Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Cascadia Postcard Festival - PoPo 2023

It's time again for August Postcard madness! I love the PoPo to close out the summer months and thanks to Paul Nelson for introducing me to this poem-a-day event, so many years ago. I now have a bulging shoebox of postcards from all over the world, postmarked with endless Augusts.

Poetry is an opportunity for me to not just express myself in free verse or poetic forms, it helps with my prose writing, to keep the juices flowing and spark the imagination. I also have the chance to share postcards collected from estate sales, galleries, museums, bookstores. There are those I have a hard time parting with, but keeping them in my blog, I can always see them and know where to find them! Apparently, according to my count, a couple went missing and I have no record of them, so it you received a card from me that isn't here, please let me know.

Some of these poems are inspired by the postcard that delivers them; others are the result of spontaneous inspirations. I made a couple of my postcards this year and plan to do more next year. There is a slight amount of editing, but these postcard poems are mostly in their original form.

Thanks for reading.

                                                      HIS MAMA'S EYELINER

It was his mama's eyeliner
Then he learnt to buy his own
Tender twelve-year-old fingers plucking at a cheap tinny guitar
A magic sound matched with an angel's voice
Singing praise to God, rolling holy
'Til the music shook him to his soul
And he shared it with the world
Guns and other stuff came later

(About this postcard. This is an Andy Warhol painting that currently hangs at Seattle Art Museum. To learn more about Elvis and Andy, Christie's has a great commentary on the 22 Warhol Elvis pieces.)



   You, daughter of daughters:
I have stood on your sacred earth.
Held your holy dirt in my hand
while it slid from my palm
like history passing.
I breathed into my body your ocean smell, 
like the heaven you hold in your hair.



We lost everything
Thanks to your clever 
Genius Financing
and a 
poison that invaded your Blood, Spine, Brain, Lungs,
And left us emptyhanded
in a world
full of beggars.



I never made fun of the way you ate your eggs.
You drunk-cried more than anyone I ever knew.
I told them to not mock you.
I wondered why 
all the sorrow?
We shared mornings, 
phone call check-ins, stupid jokes, 
and the train card game.
You left me gaping. 



X marks the spot
You are here
Close your eyes and
unholy insidious enduring indefinite
Be Brave
Allow your tears to fall



Do you know the songs unsung?
Are they circling round your skull like 
a wreath of flower buds, waiting to 
bloom, waiting to
blow away gloom, heralding a day
we can embrace with fragrant glowing strains? 



We had the Pink Door, in a smokey alley, with the scent of salty air misting on the autumn night. So many nights, drinking when we could really drink. Music that never crowded the language, and asking when will late friends ever arrive. Before closing, taking the Tarot card reader seriously, wanting every word to be the gospel.



He was half his life old in the photo. 
Who knew that 19 years later, 
his life would be over?
I miss him 
though he never knew me. 
And now I am almost twice 
the age he was 
and he was gone. 

(On seeing a photo of John Lennon in Paris at the age of 21. 
Stardom was just a dream around the corner.)



Such a disarray of clothes, 
on chairs, 
the foot of the big bed, 
draped over the hamper, like old men, 
vying to escape. 

Framed photos on any horizontal space;
then there are those
 in my own original customized 
stacks and piles. 

Poems left open on pages 
of forgotten books. 

Dishes in the sink. 

Who will remind me 
to feed myself?



There is no map to guide you in your journey of innocence, 
destination known, 
unknown. There is no treasure, 
no ring, no fortune within sight.
Be your own advisor, 
captain of your ship.
I'll be waiting on this shore, holding 
my pride flag, the fabric of faith. 



let's go for a ride
you be the groom
i'll be the bride

we'll stop in a bar
shoot some pool 
drink beer from a jar

we'll pause in a field
and stare at the stars
knowing our fate is sealed

if we have a kid
we'll teach them about 
l o v e
tell them the truth
about everything we did



Just before midnight, my adult daughter came to my room and took me by the hand 
to the big windows out front where the rain hammered and the wind tore 
causing rivulets of angry foam that bubbled down the street, as the sky BOOMED with thunder, metallic lightning streaks and our gaping wide faces peering into the raging night, which was over as quickly as it had begun and I said to her "fury, honey, that's fury."



Tonight, the moon followed me.
She's waning, as am I.
I left her hanging there,
In the plum-colored sky.



Oceans of tears
Skies full of firefall
Lonely souls sift through tides
Settle on millions of grains of sand
Moaning in the night
Weeping in the morning light
The loss of 

(Aloha is a Hawaiian word with many meanings, ranging from love, peace, and compassion to pity and grief. It's commonly used, especially by visitors to Hawaii, to mean hello and goodbye.)



