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Author Archives: Puff Of Smoke Poems

Monday Morning

Sometimes it just shows up
this reminder to love the ordinary—
Puppy asleep, my feet as his pillow
His feet chasing dream rabbits
while I write my way awake
and remember to say thank you
for the noisy day ahead
and this little cup of quiet

might as well laugh
when the first test of thankfulness
Immediately Arrives—
the way you press a finger
into the fragrant loaf of bread
to see if it’s cooked—now,
the kitchen heater with
the broken fan and a definite
scent of old mice kicks on
to remind me—this day also holds
an expensive repair bill
Still happy? Still think this Monday
Is a poem? Yes. Yes, I remember
and yes, I do.

two more funerals this week

One by one, we turn off these roads
head another way.
Have you noticed?
The longer I drive,
there are fewer
and fewer of us out here
still traveling at all.
Do the others veer off
for the road home?
Or are they aiming at
some other destination,
one that only occurs to them
there at the end?

fine, a walk

Fine, a walk
I said when I didn’t want
a walk because it was
early. Before coffee early.
But we went. Wind died down
Stars from the sky and those green
and red stars from my neighbor’s
Holiday Light Extravaganza
spread across the dark above
and around us. Snow all melted
away. Rain in the night.
Lights meant to reflect snow
now glisten in the rain
and despite my grumpy
hesitation? It was
a fine walk.

that butterfly

Was there one moment
when you decided
to stop wanting things
so you wouldn’t be

Imagine you could travel
through time and
change so much of now
by blowing on the wings
of that particular butterfly.

When you rewrite the list
of hours, days, whole years
you would Do Differently,
consider putting
that moment
with that particular butterfly
at the top

country houses

country houses
not the kind featured in
designer living magazines
and Instagram accounts
but ordinary houses
deep in the country
how they huddle together

wish life

I have a picture you drew
of a girl, her back to us,
hands fisted in pockets
She walks with Great Determination
into the forest. I can tell
she is thinking hard.

Me too. Thinking about
what we all
ask of the world.

An interview with the interim mayor
of a city plagued by ills—
violence and poverty,
pandemic and code violations.
What’s next for you, asks the reporter.
“I would like to buy a little beach bar
in the Virgin Islands—grill shrimp,
sell margaritas, rent our snorkel equipment.
that’s what I would really like to do….

If your grandmother on Argyle Street
calls and says the storm sewer is backing up
and there’s water in her basement?
We can get that handled in an hour…
It has an impact.
It’s very rewarding.”

So. What to do with this?
He wishes for a tan and endless
limes, but I’ll bet grandma would wish
him to stay on the job.
Even though grandma watches the
water rise in her cellar and dreams
of being someone else, somewhere else.

Why are we granted this life in the world
and this whole other life in our head
where we dream of a beach or a love
A foreign city, or making art?

While I try again—
to puzzle this out
the puppy who has Everything
can’t settle, obsessed
with dragging his bed onto my lap
And I run out of time to fiddle with words
because it’s time to get ready for
work in the world we share

enough, time

Back when there was no time
to think, I used to think
if only
I had more time
to think
I think I would
grow calm, peace-filled
almost saintly.
But then ( I think)
Look at him, with nothing but time
to think
and all he thinks is
he doesn’t know
what to think
all this time

painted like the ocean

Another person I’d like to meet—
The guy (somehow, I know it is a guy)
in the dilapidated back road double-wide
with a Porta-Potty in his front yard,
lawn with latrine instead of lantern.
That alone might be enough
to make you interesting—
but then you painted it ocean colors
waves of blue, deeper blue, pale green, black
starlit sky painted above that sea
in your muddy yard, beneath the real stars


The puppy drags his bed
around the house
He keeps busy.
I hold my breath
and overwork

first snow fall

first snow fall
covers the signpost
for the summer road
we counted ourselves lucky
to walk—the hill view,
donkey in the pasture,
occasional deer,
us laughing loud enough
to alert the neighborhood bears
all tucked away now for a
different season
I wave as I drive past

A Hundred Falling Veils

there's a poem in every day

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