Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!

To Emily: In honor of our shared birthday, I am once again posting my poem for you (although without the former last stanza). 

Photo by Jari Ruusunen
Carving Words into Wood

Living In Your Shadow

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
forbidden to flatter myself or flounce my dress, ink-
stained cheeks force isolation, denied
a paperless life, required to sit with legs
held tight, be a lady, hands designed
to shovel gritty pain from each
word, uncover gassy explosions,
reveal bulbous traits, onions I pull up from mossy
carpeting in my lived-in room.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
locked inside dusty dictionary, tossing words back
and forth, Walt Whitman sitting on opposite page, pencil
behind his perceptive brow, relax, let the words come
as they may, be what they want, no ulterior
meanings, deliver them to the world.

Sometimes I feel like Emily Dickinson’s shadow,
my feet, a lamp base, my eyes the switch, hands
dangling down, tendrils of a spying plant
that reads each word, wavering in the windstorm
caused by this game of catch
with vocabulary.

* * * * *

Monday, November 30, 2015

To My Lonely Blog: I Miss You

I have a couple of poems over at Poets 4 Parisa project I am happy to be part of.

Photo by Kylo Œwita³a
The Color of My Heart That Day

I miss you.

* * * * * 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Day Later (a Poem)

How is it November? 

One thing I like about November is Robert Lee Brewer's Poem-a-Day Challenge. Today's prompt is to write a day after poem. My attempt is below.

Photo by Gerla Brakkee
Delivering Hope

 A Day After

In September I held you 
over my knee,
tickled giggles
from your single-
digit outlook.
October came
you wore your goblin
mask all month long, stabbed
me with your plastic
scythe, gouged
out my rose-colored
eyes, moved tears in
where my father’s
once lived.
Now it’s a day after
a new November.
The only hope a solitary
bird reporting
news of an un-wounded
still shining,
the only light
left in this turbulent


Monday, June 15, 2015

All That's Left of Our Playtime (a Poem)

I've been busy with some other things, but I do miss writing poetry.

So when I was invited (thank you, Pamela) to join a Poetry Chain on Facebook for which I need to write five poems, and I was told there is no deadline, I decided to accept the challenge. Only, I need to nominate five poets to play along. Interested? If so, please let me know and I will send you the details.

Photo by Daniel Andres Forero
It Was More Fun in Here With You

All That’s Left of Our Playtime

I had a pillow fight
with myself
in my California closet.
I found need, want, love
tufted and rolled sideways
into the sleeves of my lonesome
vintage dress. You, a boy
made of whimsical designs,
the one who stole
buttons to get
to my heart. You, who
left me
vulnerable, snipped
away my labels,
left me
without a red-carpet gown
for my Hollywood love story,
left me
with only pilled sheets and pillows
and this cavern of a closet,
left me
you hide inside,
positioning your love
on antique lipstick stains,
left me
winks on my pillows,
left me
with nothing but
pillows in an empty closet.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bury the Traces (a Poem)

Photo by Penny Mathews
She Bleeds through the Pages

Bury the Traces

of her in your back-
                story. She was a dumb
girl (so you wrote) who never
got along with her-
                self. She wandered
desperate streets barefoot,
eyes wide, marbled,
a zombie made of glass,
her mouth dripping
the remains of those
she had eaten alive.
Now bury her. Just
bury her in your back-
                story and then edit her
out of your


Friday, May 1, 2015

Bury the Journals (a Poem)

Even though the PAD challenge is over, I'm still in a poeming mood. (I wrote the one below yesterday though.)

Photo by
Our Pages Are Now Blank

Bury the Journals

and bury them without
protection. Let two dozen
earthworms eat them up,
purify the college-ruled
pages of our past.
Bury them at mid-
                life on the eve
of  the fullest moon.
Save your time
capsule for something
important like that lavish
crumbling cork,
a stopper
for our whispers
                spilling out,
generating red
inky pages
                of me-
mories I’d rather forget.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bury the Emptiness (a Poem for Day Thirty of PAD)

I am copying and pasting in the prompt for day thirty:

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Bury the (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some possible titles include: “Bury the Hatchet,” “Bury the Body,” “Bury the Past,” “Bury the Hate,” and “Bury the Acorns.”
Photo by Christie Thomas
Evidence You Were Here

Bury the Emptiness

Bury the space around me.
Smother it with tiny aprons
and European coffee houses,
scratch gritty grounds
against my raw emotions,
scrape your fingernails
through slippery timber
drifting around my edges.
You’ve dug me such a deep,
deep hole, there’s no wetting it—
not with milky tears
lapping both our shores,
not with all those
looting one-eyed love
thieves pretending to explore
with interest, not with beauty
or sea monsters of every
ocean blue. Just bury
my heart at the beach
and then carry it out to sea. 


