Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 52

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

I’m going to deviate from the usual account of today’s Marathon day, with this one being the last one of the Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018. Usually I describe the day’s activities and finish up with examples of work. Today, I’m looking forward. I’m going to set out my plans for 2019’s writing activities instead.

I’ve decided to make some changes, do some branching out. I’ve come up with specific activities I want to focus on in 2019. How that’s going to work out, I just don’t know, but at least I’ll start off with a plan. I’ve done two years’ worth of weekly Poetry Marathons plus another couple of years of quarterly intensive sessions. Things evolve. In a good way. All this practice has made me more interested in writing than ever and has developed my skills. As I said, in a good way!

I plan to continue my weekly allocation of one whole day devoted to writing and to go to locations outside my house for this assignment. I look forward to each week’s writing day and I want to keep it up.

I’m not a person who works and reworks, in writing or in my art; it’s not my nature. I don’t enjoy intricacies or tangles. I’m straightforward with my process: I work, I finish, and I move on. The past two years of poetry writing have taught me through practice who I am and how I want to be writing.

Along these lines, I want to:

• …expand what I am working on in these sessions – not just poetry but also branch into writing (very) short stories. I’ve done some of the latter with my Minuscule project and I really enjoyed it. I think I could write stories that are a little bit longer and less constricted (Minuscules were 2 lines only). I’d like the challenge of trying something new – but sticking with the way I like to work, staying short, quick in the execution, and straight to the point.

• …focus on several forms of poetry familiar to me and to try some other ones similar to them. I really enjoy haiku, shadorma, and tanka. I like the discipline of fitting my vague thoughts into a prescribed structure that is short and to the point. I would like to try other formats along these lines, though – no rhymes and nothing complicated or with repetitions.

• …do more poems derived from working from the cut-out-phrase cards I make. There is something freeing about following where those random phrases lead me, and I end up in places I’d never have thought of on my own. I enjoy the story-telling aspects of my writing this process seems to bring out in me.

• …continue Little Vines. Ahhh, those Little Vines, they are so much fun to do. I need to say nothing more.

Finally, I will tell you that 2018 has been a difficult year for me. Death, unemployment, facing unpleasant truths, saying good-byes, letting go of long-held dreams or ambitions, adjusting to changes – these have all been part of this year. There were many weeks I did not want to write and yet once I settled down to the page, I was able to make a space for myself.

All of this has left me feeling unburdened for 2019. I’d like to express that freedom in whatever I write this year. I’m tired of angry and sad and pushing away the gray clouds inside my head brought on by a lot of reflection and digging into history and the past. I’ve done enough introspection this year, settled enough of those memories and questions, and it is truly enough.

Instead, I hope this year can be focused on taking inspiration from what goes on around me, outside me, and to observe the world with clear sight to record what I see and what it evokes in me. I hope to write with some humor and tolerance. Take a lighter touch.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating a Pollyanna bright pink outlook, either, no fake cheery, and no turning every story or poem into something uplifting. But you know, by nature, I’m an optimist and I think everyday life is fascinating. Right there, here’s plenty to write about and a way to go about it.

As my husband put it, stop turning over rocks. Use them to step across the river, instead.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to call next year’s sessions Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019. And that is simply what I am going to do, in the end – just write.

Well, we’ll see how it goes. Thanks for reading my work and for supporting me in so many ways. Happy 2019 to all of you.

All right. I did do some poetry work today! I went to the grocery store café for a session. Montco’s library is closed for the holiday vacation, that’s why.

A shadorma chain. I saw a trash truck outside and imagined the rest of the scene.

Green trash truck
lumbers down the slope
screeches brakes
Traffic light
commands the stop. Truck judders.
Rocks. Halts. The driver

in the cab
high above the street
he curses
soundless behind the windshield
cup in his left hand

I saw a worker managing a loaded cart and I imagined a possible outcome. Shadorma.

Pull a cart
brown wrapped rectangles
piled this high
and heavy
you move slow. Kids run past you
stop short. Ouch your foot.

Little Vines.

So many vampires
lying on the beach
in the pitch dark

the taxi driver in a deep sleep
the rice that has not yet boiled over
the unopened flowers on the eve of the wedding

How close we came to
not one not two but twenty-two
one drunken weekend forty years ago

the shop smelled cold and green
the flowers stood stiff and icy
from what unfriendly garden could they have come?

you say good-bye on the eve of the estate sale
to kitschy trinkets that you know are thinking
trust me I’m not going to disappear this easily

on the street corner
in the fog
the work of a skilled florist
upside down in a trash can

green and frozen stiff
in the ice
a dropped mitten

I keep having these dreams
where now you know they’re going to chase you
up to the brink of the edge of the rim of the sheer vertical drop
into the laundry tub full of suds

oh dear the trap door won’t hold any longer
my mother shouted
I’ll try to call you with better news next time

Run I shouted but you
were already possessed and
proud of it

radishes in the salad, no
cash in the laundry room, no
two newly-dead people in the living room, no
I know nothing of any of it.

some of us were hiding
a long way from home
on stage in full makeup

the elephant of impermeability crossed
the river of complaints
in a jiffy

Swim to the shore I shouted
I didn’t
and look where that got me

A junkyard and
seven hundred
motorcycle fragments

So cold, the young man said
So invigorating
The best day of my life.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next week for the first session of the Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019. 


Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 38

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

On Thursday, September 20 – Brendlinger Library, Montco, once again. We’re at the edge of autumn – these trees on campus are trying to make up their minds how soon to take the plunge and drop some leaves. Looks to me that they are testing out the idea a little at a time…


I went into College Hall


and entered the library. It was early, just after 8 AM, but students are already making the place hum. I set up on the main floor. Sometimes a hum is good background music for thinking…

Montco 9-20-18 #601

I planned some speed-writing poetry today and Little Vines. I continue to add ideas for my fourth quarter 2018 Marathon sessions – the kind of organizing tasks I so love and are not of much interest to anyone else, such as refining my poetry database. I’m also thinking about what kind of writing I want to do in 2019 – a vague and misty place 2019 is for me right now, but also with a variety of routes to choose, I think. For the remainder of 2018, I look forward to new poems and finishing projects so that I can start out the next phase of the writing journey with light suitcases.

I also did some blur photos of my area. Take a look…




All right. I settled down and I got to work. Here are some samples. Let the creative light shine!

Light Montco 9-20-1801


Eavesdropping. I do it a lot.


I sit
in a chair. I fish.
The rush of sibilances
across the room while
I strain to grasp them
squeeze them into hard clear shapes
I can hold on to
but they evade me
slipping through my hearing
again and again. The frustration
of fishing and the fish glimpsed
through the water
not caught and
instead laughing at me
while darting away through
the weeds growing up from the mud
those sibilances promising such a meal
and giving up so little.

I sit across the room
and I cast my line.

I overheard two students talking about living situations. Also, I had fish on my mind from the earlier poem. Now you see where this shadorma came from.

Almost grown
You still live at home
darting through
the windows
of a ceramic castle
set on pink gravel.

The word “gravel” interested me, I think. Here it is again in this haiku.

parked on the gravel
the new car preens and ignores
stones in its tire treads.

Little Vines.

Oh no we’ve sprung a leak, you say
Well, I’m an actress not a ferryboat captain
I can wail but I do not bail

read what’s on this blank piece of paper
just a hunch
she certainly has something to hide

in the hands of the complicit cook
the rogue salt shaker took its revenge
tossing stray chunks of concrete in the quiche

sitting in silence at the kitchen table
whose fears are we evading
whose heart are we cutting in two?

you’re right
it’s not about easy
they are just tired and wanting things to end

Sure, make a run for it
I will admire you from behind
don’t let the flattery go to your head and slow you down

a complicated story
the plot was twisty and multicolored
hundreds of bright red top-shelf conflicts

Hello dear, I’ve been wondering where you were
No no no just tell me and get it over with
Swallow your pride or I’ll puncture it. Take your pick.

audition day
the soapsuds singing
a big clean song

You said it’s raining harder
That news really gave my dear old aunt a charge
Being half-mermaid half-ark as she is

I was confused about my life.
No questions please, said the therapist
Prey belongs in a well-seasoned stew.

a very kind thing to do
but it had
a little bit of a tart taste to it

it was just another ordinary accident of course
just one slip on that polished floor
and suddenly it didn’t matter that you’d been a cigarette smoker all your life

when you remove a wasp nest
they will want compensation for their loss.
stick your arm out and take your stings.

believe me, wherever I am
the sun is in my eyes
my paint is dry and blistered

you went home from work with that high fever
at your funeral it sure was a sympathy marathon
a dirt-nap lullaby with a reggae-salsa beat

severed main thread
disrupted electrical signals
I was so close to understanding why our marriage failed

in the rain it was easier
just sliding along the roof
with the rest of the slithery crowd

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 37

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

On September 13 I went to Brendlinger Library, Montco, on a humid, rainy day.

PO 9-13 #701

For some reason this parking space marker captured my eye – the colors seemed almost tropical in this dark gray morning.

PO 9-13 #602

I left some clay face tiles on the little bridge over the wetland area. I had left clay rocks here a couple of weeks ago and they were gone when I came back the next week; I forgot to say. I thought I’d try the location again. (These were gone when I left the school some hours later.)

I settled myself on the main floor and got to work.

My evolving plan is to finish out September as I have been doing, Marathon-wise. In October and through the rest of the year I plan to complete various books/projects I have outstanding, write Little Vines, some new poetry, and figure out what form the Marathon/my writing will take in 2019. It is time for some changes, but I don’t know what they will be yet.

This year has been one of many changes, for my daily life, for my art, and for my writing. For whatever reason it’s been a year of clarity, either sought out by me or (more often) insights occurring through things falling on me (figuratively, only!).

I’ll digress into one example – for decades I’ve felt apologetic for my lack of math education – I went to the Algebra II level and no further, limited by my schools and other factors. I had been thinking of taking classes to fill this gap. For decades. So I checked an algebra book out of the library just to give me a sense of what it would all entail, looked it over, and realized – I don’t want to do this! And not only that – I realized that to be studying math, I’d have to give up things I do want to do.

Poof! Decades of math inferiority vanished. I no longer care. That’s what I mean. Clarity.

OK. Back to writing. I did a session of one-hour write as fast as you can. I tried it last week and I liked the results. Obviously a cue to repeat.

I also worked on Little Vines, of course. But when I was ready to get started…Oops. I forgot my notebook that I need for working on these guys. So, I went home at lunchtime and stayed there to write them today. Well, that was nice – it gave me a chance to listen to my collection of Sharon Jones music.

PO 9-13 #801

Here are some samples from today.

This sequence is what I call a haiku group – a chain of haiku on the same subject, one inspiring the next, but not reliant on the others for meaning. I got started on this chain when I overheard one student say to another “If I could find anything attractive…” and though I was trying, I could not hear what or who he was trying to find something appealing about – another person? algebra? the salad bar? Anyway, here’s what I came up with – a rumination on attraction or lack of.


if I could ever
find any attractive trait
I would point it out.

