When I was three

my mother once spanked me!

I turned around,

and said with a frown,

“wadya do that for?”

I may have been short.

I may have been loud.

…but for whatever reason…

I stood stiffly

and proud.

She said she figured

out pretty quick.

a pat on the rump

wasn’t going to do the trick.

I don’t think she even noticed

how it should come to be

that this very apple

didn’t fall far from her tree.

Published in: on May 14, 2011 at 8:55 am  Comments (6)  
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rise table rise

as it levitates on end.

No one to know

just how or just when

levitation and energy

of my childhood would begin.

Rise table rise

with women surrounding,

rise table rise

…was ritual created not to end.

Published in: on October 26, 2010 at 6:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hey Mom…


I got somethin’ to tell you.


I love you.

(says Kim, aged 3)

Published in: on October 6, 2010 at 6:37 am  Comments (2)  
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She says I have it wrong…

But they’ve been that way

For ever so long.

I’ve had them there

And they’ve been wrong all along.

The colors reminding me of such a happy face.

I didn’t see until just now when you said,

“That house is on its side,

Like it’s going to bed.”

I don’t think I’ll change it

since I’m fond of the look

And some day when she’s famous

We’ll make it the cover of her book.


(Kim’s 1st grade paintings, 2003)

Published in: on October 3, 2010 at 6:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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That woman had the meanest face…

and I remember her calling me a name.

Before the days of Happy Meals.

After church,

McDonalds was a simple treat, when they only sold hamburgers, cheeseburgers and shakes.

And just like at my daughter’s school,

it always brings me an initial memory of trash.

I picked it up and threw it back in her car.  And she called me a name.

I was only 8.  And even I knew you didn’t throw your trash on the ground.  My dad said, “you can’t do that.”

But now,

When picking up the trash of adulthood and throwing it back, I can see the face of that woman.

With rules imposed on a simple group who simply want community.

But as we turn away from their rules and anger and look in other directions

Our community still sees those others who throw their trash,


They miss knowing that true community means picking up the trash because you care.

The smile that happens when another walks up and says, “let me help.”

Since I am no longer 8, I go back in my mind and pick up the woman’s trash and put it in the trash can.  I won’t hear her calling me that name, because I will be looking the other way.  Maybe someone will see.  Maybe they won’t, but on the very best of days they will stop and say, “let me help.”

McDonalds, Logan, Utah September, 2009

Mid-town area

Anchorage, Alaska

August 30th, 2010

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 6:44 am  Comments (15)  
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There is a chair

in our house where everyone sat.

Pulled up to the table to eat with the rest.

I didn’t like my chair.

Mom said, “Sit here ’til you drink that milk.”

So I sat.

The kitchen was dark,

looking across the table to the windows to the back.

Everyone left to go in the other room.

And I sat.

The milk got warm

and still I sat.

In the 1950’s chair, that we all sat in.

Wooden and hard,

where modern mothers made their children drink milk

to make them strong.

Passed down like a family treasure.

Probably with a cup of milk still sitting there.

(youth chair in kitchen August 27th, 2010 and Michael’s first birthday January 30th, 1985)

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 3:28 am  Comments (8)  
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The moon returns

heralding the end of the Alaskan summer, where summers have no real sounds, except for cars on the highway, planes in the air, magpies screeching in the trees.

Summers so different from my childhood, where the moon made no difference.

In my summers, cicadas were thrumming loudly, June bug skins on screen doors to be picked off.

The smell of tar, sticking to your bare feet with gravel crunching under bike tire wheels, the taste of  wet foods, none to cook.

Legs burning on car seats, breathing labored with hot, wet air reverberating with the fierce heat lightning, one thousand one, one thousand two…

But the moon always came with a promise of reprieve.

This moon, like a street light, where my streetlights were barrels.

Rusted with flames licking out around the edges as our summers burned away in our yards.

And the harvest moon overshadowing the end of those summers.

moon from rooftop garden

August 25th, 2010

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 7:01 am  Comments (8)  
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What’s in a nickname?

What is a sweet pea?

How did you get your nickname?

How did it come to be?

Of all the names to call you

How did you come to know

That the one you would choose to answer

would be for Kimmybow?

