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Category Archives: Family

Episode Guide: Bad Dream

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And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—…
…the signals we give–yes or no, or maybe–
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
—- Excerpt from William Stafford’s poem, A Ritual To Read To Each Other


Here we are again
in the dark.
The farmhouse is gone
We stay in the barn
close together
as our numbers dwindle
and I sing songs
the songs I can remember
till night
when I get scared, again,
at how much darkness is out there
and how few we are.

Build A Box Workshop

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Holidays are boxes
built by plaited years
to hold what happens.
Your house is an open box
where costumes and pumpkin seeds,
masks and wigs and jack-o-lanterns,
giant spiders and tiny candy bars
still tumble into the world
fashioned by a crowd of busy children
into an enormous orange box decorated
with light sabers and false eyelashes
and labeled Halloween.

At The Mall With My Son

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When you were small,
we came here so little
you thought Santa lived
at the mall all year.
Now, taller than me,
an errand for a friend
brings us to this alien territory
where people look like us
except with better hair
and many shopping bags,
tissue paper wrapped
around their treasures.
I’m glad I hate it here.
And glad you hate it too—
glad you carry all your treasures
unwrapped and close to your heart,
spilling from your musical hands,
and your easy smile.

Another Note To Myself, This One Regarding Answering Machines

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When it is your turn to be old,
leave a message–
and not the irritated kind of message
asking
Where On Earth Could You Be????
Treat each message like a balloon
released into the air,
a general update:
Life Is Fine Here.
Better yet, learn to text.
Let your texts be Quirky.
Be quite clear in your own mind
that this will make no difference
to the children,
who will continue to ignore you
until they need cash or advice.
But having told them all they could handle,
and having made yourself laugh
you will feel better
in that quiet moment
when you put down the phone
and turn to look out the window.
Afterward, the whole day will color itself
into brighter, more satisfied lines.

The Man Who Mowed The Lawn

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Yesterday, a tall man
who looked just like my son
showed up unannounced
and mowed the shaggy lawn.
Under normal circumstances,
A Mowing Stranger
would have been Alarming.
But then he kicked off his big shoes
by the front door,
where I tripped on them
while he ate the last of the cake,
and all the leftover chicken,
leaving only the vegetables,
and a pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
Oh, it’s you! I said.

Her Masterpiece

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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.

After All I’ve Done For You

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Now, to the Good Mother List
of things I’ve done for you, I’ll add
last night, when I wanted
tea and toast in my pajamas. Instead
I drove to the city in rain and dark
for dinner with an old friend in a crowded restaurant—-
Not because I was anxious to see my friend or eat a $15 salad,
but for you and that question in your eyes
that wonders if I’ll be okay when you leave home.
Truth is, some days I’ll be content
playing my own music,
not cooking or tripping over your shoes,
watching Downton Abbey instead of James Bond.
And some days I’ll be bereft
mourning the lost country of childhood
we can never return to
an ache I can’t describe
which is just as well since you suspect
but don’t want to know
it exists.

The Novel Bunch

aka: The Happy Bookers

The Sketchbook

MOSTLY MONTREAL, MOST OF THE TIME

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

Invisible Horse

Living in the moment

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry