Dec 30, 2010


magpie tales

they carry the memories
the scent of Florence
arthritic fingers
ease into elegance
youth is restored
dreaming of via guicciardini

Dec 15, 2010

The Cathedral

Magpie Tales-Tess Kincaid

cold, stone cold
doors large enough
for horses and carriages  
pray in your coach option 
for the aristocracy

the scent of beeswax
smoldering prayers
woolen coats, mittens
for the common folk
sore knees, frozen noses

organ sounds and crystal voices
piercing the nave
images in glass
reminding the sinners
of the possibilities

Dec 10, 2010

Hell Racers

from Magpie Tales

cows had carved out the paths
in summer we picked violets there
in winter it was glazed with ice
treacherous on the curves
too close to the partially frozen pond
the sledding course was dangerous
passing for little girls
bundled in our pastel snowsuits
we were hell racers
screaming as we flew
trudging back up again and again 
until near dark
mom's call to dinner
ruined it

Nov 17, 2010

Ms Eleven

Magpie Tales
she was an eleven
in every way
idealistic and visionary

better than ten
the light bearer
and peacemaker

the master number
why then
was she so lost

she longed to be a three
or a five or even a seven
longing for conflict
and imperfection.

Nov 14, 2010

The Snoop

Magpie Tales

not from Penny's or the 5 and dime
this was foreign stuff
auntie left in on the bed
glamorous as heck
draped from my neck
some strange guy on the pendant
auntie has been around my father says
she wears capes and has a passport

now to look in her suitcases

Nov 5, 2010

Chickens in Paradise

awake in the tropics
local rooster singing
plumeria and ginger
swaddle the cottage
a swag of bananas
decorates the doorway
geckos scurry at morning light
wild herd of chickens
dash through the garden
hundreds of  translucent bugs
stuck to the ceiling

another view of paradise.

Oct 31, 2010

Village Halloween

country halloween
bundled head to toe
cider and maple leaf air
crunchy paths
long unlit country roads
sparse farm houses
candy in paper sack
no fears of  poison
parading around
village common- then
home to counting the loot

Oct 20, 2010


Magpie Tales
hand sliding down hip
slow recognition of shape
sneaking glances in mirror
what was this
these curves
the flat places had filled out
there were little gullies 
round tussocks
what did a girl do 
with all of this?

Oct 19, 2010


for Magpie Tales

in the dark
it's  easy to dream
easy to roll into a ball
and spin gossamer blindfolds
across your eyes

nothing can get you in here
you nestle with closed suitcases
and old cigar boxes
a decaying uniform
serves as blanket

thumps and creaks interrupt
the sensation of safety
old tunes weave in and out
like background music

yet the light beckons
bringing messages of possibilities
new trails, new monsters
maybe a new song or two
you ever so slowly  venture out

Truth Drug

trying to find some honesty
searching for a truth drug
poking into hidden corners
uncovering some secrets
opening boxes of moldy letters
reading between the lines
peering at the photos

all the secrets, lies and mysteries
are mine.

The Sax Player

in childhood, I remember
golden sax between his knees
round glasses perched on his nose
he wailed me a tune
all deep and mysterious
now he's gone
no trace of the saxophone
no trace of him
only a letter

will the music conjure him up?

Sep 4, 2010

Resurgence when? More...

More musings on 60 and above..the sisters

Old friends seem really important. The sharing of a history of linkages which stretches over the years. A remembered collection of stories detailing the relationships, houses, politics, children's follies, work traumas,and buckets of tears. Now the sisterhood returns in a new form; shaping a container around our lives.

The old politics still intact under layers of living in an imperfect world, The idealism of youth popping out now and then in grand pronouncements about Washington, or the state of gender politics.

We marvel at the tenacity, raw strength and fortitude of our friends. The toughness we cannot see in ourselves is so evident in them. They live through illness, death, trauma, poverty, losses and all with sharp retort, a joke, a spiritual  reference rarely going down the path of self-pity.

These feminists who championed the right of women to follow their hearts and dreams now some times live lives with insurmountable limitations.They have been to the mountain top yet they dwell at the base.

The realities of a generation who knew in its heart that it would blossom, achieve, surpass, accomplish every goal now deals with health  issues, diabetes, reduced retirements, a government strangely alien,  and declining hope in their dream of social justice.

Lately, no one calls on the collective wisdom of this sisterhood; we are strangely off, eccentric, curiosities who ranted, wrote, bullied, marched, and strategically implemented a myriad of social improvements.

