A Sonnet

My seniors are reading sonnets and trying their hand at writing one. They’ve had a couple of good discussions. I don’t think they realize that we will be reading sonnets for a couple of weeks. We will be digging into the rhythm and flow, into the meter, into the structure as we jump around the centuries. For now, we are dipping our toes in.

My effort shows how long it’s been since I’ve written a sonnet. I’m asking them to put themselves out there, so I shall do the same.

The world is topsy-turvy;
The monsters all got out.
They took to television with their worry
And led everyone in a huge group shout.
Don’t look under beds;
Don’t look inside closets.
These monsters got elected
By pretending to be hobbits.
The monsters wear suits of gray.
The monsters wear suits of white.
They are the old folks who say
This is wrong. And this is right.
After all, the scariest ones
Have human daughters and sons.

Title ideas are welcome…


One More

One who does not

Sleeps life away

Dreams the pages of books

Waits for one who does

One who does keeps going

Gets knocked down, And

Gets up again

Embracing best self bs

One does not want

One has needs

Buddha tells us to leave them

To sit, to breathe, to be

One loves through time

One loves with money

One loves with physical affection

Christ tells us to love all

I’m not sure what inspired me today, but my poetry students have started their big project. For three weeks, they write and write and write. While it’s admittedly cool to see a poem spring forth fully formed and almost perfect, it is not the reality we (writers) face. Today, I got to see one of my students as she worked hard on a poem–ideas, snatches of phrases and images, attempt after attempt to get four perfect lines. When she showed me those four lines, I got chills.

I love teaching people to think, to communicate in different ways–I love seeing the lightbulb go off above their heads.

Two Flutes

They bring a second flute

For me and my books;

It’s easy to ignore

All those looks

At a woman of a certain age

Drinking pink champagne

In the middle of a Saturday.
I sent out a call to a few

Of my social circle

Busy with husbands, kids,

Or other things—

So I’ll happily while

Away the time alone

Again today.

Robert’s Rules of Order

One little word:

A shift,

A change—

It stays the same.

Passionate verbiage

To an ambivalent crowd;

“They’re stealing our jobs”

Runs around the room

(As if the extra papers

Are any type of boon)
One little word:

A shift, a change—

Amend it or don’t;

It stays the same.

Big city teachers,

Waving their time;

“Don’t they teach?”

Is whispered along the sides.

As if their passion

Had outlived its time.
All in favor?

All opposed?

My voice silent.

My words lost.

My passion elsewhere. 

But I keep showing up,

Year after year,

To watch people change

One little word.

It just stays the same.


Will you cry when I die

Or raise your glass in a cheer?

Will you tell my truth

Or reveal all my little fears?

Will you dump my ashes

Or bake them in a cake?

I’m not so fond of cannibalism,

But the symbolism is great. 

I could be a cat

Curled up in the yard, fur stopping the wind
Catching the edges of sun through the clouds
Curled up on my owners pillow, leaving hair
Where she sleeps when it rains or doesn’t
Curled up above the sofa watching bird
I’m not allowed to kill, hampering my nature


Shine it on and shake the dust
Off your feet as you walk large,
Laughing loudly enough to make
Your father cringe and your friends judge.

Shine it on and shake the dust
From hands dirtied by work—
Admire the finished product,
Not everyone gets to see the endings.

Shine it on and shake the dust
Where it creeps into everything
Just by virtue of being in the edge
Of the desert when the winds pick up.

Shine it on and shake the dust,
Clean out the mental closet by
Drowning in words or colors or silence
When the pressure makes you want to stop.

Shine it on and shake the dust,
Keep moving forward—crawl
Or walk or run towards the next
Small thing that will make life brighter.

Tactical Retreat (Inspired by reading)

Sometimes my love hurts
The teasing leaves thin lines 
My teeth dig too deep
And I only see the damage when
The blood seeps past thin skin

Sometimes my friendship hurts
The truth cracks both our bones
I bite my tongue and swallow blood
Only for the words to come out
Somewhere unexpected

Sometimes my respect doesn’t matter
My damages are too manifold
For kindness to break through
By the time you realize that’s just me
Sincere apologies for thoughtlessness fall flat

Intentions don’t matter in the aftermath
Of my dangerous love, friendship, or regard
Hiding out only helps for so long
Before I try again—turn it in,
To keep it from falling like acid rain

I Want

It is painfully beautiful outside 
And I want tea with milk 
A French Don’t Diet breakfast 

It is painfully beautiful outside 
And I want iced tea and tomato 
With cheddar cheese melted on
A baguette for breakfast 

It is painfully beautiful outside 
And I want Lunches of mozzarella, cucumber,
Tomato salads that taste like happiness
Dinners with locally smoked salmon

It is painfully beautiful outside
And I want fresh fruits and fresh veg
Fresh annoyance at Farmers’ Market elitists
Who cut in line and converse in the walkways

It is painfully beautiful outside
And I want summer and vodka iced tea
Lazy afternoons with wine or tequila

It is painfully beautiful outside
And I want to write and recreate
To watch some show I just have to see

It is painfully beautiful outside
And I want naps in the sun, a purring cat 
No one to disappoint or impress
Time and music and words
Drifting thoughts
Conversations that ramble past dinner
Time to think and be and do
Rather than should or guilt or totally planned

Why We Go (To The Woods)

It starts with pain and ends with death or fame
The lucky ones slip by, anonymous,
Safe with their shadows embraced—no shame
In the balance between here and there. Hush.
Stay quiet and don’t deny the changes
The forest brought out of the doubts that drove
You inward on the journey too soon. Ages
Passed inside while the monsters talked and wove
Their words round and round until you forgot
The truth, the lies, the hopes, the dreams that died
Like a phoenix rising, flames and fire shot
Higher still, until all the tears had dried
My monsters have always lived in my mind
For me they will even be wise and kind