Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 44

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





This week’s Marathon split itself between October 30 and 31. I’m still taking my studio clay class and teaching my mixed media class, so this schedule helps me keep up. Here’s how it worked out this week.

On October 30, I took a walk along the Pennypack rail trail before I got started on working – I planned to write in the morning and teach my class in the afternoon. I started off before the sun rose (not hard these days, with Daylight Savings Time still with us – I left about 7 AM down the trail). Here’s the apartment building next to the parking lot – you see the lights in the windows of the early risers.

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The pink glow in the sky is not the sunrise but instead the city lights of Philadelphia, about 15 miles away. It’s a misty morning and the clouds reflect back the light.

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On my way back, at the end of my four+ mile walk, I waited for a city-bound train to pass.

I noticed the MARC logo on the cars – they are leased from the Baltimore area because our local authority has put on more capacity to compensate for extra commuters riding the train due to I-95 construction. First time I’ve seen MARC cars in action.

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I passed through the crossing and the gates started to come down again. An outbound train this time. I waited and took its photo. No MARC this time, just SEPTA.

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On October 31, I worked at home. It was a rainy warm day in front of some colder weather coming.

Autumn is in full swing here.

Remember my lush flower pot arrangements this summer? Now they are finishing their lives. I will need to put in something for winter very soon.

All right, let’s get to the writing. I did an array of different things on October 30, and on Halloween I worked mostly on Little Vines. I think some of the latter were influenced by the ghoulish ghostly nature of the holiday and the very appropriate weather…

Here’s a tanka. Who is the victim, that is what I want to know.

In the green butter
I saw the fresh smile of ruin.
I made use of it.
The joke of a poisoned cake.
A mother-in-law’s last laugh.

Here is a tanka. I used the word “isopod” from a recent crossword puzzle I did. You’ll have to look it up to see what I mean here – a picture will make it clear.

Act now, isopods:
this could be your time to shine.
Segmented attire
is ripe for fashion fission!
Yes! Smile for the camera.

Short poem written about my cat. Which cat? Really, it could be any one of them from the last 40 years.

The feline
accosting me in the hall:
I know his name
once again
I realize I do not know his opinion of me

Little Vines. This is where some Halloween comes in, mixed with random word cues and my own written notes. I’ve been watching some cooking shows recently so you might note that topic in some of these Vines. My goodness, what a mix I’ve got here today. I’ve posted the whole list today – I’ll let them all have their say.

Plus a lot of use of the colon punctuation mark today, too. Every day has its fad, right?

the icy glaze on the front steps
matching the stare she gave me
it’s no wonder I fell and broke my ankle

candy stripe
late for metamorphosis

The phantasm
devours the candy
The paramecium is ready for bed. Halloween.

Flash in the pan.
Watching the atoms collide.
The cake burns black.

A large insect curled and black
it certainly explains the texture
of this crunchy piece of cake
but not the sound I’m hearing

The child
squeezed into the shape of a tomato with legs
by his puffy red coat

a lot of mail
the guileful postman
took home and evaluated for blackmail purposes

Mother Nature
inspects the competition
I’m feeling some pressure, she said

Your doughy thank you
I was looking for something with more snap
I’ll accept your half-baked effort
Let’s wash the dishes and move on.

half a finger forgotten on the counter
a dozen in the frying pan
oops, let me throw that one in, too
and could you wash the knife for me?

ribbon trim
string or wire
I don’t care just get your nose back in place on your face

in the back of my mind
I knew
following the traditional style would result in a neater corpse

she had arranged
layer upon layer
of tidy facts
identical in size

the possessive daughter
put the cake in the oven
climbed in after it

The scientist adjusts the motionless ray gun
Chill factor 120 she calls out
The ray sulks as she prods it.
Emits 97. On purpose.

a bland face
shouldn’t have been

One knitting needle to the other:
You’re trouble
I’m not. I stay calm
You don’t. It’s like we’re knitting two different sweaters.

put the lid on your brain
I don’t have the time today
to clean up your ongoing splatter of bad ideas

