#55

for a minute i forgot you.
or maybe it was a week or a month
or any time really - 
that is longer than okay - 
until suddenly something leapt
from a quiet divot in my chest
and, remembering, 
i raced to tell you
that i am still 
every minute and week and month
so much enamored with you - 
my friend, my heart, my gift.

#54

i jumped off the bridge last night
in my heart
and now some twelve hours later
i still haven't hit the bottom - 
the immeasurable depth of being,
too terrific 
to slam up against
with something so simple 
as flesh.
so i wait.
think about the crawling out -
the accent -
the way back up 
to where things are indeed
okay 
even inside the darkness.
even with it. 
the frailty of being human -
a hoax.
i know the clouds are grey for a reason -
that there will be more rain
and disaster.
but also i know, from it
will come new growth
and this is where i rest
against the walls of a weary heart -
pull myself back out  
and up -
where i can dare again
for joy.

#53

i am sorry for dying - 
the way the orchid petal limps and clings - 
refusing to drop.
i found all the merchandise a heartbreak - 
the way i said i love you with a boxful 
and ribbon -
as if even a portion of my reverence
could be contained.
when time steals you away from me - 
because you are growing
and learning to love things outside of Us - 
i wonder at having had once
my own dreams - 
before i cared more about an elusive collective
and following your youth
 into the night.

#52

when they forgave me -
for words i had not spoken -
i hurried to use my voice again,
for forgiveness's sake itself.
before i changed for the better,
i broke things.
a stampede through time
unaware of the china -
a hurricane of doubt 
in a trusting heart -
oblivion on top of indifference -
and the tiny riot of fear.
people said come back -
there is room here -
in-between the pictures you left,
are all these blank pages
upon which to show you care.

#50

We drive in traffic 
at night
to see papa - who
at almost 93 years old -
is the first to call you toots.
Irv's a good kid
says his grandson -
the other calls him homey.
A Haagan Daz enthusiast,
he drinks hot coffee 
from a red Solo keg cup
and holds his own 
against top ranked players
at daily Bridge.
We will dip a chip in guacamole
share a hunk of cheese
and build a future we worry losing. 
Time makes everything delicious and awful.
We love him like banana pancakes.
(Written by Larry Ben Jonas and Danielle Salk in car on whim. )

#49

the rain is back -
this time like a drunk American
packing through France
with some embarrassed Canadians.
puddles are deep,
people can't drive.
only because of garage sales -
and some vintage couture i couldn't resist -
i donned my first umbrella today,
like a boss.
what a ridiculous improvement - 
this whole keeping dry out in the rain - 
it just never occurred...

i saw a pile of a person
under the freeway today - 
covered in sleeping bags but still sitting up -
that and a small mound of cigarette butts.
no arms or legs or head. 
just blankets and wet and butts.
and me
with my stupid umbrella.

#48

i am thinking about dads today
and how my own died way to young -
and how so much of who i have become
was because of this man -
that, in some ways, i barely knew.
but i knew him.
i know your dad died early too, and yours.
and how hard it is for all of us
to look at our boys, our sons, our nephews
and think - 
they will never get to meet him, or - 
god, my dad would love you.
i am proud.
to have had a dad. to have, 
through marriage and love
helped make one. to understand
the delicate fabric
that holds our men together -
that shapes our boys.
I feel dangerously too close sometimes -
to the essence of things -
how i catch a glimpse of my child
walking passed in a man's body.
he carry's my father's death with him, you know
and lends him another life.

#47

i spoke to an old friend today
who belongs at the beach
but lives somewhere else.
and i wanted to erase time for him
and destroy space
so he would be here again
in a town that loves him.
"they have no idea who you are, do they?"
i asked, thinking how absurd
you can be famous in one town,
and a total stranger in another.
"No they don't," he said
and i wanted to cry for what they're missing.
we are these little worlds to each other
meaning so much
depending so much
on each other for our rotation.
i think when you remove one of us 
from the solar system -
all of the other planets wobble.
or, at the very least -
i mean to say -
i miss you.

#46

when i was a child
i very much wanted to be famous -
so that everyone would know
how special i was.
at four i decided 
when i grew up
i would marry johnny cash
so i could make him happy.
they seemed such useful goals.
now,as an adult,i only want to be more reflective -
so that the people who love me 
can see how special they are instead.
and if i could -
i would marry my husband again -
this time not trying to make him 
anything different than he already is.
i know i got a much better life than i deserve.
when i go to bed at night,
i try to think of new ways to pay it forward.
sometimes it's just shutting up.

#45

i don't know how i became a stranger here -
walking the worn aisles of the market -
recognizing no one. 
i found myself -
where mount tam meets the pacific -
at a point in life up until which
i'd only ever tried to lose.
it was something.
being found -
instead of found out -
at the beach
in a quiet town with a loud heart.
i almost raised my hand as a visitor -
at the same meeting that had saved me -
when i had nothing to inherit
but undeserved grace.
instead i took a token - 
a marker of sorts -
to remind me that i belong 
here with the wind and the salt and the sea
where being recognized is trumped
by being known. 
you can feel home in your bones,
like marrow carrying breath to the heart.

