Grey on the Ground

Your eyes are closed
as mine are open.
Your smooth unblemished lids
hold secrets no one can know.
When I blink you see me
standing behind you in
that upstairs bedroom as
we watch the sheep below
clustered for shearing.
They are gone now and
the big shed fades,
grey on the ground.
Your lids are still smooth
and I am still behind you.


shed old

(top:; lower:

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My Hand Moves

My hand moves.
A thread tugs my frontal lobes.
At the other end,
my ancient brain blazes a light
like a Christmas star
across those hills barely seen.
Maybe the thread spans a river,
vast and microscopic at the same time,
forever and now.

The nature of things
gifts me with joy,
but clogs me with arrogance
so that I am in constant flux,
a cartoon on each shoulder,
each negotiating a place to go.
Gravity will force a flow
that drains the flood plain and
lets my hand move.

Power of Words

dog with pencil and eraser


(pen:; dog:

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Concentration Face

My concentrating face is a frown.
This has always been so.
When I am deep in contemplation
people who don’t know me assume
that I am incalculably sad;
they worry over my spirit,
not seeing how my deep engagement
has rendered me inwardly content.
Such is irony.
I think they would more appreciate
a vacant little smile.

happy frown2

(See what I mean? I’m perfectly content.)

Posted in Aging, Humans, Poem, Work, Writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments


Sound arrives first;
ears can see over dunes.

Light will bounce too, but
shapes may morph into something else.

Water will always stretch
as far as you can see.

Waves will curl and crash,
reassuring your heart.

Salt smells of life and
marks the water as your own blood.

Wind awakens
all that you know.




(top:; sunset:

Posted in Beach, Oregon, Poem | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Growing On

(Note: this poem is from a writing workshop I took with Kim Stafford: “Daily Writing in the Tradition of William Stafford.” It borrows the form of William Stafford’s poem “Growing Up.”–jrs)

I travel in concentric circles,
it’s just how I’m wired—
sometimes going forward makes me dizzy.

I may not get there with everyone else,
but I will get there, if only to move on.




(top:; bottom:

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The wall crawls with stuff
I don’t want to recognize.
Looking obliquely, the movement
reveals insects, each one connected
to some choking childhood terror.
I watch them through the sheetrock.
Thousands of antennae, millions of legs,
with an occasional slither.
As soon as identity is imminent
I crash through the door to the yard,
leaving house structure behind.
Outside, bugs offer sympathy.



(top:; bottom:

Posted in Consciousness, Dream, Humans, Poem | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Galaxy and Stone

I am a galaxy,
I am a stone.
I am a truth
lying in bone.
My emotions run wild,
I am colder than ice.
My big-hearted angel
has paid a great price
watching me stumble
and helping me fly.
The questions we answer
fall far short of why.

galaxy stones



(stones:; galaxy:

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Goodreads Review: Andra Watkins’ new memoir

Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez TraceNot Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Not Without My Father” is ambitious adventure memoir. It is funny, poignant, agonizing, raunchy, and delightfully “out there.” Andra Watkins shows her mettle throughout the book and is not afraid to show her weakness, her doubt, and her sometimes dysfunctional relationship with her parents. The story moves skillfully between despair, hope, anger, and elation. I found it hard to put down once I settled into its rhythm.

Roy Lee Watkins, the father the story refuses to be without, spins his yarns and shares his own despair, doubt, and hope. His constant sparring with his daughter (they both know exactly which buttons to push) offers insight into a universal clash of generations, of fathers and daughters, and by Roy’s telling, fathers and sons, too. This memoir definitely contributes to the literature of the family dynamic.

I think it is a writer’s book, which is high praise. Ms. Watkins sums it up simply as she nears the bittersweet end of her journey:

“My body always did things my mind doubted. Growth happened when I overcame my mind.”

It is a story of raw wounds, both physical and emotional, and great heartfelt healing. The Watkins family courageously shows the good, the bad, the ugly, and the sublime. You cannot read this book without gaining insights about the American family that will probably enlighten you when it comes to some of your very own family dynamics.

View all my reviews

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Haiku–Inside Day

Rain constantly swirls
rolling wet, in from the beach;
inside is just fine.

The fire warms us:
the dog sleeps before the stove.
Home is a haven.


woodstove fire

(beach:; woodstove:

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Penis Ponder

“The problem with men is they were raised by women.”
~Virgie Wicks (1923 – 2000)

Our mothers made it up
as we went along early on:
they loved us, hugged up, scrubbed us,
taught us our little appendage was a
urinary device without imparting
the mystery we all stumble
over much later in our growing.
They never gave us our favorite toy.
We were born with it.
Sure, they did the heavy lifting
as it formed in the amniotic sac
where we were womb-locked fish,
breathing with magical gills,
oxygen somehow infusing us
in the miracle of our amphibian way.

Our mothers must have wondered how to
tell us what they did not know.
How could they know?
For all of that familiar texture and
behavior, it was ever foreign equipment.
As adolescents, as men, we spend too
much lifetime following it around,
pretending we’re driving,
conquest to conquest, heartache to heartbreak.
If we get lucky, maybe we find a partner with
whom we share our ignorance and make do
with what we uncover along our way.

Our mothers did well if
they gave us humor to cope with absurd.
If we join fatherhood we must
frame our ignorance and share
the depth of it with our boy children,
something to help with that first rise surprise.
Kindness is always the place to begin.
It will unwind with a mind of its own as
our mothers laugh and hope for the best.



Posted in eroticism, Humans, Kids, Man, Poem, Sex | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments