“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


feliz año nuevo

they look like planets against a forever of stars.

twenty twelve.
it rolls off the tongue with a bit of pretty.
a good place to start.



reverb 11: a short letter to myself

perhaps he knew,
as i did not,
that the earth was made round
so that we would not see too far down the  road.
                                                                         ~ isak dinesen / out of africa

limited visibility be damned.  all those green lights say go.
pedal to the metal onward through the fog and all that jazz.


resound 11reverb 11
write a letter to your future self to read on dec 30, 2012:

you have a compass called your heart.
stop only for tuneups and fuel and photo opportunities.
screw the map.  you are making your own.




decembering into january

the fog wakes me.
a white wildflower the size of my fingerprint
reaches for my foot as i pass.


a week of no words.
unexplained, not on purpose, the silence just descended.
stories stopping mid sentence,
poems hanging
mid thought
mid breath
mid wish
words clinging by ragged fingernails to what was.

last night i fell asleep on the couch early, home from a long massage, the perfect position temperature pillow, facing inward facing the cat sprawled above me, the darkness covering us, my soul relaxing exhaling, these last days of nothingness spread beneath me.  

finding my way to what is.
thoughts of a wounded coyote,
that terry allen painting,
friends who feel forgotten.
15 years fatherless on new year's eve,
still new to motherless.

i crawl to sleep and dream.



christmas eve morning. silent night begins.

the year is fading away.
falling soft into the past,
into behind us, gone, adieu;
catching our kisses as we blow them its way.
este año de dolor, adios.

christmas eve morning and all is calm.

there are cocoa dusted dark chocolate almonds to be packaged,
kishu mandarin oranges y topo chicos in white cups,
ribbons to be tied,
one last gift to buy.
it is cold outside and filled with gray skies,
with a quiet rain, with the tiniest of raindrops.
christmas, she be coming,
and she be bearing gifts.

hold out your hands and catch them.
within the silence are songs of angels.



repost: our hearts tell our secrets

a midnight snow is coming they say,
and we,
disbelievers all,
still wait by the window.


originally posted back in early february.
the best bit of writing ever from these hands.
we all believe.
christmas is coming.

for kelly.



reverb 11: healing.

a smidgen before midnight and it will begin.
i will stand in magic.
i will light a fire.
i will open my arms wide to beginnings.
i will catch starlight and moonlight and sparks of the past.
those sparks will burn hot and i will toss them from scorched fingertips.

what healed you this year?
was it sudden or a drip by drip evolution?
how would you like to be healed in 2012?


the process continues.
i turn like the earth and baby step toward the light.
the cold is necessary.
the darkness required.
the scars remain.
my phantom heart still aches when it rains.



reverb 11: sunday lunch. or as we say here in texas, dinner.

empty chair.
empty wall except for where my painting once hung.
empty house full heart
empty christmas empty tables new paint 
same shadows same birds same sky same trees
last winter, spring, drought of summer.
this winter's leaves tell the time.

if you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be?
and what would you like to discuss?


her, of course.
did i do things right?, i would ask, knowing how much i did wrong,
am i forgiven for running when i walked in to find that first surprise of life support?
the hospital told us nothing, nothing,
and i'm sorry, i would tell her,
but my heart fell to my knees
and i shook and they told us nothing,
and i'm sorry, i'm sorry, so sorry.
your eyes were full of fear and drugs
and my heart was tired and broken
and they told us nothing.
i would want to say that to her,
hold her hands in mine and make her understand.
they told us nothing though on the official paperwork they said they called.
they didn't, they didn't, they lied, they lied,
and i'm sorry.

we would have sweet tea and roast beef with carrots and potatoes and she would cook and i would eat too much bread and she would say i am just like my grandfather, and she would laugh, and there would be dessert, there was always dessert, never a cake or pie not in the house.  we would sit in her kitchen like we always did, and skye cat would wander about and jump on the counter and my mother would shoosh her off, and give her tidbits of roast on the floor.

