Inspiration Opening

What’s so great about inspiration is sometimes it finds you when you’re not looking. Wong Kar-wai

At six a.m., I take the bait although
my sleepy head would rather wait.
A rousing game of “find it!”
my invention for a puppy with a passion
for sleuthing and detection–
German heritage behind it
shepherds her to gather all
the simple English commands.
She’s alert to my demands.
I’m filled with mirth.
All my lovely ways to start
a quiet day abandoned
in these romps. Finally her brain
is tired, she plomps on the pillow
at my feet, instantly asleep.
My muse, undaunted, spins a tale
and I leap out of habit
to begin at the finale, taste
the joy in what is given me
complete. When I in haste
to serve surrender my pace
unnerved I waken into pure
creativity and verve. My pen,
top speed, transcribes each
word so curiously freed.

Inspired by the final scene of a novel that arrived during play like a beautifully wrapped gift.


Right Action

Caffeine, please do the work–
sleepless, aching head means

my walk is eggshell
calm and careful as this morning.

My pen’s running dry—oh, god,
I just can’t enter the chattering

house. I’d rather taxi
solo on this runway, hide

in my fabricated solitude—
eking out the last ink.

Under the surface a bass
chasing minnows creates concentric

ripples out of nowhere. The movement
draws me out of my pain and so

I’m here for the silver flash of power
into the tranquil air. I’m holding

still on the edge, no inclination
to enter. I propose to spend

these early hours avoiding
my imbalance. So given to

interpretation, searching for patterns
—eureka, this caused that.

My illness forces me to take apart
my life’s weaving, discarding the threads

past saving, going back to the garden,
growing a more disciplined life

rooted in nourishment, soul food
essentials. Daily practice.

Baby steps. Yesterday a goofy
pitbull pup loped into the yard,

leaped into our wading pool.
We burst out laughing, feeding him

into a frenzy until his powerful
untrimmed nails drew blood and

shrieks—fear and pain and rage
even after I scooped up my grandson,

the dog still jumping, scratching with
bighearted painful idiocy. Now

pairs of birds are trickling into
the peace. Their calls seem muted

just to the level I can hold.
All the signs and portents explicit.

Sit and dive deep for the tectonic
shifting. My screaming three-year-old

inside sees the crack
in the crypt where she’s buried

alive. Carry me, face the perpetrator
with my blood still dripping,

then clean and patch me
with big bandages while we explore

the dark-feeling surge. Rejoice
at the powerful opening of terrified

child-screams. Release all the aftermath
hidden below the surface.

Inspired by: Movement, Taxi, Hide and Propose.

Numbered Days

The world is woven from billions of lives, every strand crossing every other. What we call premonition is just movement of the web. ~ Mark Gattis

I catch her in a dream in
the cool mulch. She never hears

my steps, her nose engrossed in
tortured breath. Her heart is pure

love and she opens her blind
cataract eyes in surprise,

wagging her welcome, struggling
with these strange new lumps blocking

her joints. She can’t stand long. I
sink into the grass, sitting

for a spell–when I get out
of the way, energy flows

from my palms. She relaxes,
leaning her full weight on me.

Attention focused on the
road her human disappeared

down, three years ago. She keeps
her welcome ready though her

family is moving and
she’s worried she won’t make it.

Or is that me–sometimes this
dog-whispering is anguish.

She inches forward so my
pulse will warm her aching hips.

She heaves a sigh (it’s clearly
my grief I’m feeling, she just

emanates divine love, God
in dog skin.) When she was small

she broke free to visit each
house on this street, begging a

treat, a madcap revel to
celebrate connection. Fast

forward fifteen years to her
loud and difficult pants to

signal pain. Her puppy heart
still greets every passing car,

so sure of his return in
these, her final hours–goodbye

is wiping white fur from my
salty cheeks, walking away

we’re at the edge of today
and tomorrow might not come.

Inspired by my neighbor Stella, her big beautiful 15-year-old heart and these prompts: Dream, Revel, Edge and Surprise.