Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gratitude List

I've been meaning to do this for the last _____________ (fill in the blank) amount of days and have forgotten. I shouldn't forget to be grateful.

Gratitude List

1) Blue skies and a newly-mowed lawn.
2) Tulips everywhere
3) Dreams about pinball machines with birds on them
4) Healthy family and friends
5) Fresh coffee in the morning
6) Mexican chocolate (why had no one told me about this?!)
7) Being told about Mexican chocolate.
8) My art class and figuring things out.
9) Writing in my shed
10) Paperback swap (have you heard about this? it's fantastic!)
11) The end of NaPoWriMo (though I'm a little sad about this)
12) 30 new "poems" to work on
13) That people didn't stop showing up to this blog in April
14) Openness, forgiveness, and compassion in others
15) Unexpected walks that lead to beaches


Oh ya, the final poem of NaPoWriMo 2009 - welcome #30

For today's prompt, I want you to write a farewell poem. After all, we are saying farewell to another wonderful National Poetry Month. Say farewell to this month; say farewell to a vacation spot; say farewell to a bad relationship; say farewell to work; say farewell to school; say farewell to saying farewell even. Hopefully, I won't be saying farewell to you; please stay in touch and let me know of your successes as we keep poeming toward the horizon

Saying Goodbye

Because .

And good news for anyone who wants to write a poem a week, Robert will be posting prompts every Wednesday on his blog. The next one starting on May 6th

Thanks for tolerating my obsessions this April. I appreciate you for hanging on through the good poems and the bad.


Oops, forgot to post Poem 29...

For today's prompt, I want you to title your poems "Never (blank)" with you filling in the blank with a word or phrase. Then, write a poem based off your title, which could be "Never look both ways when crossing the street" or "Never blush in public" or "Never ever" or "Never write a poem with the word never in the title." You get the idea, right?

Never Remix

It’s no coincidence she mistakes love
for a bufflehead mistakes the bufflehead
for a decoy set out in the lake by her ex-
boyfriend sophomore year. It’s not June,
but an anxious summer hat and a fast
breeze. She is playing cribbage
with herself and not considering
the future, the orangetip butterflies
that seem to believe the safest places
are on the wallflowers under the tires
of SUVs. Let’s tell her to stop repeating
never to the beetles, there are so many
choices of shell shape, but let her sing
no, no, no to the gray squirrel that arrived
by ferryboat to forest of chipmunks.
It’s not a coincidence she mistakes never
for maybe someday, there is possibility
in the caterpillars, moth or butterfly,
nightlight or candle flicker, she flutters
around the shoreline knowing the milfoil
is dangerous, but she almost enjoys
the hazard of a daily swim, how someone
becomes tangled, the surprise of that pulls
people under.

Happy Birthday, Jeannine!

Happy Birthday, Jeannine!

Miss you!!

* * *

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Write a sestina

or write about a sestina....

Gargles Poetica

Such shadows

Confession Tuesday

Since I've a full day today, I thought I'd get ahead on Confession Tuesday. Honestly, what could I be confessing? Sometimes I think I confuse confessing with complaining, but let's move forward today and see if there are any real confessions in the batch.

To the confessional--

1) I confess I think Poem in your Pocket is just a bad idea. I cannot think of a faster way to make someone dislike poetry than by walking up to a stranger and reading them a poem. I think this ultimately borders on harassment.

2) I confess I chew too much gum (2 pieces at once) and love to chew gum--I am Violet Beauregarde before she turned violet.

I was surprised there was a study this week that said gum helped kids get better scores on tests as usually everything I like is later declared bad for me.

3) I confess I hate to go to the post office on Monday because the mean postal worker works there (aka Witchypoo). Once she got upset with me because she gave me a pen to use and I wasn't pressing hard enough with it to make the feathers and googly eyes light up when I wrote with it. Let the record show, I am not fond of being forced to use whimsical pens.

4) I confess I really like it when people look like Ira Glass.

5) I confess I wrote half of these confessions yesterday, can you guess which half?

6) I confess I had no idea how popular metronomes were on eBay. I needed to buy one for my violin lessons, but like to be vintage instead of new so I went onto eBay only to find that every wooden metronome ended up in a bidding contest. I was amazed how much interest they received (esp. the wooden Seth Thomas and German Wittner metronomes.)

7) I did finally win the one I wanted to win (in all, I watched metronomes for about 3 weeks). And when I say win, I mean "win" as I did have to pay for it.

8) I had to write a mission statement for my art/creativity class. My first one was so long I couldn't remember it (it went on talking about supporting family,friends, and others in following their passions and living their best life (which is so stolen from Oprah)), so I cut it to this-- *To live authentically with faith* as really, if I'm doing that myself, then all the rest should fall into place.

9) I need to write a gratitude journal entry later. I confess that lately I haven't been appreciating all that I have, but instead seeing white space on the paper and not the words.

10) I confess I ate the entire giant hollow chocolate Easter bunny, ears first.


Monday, April 27, 2009

How Stupid Is This?

Someone okayed a "photo-op" for Air Force One over New York City and didn't bother to tell the New Yorkers about it.

You can read the whole story here.

Well, you can only imagine what they thought when saw a large 747 airplane flying low over their city with a fighter plane behind it.

Two Questions--

1) With the state of the world as it is, who thought an Air-Force One photo op was a good idea (and a good use of money)?

2) Who would think flying a plane about the buildings of NY after 9/11 without telling any of the citizens about it, would be a good idea?

Yikes. Those poor people who saw it and were evacuating their buildings (thankfully, no one was hurt in the panic this caused).

This is one of the stupidest things I've read lately. Let's file this under the category of Bad Ideas to Begin a Monday Morning in NY. Sheesh.


#27 poem

For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem of longing. You or someone (or something) else should be pining for someone or something. Maybe a cat is longing to get outside the house. Maybe a teenager is longing to get away from his or her small town. And, of course, there's always the longing poem of love.

