Wednesday, December 31, 2008

(the elevator)

the elevator:
the only place the "code"
allows her to speak to me

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Rework of an Earlier Haiku

I think I like this one better:

first sniff:
got makeup on the
pages of my new book

First version:

got makeup on the
pages of my new book while
trying to smell it

Thursday, December 25, 2008

(Christmas cat)

Christmas cat –
bedside greeting
begins with a pounce

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Open Mic Night

Tonight I plan to participate in Landmark Booksellers' open mic poetry night, hosted by Victoria Clausi.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

(prescription to beat)

prescription to beat
the blues: increase
daily musical intake

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And Then There Were Five

Last week my friend Sam shared the goings-on of his recent winter jog and asked me to write a haiku about it. So far, I have five versions. Do you have a favorite?


December jog
railroad crossing
eleven turkey vultures


11 turkey vultures
1 deer
death = dinner


1 deer's fall
11 turkey vultures' ball


December dinner --
Eleven turkey vultures
dine on deer.


fresh venison
feast for
feisty vultures


Monday, December 15, 2008

(sampling of the city)

sampling of the city:
snaking post office line
10 days before Christmas

Sunday, December 14, 2008

(still dreaming of Sep-)

(after discovering my dislike of Corona)

still dreaming of Sep-
tember – root beer instead of
ice cold Coronas

Saturday, December 13, 2008

(dreaming of September)

dreaming of September --
ice cold Coronas on the
screened-in porch

Thursday, December 11, 2008

(said a prayer for the)

said a prayer for the
accident victims, thankful to be
on the other side of the median

Thursday, December 04, 2008

(Locomotive-like sounds)

Locomotive-like sounds
coming from the apartment upstairs --
Here's hoping it's the washing machine.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Full Canvas

Unlike most compositions, newspaper blackout poems are created from a full canvas (rather than a blank canvas, page or screen). The goal is to "discover" a poem within the existing article(s) and eliminate all the unnecessary words with a marker (or graphic design tool). The articles above constitute the full canvas with which Austin Kleon's November contestants began.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Saucer Eyes

This is the "newspaper blackout" poem that Austin Kleon selected as one of three runner-ups last month. I will be awarded a free copy of Kleon's forthcoming book. Best of all, my poem will be published alongside his in the HarperCollins release, due out next September! I've included the text below for easy reading.

Saucer Eyes

Puzzling sauce
should be removed
from the table.
Anxiety lies
in her eyes.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Runner-Up!

I just returned from my Thanksgiving travels to find that I was named a runner-up in the November Newspaper Blackout Poems contest! More on this later!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Newspaper Blackout Poetry

I submitted an entry for the November Newspaper Blackout Poem contest today. I'll let you know if my piece fares well!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On the M-I-C

Tomorrow I plan to participate in the open mic poetry night at Landmark Booksellers. The evening will be hosted by Victoria Clausi.

Friday, November 07, 2008

(driving into the)

driving into the
sunset to vote on a warm
election evening

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

(bathroom concerto)

bathroom concerto
simultaneous poopers
workplace harmony

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rock 'n' Roll Mama

When my hair dresser
was 13, her hippie mom
made her and her
9-year-old sister sign
an affidavit, vowing to
always love rock and roll.
Though she has kept her
promise all these 26
years, mane master
Melissa regularly
tunes her ears to jazz,
gospel and bubble gum
pop ditties, as well.
And every time she spins
a Martina McBride
disc, her mother cries.

Friday, October 17, 2008

(I look to the bottom of)

I look to the bottom of
my tea cup and wait
for the webcast to end.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Southern Festival of Books

I am planning to attend the Southern Festival of Books this weekend in downtown Nashville. The event is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Joe and Lenny

A Jolt and a Jam

Friday mornings
are meant for
Lenny Kravitz tunes
and a good cup
of java. A
steamy, creamy
cup of joe and
Lenny's retro
rockers get me
bobbin' my head,
tappin' my feet and
sippin' to the beat.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Family Math

At one time,
the five of us
lived in one house.
Over the years,
one house
has turned into
five homes.
Now, a couple
of times a year,
we are all under
the same roof.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

(Noisy people don't)

Noisy people don't
belong at state natural
areas. Quiet!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Workshop 'til You Drop

This weekend, I will attend an all-day writing workshop led by the "godfather" of creative nonfiction, Lee Gutkind (pictured above).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Last Minute Invitation Turned Inspiration

Today I attended a talk by fiction writer Michael Snyder entitled, "How I Got Published," where I received a free copy of his first novel, My Name Is Russell Fink. To learn more about Snyder and his work, please visit his Web site.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

