This Week in Poetry, Math, and Remembering

World Poetry Day went by
without acknowledgement
   even to myself
but for that internal nod
           hello slacker
Instead I dreamed of budgets
       & spreadsheets
flipped through old photos
wondered what gaslighting means
             over black coffee

Mama Zen asked the Real Toads: “Think back over the past week. What have you observed that was odd, unusual, or just plain weird? Tell me about it in 60 words or less.”


Listening to Bruce Cockburn

When a song from another time
enters into consciousness
becoming painfully relevant
naming dangers for what they are
and our time spent amongst them
seeking daylight
I close my leaky eyes
give thanks for you
squeeze tightly
and pray

Sharing with the Toads on the Tuesday Platform


At the Strip Mall

There is a fireplace at Panera Bread
suggesting a ski chalet
snow whipping out picture windows
sipping whiskey-infused toddies
Maybe that’s why writers come here
with their Moleskins and laptops
parking lot out plate glass windows
sipping coffee after coffee
checking their Facebook
for photos of friends on ski vacations

Time for the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden


Three Colors

Robin’s egg in twigs,
dried moss, browning things.
Spring! Her nest trimmed
with last year’s ribbon:
shock of Santa’s red.

Some optimism for Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden



Your voice
in seven awkward syllables
leaning to maladroit:
Heavy rain through an eavespout
mimicking your tone of voice,
echoing meaning
in low tympanic verse,
symphonically flooded,
a thunderflowing noise
like mallets on a prayer bowl.
     Rhythm me your voice--

Love this new (to me) form introduced by Gillena: FOLD


Listening to an Interview with the Filmmaker

After the introduction,
the listing of accomplishments and accolades,
thanks for being here and thanks for having me,
and a short clip from the film,
the first question was asked
about inspiration,
the director took a heavy breath
as if to signal the weight of his response,
and then the audio cut out.
A message read “temporarily unavailable”
and no amount of clicking returned his voice
to my waiting ears.
So I opened my notebook and wrote about it
and felt glad.

Sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden


Portrait of a Woman Buttoning Her Blouse

In a window
romantically shadowed
by streetlight
pulling a stray thread
thinking about all the ways
to pronounce the word

For Kerry’s micro-poetry prompt: AND THE MOON


Love Songs In a Language I Don't Understand

Please accept
my billet-doux
I love you
and you love me too
Oohblay oooh

Valentine's Day in the Imaginary Garden


Nine (and Counting)

Sundown shoveling
packing troubles
at the approved hour
Plow pushes worries aside
in hegemonic heaves
Dig the heavy shit
at the end of the drive
a different tomorrow
if only we had chosen
a warmer climate
Still we persist
tossing memories aside
This stitch in time saves
and we’re shoveling

For Magaly’s prompt to the Real Toads: RECYCLE A SAYING 
(A stitch in time saves nine.)



under my eye
carrying necessities
like a runaway’s satchel
earnestly overstuffed
Hurts headed
too close to the brain
expertly cordoned off
and shunted downcheek
in a steady stream
of incongruity

Occasional music prompt in the Imaginary Garden: WALLS

I was struggling to title this poem and my son suggested this title. :)



I found myself crying at the end
of a movie about writing poetry,
and promised to write more poems.
I’ve felt small, unable to address
the fear and artifice and wonder
that adds up in frequently unequal
measure to make a life. The cat
sits on my lap as my family sleeps.
Fingers twined in her fur, I wonder
about sleep and dreams and being
awake at this time in human history.
I’m still thinking about the movie,
and figure so long as I’m here
I should document the hell out of it.
So I start with this February morning:
coffee, cat, a promise to write poems.

Sharing in the Imaginary Garden on The Tuesday Platform.


