Monday, February 22, 2010

Pulling Weeds

Tranquility and a pleasant sun
met me in the front yard,
as I took advantage
of a dry day after the last rain.

My body on all fours
kneeling on yellowed grass,
on an old blue folded towel
to protect my pointed knees.

Gray gloves on both hands,
an almond dish pan nearby.
The weeds didn't like
my new jagged knife,
bought to cut into the soil,
to dig under them.

It gave me time to think,
to listen to the silence,
hear a sigh of relief;
or to listen to the trucks
with rattling trailers
clang banging over potholes;
motorcycles roaring by;
a neighbor closing car doors;
a chorus of birds tweeting
their whistles high and low.

With fixated eyes and nose
to the ground, sprouted
weeds still everywhere,
the sun glided gently --
too dark to see --
and I know the rest
will spread like wildfire
before I return.

House Plant

The poinsettia I received
two months ago, sits
on a tan, linen tablecloth
on my kitchen table.

This is a miracle for me,
"Miss No-Green-Thumb" --
the longest any plant
I've kept has survived.

It still has a few red leaves
having shed some parts;
now more airy than before
when it was lush, full.
Some have fallen to the table,
half burned by the sun,
or curled, dried to a wither.

It likes my daily practice
to give it's pot a quarter turn,
so that when it bends
toward the kitchen window
one day, it balances out
at the end of the next,
so it doesn't stay bowed
like a person with osteoporosis.

It likes when I softly touch
its soil, to test its moistness.
It likes the Western light
when the blinds are louvered flat.
The sun kisses it between the slats
to give it warm massages.

It used to be – if I stared
at a plant, it would die.
Perhaps I have hope.

Friday, February 12, 2010


a striking sunset
from my kitchen window
made dish washing
more pleasurable
for as long as I could see

the horizon and sky
intense canary yellows
tangerine oranges
ruby reds
tall like a blazed forest
died to a faint
line of smolder
until nightfall
snuffed out the light


From the 70s and 80s
boxes of papers and stuff –
empty them, sort into piles –
file this, get rid of that, take
to the recycle center, shred.
Newspapers, magazines, tear-outs
class notes, flyers and copies
of what was important then.
Old articles about health
car accident police reports
repair invoices, insurance notices,
bills, receipts, statements, checks,
tax returns, pay stubs, doctor's notes.
Why in the name of life's history
have I kept these papers so long?

Have I become my worst opponent –
storer of information?
I am amazed to see only one or two
crusty, dead spiders, flies, roaches
shattered between the sheets.

Brittle rubber bands are broken
into a million pieces, no longer holding
yellowed, tattered, dog-eared envelopes,
sections stuck to what they once enwrapped
or fallen to the bottom like bad crumbs.
Stuff in these boxes is so old, its stale
smells clog my nose and make me sneeze.

Making progress the last two months,
disposing of loathsome stacks of papers,
How many more boxes are there
to sort through, how many tons
of papers yet to shred?
Will I abandon this project again?

A Bird in the Pine

It felt good, the sunshine.
I felt like working in my yard
to lift my "hate the winter" spirit
on a warm Sunday, overcast clearing
to a baby blue sky.

Content to unwrap, unroll
a new garden hose
to water pines,
evergreens and shrubs.
I still need to learn
what trees they are.
A shrub between
carport and chain link fence,
is dotted with fingernail-sized
bluish-purple flowers.

As I water one of the pine trees,
wings flutter into the branches.
A small bird frolics in the pool of water
underneath, as if it is Spring,
flying back to upper limbs
then back to splash in water.
I don't know what kind of bird it is –
a finch? – smaller than my fist
with gray and white on top of its head,
neck, wings - short, manicured tail,
a pale, pale yellow on its underside.
It has a cute, paunch belly.

I must buy wild birdseed and pour
it into the oval-shaped basket held
by the sculptured garden angel
that the previous homeowner
blessed me with, left in my back yard.