Installment Plan Poetry Marathon, Week 28

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.


On Friday, July 14, the Marathon traveled during the day.

As explanation, my computer spent the week in the shop, coming back Thursday night (healthy now, crossing fingers). Also, in the summer, my usual location, Logue Library at Chestnut Hill College, closes at 1 pm on Fridays – and I usually like to leave around 3 pm on poetry days. Between these two factors, Friday was the day to work but the library was out.

In addition, the last couple of weeks have had a lot of interruptions, and I did an art show last weekend, which always throws the following week into confusion.

Do you see my point? I am very scattered! So, I decided to go over last week’s work at the grocery café and to do snippets in the afternoon at home. Now you have the picture.

So, I arrived on this rainy morning.


I settled at a table and got to work.



I finished up with last week’s poems very quickly and decided to try writing new ones. My mind seemed to have pulled itself into better condition, to my surprise, and I could concentrate more than I thought I’d be able to.



At lunchtime, I decided to go home. For one thing, the air conditioning at the store was set on its most powerful setting, I think, and I was freezing!

I came home, ate lunch, and set up again at the dining room table. I decided to keep writing since my thoughts were flowing more easily than I had anticipated; I’ll do snippets another day.

I have a nice view out to the back yard.



And my cat came to help me.




Then he went back to his own concerns.



I wrote some more and then I was finished. Here are some results.

I have seen quite a few tiny rabbits this summer.

not used to this life
first-summer rabbit
could fit in my palm
but grown-up. Already looking
to take care of himself
by himself
scared of everything
with good reason.
Crossing the road
reaching out his front legs
pulling his back ones up to meet
just short of being too scared to go on
again and again
deciding to go on
until the warm asphalt is behind him
back in the grass and
disappearing into it
with relief, I imagine.
Good luck,
little first-summer rabbit.

A haiku.

Left thumb taps phone screen
Right hand holds fork stopped mid-air:
Businessman’s quick lunch

A tanka.

Give it a hard squeeze
spoil it for anyone else
that avocado
Just throw it back in the bin.
Lady, what does it matter?

And some handwriting snippets.

get enough of that panic and fear
your stomach pushes off hard
does a double flip and does it again

a leaf fell too early
can anybody
make it count for something

What with the T-shirts, food poisoning, and skeletons
it’s so important to keep the door locked
in this stupid town

built a one-way street
blocked every exit
didn’t answer phone calls
couldn’t stop remembering

the paid informant
ears twitching
all the way across town

stumbles and staggers
unsure rhythms
etched across her face

OK! Thank you for reading. See you next time, I hope.

In Another Narrative

From Catch Up With Summer, 2015.

In Another Narrative

Rained last night and saturated every last everything.
This morning
water drips down the rock walls of the cut through the hill
where the train tracks used to go and
now I walk there
through a mist conjured up by the
forces of cool stone warm morning and
a lot of water in the atmosphere
which is what this stretch of path has plenty of right now.
A curvy stick down by my feet becomes a snake
in my vaporous thinking
I step aside all the while aware
it is not a snake but wouldn’t it be just right
if it were
and it spoke to me
with some good advice
here in this fairy-tale morning?

“Running Through the Fairy-Tale Forest”, mixed media, 2013.


From the collection published in 2010, Catch Up With Summer.


The spiky plant stands motionless
in the silent room with
yellow paint on the walls.
Its woody stems curve up out of the turquoise pot
into a spray of green pointed leaves
sharp-edged and
threatening a cut on the finger that strokes them.
Outside the windows
clouds pass in the blue sky.


Collage, 2002.


Tanka 41

I may have already posted this one. Sometimes my record-keeping fails me.

The day has turned hot
ketchup and mustard colors
shimmer in the air
I need a drink of water
to get through the afternoon


Small landscape, 5″ x 7″, acrylics, 2015.

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.

Tanka 48 and 51

Stress. Worry. Hard feelings. Bad attitude. Can be resolved in more than one way.

The fingers twisting
the key to the music box
around and around
until it stops. Then once more.
Too far. It breaks free and spins.

The storm-cloud presence
looming over the counter
in the florist’s shop
brightens when I ask to buy
a dozen yellow roses.