At the Noodle Shop

This is the small noodle shop close to our dorms. We lived on campus. The woman is one of the owners and she was from Mongolia. Cannot remember her name. 

At the noodle shop, Shenyang, China, November 2011

Filthy words played into the air;
A jangle of sex, the flush
Of belly laughter.
Tensions that encircled and slowly
fell, then rose, fell then rose;
each bump of breath, each spume of slang,
each spiked phrase and dangle of kink,
the syllables traced with veins
that turned red as the skin
of an old leaf turning, spinning, turning
in the indifferent wind.

note: memories of China. 


A good friend of mine decided to get a turtle for her biology class. Those are live turtles. We left it in the back of a taxi by accident. 
Gates of the school where I taught in China. If you turn right, there is a small shopping strip with a couple restaurants, a tiny grocery store, a stationary store. 
The string of shops behind our dorms. Shenyang, China.
The Ice Festival, Harbin. China.
One of the tigers at the big cat park, outside of Harbin. You could pay various fees to see live animals fed to the tigers. Somebody paid for a goat. Yes, we saw two tigers rip a goat in half. 


Lizards and Monks

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Mural on the wall leading to the Chili Bangkok, a hostel I stayed in.


Thai beer sipped overlooking a spoiled river.
That strange notion I have traveled,
that I have been somewhere now,
that I have seen the world a tiny bit.
That I can tell stories featuring exotic words
that will draw wide eyes as if
I had visited the moon.
Scarves, key rings, post cards for sale
if I but turn my head or go a few feet.
The call of tuk tuk drivers looking for fares.
Other tourists with leather skin and silk shirts
drinking cocktails and munching fried shrimp nearby.
Their air of many stamps in a passport
polluting the air
near their sun-fried heads.
Durian, mangoes, dragon fruit offered
along the street leading back to the hostel
where Buddha lounges on the stone wall.
A mural that stretches rather too large and too long
for my camera to obediently capture.
Cats everywhere as I return
to the green-walled room
with the hard bed and the single sheet.
Lizards and monks go about their business.
The city bus rolls on by.
A mini water garden dedicated to the local gods
and I stop to watch the water flow over and over.
Spiders judge me, wonder when I will pass on by.
Backpackers speak of heading on to India
as they march past me
still staring transfixed at water
bubbling slightly over dark stones.


note– written last month or so. The three pictures are all from Bangkok, Thailand. 

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Bangkok 178.JPG


Human Clay Pot

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Brigit and Jake enjoying the newly shorn corn field


I want someone to tell me the truth.
That judgment that I should give up
and turn back from this road.
That the sky holds no wonders or joys
for my consumption,
that grace will not better me
into some sort of badly mended
maniacally grinning
human pot of perfect clay.
That the wind does not know my name,
that the birds get eaten
by stray cats
indifferent to hope and struggle.
That nothing good will arrive
like a warm pie from
the oven of the heavens.
Tell me the truth so I can rest.
So I can stop hoping.
Goddamn it, hope
cut me into a thousand pieces.
And I have nothing remaining
but a bitter cup of dust
to sustain me now.


note– written last year or maybe this year. All the days seem the same day anymore. 

Land of Wheat and Whale Clouds

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Eastern Oregon wheat field and cloudy day


Soon that fence will crumble
and let me walk
into that land of wheat and whale clouds
where I can pretend how free
I am.
My lips form patient words
for the silly dying
of weeds and dreams and illusions
that make my eyes fill with salt.
Gratitude that I know
I’ll never get to walk there
and I’ll never have to be brave
and never have to be honest.
Because I have words
that will get lost in those whale clouds
that sink below the blunt little hills.
Such a relief
that I kept them inside
where no one has to make polite faces
over the ordinary agony



note– found this tucked away, as you do. It was one of several versions. 

