Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pushcart Prize Nominations Announced

Although the deadline for Pushcart Prize nominations snuck up on me this year, I am getting our nominations mailed out this week; a huge thank you to Carrie Wicks for assisting in the selection process. 

Please visit the Mouse Tales Press blog for the nominations. Thank you!

Artwork by Linda G Hatton


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Catching up with Poetry

I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging over the last several months. I've missed it, but I’ve learned some new things in life. 

Like last week, I learned that I use my geometry skills when I sew. Maybe that’s why putting together (or drawing) pattern pieces sometimes hurts my brain.

I learned that love helps me to accomplish things I may not have otherwise done (or even had the belief I could do). For instance, even though I haven’t sewn much in around twenty or so years, I built an entire cosplay costume for my daughter in about five days. All in the name of love.

Photo of Piper by Linda G Hatton
Piper as Satsuki

I learned that I could heal health problems I've had for five years using only natural methods. That was a miracle to me. Sometime I will go into detail about that.

For now, can you believe it’s nearly mid-November? I have only written a few poems for the November PAD challenge. I was going to try to catch up, but I think I will just do what I can (thanks, Pearl!). There are some things going on in this crazy world that have made me sad. For now, I will leave them in this poem, written using the prompts from day one through day thirteen.

Photo by Kevin Brandon
She Rode off into the Distance

Her Life Was Not Optional

I’m game, she said. Our time together,
again, has come to a close, we’ve pulled
the last blanket up on her, on days of playing
super hero. Keep this between us
I am happy now where I am. It was her
compulsion to become timeless, both seen
and unseen all at once, something in the news,
someone people would talk about forever.
We all hope she is happy now wherever
she is, having blinded us all—those who knew her
and those who did not—by the pain she left
that night on the train even after it pushed on.


  1. Game Over
  2. Together Again
  3. Blanket
  4. Write a super hero poem/Write a super heroine poem.
  5. Keep this (blank)
  6. Happy now poem
  7. Compulsion
  8. Write a “blind” poem
  9. Write about something in the news
  10. (Blank) Trouble
  11. Timely poem/Timeless poem
  12. Write about something that cannot be seen
  13. Optional


Sunday, August 3, 2014

News about the Future of Mouse Tales Press

Four Years of Mouse Tales Press

Shortly after I started Mouse Tales Press, I asked my friend Elizabeth Johnson if she would be interested in copyediting for the site. 

Visit Mouse Tales Press on MagCloud.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bitter Fruits (a Golden Shovel)

Another try at a Golden Shovel. I was able to relax with these words a bit more. (See below.)
Marbles Were a Fun Game, Once

Bitter Fruits
after “Mountain” by Clifton Gachagua
            (line used: grief saddled in my back like a bag of marbles)

In the garden where I once pressed tomato seeds into dirt, grief
flourishes, sprouting up with open arms, saddled
onto this stiff body carrying me from bed to bed. In
barren lands, I hunt for my former self—before tears bullied my
desires, saturated my confidence, forced me back
to sodden sighs that confiscate my days. Like
a rabid fruit bat, fooling me into believing a
lie, you flitted from one innocent bug to the next, displaying your bag
of trophies dangling like a fig tree, pulsing of
seduction. Me, a game you play like that old forgotten game of marbles.

* * * * *

Friday, July 18, 2014

Last Dance with You (a Golden Shovel)

Still digging through words for a Golden Shovel I will love. Not quite there yet. (See my poem below.)
Still Dancing in the Shadows

Last Dance with You
after “Dancing Toward Bethlehem” by Billy Collins
I have expired like discarded minutes
passing by, never to be held onto, like the death of
words that wouldn’t come out, the
way I waded through the twentieth
relationship trying to find my way back to that century
where minutes ticked longer than sixty seconds, for
a chance to have one
more hour that we could last
in another destiny where broken hearts and minutes dance.

