The spotlight frames the fiend

center stage and so true

to life we all adopt

fake smiles to mask horror.

He’s not my monster, we affirm

and form uneasy alliances,

refusing to glance behind us

at the shadows lurking.

And then this sonorous voice

reaches our eager ears,

a mischievous grin,

pink glasses, musical parody

masterpiece jabs

at the darkness too huge

to ignore or banish.  So we call

them out, laughing all the way,

singing satiric choruses

with glee, skewering with song-

flames, well-done, it’s all a play

on words, and we are

the poets, the rhymers,

pacing prompted daily

to wake up our friends,

our families, our slumbering

selves, quivering in the nightmare

that seems to smother our flames.

Wake up, wake up,

the fire’s burning now

it’s time to sing.


Inspired by: Sonorous, Alliance, Eager, True, Adopt

and by the recent work of Randy Stewart Rainbow, especially his remake of Camelot.

The Magnetism to Light

That tumultuous energy rises up

and naptime is over.

He’s wide awake and oh,

such passionate overwhelming

joy and utter despair.

His older brothers are exhausted

chasing the escapee

— he’s fast and committed,

there’s no hesitation to meet

this wild and wonderful world.

Inspired, I feel the tug

an invisible cable connecting

our resplendent hearts.

The enthralling blaze

burns away time,

surmounts the past

and flings us into the present.

And we’re running

with no care for the sudden

scraped contact with sidewalks,

the reddening flesh that surely

will bleed but now

we pick ourselves up

again and embrace

this vital force,

the life that wants to live

bursting through our cells

calling, come on, Bibi, let’s go!

And I’m here, my darling,

filled with gratitude and awe

by your two-year-old healing prowess.


 Inspired by Cable, Resplendent, Enthralling, Surmount


Dedicated to all the women in the darkness, their therapists, and the good men who’ve put all that behind them.

American women should be able to write off the first 30 hours of therapy this year. ~ Laurie Kilmartin

I have been peering at my

introversion this morning, seeing

it is an obstacle to my success.

At a break, I am crushed

by a photograph: my attacker

happily dining with loved ones.

Already this week, I’ve been

wading through a morass of

grief and worry, this shadowy

threat brought when a woman

decided she couldn’t keep

the secret any longer. And oh,

god, do I keep mine?

In this dark

chokehold, silenced

and weary, saddened

and hopeless because I did try

and released a hornet’s nest

of fury from everyone

who didn’t witness

what I experienced

and therefore it didn’t happen.

And the monster smiles his smug

victory — and who else has he

shaken, groped, penetrated?

I flounder in the muddied waters

cringing, submissive

after all these years,

I’ve perfected the obsequious show

to save my hide

but the cost is this

shadow that eclipses

my every step.

Inspired by: Obsequious, Dedicate

Joining The Chorus

…a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,   
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings! ~ Paul Laurence Dunbar

Tell me more about
fortuitous blessings that arrive
after my diligent practice.
The number-crunchers assert
the planet won’t bear my weighty
insistence on posh digs
with my kind, careless
poisoned carnival-goers
making merry
while the bodies writhe,
the bonfires blaze.
And so I sit.
Center inside
and still
I crave assurance
that the miracle can arise
like breath
or fog on the cool dawn lake.
The atrocities reverberate
down the generations
bomb-blasting our present
ears stunned by this tone-
deaf assault.  In our knee jerk
reflex, we stand, speak
to the smirks and sneers.
Listen, we beg, and try
to chop the slippery
truth into bite-sized pieces,
now frantic in their swift
sweep under the rug.
How do our voices hold
the whole notes with these
hands covering our mouths?
Locked in the dark room,
the air sirens silenced,
the blitzkrieg so relentless
warnings are no longer
needed.  We know.
Together, holding hands
with every wretched being,
the bleeding wounded and
the sword-wielding
in the darkness, our inner fire
holding this space,
and where, oh, god,
where is the grace?

Inspired by:  carnival, smirk, slippery, fortuitous, posh, number

Ba-de-ya, Dancing

It’s bright and glorious and

the poplars are singing.

He lifts his arms

an ecstatic composer just as

a crow caws a warning

flying directly overhead,

so we call Hello and Thank you.


the rustled whisper

of leaves as the music

moves through them

and now her sisters’ voices

emerge.  Three vultures

suddenly soaring in

o circles of delight-notes

in the bright blue sky-song.

The dancing of September

symphony messengers

making the welkin ring

the immense song we compact

into this one clear

afternoon-bell to remember

so all the tomorrows bring new soul-

music beating through us,

our nervous systems soothed

and vibrating with huge

connections and insights

wherever the breeze blesses us.

Inspired by: compact

And Earth Wind & Fire

Rewriting The Definition

Tall black-eyed susans push past

a low cloud of moonbeam

coreopsis. A crowd at

the strictly enforced border.

A blushing nymph

waterlily suns herself in the lake,

invasive as all get out

a pithy warning —

settlers’ sly insistent creeping.

