The Poetry Marathon Anthology 2017 Now Available on Amazon

poetry marathon anthology 2017

Once again, I’m so privileged to be included in this gorgeous anthology of crazy poets who challenged themselves to a frenzied mad dash marathon of poetry, a poem an hour for 24 hours. My poem is on the very last page.

Buy it here.  You’ll make someone happy for the holidays when you give them the gift of poetry while supporting poets and poetry (what the world needs now more than ever).

It’s What You want (Poem 20 of the Poetry Marathon)


Never enough of it because the throngs crash into me

When all I want to do is get to the other side of the street.

And the rare time I sit down to watch a movie or t.v.,

There’s the dog’s head or tail blocking the screen.

So I call her over to me, and in 90 degree heat, she,

Whose heredity traces back to Alaska, lies against me.
 

Relationships, the worst for the coveted thing since

no matter how hard you try, you can’t get him off,

To let go and do something on his own, without me.

I have a friend who’s a close talker, another who pokes,

And yet another who slaps me every time she laughs.

My mother was a hugger but even she could sense.
 

What is this prized possession we never have,

Well, not enough of, but we all need and want?

What’s her name? You thought she was beauty,

And you were wrong. Not money, nor fame, either.

Yes, family, marriage, children, some of us crave that,

But others could care less. No the thing is             Ah, yes.

 

Image Source

I Should be Alone: Poem 24

moon07

It’s five in the morning; I should be alone,

the only one up in this house,

as I finish what I started twenty-four hours ago,

this poetry marathon, a sleepless creative

hell of my own making, only because I have

to work in two hours and then fry myself on

a soccer field after that–ah but sleep.

She’s just around the turned corner of the morning.

But who do I hear creaking the floorboards above me?

It’s she who sometimes doesn’t sleep at night.

The insomnia came after the concussion, that kick

in the head just over one year ago.

I saw her asleep at eight, while I was on poem fourteen.

I’m not surprised to hear her stomp, stomp, pull open

a drawer, stomp, stomp, and plop into her squeaky bed.

I had forgotten how quiet the night was in my room

when she was away at college up north, playing soccer.

But at this hour, this sacred sleep hour when no one

arises or goes to bed, I lay in my bed, IPad propped on

my naked belly, the screen’s light, casting a shadow on

the ceiling while the fan blows white noise about me,

and struggle through the last “poem” of this marathon,

the final, number twenty-four, for which I am thankful.

 

 

Post script: This was the last poem of a grueling 24 hours, and as the hours plodded on, my poetry became more prose blips or journal entries than poetry, aside from the form.

So, is this really poetry? What makes a poem? Inquiring minds need to know.

A Room: Poem 23

A room in this old house, holds history–
mine, yours ours and theirs.
This room is where I sleep nights;
it’s where I awaken each day to
slatted light from vertical blinds
that open to a window laden with
orange tree leaves and ripened
fruit, the color of the sun setting
on the Pacific not more than a mile
from this very room in this home.

Its cornflower blue walls contain
my thoughts and prayers, my
ujjayi breath, sometime despair.
This oaken floor steadies my
bare feet, wears my yoga mat,
including the cat on top who
skrick scratches her claws in it.

But it wasn’t always my cave;
it belonged to others before me.
Two nieces slept here, the last
who chose the wall colors, and
the one before who now sleeps
in my parents’ home, while they
sleep in mine now, in their room,
which used to be the play room
for loud television shows and toys
and kool aid colored couches for
friends to jump on and destroy.

And before that, it was the bedroom
my husband designed and had built
by a friend who charged too much and
stole his baby grand piano on pretext.
And before it was our bedroom, where
our children were conceived and I
labored in our big blue sunken jacuzzi
tub beneath the bay window and lime
stone tiles surrounding the midnight blue,
it was an office converted from a garage,
where his business began selling hardware,
which eventually turned to software and an
office elsewhere, which he sold to find
more fulfilling work, which he still seeks.