If Only You Had Known (a Poem for Day Twenty-Nine of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-nine is to write a what nobody knows poem.

Photo by Roberto Valdés
Everyone Misses You

If Only You Had Known

What nobody knows is ex-
            actly how many people
dropped to their knees
and gave up on living
when they heard you had

What nobody knows is whether
            you’d have kept on living
if you had known
they all cried
when you said


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mutual Annihilation (a Poem for Day Twenty-Eight of PAD)

First drafts are hard to post, but I want to finish this challenge. The prompts for day twenty-eight are matter and/or anti-matter.

Photo by Dominic Morel
Bending the World to Our Will

Mutual Annihilation

What matters is what we
are made of: flesh, bones,
blood, love. Our fleshy parts
hold us up when humanity
kicks us down. Our bones
are strong and flexible. Blood
swims through our veins
with the surprising silence of love
lost. Still, we tear down the right
to breathe, and build man-
            ufactured floors to stand upon,
we bleed cold water
to make it hot, ignore whispering
canopies, and raze forests
that had rainscreen technology
built right in. We’ve become
weatherstripped in a frantic race
to fight our nature. When will we
all stop settling for a dollar-
store life? What matters is what
we are made of: flesh, bones,
blood, love.


Tricks of Life’s Trades (a Poem for Day Twenty-Seven of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-seven is to write a poem about looking back. 

Photo by Colin Brough
It's How I Remember You

Tricks of Life’s Trades

I’d give something for one 
more day to run that cordless circular
saw at sunset in your backyard shed,
slice juicy watermelon
in the middle of a drought,
sing about leaving on a jet plane
while tripping barefoot
over smooth, rounded river
stones, wave goodbye
to your tea pot and sorrowful
ivory keys that unlocked
my heart with a jerk, spilling
vibrations down me like shivers.
I’d give something to touch
your face through those scratches
engraved in the tired
rear window that last time
my tires rolled down
your driveway— that last time
I looked back.
Just tell me what to give.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Nothing but a Green-Eyed Buffoon (a Poem for Day Twenty-Six of PAD)

I am copying and pasting the prompt for day twenty-six:

For today’s prompt, take a word or two invented by William Shakespeare, make it the title of your poem, and write your poem. Click here for a link to some words coined by Shakespeare, who was baptized on this date in 1564. If the link doesn’t work, here are a few: advertising, bloodstained, critic, dwindle, eyeball, hobnob, luggage, radiance, and zany. He invented more than 1,700!
Photo by Ehsan Namavar
You've Become Inanimate to Me

Nothing but a Green-Eyed Buffoon

You arouse blushing from raw and rippled 
elbows of the dauntless. Your stingy bed-
room encounters attract the lowliest
of courtships. Melancholic bags you cart
around make you rant like a remorseless
bandit. You steal kisses from countless full
maidens just so the other lads can’t have
them. Advertising undress and bumps has
always been your fashion—you’ve been bookish
and well-favored. Now you’re just laughable
and cold-blooded. You’ve turned my discontent
green eyes to blue and blank, but you’re still a
buffoon. And that is no longer the question.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

In Search of Your New World (a Poem for Day Twenty-Five of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-five is across the sea.

Photo by Makio Kusahara
There's Life in You Somewhere

In Search of Your New World

There’s nothing fake
about your shipwreck.
All the history books say
somewhere out there, you still
live on an island,
the heart of the sea. You cast
away my love for hers, but still
you aren’t satisfied. You stack
palm fronds with coconut
husks, hoping to stay afloat
when you set out again
on a ride you can boast
about because standing
on solid ground
wasn’t thrilling enough
for you.
But I’d take your island
any day
and trade it
for this howling sea.


The Principle of Moments (a Poem for Day Twenty-Four of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-four is moment. Too tired. Must sleep. 

Photo by Craig Hauger
Our Momentum Is at a Standstill

The Principle of Moments

Physical quantity, distance, 
form empty space
unraveling you
Yet uncounted sunsets, proof
of matter in moment-
                        um, connect us,
shared indecision, giving in
to the nature of physics,
timeless repetition.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

She Is History (a Poem for Day Twenty-Three of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-three is to write a historic poem. I personalized my poem because I'm feeling a little blue tonight.

Photo by Mateusz Stachowski
I Light a Candle for You

She Is History

She had history.
She was unwanted,
and then wanted, before
she could even speak.
She slurped milk
from crystal, lived
in Paris, nursed
her abandoned heart
with a mausoleum of light-
bulbs she planted
to lead her to the other side.
She had history—
two years of swapping
fluids and tissue
with strangers
wasn’t strange at all to her.
She had a job to do:
to live. But the swap
was an even exchange.
He died. She died.
And now,
she is history.

(in memoriam)


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Anti-Nature (a Poem for Day Twenty-Two of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty-two is nature. 

