For Dessert

From the collection published in 2017, Redirection.


For Dessert

Nap in the chair
after lunch
the recipe is
three-fourths asleep
one-fourth stiff neck



New Neighborhood

From the collection Redirection, 2017.

New Neighborhood

The new houses
line the street
set close in stark bare yards
summer hot sun finding every detail
None of them the least bit
unsuitable or soiled
yet. The highway looms
above the new houses
the neighborhood
a strip one of many
running alongside the route
of thousands of cars
a day. Triumphant
a billboard
flashes its set of messages
over and over and over
the new houses
hundreds of times a day:

prescription drug problem treatment
dry your wet basement prevent mold and illness
tickets now for the fall football season
apple orchard picking for all ages plus corn maze

A hawk flies over the new houses
drifting in the exhaust-filled updraft from the road

learn to drive a commercial truck in two weeks


Wedding Reception

From Redirection, 2017.

Wedding Reception

Come sit here with me
be my camouflage.
I see the ceiling lights
reflected in my black patent leather flats
my feet planted firm in the middle
of a giant pink rose. Talk to me
just a little
while I play my fork
around this slice of white cake and sugar
icing leaves
feel my too-tight skull
press on the most tender part of my


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 37

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

This week’s Poetry Marathon continued the trend of split sessions, September 11 and 12. The Marathon is evolving, it seems – what form it will take in 2020 is something I’m thinking about and I feel the Marathon itself is guiding me as well. This fall will be busy – I am taking two art classes as I shift my artwork activities into new channels – and I believe by the end of the year I will know where my writing is going.

For now, though, the Marathon continues to find something to say. Here’s how it went.

On September 11, I worked at home. It was a hot humid day, the kind we often get this time of year when summer and fall seem to be working with each other to keep the year going. I set up in my back yard. Here’s a view from the house:

PO 9-11-19 (9)

And where I sat to work.

PO 9-11-19 (1)

Some more views:

And, for your information, a look at the site where I fought the poison ivy and we each claimed victory. I started the removal of a section of enormous forsythia bushes and my husband completed it. Now the site is clear and we have sown grass seed. We left a couple of burning bushes that had been smothered and now seem grateful for light – and there are three or so forsythias we have left to renew themselves – but we will not let them get out of hand as they did.

Anyway, you can see the size of the project – the bare dirt is the area recovered in the battle. In the large view, it’s over to the right, if you look past the tree.

All right. On to work. I focused on what I saw and heard in my outdoor session. A lot goes on around my neighborhood – I live across the street from our high school and our street is active with traffic and people coming and going.

I also worked on Little Vines, and I finished them up on September 12.

Here are some samples of today’s work.

I feel as if this one needs a lot more work but I thought I’d include it, as this scene is part of every weekday for me – at 2:38 pm each afternoon.

end of the day
the line rolls out
the yellow school buses snort hot diesel
into the warm afternoon
windows half-open to dim interiors
engines booming in surges of shifting up and down

the kids who shout out their pent-up
whatever it is they’ve had to hold in all day
shadows coming clear and then fading as the windows ripple by
a face in profile turned and laughing
a shoulder in a print sleeve pressed against the glass
a hand with its fingers curled over the metal rim

the line kicking up some air
a white paper fluttering out into the street

in the last bus
the skinny legs of two girls
who sit turned to the aisle
in the last row of seats
feet in flip flops facing toe-to-toe
framed in the emergency exit door

My neighbors are doing some work on their house. As I sat outside I could hear progress being made. Maybe these are two separate shadorma or maybe just one chain, I have not yet decided.

Neighbors who
clatter out hammers
squeal up saws
in the shade of my backyard
I doze while they work.

My back yard
in the shade. I doze
to next door’s
hammer clatter rip saw squeal
kitchen rebuild job

Little Vines.

they faked being in love
totally satisfied by the illusion
they were selling themselves

do you consider yourself a good liar?
perhaps you might be a paper jam
in the machine of truth?

I won’t forget what I owe you
I won’t remember to pay you

you are three hours late tonight
I call your wedding ring as witness for the prosecution
I found it tied up in a sock
in your drawer here at home

your smooth talk
filed off the rough corner
that had snagged many a brightly-colored thread of conversation

between ten and eleven
he made you angry
at noon you didn’t get married.

the wedding
the ring
the dizziness as I took it back off my finger

the heat of the late summer morning
that faltered and went dead
when the cold currents of space set the planet adrift

the eyewitness
stood at the bridge railing
awaiting his cue

years before we ever heard of Apartment 2A
we’d already had more than a couple of too-real moments
hadn’t we. It’s a noir business we’re in.

To finalize the divorce
now all three of us exchange parting gifts
start on the task of finding someone new

A paper clip and a nickel
through her purse

he says
maybe in a day or two. Disregard
that last unlucky flip of the coin, all right?

the fog crept along the fence
slipped into the dreary garden
fingered the rotting marigolds

I’ve got better things to do
it’s always going to be that way I said
I disconnected that last loose end
listened for the splash from the river below

I picked up the suitcase
the foolish trusting soul that I was
long gone.

I screeched out a few words
if the shoe flies catch it with honey
and took off running

we quarreled about
the lavender walls
of the hospital room
rather than your prognosis

to my left
the man on the bulldozer shouted
efficient reshaping in progress
take the detour please


Thank you for reading!

Back Story

From Redirection, a collection published in 2017.


Back Story

A long-haul trucker out on the road
A cousin living in the next state
A rich guy jogging in the park
Two people on a motorcycle
streaking up the highway
in a thunderstorm
A teenage girl with a face full of secrets
One question two questions
Three criminal records
All these old memories flaring up
like a grease fire on a hot stove
Smother them.



From the collection Redirection, published in 2017.


No room for pattern renovation
much less innovation.
No color ever seen too often
not to embrace one more time.
Points well taken
do not win arguments
if they are unfamiliar
or if you are.
In this town
Please conform
for more efficient living
and consideration for your neighbors.
What’s the name of this place again?