But when my parents moved in, we moved
the bed, desk, dresser, night table and lamps
into my room, the room I share with no one
except the dog, a few cats and the constant
turnstile traffic of inquirers and visitors living
in and outside the house, my room, the hub,
with its Picasso print of woman-dove face in
black and white, who resembles my oldest
daughter even though I bought that print
twenty years before her birth, and now that
she’s twenty herself, she tattooed that face
on her left arm, just like it appears on my
bedroom wall, above the hand painted
poster that asks, “Is there no way out of the
mind?”, purchased and overpriced by a
friend of my daughter’s who painted and
sold it to me after she returned from rehab.

And the Van Gogh with the gilt frame, huge
hanging above my bed, well that was a gift
from my nephew when he was only 23, and
he knew I loved art and so wrapped this big
old Starry Night print and gave it to me, so
that’s why it’s there framed above my head,
garish and cliché but sentimentally stationed.

Because my room holds pictures of my girls,
and a fan that cools me summers and a
heater that warms me winters, and dozens
of ceramic boxes and knick knacks and the
remains of my jewelry box, what wasn’t
stolen by someone who knew the dog
well enough not to get bitten as an intruder.

This room holds hours of frustration, and
ideas, poems and graded essays, years of
reading and writing, drawing, coloring and
crocheting, fretting and forgetting, crying
and laughing, the entire history of a house,
its inhabitants, furnishings, we call home.

Dear John…Poem 20

Dear John:

You’ve told me a man must have everything.

He must have her love and affection, trust

and cares, woes and fantasies, body and belief.

He must contain and compel her dreams, speak

her mind with her, beside her and be her too.

He must have her body, entirely his own, as she

equally partakes of his, fully accessible any time.

He must give her solace and she his support.

They must build things and break things down,

together, working as a team, united as one.

There must be abundant love everlasting, you say,

and undying even beyond death and delivery.

John, you’ve claimed possession of her opinions,

her bodily secretions, and her style of clothing.

You’ve demanded her attention and hands, her

movements during the day and night, her arms

ever clasping yours, enveloping you enveloping her…

Dear John, my dearest of all, love can’t be swapped

and traded, quantified and qualified, bought and sold.

Love is no cure, can’t fill the gaps, cracks or ailments,

not those inherent or fostered in the care of those who

thought love was power and hurt and discipline and

control, John, mere control that fear spills through you.

Love is not for keeps, never on sale, bundled or peddled.

Especially, love is not had but kindled, like wood fires

warmth and sustenance, dazzling and mysterious, in

properties known and magical too. Love has no rules.

John, let me, if you will, teach you all I know about love.

Love–

Urban Jungle: Poem 18


Artwork-by-Kevin-Peterson-9

 
Urban jungle, yes literally, not metaphorically,
 
though maybe more like a ghetto forest.
 
Leading the determined coalition, is one sleek fox,
 
low lying, white tipped tail, like a log on legs.
 
Following fellow fox is great black bear, also
 
in forceful forward motion, head level, purpose
 
in his gait and onward gaze, alongside the girl.
 
She, decked in tartan plaid skirt, red cap
 
and sweater, strides along friend bear
 
among the graffiti’d concrete landscape
 
peppered with spare thin trees, once patterned
 
for park pleasure seekers and outdoor fun.
 
In ruins now, no one in the neighborhood
 
respects the land, so the conservationists
 
have taken up extreme measures for the cause:
 
the children and the animals, who will inherit
 
the earth when the mature of the human species
 
go extinct, march forth to the city council meeting
 
to state their peace: “Who will speak for the trees
 
and the bees before they’re completely gone?”

Gerenuk: Poem 16

Sipping a Rasputin stout,
hoping for animal inspiration,
I watched the household pet,
a Japanese bobtail cat leap
from four-paw standing to
mid-air leap on a moth quest.
She stood tall on two paws
her ears spread wide apart
with aggravated intent.

She looked like a gazelle
and a giraffe, tall and swift;
then I remembered the zoo,
when I braved the school bus,
field trip mom amid 3rd graders.

An African gerenuk, goofball
of the Savannah, big eared,
whistle mouth, tongue clicker
that stood hind leg tall in the
branches seeking choice leaves.

