Thursday, November 6, 2014


His was a madness that
whispered in his ear,
soft and sweet

a gossamer that tickled his
hair and sometimes itched,
that made him

at skin that he could
not feel beneath the
thin blanket of

as he plummeted deeper into
a world the rest
of us couldn't

Three Word Wednesday - devastate, gossamer, plummet

In the moment

I stopped searching for
and chose joy instead


November PAD Day 6 - happy now

Monday, November 3, 2014


At first
you felt comfortable
and cool,
an old blanket
I could
wrap myself in,
never dreaming
that one day
that familiar
embrace of fabric
would become
like the
binding of bedsheets
prolonging the
terror of a
bad dream

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

No man left behind

I never wanted a man in uniform.
Though, I always did have the talent
for attracting what I didn't want, as
if life was teasing me

with some screwed up game of
permanent "opposite day."

No, military men were away too much;
couldn't wrap my brain around the torture
of loving and lusting for someone too
far away to hypnotize with

a flash of flesh, lotion bottles
in every latrine.

I didn't dream of sharing a bed
with a Marine whose nights were filled
with machine gun fire, whose train of
thought always returned to the

secrets that made him cry out
in his sleep.

He startled so easily. Called himself a
chicken for not wanting to go back
a fourth time; knowing no amount of
liquor could make him forget

how this war had already broken
him beyond repair;

no longer one of the few good
men, though Semper Fi still ran through
his blood -- a brotherhood, loyalty, gimmick to
sell all of us on the

idea that no man would ever
be left behind.

Sunday Whirl #182 -- machine, lust, liquor, tease, flesh, trains, gimmick, chickens, torture, lotion, hypnotizing, brains, uniform

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

If I were 5

In a world of my
own making, I 
stand before the mirror mesmerized

Me: age 5
transfixed by my own face
and blissfully ignorant

of my bloated belly, shaking 
narrow, boyish hips 
that will one day become 

the fabulous curves
I'm ashamed to flaunt, the
foundation of a

woman's body I can't seem
to face in
the mirror, trapped in a

world of my own making


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Inner space

If we aren't
made of stardust
then why do
we fly through
space and see
the swirl of
galaxies form each
time we squeeze
our eyes shut


Creative Bloomings prompt 169: a sense of belonging

Friday, October 3, 2014


She'd always dreamed of
holding a baby in her
arms, worry melting

away as fingers
traced tendrils of newborn hair,
nostrils inhaling

the intense sweetness
of fresh, new love.

There was no pain in
the place where life would not grow,
just the ache of arms

forever empty,
instead carrying the weight
of her silent grief

the intense sting of
the word "barren."


Three Word Wednesday: barren, intense, worry

How to live

Don't pick your nose
or cross your eyes
don't touch poop or
those ugly flies

Clean your room
don't jump on your bed
listen to your mom
(it won't go to her head)

Be kind to all people
and please don't ever whine
follow your heart
and let yourself shine


Poet's United - children's books

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Moving on

This week's prompt on Poetry Jam was "magic." And there's nothing I find more magic than the human capacity to love, forgive, hope, endure ...


We fight
we yell
we cry
we cling
we despair
we beg
we regret
we ache
we wonder
we release
we remember
we love


Poetry Jam: magic

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The space between

What is a human heart
but a fast twitch of muscle
a cavernous buh-bump
pushing blood through hollow chambers,
the microscopic infinity
between each cell

some unknown substance, dark matter
like black holes in outer
space ... a place
we imagine but can't fathom
though entire universes
live within us


Poetic Asides Wed Prompt 282 - broken down

Monday, September 29, 2014

The fall

The smell of burning leaves
outside couldn't overpower
the smell of burning croissants

wafting from the downstairs kitchen,
the chaos of
smoke detectors beeping incessantly loud,

while Mom, who never cooks,
grabbed a towel
from the counter to fan

the smoke from the charred
pastries out through
an open window to intermingle

with the smoldering pile of
red and yellow
leaves in our long driveway

behind Dad's old yellow VW
bug and beside
the spot my sister and

I liked to play hopscotch,
retreating to the
outdoors while my brother butchered

Mozart practicing his oboe every
night, our go-to
punching bag for sibling barbs

The beeping stopped but the
smell of smoke
lingered and I wondered if

the rest of dinner was
lost. If we'd
still be eating roast beef

or if Dad would call
Chen's for wonton
soup and takeout for five


Creative Bloomings prompt 168 - mix-and-match muse

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unpacking the trunk

You look at me and
see a gray body bloated with memories,
wrinkled by the worries of
a life too well remembered

