Our Spring Line Now Available

From Refuge, 2017.

Our Spring Line Now Available

and may I help you
select something to wear
this spring
said the saleslady to the daffodils
who then explained
they had already
made up their minds
last fall
before they went away


Sunshine All the Way Down to the Ground

From Refuge, 2017.

Sunshine All the Way Down to the Ground

I’m sure my grandmother
meant to tell me no lie
when she said
fair weather today
I come to work
a heavy sky pressing down
fog curled up around the building
and me
catching sight of the first daffodils
pushing up beside the sidewalk
Yellow heads turned out
Maybe that’s what my grandmother meant.


No Excuses

From Refuge, 2017.

No Excuses

The electricity
running through the wires
is mute.

Your washer does not mention
the deformation
of a metal part
deep inside its stomach.

Your ink pen fails to warn you
it is about to cough out
its last

You hit the switch and
the lights come on.
You load the washer and
the clothes wash.
You pick up the pen and
the pen writes.

Or they don’t.


Little Vines 1/24/20

I’ve been doing these tiny poems for a while. Now I’m giving them their own space.

Take a look at this week’s installment of the Little Vines view of the world – written during the week of January 20 (most on January 23), 2020.

Time-tested steps to getting along with you:
One – I realize you were right all along
Two – I grovel and send flowers

let the future
handle her
in the same way I chop onions

that whole crowd of matronly turtles
their clear heads suddenly (for them) snapping sideways
at the sight of the sun glinting off his carapace

I’m proud to say my first name means
effective and safe non-habit forming stain-fighting lo-cal child of the sun
in every language on the planet. How about that?

because we are complacent
we tell an improbable back story
because we are good-looking
everyone goes along with it just like always

in a blink of your peepers you knew
there was not an eyelash of information
you were going to get from her baby blues

the flakes
falling in unorganized six-pointed stacks
realigned themselves on the highway
ready to spin out some cars

cat hairs
the white satin bedspread
made for each other

the quilted fabric costumes mercilessly effective
the ballet dancers as spinning sacks of flour
in the production Flappin’ Loose and Gluten-Free

Sure the critics hate my singing but
at six thousand lucrative squeaks a second
I’ve hired staff to scoop up the dollar bills falling out of my mouth

stuttering the icing bag
across the three-tier cake
the pastry chef planted a garden of red roses

think of your public image
refer to your list of bland anecdotes
reinforce your facsimile of a good reputation

the seer said wait for what’s coming
he’s already lost a lot of hair hasn’t he?
Just like I said.

Oh, I see no sign of a bag of flour
Eddie darling
going by your description, my mother and her rear end are not here.

Red plaid cowboy shirt
can’t cover up that stomach problem
Consider the job those pearl snaps have to do. True heroes.

all the paintbrushes
a little more talkative
once introduced to a great shade of paint

way-too-tight knee-length turquoise skirt
consider the risk
before you sit down

Pencil skirt in a fine black wool
Black stockings Black patent-leather ballet slippers
Pale blue cashmere jewel-neck sweater
Find it. Buy it. Wear it.

sniffling and sneezing you are up late tonight
too ill to get out of bed
too much snot in your head for any kind of sleep

Quick let’s see if we can avoid
that miserable bowl of oatmeal
aka my gloomy brother

the electricity
between the row of coffee mugs on the shelf and
the row of coffee urns on the counter

you circled back for the rendezvous
on a shadowy side street
where your restraint finally snapped

the fog too thick and a light
on the other side of the island
that we never saw

Bam! the dense pea soup fog
hiding an enormous cow
made of concrete. Oh good
we’ve finally found the Dairy Barn ice cream shop.

destroy all the photos, sure
but I can never repress all memories
of that mustache

Just Enjoy Yourself Marathon 2020 Week 4

The Marathon journey is in its fourth year. Just Enjoy Yourself is the current incarnation. Let’s do it!

On January 23, the Marathon went to a location it’s never tried before. That was today’s goal, in fact – to work in a different place. Nothing exotic and certainly a familiar place to me, though – the Panera near my house where we sometimes eat breakfast (enough that we recognize and speak to other patrons and the staff).


So it was not an adventure, but it was different in that I have never spent hours in the restaurant before. A lot goes on in that ordinary but interesting way such places have. The kitchen sounds, the overheard conversations…including a woman being interviewed for a job at the table next to me…Illuminating.

I hope to go to more locations to write this year, I think I have said, and so I start off with a baby step, but a step.

All right. I arrived around 7 AM

and ate breakfast, then got to work.


I didn’t have a plan for my writing – I’ve been busy with my classes and finishing up the art project I think I’ve mentioned. I decided to pull out some ideas I’ve written down, plus my trusty paint chart (the names of the paint colors invariably bring up associations for me). I also worked on my Mrs. Sari story (I think it’s becoming a security blanket for me, comforting and familiar…oh dear).


I also worked on Little Vines. I’ve been writing them off and on all week. I will give them their own post. You’ll see it soon.

Here are some results.

I live across the street from the high school. For years I have seen the kids walking to school. This shadorma chain explains what I’ve learned.

creeping past they just
turtle walk
in January slow stroll
up to the high school

Wind, rain, sun –
they pace out the route
right. Bell rings
Doors close. They are inside. Just.
How do they do it?

Here is a tanka prompted by kitchen conversation I overheard this morning – something about three people in line. I took it from there.

Three people in line
three more coming in the door
three more approaching
this restaurant with tables set
for triangles and threesomes?

My paint name brochure helped me out on this haiku – the paint was called “Calligraphy”. I was thinking about handwriting and how hard it was for me to learn to write legibly, way back when I first held a pencil.

these seven letters
my name painstakingly drawn
in my first-grade hand

Crossed fingers this scenario does not come true anytime soon.

The box of tissues beside the bed
the glass of tepid water
the smell of menthol chest rub
that lingers in the air
the feeble glow of the lamp
the pages of the open book
you hold but do not read.
It is midnight. Propped up on pillows
instead you stare at the TV screen
bleary eyes following a comedy
from thirty years ago. The characters
in perfect health plenty of energy
rat-a-tat sassy one-liners
that you don’t follow. You sneeze.
Reach out. The tissue box
so far away. You sneeze again.

Thank you for reading!

We Are Lucky

From Refuge, 2017.

We Are Lucky

The cat walks in
stretches himself out.
Middle of the kitchen floor.
Dinnertime. Ours.
We step around him
taking out the plates
putting pots on the stove
the thought of moving him along
never ever going to form
not in our house
because we have
A cat
who lies on the kitchen floor
and purrs.



From Refuge, 2017.


The bedroom wall needs repairing.
Plaster cracked. Unsightly.
An affront
to the order I must have
that I can’t live without
that I put so much
strenuous effort
into capturing and caging.
Things go wild
around here. Please
call the painters