Only She Knows

The laundry needs a whirl, The epidermis some exfoliating; That nest of greasy hair…. Could use a tousle with a brush. The whole of her calls desperately For an abundant frolic with some soap, ……or an improvisational meditation, A kneel down; a shout out for hope. No one else can see her illness, No one […]

The Rogue Wave

It’s “just a beverage;”
you tell me;
Something wet,

that quenches,
enlivens your insides,
refreshes wholly
with  newness;
a tactile sensation,
an unexpected pleasant 360′ of emotion,
the flirtation of an ocean wave,
like a smile from across the room,
for you it’s real
for me
it’s not that same wave.
When it soaks you- you run to shore,
When it soaks me, I run in,
that unexpected wave,
I’m the child again,

it’s my first time at the beach
a welcome surprise, my first

rogue wave,
a cool reset on a sweltering day
you’ve tasted it’s salty rim
I hadn’t known I wasn’t alive?
I stood, my soul dripping
what it could not hold,
what it could not quench,
revealing the many tiny holes,
like a sieve it drains slowly at my feet
I am still thirsty same as you.

The Lesson nestled deep inside.

In a lifetime there’s no telling what we are exposed to that wriggles in deep and impacts our psyches, for better or worse.   One of my first memories is seeing a woman speeding across the J.C. Penny’s parking lot and my sister’s blonde hair hurling itself- what seemed like six feet into the air, along with the rest of her five year old frame, first the thud, then the reality.   The woman in her silver car still continuing on as if she didn’t just hit a small child.   I can still hear the aid car sirens and see flashes of red light making my shy sister the spectacle. I was three and well, she was the bossy older sister, always the smarter; this should have never happened. I am 45 now and I remember the day like it were last week.  The slant of the sun was nothing more than welcoming, it wasn’t in the driver’s eyes.    She was simply speeding.   I can see the grey bumpy rock façade on the Department store outside the Penny’s building. Thank god it didn’t kill her, what an ugly place that would be to die. I remember the horror in my mother’s face. Was my mom tending to me-is that where my sister’s anger towards me truly began?   Had she died, being three, I wouldn’t even have known to tell her I loved her.

In contrast, I have seen many pleasant things in this life too…. so why can I more easily recall the bad ones?….the blood pooling up in the parking lot where the tires of a Chevy Sedan crushed a boy’s head, during pick-up after Catholic Catechism?  This was the first time I questioned God.  So much brings me back to being Catholic, which was the only qualifying value imparted from the likes of my step father that was good and that stuck.   His rigid rules felt like love, his laughter felt like love, his love of red wine, well I learned to emulate that too, like any good Catholic does, as a way to soften the blow of not measuring up to Catholic Perfection.    Their were good things about my Catholic upbringing?     Donuts and dressing up for our First communion.   It felt fancy like we were royal blood,  I felt distinct from this priest, robed and using this word “worship.” He was seemingly so special in God’s eyes, he probably awoke without morning breath?      I liked a father figure since we had a step dad that worked nights.  The smell of his late night pan seared steaks filling the air as I slept, were comfort enough that he indeed had come home.   He was not A father- but he was a dad.   A father was  “Father Peter,” his soft hands, his full smile that fixed his eyes on you long enough to actually see you, hear you.     He was an important contrast to this man, my dad, the airplane mechanic, wearing overalls and Chukka boots and lighting up when I called him Daddy.    He was sometimes nice and sometimes hurtful.  I feel grateful today he stepped up for the job. And most grateful that he insisted we kids go to Sunday Mass.  If for nothing more than the candles and the music and the hope it inspired.     I can hear the priest cracking a joke,  despite his garb, robed in a starched looking garment, embroidered with gold etchings and fabric stiffer than my grandmother’s curtains.  How comforting, I would think, that even the perfect souls cracked jokes?     I marveled at how and why he would wave sage and incense; its puffs of steam coming from the tiny holes in the large brass tea sieve.  He didn’t seem to clue in how silly this seemed, making strokes as if he was painting the air with the seriousness of an impressionist artist.  I wondered if, when he waved it over the body of my grandfather- if it did anything different than it did now?

I guess I owe a lot to this figment-the one I pictured looking like the Eskimo on the tail of the Alaska Airlines jets.   Even if I refused the idea, the notions dipped into my life and pulled back-surprising me with it’s force, like a jet passing by.   And without that Catholic school dance in the basement of St. Stephen’s church, I may have never had my first kiss?      There in the downstairs in plain view with God himself upstairs, shadows teased at our faces… speckling the plain beige tiles of the floor with rainbows of color.  Without God being witness, I cannot imagine it being so perfect, they way my heart spilled under the disco ball as our lips touched.  Somehow there was this odd knowing, this presence, that erased any hint of shame or insecurity,  this knowing stood as if on legs before me telling me,  these are the very memories that  blot out the bad ones?

