Some poems of mine published on Visual Verse — click my name under each title to see the artwork I wrote off of… You should try it. It’s fun!



I often feel like this
Something under glass
on someone’s shelf
Pastel wallpaper behind me
On display I am for
the wrong people to see

I wouldn’t mind so much if it
weren’t for the gross misrepresentation
of myself
I don’t always look so bad
Hair a mess, eyes bulging,
teeth sharpened
Frozen in a scream

If you were to see me on
my better days you’d
like me more
I’m actually put together at times
Hair combed and not so frantic

They caught me on an unfortunate day
when the traffic drove me crazy,
my check bounced and the
twins wouldn’t stop crying

I look like a sick mermaid but
only on the days I need
professional help


Here’s the first thing
You have to be patient
Nothing grows complete overnight
Not me, not babies, not trees in the woods

Here’s the second thing
Expect the unexpected
Just because you think you know what I should look like
Doesn’t mean I’ll grow that way
I may mutate
I may transform
Part animal, part tree

Here’s the third thing
Expand your concept of beauty
Don’t called me disabled
Call me whole
Just different
Just unusual
But mostly just beautiful


You’ve known people like her. We all have. Their big personalities take over and they make you feel so special. They shower you with attention when they first know you, then give that attention to someone new, leaving you behind wondering what happened. You wane in importance.

Cherise was like that. Her heart was colorful, but empty. She had more than one heart. She handed them out and took them back. She wrote us on the wall, but it became useless graffiti. Her feet were planted on the ground but her head whirled – what was she missing out on? Who was more interesting? More important? Her eyes wandered as she offered you a pastel turquoise chair. Do sit down. Be my guest. Just not for too long.

The wall, scribbled with old promises, turned into chaos. The longer you knew her, the more confusion. She might be exciting, but she was limited. In the end, you wanted stability, someone you could count on.





My Etceteras

35759760391_41b01ec7f2_b_DAP_New_Vincent (2)Today, my flash-fiction story titled ‘My Etceteras’ was published by Queen Mob’s Tea House. In it, a 94-year-old woman reflects upon her sexual history and the men she has slept with, or her ‘etceteras.’

     I’m ninety-four years old and people often ask me how it feels to be my age. What they are really asking is how does it feel to be ancient. Well, luckily I have all my faculties and so I can still think for myself and I’m still in charge of my body so I can tie my own shoes if I need to. Of course I get around more slowly and I do a lot less than I used to, but in our crazy bustling world, is that really so bad?

People assume that because I’m so old I no longer have sexual feelings. Many women my age who are friends of mine don’t. The juices dry up and the desire goes away. This is not so for me. I still think about sex. You might be thinking that what I really want is to have my hand held or to be hugged. You’re wrong. What I think about is sexual intercourse. And I think about someone going down on me and me going down on them. I don’t have the energy or the inspiration to find someone to do this with anymore, but my point here is that I haven’t forgotten, that I’m still human, and that I still have needs on the physical realm. I hope this never goes away.

My husband died decades ago. We had a bad sex life. I didn’t feel cared for or listened to regarding sex, or much else to tell you the truth. There were two of us in the bed, but we occupied separate worlds. What I needed was for him to ask me what I wanted and to do his best to please me. I wanted to be treasured but he assumed that what was good for him was good for me. He assumed that what he liked I liked. You might be asking me why I didn’t speak up, why I didn’t make my needs known. I did, but it didn’t change anything. I suppose all of this is rather vague. Let me be more specific and tell you exactly what I’m talking about.

But first, you need to know I was a virgin when I got married. I was twenty-two years old. Women were courted by men and expected to be virgins on their wedding day. Men were expected to have experience so they could teach their wives about sex. But they didn’t go to school to lean about a woman’s body. They didn’t know about the clitoris any more than we women did. I had no idea I had anything down there but a tube the pee came out of and a rectum for the other stuff. Where did babies come from? I’d never really thought about it. Maybe I assumed they came out of the urethra. Or maybe I didn’t think about it at all.

