Hour 9 – From a list of 10 words

We left the cottage on our bicycles
after dusk
the sky a deep indigo
the heat of the day wearing off
we were motivated
to move again

masks up, in case
someone else might
have the bright idea
to wander the darkness
and escape the strange hordes
of the not-so-quarantined
who seem to prefer
crowding the trails in daylight

water bottles filled & lights charged
we head to the end of the trail
winding alongside the creek
serenaded by peeping frogs, croaking toads
and fanned by the wings of swooping bats

the treeline decorated with the chaotic light of fireflies
we ride brisk but with ease

a brief respite from the lethargy
of days spent inside eating porridge
and crowding the bandwidth
with zoom meetings 

Hour 8 – Tiger! Tiger!

Tiger, Tiger
start a fire
if it explodes
go back to the forest
enter a portal to
a parallel universe
where everything is
a mirror image of this universe
question my truth
you will be stopped by the ghost of a pirate
who will divide your mind until you believe
question my goals
you will be shocked into submission
and split between the two universes


Hour 7- Season of the Crocodile

It was the summer of the pandemic
when my youngest cried
it’s time to focus on crocodiles
collage, painting, sketches, and songs
all of them must include
a snappy reptile with attitude

But really they are misunderstood
though their jaws are lethal
their general attitude is more peaceful
They’d much prefer to sun themselves out of reach
and only splash as a form of speech

Though if waters, whether salt or brackish
include members of the genus Crocodylus
I will happily resist the urge to go for a float
and stay on land or in a boat

Because even though a crocodile is a recluse
I’d prefer not to test the theory with my hide
and risk getting to know a crocodile from the inside

Hour 6 – Ideal Morning

Dim light and quiet morning
the cool hardness of wood under tired feet

the hollow sound of water rushing into the chrome carafe
a chaotic burst of grinding release the warm and bitter scent
the rolling thunder of water boiling
steam rises from the water poured into glass
resistance as the pressure of the plunger handle indents my palm
a new shade of liquid poured into ceramic mug lift to my lips
sweet, caramel scents and warm bitterness on my tongue

the clock clatters a rhythmic reminder
breath quickens and arms feel heavy with gathered gear
doors creak and metal slams

beeps and robotic voices give guidance and the music gets louder
as the speed and sound of tires on pavement and metal and glass
moving against the air obscure the moody melodies

slow crackling of gravel under tires
the movement stops
music silenced
crickets chirp and a screen door slams shut
cool air meets my face with the salty scent of sea

muscular effort and the snapping of silicone against my head
alerting pain receptors of the pulling at stray hairs
goggles pressed firmly into the skin of my face

a blanket of low grey clouds
gentle light sifting through the clouds and reflecting on the smooth water

cool wetness laps at my toes
then my ankles
feet sink into a smooth and gritty softness
push off and body floats and glides into the water
heart beats faster as I deepen my breath, hold it and submerge
grey and brown blurry view and sound has gone mute
back to the surface with a splash

a friendly face and hand motion of encouragement
set my sights on a blue bottomed boat above the wooden dock

hands pull through the cool water and fluid heaviness
shoulders and back feel taut with effort
propelling through the water
bubbles surround my face
as my lungs empty until
they ache for a quick sip of air
rhythm is found
and the cycle is played
on repeat


Hour 5 – The Worlds We Create

When the world we created
feels like it’s too much
I row my lifeboat out
onto the still lake
stretch out and close my eyes
look up and see the ancient light
greet me with silent beauty

When the world I’ve created
feels like it’s too much
I walk into the forest
toss myself down on bare ground
to look up at the trees
waving in the breeze too tall
for me to feel

When the world created by humans
feels like it’s too much
I sit still in the garden
watching the bees
gathering nectar
from flowers I planted
with love in my heart

at ease in its existence
reminds me
we can, I can, humans can
life-supporting worlds
worth living in

Hour 4 -Dear Former Cult Leader

Dear Former Cult Leader:

From my backyard garden listening to the cool wind rustling the leaves on the
I write to you.
Listening to the claws of the squirrel grip the cedar tree as it rushes toward its important business of finding food,
I write to you.
Listening to the calls of robins, cardinals, mocking birds, and the staccato of the woodpecker banging its head on the oak tree,
I write to you.

