Monthly Archives: May 2011


I have a couple new poems in progress, but in the interests of catching up on some of the sleep I so desperately need after last month’s marathon, I am sharing an old poem today, from several years ago. I think this was around 2005.


Last night the darkness in your secret places
crawled across your silence into my dreams.
This morning I painted my nails the color of blood

clotting darkly in black hair curled flatly against
a head wound. The color is called blackberry.
Last night the darkness in your secret places

had me curled tight against you, hands pressed flat
against the black hair of your chest, muttering.
This morning when painting my nails the color of blood,

my hands ached, my hands shook. Crooked paint
on feet walking too many crooked miles.
Last night the darkness in your secret places

scratched eyes open to see the same as when closed,
dark images overgrowing my night like thorns.
This morning I painted my nails the color of blood,

the color of the darkest petals of the darkest rose
when they dry as blood dries, as dreams dry in that
last night’s darkness of all our secret places.
This morning I painted my nails the color of blood.


Sun slants down, hot and hard, although
the faint breeze is still cool. Nothing

of night is left in this bright day —
the sun’s angle promises more

heat; the earth itself seems to slant
to match the sun and I, I tilt

my head sideways to find balance.
There is a gasping in the light

as if breath itself is lacking,
the light itself cracked and misplaced.

Where is everyone? Streets empty,
sidewalks carry only a rare

and distant stranger, who, like me,
navigates this erratic air.

Sun slants down, at a hard angle,
distorting what it strikes. So still.

The dim light inside the building
whispers this a lie, the air

and light that seem benign cannot
be trusted, will beat us all down.

Originally drafted/written June 1, 2010

Osama Bin Laden on the Bus

The bus driver smiles hugely as I climb onto the bus.
“How’s your husband?” I ask. “Oh, he’s fine, thank you for asking,”
she replies. “That’s good, we were a bit worried about you.”
I sit near the sweet-voiced woman, but she’s reading again,
another book by McCall Smith. Instead I start chatting
with the retired Navy vet. The bus passes the Temple.
The wall was painted with a quote (“Hate cannot drive out hate:
only love can do that”) but it has been defaced again.
The vet tells me last night she was watching television,
that show with the strange guy, the one about firing people,
who is he? Oh, yes, Trump. She really wanted to see who
got fired, but the show was interrupted by a news cast.
“Did you know Osama bin Laden was killed?” she demands.
My jaw drops. “No! Really?” “Yep,” she says, “Navy Seals got him.”
The mild-voiced man in the next seat over comments, “Ding, dong,
the witch is dead. That’s all I have to say.” The grizzled man
wearing Army Surplus barks, “What took so long?” In the back
of the bus, someone I can’t see cheers. “It’s embarrassing,”
murmurs the small woman beside me. “It makes us all look
like blood-thirsty barbarians.” She shakes her head sadly.
The Navy vet looks wistful, “I really wanted to see
who was fired.” That night, taking the bus home, the Temple wall
has been repaired, again saying, “Hate cannot drive out hate … ”

Slow Poetry

I was searching for videos to use in my emerging technologies talk this week, and somehow stumbled over this series of videos from the University of Warwickshire about “Slow Poetry” and placing poetry in the context of the natural environment. I am thinking of it a little like guerilla gardening, and in my mind it is stealth poetry. I know this blog has mostly been just housing my own poems, but I thought it is about time for me to also share some of the works that interest, intrigue and inspire me, provoking questions, serving as poetry prompts and concepts to explore in the future, etcetera. So this is the first post of that kind.

In these videos, David Morley introduces a nature walk in a local park where poems and word explorations are engraved on posts, carved into rocks, visible only from certain places along the paths, mounted on tiny huts, posted on trees, and so forth. I’ve always said poems are all around us, just waiting to be plucked, but he makes this concept physical and literal.

An Introduction to Slow Poetry, by David Morley

Placing Poems in the Natural Environment


Word Worms:

Slow Poetry:

Slow Poetry, a Conclusion:

Pondering NaPoWriMo

The first year here, I was struggling just to do a poem a day for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). The second year, I was scared. A neighbor gave me a copy of a book of photography meditating on the creation and Genesis. I loved the photos and thought if I got stuck I could always just open the book and look for visual inspiration. That was how the Creation series was born. That worked pretty well for me, so this year (2011) I was pondering again taking a theme and working through it. I thought about this for a while, talked with a couple friends, and ended up with the Erosion poem series.

I wanted something that kind of opposed creation but which was not so unsubtle as destruction. I also have been sad a lot this year and was particularly sad when NaPoWriMo was starting. Erosion seemed to fit the bill. However, erosion is so opposed as a concept to form that I felt compelled to struggle again the theme by placing all the poems written in some sort of formal context. Thus you find an exceptional number of sonnets, a few villanelles, a dash of ‘haiku’, and so forth. As I lost energy towards the end of the month, I settled for syllabic patterns, but some with rhymes. None of the Erosion poems is without an externally imposed form.

Now that I’ve completely my third NaPoWriMo, I’m already thinking about next year, what I might do. I thought it would be handy next year to have a list of themes I’ve been considering, and invite suggestions in the comments. If I feel brave enough, I may create a poll from the suggestions in March of next year and allow the readership to determine the theme. Scary idea, eh?

So here are some I’ve been pondering so far.

– Metamorphoses
– Miracles
– Mysteries
– Naming

Feel free to make suggestions, and the ones I think my brain could deal with will be added to the list above. (I do reserve the right to exclude any topics I don’t feel I could deal with well.) Then next year, we’ll see what happens.

Untitled (finger feathered)

Yesterday on the New Poetry list there was a fairly extensive conversation about visual poetry. That reminded me that once upon a time I dabbled with some of this, and so I dusted this off to share with you all. 4 - Parachute Poem


finger feathered
shredded with yearning
let me parachute
into the essential