My husband was not the right man for me. We had little to talk about besides the children. We were sexually incompatible. He liked missionary-style intercourse and that was it. Once he ejaculated, be fell asleep. In minutes, he’d be snoring. I would lay awake next to him, unfulfilled and resentful. I liked him being inside of me, but it didn’t bring me to a climax. When I would ask him to touch me, once in awhile he would, but only through my underwear. He didn’t, of course, like oral sex. I started hating my body, thinking there was something wrong with me. I was ugly. I was undesirable. Isn’t it interesting how we women do this to ourselves?

After awhile, I realized that our sex life was written in stone. It would never change. If I was going to find satisfaction, I would have to look outside of my marriage. Now, we are all used to hearing about men having extramarital affairs, but little is spoken about women who seek comfort outside of their holy union, other than the standard joke that she does it with the milkman. By the way, for those of you too young to know, the milkman was someone who delivered milk to your home. This practice stopped a long time ago.

Anyway, it’s a big lie that women didn’t have affairs. Think about all those hours women spent at home alone with the children off at school, and these stay-at-home women did more than housework, making beds and sorting laundry, doing the dishes and dusting knick knacks. Oh yes, and I was one of them.

My first affair was with a man named Don who went to the same church as me and my husband. At first I was so afraid that sleeping with Don would be a re-run of my present sex life, that all men were the same. Then where would I be? Except this didn’t happen. I felt no love for Don but he was a good man and a good lover. It was important to him that the sexual experience was pleasurable for both of us. Yes, I was thirty years old when I had my first orgasm, and it was with him. I didn’t come during intercourse, and in the future I never came that way. Don would go down on me, and he was quite talented with his tongue. He called my vagina his juicy peach and he liked my body overall. He loved oral sex, both getting it and giving it. He taught me what he liked, how to hold his shaft while giving him a blow job. And I found it exciting and fun. Don and I got together in my home during the afternoons once a week. We had sex in my marriage bed. This went on for several weeks until I became so fearful of someone finding out that I put an end to it.

After I had my first affair, it made it easier to have the next one. And the next. Etcetera. No longer did I bring these men to my marriage bed, not because it felt morally wrong because my resentment toward my husband ran deep, but because it raised the stakes of me getting caught. Divorce was unthinkable in these days of the 1950s – it wouldn’t become acceptable until the late 60s and throughout the 70s, and if I was doomed to stay in my unhappy marriage, well then I didn’t want to make the home front worse, having my husband hating me. By now, my husband and I were no longer having sex relations, much less talking to one another other than for the simple things like did you buy the coffee. We just never had much to talk about. Very rarely would he try to be physical with me, and when he did, I always had an excuse handy.

My etceteras. So many beautiful etceteras. Once I met Don and got over my fear that all men would sexually be like my husband, I gained confidence in myself and saw that hating my body was a waste of time. The men after Don? We met in motel rooms and hotels rooms around the sprawling city where I live. How did I meet them? At church, through friends, even at the hardware store. These were the days before personal ads became the vogue, and people met online. There was no Craig’s List or dating websites like Ok Cupid that my daughter told me about, a place where years ago she met her husband.

My etceteras were a group of men, some tall and thin, some short and fat, some smooth and some hairy, who cupped my breasts, kissed my stomach, plunged into me while telling me I was beautiful. They were my sexual awakening and my sexual life, my sexual history. My bad times with my husband faded into oblivion. These men opened up to me and I opened up to them. They taught me what they liked and I cherished pleasing them because we were on the same sexual continent. They cared about my pleasure, and me about theirs. They ravaged my body and if they didn’t, I never saw them again.

What I most want you to know about me – this is why I’m repeating it – is that at 94 I have sexual feelings, even if I don’t act upon them. It’s my fantasies that keep me company now. Little scenarios pass through my mind throughout the day and at night when I get into bed alone – and my fantasies comfort me to where I can almost feel my fantasy men are here with me, pleasing me, and me pleasing them. The affairs of my past, those men of my past, once set me free from the chains of my marriage. They allowed me to take and give and finally be free. Just because I am ancient doesn’t mean I am no longer sexual. I hold these men dear to my heart and imagine them loving me to this day.





