Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flame Darkness Wish for 3WW

Because I'm on vacation, I was able to check the three words nice and early. Unfortunately, what I saw was Thom's rough draft before he up and changed the words for his final draft! Too funny!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ricky’s Wish

Gary painted flames
on the gas tank
of Rick’s motorcycle

one fiery stroke
after another,
his hands gently

holding the brush
and the belly
of the bike

creating heat
in the darkness
of his brother’s

death. Soon
he’ll put the ashes
in the empty

right gas tank
and take Ricky
for one more ride

Monday, December 29, 2008

Stardust for One single Impression

He promised her the moon

All she wanted was a home

He promised to take care of her

She sighed as she headed to work

He said she was his everything

She picked up his dirty socks

He apologized for cheating on her

She kicked him out

He begged to be taken back

She wiped the stardust from her eyes.

The Monday Poetry Train: Never and Always

I wrote this a couple years ago for one of my students who was dying of cancer. Unfortunately, Jacqui slipped into a coma before getting to read it and died a few days later. I gave it to her parents.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Never and Always

You could concentrate
on all the nevers,
like you’ll never get married,
have children,
get wrinkles,
go to Europe,
own a home.

You could think about
those things, those nevers
but they are sponges
soaking up time.

The vase of your life
is almost out of water
so while you’re still
think about always.

How you’ll always be young
in your parents’ eyes:
soft pussywillows
that last forever.

You’ll always be the person
who taught me courage;
I am humbled by your bravery.
I’d like to let my hair go gray
but worry about what
the kids would say,
then I think of you,
statuesque in your baldness.

You’ll always be the person
who pops into my mind
when I think of conscientious
Even when you had to have
an operation, you got all
your assignments completed.
I compare you to another kid
in our class who didn’t
even have an excuse
for never doing his work.

Always is the moon
rising fat and yellow
month after month.

Always is you,
someone to count on
to rise to the occasion.

Some people in eighty years
don’t have as much effect
on others
as you have had on me.

Thank you for being always.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Believe...for Sunday Scribblings

I believe in the magic
that curls into our house

whenever Kylie comes to visit.
I believe in the power

of “Amazing Grace”
to make me cry;

whenever I hear it,
I think of my dad’s funeral.

I believe in the laughter
bubbling in our home

on Christmas day.
I believe that teenagers

will take over
and it will be a better world.

I believe in Buffalo wings
to erase problems

and the chemistry
of a simple kiss goodbye

in the morning
and another one

later in the melting day.
I believe in words

that float in the airwaves,
recline on clean white paper,

or knit themselves
into the poetry of our lives.

I believe in the sky of his eyes;
he believes in the earth of mine.

Opposites for TOP

I Wanted

I wanted to have steak for supper
but you wanted breakfast
so we had bacon and eggs.

I wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune
but you wanted Law and Orderso we turned to TNT.

I wanted to go north to the bookstore
but you wanted to get back to camp
so we went south on Route 1.

I wanted to swim
but you dragged me down
and I drowned.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ancestry for ReadWritePoem

My maternal grandmother was always a very stern woman and I love this picture of her smiling with my mom.
My grandfather, Pepere, was such a handsome man. I feel like I never really knew these grandparents because they spoke mostly French and I didn't.
Last spring there was a "Looking Back at Local History" article in the local newspaper about how my grandfather had once been in an accident and how he helped save several people. I wrote the following poem about it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I never knew

my grandfather

was a hero.

I remember him

as just being there

smiling at me

like a photograph

caught in the gauze

of my memory.

I never thought

of him as a man

going to work,

playing with his kids,

telling a joke,

listening to music.

What foods did he like?

What made him laugh?

What were his dreams?

The picture I have

of him is one-dimentional,

flat, gray.

I don't know

what color shirt

he was wearing

when his car

went into the water.

I can't see the weather.

Did he scream

as he helped the women

out of the water?

Did they hug him

in thanks? Pepere,

who were


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Faith, Miracle, Whisper for 3WW

Faith Hill
on a CD.
Music’s a miracle,
a lover at my ear with sweet

Monday, December 22, 2008

Poetry Train: The Lounge

The Lounge

I’d like to sit in the smoky gray
with my inhibitions
swirling up up
gathering in clouds
on the ceiling.

I’d like to step
out of my self,
leave my skin
in a wrinkled pile,
kick it out of the way.

I’d like to sit naked,
a heart beating
to the rhythm of a poem,
a soul thrumming
to piano notes
that weep.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Late for Sunday Scribblings

Too Late

I’m poemed out.
It’s late in the school
day and I used
all my words already
in earlier classes.

They were bunched
up like cattle waiting
to be let out into a field
after a long, cold winter.
And when I picked up
my pencil, the gate
swung open
and they gamboled
down my arm,
and stretched
out on the clean
pasture of my paper

leaving me empty.
I close and lock
the fence, put my
notebook away,
and smile wryly
at these stragglers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

First for TOP

I wrote at least three "first" poems this week and they were all terrible. So...

I wrote this over three years ago just after our first glimpse of Kylie. We thought for sure she was going to be a boy. The ultrasound was a twenty-minute video. (Gary is my husband.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ultrasound: 23 weeks

This hand-sized little man
resting in his La-Z-Boy womb

just passing the time playing
with his umbilical cord.

He crosses his feet,
stretches out
examines his toes,
scratches his cheek

a miniature Gary
fiddling impatiently
practicing for when he’ll have
a remote in his hand.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jealous, Hesitate, Neglect for 3WW

Jealous of my books,
you think I neglect you~
a hesitant kiss.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I'm Longing For for Poetry Train

It isn't even winter yet but I'm sick of it already!
In 1991-92 we spent the winter in Hawaii and I'm "home"sick for it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I long for the house
we rented on Papailoa Drive
in Haleiwa, Hawaii
one winter.

I long for the front
windows full
of ocean like
television screens.

I long for the layers
of lacy waves
splashing on my
legs as I walked.

I long for a winter
with no responsibilities,
just one day of heaven
after another.

I long for one more
chance to appreciate
the miracle of
living by the sea.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Knew Instantly...for Sunday Scribblings

I have no women’s intuition
My first impressions are always wrong

I don’t
trust myself
Ideas have to percolate for awhile
When I go Christmas shopping

I never
buy anything
on that first trip and I hate it
I’ve never known anything instantly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vague-Shatter-Enemy for 3WW

Every Thursday when I do journal writing with my students, I put the previous day's three words from 3WW on the board and that is one of the prompts they can choose to write about.

When we are done writing, I normally read mine out loud to them.

Today when my seniors came in, they were all in a twitter about some gossip having to do with sex. So, when I started writing, that was on my mind.

The following is what I wrote with no tweaking. I haven't been feeling especially creative this week so it's all I've got.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sex is not the enemy
your parents think it is.

Just shatter all those old ideas
they’ve been feeding you.

(Okay, there is no way
I’m going to read this out loud!)

Sex is a healthy part of life
when both people are ready for it.

It shouldn’t lurk in shadows,
a vague shape.

It’s sunshine after rain,
summer after winter.

(And, now, I’m really
getting trite!)

Persona Poem for TOP

Feeling pretty dull this week. Too much going on with Christmas, etc. Came up with this, though, during my planning block today when I was sitting in front of my computer.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Name Is Dell; I Am Your Slave

I hum
all day
a tuneless hymn

I eat
your words
devour them

I keep
of your living

I trans-
port you
to other lands

I purr
a soft
contented song

I wait
for you
I wait for you

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Unsavory for TOP

That Inconvenience

in my stomach;

my uterus.

The red carpet
rolled out
for the stars

of my
agony. Two

our oak tree, Nathan,
and his sister,
Erin, our Tuts,

I smiled
as I reached
into the tampon box.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

for Writer's Island: Fireflies

- - - - - - - - - - - -

winking against
the blackboard
of night

in the jar
of our minds

We are kids
with flashlights
hunting for

We are teenagers
on a blanket
under pine trees
(wink) (wink)

We are parents
watching fireworks
on the fourth of July,
holding hands
as the kids twirl
their sparklers

We are middle aged
parking in a corn field,
where one of us
loses his wallet.
The stars (wink) at us
and blush.

