Tanka 229, 230, Shadorma 343

From the collection published in 2021, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Tanka 229

an untidy game
the cat unrolls the red yarn
wraps up the chair legs
I knit straight from the tangle
Knots and cat hairs all of it

Tanka 230

A husband quibbles.
I stand at the kitchen sink.
The steak knife lounges
in a soothing bubble bath.
I hate to disturb it, but…

Shadorma 343

The new paint
resets memories
of mice nests
in ceilings
broken pipe floods and warped floors.
I breathe in the scent.

Enough is Enough

From the collection published in 2021, And Don’t Come Back.

Enough is Enough

The radio sang
My happiness is gone
I wondered
but the radio could not get past
My happiness is gone
repeat it
My happiness is gone
enjoy the misery of that special feeling
My happiness is gone
I didn’t.
I tuned in another station.


Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Picture That Was Made

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

The Picture That Was Made

washed-in blue-gray sky
hovers over tired
sallow yellow stained stucco
peeling jumble of windows doors purposes

up a flight of rickety
stairs don’t look safe but must be
a man stomps on out the apartment door
lights up soon as he sets foot on the landing
he does not fall through.
Cloud of smoke wrap him up.

dead tree peels itself
sheds bark on grass rough-cut some time back
sheds shadow on row of sunflowers
they shift twist sway in the wind
concentrate on
inch by inch inching into the sky
their huge ragged-edge dinner plate heads

seeds planted by who knows who
could be somebody with an idea
that things could be another way could be
wanting some color could be liked the look of
sunflowers framed by a kitchen window.

bees buzz.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 28

Tanka 226, 227, 228

From the collection The Immediate and No Sooner, from 2021.

Tanka 226

part scandal part joke
our double act goes back years
this old iron and me
and what we’ve done together
to shirts skirts and boxer shorts

Tanka 227

sleepy doves startle
the flock fans out and flies up
one strikes the window
a glancing blow but lethal
feathers flutter to the ground

Tanka 228

the pen sketches in
repeats the diagonal
the shape is complete
too much so? what’s the absence
that your eye is looking for?

A few new: Tanka 282; Haiku 942; Haiku 943; Shadorma 390

Here are a few new poems from this week.

I enjoy looking at real estate listings on the internet. (I especially love a 3D tour). Recently I saw a house in poor shape, overgrown shrubbery, cracked asphalt driveway – you know the kind of house I mean. Yet in some way, it seemed defiant, almost, in its decrepitude. I was thinking about this house when I wrote the first three poems for today.

Tanka 282

The house turned its back
Cold-shouldered its cowed neighbors
Angry solitude
preferred. On this dead end street
children say it is haunted.


Haiku 942

Leaves in matted heaps
caught by the curb and left there
to rot. No one cares.


Haiku 943

on the dead end street
solitary by design
the proud house snubs all


In my childhood, if you burned yourself while cooking at my grandmother’s house, she administered first aid from a drawer right there on the spot in the kitchen.

Shadorma 390

Burn your hand
on the pie pan. Eat
a big slice
at dinner
the smell of aloe ointment
flavors every bite

Cake One; Cake Two

From the collection And Don’t Come Back, 2021.

I’m putting these two poems together in one post because…well, read them and you’ll see why.


Cake One

so many eggs
too thick in the bowl
sugar very thin
a marked flavor of
too much disappointment
I mark the recipe on the page:
Never make this cake again
you might as well eat grass


Cake Two

very light in the mixing bowl
nice and shiny wraps like a dream
Loves the oven and shows it
The bottom crisps
The interior floats
A delicious package this cake:
postmarked and delivered
to your plate


Little Vines 11/22/21

How about some new Little Vines? Take a look and see what I have this week to show you.

My love, I await
another happier oscillation of the planet –
in other words, darling,
I hope for a better day tomorrow

The prefix of the meal a fine shrimp cocktail –
of the suffix, all I can remember is
it was overambitious and overbaked

Should deliberate confusion really be eliminated
in the verbal models you employ
in communicating with your spouse? Ask youself:
How’s that going to help our marriage?

The closet emptied of dresses
coats shirts shoes sweaters.
All gone. A cleaner’s tag on the floor.
You shut the door. Hangers rattle.

In the brightly lighted kitchen a man
looked over his utility bills
used a knife to pick his teeth

the bald man ruminates in his study
his beloved checks each knife
in the kitchen for sharpness

sturdy as concrete
twice as durable
the rumor that’s going around about you

the heat towers over the highway
the asphalt twists
the yellow center link kinks

yellow oven mitt
a burn mark on the thumb
It is unique.

in the thunk
of a green walnut on the sidewalk
I hear despair.
I’m tired of disappointing you.

you propose a logical linear journey
I would prefer
that you take me by surprise now and then

in the third row there is
a vat of pulp not yet resigned
to being pressed into egg cartons

Coffee made by a dead man
Pink roses in a vase on the piano
How can I make sense of it
when the author couldn’t?

It was Mom’s lasagna
the scent wafting through the cat door
that made our Mittens finally come home

A needle experiments
A spool of thread unwinds
to correct some unfortunate decisions

passengers on the express train
whisk past the first moments of a romance
now beginning at a local stop platform

a handful of yellow pencils yet unsharpened
the future
holds so many possibilities

Haiku 898, 899, 900, Tanka 225

From the collection published in 2021, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Haiku 898

her cankered embrace
who talks like that but it’s true
her touch shrivels you

Haiku 899

My last alias
How I enjoyed being her
I’m sorry she’s dead

Haiku 900

The landlord’s gray gaze.
The bounced rent check in his hand.
Once he was broke, too.

Tanka 225

gray sky and dead leaves
doves peck in the grass for seeds
the wind blusters on
a gap slips in between gusts
one slow leaf drops to the ground


From And Don’t Come Back, published in 2021.


My faith and my failures

A double exposure.
The camera’s eye snicks shut
records two images turned inside out
reverses them prints them

Nothing to do with each other
and yet
always meant to be