blossoms
Color the trade wind’s breath.
Mynas, cardinals, and two
Chatter into the breeze.
Inside that zephyr,
A poem floats
Like a gossamer veil.
I hook it gently with my
Cautious, lest the verses turn and choose
With reverence I have spilled its words
Across this page,
Never knowing how long they might be
Willing to remain.
Always in pairs
Shrinks and swells,
Looming or squeaking by,
Depending on the mood.
Fills each cycle
As the sun and moon
Chase each other around the planet.
The illusions of reasons for being
Have been felled by a virus.
The screens through which
We have viewed our lives
Are wiped clean,
Undifferentiated by those
We’ve held dear.
There remains only
For our contemplation.
The Slime of Slugs
Covid-19 moves like a corpulent slug,
Depositing eggs along an invisible slime trail.
Odorless and colorless, the slug slides among us, leaving no detectable
Evidence of its passage.
I wish we could see its fuchsia scent,
Taste its slimy tolling,
Or touch its loathsome flavor,
Anything to warn us of its presence.
Too late, we do respond,
We do detect its trail,
But not until it has its way with us:
Cancelling a graduation, postponing a tennis tournament,
And eliminating our jobs.
A million eggs have hatched,
A million offspring
Gunging their way across Planet Earth.
With the barest trace of their ooze
They are felling playwrights, actors, political figures:
McNally, Bosé, Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril,
And your best friend’s grandma.
Exasperation boils through when someone,
Unable to detect the slugs themselves,
Blames some group they revile
For invoking God’s wrath,
“Them _____s have brought this on us all.
They are the flaming swords of Satan’s shadow.
Satan has shown me the light;
His presence has been made known!”
Now I am the soothsayer;
She sees a vision of the world to come.
She divines the fate of those who curse.
She recognizes that this miraculous pestilence
Will show them truths.
Even they will join us.
We shall start anew in a compassionate world.
Volveremos a nacer con compasión.
“We rail against your ring of love,”
Curse the slugs,
Shriveling beneath the salt of tears
Shed in their murderous wake.
Tender as newborns,
We thread our lives together,
Awakened to the web of life necessary
To sustain us all.
April 6, 2020
Composed from the “Twenty Little Poetry Prompts” of
NaPoWriMo’s Day Five.
Don’t touch, don’t touch
Don’t touch, don’t touch, don’t touch!
Wipe it down, wipe it down,
Wipe it down, wipe it down, wipe it down!
There – could – be – virus – anywhere. . .
Shelter at home, shelter at home,
Touch no one.
Be touched by nothing except this
Profound pandemic paranoia.
In a wild act of rebellion
I gleefully touch my face and rub my eyes.
Clear as could be
I saw her come in,
Liking my new home.
Of course, she’d come; her grandkids are nearby.
Her voice, her mannerisms,
All pure Alice.
“You can go wherever you want,”
A lesson about the unknown,
“but they don’t always see you
Or know you’re there.”
Of course I saw her.
Of course I heard her,
My dearest friend Alice
Who left us with laughter
Ten years ago.
April 2, 2020
The Lease of the Least
A little string of nucleotides
A billion time smaller than a spider’s eyelash
Creeps through the humans
Using each one to make
another trillion copies of itself.
Not even living
Just a tiny string of nucleotides
In a certain order
Changing the world.
When I try to rise
My knees click before I move.
A child smiles, confused.
Powder Blue and White
The Fentil Gwifford
As silence filled the winkled night
A fentil beast arose in flight.
Gojolling up, the gwifford weeched,
and sporanooned above a spleecht.
All canticored, the spleecht arose,
The warthing gwifford to oppose.
A swift kertwang tore loose one spling,
Disabling the gwifford’s wing.
Without that spling he fleeled in flight,
Careening through the winkled night.
The spleecht kuleened, the gwifford fell.
The eerie sounds bespoke of Hell.
Across the tornid land arose
An answering cacophened trose.
All hastored round the fallen beast
And wistercorned the honored spleecht.
In future years the torngs will speak
Of one predanored, cupris night
When a fentil beast was slain in flight.
A Poem’s a Path
Plantaré un beso
A tus hermosos labios
No puedes agitarte
Si dejo mi
Episodio de telenovela,
Y, volviéndose hacia tu,
Con toda mi atención,
Con amor en mis ojos,
Con súplica en mis manos,
Y te daré
Tanta verdadera admiración
Que no puedes
Tener ni un poquito
De la tristeza,
About someone’s death?
I can’t find compassion,
How could I have known that,
Forty years after our divorce,
I still didn’t feel safe.
May you do better in your next life.
Eight Poems of Love: #7 ( Poem translated from Spanish by knowledge and guesswork)
Inclined in the afternoon, I throw my sadness to your eyes that hold the oceans.
There my ardor stirs in the greatest solitude, where my arms fly like a falcon’s.
I make red signals over your absent eyes that flow like the waves of the ocean
Alone you guard the darkness, deep and distant and mine, from your vision at times emerges a great expanse.
Inclined in the afternoon, I throw my sadness to your eyes that hold the oceans.
The night birds peck the first stars that glow like my soul when I love you.
The night gallops in a dark shadow, draping blue visages across the earth.
(Questionalby translated by Carol McMillan)
Old Bits and Thoughts (A poem of remembering)
I remember Billy Searles jumping up to kiss me on the cheek
Because I was so much taller than he was.
It was out on the playground.
It was my first kiss; full of embarrassed pleasure.
I remember hating family drives every Sunday in Connecticut.
I remember visiting Disneyland right after it opened;
It was Christmas. There was a magical swan carriage
Full of Dickensian-dressed carolers.
I remember swimming in Waikiki with a smashed finger
That I had to hold
Up over my head
Out of the turquoise water.
I remember Harriet Hohmeyer and I
In the woods between our houses
Taking turns jumping off the weathered teeter-totter to
Send the other one crashing down.
I remember that my sister bit her nails down to the quick;
Everyone said she was nervous.
I remember dragging unbelievably prehistoric-looking horseshoe crabs
Out of the water on Jones Beach, then letting them go back.
I remember Pooty hiding under my parent’s bed and
My dad using the curved handle of his umbrella to
Drag him out by his collar.
I remember wishing that Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were my parents.
I remember pedal-pushers and poodle skirts and white bucks
And pin curls and saddle shoes and black flats.
I remember holding hands with Steve “Lyle-style”.
I remember happy, prickly butterflies inside me.
I remember the smell of Steve’s white shirt when we
Slow-danced to Johnny Mathis downstairs in the rec room after
Everyone else was asleep.
I remember my mother yelling at Jean when
She scorched her expensive green and white wool
Miramonte High School pep skirt,
And I remember that, even though I was the young one
Who was in trouble way more often, I said,
“Mommy, she didn’t mean to do it.”
I remember licking red candied apples till the crust was
Thin enough that I could crunch through it
For a cinnamon-sweet bite of apple.
My sister ate cotton candy, which I thought
I remember watching my sister disappear into the fog, walking
Down Tacoma Avenue on her way to
Thousand Oaks Elementary School.
I remember asking my mother how soon I could go to school.
“When you are five.”
I remember thinking I was three and so
It would be infinity
Before I got to go with her.
April 29, 2016