Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Standing Strong

I battled angry dragons
Breathing fiery lies,
Barbed wire talons
Designed to rip flesh from bone.
Possessed lovers,
Their demons unexorcised,
Forcing me to
Pay penance
For their sins.
The walking dead surround me,
Urging me to settle for
The ordinary,
The mediocre,
The mundane.
They seek to destroy
The light that guides me,
The faith that strengthens my resolve.
I’ve watched my dreams
Abandoned in reality’s wasteland.
I sense the approaching evil
Seeking to insinuate itself into my life.
The new day brings
A new menace,
Pushing me to
The edge of oblivion yet again,
But through the impending hellfire,
Risking all in the face of catastrophe,
I will stand strong.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Evening the Odds

She sits alone in the darkness,
Cold steel in her hands.
He was her fulcrum of chaos,
A black hole
Devouring sunshine,
Her gullible heart.
Her head is spinning,
Subliminal whispers of his guilt
Rush through her mind.
Tears stream across her ruddy cheeks
And the fading echoes of his anger.
She gives a slight shudder,
Knowing he will return soon,
Confident he has broken her at last.
She hears a rustle at the door,
The lock tumbling,
Venomous cursing
About the untidy state of his house.
Consequences must be paid.
Tonight, she evens her odds
As the cold steel in her hands roars to life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blood Story

I offer my vein
In sacrifice
To the medicine man,
Watching my life force
Fill a plastic test tube.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Memorial Mosaic

I’m creating my mosaic
One poem at a time,
Crafting and arranging
The fragments of my soul
In a tribute I fear will never be complete.


Heroes don’t
Court fame and fortune,
Pushing self
Above all.
My heroes wear combat boots,
Fighting for freedom.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Transforms memories
With a thin
Veneer of
Self-deceit, an illusion
Of what never was.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Burning Memories

Love letters
Read a thousand times,
The heartbreak
Deserve proper burial.
Fire will consume all.
Smoke carries away
Lies, anger,
I can finally find peace
Amongst the ashes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pilgrimage to Parkersburg

For our family, in November
All roads led to West Virginia,
To Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
The first few to venture downstairs
In the predawn quiet
Would find Grandma in her armchair,
Coffee in hand,
Chesterfield smoldering in the ashtray,
Tosha pacing around her feet.
He would permit a few ear scratches
Before retreating with a regal yowl
That only a Siamese can muster.
After few more cups of coffee
And a few more sets of helping hands awoke,
The final dinner preparations would begin.
As the turkey was washed and stuffed
And the potatoes peeled,
We would share our stories,
The ones retold often enough
To become our family’s mythology:
Aunt Rose’s bean catastrophe,
How Uncle Ronald rescued Muffin as a kitten,
The time Grandma undercooked the holiday ham
And hid behind the refrigerator in shame.
Through the laughter and the chopping and the endless dishes
Our bonds grew stronger
As we added new stories to the family mythology.

 Today Thanksgiving still finds me awake before dawn,
Coffee in hand,
Cigarette smoldering in the ashtray,
And I feel Grandma’s presence at my own table
Much like at hers all those years ago.
Through the chopping and the endless dishes
She whispers her stories to me,
And our bond, though tinged with sadness,
Is still as strong as ever
As I help add new stories to our family’s mythology.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Traveling Music

Jeff Healey holds the keys
To my time machine.

Every time I hear him sing “Angel Eyes,”
I am transported back to 1989
And piercing blue eyes
That saw right through my hollow heart.
Together on the hood of my Camaro,
We spent hours plotting
Our course through the summer stars,
Flicking spent cigarettes into the gravel,
Watching the shallow arc of the embers in the darkness.
Our teenage sense of invincibility
Made our future seem certain.
Soon enough we learned
That type of arrogance
Strips away illusions,
Leaving misery and pain in its wake
As the final chord of our love song
Faded into silence.

Jeff Healey can have the keys back now,
At least until my next trip into the past.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raspberry-Flavored Wisdom

Granny’s overgrown raspberry bush lie
Next to the faded green garage.
The sprawling canes seemed
A writhing mass of snakes,
Poised to bite any who ventured near.
I would be sent into its midst,
Deliberately picking my way through the tangled branches
In search of its gleaming black gems.

“Sometimes,” Granny would tell me,
“To find the sweetest fruit,
You have to be willing to brave the thorns.”


A clove of garlic
Can help ward off vampires and
Potential lovers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Whenever, Wherever

Plays hide and seek,
Cruel in its strategy,
Lurking in shadows,
Teasing from around corners,
Until our stealth pays off
And we seize the intangible.

Carpe diem, my friend, carpe diem.

