Friday, November 30, 2012

Milked - Day 30 of Poem-a-Day

I am giddy! And my poem today shows it. Please don't take it seriously. I'm just being goofy. Why? Because today is the last day of the challenge. Well, sort of; I still have to put together my chapbook.

Anyway, the below poem is my attempt for Day 30 of Poem-a-Day. The prompt was contributed by Violet Nesdoly: "Write a milk poem. This could be about the moo-juice kind of milk. Or it could explore milk metaphorically, as in the expression “milk of human kindness.” Of course it could also be about the act of milking something. And no, it doesn’t have to be nourishing."

Photo by B S K

He sucked me dry, bamboozled
his way into my heart, did a number
on my many offerings of sustenance
for his soul. The double-crosser
scammed me out of all I had left to feed
the young, bilked my bosom, suckered
me with his puckered lips, bankrupt
my bust, left it in an empty crate
on the shaky front porch. To him,
I was just a milkman. To me, I was
the one who got milked.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Birth - Day 29 of Poem-a-Day

The Poetic Asides Chapbook Challenge is nearly over. I survived. Just barely.

The below poem was written for the Day 29 prompt from Bonita Jones Knott: "Write a birth poem. Write a poem on the experience of giving birth or witnessing birth, or feeling reborn in anyway."

I'm tired, so it's short. A haiku.

Photo by olga doroschenkova

Her entrance from one 
world to next, awakening,
sleepless motherhood


Out the Window - Photo and Poem

Below is my response to Veronica Roth's photo prompt, Out the Window.

Photo by Linda G Hatton

Throw cares out
the window where bunnies
hide in shadows 
at midnight, hop along 
garden path to front 
gate, freedom 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Too Commercial? - Day 28 of Poem-a-Day

I went off on a tangent tonight. I think I’m overly tired, feeling cranky, etc. I wanted to watch X-Factor and relax. I had to mute the commercials though.

After missing the mute button a few times, it happened. Ad overload. I got up to get a drink and the words, “You must buy our stuff or your life will be miserable! You must buy, buy, buy. Buy it now!” came tumbling out of my mouth.

My son came out of his room, laughing, and asked what I was doing. I told him I was irritated by the commercials telling me that I had to buy everything or I would be “worth nothing.” (**said in a loud, male voice**)

Then the below poem was born. It doesn’t quite fit the Day 28 prompt (contributed by Jonathan Edward Ondrashek); but remember, I’m cranky, so it will have to do.

The prompt: “Write a poem illuminating how it feels to stand up for what is right in the face of adversity in the workplace.”

Photo by Oliver Gruener

Too Commercial?

Between the dancing
and the singing,
they tell us
You must
have our stuff 
or your life
will be miserable.
Cut back to contestants
speaking about
disdain for going back
to their deplorable lives,
selling stamps, pouring
hearts out into concrete,
creating roads
other than the ones
they want to walk on.


Mistrusted - Day 27 of Poem-a-Day

My Day 27 poem was written from the prompts contributed by Paula Wanken:

  1. Write a hero poem. 
  2. Write a villian poem.

Mine are combined into one poem.

Photo by Csaba J. Szabo

She was a hero, locked
into collecting
donations for victims
of a recent disaster, until
something clicked
inside her head, turning on
unforeseen madness, forcing
a changing of the padlocks,
leaving her chosen
savior-troops as victims
of a psychological disaster, one
they could not heal from
through the act of winter
coat donations.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Truth About Blank - Day 24 of Poem-a-Day

The prompt for Day 24 of Poem-a-Day comes from Beth Cato: "Take the phrase “The Truth About (blank),” replace the blank with a new word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem."

Okay, so I bent the rules a little. Mine is called, "The Truth About Blank." Yeah, yeah, I'm slapping these together lately because I'm trying to . . . **pant, pant** . . .  stay caught up.

See below for my attempt.

