Snippets 234, 235 (from September 2019)

Snippet 234

the man,
and always too late

Snippet 234 9-194

Snippet 235

I cast a spell
I’ll get you safe ashore with the setting sun

Snippet 235 9-197




Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 46

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

On November 14 I did the Marathon at home – I was waiting for a repairman to fix our back door.

Fall is here. Remember our flowers in pots near the front door? Take a look.

It’s been a very busy week with my two classes; I’m still creating classes for the mixed media class I am teaching and also finishing up my clay work for my studio clay class. Writing is coming in second this week.

So, I did just a little poetry writing and a full complement of Little Vines, and that will be it for today. I have a random assortment of photos to illustrate my random week, as well! Plus a few from earlier in the fall from the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust preserve – I just thought they were nice shots of autumn…

All right, here is a sample of today’s work.


I have been thinking about my working past recently. In my early working days some of these things happened to me. The others, well, they certainly would have fit right in.

Another after-work reception and dinner
Network and schmooze and
whatever you want to call it
everyone has to do it.
Just before she left the office
she caught the hem of her dress
on the heel of her shoe
tore out a big line of stitches
Quick grab the stapler.
First thing the staples did
snag her pantyhose
big run all the way down the leg
should have stapled flat side in but
oops didn’t think of it and now it’s
too late and too late
for a nail polish fix
and besides she didn’t have any
though someone once told her
try hair spray but
she didn’t have any hair spray
either. Never mind. To the reception.
Stepped on a street grate
kept going but oops again
that cursed heel of her shoe again
stayed behind and is
probably five miles out to sea by now
and no loss really because
look at how much trouble it’s caused but
enduring a hobble to the ladies’ room
bought a pair of flip-flops off a teenager
threw her pantyhose in the trash
because the staples scratched her bare leg. Ouch.
Get rid of them. Borrowed a pair of scissors
from the catering manager
cut off the bottom of her dress
frayed it. Combed her hair. That should help
get back into the right attitude to
step into a hotel ballroom full of
businesspeople in business attire
intact hems and regulation shoes but who
is paying attention when business cards
are changing hands? Mingle you bet.
Stashed the loot in her purse
which thank goodness unscathed so far
although that changed after dinner
waitress poured the coffee
and served her purse
Substantial slug of dark hot sludge
shorting out her phone
sent loose change swimming
among the business cards
cursing their bad luck to be in this place
at this time. Dinner speaker made his tedious way
toward a conclusion but bad luck
truncated it with a fire alarm.

She left the building with the crowd
her dripping purse on her arm
and this thought:
what if today
it had been Friday 13
Thursday 12?

PO 11-19 (1)

Yes, it is me. I. Me. Eye.

Little Vines.

the assassin
left the unsolicited gift of a jade necklace
knotted tightly around her neck

the wedding is next week
eleven last-minute pages of instructions
please let’s just get to the finish line

she was neat and fragile
too thin in the skin
her composure
lost in a tearful drizzle

PO 11-19 (2)

a once-potent temptation
gone stale

the insects of the night and their tendency
to vibrate
in a dangerous harmony

a bee
on an ill-favored pink flower
matchmaking gone sour

a pink rosette
sewed to a plain gray dress
that is what you are to our family

an uneven
coming from the closet

steam rising
coiling noodles in a cheerful pot of boiling water
celebrate spaghetti

say hello + hello all right
but don’t do higher math:
the indifferent barter of casual acquaintanceship

that chilling glance
from a wide-open eye
framed in the keyhole

PO 11-19 (3)

you want me to
do everything twice and triple often:
marital jargon for nag nag nag

a short strand of pearls
humming a quiet tune
around the neck of the demure gray dress

convalescent in bed
Vicks Salve smeared under my nose
a stewed prune and toast tone to the day

this full-bodied tomato sauce
robust and thick-armed
bright red in the face and sweating

A floral upstart in our garden
speaking a foreign language
By the next spring everyone had picked it up

the yawn
signed a long-term lease
on the entire Fundamentals of Accounting class

Thank you for reading!

