Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 12

The Marathon journey is in its third year. Put Pen to Paper is the current incarnation.

Back at Montco this week on March 28 for Marathon time.

PO 3-28-19 (8)

It’s cold this morning, a little below freezing, but sunny. I noticed something interesting as I walked up to College Hall – where the sun hits the ground, the frost is melted away, but in the slightest shadow, it lingers. It made for some beautiful colors and patterns across the grass. It’s hard to see in the photos, but take my word for it.

All right. I entered College Hall

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went into the library and set my work items up on the middle table on the main floor.

After getting settled, I thought over my plan for today. Which is…no plan at all. My routine has been the opposite of repetitive in the last few weeks, mostly because my husband is changing jobs and we’ve been using the interim time to get a lot of things done at our house.

Well, the new job starts on Monday, so that pursuit will end, but I’m planning for some changes in routine myself, mostly related to doing more of what I was already doing, but differently. Plus maybe some new things. Can there be such a thing as amorphous plans?

Yes, I think so. I’m living proof. Let’s just see how things go. Meanwhile, let me get back to today and its activities. I took this page in my notebook where I’d glued two columns of randomly-chosen phrases from old books.

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I sorted out any that had three or five syllables and made a list of each category. Then I set myself the game of trying to make haiku or shadormas using one or more lines. You’d be surprised how your mind can take a chance phrase and find a way for it to free some other thoughts you had filed away just waiting.


After finishing up much of the list (I used more than one phrase in a poem in some cases) I headed to the grocery store café for lunch and Little Vines.

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Here are a few samples of what I did today.

A shadorma chain. The words I started with were “The bargain”.


The bargain
assured me
my dense hide
could be sandpapered right off
if I had the guts

and the will
to flip to thin-skinned
in just one
hellish burst.
I like ouch-giving more than
ouch-taking. No deal.

A shadorma. I was at the dentist yesterday. I don’t mind going there but some people do. The phrases I used were “I know by the way” and “you’re a few minutes early”.

we wait and
I know by the way
you grimace
wring your hands
you’re a few minutes early
and wish you weren’t here.

Another shadorma. “get rid of” was the starting point phrase.

get rid of
the complications?
what do you
think will be
the whole point of it without
the complications?

Another shadorma. Many years ago I worked with a woman who had this mannerism. The word here was “fingernails”.

tap the desk click click
You look here
they say and
their red-painted angry dance
breaks you as you look.

Little Vines.

I’m suggesting
an accusation
not a good-bye tribute

he’s not a cheater
I can tell
yes no maybe

first they swoop in the vultures and then
what’s your name? what’s your flavor? they ask
when you cry salty tears they shake red pepper on you

I never saw it coming
her glorious lilac-green smile
a private paint brand straight from her heart

I am not just a machine
all sparking wires and fizzing fuses
I am vengeful. It will be so easy to say good-bye to you.

a crustacean at the buffet
everyone saw it but I’m the one who stuck out my plate:
Sweetheart, will you dance with me?

two side pockets
no proof of any money
in either of them

he said she said is all we’ve got
it’s easy to be a story that doesn’t end
but where does it get you?

hop and be quick about it
an insalubrious turn of events at our place of business
now we’re playing musical chairs to see who gets laid off

you told me
let me pave the way for you
you leaped to drive the steamroller
A letter of recommendation would have been plenty sufficient.

I’ve had my share of fistfights
My version of a slinky social patter
adjusted for the location and the company

at the intersection
I no longer remember who you’re supposed to be
four down or thirty-three across?

two bracelets
roll under the refrigerator
no one ever finds out

I label all the files
I don’t keep secrets
from me

you are so much in fashion
tuna sandwich
I said yes before you even asked

one really good life is all I want
the time ticks by
it looks less and less likely

I don’t like strangers
each one is too much of a fresh start
I no longer have the heart for



Thank you for reading!

13 thoughts on “Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 12

  1. I bet you can guess which poem I can relate to the most! Yup, that final Little Vine could be an excerpt from my autobiography. There are so many great poems this week but I think that first one about the dermatologist is my favourite. I keep meaning to tell you that my oldest son has been writing haiku in his free time. The subject matter is weird and definitely non-traditional but he says he finds writing in that format to be calming.

  2. Wonderful, as usual.
    I love the complications shadorma…and getting lost in the crossword puzzle…and the last two fall into the melancholy truth department.
    You can feel spring coming in your photos. I think it’s the light. (K)

  3. Thank you, that last one is also particularly expressive of my feelings! Tell your son regarding haiku, that is exactly why I like it. Working within parameters is freeing and – I don’t know the word for it – satisfying and completing a whole, form and feeling fitting together neatly. I would also reccommend shadorma, for variety of the shape of the poem – the way the syllables have to flow varies and leads to a different but similar experience. I find myself more and more wanting to do poems that are short and follow a format. Even Little Vines, which I kind of made up, has a plan that I follow.

  4. Thank you, I really like writing this way because the associations that come to mind are always a surprise, it’s fun just to let the words come out and see what I can make of them. Sometimes I can make a connection with something in my own life (the dermatologist I don’t really have any idea about, though!) and others, well, no clue where I got it from!

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