Friday, November 30, 2007

Flip the Bird

Totally Optional Prompt for November 29th

I had a hard time with this prompt. I rarely write about animals; somehow, they just don't resonate with me. Finally, today, while my students were journal writing, I came up with this one. Anyway, for what it's worth...

Flip the Bird

I’m the bird
you stepped
on one

Was it my fault
you clipped
my wings
so I had to walk

It was morning,
time to get up
and open

the curtains
and where
were you?
In bed.

I was on my way
to wake
you up
but the doorbell

beat me to it
and when you
out of bed,

your foot
right on my back.
Sure, I hissed

at you
every time
you came
near me

after that.
Do you blame
me? You’d
be upset, too,

if someone
not only hurt you,
but took away your
ability to fly.

What if someone
took your pens and papers
and you couldn’t

write anymore?
You’d hiss
at the world,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

3WW for Nov 28 Afford, Cigarette, Dim

3WW for November 28, 2007

afford cigarette dim

That cigarette smell
slid into the house
like death
as soon as you
opened the door
last night.

It wrapped itself
around me
like a shroud.

You claim
you don’t smoke
but that it clings
to your clothes
when you stop
to visit your buddy
after work.

Somewhere in the dim
corners of my heart
I want to believe you,
so I do.

But how much longer
can I afford
to ignore the doubts.

You hurried down to the cellar
to leave
your reeking clothes
near the laundry

and when you
came back
you didn’t kiss me
but instead
went into the bathroom
to brush your teeth.

Monday, November 19, 2007

American Sentences

I wrote these last week and today. I took the one I posted earlier and changed it to one sentence and made it first person then continued Debbie's story. She's a student in one of my classes. It's basically true with a few added poetic images.

I hang my head, greasy hair a shield; no homework again; now, no home.

How can I concentrate on school work when my parents just kicked me out?

Was I wrong in refusing to give my whole paycheck to my parents?

As the social worker drones on, I spy a lone bird fly by outside.

I need to find a ride to work, a place to sleep, an apartment, love.

I try to concentrate on a test while outside the rain turns to snow.

While walking to a friend’s house, I see my mom drive by and ignore me.

I’ll have my own apartment starting next week: three rooms all to myself.

I wonder if my parents will miss me or if they’ll miss the money.

Today’s homework’s done; sun on white birch trees: exclamation points!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunday Scribblings for Nov. 17: I carry

Sunday Scribblings for Nov. 17

“I carry”

The first thing that popped into my head was a mother carrying a baby. The following poem is, unfortunately, true.

She was addicted
to meth
so her baby was, too.
All day he swam
in a false
of her making,
after wave
him in the face,
his brain.

He, finally,
washed up
on the shore
of life
like a fish
for more than

more than his mother
could give him
even though
it had been her gift
for so many

he is clear
but lies
in his crib
in his
a gaping hole
in his dreams
that he can’t

~Linda Jacobs
November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

3WW for Nov 14: Icy, Train, Pause

3WW for November 14

icy train pause

I woke up at 1:30 last night and couldn't get back to sleep because the idea for this poem was like a freight train in my brain. I finally got up and wrote it before going back to bed and falling asleep 2 hours before I had to get up to go to school.
"Hey, Linda, Let's..."

It was Kathy’s idea.
I was two years younger
so she was the thinker
and I was the doer.

On our way home
from grammar school
one day
she challenged me
to run
right in front
of a moving train.

It was a warm
September afternoon
and the sun
was a shawl
on our shoulders
as we waited
for the St. Lawrence
and Atlantic Railroad
to make it’s
slice through
our neighborhood.

We competed
like tightrope walkers
to see who could walk
the farthest
on the rails
through our feet
alerting us to the arrival
of the train.

I waited
until that engine
grew bigger
and bigger
then I dashed
the ties
and tracks.


An extra moment’s
pauseand I would have met
icy death.

Afterwards, we continued
home, our shadows
walking ahead of us
and I wondered
when had mine grown
longer than hers?