Oceans of tears
Skies full of firefall
Lonely souls sift through tides
Settle on millions of grains of sand
Moaning in the night
Weeping in the morning light
The loss of 
Your ashes find their way to my garden
Your smoke covers my eyes.

(This poem just wasn't finished but had already been sent on its way. This is version #2.)



A deep hole
Goes so far down
We don't know where it ends
Buried there are
laughter, songs, photos 
in worn wallets,
wedding rings, 
favorite socks and ties,
Manolos and Hush Puppies
Lost goodbyes



Now three years and more gone
I still see you there in my mind
Old messages and pics pop up on social media
and meet me with a stab
How can I go back to Garbo
and sit next to someone
who isn't you?



Time ate away the summer
And I didn't get a chance
to pick the blackberries
and make you a 
Birthday Pie
and aim for reparations.
sent photos of sunsets
(what does that even mean?)
but no shared burden of a weary load.
Time waits for no one
Maybe next year.



After the casino closed
Lights spelled out a partial name, 
some blinking yet...
Hanging onto pipe dreams
Testing a faulty resilience,
Hollow hope and sticky coins
Beg gamblers for a homecoming.



"A criminal enterprise 
of breathtaking scope."
For those of us who managed 
to survive a pandemic 
somewhat intact,
the firehose 
of daily revelations
causes reservation 
to even contemplate, 
let alone 
"what's new?"



Sequoias, like strong women
grouped together,
weeping willows 
firs and pines,
shoulder to shoulder.
holding hands
with firm ground,
embattled daughters 
conquer galaxies.



"And so it goes," 
she has permanently marked 
upon her arm. 
Perfect details. 
we share,
as if there wasn't anywhere else
to declare
devotion and trust
than a forearm.



She wasn't a friend of mine,
She was someone I'd run into
When out at the bars,
We always had a rapport.
Her laughter
had a following. 
I wish I'd known her better.



It was icy cold.
We overdrank and underslept.
The best part was watching 
the Uber prices rise by the minute,
as time
got closer to midnight.

We bundled up and walked the mile, 
arguing about Ole Miss
Surely you remember.
You handily beat me at very game 
with a smirk and another lesson in satire.



I had a villa on a cliff in Mexico that overlooked the ocean, backlit by a jungle where cicadas pierced the dusky light, reminding me of the choir of amphibious creatures who lullabied my childhood in a house so secure and safe, that sleep was rarely interrupted, while I dreamt of my Queen Anne home of the future with white fences and unlocked doors.



It doesn't mean 
what I want it to say
Have a good bye
By the by
By the time you get there
You will only be concerned with Hellos.



To lend a hand 
to be of assistance, 
cause those entitled 
to exhibit silent resistance, 
heavy loads are borne 
by the remaining few 
who toil 
for mere existence. 



I walked on beaches 
with a towel around my waist, 
Never projecting into the future 
what old legs might looks like, 
how healthy I was then, 
how strong. 
It took decades to love my thighs 
and myself.



The thing that costs the most 
is not always the best 
The biggest is not always the brightest.

Why leave a price tag on
to prove a hollow point?



I spoke to you
I whispered in your ear
(I said I love you...")
You forgot who I am
I called you 
on the phone, 
I never gave up. 



This house was surely haunted
when I lived there in the late 60's 
Now it is my thoughts 
that are haunted 
when I find it driving by, 
searching for the past.
I sit across the street and stare,
Hearing my own haunted howls 
of anguish. 
Nothing spared. 
Never shared. 



Sometimes I make my bed 
At the end of the day
Then I undo it all 
and climb under the covers, 
sorting limbs, 
like a dog, walking in circles, 
looking for the perfect spot. 
Smoothing pillows 
and ending the day 
on a perfect note. 


Monday, August 28, 2023

I'm very excited to share the release of my new chapbook with Bottlecap Press! These poems have been years in the making and the real deal is finally here for you to hold in your hands.

The Nail Set is a collection of heartfelt poems about previous chapters in my life, when rooms were bigger, life was longer, written over a period of time pertaining to events that are connected, speaking of joy, sorrow and sometimes terror.

I am so proud of this work and pleased to share it with you. Please buy it now at


Monday, April 10, 2023

Myrtine Petersen Grove July 16, 1891 - April 10, 1966



I was not my grandmother’s favorite grandchild, but I adored both my grandparents. I was devastated when we lost my dear Grandma on April 10, Easter Sunday, 1966. 

