Sunday, December 30, 2012

Paltry Words

Sometimes when I read another's words
I have my words knocked out of me
And taken to this higher plane
The breath of God rushes in
And I no longer need 
My paltry words to sustain me.

How can I,
A humbled poet,
Open my mouth after this?

So that when I die, I might be carried 
On at least one worthy word of mine
That might pass the lips of God
And on His breath 
For an eternity rest.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just Another Prophet of Doom

The last Saturday of the year
That was to kill us all
Look around we're all still here
Hearing the piper's call . . .

Drilling's thump, thump, thumping
Mining's pump, pump, pumping:
Water wasted growing batteries
Farmers wasted growing cities
Agricultural products fueling trucks
Petroleum byproducts feeding bodies
Critical mass amassing.

Oh how to protect our ship
In this our space?
Or into oblivion will slip
Genetic memories of our race.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stories of Hope: His and Hers

Kneeling in prayer on the front of battle
Striving over rights taken and wrongs given,
His true love's laughing face hovers;
His countenance grows grave and sweats fear.

Wisdom of generals submits to plots of politicians.
Bile grows on empty stomach and overflows
Over corpses fragrant with trauma's stench.
In remorse he rose to stop his prayers and screaming ears.

Not in a hurry or prolonging
Death to greet and mete out,
Through the pine trees he remembers
The birds flown away two days ago.

To other heights of trees and truth
Birds whisper songs of pain
Leaving behind hope's last stand.
Bullets from third story rain, he falls.

(Highlight space below for her hidden quatrain.)

Kneeling over love's grave
Wisdom grows fragrant rose
Not to pine away
To whisper hope's story.

Thanks to Sabio Lantz at Fields of Yuan for sharing his
Kabbalic Homonym: A new poetry form.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mood Stabilizing Cosmic Order

Before the siren sounds its clarion call
The earache drives us underground
Where around our ankles begins to pool
Enough water to garden all season.

Followed by season of acorns' bitter dust
To parch the mouth
And bloomless wild roses
The nose forgets.

Drought and Tornado
Apathy and Excess
Moods of a bipolar mother
In need of her lithium.

Birds That Are Blue

The blue jay has perched.
I wear it on my sleeve
Like a heart, elusive
Here and there it flits
Looking for acorns
To fill up the knothole.
Up in smoke
Down they roll
Never filling.
But if only one takes root
This logged cabin is coming down.

From the land of memory
I made the journey long ago
And remember only the veiled Joys
Whom men do not yet know.

And were I nimble now as the
Happiness of Running Barefoot in the Dew
I would not catch the bluest birds
Not here and
Not where the black bird turned blue.

Blue Bird of Happiness

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gifts From the Forest Floor


The ticks' trailhead
Begins at our socks,
Covering curious feet
That veer from the trail
To step into a lost kingdom

Where we sit atop an adders' den:
A reckless hike coup
In ignorant bliss
In December.

Small price to pay for our "big hunt"
The gifts gathered from your floor:

Hiking sticks in the rough,
More useful to us than diamonds;
Tortoise shells and feathers,
Our bangles and ribbons;
Lightning-charred pine cones,
Will they regenerate our homestead?

A Ouachita walk in the woods:
Magic fellowship of four blooming
Outside the confines of four cramped walls.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mistletoe and Shakespeare Quotes

Mistletoe with Cemetery Hidden in the Trees Beyond

Where's my kiss under the mistletoe?
He who gave it lies in a cemetery.
Wish I could join him,
But mistletoe is not that poisonous.

My lover "But doth suffer a sea change,
Into something rich and strange"
"And left no friendly drop to help me after"
Apothecary's or other.

Margot Fonteyn danced with a blade
Claire Danes put a gun to her head
This Juliet acts out her life without a plan,
But to kiss a ghost and to him say good-bye.

Bruno, Foul Farter

My nose hairs burning
He smells up the room again
Smells like rotten eggs.


Bruno has foul farts
The smell almost stops our hearts
Old dog can't help it.

By Falls From Tree


I remember days
You were young and on the go
You smelled up the tent.


Open the window
It's twenty-seven degrees
But we need sweet air.


Friday, December 21, 2012

North Star

My moon is half full.
The other half is spilled years
Spread across the sky like milk.

My moon is waxing,
Growing fuller,
Despite the loss of time.

I have hope, but still I wonder:
If the north star gives directions,
Why does it hang so lonely in the sky?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flying Dream

I have trouble waking up
Despite the clanging bells and sirens
Used to alarm me from my sleep.

So I tried a gentle sunrise call
Of recorded ducks
But they, too, were incorporated into dream.

Now here I am to get report from
Her animosity,
Worn as putrid perfume.

She, perturbed,
Losing fifteen minutes' time
Drinking coffee at the time clock.

But I do not care, because when I heard the quacks
I started flying and remain
Rested, lighter than air.

