Shadorma 336, Shadorma 337, Shadorma 338

From the poetry collection published in 2021 containing poems written in 2020, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Shadorma 336

of toothbrushes chat
about love
and money
The pink-tiled bathroom echoes
with their bright laughter

Shadorma 337

Physics tale.
You may have read it.
Stray atom
reaches out
for a unifying word.
The universe forms.

Shadorma 338

The sun moves:
your brassy escort
over and
beyond. The empire gossips.
A gnome breathes out leaves.

Little Vines 10/26/21

Here we go with this week’s selection of Little Vines.

the last sixty seconds
in the life of that child’s bicuspid:
pressure, panic, a sudden acceleration
and pop! It’s time to call the Tooth Fairy

the approach and arrival of
a cumulonimbus cloud of wasps.
a storm of stings rains down.

Mom, we’re not hiding nothing bad from you!
the kids said and it was true – They sure were
hiding something bad from me all right.

a dishonest penny earned –
what can it buy?
can it still be considered legal tender?

the reckless planet swings near the sun
gives it a slap
and doesn’t live to regret it

I’m telling you there’s no traffic situation
she can’t find an accident to get into

The baby’s broadcast frequencies span the bands
but her exhausted static drowns out the programs –
it’s just one big screech. Time for a nap.

grasp the flower with gentle fingers
then yank and snap its stem?
what an awful thing you want me to do

the gears locked the truck shuddered
its underpowered motor took a moment to
step back and reconsider

just ladle out four extra servings
of this cold greasy soup
and we’ll never have to have him for a house guest again

this mummy clad in a
button-down collar and glen plaid wool wrappings –
I think I need say no more.

our conversation spins and twirls
a ballerina’s pirouettes on a stage
could not be more dizzying

in the older times we gathered
in the nights made seamless
with twine and grease
and the pop of sparks flying up from the fire

No pre-fabricated universes available right now
Apologies to all deities shopping for future creations –

We do carry a very popular pattern – Make it yourself
in just seven days! said the sign in the store window

onions of considerable size,
they toe the starting line
too corpulent to outrun my knife

the sharp-edged stars
cut the deep black infinities of space
arranging pattern parts for a new universe

A hinge that squeaks
and all I can think about is that flaw –
Not how quickly the door opens.

Just a small party
stupid things happened
Harm done Keep the guilt
It’s yours all right

In Our Foolishness

From the collection And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.

In Our Foolishness

Our whole noir story
crammed full of
motives crowding motives
It is an overpacked fruitcake
squatting on a too-small holiday plate
The kind of cake that
when you try to cut into it
you have to sympathize
with the knife.


Shadorma 333, Shadorma 334, Shadorma 335

From the poetry collection published in 2021 containing poems written in 2020, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Shadorma 333

Will the ghosts
mock the medium
up to now
corralling ectoplasm
for a nice profit?

Shadorma 334

The dollars
sigh on their tired trudge
out of the
thin billfold
into the cash register
at the pharmacy

Shadorma 335

of dinner plates chat
Stray ladle
reaches out
for a unifying word.
A pot breathes out steam.

Knife Edge

From the collection And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.

Knife Edge

Think of what is next.
So when the stroke of the knife comes
sharp and quick and indifferent
it is easy to understand.
It had no choice, after all,
did it? A knife does what a knife does.

Think back to what was.
Before. When the knife lay
gleaming in the sun
amoral as the smell of roses
the sound of traffic in the distance
the taste of a grain of salt
the crack of a snapped bone.
Remember. All that the knife does
is what it does.
Yours is the hand that decides.

It is only a few steps
from that place where you are
to the place where
you should never have gone.
But you knew that already
didn’t you? Don’t be in such a hurry now.
It’s not far. It won’t take long at all.