(provokes a smile)

provokes a smile:
empty ketchup bottle fart
at the church picnic

Monday, August 11, 2008


Yesterday I repaired
the bracelet you bought
for my 30th birthday
with super glue.
That icy February day
seems light years away
from today's August steam.
If only our estrangement
could be resolved as easily.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Burgers and Blankets

After we finished our burgers and iced tea,
we stretched out on the floor with blankets
for a Fourth of July nap
in the comfort of family;
in the warmth of sisterhood;
safe within the unspokenness of knowing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Modern (In)conveniences

There's nothing like waking up
to the sound of the neighbor's
car panic button. I have yet to
use the red button for actual
safety purposes, but I have
managed to inadvertently
squeeze the screaming
siren a handful of times
over the past year. I'm
sure the neighbors in our
tightly packed subdivision
have appreciated being
shocked awake at 8:15 a.m.
I cringe as I imagine my
unintentional interruption honking
its way into my neighbors’
peaceful mornings -- lipstick
lines veering north to a nostril
or a hammer hitting a hand
instead of a nail at the sound
of the unexpected warning bell.
Somehow the peace of mind
that the panic button promises
to provide me cost my neighbors
their peace of mind.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

(two police cars on)

two police cars on
the side of the interstate
like beetles courting

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sounding Off Southern Style

We talk with exaggerated
southern accents for fun –
even though Tennesseans
consider us “Yankees.”
Sometimes when I’m on the
phone with my dad, mom, sisters
or friends, I get concerned that
someone may hear me and think
that I actually do sound like that.
The fear suddenly intensified
when I moved south of the
Mason-Dixon Line.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


two police cars
on the shoulder of the interstate
side by side
with lights flashing
like two lightning bugs
in love

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

(living the life)

living the life:
shaving my legs to the new
Coldplay album

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

morning tea

like the allegiance of a faithful friend
like the familiar hand of a lover
like the loyalty of a family pet

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Loud and Unclear

Her voice was unnecessarily
loud and obnoxious -- making
it hard to concentrate on the
book about nonreligious
thoughts on Christian spirituality
that I was reading in
the salon chair next to her.

Why is she talking so loudly,
I wondered to myself, irritated
that I was re-reading the same
paragraph for the fifth time.
Does she have any idea how
annoying she sounds, I thought,
noting that her stylist seemed
to be put off, as well -- assumedly
speaking only once in a while
to preserve her own sanity.

Before I did anything I would
immediately regret, I checked
myself. Why was I so perturbed?
It wasn't time for PMS and it hadn't
been long since my last meal.

Suddenly, it hit me like a hummingbird
plowing into a glass door.
She was insecure, I reasoned,
and unable to rest in silence, let
alone enjoy it. She had to fill
every moment with some sort of
blabber -- followed by nervous
laughter and a new batch of jabber.

She doesn't like herself, I
suspected. Has she ever
felt cherished and celebrated?
Does know that she was
created to be captivating
and valuable, even irreplaceable;
who is going to tell her the truth
about who she is meant to be?

I watched her hair dresser
finish her cut, then blow dry and
style the woman's strawberry
blonde hair out of the corner of
my eye, and noticed when she
walked toward the front
counter to pay her bill.

I felt as helpless as a hostage
in my chair. How could I
make a difference in an
absolute stranger's life?
I said a quick prayer, asking
God to bring someone into
her life to love and help her,
and went back to my book.

It was clear to me that she
needed to hear the truth, but
unclear as to how it would happen.
Part of me wanted to take off after
her in my salon frock and aluminum-
foiled hair to talk with her. The
other side of me felt like I do when
I see starving children from
Africa on TV -- hurting for them
but frozen in another land.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(Office breakroom zoo)

Office breakroom zoo --
is the workload so bad that
we seek solace there?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ink on Ink

I have a problem
marking in a poetry book.
I can use a pencil, mind you,
to underline, applaud or question
a passage, line or word in a book
of poetry all day long. But I have
some kind of curious aversion
to doing so in ink – as if adding
my ink on the page would
somehow dishonor the existing
print on the page.
Stranger still, I have no problem
using a pen in a work of fiction
or nonfiction. But
a collection of poems
somehow commands a sort of
respect, a sacred care,
a reverent response – like
a sunset or the miracle of birth.

Monday, June 02, 2008

If Melody Is Nourishment, Harmony Is Healing

Do you ever wish you could
drink music – first in soft sips,
then steady swallows, and,
at times, greedy gulps?

I need consistent installments –
like doses of medicine
carefully measured out
by the hours, days, and
weeks of the month.

