I don’t have the power

The well of kindness is running dry.
Just reading the news takes a toll,
Imposes mental stress.

Feels like whatever I do,
It barely matters.
Maybe it doesn’t.

I don’t have the power.
Do I?
Maybe I do, and I’m just afraid.

But if not me, then who?
Who will step forward?
Step out, step up?

Right now, there are children in cages.
Tomorrow is not an option.

I don’t have weeks
Or months, or years.
I have no time to waste.

If I ignore injustice,
Stay silent, refuse to speak,
What does that do to my humanity?


Prompt for Hour Nine of the 2015 Poetry Marathon: Set a timer. Write whatever comes in to your head for 5 minutes as fast as you can. Don’t delete anything you type, and don’t bother to spell check. It is all about getting the words down on the paper. After the 5 minutes are up start editing what you have. Feel free to cut and add material as needed. Try to spend at least 15 minutes, if not longer, editing the piece.

Mendacious Man

The parade of lies grows longer,
Oh, the falsehoods that he’ll tell.
This president’s mendacious claims
Offend, enrage, repel.

My book is best,
McCain won’t help vets,
Cruz has a double passport;

German crime
Has hit a high —
I have the gals’ support.

Russia would not interfere,
And my campaign is in the clear,
He’s happy to report.

Do not give in, do not give up,
The truth, it matters, still.
Hold firm, demand, insist, in fact,
Do not fall for this swill!

U.S. Bill of Rights (erasure poem)

Respecting freedom
people peaceably assemble.

Free people
not infringed.

Time of peace.

shall not be violated.

Rights in danger;
in jeopardy.

Be a witness.

Be informed,
value fact.

Constitution retained
by the people.

Powers to the people.


One pack.
Ten cards.
They came complete with gum.

Ballpark stats,
I read them, every one.

Finding more.
Collection slowly grows.

Full sets
Each year
Fill albums,
And shelves to hold them, too.

Yankees, Braves,
They all play roles, it’s true.

But, Dad,
Gifts me more.
Our own baseball tradition.

(from a prompt: “I’ve collected them all.”)

Laundry doesn’t wash itself

Well-thumbed pages
betray my love,
A romantic tale,
Practically memorized.

Just this passage,
(a particular favorite),
A chance to dream,
To believe in magic.

It won’t take long,
Few minutes, at best.
Have to stop soon.
Laundry doesn’t wash itself.

Can’t leave it there,
Just a few pages more.
Skimming quickly…
There’s time, I’m sure.

Immersed, engaged,
Drawn in, bound tight.
Dawn light spreads slowly,
Story ends.

Off to bed, as others wake,
Addiction fed, word-thirst now slaked.
Set the alarm, rise ‘fore long,
Laundry doesn’t wash itself.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Buzz-saw construction sounds
Drag me from my dreams.

Itching nose, scratchy eyes
Herald neighbor’s morning cigarette.

Birdsong drowned by honking horns
Carpool drivers anxious, going nowhere fast.

News reports drone from the kitchen radio
Telling husband what I read last night.

“Train is approaching the crossing,
Please stay off the tracks.”

Smile pasted on for coworkers
Chit-chat and get to work.

Wheel spins and clanks on grocery cart,
Let’s cut this shopping short.

Dinner’s done, kids are fed
Good night songs sung, stories read.

This quiet hour, this time tonight
This rest before the morning light,
My hundred years of solitude.



Her eyes narrowed with distrust,
Never wavering,
Watching my every move.

Her eyes squinted in sheer pleasure,
Inviting more attention.

…once feral, now my pet.

Music prompt

“That sound is music to my ears,”
I heard someone say.
And I wondered,
“What kind of music would that be?
I mean,
There’s the mellow low tones of a sweet lullaby,
And the hard pulsing thump of a rock-n-roll classic.
Did that sound make her think
Of country’s ripe twang?
Or the hard-to-bear grief of a ballad?
If it’s music to your ears
Can it be angry, or harsh, or even as mean as a curse?
Can it crush with its weight, with its angst?
What kind of a song
Inspired the phrase?
What lyrics and rhythm and verse?
And if I don’t like it,
If it just turns me off,
Can it even be music at all?

Growth (diamante)

soaring, intoxicating
pushing, pressuring, deceiving
disappointment alternates with success
anchoring, reassuring, accepting
sober, grounded

(Prompt) Metaphorically trapped in a small space

Stress (dream prompt)

Relief comes sharp as day winds down,
I’ll finally relax.
So much to do, so much to plan,
Tomorrow, stress comes back.

But now, I drift, I drive along,
The road is wide and clear.
My car hums soft and steady on,
Ahead the stop draws near.

The street continues to the T,
“Now left,” my guide intones.
I wait to turn, to journey on,
To rest my weary bones.

The cars flick by, one at a time,
And never once I see
The space that’s meant to host my car,
To create a place for me.

Again, again, the tires thump,
The stream flows strong and steady,
And right along, my heartbeat pounds,
All panicked, racing; thready.

“I can’t get out, this will not end!”
My mind races past the cars.
Until, at last, my open eyes
Are reassured by stars.