(This poem uses the original line "minutes of the twentieth century for one last dance" by Billy Collins to make up the end words.)
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not That Man's Best Friend (a Golden Shovel Poem)

Tonight I am playing with a form I haven't written before—a golden shovel. Read more about it on Poetic Asides. Or just go straight to my poem below.
That Man's Best Friend

Not That Man’s Best Friend
        after Billy Collins
Why couldn’t you have stayed, like a good boy? Nobody
came fetching for me yesterday (or any day before that). Here,
by the door I wait, desperate to touch upon the likes
of love, the likes of liking, feel a stroke down my back. But a
few years have passed now and my love has turned wet
like the fishy-breathed tongue of a neglected dog.
(Line used: “Nobody here likes a wet dog” from “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years From Now” by Billy Collins.)

* * * * *

Friday, July 4, 2014

Poetic Asides PAD Challenge Results for April 2014

In the midst of, among other things, pursuing my editing careerleaving me with little time for poetry writingI have received a nudge of inspiration.

Photo by daniel flohr
Write Poetry Wherever You Can

Something I look forward to twice a year since I learned of it is Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge. It's a period to give myself permission to put in whatever time I need to write a poem each day, something I often find difficult during my busy life the rest of the year. So this past April when I participated in the challenge, I looked at is a way to indulge myself in playing with words, but without worrying about contest results. 

Robert has just announced the top ten poems for some of the days and I was humbled to see my name in two of the lists—for days seven and nine. (The links go to my blog post version of the poems.)

Standing at the bottom of the writing ride and looking upwards, I am grateful for the encouragement. 

Thank you to Robert, who not only runs this challenge, but also encourages so many poets and is a wonderful poet himself.  

Congratulations to the winners, to the rest of the writers who made it to the Top Ten, and to those who participated in the challenge!

And thanks to you, my blog readers as well. Your support means a lot to me.

Enjoy your day! 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting to Know Us (and Our Writing)

Welcome to the Virtual Blog Tour

I was asked by my friend Janet Rice Carnahan to participate in a virtual blog tour. The goal of this tour is for each participant to answer four questions that help the blogger to share insight into his or her creative process.

Janet has a way of capturing nature’s beauty through her photography and poetry. I always have a feeling of peacefulness when I visit her work. You may read Janet’s blog tour post at Hear Earth Heart

Janet Rice Carnahan was born into a fifth-generation family on the California coast.  She is inspired by the ocean and the ever changing tides of a big family, including a husband, two adult children, a son-in-law and one precious grandson; her love of water is her constant muse! Janet’s journeys have taken her to Lake Tahoe in Northern California; Lake Mead in Southern Nevada; Laguna Beach, California; Hawaii on the island of Kauai; and currently to La Jolla in Southern California. After a twenty-year career in early childhood education, earning a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Janet continued developing interests in spirituality and metaphysics.  Photography and writingin particular poetryare her favorite mediums for expressing and exploring her various interests.  Her poetry has been published on several online poetry sites and in three anthologies with a cover photo and caption credit. Janet has self-published four poetry books that are highlighted on her web site, Hear Earth Heart, which includes her blog, Captured Moments.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Flipped over You

Next week I am participating in a blog tour, which means I will be posting about my writing process and about what projects I'm working on. For now, I leave you with a poem.

Photo by kruno knezevic
Good Books Stay in My Mind Forever

Flipped over You

You inscribed my sheets,
etched my flip-book, scrolled
through to my last page 
where you glanced outside
my edges, found a better
tale, wrote me off,
abandoned my signature,
took your best-selling smile,
smudged my untainted story
line, your inky footprints
left behind in my creases.

* * * * *

Monday, June 9, 2014

How to Get to Know Her

I have no other words.

photo by Ayhan YILDIZ
Let Love Fly

How to Get to Know Her

Survey tissue supplies. Offer
your sleeve for runny
(& breathing) expletives seeking asylum
in her deserted heart. Observe
runway and landing
for each aching tear. Soothe
facial scars 

with open-lipped kisses.
Tuck her in 

safe, with a grip
like you mean it. 
Don’t let her go
to her grave

your secrets.


