riches ~


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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I’m reminded of a time when my daddy took it on himself to haul off the trash for the trailer park rather than pay someone to do it. It was a great idea, but contained a flaw that should have been predicted. He brought back more than he took. Even with good intentions, he couldn’t drive off and leave a ‘perfectly good’ ironing board in the dumpster. No more than he could spot a nail on the sidewalk and not pick it up (because you never know when you might need a nail).simple

On a visit a while back, my daddy was looking for his wallet, adamant that it was somewhere on the coffee table. I was helping as best I could, and picked up something that looked like the back off a cellphone.

“Mama, is your phone broken?”


“Well, what’s this?”

“Your daddy found in the parking lot at the Burger King.”

“Does it fit your phone?”


“So……. (catching up) it’s here because there might be a time in the future when you DO have a phone it will fit, and your phone will be broken.”

Daddy interjecting… “just put it back on the table”.

He came from a generation where waste was unforgiveable – near the end of the Depression. He saves everything. Perhaps there is some universal karma at work. “If I found it, then surely I will need it at some point.”

chickensBut that brings me around to the real reason for this piece. I am grateful that he is the way he is, but am also grateful that he doesn’t know anything about Craigslist.

If ever there’s a moment when I need a chuckle, all I have to do is go to Craigslist and access the link labeled ‘free’. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past.

‘Couch in fair condition sitting beside the dumpster outside the Walmart on Gallatin Road. Better hurry; it looks like it could rain.’

‘Bookcase and piano. The bookcase needs painting and a little repair. I don’t know much about the piano, so don’t start sending me emails wanting to know whether it plays or what kind it is. What it is is free.’

‘FREE Panasonic huge tv, on front porch. Do not ring or knock on door!!!! Bring a buddy & a truck it’s heavy. Works great!!! Will not answer door if you knock, I go to bed by 9pm.’

‘Horse Manure. Just bought a property with a horse barn. There’s manure aplenty. If you’re a gardener or you compost, come and get it. If you don’t garden or compost, but you want a bunch of horse manure, this is your big chance. Come and get it. If you know a gardener or someone who likes plants…well, Christmas is coming. This may be just the thing for that hard-to-shop-for in-law. Come and get it. If your teenagers are totally grounded and you want them to learn the importance of mindlessly unpleasant work, come WITH THEM to get it.’

You see what I mean? It’s a great source of free entertainment.

But this past weekend, I was reminded again of why I am glad my dad doesn’t know anything about this ‘free’ stuff.

I chuckled out loud as I walked into the living room. “Honey, I’ve found the perfect thing for your and dad’s birthdays.” (they share a birthday)……

A skeptical look (as if I was being anything but serious).2donkeys

“Yep. A guy in town is looking to give away four donkeys, one of which is pregnant. My only concern is that I don’t know who should get the pregnant one.”

“Well, maybe you should just give all of them to your dad?”

“I could do that. Another guy is looking to give away three chickens and an ‘old’ rooster.”

I am convinced there’s a world of opportunity just waiting for us to find it.

Generally, there’s a deeper message with my writing. But this one – well, it’s just about enjoying life, and laughing when you get the chance.

. . .

hands and thieves ~


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Not long ago, while visiting my parents, my mother and I were discussing a much needed painting as part of home renovations. We talked about the wallpaper I recently got rid of, and some she has hopes of retiring soon

Then, as now, I am reminded of the things that matter – that which we keep. I believe I commented, ‘the wallpaper isn’t bad but I’m not so endeared to it that I’d be hurt if you painted over’.

And yet, in retrospect, I realize there are other ‘things’ that I’ve been sentimental over at times, though the sentiment was tied to an associated memory rather than the physical. You’re probably struggling to understand, so let me give you some examples.

  • When I was eighteen years old, the house trailer we lived in when I was younger caught fire. It was rented at the time, and something on the stove got too close to something on the windows. Before anything could be done, it was too late. Mobile homes tend to be like Christmas trees; there’s not much waiting between flame and ash. I remember that we (my brother, sisters and parents) stood in the road and watched. We held hands, and I’m quite certain each of us cried. Though it was still just a ‘thing’, my mother commented on dresser drawers that bore my sister’s teething marks, and baseboards inscribed in crayon with my name (again and again). That which endeared the place to us wasn’t lost, and yet it was no longer a memory we could see.
  • When my parents moved from the park they owned, they found they couldn’t transfer the phone number to their new house because it was associated with the business. So, they got a new phone number. And I cried. Yesterday, even as I thought of this, I called the old number to see who would answer; as if some sixteen year old version of myself might pick-up. Since then, the area code has changed, but the affect wasn’t nearly as harsh.
  • My brother and sisters reminisce from time to time on an orange bathing suit our mother wore for as many years as we could remember, and a pair of plaid swim trunks daddy owned. Does it matter whether they were stylish? Does it matter where they are now? When I see a flower that color of orange, I feel it new, the same, deeply.

Easterners worn us of attachment, and I realize how easy it is to get tied into things that don’t matter, like the wallpaper design or whether you have the latest trend in ovens. For years, I bought clothes at upscale places. Now, I shop Goodwill, and savor the bargains. But deeper, I feel another association. My childhood is peppered with memories of trips to the ‘rag store’ (as my grandmother would call them), hiding under tables whenever she would cry out, ‘Bobbie, I found you some panties.’ 

