Thursday, December 30, 2010

(such a young woman)

such a young woman
wearing such an old fragrance

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

While Listening to Julie Lee's "The Other Half"

Which version do you like best?

(original version)


I got chills
when I heard
your voice.
And then my eyes
began to water.
A tiny firework
went off
in my heart.
And then
the muted trumpet
came in.
I closed my eyes
and got lost.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(alternate version)


The sparse
guitar work
set the mood.
I took a deep breath.
And then
the muted trumpet
came in.
I got chills
from my shoulders
to my ankles
when I heard your voice.
My eyes
began to water
and a tiny
firework
exploded somewhere
in my chest.
I shook my head,
closed my eyes
and got lost.

You can check out Julie Lee's music here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Untimely Departure (Cat Got Your Dung)

Sometimes
Mother Nature calls
at the most
inopportune times.
I get up early
so that I can
get to work early.
But Mother Nature
interrupts my plan
with an exit strategy
of her own.
Once I honor her urging
and take a seat,
just a few moments
into our session,
she decides to be
difficult and stubborn.
My extra minutes
waste away
and my momentum slows
to a screeching
halt.

I will not be
early today
thanks to the delay
down under.
I am stalled
and stuck
and stationed
on the stool
for as long as it takes
for Mother Nature
to drop her kids off
at the pool.
And eventually,
once I finally
arrive at work,
I search for a
truthful, yet tactful
explanation for my
late state of affairs.
I could say,
"Traffic was stuck;
nothing was moving."
But, I settle on
"an urgent call
from my mother"
and leave it at that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Hall Sisters: Circa 1994

We knew our
whole world
was about to change.
I cried the entire
four-hour trip
to campus
and the two of you
held each other
in the living room
all morning.
We were
letting go of life
as we knew it,
knowing that we
would survive
the changes ahead
but not knowing
exactly how.
We had been together
all of our lives --
through every move,
in every new house
and every new city.
We shared friends and
hobbies and teachers.
Now we would be
in different states
with 207 miles between us.
I opened your letters
like beautifully
wrapped packages
and read each one
between nose blowing
and cheek dabbing.
I think I used
an entire box
of Kleenex
driving up to Michigan,
thankful that I didn't
decide to go to school
in Portland.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just One of Those Things

It's strange --
funny, really --
that one
woman can
walk into
the restroom,
lock her
stall door,
create a
mammoth sound
from one
tiny hole,
and walk
out of
the bathroom
in silence.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Holy Sit

When I take my seat
in the bathroom,
I am participating
in one of the most basic,
yet marvelous
human functionalities.
We have been created
with a remarkable
self-cleaning service.
(Who but a master
designer would have
conceived of this?)
So, when I sit
on the john and
take a dump,
something holy
is happening.
I am at once
connected to the
brother and sister hoods
of the earth
and to God.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jitters

It didn't last long.
And I'm sure
the sterile, hospital-
flavored walls and
floors didn't help.
The java joint's decor
was more akin
to a church
romper room
than a hip, cozy hang.
Failures aside,
every time I pass
that office space
in my college town,
I remember the
Styrofoam cups of
espresso I drank there
with my rock
band buddies
as we played
Uno and laughed
'til closing time.

Monday, October 04, 2010

(orange passion fruit)

orange, passion fruit;
jasmine green tea -- like sipping
sunshine in a cup

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fresh and in the Can

Sometimes I just know
a poem's about to drop.
It's a feeling not unlike
the feeling I get
when my bowels are about
to move -- a bottoming out
type of sensation
that tells me
I better find
a piece of paper
(or a toilet) fast
because something's
about to plop out.
Sometimes I get that
nervous panicky feeling
when it's "time"
and I can't seem
to find any paper
(or a toilet).
My breathing gets shallow,
my armpits begin to sweat
and my mouth gets dry.

Ever notice that a
delayed delivery
results in nothing but
a constipated effort later?
The more it's postponed,
the more plugged up it gets.
It's better to let nature
take its course
while the urge is fresh.
Things move a lot
more freely that way.
Fortunately, more
times than not,
I find what I need
just in time
to avoid a blockage.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Reason I Write Poetry

I notice things --
everything.
Then I get
lost in thought
about them --
why they're done,
how often
and by whom --
sometimes
at the most
inopportune times --
during a meeting
with a co-worker,
my tax advisor
or the dentist.
And then I feel
the need to
capture my thoughts
on paper --
so I won't forget them.
And, on most days,
I have just enough
arrogance
to share what I've
put into writing
with someone else,
perhaps to validate
that I'm, in fact, alive.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

(As she entered the)

As she entered the
ladies' restroom, I whispered,
"I didn't do it."

