Possession Denied or Reimagining John Henry Fuseli’s Nightmare

she succumbs to sleep,
her surrender supreme
flesh loose and fluid                                           
stripped bare by light too white,
her swan throat naked, gleaming, teasing 
in supplication to the incubus 
who surmounts her  
ugly and smug 

this is not a tale of possession, but a vision of obsession, where

voyeurs of unrepentant greed slaver 
over images like this
of women held siege by the thrall of sleep,  
stretched out ripe and ready,
supple, pliable and nicely lithe.
visions of lustful need.a
Is this her nightmare or his dream?

Look again. Perhaps she lies in slumbrous ease 
robed and draped, impervious to need.
deeply sleeping, withholding virtues and gifts
of which the greedy can only dream
supine, yet unresigned.

Possession denied.


They were verdant                                

with unapologetic life

a gabble of petals

tossing in an exuberance

of being, a whirlwind of growing

-of grass stains and skinned knees,

ironed dresses and morning messes

fireflies and mudpies-

Endlessly clamorously vining, trailing, flourishing and burgeoning 

Until they went silent,

leaving behind 


    -empty rooms fragrant

     with once mowed grass and overgrown memories. 

     a tangled treasure of lives and limbs

     forever vining and intertwining-


Urban Perambulation

sidewalks stretch between Teslas and fir trees 

where paved-over roots expand and erupt, 

rippling moss-stippled cement into 

uneven hills and valleys

tiny earthquakes carve gnomish mountains 

out of pocked pavement

they wild the cityscape                                                   

where wee fissures appear,

slender as elf ears,

beneath stumbling feet

and unset the concrete mind

along crayoned faultlines   

to release rivulets, spritely streams, of spring-fed dreams 


You belong to memory like

tongues belong to peaches-

-rosy skin of ripened sun

distilling laughter

through baubles of juice

that drip to glaze your fingers

-saplings still-

refracting your ripening light

into glittering fragments cold and blinding diamonds. 

Finding Sanctuary in the British Standard Colour Chart

I hoard color names

-thimblefuls in sheen of Goblin green and Candyfloss, 

basketsful -Zephyr pale and straining,

Goosewing tins, teeming,

and thickets of sticky Cobweb sacks-

each bottomless as a she-dragon’s greed

to jewel my soul’s cradle.

they form necklace cliffs and 

bracelet streams 

of shimmer 

to please my Eddystone eye

and soften the gloom of sky

marbling my Tundra mood with ribbons of Daybreak.

In the Gloaming

Life and death kiss each other

a fibrous intimacy

stitched in our marrow

a bass vibrato serenading

the flora and fauna

of us.

So we love fiercely


scattering our scent recklessly 

fireflies  lighting the path to one another.


 Lost between daylight and doom

I wander the crow-cleaved skies

their ink winging

rifts along my sightlines 

from inhale to exhale

I map the contours of their cacophony,

follow the blade of each wing

that splices the air 

a depthless shimmer

teasing my eye

a featherlike glimmer

of the breadth between prey and prayer

Solo Flight

Aloft, alone

with engine roar measuring my pulse, 

syncopating the whistle of wind to my breath.

Wide sky aerates my eye                                

and my worries are mapped below -         

a calligraphy of river wend                                    

glittering through the propeller’s arc

I pilot this curve of shadow and dapple

Between valleys and creases of

checkpoints plotted, 

parentheses inking rivers and roads.

I trace distances, plot minutes between before and after -

my prop parting the approaching clouds, 

my rudder dragging the dust of runways long gone

and I breathe, pendulous, light-headed, beneath canvas wings 

my compass swinging fore and aft, unsteady, uncertain.

Alone, held aloft by simple faith.

On the Wonder of Reaching 70

Old age

Tastes of memory,

-of snowflakes 

and Guiness -

frosty syrup softening 

December gray of hair 

and dreams

Warming waning bones.



Beribboned and bestrewn

In cloves and wistfulness

Wrinkling sated tongue with 

dusk’s sweet grief

A gleam on papery skin

-So thin-

that blood and breath

mingle in a singular sigh

So brief replete.

Winter song

Tiny Leaves, flit and flitter

spangling the sky with 

iridescent applause,

frost tinselling their jazz-hands.

A dainty calligraphy 

of delight,


winter’s piccolo glissade

where high-c gales

drift, like sifting leaves,

sliding down in measured cadence


bass notes muffle 

leaf-strewn ground

And icicles of light

Lift and lilt

in falsetto key,

clinging and singing 

between branches of

shredding trees

wind chimes of winter.