Monday, May 19, 2014

(Un)Happy Hour - Poetry to Start the Week

Taking the plunge into a Monday-morning poem.

photo by Gary Christenson
Go Ahead and Jump

(Un)Happy Hour

Somewhere underneath the shade
of rose-spotted Nepenthes pitchers,
parched lips puckered and retracted
like a clownfish out of water—me
without you. Standing at rounded edge,
your eyes fell headfirst down
into the pools of promising
refreshment I could not measure up to.
One slip and it was too late for us;
that mistake sent you tumbling to hazy
forgetfulness where the only thing
that mattered was that you
were no longer thirsty.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Calling It a Day (for Us) - (a Poem for Day Thirty of PAD)

Sometimes it's so hard to say goodbye that people say nothing at all. That's what I've been struggling with the past few days. But I finally was able to write something that felt right for this last prompt. And so now I feel relief that I was finally able to put thoughts to paper. 


For today’s prompt, write a “calling it a day” poem. Some people might call this “Miller time,” others may refer to it as “closing time.” Just remember: Don’t call it a day until you put it in a poem.

Photo by t a
It Was so Easy to Erase Me

Calling It a Day (for Us)

The opposing end of this pencil
le(a)d me to eraser-dusted love
lettering, emotions too young to travel
from thought to tongue, resolve
too weak to roll good with bye,
tears so familiar they’ve taken
your place, curled up next to my sobbing
heart, keeping me comfortable at night
when earthshakes threaten to steal away
my asylum, found only in this worn-down nub.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

(Un)Settled (a Poem for Day Twenty-Eight of PAD)

I'm limping along with one poem left to write to complete the challenge. It's appropriate that my poems are out of order since I feel like I'm about "out of order," too. Ha!

Below is my Day Twenty-Eight poem for PAD.

For today’s prompt, write a settled poem. Settled can be a good, relaxing thing; settled can be an accepting something that wasn’t your first choice thing; settled can be coming to a stop; settled can be pioneers in a strange land; and so on. With only three days left, don’t settle for less than your best.

Photo by Chris Chidsey
Don't Settle for a Poetry-Free Life


Word-tied, hands tired, metaphorical
milk carton nearly empty. Timer’s almost
boiled all the eggs in this poetical
basket, and the delivery man
won’t make trips to simile city
tonight. The sonnets resting on my cranium
can’t withstand the heat, so I’ve settled
for freestyle swimming through alphabet souped-
up poetry not making it from pen to paper.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Windstorm Illusions (a Poem for Day Twenty-Nine of PAD)

Hey, did you notice I skipped Day Twenty-Eight? I hope to get back to it, but for now, my Day Twenty-Nine poem is below. Only two left to write and I will have completed the challenge!

This one fits into the realism category, I suppose. It's what I see when I watch things flying around in the wind.

The prompt for Day Twenty-Nine of PAD:
  • Write a realism poem. A poem that is rooted in the real world. Or…
  • Write a magical poem. A poem that incorporates magical or fantastical elements.

Image by Christian Ferrari
Wind's Performance Is Captivating

Windstorm Illusions

Cardboard soars on lilting gusts
of dust made from departed friends,
            wings                  carrying
un-feathered                            short-billed
            crow across gasoline stream,
across the way where two paper bags
perform contact improvisation, butting edges
and then rolling along where stony-faced drivers
drop offspring off for a day of inclement weather,
            grasses                        dance
                        on hillside,
creating mirage of ocean waves, making life
in the desert an ever-moving symphony of sight


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Naïve or Optimistic? (A Poem for Day Twenty-Seven of PAD)

I admit it. I have trouble seeing the bad in people. I have trouble believing monsters exist. Wishful thinking, I guess.

The Day Twenty-Seven prompt for PAD:

For today’s prompt, write a monster poem. There are the usual suspects: zombies, vampires, werewolves, and mummies. But monsters can take any form and terrorize a variety of victims. So have fun playing around with this one, because we’ve only got a few days of April left.

photo by Belovodchenko Anton
Is It so Terrible to See Goodness in Everything?

Naïve or Optimistic?

Monsters don’t exist
inside her world, taken in
with cheery eyes. Lying
to herself keeps her
smiling. Honest.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Filled with Tears When You're Gone (a Poem for Day Twenty-Six of PAD)

My poem for Day Twenty-Six is below.

