Friday, April 30, 2010

NaPoWriMo #30: Made it! Free Write

Being Late

I remember that little breathless
when I realized I was late.

This one was like a flower
not like the ones

before you’re married
that are like
razor blades

nicking your brain
with worry.
No, this one

was the sun rising,
ocean waves
kissing the sand,

thoughts of blue eyes
and blond curls.
This late was a smile.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poetry Train and NaPoWriMo #29: Headline

Monday May 10, 2010

I've been thinking of my dad lately.  He died 13 years ago today.  When I saw this headline a couple weeks ago in the newspaper, it reminded me of an incident from when I was a kid.
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Mt. Washington Auto Road
opens for 149th season May 1

It’s still covered in white
this peak of ours
poking up into the clouds.

My dad worked
on the summit
for quite a few years.

It is woven into our lives;
every night on the news
Marty Ingstrom would

give us the weather report
from up there in his dry
voice ending with that quirky

smile. One time my dad
got to sit there with him
and we kids gathered

around the TV in the living
room feeling pretty special.
It was like knowing

a celebrity. Every time
I see the mountain
I think of my dad.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NaPoWriMo #28: 3WW: Depart, Ignite, Rotten

Late Snow Ignites Dreams of Future

Woke up to six inches
of late April snow
covering all the baby
leaves and flowers.

Winter takes his time
to depart in this neck
of the woods. I grabbed
my camera and snapped

a couple pictures to take
with us to Florida
when we retire in another
year, to remind us of why

we don’t want to live up here
where the weather is rotten
most of the time. Then I put
my boots on, got the shovel

out, cleaned off my truck,
and made my way
to school. One day
closer to being done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NaPoWriMo #27: Acrostic

ReadWritePoem prompts us to write an acrostic today.  And for journal writing in my classes today the prompt was: Write about wanting to leave some place but you can't.  I combined the two.
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Left brain already out the door
Even though I know I can’t really leave.
Anchors weigh me down.
Velvet hands and words, always,
Instead of rocks but, still, I
Need to find my own space.
Going, going, gone.

Monday, April 26, 2010

NaPoWriMo #26: Rework an Old Line

You Hear Church Bells in the Distance

And the notes sparkle
like tinsel
in the Christmas air.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
is playing carols.
See how the sharps

and flats float around
then settle
on the ground

like snowflakes.
I pick up a handful
and let them drift

down over me
like a waterfall
of song. Then

head to Walmart.
I go through the doors
and hear the canned

carols being played
and this time
the notes slap me

in the face. I get
my list out, crumple
it, and leave.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NaPoWriMo #25: First Things First

ReadWritePoem prompts us to listen to the first thing someone says to us and write a poem around it.  This is what my husband said to me this morning.
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He walks downstairs
and goes into the kitchen
to make coffee

and notices a new striped
cutting board. “Did you buy
a new cutting board?”

“Yeah, it’s from Avon.
I had to buy something.”
“Couldn’t you just

give her some money
each time so we wouldn’t
end up with all this crap?”

I laugh, he continues
to make his coffee,
then comes into the living

room and turns the TV on
to his fishing shows.
I write a poem.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

NaPoWriMo #24: Just an Observation


His fat fingers
tap dance on the keys.

He lets his glasses slip
down onto his nose

and he peers over them
through near-sighted eyes.

He swears when he can’t find
what he’s looking for,

runs his hand through
his hair and rubs his forehead,

grunts and complains.
My husband is searching

for Harley parts
on ebay.

