Stress is an Odd Bear

BEAR by ryan-grewell-95004

Stress is an odd bear. Ferocious. Hungry. But there must be some perception of cuteness about it. For we treat it like a teddy bear. Take it to bed with us. Cuddle it. Hold it when we wake up in the dark. Share it with friends. Family. It is always there for us. Whenever we need it. And we welcome it into our lives. Stress is an odd bear. It goes into hibernation often. We don’t really miss it when it is gone. We know it sleeping. Snoring perhaps, and storing up energy for the next time we need it to arise, exit its cave, land on our pillow, our doorstep, our desk at work, our kitchen counter while we bake chocolate chip scones, and take over our lives. Stress is an odd bear. Big and sharp clawed. Keen and cunning. It loves cherries and fish. Honey. It loves to eat. Away at our souls. It hangs on for it is loyal. And we appear to appreciate its loyalty. And we take it to bed with us, but again. Just like Joan Armatrading sings, ‘some days, the bear will eat you.’ Stress is an odd bear.

Photo by Ryan Grewell on Unsplash




Sky as soft as a good night’s sleep
pinks like pillows and dreams
the ones you don’t need to remember.
The air is absent and invisible
no burn or chill, not a rustle
no risk, just a river guarded
by reeds and miles of possibility.

The sun sets early here, slips behind
the black hills quickly, Mingus Mountain
made up like a desert bed in prickly chenille
it tucks the little city in for the evening.
Wide shadows keep tempers cool
bunnies and scrubs settle in the brush.

A skunk squeals, determined
disrupting the heavy night, twisted
sheets woven like insomnia. She heaves
dousing the air with a poignant authority.
Some desert toiler, once brave, now greased
returns to the wild, empty handed
sullen, hoping sunrise offers
another chance at courage,
for a nod or a pat on the back,
or just to bring home

via Daily Prompt: Brave

Conversation with Blue

You bathe at the banks
of the Verde River, Blue, you
strike a deep note beside
the muddy timber of green reeds
that don’t hide you
when you leave.
Those wings reach the edges
of my curiosity
and I am only brave enough
to inquire of your disappearing shadow:

“Why do I wait for next, Blue?
What is amiss with my now?
Why do I think better
is on the other side
of this minute?
Instead of within it?

Why is sleep so tempting?
Because it offers morning:
some other, some new
chance at what I didn’t do

Distant blue sings to my reflection
ripples in the slow current,
eyes down, dog splashes, crickets
nod to the sun’s set.

“You wait for nothing,
and call it something,”
Blue writes in cursive,
“You plan breathing
because it fills time.
You listen to stories
because it is easier
than telling your own.
You don’t dream
but for when you sleep.

“Remember the gift of tomorrow
is its return.”

Sharp blades of grasses crack
as I head back to the trail
yawning and ready already
for an early dinner.
“Think I’ll turn in early,”
I tell the dog still sniffing
in the cattails
for the things
I left behind.

photo of Great Blue Heron courtesy

A Bug in My Eye, or Dear Eye Doctor, You Missed the Metaphor

beetle 3
The eye doctor said with ease, expertise, and very little drama, “You have a bug in your eye. It’s part of a wing, probably from a beetle.” While he is an ophthalmologist, and not an entomologist, I doubted his diagnosis. Not about the foreign object, that was evident from several weeks of feeling exactly like I had a bug in my eye, and then, of course, the proof in the image they showed me. (Whoa.) No, I doubted his diagnosis regarding which type of bug it was that had landed in my eye.

I did a little Google entomology research (ah, we all get to be such experts these days) about beetles in Cottonwood, Arizona, and I was, to say the least, unimpressed. The beetle types residing in my new geography are all a little, well, ugly, or at least uninteresting. From a non-bug person’s perspective that is. So I decided that, certainly, something far more beautiful and noteworthy found its way behind the epithelium of my eye. Something memorable, amazing, and definitely metaphor material must have lodged itself into my cornea.