The tart sour retort
The sugary crust it broke through
The scorch marks it left in my mouth

the indexed
catalog of destruction
you dropped off at my door

red jelly in a crystal dish
it’s something else to watch it shimmy
during an earthquake

a good pink color
with polka dots
that’s how I envision your happy soul

the laid-off accounting department members
obtain stereotyped support
from (thank goodness it wasn’t us this time) Human Resources

I am stuck talking to the office windbag:
when does the doubt of rescue convert
the sliding scale of boredom
into an absolute knowledge of eternity

Others will be coming
in less than thirty minutes –
Look! One is struggling through the boundary right now.

the fragile mass
in the silver pan:
the nervous cook copes.

the curvy value of
spaghetti strands:
the fork glitters in anticipation.

this industry hires the typical talent:
no spoons in my drawer
meet the casting call

the stomach stumbles
is rescued by this wayfarer cook
goes on its way replete and faith renewed
in happenstance friendships and meatloaf

curls of colored glass look on
the church congregation
bends its best prayers to heaven

How the color does boil
and overflow the edges
of the repaired photograph

should slogans be allowed
in our sisterly quibbling
or does every complaint have to be original in phrasing?

Our quixotic sister
drew within the lines.
She is messing with our heads again.

a nutmeg dust storm whirling in the kitchen
a lot of eggs wedged in the refrigerator
Somebody has ordered the most expensive thing on the menu.

The stranger broadcasts an interrogatory signal.
Millions of miles and a circuitous itinerary and he ends up here –
A hum emerges from the crowd in the silver-shell diner.

Bad news and the heart collapses
like a poorly-built haystack
in a windstorm

Thank you for reading!

Home Port

From Rearrange, 2018.

Home Port

The living room comfortably overheated
the faded sofa and elderly armchairs watching me
the wool carpet a familiar scratchy crewcut
scraping my palms
rasping the knees of my corduroy pants.
I crawl under my grandmother’s baby grand piano
set in its alcove pressed against the big window.
I sit cross-legged
just behind the pedals.
I am small
and content
settled in a patch of sunlight.


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 43

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

This week the Marathon took place on October 23 and 24. It’s been another busy week made even more complicated by my husband’s dental surgery (all went well). I get confused when I get out of my routine and I haven’t gotten used to my class schedule yet (it only started in September, it ends in December, I wonder when I think I will get used to it!).

So the split days idea is still working well for me, let’s leave it at that.

On October 23, before the Marathon, I wanted to get outside for a walk. We are having a nice spell of weather. I went to the Pennypack rail trail just as the sun was coming up. See, the moon was still in the sky…

PO Moon 10-23-1910

and on the ground!

PO Moon reflection 10-23-199

A train line crosses the trail. The gates came down

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I looked to see where the train was (do not worry, I don’t make a move until those gates come up). It was at the Bethayres station just up the line, loading passengers. You can see its headlight.

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Then it passed on the way to Center City Philadelphia.

I continued on my way, finished my exercise, and stopped at the grocery on the way home. I got there just as they opened. Look at Cara Mia McGill all by herself in the parking lot.

What poetry did I do this day? Little Vines, until it was time to go and teach my art class.

On October 24, another beautiful day. I followed the same routine in the morning. Here are some shots of my front yard. What a nice color the trees are all getting.

On this day, I finished up Little Vines. Then I turned my attention to other poetry writing. I could not settle down. Then I thought of something I wanted to try – a poetry generator site or two. I have not done this before in the Marathon context and only a couple of times before that, just playing around.

Here’s how it works for me. I put in words, I see what comes up, I make note of phrases or whatever hits me. I don’t use the suggestions much, though – it seems for me the real value is in the associations the random words bring up. I find myself opening boxes in my mental attic and finding ideas that are a surprise. I like that.

Anyway, that is how it works for me. I ended up writing a lot of very short poems – mostly haiku. Let’s get to some of them.

This haiku came from the word “subway” and my memories of homeward commutes.

subway and the smell
of too many tired people
impatient for home

This haiku was prompted by the word “green” and it came about as I was thinking about my art class students.

In the pale green paint
broken brushstrokes skid and skip
on quiet paper

This haiku was inspired by “ravenous”. In the example it was actually “ravenous lunch” which made me think of “ravenous for lunch” and then for some reason I thought about lunch time at work. I was always hungry for lunch when I worked, never missed it, no matter how I managed it.