The Day 26 prompt for PAD:
For today’s prompt, write a water poem. Life depends upon water, so there are any number of ways to write this prompt. A few thoughts that jump to mind include pollution, rising water levels, hurricanes, fracking, and more.

photo by Michael & Christa Richert
Her Life Ripples On

Filled with Tears When You’re Gone

She thought it would be better
to disintegrate into bubbles
instead of spending eternity
inside a box. Floating downstream,
to slippery floor where visitors
would dip tired feet, wade across
                                    to the
gain sustenance from refreshment
offered by cool ripples
       body would


Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Last Straw (a Poem for Day Twenty-Five of PAD)

Yes, I'm still struggling to keep up. Although I'm relieved the end of April is near, the thought of posting a poem a day for a year is enticing me. We will see. For now, my poem for Day Twenty-Five is below.


For today’s prompt, write a “last straw” poem. Everyone encounters situations in which they decide they’re not going to take it anymore (whatever “it” happens to be). It could be a loud noise, an abusive partner, someone taking the Pop Tart but not throwing the box away, or whatever. Write about the moment, the aftermath, or take an unexpected path to your poem.

Photo by vanora
Don't Let Our Lights Go Out

The Last Straw

When prickly vines have shriveled
up, fields have turned infertile,
and trampled farmers ride tireless
tractors under belching skies
displaying no vacancy signs refusing
factories a bed to release in,
when barns are barren having lost
the battle to shelter those
with no human tone,
and bales of hay have turned
to one last straw,
when a buck has no meaning, nothing left
to buy, who will know how to fix it all,
surrounded by stock-stilled world,
nature’s flow slaughtered in its sleep.
Take that straw and build a bed,
imprint dusty farmlands with footsteps’
treads, take in the ones with no say-so,
envision hope that we can end destruction
instead of murdering
our own reproduction.


Tell It to the Silence (a Poem for Day Twenty-Four of PAD)

I had some problems with this prompt, but I'm happy to report I was able to work through them and get something written before 1 a.m. Ack! Have I told you how tired I am? So tired I can't hear the rhythm anymore. I may move the lines around tomorrow.


For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Tell It to the (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Tell It to the Hand,” “Tell It to the Judge,” “Tell It to the Six-Foot Bunny Rabbit,” and so on.

Photo by Belovodchenko Anton
Let Silence Lull You to Sleep

Tell it to the Silence

Just when you think you’ve proven
you exist, there is no you. A pack of wolves
yips on hilly backyard topography, interrupting sleep-
lessness, sirens show off their interest
in emergencies, all these years later,
the sound of your words continues speeding
light years through each filament
of my common sense, blood pulses
in my temples like the squish
of footsteps through the muck my sorrow
has left behind. Only when I finally end
my breathing to leave myself,
will I find the silence I need
to fill the noise.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Secure My Rescue (a Poem for Day Twenty-Three of PAD)

To try to get out of my rut, I used anagram in this piece. If you don't know that that is, the definition from Poetry Foundation says, "A word spelled out by rearranging the letters of another word; for example, “The teacher gapes at the mounds of exam pages lying before her."

The Day Twenty-Three prompt for PAD:

For today’s prompt, write a location poem. Location could be physical–like the laundromat, a public park, a glacier, flying saucer, etc. Or location could be emotional, psychological, metaphysical, or some other kind of word that ends in -al. Or surprise everyone!

Photo by Maciek PELC
Rescue Me

Secure My Rescue

Speechless lives inside self-
control where silence bobs on dreary
surfaces lapping at your shores
                                one thousand miles away.
Stealing windjammer’s license
to play with grainy bits of sand
                                                 in the sound,
you sculpted granules into castles as I hovered
face down on superficial tongue, pushed
back and forth by windy signals, heard
marooned pirate’s torn purple flag flapping
in the wind, found a glinting veil of morning
fog to hide behind. Speechless lives
inside this ocean in my veins, pulsing, reserved,
reversed deserver, my floppy limbs caved over,
connected to you still, my love’s fortress demolished
                                              by an unsuspecting force
                                         the sea
                                    could not see



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fresh-Squeezed (a Poem for Day Twenty-Two of PAD)

My poetry has gotten into a rhythm lately that I feel the need to break out of. I will have to think on how to change that. For now, my Day Twenty-Two poem is below. Optimistic or pessimistic? I'm not sure. I think it ends on a positive note. 

