Hour 1: Training at Ned’s Point

Training at Ned’s Point, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts


The lighthouse, white

washed brick stands

stark against the matte

grey, winter waves,

darker than the leaden

steel clouds, my breath

hangs in the air, a puff

of steam captured in a mask.


It sits, as grumpy old New Englanders do

cold and silent, watching.


Seagulls dart over the tarnished silver

surface of the sea, but human

trash is easier pickings.

Rats of the Sea

Ocean pigeons

Dropping discarded wrappers

on the rocky beach.


Every Saturday morning, we bow

to the East, the tides

silent against the rocks. Boats

in their moorings sheeted white

with plastic and snow.


Submerging, the pain is instant.

An exquisite icy blow

shocks me alive,

pins and needles

more electric than Afib paddles.

I shake

red and blue

dripping on the beach.


Its lines have long since

smoothed into aesthetically pleasing curves;

its jagged character flattened.

Vessels crowd wooden docks,

glistening, reflecting the polished

sheen of privilege.

Quiet and still more often than not.

I wish I was more

like the lighthouse

like the sea

like the boats.




Hour 12: Frankenpoem Challenge (one line from each poem hours 1 -11)

Hour 12: Frankenpoem Challenge


We were not always strangers

in this place, like souls who were lost

as time wore away their names.

Even as the rains came drowning our passions,

who liked to play in the stream,

You already knew

this could happen first

last, opening our lives

on a virtual stage, pounding

the blacks and blues

out of their souls as muscles burned

on the rope for a world gone mad.


I wasn’t in the mood.

Hour 11: Date Night – The True Story of Yesterday

Hour 11: Date Night


We called for reservations—

a table just for two;

arrived ten minutes early, but

we didn’t have a clue

that the crowd that gathered at the gate

was for 8:30, too!


Fifteen minutes past our time,

I had a little frown.

My tummy started rumbling

as I paced around.

A half an hour later,

we checked in with the host

who confidently told us

“10 more minutes at the most.”


50 minutes later,

I had had enough.

My boyfriend couldn’t stop me

from demanding what was up.

“A glitch in the computer app,”

he’s all apologies,

“It isn’t anybody’s fault

just bad technology.”


Every other party

was seated getting food,

but even with our table cleared,

I wasn’t in the mood

to let this guy quite off the hook

I need to make him squirm.

Being much more honest

is a lesson he should learn.


Looking back on date night,

we really weren’t surprised.

If not for the bad luck we have,

we’d have never realized

all we really need

to get along just fine

is something mostly edible

and a bottle of good wine.

Hour 10: Boden Lane Cemetery

Boden Lane Cemetery


Faded black lettering peels like birch bark

away from the old white sign

nothing left but shadows and 1812.

A crumbling rock wall held together by clinging ivy

stands like a sentry. I slip between

a granite pillar and a rusty iron gate.


Moss gives way to bare feet, spongy and damp.

Acorn caps crackle; overgrown grass rustles

in the breeze. Headstones drifted

out of their rows and columns

crumbling, sinking, broken

like souls who were lost as time wore away their names.


The air, redolent with summer, lay heavy

with the weight of its ghosts.

Crickets echo the fife and drum.

Mists rise like dawn on the battlefield, and I see

the ragtag, worn out Patriots of our freedom.


I barely stifle a scream and duck

when the first shot rings out.

A car backfires—


I’m just a kid in an old cemetery

playing truth or dare.


Hour 9: Satiated (a nonet –  new challenge for me)

Hour 9: Satiated (a nonet –  new challenge for me)


The rain falls, a steady thrum, white noise

lulling my mind blank; the earth cries

with relief, thirsting, drinking.

I, too, thirst for cool rain

on heated skin, flush

from summer, love,

finding my

first last


Hour 8: Notes to My Teenaged Self on Boys, Dating, Sex, Men and Love

Hour 8: Notes to My Teenaged Self on Boys, Dating, Sex, Men and Love


I. Boys


They will not be truly interesting until their 20’s,

and maybe not even then


When they do dumb shit to impress you,

rolling your eyes only makes it worse.


The less interested you are, the harder they try.

(Be wary of your best friend’s crush.)


They always want to go “all the way”

even if they have no clue how to get there.


Being “one of the guys” does not make you a guy,

and they never forget that.



II. Dating


Your first boyfriend should not be the guy who cheated on his girlfriend with you,

even if you were together for two years.


Flowers on your homeroom desk, notes in your locker, and holding hands in hallways

should always be appreciated.