There’s no room.

We squeeze each other out,

every inch of this perfect

green lawn saturated

with poisons for perennials,

marauding insects, crushed. The sweet autumn

clematis has leaped

to the shoreline, her bold daughter

blooming in white fragrance.

Chocolate mint escaped a container

to luxuriate in this lakeside

property.  The natives are absent

except for one ancient poplar

and her old granddaughter.  They hold long

conversations underground

minding the aquifer.  Their silly leaves

play peek-a-boo with the beings

who flitter in branches and sing

nursery rhymes.  The chill

in the foreboding air.  The after-

taste of toxins.

Surely spring

is bound to follow

winter with vibrant new

species, resistant to the cancers

so carelessly created

as we succumb, unseeing

in our technodaze

to the newest wave of life

wanting to live.


Inspired by: definition, pithy, absent, bound

Games People Play

Time a complicated videogame

we approach at the used-

goods sale, insidious

and gripping so in all 

likelihood, we will buy it,

take it home and plug in.

A high probability we will lose

our sense of it, clutched,

lured out of this fair

and glorious space

very small children know.


Sitting on the sidelines

I tune in

to the presence

you will surely call

yesterday or tomorrow,

winding my way now

through the love

that pops out, peek-a-boo

until I collapse in cackling glee.


Inspired by: probability, prognosticate, insidious, fair, approach

on the cutting edge

don’t mock the purple flowing skirt

it highlights my silver hair  and i’m proud

of the intuition you call witch skills

but beyond the show

is the real elder’s journey

i must connect with the teeming

shadows of my past all

the renegades in my lineage

who’ve been inspiring me

to act like a jerk and abandon

religion sweeping dogma like dirt

loosened every day from the hard-

packed floor

i pause in my efforts

to look out the eco-friendly

bamboo-woven walls my only

block to fresh air sunlight

and wicked insects i’ve been

here before

with less understanding and zero

compassion measuring myself

with fierce cultural precision

all the things i’ve tried to flee

sitting in judgment

from deep places i carry this

weight into the sunlight

here is the way

i show up for you

bringing to light these gaping

wounds debriding with surgical

skill and a shaman’s heart

for it is clear that i am removing

unhealthy tissue from our collective

interconnected bodies carving

the contaminated until the blood flows

cleanly chosen bloodshed

to relieve you from spilling yours

for corporate greed i’ve chosen

my tribe i choose you


Inspired by: connect, renegade, inspire, elder

There’s Still More

The genogram extracted

so delicately this fractal.

You gave it a cursory

scoff, just an old yarn,

let it go, take a pill,

dream like the dead.

And you have a conniption

when instead I sit lotus-style

in front of this archeological treasure

— fully aware I’ve lost my funding —

the latest evidence of my strange

commitment to heal my lineage.

This type of twisted pattern

slips by at the edges

of family consciousness, yet traps

us with its raging repetitive riptide.

A thirty-year span, and the first

while I was in the womb,

nestled through two coincidentally

congruent funerals. Such an

energetic impact, but glossed over lightly

oh, she died before you were born.

And this exploration stings,

the pain of self-reflection

so deep I ask myself:

is this a good day to die?

I cannot approach that gate

gladly today so I sit

with all the gaping wounds

I’ve opened in these three

fractals before me, and there’s more

to do. Still, I plan my funeral:

no weeping, no more digging,

a clean burn, please, and one short

poem (two dates and three words).

This work is unearthing

shame and fear and anger

and it continues. I’m healing every

family now, even yours, uncovering

this pattern to the open air.

I’m looking for joy,

my point of ending

and beginning, and I’ll sift

through the agony to find it.

Inspired by: cursory, conniption, being, yarn

Show Me A Sign

My reality’s slipping, lost in the fog on such a grey day. ~ Jesse Colin Young

Even my soul light is hard 

to reach on this overcast day. 

Flickering dimly on the low-

ceilinged warehouse 

of my consciousness.

Flat and dreary

basic bricks stacked sloppily

in the industrial zone.

Closed on Sundays. 

And so consumed

by longing, I walk

with my zealous 

heart.  On this branch,

a wren alights 

to trill out her thrilling 

multi-syllabic prescription below

a hawk catching updrafts. Chittering

cascades of cicada chirrups

coming in waves.  A bright yellow

goldfinch sings a three-note

question before she feeds.

A mysterious shape precisely outlined

by a great blue skimmer as two yellow

moths flutter together fast zigzags

of bright color in the green grasses

by the water.  And the lake is filled

with enormous clouds, puffy white

with gray at the bottom collecting

tomorrow’s rain, the storm

dogging me like a truth

that must be revealed, but

I’m reticent and clinging

to answers that blind me

to the vital questioning. 

The medicine all around me

and I never comprehend

in my sensory-deprived

kowtow to reality.  


Inspired by: zealous, dog, kowtow, basic, reticent

This poem’s title and quote are from the lyrics of Jesse Colin Young’s song, California Suite, Part 1: Gray Day