Portrait of a Study Session in the Library

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Portrait of a Study Session in the Library

The sound of rhythmic hammering from the construction upstairs
meshes with the murmurs of two students
discussing a mathematical proof.
Someone drops a metal pipe on a concrete floor. It rings as it rolls.
The students’ voices rise
as they dispute a point. Someone sneezes.
The buzz of a saw argues with a nail gun.
The students return to scribbling in their notebooks.

Horsham library #4 small 10-15

Horsham (PA) library, 2015.


Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 29

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.


On Tuesday, July 17, I stopped in at Landman Library, Arcadia University for poetry editing.


After chatting with the students manning the desk – we have become library acquaintances over this summer – I went upstairs to my usual spot in the reading room. I like the high-ceilinged airiness of the room, especially on a very hot and humid day as we are having today.


Poetry 7-17#401

I am enjoying the feeling of slowing down a little after a very busy couple of months. I worked on last week’s poems as well as a Minuscule story and made some more progress toward putting the next print poetry book together.

Today there was a new sign on the front door –

Poetry 7-17#302

They are doing work on all the water systems throughout the campus. Today is the library’s turn. The idea reminded me of something I really like learning about – the everyday life of famous historical figures or grandiose buildings – because I seem to grasp the need of an individual washing machine for occasional repairs or its requirement for special soap more easily than I do the abstract concept of the place of the washing machine in the development of the world. Do you see what I mean? I’m just nosy about what’s going on and my gaze stops just past that nose, maybe.

One last thing. On my way home I walk past the original gate to the estate the college is built on. This building here is the gatehouse. Wow! I wouldn’t mind living here at all.

Poetry 7-17#105

Anyway. On Thursday, July 19, I arrived at Montco’s Brendlinger Library on a perfect day – sunny, breezy, and low humidity. There are some classes in session but I arrived very early today – look at the empty parking lot.

I set up on the main floor:

PO 7-19 #205

but not until after I had checked on the small tile set out upstairs. Fantastic news! It is gone. Remember, it was set on the window ledge outside this study room.

PO 7-19 #304

Now I’ll try to remember – Montco is cleared for more art drop-offs. I’ll put some items in my bag for next week.

OK. Today I hoped to be writing new poems, mostly from a set of inspiration-joggers I have collected or made, such as cut-out print phrases, my own notes, or – I have a paint brochure with me, too. Little Vines, of course, and maybe I’ll have time to index poem titles in my upcoming print book.

Here are some results.

I wrote this because I encountered the situation as I came into the building. It’s all true.

You woke up this morning
this day sunny summer clear
a breeze in the tree leaves
where of course you know them all
the sky it’s all your sky
so blue just a few wisps of clouds
float with you and
all of this you see in the ground-to-infinity
cube of glass windows across the front
of that building. Before it happens you have no time
to imagine never would you ever think
the air will become solid
break your neck
witness your fall to the hard concrete of the sidewalk
where I will find you
with your neck broken
and cry

for you
who woke up singing
this morning

Here is another of those poems where I refer to a card I’ve pasted appealing lines or phrases cut from old books. The first words of each line are the words from the cards. I allow myself to add a short tail-end of a conclusion at the end of the poem to wrap things up.

some vacation time, I heard the boss say, take some, but I
didn’t care for the idea of course every so often I think about it and once I even
thought twice about a cruise/management seminar/computer boot camp I thought I’d
have a lot of fun doing something like that. But no, I’d rather spend
a couple million hours at work I love being at my desk I never want to be more than
a few inches from it I don’t even take a lunch break never want to go out and
take a look around what and miss a phone call the very idea
seemed slack to me and I shuddered. The boss was saying
a certain kind of mental separation from my paperwork it would benefit me surely I had
more important things to remember in the big scheme than my next client call and
in front of her I was polite but inside I thought what big scheme and that maybe she was
not happy herself and should try spending more time at work. I commenced
to explain how it could all improve for her but she said Vacation or Fired and looked
out of the window when I heard cheering and saw my cubicle-mates holding up a sign Ed Must Go

two cakes wait
in the break room –
which one will be served:
Bon Voyage
Good Luck in Your New Job

PO 7-19 #106

Little Vines.

