Thursday, December 31, 2015

Echo, Call and Response

To be alone is to be alive.

To be alive is to be alone.

Call and response:

    To be alive
           is to be.
    To be alone
           is to be.

     To be

Monday, December 28, 2015


Still and slender spines arc
Across an aching field -
A crowd of wounded warriors

I could lose myself in such a sky -
Fierce and bright and pale with longing,
Shivering on the bare fringe
      of tree-top nerve-endings.

Above a frost-tipped nest of lace,
The mute trails of smoke
Find their slow way

Saturday, December 26, 2015


When we came in from the cold
Arms like icicles in soggy snowsuits
Ready for cocoa and French toast,
Mom was prepared
To thaw us out
Head to toe.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lips of Cake

Clever ladies
With lips of cake
Drown their thoughts
In wine and sweets,
Tossing away
Wilted night.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Rain Is My Faith

Rain is my faith,
Downpour my dogma.
I preach puddles
And meditate on mist.

Rain is my faith.
I'm the shaman of showers,
The prophet of clouds,
The theologian of thunder.

Rain is my faith.
I am blessed by the deluge,
Baptized in floods,
Penitent to rainbows.

Rain is my faith.
Doxologies drizzle in my downspouts
And sweet spring drops fall like the sacrament
On my tongue.

Rain is my faith
And, while all pilgrims doubt,
The enemy of my faith
Is drought.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Grandmother's Face

At last I understand
My grandmother's face -
The pinched-brow frown,
The sour lemon expression,
Even at rest.
Life is more than laughter.
Five decades have pinched my brow, too.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Big D

A dark horseman's silhouette
Against a dull steel sky,
Cruel piranhas nibbling
At my identity,
A thick bog through which I wade,
Leaden shackles on my wrists,
A shadow self,
A rain-drenched heart,
A smoke-filled soul,
A fog-blocked mind,
My hard, weighty companion
Wrapped in an inky cloak,
Lurking, leaping,
Stalking, seeping,
Taunting, beating,
Down my doors.
A long season of rockslides,
A battering by boulders,
A gray-gowned spectre
Who watches at windows.
A stop.
A halt.
A marrow-deep exhaustion.
A dove-colored shroud
Whose stingy threads
Strain paltry remnants of sunlit life.
This is the Big D.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Childish Eyes

When I was a child I saw
Space ships in dust motes
Crossing sunbeam asteroid belts.

I saw
Lost pearls in sea foam -
Pirate treasures washed ashore.

I saw
The Sahara in a sandbox
Cathedrals in campfires
Battlefields in bedspreads.

When I was a child I made
The Amazon out of broccoli
Alpine slopes from mashed potatoes
And butter islands in warm milk.

I followed fairies through the woods
And drank potions made of air.

When I was a child I saw
Monsters in the shadows
Witches on the wind
Sharks in the bathtub
Vampires in the cupboard
And Frankenstein in the laundry room.

When I was a child
 My world was bound by sidewalks
And limitless as dreams.

When I was a child,
I saw like a child.
When did I put childish eyes

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Waxing Poetic

When I am overtly poetic
I sport million-dollar words
and wear purple prose that draws undue attention
             to my meter.

I count syllables like coins
and calculate figures of speech
spending their value as a miser
        and a mayor.

I drive metaphor
and plead my case with simile.
Art is my co-counsel.

I waltz Con-stanza down the street
and suffer bouts of word play.
I stutter sonic symbolism
     and wallow in imagery.

When I am overtly poetic
I overindulge linguistically

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Fall melancholy pushes past
The beaded curtain of the soul.
                  gray-sky blessings
Watch with deep eyes and open hands
As home-starved spirits venture forth
From the long shadows of a harvest moon.

- by Cynthia J. McGean

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Going To Meet the Whales

My heart is full of endings, and I'm going to meet the whales.
At the ocean's surfing edge, children tickle the toes of God,
While in the mist, world-weary elders breathe in heaven's peace,
And in the crashing storms behold
Old Testament fury.
Beyond the shore, below the waves, lie unfathomed depths,
Too broad to compass, too vast to hold, a surging, eternal will.
My heart is full of endings, and I'm going to meet the whales.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Whistling Past the Graveyard

I whistle past the graveyard
of my own expectations
Hoping to get lucky
and raise the dead
Disassembled skeletons
Of plans abandoned
And spectre-thin wisps
of dreams unsaid.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

What Used To Be Here?


Look at this corner -
My God! It's changed!
What used to be here?

A theater, wasn't it?
No - bakery, I think -
Hot cross buns and almond cookies.
No, no - a florist -
That one with the orchids -
The doorway where we shared our first kiss -
The jazz club where I looked into your eyes and saw
The future?

Anyway, it's a gravel pit now,
A concrete hole,
A project,
A scaffold,
Construction zone.
Destruction home.
Bulldozed block.

Tearing down
Making way
Wiping out memory
     and stories
         and time.
Putting up

They're building the future.
Future banks, 
Future lofts,
Future over-priced world, 
Future new, 
Future hip,
Future meaningless shit
To us.

What used to be here,
Before it was razed to the ground?
Laughter, desire and broken heart-shards?
What was this once,
Before now plowed it away?
It was our youth,
Our courtship:

It was us -
Young and wide-eyed, all roads open.
It was us -
Talking of our future
    over wine and ravioli
         and shrimp salad sandwiches.
It was us.
It was then.
Wasn't it?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Waste Not

Waste not
       this day
           this hour
                this moment
In withering worry and aching agenda,
Weighing worth on human scales
      of fame and fortune,
            bytes and stats,
                 and cruelly quantified commodity.

You cannot graph eternity
Nor calculate serenity.

Count what matters -
The sudden flutter of a monarch's wings,
The lone chirp of a lark on high,
The scent of jasmine in a city park,
The taste of lemons, lavender and laughter,
Bright breezes,
Sun-parched skin,
Drumming hearts,
The silence of being.

Waste not
     this day
          this hour
                this moment.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lost In Thought

My mind is a forest.
On lazy Sundays
I leave a trail of breadcrumbs
To find my way back home.
The better worn pathways
Skirt safely about the edges.
Delve deeper
And they all disappear
Into overgrown, tangled
Life -
Dark and thick, dense and wild,
Utterly under-explored.
I follow a flash of feathers and fur,
A birdcall,
The sound of cataracts and wind tunnels,
Until I am lost.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dogs Know

Every new piece of human research shows
just how smart dogs are.

This dog is not impressed.

In a new study published in a human journal, Animal Cognition
Researches have “discovered” we know how humans feel

It’s news apparently,
that we read facial expressions, can sense
when a human is untrustworthy.

Remember that time you promised a treat?
Fido sat quietly, for an entire hour
So you could work.
You forgot.

Fido remembered.

We remember your little lies.
We’ve been onto you all long.

Scientists at the Kyoto University
Promised food.
Didn’t deliver.
Noted that we didn’t respond to the third round of broken promises.

It seems, amazingly, we can tell if people are reliable or just
lying liars.

We had to evolve in our long history with humans.

We know too much

to be your best friend.