Day Twenty-Two prompt for PAD:
Today is a Tuesday, and you know what that means: Two for Tuesday Prompts! Write one, write the other, and/or write both!
  • Write an optimistic poem. The glass is half full.
  • Write a pessimistic poem. The glass is half empty.

photo by Keith Syvinski
She Only Squeezes Lemons Now


She pushed glasses around
until she found the right one—
her favorite one. Her un-kissed
cheeks puffed out, filled with luscious
refreshment, wetting memories
of un-blanketed picnics underneath
a piney forest where he
held her hand,
held her heart.
Her toughened bare heel stepped
in sticky substance pooled
on tiled floor where she’d studied
every inch of his humanity,
a textbook’s crinkled pages, bending
against his will. She rested heated legs
against hardwood chairs, chin in hand,
wiping droplets away before they fell
to rigid surfaces beneath her, holding
precious consolation to her lips,
never letting them leave
the way he did.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

(B)Asics in Love at the Track Meet (a Poem for Day Twenty-One of PAD)

I was going to forget about writing a poem tonight and go to bed instead. But no. The words wouldn't let me sleep.

The DAY 21 prompt for PAD:

For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem. For me, back to the basics means jumping to the fundamentals. Maybe it’s me re-learning (or practicing) fundamentals–like running or writing–but it could also be a child learning how to tie his shoestrings, which can be a unique experience for both the child and the adult trying to give instructions and advice. Back to basics could also be re-setting a state of mind or getting back into a routine. In a way, spring is a season that gets back to the basics.

photo by Ted Cabanes
Have You Finished Running Away Yet?

 (B)Asics in Love at the Track Meet

My biceps femoris have not relaxed
since I held my breath at the news:
We need to take a break.
Hamstrings pulled and stretched
on the track of one-hundred meter dashes
‘round my heart, left behind
in the stands, cheering you
on as I watched you take off
into the distance, running
as though I had lit you on fire,
the heat too much for you to handle,
you, with your tepid preferences,
you, fanning my flames, doused
out with no way to find my way
back to the light, hobbling with each foot-
step around in circles, from barefoot
back to wearing (b)asics tied up tight
‘round my ankles, ‘round my life,
towards the finish, back to the start
where you wait, your hands now calloused
from the fight, finding your way
back to that place where you can relax into me,
relax into you-
th’ timer resetting, settling
into fleshy thighs
that don’t want to watch you from the stands.
Wanting you to take a stand.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Family Tree (a Poem for Day Twenty of PAD)

Whew! Good thing I copied the prompts for the past two days. Poetic Asides is temporarily down for maintenance. 

On a side note, I'm in love with Georgia. (No, not the woman. Not the state. The font!)

For today’s prompt, write a family poem. I’ve actually written a few poems about my family this month already, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to your own family. There are any number of human families, of course, but also animals, insects, and other organisms. Plus, there are “families” of other types as well. As usual, feel free to bend the prompt to your favor.

photo by mossholder
Hanging Out in the Family Tree

Family Tree

Family shouldn’t equal famished,
eat your energy, leave behind
the yucky parts they didn’t want.
Family yums up all of you, the good,
the bad, the rotten, too. Wrapping
arms around melancholy limbs,
family climbs to the top
just to touch you, without knowing,
plucks and pulls you down
to place you in protected pockets,
then polishes your outsides,
eats you up, working their way through
the middle, admiring your core, planting seeds
to grow another just like you
because you were so tasty, so delicious,
they had to have another you to desire,
to admire. Unaware
they were leaving you scattered.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mediumvioletred (a Poem for Day Nineteen of PAD)

I like this prompt! I will come back to it, but for now—a shorty.

For today’s prompt, pick a color, make the color the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. You can make your poem black, white, red, purple, turquoise, puce, or whatever your heart desires. And the subject of your poem can cover any topic–as long as you’ve plugged a color into the title. Let’s do this!

photo by Mocho1
Exactly What Color Is That?


You and me blended as one,
nothing medium about it,
for a moment we went violent
until n-for-needy fell out
through the cracks between
overpowered and loveless, left violet
behind in the middle of life,
waiting, oh waiting for red
at the end of this run-
on colorful life.