boomer women, we…

“To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.”
Swiss philosopher, poet, and critic Henri-Frédéric Amiel in 1874.


Boomer Women, We…

…want to

fan the flames of our inventive genius and rummage in optimism’s closet.

…want to
build safe harbors and surround ourselves with the ones we love,
unafraid to let our tears run freely as salt.

…want to
live life with la passione, grapple with compelling issues,
risk failure, and mesh courage with humor.

…want to
shop for the first car we ever owned and buy it,
then go night driving.

…want to
be shamelessly seduced by something indulgent
and write our own happy- ever- after ending.

…want to
let good sense collide with a good heart
and give while the hand is warm.

…want to
walk the journey of earthly miles; understand that the journey will end,
and treasure bits of memory like old toys worn smooth.

…want to
grasp life swift and sure
and savor what our senses offer.

…want to
love a dog, read to a kid, chase fat brown hens through dusty blue grass,
eat the last piece of pie, tango, knit one, purl one, laugh one.

…want to
get the moon up, turn the stars on
and listen to Coltrane while life hurtles by,

my heart unto yours is knit



My Heart Unto Yours is Knit

If you ask me
how my knitting classes are going
I’d say that I like the orderly progression of the stitches,
each row of loops on the needle,
posed like a chorus line facing left.
I love to slide my fingers over the alpaca,
to feel the rhythm that builds with needles and yarn.
I am mesmerized by the subtle dance of knit and purl,
the growing weight of the piece as it shifts on my lap.
I clutch the bamboo needles
like a Newfoundland trucker who knits while he drives.
My hands explore new territory and acquire their own memory.
I work the fibers of Incan royalty
and the stitches leapfrog into stockinettes and ribs;
slip, slip, knit, slip, slip, knit
the thin wood pursuing strands of pistachio, poppy and purple.
I start the hank with a long-tail cast on,
then selvage the place where seams disappear.
I want to knit one, purl one, laugh one.
I want to make gloves that start with my fingers
when I lift the strand between the needles
and embrace yours when you split wood beside the barn.


history of love




History of Love

In Tinnis on the banks of the Nile
carved on walls of ancient temples,
we are at play.
I admire the orderly progression of your stroke,
the rhythm of your swing,
the unpredictable flight of the bounce
and soft drop at my feet.
Face closed over the ball,
wrist and forearm one with the racket,
I tempt the ball with sheep’s gut
to a sweet spot the size of my palm.
Like Henry VIII and his courtesan,
we are addicted to the subtle dance of forehand and backhand.
Knees bent and bodies coiled,
in defiance of the Pope and Parisian priests,
what is forbidden becomes possible.
Old ornaments of cheeks and chins wrapped in string,
vulcanized by Goodyear,
limn a path aloft.
I hit the optic yellow sun on the rise
and watch it skip,
leapfrog through the air and
return like the answer to a question.
You hit to my feet
and storm the net while
I retreat to the baseline.
I toss, serve, fault; toss, serve, double fault.
I wonder what it must be like to
smash, lob, and be in control.
in this game where love means nothing.









I look across the room and find you,
head held high,
learning what it means to hesitate,
to move your feet the way a mason scores stone.

With tentative steps you move in the line of direction,
a touchstone between the joy and the fuss.
Now your hand settles on mine.
I whisper, we’re in this together.