And, now, at almost 60
we unscrew the cap
and watch the fireflies
dance to the evening song
of our memories.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Winter's Tale for Sunday Scribblings

In June, I’ll froth out
in lavender cones

but, now, I’m at rest
watching the snow

inch up on my boughs.
See my black branches

silhouetted against
the blue eye of the sky.

I’m covered with a layer
of shiny ice

just biding my time,
knowing this deep freeze

is necessary for rebirth.
I remember when Linda

was on a sailing vacation
in Florida one January

and the sail boat got grounded
near a beautiful garden.

The kind owner invited
her in and Linda marveled

over the winter blossoms.
The owner replied,

“Oh, but you have lilacs.”
I am the spring of winter.

Kyrielle for TOP

A kyrielle is a poem in which a refrain is repeated at the end of each stanza. Some kyrielles rhyme and some are written in a certain rhythm. Mine isn't.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

For Those Kids Too Lazy to Get Their Butts out of Bed in the Morning

The black flowers of cancer
blossomed twice in her brain:
chemo, radiation, baldness.
But still in school every day.

Imagine being sixteen
and wearing a colostomy bag:
weight loss, nausea, embarrassment.
But still in school every day.

Born with Marfan’s Syndrome
distorted muscles, a weak heart:
difficulty breathing, walking, learning.
But still in school every day.

Bone cancer like a wildfire
eating her up from the inside:
operations, treatments, hopelessness.
But still in school every day.

Blessed with tree trunks of health,
with every reason to enjoy life:
strong and sturdy and smart.
But still you skip school many days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3WW: Fury, Quilt, thankful

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The fury of love
is sewn with thankful stitches
into the quilt of life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Poem Using the Letter V

I had my kids grab a dictionary, go to a letter, and pick out 8 words that struck their fancy. Then they had to write a poem incorporating all the words. I chose V and picked the following words:
vacuum vague valuable valentine vibration violet volt vulture
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Men can be such vultures
floating on updrafts
of women’s weaknesses.

Sometimes their intentions
are vague and fade
into the violet dusk

while at other times
they are as voracious
as vacuum cleaners

sucking the marrow
out of anything we
consider valuable.

Women can live without
these volts of jealousy
from insecure men;

we don’t need their valentine
lies that are just
vibrations of neediness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sound for TOP

I have no idea how to incorporate sound for my poetry so here's a poem I wrote about my granddaughter, Kylie's, first smiles.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Sound of a Smile

I hear music
when you smile,
notes tinkling
in the air
and swirling
in a merry dance.

On this day
in cold February
the tune
was a summer
waltz, slow
and easy,

thawing out
our winter

Grateful for Sunday Scribblings

I'm Grafeful For

The pink baby blanket
clouds behind the black
skeleton of trees

that I see outside
my living room window
right now.

Decent grades for my
lower level class
on their spelling

quiz today with only
one student spelling
“grateful” wrong.

(Parentheses of alone time)

The glass of merlot
that sits next to me:
liquid garnet.

The quiet, like a sauna,
that surrounds me
as I write this poem.

(Alone time)

The warm fleece that is family.
The umbrella of friends.
The heartbeat of books.

Pats on the back
from bloggers.
And at the end of the day

the sound of my husband’s
diesel engine pulling
into the driveway.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3WW: Corrupt, Intellect, Tension

Corrupt Intellect Tension
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Red claws
squeezing my neck,
corrupting intellect.
I see dots in front of my eyes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Poetry Train: Michelle on Ft. Myers Beach


Piles of dead leaves
dance around my back yard.
I wish I was dancing to “Margaritaville”
with Michelle on Ft. Myers Beach instead.
The sand was our dance floor
and the waves kept time.
She was a sprite, new and innocent
frolicking in the foam.
The sunset winked at our silliness.

She was perfection:
whipped cream on butterscotch pie,
twinkling like an angel.

I wish I was on that open beach again
swirling her around.

This isn’t a poem about a little girl, though;
it’s a poem about the magic of childhood
and how we can all capture it
by dancing barefoot in the sand.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Stranger for Sunday Scribblings

I heard about this law in Nebraska designed to offer a safe place for newborns to be dropped off by parents who can't or don't want to take care of them. Unfortunately, the lawmakers didn't put an age limit on it and people from all over the U.S. have been dropping their older kids off.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Safe Haven

Mom, no, don’t
leave me here!

Wait, turn around,
stop walking

out the door.
I know I’ve been

a brat and uncontrollable.
I’m sorry I hit you,

ignored you,

But you can’t leave
me here in Nebraska.

You’re getting smaller,
you’re pushing

the door handle.
The wind whooshes

bringing in the scent
of abandonment;

it swirls around me,
isolating me

in a capsule of hate.
You’re just a shadow,

now, behind the glass
that reflects me

standing alone, mute,
screaming your name

in my mind. A stranger
takes me away.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Expectation for TOP

I wrote this one during Journal Writing in first block this morning. The students had two prompts to choose from: "Remember an afternoon" or "A song you love." I combined the two. But, I don't think I built up expectation very well.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Riding in the pickup
through the mosaic
of a New Hamsphire
autumn, drowsing
in the butterscotch
of heavy sunshine.

Your husband slips
a Dr. Hook CD
in the player
perking you up
and you both
start singing
to “Freakin’ at
the Freakers’ Ball”
mangling the tune
and lyrics
and laughing.

Then the doctor
bemoans the fact
that he “got stoned
and he missed it”
and you remember
your brother-in-law
who was shot to death

and how he loved that song
because it described
his life so well.
You smile, look
into the sky
of your husband’s eyes
suddenly wet

and reach over
to touch his hand
in the stained-glass

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

3WW: Blush, Quiver, Tenderness

Blush Quiver Tenderness
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3:43 pm

paints blush
on the cheek
of the sky.

I’m home
writing a poem

the tenderness
of the hour
buoy my
deflating spirits

after a day
of shooting
arrows of literature
into the minds

of stubborn students.
Now, I slide
those arrows
back into the quiver

of my heart
where they’ll
for another day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Poetry Train: The Fire of a Poem

The Fire in Your Belly

To light the fire
of a poem,
begin with paper.
I prefer white lined
but plain will do, too.

Then you’ll need
a pen or pencil. My
instrument of choice
is a yellow Bic mechanical
pencil. I twist it
to bring the lead up
just right.

Now that you have
your kindling, you’ll
need something to light
it with. That’s where
your ideas come in handy.
Rub a couple against
each other and watch
the sparks shoot up.

The more thoughts you
throw on it, the higher
the fire. Grab a beer
or a glass of wine, pull
a chair up close
and let the heat
of your words
warm you.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Change for Sunday Scribblings

Not feeling very poetic this week so this is just a news report.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Today, in Massachusetts
on a warm, sunny day
a young girl
on a yellow
school bus,
changed seats
to sit at the front
where it wasn’t
as bumpy.

The bus driver
did not approve
of this so he
yelled at her,
stopped the bus,
and made her
get off
a mile and a half
from her own home.

Guess who’s looking
for a new job

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Marketplace for TOP

This is a found poem I got from the IGA flyer that arrived in the mail today.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Price Break$ in every aisle
Thanksgiving Baskets
(Never heard of these.)
The Sweetest Pineapple Grown $2.99 ea.
(How do they know it’s the sweetest?)
High in Fiber * Low in Calories
Russet Potatoes
(Guess they’re trying to negate
the bad rep potatoes have gotten
in the last few years.)

Baking Headquarters
Moist Deluxe Cake Mix 10 for $10
(I don’t make 10 cakes in 10 years!)

The Best Meats in Town
(This is the only grocery store in town.)
Frozen Food Favorites
Stouffer’s Select Entrees 2 for $5
(There’s probably more nutrition
in the packaging!)

The Freshest Produce
Get everything you need
to eat healthy
at your local IGA
Eat Smart Convenient
Cooking Vegetables 2 for $5
(Cooking vegetables?)

I bought a few groceries
today and it cost me
$140. The sad thing
is that not one item I wanted
was on sale.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My First Ride on the Poetry Train: It was that kind of night

Wrote this a couple weeks ago during Journal Writing with my students. I turned the topic into the title.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It Was That Kind of Night

The sky entered
my mouth
like cold beer
and made me shiver.

The moon
was a cocktail onion
in the martini
of the night

and your eyes,
your whiskey eyes
I got drunk
on a shot
of your

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Scandalous for Sunday Scribblings

Just a light-hearted memory that I'm sure was scandalous to my parents.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You Hear a Siren

And your heart flip-flops.
You’re going 115 mph
in a Chevy Impala
with your boyfriend.
You’re going parking
after a school dance.