Those same improvements now enjoyed by arch conservatives, right wing, and fundamentalist women.. The ability to have birth control, to not be pregnant every year, to work outside the home, to own your property; to have day care, to have your own checking account, to get a no fault divorce,
and to adopt children on your own. Not to mention a naming and  awareness of domestic violence.

I remember living when men ruled the home, where many women did not work outside the home, where the church had the last say, where hitting your wife was normal, when kids were seen and not heard and where a woman's options were to be a nun, a wife, a teacher or a secretary.

It seems very important to get with friends and talk about all of this. To re- energize our collective voice , to note that the changes we witnessed and fought for can still be lost. That our efforts should not be dismissed and taken for granted. We in our 60's  and beyond are a force to be heard- that would be resurgence.

Sep 2, 2010

Resurgence when?

Approaching the 70's, body looks 60, mind is 30, memory sometimes 100. Trying to eke out a path that is visually stimulating, heartfelt, and amusing. Trying to find meaning in the journey when work as I knew it is over. Looking for life in all the wrong places...

The days roll by sometimes too fast to etch a notch into them; mark them as mine. I reflect on past accomplishments. The huge triumphs of my 40's and I laugh-a rumbling deep chortle. Oh how silly I was at times; trying to be someone be someone.

There are holy moments of true insight when I get it. I see the abundance, the joy, the lineage, the small wonders of my trip but on other days a gray field when memories fall to inspire and I seek a meaningful experience. A monastery, an island, the church. Some genetic strain to laugh at life often saves me just as I give over. Always wonder about others, do they twist and turn on this, do they want more meaning?

Gratitude for the travel. the stories, the foibles, the silly worries, my usual health, the family in all its lovely chaos and confusion. Being a matriarch is a bitch so much to live up to.

I will return as I always do to the calendar, the book, the next projects, the bills, the appointments and let my musings about life fall aside. Call it denial, call it self preservation. I just need to keep keeping on .


more orange than one can bear
reflections sharp and clear
crisp sounds that lure you
and the smell- toasty and dry
sometimes a pinky green
that only god could paint
the views stop you cold
breathing stops
in valleys and hilltops
white churches punctuate
the color lights the senses
more beauty than can be imagined

proof of abundance

Sep 1, 2010


she gave me the eye
piercing, direct, challenging
the wind whistled
it felt suddenly colder
what part of the exchange
was in my head
was she menacing
all around leaves flew in litttle
whirlwinds- magic or omen
does one ever know?

Aug 5, 2010

The Silk

gold threads held tightly in rigid rows
by deep blue silk soldiers
shimmering bamboo
was the sound emitted
stiff and tough
though wholly elegant
waiting for a muse
to stitch it into something
that can travel


jasper johns

it reminded me of old calligraphy
of maps roughly drawn
there was a dingy veil over it

obscuring some truth
my shoulders ached as I stared
just paint and canvas
no big deal anyone could do it
welling up big tears and a mild shaking
art as I know it

Aug 4, 2010

These Dogs

 photo by e hudyma 2010

these dogs don't care about
whole foods
arms control
triglyceride levels
pullout from iraq
social security
these dogs just care about
adoring you
walking over the bridge
running up the path
climbing that hill
riding in the car
water in the creek

these dogs got their priorities straight

for em


evidence of the holiness of things
proof that beauty exists
treatise on the natural world
notes from the dreamstate
report on the state of peace
study on black and white
model of  loveliness
image of purity
the peony


 magpie tales

eyeball, breast, lock
what are you?

memories are sorting
images are clearing
the story is forming
a huge wooden door
rough and weathered
entry to a garden
roses spilling over the wall
honeysuckle breathing
apothecary scents
lilies seeking sex
and the music
low tones of bees
high notes of birds
the green carpet
speckled with clover
in a darkened corner
a cool stone bench

babylon, shangrila
for me-
a secret garden

Jul 1, 2010

Honolulu 1965

the pink hotel was still the queen
the hills looked like a christmas tree
the palms shimmered and the sticky scent of
plumeria lingered on the breeze

the new englander danced
barefoot on the sands and streets

the merchants offered cups of noodles
pineapple slices, leis and garish shirts
next to the club where don ho
slack key and hulu was king

mai tais and teriyaki
tropical dreams

and in the back streets
people who had came from everywhere
lit the bundles of firecrackers
tied to every pole

noise and smoke
for her-initiation

Jun 25, 2010


resting on the ceramic counter
it just lay there cast aside

for me, evidence of another
once present now gone

with the empty aspirin bottle 
and a lone dirty sock

relics of a relationship

Jun 3, 2010

Soiled Pelican

stoic under layers of oil
pelican parent
facing the inevitable

as we watch
we consider
our connections
our responsibilities

every trip in the car
every plastic bottle
petroleum everywhere

every pelican
every hermit crab
every bit of clean water
soiled forever

now is too late
but we still need  to act

May 24, 2010

Berlin Market

she wove her way
through the white topped stalls
touching an old leather bound book
laughing at three monkeys cavorting
in a wind up toy
she bought a wooden puppet
carved in some far off village

