Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Either Are or You Aren't!

This is the story a student came into school with the other day. I got a kick out of the way she reported the doctor's diagnosis.
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They kiss
in the hallways
walk hand in hand
to lunch

They lean
against her locker
chest to breast
nose to nose

heart motes
hang in the air
form halos
around them

She hasn’t
had her period
for two months
one test

came back
said no

She’s been
"The doctor says
I'm 84% pregnant."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008



I’m listening to the radio
and falling in love with love.
I’m thirteen and what do I know?

I think of guys and what they have below:
a mystery I know nothing of.
I dream as I listen to the radio

of lips and hands moving to and fro
edging nearer to what’s above.
I’m thirteen and what do I know?

No guy has yet made me glow
or held me close like a glove.
All I have is yearning from the radio.

And it’s not that I want to be a ho.
Too fresh? I’d give him a shove!
I’m thirteen but I know what I know.

I’d just settle for the chance, though,
to experiment. I’d love a hand to cov-
er a part of me while I listen to the radio.
I’m thirteen and I just want to know!


Desire for Writers’ Island January 29, 2008
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I carry it in a pouch
low down
its weight
heavier than rocks

It moves with me
through the day
of pressure

I feel its insistence
as I stand
in front of my class
it hums

it hums
through lunch
and meetings
I’ve swallowed

a violin
and the bow
plays across
the breasts

of my thoughts
until I get home
and tenderly birth
a poem

Monday, January 28, 2008


For ReadWritePoem

Here's a villanelle I wrote for a page in an altered book I made for my mom last year. It describes the day I was born. My dad was attending school about 3 hours away and when he got the call, he jumped on a bus but there was a snowstorm and it took him all day to get to my mom. They'd only been married for nine and a half months and didn't even own a car. This was back in 1949.
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The sky she was born under was full of snow
and her father barely made it on time.
All day he traveled by bus and it was so slow.

Each beat of his heart was yearning to know
her, the missing part to their rhyme.
The sky she was born under was full of snow

that fell like poetry on the world below
creating a clean world so sublime.
All day he traveled by bus and it was so slow.

He wanted to push the bus to make it go
faster and to help it climb
but the sky she was born under was full of snow

and that bus puttered along like on tippy-toe
and her dad thought it was a crime
as he traveled all day by bus so slow, so slow.

Finally, he arrived just in time for the afterglow
of birth, their poem written for a lifetime.
The sky she was born under was full of snow
and the love that traveled to her was forever and slow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


breath, scattered, tomorrow

For Three Word Wednesday January 23, 2008
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after school
I was in Rite-aid.

colored curls
scattered around my face.

Tall, black
leather boots,
skirt just above my knees.

My son
called me to
talk about the weekend.

I leaned
against a pole
near the end of an aisle.

I saw
a student
from my tenth grade class.

He walked
by, said hi
and checked me out.

he said I
looked "hot" in my skirt

and boots.
My breath caught
and I had to laugh.

I’ll be
in six more tomorrows,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Crushed Red Flowers

Poem inspired by "Cold Poem" by Mary Oliver
for Poem: A Virtual Poetry Group
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Crushed Red Flowers

A blanket of winter
settles over us
after supper.

Him in his recliner
and me in mine,
two boulders
sitting in the snowflakes
of television babble
and computer clicks.

“Do you want to watch
Wings with me?”
He holds out this bouquet
but I’m in the middle
of writing a poem.
“Maybe later.”

I sit in the little sunshine
of my creativity,
fingers playing
hopscotch on the keys.

He punches buttons
on the remote,
finds the Outdoor
and watches hunting
in Alaska,
grown men chasing,
gunning down,
and killing
The blood splotches
are crushed rose

“Are you ready
for Wings yet?”
But I still want to post
the poem
on my blog,
meander down
the path
of other people’s
and make comments
about their writing
so I shake my head.

“Well, I’m heading
upstairs, then.”
He drags the frozen
quilt with him.

I turn off the TV.
The leftover snow
as I type away.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fellow Travelers

Fellow Travelers for Sunday Scribblings January 20, 2008

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American Airlines Flight 1533

Flying stand-by
Miami to Boston
packed plane
fit carry-on
in overhead bin
like a puzzle

Hear baby crying
Find seat
in middle section
between two
big people
who monopolize

One won’t stop
the other
needs a better

Try to read
Kids in back
bang seat
“Excuse me”
as Wiggler
heads to bathroom

Baby still crying
Lean toward
empty seat
He’s back
too soon

Trays come down
Elbows jabbing
Baby crying
Baby’s mom

Me, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Magician

The magician for TOP January 17, 2008

Sorry, I've got a cold and can't think.
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There is an ant
in my throat.
It’s crawling around
making me cough.

