I don’t recommend
projecting thoughts of your most unwanted
onto your personal screen.

I can’t give a thumbs up
to the hand-wringing practice
of detailing fearful outcomes. All that adrenaline,
and nothing to show for it but a full audience, a well-lit stage,
and no lines memorized. Or worse. Much worse.

You may think you’re being wise, preparing for the worst,
covering all bases. But your Overhead Projector
is a beacon, collecting energy that shapes itself in your image.

It is better to remember, in time, that you are the projectionist.
You need not paw through the dark unspooled reels
writhing at your feet; you can choose
to focus the bare bulb,
to project pure light instead.

Look around: a flickering screen, fluttering
as fast as a hummingbird,
shows the radiance of your dreams.

All your realities are in motion around you.

Any Day

If my body is a slow-rising twist of smoke,
a narrow trailing evidence of a heart-fire,
you nudge me off my quiet spiral into a wild dispersal
that oxygenates, exhilarates.

If my body is vibration, and it is,
you hum to my frequencies, organizing an internal harmony.

If my body is energy, electricity, and it is,
you know where the turbines spin, can short them out
to open the floodgates.

The huge dam of energy and emotion
flows where it will, a wild ride on tears, sounds, movements.
Rushing out, married to gravity, finding the quickest way
down to clear quiet sunlit pools.

If my body is ideas, and it is,
you show me different stories and inventions, improvise a language
that I remember I speak, and together we laugh and laugh.

And of course I would do the same for you. Any day. Any day.


If you’re butterflying
you become more and more unwilling
to go on the way you always have,
become less and less unaware
of your true feelings regarding all manner of things.
You create a space inside to be quiet
and think about things for a while,
while you’re changing stripes, creating new allegiances
to your velvety and somewhat vague imaginings.
Retreat from the world to stare at your navel
until it turns an iridescent green: this delight
curls the thought-antennae haloed around your head.

Butterflying: the shocking ease with which
dispensing and embracing take place.

Away with you and your stories of blame, your habits of discontent.
But come hither, you with a tale of transformation.
Butterflying spoken here.

Fickle Rudder

is the worm in the apple
the sink in the swim

is the hesitation
the yes but

gives pause,
but usually gets bullied,
rarely giving rise
to thoughtful analysis
or thought-less meditative patience

keeps you safe
checks twice
holds the reins

has you walking away
from the stranger who would sell you a car
with a title from his cousin’s brother-in-law

has you going back in
to say goodnight again, giving one more kiss

friend or foe?
annoying killjoy
or intuitive nudge?

creates many potential paths
that were not there before.
Do we travel on these roads,
continually avoiding one to take the other by default?

doesn’t plunge headlong into
anything special
can’t really grok
falling in love
keeps its socks on
is too afraid of germs
follows the recipe
double-checks the locks

saves lives
ruins chances
steers us with a fickle rudder
steers us with a fickle rudder

Barnacle Day

Yesterday I wrote about
a boy whose spilled salsa on a white tee-shirt
saved him from imprisonment
after a terrorist attack
in a small town
during a military parade.

Before that, I wrote about the detective couple,
one a psychic, the other a movement analyst
who rescued their aging mentor
from a half-buried tool shed
deep in a cornfield
after he had been kidnapped
by an unstable former student turned secretary.

Before that, I wrote about
a lonely maid in a big mansion
whose broken vacuum cleaner
led her to a little shop
where magic and repairs are an everyday occurrence.

And perhaps tomorrow
I will write about a middle-aged woman
who sits on a golden sofa, bathed in sunlight,
writing with black ink on a yellow legal pad
ripping off each page as she finishes,
pages accumulating all around
until she can no longer find her tea
and is afraid of moving.

But today, today sits patiently
like a barnacle on a rock at low tide.
Abundance is mere hours away.

Sunshine Girl

I’m a sunshine girl
from a sunshine state
and what a state I’m in
stuck here in the dark rain,
more than thirty years later.

I went off to college in the rainy Northwest
and wrote a poem
about riding my bike across the tracks in the hot summer sun
and the cool metallic smells of the orange packing house
and the kindly packers who gave us giant oranges for a nickel,
and of parking our bikes in the simmering shade
of the rusty corrugated metal sheds
and the peeling of those oranges, mouths watering,
sweaty crotches finally off those hot seats—
and a boy in that college class got all offended and said
I should not have had the words “sweaty crotch” in my poem.

Boy, you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Now, when I see the shapes of the leaves of southern California plants,
the eucalyptus and sage brush and pepper trees and live oaks,
when I smell the chaparral in the heat and the glorious petrichor
that rises after big summer rain drops—
it is enough to move me to tears.

Every winter here, I wonder what I’m doing.
A sunshine girl huddled indoors, I await the promise of summer:
direct sunlight on my skin, a heat that penetrates enough
to cause a drowsy well-being.
I turn on all the lights and wait for sun breaks
so I can run outside, close my eyes,
and tilt my hungry face toward the sun.

But it’s only in the winter that I wonder.

What If

what if
we knelt down
and told those children
that it was okay
to laugh when they were scared or shocked
that is was okay
to cry when they were happy
that it was healthy
to curl up in a ball and roar
when someone hurt your feelings?

what if
when those children grew up
they were familiar with the sights and sounds
of emotional weather moving through
and were as welcoming of
and compassionate towards
their own releases as they were of others’?

what if
they could see
that it makes perfect sense
to laugh and laugh, heart open like a flower,
when someone else is allowing themselves
to howl and moan with tears?

what if
we all knew what it was
when we felt it
and jumped on, and rode it to shore
then let it go
and got on with the next thing,
more spacious inside?

what if
we were all
more spacious, more spacious


Look up
from down
upon the brown
wood floor
smooth beneath the back
and see
the leaves
gone from the boughs
and the spider walking
on the pristine ceiling.
Look in
and feel
walking up the spine
peering out the window of the soul
flying out the windows
to perch in the trees
outlined against the gray and gentle
winter sky.

My Body’s Notebook

A prayer
is rolling in like fog on the smooth wood floor, waiting
to be kicked up by our heels and toes
and stirred.

A prayer
is our energy focused,
dancing a trio, moving
from this side to the other with our arms outstretched,
our feet echoing each other’s, our eyes aware
our hearts concentrated.

A prayer
is rarely spoken of as such—
usually other words, like
meditation…..get spoken instead.
But prayer?

Prayer, the word, was spoken that day, and in the same sentence
as the word performance!
So often these two words
are juxtaposed
in my heart’s mind.
Definitely a favorite page
in my body’s notebook.

Color Of Sky

I love watching the blackbirds
do their flying-East thing
in a clear sky’s dusky-time.
No matter what time o’clock, what month of year,
they know: when the sky comes
to that day-winding-down time,
they gather in groups and take off,
heading East. Turning tail
to the setting sun, they fly that-a-way
until…. they stop somewhere.
Perhaps they realize that this time of day,
this color of the sky, sets them off to the best advantage:
striking black silhouettes performing
visually pleasing choreography.
Is it instinct? Just good showmanship?
Such discipline…. or is this the daily joy
that makes life grand?
I wonder what time of day, what color of sky
delineates my edges, provides the perfect backdrop
for swoops of joy?