Photo by Billy Alexander

The truth about
blank is that it
can be anything
you want, no risk
of rejection when
options are unlimited,
no risk for failure
when you set the limits.
Blank is fresh, ready
to fill with anything
you desire. Blank can be
clear or confused,
you choose.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Flight - Day 26 of Poem-a-Day

Okay, in re-reading the Day 26 prompt, I realize I did not exactly follow it. No, I do not collect butterflies or any winged things - or have the desire to do so. Oops! (See below.) 

This one comes from Shann Palmer: "Write a poem about something you collect (or would collect if you could)."

Photo by Juliet Belasyse-Smith

She collected butterflies, any
thing with wings, bumblebees, dragon-
flies, geese, those that mated for a life
time, she longed to fly, spread
arms, soar into misty plane unknown
to un-winged creatures, eyelashes
fluttering as she imagined what one day
she would become, after life siphoned
the last bit of heavens from her hope, sending
her angelic dreams where she
could dance in the air to the beat
of her own ripples


Opposite. Girl. - Day 25 of Poem-a-Day

I'm posting a bit out of order for Poem-a-Day. I have poems written for Day 25 and Day 26, but not yet for Day 24. (Coming soon.)

My poem attempt for the Day 25 prompt by Cameron Mathews, write an opposite poem, is below.

Photo by Belovodchenko Anton

She plants periods
where commas
are meant to stretch
out, asks questions
with comments, laughs
with a frown.

She eats dessert
before dinner, wakes
after midnight to sip
burgundy wine, loves
to dine while draped
on the floor.

She’d wash gray
right into her hair
if she could, underline
her wrinkled skin, snub
any hint of yearning
to fit in.

She’ll nod yes
while whispering
no, yawn and say
she’s wide awake,
disengage her dreams
of sleep.

She’ll shovel fire onto cold,
wet sand, fill a boat with
water, bask in rainfall, hide
underneath gloomy umbrellas
in summer sun.

While the rest of the world
wants something, she wants
anything else. Striving firm
to stand out, she stands
alone, exposed,
outside herself.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Paradise - Day 22 of Poem-a-Day

Wow. I'm having major issues with my writing lately. The poem below needs more work (as does all my poetry revisions lately), but to avoid falling too far behind, I'm posting anyway.

Day 22 - for Poem-a-Day. This prompt was contributed by Brenda Bishop Blakely: Write a Paradise Poem.

Photo by Farquois

Pen strokes
on delicate paper,
phrases, twigs, strewn
about, rainstorm

companion, no
need to speak, sensing
with our eyes

Sandwiched within
measureless stanzas,
penned by kisses
of words


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rocking Out

This poem for Day 21 means I am caught up! Yay!! This prompt comes from Bruce Niedt:

"Take a random list of five song titles – the source could be a shuffled MP3 playlist, a CD, the next five songs on your favorite radio station, etc.  Use as many of these titles as you can in a poem."

Photo by Jesse Therrien

Somewhere between my sleep
and your waking, a woman waits
for a letter from home, envisioning
your face in the atmosphere, passing
by wherever you are, snapping
herself out of catatonic
quiet, sitting down to eat
a lie for breakfast.

Passing By by Ulrich Schnauss
A Lie For Breakfast by Ulrich Schnauss
Wherever You Are by Ulrich Schnauss
A Letter From Home by Ulrich Schnauss
Somewhere Between by Kate Bush]


Thanksgiving and Littered - Two Poems

Day 20 is a "Two for Tuesday" - write a gathering poem and write a letting go poem. (Prompts contributed for Poem-a-Day by Sarah Bartlett.)

Photo by David Sinofksy


The Day

The great aggregation happens
once a year, human
fascination with
on the subject
of thankfulness,
instead of
to show no
need for greed.


The Day After

The day after giving
thanks for having
enough, millions
of food-stuffed
shoppers gather
at check-out stands,
their wallets
in exchange
for additional
items to give
thanks for
next year.



