Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week Seven

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since winter, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year, in addition to scheduling the regular long versions, I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.

Today, February 16, 2017, I’m back at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. I got there at ten minutes after eight AM – the doors had barely opened. I checked in and went up to the third floor stacks. Here’s a look back down the stairs:


I turned to my left:


walked along the windows:


turned right, and ended up at what I have begun to think of as MY desk.

As usual, the floor was quiet – it’s not a big space, and I was the only one there. Just what I like.

I needed some time to settle down before getting to work. I am noticing the effects of extended living with a disrupted schedule these days. I like a routine and I do better with more space around me, physical and mental, than what’s available right now. I’ve had a busy week with various doctor appointments, including one in which, after months of observation, I learned I now have an official diagnosis of glaucoma in my right eye. I felt a bit frazzled as I arrived for this session.

I decided to walk around the floor a little. Threading my way up and down the aisles, it struck me just how many books are part of a series. I took a few pictures.

I think that if you are a book, there is a nice camaraderie to being one in a line of like-minded volumes.

All right. I sat down at my desk. First, I went over the poems I did on 2/2 – I didn’t look them over in the last session, since I was working on snippets.

Then I wandered around the floor a little more. I saw this step stool – I have always liked this design – you can push it with your foot, but when you step on to it, it pushes the stool down so that it can’t move. This simple perfect solution always delights me.


And here is an earlier version, serving the same purpose, getting books from a too-high shelf, but with a different construction. I noticed this set of steps had a great deal of wear, obviously having been on the job for a long time.


And here are a couple of poems from today’s session. Remember, I am showing you the poem as it first appeared on the page. Maybe on another reading I’ll refine things.

This first one was written because we need some work done at home.


The bedroom wall needs repairing.
Plaster cracked. Unsightly
and an affront
to the order I must have
that I can’t live without
that I put so much
strenuous effort
into capturing and caging.
Things go wild
around here. Please
call the painters

And this one, a tanka, was written because of the sunlight glinting on the drainpipe of the building next door.

Tracing a bright streak
the aluminum drainpipe
races down the length
of the four-story building
skidding to a tipped-up halt.



9 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week Seven

  1. I like to see books in serried rows too. You are right about the camaraderie. I have been buying up copies of an annual anthology of short stories whenever the library is selling them mainly because I love short stories but also because I love seeing them gathered together. They are different colours but otherwise are uniform except for the changing year on the spine. I haven’t found one in months now. Perhaps the library has discarded all that they had.

    And another thing we have in common is liking that step stool design. Those are what we had in schools when I was teaching. It always felt much more sturdy and stable than your average step stool – and that is important to a person like me with a fear of heights.

    I love both poems. I enjoyed the fact I could relate to the first poem. I felt an instant connection to the thoughts and feelings it suggested. I too like order and neatness (to a sensible point) but I live with five chaps who generate mess and chaos in a house that is very much a work in progress. With the second poem, I just enjoy the observational detail and the fact you conjured up something so interesting from something as everyday and humdrum as a pipe.

    Finally, I am really sorry about your glaucoma diagnosis. I know you have been through such an ordeal with your eyes and your sight so this diagnosis must have come as a blow.

  2. Thank you for everything. I feel a bit lost right now. I will keep going. As for that pipe I have been noticing it for weeks. There is just a perfection about it I just can’t quite explain. I think it’s beautiful! Your book collection sounds fantastic. Like a city full of individual stores and restaurants and so on for you to enter and make visits to. Short stories collections have always made me think of this image. Also collected plays.

  3. Thank you. I’ve known this particular ill was coming as I have been monitored for months and now it’s time to take the step of treatment. I feel lucky it was caught early and little damage has been done, and that I can hopefully hold back too much more, or at least really slow it down.

  4. ‘Caging order’ I can certainly relate to that in my own ways ( making lists for example) and as usual I find your noticing of generally unnoticed scenes inspiring (as in the drainpipe). It seems we are at the eye surgery stage of life…I have my own mysterious one looming down the road (says the optometrist) I hope your surgery goes well and the medication or drops they’ll likely prescribe are OK.

  5. Hi, and thanks for your good wishes. I think I am done with surgery for the moment (crossing fingers) and the glaucoma drops are not causing any problems so far, which is just great (also crossing fingers!) I hope that if I can offer any info or encouragement you will let me know. Being a veteran of eye surgeries I know how frightening the whole thing can be, but it seems results turn out well, I am living proof!

  6. I didn’t realize you were an eye surgery veteran. I must admit that having eye work is concerning. It always baffles me when people seem to be so nonchalant about eye procedures. I am so glad to hear that yours have worked out so far and that the drops haven’t had bad side effects. And I’ll definitely keep your experience in mind when and if (i like to reserve that slim possibility) I have to have work done. 👓🕶👀 🙂

  7. I was terrified for my first one ( retina repair) but it went well. Then 2 cataracts done. Also fine. Honestly I think I’ve had more painful dental experiences (though recovery was of course more involved). Best of luck to you and your eyes.

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