Stray Dogs

The wagging of her tail stirs up a dust devil
As she sits and begs relief from her rejection.

Get over it.  We are all rejects here.
The refuse of society.  What rules did you refuse?

It matters not.  You can stay,
Because there is no place else for you to go.

In all this great wide world?
Stray dogs can do no worse than to pack together.

Simple Faith

Via Wonder Wednesday #14
For Poets United poets
I give this gift:
The Poet's Simple Faith,
by Victor Hugo.

          You say, "Where goest thou?"  I cannot tell,
          And still go on.  If but the way be straight,
          It cannot go amiss! before me lies
          Dawn and the Day; the Night behind me; that
          Suffices me; I break the bounds; I see,
          And nothing more; believe, and nothing less.
          My future is not one of my concerns.

          Translated by Prof. E. Dowden

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Homeless: Has Car, Will Travel

In the backseat of a car
There is only room for one sleeper
Not comfortably numbed
Half awake.

With forehead placed
Upon the cold glass
To drink the warm stars
Breath fogs vision.

Roll down the window
Let out the backseat driver
Let in the One and cruise.
Take a drive and see it all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Smoke Signals

A charcoal pencil from the fire
Is all I need to pen my rural oblivion.
But in my hand this pencil smolders
With a heat I barely remember.

And then I need more.
More than a cardinal,
A chickadee, a cedar waxwing,
And a crow can give me.

So I throw my pencil into a bed of embers
And send smoke signals,
But as with all dreams that dissipate
The signals get lost in translation.

I am left bereft of sense and sensibility
And retrace little tracks of tiny birds' feet to tranquility
And breathe.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joy in Minor Keys

Prophets and Plato
Predicted His baby's death.
The three-day pain He felt
Our three-day gain,
Our joy sung in minor keys
Every winter solstice.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve Days Discordant

Music teachers -
Not in the budget anymore.
The compact disc was overamplified
But Pre-K through Third
Could still be heard yelling
Not caroling
Their Christmas cheer.

I will allow
They were all adorable
Though my good ear
Got my finger stuck in it.
The other finger is reserved
For those who laud the sports
And toss the arts
Along with our Greek-rooted democracy
Of teaching both.

And the evening proceeded
With seven false recorded starts
Until the track to Twelve Days of Christmas
Was launched
Followed by my daughter's classes
A full line behind it.

My son of high schooled
Irreverent age
These discordant days
Leaned over and said,
"About 70 lines to go -
Do the math."
And I, a once most reverent mother
Laughed inappropriately.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Endless Winter

      I'm running towards
      The edge of winter.
      I see my goal
      Oh, so close at hand.
      I spring to it
      The edge of summer.
      I slip and fall
      Back into winter.

 By Me I Am, And Me Alone

View from the Top of a Postcard

Posted for Poets United Wonder Wednesday #13 Postcards:


Start early
For you have several steps
Some treacherous
To take.

Bow down
On awestruck knees
Feel the mist
On your face.

And keep climbing
Then steeper.

On the steps 
Of vertigo
Don't be fooled
Into turning back.

Turn back when
Rock is wet
Lightning is striking
Or handholds not installed.

Grab hold 
Of steel cables
Lean back a little
And haul yourself up.

Walk the top
Crawl to the edge
And reel into

Look down
The northwest face
See climbers

Retreat to middle ground
Meet world hikers
From Israel, France, Romania, Australia.
They all speak English.

To not share your lunch
With begging

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The frost on the field reflected sky this morning.
I could walk across the field and walk on water.
But from the edge you would grab me by the ankles and pull me under.

But say I swim across this field to the other edge of the naked forest
And seeing it devoid of thickset greenery I take a shortcut
You, in camouflage browns, would ambush me along the way.

And were I to continue my headstrong endeavor through the wood
I would rather meet a bobcat who would run away from me
Than be scratched on the shins, arms, and face by you again.

And all this you do to me in your driest brittleness
Devoid of summer's vigorous verdant virility
For your judgmental thorns know no season's respite.

I heard through the muscadine grapevine you were delicious. 
I rather doubt that; nevertheless, I am going to eat you come spring!
And that was probably your plan all along.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thunder is the Drum Major

Thunder is the drum major.
I march in his band whenever I can,
Once so close to him
My eyebrows were singed
By the lightning of his baton
And the thrill has never gone.
Under his direction
The trees are woodwinds
The mountains and valleys are brass
And the cloudburst the drum corps.
The crowd takes notice
Then the game plays on.

His simple night music I like best
When all the spectators go home
And he slows down the beat
Throws aside his baton
And plays his own drum
Skin on skin rhythmically
Hands upon his lover's body
Teasing fountains open
Finding all her secret gardens
Engendering field and forest.
The grateful take notice of a gentle rain
And life marches on.

I Want Another Goose

Goose shakes sack at me.
Goose hungry today, feed now!
Goose not know, not boss.

* * *

What I wake up for?
Wake up tonight for this shit?
My muse not funny!