Something About Mist

from HGTV



Something about mist and time and pumpkins
in a patch.
Something about children and candy
and costumes.
Something about the turning of the old year
into the new.
Something about snow and angels
and trees dressed up
in decorations not yet broken or lost.
Something about love and apple cider
and chilly nights.
Something about beauty and peace
and how fast time is.
Something about hope and death
and leaves recycled.
Something already said
many times in dull ways
that we look forward to like
a handful of candy corn
still left from last Halloween.


note: I wrote this for the monthly poetry contest last year or the year before that. Time seems oddly fluid anymore. 

I’m Supposed to Be a Poet

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Storm and corn field, Eastern Oregon

I’m supposed to be a poet, I said.
Well, be one, she replied. Be one.
Rip the flesh away, use a figurative spoon,
everyone has figurative spoons, use one,
and walk around in your ridiculous bones.
What sort of advice is that?
It’s my advice, she said.
What does it mean?
It means eat a lot of grapes.
Are you sure?

If you can’t glean meaning from a moldy bit of advice,
then yes, it means to eat grapes.
You can’t eat grapes if you’re dressed only in your bones.
Sure you can, she said.
You can mash those grapes against your ribs,
smear them on your cranium,
tuck them into your eye cavities
and pretend you have eyes.
I find I am out of whimsy these days.
I know, she said.
Maybe you should try being a poet.
I hear that helps.


Something I found tucked away in a file. 

Death Rattle Cat Rant

Death Rattle, Nampa, Idaho Oct 4-6, 2019

October. Halloween. We’re approaching my favorite holiday. My pumpkins were eaten alive by bugs. It’s cold here.

And I will be mingling with other humans this weekend. Dread is my main emotion, frankly. I have pretty much turned into cat lady practically sealed inside a dwelling with her stacks of TV Guides from the 80’s. Remember those???

You could read, ahead, what was gonna be on TV! Do the crossword puzzle. I don’t know, it’s been a while. Remember magazines? Ah! The only reason I actually go to a doctor is to sit and read Sunset or Reader’s Digest. What are they wearing in Aspen for the 2002 Fall season? Laughter really is the best medicine. So why am I here when I can cure whatever’s wrong with my heart rate by just laughing at it?? I’d save myself getting weighed, then having to wait for whatever pills big Pharma…Anyhoo!

Oh, cat lady attempted joke. Then distracted by TV Guide nostalgia. Then dad jokes about magazines in general. I am so woke. 

Dread in dealing with others.

I will have to do small talk, maybe. If I talk to anyone. I might not. But I am manning a booth. [Womanning?] I’m selling, I’m a salesperson for a few hours this Caturday.

I don’t have a cat, I should not make cat jokes.

I haven’t even seen any cats about, we used to have them all over. There used to be cats that lived with us. I remember a cat of ours that got trapped by the hammock. That was one mad cat once we got it cut out of the strings.

Another cat from way back adopted my mother at a sale barn where she was buying pigs. It brought my mother her kittens. People were glaring at her cause this calico kitty was VERY LOUD AND INSISTENT that my mother was its goddess and reason for being. Alice lived with us for many a year, the best mouser ever. She lived outside. I don’t remember if she got spayed, she probably did. Our animals did not go about having loads of babies when I was little or when I got older.

Spay and neuter. I worked in animal shelters. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR GODDAMN PETS. PSA over.

Well, as this post will get maybe just me ticking it as a ‘like’, thank you for reading.

I think I am actually ready for this coming event hawking my wares to the truly indifferent public. I looked up how to get there—it’s just a street over from where I was last year, so that’s good and nice and good. Same exit and everything. Score! My anxiety level will creep high and higher yet as the week winds down. But it will be over by next Monday and then the anticipation and dread of the Mountain Home reading.

I will be in Nampa, Idaho this weekend!!! Road trip! 

I will be shilling my books and some art, and then reading a flash fiction piece on Sunday about a naughty computer program called the Fish Whisperer. Naughty in the PG sense, not X. Sorry.

The Death Rattle Writer’s Festival starts this Friday, runs through Sunday. Okay. Bye!

from Flickr. Downtown Nampa, Idaho. This is where I will be. Looks like a movie set, almost. Almost.