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a tribute to Kambiz Abbaszadeh

He always made a place at the bar

Dan I would show up

And with a flash of his warm smile

Kam always made a place for us

He would serve us a knock-out cocktail he dreamed up

And then, after attending to other patrons and washing a few glasses, he would fill us in on his family

In this way, he made us feel like family

Kam did that for people

For any of us

We sat in his presence

Whether it was on the bar stool

Or at the BBQ grill

Or at the family gatherings that were so precious to him

Wherever it was, we sat in the radiance of Kam’s playfulness, his spirit, his heart

Kambiz in the Kitchen

Kambiz enthralled with the cosmic

Kambiz with the shaker

Kambiz with magic massage fingers

The warm heart

The Love for the art of good food, good drink

The Art of Family

He gave us nothing short of love

He gave 100% to work, to his obligations but also to playfulness and to fun

Kam’s life was an adventure story from Tehran to the U.S.

From the Caspian sea to the ski slopes of Tahoe

He lived his dreams with all his heart

But as much as he loved adventure


 loved his family more

Nothing more cherished

His presence with his kids, with all his loved ones

was unmistakable

and even us. Just a couple of friends

he always gave us a seat at the bar, the table

But mostly

Kam gave us a place at His heart

That’s just who he was

how lucky we were to be in the orbit of his shine

The flash of his kind smile.

his steady gaze that held ours gave us a place

a special and coveted place

at his heart-filled table

He showed us nothing but Love

He gave us nothing but Love

You opened our hearts, Kambiz Abbaszadeh

You showed us how kindness worked

the importance of family

and how love prevails

Shine on, Loved One

Thank you for the seat at the table of your heart

We are better for your lion roar of laughter

Better for your imagination of the perfect cocktail

Better for knowing there is nothing better than Love

Better for the place we now hold for you

at a permanent seat in our hearts

For Jerry & Lorraine Olson on the closing of their beloved Mountain House Restaurant in Woodside—a landmark in our area

those wooden boards


soaked in the laughter

held the warm bellies and scraping chairs

creaked beneath the heels dancing

they hold a love story

a love story between a community and their retreat

between a man and a woman who loved it into being

the forest fairies circled

and the wood nymphs stomped

as patrons filed in

bright smile Lorraine greeting, buzzing, tending

if you were lucky, even Brett!

Jerry, gracious smiling eyes also greeting, also buzzing, and tending, tending

those boards took a lot of tending

the menus a lot of wild imagination: Venison, Elk, New Zealand Lamb

the wine list took your breath away and a great fraction of your worries with it!

the dream was fueled by a lot of heart as this landmark grew and fed, evolved and stayed

bringing a dream to this community, a home

a spirit in the woods

we carry this gift you gave us in our hearts

we carry it forward as we walk away with you, remembering

reminiscing, appreciating, relishing

the Good Times this place graced

a spirit in the woods will echo on

the boards, like our hearts, they remember

those epic times

the blazing fire

the warm drinks

the camaraderie

the love of this place

a spirit in the woods

the boards of this place are marked, like our hearts

and The Mountain House

we will, always, always remember.

For joe & veronica

As plump as a fig—bite like a snake
The banter of love started about 8 years ago and:

It hit them like a headline: Island Girl meets Texan Troubadour

It all began on the wrong side of town
when Fiesta time was ripening on the vine

He danced with her once
this goddess divine
he danced with her twice
and the banter began

As Joe says they had everything and nothing in common—as is the way of the most colorful kind of love

She liked Prince and leopard pattern
He, Beatles and classic design

But plump as a fig, bite like a snake
the muse of quick wit and artistic sensibilities took over

Like no one else before, this Bard of Bexar County caught Veronica’s banter
and raised her five
then behold, this Goddess with spirited heart,
she met his bet with … a kiss

As plump as a fig, bite like a snake
the banter intoxicated
it bubbled
it thickened

This brew of Love made up their life of two beautiful, precious daughters Paige and Yvonne, beloved pets, love of family and musical notes
speckled with artistic expression
these two are True Originals, all Texan style

And the banter plays on, it somehow carries them

It may strike like a snake
or mix into a comical fruit salad
But it’s NEVER ordinary

It’s their secret code
it’s that exotic  fig

A symbol of their unique love
that belongs only to them

So today we celebrate with you, Mr. & Mrs. Killough

We raise a cup
to the banter
to the madness
to the art and the music of your
Crazy Indescribable Love!