is it okay about skye? i would ask,
i am sorry, so sorry,
but your house holds memories and i couldn't move in.
i broke my promise, but i tried, i tried,
and skye was there every day waiting for me after work,
and it was every day, every day for 2 months,
i was in 3 places, my home, work, your home,
a cat at work and your cat there
and there were lawyers and brothers
and endless phone calls and bills and tears
and exhaustion,
and so i just took her home,
i just took her home.
against my promise, against your wishes,
and is it okay?
she's fine, she's happy, she has no fences to keep her in
and a smile on her face,
and i am so sorry.


one more afternoon in her kitchen.
how precious that would be.
one long last hug.
a goodbye with questions answered.
and dessert.  



christmas closes in

creeping in along tree branches and snaking its way along the creek cloaked in white lights; it is decked out less festively than last year, but perhaps that is just my heart talking.  it is christmas no matter what and could show up naked at my front door, shivering to the sound of the midnight bells on christmas Eve.  christmas is really naked anyway.

but still.  i love restaurants strung with white light bulbs and plenty of time to relax while shopping and girl talk over steaks or mexican food,  i especially love that plenty of time part.  i love white polka dots strewn across red christmas paper, diana krall singing me into the holidays, and jimmy stewart as george bailey making me feel not so small anymore.   i love the idea of homemade cards, though I never have the time, my sister-in-law’s tart apple pie, frasier fir candles, small towns lit up for the holidays, cookies everywhere you shop, luminarias with real candles nestled inside, charlie brown trees, stockings filled with silliness and dark chocolate.  i love the word jolly – we only use it at this time of year - and red and white candy canes scattered in boxes of gifts to be shipped.  i love the idea of angels singing.  and for this week leading up to the magical day, i love early darkness and chilly air.

i love that at last i have time to breathe and new tires and places to drive, and i love this warm messy home waiting for me to return.   I love the christmas ornaments laying atop stacks of books, no tree yet this year, and the santa claus crinkly cat toy, a red velvet line drawn across the pale colors of my rooms.  I love the glitter waiting to be opened and applied to bought cards; I love that when I open those bottles at last, glitter will be everywhere and I will find speckles of it next june and smile.  


inspired by amy oscar's exactly 400 words,
though i don't have 400.
i love that i don't think she'll mind.



reverb 11: community: beyond the city limit signs

i couldn't see the boots for the trees.  
and there were lots of them,
strung along the fence line right there to my left as i stood looking up the road.

the ever-wonderful michael pointed them out
and it took more than one look before i saw them.

a community i love.

online and in real life,
we're all a part of a multitude of communities.
tell us about one that moves you.

reverb 11


i am a texan.
a small town east texas girl
who moves through the woods
and along the backroads
and knows the sky.
if i have to open a gate to get to where you live,
so much the better.



today i exhaled

the warm morning rain, the day all soft with the end of busy.
fog for lunch and we passed a sign that read plant your roses now.
my breaths go all the way to my toes
and i need to buy seeds.



reverb 11: fear & truth

what scared you this year more than anything else?
did you learn anything new about yourself?

reverb 11


standing still and remembering.
moving forward and forgetting.

neither/both true and false.



reverb 11: thrive

i bought cherries and clementines, and those pretzels shaped like stars, dipped in white yogurt & snowy white sprinkles, because i bought those last year, and hidden rose apples, small enough for just a few tangy bites. i splurged for me because it is christmas, and when i cut the apples in half, i found hidden stars instead of roses.


what was your healthiest habit of 2012?
what would you like to change or do differently?


i secretly gave myself a year,
just something i whispered in my own ear -
allowed myself chocolates and too much tv
and didn't beat myself up over the few extra pounds.
from the end of february last
to the end of february next.
i didn't listen to rules,
ate fajitas for breakfast,
read under fairy lights,
forgot the sunscreen,
ignored deadlines and fools,
and i let myself cry.