Brief Thoughts on Covington Catholic High School

The boys from Covington showed what ugliness looks like for sure. I do believe, however, that the answer isn’t to demonize them to the inth degree. It creates a bigger divide. As an educator, I have witnessed so many instances where ugliness has turned to understanding, or at least a glimmer of understanding when communication is opened. These boys are lost boys, but they don’t have to stay lost forever…

Life Experiences

me too


Published in Issue #2 Voice of Eve

The #MeToo movement inspired me to write this about my sexual history…


Yes, of course the act itself is bad but what happens afterwards just goes on and on. For years, every time I’d have sex I would become hysterical and run to the bathroom where I would cry and then put myself back together. I thought this was what people did during sex, probably because I was assaulted before I was sexually active. After years of this, I had a very understanding lover and he told me to do whatever I needed to do. I was able to stay in bed and cry with him. Eventually, I stopped crying.


I took a night class at San Francisco State University. It was hard to park and so I parked down near the dormitories. I had to walk down an asphalt path through the woods to get there. My class was over at 10 PM and I was walking down the path. I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around to see a man advancing toward me. I started running and I ran all the way to my car, got in and locked it. The guy stood outside my car window, and excitedly told me he needed a ride downtown and to open the door and let him in. I honked my horn over and over, hoping to alert someone in the dormitories. He ran away. I never told anyone about this.


When I was ten years old, my mother worked full-time and left me alone a lot. We had a boarder who rented one of the bedrooms where we lived. One Saturday, he told me we were going to do something fun. He said to lay on the couch on my back. I did it. He took his finger and traced the outline of my lips, telling me that my job was not to laugh. It didn’t feel right but I didn’t know what to do. Shortly after that, I would come home after school and close the bedroom door. I’d take off all my clothes look at myself in the mirror naked. I had no idea why I was doing this.





The ABCs of Our Vagina, or New Vagi Words


*I thought it was high-time to infuse our culture with some new slang words for vagina, positive words, and an incident with a friend of mine pushed me in that direction…

Published by:

When I was growing up, my mother used to put a big X on the calendar to mark the day she expected her period to start. She referred to it as the curse. I never questioned this, later learning that many women from her 1920s generation also used this derogatory phrase. Nor did I question it when I later heard women referring to their vaginas as fishy, as in stinky down there, that nameless place at the meeting of our thighs.

Most of the words used to describe the vagina were crass then and are crass now. Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with my good buddy Panda (nickname) and she told me of an incident that troubled her.

“Some guy at the 7-Eleven just called me a bitch fish taco,” she said. Yuck.

“What’d you ever do to him?” It was so outrageous that I had to laugh.

“He tried to squeeze in line ahead of me and I wouldn’t let him.”

“You’re horrible,” I said. And then: “Did he say it real loud?”

“He said it under his breath as I was leaving the store. I turned around, calling him a bastard dick burrito.”

“I guess bitch fish taco is the new bitch,” I said. She agreed with me.

From there we got to talking about the negative vagina-words floating around our culture. Words like fish taco, slit, gash, bang hole, and axe wound to name a few. Of course there were positive words as well, such as honeypot and muff – I like muff because of its warmth – but let’s be honest – negative words outnumbered them today just like they did in my mom’s generation. This was when she told me that as a writer it was my responsibility to invent new positive vagi-words, as she called them, saying that we needed language that spoke of our vaginas in more respectful terms.

“And this is my job?”

She said it was.

So, I got the idea of creating the ABCs of the vagina, my idea being to go through the dictionary and create vagi-synonyms using each letter of the alphabet. She liked my idea. I did too.

“Call me back later with them,” she said excitedly.

“Will do,” I said. This would be easy, right?

“And don’t make them too corny. They have to be real.” But what was real? How real was honeypot?

We got off the phone and I brewed a cup of tea, plunking down at the kitchen table with my faded red dictionary I hadn’t used in years. I needed something tangible. I leafed through its tissue-thin pages, beginning with the letter A. I reminded myself of the assignment. I would come up with twenty-six positive names for the vagina, one for each letter of the alphabet.

