Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 49

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. (That was the idea – it’s grown now to take over the whole day. That’s fine with me.)

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 December 7, back at Montco’s Brendlinger Library, and a lovely sunny day.

The now-traditional Butler Avenue photo:

I zipped up the path to College Hall

and found a seat on the second floor. I thought I’d start the day off in quiet and maybe after lunch move down to the first floor, if I needed something livelier. Or, I’d return here. There is always a choice!

I felt very unsettled at the outset of the session. I find this time of year disturbing. I’m a person who loves routine. I don’t like the holidays’ heightened emotions; everything seems frantic, hurried, and competitive. Old memories are revived and I don’t associate much good with this time of year. I was not sure today, when I sat down to write, that I had any thoughts worth sharing. Or that I could sit still long enough to do it.

Then I remembered. For my birthday, my friends John N and David gave me a finger labyrinth, prompted by how much I like the real-world one at Chestnut Hill College.

The idea is to “walk” around it with your finger. I stopped everything I was fussing around with on my desk, got the labyrinth out of my purse, and did a couple of circuits. While I “walked”, I tried to slow down my thoughts and think of being outside on a clear cold day like today. It helped. Remember, the way in is the way out, I thought. You cannot get lost.

OK. I decided to mix up my work today. Write a poem, edit one from last week, and continue to alternate, so on and so on. Little Vines at the end. And that is how it went. In the end, my mind loosened up. I got along fine. Thank you, labyrinth, Montco library, and sunshine outside the window.

Here are a couple of poems from today.

A tanka.

2.
The telephone rings
I picture a black desk set
worthy of real talk
not this metallic wafer
type and flashy chat and peek

This one is written in a series of haiku syllable forms but each one does not stand alone, really, and I didn’t mean them to, I just liked the discipline. Is there a name for this, I don’t know? Anyway – knee socks.

4.
Pull up your knee socks
the admonishment you’ve heard
since the second grade

when socks first pulled on
tight to the knee right then left
fell to the ankles

both at the same time
no waiting. As if they knew
how to aggravate

teachers and parents
fixed on symmetry. You cared
not one little bit

not a bit. You cared
if your legs ran fast. You cared
if you kicked the ball

it flew over heads
miles away to the outfield
knee socks wherever.

A short little poem about work.

7.
the wrong room
a day late
wore ballet flats to a snowstorm
left her reading glasses at home
parked the car in a tow-away zone
could not remember the company’s name
was hired on the spot.

Little Vines.

b.
it’s been a long time coming
it was icing on a cake
that was already plenty sweet

h.
skip that one, give me the next one
I can’t afford this kind of melodrama
Just choose a pork chop.

j.
Purse-snatcher, armed gunman, a really poor liar
we sure have some world-class slim pickings here
It’s killing the flirt in me

l.
I dropped the whole bottle of pills
in the punch bowl
our problem, plus a few others, is solved

m.
he was short, square, and bald
sprawled out flat on his back
the whole conversation took only a few minutes

o.
The back door was unlocked
I took one look and screamed my lungs out
Nothing short of decapitation will make me forget that sight

q.
the trained chemist nosing around
ditched the shadow and took a taxi
bagged up debris behind the gas station


Thank you for reading! Until next time.

9 thoughts on “Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 49

  1. You’ve got to keep your eyes open at a party, the punch bowl is always a focus of…something (and I love ginger ale punch with ice cream floating in it, so I’d be a prime target, oh dear.) I wear knee socks now and they are so much better than 50+ years ago, and yet I kind of miss the pulling-up reflexive movement…

  2. I had to wear compression ones when I hurt my ankle and my whole leg swelled up as I now recall. All socks make my skin itch, and these were no exception. But they did stay up!

  3. I love that poem about the socks. I was always a tomboy scruff – pretty much still am – much to my mother’s despair. I was the first girl in the family (following four older brothers) and she wanted to have my hair in neat little braids with pretty ribbons, and neatly pleated skirts, and cute shoes. I, however, wanted to roll down grassy hills, climb trees, and jump in puddles. She’d send me off in the morning looking her version of perfect and I would come home looking like I had been raised by wolves. As a parent, I can appreciate her ire at having to deal with grass stains and torn up trousers because laundry takes up way bigger a proportion of my time than I would have guessed as a child. However, as you have seen from my posts, I totally encourage my kids to roll in the dirt, climb trees, and rampage around the wilderness. It’s only clothing and I have a washing machine.

  4. I have some fancy compression ones now and I LOVE them, as they stay up and enclose my legs in a hug, I feel. Those old-time socks, well, I paid no attention but others sure did, seemed to be a sore point with people who could not stand to see socks around your ankles all wrinkled up…

  5. And at least in my lifetime, clothing has changed from being very expensive, necessary to be preserved and handed down, so on and so on, to almost disposable. Much easier on kids and on laundry. If the wear and tear is too bad, you don’t have to labor so hard to fix the unfixable but let it just go. I know people will say, bad for the environment, etc., but there is also that ease factor that is very nice.

  6. My clothes growing up were mostly hand-me-downs and I buy most of my sons’ clothes from thrift stores. Saves money and the environment by recycling. There is, therefore, no real change there to explain the differing reaction to mess. Washing machines, however, are certainly more effective and more energy efficient.

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