i would do it all again, and i still have 2 months to go.  


and then. 
well, i will have to dance, i will have to pay attention to that extra weight.
i will have to walk more and lounge less
and look for apples with stars in their eyes.



reverb 11: what i shoulda done more of

i walk on spinning stars.

what do you wish you had done more of in 2011?

reverb 11

slowed down
slowed d o w n
s l o w e d  d o w n.
s  l  o  w  e  d    d   o  w  n.

as slow as i was, it was too fast.
as behind as i am.
i have been late with rent, insurance, taxes, credit card payments,
late to work, late to sleep.
there are unwritten thank you cards 9 months down this busy road
my hand will not pick up the pen.
it is a year cluttered with
 unsent birthday wishes,
books not finished,
thank yous not said aloud,
i love yous dropped in my purse,
and when i finally find where my keys are,
i remember what i forgot to say.

i sit, unable to move, and it is too fast.

how did it get so late so soon?  it's night before it's afternoon.  december is here before it's june.
my goodness, how the time has flewn.
how did it get so late so soon?
                                         ~~~~~ dr. seuss


sometimes life just blindsides you, you never saw it coming you will say, and you will mean it and it will be true and you will run, if only in your soul, and there you are, suddenly in the red queen's race, unable to keep up with the same place where once you stood.  you will watch it pass you by, and you will regret those years of no aerobics that maybe would've helped you to just stay even, staying even would feel fabulous right now, but it's too late and you are running and you are dropping things, things you know you will miss later; you will be looking for the scissors and have no idea where they are.

lily cat is lonely.  she crawls into my lap and wants to stay, wants me to curl onto the couch with her; remember last year? i can hear her thinking, but she knows that won't happen, so she crawls onto my lap at the end of the day and she gets comfortable and warm and grows heavy with contentment.  please stay, she says, please just stay and let's watch the silence of the street outside, the wind and streetlamps and those shadows, the ones we kept company with last year, they are all waiting to say hello, but she knows i won't, knows i cannot, not yet, walk away from the loneliness of my mother's cat, who is waiting at my house, not yet used to aloneness during the day, who needs to flee through the opened door into the night and back again, flying with joy and freedom.  

and so i run.
there is an ache in my side
and i can't breathe,
but there are clouds at the top of the hill.



reverb 11: forgiveness

well, 'tis the season, after all.

i think it's condemned, this funniest of old houses, though it was there last time i checked; the white wooden gate leading to the backyard is spray painted with the words walk lightly.  yes.

who have you forgiven this year
and what was the journey like that brought you to forgive them?

reverb 11


i stood on boo radley's front porch this year
and learned to see from the other side.
it was almost impossible and i find even now
even now
that my lips grow tight as i type these words
and i remind myself to unclench my teeth.
it was a fight from the get-go, from the first, from the firing of the gun
the race is on and here comes pride up the backstretch
it was so personal i could see it no other way.
it was all about me all about me but it wasn't.
it wasn't.
it was about them giving all they could
and i had to stand on their porches walk in their shoes
cry myself to sleep sit in the jeep and scream
before i could forgive,
but it wasn't forgiveness,
it was seeing.

where forgiveness really lives i haven't ventured.
i walk lightly around it, testing the ground.



reverb 11: addition through subtraction. a day late.

there is always a point where i turn away from looking back.
where i look up and out and forward
where the year that was is the year that was
and all the words have already been said
and i weary of saying them again.

it is christmas time, i think,
and i want angels and carols and twinkling lights.
i drive through the streets i sit on my couch i lay on my bed
and i invent stories.

addition through subtraction.
what have you let go of this year
and how has it affected you?

reverb 11


i let go of nothing willingly.
i held on i grasped i promised i promised
but in the end my fingers were weak.
that would explain why the winter air makes them ache.


