Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Philodendron

It’s thirty-five years old,
survived three or four new pots,
times of severe haircuts, 
even seasons of drought when left alone 
My mother gave me the plant
in a four inch pot when I first
moved into my own place
Every home she said needs green
Just snip it back if it gets stringy
and let it have both sun and shade
The pot is now quite large
and the plant is thick with leaves
My mother is no longer here
My children are grown 
And still the plant remains—
flourishes with a bit of care
She told me that it only
needed a bit of space, water, sun
and some kind words and love to grow 

April Poem a Day
Prompt: plant in title

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lovers Be Aware

Be careful of love that meets
outside drawn boundaries, love
that doesn’t match up to some
expectation— sometimes there will be
words, other times they will try and stop
you from loving or make you invisible—
they might demonize you or invoke a deity
to proclaim you as a sinner in the need of
redemption—yet if you persist you will find those
who celebrate lovers and love, who remove
impediments, knock holes in walls and replace
the language of hate with the words of love

April Poem a Day
Prompt: Danger  Poem

Friday, April 20, 2018

First Lover

We met in a thin open space
where a breeze moved grass
reeds and pulled music from
each cluster of green
I closed my eyes and engraved
each moment in my memory
—-  waiting for viewing

April Poem a Day

Prompt: take a line from your poem and use it as a first line

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Threading Instruction

my mother owned two thimbles 
unadorned metal coverings
for the times she mended my
father’s socks or shortened
the sleeves of his long sleeved
white shirts or sewed clothes
copied from magazines or off the
racks of high end stores 
she taught me how to hem,
use an open running stitch—
and how to thread a needle— 
first she wound the thread around
her finger and tugged until it
cut loose from the spool
then she moistened one end in her mouth
until all the stray ends came together 
she twisted the damp end until it formed a point
and picked up a needle and threaded it
through the slit on the first try—
only then did she warn me to never
sew a hem on someone wearing the garment,
“It will,” she said, “ make you simple-minded.”
my grandmother had warned my mother 
and she passed it on, ridding herself
of those words, of the warning—
now it belonged to me

April Poem a Day 
Prompt: use thread in the title of your poem 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Bakery

trays of elephant ears, berry muffins,
fruit filled hamantaschen, walnut
brownies, peanut butter cookies,
and powdered blueberry scones
waited on the top shelf 
my vow to turn away from extra
sugar underwent testing
i envisioned ballooning up, tottering
beneath a calorie laden cloud, my 
pants tearing apart at the seams,
my arms and legs swelling into
watermelon appendages, a moon-face
with swollen cheeks and a slash 
for a mouth, eyes hidden beneath
swelling flesh, a scale that crumbled
beneath my girth, pants sewn out of
burlap bags, and i watched myself 
wobble and waddle down a street—
i fiddled with money in my wallet,
imagined a plate filled with items
from the top shelf, honed down my 
plate and visualized biting into one
sugar filled delicacy—letting 
sweetness explode in my open mouth,
linger on my tongue—
with the last ounce of control i 
turned away from paradise 
and ordered a large decaf assam tea
—no sugar and no room for milk

April Poem a Day
Prompt: Temptation Poem

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In Time Another Time

before we wandered into an empty landscape
where our muted voices circled for years
we met in a thin open space where we could
find common ground and grind away burrs—
you sat on a hard back chair, waiting, silent,
and ingrown as if you understood the fullness
of stone, you were entombed in marble—
impenetrable, waiting to see a drama unfold, 
acting as both participant and onlooker,
child and barely edging into the time 
just beyond— now i see you—a high wire 
artist on that boundary, i carried a balance pole—
what did i say that altered the center of gravity,
you fell off and walked away
it took years for me to plumb the depths
of what I meant to say 

April Poem A Day 
Prompt: “ What I meant to say” poem

Monday, April 16, 2018

My Delight

It’s an addiction 
Can’t stay away
can't cut back
can’t back away
No open resistance
Can’t keep
yearning at bay
Dream of, talk of
Sing of
Mint Patty
frozen yogurt 

April Poem A  Day

Prompt: favorite

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Artist with a Brush

I am a paintbrush
brightening my world with color
I use my handle to scrape away
the grit and grey of cities and
color interior spaces
with clean sheets of paint
I  paint tree trunks purple and 
leaves fluorescent pink
I sprout feet and dance
in an open paintbox 
turning into a whirling 
dervish of color
As I spin I fling my colors
out into the world 

April  Poem A Day
Prompt:Write a metaphor poem 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Middle School

Report to the office immediately
We found graffiti in an open bathroom stall
scribbled with bubble letters you draw so well
We discovered chewing gum under your desk
We found your initials carved into a desk
and underlining in your mathematics textbook
All is in must report to the office
Something must be done

April Poem A Day
Prompt: A Report Poem

Friday, April 13, 2018

Open A Mirror for a Praying Mantis

The praying mantis genuflected 
and laid bare his soul
His knees creaked and cracked
 while he bemoaned
snake and spider attack’s
Beneath his devoted pose
a carnivore’s heart
a predator’s cunning

April Poem a Day
Prompt: an insect

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Are you Guilty or Innocent ?