Minutes in Spring

Enter then,

to this quiet, to a soy latte,
to a dog asleep near the door.

This is our church—
a vacant sofa and a cargo
of books.

You understand that all men
should play the guitar,
as there would be no combat
in a world where soft music
always played.

Pour another glass
of sangria and we will walk
outside under the arbor
where the clematis blooms late.

There is no metal, no broken vines,
no closed blossoms between us.

We are the fruit to be grown
over the summer, the small petals
on plum trees that soon
fall to earth.

I have taken all your daffodils, love.
Still, you disregard my theft.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

NaPoWriMo # 26

Stayed up late playing board games last night (Taboo & Cranium), eating Mediterranean food and drinking red wine and well, today's poem shows my tiredness.

Probably my worst poem yet, but it's done! Sorry to have to share this one, but I promised to post them all (silly promises.)

3 more remaining!

For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem involving miscommunication. It can be miscommunication between two people or misinterpretation of some sort. I will leave it up to you guys to deal with it however you want.

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Submitting Poems....

Lately I've been wondering why I haven't been hearing from any literary journals. I haven't been submitting much with NaPoWriMo, but today I decided since I finished my poem for the day and my family is out, to send out a few poems.

Well, when I looked into my little index card box (which is my filing/organizational system for submissions), I realize, I only have poems out at about 3-4 places, and one is since September, so the question "is my submission lost?" went through my head.

Oh, let me confess early, I so dislike submitting.

It can overwhelm if I let it--where to send what poem? It can bore--not another cover letter with that dull opening, "Enclosed are my poems..." It can create self-doubt (don't send that poem, that's a terrible poem, they won't like that...)

But I know it's part of the job and I like to part of the conversation, to have my poems out in the world.

I write lists of journals I want to submit to and sometimes just leave random scraps of paper around with journal names. Once my husband found a note on my desk that said, "Submit to Black Warrior." And he said with a smirk, "What exactly does this mean?"

I was amused with that one. But now, I am listless. So where to submit?

Any ideas? I'm thinking about VQR, Tin House, Three Penny- these are places I haven't submitted to in years or at all.

Also, I realize there are some literary journals charging $20 for a poetry contest that doesn't include a subscription. That is WAY TOO MUCH. I remind myself that poetry contests are really just fundraisers for the journal and to understand that, and know that is why they are charging $20. And I know at Crab Creek Review, we charge $10 for 5 poems (which comes down to $2 a poem) in our poetry contest. We consider all the poems that were sent for possible publication.

I think $10 is reasonable if you want to enter a contest and support a journal. But $20 with no subscription seems a bit high given there are chapbook and mss contests that charge that much. I will pay $15 or $20 if I get a subscription to the journal though and if I love the journal, like North American Review.

Well, I've fallen off my soapbox. Enjoy your Saturday and let me know if you have any favorite journals you think I should submit to.


Superstition Review

I have three poems up at the Superstition Review, the literary journal for Arizona State University.

Some of my other favorite poets have poems there too, so check out poems by Barbara Hamby, Sherman Alexie, and Brenda Hillman.

It's a great online journal. Enjoy it!


Poem 25

Only 5 more days left to go! For today's prompt I want you to pick an event and make that event the title of your poem

Neighborhood Night at the Observatory

An Old Ghost Moon and a Grand
Canyon galaxy where a comet cannot cross
the blackhole, but must travel by donkey
down a solar system of pathways
circling around the earth. Our night
and a Russian Olive moon,
the Eiffel Tower constellation
where occasionally we are asked
to step off the grass, so we stay on the path
until no one is watching again.
There are people who know
the names of minor planets,
we call them Streisand, Isaak, Mary
Shelley. Our universe. My star
could be a planet, it’s two thumbprints
to the right of moon tonight, almost
bright enough to be a Charo, a hoochie-
coochie sun in a screen of Cooper
Andersons. Sometimes I want to rename
the family around me, let them be Lyrics
and Teagues, but the asteroids still appear,
the Vladimir Propps, the Baba Yaga,
the Dick Dastardlies that fly randomly
above us, the Kindergarten Moon
being hit with rocks, Liza Minnelli’s
creepy husband, our minor planet
completely destroyed by debris.

High School Reunion Fun....

From CNN--

I kind of loved this story. A writer sends a stripper to play the part of her at her 10 year reunion. . .

Creative people make me happy.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Poem 24

Counting Down! 6 more and then we'll end the agony for both of us...

Today's prompt, something about writing a travel poem...

On Not Returning to Italy

In Italy, I understood to be successful
I needed to not regret
I spent our rent money on a painting
of the moon in a reddish sky.
That summer we walked through Venice
as if we had a map of broken statues.
We pointed to the corners
of buildings we thought no one noticed,
the collision of saint and sky.
I understood my life was already
falling into place, the history of what I should do
like the notes of philosophers, I studied
the patterns of women in the piazzas—
whose shadow glittered, whose shadow
dimmed? And we learned not to regret
the little things that changed us—
the rip across the gondolier’s shirt,
the pigeon that refused our bread,
how you whispered to me as we stood
in a crowd of strangers, said, I’m glad you are here
even if this is the last time we meet.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Performing a Poem - Or How To Be a Better Public Speaker

I've been promising to share this info I learned on how to give a better reading, and today I found my blue notebook and here are my notes.

On Saturday at the Field's End Writers Conference, I took a class with Elizabeth Austen on public speaking and how to give a better reading and learned a few things I thought would be helpful to any of you when you give a reading.

I'm not normally nervous when I give a poetry reading, however, I almost passed out Friday night having to read the children's book CHESTER to kids and their parents at the bookfair at my daughter's school. I was completely self-conscious and children are such wild cards, who knew if one would yell out "vagina!" or "you have strange ears" during my reading. The thought of what I looked like and what I sounded like in front of teachers, children, and adults made me ridiculously nervous, more than any poetry reading I'd ever given.

So what was the best advice Elizabeth gave to us in her class--

To always remember this--
The performance requires me, but is not about me.