Something like a candy cane beetle. Who wouldn’t want to eat one of those? Who wouldn’t want one of those in their eye? Or perhaps something strong and bold and loud like the Apache cicada. Like the one who greeted me and Romeo with resounding, and enduring, song each time we meandered down to the Verde River for a hike and a dip. Surely, surely it was that type of bug that journeyed deep into my face.

And while said doctor–who, by the way, did a fantastic job of diagnosing and solving my little issue (literally tiny); and whose bedside manner was absolutely reputable, and to whom I will go again in my new quest for discovering what the Verde Valley offers in medical care–saw the problem quickly, he saw it quite differently than I did. While he talked about the depth, the tissue, the scarring and possible infection, the need for antibiotics and artificial tears and steroids, and rattled off so many beautiful scientific words, oh, oh, blah, blah, blah, medical eye doctor blah! He simply didn’t get it.

And, yes, I watched doggedly as his technician brought in the “optical forceps” box and the “foreign object” box (did that have a collection in it, I wondered?). I remained as still as a rock when he leaned into the black box that divided us, his headed the opposite side of mine, and as we looked eye to eye, he took a very, very sharp object and put it as gently as a grandma would do, right into the center of my eye, and he scooped out said beetle. “Do you want to see it?” he asked.

“Does a beetle have wings?” I replied. He told the tech to put it on a piece of Scotch tape for me.

And then I listened carefully and very seriously when he softly but distinctly scolded me. When he moved the eye inspecting machine, the one with the blue light like an acid trip, out of the way, and he looked into my eyes, and he leaned in close, and then closer, and quietly asked, “How long did you say you were you in pain?”

I cleared my throat and noted to myself that I was so glad he did not have bad breath because that would have made the moment hysterical instead of serious, and I said, “Um, two weeks or so . . . ”

Sternly, fatherly, very concerned and doctorly, he said, without pause, “Don’t let your eye hurt for that long next time. Come see your doctor if your eye hurts. If that had been a piece of metal . . . ”

I immediately put on my good-Catholic-girl face–been practicing that one for a lifetime–and not even sarcastically I said, and I meant it, “Yes, thank you, Doctor, I will.” Point well taken.

But, dear Doctor, what I didn’t say is that you simply didn’t see what I saw. In fact, you completely missed the masterful life metaphor here. A foreign object, potentially hazardous, flew stealthily into my eye, and how did my eye respond? That, my dear Doctor, is the real question. How did my eye respond?

It did not scream. Itch. Tear. Or complain. Not at first anyway. Said cornea appears to have said, without a blink, apparently and literally, to the foreign object, “Come on in. Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable.” And appeared to have served said foreign object, or baby beetle as you believed, strong black tea and wrapped it in a comfy blanket of cornea tissue, and said soothingly, and apparently somewhat lonesomely, “Welcome home.”

Are corneas so lonely that they take in perfect strangers? So desperate? So friendly? Have they not received the memo that I have been reciting all my life and reiterated often to my children all their lives, “Do not talk to strangers,” etc.?

Ah, you see, dear Doctor, this is why your diagnosis is simply incorrect and my diagnosis would be spot on. The above scenario clearly indicates that it could not have been just any old, brown, baby, ugly beetle who arrived at the threshold of my cornea’s home and rammed its way in like some criminal with intention of keeping my cornea hostage for a few weeks, as you had determined. No, no, no.

It was certainly an insect as beautiful and colorful as the candy cane beetle; for who could ever ignore entry to that outfit? Deny entry to that, er, eye candy, or at least engage that beauty in a conversation about where they were headed, what party or festival? Did they take a wrong turn, are they lost? “Can I get you a cab?”

Or, if not the candy cane beetle which actually, and unfortunately, doesn’t usually make it this far north in Arizona. (See, I am a Google bug expert now). Certainly it was a bug that would sing for its supper. A bug that hovered at the porch of my cornea’s home and sang a loud, enticing song to which my cornea opened her doors, her windows, and she brought out the tissue to dab the tears in her eyes, grateful for such a moving and passionate serenade, albeit a bit on the noisy side. Then she gladly invited the Apache cicada in for a tymbal-soothing belly rub, and a pillow to rest the horny bug’s head.