The Wrens of Regret

they come to us every day,

flitting and flapping, singing and winging

in constant endless streams of commotion

their numbers growing each morning

vexingly exponentially like the warning of

the algebraic certainty of the federal debt

they never rest 

their exclamation-point tails signaling 

squirrels, crows, hovering lovers

and a single rose blooming on a distant asteroid.

So here we stay

our what-ifs piling around our ears

with the insistent incessant persistent coming of the wrens of regret 

Childhood Monster

My brother warned me 

It - The Blob -

-shiny gloppy sticky jelly monster-

lived and breathed and oozed

behind my sofa,

just a second’s slime 

away from my tiny bed.

Night after night 

I cowered under cotton covers

and waited

-chest tight, eyes wide, breath slight-

for the moment I knew with 

every quivering inch of my skinny spindly self

would come,

and slime would ooze out and consume me,

limb by 5-year-old limb

in excruciating slow motion.

Now I laugh fondly at my little girl gullibility


When a slash of moon disturbs my dreams I carefully avoid the sofa.

That Girl

Fussy curls,

Sleek silky bob,

Petite, statuesque,

Brunette, blonde,

She was everywhere,

That girl my mother glorified 

Why can’t you be more like her?

Church-bred girls beguiled her -

-smiling Doris Day and Donna Reed

dolls gliding in uncomplicated shoes

with starched manners

and puffed sleeved voices.

She never noticed the soiled lips,   

the crumpled tissues stuffing the bras,

or worse, the girl behind the script.

Anna's Hummingbird

No bigger than a wish,

He is neither jewel nor light

nor gleaming sun.

He is nothing but silent flight.

His dainty wings

span no more than an elfing’s hand. 

Yet their fairy size

cannot keep your 

soul from finding flight 

whenever he alights.

His silent breath has no flute,

he sings without lilt or tune.

He will not rouse you from your bed

unless your eye spies the sun-bred

shine of his breast - not black, nor brown, 

nor sleeping blue, just pink - no other hue.

Love Fiercely and Well.

Succumb. Love will fill the fissure between 

your bones and soul -  beneath this wish and need

to drink it deeply, swimming veins with bright

impossible fish that tickle toes, and 

nibble fears and tears, now swept clean away

beneath the weedy currents of mistrust and lust

that doused and drowned a simple longing

for belonging. So, succumb. Set yourself

ablaze with phosphorescent waves of heart,

Or better yet, breathe a volcanic spume

of flame, red and bold as coursing blood.

Embrace the hot chaos, powerful and true.

Now hush. Love, invited outlasts a storm.

Breathe glow and gleam of embers, ever warm. 

A Partial (not impartial) List of My Attributes at Age 69

Wispy fading thinning hair

(I’ll dye it purple, I don’t care)

A sloppy nose like an overblown rose

(but it’s still prettier than my toes)

Frayed linen skin - all thin and baggy-

(do I sound  just a wee bit haggy?)

creaking knees that sing off-key

(I actually enjoy their harmony)

My shoulders slump, my tummy’s round

(blithely festooned and colorfully crowned)

Yet I’m quite fond of my gnomish cast  I am happily truly myself  at last

Wilding song

Music blooms beside and between us

A surround of sound, a constant refrain -

the river’s gurgle, the brook’s blue burble

the slipping dripping splish of rain,

and black basso hush only mountains sustain.

French verbs lilting, Hawaiian lips sighing,

German nouns quilting, Shona crying.

Crows speak angst in raucous chorus, winging 

to sweeten the tweets of robin’s decrying. 

Be still,  just listen - the hush, the sibilance,  the ringing embrace - a wild heart’s singing, 

Creek Song


The creek hums

with the sun’s tongue

singing to me, entranced on its banks,

by the lazily lapping,

licking and splashing trills 

of light atop the bubbles and burbles.

Treble notes that never permeate

the shadowy depths. 


Betsy’s wand of a tail wags in rhythm -

A metronome lashing and flashing 

to and for, conducting, 

as she places her paws in delicate pauses

between the rippling pebble notes.

Dipping and sipping

and snapping at twinkles of minnows 



Jan brings bread and glinting string.

Crooning and lilting in my ear,

“Shhh, if we’re very still, 

 We just might catch an electric eel.”


We hush, the three of us.

Slipping and swaying, 

Listing and listening

to the glisten and gurgle,

Till suddenly we are awash in giggles

Watching the string dance and wiggle. 


Betsy leaps, splashes into my lap,

Slapping her tail, spraying  sprinkles

in a tuneful  croon of light.

We hoot and we warble, singing and 

Ringing out to Mary and Doug,

To Leslie  and Jae. to join us,

this sunny day, in merry boisterous chorus.