Documented and 1 more

Two from my Afterdeath collection of poems written after the deaths of my parents seven weeks apart. Peace to your !


It appears
he documented
To excess.
Scads of yellow steno pads
half-filled with notes and

folders of
printed-out emails
and screenshots,
scans of bills.
Folders tied together, stacked
in drawers. Others 

in filing cases.
Just in case.
I suspect
it made him feel less anxious,
more in control. But

no amount
of record-keeping
could subdue
his feelings
of helplessness when cancer
took over their lives.

Something Greater than Paper Clips Here

to shred: I remove
paper clips
and butterfly clips. How much
paper, how many

went into making
all these clips?
Enough for
a forest, for a garden?
What am I saying?

That even
office supplies can
be a source
of pathos?
Can be metaphors far more
than they would appear?

How to Walk Like a Zombie

Pick an ideal spring day, late April
or early May, the air spanking clean,
the sky deep blue and serene
after an AM thunderstorm,
not too cold, not too warm
(low seventies?) with a hint
of breeze. Leave your iPod behind
and set off with your mind
on other things; the key
is to proceed automatically.
Keep walking—blind to tulips
and neighbors waving as you pass.
Keep walking—deaf to children
and robins digging in the grass.
Keep walking—dumb to everything
but your inner conversations,
and when you get back home again,
ask yourself where have I been?
Impossible to tell? Congratulations!
You’ve brainwalked well.

This poem is from NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 19 – Write a “how to” poem. Peace to your !

Fairy Tale Mail

NaPoWriMo23 day 30 – Prompt from, to write a palinode, a poem which retracts a view expressed in an earlier poem. I enjoyed checking in with the gang from “Reimagined Fairy Tales.”

Fairy Tale Mail

Goldilocks writes 
that I shouldn’t poke fun
at anyone
and moreover, it’s impolite
to eavesdrop
on people while they shop.

Little Red Riding Hood
claims I’m the one up to no good.
She won’t let me off the hook
for calling her a crook
and implying
she killed Granny. I’m lying,
and she hopes I think it’s cute
when she pursues a libel suit. 

The Three Little Pigs
say they like their original digs
and to even pretend
the wolf could be a friend
offends them.
And ahem—
any revisions
should be their decision. 

To Goldy, the Pigs, and Red:
Call me a knucklehead,
but I thought it was no big deal. 
Still, if that’s how you feel,
I’ll admit I got carried away.
Consider this my apology.
Peace to your s! Stephanie

I’ll be returning to posting once a week but can’t leave April behind without thanking Maureen Thorson for hosting the site (20 years–amazing!) and for her work behind the scenes to come up with prompts, resources and the featured participant for the day. Thanks also to her helpers and to all who make April a magical month by reading and commenting on poems and providing unfailing encouragement. Peace to your s!

Screaming Meemies and 2 more

NaPoWriMo23 day 28 – A trio of poems written earlier in the month. Peace to your !

Screaming Meemies

ME! – once, a warm-up of sorts
ME! ME! – she teases, she sports
ME! ME! ME! – she picks up steam
ME! ME! ME! ME! – she goes extreme
ME! ME! ME! ME! ME! – a ME! crescendo!

Sugar, Sugar

For several weeks, on the periphery, the thought of cheesecake has been tempting me. Not The Cheesecake Factory kind—none’s close enough to be a true temptation. I have in mind the Giant Eagle slice meant for two and labeled that way, though I confess to having eaten the whole thing myself in less than a day. These flings with sweet treats go way back, but I’m trying to get on track, and so I’ve been staying away from sugar of late, and that means no date with the Cheesecake. But I can’t avoid him entirely. I have to go to the Giant Eagle for other things, you know? And he’s always there, Mr. Hunk-o’-Hunk-o’-Cheesecake, hanging out by the produce, looking cool. Produce is healthy, right? I have to have my lettuce and peppers and tomatoes. Can I help it if my eyes stray a teeny bit? Or if my thoughts wander, and I follow them? Rhetorical questions—although I’m open to suggestions for next time. Because I made off with him this morning, and I hope it serves as a warning to others—mere surface attraction only leads to deep-down dissatisfaction. 

Forget That

NaPoWriMo23 day 27 – This post is replacing my one from earlier today, which included a forgettable poem in response to the prompt. It also included the American sentence below that I am happy with–it’s my first written on a whim. Peace to your !

I like to make mental notes, but I keep forgetting where I put them.

Because she so often forgot,
Dana did what she had been taught—
Tied a string
Around her fing-
Er…too bad she had used a slip knot. 

It Could Happen / Shooting Star

NaPoWriMo23 day 26 – Prompt from the NPM Nonce Scavenger Hunt hosted by murisopsis at A Different Perspective, to write a Silver Shovel, a form created by Monty Vern. Unlike a Golden Shovel, in which you take a line or lines from another poem and use every word in order as the last word in each line of your poem, a Silver Shovel requires the use of only the key words in order. I used the beginning of C.S. Lewis’s epitaph to his wife Joy:

Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)

It Could Happen
after C.S. Lewis’s epitaph for his wife Joy

It could happen. Someone says, “Here,
Hold these halves together,” zaps them whole,
And as a thank you offers you the world.

Will you be a wish among stars?
Moonlight floating on water?
A firefly energizing the air?
Roots burrowing under a field?
An enchanted forest?

Let’s say it happens, and they
Want your answer zip-zap, as it were.
Won’t you be glad you reflected
On it now, when you have more than a single
Magical moment to make up your mind?

I love Shovel poems: they provide both structure and leeway, especially the Silver Shovel. Having written the one above, I was moved to write another with even more flexibility. I’m calling this adapted form the Shovel-and-Pail (Plastic Shovel doesn’t sound like it could ever catch on) and it involves using only the key words of the original lines but in any order desired. I’m thinking you wouldn’t necessarily need to credit the original poet, since the words aren’t in the original order, but I would appreciate others’ thoughts about this. In this instance I used the same C.S. Lewis lines and ended up with a bespoke poem for Muri, whose Scavenger Hunt prompts are a source of joy and satisfaction for me. For you, Muri, with my thanks! And peace to all our s!

Shooting Star

Muri Mouse paused, picked one of the many stars,
and wished for a Lindt bar. She sniffed the air.
Lovely. There were so many stars, she reflected,
that she could be generous. She wished for a whole
year’s supply. And for a studio of her own where
she could potter about. A cozy condo in the forest
for her and Mr. Mouse. Someone to weed and water
the garden while they geocached, who didn’t mind
doing taxes also. She sighed and lay down in the field.
She began counting the stars—so many!—and they
lulled her, but she felt restless, too, as if she were
being reproached. She couldn’t think of a single—
oh! Her biggest, brightest wish!  Peace in the world! 


I am in love with the absence
of you, how the house
expands (or is that my lungs)

breathing new psychic space
into these (c)old rooms 
ah shiver of delight, gloating

through the hallway, lapping
up silence—oh I thrive 
on your departures, yes but

it is the work of a moment to
chuck the monkshood 
behind the vacuum cleaner

(you will never look there no)
and you will find me,
as always, your buttercup.

NaPoWriMo23 day 25 – Prompt from, to write a love poem that includes a parenthetical comment, some unusual line breaks, and the name of a flower. Peace to your !