Hour 12: Maybe I Want it to Be

Line from Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

“Maybe I Want it to Be”

Maybe beneath the aged weeping willow,

boughs bending in supplication to earth

I will discover a sunken hideaway


It will be buried underneath gnarled roots

which grip black soil, like old friends clinging

to one another


A secret cavernous sanctuary

to burrow safe from disease with

complex veins of hope and magic

to filter life and breath

a fantastical child’s palace that fulfills all 

want —

where no one weeps

Maybe I want it to be


Hour 11: The Masks We Wear

Inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar “We Wear the Mask”

The Masks We Wear


A veil obscures me from the eyes of others,

false confidence under strained smiles masks my desires for belonging,

a pretense of confidence, swathed in fine thread

is ardent desire to end what unravels inside me, and to stop

what — shifting sand, which keeps me from discovering solid ground

where I can stand

we are not “we”, I am only “one” 

and I wear a mask because I must

Hour 10: Moonshadow

Bloated on city noise, bright lights,

cheap whiskey and bad luck, he

ventures elsewhere, away from

anxiety filled days and sleepless nights

makes his move across rutted back roads

to the deep country, a cabin off the beaten path

secluded, silent, only the whispers of wind to keep

him company

By chance he

catches his shadow spilling across 

a still lake, shaded in forest

under a blood moon, 

and the celestial bodies speak, open his eyes

to the world

his old life slips away, a fleeting dream

and all that is left

is the present moment

and deep unadulterated night

Hour 9: Fretful Nights


The fretful night ushers

morning lethargy which hangs strange 

and heavy in this otherworldly reality

where the masks we wear bring us together 

and tear us apart

Over a Zoom we share a bottle of hope across screens

dream tomorrow when children catch fireflies 

in the summer heat

Hour 6: Qi


So it begins — not too early I’ve never been one to court dawn —

        breath and fluid motion,

                cultivating life energy 

Deep breath, 

      cleansing breath,

               in and out

Later the warmth of a coffee-filled mug in my hands 

                      my soul smiles with each caffeinated sip

A leisure walk along the bluff 

           an afternoon swell of wind is a kiss on my cheeks,

                  the azure sky and sun glinting off the lake energy within  

                          Expel warm breath, push sailboats into specks on the horizon

Cool firelit evening, crackling campfire

            My family dissects the world. 

                 Falls into a collective existential crisis but resurfaces

                    with lighter conversation of books and music

                            shares laughter into wee Witching hours — 

So it ends with harmony and deep breath, 

           cleansing breath, 

               in and out

                    It ends with air — Qi




Hour 5:Waxen Wings

Waxen Wings


Heavy mist clouds my vision,

obfuscates sun 

chills my laborious mountain climb 

to the summit


I believe the precipice will reveal truths

about life and death, love and loss

I breathe thin air, soak in weak rays


Icarus flew too close, but not I

Not today

Today I will my save waxen wings

for another climb

Hour 3:The Difficulty

 The difficulty I see is a world hardened and deaf

 to our brother’s cries, oblivious to our neighbor’s suffering 

 when we hurl insults and caterwaul, 

 there is only noise 

 behind a platform we hide and

 hurt one another


We can be better


The difficulty I see is effusive hatred spilling

from our souls, a polluted river coursing through our

cities, man mired in ignorance and denial, beating down their brothers

oppression is not vanquished but is reality for those

the world sees as “other”. The dominant unbelievers of our

commonalities and connections. Those that feed on rampant “isms” prevail.

But we are the same. We are the same. 

Blood bleeds carmine in us all.


We can be better


In the world of tomorrow, 

“isms” must die, the white boy with the confederate flag must look 

the black boy in the eye and see his brother 

The minister in the pulpit must recognize his love for his wife is no purer

than the love between those two women holding hands on the street

We owe it to the world to listen, to be better

We can be better

Hour 1: Maya Angelou: Inspiration in Dark Times

Maya Angelou: Inspiration in Dark Times


Her words spoke inclusivity, rebuked racism 

amidst savage intolerance 

a black woman in a white man’s world 

 knew why the “caged bird sings”

stood with confidence, challenged authority

inspired protest against injustice

the color of her skin would not hold her back

she called for change, “On the Pulse of morning”

standing beside a President as equal

freedom, evolution, hope

embodied in her words


I’m Tammi, and I hail from a tiny burb of Cleveland, Ohio where I reside with my husband, three children and somewhat feral tabby cat. I teach middle school English and enjoy reading and writing YA novels in verse. This will be my second half-marathon. Since last marathon, I have had my poetry appear in “Down in the Dirt Magazine” & “Caterpillar Magazine” as well as “2019 Poetry Marathon Anthology.”  I have always enjoyed sharing poetry with my students, but last year’s marathon inspired me to become involved in additional poetry writing opportunities. In April I discovered a teacher writer group #verseloveforteachres from Ethical ELA, and I spent every day in April writing poetry for poetry month. 30 poems in 30 days!  The experience of writing poetry with other poetry lovers is a fantastic way of connecting with the world. It brings people together and helps us see our humanity more clearly. Can’t wait to write poetry with you!


Hello Everyone!

I reside in Rocky River, Ohio with my husband and three children. I am a middle school language arts teacher and gifted intervention specialist. I get to teach all the nerdy kids who love talking about Dr. Who and Harry Potter. It is a dream job because my students are the best. They are curious and humorous. They love to learn.  They love to read and they often love to write. Everyday I get to share what I’m passionate about writing and reading with students who also share those sames passions.  When I’m not teaching and being a mom, I’m burning the midnight oil writing. I write YA fiction and my current WIP is a verse novel.

I’ve  never entered a contest like this before and I’m a bit nervous.  I don’t have any formal poetry training but as an English teacher I have always enjoyed reading and sharing poetry with my students on our scheduled Poetry Fridays.  I keep a poetry journal and find myself writing about events in my life. Lately these events have been emotional as my mother recently passed and my oldest daughter is leaving for college soon. I hope this challenge will open my awareness to other topics and encourage me to take some chances with my writing, possibly explore odd relationships between objects and situations. I’ve noticed that all of my poetry tends to be stylistically very similar, and since I’ve been writing in verse prose that seems to be my go to. I am going to pull out my poetry books and experiment with different styles. Listen to a lot of music for inspiration and drink lots of coffee.