Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 11, 2011

I have been busy writing poems this month, but have not been so good at posting them here.
Please don't give up on me my friends!!

Here is today's poem. I will try to update my posts this week.

This is a poem I originally posted in April, but have re-worked based on comments I received.


Every Wednesday at four o'clock
the guards come down to the cold gray lobby
of the Correctional Treatment Facility.
Even the afternoon sun
finds no warmth here.

The guards bring the lists of visitors,
names that change from week to week,
but faces that remain the same.

Silent faces
screaming to tell their story.

Pained faces
hiding shame.

Questioning faces
trying to understand
a language not their own.

Anxious faces
hoping this is not the week
their loved one has been moved.

Masked faces
full of bravado.

All guarded.

We are all outsiders
waiting to meet the guards
watching each other gather
listening for our names.

When all have been stripped
of their pride and their shoes,
when every last belonging has been stowed,
when all have been searched,
down to the tiniest diaper,
the guards take their charges upstairs.

Upstairs, where our men -- sons,
cousins, husbands, brothers --
wait anxiously
one to a table.

All faces brighten in this forty-five minutes
where we can all hold hands, laugh
smell the clean of children's hair.

The faces of our quarters and dimes
roll through the snack machine
We pretend that it's a meal
and give thanks.
Perhaps for even five minutes
we can talk ourselves into being
gathered at home.

But in the end, we leave in darkness
exiting through the same lobby
into the quickening night.

Every one of us leaves a piece
of ourselves behind.
Something, perhaps, as intangible
as the reflection of a face
inside the cold panes of glass
surrounding the lobby door.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

In search for themes, I find myself going back to childhood days in Ohio. The wonder of summer and the tallness of corn (even though at the time, I never thought much about it). Living in a city now and going back to my roots, we drive along 2-lane roads where either side is corn taller than the car and as far as you can see. This poem is a memory I have of going to bed in summer, when the night has not quite taken over. The quiet of the evening broken by katydids, crickets, etc. But also the comfort in hearing them through the open windows.


Katie did.

Katie didn’t.

Katy did.

The argument went on and on

night after night.

All summer.

Every evening began

a new round in the debate.

Katie did.

Katie didn’t.

Katy did.

We lay in our beds

light still holding onto the sky

dark silhouette of pines

looming outside the windows.

Katie didn’t.

Sometimes there was a pause

as if new evidence in Katie’s case

had come to light for review

all sides taking it into consideration.

Katie did.

Katie didn’t.

The disagreement continued.

It continued as the sky relaxed

and fell into darkness,

became louder as Big Bear appeared,

took his position on the matter.

Katie did.

as the archer raised his bow

concurring with the crowd.

Katie didn’t

and neither did we.

We tried to stay awake long enough

to hear the outcome of her fate,

eyes weighted by the rocking rhythm

Katie did …. Katie didn’t ….

we surrendered to nocturnal journeys

far from Katie and her advocates.

Our reveries were interrupted only

by the creep of morning and the question

of the doves “who, hoo, who?”

No one answered them,

but we always knew in our hearts

that it was never Katie.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


A door closes.
A window opens.
People shout,
Jump, jump.

It takes a far-sighted person
to see the encroaching darkness
is not a void, but a pair of wings
with which to fly.

Writing for July

With help from my friends, I realize that a writer needs to keep at her craft. I have accepted an writing "challenge" (for lack of a better word) to post something every day in July -- a poem, prose, anything that I have written. I accepted as a way to keep myself writing every day, but also to read what my fellow writers have posted and to think about their work and be inspired by it.

Feel free to check back here every few days in July. I will be posting something nearly daily. Happy Reading!!


A door closes.
A window opens.
People shout
Jump, jump.

It takes a far-sighted person
to see the encroaching darkness
is not a void, but a pair of wings
with which to fly.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"the trouble with poetry is ... it leads to more poetry."

April is National Poetry Month and I am once again participating in the challenges to write a new poem (rough is better than nothing) every day this month. So far, I have not totally gotten into the mind of it. In past April challenges, I have found myself steeped in poetry all day long...thinking, reading and viewing all the world through the window of poetry. So, on this overcast and somewhat wintery day, I will embark upon my journey to create something new every day. Here is yesterday's poem.


Our Chrysler New Yorker,
a behemoth car of the seventies,
would barely clear the sides of the garage.
The bumpers rusted off, twice I think
the driver’s bench seat locked in place
so far back from the steering wheel
that Mom had to drive with a pillow
just to reach the gas pedal.
The ignition lock broke and it would start
with no keys dangling from the gear shift.
But the car never surrendered to its faults,
never gave way to the defective parts
that refused to do their job.

Maybe I spoke too quickly,
comparing Katie to that car.
But when Katie complained of being old,
of knees that did not do what she asked.
I began to think of defective parts,
of objects old before their time
and before I knew it
Katie and Chrysler were together in a sentence
like the answer to a practice test:
sore knees are to rusty bumpers
as Katie is to …
(c) a 1970s Chrysler New Yorker.

Perhaps my imagination is too vivid.
but I still remember that yellow car.
We drove it all over town
from the library to the cemetery
where gravestones read like books.

That Chrysler was with us all the way through
the heartbreak of high school romances,
our brother’s wedding,
the death of a best friend,
vacations across the country,
the blizzard of 1979, high school graduations
and arguments with each other.

It should have fallen apart,
its rusty bumpers falling off,
but at the end of the day
it sat in the garage, waiting
for us to start its heart of an engine.

Of course I could be too sentimental,
but the Chrysler could never help
that it was constructed with defective parts.

Even still, it never failed us,
and just like Katie,
it was quirky, steadfast, and loyal to the end.