Happy National Poetry Month!

Finally, an excuse to extricate myself from the frenetic energy that life has been so far this year. I am SORRY it’s been so long. I’d thought that the momentum of writing a poem a day would carry me through but the makers have determined that I can, apparently, handle a LOT more life than I thought I could. LOTS. But that will have to be a topic for another day.

Today, I’m wanting to invite you to see what’s up on a site made to celebrate National Poetry Month. I’m a Poetry Month Scout trying my hand at daily prompts for experimental poetry. Check out my first poem on the PoMoSco page, http://www.pomosco.com/remixing/pick-and-mix/in-the-middle/

Check out the site and consider writing your own very fabulous poems using the prompts for each badge!

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Happy New Year 2015

Happy new year!! We’re having a Men In Black movie marathon at my house in attempt to stay up late enough to ring it in…we’ll see how it goes. Hope your year’s been a good balance of sweet and sour with a couple of misspelled fortunes/koans…as a matter of fact, I hope the same for next year, too!

I have some fun news – here’s a review in the California Journal of Woman Writers of an amazing anthology that I was honored to provide a poem and some photography for, “Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence”


Love to you all!!!

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Haiku for the month 11/28/14 – 12/24/14

This month’s haiku seem like they’ve come floating in from Noah’s ark or some long lost archaic zoo. Perhaps it’s due to the longer nights…but it’s strange how, as winter burrows in and animals are more scarce all around, they figure more prominently in my head…perhaps it is a superstitious sort of mysticism, I seem to be searching for meaning in our animal neighbors, in our origins, for signals I can understand.

dream twitches, shudders-
how dogs and infants sleep, how
poets find their muse

trees bleed their shadows
over sun spilt hills, branches
sink back into earth

two iced ponds: pale eyes
filmy, sheened by frosted sun
to dull watered gleams

–it happens

I think this crap is
following me around, first
from a carsick dog

smell lingering in
the floor mats, then in his crate
tonight, more poo, more baths

now, diabetic
cat somehow pees under the
box, around the lid,

but not inside it-
his pissy magic for a
shitty evening…

what life lesson am
I not hearing that I keep
getting this lecture?

cat-hair patinas
my couch, the beasts themselves bloom
lichening the floors

after another nonindictment

will we ever stop
re-discovering the times
when we’d mummify

the poor, bury them
as vassals for noble use
in their after-lives

(priests as terrorists)
weren’t those black lives killed worth
any afterthought?

in praise of the sacred, in praise of the scarab

bejeweled beetles
feed on wasted daily bread
breed bucolic births

burrow out disease
mangering saviors reborn
life resurrected

wintry firs are dark
backgammon ranges plying
slushy ski-trailed skies

this persistent dog
leans heavier than you’d think
rests his mulish head

on my tender neck
his primal urge to nuzzle
softens my resolve

in the whale’s belly
we sit amid ribs, scrimming
the oily runway

one twist of flippers
till we glide the inky skies
diving for sea stars

when we were camels,
skinny legs see-sawed the sands
criss-crossed caravans

stiffly hop-skipping
lumpy burdens lumbering
on flat, fleshy palms

gritty wind-whisked dunes
sifting, lifting to starlight
stirring through closed lids,

when morning had eyes
like ripe grapes we would suck dry
squinting past the sun

with those tender lips
strong enough to peel away
love’s thirsty thorns

mossy paused evening
tangy winds’ noisome sawing
cleaves the air in two

before I could speak
I’d trace lines in her pale wrists
breathing in his smoke

before there were words
we’d carved those surging symbols
scratched on sallow walls

flowing beasts rendered
along the veined rock seemed to
breathe in flickered light

distilled histories
filtered in bottled sunlit
refracting futures

cave bear claws stretch scraped
parallel lines, evidence
of his scratching reach


man stands to full height
standing tall on his bare heels
extending ribs, his

scratching reach creates
charcoal-lined ancestral bear
caved walls and minds

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Haiku of the week 11/12/14 – 11/27/14

I have always had a lot of ambivalence about the thanksgiving holiday. I love the food and connection to family…but the wrongheaded myth of its origin has always been troubling to me, and I am astounded that it is perpetuated despite the awareness that most Americans have regarding the horrific treatment of Native Americans in our history as well as in the present day. It continues to be a strange mix of nostalgia and shame…

