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Author Archives: Puff Of Smoke Poems

April 12

rain fell hard all night
her funeral
two thousand miles
picture she painted
just for me
long ago
has followed me
home to home
for decades
follows still
carries its bottomless basket
of sweet memories
keeping company
on this long day
when I should be
two thousand miles away

Mustard Bottle, Pepper Jar, Olive Jar, Vase

though I’ll never be ready
be ready
vacations end
move again through scheduled air
arranged but not by me
All these outside forces from weather
to my children
from work and students to
the size of a puppy’s bladder
or rain when we wanted to hike in sunlight
Instead, a vase for the tulips and bright
branches of forsythia
wild and lovely, breathing
in the outside world
But in a glass bottle or an old jar
on the coffee table
transformed to a tender startle

white paper bag

Yesterday I gave this puppy
a white paper bakery bag
to play with what did I
Something a cat would do–
chase it or crawl inside headfirst.
walked away with it pleasantly
House grew quiet
until I remembered
you are not a
and I learned that “horrified laughter”
is not an exclusively
literary expression
but a real sound that I
know how to make

April 9

we saw the sun rise
red fading to pink today
scent of the morning

puppy beside me
we read about Paris while
I wait for your call

Springtime Reminder, Before the Farm Market Opens and I Buy a Bazillion Flowers for the Garden. Again.

two blocks away
rundown house
with no garden at all
raggedy yard
scatter of random purple
crocus and small white
flowering somethings


another year and
you are still
gone though when we
say glio blastoma now
we don’t frown
in puzzled
confusion while we say
those words
that sound like
a poem in Italian
but aren’t. Instead
we plan puppy cousin playdates.
For all you and I
disagreed on,
for the way we frowned
at each other’s lives
I know this: you would
laugh to see these dogs,
to see us
here, now
on the other ends of
those leashes
and these years

Easter Morning, with Puppies

better than bad poetry
I wish for you
a puppy sweet as this one
to remind you —
go outside before
sunrise when sky
is pale and you can all
to birds wake
all of you see
the half-moon through
still bare branches
right now, this minute

pink curtains

curtains, broken window
collapsed roof, pigeon roost
by everyone else

across the road
the not abandoned after all
trailer in the weeds
this morning
after many quiet years
light at every window

shadow snow

springtime and the lines
between people show
where snow melted away
ice flecked gray lingers
in shadows sun can’t reach
But this is spring so soon
rain will help and melt
what’s left of winter
then it’s flowerflowerflower

Advice: The Best Age To Be

People tell you childhood
or high school or college. Pity them because
it might be true for them. Not for you.
For you, my wish is that
you notice every treasure age.
Some glow as they happen
all the taverns lit, music turned up loud
while others grow more lovely
mellowed by a backwards glance.
Don’t flip through the years of
all your ages searching for the
Best One. But still, this age right here?
Enjoy this one.
Every limb still works
though early morning creakiness
is a reminder to cherish what won’t last
Forever. And there’s enough money–
Ignore Anyone who tells you
that you need a lot of it or that it doesn’t matter.
They’re both wrong. But enough
to always know you can pay
the rent with enough left to buy
a book whenever you want?
That’s a very good age
Also it’s the age when
neither your parents nor your children
get to tell you what to do
This age of balance
when you juggle slow and easy
standing awake and almost
on the teeter-totter of today
Whatever age you get there?
That’s a good, good age

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

Red Wolf Prompts

I came to where you were living, up a stair. There was no one there.--John Ashberry, "The New Higher"

typewriter rodeo

custom poems on vintage typewriters

A Poet in Time

One Poet's Writing Practice

Writing the Day

A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

Leaf & Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.