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Author Archives: Puff Of Smoke Poems

moon talk

Remember the night
the full moon followed us home?
How she talked—only of light,
only of stars and us
here on our glowing planet

Methods of Studying Distance

We walk the edge of impassable spaces
Daily, we approach the distances between—
between us and the world we walk through,
between cultures, between what we believe we look like
and what the camera shows
between what our dogs wish we knew
and what they can say,
between the awake and the dreamer, dreaming

We pick our stance, to confront, or study, ignore, admire—
Sometimes we surge forward, all power and confidence
setting out to cross to the other side
Other times we study maps, draw routes full of potential,
compile exhaustive lists of possibly critical supplies
Sometimes we are content to acknowledge the distances
as in the way we watch a sunset—
lovely, fleeting and unreachable

Today, I am the one writing about it in the dark
and the dog who tends me is on the porch,
undecided, hovering between barking at the night
or watching headlights and the wind
and the way moths try to fly through the screen
to reach the light inside

Guess What?

at seven years old, the neighbor’s grandson
has only one conversational opener—
“Guess what?” begins and connects
each shiny bead
on the long line
of that day’s events

I look up from my book on the porch,
from weeding the garden,
or getting out of the car,
coming home from work,
or really, doing anything at all outdoors
And he is there, ready to tell me all.
The school year is new and bright
and memorable, full of things to say
all beginning
Guess what?
So I do

If You Get Too Busy To Notice The Season, Ask The Trees

late summer
flowering quince tree—
unless it’s a crabapple—
Whoever it is, who once
was springtime’s pink queen
now sends a scatter of yellow leaves
to brush across my notebook

today’s recipe

some days you have
the lightness of hand
to make a soufflé
or time to knead bread, set it to rise
Other days, peanut butter on saltines.

It’s all food.

Just so with art—
In the same way,
some days you may conjure
a poem, a story, a painting, a song
Other days, you get one moment
when your eyes
are open

today it was you,
brown and dappled deer,
strolling slowly across the side street
next to the quiet bricks
of the fire station

beginning with crickets

awake before dawn
crickets in the garden still cricketing
at work and play in the mums

in a few hours, laughter
talk and noise and questions
a new school year

Before all that,
I will too.
Before we begin
let’s spend an hour
quieter than crickets

How To Be More Mindful Than The Dog

the startling surprise
is only
a squirrel
a jogger
a fallen tree branch

Take a breath.
Look before you bark.


Though this is such a small town
the whole world passes by
in the mornings as we walk
I have been each of you—
The determined and driving not quite grimly East directly into the morning sun
And you, disheveled sleepy man shuffling with a cardboard box under one arm and a cigarette in your free hand
And I’ve been you, little mama, hair pulled back as you fold and stack your yard sale treasures
All of us awake early
before midday heat that flattens all action
flattens even the impulse to action
Today, let us each relax
even revel into
Who you are at this moment
Whoever you may be
Now, I’m going home to write a poem about you
after I move our chairs into cool shade.

Last Straw for Me and Superstition

In the alley behind
those raggedy apartments–
door-sized broken mirror
leans against the dumpster
As if they needed
any more
of your bad luck

all forgotten

he forgets, then forgets
that he forgot

Do you remember?
is the forbidden phrase

the list of things forgotten—
broken window, unpaid bills,
car accidents, names—all high
on the long, long list
of things I wrote down
looked at, wondered, worried

like kindergarten or an old song
that’s all long ago
now the forgotten things
go out into a field
scatter themselves
breed wildflowers or weeds
depending on time of day
or who is looking out the window

Someday, I’ll gather them up
as many as I can carry
as many as I remember
a huge bouquet of incident and echo
I’ll toss back to the ocean
to drift or sink
be forgotten again
to wait for Vishnu
asleep on the waves

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