This is the best advice about any public speaking gig I've heard. Had I considered this little fact before reading Chester, there wouldn't have been as much fear because the part of the reading, "will I embarrass myself" wouldn't have been there as the focus would be on the book, the story, the words...not me personally.

Other good tips from Elizabeth--

Start with poems that are accessible and maybe with a little humor and move to poems that are more complex and denser.

Feel free to alter what you read based on the audience. If they seem ready and anxious to laugh, read another humorous poem.

Meet the generosity of the audience with generosity-- meaning, if they are being a great audience, take a risk for them.

Rehearse, but when it's time to read, show up and be with the audience, be present.

Remember, the audience came hoping to be taken somewhere with you, think about what you want them to take away from your reading. Remember, that they will also leave with the last poem you read, so consider what that poem will be.

If you are reading a denser poem, consider what the audience might need to help them through that poem and offer a brief intro (but don't explain the whole poem). As Elizabeth said, you can say, "There are three French cities in this poem you might notice, instead of saying 'The middle section is italicized because that's the voice of God.'"

Before the reading--
whisper the poem to yourself.
beat out the rhythm of the poem
go through the poem to see what's being compared to what and make sure to enunciate that.
Make notes on your poem to remind you what to do - pause here. Soft chest. - or underline words you want to stress.

And again if the nerves come, remember you are the vehicle for your poem, it's not about you, but the words, the poem itself. So we can move our own egos to the side and let the poem shine through us.

The performance requires us, but isn't about us.

Hope that helps for your next reading!

Poem 23

I want you to write a poem of regret. Get creative with this one, but there should be some form of regret either expressed or hinted at (even if ever so slightly). You do NOT have to use the word "regret" in the poem, though it's fine if you do.

Cleaning Out the Pond, I Long For the Past

We are speckled in new eggs
of spring, in the fat robins on our lawn
and French books about the resurrection.

Remember the spring it didn’t rain,
when the clematis bloomed in early March
and the mailman walked to our door

in navy shorts and sunglasses, a local
rockstar arriving with offerings. No, no, you say,
I’m remembering it wrong, the clematis

was dead that year and spring
was a lesson in waiting, in wet weather
where the postman wore a plastic

poncho and brought bills instead of gifts.
In the giant pond of life, I am the waterbug
caught circling through the lilypads.

You say, The waterbug chooses to stuck.
We dip our hand in the pond and scare
the goldfish, all winter nothing and now

fingers break their ceiling’s edge.
We arrive from nowhere and change
their world. The dandelions are already blooming,

the daffodils have fallen across the path.
I am arguing that happiness was last year’s
fig tree with its thick fruit

dropping in my hands
while you say it will be the tulips
still waiting to bloom.


Catching Up - Poem 21 & 22

Poem 21 Haiku

1. Write a haiku. The haiku is not just a form but a genre of poetry. People sometimes go into writing a haiku and end up with a senryu or a faux-ku, but it's all good (and all poetry).
2. Write about the haiku. I know there are some poets (in this very group even) who are anti-form. So, I'm giving them the option to write their anti-haiku manifestos. Of course, if you pay attention to this 2nd prompt, it doesn't need to be anti-haiku; your poem could be questioning or even praising the haiku. Or something.

*****Note: I just took a class about Haiku with Michael Dylan Welch and he said one of the biggest mistakes with haiku is the 5-7-5 belief. He said when writing a haiku, think about two things 1) Seasonal reference and 2) having two parts to it.

So when I did mine below, I used the kind of moon to show season, and added the gravemarkers to add as the second part— (Or the moon could be one part –sky, and the earth or cemetery could be the second part depending on how you look at it.)

Red before.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Crab Creek Review Reading at Eagle Harbor Books

CCR Staff and Readers with We Are The Reason Our Ancestors Existed (linocut/collage featured on our F/W '09 cover) at Eagle Harbor Books.

Here's all of us after the Crab Creek Review reading on Sunday, April 19th.

Left to Right: Jenifer Browne Lawrence, Ronda Broatch, Annette Spaulding-Convy, Kelli Russell Agodon, Marilyn Liden Bode, Nancy Pagh, Lana Hechtman Ayers, Carol Levin, Susan Rich, and Jennifer Culkin.

It was an incredible reading. The bookstore was packed and the audience was completely engaged in the poems. I love readings where that happen, when you know that everyone is completely present in the moment.

Afterwards in honor of two halibut poems (with the migrating eye) that were read, I had the halibut for dinner at Cafe Nola. Delicious! Good poetry, good conversation, good friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Confession Tuesday - Late Night Edition

Dear Reader,

I confess, I have been busy. I confess I have some great notes for you, but that blue notebook...I shall find it.

How is your National Poetry Month? Are you over or underwhelmed?

Lately, I have been overwhelmed, but in a good inspired, busy but interested way. But enough, this is small talk, let's get to what Tuesdays are about...

To the confessional--

I confess as I type this I have a kitten asleep on my shoulders.

I confess I do my best to balance writing with motherhood, with family, with friends, with the household chores-- I will admit the laundry is winning.

I confess this morning when my husband asked me, "Do you know who W.S. Merwin was?" My first response was, "Oh no, did he die?" (No, he won the Pulitzer Prize!) (oops.)

I confess I haven't read his book, but have heard good things about it from friends.

I confess my art teacher is having us write a mission statement for our lives and this is ridiculously harder than it sounds.

I confess I am working on not worrying so much and shifting my bad mental habits. And this too is ridiculously harder than it seems. But I'm getting better.

I confess I have nightly dreams about houses.

I confess I am going to light more candles.


Monday, April 20, 2009

poem 20

10 more days left of NaPoWriMo-- join me in the count down!

For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem of rebirth. There are many different types of rebirth available, including the changing of the seasons, the beginning of the day, religious or spiritual rebirth, a reconfirmation of good in people, re-learning how to love, etc. So think on it a bit, and create a stellar rebirth poem.