I used to listen to you —
your every word was the structure I built my life upon.
But then one day, I listened to myself and set myself free – nearly. I still practice the conversations I imagined we might have one day.

Not the one where I tell you the ways you hurt me and the others.
We had that conversation.
But the one I rehearsed inside my head to ask you all the questions left unanswered. The ones I was too proud or too obedient to ask when you were here.

It’s too late. You’re are thirteen years gone.

The questions I would ask —
Did you know you were a cult leader? Did you do it all on purpose, was it planned or did your manipulative nature just take you there organically?
This one really bugs me. — why did you say it’s always about hair and numbers with me?

All I can do is live my new life on my terms, letting you be the fallible man you were, and listen to my own answers to the questions or let them fade away unanswered.

Hour 3 – Not Believed

What if you had the power to save the world?
But you were only a little girl
A coming crisis seen clearly through
Unusual means
An unlikely hero who holds the keys
to save us all, but

they don’t believe her

Dream filled nights
reveal the truth to her
she doesn’t think it’s real
until the visions pierce the veil
of waking times
the information shows it’s veracity
but does she have the capacity
to convince the others it’s all real

they don’t believe her 

Brave and true, she tells the tale
seeks out others who know as well
allies and believers are sparse to find
since she is only a teen
her guardians have the power
and lock away her voice 

they don’t believe her

Hour 2 – Recipe for a Hot Mess

Fear gripped her heart
the hot humid air clogged her lungs
she took a quick sip from her third espresso drink
scratching her head and looking around
for inspiration or hope
Held in the vice grip of indecision
looking to the least likely helpers
squirrel? robin? roar of traffic?
do any of you have an idea?
I am inept
It can’t be done
It will never be good enough
She was steeped in self-doubt
with a caffeinated tremble
she typed and erased words
wondering how she would ever
complete the work

Hour 1 – Goddess of the Resistance 

Met her in a tropical paradise
Goddess in a white bikini
lounging by the pool, drink in hand
boisterous and fun yet serious and strong
assumptions about her based on looks were wrong
fast friends and connection held through distance

she was always powerful and smart
and then a moment called for her strengths
she rose to comfort and educate her friends
her bright light of knowledge untangling the frayed mess
of a democracy in crisis

thousands drawn in by the comfort of clarity
the call to action
rage crashed over us
she offered a well of logic and expertise
pushed us to engage and do something to defend
what’s left of our democracy

a goddess with the wisdom to transform
mistakes into opportunities to grow
to listen to the voices screaming truths for so long
join in collaboration and know when to defer
elegant and fierce 

the resistance is strong
with the goddess of law and magic
as we rage on

A Bit About Me – Gina Gil

I write novels, short stories, and poetry. I am currently working on a YA science fiction novel. Once upon a time, I was a middle school science teacher. And long, long ago on the other side of the country, I was an herbalist. I still use my herbal knowledge and grow an herb garden and make teas and potions from the plants.

I love to swim, bike, and run and compete in running races & triathlons. I am currently participating in the Great American 5000, which is a 24-person team virtual running event. We are adding up our running miles to cross the country together. I ran 5 miles today. Some people on our team run 15 miles daily!

I also enjoy endurance events of the literary kind and have participated in 24-hour readathons and NaNoWriMo. So, this poetry marathon was irresistible to me.

This is my first year participating in the poetry marathon & I am looking forward to the challenge. I have set up the marathon day so I will have space and time without other responsibilities to allow me to get into a creative flow. I will divide my time between my outdoor “office” in the garden and my indoor office depending on the weather and my mood. I have a good supply of snacks and most importantly plenty of coffee and green tea.

Time to write!

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