What Now


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Made major laundry progress tonight. I’ve been writing about this all week, but seriously, there are no words for how many pieces of clothing were in my house. Two little girls, times fifty-million socks and seventy-five thousand pairs of underwear, times eleventy-thousand onesies and footie ‘jamas equals Big Time Mama Job. Check my math, Mom. I’m pretty sure it comes out to = Heck of a Mom Job.  #Math.

Anyhow, it feels great. Stuff weighs on us. It sucks us down. Also, it gets dirty. Found some yucky shit tonight.

I’m working on a infusing a unit on Modernism with articles from the commemorative Atlantic WW1 edition, which I’ve poemed before, and the headlines are eerie: “Could It Happen Again (Yes, Easily)” by Roger Cohen, and “Is Permanent Peace Possible? by Bertrand Russell, and “The War and Gertrude Stein”, by…well, her. It puts me in a wayback state of mind:

What Now in 1918

What now, when the news works, or doesn’t, what now, what to know, when we’ve gathered up babies and given them guns, but no hospitals, what right do we have to expect safe haven, now? What transit have we invented? What a strange idea, that this would be the last skirmish, and how dare we call it that, and what a strange idea that this could ever calm, and slow, and stop. Ask us all, “could it happen again”, and of course we say “of course”, because that is what we know for sure. Ask us, “Is Permanent Peace Possible?”, and we will say “of course, because it has to be”. I had a little bird. It’s name was Enza. I opened up the door, and in-flew-enza. What will we skip too, when it comes to the doorsteps? What rhymes will we jump to then? What now in 1918?


Wow. That got way, way back, and pretty much present at the same time. Huh. Happy Friday, poem people. Tomorrow I go to a glitter tattoo party and my friends’ production of Frankenstein on stage. Winning. Internet’s all wonky and slow. No cool stolen picture tonight.

Let’s Multiply


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I fixed my cranky today. It occurred to me that I wasn’t doing vacation right, with all the laundry and hunting-waiting and all, so I made sure that I had time for a bath and a nap today. Thank Universe and my HP for making that possible. Anyhow, I feel good tonight. D2 is all but recovered from our cold, and D1 is a reading machine. We made pizzas with homemade sauce tonight, and mine had beets, carrots, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. I’m not one to brag about dinner, but it was awesome.

While cleaning, I listen to these podcasts, as I’m sure I’ve told you before, from How Stuff Works.

Today I listened to one on Ebola, one of viruses, one on the Great Train Robbery, and one on Cliteracy. All three are worth hearing. But, I gotta say, the Virus one and the Ebola one scared me. We’ve got some scary business going on right now.

I also watched this today, and darn it that I didn’t have this in high school:


So, I guess, since I’ve had a nap, I could maybe write a math poem, for my mom and all the mathy peeps out there, but maybe also imbued with the fear of the news:

Let’s Multiply 

Let’s multiply the fears of the prosperous nations
by the terror of those ignored far across warming seas.

Let’s subtract water from both sides of the equation
and see how it balances out. There’s the gamble.

What if we divide resources by care,
and end up without heroes? What if we injected viral compassion,

and waited for the test results.
Let’s settle this equal sign, settle it all up and carry on,
because what this if peace went viral?

What if it just spread, and spread, and spread?


Yeah, that could be cheesy too. But the news is scary these days, and we all need to find some place to radiate the peace, now, right now. Happy Thursday, poem friends.

Aches and Blessings


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Wow, I got pretty cranky tonight. I didn’t mean to, one rarely does, but after folding and sorting clothes for hours, I didn’t mean to get pissy when D1 wanted to read a super long book at bedtime, but I did. Seriously? Eff you, Fancy Nancy. Twenty-five pages is too many pages for a mama at bedtime. That’s as twenty-five minute book, minimum, and we all have colds are are tired and did not nap today. Eff off. Seriously, publishers of books for kids. Take a break already.

Today was good, despite of my cranky moment. We made good progress on the whole “Get Life in Order” plan. HP kept his hunting at a minimum, in deference to my car concerns. With the exception of my cranky-pants moment, it was a good day.

But, that said, not particularly poem-worthy. What, should I write a poem about my laundry? Or the fact that I am such a tired mom that I don’t want to read the book my kid picks out? Those are about the feelingest options tonight. And I don’t like either one.