There is pepper
in my nose.
It’s igniting

There is a bean bag
in my brain.
It’s heavy
and makes me lazy.

There is Nyquil
in my spoon.
Its magic is going
to make me sleep.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A poem for 3 Word Wednesday

3WW January 16, 2008

awkward kitchen obsessed

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Standing at the sink
in our kitchen,
hands submerged
in clouds of suds,
I hear my dad
sit down at the table
behind me.

I know why he’s there
and his disappointment
in me seeps across
the old linoleum,
climbs up my legs
and perches on a rib
near my heart.

It’s Mother’s Day.
I’m maybe eight.
I made a card for my mom
in school but forgot
it there. I figured
I would remember
it on Monday
and give it to her
when I got home.
So instead
of wishing her
a happy Mother’s Day
and explaining,
I’ve avoided her eyes
all day.

Every time she glances
at me with a hurt look,
my eyes dart away
awkwardly, like fish
avoiding shadows.

My father’s words
are soft chamois
cloths that polish
my shame
until it is so bright
I can’t see
the dishes I’m acting
so obsessed about
getting clean.

He leaves
as quietly as he arrived.
I finish the dishes
and go out to the porch
where my mom
is sitting.

I feel
the softness
of her apron
as I bury my face
in it
and the strength
of her arms
as she holds me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


"Treasure" for Writer’s Island January 15, 2008

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It’s 1959
and I’m sitting
in front of our black
and white Sylvania

My mom has just rearranged
the rabbit ears
for the best reception
and now The Little
Rascals is on.

Spanky and his friends
are exploring a cave
when they stumble
upon a room filled
with treasure. They
drape themselves
in jewels and pearls,
necklaces and bracelets.
Golden doubloons
drip through their fingers.

My eyes devour
those riches.
I think of all
the luxuries I could buy
if I had that wealth.

It’s 2008
and I’m sitting
in front of my laptop
writing a poem.
I open the treasure
chest of jewels
I carry around with me
and drape myself
in words.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lake of Memories

Traveling Companion for ReadWritePoem January 14, 2008

My friend, Dottie, came over to visit this afternoon and while the guys watched football, we reminisced about our trip to England a couple years ago. Our husbands had no interest in going but, as English teachers, we were dying to visit it. At first we had visions of hitch hiking around or renting a car and just exploring like we were back in the late sixties but common sense prevailed and we joined a tour. Luckily, there were only 16 people on it so we had plenty of room on the bus and lots of free time for doing our own thing. The Annie mentioned in the poem was the tour guide and she was great.

Lake of Memories

England is but a lake
of memories
I sink into
and paddle around:
glints of flowers
like fireworks
dazzling my eyes,

Dottie’s amused face
when we would look
at each other
and mouth one of Annie’s
perfect phrases
after she had so succinctly
uttered it.
“Fluff your feathers”
comes to mind
as I spread my arms
and stroke through
the water.

The flipping of my feet
reminds me of all
the walking:
through quaint lanes,
over moors
“galloping like gazelles,”
across the park
near the Plymouth
crunching the stones
on Brighton Beach,
whisking through the morning
air to the Swiss Cottage
at Osborne House
on the Isle of Wight.

We left our footprints
in England
as now I leave a slight
wake behind me.
The waves spread
but never disappear.
They catch the sun
and reflect a cup
of tea foamy
with clotted cream
and our laughter,
chandeliers dripping
thatched roofs
like bangs
on cottage foreheads.

These ripples are part
of my brain
lapping at the shore.
Whenever Dottie and I
get together, now,
we take a dip
into that pond
and splash around.

The Date

"The Date" for Sunday Scribblings January 13, 2008

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I Should Have Known, Then, That He Always Gets What He Wants.

We were sliding
around on the back seat
of Tom Norcott’s parents’

Tom was driving,
his girl nestled
right up next to him.

I remember our first
date, how we walked
to the movies to see
Taming of the Shrew,
but I have no idea
what we did on this
second date. Except

I felt the car sway
as we made the turn
from Hillside Avenue
onto Willow Street.

And just as gravity
pulled us toward
the right
and I braced
for impact,

you whispered
in my ear,
“I’m gonna
marry you.”

“You’re nuts!”
squeaked out
in between kisses.

