I see her
the Slattern
sunning herself
on a broken down
bench by the creek,
she is drinking
coke from a Micky D's
cup spiked
with rum.
She is drunk,
red in the face &
She calls out:

Don't mind me, enjoin the
beautiful daaay!

              She's right.

green speared leaves with bright
yellow daffodils showing
happy faces above
the fresh grass, orange-red
poppies cup their gold toward
the sky, bridal white petals
open on the almond trees

She lifts her face
to the gentle sun,
her rum & coke
as though it were
at a garden party,
to obliterate the
deep inside her.

indifferent nature moves, undaltes
behind her, all those daffodils, poppies,
those wild grasses, this floating world
alive and greedy, gasping for sun, water
for the essence of air until all seeds
are dropped, the petals and leaves
return to matter, reborn in the
next cycle

I walk past the Slattern thinking
that's her dream, to fit herself
the wheel of life.

the ineffable hope of oblivion,
warm darkness of seeds and soil,
awakening in light and air,
that slow turn round the seasons
until she becomes clean and whole
cupping her gold to the sun


© 2018 Elizabeth Rubens, All Rights Reserved


Highballs & Cigarettes



I don't recall if my Dad's pal Jimmy Hennessy
had a wife. Nor does my sister. She remembers his red-
haired daughter Ginger, a horny 13 year old who got my sister
in trouble when Ginger talked her into riding the street-
car out to Long Beach to meet cute navy boys.

There is no one left to ask.

We think about this as we visit our 90 year old Aunt,
Ina languishing in a nursing home. Her mind a maze
of demented cunning, scheming to get hold of a phone.
To distract I ask:

Do you remember Jimmy Hennessy's wife?
With a certitude that astonishes us she says,
Of course, Bette. Petite little thing.

And there she is! Vivid and real from 60 years ago,
I hear her raucous laugh, see her brown curly hair
and that bright splash of scarlett on her mouth. I even
hear the clink of ice as she tosses back her Highball.
Once she left her lit cigarette in an ashtray,
I came along and stubbed that cig out. I did this with all
the gravity of a 6 year old who thought of Smokey the Bear
as her mentor. Bette honked her big laugh and we laugh now 
that memory restored to us.

Ina still wants a phone.

Me and my sister are tempted, after all she found
Jimmy Hennessy's wife. 

© 2018 Elizabeth Rubens, All rights reserved.

Two Views of Georgia O’Keeffe


Photo by Alfred Stieglitz

1 The Woman of Lake George, New York

His eyes draw me     here
         I examine flowers—
You see them as small    delicate—
I see huge       stamen     calix—
I watch them
                       as he watches me
For him I come to this place
                        to his lens
                —the arrangement
of my parts
                 silver plated
before his eyes—
You can't imagine how it all astonishes me—
He's textured in me—
                     as I am in him
The soft petals open—
                      die beautifully—


2 The Crone of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

This ladder took me to my world-
                  where the shapes sang
                                    the colors
                  Now I live in shadow
the past coiled around me-
Once I held brushes
made colors from earth
                                        light naples yellow
Orange & red & purple earth
even soft green earth-
I find I have painted my life-
                     in blessed silence
                              the shapes-
the colors-
                   My life
I make a ladder of bone
                  climb into the sky-

Quotes from Georgia O'Keeffe's letters, from Georgia O Keeffe, A Life 
by Roxana Rpbinson, Harper Collins © 1989

Elizabeth Rubens © 1992-2018, all rights reserved




In the cold shimmery fog
old women wait at the curb
possessions packed in shopping
bags. They wait, heads down, drooping
like wet petals. And when a bus comes,
they all board, silent except for
the muted shuffling of feet, suppressed
murmurs.They settle, sit quietly staring ahead—
      —fog glides around
the bus, a luminous veil drifting
to the ground—
The bus roars to life, accelerates through
the mist, vanishing. Not one breath of an atom
remains,the strands of grey shifting over the empty
sidewalk where the old women waited in the fog.

© copywrite Elizabeth Rubens 2018



The Persimmon tree is nude,
             glowing in the sun.
orbs of muted orange
             dangle from the empty
             It is a sign of autumn
              before the rough windfall
takes the fruit
              to the ground, the last
living flesh of the tree
               falling away before
the little death of winter. 

Elizabeth Rubens © 2018





That start

               That kick

                       That velocity  

muscles inhale

                push the limbs

                            into a high stride

that is almost airborne.




                     the sweet startle

of happiness.


Blood sings through

                    the veins sounding

                                deep into

                                          the heart’s eye.

Each step forward

                       a prayer,

                                  an offering


                                to infinite possibilities.


Elizabeth Rubens © 2018




Out of the Past.jpg



I wish there was a film

noir movie on

right now. Black,

white, shadowy rain

slicked nights, air

heavy with doom.

In these low times

we are so fucked.

There is

no one to drive the car.

And Jesus is not gonna

take the wheel.

In film noir  

I’d stroll up to the bar

drink my whiskey neat,

eye the man

who lights my cigarette

and whispers in my ear:

Baby I don’t care.



Elizabeth Rubens © 2018

No one to drive the car: William Carlos Williams, To Elisie, The Collected Poems: Volume I 1909-1939 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1945).

Jesus take the Wheel, Carrie Underwood , 2005

Robert Mitchum to Jane Greer, Out of the Past 1947



COLtrane Ellington.jpg


Hearing Coltrane and Duke playing In a Sentimental

Mood, hearing the sound of the sax winding in

flowing lines around the delicate notes of the

piano. It brings to mind a past love in 1985, me

and him tangled in sheets that warmed our

cooling bodies while that sound swirled around

us. I was 34 that afternoon when I lost myself

in love and music, Duke and Coltrane long dead. 

But Duke was alive in 1972 when I saw him,

fragile and infirm teetering as he waved his baton

around as if looking for the music he could not hear.

And his band played his tunes without him.

One by one the musicians, young as I was,

packed their instruments and left the stage,

leaving Duke alone gently conducting to the

band that was no longer there. 

Elizabeth Rubens copywrite © 2018






Path Pizzirio

Camille Pissarro, The Path

Last week according to my Fitbit I walked 80.49 miles, 184,418 steps. A new personal best for me! This week will be lower because I’m going out-of-town, but I will get some walking in. Since we’re going to San Francisco, there will be a few hills involved. Today I didn’t do badly ether, 11 miles, 25,499 steps. So I’ve been getting into a good pattern here.


Trust the Process

My Path

Sometimes you just don’t feel it. That was me today. I did my yoga first thing in the morning, meditated for five minutes and thought​ I was good to go. Within five minutes into my walk I wanted to quit. It was cooler and windy. I was tired and my bones ached. I wanted more coffee. I wanted to stop! But one foot in front of the other. I saw the sky, cerulean blue, puffy cumulus clouds and thought I can’t waste this. Sometimes you just have to trust the process and keep going. There will always be a bit of beauty along the way.