Friday, December 26, 2008


Squinting up from
under my heap of
loosely- piled,
lightly towell-
dried hair,
I thought
I saw
a couple
embracing in
your doorway.

And it was not
an ordinary
embrace –
It was a post-
war front page
photo embrace!

But as I reached up to
to rearrange my head
wrap for a better view,
I realized it was only
an optical illusion—
the happenstance
way the jackets
and hats hung
on your coat rack.

That never happens
down in Florida.
There are
no coat racks—
and it is always
too hot to hug
like that.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Wrong

I tried to help you with chores;
but I bought the wrong brand,
the wrong size, the wrong color,
the wrong fabric—so many times.
I remembered to get the red grapes,
but they were not seedless. I brought
back some ice, but you wanted cream.
I gave you a pencil, but you had no pad.
I hauled some wood, but it was not clean.
I brought a hand-woven shawl from France.
You kept it for twenty-three years,
then returned it to me, unworn. I draped
it over my head and shoulders, arms crossing
my heart. I have worn it now hundreds of times.
I gave you a verb and a noun, but you had to split
my infinitives. I gave you a vacation, but it rained
every day. I gave you a one-serving casserole
dish, but you had no room on your counter.
I gave you a mirror to reflect the light,
but you kept your chair in the dark.
I planned a party for your birthday
every year, but the plates were too
cold, the food was too hot,
the children were too loud,
the adults—too many, and late.
The open door called in a draft,
leaving the room too chilly.
If only you had held onto
that shawl from France—
But it was green
and white wool,
and you were,
as always,
in blue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GinkgoTree at Meigs and Gregory Hill Road

(for Dick, Lucinda and Margaret Snow Storms)

I wish I’d taken a photo
of your wild-with-yellow
Ginkgo tree, before it
started shedding its thorny
pods and fanning leaves.
A perfectly symmetrical,
almost fake-looking tree
twice the height
of your home –
all of its branches
reach straight out
like a mother’s arms--
bidding her children back
home. As you approach the last
few hundred feet before the back
path to Highland Park, it stuns you
with its glorious yellow—Yea! – Yellow –
the opposite of purple pom pom lilacs,
for which the park is known. Yellow
in Autumn when the other trees are
red, brown, orange and Evergreen.
Your yellow fan-leafed Ginkgo
owns Gregory Hill Road, until
it gives in to seasonal pressure –
and paints the sidewalk
with sleeping dreams
of lemonade stands.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now Your Words

Now your words come
tumbling out of the eaves
like leaves from October
Maples, one minute
waving goodbye to the sun
shimmering in the sky,
then darkly blanketing
sidewalks and lawns
in crimson and umber,
as if to say –I told you so.
Do not take umbrage
with me. You wanted
the heat of Summer to wane;
you moaned and complained,
like you do every year, though
I told you it would not last
any longer than other years –

These days are numbered,
like your life, whose
reasons and seasons
are kept under wraps
in afterlife scrap books—
This is what made you happy?
This is what made you stop crying?
This is what made you suck in your
breath and feel, even for a second,
“Okay–I get it…I really get
it – I’m waking up now!”

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lansdale Street

I used to be jealous of Landsdale Street
Its houses were slightly better
than Benton Street houses–
where I lived, just a few blocks away.
Lansdale had gorgeous full-grown
trees, and heat-calming shade.

And man, those bragging Maples hustled Spring,
rustled the nights of Summer along,
flashed their couture every Fall.
Then they shamelessly shed
their bright burning leaves as the wind
knocked Autumn to its knees –
And still I envied Landsdale Street –
its houses and sidewalks, those trees.

Then there was that cold rough storm –
the one that froze falling rain.
In a couple of hours every trunk, branch, and twig
was coated in a glistening ice glaze.

Lansdale Street was chosen by that storm,
long limbs tore down
like war and thunder.
With a camera hanging from my neck,
wearing a bike helmet,
and jacket, I walked alone,
to shoot a shattered glass scene.
Because of that storm, Lansdsdale Street
lost every tree it had known.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

National Women's Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY

When we walked towards the

outside wall, where The

Declaration of Sentiments

is engraved in stone, the

sound of water running

over the words slowed

our pace as we paused to read,

and press our hands to the words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all Men and Women are created equal.”

Inside, we are stunningly

greeted by life-size bronze

statues of women, still

not famous enough for

writing and signing the

declaration in 1848.

