Monday, December 16, 2019


Tomorrow night is the impeachment rally, or rallies, all across this land.  So last night, we had to go to the Poets Reading the News Impeachment Cocktail Party in San Francisco. Great views on a cold night from Russian Hill. Fun drinks with impeachment themed names.

Our poems were projected on the wall. Interestingly, most of the guests were not poets, but I loved meeting editor Elle Aviv Newton and strategic director J Spagnolo and Baby Ziggy. 

So here are some not great pictures. With a wonderful poem by Kim Harvey


Monday, December 9, 2019

Five Angels - Recovered!

I now have a copy of my first chapbook - Five Angels, done by Five Trees Press in San Francisco, in 1976.  I searched out Kathy Walkup, one of the owners of the press, and now an instructor at Mills College, and found out about the exhibit she was having on that press and my book with it, at Mills. See earlier post.

We met, and it turns out we have much in common, mutual Califonria friends, and mutual Cambridge Mass friends. Connected through Rich Edelman, by way of Denise Levertov. I saw some books and a broadside of Denise's she had printed too. She was part of the Hovey Street Press Rich started in Cambridge, coming out of the New England Free Press, back in the early seventies.

She presented me with a copy of my own little chapbook, and little it is, about 3 inches high, and consisting of only one poem, which is really an ekphrastic poem, only I didn't know the term at the time, because the inspiration for it was a painting on a window in Faith Petric's apartment in San Francisco I saw when i visited with Rosalie Sorrels. I wish i had a picture of that window!

Here is the book cover and poem pages, along with some of the exhibition at Mills.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

On the Day Cokie Roberts Died

 My poem in Poets Reading the News about Cokie Roberts.

On the Day Cokie Roberts Died

in Obituaries by
I had to remember she wasn’t Nina Totenberg
And that Dan Rather wasn’t dead, only banished
But Tucker Carlson was still alive and well
Alive anyway if not well

I had to remember the news
isn’t just something you read
off a teleprompter

Sometimes it happens to you
while you’re sitting in your chair smiling
for the camera
or looking earnest thinking
you have a good story
about the current president

and then suddenly you become the news
because your truth was true but not
your sources
and then you’re gone

 Or you just die when your cancer comes back
the cancer you killed half a century ago
returned like a snake with its head chopped off, that boyfriend
you had arrested for putting his hands where
they don’t belong one too many times,
a news story that was never true,
alternative facts

Like Obama’s birth certificate
or that hurricane in Alabama

Sometimes good people who tell the truth
just die and the world goes on

I pray for good health
for Nina Totenberg
just as I pray each night for
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and for the meteor
the tsunami
the nuclear winter
to hold off just a little


Thursday, October 24, 2019

One-Eyed Pete

This one was born in the 1970's when I lived in a small never to be named (at least in those days) town on the California Coast. It was filled with characters. One-Eyed Pete was one of them, although his name was not Pete and he had two perfectly good eyes.

This one appeared this month in the Mill Valley Literary Review edited by John Macon King. Thanks John!

From his Place under the Overhang in the Doorway of Smiley’s Schooner Saloon,
One-Eye Pete Squints out at the Rain

Says —
Look at the sky Man
It’s the new moon and the eclipse and something’s
flashing a light up there too
Look, there it goes again, it’s the spacemen
They’ve landed on Mt. Tamalpais

Me thinking — Old One-Eye sees more than the rest of us
with our two good eyes, secretly envy his talent

Thinking— He sees inside my head while dreaming; we dream
in tandem

It’s twilight in Smiley’s and the Winter Olympics
are on TV

Ed’s behind the bar, waiting for Nairobi Steve
to take over at seven o’clock

I’m drinking coffee with Hennessey in the doorway
with One-Eye, when this raindrop comes off the beam
over my head and lands in my drink

It’s the spacemen! They’ve landed in your drink.
See that? See that?