If you’re always driving him around, get gas money.

Nobody rides for free.


If he doesn’t call you his girlfriend in front of his friends,

you’re not.


Cut cheaters loose.

You already knew this could happen.



III. Sex


You’re going to give it up sometime so be smart and use condoms.

It doesn’t matter that you make it to almost 40 without getting               pregnant. Things work better when you’re younger.


You do not have to be in love to have sex.

You don’t even really have to like him, but it helps.


It’s fun and sweet, and if it’s not,

you’re doing it with the wrong person.


Get to know your body.

You won’t know what you like until you try it.


Sex isn’t a tool, a bribe or a reward.

You’ll be ashamed of that later.


IV. Men


They still do dumb shit to impress you,

but now sometimes it works.


Always wear a bra, especially in air conditioning.

Your eyes are up here.


If he’s more than ten years older than you,

why is he into a teenager?


They have feelings too.

I know…I was also surprised by this one.


They still always want to go “all the way” only

now they ask for directions.



V. Love


It isn’t a tool, a bribe, or a reward.


Fall into it as often as you can.

You can get back up.


It’s never the same twice,

that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good.


Never regret it. You may change someone’s life forever.

Maybe even your own.

Hour 7: When You’re a Poet and Your Ex is a Regular at Your Bar

Hour 7: When you’re a poet, and you ex is a regular at your bar.


I sat at the end of the bar. Ink flowed

smooth like good sex and top shelf,

bleeding on wet squares of paper.

How many passed between drinks? Swapped out

blank slates, rounds came

and went.


Around me the ebb and flow gurgled

a white noise mountain stream, dry

seasons and flash floods.

Time was lost, written between the lines,

and the only other seat that was never empty

was the one next to mine.


Without looking, I felt your feigned indifference

weighing heavy on my pen, as if the words would speak to you

the wisdom to unlock the space

between us.

My nod to the bartender puts a drink in your hand,

your surprise lays my pen down, drowning in a pool of condensation.


We were not always strangers in this place.


Even as your yearning threatens to suffocate me,

I yield,

on my own terms.


Dance with me.


Dizzy, a hair’s breadth of infinite darkness between

us; lightness, your hands cup

my hips, knotted fingers

in the void, no one can see

two left feet.

Hour 6: And Sow, the Garden has Grown

Hour 6: And Sow, The Garden has Grown

(an adapted villanelle)


The taste of the word love was ashes in my mouth.

The chewed up, spit out fuel feeding someone else’s flaming desire.

I sowed my garden with it, and things grew.


In the early spring, when it was new,

we shoveled compost and turned the earth,

but the taste of the word love burned like ashes in my mouth.


Seeds were planted in abundance and with the expectation of bounty.

Even as the rains came drowning our passion,

I sowed my garden with it, and things grew.


The heat rose, and as it baked, the earth burned.

Tomatoes stripped of promise by horned caterpillars,

and the taste of the word love lingered like ashes in my mouth


By fall I had lost most of the squash.

Their rich potential wormed away by resentment and neglect.

Still, I sowed my garden with it, and things grew.


There were late season pumpkins, ripe and buttery orange, more zucchini

than I could bake into bread, and a surprising peck of green peppers.

The taste of love left ashes in my mouth,

yet I sowed my garden with it, and things grew.

Hour 4: Getting Back to My Roots

Hour 4: Getting Back to My Roots


In the beginning, we treated it

like any other class

coffee cups in hand.

Snacks surreptitiously of to the side

while we typed private messages

alongside power point slides.


After the professor left,

I waited a beat

before asking if anyone else was breaking out.

Everyone laughed— we all were.


In these semi-darkened chats

we bonded

lounging in hoodies and pajamas

in our kitchens cooking dinner

or on our beds

maybe in an office

with the sounds of kids and dogs in the background.

And we all wondered about the girl with the blank green wall

behind her when she left the room.


We exposed ourselves in ways

we never would have, opening

our lives on a virtual stage, lamenting

unwaxed eyebrows

the snapping of acrylic nails

one by one.

None of us bothered to shave our legs.


I joked about the strands of grey

more and more obvious on high def screens

disguising my discomfort in the gap between 24 and almost 40.

My laundry is full of yoga pants, and I read to my kids

every night before bed.


The timeline of quarantine is measured at a rate

of approximately ½ inch of hair growth

per month.


I weigh the cost of my youth against the inevitable journey

getting back to my roots.