We have some other strange ones

The Achmed and the Goom

They feel and look so different

I doubt they will keep them

Once everyone is past

a distant moon.

Rooftop garden

August 22nd, 2010

A shocking crime

was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.


It is a rigid standard, I know.  To expect so much of others.

To not speak is easy.  To speak and earn ridicule is hard.

But to speak again

must be done

in order for those who can’t speak to win.

In this small church, where children were expected to speak up.

In this small church, there was a small group.

A vote to keep the preacher or not.

That’s what they wanted as they campaigned for their cause.

To decide if the man will stay or be cast out.


The church is Easter, Christmas service full.

Faces we don’t know, come to cast their vote.

Write on a small scrap of paper, to decide a man’s fate.

But wait!

I stand.

I say.

“I think if you are going to decide a man’s future…

you should…

say it..

to his face.”

And silence.

But soon, my dad, he stands too.  “I think that is right.  I have no problem with my vote being heard by everyone in the broad daylight.”

We stood there, alone, really for quite a while.  People try to decide if they can be brave.  And what it means to have a say, to determine a family’s life that day.


People decided they really can’t say no and the vote is by voice so that everyone can hear.

How did you vote?  What did you say?

And the hypocrite leadership didn’t vote what they said, when it was out in the open with everyone near.


At 15.

I learned to stand alone.

To speak up to create a way to atone.

The bad that people will do, and all us play a part.

But sometimes, and in some way, you must



Speak with your Heart.

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 12:41 am  Comments (3)  
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The summer of my discontent…

was spent at “the store.”

The Store was in the middle of Nowhere.  We lived there, but we didn’t Live there.

Traffic flew by, going East to West, West to East while visitors to The Store wanted to know why there were fences,

“Wasn’t this Open Range?”

“Don’t you ride a horse to school?”

Pull into the drive and up to the pumps.  Fill ‘er up little one, who could never stop the gas on the right amount of money.  So, reduced to dusting the merchandise, paid in Taiwan junk.

While dad takes the long stick and dips it in the huge tanks to see if we have enough gas for all of the travelers.  Come in and eat, please buy a Kansas treat.

Those travelers, who he will let stay in the lot for free, waking me because they slam the dryer button, not knowing I’m inches away behind the cinder block.

Everyone safer with them on the lot and us inside.

Sneak out behind the counter for breakfast of pecan pancakes and chocolate milk, before getting ready to bus the tables.  Vacuum the floor.  Talk to the families who also work The Store to help make ends meet on the family farm.  They married young, with hair the color of the wheat.  Working hard, here and there.

Sneak back to the kitchen after closing at night.  Take the frozen coleslaw, tangy and cold.  The only cold thing in a Plains summer.

And as the evening would come down, and the darkness began, we took to the highway.

to be at the gas station where my brother worked, for closing time.  Into the busy town, pulling in at dusk.  Sitting to the side, watching people fill up.

“Why do we sit here?”

“So that he won’t get robbed.”

“We can’t do anything if some one decides to rob the place.”

“They see us night after night and they go elsewhere.”

And with the money safe in the bank, we head out of the city, back to The Store.  With people sleeping in the lot.  The coleslaw in the freezer.

To finish one long summer in 1971.

In the middle of Nowhere that people called Paxico.

join Emily's imperfect prose

Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  
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What is brewing on the horizon

should be seen from afar.

To give some warning of the trip ahead.

To give you a chance to say

Hey, I’m Here !

or change gears.

Look for the unexpected and

Always be the

in your own life.

Alaska Railroad Potter Station

Chugach State Park

Anchorage, Alaska

August 4th 2010

Published in: on August 5, 2010 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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begat light

which begat reflection

which begat contemplation

which begat synergy

which begat momentum

to achieve the impossible.

Point Woronzof, Cook Inlet

Anchorage, Alaska

August 1st, 2010

Published in: on August 2, 2010 at 10:20 am  Comments (7)  
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Mom, how many grandmothers did you have?

A bunch,

not really.

They were just always there if I had a date.

Or got flowers for a dance.

Or was waiting for a friend.

Or…Christmas, or birthdays or 24/7

because that’s what my parents did.

In that little town

where people think “moms” are always cared for.

Yes, but by us, not their families.

