A few new: Shadorma 376, 377; Tanka 278

Here are a few new poems from this week. It’s been another busy one with my three art classes but things are opening up with more time for writing in the next few weeks. That will be nice.

Shadorma 376.

Flex the nose
feel the body screech
My poor face
was not made
for this expression. My eyes
bug out. How you laugh.

Shadorma 377.

Screech their teeth
scolding ink-stained birds
shriek at me
What it means
I don’t know but I think that
I’d better find out

Tanka 278.

Snarled-up traffic seethes.
Outraged honks and screeching brakes.
Helpless drivers hunch
behind restless steering wheels.
Blank windshields glare. Door locks snap.

Night Sunburn

From the collection published in 2021, And Don’t Come Back.

Night Sunburn

jousting with that recurring nightmare
squelched my sleep
that first blister pink night
I spent at the seashore.
Oh that sunburn. The sheets
toss-and-turn rough and scratchy so that
I sleep dragged down sandpaper sidewalks
in the abrading dark so that
when I wake
I am surprised not to
shake out infinitesimal quartz sparkles
from my dream-wrapped
nightgown. The floor glitters.

zinc oxide and sunscreen and I –
we venture out
aloe, someone had told me, use aloe
the second day
and enjoying the cool green breezes
I grant the horrific sunlight a kinder view –
with my tender skin carefully wrapped around me
I settle under the blue and white stripes
of an umbrella bought from a boardwalk shop.
The beach glitters.


Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Dreamworld Asks a Very Good Question

You may know that in addition to my poetry I also do art, posted on my blog Claudia McGill and Her Art World. For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

The Dreamworld
Asks a Very Good Question

You who watch us as we approach and pass –
a Jester in green rainboots a Chicken
grinning with all his teeth – and then
there is you
and your sideways glance away –
Who are you with your two minds
and both so disapproving?

Oh foolish creature
with your sub-divided thoughts
who looks askance at our outfits
our strut our prance
our chests-out brass-band confidence
our big smiles. We know who we are.
Can you say the same?

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 26

Haiku 885, 886, 887, 888

From the collection The Immmediate and No Sooner, 2021.

Haiku 885

twentieth teapot
the oceans of strong black tea
you do drink each day

Haiku 886

chalky quarter moon
scrawls out white shadowy clouds
on night’s clean blackboard

Haiku 887

after a bottle
before a bucket or tub –
when should I finish?

Haiku 888

the so-practiced spy
turned abrupt meddler unmasked
with that one misstep

The Exhibit We Saw at the Museum Last Sunday

From And Don’t Come Back, 2021.

The Exhibit We Saw at the Museum Last Sunday

the painting
is quite zero for keeping the eye
owes a large apology to
the color red
is framed very nicely.
Its self-esteem
relies not so much on
a visual understanding with a viewer
as a series of numbers you both comprehend.
You find the whole package
and you obey the urge.
Your credit card please.


Not Sure

From the collection published in 2021, And Don’t Come Back.

Not Sure

What it is is
it’s me it’s me just saying I am not sure
Not sure what you mean
what you mean now
now before the last words
the last words that crowded out
crowded out and then ate
the first ones you said
the first ones that were all I heard
but I am not sure
still not sure
not sure


Haiku 881, 882, 883, 884

From the collection published in 2021, The Immediate and No Sooner.

Haiku 881

Don’t even know how.
Don’t ever even wonder.
Not dead. Just don’t care.

Haiku 882

the ripened rainstorm
bursts open scatters its seeds
puddles grow on streets

Haiku 883

in any size crowd
there’s the burliest gazelle
the skinniest pig

Haiku 884

diary orbits
circles of daily routines
written in pencil

Little Vines 11/5/21

This week, I was not sure I’d have time for any Little Vines sessions, but, today was the day. I am glad I could fit it in. Here they are.

in the refrigerator
the lemons dimple in sunshiny smiles
the prunes mourn their wrinkles with syrupy sighs

They hand me some pink plaid tulle
and I said what am I going to do with this stuff
I take a bite. I chew.Wow! More, please!

A carrot assembled from
orange yarn and green dryer lint
in the salad bowl. Like the pillow body
a runaway kid leaves in the bed.

the bounce
of a tornado out on the town
the broken hearts it leaves in its wake

Look at the roots on that thing!
I will put it in the refrigerator
before it floods the kitchen with its enthusiasm.

The color is bigger than your brush
bigger than your canvas bigger than
you and any ideas you might have of taming it

I tell strangers on the subway
my secrets
and then I get off at the next stop

in order to function a workable hairdo
must obey the laws of physics
and good engineering principles

Oh Lou, our apologies –
a snail dashing across the sidewalk blocked our way–
that is why we are three hours late.

so it was intentional
the motor having a whole lot of pieces
that’s what you’re telling me?

this past eleven
I cut five and revised three
I didn’t think it possible in circles
only face to face. And you?

the scissors and their quick juicy bite
through the stem of the red tulip
luxuriating in cool drops of dew

A vertical motion and splat!
the planet terrifies another brain –
He must be new. It’s only rain.

the mechanisms of her thinking
grind wearily along
propelled by their underpowered motor

a square base made of flat metal panels –
that’s her bottom all right
I pity those floral-print sofa cushions