Tuesday, December 6, 2016



LITTLE CHEETAH, DELICATE DOVE


My Anuja, abundant with wonder

Loves the peace of a falling rain,

Takes on a task with racing thunder,

Strong arms to embrace a special one,

“She loves just like a woman,

But she breaks like a little girl.”

(Bob Dylan lyrics, paraphrased)


Te amo te, mi pequeña hermana gemela

Feliz cumpleaños, querido amiga!

With love, from your chatterbox, older,

And above all, taller twin.


Alice dances like no one can see her,

And sings like no one will hear;

Toast a stemmed glass

Filled with dark, fruity wine,

Or, just as soon gulp a beer.


Perching Indian-style, she reads like a comet,

Not a fan of heart wrenching memoirs;

Bounding upward and onward,

She snatches down stars;

Her mantra, “forge forward,” while

Painting her world in cosmic colors.


An early rising owl by history

Easing the affliction of Native Americans

Unlearned of modern medicine, by day.

Rarely missing a scenic sunrise,

A life of passion—her victory.

And a mountain sunset, her prize!


She captures each moment, Carpe Diem,

Rarely failing to release it on time;

Enjoys clever jokes and cartooning,

Inciting children with laughter,

While reciting a catchy, Pre-K story,

With silly voice and contorted face,

“…I do not like green eggs and ham,

I do not like them, Sam-I-Am;”

A fan of nonsensical, Dr. Seuss, rhyme.


Has car, will cruise; will row or splash,

Wildly balance a hula hoop in the sand,

Bungee jump, roll a coaster, or climb;

Inhaling the beauty of vibrant wild blooms

While hiking the path of a mountainside.


She flies hither or treks, with ballerina calves,

Yon to beaches, hot springs or Rome,

Ever seeking untraveled, rugged paths,

With Little Feat; catches a Rolling Stone.

But once she’s arrived and lived it,

She aims for the tranquility

Of her lily pond garden home.


My sweet, full of grit, sorrelina,

Adventure is her adopted name,

Refusing to return blatant malice,

She looks for the best in everyone,

But when life gets too dreary, Alice

Retreats to her looking-glass palace.


ZooLady, March 21st-24th, 2016

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dave

Notes about Dave

The few the proud
That’s Dave

Once he walked me to safety
Away from an unruly crowd

Always the savior
Always a gentleman

He could spin his chair when you danced with him
Better watch those toes!

That’s Dave.



                

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Place of the Spirit


I talked to my brother tonight. I will take him to this place of deep feeling.

The juxtaposition of opposing forces met long ago, and
Rip-stop, blasting forces became layered between clouds and earth
Majesty and power now settled in to everlasting peace
Ripples, cooled, forever molded 
While the ancient bluffs looked on through the ash
Framing the moments in time
And changing the landscape forever.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Boxcar Slideshow by MaeB



A misty-eyed hobo

watches a boxcar slideshow,

yearning for lost anonymity.

There is a still bundle near his side

left there in the snow,frozen flannel

smudged with sooty hand prints

and greasy tears.


He is mesmerized by the clacking of the cars

as they pass

Memories float by, a woman, green eyes

laughter over an open fire

His weathered hands carefully encircle the
 
small package and bring it to his chest.

He opens his coat, a chill passes through


him as he closes his coat around it.


Red, blue, yellow , green, orange...

The colors fade with encroaching dusk,

the motion felt, more than seen.

Westward bound, he first imagines, then 


catches the faint smell of fresh coal and he

smiles.

He takes a deep breath, a soul-cleansing sigh


of other-worldly proportion, then he gently


walks toward the train along the zephyr it

has created for him, glancing back only

briefly at the man he left behind.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

El Pueblo by MaeB








Fall chairlift ride by MaeB


I’m gliding over an aspen gold corridor

passing trees dressed up for Mardi Gras.

In the big sky a bird flies over to me,

takes a nut right out of my hand.

I watch infant ponderosas

pushing vigorously in both directions.

At this altitude Its life or death, 

come wintertime.

