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Dinner with Jizo Published in Somersault: An INGLY Writers Prose & Poetry Anthology, Volume 1


Jizo smiles beyond my plate,
watches me pause,
a cube of tofu
pressed against my lips,
then spear a sprig
of still crunchy broccoli that
grew in my garden
an hour before.

Through a glass of red wine,
I peer back at Jizo,
note the tear in his left eye
a bit of coconut oil?
Your tear is fading, I say,
It seemed to appear when my tiny grandson moved in.
Was that too much to bear,
protector of mothers and children?

Jizo smiles, silent, surrounded by shiny rocks,
that once garnished the desk
where I counseled future healers.
Now I focus cell phone on plate and statue,
snap a picture,
savor deep green spinach,
shameless red and white Chioggia beets,
orange carrots, a bit of brown rice.

When the bowl is clean,
Jizo smiles,
“Are you going to eat that square of dark chocolate?”



Belief: Read by a Professional Actor at READ IMAGINE CREATE June 2, 2014 San Diego Old Town Theatre and published in Somersault (Ingly Writers) Prose and Poetry Anthology 2017

Thought I should reblog this since it was recently included in Somersault, An Ingly Writers Prose & Poetry Anthology Volume I available on Amazon

The Poetry and Prose of Barbara Huntington


Photo and poem by Barbara W. Huntington

When I was a child, the butterfly of belief
Brushed a filmy wing across my forehead
“Chase me, chase me.”
Through churchyards and headstones
I reached out and grasped soft wings against my palm
I held,
Released her

In my youth, she hid behind napalm clouds of war
Fluttered above a guitar in songs of peace and equality
Was forgotten in the headiness of first love
Lit briefly in the comfort of second
Not knowing if I really held her
Pretended her presence
For my children

In middle age, children gone to chase their own butterflies,
No infinite sky, no fluttering form, a shadowed memory
In the dark cramped rooms of death
Parents, friends, my dying love
His mind and body, gone before the breath stopped
Mocking, mutant memories
No place for butterflies
Too fearful to sleep

My hand numb with grasping…

View original post 84 more words

When Loneliness Knocks–Published in San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-2017


When loneliness knocks
Tashi doesn’t bark
but clicks across the wooden floor
until the warmth of her fur
brushes my hand
the hand that dangles, useless, below the desk

When loneliness knocks
my mind makes up stories:
what-ifs from childhood,
from words not said,
of kindness not returned
Sometimes what-ifs become
stories, poems, times
to dream what-might-have-beens
and try them on for size

When loneliness knocks
I pretend I do hot hear
I tell the empty chair across from me
“Must have been the wind.
Perhaps it will go away
if we make ourselves
very, very small”

© Barbara Huntington

Rumi, Glimpse of the Gate–Published in San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-2017


Weakness, visions, roses
Shiraz—so long ago
A book
Mosque, blue mosaics
Glimpse of the gate, the prophet
Places now gone, still in me
Though the sticky strands of the web
Pull to a different place
And no place

Sit with Jizo in a desert garden
Palo Verde Tree
Brass bowl chime
Pull me back to electron friends
From not, not being

You are the fragrant garden
Kumquat blossoms, rich lavender
Birdsong and spiraled butterflies
Nothing to grasp
I slip from beauty to traffic, buzz saws
Silver strands of spider web don’t pull me
Where are those that do?

© Barbara Huntington

God and Genies –Published in The Guilded Pen, An Anthology of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild Fifth Edition 2016

Do you remember reading under a soft blanket as a young child when you hugged the hard book against your chest to quiet your beating heart? When you feared the genie would require your three wishes before you worked out your perfect scheme? Do you remember your smug sigh, your clever plan to ask for infinite wishes, the chance to undo those that didn’t work out? Did you wake up, stare at the dark ceiling, ponder if the rules allowed you to string wishes in a daisy chain of “ands?”

When you gave up on genies, do you remember holding a different book, praying to God, “if you exist, please grant this prayer and if you are all wise, will you understand why I don’t believe and grant it anyway?” Did you nag your nonexistent god for an unambiguous sign?

When life brought ends, beginnings, suffering, nothing, something, hope, despair, did you confuse genies and gods, add, “if you exist,” to every secret plea in your dark night? Did you try to believe? Pretend to believe? Envy those who did? Did you meditate, medicate, hallucinate, hesitate to equate the unexplainable with a deity who would let you return to His arms or Her womb? Did you escape to a monastery, take a Bodhisattva vow, hope you could bring infinite compassion to infinite beings, secretly worry you would crumble at the first test? Did you wonder what happens when gods or genies reveal themselves? Infinite happiness? Infinite pain? Rebirth? Pull the plug? Lights out?

Now when your crooked hands cling to the soft blanket, when you’ve seen the here, then not here of death, when friends and loves have gone on to what they expected or didn’t, do you still hug the hard book against your beating heart, ask for an unambiguous sign, pray for easy transition to something or nothingness and add,“if you exist?”


Lieu Quan Meditation Center–Warner Springs, CA

04-29-2017 Thoughts on Today’s Climate Change March

climate march 2017Crazy signs are the whitecaps, but the surge and energy of a body of people driven by a connection to the earth, a need to protect our hive, swells from the calm and powerful ocean. Young, energetic believers build currents. Old, steady, I’ve-been-there-and-this-is-important folks just walk, provide their drop to the ocean, their mortar to the edifice.

Walls and dams can temporarily hold back the sea, but eventually the dikes will crumble. The human collectiveness, the so often hidden bond with mother earth, presses forward, seeps through drop by drop by drop. The dam falls.

Even when water is separated from the main body, lies in shallow, putrid, ponds, loses its bulk and power to prevail, even then, evaporation cleanses it. Clouds become rain and join the ocean once more. That is the nature of water. It cannot help itself.

I sit alone in my empty house while children are bombed, whole populations starve, fossil fuels foul our rivers. My body in the climate march will probably not be noticed, but the bulk, the many, the ocean cannot be ignored.


Barb and Carrie climate march

Orange Dragon (11/26/2016)


An orange dragon scorched our land with orange loathing.
Orange fire beneath dark smoke
Orange hate, slime of ownership
Of what should be left in the ground
Dead bodies, black skin of beings
The waste, the remains
Black snake fed by greed, lust.

Sick, fatigued,
Craving the sacred water
I rose from the putrid sheets
Put guilt aside
Felt the warm clear stream wash my weariness

Too late, I spied a helpless spider,
Limp thread legs,
Swirl, down the drain by my feet
Slain by my cleansing wash

I wished it free from suffering, a fortunate rebirth,
Then asked the same for me

Robed and clean, I entered the garden
An orange monarch whirled with another
Then floated to an orange milkweed flower
A tiny lizard, peered up at me from an orange stone
Nodded, and filled me with orange happiness