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.


Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. I’m thinking of them as “Minuscule” and quick to read.

Read the first Minuscule, the explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.


Desperate times desperate measures, you know, and so I had needed a word with her in confidence, not wanting kindness or understanding, those things would be of no help, oh, no, but just a word, a straightforward out in the open statement, no fooling around, no hidden meanings, just give me the truth flat out: does this suit say Promotion-Worthy as I stand before you, or is it lost in translation from the hanger to my body?

The career saleslady, the squire to my knight, examined me over her half-glasses so as to better fit my armor on me, pinching it here, pulling it, adjusting it, before she stepped back: Dear, the suit says nothing, it’s you who’s going to kick ass in that interview – poking me in the arm with her forefinger to emphasize the point – but things being what they are, let’s see about some nice shoes.

If I wear this suit
– choose a pair of leather pumps
– buy a stylish hat –
– yes, I could find some white gloves-
will I be found suitable?

(Tanka 105)

KP 2-25 mannequins #27 small

Mannequin, 2/18, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

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.


Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. I’m thinking of them as “Minuscule” and quick to read.

Read the first Minuscule, the explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.


Even a slapdash search will turn up a new worm or two under this rock, said the heavyset man with dirty hands, grinning at me in a way I didn’t like. In his shirt pocket, where another guy might display a handkerchief, or a pocket protector full of pens, or a pair of sunglasses hooked by one earpiece, this fellow had a great big roll of cash, cash that I had the uncomfortable feeling was sitting there courtesy of me, my presence under this particular rock, my resemblance to a worm, and his powerful urge to go fishing, right now.

The bait selected
the fish swimming into view:
You know the story.

(Haiku 390)

Clay Tile - Unsuccessful Fisherman 2011 small

Unsuccessful Fisherman, clay tile, 2011.

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.


Here is another of those two-sentence stories with poetry added. I’m thinking of them as “Minuscule” and quick to read.

Read the first Minuscule, the explanation of why I wrote it and got started on this idea, and search under the category Fiction/Poetry Combination for others in the series.


The world is not an empty eggshell, a hard smooth surface enclosing a vacant space cleaned out and dry, a static state of being that has always existed and always will – each minute of life does not constitute a blank-sided ovoid colorless and slippery, with no connection to the next.

In one swift flash of insight, Laurine understood and took in the realignment of her existence, though she did not express it to herself in such philosophical terms; she had only enough time to think, Things are just not that simple, as she swung the ax overhead.

This dark sterile world
your misguided gift to me
I smash it to bits

(Haiku 389)

Three Red Planets 12-15 11 x 14 acrylics and India ink on paper small

“Three Red Planets”, acrylics/India ink, 2015.