That which we keep is that which becomes a part of us. It’s not a thing, and it’s not even a time. It’s a moment that exists still, as close as the scent of an orange honeysuckle, or in the feel of tags against my fingers.

It’s a favorite pair of earrings and words nearly worn thru.

When I started this piece, I thought on time. There are those who claim that I spend too much on the past. And yet, I would disagree. I spend my time (now) living and part of the joy in living is a love for how I got to this place. You see, despite what they say, time isn’t a thief. Time is your constant companion. When you are broken, it reminds you of the need to move forward. The real thieves are hatred, bitterness, resentment, and regret.  They take all you’ll give – health, relationships, and every bit of your joy they can get.

I’d make a lousy Buddhist.  I suspect part of the reason is that I’m a poet, and a keeper of stories (of the old ways). It’s not about ‘things’, but about everything, everything come of love.  Nothing matters; everything matters.

Someone near and dear reminds me that enlightenment is seeing things as they really are.  With time, I’ve come to revel in my wilderness….to linger softly with my tears,  to see with eyes (but more, with my soul).

May you cling warmly to the tender hands of time.

of another place
become of me -
has taken me to learn
e’en now my heart
grows full
beneath the weight
of blessings found
where I begin
to find my joys earned
a field beyond
my reaching
for the gate

. . .

but for another time ~


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he said
but for another time -
might I leave this world tonight
journey into dreams
and not look back
so certain
you would follow
in the traces left behind
picking up the pieces
I forgot
to let you know

she said
I thought I saw you
on the road just yesterday
standing in the shadows
with sunlight
in your eyes
cheated by the distance -
were those violets in your hand
I turned around
and all I found
were seeds

he said
the truth comes easy
but for times
I turned away
forsaking you the days
(for nights)
would that I had known you
before my story set
when all I had to give
was everything

she said
I’ll find my way again
down along the creek
of lessons -
still I wonder about you
someone said
of nothing lost -
a moment without breath

I believe
heaven holds
the breeze

. . .

of sorrows your loving would leave ~


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will the river
run dry
for a promise beholding
as secret these dreams
held aloft
by the stars
tell me their names
share me to story
of a moment -
here in your arms

of a place
in the wood
surrendered to blossom
come of a night
you held me
this way
warned me of sorrows
your loving
would leave me

remind me
again -
what of joy to repay

when all
that is left
is a reason for going
when the cool morning air
sits deep in my bones
beg me
the sweet smell of autumn
if e’er I’ve forgotten
my way back
to home

. . .

thirst ~


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red gardenia
painted lily -
fences grieve the leaving me
for somewhere
just beyond remember
essence nests
in mystery

without the thirst
as need for sorrows
were mine to suffer
mine to hold -
starlight casts a spell
of knowing
across the meadow
deep and cold

braided fates
and boots for walking
fragile yellow buds
wrapped in sheets
the wing’eds envy
wears a cotton gown

. . .

falling in ~


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were there reasons
not to notice
the way the cedars swayed
the twilight waltz
of moon

to resurrect
emotions -
when thought our time
was passed
were falling in
of falling out

far more
than just a need
of strings no longer played

but once upon
a Tuesday night
when someone held my hand
how warm
my recollection
of fingers weaved
with mine

as silence
gave permission
to open wide my heart -
a moment
not for waiting
was the same as breath

. . .

as saturdays to june ~


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Saturday was a teaching day, and heat was already rising off the sweaty grass.  But as I made my way from the car, my ears were pricked by the sound of wings. Odd that it hadn’t occurred to me, but until that moment, and yet I’m fairly certain I hadn’t seen a June bug all summer. But on the lawn, they were swarming. I noticed a female student running from them, and I laughed. I reminded her that they wouldn’t sting, and at least they weren’t cicadas. [I recall an evening drive with my window down when two got into my car, and I thought several times of abandoning it on the roadside]. Further along, a couple of guys were fumbling, trying to tie one to a length of thread. Though tempted to scold, I suspected the string would give out before the bug.

The song permeated the river of humidity, and it was a good day.


and june bugs
made their plans
a lazy drive
as heat to wear
in sleeves of golden grain
above the last reminder
of a season
nearly done -
when brothers
dug their heels into the mud
and dared another
life to dream
of will and circumstance
a leaving split apart
by destinies
the choosing
was for nothing
but the choice to understand -
the cost
betrayed by living
as Saturday
to june

. . .

keeping returned ~


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by the shore 2011

tether my sighs
at the edge of awaken
as a moment was trade
of forever
to find us another
place of beginning
to know as were known
every keeping returned
a soul
quiet searching
for a star not yet fallen
a wish
not yet raised
warms silent
these lips

. . .

echo ~


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what closed to my eyes
the certain return
of all I have given -
all I have known
is kept in this endless
cavern of heart
where night never fades
without promise of light
to shine on the writing
the carving of names
held into place
by speaking aloud
of those who are gone
but honor me still
as an echo of some
intangible proof
seasons and who needs
a reason to keep
what became of a story
written of me

. . .


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