Maybe a blessings poem? A Blessing Bildungsroman? Maybe that could turn it all around.

Aches and Blessings

Now, now recall the ache of witness,
at your parents kissing, if they ever did.
Bear up under the embarrassment
and wonder of that transparent darkness.
This is the love that dare not show its face,
not in front of you, ew, gross.
This passion of theirs,
doesn’t it remind you of sulfur,
all warm-water comfort and unacknowledged smell,
doesn’t it smell like flint?
Didn’t you think they were foolish brass,
and suspect they were dented vessels?
Surely there was some suspicion.
Some worry of muddling right through this project,
just bluffing blind until you got to growing?
Underneath it was always a fine net,
tested and tested and tested, until deemed unbroken,
and this was the net underneath.
Think back on it. Think back on it all the time,

it will feel like aching and blessings.


So, no, that didn’t really turn it around, but it was some kind of expression, so, it’s okay. And also, this is is Wednesday that I don’t have to work late, and that rocks. Happy Wednesday, you people of the poems.

hunting season without breath


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I hate hunting season. For a person with untreated anxiety, hunting season is the pits. Especially when your HP is from southern California, and, by all rights, should not give a toot about hunting, but does anyway, because he fell in love with the land nearly as much as he fell in love with you. At this moment in my life, I am not prepared to wait on our ancient, nearly fourteen year-old vehicle to come charging up the drive with him in it. I am a frantic, hand-wringing, pacing, house-cleaning wreck, and the only time I could relax, all day long, was when he finally texted me to tell me he was on the highway home. It’s exhausting, and not anywhere near the staycation I envisioned. This season is hard for an introvert-hermit-poet-shy-girl.

Put on top of that the wicked cold D2 and I have, and you have recipe for panic and soup.

This is the most exhausting vacation I’ve had yet, but there is still time. Given that feelsiest feelings I’ve had all day are about hunting, I’m going to try to poem that and go to bed.

Hunting Season Without Breath

It’s not you who scare me. You are competent. You are the strongest and the sexiest. It is the fate, and chance, and tragedy and the fourteen year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee with battery issues. Please stop going to the mountains alone. Here’s what we do. We worry alone and make soup. Yes, we could take up arms, but it does not interest us. Yes, the fretting should stop. But it doesn’t, and that cannot be discounted. This season of harvest and gather, it is wearying, if only because mountains are high, and cars are unreliable. What I’ll do is, I’ll think on help until the dogs start barking, and I hear that engine up the drive.


Gug. This is a wicked cold. Blech. I really do hate hunting season, so I probably should just start hunting, but I can’t because I hate to walk that slowly and quietly.  Happy Tuesday, Poemfriends.

Mostly October


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Vacation rocks. Today I went to a parent-teacher conference, during which my D1’s teacher told me how awesome she is, and planned the first stages of the laundry attack. Grocery shopped, then played race-around-the angle and sat on the stones in the sunlight. Good stuff.  Heart stuff.

Try to poem happy, today? Okay:

Mostly October

This quiet is not a house, this heart is not a window,
this song is not a cry, this love is not a mistake,
this dash is not a race, this wonder is not confusion,
this skip is not a gallop, this poem is not a eulogy,
this breath is not caught up, this stretch is not a reach,
this month is not fall, these leaves are not dead,
this mulch is not soaking, this sorrow is not lighter,
this space is not misty, not yet, this is dawn without riot,
this is mostly October, mostly the stealthy month,
of slipping, down, down to the dark.
Get us ready.


Good night, Monday poempeeps. Peace to you, tonight.

The Sunlight Tells Us


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Have I mentioned that we are on vacation? We are off this week, and it is amazing. Did I make pancakes for lunch today? Yes, yes I did. Did the Ds clean their rooms without scratching at one another? Yes, eventually. Did we rake leaves in our pajamas? You betcha. This is also a thing I’ve craved, having us all be together for several days in a row when really all that needs to happen is that we need to cook things and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

At naptime today Hp and and I sat outside in the sun on these stone stairs that we’ve never really relaxed upon, which is weird. There are about five places we sit around the outside of our house, and when we sit there it is always because of the sun. We sit there for long minutes, because we know it’s short-lived.

