To O’Keefe


Ravens over Pedernal tell stories

of a cactus woman who painted

skylines, pineapple buds, and

whatever else she pleased,


of a white place, a black place,

her faraway yin-yang, and

small beauties in a land

of sun-bleached bones


in a cloud over the mesa

see the dust of the devoted

dancing with her beloved

and the memory of flowers


Obsession / Tippy and Alfie

He, the most powerful one, was honored for his vision turned magic on the screen.  He was a shortish man, rotund, light brown eyes with lush, transparent lashes.  Invisible in his famous profile were those eyes, a canvas of adoration, blinking, hoping, like an infatuated child.  That was the scariest part of all, that naked need.  There was one girl after another, until there was her.

She, a model getting by, had a child to care for by herself.  Beautiful, dignified, gracious and grateful, she could hardly believe her good fortune at being chosen by him to convey his genius.  With increasing frequency, she felt a chill and found his eyes taking her in, observing her as a specimen.  He micro-managed her, and even had her handwriting analyzed as if to break her up into puzzle pieces for him to reassemble.  He was driven to mold her into his most perfect creation and destroy her with five days of horrific pecking, pecking, pecking, until she slumped into a heap on the floor.

Unexpectedly, she became everything he desired, with a career she had never dared hope for.  His public fame became his desperate, private shame, as she resisted his begging for her touch, defiant always.  It was her job to please him, professionally, so she clung to herself, unyielding, for her daughter and their future, as the line between her-self and his self-of-her blurred.  She held herself, ruthlessly, to her own self despite his repeated attempts to violate her demeanor.  She came back to do her job, time after time, until the humiliation and his unashamed demands for her body and being became unbearable.

When the final scene ended, the wig, chains and yellow purse dropped away, and the tip of a volcano of tears slid down her cheek.  She took refuge for months, resting and holding her daughter.  “He giveth, and he taketh away” is what she had to accept, as that vengeful one kept her from working again.

If only he were handsome, or even kind?  But that’s not who he was; his obsession wasn’t love.  His grotesqueness mirrored who he had become.  Safe with his wife, who was observing, ever present, and to the side.

my horizon home

my horizon home beckons,

when the ways of words are gone,

and the need to feel is deep,


soak your eyes in my mountains,

trace my jagged lines, my curves,

my purple layers permeate you,


we are still, yet we are moving,

we quiet ones who never sleep

Pantoum: Literary Key West

DSC00172 DSC00178

Here we gather, aging ants,

focused, clouds of chatter,

“Education Leads to Freedom”,

my heart becomes Cuban,


focused, clouds of chatter,

drawn into the body of San Carlos,

my heart became Cuban,

white marble steps, rising,


draw into the body of San Carlos,

Ernest looms above all,

white marble steps, rising,

Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop,


Ernest looms above all,

“Education Leads to Freedom”,

Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop,

here we gather, aging ants.


invisible sap,
she wears the bark
of the weeping willow,
bending to the wind

stubborn angel,
she guides me out of bed,
presses the piñon roast,
sets me on my day

sister of perseverance,
she lives in cocoons,
pawn shops, and
the wink of my grandmother’s eye

lone dandelion,
she eats what her stomach will allow,
what she can get away with,
what her mother fed her

blazing phoenix,
dog with a bone,
because of you,
I am happy to be alive

Sestina: Right Now is a Season


white stars on a horizon of blue

snow announces it’s presence

in the yawning shadow of a mountain

my mind chews on lingering seeds

left over from a different season

church bells guide me, look for the light


as I lift my head, there is no light

the sun a blip on a sky void of blue

in this moment of many seasons

gray is the only one present

chaos of creation encompassed in seeds

dirt made manifest, murky mountains


I hope one day to climb those mountains

arms wide open, try to catch that light

let my spirit go to seed

the sky be my vast ocean blue

bathe in light’s holy presence

dare to reveal my season


right now is a season

for terra-cotta cloaked mountains

and dusty beasts revealing the presence

of air given form, dancing with light

for a moment masking the blue

jarring loose dreaming seeds




catching in nooks waiting for seeds

lucky enough to have their season

horizon’s hues, the purple and blue

of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

in the shade of the fading light

I can not deny their presence


right now is the undeniable presence

of stories hiding in hearty seeds

nurture dreams unready for light

until it is their season

when through the clouds a patch of blue

emerges over the mountains


turquoise vein’s shocking blue presence

creeps through mountainsides full of seed,

this season of solar-flare-northern-lights

For A Friend

Our first good times,
we shared my brown suede jacket,
you gave me a bullseye cross.

As miles between us multiplied,
seasons became years,
children owned our savage hearts.

Then, my home became your refuge,
a woodland to your deer,
with little white she-bear.

Now all your beautiful songs
are a solo for one,
and as I look for keys
in this post-everything life,

I see you see me in the rear view.
I can no longer hide in memory.
I must acquiesce.