     The geese are gone.  Domestic geese can't fly south, can't fly but a very short distance.  But still gone.  Was it coyote or panther?  Gone.  

     I did not realize how much I missed them until I woke with thoughts of a hungry goose.  Thank you funny muse.  I want another goose.  

by Trudy Jo
(Old Lady of the Woods)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ice Cream

I wrote a poem in which two words lived:  
Ice cream.
I did not read it aloud 
Or shout it out
Or post it on the fridge
Someone heard those two words and said,
"Baskin Robbins is awesome."
Now I'm writing a poem about
Black Walnut
Chocolate Fudge
Devonshire Cream
Pistachio Almond
Pralines n' Cream
Very Berry Strawberry
Watermelon Chip
and World Class Chocolate.

Gravity of Thought

The steam of thought
As a dewdrop
A tear.

The cream of thought
In stillness
To make butter for bread
And ice cream.

The smoke of thought
A smudging
In sweet odors.

All thoughts are funny
Like carbonated bubbles
Rising then
Where do they all go?

Where do they all rise from?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All But Blind, Too

I have seen the multitudes of stars
Through night-vision goggles.
I can do without that greenish glow
And gregarious gathering of suns.

"So blind to someone I must be"
But this blindness suits me.

I am ever compelled to look up
And take just enough not to feel so alone.
But put me in a city with a million people,
My loneliness would kill me not to see a single star.

And tonight the sky is crisp and clear
And the moon is just now rising to obscure my awe.
My jealous sun reminds me, "Get to sleep,
I'll have need of you tomorrow."

"So blind to someone I must be"
from All But Blind
by Walter de la Mare

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


How many will hang themselves with tinsel
This caroling cacophonous December?
Not me!  I will not set foot in their malls
To offer my neck to the creditor's noose.
And even if I had paper money
I'd burn it in the fire before buying baubles,
Because I have tried to warm myself
With this Christmas candle
But not being of strong imagination
I have failed.
I am a scrooge, with nothing to give.
My children will go hungry
Without their school lunches.
My mother will reminisce on golden years
When her country and its children were strong.
I only will be blessed
To get to go to work that day
And not to see their want.

The resilience of my family flies
With the reindeer.
He will carve wooden spoons and walking sticks.
She will sew scraps into imaginative uses.
Mother will cook a Christmas dinner
I know not how, but it will be there.
It will be after dark
When I step inside my Christmas snow globe,
But in that theater I find the way to thrive.
So with the vision of this future in my mind,
I'll find a way to provide.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Censored Silence

My censored silence wise I think.
This I will allow:
At the grand junction of lives
Connected only by space,
Our outer electrons collide.
We become a new molecule.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

de Soto's Swine

Tonight I saw two tusked and bristly razorbacks,
Descendants of de Soto's flesh-eating swine,
On the dark edges of my road home.
And from the dark ledges of my bookshelf
Dusty pages of histories opened,
Of heroes, kings, khans, conquerors
And the ancestors of these wild boar.

Then fear and caution bristled up my spine.

I take no pleasure in the hunter's rush.
Buck fever makes me sick.
But the thought arose:
I need my dog,
I need my gun.

From the dark edges of my road home
These ghosts from the past
Thought to cross my path
And I braked against an inevitable collision.
But these wise ones did not run in front of my tires
Or stand shocked in the headlights.
They turned back and retreated.

Then fear and caution bristled up my spine,
And dissipated out the top of my head
Replaced by recognition
Of fellow sentient beings.

And the thought arose
I still need my dog
To give me fair warning
I would not want to scratch their backs
Nor hear their grunts of pleasure.

Falls From Tree

Falls From Tree,
The day you earned this name
We heard you laughing
And took our time
To find you hanging from a tree
Foot wedged in his strong arms
With a cushion of air
Between the ground and your head.

Falls From Tree,
Today I saw Sabra gallop by
Saddled with no rider
And your name rushed from my lips
And fell unanswered at my feet.
And my heart was laced with frost
From a lying notion,
But a mother's intuition warmed my being
And, perhaps, a whisper in the trees gave me courage.
And sure enough you came plodding
A little worse for wear but smiling.
And I learn
Again a tree has broken your fall
As you were thrown
Upon her rough and waiting outstretched bark.

So today I offer you a new name.
No, not Falls From Horse.
Saved by Trees?
Little Sister of the Forest?
Tree Chosen?
No.  You tell me,
"Falls From Tree."
And so you do,
A cornucopia of
nuts and fruits
and healing leaves.

Old Lady of the Woods Speaks

I have read the books,
The descriptions marvelous.
My donkeys are scamps.

by Trudy Jo

Saturday, December 1, 2012


The feather of a soaring bird
Taught me that to fly
Would be to swim
In the air I breathe
If my bones were hollow
But my bones are heavy 
So I float in water
In which I swim
But cannot breathe
Unless flying 
Through the womb.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hard to Get the Colors Just Right

Grandpa was a painter.
He said it was hard to get the colors
Just right.
His favorite color
And most difficult
Was Moab red.
I was a crayoner.
If my crayon said blue, it was blue.
Although, I did have a favorite;
It was cornflower.

