Tuesday, April 30, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Thirty

Anticipatory Grief

His departure hallowed her
two years before it happened
making his favorite fried food
     the potatoes giving off earth
     the oil sealing in salt
she panic to realize it would end
if he wasn't her daily care
where would that leave her?
In order to stave off the horror
she got that Masters degree
volunteered her interests
and hoped next time he would visit
more than twice a semester.

Monday, April 29, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Nine


You Didn't Build That

More faded fire engine than Bozo nose
the red, long-sleeved polo my sister outgrew
plain unadorned logoless the way I like
wearing it over gray, long-sleeved bamboo
t-shirt souvenir from parents' Hawaiian trip
light touch with a lived-in feel that warms
worn under the brownish-gray zip-front sweater
my husband gets credit for that thrift store find
the weave of the sleeves tighter than the body's
with the coffee brown name-branded pants
bought with a gift card from mom-in-law
saved by the dry-cleaner/seamstress
her English was so-so; her work is invisible

Sunday, April 28, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Eight

Demographic Appeal

He is charmed by my attractiveness
to a narrow population
this woman for example
telling me about the bringer of cookies
each week bearing a brightly iced platter
today in the shape of eighth notes
in honor of Jazz Sunday
a print visible in a yellow one
left by a little thumb
that had trouble deciding
between the enticing shades
I lean closer to better hear the quaver
"I must learn her name," she confesses
"She always arrives late."

Saturday, April 27, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Seven

Inspired by Mary Oliver, with apology

Pest Geese

You need to stop hissing at me.
You need to walk your wide load out of my way.
You have dropped your soft, green mush all over the path
and that is not okay.
Tell me what you're thinking in that dinosaur relic of a brain
and I will tell you what my monkey mind sees.
Meanwhile a threatening beak at the end of a snaking neck
stretches aggressively at me.
Meanwhile Spring sap seeps through feathers
crazing your instinct to strike.
Meanwhile I was singing "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone"
in an attempt to distract you.
Whoever walks near you next
I offer this advice
I raised my arms, made myself big
over and over established my right
to be upright and bipedal on this sidewalk.

Friday, April 26, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Six



Rejection is dragging its saw teeth against my grain
     of optimistic highlights
     silver-coated outlook
     self-assured lining
     sunny dispensation

Rejection is sinking its feline fangs under my soft
     rosy-colored filter
     positive development
     actuate self-confidence
     convinced aplomb

Thursday, April 25, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Five

Static Shock

Thrown stones would have hit her in the Bible
She raised him to say it doesn't matter
Straight and gay are held to the same standard
Kissing should be a wild and private thing
She doesn't want it on public viewing

Beloved, will you join my rebellion
Touch your lips to mine with a shared inhale
Or tease mine ever so in a slow grin
Slide yours along all my tender tickles
With enough power to upset normal?

Let us put our mouths to the challenge
Preferably on the church's front sidewalk

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Four

Prompts One and Two

It's gettin' hot in here

Weather Underground says the temperature is 69°
Wikipedia says Weather Underground takes its name from
     a 1960s militant student group
CBS This Morning says one man is behind one-third of
     what's on Wikipedia
Steven Pruitt says he takes his username from his favorite
     opera character
Gianni Schicchi says the punishment for falsifying a will is
     exile and loss of a hand
My hand says my punishment is to shiver on a 69° day because
     I didn't wear gloves
My mother says the wind here is a humid cold that weighs
     into the bones
The wind says the sun will soon turn militant so take off all
     you know

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Three

Prompt from April Free Generative Writing Workshop taught by Elizabeth Weiss

With Rococo Flourishes

She had worn it on a gold chain
both gifts from Roy after a week
of dates although he was engaged
to a girl from his hometown so
a present worn around her neck
locket swinging close to her breasts
was scandalous

By sliding a thumbnail into
a depression on its right side
the locket opened like a book
revealing two oval portraits
Roy in his fedora and Roy
in backlit profile a wavy
haired Rhett Butler

She hadn't worn the chain and its
locket in decades had kept it
stored in its original box
from Montgomery Ward department
store because she wasn't that girl
anymore and she didn't hand
it down because

Neither of their girls grew up to be a Scarlett

Monday, April 22, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-Two


Bringing a Visual Aid to an Oral Defense
John Singer Sargent - Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

Dancing was Herr Dr. Moltmann's metaphor
Perichoresis, or Rotation
Think the pirouette of the planets
Picture the dosey doe of the multiverse
My Chair couldn't

The sisters in summer's dusk
Backdrop of carnations, lilies, roses
The luminous glow on their ruffled white frocks
Motions mirrored as their wicks carefully place
Light inside their Chinese lanterns

