My Mother the Car: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 20

That’s one clunker show
that I have never seen.
Can you imagine?
(Maybe you were a fan.)
Did the dead mother/
decrepit car talk to the guy,
or just honk? Was it all
a series of terrible car puns?
Did she ever just floor herself,
drive her son right off a cliff?
Did he ever push her into a
murky brown lake, watch
the fish invade her leatherette
interior? Was there ever
a time when kittens nested
in her carburetor and
the studio audience said,
“Awwwww”? Is there
My Mother the Car
merchandise? Is there
fan fiction? And if so,
is it dirty? Do I even
have to ask?


Things I Know: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 20

The horse who played Mr. Ed was named
Bamboo Dancer.
The preferred spelling for maple syrup used to be
The only think a monarch caterpillar eats is milkweed,
except in a pinch, they’ll eat cucumbers, too.
If you see a drowsy bee, you can feed it a little sugar water
to help it get back home.
We all have tiny mites who live on our face.
Many people rode that night, yelling things. Paul Revere
is remembered because he was in a poem.


Several Words from an Authority on Milkweed: April 2015 PAD Challenge, Day 19

Look, man, if you really want
the most successful butterfly puddle
possible, you really gotta pee on it —
that’s in addition to the cow manure.
Cow manure, human pee: Got it?

(But if you do this, don’t tell anyone.)

Hairy balls milkweed comes from Africa
and is perennial in Zone 8, can be grown
elsewhere as an annual, for laughs
and because caterpillars love crawling
all over those green testicles.

Please form a strong opinion now,
on the subject of tropical milkweed.
Be prepared to defend your choice
against link attack. You are either
destroying monarchs or saving them,
depending on the day or on who is
firing off which set of links.

Have you heard the story of the person
who got milkweed sap in her eye? Consider
wearing safety goggles in the garden.

Do you have enough milkweed?
Can you ever have enough milkweed?
Should you order more milkweed?

These are the questions I ask myself
at night — and then I wake up screaming.


And Then Her Voice Mail Started Talking to Me: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 18

Quick — we don’t have much time.
I can only talk to you for a minute
before they find out that I’m not really dead
or not really alive, one or the other.
I need to know right now whether you want me
to order you that new picnic table, or whether
I was a good enough mother, and whether
you forgive me for all the things I don’t think
I did wrong, as well as all the things
I know I did wrong. I need you to listen
carefully. I have enough nightgowns
and slippers. Things here get a little boring
without you. But I’m OK. Tell everyone
that I’m OK. You be OK, too, and let me know
about the picnic table or newspaper clippings
or whatever it is we were talking about. You
don’t understand what it’s like to try to think
here. You don’t understand yet, but you will.


What I Drink at Home: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 17

I shared with everyone that bats aren’t as scary as they seem,
and that Joseph Cavicchia, sitting on the bathroom counter,
said he was taking his hairstyle to the next level. 13 people
liked that; Cynthia Pepper-Jones said she “snaughled,”
and Suzanne Ryan Hoyt said that Joseph is a hoot.
(I have to agree, so I “liked” both comments.)
Another Joseph, where he cleans up beer cans
near the empty sandbox in the baby end of
a local park, then says, “Great. Now I smell like
Budweiser.” 3 “likes” on that, but it passed
without comment. There’s Joseph again, telling me
that a pink streak in the sky has “a relaxing, radiant glow.”
8 “likes,” and Julie Vassilatos says, “loooooove.”
It’s been a while since I had breakfast. It’s been a while
since I had lunch. I wonder why I didn’t share it? It was
extraordinary: a Colombian-style hot dog with a number of
sauces and toppings, not the least of which were crumbs
of crushed potato chips, and – right down the center –
a line of 3 hard-boiled quail eggs, which were tiny
as eyes, and sweet, unless that was the pineapple ketchup.
I also had a “kola flavored soda.” Brand name: Colombiana
la nuestra. Tagline: La que tomamos en casa. This is not
what I drink at home, certainly. This was consumed
at work, where today I received (also unshared)
a box containing 8 small, plastic clowns.
Former cake toppers, perhaps—now, 7 out of 8
mock the 8th one, who stands in the center,
but I might have to do some rearranging.


Maybe on a Quiet Shelf: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge, Day 16

If you were one of the elements,
I’d be among the stars.
If you were a Bunsen burner,
I’d live in a drawer
with the other pipettes.

If you held forth on
xylem and phloem,
I’d be in the lecture on
thermodynamics or
nuclear fission.

Maybe we’ll meet
in a textbook somewhere,
maybe on a quiet shelf,
breathe the papery air
and feel complete.


Delicate and Tough: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 16

I’d rather be picking seed from fluff
in the bag that wintered on my porch
in hopes that I could help enough

and guide their way with this torch
that some, without heed, plow under
and others kill by chemical scorch.

Does it fill you with a kind of wonder,
insects taking to unseen, inborn roads,
days and miles, wings not torn asunder?

The call to lay eggs guides and goads
to find those plants whose toxic sap
feeds each caterpillar till it explodes,

a new skin becomes a cloak, a wrap,
as it grows new legs and wings,
emerges to fill a terrible gap,

the decline that our destruction brings
because we care for other stuff
and do not want a world that sings
in notes both delicate and tough.