The Persistence of Time

She thinks heaven
heaven, she thinks.


Monday, Mondays...

I have been so busy these last few days and so poetry filled I have a lot to share, I took notes and in the next week will be getting them down here. Important things about how to be a better reader, a class I took at the Field's End Conference with Elizabeth Austen, a NW poet. But other thing, weird random I notes I took that were important enough that I wrote them down.

I will find my little blue notebook and share these things with you.

And I will tell you that the Crab Creek Review reading yesterday was spectacular. The three poets who read Jenifer Lawrence, Susan Rich, and Nancy Pagh wowed the crowd. It was one of the most engaging readings I've been to in a long time. The energy in that room, everyone was tuned into these poets and were paying attention, and the laughter and attentiveness. These women know not only how to write, but how to read.

But more on that. and on that...

I still have a poem of the day to post. And I will.

We had some sunshine here today. Enough to make us believe that we do not live under a gray wool blanket and that there is enough blue sky for all of us to come out of homes and say Yes,Yes,Yes-- there is color! Blue! Look at that sky, we have missed you. Thank you for reminding me that I don't just live in black and white.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poem 18

Yesterday's poem about an interaction--

Already stupid

poem 19

This was supposed to be yesterday's poem about interaction (in this case because a person and the earth), but it turned into today's poem which I think was to write an angry poem. Though it's kind of not that either.


It’s .


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where I'll Be Tomorrow...

If you're in the Seattle/Kitsap area please join us--

Crab Creek Review's April Reading at Eagle Harbor Bookstore
Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 3:30pm
Eagle Harbor Book Company
Bainbridge Island, WA

Join us for an afternoon of poetry, featuring writers from our Fall/Winter '09 Issue, including:
Jenifer Browne Lawrence
Nancy Pagh
Peter Pereira
Susan Rich.

Kingston artist Marilyn Liden Bode will also be at the reading with her beautiful linocut, We Are The Reason Our Ancestors Existed, which is featured on our Fall/Winter '09 cover. Marilyn's work can be viewed at the Kingston Art Gallery.

If you're coming from Seattle, it's the 2:05 pm ferry and you can walk to the bookstore on Winslow Way once you're on Bainbridge.

Hope to see you there!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Um, it's "effort" not "effect"

Poem 17

To be honest, when I saw today's prompt I wanted to roll my eyes. How could I get a poem from that? It's amazing what a little effect does. While I don't feel this poem is complete by any means, it's much better than the poem I thought I was going to write would be.


For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem with the following title: "All I want is (blank)," where you fill in the blank with a word or phrase of your choosing. Some example titles, then, could be: "All I want is to eat fried chicken"; "All I want is world peace"; "All I want is for everyone to tell me I'm beautiful"; or "All I want is a handful of quarters."

All You Want



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poem 16

For today's prompt, I want you to pick a color, make that the title of your poem, and write a poem that is inspired by that color


At the crematory
on a field trip one Halloween
we put our hands in the metal tray
below where fire once was.

Our teacher said, Touch the ashes.
And we did, not really believing
we were feeling what was
once a human, now gone

and given back to his family
in the form of ash. One boy
kept asking, Are these really someone’s
And the teacher said,

Not one person, but many.

The ash left in the long metal tray
we couldn’t stop exploring.
We were teenagers and death

was for the old, even then,
we didn’t realize that in ten years,
we’d be minus one, the boy
in the group who kept asking

would not grow up, leukemia
at twenty-six, another
body for the crematory, for the mortician
who said, I try to make sure

they are smiling.

As I listened to stories about a wedding
ring clinking into the tray
after they couldn’t remove it

from a woman's hand, my fingers
still digging in ash
touched a hard stone, someone’s charm
dropped into the ashes, I thought,

gave it to my teacher to ask
what I had found. I remember
he smiled, said to the class,
Notice how Kelli has found a piece of bone.


Ah, the normal childhood growing up in the suburbs of Seattle... Yes, my fascination with death continued on with help from my high school DECA teacher who would take us to the crematorium each Halloween on a field trip. I'm wondering if this would even be allowed these days.

Happy crazy public schools. Gotta love 'em.

* * *

Thursday night Thoughts...


First, if you are doing this-- congrats, you're over halfway through.
If you are doing this and posting it to your blog-- congrats plus an extra nod because I know it can be sometimes quite hard to do.

I'm not joking. I'm not crazy about anyone seeing my first drafts. I don't even share them with my husband until they are finished, so for me, posting them here is like hanging my skivvies across my front yard with a note saying, "I'll be hanging a new pair each day so please come by and see..." And my skivvies are much nicer than anything I am writing this month, but I made a promise, so I show up.

But some wonder-- why?! that "why should we read your bad poetry?" why participate?

A few reasons--

1) Even if you're not posting your poems to your blog, each day you are creating something from nothing. That's reason to celebrate. Some bad habit or optional chore is being pushed from your life because you are taking the time to write a poem. For me, that's an everyone wins category. You win. You have a poem. Your loved ones win because you're writing and you're not as cranky. (And when I say "you," I mean "me."--okay, maybe I mean a few of you too...)

2) At the end of April, you will have 30 more poems to work on than you did in March. I think that's kind of amazing. Even if they aren't super-incredible, you have *something* to work with and revise.

3) I've found that by posting these poems to my blog, I write better. If I'm just writing for myself, believe me, there would be a few days of two lines poems or of nothing. By knowing that these poems are going to be read, I work a little harder at them. And I "finish" them (also in quotes because so far, nothing I've posted has been "finished" - more quotes...)

4) It's fun. It is. It's a pain, but it's fun. Kind of like going to the gym or walking the dog on a cold day. And some days, it's like walking the dog on a blue sunny day, it's that easy.

So that's why I participated. I promised. And I'm glad I did.

A Challenge-- if you haven't participated in NaPoWriMo, there are 2 weeks left. Give it a try.

