Instead of writing a poem,
I shop for dresses —
scrolling through so many
possible new selves
(30% off, plus $20 coupon).

Today’s optional prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a Twitter poem, meaning 140 characters or less. This one is 122. And here is what the title references, which I mention not to commingle art and commerce, but so you’ll know just what kind of rabbit hole I find myself in today.


Your Mind Goes Down Mazes

When you wake up in the morning
with dread of a house you don’t own
your key stuck in a gummed-up lock
and a memory of 4:00 a.m.,
on your own porch, no one else
awake yet, maybe some birds, maybe
How are you on your porch
in your pajamas, and no one there
to let you in?
Your mind goes down mazes:
Where did you make a wrong turn?
And where, where is it
that you’re supposed to be instead?

Today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write about the mind.


Dandelion, Regardless

A fresh and vigorous weed
introduced for food and medicine
invasive or welcome (an ongoing debate)
nectar for early bees, smell of sunshine,
a blazing path that leads endlessly on.
Leaves like flags that say: Victory!
Regardless of everything, I am here.
Today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a poem based on any of several quotes by poets born in April. I chose this one:

“A fresh and vigorous weed, always renewed and renewing, it will cut its wondrous way through rubbish and rubble.” — William Jay Smith



The naked mole rat
was born to be a person,
but it was too beautiful,
shocking the stars into silence
(they used to sing)

and causing the sun’s great factories
to grind to a halt. They remain halted
even though the naked mole rat

was banished years ago,
by the queen of all things, to live
largely unseen, underground.

All hail the queen. Yes, all hail her now —
she has dispatched her competition
in loveliness, that she may reign.

Today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a myth about an animal.


903 N. Knight

Shortly before we moved away, the Ben Franklin store burned down.
Is it possible that I saw, in the ashes, a single cut-glass punch bowl
as if still on display? Is it possible that I saw this from the car window
as we left for Dayton, Ohio (the last move before the last one)?
The road out of town took us past that Ben Franklin store, and also past
my elementary school: Northrop, now torn down, from what I hear.
Still standing is the Rusty Nail: a bar, or a lounge downtown
that my parents whispered about. Am I right that there was a murder?
There was something unsavory,  I know, and highly unusual for
Thief River Falls, Minnesota — this was years before the Coen brothers
punched a big hole in the folksiness of Fargo and towns for miles around.
I know there’s still a Rusty Nail because (get this!) I’m Facebook friends
with a total stranger who lived in our house before we lived in our house —
her parents sold 903 N. Knight to mine. Imagine! What a gift, not to lose places.
What a gift, when you only lived there for two years, but can still smell
the dusty screen door at Erl’s, where your smaller self bought
Archie comics and candy wax pop bottles, never dreaming it wasn’t
forever — never dreaming just how soon you’d be gone.

I regret that this one will almost certainly not present how I intended because it needed to be in long lines, which my WordPress theme haaaaaaaaates. Anyway, today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a poem that incorporates names of some places you’ve loved — inspired by the Canadian poet Al Purdy.


April Pity

Pity the guts of the crocus,
smashed to the ground by wet snow,
ruined before bees could arrive.
Do not take it lightly, this small death,
as the blue sky looks on
and shudders.

Today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write a poem of 100 words or less, incorporating a group of four words (with a few groups to choose from). I chose pity, guts, crocus, and blue.


Right Here, Right Now

With terrible visual effects,
Fatboy Slim explains evolution
and ends it all with a fat joke.
But now I’m flashing back to 1998 —
20 years ago — and I’m supposed to be
writing about now, the moment
Right here, right now I am cranky
and have things I can’t tell you
and a black-and-white dog
wedged into a corner
of the black-and-white couch.
Right here, right now I dread
walking the dog, flashing forward
an hour from now, into the sleet
or whatever that is outside.
Right here, right now,
I have things I can’t tell you
and a mind that doesn’t speak Now.

Today’s prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads was to write about being in the moment.