As I stand on this mountaintop

deafening silence engulfs me

but the tiniest nudge

an irony really,  where thoughts 

so loud just moments before

suffer stage fright in such an arena

It's not wonderland, but

                 There's no place like home.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Kenya by MaeB

Masai children outside their home




Fascination with iPad-Saikeri schoolgirls

Saikeri Villiage

Crested crane

Wildebeast

Market day



Close


Goats at the new clinic site-Saikeri

Saddle Shoes



don't ask me how I came upon this
but saddle shoes, I wore
hand-me-down shoes

didn't make news
but listen, I implore!
saddle shoes

worn extra loose
were weighted just SO right
that sailing them into the air
just because, I didn't care
whence they might alight
if time were stopped
you'd find my shoe
where last I
sent it flying
my schoolyard roof
the last school day
and still today
I'm sighing
you never know
where comes the blow
that wrests mortality from you
but memory is a boundless thing
and if you're lucky you'll have wings
won't you?

Friday, September 6, 2013

After the rain by MaeB


The mud came again last night.
Blades came and pushed it away.
In the dark it slithered back.

A man loses the road
as he stumbles along,
a fishing pole in his hand
a plastic sack over his head.

A car, leading a rooster-tail of
red dust curled back on itself,
solves the mystery.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Boulder by MaeB


What says the stone, 
transformed into Trevi?
I am the light of the world, 
and you are just heavy.
I am boulder.
I have to be.
If you can move mountains,

you can move me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Play by Mae B

The day in its glorious brilliance
Invited tomfoolery along;
Dandelion heads went flying
Children dropped and rolled in the grass
Dogs chased imaginary frisbees
While the trees just stood there and laughed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Critic by MaeB


The Critic…


I think you should
You’d better
Why don’t

You might try it
not that way
I find that
why won’t

Saturday, August 4, 2012

He wasn’t perfect—not even close. Sometimes he was wise, but he was always sharp, and stood with a strong backbone. I can’t recall ever hearing him hedge. He didn’t say much, but was never reluctant to voice his opinion, and when he talked, we listened. He didn’t like to repeat himself. He was an only child, born Ray Alfonso Brown, on the same day as his father, and born to the same name. I wonder what the odds are of that happening.

Ray had two aunts who were childless, and despite not having any experience dealing with young children, he yearned for a family. Whether brave or foolish, he married a woman who had five of them. He couldn't have known what he was getting himself into. The oldest one was nine years old. I was the youngest at nine months when he married our 26 year old mother. He was her third husband.

 My mother divorced my biological father after he lost his job of 17 years (she admitted a long time later to having never loved him). During their divorce, my father found out that Mom married him before her first divorce was final. Realizing they were "never really married at all" (Mom's confessional words)", he was unemployed, and grew disillusioned and despondent. He left to stay with his older sister in California. He was lost to us for a dozen years. With my sister's urging, my mother finally told her how she could probably reach him, and my sister sent him a letter after getting his address from a nearby uncle. Mom always told us our father ran away, knowing all along she could've likely found him had she tried. Once beckoned into our lives with that "Dear John or Dad, Hi! I'm your daughter..." letter, our "real" father spoiled, and never expected or asked anything from us—not even a "please" or "thank-you", courtesies we knew well. My sister, 20 months older than me, had spent her entire youth longing for the father we never had. Not having a single photo, I only remember telling a classmate in 3rd grade that I wouldn't know him "if I saw him on the street" (by example, Mom taught us a lot of cliches). He was a gentle person, an introvert and polio survivor with a notable limp, who never married before or after our Mom. He became an active part of our lives for the remaining 22 years of his own.

As a child, Ray’s extended family was the only family we spent time with. For me, his parents, aunts, and uncles were my family. I never thought of Aunt Ruth or Aunt Stella as my step-great-aunts. His mother was Grandma Beulah, and his father, Grandpa Brownie. When I was small, I called Ray “Daddy”, but stopped in grade-school because my older brothers made fun of me for doing so, “Why do you call him that? Don’t you know he’s not really your father? He’s not your Dad, Debbie!” Ray and Mom had three children of their own, my younger sister and brother, followed by a full-term little girl, "still-born" when I was seven. My little sister served as a the shining hope in the lives of three aging women who'd waited 40 years to be blessed with a girl. You can probably guess what they named my little brother.

Ray was proud to have served as a Sailor for two tours during the Korean War. I remember watching him march in the Veteran’s Day parade. Over the years, he spent increasingly more time hanging out at the American Legion. My mother was no disciplinarian, and saved her grievances and frustrations up to dump on him when he got home. She threatened my older siblings,”Wait until Big Ray comes home.” That’s what they always called him, "Big Ray", and they all but hated him. Maybe he grew tired of always being the bad guy. It was easier to wait until we were asleep to get home. Still, any manners we practiced were because he demanded them. “Don’t put it on your plate unless you’re going to eat it. There are children starving in other parts of the world.” It was a struggle for them to keep seven children fed. And if any one of us stayed home from school sick, he/she had better be sick enough to stay in bed. I remember him telling us more than a few times “Someday, when you grow up, you’ll understand.”

