Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last day of Napowrimo/National Poetry Month!

It's the last day of napowrimo! I'd like to thank all of the wonderful poets at readwritepoem for inspiring me to write a poem a day this month. I didn't think I could do it, but I did, and it was such fun. I especially loved reading other poets' work every day. What a treat! Today's prompt was "Give a line, take a line." I chose Catherine's first line and went from there...

Between the birds and the trees
Is sky
I can’t reach it
Or span its dimensions with my arms
Or probe its corners with my fingers
I can’t know it
Or feel its texture on the bottoms of my feet
Or scrape it with my clumsy knees
It’s not for me
I’m stranded in shoes
Stuck in asphalt
I’m fastened to furniture
Cluttered with gravity
I want to jump up and grab
Fistfuls of sky
To stuff in my pockets
I want to bite off more of it
Than I can chew
I want to rake it with my fingers
And leave red marks
Just to prove I was there
Just to prove I was there

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I don't think I can

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to brainstorm ideas beginning with the words "I don't think I can..." My list is rather random, but I decided to go with it...
I don’t think I can
Go vegetarian
Or take Oprah too seriously
Or ever, ever want to go running

I don’t think I can
Take an online quiz to find out what desperate housewife I am

I don’t think I can go more than 24 hours
Without burying my nose in a book

I don’t think I can ever live peacefully in a world that still gives
Dick Cheney airtime

I don’t think I can help my fourth grader with math much longer
Or be the kind of mom who offers him 20 bucks for each base hit

I don’t think I can ever
Or live in Texas

I’m not sure if I’ll ever
Find downward dog restful
But I am sure I’ll never swallow
Chicken soup for my soul

But most of all
I don’t think I can
Ever, ever forgive people
Who pluralize noun’s
With apostrophes

Is that wrong?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Post Falls Gas Station

Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to write about the color red, which I already did on day four. So, I used one of readwritepoem's sidebar prompts instead. This prompt was to write a poem based on a current event in the news. I'm a couple weeks late with this, but I wrote about the tea party demonstrations from 4/15 When I heard one gruff gravelly
Gas station voice say to the other

Are you going to the tea party?

I smiled at the dissonance
Clinking in my head
Like cups to saucers

Thinking of these men in
Gloves and big hats with flowers
And doilies and itsy cookies
Sitting with my dolls sipping
My finest childhood brew

Hell yeah
Said the second gruff gravelly
Gas station voice It’s about
Time we taught that
Boy in the Whitehouse
Who’s really in charge

My daydream interrupted
I got in my car
And longed
For my teddy bear

Monday, April 27, 2009

pounding the pavement

Today the good folks at readwritepoem gave us a delicious wordle as inspiration for today's napowrimo poem. I chose to use the following words: impossible, wicked, cadence, lunacy, piggybanks. Not sure if it makes sense, but here it is:
It is impossible to ignore
the wicked cadence of my wants
the mad beating of me, me, me
pounding in my ear
then why, why, why
keeping time with my shoes
as they hit the sidewalk

Like bells around my ankles
they ring out as I walk
need, want, need, want, need
they hit and hit and hit my stride

I don’t know how to stop them
in their tracks
If I walked backwards
what lunacy would I find?
Could I undo my choices
and drop them like coins
in the piggybank
of my mind?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem was "Let's get Metaphysical," and they provided us with poems from Rumi and Hafiz to inspire us. I wound up writing from the point-of-view of one who cannot get past the worries of the world to see or know the metaphysical. The painting here is by French painter James Tissot, 1836-1902.
The Word said to Martha
There is only one necessary thing
But still she put her shoulder to the stone

The Word said consider the lilies of the field
But still she scrambled about,
Annoyed at the injustice of it all

It can’t be that easy, she muttered
There is more to all of this and
It remains hidden from me

His eye may be on the sparrow but
Mine is left to dart from
Room to room and worry

I know no yoke that’s easy and sweet
A woman knows bread doesn’t bake itself
And cobwebs don’t clear themselves away

And water does not part itself for us
We can only carry it in heavy jugs
On our hips and on our heads

And yet my sister gazes, simple, at His face
And worries not her hands, and worries not her hands
While Salvation leaves me to clean up in its wake

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Owner's Manual

Today's napowrimo prompt at readwritepoem asked us to write a "how-to" poem. I came at the prompt rather indirectly. I started imagining what an owner's manual for depression would look like (when written from depression's viewpoint).