I knew we would never find
any shared beliefs

Talk all you want but
I’ve made up my mind to leave
as soon as you stop

From across the room
I hear your raucous laugh and
it still gives me chills

I can’t help but see
your arid inner landscape
printed on your face

I am right to feel
distrust and suspicion but
I don’t enjoy it

Flat out it’s dislike
So there. Now you can see why
we’ll never have lunch.

Here is a poem written from a phrase card – somehow it ties in with my theme of changes and returning and remaking, and how that happened, I do not know. In this poem I put the phrases in any position in the line, one phrase per line.

I would also like to say, I had a skirt like the one I mention here that I wore to work, 35+ years ago, and if I could find one like it today I would buy it. Immediately.

Ready-made and it was a snug fit so I
held my breath and counted to ten
there are so few chances to make things right
to look back or to begin again – I say so and to anybody who’s ever tried you know it –
but in the daytime light the details are always revealed
to anyone not in a hurry or nearsighted. Do not force it.

I sighed and buttons popped. Of course I always knew there was a certain amount
of trial and error and patience in any good fit– talk it over with your tailor
before you try it – remember: whatever style that was yesterday and you missed it
it can still find you today. Just look. And I recommend – Decipher the instructions
before you take any of it apart or add to it. The improbable often is.

But if you don’t cut the cloth
you will never have
that black and white
houndstooth wool skirt
No matter how passé it is today
you have always wanted one.
Made for you.
Go ahead. Be measured

PO 9-13 #107

Little Vines.

when I hear
your sour voice on the telephone
I wish I had no ears

there are a few people
who belong to both of the top clubs in this town:
cannibal clan and serpent cult

I am the ghost with no ears
listen to me
don’t talk to me

the teacup mutt wandered the streets
miniature and ingenious
there he is hiding inside a doorbell

sound really carries in this house
the crying baby got his second wind
blew the roof off

see what you can find in that storage locker
scuttle the rowboat
then we’ll meet back at the abandoned shack in the woods

one through ten eliminating the eighth
I escaped this time but some day it will find me
it marked me one through the middle

this globe half in darkness half in light
No matter how many times I run away from home
it always catches up to me

I don’t blame you for
kindness and decency
I’m on the fence about your application of it.

let me emphasize
the disorientation is manageable
if we take our sweet time.

an ounce of sanity
just scraping by
in a world that thrives on crazy

we’ve traveled a long way together
along this dark foggy road
do you know how to weigh a faithful heart?

Sure took you a long time to get with the program.
Put the squeeze on people. Learn to hold grudges. Extort.
But you did it. Congratulations.

Make sure your paperwork is up to date
because what if polishing the silver
were the last thing you ever did

I can make a poorly-educated guess
in person and in public
but I think you’d rather I not. Am I right?

you did a belly flop off the high dive
your bathing suit fell off:
the universe’s rebuke to you.

big ugly house and big ugly inhabitants
what happens to people like us
when we stop paying our bills?

promise the enigma.
Nothing you can say will change its mind.

the darkness the rain
the ferryboat at the opposite bank
remember who pulled you out of the water
remember which side of the river you are on now.

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 36

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

On 9/6/18 I arrived at Montco, Brendlinger Library, on another very hot (95 F) day. Even the flags in front of the building were limp and tired in the heat.

PO 9-6 #103

I was a little later than usual because I had to do some chores at home before I came. I also planned to leave the library earlier than I usually do, so today’s session was set to be  shorter than the typical one.

I decided to do an hour or so of speed-writing poetry – where I set a timer and just write non-stop until the time is up. This process produces very rudimentary work that needs to be edited or revised later on; but it is also a conduit into my uncensored thoughts or feelings – maybe since you are just writing along, well, your mind does come up with ideas to fill the paper, all on its own.

If nothing else it is an interesting way to see what you might be thinking about, and if nothing else twice over, there are always little nuggets to pick out and use somewhere or sometime else.

Then, of course, I wanted to include a Little Vines session.

A few days ago I sat down to think about the next phase of the Marathon 2018. If I followed the pattern I’ve set over the last 18 months, I’d keep doing what I’ve been doing and produce another volume of poetry at the end of it. However, this summer has been a difficult one and my mind is tired. I want a vacation from my routine. I’ve decided to use Marathon time from October 1 to put together this quarter’s book, to work on poems for my current Large Artist Sketchbook, and to put the Minuscule book in correct form so that I can continue illustrating it and publish it. I’d also like to do some Snippets poems – I have not done any of them for over a year.

I will also write new poems, but not as many, I think. Little Vines, well, they will continue on as usual – I am addicted to them. And I will be considering what direction my writing will take in 2019. I do know it is time for a change in the routine, but what? Well, we’ll see.

PO 9-6 #202

OK. Here is some of today’s work.

This shadorma came to me courtesy of the library café. (The food there really is pretty good but I am not so sure about the coffee.)

Burned coffee
reheated pastries
people stand
in line and
eagerly pay for breakfast
they’d throw out at home.

I drive past Holy Sepulcher cemetery every day, almost – it’s about a mile from my house. I was thinking of it as I wrote this poem.

In the cemetery
we walked across the open space
where no one had yet taken up
permanent residence
to reach the outpost that was
the grave we came to see
lost in the vast green
nothing. One day you’ll have neighbors
we told her, but for now
enjoy the view
and we set down a pot of geraniums
a present for her in her new location
stayed a few minutes more
retraced our steps
leaving the hum of cars on the highway
and the occasional bird call
to keep her company
for now.

I saw this scene on the way to the library today. For you local people, it was at the intersection of Highland Ave. and Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA.

