Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 20

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

This year 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 May 17, a beautiful warm sunny day, I arrived at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. School is out and you can tell this from the parking lot, if you didn’t know already.

Just a lovely day!

I went into the library and said hello to several librarians as I checked in. They greeted me by name. It’s a little thing, but I felt welcomed. That means something to me and I appreciate it.

I am very sure this week I am the only non-staff person here. I noticed, as I went to the 3rd floor, that they even have the curtains closed in the reading room. I’ve never seen that before. Somehow it underlines that we are in a transitional time – maybe an end of year straightening?

I went to my 3rd floor desk. It looks just the same. Which is just how I like it!

Today, my mind was all over everywhere. Not that I couldn’t concentrate or was distracted; no, I just found myself thinking of all kinds of things. It may be this beautiful sunny day – we have had so many dreary ones this spring.

I did my usual routine – you know what it is – writing new poems, and then going over last week’s work. Also, I spent a little time on yet another new poetry book (you may raise your eyebrows in disbelief, I give you permission, but you do know of my love for creating books as soon as I have any reason to do so).

To back up, the book from the beginning of this year is finished and I am just waiting for copies to be able to “officially” announce it. This book I am talking about here is something different.

I realized I have accumulated enough poetry in the last year or so of all kinds – through everyday writing, snippet sessions, and a couple of regular Marathons last year – to fill up a book. So, I’m getting right on it. In due time, you will be informed!

One other thing. Every time I go out into the hall I pass a room devoted to a special collection, lights off, dim. And every time I glance at the door and get a fright because I see this fellow.

I tried to get a better picture of him today, as I resolved to confront him. He refused even to look at me and I notice he managed to get the glass to reflect in such a way as to maintain his authority and mystery…

Now, I’ll return to today. Here are some poems from this session.

I was thinking about running yesterday on the Green Ribbon Trail in Fort Washington State Park. There are many trees like this along my route.

3.
The dead tree
bark long peeled away
standing in its silver underskin
upright and tall
knotted and scarred
spattered with
insect holes dark and
from the ground up
on borrowed time
waiting for the day
when the call comes
but for now
plenty of room to stretch
here in the sun
host a hawk along one outstretched
leafless
limb.

This poem came from my giant backlog of handwriting practice sheets.

10.
The big party
it was full of people in fancy clothes
running out of patience
growing disillusioned
with the caterers
cross-referencing the information
among themselves
in a negative way
saying,
you can get better eats
at the supermarket, can’t you?
though at least one guest
was deciding to wrap up some of this shrimp
for breakfast
tomorrow.

And here are a few little “handwriting snippets” Writing these is like eating popcorn – you can’t stop.

a.
why did you let her
get her hands on
your memories

c.
fighting in the back yard
what’s a washed-up guy like you
thinking?

e.
Defy me and you’ll regret it
Buy the best gift possible
and give it to me.

OK, until next week! Thank you for reading.

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6 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 20

  1. Yes. It sometimes is hard revisiting the past and other times with the perspective of time I am given new insights. Writing poetry is truly much more than just getting something on paper, it’s rearranging your mind. At least I think. And. I hope you’re feeling better these days.

  2. I love the strong visual imagery of the tree poem but it was the second poem that really grabbed me. Wrapping up party food to eat the next day is completely something my Grandad used to do. That made me smile. Great snippet poems again.

  3. Thank you. Many years ago when I worked at the bank we used to entertain customers at the box at the ballpark. They always had great food. And I was always the one allowed to take home leftovers like shrimp because I was the youngest, single, and my boss took pity on me. It sure worked perfectly for me.

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