Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Whirl

I think I've chosen
my word for the new year.

It's been slipping softly
into my thoughts

for the last few weeks
tinting each day with smiles.

I thought it would blast
into my life and slap me

in the face with its importance
while shouting how integral

it would be to how I live.
But, no, it was just a tiny

tincture dropped into my daily
living where it spread

into every crevice until
it became a map

to the answer of why
I've been so glum.

At the beach I found
a white feather by chance

and wrote my word
in the sand making

it official. Then, I took
a picture of it. Now,

it's mine. When I write
I synchronize the ups

and downs creating
balance so I don't tip

over into self-loathing.
Today, I'll print

my word, frame it,
and place it on my desk.

It will sit there
a quiet sunrise.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finale for the Last Sunday Scribblings


Palm trees are sweeping
the clouds up
into piles of spilled sugar.

My husband is sitting
on the porch
listening to music

and drinking a beer.
It's 84 degrees
on this last Sunday

before Christmas.
I'm sitting inside
in the air conditioning

playing on my iPad,
trying to come up with
a poem about endings.

I see the colored lights
we have strung
along our roofline.

We'll be putting them
away soon. I see the wreath
I added sand dollars

and shells to. It will go back
in its box and slid
under the guest room bed.

I see the poinsettia
in the middle of white
petunias. I'll replace it

with something else
as soon as the holidays
are over. My husband

just finished one beer
and came in the house
to get another one,

music breezing in with him.
I go back to looking
out the window.

The palms are still cleaning
the sky. I'm still
writing this poem.

I hate to stop
because as soon as I leave
the link to it

on the Sunday Scribblings
site, that part
of my Sunday will be over.

I swallow the little lump in my throat
and, and, and...
put a period right here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The End

The End

I check
the mail,
see an envelope
from my sister,
and know it's the end.

I wait
to open it,
drive to the beach,
get settled,
then slit it open.

A check
with my mom's name
in the corner:
Fleurette G. Ryan
and her last

address: Sterling
Assisted Living.
She didn't die there;
that was hospice.

I fold
the check
and slip it back
in the envelope.
Once all four

are cashed,
Nancy will close
the account.
of an era.

End of playing
cards and sipping
wine in the late

End of watching
her enjoying
lobster, melted
butter shining
on her chin.

End of sweet
while driving
to the cemetery
to place

on my dad's grave.
End of trips
to Foxwoods.
End of winning.

It's warm
at the beach
but goosebumps
spring up
on my arms.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Open the Box

Thursday 2/16/06 Block 3

Open the Box

I don't dare.
Not yet.
The ribbons
are still tied
with a red bow.

But, that color
is a hint
I've let slip out
because sometimes
the life
inside the box
is too big
and alive to remain
cooped up.

It's like a pan
of boiling potatoes.
If you don't crack
the cover
and let some of the steam
out, it'll overflow
the sides
and make a big mess.

I'm not ready
for the mess
untying those ribbons

well, maybe
I'll start pulling
just a little bit....


Tuesday 2/7/06 Block 2


When my husband
looks at me,
he sees a wife
making his supper,
putting his next day's lunch
together, bringing him cookies
and milk for dessert.

What he doesn't see
is what my mind is doing
all that time.
I'm in a house
by the sea,
living alone,
making myself an omelette
just the way I like it.
I'm sitting on the beach
writing a poem.
I'm in a foreign country
on vacation
without him.

But, I'm definitely
not in the house
tending to him.

Sunday with Kylie

January 24, 2006 Block 1

Sunday with Kylie

When I left you
on Sunday afternoon,
you were curled on your side
like a fiddlehead fern
newly sprouted in spring.

I rubbed your back
softly, just enough
to let you know
I'd been there.

Your face puckered
in rosebud sleep.

I hated the bubble
of our afternoon
to end.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

At the Other End of the Street

Tuesday 3/18/08

At the Other End of the Street

Sometimes we played
baseball: rocks
for home plate
and second,
a crack on the sidewalk
for first, and a dandelion
on someone's lawn
for third.

Other days the telephone
pole became our safe spot
for playing Hide 'n' Seek.
I was a good hider
and "it" would always
have to holler,
"Allee Allee entry."

