Monday, June 2, 2014


Saturday April 12, 2014


I took my notebook
for a walk when I went
to check the mail.

I planned to sit
on a bench near the marina
to write a poem

but the sun was an electric
blanket thrown over me
and I couldn't find my way out.

Instead, I sauntered back home
and settled in the shade
under our stilt house

to read two letters from a friend.
The first has an owl, a snail, a blue bird,
a pink flower, a tiny butterfly, a star,

and cloud stickers added for my
enjoyment. The second is framed
by colorful polka dots.

I had a hard time writing a poem
earlier when I first got up
so thought a change of scenery

would help. I was wrong. But, I'm
writing, anyway, just putting my pen
on the page and watching

the black letters emerge and curl
into words. See how I'm faking it
by enjambing the lines and dividing

them into triplets? There is a small bird
on a rain gutter across the street
warbling away, turning his head

this way and that, creating his own
poem. Wish I could, too. I glance up
but he has flown away.


I'm wondering if there was a storm
out in the ocean over the weekend
that produced these huge waves.

I was here on Saturday
and the ocean was flat
with just foot high slats.

Today they're six feet giants
building, building, falling
into lace, a doily crocheted

by my grandmother. I can see
her hands grasping the hook,
twirling the thin, white thread

over and under, punctuating
each move with her anger, her
dissatisfaction, her mouth a straight line,

creating beauty out of her everyday
disappointments. The sun is warm.
The wind is cool. The waves keep pounding.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I don't even bother to lock the car since the area is deserted.
The sky is a paragraph of sadness and the wind a scythe
slicing through me. I put on my sweatshirt, grab my phone,

and almost run up the boardwalk to the beach, snapping a picture
as I go. I have a letter from a fiend in a sunny envelope I plan
to read on one of the benches, but, as soon as I sink my sneakers

in the sand, I know it will be too cold. Instead I walk around
and notice an area fenced off for the nesting plovers. I don't see
any, though. I take a few photos of the layers of steel waves,

then say goodbye for today. I tighten the strings of my hoodie
and head back over the dunes of short, spiky, grasses. Stop. Lilac
blossoms arch over the sidewalk. I put my face right up into them

and take a big sniff of memory. Of our old lilacs in the back yard.
Of a vaseful on my desk at school. Of walking by the neighbor's
and plucking a few flowers then chewing on them. That sweet

bitter fragrance on my tongue. I don't steal any today but I think
about it. I glance up and spy a sentence of blue. I continue on
to my car, lilacs in my lungs, breathing in the the poetry of nature.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


......from my sister, Sally.

We're sitting in bed on this last full day
of our third winter in Florida. Retirement

is a good novel and we gladly turn the pages
one day at a time. We're watching a documentary

about a group of boat racers trying to set a circumnavigation
record in a boat using biofuels. They're in Panama

right now trying to get through the canal but are having
problems. One guy just sliced his foot and they are behind

schedule. I didn't realize it takes twelve hours to get from
the Atlantic to the Pacific. It took us over sixty years

to get to these lazy mornings. Tomorrow, we'll head back
north for a summer near the sea. I'll ride my bike

to Ocean Park Beach, see my kids and granddaughter
often, have cookouts with friends, and play a little golf.

Gary will get his boat ready for tuna fishing and, pretty
much, drive everybody crazy until he catches one.

But, today, we're enjoying the ending of this chapter.
The Earthrace crew are currently in the Indian Ocean.

It's monsoon season. They're miserable but ahead
of schedule. We have a few chores to do today to close

our house up. One thing at a time and it will all get done.
Just like the racers who complete their quest successfully.

We aren't racing, anymore; just floating along.
We read our book slowly, savoring the shape of time.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Weather or Not

May 2: Weather or Not

We decided not to go boating today
because the weatherman is predicting

thunder showers this afternoon. So, I'm sitting
in bed playing on my iPad while Gary snores

beside me. I almost went outside like I did
during April but I just wasn't that ambitious.

By the time I woke up, the sun had already risen
and the light around the blinds was boring old

white not the gold that makes everything look
beautiful. So, I plumped three pillows

behind me and am leaning against them.
I checked Facebook to see what was new.