Nevetheless, it was nearly a year ago, on Thanksgiving, that I began writing these daily haiku…at the urging of a friend and fellow writer, Nicole Galland. That day’s haiku was:

Commitment to write a haiku a day

Count me in
I can start right now;

I am grateful to this suggestion, though I’m often ambivalent about writing them. I know I need to but often find it hard to carve out the time or presence of mind in my day to day busyness. And, yet, it’s been an amazing year – 17 small syllables a day didn’t seem like too much of a commitment to begin a daily writing practice, but upon reflection, it has helped me focus on using more spare, impactful language to make observations or comparisons that wouldn’t have found a home in more unstructured writing.

Some of them can be a little morbid despite my intentions and I think that expressing these aspects of myself have strengthened my other poetry, too. Like these creepy moments:

inky brackish chill
night, a predator pupil
ponderous and still

do you think they knew,
(so inured to suffering)
they lived dark ages?

others are more pleasant…

tumbleweed tribbles
scud across the briney streets
in advance of snow

such a small thing,
your heart, already
housed in mine

welcoming- before the fact

as if we’d always
known this serendipity
it, our connection

one retreat, all these
new souls need woven inward –
to be reabsorbed

but then, I think, I am becoming more at home with the uncomfortable, the darkness within us. Perhaps this is related to the longer nights and shorter days as we cycle nearer to the solstice…

curdled green persists
on these chilled black branches
never riotous

no brisk exhale or
sprinkled coda, clung to
chiming greying skies

his crippled sermons
tilted windmillish toward her
root cellar reserves

oil rigs

top heavy dippers
tend tufted fields, stitching seams-
tailoring sinkholes

sideburn clouds hang low
and long beside bald
dimming tremolo

or perhaps these really are dark ages, not so very different from the massacres marking the founding of this country…

this evening, the sky
was not a riot of pink
at most, it was a

neon carnival –
these clouds have no language for
the carnage power

will make of unarmed
black youth, for damaged silence
which pillages fact,

the assured accused’s
calculating evasion…
or for the fury

untethered in loss,
refusing to be unseen.
the riots are a

sea of righteousness,
of recognition, the riots
are a hurricane

they knew was coming
but never fixed the levees
for and won’t rebuild

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Haiku for the weeks: 10/30/14 – 11/11/14

skim-coated sunset
delicately tints soft air,
sweeping dusk sighways

This haiku was the first one after a bit of a break/fall off the wagon. I seem to keep needing to relearn to slow down in my day to day life – and keeping an eye out for a good image/thought to use in haiku usually helps me get there…unless I just stop looking. The image referenced above was so beautiful, even despite the sheer embarrassment of gorgeous sunsets in rural Kansas where nothing blocks the display, so touching that it made me stop for a minute and see instead of think.

I went to an AMAZING writer’s retreat in Truchas, New Mexico put on by Tupelo Press (if you haven’t yet, please check them out – they have lots of resources for writers of all levels!) and met fantastic people and learned good things about myself…it was after four weekends almost in a row of travelling: seeing the daughter in college; driving four hours to the rennaissance fair with the kids, my sister and her three kids; flying out of state for a long lost family reunion/grandmother’s 90th birthday; and this…I knew it was too much. I’m an introvert. I was tapped out. I was strapped for cash and I knew I shouldn’t do it. But it wouldn’t let go of me and the universe kept telling me to listen. And I’m so glad I paid attention.

I still have a lot to process about how to proceed with suggestions, more questions than answers, which is a good thing. I still have beginnings of relationships that I need to touch back with, people I’m eager to know more if I could just figure out how to jump back into the conversation again. And I’m still working too much. But I could breathe among kindreds, if only for a few days, and I know they exist. And because of them, I feel a little more centered, a little less squirrely with myself, and I find myself looking for those moments again. I guess, the point is, getting in a rut isn’t a problem. It’s the choosing to stay in one that’s a real drag.