When you, dear Doctor, promptly plucked that comfy little chunk of insect out of my eye, with an object that could have, yes, in fact, poked my eye out; and when you, dear Doctor, wrapped my cornea in an optical bandage . . . what?

I at first imagined myself donning a black patch for the rest of the week, and was excited that I had saved my vocabulary list from ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day.’

But when you explained that it was–how boring–just a contact dipped in antibiotic, and not even a colored contact, dear Doctor, you disappointed.

“No,” your tech said, “The optical bandages do not come in purple.” (How fun to have had one violet eye for a day or two . . . no imagination these folks, just no imagination.)

And then you sent me on my way. Doctor, did you not realize that my cornea was left bereft. Did you not hear my cornea snuffle, drowning under tears and drops and wrapped in a plastic dome, and finally offering this?

“That was,” lonely cornea muttered. “That was my new friend.”

Stuck forever on a piece of tape, no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. And into the ‘foreign object’ box for time unknown. Goodbye.

Ah. To an eye doctor, a simple exercise of extrication. To an entomologist, a specimen. To a poet, well, a story. A sad one at that.

So, now, dear reader, it is not a poem that I can offer to this tale, for no poem that I have written brings justice to this brief narrative, although I am working on a series of haiku.

Instead, I offer this opportunity to join a sing-along. And I bet you find yourself humming this song later today.  Score! Happy Saturday!

Death Is A Mess

I decided at the beginning of 2017 that I would finally make the move I had been talking about making since I became an empty-nester. I would leave Flagstaff. Find a smaller newer home. Go on a residential adventure, so to speak. That was five years ago. The plan moved from the back and then to the front of my mind as finances and employment shifted. When I finally built back my savings, I lost my job. My savings dwindled, then disappeared, and I found new job. This year, I was finally ready to do it. And as all big life moments have proven to do–life, death and all in between–it grew messy.

As I embarked upon this journey, as with all journeys, there were the knowns of home repair: a zillion trips to the local hardware store, and to Home Depot, and to the paint store. The solving of one problem (eg. repair the brick facade on the front of the house) always led to the discovery of another (a network of wasps living behind the artwork hanging on the brick facade) and and so on.

I was used to the upkeep and re-keep of an old house. We had grown old together that house and I, and there was not much it could do that would surprise me. Granted, the hot tub, also old, leaking again the day before I moved, well . . . . chewing gum anyone?

But then there were the unknowns that continuously surprised me. How bureaucratic can a relatively simple, very common, everyday occurrence be? It wasn’t like I was in high rise rentals in Manhattan and Zurich. I sold and bought small, single-family homes in small American towns. But the paper. The paper! If I wasn’t sending the deposit, I was depositing the check,  and if I wasn’t checking on the email, I was emailing the signature, and if not signing but another electronic form I was forming a knot in my brain the size of Ponderosa pine cone.

Finally, I’m out, and I’m in. Old house behind me, new house around me. And yet, it continues. I am happily settled in these new digs, enthusiastically getting to know this part of Arizona, the Verde Valley, which is, yes, as the name indicates, green. And I have chosen a much younger house, on an un-treed lot, in a much smaller town with a much warmer climate. Goals accomplished. But wait! The bureaucracy continues. The former bank sent duplicate documents that had already been emailed. The new bank sent duplicates of thirty years worth of payment tickets when I already established that I will pay my new mortgage online. The seller’s mail arrives by the bucketloads.  Oh, we are shrouded in paper we are, shrouded until we die.

