Marathon Anniversary

What would I need to do
to make you stay?
Make a commitment
to another twelve…
I look back upon
our experiences together.
They say time makes you forget
the bad, remember
only the good.
I say – it’s still all too fresh.
I’ll finish us now.
Downsize. Compartmentalize.
Reconsider a year from now
whether or not
it was worth it.
Whether or not
I want to give it another go.
We made it through twice
so chances are pretty good
the theory is correct.
I will remember
what will make me
do it again next year.
With you.

That Song

The Swallowtail Jig
brings tears to my eyes.
My Irish roots
grounded in the family name
Ellis.
My father’s people came
from the great isle of Éire
the fire red in our hair
testament to the fact
we were the ‘true Irish.’
My father’s father
was a fiddler who wore
a single gold hoop in his ear.
Played the fiddle and
stomped his worn dirt encrusted boot
on the wooden porch where
we kids bounced around until
the fireflies came to light.
The Swallowtail Jig
just a quaint country song to some
digs deep into the furrows
of my family
of my love.

[Prompt 11]

Her Bruises

It’s a tough color to get
Purple fades
into blue fades
into green fades
into yellow fades
into her flesh.
You can see each one
but can’t separate them
from the source.
A fist to the eye.
A foot to the rib.
A knee to the thigh.
Are we really still asking why?
There is no why
only this what.
Stop pretending
you don’t see it
don’t understand
how.
It’s gone on too long.
Really, it’s not that difficult
to understand –
only to do
anything about it.
And there’s the question
why.

[Prompt 10: Write a poem where color plays an important role. How you choose to interpret that role is up to you.]

Spider My Love

Spider my love
come to me while I sleep
wrap your eight bristled legs
around my naked body
tenderly trailing your tiny claws
across my bare skin.
Shivers run through me
as your pedipalps explore
my curves and folds.
I look into your eyes
see six of me reflected
in black convex shimmer.
Your cephalothorax holds me tight
while your abdomen rolls
circular spinning spinning spinning
binding me to you
Spider, my love.

[Prompt 9: Write a poem about a Spider.]

Who Prayed this Rain?

I look upon the fields now glazed
with water from last night’s rain, with
flooding predicted, more and more rain.
Who prayed for all this water?
Who could have sat beside
the hand of God and asked the
Blessed Virgin Mary all dressed in white
to send so much rain as to drown the entire flock of chickens?

[Prompt 8: Golden Shovel from William Carlos Williams, Red Wheelbarrow: “glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens”]

Inside Out

tight green milkweed pod
twisted teardrop fruit splits open
silk seedlings fly free

[Prompt 7]

Three Timed Stanzas

I. 60 Seconds
The neighbor’s circular saw
fills the humid summer afternoon
with the incessant sound
of buzzing

II. 90 Seconds
When we were children
we would put our swimsuits on
under our shorts and t-shirts
put a beach towel in a bag
ride our bikes the mile
through city streets
to the beach on the bay
lay slathered in baby oil
fell asleep in the sun
swam to cool our burning skin
rode home again when the
shadows told us
it was time for supper

III. 120 Seconds
We rode our bikes
to the candy store
bought penny candies
by the handful
carefully counted out
how many blackjacks and mary janes
and butterscotch disks
we could afford
while the old man watched
from behind the counter
never once smiling
never once telling us thanks
for our business
as if having penny candies was
somehow beneath him
yet it was his shop
his orders every month
that kept us coming back
again and again and again
to count our pennies
in the candy aisle.

[Prompt 6]

Haibun

Every time I am given the writing prompt to write about a place, I go to a singular time in my youth, to a river near my home where a huge willow grown into the riverbank had been cut down after a storm first broke it in two. The stump hung out over the river, the water flowing around and through some of its roots. I would climb up the giant stump and have enough room to sit cross-legged with my bag beside me. I would read, write in my journal, just sit and watch the river loll by, lose all sense of time and place. Now we would call this meditation of a sort, though I didn’t have that word for it as a child. I just knew it was a place I could go to be alone, no matter the season. A place where I could calm my mind and walk away with a feeling of deep inner peace.

willow stump
river slowly swirling
beneath us

 

[Prompt 5: Write a poem about a specific location that meant a lot to you as a child or teenager that you have not returned to in many years. It could be a house, a park, a country, anywhere that had particular significance. The focus of the poem could be on the location itself, or it could be on something(s) that happened there, or someone you spent a lot of time with there.]

Open the Book

Open the book and read
stories of adventure and of stillness
of seeing the world and
of knowing one intimate space

Open the book and read
how it all began
with a whisper
in the child’s ear

Open the book and read
words arranged
into new imaginations
mindscapes built upon dreams

Open the book and read
where you have been
where you are
where you breathe to be

 

[Prompt 4: The prompt for this hour is to write a four stanza poem. The stanzas can be as long or short as you want them to be. In each of the stanzas, you most repeat one of the lines in the first stanza. It can be the same line repeated in each stanza or a different line in each stanza. This can have a dramatically different effect, depending on the length of the line and the length of the stanza]

Desire Paths

Singular pathways
engineers create spaces
from one place to the next
determine the most logical route
cement it into place
guide us to established destinations
But when we stray
walk on the grass
between trees
through bush gaps
we create desire paths
ways we wish to walk
rather than are told
We create new spaces
new ways to arrive
to where we want to be.

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