I was 12 years old when Ray’s mother, Grandma Beulah, passed away on his and his father’s birthdays. I wonder what the odds are of that happening. Beulah's aging legs had become mottled and ruddy, and I knew how my big brothers entertained themselves renaming salami "Beulah's legs meat." When I heard the news, I hid in the basement coal room and cried.

When I was 14 years old, my mother divorced Ray. Shortly after, she moved her next guy-friend in with us. He had three ex-spouses, too, and seven kids that he never saw or did anything for. Within a year, Mom believed every twisted story he told her, even when it involved us. We couldn’t handle his relentless foul mouth or disturbing imagination. He couldn’t seem to go a day without drinking, but worse, he got drunk at home. We planned a protest when they decided to get married, but they found out and eloped. We all referred to my second step-father as “my mother’s husband.” She divorced him a few years later, but shortly after, married him again.

Ray was touched when I sent him a Father’s Day card the next year. He called before coming to pick up my little brother and sister for dinner, and invited me to go along. Mom wasn’t home when he arrived, but I went with them, thinking it would be all right. Ray convinced me to taste his “clams-on-the-half-shell.” Although I’ve since come to love seafood, I’ve never tried one of those slimy, fishy things again! When I got home from dinner Mom had a tizzy-fit, screaming at me “You’re really on our cuss list now.” I must have been the first one of us to make that list.

Grandpa “Brownie” was the next one to pass away, followed by Uncle Harold, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Mack. Except for funerals, I don't recall ever seeing Ray wear a suit and tie until I was 18. I never understood why, but my real father wouldn’t come from Chicago for my wedding...maybe because he was painfully shy. There wasn’t any way I was going to ask, or wanted, my mother’s husband to walk me down the aisle, so my oldest brother did it instead. I invited Ray, ignoring any protests, and he showed up in a suit and tie.

I didn’t see Ray again until Aunt Stella’s funeral a few years later. I was the only one of us older siblings to attend. Ray came over to thank me for coming to support my little brother and sister, but I didn’t go for them. I loved Aunt Stella, too. He looked at me intently, then added, “I knew you’d be here.”

I moved out-of-state when I finished my Associate’s Degree, and only saw him a few times over the next 15 years.

Ray passed away in 1991, a few days after he retired. One night my mother called to tell me he had cancer and my younger sister, an R.N., was caring for him at her home. I decided I would drive up to see him soon so I could tell him he was right about a lot of things. I wanted to let him know I had good memories of him and when I still called him “Daddy.” I remember how us girls used to laugh when he dragged us around the house on a blanket when we were young, and how he stormed out the front door trying to hunt down a white-haired man who’d exposed himself to me in the parking lot at the corner drugstore, after I ran home crying. He never did find him. I would tell him how many warm memories I had of his mother. I remembered him forbidding us to hang out with a couple girls in our neighborhood because they were bad company. And I’d tell him how I vividly remembered his sadness when my biological father came back into our lives—showering us with candy, cash, and providing us with material things he and Mom could never afford with seven kids to feed—how hard it was for them just to pay our school-book fees in the fall, buy winter coats, and plan for Christmas—but we always had presents under our Christmas tree. It was 1970, and and my father was mailing money to me and my sister from Chicago every two weeks and had just given each of us a $50 bill for Christmas. He talked to us that evening in the living room, fighting tears when he explained “I don’t have to let him see you at all, but I won’t do that. I know you would only resent and hate me for it.” I remembered him lecturing me, shortly after my 14th birthday, about the 18 year old brother of my best friend, who’d taken a liking to me. When Ray got home that day, this guy was in my bedroom playing his guitar for me while we sat on my bed. Within months, Ray and my mother broke up for the last time. I would thank him for not telling us inappropriate things about her, even though that’s all she had to say about him or our father. I would tell him how young I was when I figured that out, and realized sometimes that she purposely kept, as my little sister called it, "stirring the pot." I might even ask him if Mom ever admitted to locking me in the playroom when I was five because I was whining about my aching tummy, the afternoon my appendix ruptured. I would thank him for the good things he did, for the years he tried, and tell him I loved him—still.

