It's a lovely day when none of your friends (or you ) are emotional hunchbacks, truth is told kindly, everybody loves their mother, father too, and the rest, all animals are humanely treated, and the wind isn't cold and bent out of shape and coming at you from all directions.



Old clothing kept is a tribute to past experience, perhaps a romance, or only a single event. Too restrictive here, hanging there, maybe ridiculous in style, excessive in flair, the look and feel is not a good fit anymore, making you wonder what you liked about it in the first place. But still, you can't throw it away because, though you do not intend to wear it again, don 't even want to, merely seeing it brings electric

response-- deep warmth, comfort, and a grateful smile, perhaps on some, empty-feeling rainy day.


When I'm alone, I do a lot of thinking. When I am no longer at peace with my thoughts, I speak. When I speak, I call up varying viewpoints, sometimes debate them, often murder half my notions. I might put a bit of it down on paper. Some would call this routine insanity. I call it the norm, but then I am often alone and must fall to self-amusement. My dog used to glance around to see who I was talking to, but now he just grunts condescendingly, something that sounds like, "Oh, gracious, there she goes again," and he rolls his eyes, heavily drops his head, and goes back to sleep, leaving me to talk about it.


Sometimes I look around and see that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and the first thing I think (or, after brief envy, maybe the second) is that I'm glad I don 't have to pay their water bill.


We all sin in our everyday living. Maybe I sin differently than you. What say we not judge each other!


Two things I learned in a pretty long life: Don't make an important decision when you're ticked off, and don't promise something when you are really happy. The cost and repercussion can be considerable.


Jealousy creates anger, and anger injures judgment. These are only a couple of the links in a chain reaction that damages your peace, kindness, truth, and ultimately (if you believe in it as I do) your destiny.


Don't give up! Push! Push ! Push! A good push will get you most places.....Well, maybe not through a door marked "Pull," but most other places.


Did you ever notice that the people who have the strongest, the most generous, and the kindest hearts are often the same ones who carry the heaviest burdens?


I often wonder how I went from that six year old little girl who was almost always happy and smiling and laughing to this.... an old lady who is almost always happy and smiling and laughing. Just lucky, I guess!


(From the Cocklebur Chronicles (on

After peaceful nights with flannel between her legs,

the old piano teacher gets up early, buns gray hair,

and puts on what could be a Salvation Army uniform.

She pledges allegiance to the flag propped

near a sprouting sweet potato.

She smells like wet cardboard, damp crackers, greasy scalp.

She eats dry toast,

Stares through the blanched eyes of a goat

at a world of bird feeders and dangling suet logs,

watching what sings in praise of basic blubber.

People old enough to remember, or to assume about it, say:

At Auschwitz, many were gassed in showers, the bodies burned.

The sky was galvanized with ash.

Who could expect a piano-playing youngster kept there as a Tinker Toy,

and handled roughly, to ever come out right?

Reluctantly, I sit for my first piano lesson.

The teacher crosses the floor in duck-faced bedroom shoes.

She wears pearl earrings for the occasion.

Light eyes glimmer from a face like an old potato pot.

Red lips scribble ear to ear toward plastered silver.

She could be the ticket-taker at a Halloween showing of Dracula.

She introduces gray students from a long line of photographs

with backs against the wall as

The Gestapo-clock goose-steps into my hour. Not fast enough.

The piano teacher smiles.

“Some things change life indescribably,” she says.

She reaches out to touch me. I flinch, buckle.

“Music is one of them.” She throws her head back. Laughs.

She is a squealing puppy playing in a wrinkled sack.

She waggles semi-solid arms and dribbles fingers down

To play Chopsticks.

Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done.

Done. Done. Done. Done...

She is not a monster.

The duck-faced bedroom shoes should have been a giveaway.



CABANATUAN PRISON CAMP (1942- 1945)  - (For Preston)

I squat, shitting blood
within sight of the Death Shack
where a razor cuts
and transfusion is through bamboo.
Someone with a familiar face asks,
too late,
about birdseed for a confiscated dickeybird.
A PFC gnaws the foot of his pet dog
and imagines another friend,
"Doggone, the dog is gone."
A buddy pricked by a bamboo thorn,
ulcered to the shinbone, sits scooping pus with a tin can lid,
and talking about the cafes
in San Francisco.
But the leg died and they took it,
and two days later buried the man in a separate grave.
I can't read over him, nor over those kicking dead from the flames of a cholera heap,
Because a man with a tobacco habit
smoked dried banana leaves rolled in the 23rd Psalms,
And I killed him for it.
I squat, shitting blood.