Saturday, November 12, 2016


I mow my wet November post election lawn
ruthlessly at the lowest setting, despite
 cautions from gardeners to go high,
I am not feeling high.
Now those weeds and grass are
an inch above their lives,
like many refugees and immigrants.

I enter social media again, and post stuff
stuff I think is really crucial now
when confusion reigns.
I had left this world for many months -
and will leave again, maybe tomorrow  when
the wine has worn off.

Having a sexual encounter with a full grown adult because of
mutual attraction is far different
forcing a 13 year old illegal immigrant in a whore house of
models hoping to get a break
from a cadre of rich men as their jailers.

I think all day of little girls, so boisterous and free-
I vow to stand and fight this sickness
led by a sudden dictator
the christian without a conscience.

They said, in Catholic School,
to guard against false prophets,
men of low moral standards, posing as leaders.

Now it has come, and I can hear the nun's voices asking me

"If you had to stand up for God,
like Joan of Arc, could you do it?"
Mettle not metal.
I wondered when I was 7
what that would be like
oh, but things are better now it could not
happen to me.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall 2016 With Adelyn James

The trees are colors, yellow, orange and brown,
The leaves shine in wetness, the air is warm, tomatoes still ripening
ever so slowly.
Nine month old nieta, grasping the umbrella handle in her
amazing, tiny, perfect hand.
What gratitude I feel to the Goddess when I look at the perfect fingers of
my nietas.

We walk down to the chicken house and say hello chick chick chickees.
She watches them intently, registering every movement.
I think she knows them from another plane which she has
recently arrived from.
We drop pinkish tomatoes into the pen, and stand while they
peck eagerly at the juicy seeds.
She touches the round smooth fruits like a ball,
yet no, she is my smart nieta, she senses this lovely bit of color in our walk
is more cool than a toy.
She draws her tiny fingers across the taught skin to know this thing we have just picked
from the yard.

We walk the road, and soon
her little sparsely haired head droops into sleep.
My feet turn up the hill to home.
I try to extract her from the Bjorn baby pack, with out awakening her from her
much needed nap.
She folds softly into her baby sleep.
I gather my things
to head back down the road
Being with what 'is'.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Last Thing

         The Last Thing ~ 
                                                                            For LaVonnne, two years gone

The last thing you did before
I left you and said goodbye,
the thing that one never knows is the last -
You borrowed my sunglasses while driving me to Miami airport
because you had
 misplaced every other one you had.
(this would not work if they had been prescription)
I left them there with you in Florida, my cheap sunglasses, my only pair.

You in your work truck, driving the easy macho way you always had
laid back, in control.
Just like you drove your Mom's maroon '65 Impala in high school,
 even sometimes when we played hooky from biology.
Flipping the steering wheel effortlessly, me watching with awe,
 I had not even applied for my permit.

You always knew where you were going,
you always had a  plan or 2 or 3.

On that last visit we floated in the warm Atlantic (my first dip in that sea)
We sat in some neighbors swimming pool telling our funny stories and drinking cheap beer.
We got to hang like girlfriends of 37 years.
We got to laugh and yell on a jet boat ride
to watch illusive alligators to which one was never supposed to feed marshmallows
which your odd boyfriend had.

We got to sit at night and talk about our parents.
You loved my parents, especially my distracted Dad.

I was your maid of honor, we got stoned while we dressed,
after I helped you arrange the somewhat awkward head piece you had bought,
and then I held you and talked you down when you cried
about how your brothers were treating you on you wedding day.

Now you are gone, a sudden heart attack,
you fell and left us just like that.
It was so like you. No fancy explanations needed.

I can't believe it isn't possible
to call you up and gab like we did every few months
to keep in touch.
No facebook crap, we did the real thing
We talked on the telephone.

Thank god I took the east coast Amtrak down to Florida in 2010.
Thank god we had the last laughs, and I got the last chance
to loan you - my romping wild friend - my sunglasses
to help you see better on the wide freeways.
The last thing I could do for you in person,
for the last time.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August Saturday at the Mollala River

The weekend heats up, 97 degrees yesterday. The house so hot I feel as though I can barely move. Cool waters await somewhere: I call my gal friend, Marilyn. She knows a nice river spot to swim. We drive East on Hwy 213, past the point where I have been before. The land reminds me of the Lower Elwha, where I lived so long ago - 25 years now. Rolling grassland, mountains in the distance, rural countryside dotted with small towns.

The Mollala river has swimming holes and is warm and clean. I stand in the waist deep water on the slimy rocky rocks staring into knotted tree branches on the bottom, watch little fish dart away from my legs. On the shore we munch cheese and crackers, sitting on big warm river rocks. We talk about all that has gone on in the past year, lots for her. She has been in a new relationship which has been emotionally difficult, and it is probably not working out.

