Pictures of Our Potato Bugs

I can provide pictures if interested.
But why would you want to see
pictures of our potato bugs, the ones
that congregate in the mossy drip
under our air conditioner, the ones
that my son calls Tater Pals, or
Tater Tots if they’re small? He and I
go out in the morning to our front gate
to pick up our newspaper and greet
the day—and the potato bugs. He is
often barefoot, wincing over hard
little fruits from a certain tree.
We say they’re nuts; we’re wrong
about this, too. Just like, of course,
the potato bugs, which are actually
sow bugs or pill bugs or roly polies.
But one day we called them
potato bugs, and thus they remain
potato bugs, and an entire
architecture of words has been
built around them, tiny scaffolds
to protect small, gray cousins
of lobsters, not even bugs at all.



Be sure to check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets every Tuesday p.m.


Achillea Millefolium

Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white blow,

One of the herbs dedicated to the Evil One
yet daubed by Achilles (except on his heel?),
loved by butterflies, hummingbirds, bees,
none of whom need to know if another
loves them back, none of whom need
any secret spells to determine by.

If my love love me, my nose will bleed now.

If my love love me, we are only in the garden,
crushing aromatic leaves in our fingers,
ignorant of any history less happy than this
present, blameless of curses, spells.
Devil’s Nettle. Bad Man’s Plaything.

Bitterish, astringent






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I find my voice.
I won’t have this anymore.
You call me junky tree,
scrub tree. You plot
my death. I came

without invitation
because I didn’t
need one. This was
years before you.

This was in
the time of ferns.

Tell me it was not.
Tell me if I’m lying.
Ask your children

to show you their
tongues. Are they not
purple? Secretly, secretly,
they pick up my fruit.

As do squirrels,
as do birds,
and butterflies
sip there, too.

And now I am
not welcome.
And now I hear
many curses

as I make wine
on the sidewalk—
and you, you walk
through it without
even stopping
to drink.





If it’s Tuesday p.m., it’s Open Link Night at dVerse Poets. Check it out!



Go ahead and write about it,
the milkweed raising its flags,
advancing into the strawberries,
the violets everywhere, placeholders
until you make a new decision, the chives
perpetually about to bloom, the first spring bees
coming to inspect everything, approving, drunk.
Crab apple snow all over the brick, the snowball bush
in blossom—fragrant sweet spicy—the plans, all the
beautiful plans. Yours, and who else’s?

Nature’s? Nature’s plan? There’s the problem:
Everyone writes about flowers, nature, the buzz of it,
this green, nervous madness; all poets write about
spring, new life—except the ones who write about
fall, winter, death: the reaping sickle of the bitter wind,
all that. It is enough that you are now writing about
writing; that in itself is indulgence. Must this also be
about spring, the beauty of the garden? Yes? Then here’s
another plan: Don’t forget to write about the cat shit

you found yesterday where you will soon plant zinnias,
iridescent green flies walking all over it, tasting it with
their odious feet; that, and the garbage that perpetually
blows in under the fence, candy wrappers and broken
bottles. Also, there’s nonstop traffic passing by, just
a few feet away: How much carbon monoxide?
How much lead? Yes, how much lead is now wedged
in the creases of your fingers because you scrabble
in the dirt barehanded, so besotted are you, so


Japanese beetles might come, a shiny army,
to eat the wild grapevine; the weeds might
take over once summer is in full swing, swelter
and drought, no more novelty to any of this, only
work and heat. Write about these, too, and never
forget them. Perhaps they can save you from
the sweetness of this unbearable world,
sweet as any cheap, delicious wine.




Check out Open Link Night at dVerse Poets every Tuesday afternoon/evening!


Chicagoans (for NaPoWriMo, Day 15)

Monk parakeets, green, with grubby baby faces
swing on a birdfeeder in our neighbor’s backyard.
How is it that people live in other places
and think, “Life in the big city must be so hard”?



NaPoWriMo, Day 15 prompt: Write a pantun, a poem with four-line stanzas, with an a-b-a-b rhyme scheme, where each line has 8-12 syllables and the second two lines take a departure from the first two. Got that?


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.


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.


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 …