Love Seat

Love Seat

It was a cosmic step
that first one
I’m older and wiser now
and I’d still take it
today. Every time.
That should tell you
something about
the etude I’m still listening to
the steps to the dance
the cavort the sidle
the ante up always
for a seat on the aisle
but instead that day
I edit myself
go window
to look out at the trees
I think
and next stop
you appear on stage
curve around the fare box
beeline tenth row
take that aisle seat
next to me.
The sun
sure was shining
on that bus that day
and on the trees
and on us. On everything and
on the step
that began the yet to come.
Every time I think about
how nearly I missed meeting you
I remind myself
I didn’t.


I Like to Visit Every So Often

From the collection Rearrange, 2018. This poem describes my grandparents’ house, which I knew as well as my own and I have many happy memories of it.

I Like to Visit Every So Often

The front door was white
I see it swing open into a tiny hall
Coat closet to the right. We never used it.

The living room
Hard sofa worn shiny faded chairs
scattered tables
grouped by some logic I didn’t understand
Piano in alcove.
The walls were blue.

The furnace roaring out blasts of heat
full-throated and abrupt
never a warning just quiet
then flat-out howling
menacing through the heater grate
fastened on the wall at my eye level
Never walk near it
in case.

George Washington and some of his friends
wearing white tights and white hair
in his dining room. They were about to eat lunch
a table set in the corner with a tablecloth
needed to be ironed and some it of dragging
on the floor
Dogs by the fireplace watching
wanting scraps
My interpretation
the painting next to the piano.

An acre of bristly carpet patterned in
red shapes and swirls
feet scraped across it rather than sinking in
especially if their owner was a small girl
six years old or so
and so I remember it
It was fifty years ago
but all of it plenty true enough
and just the same
every time I visit


Chocolate Cake

From Rearrange, published in 2018.

Chocolate Cake

no algorithm exists
for how you put together the chocolate cake
you made for my birthday
A recipe, yes, but
I mean how you
make a cake
it’s always one of a kind
each time unique
I said
no algorithm exists
for you

the cake
is always


Home Port

From Rearrange, 2018.

Home Port

The living room comfortably overheated
the faded sofa and elderly armchairs watching me
the wool carpet a familiar scratchy crewcut
scraping my palms
rasping the knees of my corduroy pants.
I crawl under my grandmother’s baby grand piano
set in its alcove pressed against the big window.
I sit cross-legged
just behind the pedals.
I am small
and content
settled in a patch of sunlight.


Second Chances

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Second Chances

A chance to start over. Warm after cold. Light after darkness.
The arms that pushed away now embracing. The dishonest smile
turned true.
Yes, I have plenty. I will help you
I have none to spare and
I wouldn’t give it to you if I did.
A pleasant dinner. An afternoon. A future.
Thank you for asking. I appreciate it that you thought of me.
No fear, no anger, no hands offering and taking away.
Contentment, happiness, love.
A calm and peaceful home.

Very Hot Summer Day 2014

“Very Hot Summer Day”, acrylics, 2014.

Roots Reaching Way Down into the Ground

From the collection Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.

Roots Reaching Way Down into the Ground

You, yellow-headed,
crouched down in the dirt, rooted
and going nowhere
You think

Right here is the best.
You grow up tall and lanky
your hair will turn white
Long time from now

blown off by the wind
and gone. Children do grow up
and leave home. That’s you.

Water the deep roots
Let your sawtooth leaves stretch up
to the sun. That’s me
Little yellow head
That’s you and me.

4/26/16 for 4/25/16



From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.


The baby wears
a lemon-acid-yellow cardigan and
green and white striped leggings
a short blue skirt
and a diaper
because she is no more than eighteen months old
I think
And her hair is done in two miniature pigtails
that bounce as she staggers
laughing up at her mother. She wobbles as she
sets off around the table
to somewhere else
So she thinks.
Imagine her surprise
at somewhere else
being exactly where she started out
Her mother’s knees
still there to grasp

Me and My Little Baby 12 x 9 1-18 small

“Me and My Little Baby”, acrylics, 12″ x 9″, 2018.

The Happy Sun Shines On Us

From Catch Up With Summer, 2015.

