Tag Archives: napowrimo 2010

napowrimo number six


Fletcher Allen Hospital: In the Heart Wing


We wander floor to floor, idle guests
invisible to doctors and nurses
because we do not gasp or bleed.

For fun I dare you to fall
on the polished floor, gasp and bleed.

In the chaos, a ghost,
my father rapping
on my bedroom door
interrupting a pajama party séance.
Gasping, moaning,
pretending to be a dead man.


Though there are plenty of prompts available for my NaPoWriMo pleasure, this year, as it has happened for the past two springs, my father is in the hospital.  Two years ago around this time, he spent nearly a month in the hospital and even longer recovering from aneuryism surgery.  That’s when I began the “Hospital Diaries.”  This year, it is his heart and his lungs, and though I didn’t expect them, the poems have been coming.


napowrimo number five


For Your Safety, Please Extinguish All Flames While On Board the Vessel


Just ahead of our ferry boat
a second vessel bends to pass us.

If water craft could make love
this would not be the prelude–

the wrapping of arms around thick necks
the rising tide of moist lips meeting.

Without a cable to guide our motion
we would rock and thrash until both

ships split wide open, spilling their cargo
into the furious blue-black passion below

(waters we were hoping to avoid). Like us
the ferries are engine-driven. We move

without moving, pleased for the glad-handing
from one shore to the next. The ferries are spooning

molding to fit the other’s form, the end always in sight.

napowrimo #4 (and i owe you one)


Be the Air You Want to Breathe, and Other Foolish Holidays (working title)


Sitting on the side of your bed, trying to breathe
you say, “It’s good to see you.” I see your chest
shudder (trapped moths) beneath your white undershirt.
I breathe
for both of us. I see your hair is not combed (spider webs).
I breathe
tendrils of smoke from a neighbor’s chimney.
I see your empty water bottle, tissues like white mice on the floor.
Each time they ask, I breathe
for your lungs–twin beggars.

I see a host of gold ladybugs flank your watery blue
eyes, or is that the patina of lived long enough?
having looked into them or not quite at the pair
for so many years it is hard to see what is new

what is old. Only the painter hired to rip cabbage
roses from the front bedroom sees the peeling paper,

only the roofer shimmying past flaking slate sees the holes
beneath the tar paper—the rest of us too busy mopping
rainwater, trying to remember which one tried to fly
from the second story pitch with an umbrella in one hand.

I open the door as the stretcher breezes in and I see blue sky,
the tips of forsythia trying to take in enough resurrection
enough of what this day has to offer, to push their yellow
eyes past shelter’s thin shell
into oxygen’s invisible embrace.

NaPoWriMo #2


Gone Fishing

From the far side of the raft
there is no stopping the fish hook
from entering her arm. Sun-bleached
canvas grabs the bait, the bass escapes
and one strong mother-tug sends fish
line flying, sinks the barb.

Without its anchor
(clumsy knot come lose)
the floating hulk would have sailed
into the bay, maybe.
Wade to your knees
and you could drag it to shore.
…………..As the mother, it is her duty
…………..to perform daily rescues.
Today a water vessel,
tomorrow a pair of frogs
eight legs tangled in a net.

That was the summer when things could be saved.

When she fell from a stool
reaching for the last bushel bag of apples
on the top shelf
the doctor said back strain,
said, chest x-ray, just as a matter of course.
…………..As a woman, it is her duty to nod and agree.
…………..Yes. Those are spots on my lung.
…………..Her way to be ashamed at the grime in her body,
…………..mindful she should have scrubbed harder
…………..at least worn a clean pair of lungs to this appointment.

Driving past hay fields
and acres of milk cows
on the way to the big city hospital
she tastes the cup of black coffee
she did not drink that morning
inhales the sweet tobacco scent
of the cigarette she did not sneak

before her husband started the car
before her daughter climbed in the back
before the day she could not perform
her own rescue as the surgeon sunk his barb.

NaPoWriMo #1


The A to Zs of Marriage

As the bride took wing and ascended the altar, the congregation licked
amens from astonished lips–
……….(bride being a relative term for bored with the way things became).

