Poetry: NaPoWriMo, Day 14

Theme: Write a poem about your hometown.


I wrote a story once that walked right off the pages.
Its readers gasped and held strawberry smoothies in hand and in tears
Wondered how the curves of letters could seem like those biodegradable straws
From the local coffee shop, delivering cold and sweet on humid days.

“You didn’t MEAN to remind me how cavernous the rotunda could seem
After hours when you could sit and watch the pendulum swing
Fifteen minutes off the posted time, wondering how the hell
The engineers got that calibration so wrong, did you?”

They still didn’t get my obsession with ships (and still don’t now)
But there’s just something about the majesties of smokestacks and
That red rust paint color so popular on freighters juxtaposed against
Blue waters and bright sky that gets the heart pumping, you know? (No?)

I squeezed the car into the lot behind the comic shop, mid-July,
And walked that 2.6 miles (slogged that 2.6 miles) down the pier
Through all those summer crowds, just to catch the way the lake
Swallows the sun like thyroid medicine, calibrating its metabolism.

(Please stop voting us one of the best beach towns in America;
The tourism is a love-hate relationship, and the historic district
Is lobbying hard against a parking garage. We could use one,
But it would block their sun and impinge upon our Victorian charm.)

I lived in a town once that walked right into my pages.
People sworn it was just the same as it ever was, and what a story that made!
I could still taste the roasted peanuts from the old Italian grocery
Where I cashed in a lotto ticket once and used the winnings on a bottle of Scotch.


Poetry: NaPoWriMo, Day 1

This is the first post in the NaPoWriMo series, where I’ll be posting poems that received commentary from other participants, and the occasional poem I just really like from the challenge.

This first one is a two-fer: I hope you enjoy.  One thing NaPo has definitely shown me is that I can get comfortable with forms after a while.  I’m not the greatest fan of this quatrain, but I just did Day 24’s form, and boy howdy… that one will definitely be up sometime before 2019.  What a jewel.


PS – It’s… raining.  😀  What a delight!  It’s been so snowy lately I can’t stand it!


Form #1 – Quatrain: Inevitability

I felt the autumn aura on the breeze
And watched the snowflakes try in vain
To make a space to live a life of ease
Ignoring all the majesty of rain

The Earth extended chilly arms to greet them
And all her love was too much to deny
Their memories neat stitching along the hem
Of woolen shirts she’d just hung out to dry

The crispy crunch of leaves sing out to me
For at least another day before they freeze
Their siren song has long ceased to be
The sturdy knowing voice that comes from trees


Theme #1 – Halloween: The Worth of Witch’s Wishes

Wished every kid
Knocking at my door
Safety on this evening
When a wish is worth
What witches pay for

Good coinage
For the gatekeeper
Or the storyteller
Both with knitting
In their hands and
That small smile
Which knows more
Than you’ll ever know

Each dollop of sugar sweet
Holds the echoes of
Pounding the pavement and
Nights before I had to
Think twice about personal safety
And the unmarked police car
That now sits at the end
Of my driveway

The tiniest unicorn I have ever seen
Does not care for such things except
That I am a pirate and she stares up
At my tri-cornered hat

Do not worry little one because
Tonight is your night and
They may be burning witches but
You’re being blessed by one and
You’ll be alright

Enjoy your Kit-Kats and sweet dreams
On this Halloween night

Poetry: Along the Nile

Drumsticks lining the cage ache
Tar sticks to rounded tips potent
With lethargy and longing both

Tiny bird not only flutters but
Beats its wings against the bars
With a rhythm wound up in

Silken threads of our last touch
The way your tongue moves
When you say my name and

The tattoo that says
Your own bird longs for
Its freedom too

Grey feathers strangled in leaden
Macramé your deft wit has woven on
Rainy days tasting of bitter roots

The call of the Nile’s horizon line
Could hardly move you to come to
Its river banks except for perhaps

Our two tiny birds resting fearless
In the jaws of a crocodile
Wing beats like snare drums

Incessant and wild


This piece took Poem of the Day for November 13, 2018 on the Poetry Forum UK.

Poetry: Forum Success

Hi all –

Halfway through the month of November, and National Novel Writing Month has not turned out for this year.  I’ve been sick most of the month so far, and the “short story a day” idea has not panned out (though I have written a few).

What has worked out is joining a poetry forum, and participating in National Poetry Writing Month.  Every day during November, they post a form and a theme challenge for members.  I’ve presently written 32 poems this month just from that alone, and have received a few encouraging comments.

I’ve also thrown up a few of my gems that I was holding onto.  If I’m not submitting lately, why not throw some of what I believe to be my best out there and see if other people agree?  I’ve been wanting a barometer and feedback forum to post my works for a while, and after researching, I’m delighted with where I’ve chosen.  Members have an excellent balance between constructive and positive feedback.

Expect a few poetry posts coming, mostly those that received positive feedback on the NaPoWriMo challenge forum… and one that just took Poem of the Day, my first one on the site. 🙂

Much love, XO

(I will try to stop being various levels of sick!  The Boy came home sick today too though… November can be done now.)