I was a Junior in high school and heavily into the music of the day. I’d grown my hair long, cut bangs, grown them out again, and mimicked Joan Baez, Janis Ian and Judy Collins with my guitar. John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Hoyt Axton were my heroes, and I wasn’t the ingenue that my cousin Marci was. My grandmother often told me I should try to be more like her. I loved my grandmother too much to resent those comments and had no intention of ever being anyone but who I was.

Myrtine Petersen Grove, born July 16, 1891 in Colman, Moody, South Dakota, died on April 10, 1966 in Enumclaw, Washington, at home, sitting in a chair, eating her daughter’s canned peaches, put up in August of 1965, when it never occurred to anyone that Grandma wouldn’t be with us the next summer, pressing the lids on fruits and vegetables to test the seal, making sure there was fresh coffee perking, and cheese sandwiches drowning her dark Danish bread, while we all labored away in the hot kitchen, juggling jars, rings, lids and boiling water.


My Beautiful Grandparents

My grandma’s bread was the best in the world, brown, with a hint of sweetness, rich, like her constant coffee, little slices that were often overwhelmed by layers of cheese, thinly sliced ham or beef, beet pickles and tart mustard. Her klejner and æbleskiver were not just holiday delicacies; they were warm in her kitchen on a regular basis, rolled in powdered or granulated sugar, greeting you at the back door, assuring your special place in her kitchen, which always smelled like a cross between a bakery and laundry, where the scent of her steam iron mixed with all the smells of a loving, well-tended home.

                                                 My precious grandmother and me

My Danish grandmother eschewed pants and wore delicate patterned and floral dresses of cotton, silk crepe and chiffon, even for daily wear. The scent of lilacs and lavender will always remind me of resting my cheek against her soft bosom, even as I grew into adolescence.

Grandpa Carl and Me and Grandma Myrt

Grandma, my mom, a Danish exchange student, Grandpa, Me

Even though I was the little hippie girl, and my grandmother would often tell me to get my hair out of my eyes, she was one of my biggest fans when it came to my singing and reading out loud. I don’t know who loved it more, she or I, when I’d sit cross-legged on the floor and entertain her, while she crocheted her lacy patterns, the needle weaving in and out, her fingers moving with practiced precise movements that she’d perfected over several decades.

The night before Grandma passed, our family was at my grandparents, my mother making dinner, urging her mother to relax and get well, after a mini-stroke had hospitalized her the week before. I was in my usual spot in the living room in front of my grandmother, reading to her from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. My mother popped her head into the room to tell us dinner was soon ready, and Grandma told her to get the bust of Hans Christian Andersen down from the mantel. She wanted my mother to write my name on the bottom, to make sure I got it when she died. There was medical tape on the side table from when the doctor had been there earlier, taking a sample of my grandmother’s blood. My mother wrote Margo from Grandma Grove 4/9/66, and then went back to finish getting dinner on the table for my dad, grandparents, little brother and me. I suppose we protested a little, as people commonly do when someone wants to bequeath a treasure, but she’d promised it to me long before that night, so we didn’t go on about it, to my recollection.

The next morning, when my mother was in church playing the organ for the early Easter service, her mother went to be with her angels who’d gone on ahead of her. I'm sure they greeted her blowing trumpets, strumming harps and singing Broadway tunes like You Gotta Have Heart, from Them Damn Yankees, a musical my grandpa had taken Myrtine to see on one of their trips to New York. I suppose if that's where they are, I'll get to see her again one day. If that's where I'll go. 

Thanks for reading...



Wednesday, March 1, 2023


Peace Poets is a project produced by C.J. Prince and Carla Shafer. These postcards, poems and art send out at least 2,252 expressions of peace around the world. Some are beautiful and witty poems, others are thoughts, visions and simple inspirations.

In my case, each card has some reference to peace, not necessarily World Peace. Some are related to personal experiences; others random thoughts, perhaps inspired by the postcard itself. As well as simple whimsical poetry. 

Some of these postcards are hard to part with, having been collected over the years. Others are discovered at garage/estate sales. I actually love to send them on their way and grateful for the opportunity to save this collection on my blog. 

All of these poems have been written spontaneously, and if there is any editing from the original to this page, it is not remarkable. 

The Post Office manages to stamp and seal out as many words as possible, so the original can be found here, with all the words intact.

Our little boat,

tucked in among big,

imposing yachts...

water sloshes between the dock

and the gunwales, ocean sounds

murmur once the sun falls behind

the next westerly island,

small animals shelter and

squeak. Glasses clink

on a nearby deck. Peace gathers

those who make plans

to set sail at dawn.


