Tag Archives: free verse

days of wine and distancing – NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo Challenge Day 5

days of wine and distancing

the days are grains of sand
setting the soles of my feet on fire
i feel them screaming when I pause
to watch the waves swallow
the strand into the blue
cloudless, Atlantic sky laughing
the soles of my feet are frozen
no comfort where my heart resides
it’s giffle gaffle, to live this way
lies become true if you believe them
when life give you lemons make lemonade
tipple the tart koolaid of imbeciles
where pandemics disappear like magic
and service workers are masked superheroes
and this couch potato is saving the world
they all learned they were kindred then
behind the walls of their penetrable fortresses
we will beat this invisible foe or die suffocating
apres la pluie le beau temps
where dancing dogs fiddle, my feet burn
home sweet home is bittersweet


NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo Challenge Day 5: Use/do all of the following in the same poem. Of course,  if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!

  • Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  • Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  • Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  • Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  • Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  • Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  • Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  • Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  • Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  • Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  • Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
  • Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  • Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
  • Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  • Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  • Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  • Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  • Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  • Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
  • Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

a good place to die – NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo Challenge Day 2

a good place to die

it is folk legend, instinct some would say, that animals
when they’re close to death wander off, alone to die

the perfect house in every way, one-level, secluded
on a hill, girded by hickory trees and wild pines, with
back windows facing east, front due west, undressed
to take advantage of warm sunrises and fiery sunsets,
textured white walls of swirling stucco, a fireplace,
garage attached, front porch and back, the perfect house

it’s only legend though; truth is, animals as they grow
old or sick, faltering, simply become weaker, slower

like my life, getting to the perfect house, the place where
I most certainly will die – in polite conversation we call
it a retirement home, or a forever home, though we all
know forever is not really forever –
getting here is a bit of a
journey, one must leave crowded house-lined King George
Avenue where pertinacious neon blots the stars from sight at
night, then travel along sleek four-lane byways flanked by banks,
churches, restaurants, dentists, service stations, and dollar stores,
curving, rising, dipping, along the rolling Blue Ridge feet, to
two-lane, no-pass roads, street lights replaced by looming
oaks, that lean over the winding bends, leaves dancing
from the rush of air displaced by passing cars, further
still, a turn, and then another, to a single lane, in an
unincorporated town identified by county seat, zip
code from a nearby, more civilized town with a post office,
past wire-fenced fields of grazing horses, cows, goats,
llamas and donkeys, down, down, around and up over
streams and creeks bubbling in the shadow of mountain
peaks, my dented mailbox leaning at the crux of a sharp
turn, there up, up, up, the driveway, she sits, sunlit
by day, warm green shingles beneath a 50-year metal roof
it is quiet, oh so quiet, but for chattering birdsong, and rustling
squirrels, the pensive, silent gaze of deer-folk greeting me

in fact, there are observed occasions where herds are known to stop, to wait
for lagging members, injured, vulnerable, to catch up to the safety of the group

neighbors at a distance dotting the surrounding knolls, this perfect
place, sans of things that no longer serve, knick-knacks, dust-collectors
and the like; my children will thank me in the end, when left with
little to dispose of my once busy, cluttered life and I am learning traveling
lighter has its benefits, most notable is time for reading, writing, planting
weeping pussy willows, irises, climbing rose bushes, sunflowers and
wild flowers, perhaps a dahlia cluster too amidst hybrid hostas in
the most lovely shade of blue, erecting bird feeders, feeders for the
squirrels too, and a lovely spot for barbecues to share with family
and friends who happen by, I’m in no hurry yet, to die, but this will
be my final home, the roaming of my youth long done, how lovely just
to sit a spell under the stars, and listen to cricket chirp and peepers peeping,
every night, good for sleeping, remembering the road that brought me here

it’s not intentional, their falling behind or wandering off, inevitably,
ultimately, they become too weak to return to the pack, never to be seen again

NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo Challenge Day 2: write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild places.



everything seems normal in

a strange abnormal way, spring

is slowly blooming, song birds

twitter away and children home

from school on break are bored,

too bored to play; so normal, all

these little things, the moon and

stars by night, the sun by day and

gentle rain showers damp the

earth, now turning green from gray

but here behind these looming walls,

where home seems more a prison

cell; how long must we be doomed

to shelter here no one can tell, we

wait and hope our loved ones will

be safe from harm and well as days

grow longer, longer still, in this our

taste of hell…meanwhile sycophants

deny and lie and count the sick and

dead and scheme behind their

hallowed halls rewarding haves,

the have nots scraping stone for

bread; we’ve lost our heads, this

much I know, it’s true, if you are

sane you know it too, but there is

not much we can do but count the

hours, days and weeks, our hands

cleaned raw, faces untouched, sparse

company to keep, with nothing left

to do but sleep, to pray our weary

souls to keep beyond this valley

shadowed by the sowing that

we’ve reaped as history repeats


Week 1, Day 2 of sheltering in place, keeping my distance, washing my hands, feeling helpless yet hopeful we all make it out alive, knowing some of us will not.

don’t move in winter

don’t move in winter

if you can avoid it, don’t move
in winter when days are short, no
birdsong to sweeten the dawn; no
cricket chatter, no creepers
chirping to quell the cold, black
silence of endless nights…take
it from me, i don’t advise it, for
change is never easy during
the season of letting go; when
death looms in the shadows seeking
souls to pluck. Winter is not for the
faint of heart…i know, and yet,
i am a tree, uprooted, barren limbs
trembling, bending, mantle scattered
to the wind, faded fronds snatched
from my fingertips as frost’s cool
kisses nip; numb to the core, i am
dormant, no consolation but the
promise of spring, of soft rain fall,
sun-warmed buds bursting, fields
of flowering weeds, nestling beaks
gaping, earthworms slithering,
rainbows, and greening…beautiful
greening…sigh…the tree that i am
rests for now in sleepy slumber
inside these unfamiliar walls…
perhaps they will feel like
home come spring…come spring




I am a tree in autumn,
limbs stiffening from
dawn’s first frost,
clinging wistfully to
the dying remnants of
summer, old photographs,
books, trinkets, effigies
of a life lived long and
full, roots deeply
entrenched in the
familiar, yielding to
the wind whispering, it is
time to let go, to render
to yesterday its relics,
to turn the brittle page
in naked abandon, to rest
my soul in the cool present,
to sleep, to dream of
another glorious spring


Döstädning, which means “death cleaning” in English, is a method of downsizing and organizing from the Swedish author and artist Margareta Magnusson. Death cleaning isn’t about getting rid of all your stuff, but rather streamlining your life so you’re only holding onto what makes you happy.

I am moving from my big two story home in a month into a sweet little one level home on a hill in foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hence, I’ve been a little less prolific in my writing here, obviously preoccupied with the details of moving. I am hoping my daughters appreciate my efforts to leave a smaller footprint for them to dispose of when I’m gone. And as for the years I have left (which I hope are many) I am excited to begin a new, simpler chapter. Peace!

Here’s my new view…

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