The Invitation

The Invitation

I love it when
the wind strolls in
and my meadow friends
dance and bow.

Love it when
waves rush to crash across
my ocean
where
the wide beach smiles up
where the eagles rest silent on the wind above
etch greetings sky to horizon down to me
all the way home: carried and strong.

I love it when
ears find old playground laughter between
the creaks
of empty swing sways
find playground teasing within
little sister crow’s nagging cries
following big sister eagle
back and forth
back and forth
boat house to nest
nest to boat house
boat house to nest.
Ah, little sisters.

Love it when
eyes cherish the faded flap-flapping flag
forgotten by neighbors rushing back to the city.
Cherish wind: an absent spacious presence
Cherish sand: a shattered toe-hugging
perfect imperfection.
Cherish the polished-cream beauty of driftwood.

Here books, stones, deer, and gentle evening light
invite themselves to play:
sated, triumphant, wildly creative
complete within themselves and completely inappropriate.
All silent and awkward at just the right moments.

Humans arriving here
are few
and far between.
We arrive like children
gleefully joining the chorus
certain our tiny voice is heard
among books, stones, deer, dancing warm light
heard within silence.

Or, we arrive here like grownups: certain of nothing at all.

Either way, those invited here
come to play
pulled by the sea
or some other place
where they grow quiet enough to hear the invitation.

I love that we hear the call
so everywhere, so often now

More than anything else in this world
I love dropping every last big plan I had

just to respond, in kind
to the invitation

The Sun at Your House

The Sun at Your House

Warm sun pools and shines more brightly in your home
Why is that?

worn beckoning rugs and life-soft chairs
a sentinel portrait
rich green and red dirt-colored artifacts nestled
within white walls of recent pain.

Witness dancing dust across
sunbeams upstairs,
the bird in the kitchen,
your crazy dogs at play in the yard.
Most fairies here are somber yet
there is heart even joy
in those faces and those fucking cool guitars, Jesus,
and the tools, and the found things,
and the workshop, and the garage, and
in the art, art everywhere, far too content to be clutter
far more useful than things designed only for use.

The love here isn’t just palpable.
It knocks you down. It feels
like your missing tooth and bloody face

shining out from pure bliss.
It’s a sweet, well-caught ball at the fence.

Doors and windows shift widely open for these souls.
The one still walking the dogs, still finding community,
creating art here in person
and the one moving only in sunlight

guiding his strong gentle hands
like always
then shifting to starlight to stroke his cheek
in the too-dark night.

That’s the thing about the sun at your house.
She’s still with you in grief and at 4 a.m.

That’s the thing about your art. It’s still with me
here in grief and at 4 a.m. as
I whisper “Thank you” to the darkness—
uncertain, still, about who…

which who is it
that I thank?

 

Red Pleather Seats

Red Pleather Seats

Happy national poetry month! A flash poem a day, every day in April!

 

Red Pleather Seats

above the lunch rush crowd
a clattering, plates and cups

two women sit alone reading
in heaven

a young boy, also alone
on break from the kitchen
intently checks his phone
smiling his escape

one older couple
sits quiet, side by side
looking out at the scene.
Smile at me.
Are they poets too?
I smile back. We’ll never ask.
It’s enough to be happy.

two women
above frothy coffee
debate loudly, first
about dish soap brands, then
about the primary electoral process:
the soap is more interesting
to take sides without hostility

another couple at the end of the diner
stand, look down, embrace
as they leave
a long goodbye is happening

the old man
sitting next to me
works the crossword puzzle:
I wonder if he’d rather be
making love
to his tonic and gin and be
observed by Billy Joel

a barista walks by
waving at people
flannel shirt
cool orange Mohawk
so much love

the teens beside me
discuss the setup of a play
they’re either writing or staring in
over fish tacos.
their passion for the theater
gives me goosebumps.

the waitress
in an NYC sweatshirt
appears to be a long way from home

a middle age couple
older middle age than me
smile as their too-large burgers arrive
chat with the waitress about home

two women talk of their grown children
one expertly wielding a butter knife to
extricate ketchup from the bottle
the other stands and dances
when her Chai latte is ready

Steve Miller sings
about shaking trees and
loving peaches and
Johnny Cash
about the ring of fire
I wonder in earnest if they mind being followed
by some not-great country western.
know instantly
the answer No
It’s only me who minds.