Whenever I Dream

Waking ends the dreams that
Haunt my days,
Echoing through the hours until
Night and dreams come again.
Eyes of darkest espresso,
Visible smile lines crinkle the
Edges, something sad and lost
Revealed in the depths.

I can hear his voice,

Desperately calling my name,
Reaching out to find me,
Elusive, but still present
As I seek to find
My dreams in reality.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best at Finish

Racing the clock
Racing the best
Best of the best
Best man wins
Wins don’t come easy
Wins mean all
All on the line
All or nothing
Nothing to lose
Nothing to gain
Gain a position
Gain respect
Respect the drivers
Respect the tradition
Tradition of excellence
Tradition to preserve
Preserve your sanity
Preserve your racecar
Racecar on track
Racecar is fast
Fast is good
Fast is first
First to the line
First to victory
Victory lap
Victory lane
Lane rubbers in
Lane opens up
Up on the wheel
Up for the ride
Ride the lightning
Ride the edge
Edge of disaster
Edge of glory
Glory days
Glory road
Road to ruin
Road to legend
Legend is earned
Legend is forever
Forever young
Forever free
Free to run
Free to race
Race to the front
Race to the finish
Finish first
Finish strong

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Love's Lost Cause

Attempt to keep me,
To prevent
Without realizing that
I left years ago.

Echoes of Regret

Looking back,
The unfought battle
For his heart
Haunts my thoughts.
Worlds have turned, yet I still cling
To yesterday’s ghost.

On Aging

Silver hair,
Crow’s feet, sagging breasts,
Time’s brutal
March goes on
Carving away my youth, too
Late to reverse course.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Love went wrong.
Bloodied, desolate,
Heart open,
Split by force.
A secret surprise revealed:
Not pain…emptiness.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Once Upon a Yard Sale

Welcome bargain hunters, fifteen years of accumulation
Arranged on folding tables in our front yard on Saturday morning.

Girls’ clothing in all sizes.
                           A chronicle of her march into adulthood.

Children’s books, well worn but in good shape.
                           And committed to memory from repeated bedtime readings.

Toys, boots, mittens.
                           More proof she’s not my baby anymore.

Women’s clothing, very little wear.
                           And steadily decreasing sizes, the diet is working.

Four place settings of green floral china.
                          A wedding present that has served up nothing but dust.

Assorted housewares, knickknacks, and linens.
                         Not sure where it all came from, just know it needs to go.

Too much more to mention,
                          Something for everyone.
Come see our family history
                          Clean, neat, and priced to move.

Once Upon a Prompt

Bleary-eyed poets
Grasping for inspiration
Will seize any straw.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Opposite of Love

The encroaching grey apathy
Creeps into the corners of our lives,
Writhing tentacles
Devouring light and memory,
Leaving two solitary hearts
Trapped in an endless void.

Tears and Tequila

“Here’s to red-haired cowboys
Who ride the wind to a lonely gas station
And steal an innocent heart,
The dreams set free for reasons still unknown,
And the nights I clung to my pillow instead of you.”

I stare at the ashen November sky
And savor my cocktail of tears and tequila,
Searching for the place in my yesterday
Where that seventeen year old is still in love with you.

Deadly Love

Dreams never come,
Every breath spent
Agonizing, waiting.
Do I die this night or
Live to face more anger, more abuse,
Yearning for an escape?

Love like this
Often ends in the inevitable:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thoughts on the Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge so far

I’m now two weeks into the Poem a Day Chapbook challenge over at the Writer’s Digest website, and I’m having a blast.  I was a bit concerned when I started this that I would not be able to grind it out every day and that I would run short on inspiration.  That has certainly not proven to be the case.  I’m more energized about my writing than I have been in years, and so far creativity has been flowing.

My biggest surprise so far in this is my renewed interest in form poetry.  Normally my poems fall into free verse, but so far this month I’ve tackled an acrostic and several shadormas (which may be my new favorite poetic form.)  I’m working on my first villanelle and may even try to tackle the dreaded sestina.

My goals for participating in this challenge are pretty straightforward.  I want to complete a poem every day this month and put the best together into a chapbook.  I hope to improve my self-discipline when it comes to my writing, putting paper to pen on a regular schedule after the challenge is over.  And finally, I’d like to connect more with some other writers on this poetic journey, both online and in person.  I know from experience how much feedback helps me, and through the Poetic Asides blog at and exploring some of the blogs of the other poets participating in the challenge I’ve been able to find a few.  I’m also planning to try attending more meetings of the local poetry society, met a great bunch of poets there even if it is a small chapter.

I’d like to thank everyone that has been stopping by to read my poetry. The comments and the climbing view count totals are so encouraging to me.  As long as you’re still willing to stop by and check things out, I’ll be happy to continue posting my little poems here for you.  Happy reading!

