Friday, March 23, 2012

All is One, All is Different

The rain has stopped.
A damp hush falls.
Sea, sky and sun
turn silver
as if spun from the same stuff
or turned into something else entirely.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rhetorical Question

Is there anything
more wonderful than being
the mother of boys?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Old Man's in Winter

It's still winter, water in the fifties.
I paddle stiffly and scramble for waves
until my hands get to feeling like they do
when you rummage around in an ice chest
for too long,
looking for the last cold beer
at the bottom.
I peel off my wetsuit
and rinse under the cold outdoor shower
in a clump of bamboo,
then fumble for my car keys
and climb into the driver's seat.
Wrapped up in the deliciousness
of a dry towel with the heat on full blast,
I can't stop smiling.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Portrait of the Artist

An artist alone
an empty beach, wind-tossed sea
and so it begins

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creatures of Leisure

Iguanas creep out,
then stretch and bask by the pool
as if they owned it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Visiting Waikiki

Waikiki Beach

is one of those places

I feel like I should hate

on account of its many hotel towers and tourists--

Like Las Vegas or Disneyland--

except that I love it.

I love looking at the faded green hills

and Diamond Head off in the distance.

The aquamarine water

and bright yellow catamarans;

the candy-pink umbrellas dotting the beach

in front of the old Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Even the throng of oiled bodies on the sand

and high-rise buildings that crowd the shore

take on a warm, pastel glow

under the Hawaiian sun,

like figures in a vintage postcard.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

High School Winter Formal

It’s that time of year again.

There’s a panicked attempt

to tie one of Dad’s real bow-ties

per an instructional video on YouTube

which proves too difficult

and is abandoned for Plan B:

the faux, pre-tied version.

Well-scrubbed boys

in shiny rented formalwear

posing for pictures

with long-legged, glossy-haired girls

who exceed their dates in sophistication

and height.

The customary exchange

of corsages and boutonnieres,

the parental admonitions to

have fun and be safe,

and the flurry of goodbyes

as the kids all leave for the dance.

There, again, is the lump

that lodges somewhere between my throat and heart

at seeing my boys dressed up like young men,

rehearsing for adulthood.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Don't you love
the feeling you get
on a Sunday night
when you remember
that Monday is a day off?

Friday, January 27, 2012

One Perfect Hour

After the morning's work
and before taking my son to a doctor's appointment
was one perfect hour
in which I rushed to the beach
hurry, hurry
parked on Thalia Street
and ran across Pacific Coast Highway
water-logged longboard under my arm.
I pulled on my wetsuit
quick, quick
pausing to take note
of a new hole under the left arm, darnit
and paddled out.
The water was still January-chilly
but the warm sun made up for it
and I caught wave after glassy little wave
and watched the pelicans dive
and said
thank you, thank you
when I saw
a pod of dolphins swim by.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Sky, Wine-Dark Sea

Under a blooming,
red-magenta sunset

on an ordinary Tuesday

the ocean becomes
Homer's wine-dark sea

Friday, January 20, 2012

There's Always Something...

The bougainvillea
is looking good. So what's with
the New Zealand flax?

Have you ever noticed that maintaining a house or a yard (or a kid, for that matter) is a never-ending project akin to painting the Golden Gate Bridge? Leaky roof, sun-damaged floors, backed up drains, unhappy plants (or in the case of the kid: stomach flu, lingering cold, weird Honduras-induced skin condition)--you fix one thing and then some other problem pops up. Occasionally I have to remind myself that there will always be something, and that's just the way it is...and it's ok.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Painting Lesson, and a Prayer

Two women in hats,
feet solidly planted in the damp grass,
lean toward a canvas
propped against an easel.
One woman dabs intently with a brush,
the other looks out at the ocean,
then makes a staccato gesture--
here, here, and there--
with two fingers,
pointing to an outcropping of rock.
They consider the horizon,
then regard the painting in progress.

There is both lightness and gravity
in the way they work.

God of all
thank you
for the rough loveliness
of nature
for whatever it is--
spark, soul, or instinct--
that makes humans
want to make beauty

Friday, January 13, 2012

Surf Check

Surf check at Sammy's:
Clean lines, the swell filling in.
The sun on my back.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Lost in thoughts of my to-do list
and creeping along in stop-and-go traffic,
I hit my brakes late
and slam into the car in front of me.

I draw in a sharp breath
and motion for the other driver to pull over.
We get out of our cars
and stand by the side of the road,
squinting in the bright sun
as we trade insurance information.

The damage is minor
and no one hurt, but I'm rattled
and apologetic;
he is irritated and insists
on filing a police report.

The officer arrives.
As she writes on her notepad
I look down at the smattering of squashed hotsauce packets
littering the roadside,
prod them with the toe of my boot.
I silently curse my poor timing,
wishing I had taken a different way home
wishing I hadn't looked down.
Wishing it all had been otherwise.

Then I think of Jane Kenyon's poem,

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
--and remind myself that I have a bad habit
of reading too much cosmic significance
into life's fender-benders:
Is it because I tried to get out of jury duty?
Is God, or the universe, trying to apprehend me
for something I've done
or left undone?
Yes, I could have avoided the accident
but I didn't
and it could have been worse.
I'm walking away from this collision
as is the man in the other car
and it might have been otherwise.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blue Christmas

It was a December
of golden days
and crisp, sparkling nights.
I saw swooping pelicans
and Orion's belt,
bright blooming aloe
and holiday lights downtown.

Now that the brittle, shedding Christmas tree
is down by the street
and the ornaments have all been put away,
I flip through pictures of beach walks
and parties and presents opened and sunsets.

Most beautiful are the blues--
an azure sky,
the inky ocean
ruffled by an offshore wind,
indigo-purple mussels
holding fast to the rocks.