In a Night of Sorrow


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I don’t have much going on in my brainspace tonight. I did a lot of grading and recording today, and now my brain is empty.  It hailed today. Could I poem about hail? Probably. But, I’m not feeling it. I read a very sad story today, by David Foster Wallace and just published in Esquire, called “Incarnations of Burned Children”. That is a heartbreaking story. And it is too much like my most irrational daymares for me to handle. So, not gonna poem about that either, most likely. You should read it anyway.

No poemscuses tonight. I’m just going to think of something and write it down, quickly. Poem-Ninja, that’s me. Feeling a bit numb tonight. I’ll poem about that.

In a Night of Sorrow Put Off

In the night of sorrow put off, delayed until tomorrow, there are nightmares accompanied by harpsichords and violas. There are many imaginary demons, and many numb minutes of brief distraction. There are the tasks of they day to deaden us to the grief and wonder of each minute, and what a job those tasks do. The number of people grieving who wish the world would arrest in its orbit, or not really, but who wish that time would stop for a breather, just for a second, times the number who wish backwards possible, equals the number of breaking hearts all over this sphere of clouds. In this night of novacaine heartache, it’s all imagination, and no truth, and distance between the words and the feelings is an atmosphere of silence.


Don’t know. Just feeling kind of numb and sinus-y tonight. Happy Tuesday, you readers of poems.



All Bartelby Up in Here


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“I would prefer not to.” That’s how I feel today. I just would prefer not to. My HP told me I should write a poem about how much I’d prefer no to, so I am going to do that. His advice is the closest I’ve gotten to a poem today.

So, a poem for us, the putters off of things:


Here is a wishing well. Go ahead and drop the coin and let is spunk. Here is the bubble pop of the alarm. Go ahead and hit the button. Faced with endless paper and conundrums, feel free to go ahead and Bartleby them. Tell all those paper tasks and endless questions that “I’d prefer not to””.

Washing the stank out the dog? I’d prefer not to.” Washing the dishes and assigning cap to markers, stupid markers, I’d prefer not to. I’d prefer not to be in command of your bowels, or toy horses. And I’d prefer to to read anything else but the one I’ve read for the past three nights. I’d prefer not to, but I’ll do it with relish.

I’ll make that wish into the well, reckless as it seems,

I will wish it.


A Hopeful poem? Might Could Be.  Night, happy monday, poemies

The Heart Walk


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Today I moved slowly. I procrastinated everything, the dishes, the smelly dog, the papers, just everything. I made chicken and veggie soup out of lots of veggies and my kids actually ate the whole soup. I don’t want to use the word miracle lightly, but that was a thing. Then they procrastinated bedtime until just now. Wonder where they get it?

We went for a bike ride and heart walk today. A heart walk is not so philanthropic as it sounds. We just walked around and took pictures of things in the nature that looked like hearts. No Cardio, All Zen. Good Motto.

So, I gotta get this done before HP gets home. Here goes,

The Heart Walk

Chopping and peeling, and dicing and seasoning, I think on healing.
If there is a lesson from out there she already said it, when she said “the crap will be there tomorrow”.

Put down the laundry.

Photograph the tiny rock heart. Capture the space in the sky between clouds and trees, somehow. In pictures, mostly, but also in paint. That piece of sky looks like an organ that beats all hard and childlike. We went on a heart-walk to relearn the world in small pieces.

In a square foot, there are probably three big heart-shaped things. If we looked closer, it would be six, and twelve, and microscopic, or maybe telescopic hearts in rock and duff, just, just, everywhere. Go ahead an sneer at my purple observations, just go ahead.

Slowly, slowly, the lesson is revealed, and it is to go slowly, and to watch, and to listen outside. There are the lessons. It might be too pretty to think so, it might be all sap and no bubbles, but I was told to live this life,

and so here goes.

So. That’s what we did today. Soup and hearts. It was good. Blessings on the week, poem friends.

Holy Laughter


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So, I went and had The Fun. And it was Super. It was the Super Fun. It was almost Epic. I hate using that word for normal stuff like bubble parties, but hey, sometimes sleepovers happen when you least want them to and most need them. Also, I am nearly a lot of percent sure that I have the ESPN, or something.

Because I yesterday afternoon wrote this: “I will replace this sorrow with the holy bubbles of laughter”.

Yesterday evening we did this:
Mae Bubbles

And I had no idea the party would be a bubble party. See? Clairvoyance. Those of you with hurt in your hearts, message me and I will send you the secret bubble recipe.

Here goes:

Holy Laughter

And while making giant bubbles I realized that all the joy that I was too busy being sad to see was captured all up in that shiny, shiny, thirty-foot bubble, and not only was it so amazingly fun to make one, the best part was hearing it filled with the helium of little girls. Yes, I climbed, or was dragged out of my shell last night, and I ended up glad, as I am so often.

