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Rules for Eating Pistachios–Published in Volume 9 of A Year in INK

Fresh from the co-op
In a pottery bowl shaped by an artistic friend
He’s now a dentist
His new art, crowns and dentures

Don’t crack shells with your teeth!

I make a rule for myself:
I may savor the salty insides
‘til empty shells fill my palm
If a shell falls
I cease my feast

I pry open another nut
A single shell falls to the floor
But if I am careful
My palm could cradle more

Rule revision:

I retrieve the shell back to my palm
Pick apart another pistachio
And another
I will my hand to hold one more,
Coax open a reluctant nut

Shells splatter to the floor
My palm is empty
The bowl of pistachios isn’t

Rules be damned!

What to Do with Nine Twelfths–Accepted in San Diego Writers, Ink: A Year In Ink, Anthology, Volume 8, 2015

At the time it seemed a good idea
Dividing his ashes
One half—then another divided in sixths
For each child, his brother
And me, always trying to please everyone

But he’s probably not pleased
Lurking in plastic bags, in cardboard boxes,
In the garage

Oh, one part of him is in Yosemite
Another in the surf at La Jolla
A third is in his brother’s garden

But what to do with nine twelfths?
The house?
There are already too many ghosts
Dragging their vaporous selves out from between
computers, cell phones, printers
and vast quantities of unlabeled chargers

Not the vegetable garden for the confirmed hater of spinach and broccoli!
His kids said Disneyland, but now they rarely visit
Afraid I may say,
“Just a minute, I need to give you something from the garage.”
They are wise to me
Our family of indecision, denial

So there he sits
What will I do with the nine twelfths in the garage?

Father’s Other Lover–Accepted to 2016 San Diego Poetry Annual

Should I hate you, Father’s other lover?
You were young,
Eyes ablaze with passions
That once fueled the love he held for her

Decrying society’s limitations
You pitied prisoners bound by race and poverty
Yet fiercely held another woman’s husband
Could you not see your own cage?

My parents pledged to change the world
She changed diapers, stopped writing
Afraid to compete with her man
Held him through his children
Her role defined by an engagement ring
Presented in a double boiler

But you, you were his comrade in arms
Fiercely independent, fearless fighter
Poverty, civil rights, freedom
Adrenalin fueled fucking,
You, too, surrendered
Mistress for his prestige

Two women loved a man
Loved him for his vision
Of justice and empowerment
Except for them

Two women taught me well
Taught me to break chains of subjugation
Taught me to build my own

At a University Poetry Reading–Accepted to 2016 San Diego Poetry Annual

They were younger, for the most part
Except for the icons and mentors, of course
Full of life, blood, sophistication
Words and bodies juicy as pomegranates

I was older, wiser, envious
As their wicked words poured freely,
Words that glue my own mouth
Like the cheese I nibbled nervously

Young bodies and language
Lubricated with wine
Their poems as full of life
As mine were full of death

Remembering Kalani



Kalani is an old dog
Her muzzle’s turned to gray
Her master was my young son
Grown and gone away

Our house in now an older house
(My hubby died last year)
She clicks and hobbles cross the floor
Her eyes no longer clear

Kalani is a gentle dog
She lies beside my bed
It takes a little longer now
To raise her aging head

Though I am gray and she is gray
Our lives continue on
Who’ll be my companion
When old Kalani’s gone?


© Barbara Huntington
June 6. 2011

(Kalani died on December 19, 2011)

With Gratitude to Steve Kowit, 1938-2015


Steve Kowit—1938-2015

Today in meditation my monkey mind stuck to Steve Kowit, poet, mentor/teacher, and friend. Steve unbottled the poet in me. That me scribbled inconsistently since childhood on scraps of paper, notebooks, and computer 8” floppy disks that will never be found. I took at least two classes from him. In the first one, perhaps at San Diego Writer’s Ink (?), he delivered the prompt: “I don’t remember you.” I scribbled my doggerel and he laughed and asked me if he could post it in his on-line Serving House Journal. What an honor for an old lady, baby poet! Heady with this honor, I shared with everyone I knew as I must now do for you.

Here is the link to the Journal and the poem:

And You Were Just Some Guy

by Barbara Weeks Huntington

No, I don’t remember you
We were way too high
I was just a college kid
You were just some guy

Pressed together in the sand
No future and no past
Just the ocean kissing land
No need to make it last

I don’t wonder where you are today
And I won’t even try
The thrill was just my age, the times
And you were just some guy.


Steve was creative and compassionate. Since his death, many others have posted his poems and I have found some new favorites.

I attended another of Steve’s classes at the Mingei International Museum. The museum was celebrating the color blue and we wrote poems surrounded by water and sky, turquoise and sapphires. Steve encouraged me to enter a poem in a contest sponsored by the Mingei.  I had written that poem driving home from my first night in a another class (The Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series at San Diego State University). My first time taking a university course in anything related to English since my youth (I was a science major), was also the night of the blue moon. A handout I picked up on my way out the door referred to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” and as I floated to the parking lot, I realized the words described my current state. I drove home on the Interstate 8, giddy and in awe of the full moon above the hills ahead of me, grateful for the gift of being returned to the world of words and literature. My elation reminded me of another time when the 50’s 60’s band my late hubby and I formed in the 80’s scored a coup to play at the Blue Moon Saloon. The synchronicity of Blue Moons and euphoria converged in the poem I later read at the Mingei. Though my voice shook, my mentor, Steve, cheered me on.

Although it is posted elsewhere on my blog, for the sake of my homage to Steve, (and my lack of knowledge of how to link within the blog), I will post it again here:

Once in a Blue Moon
by Barbara Huntington

Once in the Blue Moon Saloon
I felt that unbearable lightness of being
Exactly that
The heaviness of years of just living

Our arrogant lead guitarist
wanted to know what I was on
I was on the moment, the music
Once, long ago, in the Blue Moon Saloon

Tonight, driving home, another blue moon
I feel that unbearable lightness of being
Exactly that
The heaviness of years of science

I know what I am on:

Words! Language! Poetry!

Tasting the wine I want more and more
I claim my genetic birthright

The music of words
Might happen once in a blue moon
But there will always be
Another blue moon

Mom is Dying––Accepted to San Diego Poetry Annual 2015

I know what I am doing
Not not doing
Grabbing cottony hunks of electrons
Stuffing them in my ears, my eyes

Mom is dying

I was going to meditate
But I didn’t
I was going to do yoga
But I didn’t
I turned on the computer
Holding the mouse, my hand aches

Mom is dying

The opiate of FaceBook
Doesn’t really erase the pain
Maybe hides it for a moment
Substitutes one pain for another
Rattles words in my head
Doesn’t rattle loud enough
To hide my thoughts

Mom is dying

Pretty clouds, cartoons
Rants about healthcare
The planet, selfishness
A TED talk
Black Friday specials
One more “like”

Mom is dying

The computer
Draws energy
Through my fingers
From my back, my heart
My gut, my brain

Mom is dying

Not gardening
Not cleaning
Not aware of time
Too aware of time

Mom is dying

(c) Barbara Huntington


IMG_2677  Ruth Irene Looney highschool (born May 10, 1919)sharpcpy@mail.sdsu.edu_20130326_080938_001 IMG_1165 IMG_0504