Tags from last 12 months

Love (1) loss (1)

Pictures in Frames

As I amble through my days

people I love are no longer here,

but they frequently return to me

in unexpected moments

The memories often repeating


These keepsakes of them 

alight in my thoughts

and find purchase in a smile


Keeping them close to me

on a cold seashore in winter,

in my dark hours with hit-and-run rain,

and in pictures in frames

still tellin...

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Early Morning in Yosemite

Experimenting, we placed the moon

on various branches of the pines

while the morning was still very new


We considered the jealous stars above,

those not ready to depart the dawn

Amidst the chill of the Autumn air

they were invited to join us here

in our temple among the trees

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The Suitcase

Unpacking all that it can carry,

grief takes up residence in my thoughts

choosing the spaces where it wants to be

It’s not being rude, or intentionally unkind


Love, the ensemble it brings,

much in need of mending,

seeks to be worn. Time, the tailor,

will do what is needed


The attire, brightly colored again,

buttoned close to me for warmth

as love perseveres


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If I were a poet
and could write in a fine hand
I'd pen my love a poem
only she would understand

I'd compose it down at the shore
where the waves always come back to me,
like my reflections of her

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Thanksgiving, 2009

With seeming chaos in the kitchen,

a cacophony of sound and confusion,

and four children still learning

about volume control with their voices,

my brother exercises his necessary strategy;

he is the LOUDEST by far!


In an inexplicable miracle of timing,

all the dishes prepared by many hands

make it to the crowded table,

almost impossibly, at the same time!



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Loss reminds me
to appreciate the moments,
the beauty of time shared
This, the only kindness
grief seems willing to give

Luckily, memories know
to capture the fragments that remain
for refuge against the days to come

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Breaking Up With Philomena

The phone rings late in the afternoon
She says she wants to see me tonight
I take another drink and contemplate the dance

Later, the cats look at us disapprovingly
I let them out to search for better company in the alley
“Leave the bastards and come back to bed.”, her complaint

I can’t take my mind off them,
seeking what they may in their wanderings
Prowling carelessly about in the dar...

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Local Errand

The old man was standing
in the post office lobby, waving
to the security camera there

He appeared disheveled,
dirty clothes, and an unruly beard
that seemed to be assaulting his weathered face
A man with no home to call his own, I surmised

As he turned, I smiled and said,
"Everyone is watching these days."
With a look of disagreement, in a gravelly voice
he replied, "I don't know ab...

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Protest Song



Let’s rest over here, away from the politicians

We’ll sit in the soil, away from the grifters and reavers,

where we can cleanse ourselves in the dust and the dirt,

cleaner by far than the back doors of power


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Toll Collector

Grief never seems to care

about the currency I have,

be it pictures, memories, guilt or sorrow


It’s always been willing to work

with the materials at hand,

and accepts any and all

in payment for its’ services

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The Olive Grove

She offered me an olive branch

Small then, at first,

not much more than a seedling,

but without guile

A truce from skirmishes of the heart


We are arborists now

tending to the bounty

in an overfilled grove

planted these many years ago

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Modern Conveniences

I keep calling my mother's voicemail,

though she’s been gone for months,

to hear her voice again

I consider leaving a message, but don’t

Even with loss in bloom,

I’m sure I’ll be stronger soon

Maybe I’ll think of something to say

when the torrent of memories

aren’t crashing in all around me


It’s just a simple message to leave

You’ll be there one more time for...

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Diamonds on the Water, and Boats at Low Tide

I don't know when the change came for me

It's not like a date you could mark on a calendar

With little still to prove to anyone,

the edges are worn now, smoother


The change, I think, came from living

Learning from all the mistakes

that showed my humanity how to be better

than when it first began to feel


Appreciating the lessons of hurt

in all its’ forms and inc...

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Fixing a Hole

Like a tool I've lost, or loaned to someone maybe,

in my mind there never seems to be

just the one I need to fix the fissures and hollows

that sometimes consume my attention

in this broken-down palace of you no longer here

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Married Life

Later that night, interrupting the quiet of our thoughts,
I asked her "What will you do if you outlive me?",
expecting her to say something endearing
like she would miss me terribly…

She replied, with all the love she has found
and would want to hold onto after I’m gone,
"I'll keep your ashes under my bed."

But the real reason I love her
was her reply to my next query
"Aww, that's swe...

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Exes and Ohs

She had broken pieces when we met
Some of the shards piercing her still,
revealing a disquiet of scars
Love, the brigand that put them there

When I gave her cut flowers
she had no chance of seeing
the field of understanding and tenderness
from which they came

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She was melancholy
because our puppy lifted his leg to pee tonight
"It makes him seem so grown up now", she had said
This made me think about her gifts

How they are not always in plain sight,

just below the surface of the words,
and how lucky I was to have someone

to help me remember to see them

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Getting There

I felt fortunate to arrive here 
with the experience of many trips around our sun

I was missing some pieces though
In this place, I have my collection of the departed
Those I miss dearly

All that they were 
and all they would ever be,
revisited over and over
in the realm of grief

But grief has a better purpose, 
though it takes its' time to reveal itself 
Ambling through my emotio...

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The Fence in Our Back yard


Some of the boards have lichen on them

in the sun-starved corners

There’s a length that’s been replaced

along the east-facing section


The new wood planks abut the old,

adding a sense of acceptance

to the persistence of renewal


We’ve hung some of my mother’s yard ephemera

in various places along the weathered fencing

Talavera moons and sunbursts, even a ...