Photo by Mateusz Stachowski
You Look in Everything for Yourself


You are hand-
            crafted just like the world
                        you carry on
to dominate.

Guard your eyes, 
wear a mask, sit with your stand-
            offishness, weed
your garden. Fumigate the wild
inside. Make yourself the hero
of your artificial world,
to the way you used to be.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On the Move (a Poem for Day Twenty-One of PAD)

The prompts for day twenty-one, a "Two for Tuesday," are to write a “what you are” poem or to write a “what you are not” poem.

Photo by Ben Johnson
Alone Doesn't Mean Lonely

On the Move

I am energy pulses, strobing
to the beat of teenage feet.
I am a fleck of floating
dust, a smudge under
the thumb of someone
I no longer see.
I hesitate my life away—
or at least I used to. I tap
every day, pounding out
rhythms to the tides within
my wobbly shores. I find
myself, then run again,
for those parts
I lost along the trail.
I am the breadcrumb
dropped from someone’s
snack, kicked around
by joy seekers, but satisfied
with where I land.


My Fairy, the Tale (a Poem for Day Twenty of PAD)

The prompt for day twenty is "My (Blank), the (Blank)."

When She Was a Baby

My Fairy, the Tale

My fairy godmother
lost her wings before
I was born. I found her
swinging from the gold
paisley curtains with a handful
of wishes that fell as she lost
her grip. When I looked up
to her, she nodded, said I
could do it on my own.

My fairy godmother
balances herself on
my shoulder, whispers
shivers down my neck
to squash my fears,
said she’s a phantom,
before she sprinkles
determination, spackles
cracks in my self-
confidence, says I
can do it on my own. 


Monday, April 20, 2015

Authority on Love (a Poem for Day Nineteen of PAD)

The prompt for day nineteen of PAD is to write an authority poem.

Photo by Fran Priestley
She Found Love in the Pages

Authority on Love

She took up a stool
at Fourteenth and Third
outside the chic singles' bar
where love was a curse
word. But when she pulled out
her fine linen pad, a stroke
of her pen proved she wasn’t half bad
at penning love poems on cue
for the masses. Her magical words
turned cynics askew, and sent
them out with new hope
to search for their matches.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fatal (a Poem for Day Eighteen of PAD)

I'm posting late because I was so tired last night that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I went to bed and had a dream visit from my dad. That hasn't happened in a long time, so it was extra nice. 

The prompt for day eighteen is as follows: For today’s prompt, pick 2 vowels and write a poem using words that only contain one or both of those vowels. For instance, write a poem with words that only have a “u” and “o.” Also, the letter “y” is wild–so the words “my” and “gypsy” are freebies. And I’ll allow text-speak (or maybe I should say “txt spk”).

I planned to write a haiku, but as you will see there is an extra syllable in the third line. I'm still happy with it though.  

Photo by Torvald Lekvam
A Last Gasp


In distant land, light 
rainfall drips, six skylarks sing, 
dying dads pass away. 


Friday, April 17, 2015

Love’s Indecision (a Poem for Day Seventeen of PAD)

The poetry prompt for today, day seventeen, is swing. 

Photo by midnighta
A Ride I Won't Forget

Love’s Indecision

by a cable or chains, floats
and forth without contemplation, set
in motion
by determined fingers, soulless
the wind, annoyance. Ecstasy lifts me into
your stratosphere,
throws me back down. Not so much from fluctuation
or the               pause
b e t w e e n


but what you do to fill the silence—
between smiles and tears, drive the seat
of my life,
remove that which holds me, leave me
the damp
and trampled sand. 


Thursday, April 16, 2015

You Blow (a Poem for Day Sixteen of PAD)

The prompt for day sixteen of the Poetic Asides PAD Challenge is science. 

Photo by Guglielmo Losio
I'm Just a Shadow Now

You Blow

I was your failed science ex-
periment—your volcano
that didn’t blow
the way
that you intended.
Now you sit home
each night,
pouring vinegar
and baking soda down
your drains along with
contaminated remains
of love’s wasted


What Have I Been up To? (Wordsmith Studio Homecoming)

Artwork by Khara House
Three years have gone by? How did it grow up so fast? (Yes, I ask myself the same question about my kids.) Well, I'm still not a grownup, but Wordsmith Studio has come a long way. 

In February 2012, I signed up for an April platform challenge with Robert Lee Brewer (of Writer's Digest) to learn about how to market myself as a writer. His challenge benefited me in ways I never imagined; it mainly helped me to step outside my comfort zone(s).

Since I missed participating in last week's Wordsmith Studio blog hop, I am responding to those questions this week.  