When nobody is looking,
memories drop from pockets
like papery leaves, creased with names,
dates, faces etched in pitchy
twists, falling, cradled on cold, hard
concrete, broken apart, wind
swept, elements of fairy tales,
novel recollections


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shadows - Photo Prompt

In response to Michelle Pond's photo prompt on Wordsmith Studio, below is my shadow photo collage (and poem).

Photos by Linda G Hatton

Pencil etchings cast,
sunlight and stone transformed
in landscape's darkroom


Marital Main Course

The below poem is for Day 19 of Poem-a-Day – Write a Wheel Poem (prompt contributed by Madeline Sharples).

Photo by Ruth Elkin

Round and round we poach
and boil and rage
and simmer and stew, then
our wounds and
the smiles out of each
other until the next
round of freewheeling love, these marriage bags
let out all the trash as each
day drags on, emptying us of things we cooked
up that we’d rather not look at, swept away,
tossed aside until we lay
resting beside each other,
for a dessert well-earned

Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Catch Up

The Day 17 prompt for Poem-a-Day, contributed by Maxie Steer, was to write a "How to (blank)" poem. Since I'm behind, this is what presented itself to me. 

Do Not Eat the Ding Dongs

Bang head on laptop, take
a few laps around the house,

chug coffee, imagine doing the plow
(knowing it would be impractical

to actually do it), pull jacket
around chilled body, turn up

thermostat, let dog outside, resist
homemade Ding Dongs, ignore

all phone calls from ding-a-lings, press buns
firmly into sofa, center laptop in place,

remove jacket, turn on “Liquid
Mind.” Breathe. Stop ignoring

barking dog, get up, let her in, curse
at distractions. Nest back down into

writing spot, embrace dog warmer at feet,
release irritation of being behind. Write.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Special Day Away - The Gentle Barn

On Friday I came down with a cold, which I don't normally let get in the way of my responsibilities. This time though, I decided to get some extra rest and step away from my stressors.

My son and I went to The Gentle Barn where we had a nice time connecting with the animals. He fed a turkey some vegan pie, supplied the horses with many carrots, and learned about the lives of these formerly abused animals.

One of the turkeys was so large that she couldn't hold her own body weight. The Gentle Barn staff explained that factory-farmed turkeys are "genetically modified," made to grow large at a fast rate, and meant to be slaughtered young. Since this one was saved from slaughter, her body kept growing until she couldn't walk anymore, so now she sits on a throne all day. At least she gets lots of love and attention.

Even the animals were smiling there...

Tomorrow is another day of poeming when I hope to write poems for Day 17, 18, and 19 of Poem-a-Day.

Have a nice week!


No Sweet Nothings - Day 16

I was working on this poem - writing and re-writing - and then my son decided to bring my essential oils reference guide in and read all about them to me, which got me a little sidetracked.

I will most likely continue to revise this piece, but to continue with the challenge, I am posting it as is for now. (See below.)

By the way, it is for the Poem-a-Day prompt contributed by Joseph Mills (Day 16), "Use the last line of yesterday’s poem for the first line of today’s poem."

My writing has been very repetitive these days, bringing me back to a time years ago when I often wrote like this.

Photo by Rick Sampson

To the nothings, she’s a blank, 
a nobody, a naught, her obliteration, 

a holiday, her emptiness pleases the wishes 
of the many, to the nothings she’s insignificant, 

a shutout, she’s worth nothing, 
she’s a zero, she’s a zilch, she’s a zip. 

To the nothings, she’s a nonbeing, 
a nonentity, nonexistent, 

to the nothings, she’s the thunder
scattering black clouds like seeds,

to the nothings who told her they loved 
her nose wrinkles when she smiled, 

to the nothings loitering in her bedroom, 
her eyelids flickering of deep sleep, 

to the nothings who rented out her apartment 
while she was away on holiday, to the nothings 

who washed their undergarments 
in her sacred space, to the nothings 

that slapped faith right on past her heart,
to the nothings that meant something, 

letting go of the nothings has become  
easier than holding on 

to nothing.


