Treehouse Poems

Butterfly Kisses

Anger and irritation, my symptoms of Depression:
It is happening now. But…
One small bowl, three small tokes
Disappears the angst
Joy smiles, angel kisses shoot up from the belly
Swirl praise through the mind
Hands vibrate gratitude.
I dance. Chant. Work at the endless tasks of caregiving
Awaiting a wakeup of clearing sparking bliss.
In its chrysalis the caterpillar turns to goo,
From primordial soup reforms into sunlit flight.
We are no different.
What is our chrysalis?
When can I be Goo?

lying still in the dark

even in her 60’s she loves to hide
steals solitude like a cat burglar
slipping food, books, time
into pockets sewn invisibly
into her daily masks

It began as escaping
the voracious mother,
the constellated father,
gravity’s demand that she, too, fall
within reach of that black hole

she screamed and slammed the bedroom door.
Daddy came to cajole, excuse, justify
Wallah, she is gone:
what magic, what stealth

he failed to lift the cushions
of the old fold-out couch
see into the space between
where a girl could lie
grafted to cold iron

still for hours
light motes slipping through tiny gaps
in nubby green boucle
ever her death practice
earthchains escape

one rule: keep a refuge
next door lindenwood
tiny trestle across the slough,
long attic crawl space
all her treehouses

soda crackers stocked,
well water in a jar,
cigar box holding her dragon hoard
bits of mother’s broken jewelry,
sister’s coveted Barbie cloche

Later, ditch weed, pipe, stolen cash,
notebook, pencil stub
Writing curled on a musty quilt
grateful for childhood’s cursed gift:
to live unseen by adults

The decades roll and hiding in plain sight
is simplified with wrinkles, belly, attitude
culture’s cult of youth
is a better hiding place
than inside an old couch

Step Up

We withdrew from the fight
To feather our own nests
Brothers, sisters, hippie kin
Remember Vietnam Kent State Roe v Wade
Remember Selma LA Stonewall
Stand up now
Redeem your privilege
Join with these Star children
Lend your voice
Bring your body
Hold the line
For clear sighted truth speakers
Arise and seek justice


When I write of my longing to lick my babies clean, like any decent beast mother does, I’m treated to the chorus of “ew.”
When I wrote of my fascination with the rubber cup from which I emptied my womb blood over a dozen lunar years — of pride in my body and awe at the power of that maroon elixir — the White Male Professor of writing decried the imagery, though it was he who said
“Be more concrete”
“Write what you know”
And other blather he didn’t mean.
He also took my work and didn’t return it.
Leaving me to wonder: Am I a back room joke or a note in an academic paper?

I was present at two births this year. Two waifish young mothers determined to have home-birth, natural birth, lotus birth.
One, on her hands and knees in my bathroom, primal guttural sounding straight from the navel point, three hours of laboring, two strong pushes to land a baby girl in my now ever-blessed hands. Baby coughs and blinks and looks curiously around. I saw a Boddisavta born.
The other, ill-prepared, righteous in her ignorance, is yelling for pain relief after the first hour and drinks the whole cocktail. A medically managed normal birth. I was angry and sickened and sad. But baby boy was fine and beautiful.
One natural and one unnatural birth. I know which I prefer. I would rather attend a death than another “medically managed” birth. (It doesn’t mean they don’t save lives sometimes.)
I fear it may have radicalized me. I hope it has radicalized me.
The problem with being a Pisces or any of the twin signs is that constant pull in two directions.


Quit using my mirror.
Can you say that to another being?
Isn’t the Purpose in borrowing those mirrors
To see a new face;
Me in you
You in me
Grow some compassion synapses
Forge links that can endure harsh trumpets
proclaiming the end of civility democracy humanity

Quit looking at my stuff
I yelled at a beloved friend
Too vulnerable before her pale gaze
Renowned for its intensity
Know the ethics of second sight
Nothing hidden in the energy realms
Etiquette required

The image doesn’t end because the silver flakes and tarnishes
It distorts, wavers and shows a different side of the soul
Calls up the ancestral ghosts — my grandmother, hair pinned in a soft bun
My face looking in, her face looking out
A reminder that our job is to clear the past
Set right and tidy the flaws
Straighten the crooked backs, distorted beliefs
That keep us chained and climbing, pushing that stone

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