Which brings me, actually, to the other point. The business of dying. When my mother died in 2002, and my father, who had suffered numerous strokes over the previous ten years, let alone the gut wrenching sorrow of losing his wife of more than fifty years, was faced with the business of her dying, I was struck dumb. Me, who had railed at the financial aid system of yore for tying up my college funds in paper and tape and sour faces. Me, who had by then purchased two homes (although I happily agreed that my ex husband would take care of all of the business). Me, who had been a legal secretary in North Carolina where lawyers manage property sales, not realtors. Me, who had applied for university, graduate school, visas, passports, the Peace Corps, etc., I thought I knew bureaucracy. But there is none like that of dealing with the dead.

As my friend Michelle’s daughter noted, ‘but he’s dead!’ of her recently passed father and the entourage of bills and paperwork that currently bombards their lives. Shouldn’t it go away if he’s dead? No, darling. The status of the loved one as no longer existing seems to mysteriously trigger a parade of very live and fast moving pieces of debris, or mail, message, and mystery, as it will all come to be known.

The sad irony, of course, is that as I work through the time-consuming and brain-kidnapping and toilsome work of selling a house, buying a house, and moving from one to the other, I am irritated, annoyed, tired, stressed, etc., but, in the end, I have a new house, a place to fill with life, and to make my home.

And the exact opposite is true in dealing with the business of death: all you get is nothing. Loneliness. Gone-ness. Each day new reminders of your loved one’s old habits or paths or routines or favorite shirt or stained spoon or favorite topping for pizza. You think that it is all over, and you just want to crawl under a rock forever and find the depth of your bottomless grief, and then comes the cheery phone call from your loved one’s dry cleaners that his shirts are ready for pick up.

“He can’t wear them in the grave!” you want to scream, but don’t, and just quietly click the call away and make a note, on the list, that seems to have doubled in size while you weren’t looking, ‘go through paper-clipped receipts on desk.’ Then another call. Someone telling you that the part for the truck is in. What part? Then the insurance calls to tell you they need the death certificate in triplicate. The death certificates that were lost in the mail.

The charity requests were the saddest calls for my father. My mother was known to be quickly and easily swayed by the late night starving-babies-in-Africa-charity commercials. And she would call the 800 number on the screen and give her charge card number over the phone in the wee hours to some voice far away. Then thank you cards would arrive donning the same sad faces that had convinced my mother to give in the first place. And then said charities would call her regularly asking for continued funding. Even when she was dead. It broke my father’s heart all over again.

I have lived away from my state of origin for many years, and thus, I was not there for the moment of my mother’s death as the rest of my eight siblings were. They stood by her bed together as she passed. When I arrived from Arizona, post her passing, I was assigned several duties, and listened, for days, to the re-telling of my mother’s final days, hours, and then moments. The lesson of death was well-taught.

I stayed with my dad for a few weeks afterward to help him out and keep him company. He watched La Boheme, over and over again, weeping quietly, as I tended, as best I could, to the business of my mother’s death. I learned the bureaucratic ride that this simple, every day, very common occurrence was going to be.

It all gets so messy. Death, life, homes, relationships, all of it, not only do they all get ‘messy’ as in complicated emotionally, they are all just a mess, literally. A mess of paperwork and decisions and reminders and calls and forms and thousands of lines of very, very small print, an onslaught of the bureaucratic lives from which we can not escape, even when we are dead.

Death Is a Mess

We enshrouded her with white velvet, mums,
explanation, and decided against the titanium

casket, we chose brushed steel. Potato salad and hams
arrived, packaged Danish, flowers in sad friends’ hands

but death is a mess you can’t cover with food, smiles
or words, it smells. Put a lid on it, a bag, a sheet, tell

again what you witnessed with her last exhale,
how men in suits wrapped her in the stained percale;

Tell of the pastel tissue you used to wipe
her lips, her chin, her discomfort, the Kleenex piled

up like crumpled carnations in the trash, all those
layers peeling off her body until death found home,

in her throat, that rattle, and she closed your eyes,
your denial more moist than her expected demise.