You see no beauty in
the bulk of my weight, hips that
have carried our children into
this dusty, drought-weary world

little ones who gaze at
their mother through elephant-thick eyelashes and
see only the fierce matronly
love beneath the rough hide


Creative Bloomings prompt #166 - animal house

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Man of the house

He was a desperate man,
a child really,
broken and sad, left to

raise three children when he
could barely take
care of himself 

She was a broken child
desperate for a 
man to care for her

but always left carrying
the burden of
caring for herself 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Always tomorrow

"I love you in the future," he
says, believing his own words as
he kisses me on the forehead
like a real lover would


Creative Bloomings Micro Poetry - Another Short Japanese Form?


A nylon tent
can keep out
skunks and bears

can keep in
the warmth of
two intermingled bodies

let in the
smell of wet
pine and trap

the smell of
damp socks and
musty sleeping bags

but our flimsy
fabric walls cannot
keep out the

surrounding symphony of
crickets and creeks
that ring in

our ears as
we fall asleep
to at night

July PAD Day 5 - did you hear that?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Man on the moon

Does the man
on the moon
cry for us?

Does he hide
his phosphorescent face
behind stiff hands

and wonder why
he must always
light the way?

Does he face
our blue world
and lean away

wishing he could
hide from our
stiff smiles and

wandering eyes, wishing
man could see
his own light?


July PAD Day 4 - night lights over the lake

Greased up

Inspired by the first "summer" song that came to mind ... "Summer Lovin'" from Grease

The scent of sunscreen
always makes me think
of bikinis and boys

the salty sea air
and wet swimsuits
a lubricant for lust

as eyes scan the
sand for some sexy
smile full of promise


July PAD Day 3 - in the summertime (music)

A step in the right direction?

I am too young
to know that this
land is ancient
maybe even sacred
and that my footsteps
stir my ancestor's souls

beneath me

I am too blind
to see that this
river has wound its
way through the lives
of my mother's mother's mothers,
women and children
who lived off this land
and built this world

beneath me

I am too wise
not to understand that these
footsteps I'm making
are miles from
my ancestors' paths
and this land will crumble

beneath me


July PAD Day 2 - discovery / bop form

Sunday, July 6, 2014

April PAD results ...

Super proud poem mom for a very short poem of mine (and when are they not short?), When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, making the Top 10 list of this year's April PAD for Day 3.

It's my first time participating in a couple of years, so it's definitely an honor to make the cut ... again!

As Robert says:

The poets who’ve made those top 10 lists should be extremely happy with their work. I read through more than 21,000 comments and 5,600 pages of poems and encouragement. 

Only 300 of those made the top 10 lists–or less than 1.4%. In other words, around 1 poem for every 100 comments. That’s crazy!

To be named winner, of course, is barely one-tenth of one percent.

Pismo Beach

Inspired by summer family vacations spent in the sand dunes of Pismo Beach and Big Sur

We spent afternoons
rolling down mountains of sand
laughing as we

tumbled like logs,
all limbs and heavy trunks,
crashing our way

through the salty
air and the slow, thick
stick of vacation

flying through timelessness
ever-closer toward the cold embrace
of the Pacific

and the long
wet ride home

July PAD Day 1 - camping memory

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Beauty crowds me ...

a lovely stranger pressing his
skin against mine
in the crowded
subway car at rush hour,
nudging me ever so slightly
during the curves
of my commute
as if to remind me
not to forget
he is there


Creative Bloomings prompt 160: Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Mom never thought
the house was clean enough.
Because it wasn't.

Dad collected newspapers
and paper scraps he might
need some day.

Piles of randomness
gathered in every corner of
every single room

waiting to be
sorted through or purged once
and for all.

She'd secretly thin
the stacks and toss the
abandoned items that

filled our garage
into the outside recycle bins
on trash day.

He'd rage when
he realized that things were
missing, even though

he couldn't tell
you what had disappeared or
how long ago.

Dad clung to
those scraps as if they
were long-held memories,

cherished moments stolen
right from his chubby hands,
clinging as tightly

as a child
holding their security blanket and
begging you to

let it go.