I opened the dictionary to the As, considered the word altar – I could see the vagina as an altar of sorts, but it seemed a bit clichéd. I kept on looking. When I came upon the word “ambrosia,” I paused. I remembered eating this fruity salad as a child, people bringing it to potlucks to everyone’s delight. Pineapple, coconut, mandarin oranges, marshmallows. Whipped cream. Sink your teeth into that! In Greek mythology, ambrosia was thought of as food for the gods. Good enough for me. Therefore, my first vagi-word came into being. I added the adjective sweet and voila! Sweet ambrosia. It had a drunk and dreamy feel to it.

I continued with the Bs, sipping my tea. I came up with Bliss Tap but crossed it off. It made the vagina sound like beer. Hmm…How about Beautiful Surprise? Nah. Panda would say this was way too corny. How about, I thought, Ball of Woman Fire? Nah. Pretty ridiculous. A few minutes later I invented Blessed One, and I liked the holy feeling it invoked, making our vaginas a sacred place. And then I invented Best Attribute.

The pretend-conversation in my head went something like this:

“How is your Blessed One today, might I ask?”

“My Best Attribute? Why, she’s doing fine, thank you.” Fun. I was feeling good about my body.

Fifteen minutes later and I was having a hard time finding a vagi-synonym that began with the letter C. It had to be spectacular to counteract that other famous C-word: cunt. Its positivity had to match the latter’s negativity. Another ten minutes, but I came up with nothing. I decided to come back to it later. I moved on. For D, I decided upon The Most Delicious Meal, and a second choice: Dining at the Vagina Cafe, my creativity blossoming.

I continued. E: The Elastic Wonder. F: The Fantastic Wonder. G: The Gymnastic Wonder. I was on a roll. For H, I decided upon Heavenly Palace, and okay, I admit I was lapsing into the world of corny. The letters I, J, and K breezed by, as did L, M and N. Momentarily I got stuck on O, but came up with Opulent Jewel, which I considered one of my best.

P, Q, R, S ,T U, V. Pretty easy. But X? It took me a while, although Y and Z proved pretty easy.

I’d thought I was finished, but then remembered I had to circle back to the letter C. I mulled over new words, the worst of which was Curvaceous Smile – what was that supposed to mean? – and came up with nothing I liked. And then an idea alighted. What if I took the cunt-word and made it positive? In other words, what if I owned it rather than opposing it? In two seconds flat I had my example – Beautiful Cunt. Yes. Beautiful Cunt. I loved it.

An hour and a half after our conversation, I called Panda back. “Are you ready?” I asked.

“Lay them on me,” she said.

“Some of them have more than one example,” I said. And I read her my completed list of words. Language is so important, the names we label ourseleves with.

Sweet Ambrosia.

Blessed One. Best Attribute.

Beautiful Cunt.

The Most Delicious Meal. Dining at the Vagina Cafe.

The Elastic Wonder.

The Fantastic Wonder.

The Gymnastic Wonder.

Heavenly Palace.

Inner Spirit.

Juicy Fruit.

Kitten. Kitty Kat.

Lusty Lips.

Her Majesty.


Opulent Jewel.

Miss Peach.

The Queen.


Sacred Place.


The Ultimate.

Velvet Priestess.

Winsome One.


Yum Yum Tree.

Zesty Delight.

My friend Panda liked them and I did too.

The dog and I climb the hill…

tiger boy.jpg

Another poem about Tiger, my grand-dog, my soulmate workout buddy. When you get older, there’s nothing like a good dog to keep you in shape!

Read it here,, or easily read it below.

The dog and I climb the hill,
The crepuscular light, twilight,
The birds with their consonants, their vowels.

The dog stops and smells the trees,
Drunk on their elixir.
The dog urinates
To say how much he loves them.

The tree is a bird planted in the ground.
Its wings are branches.
The tree is dark brown lush,
Shadow maker.

The light shifts,
The sky begins to close
As we make our way up the hill.