Ravenous work hours
their appetite for chaos
swallowing daylight

This is a shadorma. I was thinking about the full moon walks I have been on recently. No prompt, the topic just came to me.

The lone tree
dead in a dry field.
The full moon
Does the owl make you shiver?
Have the shadows moved?

Little Vines.

Whose purse is that?
three red hands reached for it
I gave it to the green one who did not.

unripened evening sky
the crescent moon
just beginning to fill in its outlines

crowded night sidewalk
the anywhere anytime city
shimmering in a neon cape

eyes weary
I cry.

this spicy egg salad
the cookies so odoriferous
such delightfully nose-tickling cheese
achoo! what a great picnic you said

there is something seriously
marzipan and mixed messages
about this cake

suspicious fingers
search the depths of the purse
for the promised compensation

The purse is empty
Expensive and deep
but nonetheless empty.

she gives her purse a shake
two pennies gaze out at her
with coppery eyes

Scrap metal
tormentor of my dreams.
Next door the saw takes apart a minivan.

Gently it goes –
the fleeceable
can sometimes be surprisingly stubborn.

Bleary evening
A flailing drunken dinnertime
Grit behind the eyelids

Chewing gum
stuck on this sidewalk
in an array of malignant freckles

A rare dark variant
of geranium
reeking in the corner of the garden

I awoke and flung the covers off
I know the meows
of my hungry cat

Dreary kitchenette.
Tired bedroom slippers scuffing on the floor.
She doesn’t like living here.

a hot snail
panting in the sun
trapped in the wheelbarrow

Vines twist in the trees
Leaves hang like cluttered laundry
Tropic drapery out to dry

Sweet dreams that come to her cheap
A chromatic scale of bargain-basement colors
slapped on jerry-built castles in the air

I say hello.
I watch her laugh.
On that day my soul turned to lonely.

the greenish-gray wrap-around
winter foliage set against the house
a sparse beard on a broad open face

zinnias grown for bouquets
they will not be casting shadows in the sunshine

finally a lucid daybreak
the barren desert catches
at the lens of my camera

Thank you for reading!

You Knew

From Redirection, published in 2017.

You Knew

Your house for sale and you lived there only
one year
and you hated just hated the place
surprising yourself and your family
when you said we must get rid of this house
they protested in their various ways
you shouted them down
not understanding why
it mattered so much
but it did
it was essential
to get out of
this house.
It burned down
one week after the closing.


Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 42

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

This week the Marathon took place on October 16 and 17. I’m quite busy right now with art classes and projects I am working on at home for various art events, so this split time fits my schedule. On October 16, I worked on Little Vines at home.

On October 17, I spent time at the grocery store café. It was the morning after a stormy afternoon and night. The sky was washed clean.

As I approached the store

PO 10-17-19 (2)

you see no one sitting outside. It’s chilly and very windy today.

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I went inside and got set up at a table in the café area.

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At lunchtime, I went home after buying my lunch to eat at home.

Well, let’s get right to the writing.

People speak in poetry sometimes. Or at least I hear it that way. This poem came from an overheard conversation, quite lengthy, concerning job searches.

I applied for this job and that job
I have an interview next Tuesday
so I would be working first shift
oh I don’t know if I would want to
I might be too tired
and they want you to do a little of everything
and it’s an hour and then it more
and then you’re talking two or three hours
commuting a day and I just don’t know
I just don’t know
and you’re going to drive all the way down there
every day? I just don’t know.

I have a paint brochure with tiny samples of hundreds of paint colors. Sometimes I take a look at a page for a color inspiration and sometimes it’s the color name that attracts me. Today, because of the chilly weather and yesterday’s storm, I felt like a blue page. I saw the color name “ombre blue” but read it as “sombre blue” and converted it to American style “somber blue”.

