Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 32

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.


Beautiful day. I arrived at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College, about 9 AM.

I wondered if the squash plant would still be thriving. Yes, it was.

Fantastic. I went up the steps and checked on the crepe myrtles. You can see they are passing their peak, but still full of color.

I hurried into the library. The librarians were getting started for the day. You know, the pre-settling down to the desk flurry – watering plants, rushing around a bit. We exchanged greetings, and then I went to my desk on the third floor.

I hadn’t planned on doing it but I took a few blur photos before I settled down. It was a good day and I got a lot of shots. Funny how that works out – some days yes, some days, not a thing.

After that short interlude, I got right to work. I was not sure what I wanted to do today; I brought several possible projects with me. I’ve had breaks in my routine this week and my mind was hopping from one mental foot to the other, restless. A good way to ease into things was to go over last week’s work, I thought.

Once finished with that, I looked over some notes I had made and reviewed fragments of poems. Hmmm, I thought. This is where I will go today.

All right, how about some results, you say?

I spent the day in the city (Philadelphia); yesterday. I walked east toward the Delaware River from Center City. Many years ago, I worked in this area. It is very changed now; but there is much that is the same. I walked through the Curtis Building at 6th and Walnut. There are shops on the first floor, surrounding the atrium, one of them a barbershop. I took inspiration from the sign he had displayed and the scene I glimpsed through the glass.

Mr. G
Tonsorial Artist
he styles himself

and the man sitting in the chair before him
just before lunchtime.
Head of wet-down hair set on a torso
draped in a black polyester cape
white towel around the neck
khaki-pants legs
tan socks
polished loafers
at the other end
fighting for their dignity
as clipped hair
falls around them
to the floor

depending on the quick sure scissor snips
Mr. G clicks off quite a rate per minute
before he combs the new cut
into gelled furrows

Mr. G never stops talking
moves to the rhythm of his words
bending over and around
a light finger to the chin to raise the face
for a last intense inspection
of side to side
level to level
removes the towel
the cape
with a flourish
flinging them on the counter
a little powder dusted on the neck
A renovated head of hair
rejoins the workday.

Mr. G
Tonsorial Artist
three fingers beckon
to the next
tonsorial subject.

A week or so ago my husband and I visited the Morris Arboretum near us. We took a walk in the wetlands section and saw a lot of this versatile and interesting plant, milkweed.


Pods hugged in tight
thick leaves
holding them
striped in prickles.
Each curved-up end
like a saucy little nose
on a good-natured face
Wait until that little face

Now, for some Little Vines.

Good thing the lamp shorted out.
I decided right then
I’d divorce her.

You know what people are saying
Was it an accident,
that thing with the poisoned lunch meat?

That’s an expensive lipstick.
Seven deadly sins in seven minutes.
No jury would convict.

for crying out loud
of course things have changed
Wake up and smell the rotten potatoes.

Thank you for your discretion
the mistake was in thinking nothing will change
That much kissing sends a message.

in the concert hall singing sweet revenge
their voices
broken glass on the ground

Thank you for reading! Until next time.


16 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 32

  1. I was happy to see a crepe myrtle update. 🙂
    I’ve gone by the Curtis Building so many times, but I don’t know if I’ve ever gone inside. I may have to look for Mr. G sometime! We were in Philadelphia yesterday, too–not all that far away–but perhaps later in the day. It would be funny if we had walked right by each other–but I know I didn’t say any of those things. I want to know more about b and c. 😉

  2. Great poems. I love that scene at the barber shop for its attention to detail. As for the vines, I like the noir-ish ones, that sinful lipstick and the musical revenge.

  3. I’m going to write a post on my Confused blog soon about yesterday and include why I like Curtis so much- the Dream Garden mosaic is in the front lobby accessible to all. If you haven’t seen it I think you’d love it. I visit whenever I am near, it’s a good karma spot for me.

  4. Thank you. I stopped in Curtis to visit the Dream Garden mosaic, I will be writing about it pretty soon, but Mr. G caught my attention. And there is certainly a noirness to the little vines today, I’m liking it, fun to think of more scenarios. My love of crime fiction.

  5. The mosaic is really beautiful. I’ll put it in a post pretty soon. And that “crying out loud”, I heard someone say it and I wrote it down. I felt the same way, it’s not used nearly enough these days, I think, either.

  6. the photographs: remembrance of college, going through the stacks pumped up on too much espresso.

    Tonsorial: learned a new word today. Caught the haircut scene splendidly. Love the three finger beckoning.

  7. Another great writing (and more) episode. I’m glad the squash is still growing…and I enjoyed your blur photos…I don’t recall seeing your blur work before…#5 is my favourite. The barber scene was great…and I am fascinated by milkweed too…a cute description of their noses and their ‘laugh’. And I enjoyed your ‘little vines’…are those out of your head or based on snippets ( or both ?)

  8. Thank you. I feel those college days memories stir every time I go in the library, too. And I enjoyed Mr G- and to go s portrait, I like poems that examine a person in his/her element.

  9. Thank you. I’ve posted library blur photos before but they might be on the art blog, it “blurs” together! ( couldn’t resist). I’ve done other subjects too but mostly the library. Milkweed is fascinating me since we visited the arboretum and I plan to go again soon to see more of the cycle. The little vines, I writ down phrases I hear people say or on tv, just pages of the stuff, then look them over and fit them together and add or subtract as I like. My rule of thumb is each one is 3 lines.

  10. I’ve taken a special interest in milkweed not only because their flowers and pods are so unique but also because they are monarch caterpillar food. This year I’ve been thrilled to see more monarch butterflies.

  11. Yes, we felt the same way, people around here are paying more attention to these kinds of plants for the same reason you said, the insect habitat. I am trying to see if I can plant some in my yard, looks possible!

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