More Than a Pastime

From the collection published in 2017, Redirection.

More Than a Pastime

The dropped pencil rolling across the floor
The cat scurrying from the room
The shoes tossed under the table.
A man laughing on the radio
the rain falling even harder.
The casserole baking in the oven
my hand scrabbling for the pencil.
This crossword puzzle
What has happened to my eraser?



Nor Their Memory

From Redirection, 2017.

Nor Their Memory

Hot breeze thick
staggers its way across the asphalt
parking lot where
last week
a row of half-dead trees
might have attempted
feeble resistance
This week
cut down
they make no difference
to the hot


Administrative Breakdown

From Redirection, 2017.

Administrative Breakdown

Came back to town for a fundraiser
running loose and dangerous
in a mild kind of way
broke his arm and went to the emergency room
How about some coffee
the desk lady said
and how would you like to pay for
your cemetery plot?
A professional smile.
A horrified frown.
Oh dear, pardon me
Just take a breath.
I’ve gotten things
outrageously incorrect.
Busy brains
do make mistakes. I should be talking
to the fellow in Cubicle Two.


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 34

The Marathon journey is in its third year. Put Pen to Paper is the current incarnation.

On August 21 I tried out a new location. Having visited Bryn Mawr College a couple of weeks ago, where I went to college quite a few years in the past (!), I decided to try working in the Canaday Library there for this week’s Marathon session.

PO Bryn Mawr College 8-21-19 (5)

I’m familiar with the library, of course, and it looks very much as it did when I was in school here. The furniture is the same, and I was assigned a study carrel like these in the photo when I was a senior – it was a senior class privilege to have your own space and to be able to leave your books and work in place.

I set up on the second floor in the stacks at a table.

On this day I worked on finishing up the poems I mentioned last week, a group of people portraits I have collected. There were a number of them and it’s taken some time to get them into shapes that pleased me. Some of them were not much more than note-taking in their original form and needed a lot of help. I was able to accomplish this work and I felt happy about how they turned out.

I went out into the sunshine after completing this phase of my work today. Here are some shots of the campus:


I ate lunch outside in this little resting spot. I lived in the dorm in the background for my last two years at school. This garden was not here then but I am glad it is now. Very pleasant being outside on this warm summer day.


PO Bryn Mawr College 8-21-19 (10)


After lunch I came home and finished up with Little Vines.

I have caught up with all my outstanding poems and next week I can look to filling the clean slate that I now have in front of me, poetry-wise. I’m ready to be moving on.


PO Bryn Mawr College 8-21-19 (1)

Here are some samples of my work today.

This man came to my house in July and got rid of the yellow jackets living in our BBQ grill.

Removal Man

I can’t be talking on the phone
I’m busy hunting some bees
snaps the pest control man
pepper in his voice
an ancient small dark-skinned man
bald and wearing a hearing aid
his white shirt and navy pants uniform
fresh like it just came off the ironing board
and a size too large on his wiry-thin body.

This agent of mass stinging-insect destruction
cuts off the call. Stows his way-out-of-date flip phone:
The office won’t leave me alone. Won’t leave me alone.
It’s all grief to him. He does not have time.
Stomps off to the back yard
deletes the yellow jackets Two nests of them
who never saw him coming
Hands me the invoice and gone
whirling down the street.
I am still standing on the porch.
His force field has not yet let go of me.


Here is a tanka about my experience being in this library again after so many years.

Never sensed a ghost
before today and maybe
never will again
but today I can hardly
make my way among the crowd

Little Vines. I’ve included all of them I did today – I was not in the frame of mind to make choices.

the needle
gave the ripped shirt
the closure it was looking for

I give hugs to everyone
it doesn’t seem practical
to keep them in storage

two zeroes
after hours
exhausted from holding place values all day

the woman in the photo
marine and cautious
I’d say you surprised a mermaid there all right

oh and I know she’s telling the truth
she spilled
like a dropped bag of flour

no disco ball
no spectators
no momentum

if you ask me
really it’s the tulips
that make the difference

my mom does the laundry
the cerises and the ceruleans and the cyans
in this dank basement

sold out
the new guy
but he was agile and got over the fence in time

your introduction to
that dynamic new electric fence in town
was it gradual or one blinding flash

An unfair advantage
dressed in a cool outfit
Strip it naked and you get plain old cheating

the new moon
hiding behind the scratch-outs of blue ink
on the notebook page

an unlucky flip of a coin two years ago
a platinum wedding band
thrown in the ocean today

the trellis of yellow roses
props up the back wall
of the honeymoon cottage

so sensitive so apprehensive
the vegan fork called in to work
at a pork barbeque

cue the classic
yellow retro
footloose groove

in my circle of friends
a flutter of odd behavior
is appreciated

dry up the fake tears
no one believes you hoped he’d pull through
let’s get back to the reading of the will

stranger you entered my house
brought your own poison with you
stabbed me in the back of the neck
and you wonder why I slapped you to death

up late yet another night
enduring a moonlit hallucination
my night’s sleep
peeled right down the middle

the phases of the moon
the aspirin cut in segments
the pearls that scatter on the floor

nobody answered the door
at the mermaid’s house
not that it matters because
there is no such thing as a mermaid


Thank you for reading!


From Redirection, 2017.


voices voices voices
a wild card falling out of the deck
bright green jealousy hiding
behind the refrigerator
a slubby thread of logic cut in two
come with me and see
this day will get better and better.


These Little Situations They Add Up

From Redirection, published in 2017.

These Little Situations They Add Up

Green light. We meet
opposite sides of the intersection
my car
your car.
My face to yours
each of us behind glass
Your face to me
cut in half by sun glare
slanted across your windshield.
Can you see my face?
We are
Left turn versus left turn.
Can I trust you
to turn
and not
to go forward?
I will do it if you will.

We sit
opposite sides of the intersection
adding up the risk.
At the same time
we jerk the wheels
step hard on the gas
and go.