One of the besties I mentioned yesterday, is going through a big life Change-Roo right now. It’s a BFD. I talked to her today, and she seems beemingly happy for the first time in a long time. So, I thought I’d write her a poem. Because of the swiftness of this change in her life, she imposes doubt upon herself, but I say that doubt is a waste of time. This will likely be a cheesy poem. Because fate. Because chance. Because change.

The Sunlight Tells Us

This is the time of year that falls.
This is time of year that we should stand in trees,
and sit upon the stones.

The sunlight tells us where to sit.
When it shines we sit in it.
It doesn’t choose us and we don’t choose to sit there,
there in the still and quiet, we don’t choose it.

We are compelled. We are soaking,
siting there in the learning of distant sunlight,
and there is a blessing in having nowhere else to be,
and when it feels right to sit together in the long sunlight,
feels right to pick a spot and rest there for a good long while.

In the shade of mountains and old growth,
the sunlight can tell you where to sit, and down we squat
onto stones, to lean and listen, to warm up our arms in the leaving light,
and to watch the sun-tide roll right on,
there we’ll go to sit right where the sunlight commands,
because when it says sit,

then revel there, and rest.


I told you it would be cheesy. That’s okay. I’m happy for my happy friend. She knows who she is. Also, I’ll take any sun in October I can get. Happy Sunday, people of the poems. Here is what I am listening to right now:




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So, I definitely broke the “no bs” rule last night. The thing is, I missed my friend Jennifer and her family so much that I didn’t want to stop hanging out. I think it still counts as poeming, though, because the inspiration has to come from life, and last night my life rocked. Actually, my life rocks all the time. Livin’ it.

What I did, though, was very definitely cheating. It was copy and paste cheating. At least I plagiarized myself, and no one else. It was a thing I was doing for work. Whatever. I feel okay about it. It was soulfood. I hadn’t realized how much I craved that, to be with one of my best friends in the universe. After this month, I needed it so, so much. Also, we are at the point where our kids can play together, so nicely and politely, and that is pure joy nuggets.

I have four best friends. I am so lucky. We take toe selfies–pictures of our feet in various stages of awesomeness as we walk through this world–and text and email but rarely talk on the phone anymore. I miss them all so much it makes my heart hurt, so when I have the opportunity to see them, I don’t want to take even twenty minutes away from them in order to write a poem.

My friend Jennifer is a Bad-ass with a big ole B. She is a social worker and district manager, and she helps the children of people who have it rough. She has seen some shit. There is no other word for the situations she deals with on a daily basis. I’m in awe of her. I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again: WE MUST PAY THOSE WHO HELP MORE.

I’ve known Jennifer since sixth grade, and lived with her and her then-bf-now-hp- in college (and a few months in grad school before I met HP and started co-habitating with him while ostensibly still living with her). To my mind, that makes us sisters. Sisters from different misters. That’s us. I’m going to poem about it.

But first, this is what I’m listening to right now:


My friend sister dances in her kitchen, just like I do, a
nd our moves translate onto the smaller and funnier versions of ourselves,
who wiggle just like we do, who shake their hips
and twirl and talk with their hands,
who are love nuggets full of sass and prance.

My sistersoul cares with heartknife precision
about her work and her life, her life’s work is helping,
it’s important, and she is climbing ladders, taking names,
and fighting burnout.

Her mother wisdom is contagious, her husband fixes
and tells us how to fix.
Apparently our shower is a bigger problem than we thought.
Apparently we need to fix it.

I don’t need to talk to my soul sister to hear her,
because I can read her eyebrows and fingernails.
Her boy can be my girl’s big brother,
tough and vigilant.

Cleaning out my closet, we discovered
that most of the clothes I own were hers, once.
Sorting through the second-hand books,
I feel useful, like a fire hydrant in a great burn.

The pouts on the faces of small girls
as this family of dancing light leaves for home
are testimony to this big love.

Let it be holy. Let the wee ones be sisters too.


But, clearly not nuns, because our daughters raise heck. Miss you already. Listen to this cover. I know we both would have that hair if we had different jobs.

Happy Saturday, poemfriends. Happy Saturday, my besties.


Cannot write a thing now:

No comma after couch

Upset should be disappointment

Put solely after looked

Should read, “Besant Hill in Ojai, CA, last week.”