Looks like the Bruins lost to the Canadiens
in the hockey playoffs last night. Then I checked

the Weather Channel app: 75 sunny degrees here
and 52 in Old Orchard Beach. We'll be up there

in nine days. I played six games of Words
With Friends. Started today's Wordstorm.

I'm up to 68% but didn't get the big one yet.
Checked The Writer's Almanac for today's poem:

"Making a Bed" by Howard Moss. Then I came here
to Pages to write....anything. First, though, I went

to my Kindle app and checked out the prompt for
today in a new book I just downloaded yesterday

called The Daily Poet and found out the Weather
Channel began broadcasting on this day in 1982.

That's 32 years ago. So, they want us to include
weather terms in our poem today. Gary's snuggled

like a thundering cloud next to me, my phone is vibrating,
a mini earthquake, and I'm out of nothing to write about.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 30: Leftovers

From everyone......

I'm writing a poem for the thirtieth morning in a row.
The first morning I sat in bed all cozy comfy
but that woke Gary up. The second morning
I sat in my recliner with my feet raised while the sun

smeared the room with butter. I wrote about that.
The next day I went out on the porch and have been
here ever since. I won't bore you with another sun
description or what the breeze feels like on my bare

shoulders. Instead, I'll write about....well, I don't know.
Sherrie's remaining word is Timeless. It's a beautiful word
like these moments of solitude. Dayle suggested Seasons
and I think she meant the seasons of life. Like Bob's

winter occurring in spring. Anne gave me a mouthful
of words: Sunrise, Sunset, Surviving, Coping, Hoping,
Retirement, Dreams, Baby, Birth, Luck, Weekend,
Tides, Waves, Freedom. They braided themselves

into most of my thirty poems. Like the long braid my mom
saved after my first haircut. Years later I lent it to Anne
and she incorporated it into her own hair on Prom night.
Gina passed along Friends, Peace, and Community.

Those ideas are in just about everything I write.
So, even if I didn't single any one of these words out,
they were with me. Each morning I took them out,
held them in the palm of my mind, burnished them

until they outshone the sun, then tucked them away
in my heart's pocket. They waited patiently for the right
moment to burst free. Today I released them
to cavort like dolphins in the ocean of my words.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 29: Comfort

From my friend, Gina......

I carry the clean sheets into the guest room.
They sag a bit in my arms, like my spirits

now that Erin and Kylie are gone. I wrestle
the bottom sheet into position then smooth

the top sheet folding the edge over. I stuff
the pillows into their cases and fluff them

as I put them at the head. Then I spread
the blue and yellow quilt, my sister Nancy made,

over everything, pulling the edges down just so.
After that I get Windex and paper towels.

I spray the mirrored closet doors. Stop. Is that
what I think it is? Oh, yes, my Kylie girl left me

her lip prints. I wipe the whole surface until it
squeaks except for that sweet kiss for Grammy.

Monday, April 28, 2014

day 28: Prom

From Michelle who had a blast at her prom the other night....

June is an awful month to have curly hair
especially when you're eighteen, the year
is 1967, the style is long and straight,
and you're going to the Senior Hop.

You get up early to wash it, wrap it around
your head, and sit like an alien under a dryer
hood. It isn't too bad. Graduation starts
at three but by then the humidity has built,

showers are imminent, and pop, pop, pop;
you can feel the ringlets springing as you
walk across the stage to receive your diploma.
A quick look in the mirror when you get home

and you know you are doomed. There just isn't
enough time for another wash and set. You feel
so unfashionable in your pretty yellow gown when
your boyfriend picks you up. But, you smile

for the pictures and make the best of it....until
about a half hour into the prom with hundreds
of Kleenex roses surrounding you, a guy trips
and spills his Coke all over the front of your dress.

You stand there all wet, all brown, all curly. You
want to cry but it won't change anything. The band
begins another corny song, you drag your boyfriend
onto the dance floor and do the only thing you can.

You dance.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 27: Blank 3

Blank 3

I stare at the top of my iPad screen at the title
for this document. Well, I haven't named it yet
so the program automatically calls it Blank 3.

