daddy’s eyes

it’s shocking

the places i find you

a wraith

in the windows to the soul

in reflections

in photographs

in the hallways of memories

times and places you never existed in

but you’re there




in the dead quiet of night

in the whispering yawns of dawn

an apparition

smelling of cheap cigerettes and old spice

a haunting

in the crisp appalachian air

in the deep forest of new england

the echo of your voice

knocks hard

like the atlantic tides against a beach of stones

i am blind to what you saw

when you looked at me

with the eyes identical to those set in my face

blue tinted muscles

pulsing against the black and white

it would be a luxury

to understand

fully, completely, without hesitation

what it means to

have your daddy’s eyes


son of isaac, son of abraham

i don’t know how to feel lost


hogtied eyes forced open

to watch the destruction

no escaping the fire of wrath

caused by narcissism and loathing

loathing women, loathing different, loathing her

she is not her actions

she is not her words

a beautiful girl who should just know

know how to cope with the adult shit the adults are failing at

know how to show love when love has always had limits

know how to be the perfect angel at the end of your fist

i saw who you were

the finger prints on the throat

because bitches talk too much

because bitches cry too much

because bitches should mind their manners

i saw her see her mom beat so many times

i saw her believe that was love

everyone knew the goblet of hatred would spill over

everyone knew it would just be a matter of time

before she would be drowning in fear

shaking leaf like about a phone call

escape plans in the ready

i see the scars of watching her mother

watching the torture, the violence, the degradation

scars when razor meets flesh in an intimate setting

i see the coldness required to survive

a child afraid to live because it hurts too bad

a punch to the shoulder, slamming her down to the floor

standing, demanding the crying to stop

sprawled on the floor after your hands tossed her down

where is the knight to rescue the princess

how long can she stay locked away without losing it

how long until her knight is just like you

i should have stepped on the gas

you should have been a speed bump

your jehovah is gone

dealing with those worthy of a god’s intervention

one day we will taste freedom

one day she will taste freedom

one day you will get your dues

when that day comes the crazy whores will dance in the streets

then you will waste away while no one cares

daddy’s girl

when i was a little girl

you would wake me up

every full moon

so we could howl together

with the coyotes

a little girl in pajamas

sleep in the corners of my eyes

shuffling over grass to the place

in the front yard set apart

from the rest

the howling post

a little spot of sacred ground

circle of hope and sadness

the birth and loss of another month

the moon, she knows the howling

the family standing in the yard

in the small texas town

when the moon was undressed

it was time to pay homage to her

then things changed as they do

lives in constant evolution

there was no more howling

the silence an eerie indicator


to stop howling meant separation

and separation meant loneliness

i was a little girl begging for hugs

birthday cards lost in the mail

gifts given with stipulations

the missing phone calls

you were the wind

just movin’ on down the line

i was just expendable

the throw away kid

too young to do much good

i did all i could

adapting at best

taking care of the little one

the tiny sister unable do it alone

the mother shattered by loss

locked away drunk, high, angry in her room

only learning you were in town

by the cruelty inflicted by your mother

bringing an audience to smile and laugh

at my gut wrenching pain and waterfall tears

your return was an unexpected surprise

there was no way to pause and restart

only forward momentum, no stopping to breathe

humiliation, rejection, passive aggressive actions

words said in a jeep on christmas

expression of hatred for the innocent

breaking the contract of compromise

it was my turn to forget and abandon

almost a decade of denial,

refusal to acknowledge you

sitting in my silent sadness

drowning in a pool of resentments

another evolution of life and love

the turning of the wheel of fate

forgiveness, comfort, empathy

your mortality evident and undeniable

you were not the god i made you

you were like the rest of us

fallible, arrogant, beautiful human

conversations in the backyard

phone calls during gunsmoke

songs sent through email

an understanding and acceptance

3 years of friendship and reality

listening to stories of the past

these times are the first in my memory bank

there are times i still cry, missing you

there are times i laugh, missing you

i still look at a full moon hanging in the sky

remembering the sound of your voice

and the twinkle in your blue eyes

and i howl from the depths of my soul

plants and resurrection

this morning i did what i have been putting off for over a month now-i repotted the house plants!  we have 3 aloe plants and an avocado plant that needed to be repotted.  i used to have tons more plants, and i am planning on getting more, but cats….cats and plants are mortal enemies, and sadly enough the plants usually lose in the ongoing war.

the aloe plants are having babies all over the place.  in the biggest aloe, her name is mother jo, she had 8 tiny babies!  vera jo had 4 babies and unknown had 2.  they were in dire need of new soil and a bigger home.  it was time to separate mothers and babies, but they are close enough so there hopefully won’t be too much trauma or separation anxiety.  for those of you out there who think it is strange to attach human emotions to plants, you have obviously never sat with plants much.  the more you talk to them or sing to them the bigger they grow and the more fruit they produce.  the scientist side of me says this is a result of close contact with carbon dioxide.  the sage in me says it is because they are living breathing creatures and they are a part of the natural cycle and they thrive when loved like every other living creature.  either way, it is the same end-love your plants they will love you back!