“It’s an alternative-style school for creative kids,

founded by Aldous Huxley and set upon…

the ellipses after graduates and habits should be commas

change boarding setting to boarding school

put a “that” between “and” and “resonated”

creative author “of” creative, not “with”

no comma after trauma

put an “a” between “and” and “therapeutic”

has propelled should be have propelled

story; should be story,

Cozening should be cozying

no comma after hopeful

for anna’s bit:

put a “he” between but and always

no “and” in “nature, and his…”

no comma after writing


just night after. Right after.
happy Saturday.

For the harpist and the teacher.


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I feel like a lot of my preambles this year start with “So, this happened”. But this is my process, so, this happened: Tonight HP and I picked up the Ds at our dear friends Oliver and Kelly’s house. Driving in, I saw Oliver raking and playing with the girls in a huge pile of leaves, and I assumed HP saw them too. But he was focused on driving, and when we pulled up and parked, Oliver had covered the three girls up so that the pile of leaves just looked like a pile of leaves. I got out of the car and played along, like “Oliver, I thought you were picking up the girls today! Where on earth could they be????”, all sing-songy. But HP had NOT seen them playing and took a flying jump off the ground with both sized-thirteen feet into the “pile of leaves”, and fully and with gusto, jumped into the pile of leaves. O and I shrieked and grabbed at the girlies, but it was too late. Miraculously, all three were just fine. Just fine and giggling. It was the best outcome to that scenario I could imagine. Also, afterwards, quite funny.

I have lots of poem shards tonight. My family and their wholeness, that’s a thing. It’s my Grandmas’ birthday, and she is a rockstar, that’s another thing. I will probably poem that tomorrow. She’s the truest believer I know. I felt like an okay teacher today, that’s another shard. In one of my classes a tall young man stretched and knocked a picture off the wall and the glass in the frame burst everywhere, and then he vacuumed it up. Literal shards.

But for some reason, the thing pulling me in a poemish direction today is my teacher and friend, Barbara, who sent me a book this week. It is called “What We See When We Read“, and it is beautiful and life-altering. Really. I would never use those two words together and hitch ‘em up with a hyphen if I didn’t mean it. I’ve said it before, but I feel that the best poems I write are the ones for people, and I really can’t imagine my life as it is now without my teacher Barbara. When I say or write the word teacher, I really mean guru, or sage, or mentor, or “I can’t believe how undeniably cool you are, so I’m going to name a daughter after you and your harp”.

Here is a quote from the book she sent me:”Of course, we also cherish the notion that books hold secrets; that books are reticent. (As I’ve mentioned: books safeguard mysteries}. Let me be serious. You need to get this book.

Let me get to it, then.

For a Harpist and Teacher

Thank you for the gift of talking to adolescence with acknowledgement of soul, thank you for being open like a note, thank you for your teaching, and thank you for calling me friend now, once the wild youth is survived, for the most part. Doubtless you don’t know what you’ve imparted, no doubt you doubt yourself daily. Please don’t. Your cause is noble, and it works, what you do. There’s a magic to it. Sometimes a legerdemain or two, but the notes I took from you came before the harp, and that was tricky business, my teacher, my friend.


Happy Thursday, Poemfriends. I’m on staycation now! And as much as I despise the word, I have never been more grateful for it.

Here in my Kitchen


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One of my very best friends, along with her husband and kids, are visiting tonight.  I love that these, my beloved peeps, are now sleeping under this roof. Hope it is safe.  Why do we live so far away from our favorite people? Tesseract, please.

Gotta poem quick and get to sleep:

Here in My Kitchen

Oh, how I’ve missed them all. Her oldest, at nine or nearly, looks about fourteen and talks about fourteen, with gadgets and headphones and t-shirt attitude, and yet, when I see him I still see the babe in arms who grabbed onto my hair and would let go. And when I see her smallest I see the fight in her, all gathered up into one little, blonde, pigtailed girl, in blue jeans, nearly the same as that day on the playground or in the classroom, the same big grin and hand-gestures, this bliss gets to stay here. Those are here in my kitchen tonight, and this is my blessing.


Close enough. I have friends sleeping in my house tonight. I count that as a stitch in this heart of mine. Happy Wednesday, poemfriends.


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