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What Our Dogs Know

I always watch people walking their dogs

Hounds, pooches, mongrels, all of the dogs, really

Their noses examine every scent for messages;

the canine secrets we can only imagine


On these walks, the owners reveal things

about themselves if you pay attention

to the way they move with their companions


Hints about their character, how they feel

about their pet, the way...

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I ask myself if I love you? Am I attached to you

in the way you always say you are to me?


I test myself by thinking of being without you,

or of something bad happening to you


These tests stir a deep sadness in me for a time

The pieces of feelings assemble now with clarity

This is how I build my love

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Honors of Love


I shivered at the fearsome thing,

this affliction that found you here

amongst all your beauty

I could never find the words

to offer as medals and ribbons

I wanted to give you

for wrestling and sparring

with a cruel and indifferent foe


While somehow finding the courage

to provide an embracing home

for the audacity to hope

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A User's Guide to Mondays


Dante, our dog, stretches - from his cute behind
to his graceful neck, paws outstretched
and tendons taught, his cold nose pressed
back and forth between our sleepy faces

No alarm needed!

We get up before the coffee is ready
Her hair disheveled, but somehow lovely
Mischievous pats on our derrieres
a favorite part of the daybreak waltz

Get the creamer, grab a clean spoon
beep, ...

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Little Victories

Following up with my doctor

with an online message

…this is good, that’s still a problem…


Sharing all the little embarrassments

as we often must, with those

who’ve taken the Hippocratic oath


While composing my missive

I let out a shout of triumph

startling my wife, just a bit


“What is going on?”, she asked

“I spelled diarrhea correctly”, I quickly rep...

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I remember the days, years ago,
negotiating our terms of living together
Learning to navigate each other

It was an awkward and exciting time
Nothing was too much to ask,
nothing too small to remember

Here we are now, in our days of gold,
trying to agree on what we should plant in our garden,
or which book we should both read next

I’ll fall asleep tonight next to you
with a chan...

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At The Red Rock Cafe



I dated a girl with very short hair

You could not run your fingers through it

I mean it was really short!


But she had beautiful long hair

captured in photographs in frames

she displayed in her home


I had questioned why she now kept her hair so short  

She replied, as matter-of-factly as you could imagine,

“I’ve worn it this way for some time now,


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Goodbye Dante (our dog)

Sometimes you have to push the bully love aside,
out of the way, elbow and shoulder,
so necessity can see through what love fears most,
loss and the damage of absence.

To see what needs to be done
no matter love’s protests,
though they are not unheard.

Love and necessity, formidable forces,
will eventually reunite
as confederates in purpose,
but gently and in time

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Old Clothes

I wake up adorned in the raiment of grief

An old coat finishes the ensemble

Patched and threadbare in all of the usual places

The pockets often seem full

with memories and images of the ones I’ve lost

My familiar acquaintance, regret, is usually there too,

avoiding the holes in the fabric time tries to put there

Despite appearances to the contrary,

the coat has been ve...

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Crumble and Fall

I never wanted to be like ridged things
I've seen them crumble and fall
Fractured and angry at their failure

Rather, like the trees
The branches sway and dance to meet the storms
The leaves fall and renew

They do this countless times
through the years
Until the fires come
And they will come

But I will gambol and spin
until the fires leave me ashes

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I was hanging on tightly

to what you were just passing through


I found comfort in fleeting things

because they were more predictable

than your peregrine heart


You still don’t know what love means

to those who have to push it down,

hoping the light from the surface

won’t break over them

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The Carpenter

People ask me what love is

and I smile because I know

I see the answer in you every day

Your sadness for old shoes

left on a windowsill

waiting to be rescued from the rain

The scar above your eye you hate

when it speaks to you in the mirror

Always and relentlessly there,

sharing a place with older wounds

just below the surface

It’s not perfection I seek


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Coffee With My Ex

"Why did it end that way?" she asked

when we spoke some years later


Two cups in we agreed

We couldn't find our way back

to who we wanted to be

It’s like our patched-up hearts

The bandages do come off

but they will never be the same

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The trail leads gently up
and through the stand of trees
The day is chilled by autumnal winds
just in from the coast

I contemplate the desperation of the falling leaves
as they wander about in the bracing air
Carried by the breeze to where they will lie
And I wonder: “Are they bitter?”

Or do they accept their fate
as the annual benediction
of having served their purpose

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Reading our books in bed in the early evening
You, a favorite murder mystery
I think you’ve read three or four times
Me, another damn poetry book

Together, we hear a forlorn cry
from one of our sleeping dogs. It was high pitched
So, it must have been from our little guy

We check them both to be sure they are okay
And they are. He probably had a bad dream
You wonder why our little brow...

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Paper Heart

I write on it every day
It has been crinkled and torn
It’s the only thing I know
I can remake from ashes

Some notes in pencil are faded
Many, seemingly in ink and paint,
are more permanent
I imagine the words etched therein,
as vivid hues of echoes and memories

I continue to keep my journals there
every waking moment
filling up the remaining blank pages
in worn and patchwork volume...

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Ralph and Alice

I really loved that show

It probably wouldn’t fly today

But he really loved her, you could tell,

between all the laughs

She knew who she married,

and never once set foot on the moon,

despite the opportunities offered

His constant, his foil

they still live happily ever after

in old black and white New York

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