Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair -


Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair

Left the battle-ground tearing the nation and traveled to an island far from the hatred

sputum streets thronging there - 

Left my armbands, kept my flowers – found a place where there was pure treasure in simply living the hours –

Possessions were few and completely unnecessary when crystal waters flowed and there was gentle harmony -

Where I could in gentle frangipani breezes listen aware 

nod Bon voyage to other materialistic far off voices running the treadmill to nowhere –


I yearned for the peace, for the universal kindness connection and believed with allmy heart it would come to pass – that I could step out and into a worldly nirvana and without guilt let the years pass –


I inhaled sheer beauty each day, taught bright eyed little children their letters and numbers, bore a child of my own, sailed on boats, talked of the world through the night 

with those back from ‘Nam and those who had refused an unjust fight.


Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair

believed, in a new world order seeded, ready to blossom with care


It never occurred to me that once this movement danced and sang in ardent passion as one glorious teeming mass. 

All hues and beliefs marched, loved and lived in ardent certainty that we had breeched the stultifying morass .   

The beat went on and on and on nothing, absolutely nothing seemed out of scope. 

We brought wars abroad and home to a halt, everything seemed possible with this power of hope - 

and as all transpired and we rose above fallen and slain – 

burgeoned by new optimism, believed in all that the entire planet would gain.  

All the while of this time we listened, and respected the clarion call of Mother Earth – 

it never, ever, for an instant occurred to me that any of this could spin in reverse.


Now –

Many decades have flown and I am beyond all conceits - fully grown -the proverbial flowers have faded, dried and in the wind blown  – 

there is nothing as sad, depressing and desperate as aging in place – 

when there seems little hope sparkling on the horizon for this too often inhuman race – 

Too many overfed, privileged, greedy, and such, others struggling starving, the continuum vast and wide, 

Horrors spreading as a bloody overall haze, but worse, even worse than all horrors is this  heinous malaise


The malaise that accompanies the grim reaper calmly irrevocably counting out our days with a smile that is cold.   

We are old. We are old. 

Revolutions need the power of belief – need stable institutions against which to rail – 

we stand on unsteady limbs in the tarnish of age that is no longer gold 

too much that glittered steady in a state of declining or absolute fail–  

No, this age no longer gold we sputter and cannot find the words to inspire ourselves or the young -with the tales once told – of a time when belief in each other was strong – 

in the power of the people and the future in each song.


And yet, and yet through this fog of grim, dim, hopeless carnage and ache –

there are those crumbs of joy that still remain one day when the soul screams in hunger for pleasure to take.


And yet, and yet, moving out, and above, soaring from perspective on high, this may very well be a time when the poison of hatred toxic and putrid runs through the lands and eventually runs dry.  

Perhaps, if we rise, far beyond our elusive, impossible, dreams of individual change, we will see that the seas rising, the bergs melting, the temperatures, quakes, tsunamis, all sorts of catastrophic things are simply the water pounding the rock



The rock that is stuck in our throats and our hearts, the rock 

that seems to be an individual and global immovable block-  

but perhaps it is true – in a beat of the sand and sea 

that this revolution is a question of evolution whirling about us, confusing, us, into thinking that rapid change we shall see come to be. 


In the beat of the sand and the sea and all that shines through darkness – we are but a speck of stardust - but stardust collected illumes the darkness shooting light through - 

whether we shall see the ultimate cosmic revolution is beyond all we can possibly know. 

All we can grasp with both arms, a full heart and soul is that ..

We are the wave

We are the flow

and as Belafonte sang long ago 

... soon the rock must go -

Harry Belafonte - Paradise in Gazankulu 


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Swing low sweet chariot

Swing low sweet chariot


Swing low sweet chariot -

at three my father sang 

the words to me and soon

I sang with him,  his large

basso velvet voice and my 

little one merged together 

echoing off the tiles at bubble

bathtime – or in our tiny living 

room, wherever the mood to 

sing struck him, and I his

willing duet partner de-

lighted to fill my lungs

and revel in the fill of 

words in the air – the

thrum of some sort of

big feeling I could not name

in my chest


Swing low sweet chariot 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ for to me 

Comin’ for to carry me home 


As a teen we still sang together

all sorts of show tunes ….

Carousel and Porgy and Bess – 

that sort of thing and we were

in my memory quite good together

belting out in full voice 


I looked over Jordan 

And what did I see 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ after me


We never stopped singing that song – 

Though time and geography grew –

college came and I went, a too early 

marriage and some years lived in the

bliss of the Virgin Islands - 

Where, there, in the shower – 

in the evening at sunset –alone or

later dancing with the infant son

I bore, I sang the familiar words


Swing low, sweet chariot 

Somewhere I knew he was singing too 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ for to me 


And one hot day years later on that

forever marked, shimmered August

afternoon – sunlight pouring over

him as he lay shivering in the heat

I pulled the puffed white duvet up 

to his neck, smoothed cologne in his 

black hair shot, watched the sun glint

on his threaded strands of  platinum – 

oxygen hummed in the corner – as I 

sat on his bed and sang as he whispered ….


Sweet low, sweet chariot 

Coming for to carry me home 

A band of angels comin’ for to me

Comin’ for to carry me home


His eyes closed, his lips cracked

dry – but still in that quiet room – 

in those last days, each time I sang, 

and sang, and sang, over and over 

and over again -


Swing low, sweet chariot

Comin’ for to carry me home ..