I must have two other blanks in here somewhere.
Not bad since I have so many blanks in my brain.
Above the title is the time: 7:52 AM.

On the left it tells me I am connected to Verizon
with three dots and I have two bars on my wifi.
The other side says I'm 98% charged. Very true.

I woke up at 100% but the day is beginning to sap me
already. I was pretty much at zero when I went to bed
last night after helping a friend shop at Walmart

for several hours. She's furnishing their new home
and needed so many everyday items. I was fine
then, maybe down to 70% or so, but come evening

and a couple glasses of wine my battery depleted
very quickly. Sleep is a great recharger. So, here
I sit for the twenty-seventh morning with plenty

of energy, fully charged, the sun warm on my shoulder,
and blanks rattling around in my head. Time to give
up, make coffee, and spend some time with the husband.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 26: Inspiration

From Donna.....

It's only 7:15 but Gary has already opened the living room blinds
signaling he's up for the day, time to make coffee and shower.

So much for my alone time out on the golden porch. So much
for breathing the quiet dawn and inhaling its inspiration. Damn!

Now, he's tapping on the window trying to get me back inside.
I'm ignoring him. I look around at the clothespins holding gymnastics

poses on the line, the crab buoy I found floating near Cayo Costa
one day when we were out boating, our little tangerine tree

struggling to survive. Oh, now, he's got music blaring blending
with birds songs producing a cacophony of opposites. I type

on, anyway, just to see the words creep like ants across the screen
of my iPad since nothing profound is going to slip out of my fingers today.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 25: Reflections

My cousin, Lucy, suggested Reflections. Aunt Dotty is her mother.

The sun just peeked over the ironwood trees
creating long shadows on the porch.

Fish are jumping like crazy in the canal
distorting the upside down tree reflections.

They shimmer and ripple like memories.
Yesterday, I went through old photos and found

my parents and aunts and uncles lined up
on Nonie's front stoop and I couldn't stop

looking at them. See how carefree they look?
Uncle Bob has his arm around Aunt Dee

and she in turn has hers on his. Those smiles!
Uncle George is adoring Aunt Dotty. Look how he

shines his love on her like his own sunrise. She basks
in it like she's spending a day at the beach and turns

her face to the sun, closes her eyes, and dreams.
My mom is wearing a corsage so it must be a special day.

Well, all days were special when she was with my dad.
One time, after he died, we went to Foxwoods Casino

and I remember her saying, "I'm not interested in any other man;
I loved your father so much." It wasn't the words so much

as her tone when she said it and the tears bubbling in her throat.
But, I'm thinking this is an extra special day. Maybe

someone got married. Maybe it was Easter. Maybe
my parents just got engaged. Yes, I'm going with that.

And Nonie was so happy she had to gather everyone
in their suits and smiles to save the moment forever.

It doesn't matter what happened after that, the good times
and the trying times and the normal everyday times,

just this moment near a picket fence on Champlain St.
in an old mill town, these six people were happy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 24: Fog

from Mother Nature....

I thought, for just a second
when I looked out the window,
that it was snow. See, my mind

is still in New Hampshire mode
even though we haven't been
there for three winters, now.

And, I have to admit the little
kid who lives in my chest
did a tiny pirouette. Then I

walked out onto the porch
in my nightie, something
this January girl couldn't

do up north if it really had
snowed. Still, I look out
at the grayness remembering

my evening walks around
the avenues with flakes falling
on my head and footprints

following me. I do walk at night
down here but it's just so darn
flat. Anyhooo, (that old dove

is whoooing away, again) here
I sit watching the palm trees
unmisting, swatting a fly away,

trying to turn fog and snow
into a poem that means something
but not having much luck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 22: Firsts

From my niece, Michelle...

