Friday, April 30, 2010

Early Summer

The Little Spokane brims with forward motion
and the fulfillment of half a year’s promises.
Men and women float themselves on her surface.
Buoyant with expectation, they dip their paddles
in her fluid plenty, claiming for their own
her bends and eddies, her happy irises and
waving grasses, framing it all through mechanical
lenses. The mother moose sees them bob by
from the corner of her muddy eye and doesn’t move.
She stays down and lends her weight to the solid ground.
Today marks the last day of National Poetry Month, and my 30th poem for the month. I did it! 30 poems in 30 days! I wish to thank the good folks at readwritepoem for their support and the community they provide for poets. They close their virtual doors tomorrow, and I will miss them terribly!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I hope I die before I get old

Roger Daltrey fears end of Who,
says Pete Townshend’s hearing problems
may finally be too big
to overcome
If carrying on is going to mean
Pete going deaf, let's stop now,
he says,
entering old age in a silent world –
nothing is worth that
Our bodies are beginning
to give up on us
you have to be realistic—
I am 66 years old

And back in Hollywood
Bill Murray says that
Ghostbusters 3
will happen
over his dead body
It’s ridiculous,
he says,
a horrible rumor
The first one was still
the better one
so another one
wouldn’t be any better
The studio wants to make it
because they can re-create the franchise
and put new Ghostbusters in it
That's what it's about

Meanwhile handwritten lyrics
to a John Lennon masterpiece
made the news today (Oh boy)
the sheet of paper
is to be sold at Sotheby’s
in New York
on June 18
priced at $500,000 to $700,000
but is likely to fetch more
than the record $1 million
paid for the lyrics
to All You Need is Love
in 2005
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to use headlines for inspiration. So, I came up with a kind of found poem based on three entertainment-related news stories I read on 3 different websites today. Links to the news stories are in the poem.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Intuition comes as a shard
and pierces mind or hands or sides
depending on the kind
It is sharp
It punctures flesh with fragments
of knowing
and meets us where the brain
intersects pleasure and pain
then stops us there
leaving us peripherally enlightened
and aware
I know this to be true
because years ago
I was pierced
at a slant
with the totality of you
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem was all about intuition...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where they come from

Flecks of rust flake from my
Red hair, like pigment dandruff, and sprinkle my face while I am sleeping.
Evidence of my unfinished business or
Cancelled wishes?
Kisses from angels, my mother said, a
Lovely sentiment to be sure but
Even that seems insufficient explanation, I need
Some grander theory of origination.

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write an acrostic, which I have not done since I was a kid! As you see, I still have freckled on the brain (an on my face).

Monday, April 26, 2010

wrong way

I rounded off the
corners only to be left
with nowhere to turn
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem was to "get scrappy" and use a piece of an unfinished poem. So, I took this scrap and made a haiku. It's all I've got in me today, apparently, but I kind of like it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stephen Hawking scares the hell out of me on a Sunday morning

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to use the first words we hear today as inspiration. I deviated from the prompt a bit but using one of the first things I read today, so this is mostly a found poem.

Stephen Hawking
humans should fear aliens
extraterrestrial life almost certainly exists –
and humans should be extremely
cautious about interacting with it
To my mathematical brain,
he says,
the numbers alone
make thinking
about aliens
perfectly rational
Stephen Hawking
that aliens might simply
raid Earth
for its resources and
then move on
We only have to look at ourselves,
he says,
to see how intelligent life
might develop into something
we wouldn't want
to meet
I imagine they might exist
in massive ships,
he says,
having used up all the resources
from their home planet. Such
advanced aliens would perhaps
become nomads, looking to conquer
and colonise
whatever planets they can reach
Stephen Hawking
that trying to make contact
with alien races is a little too risky
He says
If aliens ever visit us, I think
the outcome would be much as when
Christopher Columbus first landed in America,
which didn't turn out
very well
for the Native Americans.
Thus confirming as rational
a belief I have had
since studying fractions
in the third grade:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shakespeare, Aesop, and Poison

Uneasy is the head that wears the crown of gold
or thorns.
Every rose has its thorn but gold
has no such mechanism. It doesn’t punish predators
it makes them.
Gold and thorns: they’re both slow killers.
Remember the story of the little mouse who removed the thorn from the paw
of the great and ever-after grateful lion?
Well that won’t work with a man
who has gold stuck in his paw.
No creature
great or small
has ever been known to pull off that heroic act
and live to tell the fable.
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to explore phrase finder for inspiration.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 23 and it Feels Like Herding Cats

the bad stanzas
hiss and scratch at my eyes
before they run away
the good ones
are also hard to herd
they dart around the room
and knock over vases
before purring and curling
nicely on my page
and even then, I am left
needing an antihistamine
when we’re done

