life rewritten

Chachani and Misti are mountain peaks found in Peru and offered up as inspiration for a foray into Japanese poetry. Looking on this picture sends my memory swirling back to the 1980s. My morning and afternoon views walking to and from the school bus also featured mountains. To the west, the Grand Tetons. To the east, the Sleeping Indian. The rising sun pulled my unwilling spirit into the world each day; the setting sun hastened my laggard spirit home again. For years I have sworn that the only thing that gave me hope during early adolescent hell was the solidity of young granite towering over all else.

got questions?

Geek Logik: Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life
Nothing to it, really.
It’s just a simple reduction
to units in time
all x-catchers required
to first ask why
life’s buffet of flavors turns
tongue to charcoal
dry eyes to sand
leaves only the xeriscape
of unloved lands
Take heart!
Name the variables
hidden behind
the written word
and seeking hand,
ask who can spread
a xenium feast in lands
where no constant resides?
Look you high and look you low,
search far, and long, and wide
for he who can solve the eternal why
of a man, a can, [and] a plan
who will adore his Xanthippe
even when she screams Cook This, Not That!
Today’s effort was brought to you by some fun books and the letter X.
If you’d like to learn more about them, here are the links:
Geek Logik: Foolproof Equations for Everyday Life 
A Man, A Can, A Plan
Cook This, Not That!

Manners and Toxic Professional Relationships #amwriting

Words from  a very wise woman. Applicable to all venues, whether online or F2F.

Life in the Realm of Fantasy

This last week’s #CockyGate furor has stirred a lot of people up and brought down some harsh criticism for the offending author.

Ceri Clark in her blog for Myrddin Publishing summed it up quite well in her article, The #CockyGate Trademark Kerfuffle: “The danger of letting this trademark happen is that authors could trademark other common English words. This could be the or billionaire, or how about star?”

This made me think about manners and the world of the ephemeral. Everything we say and do as public people is open to scrutiny—forever. To that end, I thought it time to reprise a post from 2017 regarding our personal reputations, Manners and Toxic Professional Relationships.

Working authors rely on the world of the internet. We must not only have our own website, but we must also have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, a Goodreads page, a Twitter page…

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barren cement

homeless person asleep on the street

From across the street behind plate glass, past steaming herbal tea you can just see a crimson nose twitch at diesel-filled air. One hand rolls back a ragged grey blanket, to expose a bowl-shaped chest. Perhaps that’s where copper coins were tossed as the night passed. From under the blanket early bugs are snapped from torn jeans, then shimmied up hips discreetly draped by nubby wool. Knotted hands tug on white cotton sox, a sporting veil for long-grounded prayers. A sudden crouch and pivot, to freeze and stare at the plate glass echo of unruly hair, only to vanish back under the woolen blanket. So starts another long day, housed on barren cement.

Today’s Story-A-Day prompt and I didn’t see eye to eye; I wrote a piece of prose poetry instead. Ah well! At least I wrote! Sláinte!

All’s well in the neighborhood

Jem left the house at precisely 6 a.m. Monday through Friday. Wanda could set her watch by this fact, and frequently did. As far as Jem was concerned, no person and no event was ever to interfere with his workday schedule. Including Wanda. In fact, Wanda learned early in their marriage that the day went better if she stayed in bed until the door to their flat clicked shut. Wanda used to watch Jem as he walked down to the corner newsstand to pick up the Times for his one-hour train ride into the city. She wondered if Mr. Dunham also set his watch by Jem.

Mr. Dunham didn’t set his watch by anyone’s schedule but his own, which included picking up assorted newspapers, muffins and fruit juices by 5 a.m., and selling out by 9 a.m. so he could return home and cook breakfast for his wife. He looked up from facing the rows of apple juice and handed Jem a copy of the Times. “Morning, sir,” he said. “Muffin? Juice?” he asked. Mr. Dunham always asked. Jem always said no. It took a few seconds to realize Jem actually nodded yes. Surprised, Mr. Dunham tucked the apple juice and bran muffin Jem pointed at neatly into a paper bag. Jem handed over a five spot. “Keep the change,” Jem said, and pivoted neatly on his right heel to continue his march down the street. Mr. Dunham’s warning died on his lips as Jem collided with the customer who had edged quietly up behind Jem.

“Careful!” The woman Jem nearly knocked over had a curious toddler clinging to her legs, further upsetting her balance. Jem grabbed her by the arm to steady her. “My apologies, ma’am,” he nodded once, and looked down at the toddler with a brief smile. The woman watched Jem walk away, before turning to Mr. Dunham to order two muffins and juice. “Pleasant enough, fellow, isn’t he?” she asked with a bright smile. “Even if he doesn’t watch where he’s going.” She pursed her lips together and glanced once more at Jem’s retreating back. Mr. Dunham narrowed his eyes at her, counting back change. No wedding band and no sign of one recently removed, either. “Pleasant, enough,” he said. “And married these last ten years or more.”

