Thursday, September 26, 2013

Our Path

Without incident we walked
And every few minutes
I talked. Good dog, Good dog.
On we went through the park.
All the time my dog here
There, everywhere
A scent sensation.
And when I wanted
To stop to photograph
This late September early morning
I said, Freddy, sit, and he sat
And he waited and when I said
Okay on we went 
Our way past Meadow Trail
And Beaver Brook.
This is my path. Our path.
We came to a hill.
I huffed and puffed to the top.
And my dog wagged his tail
To the top. We made our way
Home. I cut zinnias.
Red, orange, yellow, cream
And purple cosmos
For a vase that rests on a table
Next to my garden.
Soon I will be dead-heading
All the cosmos and zinnias flowers.
There must be thousands!
Still bright and bold and colorful
In the garden. I change 
The water in the three bird baths.
I prune the rose bushes and I am
Not sure at all of what
I am doing. I water
The potted plants.
So many bumblebees!
They fly from zinnia to zinnia
To cosmos to cosmos. They do
Their job. Never I imagine
Thinking I am so busy today.
They follow their path.

Gary Snyder wrote:

"Reality-insight says get a sense of immediate politics and history, get control of your own time; master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick---don't let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our "practice" which will put us on a "path" --- it is our path."

I made dinner. Black beans
And rice. And wine.
And our dog and cat
Slept as we watched
Nashville. And I am
Blessed. Our house
Our family.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scared Shitless

A big black dog
Attached to a broken leash
Appears from no where.
Follows me and my dog.
I pick my dog up
And cradle him in my arms.
I make eye contact
Once with the big black dog
As he circles around us.
I say sit, sit
Sit as the big black dog
Circles around us again
And again. I say sit.
Doesn't anyone know
Their dog is missing.
I walk slowly.
My heart and my dog's heart
Beat rapidly as one.
I admit it. Yes I am
Scared shitless. I wave
Down an oncoming truck.
"Can you please give me and my dog a lift
Home. We live around the corner."
Hop on in he says. You never know
About those big black dogs.
At home I call the dog catcher.
I drink a cup of coffee.
I eat a piece of cake.
I sit outside with my dog
Next to my garden. A butterfly
Appears. And I am at peace.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A September Afternoon

Where I go
To the garden
To the study
To the kitchen
He goes. My buddy
Freddy. Always he follows
Me. Yesterday he sat
And waited next to me
As I wrapped four
Of my photo books
To mail to friends.
Last month three people
Never thanked me for the gift.
My art director said
There are crosses
In many of my photographs.
I believe in quietness
And in confidence
Is my strength.
A goldfinch sits on
A red zinnia. Freddy
Does not see the bird
Yet. He is busy
Rolling in the pachysandra.
I am reading a book
I bought in 1985. I was
Working at Hearst Magazines.
Whatever became of Gretel Schneider?
Ronnie Cohen? Gayle Fleming?
Hot September afternoon.
Blue sky. Bright sun.
Crickets singing.
It is hot sitting in the sun.
I could move to the shade.
Freddy moved minutes ago.
He sits under a blue chair.
I'll be in the shade soon.
I am wearing straw hat.
I haven't see a butterfly
For days but just now
One appears. Little things
Like this bring me
Great joy. The bumblebees
Come every day. Too many
To count. Moving from
Zinnia to zinnia.. Freddy tries
Sometimes to catch one.
I do not think I have
Ever been happier than now.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Away With It

No sooner
Had I
The creeping
My dog
Ran away
With it
Plant when
He is

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our Pets Enrich Our Lives

I started writing again
Because of
My dog Freddy.
Always for me waiting
To go outside
And play catch
Or Frisbee.
When he rests
To chew
A marrow bone
I write.
Yesterday I took my cat
Nadine to the vet.
There I met Dottie.
Her owner said to me
"I don't think she'll be coming home with me.
She hasn't eaten for days.
She's diabetic. I haven't been
Able to give her insulin.
She hasn't drank a drop
In days. Her brother is
At home. My daughter
Lives nearby but my son
Lives in Florida. We see
Our only grandson once a year.
God it was cold this morning.
And I wore a jacket and
A sweater yesterday. My
Husband and I went to the
State Fair. We heard
Tommy James and The Shondells.
God, he still has it."
My name is called.
Not mine. "Nadine."
The vet's assistant Scott
Calls "Nadine."
I reach out and touch
Dottie's owner's knee.
I say "Peace be with you."
The vet says our pets
Enrich our lives.
It was cold this morning.
And raining when I drove
To the vet. Later the day
Grew bright and warm
And I wondered as I watched
The puffy white clouds
Come and go
What of Dottie.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ann's Garden

