Bare Feet



October’s Indian summer glared.
Sunlight bounced off sizzling metal,
windshields, busses, billboards, street signs and steel rimmed buildings.
Liquefied waves ricocheted off the tops of heads,
White heat shot from the gold five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars that lined the sidewalks.
The flash of sun rebounded off a wheat beige paunch
through my car’s rolled up window
into the corner of my eye.


It was gleaming pale
in the blazing sun,
tight stretched skin
pulled across
a bulging naked pot belly
swollen beyond the elastic waist band
of his black sweat pants.
The right front pocket dangled against his leg
pulled inside out,

had he been digging for change,
that secret he’d kept hidden,
a memory he couldn’t find?

His right arm
hand-less sewn stump,
hung lifeless by his side.

He stood facing East,
looking at the sky,
planted at the intersection of circumstance and Hollywood Blvd.

It wasn’t that he seemed lost,
confused, alone.
It wasn’t that people surrounded him
rushed by without a glance in his direction.
It wasn’t that he was stripped stark
on a relentless day.

It was his feet.
Bare, charcoaled, black.
His feet.
Stained, worn, black.
His feet.
Beat-up, black,
from stepping on cracked cement, burning cigarette butts, discarded bottle caps, sparkling shards of green brown beer bottles, crumpled tissue that wiped a pedestrian eye or running nose, melting tarred spilled coffee, blue, cola, cherry, chewed gum Slurpee from the near by 7-Eleven.

Dead dreams.
Soles black.
Cracked broken hot soiled sticky leathered scarred marked scorched city grimed black.

I look at my feet.
Clean, polished, smooth, lotioned,
comfortable in soft white sandals.

I see him take a step
then another.
How can I help, I wonder.
I play scenarios in my head.

There are possibilities:
take him to a shelter, offer food, money, a shower.

But the light turns green
and he continues westbound
drifting away from Highland.



I drive north,
pointed toward acknowledgement
and my unfolding life.

It seems unfair.

A small prayer,
I whisper.
Send a wish,
send a slice of peace,
send a breath,
send a kind thought,
some comfort.

That was yesterday.
Today I still wonder

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


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

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

I saw the box
resting on the brown table
I was sitting in a waiting room
this wasn’t the first time
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.


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

this moment
the one after that

honoring those who have come and gone

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


Sweet apples & honey

Bread on the water



Me and Dad Maui circa 79-80

I woke up this morning out of sorts.  I had to drag myself to my journal, but first to the coffee maker.  The sky is gray; the sun is working overtime just to give us light this morning.  It’s dark for 8:30am.

Then I wrote the date on the top of the blank page in my journal.

In four years I will have outlived my father.

Four years isn’t that much time and it will move fast.  Things change in four years. I have different goals, dreams, perspectives, tastes, habits and friends than I had four years ago. I spend my time with different people doing different things.  I’m different.  Yesterday I spoke to an old friend and we picked up like nothing had passed.  The foundation was built for years, through divorce, death, tears, trust and it was great to talk to her. We’ll always be friends and we are both different.

My days are different, I let them unfold a little more than I used to.  I used to be a pusher.  Forcing myself to do what I thought I should be doing.  Now I listen inside and I determine my next move from a more grounded place, from my heart.  My goals have changed.  They’re more defined, maybe larger, more connected to my heart and I don’t have to work as hard to achieve them. (That seems ironic huh?)

I’m easier. Easier on myself and so I’m easier on others.  I’m attracting people who are in the same place these days, ex-pushers.  Now strivers. We’re thrivers. (I like that word even though I’m pretty sure I just made it up.)

Mom & Dad circa 1987

24 years ago today my Dad left this planet. He slipped away, eyes closed, expelling his last breath, my Mother by his side.  The nurse had come over to her in the middle of the night. It’s time she said.  My mom moved to the side of his bed in the private room on the 8th floor at Cedars in the middle of a night in September. She held his hand and watched him move on.

I couldn’t imagine that moment.  I’ve tried.  That moment when you lose someone you’ve spent 47 years knowing and 25 of those 47 married.  I’ve tried to imagine the depth of that moment and its well of grief.