Your best friends
are in the car behind you
and that’s why you are flying.
Put two guys together
in their parents’ cars
and they just have to race.

You’re sitting up close
next to your boyfriend
and you don’t bother to move
over when he slows to a stop
and the cop swaggers
up to the window.

What the hell. You’re in trouble

And thus began the ending
of that relationship:
with a siren
and an idiot.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wordle #2 for ReadWriteWord

I managed to use all the Wordle words: hammock, incense, upon, color, carress, gambol, suck, endure, life, stilts.

This is a true incident that happened at our school yesterday. I know in some parts of the country this is probably a normal occurrence but, in our neck of the woods, it hasn't happened in 30 years.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The message was written
upon the inside of a stall
in the boys’ bathroom

and it incensed the principal
so much that he called
the police. The writer promised

to bring a gun to school
on 10/31/08 and use it to kill
as many “fuckers” as he could.

It made me wonder
what kind of a life
he’d had to endure,

what caresses he’d missed
out on, what abuse
had sucked the love

out of his soul. How could
the color of his sunshine
be black? What caused

him to slink through
the world like a dung beetle
instead of gambol,

head held high, like a horse
breathing the air
of green meadows?

I’m planning on retiring
in three years
but today I wish

I was already living
in the hammock of our stilt
house in sunny Florida

and not in New Hampshire
under the heavy clouds
of broken kids.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTE: Today, our principal and vice-principal along with the police figured out who wrote the message and apprehended the person. I heard a rumor that it was one of my students and I'm just sick about it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bragging for Sunday Scribblings

This topic made me uncomfortable because I'm not one to brag or boast about myself. I tried writing a poem but just couldn't get into it. So I looked through my files and found this one that I wrote a few years ago for a high school poetry-writing class I taught. I think it shows off what I like best about myself: teaching kids and spreading a love of poetry.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Teaching poetry to you guys
was like growing a garden.
When you entered the classroom
for the first time, you were rich soil
just waiting for me to plant
the seeds.

So I watered you with metaphors
and personification
and added the Miracle Gro
of imagery
and before my eyes, poems
were sprouting.

The amaryllises of
Annie, and
were elegantly spearing for the sun.

The yellow marigolds
of Mario, Marissa, and Meghan
scented the garden with spicy verses.

Our two Johnny-jump-ups,
Jessica and Jessica
blazed in purple stanzas.

Rachel and Roxanne
were delicate roses
with soft petals of words.

Those two bright sunflowers,
Steph and Sam,
grew tall with smiles and similes.

Bunches of soft heather
were Haileigh
filling notebooks with the hum
of her heart.

Kirstin was a vase of pinks
picked as carefully
as word choices.

Elyse, enchanter’s nightshade,
cast spells with her pencil.

We’ve had rain
to create emotion
and wind that tried to bend
your stalks
but the strength of your stories
sustained you
so that today I look out at
a colorful array of
human poems.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another 3WW: Ache, difference, suffer

Ache Difference Suffer
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She hears another kid
talking about someone
committing suicide

and runs out of the room
with those words
chasing her

down the corridor.
They are drills
boring into her.

Each step
is a jackhammer
in her heart.

The hallway walls
are vices
squeezing, squeezing.

The guidance counselor
watches her suffer
wishing he could

absorb her ache,
her guilt for breaking
up with her boyfriend

and then learning
that he had taken
his own life.

But he is unable
to make a difference.
She returns to class

eyes red
a fist in her throat.
The other students stare.

I don’t want
to make matters worse
by singling her out.

But I am amazed
at her courage
to even come back

to class and face
the others. She doesn’t
know it yet

but she’s going
to be

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Style for Suday Scribblings

“’That ain’t my style’ said Casey. ‘Strike one!’ the umpire said.”
~Ernest Lawrence Thayer

This is the first thing
that popped into my head
when I read the prompt
for this week.

I thought I’d be able
to whip up a poem
in no time at all.
Instead, I sit here

staring at the screen
thinking about teaching
“Casey at the Bat”
years ago to my eighth-

grade students
and reading it to my
high schoolers in October
2004 when it looked

like the Red Sox
could never beat
the Yankees.
But, tonight, it is letting

me down. No ideas
are percolating. No words
are marching down my arms.
I’m at bat, like Casey,

and the ball is coming
toward me but, “It ain’t
my style” so I don’t
even bother to try to hit it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Collaborative for ReadWrtiePoem

This doesn't make much sense but I had fun adding punctuation and trying to make it work. I did have to add a couple of endings to two of the words at the end just because the originals didn't fit at all. (in brackets)

slink across chrome alleys.
deplete memories
of sacred tablature.
Antiquated courtyards
host tribal artifacts
which nobody recognizes.
remain untouched.

Yet, civil guards scream
Lost meditation resurfaces.
I, brilliant though forgettable.
Words, tenuous, ly[ing] scavenge[rs],

Internal Rhyme for TOP

I tried writing a poem with internal rhyme this morning but it just wasn't happening. I've written two such poems in my entire life and I read them both to my tenth-graders and they liked this one the best. So here it is from many years ago.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I love the beach when the reach of the waves
obliterates, inundates, and engraves
the rocks. The sand and land disappear
so no one’s there for this rare atmosphere.

I love the shore when the roar of the surf
comes crashing down with a frown on the turf,
when clouds are gray and the spray stings my cheek~
deserted stretch that is fetching and bleak.

I love the ocean’s emotional tug
so powerful like the pull of a drug
when wind and foam form a comb for the weeds~
alone by choice I rejoice and my needs

are satisfied by the tide when austere.
When others spoil, I recoil and I veer
away to wait, hibernate, while it’s nice.
I need a storm to transform and entice.

Bradenton Beach, Florida

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

3WW: delicate, night, jaded

Delicate Night Jaded
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“Love is delicate”
she warned her jaded boyfriend.
He laughed in her face

turning lacy thoughts
into leather valentines
the night he left her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wordle for ReadWriteWord

wind espresso field rain warm gentle science turning tricksy autumn stubborn incandescence belly loving velocity explore philharmonic realize anapest arguably pestilent silence insight laugh flask whisper hooded igloo sigh enormous
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“You are such a big bull”
he says to me
every time I bump
into furniture.

I try to laugh it off
but those words slide
into the flask
of my igloo heart
and I carry them around
with me all day,

turning them this way and that
as they become
more enormous
by the minute.

Each letter is rain.
Each word is the wind
that whispers
in philharmonic

There is no science
to explore the velocity
of that sentence
as it hits my belly,

no insight
into the field of silence
that stretches
from me to you.

Six syllables
of anapest
that create a prairie
between us.

I could blame it
on the tricksy autumn
season of my life
making me clumsy

or your espresso

But I am stubborn
and loving you
has made me realize
that you have,
a pestilent tongue

that works before
your brain. I know
you don’t mean
to hurt me

so I put my sweatshirt
on and head outdoors
to get over it.

I walk away from you,
a hooded shape
becoming smaller
and smaller.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

To Live at a Different Time in History for Sunday Scribblings


I found a stray
hair on my chin,

noticed that I need
a color soon,

had to suck my tummy
in to fasten my jeans,

dreamed about being
young again

then looked out the window.
Pine needles had made

a brown shag carpet
all around our camp site,

the sun was sifting
through leaves

all mango and cantaloupe.
I heard the siren lure

of a train whistle
and realized

I’d rather stay
right here

in my October
writing this poem.

Empowered for Writer's Island


I spent the morning
in front of a computer
designing a TeacherWeb page
and if I turned my head just a little
I could see the sun
designing a mosaic
on the fall leaves.

Now, in this caramel afternoon
I’m sitting on a beach
with that same sun
painting shadows
in all the little pockets
of the sand.
I watch the waves
rush toward high tide
crocheting an intricate doily
on the shore
and with a yellow pencil
I design a poem.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Forbidden for Sunday Scribblings

Only the moon
at us

the stairs
to the ski


bursting out of me
in nervous

my shaking hand
around the neck
of a Michelob

you sitting
next to me

I lose
in the moon
of your eyes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Free Prompt for TOP: The Letter K

My granddaughter's name is Kylie so when I gave my poetry-writing students the assignment of taking a letter and meditating on it, K came to my mind immediately.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Meditation on the Letter K

Three sticks make a K:
one long and two short ones.
This K is a peacemaker
offering a resting spot
for the two upstart
short sticks
that want to head
their separate ways.