I'm sitting in Mr. Russell's ninth grade English
class. Well, I think it's English although it could
have been science or math since I had him

for three straight courses in a row. He's wearing
his only suit, threadbare and shiny. We're chatting
away about the Beatles' concert coming up

in Montreal. Even though it's three hours away,
one girl is going to it. She's a complete Beatles nut.
The guys are talking about, I don't know, guy stuff,

I guess; I'm not really listening to them. I'm looking
at our sad sack of a teacher as he just sits there
behind his desk letting us visit with each other

without calling the class to order and teaching us
something. This goes on day after day. At first
it was cool to socialize all period but it's getting

old and we aren't learning. If I was the teacher,
I'd have the kids take turns reading or I'd devise
a game to play with their vocabulary words

or...anything to stimulate learning. But, no,
it seems like too much of a bother for him.
I look toward the door and see a nun watching

us through the window with a frown on her face.
Rumor has it she's very strict and mean. And it is
then I know I want to be somewhere in between

these two. A tiny little candle starts burning in my mind.
I'm going to be a teacher. But, right now the girls
are making plans for Friday night and I must participate.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 21: Sunrise

from Anne.....
Birds Rhymes with Words

The sun is in my eyes, again, this morning.
The air is calm. The sky clear. This is my
twenty-first morning of getting up early
to write in the quiet of bird songs.

I wonder if I could do this all year.
I do love being up before everyone else,
the hollow whoooing of the doves
keeping me company, the chitters

of, well, I don't know their names.
I know we have starlings and herons
and ibises and pelicans. They're all
awake before me, out and about,

looking for breakfast and singing about it.
Just like me, really, looking for ideas,
searching for a breakfast of words,
and singing a poem about it. I wonder

if I could do this for 365 days in a row?
Am I that hungry? Am I that nuts?
Could I do this for the rest of my life?
Too much pressure, I think, to disappoint

myself. So, instead, I'll just write this morning.
I'll peck away at the worms of ideas
and swallow them whole. I'll let them feed
me today and maybe I'll be here tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 20: Happy Easter

There's an Easter basket sitting outside the front door
and Erin hid eggs with treats inside all around the yard.

We're sitting on the porch waiting for Kylie to get up.
Well, okay, it's not actually a basket because Walmart

was out of them. We had to settle for a bucket, instead.
She'll be pleased with the contents, though: a charm bracelet,

The Nut Job video, a Play Station game of The Hobbit,
candy and a few other little trinkets. When Gary and I

we're talking about what we were going to put in the eggs,
I said probably candy and he said, "Well, make sure

it's the kind I like." He'll be happy with the Snickers.
We're going boating to Rum Bay restaurant today

for their Easter buffet with Sally, Mike, and Michelle.
It's a bit cool right now for that but is supposed

to warm up nicely once the clouds clear. The canal
is calm. Erin and I are still waiting for our two sleepy

heads to wake up. She just made coffee so I'm heading
in to get myself a cup with my usual Bailey's in it.

Then I'll come back out here to visit with my daughter
in the sweet quiet of an Easter morning.

Day 19: Nouns

I really wrote this one yesterday morning but just forgot to post it. Duh!

The first and simplest part of speech we learn
is also my favorite. A good old concrete thing

can make my chest constrict and my mind stir.
Like the two pineapples sitting side by side

on our outdoor bar. My daughter's pajama
bottoms with cocktails all over them. The cat

palm. Binoculars. A string of Chinese lantern lights.
A roll of paper towels. Shirts and shorts hanging

on the line. These nouns are like pearls on an add-a-pearl
necklace. I could list them until there are so many

they're covering my lap and rolling on the floor. I pick
a few up and pop them into this poem. Sneakers,

Tervis tumbler, extension cord, clock, lure, umbrella,
petunias, dock, boat, lip balm, welcome mat.

So, I'm putting the welcome mat out for nouns. Go ahead;
throw some pearls at me. I'll string them into a poem.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day 18: Moss

from my friend, Regina....

She thought she was funny giving me the word moss
but it jumped off the page and immediately typed itself
at the beginning of this poem. I remember visiting

her magical forest in the woods of Maine and walking
gingerly through the sacred mosses near her home.
The ground was spongy and soft and welcoming.

