Please Stand By

Too busy
to write. Too
bad this writer must
work for a living.
Be back soon.


Help Me, Erica Jong

my name was Snidely Green.
Today, it's Guardedly Optimistic:
Requiring External Validation.
My real name is Mama, Mama, Mama!
Tomorrow, it will be
Bellowing My Poems From That Rooftop.
My secret name
is Tender Roots
Toward a Half-Century
and Wondering
How I Got Here.

A reprise and gentle re-write of this poem I wrote a few years back, on the advent of my forty-seventh birthday. Ahem. 



They walked,
seemingly amiably,
apparently a mother
window-shopping arm-in-arm
with her adult daughter,
until the young one said,
loud enough for passersby
to perk up and listen:
I’m not going to say
that you’re emotionally stunted,
but I am going to say
that you owe me an apology.


Okay To Go

When the Aliens
come for me,
I want them to embody
the form
of Jeff Bridges.


1. Love Is

Someone Who
Notices Your Morning Breath
and Kisses You


Teenaged Girl Birthdays in the 1920's

My birthday.
Got a bracelet,
one dollar, a box of candy,
and silk stockings.
Am fourteen, now.

Another birthday.
Got 2 boxes of candy,
two nightgowns,
a pair of silk stockings,
choker beads, and a compact.

Sweet sixteen!
Got a pink silk combination,
a pair of silk stockings,
a pair for fancy garters,
and a compact.

Mother baked me a cake,
Dad brought me a box of candy,
and they both gave me
green & white silk sport stockings.

My grandmother would have been 103 today. These are excerpted from her teenaged diary, 1924-1927. Silk stockings, who knew?


This Room Has No Title

I sit, contained
by four white walls,
my back to a window
and the bucolity beyond:
Conifers, bike paths,
raindrops, rolling greens.
I face a screen, drink coffee,
type on a keyboard,
plotting my dream-escape
in excel cells.

Fireblossom asked the Real Toads for a poem in which the physical setting is integral.


Orchard Malingering

Recounting haunts of appled
Cheeks, dappled hair wrapped tightly
Round aching wrist, my habit
Having been kidnapped, nightly

Now I pine for sleep, respite
Long, deficit apparent
Like death’s last inventory,
Our story untold, unspent.

Karin challenged the Real Toads with a word list containing (among others) dapple, hair, inventory, malingers, wrist, and habit.

Rock, meet Hard Place

When what you need’s
to run away & hide
but you’re in It
far too Deep--
That’s when you’re stuck
with developing strategies
& forming Exit Plans.


No Bad Things

Every night
before sleeping,
my daughter incants
No bad things?
No tornadoes, no thieves, 
no ghosts, no asteroids?

Every night I reply
No bad things.
Only good things.
Sweet dreams,
I’ll dream of you,
I’ll dream of all of us.


ants come marching

hey thanks for the cookie
that was a good one maybe it was
from the bakery down the street i really
appreciate the gesture and so
against what is no doubt my strong
self interest i feel compelled
to report that yesterday i met an ant
on your counter here
just the one guy he was scouting
and he might have left finding not much
as youre so tidy in your kitchen but unfortunately
he found a popsicle stick
i know it surprised me too but surprise
or no the reality of it is he
nodded to me and said ahoy
thats a bad sign as i think you know
that one ant is harbinger of an army thereof
they will come my friend
so i worry because of course this means war
and decimation of a platoon of fine
soldiers who are just following orders
and the scent of sugar
use caution my human friend
life is in the balance and you
can tip the scales

Inspired by Archy’s voice: Archy & Mehitabel


Imaginary Friend

confusing tendency
to conflate real with imagined.
I wish I could be enough for your days,
but failing exclusivity,
I guess I’ll learn to share
if home base is
Come read more rictameter in the Imaginary Garden.


Igneous At The Core

lined like bookbinds,
stratified loneliness--
a pressing, lengthening of limbs,
heaviest words, incapacitated.
I am closed to your ideas,
rejecting your outcrops;
My heart’s weight in

Grace has challenged the Real Toads to write a rictameter. I've worked with this form but not lately, and had forgotten. Thank you, Grace!


14 Women X Infinity

Friends, I thought maybe you'd like to see a photo of the cast of Listen To Your Mother Providence, as I’ve been going on about how proud I am to have been a part of it.

And I'll bet you’re curious to know what poems I read:

after Newtown
In talking about
the end of the world
and human civilization
by tidal wave or solar flare,
my young son whispers
kids are too young to die
as my heart simultaneously
wilts and blooms.
I reply, yes, far too young
and brush his hair back
from a pretty forehead
clean of bullet holes,
stifle a moan by swallowing.
One heartbeat later,
my child bemoans those humans--
the ones he thinks
will finally realize
the planet is overheating
just about the time
his own children are grown--
and describes his child
wiping her own sweaty brow
as future apologists cry
What have we done?

bed-hopping (not that kind)
When you wake up squished
on the too-short loveseat,
entangled in warm limbs
and breathing in the breath
of your bright little girl,

you manage to peer through
sleep-filled eyes to witness
your long-limbed son
splayed and snoring
on top of this drowsy daddy.