Subbing at Seventy

subbing t seventy


Oh, the life of a sub! I’ve been subbing two or three days a week since I retired… Subs in San Francisco make about $200 a day, and it helps with living in the most expensive city anywhere! One day, as a sub, I had a particularly rambunctious kindergarten class. I came home and wrote this poem:

I subbed again today
I was the art teacher in a kindergarten class
The kids were out of control, but I loved them anyway
Their inability to stay in their seats
Their inability to listen
Their continuous questions
And me watching the clock
Wondering if my energy would hold out
Their loud voices
They ran around the room
They hid under the tables
They hit each other
They cried
They threw paper in the air
They asked over and over about my tattoo
At one point
I felt as if I was outside of myself
As if looking down on
This wild wonderful energy
This chaos
Thinking, this is life
This right here is living
They are so young
So very very young
So precious and young
And I am so very old

How I Became a Senior Cougar

senior cougar

Read it at:


Last year, Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France. This was cool for more than one reason. First off, he beat far right opponent Marine Le Pen, but there’s also the fact that his wife Brigitte – a woman of a certain age – is a quarter century older than him. Emmanuel is thirty-nine to her sixty-four, the exact age difference between my partner Kenji and me.

     I lauded their marriage and sneered at my friends. Yes, they had dismissed my predictions that men in their thirties and forties would soon be partnering with senior cougars like myself. In the past, we heard about junior cougar Demi Moore marrying Ashton Kutcher which got tongues wagging and set off a spate of reported sightings, as if they’d invented the phenomenon. But the senior cougar? Not much about her. She stayed in the background, presumably with her cane and Depends. Until now. Now, her time has come.

     At seventy, I’m six years older than Brigitte, which puts Kenji at forty-five. I asked him how he felt when hearing about a famous couple with the exact age difference as us.

      “There’s been a lot of publicity around it,” he said. “A lot of men have criticized Macron and made fun of his wife’s age. That’s been tough to hear.” I can sympathize, and empathize. I care about him and I am one of these women.

     “Do you think the only reason elderly women are dating and marrying young men is because they’re good looking?” I asked. Brigitte, who married Emmanuel ten years ago, is a thin, tanned, fit, pretty and highly presentable sixty-four year old woman, her poise and confidence beautiful at any age.

    “For most men,” Kenji said, “despite what they may say, looks are important. So with older women, there’s this card men play by saying, oh but she’s gorgeous, as if all the other things he’s attracted to, or I’m attracted to don’t matter. And it’s always followed by the line: It makes her look younger.”

     I nodded profusely, as I get this a lot. I’m often told that Kenji must be interested in me because I don’t look seventy, the implication being that if I looked my age no 45-year-old man’s head would turn in my direction. But I’m physically fit, dress like a teenager, wear yoga pants and tight tops. From the back I can easily pass for a much younger woman.

      I met Kenji when I was fifty-three. He was twenty-eight. Although he’s half-Asian, he’s a big guy. At 6’1”, he inherited his height from his White father, his tan skin, soulful eyes, silky black eyebrows and long eyelashes from his Okinawan mother. People give him speculative looks, trying to figure out his nationality. He’s often pigeon-holed as Latino and something else.

    My girlfriend Panda introduced us when she brought him by my apartment one night to fix my printer. A few months after the printer incident, I hung out with him at a July 4th shindig. Kenji and I had great conversational chemistry. We talked about anything and listened to one another as if what we had to say was extremely important. It also didn’t hurt that he told stupid jokes.

    I never made a practice of dating younger men. If anything, they seemed like a liability. I assumed I’d have to nurture them, mother them, teach them life lessons. It would be like raising another child, and who wanted that? Plus, we wouldn’t have a shared history, living through the same era, referencing the same events. Why would I want to go out with someone who couldn’t remember where they were when Kennedy was shot?

     For most of my adult life, I’ve had partners more or less my own age, all except for one relationship. I was nineteen years old and dated a man ten years older than me. When I first met him I wondered how will this work, expecting vast insurmountable differences. Within a few hours, however, he seemed like a regular person. This same experience rang true with Kenji. Age dissipated when we spent time together. It faded into the background.