*Joe & Veronica met at a bar called “Splatzh”

Happy Wedding, Love Aunt Maurine

for sue and terry – who met “Rico” on a post “Hurricane Maria” beach in Puerto Rico. His outgoing nature captivated them as did his situation: starving, abandoned on the beach with no food or water and in bad physical shape. Through no small effort they rescued him, flew him to California and began to restore and care for him. The ear infection turned out to be terminal cancer but he got the finest care and was able to befriend every creature he boldly introduced himself to, including me. The “gait” refers to his severe body injury that left him with a walking disability which deterred him not at all.

Rico with the twirly gait

stepped a tender foot to the exact spot, the intersection to you

Rico with twirly gait walked a jagged, hungry line


into your hearts.

who knows what his eyes have seen

in the poverty of riches, hurricane winds and thirsty ocean

how many hearts has this soul gazed upon

rubbed against and touched

only to be left behind in empty sands.

and yet he never gave up his quest for love

to give love

to receive love.

it only took a small army to bring him to a new land

for his eyes to see no small miracle

to welcome him to a house of love

and a place for him to rest and give love, receive love

for that’s what his soul was meant to do.

a soul that never gave up, never ran away and stayed steady in his crooked walk, never complaining, showing us the meaning of gratitude.

blessed being, your work is done here

we see you

we acknowledge you.

and now,

Rico with the twirly gait

has run off to Shangri-la

Photo by Sue Munroe

for my duchess on the wedding day of her son (I wrote this a few years ago and just realized I never published it!)

hold tight
you’re still the girl
who was
before your life as mom

caress her face
she’s the grace
who picked her music bright
call of the wild
took on a life

your blue eyes
put some stars aside
baby in your nest
rocked through little one’s tides
ocean cool to fireside

hold her hand today
my sister’s hand
as i watch her
let loose her fingers
embrace this bold day

big wings, he spreads them
we gaze his dactyl flight
sky to call
him from your palm
brings your hand to future light

hold to your breast
endless mother gold
son of your heart
your wings will always enfold
cherishing the nest of family three
forever relishing
the Mother you will always be

for Claude & Betty Ganaye’s 60th Anniversary

One serendipitous day a blaze started with two sparks

a Lady wrestler, a mother with a mind of her own

Met her match

A French maverick, a lover of jazz, a dancer

What happens when two bright lights come together to make a bright, illuminating One?

The world serenades their synergy

The lover’s moon brightens their way

And a fire starts to ignite a hearth,
a hearth that will burn for lifetimes to come.

They grew the colors of a family, Colleen and Bill

Cultivated rainbows of businesses and myriad endeavors

And always along the way, Singing their mantra of eccentricity, individuality but most of all, big hearted love

moving out and out, wherever they went their loving hearth grew

attracting hearts like fireflys to light … a flock of admirers trailing them along the way

For these two are collectors of love.
their hearth collects a flock
they have invited many to stand in their warmth

They have shown the light for many to see their way

The hearth has been home to so many, their love, a blanket of comfort and encouragement to those they have touched so easily

This loving hearth of love that burns so bright

It lights our world and we are crazy fireflys enchanted by their flame!

At this hearth, we have danced and cheered, we have sung and we have celebrated

a hearth that has loved so many
has filled us all with their magical flame

they have brought us into their home, sat us down with a glass of wine and showed us

the meaning of Love.

So, to Claude & Betty, Your Hearth burns bright, thank you for sharing. We are all better people because of you.

Let’s now throw back a cup of cheer…

Claude & Betty’s 60th Anniversary is here!


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.


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
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

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

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

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