I bent down to run my hand over this natural carpet
and it whisked me away to childhood, to sitting
on an outcropping of gently growing mosses

halfway up Mt. Forist. A friend and I sitting
up there eating our snack and surveying the scene
below. My sister, Nancy, and her friend, Richard,

tiny as mice, chasing each other around his house.
My mom hanging miniature clothes on the line. Hot
Wheel cars heading north on Wight St. My brother,

Tim, on the porch lining his army men up. We are royalty
overlooking our queendom with our fannies on comfy
moss. Back in Maine, I raised my hand to my nose

and smelled the earthy scent of memory. Then, we tiptoed,
so as not to disturb their growing, from the shade
back out to the sunshine and continued our walk.

I had a feeling this day and that day would turn up
in a poem, as so much of my life does, but it took
a little four-letter word to jolt it out of me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 17: Moonrise

From Anne.......

We went to the Tiki Bar on Charlotte Harbor
to watch the sun set a couple evenings ago.

It was kind of pretty and I snapped away
like a little kid with a first camera on Christmas

morning. After the show was over, we got back
into our 1973 VW Thing with just a vinyl bikini top

and, there, staring us in the face was the moon.
Gary stopped the car so I could get a decent picture

but, I had more fun clicking as we drove. Trees blurred,
buildings blocked, Gary's big head got in the way.

Street lights vied for my attention. A Marathon station
smiled. Traffic signals blinked. Can you hear

that old moon cackling at me as we played hide
and seek? Just two aging kids tootling along

route 41 in our yellow convertible with the wind in our hair,
the night air on our faces, and the moon in our eyes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 16: Familiar

Today's word comes from my friend Donna.

The guest room is ready with sheets dried in fresh air
and new fluffy pillows. I've dusted and vacuumed

and made room in the closet and drawers for their clothes.
Today I'll get Kylie's box of crayons, markers, paints,

and coloring books out and arrange them on the student
desk I picked up at Funky Junkies for $25. I have it

next to my craft area so we can sit and create together.
I can't wait to see my tall, slender daughter with her long,

dark hair so reminiscent of my mom when she was young.
I have a picture of her somewhere standing at the top

of the Empire State Building, posed like a model
in a pretty dress with her hair flowing down and a smile

on her face for my dad who took the photo. I'll have a little
lump in my throat when I see my daughter and granddaughter

walk out of the airport this evening, Erin with my father's
blue eyes and Kylie with my mother's brown ones.

The past will melt into the present and I can't wait
to embrace the smiles and whispers of generations.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 15: Three Haiku

Slept late. Missed sunrise.
Today's poem is still unborn.
Got the halfway blues.

Breeze is from the south.
Dissipates humidity.
It carries no words.

Erin and Kylie
are arriving tomorrow.
My poem and her poem.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 14: Reflection

from Michelle....

Our canal is a living snake today,
trees and sky reflected in it's slithery
skin. The air jungle heavy. The sky

like a dirty Magic Eraser after cleaning
Gary's grungy footprints off the bottom
of the shower. Before we retired,

I only saw him for a few minutes before
he left for work and for an hour or so
around supper time before he'd fall asleep.

So, we got along great. Now, we're together
every day. It's not a bad thing. We don't fight.
It's just that sometimes I love clouds.

I enjoy sitting in the cloying air. I relish
shooing the damn birds off the railing.
And, so what if my flowers need watering.

Each word I type is a little punch, a jab.
Pow, Bam. I chuckle at how great it feels
to have this gift, this way of coping.

Soon, I'll go in, we'll have breakfast,
we'll talk, we'll perform our everyday
ballet. But, for just a few more minutes

I'll scratch and claw with my fingertips.
A neighbor has a buzz saw screeching,
screeching, the music of my morning.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 13: Arrangements


We picked Bob up on Friday.
The plan is to carry him to Maine
and, on a nice day during the summer,
take him for his last boat ride.

He loved the ocean and wanted
his ashes strewn there. He joined
the navy during WWII and was stationed
on a destroyer. All through his life

he had one kind of sailboat or another.
So, we'll gather a few boats and friends
and family and head out to a beautiful
spot. We'll share some Bob and Dad

and Gunka stories. We'll laugh and cry.
He's in a biodegradable packet
about the size and heft of two coffee
table books and is snug and safe

in a navy blue book tote for now.
No gaudy funeral, no long-winded eulogy,
no fanfare, just people he loved,
salt water, sunshine, and sky the color of his eyes.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 12: Trials

...from Dayle

Nope, not gonna happen this morning.
I've been sitting on the porch and can't think
of a single thing to write about.