Friday, November 16, 2012


This morning, I traded in my normally happy-go-lucky self for a sneezing, headache-ridden fool. The words, "I am trying to catch up," are spinning through my head (and life) lately. 

Below is my Poem-a-Day poem attempt for the Day 15 prompt contributed by Jared Davidavich

Photo by Andrzej Gdula

In a world where
everybody wants
something for nothing,
gets nothing
for something, built to be
broken, broken
to be bought
you hit him, he hits
you back, each measurement
calculated care-
fully, eye for
an eyeful, something
for something, never
something for
nothing. In this world
where there are tradeoffs,
never trade that
something within
for something
worth nothing when
there is no
something left, when
don’t matter
anymore, not to
the somethings, not
to the nothings.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Today's prompt (Day 14) for Poem-a-Day was contributed by Catherine Lee. My attempt is below.

Photo by fcl1971

around the know-it-all
years, my American shoes stepped
on a midnight train to see
the countryside, except that
another side
stepped in front
of me,
how much I did not know,
riding a refugee train
to wherever, soiled schoolboy
with sunken lips, no school
to call his own, gripped
his mother’s dress, in search
of trinkets, souvenirs -
a warm place to sleep, hot
meals, freedom, stuck between
my instance of Europe
Through the Back
Door and their lifetime of
having no door, front
or back,


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jump Shot Photography

In response to Emily McGee's photo prompt, take a "jump shot" picture, I give you, Miles (also known as my ping-pong ball).

I cheated a little because these are old shots, but they popped into my head when I read the prompt. 
  • By the way, Emily is quite a funny gal. She is currently writing about her experience living in Kenya at One Trailing Spouse.
  • Be sure to visit Rebecca Barray's blog, too. She takes some great shots and heads up the photography group at Wordsmith Studio.
  • Oh, and check out Michelle Pond's jump shot, falling in at least two ways. Very nice!

Recipe to Avoid Boredom

My second poem for Poem-a-Day (write a recipe poem) is below.  

Photo by Julien Tromeur

Take a full day of calendar entries
mixed with a dash
of impulsiveness, strange
calls about relatives that
have slipped out of the country
and gotten into nose-breaking
accidents, toss in a curled-up
dog at your feet along with an optional
coconut-mocha. Mix together, then bake
in an eight-hour oven at seventy-two
degrees or until the school bell
rings at which time it will all
be crumbled by homework and tween
troubles, topped with savory
hugs to make it
all better.


Dear Life

How ironic, that out of frustration, I wrote a letter to life as a Facebook status this morning. That happens to be part of the prompt for Poem-a-Day today: write a letter.

So below is the first of my two poems for "Two for Tuesday." I will (hopefully) post a second one later today, for which the prompt is "write a recipe."

By the way, today's prompts were contributed by Michael Grove.

Photo by Mateusz Stachowski

Dear Life,
Though you are giving me juicy
things to write about, I would appreciate
the time to write them.
A Frustrated Writer


Dimensional Jump

I just arrived back from a trip to The Twilight Zone.

No, my nephew is not in the Phillipines, thank you very much.

Enough said. (Though I will add, how appropriate this weirdness happened while I was putting together a poem about a teleportation device.)

On to my Day 12 poem for the Poem-a-Day prompt contributed by Jane Shlensky, "Write about a piece of technology or engineering that does not exist but that should."

Below is my attempt.

Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski


self to soul mates
in the dust

better than bitter
opaque atmosphere


Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Poems for Veterans Day

I stayed up late last night writing the old-fashioned way; with a pen and paper. Sometimes that works better for me.

Anyway, these are both for the Day 11 prompt contributed by Rob Halpin for Poem-a-Day.