Wheel her around that corner, lady
you are one hundred percent intent on making the turn
car window open bleached blond hair
sitting stiff on your head. Your blue sleeveless dress
shows off your arms yanking the steering wheel
the early sun spotlighting you in the driver’s seat
unlit cigarette in your mouth pointing straight out
aligned with your route and waiting for you
to get this turn over with and light up

Little Vines.

that chimney fire
you could say it was a flue outbreak
but do you have to?

should I be surprised to see you
working behind the perfume counter
demonstrating a paralytic toxin?

the face belongs to someone you know
surely you recognize
the tiny bones of her ear?

that horn-blowing sound coming from my chest
it’s just my immune system fighting back
I think it’s running into traffic

that exposé was very complete
a wireless tinfoil hat
in cahoots with a satellite that has since escaped orbit

wipe that grin off your face
the key to our social interaction
is that you’re the guilty one here

We have skulls to keep our brains in.
No insult I don’t mean anything by it
I am not sure why you have a skull.

resist the ellipse
turn seven into twelve
sew the green twine seam
I told you I’d find out.

The oxygen so blue and fresh
buy me just that one more breath
Give me just that one more day with my old friend

did she just say it was contagious?

that ark scheme of yours
yeah I saw the numbers
now let’s talk about some truck rentals

I just have to get this off my chest:
darn you, why did you start that hunger strike
just when it looks like we’ve finally got a reliable pancake recipe

the untouchable insidious ubiquitous
ghost of that perpetually barking poodle –
won’t you at least consider trying an exorcism

you’d think by now
the radius of grateful
would have swept over her, but no

There is more than enough space
in outer space
I’d like to come back home.

the dust under the sofa
who are we kidding
it means more to me than my own family

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 35

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

On August 30 I arrived at Brendlinger Library, Montco, bright and early. School has started! The parking lot shows the evidence of a repopulated campus.

PO 8-30 #104

Remember, I am arriving about 8 AM, so I can tell you this lot will be full by lunchtime. I have noticed the first weeks of school are more crowded than the latter ones: many classes now offer online options or short sessions and some people need to come to the campus only for introductory work, for class-sign up, and for exams. Things have changed since I graduated from college myself almost 40 years ago.

Anyway, a bright and sunny day here.

PO 8-30 #203

I noticed the chairs and tables in the quad; a library staffer told me the school was hosting picnics for the students the next few days. That’s nice. The red tent is the twin of one I passed on the way in – they are handing out student manuals. There is certainly a buzz going on right now around here – the anticipation of a new school year, a clean start, progress toward a goal – all good things.

PO 8-30 #302

I also noticed the café in the library is open again. I wondered if the same guy would be working there. Yes, there he is.

PO 8-30 #401

Today I worked on new poems, a Minuscule story/poem, and Little Vines. Here are some selections.

An old quarry, water-filled, near us, has been turned into a small lake/park.


Off the road
behind the hedges
the quarry
a drowned and
mineral-opaque secret.
A woman fishes.

Here is a photo of the small lake.


In my multi-decades of life I have seen a lot of TV commercials.

Television Commercial

I love you madly
said the manly fellow to his lawnmower
both of them standing on a green lawn
that doesn’t need cutting.
I watch in interest as a woman
dressed too nicely to be doing housework
though she carries a mop
emerges from the house
shouts: Break it up you two
advances on the pair
flails the mop
combining fencing and kendo moves.
She is inexpert but effective
leaving the manly fellow’s lip split
the mower mute but somehow unsubdued.
She turns on her heel
enters the house
slams the door. I hear the lock click.
The manly fellow and the lawnmower
head into the garage
I guess divorce and remarriage
have been discussed
decided on
the settlement made and
it only took a minute, tops.
I hate to see a home break up but
I am happy the woman
at least has her loyal friend the mop
to talk things over with
though I’m left with one question:
What is it I should be wanting to buy?

I used one of my cut-out phrase cards. This time I incorporated the phrase anywhere in the line.


Small Talk

There was a noise. There was a vibration. There was
shapeless sound. There were the words as soon as said
it was all forgotten. There were the small bites of too-sweet on trays
offered to the smiles that poisoned the It’s nice of you to say so.
There were plenty of those moments looping in this room
and all of them nothing but a noise. Small talk did not fit well could not disguise
the heartless full-time say-anything flirts lounging in the armchairs. It felt cold.
It rang false. It gathered in the corners. It walked on thin legs. It sneered.

PO 8-30 #501

Little Vines.


the three missing men
I keep thinking about what you said
they are missing only if you’re looking for them

piles of bills in every mail delivery
what a special man
that exhausted postman is

what about all the things that have happened
you think you can walk away
and let me guess you’re in a hurry

the previous chef
livid and shouting
very generous with the cayenne pepper

in the grid of cold-blooded premeditation
he was on the edge
she pushed him over

a house and sixty-five thousand termites
no I’m not overreacting
it’s just that I’ve never seen such magnificence

Her novel was all she could talk about
I knew straightaway
she would make a Grade A tax preparer

from the moment I was born
I’ve been in such a rage
jeepers I just smashed the coffee table

what if you had asked me
is everything all right sweetheart
I could have told you the truth

the band split up
big holes in the bank account
no one wanted to get back on the tour bus
but they did

the engagement’s off
I have no intention of thinking it over
I’m the bird that flew away

that pale man in the dark shirt and the dark suit
he’s been lying to us all summer
you can stand it for eleven more minutes

could you be a little more appreciative
of this treasured family icon
let the cat continue his nap

a shorthand notebook filled with seven thousand symbols
there was no reason at all to expect a happy ending
but you got one, didn’t you?

it’s just a shame
they were thinking about a divorce
what they really wanted was a rewind

I finally had to stick him in the freezer
it’s cold and it’s never been warm
that’s what he likes about it

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 34

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

I arrived at Brendlinger Library on August 23, a beautiful sunny breezy day, a little taste of autumn, in fact.