The intimate mood exactly catching Moltmann's
Three persons with one permeating essence
Dwelling and existing in perfect unity
The divine inner life illustrating
How we are to be each to the other

My Chair got hung up on the lack of difference
Polly seven, Dolly eleven,
Where was the Father?
"But if the Three are co-eternal. . ." I trailed off
And thus my defense was won

Sunday, April 21, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twenty-One

Easter 2019

The chilling left behind by violence
stillness so sealed it resists release
dying waves collapse to sediment
until the silt resembles a shroud

The birthing right before the sunrise
buds erupting along calloused bark
rising tidings swelling to summon
tumult so trumpeting it resolves

Saturday, April 20, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month - Twenty

Holy Saturday Vigil

Craving dark bread, cured meats, garlic pickles, and mustard
Food here has no flavor in the land of Germans, Danes, and Czechs
Tonight's loaves were crusty, well-seeded, and tasted of nowhere
A montonity only possible to produce with factory farming
In spite of its failing I confess my piece of the body of Christ
Did convey communion
In the midst of bland
The season of hope

Friday, April 19, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Nineteen



Ambling down hill faded
Blue windbreaker over
Collared hensley worn
Due to attending panel
Exchange on immigration
Federal law in the reality TV
Government by the Family for the Family

I would recognize your gait
Jutting to the left
Knee after the accident
Left a limp
Mueller report launching
News coverage tweeting
Opinions that you relayed which
Prompted my sighed replies

Quip pro quo evidently
Reasonable if the benefits
Surpass the oath
Treasured by patriots
Uttered nonsense with
Vigor conveying deportment
Whereby other men recognize as
Xenophile cosmopolitan

You will throw and have punched always
Zealous against brutish bullies

Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Eighteen

Prompt-- inspired by Acts 15:39


He doesn't want a divorce
the house splintered by difference

Tired of trying to mend the tatters

The A-frame on the corner
Christmas Eve candles offered
white with white paper disks

Nostalgia isn't holding together

Paul and Barnabas provoked
halving the house between them
alongside a sharp edge

Did schism shred their fellow feeling, too?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Seventeen



You spread me around with good intention
     how the shrubs stood out
     in heightened relief
     how moist the soil stayed
     under my cover

I rested against your sure foundation
     how my name appealed
     Big Red like your team
     how the weeds withered
     because of my mass

Made by my maker to be attractive
     how tasty my wood
     to termite larvae
     how easily gnawed
     your 2x4 studs

I made neat and tidy while I lasted
     how could you predict
     I was all surface
     how could you foresee
     it would all break down?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Sixteen


Hair Clips: varieties and uses

skinny silver alligator like
separating strands from toothpaste foam
     desensitizing first water sipped
     chilly morning glass opening throat

double-prong arms out
holding fast a curl
     until it dries waves
     snaking along face

puny black shark teeth look
lifting locks off pillow
     too fragile for feathers
     crushed by heavy dreaming

wide clip edged on scalp
freeing roots of weight
     that inherited
     that dyed and straightened

Monday, April 15, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Fifteen


No Voice

Nailed every note
Crunked for the crowd
Flirted with falsetto
You didn't turn around

Ran through my runs
Kept G in key
Emoted emotions
But you didn't pick me

Blake, I can croon
Gwen, I speak ska
Kelly, will belt bigger
Adam, will practice pop

YouTube loves me
Millions have watched
Audience was cheering
Still no buttons were pushed

Sunday, April 14, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Fourteen


Dove Tail Tales

Their call was familiar
before their appearance

Morning feeders
at breakfast time

Feathers smoothed to seamlessness
multiple shades of tan, beige, brown

Not white but
still peaceful

Too large for the perch so they sat in the seeds
until Dad bought a mix that repelled them

Now they peck through his grasses

A sound I know from summers
sister and I sharing a bed

Waking to unfamiliar plaintive notes
visiting his farm back when Grandpa lived

Saturday, April 13, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Thirteen


Bàoqiàn, that will be 20 yuan

Welcome to Shenzhen, Dr. Dave
Didi is here waiting to drive you
the hotel is ten minutes near
proceed North through the station's glass doors

No, your other North.

Your hosts are already drinking
I texted word of your arrival
they reserved a table at 8
time enough to unpack and shower

Glad you travel light.

Your car is the black one ahead
turn left now and walk to the corner
jaywalking is not an option
just what do you think you're doing, Dave?

AI knows your face.

Friday, April 12, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Twelve


Wedding Gift

After fifteen years of marriage
          I never told you, did I
the edges are dulled
          how odd I found the pairing
on the scissors from the knife set
          to cut recipes from papers?

