Thursday, December 24, 2015

(Christmas cat)

Christmas cat –
bedside greeting
begins with a pounce

Monday, December 21, 2015

I Love Snow

for Julie

I remember
the Christmas
that you and I
mended our friendship.
You wore a
cool, retro
fur coat
and we walked to
the park across
the street from
Debbie's house.
That night we
laughed and sang
about snow
with the Christmas
lights shining
behind us
and the future bright;
ahead of us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

(sampling of the city)

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

Saturday, December 05, 2015

(bright Thanksgiving day)

bright Thanksgiving day
drinking eggnog on the porch
sunshine and crisp leaves

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Traffic

Three miles in an
hour and a half --
interstate congestion and
stomach indigestion,
angry drivers with
hungry kids, no
exit in sight, and
no explanation.
Arrivals delayed;
hugs and hand-
shakes on hold;
dinners postponed.
It was easy to get
irritated and impatient,
until we saw
the white sheet
on the ground.
Suddenly, we were
thankful for the
fume-filled air that
we were breathing.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

(cat dusty)

cat dusty
from her romp
in the windowsill

Saturday, November 07, 2015

(cat in a frenzy:)

cat in a frenzy:
from the window --
watching falling leaves

Saturday, October 31, 2015

(eyes widen:)

eyes widen:
brilliant, cranberry-
orange-colored foliage

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

(honey-colored leaves)

honey-colored leaves
lining the road
creating a street of gold

Monday, October 26, 2015

(Wet dogs smell like wet)

Wet dogs smell like wet
leaves even if the dogs have
not played in wet leaves.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

(the leaves mimicking)

the leaves mimicking
the sound of raindrops in the
wooded autumn hills

Saturday, October 17, 2015

(The duck swimming in)

The duck swimming in
the empty pool doesn't know
the pool's not for him.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

(The tree bark gleamed)

The tree bark gleamed
with fresh raindrops as
the squirrel scurried home.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy National Coffee Day!

A haiku for the occasion:

the smell of a coffeehouse:
one of the things I fell
in love with in college

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(First day of autumn)

First day of autumn:
Reading on the porch with a
roast in the Crock-Pot.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Summer Simplicity

As summer begins to
close her eyes in
exchange for fall's
awakening, I want
to remember these
days; what it feels
like to slip into
sandals, and hop into
the car without a
jacket and drive to
meet some friends
with Tennessee's green
hills in front of me and
the sun on my back.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

(Tonight, I saw an old, white Corolla)

Tonight, I saw an old, white Corolla
like the one you had when we were
in love and in the closet.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

East Side Storytellin' 62 recap, podcast now online

The East Side Storytellin' 62 recap and podcast are now available online!  Although I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to gifted singer/songwriter Lauren Farrah's set, you can hear my poetry set at the very beginning of the podcast, as well as a brief Q&A with Lauren, host Chuck Beard, and myself at the very end of it.  Artists unite!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Thank you!

Thanks to all of you who attended East Side Storytellin' tonight.  A very special thanks to Dave, Debbie, Joan, Randy, Rebecca and Robert for your support!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Join us!

WHAT: East Side Storytellin' 62

WHO: Poet Amy E. Hall & Musician Lauren Farrah

WHERE: The Post, 1701 Fatherland St., Nashville, TN

WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

(the cardinal)

the cardinal
sounding off
like the Fourth of July

with gratitude to Rebecca J. Davenport for a spectacular ending

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

(Tonight, I join the ranks of the firefly)

Tonight, I join the ranks of the firefly,
lighting up the summer sky,
my glowing cigar lifted high.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

UPDATED: Confessions of a Cover(ed) Girl

Thanks to my peach fuzz,
albino eyelashes and eyebrows,
and pale, blotchy skin,
when I don't
wear makeup,
I look like
a baby opossum --
white and pink
with small, beady eyes
and soft, fuzzy skin.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

(I know how to be)

I know how to be
what everyone else thinks I should be.
Now I must learn how to be me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You are invited!

