Monday, December 31, 2007

The Enemy

Free Day for ReadWritePoem December 31, 2007

I checked the site and the prompt was: sanitary

Well, that wasn’t doing anything for me so I let it percolate for awhile. But all I could think about was what was happening to a little 11-year-old girl. Her mom has a crafting blog that I visit and just before Christmas they found out that Meghan has bone cancer. Her mom started another blog to record this ordeal. They are looking for all the strength, prayers, and wishes they can get.

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The enemy
crawled into her arm
slowly, like a mountain
lion creeping up
on its prey

then curled
in the nest of bone
to chew away
on tissue

piece by piece
at will.

Now, the sheriff
and his posse
are out scouring
the terrain
for this predator

huge guns
in their hands
trigger fingers
itching to shoot

while she lies there
that they won’t miss.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Now and Then

Sunday Scribblings December 30, 2007
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Then and Now

In 1980
we unplugged
our TV
and put it in the closet.

Suddenly, our home
was alive
with human interaction.
We played cards,
read books,
rode bikes,

No more electric
waves piercing
us with arrows
of poisoned

No more stupefied
kids sitting
with thumbs
in their mouths,
blank looks
on their faces,
cotton batting
in their brains.

Tonight, I’m sitting
here in the living
room with my laptop
open; my husband
is watching
Combat Zoneon the Military Channel.

Our home is filled
to bursting
with canned words
and music
leaving no space
for us.

We haven’t spoken
in two hours.

All I hear is the pt pt pt
of a machine gun
shooting bullets
right through the screen.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Moon Island

Moon Island for Totally Optional Prompts December 27, 2007

Here are three false starts and then one that more or less meets the prompt. As you can see, I had a hard time getting into any poetry so decided to just go with what was happening and to post all of it to show my agonizing process.
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The moon walks with me at night
It puts its warm arm
around my shoulders
like a shawl
and steps along
with me
right, left
right, left

It’s wise eye
listens to my thoughts
or just smiles
at my decisions.

Bleck. Not another walking poem!

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The moon is an island of peace
I swim toward when I walk,
its wisdom as warm as a fleece.

After school, after husband, I need a new lease,
a new perspective, a fresh shock.
The moon becomes an island of peace

where the tribulations of the day cease
and I don’t have to listen to anyone talk
except the moon offering it’s fleece.

No, no, no! That fleece is terrible!
A villanelle should have much more memorable lines.
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It’s quiet
in the house.
My husband has gone to work,
Christmas is over,
the kids have returned
to their own lives,
and I’m on vacation.

Now I have time
to write
at leisure.

All this does is tell. Yuck!
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I get up with my husband
and make his chicken sandwich
then wait patiently
for him to go to work.

I hear his diesel engine
leave the driveway
and open my laptop
ready to dive
into as much poetry
as I want today.

I check out the prompt
at Totally Optional Prompts
and get an idea right away.

Four tries later
the words are flowing
one way onto the screen
but aren’t flying back
into my heart.

They are just pancakes
lying there with no maple syrup,
no butter.
I’ve lost my fork
and appetite.

I have no more gifts
to buy,
no food to prepare,
no lessons to teach,
no house to clean,
no husband bugging me.

So, where are the poems hiding?
Why won’t they come out to play?

I’m an island of solitude,
a balloon moon
floating through the day.

I need a lake of annoyances
with a long reflection
connecting me to the world.

I’ll wait until
my husband gets home
and in between
making supper,
listening to him,
watching the news

words will tiptoe
across my computer
and march
like soldiers
through my bloodstream
releasing rocket launchers
and setting off flares.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Vacation Writing

3WW December 26, 2007

curious eventually shower
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Vacation Writing

The next few days
are a clean white board

that I can fill
any way I want.

I have an 8-pack
of colorful pens.

I have an eraser
for mistakes.

I have enthusiasm
and energy.

But, it’s a curious
thing: I can’t think

of a damn thing
to write. Oh, eventually,

the words will ribbon
out of the tips

and I’ll stand there
in a shower of inspiration

but right now
that white board

is blank and the pens
are snug in their holder.