While the cheetahs and lions
drew the crowds, the tree
dancer oddity, half breed
or so it seemed, of flight
and height, panic and poise,
stole my attention, ever the
soft touch for the under dog.

And hard as I tried to bring
the children to her windowed
habitat, they didn’t understand.
“That’s weird,” my own daughter
declared, and I contented myself,
alone in my fascination for freaks,
to have learned about this wonder.

First Cut: Poem 15

First Cut–
 
Perhaps my father was the first,
 
with his absence,
 
except for the rare storms from his daytime slumber
 
to terrorize us into quiet so he could sleep.
 
I once got caught in the cross fire of his flying hands.
 
I was not yet 3.
 
My older sisters squealed and screamed him awake.
 
But I was too naive to run.
 
Before that, he was the myth my mother made us believe
 
about fatherhood and tender love.
 
First Cut II–
 
Another one I summons from memory caves
 
was the gorgeous boy
 
with the ass long shiny silk brown hair
 
and tan flawless skin sunk into Italian brown eyes.
 
I was 13 and he 15.
 
He paid me attention, walked with me at night
 
on a quiet moon-lit road named Candlewood as we
 
murmured our intentions, our future married selves
 
–or I did.
 
I couldn’t believe he was interested in me, a brainy
 
average-looking girl with the wrong kind of hair that refused
 
to hang long and straight from a middle combed part.
 
And a week after that walk under the old gibbous moon,
 
when I told him I wanted to marry a bodily lover,
 
he failed to appear, non-responsive, ghosted–
 
and I cried the cliché with a painful heart, torn
 
and scorned, never to be stabbed the same again,
 
my pillows my week-long companions in sob-town.
 
First Cuts–
 
Though others made Caesar of my heart, dagger
 
hurlers and stabbers, I remember them vaguely.
 
Not like the first cuts, the baptismal soul’s sarcophagus.

Ten Years Ago I Wanted to Pierce My Nose: Poem 14

Ten years ago I wanted to pierce my nose
 
but I joined a firm instead.
 
My partners thought it wild,
 
clashing with the cobalt blue seriousness
 
of our office walls and wisdom.
 
So I waited til I left the firm to pierce my nose.
 
My daughters had theirs pierced by then.
 
Yet I caved to pressure in the last minute:
 
it will jeopardize your reputation, and
 
the outcome of your case
 
may be prejudiced, prejudged, predetermined
 
by another’s preconceived notions
 
about piercings and morals and drugs,
 
noise like that, which I know is just bull shit.
 
But I chickened out, and now my nose
 
has grown long with age, and the piercing
 
would not look right wedged between wrinkled
 
doubt and oily regrets oozing from gaping pores.
 
I’ve made a mess of this decision.
 
Has it been ten years since I wanted to pierce my nose?

Moody Tree: Poem 12


Your name means mountain ebony,
a certain Bauhinia,
common to coastal California,
but I call you moody.
You own my front yard,
dominate passages and pathways,
burgeoning weight of verdure or
leafy reaches for spider’s webby catch to
neighboring anchors–rose bush branch or
car parked side mirrors.
How you please my wispy-boned mother braked still,
the dog leashed to the wheel chair,
under a relenting shade,
cooling an afternoon zephyr.
In spring or autumn, sometimes winter too,
you boom-blossom burbling orchids,
delicate pink and purple hazy bells
that sometimes ring in summer too.
That’s when your leaves burst butterfly hearts
of hunter green fringed in lemon-lime edges, a
hovering, healthy, verdant vibrancy.
But on any given week without reason,
your leaves brown at the edges,
then all the way through,
baring skeletal bramble
like bones of the cancerous,
exposed,
radiated,
burnt
for the winter–or summer complaint,
marring the yard, baring the hidden wreckage behind you.
That’s when the pods hang dry in rusts and reds, seeds
to bake or burst, sturdy uterine drip packets,
like dry, pea pod icicle tears crying,
yet unyielding to the grip.
And the next week,
they’re gone,
replaced by the brilliant buds as
poking penile plants peek through tightly tubed petals,
orchid splendor,
the softer side on a misty Monday.
Until Tuesday.
When the mood strikes.
Which outfit to wear for today?