Thursday, September 28, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


that sacred
and scared
might once
have been
a single word?
We, in our ignorance
and arrogance
have cleaved it.

- mimi

Several Easter dawns I climbed this
rock (just to the base of the top) and
sat there, listening to the Hallelujah
chorus on my headphones. Sometimes
the awe I felt scared me, like I could die
right there from the sheer beauty of the
red rock valley before me. This area
was known to be sacred to early Indian
tribes and there are those present day
people who believe the rock to be one
of the vortexes, or power spots of the earth.


Photo by S. Auberle

in the rush
of this runaway

o, my heart
you are awash
in light

i am soft
as a butterfly's

- mimi

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Digitally-altered photo by S. Auberle


Blow, purple wind,
ride your wild horse tonight.

My sundown man comes,
enfolds me in his striped blanket.

With turquoise and coral and jet
we paint our medicine in the sand

and your icy fingers
will not reach in here tonight.

- mimi

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

hawk sails autumn skies
angel in a feathered robe
yellow leaves tremble
- mimi

Monday, September 25, 2006


Photo by W. Auberle

Old Venice hotel room where I am writing about
this amazing city of water...

Venezia, Venice--city of 400 bridges, 112 islands, 112 churches. Outside the city are two beggars--one a dark, hooded figure, impossible to see if it is man or woman inside the garment, head down, sitting cross-legged, a dirty gauze bandage on it's outstretched hands. It speaks no words, only deafening silence. The other is a man with no legs, a hand with no fingers, one a bandaged claw. He moans, his face implores, I cannot resist.

We park outside and enter the city. Pulling luggage behind, we walk up one bridge, down another, over and over and over. The sun is hot, my arms ache. I want a motoscafi, a water taxi. A man offers to show us the way, wants my suitcase, he is a ragged man. We keep walking.

Is there a school for boatmen, I wonder, these beautiful men--to learn to sing; to have such muscled arms; to traverse the canals in their old gondole; to charm the ladies from Iowa, Brooklyn, Munich; to recite the stories of this ancient place?

Later, armed with maps, we sit beside the Grand Canal, watching a storm coming in, the wind rising, waiters pulling down sides on the restaurant tent. We are confident we know the way back to our hotel, but as we walk and it darkens, I want to stay in the narrow lanes. Out in the plazas, I fear lightning will be drawn to my yellow umbrella's metal handle and I will join those ancient ghosts walking beside us. Up and down bridges we trudge, passageways leading only to water, past this same trattoria three times. Drenched, we circle around and around. Firemen in florescent green and black walk beside us, under great umbrellas. They will know where Hotel Basilea is, but no, they shrug, no English.

At last a man says yes, I live near there, you must cross this bridge, look for the tall tower, the Indian restaurant beside the canal...and we are home, at last, to the tall ceilinged room, the pink bedspread, the lace curtains. The rain stops as we crawl, shivering, between heavy cotton sheets, outside water drips from the eaves, Handel's Messiah drifts in the open window till a man shouts and the music stops. A busload of Italian children pulls up. The noise is deafening for awhile, and then it is morning and the tiny shower, the doves calling, the bells, the bells, the bells...

Breakfast is in the dining room--espresso, yogurt, meats and cheeses and eggs and 50 Italian children--the girls just beginning to grow breasts, dark eyed and tempest-haired, the boys both sultry and loud. Passionate musical language and hands flying through the room too small to contain all those burgeoning hormones.

Sunlight gleams on the canals this morning, puddles on ancient stones. The water taxi pulls up in front of the hotel, takes us down narrow waterways, down the Grand Canal, out to the ferry for the island of Murano. Its glassblowers have been at their work since the 13th century. In the glowing furnace rooms the glass glistens, melts and moulds. In deft hands it transforms. Gold and silver are added, incised, engraved, heirlooms are born. A man smiles at me as he shapes the glass. The furnace light falls on his dark hair. He is proud, this artisan from another time. We can only afford a small vase to keep on the dining room table, but I will shine it everyday, keep only a single flower in it, let it catch and hold mountain sunlight.

On to Burano, island of fishermen, lace makers, houses caught in rainbows. In the warm sunlight an old woman opens her heavy wooden door and draws a curtain to let in the Adriatic breeze. She steps outside and begins to sweep the street in front of her house by the canal, where we sit at a table, eating. Smiling shyly, she watches us the entire time, as she sweeps. I want to talk with her, tell her how I love her island, but our languages will not mesh.

