won’t i rise?

If you unlock your hell for me
with just a gentle twist of key
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

Long soiled hands can wipe away
the soot and rain from our cracked mirror
if you unlock your hell for me.

What if together we nursed new life
into toothless dreams held captive?
Won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

But fair is fair and our tête-à-tête
requires for you, a key from me! But only
if you unlock your hell for me.

Is pride our worst sin? Or is it greed?
If I unshackle you and you free me, 
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

It’s a curious thing how rising flame 
can promise birth, a new-found spring. 
If you unlock your hell for me,
won't I rise with holy wind in my sails? 

The prompt from Day 5 of NaPoWriMo challenged us to write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. I tried to use all three elements. For folks unfamiliar with the villanelle form, it consists of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. I chose two phrases from outside texts that felt like they were in opposition: “If you unlock your hell for me” from Our Hells by Carl Sandburg, and “Won’t I rise with holy wind in my sails?” from Lifted by Craig Morgan Teicher. Let me know if it works! It was an interesting exercise to be sure . . .

to chase away the night

I hope the sparrow who greets this new day 
sings of shooting stars and the rising sun 
sings of leaving home and choosing to stay 
sings of dew and spider webs freshly spun.
I hope the cricket who has fallen mute
finds shelter in leaves that litter the ground  
finds shelter in bark or under a root
finds shelter beneath a granite cold bed.
I hope the red fox who creeps through brown fern
can avoid the hunter who lives next door
can avoid the bloodhound’s eager concern 
can avoid the grey mouse’s bloated form.
I hope the green day brings with it fresh eyes
to chase away the dreams black from this night.  

who knew?

First, the glint became the spark became the seed.
                     Who knew eyes could still dream?
Second, the seed grew like a weed and crowded out hopes and forgotten dreams.
                     Who knew resentment ground wheat in paired stones?
Third, the weed, once a seed, was plucked from a garden now littered with debris.
                     Who knew Uriel would forever bar the gate back home?
Fourth, the weed, now a scrub tree, fights to send roots deep under fault lines.
                      Who knew seismic energy was just one danger?
Fifth, the scrub tree shades a bloom, yet unformed.
                      Who knew a scrub tree could foster new life?
Sixth, the scrub tree sheds its leaves to fertilize soil for the new seed.
                      Who knew the pearl of great price grows only from sacrifice?
Seventh, the scrub tree is chopped and well-seasoned.
                     Who knew that in dying, life still lights a fire?

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 wears flip-flops. She doesn’t care. We wander Olympia’s streets; sip wine, snack, fondle old works of art. A few pink blossoms cling to trees, still barren of leaves. The men in blue are 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 sidle past a cast-off stray with a staked claim to an empty doorway. He pokes accusing toes at us through torn wool socks and ragged duct tape. They lost the good fight. We step under the lintel next door, 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 www.zazzle.com

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.”

clogyrnach poesy . . . i think

wine, grapes and flower stems
Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge handed us starter dough in the form of improbable statements. After taking a peek at them, I retired to R.L. Brewer’s List of 86 Poetic Forms for Poets, and decided to try my hand at the Welsh poetry form clogyrnach. It seems similar to the limerick – albeit more strict in syllable count. As far as rhyming component – thank god for online resources! And coffee. Lots of coffee. I’m not sure these really work for me — but as first drafts go, I guess they’ll stand. Maybe I’ll revise with wine in hand later. Cheers!
A mouse can’t eat an elephant!
You say to me, so desolate.
Might I inquire,
where is the choir
for hire?

The sun cannot rise in the west!
Our life together was so blessed.
With parallel play
we made our own hay.
Such a fray,
in this nest.

The clock can never strike thirteen,
when fingers sore must shell the peas.
My kitchen burdens --
they will never end;  
now I blend
butter beans.

A circle cannot have corners.
No end in sight for our mourners.
A thorn in my side,
their wails no delight;
Such a blight,
the hoarders.

Little Jack Horner tells no lie.
Stars will forever hold the sky.
Perched on his stool
his thumb a tool
a plum spools
from his pie!

By frozen heart I do abide
to hide away from hue and cry.
Your love was pretend,
your promises bent;
I regret,
pigs can’t fly!


The Perfect Hole

man fishing from a streambank

Child’s Play
filched from robin's beak
a siren song for rainbow trout –
she baits his hook

Anatomize This
flash of thin blade
belly leaks dragonfly nymphs –
her dance of finding 

No Matter. There’s Time. 
boots mired in mud  
hasty cast snags his black ghost –
sun clears the tree-line

Memory Fails
you fish hidden streams –
we are snails on dry land
porters of your dream

Find the Perfect Hole
dream of still days
a daffodil echo in time –
we yearn to return

Today’s NaPoWriMo effort combines multiple prompts into one poem. Day 16 was to focus on play; day 17 to retell a family anecdote. My sibs and I spent a lot of time trout fishing with our dad in Wyoming after our parents divorced. This was play; it was also an affordable source of winter food. My brother still wonders why I didn’t go into biology given my fondness for dissecting trout to find treasure in their bellies. We’d grumble about being porters for dad’s fishing gear and the long days scrambling through bushes, but as adults we have raised our children with a love of the outdoors. Keeping with the fishing theme: for day 18, I selected stanza 10 from a Fishing Haiku post and found a list of barely remembered – or perhaps never known – names for hand-tied flies. Day 19 asked us to write a descriptive paragraph and then cut words to make a poem. Day 21 required a consideration of the narcissism in our lives. I used the call for rebellion for day 20’s prompt as my encouragement to break the haiku sonnet rule. Hope you enjoyed!