Out Loud

So this happened last night:

Yours truly had a great reading at Amherst Books with Gerry Yelle, friend and Florence Poets Society co-conspirator. Gerry is a tremendous writer, someone whose work and imagination I greatly admire.

And look who I found in the audience! Turned into an ad hoc editorial board meeting for ALL CAPS PUBLISHING (kinda, sorta) over coffee and waffle fries.

Brain Trust: E.W. Storch and Marian Kent


Autumn Blues Insist on Orange

This is the season
for writing about itching,
wondering where last time went,
second-guessing sins.
Forever on your hips! cries
the cinnamon cider donut;
northerly mistral
wafts pumpkin spice so pungent
you’re belly-achin’ already.
Horoscope predicts
bad decisions will take roost
unless you atone
for a season of slacking--
lackluster at best, at worst
facing headwinds whirling
with decayed branches.
Not much to do about autumn
but pray that sucker out, waiting
for the first fruit-fly frost.


With This Rain, I Thee Wed

As they say,
rain on your wedding day
brings good fortune & fertility
leaving one to wonder if this includes
   the guests
as she thinks out loud oh,
       we should have another
& he responds hell no! But dreaming
is born of rainy days,


In Which She Takes Time to Reflect on Time

Before light
& forgot your slippers,
drinking coffee for warmth,
disinclined to turn the furnace on,
the cat expecting something
you don’t really have in you
at this hour,
but if you can keep the kids asleep
you have a window to ruminate,
so you write feverishly
as though time’s
running out
it is

Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads


Go West

October blows
like a cherry bomb
in a maple sky,
spreading out
against gooseflesh,
pining for wool.
October greets
seven with the lights on,
heads west,
the autumn-scattered curve
where your friend’s son
breathed his last crisp
fan of night,
already wishing for spring.

Mama Zen asked for October.


Night Flight

demons patrolling night
amidst ordinary memories
make for substantial adjustments
   in dream subject
not to mention predicate, speaking
of running, fleeing, flight
from demons--

one considers flying
at all, what with demons following,
temptation to hunker down strong--
that burrowing urge, but salvation
requires self-promotion,
so fly now--

Margaret resurrected a spooky prompt from Fireblossom for the weekend in the Imaginary Garden.


Fish Bait Tree

When it rains, you wonder
whether tears are right,

retreating to a corner
covered by catalpa umbrella.

Joy turns on a dime here,
followed by steady rain

so you wonder about tears,
hope, an array of excuses,

explanations for bruises,
the bean-heart of your tree

wilted following flowering,
pounding rain now drizzling,

promising sun behind tears.
And that’s the wonder of it,

how it changes like seasons,
calming after hurricanes

bring all the branches down.
You get on with your raking,

piling debris in that corner,
hoping for quick decomposition,

wondering about the weather,
planning for the next time it rains.

My offering for Bj√∂rn Rudberg’s lovely prompt to the Real Toads: Swedish Poetry and Karin Boye


Lakeside Drive-In

There was that time when my mom offered
to take us to the drive-in with her friend
and we got to sit in the back seat together.
Not ideal, of course. I mean, chaperones

on a drive-in date? But it was all we had.
So we went, and I remember kissing you, even
with the grown-ups watching. And I can see,
even now when I close my eyes, your skinny

legs in skinny jeans, splayed out, and just
how serious you were about the whole affair.
In another year I’d get a boyfriend who lived
right next door to that very same drive-in

and I’d spend many an evening not watching
movies there. But that night, you and I
were on the cusp of something, on the line
between kids from camp who wrote letters

and young adults learning what pining meant.
That was it for us, as far as it went. Awkward
silence and downward glances were our style
next and every time we met hence, for years.

But that was the moment when we could see it
and touch it for the first time; what we’d
seek forever after. To see ourselves in
our lover’s eyes, to feel love in our bellies.

This is the last poem in my book SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying. I recently came across the above photo of a postcard from the real Lakeside Drive-In, which of course no longer exists. I was surprised by the intensity of my reaction to the photo and thought I’d share this poem again with the photo to accompany it. The poem is dedicated to Don Martin, who left us almost two years ago, far too soon.