I can only know my own.  Grief pools at the bottom of my deep well and on hot days its vapors rise and permeate the air; breathing becomes thick and labored.  I know grief. I’m not alone. I’m not the only one to let it wash over me, through me, swirl around me, to dive into it and come out with a splash.

I have been cleansed by feeling the purest of emotions.

I know a lot, have learned a lot and in four years I’ll discover more.

24 years ago today my life took a sharp left.  From there I wandered twisted, curved, winding yellow brick roads that took me up and down and under and into this moment.  This overcast cool grey September morning I sit in my living room breathing into the gifts my father gave me.

My business savvy.
My sense of humor.
My courage.
My ethics.
My heart.
My resilient beating heart.

(And my spelling, I spelled savvy wrong, grateful for spell check).

My heart grew stronger that day, more robust in the years that followed.  Her scars give her character. I’m proud of them and the left turn and my gifts.

It’s a strange thing to say, I can now look at my Father’s death as a gift. It is also a true thing to say.  My life is my life because of all of the events in it and I can’t say I would change them.  I miss him.  His laugh, the way he would enter a room, how he was the center of attention at a party or a dinner, how he was so strong and confident on set, or in the office calling to the set, did you get the first shot off?

He was funny. We’d compete: I’m funnier than you Dad.

To come home from school and see a new car in the driveway, just because. His love for personalized license plates, movies spelled MUVEES, or CARLES, for me and my sister.  He could never top NGOSHE8.  (I have it and Michele came up with it.)

My Dad wrote great letters.  I’d get lots of letters and post cards all written in different color flair pens or typed.  The best.  We have memos he wrote about terrible times on set, Violets are Blue is a good one.  We have letters he received from Paul Newman and others he’d worked with over the years, funny letters he wrote to his buddies in New York when we first moved to Peck Drive and he was only driving two minutes to work at Fox. When I was a kid he’d start sending me birthday cards on August 1st, Happy 10 days ’til your birthday, I was away at camp and I’d get a card every day until my birthday.  He did it when I was in college too.

He would’ve loved Facebook.

I’d walk into his office at Paramount and he’d ask, are you here as a daughter or employee? Daughter, I’d answer. He’d press a button under his desk, his door would close and he’d say, Great, we can gossip.  

As I write this I can see him in my mind, dark olive skin, thick black hair, hazel eyes, deep smile.

He lives in my heart.

I am here, in this moment, in this life, living my dreams, because of his presence with me until I was 25 and beyond.

I bet he’s proud.

My Bench

Summer At The Bench

I woke up this morning and it was a hot summer day. I was looking forward to sitting on my favorite bench at the beach. It was my favorite bench for no other reason than it was mine. I like to go and sit. Sometimes I can sit for hours staring at the ocean change colors. When I got down to the beach and approached my bench there was a large man sitting on it. “That’s my bench.” I said. “Oh yes, well would you like to join me? I come here to look at the ocean. My wife disappeared last month, the sky just took her from me and I like to come here to look for her. I look out onto the ocean and see if she isn’t swimming toward the shore. She wasn’t a very good swimmer, but with all this practice, well, she must be quite strong at it by now.” I felt bad for this large lumpy man. He wore a black and blue plaid suit. His chin spilled over his tie. I just wanted to sit on my bench. I squeezed in next to him and sat staring at the ocean with him. “How long have you been looking for her?” “Oh for years now.” He said. “I have been coming to this bench every day for years. Although sometimes I go to the one over there or the one over there or the one over there.” He lifted his thick arm through the air and pointed each time he said the words ‘over there’. I saw his arm moving in my direction on the third ‘over there’ and I pushed back as far as I could so he didn’t hit my nose. My nose is worth protecting, that’s what I’ve always said. We watched the ocean together. It changed colors maybe twelve times that day. We watched the toy poodle and the bulldog play the shell game. The toy poodle was cheating, taking the bulldog for everything he had. “Trickery!” I said. “Trickery!” he agreed. “Trickery!” the bulldog barked. When the sun sunk into the ocean we stood up, shook hands and went our separate ways. The next day it was sunny again. When I arrived at my bench it was empty. I had so much room I could move my legs or even lie flat if I wanted and turn my head to stare at the ocean. I didn’t. I sat straight and tall and pushed myself as far as I could to the edge of the bench. Somewhere out there, someone was struggling with the sky.

August 21, 2012

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