Monday, March 31, 2008

I found this flower thing on another blog and was tickled when it said I was a snapdragon! A few years ago, when we owned a motel, I bought a bunch of snapdragons called sonnets. They grew to 14 inches high. How perfect is that for a poet?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?


for ReadWritePoem March 31, 2008
We had to eavesdrop then write a prose poem.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Standing out in the hallway between classes I heard one guy say to another:

“Hey, man, your hair looks especially fro-ish today.”
And that reminded me of my own hair when I was their age.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

When I was sixteen, I’d do anything for straight hair. Before dances Anita would get the ironing board out, lay a dish towel on top of my curls, put a hot iron on it, and I would pull my straight hair out. I’d shake my head back and forth to make my hair fly like a comet tail.

In those Beatles-crazy days, I used U.N.C.U.R.L. and Curl Free to look like everyone else. It never worked.

I’d wrap my freshly-Prelled hair around my head using it as a huge roller then sit under a space-suit-looking hair dryer for a couple hours and pray that it wouldn’t rain or get humid. It always did.

In college, once, on a rainy morning, I taped the middle third of my bangs to my nose, and used clips to hold the other thirds straight against the sides of my head until I made it to class. I huddled under an umbrella to hide this straightening device. Wouldn’t you know, a guy approached me from behind, put his arm around me, and asked if he could share my umbrella. I tried to hide my face but when he saw the alien walking with him, he took off.

Now that I’m older, I let my shoulder-length hair have its own way. Remember those banana curls your mother would spend hours creating by wrapping your hair around her fingers? Mine does that automatically.

Last week, I had to go to the garage my husband visits after work each afternoon, to get something from him. After I left, one of the other guys in there asked him if I had dreadlocks!

And tonight, when my logger husband got home, he buried his face in my hair and said, “Mmmm, you smell good.” I said, “After a day at school?” He said simply, “You smell better than a skidder.”

Just a small victory for a curly-headed misfit.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out of this World

for Sunday Scribblings March 30, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Start with French vanilla
ice cream. Scoop out
a good-sized moon
of it and let it mound

above the sides
of the bowl. Then
sprinkle stars
of walnuts all over.

After that drizzle
pure, light amber
maple syrup
like sun rays

over the whole thing.
Finally, let your spoon
orbit looking for a perfect
spot to land for an
out-of-this-world treat.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gamble for Writers' Island


When we went to Foxwoods
a few years ago,
my mom had such a successful
time playing the Lucky
Seven machine

I remember the grin
on her face when I
found her in the non-
smoking casino
standing like the Statue
of Liberty with her hand
up flagging me down.
And there were
the three red sevens
lined up like soldiers.

After she was paid her 1,199
we meandered around
other casino rooms
and eventually settled
at a different bank
of machines: she in
front of a Lucky Seven
and me a 5X Diamond
a few seats away from her.

I can still remember
her calling out to me
every time she won:
the three green sevens,
the three purple sevens,
and twice more
the three red sevens.

Everyone around her
was cheering her on.

The only ones she
didn’t get were the pink
sevens that paid 500 coins.

Just before leaving
we walked through
one more time
and she put a $20 bill
into yet another
Lucky Seven machine
and, of course, this
time she got the pinks.

I should have known
then that this winning
day was going to be
our last good time
together at a casino.

But there was no message
in the clanging bells
announcing her success
that less than a year
later she’d be in the hospital
too weak to even
put her own cannula
into her trach
never mind a quarter
into a Lucky Seven
slot machine.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

for Totally Optional Prompts March 27, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This novel is a fictionalized account of a Columbine-like incident in a school in New Hampshire. What’s interesting is that the author doesn’t take sides. She presents the good guys and the bad guys equally so that the line between the two sometimes gets blurry. It shows, to a terrifying degree, the consequences of bullying.

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

The first thing I do
is rub my fingers
over the raised letters
of the author’s name.

She’s a friend by now.
We’ve shared many pajama parties
with me eating the popcorn
of her words.

Then I hold the book
in my right hand
and rifle the pages
with my left

letting the scent
of the paper, like
freshly laundered sheets,
fly into my imagination.