After coming home and scrabbling for a few days to catch up with everything, I got up one morning with the sun and again was moved by the beauty I was met with:

11/08/14 sunrise
glimmering ribbons
streak color skywards to its
buttermilk edges

crows, like you and I,
use their wings to breathe, pumping
air like water in –

bullfrog caws thrust from
open beaks – shadows swimming
through snow burdened falls

your ashes trellis
laddering tree limbs, mingling
with the blowing dust

cold fronts plow flat air,
curry sand from empty lots
into churning plumes

I’ll keep savoring my experiences this past weekend and will hope that you and I will keep noticing beauty, pain, whatever the moment brings and pay attention to it.

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Haiku for the weeks: 10/02/14 – 10/22/14

How has it already been three weeks? It seems harder and harder to squeeze a moment of peace from these busy times as the daylight hours shorten…and they’ve been such mild, generous days for mid-October here: sunny and with such a deep blue. It feels like a sin to waste them in an air-conditioned office under the menacing buzz of fluorescent lighting. When I need it most, the slowing down of observing and writing, is when I’m least likely to make it a priority. We are foolish little creatures, aren’t we?

broken birds thrash
the viscera within:
enfeebled, moot

granite, bleached by sun,
pitted by tides, still surges
up to catch its breadth

a dream koala
clung snugly, needing me but
not weighing me down

in the beginning
none of us knew who we were-
it was all fire and ice and

breast milk. every
other thing: a magic we
could never fathom.

we would shape names like
tools: fashioned words to hold the
aching pains in our ribs,

strung up clear wires
puppeting the world: disguised
them with latin terms,

exclamation points.
in the end, we still murmur
questions in our sleep

his kind of vow is
a cheshire sunset, too
ruddy to last long

tin-can crumpled, these
souls come for recycling,
asking for refunds

cinnamon milo
sifting over turmeric
weeds and coffee grounds

spiraled, shedding bark,
bleached cottonwood bones leak white
to overcast skies


corrosion crystals
mushroom up, fairy-circled
and peels spines from joists

blackbirds at recess
hands spread in jacket pockets
zooming playground skies

these darkened mornings
-pregnant only with delay-
scrape the horizon

pruning the autumned rosebushes

grey and brittle-pricked,
she didn’t ask to die but
resists uprooting

I apologize
and expose gnarled flesh once used
to defend her hips

her sudden release
no less sobering a task
as how to fill one’s whole

across dawn’s bright moon
scoots one fleck, scoots another;
flocks scatter like stars


privilege is like
whiplash…realizing you
have it and how come

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Haiku for the weeks 09/20/14 – 10/01/14

This was one of the foggiest mornings anyone here in north-central Kansas could remember. But today, I travelled 20+ years back in time to when I would drive almost by touch morning upon morning in rural Michigan’s autumn trek to high school.  I tune back in and hear the radio telling me this will be one of the coldest winters they expect to have here; I can feel the truth of that, at least, in my bones.

this expanding self,
yeast bubbled and foaming,
gives itself away

setting sun’s brined reach
spangles golden leaves, scrubs
tinsel from summer

grown comfortable
with prickly self-worth doubts,
she acted, at last

we stalked upright to
walk like tree trunks instead of
scampering branches

roots in earth, not air
stalwart stewards, we ignored
our joy for leaping

seaweed spirals lure
currents, unravelling
colonies of hope

And so, I went and visited my daughter. I sat in earshot of her barista-ing at the coffee shop waiting for her to get done with her shift and wrote like I’d been humming the words all along…

doodling ladders with
firstborn and her fauna mates,
schlepping for donuts

her boyfriend echoes
her father were he ever
content or hipster

her colleged misfit
making-do-ness feels like home
to this rag-tag heart

erasure poems

this morning I made
found object fragments from lists
of past weeks’ haiku:

from 09/06/14-09/19/14

moldy scattered cells
glitter feral sagas of
sunlit emptiness

geysered dormance lifts
with tangerine eagerness
breath orbiting shifts

from 08/29/14-09/05/14

mild ruseful truths,
snug kernels, tinted sky trills;
silk stitches inward

I wrote these haiku in the days following, while waiting for the big poem that’s knocking on my brain to come out, the one that answers how we’re supposed to be, the one that I’ve been searching everywhere else for, the one that lives tethered within and is so easily spooked…

circles from above
ladders from the side: helixed
wisdom ascending


we’d intuited
elliptical wanderings
not egocentric

orbits; if we’d seen
more spectrum in the night skies…
hearts would beat with tides

when I told you there
was nothing, I was speaking
in code – hiding loss

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