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The color name gave me a vivid picture and feeling, not related to anything at all in my life. I don’t feel somber, blue, or that my surroundings are in an apocalyptic down-spiral. I do admit to having the little white house in mind (the one I’ve done so many artworks of, in different mediums, and I’ve explained I have no idea why this very ordinary house fascinates me):

Anyway, take this poem as pure imagination. I enjoyed painting the picture in my mind. It’s a shadorma chain.

somber blue
paint on a matte sky
in windows
blind-eyed cloudy and dim.
Small pale houses crouch

shoulders hunch
gray wind licks up leaves
Narrow street
cram-packed tight
forced friends uneasy neighbors
In bone-tired front yards

brittle stalks
dead flowers in pots
cracked ripples in a birdbath
a broken mirror

Let’s cheer up some. This shadorma is a slice of life portrait of one of the workers at the store this morning.

if you sing
I will not enjoy
how you sound
but I’ll love
your sheer outright go happy
head-back arms-raised style

Little Vines.

I can’t push that doorbell one more time
and that woman who is she
to stand behind the door refusing to answer?

a five-gallon smile
is all I have to offer
to stop the argument

it’s late
it’s ringing on me
bad memories sloshing in the glass

I’m just doing my job
painfully and slowly emphasis on pain and slow
working here is like sitting on a tack all day

I saw red
the glowing wires of my temper
a wave of heat in the room

it’s just a string
on a sunhat
flown off my head in the wind
like a loose kite

a ribbon-trimmed button band
on the cardigan sweater you made for me
for some reason that detail made me cry

answer this question so I’ll know:
did you borrow a bucket of dirt
and throw it on my reputation
or did you dig it up yourself

I fell overboard
a beach on a tiny island
took me in

out of a dozen
juggle three
seven minutes ready or not
put them on the plate and serve them

one hundred choices for saying good-bye:
I decide on
spice-infused crisp-crunch
not too sticky.

you bunch of pirates
keeping up with the times
3D printed plastic peg legs and digital robotic hands

a heart to heart talk soaked in syrup
veers piquant when words turn vinegary
the dish gets more interesting

acrobatic vines twist in trees
under a waxing gibbous moon
dragonflies hover in an ill-tempered cloud

tell me everything is fine
tell me
that it is all right to begin again

wild-eyed and exhausted
wrapped in tattered fuzz
like a dilapidated chicken

living moment to moment
low on supplemental molecules
the rectangle destabilized
shedding turquoise flakes in its last whirls


Thank you for reading!

Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 41

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



This week’s Marathon took place on October 9 and 10, both days at home. On the 9th, I worked on Little Vines, and on the 10th, I wrote whatever came into my head – I was thinking about a short story I recently read, about the group dynamics of my clay studio class, about my kitchen floor and how it is wearing out, about boring speeches and lectures, about how my left foot is feeling a little sore these last few days of running.

Well, now you have my secret – there is not a thing I can do about these thoughts except write them out, right?

To add to the theme of everyday life, I took photos from my morning, before I started to write. I get up very early and by 10:00 I had been running, grocery shopped, gone to the library, and done some cleaning. Take a look.

First, the beaver pond at the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust. I ran here this morning.

Next, I stopped at the grocery on the way home. I do this almost every day. This shopping center is the place where I do most of my errands.


You may remember a poem I wrote about a commuter train a couple of weeks ago. Here it is in action, across the street from the shopping center:

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I went home, changed my clothes and headed for the library. They had some books on hold for me. When I got there, the “pony” was out front.

Our county operates a consortium of about 30 libraries – the libraries are local, township library or library systems, but they share a catalog, among other things, and you can go online and order books from any of the libraries – the pony will bring it to your home library. I never pick books from the shelves (though I can go into any county library and do so) but instead I order from the catalog – we also have a service that emails us new books by library so I also see the new titles each week.

Shout out to Montgomery County PA for having this resource for us. Thank you. And here is the pony.

All right. Now it’s time for some words.

This shadorma was inspired by a short story I just read, but it’s taken a bit of an angle that is my own.

Table as
battlefield. All meals
flavored by
sharp words with
sour undercurrents baked in.
Curdled whispers stew.

In my own life, I like to cook and my kitchen is for me a good place to be. I get along with all my plates and pots and pans and they seem content with our cooperative endeavors. I have many good memories of my grandmother’s kitchen and getting it clean for the night. I have carried that feeling forward into my own life. This poem is for all those plates over all those years.

