Notice is Given

From Rearrange, 2018.

Notice is Given

Even the most trifling
bolt of lightning
is going to pack a punch
Demolition expert
each and every one
Fry your wiring and leave you
Remember that
walking in a thunderstorm
Remember that
when you talk to me.


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 50

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

On December 12 I did the Marathon at home. It was a session of short poems – all shadormas, in fact. I have had a very busy two weeks and I’m giving myself credit just for sitting down today and writing. My head feels a little blurry. Like this photo of the Pennypack Creek I took a couple of days ago (how is that for a segue?)

PO 12-12-19 (2)

On that same walk, I came across this bench with a sodden book lying on it. There is a lot to think about in this little scene – who was here, and why were they reading a book here, and why was it left behind?

PO 12-12-19 (1)

Anyway, here goes. As I said, I did shadorma poems and I did Little Vines. I’ll get right to the poetry!

We did an art show this past weekend. As we were setting up (indoors) and running in and out of the building, a wonderful smell wafted down the street from one of the businesses near by, in contrast to the frosty air. Several of us looked at each other and said…Hmmm, I’m hungry.

in the air
floats a hot fried smell
lead-me-to-it delicious
Could it be French fries?

Yesterday I went out the door and made a sad discovery.

The hollow
sound I heard
The window
right on through the last second
unseen by the bird

I like to do crossword puzzles. Sometimes they like me and sometimes they don’t.

Crumple up
the crossword puzzle.
clues bargain
with your pen. Lose your temper
for you. Laugh at you.

Little Vines.

did you talk to this man
whirling you as he did into his orbit
and did you make any kind of sense?

on this night it is the purpose of the moon
to delineate the outline of the house
to illuminate the dreams of those who sleep within its walls

hand in his pocket
his palm incurved
squeezing tight his wallet

comedy club and groan after groan after groan
I was ready to give up
when you told a joke that made me laugh instead

My saccharin smile more like a grimace but
it’s not easy
to shape my face into anything but utter despair
here at your wedding. I should be the one saying I do!

my kindly uncle
now viewing me with a detached expression
as if I were an insect crawling out of a drain
he meant to wash back down it

One phone call
I am incurious
Fourteen phone calls
I want to know what is going on

I took my memories
left them in a pitch-black forest
hoped they wouldn’t find their way home again

intentionally yes
I threw all of you out of the nest
quite enjoying the scattering of my selfish brood

can you unpick the lie from the truth and survive?
answer that if you can
you impostor

Two books in the library shelved side by side
separated now by a newcomer.
One fumes. The other considers the possibilities.

Once you are in you are never out again:
the definition of inevitable
is what keeps you playing, isn’t it?

two sets of
fought for dominance in her smile

smooth-spoken winners vied for the camera
seamlessly refashioning themselves
as the likes steer them
all inside a two-minute interview

even those fancy electronic credit card records
can’t keep up with me
as fleet as I am in running this con.
Hold your purse open. Let’s get this Porsche out of sight.

not again
not that dandyish fellow
and his lisp and his zip ties.

thoughts benumbed
by the blurry lady’s venom
and how tight she seems to be pulling my necktie

Thank you for reading!



From the collection published in 2018, Rearrange.


The water splashed
inside the washer
wetting the clothes
sudsing up the glass window
the past week
all my troubles
passing before my eyes
I watched
in fascination
in satisfaction
how easy it is
to negate
ugly subjects.


Lots of People Feel This Way

From Rearrange, 2018.

Lots of People Feel This Way

I recall the name but
only reluctantly and under duress
you cannot make me testify
to anything more because
my mental state
just won’t stand it no it won’t
Carry me out of here on a stretcher
yes you will. I won’t return
to that time in my life
for anything. Cite me for contempt
slap me in a jail cell
High school was
unbearable and yet I survived
I’m not sure I can do it twice.


Barbershop Duet

From the collection published in 2018, Rearrange.

Barbershop Duet

The old man whose hair was
white wispy and just that much too long
sat in the barber chair
coverup tied around his neck
flapping his hands
to get them out from under the light fabric
then resting them on a stomach
of appropriate size for a man
of later years who exercises
moderately. The barber
cued up the scissors and
put the comb into action
furrowing the strands of hair
into a neat pattern then
partitioning a section
for the scissors to clip then
doing the same again
and again. Not a talker
this old man and he sat
in a silence not unfriendly
but one that the barber knew
not to break. The barbershop chatter
the metallic snips the whine
of the blow-dryer all of it
washing over and around
the old man and the barber
in the steady rhythm
Tuesday morning early winter
hair needing to be cut
and someone to cut that hair

a pattern needing pieces
those pieces come together to fit


You Got Yours and Not Ours

From the collection Rearrange, 2018.

You Got Yours and Not Ours

The skirt organization
four panels sewn together
set-in pockets
that last little addition
thinking it rules the outfit
swish swingy and dangle bead flashy
snags on everything
tears away from the hem
just can’t cooperate
doesn’t see why it has to.

The skirt
arranges a parting of the ways
playing upon
the client’s
dislike of imperfect appearance
and broken dangle beads are such a pain
when they keep falling off
it being a matter of group survival
someone has to go

Through judicious exposure of the culprit
and the instrument of a pair of scissors
the skirt organization
gets that little showboater knocked off
efficiently and with dispatch
returning to that streamlined mode of operation
what the skirt
in thread fabric pattern and construction
wanted in the first place
because to get itself through another day
because life is short for everybody
and uncertain

and also because
no one likes a show-off.


Strategy Planning and Careful Maneuvers

From the collection published in 2018, Rearrange.


Strategy Planning and Careful Maneuvers

Mistake on purpose
you call it
you say to yourself
you prefer the phrase to
that freight-laden word
or the more blunt term
con job
On occasion you feel
a certain self-consciousness
but you have your reasons
for selling short
someone or something
it gives you that little kick
to know and others
not to know.

There is no forgiveness
from the consequences
you set into motion
you don’t need it

Interfering with the forces
that just don’t like a lie
gets other people slapped down

Not you. You make
mistakes on purpose
while other people
just make