Who is guilty, who is innocent 
Who can claim innocence 
when the world burns, embers
ignited again and again by friction
between brothers, by words 
that chafe and open up fissures
between nations, between 
the right hand and the left hand
Who is innocent
— the one sees beneath the tatters
—the one who creates a mosaic out of shards

April Poem A Day
Prompt: A guilty poem

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Don’t skate on thin ice
nor take a position that is slippery
Don’t put pansies outside 
when the weather is fickle
Don’t argue with someone
who digs in and can’t listen
Don’t forget to look beneath
a hard exterior to find the why
Don’t stay with something
as if stuck when it’s best
to dust the dirt off your feet
Don’t forget to remain open
to each moment, every second—
once it passes by it’s gone 
Don’t say if I only spoke, did,
returned, turned around, touched
Perhaps a time will come when
you’ll be given another chance—
and can say
I spoke up
I made a place for you
I returned to where it began
I turned around and listened
I enveloped you in my arms
Perhaps another time— another chance

April Poem a Day
Prompt: a warning poem

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Is it a Deal?

Yes, I’d love an at home chef
catering to my culinary whims
I have a few wishes and needs 
Mix the recipes up.I don’t want
to eat stew every Wednesday
and fish every Friday and I 
don”t want vegetables that
spend their life being steamed 
until they lose all their vigor
Please not too much butter.
I’m watching my weight
I love cumin and coriander,
parsley and basil but no salt,
perhaps a sprinkle will do
Try out some exotic fare 
 from far flung places, I like
adventurous  eating but I don’t
desire reptiles or wild boar—
an asp or two in sauce might do
 Cheese, yes I love frommage
and crackers— crispy please 
In return I will spend a day
reading philosophy and theology—
 fashioning an apt spirit filled
and rational  thank you—
if you’re open
to this deal

April Poem A Day
Prompt: A deal

Monday, April 09, 2018

Battle and Trigger and Ammunition

Let’s eliminate battle scarred words 
from our daily lives, from our day
to day conversation. Let’s bury 
those words that describe the
sounds of war, the violence
Let’s not parade the way
of turmoil and fury
Those words open
lexicons of unrest 

April Poem a Day
Prompt: Use “ Battle—- in your title”

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Painted Chaos

After seeing an exhibit of art
painted after a war 
After feeling the loss of sound,
feet shuffling through space 
imitating the people lost
in a maze of rubble 
Only silence responds to art
depicting  the torn places we inflict
on one another in war
Only  somber tones of color
grasp the burned out buildings
and give form to what  
once stood in that place 
Only lines drawn in pencil , then cut into
a wood block and then inked 
cuts deep—through sinews, muscle, bone 
to open the soul  

April Poem a Day
Prompt: family ( interpreted as the family of all of us)

Saturday, April 07, 2018

When Hard is Soft

He spoke with his hands, his voice
commanding the space of a gallery
filled with his sculpture in progress
A wood framework covered in plastic
protects the viewer from plaster dust
Twenty-four twelve foot shapes, some
covered in plaster reside inside—he creates 
an illusion of pillow shape softness
His installations— time limited,
open to interpretation 
Part of the process is their destruction—
a return to a primal state
He speaks of his process, the hard
labor, his sweat, his conceptions—
“ This is my largest. I still have ten
shapes to cover with plaster.”
Without wood and plastic drapery
twenty-four forms will emerge—
the metamorphosis of plaster

April Poem a Day
Prompt: Senses

Friday, April 06, 2018

Jelly Marshmallows

 The jelly man 
pushed an open cart
with a cauldron of hot jelly—
he showed up after school let out
and for a nickel he’d dip a marshmallow,
with a bit more money you could buy it with a fig
I loved watching him dip the stick in the hot jelly,
swirl the stick until the jelly stopped dripping
The jelly man pushed his cart up and down 
my neighborhood streets stopping to warm
his chafed hands and announcing his wares
Close my eyes and I see him tending the fire
and even now I can taste the jelly

April Poem a Day
Prompt: Use a food in the title


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Be Open to Difference

Suppose he knew the capitals of every state
and twenty or thirty countries
And what if he named all the presidents 
in order as well as their vice- presidents—
then rattled off  constitutional amendments
as well as their dates —then what
He plays One-Pocket pool 
Sings off key
Collects rusted hubcaps and scours
streets for the treasures he fashions out of discards
Yet he doesn’t know how to talk to people,
answers questions with yes or no,
evades looking at anyone and can’t seem
to understand a joke
He spends his days learning new words,
arcane words— and hands them to an editor 
who thanks him and asks him to find references 
At the end of the day he returns home 
careful not to step on cracks.

April Poem a Day 
Prompt: Intelligence