Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Rape of My Hawaii

When Roosevelt was President
Your country went to war
This land was filled with discontent

Pearl Harbor underwent
Bombings to settle a score

When Roosevelt was President

Despite his skill, couldn't circumvent
The blazing battle on our shore
This land was filled with discontent

Your boys, they prayed, pledged ten percent
"Please, dear Lord," they did implore
When Roosevelt was President

Your god didn't save not one red cent
Home in a box sailors went galore
This land was filled with discontent

I painted my face to represent
An American version of a whore
When Roosevelt was President
This land was filled with discontent 

--Kukana Wong 1919 - 1962

(written by Susan Budig)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mindful Poetry: Heaven

Mindful Poetry: Heaven:
Ninth Cloud

 Herbert Joseph Budig
 1931 – 2015


Ninth Cloud

Herbert Joseph Budig
1931 – 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Picking Tomatoes

These are the cherry tomatoes my father picked
on the morning he died

He woke at 7:15, missing the sunrise by half an hour
on the morning he died

He pulled on his summer robe and brown leather slippers
on the morning he died

And made his way upstairs to the kitchen
Dug around in the container-drawer
For a plastic dish then stepped outside

His back yard faces southwest, there was dew on the grass
Sunlight slanted between the houses
And cut across the pepper plants and rose bushes

On the morning he died
He didn’t hesitate as he drew his feet through the lawn

On the morning he died
His fingers found the bright red balls surrounded by green leaves

On the morning he died
He filled up his cup with cherry tomatoes,

Which I am now eating one by one

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mindful Poetry: Today, August 31st

Mindful Poetry: Today, August 31st: My father died while eating peanut buttered toast and sliced bananas Before he finished his last bite his head fell back as if inspec...

Today, August 31st

My father died while eating
peanut buttered toast and sliced bananas

Before he finished his last bite
his head fell back as if to inspect
a cobweb on the ceiling

This is how my mother found him
when she returned to the breakfast table
carrying her toothbrush smeared with mint paste

“I felt for a pulse at his neck, but
there was no beat,”
she explained for the eighth time

Neighbors flood the phone lines
and stuff the refrigerator full
of wild rice hot dish, tuna salad, and slaw

Instead of his arms hanging limply
at his side, Mom described how they were spread out
palms up, his devotional still open on the table

Like a skydiver prepared to take flight

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Time in a Palindromic Lesson

You don’t notice that time has passed
You aren’t having any fun
When that happens
It won’t help to tap on your watch

Measuring sky by sun might work, but
It’s best when you ignore time altogether
Throw away contingencies because
Time will escape you if you don’t

(this poem can be read line by line starting with either the first line working down or the last line working up)

Monday, July 13, 2015

I’ve learned to notice

I’ve learned to notice where water comes from
Down from the sky, caught in cisterns and saved,
then used by the single scoop-full to flush a toilet
or poured by the bowlful to take a bath

I’ve learned to notice how skin is covered
out of protection, not modesty
out of practicality, not frippery
a sign of age, a mark of adulthood

I learned to notice where my foot is pointed,
how not to step over someone
or touch their head
even a yang-sow of the night has an honored head

I’ve learned to notice
every other place in this world
is the center of their universe, too.

-a poem about being a foreigner

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Fool's Paradise
Lost in
Yuri Gagarin
Zero, don't you know how wonderful you are?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Sweetest Drink

Yesterday morning, she didn’t awaken
Sometime at night, as stars shined
Her final breath left her forsaken

Moonlight bathed the living room, outlined
a fleeting hospice, this snippet in time.
Earth’s incessant crush confines

Yet in death, it slips away, like a dime
through her frail fingers.
We mix life and death in a sublime

porridge over which we linger,
then lick our lips, taste the sweet
prick of death as it malingers

close enough to trap all in complete,
eternal verdict. It snags my arm,
but I do not concede its grasp or retreat.

Death has come for her, it signals no alarm
as it curls and caresses up her form.
It purrs, “Come willingly, there’ll be no harm.”

I watch her aura as she faces the imminent storm
Susurration amongst the clouds, she hears
a bugle’s echoing call as if to inform.

Then walks the path, picking primrose and baby’s tears,
clutching bouquet to her face.
Yet the perfume abates and disappears.

To her lips she presses the loving cup her hand at last has taken. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tsarnaev's Blood

I wonder
Who would Jesus kill
If he were the judge today?
It seems Tsarnaev’s life
While worthy enough for
Jesus' sacrifice
Isn’t worthy enough for
Us to preserve

The more I think on it--
Picturing my savior with
Nails pierced through
His hands and his ankles
Allowing his death willingly
For people named Tsarnaev

The more confused I feel
Because by using the death-
Penalty, aren’t we in effect
Saying, Jesus’ death was insufficient

We want not only our Lord’s blood
on our hands, but also the blood

Of Tsarnaev’s? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Whale Song

There is a whale out there in the ocean who sings at a different pitch than all other whales. No other whales can hear him. Here's my luc bat in honor of the lonely whale.

Whale Song

Let the lonely whale swim
Out on a wave; his hymn, too high
For others to hear. Cry,
Lonely whale. No reply can bounce
Back to you, nor pronounce
Your mating call. No ounce of sound,
Not one whisper, has found
Your heart’s desire. Drowned, your voice,
Is dead. It’s Hobson’s choice.
There will be no rejoicing, no
Fete, no whale-bride to plough
Through the seas so let go and swim.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My bedroom is the same,
as one year ago--  
darkness mixed with night light
casting static on the walls,
snow-clouds lowering the ceiling,
jets roaring overhead,
delivering night-riders to warm beds.

And I’m lying here next to my son who is one
year older now.  I’ve aged a century.
He nestles his head
into the hollow of my armpit. 

My husband’s voice drifts from down the hallway
reading The Velveteen Rabbit, our daughter’s favorite.
I catch the blurry words, Fairy she had gone--
then silence.  

My baby sucks his thumb,
fast,     slow,
at last, rhythmically.
A sigh escapes into blackness.
Squeaking away from the mattress,
tears trace down
my temples, tickling my neck.

One year ago,
she lay in her bed,
not hearing the rain. 
Head throbbing, purple
pain pounding out of her skull,
lightning taking a snapshot of misery.

One year ago
we did not know 
the forecast—
Even now, it is not clear.
Why our family,
why her?

She was forty-three.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Brain Science

Sunday afternoon at the Minnesota Science Museum
Claire holds up a four-pound plasticized human brain
pointing out the parietal and frontal lobes,
turning it over to indicate where the medulla once
connected to the spinal cord.
She balances his brain like a ripe cantaloupe.
This once pearly, now clay-gray wad
of tissue held a million thoughts,
both conscious and involuntary,
of a man--now dead.

When Claire turns her attention,
I poke my finger between
the flowerets of cerebral cortex,
dig up the memory of
his first dog, Ginger,
tease out the forgotten scent
of a Norway pine where
he sat in a deer stand,
waiting like a rabbit with a gun.

Claire glances at me
and I hide my hands,
knowing my transgression
of reading, like braille,
another man's mind.

I whisper into my
muddied palms
"How did you die?
Do you regret what
you've become?"

The lid squeaks as
Claire closes the temperature-
controlled mock-mausoleum
clicks the padlock shut,
punches out for the day,
drives home whistling
"Let’s Go to Hunting"
as if by magic.