She wears one mask

She wears one mask,
and beneath blue sky’s face, hers
is more calm, a pacific tide dressing
waves that siphon sand from under
my feet.
She wears one mask,
contours her face embosses in the air,
with veiled smile, easy affection, like
some curtain drawn in warm embrace.
Eyes that linger do arrive.
She wears one mask,
and in the twinkle of her eye,
my gaze given way, she lets go
the chrysalis gauze, desire thus
draped, now undone silk by
silken breath.

She wears one mask,
lips like leaves she stirs the wind,
tucks me within hushed embrace,
till begins this apple bloomed,

       Am I leaf or wind?

And behind each mask unmade,
the one who wears us both,


thirteen ways to ride a ferryboat

it’s the bottom of a bowl
where things tend to congregate
like boats and water and people
and gravity, going over across the way.

you stand ashore, near the beach,
near the ferryboat dock, you watch, you be sure,
you see them come see them go, make sure
they’re for real.

secure the ropes, pretend your floating feet
resemble land. although you’ll never quite
cease from walking up-hill.
fish feet first is the rule.

there’s a long wide thread, invisible,
but you can see its’ shadow in the water
scuffed right astern your ferryboat shoes.
it’s where you’ve been but are no more.

surely… someone… on the other side wants
your company.   isn’t that one thought when
you trade your coins at the gate?

water is blue, but no, it’s pale sun green
turning to veiled face.   ferry is mostly white
but partly it is busting rusting orange.

when it’s really calm your ghost
looks more real looking back at you.

dogs hang heads out car windows.
humans gather on the paws of boats.
tales wagging.

pull that string tight.   speak loudly
into the tin-man can.   it’s important for
stories to reach the far shore.

it matters to know the name of your boat.
it’s a mistake to feign indifference.   else if
you get lost at sea, how will you make yourself
found again?

a ferryboat is where water and sky
used to be.   but they keep changing
their minds about where.

ferryboats float on grace,
which is another word for displacement
you see.

ferryboats understand flowers
the way snow understands moss.
in a former life I was a ferryboat.

13 (twice)
here’s a small secret:

when you’re crossing middle,
looks like you could be going either way.

image: Washington state ferryboat, Puyallup, two miles from my home.

post: a refrain in thanks to Kerfe and her inspired image & poem & music
           post.   beautiful.    Thirteen ways of looking at Living.

encouragement like this


sometimes it’s to look at a painted tree
without looking away

unblinking reveals what goes blind
while asleep

yes, maybe I’ll change my face
today, be someplace else instead
of me

another life, a different street.

all those memories will be
painted over.    forgiven,

water lapping against the hull,
left to drift free of lovings

not even Autumn would disagree.


here, write this poem

at least one ladle each.

write what you don’t want to say.

write what you don’t want them to hear.

decide who they are.   then really, who they are.

describe your mask.

what color, your eyes when they’re closed?

where were you born?   no, not geography.

be brief.   very brief.   write short words.

point to where you’re going.

move along


shadow play

          dragon awoke to see soon
          would be time for his parting

          as legends foretold, at first so
          the dragon thought,

          then realizing he was in fact
          a young boy waiting for
          his mother

          to return from market, then
          thought, no, he was seeing

          from inside her shoes
          as she wondered about
          carrots and rice

          and what her son was
          dreaming now, more

          than only her, but then
          suddenly she

          saw her son awaken,
          becoming a white butterfly

          in the Autumn garden.
          she watched him move
          far out of sight.

          Chō monogatari    蝶物語

          butterfly story, she smiles.   not a mask.

          when does it end?   she doesn’t say.

          who calls themselves, audience?

image:    The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun,
                 William Blake, National Gallery of Art

ocean inside us

there are tides that draw us toward the Moon.

father mother sister brother.   swimming near.

inside the ocean is our memory.   it moves
as do our thoughts, as our desire also does.

taste the salt that remembers us.

there is a cradle rocking us in our sleep.
when awake we see the color blue.   no reason

why that attraction is a familiar face.
we long for that embrace, those thirsting lips.

when the difference between inside and out
was no drought of imagination.   drink,

that was within reach of our stride.
be filled, be full.   carry the world in water,

in our two arms.


she sees stars

stars being bright.     I am not fear.     look, see.
she is a thread.     from here to here.     sometimes.

sometimes I fall.    there is no measure to count.
see, what light will do if allowed.
here, she comes down to this
in the shadow of a lightless barn, or
a shuddered broken room inside of you.
here, here is the quality that renders doubt,
a shard that is genesis of its own better hope.
where her slightest touch transforms,

a thing like this could save a life.
please enlarge image for best understanding.

image:   A group of stars is called a globular cluster.   This globular
cluster NGC 6380 is located about 35,000 light-years away from Earth.

