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Just thought I’d share the link for this video which will be nationally syndicated and probably end up on local-channel-3-in-the-morning TV. Lovingly hosted by the dear, Stephen Kopel.

The reading is ekphrastic poetry featuring the art of Sarah Curtiss, Ginger Slonaker and Flaming June by Frederic Leighton. Thank you to producers John Rhodes and Clara Hsu.



I participated in Erika Guzman’s Facebook 24-hour poetry slam today and wrote a poem for Barbara Hewitt Pilat’s art piece shown below.


i can barely see you

headless beauty

root legs and branched arms reaching sunlight

infinite bright and sky…beyond my frame

mind lost

scraping my naked knees to get into your soul

losing my head in your bigness

gigantic madre

oso de moreno, your heart runs deep

ancestor mother, your skin so different from mine

i climb and struggle in this life

to reach inside something, to find the connection

great one, hold me in your nest, take me into your arched arms

and let me merge my trunk

with yours


peek-a-boo by Barbara Hewitt Pilat

peek-a-boo by Barbara Hewitt Pilat


Performing this poem Saturday, November 21 at Shell Dance Nursery in Pacifica with Mr. Tom Poole on trumpet. 2-4 p.m. FREE. Also performing with Daniel Swetlik on guitar and Tom a few original songs written by Daniel Swetlik and Maurine Killough. Hope to see you there!

this is an ekphrastic poem written for Sarah Curtiss‘ art pictured below
listen to the audio clip as you read the poem

jazz, you are a mystery to me

curly notes cue up to fugues on acid

sprightly tuned colors ignite velvet fur juxtaposed with electric fusion

noodle highways drive sound from a high speed chase

to the color of cool, green avocado

striped trumpets pop like stars in your xylophone hair

jester music, you are two faced

you climb me from your creamy lips, just to nudge me to the suicide drop of a sky scraper

jazz shaman, mystery witch, you pull me deep into your fractals

lose me in your saxophone eyes

then hang on your obtuse hooks my ears

waiting to be rescued in a wave of piano or left to drown in a Minor C

mysterious jazz, you shun convention

you spark infused parody

soothe, then confuse and take hostage our sensibilities of rhythm

and into the smoky night

of slippery hot pepper butter-love

you stand guard over the rebellious realm of

the undefinable

keeping the lock safe from the key

its mystery

"Mystery" by Sarah Curtiss

“Mystery” by Sarah Curtiss





this is an ekphrastic poem written for Sarah Curtiss’ art piece here.


she looked at me from across the room with such pleading recognition

that it flickered my own history to reflect hers

those crooked eyes bore into me

and i remembered myself in her former life

here she was craning her neck to set her uneven eyes

into my wrapped up paper face

her eye holes stared into my perfected façade

revealing the mirror we were for each other

i saw our stories unfolding same pages but different books

centuries apart in a moment all collapsing together

but the more i stared at her, the more she began to come apart

she split into pieces, and her lips became a jumble

her face blossomed a Picasso

and our stories split into alternate universes…

her eyes seemed lost and crazy to me now, familiarity turned to intractable madness

our ancestral kinship had met its end and diverged into radical eccentricities

she was trapped behind those Picasso eyes

while i feigned safety from

inside the square frame

of my paper walls

this is an ekphrastic poem written for Sarah Curtiss’ art piece below by the same title

this is the way life is

with its boxes and swirls

appearing as snares, suction cups and mazes

they are everywhere

you step into them everyday

get boxed in

circle around and around

then trip into a dead end

before you see clearly, after so many lifetimes

that the boxes are windows

the swirls are clouds to carry you away

the rubik’s cubes are your own lethal thoughts

so i lie down to not think

i am awake but i do not participate

i recline quietly as

ancient labyrinths order my hair

secret mazes mark my body

sacred swirls coil my mind

cyclones siphon my drops

i shut my drain pipes

to all that is going on

like music in the background

and fall into myself

into my infinity

spiral like a snake where gaia meets the cosmos

let the energy flow

fly above where the patterns take helix shape

until i am free of the circling thoughts

material traps

and can wrap my being around

the divine pattern

of all there is

Meditation by Sarah Curtiss see more of her art at

Meditation by Sarah Curtiss
see more of her art at

this is one of my favorite pieces by artist Sarah J. Curtiss. An ekphrastic poem I have written for it follows. If you’d like to listen to it,

