If Only All We Need Were

How woefully wrong
every single thing is now
with Brat Boys of America
running all the shows

It’s amazing how quickly
respect turns to regret
in higher-circus atmosphere

We are endlessly capable
of scudding what’s right for us

But for love’s indefatigability


Another Cavalcade of Seasons and Songs

Fold the year’s pain
into renzuru--
everything you lost locked
in the heart,
head full of yearning,
like showy tailfeathers,
all your melodies memorized
in the wings.
Keep your crane of ghosts
and minor chords
creased in your notebook,
carry it with you,
stashed in your pillow for dreaming.

Sharing an older poem that seems both topical and timely.


Untitled: America

In the USA
the following is acceptable

A man’s last moment alive
groveling on the floor
of a hotel hallway
multiple killing machines
trained on him
following snarled orders
to crawl forward
keeping legs crossed
not to move
for life
his fatal mistake
an involuntary movement
to pull up his pants

The gun that killed him
inscribed with the words

This is acceptable
to the police
a jury
our government
and the court of public opinion
is not universally decrying
an obvious miscarriage
of justice
and basic humanity

There is something very wrong
at the most basic human level
in the USA
on this earth
and I don’t know how
to end this poem


Possibly the Fussiest of All

What will become
of the one whose
fear comes calling

First snowy day
blows away thoughts
of maybe not

Kitty prefers
to nap, stir not
she purrs all day

What about love
dreams made of clouds
above our hearts

The Real Toads are trying out a challenging and very fussy little form
called THAN BAUK in the Imaginary Garden. Yikes


The Collected Poets Series

Hello, Friends, it’s December! Next up, I am thrilled to announce that I’ll reading as part of a distinguished poetry series at my favorite coffeeshop in my favorite town on Thursday night. Look here for photos, bios, poems: THE COLLECTED POETS SERIES

Marian Kent & Irene Willis
The Collected Poets Series
December 7 at 7:00 pm


Busman's Holiday

These days play
like the movie Groundhog Day
and not in cute and funny way
more of the same gut-wrenching
anxiety upon waking each day
assuming there’s been any sleep
today brings more weight to bear

Advice to look to the helpers
and helping others yourself helps
but there’s no escaping
that sinking sense of coming
catastrophe heavy responsibility
particularly inability to protect
children from the coming storm

It can’t be healthy
living this day after every day
but health wellbeing happiness
are no longer the American pursuit
just ideals we will remember fondly
charming artifacts from simpler times
if there’s any time for memories
in the new holiday season

Christmas at the White House, 2017

Well! *deep breath* THIS uplifting verse is #30 of 30 Poems in November to benefit the Center for New Americans! Today's theme is HOLIDAYS.

Thank you, dear readers, for cheering me on this month. Please take a moment to scroll around and read poems you might have missed this month. My kids also successfully finished their challenge to create 30 drawings each on the same themes. Amazing!

I hope my friends might also consider making a donation of any amount to Center for New Americans. Here is our fundraising page:


Naming Conventions

It’s one thing
to create something
and give a name to your invention
like a newborn
or your favorite mojito recipe
but the human tendency
to explore and excavate
naming things once discovered
seems different
I’m not saying it’s easier
to travel through space
for the chance to name a star
or to discover
a new-to-us insect species
but maybe these things
already have names when we humans
come upon them I don’t know
I do know I've been discovering
a lot of new things myself lately
about human nature
at least as it plays out
in my universe over here
digging up previously unearthed
artifacts and gems
a few that scurried away
preferring to be unexamined
and one or two so bright
it was impossible to look at them
with my naked eye
but despite my obvious
human tendency toward curiosity
I feel reluctant
to name them

#29 (penultimate!) of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is STARS.


You Got Me Feeling Trapped

And not
the have-a-heart kind
but a big steel bear trap
clamped down years ago
been gnawing
and licking ever since
trying to decide
if your story
is the real one
or mine
think I’m at the point
of brushing off
mannerly concerns
and appendages
formerly thought necessary
in order to save myself
so forgive me
if the next time
you visit me in confinement
you find only a rusted leghold
I will be free
but somehow stronger

#28 of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP.



You ask me to fix your hair
and talk to me while I brush
of dreams and drawings

I notice how you’ve grown
and wonder every time if this
could be the last time

as you need me less
or maybe

and I am so constantly aware
of my own needs
which have also grown

So we talk and dream and scheme
and so far
our plans include one another

I braid and breathe your hair
whisper a little prayer
that they always will

#27 of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is HAIR.


Stashed Away With Your Prized Accoutrements

the secret stories
you carry with you

how much do they weigh
what kind of pencils
are required

to keep them colored in
are they hazy or precise
do they comfort

or slice
& emphatically yours

to have & to hold
forever in your belly
unless you write them out

#26 of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is SECRETS.


Rainy Days & Mondays

Stay inside
it’s raining
rain of disquiet
discordantly fine
rain-on-the-roof harmonies
imploring us to
stay inside

#25 of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is RAIN. Sharing in the Imaginary Garden, where the Toads have been let loose on our November themes!


Moonlight Magic

There's some kind of small-town
craft fair going on outside
but who would choose shopping
even for pottery & maple products
when you could be inside
a beloved jostling coffeeshop
steam rising & warming
entirely rapt by a songwriter's
earnest verses about stars
snowstorms & comedians
& what-could-have-beens

#24 of 30 Poems In November to benefit Center For New Americans. Today’s theme is SHOPPING/NOT SHOPPING.


The Life Cycle of Towels

It’s getting rough
around these edges
as we arrive
at the fraying stage,
pulling wayward strings,
aware that the wrong pull
will bring on the great
unraveling, which we know
will be followed by
a protracted thinning,
but hell
today’s a holiday so let’s
bring out the fancy linens
and show those edges
what’s what

#23 of 30 Poems in November to benefit the Center for New Americans. Today’s theme is--what else?--THANKSGIVING.
Joining in on Friday 55 at Joy's place: VERSE ESCAPE


Down But Not (Yet) Out

One minute
you’re leaving the supermarket
balancing a satchel of groceries
and a pumpkin pie
the next you’re down
I mean all the way down
splayed on the concrete
accepting a much-older gentleman’s hand
to hoist back to your feet

In this moment you realize
maybe you’ve reached a new life stage
the falling-down-needing-help level
and it sinks in
that you’re no longer as strong
as you always thought you were
in fact you’d be totally useless
in the coming apocalypse
zombie or otherwise

You ponder this development
already in pain
from just this one episode
as you shakily limp away and drive
but also giving many thanks
because you didn’t hit your head
you didn’t break your hip
and most importantly
the pumpkin pie is unscathed

Argh! #22 of 30 Poems in November to benefit the Center for New Americans. Today’s theme is ZOMBIES.


The Way of Flowers

Each blossom, even
the hardiest foliage,
wilts after a time

#21 of 30 Poems in November to benefit the Center for New Americans. Today’s theme is FLOWERS.


No Such Thing As Too Much Cake

All the sweetness
mostly I don’t deserve
but deliciously served
against saltier times

A cornucopia
of ridiculous riches
like a tempting cake table
each and every day

It’s so hard to believe
this sugar is my life
I still pinch myself
just to make sure

A little sweetness for today! #20 of 30 Poems in November to benefit the Center for New Americans. Today’s theme is CAKE.