Saturday, November 29, 2008

for Writer's Island: Fireflies

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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.
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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

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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Linda's Poems