24 May 2011

I'll be back!

I don't want anyone to think that I have abandoned poetry. My blog has been particularly silent as I prepared to go to camp for about a week with my fifth grade students. I leave today. See you all next week.

18 May 2011

Night of the Bat

Tonight rides down on a bat’s wing.
Bats over the Domain
Image from Jared Kelly
Wind-shrieked radar screams
Chase the sun back,
Hones its precise destruction,
Guides its cutting path,
Like a bulldoze knife.
Until it’s sees you
And has had enough.

Echoes ping back to the night.
It hears your soul wither
And fall away.
“I am bored now,”
It whispers to the wind
As it glances back at you
Before lifting off toward the beckoning moon
Leaving even the rubble
In pieces.

I was thinking of Carl Sanburg in the shower (that sounds off). "The fog comes on little cat feet." Well how does a tornado come? Look for it at Poet's United. Also at a promising blog I just came across via Jinksy's blog, Poetry Jam.

17 May 2011

Before You Kiss Him

I wanna be your
Everywhere thought stalker.
Wonder if it was me
In your dream
When you wake?
You can’t remember so
You put me there.

Affix me
To your memory.
Think me
In your picture frame.
Switch my form
In your desire.
Paint my lips
On his face
Before you kiss.

Yeah, I'm not sure where this came from. I started to try and retro-analyze it and all I could come up with was a girl who called me on a Sunday morning after she had watched me in a football game Saturday night.  I swear it must have been like 9am, too early for high school kids to want to talk on the phone on Sunday. Anyhow, it felt pretty cool thinking that the first thing she wanted to do when she woke up was call me. But, as I say, I thought of this as I tried to rationalize why and how I wrote this poem. Enjoy.

16 May 2011

The Secret Life of Words

I was reading one day,
It was a fabulous book, like a paper dream
With page numbers, and chapter titles.
Chapter Ten: The Secret Life of
What? There was a word missing.
A lost what or where or why or who.
Where was my word?
I looked down the page for answers
But found only, to my surprise
A legion of letters marching across the page
Like an army of ants
Protesting their flat-bound bondage.
Where is my word? I demanded.
No one was talking. As a matter of fact,
Two verbs, I saw them, jimble-jambled right off the page.
I grabbed at them, but I was left holding a tired comma
Next to two confused prepositions. Whichwaydiddygo,
They shrugged. I don’t know? Verbs are too quick. They got away.
And I noticed that some of their friends had made the break, too.
But I didn’t know how to catch a slippery sentence.
Paper was my trap, and it caught, but couldn’t hold
Where did they go? I looked down at the other words
And they stood up, arranged themselves in neat paragraphs,
And turned right and left like a lineup, but not one peep.
One of yous is a snitch, I said. But they were all tight lipped.
You’re not the boss of us, said a female Q.
I’ll take no sass from the likes of you. My typewriter says I’m God
And my electric shredder makes ME boss. Have you ever argued
With a woman Q? You may have milled the paper
And printed the page and you can put me back into pulp,
If it makes you happy. But if you kill one letter,
Two paragraphs will grow in its place. And as for a God,
You never created us. You just scrambled us up.
You took our birth names and made them into languages.
Do you think an ‘I’ cares about grammar?
A dictionary’s not a bible, and words won’t worship
You. ‘God’ is just a noun anyway.
I’d never known a letter to be so blunt.
These words meant war. These words could overthrow me.
I felt like they would take me to the Bastille with a guillotine
Armed with a razor-sharp, blank, paper blade, and all the words
Would watch it come down and wait for me to wince or grunt,
And hold my head like a pause before the whole alphabet
Would join in and applaud.

This is longer than what I usually write-well than the poems I usually write. I wrote it years ago. No one seemed to like it much, but it seemed a good fit for Magpie Tales.I reorganize it into a story instead of a poem (because the poem is just a bit too long) but I didn't see it working that well as a story. Well, here you go.

For an Old Friend

When I turn the pages of my memories,
You’re there like my first friend.
My mind puts you in a portrait
With my brother and I,
My sisters.
Wearing dated jeans
In front of the old brick house.

Sometimes I hear something
That sounds like you,
In the quick rustle of a page.
It looks like you
In letters down the spine
Of a book I’ve never seen.
Is it your brother?
Your sister?
Do you know me
From some common memory
That I want to think all words must share?

What do you feel
When my fingers touch your cover?
Do your fibers know me?
I feel a friendship
Old as papyrus.
I feel like we’ve always been together.

 Gadzooks! It's been  a long time since I've posted anything. Hopefully, this gets me back in the saddle. The picture from Magpie Tales made me think of a conversation I had with my sister about how we would sit and rad our outdated set of encyclopedias for fun. I had never known that my sister did that too. It is one of my fondest childhood memories. Well, here's what I got for today.

08 May 2011


If I had the strength of a thousand men,
Then maybe I’d be a superhero.
If I could climb walls,
Then maybe I’d fight crime.
If I had a bionic brain to calculate equations,
Then maybe I’d set both sides equal.
If I had muscles that ripped through my shirt,
Then maybe I’d punch out the bad guys.
If I had super hearing,
Then I might teach you that it’s not nice to whisper.