Photo by Thomas Brauchle

Fourth of July

Television drowns out
reruns in his imagination,
no such thing as friendly fire


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Nothing's wrong.
Went home,

two legs, both hands

Body looks
fine. Mind stayed

behind, forever


Saturday, November 10, 2012

(Language) Barriers

The Day 10 prompt from Poem-a-Day is by Linda Hofke, use a word from a foreign language in a poem or in your title. I admit it. Mine is silly. My attempt is below.

Photo by Heather Sorenson

He confiscated her leathery glove, 
kissed her hand with Czechoslovakian 
lips, then passed over a Danish with amorous
eyes and said, “Láska.” She took a nibble, giving
a nod in agreement. It was tasty. 

But she was not there 
to eat. Waiting to “carfuffle” as she 
had suggested, baseball bats, protective 
gear stashed in hiding 
inside her car, jazzed to take on 
rebels in style. 

He knew that word, “carfuffle,” his wife
had whispered it into his ear at night. Now,
inside his car were champagne, caviar, 
ready to take her, the tasty one, on 
without the bother of language 
getting in the way.


Friday, November 9, 2012

When He's Gone

My poem today is based on the prompt contributed by Sally Jadlow for Day 9 of Poem-a-Day.

Photo by Ana Matsusaki

When he’s gone, I’ll wonder
why he said that, but not the other,
the space inside my heart can’t endure
another hostage. He’ll pack me
in a suitcase, slip it under his arm, easy
as a sidecar, foot-steps owning
the ground they walk on, stepping
all over the diamonds
in my eyes. When he’s gone,
the madness inside will be
set free. If only he could be
gone without me.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

This Could Not Be

Finally. Below is my response to a dead poet's poem for Daniel Ari's prompt at Poem-a-Day. The poem I chose was:

Collected by King Hala
From The Gathasaptasati

Those Women

Those women
who can see their lovers
in dreams
are lucky

but without him,
sleep won’t come
so who can dream


This is my response:

This Could Not Be

Dear Women, It’s simple.
If lovers have not stirred
dreams for the sleepless,
they have not earned the right
to sleep with thee.


Off to bed. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Messages from Dad and Zen at Play

Photo by channah

There are strange things going on in my world. So what else is new, right?

The other day I was looking through my book collection to find my copy of “Wild Mind” when I came across a self-printed memoir written by a stranger that I had bought in a flea market years ago. I love it when I come across these gems; I found a stack of old handwritten journals for sale at a swap meet another day. I only bought one. I wish I had bought the whole bunch.

Anyway, as I was rummaging around, I pulled out the memoir and it fell open to a page that had my dad’s birth date, the name of my cousin who recently passed away, and a mention of twins. My mother is a twin.

Coincidence? Maybe.

Strange. Yes.

Just now I was doing some research for today’s prompt contributed by Daniel Ari for Poem-a-Day, “Talk back to a dead poet.”

I always had a fondness for R.D. Laing, but the books of his I own are buried away in my garage. I decided to Google his name. My finger hit the mouse or some button just right and a page called "Zen at Play" opened that I haven’t seen in months. I don’t even remember where I got it from; someone in a group I’m in had passed it along.

I guess I needed to read it today. And I thought you might enjoy it, too.

Now back to writing.


Pushcart Prize Nominations

Please check out the Mouse Tales Press Blog for a special announcement regarding The Pushcart Prize.

(Now back to poeming.)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Since I didn't write my "two for Tuesday," I wrote two for today's Poem-a-Day prompt.

Photo by Paige Foster

At some point over the past one-

hundred-breaths, I forgot how
to amuse myself. Lost in clusters

of Quaking Aspens, slipping on
soggy orange, oil-painted leaves,

corners of my smile beset by angled,
eternal niche, unlike my heart,

stolen from its cardboard case, crow
murders calling out to the plane

of the departed, groves of Devil’s
Walking Sticks, thorny, spread

by suckers, those who come to visit,
praying for your return.



