Poem for Bowie

Now I feel the edge of tears but not quite
Something that feels not like grief

But like the ringing of a great church bell
Reverberating through the whole body
A mountain moved and an empty vista

Almost crying, three times:

A movie picked for fun and glamour
Except it was really about death and family

A podcast about comic books
And that one character who stays dead

Then the last song of a concert movie
“Give me your hands — because you’re wonderful”

Another poem

Let us pretend a little longer
That it is still summer
I will wear my sleeveless dress
And you can don your sunglasses
We will go to the beach
Where the waning afternoon light
Reflects off of the bright rocks
We will be warm in the sun
Just a little longer
We will forget for a moment
That the rain is coming.


Walking up from the beach

Last of an early fall afternoon
Sharp shards of light and soft hollows of dark
Obscure and illuminate the steep uphill

Scrambling through the bony root-toes
Of firs and cedars less old than they look
Stepping between the slick knuckles
Finding soft purchase in the decomposing forest

Teenage boys louder than the few chattering birds
Echo into a general clatter of callowness
Like the distant barking of a dog, the roar of a car’s engine.

bike poem

"In my late 20s I learned..."

    something I could have
                should have
                      might have wanted to learn
                      when I was a small child

except that Dad died.

The bike came the year
I stopped believing in Santa
which was because of the bike
which could not have possibly
fit down the chimney.

The bike: I couldn't quite
      get the hang of it
despite his efforts

and then he died.
He died and Mom couldn't
      help me learn either.

So the bike went in the garage
until it was too small.

Besides, no one bikes in LA in the 80s anyway.

All through my middle 20s
C. wanted me to learn
        how to ride a bicycle.

When we met he had the
         John Deere tractor green bike
that he rode on those steep
         Tacoma hills.

Except when 
         I came through the park
         to his apartment
         and we walked to work together.

That was how everyone knew
         we were a thing, us walking
together, him with the hand-painted green bike.

He tried to take me bike shopping.
I was terrified of being 
that far off the ground
         and of moving at a speed
          faster than walking.

Looking out the window
of my first office, first real 
grown-up profession,
and he's on the phone
explaining how, no -- really--
I have to see this bike
               it's totally different
       from all the other times --
       five -- six -- seven years of
               "you should get a bike."

But really -- it is different.

The bike is different,
        the shape of it isn't so scary
                and maybe by then
        I'm different too.

Because I get on and after
a wobbly how-do-I-start-this moment
I'm moving and pedaling
         and somehow the whole thing 
       stays up and is a sort of 
           miracle not unlike flying.

sunday scribblings: miscellaneous

a box of what’s left over
after sorting

a stack of post-its
curling and yellow
(not with age, just as they are)
and the cryptic scrawls
phone message
half-formed grocery list
idea for code or poem

plants haphazard
unlabeled, unknown
jumbled in the bed
at the far end of the garden
to wait under leaf
rain, an occasional snow
until spring brings
inspiration and energy

after the model is assembled
three Legos at the bottom
of the plastic bag
not enough to use
for anything
toss them in the tub

a box of what’s left over
after the files are tidy
and the drawers are clean
which is to say
a dozen projects
tiny to infinite
belonging to nothing else
a form, a catalog
a phone number
markers of larger things
I wanted to do
and did not make time for
or that I should have done
but did not want to
or was afraid I could not finish.

sunday scribblings: holiday memories

I realized last night that I need to start writing poetically and/or fictionally about where I’m at right now with the house and other things before I can go on to any other stories.

I’m not sure if I’m at all happy with this particular poem, but I’m glad I tried for it. Maybe I’ll come back in a few days and edit.


in a stack of boxes in the back of a closet
is one marked “XMAS” in black sharpie
in his clear & tidy printing

in the attic of my mother’s house
is a box 3 feet square, at least

this one is smaller
small enough to pick up
light enough to carry easily

no glass balls in this box
we’ve never had a tree big enough
to need them

but in a silver box from the Gap
that must’ve held a gift once
4 matched clear glass ornaments
from a friend, from the year
that I stuffed a full-size tree
into a studio apartment

and from that same year
a similar number of starched lace snowflakes
and a single impossibly tiny
origami swan in pink paper

plus two brass ornaments
from my childhood
engraved with my name and the year
1977, 1978

the rest of the box
is unopened lights
a handmade plaid treeskirt
3 dreidels
too much needlework
from my mother

also an amazing quilted table runner
in luscious greens and reds
gold and silver both
also from my mother

a stocking from my aunt
in the shape of a Victorian boot
pink and green, my name in looping white
it looks lonely pinned to the wall
with a pushpin
over the table where the presents are stacked

I keep forgetting to go looking
for a stocking for him, something
special that can go back into the box
come January

found haiku

streamers of fog
threading thru tall grass
wreathing construction notices

on the edge of the bike lane
a raven
its heart splayed out

the raven’s wing
crushed, pushed aside
into the bike lane

in the tunnel
of midsummer trees
a flash of sky

fog curls
scotts broom, grass, shrubs
yellow construction sign


dark outlines of firs
against rose-gold eastern clouds
reflected in the ice-lined pond