What I’m Listening to: June (Instrumental) – Florence and the Machine

Writing: Short Story Practice

I’ve attempted two short stories this past week with reasonable success.

It probably helps that a new coworker is a writer, and in conversations between patrons on the circ desk, I’ve come to the conclusion that for writing process and style, we seem to have some similarities (see today’s discussion: our mutual and perhaps irrational love for semicolons).

Short stories are something I have agonized about on here before.  To have managed two of them, and on the re-read, to think that they certainly don’t suck, is a pleasant change.

And it’s certainly nice to have someone to talk about writing with on a semi-regular basis.

Writing: Music as an Altered State

When I’m writing, especially for NaNoWriMo, it’s not terribly hard to write to background music, and my go-to the past handful of years has always been a combination of Simon and Garfunkel and Florence and the Machine.

But sometimes, you come across an instance of a song that brings you right to a state of mental ecstasy, and it is so hard to capture what that feels like in words!  I am having such a hard time trying to give words to how NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with Florence and the Machine is making me feel right now, especially Patricia, a song that was not one of the standouts for me on her latest record, High as Hope.

But gods be good if the acoustic Tiny Desk version of Patricia is GIVING ME LIFE, especially given particular life events lately.  I have literally been dancing around my living room singing with it on repeat for an hour, and I don’t have a damn bit of shame about it.

She opens with June too, which is in a three-way tie for my favorite song on her latest album as well, and there’s something about someone who, with voice and aura and words, just conveys a whole sense of living in the Great Wide Something.  She captured such a moment, a moment I feel so close too because the tragedy of the Pulse shooting happened in the early morning hours right after the concert I saw her at at Pine Knob ended, because I have family who are LGBTQ+, because I have friends who are, and because love is love is love and my bleeding heart has a hard time wrapping its comprehension around events that cause such heart break.

I just wanted to share something with you all that’s making me feel deeply and hard right now.

I hope you’re all dancing out there, and loving and living, XO.  And remember, it’s such a wonderful thing to love.

Poetry: Homage

A work I laid down the outline of while in Tennessee last month, and that I posted recently on the Poetry Forum UK.


Sol glitters, effervescent upon my waters.

American poet, when Muir speaks of cathedrals of power,

Here is this, with enough to

Fill one’s lungs with endless ecstasies.

Weathered boulders upon my shores,

Nature’s laundry folded and pressed and these glories!

Hooked and hung up like all of your heartstrings, little one,

Left by God’s wet hands out to dry, to make Earth’s bed.

Day’s light drifting through my canopy, with its new line of fall fashions,

Every cut you could dream of now in crimson and gold,

Casting shadows upon these colossi beyond compare

Crowned in Jurassic green moss.

(And ah, we’re back to snagged thread again.

You leave your heart so easily, oh youth!)

Time gently taps your forehead with the crisp rhythm of autumn-feel.

You perch, little sparrow, here on these water-worn thrones and

Enjoy my views through its soft veil, and cast your breath

On winds that have never ceased, lips pursed with the utterances of

Another American poet.

(And when Whitman says, “I sing the body electric,”

It is here, perhaps, you truly understand.)

Writing: Musical Storytelling, Part 2

In an attempt to inspire myself, I’ve been telling stories with the music of Florence and the Machine.  The first post is here.  This is the second story, about the soul.

Can you see the rise and fall in the story I’m telling?


The Soul is an Ocean

  • Hunger

    • At seventeen I started to starve myself
      I thought that love was a kind of emptiness
      And at least I understood then the hunger I felt
      And I didn’t have to call it loneliness
      We all have a hunger
  • Only If For a Night

    • And the only solution was to stand and fight
      And my body was bruised and I was set alight
      But you came over me, like some holy rite
      And although I was burning, you’re the only light
      Only if for a night
  • Dog Days Are Over

    • Happiness hit her like a train on a track
      Coming towards her, stuck still, no turning back
  • Landscape

    • She can’t see the landscape anymore
      It’s all painted in her grief
      All of her history etched out at her feet
      Now all of the landscape, it’s just an empty place
      Acres of longing, mountains of tenderness
  • Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

    • You made a deal, and now it seems you have to offer up
      But will it ever be enough? (Raise it up, raise it up)
      It’s not enough (Raise it up, raise it up)
      Here I am, a rabbit hearted girl, frozen in the headlights
      It seems I’ve made the final sacrifice
  • What the Water Gave Me

    • ‘Cause they took your loved ones
      But returned them in exchange for you
      But would you have it any other way?
      Would you have it any other way?
      You couldn’t have it any other way.
  • Which Witch

    • And it’s my whole heart
      Weighed and measured inside
      And it’s an old scar
      Trying to bleach it out
      And it’s my whole heart
      Deemed and delivered a crime
      I’m on trial, waiting ’til the beat comes out
  • Queen of Peace

    • Oh, the queen of peace always does her best to please
      Is it any use?
      Somebody’s gotta lose.
      Like a long scream
      Out there, always echoing
      Oh, what is it worth?
      When all that’s left is hurt.
  • No Light, No Light

    • You want a revelation, you want to get it right
      But that’s a conversation I just can’t have tonight
      You want a revelation, some kind of resolution, you want a revelation
  • Make Up Your Mind

