Monday, January 31, 2011


you are free to change your mind at the last moment just as you press the semicolon key;

you can decide if you want to expand or retract
as long as the two independent clauses

relate in some way

like I do with the one who taught me to love the semicolon. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last Conversation

we were parked in front of the house I remember because
I don’t normally sit on heated leather seats and the heat was on high

whirling under my skirt and my legs felt suddenly hot
like my face when she said what she had to say even though i protested

against the onslaught of Evidence that i had failed completely irrevocably
leading to irreversible significant and everlasting damage to him

my most precious one.

she was advising me while i sat in her new car on the hot leather seats
and the fan on high and it was hot and my face felt so hot and

my tongue lashed out at her without a second thought to tell her
i never wanted to see her again and i slammed the door shut

walking boldly my legs cold in the winter my heart beating
but knowing, knowing that it was over i would never see her again.

Friday, January 28, 2011


a life hidden behind pursed lips
that cried out to be heard by someone
that was never there except to
criticize and humiliate, no wonder
he fell silent as so many do, their
stories hidden behind their hands
concealing a smile that no one
bothers to see.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


suddenly there were five of us,
four feet and twelve paws in all
sighing, scratching, sneezing,
padding, whining, wagging,
when before there was only two,
two feet and four little tiny paws
with a white tail and furry ears,
a little being who crunched on celery
but mostly kept to herself while
I read my books and wrote poems
quietly, if not always happily.
ear plugs, sweepers, dog bowls,
towels stacked at the front and
back door, poopie bags, all came
with the new family who moved in
so we adapted slowly and not
so gracefully or generously to
the four legged ones and the tall
red-head who was really nice after
all and made it all worthwhile
in the end.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Perils of the Metric System

As 2 cm is clearly 0.787 inches
why would someone say it was ½
when clearly closer to 1 if he
had to round it to something
recognizable to the average American,
who may only dimly remember that
there are twelve inches to a foot
or much less to a poet where a foot
is a series of accents, or to a Frenchman
who only knows the accents egu and grave,
much less a foot which is the same
as 30.48 cm, or shall we round
it up to thirty and one half.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ageless II

 the hands always tell the truth,
of countless diaper changes
pots and pans scrubbed clean in
water that is too hot, the
cold that comes from having given
your mittens to someone you love.
the hands tell the truth because
no one gets hand-lifts or spends
thousands on laser treatments
or special creams
our hands tell tell our truths, 
our faces do not.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

For L.L.

my right side is overachieving so when the nurse noted that my right lung
didn’t inflate nearly as well as the left, we collectively were insulted

and worried that the left lung might get lazy, rolling over relaxing into
the place called death by asphyxiation, not noticing that me, that is , I

have a vested interest in this whole affair of breathing through the
longest lines of a Walt Whitman poem or some other snobbish thing

the alternative is to be breathless.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A House on Grove Street

behind the house, Mr. Moon rests on a hammock all day,
daffodils wave at passerbys, a chickadee

flies east over a pouncing cat bathed in morning light
for a bite with a finch flying

south gathering twigs to build a nest
in a blue gazebo swaying on a piece of twine.

in spring, a crow will enjoy three fresh eggs.

A Namibian man spins in a Chinook, the Royal
has fallen into the bush, I walk inside

to see three shoes scurrying after their socks,
a teaspoon clatters in her cup.

a single blood colored blackberry stains my palm,
the ice cream will melt on the cake

Mr. Moon wakes up just in time
to chase the Sun away.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Iambic Pentameter

Iambic pentameter, how do I love thee
in your pretty dress and golden shoes,
your name graces the tongues of real poets
your rhythmic sounds dance across the page
in pink tutus and silver tiaras, how did I
live without thee.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just Do It

just write,
just do it,
music is playing in the background
just do it, put in some ear plugs,
no excuses
for forgotten birthdays, illegible
handwriting, shirts worn inside out,
rudeness, answering
cell phones in public places.
just do it, write it,
run on the treadmill or
swim a lap after it,
write about it, process it,
forgive it, sleep on it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dieting is Overrated

I’m not fat, I’m just fluffy
he mumbled as we walked through
deep snow to L’Atelier to gorge ourselves
on cheese, wine and chocolate.
It’s true, he is, with that puffy blue
down jacket, a homemade scarf wrapped
loosely around his neck, head down
to avoid the flurry of snowflakes.
Regardless of health club memberships,
riding track, skiing steep hills, the pounds
endured, his tummy stuck out a little too
far, but all was hidden under blue down.
He’s not chubby, he’s just fluffy and busy
enjoying life with me drinking and
eating the finest life has to offer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


happy birthday to Jenny!

Monday, January 17, 2011


several loose folds of skin
delicately dangle from beneath her
sharply defined jaw, surely the
face of a sixty something, but
so few wrinkles around the brightest
eyes, the pursed lips so forcefully
enunciating her point of view
as if it were the only one worth
considering, the wisdom
of the old, the insistence of

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rhythms of Childhood

This is the poem I have to present in the poetry workshop tomorrow.  Stanzas and editing!  A step forward in sophistication, if not very tentatively.  I think I'll have to learn to write funny poems since so much of my childhood memories are so bleak they even depress me.  Probably the case with many artists and poets, too much dark material!  I'll only post the final poems instead of the stuff I work on during the week so I will keep to the daily short stuff that has been the basis of this blog.  Thanks for reading!

We lived north of Gary, Indiana;
city of smokestacks belching dark
plumes by day, by night, the sickly yellow 
luminescence of flickering sodium lights.

Weekends we drove north to visit Dad,
my sister pocketed the gas money from Mom.
Dad had black friends; he didn’t last long in Cicero.