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Mayan Mocha

Like Pop Rocks --
starts out sweet
and explodes in your mouth

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Baptismal Brew

I've been told
that I behave like
Satan's handmaiden
before I have my
morning coffee.
My emotions
do a demon drop,
my fingertips
begin to itch
and my head spins around
like the bride of Chucky.
After the first few sips
of the redemptive brew,
I am baptized
into new life
or, at least,
a new day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cryptic Residents

On bad days,
apartment living
can feel like life
in a mausoleum.
Sandwiched in between
crumby people,
you're stuck in a
slot above and
below folks that
you don't know.
Some days stink
more than others.
Some days you have
grave concerns
about your neighbors.
Other days, you're
dead wrong about them.
Every so often you
may be scared stiff.
Occasionally, you can
rest in peace,
knowing that
the days will pass
without too much
heartache.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tough Stuff

I know life is hard
and that things can be
particularly rough
in the bathroom.
But do you really need
to vocally testify
to your difficulty
in the office restroom?
There is such a thing
as quiet desperation.
I wish for you a
silent elimination,
and for myself,
emancipation
from your proclamation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(hearing the big blast)

hearing the big blast,
grateful I exited the
ladies room intact

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

(trailing the attorney)

trailing the attorney
choking on the perfume
I wore in high school

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

(IT programmer)

IT programmer
digging for major boogers
in his cubicle

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Seasonal Criminals

There's something about
summertime sandals --
they're too much
to handle
when it comes to
the stench that
sweaty feet and
leather create.
My nostrils don't
celebrate or salivate about
the smell that emanates
from the partnership
that perpetrates
heinous crimes
against olfactory.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Dreamboats That Pass in the Night

Last night I dreamt
that you were into me.
Out of the blue,
you knew what to do
to influence me.
Truth is, we're married
to other people
and I've never thought
of you like that before.
Somehow last night's dream
opened up some subconscious door.
This morning I saw you
at your desk and felt
a strange connection.
It'll pass in a few days,
just like the indignation
and exasperation
I felt toward the
co-worker I once dreamt
cheated on his wife
with my little sister.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday Afternoon Fever

It's amazing how creative
one can be when
procrastinating.
On Friday afternoon
at 3:17, my co-workers
and I walk around
like lost children,
shifting from desk,
to break room,
to bathroom,
to the god-forsaken
basement
(in extreme cases).
Non-smokers consider
taking up nicotine
as they watch the smokers
congregate under the trees.
"That doesn't look half
bad," my manager quips
as he observes the
addicts' 15 minutes of
freedom
"on the outside."
Back at our desks, we
try to drum up small
talk about
The Golden Girls,
The Office, and
Saturday Night Live;
then return to our
monitors for more
Web surfing.
The neighbor in the
cube next door mutters,
"It feels like we've been
here for six days…
and that's just since
eight o'clock."
Eventually, five o'clock
will arrive, saving us from
overdoses on bad coffee,
stale corn chips and
shoddy Web sites.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #8

What do you call five
year olds with gentle green thumbs?
Tendergardeners.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #7

What do tomatoes
and kindergartners have in
common? Cut and paste.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #6

birth from the earth, red
as placenta, inside the
new life -- tiny seeds

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #5

earth MATERial
symbol of MATERnity
red MATÉRiel

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #4

Launch me in the air
but watch your back. I'll turn you
red when I go splat.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #3

I am weaponry
like snowballs and grenades but
make tastier raids.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #2

Stew wined and dined her
even though Brandy was a
bit dicey that day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Tomato Haiku Contest Entry #1

Brandy was green with
envy -- Stew inherited
the favored heirloom.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tomato Haiku Contest - Last Day to Enter

All entries for the Hot Tomato Haiku Contest are due by 11:59 p.m. today. The grand prize winner will receive an iPad! May the best MATERial win!

Friday, July 30, 2010

(I held my breath.)