It took seventy-two

more years before

women would obtain

the right to vote for a

president in their home country.

Women, tourists, who don’t even

know one another, look into each

other’s welled-up eyes,

and help us all swallow the

gagging lumps in our throats.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mouton Reunion (Water Street Music Hall 9/8/06)

Twin sets of

laser eyes



locks of hair

Two hands


drum sticks

Two arms


neck of bass

Piano sounds

filter in



to carry

the scene

Sax smooches in –

an adored

older cousin

on his way

to the beach

and you –

lucky you

got to go


Yellow Jackets

How did these items

become part of my life’s

clutter to begin with?

On my desk are two

copies of the book,

Yoga for Pregnancy,

though I’ve never

been pregnant.

Both copies have

been borrowed

numerous times, always

returned with a one-line

Thank You scribbled

on a square sticky note.

Inside a long plastic storage

box of fabric remnants, snaps,

needles, thread, pins, bobbins,

Velcro and shoulder pads, I find a

saved Yoga Journal, whose feature

article is “Be Happier Than You Ever

Thought Possible.” Did I read it?

I can’t recall. I put it back.

Inside a red and black pocket

journal, there is only one – full

moon – entry reminding me that,

after chanting in the Kanon Room

with Cynthia and Maria Elena,

and with Dad’s photo on the altar,

I returned to the parking lot to find

my car’s windshield stunningly

covered with yellow jackets.

What did this mean?

Did Dad caution me

about yellow jackets?

Get stung by one?

Respect them?

Kill one? Wear one?

It felt like a good omen –

that mass yellow gathering

on my windshield – yellow

the color of sunshine, happiness,

joy, intellect and energy –

But the space between my

grief and tears came undone

in that private chanting

service that day. It was

both healing and unbearable.

As it is to recall.

That journal, with its

only entry, was tucked in

with all the mending

materials that I own.

Ahh –Yellow Jack – ets!

how did I not get this

until now?

Jack – is my Dad.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Trouble With Reading Your Poems

I read your poems, knowing

that the vase of fresh cut

roses that you describe could

be fake – could be, that is,

an imaginary vase, rather

than one you see on a table.

The patchouli scented

candle you smell burning

in a darkening cottage,

(as the sun sets over

Scotch pines outside

its dining room window)—

may have been cut and pasted

from an old dream of yours.

I know that raffia-tied jar

of strawberry jam you claim

as home-made by your lover –

I know, even as you spread it

on an (allegedly) warm biscuit,

that it might very well have

come from some big grocery

store chain, made in large

vats in a factory up-river.

I know you may be inventing,

rather than noticing, these

items in the morning of your

day as a famous poet at work.

But you should see outside my

window, my backyard, Billy –

My neighbor, Nick, with his

long-handled hose, watering

the Arborvitae shrubs on the

bottom terrace of my descending

lawn, and the bushy sun-flowers –

just about to pop open.

If I wrote a poem,

I’d show you my soft

new double-wide hammock,

so white and inviting under the

walnut tree. You’d see an oval

umbrella table with see-through

patio chairs, a tray of marmalade

cookies, and blackberry ice tea.

Look – my favorite yellow

finch, wearing his little black

vest – drinking from a puddle,

(leaking from the weak link

between two bright red hoses) –

across a neighbor’s walkway.

I only wish I’d remembered

to bring a camera along today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Billy and Me

What are the chances,

Billy? - Your name

and mine in the same

front page article of

The Democrat & Chronicle –

Mine - for hanging out

at the Jazz Festival;

Yours - for being the

renowned poet whose

book I brought along.

A D&C reporter, usually

a food writer, singled me

out from the throngs arriving

at the Rochester International

Jazz Festival, to ask, of all things,

what I was carrying in my tote bag.

Auspiciously, I pulled out your book,

Billy Collins, The Trouble With Poetry:

And Other Poems, to her delight, as well

as mine. I had been ransacking my

brain, for a time, unsure where I’d

left you– wasn’t my name there

inside the cover? My acupunc-

turists’ other clients must be

thrilled to have your poems,

instead of used magazines,

to read, while waiting to be

needled, I thought. Or did I

leave you at Muddy Waters

Coffee? Those lucky stiffs.

Eyeing my decorative tote,

the food reporter probed –

“What else did you bring?”

