Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category


March 18, 2018


my best memory of Ireland,
was the woman outside
Joyce’s Castle, who had just stepped from
the Irish Sea–it was early December-
and whose entire body – rumple
of belly, thigh, brest bobbed
over a gleaming interlace of morn and underwear
like the chill-blossomed cheeks
about her smile– a bright blow
of a woman, her hair a curl of raven against
a fleeting sun–

I kept thinking of the fresh thick milk Stephen Dedalus and his mocked friends pour into their strong tea at the beginning of
Ulysses, and how
I wanted some, me who was not robust
that trip and so cold and so
lonely that I did not take off my wool turtleneck even
to bathe but rather shivered in a shallow tin tub, submerging only
my nether regions.

So many years ago, still, I fear going back–
some memories you do not wish
to replace,
but weave them again and again like an older
Penelope, happy for the feel of familiar warps–
you know the way yarns wave
with re-use.


Draft poem for Brendan’s post on Real Toads stemming from some kind of Irish blarney, or not, on St. Patrick’s Day.  Martello is the little castle James Joyce lived in while beginning his novel, Ulysses, and also where his character Stephen Dedalus lives during the novel.  Pastel is mine – the woman was not quite so shoulder heavy!  


(Apologies – an earlier version of the post misspelled Stephen Dedalus.)

Dear Place

March 15, 2018

Dear Place

Dear place at the back of my brain
where my grandfather straps skates to his shoes
and glides,
a blue wind with rose face,
along a sweep of my mother’s memory—

my mother loved to sweep—hand her a broom
and you kept her happy
for an hour—

I never saw my grandfather to recall—
he is a flash in the grey of old Kodachrome
where I am a shock of pale bang and sparked
round eyes – I must be quiet for some time to find
that horizon where he skates and
where my mother who was so wounded,

smiles, and where what is ice
is only shine and we all stretch out against it
like strings that might make music
when bowed.


Here is a poem for my prompt “Dear Poems” on Real Toads. I am sorry to have been so absent; working a great deal.



February 3, 2018

Circus, Budapest, 19 May 1920 Andre Kersetz


I peeped on one leg
through the hole at the head
of my life
pressing my face to the knots
of future’s would,
as if to squeeze through an eye
and with it drag
a soul,
thinking my “I” a needle
and the fabric of the world something it could pierce
and then re-piece —

It would have been better,
I realized somewhat later,
simply to stand on two feet, forgo
the eyestrain.

Poem of sorts inspired by Kerry O’ Connor’s photographic prompt (the photograph above) on RealToads.

I have two new children’s books out, which I should devote a whole post to–they are Melanie’s Twinkle and Good Light Room.  They are both (I think) pretty cute and I am very proud of them.  Check them out!  Get one!




Elephant man tree

January 23, 2018

Charcoal on paper. 2018. All rights reserved.

Little Dog Still Lost (now tired)

January 8, 2018

Charcoal on paper, 2018, all rights reserved.

A is for…

December 22, 2017

A is for—

This is not actually about alligators except that some had been sighted from the backyard of my mother’s friend, Mrs. Brown, whose grass was green as the taste of mint toothpaste and walled off a river the color of decay.  She bought little fishing rods for my nephews visiting–she was that kind of person–who turned nice thoughts into actual hooks, lines, sinkers.

Perfect, my mother called her, someone who did everything ‘just perfect.’

Even her candles burning under glass so that wax wouldn’t drip off-kilter, her house a polish of brass, pledged wood, the only bits of chrome frame of tv or multiple offspring. The name of her husband long dead bringing tears mirrored in the sheens, fried chicken all around, a peanut butter sandwich for me who was vegetarian, and later

when she had Alzheimers, another a-word also sharp-toothed, and we stopped to see her at the Assisted living, it was not clear she really knew us but she knew we were someones she probably should know, her hair still a perfect pageboy,  silvery as Sir Lancelot, she invited us into the small apartment praising it despite the plaster as wonderfully arranged

by her daughter, the walls stucco, if you know what I mean, sharp points everywhere, so that it felt like a cell of calcified splatter–not burnished or mint tooth-pasty at all, unless you are thinking of some kind of toothpaste left out over night for some weeks—-please, I am not saying that there literally was such toothpaste there–and anxious to entertain us as she had always entertained (cite the little fishing rods), she found the kitchen (adjacent to living room), switched on its tube lighting, blinking for a moment beneath the postured hair, cut up slices of raisin bread from a red plastic raisin bread bag found in a near-empty fridge, took out a small jar of peanut butter from a near-empty cupboard–her hand seeking things to hold on to, the peanut butter, a pleasant surprise.

I helped in that light that was like a fridge light, as if we too were being kept against spoilage– it was a such relief to her, I thought, to be just spreading–the soft smooth peanut butter, the known bread–



A short prose piece for my own prompt on Real Toads to try a writing exercise jumping off from a random word, coming to mind after choosing a random letter of the alphabet.   This still very much an exercise.  (Go check out the post on Toads.)



Waking up these days in Trump world—

December 6, 2017

Two more quick watercolors. Agh, we live in complicated times. All rights reserved.