Here's what I did with today's NaPoWriMo prompt "unlikely couples"...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Like There's No Tomorrow

Pablo Picasso--"Tête de Femme" / "Portrait de Jacqueline de face. II"

it’s hard not to dizzy myself here
in the emporium of bad ideas
or flinch as they reverberate
off the rusty pipes
and pepper me with their fierce
insistings and twistings


they start as a whisper and end
as a squall then crow when my
ear finds them inevitable

only then do they soften
and wind themselves around
like saffron tendrils on my crown
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem gave us a wordle to work with. I think I worked in all of the words, if you count the title, too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Freckled Woman

A freckled woman
Must make friends with her mirror
And learn not to count
A freckled woman
Lives at the intersection
Of cute and blemished
A freckled woman
Is queen of those persistent,
Rare, recessive genes
A freckled woman
Warily regards the sun
And hopes for détente
A freckled woman
Knows there’s really no such thing
As a blank canvas
A freckled woman
Pities the timidly smooth,
The always airbrushed
A freckled woman
Can’t help but put it out there
And hope for the best
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt from readwritepoem asked us to write about the idea of perfection or imperfection. When I thought imperfection, I thought freckles!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On the mound

On the mound my son
Is a study in impossible pre-pubescent grace
On the mound my son
Is liquid motion
Is preternatural poise
Is singular purpose
On the mound my son
Is focus and balance
Is velocity and trajectory
On the mound my son
Is a kinetic stoic
Is arm and leg and ball and glove
Is a perfect arrangement of parts
On the mound my son
Is science and poetry
Is divergence and symmetry
On the mound my son
Is beautiful
On the mound my son
Belongs to no one
On the mound my son
Is completely mine and separate from me
On the mound my son
Is himself
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt #20 asked us to write about a hero. This week, my hero is Brendan.

Monday, April 19, 2010

And then a plank in reason broke

It’s one thing to see
on TV
the bone-through-the-nose signs
and the show-us-your-birth-certificate signs
and thousands of armed citizens
protesting a president who has made no move
toward their guns
heck, I even got called a terrorist lover
in person
over a bumper sticker
at a Post Falls gas station once
and even that one thing
didn’t bother me so much


when I saw
in my city
on a beautiful day when spring
was making her debut appearance
when Spokane
was flowering at every turn
there they were:
the Obama-with-a-Hitler-moustache-sign people
calling for impeachment
and apparently very concerned
about the fate of NASA
(we all know how anti-NASA Hitler was)

I felt the bottom drop out
of something, somewhere
and it felt
I'm under no illusion that my political rants make particularly good poetry, which is why I don't do it often, and I didn't follow readwritepoem's prompt very closely today. However, this has been bothering me since Saturday, and it felt good to write about it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


(cat clip art)

You hate
As I slink between
How much
Your shy ankles
You love
And rub
your inhibitions
up and out
you know
then dance away
that I
on padded feet
don’t care
across your lawn
that you do
and up your wall
and that
to another’s home
I don’t care
another’s floor
that I don’t
another’s chair
and anxious lap
you back

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Santa Ana Winds

Image from LATimes

I scatter the debris
Of your unacknowledged

Dirty your hair with it
Knotting it into a nest
Of frustration
Tangling it with distrust

Batter your eyes with it
Pushing against your guardian lashes
And rubbing it in
Leaving you squinting red

Punish your lips with it
Until they are cracked
And cannot round
Into a no without bleeding

Today's NapoWrimo Prompt 17 asked us to write about one of the elements. I don't feel like this is finished yet, but it is what it is for now.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The difference between you and me

The smell of baby powder triggers
a longing in me for
the rose petal folds
the pink promise
of my babies’ skin

The smell of baby powder triggers
a transportation back
to their rooting mouths
their nuzzling cheeks
their curling fingers

The smell of baby powder triggers
an urgent need
an ancient purpose
a sad remembering
a sweet aching

The smell of baby powder triggers
this response from you
god damn! it smells
like dirty diapers
in here