There is nothing extraordinary about the sun
rising behind the same old palm tree,
glazing the roofs across the canal with silver

so bright it hurts to look. Birds are squawking
like they always do, darting by on their breakfast quest.
The mullet are jumping for flies, leaving spreading rings.

Blah, blah, blah. Same old, same old. I look around
the porch. Gary left his flip flops by his bar stool. No
inspiration there. How can this beauty at 8:20 am

not stir me to create? I used to do journal writing
with my students twice a week. I'd look out my classroom
window. The woodsy scene out there never failed me.

And all I had was sight, not the sounds and smells and feels
like I have right here with the air conditioner buzzing
and the breeze sliding around and the baby powder scent

of flowers. No, this morning is a dud. Sorry to waste your time
with nothing. I think I'll get dressed and go for a walk.
But, I'll take my notebook with me just in case. (Smile)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day11: Bicycle

A word from Anne. An encounter from yesterday.

We hear screaming as we leave
the Blowfish Bar after lunch.

A teenage girl and her parents
are now laughing and hugging

and staring at a gold statue
of a woman on a bicycle

suddenly come to life. Soon
a young boy is mesmerized

as he walks by her. She starts
pedaling, his eyes widen, his mouth

hangs open. He runs to catch up with his dad.
All around people are enjoying

this spectacle. She must be hot
in her painted outfit and makeup.

Sure, she has a tip jar but, can she pull in
enough to make her antics worthwhile?

She never smiles, she never laughs,
she just keeps pretending to be a statue

then coming alive to shock. How did
she ever even think of this? I watch

for another minute but she just stares
straight ahead going nowhere, a gold

woman on a gold bike, frozen in time.
I swallow the lump in my throat, add

to her tip jar. I feel Gary's arm, warm
from the sun next to mine. We walk on.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 10: Precious

Another one of the words my sister-in-law gave me was...

The bird of paradise is like a flame
taking a shower in the sunrise rays.

I can hear my yellow snapdragons
smiling good morning to each other.

My husband is still inside asleep
while I sit in the fifty-seven degree start

to another day. I'm wearing the fleecy
bathrobe with a giraffe design my sister,

Sally, gave me a couple years ago. I'm reminded
of the stuffed giraffe Gary bought for me

when we were in college. I kept it on my bed
and slept with it but it always ended up on the floor.

I notice my toe nails are in need of a pedicure.
Maybe I'll wait until next week when Erin and Kylie

are here and we can go together. I'm a third
of the way through this poetry marathon,

ten mornings of early rising, ten precious hours alone,
and even though I'm writing about nothing, it's everything.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Day 9: Villanelle

Our neighbor's rainbow windsock is filled with air
and pointing straight down the canal. So, the breeze
is from the north, today, crisp and fresh and fair.

It makes waves on the canal and tickles my hair.
I pull my robe down to cover my knees.
Our neighbor's rainbow windsock is filled with air

or, rather, a message, a hug, a smile, a prayer,
a bouquet of love from friends to help ease.
The wind is from the north, crisp and fresh and fair.

I could sit here all morning in this chair
capturing the invisible as it dances in the trees.
Our neighbor's windsock is filled with air

and I'm filled with words sparkling like the glare
of sun on ripples. They slide out my fingers and freeze
the love from up north, crisp and fresh and fair,

on this iPad screen. We'll be heading there
soon to feel it in person. In the meantime, I seize
comfort from our neighbor's windsock filled with air
and all the memories so crisp, so fresh, so fair.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 8: Miracles

My camper friend, Dayle, sent me three words and Miracles reminded me of this teensy miracle that felt huge.

Imagine I've thrown a handful
of sparkly, gold confetti stars all over
your computer. They catch

the light and twinkle in your eyes.
Let them transport you to January
29, 2014. It's been a blah day,

cool, spitty rain, husband puttering on his cars,
father-in-law napping in his La Z Boy.
It's your sixty-fifth birthday.

Finally, in the evening, your phone rings
and out of that small oblong miracle
you hear the clear notes of Kylie's voice.