Plates rattle in the sink
splash in the hot water
fling soapsuds. Slap
at the snapping dishtowels
Submit to be dried and stacked
and settled down for the night
on their shelf in the cabinet.
The light left on over the sink
a glow seeping between the doors
to keep the bad dreams away
Good night, plates
– and we leave the kitchen
with quiet steps –

My feet are a weak point in my exercise regimen, but together we get there. Here is a shadorma.

Hobble foot
slowing me down some
ouch each step
but each step
still happening, right? I don’t
ouch think of stopping.

Little Vines.

Opposite this conversation
stands a friendship.

a door off to the side opens
insisting on my silent exit.
It feels unfair.

the boss at her desk
a rival
eyeing her from across the office full of cubicles

Stay afloat little raft
I’ve been so lonely
but now I sight land. Stay afloat.

in the folder full of papers ending the lawsuit
and to be signed: I see
everyone who blamed me and everyone I blamed
all together one last time

I want nothing to do with you
If not you then somebody else
Anybody. I just enjoy the state of being indignant and offended.

Curse the concealments
that no one else is willing to help me with
I’ll have to keep the secrets my own way, then

I still remember the green and blue shades
in the painting
I threw into the ocean

reading my future
in the fine print
of a coffee-maker warranty

rebellious and wayward
my worst instincts
the ones I like best

I needed ten more ideas
I dialed up my brain
but they didn’t do takeout, they said

The dishwasher full of dirty dishes
brayed twice stopped in its tracks. No go.
Plainly it’s a mule in disguise.

Please come home to the homewrecker
No questions asked
said the billboard on the highway

so much fine print
fluttering around
the coarse mesh of my naiveté allowed it to swim through

none of this would have happened
if you had been right about me leaving the apartment
before I lost my temper

why does this remind me of
the green wool coat
that got us into so much trouble?

show-stopping twirls on the dance floor
of a silver tulle dress

a big wedding
under the bright lights
of the parking lot

summertime and my sister’s in town
I was just starting to show her around
when some snails chased us down the street


Thank you for reading!

Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 40

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

Another split week Marathon. The schedule is working out well, really, to do things this way right now, with my other commitments and activities that are going on. It allows my brain some transition time to change into words gear instead of images gear. I’m still working at home right now – especially today, since Cara Mia McGill, my faithful car, is in the shop for her annual inspection.


I started off on October 2 with Little Vines.


On October 3, I worked on poems from a list I scribbled out early this morning as I stood in my kitchen. I’m not sure why but it suddenly struck me that I wanted to write about this room where I contentedly spend so much of my time.


Meanwhile, autumn continues to come along. I will show you a few photos from my yard to give you the latest information! It’s a chilly rainy day, unlike yesterday, when it was 95 degrees and muggy. I think that was the last hurrah for summer weather.

Here are some selections from this week’s work.




My refrigerator inspired this poem.


Standing next to the doors
back against the wall
the rectangle box of a man in a neat black suit
middle manager
(rates a small office
not a cubicle
two client chairs
no conference table)
waiting for an elevator
in a center city office building

Another kitchen scene.

Red mug
quarter-moon of milk
at the bottom
disappeared behind the clouds
of warm soapy water
and set in the bottom of the sink to soak.

Another kitchen scene.


Water glasses
crowd up to the shelf edge
squint down at me
cross at being disturbed
like a short-sighted person
peering from behind wavy lenses
brought out of a particularly good
attention-absorbing detective novel
by an unwelcome knock on the door

Little Vines.

a mist of dust
raised by a broom shedding straws
the room is dirtier than when I started

Whose legs are those
You can’t expect me to believe
he’s doing a handstand in the trash can
Call the police.

thinking a lot
no talking –
good plan.

the way your brain feels its way
through years and years of calendar pages

file folders
the force
that holds the world together

I’m one of dozens
shaky on my legs
leaving the Tilt-a-Whirl political candidate forum

Look we’ve got a lot to talk about
I’d like to wrap things up as lunch, I mean, at lunch
said the spider to the fly