story 1:  Byron sits with his back to the blinking lights, smoking in the darkness.  Early December, Christmas splattered across his front lawn.  It is too warm.  Muggy.  The cold weather predicted for that afternoon a no-show.  He sits in the silence, grateful to be alone, just those blinking lights for company.  It is just that one strand that blinks, the whole strand at once, on, off, on, off, on, and only if the drapes are closed.  They are strung on the inside of the picture window, the better to cheer up his falling-down house, and he knows he should check it out, investigate the blinking before it burns them all down, but there is something soothing about that rhythm and the silence and the red green yellow yellow red red on off on off, and so he doesn't.  Instead, he sits on the porch in the darkness and lights another cigarette.  He inhales.

so let me change this prompt.
i am already a day late,
the rules have been broken,
if rules there are,
so why not this instead?
what will i let go of and how will it affect me?
silly, that last bit, no way to know the future,
but i will start with this.

i will let go of holding people in their boxes.
byron, for instance.
until he wandered out for a cigarette the other night,
i'd not given him much thought.
certainly no sympathy.
perhaps i still don't.
but if i let him out of his box i have a beginning.

i myself don't believe in boxes,
a friend made that clear.
i let go of that a long time ago.



reverb 11: a moment in time

raccoons?  coyote?  what moves in such a way?
this morning full of wind and cold coming in,
leaves falling into the creek,
this secret soon hidden.

a moment in time.
tell us about one moment that you lived in 2011
that you will never forget.

reverb 11

in this year of loss upon loss upon heartbreak
my hand on my mother's heart as she drew her last breath
this year of drought and shimmering heat
my hand on the do not resuscitate order
my hand on the words let her go
my hand against that morning against that day
this year of michael's father's death
a bookend of endings
my hand unable to stop it
my hand finding its way to a pen to a computer to words.
in this year of moments piled one against the other,
i choose this morning's.

that trail a lesson.
 a message.
i choose now.



reverb 11: how to do it differently

across the street, my neighbor's christmas lights were on when i awoke this morning, bright against the still gray day; there is one string, over there on the left hand side of her picture window that is blinking on and off, the whole strand, like a stoplight in a small town. the lights are all different colors and used to be she only circled that one window with one strand of lights, the big old fashioned ones, and it was the peacefullest view from my couch each night, but i made the mistake of telling her, and so, for me, she hung more lights.  she hung ornaments from the japanese maple.  this year, the ornaments are hung from trailing rose vines and the ginkgo tree.  it is a christmas mess over there.  i admit to kinda liking it, but don't tell my neighbor.

my children will do it differently - 
if you could choose one thing that your children could do
or experience in a different way than you have,
what would it be and why?

reverb 11


don't try so hard, but try harder.
know when to do each.

don't try so hard lexus, louis vuitton, apple, coach.
when steve jobs died, a friend said she was such an apple girl,
such a mac person,
she loved what she could do with all that stuff
but most of all, she said, she loved being seen with it.
no no no no no.
it's just a brand.
it ain't you babe.

try harder run, laugh, read read, earn your own money,
use the crappy camera that's stuck on f16
and figure your way around it,
buy the car that will require you to know how to fix stuff.

the more you know, the less you need.
                                                  ~  aboriginal saying

one strand of lights will be all you need.
you will shine.



reverb11: one word

this morning a crow above the jeep, circling, circling, looping smaller, lazing lower, circling, circling, then landing.  the middle of the road for no particular reason.  just sitting.  breathing.  

one word.  
encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. 
explain why you're choosing that word. 
now, imagine it's one year for today.  
what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?


still underground,
planted deep but moving towards the sun,
about to break through, hard pushing against the winter earth growth.
the pressure of the whole world on your shoulders
as you push and push and shove and finally crack the surface growth.
not enough rain growth.
too much sun and too much cold wind growth.

beginning: a tiny seed fetal position sleeping turning my head away.

that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

last year i said 2011 would be softness.
it was.
i melted.
i fell into tears and they fed me and i grew.

a year from now?
the verb.

