Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 27

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.

Back at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College, on July 5. It was a hot, humid morning with hazy sunshine when I arrived.

The campus is very quiet. I love the array of parking spaces spread out before me in the lot. I dislike parking a car and when I have plenty of room as I did today, well, it makes my mood lift. Silly, but true.

When the students are here I have to park at the end of the lot, way down there where that vehicle is in the distance.

No tennis camp today. As I said, very quiet around here.


Coming up the steps from the parking lot, I noticed ferns and even a small bush taken root in the mortar gaps of the wall. Then – I saw something unexpected.


Yes, it is a squash vine, blooming.

Here’s a view from over the top of the wall.

I took it for a good omen, for reminding me of determination and persistence in the face of inhospitable conditions. And also – Hope. Optimism. Who knows how far this vine will be able to go in its chosen path? It has not chosen a good place to try to live. But think how much it has already done.

I send out my good wishes for a long life and maybe even a baby squash to grow and prosper. And if not, my gratitude for pointing my thoughts in a hopeful direction.

On to the library.

I went to the third floor of the library after signing in. My desk was waiting. A pale bit of sunshine found its way in the window and I could hear a lawnmower outside. Summer.

I decided to do things backward today. First, look at last week’s work. Then, handwriting snippets. Then new poems of any or no form.

I followed my plan pretty well. My “new poems” turned out mostly to be haiku. I am in a short-form mood today, it looks like. Maybe because it seems like a Monday; with the holiday yesterday, we have started this week twice. I haven’t gotten my momentum going yet.

All right, the poems.

A couple of haiku, first.

Half-finished letter
pocket full of paper scraps
mailbox stands empty

In the hospital
bedside flower garden grows
short-lived sympathy

footsteps and heartbeat
racing along together
the exit in sight

The hedge reaching out
The unwary receiving
poison ivy touch.

(this one was inspired by my friend David – we take walks around the neighborhood and he is always pulling me away from brushing against hedges interlaced with poison ivy. I never seem to notice it, never have, never will, despite everyone pointing it out to me over and over –  so he’s doing me a good turn)

One small poem:

Dreamed of raising sunflowers
under rain clouds

Lived in a shell of brittle blue
surrounded by endless
dried stubble

One a little bit longer:

Came back to town for a fundraiser
running loose and dangerous
in a mild kind of way
broke his arm and went to the emergency room
How about some coffee
the desk lady said
and how would you like to pay for
your cemetery plot?
A professional smile.

A horrified frown.
Oh dear, pardon me
Just take a breath.
I’ve gotten things
outrageously incorrect.
Busy brains
do make mistakes. I should be talking
to the fellow in Cubicle Two.

And some handwriting snippets:

Look at me there in the mirror
Do you see decay and futility of effort?
No, it’s just a skin rash.

the scenery
a shining ribbon of blur
at sixty miles an hour

all my memories
fading into the fog
guilt is all that’s holding me together

life is short
life is a postcard
learn shorthand

I’ve figured it out.
That street is full of one-way traffic.

OK, that’s it! Until next week.

22 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 27

  1. Thank you. I am finding them really rewarding. Unlike paper snippets I let myself fill in or add if there are gaps, but otherwise I just run my eye down the page and things seem to jump out at me. Or I type out some that catch my eye and they seem to fall together. I think somehow my brain is editing and thinking and I am not aware of it the whole time. It’s fascinating just from that standpoint. And then these snippets come out and I think, I was thinking that, but…I hadn’t really got it to crystallize. Really, I feel this method digs out ideas and thoughts in a way just “thinking” seems to gloss over.

  2. Thank you. I think since childhood I have always seen more than one aspect to just about everything (has gotten me into trouble at times, and sometimes to indecisiveness) but I like the complexity everyday life has under this regime!

  3. Thank you. This guilt one touched a nerve with me when I put it on paper – I have been unaware of how much sway it has had on me as well, until fairly recently. And of course you can’t do anything about it if you don’t recognize it, can you? And if there is something to replace it to fill the gap?

  4. Logically it should make you less judgemental than the person who sees everything in black or white, and in flat surfaces. If we were all more aware of the complexity of all life, the world would be a more tolerant place.

  5. Yes, I agree. It takes time to think through the layers, though, and many times people don’t or won’t take the time, or can’t. Like everything else, balance. A layer in itself.

  6. Yes, you just accept that the way things were presented to you early in life, that is how the world is. Mindfulness in examining past assumptions is key.

  7. Yes. I was taken by the idea of editing down to fit the space, as you have to do when writing on a postcard, and applying it to a person’s short number of years on earth. Plus I would like to leave my correspondents with a nice picture to think about, too!

  8. Thank you. It makes my day to hear you say you look forward to each chapter of the Marathon saga. I really enjoy writing them, because for me, aside from sharing my work and enjoying that interaction, is that it orders and makes sense of what I am doing in all the parts of the activity, how each part contributes, gives me mileposts or markers, anchors me in the process and in my weekly routine, helps me assign meaning to what I am doing. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s