As in a tasty mix of talk

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One for Today


I smell the elevator grease
As I push the button to
Go down, down, down
Into the basement of my life,
This time to do the laundry, but
In the same direction I
Take at night, going down
To all the undone things that
Worry me. I
Keep unlived dreams below my
Sleep; the things I believed
Were possible once, and even now
Cannot release to yesterday.

Dancing in a grade school wedding dress
I would wear with gardenias in my
Hair, under the cool blue
Light of bluest moons, catching
Stars on the tips of my fingers and
Wishing on them until I, too, grew
Full. I was to fall in love with
Men as luscious as sonnets, swooning over
Their youth hostel eyes and bearing
The children they planted in my
Womb like oats, each child
Miraculous, until, too fulfilled for speech
I would compose a waterfall of rhyming words
Both powerful and sweet, with subtle
Undertones of meaning that were nothing
Like these.

Instead I step back into the
Elevator, still reeking of its grease, my
Laundry done, even if my dreams are
Not. The weatherman says it may
Rain today. I press the button that says

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One for Easter

Hope is not always wrapped in lovely words. Sometimes hope is the weed that cracks the sidewalk.


Leave the horrible garden
Behind, its barbs and thorny hooks
Hiding inside the flowers. It
Has died but not I.
I spring forward to thrive

In a new and faraway field of
Time, where blooms are not
So heavy and quick to wilt, where
Even landfill weeds are better
Than the rotting soil my mother

Left. From her hanging babble of
Wire mesh and threats, her
Insinuating stench of the corpse plant I
Have opened in flagrant hue
Bearing fruit from the furthest

Reaches of love’s indomitable spectrum.
Now it is time to rise
Unfettered by the past, to
Reach for life’s most precious
Gifts, and let the future shape them.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Giving... A Look Behind the Packaging

I always think that, given a chance, I would step up and make a meaningful contribution to my community and the collective heart of the world. But, like packaged meat at the supermarket, some opportunities to contribute leave us disconnected from the life-and-death realities behind them.

Here’s a chance to look behind the packaging of Peace 4 Kids, a local community project devoted to helping foster children.

Foster and at-risk youth face challenges that defy imagination. But try for a second… Imagine switching homes, schools and caregivers, as often as three times a year or more. Imagine trying to cope with these challenges while living in one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Under these circumstances, imagine how you would feel if you then lost a loved one to gun violence… or a relative to incarceration.

Nearly every foster child served by Peace 4 Kids has experienced these traumas or worse. But these children aren’t halfway around the world. They are right here in our own community.

Maybe you already know that our foster care system is brutally inadequate. But what you probably don’t know is that, meager as the system’s care may be, it unceremoniously stops the day these foster children turn 18. To say that foster youth are ill prepared for independent living is an understatement. Once they “emancipate,” their first stop outside foster care is often homelessness. Some of them, for example, find it cheaper and safer to spend their nights riding a bus than to pay for sub-standard housing, or worse, to take their chances on the streets.

That’s where Peace for Kids makes a difference. A private, non-profit organization, it helps foster children transition into society through training and support in all areas of their lives: physical and mental health; education; housing; legal needs; and of course, employment. While the organization serves foster children of all ages, it also provides critical, much-needed assistance to transitioning youth up to the age of 24.

And Peace 4 Kids deserves our help. Please visit this worthwhile organization’s website for a better view of its programs and the ways we can support them. You might want to mentor a foster child. Or maybe make a monetary contribution.

But I promise you, once you view the real needs of children at risk right here in our own back yard, you will better understand the impact of whatever you decide to contribute. You may also experience an unprecedented, heart-to-heart connection.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Two New Ones

When someone asks me to critique their poetry I invariably am rendered speechless... how can one critique a message from the gods, or pick apart the messages they whisper to poets as they sleep? Still. Words are imperfect. So I ask of you what I cannot do for others. Read my two new poems, and let me know if you can see a way to tweak more feeling from them.


In every season of my life
Fear has been
The cut that makes me bleed
Red as a rabbit’s eye, and
Just as frightened for
No good reason.

I fear every imaginary
Thing, but only
One real one… that
I might lose the center
Of my self that sings
And asks without guile for
What I see or need or want.

Monticore could drag me
Across the floor before
I would relent
Even if my flesh were torn
And spent, I would be less afraid
Of pain than of the tendency
To submit, to limit who I am.

So stay back a little, if you
Can, and let me get my
Bearings, don’t rock
The boat while I am
Looking into your fierce
Tiger eyes and loving them,
Still wondering if it’s safe to
Show my throat.


The wisdom quoted endlessly
By relatives and friends is
That love is right
Around the corner for
Anyone who wants it,
Really, truly
Wants it, but
Everyone knows the lottery
Will roll in on tarnished silver wheels,
Seek me out with an embarrassment of
Riches before someone comes to
Love me. I

Know how to figure the
Odds, abacus-up my chance to call that
Valentine flock of turtledoves, and it
Is almost every bit the same as
Tasting a flavor so perfect that, once
Savored, hunger never comes again. Or,
As likely as sleeping a sleep so deep
That forever after one is rested, and
Can run with daycare toddlers, never
Out of breath and always ready for
More candy. Hah!

Like love will come by Fedex,
Glowing, perfect, costing nothing more than
Signing on the line, healing all
Wounds, ignoring the rent and the key
To the lockbox where the will is kept. Love
Doesn’t even know its own name but
I do. I am calling and calling and
Calling it.