I open the book
and read the first sentence,
“By the time you read this,
I hope to be dead”

and I’m hooked
on metaphors that burst
like fireworks
(the tunnel of communication
between them slowly
bricked shut)

and characters I already know.
(transforming herself into the person
she needed to be before leaving
the house)

(when he touched her,
Josie imagined herself
vanishing in a puff of steam)

I become the novel;
each sentence I swallow
enters me
and changes me.

By the time I finish,
I’ve been a murderer,
a mother,
a teacher,

a detective,
a bully,
a rapist
a puff of steam.

I close the book
and resist hugging it.
Instead, I feel
the embossed letters

again like a blind
person caressing
Braille, like a child
reading the weather

of her mother’s face.

Monday, March 24, 2008


for ReadWritePoem March 24, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I stand in the office
of the motel we own
and watch our newest guests
get out of their vehicle.

Both people have cigarettes
in their mouths.
They unload their bags
then throw their butts

on the ground.
I have buckets with sand
placed around the building
for cigarette disposal

but, instead, they leave
those flattened white stubs
on my clean driveway,
looking like broken

crayons left in the sun
to melt. I retrieve my long-
handled dustpan and broom
then go outside

to sweep up their litter
and deposit it
in one of the sand buckets.
Out of the corner

of my eye, I see the woman
staring at me from their room.
She quickly closes
the curtains.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


for Totally Optional Prompts March 20, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Every Year, Just Before School Begins

I am wearing
a Red Sox cap
with the visor
pulled low
shading my eyes

in the shower.
That’s why I can’t
find the shampoo
or conditioner
or soap.

Finally, I just get out
of the tub
and wipe myself
with the rug
since my towel
has disappeared.

Then, what to wear…
I stand in front
of my closet
looking for my black
but can only find
my dead father’s

I dress in his pants
that hang
on me like elephant
legs. I need
a belt
but can only find
a necklace.
That will have to do.

I walk downstairs
with just my bra
and those pants
on and start making
my lunch
but the bread is all
gone so I pack
the toaster in my book-
bag, instead.

At school
no one notices
I am only half dressed.
My kids are too busy
throwing things
around the room,
making out in corners,
dancing to a live band
that has set up
in front of my desk.

I holler.
I scream.
I whistle.
They ignore me.
An alarm clock
whizzes through
the air.
I catch it
and feel the round
snooze button.

I push it
and settle back
into the cranberry
sheets of my waterbed,

the August sun
outlining the shade
in neon reality.

Money Understood Tangled

for 3WW March 19, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sheets tangled, she left
with his money in her purse.
Just sex: understood.

Monday, March 17, 2008


for ReadWritePoem march 17, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

White Birch Tree

I am a prom queen
in a slinky
little white number
for the wind
to ask me to dance.

I am a bride
in a white negligee
just waiting
to be peeled
by layer.

I am an Eskimo
in a white parka.
Snow softly lands
in my hair.

I’m a sunbather
in a one-piece
white bathing suit
stretching my arms
over my head.

I am a nurse
in a white uniform.
My leaves drop
like pills
regenerating the earth.

I am a poem
my own white paper.
See that girl
carving a heart
on me?
She has healing
slash marks
on her wrists.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


for Sunday Scribblings March 16, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

By the time I get home
from school,
I’m hungry.

First I change
into jeans
and a sweatshirt

then I turn
on my computer
and begin to eat.

I nibble
on a few email

take a sip
of wine
at my own blog

then peruse
the array
of entrees.

I pick up a few
exotic tidbits
at Writers’ Island.

At Poem:
A Virtual Poetry Group
I find meat to chew on.

I munch on three
wordy veggies
at 3 Word Wednesday

and try
the casseroles
at Totally Optional Prompts.

For dessert
I still have some sweet
puddings left at Sunday Scribblings.

Sated, I click
to Word and begin
cooking my own poem.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


for Writers' Island March 11, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The corner store
ran out of the homemade
wheat bread
that my husband likes
so I decided
to make a loaf
for him.

I got a big bowl
out, the beige one
with the blue stripes
around the outside.
I added whole wheat
flour, sugar, salt,
yeast, honey, olive oil,
and water just warm
enough to feel warm.

