My poem “4:20 am” published in the weekly Avocet – a magazine focusing on nature and all its breathtaking wonder.
I hope you’re all preparing for the warm wonders ahead 😘
my poem “4:20 am” (attached below) is in the weekly Avocet – issue #262 – but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to attach the file – I’m attaching the poem
and the link to the Avocet if you’d like to submit writing to this important publication for Mother Earth
frost creeps into the holes of my old moccasins
the taffy-stretched shadow of a red sunset maple
reaches across the dark grass
as if she too
desires the moon’s infinite perfection
stars tuck away in their opaque shells
this is autumn’s whisper
I peek through my eyelashes
must commit to memory
must etch my soul with rehearsed minutes
before tomorrow’s living
rubs out this wonder
I remain frozen in my silent place
knowing the sun will wipe away
the beautiful moon
this pristine silent moment
don’t want to go back inside a walled house
wish I could honestly tell you
a love affair with nature
enticed me from my bed
at 4:15 AM
my Dachshund needed to pee
I seem to have lost my faith
the pixie-haired girl stuck
to a weathered pink dog with stale bubblegum
has stumbled too low
to be found in my dreams
her memories as diaphanous as Christmas spirit
present only if you’re willing to believe
Lord, somewhere while seeking gold
my pick-axe and pan rusted
jewels of this earth
fake gems plastered in false promises
my pink pup disintegrated long ago
nothing to grab onto now
no faith to embrace
no shield to burnish
stamped with the devil’s pitchfork
locked inside life’s eternal circle
the sign of peace
we alight here in this place
our time measured in a fish eye blink
lays out no global welcome mat
too many starving toes crowding “welcome”
and the rubber rainbow has discolored
beneath this vast azure roof
no one shares a meal together
I’m gonna tell you something, Lord
despite this miraculous ability to hate
that we’ve been granted
my greatest fear
is the moment
I believe these words
I’ve just written
the pink dog is still tucked away safely inside my heart
can’t remember the last time I was in love with earth
witnessing her miraculous gifts
appreciating silent nature
rather than absorbing pixel and pen minutia
stunning my drowsy eyes was this unexpected moment
it was the moon I needed to touch
his large, low gloriously warm pulse in lusty azure
barely cloaked in the fading veil of night
the taffy-stretched shadow of a red sunset maple
stretched across the dark grass
as if she too, desired infinite perfection
stars tucked away in their opaque shells for another night
this was the moon’s moment
I stood frozen
and not for the frost assaulting the holes of old moccasins
I peeked through my eyelashes to capture his light
to practice this magic in my mind
committing him to memory
and why I have the good fortune to breathe
etching my soul with our rehearsed minutes
before anxious society attempts to rub my magic out
racing on all compass lines
I remain in the exact same spot
knowing the sun will wipe him away
my beautiful moon
wish I could tell you
brilliant gentle fingering rays
enticed me from my lazy bed
the dark truth
my Dachshund needed to urinate
I remember now–
I’m honestly in love with earth
he’s broad chested with muscular legs
the earmarks of a pugilist
certainly channels the spirit of one
dark eyes, alert and piercing
we walk together every day
chatting about the weather
guessing what time the mail will arrive
every once in awhile
not far off
we hear a garrulous and bellowing
call of the wild
neither of us are
(I pray I still am a little)
the deep hoarse sounds are taller than
his six inch to shoulder height
he tosses me up a knowing gaze
he will do what he must to protect
the one who often places him in shadow
on the sunniest of days
gazing down at my little Dachshund
I whisper loudly enough for my words
to enter those flopping velvet ears
“I got your back, Mojo”
I got your back
on windy days like today, while walking Mojo, I often imagine him flying up in the air like a little kite – silly graphic created last year
This is a post from September of last year. Three weeks after I originally wrote this, Rocky died. The amazing thing for this exceptional animal was that he passed away peacefully in our home right after we all said goodbye that night and the very day before my mother-in-law moved in. His illness would have made a difficult transition for her even more trying. I cannot believe how much he is still missed. The good ones always are.
I think I made you sick after you showed up on my blue canvas. A painting I patted myself on the shoulder for. I’m so very sorry, my dear friend. Did I do that to you? And it is too late now. I can take nothing back. Not one thing. I should have castrated my selfish fingers. You were saying you were sick. I didn’t hear your silent words. I wasn’t listening. For two months, I think it was two months, I can’t remember exactly–I was buried in my meaningful life. You kept hanging around my studio. You hadn’t ever done that before. Well you had, but not to stay. You’d give a gentle hello then return to your usual places, ones of comfort like the sofa by the piano. We called it “your bed,” not our couch. Actually it was a love seat. The couch knew more than I. It knew how to comfort and be there accepting the additional weight of the masses spreading inside you. The casual invaders I’d grown too busy to notice.
And now, I watch your chest breathing up and down. It is your heart saying goodbye. I’m listening now my friend. I am listening now. Please forgive me when I must say my final goodbye to you and mean it from the depth of my selfish soul.