Each time, I knew that from 

the beginning he had taught

me, had scripted his leave-

taking, softened his ending with –


A band of angels comin’ for to me 

As he was carried away with song

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Tomorrow Repast

Tomorrow Repast 


The tablecloth lifts, white and spotless

floats down on the table she sets 

with burnt orange napkins rolled and

set in umber holders – white pottery

and clear crystal tumblers at each place

A vase of autumnal leaves - crisp vermillion 

mimic the three trees outside the front

window – sunlight streams through sky-

lights - Tomorrow is the day – 

of thanks – of gratitude – for all the 

tragedies that have not befallen – 

for the privilege unknown to others –

for all that has not been taken – as others

have lost forever more – she strains to

fill her inner cup with the gratitude of what

she has not had to endure – and yet –and yet -

A random melancholy thought falls over 

her as she surveys the gleaming floor –

inhales the good smells that the cleaners

have left – Yes, tomorrow is the day – the 

table is nearly set – yet, that thought floats

through again – perhaps – she muses she shall 

Place photographs of all once there – place them

Here, where they sat at each empty chair –

Remember the clink of glasses the passing of 

food-  the round about the table thanks given

The laughter, the love, the talk, oh the talk, 

tumbling like a water-fall into a clear stream  

Yes, perhaps she shall place a photograph at each 

empty chair and fill the space with something

beyond misty memory – as they sit down  

She and husband  

passing sweet potatoes, and tradition - 

smiling through the succulent sorrow of 


Gratitude must shine

for this

not small

wonder of

love and


for what is-

in mystic memory

of all that is not.  

Friday, November 17, 2023

I love

I’m still hearing the song 🎶 🎶 thank you Tom Hall ❤️

I love …


I love crisp white sheets

Strangers smiles when we greet

Rippling water on rocks

And socks


I love goslings in a row

First fall of flaky snow

Quick crowds on cobbled streets

And seats


And I love you too


I love willows in the breeze

Tiny children who say please

Sleep poured in vivid dreams

And streams


I love tiny infant sighs

Movie romance sighs

Murmuration in the sky

And pie


And I love you too


I love dark coffee in a mug

Happy hard hugs

Cream on strawberries

And ferrys


I love men when they cry

A baby’s first cry

Concertos played loud

and clouds 


I love a world without strife

Expressing passion throughout life

The wonders of agape 

And grapes


And I love you too…..


I love this prompt so very much

I could reach out and touch 

It’s made me so happy

and Mary



And of course…

I love….. 









Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Rat Run


Rat Run  


I wake in a whirl

terror thrums throughout

my veins – thoughts run

rampant and distill - from

the world ravaged, to

warring atrocities, to 

political immorality – 

on and on and on 

running this rampant

rat in my cranium 

racing backwards to

historical horror and

finally clawing with 

tiny razor talons into

the undeniable future

terror thrums throughout-

mental illness? – this anxiety,

this terror of tomorrow? – 

Perhaps, more than a small dose – 

Perhaps more an 

overdose of reality - 

Reality streaming, screaming

in years that will not be

denied, nor distracted,

nor substracted, - 

If I place my years upon any

object, take your pick – 

I shall gasp at its fortitude –

call it by its righteous name- 

Old – If I place my years upon

a sentient creature I shall bring

it a chair – if an object I shall 

handle with cautious care – 

and all the grand and undeniable

sing operatically, discordantly, 

chaotically, in deafening cacophony

as the rat runs rampant raging nonsense-

nibbling – gnawing, obsessing over 

this or that - a new phone – 

a color choice – a letter to be written 

or sent – the roundness of a belly once flat – 

errant hairs sprouting indignity in my nose –

I breathe – Slow inhales to counts of three of four,

Long exhales to counts of four or six or.... 

and then ...


For an instant the rat stops

scurrying - the morning is at

peace – Sun streams newly 

risen bright on my white duvet -

I snuggle in the sheets and think


They say we come from stardust

and I beg that it shall be to 

stardust I shall return- a bright speck

over the ocean of time – sparkling 

ever more.  


For now I pull the covers

around my shoulders and exhale

into the brief ceasefire of shudder –

having fed the rat well and full.  

The sea, the song of seagulls, 

The whoosh of chilled seagrass – 

The glorious transformed sand shimmers, 

languorously stretches opened arms to me.







Wednesday, November 1, 2023

It moves

It moves 


I never planned to live here

Dragged an unwilling hostage

By a hostile hard partner -

Carried from my  paradise of heart, visage and soul

To this soul-lesss suburb – 

Only temporarily – I promised myself but

Knew that I lied as my feet were 

Shackled to the treadmill that would 

Move – 

Move –

Move –

Move me along to an unrecognizable me

I loosed myself from the partner – but stayed 

In that empty house – with a small child - 
I danced on bare wooden floors and hung

Flower baskets in macrame and taught school 

And schooled myself and wrote and passed the

Time – and somewhere along the way found love

As life moved -moved – moved

Through children and passion, family dinners – 

Laughter, love, and loss, disappointments and 

Unexpected pleasures – all held in the patina 

Of this wood floor shining under my feet 

The click of the dice against one another brought these

Unforeseen pleasures, the drive to return, to move, to go 

Melted in the years flying as a murmuration swirling in the

Memory of all that came to be in this temporary house

That grew into a home – this lifetime lived together ….

I stare at the tree in the back garden – planted as a stick

Carried from the marsh by a new husband and a young son

Stare at its trunk wider that even the largest arms could never span

And look up through the skylights and vaulted ceilings at the leaves

Crisp and falling as Autumn snow and somehow – dragged from the

Sanctuary of frangipani and Caribbean blue – unshackled I stare back

In amazement and forward with fear of the inevitable move – hugging

My home – hearing the voices of all that transpired and willing it to stay as

It moves

It moves

It moves