"Happy Birthday, Grammy." "Thanks. How are you?"
"Good" "How's school going?" "Good....Oh," Sadly,
"Guess what?" "What? Did you fail something?"

She giggles, "No!" A pause, she lowers her voice,
and says in an embarrassed tone, "Well, I did get
a A- on one paper." I can't help laughing.

I am becoming those glimmering stars. "What
I wanted to tell you is that I'm the only girl
in my class, now, and I hate it." "Well, that's

too bad." "Yeah, and Cameron's still picking
his nose and eating it." She continues spreading
shimmer with the magic wand of her words.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 7: Hobby

My friend, Anne, sent a bunch of words in an email and this one popped out at me. Thanks, Anne!

This morning's sky
looks like the background
to one of my journal pages
with streaks of yellow-pink

and white gesso. I feel
like I should be gluing
pictures on it and writing
the date with a Sharpie.

But, my Mead Composition
book has sat open on my desk
for almost a week, now,
and I haven't added anything

to it. I hear it calling my name
every time I walk by. Once, it reached
out and just about caught my arm.
I hurried on ignoring its whimper.

That's the thing about hobbies
for me: one at a time. Right now
it's poetry that wants doing.
Other times, my fingers itch

to press the shutter button
on my Nikon D70. Last month
my journal got the love. I painted
a background black and used

a shot glass to make white circles
which I decorated and filled
with my life. Today I watch
the sun rise and write.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 6: Condensation

Today's word is brought to you by my teenage niece, Michelle. Not an easy word! It took a while but I finally came up with something.

I apply a liberal handful of Pantene conditioner
to my hair and let it get absorbed
while I wash the rest of my body.

Suds fly onto the wall so I throw handfuls
of water to rinse it down, then let the shower
sluice through my curls until squeaky.

I step on the plush rug and look at my reflection
in the cloudy mirror. My wrinkles are a blur.
My head a white halo. I could be my mom

with her snowy head. The bathroom is an oasis
of misty softness. I could be my daughter
so young. I hide in its timelessness

and don't bother to wipe the mirror. I like
almost disappearing from myself. I dry off
in the friendliness of condensation.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Day 5: Whispers

My sister-in-law, Sherrie, gave me three words and I picked Whispers for today...or, rather, it picked me.

I kind of wrote this in my head yesterday about a half hour before Bob died.


Somehow, for a little while yesterday,
I ended up alone with my father-in-law.

I moved to a chair near his head
and held his hand still warm and soft.

His breaths were coming rapidly
and his cheeks were pink and healthy.

I talked about heaven and the big nap
waiting for him. Gary had already told him

it was okay to let go. He tried to open his eyes
but couldn't so I know he was listening.

He squeezed my hand then continued his journey,
each breath a whisper of goodbye and thanks.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 4: Happiness

My camping friend, Donna, gave me today's word and it was perfect!

The recycling truck just lumbered down our street
clanging at every stop. I took a picture of it.

My goal is sunrise photos this dewy morning
but I'm a little early. When I first got out here,

there were orange streaks shrieking. Then they faded
to apricot and lavender humming. Now, one spot

is beginning to glow and grow. I get up and click
and click this way and that way. I even take a picture of its

reflection in our living room window. It'll probably get deleted
but you never know. I have spots in front of my eyes

from staring into the sun. But, I'm heading back inside
because my son is here visiting. Two sunrises in one day!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day 3: Priorities

My friend, Anita, suggested this one.


I'm sitting on the porch this morning.
The sun is behind a tall palm tree
creating a fountain silhouette
against the white sugar candy sky.

A fish jumps for breakfast in the canal.
A circle spreads. My flowers soak up the light.
I should have made coffee and started the bacon sizzling.
I could have taken my shower first.

But, here I am in my nightie being blinded by the sun.
I close my eyes and the world goes red. A dog barks.
Traffic hums its early morning tune. Birds fill in the symphony.
There's nothing very much different about this moment;

our shoes are piled haphazardly near the door.
Our cranberry, mango, lime, and lemon bar stools
are in their places. I reach over and snip a basil leaf,
hold it to my nose, smell it's peppery spice.

