Not So Neat and Clean

For Poetry Appreciation Month of April, I’m taking on a writing challenge to write a new poem every day for a themed Chapbook. For me it’s like rock climbing without pitons or a rope. I have no partner to shout, “On belay”, giving me confidence to step out onto a rock face. And so, I take the leap with my first poem. I will publish two poems here for each week of April–Tuesdays and Fridays.

Not So Neat and Clean


Just when I think that

I have everything under

Control, I’m brought back

To facing my own smugness.


What I don’t know would fill

Titanic with even more sorrow.


End of life


Are final.


The end begins

Somewhere near us

Like some random

Snail deciding to

Cross a busy highway.


Willow tree bark drops

From a barren branch.


A leaf decides to go.


With a two-day life span, the

May fly can’t waste a minute.


And so, it happens.



Seeing my dog

Slowly dying

On wobbling legs

I drove to the vet

And made a date

For her to die.


Hearing the garage door

Opening, she burst through

The side door from the house

Into the garage with wagging

Tail to welcome me home.


I still remember

Five years later


Her moment of joy–

My moment of sitting

On the Titanic deck chair,

Two miles below the surface.



















Koko the Gorilla

Koko the Gorilla  


Koko died the other day 

At the age of forty-seven. 

She had this command of language 

That I admired. With sign language, 


She commanded two thousand 

Words and her compassion for 

Holding a kitten as a friend cannot 

Be matched in today’s Age of Humans. 


Darwin’s theory of evolution still 

Causes quite a stir but we could 

Have learned a thing or two from 

Koko’s vocabulary skills and caring  


Heart. Twitter was never ready for 

Koko’s hands and fingers. Those huge 

Fingers that talked with us were 

The same fingers that smoothed 


A kitten’s fur and held it to her heart.  

An April Challenge

I received an email from Local Gems Small Press, a small publisher in New York. They are sponsoring a poetry writing contest for the month of April, to celebrate National Poetry Month. Time is running out for signing up for the contest, but the winner will have their chapbook published. A registration fee is charged for entering the contest.

The challenge? Thirty poems written in thirty days. For me, that would be a fearsome challenge. I don’t know if I could follow through with such a challenge, but it’s been haunting me. There are few rules: 1. Choose a theme for your 30-day Chapbook. 2. Write a poem a day for 30 days. 3. After two weeks, send in a copy of your work to be pre-evaluated.

I feel like taking up the challenge without entering the official contest. Why not? It can jump start my poetry writing for this new year. I need a new consistency for my writing. As for your own writing, challenge yourself in the coming month of April to write your own themed Chapbook– or follow the link to the official contest.

April is Poetry Month

I discovered an article that talked about Dublin’s first Poetry Walk, featuring poetry from around the world for the month of April. They are requesting submissions of poems that will be published. A select collection of the poems will be featured on and also on a podcast. Chosen poems will be displayed in store fronts along the walk throughout Dublin.

Here’s a chance to submit your poetry for the Dublin event:

Tulip Spears

Tulip Spears

Red spear heads of
tulips break through
the snow melt and

It’s always surprising
Like do you know
what you are doing?

Whole armies have been
Lost by attacking too
Soon or not having the

Right equipment or
Out marching supply
lines in the heavy frost.

But then I realize that
I have missed chances

By never being ready
Or even never being
Ready enough for now.

Once the tulips come up
There’s no tucking them
Back in for another time.

Evening Sun

Evening Sun


Evening sun drops below

A ridge line some two

Hundred yards beyond

The reach of my hand.


Stand out colors fade

Before me like unmarked

Daylight moments when I

Did not brake to watch.


This sunset sky shakes me down

With shifting oranges and reds.


I pull to the roadside and

Roll down my window.


Crested wheat grass stands

Before some dark brush

In the soft gray shade.


A four-post fence follows

The ridge line bottom

And my eyes pivot up.


Pine tree sentinels stand

Atop like curtains for

The sun’s last show.


Too soon the shocking

Colors leave me and

I am left with the grays


Of my unmarked day.

Old Tomato

Old Tomato


How many times did I look at

You on the counter and think

About putting you into a salad

Or a sandwich or just taking you


Into my hand and maybe taking

A bite of your firm juiciness so


It could run down my chin with

Enough flavor to make me close

My eyes and smile and laugh?


I would return

Again and again

For more of you.


Even with a strong

Pull, I passed you by

For something else.


I see you sitting there now like

an old man with wrinkled skin–


With time eating

Him up from inside.


Will you be tossed


Or savored


at last?

Sample Poems

Last night, I took my Grandson to his school, where he and other students were presenting their projects to families and friends. I am a retired teacher who had taught at that school when it was Clair E. Gale Junior High School. The school has been renovated and re-purposed into a third high school in the school district. It is now known as Compass Academy.

I walked the halls and listened to some of the students’ project presentations. It was fun to hear the students’ excitement about their projects. As I was walking the halls, I started to encounter fellow teachers that I had taught with at that school building nearly twenty years ago.

It was exciting to renew our friendships after all those years. We shared stories and laughed like it was yesterday. I then told them about what I was currently working on– telling them about my travels and my recently published collection of poetry. I began writing some of my poems while I was still teaching with them at Gale.

One of my friends asked what my poems were about. What kind of poems are they? Good question. I responded that they were narrative poems– that I like to tell stories about snapshot moments in time.

A better answer would have been that I had a blog site where I have posted sample poems from my book. I didn’t think of it last night, but it would be my answer now.

I will continue posting poems from my collection. It’s like tasting a chef’s latest creations. Savor the moments and see what you think. And once more, thanks for dropping by.

The Cricket

The Cricket


I was outside in the sunshine

And you somehow landed on

My black coat laid on the bench.


Without a thought

I reached down


Curled my middle finger

under my thumb,


And sent you tumbling through

The air with a power flick of my finger.


Thinking you would just


Shake yourself off and move on

You just lay on your side twitching.


When I touched you with my shoe tip –




You died and I felt real sorrow.

I wanted you gone, not dead.



All you wanted

Was the warmth

Of my black jacket


On that cool

October day.


When we met


I thought

of myself





FROM: Writing in Sand

Yellow Shelled Snail

We Meet

Yellow Shelled Snail 

I see your struggles on the 

Stone paved roadway. You 

Stretch out to feel the stone 


Edges and finding a smooth 

Stone surface, you pull yourself 

Forward just enough to advance.  


I kneel down to visit with you and 

Feel your struggle in my knees.  

I cannot leave you there alone.  


I pick you up. I carry you to 

Foliage at the side of the road.  


We both go on our way. 


We have met 

You and I.  


From: Writing in Sand

%d bloggers like this: