Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 26

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 29 I returned to Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College.

Another beautiful summer day. I documented some of my trip over to the library today. Don’t worry, I took pictures in the car only when stopped…First, I leave home.

Next, I get on the road. It’s 15 minute or so trip to the college. Lots of traffic in the morning – I am on the road a little before 9 AM.


I have a couple more turns – Bell’s Mill Road, Germantown Avenue. But I had green lights – no photos. I turn into the college itself:


I drive to the back of the campus and park, then walking up the road, up the stairs, and to the library.

After talking to the librarian a bit, I went to the third floor to my desk.


This is Week 26 of this current Marathon. I do not know when it will end. Maybe never. By now I have this habit of concentrating on poetry for one day a week well-established.


I am very lucky in my ability to fall quickly and easily into a focused state of thinking – I believe my years of doing art have sharpened it, but I have always been able to do it, even as a child. This ability has really been a lot of help in all kinds of situations. When I need to, I can block out everything but my subject and I am not easily distracted. So, the Marathon idea works for me – I know it’s not for everyone.


I jot down thoughts or impressions throughout the week to save up for the writing day. It’s never much, but enough to point me back to the place in my mind where I filed the whole set of associations or thoughts about that topic. I think of it as making entries in a “suspense account”, a term from my banking days, meaning a temporary place to park money in transit from one place to another.


The ideas wait in my mind until I’m ready to address them. I pull them out to work on them when it is time. And of course, once the engines start up, well, the journey resumes, taking me who knows where?


There you have it. Why the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon idea works for me!

One more photo. A tennis camp is underway at the college this week. The kids were there when I arrived and were just finishing up when I left around 4 PM. I admire their fortitude – the day was very hot. I kept an eye on them from a window in the 3rd floor stairwell.

Today is Week 26. Half a year has gone by. Lots of poems. I have enough work done since the last book I did (Weeks 1-13) to do another. Be warned!


Here are today’s selections.

I wrote several poems about my days working for a local bank in the city. I am speaking of three decades ago now. Seems like yesterday to me; those memories are vivid. Here is a summer scene, repeated again and again, although the menu choice might have varied:

Hot concrete
and hot dogs
from the food truck
on the corner
a car honks at me to hurry
across the street
though I have the light
already I am sweating
in my dress and jacket
meant for my air-conditioned office
instead of straight-down
lunchtime summer sun.
I eat my hot dog
leaning against a brick planter
full of sagging petunias
next to the bus shelter
stealing its shade.
Marked as I am
a local
by my office clothes
tourists ask me
almost every day
for directions to a good lunch spot.
I say
Right here.
Right here.

Here is a poem written from my handwriting practice. I’m thinking wedding here, but – you fill in the function.


You’ll need help
the paperwork can be confusing
so many different hairstyles to choose from
and our catering staff
is thoroughly professional
when it comes to waffles
if not on a more extensive menu.
We can also provide a sketch artist
or hidden cameras
Alterations free with your purchase
We’ll do whatever it takes
We accept personal checks.

Here are a few handwriting snippets:

Why am I even here?
I’m here for the coffee
and the nightmare visions that come with it

do you know how much trouble I’m in
owing three years of back taxes
I tell you what, you panic or you focus

yelling at the neighbors
you know what it’s like
no drama just routine

It is your fault
the future is in the tea leaves
and you just threw them out
I thought you had been suffocated
there was a story a while back
I guess you can’t take gossip that seriously

OK, that is it for today. Until next week!


12 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 26

  1. Thank you. Yes, when I saw those lines they just fell into place with each other, because I could think of several scary scenes. Caffeine being one of them, I am very sensitive to it and I imagine a coffee shop full of “me’s” suddenly going berserk and running out to devastate the town (I’ve been reading too many apocalypse novels lately, maybe…)

  2. I’m always hoping to be on the / between panic/focus. The place where there is the energy but also the paring down to essentials. Glad you liked the tour. I hope to do more of these walk-along kind of things, like what I did at the park a while back. I enjoy presenting the ordinary and highlighting its uniqueness, at least the way I see it.

  3. Yes. And I am very sorry about that. No more to say… So I will change the subject and say I have also read several gothicky old house on the cliff ghosts that will not leave plucky individuals facing up to them books lately too. More healthy, maybe, for my mental attitude…?

  4. I love your walkway, and your house is such a Claudia house!
    I’m laughing over gothic ghosts vs. apocalypse. I read both of those, too–yeah, the ghosts linger, but they might not be as frightening. 😉

    I’m imaging you picking up all these bits of conversation as people walk by or as you sit in a coffee shop. I drink a lot of coffee, but usually it’s at home.

  5. I do love our house, it had a lot of good to start with and we have done a lot of work to it over the years. Thank you. My eavesdropping habit comes in so handy and I write down good info I get. There is no place that’s not fertile ground for odd conversations and plenty of people talk very loudly!

  6. Most excellent, so many things. Let’s start with your front door. How gorgeous! If I spotted it, I’d want to take a photo of it! And your house, and the lushness around it! And how you showed us all the way to your library. And that college, what an exterior!! That you have so many poems. And from the poems: No. 9 with the “Right here” ending is so strong and pulls towards Bukowski (I love him). And then the one with tea leaves. We keep throwing our future away, don’t we. 🙂

  7. Thank you. I feel very appreciated, and I am grateful for it, and your enjoyment of all my little details! My front yard, I am proud of it, especially if you had seen it when we came here 14 years ago: cracked sinking sidewalk, tortured looking bushes pushed against the house, 1 small tree and two big mound-like bushes crouching out by the street. Just ugh. And I agree, I love the way Chestnut Hill College looks. I meant to mention that the art studio is on the top floor to the left, way up there in the sky. I wish I were taking classes there but I have just attended events. And yes, I think you are right about our future. We have such a limited sense of how to get the most out of it, it so often seems to me. And also what you said about #9 poem. I wrote several different ends to it and could not get happy. This one landed on me from nowhere, I felt at peace when it hit and knew it was right. Thank you so much for everything!

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