She was probably hoping for

avocado sushi, paired with lime-

drenched mango slices or kiwi.

I removed some Kleenex, which,

I wish I had said was for moments

when the music would move me to

tears. Then I pulled out an Acme pen,

a Moleskin journal, a copy of Email

to Cleveland, a pair of Lauren sun-

glasses, a blue hooded rain jacket.

The one item I did not reveal,

and I will share this with you,

Billy, was a fine glass of wine,

concealed in a green tea bottle.

Have you noticed how similar

in color, Australian Chardonnay

can be to Arizona Green Tea?

Here’s to you, Billy Collins,

for sharing the front page –

with me. Here’s to you,

and to Jazz, and to tea.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Breast Clinic

After a two hour wait

at the Elizabeth Wende

Breast Clinic, my name was

called, and I was directed to

a Results Room. “My name is

Naomi,” the young woman holding

my Results slip-of-paper informed me.

“Nice to meet you.” She then compliment-

ed my necklace and asked what the symbol

meant. “Clarity,” I said. “In what language?”

she asked me. “Japanese,” I replied - quickly.

“Can you confirm for me your date of birth?”

“Yes,” I said, (pausing ever-so-slightly so she

could give me a date to confirm. She did not

do that, of course). I informed her of my date

of birth, “April 16, 1948.” “You’re fine,” she

said, handing me the slip-of-paper, “We’ll

see you in one year.” Passing a woman I’d

been sitting with, I gave the “thumbs up”

sign, mouthed, “Good Luck!” as I walked

out. I inhaled the fresh air, as I left the

Clinic, saddened by the sight of giant

trees being felled, probably to make

room for an even larger parking lot.

I walked over to a new memorial:

Surrounded by freshly-planted

geraniums, covered with

mulch, stood a smooth

and perfectly round

three-foot tall rock,

embedded, with an

engraved plaque,

honoring Dr. Wende

Logun-Young’s 25

years in the breast

care business.

As I realized that rock

looked a lot like a breast,

I thought briefly, “Why not

two?” Then, swallowing the

lump in my throat, I thought

of all the one-breasted (and

breast-less) women –all of

the cancer survivors –

those female rocks,

grounded in the

earth of their forts,

subtly showing their

friends and daughters,

husbands and others -

how to get past the fear,

hurt, anger or confusion,

how to press on with their

lives and their dreams, how

to find balance, even in the

presence of great falling trees.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Memorial Day Rain Rant

The day dawns easy, overcast,

neither hot nor cold, barely

a breeze -- flawlessly.

Humidity sneaks

in, like a nest of

snakes. Again

this year, clouds

appear, about to

burst, but they don’t

or won’t – You want

to shake your fist at

the sky, and shout:

Just RAIN already –

get it over with!

One lousy day off

for folks from May

‘til the Fourth of July!

Chance of showers –

Thunder storms likely –-

Should we call-off

the picnic or not?

Just RAIN already!

RAIN for the cat, who

hides in the basement at

the first shift in barometric

pressure, stays ‘til it’s over.

RAIN to motivate basil

and tomatoes, planted

today in pots of clay

on the porch. RAIN

the dust off the cars;

we can not afford to

wash them anymore.

RAIN ‘til the trees shake

loose last year’s bird nests.

RAIN ‘til the playground

turns to a mosh pit, as

mothers call the kids home.

RAIN to ruin Memorial Day

weekend, like you always do!

RAIN to knock down the tents

and lean-to’s people are using

for shelters in broken parts

of the world. RAIN to wreak

havoc on the few remaining

items they might still own.

RAIN ‘til the ominous sky is so

black, no one can tell if it’s night

or the end of the world. RAIN ‘til

the worms crawl out of the ground,

groveling for mercy. RAIN ‘til Noah

returns: Noah, who was building his

arc, as everyone laughed — Noah who

gathered pairs of geese, horses, mice,

rabbits, monkeys, elephants and gnats,

as they boarded his floating wood raft.

RAIN ‘til the ocean’s salt is diluted,

and only our tears can keep it

in balance. RAIN ‘til the darkened

wet street obliterates all shadows.

RAIN ‘til a desert meets with a forest
and exchanges ideas.
RAIN ‘til the

names of the soldiers on all of the

tomb stones in all the grave yards

are completely washed clean.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If This Was The Last Day

If this was the last day

that you would walk,

what revered place might

you hike - to reach?