1. to grow well or luxuriantly;  2. to do well or prosper;  3. to be in a period of highest productivity, excellence or influence; 4. to make bold sweeping movements.

all of those.



february 28 all the way to now

in autumn a girl's thoughts turn to glitter and trees gone golden and far off red and she is reminded that all things end, all things; it is nine months from the morning her mother died, and this cold november morning welcomes a new person, her bones the branches of an empty fig tree.

i stood in her backyard this weekend, leaves ankle high and shushing my thoughts, 
at 6 weeks, the heart begins to beat in a regular rhythm, 
by 8 weeks i had ghosts of fingerprints and i left them on the walls of her house,
at 2 months, the embryo responds to prodding,  
at 4 months, quickening,
i moved on my own through the beginning of the summer's heat.

flocks of  leaves huddle on the tree limbs, nestless, settling for the night against the wind they cannot defeat, all things end, all things, and she walks away from their emptiness into the warmth of the house.



another november fog

it is the street on which i live and it is
2 novembers ago,
sweet maggie miss magnolia was beside me in the jeep.
enchantment still held sway.

this thanksgiving morning another fog is dripping through the trees
and the birds are silent and no squirrels are about.
it looks much the same.
that tree on the corner is bigger,
there are more leaves on the ground.
the street is tired, faded from the hot hot summer,
more thankful for this fog.
enchantment is hidden out there somewhere,
catching its breath, a second wind,
leaving us to our own magic for a while.

there is a coyote in the neighborhood,
if you turn right at that first street you may see him.
it will have to be late and it will have to be dark
and perhaps he is already gone.
but perhaps he is the beginning.
i hope he has a cigarette and wings.



she really holds her cup like that

we are partners in shopping for pretty.

we talk politics and tony romo and when we want a steak
we settle down in a restaurant and pay for our own.
we don't ask anyone's permission.
we roll our eyes at facebook messiahs
and dance silly happy dances in the aisles of discount stores
when we find the perfect cute cupcake plates.
we watch neighborhood hawks swoop overhead
and we text too much,
and, despairing of the lack of color in this town,
we drive elsewhere.
we love russell crowe
and robert earl keen
and we know when a color is almost right
and we say no to almost.
we have watched lord of the rings a million times
and the devil wears prada,
and we are grateful that martha stewart gets it,
and also apple,
and wish more companies did.
we refuse to buy maroon or burgundy anythings
and never understood the whole missoni target frenzy
because can you say ugly?

we will tell you the truth so don't ask if you don't want to know.

we understand how to run your own business;
we get inventory and employees who call in sick
and overhead and markup
and we vote for the people who understand that we understand.
we love small towns twinkling under christmas lights
and driving the back roads just because,
and we stop where we've never been before.
we have chased the moon
and trespassed
and talked about the men in our lives;
we tell each other their jokes
and complain that they make us laugh when we are mad
but that makes us laugh and we love them even more.

we love boots and shoes with bows on the top
and businesses with cute names
and we wish this town would let us decorate
the downtown square for christmas;
we so understand the magic of the season.  we believe.

we are friends.
and yes, she really hold her cup like that.



a small sunday moment

 we are all stars all the way to the end.
or hearts or moons
or whatever shape we've chosen

an early small moment for the sun, pushing its way past the clouds; just a bit of brightness and then gone again. my front door is open to the november wind and leaves are scattering across the living room floor; the yard is covered with crescent moons fallen to earth, golden golden, the sun still behind those clouds, the sky pale gray,  i'd planned to clean, planned to clear some space for christmas at my house this year, but when i move the furniture, it blocks the light, so things are back to their normal places with space left over for a tree.  it's sunday, and like i said, the front door is open, and windows also, the heat off, leaves flying, squirrels chattering, and i just stepped over a star on the way to the kitchen.  small and brown, but a star still.  




yesterday morning it was a bright yellow heart
still beating
in the emptiness of the catawba tree.

still  there
but still there.
in the bright november sun.

