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oh, what of the clouds building over Mt. Evans…

here at the light on County Line at Quebec

the sky is clear

the sun is etching new lines ’round my eyes

and for this thirty seconds

nothing in the world is off kilter


…oh, quit your honking!

rJo  2/4/17


This is the truth I have come to know:

people are not dead until they are dead,

and maybe not then.

You cannot talk over them, pretend they are not there.

You cannot plan without them, assume they don’t care.

They are here!  They are here, and fully aware.

So quiet the panic as best as you can,

sit down, shut up, take hold of their hand.

Just at this moment it is not about you.

Cry if you must, wail and weep,

but sit there, and listen, and live in the moment,

while they are here living with you.


How can it be?

How can it be

that that thin, thin body

can hold four liters of fluid?

Four liters of fluid!

There is no room!

Certainly there is no room…

Certainly not.


You see, it is not just the liver that petrifies,

but also the hearts of those watching,

praying for that one miracle,

one is all that is needed,

before his body

is too weak

to accept





Blast this gift

It calls me from the living room

Spread out in bits and pieces

Initially heaped and piled

Now beginning to fall in place

Driving me mad

Usurping my time

My sleep


and days

And nights

It grabs me on my way to the coffee maker

Pulls my eyes to that notched edge I sought for hours last evening


It was right there


How could I have missed it


This does not match the image on the box




Its colors trick the eye

Changing nobs to points

Clouds to puddles

Depending on  light and shadows

From back  windows

And pole lamps

It feeds my foibles






Back pats

Silent cheers


Finally total satisfaction at tearing it completely apart

And sending it to the next junkie




Drove up I-70 to Georgetown

where I lived in ’85

the air was crisp,

the shops were filled,

the hills were still alive.

I shuffled through Ophelia’s

craved bone china white and blue

old books loved

toys well played

and dragon puppets, new.

The Shoppe Internationale

beckoned as of old…

Swedish toys,

Norwegian trolls,

Bright blue glass trimmed with gold.

Crossed the street to use the lew

in the warm and toasty library,

Intriguing book

of sailor’s yarns,

and others made me tarry.

Drove back ‘longside the deep cold lake,

thinking of thirty years past…

but,  does no good

to think too much,

can bring you down too fast.

So just there, ’round ’bout Downieville,

I turned off the frontage road

and joined the traffic

sailing past;

put down my punishing load.

Turned on the great new stereo

in my great new true blue Mini,

turned up the tunes

and sang along,

Made it home with smiles a plenty.


No, Christina Rossetti (1830 -1894), I cannot agree

that life so dark and heavy every day must be.

It cannot be so —

No! No!  and No!

If I thought your grim words were true,

deeply cutting, killing, through and through,

I would force my last breath to loudly employ

my lungs to expunge every ounce of pure joy

into a shrill, startling scream to God’s highest Heaven

for angels to  gather the honey, flour, and leaven…

all sweetness, all goodness, everything light,

refashioning the world  to  wondrous and bright;

replacing all calloused, scarred, torn hearts

with sweet sugared, tasty, delicate tarts,

and insisting each person consume their fair share,

’til only loud laughter and love dwell there.


(after a lunch of Turkey Tetrazzini and fifteen minutes reading Christina Rosetti’s (1830 -1894) Goblin Market and Other Poems…I tire of misery and mouldering death on these bright days of Fall, 2016)






He is driving now,

Huffing at his mother as he stomps back in the house for whatever it was he forgot.

I cannot resist asking his mother, as I walk by,  if he is the famous artist who at the age of five or six sold his oil paintings of trees from their porch one hot summer- gloppy, green leaves, thick, brown trunks and rigid, yellow rays of sunlight squeezed on the canvass- my favorite hanging to this day in my basement amidst other treasures.

That has been a while, she chuckles, pulling on her sunglasses as she smiles, looking back.

Just when did he grow up?


She is tall now,

And winning pageants with her dazzling smile, mile long legs, and elegant demeanor.

I bring out my pictures of her with pigtails and no teeth, recalling how we would sit on my porch having tea parties while waving at her mother from across the street; and how she just knew her daddy would love a silly little dried beef glass with stars around the top she took from the cupboard,  wrapped with paper and ribbon, then ran home to give it him.

Her mother laughs remembering how she “yoved yipstick” at age three, and the color “lello.”

When did she grow up?

And how is it we have not changed?




Did you feel it, handsome, young runner calling good morning as you floated over the path through the open space in this glorious morning sun?

Did you notice, laughing couple nodding hello as you shuffled  along the gravel walk?

And you, focused, sweating, racing woman, never losing a beat, yet still finding breath for a fast “morning!”  How about you?  Were you aware?

I plugged in as you passed.

I swallowed your smiles,

inhaled the air you exhaled,

stepped into the power vibrating in your footprints,

merged with your joie de vivre,

and thanked God for the power in community.



Blasted purple eye!

I meant only to arrive,

not fly up the steps