Poetic Bloomings Memoir Project: Part 3: Welcome Home

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

If I had a hammer ...

She was a fierce little girl
determined to tie her own shoes
and make her own way

"I can do it by myself,"
she'd declare, as if Mom and
Dad had nothing to offer

Stomping into the street in her
pink overalls, plastic hammer in hand,
ready to fix the world


Poetic Bloomings Memoir Project Part 2: Look what I did!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The last straw

Oh how I'd love to
save my teeth
from the cold clack of

ice cubes crashing against my
dental work. But
you took the last straw.


April PAD Day 25 - last straw

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An eye for an eye

He closes his eyes and
tries to forget
all the times it was someone
else's eyes closed
forever in front of him


April PAD Day 30 - calling it a day

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fool's gold

Sometimes I see her
at the corner of
those deep brown eyes

in the flecks of
gold flashing like ore
in a miner's pan

beckoning you back into
the arms of a
love as cold and

dangerous as those High
Sierra rivers and as
fleeting as the boomtowns

left in the wake
of men's search for
their happily ever after


April PAD Day 27 - monster

The settlement

Before we settled
into our own corners
of the house

walking past each
other in the hallways
and politely chewing

our dinners at
the table each night
we filled this

place with so
much laughter that we
thought it might

just lift us
away from the lives
we have now


April PAD Day 28 - settled

The science of magic

Anyone who's seen
the universe unfold
beneath the lens
of a microscope
knows there is
magic all around


April PAD Day 29 - realistic or magical

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I've never been one
to dip my toe
into the shallow end

I'd rather feel the
cool rush of slick
on skin as I

sink into a weightless
world buzzing in my
ears with quiet wonder


April PAD Day 26 - water

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I'm not sure
where I am
on the map

as if life
could ever be
navigated that way

the only latitude
I need is
to be freed

from my own
expectations of where
I ought to

be by now


April PAD Day 23 - location

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Full glass

It's hard to see the
glass as half
full or empty when it's
filled with the
blood of those you've loved


April PAD Day 22 - optimistic or pessimistic

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ink blot

There are nights
when I look up to
see the sky
dripping black and blue
like an ink pen
that's exploded in 
a shirt pocket ...
which makes me think
of those NASA nerds, 
whose job it is 
to stare at the
sky, and who poorly they're 
portrayed in every movie



Socks don't suck

Lay in bed
Consider getting up
Cry if you feel like it
Acknowledge the anger
Stare at the ceiling
Remember what it was like
when she was still in bed next to you
Remember that she is now in
bed with someone else
Fight the numbness
Try to feel anything
Close your eyes
Consider staying here all day
Instead sit up and put on your socks
Walk down the hall
glad for the cushion against
the cold hardwoods in the morning


April PAD Day 21 - back to basics

Thicker than blood

You say you don't know
who your family is
that you were
given away
taken by
those afraid your
mother was unfit to
love you like we could


April PAD Day 20 - family

Friday, April 18, 2014

Whether vain

She liked to think that
she went wherever
the wind happened to take her

blowing like a leaf into
bars and bathroom
stalls with any man who

glanced her way and made
her feel like
she might actually be beautiful


April PAD Day 18 - weather

Culture clash

We clash like
the mixed pattern trend that's
all the rage right now

plaids and stripes
and polka dots just don't
make any more sense than

our desire to
idolize human beings whose sole
job is to deceive us


April PAD Day 17 - pop culture

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Forget me not

Some would say it was
yours to give.

You probably would have said
the same thing.

But I would give anything
to forget you,

to un-remember your life slipping
through my hands

in a place so damn
far from home.


April PAD Day 16 - elegy

To the rescue

The castle walls
of fairy tales and fantasy
have no place

in the bedrooms
of little girls who will
one day wonder

why no one
is coming to save them.

She'll build her
own walls for lovers to
climb when she

learns that no
one is coming to her
rescue and one

day she must
learn to save herself.