So when I try not to fixate on those OTHER days, to escape the child at the air base in Glen view, Illinois,  a very real witness to the excitement of a plane taking off and the horror of that plane crashing-right before my 8  year old eyes.   What mattered good or bad was how it affected us. What mattered more than ugliness was that there was somehow a beautiful lesson nestled deep inside of it.    That bushy almost handsome bearded guy they had me visualize in mass had told me so-not in so many words.   My hope is that he also finds time to send a message bigger than words to tell my sister that the good…. will eventually ..outweigh the bad.

Angry Song

She was so angry

The voice she was given

Didn’t have the chords,

Didn’t have the strings,

Only a cello can answer to a violin

But only because the bass backs down,

Her chirpy voice couldn’t fill a chubby diner mug,

Didn’t have that deep mocha flavor

That mixes, funnels in the heat from steam,

The way Ella sings to Miles,

The way a whistle on the street comes at the perfect time,

When the metal prong

Submerges in the cup of cold cream

Her voice finds the stage, against velvet, the neon reflects off one rouged cheek,

the chirp softens into art,

The perfect swank,

The sultry hour as the white sun dips down

And the orange glow of the moon trades places,

Like Chicago in the summer

With a slow drum beat, like honey

Miniature metal brooms just brush the surface,

Slowly teasing the fireflies to come out

Her voice, softer than wind

scurrying across the night

works magic somehow

We are related……but you don’t know about me.

After the StorSecrets, how to keep them…how to hold them, how to look them in the eye when they have burst open and flutter before you like the down of the pillow escaping…….secrets, I can just taste one…. melting on my tongue and disappearing forever

Colorless Day


Today I am a stick figure

Devoid of any bit of muster

To lift my hand, to brush my hair,

To shrug my face

Stretch open my eyes,

lift my lips into

an upward curve,

In case you stop by….I might pretend for you,

Try even…to forcibly utter more than a two syllable word

A word, to describe this colorless day,

a word, some word, other than the word coffee…..

that may, just remedy the blah

Writing generally picks at the scab, allows the air in

reminds me what it is itch, to bleed, to heal

not today, just not today……


Missing Piece

Deep inside there is cleverness abound,

never calculating, never plotting, NEVER quiet

overtly obvious to all who care;

no one….

creativity spurred by adrenaline, nature, song

endorphins a necessity,

all that my pores soak up

once recreated with expensive red wine;

waiting for the brilliance to bubble to the top,

the inner voice

tugged me back to my seat

again and again,

and when I sipped, I slugged thirstily,

and when life entered,

I was too big to handle.

I still miss me,

but you could not live there in that place

the residence of the artist “upstairs”

that which must imbibe in absoluteness

to make the wheels spin slower,

quieter, more like you

I miss the artist galloping

on horseback

traversing the prairies, jungles, stretches of green,

 faster than you can say

“Crazy Lisa”



A Genuine Sort


I was never the sort

To discard photos of old boyfriends;

…..even after I married.

I wouldn’t ask my husband to delete

Chapters 3-7 of his favorite book?

I was never the sort,

to think, perhaps I knew what I was doing?

From the day I gushed forth onto this earth.

Even in my twenties, when recklessly surveying

 My own resilience in life;

Puking in an alley way after showing the bartender my titties;

Humility was not in check inwardly or outwardly

This I knew, I was a late bloomer

Life itself spoke to me daily in both whispers and shouts,

In neon buzzing letters that dripped from the sky;

Fading into all that I would become.

I was never the sort to ask for help

But would prefer to swallow that whole bottle;

 And have you ask

“Can I help you?”

Now I am the sort where forgiveness is as abundant as poetry;

I want to read the book to its entirety,

Most often a sour start can end so sweetly

Tainted Soul

The light in her eyes

Was there,

But was as ineffectual

As an upturned umbrella,

Her reality saturated

By whatever had happened to her.

She had a rigid distrust

Like a lone survivor,

Wrong place, wrong time,

Rattled by the very air

That filled her lungs,

The very breeze that dimpled

Her perpetually cold skin

Guarded heavy eyes,

Posture like a rescue animal,

Peering into the world

she didn’t know.

She became the bank teller

Who anticipated her fate;

Well before the masked man

Approached her window;

I wish it had been different

The Captain

              The Captain


Friendship still remains as unsettling

As the salty seas, as the star filled sky

As mysterious as the solar system

Discovery; abandoning all fear

Watching the needle go in,

Facing the mirror

as you take the bandages off

If treasures are to be discovered

Hard work may be disguised as honesty?

And with any ship

You must have a captain…..

Hardship, companionship, spaceship, friendship;

Embarking on the unknown

Takes tremendous courage

Admission that you are not the expert,

But you were born a sufficient captain