I knew I wouldn’t tell him when, but I remembered all three times I lied to him.

Literally, the next day another call came in telling me he was gone. Until then, it didn't dawn on me that he knew me better than my real father ever had. He knew me better than any other man I've known yet. At his funeral, an old veteran marched up to his flag-covered coffin in full uniform, and briskly saluted him. Nineteen years after my mother divorced him, "someday" had arrived, and every one of my brothers and sisters were in that room!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

He Knew Me Better, By Zoo-Lady

He wasn’t perfect—not even close. Sometimes he was wise, but he was always sharp, and stood with a strong backbone. I can’t recall ever hearing him hedge. He didn’t say much, but was never reluctant to voice his opinion, and when he talked, we listened. He didn’t like to repeat himself. He was an only child, born Ray Alfonso Brown, on the same day as his father, and born to the same name. I wonder what the odds are of that happening.

Ray had two aunts who were childless, and despite not having any experience dealing with young children, he yearned for a family. Whether brave or foolish, he married a woman who had five of them. He couldn't have known what he was getting himself into. The oldest one was nine years old. I was the youngest at nine months when he married our 26 year old mother. He was her third husband.

My mother divorced my biological father after he lost his job of 17 years (she admitted a long time later to having never loved him). During their divorce, my father found out that Mom married him before her first divorce was final. Realizing they were "never really married at all" (Mom's confessional words)", he was unemployed, and grew disillusioned and despondent. He left to stay with his older sister in California. He was lost to us for a dozen years. With my sister's urging, my mother finally told her how she could probably reach him, and my sister sent him a letter after getting his address from a nearby uncle. Mom always told us our father ran away, knowing all along she could've likely found him had she tried. Once beckoned into our lives with that "Dear John or Dad, Hi! I'm your daughter..." letter, our "real" father spoiled, and never expected or asked anything from us—not even a "please" or "thank-you", courtesies we knew well. My sister, 20 months older than me, had spent her entire youth longing for the father we never had. Not having a single photo, I only remember telling a classmate in 3rd grade that I wouldn't know him "if I saw him on the street" (by example, Mom taught us a lot of cliches). He was a gentle person, an introvert and polio survivor with a notable limp, who never married before or after our Mom. He became an active part of our lives for the remaining 22 years of his own.

As a child, Ray’s extended family was the only family we spent time with. For me, his parents, aunts, and uncles were my family. I never thought of Aunt Ruth or Aunt Stella as my step-great-aunts. His mother was Grandma Beulah, and his father, Grandpa Brownie. When I was small, I called Ray “Daddy”, but stopped in grade-school because my older brothers made fun of me for doing so, “Why do you call him that? Don’t you know he’s not really your father? He’s not your Dad, Debbie!” Ray and Mom had three children of their own, my younger sister and brother, followed by a full-term little girl, "still-born" when I was seven. My little sister served as a the shining hope in the lives of three aging women who'd waited 40 years to be blessed with a girl. You can probably guess what they named my little brother.

Ray was proud to have served as a Sailor for two tours during the Korean War. I remember watching him march in the Veteran’s Day parade. Over the years, he spent increasingly more time hanging out at the American Legion. My mother was no disciplinarian, and saved her grievances and frustrations up to dump on him when he got home. She threatened my older siblings,”Wait until Big Ray comes home.” That’s what they always called him, "Big Ray", and they all but hated him. Maybe he grew tired of always being the bad guy. It was easier to wait until we were asleep to get home. Still, any manners we practiced were because he demanded them. “Don’t put it on your plate unless you’re going to eat it. There are children starving in other parts of the world.” It was a struggle for them to keep seven children fed. And if any one of us stayed home from school sick, he/she had better be sick enough to stay in bed. I remember him telling us a few times “Someday, when you grow up, you’ll understand.”

I was 12 years old when Ray’s mother, Grandma Beulah, passed away on his and his father’s birthdays. I wonder what the odds are of that happening. Beulah's aging legs had become mottled and ruddy, and I knew how my big brothers entertained themselves renaming salami "Beulah's legs meat." When I heard the news, I hid in the basement coal room and cried.