Sunday. September 8, 2013.
Grandparents Day. I am
Standing in Ann's garden.
Ann's Garden Paradise.
I am at the Mattoon Street Fair.
There are many vendors here.
Cedar Swamp Pottery.
A Custom Grater.
It's Sew Easy.
Apron Affair.
To name A few. There
Are many people and dogs, too.
Susan and Freddy, our dog
Wait for me. Ann moved
Away with Alberto
A few years ago.
For a time they shared
The art-filled brownstone and
The garden paradise. A place
She would never recognize.
Here memory will keep
The garden a paradise.
And mine? It is more
Hell than Heaven. Paradise
Lost. Once a garden where
You do yoga, pray, eat, love.
Thankful for grace and beauty.
This is where we last
Ate and laughed with Ann
One summer evening. A table
Set for friends, Candles
Burning in a candelabra.
And now I stand
Here in a space of weeds.
The night of the last
Party there were many
Bottles of wine and we
Climbed a narrow, circular
Staircase up to a neighbor's
Roof and I saw a cat
In a window and I
Photographed it and later
We drank more wine
And talked late into
The night. At the fair
Spools of Fun!
Crafty Doll and Pillow
Beds by Helen.
Only Ann and Alberto
And her garden art not
There. Susan, Freddy, and I
Return home. I make
Fresh tomato sauce with
Tomatoes from my garden.
And meatballs for dinner.
Susan's mom loves pasta
Sauce and meatballs and
She comes over every Sunday
For dinner and she always asks
"Have you heard
From Ann and Alberto?"

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Walked the dog.
Made blueberry pancakes.
Vacuumed the house.
Harvested beets.
Photographed beets.
Roasted beets.
I heard a cardinal sing
In the distance, a dog
Barking. Crickets singing!
My new self-published book
Arrived. The photographs
Are poems and poems
Are photographs. A girl
With purple hair
Walking down the street.
"I love your hair," I said.
She said, "Thank You so much."
I am sad
When I see
The fallen
Cherry tomatoes
Split open
On the dirt
In the garden.

Friday, September 6, 2013

There Is Wonder

This is where it starts.
The embrace. And then
Later, long after
The band had retired;
What of music?
It makes everything worse
Or better; if you know
What I mean.
Have you been listening?
Now that that was
First love, what is this?
Let me catch my breath.
Here we go.
All the plants lean
Eastward. The clouds
Heave in Heaven.
To you this might sound silly.
In geometry we learned.
Of the the first kiss
There is wonder.
Waitresses do have sex.
For better or for worse.
Puffs of milkweed
Circle upward. And this
We look forward to doing.
What love?
It is important
To find the idea
Behind the first line.
There is light enough.
All of us up here
I think are afraid.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Last Days Of August

My mornings often begin
in my garden. I walked
My dog for one hour
This morning. Last night
I dreamed I was walking
Naked down a country road.
I changed my cat's litter box.
I vacuumed the house.
I toasted an English Muffin.
I put salsa on it. Salsa
That I made yesterday.
The puffy white clouds
This morning are messages.
Signals from Heaven.

Dear Dad,
I know you know this but I wanted to write you a short letter. Do you remember what words were written under my high school yearbook photograph? "Bruce loves clouds." I still do. I sit in the backyard and watch them float like big balloons of different shapes and sizes. One day I saw a bunny rabbit in the sky. Another day a dog. I was reading in the yearbook how much good I did for the school and students--and how funny I was. I suppose little has changed. Photography is now my ministry--seeing and sharing beauty. And I still have a great laugh and sense of humor. I am who I am. Everyone still talks about you. Misses you. People always say you were so loving, patient, and kind. This is what I wish to say. I am going to be a grandfather. Danielle's first child is due in October. And she and Mike bought a beautiful home in Simsbury, CT. You would love it. Darlene moved after so many years in New Hampshire to Dallas, Texas and is raising chickens. Chickens! Can you believe it? Darlene raising chickens! Michelle is busy with church and her grand-children. And Dennis? He had a stoke after running one day a few months ago. He was rushed to the hospital and had open hear surgery. He is doing great now. A miracle the doctors say. And he is back to running three to five miles every day. In October he and Debbie are going to Italy. He will be giving a speech on Baptists in Italy. Late afternoon Susan and I often sit outside. Susan says, "This is our paradise. But maybe we should move. But where? And how? You need to get a job, Bruce." Heaven. Paradise. Home is where the heart is. Right, Dad?

At an art opening. My photographs
Of angels. A guest left and
Went home to get me
An heirloom tomato.
The same kind growing
In my garden this summer.
I cut the blue thistle down
To the ground, filling
Three yard waste bags.
I photographed a Queen
Elizabeth Rose, an orange zinnia
Ablaze in the afternoon sunlight.
A swallowtail butterfly.
A flowering garlic chives.
I fixed my bentwood archway and
I rehung a garden ornament
Lashed to a tree below
A cistern Susan bought
At an antique store. I
Secured the jalapeno plants
Which were heavy with
Peppers with garden twince.
What I most enjoy is
The sound of children
In the distance laughing.
Always planting. Seeing
Beauty always. I planted
Autumn lettuce and Arugula.
Seeds of peace and love.
One plant a reminder of all
That needs to be done, the goals
Written down on paper. My dog
disappears into the garden of
Zinnias, a sea of flowers moving
Gently as he moves through it.
There are days when I do nothing
But sit in a chair and stare at the garden.
Some days I might stand and move closer
To get a better look at the sparrow
In the birdbath or the cardinal
On the fence, molting. It is
The end of August, a change
In season. I pulled
Up some of the basil.
I didn't have the heart
To pull it all up and
Out of the garden.