K is picky, not showing
up in too many words,
but when he does,
he’s often with his sidekick C.
They are like Dick and Jane,
Barbie and Ken, Frick and Frack,
Kermit and Miss Piggy,
Captain Kirk and Dr. Spock.

K’s are masculine verbs
helping us walk, talk, pick,
snicker. They are cabooses
kicking us along.

A K says yes with
with every okay
but whispers
when he’s at the head
of the pack
leading us on to sparks
of knowledge.

On bended knee, a K
waits for acknowledgment
and a kiss.

Our Kylie started
as just a speck,
a look between her folks,
a knock on the door,
a quick smile.

Now, though, she has grown
into the capital K of her name
with two feet exploring
and an arm stretched out
ready to catch the package
of life.

Wedding for Sunday Scribblings

I teach a poetry-writing course in high school and the kids are also interested in writing song lyrics. I have had no experience with that but try my best to give them some ideas. This is one of my my poor attempts at writing an AAA song which contsists of three verses with a refrain at the end of each.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Wedding

Our friends were getting married
And we fought about the gift.
I suggested silverware
But you were for a fifth.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head;
I’d never win, of course.
We were going to a wedding
And heading for divorce.

You sat beside me in the church
But left a space between.
I listened to them say their vows
And swallowed down a scream.
I wondered why you hated me
I didn’t know the source.
We were sitting at a wedding;
I was thinking ‘bout divorce.

Later at the reception
In a silence filled with ache
You stayed on the other side of the room;
I thought my heart would break.
Then I heard them play our song
And felt you touch my back.
We danced and every movement
Put us more and more on track.
Our love was stronger than your fury.
It rocked us with its force.
We were dancing at a wedding
And forgot about divorce.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Zest, Dissolve, & Trinket for 3WW

The Recipe

called for orange
zest so I took that sunshine
out of the fridge
and grated the rind
into rays.

Then I added it
to the batter
of flour, sugar,
zucchini, baking powder,
and orange extract.

Because I’m never satisfied
with a plain recipe,
I added trinkets
of walnuts.

After I baked it,
I cut it into slices
letting the steam
rise like ivy vines
around and over
and into my nose.
I buttered it,
and then…

I took a bite
of all that warmth
and let it dissolve
in my mouth.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


for Sunday Scribblings
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The oak leaves
are waving
for me to join
them outdoors.

The sun’s eyes
have that come-on
look, bright,

Through the pine trees
I see a lone maple
turned red,
a heart

beating, alive,
enjoying the life
left to it.
The air

is a golden gift.
All I have to do
is pull the ribbons
to open my day.

But what am I doing?
Sitting on the couch
watching Sunday Morning
and writing this poem,

feeling like the pair
of dungarees I see
hanging on the line,
stuck there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

3WW: They Met in Providence

Agree Execute Providence
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

They met in Providence
at an insurance convention.

Two lost and lonely souls
looking for excitement.

She sent the buzzing bees
of her need straight

to the hive of his heart
and he got stuck

in the honey of her stare.
They spent the night

and both were amazed
at how creatively

the other was able to execute
maneuvers to please.

In the morning they agreed
to meet again the next year

then headed back to their spouses
and jobs and lives

humming a buzzing tune,
their steps lighter, like flying.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Coffee for Sunday Scribblings

When I get older,
I'm going to drink

Each morning
I see its diaphanous

wrapping itself around
the corners of our

forming curlicues
of warm, cozy

I see my husband
pour cream in and

it into caramel swirls,
sit down, and

become one
with its

I've always heard
that it was bad for

with fibrocystic breasts
so never took up the

except for a rare
decaf laced with

But soon I'll be
old enough to drink

every morning
and all those curls

flow deliciously
into my

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Miracle for Sunday Scribblings

Just a teensy, everyday miracle...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Fog is tangled
in the arms of trees.

Pine needles
wear lone rhinestones.

Oak leaves
are aluminum covered.

The guy
across the street

sits at the edge
of his screen room

with the door open
and his legs sticking out

smoking a cigarette
and drinking coffee.

There is no sun;
there is no gold;

we’ll see no blue sky today.
I write a poem, anyway.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3WW: Awry, blame, Hiatus

Awry Blame Hiatus
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It’s fourth block.
The kids and I
are tired from a day
at school.

We are studying Hamletand his “to be or not to be” speech
is scheduled.

I have separated the parts
of the speech
to simulate
Hamlet’s dilemma
and run off copies
for them.

I divide the class
in two with desks
facing each other,
and have offered them
a challenge
to read the speech
in two voices.
The side with the loudest voices
wins an extra hundred
on their next quiz.

To make it fun
I have a tape recorder
ready to go.

First, we practice
and they mangle
most of the words,
especially the ending
where it says,

“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.”
They trip over “sicklied”
saying sickled, instead,
but after a little practicing
they get it.

And then comes “awry”
and they all want to say “aw´ ree”
over and over again!

So, I tape them
and play it back
and we laugh
and they never get it right.

Finally, I give up
and can’t blame them
for hating Shakespeare,

especially at the end
of a long day
when we are all too tired
to sympathize
with Hamlet
and all they can think
about is the bell ringing
a hiatus
from learning.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Somewhere for Sunday Scribblings


Every time I pick up a book
somewhere becomes real.

Each page is a wing;
each word a footstep.

Somewheres sit on my bookshelves,
a line of geographies.

Today I’m going to visit
the Boston area in two eras

as I finish The Bone Garden
by Tess Gerritsen, who is from Maine.

Tomorrow, another somewhere
will whisk me away.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Frist Time I Met....for Sunday Scribblings

This is about the first time I met a student who was different.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When I walked into my first
high school English class
as a teacher, my eyes
were drawn to a girl
whose legs were covered
in tattoos and whose face
had so many piercings
it looked like a Christmas tree.

I wondered what the heck
I was doing there.
She scared me!

For her first essay
she wrote about
how family was very important
to her and how she
didn’t get along
with her mom and stepdad
so went to live
with her boyfriend’s sister
and now has to work
full time.

One day she came in
with a new tattoo
on her arm that looked
like Japanese calligraphy.

“What does that stand for?”
I asked her.

She answered simply,

She didn't scare me anymore.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Cinquain for 3WW: The Young Novice

Bored Habit Settle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Young Novice

bored with praying
so she settles her hands
on the rising mound under her

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the Moment for ReadWritePoem

The morning is green
freckled with gold and blue

as I sit under the exclamation points
of pine trees

on this, the last Monday
of summer vacation.

Wooden clothespins
look like gymnasts

holding handstands
on uneven parallel bars.

An American flag
waves at the sun.

The silence
of chirping birds.

Then my husband wakes up,
turns on the TV,

and fills the silent spaces
with his questions

that batter like bats
obliterating the beauty.

I stop writing my poem
and begin to make breakfast.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Observations for Sunday Scribblings

Just a simple observation about taking a walk.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Last Night

The last night of vacation
is dark.
The stars’ eyes are gray
with tears.
The wind is cold
as I walk up
around the Russian Church.
Dead leaves chase me
like puppies trying
to nip at my feet.

I know I will have to get up
early the next morning
and that thought sits
in my stomach
like too much turkey dinner.

This walk is
an Alka Seltzer,
a small burp of relief.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Three Dogs for TOP

We've had three dogs over the years so they were perfect for this prompt. Molley was our pre-kids baby. She died at three from cancer in her shoulder. My husband found Joshua in the woods and he and our son grew up together until Josh got hit by a truck when he was seven. Nathan wrote a letter that we buried with the dog. Annie was with us for 15 years.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Firstborn, brown and white,
tomato stealer, beer sipper
St. Bernard puffball


Golden protector.
My son’s constant companion.
“Dear God, please watch over Joshie.”


Faster than the wind.
Gentle brown eyes gaze with trust
sweet as chocolate

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

3WW: Intimate, River, Waiting

Intimate River Waiting
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She’d always heard
that love was a river,

that the more intimate
you became with its depths

the easier you could drown.
So, she avoided the whirlpools

and stayed close to shore.
She didn’t know a waterfall

was waiting around the bend.
It catapulted her over the edge

and into the churning arms
of wet, wild, wonderful lust.

