With Its Own Intentions and Not Conveyed to You

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

With Its Own Intentions and Not Conveyed to You

A construction site is a straightforward personality.
The building fits together
or it doesn’t. The workers
have no need to posture or politic
when they can hold nail guns or welding torches
in their hands. The work requires a lot of noise
for things to get done. It takes a steady stream of curse words mixed in with
metal on metal strikes and a lot of
unidentified banging
Give it a chance and it will soothe you as
you go about your own day
I guarantee it
someone starts up the saw
the lights flicker. The burr burr burr
and the scree ee ee
rattle your teeth and ear-bones. A day spent in a building
undergoing construction
is not a dull one. How can you listen
to someone hammering on a metal pipe with a sledgehammer
off and on
for a couple of hours
and not find something
in the very indifference of the undertaking
to you?


“Big Construction Project”, mixed media, 2005.

Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 29

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.


People, on this very hot and humid day, July 20, 2017, I am back at Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College. Parking lot and its surroundings was empty except for these geese:

I did see a large group of girls heading for the lower field – field hockey camp, maybe, or lacrosse, or soccer? And…I could hear the library’s giant roof air conditioner unit laboring away all the way from here.


I walked up this alley of trees to the stairs.

Guess what, the squash plant is still hanging on! I thought it might have succumbed to heat or lack of water, but it has a bloom on it once again. This lifted my spirits.


Once inside, I got settled on the third floor. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do today. I had three things on my list:

1. new poems
2. review/revise last week’s work
3. continue the process of setting up my next poetry book.

On the sharp-thinking scale, harder to easier, I’d rate these in the order of editing, writing anew, and book production. Oh dear. I was pretty sure I could expect even less cooperation from my brain cells today than I had thought – the heat, a jumbled schedule this week that spilled over from last week, waking up this morning from a dream in which, as the lead in a play, I had blithely ignored the need to learn my lines until the very moment of the opening curtain – and as a note, I’ve never acted in a play in my life, but I’ve had variations of this dream for some time…

You get the idea! I figured I’d better start off with hardest first. Editing, I decided.

So — I sat right down and wrote new poems, first thing. So much for a plan.

Here are some results.

This tree lives in my front yard.


Birch tree extends a branch
drapes it over your shoulder
leaves trailing a cool touch
along your sweaty neck
Just walking down the sidewalk
in and out of the summer sun
you were not expecting to meet a friend
were you?

We eat lots of watermelon in the summer.


about to reveal all
lounges on the kitchen countertop
fat and confident

You need to know what you like.

At the rusty gate’s gracious invitation
visitors approach my house
a bungalow
set in the residential version of a used car lot
furnished in the styles of forty years ago or
whatever could be found at the curb on trash day.
I was looking for the right kind of place.
I found it. Be careful what you wish for.
Perfection spoils you for everyday life.

Summer. If this is not you, maybe you know someone it fits? Not necessarily in all the details…

If you
knock on that door
expect an answer
from a distressed woman
trapped inside
for the summer vacation
with three children
and not a bottle of beer in the house.

Now, some handwriting snippets. But first, I’ve got to come up with another name for them. Not snippets, because they are created in a different way from my (collage poem) snippets. They remind me of small artworks I do, post cards or artist trading cards. Sketches. I’m leaning in that direction. Sketches… Anyway, here are some from this session.

She kept everything in those boxes.
Never letting go had its price.
I call it revenge of the passive.

I am your guide
the person you have been waiting for
exotic and sharp as a tack

If it is a punishment you are waiting for
it is sitting in a pew three rows back.
Eventually you will have to look behind you.

headache never letting go
nerves stretched out skinny
need aspirin need one hundred aspirin

All right! Hope to see you next time. Thanks for reading.

Haiku 13, 15, 17

Haiku from long ago. Number 15 refers to an accident I had with a rotary cutter for fabric, requiring an ambulance…

Listen to those birds.
What can they be thinking now?
That a thaw has come?

Painful disbelief.
The blade has cut my finger!
How did this happen?
1/26/99 (for 11/13/98)

The watch is broken
And cannot be fixed again.
Good-bye, my old friend.


From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.


I am alone in this high-ceilinged room
this library reading room
the two-story-tall windows
dwarfing the crepe myrtles planted outside them.
It is summer and not a person
is in the room
except for me.
I can enjoy the book-smell without distraction
as the filtered light of a sun fighting off afternoon thunderstorms
makes its way over to me
to join me as I sit
so quietly
that I could be mistaken
for just another book


books in a window, Allentown, PA, 2016.

In the Cruel Nature of Things

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer

In the Cruel Nature of Things

The fat man
Egg-shaped body
small feet at one end and
small bald head at the other
Walking down the city street
in a white golf shirt and gray pants
Feeling just right about how
he’s pulling off
City Dweller
they could tell him that
they spot him right away
as a fake.
It’s just something they know,
him being an outsider and having no herd
he belongs to
And so he’s prey
Something he doesn’t know


egg-shaped fellow, mail art postcard, 2013.