I never got to say goodbye but imagined her last breath
repeated again and again by those who saw her death

those who watched the final whisper of her uneven chest
the air slowly escaping its unforgiving nest

their coffin of words couldn’t solidify death’s puddle
like formaldehyde does for the dearly beloved

but we chose the right shoes, the rosary laced
through her polished fingers, we rouged her face

then the burnished cap’s click had the final word
cousins passed holy cards and threw wormless dirt

we plant only short flowers, crocus and ivy
lawnmowers can’t reach them, we keep the grave tidy.


poster image from Urban Flavors

Sadness Seems Irrelevant: Losing Tilly


With all that is going on in the world, thousands upon thousands slammed by earthquakes and volcanoes; forest fires and hurricanes; flooding and tornadoes, and literally slammed, the loss of my cat seems so minimal. My tears seem irrelevant. Each time I call her or miss or or feel the tug of her absence, I grab a bit of perspective, like a dusty tuft of Tilly hair floating across the floor, swallow my sorrow, and move on, repeatedly asking myself: ‘Really, Anne Marie?’ But then it will happen again. Little moments of sad.

Cat lovers, pet owners, they know what I mean. Loss is loss, on one hand, but on the other, the disappearance of a well-loved and really cool cat, compared to losing absolutely everything in one’s life to some raging storm or other natural disaster . . . well, I feel that I should be very quiet about missing this furry friend.

She is quite the pretty kitty, loves sinks, as the photo above indicates, and hates her nap being interrupted by my wanting to clean the sink. Heaven forbid. Even non cat lovers see at least one of her many attributes. She is not a drama cat. Not mean by any stretch of the word. Smart? Well, she does like to sleep in the middle of the street, and that worries us all, but she survived as an outdoor cat in the forest for nearly ten years. Two weeks in the desert and she’s . . . gone. Girl?

Coyotes and foxes, rottweilers and pit bulls, she could outrun them or trick them in Flagstaff. Perhaps there is not a tree tall enough for her to scamper up when chased here in the high desert. Perhaps a hawk or owl found her in said short tree. Perhaps she is curled up and snoozing somewhere checking out her new hood. She is quite the Lounger.

Perhaps, as they say, the cat always comes back. For now, as irrelevant as it seems in light of the tremendous loss so many are experiencing, I just wanted to give her a little public note. Because she is simply Tilly. The coolest cat around. Here’s a film the girls made, just to show you how talented she was (cut and paste the url). Oh, Tilly.

And for all those who have lost so so much more than a 10-pound, ten-year-old cat in these last few awful weeks, I am so, so sorry.

p.s. Tilly came back after 3 days. A bit bedraggled and speckled with burrs. She’ll be fine. I wish all others such great fortune.

Tilly in the Sink, by me; Painting of Tilly, by Riana.

via Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

September Baby; Celebration Pie

for Riana

Peach sky, and blueberry pie.
My baby’s birthday, she’s twenty-five.
A quarter century, and from that moment of birth
I loved rocking her, now she’s rockin’ the earth.

Feisty and tender, a complete painter’s palette.
Keen on her limits, but, oh, give her a challenge!
An artist, a scientist, smart as a whip –
She colors our world with fashion and wit.

Who knows what’s next, some amazing creation –
Like the autumn sky, she’s my sweet celebration.



Power Tools

scone maker final no3

for Susan Tweit

It is September 15.  The sun seems to have hit snooze more often than I did. It is particularly lazy today, and has, perhaps, hesitated at the tree line across the street for hours. Not too subtle a reminder, let me tell you, that days are getting shorter, and worse yet, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. It’s more like a whack on this old soft head of mine. Darkness is coming!

I ignore the hint and feel my way in the dark as I feed the pets their breakfast; I am that stubborn. I simply refuse to turn on a light because I am certain, I insist, there must be enough early morning light for coffee and kibbles. Right? BONK! I bang my head on an open cupboard, curse, and then flip on the damn light. The big star wins again. Life’s lessons are far more patient than I deserve. They repeat and repeat and never complain, never say, “Dang, will that woman ever learn?” And, yes, I do, actually.