Then she lost herself
and died while the river

continued on, searching
for new victims.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Beyond Your Wildest Dreams for Matinee Muse

A Voice

My mom started
talking again
last week.

It’s not much
more than
a whisper

but it is a
softness so

For months now
she’s been
mouthing words

and we’ve been

one of the sad
side effects
of cancer.

Hearing her voice
now is like
winning a

soccer game:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

3WW: kissed/killed

Million Time Unnoticed
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A million bright stars
went unnoticed and time stopped
the night you killed me.

Whoops, meant to type “kissed.”
Freudian slip? No, just truth.
I died the night we kissed.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Funny Story for Totally Optional Prompts: The Kiss

I always do the same assignments I give my Poetry Writing students and this was the result I got from a sestina exercise. I went through magazines and cut out interesting words and each kid (and me) got 6 words to use as the last words in each line.

And, yes, this is partly autobiographical, unfortunately!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Kiss

I can’t believe I was all thumbs
when I got my first kiss.
There he was with his mouth a cute nugget
and his hair in that Beatles’ style.
I wish I’d had a camera
to preserve the moment in a picture.

Never in my dreams did I picture
what I would do with my thumbs
as we got closer and closer. No, forget the camera
and, really, I just want to forget the kiss
and that whole time when I had such a geeky style.
There we were with love between us like a nugget

of gold. I started with the nugget
of his nose, closed my eyes, and pictured
its adorable tiny style.
But then came the problem with my thumbs
and just as we were about to kiss,
just as his eyes were closing like a camera

lens, just as I was imagining perfection in the camera
of my mind, I accidentally grazed another nugget
of his, making him lunge at me for a kiss.
Our romantic tryst became a picture
of chaos. All because of my wayward thumbs
and awkward style.

When his lips met mine in such shocking style
I have to admit I became a little camera
shy. I pushed at him with my thumbs
and tried to get away but the nugget
of want he was feeling was certainly not what I’d pictured
when I imagined my first kiss.

I always assumed that we’d gently kiss
in pillow to pillow style
and never did I picture
his tongue and teeth in my mind’s camera
mashing my mouth and leaving nuggets
of spit on my face and my thumbs.

I told him to kiss-off. I wouldn’t need a camera
for my new celibate style. Love turned into a nugget
of coal. My picture of romance shattered by thumbs.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Solace for Sunday Scribblings

Sunday Morning

It was Sunday morning
and I snuck out of bed
to enjoy
some quiet time,
some me time,
while you stayed
cocooned in our

I quietly maneuvered
myself out from beneath
the covers like a letter
slipping out of an envelope,
reached for my bathrobe,
down the stairs
avoiding the squeaky ones,

then sat in a pond
of sunshine
and read a book
enjoying the poetry
of quiet Sunday mornings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ekphrastic Poem (I think!)

This week's prompt at ReadWritePoem is to use an image by Rick Mobbs and write a poem inspired by it.

The snail
of an idea
moves slowly.

I see it in the leaves,
brash adults, now,
in muscle T’s

It’s in the raindrops
peppering the sand
as I scurry
off the beach

It’s in the balsamic
vinegar of the night
air as I walk.

And they all curve
into the clouds
of my brain

leaving the silver
trail of a poem
in their wake.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ghost for Sunday Scribblings

Our ghost was a friendly one. We bought the house from is widow. He was also our friend before his untimely death.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


His name was Ron
and he had fiery red hair.

He’d visit us
at unexpected moments.

In the middle
of the night

our bedroom door
would open

and my husband
would say,

“Ron, get the hell
out of here.”

Some days I’d
get home from school

and the back door
would be wide open

and I’d know
Ron had been there.

He died on a motorcycle
when he was twenty,

a bike he’d been
working on

in the cellar
of what became our future home.

I think he was pleased
to see how happy we were there

and wanted
to be part of our lives.

I put touches of red
in all the rooms.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oldest Friend for Sunday Scribblings

Anita and I became friends in kindergarten back in 1954. She lives in Florida, now, so I don't get to see her very often. Last September she came up to NH to visit her parents and we made plans for me to visit her after school.

As it turns out, I now live in the house I grew up in and my mom stays with us for 6 weeks in the fall so the following was like deja vu.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A warm September afternoon.
I get home from school,
change into red shorts
and a white shirt,
tell my mom I’m going
to Anita’s

and walk down the street
to her house,
knock on the door
and sit at the kitchen
table chatting
with her and her mom.

We went through
this after-school ritual
for years
during the sixties
and here we are today
doing the same thing.

We talk about boys
(our husbands and sons, now)
and gossip about
school friends,
complain about homework
(now called housework)

and reminisce while the clock,
still above the washer and dryer,
slowly ticks to late
afternoon when I have
to say goodbye
and walk back home.

The sun is just melting
behind the elephant head
of Mt. Forist. Shadows
inch imperceptibly down
the street and I walk
into them.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Blog as a Home for Rocking Chair Writers

My poetry blog is a dollhouse
that fits inside my heart.

It has a tiny front door
that blocks my husband

with his big ego. Occasionally
I let him sit on the porch

and have a beer. Once or twice
he’s tried to peek in the windows

but I quickly shut the curtains
so he can’t see all the little

knickknacks of truth
I have arranged in the living room.

Most of the time he just ignores
my writing and that leaves

me free to run around inside.
Sometimes I jump on the bed,

sometimes I cook up a savory
word chowder or bake

a loaf of poetry. Mmmm…
can you smell it? I think

I’ll slather a slice with butter
and sit in my favorite chair

to enjoy the syllables
of this home I’ve created

for myself.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tempo for Totally Optional Prompts

We made it back from our trip to Florida then had company for four days. I haven't been very inspired for almost a month, now, and it was driving me nuts! Then on Tuesday we took our granddaughter to the beach for her first visit and she just loved the waves and an idea started to percolate in my previously dull brain. Today I hopped on my bicycle and rode to Ocean Park Beach and wrote the following poem. It's not the most original but I feel like the tempo of my life has resumed. (And I managed to get "tempo" in there!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kylie watches
the swells
grow huge
with laughter.

She jumps
up and down
for the mirth

to break
all over her
like I’ve
been watching

words far out
in the ocean
with thoughts,

becoming pregnant,
closer and closer
until they cascade
onto this page.

Then I laugh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Write Like Summer

Totally Optional Prompts June 26, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I slap them
in the face
as soon as they
leave the airport,
wrap my boa arms
around them
and squeeze.

I’m the fat aunt
who visits
and won’t leave.

They try to escape
from me
into air-conditioning
but I sit outside
their door,

As soon as they
come out, I wipe
myself off on them,
spritzing my cologne

At night you can hear
my laughter turn to growls
and see
my eyes flash
with a bit of anger.

I feel
sorry for myself
and shed a few tears.
But in the morning
I'll still be sitting
right there,
ready to latch
onto them like
a chubby chimp
and they'll haul me around
all day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Revision for Read Write Poem

“Unkindness may do much; and his unkindness may defeat my life, but never taint my love.”

This is a quote from Othello. It was an assignment my 10th grade kids had to do: take a quote from act 4 of the play and write a poem about their own lives using it.
It all boils down to kindness
Because “unkindness may do much”

As I walk into the house
After school, I see a few
Pots and pans sitting on the
Stove waiting to be put in their
Proper storage place, and I
Know my husband has emptied
The dishwasher for me.

The act of kindness, incomplete
Though it is, warms me
And I appreciate him.
It all boils down to kindness
Because “unkindness may do much”

And I think of how much he has changed.
Years ago those dishes would never
Have been taken care of until I got
Around to it.

And it killed me, this lack of consideration
I thought that “his unkindness may defeat
my life”
But I didn’t let it.
Instead I suggested by example
And I never gave up on the
Inate goodness I knew was
Lurking in his big heart.

I never let his unkindness
“taint my love”

And now I marvel at the precise
Way he piled those homeless
Pots and pans, imagining his
Hands arranging them according
To size: carefully, kindly.

And here's my revisioning of it. I knew I wanted to get the quotes out because they tell instead of show. I hated that "suggesting by example" line. Yuck! So, that definitely had to go.

As I walk into the house
after school, I see a few
pots and pans sitting on the stove
waiting to be put away
and I know my husband
has emptied
the dishwasher for me.

