My Words

Understanding the World through words

Month: August, 2013

Sephardic Nose


Who’s this boy with
Perfect teeth and
Sephardic nose?

The Jesuit padres
who ran
the Liceo, were
all from

These are secrets of
generations past.

My peers had no clue,
how could they?

These things were
never discussed.

“Ha, ha
You have a
Jewish nose”

“Nariz de judío tienes,

“¿De dónde vienes?”

Where do
we come from?


The Spanish Jesuits
knew and know;
our history is

like a well knit
quilt that had
been secretly

¿No sabes que soy
de Sefarad?

Starbucks Please


When I go to Starbucks
I order a Carmel Macchiato
“extra carmel, please.”

I remember having to learn
the Starbuck’s lingo…
tall, grande, venti

I found it annoying.

My dad was a coffee
and doughnuts guy.

In the morning before
work, he’d take me
to Boom, Boom’s.

It wasn’t called that,
that’s what I renamed
Maple Leaf Doughnut Shop,
on the corner of Winchester
and Budd Avenue.

It was owned by a nice Asian
lady, her daughters ran it.
They made strong coffee and
sweet doughnuts.

We were there often
as the dawns
orange fingers streaked
across the California horizon.

Ordering our coffee, reading
the news and thinking about
what the day holds,
down the road.

There was no pretentiousness
when your choice was regular
or decaf.

There was no need to learn
Italian words to say small
or large.

There was no need to wear slacks
and a tie.

We worked in construction.

It took me several years
before I could remember the
word venti.

It took me several years
to become smug.

This Is Life: Delivery


Life deals with us
in small
and large packages.

Some surprises are
wonderful and some
are not.

While we tend to
blame the
delivery boy
when things go

“Hey, that package
is not mine!”

What was the
last Fed Ex
package you

Mine wasn’t exactly
what I wanted,

“That wasn’t what I
ordered from eBay?”

Truthfully, I didn’t
read the disclosure.

It was there to read.

I just fell in love
with the picture.

The picture described
what I wanted, visually.

But, the words told
me everything I needed
to know.

Although, I
didn’t read them. I
neglected my part.

Now, I want to kill
the messenger.

The innocent always
suffer for the
wrongs of the negligent.



We just received a
upright piano a gift
from a kind
family member.

I’m overwhelmed with

My son
has taken a keen
interest in making
the keys harmonize.

learning a few songs,
he plays them diligently.
Repeating them until
the rhythm is right.

It’s music to my ears
while I’m writing about

Like music, we have to
find the rhythm and
know which keys to
press to make
life’s musical



Cemeteries, are spaces
with differing opinions,
some see them as frightening
while others as restful

I take the latter view.

As a child I’d skip school
and go to one, walking
with books in hand.

Purposefully going with
the idea to read
under a shadow of a tree.

with crypts nearby,
listening to the birds sing
dirges and soliloquies,
meant, not for
the dead but for
the living.

There I’d be, quietly reading
Tom Sawyer’s funny adventures
or Doc’s conversations
on Cannery Row.

While my schoolmates sat on
hard wooden desks
by rote their vocabulary,
I’d be lying on a soft bed
of grass,
above the bones of the

With a gentle breeze that
made the leaves chime along
accompanying the birds solemn songs.

Salty Eyes


Ever wonder what it’s
like to be a sailor?

I’ve met a few
in my days,
men who live for the
great blue yonder.

Men, who’s legs
feel squeamish
and landlocked
when on solid ground.

The ocean for them
is the greener
side of the pastures.

They’re always talking
about their boats
as if
they were forlorned

Their candy shops
are marine and boat
stores, where they stop
to buy little
trinkets for their
loved one.

Men who know
each marina by
name, up and down
the coast line.

They even know
the secret ones
further up the bay
and their
watering holes.

Places where they
can recount
with the liked minded,
their ocean adventures,

their lost marriages,
or that epic sea voyage
they’ve been diligently
planing, over
a pint of beer or two.

Men who know the history
behind grog. Who know the
dangers of a white squall.

Men who can look at the skies
and can tell if its going to rain,
who can tell you its going to be
smooth sailing.

Men who can read the stars
and navigate them like
Joshua Slocum and others
who have tamed the ocean’s

When you meet a real sailor
you’ll feel the love of the
Ocean in their salty eyes.