Category Archives: Poetry

18 Worries

I’m worried about fires.
Fortunately, it just rained.

I’m worried about getting old.
You still look young to me.

I’m worried that I keep forgetting things.
Nonetheless, you can remember what you wore to the Saperstein’s party, five years ago.

I’m worried that I’m not as spiritual as I was.
You still hunger for peace and justice.

I’m worried that we will run out of water.
The well is okay and it just rained.

I’m worried that you will die before me.
Our marriage contract says we go together.

I’m worried that my children don’t get along.
That’s because they are half French.

I’m worried that we will lose our Democracy.
They still need us on the barricades.

I’m worried about climate change.
Turns out Al Gore was right.

I’m worried that I’ll get dementia, like my sister.
You’re not a bit like your sister.

I’m worried that I’m getting “old lady” skin.
You still look young to me.

I’m worried that all my friends are going away.
Some are; but _____ and _______ are still here.

I’m worried that I’m not reading serious books.
What about “Lust on the Pecos?”

I’m worried that we’re not going to be able to go to Paris.
There’s always Petaluma.

I’m worried that Republicans are taking away the right to vote.
They still need us on the barricades.

I’m worried that ┬áthe news is all bad.
Turn up the Bruce Springsteen channel.

I’m worried that we’re not eating enough fresh vegetables.
There’s always chard.

I’m worried that we don’t talk enough.
Hmm. I’m worried that you’re worried.

Trust Exercises


I’ll hold her.
Wow
She’s beautiful
Tiny.

You’re standing.
Go ahead sweetheart
Take a step
I’ve got you.

You don’t need training wheels
Just keep pedaling.
Steer straight ahead
I’ll keep you from falling.

Don’t worry
I’ll catch you.
Jump in the pool and
Swim to where I’m standing.

Close your eyes
Relax
Fall backwards
Into my arms.

Take a deep breath
You know your lines.
Just pretend
The audience isn’t there.

This song is a cappella,
Your voice is strong
We’ll start
With your solo.

The only way
to find out
Is to walk up and
talk to him.

Would you like to dance?
Take my hand
And
Follow my lead.

This party is boring.
Why don’t we
Take a walk
And get to know each other?

I was wondering
If you
Would be my date
For the prom.

A group of us
Are going skiing.
Would you like to
Go with me?

Next year
I’m going to rent off campus.
Would you like to
live with me?

You should go med school at Stanford.
After I graduate
I could live there
and get a job.

I love you,
It’s time
for us
to marry.

I’ll hold her.
Wow
She’s ┬ábeautiful
Tiny.

Foggy, Foggy Dew

In days of old
We damned the fogs
Made summers cold
Turned paths to bogs
Rendered every day a slog.

But times have changed
Events transpired
Perspective rearranged
By weather dire
Constant threat of fire.

Now fog has become
A treasured friend
As senses numb
Opinions bend
Fearing a fiery end.

The Dumpster Blues


Lost my baby at the dumpster
As I stashed my toxic load
Distracted by the offal
As she lit out down the road.

My girl took of with a tin man
Saw them dancing at the bar
He won’t know what hit him
When she drives off in his car.

Now I’m sitting here drinkin’
Just as sad as I can be
Wondering where I’ll dump my garbage
And if she’ll come back to me.

New Friend


If I tell you something,
will you keep it secret?

“Of course,” I said.
We’d been close for years.

I have a new friend.
I want you to meet him
.”
“Okay,” I said.
She’d been alone too long.

He’s a little shy.
I’m hoping to have a party to introduce him.

“Let me know.”
I was happy for her.

There’s one thing about him.
He’s not from around here
.”
“Probably for the best.”
She’d grown beyond local culture.

He’s from another planet.”
She gripped my hand.
“Like, L.A.?”
I thought she was kidding.

Like beyond our solar system.
Like somewhere unpronounceable
.”
“Oh.”
My mouth fell open.

Is that too weird for you?
She squeezed my hand.
“A little.”
I didn’t know what to say.

He’s very nice.
You’d never guess he’s an alien
.”
“I’d like to meet him.”
My heart pounded in my chest.

Good.
How about tomorrow?

“Sure. Any time.”
I was worried.

I’ll call you.”
She smiled
Walked off with a lilt.
Disappeared forever.

