Seasonally Appropriate Wishes

Forsythia blooms
with the volume of my heart's


Following Rain

Wet morning, wandering
ideas grey as clouds
or sidewalks washed with rain.

Walk, avoiding puddles.
Wisdom or confusion,
who’s to know? Worthier

questions have confounded
searchers for centuries.
I got the street’s memo:

Here, embrace the wetness,
always seek your own way,
& write everything down.


Asylum Street

As I waited for you
in the wrong place,
you left me behind,
leaving only your mother
for commiseration.

Next time,
you left me with my pack
perched on cement steps,
taking the dog
with you, no looking back.

After that,
every night I smothered you
with my pillow
but you never came back;
I had been left behind.

For Margaret’s great prompt to the Real Toads: Willard Asylum


Happy Fourth Birthday!

runaway sentence
four years old!

skating on thin ice;
steady on her feet.


For Gwen

A red Jetta passes
& I’m transported 20 years,
pulling in next to yours
at Pennsylvania Pizza
where you are holding court
over Wednesday happy hour,
top-shelf vodka in hand.
Susan is on her second Yuengling,
Caren’s animated, Carl is late
& you are still but for the shine
in your eyes when mentioning
your son’s promotion
& your grandbabies down Atlanta.
Did you keep that efficiency
upstairs when Pennsylvania Pizza
sold out & became a Hooters?
Did you still order Stoli
on the rocks, Baby-Doll?
I can hear your voice.
I can feel the twinkly grin
that said You can’t fool me,
Girl, I know what you’re up to.
You always did. Yes, you always did.


Infant Openings

Open arms. Open up!
Little airplane will fly
right in! Open sky.
Open heart,
tiny vessel, already broken:
filling a slot
open for infants.

Sam Edge has the Real Toads playing with language in the style of e.e. cummings. Not that this tiny poem fits that tall order, but here it is.


Dancing Down Bay Road

Sun sings low red
at the horizon, you string
twinkly lites around
a grand piano on your front lawn.
I don’t know you, but have
forgotten how to dance.
May I join?

For my own occasional music prompt to the Real Toads: Working On That


When Blue

This life begets Blue.
Conscientious objection
is all you can do.


Once In A Blood Moon

Cloud curtains parting
for a glimpse of starry night,
wondrous indigo.


Not Much Of A Jump-Rope Rhyme

brings what it brings.
May follows, just after
you’ve given up hope of ever

Mama Zen has the Real Toads writing short poems about the cruelest month.


Sunday Morning

Nothing gets through.

Not the window open
to the first sunny air
after an aggressive winter.

Not the memory of last night’s
lovemaking, nor the jolt
of a navel orange,
happy news from a friend,
children’s peals, coffee, poetry,
the Velvet Underground.

That My Little Pony episode
is stressing you out. Shouldn’t
you be working on something?

Guess that got through.

This needs work (shouldn’t I be working on something?!) but I’m posting anyway to participate in Kenia’s Sunday prompt to the Real Toads.



Shit gets challenging,
but my looking-glass
is half full
because in it, I see you
reflecting back at me.

Grace has the Real Toads reflecting on mirrors.


Even Concrete Evolves In Time

Armed with Rustoleum & grandiose aliases
in case of arrest, we branded the sidewalks
with our anti-violent, violent message,
wheat-pasted sins & leafleted long after
bull-headed & well-intentioned arguments
turned to mildly-amused barely noticed,
disavowing all each morning, like a hangover
that just needs to be powered through.

These days, I wake to birdcall followed
by children’s questioning of everything,
including What Mama Did When She Was Younger,
& in sharing glimpses of days gone, hope
they’re able to ride that current of Hope.
I spin their messages into a river of words,
in up to my neck, yesterday’s sidewalks soaked
& glistening with the power of every single one.

Susie challenged the Real Toads to write a street poem.


WWWGD (What Would Word Girl Do?)

Sharing words
takes nerve.
There’s a learning curve
It won’t solve
today’s problems--
not gonna solve 'em.
Or could we?

April is National Poetry Month! We are offering inventive and creative prompts every day, all month long in the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Come and join us in challenging yourself! Write one poem or thirty, share them or write clandestinely under cover of darkness. The only requirement is to write.

Mama Zen kicked off April with a challenge to surprise her on April Fool’s Day, in 37 words or less. My poem uses just 22.

I’ve been less prolific of late, with many less-than-poetic things distracting me, of necessity. Don’t know that I’ll write 30 or even try. I guess we’ll find out.