A watchmaker tells me his siesta is soon, if I want to buy the orange watch. I wait too long, he closes for the afternoon. I admire the masks of Venice--the jester, the doctor, the lover. Roses climb old stone walls, canals lap quietly, there are no cars.

Later we board the ferry back to Venice--Piazza San Marco--St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Cathedral, glowing with gold. In the setting sun the bell tower shines where 15th century priests were suspended in a cage to repent their sins, next to it pink and white marble--the Doge's Palace. Always, side by side, saints and sinners. In the square, pigeons outnumber people, landing on people's arms, their heads. We wade through pigeons, listen to orchestras playing, debate a gondola ride, decide to walk instead. The songs of boatmen float in the evening air. We stop for wine, some cheese and bread. The air is cooling now. Our room in the small hotel awaits, by the tall tower, the Indian restaurant. This time we are not lost...

- mimi

"I am not going to write as one driven by compulsions, but freely, because I am a writer, and because for me to write is to think and to live and also, in some degree, even to pray." (italics mine)

- Thomas Merton

Saturday, September 23, 2006



Men--do not read--you will never understand. Go back to ESPN. You are from Mars, we're from Venus, truer words were never spoken.

Ladies, I found the dress languishing on the 50% off rack, whispering, crooning romance. So out of place there in that crass, commercial world, on that rainy autumn day. I glance at it quickly, furtively, rush away--no, no, I will not, I sternly lecture myself. A fragrance of lilacs seems to follow me, suddenly there is birdsong, a green summer wind. I melt. I am young again. Until I see another woman eyeing the dress. Breath quickening, heart pounding, I sprint back to the rack, rescuing it in the nick of time. Draping it's silken folds over my arm, we dash together to the dressing room. The dress won't fit, I assure myself--it's the wrong size, too long, too short, too wide, too tight. The soft green fabric glows, sings to me as I slip its sensual length down my body. It fits perfectly, as if it were made for me.

The dress knew. When it saw me it knew we were meant for each other. There is no doubt in my mind---this is fate. The dress knows--that I am a poet, that I am perhaps the last romantic in my world. The dress doesn't care how old I am. The dress doesn't mind that I live in the Southwest, where a denim skirt is considered formal wear. The dress doesn't realize that I'm a grandmother, an old lover. The dress is magic. It knows that when I wear it, my man, too, will be transformed. Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, all rolled into one. Who can resist Fate?

I buy it, assuring myself that I will return it when I come to my senses. The dress seems to shrug in my arms--who are you kidding? I take it home, hang it above my closet door. The man who shares my bed glances at it, doesn't ask. O bless his heart. I walk by the dress. Touch it. Again. And again. Touch becomes caress--sensual, soft, enticing. Years slip away from me. Wrinkles fade. Isadora Duncan, Zelda Fitzgerald, Jane Austen and me. That summer wind whispers again. Who can resist???

- mimi


Watercolor by S. Auberle


A small boy in a Spiderman suit
plays his violin, dollar bills
spilling out of the case in front of him.

There is a banjo player,
with dreadlocks swirling down his back
and a girl with silver eyelids,

round belly straining her slinky skirt,
a banner draped across her breasts,
proclaiming Beauty Queens Gone Bad.

The man I love is talking with a woman
who tells him she is dying
on this perfect September day.

Emma's dad sells beeswax and eggs
as he basks in the warm sunshine
and Molly cooks her tamales.

A train comes, roaring east
and people wince and cover their ears
at the scream of its crossing whistle.

Babies and dogs are tumbling in the street
and Uncle Tom inspects honey,
his grizzled hat perched on his grizzled head.

Bells of the pink Church of the Nativity
ring out against the mountains,
calling for Sunday Mass

while belly dancers whirl and spin,
tiny silver bells cascading notes
down their wrists and ankles.

The coffee man hawks his wares,
fresh from the farm in El Salvador
and giant sunflowers droop

over mounds of vegetables, fruits,
pumpkins, gourds and pies
and golden jars of honey.

Another train speeds by,
its passengers envious of us
on this perfect autumn morning

in our town, with aspen beginning
to clothe the mountain in gold, and
the air sparkles and wool feels right.