Rocky the Shepherd and Mojo the Dachshund – painted last year, forever hanging above our mantel
Didn’t think much about it. I seldom do. Heard it was difficult. It is. She’s going off to become whatever it is she wants to become. She will be a student of sustainable agriculture. I ventured into Mad Men territory while in school. We are different that way. The best way possible. She will try to effect agricultural change. Make an earthly impact. Walking our Dachshund this morning (still miss my Shepherd) gazing down at the road thinking back to those days–trying to remember lessons for her. The rocks and tar rolled out then rumbled flat. There are cracks and joint fixes. Sparkles of glass and dull-faced stones. Her life will be like this road. Combinations of things adhered together, splitting sometimes, getting fixed or not, hot in the heat, icy in the cold–dangerous at times. Her feet will walk as she destines they should–barefoot or booted. She will be smart and she will not be smart. Go off to study abroad. Maybe fall in love or at least what she thinks is. I pray she will be happy. I know to ask for ‘always’ is unrealistic. She is so much more confident than I was at that age. I’m hoping enough to keep her out of situations. When one doesn’t like who they see each morning in the glass, trouble follows. I didn’t think she would be teary-eyed. She is. But she is also excited. Imagine, it’s all shiny right now…may it glisten for a long while. This place is more raw than ever. And they all know it. Let them enjoy the sparkle in a bubble while they can pretend.
photo detail-Caroline, age 18
above, painting detail, from a larger portrait-Caroline is 8
a play on words. the theatrical presentation of polyester tomboy life. a waking thought. sky diving into bedtime storyland. Peter Pan warns individualism must be shared. now, I don’t want to see my wings clipped by an elfin dude I could beat the crap out of, so I’m going to (begrudgingly) divulge a diary secret.
shh, I’m about to give up the hidden location of an idea place. before moving beyond this point you must have a dog (if you don’t, borrow one from a friend). for starters, you don’t have to wear the same pajamas like I do–fifteen years (going for a personal best).
we begin by focusing and moving backward to a place you weren’t born then go ‘well’ passed there. continue meandering as long as you can stand it. when you arrive at the small door in the fat tree, do not look for Alice the Golden, or a gleeful bear. you’re on your own. spirit around the bulky tree and the little door (if you went through that stumped portal, you must start over. hey, I didn’t even tell you to turn the knob).
the rest of you keep moving. up the six hills with the long grass that tickles you into forgetfulness. on the seventh hill where the black sun spreads across the white ground you should see a dilapidated well. climb to it. push the lopsided bucket aside. peer into that black hole. it is ungodly deep and satanically dark down there. throw yourself in.
that’s right (if you thought about how much it might hurt, were nervous about what could be lurking on the bottom or loathe falling upside down in confining lightless places–you’ll need to change your wet pajamas then go back to the beginning). those still with me we are presently falling. down, down, down. submerging into the red. crimson lightning splatters across the abyss walls (Mr. King likes this). if we remained calm, we’re floating in spectacular red. red for the reason all good things are. blood. pumping. boiling. lusting. bloody good. bloody fucking great. get those blood suckers. blood hounds. drink up as much life giving red as you possibly can. (hope you brought the dog I said you needed. luckily for us, all dogs are loyal so they followed) now, whistle for Lassie. she’ll find that silly Timmy whose only job is to follow plan b–get real help (let’s face it, Timmy is nothing but trouble and lacks coordination).
if your dog isn’t Lassie (sorry, I forgot to mention that little detail in the beginning), you’re not getting out of well red anytime soon. kick frantically if you must, but you’ll eventually drown. if this happens you’re definitely not getting out. just float on your back. think of where you aren’t and what might be going on there. is his head too big to fit through a little door? is her soul too small to fill a honey pot? did the insane tambourine player find his moldy hamburger? all good questions. continue emptying your mind of whatever it is you think you know.
then a black sun epiphany–
a way to climb out of well red.
hopping up one little springboard at a time ’til you reach the top
with a fistful of fresh inspiration in each hand
now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get my wings polished.
art created last year for another post
It was a genuine railcar.
Specifically railcar 519, surrounded by warped golf clubs bent in frustration, abandoned carousel heads no longer smiling, discarded pea cans empty of fodder, and rusted mattress frames minus their former lovers. George salvaged 519 from the brink of crush central.
At first Henry was lost. How he missed his large corrugated friend. There was nothing quite as grand to scent mark but Henry–like other things when the world changes–made allowances for undivine intervention. A rusted pile of old bikes replaced 519’s hole. Wheels spinning in summer winds presented the dirty white-muzzled sentry with fresh morning challenges. This made him feel alive. A memory, the aging dog had misplaced last year.
Let’s see, where was I? Oh, the railcar. George anchored the 519 on Small Hill Peak–the only fake mountain in a ten-mile radius. Railcar 519 once part of the Erie Rail Line–punctually proud milk lady to NYC–was the last of her kind. There was no need of outdated railcars with high back stools and velvet sides. Over the unkind decades, her sisters and brothers went crushing into oblivion. 519’s siblings as well as extended family members, had long been spiriting toys that floated back to the USA by way of China and the industrial sea.
So George loved Mary. Mary loved the past–way past. She cherished tin spoons slapping weighty coffee mugs sitting on ceramic saucers yellowed by wear. These specific sensations, possible in a grand old diner. A long, lean railcar with a past cultivated carefully in the present. Railcar 519 was unbent, repuckered and polished until the sun seemed it would never set again on her gleaming silver sides. Her innards were spruced new in all things old starting with a great black and white tile floor and portal bubble windows.
Railcar 519 started cooking. Eggs and bacon dished out with flavors impossible to capture anywhere but in this magical slice of metal manna. Once completely refurbished and 519 was just so–sitting presciently atop Small Hill Peak–the piping hot aromatic coffee poured into its weighted mug. Th perfectly fluted tin spoon held in Mary’s delicate nude hand, tapped above a yellowed ceramic saucer on the mahogany breakfast bar. It was at this very spot, in this very moment that George proposed to the love of his life. And Mary slurped first then said, “Yes.”
So I guess railcar 519 is a multiple love story–George and Mary, Henry and perfectly placed peeing, heavy mugs and light spoons, and this writer’s fondness for old diner cars.
this particular art was part of a mural I painted in my daughter’s room long ago. the mural–a carousel went all the way around her room. it has since been painted over in a color called cracker bits. my daughter occupies a different room. this room–now the guest room. sorry for the poor image quality