Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ending NaNoWriMo (The Poet's Way)

I did it! Tonight I realized I mis-numbered my NaNoWriMo poems and I actually finished the 30 poem of November this evening.

I think this is the first time I've committed and followed through with a writing challenge ever. Here are my stats (Unofficial):

Poetry Words: 5400
Poems: 30
Total words (with 3 blog posts): 8650

I have one more day. I might break 10,000 words before midnight tomorrow night. I can't believe how fast my word count went up!

I learned a few lessons:
  1. I have at least one experience a day worth writing about
  2. I can give up perfection. Not every poem even has to be perfect or share worthy
  3. Writers' block is in my head
  4. Once I start writing, it is not difficult to keep going
  5. Four to six word phrases are great starting points
  6. Following through was about being in partnership and supporting my writers' group
How are you challenging yourself? What keeps you from completing a challenge? What keeps you working toward a goal?

Friday, November 21, 2014

What Sundays are Made of...

I am fully aware that it is Friday night and not Sunday. I've come to look forward to the days where
there is no where to be and nothing to do. When is the last time you let the day wind around you without putting any expectation or plan into it?

Let tomorrow be that day--even if only for an hour. Step out of your head and lead with your senses. What does the day taste, smell, and feel like?

What Sundays are Made of
Sundays are long cat stretches
and a late morning breakfast of
warm and sweet oatmeal
with butter in the bottom of the bowl

Sundays are toys flung
to every corner of the house
and half painted canvases on easels
with forgotten painting water
knocked over by a space rover gone rouge

Sundays are warm towels just out the dryer
and the smooth slide of the iron
back and forth, back and forth
across the sheets
and clothes laying in drawers like soldiers

Sundays are PJs ‘til noon
cups of hot tea and tendrils of incense
climbing toward the dining room light
and playing board games at the table

Sundays are chilly walks to the bakery
for day old bread and oatmeal cookies
for blue jay sightings and dog petting
and feet dragging in leaf mountains

Sundays are skipping naps to rake leaves
in the mid-afternoon’s sun
and making leaf forts
before the evening frost settles in

Sundays are for too late movies
and fast food dinners
for finishing just one more chapter
in your favorite book

Sundays are ending the evening
with another poem, a cat curled along side,
and that last hot cuppa
with this morning’s tea bag

Friday, November 14, 2014

When a Tree Falls

I was at a workshop over the weekend. If you walk along the edge of the parking lot you notice this mass of tangled limbs. If you are like me, you follow to see where those limbs lead.

When was the last time you followed the branch of a tree?

The Father Tree
I didn’t see you the first time I drove by
nor the time I ate my lunch in the grass
two hundred yards away

I saw you when I was bouncing my way along
the curb in the parking lot
nearly oblivious to the annoyingly straight painted lines
meant to pack as many cars as possible into your once
densely treed sanctuary

No wonder after over one hundred years
of looking after the stream you cracked
and fell into that damn parking lot
I could see where someone chopped and
hacked your bits away, likely with a loud saw
temporarily sending the birds and squirrels away
You did your best to fall
in a direction to take that lot back

I couldn’t help but marvel at your strength
and the curves of your branches,
Even fallen, you were mighty and noble
still watching over the sanctuary of the river

I admired how your strongest branches
Supported your curiously hollow trunk
and left a bridge, daunting enough to discourage
the dainty and clumsy-footed
while inviting the curious tree climber

I followed your bridge up and over
down, around, through, and up again
I sat for a moment in the sturdy hollow.
Were I a tree dweller, I would have made
a home with the berries and fungi and mushrooms
softening what remained of your heart

I saw the splinters where you shattered--
the field of daggers still new and unworn
by the rain and winter cold
I climbed atop the hollow sending my own roots
down, down, down
asking you keep my feet sure
The fifteen foot drop would surely be unpleasant
I inched out across your broken back on my belly
I still felt the life moving within you.
I watched the river flow around the bend
I silenced my breath and slowed my fast-beating heart
to listen to the leaves fall in the water
and for the echoing ripples

When you can’t watch over your sanctuary, I will.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Poetry Answer to NaNoWriMo

It's National Novel Writing Month and I am not a novel writer. To support my novel writing friends, I write a poem a day for the month of November focusing on the season or on gratitude.

How do you support your friends, partners and loves in your circles?

I study the mess of string and hooks and bits
sitting in my lap
"It will take weeks to untangle it, Mom."
I smile and find an end

After a few hours
I get out my back up plan...
A needle from blanket
that I was to finish last year

I weave and move the strings
through one another
wondering how I will ever
loosen the mass of knots in the middle

Hour by hour my needle and I
find our way until there are only
straight strings and hooks
Three or four hours, not weeks.

You make them into
something amazing that
only a child would think to create
And I? I was your detangler.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I know a handful of people who chose not to breathe anymore. Today I honor them and the choice each on of us has to live or to die.

Suicide is seen in many circles as a death so horrible it can't even be spoken of. In each of my experiences whether family members, friends, or a friend's family member, the same comments and questions come up following a suicide:

  • It can't be so.
  • Who's to blame?
  • Why?
  • What could have I done different?
  • Didn't he/she know how much we love her/him?
We don't get the answers and what I found for myself is that I was asking the wrong questions. How I've reconciled the intentional deaths of people I know is that they simply chose not to be here. Am I sad and is death sad? Yes. Absolutely. Did I morn and remember them? Yes. Did I berate or was I angry about their choice? No. Their work was finished and they were ready to move on. By their own hand, someone else's, or accident, the work was done and it was time to move on.

Waking up and breathing through the day is a choice. I can honor those choices without knowing the whys.

How do I recommend moving through someone else's personal death choice?

  • Don't take it so personally. It's not about you
  • Stop rubber-necking, it's not your party
  • Raise awareness, not tragedy
  • Respect choice--your choice and other people's choice
  • Hugs, sharing remembrances, and lots of tears

How you choose breath over death when you wake up each day? How do you honor the folks in your circles that chose the time of their deaths?


I woke up breathing this morning
Breathing is a choice, you know
I could chose to stop--
Stop pushing air in and out of these lungs
By my hand, by my will, this breath could stop

I woke in the darkness to dripping coughs
in the next room that set my teeth snapping hard together
when the light breaks I could leave that child
by the road to the foxes and the deer of the dawn.
He knows better than to wander out in to the road
or to talk to strangers.

I could stop being a mother right now.
It's always a choice, you know.
For today I choose to move air. I make dinner, check homework,
listen intently, and step on the missed Lego of death.

As long as a still chest and this child of heart
hold the tingling pre-tears in my cheeks,
I wake
with grinning breath,
teeth on edge,
eyes dressed in last night's escaped tears
knowing my work here is not complete.

I'll can choose again tomorrow.