(image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, E. Noyola)

tell me words

when I can’t quite see you.   unclear.   obstructed.
cluttered by stray thought.   sound but no sight.
although more than an arm’s length away.   or,
maybe it’s just smoke.   fine bits of something
recently burnt.   a particulate suspended mass.

     describe smoke

when I called, you came to me.   only a few steps
measured away, but it meant you had to get up,
get out of bed.   something in the dark looked
awry.   my height marked in pencil, ascending
on the doorway jam.   yours by a calming hand.

     describe mother

she was always there.   more than anyone.   her.
feeder of stray cats, any cats.   hands that held
no threats, not to anyone.   a gingham dress.
always.   at least my always.   memory bigger
than me.   mother of mother.

     describe Janet

you come from out of the ground.   you come
from mountaintops.   you come from high and
grey and green and white and dark, clouds we
say.   one drop at a time still makes an ocean
to waiting watchful acolytes.   thirst.   we drink.

     describe water

check mark all of the above.   a first beginning,
eagerly.   tell me all the stars.   tell me all the
worlds.   tell me about me and about you.   I’m
all ears.   I’ll bring the old cooking pot.

     describe everything

you come from the ground when I call.   you answer thirst.
you bake bread.   I comb your hair.   cat’s asleep on the bed.
you are rolling brown grass hills.   my hand knows the curves.
you are a bowl of soup.   you are inside when outside is rain.

     describe loving

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please support the Monterey Bay Aquarium

like being a dog

        We should all be as simple as a dog, shouldn’t we.   But we’re not.

      To feel alive in this world.   I remember in the arrogance of youth I thought if I have to take pills to stay alive… well now, I do.   And my sense of belonging is questionable.   Me and Spirit, just us, it feels
      like all the real that is.   But then, thoughts move like tides.
              Feelings, to the Moon and back.
              And yea, it’s the ocean we are in.

something like being blunt

I write because what else engaging is there to do with a pen in my hand.
I write because empty spaces keep finding their way to my desk. I write because those spaces aren’t empty. Yes, I write to get them outside of me.
I write to make them go away. I write because that seems like a good idea.
I write because I have no other good ideas. I write because the Earth, she
is spinning beneath my feet. I write to keep my balance standing here.
I write because my mother, she is gone.

I write because we are in the ocean, and she is big. I write because she is a woman. I write because I hope she will notice me. I write because her hand is in the air and she is waving to me. I write because she might just be god.

I write because I’m afraid. I write because I am not afraid.

I write because I can’t make up my mind. I write because I love the taste of language on my tongue. I write because I want to witness the world in person. I write because I want your company. I write because I want sweetness into your life. I write because your face keeps filling me with words. I write for beauty’s sake. I write because I never know how it will end when I begin. I write because the world is not a mystery. I write because we were always meant to see, to understand. I write because this is a blessing.
I write because my hand moves through words like through water. I write because feelings remake themselves when I do.

I write because the truth is uncomfortable. I write because I want to say what’s so. I write because I lie. I write because words are spider webs. I write because it never gets better than this. I write because I’m afraid this is as good as it gets. I write to make opportunity. I write because it isn’t yet all lost. I write because of friends I have lost. I write wanting me to be enough. I write because the mountains weren’t always mountains. I write because we get bigger. I write because we get smaller. I write because I’d rather write than go fishing.

I write because I forget.

I write because every day is like a bookend, but there’s only one. I write as an act of faith. I write to discover. I write to remember. I write to forget. I write to ease the pain. I write as an answer to death. I write what passion says. I write to pray. I write to meditate. I write to listen more better. I write because words sometimes confuse themselves. I write because I believe in language.

I write to be playful like a child in a pile of leaves. I write because of the Moon. I write like a knife because it is dangerous. I write like a knife because it is surrendering. I write as ritual. I write to walk away from hate. I write to dream. I write to stay awake. I write to the kindness of heart I have abused. I write to forgive myself. I write to loosen knots. I write accidentally. I write when I am wrong, especially when I am wrong. I write even when it doesn’t matter, which it always is.

I write to appreciate my life with you. I write to see heaven in front of me. I write that you might also see. I write to make small history. I write to make solitude not being alone. I write to remember. I write to let go. I write to speak for the birds, the plants. I write to the rain. I write to the Moon when my eyes are closed. I write to remember breathing is a choice. I write to discover meaning. I write to look beneath the leaves. I write because I am filled with stars. I write because I am broken.

I write because this is how I cook. I write because this is how I eat. I write because a fork and spoon. I write to make a plate. I write to fill a cup, to fill a bowl. I write because this is how I sleep, this is how I walk, this is how I stoop to drink from the well. I write because this is why I love.
       I write because this is how I love.

I write because of the middle of night. I write because it is how I answer doubt. I write because I breathe. I write because blood, because heart. I write because it is a glorious waste of time. I write because of hands and arms, and because of color. I write because of chocolate. I write because of spiders and their webs. I write because ants get into the sugar bowl. I write because I don’t like wearing shoes so much. I write because I like the sound it makes inside my head.   I write because Spirit asked me to.

I write because words are threads.
          Why do you write?
I want to acknowledge and thank the better graces of Terry Tempest Williams who opened this gate and asked who else was willing to join her curiosity.   A response, Answers you see, they are implied in the question,
in the process itself, like using an abacus.
The two photographs are of the country hills around my old California home.
Oak and scrub and grass (all dry summer).   Very typical.   That was home for decades, and it still looks like “home” to me.

And a Manzanita summer scent, unmistakable.

REVISED.   stanza 10 added, new.   10.22.2022

seasons of thoughts

feelings are the sun the moon, the stars in heaven, far.

thoughts are clouds are rain, are wind, sometimes a storm.

shadows are relationships, how seasons change

     and change again.   elliptical.

we make way like sailors say, we navigate.

one foot inside the boat, the other, often enamored

     of rolling about, the circular seas.