* * *

I've been a little cranky lately, though when I went to typed "cranky" I typed "crazy" and maybe that's closer to the truth. And I'm tired tonight, so let me put all of what I was going to say in summary below. You may not get the most out of it this way, but it will save you some reading time--

* * *

If I were to open my mind, it would look something like this:
!*#)@(# YHJKd; 9
q9 919+ 389JDK@*
uw9eiudsj = huh

* *

Insert snarky comment here.

* * *

Take back snarky comment and mention something positive about doves or the news.

* * *

Talk about poetry again and how cluttered my mind feels.

Add in note about how that woman on England's Got Talent made my day and she has a cat named "Pebbles." More about how we shouldn't judge people on their looks (long rant), (soapbox on the problem with shallowness), talk about my cats, mention I wasn't a cute child, mention the woman again and say something about how annoyed I'm going to be if I see her parodied on SNL. Link to the video. Blah, blah, blah, superstar. Blah, blah, blah, never been kissed. Ask who are those two excited guys in the video. Something about passion and living your dream. Etc. Etc.

End with a note that I'm going to be posting today's poem soon.

I'm going to be posting today's poem soon.

** *
Closing and done.

Ooooh baby baby, it's a wild world...

From the MSNBC article:

Brothers dressed in patriotic costumes join in an anti-tax "tea party" in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Wednesday.
Karen Bleier / AFP-Getty Images

****Um, shouldn't "patriotic" be in quotes?

Also from the article--

In Washington, D.C., protesters planned to dump a million tea bags in Lafayette Square. But they promised to put the bags on tarps and clean up afterward so as not to make a mess.

****Well, at least they are tidy revolutionists.

Also, the word teabagging has been thrown about as if it only refers to taxes. If you decide to rename yourself from citizen to teabagger, you may want to do a little research first as the teaparty you go to may have nothing to do with taxes.

Pirates. Teabagging. Pizza makers gone bad (don't read this story if you ever want to order pizza delivery again...)

Every once in a while I just want to the news to say, Guess what everyone? We're all right. I guess that's what poetry is for.

Now back to writing...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

poem 15 - oh we're halfway there, oh oh living on a prayer...

For today's prompt, I want you to take the title of a poem you especially like (by another poet) and change it. Then, with this new altered title, I want you to write a poem. An example would be to take William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" and change it to "The Red Volkswagon." Or take Frank O'Hara's "Why I Am Not a Painter" and change it to "Why I Am Not a Penguin." You get the idea, right? (Note: Your altered poem does NOT have to follow the same style as the original poet, though you can try if you wish.)


I saw

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quotes of the day

I'm taking an art class and my art teacher gave us this quote today--

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."

W. H. Murray


Whatever you can do,
Or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
Power and magic in it



Poem 13

For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem that incorporates a hobby (either yours or someone else's). That's right: Now is the perfect opportunity to write about your comic collection or your scrapbooking activities. And for the purposes of this challenge, I also think activities such as fishing, running, bowling, photography, birding, and gardening count as hobbies.


She told me
to speak to me again.

and then she (it) was gone.



poem 12

Catching up!

For today's prompt, I want you to take the phrase "So we decided to (blank)" and fill in the blank. Make that your title and write a poem. Some possibilities include "So we decided to plant a tree" or "So we decided to burn a hole in the sky."

* * *

Magic Show

So we decided

and then it was gone.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Confession Tuesday - Late Night Edition

Drawing from INDEXED (my new favorite blog)

Dear Reader, I confess I have been busy ranting and am behind in my poems. Forgive me for my loudness and lateness. I will catch up and quiet down.

I'm coming down from an Easter Weekend of chocolate bunnies and chaotic news.

What I'm happy about-- the Navy Seals and their heroness. Sharp-shooters absolutely amaze me and while I'm not a fan of guns, I am a fan of saving the day and of people with skills. I cannot imagine what that captain's family was going through and I am thankful this father/husband/captain is alive.

What I'm sad about-- Poet Deborah Digges committed suicide this weekend. and it seems this is something I've typed before, a writer commits suicide. There's help out there if you need it--

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide 1-800-273-TALK.

What I'm thinking about-- the Amazon clusterglitch. Sales rankings are returning, C. Dale & Peter's are back, they are easily searchable poets again. I'm still not convinced about an honest mistake, the conspiracy theorist in me tends to believe someone had a personal agenda, while the spiritual optimist wants to believe no.

But I'm not ready to jump back on the Amazon bandwagon. This whole event has made me think about how much power I want to give one bookseller. If Amazon ever wanted to censor a group of writers, they could. And maybe it wouldn't be noticed. If they wanted to make it harder to find certain books, they could do that too. I'm not that's good for anyone.

In the end, I realize no matter whether targeted mark on a group of people or just a mistake, it was a good reminder for me to return to my local indie booksellers as I realize, I don't want to lose them. And I'm glad to see the uproar against Amazon, it tells me that people are paying attention and ready to fight for their rights and the rights of others-- that is a good thing too.

To confess--

This weekend I overindulged in orange jellybeans and chocolate eggs.

I had no idea what "ham-fisted" meant and had to look it up.

I have never seen an episode of American Idol.

I have learned that no one is ever anonymous on the internet, we are all marked in time, place and IP address.

Sometimes I think that the happiest moments of my life have already happened.

I am thankful for people who pay attention.

I haven't done a gratitude journal in a while and need to.

I am a paradox of ideas and thoughts, and I like that about myself even though you cannot sort me out and I'm a jigsaw puzzle that will never fit back together.

I secretly hope that one day I'll find that all the news is good.

As much as I love the Obamas and animals, I just never quite got interested in the dog story. Though I'd rather read about that, then other articles.

I haven't had insomnia for awhile, but the worry about happiest moments can sometimes cause it.

I still believe we will get through this.

* * *
To do list--

Draw something

Update: New From the P-I

Amazon calls mistake 'embarrassing and ham-fisted' has offered a response to the AmazonFail fiasco.

