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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


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

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

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