But I learned a lot.

How to make fried chicken gravy.

The secret to birth control (when the kettle starts to boil, take it off the fire!)

How to make beds.

That maternity clothing was called hatching jackets.

How to act like it didn’t matter than when I wanted to take a bath and get ready for a date, seven old women lined up to use the bathroom.

How to listen to someone say the same thing day in and day out.

How to listen to someone play the same song on the piano, day in and day out.

How to sleep in musical beds, depending on whom had died or gone to a nursing home.

Dad did breakfast, Mom did lunch.

I did supper, the easy meal of the day,

and it feels like I have been setting up, cooking, serving and cleaning up forever.

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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There once was a Jack in the Beanstalk…

and he lived in the playroom of our house.

He climbed up high to the window

As the Knight watched from the Castle.

To make sure he didn’t escape.

Because he might swing to new heights,

with Rapunzel watching.

in a very messy playroom,

Now, growing upward on the roof

to someday make an escape !

How long do you keep dead people alive?

I really don’t know.

We have lots of family quilts

that if the house were on fire,

I guess would need to go.

This one is the oldest

created very long ago.

1880 to be exact,

it was her bridal quilt, this for sure we know.

Mary Margaret Saunders Honn,

my mom’s maternal Grandmother.

I’m sure she had hopes and dreams,

but without money, she really had no choice.

It’s easier not to mention

for in that time women had no voice,

but we have to wonder why no one stepped forward

when he beat uncle ray half to death.

It was a little town in Missouri, which no longer is on the map

If you’ve seen the Fried Green Tomatoes

you have a picture in your head.

That is what the town looked like

with a future that might have been filled with dread.

People seem to think that human nature is really just that way,


My mother really loved her, and she was gone before I was born.

I have this quilt but no good memories

and in keeping it, I am torn.





growing Up.


before the Planting is done.


as the Colors of



to provide a Path

through the


of the Unknown.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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There was a Time

when I thought the

waiting was over


There was no reason

to question No More.

There would be time for new laughter

With just a hug and a kiss.

and then

Bundle up from the World

because the loss was totally his.

Celebrate new happenings

but I guess I told you wrong.

There really isn’t a golden ring.

and with time

and with  changes

we began to live,

on separate planes of the universe

while the colors disappear

Until I recognize you

No More.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 6:10 am  Comments (5)  
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Fifty years…

Is that a long time ?

Or not ?

Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Let’s save the tooth…

if the house is on fire.

My grandfather always carried it in his pocket.

He said it was a lion’s tooth.

Who knows?

But we need it

because everyone needs a lucky tooth!

(I gave him cookies for Christmas, 1970.  His name

was Francis Duckworth and he was raised in

Osceola, MO.  He was a printer, a builder of words.)




It’s raining on my Roof

and I have always liked the rain.

In fourth grade, I can remember the rain outside the classroom windows.

The room seemed cozy and calm.

That is the only year I remember the rain.

That is the only grade in which I was in a “real” classroom.

Kindergarten was in the basement of a church and the teacher drew cakes for us on the chalkboard for birthdays.

First grade was in a high school.  We had lockers and the bathrooms were really big.

They scared me and I cried that year.

Everyday I would wave to Nancy in her typing class as we went to eat in the cafeteria with the high school students.

They were really big.

Second and third grade were in a high school annex.

No playground.  No cafeteria.

Miss Dinkle was the teacher next door

and she yelled all of the time.

She scared me and I cried that year.

Fifth grade was on the top floor of an old, condemned high school.

It was the library at one time.

My teacher was getting pretty old and we just sat around most of the time

working on United Nations models.

Sixth grade was in a basement locker room of that old high school.

People were always getting spanked

and it scared me.

Fourth grade was in a “grade school.”

It had a cafeteria with just little kids.

It had a playground with swings.

My teacher walked us downtown to the library so we could get books.

I never attended an elementary school with a library.

We didn’t have any books to read,

except our Dick and Jane readers.

My dad would drop me off at my grandmother’s

before he went to work and

I walked to school each morning.

I walked home through the field.

I don’t remember my mom those years.

I don’t remember dinners.

I don’t remember who fed me at all.

I just remember the rain.

Published in: on June 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm  Comments (3)  
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