If this was the last day

that you could hear,

what sounds would soothe

you through - deaf years?

If this was the last day

that you had sight,

what precious scene

would you hope - to see?

If this was the last day

that you had a voice,

what would the lines be

that you - would speak?

If this was the last day

that you could feel

love, whom would you

hold - in your arms?

If this was the last day

you were able - to think,

would you dare –

to open - your mind?

If today, you had only one wish,

would it be for whole-world peace?

If this was your last day on earth,

what unique gift - would you leave?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Coffee Shop Scene

Outside the glass wall,

snow falls as salt --

from a sky shaker.

Inside, satirical artwork

plasters the facing

brick wall. It’s late

morning; musicians

drag in. Baristas

have stopped hissing

and fussing. Empty

mugs sit, foam drying

on wobbly tables,

creased muffin wraps

hint at cranberry. Blog

sites glow as patrons –

one toe in the ‘hood –

text with internet buds.

The morning paper, tossed

from sticky hands to

crumb-skewed chairs

screams a local headline --

now old news to all.

Couch slipcovers crawl

toward the floor. The

lighting is poor.

Why do we stay?

Clapton is wailing:

“Well if I’ve done somebody wrong,

Lord, have mercy if you please.”

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Shot --

the hammock

snapped, --


us down.

Shot --

the tulip heads –

stems left aground.

Shot --

the weeping

cherry .

Blink and we

miss its glory;

blossoms dust the

mid-May lawns.

Shot –


Rochester teen –

no words

to explain

or gang

to blame.

Shot – his

parents’ dream

to smithereens.

Shot –

a prayer to

Heaven to

heal their


Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Life Gossip

(for Richard and Grace)

Right -- Poetry is not Memoir --
voice of the poem, yada, yada.
Are you kidding me? Did you
see him with her? Have
you read his new book?
Those love poems rise up
like hot air balloons at the
Bristol Balloon Festival --
purple, yellow, red, green,
and oh, my gondola—
when his shoulders
press into hers, tweed
jackets or not—you
know what I’m saying?
They were sizzling like
bacon on a griddle at
an Eddie Rocket Diner.
They had their lesson plans,
books, their serene teacher
faces – all-is-copasetic looks.
But when she lifted her
eyes to glance at him,
he felt it right through
the back of his head.
I’ll tell you this, girlphone--
that new book of his? He
is just getting warmed up.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Confiserie Delicés

for Sarah

Returning to New York

from France, encumbered

with all your old and new

clothes, paraphernalia, art

supplies, and souvenirs,

you thought of us, and

brought us dark chocolate

pralines. We’ve savoured

each one, (and in true Heveron

tradition, one petite piece remains).

We also thought of you,

exploring old Europe,

learning the fine points of

French, the customs, attitudes,

and anecdotes you’ll remember

forever in your mind.

We envisioned you laughing

in Paris, like Audrey

Hepburn in Sabrina.

Someday you will tell your

stories – (l’intrigue!), show

your sketches, -- (le croquis!),

write un mémoire merveilleux

of that notable year. I would

love to know which moment

stands out in your mind, like

a framed old photograph,

which speaks to your soul.

I know that you accomplished

something huge, and amazing.

And I know you kept our love

in your pocket, like a lucky

worn coin. And when you

came back, with a slightly

new smile on your face,

you gave us sweet chocolate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Aural Love

Sometimes it’s not

what you say --it

is only your voice

that I hear.

And it is not

my deafness or

poor listening skills.

It is just that the sound

of your voice is enough.

Yes --you are right.

I am writing this

about you! I am

a visual learner,

but an aural lover.

I adore the sound of

your voice. I shiver

in the hills and valleys

of your tonal range.

Your words thrill

like fireflies in the

celestial regions

of my brain.

Then, gone!

I can not capture

or hold them –

nor would I.



I’m closing

my eyes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Poem for Mystie the Cat

You ponder the placement

of a patch of fresh sunlight.

You pounce and capture

its heat; own it’s place

for awhile.

Then your warm little

body leaps onto my lap.

And I wish you long life--

even longer than mine,

though I know that’s


I let go of these


like falling-down sand

through a child’s open


You settle in to


pure and soundly


You have pondered

all there is;

there is only one


It rises up high in

the morning,

Then bows out softly

when it's done.