Together we can find a way to shelter one another, to use kindness and listen with the heart. No shouting - simply soft words of love. We somehow must escape the shooters and the mad ones, find out how they too can be embraced.


 Soldiers are made for marching. 
And wearing uniforms 
that make some ladies swoon, 
like those admired in this photo, 
like the magic of Brigadoon. 
Let's keep our boys as soldiers, 
who have no fight, 
only peaceful sleeping until noon, 
marching boots shined and polished, 
socks on.

Anchored out at Sucia Island;

morning is wet, all surfaces

covered in a fine film of

sea dampness. Seagulls scream

out their love for oysters

long before we have

water for coffee boiling.

It’s a delicious life – waking on the water.

Encompassed in peace and the scent of the ocean.


 My father taught us that crows were old Indians. It was very important to him that we respected crows and Indians, old, young, man, woman; crows and Indians. He told us his grandmother was Indian. They called her Pocahontas. But they called all Indian women Pocahontas who couldn’t write their own name in English. My father wanted us to understand that crows and Indians were the peaceful ones, we should follow their examples.




after a long day

of gazing at

spectacular scenes

of others imaginations,






inside the minds,

outside of grasps,





lust, and

a little bit of dust.

We seek peace in




It escapes us still,

no matter how diligent. 


The light at the end of the day, after rain leaves everything in pink light, with sun dipping behind hills. My little dog and I wrap up and venture out for one last glimpse, her sniffing every little thing, me breathing deep the fresh air, inhaling the peace of evening. 


There was a simple magic

when I’d wake up at

Mom’s house and realize

she’d opened the bedroom

door, let the cat in,

and was in the kitchen putting

away dishes from the night

before, clean and dry, emptying

the dishwasher with military

precision, clang of




the smell of

fresh beans brewing.

Morning peace,

waking day,


living brought to life.


She walked upon the river’s path, the leaves of spring, small babies yet, just beginning to show their soft little heads, pushing out to reach the light. It gave her hope of newness to come. Birds of brown and blue, singing their own rock and roll version of sunshine and happiness. She bent down to pick up a shiny coin dropped by a passerby and it said





I sometimes think of Joe, whose mother called him José. 

He was a peaceful man. 

His smile could settle a small child’s tantrum; his arms would soothe a baby and rock her to sleep, long before her mother’s tears could dry. 

He radiated softness, comfort. 

Joe was an old man in a boy’s lean brown body.


His shoelaces got caught in the escalator and he almost went down but was saved at the last minute by a loose shoe and a man with steady hands. They’d gone to Sante Fe for peace and rest but had forgot about the proximity to Los Alamos. 

I heard church bells clanging, somewhere 
through the trees, dark 
with mid-winter cloudiness; they 
sang a mournful song of 
hopeful peace, clinging 
to the ideal that we 
can all get along, embrace 
the difference. 
The bells. 
They make small thunder of their dreams. 

When he got to heaven, 

my brother said 

he was going to first look for Dad and Mom, 

and then his best friend, 

who passed so many years before him. I wonder 

if he found them when he got there. Or did he even get there? 

He was pretty convinced 

that's where he was going. Did he find 

the peace 

people expect when they pass over 

to wherever they go? Will I find out one day?

I've got a few things I want to discuss with them.

My mother let me drive. I was 16 but had been driving for a while. Should have known better, but Mom made me nervous and so did the long hill coming up 410. When I was pulled over, flashing lights and siren, I could have died. The pain of the anxiety. "Your brights," he said. "You need to dim them." He held my driver's license under his flashlight in the naked dark with cars rocking us as they flew by, his pants whipping in the rush. "I know your dad," he said. "Tell him 'hi' from Elmer Little." He was an officer of the peace. Perhaps we should still call them that.

I wore my hair in braids. 
No make up. 
Didn't own any. 
Picked berries with a baby on my back. 
Canned tomatoes, peaches, apricots, pears, applesauce, 
ran a food co-op and raised chickens and children. 
Wrote poems, 
cried in the night, 
washed dishes by hand. 
Ran out of dinner ideas, 
pressed cider in autumn, 
planted gardens in spring. 
Fell in love with a cowboy and ran away. 
Found peace in the city. 
Metro hippies. 
Never holding grudges. 
Dancing in the park.

He shifted in his saddle, 
tall and silhouetted with 
the blazing sun on his back, 
daring me to question him. The sand 
was hot, pushing at the 
soles of my feet, urging me 
to rise up, to keep my chin 
off my chest. 
"What did she say to you?" 
he demanded, 
raising his voice 
over the breaking waves. 
I said, 
"but you just did." 
And I've managed to 
find peace between us, after 
so many years have 
gone lost, filling the ocean 
with no regrets,
only ghosts.