Friday, April 23, 2010

NaPoWriMo #24: Unlikely Couples

The Fisherman and the Poet

Tuna were jumping
as we sped
across the ocean

to his favorite
fishing spot.
Once we were anchored,

he set his fishing
lines and I took
my notebook

and pen out.
The sun rolled
over me and settled

in the bottom
of the boat.
It was going

to be a peaceful
day. I started
writing then heard

a zipping sound.
“Tuna!” my husband
yelled. I jumped

up and did what
I could to help
him pull in

a 300 pound tuna
imagining the words
I’d use to capture

this incredible feat.
He sold the tuna
but I caught it on paper.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NaPoWriMo #22: Wordle

ReadWritePoem challenged us to use these words in a poem: dizzy, squall, crow, fierce, flinch, tomorrow, emporium, reverberate, pepper, tendril, saffron, rust.  I managed three of them.
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The sun shimmers
on the pond
as I sit in my son’s
new home

He and my husband
are talking motorcycles
their conversation
peppered with timers

heads, pistons, flywheels
until I’m dizzy.
Tomorrow, they have
a landscaping project

and while they are doing that,
I’ll go to the bookstore
to check out the poetry
books and to Michael’s

for cool pens. Then, I’ll
sit on the deck and read.
Right now, I have a glass
of wine waiting

and more stimulating
bike talk. And the sun
is shining
at my son’s.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NaPoWriMo #21: Perfection/Imperfection & Monday Poetry Train

The Perfection of a Four-year-old

Kylie is working
on math
in an activity book.

Seven fingers go up
in the air

and three get covered.
4 she writes
“Great,” I say.

And on she goes
until she gets to

She opens her hands
and counts
only ten fingers

Perplexed, she guesses
5, then goes on
to the next problem.

But then she thinks
about it
and knows she’s wrong.

This time she counts
an imaginary finger,
erases the 5,

and replaces it with 6.
When she’s done the page,
I correct her answers

and put 100% at the top.
She shakes her head,
draws a line

through her grade,
and writes 1X

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

NaPoWriMo: Hero

Not her struggle
to overcome abuse

Not her dignity
during the divorce

Not her survival
after he cut her off

Not her determination
and positive attitude

Not her loyalty to me
by writing letters

No, none of those
make her my hero

the way her daughters
always come first

is like a medal
pinned to her heart.

Monday, April 19, 2010

NaPoWriMo: #19: Light Bulb Moment

We sat in Mr. Russell’s
9th grade English class
and talked about the Beatles.

He sat behind his desk
and let us. We chit chatted
for all 45 minutes

of class while he sat there
in his frayed suit and thin hair
wishing for a cigarette.

If I was a teacher, I thought,
I’d engage the kids,
insist on quiet, make them

behave. Instead, he let
us do whatever we wanted.
I knew it was wrong,

and knew what to do about it.
That’s the moment
when I became a teacher.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NaPoWriMo #18: Cats

Considering life from green-eyed
Attitude, cats slink around the corners of
Time and my blind side and make me
Shudder with their knowing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NaPoWriMo #17: The Elements

I’m the one
with a sense
of humor.

I don’t rage
like fire
with a hot tongue

nor am I stoic
like the patient

and I don’t have
sun’s steadfast

No, I like to play.
A couple days
ago I had fun

with Linda. She
needed cheering up
after visiting

an assisted-living
facility for her mom.
She and her brother

were sitting on the porch
having a beer
and a glass of wine

reading all 30 plus
pages of the contract
when I slipped

around the corner
of the house
and blew a puff

of fresh levity
their way. It lifted
those heavy papers

and twirled them around.
Linda reached to control
them and spilled her merlot

all over every singe one
of those white sheets
and her legs

and her chair. I
chortled at this
unexpected bonus

sashayed around
then moved on
knowng my work was done.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NaPoWriMo #16: Smells

ReadWritePoem suggests we smell something then freewrite the memories it evokes.
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The leather cover for my Kindle

I remember purses,
a checkbook cover,
ski boots,
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I lace my ski boots
and pull the laces
as tight as possible

walk out of the lodge
grab my wooden
skis and bamboo poles

and head toward
the rope tow.
Once there, I grab

hold of the rope
as it whizzes past
and hold on tight

as it takes me
to the top of the slope.
I can’t ski

don’t know how to turn
or snowplow.
I fall a dozen times

while trying to get
to the bottom.
People enjoy this?