Don’t be afraid
I’ve always been with you
Though the buoyant trajectory
Of childhood often outpaced me
I still napped in the corner of your crib
And balled up like a fist
In your young stomach
And painted that fear of displeasing
On the inner lids of your eyes

Don’t be dissuaded
Now that they’ve named me
If they could cut me out with surgery
They would but aren’t you afraid
Of what would grow in my place
And if they unwrap the wounds
I’ve long dressed and tended
How will you handle so dry a revelation
We do better together in the dark and the damp

Don’t be deluded
No new ways of breathing
Nor new modes of moving
Nor new pills they’re prescribing
Will keep me at bay
I am patient I know all your openings
I belong to your beginning
I’ll stand watch at your ending
And sleep you through everything
That comes in between

Friday, April 24, 2009

break through

Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to write about sound...

the Little Spokane

is loud with frogs and geese come

north where they belong

my winter ears stretch

and yawn, lean in to hear such

impossible song

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to consider a profession different from our own. I kind of loosely went with the prompt, because I thought of gardening.

She calls her plants her babies
Don’t you think gardening is just
Like mothering she asked I just
Smiled and nodded, embarrassed
To say that if I tended my sons
The way I tend my plants
I would have only given them
Attention when they were
Young and pretty and if they were
Smart they would be succulents
Lord knows they wouldn’t get any
Water from me at least not on
A regular basis and once they
Started to get sick I would
Just pass them by and sigh
And know it’s only a matter
Of time before I throw them out
And replace them with a new
Seedling or a fresh, precious bloom

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Napowrimo Poem #22 and Post # 101!

Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to take five lines from some of our favorite poets and use them to create our own list poem. Mine includes 6 lines from William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Seamus Heaney. I changed a few words, but left most lines in their original form. The last line is mine.

The Poet Remembers and Returns

Between my finger and my thumb
Full many a glorious morning have I seen
EARTH, sweet Earth, sweet landscape, with leav├ęs throng
Nothing be so beautiful as spring!
How like a winter hath my absence been, but
Delight becomes pictorial
When I take up my pen.
Also, this is my 101st post on this blog. Many thanks to all who visit, read, and respond. I am having so much fun with this.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pomp and Parenthood

Today's napowrimo prompt at readwritepoem asked us to write about the idea of a milestone.
It’s not like feeling your first kick
inside me
It’s not like pacifying you
through your first tooth
It’s not like watching you take
your first steps
It’s not like marking each growth spurt
on the wall
or taking your picture
on the first day of school
It’s not even like giving your name
to the car insurance agent
and watching you
take that first drive

No such firsts compare

When you kicked
only I could feel you
When you teethed
only I could soothe you
When you walked
you came right back
And we marked your growth
on a wall
in a home
that was mine
Your first day of school picture
was mine to take
and share
and brag with
And when you drove away
you took the same way home

But I can feel this milestone
stick in my throat

You were my first
so your firsts have been mine
But today is the beginning
of the ending
of that time

Monday, April 20, 2009

Her Sword

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem gave us a stunning photo from pareerica's flickr photos. The photo I used is actually different from the one on readwritepoem. My poem is definitely still a work in progress.

In the tower of the convent
In the tangle of her mind
Guinevere sighed and
Reached back in time
And wondered …
If Excalibur
Had been for her
What might have been?

If woman could part
Blade from stone
And take for hers
The sovereign crown
Would love still have
To sacrifice to law?

Could she undo old
Merlin’s prophecy
And set the fate
Of women free
From shouldering
The burden of the fall?

Could the kingdom
Ever belong to her at all?

If the power and glory
Were hers to take
And the beginning
Of it, hers to make,
For the three of them
And Camelot’s sake,
Should she not
that sword
the lake?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Birthday Girl!

My niece Molly turned one year old this weekend. She lives all the way in Arizona, so I couldn't be there for her party. Molly is the first girl in our family since I was born and we are all crazy about her. She's coming to see me in June and I plan on spoiling her silly.
Beautiful Molly
no poetry necessary
just look at her face


Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write about friendship...

We sat cross legged
Knees to knees
And painted our dreams
On the lids of each other’s

We had no need
For subtle shades
Saw no merit in earthtones
Our wants were young
And glaring

I painted on you
Exotic purples
And wished for

You painted on me
The brightest
Shades of aqua
And blue

I had no need to voice
My wish aloud
Or ask what my
Canvassed eyelids
Said to you

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'd like to thank the academy...

