Talking to Myself

~for Monty, after Langston Hughes

Yes, it’s a long line and includes the word fester, but does
that mean it’s impossible? I can do it. I want to do it.
I did the other two. My creative juices haven’t run dry
yet; in fact, with all I’ve been posting, I’d say my cup
is overflowing. I just need a sip to start. And it’s not like
I need to write another “Iliad” or “Odyssey,” just a
simple 18-liner. You know, if my brain were a raisin,
I could put it in a bowl and let it soak up the waters of in-
spiration till it was nice and plump. And then squeeze the
poem out drop by drop. Better yet, what if I made the sun
my muse? Catching those brainwaves, baby! Or
even, getting gross, what if I imagine the lines fester-
ing in my mind and oozing onto the page? Yuck. Like
this is getting me anywhere. Maybe what I need is a
break. Or even…I wonder, would Monty be sore
if I punted? He loved the table poem, though, and
was looking forward to seeing more. Okay, then,
maybe work in reverse? What’s a good line for run?


The third of three poems for Monty Vern’s Golden Shovel collaboration for this month. The end words of each line read, “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore – and then run?” from “Dream Deferred” (Harlem) by Langston Hughes. “The Table’s Complaint” and “Hunting the Stag” are the other two poems I wrote. Peace to your !

Read These Poems

NaPoWriMo22 Day 19 — Prompt from napowrimo.net: Write a poem that starts with a command. Well, it’s snowing here in western Pennsylvania at the moment, so…

Make It Stop!

Go away, snow! Give us a break!
It’s April 19th, for goodness’ sake!


And I love to play around with prompts, so…

No Way

Don’t play with your prompts, sticklers may say.
Keep to the prompt you’ve been given today.
But I’ll be a naysayer and say it’s okay.
Dear poets all, prompt-play away.


And finally, the quote that precedes this Golden Shovel poem (written earlier this month for murisopsis’s poetry scavenger hunt) begins with a command. The words in the quote form the end words of each line in the poem. Peace to your !

Geez Louise

Keep one still, secret spot / Where dreams may go.”
~Louise Driscoll, “Hold Fast Your Dreams”

Pooh on you if you keep
Your dreams in a drawer—one
Wonders if you dream them still,
When you hide them like a secret.
Liberate them! Place them in a spot
Bright and spacious, where
Your once-muffled dreams
Can speak to you. “Louise,” they may
Say, “about that poem from a while ago…”

Hunting the Stag

~after Robert Frost

In the
hart’s woods
there are
long lovely
passages, dark-
leaved and
shadow-deep.

In the
leafy woods
hunters are
biding, unlovely
men, dark-
eyed and
hidden deep.

In the
green woods
hounds are
baying. Lovely
hart! Dark-
hearted band!
Shadowy deep!


This is my second poem for Monty Vern’s Golden Shovel poetry collaboration, and I tried for a minimalist narrative. In each stanza, the last words of each line, in order, read “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep” from Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Peace to your !

The Table’s Complaint

Monty Vern of Monty’s Blahg is launching a Golden Shovel monthly collaborative project, with three prompts for poets to respond to. In a Golden Shovel poem, each word in a given line of verse is used as an end word, in order, in the lines of your poem. Thank you, Monty, for the opportunity–I hate to do this to a lovely line of verse!


A golden shovel poem using the line

…feel the wet maple leaves flicker in the rain”

from “The Leaves of a Dream are the Leaves of an Onion” by Arthur Sze


The Table’s Complaint

No one considers how I feel,
covered with bits of breakfast: the scrambled egg scraps, the
itchy Pop-Tart crumbs, the wet
orange juice spill that mars my complexion, the maple
syrup smear. Everyone leaves
spit-spot—toodle-oo, no thanks to you—without a flicker
of interest in me. It’s a pain in
the wood. If I had four good legs, I’d walk away and let the
leavings wash off in the rain.