It moves me like the
majesty of a mountain,
the splendor of a sunrise,
the openness of an ocean;
like the moment you know
that you're home.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

(By the time you finally)

By the time you finally
understand your job,
you no longer want it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Matters of Intake

I have a friend who devours
poems like she devours
sumptuous chocolate cake --
with a feminine fortissimo,
speedily savoring each serving.

I, on the other hand,
experience poems like I
experience creme brulee or flan --
slowly, deliberately,
careful not to overdue it,
knowing that too much
of a good thing will ruin
the power of the moment.

I do not think either way
is superior -- only that one
approach is better for
that particular partaker.

Even now I am closing
a book of poetry,
instinctively knowing
when to say "when."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

(sitting in a meeting)

sitting in a meeting
with no clue
dreaming of the beach

Monday, May 05, 2008

(excited to finish the book)

excited to finish the book;
sad to see it

Friday, May 02, 2008

(the cardinal)

the cardinal
sounding off
like the Fourth of July

with gratitude to Rebecca J. Davenport for a spectacular ending

Thursday, May 01, 2008

(they lean in with)

they lean in with
eyes wide open and
mouths tightly shut

Sunday, March 02, 2008

(a generous lark)

a generous lark
and her five fine, feathered friends
treated me to lunch

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Walk

We were like ducklings
following Mrs. Rempala
all the way from our
elementary school to
the nearest track for
practice. Our track team
was permitted to use
Riley Elementary's
facility for our workouts,
as our campus barely
had room for a jungle
gym. I remember walking
through the neighborhoods
between Kyger and Riley
and looking up into the
budding trees the springs
of my fifth and sixth grade
years. I breathed in the
April air and experienced
my first taste of independence,
responsibility and healthy
competition on that walk,
mentally preparing for
the 60 meter dash, my next
boyfriend and junior high.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Without a Honk

There were four
of them -- four
graceful geese
gliding over 65
North as the four-
lane interstate
backed up
farther and farther
south. In the midst
of the two-accident
Tuesday morning
turmoil, just as I
began to grip my
steering wheel
in frustration, I
saw the quartet
breezing over
all four lanes
of traffic without
a honk of their own --
so soft, so peaceful,
so content; so intent.
I watched them
split into two pairs
and continue on their
January journey,
as I adjusted my
hands and then
my attitude, without
a honk of my own.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Grounds for Investment

There's something about
a coffee shop. There's
a sense of life in
the scent of the brew.
It's the occasion to
have a conversation --
to share your heartbreak
with your best friend, to
give your heart to
the love of your life,
to reconnect with
the parent you haven't
spoken to in years.
It's a safe haven.
It's a place of
possibility. The
richness of the roast
grants a sort of
permission to relax
and invest yourself,
to invest your time,
invest your interest
in another. To drink
well, breathe deep
and speak often.

Monday, January 21, 2008

(having a hard time)

having a hard time
deleting her death notice
from my inbox

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

(sick feeling with no-)

sick feeling with no-
where to go: knowing my co-
worker is cheating

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008


For Marcy

She was on the e-mail list
that I administer each month.
I took her off the list
two months ago without
instruction to do so.
I had been frustrated that
she never responded to
my carefully constructed,
time-consuming messages
and occasional updates.
I wondered why, month
after month, she didn't
reply or at least accept
my offer to remove her
from the distribution list,
until I received notification
this morning that she just
passed away after a
three-year battle
with cervical cancer.

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Super Tanker

Strange that
my little, black
tank top takes
longer to dry
than anything
else in the load.
Is it too big for
its britches?
Does it have
super powers
that were not
described on its
tag or washing
Or does it simply
long for summer
so badly that it
insists on defying
normal logic
until summer
arrives again?

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

(simple pleasures)

simple pleasures:
my turn signal blinker in sync
with the song on the radio

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

(kitty for keeps)

kitty for keeps:
quiet, self-cleaning,
committed companion

© Amy E. Hall 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

(enjoying chips and)

enjoying chips and
salsa, and a new CD,
waiting on a poem

© Amy E. Hall 2007

Sunday, January 13, 2008

(late dinner downtown)

late dinner downtown
a rented movie
Happy New Year

© Amy E. Hall 2007

Friday, January 11, 2008

(Miles Davis on tap)

Miles Davis on tap
grape juice in the stereo
a New Year's Eve day

© Amy E. Hall 2007

Thursday, January 10, 2008

(finishing the last of)

finishing the last of
the egg nog as the
year comes to a close

© Amy E. Hall 2007

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

(running to the computer)

running to the computer
with cereal bowl in hand
to capture this moment

© Amy E. Hall 2007

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Between Catnaps

Her silky, black paw
claimed a red circle
on the pillow
as if to begin
a silent, solo
game of Twister.

© Amy E. Hall 2007