Grandpa was a painter.
Grandma was a singer.
I was a band nerd.
I cannot sing of her.
Not yet.
Maybe not ever.
Tears after all these years
Still blur the page.
I cannot revisit the music
Or the colors of that day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bridge, RN

Clock In
          Lower the drawbridge
          Bring it on, I am ready
          My hands are steady.

Dehydrated Patient
          Suspended saline
          Catheter into his vein
          Bridge to bring him back.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
          Fighting on the bridge,
          He threw a Lego grenade
          At the CNA.

Cancel the Code
          For it is ordered
          Do not resuscitate him.
          Let him cross the bridge.

Break Time
          What about a break?
          You're kidding.  Not in this place.
          Not here to play bridge.

Performance Evaluation
          Nurse who eats her own
          Sabotaging healing place
          Go jump off a bridge.

          All of us working
          With respect for each other -
          That's building bridges.

Clock Out
          I do love my job,
          But still the best bridge of all
          Is on the drive home.

Monday, November 26, 2012


The ginger on my tongue burns for sweetness,
The jasmine in my tea cools the heat,
And still my tongue's not sated
As ineffable words formed in the seat of speech
Stay seated.
But were they to rise,
Where would they find a place to stand?
And why would I be left behind
Weak and prostrate on the ground
Satiated but not filled?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Write a Poem in the Dark

Write a poem in the dark
And by its light
Find your way out.

Let the moon growing mock you.
Soon enough she'll be renewed
In darkness
Understanding your plight
When she herself shifts too far to reflect his light.

Write a poem in the dark
And though your words be obscure
Let them flow together like the Milky Way,
A sea of stars to find your way in.

The Church of Unhewn Stone

Another Sunday and I will not go
In bondage be their broken link
In a broken chain
Bringing the scourge upon the earth.

My heroes are he who made the iron axe to float
And he who called two she bears from the woods
And he who sang of lovers' breasts
And she who drove a nail through enemy temples
And he who turned the other cheek
Because he could turn the water into wine
Against which they preach
While filling their mouths with the flesh of beasts.

Inactive, yes.
Excommunicate, not yet.
Either way to their telestial kingdom I head.
I have been there before
And peed on myself in fear
Walking its gray dust an innocent.
At least my friend the raven's there.

But today while there's breath in my chest
I fear not to kneel on the frost-covered ground
At my church of unhewn stone
A chorus of heavenly geese overhead.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Your leaves the color of fire I stoke,
Sparkling translucent in autumn sun,
Will fall to leaf litter
And in spring be reborn
To my soul's satisfaction
Resting upon humus
Under your chlorophylled canopy.

But today I mourn our friends . . .

The lodgepole pines
The first demise
Taken by logging of recent memory
Though one yet struggles through lonely subsistence
Hidden, sheltered, nurtured by your kind.

I mourn the winged elms
Rarely reaching maturity,
The beetles of drought
Delivering the death
The absence of rain initiated.

The cedars, a scourge to some, I also mourn.
Their evergreen courage here was always welcome,
But even their wells of fortitude have gone dry
And their blackened needles
Lie as graveyard dust beneath my feet.

And, gentle oak, I mourn
Your fallen
Also succumb to this end.
I wish I could water you all,
But my tears are all dried up.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Haiku Oklahoma

Inspired by Poets United "I Wish I'd Written This" (about Kobayashi Issa) and by the holiday - a day off for all of us.  The holiday haiku assignment for us:  

On this holiday
Think seventeen syllables
Then go out and play.

The sooner to ride
My daugther did not delay
First gave seventeen:

"Take a walk in woods
Feel the breeze, see beauty, life,
Then see a dirt road."

My son not outdone
And to return to sketchbook
Gave the following:

"Haikus are poems.
They are very short and brief.
Haikus have meaning."

Five seconds to write,
But they did participate
And effort is praised.

And now four are mine
For Issa, Nature and her
Humans placed therewith:

 Honey locust lives;
Drought deals death to elm and oak.
Now more flat tires.

Osage oranges to
Gather, winter, mash, and grow
Living fence for us.

My hair freed from comb
Carried by wind to next spring
Woven in birds' nests.

Rosin, horsehair, wood
Vibrations flow through our hands.
Music in the woods.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Smelted by Tolstoy

Trudging through a one hundred page soirée 
Asking why, why must I read this book
I committed finally to see it through to the last page
The third time I started reading it.

I know you will look at the last page,
See 1038, and ask why, why must you read this book.
And you will pronounce me a bore 
If able to endure the first hundred.

If I knew the exact page the book begins to captivate,
I would not tell you; instead, I'll ask you
If not for ore to compare to,
Would value smelted from it be as valued?