The Happy Sun Shines On Us

The mother and her small daughter chatter
in Russian
sitting behind me eating lunch at their table
while I listen to the cheerful rhythms
and consonant sounds
while understanding none of it.
The point being
since I can’t help but
what a pleasure it is to
without the obligation to
and judge
which is the eavesdropper’s burden
whether sought out and carried
shouldered without choice.
I hear the mother laughing and
the daughter giggling in return
and that
I am happy to understand very well.

“I’m So Happy” – mixed media

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 33

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.

On August 17, I was back at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. It was a very nice day to be out on the road.

There is a subtle air of increased activity here. I feel it. Cars in the big parking lot, people walking around the campus. I notice some guys playing tennis – they don’t look like summer campers to me. Students come back to campus next week; maybe some sports teams are already here? Is tennis a fall sport? I don’t know.

I checked on the squash vine on my way up. It’s still hanging in there, literally and figuratively.

I took a short walk before I went into the library. I’ve seen these signs around campus.

They refer to Maxim 55 of the 100 maxims composed by Father Jean Pierre Medaille, founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, one of the short sayings he wrote in the 1650’s for the sisters to use as guides to live by. “When you serve the dear neighbor, do it with an unselfish love and generous heart.” (information from the August 2017 issues of Connections, the college’s newsletter.)

These signs, and others reinforcing the college’s dedication to caring for all and against hate, have been up for about 7-8 months. I have felt this care from the staff at the library myself, and I have really appreciated it. I think the school lives its mission.

On my way to the library, I noticed the cornerstone of the main building, St. Joseph Hall. Full of symbols; I do not know much about them. I will do some research, I think. Everything has meaning and is trying to speak, if we can hear and listen.

And this fire hydrant. The colors really are something, aren’t they? I don’t know who chooses what paint to use, as there is no universal hydrant color, it seems. Just needs to be kind of flashy. I like that.

I cannot forget the crepe myrtles. They are still in bloom. But now, you can see they are beginning to become their autumn selves; some blooms are fading and there are less of the bright ones.

I went to my desk at on the 3rd floor. In a couple of weeks, I will be joined by students and the quiet will be – not so complete. How will I react? I admit I am looking forward to having some students around again myself. And if I get tired of noise, I am more familiar with the building now and can find a silent space, I feel sure.


All right. Today’s work.

This one is a palindrome poem. I learned about them some time back from Jane Dougherty. I wrestled hard with this one; it has taken weeks. Oh dear. And if it doesn’t work out right, don’t tell me. My head is still spinning.


Before long.
Exhausted trees
waiting for relief
branches overloaded
thick crowding leaves hanging limp.
Heavy dense air deceptive
so still
summer afternoon thunderstorm


Thunderstorm afternoon.
Summer still so deceptive
air dense
Hanging leaves crowding
thick overloaded branches
relief for waiting trees
exhausted long before.

I wrote this poem having been prompted by a sighting  in Center City Philadelphia last week. Seersucker suit. I wonder if this will be my last poem on this subject or not.


End of summer
The promise of a hot day
breathing out from building skins
still warm from yesterday
the concrete humid
the plate glass windows misted
the sidewalk in shadow
A ghost in a seersucker suit
crossing the sunny street
across waves of baked asphalt smell
Striding past the department store windows
reflecting forty years of summers
only the ghost and I can see.
Turns the corner.
I run to catch up
the sound of heels tapping light on the pavement
leather briefcase in hand
summer-weight suit bagged out in the seat
I follow the ghost
around the corner
and disappear.


Now, some little vines…

Dusting the shelves.
The stars said it can’t wait.
Better not disappoint them.

was it sugar or salt
the thought of it
too much for his sanity

she kept a diary,
perhaps a bad idea.
he blackmailed her.

You humiliated the poor man
a decent man in spite of everything
and it’s nothing a good pair of tweezers wouldn’t fix

sweaty muscular men
screaming and in quite a state
it was beyond embarrassing

Thank you for reading! Until next time.

Have Faith

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Have Faith

I have never let go of your hands
since I first took hold of them.
I will not let go.
Look down and
you’ll see it is true. Why can you not feel it?
The bones and flesh, the warmth
All my five fingers
press yours

Paper doll, 2014.