305 Maggie Street

a place
where birds gather
and children fly
soothe the wounded edges
feed the welcomed guests
celebrate the wholeness of this woman

now an ode to cheese

the giant space
between me and veganism
is cheese

hard or soft
creamy or funky
cow or goat,
though I prefer a cheese whose shepherd I’ve hugged

the refrigerator is organized
with a veggie drawer
and a fruit drawer
and a cheese drawer
though my youngest once said,
“you know you have a lot of cheese
when you have a cheese drawer,
and not all of your cheese fits in that drawer”

splurge on the gluten-free cheese ravioli
for the new air fryer you got for Christmas
that you dip in pesto made with basil from your garden
and there you have
the slice of heaven
that is the kin-dom of God
here on earth today

when the poet is assigned her own wake up call

you with the magic,
wake up!

there’s things to do
poems to write
verses to spew

you’re gonna need to greet the sun pretty soon

don’t brew more coffee
you’ve had your last call with diet coke

wake up!

fake up, if you have to

we can count the poems after this
on two thumbs

finish what you started
channel Mary Oliver
dig out your thesaurus
say your special prayers

and be like Captain Kangaroo:
good morning, Captain

wake up!!!

you’re almost there
you’re almost bare
you’re almost sleeping under there

wake up!!!!

take up these final steps
make up these last few peps
shake up these closing arguments
break up with Johnny Depp
(you might be dreaming, pinch yourself)

wake up!!

you’re almost to the finish line
you can’t disappoint Pam

right now, everyone is named Pam, OK?

wake up!!!

wake up Thecla
wake up the neighbors
wake up those last poems you harbor
wake up like you’re in labor

wake up!!!!

hey girlfriend
you with the magic
don’t let this marathon end tragic

wake up!!!!

ode to Diet Coke

you’ve been a sobering presence
your fake, sweetened bubbles
soothe my nauseous whims
and on this night called marathon
it is you that keeps my marrow on
oh, diet coke, oh

this ode
a most pretentious code
my Grandfather’s daily drink
I think
and now on the brink of poems
four and twenty
you and I have had plenty
of drooling pooling schooling ink
as your glass I clink
and dink

there’s ice
there’s no ice
there’s bottles and cans
there’s a twist of lime
there’s so many fans
oh, diet coke, oh
this ode’s full of woe

I often think from you I should wean
I worry that those ingredients are just not clean
for my body
my brain
my spirit
my disdain
knows that you are just a habit
the kind I’m wont to break
but Diet Coke
to finish this race
this Ode’s for you to take

the darkened road less traveled

look up, my friend
at the blueberry sky
connect the dots
and discover new constellations
that you can name
after your guinea pig
or your first lover

look down, my friend
and see that the moon
casts shadows too
as it dances
around the body: you
walking in the night
two by two
shadow and you

look forward, my friend
in the direction you’ve chosen;
when you walk at night
I recommend
a destination of darkness
that harks less
than a daylight stride
may you abide
in a sacred womb
not tomb
though both prefer the holiness of darkness

look beside you, my friend
as the poems walk with you
disguised as song
humming wordless verses
like the owls do
all night long
neither you nor she can be wrong

look behind you, my friend
not in fear
but in faith
at the road already taken
that the ancestors paved
a communion of saints
leaving breath for today
a shared bouquet
of flowered inhaling

look within you, my friend
and tenderly see
the gobble-de-gook
that has you up
and walking
at night
looking for reasons
not to sleep
but to dream

self portrait: dancing alone

when you are learning to dance by yourself
it helps
if you are first experienced
at having a meal by yourself

not in front of the television
but at the kitchen table
with silverware and a napkin on your lap;
I open the window and the curtains
so I can watch and hear the birds

sometimes while I am eating alone
the zen bunny comes
and eats my radishes in the garden
which I let her do
even though that means
I am not eating alone

but these are not times for

to dance by yourself
takes similar intention
and not any music will do
for some is too saturated in memories
of the good and bitter kinds
and some music is just too cheerful
though  a dirge is never right either

I choose Tracy Chapman, of course,
you already knew that,
or guessed, at least,
and I wear a skirt that would twirl
if I wanted such frivolity

but I begin with just my hips,
though you can’t move your hips in isolation,
can you?
for the shoulders must follow
and that brings in the arms
and now I am dancing
like a Pride flag in the breeze
and basking in the sunshine
for I open the windows and the curtains again
this time
so the birds can listen to my music
the bucket is tipped
and the zen bunny,
she’s laying all zen and such
where the radishes used to be
as she lets me relish
dancing alone

just be still, and listen

just be still, and listen
lay under the waning super moon
and listen to moonbeams scratch the surface
of the itch on your back
while the grass grows
and the grasshoppers pack their bags too
tomorrow we’re going to follow the itch
to the Badlands
but tonight
just be still, and listen
to the dreams of the ones
who sleep in their cars down by the river
and cast fishing lines into the water
telling their fish tales and wish tales
to anyone who
will just be still, and listen
while the teenage one across the street
sneaks into their own backyard
through a gate that squeaks with the walk of shame
but if you listen close
has a different name
first love, for real, for feels, for deals
with the only one who listens

just be still, and listen
just be listen, and still
rearrange the letters of listen

“I am begging: Let me be lonely but not invisible.”

whisps of smoke
circle from the pocket behind her lips
rising in loneliness
the stench not new
relegated outdoors
away from the revelry
a socially acceptable isolation
of her own choosing
the boozing
brazen in its dedication
to keep her separate
but seen
but noticed
for her crushing impact
but denial of accountability
the consequences concentrated
in second-hand smoke


there is a drumming,
you are near it
little drummer,
can you hear it?

a crack crack craking
marking seasons and days

a march march marching
noting movement and growing ways

a thrum thrum thruming
crescendoing in passions, love and war

a pound pound poudning
wanting you to open up your door

a beat beat beating
keeping pace with the arc of justice

a thump thump thumping
weighing the space between scarcity and surplus

do you hear the drum, it’s drumming
the gentle time keeper, nothing new

do you hear the drum, it’s thrumming
like a hallowed guitar with melody too

do you hear the drum, it’s beating
in the center of your chest

do you hear the drum, retreating
inviting you to join a parade with all the rest


may your first yes be to yourself
yes, you are enough
yes, you are worth it
yes, you complete your own self
yes, you are ready
yes, you will learn from mistakes
yes, you can trust you

I missed my chance
to be my first yes
but I won’t miss this one


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