Mr. Dunham glanced up the street and waved a cheery hello to Wanda. Clutching her faded terry bathrobe closed, Wanda was leaning out the front door to pick up the morning milk delivery. She smiled and waved back. All was well in the neighborhood.

Each May, folks have the chance to take part in the StoryADay writing challenge, hosted by Julie Duffy. Today’s prompt asked folks to weave words together following the main character on his way to work using three different POVs. Lovely, I say, since my focus this month is on character building. Enjoy!

god’s lioness

 two women walking along tree-lined path
How do you stand alone and free?
~dance with me  

How do we cross the great divide?
 ~side by side

How do you soar when others float?
~of wings we boast

Look you! From pillar to post,
from sea to sea and land to land
from my mouth to your tiny hand:
dance with me side by side--of wings we boast!
NaPoWriMo Day 29  challenged us to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. I selected Ariel, and decided to experiment with the ovillejo poetry form, popularized by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The ovillejo is a 10-line poem comprised of 3 rhyming couplets (or 2-line stanzas) and a quatrain (or 4-line stanza).


greetings from olympia

Wish you were here? Yesterday was wet. 30 degrees difference in the air. Jane still wore flip-flops. She didn’t care. We wandered Olympia’s streets; sipped wine, snacked, fondled old works of art. A few pink blossoms clung to trees, still barren of leaves. The men in blue were everywhere to be seen. Ah, Arts Walk: clarion call to embrace a divided community. It starts with an all-skate: pick up litter, shovel feces, scrub off graffiti but no amount of scrubbing covers up years of poor planning, of devil-may-care-go-stick-a-gun-in-your-ear-and-pull-the-trigger-already-and-why-in-gods-name-are-you-still-here? Jane and I sidled past a cast-off stray with a staked claim to an empty doorway. He poked accusing toes at us through torn wool socks and ragged duct tape. They lost the good fight. We stepped over the lintel of the next door down into warmth and light and another glass of blood-red wine.

NaPoWriMo Day 28 challenged us to write a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard. After a few muddled attempts, I realized my mind was still working through last evening’s experience, so I reprised a poem I wrote in 2016, Olympia Almanac.

The postcard was found online at

the morning crier

It’s 4 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
              scrapes nails over chalkboard  
                              Sól lights her pine-fed torch
                                              stabs bloody fingers deep in earth
I play possum to your prod
               shun the unwashed kiss
                              oak floor groans with your retreat
                                             a williwaw births new gooseflesh
It’s 5 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
              plays tug-o-war with nature’s plow
                              fairly caught in lusty writhing
                                              to seed cocoon with eggs and sperm
I slide quivering toes
               ‘cross tangled flannel sheets
                              sticky scent muzzles my nose
                                            fingers of aftershave close my throat
It’s 6 a.m. and Robin Redbreast
               stills fledgling cries with worms and seeds
                                       an eggshell silence fills warming air
                                                      nest hardens 'neath Sól’s watchful gaze
I creep slowly past
               our cast-off socks and empty cans
                                the coffee pot gurgle carries a sour bite
                                               that stays our anxious, seeking hands


the downhill slide

trampoline under tress
Too old to trampoline?
Too young to die!
Who knew at forty-nine,
time had passed me by?
But hark – look again!
No age bias here.
Long before 40,
I had other ailments:
Back blown from tear-off,
knees from running bases,
torn calf dancing hip-hop
high blood pressure
(too many cookies).
The world spins crazily
from a car that tossed me aside;
mice have eaten my tendons,
my eyes are going blind!
Seems like this is the best time
to get on that trampoline!
I’ve nothing to lose,  
and everything to gain.
Just heed the warning sign --.
This toy is suitable
only for those on a downhill slide.

Day 25 of NaPoWriMo challenged us to write a poem that takes 
the form of a warning label -- for our very ownselves! Google brought 
me to 13 Strange Signs and Unnecessary Warning Labels -- an adventure 
in strange, indeed!

on granite she built

on granite she built,
for children yet to be born

our taproot anchor,
she cast seeds of early dissent
we still trace her footsteps

to feed the next generation,
we crumble bare rock
sink roots and spit seeds

on granite she built,
and still feeds our dreams


eight little words

rusted metal gate
eight little words
fill ears with fear
who knew?
who knew diamonds could sting?
eight little words
fleece eyes with tears
you knew!
you knew our gospel truth!
eight little words
meet in the middle
they saw —
they saw the rusted iron gate —
eight little words
squeeze snakes through clenched teeth
who knows?
who knows the taste of despair?
eight little words
to carry such weight


Day 23 challenged us to honor a poem based in sound, perhaps something overheard, like a song lyric or phrase. Often for me, the written word echoes in my inner ear like a clarion bell, refusing to let go until I do something with it. The imagery and story found in Verse #2 of Ms. Wieland’s poem for NaPoWriMo yesterday certainly captured my inner ear. Consider the many understandings prompted by: “I’m cornered in the circle of your arms.”