a little ditty

I’m walking around Wilson Park
I’m on my 3rd lap
I’m on mile three
My mind is moving faster than my feet

The election
The biting words
Cutting sharp blood letting
Lies
The planet
The hurricane and global warming
Ignore-ance
The ducks in the pond
I wish I had bread to feed them now that they’re back
How did they know
The pond was filled in again with clean water for them
Email?
Flyer?
Carrier Pigeon?

… little ditty about Jack and Diane
John Mellencamp sings in my ear

I’m sitting on the carpet in the corner of my bedroom in my on-campus apartment at Muir College at UCSD
I’m leaning against the cement wall
Natalie is leaning up against the window ledge
We’re just back from summer break
Natalie lost 20 pounds
All she eats now is wheat thins, tomatoes, cream cheese and canned green beans
Del Monte French cut green beans
There’s an open can on the floor next to the ashtray
A fork piercing the beans, standing straight up in its center

Our cigarette smoke curls toward the open window
Two open pink cans of Tab rest on the stack of books on the floor
at our feet
We’re talking about the Teds
Big Ted and Little Ted
Little Ted is my boyfriend
Big Ted is the boy we both have a crush on
Big Ted with his round dark eyes
Floppy brown auburn hair
Soft smile
White teeth
Full lips
Big Ted  more than just
Strong beautiful hands and good looks
Big Ted has conviction

  The sun shimmers in-between the leaves of the eucalyptus trees
we’re looking out toward the ocean
we know it’s there
through the trees on the other side of North Torrey Pines
we smell it
feel it
breathe it in
underneath deep inhales of our Marlboro Lights
 and thoughts of what it might be like to kiss Big Ted

 …oh yeah life goes on..

 it does go on
and on
and on
and on

I stop walking
green
green grass
green feathers on the male ducks

The olive green shag carpet in my dorm room
Natalie me and the ocean
the green can of green beans
the green plastic handle of the fork sticking straight out of the can
piercing the flesh of the beans
green
eucalyptus
apple
asparagus green
India
Islamic
pine lime sea green
fern forest and olive drab green
and the sun
Slipping in and out of all that green
Keeping us warm
On a cool afternoon

…long after the thrill of living is gone…

smoking
being by the ocean
listening to music
away from home
giggling
girlfriends
and the Teds

simple thrills

and all that dorm room green

 

The Making Of A History

 

Vacation Culebra

I can remember a warm hand
pressing on my belly
fingers like predictions
reaching
winding their way
forming into my future

I was still un-written
a white page
waiting for its epic poem
to adorn
with rainbow watercolor skies
swelling blue oil seas
fertile green forests
plump with fruit
pixie dust and dreams
of lips being kissed ruby red
sealed with white satin promises

Different authors penned my narrative
each hand bore its distinctive cursive blue and black liquid letters
an inked history
filled my book
some pages tore
shred
I let them fly into the wind

Others I folded
tucked away
an account
a tapestry of tangled kisses
broken hearts
miscarriages of desire
lost souls
ripening on the vine
falling to the earth
passion love hate anger joy sadness loss
chapters in my book

My life
reveals itself
in the warm curve
of my hip
the soft give of my tummy
the arch of my lower back
against my lover’s hand
as he presses into
my core

Our Vacation in Culebra

 

 

Sweet Apples & Honey

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time for prayer, good deeds, reflecting on past mistakes and making amends with others.

 

Diving into the layers of color that are my life
Painting a vision of the year to come
Honoring my past

My father passed away on September 12, Rosh Hashanah in 1988. I used to say, Wow, two days a year to feel like crap. I was younger in understanding when I said that.  Now I wonder if his timing wasn’t part of the gift

 

Sweet apples & honey

 

Honoring what I have released
Has released me

People
Animals
Expectations
Clients
Attitudes
Habits
Fear
Heartbreak
Worry

Wants wishes dreams

Ah you’ve let go of dreams, one might ask.

Yes, I might answer

Let go of needing, pushing, pulling,
the angst that wraps itself
tangles, knots, ties itself
tightening around my delights
Wooosh, throw them to the water

Like a cloud
Or a bird that glides on the winds that come off the ocean
The bird launches into the strong gusts

A time to relax
A time to play
A time to drift
Riding the wind-wave
Sailing

I will
I have
let go and I will be carried
I will
I AM

I saw the box
resting on the brown table
I was sitting in a waiting room
this wasn’t the first time
waiting
in this room
on this day
I Looked at the box
other days, the many times before, I picked up a magazine about Running
this day
the picture painted on the box
the blues and the greens
caught my eye
this day
I opened the box
a deck of cards
I picked up the card on top

Don’t take it personally
One  of  The Four Agreements

I turned the card over in my hand
I read

If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you.  If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her.  Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal.

Understanding

stitching together fabric too worn to seam
isn’t useful
words are just words
threaded together
to create a cloak
no matter how coarse and uncomfortable
I chose to drape it over my shoulders
let it create rash
scratching, itching, burning
rub my skin raw

Y is just a crooked letter

 

Sweet apples & honey

 

 

 

Tomorrow I’ll remember
40 years ago, 40 months ago, 40 days ago

yesterday
today
this moment
the one after that

honoring those who have come and gone

through the windows, peep holes, cracks, nooks, crannies,
slipped in-between
underneath
around
swirled in through the front door
lifted out the back

 

Sweet apples & honey

Bread on the water

 

August Morning

I love hot August mornings. Early. Before 7am when it’s quiet and still.  Before the heat rises and swells.