This was from about 20 minutes ago on the Seattle PI
Because there's so much attention to this, I'll offer spokesman Drew Herdener's comments unfiltered:

This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.

It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles – in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product search.

Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the future.


As of a few minutes ago, Peter & C.Dale's books are still without ranks.

Ham-fisted: Informal very clumsy or awkward
***can also be used to describe a bumbling performance.

Roar said the Angry Lion

The Problem With Being Adult

The latest from Entertainment Weekly--

A customer service rep from Amazon said, "In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude 'adult' material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists."

But, reports sites like Information Week and CNET, that "adult" tag is also being given to Heather Has Two Mommies (a children's book that explains homosexuality) and Ellen DeGeneres' autobiography -- neither of which include explicit or racy content. Meanwhile, a raunchy memoir of porn star Ron Jeremy and Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds, which includes pictures of more than 600 naked females -- are still being ranked.

My problem with what Amazon is doing? Ellen Degeneres is being labeled "adult" content for being Ellen Degeneres, not because of what she wrote. Apparently, just being gay is enough to be labeled "adult" content. That's very wrong to me.

I've read some conversations under these stories about people saying "What's the big deal? You're being too sensitive?"

I'm wondering if other would feel this way if Amazon was targeting African-American literature, Asian-American Literature, or even books written by Catholics. People would be horrified. They would be asking, "What year is it? How can this be?" They wouldn't accept it. This is how I feel right now. I don't accept it and I don't believe it was really a "glitch."

If Amazon was doing what they said they were doing, labeling adult content for a book having adult content, that would be one thing, but labeling a writer as "adult content" because s/he is gay is another. Why does a porn star's memoir with photos of naked women not get marked as "adult content" but Ellen's book (um, no naked photos and without any adult content) does? That is not a glitch, that is a targeted mark on a group of people.

You decide for yourself and vote with your pocketbook.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

poem 11

Catching up from Easter Weekend--

Prompt - something like "Write about a thing or item..."


Because, no.

poofy poof poof...gone.

CRAIG'S POP LIFE: Is Homophobic?

CRAIG'S POP LIFE: Is Homophobic?

This has nothing to do with Easter or poetry...

but was on Post Secret today and I just had to share it...

It seems the Easter Bunny was also for Obama...

I'm behind in my poems this Easter Weekend, but ahead on my egg hunts and orange jellybean eating.

We celebrated Easter at the fine time of 4 am today. Holy sleepy Easter Bunny, I remember doing the same thing to my parents as a child.

I plan to catch up on my poems later, but wanted to take this time to wish you a happy Easter (if you celebrate it) and a happy Sunday of discounted marshmallow peeps, if you don't.

For me, Easter always signals and allows for new beginnings. Lent has ended and the rest of your wild, sinful life can begin again. Make it good. We only get one shot at this.

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

YAY Verse Daily!

Wow! What can I say? Verse Daily featured yet another poet from our latest issue of Crab Creek Review! The first poet was Elizabeth Austen and our newest poet is Annie Lighthart, winner of last year's Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize, (BTW, this year's contest is currently in process! See details here if you'd like to enter--the judge is Aimee Nezhukumatathil!)

So yes, please visit Verse Daily

and if you're interested, submit to our poetry contest this year, deadline May 31

* * *

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poem 10 - Good Friday

Today's prompt was something about Fridays.

My writing group met at my house this morning and we wrote over lemon poppyseed scones, strawberries, grapes, tea and coffee.

This was one of my warm-ups, and honestly, I just put Friday in the title so I could be done with my poem of the day.

We were amazed how quickly the 2 hours went by. And I think our last writing exercise was the best, though others got some incredible things from our random prompts, one poet especially did some good work off the word "stencils." Who knew stencils could inspire so much.

Good Friday

From the balcony,
run away.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Before Bed Thoughts...

Right now I'm doing so much, I don't know what I'm doing.


Also, since we discussed vanity license plates, a few years ago I say this license plate and STILL am not sure what it says--


Here were all the things I came up with--


Something else?

***I have no idea. This is one of the guys who believes you can just drop all the vowels and everyone will get it.

By the way, he was in a truck, I think a curvy pick-up.

* * *

After I just wrote that, I felt I've written it before. If so, humor me. I've had a lot going on this April.


Poem 9

For today's prompt, I want you write a poem about a memory. The memory can be good or bad. The memory can be a blend of several memories. I suppose it could even be a memory that you're not sure you remember correctly. Take your time finding a good one (or good ones).

* * *

The only detail in the truth I changed in this poem is that I'm pretty sure it wasn't Good Friday when I found this rabbit as a child, but it was in the spring. We were pretty young, 8 or 9, and did our best to deal with what we thought was the worst situation in the world. I sometimes think I lived an absolute wonderful yet incredibly bizarre childhood.

Finding a Dead Rabbit on Good Friday

Because we believed

there was nothing...
* * *

A Poem From Crab Creek Review is Featured on Verse Daily today!

The poem "Humans" by Elizabeth Austen published in this most recent issue of Crab Creek Review (currently on sale now!) was featured on Verse Daily today!

Check it out!

The issue also features some incredible new poems by Denise Duhamel, Susan Rich, Martha Silano, Peter Pereira, Nancy Pagh, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Peggy Shumaker, and the list goes on!

We are so thankful to Verse Daily for sharing our literary journal! Thank you!


What do you see when you read this license plate?

So, what does this license plate say?


It seems someone at the DMV has his/her mind in the gutter as this license plate was recently rejected by the important people in the Colorado Licensing Dept.

Vegan or sex addict? I guess that is the question. (Oh, and the answer is vegan, it's a vegan mom who wanted that on her license plate.) I've linked the MSNBC article for you there...

Someone from Colorado said that they don't allow "FU" because it refers to sex, which would knock out a lot of license plates it seems. I mean, no one would even be able to use the word FUN, and FUNRIDE would definitely be out--FU N RIDE.

