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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Solstice Eclipse

This poem needs to be viewed as a pdf.  Please click here.
"The Solstice Eclipse" is a "2D" (or 2 directional poem).

It was composed to be read both vertically (down each column) and horizontally (across each row).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Living Well

to live well beyond

your means, find wealth in the breath

that fills you with light

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I found the poet’s flashlight
shining dark as honey through
the mouth of a dream,
welding everything together,
filling the mind with sweetness,
oozing over edges like tree sap.

In the cave of our love
by the touch of your skin
I find my way, I flicker
and flare in the warmth
of your arms, then all is gone
in a sputter of breath.

When the day fades, how precious are
these luminous moments together.
The poem slows it all down. Under
its thick, sticky baptism of amber,
the radiance of ebony keeps us
golden through the silky night.

Friday, December 3, 2010


to fall in love with
each breath sweeter than the last,
sigh like flowers when
bees wiggle in, that’s one thing,
to live it, is another

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Third Full Moon in a Season of Four

The gathering storm eats
this true blue moon,
a dry wafer, soft hazy red
against the tin horizon.

It slips like a shining quarter
into a jukebox of cloud,
lingers gleaming in the dark coin slot
while the sad song plays.

We walk on bundled and
stiff like scarecrows into
the blustery November dusk.
We came to watch the full moon rise,

but what seems more pertinent now
is how this diaphanous disk
of sanguine floats pale
and quiet as milkweed seed

on the edge of the wind
and then is gone. There is
something rare yet relevant
in the way it disappears top first

into ambiguous lips of gray,
like the way you pull me
into your love from whatever
sorry spin my mind puts me in.

We tread our rambling path
calling owl and raven,
dizzy from the hordes
of squawking geese

hurtling above our heads.
The leaves crisp from their fall
crackle under our feet.
We have become deeply familiar

with how the rippled lake
smooths itself into evening,
how the shadowed land stretches and
yawns as the sleep of winter nears.

We wonder if the glowing gold eyes
of coyote will follow us into the dark.
There is something amazing,
something intimate and perhaps enduring

in how our footprints freeze in mud.
We have been this way a hundred times
through blistering summer heat and sudden
spring rains. Nothing ever remains,

yet this sunken moment
of our meandering, frosted in
the last blood of sunset,
glimmers as night closes in.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I watch myself

(someone has to)

an endless rerun

of a canceled sitcom.

(There is nothing better on.)

With each episode the laugh track builds,

until snickers echo guffaw.

I long for the theme music,

the predictable end, a chance to begin

again. I have seen it all before.

I want a commercial to tell me

what I need to be happy.

Everything I say is misunderstood,

as if I am talking in igpay atinlay.

If someone bothers to reply,

it’s like white noise, radio static,

the high buzz of the test pattern,

punctuated by screeching

brakes, the breaking of glass.

On my birthday, I go off

by myself, howl through

the empty night until

there is nothing left

but a mournful wail.

Yesterday was not like this,

it was quiet and made

of silly putty. The sun

was a lemony lollipop.

Cars jostled joyfully along

like bright balloons,

bouncing refugees

from the happy party,

and your face, pressed

warmly against mine,

picked up the colors

of my cartoon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Moon

- autumnal musings on the Four Mile Canyon Fire, 2010

The moon is the moon

whether pale as pumpkin seed

or smoke red. The moon swells,

a plum, it ripens blushing

with sunset or dark as a bruise.

Why bemoan what changes, what spins

the stars into unending darkness? Only what passes

endures, what we hold will be lost.

Flames on wind shriek through trees,

ashes all we possess, and still we go on.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Came Here

in a ninth century
sports car formerly
owned by Ivar the Boneless.

It runs on ice water
and has a Viking horn
hood ornament.

I drove through words,
my tires hissing words
over hills of words.

The ribbon of asphalt
snapped me to you
like a whip.

I flew over mountains in a toy
airplane losing my hair
on the bald peaks,

it's rubber band engine
whirring like cicadas after
a twelve year nap,

revved up and hungry,
a spinning dervish
dizzy for your love.

I climbed without fear
the hollow blue of loneliness
into inner space.

My mind sucked
into a vacuum, my eyes
smoldering like falling stars.

I put my breath
behind me
to move on.