"We lived on the best hill, 
in the best city, 
in the best state, 
in the best country, 
on the best planet." 
It was a chant we did when we were feeling that sense of well-being, everything was good, we had a peaceful existence, loved our neighbors as we should and were happier than we ever thought we could be. Until we weren't. It was all gone in one driveby moment.

Graduation Party 2022

It rained. 

No, it poured. 

It meddled with our plans in a way that made us grin, and take on the challenge, because the Class of '22 had been through a couple of years that were not a mere nuisance filled with typical teenage angst. 

No... this was masks and hand gel and sing-fucking-happy-birthday-twice-while-you-wash-your-hands and tests and vaxxing and learning to ignore insanity, which was sometimes blowing up all around you. 

They danced under tents and then under the bursting sky, making peace with a world that wanted to send roadblocks. 

But they came with fists and umbrellas!

There are some boys who will dream of going in the Navy. 

Some think in times of peace, they'll be safe from danger. 

Others join because they are called by some magic siren to bear arms. 

There are those who will never see anything more killer than a whale. 

In case you tried to reach me
I might be hard to find
I'm trying to walk off all the clutter in my mind 
Looking for a slice of peace 
I wander on the rocky beach
seeking enlightenment on the shore
if harmony's within my reach. 

Whoever knew shells could have such amazing names? 
"Black Jingle?" 
Is that a tooth gone bad in a bell? 
Is a "False Angel Wing" one that flies a body into the melting sun? 
A "Knobby Top" is what your grandpa wears to auctions on Sundays to buy an "Old Maid Curl" to make his "Left Handed Walk" when he's eating his "Turkey Wings."

Apologies to the person who received this shell postcard, 
having nothing to do with peace, as it were. 
A little bit of silliness.

"Peace" she asked for. And equality and the ability to make her own choices about this beautiful new body, as surely her mate had been granted. She begged, while he dozed and dreamt of sons, those who would go on to create parental peril.

There are times I congratulate myself 
on having energy, 
working full time at nearly 74, 
going on solo trips or 
meeting friends in far off destinations, 
getting in 10,000 daily steps, 
walking the dog 3 times a day, 
praying for peace, 
which seems forever ever elusive, 
keeping a stiff upper lip and 
nose to the grindstone. 
Other times I wonder if I'll wake up in the morning.

I'm looking forward to summer and being alone at the lake. 
How many poems I have written at the lake. 
With my little dog, of course, 
in the peaceful quiet of a dusky afternoon, 
I'm not above talking to, 
carrying on 
an entire one-sided conversation. 
My chair, 
my blanket, 
my notebook, 
my dog, 
watching the laughing, crying children, 
dipping in and out of the water. 
I'm looking forward to summer and being alone at the lake.

Inés de Castro, the real hero of a tragic love story, rivaling Romeo and Juliet, she, the only one to pay the price with her life, for following her true heart. Has she encountered peace any of these 700 years, or does the brutal turbulence of her death haunt the beautiful faithful Inés, deep in her marble crypt?

To some it meant victory 

but to us, 

it meant something else. And 

to a lot or parent-types, 

it was an insult. We just wanted 

the war to stop and 

our boys to come home, 

not in a box. 

Two fingers,

 held aloft, 

palm out, 

though many saw the middle finger only. 

Over time,


from first-graders to 

US presidents 

were flashing it. 

Let's give it a chance. 

I'm pretty sure elephants are way smarter than humans. They live in a coexistence with other creatures of the earth and have peaceful loving communities. Attentive to their young and seniors, they have a kingdom of mutual respect. Whales, too. Primates, of course. We think we're superior because of our language but animals have a tiny vocabulary in comparison, and they communicate just fine. 
Humans are just a bunch of words.

(This postcard is the art of my friend Michael Hale, who lives in Pt. T. I've known Michael for nearly 60 years!)

Would that we could give to one another in the same manner we rescue and shelter dogs and cats. Let us lavish this kind of love on one another. We are none the same, yet too eager to readily be offended by the differences in others. 
In a peaceful world there would be celebrations of differences.
Let it be.

"Let us have peace in a hundred years," she said, 
her eyes like stone, 
daring onlookers to not believe 
it could be so, her world 
being bloodied and shattered, 
saying too many goodbyes, 
not enough hellos. 
She allowed us 
to get it right. 
There are those of us 
who still believe in the power of peace.


So, there we are for another year 
of wishing for peace on all levels, 
but not at all costs. 

Peace Poets 2023
Thanks for reading.