“Run and be free. 

Look both ways 

before crossing the street”.

My instincts 

but sometimes I forget.

I’m so absorbed

with Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

or when I’m in the middle

of a thousand projects

and I’m running

through “a maze

of twisting little passages”. 


It’s not all these things.

I have changed 

since the cherry blossoms.

When I see any flower

my memory of you returns.


edges of things

“The moment of magic”,

that first line of thought

that comes unexpectedly.


I remember you telling me

you become attentive

“more loving, more courageous”

the moment will come

like “a baby deer trembling in the woods”.


I remember you telling me

“in any field, cognitively demanding fields,

there are no naturals.”


I remember your fondness

for toasted baguettes with dungeness crab dip.


I remember you telling me

you like to sit on the “edges of things”

or roam “landscape of chaos”

looking for stones one will remember

or enter new conversations

and plant “little futures”.


I will not see you anymore

sitting under the palm trees, 

every morning, with a cup of coffee,

holding a pen or reading a book

a graph ruled notebook at your side.


Now and then

your absence will become

a presence in my memory.


You may return one day

like a moment of magic.


I barely know you.


missing words

Difficult to miss 

even in a crowd

-a unicorn


I met a girl once in a cafe 

over a cup of coffee

on a Wednesday afternoon 


she published a book

of 51 poems 

an odd number


like an unfinished lunch,

reminds her of hunger,

hunger to write


Her bearing, full white

blouse,slacks, a cap

over black pony tail.


A day unfinished

like a poem 

with words missing.


I could not read

her books of 

I didn’t know her name


or contact her

I didn’t know her 

Where is the land of the unicorn?




Doctor’s pretty phrases

heart murmur’s crescendo and decrescendo, 

cognitive deficits, butterfly rash

What if I remember my wife’s benevolent

face and where I place my hat?

Bees have memories

and age like me.

What if it’s a bee

with cognitive decline?

What will a rose look like

when the bee leafs a garden album?

Will the bee visit me and my wife,

our Wednesday’s picnic at the park?

Will it brush her face,

mistake her ear fo a hive?

Will the bee ride the opposite

flow of scented breeze?

How will the bee feel when dawn

lights each row of rhododendrons?

I wonder how the bees stream

sequencing of flowers, gathering of nectar.


I was taught once the path of enigma:

“It is when I am weak that I am strong.”

With each deficit, renewal

each bewilderment, revelation.

Will the bee find

the hidden holiness?

Is there a perfect equivalent in the bee world?

“My goodness, I’m glad you are here.”

When sunset comes will the bee ponder

the existential home: was, is, will be?




Note: Mrs. Abstract and I  will miss the live demonstration next Saturday by the ladies of Tea Passage at the Grand Hand gallery in Napa on the fine craft of furoshiki, Japanese cloth wrapping.We are up in the mountain for Thanksgiving and huddle like the bees.

photo: of teabags is from a page of Napa Register news

Missing strings

The absence you touch in my mind

like the green smell of grass mowed.


But what is it that comes

when the rain falls at night

I remember music of  mandolin

with missing strings?


I try to create a space

when the river tide rises

I climb up to the upper room

and from the window 

I watch the wind 

whips fear away from the trees

as if comforting them.


Last night I walked along the river 

the winter cold was not crisp as it should be.




The sidewalk.

They were gone

the dining tables with blue glasses 

and pink chairs. 


You smiled admiring the colors

last summer.