and then not.

i'd meant to take a picture, you know,
but there was a phone call and lateness and a dead battery
and rushing and wind and i 
and it was somewhere in the middle of all that it
fell, i'm sure, with its arms open wide to the journey down.

gone, i thought.
the wind, i thought.  

but no.  
the earth found it, sheltered it. 
one last gift before winter.
one last lesson.
then fly-away



standing on the edge of rain and 3rd base

me again on the edge again
toes just this side of being
wasting time dithering 
wondering looking at clouds
looking for clues in the splash of raindrops
finding faces in the spaces missed.
a reindeer is ready to get this party
but i agonize question compare second guess change my mind
rethink hesitate slow dance 
when i should shimmy like spinning moonbeams disco balls falling glitter.
i look for dancesteps painted along my darkened path
you put your left foot in
breadcrumbs dropped to the rhythm of the night
you take your left foot out
i shuffle stumble trip fall skin my knees hit my funnybone
you put your left foot in
and i am off the path off the wagon into the world into the arms of the
waiting universe where have i been all this time?
and you shake it all about
my toes are in across the line safe on third and i am off the bag too far 
at last
there is only one out i am thinking squeeze play
and in my mind i am suddenly still quiet eye on the ball peaceful
going alpha
you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around
it slows down i see all i breathe meditate exhale stand on the edge wait to
and that's what it's all about.



a november wedding

they said i do
under autumn skies
under the falling color of leaves.
the cake was 40 minutes late.



after the storms, always the sun

the blues fall away.  

awake early this morning in the still darkness, the 5:30 train passing in the distance, the sound of nothing else heavy in the room, that nothing a warm comfort across my heart.  skye cat lay deep asleep against my belly, nestled in blankets, no purring, just sleep; soft, soft, her rhythm becoming mine, just nothing but us and morning in the room, last night's full moon long gone from the windows.  just darkness and morning and nothing but our breathing.  thou art everywhere but i worship thee here.

at last up, lamps flicked on, those red red birthday roses glowing with their own inner light, and we settle on the couch, this cat and i, my mother's cat, she will never be mine, and we begin a slow movement into a new day.  the old fashioned heater kicks on; it has real flames and makes a soft muffled sound of reassurance, more warmth, more comfort, and i turn on the tv, as always leaving the sound off.

the night moves toward day and suddenly the darkness is less; fallen leaves are visible on the ground and i am up to raise the blinds, to watch the full of morning fall on the street.  the ginkgo across the street has gone quite pale, almost to gold, we are almost there, and the catawba has gone quite naked, her leaves scattered across the street and lawns and into the creek.  there is no wind, not a breeze, not a stirring of grass, it is cool and still and not a car has passed, no student yet headed for another friday, no backpacks passing, no shuffling of feet, not yet, but if you type it, it will come, and there is the first car of the day.

lighter still, more day than night, one chirp from a bird, slowly slowly this day comes.  the bark of a dog, my upstairs neighbor moving about, the comforting sound of her feet on the wood overhead; i track her path in my head exactly as i followed the 5:30 train earlier.  i know the places they go.

and finally, morning.  the first student passes.  the sun has not yet climbed high enough to toss yellow rays across the yard, but soon, soon.

it is autumn.  the shadows gather strength, are more shadows than shade.  the blues fade away, fall into the memory of summer.  as always, i will find their hiding places.



the day before yesterday nothing happened

there were roses very red
and a cupcake very swirly
and happy birthday.
there were storms very black
and winds very bossy
and at lunch the waitress turned the too-loud music down
and remembered the extra tomatoes on my salad.

it was all i asked for.



last night the sky looked like storms

but i don't think they got here.
i heard no rain and the clouds i saw were storing sunlight
against the ending of the day.
i hold hope in my heart that they will light the sky some evening,
give the moon a run for her money.



