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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.


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

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.



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


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
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


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

His and hers: a crime in two parts

Day 14. For today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompt:

  1. Write a sonnet or other traditional form poem. I specifically mention the sonnet, because it’s day 14 and the sonnet traditionally has 14 lines. But any other traditional form (villanelle, triolet, sestina, etc.) would work as well.
  2. Write an anti-sonnet or other traditional form poem. If you’re anti-form, good news! You can vent about it in a poem–or just write a poem that attacks form and structure of any kind (even beyond poetics). Anarchy poems?

His and hers: a crime in two parts



It’s not that hard to fit inside a box
Pretend, my dear, you’re playing hide-and-seek
(Though silly games are mainly for the weak)
Give in to rules, to schedules and to clocks
Obey the form and always sort my socks
You must behave, I like my women meek
No anarchy or other forms of cheek
Remember, please, what happened to Guy Fawkes

What are you doing with that dagger dear?
Did you think to cut my wisdom from your life?
You’re cute but let me help you understand
You’re clearly not as strong as you appear
You belong to me, my property, my wife
Oh! I am stabbed, this isn’t what I planned!


Watching your bitter smug
slip away
with your blood
into the gutter,
I remember the beatings,
the belittling, all the little
stings and strings
you used to hold me
too tightly.
I imagine Guy Fawkes
believed in himself
at least once before he died,
neck broken
like his plans, and I know
they’ll come for me, I know
I’ll hang, but at least “my dear”
I’ll finally swing

Emerald City / Albuquerque

Day 13. Prompt: pick a city and make that the title of your poem; then, write your poem. I wrote two again today.

Emerald City

Down in Emerald City
without the ruby red shoes
does one get the greens,
or is it still called the blues?

Since the little man fled
from behind the green curtain
did the monkeys move in?
It’s all so uncertain.

Down in Emerald City
where the grass is so green
maybe even the wicked
can blend in unseen.


In college, long ago, with the snow
high and our futures murky,
we imagined that in Albuquerque
our quirky selves could shine,
divinely free from that Buffalo humidity.

Now through decades of bad trades
and Rolaids it’s still sight-unseen, between
the lack of green and reasons why
we just got by, onto other things, lost our wings
and all we got was turquoise rings.


Day 12. Prompt: write a transformation poem. 

I’m covered in hidden fingerprints
the kind hot showers can’t wash off
although I still try after all these years

They lie in inky layers
beneath my skin like bruises,
each an entry in a database,

They are my shields in love and battle
but I would lay them down if only
I could spend just one day living and loving
my own skin.

just my luck and other unlucky poems

Day 11. Prompt: write an unlucky poem. My add: or three…

just my luck

I shouldn’t joke
about ladders and broken mirrors
I’m fairly certain
it’s been more than seven years

On being careful

We say be careful
as if care will keep us safe
from rotten stairs
and unwanted attention,
as if bad things don’t happen
unless we have it coming,
but usually it’s just a matter
of where we stand
in line for pizza or our choice
of nightclub or church
or the road we take
when we’re just trying
to find our way home.

I learned to duck

right before I learned to duck
he brought me to my knees
I always had the worst of luck
right before I learned to duck
I realize I was such a schmuck
until I met that sleaze
right before I learned to duck
he brought me to my knees

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