This act of kindness,
is sweeter than
his favorite
chocolate cake
with boiled frosting
I think I’ll bake
for him.

Years ago those dishes
would never
have been taken care of
until I got around
to it.

But now I marvel
at the precise way
he piled those homeless
pots and pans,
imagining his hands
putting the smaller pots
into place
inside the larger frying pans,
fingers slipping around
their smooth sides.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Ending for Sunday Scribblings

Something to Hold Onto

It’s such a simple thing,
the touching of hands:
the trust
between a child and adult,
the tickle-thrill of lovers’
fingers speaking
in Braille,
the enormity of a slap.

Hands are mouths
and tools
and birds.

When my husband
lays his hand
palm up
on the elbow rest
between our two seats
as we’re on our way
to camp in our school-bus
yellow 1979 Ford Ranchero,
I rest my hand there,
softly, gently,
and the sun
comes out between us.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's Going On?

Well, we made it to camp for the summer. School finished last Friday and we were here by 6 pm with the boat towed behind us.
It's been mostly raining since!
Tomorrow, we are supposed to go to Bike Week in Laconia, NH. I've never been so it should be interesting.
Then on Thursday we are heading to Florida for 10 days. Several years ago we bought a house there for our retirement but hurricane Charley totaled it. We rebuilt so want to use the house for a little bit, at least. We still have three years before we retire. Until then my mother-in-law uses the house for a few months in the winter.
Anyway, I haven't had much chance to write poetry.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


For Writer's Island
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Blue and trucks,
No pink, certainly.

Convinced you are a boy,
Dominic Derek.
Who can argue
with the needle test?
And a slow heartbeat?
And that thing
we saw
when you moved
during your ultrasound?

We knew you were a boy,
a new little snowboarder,
a fisherman.
There you were in your father’s arms,
love dripping from his eyes.

My little girl
now a mother
gathered in my arms
sharing the knowledge
of labor and pain
and birthing a son.

Big eyes,
a smile full of wonder,
words that float
in the air
but don’t penetrate.
“Mom, it’s a girl!”

A girl?
My ears are ready
for blue words;
they don’t comprehend
these pink birds
finally finding a home
in my heart.

Ruffles and dolls

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Night

For Sunday Scribblings. Okay, this isn't technically night but any time after school feels like night to me.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It’s Five O’clock in the Afternoon

And the day becomes velvet.
The slippery silk of day
softens into a merlot twilight.

I change from school clothes
into my pajamas,
the navy blue ones with stars and moons.
Then I slip my feet into puffy slippers
and go downstairs to putter.

I move slowly through
the thick after-school air,
let it buoy me as I bump
against its soft edges.

A little cooking
A little reading
and a glass of wine.

Five o’clock embraces
me in its flannel arms.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Deny Smile Uncomfortable.

Well, it's the end of the school year and my mom is living with us for a few weeks so I haven't have much time for writing. Here's a little haiku using the three words:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You smiled at a girl.
That made me uncomfortable.
You deny. I know.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Curve for Sunday Scribblings

Casting a Spell

I am that worm
curved on the end
of your fishing line
pierced by the sharp-
ness of your words.

When you arc
your arm back
and cast me
into the world,
I fly away
from you
higher, deeper
and try to survive,
try to swim away,
avoid being eaten.

But eventually you
reel me back in,
sometimes intact
but mostly ragged.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Imagination for ReadWritePoem


I moved my chair
into a coin of sunshine,
poured a glass
of merlot,
then settled in
for a little afternoon
reading delight.

I started losing
myself in someone
else’s life, flying
above the trees
and people
in the campground

when I felt
at me.

No one passing by
on the road,
no sunbathers
at nearby campsites
but, still, those eyes
watching me.

Prickles on the back
of my neck.
standing at attention
on my arms.

I tried reading
but those glaring
eyes would not turn

I glanced
at my own camper
and there
were the faces
of the pansies
I’d planted that morning,
on thin necks,
frowning in the sun,
my every move.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Triolet for TOP

This woke me up this morning! I even looked it up. I've got to get a life!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I have a problem with the triolet.
Does it rhyme with barrette
Or is it French like beret?
I have a problem; with the triolet
sounding like a three-way lay,
people might expect more than I bet
I have. A problem with the triolet
is that it rhymes with beret and barrette.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Similes and Metaphors for ReadWritePoem

When the snowstorm
of your words
swirls around me,
I find shelter
in my mind.

It’s like a reverse snow globe
where all is peaceful
inside the bubble
and I can watch
while ice flies
from your tongue
and your arms
generate the wind
on the outside.

You look so cold:
a bent tree.
a bruised cloud.

I sit in a swing
on the porch
of the little house
inside my head
and watch you unravel.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Soar/Sore for Sunday Scribblings

This is more of a story than a poem but it made me chuckle (and cringe!) remembering it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mt. Washington Sky Adventures
was a business
owned by my son.

He gave glider rides
around the White Mountains.
I was his receptionist.

One day a man, with greasy
fly-away hair, stopped by
and paid for a ride.

I walked him
to the end of the runway
where the glider

was tethered to the tow plane,
an old Pawnee crop duster,
and got him belted in.

While the pilot
was getting himself ready,
the man reached

into his jacket pocket,
pulled out a mangy old comb
and asked me

to take care of it for him.
I held that dirty thing
while balancing

the wings as the glider
took off, and then,
all the way back

to the office. I put it
on the counter then washed
my hands with anti-bacterial soap

for at least five minutes.
When he got back
he was so discombobulated

that he forgot his precious
comb. It’s probably still there.
No way was I going to touch it again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Finally, a New Poem!--3WW

Average Stretch Neck
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It’s after 10 pm.
My eyes have little fires
behind them.
The vise-grip
of late evening
has a firm hold
on the back
of my neck,

I’ve just finished
calculating averages
for my tenth-grade
students, playing
cards with my mom,
who is staying
with us for 6 weeks,
making pork roast,
mashed potatoes,
and broccoli
with cheese sauce
for supper,
and taking myself
and my frustrations
for a walk,
leaking the tribulations
of the day
onto the sidewalk.

Now, I stretch
my fingers over
the keyboard
hoping a perfect
ending to this poem
will magically
slide out.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sci-Fi for ReadWritePoem

I tried a sonnet using the rhyming words. That felt like sci-fi to me!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From our front window here on the moon, Earth is visible.
We see it out there in space like it’s on a stage.
Hubby watches TV and I grab a pencil to scribble
a poem, thinking about this life we’ve made in our old age.

When we lived on earth, we were exciting: lots of touching,
miles of conversation, subtle surprises, fingers
trailing up and down arms and legs, fetching
eyes soft as suede and glances wild as tigers.

Each evening we’d have a few drinks, avoid buzzkill
with brandy for dessert, take the remote on a joyride
through channels and never realized that our life was on a downhill
slide. Then, we came here where there is never high tide,

where yawning craters mimic us. I dream of a way to harpoon
our former life. Instead, we turn to Turner Classic Movies and watch High Noon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cowbird for TOP

Sadly, this is a true story about people I know. If you've read the two poems I wrote about a baby, here and here, you'll recognize the character in this poem as the mother of the boy who fathered the baby.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Marijuana was her child,
Obscuring her duties to her children.
Thinking only of herself, she left them with their father.
He tried his best to be both parents.
Eventually, the boys became drug addicts.
Rivers of neglect never stop flowing.
?She hangs her head, now, shoulders slumped like a question mark.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 30 of NaPoWriMo and 3WW

Empty Highway Ignored
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I ignored the sign,
the one that said,
“Love me, Love me a lot.”

You were standing
on the side of the highway
near a puddle.

I drove through it
splashing dirty water
all over you

and kept on going.
The view in my rear-view
mirror was empty.

Day 29 NaPoWriMo

I Still Don’t Know April 10, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A tree with deep roots
but fly-away leaves

A whisper of wind
An empty handful

A night sky
full of holes

An ocean with waves
of death on empty sand

A white piece of paper
an unfinished poem.

Day 28 NaPoWriMo

A Forbidden Activity April 29, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She took a shower
then came downstairs
with just a towel
wrapped around her.

That how I saw
the hickey. It was
a strawberry
on the creamy meadow

just where the moon
of her breast began.
She saw me notice
and her eyes went wide.

