Art show coming up

Three of my pieces will be in an art show next week at a local city hall. The exhibition theme is “Nature” and this show is not juried, there is no entry fee and no 50% commission. Naturally, I liked the price. Here are the three I entered. They are smaller – about 8 x 10 unframed. Also below, I have been playing with some new designs for mandalas. These are more freeform and less abstract.

Thanks for stopping by.


Mid-January Morning

Readers have asked me why my poems  are usually limited to what I see at the park – too much of a “sameness.”

I used to write poetry as a means of expressing my thoughts or opinions, purging deep emotions, telling my stories. Now I rarely get into philosophical discussions, describe the turbulence of life and relationships, make reference to current socio-political situations or injustices, or make comments of a personal nature. What poetry I write now is a by-product of sitting quietly and writing down my observations – very visual, very factual without much recourse to any ‘story’ behind what I see.

I am trying to disappear as a poet, as a presence in the poem – maybe exist as sort of an eye relating what is seen. Why? Because I am tired listening to and recording my thoughts – which often/always revolve around what I think, what I feel, what I want, my past, my future, me, me, me, etc., etc., ad infinitum. If I restrict myself to the visual, the constant chatter of the mind subsides and I feel peaceful. I now leave it to the reader to supply any story line or to give any meaning to the experience.

Here is what was seen the other day. Thanks for visiting.

Mid-January morning,
fog and dew burned away,
reveals a scattering of tiny suns
in the grass – dandelions.

Damp air
filled with the scent of clay and chlorophyll
and the endless twittering of unseen birds,
curls around oak’s gnarly limbs
that twist and turn like arthritic arms,
soaking up the sun that drives the sap
coursing through cellulose veins.

White dots are scattered
along black branches of graceful trees –
soon to awake from winter dreams of summer.

Three squirrels
race up and down the trunk,
of the slender willow,
swing from branch to branch,
like drunken acrobats,
tails twitching, eyes sparkling.

Four city workers
wearing eye-blinding orange vests and baseball caps
set out lawn chairs beside the big tall pine,
open brown bags as they discuss the challenge
of keeping the waters flowing
through sewers that lie beneath
the black paved streets of a winter-soaked city.

Young brown girl
sports a sleek 1940’s pompadour,
curled and rolled above her delicate shoulders,
ear buds in, iPhone on,
in seeming conversation with the air,
sack purse swinging, smooth hips swaying,
young legs striding across the lawn
she moves to other destinations.

Black boy,
pants at half-mast, bandana round his head,
stands beside the hip hop van
with low rider wheels and dice on the dash,
greets a member of the ‘hood’
who arrives slouching and bopping
and snapping his fingers to the booming bass
that smites the air with impact and effect,
and shares the secret tribal handshake.

An old man
in a tattered gray coat
pushing a grocery cart with wobbling wheels
and piled high with fat plastic bags,
rumbles down the street and is followed
by a middle-aged woman
who jauntily holds aloft a gaily striped umbrella
and sings softly to herself.

totters, leading the way to the duck pond,
as the small shoes of the curly-haired girl
blink off and on at each hop and skip,
while Grandma smiles and follows,
walker clacking,
step, roll, pause – step, roll, pause

Little white dog
leashed to a large white woman
is tugged and pulled from enticing smells,
waves its feathery tail
and tosses its head and sets to shaking
ears that are caught up with pink pony-tail ribbons.

Two golden retrievers,
walking along in unison,
jump into a small white car
bearing “Go Kings” stickers –
and as it drives away
big orange heads
hang out of windows,
ears back, tongues lolling,
tails waving goodbye.

Bright, sparkling, clear day of winter

Bright, sparkling, clear day of winter,
the first day of the year at play
in this garden of Eden.

The rowdy wind flexes its muscles,
somersaults across the trees
and plays kick-the-can with leaves

as they clatter up and down the street.
Bright sparkling, clear day of winter,
beloved by pine trees and firs,

who shake their skirts and toss their heads
and straighten their aprons
in celebration of the new year’s arrival.

The winter sun wraps its chilling arms
around the dark oaks where mistletoe
hangs like giant Christmas balls

and reduces the ladylike white birch to a sleepy stupor.
The naked long-limbed branches of the willow
dance and sway side to side

across the small creek that carries sere leaves
and broken branches and autumn-colored ducks
that paddle around small rocks and yellow reeds.

The sharp sun beams through its blue sky portal
and sets in relief the street man
who rummages through trash barrels

for empty cans and bottles,
setting aside half-eaten sandwiches
and luncheon treats for later consumption

then throws the bulging black plastic bag
over his shoulder, making the bottles clink
as they settle down among the cans

while he walks to the empty playground
that waits in patient silence for the arrival
of the laughing children of spring.

Bright, sparkling, clear day of winter
shows the frosty breath
of the heavy-set, hip-jiggling girl in green

who jogs in the wake
made by long legs
of the young black boy

who slides and glides
along the slipstream of paths
while their stream of conversation

tacks back and forth
in the winter breeze
and startles the small dog with a wagging tail

who sits in a gray camper truck
that wears a kayak on its roof
and waits while the man with a plaid cap

unloads a silver and black tricycle,
long and low and elegant, then
slides down into the molded leather seat.

Man speeds off, dog racing alongside,
as a tall yellow pennant at the rear
whips in the cool breeze.

Bright, sparkling, clear day of winter
with swashes of chartreuse
streaking through the emerald grass

making eyes to squint to mute the vibrancy
while infinitesimal pin pricks of lights
dance behind closed eyes

blinking off and on, each a minute life
played out on a red stage
as the wind tosses and taunts and prods

to create the first poem
of the first day
of the new year.