So trudge along.  This book will smelt you.
As it did Natasha.
As it did Pierre.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I invite myself to a hearth
of words
And warm myself
by another's fire
from which sparks fly.

At times I'm a spider
taking hold with her hands
in a king's palace.

At times I'm a little bird
with tired wings
resting in a song.

At times I'm a phoenix.

At times I'm a moth
in some
forgotten garden
and I get singed
and fly away.

I cannot explain the sparks,
Nor why I will return.


The greatest gift I ever gave
Keeps on giving.
It was made from my heart
And my womb.
The gift is you.
A selfish gift
Given to myself
Wrapped in a
Newborn's blanket.

The gift I gave
That winter day
Is growing!
And not just a mother
Basks in your worth.
Stray dogs and puppies
Follow you.
And your oft too gloomy
Dungeon master
Brother laughs
Because you tame the cave bear
In the blueberry patch
To rip his monsters to shreds!

Teachers admire you
And tease
When you earn less than 100%.
Old folks remember
How to smile
When you play your fiddle.
Coach has praised
Your hustle.

Beautiful philosopher,
My greatest gift of all

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dead Knight on Notebook Paper

by Haliatuslupus
Son, you and I, we obsess.
Vacant eyes.
Last breath.

My cloak of time is torn.
Stitched back together.
Game face on.
I take a pulse.
The second hand ticks backward in my hand.
Now what am I supposed to do with that?
Game face on.
I use the clock on the wall.

Did I ever tell you 
The Namesake
was a knight?
I walked a perennial parapet
Waiting for his return.

Your knight was slain
In Home Economics
on notebook paper
with a colored pencil,
cooking, and sewing.

Maybe your knight and my knight
Are the same
And he has sent me a message.
He has laid down his weapons
And waits for my hand.

But he will have to wait.
Son, you and I,
Must obsess

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Morbid Gifts to Contemplate

I cannot walk away from your purring and crunching
Though it turns my stomach to hear the joy in your brunching
On blood and marrow slurped and sucked as little bones crack
And a new mouse-tailed whisker from you sprouts.

These predatory laws of behavior elude me.
Why torment and tease and play with life?
And, my God, did that mesmerized mouse just run back to you?
When you offered it life?  Is prey in love with death?  What lies did you tell it?

I tuck in my chin and defend against an uppercut to my spirit.
My elbows guard her solar plexus from having breath kicked out of her.
Upon the balls of my feet she rises light and nimble
To take the center of the ring and not a corner.

Would I could sit cross legged on a water lily,
But for me awareness comes on the blade of a knife.
And now I see the revolutions of it falling and grasp it by the handle.
My awareness is not the awakening we all are seeking, perhaps.

I ponder this as my cat brings me yet another morbid gift to contemplate.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

PhotoChop by little sister.

Here is my poem for today.

Yes, I know, it is cliché,


Boys Will Be Boys.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Wonder in His Eyes

On a night the hot chocolate was steaming
And Perseid meteors were streaming
You learned to tally and count by fives
And in just one hour you recorded 89.
That night meteors flew forth as sparks from your eyes.

Now you are a teenager asleep in bed
And from which you cannot be led
No matter the celestial event.
Where is the wonder in your eyes?

I hope the school books have not drilled it out of you,
Nor all the chores assigned for you to do.
Perhaps you are just tired from how fast you have grown.

Tonight I wished upon a star that boyish wonder
Find a home in your manly frame.

Walk with me, son.
I promise I won't talk at you or we might miss
Beethoven's 5th when the Spotted Towhee sings.
I promise I won't lecture, preach, or patronize,
Nag, complain, tell you to shave or cut your hair,
Or in any way distract or detract from
Our walk upon nature's notebook
Or I might miss your eyes open and smile back at mine.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Adrift in a Sea of Stars

With storied stealth Orion steals across my sky
Accompanied by Canis Major and Minor.
I can hear the dogs barking at the speed of sound
Even from this great distance
As the hunt goes on and on and on.
A lone coyote's call set off the bellicose barking;
No other coyote answered
And in my world that silence is deafening.
I sink back to sleep adrift in my sea of stars
Then dream of when I played with coyote pups
And when ravens dropped snowballs on my head
And of my little black hen, T. regina, no one messed with
And of Gelert the Greyhound taken out by a mountain lion
For drawing off the hunter crouched upon the roof.
Awakened from troubled sleep again
I want to know if my greyhound has joined the hunt
Or runs silent at the coyote's side
Or remains gray unreconstituted dust.
I sink back to sleep adrift in my sea of stars.

