four o’clock in the afternoon
on july first,
silence is almost perfect.
a faint hammer can barely be
heard from several blocks away.
windows are still closed
waving, flapping trees
are a soundless, green ballet.
this is the gift given to those
who have stayed home.
no dog bark has broken into
the cloak of quiet.
the hammock in the next door garden
is smiling at this phenomenon,
fallen lemons are afraid to move,
this is a midday miracle.
don’t tell those who have traveled
far away, that the peace they sought
is on their front steps,
is lying in their back yard.
it is an offering which began
in the morning sun
and continues through the soft day.
we will hold on to this treasure
until the fireworks break through

walking toward the kitchen
i pictured the piece of cake
in my sugared mind
when i stood in front of the
there were only the remains of
dark, chocolate ganache
moist flavorful
with smooth, cream cheese frosting
i was disappointed
as i smiled at the empty container
so many times i had gobbled
the last slice
before my beloved could get there
she had left a little spoon
and i scooped around the edges
it seemed as though the wet crumbs
were full of surprise flavors
licking around the edges
was almost a new sport
each crumpled, tiny bit
was packed with delicate layers of pleasure
disappointment disappeared
another reward from the secrets of love

there is a towering orchid in my study
i spoke to its beauty
and it said “kneel”
“i am the lord god”
i started to laugh and it shouted “kneel”
“i am the essence of buddha,
i will teach you the truth of peace.”
i started to answer and it screeched
“kneel” “kneel” “kneel”
all weapons will melt immediately
the entire world will kneel and weep
for all that should have been done
kneel and cry
for all the innocents
that have suffered and died
the towering orchid stands majestically
i thought it was a dream
but i am still kneeling
wake the innocents, tell them to rise
the magnificet orchid is waiting


all those beauties
all their friends
holding hands in a circle
proud, loving parents
surrounded by warmth
smiles tenderly holding love
love, love, love,
hold on to the love
don’t let it go
all is shattered by greed
for guns
guns for money
guns splattering blood upon
joy, upon hope, upon life
young lives barely begun
bursting into scream
school rooms become overpowering screeches
one endless explosion in every schoolyard
all loved ones know
that nothing will ever be the same
all loved ones tear at their hair
tear at their hearts
tear their clothes try to stop the blood
stop the blood, stop the blood
that is my son’s blood
that is a teacher’s blood, that is my daughter’s
blood. stop stop stop

already it is too late
souls of beautiful people
are lifting above the crowd
souls of confused people
haven’t yet realized their death
hold on to hope, search for our bodies
move into spirit, reach for our lives.
everybody screams, spirits become clouds of ether
all friends, all loved ones
become a laser explosion
chasing pistols, smashing repeating rifles
destroying everything that can be a weapon
dissolving them all into uselessness
all friends, all loved ones
search every corner of the earth
search for the smell of gun powder
smash every weapon into whimper
until all weapons are unrecognizable
until all weapons are nothing
dripping into middle-earth
dripping on to nevermore

then the silence will come
then the sorrow will remain
then the silence will come
then the healing will begin

                i walked past the dahlias,
                  stared out the windows,
                                    the windows
                             of sixteen  panes.
                the windows are washed,
                the windows are clean,
                i can see everything 
                                   in the garden.
                the lemons
                            are more fragrant,
                every ready-to-bloom bud
                                    is singing,
                 it's a miracle          no,
                 it's    michael the angel.
                 he works for the soclean
                 their specialty is windows.
                 they      really  are  angels,
                 i promised    not to swear
                 i promised to look 
                       through the windows
                 every morning and pray.
        if i forgot to bow to the dahlias
           i must kiss each one fervently.
        oh-now the dahlias are looking
                      through the windows,
                      the  clean     windows.


             it's not fair
                       that i
                  won't be able to
                   come back here
                               and stare through
                                               the window
                               and allow my mind
                   to wander   all  over the garden.
                        watch the different movements
                                         of each tree.
                             touch each thought
                           as it floats through my head.
                               if i want, i should be able
                   to stay here
                          as long as the garden
                          as long as the butterflies,
                  visit each day, whisper to those i love,
               smile and hug and kiss
                                              and cry

all night long
tree leaves
floated and fanned.
all night long
tree branches
swished and swayed.
at nights’ end
a small
needlesize hole
broke through
the crack of dawn.
one tiny sliver
caused the collapse
of the entire
canopy of sky.
light fell into
shining covered
tree leaves
startled into
tree branches
to attention.
the sun laughed
the sun cried
sun became
the entire sky


the white, white lilies
seem to be taller
standing so soldier
a house full of lilly smells,
the first scent
is subtle and sweet
and then the entire house
is blessed by easterful
come look at three lilies
engulf our house
with resurrection.
transparencies of the universe
seen in
lilly beauty.
lucid, fragile, light

she liked to sit in the chairs
on the wide , long, front porch
three sides were covered
with climbing morning glories
she was always interested in
what people do and
where they work
“look at him, what does he do?
he’s all dressed up,
what a lovely tie.”
“he works at the race track
he’ll take your bet if you go there”
“oh my, look at her, poor dear.
she’s very tired and she has so many bags.
shall we help her?” “it’s too late.”

once when i was going to a competition
in russia
she became very concerned and worried
“you’ll never come back,
the russians will keep you,
i have to come and visit and say good-bye”
she traveled from Pittsburgh to Toronto
there were four spacious windows
in my living room
it was an excellent setting for ogling
each day
she sat in the window for several hours
it was free, everchanging entertainment
“look at the beautiful vest he’s wearing.”
“that man’s wearing a bowler,
they’re out of fashion.”
“what do these people do?”
“do you really want to know?”
“of course, of course,”
“it’s a house of prostitution”
“oh no, no, you’re joking with me”
“it’s a favorite place
on friday and saturday evenings”
the look on kasha’s face was embarrassment
and disbelief
i almost wish i hadn’t told her

(for kasha)

often i wasn’t aware of her presence
i—- n the room
she would make a noisy magazine sound
while i read or wrote or dazed.
sometimes she looked
across the room,
“you’re a good egg.”
it wasn’t my language,
perhaps like translating
from russian to polish
or the opposite.
the three of us were a congenial
t rio trio trio.
we always moved back together
at feeding time, at talking time.
we taught her the basic, simple rules
of poker
and uno.
occasionally she mixed up the two games
and what occured was an unknown
polish, irish american card game.
we drank alcohol as we played,
laughter increased with intake
it was always fun
she loves both of us
she tells me i spoil christie
christie adds beauty everywhere
i miss her laughter
sometimes late at night
i hear her chomping on some chocolate
it sounds as though she’s
bouncing on the clouds.
the three of us made a promise
to touch each other daily
it’s a wonderful tradition

(for Laurene)