Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Holiday Blues

The turkey is a thread-bare carcass.
Gifts are opened, ooh'd and ahhh'd.
Phone calls are placed and excuses made.
The tree sheds its needles in the corner
while three baubles drop without notice.
Vows are made to escape it all next year.
We forget and forgive ourselves
and do it all over again and again.
And, for the most part, we find it meaningful
and worthwhile, and essential to our connection
to family, friends, and loved-ones.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happiness is...

Spiritual ecstasy
and/or a new 46 inch LCD TV from "Santa!"
Thank you Leah, Shie-fang, and Ron!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Reasons to Love the Rain

1. It's a great excuse for curling up with a good book.
2. The yard won't need watering for a week or so.
3. The sound of rain on the roof is very soothing.
4. The car won't need to go to the carwash for a while.
5. There's likely to be a gorgeous rainbow afterwards.
6. Everything will smell fresh and new.
7. Rainwater is good for washing your hair.
8. The reservoirs will be replenished.
9. School children will get to be children and splash in the puddles.
10. Gene Kelley may come dancing by your window!


She sits in the corner
afraid to speak
for fear the green bile
will spill from her belly
She dreams of tearing flesh
ripping hair
crushing bone
Her eyes dark slits
hiding coals of hatred
She's held her silence for years
tending the needs of others
Under her tongue rests
the bitter pill of reason
She dreams of spitting

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hard Times

My Dear Lizzie,

The weather has turned cold here in Chicago and the long nights give rise to many thoughts of you and the children. But for the job at the tallow processing plant I would at once return home. James writes that the fields lie fallow and that the Crockers have left for California, having finally lost their deed to the savings and loan. It is indeed a blessing that Grannie Crocker did not live to see her family torn from their home.
The candle burns low. I send my love to Joanna and Junior and Victoria and Virginia. May God in his goodness bring us together soon.
Your Dutiful Husband,
William Charles

Monday, December 20, 2010

High Maintenance

Joanie hung up the phone and leaned against the kitchen cupboards. "Not again," she said to no one in particular. This was the third time in as many weeks that her next door neighbor, Mildred, had called to ask if she could borrow a pair of underpants. It wasn't that she minded helping people out but it wasn't like loaning a cup of sugar or a couple of eggs. Underwear's expensive, and well, you know, personal.

Fortunately she'd stocked up on new ones at the K-Mart sale. It would have been pretty embarassing if the call had come earlier. The elastic in the legs of her old ones had grown all tired and the lace was so frayed she'd almost felt guilty at donating them to the Goodwill. But then they hadn't had any holes or anything so she just couldn't make herself throw them away. At the rate Mildred was going, she'd soon be down at the thrift store buying them back.

Mildred had returned the first pair of borrowed undies the very next day, discretely bagged in a small brown bag with a thank you card pinned to the top. The second time the thank you note was replaced with a sympathy card and a long explanation of how the lacy size 8s had got caught under the agitator and came out a shredded mass of nylon acetate.

Joanie noticed that her neighbor had seemed to avoid her since that misfortune and to tell the truth she wasn't altogether unhappy. She was beginning to be a bit too high maintenance for someone who had only been in the neighborhood for a month.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exiting 101

Exiting 101, she leaves behind the hum of freeways and trucks and drives into the foothills that lie to the east. Not yet fire season, cows forage with their young on the hillsides. Up ahead she spots a rest area with a picnic table and pulls over to eat french bread and brie. She'd bought a bottle of spiced cider but it had lost it's chill so she drew cold water from the small spring at the edge of the clearing. Ahead the road seems to narrow and she wonders if she'll be able to get through. Like most decisions in her life, turning back is not an option.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sweet Baby James

I remember the sweetness of your breath, how you cried in the middle of the night, how you were always hungry. 

I remember your smile, your thirst for experience, your conviction that you could do anything, absolutely anything.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

LA in the 80s

Don't it always seem to go
that you don't know what you've got till it's gone...
(with thanks to Joni Mitchell)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

These Days

I can't always remember
not to bleach, machine dry, or iron
or not to eat too much cake 
or drink too much coffee
And I can seldom find all my computer files
or get rid of the many I don't need
without messing up the ones I do
I can't quit drinking coffee and
I don't want to give up half&half
And exercise is too much work
and takes too much time away 
from my computer and NPR
But I still think often of those I love
and remember them (and myself)
as we were: full of commitment, 
loving and lovable
with dreams and plans to change the world

Keep dreaming dear ones, keep dreaming