Shadorma 330, Shadorma 331, Shadorma 332

From the poetry collection published in 2021 containing poems written in 2020, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Shadorma 330

shipping tags:
blank manila card
hole for string –
this box of one thousand for
as many journeys

Shadorma 331

Springed Out
and now gone Disrolled.
Busted off
too-tight Tight
for Detwistification
and then Laid-Out Flat.

Shadorma 332

Cardboard awaits. You
are hungry
for a slice.
Corrugated cellulose.
Your favorite meal.

A Smile on Her Face

From the collection And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.

A Smile on Her Face

frayed-nerves iguana mom
ungainly in looks agile in pragmatism
overlooked the kookiest antics of her daughter
the frothiest flippant teenager she’d ever seen
instead she took delight in
the ultraviolet swoop of her offspring’s tail


Little Vines 10/21/21

This week’s selection.

the old smooth snowman
slumped in the side yard
without a regret

Half of the fifteen selected were selected.
The cow towers over the picnic basket.
A surplus of struggle strains the vocal cords.
All of these are, have been, or will be true.

this hypothesis –
like a python with a bulging belly –
will break down the problem nicely

Opposite the preening bargain
stood the confident outright steal.
Full price sat in the back row, fighting tears.

So this morning
I face my occasional partner the steam iron
we hiss in unison and get to work

This poem is a gray lumpy gruel for the soul,
wrote the editor in the introduction,
thinking, I wish I had written it

The lady in this play chatters on and on.
A three-act monologue performed seated.
Audience sympathy is always with the sofa.

Chez papacy
Bless you
is said a lot more often than just when people sneeze

my red hot iron and I – is that my smile
I see reflected in its polished sole plate
or – its own devilish grin it glimpses mirrored
in my soul?

The fireworks waver in the sky
suddenly realizing they suffer from
fear of heights and of falling

In Your Face You Blabbermouth
or Corpse on a Carb Counting Cruise?
You said to do it by the book, but which one did
you mean?

What he offered me was
not much of a bribe –
more like a sarcastic impulse

the crossword puzzle
budgets the boredom of the solver
and doles out frustration accordingly

I need a few minutes alone
with the assumptions
this pricy luggage makes

This book is so bad
its paragraphs are fleeing by the pages
asking for asylum in any nearby printed matter
I even see one sentence pleading with a cereal box

sucking on a sweet honey cough drop
he forged all the signatures
flipped the cult to his control
added a dental plan for good measure

how will the holiday proceed?
the plumbing in the downstairs powder room
holds the key to that question

the irritating applicant
fulminates. the potential boss
ruminates. the resume resonates
against the sides of the metal trash can.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Inheritance

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.


This little house
side-scraped by wire-branch trees
balances on a boulder pile
hanging high above purple lines of seawater
listens to the waves slosh around the basin
it sits on the edge of
a circle three thousand or more
east west miles and edged by ruined cliff
Staked into place by the
infinite lines beginning at the center
and radiating out to end up here
whose name no one knows
it doesn’t matter anyway because

Nobody comes here
except for the cool blue night sun
that every evening
sits down in the sky to keep watch
arranging a yellow-green cloud
over the house
like a warm blanket

and you. It’s for you
and you say:

Oh this little house is
what I need.
Thank you.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 23

A Few New: Tanka 277; Last Seen Wearing a Green Flowered T-Shirt

Here are a couple of recent poems. In fact, from today.

Tanka 277

near the portly man
in the peculiar jacket
and his warts asthma
clogged arteries sniffles and
heel spurs– there she is! Hey, Ann!



Last Seen Wearing a Green Flowered T-Shirt

She has a taste for dangerous pursuits
as well as qualities of adaptation that
in better times I’d like to think
she gets from me but
not right now
My toddler daughter
has penned me up in the
portable play fence and while I
struggle to untangle my hair
from the mesh she
dismantles the baby gate
jimmies the back door
and now
she and her toy cow
stalk a feral cat in the back yard

A blur of motion then
Spine-tingling frantic yowls
Not from her
or the cow.

Oh dear.