Southern Comfort

The pond's hidden dangers bold in summer now are asleep,
And on the surface only clouds and lilies still are seen.
No snow in the south,
Though the oaks have different colors now
And the Osage oranges are on the ground.
Too late for wild brown sugar and vanilla
Of persimmons to litter the path,
And the meadow garlic has snuggled down,
But the wood and sheep sorrels' lemon tang
Can still be found and tasted.
Best of all my best friend
Grown old with each new cold
Can still find a patch of sunlight
While I can leave my callipygian impression upon the grass
And not be harassed by any chiggers on my ass.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Game

Many times the wind has brought you down
But we re-erect you and on we play
Knowing you could come crashing down
Upon our heads
With the shyest glance to your backboard
Or score through your ropes.
The game goes on and we keep score
Grateful for our little points
Outscoring one another
But in the end we're tied.

The Fix

Trauma whore
Place junkie
Slut for words
Flow like blood
From the pen
Not clotting
Loud crashing
Freed ions
Smooth river
Rock in hand

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Janitor

His earrings coil around
So snakes can whisper into his ears.
Symbols suffuse his arms
With darkness to others' eyes.

Parents' eyes.
They do not see what the children do.
They do not see how the teachers rely upon him.
They do not see.

When he goes on break,
He does not go out to smoke in the parking lot
To set a good example like the haters do.
He sits on the curb and reads philosophy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Word for Today

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue,"
    thus pronounced King Solomon.
"Killing me softly with his song . . ."
    thus sang Roberta Flack.
And thus slow downward death is to be my judgment?
But what of life?
If life, also, is in the power of the tongue,
Can your words replenish the earth?
When god and goddess rock their subterranean bed,
Is that when words are born,
In labor and travail?
What new word, then, is born today?

Snow Day 2

Yesterday I praised you.
Today I wish I did not have to
  drive in you.

Yesterday I heard your poetry.
Today my ears are numb.

Yesterday I wished for stillness.
Today I'm getting nowhere fast
  and cursing it.

Fickle female that I am.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snow Day

On rare occasions such as this

I find it better to call in sick

And go outside

Stick out my tongue

And catch a snowflake

Feel sweet freedom

If only for a moment

Hear childlike juncos

Revel in snowfall

Reel in space

Watch snowflakes fall up

In the reflection of the water.

But I suffer from the illusion

That I am indispensable

So off to work I go.

Flower Child

*     *     *     Flower Child     *     *     *

Flower child
All decked out
In your grandma's crochet,
Was this the day
To the park you were taken
And you sang "Where have all the flowers gone?"
For you knew every word.

And on that day
Upon your wrist
Was placed a copper bracelet?
And on that bracelet was a name,
You knew not of
But somewhere, to someone
He was more than a name missing in action?

And on that day did a cloud cross over
And blot out your sunny sky?
And with that bracelet
Were you forever shackled?

*     *     *     The Nurse     *     *     *

WWII, European Theater, Airborne

You came to us with a photograph,
Good-looking god of a man,
Towering over President Eisenhower
And shaking his hand.
Now, it's I who tower over you
Confined to your wheelchair,
But, yes, I see the resemblance to that god-like face
Etched out by time.

WWII, Pacific Theater, Navy Sailor

You cannot speak a word of any sense,
But sing as sexy as Johnny Cash,
That for me you'd even try to turn the tide,
That for me you walk the line.

WWII, The Phillipines, The Phillipines

Yes, I know, you told me a hundred times,
That you served in the Phillipines,
But never did I not love to hear it,
That you were the cook,
Thinking you were on vacation,
But hunger came, and privation,
Then shrapnel came
And took your legs.

WWII, Pacific Theater, Marine Corps Sniper

I remember when I dressed your wound,
Your fist cocked back;
I did not flinch,
But falling into your bright blue eyes,
Said, "I'm sorry."
And your fist on safety locked,
You could not strike a woman.

WWII, Battle of the Bulge, POW

Of you I know to never ever
Feed you turnips
And that the tip of your ear is missing
And so are some of your toes,
Frostbitten in the trenches of long ago.
But of your mind
There is nothing missing.

Korean War, The Forgotten War

I was warned about you
That you knew how to kill
And had trained others in those deadly arts.
I was advised not to startle you
Into thinking I was your enemy,
But I was not afraid of you
Sweet intelligence of a man.
And when you asked me to marry you
While the tobacco juice dribbled
From your toothless gums
I should have said, "Yes" with all abandon
And to hell with professional distance.


Oh, man, you are in trouble.
Broke the law!
But on that day with Mary Jane,
This was a happy place.
Until we found out why
And came the dogs who snooped you out.

Persian Gulf

Unknown ailments poison you
Not just drink and cigarettes.
But I have seen through your disabilities
And know you are the self-appointed
Defender of the weak,
Upholder of justice,
And maintainer of peace,
And that as a younger man
You can follow through with it.
I appreciate you, my haunted bodyguard.

Afghanistan, The War on Terror

With your bloodied hands,
Please, I plead with you,
Do not take your life
And be a victim of your times.
I so love you
Like a baby in my arms.

WWI, The Great War

You are the oldest man I have ever known,
With the boyish of smiles.
What treasure lies hid in your sunken ship
Laid out on a hospital bed?
Behind those cloudy, rheumy eyes,
Are horses still remembered?