Circe on the Beach


Falling
out of sleep into the
sea.
Flailing.
Dragged down by clothes and
current.
Choking.

Swimming.
Buffeted by waves and
logs.
Tumbling
Swept along by tide and
surf.

Scrambling
Across debris and
rocks.
Crawling
over sand.

Waking
on a vast beach.

Standing.

A procession approaches:
A stately woman
guarded by lions and
wolves.

Waiting.

This is my island.”
Cats sniff me
Beasts lick my legs.

Bowing.

Welcome to Aiaia.”

The Ballad of MaryLu


[Sung to the tune “Big John.”]

In the Occidental morning
She’d be out walking
You could hear for miles
The sound of her talking.
Mary Lu

Perhaps she came from Frisco
Some said Mill Valley
You could hear her coming
Down each lane and alley.
Mary Lu

Not too tall
Built like a welder
She sure did hate
Becoming an elder.
Mary Lu
Big bad, Mary lu.

Painted a lot
Sometimes she’d dance
Used to write poems
About love and romance.
Mary Lu.

Then came the troubles
No one seen ’em coming
Kept her up at night
Interfered with her plumbing.
Mary Lu.

“We gotta get out”
She said to her mate
“Stick around too long
We’re tempting bad fate.”
Marylu
Big bad, Marylu.

They sold everything
And hit the trail
Ignoring their friends
Who let out a wail.
Mary Lu.

It’s quiet without her
Sort of sad
When I think of her leaving
Makes me mad.
Mary Lu

Every Occidental Morning
There’s a trace of her ghost
A fragment of color
the laugh we miss most.
Mary Lu
Big bad, Marylu.

Erosion


In my youth
I regarded death as a
Time clock
Punch in on February 8, 1941, at 3:52PM
Punch out on February 8, 2041, at 3:52PM.

Tidy.

Now
I view death as
erosion.

Amorphic.

I built my house
on a bluff
overlooking the ocean.
Buffeted by nature:
sun
wind
rain
waves.

Lost to erosion:
First the ice plant
then the manzanita
Next the ceanothus
And the geraniums
My favorite Monterey cypress
A corner of the redwood deck
The guest bedroom…

How much longer can I stay in my house?
How much longer will I be myself?

Why don’t you move?”
I love the view.

Tough Love


It was hard
Visiting her in jail.
Prison clothes
No makeup
Sleepless eyes.

“You have to believe me,”
She pleaded.
“I’m innocent.
Wrong place, wrong time.
Mistaken identity.”

I wanted to believe her.
We’d been friends for years.
But this had happened before
And she refused
To take her medicine.

“The DA offered me a deal,”
She begged.
“6 months Jail,
5 years probation,
If you vouch for me.”

I’d loved her
Before I understood
She meant well
But wouldn’t
Change.

I handed her
The Gideon Bible.
Muttered,
“You have a friend
In Jesus.”

Hieroglyph

6am
Rain streaks our bedroom window
The outside world is cloaked in mist.

7am
The rain stops
Dark shapes emerge.

One distinct desiccated pine
A Chinese logogram
“Harmony.”

Special Handling


In the ministry of lost souls
My assignment is
Special Handling.

If you are
Oversize
Fragile
Complicated
Difficult
Dangerous
Come see me.

Find life a chore?
Knock on my door.

Lost your way?
Step in, out of the fray.

Mired in despair?
Sit down in my chair.

Feeling depressed?
Come cry on my chest.

We’ll fix you up
Get you back on your feet
Back in the game
Stridin’ down the street.

Want to know how we do it?
Read our leaflet
Don’t ask any questions
It’s all top secret.

No Depression in Heaven

1.
Hard times
Sometimes you see ’em coming
Sometimes they catch you unaware
Sneak around in darkness
Lie in wait beneath the stair.

Hard times
Can take your measure
Tax your strength and wit
Make sure you pay attention
Prove you got some grit.

2.
Da Blues
Will pile it on
Leave ya broken hearted
Open up old wounds
Memories of dear departed.

Da Blues
Just won’t let you be
They hang round yer door
So, stay away Mistah Blues
Don’t come ’round here no more.

3.
Blue skies
and green lights
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Everything going be alright
Since my baby come back to me.

Blue skies
From now on
Ain’t gonna look back
Just keep trucking’ on
Down that heavenly track.