The tango buttons on us like an old sweater.
A miracle,
though some might call it common
as a table covered in white linen.



the weight lifter





The Weight Lifter

Fluorescent light glares down through air tinged with sweat.
The woman straddles the bench, resting between sets.
My boyfriend moved out, she says.
She lifts with effort and extends her arm.
I study the ceiling.
He never meant to hurt me.
Her words are black and bruised and blue.
Her hands rise above her head, the weights collide.
I see her crucified against the wall of mirrors,
a tangle of bones resisting gravity.
I want him back, I can change.
I look at her with curiosity
or is it pity?
This grave gossip weighs on me.
So, hey, would you spot me?



keeping watch




Keeping Watch

My mother lies with unblinking eyes,
her backed-up plumbing a harsh betrayal,
mouth open as if to speak,
a knot of air tense between us.
With eyes pearled cold, she stares at the open closet.
Satin, taffeta, and flounces of organdy
roost above the fabric of hospice care,
like flamboyant birds on a wire.
A thin white sheet covers the unnatural splay of bare feet
that danced out the disappointment to exhaustion.
The room is empty tonight. I read
poems, poems, poems
as if one poem makes a difference over the other
and the reading itself is important to the cause.
I kneel like a thief and
wear the sheen of the spared.


love beyond poetry

The Girlfriend

I can’t take it, she says,
meeting on the sly,
out here in the woods,
away from town.
Roots snarl my hair,
leaves in my shoes,
scratches all over me.
Henry, peel me off this tree
I am so Thoreau with you.




I know, ouch.  I couldn’t resist.  But here’s the real story ~


Thoreau wrote about love in general and one relationship in particular in his Journal during 1839-1840 when he was quite smitten with Ellen Sewall; his brother John was also in love with her. Prior to meeting Sewall in July 1839, he wrote a short poem about love which he included in his Journal entry for January 20, 1839. He met her on July 20, 1839, and “By July 25 he was beyond poetry”. On that day he wrote in his Journal, “There is no remedy for love but to love more”. Early in November of 1840, after John had proposed to Ellen and been rejected, Thoreau wrote her a letter in which he proposed. The letter no longer survives, but his November 1, 1840, Journal entry was related to that letter. It reads:


I thought that the sun of our love should have risen as noiselessly as the sun out of the sea, and we sailors have found ourselves steering between the tropics as if the broad day had lasted forever. You know how the sun comes up from the sea when you stand on the cliff, and does’nt startle you, but every thing, and you too are helping it.


Thoreau’s daily Journal from July 1839 to November 1840 includes many entries related to his feelings of love for Ellen Sewall. Following her father’s wishes, Sewall turned down Thoreau’s proposal, but Harding reports that Thoreau carried her memory with him to the end. In 1862, shortly before he died, Thoreau is reported to have said to his sister, Sophia: “I have always loved her”.


word lust


Neon words


Word Lust

Esculent word by esculent word,
……….paraprosdokian ~ nodus ~ scurf
I feast on them in poems, conversations, emails, tweets;
………..eleemosynary ~ frowsty ~ sockdolager
wolf down the avalanchine tumble of jottings, I
………….corybantic ~ ripsniptious ~ subitize 
pig out on on the pop-bang-boom of a bottle-rocket word,
…………….foofaraw ~ bumf ~ schmegeggy
nibble and nosh on the little squirt of surprise
that scuttles by like a crab in a lab coat.






All the day I longed for Italia
remembering the blue green sea.
I thought if I could purchase
Parmesiano from the grocery
or drink Limoncello, tart and cold,
to cleanse the palate and soothe the throat
or eat aciuge, salty and bold,
or read tales of Dante I could quote,
Ah, then, I’d be in Nervi for sure;
the olive groves, the vines of grapes
where on terraced hills a warbler trills.
But to be in the Italia I know
Stop’n Shop is not the place to go.



once upon a time


Charmed, I’m Sure

I ride each day
with my brother.
We travel from hovel to hut,
dawn to dusk,
armed with a see-through shoe.
Is there no end to the
bunions, warts and hammer toes,
calluses, corns and carbuncles?
Oh the agony of de-feet.



Anchors Aweigh

She sashays across the pier
in Sweethaven,
siddles up to the sailor.
Her eyes undress the one-eyed runt.
his anchor tattoos ripple on muscular forearms.
New in town, sailor?



starting over




Starting Over

A bleak morning.
Ground fog, again.
It never used to rain so much.
And then,
the mist bows to a casual cumulous,
and evening cadences fall from a cloud-mouth of stars.
The future catches in my throat,
musky and delicious.
Its name is Begin Again and
it sits between us
like the last piece of candy in the box.