i did not plant a garden this spring, which makes me feel a bit uncool.  i love to garden and i love having fresh food for my family and friends.  i just did not have it in me to do one.  next year will be different.  the spring of 2012 was the best garden i have ever grown.  we planted cucumbers, tomatoes, bell and jalapeno peppers, and watermelon-which was the only thing that did not survive.  we had 10 cucumber plants, all of them fruited tremendously!  we would end up donating at least 20 cucumbers the size of a normal sized man’s forearm every week.  we planted 10 cherry tomato and 10 heirloom tomato plants and they all fruited abundantly but homegrown tomatoes don’t last from the garden to the door around here.

my daddy was an avid gardener.   he was always working in his lawn and garden.  he would have tomatoes, corn, peppers, onions, herbs, carrots, and random other veggies.  he also had a lemon tree that provided fruit that lived inside the house.  when eli was a little bitty boy he would follow my dad around, his pawpaw was one of his most fav adults in the world, and would go behind him in the garden to pick veggies.  my dad would give eli a basket and tell him to pick all the tomatoes that were red.  eli’s basket was always empty bc he would just eat the tomatoes.  my daddy would just laugh.  eli would also pull out the radishes and eat them covered in dirt.  my daddy loved taking eli into the garden and watch him love the veggies that were planted and nurtured by his own hands.  there is something right about that.

when my daddy got sick and his spinal stenosis grew worse he couldn’t do most of the things he was used to doing.  he was a welder by trade and you must be able to use your arms and hold them steady.  the stenosis was prominent in the c1-c3 area of the spine, so it pinched the nerves that run down the arms.  my dad could no longer work.  he lost his job and his house that he lived in for years and years that he had put blood sweat and tears into was foreclosed on and he was forced to move into a gov subsidized apartment which was a disgrace to him (my dad judged himself based on his work and the amount of money he was able to provide to his family.  this is a common trait among men my dad’s age).  so he left the house and the garden behind.  he planted some tomato plants in pots and kept them out on the porch, but it wasn’t the same.  he was not able to move his hands well enough to garden anyway.

my daddy committed suicide.  the spinal stenosis was not the only health issue my dad faced.  he had active hep c, which he contracted back in the late 60’s from sharing needles, his pancreas was no longer producing insulin due to diabetes, his heart was starting to act up.  physically he was in constant pain.  he had lost his home, his mom, his wife, his dog and his garden in a 6 month period of time.  all he saw was a decline in health for the future.  it was not going to get better.  it was going to get worse.  so he did the whole death thing on his own terms.  it makes sense to me.

we had my dad cremated.  it was what he wanted.  i took the majority of his ashes, my sister and his sisters took some.  he had told me several times where he wanted his ashes to go, and he knew i would make sure to do what he wanted.  we put some at the site of his parents graves, his wife’s grave, the family farm and the family cemetery.  then in 2012 the boys, amy and i took a trip to maine.  we made a special stop in tennessee to sprinkle the majority of my dad’s ashes there in the smoky mountains where his grandfather was born.  i am still going to take some to about 20 miles north of san francisco to the site of a hippie commune he lived in for about 2 years.  the rest stay in an urn in the middle of the house, until it is time to grow things.

every time that i have a new plant or grow food, i put some of my dad’s ashes in the dirt.  i see it as a way of allowing him to continue to garden and grow things.  he is still a part of the circle and always will be.  

the airport


amy, my partner, flew to maine last week.  she got back on tuesday evening.  while waiting for her beautiful smiling face to swim into sight, the secret pain of war was all around me.  i was eagerly waiting for my partner to come home from a 5 day trip (which i did not handle the separation well, at all) but families were being torn apart before my eyes.  mommies and daddies going off to war.  war for something unknown, secret, nonsensical.  mommies and daddies leaving their babies and partners and parents and life behind to force “democracy” down the throats of our collective enemies.  most of them will come home, but none of them will ever be the same.

when we first walked in  i noticed a black couple hugging each other.  the man was in his bdu’s-the camo uniform-the woman was in jeans and a tshirt.  her fists were clenched, her head buried in his chest.  he had his jaw locked, arms around her, eyes looking off into the distance.  i don’t know them.  but i have seen this for years.  i have seen that look in the man’s eyes before.

my youngest son was with me waiting for amy.  he was very excited to see amy, too.  they are close.  we are looking toward the area where passengers are beginning to stagger out.

then a woman with a tiny baby in her arms walks past us, toward the exit.  she has a little boy by the hand.  the boy is screaming, tears running down his red little cheeks, beads of sweat on his forehead, curls of black hair bobbing with every step, every step away from his father.

“NO!!!  BUT DADDY!!!  GO GET DADDY!!!  MOMMY!!!  PLEASE STOP!!!  We Are leaving da….” his voice trailed away as his mother ushered him out the door.  her face was set, eyes red.  she looked tired.  she looked resigned, but set to deal with this.

my son looked at me, his eyes shifting toward where the child was, silently questioning what was happening.

“his dad is going to war, sam.”


more than likely the boy’s father will come back.  more than likely he will have seen and done things in the name of his country that are unspeakable.  he will not speak them.  maybe he will not have nightmares.  maybe when the little boy sees his daddy again his daddy will be the same man he pictured in his head while walking through the door to the parking lot.  maybe his parents will survive the separation.  maybe daddy will get some help for dealing with the loss of humanity he must suffer to do his job.  maybe when he comes home he won’t be violent.  more than likely that is not going to happen.   a part of him will always be at war.  a part of him will always think of the faces of strangers he has seen dead or bleeding or torn apart physically by him or his comrades.  ppl that he doesn’t know.  other kids mommies and daddies.