Category: Poetry

The Loft Has a Life of Its Own

The Loft Has a Life of Its Own

Somewhere in the blue sky flag days

With sibilant sounds of rustling spring leaves,

I find myself in the Loft

Staring at the walls painted with a color called Pale Oak.

I never would have picked it.

But I love it.

I am not an interior decorator.

I am not a lot of things.


This room has a life of its own.

It breathes calm.

It inhales a solid silence

As it exhales children’s smiles,

Stealing sadness from my psyche.


It brings the outside in

With hums of airplanes and distant freeways

Riding upon the gentle winds

Through its open windows.

A motorcyclist cuts between cars.

Then rides the road’s shoulder.

Their eyes gleam, and they grin.

So that their teeth are stuck with flies.

Because they beat the cars to the exit off the 405.


The Loft didn’t care. Nor did I.

We didn’t have teeth filled with flies.

And we didn’t drive off the road into the ditch.



We laughed together over this,

The Loft and I.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have

But we did.


Peonies in Bloom in June

Peonies in Bloom in June

I wondered if people would consider a uniquely colored peony worthy of a travel blog. But then, one person’s peony is another person’s mountain top.  We (my husband and I) planned a few weeks in Michican’s Lake Whitmore to be with the grandkids… but we had time some days to do a little sightseeing. We discovered that peonies were on their way out of their short-lived bloom period, and we didn’t want to miss it. Off to the University of Michigan arboretum we went.

While there were literally dozens (who knew?) of peony varieties, I had to choose one that caught my eye. Isn’t that the way? Whenever you’re traveling, you have to make choices. Where do we go today? Where do we eat? Do we want to drive a lot or walk a lot?

Then, when you get there, do you just see stuff, or do you have to photograph every little thing? Are you really there when you’re snapping the photo, or are you saving the now for a future time when you can relive the experience you missed because you were taking the photo? It’s the perennial travel question. (Wait, are peonies perennials? Yes… actually, they are. Sorry about that.)

For me, a photograph does pull me from the moment, and it lets me save the moment, too. Sigh. Travel is about seeing yourself as much as it is about seeing the world. Isn’t that cool??

A note about timing while we’re here. If we’d been a few days later in our stay, we would have missed the bloom!  In fact, we were told they were on their way down from the height of their beauty. A few of the petals had begun to fall, but many flowers still held that breathtaking “peony-ness.”) Travel timing is another whole post, but I couldn’t ignore the thought of it here.

So, let’s leave it at peonies and the perennial question of photography versus being in the moment.



Travel Writing — It Wasn’t the Truth

Perhaps I’ve traveled too far. Perhaps not enough.

Perhaps traveling is not about geography but traversing the soul.

What I believed was the truth bore me down the river

With rocks and rapids until

the falsity turned the river into a stream and then

a dry trickle.

I missed the truth because what I thought was important

–the white spiral-bound book I’d written–

still lay on the shelf

as 75,000 words of blood squeezed

dry of white lies.


Au Revoir, Chloe. À Bientôt.

Ma Chienne, Chloé

Ma chienne a un cancer. Elle est très malade.

Elle ne veut pas manger.

Elle ne peut pas rester debout.

Elle n’agite plus sa queue.


Alors, c’est meilleur de me souvenir

Toute qu’elle a fait

Pour nous faire rire.

Elle a aimé ses promenades.

Elle a adoré ses jouets.

Elle pouvait nous faire sourire.


Elle a donné la chasse à

Les oiseaux. C’était drôle.

Elle se glissait très lentement,

Elle essayait d’être silente.

Et puis, tous d’un coup,

Elle s’est jetée, comme un chat !

C’était cool.


Maintenant, nous essayons de

Se faire confortable.

Nous mettons son pull favori

Que j’ai tricotée pour elle.

C’est d’une couleur des framboises.

Le pull la fait chaud.

Est le pull la donne l’aire belle.


Nous sommes fortunés

D’être venus de secours

De cette chienne, Chloé.

Mais en fait, c’est elle

Qui est venue de notre secours.

A bientôt, Chloé.

Tu me manques!

Nous te reverrons

En paradis.



OMG… GTD Quotes — Day Two

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” ― E. B. White


I like this quote too. It’s from Page 79 of Ready for Anything, but it’s such a lovely way to bisect one’s world, and gain a perspective that is so easy lose in the busy-ness and doing-ness that define today’s culture.

More on being and doing later. In the meantime, I think this E.B. White quote rocks.

“Who is E.B. White?” you ask.  E.B. White (you will find from this website) has written some of the most wonderful children’s books of all time. Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and more.

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“Blind Tom” Meets “Dog”

“I’m tired of pulling this load every day.

I’m tired of being a horse.

I’m happy to meet you, I would say.

But my horsey voice is too coarse.”


“I gotcha, Mr. Horse. I’m so done being a dog.

I’m hungry all the time. Mealtime is a slog.

