Wednesday, January 6, 2021

pine medley

The machine in prospect park

turns christmas trees into mulch


people bring their trees from their homes

all of these homes with all of these stories


the ringing carols

 sparkly red ornaments

gingerbread cookies

angels on high


all these moments whirl out of the machine

into a medley


I breathe in 




the first week of january

grief smells like pine.


on a shining blue day,

the sky wide open against the bare winter,

in the park they make mulch from christmas trees.


the smell of pine all around the park

all these trees, from all these homes

now spread and dried beneath new trees,

helping them grow.


I breathe in the pine

 as I walk slowly to say goodbye

and wonder


what will grow 

from you?






a bird sits on the top of a tall pine tree

outside my window

like the star on a christmas tree


every morning the bird watches me

I watch the bird


Ki* sways as the wind moves the tree

but the bird holds on to the tiny branch at the top of the pine

to see it all


Oh, what a view

what a view






*Why I use ki instead of it when referring to living things:

Sunday, September 15, 2019

What she left behind

There was the leaf

tucked behind the string
on the kayak

that she had found on one of her kayak trips
and placed under the string

never thinking
that this would also be something

that we would find
months later

and touch it lightly

knowing that she had also touched this leaf

this leaf

this tiny fragile leaf

that somehow is still here

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

the cove

In the morning, 
the ocean was gone.
I walk on the mud, the rocks,
waiting for the tide to come
to fill up the cove once again.

If I rest on the muddy bed,
will I wake again 
at once floating, 
at once drenched

Will I ever see it fill and wane,
or is everything just

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Amazon is Burning (lyrics)

The Amazon is burning.
I can feel it in my lungs.
Can you feel it in your lungs?
Greenland ice is melting
I can feel it drowning me.
Can you feel it drowning you?
There is plastic in the water.
I can feel it when I breathe.
Can you feel it when you breathe?
There are children locked in cages.
In my heart, it’s hard to move.
Do you feel it’s hard to move?
There are gun-shots in the schools
I can hear them,
Can you hear them too?
In Puerto Rico they dance corruption out.
I feel the rhythm in my bones.
Can you feel it in your bones?
In Hong Kong they link their arms together.
My arm is pressed to theirs.
Do you feel your arm held too?
Janna, Greta, Emma*
are the youth leading the way.
I will follow,
Will you follow too?
Maya Angelou writes -- I rise, I rise.
I can feel my soul fly higher.
Do you feel your soul fly too?
The song of freedom is getting louder
I am singing,
Are you singing too?
The Amazon is burning
I will link my arm in yours,
will you link your arm in mine?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Tradescantia (Wandering Jew Plant)

In the window you grow --
Are you searching for home
Or wandering for mystery

Purple queen dancing above
You have so many sides
You shine like silk, you draw in light
But oh how easily you die

You grow, you rise, you shed, you dry, you break, you root new life.
You grow, you rise, you shed, you dry, you break, you root new life.

Purple queen, you are my heart.
Your leaves are woven into me.
I grow and break alongside you.
I've been wandering my whole life too.

I lift upwards as the sky.
I draw in light as the sun.
I crumble as the earth.
I begin again as the seed.

I grow, I rise, I shed, I dry, I break, I root new life.
I grow, I rise, I shed, I dry, I break, I root new life.

But who is the tender?
And who is the plant?
Which roots are mine?
Which roots are yours?

For we are the forest let the deer rush through us.
We are the fish, swimming through the sea.
We are the sky, let the birds glide through us.
We are the flowers in a field.
We are the meadow, let the water pour through us.
We are the seed becoming more.
We are the earth holding the seed, we are the plant that has grown, we are the plant that has dried.

We grow, we rise, we shed, we dry, we break, we root new life.
We grow, we rise, we shed, we dry, we break, we root new life.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

something else

There is the driver that almost hits the biker, not because he wants to, but because he doesn’t see.

There are the people walking by the vagrant guy who is singing with so much soul,
not because they want to, but because they don’t hear.

There are the thoughts in my mind that keep asking me to look back instead of being here, right here.

And so many couples quarreling about very tiny things,
mostly because they have forgotten something very important.

My piano student who is fighting for his life, everyday,
and that beautiful woman I knew, who gave hers away.

The soil in my garden that is somehow rich and fertile after a long winter
and how everything -- every little seed always remembers where to go.

The friend from out of town that reminds me of the world. Somehow it’s all connected.

And my little mind that is partly in brooklyn, partly in the past, partly in the future, partly in fantasy.

I don’t want to be the same person you thought I was yesterday, and also, I want to be known.

There are the weeds that we pull that become mulch, protecting the seeds.

All this waste that could easily turn into soil, and then back into food.

A simple molecule that could be upcycled into something more complex
(at least that’s what my friend told me).

The blood that leaves my body. The blood, that could pour into the earth, nourishing new life.
It makes me dizzy, my mind fragmented. Today, I am less myself and more of something else.

The purple plant in my window which so often crumples and dries. I break it into pieces,
place the parts into water, watch new roots sprout, plant the new roots into soil.
Again and again. The crumpled leaf is the purple, shiny leaf. Its death exists within its life.

There is this moment. There is that one.

There is the feeling I had with my friend like my world was getting bigger and bigger
just by having him in my garden. I had forgotten about change, about hope.

I want to connect with everyone I know and I also want to hide.

I want to have intimacy, to touch, to feel --
and also I want to be alone in my bed, to feel the stillness, and to sleep.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

For Ellen (lyrics)

Where are you now?

is your laughter the rain
is your music the wind
is your smile the sunrise

is your sadness the sea
is your brightness a star
is your stillness the moon
is your song the birds' song

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

did you know, did you know
you were loved

did you know, did you know
you were loved

are you floating in flowers
are you flying above
are you sparkles of light
floating by in our eyes
are you sliding down rainbows
are you jumping in clouds

is heaven what you hoped it would be

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

and did you know, did you know
you were loved

can you feel, can you feel
all our love

can you feel, can you feel
all our love

dedicated to Ellen O'Meara

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