Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 39

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

Marathon split continues with this week’s work – I struggled to fit it in with preparing for teaching my new art class, actually doing to the class, getting through an eye doctor appointment and then another one for minor eye surgery. Well, that’s life and I adapt.

I worked at home both days, September 24 and September 27. On the 24th, I worked on Little Vines. On the 27th, I finished up some poems I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks (let’s see if I feel the same way about them when I do my edit session next week, but I’m crossing my fingers. Some poems overstay their welcome, I think) and then did a few new ones. Some were inspired by this card of cut-out phrases and others came straight out of the air.

PO 9-27-19 (8)

Here are a few photos from around the house, because every Marathon post needs some photos of the creative environment, right?

All right. Here are some poems from this week’s work.

A week or so ago I was watching a store employee spraying the flowers for sale in front of the store.

green looping hose
tensed up tight with
unspent water
heavy in the hand

rows of chrysanthemums
thirsty sun-wilted sullen
in their pots
their leaves gone limp

hand squeezing the nozzle

stream of water that leaps out
backlit cool white-silver arch
up and over and grounding itself
in splatters and on flowers and

smell of warm concrete and cold water
that rise on the sidewalk and
flow off the curb


This poem is for my husband, who loves coffee. Loves coffee. Loves coffee.

me I’m that person
that person who drinks the day thick and black
in gallons
under the light from a dropped-ceiling sky
beneath a sun rolled out in strips of fluttering electrons
that shower my bent head and keyboard tapping fingers
in an all-day assembly line of thoughts
organized with dividers
color-coded in tabs
washed down in coffee
thick and black
gallons a day


I can’t let this poison ivy thing go. A haiku.

All but taunting me
the poison ivy twining
I cut through its stem

Little Vines.

out there in the parking lot
the amber lights shine sallow
at pinched-faced shoppers

a black and white checkerboard
that old story
you hop across it with the ease of long practice

Non-ferrous copper moon
in the September sky
and yet magnetic.

I sliced through the water
a series of ripples in the lake the only sign of me
dangerous and hungry dressed in a set of silver scales

the sky clouded up
full of rain waiting to fall
on a blue jay feather angled in the grass

I’m young and naïve
spring glow yellow-green
but I still know how to put out a nice little chill

her hair a hypnotic sculpture
curled in five separate spirals
puts paid to the idea of her remaining incognito

somewhere there are some
very expensive clothes
wondering where I am right now

guttering sun
lamplit planet going dark
ashes in the carbon blackness

her agenda for apologies
looks like
a guilt layer cake

I exaggerated I made it all up
but come on it’s just one lie
Just a truth monoquake

Neon city. Pink streaks at night.
Limousine. Classy night club.
The rain hits the sidewalk all the same.
not a chance I’ll be outside
not in this thunderstorm
not when clouds like those jerk on the lightning cord

a necklace of big ivory beads
each one the size of a pickled pearl onion
nestled around her stringy wealthy neck

go ahead and say it:
a perfect fall crock pot recipe
is high speed access to potential mate’s affection center

intellectual snob professor
ambitious in a sharkskin suit
cruising the conference with his fin just showing

one large onion finely chopped
sautéed luminescent
in the moment before I toss it into the sauce

dawn muggy gray
we begin another day
simmer in the city

slip the skin off a tomato
it shivers
in a veiny naked kind of way

Here is a visual Little Vine. It looks like a plain door. But listen…do you hear the cricket who has been chirping outside it for several days now?

PO 9-27-19 (2)


Thank you for reading!


From Spring Cleaning, 2015.


I happen to glance out the window
I happen to see the scrap
of white paper
maybe postcard sized
throw caution to the wind that is
right at the moment gusting through town.
It takes its chances
with whatever decisions the stiff breeze
happens to make
Spirals up and out of my line of sight
with a little extra swirly flourish and
looking back at me
it vanishes

Scraps #3 6-12 small

Scraps #2, Mail art postcard, 2012.

Party Girl

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

Party Girl

The navy blue dress
The shoes the purse
Very sedate. Just right
for evading notice
and enjoying the party from the sidelines
which is all I want to do
though magazines
and friends
say I don’t know my own mind
and what a good time I would have if only
Make an effort
Smile. Talk.
(How will you enjoy yourself
if you sit in a corner and sulk? See page ninety-eight, July’s issue,
for tips on small talk and active listening.)
I am not sulking.
I’d much rather read a book
at home
than talk to your brother
one more time
and I just don’t see that certainty
ever dissolving into maybe or even
just this once.
in conclusion
my navy blue dress is just right
for this party.

I Don’t Really Want to Know

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

I Don’t Really Want to Know

Plant and music, mail art postcard, 2010.

That shimmery quality of that sound
is a mystery to me.
Oh, I know it comes from the cicadas
I know that sound
from summer after summer of listening to it
start slow and small move up and up in volume peak
and end.
Wait some and then
But what I don’t know and will never know
is how they all know when to start
how to regulate the pace
when to give it just that little bit extra before
falling off.
Mystery. I know I said it. A mystery.

Hard Truth

From Spring Cleaning, published in 2015.

Hard Truth

The indifferent stones rolled under my running feet I fell.
Some days later
I found
the indifferent stones
had broken a bone in my foot.
The indifferent stones.
I recognize
I must understand their ways
because I am not divine
and because
they are indifferent.

Mail art postcard, 7/16.

A Little Snippety Today – August, 2015 Version

Here are a few recent snippets. You may remember them from previous posts – little bits of collage poetry done on an artist trading card-sized background. If you want to read more snippets, there are a lot of them around here – the best way to find them is to search under “Snippets”.


Very recently, good friends moved to another state. I was very sorry to see them go so far away from me.

I made little keepsakes for each family member (there are five). In each I put a haiku I wrote – the idea being that we are far apart but still together.

I’m still thinking about goodbyes and how many of them there are in life.

Haiku Group Goodbye and Remember


The same sun shines down
at both of us, you and me,
each morning, with a grin.


The moon examines
the crowded earth every night,
checking on us both.


Buckets of rain fall
from the sky all day all night
and we both get wet.


The clouds gather up
stretching out across the sky
above both of us.


The wind rushes off
traveling in a hurry
to visit us both.

Mail art postcard.

Mail art postcard.



the rain fell into
the mists that hovered
like a bad beginning
over a broken night
And to this world below,
the distant sky was a story
mocking Everyone on earth
without saying a word.

Mail art postcard