I held my breath.
Lunch was unkind to the
previous pooper.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(woman in the stall)

woman in the stall
next to me smacking her gum
like a three year old

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

(birth from the earth, red)

birth from the earth, red
as placenta, inside the
new life -- tiny seeds

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Nashville's Hottest Haiku Contest

It's tomato time again! Consider entering the Tomato Art Fest's third annual Hot Tomato Haiku Contest. The results promise to be juicy!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

To Serve and Observe

The life of a security guard
must be fascinating --
becoming intimately
acquainted with
everyone's comings
and goings,
learning who loves
to race the sun
to work every morning
and who tends to
push the snooze button
seven times too many,
who runs out for an
afternoon soy latte
every day or a "secret"
rendezvous with
Veronica or Vinny.
Some may say that
your security guard
knows you better
than you know yourself.
Rather than your own
self-justified, rose-colored
glasses, he only sees you
through the clear lens
of the revolving door.

Friday, July 02, 2010

(wicked rump rupture)

wicked rump rupture
shocking as acupuncture
ladies’ room juncture

Friday, June 18, 2010

(What do you call five)

What do you call five
year olds with gentle green thumbs?
Tendergardeners.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

(What do tomatoes)

What do tomatoes
and kindergartners have in
common? Cut and paste.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Logging Lab Time

I was just another
experiment
to you --
just another
vial of blood
to spin in your
laboratory machine.
You were only interested
in the raw data --
the results of your
scientific investigation.
You invested time into
our relationship
so that you could
observe and analyze
the case study
sleeping next to you.
But I was more than
anatomy, biology
and chemistry.
I was more than
eyes and hips and lips.
My heart beat with
real emotion and
sincere love for you.
I realized way too late
that you saw me
through the eyes
of a doctor,
not a lover.
I guess that's why
you were so
cold and calculating.
You saw me as mere
research --
another lab rat --
just another
opportunity
to log in some lab time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Post-Vacation Blues (Salvation by Strawberries)

Today, my cubicle
feels like a cage.
I want to be
five hundred and
thirty-seven miles
away, sitting in my
favorite coffee shop
with a caramel latte
in one hand and
a book in the other.
I want to be in
the home of my
alma mater with
the one I love,
chasing sunsets
and sailboats and
strawberry Sundays.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

(sitting on the pot)

sitting on the pot
in a strange town -- suddenly
all the lights go out

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Power Conservation

He's the kinda guy that
makes your skin crawl
right into the corner.
He's a short man,
good-looking,
but way too cocky.
After surviving
the creeps that
linger in the air
next to my booth
after he finishes
his lunchtime greeting,
I kinda feel sorry
for the guy.
He clearly has
Short Man syndrome --
he works way too
hard to be confident,
suffocating the
great guy that
lies beneath his
attempts at suave-a-tude.
I consider forgoing
my reading booth lunch routine
just to avoid one more
unsolicited stroll-by,
but decide to favor
my pity for the fool
rather than my revulsion.

Monday, June 07, 2010

(first firefly of)

first firefly of
the season -- almost as bright
as the light in your eyes

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Confessional

I have a taste
for the dark side.
And my two-fisted
drink preparation
gives me away
every time.

I make it a double,
now that one
simply doesn’t
cut it anymore.
My tolerance has
increased, as has
my thirst.

Does that make me
a junkie,
an addict?
Perhaps.

I’m not ashamed
of my need
for that extra shot.
It makes the day
tolerable,
worth living,
and I’m not afraid
to admit it.

You want me to
own up to the truth
for my
own good?

Well, fine.
I’ll shout it
from the rooftops.

I’VE TAKEN TO STEEPING
TWO TEA BAGS AT ONCE!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank You

Thanks to all of you who attended Women's Work Sunday night. Special thanks to Annie, Randy and Rebecca for their support!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Women's Work Tonight

I hope to see you tonight at Women's Work. This festival, sponsored by the Tennessee Women's Theater Project, is one of my favorite events of the year. Every mother will receive a free rose! Join us!

Sunday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m.
Z. Alexander Looby Theater
Looby Branch Library
2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN
$5

Monday, May 03, 2010

Poet Hunt Contest

I just mailed my submission for The MacGuffin's 15th National Poet Hunt Contest. The winners will be announced in September. As always, any good news will be posted here. Feeling lucky, gutsy or needy? Why not submit your own poems? Best of luck to all!

In the words of John Shore, "Believe you’re a genius. Hey, someone’s gotta be. Why not you? And it’s surely not your goal to be a mediocre writer, is it? Believe you’ve got a unique, valuable, indispensable, irreplaceable voice. Because you do."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Poetry Performance at Women's Work

I will be sharing some of my poetry next Sunday at Nashville's fourth annual Women's Work festival. Come and enjoy an evening of original poetry and spoken word presented by lovely lady poets!

