this suspension bridge offering a crossing…

it allures

it sways

it may cross you over

but makes no promises

suspension bridge

may leave you hanging

suspended over the rush of your life

as you watch it flow below

the river of your life before

out of reach–history now, rushing forward to…

unknown, i can’t see

i’m navigating this bridge

too determined to turn back

dizzy going forward

seeking rhythm with the sway

of this delicate passage

an offering of No Guarantees

just an uneasy tightrope

a place with a view

calling me away

 

 

Happy 2020 dear lover of the poetic! Below is video from a few pieces I got to perform for NYE at recording studio of Jimmy & Betsy Goings. Thanks to videographer extraordinaire Ken Buschke for capturing this. Thanks to Kathy Ray for bass accompaniment on Spiritual Bling and One Saturday Night; and David Blood on lead guitar…and surprise and perfect compliment of keyboards by David Kaffinetti on mystery

 

Sharon Lea interviews me on her podcast show, produced by Dan Powers:

https://www.artblender.org/the-interviews

 

last in the series of poems i wrote on breast cancer when lise first discovered her diagnosis.

trace a star
retract rest
stab a breast
ban a nest

race ten bets
erase scab
cart a tense beat
beers are best

bare bra
stern crater
crass brat
besets a stare

careen…can’t canter
abet crass banter
saber entreats teats
as beast berates east

near tears

can’t rest

can’t eat

can’t care

can’t bear

               B R E A S T   C A N C E R

 

all words in the above piece are taken from the letters spelling “breast cancer.”

a poem i wrote when i learned of Lise’s cancer so many years ago…about 9 years ago, i believe.

speechless

i always knew
what to say to you
my sister

your problems
so easy to me

you inspired my advise
and big sister wisdom
you let me hold you
let me believe i could fix all your problems
let me toss you the bones of what
had been true for me

your problems
your life so easy
if you just listen to me

you accepted my speeches
my sermons
mantras
and chants

your problems
so easy to me
i knew just what to say

until the day
you went beyond my reach
used the cancer words

after he cut you he said
the margins are bad
they are bad

and today
for once
your problem, my problem
slams me like a machine

today for once
i open my all-advising mouth
and i don’t have any idea
what to say

except i love you.

two girls by Ray Ferrer

two girls by Ray Ferrer

See more of Ray Ferrer at http://urbanwallart.wordpress.com/

I will reprint a series of poems for my heart, Lise Martine Gilchrist, who passed Sunday, November 3, 2019, All Saints Day. This is one I wrote many years ago for her. Thank you for sharing in this journey of mourning my sister-friend, a love of my life, of 30 years.

twin hearts

furniture shared
and letters traded

hardly a thing i own
without your mark

i’ve nurtured you
as you threw up bile

and you shed tears
when i bled my heart

your ways become mine
and my heart yours

the line that runs between us unbroken

the knocking doors and answered phones
have always been eager between us

some unbroken lineage
we have to fulfill

we both laugh at the prospect
and toss back another cup of fate

you tell me your stories
and i tell you mine

we blend together in this weave

and it’s too late
to pull us apart

Thank you to Mady Chatfield for referring me to grief counseling and to Randi Wren at Sutter Hospice for grief counseling. For more information go to: https://www.sutterhealth.org/services/home-health-hospice/grief-bereavement-support. Below is the talk I gave last night:

A year and a half ago, a bomb went off in my life.

If you are here, I suspect you too are a casualty of a similar explosion. It’s that awful death bomb that blows your life apart, that scatters your pieces everywhere. That changes everything. That makes it not only hard to put the pieces back together, but in fact, impossible.

Scattered remnants are everywhere. How do you deal with them?

For me I tried to run away from it…I’ve made an art out of distraction. And I was truly at a loss. But one smart thing I did was listen to my good friend Mady who works at Sutter. She said go see Randi. And I thought, what else am I going to do? I needed help. So I did. I joined the grief group and I realized I wasn’t the only one feeling like a zombie walking around in the wake of an exploded. There were others who had experienced a hard loss and they were having trouble too. It helped to know I wasn’t quite so alone on this new, surreal, unwanted terrain and I looked forward to each meeting.