~Linda Jacobs
November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Totally Optional Prompt for Nov. 15: Neighbors Saw

This Is What the Neighbors Saw

At first,
A campfire
licking the stars,

an empty
Coors Light can,
a half-filled
margarita glass,

two people
to “Beautiful Tonight”
on the deck.

smoldering embers,
a deserted deck,
lights winking off
in the camp.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings for Nov. 11, 2007: Left and Right

Sunday Scribblings for November 11

Left and Right



Left foot
on the threshold

a rude wind
pushes the door
out of my hands

like my life
out of my grasp

like you
out of my will

You sit in your La Z Boy
watching me leave

knowing I’ll be back
knowing the wind
will be too strong

and my leash
too short

I fight
to close the door
then step
back inside
even though
I know it’s not right

~Linda Jacobs
Nov. 11, 2007

Three Word Wednesday: Today I Carried

This is my first post for 3WW. I just recently discovered blogging and the wonderful poets in poetry blog world. I'm having a blast visiting all the cool and inspirational sites.

One thing I haven't quite figured out how to do is leave a link to a certain poem in my blog. I've been studying others and think I have it and will try with this one. I did not know how to do it when I left the link for my Totally Optional Prompt poem this week. So, if you are looking for that one, please just scroll down a bit and you'll find it.


3 Word Wednesday Words for November 7, 2007

compensation modern radio


Today I carried
a pile of laundry
into the cellar

sorted it by colors
then did three loads.

I washed the hardwood
floor in the living room
and vacuumed,

cleaned the bathroom
(my favorite chore!)

all in the static
of Saturday morning.

Then the phone rang
and my daughter’s voice
turned the radio
of my day
into music.

Her pure liquid
notes sang modern
tunes in my antiquated

And then as if in compensation
for those hours of toil,
she asked me to baby sit

I sang along
with the Bare Naked Ladies'
“If I Had a Million Dollars”
as I folded
warm clothes
in the rich afternoon.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

TOP for November 8, 2007: Collage

My poem for this week uses the phrases from this collage I put together about two weeks ago. The more I thought about Lucille Clifton's poem "climbing" the more I thought this collage evoked the same feeling.



a woman precedes me up the long rope.
her dangling braids the color of rain.
maybe i should have had braids.
maybe i should have kept the body i started,
slim and possible as a boy's bone.
maybe i should have wanted less.
maybe i should have ignored the bowl in me
burning to be filled.
maybe i should have wanted less.
the woman passes the notch in the rope
marked Sixty. I rise toward it, struggling,
hand over hungry hand.

Lucille Clifton


“Self Transformation”

I used to be
vanilla ice cream.

“It’s all about the choices we make”

Now I pour
maple syrup
and sprinkle
walnuts on it.

“Self Preservation”

I wrote
my first poem
at age 40.

“Real Satisfaction”

When no one
was looking
I’d hug the books
I was writing
my poems in.


Today I have 22 books
of poetry
sitting on a shelf
like smiling soldiers
protecting the new

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’
is to say, ‘I don’t want to.’”

After the kids
and husband
were asleep
I’d sit in the sunshine
of a nightlight

“Pack your own parachute”

Poetry became my parachute
as I fell from the airplane
of a planned life.

“Inspiration pulled from your life”

Like taffy
I stretched it
molded it
transformed it
until it was palatable.


used to help me escape
into someone else’s life.
Through poetry I escape
into my own.

“Rewarding, very, very, very rewarding”

(big smile)

“The thrill of the new”

My taste buds came alive
with all the new flavors
that flowed through
my pencil.

“Clear your mind of can’t”

Yes. Yes. Yes!

“Each of us has the opportunity to change and grow
until our very last breath. Happy creating.”

I’ve been pregnant
with poems
and they just keep
being born.

“Here’s to starting again”

and again, and again

Lady Liberty stamp

That’s me


~Linda Jacobs
November 8, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Totally Optional Prompt for Nov. 1, 2007: Work

My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it. ~Abraham Lincoln

You’d be grumpy, too, if you woke up and found yourself at work. ~Bob Thaves

I am a friend of the working man, and I would rather be a friend than be one. ~Clarence Darrow
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The End of the First Day for a First Year Teacher

You held it together
all day,
through the snubs
of teachers
with each other
but never with you,

through the students
who ignored you
and talked
while you were
trying to teach

through the teenage girls
combing their hair
and applying
makeup in class

through lunch duty
while you stood there
alone wondering
who had thrown
food in your

and then that awful staff
where you sat at a table
by yourself
and listened to the principal
talk about state
standards and proficiencies
and had no idea
what he was talking about.

Finally, you walked
out of school,
head held high,
holding a book bag
full of papers
to correct.
You got into your car.
Your shoulders slumped
and your lips quivered
as you drove away.

~Linda Jacobs
October 30, 2007
Linda's Poems