Saturday, May 30, 2009



Crows rose like black rick rack
into a sky of blue violence,
up from the golden wheat fields,
where boots had trampled
a sad and solitary path.

Listen to the screams of the crows
as they furiously flap their oil black
attempting to ascend the boundaries
of the earth, only to be caught
forever in a flight of vain striving.

The crows advance toward the
observer in a wave of
Here, the diverging roads lead
nowhere, and traveling them brings
only darkness forever – and peace.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Tigers’ Revenge

“I hate this God forsaken place,” Robert Fisher grumbled under his breath, as he made his way on the wet streets of Lower Manhattan.

The smell of Chinese food, wafting from every corner of Chinatown, repulsed him. He drew out his clean monogrammed handkerchief and covered his mouth and nose, as he headed down Canal Street toward his destination.

He walked along the narrow street with his head down, avoiding eye contact with anyone. It startled him when an old woman, pushing her cart through a puddle, splashed water on his ostrich leg shoes.

“Watch out, you stupid Chink! Are you blind, as well as stupid?” He screamed at her as he pushed her cart over, and then bent down to wipe his shoes with the handkerchief. He didn’t notice the group of young Chinese men standing within earshot of his comment, but they noticed him.

Robert turned in an alley and hurried to a dingy building with a smiling Panda painted on the door. Inside, the small room overflowed with cheap souvenirs.

“You want Tiger bone?” A middle-aged Chinese woman asked, stepping out from a back room.

“What’s wrong with you? I’ve been coming here every month for two years and you ask me this every freakin’ time. Of course I want the bones!”

“They gone up, now. You pay more,” she said, paying no attention to his rude behavior.

“What! What do you mean? Oh, shit! How much more?”

“Three hundred dollar more,” the woman said.

“Are you crazy? I’m paying fifteen hundred now. It can’t have increased that much in a month. Let me talk to Lin!” He yelled, as he looked past her to the entrance of the backroom.

The woman retreated behind a doorway of red hanging beads.

Keeping her voice low, she said in her real American accent, “Woo, that rich, rotten bastard who comes in for the tiger bones is pissed because the price has gone up. He wants to talk to you.”

“Oh, crap! I’m in no mood for “Mr. Warmth” today.” He took a drag from his cigarette and handed it off to his sister, as he rolled his eyes, then took a second to get into character.

Woo Lin hunched his shoulders, ducked through the beads, bowed and said, “Can I help you?”

“Yeah, what the hell’s going on, China-man? My medicine has increased three hundred freakin’ dollars! Why?” He demanded.

“Many people in market for tiger bone. Very potent medicine. Make you live long and youthful life. It illegal trade. Crack down on poachers and smugglers. Less tigers now. All these things make bone scarce. More valuable. More expensive. Eighteen hundred dollar now for month supply. But, every month you take ground up tiger bone pill, you live six month longer. It Fountain of Youth.

“Well, this sucks!” Robert slammed the money down on the counter. “You slant eyes are crooks. Everybody knows that! Come on, give me the goddamn pills!” he screamed.

Woo Lin reached under the counter and brought up the vial of pills and held them out to his irate customer.

Without saying a word, Robert Fisher grabbed the vial and spun around. He didn’t hear the Chinaman curse him under his breath, as he slammed the Panda door behind him.

The rain had stopped. Heavy fog filled every recess of Chinatown. Robert could not have seen the group of men who had positioned themselves surreptitiously in the alley. These were the same men who had seen him push over the old woman’s flower cart. They were members of the Silver Dragons, a self-appointed group of protectors of the Chinese community.

This wasn’t the first time they had witnessed Robert Fisher’s irreverent conduct. In fact, they had been monitoring him ever since he grabbed an immigrant by the neck. The newly arrived Chinese man had given him the wrong change after Robert had bought a men’s magazine at his newsstand.

“You short changed me you sneaky, yellow thief! That was a twenty I gave you, not a ten!” Robert had said.

“So sorry, so sorry,” the immigrant had been truly sorry for his mistake.

Robert had disappeared into the crowd that evening, but not before one of the members of the Silver Dragons got a good look at him. That was the first of many offenses deemed inexcusable by the Chinese men who watched over things here.

The next morning the rain had moved up the coast and the fog had lifted. Pale sunlight slanted in, as merchants and tourists started to mill around the streets of Chinatown. At the end of Canal Street, several detectives were busy questioning bystanders.

“Ah, come on people! A man just doesn’t get dead and nobody sees nothin,’” a detective was saying. “Somebody’s gotta know somethin’! It happened last night – probably sometime after 7:00 p.m,” he pleaded with a few merchants standing in the crowd that had gathered.

A forensics officer took something out of the dead man’s pocket and studied it for a few seconds. “Hey, look at this,” he said, as he held it up to the detective who was questioning people.

“Yeah, what is it?” the detective asked.

“Tiger bone pills. That’s what it says on the label. And get this. It says to take one pill daily to promote longevity.”

The detective looked down at Robert Fisher’s dead body. “Yeah? Well, maybe he forgot to take one yesterday.”

Sunday, May 17, 2009



In the cold regions -
in the sad and lonely
youth-killing regions,
where cheap paneling
is everyone’s answer,
the roads are arms and legs,
the hills are hips and thighs,
the fields are backs
and the destination
is the back of a head.

Here, the trucks and cars
don’t need oil and gas.
They are pushed along the roads
by young children who want
to be with their mothers.

The roll and drone
of the vehicles soothe
the ragged nerves and
relieve the sore muscles
of the mothers, who, for their
children’s entertainment, walk
back and forth for miles a day
casting stones into make-believe
streams, until they give out
on purple horsehair sofas.

With eyes closed against their pain,
the mothers are happy just to know
where their children are playing,
and fall into a deep sleep,
devoid of worry and fear.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My sister's wedding was a wonderful celebration of family and friends, unity, and love. The ceremony was everything it should have been - food and drink, music and dancing, laughter and tears, remembering old times and making new memories.

As my sister said, "A Pisces marrying a Pisces on the's a good sign."

Here's to Lolanda and Gerald!
May your wedding vows forever echo over the historic waters of the Potomac and your words of love spin eternally in the eddies of time.

I love you both with all my heart.

I wrote this poem a few years back, as part of my "Sister Poems" series. Lolanda is the youngest of five daughters. I am almost ten years older than she - so, I remember the night she was born. She was born at home. The country doctor had a flat tire on his way to our house to deliver her. His car was left on a bridge that crossed a creek. He and his nurse walked to our house in the dark, during a spring storm. See the water connections again? The name Lolanda is of Native American origin and means "little one".


where are you
soft round head
with downy nape
solemn face
too young to be so

sea crystals sparkled
on your fingers
you were the first
of your kind to be born

you were careful not
to break your mother’s back
on those smoke filled days
of dark indigo skies

there you are gentle beauty
grown from shadowed halls
where we lived for hours
in blue glass stars

sweetness of innocence
lightness and dew
you traveled with a
companion for the
forbidden fruit
lost in a world that
is forever gone
we found you
there unharmed

a scream in the night
denied by one not much older
claimed my love for all time
and became an imprint
on my spirit forever

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We're heading down to Old Town Alexandria, VA for my sister's wedding. She's getting married on the Nina Dandy Cruise Ship. We'll be cruising on the historic Potomac River, and when we aren't looking at the bride, or eating cake, or dancing - we'll be checking out the monuments in D.C. and looking at other sights along the way.

Everyone behave while I'm gone!! ;D
I'll be back to post a new poem and to visit your blogs on Monday.