forget the tall man with the hat

who comforted you

the one who walked you

bay trail, car rides, fish market every day

snuggled your black pelt against his frame.

when he called

you always came.


his scent, his deep voice

and tender kiss, my little girl

forget, so the sting of his non-return is lost in your dreams

i am here now

to take over

step into his gigantic man shoes

walk you on familiar trails

see the world through his eyes

where he left us, not here but not forgotten

all the love he poured into you

i can reach out and touch

caress your coat, ease my own pain of the loss

and help you forget

the tall man with the hat who loved you.

Daniel Swetlik


Help us celebrate National Poetry Month!

I am honored to be invited to read with two very respected and talented poets: John Rowe, President of the Bay Area Poets Coalition and poet Jan Dederick on Wednesday, April 4th in Alameda.

Daniel and I will present a few musical poetry pieces and songs written from poetry. Please come out, we’d be so delighted to see you!

April 4, 2018
7 to 9 p.m.
Frank Bettes Center for the Arts
1601 Paru Street

Alameda, CA 94501

Open mic will follow from 8 to 9 p.m. so bring whatever you want to read!

I am delighted and honored to be invited to read for National Poetry Month by the Alameda Island Poets!

Please join us:

April 4, 2018
7 to 9 p.m.
Frank Bettes Center for the Arts
1601 Paru Street
Alameda, CA 94501

Dan will join me by playing bass to some of the poetry and we will also perform some of the songs he wrote music to from my poetry. I will co-feature with one or more poets to be announced.

Open mic will follow from 8 to 9 p.m. so bring whatever you want to read!


for Anthony & Serena on their wedding day January 27, 2018

through the window, the moon shines blue
on her soft hair

fleur de lis tassie
laces his wrist
a charm bracelet of wallabies and lilies
tasmanian angel fastens his dream, locks his heart.

as sunrise entrances twilight into sparkle morning
her aura catches the edges of tassles dangling in paned glass sunlight

the love charm has got her
its rays beam of wallabies and lilies

reflects in the window
shines in her eyes

her creole kangaroo
he has this lyrical kick
sings straight into her heart
of arenas circled by talisman tails, practiced and loved

a charm locket of wallabies and lilies

alligator green, ferociously faithful

dressage and cajun ballet all tangled together
through the window of musical notes:
the charmed song of wallabies and lilies sing your love

the tranquil and the strong

the flower and the song

photo by Susan Munroe


a re-post of this birthday poem to Robert Cassidy since TODAY is his Birthday!

smiling eyes man

dancing with Divine

you nourish thirsty vines.

exuberant flash

koko pele heart

the color of your smile

spreads joy on the quilt of life.

smiling eyes man, son of Divine

you embolden our connection

sew radiant stars on torn patches

hang dreams on empty branches.

koko pele heart, singing your soul

you help us all

to shine a little more.

for Robert Cassidy, Happy Birthday, brother!

Robert Cassidy on guitar

Robert Cassidy on guitar


spice that transforms the darkest night
is served at this ancient Table
as we follow some version of this long-held tradition

spiraling frenetic workloads to the side
resisting the gravity of the advertising blizzard
or not

but most of us trying, trying to collect ourselves into our clans
to share the
Good food
Good drink
Good company

reminding each other: you are important
you are important to me. i feel important to you.
We are important to Everything.

the Spice that lights our solstice
and brings us through this winter season
is the hopeful discovery
of our connections to each other


Reprinting this poem which just won first place in the California Writers Club Fault Zone Anthology 2017.

her teeth were cracked like peanut brittle
an ocean of stories
rushing from her mouth
tales about the happy days
like today

in her disarmed squalor
she announced happiness
wide mouth smile
revealing gums studded
with all the colors of creek pebbles

a grin beaming
at the synchronicity of the sunshine
coinciding with her outdoor livelihood
the chance of her check
arriving in time
for a hot dinner

i can’t complain
she said leaning on her good leg
i’ve got my city
and this old dog

i’ve always been lucky
she said

This poem is by Aleia Ruth…it is a response poem to the aparagraha poem I last posted. Thank you, Aleia.

Shiva has razed that which was well-loved,
and shared freely in joy
Song and celebration left their mark on that land,
In the hearts of the smiling eyes tribe.

Even the destroyer has a heart,
the broken heart opens even more widely
To receive a celebration home brighter, even better – if you can imagine!
As your teared eyes clear,
your smoked heart breathes again, your empty, soft grip unfurls,
you’ll see the shadow of Brahma dance by, leaving golden footprints in your path, sister, brother…you’ve given bits of heaven, no lasting harm can come from that.

aparigraha is a sanskrit word expressing non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness. it is the opposite of the desire for possessions. our beloved cinque terre, our retreat in sonoma, has burned to the ground. this poem was born from that experience. shiva has two meanings. One is the Hindu God, Shiva the Destroyer but there is also the Hebrew term shiva, the week long mourning period after a death.

shiva came through this place
smoke signals foretold

wiper of slates

Destroyer, you hit your mark
smeared your body with our ashes

crumbled our city
of material dreams, security illusions.

that which you have reduced to settled piles
disintegrates my grasp of worldly form

with one fierce sweep you’ve left me clinging
my fist clenching

nothing but material ash

oh shiva, open my eyes sealed by
beholding the “Plan”

my hands wail, they pound futile rage,
but all that is left is suffocating ash, a strangle of fear.

run! shiva has swept through here.
run for your life. run until you collapse in the horror stilled by the dissolution
and stand in it, melting like ice in fire

stand in the loss, in the center of it all, in the calm eye of the hurricane
release my false grip

travel through shiva’s eyes where destruction offers a path, that if taken
shows the soul beyond the pointless grasp, false security


shiva, destroyer
cut the cords to my grasp of that which is not my soul

leave only the cinders of what never belonged to me
force my hand open to lay on my heart
embrace eternal heart beat

let what has been taken
blow away in the winds

leaving me standing with palms open
on shiva’s purified ground.


i am rootless

the way my father taught me

i find my beginning in you

and in the illusion

of isolation

suffer my ending

every day.

i am rootless

housed in a cloud.

i find my meaning

in you



and You.

i am

attached to the sky

by the strands that whisper:

find my likeness in your face

imprint the code in your DNA

my blood in your veins.

ancestral ties are insignificant

to the recognitions of the heart.

i am lost without you

lost without finding you

am found when i Love you,

same as finding me.

we are One in the pulse

together we are found

through each other we are uncovered, discovered.

i am rootless

without you.



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Poetry Reading in Pacific Grove

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