Listen Up People

everything’s simple:
When people
tell you where
they stand, believe them.
No bonus points for time spent
deep in denial.

Shardoma Weekend in the Imaginary Garden! Uh oh.


On Main Street Near the Crosswalk

I will confess
to being jealous
of the street poet
with his antique typewriter
and handwritten sign
(though I did wonder
why it wasn’t typed)
but then I heard him say
"there are
teapots out there
you can make"
so I kept walking
thinking that the lesson is
so much depends
on context

Sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden


Dubious Haul

A locked box
at the end of a red thread
containing all the sighs
of middle age
complaints like barnacles
dreams dragging behind
splintering on the rocks
all of yesterday’s ideas
mostly regret

For Kerry’s photo prompt in the Imaginary Garden


Observations 10-1-17

It’s harder now to see
beautiful things
like exhortations to sky
in a rock song or the way the cat
licks between her toes while bathing.
These days, I might listen
to the whole record not hearing
a single word, feed kitty
when she meows but keep going.
I barely noticed various shades
of scorched grass blanketed
with wet leaves, and it must have been
before that when my foxglove browned.
I am quite aware of the cold space
on my thigh where your hand
should rest, the bitterness of each
sip of discount coffee, my tailbone.
I know that isn’t much.

Linking this up in solidarity and very, very late to Karin’s prompt in the Imaginary Garden: Thinking of the Little Things


Depression Imagination

A distressing
consequence of my depression
is reduction of everything
to only literal. I see a dahlia
and express nice flower.
Still able to name things,
I say that’s a dahlia,
but nothing more. No starshine,
no tiny village, no lover’s lips
in its showy display.
Observing the short space
between laughing until tears
and the sullen walk home,
I am unable to describe it.
Only when close behind
a port-a-john sloppily
lashed to a pickup truck
do metaphors come in a rush.
With a holy shit
I visualize a vast array
of what could possibly go wrong
but no answers

Late! But whatever. Sharing in the Imaginary Garden for Sanaa’s first Tuesday Platform


That Nagging Sensation

It started with my shirts,
then the cat, photos,
words on paper, one by one,
a slow transformation
barely noticed

Everything monochrome
with rounded edges,
like Keanu Reeves,
completely lacking affect

After an indoor summer
already leaves turn red,
soon will be ash,
& I’m living with ghosts
of people who are still alive

Always a child crying
in our neighborhood,
wails wafted on muslin curtains
otherwise peaceful
in the breeze

What happens to voices
when windows close against cold
with insufficient sun
to hedge
against whispering

Sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden today


Untitled (8.20.17)

disguised as outrage
dulls Liberty’s promise
expects her
to shine

Uncomplicated micro poetry for Kerry and the Real Toads



Read this new poem by Sherman Alexie: HYMN



stretchy clouds
   impossibly high
and bass so low
as to bring
                of gravity
  and super-wish
           a tractor beam
   would end
All this
Izy’s prompt in the Imaginary Garden: WRITING UNSEEN



The first time it happened
I noticed to myself,
all of us
engrossed in other things.

The next day, we exclaimed
There’s a rainbow!
just as the singer sang
about a rainbow.

We looked at each other.
That’s weird.
It happened yesterday.
Yes. That’s really weird.

We decided to take it
as a good sign.

Flash 55! for Real Toads


With My Daughter at the Ray Touch Tank

Remember how giddy we were,
thrusting our arms
up to the elbow in cold water,
clutching smelt till the rays came
and snuffled them from our hands?

Remember how shocked we were,
squealing with surprised joy,
how tiny teeth felt on our palms
gnawing so gently it tickled
like a cat’s rough tongue?

Remember their smiles,
how we proclaimed cownose rays
the cutest of all living things?
I remember your eyes, glossy
with laughter, and feeling so alive.

Karin’s prompt to the Real Toads: A GLANCE AT NARRATIVE


Working On a Building

What if
this structure exists
only in my mind,
these rooms
in which I pace
tile floors to carpet
are of my imagining,
our talks and lovemaking
the trusses
of my dreaming-home,
our silence and pain
but girders
for a grander scheme than we?
If so, it will take
more than a crane
to bring this baby down--

Late entry for Kim’s weekend challenge: BUILDINGS
Sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden


Haiku Observation #4284

Rainy Monday blues--
worn like a home-made afghan,
tastes like cough syrup


Toast & Syrup

No sugar cereal
only Chex or Wheaties
but any day (or every day)
2 pieces of Wonder toast

spread with margarine
cut in 18 fork-size pieces
soaked in Golden Griddle
This breakfast

seems wrong for adults
(or for anyone in 2017)
but would be fulfilling
in a green year

Sharing with the Toads on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden



When the last of the fireworks
fizzles into grey-green night
under a lonely streetlight,
mosquitos retire, drunk,
the air’s as dense as local honey
and sweet, I’ll retire in your arms

Because upon waking, we’ll miss
this thickness portending loss,
the dozen verses sung in darkness
simply for sake of time, and wait
out pacing hours until the chance
again arrives to imbibe on shadows

Late entry for Play It Again in the Imaginary Garden



Gentle Readers, guess what? A friend from college sent me the September 1987 issue of Kiosk, a literary magazine. He had saved several issues, some including poems of his own, and some with poems written by friends. A poem apparently written by me appears on page 14. What?

I have no memory of this poem, or of the literary magazine, or of submitting anything to same. Or much memory of college, to tell the truth. This poem is not among the small stack of papers I have stashed away from when I was Very Young. But there is no doubt who wrote “Springing,” is there? Wow.

Sharing on the Tuesday Platform with my Toads today, who I know will appreciate this! :)




I can feel myself retreating
into my own mind while wanting to tell
my friends I love them. I want to do nothing
but lie on the floor holding my kids in my arms
occasionally running off to bed with my husband.
I need to write but want to watch movies, read
a book but my body demands sleep. I want to drink
while sober, take a nap instead of exercise.
I’ll work hard but really want to quit my job,
resist yet surrender. Sparkle and glower. Holler
and whine. I want to run away but stay home.

For Sanaa's prompt in the Garden: OF INSOMNIA AND SLEEP


Little Bow Haiku

Back door wide open
to morning sounds, garden air
like nothing has changed


To/For, About, With

    in loving memory of Tracey McCartney

We balk
at the task of writing
about the life of a beloved
because it seems impossible,
the audacity of eulogizing her
rendering us wordless at first
but we try anyway.

We listen to Neil Peart
for inspiration
to pen stories and poems,
write songs and blog posts,
issue proclamations
using words like fierce
and justice, steady and strong,
talent and uproariousness,
passion and compassion
and love.

We search inside ourselves
for the same qualities,
wondering about the unnamed thing
that draws one person
to another
whether across time
and miles and constant change
or tucked in together
belly to back
every night for eighteen years.

We are drawn to her,
our brightest light.
We warm ourselves nearby.
We curl up beside her,
ever-closer as her flames begin to dim,
fervently scribbling down words
describing how much she means to us.

I wrote this poem for a Celebration of Life this past weekend in Nashville and it was read by Tracey’s spouse Nan. Deep sigh. Much love.

Sharing with the Toads on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden.


The Judgment

Surrounded by beauty
needing no reminders
a peculiarity of souls
lines up to account
for thoughtless actions

The worst that could happen
is likely to happen
& souls judge harshly
but I will persist
as advocacy is my jam

As emerald favors pink
or as moths thrive in moonlight
I’ll observe from the floor
for as long as it takes
then dust off & keep on

I picked a tarot card as suggested by Mama Zen earlier this week, then responded to Magaly’s prompt: I AM MADE OF