Lydia at Writerquake recently honored me with the Kreativ award. Lydia has a wonderful blog that I visit every day, so I am so thrilled that she would honor me with this!

The award does come with some instructions, which I am now dutifully following:

1. Post the award on your blog, and link to the person who gave you the award.2. List seven things you love.3. List seven blogs you love.4. E-mail or comment on those blogs to let the people know you’ve given them the award.

So here I go...

Seven things I love: 1. naps 2. tulips 3. babies 4. The Office 5. The Exultet sung at Holy Saturday mass 6. cheesecake 7. Angels baseball

Seven blogs I love:

1. Yipsandhowls --I just discovered this recently through readwritepoem, and I am really enjoying her poetry and her environmental consciousness. I also love that she is a "recovering academic."

2. Athenathoughts --This blog is by my much-missed California friend Tina, simply one of the most brilliant women on the planet.

3.GumpandGandhiholdinghands -- A wonderful place to go for whimsical artwork and words of inspiration.

4. Thinkingcities --Sam is not only a poet, but an accountant, dancer, and economist. I found his blog through readwritepoem as well.

5. Awalkinthewords -- This blog, by Wordacious, is a must for language lovers. Channel your inner linguist!

6. thespacebetweenwords -- I just love Angie's poetry!

7. Catapulttomars --Great poetry from a multilingual poet...

Spring Wind

Today's napowrimo prompt at readwritepoem was "Word Salad." I started with these words: whooshing, wanting, wind, spring, fresh.

So much whooshing and
wanting on the winds of a
spring storm—Change me oh

change me cries the fresh
air. No dry leaves to rustle
about, no deadness

to whistle on through.
Only a disconcerting
desire for something

Friday, April 17, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write about something that is missing.

This is still a pretty rough draft. I plan on playing with this more later...

Painting by Kandinsky

Missing: A little piece of me
the diameter of a quarter
Last seen: dissolving away
in my stomach wall

I didn’t know I needed it
until it was gone
Oh, how I cried when it left—
It nearly killed me

And sure, I found something
else to take its place
a perfectly healthy
patch of fat

The damage has been repaired
but the case is not closed
There is still the matter
of motive

I’m better off now
but I’d still like to know
what it was trying to say
to me when it left

Happy Belated Birthday Colleen!

The 13th of April was my sister-in-law Colleen's birthday. Colleen shares her birthday week with her adorable daughter Molly and with her wedding anniversary. So, there is always the potential for her birthday to get lost in all of the other hoopla. I'm afraid I'm guilty of losing sight of her birthday until a few days after the fact. I guess better late, than never...

Sister of my heart
so glad my little brother
chose you just for me

I love you, Sis!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't fight it

Image from Sukanto Demath's Flicker page

Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to take a word trail--to start with a word and that start exploring, using the thesaurus, dictionary, and/or rhyming dictionary. I started with the word "assuage" and then used a thesaurus and rhyming dictionary. I didn't know where I was going when I started, but here's what I ended up with:

There is no assuaging
There is no allaying
Impossible to mollify
when as middle-aged you
Absurd to try to propitiate
as one watches the body
Though surgery may manipulate,
to age one must
There is a certain depravity
in gravity.
Perhaps it is finally soothing
to have a face that’s long
past smoothing.
And possibly perfection
to throw off the deception
that we can stop
what started
at conception.
In youth there’s angst and sadness,
preserving it is madness.
Best to develop the facility
to find tranquility
in senility.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write a list poem about things we do to avoid doing something else. My list poem is more about reasons why I have avoided giving up the bad carbs in my life. I also have a list poem I posted a few months ago that kind of speaks to the prompt, but I didn't want to count it as my napowrimo poem--that would be cheating, right? If you're interested in that one, go here: WillandWon't

My reasons are many and
One can’t be expected
To make such a dramatic
Change on a holiday or
One’s birthday
Or in the morning when one
Does not have time
Or when one has argued
With one’s spouse and
Is stressed out
Or when there is cake
At work and for God’s sake
Someone went to oh,
So much trouble
To make it and at
The gas station why not
It’s such a long commute
When one has been running
In all directions one has
No space
For introspection
And anyway it is all

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rolling On

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write a poem about a car or inspired by a car.