My love still stands beside
the dying woman and I know
I will weep at the beauty of it all,

for it's not dying, I think,
we fear so hard, but leaving
this world of light and harvest

and thick loaves of bread,
their fragrance rising like a prayer
in the holy morning sun.

- mimi

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Watercolor by S. Auberle


Today in this mountain field
I'm watching sunflowers dance
and imagining Van Gogh
on a summer morning
in his village in Provence
whispering to himself
as he arranges sunflowers
in a crude and tender vase,
painting them over and over,
believing they are a symbol of hope,
of the soul one day awakening
into a sunny world
leaving behind the darkness
of potato eaters and crows
and now, holding a bouquet
of blossoms in my hand,
I see as surely Vincent saw,
how brief their dance,
how quickly they die,
leaving behind only hope
and a trail of yellow petals
to follow into the Sun.

- mimi


Photo by S. Auberle


There are houses on our street
so perfectly manicured
that I hesitate to walk too near,
fearing some errant seed on my shoe
might find fertile ground there,
take root and spread
it's unbridled joy and brightness
among those timid flowers who
must bloom in only the perfect spot,
who must not converse
with weeds and other wild things,
who will never know the flagrant
yellow of sassy sunflowers
massing themselves in our yard
having arrived unknown to us
in the rich earth we spread,
along with the tangled web
of a vine that is impossible
to subdue, whose roots surely
must reach to China,
proving once again, as my
philosopher-love points out:
in this life you gotta take
the bad with the good...

- mimi

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Photo/Painting by S. Auberle

No posts for a few days, so will
leave you with these words of


we will all have to be good.

we will all require mercy.

I'll look in the mirror

and see an old woman
wearing a t-shirt that reads:

What if the Hokey Pokey
is REALLY what it's all about?

- mimi

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


Once a very old nun said to me:
art is seeing the connections between things...
so the things I'm about to tell you are related,
interconnected by cosmic threads,
isn't everything they say?
Maybe at the end it will all make sense.
These days I'm having trouble with endings
and finishing a poem is a major event for me

so you'll be lucky if this poem has an ending.
It may just wander off into space,
leaving you to write your own conclusions
as to why this stopped clock is important
and what makes the clock tick again,
berating me for its lost hours

and why are there storm clouds in this poem?
These clouds that keep me watching with a wary eye
because last week, in this mountain country,
20,000 recorded lightning strikes took place
and that day a doctor in our town
was struck by lightning--a direct hit

they said, and absolutely no one
survives this except that when he was hit
he fell forward to the ground, striking his chest
on a rock that must have started his heart again
and now he walks around the town
burned and bruised, telling his story
to whose who need it. But still,
what does this have to do with endings

because he didn't end and the wonder is why?
And then there are the hummingbirds
but I don't want to talk about them
or that emptiness outside in this feverish air.
I don't want to see a red feeder hanging there,
motionless against a stormy sky.

I don't want to know that these small warriors
have left on their long migration
southward through lightning and stars
because it's hard enough to know
that last night, while I was sleeping,
a siren call lifted them out of their nests,
thrumming through their wings and hearts

leaving this empy space behind
where I dream of burning men
and Dali-clocks melting the hours of my life away.
Where this morning something in my life is ending
and now the leaving comes again,
words and hummingbird days of summer
whirling away in a chill wind.

- mimi

Monday, September 11, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

"There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness out
of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open
to the place inside which is unbreakable
and whole,
while learning to sing."

- Rashani

Friday, September 08, 2006


Digitally altered photo by S. Auberle

This was the first poem that came, five
years ago, after 9/11:


I've wanted to write
about autumn evenings
and the quiet skies
my ancestors saw,
filled only with clouds,
and a lonesome vee of geese.
About Colin Powell's words:
we are Americans,
we don't walk around terrified.
I want to tell him he's wrong,
but the words won't come.
I want to write about how,
fifty nine years ago, I moved
in my mother's womb as
the skies of Pearl Harbor exploded,
and how I cradled my son
in the Vietnam war years, about his
twin sons who are trying to be born
too soon in this week of insanity.
I want to write about cottonwoods
on the Fox river, turtles and geese
and dying flowers, the sun,
this gentle, healing world
I walk through--even more precious,
but the words won't come.
I want to write about a new moon
high in the sky this afternoon, and beside it
a first trail of returning jets,
about words trees are whispering
above the water riffles, about prayers I breathe
as I walk the stone paths,
about a lily in the window of a house
and the promise it holds
of hope and resurrection
but my fingers remain stilled.
I want to write of the dream I had
where I touched the face
of a white-robed being who looked like me,
heard words I've now forgotten.
I want to tell you of last night as I knelt in the dark
cradling my crying grandchild,
and all I could do was rock and sing
and read What Makes a Rainbow
over and over, till her sobs turned into
soft breaths, the little body relaxed against
my own unbending one and we could yield
again to the peace of sleep.
I want to tell you of my train trip home
(because I was afraid to fly)
of the two women in seats behind me,
shooting tequila as we rolled across
the country, finally collapsing
in each other's arms--the brassy one
with crows nest hair whispering,
sobbing against her friend
in black and white zebra slippers
who colored in a child's book.
I want to write about the large man across the aisle
whose very breaths through the night
seemed each like a victory,
and the New Mexico sunset,
with its long shadows sliding down the mesas,
and a quarter moon setting at the horizon
in glowing, golden rose.
Finally, I want to tell you of a hawk-faced Navajo
who got on the train in Gallup, New Mexico,
sat beside me and removed his glasses,
wiping tears from his eyes.
I wanted to comfort him,
but did not intrude on the space we shared,
that space so carefully maintained
even as we yielded to sleep.
I woke once and looked at him,
his face softened in dreams, vulnerable,
so very, very vulnerable...

- mimi


Photo by S. Auberle


I asked you, once, what happens
when dreaming comes to an end.
When light that falls through the trees
no longer seems able to tend
to those dreams into which we leapt
long ago, now grown cold
and autumn closing in,
brash and blustery and bold
and wind stripping leaves bare
from trees that once sheltered us,
life and death beneath my feet
now become just dust.
Oh, my heart, help me remember
in every cold fire remains an ember.

- mimi

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle

Who is there among us who has not done
some foolish thing under the full moon's light?
Walking last night, bathed in her radiance,
it occurred to me that though I've seen
more full moons in my life than I'm willing
to say, I never lose my sense of awe when
she comes, round and luminous, rising
from behind the mountain, or through the pines.
Remember the movie Moonstruck, with Cher
and Nicholas Cage playing a one-armed butcher?
And how on earth could we poets manage without
a moon to compose under, weep under, make love
beneath? I have many moon poems, but this is
a favorite...


Oh, I knew you were coming.
I knew, because even though clouds
in my life were getting blacker
and blacker, boiling overhead
in long, dark nights, even though
monsoon storms kept rocketing through,
every now and then a sweet twilight would appear
following sunsets I'd never seen before--orange
and pink and purple and blue swirling in the west
rainbows in the east arching over a red sky
yes I knew something was coming
and I hoped it was I walked out one night
under a black velvet sky, cloud mountains
towering all around and there was a glow in the east
like a thousand night suns spreading up
from behind those clouds and I stood there,
spellbound, watching that radiance rising
and didn't know if it was day or night
with all that gold and silver light
shooting through the skies, but
still only a teasing anticipation, rousing
night birds, stopping truckers on the highway
wondering if the end had come, but I knew
it was just the beginning. I knew at any moment
you'd appear, like that full harvest moon and
when that great ball of light finally burst into sight
I was reborn, delivered into the light
and oh love be kind, for I'm still naked
and newborn in your arms.

- mimi

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Photo/collage by S. Auberle

One evening I walked outside---head full
of invisible concerns---and instantly they were
wiped away. In the east was the lower half
of a vivid rainbow; overhead, a quarter moon.
Westward, the sun was beginning its descent.
The sky was a miracle of colors, mountain
still wreathed in mist. Fragrance of damp
pines permeated the air. A single raven called
out, on his way to a night roost; and raindrops
glistened on hollyhocks and roses.

" not divert your love from visible things.
But go on loving what is good, simple and
ordinary: animals and things and flowers,
and keep the balance true."

- Rilke


Photo by S. Auberle

The mountain watches
as we climb her flanks.

I imagine blue, open arms
beckoning, a voice

trembling through the aspen:
I'm lonely too,

she whispers,
dance with me...

- mimi