she crunched on roasted nuts
sat on a bench for a while
watching the leaves falling in waves
chuckled at an old accordion minstrel
stopping here and there
she saw some Soviet era hats
a crisp wind started up from the river

she  paused to chat with some
young backpackers
fresh from the Pergamon
and then she spotted
the vendor from Kreuzberg,
with the brass birds,  monkeys
and the wonderful fish

May 7, 2010

The Crones

 Magpie Tales
one had an evil eye
one had a third eye
one was always vigilant
one was just plain scary

the old crones of my childhood
knew when someone died
knew about devils in the closet
and bad blood and bad wind

they kept Mary enshrined in the bedroom
and Jesus over the stove
I still connect his crown of thorns
with great Polish food

McBeth would have loved them

May 6, 2010

More Think Pink

Making Pink

Fresh picked strawberries rubbed on white linen with little fingers
She says, but Mom I am just making pink!

Think Pink

Theme Thursday

she laughs as she tells the story

irish catholic girl
drove west from Boston

arrived in the Haight
pink dress, pink shoes, pink purse

hair curled just right
from rollers at night

friends pull up a mattress
pass her a joint

San Fran the city of love
oh my goodness

this is going to be
quite a trip

for kt with hoots of laughter

May 4, 2010


It was the time of
Freedom Riders and lynchings
Selma and civil rights
lunch counters and bus strikes

It was my journey to
Georgia in a Karman Ghia
baby on board
a bag of fruit and 25 dollars

It was a postcard of
sleepy towns
whites only water fountains
cabins in the piney woods

It was kindness from
long haul truckers
small town waitresses
breakfasts of bacon and grits

for this New England girl
a strange new world...

Apr 26, 2010


naval station san diego
long lines of young men
drafted into service
going to Chu Lai

stepping my way
through the long green line
of duffel bags
I sensed their fear
and dread

dinner at officers'' club
returning to the ship
two children in tow
the troops seemed surreal
in the dark

above deck
music and drinking
formal officers' mess
below deck
crowded conditions

for me
tending to
lots of throwing up
a dog in a crate
and the unknown

what waited in Hawaii
where would it all end
how many of those boys
would make it
out of the jungle

even now -sorrow

Apr 19, 2010


ten o' clock
it was over at twelve
nights like this were not for a girl like her
white chiffon and little flat slippers
a corsage of gardenias right on  her wrist bone

his crew cut was perfect and he smiled like
a guy all cleaned up should
his chevy had all the cool stuff
the black and white dice 
leathery seats to match

nothing about this would last
tomorrow would be back in the kitchen
caring for her sisters
trying to avoid the yelling

but tonight "a white sports coat and a pink carnation"
and the stuff of teenage dreams

Apr 14, 2010

Ladies Who Lunch
ladies who lunch
no hats big hearts
laments and laughter
little scars big scares
women who perspire
women who inspire
ladies who launch
antipasto platter
no worries

Apr 5, 2010


anthropologists study 
the Pocumtucks * of the Connecticut

living near the Bloody Brook
we farmed tobacco and cucumbers
on their old encampments

silty talc like soil laced with
pottery shards and arrowheads
we treated them like marbles
no true sense of worth

no one told us about these ancients
we had our own troubles
we were spirit children
of the river
with our ancient finds

* " the Pocumtucks dwelt in the middle Connecticut River Valley near today's Deerfield, Massachusetts." Bain, Manring, Mathrews

Apr 4, 2010


grandmother she says
I need to talk to you.

breathless, intense
deep sighs, words spilling out
horses and art
music and history
Paris and pizza
fourteen and ageless
potential and growth

for me
like a jewel box
gems falling out
sparking and precious

her gift to me

for Matilda 2010


Pema says
eat the strawberry
look at the flower
face the tiger
celebrate the sun
easier said than done
my demons
nip at my heels
as I run
surrounded by
strawberries, flowers
and the sun

for Pema Chodron

Sound of Justice

hollow sounds
those peals for freedom
lobbies pork payoffs
the two percent
in charge
the rest scrapping by
for a voice
for a home
for dinner
always hoping this bell
will ring for justice

