Through the crack
the eager white
coaxes a reluctant
yolk to follow her
into the bowl
as though she knew
that only through
the break
the beating
and folding
can she form

Poetry Thursday

Dear Artist in Trial,

You’re stuck
in the rut
of the short

You’re stuck
in the rut
of the “I”

You need
to get out
of you
and at least try to go somewhere on a longer road that leads to a new place
with a better view and some semblance of fresh air on old ideas.


There are worlds to be explored
other than your head to be examined


There are things to fight over and things to fight for
other than domestic battles


So grab your pen, sweetie, and let’s find some paper.



Poetry Monday


In the marriage
we shed secrets for years
like clothing
in some game
of strip poker
we both were losing
until we were naked
each left with only
a red scar,
the one thing
we were never going
to tell anyone.

I took his,
wound it into a scarf
to bind my hair
for all to see.

He took mine
made a bolo tie
of it, then
took my heart
for a slide.

Poetry Thursday

Where Jim Crow Went

I knew he was black
before I saw him at the IHop
with his white buddy.

I knew, not from some jargon
or accent formed in the heat of the Delta
but from his deep, resonant, soul laugh
survivor of water, manacles and whips.

They sat assessing teams, statistics
and the possibility of season championships
the way their grandfathers once discussed
rain, tillage and the future price of cotton in the bale.

Somewhere in between,
they stopped saying “Suh” and “Boy”
and call each other

Poetry Monday

The Canyon at Three AM

Cracked sidewalks
damp from a midnight shower
accompanied only
by moonless doors
and the smell of wet pavement
line a street now free of taxis
but flanked, as in daylight
by walls of masonry and glass
boxes containing boxes
inhabited by lives, separate
and collective

Lights switch off
one by one with no pattern
random as the deaths of friends
after one is seventy.

A light
then darkness
one by one
here, there
the click unheard

Behind the dark
souls stir.

Poetry Thursday

You Can Always Remember What You Were Doing When…Or Maybe Not

December 7, 1941

The way he told the story, he stood
on the wheat colored carpet
shortly after a winter dawn
dressed in rumpled striped  pajamas
draped over a skinny eleven-year-old body
as he heard the incredible news from Dad
that someone had attacked our country
sunk most of our Navy
and that we were assuredly at war.

What I remember
is sitting in Bishop’s Restaurant
in my gray wool jumper
and red taffeta blouse
after Sunday School.

Bored with the adult’s conversation
I listened to two men from the Daily
talk about something I didn’t understand
until we came out of the movie in the winter dusk
and every young man with a uniform on
had a paper under his arm
with the word WAR
so large I could read it down the block.

Poetry Monday


When I sit in a room of women
I want to ask every fourth one
to raise her hand.
“This,” I would say
“is the number of you who
will have breast cancer.”

“If you are as lucky as I am
you won’t have chemotherapy
just radiation and a man
who doesn’t care what you
look like afterward,
so long as you are there.

Then I want to have them
leave their hands up and say,
“and this is also the number
of you who have been raped.”

“If you are as lucky as I am
it didn’t happen until you were old
enough to put the violation
in its proper place and go on
with life.”

The last thing I would ask
is for every tenth woman
to raise her hand.
“If everyone was honest,”
I would say,
“there are probably
more of you¬¬¬¬—
the ones who can’t
not take a drink
or a pill
or a toke
or something
that makes you feel different.”

“If you are as lucky as I am
you’ve stopped listening
to your mother
and discovered a group
that really knows
what you’re talking about
because they’ve been
down the same road
and along with them
you’ve found what
you were looking for all along.”

Poetry Thursday

Descartes Revisited

I am

eating strawberries
peeling garlic
planting bulbs
driving to work
counting dollar bills
calculating tax
watching my granddaughter
listening to Mozart
walking upstairs
touching your shoulder

I think

When I rummage in the closet of the past
pick out things best left folded on the shelf
set them in the middle of my life
examine each tear and patch
ignore the brilliant print of remembered
moments and concentrate on those
soiled to the core.  I finger all this
with hope that this time
flaws will magically mutate
to past wishes, and forget
all gone days are set in the stone
of an Aztec Calendar.

Poetry Monday


To grow up
for Christmas
to get your driver’s license
summer vacation
and the Fourth of July
that first legal drink
to graduate
for the mailman
the bus, train, a plane
your date to call
your wedding day
to buy a house
for the grass to grow
paint dry
husband to pick you up
the baby to be born
just the right job
a big break
until the divorce is final
to retire
the ambulance
to die

Poetry Thursday

Story Teller

I’ve listened to her
tell lies and truth
with equal fascination.

She tells her lies
with embellishments
of humor
words joined
with the casual beauty
of a game of dominoes
laid out with end spots
perfectly matched.

But it is the truth
that holds me in thrall.

I hear it behind the sound track,
a raw and bleeding bass,
a trail to show the discerning
where next to set a foot.

Poetry Monday