An Act of Kindness

Perhaps the
Greatest kindness is
To simply
Let someone
Know you have walked through their pain
And you understand.

An Epitaph to Reckless Love

To adrenaline,
Wide open
Heart at risk,
Diving into the abyss

Her thin cord
To reality
Snaps. Crashing
To ruin.
Bungee lovers were always
A dangerous breed.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Seven Snapshots

Memorial by dongringo @ deviantART

One kiss.

Two hearts.

Three whispered words.

Four delighted grandparents.

Five years of deployments, waiting, and homecomings.

Six men in black in a somber parade with a flag-draped casket.

Seven rifles, each fired three times, a final salute to the hero of her heart.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tales from the Couch

Someone relegated me
To the Wednesday morning curbside trash pick-up.
Newlyweds who couldn’t afford more rescued me,
Washed my black vinyl,
Patched my rips with duct tape,
And made me part of their lives.
I held a nursing mama and baby
That September day when tears and towers fell.
I’ve been a train, a fort, and a trampoline,
Surviving leaky diapers and spilled apple juice,
But now I’m more duct tape than vinyl.
Today the newlyweds are getting a brand-new living room set,
And I’ve has once again been relegated
To the Wednesday morning curbside trash pick-up.

Secret or Spoken

Silent truth
Sometimes holds more weight
Than screaming
Voices when
Dreams flicker into dark, when
Hearts crumble and die.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Harsh breath on my neck
As the spirits circle
Under and around,
Never fully manifesting.
The shadows slither, whispering
Ethereal warnings of

My Gift

I can touch
Forbidden knowledge
In dreams and
Tarot cards,
A gift both blessed and cursed but

Monday, November 7, 2011

For Emmy, at Age 10

I miss:
Teddy bears and Blue’s Clues.
“Mommy, can you tie my shoes?”
Sticky fingers.
Piggy toes.
“Are we there yet?”
“Got your nose!”

When I look into your eyes I see
The woman that you’ll grow to be
As you start to venture out into the world.
You’ll always be your mama’s baby girl.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Smoker's Choice

Ash and smoke
Feed my nicotine
With each drag
Extended suicide creeps
Closer and closer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shards of a Dream

The porcelain couple
Slips from my fingers,
Bride and groom
Tumbling end over end,
Hurtling at full speed
Toward chaotic disintegration
On the hardwood floor.
In the bride’s shattered smile
Lies subtle symbolism
That I notice
And he never will.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Unpacking the Past

From a book of Dylan Thomas
A faded photograph fell,
1992 on the back in my hand.
Two lovers’ smiles,
His wide and cocky,
Mine thinner and a bit forced.
My make-up is heavier:
Concealer carefully layered and blended
Around my right eye;
Eyeliner slightly darker around the left,
A deliberate strike
To counter the effects of
His deliberate strike;
Lipstick the color of dried blood,
Unflattering but sufficient camouflage.

Familiar emotions resurface
As I stare at the woman
Who only exists
In that picture and my memory:
I rip the photo in half,
Permanently unpacking that bit of pain,
And find one more emotion
I’m finally prepared to add to my list:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sort of Struggling for Inspiration

Sort of tired, sort of bored,
Sort of at a loss for words.
Sort of wish the muse had stayed.
My poem sort of got away.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Perfect Cup

“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”
~Abraham Lincoln

I start my day with coffee,
Without it I don’t budge,
But when my husband makes it,
It tastes like bitter sludge.

I try the local café,
Still craving my first sip.
I spit it out without delay
With grounds upon my lip.

I contemplate the drive-thru
And my hands shake with dread.
I think I’ll hit the mini-mart
And buy a Coke instead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Poet Deferred

I inherited poetry from my mother,
Who recited Keats and Dickinson from memory
To two young daughters,
Her passion adding value to their words.
Early on I discovered my own passion
For cadence and phrase,
An ability to sculpt pain,
Smoothing the jagged edges,
Carving out minute details
In monuments to human emotion.
I found I could dive into the darkness
Searching the soul for the salvation of truth,
But the darkness frightened me.
Darkness had trapped so many,
Lost to addiction, to insanity,
And fear enabled responsibility
To silence the dreaming artist.

Poetry and responsibility,
Two warring partners
In the dance of my life.
Laundry, dishes, finances,
All stepping forward to take my hand
And waltz me down the sensible path.
The dreaming artist inside
Still plays the muse’s song,
Just audible enough to haunt my days,
An endless tune I can’t escape.

Today I make my choice.
I step forward to accept
The fate cast upon me years ago:
An artist brushing loss and regret
Across the canvas in portraits of heartache,
Interpreting human frailties to share with all.
Today I decide to dance in the darkness,
Assuming the title I’ve shrugged off until now.

I am a poet.