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.