(My father-in-law is still hanging in there) No, that worry
is for later. A slight breeze is picking up, ruffling our American flag.
Why can't life be endless morning?
I tap, tap, tap on my keyboard before doing anything else.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 2: Change

Today's word is from my daughter, Erin.

I'm sitting under a quilt my sister made.
It has thousands of one-inch squares
in red, white, yellow and green.

Morning is filling the house with possibilities.
I've sat like this writing so many times
catching inspiration in the slant of light,

in the quiet, in the gentle rocking of my chair.
I remember my mom always asking us not to rock
because it made her feel nauseous. But, we

never got rid of the black rocking chair
in our living room. Whenever I sat in it,
I had to keep my feet flat on the floor.

Mom is gone, now, and that chair, too.
Still, I got to see her, again, for a little bit
this morning in the smile of a rocking chair.

Day 1: Peaceful

Well, I'm going to try to write a poem a day for April because it's National Poetry Month. I asked for friends on Facebook to give me words and got quite a few good suggestions. I'm using them in the order they were given. The first came from my friend, Deirdre.

The fan above our bed twirls. My husband snores lightly beside me.
I just slept for ten hours straight with only one bathroom break.

The sun has quieted down after a riotous rise.
I can see its white light around the shade.

Later, we have to go to the hospital to see Gary's father
who is not doing well. He's seeking his own peace

and just wants to sleep. His heart doesn't have too many beats
left. But, he's comfortable. He smiled and mumbled,

Hi, Linda when I saw him yesterday. That might have been his
goodbye. Gary is stirring. Soon, he'll turn the radio on

and music will fill our rooms. We'll fight the traffic. Avert
our eyes from all the patients lining the busy corridors.

Find Bob and watch him breathe slowly. He creates his own
bubble of peacefulness wherever he is. Just like I do

when I sit in bed with my iPad and write a poem in the stillness.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Whirl: Toes and Basil

twine, conjure, nest,
carry, spirits, bend
through, curl, trinkets,
neglect, cap, back, sigh

Toes and Basil

I can't neglect
the sun as it curls
and twines and bends
through the basil.

I carry my camera
outside and sit
in a nest of gold doubloons
feeling rich.

I remove my lens cap,
focus on my toes,
conjure the photography
spirits, and click,

click, click, this way,
that way, near, far,
hoping to catch
bokeh trinkets.

I hear the door open
then my husband
rubs his hand
across my back.

"I didn't know where
you were. Aren't you
going to watch
the car auction with me?"

I glance at the light,
sigh, then head back
inside. He smiles
his own sun at me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Whirl: At Ponce de Leon Park

At Ponce de Leon Park

The ocean is a lifeless pool today,
the horizon a straight line.

I'm sitting on a bench with my notebook,
a pen, and my camera.

First I snap a photo of the water
a palm tree, and two empty

beach chairs. Then I open
my notebook and begin to write

about the scene, wondering
what it illuminates about my life.

My husband is away for a few days
and I'm loving the solitude.

His side of the bed is a cool prairie
of quiet. The TV remote is mine.

I eat when and what I want.
The toilet seat stays down.

One lonely sailboat slides by,
a triangle of remote longing.

But, for what? There is no answer,
only stormy ripples of haunting

need that litter the calm.
What price am I willing to pay?

I put my pen down, pick up
my camera, take another picture,

then just sit and contemplate
the quiet, the aloneness, the me.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Whirl: Doing Laundry

The sky behind my clothesline
is a bride's "something blue"
on this January day in Florida.

The clouds are her veil. I shake
a scarlet shirt to get the wrinkles
out then squeeze a clothespin

to the bottom edge, first one side
then the other. Next comes a pair
of dungarees, midnight blue. There

is a bit of a breeze, silent music,
to which they waltz. It's been years
since I was a bride, years and years

of hanging laundry to dry, caressing
that fresh, sunny, Downy proof
of feeling stuck. You might expect

this poem to be maudlin, a wordy
whine, but, I'll spare you because
the day is too lovely. I pick up his shorts

and hang them next to my panties.
I'm struck by how this simple act saves me.
They shimmy next to each other all day.
Linda's Poems