*more accurate expletive added in last stanza since poem was originally posted :0)
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt16 from readwritepoem asked us to write a poem inspired by the sense of smell. For a nicer scent-related poem about my husband, click here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I filed my tax return todayI
in verse
a far better way to determine
my worth
Instead of figures,
I wrote off
the figurative:
overwrought metaphors
clichéd similes
pretentious allusions
so many poetic losses
I incurred on a regular basis
All my failed efforts
1040-ed up
in black and white
Needless to say,
I expect
a big

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


her skin holds memory, perfect longing,
of her babies, round and reaching,
even when she sleeps, hungering, hurting,
motherhood is the invention throughout the night
of necessity, injury and wanting,
and she will always need the itch that knows no relief
Today's readwritepoem NaPoWriMo Prompt14 was to write a cleave poem. Blogspot is not letting me separate the two vertical poems, so I have put the second in red.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


His chapel fell into flowers long ago
And now his children frolic in the fields
Playing among the ruins
Unfettered by orthodoxy,
They are free. And he is glad.
The world is their cathedral
They are not trapped in confessionals
Or caught up in catechisms
Independent from institutions,
They know no fear of collars and robes.
And he is glad. They are free.

At night they sleep while chapel walls
Build up around his bed
And he is stirred out of his slumber
By the ancient and the primitive
And he wonders why he longs
To proclaim their names in water
Lay his hands upon their heads
Anoint their brows with oil
And break his love for them into bread.
But this need is his, not theirs.
They are free. And he is glad.
This is in response to readwritepoem's NaPoWriMo prompt #13. We were given several wonderful first lines from the poet Norman Dubie to choose from, and asked to write a poem using one of them. The first line of his that I chose was "His chapel fell into flowers long ago."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kmart Waiters

Whatever happened
to the Kmart waiters?
I could swear they
were once at our beck and call
at every blue light special
long before Martha Stewart
stormed in to class up the place
there were the Kmart waiters.

Now all that’s left
are the Walmart greeters.
Not nearly so classy,
though friendly, they’re still
not enough to gussy up
the union busters
or the sweatshop labor
no, they don’t have the pizzazz
of the Kmart waiters.
Somehow I felt better
about the Kmart waiters.

The above poem is a response to readwritepoem's 12th NaPoWriMo prompt. The prompt asked us to "Make up a secret code. Begin by writing a few nonsense sentences, like “The raindrops tap out a cry for help” or “The dandelions are saying all at once, ‘You are overwhelmed.’” My nonsense phrase was "Kmart waiters." Once, when I was dating Rick, he fell asleep in front of the TV, and woke up crying out: "What about the Kmart waiters?!" So, that's where I got my start for this poem. Beyond that, I'm not entirely sure what this poem is about, though I have some inklings...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What might have been

Creative writing,
I once thought that I wanted you
for my major

Since my girlhood,
you were my dream, everything I wanted
for myself

When our time came,
your face, your voice was so different
from my dreams

You turned out to be
a drunk professor
who cancelled class when he couldn’t find parking
and told me I had no poetic voice
but didn’t tell me where to find it
a black-clad student
who believed that to be a true poet meant
to forego shoes and shower infrequently
and to write weekly free verse odes to his penis
another black-clad student
who told me that good poetry came from
good f***ing. She also wrote many odes
to penises. And cockroaches (I never got the connection)

So we parted ways.
I was confused. I didn’t fit in
with any of your friends
and you had very few kind words
for me.

For years I used you as an excuse
but I dropped that act a while back.
Would I be any better now
if I had stuck it out? seen you through?
Perhaps we’ll never know.
I’m not sure if you care,
but I still kind of do.
This is in response to readwritepoem's NaPoWriMo prompt # 11.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I must admit I'm pressed for time today. I just spent a lovely evening celebrating Rick's birthday with friends and lasagna. I'm full and sleepy, and just for this evening, am resorting to a little Haiku.

Homemade lasagna
Makes me happy and I think
Made them happy, too.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Winter massages spring’s shoulders
Is all over her like an octopus
Then jerks her around like a marionette
Stows away in her back seat and follows her home
Startles her on her own front porch
Takes her feet right out from under her
But before she can even begin to bruise
He breaks himself open like a rotten egg
It’s embarrassing, really
He’s lost his touch
His snow doesn’t even stick anymore

This is in response to readwritepoem's NaPoWriMo prompt #9.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


A flake of unwanted April snow
Tossed about by unwanted winds
Finds its home on hostile ground
Rests briefly
Melts tenderly
Today's NaPoWriMo prompt was "unusual love connections." I couldn't get into romance today, so I focused on sacrifical love.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


a deserted play pen
curious blue eyes blinking above the edge of our bed
a startled separation, an untangling of limbs
a sudden shift in priority
an adorable change of plans

