Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 37

You may be familiar with my Poetry Marathons – I’ve done them since January, 2015. I take a week, several times a year, and devote it to poetry – writing, editing, all poetry-related activities.

This year I have decided to do one segment of a Marathon each week. Two to three hours set aside for poetry, outside my regular life. It’s called the Installment Plan Poetry Marathon.

For more background information, look here. And if you want to read previous posts in this series, search this blog under the term Installment Plan Poetry Marathon 2017.

Here I am on September 13 at Logue Library, Chestnut Hill College. I arrived at 8 AM and took my place in the parking lot. I beat most of the students to school and it’s a good thing. I find diagonal parking spaces very hard to get into and I like to have room. Let me show you this accomplishment – I’m inside the line on the first try. Not the usual way it works.

As I walked through the parking lot I wondered why there was a coat hanger on the fence.

The squash is still growing in the wall. Looking a little tired, though. We need some rain.

Into the library.

Hello to Sister Maria Kostka Logue. I am sorry I took such a bad picture of her. The lobby was darker than I thought. I’ll try again another time.

I searched out a book Sister Maria wrote, so I could take it home, before I got settled. I’m curious to hear her voice. Remember, she has been dead for a long time; she was first president of the college in 1924, and this book is from 1949 or so. This is how I will hear her, through her written words.

I made my way to my 3rd floor desk.

I got things all set up. You see I have an extra sweater on the back of my chair – I’m wearing another one. Just in case that A/C powers up beyond a level one sweater attire…

I got to work. I will say I had a very hard time settling down. I think I’m not used to the increased level of activity at the school – I’m a little sensitive to the noise and commotion. I will adjust.

I worked on new poems first, then edited last week’s work, and then I went back to new things. As I said, I was easily distracted today. Here are some selections.

Honesty matters to me very much.

She lied
day and night
before breakfast
during lunch
between bites of beef stew at dinner
She lied
to confuse
for gain
for the pleasure of it
for the challenge of following the changes of expression
that guided the route of her lies
She lied as easily as a minister prays in church
a thief steals from an unlocked house
a bird flies in a calm sky
She lied to
her boss her childhood friends the parking garage attendant
her mother.
She lied around a wad of chewing gum
through a plate-glass window
over the voices singing on an album of Christmas carols.
She lied
until the only truth left was that
she lied.

Hitting the lottery, maybe?

the cash volcano
melts the frozen bank account
pays the past-due bills

Every funeral I’ve ever been to has been very sedate.

A brawl at his funeral
nerves are raw and then someone starts talking
insane little collection of memories from two decades ago
Friends, stand up and cheer
for anyone throwing a punch
as the rest of us forget we are too grief-stricken to talk
and the minister yells
calm down and let’s sing a hymn

Now, some Little Vines:

You’re welcome to stay for a week but that’s long enough
you listening to old music and crying all night
your vanity worn down all smooth and shiny
Thank you for coming home again, oh yeah.

algebra in my nightmares
two unknowns in each equation
a full moon three times a month

I stole a whole wardrobe of plaid wool pleated skirts
A crime of passion
It’s good and it just gets better.

fate or luck, I don’t know which one is worse
parrot or goldfinch, what does it matter as long as it’s a bird
soul or imagination, pretty soon you’ll figure it all out

fled for his life in a motorboat
we’re laughing, just laughing
we always thought a manhunt would be a lot of fun

in the darkness
one hundred small sounds of panic
cross mercy off the list

He has only half a heart
cut quite a few souls into pieces
some people crawl back up the food chain but he won’t

reading the ledgers full of red ink
her long thin pale-blue fingers trembled
while a whole truckload-full of souls waited

In the wrong hands
even a crockpot is dangerous
Ladle out some of that delicious paper pulp

Thank you for reading! Until next time.



From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.


Sullen face
or maybe it’s just opaque.
It’s not necessary for everyone
to read your whole
life in your face
but usually you can’t control what you publish.
Maybe this fellow can
maybe he really is

Three clay tiles, 2014.








rogue acts like hero


king and jester reverse roles


farce of not knowing



Claudia McGill responded to Echoes 235 in a haiku:


two halves of one face


left eye contradicts right eye


a sinister clown




HAIKU 236:





mortals free to chose


blessing and bane in tussle


flip of destiny



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From Catch Up With Summer, 2015.


Out here
tangled among the weeds and rocks
the squash vine grows
away from any garden.
The golden blossoms can’t be missed.
Those leaves
they are squash leaves.
I speculate upon the way this traveler
ended up here and settle on
bird transport via the digestive system
after the ingestion of squash seeds
last year.
This answer satisfies me.
I turn my mind to the future
I see no fruits on this vine.
The solitary life will have its cost
on the other hand
is it worse than seeing your progeny
eaten by a bird?

This photo, taken at Chestnut Hill College two years after this poem was written, shows that squash plants are more adventurous than you think.

That’s Your Opinion

From Catch Up With Summer, published 2015.

That’s Your Opinion

I stepped outside the building.
I tell you
The hot humid air is a relief
after the air-conditioned climate
I have endured all afternoon.
My fingers are cold. My nose. My toes
in their sandals.
All cold. I should have dressed more warmly.
What is the sense of having summer clothes
if I never wear them?
You said
Tell it to
those men who have been here all afternoon heat
under the sun
spreading asphalt on the road.

Road work, Keswick Avenue, Glenside, PA, June, 2016.

Haiku 266, 284, 285, 288, 289: The Theme is Flowers and Not Flowers

The prize petunias
bloom bright and bold all the same
in a homely pot

In the hospital
bedside flower garden grows
short-lived sympathy

How do you find me
Me, with my chalk pink petals
and my skinny stem?

The hedge reaching out
The unwary receiving
poison ivy touch.

alkaline pink blooms
the hydrangea picks out
a summer lipstick