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.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Those Things I Can’t Tell Myself (a Poem for Day Thirteen of PAD)

The prompt for day thirteen is confession.

Photo by John Nyberg
I'm Just a Brick Wall Now

Those Things I Can’t Tell Myself

I confess. I sometimes visit 
the brick entryway
of our consummation
where hardness became
soft, where grief wrapped
her bony fingers around
your guarantees, where I found
myself, but lost you,
one letter at a time.


The Seamstress and Her Tailor (a Poem for Day Twelve of PAD)

The prompt for day twelve is to write a damage poem. My poem is below.

Photo by Linda G Hatton
You're Handy with a Needle

The Seamstress and Her Tailor

My scissor collection—
once hanging innocently
on the wall above where
we stitched our tears—
is now scattered throughout
this old house full
of neglected remnants.
My favorite pair now rests
carefully inside a utility
drawer like an ancient
 on display for
future textile patrons,
those that, like you, long
to touch, but deny
their impulses.
You threaded
all my spools.
You’re hazardous
to my materials now. 


Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Summer That Never Ended (a Poem for Day Eleven of PAD)

The prompt for day eleven is to write a seasonal poem. 

Photo by abcdz2000
Parched September

The Summer That Never Ended

Los Angeles was once an earth
angel, but new research says
California is over.
Summertime is now twelve months
a year. One drop less a day has changed
everything—Joshua has grown
parched, no wet
for at least two state lines
away and grapes that shrank in the dry
cycle are raisins on the vine.
Hillsides are cracked
like over-boiled eggs, swimming
pools have become skate
parks, and we all want the wet shine
of terracotta stains to quench our lips,
bring back fall, winter, and spring,
while politicians hunt for a magical
plan to smooth it all away. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

How You Mourn Your Own Life (a Poem for Day Ten of PAD)

My poem for day ten is below. 

Here is the prompt from Poetic Asides:

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “How (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “How to Write a Poem,” “How Mechanical Pencils Work,” and “Howling at the Moon After Midnight in the Middle of a Thunderstorm.”

Photo by Robert Aichinger
You Live in Sepia

How You Mourn Your Own Life
She’s dead
to you,
but still breathing.
You never thought
it would be so
when you were young
and she satisfied
your winter cravings.
You never thought
luxury could live inside
a lonely room, playing
colored markers
like piano keys.
You never thought
you’d cover five hundred
categories of things you loved
about her with a self-
addressed stamped envelope.
You never thought
your lilacs would all turn
to paper, folded and torn
under twenty-something years
of hibernation.
But it’s not her
you mourn
it’s the life
you lost
because she died
in your mind.
It’s the untasted kisses,
the warm curve against
your back now replaced
by a cold sheet, surveillance
on every corner,
searching for the one
to replace her
now that you can’t feel
the sand inside
your bloodless fingers, piece
by piece falling
like an egg timer,
like your life,
your breaths,
the one you forgot
because you were too busy
doing mouth-to-mouth
with something
you could never get back.
You lost yourself
in death.
You lost your life.
And the only things left to mourn
are the wasted parts, less a glass,
more a house. The one she keeps now
with someone else while you keep mourning,
keep lacking sleep. Keep on
unfolding paper lilacs
wishing to turn them back
into the real thing.
She’s dead
to you,
but still breathing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Done with Housework (a Poem for Day Nine of PAD)

Spring break with screaming children is a test of concentration. At least they are screaming in fun. My poem for day nine is below. The prompt is to write a work poem.

Photo by Irum Shahid
Left Hanging

Done with Housework

I was your home after weary
travels, a mattress holding the shape
of your sleep. I was a refrigerator full
of all your favorite ales, a warm
tub of lavender to cradle your feet,
worn out from searching for things
to make you happy. I’ve stood here
all along offering you comfort,
but all you saw me as
was a terrible ex-