And I’m going to have
a glass of wine.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Few Words About Books

I added that shelf thing and am not sure I'm going to keep it. I've noticed it on other sites and am always interested in what others are reading so thought i'd try it for awhile.

I'm in the middle of Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult right now and loving it as I have enjoyed her other books. I read my first Picoult book in the fall and now am hooked. What a great writer!

I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns and really got into it. I'd heard that it wasn't as good as his first book but I liked it even more! The female perspective really appealed to me. Can't even imagine living like that!

To the Nines will be my next read. I've been working my way through these Stephanie Plum novels, laughing out loud all the way. I have a feeling I'll be needing something light after the serious ones I've been reading.

Besides the books shown here, I am also in the middle of a poetry collection by Jim Daniels called In Line for the Executioner. I like his casual style and down-to-earth subjects.

I just received a scrapbooking book I ordered a couple months ago from called Scraptastic! by Ashley Calder. She's so creative and inspires me to try new techniques.

These last two books were not available for my bookshelf. I guess they don't have everything.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Read Write Poem for December 24, 2007

I really enjoyed collaborating with Sister AE. She was easy to work with. Having never done anything like this before, I was a bit hesitant at first, but her personality and mine seemed to blend very well.

We started with our horoscopes for inspiration. Sister's is first (She's a Leo), then I wrote the first stanza. We alternated after that ending with my horoscope (Aquarius).
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Come Clean

"If a partner can't get revved up today,
encourage them to pick up the pace."

I vacuum, and do the laundry
while you sit in your La Z Boy.

Steadily working through the mundane
chores, with an inner eye focused
beyond the immediate goal,

beyond the dust of resentment
no Pledge could ever remove.

With rag, and sponge, and spout,
each wipe, each scour, each rinse
pushes away the stain.

You sigh
when I ask you to move
so I can wash the hard-wood floor
behind your chair,
annoyed that you will miss
part of the war
you are watching
on the History channel.

Are we
doomed to repeat
our unlearned personal histories?

I could complain, throw a fit;
I could walk out the door
and leave you behind
or I could sit down
and watch TV with you.

I breathe in
the air of here and now,
then exhale my baggage,

put the cleaning supplies away,
bring out the bourbon,
and ask you to join me
on the couch
to watch Jeopardy!.

"The best connections are built in the brain.
Only an intellectual connection works"

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Favorite Holiday Memory

Sunday Scribblings for December 23, 2007

Two years ago, my grandaughter was born just before Christmas. Here's a cinquain about that holiday.

open presents.
I sit with the weight of
my first grandchild on my lap,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Totally Optional Prompt: You're listening to the radio

Totally Optional Prompt: Keep right except to pass

Today during Journal Writing in block 3, I gave my kids the prompt: You’re listening to the radio. I decided to write to this prompt, too, since I’d tried to write to the TOP during blocks 1 and 2 but nothing was happening. Wouldn’t you know, the minute I stopped trying…
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You’re Listening to the Radio

It’s a transistor radio
propped up
on the dashboard
of your family’s
1964 Ford station wagon.

“Hang on Sloopy” is playing
and your mother asks,
“Is he saying, ‘hang on stupid’?"

Mothers! you are thinking.
You are fifteen,
your mother doesn’t want
you dating yet,
or kissing, even.

You glare at her
as if she has just said
the dumbest thing.

She turns her head
and looks out the window

as your superior smile
slides right by her.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Cleaning Girl

3WW December 19, 2007

clumsy fire overlooked
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The Cleaning Girl

She smelled of sweat
and unwashed hair.
Stains decorated the front
of her too-small T-shirt.

I’d watch her carry
her cleaning supplies
toward her motel rooms,
Her shoulders rounded
her clumsy feet pigeon-toed.

Later, I’d check her work
to see what she had overlooked.
Sometimes, it was an extra
roll of toilet paper,
sometimes the dust
on the TV,
often, soap or towels.

At the end of the day
she’d shuffle back
to the storage room
with a sour look
on her face,
the same look
I knew
she’d make
when I’d have
to fire her.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: On the Road Again

I got home from school
late one evening last week
and my husband
had our stereo on.
We have a stack
of old records
and he had Willy Nelson’s
“On the Road Again” playing.