One of my biggest challenges has been acceptance. You see, my husband Daniel he was my rock. He wasn’t supposed to die. He was supposed to live until he was in his 90s. In fact he died three days after his 66th birthday, unexpectedly.

The grief has been almost impossible, but the hardest part has been my resistance to accept it. Like if I accept it he will really be gone and I cannot have that. At first I thought this was something I had to overcome. Like there was something broken in me that needed to be fixed. Somehow in my grief I HAD to accept this or I wasn’t doing it right. But even as I said these things to myself, I knew I was not ready, I absolutely did NOT want to accept this: NO!

So another thought comes to me. And the grief counseling at Sutter has helped me to see this. Maybe it’s not my less evolved part of myself who is resisting this “death.” Maybe it’s actually the wise part of myself. Maybe we’re wrong about death. We think it is final, they are gone, we’re alone, etc. Maybe the truth is, we need to listen to that part who says “NO!” and accept their presence is still here, will always be here. In fact, it’s impossible for it to be any other way! They are here, with us, with you, with me. Everywhere. They have changed form, yes. But we do not HAVE to let them go. It’s OK to still send them love, to connect with them, recall them and yes, miss them. Miss them terribly, for their physical presence has left us and that hurts. And it seems unbearable until you realize you can shift from that yearning to feel their body again…from the resistance to letting them go to embracing them in the non-physical.  Embracing them by tapping into the love in your heart. The love you have for them (now) and the love they continually have for you (now). That is real. That exists. Love is alive. It does not end with death. Feel it. Know it. Love transcends, Love sustains, Love heals. And it’s all we have.

I’m reminding all of us, who have had our hearts broken open, that while we are here in this wide open, vulnerable, hurting place…and as you send your beloved love remember to also send and give love to those around you. Remember to love and love.

Because when a bomb goes off in your life, a lot of kindness and healing is needed to tend to the hurt. That healing remedy is love. Big Love.

So let’s remember, as we sit in our pain, we can also sit in the limitless love of our hearts. Love never, ever dies.

for Susan and Z on their wedding day

just try to catch her

that breeze of light who just streaked the room!

you know the one

that girgle of a laugh,

ms. foxy brown eyes jumping adventures

like mountain bikes sparking the marin headlands…

joy in the wilderness

sweat down your back spine

song of a violin…

you can’t catch that!

but a shooting star landed in his heart pocket

you see, he was looking for a star

he did catch her, with his acoustic guitar

gregarious smile and homemade pesto

he landed this brush stroke of sunshine

and in the process, they discovered a sanctuary

of nesting eggs, merging tunes, hearts beating devotion.

a world of love they have ignited in each other

creating a bright sunny song

whistling over the sparkling San Francisco Bay

a song about a day like today

the day these two sparks caught

each other.

 

 

April 20, 2019

who we hold in our hands
we enjoy
we feast together
we misunderstand
tussle with

you who were in the heart of my palm
i held
attended to
rebuffed
and tangled

you melted into my dream and colored my days
so vivid
so outrageous
so hard and so real
your light i still hold in the eyes of my heart

the deepest place to feel you only lost from my physical sense
but forever precious
in this awakened dream of striking life

your light and the light of our beloveds
is held in the eyes of the heart
the deepest place to see from

our beloveds only lost
from material touch
but forever precious
in this fitful dream of sharp reality

marking forever
the fortunes in our hands

happy april 1. holding this april fools day as sacred
as i have done since 23 years ago when daniel and i were married on this day.

the clerk’s too-bright smile
how can she know how to react?
i’m just as lost as she is

the 8.5 x 11 page signifies a bizarre reality
this circuit of name changing, beneficiary and bill figuring
repeating  the same mantra
to each customer service representative

and my heart goes out to them all, no matter how they react
for their day will come when they will mummy walk
this impossible thing
unless they get out early. lucky ones.

there will only be one fool this april 1
our anniversary
almost a year, i am counting

this fool much wiser
what you told me, i can now finally hear
how you have humbled me
how you have torn me awake

the rock you were for me
the face i memorized, imprinted on
lost or invisible …
turned into something i can’t grab onto

this hardest lesson ever
this brutal certificate
has opened my heart in such a way
that i love more, more than ever

and i love you more
more than ever

 

 

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