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Better


Day 24. Prompt: write about how you will be remembered.



Better

In the end
all I want
is for the people
who knew me
to agree
that I left
most of what
I touched
at least
a little better
than I found it.

 



and another:

When I’m gone

He looks down and says
“my mom’s crazy”
and I know he has reasons
for his hard words,
I know that’s why
he’s giving up his dog,
before it’s too late
(and it’s almost too late)
but I’ve also heard those words
repeated often enough
by my own children
since the divorce
when they first heard the words
and became weapons themselves
and while I haven’t heard it
for awhile now myself
I’ll never know for sure
what they say when I’m not there
or what they’ll say
when I’m gone.

Pie first


Day 23. Prompt: write a preface poem.



There has to be a beginning
but I don’t know where it is,
whether it came last Tuesday
or missed the connecting bus
and never made it out of Buffalo,
leaving us to wonder at the
order of things and whether
the meal might just taste better
if we eat the pie first.

Judgement Day


Day 22. Prompt: write a (blank) day poem.



If you knew me,
how I end every day
lying in the dark
beside the best laid plans,
and good intentions,
how I outline each mistake
I made that day
and add it to my list,
you’d know for sure
that every day
is Judgement Day.



Bonus poem:

Bad hair day

stubbed my toe
shampooed my eyes
spilled the Joe
went up a size
car got a flat
roots going gray
forgot my hat
appointment today

Sand castles


Day 21. Prompt: two-fer Tuesday, construction poem, deconstruction poem.



Those of us lucky
enough to know
about the
impermanence
of sand castles
were tide-taught,
and knew
that entire realms
can melt to ruin
with a simple tug
from the moon.

Imagine my surprise
when it was I,
beside the pile
of wriggling jelly
in my moat,
who tumbled
numb and melting
to the ground
staring though tears
at my castle
standing tall.

Mind the gap / Rescue work


Day 20. Prompt: write a “what I learned” poem. Or two…



Mind the gap

The difference between
what I’ve learned
and what I actually do
is a chasm wide as oceans
and mountains-tall.



Rescue work

My t-shirt is covered in fur
and reads Who Rescued Who?
It’s supposed to be Whom
but the dogs don’t much care
and that’s why I’m there
trying to help the lucky ones
who made it out alive, although
what kind of luck is it I wonder
to be dumped in kill shelters
or kicked to the curb or just kicked?
But I’ve learned from seeing too much
that these are the lucky ones
and when I look at the people
wearing shirts that match mine
I see what hope looks like and sacrifice
although nobody would call it that
but do imagine please
what kind of vacation you take
when you’re training five dogs
or wrangling twelve puppies?
And I’ve learned firsthand too
that even if you had enough money
you’d just fix your floors
so the next batch of rescues
can wreck them some more.

Sunday


Day 19. Prompt: write an abundance poem.



Sunday is fat and happy,
watching the dogs play
in between pages turning,
touchdowns and lie-downs.

When you ask about errands,
she yawns on the couch,
still in her pajamas at noon
and whispers nah, I’m good.

Archie Bunker’s lament


Day 18. Prompt: write a good for nothing poem


Ah those good old days
of Archie Bunker’s lament,
when we all knew our places,
the (cis white) men wore the pants,
and everyone else just had to pretend
that a trickle (down) was enough
to stave off the angry thirst
that turned flesh to husk
back in those good old
good for nothing days.

Lost for words and other poems


Day 17. Prompt: write a “what I meant to say” poem. I’ve got three.



Lost for words

I remember when I found
my voice just lying around
untouched

like it had always been there
even though I’d looked
a thousand times before

and daring, I picked it up
staring in awe
at the mother-of-pearl
and the swirls of jewels,
in sparkling pools
before I opened wide and
placed it inside where it fit

like it had always been there
even though I’d looked
a thousand times before

and it sounded like gold,
if gold had a sound,
I had found it again
and forgot all the pain
and cost of being lost
for words.

 



Stumped

There was a woman in Garp
who’d had her tongue cut out
so she couldn’t tell the truth
or name any names.
I think of her often over the years
when I run my tongue across my teeth
because when the time came
to name my names and tell the truth
I was just as stumped.

 



Connect the dots

It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
And I know you need to hear them
They just come out as dot dot dots
It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
My tongue gets tied in sailor’s knots
And my heartbeats speak in mayhem
It’s not that I don’t have the thoughts
And I know you need to hear them

Hooky


Day 16. Prompt: write a poem to the world. 



Before we make our way
to work today
all double-coffee
droop-body slack-jawed
before it’s outlawed
let’s play hooky
maybe read books
Netflix and chill
chill some wine
eat some chili
silly-dance
in the kitchen
to some bitchin songs
we can sing along
cuddle in a huddle
while the dogs pile on
our new lifestyle
of sit and stay
play the day away
like it’s our last
think fast and
flip that frown
it’s time
you know
to slow
down.

 

Stranger in a strange land


Day 15. Prompt: write a Stranger (blank) poem.



This place was always here perhaps,
floating underneath my feet,
suspended in my own disbelief
beneath a thin brown layer of dirt,
(the earth that I belonged to
was just a shallow thing after all)
when suddenly the surface,
so much more than merely scratched,
gave way to this new land
where strangers are not welcome
anymore.

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