I put my book bag and purse
down and he snuck
up behind me, spun me around
and we started to dance
and giggle.

He gave me a rum drink
he’d prepared
and when “Mama, Don’t Let
Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys”
came on we sang
and danced
and danced again.

And the night
swirled around us
silky and smooth
while the day melted
from my shoulders
and the years turned
into black discs
with the power
to transform.

Words from a Novel

Read.Write.Poem for December 17, 2007

For this prompt we had to take the last noun or verb from several chapters in a book that we love. I chose To Kill a Mockingbird and picked the following words from the fist eleven chapters which is the first section of the book: house, thing, blankets, laughing, lawyer, hear, face, said, word, gentleman, paper.

The thing about poetry
is the laughing
my heart feels like doing
whenever I transform
ordinary sheets of paper
into blankets of words.

Oh, sure, a lawyer
might argue
that it’s still paper
and, as nice a gentleman
as he is, he has no idea
that every time I write
a poem, I’m really building
a house
where feelings live,
a shelter for bruised

He can’t hear
the music
a poem makes
or the prayers
that are said
in whispers

and he certainly
can’t hear
the laughter.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Birds and Bonds

Birds and Bonds for TOP December 13, 2007

I had no idea what I was going to write about but those birds seemed to say to me that sometimes we just can't get away from people we want to. So, I sat in front of my computer at school and just went for it. This needs tweaking, for sure, and If I liked it more, I would.
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She marvels at the white
of Mt. Washington
against the blue tablecloth
of the sky
as she returns home
for Christmas vacation.

Driving into Gorham
she passes Mike’s
house, decorated
with tiny white lights
as cold as icicles.

Her own home
is bright with caramel
welcoming her to sweet

While shopping
the next afternoon
she spies Mike
in the same store.
A chainsaw
roars to life
in her chest.
She turns around
to leave
but not before
he calls her name.

“Don’t stop” says
her brain.
“Turn around and smile”
commands her heart.

Blood spatters on her ribs.
Brown eyes flecked with gold.
The saw hits her lungs;
air leaks out.
That smile,
that voice.

The one saying,
“I’d like you
to meet my

Her left arm
slides around his.
Shake hands.
Brain numb.

Finally, turn to go.
She walks home
leaving red footprints
in the snow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


This week’s words for Three Word Wednesday are: headlights, virtual, closing. I tried several poems during Journal Writing but nothing that worked for me. Finally just decided to keep it simple and try a cinquain.

like virtual
headlights, my heart waits. You
walk by, no smile. I feel myself

Monday, December 10, 2007


Playing with line lengths for Read.Write.Poem December 10, 2007

I hit the refresh button six times on the Read.Write.Poem site and took the words from the prompt generator to write a sestina. I normally write short lines so these long ones were different for me. I actually had fun writing this even with loganberry!

ache veneer bone loganberry discard bust
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Into each day must fall a piece of ache
that eats down through the veneer
of our lives straight to the bone.
It might only be the size of a loganberry
but it is something that we must not discard
nor is it something that we can hope to bust

apart. Sorrow is a punch in the bust,
a kick in the balls, a toothache.
It’s a teen’s razor blade you want to discard
but you know she’ll still find a way to cut her veneer,
make it bleed as red as a loganberry,
to find her pain, scrape a bone.

A hurt is emptiness like taking away a dog’s bone,
like cutting off the torso of Shakespeare’s bust;
it’s as unsatisfying as eating an unripe loganberry.
But we all have them, these daily aches.
They carve their initials in our veneer.
They come with a tag that reads, “Do not discard.”

Oh, sure, it seems like it would be great if we could discard
all the little annoyances that bug us to the bone
but then, we’d be nothing but veneer,
a shell of air that anyone or anything could bust,
leaving us scattered, little shards of ache
left to rot on the ground like dead loganberries.

That’s why I had to help Logan bury
the evidence of the sin he wanted to discard.
I could have turned him in, causing him a big ache
but, instead, I dug a hole and covered the bones,
and prayed that we wouldn’t get bust-
ed. Now my smile is but a veneer

like the grass over the grave is a veneer
hiding the truth of what lies near the loganberry
bush. My heart still beats under my bust
but the guilt is something I cannot discard.
He took a life, turned flesh to bone.
I wanted his love but, in return, got only his ache.

