In Substance


Each life, a single note
a small vibration in brief
disturbance of the force.

A blip of energy travels
through the substantial
world on its way to
insubstance — and


This poem was written in response to Apiary Lit’s April 18 prompt on metaphor, as well as Poetic Asides prompt to write a poem about either life or death (or maybe both here.) NaPoWriMo’s prompt suggested coming up with a neologism, which “insubstance” is, believe it or not. I’m using it as the noun form of insubstantial.



The Journey


Haven’t been home in a year or more
Don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow
Runnin’ down this dusty road
into the midnight sun.
We drifted apart,
shadows searching
It goes on
and on.


This found poem was written in response to the Poetic Asides prompt for April 10, asking for a poem about travel. All lines are taken from song lyrics sung by the band Journey, including lines from Don’t Stop Believin’, Faithfully, Open Arms and Wheel in the Sky. The form is a variation on the “melting snowball” with each successive line having one less syllable than the line preceding it.




Words, words, words
Words on the page
Words in my head
Words on the screen.

Drowning in words,
seas of ink. Or pixels
that dissolve and reform
into words, words in
the head but not the heart.
Fragments, phrases, whole
paragraphs but nary a word
of poetry.

(April panic. Poets
know it.)


This poem was written in response to two prompts today, one from NaPoWriMo 2017, asking for a poem with repetition of a word or phrase and one from Poetic Asides to write a poem about panic. And, yes, I’m behind on the project to write a poem-a-day for the month of April, although I’m trying not to panic about it — too much.

4/5/17 [haiku]



morning star

stalks crescent moon

mockingbird song


This is an attempt at American haiku, which is said to be a better fit with the traditional Japanese haiku than the 5/7/5 syllable form. (It should have twelve accented syllables and I’m a little uncertain about that.) However, this does reflect a nature scene that’s very familiar to me.



5/30 [found haiku]



portents of witchcraft

never far from the surface

the hoots of an owl


In response to the April 5 prompt from Apiary Lit, this is a 5/7/5 haiku created of phrases taken from these two articles:

Cooper, Michael. “An Oratorio Resonates in Coal Country.” The New York Times 5 April, 2017: C1 & C2. Print.

Nuwer, Rachel. “Bringing Owls into the Light.” The New York Times 4 April, 2017: D2. Print.





make me the monarch morphed from suffering” from Mai Der Vang’s Afterland

ova, larva, pupa (enigma?), imago
egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly (monarch)

Tiny buds of monarch body,
emerge in the caterpillar soup of the chrysalis,
its smooth green shell hiding drama within.

The slow dissolve of obsolete life without
sure knowledge of the flight yet to come.
Suffering the presence of alien life for a chance
at immortality.

This sprang from all three of my prompt sites today, the “free writing” suggestions at Apiary Lit, the “beginning” or “ending” prompt at Poetic Asides, and the use of the word “enigma” at NaPoWriMo 2017. I am particularly taken with the phrase “caterpillar soup,” which scientists use to describe what happens to the body and organs of the caterpillar within the chrysalis, providing nourishment to the cells of the butterfly within.

The Bouquet of Love



Only the flowers are real to me, heavy
scent of stargazer lilies in the overheated air.
I stare straight ahead, not meeting
those eyes, the sympathy, the judgment,
the cloudy gaze of those who wonder

Those flowers, their fragrance an anchor
holding me in place, a moorage, a focus
secure enough for now. Soon enough
we return to a semblance of reality,
the daily tasks I can’t yet bear to face.

But for now
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth on the table
their bodies. (Oh God, their bodies, no longer
to be nourished by the love I bore them, bodies
in small white caskets, starlit in the fragrant


This poem was written in response to three separate 4/3 prompts for April Poetry month. The title comes from Poetic Asides, asking for a poem titled The _____ of Love. NaPoWriMo 2017 asked for an elegy and Apiary Lit suggested that we borrow lines or vocabulary from another poet. I chose an elegy from Louise Gluck called The Drowned Children, with the lines in italics taken directly from that lovely poem.

not today



no rain today, prayed for or unbidden
no dinosaurs, no asteroids, no plague

no sliver moon or morning star to guide you
no handsome stranger standing at the gate

no inspiration falling from the heavens
no voice of God in burning bush or cave


no poetry in everyday existence
when you decide to always play it safe



This was written in response to the April 2, 2017 challenge from Poetic Asides to write a “Not Today” poem.

The Loss


My fumbling fingers on the bracelet’s clasp
feel so useless as the sudden drop
sends beads a-skitter, here, there,
under the desk where they evade my grasp.

Some may coast their happy way
to oblivious senescence.
But I have other needs —
needs to reach and find and still to grasp.



This was written in response to Miz Quickly’s final prompt for the month of March.



Multitudes Contained


Coffee in a cup, dark brown
and fragrant,
stray bubbles where liquid meets
cup — coffee contained, still

containing a microcosm of
atoms from faraway lands,
unintended immigrants
to a brave new world
bathed in liquid warmth,
echoing a tropical breeze.

Transformation awaits —
the touch of cool lips and
the long slow slide to the dark unknown,
still the bean and its brew live on.

This poem was written for Miz Quickly’s 3/23 prompt here.