What I'm Up To

November 15, 2021

In the kitchen at girlfriend’s house chatting, I’m on a swing-by quick visit. She’s telling me about her day. I’m leaning in, her hair and skin looking good. She’s got a narrative drive happening. Suddenly she says, "And what are you up to?”.

The day hits the brakes, stops. Wait. I got this. I know this one.

I’ve been right here listening, even with all the distractions; the curving fit of her sweater, the monk-moaning noise from the fridge—,  and just outside the window, the raw colors of Oregon popping and beckoning, like a childhood sweetheart yelling, "Come on out!”.

It’s a simple sort of ask: "What’s going on…with you?"  Projects underway, accomplishments. The near future.  

I could say, "I made a sandwich".  But even if perfectly true, putting it at the top of the list is not that funny. Had I forgotten to take a medication?

And not answering right away;  slowly nodding, pausing to think it over, might also be disconcerting.  A check-engine light coming on just as I start singing in the car.  

It would activate that beautiful gal detective look. 

She once told me that the world is my oyster. So I better get to it. The shucking, the jiving.

But instead, I’m an animal newly returned. I zoom gently in on her neck and start there. One kiss. Then another,  saying…."This. Just this. I’m up to this”.

 


My First Zoom Class

January 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

My First Zoom Class

Arriving early 
I snagged the middle square of the top row
The other squares filled in
Most of them had name tags on but
I could tell, right away
These weren’t the best of the best. Not
by a long shot. I suddenly realized it wasn't a coincidence
that I was here

But I was hopeful
I had heard that our teacher, Mrs. Smeary
was good, super good
sometimes funny, she could get real and
snap it.  Bring it all into focus
and I could use some of that because
 
I liked how
her long dark hair came down
in braids

But Mrs Smeary
sucker punched us
saying put away your books
(What books? I thought)

She said
This will count
I’ll ask questions. And you will answer
Right now you can hear each other, but I can mute
you at any time
Remember to use whole sentences

Adjectives? said Amy, bottom square, third row, poor lighting
Do I need to use adjectives?

Yes, said Mrs. Smeary. And what does an adjective do?
It modifies a noun, said Amy
Very good, said Mrs. Smeary. And what does modify mean?
Jimmy, first square, second row, waved frantically
Yes Jimmy? 
It means to take something that used to be fun and happy
and put it on a chair in front of a computer
and push and tease it until it feels bad and sad

This is BS, said Bobby, 3rd square down, 4th row
Yeah, said Jenny,  fifth row. Crapola
CBD, small for his age, and twitchy, bottom row, corner
ducked out of the screen and then
popped back in
Funky dipshit stuff, he said

After that there was no sound but
I could tell the others were saying more things
because their lips were moving

Boys and girls, said Mrs Smeary
Does anyone have anything positive and uplifting to say?

Jimmy's hand shot up
Jimmy? Said Mrs. Smeary
Only love can break your heart, said Jimmy

That’s lovely said Mrs Smeary
and it was a song,
but that’s not quite right, is it?
Because love doesn't actually
break anything. Love makes us feel good, right?

Several heads perked up at this
Jenny’s eyes uncrossed as she spoke up 
My Mother says that love is an illusion
a feeling that doesn’t last...

My love is like a fart on a windy day, muttered Bobby
Like in summertime, when rocks are warmed by the sun
said CBD
Very good, said Mrs. Smeary
And then you pick them up and smash things with them, said Jimmy
Okay now, said Mrs. Smeary

Samantha, in the square next to me, looked resolute, she
hadn’t said anything yet, and now she sat up straight. Her bangs looked good to me
I think, she said, 
Love
is in the winter 
when you’ve been outside and it’s cold and wet and you’re tired and you finally get home
and you come inside and take off your coat and boots
and there’s a fire going in the fireplace and the heat just pours over you
and you smell cookies in the oven. And your mom comes to you and puts
her hands on your cheeks
and she smooths back your hair and kisses the top of your head
and she asks 
what did you learn today?

The class fell silent
Rain splattered against the window 
Mrs. Smeary seemed at a loss for words
A bell rang somewhere
Our first Zoom class was over

 


The Gift --(Photo: Angel in San Francisco)

November 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

The Gift

This morning we met on the orchard path

And before meeting, I checked my list:
Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts?, Quality Time, and Physical Touch
(I still couldn't remember your preference, so my plan
was to try 'em all)

Beneath the trees 
the leaves lay in circles 
like skirts dropped by ballerinas

As I struggled to say the words
that would bring you into my arms
the sky exhaled
and an angel landed on your head!

We stopped moving breathing
although your ears wiggled
as you looked up

I studied the angel's feet
Those of a young woman
graceful, narrow, and slightly birdlike

long toes gripping your shoulders

Then more surprise as the angel let loose a quiet fart
like a lamb testing a tiny trumpet
A faint scent blossomed
honeysuckle musk?

The angel's face (no mask!) mixed mirth and melancholy
grey eyes gazed beyond the earth
longing for her kind

One tremendous flap  
she was gone
A feather the size of a baby's pinkie spiraled to the ground

Your hands moved up to your messed hair
and lifted an egg from the top of your head

Tonight I've wrapped the egg
I’m keeping it warm
I just checked my list again
You better get over here

 

 


Dragon breaks quarantine, seeks intimacy. (Photo: snake eating a fish, Smith River, California)

May 19, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Snake eating fish, Smith River California

Today! said the Dragon to their self
I will reinvent my life!
No more will I scorch ponds with baby ducks
(Although the smell of instant barbecue is heavenly, and softens the wrath of gods)

No more flying low over fields
torching barns 
Taking delight as ripe maidens
run screaming to the river

No more nursing ancient griefs
No suckling at the teat of slights
souring from the dawn of time

No more pursuing
a fat and wiggly scaly grub
only to realize
it is the nub of my own tail
I’ve chased lo these many years

No! 
Today I go forth!
Warty chin up
I will fly to my own Cheer’s bar
They will shout when I enter
And by Satan’s armpit
They will remember my name!

I will sip a machiatto latte hot and steamy
Hum along as they sing songs of fire and ice 
Laugh at their jokes, tip big and slowly wink

If the courtship sparks and of course it must 
for it's the first in a millennium
we will fly pinwheeling home 

And crawl into the lair
together
Into the damp depths 
where love still yearns

I will bestow the touch, the cuddle
Yea, even my dragon lips
will know the bliss
(of which I’ve only heard tales)

My breath will join theirs
and our glow will spread from our hearts 
and be visible to the Heavens
We will ignite as one

 

 


Solitary Shoe Stone

October 05, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

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