PO 8-23 #406

New thing – the parking lot has had the driving lanes repaved, the whole thing coated, and new lines striped. A nice clean look for school’s start next week.

PO 8-23 #109

I left a few clay rocks on this concrete wall. It’s part of a little bridge crossing the tiny creek below. Many people pass by here, so I hope the items will shout out to somebody.

I settled myself on the upper floor, the quiet floor.

PO 8-23 #505

Everything has been cleaned and arranged for the students. Chairs neatly aligned in groups. Desks with chairs pushed in. Shelves straightened. School starting soon!

I looked around for the clay tile faces I left here some weeks ago. I had not checked for them up to now. Guess what – all of them are gone. Next week I’ll bring in some new items. You guessed right. Just in time for school to start!

All right. Today I worked on new poems and Little Vines. Here are some samples.

This is one of those poems from phrases pasted on a card. The card itself follows the poem.

After they asked I had to think it over for a while but by the next day
I’d made up my mind. It was trouble, big fat trouble, though lucrative, sure, but the story
appealed to me mostly because it just tickled my fancy. Since I had gotten myself invited to dinner
you bet I’d go, meet more new friends, explore possibilities. I gave serious consideration
to my outfit and a proper hostess gift and timed myself to arrive socially late. I walked out of the library
with an almost-new copy of the latest bestseller and the plain wool coat I wore every day
taking the bus (no license plate on a car to trace) knocked on the door. No voice could be heard
inside the house but that barking dog kind of put me off. I don’t know what length of time
is enough to wait at an unanswered door but I could make the case it’s supposed to be

less time than it takes
to look in the front window
see your hosts
lying on the carpet
not napping
and realize
arriving after the other guests
was a good thing
after all.

PO 8-23 #901

My husband will think I am talking about him. I’m not (though we both fall into the category of people who spill on a light-colored shirt without fail). I got the word “spud” in my mind and the rest was history.

Man versus spud
a slip
and butter all over the shirt front
please not another grease stain to remove.
The spud laughs.
Pending laundry success
the shirt resolves to get left at a charity drop box
as soon as possible seeking
employment with a different
anyone other than the current fellow who is right now
dabbing at the stain with buttery fingers

This was a Little Vine that kept going.


The steel door and the peephole
the kitchen walls painted blue
the green bottle of mouthwash on the counter
the rhododendrons that tap against the living room window
the dust on the piano.
The footprints on the carpet
where the ambulance man had mud on his shoes.

Now, Little Vines.

grabbed my hand that ghost did
now don’t scream he said
I’ve brought you lunch

I told you what you wanted to hear
sure it might complicate things
such kisses sit heavy on the lips

she needed a friend a discreet friend
she settled for pride and a bottle of rum
and no one ever knew any more about it

a regular old guy
he looked like he had just finished making the world a better place
I’m 75% certain he had done nothing of the sort

if anyone asks
we knocked you out cold
so you could start over with a clear head

faith and instinct failed me
so special so unique so not worth it
so beat it you creep

your top ten minutes in life
the truth-telling mechanism rolls along
we divert it in all kinds of ways

these people who used to be my friends
she was tearful he was suspicious
I ignored her I pushed him down the stairs

handsome and charismatic
he climbed in the kitchen window
full disclosure he was stark naked

idol man holding a ticket to love
his toenails painted pink
my favorite detail in the whole movie
oh no now you’ve ruined it by laughing

the thread sews in lighter
the lies I tell are so beautifully constructed
and only appreciated in the wearing

one to one street therapy session
there is only one target and it’s on your back
think it over carefully, sunshine

No doubt it was some of my best work
that most recent rendition of my feta cheese chiffon pie
though I used tuna instead. I regret the deception not at all.

the pieces of the puzzle that we created
abandoned years ago
still in the box

spent some time in the regrets department, sure
but never on account of what I did to those crustaceans
they tasted great

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 33

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

Another week of splitting the Marathon session into two parts. I’ve been involved in some family issues for some time now and time has recently been short, so I’ve taken to Marathoning in small bites for right now. I prefer to work all on one day but this is what fits the situation at the moment.

On Thursday, August 16, I stopped in to Arcadia University’s Landman Library for this week’s part one.

PO 8-16 #806

My husband dropped me off early so I returned to the small pool to wait until the library opened.

I sat on a bench up behind the waterfall.

PO 8-16 #311

The pond is part of a small creek that runs through the campus. It was very calming to sit in the coolness under the trees and hear the gurgle of the water.

I worked on new poems and also had time for a Minuscule before I walked home.


On Friday, August 17, I worked on Little Vines at home. I took time to go out for a walk at Lorimer Park, Pennypack Trail, before I went home and settled down to writing :

PO 8-17 #108

and then I was ready to work at my desk.

PO 8-17 #209

All right, here are some samples of my work.

This poem comes from one of those cue cards I’ve made of phrases selected from printed books and glued in no particular order. In this poem, the first words are from the card, which follows the poem.

