Friday, December 29, 2023

This Is a True Story, A Christmas Story of Sorts

I did not grow up with snow.

Snow and ice are slippery.

I like cold but not ice cold 

(Unless it is a soothing drink on a hot day).

I do not know how to drive in snow,

Nor do I know how to judge

When more snow is coming.

When I was a teenager a friend and I 

Hiked out of the Grand Canyon 

In the December rain after Christmas 

And as the elevation increased

The rain became snow

But by then we were soaked,

And because we had been hot before it rained

We were sweaty.

So the freezing was all the way to the skin

And our Southern California-thin cute ski parkas 

Did not help

Nor did my friend’s dad and his second wife

Who had hiked on ahead when we were at the half way point down below

Leaving us to make our way up and out in the oncoming snow which we did not have the skill to predict.

Neither did they, I hope.

Weakened and determined with no food or water, but snow to munch on,

And this was taking hours, 

I dug my hands into my pockets wishing to find something to eat and discovered half a packet of lifesavers candies, which they were.

We reached the top 

Energized by a little bickering near the end,

And made our way to the motel room 

Where her step-mother sat at the vanity combing her hair 

Only to put her hair curlers back into her bangs—always keeping them there—and a scarf on her head asking what took us so long.

And my friend’s dad picked a fight with her because he didn’t like her boyfriend—

Who wasn’t even there!

So after we got warm

We went out that night

And hung out with


Rather than spend the evening with him and her.

The dad and step-mom drove us to the bus station in Flagstaff the next morning.

We waited all day for the overnight bus to North Hollywood.

We had enough money to split a stale sandwich and get two hot chocolates from a vending machine.

We rode through the night with the smokers

Because it was 1978

And the murmuring conversations

And the nodding and the sleeping passengers.

And the dad and son dressed alike who kept patting each other on the shoulder excited about their trip.

We eventually nodded off

and awoke to see bright sun shining in a crisp blue sky and an ugly North Hollywood greyhound station looking just fine to me thank you.

And at that point we called my dad

Who arrived seemingly instantaneously.

He drove my friend to her mother’s house

And me to ours.

We told the story—well most of it—

And I don’t remember what he said but 

I imagine the teetering of maturity and childishness in our story made an impression; it

Did not lead to scolding but instead to a peaceful sleep 

all day and into the night for me, 

after breakfast at home.

December 28, 2020

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

O Cricket Intermittent

O cricket in the bedroom curtains

Somewhere, somehow

Visibly undetectable

You chirp for a love you cannot find

Unless you let me put you outside,

And yet you hide.

O cricket intermittent, not to be found 

Are you in the valance? On the ground?

I give up, accept your presence.

You chirp-chirpcha-chirp-chirpcha-chirp

then rest

then chirpcha-chirp some more

For nights, 

I wonder about your lifespan,

drift off to sleep.

Nights later, I stop

In a spot where I don’t usually linger

But instinct’s eye catches your motion—

Jump I cover you with a glass no

Jump I capture you with a glass no

Determined so, hunter human focused and keen

Jump covered! Captured, unlikely, unawares,

I carry you swiftly down the stairs 

Open the door to the summer night’s air,

Deposit you in the klanchoe

No longer lost, you will find

Your destiny.

Chirp. Chirpcha-chirp-chirpcha-chirp,


Saturday, July 22, 2023


On the other side of an office wall,

a conference call. 

I can't discern the discussion but

a high-pitched voice through the speakerphone sounds like birds chirping, which made me think: 

how much message is actually in a bird chirp?

Which led to this:

Sophisticated birds, migrating, communicating, tuned in to Magnetic North, and the other animals - all Nature in balance;

Humans are the only ones so destructive we could ruin the whole thing for everybody.

We think we are so smart but what if

All Nature's creatures have found the balances to strike

and we're the last

to get 

the memo?

—From July, 2019

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Atmospheric Conditions, Spring 2020

Driving west to beat a curfew

just declared an hour ago

the pre-sunset sunlight shaping shadows on clouds over distant hills

and maybe the ocean.

On the radio reports of protest

and agitators

reiterations of how peaceful the protests were at the start

how interlopers come for their own reasons to make a fight and skew the focus

how we mustn’t lose sight of the cause.

And those clouds coming in from gathering over the sea

absorbing molecules of skyward mists.

May 30, 2020

Thursday, April 27, 2023

My Other Aunt

I once had an aunt who I barely knew.
She came to visit the family when I was quite small.
I'm not really sure how old I was then,
But to me she was up there, and really quite tall.

She stood by the table, having dug in her purse
for her cigarettes and matches, and next, she breathed in.
I looked right straight up at her, and then saw the marvel:
Smoke blew from her nose like she was some kind of dragon!

And I learned something special, that one unnamed day,
That when I'd get older, and age came into play,
I would need to develop some smart beauty skills
Because one day, like her, I might have hairy nostrils!

Saturday, April 08, 2023

Lay Low, Humans

Breezes in grasses,

Birds singing—

It has always been like this.

It doesn’t need us.

It’s we who need it.

Lay low, humans.

Quiet down.

—April, 2018

Friday, February 03, 2023

Astronomical Dawn

This morning I happened to get up at the astronomical dawn.

Crisp, cold and windy outside, 

warm and quite comfortable inside.

Looking out the window to the eastern sky,

I saw a light so bright, 

I couldn’t tell if it was an approaching jet. Was it moving?


no, not moving.

But it’s too big to be Venus.

Like four times bigger!

Maybe it’s a comet? 

(No, If it were, somebody would have said something by now.) 

Must be a vision blur distortion.

So I washed my face,

brushed my teeth,

then looked again as the pink and blue dawn tempered the brilliance:

Now I see, yes, it’s Venus.

…The planet of Love.

So showy.

So many promises.

Literature, meet Science:

Sulfurous gasses.

Shining so beautiful.


Friday, January 20, 2023

Modified Yoga

While kind of like

balancing on one foot

aspiring to be

steady as a tree

(oak or palm

depending on the weather)

even with eyes closed,

to be that certain


I really have no desire








Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Silly Spike-heeled Shoes

Silly spike-heeled shoes,
bad for your feet,
hobble you as you
walk down the street.
O, Ladies! Seriously!
in the walk of life
think through your journeys:
Love your bones
and respect your Achilles!