Crows gathered on the court house steps, the males spreading
charcoal wings to their full length.
……….(Dearly beloved).

Ease into the gown one wing at a time.
Fire of pine boughs in a crumbling fireplace: your honeymoon.
……….(Gather dirt and needles to douse the flames on your own time).

However the fire burns hottest, mark your time, then jump into the blues.
Inflorescence being the one trick your magician never taught you,
……….June bugs are sure to invade your dark body.

Kitchen utensils on a rope around your neck: (check).
Lost, leftover, you wander from tree to tree, looking for a way past the trunk.
……….Maybe you might to read it in the crotch of branches, the spider web of your fate.

Not fond of mowing, one wife grew her grass in cursive love notes (never sent).
Only the postman knows the address
……….(pretend you are wearing clothes when you open the door
……….politely tell him he has the wrong house, wrong woman, wrong package).

Queen for a day and not a crown in sight.
Ringmaster, Ringmaster, lend me your top hat
……….(send the clowns after the curtains are closed).

To discover why you want what you want, walk the aisles of the supermarket until
truth (or your lover’s name) floats off soup cans like skywriting.
……….(Understanding the how-to of why you is not as easy as you might think).

Visions of skin-tight vines wrapping his throat will help you sleep.
Why the bald eagle mates for life is a mystery to scientists, a secret the wife will never reveal.
……….Xylophones are the only wedding present a bride really needs. At least three.

Yellow forsythia on the door knob is a sign: blooming in progress. Do not enter.
Zinnias tangled in your hair are a whole other matter
……….(and when you choose to begin again, remember to ask your flesh how the

bones of the dress dug into your sides).
blood and bone, the flesh support structures–that’s what is missing.
……….Corsets, in the end, only fit comfortably on women of leisure. You move, wife, you lose.



These are the 30 lines from my FaBoStaMe 30-status updates in 30 minutes exercise.  I edited a bit and played with form. 

with thanks to barbie, ken & g.i. joe…


for helping me get a jump-start on NaPoWriMo!


National Poetry Month is just a few days away, and that’s when the madness begins.  NaPoWriMo.  A poem-a-day for 30 days.  If you haven’t taken the pledge at Read Write Poem yet, now’s the time.  You know you want to!  And once you start writing a poem every day, it will turn into an addiction.  You will HAVE to write. Every day.  Or you’ll burst.  Trust me.  It happens just like that.


In that spirit, Carolee and I have been talking about starting a little early getting our poem on.  And since we’re the mini-challenge divas, well, you know we have to do it.  This is my pre-NaPo poem #1.  I’m sure my partner-in-crime will have one up on her poetry blog soon.  Like today.  Right? 


What the Dolls Do While We Sleep


From somewhere near a pulsing
point of darkness (far from her heart)

Barbie reveals that most of her life
(the part we can not see

beneath skin stiff as bone)
has been lived behind the bushes.

Not a door, or a curtain, or even behind
Ken’s broad shoulders. You see, don’t you,

how letting truth slip from the split
of hard plastic lips is an act of bravery—

truth like a tree fallen over a chasm
your character drawn by the way you cross

balancing step by step on slick bark (courting danger)
or dodging below, stepping lightly over simple stones.

Minus the tree, the wide cavern (gaping hole) in her path
Barbie makes her first decision, slipping

out the window, snagging rubbery toes on the sill
landing hard on adventure’s packed dirt.

The bush is a cliché, rain soaked leaves
a moist haven glistening in the moon’s light

(all good love affairs begin with a cliché and hard rain).
This is where G.I. Joe waits, camouflage pants unbuttoned

gun hidden in a bunch of roots reaching up like hands.
Here in the bushes, Barbie lives another life.

Her dream house is a cardboard box
(so much easier to clean)

her lover, the hero whose shaved head
fits so much better on her belly than Ken’s sculpted crown.

In the music video version, our brave soldier gets carried away
rips Barbie’s left leg from its perfect socket.

No matter how they are molded at the factory
these are breakable times.

Returns are not easy to make
without a receipt, and even then

chances are slim the new doll you carry home
won’t believe the old ones really talk when you leave the room.