The Day I Fell Off My Bike

Walking was difficult now
so how could I enjoy the spring?
Was I forever banished from strolling through the woods?
From greeting the buttercups, the trilliums,
Spring Beauties, the May Apples?
“No way, Jose!”
For $30
I bought a bike from the sixth grade boy
next door.  His dad
adjusted the seat on this
old no-gear stop-with-your-pedal bike.
Not able to get my leg up and over I
sat it on the ground, stepped over and
pulled the bike up between my legs
undaunted.
And then:
Get those pedals right,
here at the top of the slanted drive,
hop up on that seat and I’m off!
Sailing down the drive into
the quiet street, no cars,
I’m pedaling happily and free!
I’m 71 and I can still ride a bike!
Around the corner onto the next quiet street,
wind and sun on my skin, in my hair, on my face,
I wave at the neighbors and they
Smile back and wave me on.
But down the way
I’m surprised to see where this
street is going – into
A car-busy street, I
see it coming up – Must either
stop or make a U.
A wide driveway offers
space for a turn and
I go for it,
for the U turn,
but  don’t   quite   make it.
Whoops,  Whoops I’m on the pavement
 really  hard.  My arms reach out to
   protect, to stop, bike on top of me, pain in shin,  blood?
      can’t tell, try to gather
         nerves and muscles back together quickly,
car coming down the way, pain actually
  pretty bad.  “Are you Okay, Ma’m,”  the young man asks
  passing very slowly in his car?
“I’m fine; thanks.” I lie and smile, and he
moves on and so do I,
walking my bike till
I’m stable enough to get on again.
I get on again,
Pedal with effort towards home,
afraid to look at my throbbing shin
but once again on wheels
and I’m still 71 and still
riding a bike!

Spring Poems


Imagine a magical universe in which we never die!  We live forever and whenever we want, we take different forms of our own choosing, in order to learn and grow in whatever ways we want to. 
In such a magical Universe,
Oh, I want to be a buttercup! A buttercup!  A buttercup!
O warm richness!
O passionate color!
O enthusiasm for Life!
I’ll plant myself by a watery place
  and laugh for joy.
I’ll glory in the singing birds,
the humming bees,
  the busy pesky flies,
   the tickling breeze.
And the sun’s salvation,
“Relish in the warmth of sun!”
my shining saffron face will sing.
“And don’t forget enthusiasm, passion.
Dance, swim, listen, sing, love,
    feel and sense.
      Celebrate like me,”  I’ll laugh,
I, the cheerful buttercup!
                               ***
 I’d be honored to be a jack-in-the-pulpit.
Oracle of the woods.
With my tri-leaf behind,
erect, serene,
I’ll receive searching visitors.
From my rich roots
through my straight stem
into my waiting cup
will flow wisdom from our Mother Earth.
Whoever has the patience to sit before me
and ask a question
listening
to them I’ll speak the truth.
Truth is solid ground,
 fecund.
Standing straight and quiet I’ll speak.
Who sits straight and quiet and opens their own cup
will receive my thoughts.
We’ll nod to each other respectfully,
they’ll pass on,
and I will wait
to be again an oracle for Wisdom.
     ***
Spring Beauty,
most delicate of all spring flowers,
early to appear,
how lovely to be her!
Small and sweet and dear,
my white five-petalled face with pink mint stripes
  will smile up like a shy girl-child
     at the awesome world around.
Simple, friendly,
I will open to the sun.
My thin stem will dance with the smallest breeze.
Never alone, I’ll live in a world of gentle friends
   like me,
all of us playing
in the sweet spring sun and wind and rain.
O beauty protected,
O tenderness extreme,
I will speak to all the world
of the great sensitivity
of The Source of All Life. 
                                ***
I would love to be a white Anemone,
Daughter of the Wind.
Thin and graceful, dancing open,
    never shy.
Taller than my little sisters,
leaves much greener, fuller,
    bigger face,
my sunny yellow center begging to be pollinated:
“I am ready,
I am beautiful!
O come to me now, Life,”
I’ll say with guileless joy.
Free maiden of the forest,
I want to be seen,
not hidden.
I know my beauty,
O tell me how beautiful I am!
Notice me,
   my white loveliness up from the rich green floor.
Notice my readiness,
   my aliveness.
 Love me now in the springtime of my life.
                                           ***