Clay Tile One and Two

From Rearrange, 2018.

Clay Tile One and Two

Have you ever considered
the position of a clay tile
in an eighteen-hundred-degree kiln
Is it worse than that of an English muffin in a toaster
or macaroni casserole in the oven
Sunburn raising blisters on arms
Space dust standing in the way of
red-hot gases shooting off the planet Venus
a volcano
a blast furnace
gasoline explosion
atomic bomb
I wonder if you
might at some time have given thought
to the experience of being
a clay tile in a hellish inferno of eighteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit
comparing that state of affairs
to the position of a slice of bread enduring the
electric coils of a toaster
The whole thing being
I admit
an asinine and senseless time-wasting
use of mental energy
but of greater fascination to me
than the alternative contemplation
the enumeration of the components of tonight’s dinner.


Closed Out

From Rearrange, 2018.

Closed Out

Eternal rain on this street
old age leaning in a corner
a jewelry store with empty cases
stock sold out
retirement? death?
For rent
say the posters taped to the windows
dried leaves blow into the entryway
air inside the store goes stale
Hours posted on a door
that is never unlocked



From the collection published in 2018, Rearrange.


It’s some kind of practical joke
The young man
his eyes that slid to the side
considering the matter
It’s the only answer
a clear view of plastic shopping-bags
feet on the wet sidewalk
a dropped nickel next to a dead leaf
and in that order
failed to comprehend the mystery
of his continued lack of fitting in
and why the line down the middle of the road
was painted yellow.


Well, the Rain Falls on Two Sides of the Same Puddle

From Rearrange, published in 2018.

Well, the Rain Falls on Two Sides of the Same Puddle
i. At First

Well, the rain falls all morning
The sound of it on the roof
makes a drum corps sit up
and take envious notice
The sound of it
rattles silverware in the drawer
shakes aspirin in its bottle
scares off evil spirits before they can grab their raincoats
blanks out tinnitus
sends librarians outside to shriek – Quiet please.
The sound of it and the cat runs
slinking down the steps to hide in the basement
The sound of it drowns the thoughts
doing laps inside your mind
You hate the sound of rain on the roof
and here it’s been falling
all morning
all morning
all morning
ii. Later On, Thinking About It Some More

Well, precipitation falls through the pre-noon hours
the noise of it on asphalt covering atop the house
could make a percussion ensemble sigh with envy
whip the cogitations right out of your head into a puddle
where they drown
The din so persistent compelling the resident feline
to take cover in the lower levels of the house
I’d accompany him
if only my obligations
related to the smooth running of my
domestic operations
did not occupy me so fully
though thinking again (difficult with the reverberations
of the seemingly endless legions of raindrops
peppering the roof shingles with their deadly aim)
perhaps the entirety of my work is
mindless activities repeated over and over
until I am dead
including food preparation
(give me your opinion of a tasty spinach quiche
for tonight’s meal) and
laundering our garment collection
or, to be more precise,
supplying our washing machine with a steady diet
of socks, shirts, pants and I do not need to list
each category
as it’s common knowledge what laundry is and
what exactly
is usually being laundered
when my actual role is to stand at the ready
so that the ever-willing and thank heaven
for that attitude
appliance does the heavy lifting
as I observe and maintain my alertness
to its signals in order to set up the clothing
for placement in a drawer or hanger-ready
and estimate the timing of the next session
of pressing certain items with a hot-plated instrument
designed to remove wrinkles
iii. Finally

You know, I can iron clothes in the basement.
I’m going to run down there now
and get to it
escape the sound of that damn rain
that racket on the roof that’s driving me crazy
and making me talk like this.
Look out, cat.


It’s Not Safe Here

From the collection published in 2018, Rearrange.

It’s Not Safe Here

The click of the catch
The thump of the bar handle pushed hard against the
metal door
The snap of the latch reversing into place.
Door opened
Door shut.

On the other side
women’s black leather shoes
moderate heel hard sole
men’s soft-bottom half-boots
scuff the short-pile carpet
late for the meeting
catching up

The slam of the door echoes.

We are all just ghosts.