.

#44

i don't like mean people
as well as i like the nice ones.
kinda like it's better to be healthy
than barfing in a bush. 
some things are simple like that.
still, life makes you suffer a bully or two 
before you get your free slurpee.
eventually, if you don't let the bad stuff get you down,
you'll own the whole 7-11.

start with a few good friends.

#43

my pen is broken 
from too much thinking.
where without the soothing curse of love -
i might be bored.
someday my friends will find me
asleep in an attic at noon.
curled up in a pile of cards
they sent through the years.
there is a chocolate cake pillow 
and a little a little cup of tea.

#42

i dont drink but tonight
i wore a missile toe and mimosa t-shirt
with the arms cut off
to qualify for the ugly sweater party.
all of my friends are beautiful.
they donned their santa-riding-a-unicorn sweaters
and acrylic reindeer shells
and tried to neutralize their exquisiteness with Tacky - 
but it is just impossible.
one friend showed me an app 
where she could wipe her screen with her index finger
and she swore it was erasing our wrinkles.
i could not stop laughing.
not because i couldn't tell the difference
but because i thought it was so damn funny
that she would try to erase the wrinkles
on a photo
of something so imperfectly perfect already.
plus it was the way her finger rubbed back and forth
naive almost, the finger,
i could barely take it.
friendship cannot be measured in cocktails poured
or hors d'oeuvres served
or even sweaters worn.
but little fingers on screens
and white elephant re-gifts
and the magic of reading the bill
held out three feet in front of you...
one eye closed for squinting
the other shot full of love.
girlfriends are just the best.
there is no other way to say it.

#41

the fairies are coming
in their holiday sparkles
with their christmas jingles
and their hanukah lights -
and you can almost feel the cheer
thickening the air.
it's nice to be alive
when there is extra hope afloat.
and to watch people cozying up
and sitting closer -
to beat the cold.
mostly, though, i like the sound of you snoring - 
like a sedated lion
harmless and safe beside me.

#40

Forty is a magic number
like 7 and 11 and 13.
Forty is when you are closer to fifty
that you are to twenty
and you just cannot believe it.
It is also when mean people start to not matter
and your real friends show themselves
and your occupation is only part of who you are.
It matters who you love when you are forty -
because you realize you may be half way home
or on the back nine
or however you say
to old to screw around anymore.
It matters who loves you back now also -
more than it did before -
because who has time anymore
for half-assed love affairs
and broken promises
and the greatest insult of indifference?
Forty is great because you really start to care
about things that matter -
differently than you could
when you were thirty -
and you've lived enough life to simply reply
"because i said so"
when someone asks you why.

At 46, I'm thinking 'hells to the yeah'
just watch me put in some crest strips 
and hit Facebook -
i'll write a poem all about the life.

#39

i watched a child reach for a star
and i could understand how she thought 
she might make it hers.
i watched an elderly man 
                    shuffle
a little to the left
        to clear a path for youth
and i could understand
how that might sting.
i watched the crease under your eye 
          disappear
when you stopped smiling -
and i realized i might lose you.
there is nothing like time
to heal a wound
and to inflict one. 
i know you are mine
and that you'll be mine forever -
but there is a certain finality
to the crease under your eye
when you are not smiling -
and it makes me realize -
forever is not long enough. 

#38

sometimes people ask you a question
and then get mad at you
because they don't like the answer.
sometimes you give someone your trust
and they give you back
a knuckle sandwich.
sometimes you think every little thing
is a-okay in the world
and then you wake up.
sometimes it hurts to laugh
and feels good to cry
and you have to ask
am i little crazy?
someone who really loves you
will say "no."

#37

sometimes i think about what it was like
when i was three.
you were four and a half
my brother -
showing me the ropes.
when you taught me how to ride a bike
you put me on it 
and just let go  -
i was pointed down hill. 
i rode as fast as lightning
until i hit the curb
and flipped over the bars
into the bushes.
you hoorayed and clapped so hard 
i felt certain i was a hero
and didn't dare to cry.
so much of how i came to believe
the world was good and safe
was because you were always there -
pulling me in and out of danger -
keeping me steady on my tiny feet,
yelling pedal! pedal!
run dani!
fly!

# 36

they say all is fair in love and war
and i think that's a bunch of malarkey.
like how with love - 
there are so many more catchers
than there are pitchers,
its nearly impossible 
to get a game going.
from the bleacher i want to just yell
Throw the fucking ball! Hurl it!
because i think eventually someone will show up with a mitt.
i know it looks easy to say
from where i'm sitting -
sharing a bag of seeds with my prince -
but i'll be damned 
if love won't break your fall 
if you jump. 
i have always known 
that i am not afraid of heights.
what i am afraid of 
is jumping.