For Ms. Showers (for NaPoWriMo, Day 10)

April, you have misled me,
you have misled all of us,
with your teasing smiles
and warm caresses.

Now, your touch is cold,
and I shield myself
against it.

Where were you
this summer, when
my flowers were dying
and all that I needed—
all that no one could
give me enough of—
was water?

You offer it now.
Oh, how you offer it,
by bucket and pail, in
lakes on the sidewalk.
You say you’re here
to help me water

the garden. Now.
But April, it doesn’t
help when you smash
the young daffodils
down against
hard earth,

like a basketball
so many thumbs.

Then there is
your noise, April,
at night. I like
rock ’n roll

as much as
the next person,
but not at two
in the morning,
when my son
wakes me

because he can’t
sleep through your
concert, its cacophony
and strobe lights.

Everyone here is
tired of you, April.
I’m just the one
who’s telling you,
that’s all.

You say you don’t
understand. You say
you’re just doing
what comes

naturally. That I
might love you
again next year,
that I might
miss you

sooner than that,
in summer heat.
All of this may
be true,


But older, almost,
than the cycle of

is this question:
How can I miss you
when you won’t
go away?



NaPoWriMo, Day 10 prompt: Write an un-love poem.


Chapter One (for NaPoWriMo, Day 9)

Right away, I could tell she was looking for something—
or someone. Maybe me. We locked peepers. Hers were
agate-colored. Suspicious. Real shifty. She was a squawky
little broad. Made noises like she was hungry. But for what?
A hamburger sandwich? Shrimp DeJonghe? No, sir. It was milk
she was after—and she seemed to think I was a dairy cow, not
a cop. It took some doing, but I got her settled down. Real cozy.
By then, it was 2 a.m. Maybe even later. Time has no meaning
in a place like that, with the shades drawn, shutting out that
old apple, which always goes on with its sad business, even
when you’ve just met a babe like this one, a babe who will
change everything. As dizzy as I was for her, my partner
was just as whacky. Maybe even more. But that was
jake by me—he seemed to know just how to hold her,
what to say to get her all dormy any time she’d throw
an ing-bing, in that goofy way she had. Crazy kid.
What could we do with her, my partner and me?
We took her home, of course. Don’t get any
funny ideas. She’s our sweet pally, that’s all.
She’s aces. And that’s on the level.

NaPoWriMo, Day 9 prompt: Write a noir-inspired poem. I might say more in the comments later, but first, I want to see how many people get what I’m writing about and who the speaker is. Also, I’m linking for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.


Saturday, 3 A.M. (for NaPoWriMo, Day 8)

The thief broke in and stole a pair of pants.
The window gave a lovely, moonlit view:
a flash of cheeks that sought their only chance.
The pants had stars of pink on ground of blue—
the perfect pair to wear when at a dance.
I ask you, now, just what was I to do?
I mourned my pants, which sparkled as they fled
while I lay in my ordinary bed.



NaPoWriMo, Day 8 prompt: Write an ottava rima, a form that requires eight-line stanzas in iambic pentameter with a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c rhyme. I have a lot of trouble with meter, so I cheated a little by just making sure my lines had 10 syllables and not stressing over the stresses. After a lot of false starts, I went with this one because I really needed to move on with my day.


Toads, for NaPoWriMo, Day 7

We all live any way we can.
We plant our gardens wherever we have room.
We relocate toads to sunnier climes.
It turns out that toads prefer dappled shade.
It turns out that toads dig in cool damp.
They use spaded hands and feet to escape the sun.
We have upset the toads, their habits of living.

Mistakes have been made.
We have made a mistake.

We wonder if spring can forgive us.
Will a toad forgive us, if we bend close enough to hear?



NaPoWriMo, Day 7 prompt: Write a poem in which each line but the last one is a single, declarative sentence. In the last line, ask a question.


Goodbye to Goodbye (For NaPoWriMo, Day 6)

And this is the thanks I get for saying goodbye
to so many things: I am calcified, or made of
some type of sinew or jerky. Tougher.
Toughened. I’m not sure which is better:
to always be on the verge of tears, apt to
overshare with anyone who gives even a hint
of asking, or to shut that all away somewhere
in a private heart. I will not say I am wrong.
I will not say that mourning was better,
or that it is worse to live. (And living is
forgetting—you think it won’t be, but
it is. The good thing is that this becomes
less terrifying.) But I do miss some of its
crazy permissions, the feeling that if I was
up and moving, that was enough, more
than enough, and anything else was extra.
Now, there is less margin. Now, I am
expected to do normal things—and I can
do them. And I do them. And I enjoy them.
That’s the most surprising thing.



NaPoWriMo, Day 6 prompt: Write a valediction, which is a poem of farewell.


Crocus (For NaPoWriMo, Day 5)

The bees
find a lit fuse
inside each purple bloom,
then gather up the sparks to make
bright fire.



