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It’s like this:
the corkscrew inside
wound tighter and tighter
each compression (skipped lunch,
rushed phone call,
held breath, cancelled joy)
each twist made me
smaller not enough
time not enough
space surrounding
minutes and objects
and the corkscrew broke
and breaks over and over
until even sleep is too tiny
and again, I remember —
wake up
breathe deep
stretch and go
slow through all
the curves

speed limit

Red-winged blackbird
perches on
speed limit
splash of Bright Color
within all the

if it wasn’t

would have missed the moon
if it wasn’t for this dog
crescent through the pines

would have forgotten
if it wasn’t for this dog
when busy,
slow down

blanket hour

“This is your life. Don’t blow it. You can’t get it back.” Natalie Goldberg, from The True Secret of Writing, p.62.

all of it to say
if you wake early
don’t begrudge the loss
of another blanket hour—
Get up
put on a sweater
start the coffeepot
write down all that swirls
through you and around you
let it out

shuffle of the day

It was a very well-written day.

As always, morning. And the paragraphs began with the president, full of purpose and direction.

Later, events unfolded in the rain. Occasional bursts sunlight/birdsong.

In the background, if you watched for them, images and characters and breathing beings passed through

Old white man walks slow and stiff careful, careful his arms full of red roses in full bloom.

Black Navy veteran, her hair close-cropped blonde, drives a scooter across the highway. Sign on the back of the seat proclaims her a proud veteran. In front, a tiny black dog in a basket. Head up, he stares down the traffic. Dares those cars to move.

There was another. These things come in threes. But the third one got lost in the shuffle of the day.

So we’ll all need to stay awake today and watch for that third Amazement or Intrigue or Quirky Delight, to round off the set.

To finish this poem.

why a puppy

to clean up
accident which
is dog

He woofs low
at passing joggers
runs to me
for safety

breaks my
over and over and
so what?

another chance to
let thoughts
fall and scatter
broken on the floor

another chance
to wake up

He’s Not Fond Of Stories

he says. Not
an apartment.
A nursing home
in disguise.

Every single thing
his eye lands on is gray
dark from heavy rain
that just won’t quit
hidden dangers
in every shadow–
mistakes, tricks,
all the traps the world has set out
for the foolish or unprepared

In a story
the love of
a dog
a small, winsome child
or a sweet old lady
with a sparkle in her eye
would save him.

But he’s not fond of stories
or the things they hold.
This is real life
and he refuses
to open
those impossible doors.

We’d Go Broke If We Did This All Day

but let’s wait
a few more minutes–
birdsong in the dark
front door wide
to warm day ahead—
this early, cool air
kicks the furnace on.
I write with one hand on the puppy
he sighs,
falls asleep, and I
(the one who pays the gas bill)
Ignore the cartoon image in my head
of dollar signs leaving
while I pet this dozing dog
and let all our heat
pour out into the street
for a few minutes more

roadside living room

by the silo,
facing the road
a blue leatherette recliner
waits for somebody to sit
and dream
as traffic streams by
Is it you?

three lines/five minutes

I first read Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg many years ago and it inspired my writing. Since then, she’s written several more books about the connections between writing/meditation/art/creativity and living well. I’ve read them all, and learned from them all.

Her approach to writing–set aside a specific time, write and take what is given—her approach is deep within this long-time poetry practice of mine. For the past two months, I’ve spent my Saturday afternoons in an online writing class taught by Natalie Goldberg and it’s been wonderful. On the last day, she read to us from her newest book Three Simple Lines–A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku. Then we all wrote haiku –two thousand of us, I think—or maybe at the end of eight weeks of Saturdays we were down to 1500? In any case, this is what I wrote:

5 minutes, three lines

Blue toy
Filled with peanut butter
Puppy concentrates

Listen hard–hear
Over the neighbor’s lawn mower

Blue spruce leans in
Nearer to the almost
Blooming quince

Orange leaves, dark branches
Next to the new leaves
Lilac–not yet

White stakes mark
The peonies will live

After my neighbor died
Movers empty her house today
While I plan the garden

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"

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A Ronka Poetry Practice Since 2014

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