Lowest Common Denominator



Dear Mary,

Thank you for the card after the delivery of my twin girls. I appreciate your congratulations though I somehow think a Good Luck card might be more appropriate. Already, I find the need to steel myself against the lowest common denominator of our society that seeks to undo all the gains our gender has worked tirelessly to secure. Have you read the Twitter comments on a recent Jeopardy contestant’s breasts? But, I must not despair. With luck, hard work, and fine role models my girls will not be cheerleaders, and will eschew every hue of pink.



For Tara’s 100-Word Challenge. The word is Luck. Try it… Join in the fun!


Thanks for reading!


2015-10-10 18.28.50-2



he gets his ire all up
in her face
yowls at the voices
but she plays it cool
allows him to unwind
she takes his hand
zeroes in on his green eyes
tells him she loves him
crystal clear, and calm ascends
quatrains of reassurance
does he believe her
when she tells him he is her
xi her lucky star that
everything will be all right
nervy that’s what he is
jumps out of his skin
like wild prey on the run
kindness, it’s the only way he’ll
follow her lead
prayer, such as it is to her
goes some distance to
mend just a little of this
vexation at his malady
of his demons it’s her only
recourse or she’ll come


OctPoWriMo – Day 12. Prompt was to write 26 lines using each letter of the alphabet. I didn’t put them in order, but they’re all there. I missed a few days, but I hope to get back in the groove!

Thanks for reading..Poetry5


Blackberry Thorns




a spider’s single white filament
outside the bedroom window
dangles in the breeze
her wedding dress
on that solitary night
slashed by blackberry thorns
the berries liquid
splashed the dress with love
as she fled her loss of self
into the welcoming arms of the moon


OctPoWriMo – Day 8 – Prompt was color… say what you will about it. I’m late to the page today. It was a busy day, but I can’t stop now. It’s like physical exercise (well, it is an exercise) when you find one you like it pulls you in, and soon you reap the benefits.

Thanks for reading!916f5-img_20150928_151453


An Arduous Journey





In yoga class today one of the girls, woman, actually
we’re mostly women of a certain age inquires of the teacher
whether she should internally or externally rotate
her inner thigh.
And I think: what a degree of unprecedented freedom
is expressed in that query.
The same few women ask questions
about internal rotation or using props to alleviate compression
in the neck while upside down in a headstand.
I never ask questions. I do not like to draw attention to myself.
I am content to listen and do.
And anyway the minutiae of muscle rotation eludes me.
What I always think when these questions are posited is
the ease of a life that thinks to wonder how to direct a solitary muscle.
I do not forget that this same woman guided her mother through the arduous journey
to death from cancer. Her suffering, along with her mother’s, was exquisite.
Maybe it’s a distraction for her to conjecture about isolating a muscle
and turning it one way and then another. Maybe it’s a way to circumnavigate grief.
During these moments of muscular instruction I drift off
to the migrants in the vineyards that surround us how far away
from home they journeyed and how little freedom they have to ask any questions at all.
They take instruction and they do it.
There’s little I can do about their plight or the plight of my yoga friends
or my own potential plights other than be kind to them when I take a shortcut through the meticulous rows of wine grapes on my way to my comfortable home.


OctPoWriMo – Day 6. Prompt is freedom or life changes. Morgan suggested we count syllables like in a haiku but I opted to go another route. I write a lot of tanka and some haiku on Twitter where syllables, or at least line length, matter. Hence my desire to branch out.

Anyway…. thanks for reading!  Poetry5


The Dead Never Stop Talking



The dead never stop talking.

On my trip to the eye doctor this afternoon I drove through my small town as the high school spit out students onto the curved asymmetrical streets. Cliques of girls waited at crosswalks for the signal that indicates it’s ok to cross; in this town that signal is the white outline of a figure like the sort you see on police dramas chalked around a dead body.

Watching the girls I hear my mother, dead twenty years, say, “You’re not leaving the house like that.”

If I were the guardian of a girl child, she would hate me. I would not allow her out of the house wearing shorts so short the underside of her butt cheeks, lighter-skinned than the rest of her exposed flesh, peeks out, jiggles even, as she strolls down the street.

The girls not wearing shorts go for skin-tight jeans, and tank tops with visible bra straps, and perky cleavage so in your face you can’t look away.

Is my town a town of motherless children? Or is that battle not worth the effort? Pick your battles, my sister says. Easy for her to say. She has a 13-year-old girl child who has no interest in short shorts, or skin tight jeans. Her daughter’s wardrobe consists almost entirely of black yoga-type pants and oversized Marvel t-shirts. She doesn’t obsess about her looks. Not yet, anyway.

The girls at the crosswalk are slightly older. I wonder if that’s the difference. My niece will start high school next September.

At the eye doctor’s office my chin is cradled, and my forehead pressed against the metal headrest. An intensely bright light glides across my right eye. I try not to blink. I am thinking of germs, of contagion, and all the people who have pressed their faces into this contraption before me, when unexpectedly, the doctor, whom I’m seeing for the first time, rolls his stool closer. His crotch presses against my knees. I attempt to pull my knees back, but I have nowhere to move.

The doctor’s female assistant sits inches away. Surely he didn’t intentionally press his genitals against my knees. He makes no effort to alter his position. I have long legs; his are short. It must be that.

The words of my dead grandmother float through the bright light: “Always sit like a lady, with your knees together.”

She never considered knee fetishes.

On my return through town a cluster of short shorts and bra straps sit cross-legged on the lawn in the small plaza. A dark-haired girl pulls up an errant strap while a pale blonde rearranges a jacket beneath her bare thighs on the cold grass.

If her grandfather were alive he’d encourage my niece to become an engineer. He’d hoped one of his six daughters might follow in his footsteps, but none have. His granddaughter certainly has the smarts for it. She and her crowd are nerds. Her word, not mine. It’s impossible to say whether she’ll start wearing short shorts in a year, much less predicting where her talents will lead her.

My sister, like our father, tells her daughter that she will go to college. She pronounces it as fact, as our father did.

The dead never stop talking.

A sort of journal entry… I hope to keep it up… we’ll see how that works out…