Accumulation of possessions of dubious or no value her harmless specialty
Everything is false, no, but pretty much all of it is worthless. Look
near the window and beyond the dining room door where the sofa
had been a few months ago the last time I came in this room where now
along the fringes of sanity stood two hot-pink upholstered ottomans.
All the parts come together in this room, said my hostess with satisfaction. Though
a recent visitor did get lost. Two days. I’ve since put together a map. Sit here –
too uncomfortable that chartreuse bucket chair is for a long chat and it will suck
all the energy out of your higher mental processes which will lead to us sitting in
silence. And what kind of visit is that? She sat then stood again her movements supple
and brisk the look of a hungry raptor briefly flashing on her face a predator
curious about the meat on my bones. I flinched. She offered me a green cookie and then,
in the audience of chairs tables lamps, I sensed a shift of focus, I felt the air move, and
the whole idea of a cozy visit and chinwag session with my old aunt was set aside for

a sprint
to the door
sneakers grabbing hard
on the thick carpet to
slam out the front
down the drive
holding in
a scream

PO 8-16 #1002

A haiku.

the cool blue sunlight
burning off a morning mist
in this pale city

A shadorma.


Well-worn thoughts
are so relaxing
to slip on
even if
new ones and better-fitting
wait in the closet

Little Vines.

If you are looking for somewhere to hide a secret
I have the very stretchy kind of conscience
I can squeeze it in right here

I’m a good sailor but a poor auto mechanic
how would you like a ride in my amphibious car
and which one of you wants to go first

my heart is already taken
packed away in a barrel
paid for in advance and shipped out of town

I did my duty I have witnesses
a non-apology for
I’m way out of my league

one of my best friends here in town
then one day he was gone
personally I don’t care for that kind of behavior

any line any quote any big noise
any lazy thinking any edgy claptrap
we sell it all right here

you realize we’d better hurry you said
let’s get out of here and fast
it was all just too much one last thing for me
I balked and climbed out of the shipping crate

The music will always be too loud
It will always be almost midnight
I will never change you know
so who wants a beer

yes I miss her too oh yeah
she was quite a trumpeter all right
and a big help in any fistfight

week after week of confusion
glow-in-the-dark foolish she was
the sad thing is that you quickly got used to it
what is the connection you ask
an honest man plus the truck is missing
equals: he was so homesick
my unlucky sweetheart
maybe she’ll have more to say now
the cat no longer has her tongue
innovative shipping techniques my foot
of course you were trying to get rid of me
the life insurance clause pretty much nails it
about fifteen minutes
a couple of warehouses
don’t make eye contact.

there were five and now there are four
a bell was ringing Thursday
now they will come looking for you

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 32

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

This week’s Marathon work took place in two sessions, plus editing (so I guess I mean – three sessions!~) Let’s talk about the new-poem writing section of the week.

I arrived at Brendlinger Library, Montco, on Thursday, August 9, very early, coming into the building just after the library opened at 7:30 AM.

As I said, I had decided to do this week’s writing section of the Marathon in two parts. I am still short on time due to family obligations and I also needed to get some other things done that had been neglected this week (I kept repeating “grocery gas library ironing pay bills car registration” all morning so as to remember what I was doing next…). It was a beautiful breezy warm day. School will be starting in about two weeks or so and it will all change, but for now, the campus is quiet.

PO 8-9 #303

I had decided to concentrate on new poems for today, and maybe a Minuscule story. I was feeling scattered and so I turned to my trusty idea sources – print cut-out phrases and a recent crossword puzzle I’d done. It’s like riffling through the drawers in my mental filing cabinets, this process, and I enjoy seeing what forgotten idea suddenly comes into the light.

On Friday, August 10, I finished up the Marathon session by doing Little Vines at Arcadia University.

My husband dropped me off before the library opened so I took a little time sitting by this pool. You come down these steps…

PO 8-10 #1real10

you see the pool…

PO 8-10 #2real09

and then you come down the rest of the stairs and settle down. This is a nice spot, especially when school is open, because they have a little coffee shop right inside the building.

PO 8-10 #3real08

I would have stayed longer, but this is a prime mosquito time of year, if you know what I mean…I got tired of shooing them away. I walked out around the building and across the campus…

to the library and went inside.

PO 8-10 #6real05

I walked around the second floor a little before I settled myself. I see some books here I’d like to come back and read (I’m not allowed to have a library card here).

I set up in a study room. Usually I avoid these spaces as they reserved for students and for groups, but – no school right now, so I thought I’d try it out today. Students will be back soon and it was a nice change for me.

PO 8-10 #9real02

I watched birds flying around in this tree, hopping and darting from branch to branch. What a great view – I’m level with them and close enough to see what they are doing. This is not a perspective you get that often, is it?

po 8-10 tree01

All right. Here are some poetry results.

Many of you may know I’ve had several eye surgeries in the past few years. Sun exposure has likely played a part in some of my problems and is the subject of this shadorma chain.

The harsh sun
the arsonist. Rays
burning my
He looks right at me. He knows.
I do not know and

then one day
I do know. My sight
fading. Edge
meeting edge
in the center. A scorched hole.
The arsonist laughs.

Do not mix friendship and business. That is something life has taught me. This poem is from one of the cut-out phrase cards I made, the pertinent words being at the end of each line.


You called it a business meeting
but was something much more complicated
You thought it would make things easier you thought you might as well
call a pencil a pencil and
not mention the words best friend
given the situation. Oh dear, the appearance of
a cleaned-out cash account sure has complicated things. As of today
the pencil tallies up the friendship and draws a line and puts it in the past.

Never hire
a good friend
to work for you
when you know
he has issues with
and boundaries.