I clean out the house.
It is harder than the burial.

A story of sixty two years
cannot be erased like a careless checkbook entry.

I take everything of importance to me
and walk away.




homage to the tomato: a prose poem




I thought about my father today because the tomatoes are coming into season. Heirlooms, the old ones with the past curled up inside. I love the heft of them, these fleshy female fruits that fit in your palm just so, that one heavy for its size, this one cleft in two, plump lobes so like a heart it almost beats in my hand. Who knows what their names are? Specials, he called them, from Italy. He carried their seeds wrapped in small squares of white linen to America, to the stew of rich earth on Hospital Hill. The ground mist rising, my father plants the seeds grown from what has been, nurtures them to what will be.  Seeds from a distant place, paradiso, before.  I can almost see him in those fabled fields, snow still thick on the peaks of the Apennines, listening to the tread of soldiers tramping through the village and through his head. But old nightmares settle into the soil, even the memory of war erased, as he plants in lines and curves like the graceful handwriting on creamy pages of old journals. I do the same, sow seeds like pearls, see stems rise like delicate pale sprites, dark green leaves curl, unfurl, forks of branches spread out and up. I watch bees pirouette and pollinate the clumsy blossoms -extravagantly yellow- and eye the red sloppy tomatoes, etched with brown scars that zigzag over healed splits like lightning flashes and, on stem ends, sport green bits like vestiges of dragonfly wings. The scent of them ribs the air, these caricatures on sprawling vines, infused with light, decadent crimson and gold, hidden in shy tangles and laced with dew. One calls me over. With a flush of pleasure, I oblige, pick it, and cut a piece. Warm from the blade, I taste its freckled cheerfulness, and decide to leave the poem, following the row across curves of continent and ocean that stretch all the way to paradiso.



in a cow’s eye


In a Cow’s Eye

Clouds stall overhead.
I stand in the field flanked by pasture and barn.
Shorn cornstalks winnow back and forth, back and forth
and gangs of crows gather to eat.
On a scab of hill, wild turkeys perch
and down below roosters scream at hens.
On the porch of the crooked clapboard house
the Spencer brothers sit and wait
like men on the deck of a ship.
The wooden railing runs to its imperfect corners,
its knotty posts, split and twisted,
like telephone poles on the dirt road.
A lonely crowd poses ankle deep in the grass,
tagged and tattooed.
In a cow’s eye I see the sun ignite.
By degrees
the sky goes rainbow wild.



gym rats



Gym Rats


Here comes the girl with the serpent tattoo who hangs her iPod on a string around her waist,

the Harley rider in black leather, do-rag, and shades,

the woman with the crooked smile who neck wrestles her llama,

the veiny-cheeked fellow angular as a poisonwood tree,

the pony-tailed waitress who uses her keys like brass knuckles-

they all meet at the gym and, oh Lordy, they sweat.

From morning till night, they bench press barbells,

squat and lunge to the insistent throb of Aerosmith, hear Steven Tyler wail

……….Got to get that monkey off my back

I’m quittin’ sugar, says the woman who gulps bitter tea. .

……..I made believe the devil made me do it

I chucked my Zippo, says the man who cleans his ears with matchsticks,

and emptied my last bottle of Kickin’ Chicken. …….

.You best believe I had it all and then I blew it

These are the gym rats, in this cave of city brick yellow as smoker’s teeth,

weighed down by remorse, regret and dimpled thighs.

Bakers and bookies and painters and plumbers stare at mirrored walls,

the half-truths in their eyes.

They labor, fail and try again and oh, they sweat.

They feast on that moment of flawless form,

a fleeting moment of perfection,

and breathe in the present before it becomes the past,

never to be perfect again.