friday afternoon, hopin' that the train is on time

it is easy to tell where the babies are buried. the flowers are so close together hugging the small spaces and reaching for the sky, the petals like tiny arms flying away. i pass through the cemetery avoiding this area, not looking too closely; heartbreak is just a breath away if you stand too close.  i am singing one toke over the line sweet jesus, one toke over the line . . . their souls are just as big as mine and they are flown away . . . sitting downtown in a railway station . . . later i turn left on confederate avenue, one toke over the line, stopped by the union pacific as i start to climb the hill.  there is just this train and me, and soon a truck on the other side, waiting, and then the train too is gone and i buy tacos and sit in the jeep writing, sit in the sun, waiting for the train that goes home, sweet mary . . . 



manifesto jazz

the lines i walk are mine.  i draw them myself
and i break the rules; i use
all that stuff they tell you not to
and i turn the music off because my rhythm is
the rhythm of silent stars hidden behind a daytime sun.
a bird is my muse and her name is silence
and she makes her nest in inconvenient places and i
must track her down, but that's okay, it's my job, not
i drew those lines and i stand on them in high
heels, bare feet, flip flops, cowboy
boots, and i stand tall
and i teeter and sometimes my feet
and i want to sit down, but i 

i pay attention.
i look truth in the eye and i expect it to look me back and
we'll see who blinks first. 
i am a teller of truths hurtful sad funny fast;
it is jazz and i am on the stage and i am scatting
baby sweetie honeypie
and you, yes you, right there, i see you look
when i hit that just right note,
the one you feel right up against that sore spot on your soul,
and i smile i know and hope you stay cause it gets

i ask too many questions and i keep too many answers
i am windblown imperfect and moving forward, navigating
by st. exupery's stars;
true north is the tip of my toes.
i follow the flights of owls and write their secrets on the
palm of my hand, sweating those truths away before

i draw my own lines and i use invisible ink and glow
in the dark paint and pencil tips so fine only true hearts can
i mark the curb of the universe and reach out my
hands for gifts always given.
i hold my palms open.



endings, beginnings, november

windshield reflection empty trees
cold air last year,
when i thought i knew what emptiness was.
when i thought i knew the feel of chill across my skin.

i knew so little.
little was enough.

november begins with leaves on the trees
and another funeral.
two more in truth.
i am getting good at this,
at the ordering of flowers,
at understanding no calla lilies anywhere,
at black dresses and high heels,
at hugs that hold back heartbreak,
at reading faces and waiting in silence.

i skirt around the edges of these deaths;
they are not my stories to tell.
my story is that the jeep needs washed
and i think i need stockings
and i should eat.
my story is that the year stays upside down,
shaking till it is all emptied out.
my story is a yard full of autumn birdsong and sunshine.
one leaf twirling down from the hackberry tree,
spinning into the creek,
and then another.
one at a time.

they don't seem unhappy about it.



soul food, baby

she usually kept butterfingers, 
those little 8 to a pack ones,
but sometimes it was baby ruths,
and sometimes chocolate so expensive we were afraid to take a bite,
but always there were butterfingers in a bowl
and she would insist you have one or two.

her house is off to your left in this image,
and i am dangling late october toes over her part of the creek,
suspended between it and the golden catawba overhead,
dropping leaves everywhere,
each leaf counting down the afternoons of autumn.

today was sitting on my shoulders as i left work.
i needed cokes, cat food, bread, yogurt,
and i also needed chocolate, 
but i didn't know that until i passed an 8 pack of baby ruths
hanging out on an aisle.
a little something for my soul.
taking me back to evenings spent in her house,
a friend always there.
at the end i'd go over to check on her,
making sure she was okay;
saying it was for her,
but doing it for me also.

baby ruths.
i hadn't had one since she died.
they tasted of our friendship,
and i felt the weight of the day move away.