Apr 1, 2010

My Treasure

everyone was running
from the Russians
from the Germans
from the bombing
mother said go and I did
with my treasure
sewn in my wool jacket
shivering in ditches
under the moon
I kept going
to where I did not know
a few coins in my pocket
a bag of dry bread
some shriveled carrots
finally days, weeks later
a large man pulled me out
from under the bridge
handed me a chocolate bar
smiled and said
the Americans are here

my enameled egg
on the mantle
reminds me of chocolate
and kindness

dedicated to Frau Groelich and her story

This Life

this life

the sound of breathing
the fury of anger
the joy of belonging
the terror of waiting
the comfort of hugging
the beauty of nature
the sweetness of babies
the cry of the owl

the beat of the drum
the mystery of travel
the fear of disease
the triumph of spirit

to be alive
to be part of
this magic

Mar 29, 2010

Fork in the Road

she planned
she made lists
she watched the weather
she read her cards
she threw the runes
she read her chart
she checked Google Earth
she called her broker
she made a will

she alerted the neighbors

and after it all -
the planning
the lists
the research
the preparation

she still encountered a fork in the road

daring little bud
smothered with snow
buffeted by winds
stepped on near the footpath
persevere, persevere
it murmurs
at last a cold bright sun
go for it
jump out there
stand tall

Mar 24, 2010


Spring by A. Mucha

Like champagne uncorked
Like stones skipped on still water
Like baby's first gasp of air
Like the chick's head emerging
Like the pink glow of dawn
Like the orchestra warming up
Like the smell of  new crayons
Like the fern unfurling
Like nothing else

Spring has sprung!

She who...

needed: new friend

who has cooked at least 30 turkeys
who has washed cloth diapers
who remembers Elvis's TV debut
who knows what no money means
who has stolen a pineapple from the field
who has changed sizes at least five times
who counts their chicks no matter how old
who cries for those in nursing homes
who worries about her own old age
who has had at least three hair colors
who weeps at figure skating
who longs for Tuscany
and who is willing to still dream

purpose: endless laughter and conversation

Mar 23, 2010


face book
book of faces
losing face
facing off
blocked faces
fan pages
pages of fans
lists of friends
no one talking
about anything real

social networking?

Mar 21, 2010

American Quality

she had
Polish blond hair,
Ukrainian cheekbones
the nose of invaders to the steppes
an accent out of Ellis Island
a cuisine of peasant fare
the skill of tatting and embroidery
the work ethic of immigrants
the storytelling of  the uprooted
the songs of the balalaika
the memories of church festivals 
and the Madonna
she  kept some treasures, she discarded others
she melded the rest into

American Quality

If I were...

If I were a month I’d be May
If I were a day I’d be Saturday
If I were a time of day I’d be noon
If I were a planet I’d be Venus
If I were a sea animal I’d be an otter
If I were a direction I’d be west
If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a table
If I were a liquid I’d be chicken soup
If I were a gem stone I’d be an emerald
If I were a tree I’d be a maple
If I were a tool I’d be a hammer
If I were a flower I’d be a lady slipper
If I were an element of weather I’d be a spring rain
If I were a musical instrument I’d be an oboe
If I were a color I'd be purple
If I were an emotion I’d be joyful
If I were a fruit I’d be an apple
If I were a sound I’d be a baby's laugh
If I were an element I'd be earth
If I were a car I’d be a Beemer
If I were a food I’d be mashed potatoes
If I were a place I’d be Western Massachusetts 
If I were a material I'd be Thai silk
If I were a taste I’d be salty

If I were a scent I’d be gardenia
If I were a body part I’d be eyes
If I were a song I’d be the blues.
If I were a bird I'd be a crow
If I were a gift I'd be a book
If I were a city I'd be in Bavaria
If I were a door I'd always be open
If I were a pair of shoes I’d be flip flops
If I were a poem I would be free verse

And what would you be?

Mar 13, 2010

Self Worth

on years of living large

leaving that ham
on the young couple's doorstep

writing an affirmation
and tying it to a tree in Sequim

trying that spin on ice
breaking my knuckle

walking in wet snow
on the cobblestones of old Augsburg

easter baskets  for the kinder
German fields with real bunnies

skiing off that glacier peak
with my fear of heights

near running down that Alaskan mountain
following Lana's footsteps

eating watermelon for dinner
in a crappy trailer park

receiving that check
with no strings to finish graduate school

watching film premier at Toronto
gut wrenching Mother's pride

my life has proven me worthy
of magic, of passion, of love

how else to measure one's life?

That old woman's hand

I catch myself
staring at this strange claw
bumpy and curled
whose hand is this
when did this happen
there's the broken knuckle
from ice skating
and that scar from an old burn

nails that never get long
dirt from the garden
veins protruding
clay dried in creases

this hand surely must
belong to some old woman