PO 8-9 #402

Little Vines.


you say it’s an emerald century
I prefer my own selection
onion on a necklace matching carrot tiara

drunk and angry
she left before dessert
after the reading of the will

You didn’t think things had gotten that far
damaging yes but fatal no
cool down I don’t think that is actually his head

the perspective unopened
the system complicated
the date an ultimatum

toothache in the rock formation
the geologists were drilling deep
the patient was screeching and avalanching

Shocked but thankfully empty
I always say
don’t risk skipping the ipecac

at the picnic table
I sat with a bottle of green dish soap
ready to throw it on the hot dogs on the grill

She looks friendly
in fact readings are off the scale I tell you
so why volunteer the information about your fallen arches
save it for when she explains about her hernia

they met they did not smile
a feud in progress
two brothers set at a diagonal

you kept me in the dark
I am scared of the dark always have been
why did you keep me in the dark?

parched pale blue
cold and chaotic
homegrown right here and terrifying

you tell me
Mr. Furious and Never Forgiving
why I never mentioned my secret other boyfriend

who is going to repair my broken ear
an ornithologist? I said to the nurse
No she said you need an ophthalmologist trained in entomology
and maybe that won’t even be enough

this is my dream job
stuffing jelly beans into tube socks
Sugar and lint, nothing better

I’m the bad thing and the more bad thing
I’m the blowing it away in the hurricane insight
I’m seismic anger every single day

so what do your groupies say
those slow-witted mosquitos flying around
looking for an arm or leg or reputation full of blood

A work of fiction a lot of big themes.
A pink linen skirt and time has run out.
She left on the ferry. Chase her.

I was held up late at work
felt like decades
was more like minutes

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 31

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

On August 2 I was back at Montco’s Brendlinger Library, walking in on an overcast and very humid day.

PO 8-2-18 #402

All the rain means the campus is beautifully green.

PO 8-2-18 #501

I had done editing work on the previous Tuesday, July 31, at Arcadia University.

PO 7-31 #112

Let me do a flashback and show you some photos from Arcadia. I walked around the campus before the library opened.

and more:

and more:

and more:

All right. Back to today. My time is still being taken up by family issues and making the mental transition to poetry-writing today was a little tricky but it was very comforting to be in my peaceful routine and using words. I planned to take things easy today and not push for insight or contemplation.

PO 8-2-18 #303

Instead, I decided to concentrate on some more of those prompt cards I’ve made – you know, the phrases cut from printed matter lined up on a card. I’ve been using them as the first words of each line but today I also tried it as the end of each line. You’ll see.

I really enjoy this process. What freedom it gives your mind to roam around and lasso a little story.

I also did Little Vines. And a Minuscule.

Before I show a couple of poems from today’s work, I want to mention that I left some little face tiles in the library. You may remember a couple of weeks ago that the last one out in the open was taken away. Here are some new ones. One:

PO 8-2-18 #204



All right, here we go.

Here are two poems using the phrases, as I said above. One of them has the chosen words at the beginning of the line and the other at the end. Remember, part of the “rules” for these poems is that I can add on a little tail at the end to summarize, so that’s what you’ll see at the end.

Here’s the card.

PO 8-2-18 #105

(As a note, each line begins and ends as I say it does, but the computer does some wrapping and things get confused. Thanks for bearing with me.)

Beginning of the line poem:


Any address you want to choose any day of the week
really big questions were being asked inside those walls and getting no answers because who
had the power to be answering was always and will continue to be unclear and not that
it’s urgent but why is water pouring under the bathroom door? and
five thousand other subjects of that ilk. Take any era it was hard to find a day when tranquil
was not surprised by that guileful upstart, mayhem, head-butted, and sent begging for mercy.
Have one or two hours like that in a day, though, and let’s say you’re calm, but
the trouble is, the adrenaline rush starts to feel good you’d like more suddenly you’re not calm
and even though it’s all chaos and on fire and broken ankles and spilt milk you don’t say
It’s just a mistake. You say, It’s meant to be. I love it. That’s the question I can answer.

Let’s get out
right now
and see
what trouble
we can make.

End of the line poem:

I’m not looking just to reside, I’ve got bigger ambitions – and I’m not doing it at just any address
I’m wanting to answer just one of life’s really big questions
Where can I find a simple deluxe luxury had-the-power-to-be
knocking-my-socks-off super-great mega-home and being that it’s Monday, it’s urgent, but
not nuclear critical yet, that I get in there before the weekend. Five thousand
plus square feet would suit me fine really I’m not picky about space and I was not surprised by
not being surprised about how good this great big house idea is I have one or two
other ideas about great features for my new home in fact any home but the trouble
is why aren’t there more houses with chateau-style surround-sound taro press and even though
I think they’d be really popular if people just knew about them. Honestly it’s just a mistake

to think small
accept less
I will keep looking
The perfect home
is out there
for me.

Little Vines.

so long pal enjoy the afterlife
today’s the last day you’ll ever hear
rise and shine

I sliced a friend into pieces
one reputation peeled apart
a genius piece of betrayal

the two women had an argument
is she a lawyer or
is she a lawyer

I reached a decision
I’m sure you will agree
it requires a handy pillow and two strong arms

The budget flowers
The discount past-their-sale-date chocolates
They badmouth the performance. Subtle. Nice.

focus focus focus I thought
fatigue and vague thoughts and spiky stomach pains
if only I can make it back to the tour bus and sit down

on this narrow street we stand
go or stay put you decide, I say –
I say, I wash my hands of you

no one being hurt
you should know me better than that
I specialize in more like everyone being hurt

so when she asked I lied
it’s not alive I said
it never was

what if she goes public the beefcake said
then he realized the camera was pointed at him
ouch it really hurts that she didn’t give me choice of angles he said

if I’m honest
I’ve forged a signature or two
in my day

what’s in this big suitcase the tax accountant said
you itemized a dependent?
what do you mean?

in one of the six rooms
our friendship declined to zero
Note my contribution on line three

I couldn’t forgive him
pink sunburnt face
money is the only reason we’re talking

the guy with the glasses
a little down-market for her she thought
a dozen doughnuts instead of a dozen roses

Thank you for reading! See you next time.

Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018, Week 30

The Marathon journey continues. Search under the category Day Trip Poetry Marathon 2018 for earlier entries.

This week’s Marathon activities are divided into multiple sessions due to some family matters that needed attention. I edited poems on Tuesday, July 24 – I spent Thursday morning, July 26, at Arcadia; and again at Arcadia, Friday morning, July 27.

On Thursday, July 26, my husband dropped me off at Arcadia – another rainy day in the string of them we have been having.

PO 7-26 (3)02

The library was empty – and air conditioned quite thoroughly. The desk assistant, who recognizes me by now and had the sign-in sheet out on the counter as she saw me coming through the entrance, said she had a tiny heater under the desk to combat the chill. I had a sweater with me and it came in handy.

PO 7-26 (4)03

I arrived to write, hoping that my scattered thoughts could be gathered together. I decided to work on new poems and maybe a Minuscule story/poem, and tomorrow I’d devote to Little Vines, as I planned to go home at lunch time.

I also did a couple of poems based on fragments snipped from printed matter – the words on the card being the first line of the poems.

PO 7-26 (6)04

And when I left, the sun was out! Fantastic!

Friday morning, July 27, I repeated the routine.

I arrived a little before the library opened and I took the time to walk around the rear of the building to approach it from the other side. I took classes in this building back in the early 2000’s:

PO 7-27 (5)04

And here is the back of the library, and then the front, as I come around the building.

Look at Grey Towers Castle, across the field from the library. Remember, this building was home to a couple of very wealthy people way back when (plus a whole lot of people who worked to keep the place going). That fact never fails to amaze me.

PO 7-27 (1)01

I enetered the very chilly library (windows are steamed up with condensation outside due to the humidity fighting with the ice-cold library interior!) and chatted a moment with the desk assistant. This time I set myself up in the alcove on the first floor overlooking the tiny memorial garden (recent subject of a Minuscule, if you are interested).

PO 7-27 (4)03

I also checked on the status of the latest puzzle-in-progress outside a professor’s office – there is always a puzzle going at this location.

PO 7-27 (3)02

Today my main purpose was to work on Little Vines.

All right. Here are some results.


This poem was inspired by the paint color on one of my paint cards, called Citronette. I saw the word and my imagination took over from there.

Citronette green and
made of some sort of stiff yet soft material
that rustled when I walked
that’s the dress
a long time ago when I wore it
guest at a wedding
I don’t remember whose wedding it was
but the mother of the groom told me
she loved the color of this dress
and I noticed it matched her eyes
though I am sure she had no idea.
At the lunch reception
my boyfriend and I broke up
though I did not tell him until two days later
first chance I got. By then the citronette dress
was back on its hanger in my closet
its magic-fabric gathered skirt silent
among the everyday shirts and skirts.
I waited for another occasion to wear it
but one never came and I wish I could
look up the mother of the groom
whose wedding I remember but not him
hand the dress to her and say
it’s such a beautiful color
and it perfectly matches your eyes.

Where did this one come from? No idea!

Put your paw right here old man
the genial fellow said
and your pen to paper
and we have ourselves a deal
I’m not sure. It’s all going so fast
Am I buying mermaids
furniture polish
or bathing trunks
You tell me
the genial man had said
and I’ll get it for you
but I’m pretty sure I never mentioned
parakeets and
do I want an oboe
which I think is what
he’s holding out to me
in the hand that isn’t waving a pen
in my face. Slow down
my inner grim-faced money manager says but
his voice always faint and today entirely
is drowned out by the other one that’s saying
I want to have some fun
Show them you’ve still got some
devil-may-care in you
plus you’ve never liked to plan ahead
it’s so hard!
of course it will work out fine
I grab that pen
Bring on the dancing naysayers
I’ve got me a crate of pry bars
let’s go out on the town and celebrate

Little Vines.

you were obliged to ask those embarrassing questions
a series of questions
in which I was obliged to lie in every single answer

a terrible time
many suffered only one survived
Curly-string physics-math sure is a really tough class

trouble opened its eyes and saw you
I’m very good at finding people, it said, I sure found you
smacked its lips said you are in all kinds of a mess now

do it the old-fashioned way
bleach the bloodstains out of that white t-shirt
hide it in locker #99 at the bus station

he and his mother
both of them changed their wills
the struggle involving this couple of reptiles entered a new phase

cover my tracks I yelled out
we still have a job to do
two keys two minutes two million dollars

my pink feather duster
so fit and vigorous
stopped to let me catch up

I am the cold dish with a rancid flavor
I am everything that is not all right
I do a thriving business in disseminating misfortune
I am the one from whom you avert your eyes

in case you change your mind regarding my promotion
by the way I may have mentioned a thing or two
regarding your promotion. Just saying.

a nicer person
never produced a more ill-advised cover story
one-armed cafeteria worker with a diabolical temper? Really?

the freelance mop swaggering down the hall
swiping carelessly at the black and white tiles
drunk I think or high but nothing to do with me thank goodness

heads up ladies
your Prince Charming is behind door #2
plaid flannel pajamas and all

a box of letters still in their envelopes
neat penmanship no smudges
the pain in my heart

a very green and quiet night
pulled the loose curtains shut
blew out the candle

out here in Paris France
think of what we’re missing back home
Mom’s fantastic garlic melon casserole

about a zillion drops of water in that ocean
barely enough to float the island of colossal bad luck
they were living on

the doctor was devoted to his fabulous smile
plain silly over his thick wavy brown hair
this is one relationship that will never go wrong and wronger

a big loud family
too many prying eyes
next life let’s do things differently

in the garden
green raindrops.
I know what I know.

Thank you for reading! See you next time.