I smell the sweaty
leather as I take my boots

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NaPoWriMo #15: An Old Line

These Are the Things Men Don’t Know about Love

That women divide
the mind and body
unlike men
where everything
blends together

That love is delicate
like lace
and can tear easily

That love is not shown
in words
but in deeds
like picking
up socks
and closing
the toilet seat

That love is a CD
containing many
different songs
and what you enjoy
one day
might annoy
you on another

That love is not
a bouquet of flowers
given because
you have to
Love is wildflowers
with deep roots.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NaPoWriMo #14: Cleave Poem

Blue eyes Brown eyes
Skin like satin Skin like suede
Sitting up straight Sitting hunched over
Talking about Twilight Talking about Paul Newman
Looking forward Looking backward
Going into eighth grade Going into assisted living
Spring Winter
Michelle Nana

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NaPoWriMo #13: Smoke a Dubie

Poem Starting with a Line from Norman Dubie

You wondered about skin
wrinkled by looking
at jewels

I’ll tell you about
those wrinkles
and about the jewels

the way my dad’s nose
would twitch
when my mom cooked

my brother’s grin
after telling a joke

my sister, Nancy’s, gloat
my sister, Sally’s, tear-filled
eyes after being teased

my hands dealing cards
these jewels of life
these wrinkles of living

Monday, April 12, 2010

NaPoWriMo #12: Secret Codes

The fog
descends over my brain
like spider webs
I can’t

See how
it nestles into the nooks
and crannies
of my mind

lakes and pastures
of fuzzy thoughtlessness.
Sleep takes over
like melting into

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NaPoWriMo #11 The Thing You Didn't Choose

After Having My Tubes Tied

Snip, goodbye
Snip, goodbye
the poet,
the pilot,
the mechanic,
the waitress,
the logger,
the teacher.
Goodbye to future
Snip. Snip.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Monday poetry Train: Celebration


“Grammy, can you sing
me a song”? says Kylie
as we snuggle in bed.

So I sing “On the Good
Ship Lollipop” again
and again. “Now, your

turn.” I tell her. She
sings a dinosaur song
she learned in preschool.

Then she asks for a story
so I make up one about
Bad Penelope who likes

to pinch. She’s still not
sleepy so we play
Guess the Letter.

I “write” a letter on her
back and she tries to
figure out what it is

in between giggles.
Then she writes on
on mine. Back and

forth we go, laughing.
After that we just lie
there talking. Her voice

gets quieter and quieter.
She whispers, “I love you,
Grammy.” “I love you, too.”

Friday, April 9, 2010

NaPoWriMo #9: List

I limp into Friday evening
from the bruises
of the week.

Walk in the door
stow my school bag
away for a couple days

Massage the back of my neck
as I pour a glass of wine
and anticipate

the strum as it hums
through my system.
Settle into my La Z Boy

turn the laptop on
and try to torch a poem
from a list of words.

Kindle it like a campfire
hope to startle meaning.
But, no luck.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

NaPoWriMo #8: Love Metaphor

Pussy willows
soft gray forevers

like my mom
a sign of hope

that lasts through
the winter of life.

On Sunday I’m
flying to Florida

to see her because
she’s hurting:

compression fractures,
cracked pelvis,

memory loss,

must be made.

This afternoon
I took a walk

in the woods
and picked some

pussy willows.
I put them in a vase

next to my parents’
wedding photo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NaPoWriMo #7: Humorous Love Tanka

the moon smears the cornfield in beige body lotion

We frolic in the back seat

stand amid stalks to straighten clothes

get home wallet’s missing go back to find it

and hear the moon laughing

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

NaPoWriMo #6: Picture

I have a collection of US Postage stamps.  This one brought back a memory from 1992.

Sunset Beach
ocean on one side
fruit vendor on the other.