When I was 14 years old, my mother divorced Ray. Shortly after, she moved her next guy-friend in with us. He had three ex-spouses, too, and seven kids that he never saw or did anything for. Within a year, Mom believed every twisted story he told her, even when it involved us. We couldn’t handle his relentless foul mouth or disturbing imagination. He couldn’t seem to go a day without drinking, but worse, he got drunk at home. A truck driver, he was off work in the summer, and we learned to guard whatever money we had. The pledged funds I collected for the March of Dimes walk-a-thon disappeared. All of us planned a protest when they decided to get married, but they found out via telephone eavesdropping, and eloped. We all referred to my second step-father as “my mother’s husband.” She divorced him a few years later, but shortly after, married him again.

Ray was touched when I sent him a Father’s Day card the next year. He called before coming to pick up my little brother and sister for dinner, and invited me to go along. Mom wasn’t home when he arrived, but I went with them, thinking it would be all right. Ray convinced me to taste his “clams-on-the-half-shell.” Although I’ve since come to love seafood, I’ve never tried one of those slimy, fishy things again! When I got home from dinner Mom had a tizzy-fit, screaming at me “You’re really on our cuss list now.” I must have been the first one of us to make that list.

Grandpa “Brownie” was the next one to pass away, followed by Uncle Harold, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Mack. Except for funerals, I don't recall ever seeing Ray wear a suit and tie until I was 18. I never understood why, but my real father wouldn’t come from Chicago for my wedding...maybe because he was painfully shy. There wasn’t any way I was going to ask, or wanted, my mother’s husband to walk me down the aisle, so my oldest brother did it instead. I invited Ray, ignoring any protests, and he showed up in a suit and tie.

I didn’t see Ray again until Aunt Stella’s funeral a few years later. I was the only one of us older siblings to attend. Ray came over to thank me for coming to support my little brother and sister, but I didn’t go for them. I loved Aunt Stella, too. He looked at me intently, then added, “I knew you’d be here.”

I moved out-of-state when I finished my Associate’s Degree, and only saw him a few times over the next 15 years.

Ray passed away in 1991, a few days after he retired. One night my mother called to tell me he had cancer and my younger sister, an R.N., was caring for him at her home. I decided I would drive up to see him soon so I could tell him he was right about a lot of things. I wanted to let him know I had good memories of him and that I remember a time when I called him “Daddy.” I remembered how us girls used to laugh when he dragged us around the house on a blanket when we were young, and how he stormed out the front door trying to hunt down a white-haired man who’d exposed himself to me in the parking lot at the corner drugstore. I had run home crying. He never did find that man. I would tell him I the many warm memories I had of his mother. I remembered him forbidding us to hang out with a couple girls in our neighborhood because they were bad company. And I’d tell him how I vividly remembered his sadness when my biological father came back into our lives—showering us with candy, cash, and providing us with material things he and Mom could never afford with seven kids to feed—how hard it was for them just to pay our school-book fees in the fall, buy winter coats, and plan for Christmas—yet, we always had presents under our Christmas tree. It was 1970, and and my father was mailing money to me and my sister from Chicago every two weeks and had just given each of us a $50 bill. Ray talked to us that evening in the living room, fighting tears when he explained “I don’t have to let him see you at all, but I won’t do that. I know you'd only resent and hate me for it.” Shortly after my 14th birthday, I remembered him lecturing me, about the 18 year old brother of my best friend, who’d taken a liking to me. When Ray got home that day, this guy was in my bedroom playing his guitar for me while we sat on my bed. A few months after, Ray and my mother broke up for the last time. I would thank him for not telling us inappropriate things about her, even though that’s all she had to say about him or our father. I'd tell him how young I was when I figured that out, and realized that, sometimes, Mom purposely kept "stirring the pot," as my little sister called it. She wasn't afraid to voice her opinion, either. I might even ask him if Mom ever admitted to locking me in the playroom when I was in kindergarten, just because I was whining about my tummy aching. That was the afternoon my appendix ruptured. I would thank him for the good things he did, for the years he tried, and tell him I loved him—still.

I knew I wouldn’t tell him when, but I remembered all three times I lied to him.

Literally, the next day another call came in telling me he was gone. Until then, it didn't dawn on me that he knew me better than my real father ever had. He knew me better than any other man I've known yet. At his funeral, an old veteran marched up to his flag-covered coffin in full uniform, and briskly saluted him. Nineteen years after my mother divorced him, "someday" had arrived, and every one of my brothers and sisters were in that room!