I rode the Titanic through
iceberg after iceberg
each the size of a hundred

Manhattans to find you.
I stayed mostly underwater,
held my breath for centuries,

floated face down
cold as a splintered reed
in the icy heart

of a saxophone.
Now I open like fog
in the sunlight,

with your hand
warm on my shoulder
I turn to meet your lips.

Each day all is new.
The ancient sax
howls outside my sun

splashed window
thick and golden as honey,
brings me to hear again.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Kill, an experimental poetry video, by M. D. Friedman

Here's my new video poem.  Please let me know what you think.

A full screen preview is availble at

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Phantom Gallery

This poem needs to be viewed as a pdf.  Please click here.

"The Phantom Gallery" is a "2D" (or 2 directional poem) was written in repsonse to the 90 Minute Art Show at the Yellow Pines Reading Series in Boulder on September 15, 2010.

It was composed to be read both vertically (down each column) and horizontally (across each row). It is difficult to get a full appreciation for the work by looking at it on a page. Please click to listen to the audio version.  (The vertical voice is M. D. Friedman and the horizonal voice is Mariamne Engle Friedman.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010


- in response to Bea Bulter's watercolor painting, Untitled

the sputtering cyclone of

the golden ghost of hope

curls like the smoking promise

around a glowing womb

rubs the nerve raw

opens to the dawning

shadowed forge of life

a lens of black flame

focuses the whirling circle of pain

into a screaming vortex of mirror shard

the lightening claw

of dreamed desire

hushed in misted silence


Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Weaving of Two

- in response to the fiber art pieces of Jill Powers, A Blaze with Light & Red Essence

a blaze of red fiber

a broom scraping sky

skirted with leaf and pale scale

the top chopped teepee

its sap swells sweetly into bone

binds together feather and spore

shapes a basket crowned with stubble

the sunset scorches

the bird stitched night

drills my seed into white hot steel


Saturday, October 2, 2010

On Works by Helen Brader

Ancient Words

nothing to say
nothing more to see
the throbbing emptiness
of molding words
the chapel of a broken soul
darkness squeaking with light


begging to begin again
sucked through the graying door
the smoldering storm of it
pierces the muscled grain of stick
deep within its core
reaching into ragged root
dank with musky lust
the twisted branch
seared to its bright quick
draws me through my shadow
sews me into the skin of earth
a heart embroidered with peace

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Red Motion

- in response to Mark Jorden's photograph of the same name

blurred into vivid line

the stainless pipe

caves in on itself

falls into the tired vase

sheds its casing like a cracked cricket

Friday, September 17, 2010

Red Alert

- in response to Wendy Rochman's political word art sculpture Alert


Bush's mind

is missing a few pieces

the thorny stem

is missing its rose

blood gurgles out thick as oil

in the name of

Republican fraud

Saturday, September 11, 2010

autumn blue

staring up into

porcelain sky glazed deep blue

fickle fall breaks through


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Milk the Moon

The way we go is cold and long.

It’s far too far to right the wrong.

The curves are steep, but the shoulder’s strong,

You’ll never catch us …………..without a song.

The dreams we bleed have slipped from sane.

The hearts we hold are full of pain.

Still no reason for a sad refrain,

We can melt the stars………free our brain.

The last one left to write is screaming,

the demons there to fight.

When liquid light is a streaming,

Just reach into the sky…and milk the moon.

All will be there all too soon,

Our heads spun open, cracked with dawn,

Our bodies all disarmed,

Swinging true to form ……….we punch the sun.

We’ll run this road until we’re gone.

Y’know feeling good can’t be wrong.

Our tears are warm and hearts are strong,

You’ll never catch us …………..without a song.

The last one left to write is screaming,

the demons there to fight.

When liquid light is a streaming,

Just reach into the sky…and milk the moon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bee Line

Wherever I am

I am what is missing. - Mark Strand

Hovering above

what is missing,

the pollen dusted bee

falls into the honey

of my eyes and everything

is golden. What is

this that was,

this that now I am?

Where are my wings

to climb the sun buttered sky?

What is this emptiness

that fills my lungs

and lifts me

into weightlessness?

The wayward wind,

has the last say.

I move within

a motion not mine.

Flying is falling

when there is nothing

to rise above.

I rise with each breath,

fall into love.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Memory of Anita

Autumn's golden light
reminds me how she would burst,
"Daffodils bloom again."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quiet Storm

Night is made of quiet, the day to darken.

I prop my heart open with a pin,

Set a trap, capture all that comes in.

A question always lingers,

Why can’t I hold what passes through my fingers?

I sit with the Self that lives within,

Sit with the persistent Why I Am.

A storm bursts flooding mind and skin,

Liquid light ever raining,

Oily thought, rainbow on pool draining.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Recipe for Love

Open everything that is not and pour it in.
Heat gently.  When the fat sizzles,
cover and let simmer until tender.
Mix in all you are.  Knead it.
Let rise with the warmth of your touch.
Whisk until stiff.  Churn as long as it takes.
Layer joy upon joy.  Season to taste.
Make fresh from scratch.  There is always more to add.
Sweeten with syrup, coconut and wine.
Let the pot overflow.  Go ahead and make a mess.
Serve with heavy cream, dried cherries and cracked nuts.
When the aroma swells in your head, filling it
with dreams, and the spice laden steam stings
your eyes, it is time to feast.  Devour slowly
and savor every bite.  Leave no scraps for the pampered
animal that begs outside your door.  Leftovers never satisfy.
The recipe is always changing.  It never tastes the same.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Nothing to Ask

I do not ask. I breathe

and the drenched spruces drip

drops, fresh circles within spreading rings

radiate in hypnotic grace

across the pond's dim mirror. I breathe

in, welcome the air thrust from the eternal wind.

I do not ask why

the rain heavy Columbine dips

to brush the earth, sheds crystal beads

hung like glistening tears from the storm's dark eye.

My father who loved old oaks and sunsets,

fresh picked sweet corn and overripe peaches,

died in a sparse white room, void of human blush,

of even the faintest pink of dusk. As the last wind

leaves, swirling its pale petals of light, there is nothing to ask.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Taste of Green

The water knows

as do the bluebells,

laden with bee and seed.

The wind knows

and is trying

to tell me.

The murmuring falls

whisper more wisdom

than my mind can hold.

I embrace the ache

of volcanic spires

reaching for blue.

Like this shifting patch of speckled sun

I take my stand in, the bright

spiral of my hunger falls into itself.

I inhale the crystal

air that churns

through light

splintered pine

overwhelmed by the always

splendid taste of green.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Mojo Queen

I was walking down the street, who you think I see?

All the people move away, as she walk up to me.

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen.

With each step the ground it shook.

Everybody talk 'bout the money she took.

She look you in the eye, and shake her monkey paw.

She stick her daddy with a pin just to see him fall.

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen.

She keep two eunuchs to keep her clean.

It take two words to get her mean.

She eats crude oil, drink gasoline.

She'll saw off your arm to steal your ring.

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen.

She makes her blend of eyes and tails.

If that don't do it, she's got her pills.

She makes young women cry and old men scream,

When she talks with ghosts and reads your dreams.

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen.

She seduced me with her rooster wine,

wiggled her lip and made my hoodoo shine,

then she sprouted warts inside my hand,

and turned my woman into a man.

She a Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen

She the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen, the Mojo Queen.


Saturday, July 10, 2010


It is not because no one is home

that this thunder leaves me uneasy.

Rain chants its mantra of falling

no matter what comes to mind.

The rain dashes by like a cat, and the thunder

growls like a dog pulling on its chain.

Water moves, always wearing down,

dissolving anything in its way.

Me, I stay put. I could be a tree

how casually I wait for the light to come.

The thunder stutters now as if to say,

"Enough already." A muffled squall

rages inside me. It rains here all the time.

The wind pushes the tears back into my eyes.

I open and close the dark window, open and close

the window because I need to breathe.

I groan in a dialect of thunder no one understands.

Like a drunk stumbling home, I bellow and bawl

until there is nothing to say, until I black out.

I am as hooked and mangled as Hemingway's marlin.

This is what it is like to be old, to have nothing left to climb.

At the top of the tower, the ever turning light

makes a shadow out of anything in its way. Up or down

no longer matters. Once the water, heavy from its journey,

comes to rest, it returns to the purity of the sky.

This is the teaching of the rain, the meaning of our breath,

take in deeply what you may, but remember always to let go.