We stop
my mother-in-law and I.
She wants pineapple

to take back
to New Hampshire.
The owner says

he’ll set us up .
He arranges six in a box.
When we get back

to our rented house,
we unpack them
to make sure they’re good.

They aren’t.
The back sides are rotten.
We return

to the vendor
but Mr. Hippie Pony Tail
won’t take them back.

“Fine, I’ll just sit here
all day and show people
what you tried to sell us.

He takes them back,
gives us our money
and we head to the Dole Plantation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

NaPoWriMo #5: Personify Poetry


The bitch has black hair
straight and oily.

She snaps her gum
and wears tight jeans,

cropped tops, and a thong
that shows in the back.

Her hips are a metronome
swaying back and forth.

She points her finger
at me and beckons.

I know we’re going
someplace smoky

and dim with men there
who want only one thing.

But I follow, anyway,
follow those rhythmic

hips into that dark place.
I sit at a stool next to her.

She smiles, offers me a butt,
and I know I am home.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

NaPoWriMo #4: Inside-out/Outside-in


In bed
the fan on
I smell the sky
I taste the salty stars
I inhale the moon into
my dreams.

Under layers
of quilts my body
cocooned, nestled, snug.
My head on a bracing ski slope
rushing headlong through the wind
into sleep.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

NaPoWriMo #3: Fear

Kathy and I are playing in the Red,
White, and Blue caves
on Mt. Forist. We’ve named

them that because there are three
of them. We play house in one,
school in another, and eat our lunch

in the third. Before leaving
we do a little exploring
and I notice a slim passageway

like a flat snake leading out.
Kathy’s too big so I start slithering
through. There are rocks

in the way that I bend my body
around. It smells like dirty feet,
skunk urine, and rotten hamburger.

The tunnel gets narrower,
my head scrapes against the rock
above and the ground below.

I decide to retreat, start backing up
but get snagged on a rock. I try
going forward, again. Nope.

My chest swells like an air mattress
being blown up. I can’t breathe.
Confetti is waltzing in front

of my eyes. The cave is shifting
and falling in on me. There is no way
out. I scream, taste salt and dirt,

then hear Kathy’s voice at the end,
open my eyes and see daylight
just around the curve. “You can

make it.” I begin to deflate, wiggle
my head and body to make them fit,
and claw my way out. Kathy

saved my life that day. Whenever
I get an attack of claustrophobia, now,
I picture her face, like a full moon

bathed in morning light, smiling
and encouraging at the end
of the tunnel.

Friday, April 2, 2010

NaPoWriMo #2: RWP=Regular White Paper

On Tuesday
Katelyn came into class
almost crying.

She shook her head
when I asked
if she had her homework

then said, “I got
beat up last night.”
Since we do journal

writing on Tuesdays,
she took a piece
of regular white paper

out and started
writing. I could see
the black anger

scrawling across the page
like stitches
from a cut.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

NaPoWriMo #1: Song Titles

ReadWritePoem's first prompt for National Poetry Writing Month is to jot down the titles to five songs and then incorporate them into a poem.  I randomly picked: "Knowing You, Knowing Me" by Abba, "Just Because" by Bernie Williams, "Beautiful Tragedy" by In This Moment, "The Freshman" by Verve Pipe, and "November Rain" by Guns and Roses.

It's horribly dramatic and depressing.  Sorry! It's just what came out!
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Beautiful Tragedy

The freshman girl
walked into school
in September
her eyes bright
as flashlights
casting around
for friends.

She smiled
at people
but no one smiled
She went to class
She sat by herself
at lunch.
By October
the batteries
in her eyes
had dimmed.
Her hair hung
over them.
Sometime in November,
rain felt like knives
slicing her cheeks.

She started smoking weed
and enticing guys
with promises…
just because…
Her grades plummeted
and in art class
she drew
a picture of garbage
surrounded by flowers
and called it,
“Knowing Me, Knowing You.”

By June
she was wearing
ragged clothes.
She walked
with her head down
and in July
she swallowed
too many pills.
Linda's Poems