One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 13

Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. Finishing up loose ends.

If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!

These poems are all from Repairs, published 2017.

On This Block

Open windows
hot day.
In sunshine
three stories below
birds chatter
stalk through weeds
between the building
and the sidewalk
pick up insects
in a rhythm
too quick for their prey
to figure out



Paved area
path junction
single tree, broad-leaved.
Fence, east corner.
I will be waiting.


Never Better

The knee-high grass
full of ticks
the creek bank
home to a snake
out for a stroll.
The meadow
exhaling shifting clouds of gnats
the pine grove
a carpet of dried needles
I sneeze.
Even so
Look for me
wild rose thorns
scratched my legs
sneakers wet
I fell in the creek
You’ll see me
running down the path
nothing but smiling.


This Particular Day

Answered the door
a nice old lady holding a cake on a platter
Welcome to the neighborhood
I think there has been a misunderstanding
I said
we’ve lived here a geological age
she was quite certain
so we sat in the dining room and ate it all
with coffee. It was good.
I must have the recipe
I told her. The sugar gave me
Oh thank goodness that little spurt of energy
got me through the rest of the afternoon
now I’m going to lie down on the sofa for a little bit
a fly buzzing at the window
What an odd day.


Luna Moth

shake out your wings
they must air-dry
before you can go

no one sees you
before your wings are ready
you have no way to call out

into the night
those same wings
exquisite pale and good for a week
no more
a week wears you out

what went before
you first stepped out
from your cocoon
to wait while your wings
prepared themselves
this life too short
to waste



Flower beds
the sound of blossoms opening
knee-high magic
unsteady stems
with red petals spilling out
in circles


Great While It Lasted

I was sitting on a chair
nice chair, solid

when I realized
it only had three legs
I fell to the floor
carpeted, luckily

when I realized
it was actually
linoleum over concrete
that’s all right
I’m only twenty-one years old
a fall like this one
can’t hurt me

when I realized
I am fifty-eight years old
and my left wrist is broken.


Clear Green-Eyed View

Been coasting on your reputation
have you
and look what happened
You got a promotion
Your wife thinks you’re as good-looking as ever
and you just inherited
enough money to buy you that beach house
It’s going to hurt
when the road starts to slant
I hope


Motel Life

It is difficult to wear out
a one-hundred percent polyester bedspread
to threadbare
it can be done
with time and patience
lots of bleach
and a whole lot of cycles
in the washer

hundreds of nightmares
evening after evening of
lying on the bed
lying in the bed
all kinds of tossing and turning
one to four people
with shoes on
shoes off
suitcases, purses, bags
wet swimsuits
thrown on it
all kinds of spilled everything


By Definition

walked past the windows
around the corner
dressed in a sweater but
how about a tour of the grounds
he said
how about a funeral
if I stay out a minute longer
in this miserable cold
she said
I’m a house guest
Let’s go in the house.


Last Supper

In a hurry to
complete the preparations for the fancy dinner
enough to feed the whole family
who then tell me everything tastes bad
this food isn’t helping my weak heart and fatty liver
I’m wheezing you must’ve forgotten
my allergies.
I stand in the kitchen
washing the greasy skillet
pick up the last sad little onion in the bowl
throw it through the kitchen window
I’m done here.


You’d Think

After the surgery
now you have an extra lung and two hearts
but you don’t love me any more than you ever did
for all that.
I’d hoped for a dozen roses on my birthday
and doing the dishes every day of the week
nothing’s changed.


Poetry is Written in Words: Thirty-Three

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

evanescent : tending to vanish like vapor

she is eternal
and she is evanescent
a woman pulls weeds

haiku 1011 : 6/9/22

burgle : to break into and steal from (a home, business, etc.)

the bathtub’s gurgle
carried off with all the rest –
that epic burgle

haiku 1012 : 6/12/22

panacea : a remedy for all ills or difficulties

a panacea
did present itself but oh!
what an aftertaste

haiku 1013 : 6/13/22


“Evanescent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2022.

“Burgle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2022.

“Panacea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2022.

Poetry is Written in Words: Thirty-Two

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

hummock : a rounded knoll or hillock

Then one day
yellow bulldozers
shape hummocks
dig a pond.
Turtles. Dragonflies. Frogs. Snails.
Water lilies bloom.

shadorma 477 : 11/16/22

apropos : with regard to (something) : APROPOS OF

Leaves droop flowers brown
lack of rain.
Another breathless morning.
Hazed sky. Ground baked hard.

shadorma 435 : 7/27/22

teleological : exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature

Winds blow. Ferns shiver.
Teleological minds
Theorize. Explain.
Winds blow. Ferns shiver. Clouds skip.
Voices call. I don’t ask why.

tanka 382 : 1/10/23


“Hummock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Nov. 2022.

“Apropos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2022.

“Teleological.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jan. 2023.

Poetry is Written in Words: Thirty-One

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

headlong : lacking in calmness or restraint

Headlong dive.
Brush into color
and out. Fall
and flip drips
Sunny-Side Up Fried Egg (gloss).
Now stroke the wall gold.

shadorma 410 : 6/11/22

emancipation : the act or process of emancipating : to free from restraint, control, or the power of another

one day it happens
paints and brushes set me free
into a new life I choose
the colors and I take flight

tanka 305 : 6/19/22

oblivion : the fact or condition of not remembering : a state marked by lack of awareness or consciousness

Loops of colored lights
Pink twists of cotton candy
Let the carnival
be tonight’s oblivion:
A sky full of Ferris wheels

tanka 368 : 12/17/22


“Headlong.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jun. 2022.

“Emancipation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2022.

“Oblivion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Dec. 2022.

Poetry is Written in Words: Thirty

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

duress : law : compulsion by threat

under duress I
said I was sorry although
I wasn’t but if
I held out Mom would not let
me go back outside and play

tanka 310 : 6/29/22

pathos : an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion

Doomed lovers
play out destiny
on the screen
I feel it
The pathos of their parting
The three of us weep

shadorma 433 : 7/24/22

endemic : characteristic of or prevalent in a particular field, area, or environment

Sheath dresses
endemic back then.
Sherbet tints.
Big party –
twelve tables of bridge players.
I can’t locate Mom.

shadorma 494 : 1/23/23


“Duress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

“Pathos.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2022.

“Endemic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2023.

One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 12

Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. Finishing up loose ends.

If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!

These poems are all from Repairs, published 2017.

There Is No Map For This Road

The roar of the lawn mower as you pull the starter
the smell of chlorine in your soaked bathing suit
the rattle of knives against pots in the dishwasher
the tines of the comb scraping your scalp.
The cord of the blinds you let down
running through your fingers too fast
The words still fresh on the opening page
of the book you pick up to read again
The first turn in the road
when things start to look familiar
coming home


Desk and Sun

stripes my papers
across the desk
These words here
these ones

across the desk
I lay my hand on the wood
taking its warm for myself

across the desk
I leave
gone just a few minutes
I return
The desk
in shadow.


The Business is Concluded

The house
burned to the ground and gone
scrape the lot clean and build a new house
Somebody else can do that.
While I won’t say I won’t look back
I won’t go back.


Society Do

The big party
it was full of people in fancy clothes
running out of patience
growing disillusioned
with the caterers
cross-referencing the information
among themselves
in a negative way
you can get better eats
at the supermarket, can’t you?
though at least one guest
was deciding to wrap up some of this shrimp
for breakfast


It’s Getting Ideas

I don’t have your imagination
Explain to me why I found
a can of baby peas
creeping through the rocks
in the flowerbed
outside the garage. My goodness!
Throw the poor thing
into the river
and let it swim away.



She goes into the kitchen
straight from work
wearing too tight high-heeled shoes
scuffed up at the toes
stumbles and staggers
a split second to reach equilibrium
never stood a chance
the floor too slick
Dinner will be late.


Knowing Best

I am her mother and I will decide
if in the life of a girl
it’s even possible
that a sense of originality
can be of use
or is desirable



the slap of the wake
against the dock pilings
The motorboat far out in the lake
long gone


Bad Cost/Benefit Ratio

Inside that low-grade angry
wrongly convinced of an interested audience
taking aim at the world
there is an idea or two.
Once in a while
one hits the target
but I don’t like what I have to go through
waiting for it.


On the Nature of Gift-Giving

What is it about this gift here
perfectly appropriate
and from a very nice person
What is it about this gift
that it sings
on key
and with such insistence?

And why instead do I remember
the present you gave me
the one so wildly out of tune
why is it the one I laughed to receive
and that I hold so tight in memory?


Aria High Stakes

The choir is singing at top speed
pursued by the piano keys
tripping over themselves to catch up
You don’t know anything about music
but you love the thrill you’re getting
being a part of an audience
running for cover


The Bride and Her Mother

The bride said:
Mother, I have always dreamed
of my wedding day
and I so hoped to start off married life
with the good omen of
a perfect wedding day
including our relations and friends
in a nice ceremony and
elegant reception. It will cost some money,
but what a lovely memory
for all of us, including you,
of course.

The bride said:
Mother, you must understand
My wedding is everything. Every detail
must be exactly right. The expense is of such small account
when perfection is the object. I am sure
you agree. It’s that you haven’t thought about it
enough. When you do, you will surely
open your checkbook
a bit wider.

The bride said:
I must have more to spend
if I am to have the wedding I deserve.
Do you want our relatives and your friends
to think we are not up to it? That we
are too cheap to do things
right? That we don’t know how?

The bride said:
Give me more. I mean it.


Poetry is Written in Words: Twenty-Nine

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

Luddite : one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest…broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change

No Luddite,
I just like the feel
of the pen
writing out
notes in looping cursive ink
stacks of index cards

shadorma 434 : 7/26/22

bombast : pretentious inflated speech or writing

My boss and bombast
Condense the hot air she blows –
Tropical typhoon

haiku 1066 : 1/11/23

assiduous : showing great care, attention, and effort : marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application

Your fingers
squeezing the pencil
blunted tip
pressing hard
with assiduous slowness
you scrawl a squashed “4”.

shadorma 450 : 9/5/22


“Luddite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul.2022.

“Bombast.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jan. 2023.

“Assiduous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Sep. 2022.

Poetry is Written in Words: Twenty-Eight

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

bravado : blustering swaggering conduct

Burst of bravado.
Spewed a few bald truths. Wigged out
in other words. Oops.

haiku 1058 : 12/10/22

hyperbole : extravagant exaggeration

So they say. But I
discard the hyperbole
Trim its frayed loose ends
Free up the truth. Skeletons
in her closet want to talk.

tanka 346 : 10/17/22

perspicacious : of acute mental vision or discernment : KEEN

How we have missed her
the perspicacious insights
the tart tell-the-truth
that balanced our sugared lives
All lost to us now. We mourn.

tanka 339 : 9/21/22


“Bravado.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

“Hyperbole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Oct. 2022.

“Perspicacious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2022.

First Day of Spring

First Day of Spring

I’m wearing a
snappy pair of
orange tight pants
I’ve twisted my
orange curly hair
into an orange
tiny tight top-of-head bun
I’m arranging an
orange show-off display
of orange stalky flowers for
orange-loving shoppers to buy
and take home
and orange.

I love living in a world where
not only is all of this possible
it is happening to me.


Poetry is Written in Words: Twenty-Seven

Poems from my Merriam-Webster Word of the Day project. For more information, look here.

paladin : a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince)

and rank: Figurines
grab shelf space.
Who’s the boss?
Pink mermaid? Stern paladin?
Fat simpering clown?

shadorma 492 : 1/16/23

fresco : the art of painting on freshly spread moist lime plaster with water-based pigments : a painting executed in fresco

a forlorn fresco
melancholy in makeup
the sad circus clown

haiku 1079 : 3/1/23

substantive : having substance : involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned

After the dinner
substantive discussions lag
Digestive matters
take precedence over talk.
Oh, why won’t that fool shut up?

tanka 335 : 9/11/22


“Paladin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2023.

“Fresco.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

“Substantive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Sep. 2022.