At one point I felt like bonafide Mary E’ffin Poppins, because I had all four little girls asleep while I was singing all sweetly this song: “coffee grows, on white oak trees, rivers flow in brandy-o, come be the one, to dance with me, sweet as ‘lasses candy, one in the middle and you can’t dance josie, one in the middle and you can’t get around, one in the middle and you can’t dance josie, hello, susan brown.

And the deal is you have to wait until round five of that song, with your eyes all closed, all eight of them, closed, until you can ask to go pee or get water or anything. So it almost always works. Until one child needs a drink of water. Do you think that when they wake up, for the first time, not the time they actually open the door and creep onto the grown-ups, but when they wake for the first time,

do they think they are in a bubble? Doesn’t it seem like a bubble when the sun shines through your eyes for the first time in a morning? And isn’t it the same in the afternoon in the fall? Name me a thing not contained by a bubble. Name me a laugh that isn’t holy.

Go ahead, dare you.

I really, truly believe that you all need to make giant bubbles. Come over. We’ll make ‘em. Heart you, poemies. Happy Saturday.

For Those Who Require Solitude


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Here is a fairly regular occurrence at our house. HP plans some social outing for Friday evening. On Tuesday, I say, “sure, that will be super fun!” On Friday, around one in the afternoon, I start to get this strange feeling in my stomach. The formerly-fun thing we had planned starts to take the shape of a menacing, thirty-foot tall teddy bear in my brain. I  pace around. He then asks me what’s going on, and I tell him how exhausting the week has been and how much I SO don’t want to go do the super fun thing (eventually…this part always takes much longer than I think it should. My girlfriends report similar experiences with their SOs). He then offers me an out, either we cancel or he goes and takes the girls, and I get time alone, one of my favorite and least-frequent pastimes. I breathe a sigh of relief. Five minutes later I become guilty and angry at myself for being such a hermit, and, no matter what state of emotional or physical exhaustion I am in, I strap on my jeans and boots and say “Let’s Go Do The Super Fun Thing!!! Yea! I Am Excited Now About the Super Fun Thing!”.  Then we go do the fun thing, and I like it, but secretly believe I would’ve had just as much fun hiding in my office in my pajamas and writing sad poems.

It takes some of us longer, I believe, to recover from the events of the week. And this was an incredibly shitty week, so I took a little longer than normal to come around to the idea of being social. I always dread social outings, even if they are my own damn idea, and even if they have proven super fun in the past, and I typically enjoy them in the end. It is strange, and it must be bewildering to my incredibly easygoing HP.  He loves me the way that I am, but I’m sure I am a confusing creature with whom to live.

So, we have decided to begin scheduling most of our super fun things on Saturdays. That gives me at least one day to hermit before I have to be social.

It also means I have to poem fast so we can get going. But I don’t know what.

For Those Who Require Solitude (Especially in Autumn)

For those who require solitude, especially in Autumn,
or in winter when the afternoon is still and blue,
or in spring when the birds wake early,
or in the heavy summer, don’t fear.  

You are not alone. A loner, maybe, or maybe just someone who knows
that quiet, now, is the endangered species of moment. You are not alone.
We are an army, uniformed in comfort, armed with tea and pages.
Our rations are buttered toast and jam.

Our thoughts are perfectly fine munitions, effective
and sometimes destructive, but on the whole infinitely more peaceful
than all the shouted conversations over loud music,
just as jolly as drinks and games, and just as necessary.

Ourselves are just as necessary to ourselves,
and if we want to sit and spin wool, or sit and crochet,
or just sit,

well now, that’s fine too.


This isn’t finished. But, I have to go have the fun, because I said I would. I hope to come home and clean this one up later. I hope you are having fun, poem friends, no matter what you are doing.

Last of the Season


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I’m tired. It has been a horrible week. I’m so glad the work part is over so we can work on resting up ourselves. Girls night. My parents are here, helping out with getting the girls to school, so Mom and took the girls to the last Farmer’s Market of the season, then made homemade pizzas (mine was goat cheese and tomatoes and basil), and then snuggled with the girls in my bed and watched Project Runway. It was good. I’m feeling a little scratchy in the throat and headachy, so I’m doing this fast and going to bed. I love bed, and I haven’t spent nearly enough time there this week.

So, a fast poem tonight.

Last of the Season in Hope, ID

This is the last of the season.
We bought two gourds, some potatoes for the soup,
some blueberries, some late strawberries, and honey.

We took a picture of a mushroom shaped like a heart,
or a butt, depending on how you look. Leaves do the same thing,
it’s all about perspective.