I listen to the occasional car on another street,
a lawnmower,
mumbling voices
my neighbors walking dogs
that bark at birds, squirrels, or the sky,
the hum of a humid summer morning.
Still, hot, thick, breezeless, stirrings.
our late season tomatoes ripen on the vine,
the strawberries in my back yard waiting to be picked from the ground
planted on my tongue
their sweet red flesh
seeding my day

I sip my coffee.
a branch
in the tree in our front yard
stretches, arches up
to meet the blue expanding sky
I swell with memory

Somewhere in my Mom’s condo in Marina Del Rey, there is a box, containing snippets from my Dad’s life.

In black faux leather-bound Week-at-a-Glance notebooks,
pages filled with movies, scripts written in blue, red, purple, orange, pink, yellow and shades of green flair pen block print.
Pages read like scenes,
stolen moments from decades, years like 1972, or 1975.
a dinner party hosted,
a movie wrapped,
a birthday celebrated,
a friend mourned.

My Father’s voice calling to me from the page.

I have sheets filled with sepia tone memories
Beginnings seed, flowers bloom,
vines grow leafy,
they wrap and wind,
draping reality,
cloaking truth.
Memory yarns and stories are told.

Jeffrey Scott, the boy with two first names, a laughing ghost shimmering in my backyard, hovering over the ripples in the kidney shaped pool. He’s wearing a football jersey, I can see the black block numbers, but can’t make them out. A leaf floating through the autumn skies of my freshman year, swept up, blown elsewhere by spring.

No questions asked and none answered.

I’ve been the phantom. I’ve vanished. I’ve pushed beyond circles in which I once sat, cross-legged and eager, seeds planted, never thinking I’d need more room. That my roots would drive through the soil, exhausting the land we had cultivated together.  I extended beyond the iridescent round of abalone shells that adorned its border.  I moved to a dark, rich, new territory, fertile, soil untouched by deduction.  I stepped off the well-worn path littered with twigs, leaves and broken branches.

No questions asked and none answered.

What about So and So? Bill might ask, Why don’t you hear from her anymore?

I don’t know, I might answer.

I don’t know. It could be something I said, or did, or a birthday I forgot, or it could be that I got as busy as she was. Now there was no one left.   I don’t know. We didn’t call to find out.

No questions asked and none answered.

What can I do? Open.  Time embraces me; warm arms rock me, pull me close into a heartbeat, a soul, a moment, memory. Open.  Open to the promise of an August morning.

 

 August 7, 2012

Scattering Seeds

I unearthed an image.  I was digging through a dream of two high school freshman girls excited, bright, hopeful, best friends, flowers opening to spring showers and sun kisses.

We were standing under the Elm Tree on the corner of Gregory and Peck on an Indian summer Friday, on our way home from school.  Stacey, brown saucer eyes, long arms hanging, distended breastbone, had plans for popularity and I needed to understand.  “I can’t be your friend anymore, I need to be popular” her voice like the hot autumn day, dry, quiet, still.

A gardener, she had scattered seeds. Budding girls dressed in white organza tied in pink and blue ribbons with bows, powder blue suited boyfriend heads peaking in over shoulders, anticipation, round cheeks. Stacey smiling proud, brown saucers, convex breastbone protruding from the bodice of her ruffled dress.

They grew into hearty vines extending beyond her reach even when she was uprooted.

Plucked up by her mother and husband number six, adrift in the gamble of a better life far from their decaying one bathroom apartment on the outskirts of Beverly Hills.

Her garden grew untended. Vines crept along, up the manicured lawns to the high school’s entrance, they gripped the halls, zigzagged in and out of lockers, around metal legs of plastic chairs in classrooms decorated with periodic tables, chalk boards and art projects.  They tangled legs and arms, braided into the hair of girls and boys laughing in yearbook pictures.  They knotted beyond high school, into my summer and winter college breaks, when I would walk to the corner store,

“Hey, aren’t you at UCSD?” a shaggy haired voice calls out, eyes glinting green, pushing closer with a laugh.  “I hear people kill themselves down there”.  Hadn’t we once kissed?  Stealing a moment after school, in eighth grade, behind the double doors of the multi-purpose room. Stacey’s vines had taken root in this boy.

Like an abandoned garden on the side of a deserted farmhouse overrun with sprouted grass and weeds, becomes part of the landscape, unnoticed, the vines kept growing.

Memories fade, decompose, transform, become mulch for a healthy garden.  Till, dig deep, cultivate the earth, offer worms, cut spent blossoms, thin out dead, diseased and damaged stems, pull weeds, fertilize and deep water.  I did all this, on my knees, hot sun beating down, sweat pooling, dripping, fingers earth-digging, clearing, planting new seeds.  We all have gardens to tend.

That ginger moment, under the elm with my best friend, the one I captured and buried, looks different now.  I hadn’t noticed it then; the ripening emerald undergrowth Stacey’s mother had used to swaddle her.

August 1, 2012