Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 14

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


On April 11 I spent the day at Montco. Chilly, a little, and cloudy, in that April kind of way. As I walked up to the library I wondered when these trees were going to begin to leaf out. I’m waiting and so are they, it seems.

PO4-11-19 (5)

The school is always one step ahead of things, though, as this sign shows you.

PO4-11-19 (6)

Three flags fly on the poles in front of College Hall, United States, Pennsylvania, and Montgomery County. There is enough of a breeze to see them stretched out, yes.


I got inside and set up my work area.

PO4-11-19 (2)

Before I started to write, I left a face tile hidden among the DVD collection. It’s behind one row, but you can see it from the opposite side if you look – a bit more of a challenge. Let’s see how long it takes before this little one moves on.


I am still adjusting to my new schedule, getting up earlier, and just the general atmosphere of change at my house. I am slow to adapt to this kind of thing and I’m taking things more slowly, doing less of the ones right now that require thought (art and poetry), and focusing on those that don’t (laundry and cooking). I need assistance in in pulling things together these days. Luckily, there are prompts to shake things loose in my head. I brought along phrase cards, an art sketchbook, and a paint brochure I drew patterns on. Hmmm, what looks good?

I ended up using all of them in one way or another. I wrote two Minuscule stories. And of course, Little Vines.

Here are some samples of my work today.

Here is a shadorma. I got my hair cut yesterday. I go to Ralph’s, a local institution whose owner is the third generation – the shop started off as a barbershop for men, but now everyone young and old goes there. Yesterday morning at the time of my visit, it was all men except for me, and in remembering the visit, this poem was the result.


Endless napes
of bristly necks and
You are knee-deep in buzz cuts.
A topiary

man-style. So much hair
in the wrong
Clippers and scissors in hand
you restore order.

shadorma chain

This poem came out of some things I’ve been thinking about – the scenario is fictional but the sentiments are from my life.

Leaned on the counter
in her thin white sweater
paint-spattered hands
spread out flat
said Hello, stranger
and I do mean stranger
Don’t call me by my nickname
Don’t ask how my cat is
and by the way he died
some time back.
Now get to the point
what is it that you want
or should I say
how much?

This one was inspired by the paint card and the paint named Gallery White. I was thinking about a local exhibit I read about recently which I have not viewed in person, but the photos of prize-winning works left me cold. Just saying.

Gallery white walls
wearing a necklace
of ill-assorted paintings
strung with care
exactly eye height
for the average eye
but spaced too close
to be at ease
and in any case
they are just awful
these paintings
every one of them
a pain in the average
or any

whose vision
though compromised by
crossing and uncrossing
and a quizzical tilt of the head
communicates with the hands
always held carefully distant
from any hint
of pulling out a wallet

Paint Card Patterns 4-18 small extra

Little Vines.

on my doorstep and with a tray
a plate of stew with a peculiar odor
I’m having second thoughts about our new neighbor

staring at the frog
it’s just not enough
you really do have to kiss it

I’m a very pretty face
behind a desk

one big saucy
bowling ball
I flex five fingers I roll strike after strike

the mystery herself
off in the distance
sitting on the grass

the man in black knee socks
just part of the crowd of men
in black knee socks

it’s not just bloat
he’s healing from a facelift
let him down gently he thinks no one knows

the empty house
on the highway out of town
bonsai in a blue pot
dead in the front window

we admitted what we did
we had a big laugh about it
it was just that one lie wasn’t it?

the biography of
the man speaking in a low voice
never obscure but always elusive

don’t miss the opportunity
come see me in the cemetery
I’ll be sitting on your headstone

unscrew the pipe
put your ear to it
now tell me if you don’t feel stupid

We met while sleuthing
sour and sophisticated the both of us
I said I wasn’t sorry about a day of it but I am.

she pulled the same scam on me
sold me a whole street of those cardboard houses
the cat stepped on the board my whole investment was wiped out

it was just the one word
enough to make the alphabet cringe in shame

seven days in a salt shaker
I never thought I’d get through it
it was one heck of a shaker-down


Thank you for reading!

8 thoughts on “Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 14

  1. The barbershop poem is so vivid in its description that I could visualise the scene and all its sounds. I loved the Vine about the peculiar stew. What first impression for a new neighbour to make! The Vine about the cringing alphabet made me smile.

  2. Thank you. Ralph’s is a local institution and has a distinct personality – I always pay attention when I go there because there is a lot going on, and I feel at home in among the routine and the personalities. I do feel sorry for that new neighbor and the bad cooking thing; it is the sort of first impression that never goes away unless you live together for a long time and the trend moves in another direction (imagine the neighborhood cookouts and what the hot dogs might be like…). I have sometimes thought the letters making up a word might not like being in that particular word (I mean the ones actually printed, since each letter gets stuck in words it doesn’t like, right?) and in the case of a really bad literary situation, no letter gets off the hook, even x and z, if the work is long enough. And then I’ve wondered if letters in certain words don’t like being next to each other. For example, I have wondered if the a and u in my name really are happy about it. Since childhood it just has seemed that section of the word was shaky. Well, now that I have revealed myself to be way out there in space, I’ll shut up and let the alphabet go!

  3. Oh my goodness! It’s so funny you say that because I’ve always found the “au” in my name to be awkward and I’ll at ease partly because it’s not the easiest pairing for handwriting purposes.

  4. The poor letters of a word they don’t like – I do think they feel it! And I agree, kiss the frog, you never know, and if nothing else, the frog will be pleased…

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