The Lisa Poems

Note: For a little general intro and background, you might want to read Lisa Lepine first.


These poems were published as a gift – as described in this Facebook announcement:

“The 28th and 29th were a kind of holiday for Lisa and I. The 28th being her Birthday, the 29th our Anniversary. We often wandered, went on lover’s retreats and the like. We were good at that.

For her birthday this year I went to a small gathering of our friends – she would have liked that.

For our anniversary I got cataract surgery. And for Lisa I share Poetry.

She often said the part of me she first and most deeply fell in love with was the Mad Poet. She also subsequently noted how unproductive I was at actually writing poetry  ;-)

She also always wanted me to strut. Seemed simple enough, think of Mick Jagger and then just do it. Never worked. I came off like some kind of ambassador from the Ministry of Funny Walks.

Here you go Baby – Happy Anniversary!!!! – The Mad Poet struts.”


The Poems, with narration – A Portland Love Story


When she turned 46 Lisa held a Midlife Deepening Party at the Alberta Street Public House. We were friends, and the next day as a birthday gift I was having her down to the family boathouse and giving her a boat ride.

The party was a stellar Lisa Lepine production. And of course she partied and organized herself into a frazzle. I do believe my Facebook profile pic of Lisa wilting by my side was taken by Julie Joachims that evening. The Queen needed a ride home and I was chosen. I took her home and dutifully, chastely, tucked her into bed. As I did so she murmured, “Field Marshals need love too”. Indeed. I went home figuring the next day was going to be darn interesting.

That was the last night of that part of my life. The next day that wilting flower had plans. I was so afraid romance would ruin what had become a treasured friendship – Lisa convinced me to take a chance ;-) Before September 29th 2003 was over Lisa Lepine and I were officially, crazily, passionately, consummately in love. There really didn’t seem to be any doubt about it.

This little fragment was untitled, I now call it Midlife Gifts. It was the first, and last thing I ever wrote to my friend Lisa. Thereafter if I wrote for her, I was writing for my beloved. At the Midlife Party I gave her a pair of folding reading glasses wrapped in a red bandanna. Along with this fragment of poetry.

She had admired my pair of folding glasses – and she spoke often of 50 ways to use a bandanna. Apparently a favorite refrain of her Father’s or other relative. The family can clarify. She was also then, as always, striving for the insight and vision that would take her to the next “level” professionally. The picture below the poem is staged. That isn’t the red bandanna, those are not the folding reading glasses. But that is the original note – it surfaced from her home as it was cleaned out.

I was trying to show I had been listening during our many conversations and saw who she was. Demonstrate with a clever gift and what I hoped was a  witty comment or two.

The longest intro for the shortest piece, because I am telling a story, a Love Story.


 Midlife Gifts



As we explored our relationship, we shared.

Hopes, challenges –  fears.

Lisa told me she sometimes felt like a matchbook girl. As she told it the poor girl sold matchbooks to scratch out a pittance. One night she became entranced, out in the cold looking in at a happy warm family. They had all she wanted, and all she didn’t have. She burns her last matchbook to keep warm, then freezes to death.

Yep, try warming them cockles.

I don’t know where that particular fear came from. She often felt underappreciated, but the matchbook girl seemed to be more about intimacy and commitment than recognition. Anyway, she was frank about it and it did seem to trouble her – “Is this real” is basically what I thought she was asking in her own way.

So as Leonard Cohen says I tried to “take the trouble from her eyes” – with written words, poetry.

On her desk was a small framed copy of what I have labeled Fears Whisper. It was early on, so I guess I can hope for most of the 13 years this small poem was doing it’s job.

One of my fondest early memories was laying in bed all day playing Lisa Lepine my favorite music. Which always includes Cohen’s Greatest. Me and my Rock n’ Roll gal  - it was the Chelsea Hotel and I was in heaven.


Fears Whisper



Many remember Lisa’s “Treehouse” Apartment on Hawthorne. I loved the place. It was a home she had helped longtime friend Steve Rothe buy, occupy, and eventually sell. When Steve moved back to Wisconsin to care for family Lisa needed to find a new place to live. I regretted the loss of the Treehouse more than her – she was ready for something else.

But she wasn’t finding a suitable place, and time was running out – plus she seemed to be plagued by little set-backs, all and all the situation was making for some high-anxiety. I couldn’t seem to be of much aid. I was suggesting she was having such a hard time because she was being too particular. That didn’t help ;-)

She was stressed, I was following suit with no good options coming to mind. Then out of the blue, I was muse-struck. What followed was a declaration from me of being so struck by the Poetic Urge. The subsequent poem that resulted from being visited by my  wayward muses, Lisa My Love.  And the final piece in the Treehouse Transition Trilogy  is Lisa’a reply which I here call Thank You For This Gift.

As is known – Lisa pulled it off, manifesting the Overlook house where you all enjoyed many a gathering, consultation, and other cherished “Lisa Time”.

If you read her reply in the context of her current situation – it is still oddly apt in places.

 Treehouse Transition Trilogy:

Poetic Urge

Lisa My Love

Thank You For This Gift



Like any couple I suppose that have been lucky enough to have a long relationship – challenges arise. With us our housing situation was always a challenge. Plus, somewhere along the line I started to get what we called “stuck”, and the hermit started to take over.

This piece was actually the interior of the pictured handcrafted card. Looking at it now the art was a little off, so are my rascalizations on Space And Time. The truth was I wasn’t being as present as Lisa would have liked.

Not the last time a lack of presence would haunt me. Being there is being there, not some word game.

I know the part about her place in my heart rings true – because that part is now broke.


Space And Time



This we did together in the crucible.




Explore the Lisa Lepine Legacy as it continues to unfold.


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