The Follow-up (NaPoWriMo Day 22)


You’re doing great.
I am really happy with your progress. But
there were those two positive nodes,
so we didn’t quite get clean margins.
We really like clean margins.
Everything else looks good though, except
those margins. Just to be safe
I think we should do a PET scan.
I don’t expect to find anything.
I don’t expect anything to light up.
But just in case.
Just in case anything does light up.
And assuming nothing lights up
then we’ll just go ahead with the radiation
because that will help make sure
we really got it.
Make sure it doesn’t come back.
Maybe even cure you.
At least for a few years. You’ll be fine.
Most people tolerate it really well.
Just a little fatigue.
And redness—like a sunburn.
That’s usually it. Though
you could get nauseated.
But that’s uncommon.
I think you will be just fine.
As soon as we get that PET scan.


Today’s prompt from Poetic Asides was to write an optimistic and/or pessimistic poem. I think I have both duly covered.

New York School (NaPoWriMo Day 21)


(Fair warning: If you read this poem out loud, you might have to wash your mouth out with soap.)

Remember that time you went with me on a business trip, George?
We stayed in Midtown right in the middle of all the New York madness.
You slept in while I went to meetings in the Fox News building, then
you got up and went walking in Times Square and got bird shit on your good
linen shirt. Fucking bird. Fuck you, you fucking bird! you kept shouting
at the sky. Well, I don’t know. I wasn’t there, maybe you didn’t shout, but
I would have expected you to shout at the fucking bird.
Whole place smells of garbage and shit, especially in summer.
Who would want to live there? A nice place to visit but…
And remember we went to shows? 9 to 5 with that woman from The West Wing—
you know, the tall one. I hear she might be gay but I think they just say that
because she’s tall. It was OK, but not as good as the movie. I mean Dolly is a hoot,
not to mention Lily and Jane. Oh boy, listen to those names—“Dolly and Lily and Jane.”
Is that generational or what? And then we went to see August, Osage County—
that was before anyone knew what it was, before Meryl and Julia had to go and turn it
into a bigass movie. Better on stage. Had that guy from Northern Exposure—
what was his name?—and Phylicia Rashad, that football players’ wife—you know,
the one who played Mrs. Cosby. And after the show we wandered around
Times Square and the neon lights were so bright I expected to run into fucking
Bob Fosse around every corner. And before the show we were eating dinner
at that famous Italian place and the service was so goddam slow we had to gulp
our wine on the way out. I mean it was a weeknight and not even busy.
And I’ll never forget standing in line at the cheap ticket place and the girl
in front of us with blue hair and her boyfriend with magenta and how they were
pierced all over the fucking place and thank god they kept their clothes on
because no one needs to be seeing that. And as we walked past Bubba Gump
and David Beckham hocking underwear on a billboard you said Don’t tell me
he ain’t packin’—that is just not natural.


Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a “New York School” poem following this recipe. Now I need to go sanitize my keyboard.

Jesus Is Trending (NaPoWriMo Day 20)


(Fair warning: Religious humor ahead. Keep reading at your own risk!)

Jesus Christ is bleeding edge.
The masses follow Him like sheep,
hanging on His every word,
every verse and every tweet.

His entourage is growing large.
How much cooler can He get
than His own show and His own book?
The “Undead” star is rising yet.

The cable channels love His draw,
and all the advertisers say,
“Buy our stuff and be like Him—and
Happy Zombie Jesus Day!”


For today’s poem, two of the three prompts I’ve been monitoring for NaPoWriMo related to “family.” As it is Easter and I have made most of the obligatory holiday family phone calls, I thought I would share the family joke. Lighten up, folks. It’s humor. ;-)

Baskin-Robbins Brown (NaPoWriMo Day 19)


For my first real job I had to wear a brown uniform
with brown, pink, orange and white stripes. They provided
the top and cap; I had to come up with brown pants.
Brown pants were not easy to find back in 1980-something.

My thin, cheap, acrylic brown pants came apart
at the seams more than once. I sewed them up by hand.
Who would waste good minimum-wage dollars
replacing ugly brown uniform pants?

My aversion to brown lasted for years.
No patterns with brown. No brown calicos
for patchwork quilts. No working at UPS!
Brown was for boots and belts and shoes.

So this morning when I put on a long sleeve brown shirt
and then pulled on a pink sweater over it, the pink came
immediately back off. Navy, I thought. Navy is nice.
Navy and brown are nice and dull—not the least bit revolting.