*     *     *     Flower Child     *     *     *

Flower child
All grown up
Looking smart in your nursing scrubs,
Why do you not wear a poppy
On this Veterans Day
For all the flowers gone?

Because I hold in my hand
Poppy's purist derivative
To ease the pain and suffering
In my living garden.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I want to go to Wales
Where tales of Merlin were told.
I want to go to Suffolk,
Where the Punch was bred.
I want to go to Yorkshire
Where the cloth was woven.
I want to go to Cornwall
Where miners died and pirates lived.
I want to go to Ireland
To walk the famished land escaped from.
I want to go to Switzerland
Where the boats were made.
I want to go to Denmark
Whence came the name Snake-Eye Ragnarsson.
I want to go to Germany
Where the gypsies lived.
I want to go to Spain
But not to see a bullfight.
I want to go to France
But not to conquer anything.
But I'll go home to Oklahoma
To where the Five Tribes walked.
For my ancestors and their stories,
Having sailed across the ocean,
Have bound me to be American.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dalton 1998-2011

"Little girl, playing with a ball throwing it up in the air and laughing, you appear to have an imaginary friend with whom you're joking."

"No," replied McKinney, "I'm playing with Dalton."

*   *   *   *   *

Dalton "so full of life"
You're not just a face in the yearbook
With a page in memoriam.
You are the guilt behind the driver's eyes, the survivors' eyes.
You are the song on the radio, "chillin' on a dirt road."
You are the sudden propelled maturity of your older sister.
You are the living breath in your mother's chest.
You are the silent son on your dad's 4-wheeler.
You are.

*   *   *   *   *

"Young man, playing with a ball throwing it up in the air and laughing, you appear to have an imaginary friend with whom you're joking."

"No," replied Dalton, "I'm playing with McKinney."

My Land

My words are not published in a book
For twenty dollars for you to look,
But reside scribbled in a cheap notebook.
My words are not born in a printer's shop,
But are written down while sitting under a tree
Or on the back of my truck.
I don't have a house to shelter my words,
But I have land to grow my words.
Some people have both,
I had to make a choice.
For on my land is a special place
If reincarnation there be,
I wish to come back as a tree
Ever nurtured by the poetry there.
And when to me the chainsaw strikes,
Gather up my pieces, pulp them down,
And from me paper make,
Then bind me up in a cheap notebook.

Poet Possessed

All you poems on the surface
I don't wish you away
But please, please
Let me sleep.

A poem answered
When your poems are done
That's when you'll sleep
In the silence of a grave
Grown weary of flesh.

Mining Treasures in a Cardboard Storage Box

Granpa, I stand knee-deep in flood waters
That tried to wash away
My memories of you,

But these treasures in a 
Cardboard storage box
I have recovered.

Granpa, silly man,
Wearing a wig
While infant hands held onto you.

Granpa, your handwriting
Looks exactly like mine,
Was it you who trained the pen in my hand? 



Granpa, an old yellowed newspaper
Proclaims you're a survivor
Of a mine explosion that killed 18 others.
Granpa, here's the story
I wrote about that for a
creative writing class I never finished.

Granpa, I hate mines, but I love you, a miner.
I hate the mine that put the cancer in you.
In your lungs, the second suffocation.

Granpa, a stepfather I thought never loved me, hugged me
When he had to be the one to bear the news,
But you are the man who first took my heart.

Though parts of you remain an enigma
Like why you loved to watch the bullfights that made me cry
And why you wore that silly wig.

The Drownings

Yours is the face missing from the side of this page,
Drowned legend of a man.
When into the icy waters you sank,
Before they dragged the lake
And pulled your bloated body from her bed,
Did you say good night to me?
Hero!  Damn you!
You did not save his life that day,
They dragged his dead body out, too;
And I a year away was not there to save you,
And I remain, the drowned dreamer of a man.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fractal Geometry

Look at fractals' forever
Deep edges delving
Into layer upon layer and see
Nature shrink to infinity
And give birth to a star.
Then with the speed of light
You must return to the other side of your brain, but you
Will not remember anything unless you
Understand that love holds all secrets of the universe.
Everything creeping, crawling, swimming, walking, flying, climbing,
                  reaching, searching,
                  thirsting, hungry,
                  collecting sediment is so much

Better than a new t. v. and a
     Baby Einstein video.

The Unfinished Glove

The Norns spin fate.
Mindful knitters take hold 
one stitch at a time.

Concentration loop by loop.
Memory and Thought knit in peace.
Moments of meditation.

    Three fingers left and a thumb.        Around and around before done.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Poet Apothecary

after X-ray, CT, and MRI
The doctor finally sits down to look you straight in the eye,
And tells you your migraine is all in your head,
Your chest pain is serious, but good news you're not dead,
And of your abdominal pain we can find no cause,
That sometimes a problem must grow for imaging to see it at all,
But in the meantime, here, take all these pills,
There must be one that is good for your ills,
And come back to see us when your symptoms get worse,
Of your next trip you are wary,
Hear now the poet apothecary.

