Wednesday, November 28, 2007

consider forgiveness

pressing in on me nightfall
erases the brief yellow day
chill slides down the vineyard
robins fly overhead using crystal air

I'm not willing to forgive because
if I forgive something will be lost
some reserve or position. Some
miscreant will walk free. An
unconscionable act will repeat.
Cruel words may proliferate.

passing up my walk today
no time for breathing November
or praying in the thick sunlight
dogs snoring at the studio door

I'm not willing to forgive. Because.
Jaw clamped hard, muscles contract.
If I forgive I will be thought soft
of intellect, insignificant, weak. If I forgive
all will be lost. All that proof of criminality
wasted in a burst of goodwill. The stoic
withholding, deprivation, frugality
wasted in a single wash.

this year winding down
blowing cold from the North
Canadian gees stay all year
enjoying grapes, lake and new grass

I'm not willing to forgive, even when
I dream of forgiving, of softening
of embracing, breathing, enjoying Life
as grace and wisdom and
iridescent gathering.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

delicious is in the details

a little too much butter and brown sugar
makes yams and yellow sweet potatoes
baked carmely with crunchy edges.

fresh roasted coffee ground to the French Press
perfect pies rolled out by Auntie R
while love birds swoop and squeak in her hair

we are all leaning into a day
warmed by each other
in the relative safety of N. California

November is finally very cold
wind chasing the last leaves down
now I am missing Mom

little rascal confessing
"I threw an applecore out the window..."
a punishable crime horrific detail caught

1936... think of that school bus
winding through the Redwoods
Mom sitting on the top step of the exit door

it is not hard to imagine
her young shoulders bent over knees
the applecore went through an open car window

the ensuing chaos brakes screeching
exhaust dust heat and little Mary
who could hit a skunk with a rock at 50 feet

perhaps determining a better aim
for the next time
and maybe a little carsick

bolting off the bus outrunning
the pack of dusty kids tumbling
hiding in her best secret place unnoticed

she is right here right now
we are enjoying this too full
too much butter too sweet Life

I am so grateful


Sunday, November 18, 2007


a Redwood tree grows
into the mist
never questions
where height leads

a river flows
and does not
falling over precipice
pooling into the deep
dark emerald
each bend

Friday, November 16, 2007

a roughish draft

I pledge alligience to the flag
of the United States of America

and to the Republic
for which it stands

One nation under God
and with justice for all.

having said this pledge the other day
in an old good smelling building
with a group of noisy beautiful women
who forgot to put the flag out to pledge to
thoughts and images enveloped me

I thought of the innocent heart
and the small hand placed over it
I thought of the child mind
struggling to memorize her first lines
I thought of her, chilled to the bone
from the bicycle ride to school with her big brother
I thought of myself learning to believe

each word, even the long then-unpronouncable ones
indelible on my mind, emblazoned as the closest
thing to prayer our family ever got, though
I did add a line, Please God let me come out on top

Larabee is like Avalon, long ago receding into memory
of tall dark and shaggy Redwoods, buzzards lined up on the fence
riding the saddle in the barn on the rafter
dreaming my own horse into existance, dreaming

by the time I was thirteen or fourteen
I was saying things like
ackah bawka aggg
onanamonapea, iggly Biggly bach
olly olly auction ya ya yah
...and justice for all...
because I needed more mercy than justice


Thursday, November 15, 2007

boxed herstory

silver spoon

husband. men. love. lovers.
waiting for the hot summer
cool long necked beers
a sandy bar with river sliding
green and sliver stripes slapping
slipping toward the sea

July; I am sorting
old letters and photographs
journals and notebooks, era by era
picking up an oblong box
fits nicely in my hand, quality cardboard
lifing the lid to find, neatly folded
in the beige tissue, a shiney
sleekly modern 1967
silver spoon

wrapped and put away for the day
when I would walk up an aisle
toward the one who held happiness
lust joy adventure and equality
and the five babies I'd already named
walking back down that aisle
given away, a married woman

but what about the river?
wrapped and rolling in tanned arms
is he lover husband love
slides green and sparkling toward the sea
the box holds the spoon, tarnishing
light glints silver through the oxidation
it is time to liberate
this virgin silverware

husbands. men. loves. lovers.
the silver is my hair, the laugh in my throat
laying down the spoon next to a bowl
steaming peaches, bubbling blueberry cobbler
creme fraishe melting, pooling fragrant
sitting across from him, love
and watch his summer brown hand

pick up the spoon


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

missing the swimming hole

missing the swimming hole

even though the river is crystal green
riffling over gravel, swirling deep around rocks
tufts of new willow mint and cress
lace up the edges
cottonwood leaves, bright yellow
look like dorys in the current

even though my granddaughters
moan from the back seat
Let's stop Nonnie, and go swimming
We're so hot and the river's so pretty
remembering that last time, we did
parked at the foot of the No Parking sign

even though the river doesn't really care
doesn't seem to notice egrets and herons
swallows mosquitoes green leaves
merganzers mallards kingfishers coots
turtles and carp, pollywogs and minnows
gnat filled breezes moving downstream

even though it is November and the summer bridge
may expect to be dragged up to the bottom
of the No Parking sign on the east side
and the gravel bulldozed into winter configuration
disappearing the road and potholes
and it is time to bake orange vegetables and roots

even though the river was born in unamed watersheds
from trickling rivulets and seeping meadows
knows its own rhythem, its course and destination
seeks to unite and complete its cycle
recognizes its path running through striation
through gravel, under bridges to the last curve at the Pacific

even though keen brown eyes track a similar course
through generations dear faces, snap bright
firery sparks when provoked or angry or indignant
soften round with amazement, love at the sight of an infant
sibling, lover or a morning glory popped out in blue
tears rise at the closed iron gate. No Through Traffic
Road Closed at the Bridge

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