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Category Archives: Creativity


There’s a wool-suited spinster
Who lives in my head–
Thin hair in a bun
Pursed lips on her face
Saying, Stop that nonsense at once.
Sternly, of course.

Oh, don’t listen to her
Says the other voice, who looks like me–
The voice I name my true self.
She says the spinster isn’t cranky,
cranky takes too much spirit.
She isn’t even mean,
And come to think of it,
I don’t know her well enough to
Even be certain she is a spinster.
What she is, is disapproving
But colorless—-No heat behind her words
Just a certainty that she must warn me to Stop,
Before I make a Fool of Her.

So, I say thank you to that spinster—
Thank you for letting me be like an old, creased photo
carried in your sensible handbag:
A picture of dreams you abandoned
cut from a magazine, tucked away as a warning,
a reminder of the crazy way you once thought
Of running off to Paris.
Old paper now, limp with age and dank
But carried always, this reminder.

And thank you also, spinster,
for being the faded photo I carry.
Thank you for being my warning
of all I could become,
If I’m careful.

Leaf and Lady

Back here again, in the country of clocks,
there’s no time to write a poem.
Inside my head, behind the gears and metal wheels,
wander poems about quilts and wildflowers,
old friends and that maple tree I saw yesterday,
each green leaf edged orange
so precise it looked painted onto the leaves.
Contrast made the green brighter
than all the million greens surrounding it.
Something rattles around in me, humming
about that contrast—
how it reminds me of my old friends—
but the chain of words and thoughts
to get from leaf to ladies takes time
and that is gone, again.

Love Song To A Dollar Store Pen

I am in love with this early morning dance we dance together
you and me, black pen and sleepy person
while candles flicker against dark windows,
windows brushed with snow, or rain, or soft summer.
Cat’s purr sets the back-beat as
we begin our ordinary rhythm
warming up, shuffling
through the comfort of familiar steps
knowing that any moment an idea–
a symphony or a single trumpet
or a pair of flirting eyes across
a crowded dance floor
could sweep us into a new story.
And here we go again
Writing it all down,
before the other dances take the day.

Her Masterpiece

My first masterpiece,
Girl I painted onto
the canvas of this world.
She took the brush
from my hand long ago
and paints her own picture now.
With bold strokes, she fashioned wry smile,
tender curls and curves.
Humming Broadway show tunes,
she deepens the layers around
her guarded heart,
glimpsed through surfaces
for now,
while her artistic confidence grows,
while she learns to trust this beauty,
this unfolding art of her life,
her own masterpiece.

Wisdom: Five Sentence Fiction

          As usual, I have no idea how I landed on this site, but…today I discovered Lillie McFerrin Writes—Home of Five Sentence Fiction. The clever and mysterious Lillie posts a one-word prompt every week and asks the world to respond with a five-sentence story. Love it! This week’s prompt is “Wisdom”.   Almost the moment I read it, Wisdom sidled up and whispered this story in my ear…

Wisdom says she’s done with being wise, done with handing out mountains of calm, clear-hearted advice to dolts who do not listen or listen and then still go off and steal the jewels, quit the job, rush the altar, buy the day old sushi, worse, eat the day old sushi.

“I’m sick of the very sound of my name, which I’ve discovered also means Prudence, as if things weren’t bad enough,” she tells the old elephant over mugs of Earl Grey.

The elephant has known Wisdom a very long time and expects she’s exaggerating when she says ‘Done’ since Wisdom gets fed up, of course, who wouldn’t, but in the end she gathers herself and dispenses herself for free again, like a reliable though battered old vending machine, wise enough to seldom say never.

“Definitely Done for good,” says Wisdom as she throws clothes into a too-small satchel, paints the elephant purple, drapes him with jewels, and climbs onto his back, beautifully bedecked herself in cinnamon scarves.

Now, she says, now is our time to finally leave home and never knowing where the next cup of tea may come from, be Foolish in the world with our names changed to Adventure and Gull.

Mantenere Una Promessa

In Steve Kowit’s book, In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, I read about the technique of cross out poems, which involve circling or crossing out random phrases from a variety of sources, then mixing the phrases together to create something new. To read a much better description, with examples, consult Mr. Kowit’s inspiring book. For this poem, I used a Beginning Italian phrase book, a summer vacation brochure, and a volume of excerpts from the diaries of C.S. Lewis.

Offer up the first reel of every morning,
the hour when tide charts and fishing guides
with their slow, whimsical way of talking
tell you—When you look, look beyond this.
You think they said mornings are
the best chance to see dolphins
but since you never take
the first translation that arrives,
mantenere una promessa
could easily mean something about
manatees on the promenade.

This is not just any figure at the door.
Perhaps we shall not see it again,
so treasure all the beauty that comes knocking,
in any translation, at all times.

We have slipped into late hours once more.
There is more than one guide, more than
one treasure to explore. So if you want
to go, Go. Satisfy that hunger.
Fulfill your promise
to treasure what you find
buried in the sand.

One Explanation, Straight From The Builder

A found poem, from The Poetry Home Repair Manual, by Ted Kooser.  It jumped off the page and grabbed me while I was sipping coffee, minding my own business.  I’ve only added line breaks and omitted a few stray words. Thanks to Mr. Kooser for writing this wonderful definition, and for writing all his fine and extraordinary poems.

There’s a toy
much like a kaleidoscope
but without the colored chips.
You look through it
and see whatever Is.
Turn it
towards just about anything
and what’s beyond you
becomes interesting.
This is how some poems work.

The Girls Who Run The World

Last night, in the middle of some other dream, I saw what lives behind the curtain—
that heavy velvet hung between awake and everything else,
back where dreams and soul, subconscious, spirit run the show.
It was Not What I Expected. I expected gears and pulleys, or
spreadsheets and projections, or possibly clouds.
Instead, two girls gossip at an outdoor cafe,
heads bent together, posture telling everything about
their delight in the world, each other, the unfolding all around them.
Cindy & Suzie are the names embroidered
in pink on matching bowling shirts.
They could be twins—short black curls,
heavy blue eyeshadow, bright red lipstick,
girls fixed up like the Andrews Sisters, ready for the USO show.
They don’t expect me, of course, back here where
we aren’t supposed to be able to peek.
One glance and we all know I’m in the wrong place,
me with my million questions about dreams and our futures and
why, oh a mountain of questions about why, so insistent and distraught.
They both smile, big surprised grins that say—
This is SO against the rules, but we’re happy to see you.
Pull up a chair. Let’s see What Happens Next and Oh,
this part is going to be fun.

The Opposite of Serious Moonlight

I just discovered a site called The Sunday Whirl, from writer Brenda Warren. What a fun way to loosen up words.  Once a week, she posts a Wordle as a poetry prompt. I can see I’m late to this particular show, since the Wordle I used is #113.  Here it is, with my response below:


The master of revelry answers,
Again—The important thing
is to step out of the cave.
Along the way, scoop up
crazy big loads of
anything that giggles.
Then, break open the moonshine
which wakes everybody up
enough to cut through
the daytime world’s chattering
So your day begins to make sense.
Face it, after enough moonshine
anything makes sense. The first
step is to get out of the cave.
Only then can you see the light—
bathe in that moon,its shine,
till you glow. You’ll know the cure is working
when the world splits,
cut into before and after
you remembered how to giggle.

Red Suitcase

Closed story in my mind,
Red and locked, waiting for me in
The empty room.
In last night’s dream, it laid open
Full of folded clothes
I’d never worn, bright
Flower colors, soft silken dresses.
I marveled at their new selves
Neatly stacked and waiting
And wondered what it
Was I was
Waiting for.

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.