Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bury the Old Regrets

they get you nowhere
Just dragging around
what could have been
instead of moving on
Stop singing that lament
The notes, frayed in time
like a player piano, repeat
the same refrains
And stop praying for a miracle
cause miracles have shoes
It turned out different
than the blueprint, so just
move on and forgive

PAD Challenge
Prompt: "Bury the———"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nobody Knows

nobody knows I painted a mustache
on a subway poster, knew how to
make a coin disappear, practiced
my ventriloquist act in the bathroom,
once ate three cones of cotton candy,
wrote to twenty friends, climbed Old Rag
Mountain in saddle shoes, snuck into
 a Coney Island side show, nobody knows
that sometimes I'm not certain what I
believe, that sometimes I am on a high wire
between faith and doubt, sometimes I pray
so hard and the wait is too long ,nobody knows
why some prayers come with answers
that don't seem like answers

PAD Challenge

Prompt: Nobody knows


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

To Speak the Universe

a poem isn't just matter
with sinews made of words,
nor is it rhythm, what you
hear is the strum of a soul
making sense of the world

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: matter

Monday, April 27, 2015


Looking back means turning around
and staring at the past, you can't change
it, don't want to get lost in nostalgia, don't
want to forget to keep walking forward
Some days I just step into a memory
and stay put, some days I look in the mirror
and know that looking back
can't erase time, its just a catalogue
that I thumb and ease myself into

PAD Challenge
Prompt: looking back

Sunday, April 26, 2015


                         One does not burn a blanket
                          to get rid of a flea.
                                  -Turkish proverb

Ubiquitous word 
a child's blanket changes
into a security blanket
a blanket of snow deepens
and covers the landscape
a blanket statement
refuses to allow any space

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: take a word coined by Shakespeare as the
title of your poem

King Lear Act 2  Scene 3.
Blanket my loins: elf all my hair in knots;

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Distant Shore

When I wander close to home and recite 
the names of trees, calculate how long 
it takes for a sapling to grow tall , look for polypores 
clinging to tree bark or listen for returning birdsong  
I find myself in a distant place not identified by longitude and latitude 

PAD. Challenge

Prompt:  over the sea

Friday, April 24, 2015


No moment stands alone
untethered to what came before
Unravel a particular to find
signposts, leanings-- 
Vacuums happen in a laboratory

PAD Challenge
 Prompt: moment

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Family History

An assemblage of happenings
construct a storyline
A plot plummets headfirst
into an unfinished ending

A family history pivots
on a skein of moments
woven into patchwork quilts

My own quilt began in Poland
and Russia in towns with
names caught and swallowed
 in a mid-century inferno

Missing squares lost in time's exile while
unraveled squares wait for redemption
A family history

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: historic


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Funeral Mass

Life can only be understood backwards
but it must be lived forward.
—Soren Kierkegaard

It was her nature to laugh,
to open her house to friends
and people she just met
One after another friends and family
used words to describe a person
they loved—she enjoyed a good scotch,
created wood doll houses,
owned a magic seven iron
that carried a golf ball straight and far
Photos spiraled through the years,
stopping short of the interim
when her life ebbed away
to begin again

PAD Challenge
Prompt: nature

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


to watch a spider create a hologram
out of the sun and spider silk
to listen to atonal music and wander
about seeking harmony
requires tranquility while waiting

PAD CHallenge
Prompt: "What you are not"

Monday, April 20, 2015

My Letters, the Unsent Ones

Perhaps it's wasteful to write
on good paper with a fountain pen,
blotting lines to prevent smudges,
checking for spelling errors or
grammatical contortions, mindful
of legibility—but I envision you
reading the letter. If I asked a question
I imagine you thinking of your answer.
I don't save unsent letters.
Certain repetitions can't be helped,
each letter translates into a facsimile
of the one before. Today I'll write of
crocuses and daffodils, tale tellers of
the resurrection of  spring.

PAD Challenge

Prompt: ..." take the phrase— My( blank), the (blank), —replace the blanks with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Who Says

Just the way the song says
Ezekiel connected dem dry bones
Just the way shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip
we cluster together when things
going down, always there's glue,
a spine, someone who talks
and people turn to listen

PAD. Challenge

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shredding Papers

To shred boxes of moments
is to close down memory
To recollect, yet not here
I lose segments of me

PAD. Challenge
Prompt:  "Pick  two vowels and write a poem using words that only contain one or both of those vowels. The letter "y" is wild."!

Friday, April 17, 2015


Every spring golfers hone
their swing and dream
of the flight of balls  
Homing pigeons soaring
toward the green

PAD Challenge
Prompt: swing

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Not Science

No barometer measures faith
yet it edges  up and down 
recording happenings 
and endings even when I
turn away. Some folks stay level
thinking the Lord's reasons differ,
but other folks hang on to the
hem of faith. Can't prove a thing,
just believing on most days

PAD. Challenge 
Prompt: science

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


My second grade teacher told my mother
when she asked how I did in class,
"She's  a chatterbox." What did that mean?
Did I speak of trivial matters or did I talk
continually? Did I babble, a magpie prattling,
a jabberer casting sounds. By third grade I
learned to hold my words, aware of the proper
place and time. No more idle natter.
Years later I fell in love with the back and forth
of talk, of ideas piggybacked on words spoken.
 I spent hours wrapped up in dialogue, content
to view the world on a  Möbius strip.

PAD Challenge
Prompt: select an adjective

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Don't Answer the Doorbell

Door-to-door "Fuller Salesgirls"
sold mops and brooms, detergents--
toilet bowl scubbers, everything
for the modern homemaker
Encyclopedia Brittanica salespeople 
sold multi-volume sets to immigrants
and new parents to give their children
a chance at the American Dream--
with a once a week payment
" It was me against them," said
one salesman, " both sides won."

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: honest or dishonest 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Unheard Confession

We wait for the guilty
to confess—to own up
And what to confess?
Small lies we call fibs
or the words left unsaid
or the words said
then forgotten—but always
in the background ready
to seep through a crack,
widening the space
until words plait
into brambles

PAD Challenge
Prompt: confession

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It's a Pity

No baguettes today
c'est dommage
c'est dommage
Fromage blanc?
It's the cow's sabbath
What am I to eat?
C'est dommage
wait until tomorrow

PAD Challenge

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Long Wait

Spring hung back,
timid this year
perhaps not certain
of her strength
to push winter away
Snow mounds stayed
too long and even
crocuses waited
But the birds knew
and returned, pulling
spring along

PAD. Challenge
Prompt: season

Friday, April 10, 2015

How Words Get a Second Life

who hasn't wanted to erase
a passel of misplaced words,
words sharpened and thrown
without thinking of how memory
polishes and displays old words,
our souvenirs from the past

PAD Challenge
Prompt: How

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Angie's Workplace

I met her at the old Five and Ten before
it disappeared along with the canaries
and collections of commonplace items.
Angie worked six days a week, knew
her customers and answered all
questions with directions:
"Second aisle half-way down
you'll find the shade pulls."
She fed the birds every morning
and spoke to each one by name.
If you asked her she'd tell you how
she began at the age of fifteen,
"Although I told them I was seventeen
and now I'm sixty-two." When the Five and Ten
closed she bought the two remaining canaries.
"I loved working here," Angie told
a local reporter, "We carried everything."

PAD Challenge
Prompt: work

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Hardest Dare

dare you
double dare you
I said it first
dare you to walk
backwards all day
double dare you to hop
on one foot from sunrise
to sunset while chewing gum
dare you to dress front to back
double dare you to be yourself

PAD Challenge

Prompt: dare

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Double-Bubble Chewing Gum

First, unwrap it
and read the comic
then chew the pink
wad of gum until your jaws
tire, now move the gum
around until it sits near
the front of your tongue
breathe out to fill the gum
with air, keep blowing
until the bubble grows
large enough to hide
half your face
When the bubble collapses
gather it all together,
even the pieces that stick
to your skin and begin again

When I was eight
I loved the way each bubble
held its shape before it collapsed,
I loved the competition
that began when I heard,
"Who can blow the biggest bubble?"

PAD Challenge
Prompt: love

Monday, April 06, 2015

Vegan Delight

It looked like filet mignon,
a prime cut
handsome on the plate
created with silken tofu,
kneaded with wheat flour
and spices--then
formed and shaped
to mimic,
to fool the eye

PAD Challenge
Prompt: things- not- as-they-appear

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Looking Back

We sliced onions,
zucchinis, tomatoes
and mushrooms
until the sink held
a mound of peelings
and you reminded me
to add slivers of garlic--
even ratatouille, you said,
needs something strong,
something to linger
I remember the way
it all came together--
you added oregano and basil
I added black pepper
you tasted, I tasted
until we agreed,
how easy it all seemed

PAD Challenge
Prompt: vegetable

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Daughter's Departure

she left before they knew
her definition of exit
with no curtain calls
no looking back
no reminders
she cleaned the past
scrubbing away trifles
and reminders
until nothing remained

PAD Challenge
Prompt: departure

Friday, April 03, 2015

Roadside Attraction

when his cars stopped dead
rusted through so the road
passed under his feet,
a movie made of bits of rubber tires
butts dumped from an ash tray
empty coffee cups and McDonald
wrappers, they ended up in a pyramid
in his side yard, a sculpture
that no one knew how to discard

PAD Challenge
Prompt : machine

Thursday, April 02, 2015


The recipe lacked
a spice, the one
she kept in an unmarked
bag, the ingredient that
melded everything together
Your cooking legacy, her family
reminded her, means sharing
all the ingredients even the
one you keep hidden
She added that spice to the dish,
stirred it with a wooden spatula
and the brisket,carrots, and potatoes
blended together, each bathed
in a thickening sauce
So foolish, she said to herself,
the secret ingredient is love.

April 2 PAD Challenge
Prompt: secret

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A Partial Victory

A grande ice coffee
no sweetener, but
I really crave a latte
with foam spilling
over the rim.
Just this once
add that chocolate
delicacy. I'm nostalgic,
and it reminds me
of a coffee and croissant
at a small table in the Village
where we talked until
they closed and then argued
the merits of existentialism
on the D train to the Bronx

A grande ice coffee please
and that chocolate croissant.
just this once. I'll hold off
on the latte until
some other time.

PAD Challenge Day 1
Prompt: A Resistance poem.