Grandma's Kitchen Klatter columns
          found taped in a notebook
including Corn Fairfax,
          which I thought long handed-down
a family Thanksgiving tradition
          since 1952

Now I understand
          that is how you are
scissors have a food use
          expanding my vision
because you showed me how
          beyond the paper before me

Thursday, April 11, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Eleven


Wood Panel Station Wagon

Deducting inward like Miss Marple
intuiting the mood from the back seat
puppy resting her curly black head against the driver
Bert and Ernie"That's What Friends Are For" on the eight track tape

Detecting outward like Nancy Drew
translating to him what was meant by her
puppy dragging her clear brown eyes through the rest stop grasses
Ray Conniff singers "The Way We Were" mark the miles gone by

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Ten


Seasons of the Anthropocene

The span of tornadoes
The era of flooding
The spell of vortexes
The eon of burning

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Nine

Prompt from Diane Lockwood's newsletter.  Sign up here

Only the poor walk in Memphis

I count the degrees
fifty above sixty
days during winter
relabel them My Spring

I crack the sidewalk
beneath crepe myrtle buds
dry-rubbed ribs smoking
no other soul in sight

I circle the drain
down Tennessee's southwest tip
bless your heart echoes
flushed into Mississip

Monday, April 8, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Eight

Prompt-- Inspired by 1 Corinthians 10:13

The Quiet of Grave Dispositions

The bowed heads of my childhood
were supplicants to
a mainly benevolent God
     who never trapped
     past the point of endurance
     always offering
     clauses of escape

The bowed heads of current children
are petitioners of
a viral gaming god
     sending more candy
     than two thumbs can crush
     more mad birds
     than a swipe sharply left can launch

Sunday, April 7, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Seven

Prompt-- inspired by Mark 12:28-31

As Yourself  

All the jangled edges will dissolve
softening like the bitter vine unbinding
everything worn and frayed rewoven
as we become more beige with each passing prayer.

All the tempered daydreams will focus
heightening like the lily bloom unfolding
everything singular bespoken
as we become more bland with each granted grace.

All the selfless gestures will increase
strengthening like the buried roots unearthing
everything us and them forgiven
becoming more boring with each Let It Be.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Six



Possibly this physician listens
"My head feels crushed"
As if air added extra weight
Only around him.

Maybe this professional studies
"My tendons torque"
As if points of pain amplified
Because of nightfall.

Perhaps this practioner doctors
"My rest is brief"
As if sleep's whys and hows were known
And dispensed to all.

Friday, April 5, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Five

Prompt: This is a mash-up of tweets about the climate crisis and the opening lines of the TV show "The Bionic Man"

Rage Against The Dying

High North wails a dirge
     Technology we have
A dead planet does not toil.

Speed and scale
     We can rebuild
High North wails a dirge.

Emitting harm
     We can make
A dead planet does not toil.

Voices of the sacrifice zone
     Better, stronger, faster
High North wails a dirge.

Twice the rate
     Than was Austin
A dead planet does not toil.

Larger efficiencies
     Barely alive
High North wails a dirge
A dead planet does not toil.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Four



as the freighter hauls him away
gingered humid breezes vanish
I cry for King Kong
severed from beauty

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Three


I was promised baby owls

In the backyard
our new neighbor gushed
a mating pair nested every Spring
which tree I wondered and hoped
not the one tipped in the storm
so crashing we felt lightning-struck

Mostly dead trees with awfully dead limbs
we texted the damage done to the landlord
when the laurel trunk dented the gutter and roof
of the house she bought next door to her sister
living in a ranch with equal decay
where she imagines eventually retiring

"We're roommates," she gushed
when she stayed the week
in the basement bedroom
between Christmas and New Year's
which we accepted tolerant at first
their failing father so near to dying

However, year two was too much again
such a light sleeper my spouse
he tracks troubled dreams swarming underneath
lies awake suffering the hooting
of the pair who visit but never stay
only flying through mostly at dusk

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month Two


Like No Home Place

Tribe, oh
     Tribe, oh
          Tribe of mine

Where should I search?

Down the shoot by the bin of children's cartoons?
Near the breeze outside the droop of snowdrop's crease?
In the glint on the bond of Hs and O?

Tribe, oh
     Tribe, oh
          Tribe of mine

Where do you dwell?

Monday, April 1, 2019

National Poetry Writing Month One


How To Walk Your Husband

Tell him you must mail your taxes today
Invite him along to the grocery store
With the customer service counter that
Doubles as a neighborhood post office

He ought to push past the sneezing sniffles
Switch off March madness, add warmer layers
Expect for the favored thin blue mittens
Which put less fabric between your held hands.