I wake up better off.
I’m worse off by lunchtime.
I give up, panicked, by dinner.

the last person in the world
it feels unfair
there is no one to eavesdrop on anymore

OK go ahead and say it
tell me not to worry tell me to stop fussing
But I really do think the bus is going to hit us

very expensive clothes
in dicey circumstances
the hand-sewn shoes vote to walk right out of there

I keep going right on down this street
truly and thoroughly heartless
fondly recalling a lifetime of high-profile perfidy

considering my many many many business successes
you’d think
I’d have paid more in taxes than your grandma on Social Security

a trampoline of a week
in which
I did one flip too many

you fell asleep soon after our marriage
I covered you with a blanket
for the next twenty years
I sat up all night every night enjoying my own insomnia



Thank you for reading!

Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 39

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

Marathon split continues with this week’s work – I struggled to fit it in with preparing for teaching my new art class, actually doing to the class, getting through an eye doctor appointment and then another one for minor eye surgery. Well, that’s life and I adapt.

I worked at home both days, September 24 and September 27. On the 24th, I worked on Little Vines. On the 27th, I finished up some poems I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks (let’s see if I feel the same way about them when I do my edit session next week, but I’m crossing my fingers. Some poems overstay their welcome, I think) and then did a few new ones. Some were inspired by this card of cut-out phrases and others came straight out of the air.

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Here are a few photos from around the house, because every Marathon post needs some photos of the creative environment, right?

All right. Here are some poems from this week’s work.

A week or so ago I was watching a store employee spraying the flowers for sale in front of the store.

green looping hose
tensed up tight with
unspent water
heavy in the hand

rows of chrysanthemums
thirsty sun-wilted sullen
in their pots
their leaves gone limp

hand squeezing the nozzle

stream of water that leaps out
backlit cool white-silver arch
up and over and grounding itself
in splatters and on flowers and

smell of warm concrete and cold water
that rise on the sidewalk and
flow off the curb


This poem is for my husband, who loves coffee. Loves coffee. Loves coffee.

me I’m that person
that person who drinks the day thick and black
in gallons
under the light from a dropped-ceiling sky
beneath a sun rolled out in strips of fluttering electrons
that shower my bent head and keyboard tapping fingers
in an all-day assembly line of thoughts
organized with dividers
color-coded in tabs
washed down in coffee
thick and black
gallons a day


I can’t let this poison ivy thing go. A haiku.

All but taunting me
the poison ivy twining
I cut through its stem

Little Vines.

out there in the parking lot
the amber lights shine sallow
at pinched-faced shoppers

a black and white checkerboard
that old story
you hop across it with the ease of long practice

Non-ferrous copper moon
in the September sky
and yet magnetic.

I sliced through the water
a series of ripples in the lake the only sign of me
dangerous and hungry dressed in a set of silver scales

the sky clouded up
full of rain waiting to fall
on a blue jay feather angled in the grass

I’m young and naïve
spring glow yellow-green
but I still know how to put out a nice little chill

her hair a hypnotic sculpture
curled in five separate spirals
puts paid to the idea of her remaining incognito

somewhere there are some
very expensive clothes
wondering where I am right now

guttering sun
lamplit planet going dark
ashes in the carbon blackness

her agenda for apologies
looks like
a guilt layer cake

I exaggerated I made it all up
but come on it’s just one lie
Just a truth monoquake

Neon city. Pink streaks at night.
Limousine. Classy night club.
The rain hits the sidewalk all the same.
not a chance I’ll be outside
not in this thunderstorm
not when clouds like those jerk on the lightning cord

a necklace of big ivory beads
each one the size of a pickled pearl onion
nestled around her stringy wealthy neck

go ahead and say it:
a perfect fall crock pot recipe
is high speed access to potential mate’s affection center

intellectual snob professor
ambitious in a sharkskin suit
cruising the conference with his fin just showing

one large onion finely chopped
sautéed luminescent
in the moment before I toss it into the sauce

dawn muggy gray
we begin another day
simmer in the city

slip the skin off a tomato
it shivers
in a veiny naked kind of way

Here is a visual Little Vine. It looks like a plain door. But listen…do you hear the cricket who has been chirping outside it for several days now?