September Morning

Seagulls circle low
over the McDonald’s parking lot
as garbage-breeze
wafts from the river,
highway, trash out back the pawn shop.
Window poster declares
The Best Things In Life Are Fries--
It’s cool beach-air today.
The gulls are on to something.

For Grace at Real Toads: September Sky


6 A.M. on Tuesday

Waning dawns
at an open door
beckoning a bleary writer
to awe,
bitter coffee contrasted
with the sweet of birdsong,
crickets, sunstreaks
creaking over maple & mountain.

Soon mornings will require
a closed door,
for hunkering against cold,
the Holiday Season, the urge
to hibernate
under a mountain of quilts
with the furnace on.

This morning
pull on socks & sweater,
take what you can get,
for what you have been given.



At Thanksgiving, or a birthday
an uncle muttering I can’t read this
would borrow my grandmother’s glasses
or my mother would wear his to read
menus, rules of the game. I thought
all those adults had the same affliction
of the eyes. It must run in families.
Now I wear cheaters to read their emails.

Exactly 55 for Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads!


As Long As We Are Able

Stay true to the sun, a beacon
behind clouds. Blue sky on your left
as grey blows over. No one’s listening
anyway, so stay true.
Birds flock after a storm, we gather
at the table. The cool air’s moved in.
Take what you can get in this life:
shelter, occasional sustenance.
    It’s enough.

Real Toads music prompt: The Valley by Los Lobos/David Hidalgo



My birdfeeder’s empty
but for your song. Mouths to feed,
to nurture, each encouraged to sing
   her own song--
Love’s cost no discouragement, only
keep returning, singing
your glad song.

photo by Kelly Letky

The Imaginary Garden is featuring the art of Kelly Letky. Please visit Kelly’s website, The Blue Muse, and her Etsy store: Blue Muse Fine Art.


Flying V

A flock of geese flew over
at dawn in late August, honking
as if to herald their departure,
making a big stink about it.

You and I threw a rollicking
gaggle of a going-away party
once, and then we came back home,
relieved & subdued, a year later.

The geese will be back next
season, the falcon pair will nest
on the library rooftop again, & we
like they will be another year

closer to that heralding that fades
as it makes its way across the sky.


See You in September

These are the days of watched pots,
minced words, eggshell skulls.

Take copious notes, log on,
tune out. Everybody’s going pro.

No bake sales, no library. Only stacks
of back-to-school-style circulars.

Chopped liver. These are the days
when even your Muse gets weird.

For Words Count with Mama Zen: WEIRD


Hurricane Season

summer breeze blows hostile,
cycloning around the wishing grove
like a freight train bent on reckoning
   ancient debts,
ransacking forests thick with wonder
from distant daydreaming,
charging straight on.


She Referenced "The News From Up North"

We are all
simply unprepared.
So we bury our burdened heads
in quicksand of our own making,
   avoid the news hour.
But terror plays out in our dreams,
minute by minute,

Upbeat weekend fibonacci for Margaret in the Garden.


Words, Or Lack Thereof to Describe

Your body
hunkered alongside mine
reminds me of parking garages,
take-out pizza half-undressed
   on your sofabed,
midnight woodstove still radiating
like the hot core of you,
all mine now.
We surface
because hey, it’s payday.
You head out for bagels,
tackling shopping lists like nothing could
matter more & of course it does--
   But your matter,
your corporealness hunkered here
your hands covering mine,
short of breath--

Fireblossom’s Friday prompt to the Real Toads is LISTS.



Every day,
the incessant beating
against eggshell membrane,
   pulled up taut,
freed, loosed, tightened again
   with earthy Resonance,
occasional crash punctuation,
the Heart hammers to out
from its trap.


Town Crier

Stone angel
watches over our Town,
no alms for the Irish or the Poor,
stricken by poverty of checkbook
   or of Heart,
wilting in mid-August sun, temper
short & patience shorter--
Bless us, please.

Kerry has introduced the Real Toads to a form new to me and right up my alley, yippee! It’s the TRIQUAIN.