Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Tiny Poem


If mirrors would cease
reflecting—a relief

not knowing if my hair
is askew or graying, only

proof of me existing
in heaps of worn jeans

and clean underwear,
warm sheets where

I must have been sleeping.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A New Poem for Everyone's Neighborhood


Next door is the property
of pests. It used to be
a family’s we never met
but waved at. Nobody’s home

but rats, black widows,
brown recluses, poisonous plants,
an unmown lawn of allergens,
irritants to skin. We call

the bank, the city, the county.
No luck reaching anybody.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thanks to Ali Smith and Edith Hamilton

I just read (and totally recommend!) Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, a retelling of the myth of Iphis. I dug out my copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology to look up Iphis; she doesn't retell Ovid's myth, alas, but I've always had a soft spot for Hamilton's book, so I've been reading bits of it. And the bits from Hamilton gave me an idea to work on a poem, which is good because I haven't had many ideas in that department at all.

Our Neighborhood

At pick-up games, Apollo
shows off the same
arms, legs, chest of the athlete

he used to be, maintained
with twenty minutes a day
on his Bowflex machine

as Hermes lugs boxes
up and down the street
for UPS, and artists who watch

from windows don’t know
they’re sketching the gods
in our image, everyone’s

weekend one tableau
of overtime and basketball.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Colorful

I haven't been posting because I haven't been writing poems. Enough said. But I did work on this poem earlier this week.


Corduroy, seared surface
of well-done beef, skins

of russet potatoes, upholstery
of old sofas and cars,

nutshells, chocolate bars,
certain parts of darting bodies

of flickers and chickadees,
fifteen feet of tree trunk,

patchwork of dirt and dry grass,
slats of our privacy fence.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poem from the Patio

I was sitting on the patio and noticed some ants, and so it goes... I was glad to work on a poem as I've felt kind of stalled out, probably because of being super-busy with teaching lately.

Weeds, Anthills

Did they crack our patio
or did cracks come before
in one or more earthquakes

before we lived here?
No one cares. It’s an old slab
of cement with no one

to repair it. Only I can
see it with spring filling out
the neighbor’s hydrangea

and our mock orange.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I haven't been posting because I haven't been writing much, just a few notes here and there, hopefully toward a project that will ultimately come together in a more satisfying way, but too early to tell. I finally wrote a little poem that I felt I could post, so here goes.


Goodbye, flickering lamp,
mismatched towels, threadbare

sweaters and jeans. The van
for donations comes today.

Mom calls it Tobacco Road
if we store boxes on the porch

even temporarily. Goodbye,
sturdy boxes from the liquor store.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Two Tiny Poems

Dear Blog-Friends, I haven't forgotten you, but I haven't been writing much poetry because of needing to write assignment sheets instead and also because of grading papers. Here are two very tiny poems, which, you never know, could become part of something bigger about "road trips" as I'm always wanting to write more about road trips since I do try and write in my notebook whenever we drive somewhere and stay in a motel...

And speaking of tiny poems, I'm collecting short poems for a mini-anthology called Poems for Your Pocket, with a submissions deadline of March 28. I plan to hand out the anthologies for free at the college on Poem In Your Pocket Day, so send me tiny poems if you want to participate.

After Mountains

An ancient restaurant
perched over a river--
let’s stop for root beer.


Interstate 5

My fingers hurt
from the cold and damp
and from driving.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Little Road Over the Dam

I don't know if it's still like this, but it used to be you could drive over the top of the dam on Baker Lake. I don't usually write about being a kid, but I got this idea after reading the following prompt in In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit: "Recall something that happened many years ago near a body of water."

Baker Lake

Dad takes the narrow road
over the top of the dam.
In the back seat, we study the lake

like cats regard what’s behind
a shower curtain. We hear
each pebble under the tires

of the Malibu, watch
waves lap the dam, through
the residue of window decals

Dad tried to remove.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Poem in the Dark

It's still so dark in the morning. I usually sleep in, but sometimes I wake up early. I guess the events of this poem actually took place at like 5 in the morning, but it felt like the middle of the night.

Is it a shame that my poems don't have more "original" titles? I don't like to push it.

Well, I like that this poem fits in with my "weather" series. Also, I really like looking at the snow.

Middle of the Night

Woke up a little shook up
from dreams I couldn’t remember,

took my pills, looked out
between the blinds. Snow

had piled up while I slept,
everyone’s yards blurred together

under an unseen moon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A List of Literature

I started this blog to nudge myself to write more, and over the past week or so, I've been reading a lot but writing very little. But then I was like, "Remember the blog!" and worked on this poem, which also owes something to the assignment I'm writing up for my poetry class for next week on using listing and/or repetition in poems.


All over our floor—
paperbacks from thrift stores,
hardbacks from libraries.

Debit card receipts,
coupons for medium pizzas.
A plea to save polar bears

with canvas grocery sacks.
I’ll write them a check.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Park at the Park at Your Own Risk

I may do a whole series of poems comprised of things I've seen through the windshield of my car... (Or maybe I won't. Who knows?)

Warning: High Car Prowl Area

By the lake in the city park
watch for suspicious activity,
low clouds, gray skies,

gray everywhere, more accurately,
because of the parking lot
and how the lake reflects

weather, pavement, feathers
of the bodies of migrating geese.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rainy Day at Green Lake

Here's a poem from some notes I made earlier in the week while I sat in the car beside Green Lake, having an apple and cheese and watching some all-weather exercisers. The last line I'd say is kind of a tip of the hat to my grandma.


Their raingear reflects headlights
and wicks moisture away

from their bodies. They follow
yellow arrows to miss bikes

and rollerblades, but nobody’s
on wheels today but babies,

strollers covered in plastic
like hairdos of careful ladies.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

If I'd Thrown a Holiday Party

Well, I didn't throw a party, but I reflected on parties past. I did, however, need to solve the mystery expressed in the last two lines; luckily I was able to solve it quickly!

Party’s Over

Napkins, crumbs, toothpicks,
plastic wrap, coffee cups,

dessert forks, and more,
unfortunately, than a few

tiny flies, from the amaryllis
or maybe the oranges.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On the Flooded Highway

This is one of the poems I've been working on regarding the bad weather and flooding from early December 2007.


Thick threads of headlights
in the north- and southbound lanes

can’t stop the river pulling loose—
a million knots give way,

dirt, branches, leaves
and water all over the place.