            Flashing there, a sparkle of reflected light

Pretty soon Big Carl comes back from investigating
and takes up his regular position at the door

Wasn’t it spacemen? asks the one-eyed man

Big Carl shakes his big head — Nah, it’s an electrical wire in the trees
It’s got a short or something

So Ed calls Jose at the fire station and he promises to notify
PG&E before the whole hillside goes up in smoke

One-Eye comes away from the doorway, big grin on his face —
Ain’t those spacemen something though?
Something - I say, my coffee gone cold in its cup

Big Carl doesn’t say anything; Ed pours another drink; on TV girls
in short skirts whirl their way across the frozen screen         

I toss the coffee to the ground, as a winking light sparks out of it
and flits away. Pete nods, shuffles, closes the door, shutting the night
with its secrets outside.          

by Dotty LeMieux

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

One More Poetry Outlet Gone

The wonderful Tuck Magazine, a journal of social justice, poetry, fiction, essays and more, has closed its doors, closed them in fact, back in May. (Archives still up on their website.) Looking back, I see I have quite a few offerings in those pages. Here are just a few that seem pertinent today:


Diana says - I need some distraction
from the interaction

So what about the woman who sleeps on the floor
of the post office
Gentle Jim in the surf shed
The guy who can’t keep his pants up
or budget his dole?

Senator Mitchell, you have become beside
the point
            with your talking points
            Yes, this is happening right now
                        Right here
                                    Here                            Hear

                                    See something, say something

Diana of the naughty daughters

Sexual assault yeah it happens

But not on the floor
of the Senate
The floor of the cloakroom
or the Post office
The dark of the woods
The glare of the beach

They call it confirmation bias
See what you expect
Hear what you are predisposed to hear
            Speak the truth you want to believe

The fact is there are more than three monkeys – explains Diana
to her strangely quiet daughters 
                                                                           Tuck 2018

Time Lies Heavy on the Head of State

When you’re waiting for an indictment
and the next hot take from the White House

You need distraction from “Where are the children?”
and “I did not collude with those Russians!”

So you go for a long walk
with dogs who never think of time

And the sky is suddenly blue
devoid of contrails or conspiracies

The children are all accounted for
in the playground with moms and nannies

The Russians are all in books written
by guys with long unpronounceable names

Time stands still for a while
Water is clean and populated by ducks

Air is fresh and not a coal plant
in sight, nor tar sands nor asbestos

Walls are for holding in the earth
for lilies and roses and geraniums

No one is denied a plane
or told to go back where they came from

We are all where we belong
Dogs can tell you that

Every step, every joyous leap,
every play bite on the leash

equal opportunity for fun
and love of life on the one day they take

at a time.

                                                                                       Tuck, 1/22/19


If Cheryl wasn’t leaning, smoking, against the front bumper
of the VW in the Salisbury Beach parking lot,
that summer of 1966,
while Bobby Whittaker and I made out in the back seat,
his Beatle hair flopping into his eyes, charged –
and if the bright summer afternoon wasn’t crowded with moms,
dads, kids –
it might have happened then.

If Wendy and Steve had not tagged along, insistent,
to the party at Harvard’s Elliott House – Steve’s house too 
he reminded me —
and then followed us home, me and drunken Tad
that spring of 1967,
and tucked him into bed on the living room couch
covered by an Indian print bedspread,
and sat on the floor making small talk until he was sound asleep,
his snores full of beer and lost desire,
it might have happened then.

If I hadn’t learned enough self-defense to know
how to sound tough when I wasn’t feeling it,
and didn’t have that confidence born of being right –
if not in the right place –
when the dead-eyed man who stopped
for the girl hitchhiking on Mass. Ave at twilight
reached across the front seat and grabbed at my breast,
I wouldn’t have shouted “You fucking pig!”
loud enough for people in other cars to notice,
and if I hadn’t  grabbed for the door handle
when his eyes came alive with hate,
and tumbled right out onto the still-hot pavement,
it might have happened then.

And if I hadn’t grown wary and distant
and been lucky –
mostly that, dumb luck, kept bad things at bay,
most of the time –
it might have happened anyway.

But it didn’t.  I made it.
So far.

                                                               Tuck, 2/19/19