I think we're all just a little paranoid/politically correct sometimes. I actually like the double meaning in there. Of course, when I was sixteen, I thought it would be quite clever to have "IMBLIND" on my license plate and two well-meaning mothers explained to me why that was highly inappropriate.

Anyway, what did you first see when you saw that license plate. I LV TOFU or I LV TO FU. This could be your first psychological test of the day.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

NaPoWriMo - Poem 8

For today's prompt from the blog Poetic Asides, I want you to write a poem about either a specific routine or routines in general. Maybe something related to taking out the trash each week or washing the dishes every night--or something more bizarre (yet still a routine).


He retells the morning


and then it's gone.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Poem 7

Oh these are getting harder and I'm getting them done later and later!

Today's prompt from Poetic Asides--

Today is our first "Two for Tuesday" prompt of the month. On these days, I offer two prompts. Don't worry: You don't need to write a poem for each prompt (but you're more than welcome to if you feel up to the challenge).

Prompt #1: I want you to write a clean poem. Take this however you wish. Clean language, clean subject matter, or cleaning the dishes. Of course, some twisted few will automatically link "cleaning" with hired hitmen. That's okay, as long as your poem is somehow linked to clean.

Prompt #2: I want you to write a dirty poem. Take all that stuff I wrote in the first prompt and twist it upside down. The opposite of clean is dirty; so, do what ya gotta do to produce a dirty poem. (Gosh, I hope this challenge doesn't get too messy as a result.)

Voices in the Laundry

Forgive us

they said sheetly.


Confession Tuesday

Again, I confess I can't believe it's Tuesday already. It feels like summer in the NW, which means I'll be spending less and less time indoors. I'm already a little sunburnt, which sadly for me means I've spent 2 hours in the sun. Pale Irish skin with its red glow and freckles.

To the confessional--

I have a bad habit of coming up with worst-case scenarios for basically everything. I've had to work hard to control this over the years, but occasionally it pops back up. Kind friends are quick to point out it's because I'm creative and have a strong imagination but I think a lot of revolves around my "waiting for the other shoe to drop" and drop on my head.

I've been reading the news lately and feel there is a lot of hopelessness in people these days. Terrible murders of families, of people who just were in the wrong place, of police just trying to do their job. It makes me incredibly sad.

But even with all these stories, I do believe that most people are inherently good. And try to believe we're all just trying our best to get by and will.

I might stop reading the news for awhile and take the form of an ostrich, head in sand, head in sand.

Yesterday's poem was the hardest to write and probably the worst I've written so far (no worries, there will be more bad poems to come), but I told myself that at least I finished.

I hope none of you are feeling hopeless these days. I know when the sun is out, I feel less hopeless. Still, lately I haven’t feel lucky-go-happy, more lucky-stop-happy.

Because I am a optimist with pessimist tendencies, I don’t want to end on a low note, so let me tell you that you how glad I am to have you reading this. It’s odd to say, but somehow it makes us all less alone in this big world.


Monday, April 06, 2009

NaPoWriMo Poem 6

For today's poem, I want you to write a poem about something missing. It can be about an actual physical object or something you just can't put your finger

***I must say, they are getting harder. Plus, I spent the day in the sun not thinking too much about poetry, more about Vitamin D.


A woman opens a door and there's nothing ...


Is Self-Publishing for You?

Here's an interesting CNN article about authors who have made their way through POD services and self-publishing.

I sometimes think about how much $$$ goes into the poetry contest circuit and for others looking for another outlet, this could be the way to go...

This article mostly deals with fiction, but poets have the opportunity to go this route if they like.

With the internet, we are no longer limited to getting the word about books.

Here's the CNN article--

More authors turn to Web and print-on-demand publishing


Sunday, April 05, 2009

NaPoWriMo Poem 5

From Poetic Asides--

For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem about a landmark. It can be a famous landmark (like Mount Rushmore or the Sphinx) or a little more subdued (like the town water tower or an interesting sign).


You bring out the Statue

I wrote this one in the car tonight waiting for the ferry. Still not happy with the ending or the last 3 stanzas, but it's 11:35, so it's done.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

NaPoWriMo - Poem 4

The Prompt--

For today’s prompt, I want you to pick an animal; make that animal the title of your poem; then, write a poem. You could be very general with your animal title (“Bees” or “Lion”) or specific (“Flipper” or “Lassie”). You could even be very silly with something like “Tony, the Tiger,” I guess (that tiger on the cereal box).


I want you to dive in.

Friday, April 03, 2009

NaPoWriMo - Poem 3

Hoping you are not getting too bored with these blog posts/poems. Feel free to return in May when instant poetry has stopped.

Ah yes, NaPoWriMo- filling the internet with bad poetry, one blog at a time.

But if you're following along, here was today's prompt--

From Writer's Digest blog--

Take the phrase "The problem with (blank)" and replace the "(blank)" with a word or phrase. Make this the title of your poem and then write a poem to fit with or juxtapose against that title. For instance, you could have poems with the titles of "The problem with government," "The problem with advanced mathematics," or "The problem with bipolar penguins." You know the drill: have fun, be creative.


She is better-not, the flotsam
walking the sidewalks in search
of minus calories. She thinks
giddy and spellbound are words

she doesn’t say enough. Heartthrob,
another. A husband mowing the lawn
with his shirt off and his wife not noticing,
she has seen his bare chest many times
before. The wife. The neighbor.

The characters all have the same
pronouns. She’s a little shaky
from the bubble tea she had three weeks
ago or could it be the peanuts, something
is always wrong with the peanuts.

She waves to the man with little
chest hair. Heart. Throb. The voice
inside her says, Don’t seem too interested.
The voice of her mother, Never play
with married men.

They are both beautiful
with their imperfections—the woman
with her longing and the man
with his knack not to notice. She is better-

not touch the sold merchandise, the house
is off the market. She wants to go home
to a surprise party or to something smaller,
a hello from lover/husband/roommate,

if she had one. She turns the corner. Confetti,
the Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom.

Thursday, April 02, 2009's it going?

