the moon is rising in the “V” of the tree
where i am open and raw at the heart

soft white orb glows
fills up the chest of my thunder struck tree
houses the soft child
nested in the trunk

pearl essence dots the cells
and tiny moons multiply

the umbilical girl is tucked inside hugging her heart

the white radiance warms and lights the darks spots
the hard holes that hold
the bark of the shelled-out tree is tough and strong
the trunk, it’s vibrant roots travel down, down
intuitively finds the mother womb, the source
she welcomes and obliges
we are her children, she is our mother
this is what is meant to be.

umbilical pumps the blood to the root
keeps us alive
and the moon light
softens the gaze
eases the blow of outer life
magnifies but heals
radiates truth, magnificence

soft child curls to red heart, her comforting gift
rests in the shade of morning glory
night bird flight.

then grey fear catches at the throat
swells and blocks the flow but dams are necessary on this river ride
to measure out the flow

we get stuck and ask why, why
cry out in pain, misery, ego-self, dwarfed into material being…

the moon sings out, drink, drink
drink my moon milk

i serve moon milk to grey ball, shadow and child
this all takes time which
holds us in question, makes us do our homework

all the shame in the world won’t set you free
but love surely will if you are patient

know the moon milk is mother’s milk, it nurtures

then the eddy breaks
and the cork bobs down the river

shaman sucks through a straw and calls the grey ball home, from where it came
all the grey ones inside disburse one by one

go home, past life, go home hard memory misinterpreted stuck in my body

spew musk perfume and tap my body

sing my throat for sacred preparation
like a marriage, my throat must get ready
i tone it clear, sing it through
tap my heart, remind myself

i am tree embodied by Mother, rooted in Grand Mother
blessed by Grand Father, Given Guardians
i am shine
i am child nestled, but more than that
i am tough like tree bark
i am exposed to the elements, mortal and fallible

yet i am true
i can know who i am
i can root, take my time
know myself and own it
like the eyes of a tree i see the moon rising
and it is me.

Art by Carmen Leon

Art by Carmen Leon


I will be hauling down to Pacific Grove to do a short reading on May 26. Since it’s my late brother Ricky’s birthday, I am compelled to read some poems inspired by him. Get ready for some dark shit, folks…sorry! But my, how I loved him and still do.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 26
6:30 p.m.
Juice & Java
599 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950


Richard Dixon Killough 1950-1990



for ira kart

it started off as patter

like rain

on my brain

when we first met you

your piano keys striking my nature like flowing rivers

and then your patter became more familiar

and we began to know you as friend

as tribe member

music gigs and giants games

your patterns of smile and simile

your kind heart with eyes to match

and your patter was like soft rain

to my thirsty brain

your piano keys that smiled sunshine

into our wet hearts

and in your eyes, we recognized ourselves

saw in ourselves, how we were all connected

in the family, in this tribe

and you brought out heart

where before

there was only patter in my brain.

and i wonder why our loved ones

why our friends…

why can’t they just stay in the neat alcoves we carve out for them?

in that corner playing the piano

where my spirit lifted?

on stage right, where i expect to see you, now and every time coming

why can’t you just stay there?

to remind me how to turn my patter into harmony

where i can be beguiled by you?

charmed by you?

heart devil

i will never hear piano keys the same way…

you brought color to our lives through heart

and measure of music sublime.

i will stand back and let you go

but i will forever keep

the echo of you

the pattern you played…the rhythm you drummed in our ears

and the imprint you left on our hearts.


click here to see this poem performed at Ira’s memorial


grandmother rain
you finally came
not your soft arms patting earth’s skin
but your persistent palm
running life through stone

oh, mother
your mixed time percussion taps open my roof
quells my pains
song of the season
you licked your lips and put down your fist
upon the dry cracked blue, after blue
and my heart greets you.

mother rain
flood your lifeblood
into pools where we view our reflections in your watery glass
drum me into hypnotic daydream
tap me STILL so i can listen to you
soak my desert sponge with your aqua spirit.

mother mayacamas*
your trickle will river, and stream to ocean
and on its way, bless waiting lives
quench the thirst
bring green back into our eyes
bring color back into our lives.

grandmother rain
after so many dry tears
we welcome you again

IntoDeep Robin Uton

IntoDeep by Robin Uton

*Mayacamas is an indigenous word (possibly Miwok) that means “water runs through it”


a tribute to Julie Levitt

she breaks the day with a bucket to the compost pile
her long hair bunned like a flower bud dawning
greets her morning with observance of dew
and an eye for what will be pruned today
she is alone with the voices in her garden

she trots out the wheelbarrow
bends her straight back to the curve of earth
weeds a berm, prunes a rose
kisses a hello to the vines
and she is alone, solitary with green voices

she doesn’t speak
of the joy and the beauty that feathers her arm
or the soil that sets in her nails,
she keeps this to herself, digging her spade and planting flats
the pleasure that mounts in her heart
alone in the fullness of her garden

giving gifts of cuttings
a bouquet for a banquet
a daisy for a daughter
an herbal oblation for her husband
she escapes until sunset in the spring of her garden
a grinning girl, happy like a child
with stained pant knees
stamping her shovel, it makes her point
she is in the company of her own devices dancing in the garden

she is there
she will always be there
caressing the wayward leaf, digging the roots
being touched by birds, salvaging seeds
but she is not alone
she is surrounded by a choir of loved ones singing from her garden
as she draws toward nature’s familiar voice
calling her, calling her
by name.


