Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Three Blessings

Jan. 28, 2015  A red-tailed hawk, wrapping, up after a chilly walk in the woods, the memory of the guy in Saladalia with the Mac Book Air.

Jan. 29, 2015  For the members of my poetry class, for the memory of my wildlife experience, for groceries and homemade soup.

Mar. 3, 2015  For meeting Mark, another traveler on the road to recovery;  for having lived in Alaska, where I first heard about Emmett Fox; for chatting to Paul, our instructor for Positive Psychology, about a strategy.

Mar. 13, 2015 For Duke Medicine, Carla, the Piedmont Wildlife Center, Gail

Mar. 14, 2015 For starting on my taxes, for Patrick at the library, for Playmakers

Mar. 15, 2015 My covenant group, healthy eating, a good book to read

Mar. 16, 2015  The Tango, Sarah Short, Suzanne Gaskins

Mar. 17, 2015  Meditation, Rest, children in the woods

Mar. 18, 2015  My experiences, Fran, Duke workshop

Mar. 19, 2015  The gym at Lakeside, Mary Oliver, my Madonna

Mar. 20, 2015  Cardinals, a decision to renew, being my own best friend; I am the most important person to me

Mar. 21, 2015 The Spark

Mar. 22, 2015  Covenant Group met at my place and we had a poetry reading; Christina's children were here

Mar. 23, 2015  Morning meditation; healthy meals; 5 o'clock meetings

Mar. 24, 2015  Taylor from church; Kimber; Amy the nurse

Mar. 25, 2015  Hope, a lecture on herbal remedies, Juanita's group

Mar. 26, 2015  Susan Spalt's poem "Blu"

Mar. 27, 2015 Talking with Neil; Shannon; Margot = Happy Day

Mar. 28, 2015  Duke computer store; Kimber's progress; John and Sue's visit

Mar. 29, 2015  A new computer!  Flowers at Duke Chapel grounds; talking to Chris and hearing about Margot's progress

Mar. 30, Swim class; selling another book; healthy eating

Mar. 31  feeling safe; warm cinnamon in my mouth; healthy eating

Apr. 1  lunch with "the Girls" at Refectory; selling another book; hope

Apr. 2  A full day; all going well with pre-op; idea for teaching

Apr. 3  Jenny and Lawrence; getting a book about my new Mac; and a new Garmin

Friday, January 16, 2015



Came in late for school that day
Deshelveled, hungry.
"Want a muffin?"
He lurched forward
and grabbed two,
before resting his head
on the desk.
He was a reject.
By the school system.
By his mother.
Kicked out of school for
hitting a teacher.
He was autistic,
but artistic.
Man, he could draw,
intricate designs
with pointed lines,
angles, and arrows.
Anyone could see he had talent.

"Crips and Bloods."
He claimed to be a Blood,
just like his twin.
I visited his house one time
when he started skipping school,
and once more,
when he was shot dead at 15.
His aunt looked stricken 
but bouyed by my presence.

I felt terrible that the school system
had left this boy behind,
but happy about
the last time he'd come
to class and I'd given him a hug.

In his casket, he looked
dignified, innocent,
in a brown suit and tie
that he could have designed himself.

Left behind
In so many ways.
Not one other teacher attended his funeral.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Shortest Poem Ever Written

One pair of baby shoes,
barely worn.

On My Walk Today

A bamboo patch,
a trail through the woods,
a baby in a bear snowsuit,
a memorial garden surrounded by stones,
a brook,
a temple,
a community center,
a school that teaches Hebrew,
new friends made,
life is good.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

For Nikki

I thought of Nikki this morning
in church,
when she suddenly appeared.
"My daughter," I laughed,
giving her a hug.
Nikki's back and that is good.

I think of the other Nikki's who
have been part of my life.
A beloved tabby,
and the poet Nikki Giovanni,
who feels like a mother to me
can take even the most horrible moment,
like 911,
and bring meaning to it.

Her childhood memories take
me back to Knoxville, Tennessee,
and to Virginia,
to church picnics,
and jamborees, gospel
sings and bluegrass
and the long days of summer,

shimmering with hope and promise.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Coming Around

"It hath the primal eldest curse upon it,
A brother's murder."  Hamlet

You must have seen the folds of the sheet
over the corpse,
its feet peeking out beneath the whiteness,

the head turned to one side, as if asleep.
An ever widening pool of blood leaked
from the head wound,
creating a  pool of crimson that
kept spreading in the 82 degree heat,
that was typical of a summer in Ferguson.

"My son, my son!"  The father's pleas were futile,
as rough men kept him from approaching the scene.
He could scarcely take it in.  The heat, the heat
didn't let up
during the four long hours that the body
baked in the hot sun.

Who was this son?  This son from Ferguson?
This brother, this friend
whose voice didn't fit his body.  "A boy

in a man's body," is how they described him.
A little kid's voice in a man's body,

anxious about the future, just graduated with a GED,
and soon, off the trade school.
He was anxious about that, and so approached his friend.
"Dorian, man, I need to talk to you."
So off they headed, to the store,
to walk and talk.

"Musically inclined," "reserved," "with a
"passion for fashion."  His classmates liked how
he matched his shoelaces to his outfits.

"Lil Wayne,
video games,
smoking pot, known to be kind,
yearning for a better time.

A kid in a big man's body,

who should have been home watching "The Family Guy,"
or fixing things
instead of stealing Swisher Sweets.
For that he had to die?

Six shots, one to the head.
Guaranteed to have him dead.

But just to make sure, a
final, sacrificial stab wound from which
blood and water flowed that day on  Street.

The officer claimed to be in fear of his life,
"like a five year old cringing before the Incredible Hulk."
Man up, Warren!   You made a mistake, acted in haste.
The boy was unarmed.  You disgust me.  He didn't have to die.

Mike-Mike, Big Mike had a girlfriend he wanted to marry.
He loved to rap and make music.  He confided to his father,
"Someday the world's gonna know my name."

But not like this, Michael, not like this.
For the rest of us, our lives will be forever a part of Ferguson.

New Arrival

Arrival time: around 2 pm
Date:  the 9th of December, 2014.
Weight:  around four pounds,
all sleek and shiny,
perfectly formed, just as we had expected.

She was late, but it was worth the wait.
We named her Nikki, after Nike, the Spirit of Victory,
in the hope that she would accompany us
to the next Boston Marathon.

After the fitting, the physical therapist
asked her to walk,
and with help, she took her first steps
in over a year.

Now she will have no pain.
She can walk again,
wearing her mother's crocheted socks
with "Spirit of Victory" on the cuffs.
She  has winged feet,
a titanium leg,
and a new lease on life.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

You Were There

You were there
when our father died
 and I thought my life was over.
I never cried.

You were there
at the white columned school
when I had to leave,
to live with you.

You were there to see me through.

You were there
when high waters came,
bringing water, and candles, and food,
and so many things to help us through.

You were there when I could have died
and didn't because my faith pulled me through.
You were there,
and You.

You were there when my heart was broken
over a lapse in judgement.
It's not a sin to be lonely,
is it?
You were there,
and You.

You were there, when I sold my house.
And moved to a new one.
When I lost my knee
and got a new one.
Yours was the last face I saw
that day,
and the first one I thought of 
this morning, the first of a New Year.

So fresh with promise.
So bright with sunshine.
And You.