Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 25

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 June 22, I was back at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. It was a perfect summer day.


I missed working here last week – my computer problems – and I was happy to be back in my desk on the 3rd floor.


I love the quiet solitude of the library in summer. Just love it. Being in the building among the books calms me in a way nothing else does.

Before I got started, I decided to walk through the first floor in search of a book to check out (I eventually chose Life on the English Manor 1150-1400, by H S Bennett, 1937. I was interested because I have been rereading Daphne DuMaurier’s The House on the Strand). Book titles were what caught my interest today. I’ll give you a little tour.


CHC is a Catholic collage and has an extensive collection of religion-oriented titles, as you might think. These books refer to the local seminary for priests, a very grand and extensive site. The title stopped me, but what intrigued me here was the way the book on the right seemed to be pushing its neighbor back, even though they had equal claims on the subject. A little rivalry?

I am dating myself by knowing what the title of this book means, I think.

I am not interested in what they said yesterday about today. I want to know about tomorrow!

Walk down any street and do field research on this topic. Yes, indeed.

These three books might have something to say about today’s world, even though they were written in years past.

I debated as to whether this title meant cigarette/pipe/cigar/etc. smoking, or meat smoking. But you can see it’s in the medical section.

This many volumes on the East India Company and China. This many!

The natural world is complex. These books will help explain some interesting topics.

I just liked this title.

I’ll end with this book. I love the title, and I hope the story allowed the characters not only to be born in Paradise but to stay there, wherever it may have been.


After this excursion, I got down to work. I decided to write first and to look over the poems I wrote two weeks ago after that. Things went fine for the first part of this session. But when I got to the editing part, I realized I had lost some files from the computer breakdown. I spent some reconstruction time that I hadn’t planned on and I didn’t enjoy!

Well, that’s all right. I think (fingers crossed) things are back as they should be. I felt a bit at sixes and sevens today, writing-wise, though. Well, next week I’ll look things over and see what I think then.

Here are a couple of poems from today.

This one was inspired by my orienteering event last week at Norristown State Hospital. There are a lot of buildings slowly decaying as the hospital continues in the decades-long process of contracting.


If you close up the building
walk away from it
let it sit
year after year
let the slates on the roof crack
drop off in shards
let water in
let rain
fall all the way to the basement
brick walls lose mortar lose bricks
windows pull out of the walls
parapet lying in a dent in
the lawn
that is grown up knee high
go around back
some kind of vine crawling
through and over
the sun porch a sagging empty
dark hole
You put a Condemned
Keep Out
on the front door
such as it is
rotten soft and weather-scoured
All of this and
We remember, don’t we?

This poem came from observations on a walk around my neighborhood.


The old man
moving at no speed
drags the hose across the lawn
a defect-free swath
of fake-looking real grass
to the thick-mulch plot
placed with just that little bit of awkward
you don’t know if it’s for
asymmetrical effect
or just off-center
Full of red geraniums
spaced too far apart to chat
but yelling would be rude
so, they sulk a bit. Each one
The old man gets that hose in position
aims the sprayer.
The geraniums would turn their backs
if they could
but as it is
they just have to take
the turned-up-one-notch-too-high
as best they can
holding on to green leaves
while red petals fly off
spatter the mulch in sodden heaps.
The old man cuts the flow
starts to turn
all of a sudden
squeezes the handle for one more hard burst
The geraniums shiver.

And a few handwriting snippets.

it was the last thing anyone expected
the lightning strike was not fatal
we are all disappointed

it was perfectly respectable
some sort of vegetable transfusion
to modify my behavior

your alter ego
reflected in a mirror
now I know why your jealousy is so intense

discount prices are compelling
intruding on my mental peace
things looking grim but still plenty manageable

a broken toe
out-numbered two to one
by a stiff knee and damage to the garage

call the doctor and get his opinion
of the scales on her nose
don’t just assume it is fate

OK, that’s it for today. Hope to see you next week!


10 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 25

  1. “Social Life in the Insect World”…perhaps they have some advice for humans?
    …and an alter ego reflected in the mirror…I love that idea. (K)

  2. Disappointment in the non-fatal outcome of the lightning strike is just wonderful. There’s so much context unspoken in that one.

    I love your use of an almost list format for the first poem. It’s relentless and urgent and feels like it’s going to build to a crescendo of doom but then you switch it up and there’s hope in that remembrance.

  3. I thought the same thing about the insects. And that alter ego concept has interested me since I learned of it studying something in college, I don’t remember, but that’s where I first really understood the idea. Other selves, I like to think about it.

  4. Thank you. The lightning one, I thought the same thing. Who is speaking? Who is disappointed, and why? There is so much to chew over, just the kind of thing I like. As for the building one, I felt strongly about those buildings at the hospital, as I do about a lot of structures that just get abandoned, thrown away. It seems so wasteful and uncaring of the soul of the building and disrespectful of the materials, energy, and work it took to build each one. But, we can remember, it is important to remember, not just this, but so many things, to keep them alive. That’s what I felt.

  5. Bits of stanzas f & g became the basis/seed of my recent post Planet of the Texturians. They went through a lot of reprocessing . 🙂

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