We played jump rope
and double Dutch
with clothesline.
"England, Ireland,
Scotland, Wales,
red, white, blue"

And, at eight sharp
mothers from all along
the street
would call our names
and we'd head
into our other lives.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

After Writing Too Many Poems

Thursday 4/30/09

After Writing Too Many Poems

I think
I'm poemed out.
I need a break
from figurative

I need
an afternoon
of sitting on the beach
looking at the waves

and just thinking
about them
as waves
and nothing else,

just water
being pulled
by the moon
onto the shore.

That's it~
not waves of emotion
or waves of sorrow
or waves of troubles,

plain, simple waves
that do not beg
to be put into
a poem.


Thursday 3/19/09

Poem inspired by Dead Poets' Society


We were getting ready
to go to church.
I put on decent slacks
and a nice shirt.

My long, curly hair
surrounded my head.
At the last minute
I draped a rope

of beads around
my neck. When I
went downstairs,
my dad said

to get rid of the beads.
I refused. They looked
nice against my plain
shirt. Nothing wrong

with them. "You're not
going to church looking
like a hippie!" he yelled.
"Dad, everyone wears

them!" "Not my daughter!"
It was 1967, just the beginning
of the cultural revolution.
Tears in my eyes,

I took the beads off
and went to church
like a good girl.
But that evening

instead of going to CCD,
I met my boyfriend and we went
parking. I draped my beads
over his rear view mirror.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Time Someone Said Yes

Thursday October 28, 2010

A Time Someone Said Yes

The sun said yes
this morning
to the fog.

Did you see
how beautiful
it looked

with the smoky wisps
all along the river
and Mt. Forist

drenched in sunlight
above? I had to run
to my room,

grab my camera,
and snap a picture
of all that yes.

Rising Early to Begin the Journey

Thursday November 9, 2010

Rising Early to Begin the Journey

Starlight is tip-toeing
across my quilt
when the alarm
goes off. I lie
there for a few moments
feeling the weight
of its footprints,
wishing I could fall
back to sleep.
Getting up, I glance
out the window
at a quarter moon

I'm not.

It's 4:30
and I have a plane
to catch.
My mom has cancer
and I have to go
to Florida
to care for her.

The stars are still
in the sky
as I head out
of town,
the same stars
my mom can see
if she looks
out her window.
But, she can't
even get out
of bed.

The moon
slides behind

Two Days After My Dad Died

Tuesday November 16, 2010

Two Days After My Dad Died

The sun haloes
their heads
as they sit on the couch:
my mom's white
cloud of hair
and my daughter's
dark waves.

"How did you and Grampy
meet?" Erin asks.

A smile
like a flower opening
spreads over
my mom's face.

She starts talking.
We listen.
Erin reaches over
and holds her hand
while the sun rests
on their shoulders.

These Were the Reasons to Stay

Thursday November 18, 2010

These Were the Reasons to Stay

when the air
is flannel.
come home
and we sit
in the hug
of evening.

and you stay home
enjoying the silver day
while I go to work.
I return
and spaghetti sauce
is bubbling
on the stove.

Dead Man Poem

Thursday December 16, 2010

Dead Man Poem

The dead man knows about time.
The dead man knows how day moves
into day, into day.
The happenings of today will fade
into wisps of yesterday.
They will lose their impact.

The dead man sits in a restaurant.
He is trying to order but the pretty waitress
is busy and hasn't acknowledged
him yet.
He feels himself getting angry, then
angrier, then angriest.
He wants to bang his fist on the table.
He wants to trip the waitress
as she flies by.

But, then, the dead man remembers
that tomorrow he'll have a date
with this same waitress.
She'll make up to him for her slight
of today in many pleasant ways.

Packing a Suitcase

Tuesday December 21, 2010

Packing a Suitcase

I take words
and fold them carefully
into each other
so they all weave

Then I place them
into the suitcase
of a poem
smoothing them

When the bag is full,
I let it take
me away
into another

where thoughts
are airplanes
and meaning
is a tropical

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meditation in Z

February 10, 2011 Poetry Class

Meditation in Z

This sideways N
zooms across a page.

It's a swift zephyr
buzzing through the trees.

It's last in line
of all the other letters

waving a red flag
as the parade zips by.

Z is a bumblebee's song
and an airplane's snarl

as it whizzes through
the azure sky.

Z is the sharp sting
of a poorly executed quiz

and Kylie's smile
when I bought her a ZhuZhu pet.

Zs are elusive
but make a big statement.

