Thursday, May 29, 2008

Missing Mr. Herrmann


[Writing about an absent friend was this week's Totally Optional Prompt. See what others came up with here. ]

Missing Mr. Herrmann

You are in my consonants,
the ones at the beginnings and ends
of words making a difference
between a good chorus or great.

You are in the vowels I sing,
clear with no dipthongs,
making sure that the audience
can understand the lyrics.

You are in my eyes that watch
the conductor's baton,
ever alert to unexpected changes
in tempo.

You are in my fingers
as I turn pages as quietly
and unobtrusively as possible
just as you taught us.

You are in my confidence,
encouraged by your trust in me,
even though you have been
gone for twenty years.

You are on my mind in December
when I remember how we used
to sing carols at your house
because it was a way for us to say,
"Thank you."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Green Sun Ululation


[Read Write Poem's challenge this week was to write about something that doesn't exist. I let my imagination go, and here's what I got. Check out what other folks imagined here.]

Green Sun Ululation

I walk under the green sun at noon
and I know that my skin will burn purple
because I forgot sunscreen
this morning.

After our yellow sun turned green your song
is all new. How do you make that noise?
I hear hints of the forests of my childhood, but
not like a bird.

To hear it brings peace to my heart
and I sit entranced until you are finished.
And then I sit some more, hoping to hear
you sing again.

With an empty yearning, I turn to go,
aching for your intoxicating sound.
Without it I notice my burning skin,
and I itch.

This morning
not like a bird
you sing again
and I itch.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Limerick for Dating


[Mad Kane's challenge this week is to write a limerick and/or haiku on the theme dates or dating. Here is one take on it.]

Prescription for a Good Time

All her dates seemed to act just like swine,
when at restaurants they took her to dine.
They slurped and had drool
while they tried to act cool
but she found they looked better with wine.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Office


[Read Write Poem encouraged us to "turn our observations into similies" this week. Here is what I came up with.]

The Office

Dust bunnies roll like tumbleweeds
across the empty tile floor.
The bare walls bounce sound
like echoes in a box canyon.
Vultures pick over the boxed remains
stacked in the hallway,
while other wild things lurk green-eyed,
just out of range, waiting for a moment's inattention
for the chance to move in.
A tired posse with clipboards and brooms
valiantly tries to fend off scavengers
until the sheriff arrives to lay down the law
and hang a nameplate on the door.

Thursday, May 15, 2008



[A poem with something symbolic for Totally Optional Prompts this week.]


After working in the yard for hours she
stores her worn leather gloves in the garage,
and leaves the muddy shoes by the door.
She takes her work jacket to the closet
and hangs it on a padded hanger before
putting the paint-stained jeans and tired
sweatshirt into the laundry basket.

She cleans the dirt from beneath her nails
and sets up the ironing board, ready
to press the wrinkles out of some shirts.
First the collar, then the sleeves, then
the rest; as she moves the iron back and forth
she surveys her domain, pleased at seeing
no dust, no clutter. Picked up and put away,
she knows where everything is.

One shirt finished, she hangs it on a padded
hanger and moves to the next shirt. Collar
and cuffs first, she presses away the imperfections,
controlling the outcome. Her mind wanders
back to her first real job at the lunch counter
and soda fountain. At twelve she didn't control much
but she worked hard anyway and saved her pennies.

Back then she hung her uniform on a wire hanger
in the shared closet. There was plenty of room
for clothes, since no one had many. She dreamed
of padded hangers all lined up in the closet full of clothes,
as she did her homework and counted Depression-Era tips.

Years later wire hangers held her nurse's uniform
including the freshly-starched material waiting to be
folded into the shape unique to her school.
She worked extra shifts for extra cash to support
her girl and boy, living with their grandmother.
Tired enough to sleep through a tornado, she
was frugal and kept planning.

The third cotton shirt finished, she picks up another
padded hanger and takes all three to the closet
where they blend in with all the others,
lined up clean and soft, cushioning the shoulders
of her dresses and jackets and coats,
proof that she was finally somebody.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008



[Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect gave us a six-word poem prompt for this week's Monday Poetry Stretch. See her post here for a full description. Basically we had 6 words we had to use. I can't wait to check back there later this week to see what others came up with because the words could lead so many directions. The words are hole, friend, candle, ocean, snake and either bucket or scarecrow.]


Do you mean to stay there,
oh friend of mine,
a barricade across
my path into the world?

You might as well intend to empty
the ocean, using only a bucket with
a hole in it. A Sisyphean task, that.

Stop being a snake; stand
upright. Light your candle
from mine and pass it on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are You My Mother?


[Read Write Poem this week invited us to write about mothers. You can see the other poems here.]

No Fire-and-Brimstone for Her

My mother thinks that
when you go to church
you should feel better
when you come out
than when you went in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paper Jam


[a small real-life moment from Monday this week]

Paper Jam

If I wanted to fold sheets of paper
crosswise in an accordion-pleat
I would not have picked
the 4-color laser printer
as the tool to help me,
especially since after the page
is folded it lies neat and tidy,
but immovable, and beyond
the reach of my frustrated fingers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins 71


[Check out Janet's Friday Fill-Ins here.]

1. The cherry jam my dad used to make had an extra secret ingredient; it was a tiny amount of almond extract!
2. I love being able to see the woods through my window.
3. Right now, I need to replace one of my pairs of blue jeans.
4. Home is where I went Thursday night; it was terrific.
5. Why does banging your knee on something hurt so much?
6. All I can think of is the the two solos I'm working on.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being at home, tomorrow my plans include singing in two concerts and Sunday, I want to make lasagna!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Change


[Totally Optional Prompts encouraged us to write about transformation.]

The Change

Winter chill hung in the air
refusing to let go,
but the sun warmed up the ground
inviting trees to bloom.
White flowers perfumed the air
oversweet and cloying,
until a sudden snowstorm
of delicate petals
and a warm breeze signaled that
spring had arrived at last.



[Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect presented the following picture for this week's Monday Poetry Stretch. Here's what I came up with. Check out her site for others.]

[This photograph was taken by lijojohnson and is protected under a Creative Commons license. You may include this photo with your poem as long as you include this attribution on your blog.]


Hot sand on top,
scorching bare feet,
but underneath
it is chilly and damp,
a soothing relief.

I build a castle
a fort
a mountain
a rocket
a person
a jungle
an elephant
a volcano
a fire truck
a giant ice cream sundae

I mold the sand
beneath my hand.
I pat the side
and watch the tide.

Sand on my arms
my legs
my back
my butt
my neck
my hair
and behind my ears
and in my pockets

Tuesday, May 06, 2008



[Somehow I have been almost completely unable to respond in a timely manner to prompts of late. So this is my contribution to Read Write Poem even though it has nothing to do with the Sci Fi prompt, even though I've read more than my fair share of Sci Fi and Fantasy novels. Go figure.]


He knew I liked poppies,
their big bright orange petals
crinkled like crepe paper.
It took me forever
to learn that they didn't
like to be picked or cut –
they withered right away.
So he tried to surprise
me by sowing seeds in
the garden out back when
he thought I didn't see.
Then he waited for me
to tell him how much I
liked them. But they never
sprouted – I imagine
them devoured by a
hungry chipmunk. Yet on
some warm June days, I look
at that bed, and I see
bright orange poppies waving
to me, and daring me
to pick them.