Wednesday, February 28, 2018


If there is any single thing in my home that reflects life with Spoke and at the same time captures my life continuing, now with her, it might be these Chianti bottles.

If imitation is a true form of flattery, then attention goes to the very small trattoria in Florence where I swooned over such a display of the local wine bottles hanging in a corner. The restaurant as I remember, is tucked into a quiet space open only to foot traffic, with an American Express office just a door or two away. Nostalgic as they are, few of these bottles held drinkable wine but I found an exception with the Sangiovese from Castellina in Chianti. I lugged three home and they hang in this collection, on this wall.

If anyone had told me that tragic Thanksgiving, that in a couple of years I'd be in love, I'd have told them they were drunk, and if they added that my love would be for a girl, I'd have said they were plastered. And likely also stoned.

Never in a million years, we whisper to each other. 

If there had been no gatherings at Jimmy's Food Store, we might not be together.

If I hadn't had a premonition, we might not be together.

If she hadn't answered a text, we would not be together.

If she wasn't a veteran, things might not be the same.

If I didn't have trust in myself, a strong belief that I am always led, then we would not be together. 

Never in a million years...

If the Chianti bottles remained as they have for many years, unlit, they would continue to be a sweet memory of the past, but as she filled those bottles with gleaming light, I felt myself filling up with such cliches of emotion: love, gratitude, trust, wanting.

Never in a million years...
Never in a million years...
Never in a million years...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

first valentine's day (uh-maybe)


Being in love with HER, I signed in my card, is at times, enormously overwhelming, but exactly where I want to be.

We're so good together; such opposites yet two peas who I think, but by the grace of God, landed in the same pod. 

I could but I won't explain or defend this relationship beyond saying some days, even good ones, do puzzle me, and others test me, yet they all are happy beyond expectation and measure. Days are hours and hours are minutes and within, she and I have few unconnected seconds.

So yes, WE are the elephant still present in the joyful rooms filled with family and friends. It's as though, if we don't talk about it, maybe it will go away. 


That's my heartfelt hope this Valentine's Day.

Photograph 2016 John Drysdale
2016 Graphique de France Ltd

Thursday, October 26, 2017

with: with her

Turned on her head
Yet this upside-down world is clear
With little unspoken between them 
Casual fades 
With afternoon tears

The all-real and the all-true right her
To now follow a starry path
With deep breaths, eyes locked
With resolution
She has no fears 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

i didn't blink

Imagine open country roads, a sappy metaphor for my new life. 

Imagine coming upon an intersection on such a road, a hand-painted wooden sign posting the choice of paths: this way, that way, the other way. In my mind, the sign's wood is ashen, weathered from rain and time, the paint lettering is white, faded from sunshine.

Barely two months ago, I ventured down such a road. I was alone but not lonely. For two years I've been driving by myself in his car: slow Sundays to the fast-lane-to-nowhere evenings. 

I sat at the intersection, pondering as you might say when facing wide open fields of decision. Which way should I go?

I chose the other way. No hesitation.

Sticking to mostly dusty back roads, steering or as a passenger but now in a brand new convertible, music is always playing, the sun warms my face, and the wind blows through my hair. 

I know I made the right turn.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

breathe, drive, breathe, drive

     Sometimes you just have to take the shot.

Friday, July 28, 2017

fairies and angels

It was well after midnight when I dropped fresh laundry on the bed to fold, balancing the night's final glass of wine in my free hand. Dropped also was my jaw when my eye caught the light. Oh, wow, I exhaled.

The many signs I receive bring comfort to me now. I do, after all, keep asking for more. But this one, this sign had such energy in it, as if it were alive.

My friend Karen and I had enjoyed a lovely dinner together; somewhat impromptu, a small change in her plans making for a leisurely night. I made a bowl of linguine: red onion, red bell pepper, red cabbage, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, pine nuts--very garlicky and full of herbs. She brought Fairy Tale eggplants to broil then splash with balsamic, which we devoured along side a green salad.  

She is the kind of friend, others have noticed, that when she and I get together, our conversation starts from the get go and might not slow for hours. 

So, last night was not an exception. We talked. We talked the usual food, wine, books, and music. We analyzed changes in our lives, and baby steps toward our future plans. We talked about the fine line parents face of wanting their children to understand truths, truths that can be painful, but knowing they have to live their lives and discover for themselves.  

A day doesn't go by lately that I don't give purposeful thought to consciousness and subconsciousness and how the two connect; how I can help them connect. I am fascinated by it and consumed with it. I'm sure I bored my friend with it. Can every idea that comes to me out of thin air be attributed to the two working together or are thoughts and ideas aimless? 

I had turned the music off and was considering all of this when I finished the dishes and turned my attention to laundry. There, on the bedroom wall, our bedroom, was a light; a light with such brilliancy! It was a rectangle, the size of a single switch light plate, positioned about two feet off the floor. The inch wide light bordered the rectangle. 

There was nothing in its path that could have been reflective and when I moved myself back and forth in front of this light, it remained constant. It even seemed to shimmer at times. 

I am now able to enjoy signs like this, a sign itself of my growth in this grief journey, but I've not yet grasped the most important lesson which is that I cannot make these signs tangible. I can only be still and quiet and enjoy them. 

I could not take a photo. When I left to get my phone, the mesmerizing light had disappeared. I could not catch the wind circling around me that day in the kitchen, or record the music I've heard in a silent car.  

The proof is only in my heart, or perhaps trapped somewhere between my conscience and my subconscience.

Monday, July 24, 2017


You hide yourself from me
In the bottom of a bowl of blackberries.
I want to spoon you out,
Cover you with my sugar.
You need the sunlight
But I can see you want the dark
And so I let you hide yourself from me
In the bottom of a bowl of blackberries.

I wrote that poem as a forlorn fifteen year old, waiting to be struck by love: a full-on assault by the sun and the moon and the stars. I waited at sixteen. Then seventeen. It was obviously, albeit romantic, what I now consider my Romeo and Juliet Era.

In Zeffirelli's beautiful film (still a top-five on my film list), as much as I lusted after Leonard Whiting (Romeo), I wanted even more to emulate Olivia Hussey (Juliet). My hair was dark and long, parted in the middle. Sometimes I'd put it back tightly, a braid down my back. I spent evenings in my billowing white cotton, medieval nightgown, memorizing lines from the film.

"Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale."
       "It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
       No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
       Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
       Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
       Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
       I must be gone and live, or stay and die."
 My mother bought me two Juliet dresses; both had the defining puffy sleeves, the tight Empire waistline, and a bust which was cut as low as I could get away with the night I wore one when my father took us to Mario's for a fancy sixteenth birthday dinner.  

This was about the same year I was introduced by an English teacher, to the poems of ee cummings. From a favorite, the title long forgotten, my starry eyes formed images of two aging adults curling up together at bedtime, the husband not feeling well. The last line was, as I recall, "The medicine was in her long, un-braided hair." 

I was already in love with love, but that was when I fell in love with words. Right then.

A few years later and married, all innocence lost, I would enter my Big Chill Era. It would be many more years though, before my life took a turn, and I met my Romeo.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                     i fear
no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

                                                                         ee cummings