    • But if you’re going to make me do it
      How’d you want it done?
      Is it best to sip it slowly, or drink it down in one?
  • Various Storms and Saints

    • I know you’re bleeding, but you’ll be okay
      Hold on to your heart, you’ll keep it safe
      Hold onto your heart, don’t give it away
  • Delilah

    • I’m drifting through the halls with the sunrise (Holding on for your call)
      Climbing up the walls for that flashing light (I can never let go)
      Cause I’m going to be free and I’m going to be fine (Holding on for your call)
      Cause I’m going to be free and I’m going to be fine (Maybe not tonight)
  • 100 Years

    • Then it’s just too much, the streets, they still run with blood
      A hundred arms, a hundred years, you can always find me here
      And lord, don’t let me break this, let me hold it lightly
      Give me arms to pray with instead of ones that hold too tightly
  • Shake It Out

    • And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
      Given half a chance would I take any of it back?
      It’s a fine romance, but it’s got me so undone
      It’s always darkest before the dawn
  • Third Eye

    • ‘Cause your pain is a tribute, the only thing you let hold you
      Wear it now like a mantle, always there to remind you
      I’m the same, I’m the same, I’m trying to change
  • I Will Be

    • I will be
      Silence will not cover me
  • The End of Love

    • We were reaching in the dark that summer in New York
      And was it so far to fall?
      Said it didn’t hurt at all, and let it wash away, wash away

Writing: Musical Storytelling

I still have a CD player in my car.

Yes, it’s a 2012 model without an AUX port.  My 2008 runabout had one even.

This means I still get to burn CD mixes when I go on road trips.  Being a disciple of Florence + the Machine, who released their fourth album back in June, I decided to spend some time putting together a set of stories using nothing but her music for my impending journey.  One is about being in love, and the other is about following one’s soul.

It was an interesting practice, trying to put the songs in an order that made sense.  I hope spending some time reveling in some of my favorites in a new order sparks the inspiration in me!

Below, I list out the songs from one of them and a lyric from each illuminating the story I wanted to tell.

Can you see the rise and fall of the plot?  What do you think of my experiment?



  • Drumming Song

    • There’s a drumming noise inside my head that starts when you’re around
      I swear that you could hear it
      It makes such an almighty sound
  • Howl

    • Now there’s no holding back, I’m making to attack
      My blood is singing with your voice, I want to pour it out
      The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound
      I hunt for you with bloody feet across the hallowed ground
  • Bedroom Hymns

    • This is as good a place to fall as any
      We’ll build our altar here
      Make me your Maria
      I’m already on my knees
  • What Kind of Man

    • And with one kiss
      You inspired a fire of devotion that lasted for twenty years
      What kind of man loves like this?
  • Cosmic Love

    • And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
      I tried to find the sound
      But then it stopped, and I was in the darkness,
      So darkness I became
  • All This and Heaven Too

    • And I would give all this and heaven too
      I would give it all if only for a moment
      That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see
      ‘Cause I’ve been scrawling it forever but it never makes sense to me at all
  • Strangeness and Charm

    • The static of your arms, it is the catalyst
      You’re a chemical that burns there is nothing like this
      It’s the purest element but it’s so volatile
      An equation heaven sent, a drug for angels
  • Heartlines

    • I’ve seen it in the flights of birds, I’ve seen it in you.
      The entrails of the animals, the blood running through.
      But in order to get to the heart,
      I think sometimes you have to cut through.
  • Wish That You Were Here

    • And now I’m reaching out with every note I sing
      And I hope it gets to you on some pacific wind
      Wraps itself around you and whispers in your ear
      Tells you that I miss you and I wish that you were here
  • June

    • I hear your heart beating in your chest
      The world slows till there’s nothing left
      Skyscrapers look on like great, unblinking giants
      In those heavy days of June
      When love became an act of defiance
      Hold onto each other
  • Too Much is Never Enough

    • Oh, who decides from where up high?
      I couldn’t say, “I need more time.”
      Oh, grant that I can stay the night
      Or one more day inside this life!
  • No Choir

    • And it’s hard to write about being happy, ’cause the older I get
      I find that happiness is an extremely uneventful subject
      There will be no grand choirs to sing
      No chorus could come in
      About two people sitting doing nothing

(All credit for this insanely amazing music goes to Florence and the Machine, of course!  Hope that would go without saying, but saying it anyways.  From a fan forever <3)

Writing: WEBverse Story Board

Just spent a good chunk of time with an Excel spreadsheet and some hastily scribbled notes from work plotting out the next story I’m going to write, an expansion on the snippet I just posted the other day.

I totally pillaged off of J.K. Rowling’s architecture for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as discussed here on Mental Floss.

I have a main plot, with a primary subplot, and five subplots.  They are well spaced and evenly dispersed.  Nothing gets lost for chapters at a time, in theory.  My one subplot that’s late to the game, about halfway through, is robust through the second half, and ties in strongly with my running space-time theme.

All my MC’s have names (this part was not even difficult at all).

And if it starts coming out before NaNoWriMo?  So be it.  I’m not stopping this fountain.