And hearts get upside down too, sometimes,
and it would be easy to get stuck there. But the harvest is now.
And I will enjoy it twice,

once for me, and once for you.

I just now figured out how to format. 250 poems later. This is a bit sappy, and chicken-soupy, but hey. Happy Thursday, poemfriends.


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These might just be sad poems for awhile, poemfriends. I hate the phrase “it is what it is”, but my brain is too tired to come up with another phrase. Searching around in my brainspace for some words, I remembered my favorite poem about grief, and I’d like to share it with you.

Dirge Without Music


I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

Edna  St. Vincent Millay, “Dirge Without Music” from Collected Poems © 1928, 1955 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with permission of Elizabeth Barnett and Holly Peppe, Literary Executors, The Millay Society.

Source: Collected Poems (HarperCollins, 1958)

This is just exactly how I feel. It’s a wicked Wednesday, indeed, and the impulse to do not do this, to blame a fictional broken computer, or something, is strong. But I cannot not do this now. Now, given how much love I’ve received from you all, I must finish out the year, chance and fate willing, I  must finish it out with strength. That doesn’t mean I’ll be happy with everything I write from here on out. I would be a super-narcissist if that were the case. It just means I have to do it, and soon, because I am stretched thin tonight.
I am not resigned
Nor shall I ever be. I am not resigned to any of this, I object, and I am running for God.
Vote me for God, and I will be making some changes. I’ll print signs and you can put them in your yard.
Vote me for God, and I will replace this sorrow with the holy bubbles of laughter and you can put down the fraud,
that bears us up, the tears canned, bottled, jarred and put on the shelf for safe-keeping.
I am not resigned, and I do not approve. I object, in this court of fate and chance,
to the loss of this ruling.
Forgetful during the fast passing of the day, this absent of mind is small pants,
going on with the goings on of care, tiny respite in troughs of unseeing.
Down, down we go, paying heavily for those little minutes of calm with great guilt.
Never have I been so grateful for unconsciousness, never have I been so thankful,
for the moments of life without thought, and when the knowledge comes spilt
like something sloshed on the floor while dancing, never have I been resigned to such balm before.
I am not resigned, nor shall I ever be.
UGH. why can’t I be Edna? I screwed this up by trying to include slight rhymes, and I hate rhymes, and I know that already. Such a tired, strung out brain. Thank you for reading any, my friends. I love you. I can’t stop saying that to everyone I know. Wednesday, y’all.

North American Buffalo



So, you haven’t really lived until you’ve completely lost your shit in Starbucks. Really, you should try it. But I hope you never have to. But if you do, I hope it full of the people who helped me this morning, right after I watched this video:

And then right after that I received a sweet text message from a former student, and it just, well, it made the wave crest right up. Out and about, doing errands and buying birthday presents for HP’s birthday do-over, I realized just how often people ask “How are you?”. It’s a lot. And every random stranger today got the real talk. I am not okay. Not even close.

Strangers had to help me in Starbucks. One of them got me water, several asked if I was okay to drive to my doctor’s appointment, and one was a paramedic (ps-HE WORKED THERE. Not to get political, or anything, but if your job is saving lives you should not have to work TWO JOBS. THAT SHOULD BE YOUR WHOLE AND ONE AND ONLY JOB), and he asked if he could take my blood pressure. What can I say? I am not, currently, okay. but I will be.

I didn’t want to write another grief poem tonight. I wanted to write about anything else.          Like, college football, or leaves, or the fact that I cannot see the stars tonight. The fact is I don’t know what the inspiration is tonight. The fact that random strangers helped me through my caffinated breakdown? Perhaps.

Let’s just see what happens.

Oh, wait, though. She wanted a buffalo poem. throwback someday. What day is this? :

North American Buffalo

don’t exist. Never was a thing. Just another misnamed creature. Just us, un-naming things again. Looking at the buffalo on the way to school, all dewy in the sunlight, the babies all frolic and four-stepping, their heads not yet too big for their britches, these babies able to chase the dogs, these north american buffalo are really just bison.Let’s call them, these creatures in the morning light buffalo just for the myth.  And how are you should be greeted with belief in the story, and okay is the most bull of all the words these days, and okay should be tempered by the musk of the calves, the galloping and skipping ones, and that smell is the one to be missed. It smells like barn, and like work, and love.  No, there is no buffalo. But the bison are here to greet us all with stalwart and standing, with just standing in a place, standing strong in peace, and the babies jitterbug around with sunlight, they skip around in joy.

God, let me be like the bison now, standing. Just standing.


okay. I really tried. But I am so, so tired now. I regret ever saying I was tired before. I have never been so tired I lost my s$#% in Starbucks before. I guess everything is learning. Love you, poemies.

