Jan 28 2016

arbitrary thoughts
on out of focus things

The light is changing and the days run a few minutes longer and I tell myself this will be the year I get over February. (Though I say that every year and it has yet to actually happen.)

Last night I finished the afghan I started 6 or 8 years ago (so along ago that I can’t remember which) and I thought that perhaps this will be the year of finishing. Or maybe rather than thought, I hoped.

Listening and finishing. The map of 2016.

Of course, like all maps, there is a certain margin for error and I have factored in lots of room to get lost. And I know there will be times when I choose not to use that map at all, because I don’t always like to know where I’m going, I’d rather drift and explore.

I read this article and suddenly felt right at home in my mind. Vindicated in some small way. Okay, it may have been a big way. Whatever.

It was an answer. An answer to why I always, always, always prefer the questions. Which is a funny concept all on its own.

The other day I wondered why we’re all so obsessed with happiness. I wondered if that’s even true. I wondered if I want to be happy, and decided yes, but not all the time. I’d prefer to be okay with being sad or angry or bored or irritated or content or confused, too. I’d prefer to experience all of it.

I walked out to get the mail and the sun was shining and the sky was clear and not-so-winter blue and for a second, I felt pure joy. At simply being alive and outside with the sun on my face. I remembered then how much I need to be out of doors. Winter always makes me forget.

Doors. An endless source for metaphors.

I miss color. Even my face is white and pale. I miss my freckles. (Okay maybe they are age spots, but I’m choosing to call them freckles.) I miss the daily drama of my garden.

Everything is shifting, all the time. And then resettling. Shifting again. There is no solid ground.

In spring I will trim away the dead wood. Toss it in a big pile and start a fire.

Which will remind me of winter.

And so it goes.




Jan 26 2016

built from thorn and
bits of sunlight

carried high above the sea of sky

(to keep from drowning, of course)

brittle fragile biting hiding


in a storm of hollow





Jan 23 2016

view frame



in a sea of white

and neutral





Jan 21 2016

tiny slices of sanity

in a world of too much and

never enough

and tiny lives

bleeding hearts

doors that open

before they close

window views and

widow’s walks

and the quiet violence

of bloom




Jan 14 2016

the heart runs straight through

Lately, I think about listening. How bad we are at it, how everything keeps getting louder, how we talk over each other, and even, ourselves.

We’ve forgotten how to be alone with silence.

We have so many things to do, so many places to be, so many lives to fit into life.

I spend time with my 89-year-old friend and everything slows down. She doesn’t hear so well, and our communication becomes a pantomime of gesture and shouting. I spend time with my 8-month-old granddaughter and see the world with fresh eyes. Everything is new and exciting and wondrous. Everything slows down further, because we have to take time to relish each new moment and every fresh discovery.

In both cases, I find myself listening in new ways.

At night I read, turn the ever-present television off, and fall into stories. My house whispers its own secrets and my mind takes off in new directions.

I try to think of the last time I did nothing, and can’t remember. I’m always looking for something: entertainment or enrichment or connection or experience.

I crave silence, but when I find it, I fill the air with sound.

I want to remember something, the feel of roots or earth or security. And promises.

I build fires to conquer the cold and my need for something primal.

Even the darkest of months offers sympathy.

A heartbeat is the sound of existence. A symphony of seduction. A sonata of solace.

I find myself straining to hear.







Jan 12 2016


and we bask in the silence of solitude

birds and branches

sky and ice

that gate that holds nothing





Jan 7 2016

we do that dance

light on dark, old on new, shiny on dull. we’re married to the magic of remembrance, made bold by possibility, held aloft on a nail in the wall of existence.

a new calendar cracks open, full of empty days, blank spaces, blocks of time.

i want to leave it, the entire book, unmarred.

i know i won’t. i know there will be appointments to schedule, birthdays to remember, plans to be reminded of, just as i know i’ll forget to look sometimes, when i get caught up in the vortex of living.

it’s winter again, it’s new years again, it’s thursday again. we march like soldiers through a forest of seasons and wish to be the one in command.


i bought a new small frying pan in december, to replace the old one i’d burned peppers in one too many times. but i don’t use it much. the old cast iron one discarded by my 89-year-old friend as she moved from home to apartment sits on my stove now, always at the ready. it turns my eggs just a little dark, but i love flavor of the stories it adds to my food.


i don’t have a word or a resolution or even an intention pointing my way on 2016’s compass. i have this pan made of borrowed promises, i have these same four walls to hold me in, i have this sky that is forever creeping in my window.


i have everything i need.







Jan 4 2016

in the back of a drawer:
your lipstick

slide open twist
red slice inhale and

snow like stars on cars
the way you carried me

half moon trundled and
sleep-breath cloud

lifting both of us
from a day like any other

marked by tattoo
kiss on fevered forehead

sweet dreams tiptoe
door gently closing



Join us over at dVerse Poets for Poetics with a prompt to
write a poem about a memory evoked by scent.