     Of course we all know about the big concern. “Once people get older there’s this ten or fifteen year span where their health begins to break down physically, cognitively,” Kenji reminded me. “You start looking for little signs here and there and go ohshe forgot that again. You wonder if something is beginning to break down.” I know what he’s talking about as I’m newly forgetful, at times finding it hard to remember how to spell simple words. “So in my case,” he continued, “I may not mention these things to you, but I keep little notes in my head. It’s hard not to think of the ending. That’s the most difficult thing.”

     I hate that he goes through this. I’m thinking of the loneliness he must feel knowing he’ll most likely live out the last twenty years of his life without me. He’s told me before he doesn’t want another partner. Not only this, but since Kenji’s mom and dad are more or less my age, he’ll most likely lose all three of us in the period of a decade or so. That’s quite a blow to the system.

     But here we are, and like many relationships ours began as a friendship. We hung out for eight solid months as buddies, spent hours on the phone, emailed each other incessantly, frequented Chinese restaurants and took late night walks to Ocean Beach. We played ferocious games of Scrabble.

     And then one day I looked at him differently. He swam into view as a possible lover. I noticed his shoulders. I wondered what it would be like to be held in his arms. As my attraction for him increased, I anguished over telling him I liked him in that way. I was taking us to this scary place from which I was afraid we might never return. Maybe we wouldn’t be friends anymore. This could change things forever. This could be the beginning of the end.

      When I confessed my feelings, I accompanied it with things like: “Don’t worry. We don’t have to do anything about it. I just needed to tell you. Now you know. Let’s move on.”

     Obviously we didn’t because he expressed the same feelings for me, and those first few months weighed heavily on my conscience. I had huge amounts of guilt. He had his whole life ahead of him and deserved to meet someone his age he could grow old with. I loved him, felt protective of him, and wanted what I perceived as best for him. As the older adult, it was my duty to put a stop to the relationship.

     Once we started dating I had to deal with the reactions from my friends, my family, and the public. My close friends asked me why I’d want to go out with someone so much younger. After all, I’d already raised a son, the age difference between them only seven years. I told them I hadn’t planned on falling in love with him. It just happened.

     When I told my son I was dating Kenji it aroused his suspicions. The first thing he asked was whether Kenji wanted money from me, for what else could the relationship be based upon? I assured him the answer was no but he then asked me when we went out to dinner, who payed the bill? We both did, I said. Only time changed my son’s mind. After all, when you’re with someone year after year you gain credibility.

     With the public-at-large, eyes widen whenever someone finds out my partner is a quarter of a century younger than me. I hear You go, girl! a lot, implying the sex is hot, or it’s hot because you’re around some young guy with a presumably great body with six-pack abs, or something on this order. In reality, none of this is true. Sex is the same as in any other relationship, and just because I’m with someone younger doesn’t mean they have this muscular, toned body. Kenji is good-looking but he’s not a stud. And as my body marches toward oblivion, do you really think I’d choose someonne to be with who’d remind me of the youthfulness I’m leaving behind?

    A lot of times the You go, girl! comments come from women in their forties, and I often wonder how they feel about our partnership. Here’s what I picture running through their minds:

     You’ve got to be kidding me, right? Why would a young guy with his whole life ahead of him want to be with an old lady? Are they unstable?

     Or, Well, she looks young. She’s the exception.

     Or, Here I am worrying about my wrinkles and cellulite, so what’s she got that I don’t?

     Or, This must be trending right now. It will pass. And quickly.

     Or even, There already isn’t anyone for me. Now she’s dipping into my dating pool. Make her stop.

     I can’t. According to Kenji, elderly women possess something that younger men deeply desire. “Older women are more committed to listening. Converstions are different with them because they come from a different generation.” That’s his version.

    Love is most complicated and there are no pat answers. I don’t know Emmanuel Macron’s reasons for falling in love with Brigitte. Maybe plain and simple it was just love. You can’t explain these things away with theories. I love Kenji and he loves me, and the age difference cannot stop this love of ours.