Monday, August 28, 2006


Patience is
Breathing slowly
Or Holding my breath
Biting my tongue
Thinking before I speak.
Tongue bleeding,
The words simmering inside
Slowly come to a boil.
Pressure rises
Steam escapes
And the lid

Saturday, August 19, 2006

How I Write

Personal reflection on writing poetry

I write what I think.
I write what I feel.
I write with a pen on loose leaf paper
or in the tiny spiral notebook pulled from my purse.
I write on my laptop computer
-outside on the deck
-on the couch in the den
-at the kitchen table
-in the backseat of the family van on the highway
I write to organize and clarify my thoughts
I write down the bones, the beginnings
then I revise with Xs and arrows and notes
written vertically in the margins
I write best with a structure
or goal in mind.
Random doesn’t work for me.
Leaving rhyme behind was hard; its structure was comforting, familiar
So I challenged myself with other structures
that let me grow
My angle is more literal than metaphoric -- often more prosaic than poetic.
Reality checks in more often than fantasy.
I write from my heart, but not too much,
Because if I write about those closest to me
It can hurt,
So I don’t look inward as often as I could.
I write for me.
Though others might enjoy the pieces on occasion.
I don’t write for the masses.
I write what I think.
I write what I feel.
I write for me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why we were late after lunch

--A poetic apology for arriving in class late after an interminable wait for our food to arrive

What did we order that they had to kill?
Are they plucking the chicken for my soup?
Milking the cow to make the cheese for Donna’s burger?
Growing the lettuce for the salad?
Heading south of the border for the tortillas in Julia’s soup?
How long does it take for Jim Beam to cure?
Never mind……
Check please! I’ll take mine to go.

-Oh, the memories! My lunchmates and I wrote this on our way back to a graduate class to apologize for our lateness. The stress of the long wait rather diminished our enjoyment of the food, but the poem convinced the professor that it was out of our control. The Jim Beam, by the way, was in a sauce, not a glass. :)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Snow White's Response

Really, stepmother, I understand.
In this youth-centered culture,
Just like Hollywood, younger is better
Regardless of talent.

I'll get the same reaction
In twenty years
When a new, lovelier princess
Emerges from puberty
and charms the masses with her
innocence and fresh beauty.

Let's leave together.
There must be a society
That values women more than this one.
Leave that apple -- and that blasted mirror! -- behind.

Friday, August 04, 2006

In my pocket

One nickel, two pennies.
Seven cents.
Nearly worthless
Not enough to buy anything in these days when penny candy costs a quarter.
They jingle in my pocket
Spread their unique metallic taste to my fingers.
How did they get there?
What did I buy that netted me exactly seven cents in change?
I must have been in a terrible hurry to drop these coppery coins into my pocket instead of my wallet.
In a life so rushed, paced so fast, this seven cents
Reminds me to slow down.
Open my purse, take time.
When viewed from this perspective,
Even this meager seven cents
Has value.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Attack of the clones

They didn't come silently.
Bulldozers, cranes, cement trucks, and other big machinery
Brought them in and put them up.
And now they stand
Looming over the landscape once crowded with cornstalks.

Exactly three stories tall.
Light gray with darker gray trim.
Identical porches.
Identical attached garages.
Identical satellite dishes, mounted at the exact same angle.

Blocks and blocks -- no,
Mile upon miles
of brand new cloned condominiums
On shining new asphalt roads
with bright new yellow stripes painted down their centers.
Within minutes of the new strip malls!
Buy now! They're new! Good terms available!

But don't expect any character,
Individual style,
Color, variety,
Or even trees.
This is not a neighborhood; it is a barracks.

These buildings are exactly,

And more are on the way....