Ramblings of a backseat passenger

Trees along the highway burst into flaming color as if brilliant hues could warm the autumn-chilled nights. Oil stained asphalt slices forests and hills in half so people can race through time with alarming blindness.
I’m on the road again and I’m afraid that the scenery will stretch unchanging into the state of monotony. I want little more than to take an exit and meander through pastoral towns on my journey. Commitments make my desire an impossible daydream.
Heavy clouds and boarded up buildings contribute to my sense of gloom. Front seat conversation filters back between headrests, not to engage or entertain me, but because it’s energy is too great to be constrained to the front half of the car. I examine my fingernails, plum polish a week past needing a manicure. A couple of small freckles have spread and I am reminded of older hands, not mine but what mine will become. A woman can snip, tuck, dye, stretch, plump and disguise most indications of passing years but her hands will always broadcast the truth.
I check my surroundings as Pleasant Valley Sunday plays on the radio. The trees in this area are either yellow or bare and I miss the red. So many trees have shed their leaves that the forest looks like a bramble. Monotony will set in soon. I am ready to be home.

Dusk à l’orange


Dusk diffuses
in a subtle bloom
redolent of sylvan wine

while still waters
sip orange-laced cognac
with the setting sun
and share a repeated sky
with all who care to see

as champagne curtains
prepare the hour
for the arrival
of a stately moon.


Matthew Cornell’s painting, “Sundown at the Club” inspired this poem. Many thanks to this very talented artist for such incredible inspiration. This poem was written as part of the Winter Park Paint Out International Poetry Competition.

Journal: blank canvas

My first cup of coffee cools quickly in the pre-dawn air. Winter has finally retreated to the point that the three season patio offers comfort with the aid of a blanket. I’m grateful for the dark. Sunlight points to chores that need my attention. I’d rather be blind to them this early in the day.

Orion sits low on the northwestern horizon as if the  huntsman, having endured another night in celestial exile, is eager to stretch out on the distant hill and rest. 

With the exception of the intricate sky above, this hour is devoid of detail. The hedgerow is a single black mass that looms as a warning. Trees have yet to grow their modest covering of spring greenery and stand in stark silhouette to the featureless landscape around them. The wind has quieted after days of protest. 

This morning is a blank canvas.

Steam rises from my fresh coffee in an attempt to become the only cloud in the sky. My fingers trace the pattern on the mug, stirring memories of the person who gifted it to me many years ago. My smile sips the earthy liquid as my thoughts flit elsewhere. 

An interruption in the leaves nearby prompts me to curl my feet under me in an involuntary protective move.  My dog continues to snore from his patio bed, escaping both alarm and curiosity. I’m grateful because I’m confident that barking would have shattered this moment and forced me into my day. 

Yet, without the barking or the sense of sight, my to-do list begins to form in my thoughts. I must be waking. I have time to enjoy another cup of coffee as I sketch out the day before me.

Good morning :)

Widowed Wind

The wind is a widow
desperation and denial
into the night, 

at fragile redbud blossoms
until the ground lay bathed
in watery blood red.

She claws at window panes
as if relief waits
on the other side of night shades

and I pray

to any gods who might exist
that layers of damask silk
stand impenetrable
to protect my gut
from the wrenching 

and guard the edge
of terror
lest dreams should slip
to the other side
where sour and bitter
fester with pain.

The first light of dawn 
drops her maternal gaze to my pillow,
a warming
in answer to unvoiced pleas.

I rise
in forgiveness 
of strangers who were once friends

and grateful for friends
who withstand my tempest
as wounds scab 
and I explore
a forever in a changed world.

from the deep blue sea

Click images for larger views


Puerto Vallerta, Mexico February 8, 2015

This humpback whale was traveling with a female and a pod of dolphins. In three hours time, this whale jumped at least 28 times, slapped the water and generally kept me spellbound. I took pictures until I ran out of space on my camera cards.

I’m only sharing a few. There is no way to share the whole experience.

IMG_2576aIMG_2579IMG_2490IMG_2650Isn’t he amazing? The entire day was a gift.

Journal: daze-doze

The mantle clock chimes for 4 am as if this hour has something that makes it want to sing. It seems ordinary to me, the same as yesterday and tomorrow at this time. It is the hour of my sluggishly functioning half-sleep, the hour where I cradle my coffee mug for dear life in front of the fire and wish I was still in bed.

The sharp click of the cuckoo clock echoes across hard surfaces. I am usually comforted by the sound yet this morning, I am fighting the temptation to stop the pendulum, to change my environment, to stop the progress of time.

I push the sound from my focus, listening past it to the snuffles and sighs of my sleeping dog and the flap of flames in the fireplace. The coffee must be doing its job. My thoughts are abandoning the daze-doze buzz and starting a list of things to be done.

My home is haunted by the ghost of Christmas past with tree and decor still in place yet out of place. Just as Thanksgiving signaled the beginning of the season, the New Year wears a business suit and mandates conform. “The party’s over. Clean up your mess. Christmas is eleven months away.” I will do as expected, almost. I never put it all away.

My village will remain on my window seat until spring when the snow on the ceramic rooftops is clearly out of place in the budding green and warming sun. A couple of small belsnickle figures remain in my curio cabinet year round. I don’t think anyone notices except me and I honestly don’t care if anyone did notice. My little break from convention makes me smile.

Cuckoo squawks 5:00 before the mantle clock notices the hour. My day is beginning. I have work to do and then work to do. Before all of that, I have to take care of some chores. Reluctance places a hand on my shoulder and whispers “five more minutes,” and I listen. If five minutes breaks my day then my day was doomed before it began.

Good morning :)

Buttermilk Skies

Eclipsing Winter

Retreating from life’s twisted confusion,
I slip away into my delusion,
an obscure world with a buttermilk sky
where reality is an illusion.

“A wondrous dream,” escapes on a sigh,
as thick, misty fog enshrouds my mind’s eye.
This landscape is scarred with mental debris,
’twas here, now there, my perspective awry.

All appears common to an odd degree,
openly hidden for my eye to see.
Time moves forever, infinity passed,
void of desire to wake or to flee.

A sinister touch, dead hand of the past,
reaching upwards as dark shadows are cast.
Insanity spreads in full profusion
beneath buttermilk skies, rapture surpassed.


An Interlocking Rubáiyát is a Persian form where the subsequent stanza rhymes its 1st, 2nd, and 4th lines with the sound at the end of the 3rd line in the stanza (Rubá’íyah) before it. In this form, the 3rd line of the final stanza is…

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