I washed my hands,
took off my wedding
rings, and dove in,
mixing that gooey mess
until it was dough.

Then I floured
my counter top
and kneaded
and kneaded
that living heart
turning it into satin.

I took a clean
dishtowel and draped
it over
to let it rise
in the warm, humid

After an hour
I punched it down,
rolled it to fit
the loaf pan,
covered it again,
and let it rise
a second time.

When it crowned,
I put it in the oven.
There it rose
a third time
and turned golden,
its scent
our whole house,
our whole lives.

I sliced it
while it was still
hot and we
ate it,
melting down
our chins.

Monday, March 10, 2008


for ReadWritePoem March 10, 2008

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

I waited
through the fog
of Mrs. Landrigan’s
grammar lesson
then asked
if I could talk
to Norm
about my senior project
on dreams.

As I walked
to his desk
I saw
the sun
break through
like egg yolk
and dribble down
Mt. Washington
in the distance.

“So, what did you dream
about last night?”
I asked him
loud enough for the teacher
to hear.

In whispers
soft as pussy willows
he asked me
about my sister,
whom he wanted to date

and I wondered
if Mike
his best friend,
had asked about me.

I told him
that Nancy had drawn
a heart
on her notebook
with his initials
in it.

He told me
that Mike
was hoping
I’d be at the dance
on Friday night.

Mrs. Landrigan eyed
us so Norm
started weaving
a gauzy tale.
The sun
moved onto the desk
and lit up
the dust motes
of our dreams.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Sunday Scribblings March 9, 2008
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

His first plane
was an ultralight
that had two seats
so was considered

I insisted
it be a two-seater
so we could go

We certainly
couldn’t afford it
but I couldn’t afford
to object.

On weekends
we’d go to the airport,
belt ourselves in
and take off.

People became dolls,
cars and trucks
were Hot Wheels,
the forest
a shag carpet.

We needed a new car,
money for bills,
a new furnace.

But, as we skimmed
through the silk air
and sat like royalty
in our seats,
legs dangling,

he’d reach across
the controls,
grab my hand,
and smile,

the wind
ballooning his cheeks,
the whole sky
in his eyes.

Monday, March 3, 2008


for ReadWritePoem March 3, 2008

She sits alone in her rocking chair behind lace curtains
rewinding the movie of her life.
She remembers hanging those curtains
when her husband was alive to help her.

The movie of her life unspools around her
like a ball of yarn.
When her husband was alive
Their lives were so happy and perfect.

But now the ball of yarn has unraveled
and only memories remain
of a life so happy and perfect.
A tear slides down her face as she watches the ending of the movie.

Now only memories remain
of hanging a life with her husband’s help.
She cries as she watches the ending of the movie
while sitting alone in her rocking chair behind lace curtains.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


for Totally Optional Prompts February 28, 2008

This is diffferent for me. About a month and a half ago my brother-in-law asked me to write the lyrics to a song for my mom's 82nd birthday. Then he'd put it to music. I almost never rhyme so this was a challenge but I managed to come up with the following.

My mom's name is Fleurette which means "Little Flower" so I knew I wanted to use that idea in the lyrics.

I really suck at titles so let my brother-in-law name it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Our Flower

We want to write a song
about how great a mom you’ve been
We want to mention all the things
you’ve done again and again
We search our mind for memories
of you throughout the years
And there are just so many.
Some bring smiles and some bring tears.

We see you sewing in the night
and braiding hair and rugs
Cooking meals and cleaning
and always there with hugs
You slowly knit us sweaters
after we were tucked in bed.
You always put yourself last
and did for us instead.

You made our lives a garden
giving us a loving start.
You may be a “little flower”
but you’ve got a big, big heart.

We see you beating us at cards
and winning at the slots,
Playing golf, and bowling,
and washing tons of pots.
And when the days got cloudy
and cancer tried to win
We see you fighting bravely
and never giving in.

We grew in sunshine
and in rain from above
We grew tall and straight
because of your love.

You made our lives a garden
giving us a loving start.
You may be a “little flower”
but you’ve got a big, big heart.
Linda's Poems