october lace

this day cannot decide whether it is blue or gray or white clouds or rain clouds and they all roll overhead together switching places with sunshine and shadow.  leaves are falling and the empty in between spots are lace against the sky, now white, now gray, and the shadows so faint they disappear into color, flat yellow catawba leaves against flat pale-green ginkgo against shadowless houses.  suddenly the sun and there are reflections in the windows, the leaves drawing checkered quilt patterns across the glass, then gone again with the softest of breezes. shimmering ginkgo leaves spin themselves into gold.

across the street still hang icicle christmas lights from last year, white blossoms of a leftover season, another piece of lace against the graying of the day.

sunday.  late october.  



i am not this or that. i am all.

i am not defined by the color of my skin.
i am not defined by my sexuality.
i am not defined by the car i drive.
i am not defined by those 15 extra pounds.
i am not defined by that messy house behind me.
i am not defined by ailments or illnesses, 
broken fingernails or anger.
i am not defined by the computer i use.
i am not defined by the thinness of my bank account.
i am not defined by wrinkles or lines or acne scars.
i am not defined by cellulite or bone density,
or that bra strap showing.
i am not defined by what the lines in my palm say.
i am not defined by the price i pay for shoes
or haircuts
or chocolate.
i am not defined by the books i read.
i am not defined by no-children.
i am not defined by my politics.
i am not defined by an unplucked eyebrow or unshaven leg.
i am not defined.

on the nearing of my 58th birthday;
yes, 58 - i am saying it out loud - 
half a month away,
it is the only wisdom i know.  



my soul does not wear serious shoes

these bows called me.
all lopsided and minnie-mouse-eared.
goodness, oh me oh my, how fun they felt when i put them on,
how fun they made me feel,
how girly,
how it-doesn't-matter-that-they-are-topped-by-a-tshirt-and-jeans.
just look at those silly bows.
they made me root around in the closet this morning,
made me find a ruffled sweater to toss over that tshirt;
they refused to take no for an answer,
although to be honest i never actually said a no,
i was in agreement from the moment i slipped my too cold toes inside.

my soul is happy dancing in these shoes.
it is twirling and swinging and cotton eyed joe-ing.


i am honored to be a part of the new e-course offered by maddie of persisting stars fame.
it begins sunday, october 23rd & there are a few openings left.
please join her (and the rest of us) as we travel the streets of soul.
you will be more than happy you did.
you will be changed.


dappled afternoon

the road rolls by like a river.


i posted this a bit ago, just the image and the one line,
skye cat against the rolling road,
posted it twice, in fact, and took it down each time, unsure why.
it just felt wrong.
it felt too red.

today it feels right.
october blew in last night.

the afternoons are still quite dappled, and mornings also; the shadows just change sides.  i drive to work each morning knowing where they fall, watching especially for that yellow house on my left, laced with images of the leaves across the street, their patterns playing across the hood of my jeep.  i pass the still blooming pinks of crepe myrtles and mounds of flowers here and there, dark pinks, baby-girl pinks, yellows, purple, orange.  it is officially autumn, but we are always slow to get there, slow like this river of a road, still warm, still usually in bare feet and short sleeves.

but this morning has a chill and a wind and my toes are covered with socks and the cat is asleep on a chair, instead of outside chasing lizards.  october blew in last night, leaving limbs in the yards, broken power lines, bringing rain, lightning and thunder, and dropping the temperature 20 degrees. in the mail yesterday, i received a halloween party invitation.

it is yellow out there beyond the windows and door, the bright sun overpowering the fading green of the hackberry tree, but it feels like red is coming.  the year is rolling by.



there was a parade yesterday

there was booty shakin'

and a tractor breakin'. down.

there were tubas and top hats and too-tired twirlers,
jumpers and yawners and mis-marching marchers,
babies on shoulders,
and boy scouts and horses,
paper rose dragonflies,
and a princess (of courses!).


there were marching songs
and cymbals clashed backwards,
and that gary glitter song from all the football games,
(baseball too),
and once when a float stopped in front of us,
its speakers were blasting the talking heads'
wild wild life;
it felt like a seventh inning stretch but i only danced a little.