Breathe Deeply by M. D. Friedman CR 2010
Please see for more of M. D. Friedman's art.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Everything in Beauty

Red beetles shuffle over glittering sand,

shriveled rose sheds pink petal by petal,

a limpid tear swells with the final closing of the eyes,

stealthy hawk drops with a thump

on squealing rabbit, the grumble of thunder

rolling down the canyon, yellow finch flaps

black girdled wings at my approach,

the lonely whine of traffic on a wet road,

amber mushrooms on a rain dark log,

rippled muscle of mud at clear stream's edge,

bump of bodies board the city bus,

magenta bleeds through umbrage

in the last light of day,

how intensely important it is

to celebrate each flash of life as it fades,

drink in what shimmers, embrace what lingers,

notice more than we can name.

Friday, June 25, 2010

anniversary haiku

we dive together

like bees into wild roses

hearts surging nectar

Saturday, June 19, 2010

made of sky

This poem needs to be viewed as a pdf.  Please click here.

The above is a "2D" (or 2 directional poem). It was composed to be read both vertically (down each column) and horizontally (across each row). It is difficult to get a full appreciation for the work by looking at it on a page. Please click to listen to the audio version.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Like flame on black wind

I dance madly for your love.

Each night I burn for

Your touch as smooth as moon smoke,

The smoldered blush of your kiss.


Friday, June 4, 2010

A Gardener's Lament

It is not my breath that rustles the leaves.
I sit monochrome in the speckled shade
barely awake. Everything has changed
this morning. I watch the clematis reach,
stretch toward celestial blue. Green on green,
last night's rain loads a labyrinth of leaf.
Whether dusty sage or prickly pear sweet,
it's not my intention to change a thing,
to favor towering foxglove over
purslane's yellow bud or twisted clover.
A fleecy head of dandelion seed
harms not the noble, indigo iris.
Now that summer is finally upon us,
there is no need to name a thing a weed.

I hear the distant drone of lawn mowers.
I hear my neighbor scurry, scrape and pound.
Where in this wounded land is my place to thrive?
All that matters is to be truly wild,
to vine my heart around the roots of mind,
unfurl the luminous flower within.
The bursting burr, the cinnamon tendrils
of the climbing rose, the pink-tipped petals
of bindweed blooms, the healing echinacea,
all vibrate with the sun, all have their niche,
their time to flourish. I'm the only one
that needs to leave, that can never belong.
Listen how the grass flattened by my weight
springs back into life as I walk away.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I haunt the poet. No, I own the poet.

I make him cry or sneer his wry grin.

Each morning I carefully fog his eyes

like bathwater layers gray on pale porcelain.

One would think I could find a better body to possess,

but I grow fond of this one. As long as this old guy thinks he's a poet,

I can speak without a Ouija. I have always hated that game

with all its yes and no questions. With this poet, there's no need

to spell letter by letter. I give him my surreal post cards,

and he eagerly scribbles on the back. You may ask

why waste my time when I could be climbing clouds

or rippling through walls. Eternity is boring, and the dead

love company. How about you? Why are you reading this?

Maybe we share the same motives. We need to feel alive,

to subdue our loneliness, to accept the inevitable darkness.

Perhaps there is something missing in our hollow, thumping hearts.

Maybe we'll find the beauty we long for in a poem.

It is brazenly ironic how we draw fresh life from these hoary words,

bristle with the ghostly rustle that stalks our breath,

choke on the cold smoke of the deepening night.

There is something worth staying for, even as we fade.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

One Last Chance

First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is. - Donavan

After sexual subduction

and igneous flirtation,

one would hope not much

would shake our latent core.

We think we can do what we want

as long as we want because we can.


Drunken Forest

 The drunken forests swagger

out of the thawing permafrost.

The dog of extinction buries

its bones at their feet.

Like a giant slushy machine,

rivers of ice-melt pump Greenland's

glaciers into the Gulf Stream.

Holland is building floating houses

and Venice is booking scuba tours of it ruins.

The Earth is warmer now than any time

in the last thousand years. The warmer it gets,

the faster it gets warmer, the warmer it gets.

In less than ten years global warming

will be able to feed off of itself,

snacking on polar bears and caribous

along with thousands of other animals and plants.

Polar Bear Jumping the Ice Floes


We see no reason to change. B. P. will take care of us.

Fill the oceans with oil so we can fill our S. U. V.'s.