The Poem-a-Day prompt today, contributed by Eleanore D. Trupkiewicz, is to write a circular poem, a poem about circles or a circular concept. My attempt, a haiku, is below.

Photo by Alberto Jiménez

Orange distant sphere
dots background of never-end,
turning birth to death


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Being Right

Well, the day got away from me. I took care of some Mouse Tales Press business and a little Wordsmith Studio business. 

Below is my first attempt for the day six poetry prompt contributed by Walt Wojtanik for Poem-a-Day. I hope to write another one or two later on today.

Photo by Bob Smith

She left a note saying
he was right, she was better

off without him. She left
out the important parts, how

much she loved him, how
she would never smile again, how

she would think about him every day
into forever. All of that didn’t matter,

she had to do what was right, let him go
to the left while she went

right. Years later, they discovered they
both should have gone right.


Monday, November 5, 2012


Day 5 - Write a Text Message Poem, a prompt by Amanda Laughtland. My attempt is below. 
Photo by Mihow

Miss u.
Miss u 2.
Will U B Home soon?
Can I stay til 9? They will bring me home.
NM. Can u pick me up at 9:30?
U have homework.
1 question
NM. Coming home now.

Having some serious writer's block today. Argh. Trying to NaNo and it's just not happening. **sigh**

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Just Beneath the Surface

Photo by Jan Vernee

Just beneath the surface, trains
rumble in her sleep, oil paints
skate Austrian Alps, huckleberries
transform to jam, wiggling
in tin buckets amid threat of bear
attack. Just beneath the surface, wooden
slats squeak below blustery corner
oak tree, carrot tops quiver in cool
northwestern winds. Just beneath the surface,
she’s crumbling at lull of Mozart, shivering
at sight of birch trees, swallowing
away tears while sucking down his favorite
chocolates. Just beneath the surface,
she masks lament, a child deserted.

Written from the Day Four prompt written by Marie Elena Good for Poem-a-Day.

Death of a Princess

between L.A. and Seattle,
in separate
mother and father
home for holiday,
we paused
our summer evening drive, gas pump
in hand after reports the Princess
had died, gasped her last
breath, smashed
amidst twisted,
metal, world
at the loss.

This poem was written from a prompt at Poetic Bloomings.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Old School

Below is my poem attempt from the prompt by Joshua Gray for day three of the Poem-a-Day, write a poem that scares you. I had a little trouble with this one. 

Photo by Tory Byrne

Scary thing was the teacher
wore a tight bun every day and had

the class chomp octopus, charged one
girl with planting tacks on her chair

while the guilty party snickered
in the back of the room.

Scary thing was the flowery fragrance
she doused herself with before entering

room and rules of foreign language,
scary she held a stick in her hand

and wasn’t afraid to use it
on hands of the half-grown.

Scariest of all was when pupils
were freed from her clutches

at the end of the year, not one
could recall what they had been

taught, scary teacher’s ways forever
imprinted in their heads instead.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Goodbye October

Photo by Linda G Hatton

Ghostly shadow, spread 
your wings, orange to gray, fading, 
hello November

Written for the "Orange Picture Prompt" at Wordsmith Studio. Thanks, Rebecca Barray!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mismatched - Poem One of Poem-a-Day

Photo by Zsuzsanna Kilian


You said we were not
a good match, your love
for the dark annoyed by
my light. You said we were not
a good match, you drank
yours black while mine
was white. You said we were
not a good match, force ruled
your world while mine
held peace. You said. You said.

But me. I thought. I thought we had
a match so swell, your snickers,
my sobs, our songlike sighs. Dark
and light stroked day to night, black
and white transposed, no one before
had felt. Now time has chimed
its judgment, too. A match
but true.

This was written for Day 1 of Robert Lee Brewer's November Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge on Poetic Asides.