"Margi", she turns to me, "I signed up for the Peace Corps!" It is something she had always thought to do, at the point when her kids were well on their way and she could take 2 years out of her life to live far away from her current home.
"I realized", she says, "That time is now!"
 South America is her goal. Her Spanish is excellent, and she has true life experience. I feel so impressed, so deeply happy for her, and on the side know I will miss having her near to hang with. She is one of my most uncomplicated friends. Those are worth more than gold.
My thoughts go to my own wish, from so long ago, to visit South America. It turns out that between the time I wished that, and now, I have developed an extreme dislike of flying. Ah, fate. I should have traveled to South America in college before I went through motherhood, then widowhood.

We pack our things and head west down 213. The game we play is to look for real estate and fantasize. We pass an old 1910 style school house and I say, "I would love to take a building like that, fix it up and use it for a yoga studio."  She is all in support.
Silly ideas, dreams more fun to dream than do. At this point I have 'done' 10 different homes. Why does the new project always seem exciting even after knowing how dirty, expensive and hard the real work is?

We pass the Horseshoe Bar and Grill. We stop. Horse and motorcyle motif, a patio bar, a place where the locals go. We laugh and talk over beers and snacks. The readerboard on the highway says 93 degrees. We are wearing our still wet swimming suits. We are happy.
When she drops me off at my house she says that we played hooky. I agree, yes, we played hooky from life today, and it was a great relief. I am 60 and I still want to play hooky. I will probably always be this way, fantasizing about projects, but resenting the feeling of being tied down.

Before I die, I must figure that struggle out. Maybe, slowly, I am.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Boulevard -Granola Bar

Two and a half year old Kaitlyn and I are riding home on the MAX. The voice on the intercom announces "Bybee Boulevard" .
Kaitlyn listens and looks at me, "What is bovard?" I pronounce bull-a-vard slowly as she repeats it. Finally she just turns it to "granola bar".

Her Dad and uncle had these when they were little:

The Spokane (ferry)  -smoked ham
A Coast guard cutter - a post card cutter
a garage sale - a garbage sale

more to come....

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Comfort of Clarity

When the morning sun back lights the petals
of  your pale lavender iris blooms while we have coffee
in your garden
I slow down into the day, surrounded by your place
Your work, your love, your creation born of a long and loyal
connection to a place.

I drink in the beauty, the light, the
Like a mellow tea
infusing my own despairing soul-
so that one more time I can
drive down the dirt road, back into the fray
and find my way.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Globalization of Indifference

I don't like knocking on the doors of strangers, even if they are my neighbors, but I do. I do because I am worried about my country. I am worried about the future for my grand daughters. I am concerned... I cannot sleep very well when I think. Thinking has become a challenge.

I was born in 1956, 10 years after the second world war.  My father was part of that war. My grandfather made his fortune from that war. My mother, a pacifist by nature said, " What else could be done about Hitler?"

Life was cut and dried for my parents. They sent us to Catholic school, took us to church every Sunday and gave us a warm and loving home. They talked about 'when' we would go to college, not 'if'. As parents go, they get an A-. They were really into grades.

The minus is because they could not see into the future. They refused to bend when the 60's hit, and their 2 oldest kids entered a world which they were ill prepared to understand, much less navigate. Drugs are not the main cause of mental illness, it is far more complex than that. The 2 oldest are still mentally ill. I feel sad for my parents. I have 2 kids and every day I thank the universe that they are not mentally ill.

I ponder the question of mental illness continually. Nature, nurture, drugs, toxic chemicals, environmental pollution, existential many factors in the soup of humanity.  I seek enlightenment, not so that I can become a guru, but so that I can outrun depression and mental illness.  It works,  I can say, yoga brings me to another level. I wish my older siblings had been able to find something to give them peace before the black dog of depression got its final firm intractable grip upon them, and they fell.

The current weird political scene brings the whole metal illness issue forward for me. I watch the machinations, the angry rationalizations, the caustic sound bites. It reminds me of the bad days when my sick siblings were verbalizing. I know sickness from close up. It is a manifestation of something buried deep inside a wounded person. The person does not know how much harm their sickness creates. The wounded person is too narcissistic to have a sense of the whole.

I wish it were possible to beg the world not to fall into the mental illness hole. "There it is". I might say. "Watch out, don't step there-  it is horrible and hard to come away from!" But words are only words. We live in a world of too many overblown, ubiquitous words.

When spring blossoms, the air warms, flowers bloom, I feel the benediction of nature. I thank the sun for browning my skin and sprouting my seeds. I take the children out to feel the world, the woodsy woods and the windy wind. What else can I do? And I still love words, believing they will untangle us from the tangle.