Or maybe
I’d use my x-ray vision to look inside your house
And see where you keep your jewelry.
I might rip the front door from its hinges
And tear your safe from the wall.
I just might use my powers
For evil.

But probably,
I wouldn’t use them much at all.

I looked into some old poems. This is one I wrote in 200 2. I have a couple of different ideas of whee to go with it.  It's current form will be up for Poets United's Poetry Pantry.

06 May 2011



If you just would let me die
Out here in the ravenous weeds.
Chipped fragments of my body
And peel painted skin flecks
Might go unnoticed
By any eyes but the hungry buzzards’.

If I could strike a match,
I’d let you snap that photo
Of every gasoline drenched timber
Alight with the last desires of wood.
Each crackle,
A pained scream of delight,
Knowing a pile of burnt ashes
Would leave no recourse
But to remember me whole.

Instead you perpetuate
My decrepit state,
Blow up to 8 by 10,
Zoom and study
Each bent, black nail
With heads rusted off.
Magnify the cracks in my foundation,
Investigate the droop of my door
On wobbled hinges.

Is this picture really worth
All my tears?
This is not a Kodak moment.
I want to be alone.

This was written for a prompt at Big Tent Poetry about revising an older poem. This is a drastic revision of a poem I did about a year ago. Actually, less of a revision and more of a new poem based on the old. It's from a different point of view than the original work, which you can find here, excuse the poor formatting. I couldn't get it right for some reason. Also, see the old poem below.

A home will
Eventually fall into forgotteness.
The wooden joists
Splinter off into breezes and rain.
The doors will
Fall away from their frames.
The floors will
Turn to grayed dust ruts.

04 May 2011


I don't understand
How to heal a lonesome heart
Or how to mend a widowed emotion.
I can't calculate the equation
Or research the right answer.

Linear Logic
Will not explain
Or console it,
Or ever make it
Any better.

This is, basically a poem I wrote in May last year. I call it a revision, but I only changed it by adding a title. I think something is missing, but I also think it needs to be brief. I think its the first two lines that could use the most help. This is close enough (I think) to fit Jingle Poetry's Poetry Potluck prompt this week. Thanks for reading!

03 May 2011

The Anti-Alchemist

If I could change, like you,
Any element ,
With a flash of powdered flame,
Into the dense, yellow roundness
Of heavy gold coins,
I would find better use for my wizardry.

If I were a transmogrifier of metal
I wouldn’t bother
To transform strings of tinny wire
Into silver-braided neck strands.
Or brass bands
Into rings of priceless platinum.
I would turn swords into spoons.

If I could conjure concoctions
To control men’s souls
Or reign down on my enemies
An apocalypse of pestilence,
I’d point my sorcerer’s finger at you.

I’d change your potions
To something caustic.
I’d watch it
Corrode through your cauldron
Dousing the blue flames beneath.
I would mix an elixir
To reveal your false magic.

Your stolen wizard’s robe would
Fall away. Your purse of gold
Would soften into yellow mud.
And ooze from torn seams.

I’d change you spellbook to lead.
It’s cover too heavy to open.
Your magic would be trapped inside
By the weight of its own deceit.
No one would help you
Open your book of lies.

If I were like you
I wouldn’t be like you at all.

Ummm... First I think this poem came from the fact that I think alchemy is a cool word, and a kind of cool profession. Alchemy gave us the discovery of phosphorus-some pee was involved too. Anyway, I'm also reading a book to my students now by the acclaimed children's author, Avi (though he's not really one of my favorites). The book has an evil alchemist who can make false gold that turns to dust after time. Enough talk!

01 May 2011

Kick Drum

There is something
In the thick thudding,
Something prehistoric in the

There is something animal,
Something a hundred million years old,
In a hunched over ancestor.
Something before words.
Something before memory.
There is something primitive
In the short arc of two wooden sticks.
Something violent,
Blood-fisted and bare-knuckled.

There is something simple as an instinct,
But calculated and complex.
Something mad genius
In placing each stick just so.

Green drum kit
Image from johnmcga

Here is a revision to something I wrote a couple of years ago. I thought I could take a break after NaPoWriMo! This is a link to the original. I don't really like the title. I'm gonna stick it up at Poets United.

Down Periscope

The fog weighs so heavy
Like a bad dessert.
Mirrors don’t reflect
The greasy murk.
Light doesn’t penetrate the layers.

Moving through the cold water,
The turbulent sky,
Is all the same
When wide eyes
Startle through the scope
And see nothing.

Every turn of the key is new.
Every throttle
Speeds to a veiled palace
Or a hidden trap door.

Anticipation is no use.
Burn the map.
Kill the navigator
Down the periscope.

Last day of NaPoWriMo (even though this post is in May). I wanted to write a poem about a periscope. I intended it to be more visual, a trip through the angled mirrors in a tube. But, that didn't happen. Posted at Writer's Island.