Sunday, September 21, 2014


Overheard at the .99 Cent store today-"These beef broth cans are three months out of date."

Everything looks familiar, but is slightly different,
this island of misfit consumer items,
where the fine chocolates are Elmer's brand,
where the over-ripe fruit is bruised,
and where the people are too.

I heard a child singing, "I am stuck on Band-Aids..."
I turned the aisle to see the little girl,
and instead saw an adult woman,
squeezing a bag of bite-sized herring snacks,
and singing to herself, full-voiced, shamelessly.

I was embarrassed, but only for a moment.
It occurred to me that everything here,
at the .99 cent store was simply what it was,
without shame, without pretense, without guile,
both people and products without pretense.

Here is a young girl matching plates
to plastic silverware for her birthday party.
There is a grandma examining nectarines
like a jeweler judging diamonds. And here
a young man buying five razors for a buck.

People here want practicality, not prestige,
They want things that do what they are made to do,
and don't say anything about who you are.
They want to shop without labels,
and sing, full-voiced, while they shop.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Overheard at a pond a 11:00 p.m.

This path is too dark to walk on this late,
the lights are all out, the moon obscured,
the asphalt is black and so is my dog,
and my wandering leash disappears into a void.

How the toads and the crickets call!
Tiny, noisy engines, vibrating life,
filling the darkness with their hum,
crying, "I am here! I am here! I am here!"

A mockingbird calls out, a jazz musician's
flute solo, a flashbulb pop of sound,
a silver scarf thrown against the night sky,
singing, "I live! I live! I live!"

The waves crashing on a distant beach,
are just cars on the road past the trees,
taking breath as they come, sighing as they pass,
calling, "We go! We go! We go!"

Mesquite beans crackle under my feet,
my dog huffs and snorts in the grass,
my shoes scrape the pavement,
as we circle back towards home.

Live-blogging a poem. 3/9
So I'm sitting in this bar,
smoke clouds the air,
rays from the disco lights,
cutting through,
like the spotlights they used
on King Kong at the top of the
Empire State Building.
The oompah of the Tejano band,
is the heartbeat of this bar.
Twin sisters, little people,
are on the dance floor,
dancing like shrink-rayed Shakiras,
and the bar back labors mightily,
a Sisyphus with the cooler of ice.
Gritos are thrown in the air like confetti,
and smiles that would have once dazzled behind fluttering fans,
are now illuminated by cell phones.
An old man fishes in his peanuts,
and a young man scans the bar,
looking for love or a fight.
I think either one would make his night
Heard on the radio: "It's all about that bass, bout that bass, no treble."
Why do we teach women that it is their duty,
to sing about their great big
And where is the call for men to
in singing about their great big
Are women still just the sum of their
I'll stick with the songs about broken
I failed to keep up with the last writing Novena, so I am trying to keep up with this one. Our prompt is to write a dream poem or a poem about something that is overheard.