WHAT: East Side Storytellin' 62

WHO: Poet Amy E. Hall & Musician Lauren Farrah

WHERE: The Post, 1701 Fatherland St., Nashville, TN

WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Join us!

Monday, June 08, 2015

East Side Storytellin’ 62

I am very pleased to announce that I will appear as the featured author at East Side Storytellin' 62 on July 7th.  More details to come!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sugar Free, Calorie Free, Substance Free

Trying to have a conversation
about diversity of thought
with an absolutist
is like
attempting to brainstorm
about throwing a beautiful dinner party --
appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, drinks and desserts --
with someone who is
solely interested
in serving Diet Coke all night.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

The Dancing Queen

She taught us what it meant to
be married to melody -- singing
and dancing across the linoleum
floor, sometimes lip-syncing and
sometimes belting out the lines
with gusto. My sisters and I sang
into hairbrushes with a sparkle in
our eyes, while the vinyl spun
'round and Mom reigned as queen
of the dining room dance floor.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

You are invited!

I will be performing my poetry this Mother's Day at Nashville's ninth annual Women's Work festival. Come and enjoy an afternoon of original poetry and spoken word presented by wonderful women wordsmiths!

Sunday, May 10th, at 2:30 p.m.
Z. Alexander Looby Theater
Looby Branch Library
2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Confessions of a Cover(ed) Girl

When I don't
wear makeup,
I look like
a baby opossum --
white and pink
with small, beady eyes
and soft, fuzzy skin.

NOTE: See the updated version of this poem here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Making Up My Mind

When I don't wear makeup,
I feel like I'm disappointing
my family, community and society
because I look "prettier"
with makeup.
I feel like I'm not
"living up to my full potential"
or representing my family,
my community
or matriarchy "well."

But I do not exist
to achieve people's approval.
I exist because
I have a life to live --
one life, one shot,

I do not owe the world
I do not owe society
I do not exist to make
everyone else feel comfortable,
contented, or complimented.

Still, giving myself permission to
not look "my best" is
challenging for a perfectionist.

News flash to self:
I do not owe the world

Perhaps somehow, somewhere
in the recesses of my psyche,
I believe that I am more
valuable, more lovable, more
if I am as "pretty"
or as "perfect"
as I can be.

Perhaps I have been
poisoned by the patriarchal preconception
(and the people who have practiced and propagated it)
that women are worthy of
acceptance, admiration, appreciation, approval, and affection
only when they are "pleasing" to the eye.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear Whippoorwill Willy

If I had wanted to be serenaded by your
domineering whistle during my lunch hour --
with your fortissimo flourishes and fanciful finesse,
your boisterous bellows and troubling treble --
I would have specifically requested a private performance or
purchased your spirited show on CD or DVD or
attended a rousing public recital or
elected to allow you to commandeer my ears,
my mental respite and my personal space.
I would not have sat down in the corner of a public cafeteria
with a book and a meal alone, hoping for a bit of solitude
in the middle of a hectic, harried day.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Women's Work 2015

I have been invited to present my poetry at the ninth annual Women's Work festival on May 10th. Stay tuned for more details!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy National Library Week! Exhibit E:

In celebration of National Library Week, I have posted a book-related piece each workday this week. 

In This Wow

Have you ever
held a book
in your hands
that felt so right?
A book that
felt perfect,
and supple
and soft, but
firm in all the right places?
A book that
in your hands
at this moment;
at this time?
A book that
was written
years ago
but was meant
for you
right here; right now?
A book that,
in this moment,
makes time and space
make sense
in this place,
in this moment,
in this now?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy National Library Week! Exhibit D:

In celebration of National Library Week, I will post a book-related piece each workday this week.  Today, a haiku:

Happiness is a
personal library stocked
with books yet unread.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy National Library Week! Exhibit C:

In celebration of National Library Week, I plan to post a book-related piece each workday this week.  Today, a haiku:

excited to finish the book;
sad to see it

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy National Library Week! Exhibit B:

In celebration of National Library Week, I plan to post a book-related piece each workday this week.  Today, a haiku:

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy National Library Week! Exhibit A:

In celebration of National Library Week, I plan to post a book-related poem each workday this week. 