“You let him brand you?
What are you, a cow?”
“I know, mom, I already
yelled at him.”

I knew they were having sex
but, a hickey?
That was going over
the line.

Day 27 NaPoWriMo

A Time the Lights Went Out April 29, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We were watching
the channel 13 news
at 5:30 with Kiley Bennett

He in his recliner
and me sideways
on the couch

with my legs stretched out.
There’d been a killing
in Portland, a car crash

on I-95 near mile marker 14
with two fatalities, and
tornadoes in the Midwest.

Then nothing. The screen
went black and our minds
went blank. We looked

at each other. Now what?
“Want to play cribbage?”
We got the cards and board out,
I moved closer to him
and we started playing, laughing,
smirking, swearing, chuckling.

Then the TV blinked
back on and we put
the cards away.

I returned to my couch
and the news,

Day 26 NaPoWriMo

A Wound April 10. 2008

Did you ever take
your bicycle
and position
the training wheels
so that the back wheel
of the bike
was over a hole?

Then climb on
and pedal like crazy
but not go anywhere?

My son did that
with encouragement
from some friends

only Nay somehow
got his hand in the chain.

Crunch, scream
blood, dirt
crying, yelling
blood, blood

Where was I when this was happening?
How could I let my little guy
get hurt like this?

Why hadn’t I sealed him
in a capsule
away from the monster
bicycles of life?

Day 25 NaPoWriMo

I Would Like to Make an Exchange April 1, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I would like to exchange myself
with the wind.
I could tickle trees
and play with kites

I could mess up the hair
of people I don’t like
and throw sand in their faces.

I can’t write in this damn place!

If I was the wind
I’d huff
and I’d puff
and blow this place away!

Day 24 NaPoWriMo

Finding out about Something You Weren’t Supposed to Know April 17, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This topic
is doing nothing
for me

Look at those words
lying there like
dirty gray socks,

like my husband’s
wool socks he leaves
by his recliner.

Each morning
I come downstairs
to those fat snakes.

They used to hiss
at me and try
to bite my toes.

Now, I’ve learned to walk
on by and ignore them
just like those words.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 23 NaPoWriMo

Write About a Time Someone Said No-April 1, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I say no
every time I get
too lazy
to take a walk

I say no
whenever my husband
goes to bed early
but I stay up reading

I say no every time I choose
to write a poem
instead of conversing

I say no
to some one else
every time I say
yes to me.

Day 22 NaPoWriMo

Last week was school vacation and I kind of took a blogging and writing vacation, too. Oh, I checked in every day and even wrote a poem or two but I just needed a break.

As far as NaPoWriMo, I wrote way more than 30 poems this month but I didn't write every single day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have my kids write poems during Journal Writing and I write with them so that was 6 poems per week just for that, never mind the ones I wrote for all the blog prompts.

I wrote this one on Thursday April 17 during Block 3. The prompt was to write about a purchase.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I have gold
in my purse.
Every time
I open it,
I can see it

Sometimes I take
that Borders
Gift Card out
of it’s little
red envelope
and run my fingers
over its smooth

Then when I replace
it, my whole
pocketbook shines.

I’ll use it to purchase

When I stand
at the register,
the salesperson
will have to wear

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo and TOP

My Late Spring

My winter lasted forty years
and for most of that season
it was a deep freeze.

Oh, there was the usual
January thaw when we’d study
a poetry unit in elementary school

or hints of spring
when I’d teach poetry
to my students

or read poems
to my own two children.
Once, I found the coolest

book of poetry
at the library and remember
reading “The Frozen Logger”

to my logger husband.
He actually listened
and smiled afterwards.

But it took all those years
for the sap in the maple
tree of my life to start flowing

with words. My god,
my roots tingled! Poems
popped out like leaves.

Today is April 25, 2008
just one month
on the calendar

into this season
but twenty years
into my own spring

and I’ve already written
thousands of gallons
of sweet maple syrup.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 20 and 3WW

Picture Reflected Stop
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The faintest chartreuse
on the gray hillsides

Rust-colored baby leaves
on our neighbor’s tree

Pregnant green buds
on the lilac bush

I stop cleaning long enough
to take a mental picture

of life reflected
in these hints of color

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 19 and ReadWritePoem

The prompt this week is to write a poem of 5-10 lines about something that brings us joy and write another poem of the same length about something that makes us mad then combine them alternating lines.

Oil and Vinegar

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Something that brings me joy

I take the curtains
out of the washing machine,
shake them, then toss them
over my shoulder

their Downy perfume
flying around the cellar.

I hang them from the clothes line
on the back porch. They kick
up their heels
and jitterbug all afternoon.


Something that pisses me off

We sit in the warm April
evening on our front porch
talking quietly about our day,

listening to kids playing,
motorcycles revving,
neighbors barbecuing.

The scent of charcoal
waltzes on the breeze.

Across the street, a guy
in a wife-beater shirt,
beer in one hand,
stands against the house
and urinates.



In the warm April evening
I take the curtains out of the washing machine
We sit and talk quietly on the front porch
Shake them, then toss them over my shoulder
listening to kids playing
their Downy perfume
motorcycles revving
flying around the cellar
neighbors barbecuing
I hang them from the clothesline
The scent of charcoal
on the back porch
waltzes on the breeze
They kick up their heels
Across the street, a guy in a wife-beater shirt
jitterbugging all afternoon
stands against the house and urinates.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day 18 and Sunday Scribblings

Yes, I'm a day late again, dammit! Friends came to visit last night just as I was turning the computer on. By the time they left, I was too tired. So I wrote yesterday's poem this morning and will (hopefully!) write another one later today.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I’m listening
to the sunrise
as it explodes
on the forehead
of the house
across the street.

I hear cymbals
of ideas,
the heartbeat
of drums
tattooing need,
of words
to be written.

The morning
a symphony
of possibilities
and I sit
in the audience

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day 17 of NaPoWriMo and TOP

A Person
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jon quit school

He came in
with a new hairdo.

He’d cut the top
of his mid-back length

waves to six inches
and made spikes.

He had to use glue
to make them stand straight.

In between, his head
was shaved.

He left the bottom long
but had it braided

into about twenty braids.
If he’d spent as much

time on his school work
he’d have been passing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 16 of NaPoWriMo and 3WW

Touching Visible Stage
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was dead
in the third act
of Our Town,
sitting on the stage
in a straight-backed
chair, staring at the
clock in the back
of the auditorium.

I could hear grown men
sniffling as Emily
relived her twelfth
birthday. I couldn’t
see her reliving it
since I was dead.

I could talk, though,
and warned her
not to go back,
to just accept
her deadness.

But she wouldn’t listen.
Her past was still
so visible to her.

After the curtain call,
I went parking
with my boyfriend
but just couldn’t get
into all the kissing
and touching
he was so intent upon.

Every time I closed
my eyes, I’d see
that clock in the back
of the auditorium,
hands moving
inexorably toward

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Day 15 NaPoWriMo (finally caught up!)

This picture came from Easy Street Prompts

I remember research
projects in high school.
Facing that many-eyed
card catalogue.

Those well-worn
index cards soft
as cotton. Fingering
through them to find

appropriate books.
Each drawer I opened
breathed freedom
into the library.

Day 14 of NaPoWriMo

This was the prompt I gave my third block kids today. The males changed it to men, of course.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

These are the Things Women Know About Love

It’s delicate lace
and can tear easily

It’s a robin’s song
in early spring

It’s a shiny penny
in the palm of a child
in a candy store

It’s the last piece
of a puzzle

It’s a geranium
with huge red flowers
in the summer

It’s a dead geranium
in the fall

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day 13 and ReadWritePoem

The prompt this week was to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is a follow-up poem of one I wrote a while back. You can check it out here:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Morning Smiles

The day enters
my eyes first
then my tummy
tells me it’s time to cry.

But where is mommy?
Why doesn’t she wake up?
My diaper is wet.
I stop crying
and put my thumb
in my mouth
but it isn’t like a bottle.

Now I can hear mom
and dad sleeping
in the bed near my crib.

I cry some more
and finally mom
opens her eyes.
I start smiling
and waving my arms
but she doesn’t pick me up.

Instead she takes
a long shiny sharp
thing and puts it in her
arm. I wait.

She leaves the room
then comes back.
She props the bottle
up for me and goes
back to bed.

