day 27: writing on my phone–a first!


I am writing this post on my iPhone, an experiment. To explain, we spent the WHOLE day getting a DOG!!! A big deal for our family (the hold-out-Dad who has said no for 20 years, suddenly said fine). Our new dog, sort of a rescue, is a Tibetan Terrier named Pabu (Tibetan for Puffball, which I understand he was as a puppy; he’s bigger now), completely adorable (and really smart). I’m writing now as we cross home on the ferry. I’ll have more, no doubt, to tell you as this adventure unfolds.

The assignment for Day 27 was to choose a state, write down some names of towns, and then write a poem using the towns as adjectives, or in other unusual ways.




Set in Massachusetts

It was the Boston of possibilities, the perfect center
Like a pearl set in a necklace
Strung Ipswich to Andover, across
The throbbing pulse point
Of a throat. Warbling Cambridge for culture.
Salem searched for Lenox folds,
A Suffolk lamplight, Bristol
Cheeks stumbling like Chatham.
Taunton’s tightest embrace. East Bedford
Of hearts, Wesford for bedding.
Fall River dropping out of a Harwich sky.

Days 22 & 23: Two Poems

Rebellion is good, right? Yesterday I lost a day of my life to a migraine (no exaggeration), and then I was quite busy most of today. But at 3:30, it was Writing Lab time and I sat down and wrote not one but TWO bad-poems. I did not refer to the prompts at POETRYisEVERYTHING, but that might be part of the process (the surprising process). Today, anyway. Please remember that “one-bad-poem” per day this month was my goal. (And, if you’re worried about me, yes I have made an appointment to see my GP and ask for new headache meds.)


Poem One
I’m driving to Writing Lab when a deer leaps
from the grass beside the freeway
into the brush, and beyond that I know
there’s a wall, so I slow down, fearful
for the deer, fearful for coming traffic.
I catch only a final glimpse of a tawny haunch
before it’s gone. I say “deer,” out loud,
and I point, even though I realize,
mid-gesture, that I don’t have a child in the car
with me, and in fact my youngest child,
were she here, would be plugged in
to her music, texting, too; she’d never hear me.
The deer has disappeared faster than my daughters’
childhoods. They were buckled into carseats,
they were small for so long,
and I know at the time it seemed long,
like a river that didn’t end, ever, just kept
unfurling, the ocean an endless distance away.
And now I’m merging from the highway
onto the freeway and I swing into the faster stream
of traffic and I can’t even remember
why I have to wipe my eyes.


Poem Two 
A Stellars Jay pokes through the the pink blossoms
of a rhododendron, crooks his head
as if to ask me for a bauble or a seed.
It was late April when we decided
to move Mom from the farmhouse,
and that day, too, there were Stellar Jays
and pink rhodies, those gaudy
Mother’s Day blooms. We mowed the grass
and weeded the flower beds,
tasks that began to feel like the labors of Hercules,
Augean stables of flowerbeds.
“I’ve always done all of this work myself,
all my life,” Mom said, and we brought her a chair
so she could sit on the lawn and watch us,
“All this work.” Head crooked, an inquiring smile.

Day 21: Blessings for Parents

Today’s assignment at POETRYisEVERYTHING is to write a parody of a well-known poem. I decided, instead, to write an imitation.

One can’t improve on the Beatitudes from Matthew, but they make for an interesting foundation, a kind of map to explore other kinds of blessings. (I remembered, as I worked on my imitation, that “to bless” means, etymologically, “to wound.”) I started writing with the intention of being light, and then it…sort of changed. I’ll let it compost in the drafts file and see if something else cooks up from it.

Beatitudes for Parents

Blessed are the parents of infants, sleep starved as mystics, endlessly rocking, for they shall see visions of all that is possible.

Blessed are the parents of toddlers for they shall learn the limits of earthly patience.

Blessed is any parent of an ailing child for they shall be exposed to their own limitations, they will learn the limits of their own too-permeable limits.

Blessed are the parents of seven-year-olds for they shall be called wise and, if truly wise, they will know how foolish and how brief wisdom can be.

Blessed are the parents of fourteen-year-olds, for, as in the days with toddlers, they will grow infinite patience and yet none will call them wise.

Day 19: Poem in your Pocket Day

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Visit to see some possibilities for Poem in your Pocket day. I have heard that Elizabeth Austen, our new Washington State poet laureate  will be at the Mount Lake Terrace library at 2:00 this afternoon. (Go to “Events” to find the listing.)

One of the suggestions is to text a poem to all your contacts. This gave me an idea. I’m combining POETRYisEVERYTHING’s prompt, to write a gripe, with a poetry assignment I once gave my students (the ONE time my college allowed me to teach poetry). This assignment was called a HONKU, cribbed, if I remember correctly, from a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece about a wave of protest poems, Haiku’s posted on telephone poles, etc. (My students were inspired to write some pretty amazing ones, and they were required to post at least one in a public place.) So here’s a new one from me.

Well, everyone knows that a Haiku plays with syllables…though it doesn’t have to (in English, so I’m told, we can mess with that). I stuck with the formula of 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. The first two lines set up the problem, the final line delivers the protest.

Daughters up all night —
Friends dropping in, shrieks, laughter.
I’m old! I need sleep!

I know, I know, I’m not all that old.

Happy Poem in your Pocket Day.