Sunday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m.
Z. Alexander Looby Theater
Looby Branch Library
2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN
$5

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Tennessee Women's Theater Project online.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Women's Work 2010

I've been invited to present my poetry at the fourth annual Women's Work festival on May 9th. Stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Out Today: Newspaper Blackout

Today is the day! Austin Kleon's debut, Newspaper Blackout -- a book in which I ALMOST had a poem published -- is available in stores everywhere. I can't wait to hold a copy in my hands!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Poached by an Egg

Finished the last of
the hard-boiled eggs
this morning and
stabbed my thumb --
the shell shards
actually drawing blood.
I never knew
Easter eggs could
be so violent.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Newspaper Blackout Poem Print Giveaway

As the release of Austin Kleon's Newspaper Blackout nears, Kleon is offering another great newspaper blackout poem print giveaway. (I've already got my "name in the hat" -- twice.) Read more here and good luck!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Virgin Mary

To Mary Karr

I read about your
childhood rape experience
during lunch today.
I wanted to scream,
"No! Stop the little bastard!"
or "Run!" or
"I am so, so sorry."
I had to put the
book down
in order to
keep myself from
running down the
aisles of the cafe,
shaking the book
in the air and yelling,
"She's only SEVEN!"

I wanted to snatch
that little girl up
out of the book
and into my arms.
I wanted to
tell your daddy
and the rapist's
father about the crime
while I had them
in the same room
and let the chips
fall as they may.
Instead, I closed
the book and
stared at my
chicken lo mein
while the lunch crowd
erupted around me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Reading about the)

Reading about the
rape of a seven-year-old
girl -- stunned, sad and pissed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Work Out Your “Bowelvation” With Rear End Trembling

There are few things
more satisfying
than a good poop.
Not the poop itself,
of course, but
the act of
eliminating
the dogged doodie.
After a good dump,
all seems right
with the world
(or at least
with your bowels).
You can breathe
deep again
and leave the can
with your shoulders back,
ready to take on
the next meeting,
class or diaper,
knowing that,
in the end,
things have a way of
working out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Here's to Hoping

In a matter of days, the winner of Alimentum's inaugural poetry contest will be announced. I am waiting, with great hope for a good word. Regardless of the outcome, I will soon focus my energies on the next contest, The MacGuffin's 15th National Poet Hunt Contest. Keep hope alive!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

(standing at the sink in the ladies’ room)

standing at the sink in the ladies’ room –
through the wall to the men’s room,
hearing things I don’t want to hear

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Lord Giveth and His People Taketh Away

You threw me away
like an unwanted fetus.
I was too much trouble,
too much hassle,
too inconvenient.
I didn’t fit into your
busy, respectable life.
I was too big of a
problem to fit into your
Bible-themed day planner.
Jesus said that God cares
for even the pigeons,
but you don’t have
a second more for me.
You ripped me out of a
warm womb, my heart
still beating, with “Christian”
forceps so cold and a
glare so glazed
they would make
any abortionist wince.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Chem Lesson

Tuesday night, I entered The Hermitage Hotel's Valentine's Day Poetry Contest. I dusted off and submitted "Chem Lesson," a piece that I wrote as a graduating senior at Hope College in 1998. As always, any good news will be posted here.

I smooth my palm into
the dip between your
rib and hip bone
on the side facing
the ceiling. The tip top
of your big tip toe
makes my index finger
smile. The two interact,
as if old friends meeting
for the first time. Sometimes
there’s a connection
that happens between
body and soul, like
DNA at work or
the saving chemicals
that form antibiotic.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"The Food Show" Reading

I am planning to attend the Alimentum reading at Cumberland Gallery tomorrow night. For those in the Nashville area, come on out! Details here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Folks

Roommates are strangers
who become friends
who become family.

Family members are roommates
who become friends
who are strange.

Exes are friends
who become family
who become strangers.

Note: Originally, this poem was separated into three pieces (Folks #1, Folks #2 and Folks #3). These days, I often read the three together as one piece (Folks) at poetry events.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wilco Haiku Contest Winners Announced

Sadly, I was not named among the winners. See the lucky folks' winning pieces here. Congrats to those fine, minimalist poets!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010