Saturday, May 18, 2013


This is what life does. 
Makes you happy when you cry,
makes pain into joy under your clavicle,
heart smashing against your sternum

Sends a flush of red across
your neck, so you can’t hide your feelings.
Sends a bird song into
your ear so you can’t deny there’s flight.

Grateful to stand when they walk up front
and set the offering plates down.
Ushers in sticky Sunday suits, pulling their cuffs.

All rising.
Cold wood under my hand.
Mom’s elbow brushing mine.
Daddy still alive and
wearing his blue and white striped seersucker jacket.
Shaven, attentive, smell of old spice.
He was always a good boy.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.

Here below the gaping sky,
there’s rain down my face,
a sudden summer storm.
And sun on the other side. 

Friday, March 29, 2013


Training to be a lifeguard. Aspiring to Navy-Seal prowess. But he’s such a tender slender string bean! All bone, muscle and skin. A clinging octogenarian granny could pull him down.

I worry.

They say drowning is a good way to go. No wish to find out but I guess it’d be OK once you stopped struggling and inhaled the sea water or pool water or river water.

You’d open your eyes to a luminous liquid world. Filtered sunlight, bubbles and blue blue blue. 

A quiet – very quiet – sandy bottom to sit upon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When I Take You Out in the Surrey

My favorite driving-around-alone-in-my-car music was once best suited to a teenage boy’s tastes.  ZZ Top.  Beastie Boys.  Nirvana.  Eminem.  To name a few of my darlings.

Then, there was a shift.  First, oldies radio.  Then KOIT (Lite Rock, Less Talk).  Then KDFC or any satellite classical station.  NPR, naturally.

On super stressful days I guiltily tuned in to Spa on SIRIUS.  Driving across San Francisco at rush hour became a very different experience while listening to rain chimes and flute instead of Angus Young.

Now I’m enamored of SIRUS’s On Broadway channel.  I’m smiling when somebody cuts me off as I’m listening to Oh, What A Beautiful Morning (Oklahoma)Or I get all weepy over Johanna (Sweeney Todd) at the 10-minute-long red light at Junipero Serra/Portola/Sloat.  Or I decide it’s time to pull over for a soy decaf latte after hearing Wouldn’t It Be Loverly (My Fair Lady).

Yet at the opening strains of any drivel from Les Miserables or The Sound of Music, I jump right back to Deep Purple, Muse, Radiohead, Parliament, The Cars, The Ramones, The White Stripes, Frank Zappa. Watch out! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Genie Dream

Wee hours. Genie drops into room.

DearOne sleeping the way he does. T-shirt over his head sheikh style. Six-foot furrow in a field of bed. Inert as a row of beans.

DearOne’ll wake if I sigh too loudly. If I toot just barely. If I think too hard.

Yet Genie appearing, lights flashing, no prob! Of course no problem with lights flashing. DearOne wears mask in addition to t-shirt on head. Think Snoopy vs. Red Baron.

Genie. Shaved head like Mr. Clean. Steam snorting out nostrils. Biceps plumping. Harem pants red as lipstick on Great Aunt Ossie. Eyebrows arched (Aunt Ossie again).

What can I do for you Oh Beautiful? I am yours to command!

More lights. Thunder sounds. Symphonic music. DearOne stirring now: Babe, you OK?

To DearOne: There’s a genie in here and I have three wishes. To Genie: Three, right?

Genie nodding.

The question is can I find my wishes. Can I reach right down to – which chakra is it? Fifth? Seventh? Shit, I should know. Can I reach like pulling a rabbit out of a top hat? Ta Da! Presto! Three wishes. Three wishes. Shit! Shit! Three! Quiet DearOne, puh-leaze! Let me think…

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rude Awakening

Six lanes of traffic during morning rush hour on Market Street near San Francisco School of the Arts.

A red ambulance heading east with sirens screaming.

Everyone stops except one sleepy teenage boy. He’s with a group of kids standing in the median ready to traverse eastbound lanes.

Ambulance slows faintly before flying through red light. Boy thinks ambulance is stopping for pedestrians and steps into crosswalk. Ambulance blasts horn with prejudice just inches away. Boy vaults backward and falls into friends.

Driver on my right, cyclist on my left, son in the passenger seat, me: We all catch our breath, drop our jaws and start laughing. Too close for comfort. There but for the grace of God.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good Mother

“I wish I could do it over again,” said my friend, “I wish I’d paid more attention. I wish I’d stayed at home. I wish I could remember their childhoods.”

It could have been me saying those words.  It could have been you. 

Have you ever heard a woman claim to be an exceptional mother?  Have you ever met a mother who is free of guilt or regret?

I’ll try it out today.  Squeeze a lump of faith into my fist.  Smile.  Play the part.  Say the words. Feel free to join me: