batteries not included

This is
my egg machine.
I'm not
quite sure
what it does yet.


fifteen in spring, 1925

Gee! How I hate that Charles!
I just can’t stand him.
He’s too fresh.

Sophia said today that Charles
is going back to her again.
Maybe he won’t bother me any more.

We went to see
America’s only Siamese twins,
Daisy & Violet Hilton, at the Aldine.

I like someone else now, but
I’m afraid to say it because I’m afraid
he’ll just be like the rest.

I’ve found out that Frances likes Wayne.
Oh, well, she can have him.
(If she can get him.)

Am writing a story in my spare moments.
It’s rotten. I just do it
for lack of something better.

I don’t like any boy
in particular now, but I think Bill
is a pretty nice kid.

I guess Bill isn’t so wonderful after all.
The only really nice boy I knew,
I never expect to see again.

Have been sending to movie stars
for their pictures.
Norma Talmadge sent me one.

Linking up with Kerry's weekend prompt to the Real Toads: April, Come She Will


anything for the eyases

On a sunnier day, I’d sit
out on that bench
with my notebook, penning a poem,
hawk soaring overhead,
hunting breakfast for his babies.
I’m no falconer
but can appreciate his good looks
and care of his nest,
zeroing in on his prey--
Oops. Maybe I’d better go in now.

50 words on the scary shit outside my office window for Words Count With Mama Zen in the Imaginary Garden.


talkin' Love

I’ll just confess
that I don’t get
how someone can say
they love another person,
and in the same breath
say that person
should not be able to marry.

Here’s what I say,
not very poetically or originally:

Love those you love,
Greet your neighbors
with kindness.
Fly your freak flag
And live by the golden rule.


Steady On, Wild Woman

I have learned
that splitting logs,
cultivating body hair,
even watering the garden
with an infusion of stream water
and menstrual blood
doesn’t make you a Wild Woman.
Steady is the new Wild:
The radical act
of raising up the next generation
to best the mistakes of this one,
a need requiring quantities
of Wild mixed with Resilience
and not a small amount of Belief.
Steady on, Wild Woman.
We all rely on you.

Sherry Blue Sky asked the Real Toads to release our inner Wild Woman, no small task.


Listen To Your Mother!

I'm pleased and proud to announce that I'm part of the cast for Listen To Your Mother Providence! On May 4, I'll be headed to Providence Public Library with poems and a microphone. More details to come!

Please click HERE for more information and the cast announcement.


the Understudy

Spring knows all her lines.
Ready to bloom with nerves,
she lingers behind the curtain,
costumed in shades of green,
yellow, forsythia on the breeze.

For three acts we’ve tuned
to the gusty baritone of snow.
When Winter finally calls in sick,
tracking mud across the stage,
Spring’s aria will steal the show.

Susan asked the Real Toads to write an extended simile or metaphor.


Sixteenth Spring, 1926

I care a lot for Bill Rush now.
I like him better than anyone else.
We don’t even speak, though.

The same old “gang” is still
going strong, although not quite
so strong as it was a year ago.

When I came back from the vacation
I learned that Bill Rush had gone
to Colorado for his health. Oh!

The third period seems lonely
without Bill.
Floyd, his special pal, looks lonely too.

The season is very late this year.
The blossoms aren’t out on the peach trees,
and the violets haven’t come up.


Loving Blessing

May rainbows have love.
May trees be tall.
May love be strong.
Love comes for us.
And until we meet again,
May all be happy!

I asked my nine-year-old son to write his own version of the Old Irish Blessing and this is what he wrote.



Serves you right for poking around
where you have no business.
Now you suffer, inflamed & ugly,
from unbearable itch,
the phantom prick from too much picking,
and oh, the scarring.

The antidote is right nearby,
so plentiful as to be considered invasive
with its succulent hues,
love of half-light & kiss of coral,
so much so that you’ve weeded it bare.
You’ll have to live with the burn.

(c)2006 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) via Wikimedia Commons
For Kerry's prompt to the Real Toads: The Last Mixed Bag


i'll take the Earl Grey

honey bee
draws my attention
to the bee balm cluster--
crush a leaf
between thumb & index finger
raise fingers to my lips--
bergamot essence
brings me right back to you
honey bee

De Jackson challenged the Real Toads with a botanical word list including the words bergamot and cluster.


Gemini & Scorpio & Capricorn

Friends and gentle readers! It is your lucky day! NEW POETRY by three incredible women, known to many of you as Fireblossom, Mama Zen, and Hedgewitch!

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"Three American women poets combine in one volume with poems about everything from a succubus goddess and the girl who claims she struck out Babe Ruth and was with Poe when he died, to motherhood and Norse myths."
You know you cannot resist. Click here to go over to ALL CAPS and learn more about Shay, Kelli, and Joy.


blink off the fog

Fog rises
from the Oxbow
just as the anguish floe
upon waking
and realizing
it was only a dream.


before you do something drastic

The sum's greater
than the individual parts.
Don't swallow the fly.


in time of ill regard

If only love could be attained
by shuffling under a birdless sky
as the cafeteria tray of clouds
presses closer to the sidewalk
and the weeded quarter-acre
on which you’ve staked your claim,
hanging your only shingle.

If only one could mark years
on rice paper with edible ink,
discarding poisoned moments
and supping heartily on the rest.
Cloudward in home’s direction
pestilence falls away like sorrow--
If only love could be attained.


how to feed my inner child

Take some hot dogs, cut them small,
and brown them in a cast-iron skillet.
Add a can of baked beans.
Meanwhile, make some Kraft mac & cheese.
(The kind with elbows you have to boil,
not the shells & Velveeta kind.)
Mix it all together
and serve it up without comment,
in a bowl, with ketchup on the side.
Sit with me at the dining-room table.
As you eat your meatloaf,
please tell me about your day
and listen when I tell you about mine.

Grace asked the Real Toads to use food imagery in a poem.



Thank you for ten (eleven) years
& all my best material
the way it's s'posed to be

Wish I could count on a hundred more

With that kinda time & inspiration
I bet they’d name me
Poet Laureate

For my husband on our tenth wedding anniversary.



It’s time for me
to draw the curtains
and retreat inward.

You are welcome,
but I’ll outline you
and color you in.

I’m coming home
to feel the nothingness
of my extended tenure.


fact finder

Day after every day
you consider, then reject
and consider all over again,
like searching for the crocuses
you put in last year
as an investment
in the color of the sun.
Finally locating buds
peeking amber through the snow,
they’re no insurance
against the coming of the dark,
so it snows again.
As with searching and repeating,
the black is a constant--
There’s no hedge against the dark
upon which to retire.

Izy asked the Real Toads to create a list of three words or phrases specific to the worst job we ever had, and craft a poem using them that has nothing to do with work. My words are investment, insurance, and retire, and my title counts, too.


view from the parking lot

Pinkest sky
greets weary shoppers:
upturned eyes,
supermarket frustrations
instantly released.


no mystery in violence

After a husband kills his wife
and then shoots himself,
the newspapers report his death
as a tragic ending to a fine life.

When a woman is strangled
to death in her own basement
in front of her three-year-old,
her murder is called mysterious.

Blackened eyes never meet yours
when she says he tried to kill me;
there is no way to comfort children
whose mothers are forever absent.

Nothing mysterious about it,
nothing at all fine about a life wasted.

click here to reach Woman Scream

Susie Clevenger has asked the Real Toads to raise our voices in condemnation of violence against women. In memory of Annamarie Cochrane Rintala and countless other women who lived with violence and whose lives were ultimately wasted. We remember and honor you.


signs of spring

Ah, spring!
With your promise
of melt and mud and maple
to be followed by primrose
and crocus, the red tulip
bursting from the earth
like fireworks.
You’ll be here soon,
regular as rain
or the phases of the moon.
You arrive, like clockwork,
and yet our routine
is to tire of snow
and bemoan your lateness.
Registering complaints,
the first sign of spring.

primroses ready for dirt, photo by Marian Kent
I wrote a first draft of this little ditty in a work session about Myers-Briggs personality types, in which we were asked to write a paragraph about Spring. If you must know, I'm an ENFP. Sigh.



If what I love
is really what you hate,
then how do I know
what’s real

I’ve built my world
on your sepal-covered buds,
and now the ants
forcing me to the ground.

Let’s retreat
to that time
when we knew how to love,
before the interloping
of outsiders.

This poem is inspired by the music of Tim Easton, the (wonderful) subject of today's music/writing prompt over at Real Toads.