Category Archives: free verse

The Sweater

The Sweater

Sometimes I wrap myself in thin
green, shetland, stiff with age, smelling
of moth balls and stale dust,
to remember. It’s all I have left
of you…a sweater that’s starting to
unravel along the edges. Like you,
those final years, unraveling,
spiraling into an abyss so deep,
none of us could have saved you.
I know that now. It’s strange.
Your sweater, just an old wooly
rag really, hints of Old Spice
aftershave wafting, when I press my
face into its course, wiry fibers, has
saved me from the edge more
than a few times. I guess that’s why
I can’t part with it.
I suppose I never will.


For NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 26. Prompt: write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses.

It Could Happen… NaPoWriMo 2018 – Day 22

Day 22 – NaPoWriMo 2018 Prompt: take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens:
The sun can’t rise in the west.
A circle can’t have corners.
Pigs can’t fly.
The clock can’t strike thirteen.
The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.
A mouse can’t eat an elephant.

You know me. when given a list and a choice, I generally choose them all. It’s a running theme.

It Could Happen…

that day when pigs flew, it’s true,
first class, no less, to avoid
all the mice that they’d trapped in
their wheels, churning in circles
producing square profits for
bottom line trawlers, that day
when stars realigned and the
mice jumped their traps, devouring
the elephants in the room
all this, they did, just past noon,
at thirteen zero zero;
mice, in chorus, were heroes
that day we’ll remember,
when news traveled the wires
dawning bright, east to the west
a sweeping blue wave changed
history’s course, what a day
when impossible dreamers
dreamed dreams once again
and tea bagging cups dug graves,
their own, with silvery spoons
that day, the pigs flew the coups


Burning – NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 20

it turns out we were right to burn
our bras in 1968; to let our ta-tas fly
free… 2018 science has determined our
lymph nodes need a break from hard-wired
push up constriction, elastic straps and
…alas we are justified, no longer
chided for those days of our restless
discontent over corrupt leaders, the
establishment, unjust wars (our friends were
dying), our love of free love, pot and folk
ballads, wild psychedelic trips, mania, decades
of mad hazy memories, idealistic musings, we got
a few things right, the bra thing at least, except,
I still wear one every day, clogging, constricting my
lymphs, ignoring science, I’m rebellious that way,
it’s a habit, like flossing, not to mention
the true reason for burning them, and the
fact that no bras were actually burned or harmed,
but a metaphor…a mantra, “Let’s judge
ourselves as people”…
it turns out
we were right to burn then…
we’re still burning


My rebellion poem for NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 20, prompt: write a poem that involves rebellion in some way. I am most comfortable with rhyming metered verses and lines. Testing out free verse, and what I consider to be streaming consciousness…I hope it doesn’t come off as rambling. Though it is not necessarily a bad thing to ramble. It might grow on me. 🙂


Melancholia – NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 19

For NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 19 Prompt: write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even give directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem. I used bold text to show you which words I lifted from the prose to create the poem that follows.

This prompt plays out like a deconstructed haibun, using free verse rather than a tanka or haiku/senryu. It also reminds me of doing “black/white out” poetry. At any rate it is a fun way to create a poem. This is my day in day out. Wrote this little break out on my lunch break…back to the grind in 3-2-1.

I spend my daylight hours in a cubicle under a dropped ceiling fitted with fluorescent lights. There is a vent above my head that grinds and blows intermittently throughout the day. I believe that the stale air blasting is laced with dust and black mold from the shadowy crawl spaces in the upper mezzanine partly because I burst into coughing and sneezing fits when the HVAC system kicks in. I heard that the company decided not to do a mold sweep of the building because it didn’t fit in with their ever shrinking budget. Such is life in corporate America where the shareholders and executives are king and the workers are paupers, slaving day in and day out, pinching pennies from the company’s bulging profits. I would likely go crazy, perhaps I’m already a bit mad, if it were not for the floor to ceiling picture windows that flank the outer wall of my cube. At least I can glance out briefly, when my nose is not buried in a spreadsheet and watch the world drift by.  It’s a small perk that makes coming to work at dawn and leaving at dusk, bearable. Sometimes, when I dream at night, I dream of dusty gray cubicles  but sometimes I dream in color.

daylight in a cubicle fitted
with fluorescent lights,
stale air laced with dust and
black mold burst, coughing,
sneezing mold sweep,
ever shrinking is life, where workers
slaving day in and day out, pinching
pennies, go crazy. windows flank
the outer wall. I glance out
briefly, watch the world drift;
sometimes, when I dream
I dream in color.




The Bees Are Dying – NaPoWriMo 2018 – 18 April 2018


The bees are dying, in droves, you know.
I suppose it was inevitable,
what with global warming, climate change.
Eden no longer exists,
isn’t it obvious?
It’s been a long time
since we lived in harmony with life on this planet
and least of all, with the bees.
Remember them at the pond?
How we ducked under the water to avoid them?
It was the only thing to do;
brave the slime or risk being stung.
It was a good hiding place then,
but now, the bees are grounded, dying.
We should save them, but maybe it’s too late.
I wonder what will become of this place
of sludge and slime, without the bees?
I wonder what will become of us?



For NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 18The Prompt: Our prompt for the day (optional as always) isn’t exactly based in revision, but it’s not exactly not based in revision, either. It also sounds a bit more complicated than it is, so bear with me! First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one.

I normally write my poetry on my phone or laptop these day, but for this prompt I found my favorite fountain pen and printed a copy of the poem so I could follow the directions precisely with a sheet of paper covering each line last to first (see the actual photo of my scribbling above). I used to write like this before computers were a thing. I used the poem by Anna Jackson below. While I let the title guide my thoughts, I made it a point not to read the poem before I started to write my version so I wouldn’t be swayed by the intent of the original. I think this helped me to respond to each line independently in my response. It was a really interesting exercise. I might have to try it again. 🙂

Bees, so many bees.
By Anna Jackson

After twenty years of marriage, we walked out
of the bush and on to a rough dirt road
we followed till we saw a pond
we might be able to get to.
The ground was boggy and buzzing.
The pond was thick with weed
and slime. It was not
the sort of pond anyone would
swim in, but we did — picking and sliding
into the water over the bog and bees,
bees we suddenly noticed were
everywhere, were settling on our hair
as we swam, ducks turning surprised eyes
our way. After twenty years of marriage
what is surprising isn’t really so much
the person you are with but to find
yourselves so out of place in this scene, cold
but not able to get out without
stepping over bees, so many bees.

Source: Poetry (February 2018)

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