Poem: A Little Party Every Day

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We did it, folks! Thanks to donations from several people, my poetry raised $270 for the City of Refuge. I don’t yet know the total raised from all poets participating in the Poem-a-Thon. 

I wrote to the prompt today, for my final poem. “…write something about celebrations–an event you celebrate, or how you celebrate. How do you turn the everyday into a festive occasion?” This is a little rough, but I can polish it later.

A Little Party Every Day

I try to have a little party for myself every day – good advice from a random stranger on the internet.

I made it through the workday
without crumbling and my legs are strong.
My phone is the portal to a million songs
enough reason to dance, swaying
to one upbeat tune before engaging
with pots and pans and chopping knives.
Pop a sparkling water and raise a glass
to snuggly cats and exams passed
as my loves share the small joys of their lives.
For enduring my dreaded recurring chore —
clipping coupons and meal planning
squeaky cart wheels and standing in line —
discount flowers from the grocery store.
A donut on the deck, stationed
for a prime view of the pollinators
darting and busy from color to color,
planting accomplished 
and now a moment for observation.
A camp chair under the carport 
with a cup of red rooibos tea
the joyful tap of rain above me
there’s time for a party, no matter how short.


Poem: This Like That, That Like This

It’s the penultimate day of the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. I had to send the bucket deep into the well to come up with anything today.

This Like That, That Like This

It’s funny how when I hear
tires whooshing along roadways
in the distance it can sound
like ocean waves rolling in
and out, the rhythmic pulsing
of air at steady intervals.
Maybe it’s my mind grasping
for the ancient familiar
to make sense of the now 
or the impulse to create
categories – this like
that, that like this, a mirage
of mastery over what
is uncontrollable. Or.
It’s possible. A connection
is present in a real way
the great mechanism of
our running universe
providing the beat for all
we create and experience.


Poem: Continuance

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Day 28 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. This is my most stream of consciousness poem so far, thinking about all the stuff happening everywhere.


I sign petitions and people continue to suffer
I attend rallies and people continue to suffer
I hold signs, I write letters, I scrape ten dollars
From my bank account to help the cause
And maybe one person suffers a little less
I raise my voice against attacks
On the vulnerable and the attacks continue
The attacks continue but next to me
An ally is signing a petition
Community members are rallying for justice
Workers are sharing their hard-won earnings
To make the world less sick, more fair
And maybe a few people suffer a little less
And maybe a handful suffer a lot less
Suffering continues and attacks continue
And solidarity continues and the work continues
And sometimes joy breaks to the surface
And those who care continue to stand
Shoulder to shoulder because 
What else is there to do


Poem: You, on the Riverbank

Getting my poem up late tonight. Entry 27 for the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon is inspired by a memory of a camping trip with my husband.

You, on the Riverbank

On my early morning walk I sought
solitude on the path to the river
believing I wanted to be alone.
All went as desired until I turned
at the last bend and there you were
ahead of me, already taking in
the newly wakened sunbeams tapping
sparks on the water. You didn’t hear me
stop behind, gazing at you gazing
toward the far bank through the center
of a jagged wreath of willow leaves
perfectly shaped for the view, the light
glowing around your silhouette focusing
you at the center of the scene, all
the world I could see a frame for you.


Poem: The Hummers Tease

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In the home stretch. It’s day 26 of 30 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. I’m writing about hummingbirds today.

The Hummers Tease

The hummers drop hints
that they’ve returned 
to the trumpet vines
one more year. 
Tiny shadows blink 
through green sinews
like floaters in my eye.
Look at them directly,
they disappear.
Orange blossoms are 
not yet open.
Look elsewhere little 
thimbleful of feathers.
Grow and come back in a week.
Then dangle your colors 
before me as you feed
giving me more than a tease.


Poem: Taking Up Space

Day 25/30 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. Today’s poem was inspired by a conversation with a dear friend about the issue of taking up space while female.

Taking Up Space

Trying to outrun the apologies
that cling to my essence
I search for a space 
out of the shadows
search for the daring to claim
some corner of light
a space to expand to my full
magnitude, an unshrinking
unwary unsorry
soul focused on more
than survival
maybe more than a corner
of light maybe without
even asking permission
more than a corner
not seeking permission


Poem: Bridge

pedestrian bridge

Day 24/30 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. This feels pretty unfinished, but I’m calling it okay for tonight.


A wooden foot bridge spans the creek
that divides the park near my house
I raised my kids on this bridge
or so it seems when I stand on it now
recalling the span of their years
at the site of our former daily adventures
when adventures were daily
This bridge was a place to loiter and plan
to learn about ripples and gravity
as twigs and rocks dropped to the current
It was our place to wait and watch
the fish and crawdads and neighbors
and birds. Once on a cold day even
a great blue heron, a solitary event
the span of its wings startling in enormity
We always brought home stories
A bridge is not primarily for lingering
of course and the crossing seemed
an ever satisfying feat in a young life
a solid accomplishment
I was there on the other side
and now I’m here in a new place
with a clear line between the two.


Abecedarian Poem

Day 23 of the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon. The prompt today was to write an abecedarian poem, working through the alphabet a-z with each line’s first word. I found it a challenge and the poem didn’t come out quite how I wanted — do they ever? — but here it is. 

All the Troubles and Yet

All the troubles everywhere, yet a
Baby brings joy, each new
Child in my circle a welcome
Discovery that the world goes on
Each one accepted as the 
Finest example of what the universe offers
Greeted with adoration and wonder
Heralded with hope
Imagine receiving that level of tenderness
Just for being, freely given
Love with no expectations
Meaning found simply in connection
No earning it or losing it
Only a thereness
Produced because it’s how we survive
Quarrels most certainly will arrive
Right along with disappointments
Suffering and sickness
There’ll be time to think on those
Upsets later, rather than wasting the
Velvet days of infancy with our minds
X number of years in the future
Youth speeds away but comes 
Zipping back to humanity again and again


Poem: Wildflowers Swim

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I like flowers, so I’m writing about them again for day 22 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon.

Wildflowers swim

Wildflowers swim in a sea of grass
breaking to the surface, dipping back
below the green, gliding to and fro
as the wind creates ripples and waves
petal overlapping petal like scales
on fish, they bob and undulate.
If I dangled a raindrop on a hook
could I catch one?

Poem: To the Little Phlox That Could

Small phlox plant with purple flowers
Woodland Phlox

Here is entry number 21 in the City of Refuge Poem-a-Thon.

To the Little Phlox That Could

You were devalued when first we met
at the hardware store, lonely
the one remaining woodland phlox
rejected by all who came before.
Only I was willing to take the chance
on your struggling, half-withered self
being in pretty much the same condition.
“It won’t last” – I could see that message
in the eyes of the cashier who united us.
I wasn’t a great bet either
have not logged a high success rate
with green growing things.
Yet I gave it my best and so did you.
Look at us now, you with your
amethyst petals bursting with pride
and me, not doing too bad my own self.