I smile up at them
I feel alive, connected and present

An Artist Heart Is Present

Do you feel the space herself as poetry?
Want to craft dialog right now?
Do you long to sketch or paint the scene?
Are you turning this into music?
Tempted to table dance between?
Are you wondering about the lighting
placing camera in your mind?
Or flying around the space to find
the best place for the mic?
Are you thinking maybe interviews? About a small town life?
Can you see yourself seated
writing essay, article, or story?
Are you acting this on stage
for some fun and maybe glory?
Or are you crafting sets
pots, scarves, or jewelry
to tell your own deep story?

I sing along.
Because I, too, have friends
in low oh oh places
and its fun to join
rockin robin
in his tweedly tweedly tweet

an artist heart is present
it breaks and soars and beats
everywhere
and here
at the diner with
the red pleather seats

A Poet’s Payment

A Poet’s Payment

Need a poem
or another gift
and you receive one

Love a poet
and you fall in love with every face
within translucence

Walk, or drink, with a poet
feeling the whole truth of a place
complete with hatred, laughter, fear
betrayal, goofiness, and tears:
theirs yours ours

Each new day is a slowing down
alone and in community
to find your

own
sweet
point

Writing imperfectly formed lines
again and again
to stumble upon
your three wise women.
Today m
ine are:

zero talent
broken dreams
unquenchable gratitude

Finally

Finally

Abundance
catches up with you

Contentment and angst
ally themselves on your behalf

Security nests within your ever-shifting heart

Galaxies and egos deepen
lightening up as you walk by
turning toward each other
like fellow sunflowers opening to their most beloved star

You have no control over any of it: nor do you need to

Seriously is not a thing to take one’s self
there are far more worthy gifts to give: and

Everything becomes a simple wonder again
just like you remembered

A poet is paid in wonder.
Every thing and one and where and why else
is a gift.

******

Happy national poetry month!

Somewhere Near La Conner

Somewhere Near La Conner

Dull reeds and mud-gray grass
winter’s cattails dirt-sprayed root to tip
hints of breezes dance between the strands and
dew drops race sunshine
down bended blades to end
within evaporation.

Driftwood graveyard here at low tide’s end
trickling water settles in to chill
in spa-pack salt-smooth mud
all’s peaceful here and still
on a Washington coast
in home Swinomish
warm to the bone
at 61 degrees.

To fall backwards
down deep
into love with a place
is to notice yourself
aboriginal
is to lose yourself
into home, into space
with no where to go
no time to lose
just shoeless feet
blanket grass and
mother earth
to hold us when we fall.

Here beyond
lives the one
just now
just one
just me.
My lungs are fog
my heart is mirth
Skagit bay? he is my buddy
I’m gilled
and breathing it
all in.
How lovely to be
this Salish sea.
How delightful
to be
muddy.

Welcome to the Void

Welcome to the Void

so welcome here
sitting in the sun at a rusty table
lunch with caregivers
in front of Useless Bay
sparrows bathe in dust at our feet
fluff and primp without shame
we admire the audacity

together we swing across Alzheimer’s
through marriage troubles
creative projects
travel
waistlines
back into Alzheimer’s seamlessly
belly laughs to tears
nuts and bolts to wild imaginings
pain, fear, and giggling back out of ourselves

someone says “I can see when she is leaving this space-time continuum”

I think “Yes! That’s it!”

our grateful multiselves
grateful we don’t have watch this process from a distance
on the Sci Fi channel
captive to the imagination of strangers

we live this. we who were
born to be space travelers
born to be many
born to weep together publicly
born to swing across space beyond time within selves

content with patchwork ships of friends and duct tape
we have all the time in the world here
I notice now
just home from a 4-hour lunch outside space time self
yet still entirely home
the void, chaos, the space between us, emptiness herself is home now

I am welcome here.
No, that’s not quite it, space travelers.

here, I am welcome

so welcome, friends

welcome to the void