PO 9-27-19 (2)


Thank you for reading!

Put Pen to Paper Marathon 2019 Week 38

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

PO9-18-19 #47

Hydrangea outside my back door.

Another split session of the Marathon this week.

It’s been very busy in my world. I had an eye doctor appointment (eyes are continuing to maintain a good situation). I was offered a chance to step in for a vacancy and teach an art class and went to the interview (yes, good news, the class starts next week). I attended the first session of a clay class that I am taking (met a lot of nice people and made two mugs). Some of these events were planned and some emerged. Life rockets along sometimes. The Marathon fit itself in quite neatly with a little work.

PO9-18-19 #83

On September 18 I worked on Little Vines in the morning at home. How about some sights around my back yard? I’ll scatter them throughout the rest of the post. Oh, wait, I already started, didn’t I, with the picture from my garden, just above. This next one is the sky looking down on my house this morning.

PO9-18-19 #29


On September 20, Friday, I went to the grocery store cafe…

and wrote the rest of the poems. I worked on a blitz form, something I haven’t done in some time, and also began work on a palindrome poem. I was in a format mood, I guess. They will need more work. Pieces need to fit together tightly and that takes time.

I also did some poems based on what I saw going on around me. I recommend this kind of environment for non-stop human interest, not to mention the lovely array of colors, shapes, and noises that go on here.

PO9-18-19 #38

insect tunnels and leaf and dirt and stones and mulch: a catalog of this one little spot outside my door.

OK, let’s get to the writing.

PO9-18-19 #110

Here’s a guy who was sitting near me.


you don’t think I can get myself out of this
the guy cradles his phone against his ear
eyes dart around gaze settling tabletop
you don’t think
breaks off the sentence
well how about Saturday or Sunday
spells out his name
sips his coffee
gazing at the table’s scarred surface
not seeing it

There is a commuter rail line across the street from the store and I enjoy the sounds and the picture the trains make. I’ve been wanting to depict this scene for some time and maybe now I’m getting closer to a good representation.

across the street the train
that runs on the track behind the buildings
first the horn pushes around to the front
then in the open gap
free and loud and a blare blare blare
the engine appears then the train speeds on
the embankment
takes the horn along behind the next
sure the noise rattles the windows on the back side
but out here at the street
nothing but a chastened honk
first sound last sound
the difference between a vigorous sneeze
and a polite blowing your nose
the train travels on
fast fading to
a stretched-out thin memory


Little Vines.

get a good night’s rest
tomorrow the pickers come

folklore experts and
some excellent ransacking sessions
we dig into the Legend of the Dryer and the Missing Sock

They are tearful and incapable of telling a straight story
all we can do is comb through the fictions.
What some people will concoct to collect on the life insurance

all day at one hundred miles an hour
during this time they crossed paths only once
these two working parents

a dozen top-quality imported
stupid and angry
flu virus particles
choose you as their new home

a lawnmower
in an ugly mood
due to seasonal allergies to grass

In case of an overload emergency
the juice will pop the filaments in the light bulb
If this wiring were a person it would be having a stroke

Well look at you
runaway light bulb
Career burnout, you say?

he’s our guy all right
a gray blanket of misery
turned inside out and weeping

pipe down kids
Dr. Anklet says he’ll buy some raffle tickets from you
soon as he finishes turning you inside out
Sorry. Just kidding. About the tickets, I mean.

it’s always the someone who opens the oven door
a toothpick poked into the cake and a busy evening
taking care of getting the end of the day safely into the station

I agree it’s awful what happened but
I sure don’t miss her phone calls.
Go cry somewhere else.

Early autumn
The secret’s in the weather
Ambitious and hard-working low humidity and sunshine

a life of mending and amending
of not asking one too many questions
and now the episodes of memory
rising when I thought them buried?

there is no doubt
negative amounts of fun in one place
prompt you to look somewhere else.

behind my eyes
a memory failing
like a zipper off its track

The evil night the cat died six years ago
I’m still suspicious of my circle of friends
Which one of them knew he was asleep in the washer?

And a visual Little Vine…Claudia pictures herself from a new angle.


Thank you for reading!