Forty-Two Plus and Minus

From Pink Chalk, 2018.

Forty-Two Plus and Minus

waiting to see
if my sushi order was ready
I stood in line
behind two ladies
debating lunch. Too much choice
and now their thinking
a circular equation
Shrimp and eel
peanuts avocado seaweed and rice
wasabi kick-in-the-pants kind of eating
the two of them
helpless to find the exit
and please we just want to sit down and eat.
The man taking the order
seen it before. Polite but firm
removed the menus from their
gesticulating hands
advised two of number twelve and
one of eighteen no wasabi. Math
made it work. The ladies
counted out bills and sat down
smiles. Relief. My order ready
I left the ladies to their sum of forty-two minus wasabi and
carried out
my brown paper bag full of twenty-one plus.


Just Enjoy Yourself Marathon 2020 Week 23

The Marathon journey is in its fourth year. Just Enjoy Yourself is the current incarnation. Let’s do it!



On June 4 the Marathon left home. We had a vicious storm yesterday with winds of 75+ MPH. Our area was hard hit and trees on every street uprooted or split or splintered. One of these toppled electrical wires for my house. The electricity has been off 24+ hours and given the number of outages and the need to cut or remove trees at almost every break, I estimate it will be out for 4 days.

No scientific method here, just my guess. So part of today, my husband and I went to his office, which is still closed, and usually he works from home anyway, but today there was no other option with electricity. We will staying in a hotel tonight and I have resigned myself to the loss of all the food in the freezer  I have been carefully preparing and stockpiling these three months past.

I am grateful our house is fine and also that it is not a cold winter outage when we need to worry about the pipes.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m not in a writing mood, but it seems important to try.


I’ve been rereading some old favorite books. One is called Miss Pinkerton, by Mary Roberts Rinehart. I took a couple of sentences at random from the book to spark a little bit of writing.PO 6-4-20


I only did three poems today. Here is one:

…but you came up the stairs. You remember. You screamed.
Mercy what a racket you made! Now look what you made me do!

Thus rebuked and responsible for
the clang-slosh of the pail of dirty water hurtling down the stairs
(and I was sure there were others jolted too: I thought I heard
the startled skitter of cockroach feet on the wood floor
rushing to escape behind a baseboard)
The uproar died down
I let the insects be and tried to focus on what she was saying:

How you startled me and now look
what a first-class mess this carpet is. Come here.
Watch that squelchy area.
(Grabs my arm and pulls me.)
Tell me what’s the matter
her eyes focus on mine for a moment
in a suspicious way I don’t like. Tell me
she gives vicious squeeze to my forearm
near my elbow
that I knew would leave a bruise

She says it
Very calm very quiet
very much ready to take it further.

I tell her.


Here is a shadorma chain:

The doorbell
rings in the kitchen
the cook shrieks
the cake falls
the mop slithers in soap suds
the bucket chuckles

the pot blinks
at another slap
of green goo
dish soap. Bzzzz
the bell shouts. Chaos stands up
to answer the door.


I hope everyone is feeling well and in good spirits.

Thank you for reading!

The Last Loose End

From Pink Chalk, published in 2018.


The Last Loose End
Lawn chair at the curb
hunched next to the trash cans
waiting for pickup
all of them. Poor chair
seized up and bent double
right front leg stuck out straight
in a kind of rigor mortis
Life taking the turns with such speed sometimes
lazing around a glass-topped table
on the way to an undignified burial.

Back at the patio
late home of the decedent
the three surviving chairs and the glass-topped table
are left to mourn
the sun umbrella not quite as distressed
but feeling the loss of course
with even the barbeque grill
experiencing a twinge of mortality.

Well, the garbage truck is making its way down the street
hurry and say good-bye
this is all the funeral there will be
the out-thrust metal leg hits the tailgate
the chair falls in
crushed by the compactor it is gone.
The truck snorts

grinds its gears
lumbers down the street
the empty trash cans left on the curb


Haiku 687

From Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.

Haiku 687

this man internal
wired up in a certain way
blueprints have been lost

ink sketchbook 2019 image 25

Ink Sketchbook 2019 Image 257



As a note, the poem was written for a page in my artist notebook Ink Sketchbook 2019. You see the illustration above. The text was published on its own in Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.


Little Vines 6/2/20

I write Little Vines each week on a schedule, and so I sat down to work today. I just cannot really do it. My heart is very heavy and bewildered. I am angry, exhausted, and fearful. I grieve for the people in pain, and for what is happening to my nation and my state and my city, and for all the wrongs, past and present. As I think we all are, according to our situations.

I found that the few Vines I could come up with were more reflective of current events than usual for me. I try to maintain a certain detachment from exactly what is going on in the world, and comment from inside my Vines world on life in a more general way. Not possible for me today. I decided to post the few I have done and to return next week.

I’ve lived all my life believing in the future. That hope and faith make a difference, that kindness is important, and that I give my best effort in whatever I am doing.

However hard it is to do hang on to that belief now, I am promising here to do so, and that whatever work we have to do to make things better in this world, I will do my part. It is especially personal to me right now, because I will be becoming a grandmother next month, and a new person on this earth will be needing me to try.

Thank you all for reading this, for reading all my poetry, for all your encouragement, and for helping me keep going.


All right, here are the Vines from today.

hold a cool thin hand in your own
without needing to know
whose it is

even fists
even fingernails that scratch
express grief

it was no place for a caterpillar
everyone said
but one was there anyway
determined to thrive

she wants the door knob
to turn she wants
to be doing the turning for a change

a rainy moody autumn-style
heavy dull ache
this summer just can’t shake off

I cry
and then I
wring out my memories

I’ll sit alone in the restaurant
but would it be prudent
even to enter its doors?

come home with me and the pink orchid
in the front window and the new baby
asleep in her room upstairs
come home with me

In the Trap

In the Trap
disappearing into the gloom of the library stacks
wearing a yellow dress
nose down
following the beacon light of her phone’s screen
down the rows of shelves
lured on by tempting prospects of
gossip or chatter or just filling the air
the chance that the one something
she is looking for
might finally make itself known to her
from somewhere else
always somewhere else
to the words
she passes between in pursuit
of the opposite of
stop and look where you are
look for it where you are.
I make to call out but
she moves into the darkness
the fading fluorescent flicker
the last I ever see of her



From Pink Chalk, published in 2018.

Small? I don’t know.
Its stab needle call
can’t say it’s a song
it is not melodious but
I have learned
bird size and sound size
have nothing to do with each other
it is
holes opened in the air
staggered out spaced unsymmetrical
the pattern uneven like this:


screak screak screak


screak screak

pulling the thread tight
drawing up the air in pleats
and then
knotted off and cut.

Gone or silent?
I don’t know.
I have learned
some questions
do not need an answer
only that I asked
and listened for it.