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.



us to seize
the Words they give us
but we hunker down forgetting
these are the only ones we have
there are no extras
waiting behind the next stanza
to surprise us with
Words left

For Grapeling’s word list prompt to the Real Toads: Carpe Diem


Another Bulb Blown

I haven’t been writing. The explanation
is I’ve been living. But what is living
without writing? And also, how many
brilliant lights must be extinguished
before we give a collective fuck? I mean
an actual fuck, not a flowery, pining
wish-it-weren’t-so sigh, glorifying death
all glittery & shit, strung with quotes
and the most flattering photos
of the actor in his prime or your friend
when he wasn’t completely wasted.

I actually caught myself thinking
comedians have it the worst, as though
morbid six-foot-deep depression were just
another station on the track of life
if you’re unlucky enough to board the C train.
Lucky for the rest of us, I guess, until
or maybe including the moment of our loss
when we rally, circle round holding hands,
light some candles, fetishizing death
intoning you’re always in our hearts as though
it’s true. But it’s not. Mostly we keep
our totems squirrelled away in a box
under the bed, reduced to trivia in a game
where the prize is another beer. I haven’t been
writing. Maybe he had stopped telling jokes.



A history of my hips,
fiercely jutted in defiance,
then submitting.
Swaying, waxing with child
pliably bearing,
war-tugged just shy of splitting
but always springing back.
Reaching, striving,
the expanse of you
(I will meet you here. I can
hold you here.)
Wilted, still unbroken,
the enervation of years
you read in my hips.

Late entry for Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads.


Maybe I'm Just a Fool

It’s like when someone says you’re too emotional
& at first you believe it, breathe in those words,
burp them for a tight seal, hold them close

to the bone of you. You exhale the rest upon learning
about your unappreciated dramatic element, unable to stop
the lid from clamping down firm & strong, not allowing

any light in. No wasting time poking air holes
in that thing. What could you do but write it all down
& wait for hope to germinate? Hope sprouts the slenderest

shoots, breaks the seal, births one slight ray of sun,
light enough to locate the chamber closest to your breast
& revive all you knew. Even Tupperware has its limits.

After all, those who call you Other have their own crosses
to bear, their own little wars. The disposer can take
those words. Just be sure to let the water run, and believe.

For Imaginary Garden with Real Toads: JERUSALEM


Exit, Stage Left

It’s the tinkle of an ice-cream truck
outside a clouded window, the wishing
for an intervention, but not really.

Did you say something?

It’s the goosebumps radiating
from your very core to the tips of you
at just the thought.

I didn’t hear you.

It’s surreptitious snacking, secrets
best kept buried. It’s what you think
you want but can never have.

Can you repeat that?

Heavens to Murgatroyd! It’s who you love.

For Kerry’s prompt to the Real Toads: Can You Hear Me?



Summertime sweater
reminds me of my backbone
quickly goosebumping--


Patience is a Virtue

I’m here, still here, and not going anywhere, but please be patient, gentle readers. I’m working on patience, and on being gentle with myself, too. I’ve never been particularly virtuous on either score.

I started a new job two weeks ago. A wonderful job! I’m pleased beyond measure about this change. The clouds seem to be clearing. I’m hopeful that I’ll be in a new groove soon, and that the pretty words will flow more regularly. Meanwhile, working on patience and gentleness.

A meme popped up over on Facebook with a wonderful quote from Sandra Bullock:

I’ve made peace with the fact that the things I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me. I like them.

Love that. Working on that.


Rush Hour

Highway rocking chair
invites me to set a spell
inviting time-out
watching the traffic go by
to watch cars go by.