Overheard at Starbucks: "Iced latte for Eunice" 1/9
When our parents name us
When they bestow a name
It is a spell never to be broken
No kiss can wake us from our name
It is a star that guides us
Or a stone chained to our feet.
So consider a name carefully.
Imagine it spoken by teachers
On those first nerve-wracking days
Or whispered into an ear by a lover.
Imagine it on a police blotter.
Imagine it in an obituary,
Or a newspaper headline.
Make it flexible so it doesn't constrain
Make it loose so it can be shed like a snake's skin.
Or, at the very least,
Make it beautiful if spoken in Spanish.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ode To Walmart After Midnight 5/9
Gentle behemoth, where even in the night,
it is day.
Come to Walmart! You fuzzy-slippered infant formula
foragers. Come in your Garfield pajama bottoms,
seeking vapor rub, diapers, and disposable nipples.
Walmart can stop your baby from crying.
Come to Walmart! You silly stoners seeking sustenance.
Fill your carts with Fruit Loops,
doughnuts and Doritos. Smile nervously at the security guard.
Walmart has enough for you all.
Come to Walmart you elegant, exquisite, exotic dancers!
Use the grimy bills thrust by old men into your thong,
to buy apple snacks, and Fruit Roll-Ups for
your young son’s lunchbox. Teach him to know better than his elders.
Come to Walmart you lovers! Kiss quietly, curfew-breaking kids.
Let your sparks fly in the electronic section,
amid towering TV screens. The embraces you see there
are nothing compared to your own. Walmart is for lovers.
Come to Walmart, you struggling, yet strong, single mothers.
Come after your second job, and carry sleeping children
in one hand, and an economy sized detergent in the other.
Walmart knows only women can carry such a load. Men would break.
Come to Walmart you night people! You restless insomniacs,
seeking relief, searching amongst the NyQuil and the Tylenol PM
for answers you can’t find in your heart. Come, let the gentle
fluorescent buzz, and the hum of the floor wax machine sing you a lullaby.
Walmart. A sanctuary for those who await the dawn.
Ode to Forgiveness. 4/9
Sometimes the hot boil of anger
needs to be lanced.
Let the pus out.
Let the clear fluid of hate
drain away.
Why do we hang on to
the infection that makes us ill?
Why poke at it till it is red and.sore?
Why allow it to grow visible to the stranger
on the.street?
Heal me gentle forgiveness.
Your gentle balm is for the wounded
and blunts the knives of those who wound.
Allow us to forgive, to give
ourselves the healing gift of forgiving
those we most want to never forgive.
Gentle nurse, allow healing to begin.
The strongest remedy is to recognize
the human face behind every affront,
and to see the.scars there as our own.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ode to a Cherry Tomato

Resting in my palm
like a heartbeat,
this small wonder,
feels alive.

The skin resists,
but only for a moment.
Then my mouth fills,
with earth, sun, water,
and time.

Novena Writing Prompt 2/of 9 Odes

Ode to My Blog

Thou still not updated Bride of the Internet
waiting patiently in bloggerdom for my return,
Patiently waiting for updates, pictures, posts,
opinions read by no one, recipes untried, and declarations forgotten.

Facebook killed you my lovely.
As with all things American,
ease and convenience have pushed
creativity and effort away from the altar.

Are you still wearing your bridal veil?
Is your HTML gaze still inscrutable?
How long will your devotion last?
I have forgotten my password,

and your face.

Now we are writing odes for the novena. I am already behind.

Ode to My Dog
My calm center,
My little gentleman,
My walking buddy,
My evening rest,
My poop machine,
My morning alarm,
My couch warmer,
My living pillow,
My daily laugh,
My living dustmop,
My humanity's measure.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Writing Prompt #3

In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled "Oh Do Shut Up Dear!" - New Yorker September 1, 2014.

It's no wonder the Sphinx,
that silent desert mistress of secrets,
is a woman.

How much further would we be,
if we had listened to the half of the
human race who had,-father's, husbands, sons-
 the most to lose?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Writing Prompt 2/9

For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can.
-Karl Ove Knausgaard  My Struggle

That rhythmic one-two punch
that spasm of muscle
the organ grinder that makes my monkey of a body dance.

That little engine that can
that metronome keeping time
that stopwatch counting my days.

That symbol of love,
that skipper of beats
that magnet pulling me towards you.

Our new "Writing Novena" is based on a sentence from a book, magazine, or newspaper.

All through "Little Red Riding Cap" no father is mentioned, which is most unusual for a fairy tale of this kind.
-Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment

Ah, the absence of fathers.
That missing angle
in the geometry of families.
That hole which should be filled with
aftershave, leather boots, Sunday grill outs,
little league, car repair, and the occasional beer.
That ghost who should be at the game, the dance,
the birth and the wedding.
The phantom who should be there to scare your boyfriends,
to tell you about women, to bail you out.
The absence that makes your mom work two jobs,
and ages her twice as fast as is just.
The absence of fathers is our reality.
Not our fairy tale.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Novena #9

Caravaggio got this right.
The seeds of doubt lie in our flesh.
The flesh is poor ground for the rose
of faith.
We lust, we grow old, we die, all in our bodies.
Our entire lives are one long betrayal by the flesh that covers our bones.
So for one man, one angry doubting man, to regain his faith
by pushing his flesh into another man's flesh is a miracle.
Doubt is the forge in which our faith is tempered.