Us kids all slept upstairs in a cold room
on a dirty linoleum floor huddled together
unwillingly, in the early morning light

dressing to go back to Mom’s, we carefully
shielding our eyes from witnessing
our emergence from childhood.

My sister and I so wished to have our own room
with a bunkbed and two flashlights, a door
that locked from the inside, that we would
open only when light filtered through the curtain

that parted as we opened the slightly
dented, steel cabinet looking for cereal
on the shelf above the Southern Comfort.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry Workshop Paragraphs 1 - 3

and the poem continues to add stanzas each day as it must be presented on Monday the next poetry class.  Three more paragraphs in two nights (and I can't goof off on Saturday like I usually do).

We lived north of Gary, Indiana;
forests of smokestacks belched dark
plumes by day, by night, sickly yellow 
bathed in flickering sodium light.
We coughed all the time, our noses
caked with dried snot, our clothes grey with
soot, our cheeks ruddy and scabbed with cold. 

Weekends we drove north to visit Dad;
my sister pocketed the gas money from Mom
and charged us each 25 cents for the trip
Dad had black friends; he didn’t last long in Cicero.
Us kids all slept upstairs in a cold room
on a dirty linoleum floor huddled together

as we bumped into each other getting
dressed in the darkness, being careful
not to see our own emergence from
childhood, or the others

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Shortest Engagement

I learned on Facebook that I was
engaged to my Permanent Partner
who’d rather call me his wife

having become tired of being
asked the name of his partner.

Within ten minutes, the calls began,
the well wishers, all before I even
knew I was engaged to be married
in a ceremony somehow related to
bicycles and wheels instead of rings.

Two hours later, I was unengaged
(which sounded a bit better than
unfriended); we returned to our
quiet life as Permanent Partners
knowing the excitement which lay
in wait when it really happens. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poetry Class I: Paragraph II

I suspect the prompt on this paragraph was "change in temperature".  I remember that room in Cicero very well and that my sister charged us for gas.

Weekends we drove north to visit Dad;
my sister pocketed the gas money from Mom
and charged us each 25 cents for the trip
Dad had black friends; he didn’t last long in Cicero.
Us kids all slept upstairs in a cold room
on a dirty linoleum floor huddled together

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poetry Class I: Paragraph I

This next series of poems is actually parts of a poem which will be due on Monday for the poetry workshop I have just started.   The prompt for the free write yesterday was "We lived north of...." and we all wrote whatever came to mind. The week assignment was to then refine the poem for next week.  Every few moments, the teacher redirected the poem by saying something like "the temperature changed"  and a new stanza would being.  The poem fragment below is the first stanza.  I have done a bit of revision and will be doing some revision for the next week on each stanza since there are seven of them.  I actually did grow up somewhat north of Gary and we did smell the acrid smell of Gary sometimes even where we were (to the north and west).  Beyond that it is poetic license. 

We lived north of Gary, Indiana where
tidy rows of smokestacks belched dark
plumes by day, sickly yellow plumes bathed
in beams of sodium lights by night.
We coughed all the time, our noses
caked with dried snot, our clothes grey with
soot, our cheeks ruddy and scabbed with cold. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ice Cold Nights

spiders crawl across the windshield
leaving behind webs of dendritic ice crystals
scattering headlights into dots across the retina

as my vision shrinks to a spot close to the defroster
hunched down I peer out onto the dark highway
stars wheeling overhead, the moon above
I pray that my car will go straight across
that black ice and bring me  home

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The night before poetry class

the last day of lazy writing
lounging at the dinette, looking
at dirty dishes lamenting their status,
languorous flakes of snow backlit
by streetlamps, learning about
alliteration so as not to
display my ignorance
late tomorrow

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Zealand Poem III: Swimming up a wall

Defying gravity swimming up a wall
he glides effortlessly on his green air mattress,
spotless dry blue floral trunks, arms
outstretched towards the sea several hundred
kilometers distant he is unperturbed by it
all gazing out through his dark sunglasses
at the crowds which stare incredulously at his
perfect feet, his on-time wristwatch; they wonder
if he is happy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Yoga Pose

I am thankful it is dark.
Everyone is looking forward
towards the teacher who is drenching
us with instructions for
the next pose.
I fall over in the back,
emitting a small wince as
I step onto the edges of my
blocks and the buckle of my strap.
My next pose lags well behind
the others until the end when
I catch up quickly for the final

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Boss

he emerges from his office like a bear
 from his winter den,
grouchy, hungry and mean,
loose skin once filled with the
fat of summer berries and sunshine.
he pushes past the sow and cubs into spring
rising on hind legs to reach the choicest
bits until his manager saunters along
and he shrinks back in cowardice.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Boy

he gets away with everything
dishes left unwashed, spilled milk,
strawberries squished on the linoleum leading
to a trail of red splotches across the living room,
annoying dogs, stains on his sweater.
he just smiles, exposing that gap
between his front teeth where a
piece of Dutch licorice would lodge
itself from time to time as he ran
home from kindergarten to greet
his mother.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Zealand Poem III: Mother's Daughter, Daughter's Mother

in common, they share
freckles, a toothsome grin, a yen for
science, bossy and opinionated, short and
curly hair

where on distant glaciers
in far off lands, one arm flung across
another’s shoulders, they touch
while maintaining the required
distance of that age

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Resolutions

she pondered losing weight,

he pondered learning a new language
for travels he would never take,
dreaming about them in that place
between sleep and wake,

she pondered telling him she loved him,
being a better person, and cooking
coq au vin for Valentine's Day,

she decided that touching her toes
(without bending her knees)
was good enough for next year.

no sense in promising the impossible.