The Strength of Giants


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For the first time this year, I felt real fear sitting down here to do this tonight. I want more than anything to poem for my beautiful, heartsung friend and boss, Jamie, who is surviving this loss even though it makes every day feel nightmarish. But, I was afraid because of the supernatural spookiness of the timing of Thursday’s poem. It’s not like I think they died because of a poem. It’s not that. It’s just that I’m afraid that the universe has more horrific lessons to teach me, and I’d rather not learn them just now.


So tonight I poem for Jamie. She is stronger than she knows, and just seeing her today as she bore up under the tide of this grief provided me and HP both great comfort. Tonight I poem for Jamie.

We Were Close Enough Already

It took the strength of giants to walk into that office today. I don’t know where you found it. Hidden under some rock in your heart, that you didn’t know existed, maybe. The tiny apple, the finger puppet (rodential, like a squirrel maybe), the tiny horses, the dried cactus, the notes from him to her, evidence of a big and uncommon love, those were the tangible trinkets that could not be faced without them, but I couldn’t have done it without you. I know you would get up on a draft horse and go the Bob Marshall with me, I know you will, when the time comes to scatter them. I know you know all the stories. We ache for them. We were close enough already, having shared gripes and hormones and all the worries, we were close enough already, but yes, this shoves us closer, closer to us and closer to them both, somehow. Sometimes glass doesn’t feel strong, not at all, but it is. Sometimes everything shatters. Let’s bronze the desk and get glitter tattoos. Let’s go to Sturgis in a car. Let me get snot on your sweater when I cry in your arms, and don’t you be worried about the tears you get on me. Let’s go do all the scary things together, let’s scream in fear and mirth, let’s do it without hesitation, all but the fucking motorcycles, let’s do it all, together. You are my heartsung friend, and you have the strength of iron, and of steel, and being strong doesn’t mean you are unfeeling. Just means you are surviving it, this boulder of sorrow, just surviving it until we can get to glitter party. And I could take or leave Sturgis, but I’ll go if you want.


So, I totally need to write Jamie another, more coherent poem this year. But, a lot of it is true life stuff. I love you, Jamie. This was a poem about you, but turned into a lot of other things. I will totally go to Sturgis with you next year. In a huge car. Like, a box of steel. I love you so much.

It’s Going to Take a Lot of Love


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I’m determined to write a less angry and grief-wild poem tonight. Lorie would want that.  One of the more selfish and crass thoughts I had today was that she won’t read the rest of my poems this year, and she read them every day, and I depended on that. I really, deeply care about what you all have to say about these words, but I care the most what my dear heartsong friends out there think. My love goes straight to you, and you know, I hope, who you are, tonight.

One great thing about where I work is the way we come together in times of great need. It was hard, so hard, to go back there today and see her office, and the tribute on the hearth to them both, and to feel them, just, everywhere. But it was also a day of great love, and I truly believe that it is a good lesson for our students to see the adults they normally view as “in charge” just completely break down uncontrollably, which I did about seventeen times today.

It was our Harvest Dinner tonight, which was planned and executed by my amazingly  and annoyingly talented brother and our supremely awesome garden instructor, and it was unbelievable. We moved the tables outside, and ate all the fruits of many labors, and it was perfect. It felt right, to be there. HP brought the Ds to work so we could all stick together–and also tonight was HP’s birthday, which he has called “his saddest birthday ever”, but it felt right and good to be there today.  Then we had a bonfire with s’mores and songs, at which I totally lost it, like, crying with snot running down my face, and my students put their arms around me and held me and that comfort was…it was just beautiful.

So, I’m going to write a poem that isn’t all rage and why, but hopes to put some of the beauty of Lorie’s smile and Brian’s gregariousness back into the world of us left here waiting for something to make sense.

It’s Going To Take A Lot of Love

On this night, looking up, I understand the wishes of my ancestors, to look up and find theirs there. Which ones are you? The brightest, and closest together, of course. I can pick you out from way down here. I can hear your voice, my heartsong friend, laughing at me as I bawl in every corner of this school. Why are you crying, you dummy? That is what I hear, but I can’t help but feel the hole, in every note in my box–I’m saving them–every sign hung up in the aerie–if anyone touches those I’ll punch them–if anyone moves anything with any trace of you in it I will scream until they put it down. If only you could know how much we miss you now. Know that the dogs are okay. If there is a you around to know things, the animals are being taken care of, and the dogs are staying together. If you are a star, and he is one too, and you are close together up where the lightyears count, look down on us and know that the animals are okay, and, okay, laugh at us in our wild and snotty grief, snicker at us because we hear it already in our hearts, in your voices, because we can’t get those out, and we don’t ever want to.

It’s going to take a lot of love to get us through.



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