You recall the night before,
one in your bed at one,
the other in with you at two,
At four? Mama, I’m so sorry,
I wet your bed, Mama.

As you throw the sheets
in the washing machine
and the kid in the shower,
you know for sure
you’ve hit the jackpot.

basic human needs
Sleeping, dreaming, drowsing,
by one, then two,
little bodies in my bed
with their little voices,
cold limbs, and big needs.

They snuggle in,
then drift back to sleep.

Mama is awake at three ay em,
starting to count sheep,

when a cozy little girl voice
says in her sleep, I love you, Mama.
Mama replies, I love you, Baby.

Then the drifting, sleeping voice says,

My butt isn’t getting any blankets.

(The first poem is from my upcoming book, SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying, and the other two are in my first book, Responsive Pleading.)

What you don’t realize is that you really need to hear the stories of all of these women. So I am telling you. Because these stories will affect you, even change you.

Imagine all of this times 24 cities across the country, and baby, I feel like I was part of a social movement.


I know you’re dying to see video from Listen To Your Mother, and believe me, as soon as I have a link, you’ll know it. It’s a big project for the women in charge to put that together, so I expect it sometime in the summer.

In the meantime, I’ll post links to the stories of my sister-writers as they post them on their own blogs, so please check back here often. Here’s some reading for now. Make sure you have your box of tissues.
Kirsten Di Chiappari, The Truth
Brianne DeRosa, Normal
Laura Rossi, Mother’s Day
Jennifer Ciplet, Sunny Side Up
Phyllis Myung, What Took You So Long
Lexi “Sweatpants” Magnusson, I’m Jealous Of You
Lauren Jordan, Pink Butterflies
Alicia Kamm, Baby V
Stephanie S. Lazenby, Nobody Ever Told Me
Carla Molina, Perfect
Kelly Baraf, Tea Party
Jackie Hennessey, The Horrors of Shopping With Kids
Jessica Severson, May-Bell


No Direction But Home

Friends, I am rather beside myself with joy in this moment, as I get to shriek on the interwebz about the publication of a special book by one of my most special favorite poets! What? You don't get to do this every day? Well, my life is charmed, apparently.

ALL CAPS PUBLISHING and yours truly announce the publication today of No Direction But Home, a first chapbook by Seattle poet Sarah Whiteley.

"A gentle foray into beauty and stillness, No Direction But Home is an exploration of the threads that tie travel, nature, and themes of home to the heart. In this first chapbook, Sarah Whiteley skillfully weaves words into snapshots of time and place, creating a reading experience that is both immediately relatable and intimate."

Get your (quite affordable) copy here!

I've been following Sarah's blog, ebbtide, since I started blogging. I admire Sarah's writing immensely--her images, her descriptiveness, her ability to make my heart skip a beat with her words. Her focus on perfection and her clean design. Sarah's just perfect, pals... and I'm all shivery about stacking up my own writing next to hers and the other fantastic authors in our ALL CAPS collective. Yippee!!
I thought you all might enjoy these directions from Sarah about how to read poetry. It's called "Guide."
poetry should be read slowly
standing upon the very edge of a precipice
no turning back
toes curling upon those last rocks
before the world falls away
there at the edge of all that ends
the edge of all that begins
one may have just the right perspective
to understand
Okay, required reading, drop everything and click:
Sarah's poetry blog, ebbtide

Sarah's photography/art blog, tied to sky

Sarah's book on Amazon! No Direction But Home


Our Love of Spring Goes Unrequited

for Jenn

The wall-to-wall chartreuse
has already waned to avocado
and soon will turn dull kelly.
Sugar season’s long over.
Today I walked in a dogwood
blizzard, and it’s raining.
If flowers stuck around longer,
would we love them less?

Izy asked the Real Toads to write about the dark side of spring.


Archy & Mehitabel

Visit the Imaginary Garden to read about a major influence on the writing of yours truly. What are yours?
A Toad's Favo(u)rite: Archy & Mehitabel


On The Rocks

Chill air,
like iced-tumbler
gulps. Breathe inside wide pores,
amber liquid sloshed in rocks glass.
Cold lungs.


The Truth About Violets

They gave each of us cousins,
your grandchildren,
a potted violet, your favorite.
I tended mine,
along with your old asparagus fern,
the one that had been Monya’s.
In truth, that fern
only lasted a few more years
in my care,
and violets are fussy little plants
prone to giving up in protest.
Like you did.
Flowers in Violet, original encaustic by Kim Nelson
For Kim Nelson's weekend prompt to the Real Toads: The Color Violet