NaPoWriMo 2019

Anticipating NaPoWriMo 2019

I always remember – one teaspoon per cup and one
for the pot – a simple recipe that solves all ills.
Sometimes I forget not everyone’s been exposed
to nautical rules of the road – not everybody
alters course to starboard to pass port to port
in a meeting situation – though they should –
nor do folks automatically maintain course
and speed if stand on in an overtaking –
though it’d be better for them if they did.
I try to remember to walk a mile in others shoes
before passing judgement, and to pay attention
to running lights at any crossing of paths –
And always give the older ones the final word
in an argument that’s of no consequence anyway.


#NaPoWriMo #2 – Subway poem

I pause at the escalator
and motion with a head nod
and a smile: “You may go ahead,”
I tell the lady silently amid
the buzz of commuters and
the roar of machines.
She thanks me with her eyes.
Why do we need words?

Around the corner the Yellow Line
train is arriving. I hear
its high-pitched doppler sound –
the sound of incoming
is the only sound that matters –
a departing train’s sound
has no value to commuters.


#NaPoWriMo2019 #3: Tax Blues

Tax Blues

last Sunday in March,
headstart on April.
Hard to wax poetic
about Turbo tax –
though I am thrilled
we got it done on time,
two weeks before the due date.

Federal tax we owe.
State we get a refund.
Can’t say I know why,
can’t say I care.
Writing that tax check
is a drag, man,
hate seeing that money go out –
but the refund is a ball
that still has bounce.


#NaPoWriMo2019 #4 – Early bird prompt: self portrait of a sub-par playwright

They think they love the work –
think they know it
through and through.
But they don’t recognize
the creature behind the curtain.

Surprise, my comrades!
It was always me.
You never really listened,
never read between the lines,
never sought to seek
the true identity,
Not mine, and certainly
not your own.

No longer sure I can save you –
I can barely save myself.
The play is pure fantasy,
so don’t base your life
on it. And what’s between
the lines is a magic trick,
a three card molly
you will never figure out.


#NaPoWriMo2019 #5 – an instructional tweet


You know what it means.
You know who it’s for.
Get over yourself or get some help.
Good luck on the journey.



#NaPoWriMo2019 #6 – cherry dreams

The cherry blossoms
reached peak bloom today.
They were magnificent
in their splendor,
all along the campus
and the river.

Tomorrow’s rain
will wash the pinkish petals
into sewers underground,
flushed to secret places
in our dreams and memories.

These cherry dreams,
alas, do not bear fruit.
It is only for the visual –
no chance to taste, to chew,
to savor by the handful.
And blossoms make me sneeze.


#NaPoWriMo2019 #7 Elegy for A. – A sonnet

Our tribesman battles for her life –
small things we lose can be replaced.
A sister’s love we replicate
with sadness near the end,

and joy that soon, her journey done,
and celebration knowing that
her contributions were not made in vain.

We mourn our own unfinished lives:
the goodbyes that we failed to say;
the compliments we should have paid
at little costs but great reward.

We recognize our end must come –
embraceable at every stage
of life. Avoid the waste, the vain.

#NaPoWriMo #8 – Villanelle

Blues Villanelle

This love song is a villanelle:
The format makes it easy to recall –
Poetry in two shades of blue.

Repeating sends the thoughts aflight:
The lines of text emerge in time –
This love song is a villanelle.

The words and sounds convey their truth,
The essence lies inside the tune –
Poetry in two shades of blue.

The blues they wail at disco night
Become the Sunday morning hymn –
This love song is a villanelle.

Our wanderings are all askew:
Our feet are painted backwards bound –
Poetry in two shades of blue.

We celebrate in loss or gain
In joy, in sadness, and between –
This love song is a villanelle:
Poetry in two shades of blue.


NaPoWriMo #9 – Possibility sonnet

A Posse Ad Esse – Possibility Sonnet

From the possible to the actual
has to be at least a two way highway –

thought and reflection come before action
but action must result in new thinking

and reflection – a circuitous route
that self-reinforces and never ends,

creating a stronger relationship
and a tighter bond – esse quam videria.

And I’m not just showing off my Latin.
It’s an honest statement of fact: to be

rather than to seem moves the possible
to the actual and the actual

back in mirror sync with the possible –
opening multiple possible worlds.

NaPoWriMo #10
gifts of joy abound –
sometimes in non-descript places,
at unexpected times,
and for unanticipated reasons.

a friendly smile,
an unencumbered sigh,
a silent, non-verbal gesture
can be a gift shared,
a joy redeemed.
I’m not telling you
anything you don’t
already know, haven’t already
figured out from scratch.
Don’t look in the places
where you already expect
to find your gifts of joy.
Look elsewhere, between things,
inside of thoughts and dreams,
between the lines and strokes
of poetry and songs lyrics
and works of art. It might
surprise you what was always there.

#NaPoWriMo #11 – Dum Vivimus Vivamus

Dum Vivimus Vivamus

While we live, let us live.
Is it so much to ask?
Oh yes, we’ll make mistakes –
and lose some Facebook friends
along the way . . .
there may be some Twitter blocks,
maybe even some shadow bans –
but when did social media
become the arbiter
of good taste anyway?

Let’s not hide from decision.
Let’s strike while the iron’s hot
and bang that softened steel
into something brand new.


NaPoWriMo #12 Happy Anniversary!
It’s my parents’ anniversary.
Sixty four years ago on Easter
they said “I do,” fusing family
and friends from Guilford County, NC
and Pittsylvania County, VA
into a new social network.

I came along a few months later.
My sister says I was their love child.
I bear no shame, I harbor no resentment
in being their little love creation.

When the going got tough,
my mother would say, “I made
my vows.” You stick with it
to the end. A lesson well learned.
An internal honor system.

wedding day

#NaPoWriMo #13 – origin poem

Regrets that I missed
the cowboy poem prompt.
I always liked cowboys,
even wanted to be one
when I grew up, along
with fireman and policeman –
anything in a uniform, you know.
But when I fully discovered
the magic of reading books,
all other occupations faded away.
I’d be a librarian, and show folks
how to find the magic
I’d discovered. Then came scouting,
and football and track, and coach
told me I could break the 880 record
if I worked hard enough. Distractions
I won’t bother to mention
pulled me off the athletic path.
This story has a conclusion.
Two careers later I retired,
retooled, and became a librarian.
And it is still magic.