I am a very good doctor
I’ll stick you with a whopper of a bill
you’ll brag about it to your friends

one morning you just started crying.
I keep telling you
it’s just a list
nothing more.

we might be worms
our existence complicated and mathmatically abstruse in nature
but our whole family is close very close

we all hope he’ll pull through
The Dear John letter was a shock
even though it wasn’t from anyone he knew

the putting back together of a broken romance:
a rush job
on track three and coming into the station right now

we’re just ordinary people working the day shift
a set of slightly chipped teacups, that’s all
our names are written in pencil, not ink

the planet
the rain falling
into the milky-turquoise ocean

one-hundred-percent in the dark
the radar pinpointed the cold airless dream
but you were the one who asked for the divorce

the dark lucky day
you found me in the fog
before the sirens in the street caught up to me

where it is all exchange and deflect
where it boxes in and where offense is taken
where it is never seen never suspected
where you are

you sure made a mess
fourteen different ways
broken into three pieces of equal size

Back when I was in another life
I did the one thing but not the other
And now it’s time for the other.

it’s time to say
just let this one go
throw him out like an empty bottle

the silent woman
seized the rusty key and turned it
carried away the yellow ladder

wearing a pair of flip-flops
flapped through the flowerbed

if you are efficient and unsentimental
resourceful in the kitchen and ready to pare down your social circle
a few delicate minutes is usually all that is necessary

dozens of bank accounts
disappearing ink
easy come easy go

I overheard your conversation
the sibilences caught my ear
things sound so different now that I’m in the afterlife



Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Cactus Town


From Picture Making, published 2017. The three photos served as the inspiration for the poem. For more information, look here.


Cactus Town

Empty clay pot
meant for a cactus family. You know
the kind of pot I mean
a tall cylinder with the little balconies
spiraling around it
each meant to give a place
for a small plant
to sit outside in the sun. Like an apartment building
for succulents, it is.

This one features a penthouse
a nice-sized space for a large family
the lip around it marred by a chip
the kind usually found on a shoulder
but the shoulder of this pot curves out and slims in
all the way to the ground. No one here
is dissatisfied.

You imagine
a street filled with traffic passing by
a row of these pot-buildings
rounded cushiony cars driven by
spiky personalities. A lot of honking.
You take your coat off the hook
grab your purse
and run down the stairs to catch up
to the flow. This town is just great.


7/21/16 for 7/19/16



Rehabilitation Completed

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Rehabilitation Completed

A painful memory
returned every time I drove past this corner
and so I have avoided this corner
but today this corner
appeared without warning
as I came along the street. Preoccupied with the moment
I had forgotten to
cue myself for the usual scolding. Remembering
did not occur on time.
It could not catch up to me.
For the first time I was making a right turn
at this corner
flattening the past beneath the tires
of my car
just making a right turn.

Clay tile 6x6 cars turning on to 309 small 2017

Clay tile, 2017, 6″ x 6″.

Says Who

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

Says Who

The woman is speaking English
with an accent tangled up in a raspy voice. You want to tell her
to clear her throat
but I think it’s just how she talks.
It could be said that
if you were to scale her on the impression she makes
she would have points taken off
for her non-alignment with the standards
of easy comprehension
but she is speaking fluidly
and with great confidence
So I feel sure she would be indifferent
to your evaluation
and possibly
she might tell you to mind your own business
with an accent and in a raspy voice
but you’d get the point, wouldn’t you?

ATC woman and words 3-18 small

Artist trading card, 3/2018 – woman and words.


Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. I’m thinking of them as “Minuscule” and quick to read.

Read the first Minuscule, the explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.


Years after that strange confession in the dining room and I’ve never been able to figure out how many people have actually considered the question of – but I digress, as it is not the topic of the discussion that is of significance. No, what matters is that try as I may, however much I seek to amend memory, in all my revisitings of that conversation I can only see a very good and humble man spilling his heartfelt sorrows to me, speaking with so much emotion, with so much fervor, and with a large green piece of limp spinach plastered to his front tooth.

unlucky chance
drew quite a portrait
doing you
no favors
fate’s cruel pen sketched fleeting flaws
in permanent ink

(Shadorma 68)

Clay tiles - four flat faces group #1 4-16 small

small clay tiles, 2016.