I find that doing a poem a day shows me that I can write more than I do.

I think it's so interesting putting a little pressure on the muse, many times s/he comes through. So what does that say about me when it's not April? It says I can try a little harder, push a little more and write a little longer.

To me, writing a poem a day is like being a magician that constantly pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Sometimes that rabbit might be a rock or a fingernail though, or a wet sponge, but something is coming out of that hat. You may get a diamond ring or you may get an empty can, but that's kind of the beauty of this exercise, the surprise of what you find in that hat each day.

If you chose not to do a poem a day, how come?
If you chose to do a poem a day, how come?

It's kind of embarrassing posting poems after such little revision. But there is something satisfying to it as well. You can see a poem from stage one.

And I like the energy of these newer poems. I have sucked the energy out of a poem by over-revising it. I have done this many times. It's nice for me to see these new poems with all their flaws and frumpled clothing and love them for who they are. Not the perfect, but the just born. For me, the perfectionist, it reminds me that sometimes I take a poem too far, revise more than I should.

But how to find that point? I wish I had the answer. I think if I hear my poem crying like painful e-string of a violin, I've gone too far. But sometimes poems don't scream, but whimper. I need to listen for them a little more, it's less about what I want and more about what they need.'s it going?

NaPoWriMo - Poem 2

PROMPT: Today, I want you to write an outsider poem. You can be the outsider; someone else can be the outsider; or it can even be an animal or inanimate object that's the outsider. As usual, get creative with the prompt and don't be afraid to stretch the limits.

poem 2

Forget that it took me months
to find you...

and now it's gone.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

New Poet Laureate Named

Some surprising news in the poetry community. This is definitely going to stir things up for awhile--

Robert Matthew Van Winkle Named US Poet Laureate After Kay Ryan Steps Down

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, 1 April 2009 10.09 EST (Reuters)- Robert Van Winkle, the award-winning lyrical poet born and raised in Dallas, Texas has been named as the country’s new poet laureate after current Poet Laureate Kay Ryan stepped down after stating the position was giving her carpel tunnel.

Robert Van Winkle, known by most as “Vanilla Ice,” a former rap artist has been living in Texas as a poet since his music career died out. For the last twelve years, he has been corresponding with well-known American poets including Paul Muldoon, Louise Gluck, and Jorie Graham. When the position of Poet Laureate came to end so quickly, the Library of Congress along with Academy of American Poets said it was a “no-brainer” who to pick.

Robert Pinsky, a former US Poet Laureate responded, “We needed to shake things up a little bit in the poetry community and we felt that mixing a well-known rap poet with the standard literary community was a good thing.” Billy Collins, also a former Poet Laureate echoes Pinsky’s thoughts, “What can say? He states in one of his songs to ‘take heed, he’s a lyrical poet,’ and we did. We’re taking him at his word and feel that poetry world will respond positively to this new appointment.”

Ryan responded slightly differently, “I wasn’t expecting they’d find a replacement so soon, I mean, I just left. But I’m willing to give this kid a chance. And I honestly had to quit, all these responses to fan letters was causing my wrist terrible pain. Who knew I’d be so popular as Poet Laureate, I honestly thought I wouldn’t have to do anything.”

Van Winkle will be the 17th poet to hold the title of US poet laureate. The annual post of consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress has existed since 1937, but the occupant was not officially designated poet laureate until 1985, following an act of Congress. With his appointment, Van Winkle joins a venerable rollcall that includes such luminaries as Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost.

Van Winkle, now 41, released his debut album, Hooked, in 1989 through Ichiban Records, before signing a contract with SBK Records, which released a reformatted version of the album under the title To the Extreme. Van Winkle's single, "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts, and has been credited with helping to diversify hip hop by introducing it to a mainstream white audience. Further albums by Van Winkle, including Hard to Swallow, Bi-Polar and Platinum Underground, featured a less mainstream rock-oriented sound, and did not chart.

Van Winkle’s appointment was announced by James H Billington, the librarian of Congress. Asked why Van Winkle was chosen from the shortlist of 13 candidates, Billington replied that it was down to "the rather stunning and original quality of his poetry ... His poems have a sequence that you encounter in dreams, and therefore they have a reality that does not correspond to the reality that we perceive with our eyes and ears. He's very hard to describe, and that's a great tribute to him. Also, we had to choose so quickly, he was the only one with nothing on his schedule for the next two years."

Speaking by telephone from his home, Van Winkle described himself as a "nebula poet", joking that he has "has no idea what I’m talking about." He originally wanted to be a rap artist, he said, until "I realized that I had no talent."

Van Winkle succeeds Kay Ryan to the laureateship, which comes with a $35,000 award and a $5,000 travel allowance. According to the library of Congress, the duty of the poet laureate is to "raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry" by whatever means he or she sees fit. Van Winkle said that he had not yet decided what he would do with his term which begins in October; except he thought it might really give him some “street cred” with the ladies. Meanwhile he continues to write for the Texas Poetry Lovers and Rappers Association and is waiter at Pigs ‘N Grits CafĂ© in hometown. His new poetry collection, Ice Remodeled, will be published next year by Harper Collins.


NaPoWriMo - Poem 1

From this prompt:

I want you to write an origin poem. It can be the origin of a word, person, plant, idea, etc. Have fun with it.

Because the slipper wasn’t...


Welcome NaPoWriMo -

So today is the first day of National Poetry Writing Month. I'm going to try to the prompts from this blog each day, but I've told myself if that isn't working to do my own thing as the goal is ultimately to write a poem a day.

Here is today's prompt:

For today's prompt, I want you to write an origin poem. It can be the origin of a word, person, plant, idea, etc. Have fun with it.


If you do write a poem a day, you can post it in the comment section here

I think they have judges choosing a poem a day and then possible inclusion in a e-anthology. Something like that. I've never been good at reading all the details.

and on another note, for those of you keeping track, I slept 6-7 hours straight until I was woken up by a kitten. Day 2 of sleeping!
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