Some lessons come more easily. The ‘learn’ moment is gentler. The remembering easy. I recently read a piece on the power of power tools by Susan Tweit. Her words are a toothbrush (little tiny power tool) to the plaque covering my brain. She provides the creative and confident scrub my self-esteem needs. Great lessons. Thanks, woman.

She writes on power tools and the importance of being a “Tool Girl,” the importance of “knowing how to use tools, and learn the basics of building and un-building, of creating and repairing what we and others build.” She is managing the project of recreating her new (old) home. I admire her and envy her and want to curl up on the couch in her pretty, getting prettier, house and have her tell me again, “Yes, Anne Marie, you can use your miniature Craftsman drill.” And then she would serve me tea and soothe my withering confidence. Alas, in reality it would be the rotating hammer she put in my hand. “Tea later. We’ve got work to do,” she would say, and I’d hesitatingly oblige.

You see, I have always used “power tools,” or so I joked with the boyfriend who took it upon himself to teach me “real” power tools. He’s the one who bought me said mini drill. To this day it collects more dust than rpms somewhere out in the garage. I never quite got the hang of the slight, but functional, little pistol-shaped screwdriver. What’s wrong with the non-electric one? I asked. Again. And then I walked him to my kitchen.

It is there I showed him my power tools. My Kitchen Aid mixer. Kitchen Aid food processor. Black & Decker hand mixer. Osterizer blender. It is with these electric beauties that I understand the importance of speed, balance, stirring that is consistent no matter  how heavy the dough. I make power pies. Super scones. Energy bars and breakfast cookies. They pour from my aromatic kitchen like Susan’s bricks fell away from her useless planter box. She applied jack hammer pressure, I roll dough with a French pin. She covered herself in powdered mortar, I cover my counter tops with flour, my fingertips with powdered sugar, both of which I can clean with my tongue, mind you. A bonus needless to say. She gets an amazing house. I get yummies to serve to the folks, often men, who hammer, haul, install, remove, etc., for me in my house. Either way, Susan and I, we both make a home.

As I embarked on purchasing a house, I saw all the ones that said “needs a little TLC,” and I balked. I have chosen a “tight” home as the inspector said, on a pretty little street, in a place that is new for me. Single woman on her own. The house is not a fixer upper. If the plumbing leaks, the electricity fails, the floorboards pop . . . I am on my own. My Kitchen Aid will not help. Well, I take that back. Knowing me, I’ll make a batch of cranberry scones and offer them to a neighbor or friend to help me out, to bring over their power tools, and whir away.

Buying my own house is a new experience. I have not endeavored upon a move of this sort in 40 years and never walked through the bureaucracy alone. These lessons required patience, and were rewarding after all is said and done. And while part of me yearned for a fixer upper: to take on that challenge, to be at work like Susan Tweit is, sweaty and painful and physical and rewarding, I retreated from the idea. Oh, to defy the gender power tool rules. And become a favorite and known customer at the local hardware store, not because I ask the best questions and tell the funniest jokes — as was the case at Hunts in Flagstaff, my neighborhood hardware which just closed, caving after 10 years to the likes of Home Depot — but because I would be there so often with my tool belt and serious demeanor. “I know what a rotating drill is, yeah I do!” Nah.

When I walked into this house, I saw the “tight.” It does not need fixing or upgrades, it does not lack function or safety or comfort. It is to code, it is to my liking. It is simple and small and begging, I hear it daily, for the smell of fresh cranberry scones. It needs another batch of oatmeal walnut cookies. Pies? What flavor? I have frozen peaches and blueberries and strawberries and rhubarb all from the local farmers market. I am so ready. The house offers a counter top that is long and wide enough to hold my favorite power tools without having to schlep the heavy bastards from the pantry down the hall. Right there at my fingertips. Let’s make this house a home.

I read Susan Tweit’s narrative ode to ‘tool girls,’ and I am grateful, and envious. I suffer a bit of immediate shame. Did I mother poorly if my daughters do not know how to change the oil in their car? Replace a broken light fixture? Stop a running toilet? Or tear down a multi-course brick wall with a rotating hammer? They do not know how to, nor, like me, do they have the inclination to learn. Or do they? I suspect, they have braved far more than their mother, just as I did my mother. She was deathly afraid of driving. And that is another story for another post.