So here it is:

I traded in my minivan

For a small, gas efficient sedan

It had become silly

A reminder of my past fertility

I no longer needed the room

It was an empty egg on wheels,

A hollow womb

Monday, April 13, 2009

Venus Rising

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem challenged us to use one or all of these words in a poem: acute, green, briny, room, pool, changeling, singularity, jubilant, impugn. I think I managed to fit them all in.

Do not, do not impugn
My singularity
I do not come to you like any other
I have risen
From a pool of green
Rode here
On a breeze so briny
I am not, I am not the same
One you saw this morning
With matted hair and
Crow’s feet framing her red eyes
In the harsh morning sunlight
Of your room

I am not her
I do not come from that place
I am a changeling
I am not the one
You thought I was
I will dazzle you
With my beauty
Then leave you jubilant
With an acute yearning
For my return

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt asks, "where do you come from?" Here is my answer:

My earliest world is
One of shapes and feelings
An awareness that
Everything in that little
Apartment is everything

Daddy is working late
Something called swing shift
I am eating chicken pot pie
And following her movements
With my young eyes

But she is there with me
I think she is folding
Laundry and carrying
Inside her what will
Be my little brother

She is always somewhere
Within reach
There is a cord that ties
I am for her
And she is for me

As long as she is with me
We are complete

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to write a poem inspired by an old movie. I did something a little different...

To all of the movies
From the late 1980’s
We went to but
Did not watch
We are sorry

We’d like to say
We tried but
We did not
In our defense
We were too crazy

In love so even
If we wanted to
Watch we could not
Have seen past
The windows that

Were foggy from
The selfish intensity
Of what we felt
For each other
In the last
In Orange County

Friday, April 10, 2009

Science Proceeds (Found Poem)

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem is to write a found poem, in which you take a passage from someone else's prose and turn it into a poem. The following is from Mappings in Thought and Language by Gilles Fauconnier (google books).

Science proceeds
Indirectly it correlates
Surface phenomena

Interpreting them in
Certain ways
At the observational level
And hypothesizing deeper
And more general.

Relations and principles
Underlying the phenomena
Of our knowledge...

The universe is

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Psalm II

Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to consider the concept of "paradise" and write a poem about it. I guess with Good Friday approaching, I can't think of paradise without thinking of how hard it seems to be to get there. I also have been looking at the Psalms as poems lately, and I wrote my own psalm a few weeks ago. So, this is my longing-for-paradise psalm...
I have been anxious
and worried about so much
I want to sit at your feet
and find the only thing
that you say is necessary.

Oh, to stop the reaching
and the grasping! I
want to find the place
where I am carved
in Someone’s hand.

Oh, to be the Beloved
with my head on your breast!
And not be afraid to ask
Is it I? When I come back
to the rock who bore me
what shall I find?

The one who longed
to gather me to Herself,
the one who broke Himself
in half for me? Oh please
take the mud from my eyes
And tell me I’ve cried
My last lonely tear.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Old Flame

Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write about an old flame...
I called an old flame
but the words
came out wrong.
Twenty years of
And we still
haven’t learned.
I guess that’s what
when your old flame,
your husband,
and your first love
are one
and the

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This is for readwritepoem's napowrimo prompt #7, which asked us to think about nicknames. I started thinking about different terms of endearment a mother has for her baby. I began to think a of son being comforted by such terms of endearment at the end of his life, and that led me to this:

He is at the beginning
of the returning.
Her voice comes
in the tired evening
whispering his childhood name—
Sweetie, Macushla, Mijo.

She smoothes his sagging cheeks
and spent skin
with her tender hand.
His limbs no longer ache
and wonder what to do
with themselves.

For she swaddles him
safe and tight and
gathers him to her breast.
He is home—
his body has always
been cradled in hers.

His lungs no longer rattle
His heart no longer struggles
She breathes him in
And there is no more trying—
Just being. He is hers.
He is home.