lost in the sway of

orion is electrified
the stars never felt so good sizzling into my pores
this twilight solitude is sanctuary

i hitch a ride on the beat
it carries me to that threshold
between sea and celestial
between green and violet
where I fade into the rhapsody

beyond self
beyond material
beyond the blood and the breath

in accordance
to the music

of the ultimate
the sacred
the spiraling deep inside
to the realm
of divinity

this is an ekphrastic poem about Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June
(2012 First Place and Best of Show, San Mateo County Fair)

oh, june, you are a figment of imagination
your billowing ripples beckoning
slumber sex and labial impressions
i want to be lost in your folds

lovely june, you are a Christmas fire in summer
glazing the eyes of hot toddies with caribbean sunsets
i can feel your heat from here
i want to crawl into your swallow, float my palm along your orange drapes
dissolve in your marigold madness
and caress the island of your third eye

you sat down for him
issued that suffering moan
then deep pocketed your eyes
and melted into his chariot of fire

you arbitrarily give us your flame
and we blaze in your fire
the poet writes, the artist draws, the actor delivers
and the musician plays

oh june, your paint is only skin deep
but your superficial love burns eternal in our desire
a classic player of tricks
your hearth is burning

did you hide from him, you clementine, you citrus Tart?
the way you play hide and seek with the rest?

you held the power
to rise from the chair of fantasy
step onto your own
and leave empty his marble throne
escaping in your sleep
sweeping away in your oleander boat
and dreaming of the blazing sea
until you dreamed yourself awake
and flamed the fire
of the artist’s desire

you opened your world to him
spread your oasis wide
and let him drink
your orange flame …

without you
just the echo of color
on a store-bought canvas

without you
a poem ill-worded, an idea gone nowhere, a play unfinished
music is discord

capricious muse, for however much time you stay with us
we will swim in our creative passions
climax in our love affair with art
express the artist’s craft
and burn in your retractable flame

Flaming June by Lord Frederic Leighton

The Bride, by artist and sculptor William Solis

they came with their white sugar dreams

cast a hollow glance to the native eyes

and proceeded to dismantle them

until the smallpox blankets prevailed

brute met brute

shoulder to shoulder in cruelty

until the invading bacteria prevailed

and an odd thing happened

love and respect actually didn’t triumph

greed over honor won out too

fathers smug in their collective belief

that empire could be enough

to fill a hollow heart

Click here to see more art by William Solis

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Poetry Reading in Pacific Grove

Ode to Maestro Klein, Peninsula Symphony Orchestra

Performance for San Mateo County Supervisors

Poetry Reading by Maurine

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Carmen the Chicken Killer by Sarah Curtiss

This is the story of my 2-month stay in Costa Rica a few years ago. It wasn’t my first trip. I had visited the year before with my partner, William Solis, who is from Costa Rica. But this particular year I wanted to learn Spanish. My initial plan was to take an immersion course in Mexico. However, William said that if I was going to immerse myself in a Spanish family it might as well be his. They don’t speak any English so I would be forced to speak Spanish and I could get to know them better. I told him that when I returned I would know more about him and his family than he did and so it has proven to be true. William joined me for the last 10 days. This is my journal plus emails I wrote to family and friends and a few comments from my current perspective…six years later. I drew a picture every day using pencil, pen, colored pencil, water colors, and acrylics. I wrote in my journal almost every day. I took photographs.

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