April PAD Day 15 - love or anti-love

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The hunting

We teach them to hunt
packs of brothers
praying they won't have to

use what they've learned, but
knowing full well
that one day they will

kill without hesitation
and hope they
never hunger for that power


April PAD Day 13 - animal

If I Were Your Heart

For Ryan ... I found your blogreading the a heartbreaking ending just as the blood moon crept through the sky

If I were your heart
I'd be crushed
by the weight of those memories,

brothers bleeding before my eyes,
faces flushed red
like tonight's moon, eclipsed by the

darkness of my own shadow


April PAD Day 14 - If I were (blank)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I will survive

Nothing you can
do will ever stop me
from becoming more


April PAD Day 11 - statement

City of Angels

navigating the mazes
of one-way streets and skyscrapers
we are the heartbeat


April PAD Day 12 - city

Building a stable life

My grandpa died still broken-hearted from the betrayal he felt by his country. He was born in California, fought in WWII, and sent to the Midwest with the rest of the dirty Japs American had come to despise and fear. He met Grandma there, and they came back to California to make a pretty great future for themselves and their five kids. But he never forgot his time in those camps.

Grandma stroked my hair
as I lay in her lap,
running her fingers through
the thick black
courseness passed down
from our ancient samurai ancestors.

She smiled and gazed
off into the sky,
staring at some long-forgotten
landscape of her
youth, murmuring more
to herself than to me,
"It will all be OK, child."

She had seen the stables
of the camps, finely
dressed women corralled like
common livestock, chins
held high, stubborn
as mules clinging to their dignity.

"It will all be OK, child,"
her mama whispered
into her ear under the gaze of guards
who saw them as mere
animals cluttering the barren landscape,
forgetting their hearts still
beat with samurai blood.


April PAD Day 10 - future

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The perfect storm

The hardest thing to learn
as a parent
is when to be the
and when to
walk behind and let them
fall into that puddle


April PAD Day 9 - shelter 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The brewery

My dad drank too much.
He shot bourbon at bars
and barbed insults at home.

The anger brewed inside him,
a biting mash of memories
aging in rows of barrels

running from breast to bowel,
pickling his insides as he
forced us each to drink

the poison of his past.


April PAD Day 8 - peaceful or violent

War ... what is it good for?

I will never understand why
people think that
violence can bring about peace


April PAD Day 8 - violent or peaceful

Monday, April 7, 2014

Frozen in time

You say that
she's ancient history
but here I
am chipping away
at the rock
hard sediment encasing
your fossilized heart

April PAD Day 5 - discovery

Mirror, mirror

Searching to find myself
reflected in the eyes
of strangers

unwilling to stare at
the stranger behind my
own eyes


April PAD Day 7 - self-portrait

Night life

Six stars are
shining through the inky blue
ether of evening

battling the buzzing,
happy haze of city life,
where the lights

never go out,
and downtown domestics always do;
where screens glow

from every wall
and in every pocket as
we search for

meaning at the
speed of 4G two inches
from our faces

and forget that
all the answers are always
right above us

if we'd just
take a moment to breathe
and look up


April PAD Day 6 - night

Friday, April 4, 2014

Since we both like fruit

We ran into each other
at the market
poking and prodding the pears,

assessing them like the men
in our lives,
drawn in by the promise

of sweetness while tenderly pressing
to uncover the
hidden bruises that always seem

to spoil the moments we
long to savor


April PAD Day 4 - since (blank)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In the beginning

I was god
basking in your nakedness

molding the man
I wanted you to be

as I breathed life
into a dying love


PAD Day 1 - beginning or ending

Treading water

I carried you
held your head above water
when you were
drowning in misery

I drowned with you
unable to float us both
when the burden
you carried sunk
us both


April PAD Day 2 - voyage

When smoke gets in your eyes

How could I
see the smoke signals you
were sending me

when I didn't
even notice that our home
was on fire


Sunday, March 9, 2014

No place like home

She sleeps in my bed
missing her own
but glad for the warmth

of my Egyptian cotton sheets
and the neutral
Target comforter set I shared

with the ex-boyfriend who left
me to play
house with a neighbor lady.

She thanks me for my
generosity, not knowing
I would burn that bed

and flee this tortured place,
run from this
incestuous den of communal pain

and the home built together, 
where any memories
of warmth have long died.


Thursday, March 6, 2014


A little girl came across our lawn
and knocked on our door. A pawn
no more. She was gone.
Past the dawn. 

Just a baby, innocence foregone,

she lay on my couch and yawned,
"No more." She was gone
past the dawn

late the next morning. She yelled, "Come on!"

when she woke. A little fawn
no more. She was gone.
Past the dawn.


Creative Bloomings - Triquint

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