Driving Through Old Neighborhood

Stomach flip flops
as I pass real places  
where real things happened.  Not
moseying along
curious about what’s meant by
“Middle Asian Restaurant”.  But
Queen of Angels Parish Hall
where my Destiny was changed
forever.
One man claimed me;
The other let me go.
I never realized
I wasn’t at the wheel.
I could turn here and pass
the basement apartment
where willingly
I gave up my
virginity.
And here the school
where my
father-by-marriage taught.
“Only you prepared me
 for the Marines,” a student said.
The previous streets were interesting
but now we’re on Death Row,
place of serious roads taken and those mysteriously
not.
I’m passing through the sea of
 Egypt.
Must not give attention to
the high waters,
must keep going to
safe ground,
to places not marked by me
like a dog leaves its scent.
Must find footing on fresh ground,
back into now,
freedom,
control.
Control?

November Beach

Snow flung haphazardly across the sandy beach,

bare trees wave slightly, unable to

 really catch the winter wind.

Giant white lifeguard chairs

watch long winding stripes of orange fencing

valiantly try to stop the march of sand.

Wind pushes aggressively inward.

Sleeping grasses and skeletons of small plants,

nod stiffly against the cold.

Rows of lonely boat racks,

beach buildings boarded up against the storms,

feel round for walking life.

And the soothing sounds of waves still rolling in,

  tumbling smoothly each on each,

    white foam rising, disappears,

as if

     nothing

         is changing.

The Hug I Didn’t Give

The hug I didn’t give
still waits here in my arms
  longingly.
An old acquaintance,
we’d found a sudden deep connect.
Then time to leave,
I kissed her dear old mother on the cheek
and smiled goodbye across the food.
Off I hurried,
arms bound fast
by some strange hesitation.
Now my arms reach out to her,
O heart-sister,
but miles prevent their satisfaction.
Time stands still
where my body holds the hug in endless wait.

There were hugs I had to give:
my body flinched.
We pulled apart with clay
smiles, I backed
away and turned
to anything else.
Truth betrayed.

.
Passing in a crowd
a month ago
I saw a treasured face-
I owe this friend so much!
She changed my life.
I threw my arms around her,
kissed her face,
reminding her just who I was.
My joy and gratefulness
still radiate through all my body
  pulsing in and outward.
The hug that I received just yesterday
and gave in equal turn
lifts my cheeks and eyes and heart
today.
My chest feels warm with
instant recognition of
a soul-sister.
That hug never loses power.

Poem About Julius the Cat

Poem About Julius
Orange like the sun with
yummy white throat and breast and paws,
he nuzzles nose beneath my curled hand:
Scratch my nose, please. and my forehead
while you’re at it.
We feel his body rise and fall as
my abdomen breathes in and out.
I see his little ears turn toward my useless hand
that stopped caressing:
Please don’t stop he
begs sans words.
Small and big against myself, but
warm, warm, warm.
Julius no longer kneads my body before
settling down. J. can hardly walk a line these days.
At 84 in human years
my beloved, beloved friend is nearing
transition into spirit,
back from where we came like
   spring flowers jumping up
     from nowhere.
He’ll go first. and then this
warm and loving weight here on my lap will not come round
begging for a hug,
saying with his telepathic brainstop
your work so we can feel togetherness.
Then my arms and lap will all be empty,
a drifting boat.
And here am I with tears though
he’s present with me now,
my brain in both the now and then at once.
Perhaps his only feels today.
Or not.
I wouldn’t guess the amazing consciousness of cats.
Is he even now with Tom in spirit? In both worlds at once?
Julius, the last physical remnant of my son.
Don’t go!  oh please,   don’t go….