Between the Lines and Me

I like to hold books and
magazines and CD booklets
in my hands. Electronic
versions don't allow
for handling and care
and communion between
the author, the pages,
the words and the reader.

I like to live in a book --
to touch and participate,
to make notes in the margins,
to bravo, to question, to laugh.
There is a quiet exchange
between the lines and me,
a silent interaction (though
sometimes I laugh out loud
or sigh with great delight).

Every new book is a
literary cornucopia --
full of wit, mystery,
inspiration, wisdom --
a word awaiting, a
new world to discover,
to experience, to embrace,
a friend to keep on the
shelf of my heart.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mornings Are Such a Drag

By the time I arrive at the office,
I am exhausted.
I have already been awake for several hours,
the bulk of which I have spent beautifying myself:
showering, shampooing, shaving, conditioning,
applying styling foam to my hair while it's wet,
and then tending to my face --
moisturizer, base, blush,
tweezers, brow brush,
mascara, three shades of eyeshadow,
eyeliner, brow pencil, lip moisturizer
and, finally, three shades of lipstick.
Then for the home stretch:
blow-drying my hair upside down,
blow-drying my hair straight (right side up),
followed by styling with smoothing fluid,
and sealing the deal with hairspray.

It's like an art or science fair project
that you do every morning
before you can get to your
actual day.
I feel like a drag queen,
each day applying makeup
and hair and jewelry
in an effort to appear as an alternate version of myself --
a more refined and beautiful version of myself.
Although, unlike a drag queen,
all of this work makes me tired and irritated,
not excited and exhilarated.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Sticky Fingers: Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Dear Co-worker:

My candy dish is a gesture of goodwill -- meant to be
visited a couple of times during the workday in moderation --
not a vehicle by which to fill your child's entire Easter basket.

Your Supposed Sugar Mommy

Sunday, April 05, 2015

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.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

(I see hints of my)

I see hints of my
grandfather's hand in my own
shadow this morning.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Happy International Women's Day!

The Definition of Insanity Turned on Its Head

If we were all born
with different genetics --
different hair
textures, hues and thicknesses,
different eye
colors, shapes and sizes,
different nose,
breast and chest guises,
different skin tones,
and cheek bones
and ear lobes,
different lips and hips and dips,
different metabolisms,
heights and body types --
why do we,
in all our glorious variety,
seek to shed our delicious diversity
in order to adhere to
one "standard" of beauty or identity?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Have and to Hold

Note: You can see the prequel to this poem, "A Johnnie for John," here.

If I can't hold a record or a book in my hands,
it doesn't seem quite real.
It's virtually invisible --
seemingly nonexistent.
While I can appreciate
facets of the digital world,
I want to hold art
in my hands.
I want to touch it.
I want to experience it
in a tangible way.
I want to own a piece
of the magic.
I want to commit to it,
like a partner,
like a spouse.
No cheap fling for me.
Nothing to consume quickly and
walk away from easily.
I want to invest in it.
I want it to mean something.
I want to connect to it
physically and emotionally.
I want to see it,
touch it with my fingers,
and hold it in the palms of my hands.
I want to engage with it.
I want to spend time with it.
I want to spread it out on the table
and study every inch of it.
I want to join myself
to the force of life and love
that created it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Garden

Our yard was a garden
of snow and our father
was the gardener. He
made snow forts and
an obstacle course of
sorts for my sisters and
me in the front yard one
winter. It was an exciting
adventure, and a little
bit scary, but I felt safe
knowing that Dad was
guiding the sled and
guarding the fort. I still
remember his laugh
that day as we squealed
with delight, holding tight
to the orange, plastic sled.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Little Did We Know (Becoming Us)

The day I met you,
I didn't know
that this stranger would
become the person
I know the best.

When I first shook your hand,
little did I know
that I would
hold your hand today
and commit my forever
to you.

The first time that I
sat across the table from you
and looked into your eyes,
I couldn't have known
that those hazel eyes
would soon
see the good
and the bad in me
and accept me anyway --
the same eyes that
I will wake up to
every morning and
close in restful sleep beside
each night.

Those first drinks
on that first date --
a latte and a root beer --
would mark the beginning
of a lifetime of toasts --
in a champagne toast
on this day, our wedding day.

How could we have known
that our first conversation about
music and Patty Griffin
would reveal a shared passion
that would bond us together?
We didn't know then
that one of Patty's songs
would serve as the
conclusion to our
commitment ceremony today.

I couldn't have known that day
that you would change my life today.

Little did we know that
you and I
would become

Friday, February 13, 2015

(real love: standing in)

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Sometimes love stinks...

real love: standing in
the bathroom while your partner
poops, just to catch up

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Days Like These

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Here's to the heart!

It's taken me 16 years
to play this record again.
I didn't dare
to play it before
because I was afraid
of how much
it might hurt.

I selected it --
like a curator --
18 years ago
in the dark
on an adrenaline high.
I dashed out of
my roommate's room
and quickly -- but thoughtfully --
handpicked the album.
You were waiting for me
in the recently vacated room
and I wanted to be prepared
for what I hoped might happen --
what did happen,
thanks to Robert Deeble --
that and the months of
heavy make-out sessions
that led up to that day.
I was so high
on endorphins and young love
that night
that I didn't even care
that my body was
temporarily dyed blue
by my roommate's
deflowered futon.

Today, I play
the disc without pain,
thankfully; surprisingly --
except for the ache
that resides deep
in the corner closet
of my heart
that wonders what
may have happened --
and how different my life
might have been --
had we been allowed
to fully fall in love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chem Lesson

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  I wrote this poem in 1998, the year I was finding my "poetry sea legs" as a graduating senior at Hope College.

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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How My Sister Discovered That I Was in Love with Her Best Friend

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Here's to the heart!

"You would NEVER
do that for me," she said
in a huff, half shocked;
half outraged after learning
that I had treated J.J.'s
soup bowl like an underwater
hunting expedition --
navigating around the
diced carrots and potatoes,
green bean cuts, petite
peas, navy beans and
conchiglie to fish out
the kidney beans
that J.J. despised
so much. I shrugged
my shoulders, smiled
and stared at the floor
for a few seconds until
J.J. changed the subject,
wondering if we would
see snow that night.

Monday, February 09, 2015

(first love)

In anticipation and celebration of Valentine's Day, I plan to post a love-related piece each day this week.  Here's to the heart! 

first love --
hard to forget
difficult to remember

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A Prayer for Beauty, Diversity and Equality

My latest piece for The Space Between arts blog is up, featuring my poem "Sunflowers and Birch Trees (Let It Be)."  It's a wish, a prayer of sorts -- for the bounty and beauty of diversity and equality in full bloom.  Take a look if you like!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Johnnie for John

Update: You can read the sequel to this poem, "To Have and to Hold," here.

Downloading a song
is like
sleeping with a prostitute.
It's cold and impersonal --
merely a transaction,
a commercial exchange.
As a john,
you don't care about
her story or her history.
You don't care to
get to know
her parents or her siblings.
You don't care about
her goals or aspirations
or what she stands for.
You don't care about
her heart and soul.
You don't care
about her at all.
You just want
to get what you want from her
and go home.
You want to take her
quickly and cheaply
and move on,
with no regard
for her value or worth
as a unique creation
birthed out of love and affection,
with a heritage and a heartbeat.
You're just looking for a
You're just looking
for a play.