I let him crack my veneer, pull out my soul, and discard
it like a shriveled loganberry. All this for a bon-
er. I take a knife to my bust. I bleed and ache.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


This week’s prompt for Sunday Scribblings is Competition
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The Spelling Bee

Sister Alexander stood
in front of our sixth-grade class,
small face,
black olive eyes
mustache like a caterpillar.

We students,
split in half,
lined each side
of the room,
boys in slacks,
button-down shirts,
and string ties.
girls in skirts,
with new bras
showing through,
and knee socks.

There was a magnet
over there and his name
was Paul Daley;
my eyes just couldn’t
stop resting
on his freckled face
and crew cut.

Slowly, one after another,
words were flung
at the students.
You could see those words
hit them right in the face.
Their eyes would widen
and they’d throw letters
back at the teacher
who would shake her head.
And one after another,
they’d shrug
and sit down.

Eventually, there was only me
and Paul Daley left.
A word would zip to Paul
and he’d spell it correctly;
another would fly to me
and I’d do the same.
Back and forth
Him and me
Him and me

The way I’d been dreaming
ever since third grade
when the sky
of his eyes
turned the sun
in my chest
to butter.

Finally, Sister Alexander
said, “colony”
and I could see
the letters
lining up in my head.
Paul went first
“C O L L O N Y”

A few of the other students gasped
and he knew.
Now, all I had to do
was spell it correctly.
“C O L”
I glanced at Paul.
When had he gotten
so much taller than me?
I saw a cloud
dim the blue;
his smile
“O N N Y.”

The next word
didn’t matter.
Paul knew it;
I did (n’t).

The boys
cheered him
as I took my seat
amid the understanding
of the girls.

And I sat there,
the stones
from Sister Alexander’s eyes
rattling around
in the shell
of my brain.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Road Signs

For totally Optional Prompts December 6, 2007

Road Signs

There we were
tootling along
the marriage highway
like Pac Man
chewing up
those dots
one after

Oh, sure,
there were yield
where we had
to compromise

and detours
our problems.

There were rest
stop vacations
to Florida
and St. Thomas
and Hawaii

but we hung
on even around
sharp curves
and construction

Not once
did we hit
a red light
or stop sign

until now.
There up ahead
is a yellow
and I’m starting
to put the brakes on,
taking it off cruise
slowing down,

“Go right through it”
you say
and in a split second
I decide…

Monday, December 3, 2007

Three parts of My Life

Three Parts of My Life for Read.Write.Poem December 3, 2007
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I will go to school
(Hon, can you make a deposit
for me on your way to school?)
and teach a lesson
on The Canterbury Talesto my British Literature students.
(What did I get for a sandwich
I’ll lead a discussion
of symbolism
in Catcher in the Ryewith my tenth-graders.
(What do you think
we’ll be having
for supper tonight?)
And in third block
we’ll continue
our study of advertising

After school
I’ll go home
and put some chicken
in the oven
then turn
on my laptop
to check
this week’s prompt
at Read.Write.Poem.

And the day will spiral
into a whirlpool
of words
that swirl and jump
in my brain
like number balls
in a lottery
and the lucky ones
will slide
down the chute
of my arm,
through my fingers,
and onto the screen
arranging themselves
into a poem.

(Ode to Joy trills
from my cell phone.
“I’m on my way
I’ll peel a couple
of potatoes
and put them on
to boil
then rush back
to the computer
to post my poem.
I’ll pour a glass
of merlot
and read other
poets’ entries.
(The diesel engine
of his truck
pulls into
the driveway.)

I’ll reluctantly
close my computer,
mash the potatoes,
make small talk,
correct papers,
then go to bed
and dream
of plaiting
my hair
into one long

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Sunday Scribblings for December 2, 2007

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I wait
while the lavender
fades to gray
and then changes
into a little black
velvet dress
heading out
for my walk
each night.

I sip
the dark
of fresh air
and nibble
on the Ritz
of the moon.

A little conversation
with myself,
a wave
at the stars
and this cocktail
is just the treat
I need
a busy day.
Linda's Poems