Today's NaPoWriMo prompt 7 asked us to "write and capture humorous incidents related to love in a 5-line love poem called a tanka."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Image from hkoppdelaney

A veil between want
and butterflies
is not the
you would expect.
To look at perfect
through filmy longing
is safe--the danger
is in
beholding it
with your own

This is in response to the prompt for NaPoWriMo#6, which asked us to converse with an image or images. I looked at this striking photo from hkoppedelaney's flickr page, and this is what I heard.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Today's NaPoWriMo prompt is the following: "Give poetry, as you write it, a name. Possibly a gender. And a personality." I tried, but couldn't name her.

She’s everything
in me that makes me afraid
and unsure that is

why I can’t name her
no, I can only claim her
and give her my best

without the fear she
induces I could never
step up I would stew

in my own juices
I love her because she makes
me brave
I love her because
she saves

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Un-Zen Art of Mothering Tulips

I should have a more Zen-like attitude
toward tulips.
But I can’t.
My attachment is too great.
I spend the last trimester of winter
and filled with fear
that this will be the year
that they don’t come.

And when they arrive
I waste our time.
I know too much
from past experience
with baby toes
and baby fingers
and baby feet
that such pink softness,
such perfect curves
and folds
are much too sweet.

The heartbreak
is that they seem
to stay still
and rest themselves against
my grateful breast.
Happy, so it seems, to be at rest.
But no matter how tight
I swaddle,
they stretch out,
open up,
scatter their petals
to the worldly ground.

So I would like to say
my time with them is
spent in the now.
But it isn’t.
A mother’s love is all about
And I haven’t found
the will
to release
the wanting

This is for NaPoWriMo Prompt#4.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good Friday, Still

image from wikimedia commons

So much is made
of the letting go
and the holding on
is dismissed
as dysfunctional
there comes a time
when to Love
is to hold on
to the splintering Wood
with all your might
and to bow down
and embrace
the wounding night

Possum Invasion

They crept across the kitchen floor
They slept in my kitchen dish towel drawer
They hissed at my poor pregnant feet
They visited my pregnant sleep
And in my dreams they did give rise
To a bassinet full
Of their blank, beady eyes
With slow insistence, they crawl on the earth
And insert themselves
Into my dreams of birth
The third prompt for NaPoWriMo was to write about what scares us most. Baby possums are the most terrifying creatures. When I was expecting my second child, my house was invaded by baby possums for a few nights in a row. My husband was working nights, and I wound up taking my 2-year-old son and sleeping at my in-laws because I couldn't figure out how they were getting in and I couldn't scare them away. I still get the creeps when I even think about them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Regular White Paper

Regular white paper
gives away nothing,
sets no mood or tone.
It is as quiet as January,
essential as bone.
It is exacting.
It softens nothing.
Offers neither protection for prose
nor solace for syntax.
It terrifies the imagined
into real shape and size.
Unpitying, it pushes
the poem
toward new, unblinking eyes.
Today's napowrimo prompt asked us to visit acronymattic and use one of the acronyms for Read Write Poem (RWP) as inspiration for today's poem. Hence, I wrote a poem about regular white paper.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

NaPoWriMo begins!

I've taken the poem-a-day pledge for National Poetry Month over at readwritepoem, and this is my first of 30 poems. Today's prompt asked us to shuffle song titles from our ipods or CD players and use the titles to make a poem. Well, the title idea wasn't working for me today, but I think I stayed true to the spirit of the prompt. I randomly sampled lyrics from a single CD in my car stereo and incorporated them into my poem. The CD is "Woman of the World-Celtic." Song lyrics are italicized...


Can you recall the day we married, Oh!
We were beautiful, we were
Those children in the portrait
Hanging on our wall
Smiling out at Us Now
We were them then--
Silver winged, poised to fly
Across a landscape
Of blissful trusting and unknowing
Did anyone warn them?
That love is never easy
It's a stream running up
A mountain
It's not waves of romance
Washing away
The sober land
But it can be years
Of waiting
For the wheel to turn
And pulling
The roots of
A seemingly dying tree
And pretending not to care
Who wears the crown
Did anyone warn them?
No! Those framed children
Had no ears
They didn't want them
They saw summer sunsets
And asked for more
Believing they deserved them,
Believing that love
Was the great Because
They can't believe
That we forgot.