But was I remiss in assuming their father would teach them the likes, and then when that couldn’t happen to not step up to the plate, was I negligent? Nemo dat quod non habet. I suspect my dear enviable friend Susan would be the first to say, no. You can’t give what you don’t have.

My daughters are smart, kind, generous and gracious. So when it comes to needing help, like their mother, they know how to get it, to barter, to bargain, to trade, and to say, thanks. Be it with a 30-second video spot, a vintage dress from the collection, some other artistic endeavor, or just a handshake and a smile, they know how to be humble, and grateful. More importantly, they will acquire the skills necessary for the task at hand.

But do they bake? No. They, like me, have their own power tools. And rely, quite happily, upon my use of all the tools that bring bread into our visits. Do I earn the Tool Girl title that Susan wears, truly a badge of feminism and courage, with pride and gusto? Perhaps yes. My courage, feminism, gusto, have manifested themselves in other ways, I suppose. As Susan says, “Whatever we do in our lives, knowing how to work with our hands and muscles makes us strong and capable, more grounded.”

So my confidence may waver and slow like the September sun when it comes to my use of the Craftsmen line. But we’re all tool girls in one way or the other, making our way as strong and grounded women of the world. And in my case, full, too.

I Don’t Do It for the Hours

I bake bread because
baking it
makes me
taste it.
The moment.
The yeast water sugar moment.
Nothing else matters
but for the bubbles
the foam
the biting bitter flash
when nostril and fresh yeast
meet, yes
a fantasy
of senses
mixing in that massive
Hobart bowl rocking as the hook
wraps the dough around
and around kneading
that dough around
until it’s a fat dough cuddle.
Rub its cheek;
slap it on the bread board
and need it some more.

I bake bread because
baking it
makes me
taste it.
The moment.
The sweet hot toast moment.
Nothing else matters
when butter and bread marry
dressed in yellow
and white
and melt all the way
down the aisle
to the pleased preacher
waiting at my widening waistline
for the perfect couple.
Waiting to bless them
and keep them
warm and waiting
for the next bite.

I bake bread because
baking it
makes me
taste it
and tasting it
makes me full.

*The image above is my one and only attempt at graphic design in Adobe Illustrator. Power tool of graphic designers.  I call it “The Scone Maker” and while my Kitchen Aid is white, my dream Kitchen Aid is bright red. And, yes, the color of power tools matters. 

Please visit Susan’s site; and Riana’s store at




sings pink
this morning
where has August gone?

light the sky long
after sunset
summer’s last song

Autumn’s chill
settles softly now
across my pillow
and chin

September sits
so patiently
I’ll bring
the heavy quilt in.

Be A Poet, Five Easy Steps

be a poetBe A Poet

Be a poet. Be that person
who dreams at the bed’s edge.
Be that light between night
and dawn. Between the letters
that pause. Sit below w’s stems. Be
as quiet as dancing alone or be as loud
as tomorrow.

Quiet days give way
to summer’s heat. And thunder.
Roll toward the apple display.
Where passion burned through her shirt.
Every cell of her body.
Saw off branches. Steer the ship alone.
Release, and joy, and lovely.

The bowl is shallow, the soup barely broth.
Not telling our truths is holding our breath,
leaving a trail of who we are.
Underneath agitation, the treasure.

We do not know the colors of honest.
We give into body and busy.
Reject the air that carries the words.

There are those storytellers.
That person behind the wall,
see yourself from above.

Picasso says artists see like a child.
Word manipulation and story.
The gruel and grit of the moment.

I don’t get cream in my coffee,
energy or fragrance.
Smell the mess, the arrogance.
Like rain and electricity,
the colder, darker days.
Where do you dream now?


Photo by Steve Richey on Unsplash

via Daily Prompt: Shallow