The Writing Journal

I came home to a small writing journal

in tatters on the floor.

Two pups hovered in the corner,

guilt written on their lovely bent faces.

I do not blame the dogs.

For words are delicious.

Words can soothe the soul,

cause love to bloom,

comfort the inconsolable.

My hope –

the poems

in the yellow journal

filled my pups

in the way

only poetry can.

Ten Things I Should Have Learned By Now

Don’t get dressed in the dark…your shoes may not match.

Too much caffeine is not a good thing.

There will always be interruptions.

Trust your instincts.

Don’t get too attached to a special pen.

A friend will tell you the truth.

Take a walk everyday…it helps.

Books are good friends.

Summer is short, relish every day.

You are loved…every single day.


The squashed squirrel

lay prostrate

in the middle of the road,

not an unusual sight

for a busy suburban street.

What was unusual,

was the large predatory bird

sitting atop the remains

in the late afternoon light.

The bird’s scarlet-red head,

devoid of feathers,

had the wrinkled quality

of aged skin.

Standing at least two feet tall,

the bird dwarfed its prey,

and when its wings expanded,

the 6 foot shadow

enveloped the street’s center.

Afraid of no one,

the giant vulture

stared down passing humans.

When cars approached,

the bird moved only a few feet away

before returning to its meal.

My dogs and I moved on…

disquieted by the encounter

with one so bold,

so fearless,

so honest.

Magic Portals

In fairy tales,

the protagonist

finds a secret doorway

at the very moment

he or she needs it.

A shimmering cave,

a door at the base

of a Redwood tree,

a cabinet long ignored

or a breeze blowing,

seemingly, from behind a wall.

At the end of my street,

in the predawn hours

two weeks ago,

a light appeared.

This is no standard streetlight.

Brighter by twice

than any other street lamp,

the warm, glowing daylight

is visible from more than a block away.

It is as if the sun

has chosen to concentrate

in one small puddle

at the corner of two ordinary streets.

On that first day,

I hurried down the street

hoping to find the source of unusual brightness.

Had a neighbor installed a new security system?

Were two cars idling

for a clandestine meeting?


just a warm yellow

the color of baby chick feathers

pooling below the street lamp.


each morning I rise

and wonder if the light

will have vanished


perhaps a new shimmering

will indicate the secret portal

is open for adventure.

Like a Lion

A blustery March morning

sends cherry blossoms scurrying

off tree limbs,

dancing down the burnished street.

Swirling and dipping,

the flower petals

are ballet dancers performing

to a boisterous etude.

As each gust robs the trees of their spring clothing,

darkening skies tell tall of a storm brewing.

My cheeks glow red against the chilly air

and my fingers grow numb.

A light thermal vest is little comfort

against the cold.

March can be fickle,

reminding us

we are only pieces moved about

on nature’s chessboard.

Look Up From Your Life

James Taylor has a song called

Look Up From Your Life.

Simple and lovely,

the song stays with me.

In the crush of busy days,

it is easy

to keep one’s head down.


look up and you may wonder…

What does today’s sky

look like at sunrise?

Why has my student been so quiet?

What book is that student reading?

What might my son need?

What writing brilliance awaits

in that student’s thoughts?

What connections can I make today

by simply

looking up from my life?


Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

I drafted this poem today in response to Irene Latham & Charles Water’s poem “Justice” in Dictionary for a Better World. I wrote alongside my students.

For two years,

a virus kept us at arms length,

locked away.

Loved ones were available

only by phone or video.

Some struggled to survive.

As spring blooms,

we can thank

brilliant scientists.

Miracle drugs

developed in the flash of an eye,

shot hope into our arms.

We cheered health workers,

thanked grocery clerks,

appreciated  a walk outside.

We have been given 

a new chance —

a fresh start.

What legacy of good

will you leave  in

the world?





Will you bring back

selfish, me-first vibes

that  truly separated us

in the first place?

I vote 

we stay united, brothers and sisters.

A Writing Desk of My Own

Sitting down,

the first thing I do

is turn on the thin

chrome desk lamp.

Light floods the glass top

of a lean, modern desk.

Jars and mugs

filled with all manner

of colored pens and sharpened pencils

crown the top of the desk.

Above the desk,

a large picture window

brings in orange glows of sunrise.

This is a place for writing,

for pondering,

for creating.

There is something so uplifting

about my own writing space.


this haven,

carved out especially for words,

is an incubator

for creativity.



Heading out with the dogs

for an afternoon walk,

my mind is heavy

with “to dos”,

worries, ideas.


after a block

I notice a young cherry tree,

perfect pink blossoms,

flowering at eye level.

On the corner,

my pups meet a friend,

and my mouth

lifts in a smile.

Next, a tender breeze

sweeps a few items

off the list in my head.

The late day sun

slows my pace

and warms my cheeks.

As I turn up my walk,

I feel restored.