Sunday, June 16, 2013


 Years ago I had a small squirrel monkey as a pet.  I had first fallen in love with him in a dark corner at the back of the basement of Kresge's store where they had kept their pet section. It not the sort of  goods that made up the bulk of their inventory.

I had grown up on the stories and pictures that my father's years of exploration in South America. And a favorite story had been of a squirrel monkey that joined him on a raft on one of the tributaries of the Amazon. When my father died unexpectedly a few days before Christmas, my teen-aged children pooled their meager savings and bought me Bobinho (Portuguese for "Little clown) as a Christmas gift to ease my mourning.

I was determined to be a good monkey mother. I bought him his favorite foods. He loved bananas and peanuts, as did I, but research led me to believe that he would savor a treat that was also good for his health: meal worms! The books were right! Given a choice of foods, the meal worms won his enthusiastic favor evey time. Fortunately they were available at a local bird store.

And what does a good mother do? She tastes her child's food, of course! I'll admit that I put it off for quite a while, but finally I picked up a squirmy worm and bit into it. That stopped the squirming.

How can I describe it? It was a bit chewy, but my surprised taste buds were immediately seduced by its flavor. No wonder Bobinho liked it best! It tasted like the best meat tenderloin marinated in a sauce of fragrant tropical fruits, sweet and spicy!

Next, I hurried to the bathroom, spit it into the toilet, then brushed my teeth thoroughly. There are some things that even good monkey mothers can't bring themselves to swallow!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The prompt is "luscious

    I would live on words
    would chew grainy words like pumpernickel, lick
    slick words that slide against the tongue
    and melt like lilikoi 
    luscious Hawaiian ice-upon-a-stick.
    Nor would I live on food words only
    but feast on all the savory
    flavored dictionary words
    the meaty ones like buxom and contemplate 
    seasoned with peppery sprinkles
    of quip and tipple 
    and I would nibble the edges
    of flat round cookies of extrapolate, reforestation
    and tickle my palette with perfumed words:
    Aldebaran, oriental, satin.

    I would open my Webster's Unabridged
    and grow fat on specious, unadulterated, irresolute.
    Never, never would I grow hungry.

    I would give thanks to the great god Gutenberg
    and lay me down to sleep
    after I sip a soothing drink brewed from
    soporific, subliminal, and seraphim
    and I will dream of books and libraries
    burgeoning with sustenance. 

    Sunday, May 5, 2013

    Fuzzy Memory


                   FUZZY MEMORY
                    ON JEOPARDY)

       My mind has a million niches for
       odd bits of soteric lore.
       It's not the storage that I lack
       but just means to fish them back!

    Sunday, March 31, 2013


    The Sunday Scribblings prompt is "seasoned".

    Spring flutters in, fabulous flirt,
    And flicks the last snows from her skirt.
    Released from storms' prison,
    Our garden hopes risen,
    We neighbors are sharing the dirt.

    I wrote this this week for Mad Kane's Limerick off.

    The Sunday Scribblings prompt is "SEASONED".  This was written this last week on Mad Kane's Limerick-Off


    Spring flutters in, fabulous flirt
    And flicks the last snow from her skirt.
    Now freed from storms' prison,
    Our garden hopes risen,
    We neighbors are sharing the dirt.

    Saturday, March 16, 2013


    The prompt for for Sunday Scribblings is "It's Out There"

    We sought this day in many a tale
    of rocket trail to alien world.
    We bridged the rifts of space to sail
    to far star-studded galaxies
    with chair-bound ease.

    The future beckoned.  Now, instead,
    it looms, hard headlined fact.  Our world
    grows strange.  We step with grudging tread
    into a mapless land and cold.
           Too soon
           Too old.

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Ford's Theater

    The prompt for Sunday Scribblings is MOMENT


    She sat there, loving, petulant, unwise,
    by him whose giant shadow through the age
    would cast its knobby shape on history's page.
    She smoothed her gown, her modish beaded prize
    and leaned against him, but demurred aloud,
    "What will they think?"  "Why nothing," he replied.
    Sad prisoner of herself, her boundaries set
    at margins of her days, yet her command
    could compass his great heart, whose unreined power
    had freed the burdened slave; he brooded yet
    over the bleeding rift that cleft his land.
    Her plump ringed hand held his a final hour.
                                                       Phyllis Sterling Smith

    Sunday, February 24, 2013


    On my old TV sets, ghosta walk.
    In pantomime the Kaiser shakes a hand
    in double time, with silent talk.
    He greets a royal visitor; they stand
    in sunshine of a day long past
    then, bobbing, jerk across my haunted screen
    quick-step, as though to end at last
    An infinitely re-enacted scene.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013


    SABBATICAL - a memory

    Predawn gray creeps in the empty room.
    Book shelves lie bare, waiting for renters' books;
    gone are the family photographs, mementos,
    locked away in the crowded basement room.
    Our personalities obliterated,
    familiar windows, corners grow strange.
    Suitcase forms emerge in growing light

    next to the travelling clothes hung on a chair.
    Even the mattress lacks its sheets and spread;
    we sleep like displaced persons, refugees,
    ready to roll our sleeping bags and go.
     Only a scent remains (our aura?) to hint
    that we use garlic, lavender and wax.

    And am I sad to leave?  No, I am ready,
    my mind outdistancing the throbbing plane,
    my skin anticipating balmy air,
    my nose - dark coffee, pungent herbs, ripe fruits.

    Last night I dreamed in Portuguese. 

    My husband, Dr. Otto. J. M. Smith was professor at 
    U. C. Berkeley, and our sabbatical leaves took us to
    many countries, but Brazil was one that we returned to
    again and again, and whose language I had studied
    and knew well.  

    Sunday, February 10, 2013


                     FERRIS WHEEL

    On the rim of the golden coin we spun
    fiefly lit for our soaring flight.
    For a frozen tick of time we hung
    at the crest of the turning disk of light,
    upturned faces lost below,
    above us space and stars and night

    By day we see that cables snake
    through trampled grass to girdered wheel,
    its motor black with furry grease,
    its garish paint begun to peel
    Popsicle wrappers and popcorn bags
    blow fitfully through bolted steel.

    We should see truth by sunlight. Still
         the night
         and space
         and stars
              were real.   

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    IMMUNITY for Sunday Scribblings

    I am not immune to the sudden stab of grief that won't go away when I think of Otto. And yet there is an added grief to which I am not immune. I wrote it best in an old poem written years ago for someone for someone else.

    Here is the poem:
                         NOW I GRIEVE
    Now I grieve for the passing of my grief.
    Intending to be constant in my sorrow
    I fed my eyes on hollow air where you were not,
    I fed my ears on silence of your voice
    and winter joined to celebrate your absence;
    hills misted with remoteness and no green thing intruded.
    I willed my sorrowing to last forever.

    But now my foolish heart forgets to mourn.
    Warm air says wild plum is blossoming,
    bricks press their sun-warmed bricks against my palm,
    pale green leaf buds bead the lacy branches,
    and frail new insects try transparent wings.
    I grieve that these small things can ease my sorrow
    for when it goes we will be doubly parted.