Wordsmith Studio Q & A Interview

1. Are you a WSSer (a member of Wordsmith)? If so, sound off about how long you’ve been a member, your favorite way to participate, or anything you’ve missed if you’ve been away. We’re not your mother/father . . . there will be no guilt about how long since your last call.
I am one of the original Wordsmith Studio members (a founder as we call ourselves). As most of you already know, I served on the steering committee during the inaugural year, giving me experience and friendships I am grateful for. One of the features I most enjoyed at that time were the photography prompts Rebecca Barray was in charge of (she not only created many, but also found others to come up with prompts). I do miss those prompts. I feel they stimulated my creativity in a different way than my other usual creative outlets. I also miss the interactions with the regular participants of that challenge.

2. What medium do you work in? For our writing folks, are you currently working on fiction, poetry or nonfiction, or a combination? Anyone YA or mystery or thriller or . . . ?
Last year I earned my copyediting certification through University of California, San Diego. I began working as an independent contractor and have edited a variety of genres including children’s literature (picture book and middle grade), memoir, paranormal romance, mystery, horror, and non-fiction. I’ve been tweaking my editing website, Ink Tracks Editing, and figuring out how to tie it in with my literary magazine, MouseTales Press. For now, they remain separated.

Earlier this year, I studied middle grade and young adult writing with Virginia S. Loh (who has authored more than twenty books), and I hope to have my current work-in-progress, a YA novel, completed later this year. One of my other pieces, Do Not Disturb, is a cozy mystery that I continue to tweak as I seek a home for it.  

April celebrates Robert Lee Brewer’s other challenge, his Poetic Asides Poem-a-Day Challenge (also known as the PAD challenge). If you’ve read my blog at all this month, you’ve already seen my works for the challenge. 

I’m also happy to help Robert out as a reader for one of the days of the challenge. This means I’m combing through the poems from a particular day and sending my favorites on to him. I’ve participated twice before in contest selections through the PTSA at a local elementary school where I live, and I enjoy the process.

By the way, I appreciate any tweets or Facebook shares about my editing business, Ink TracksEditingThanks for considering.

3. What’s the name of your current project (ok multitaskers, give us your main one)?
Oops, I already went over this in my answer for number two.

4. What is your favorite detail, sentence, or other bit you’ve written lately?
Can I cheat and offer my favorite poem? I think this is the one I like best of all I’ve written so far—How You MournYour Own Life

5. Any obstacles or I-hate-this-chapter moments?
Always! But I try to write through them by telling myself that’s what editing is for.

6. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned lately from your writing?
I enjoy writing poetic details (such as metaphor) into my stories. Not every editor appreciates that though.

7. In what ways do you hope to grow in the next 6 months/year?
I hope to strengthen my organizational skills and become better at outlining. I recall I was great at creating backstory for my characters when I was acting. I would like to perfect this skill for the characters I write.

8. In what ways do writing friends and communities help you do that?
Hmm . . . I’m not sure about this, though talking with them sometimes helps me to clear my thoughts. And I’ve gotten great information from them (for instance, fellow Wordsmith Studio member K.M. Weiland’s books have been very helpful). 

9. What else should we have asked you, or what would you ask other writers?
I was once asked why I became a copyeditor if my goal is to become a writer. In my opinion, editing and writing benefit each other. It turns out that I love editing though, and imagine I will continue editing and writing . . . forever. And I really look forward to watching Wordsmith Studio continue to grow!


Wordsmith Studio Member Posts 

Be sure to read the post Jane Ann McLachlan is sharing for our anniversary, Roots and Wings. She has a book launch on April 19!


Whew! That was long. If you've made it down to here, my next post will most likely be back to poetry. Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Histrionic (a Poem for Day Fifteen of PAD)

The prompt for today, day fifteen, is to pick an adjective to use for the title and then write a poem to go with it. Mine is below. 

Photo by Mateusz Stachowski
No Longer My Apollo


How does it feel to pose on top 
of that ladder like a Greek statue
the masses come to admire? Only
there are no masses here. Just me,
and from this angle, I see fissures
running through from one
side of your stone
limbs to the other. Your curls
have thinned right along with your
arguments—you try to rearrange
them to make yourself feel
better, but you’re not fooling
any of the visitors who paid
admission fees for a peek
of your majesty. You’re not fooling
yourself and you’re not fooling
me. Still, you stay perched
right on top while I take a stroll
along the ridges of our rocky
getaway, keeping my focus
outwards on a horizon
I can’t yet see.
You can have what you want.
Just hold your own hands
and release me.


His Honesty Clause (a Poem for Day Fourteen of PAD)

Today is a "Two for Tuesday." The prompts are to write an honest poem or a dishonest poem. This one might be a little of both. 

Photo by shho at
Sign Away Your Heart

His Honesty Clause   

In the event of loss 
or theft
or disposal, I propose
your heartstrings
will cease to exist,
be left
as before.