Look! I made a Crapsey! NaPoWriMo Day 5 prompt was to write a cinquain. I am not at all sure I got the stressed and unstressed syllables right. I find it very hard to hear these things, which makes meter a real challenge. Also, “fire” kind of has a hidden second syllable in it. Ah, well … 


Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill (for NaPoWriMo, Day 4)

With a hundred blue eyes, the scallop detected
certain changes in light and shadow that led her
to believe she’d soon have another meal, perhaps
her own larvae, which were always delicious,
in their way—and besides, she lacked a siphon, so
she might as well enjoy. Or perhaps the moving
form that she sensed was another scallop,
a male scallop. She was not as excited by this
possibility, being both male and female herself,
and thus, not in need of any assistance or
company. But she always felt that it was only
sporting to release any roe she might have,
if another’s visceral mass seemed to be
calling out to hers. It was easy, living like this.
It was easy, even for a hundred eyes, to miss
the glint of the knife just before she saw,
at last, everything—but most of all, the sun.



NaPoWriMo, Day 4 prompt: Write a poem using as a title one of the fanciful spaceship names created by science fiction author Iain M. Banks. I got my scallop facts mostly from this Wikipedia page. Make sure to check out the diagram, too — it’s in color, so you can see the blue eyes. Truly, science fiction is real, and it’s all around us.


Three for Barbary Joe (for NaPoWriMo, Day 3)

With rum and a dog
and Barbary Joe,
we set sail with a
Yo, ho, ho!

’Mid following wind
and isinglass seas,
we played on the pipe
and we took our ease.

Oh, one for the rum
and one for the dog
and one for Barbary Joe,
Yo ho!

’Twas first watch when
the storm blowed in,
and we set to work
with a clattering din.

Oh, one for the rum
and one for the dog
and one for Barbary Joe,
Yo ho!

The wind, she howled,
and the dog, he leapt,
as Barb’ry o’er the bow
was swept.

The rum went, too,
and down she sank,
and that was the last
that any of us drank.

Oh, one for the rum
and one for the dog
and one for Barbary Joe,
Yo ho!

Now, I’ve been dry
for many a year,
so I’ll sit by your fire
and have some cheer.

Give me one for the rum
and two for the dog
and three for Barbary Joe,

NaPoWriMo, Day 3 prompt: Write a sea chantey. To be honest, this one filled me with a little bit of dread when I first saw it. But it turned out to be pretty fun. The name “Barbary Joe” came into my head while I was cleaning this morning, and then most of the chantey wrote itself while I was walking to pick up my son at preschool. I’m guessing that motion helps when writing a chantey. Yo ho!

Also, many thanks to David J. Bauman (aka The Dad Poet) for his kind words about my Cummings-inspired poem from NaPoWriMo, Day 1. David is a great and very original poet himself, and he also does much to spotlight other poets’ work — particularly in sound. Plus, he’s funny. The same post where I’m mentioned also praises my poet-blogging buddy Jennifer Bullis. Her poems reveal a steady confidence and a fierce intelligence at work — and at play. One of the best things about NaPoWriMo is hopping around and visiting a lot of blogs — I urge you stop by and visit both David and Jennifer!


Liar (for NaPoWriMo, Day 2)

I was once the world champion
in candlepin bowling. This was
three years running, in the ’80s.
(I no longer apologize for my
teased bangs in all the photos, or
my acid-washed bowling pants.)
I keep all my trophies in a case
that my father made for me—
hand-carved, gorgeous, with a
glass front that I dust using the
first-shorn wool of only my best

llamas. (I saved my prize money
carefully—that’s how I bought
this ranch.) Llama ranching has
its own satisfactions, ways to
stay competitive: fiber length
and fineness, for example, or
guarding tendencies—but not
meat production, though this is
a line I’ve been asked to cross,
many times. Nonetheless,
there are times when I miss

the circuit. Candlepin bowlers
are a tightknit group, and my
hand still longs for the ball,
my ears (I can admit this) for
the twin hushed crashes of
pins, then applause. This, not
cruelty, is why I often dream of
lining up the baby llamas, the
crias, quietly knocking them
down before their mothers
even know that they’re gone.

NaPoWriMo, Day 2 prompt: a poem that tells a lie. Oh, jeez, and it’s also Open Link Night! Will link there this evening.


Anyone Was Not Sipping His Coffee (NaPoWriMo, Day 1)

anyone lived in a pretty how town,
but I never visited anyone very often.
Even my thoughts are orderly and
punctuated (though we often tried to
work them into some kind of disarray).
Many nights he tried, poor anyone,
until I rolled over into the welcome,
dark silence—my failure. I was annoyed,
once, when anyone forgot to meet me
at the station. I had to carry my suitcase
several blocks past the square, down
broken sidewalks and misspent alleys,
until I reached anyone’s door and pushed
my way in because anyone never did
answer even the loudest knock. He was,
that day, musing by the kitchen window;
it was open even though the first day of
spring in anyone’s town is never to be
believed. Anyone was not sipping his
coffee, which looked to be many days
old, thick as a mud puddle, with a skin
on top, taut and shiny as the face
of a balloon. I was fuming. But then
anyone smiled, raised a cloven hoof
in greeting, and there we were.
(and there we were)



NaPoWriMo, Day 1 prompt: Borrow the first line of a poem and write a new one. This particular first line is from e.e. cummings. I was going to choose something more obscure, but this poem mostly wrote itself while I was walking from my daughter’s school to my train station.