A poem a day, a walk, clean water, real food -
this is the prescription especially for you.
Here are the instructions beginning with food,
Though not in any order of importance, they're all good for you.

First food.
If the label says BHA, BHT, TBHQ,
Yellow No. 5, Red 40, or #1 Blue,
Avoid it, you've not evolved to eat crude oil.

If the label says natural,
Buyer beware.
Your understanding of that may not be theirs.
The best food for you has no label at all.

Second, clean water, which can be obtained
By not polluting it in the first place.
But, alas, this has become a global initiative.
Suffice it to say you must first boil and distill it.

Third, walk.  Keep on walking right into the light.
Walk like Buddha,
and Jesus Christ.

Fourth, do not be tempted to neglect this,
Is one poem daily
To help you operate your heavy machinery.
Read it.  Write it.  Live it.  Breathe it.

For litigious reasons here are my credentials,
Poetica medica, RN, BSN, with ACLS.
I am here to shock you if needed,
But, please, first, try my prescription.

To conclude, by all means seek a physician's advice,
But in the end it is you who knows what is right.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Poverty Is

Poverty is
       the raw butt of an ugly mutt
       the found treasure of a cigarette butt
       little girl don't be a slut
       or you'll start showing in your gut
       live out your life in a rotten hut
       never getting out of the rut.


Poverty is
       a dog who believes in you, stays on your side
       too many packs a day you might have died
       yeah, some men lied, but you enjoyed the ride
       and with maternal love you have grown wide
       and though it is to a dump you're tied
       no need to chide, let peace abide.

Chastity's Diary

To all the men who've hurt me,


Oh, I've already done that.

I apologize.  I hurt you, too.

Where I Lie Coiled

There is a story
Told to children
How rattlesnake
So meek and mild
Was stepped on
One, two, many times
And the Creator
Loved her
And gave her fangs.

I, too,
Have earned my fangs
And with my words
Envenomate the page.
So unless you have
The antidote
Don't tread on me
On the dark side of the moon
Where I lie coiled.

Three Fences in November

Two horses
Ages 7 and 27
Shivering in that cold November
Before the winter came
That froze the milk in my daughter's cup
In the time it took from the house, across the porch, to the truck.

In a different truck
That November day
Came a veterinarian.
He led the old one away from us
And told us all to go inside
That it would be better for us.

From inside the house
We heard the young one neighing,
"Come back, come back and play with me."
"Wait, wait, I'm coming with you, it's not fair these fences separate us."
We really don't know what she said
Because in the way another fence stood.

Then from inside the house
We heard the silence fall
And knew the deed was done.
We heard no more nickering that day
And the young one, she was never the same
As if a part of her had left with him that cold November day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Soul Has Wings

Through the stained glass windows
Of a butterfly's wings,
I can see eternity.

In the erratic flight of a moth
Confused by all the light,
I comprehend more than one road taken.

I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death,
But in the spark of a spirit raven's eye
Have returned to my body.

I have rescued a bright red cardinal
From the jaws of my cat
And felt his delicate feet lift free 
from the palms of my hands.

My soul has wandered,
Paused to explore life in the
tidal pools,
And felt the pull from a great depth of ocean.

But I felt in the air an urgent disturbance of wings
And heeded the strident seagull's call:
"High tide, high tide."

Friday, November 2, 2012


     California, 1995
While discussing philosophy by flashlight,
Bigfoot on a ledge overhead rolled rocks
Clunk, clunk, clunk by side of the tent
And laughed.
I wasn't ready.

     Colorado, 2010
Years later in a dream,
Bigfoot was leading me to a place of healing,
Clearing the way before me as I stumbled after
Awaking before arriving.
Damn alarm clock.

     Oklahoma, 2010
A wise man told me, But I did get there,
That I was living there now . . .
Somewhere in Oklahoma.
Knock, knock, knock, the new alarm clock
That ain't no woodpecker's taps.

     Utah, 2012
Big, beautiful city, best job in the world,
But I went for a walk, always walking,
To get away for awhile.
Two ravens flew overhead and told me to go home.
Where the hell's home? I said, respectfully.

     Oklahoma, 2012
To be continued
Not on my time, their time.
Remember what I said,
The wise man said,
The body can only handle so much.

The Bells of Notre Dame

Quasimodo gave a name
To all the bells of Notre Dame
Empowering them to toll
And sound the depths of every soul
In deafness waiting
Feeling through bells reverberating
That somewhere out beyond his tower
There was one.

There was one
Waking the sun with her flower and
Little white goat with bell tinkling
Following capering frolicking
In the meadows of her gypsy soul
Condemned to hang on the gallows.
Two entombed.
And now no bell remembers 
They had names.