Today’s Poetic Asides prompt was to write a color poem. I searched the entire interwebs for photos of the old B-R uniforms. They were so godawful ugly that no one but this guy wanted to be seen in them. (The entire interwebs, people! That’s the only one I found!) But you know what was even worse? The “girl” uniforms were shaped to the female form with curved seams and darts, and they actually had to be zipped up the back!!! Aargh! Can you see why I am scarred for life?? (I know, I know—serious first-world problem. But really,  people, it made honorable mention on this list of the seven worst restaurant uniforms ever.)

Not a very good poem, but just a tiny little bit cathartic. :-)

Rain (NaPoWriMo Day 18)


I ask the barista engineering the production of my chai
whether rain increases or decreases the flow of customers.
It alternates, she says. When it’s cold, rain amps things up.
When it’s warm, it’s already slow; with rain it fizzles out.
The coffee shop is crackling today—energy contained
within the walls, unwilling to leave the insulated space,
afraid of the potential shock. Will that be cash or charge?

Yesterday’s prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a weather poem.

Am I a Hipster? (NaPoWriMo Day 17)


NPR tells me chickens are cool.
Urbanites get them, then play the fool,
dropping them off at the animal shelter
when they no longer lay or end up as fellers.
Victoria is noisy and aging (two peewees??),
but she’s going nowhere—she’s our little sweetie!

Chicken Mama holding Victoria

Chicken Mama holding Victoria


Yesterday’s prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a “pop culture” poem. Incidentally, Robert Lee Brewer (the host of Poetic Asides) posted an article this week titled “What Is the Value of Poetry?” It’s worth a look.

On the Cusp of Consciousness (NaPoWriMo Day 16)


My brother is a rat. He crawls in the walls keeping me awake at night.
Turn off the lamp if you want to see clearly. Dreams float like feathers,
tickling my brain: the monkey on the rug eats my grapes,
a funeral procession sings flowery spring dirges while
the tempest hollers my name. Mary, Mary, quite contrary—
put your books away before the elephant hits the wall!

My brother is a water boy. The answer is hydrogen-bonding.
The question is: Why does he like me? He has many issues to deal with.
The morning sun blinds me like a spore in my nostril, so I toss myself in
with the brights to add color to my cheeks. Let rise until doubled.
The vase yawns, tired of being the monkey’s spittoon, and covets
its neighbor’s arrangement, while the pachyderm lumbers on.


Today’s prompt from was to write a 10-line poem in which each line is a lie. While I considered a couple other prompt options (elegy, death, blah blah blah), the “lie” poem really intrigued me. But every time I considered it during the day, I couldn’t think of anything to write.

Then I remembered a poem I’d started years ago (close to 20–aack!). I cut some pieces and relined it to get it down to size (OK, I got to 12 lines)–and, voila! I might have figured it out! Well, at least it is an improvement on the prior umpteen versions. Yay!

April 15th (NaPoWriMo Day 15)


In keeping with this most auspicious day,
I must confess I’ve been a little lax.
I started our return and then it lay

just waiting on the last outstanding facts.
Why wait? Who knows? It’s dumb, I do admit
(a refund—we have paid our share of tax!),

when all we need to do is press Submit!

And yet one more rhyme-y poem. I can’t help it– told me to write a terza rima.

There. All caught up. In more ways than one.

Serious Questions (NaPoWriMo Day 14)


To George from Biff

Where does wind come from?
Where does it go?
How far does rain fall?
Would it rather be snow?

If sunlight could sleep,
would it dream of the night?
If moonlight could sing,
would its rhythm be tight?

Do flowers get happy
when it’s time to bloom?
And when it’s all over,
do they fall into gloom?

Do trees feel the pain
of leaves bursting forth?
Does Polaris realize
it helps point us north?

I don’t have those answers
but this one I do,
when asked who’s my true love
I always say you!

Almost caught up…yesterday’s poem used the prompt: write a poem entirely of questions, except the last line.

Apparently I get rhyme-y when I am pressed for time.

The Kindergarten Zoo (NaPoWriMo Day 13)


After learning the animals all week
the children were roarin’ to go—
lion, tiger, chimpanzee—
but someone forgot Friday’s show.

She’d planned her clothes
for the big performance day—
polka dots she chose
for her animal’s display.

But what’s this the spectators see,
neck stretching to the heights?
Could it possibly be
a giraffe with stripes?

Trying to get caught up…it’s been a busy few days. This poem came from the Day 13 prompt at Poetic Asides: write an animal poem.

I was reminded of this incident by the very cute illustrations at Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar’s blog. Check out this awesome giraffe!