Turn up the A. C. and bring us more beef.

What more needs to happen before we understand?

There is no time to waste.

Our world flutters like a fly in the silken web of our greed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Know

In her poem the blue heron leans toward the sun,

poised in a frozen pond, legs caked in frost.

I ask, "Is this real?" She says, "How quickly

time lapses. We need to pay attention."

I know when lost in the long light, I too

can forget the freezing clutch of the wind.

The sun sets without warning. The cold steals in.

Like the heron I'm held by what I love,

trapped by how it changes without notice.

She says, "I am going up into the sun."

I long for her grace as wild as the wind

as she soars the fired sky of the dawn.

Too soon I'll lie flat as ice on this bed

of drool and dream. From my frigid demise

there is no release. I know, like the crane,

my final cry will crack like hollow bone,

unfurl like smoke into glare, and perhaps,

smudge the cold, white sheet of another poem.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Living Under Water (or Why I Like Haiku)

What I love most is
the peace I find floating as
weightless as the wind.

To rise, I reach out
with a deliberate pull.
There's no end to up.


A pulsing silence
surges like currents of heart,
sways lanky red reeds.

Under shaded wave
we breathe in the dappled light,
shed our rippled skin.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's Easy to Be Normal

I can pass for normal if I really try. Sometimes, I even put on deodorant.
Just yesterday, someone asked me for the time, and I said, "1:36,"
even though I always carry a sprig in my pocket
in case that question comes up. It's easy to be normal.

A husky voiced phone survey woman asked, "Sex?"
I told her, "Male." Just like that. At the grocery store, though,
I lost it. The bagger inadvertently brushed my hand and said,
"Paper or plastic?" I said, "It's skin. Isn't that normal?"

Most of the time, if I concentrate,
I can ignore all those variant
meanings words evoke,
and figure out what others want from me.

Isn't that what normal is,
doing what others expect instead of being who I am?
The most important thing is to try to be like everybody else.
My biggest problem, perhaps, is I don't watch television.

In polite conversation, I have found it helps
to nod often, even if nothing makes sense.
I probably shouldn't even talk
about peppers. When the waiter asks,

"Ground pepper?" I say, "Please." Simple enough.
The problem comes when he says, "Just say when."
I usually say nothing. When he gets tired, he walks away,
What I want to say is, "Whenever the grinder is empty."

Lately, I have started to carry
my own bottle of pepper sauce
for places where ketchup is the only
condiment. It makes things easier.

I wonder if anybody is really normal,
if other people nod because nothing makes sense.
I think I would fit in if everyone stopped
pretending. Why do some people take everything so seriously?

I could be normal, if it paid enough, but it is truly overrated.
It is certainly no way to raise children. I guess I should spend more time
worrying about how things look. Also, it would probably help,
to occasionally be on time, but then there is always

that poem I am working on that won't let me go.
Somehow, I get by. I have a good life, I must say.
There is really no reason to change,
unless, of course, I spill hot sauce on my shirt.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Going Solar

It is so quiet
I hear the yellow fish sing.
Spring swims inside me.
As I step, the grass whispers.
Grass feels no sadness
as we waste our paradise.
The animals come
and go and always the green
returns. The trees do
not hesitate to burst bud.
Wind lifts the grey gull,
as the white bear stalks seal on
the last floe of ice.
Why does grief fall heavy as
I walk with beauty
through this breaking swarm of green?
What more do we need
than father sun that powers
all that lives on earth?
Polar Bears Stranded on Ice Floe

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Long Drive Home from a Gig at 3 AM

The pavement is not real.
The stars like salt
spilt on black velvet
show no sign of life,
stare like glass eyes from space.

Sugar Blue whines
and growls his hollow ache,
moans his hot harmonica wind
through brass and plastic,
charges the vacant night with longing.

Everyone who
ever plays, stretches
for that note
missing from the chord
that binds us.

Sugar digs it out, slams it
down on the rough road
like black ice, scrapes
it against raw face
like sand paper.

Inside the wrenching bend
cowers a persistent yearning,
a burning loneliness that drives
each fragile breath
we pass from lung to lung.

We roll alone down this road
of night that never ends,
tumble like a cage of seed and thorn,
from deep within our pain
a stout and solitary joy begins.

Jamming Out with Sugar Blue