Beyond Our Ken

What do we toss aside as interesting but largely meaningless incongruities? ~ David McGowan

How do we stay awake, moments
and days choked by the woven

pattern which tempts us
to dream? We ignore strong

clues–coincidental anomalies–
for that comfortable snooze.

When I told my doctor that
I healed my fatal illness,

he never asked me how.
He called me noncompliant,

told me never to return.
I bounced past the ashen

patients in his waiting room.
Magic pills destroying them

(I tossed mine away and my
data left the mainstream so busy

counting cadavers.) Yesterday
my grandson stopped midplay,

running to cling to my legs.
Ghosts had claimed the room,

he needed me to sort it out
with my eclectic skills. I praise

the ancestors, investigate the
shadows. Openings at every step

if only we dare to be
present in this uncanny world.

Inspired by: Tempt, Dream and Eclectic.


Small Bites

In the parking lot I spy

a tiny round piece of gold

and marvel at it as I enter

the abrupt harshness

of air-conditioned space. 

My errand’s brief, I turn

and wait to leave

as a mother and her two young sons

navigate the precision of entrance.

The youngest insists on operating

the automatic door for himself.

I exclaim, “Whew, you made it!”

to honor his triumph and worry

slipping narrowly through.

When he smiles at me, I open

my palm to display my wealth.

“I just found this outside!”

I exclaim.  “I love it because

it’s shiny and gold!”  His eyes are

wide so I offer it.  “I think

it’s lucky,” I decide.  Cradled

in his hand now as his older brother

covets it.  Perhaps he’ll drop it soon

in a different parking lot for another

grandmother to discover as we all play

the game, recognizing each other,

giving and receiving treasure

with big, excited grins.  

Tuned In

The plangent roar of my grief

reaches my grandson’s heart

far off, past

my deluded belief that my 

sadness is encased

—rolling like a stone apart,

downriver, erased

from the field, a paltry sliver—

illuminated with his simple words:

I want to live with you.

I rise up dripping from the stream,

still able to find my footing,

for love is true.  My college friends derided

babymaking, they decided

not to breed cogs for this unholy

wheel, no children for the American

dream, the improbable scheme

looking too much like hell.

But I chose differently and now

it doesn’t matter that my heart

is set to shatter, or that I am tired,

so tired.  I recognize this young place

once again disgraced, her hopeless

grip threatens my trip to

watch comedy under palm trees. 

The remedy: I’ll laugh anyway.

I’ll find the strength 

to make it one more day.

Inspired by: Comedy, Plangent, Anyway and River.

May The Fourth

We all delight in mouthing
May the Fourth be with you, cheers
for David in his battle
with Goliath—taming stars
with ships and blasters—not the
kids in Palestine armed with
only rocks and fears. (Movies
more explicit carpet floors
of cutting rooms.) Here we watch

five goslings, newly hatched, swim
the lake longways tucked in their
parents’ honking wake, and fleur
de lis and lilac take turns
tantalizing. And this white
flowering crabtree, bridal-
lush luxuriance a pledge
any starstruck love would swear.
(This flicker visiting the
empty suet cage tut-tuts.)

The swallow’s iridescent
vigil from her nest, diving
into the rain. Alert like
the baby years past watching
for her cue—enter squalling—
I’m still born in May, the stars
portents of wild green greening.

This critical voice has had
free rein. Saddling women
I should be, riding hard right
out of here into that tired
tomorrow. I cannot find
fresh eyes until my grandson
calls—he’s sobbing, will you be
my best friend? (not a ghost to
guide in dreams)—morning hope springs.

Inspired by: Battle, May, Force and Delight.

XP Extended Play

Eight bright new colors now

a muddy brown with occasional stripes

of pink, and a green splot.  There’s

joy and emerging command,

precise purpose and such

absorbed fascination.

He holds it to his nose,

I wuv this smell.  First time

for everything and I am here

sitting on my hands so I don’t

rush him into the advanced menu.

This is squeeze and mold with the

occasional palms-rubbing worm

and have I ever had so much fun?


Inspired by Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: xp.  (stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.)

Can’t Buy Me

He grabs my face, “Bibi,

you are my FRIEND,”

and then a squeezing 

hug, “I love you SO!”  

I am completely here, my table spread

with a cornucopia of blessings.

And money can’t buy even one

of them—which is great

since I’ve tapped out

of that stranglehold,

the one that wrestles the others

to the ground then gives

them the chance to rise

and fight again.  They are in

a hurry to negotiate,

yearning to play,

their grandchildren growing

apart—the screens covering

them all in strange blue flickers.

Unplugged, we run into the cold

sunlight, pulled by an

ancient dog’s wagging tail.

And I live for these

days by his side

as he teaches me

the subtle and secret paths

inside my neighbors’ boundaries,

open and free.


Inspired by these word prompts: Hurry, Cornucopia, Yearning and Negotiate

and this cover of one of my all-time favorite songs.

The Daily Poem

The lake cups the last silver

gleaming of the day, calm grace

of a queen sipping tea.  Even

the frogs still for this moment

bursting with power-silence,

a song my soul joins in the sheer

shock of voiceless joy.

What holds the light?

And into the darkness, where

all of the errors I chalk up 

and the pain I omit in memoirs

comes creeping in to be

soothed, every critical voice,

the infinite patience of grandmother

who sees into the heart

of the fractious child.  

Who sees me?  Windows flung

open to the cool dawn air,

I’m wide awake in love

despite the stories you shared,

the chaos and confusion,

the hard evidence of the rotted

foundation I’ve exposed.

There are careful trills

exploring the threshold as once

again, the pewter surface

smooths into a lake

and sky, the lilac and vanilla

viburnum’s fragrant oil thick

upon the air.  A twittering now

as a cowbird bolds her way

into the wren’s nest to leave

an offering.  Whose offspring

do we raise at our own

children’s peril?  The notes

continue even when I lose

the harmony of true curiosity

in one more querulous coma

from which I wake 

to sing.

Inspired by: Tea, Chalk, Oil and Omit.