Barefoot in the dirt outside our tent
in the dark, I bend back my head
and open my heart to the night.

I hope to see heaven unravel
as galaxies take up the thread
then spin, then stretch, as 
vast, practiced hands
join woof with warp 
until smooth folds of time become
measureless yards of
absence and substance—
endless bolts of evidence
unrolling across the sky.

Meanwhile, one by one,
after billion-year trips,
photons land without fanfare 
in my eyes, in my hair,
each quantum a jewel that
graces the dirt where I stand.

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No wonder it was good

My mom’s Grasshopper Pie recipe reads like a story about her take on living. I cherish several things about this recipe. First, note the ingredients: creme-filled chocolate cookies, butter, marshmallows, milk, whipped cream, and booze. “Eat today, for tomorrow you may diet,” my mom would often say.

Next, note the experimentation that took place; the strikeouts are in her hand-written copy of the recipe. Did it happen that, on some occasion, we were offered a 6-serving pie that contained 6 ounces of crème de menthe (15% alcohol) and 3 ounces of creme de cacao (25% alcohol)? That’s 1.5 ounces of liquor per piece of pie, and I remember being a little kid when she would make this. Also, it was almost impossible to stop at one piece. Glad she toned it down! 🙂

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That door

I’ve watched that locked wooden door for decades. Today on a walk, imagining, I step closer. It is tall, and deep crimson.

Painted slowly.

Its round brass doorknob begs to be turned, and its keyhole is big enough to look through. 

I kneel to look, and I see cold spring grass, green as only California hills can green it. Lilacs and daffodils, sprung wild from bulbs even the squirrels forgot. Live oaks and laurels; wild-rye and trillium; rare pallid manzanitas that grow only between here and El Sobrante. 

I stumble back, stand, blink.

Good God, it’s not what I thought.

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Ghost whispering

This is the upper-left corner of a postcard that my grandmother, Emily Harriet, wrote to her younger sister Mary Joe in, let’s say, the 1910s. On the back is a photo of the Federal P. O. Building in San Antonio, Texas. It was a towered castle worthy of a haunting, and it’s now long gone. So maybe it, too, has become a ghost….

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Just as I pushed “Up,” the elevator doors opened, and out stepped a guy in a tweed overcoat, buttoned, collar up. A hospital gown peeked out below the coat, barely covering the spindly bare knees, and bright yellow no-slip socks covered his feet. He shot me a guilty look, then broke into a trot as he hustled across the lobby toward the doors. 

“Wait!” I shouted, as he exited into the winter sunshine. “Stan!” 

The guard behind the lobby desk followed Stan with his eyes, then turned to me. 

“No worries,” he said. “Happens all the time. We’ll get ‘im.”

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Behind the Glass—a short story

The hospital chaplain’s normally gone at this point, because you’re dead, after all, and your loved ones are gone. But for some reason I don’t want to leave you just yet. Your sister and your friends made for the elevators just minutes after the RN noticed your death on her monitor and joined us in the room to whisper “He’s gone.” Booming news, delivered like a puff of smoke. Relief and grief; exhaustion and adrenaline…. 

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My music keeps finding its way forward!

I’m proud to have my song “Go in Peace” included on the latest album from Abbey of the Arts, The Love of Thousands: Singing with Angels, Saints & Ancestors. It’s humbling to have my music placed among songs from beautiful artists whose music I cherish, including MaMuse, Melanie DeMore, and Karen Drucker. The album accompanies […]

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The Gerbil Thief

“Dear God. Not again.” Shelly blew out a loud sigh and tapped on the glass next to Chewbaka, hoping this time it would jump up, or yawn, or even twitch. Nothing. She unlatched the top door of the cage and reached past the Chewbaka-sized ramp and running wheel to where the little animal lay snuggled […]

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