When they are by the dozen,
Zs are dreamland

at the end if the day
and exercise when I Zumba.

I have no idea
how to end this poem,

how to leave a zippity-do-dah
instead of a snooze.

so, I'll just stop writing
and turn this terrible

music off and stop turning
my students into zombies.

If I Had My Way

Tuesday March 15, 2011

If I Had My Way

We'd have an outdoor
classroom somewhere
in the woods

where we could smell
the snow and taste
the teaberry leaves

and listen to the wisdom
of the wind and feel
the soft comfort of moss.

If I had my way, we'd get out
of the choking broth
of crowded classrooms

and out into the infinity
of fresh, clean air.
So, pack up your books,

stop at your lockers
to get your jackets,
and let's head outdoors.

Last Night

Tuesday April 5, 2011

Last night
we went to Sinibaldi's.

They offered a special:
Delmonico steak, potato,

vegetable, and roll for $7.75.
So, that's what we both had.

I substituted fried
rice for potato. My husband

had pickled beets
and I had coleslaw.

And that was it.
There was nothing

special about the meal
or the night.

Just a busy Monday.
I hadn't gotten home

until five and hadn't had
time to go to the IGA.

So, my husband said,
"Let's go out to eat."

And I said, "Sure."

This Is What Can Happen When...

Thursday May 12, 2011

This Is What Can Happen When...

You can't think of what
to write about.

You stare off into space
for a while.

You listen to the piano
notes cavorting

around the students' heads.
You look around

the room at the kids
all writing

and it's just so cool
you feel like crying.

Sure, you're making
them write

but, still, they actually

Then you write a poem

And It Was at That Age

And It Was at That Age

Is a line from a Neruda
poem. I love Neruda
with his celebration

of common, everyday
items. He could build
a poem out of nails

and boards, and cement.
I wish I could iron
poetry as crisp as his.

I take words out of the laundry
basket, smooth them a bit,
spray Niagara all over,

and begin to press.
Steam rises but, somehow,
the creases are crooked,

the collars buckle,
then they hang lopsidedly
on hangars in my kitchen

waiting to be put away.
I hide these poems
in a dark closet

then sit in the living room,
open a book of poetry
by Pablo Neruda

and read of the sea,
his home, food, carpentry,
and fresh laundry.

Wander for Sunday Scribblings

Tuesday June 7, 2011

I Carried It in My Pocket

We'd been fighting
tossing words back
and forth
at each other.

Did you ever notice
if you add an S
to "words," it turns
into swords?

Anyway, we were
tossing swords
at each other
when I couldn't

take it anymore
so went out
for a walk
in the woods.

The sun was minting
little golden coins
on the ground.
I picked one up,

put it in my pocket,
and wandered back home.
He looked up at my smile
when I walked in,

put his arrow back
in its quiver. I took that bit
of sun out and we sat
holding hands in its glow.

Rising Early

Thursday June 9, 2011

Rising Early

I looked out my bathroom
window at the just lightening
sky and saw fog hanging
in the valley.

After my shower I looked
out, again. The mist
was lifting and clouds
we're getting coppery.

I got dressed then went
downstairs, grabbed my
camera, went out onto
the back porch

and took some pictures
of the sun trying
to burn through the haze.
Then, I turned around

and saw my granddaughter's
striped sundress
hanging on the line
and just had it snap a few

pictures of its bright
colors putting an exclamation
point on this first
paragraph of my day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunday Scribblings: Instinct

"Little Deuce Coupe"
is blasting from loudspeakers,
raining the sixties

all over the classic car meet
at Muscle Car City.
My first instinct

is to remain in our car
reading while my husband
walks around. He convinces

me I should go with him,
though. I see shiny Corvettes,
Cadillacs, GTOs, Model Ts,

a VW bus with peace signs,
and an El Camino my husband
loves. But I've have enough

of the past. So, here I sit
listening to Chubby Checker
twisting again like he did

last summer. I see my husband's
yellow cap stuck under a hood.
I'm typing away in the present.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

3WW: Drab, Pulsate, Tendril


All the blinds
are closed.
The drab dawn

sits like fog
outside my windows.
Inside, tendrils

of sunshine
wrap around my brain.
I'm writing a poem.

Words pulsate
on the tips
of my fingers.

Tap, tap, tap...
Black on white.
Smile, smile, smile.

Linda's Poems