Haiku 237-240

The gray sky wraps us
in a thick wool-cloud sweater
Just the kind we like

We have met. Now what?
You are silent and I speak
only if I must.

Sometimes it’s hidden
That bit of warmth or pleasure
You must dig for it.

The three companions
thrown together just by chance
get along quite well.

Family Outing

From the collection published in 2015, Spring Cleaning.

Family Outing

Mom brought the boys to the park
she read
sitting at the picnic table
with the attached benches.
The boys ran around
Boredom set in and
Mom please said one boy
and she snapped the book shut
extracted herself from the benches-table
Headed for the car
sat down at another table.
Told them to
Go play.
But it isn’t going to last
as long as she would like
The boys are pushing each other
at the water fountain.
Water fight, said one.
Ow, said the other. Tears.
The book snaps shut. Again.

Happy family, artist trading card, 2013.

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 21

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.

On May 25, I arrived at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. What a rainy, dreary day!

– and the library seemed to be calling to me as I rushed up the steps from the parking lot.

I climbed to the third floor, arriving just after the library opened. I turned the lights on myself, that’s how early I was – first person on the floor today. My desk was ready for me.

I looked around a bit, as I often do before settling down to work. These books on book collecting caught my eye.

I admit to having no understanding of collecting books as objects – I just want to read them. The most beat-up paperback, if it’s something I’m interested in, is worth as much as a first edition to me.

I like looking at book titles and trying to figure out what the book might be about. Or why anyone thought to write a book on the subject in the first place. Because I know, that for every book here, there is an author who felt that spark of curiosity or compulsion or necessity to write on that subject, felt the need to pass on thoughts. I can understand that feeling, yes, I can. I took a little walk around at lunchtime to see what I could turn up.

All right. On to the writing. I felt a little light on ideas today, coming in the door. I find that when I spend a weekend at an art show, as I did last weekend, the next week is a lot of catching up. But, I showed up, I got out my writing utensils, and I put my intentions toward writing. Slowly I shifted things into gear.

Today I revised last week’s poems; I wrote new ones; I looked over my handwriting practice sheets for inspiration; and I did a few snippets.

Snippets were a last-minute idea as I left home (knowing my thoughts were scattered, why not bring some words together, literally, I thought?). I packed up a little snippets kit.

I’ve done snippets away from home before. My feeling, though, is that it’s better not to take them on the road, and today was no exception. I say this because, at home, I set out my words and phrases; they become half-thought out poems gradually finding their way into being finished. Snippets is a slow process and usually extends over days or weeks; I leave the parts and pieces on the table in between working on them. That way, poems have time to – grow, I guess. In today’s mini-version, it’s all done in one hour or so.

I don’t like working that way as much, but — I did get some done, and it was a good thing for today. I’ll show you my finished ones right now.

All right, and here are a couple of poems from the earlier part of the day.

First, this one about gifts and givers.

What is it about this gift here
perfectly appropriate
and from a very nice person
What is it about this gift
that it sings
on key
and with such insistence?

And why instead do I remember
the present you gave me
the one so wildly out of tune
why is it the one I laughed to receive
and that I hold so tight in memory?

I have music on my mind today.

The choir is singing at top speed
pursued by the piano keys
tripping over themselves to catch up
You don’t know anything about music
but you love the thrill you’re getting
being a part of an audience
running for cover

And how about a few handwriting-inspired snippets?

Cold feet running for cover
they get into the car and drive away fast
One headlight has burned out.

tomorrow morning first thing
fresh air change of scenery
I have earned that second chance

sitting at the table in the restaurant
coffee spilled on the table
eyes full of expensive tears

No better time to clean house
as she plucked a piece of broken glass
from her hair

broken feelings broken plate
what’s the difference
it’s just a little one-act play.

All right! Thank you for reading, and see you next week.

Snippets and Mental States

From January and February 2017.


From the collection published in 2015, Spring Cleaning.


The green mug on the shelf
you made it
you gave it to me.
I liked it when you
wanted to throw it out
but I liked it.
It has a comfortable shape and
holds the right amount of liquid and
the handle is big enough for my fingers
and you made it.
Now I realize that the mug will still be here
still be mine
sitting on my shelf
when you leave town
and I don’t see you anymore.
It won’t be enough and what will
I think then
When I see the green mug on the shelf?

“How About a Cup of Tea?”, mail art postcard, 2013.

Everything Must Be Paid For

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Everything Must Be Paid For

If you come to the grocery with your children
you must be prepared
to ignore the sour looks from shoppers
who don’t care for the expression
of youthful high spirits
as demonstrated by throwing cherries
in the checkout line.

“Fruit Bowl”, fabric wall hanging, late 1990’s, probably about 14″ x 14″.

Eavesdropping in Four Parts

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Eavesdropping in Four Parts

Part I.
I sit:
The conversation I’ve been taking in
from the next lunch table but one
Two ladies seated there.
Very easily heard since we are
all of us squashed together
eating lunch with each other
in this trendy
very small
little restaurant.

Part II.
I hear:
He is sluggish
Can’t get up in the morning
He eats
hard-boiled eggs, coffee, and butter
and he works out every afternoon.
It’s a special diet.
Eat like your grandmother
and you’ll be far healthier.
And now he lives in Pittsburgh.

Part III.
I reflect:
It certainly is a special diet and
it turns my stomach to imagine it.
My grandmother died of
of her sugar fat and fried food regime.
I’ve been to Pittsburgh already and I don’t
want to go again

Part IV.
I conclude:
Those two ladies don’t know
I’ve gotten nothing out of this
eavesdropping session.
My lunch was quite good, though.

“Eavesdropping”, acrylics, 2013, 36″ x 24″