For just one day, I’d like to play.

“Fetch” sounds so good! I wait for that day.


“You’re a dog. I’m a horse.

We’ve both got four legs, of course.

But our fates are very different.

Our purposes, diverse.

Being a horse or a dog—

I wonder what is worse?”


“You’re Blind Tom, you fool. At least you have a name.

I don’t. I’m nameless. ‘Hey Dog,’ they exclaim.

My masters are many. My admirers are few.

The Railroad needs you but I’m as useless as a barren ewe.”


“Your man’s best friend! That’s never been my role.

You have a place at man’s side—that makes you whole.

I’m one step removed. A worker at best.

Sometimes I’m transportation. But the railroad is a test.

It’s over. I’m toast. I’m glue. The die is cast.

They won’t need horses. Those days are past.”


“Listen, Blind Tom. You’re a legend in your time.

You’re needed. You’re a fixture. And a worker on the line.

Your energy, your drive, your will to succeed

Are admirable, wonderful. You’re a great steed indeed.”


“Thanks, Dog. I hear you. I thank you for your trust.

I hope I live to see the end before I bite the dust.

This Railroad may be the death of me. One way or another.

But I will always think of you as a friend and as a brother.”


NOTE: Blind Tom was a real horse who pulled flatcars for construction crews on the Transcontinental Railroad

BIG Dreams for LITTLE People

An engineer’s brain saw a cross-country train
Feeding greedy men’s dreams of riches
But to build the train across fields of grain
Is hard — don’t they know them sons of bitches?
And yet the crazy thought 
Of just one-week travel
Makes our own sweaty juices flow.
It almost seems funny that
We work for money,
But that’s not all, 
We know.
The railroad’s BIG in every way. 
A huge, gutsy step from our past
It’s scary,  it’s hairy.
And dirty? Very.
We work it and hope we last!
But while it’s BIG. We’re just a tie
A spike on the railroad’s tracks
We want a piece, of the riches, ‘fer sure
In return for breaking our backs.
“Whatchya gonna do
With the money you make?”
I’m gonna start a store, how ‘bout you?
“I’m gonna buy some land,
Have kids, like I planned.
And run a farm
Just like my old man.”
The railroad’s BIG in every way. 
A huge gutsy step from our past
It’s scary,  it’s hairy.
And dirty? Very.
We work it and hope we last!
This cross-country train is BIG; we know it. 
It’s why we keep on toiling.
It’s bigger than BIG, a crushing task
Through ice and rain and boiling.
Cuz here’s the thing we cannot do.
We simply cannot blow it.
And cuz it’s BIG, we continue to try.
It’s bigger than BIG; we work or die.
It’s BIG
We know it in our gut 
It’s BIG
We want a piece, a cut
It’s BIG, no lie.
We work and cry
It’s BIG
It’s BIG
It’s BIG
 Let’s not die.
This piece will be set to music and will be a part of my next historical fiction production, The Woman Who Saved the Transcontinental Railroad.

The Little Girl “Ho” 

I didn’t know 

I’d be a “ho”

When I was a little girl.


I didn’t plan

On being with a man

When I was a little girl.

I didn’t understand

When they put their hands 

On my ‘woo-woo’ when I was a girl.

But then it began

The man paid for his hand 

And I was no longer a girl, but a ho.


Mama always said 

I was not being wise.

Mama tried to tell me

I was smarter than them guys. 

That all I had to say was, “No.” No! NO!!

But you know how it goes.

They were deaf, don’t you know. 

So, by then, I was below.

I had nowhere else to go

And I knew it was so,

I was a ho.


Mama tried to lock the gate.

But she knew it was my fate. 

She tried to find me a mate.

She tried to anticipate.

But it was too late.

Her dream would have to wait.

Because for me I hate

That I’m a ho…


I didn’t know 

I’d be a “ho”

When I was a little girl

I didn’t plan

On being with a man

When I was a little girl

I didn’t understand

When they put their hands 

On my ‘woo-woo’ when I was a girl

But then it began

The man paid for his hand 

And I was no longer a girl, but a ho.


When the train came through

Looking for cooks,

I said I could cook

And I showed ‘em my books.

Sad for me, my looks 

Made the men that were crooks

Suffer me my fate, you know…

You’re not a cook!

Not the way you look!

And so,

I was no longer a girl, I was a ho.

What Music Am I Playing Today?

My Piano Hands!

I play music as I pass through my day.

 Sometimes it’s harsh, and sometimes easy-breezy, hooray.

Each day it’s a choice to:

Curate the chords

Making majors from the minors.

Nurture each note and

Relaxing on the rests.

Dive into dissonance

Forcing fortes and frowns.


Pianissimos seeking peace,

Soft pedals pushed down.

Channel rock ‘n roll?

Relish Rachmaninoff!

  Meet Miranda or Mozart.

It’s a joy, it’s an art.

The best news is

The music I play.

Is totally mine,

To make my day my way.