I can see her smiling
but not at me.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 12 and Sunday Scribblings

Writing on the weekends is hard for me. I relax and my thoughts get lazy. I'm considering this a rough draft since the ending really needs work. But, it's all I can manage right now.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


He’ll fly off a mountain
in a hang glider,
catch an updraft,
melt into the sky.

He’ll do hammerheads,
Immelmans, Cuban eights,
spins, and loops
in an open-cockpit
Stearman biplane,

turning the world
upside down,
blue earth
green sky.

He’ll tap dance
over waves
in his fishing boat
and pull 500 pound

tuna from the ocean
as easily as lifting a tire
out of the back
of his pickup.

But ask him to climb
a ladder to shovel
the snow off the roof
or paint a dormer window

and his feet become
bricks unable to move,
his heart a scared mouse
shivering in his chest.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 11 and Writers' island

Flights of Fancy

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A simple house
near the ocean
white curtains
to a rock ‘n’ roll

Big bookcases
a small TV
a poetry book
open on my

on a red bicycle
curls bouncing
under my visor

I can’t pedal
fast enough
to the beach

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 10 and TOP

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I was explaining
how Danae’s father
imprisoned her in a tower
because he’d heard
that her son
would someday kill him.

But tricky Zeus
disguised himself
as a golden rain
and got her pregnant,

I could see my students
trying to picture this:
eyes squinted
sidelong glances
at each other,
wrinkled foreheads.

Finally one brave kid
said, “Gee Ms. Jacobs,
sounds like Zeus
forgot his Trojan.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day 9 NaPoWriMo and 3WW

funny remember theater
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It started with the gigantic crash
of a chandelier. Jeweled light
reflecting everywhere
and music filling every space.

My friend, her mom,
and I were at the Wang Theater
in Boston viewing
Phantom of the Opera.
The costumes were great
and the acting impeccable.

But what I remember most
is my friend’s mom
singing out loud
to all the songs.

Heads swiveled,
eyes became daggers,
throats were cleared.

But she kept right on singing,
her face a happy moon
her head tilting from
one side to the other.

It wasn’t a funny play
but I could feel a little
volcano trying to erupt
in my chest.

I covered my mouth
to hide my smile,
coughed to disguise
the sound of laughter
bursting from my throat,
and had to run
to the restroom
and use toilet paper
to wipe the tears
from my cheeks.

After the intermission
and a stern reprimand
from her daughter,
she toned it down
to just a low humming.

That’s all I remember
about my trip to the big city
and a real stage production:
a crash,
unbridled joy,
and laughter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Day 8 NaPoWriMo

The journal-writing prompt for one of my classes today was "It's what I do in the middle of the night when I can't sleep." The following is what I came up with.

Interesting Side Note: One of the other English teachers in our school had her students make huge posters containing a poem on each. They are on the walls all over the place to help celebrate National Poetry Month.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In the Middle of the Night

I pull my pillow
up around my head
like a taco shell

and dream spicy

images sprinkled
on my mind
like chopped tomatoes
and shredded cheese.

And if I can’t sleep
I’ll look out the window
at onion stars
and a sour cream moon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Day 7 NaPoWriMo


I’ve been stealing pounds
from my husband.

Each day when he goes
to work in the woods,

he loses a pound or two
and I find them

in the folds of his clothes.
I don’t mean to steal them

but they are like static
and cling to me.

Soon, though, I’ll start
returning them

when he sits on his boat
all summer.

I’ll tuck them into his

after shedding them
while on my bicycle.

Day 6 and Sunday Scribblings


My mom bought an old
commode at an auction
many years ago.

She spent hours sanding
and refinishing it
to a warm honey glow.

Today it holds a tiny city
of photographs: an equestrian,
a waitress, a pilot, a manager,
two moms, and a pickle-eater.

These are the grands
and the great, the skyline
of the future.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Day 5 NaPoWriMo and Writer's Island

Lost Highway
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The snow was baby powder
swirling around my 4-Runner.

I didn’t bother with putting
the four-wheel drive on

since the road was clear.
I was on my way to babysit

my three-month old granddaughter
and as I descended through

the notch, I could feel my heart
beating a little faster

as if I were going on a date.
With just a mile to go

I hit black ice and I was on
a carnival ride, curving

into the oncoming lane,
swerving back to mine,

not being able to straighten out,
aiming for a spot between

a telephone pole and a snow bank
opting for a ditch, instead.

Hands on wheel
I don’t want to do this
I just want to see Kylie
Down into the ditch
Upside down
Rightside up
Hands still on wheel
Stuff everywhere
I’m alive
Unhurt, I think

Later, after the ambulance
came and they checked me out

after my daughter picked me up
and I convinced her to go to work

after calling my husband
and the insurance company,

I sat with Kylie in my arms
breathing in the baby powder

scent of new life.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Day 4 NaPoWriMo

I wrote this poem in my head last night as I was listining to my aunt. I didn't get a chance to actually write the words out until today, though. Is that cheating?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Aunt Dotty sits
on her red couch
in front of a multi-
colored granny square

When I ask, “How
did you and Uncle
George meet?"

a small sunrise
blossoms on her face.

She smiles and says,
“Well, my friend, Sarita,
and I were walking home
from downtown when

her brother pulled up
in his little coupe
and asked if we’d like

a ride. We said sure
and climbed in. The only
problem was that
there was no back seat

and her brother had
a friend with him.

So, Sarita climbed in
the middle and I sat
on George’s lap.”

Here her voice
gets deep and warm
as summer.

“After they dropped
me off, Sarita said
to George, ‘How’d

you like Dotty? Isn’t
she pretty?’ And George
answered, ‘Well, I couldn’t
see her face
but she has a soft

The were married
for over 50 years.

Day 3 and Regional

for TOP April 4, 2008

It's Saturday and I'm sitting in Border's in Portland, Maine waiting for my mother-in-law's flight to come in. I have a very low connection. Borders is a T-Mobile hot spot but I don't have an account so I'm hoping I can get this posted without losing my signal.

I wrote this poem on Thursday afternoon waiting for my mom's flight to arrive in Portsmouth, NH. She flew in for a funeral. This morning she was scheduled to fly back to Florida but we woke up to the news that Skybus had ceased operations. Luckily, I was able to get her a flight out of Manchester, NH. I dropped her off and now am in waiting mode.

Okay, enough chit chat. Here's my poem.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mt. Washington sits
like a gallon of milk
on a blue tablecloth

as I head south
this Thursday morning
playing hooky from school.

At Wildcat Mountain
the skiers are confetti
as they weave

down the white frosting.
The whole valley
spreads out before me

as I swerve around
Dead Man’s Curve
in Pinkham Notch.

I’m singing
“Cover of a Rolling Stone”
by Dr. Hook as loud

as I can. See the notes
flying out my cracked-
open window, landing

on the snow
and perching on the limbs
of the bare trees?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Where in the World is Linda?

Heading out for a few days to a funeral in Massachusetts. I'm determined to still write my NoPoWriMo poems and am taking my computer with me but probably won't be able to get online. I'll catch up with everyone on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

NaPoWriMo-Day 2 and 3WW

Parallel Bounce Mysterious
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Skinny Dipping

We turn off of route 16
and follow parallel tracks
down a dirt
road to Emerald Pool.

We sit on a big
rock overlooking
the water. The sun
covers us like
an electric blanket.
The heat from the stone
is charcoal briquettes.

Soon only our clothes
are left on the ledge
as we play in the cool
water. I feel my breasts
bounce around
like bubbles.

I dive deep
into gray-green
twilight as mysterious
as outer space
as mysterious
as us,
as mysterious
as the poems
I don’t even know
I will write yet.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NaPoWriMo-Day 1

The challenge is to write a poem a day for the thirty days of National Poetry Month.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Well, here we go.
My computer is glowing
like a grinning puppy
waiting for a treat

and my fingers are itching
to create metaphors
that jump off the page
and stain the brains

of everyone who reads them.
So, where are all the cool
ideas hiding? Why won’t
they come out to play?

I tried three times earlier
this morning to write poems
but the words just lay there
like dead worms.

I even dreamed
about NoPoWriMo
and how much fun
it would be. But, now,

I just sit here looking
out the window
for inspiration. The trees
are still bare. Snow

covers the ground. Oh,
the sun just poked through
and is grinning like
a puppy…Hmmmm…..
Linda's Poems