The Best Friend of the Girl with Spiders in Her Beehive

I told Lurleen, and her mama and daddy tried to tell her, too,
that no good would come of ratting her hair that high,
using all that hairspray. We all like a little bit of lift on top—
I do, too, even now—but Lurleen always did take things
a little bit too far. The shortest skirts, the tallest boots,
the highest hair. I told her she should at least take it down
and wash it now and then. She’d just laugh, light another
Lark cigarette. I thought maybe her hairdo would explode,
catch on fire someday. We all knew something would
happen. But what actually did happen—all them
baby black widow spiders hatching one day, biting
on Lurleen’s head as she screamed and cried, tried
to smack them, her beautiful tall tower of hair
just falling all around her, and all those little dots
of blood and smacked spiders on her shoulders—
well. That was something I’ll never forget, nor
anybody else around here, neither. I still think of it
every day now, when I take my comb and my Aqua Net,
look in the mirror, decide Maybe that’s high enough.

Spiders in the Hairdo/Tressed to Kill

Do you have an urban legend that you’d like to see made into a persona poem like this? If so, please leave it in the comments. Thanks!


Excited to Be Today’s Featured NaPoWriMo Participant!

Was so thrilled today when I checked out and found that my money poem from yesterday is in the spotlight!

This site has particularly great daily prompts each April — a nice mix of tricky form challenges and more open-ended ideas. I think I’ve been doing this one for the past three years, and I know I’ve learned a lot from it and grown a lot as a poet. Some of my favorite poems that I’ve written have come from NaPoWriMo prompts, and I can think of at least a couple that have gotten published.

If you’re inclined to take up a poetry challenge this month, I strongly encourage you to do this one. There’s no harm, no foul for the days you’ve missed — just jump in now and enjoy.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going on a little trip to the capital of my state for some Lincoln/Route 66/restored’60s mod hotel fun. (That would be Springfield, Illinois.) While past experience shows that I am capable of writing on the toilet while my family is asleep, results have been mixed. So … If you come by and don’t see any new poems for the next couple of days, don’t panic. I plan to catch up this weekend, once we get home.


Our Palm Tree House, Our Hammock

Gilligan, could you bring me a coconut?
I want to make us a whole new world,
one where our rescue doesn’t depend
on a plane, a UFO, a message on the

radio or our telephone wires
made of baling twine and birds.
Gilligan, I’ll wash your red shirt
for you, mend your sailor hat so
you’ll feel like a sailor again,

even though I hope you’ll want to
stay with me in our palm tree house,
our hammock. Look! I made a flower
out of flowers and put it in my hair.



Often when I make a mistake,
I imagine that I am in some
mod French movie (oh, sorry—
film) where the action screeches
to a halt, and over everything
is superimposed the word
GAFFE! It helps

to make my mistake
more glamorous, not an
ugly smallness, but a gaffe,
something worthy of notice
by, say, a poodle or an old man
in a striped boatneck sweater.
(I am trafficking in stereotype
here, but this is my fantasy.
Am I not allowed?)

Gaffes are not the end
of the world if they mean
I can retreat for a moment
into this faux French scene
of cafés and umbrellas
where I am not

the worst person
who ever lived, but
just another poor
être humain

stumbling on
cobbled streets
in the rain of
my error.


For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge, Day 10 (prompt: a poem with a foreign word in it).



Just Beneath the Acrylic Wall Art

There’s another wall waiting to begin
if only we can escape the gravitational pull
of this owl’s orange eyes, threaded with
yellow yarn, a big, dark, wooden bead
in the center of each, like a knuckle
in a fist. This is not what I came

here for, to sit on this houndstooth couch
with you, trying to explain what I mean
about walls beyond walls, some world
other than this one where we are
men and women, machines built for
coping, not for understanding

each other, not in any real way, except
through the flesh. You are wondering
about my flesh even now; I can feel it in
your eyes, your male eyes, and we will
never reach that other world, not
together, not this way. You have

your hot toddy, and I have mine; you are
not my ride home, the shoes under my bed.
We are nothing but two people sitting under
an acrylic owl, trying to ignore some things,
pay attention to others, and—for the next
ten minutes, twenty—not confuse the two.



For NaBloPoMo and PAD Challenge Day 4 (prompt: Write a poem in which the title is “Just Beneath ___).



Let Memory Be a Paneled Room, for Open Link Night

Let Memory Be a Paneled Room

Let us now be gracious
and thank our humble homes.
From shag carpet we arose;
the ugly couch was always
more comfortable before
it was reupholstered,
made more acceptable
to our changing eyes. Let us
now love Linoleum, warm
underfoot, forgiving of stains,
those accidents of carelessness
and time. How the years passed.
Let memory be a paneled room
with heavy curtains. Let it keep
every word we ever spoke.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.