Monday, April 6, 2009


This is for napowrimo over at readwritepoem. Prompt 6 gave us this great picture from pensiero .
They had imagined
Soft landings for their golden
Parachutes but crowds
Of the forgotten
Stormed up ladders, grabbed their lines
Clutched them in angry
Fists and delighted
In suspending them helpless
In the unforgiving

Sunday, April 5, 2009


With just a dram of
wanton perfidy you can
defeat guardians

of scruples with some
truthiness, so sycophants
rejoice! My methods

are eclectic, my
morals, psychosomatic.
Money makes me smile.
Today's napowrimo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to get a list of words from a fellow poet, and base a poem on some of those words. Well, I asked my 3 sons to write down some of their favorite words, and then created the above poem from the following: dram, wanton, perfidy, guardians, scruples, truthiness, sycophants, eclectic, psychosomatic, money.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Today's napowrimo prompt on readwritepoem asked us to be inspired by color. Here's what I came up with.


I don't think I can ever

be like Burns’ red, red rose
or plait a dark red love-knot in my hair
like Bess.
Or be the girl
with the red lips
in the red dress.

To wrap myself in red would be too much.
It would burn.
The rose has thorns.
Bess spattered her love-knot
With her own red blood
For the man in the red velvet coat.
And the red lips
of Yeats’ rising woman
were mournful.
They changed everything.

No, red is too risky. It doesn’t ask. It takes.
It can call itself scarlet, ruby, merlot.
With red there is only one way to go.
I prefer to stay with my greens and blues.
But if red warms and scorches,
Melts and consumes,
then I guess red
is what lives
in me
for you.
This is also Rick's birthday poem. Happy Birthday, Rick.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my dad's birthday. Here is a poem I wrote for him in 2007...

My Father's Music

If I close my eyes I can hear
The soft crackle of the turntable
Gordon Lightfoot singing
Bitter Green they called her
I can feel my father’s fingers
Waiting for the sun
Strumming along
Waiting for someone
On my arms, cheeks, forehead
To take her home
It takes me home

And then I can hear
The roaring in my infected ear
Soothed by the sound
Of my father singing
I ain’t got a penny
In the softest monotones
For Cotton Jenny
All night next to my bed
To spend but then
So sweetly flat and faint
The wheels go round
Until the mercy of morning

Close them once more and I can feel
The rustling of my mint green
Dress-up dress
On a date with Daddy
Out at the movies
Chim chim cher-ee!
Just him and me
When you’re with a sweep
No brother or mother
You’re in glad company
Such glad company

Last night I opened my eyes
In a hospital bed with tubes
Sticking out of my stomach and head
And my father’s turntable
Jennifer slept
Crackled again in my post-op mind
In her little bed
The mercy of his music
With dreams of a rabbit
Strumming me home
In her little head
Keeping me company
Through another dark night

Lyrics by Gordon Lightfoot and Tom Paxton and from Mary Poppins

Three Prongs

She pulled the fork
From the flesh of her
Soft belly
Its prongs had turned dull,
Making it more of a struggle

She pressed her palms
Over the three wounds
To staunch
The flow of her shame,
Stopping it from spilling out

She despaired to think
Of such a messy end—
A stream
Of her guilt, her disrepute
Drowning them all, but

She closed her eyes
And gave each wound
A name:
Depression, addiction, deception.
And removing her hands,

Let the baptism begin.
This is for readwritepoem's third napowrimo prompt: "three in a row"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home Economics

This is in response to readwritepoem's napowrimo prompt #2, which asks writers to take 5 nouns and 5 verbs from one subject/discipline, and use them to write a poem about another subject. I have chosen to write about housecleaning/home economics using math terms. I'm afraid this poem shows my limited abilities in both subjects:

There is no equation for perfect housekeeping—
no rational number of things to be cleaned.
Dirty clothes multiply overnight. Dust bunnies
divide and travel from room to room. Surely

a vicious distributive property is at work:
Estimate the time needed to scrub this bathroom,
and apply it to the other two,
and I get an equivalent fraction of my life wasted

on the lowest common denominator.
Sooner or later we are all reduced to scrubbing
off our own dirt. If I were organized enough to
graph that time, I doubt I would like the slope of that line.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The Little Spokane is slow and muddy now.
Bogged down with debris from melting snow,
it groans and pushes its shoulder
against the solid banks.
Spring is an effort.

You have to shake off so
many months of cold inertia.
Ice is easy.

It provides the perfect cover
for lies of omission.

Spring requires acts of contrition.
The Little Spokane has no choice but
to move.
But me, I want to build a dam,
then go to sleep.

This is my first poem for napowrimo, a program for National Poetry Month from readwritepoem. The challenge is a poem a day for the month of April!