I saw your smile
in the neon glow
from Bob’s Variety
Store as you claimed
my lips
my heart
my life.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


3WW for January 9, 2008

gossip naïve station
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Stationed behind shrubs
I hear gossip about you~
I used to be naïve.

The Sound of Solitude

TOP for January 10, 2008: In the Ear

Just a little cinquain about this moment.

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The Sound of Solitude

computer hum
keys clicking as I blog.
Boots bang on back stairs, peace over,
he’s home.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Resolutions for Read Write Poem
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“Why do we have to have New Year’s Resolutions, anyway?”
Trevor asks. “I’m not gonna follow them.”

I’m walking around the room during my Fundamentals class,
making sure they are using Word and not on MySpace,

a site that is blocked, but they know all the proxies.
These are bright kids but they have a learning disability

when it comes to English. I had this crazy idea
to have them make little credit-card sized cards with their

resolutions printed on them so they could keep them
in their wallets or tape them to their mirror or computer.

Death rock music crashes into my ear drums. It’s Scott.
“I didn’t do anything. Honest! I just hit this key by accident.”

I shake my head and he gets back to work. “How do you spell
resolutions?” Kristin wants to know. On my way to her desk

I tap Cory on the shoulder to direct him back from looking
at drum sets and make a twirling motion with my finger

at Shayna who is turned around flirting with Bill,
telling him all about her wild weekend, eyelashes fluttering.

“Can I make a resolution to hate guys?” Whitney has just been dumped
by her boyfriend and now he’s dating her best friend.

The girls all start dissing the guys and the guys give it
right back. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, raise my voice

and make my own resolutions: No more computers, No more
creative activities. “Ms. Jacobs, did you have a nice vacation?”

Eighteen eyes are looking at me, interested. I sit on an empty desk,
and start to talk. Shayna turns around. Cory forgets about his drums.

I hold their minds in the palm of my words, polish them, let them shine.
Later, “I’m still not gonna follow these resolutions” Trevor says, typing away.

Friday, January 4, 2008


We'll be going out of town this weekend so I won't have a chance to write a new poem. This is the first one that popped into my head when I saw the prompt so figured I'd post it even though I wrote it two years ago just after my granddaughter was born.

The page is from an accordion book I made. I had my poetry writing students make one and I did it along with them. It had to have a theme and mine was all the things that make me smile.

Kylie Love
A fluff of dark feathers
resting in the cup
of my palm.
The top of your head
is a perfect vortex
and our love circles
around and around
spiraling into you.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Dear Editor

Poem to the Editor for TOP January 3, 2008

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Dear Editor

Yesterday, as I was standing
in line at the IGA,

thinking only about
getting home after work,

I was delayed
while waiting.

Ahead of me
was a woman

with two young children
and a shopping cart

full of macaroni
and cheese, chips,

soda, Hamburger Helper,
Wonder bread, TV dinners.

There wasn’t an apple,
banana, or carrot in sight.

The hold-up was because
she couldn’t find her welfare

credit card.
The kids squabbled,

she pawed through her purse.
Finally, she found it

and I prepared to check out.
But, no, another delay.

I had to wait
while she purchased

beer, wine, and cigarettes.
She took out dollar

bills for that.
It was zero degrees.

One child had no hat.
The other had on

just a sweatshirt.
She lit up a smoke

as soon as she got outside
while I took out

my hard-earned money
to pay for her groceries.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

3WW for January 2, 2008

3WW words for January 2, 2008

button luck pretend

Just a little bit of my day that stuck in my mind.
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January 2, 2008 Block 3

Josh comes up to me,
a pile of papers
in his hand,
“I’m cleaning out
my notebook. Can
I throw all these
poems away?”

Every day I make
copies of and read
a poem to my students.

I think of Billy Collins’s
“I Chop Some Parsley While
Listening to Ed Blakey’s
Version of ‘Three Blind Mice’”
and Jack McCarthy’s words
about his son,
“Just before he died, I heard
him cry,”
and Kaylin Haught’s “God Says Yes
to Me” sitting in the bottom
of the garbage can
and I say, “No!” to Josh.

The trees outside
my classroom window
are shaking themselves
of snow
like puppies
after a bath.

Josh, cute as a button, slinks
back to his seat and threads
the rings of his notebook
back through the holes
in the papers

not even pretending
to understand his crazy
English teacher,

having no idea
how lucky
and rich he is.

I glance outside;
the sun is now painting
lemon stripes on the white birches.

I catch Josh’s eye
and smile.
He shrugs his shoulders
and closes his fat notebook.
Linda's Poems