Dear Julia

Living on Magazine
there’s no time for novels
op-eds only
fiction if we’re lucky
serialized over months or years
They think proles want glossy girls
with clever captions

Soon there will be no fiction
just approved opinion
will be renamed Truth Street
No poets here
but writers for the Overground
and readers of regret

For Flash 55 Plus! in the Imaginary Garden



in the din of inhumanity
about women and doctors and workers
who deserve to be gunned down
families who are turned away
to certain death in plastic boats
because they threaten our way of life
there's so much to protect here
cheap electronics
plastic shit and freedom fries
the right to be gunned down by cops
or lunatics
each one is somebody's hero
I'm speechless
retreating for solace in a book of verse
remembering how naively I thought
our children would enjoy more freedoms
I don't know what else to write

I wrote this poem last year and it was published in Silkworm 9: Revolution (the annual review of Florence Poets Society). The photo of refugees in a plastic boat was included in an op-ed by CT Senator Chris Murphy found HERE. He says, "Trump’s Muslim ban is a moral abomination. It is fundamentally un-American. And it is dangerous--it will give life back to the terrorist movement and eventually get Americans killed."


I Was Published In the New York Times


I sent a poem about America's Baby Tyrant to Nicholas Kristof's poetry contest in the New York Times and they published it in the comments. A small thing, but still quite a thrill to see it there.
Gentle Readers, you should enter too!


Birds of a Feather

Here is my poem featured by George Wallace in "Walt's Corner" in The Long Islander, right next to a photo of Walt Whitman. The Long Islander was founded by Walt himself in 1838. Thrilled!

Eight birds
perched on a lamp-post
extending over the highway
grip against tremors
caused by wind upriver
and the Prime Chix truck
roaring underneath
Premiere Poultry Distribution
all the way from Foodmart Road

Eight birds
perched on a lamp-post
wish they were someplace else
anywhere but this lamp-post
squawk incessantly
about their outrage
and seem to have forgotten
the prime directive about birds--
they know how to fly


To a New Star

Photo by and inspiration from Jena Schwartz.

I have set a spell
on thinning ice
under that same star
humming her
a prayer of welcome


Giving Everything Away

It’s hard
to pick a favorite
when swaddled with loss
tucked in penitence
caught flat-footed

Interstellar traveler
you’re a rock star
but your eyes
register discontent
earned with senescence

you queue up Blackstar
and all is forgiven
in a rush
of empyreal foreboding

It gets dark early
in listmaking season
turns out our heroes
are not immortal after all

Today is David Bowie’s birthday.


A Review (Kinda) of David Bowie's Blackstar (Who Am I Kidding? It's a Poem)

My great friend Nick Zaino has a cool website called The Department of Tangents wherein he writes music and horror film reviews and publishes comedy interviews.

Nick put out a call for friends and colleagues to write music reviews of records he missed in 2016. I said oh! I could write a review of David Bowie’s Blackstar! As I have been listening to it on a continuous loop for the entire year! And Nick responded great, yes!

I sat down to pen my review and realized I had no idea what to write. What was I thinking? So I wrote a poem instead. And Nick, lovely soul that he is, indulged me and published my poem right alongside the words of folks who obviously know how to write a record review.

Take a peek for my original poem. And explore The Department of Tangents, which is chock full of fascinating items (including interviews with literally every comedian you can name, for real). Happy New Year!


What I Learned in the Orchard

I watched an old man
pruning apple trees in December
laddered during snowfall
straining for the farthest branch
and realized I had not considered
that quickening is a year-round
lifelong commitment to growth
through paring back

So you
bygone year of want
you my bygone sister
buried expectations
in awful post-truth
It’s snowing

Still I ascend the highest rung
and start cutting
limbs leggily reaching for sun
because flowering requires tending
brings fruit for sustenance
and only now have I learned
what fruit from labor really means
That man has taught me a few things

For Mama Zen’s Words Count in the Imaginary Garden. My poem went long but I beg forgiveness as frankly that never happens! :)



So the longest darkest night
already came and went
the lowest Fahrenheit mark
accomplished last year
sooty depths of insecurity
experienced under a waxing moon
in a long-ago bone season
so we don’t have to worry anymore

File them all away
alongside the giddiest infatuation
scatterings of September chicory
sweet balsamic on the tongue
baby-milk breath
dust suspended in long sienna rays
all just under the surface
for retrieving in discomfiting times

Sharing with the Read Toads on the Tuesday Platform, typically late but at least I wrote something! *cheer*