Iffy Surreal Wordplay

If chaos wins its way with we
tomorrow’s chatter chimes,
resubmerging symphonies
might drown before our eyes.
And everything that ever was
will never be the same,
except the pounding sound of drums
that rage against the rain.


Fourteen Sad Lines

I don’t even know where I am half the time
Swirling through my own debris
Like a cyclone trying to correct itself
Every time I laugh, I feel surprised
Every time I cry, something in me knows
It’s okay to die
So I slow down my breathing
And take my time
It’s killing me

This Argentinian Malbec veil
Sops up sorrow like a sieve
Until I don’t remember anything
About who I used to be
I don’t even know where I am half the time


Amen, Sister!


Dreams of disintegrating teeth haunted my adolescence
then crumbled true a few weeks ago.
Well, only one tooth
powdered like the Buddha by Arlee.

Days dissolved into days.
My empty tooth ached for its missing pieces.
That tooth so integral to chewing
cringed at any bite.

And this morning?
After forty five pain free minutes
with a new fixer, a lady dentist, three years in—
I’m chewing again.


Crumbling Buddha


Act well without attachment to the fruits of your action.
                                                                    ~Bhagavad Gita


Uncertainty stretches and relaxes its fingers
moving between fear and choice.
Is everything a balancing act?
A walk on a tightrope?

Take that step and let go.

Open to life’s unfolding.
Weep at the beauty of snow geese rising.
Still yourself in the glory of being.

Trust impermanence like a crumbling Buddha.
Walk both dogs at once.
Rest in uncertainty.

This is what it means to be present.

Is anything more important?





How to Write a Poem

Imagine teaching your dream writing class
filled with adolescent poets
waiting to be sparked.

Tracing our hands,
we generate topics—
one feeling for each finger.

Teacher Lady gives the first one.
Elation: word of the week.
Everyone writes it on a digit.
What else you got?



City Girl says poverty isn’t a feeling. Giving rise to replies.

You ever been poor?

Stuff it, City Girl.

Isn’t poverty like being hungry all the time? –that’s a feeling.

What about poverty of spirit?

City Girl says good point and
so . . .
elation, sorrow, poverty, and greed!
There’s another one—greed!

Teacher Lady interjects—
Yes City girl,
like a poet’s greed for words
her hunger, aching to be fed
that absent muse
that’s what hurts.

Hey Teacher Lady
Why you call a poet her?
seems – (his fingers air-quote this part)—
“non – in – clu – sive”
Poverty Boy pronounces every syllable in singsong
nodding his head back and forth.

Good point, Poverty Boy
nothing feels equal.
Maybe you should write about it.
Express your angst.
Express your elation.
Your words open cracks
that need your light.

Open your journals.

Some Other Kid retorts
Look at our hand chart.
We only have four feelings.
What about our thumb?

Teacher Lady replies
Add angst.
a feeling of deep anxiety or dread
something that needs light
later we’ll revisit and make today’s word shine

Here are your words:

elation, sorrow, poverty, greed, and angst
Pick one or more.
Dig deep.
You know the drill.

20 minutes on the timer and…..

The entire class yells,

Heads down,
relentless pencils scratch and explore.


Notes: This piece follows today’s NaPo prompt to write a How To poem. It lost the formatting when I uploaded, and wish I knew how to upload audio from my phone. This is best served out loud. Day 2. Check!

Self Portrait as Cinderella

It’s time to dress for the ball!
My grandmother’s backless dress
beckons with cascades of tulle
in buttery yellow sheets.

Its underdress brushes warmth
with satin against my skin
And then, my prince waltzes in.
His fingers trace the path of
the labyrinth tat on my back.

Our eyes meet in the mirror
where he gestures with his head.
There’s a gift beneath the bed.

From beneath the bed I pull
a pair of lemon slippers,
jeweled flats that flatter my dress.
They find my feet. I love them.

He offers a hand in dance
our bodies pull us to trance
Balls can(‘t) wait, it’s not too late.
Fade to music twisting sheets.



For this piece I followed the early bird prompt at NaPo. To give myself some parameters, I made every line 7 syllables (if you say jeweled as one syllable). The rhythm feels choppy and odd in some places, but it was fun to write.