Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 13

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.

On March 31, I sat down in my desk in Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College, third floor. The day was dreary, a steady rain falling, but the library was nice and warm. This kind of day is when a person needs a library, I thought. You may notice I’ve got my pink raincoat draped over my chair.

No one will be sitting at this picnic table today.

I devoted some time to thinking about the Installment Poetry Marathon. This week marks a full quarter-year of attendance. I feel proud of myself for maintaining the schedule during the disruptions in routine caused by my husband’s accident. We are a long way from January and the frantic rushing around that started off this year, it seems to me as I look back, and having this poetry refuge has made a big difference to me.

I have written a lot of poems, I realized, looking over the listing of what I’ve done so far. I needed to think about my plans for them, and for the Marathon.

You know, I meant to make the Marathon a year-long project. Now, I think I’d like to come here once a week and write for the rest of my life. Yes, maybe that is a bit incautious to say – but I really love the routine I have set up. I’m even thinking of creating a new Marathon for sketching/photography (a topic for another blog and another time!). By this, you can see how valuable I think it has been. Anyway, I have decided to just keep going as long as I want to – no deadlines, no goals, just set aside the time and put in the poetry-writing work.

As far as the poems written during this time, well, you know how much I like to see my work in print. It was easy for me to decide to plan and put together a volume featuring this body of work. So, I’ll be working on that project. I also decided that I would not use Marathon time to do it. I want to keep that space for creating new things.

There. All set. Plans made!

In the bigger picture, many things have changed for me in the last five years. I have realized that my goals and pursuits needed to be examined and evaluated – it is easy to keep going along in the same path, but maybe it’s not a good thing. I am conscious of time passing and the need to spend my days in ways that are meaningful to me now, today, rather than what I decided years or sometimes even decades ago. Installment Poetry Marathon has been helpful in showing me a way of structuring my time and encouraging me to keep writing.

I want to take this moment to say thank you to all of you who read my work. It means a lot to me.


OK. On to today’s poems.

I like to make roasted vegetables, all kinds. That’s where the inspiration for this poem came from.

The knife just out of the drawer
very sharp
asserts its good size and weight.
The beet
peeled and firm
stands stolid on the cutting board.
All is ready. I take up the knife.

And once again, a 10-10-10-10-10 poem, courtesy of Jane Dougherty’s inspiration some time back.

The argument
on permanent playback
started over with the opening track
only louder. Those two
have a real knack
for choice insult
wrapped up
in cheap wisecrack.
I copy them down.
I’ve got a whole stack.


Until next week!

24 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 13

  1. Thank you. Usually I struggle on these 10 10 etc. poems but this one wrote itself. And I am happy in this routine. I feel confident that writing will not get pushed aside (by life events or by my own devaluing of it by choosing to do something “useful”). And the library has an encouraging feel to it, like all the writers on the shelves are helping me.

  2. Thank you. You know, I like cooking, and the cutting and mixing and so on are straightforward and unambiguous. I like the way it feels to make a clean slice in a beet, yes, I do!

  3. I love roasted beets – they are much easier to peel! 😊 Enjoyed your poems today and it sounds like you have found a wonderful place to create. I enjoy the quiet too. ❤

  4. I like your 10’s poem … making a possibly volatile situation humorous and chopping can be absorbing although I ‘m not a whiz at it but beets–I find their red juice very messy.

  5. All great news. Even I feel calmer to hear of your routine. This second poem is wicked and has instantly transported me to Piran and two of our neighbours with their regular bickering. It’s like theatre only worse because it’s real life. I know I should be writing it down too. Curious about your notes.

  6. Thank you. I have lots of thoughts set down about all kinds of not so nice interactions, some quite creative. If people might put that effort elsewhere think of what the world might be. And you are right, when it’s someone you are exposed to on a regular basis, it turns into a story, TV could not do better, but that is sad to say. I think particularly of the low-level warfare that went on in a place I worked about 25 years ago, crossfire everywhere, but somehow the work got done…

  7. Thank you, and you are right. Those beets can get back at you with that very lovely but very potent red juice. I use golden beets if I can find them. But I love the pattern inside the red beets when you cut them…

  8. The patterned beets are beautiful…if I hadn’t grown beets like that I wouldn’t have known what you meant as the ones I the store are a solid colour inside.

  9. Yes, I feel the same way. I have bought some at the store with patterns, I don’t know where they get them, but – I love cutting into them and seeing what is hidden in there.

  10. I think there is not much taste difference, maybe golden ones are a little less “beety” but I may be imagining that. They are, however, not so mess-producing to work with and the color is beautiful when they are cooked, or raw.

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