this poem won 3rd Place at the San Mateo County Fair 2016


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


some recollections from my trip to Ireland last summer with the Happy Traveler

spinning through the island of Destiny
rainbow sheep block the road
renaissance ceilings are in full bloom

spiral staircases etched in stone
echo centuries of footsteps
sharpened by pointy turrets

fairy forts and fairy trees
remain in place like lost puzzle pieces
never to be recovered

we frolick Lissadell, a winter green
so far from a summer dream

prehistoric proof lies in the bogs
revealing hard histories and red hair burning spite

magic groves and stony castles in the mist tell
honeymoon legends and the mead they kissed

celtic crosses spring up from the landscape
as rain drops bless our faces

craggy bridges arc
near grand castle serene streams
and all around endless greens

the sun breaks in the cloudy rain
Irish pubs greet with Guinness pie and Irish whiskey
giving respite to weather splinter

thatched roof neighbor and a ruined abbey
follow Galway village and Cliffs of Moher
fish & chips as light as clouds and the taste of mollusk, cold and creamy

the faeries of innisfail
flag us down, hide in shadows
st. brigid presides
while st. patrick picks clovers

it’s the magic of this island
that calls trickery in a leprechaun voice
destiny for some
a journey for all
as we discover the stories
buried in the bogs


you spit lies to me

and i sip at sinking canoes in the harbor
before we drown together
for just a moment drinking tear water through our gills

my darts meet the water before meeting their mark
i shoot again, this time from my heart, a little straighter
to your heart, my mark

you sing a siren song and we echo together
in accordance now

we dog paddle
upon the Truth

discovering together
how to repair the sour boat
build it back to floating, dry and clean

row to shore
in time for sunset
rest in calm beauty

let Truth sink in and watch it sink again

before another day
sets its lies upon us

MoonPath by Diane Lee Moomey. See more of her incredible art at

MoonPath by Diane Lee Moomey. See more of her incredible art at

…plus a little music! Daniel and I have been invited to do a little poetic musical showcase at this event. We will be joined by Mr. Tom Poole on trumpet.

Tom Poole on Trumpet, Daniel Swetlik on Bass

Tom Poole on Trumpet, Daniel Swetlik on Bass

Come Celebrate Pacifica’s Birthday November 21, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Shelldance Orchid Gardens…FREE!

Orchids, violets and poetry will grace the stage for the 20th annual Pacifica Poetry and Music Festival at 2 p.m., Saturday, November 21, at the Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica.

“The beautiful orchid gardens overlooking the Pacific Ocean, are the stars of our show,” said Anna Boothe, Festival Director “and we will also have performances from our poets and musicians to help us celebrate.”

Ian Butler, fresh from being emcee at Fog Fest, will be our emcee and perform some of his new songs for us. We will also have music from the New Life Singers from the New Life Fellowship in Pacifica; poetry and music with Maurine Killough & Daniel Swetlik of San Mateo with world-class trumpet, Tom Poole, and poetry with Bill Mercer of San Francisco and Pacifica poets David Hirzel and Anna Boothe.

If You Go–The nursery is on the first road past the Police Station on Highway 1 North, marked by a sign that says, “Stop for Flowers.” Go up to the top of the hill (also an entrance to Sweeney Ridge), for parking and the nursery building. The program is free but we ask you to bring a light refreshment or beverage for our reception and book signing.  For more information, call (650) 557-9097.

ShellDancingw-DanThank you to Susan Munroe for the photos!




four fingers hiding, clinging stuck
peanut butter in your pocket

comfortable paste staid in their own quiet dark
stubborn fingers moaning, why must it be, why?

and what could pull you out of this butternut thicket
primordial ooze evolved to
trap your limp fist jammed in the jar

but the impulse to finger past the walls of manufactured candy cups, salted sugar imagination
covered and fooled into the sneaky center
of this candy bar life
encapsulated in a shell smoothed by words, ruling words
held tight by thoughts, entangled by the jingle in your head when half asleep.

take your hand from your pocket to tinker with the jewels, the soft songs and soaring dreams
past the squares, empty of the wonder of a fleeting moment
lighting on the tear drop of a mood, paintbrush of a tree
laughing daffodils and wild animal call…

take your hand from your pocket
show the world your treasure

the peanut butter is not your enemy, show it some sunlight
oil your skin with it, shine your bronze beauty with it and use what was hidden deep
where sunlight diamonds catch the glint of presence…

join your world
dance with your only World, this only One

eager elements wait to celebrate
what you held from view

that quality of aliveness unique to you
what you were afraid to draw out

the roots even gravity can’t hold down

that little thing inside of you that is so dazzling delight
the kernel of you, that’s been canned for so long, sealed tight


like peanut butter

in your pocket

Tree of Gold, courtesy of Ray Lobato

Tree of Gold, courtesy of Ray Lobato see more of Ray’s art at

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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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