In a new class I am taking in a Philly neighborhood with Minter Krotzer and Hal Sirowitz we will be studying various forms of poetry and how to take pieces of the work and create new poems. We discussed list poems and had to draft a few, here is my draft of one…

We War’shed Our Clothes

We war’shed our clothes by hand when I was a small child;
and by hand, meaning with a scrub board and in a big round war’sh tub.
We war’shed our clothes
on Saturday’s when my father was gone fishing, if he didn’t take one of us;
it required lots of boiled water from the kitchen,
and each of us would carry full pots across the yard.
We war’shed our clothes in the hot water,
and with an added bar of soap.

We war’shed ourselves in the same bucket,
with the same bar of soap, but on a different day.
We war’shed each piece of clothing on that war’sh board
until all the stains faded.
I still feel the grinding bumps of that war’sh board.

We war’shed our daddy’s clothes first.
We war’shed his work shirts and pants.
We war’shed all those undershirts until the yellow stains turned white,
and Momma would add some bleach for that.
We war’shed his smelly socks last,
because they were little and easier fitting in our small hands,
and they had soaked a bit longer.

We war’shed our kid clothes after his were done;
it was ‘the way’, Momma told us, for each child to go in birth order.
Each of us war’shed the few pieces of clothing we owned.
My brother went first;
then me, sometimes my baby sister’s clothes were already clean,
because Momma had war’shed them with her own during the week; it was then
I wished when we war’shed ourselves in that tub, after my turn, we could’ve thrown
out that baby with the war’sh water.

We war’shed all of them clothes,
and then hung them all on the outside line on sunny days.
They smelled like sunshine, blooming spring flowers, dangling peaches,
and chirping blue birds.
If it rained, we hung the clothes up in the backyard shed,
over daddy’s boat and on any work equipment kept there.
Sometimes the socks would fall into the dirty floor, and we would have to slap
off the leaves and bits of soil tracked in by our feet.
On those days our clothes smelled like gasoline, rusty metal and dying grass.

We war’shed our sheets and towels on Sunday’s,
but only once a month, when the sky was clear, because they dried quickly in the wind.
Then each one of us would run in our few moments of freedom, playing hide and seek and acting
as though it was our perfect white kingdom, clean white walls in each room.
Because back then there were no fences, you could see yard to yard to yard,
war’sh line to war’sh line.
My favorite war’sh day was Sunday;
after we took down all of the dried crisp laundry, we would make the beds,
and I would fall face forward into jubilation
and our war’shed clothes freshness.

On the fringe…

April 30, 2013

Winter won’t leave the building, and let Spring have her debut on stage…uh, or do I mean Summer! I am ready for warmer weather.
Been working on some haiku, haibun, and renga drafts. Decided to stick with regular poetry for a while; it definitely is a crafted and purposeful writing.

Heavy Dogwood waits—
a mother at full term gives
birth to pink tears

Dentist Anxiety

April 24, 2013

Line Breaks with Adam Schanz

know line breaks
they are dreams
pointy arrows
good ones
direct me
to a boat, and
fishing with my father.

bad ones
leave me hanging
in darkness
over my true body.

in a dentist chair
the arrow
is now pointing
at 7 AM.



Did authorities
his hat
and place it
his rights.

No real opinion here, just playing, thoughts before the alarm went off, and I head to the dentist today.



The pills
little blue ones
the doctor gives you
to subside anxiety
1 before bed
2 in morning
not help me.

wake up
each day, with
the sun
hungry birds

I come home
later today
my mouth
will have another
and 1 more

Have a good day writing friends, and Peace!

It Needs To Be Said

April 23, 2013

In my on-line class we are studying Re Vision of a poem and line breaks, how powerful an impact they can make. So here is my newest piece, with some help from poet friends suggestions, and my own snip snip. Below is original…

Touched By Other Cultures

toothbrush sits,
half on the counter,
half in the holder
the way she left
Maybe she keeps one
at every house,
in her purse.
Extra brushes are
in my suitcase, ready,
just in case. I will not be able
to make
chicken Dak-bok-keum-tang
stew we all enjoyed.
Even with its heat and
the dish will now be hard
to swallow.
Before she left my son
because I am his mother
touched by giving birth
will never
have the same
her country of birth.

(Original Version)

Her toothbrush sits,
half on the counter,
half in the holder
the way she left it
she keeps one
at every house,
in her purse,
free dentist brushes are always
in my suitcase,
ready, just in case.
I will not be able
to make spicy dishes
chicken Dak-bok-keum-tang stew
we all enjoyed.
Even with its heat and spice
the dish will now, be hard
to swallow.
Before she left my son
at the coffee house table,
because she didn’t know
how to communicate.
To break up without ease;
only using tears as language
and no long goodbye.
We had a good visit
with him in Korea.
Before her.
But for him,
and me
because I am his mother
touched by giving birth
will never
have the same meaning–
her country of birth.

Blind Date Delmonico

I arrived at his apartment in a low rent neighborhood. I grew up poor. He answered the door in leather pants and a black leather vest. No shirt underneath. I liked his long reddish wavy hair. His lips looked like a familiar rock star. He spoke with intelligence and some felinity, but he had no cats. I suggested dinner, so we did fast food. We talked of books, poetry, and music on the short drive. I felt his eyes on me the whole time. When we returned, I drove because he had no car, his apartment had been robbed. I noticed they left his broken down guitar. Torn strings and worn out bridge. He was sad they took his new TV. He played a few riffs and complained. He would miss football. We didn’t speak the rest of the night.

Working out the kinks

April 18, 2013

And I am not talking about jumping about while an old Punk CD is playing. Although… I am working on a series of prose style pieces for my current book and possible to go in another manuscript about my childhood. Working on recipe styled pieces has not been as hard as once thought.

It Wasn’t a Stroke of Luck

The last time I saw her, standing, was in 1989, and it was by the stove. Earl T had bought her an electric can opener to ease the pain of arthritis. She opened a can of green beans to go with the fast food fried chicken we brought when we surprised her with a pop call. Daddy called it that, because you just pop in to say hello. Mammaw, as her grand-children called her, would laugh at her son’s antics, but still it was her way to fuss over kin folk.

I was blessed to have such a great influence like Eula Mae Akin. I missed her southern style beans. We would sit on a bin, in the middle of the floor, and help take off the ends. She always used a small paring knife to remove dark spots and stems. After slicing some bacon and onion, she would place it all in a pot. A smile and whistle and smell told you when it was ready. The pressure cooker, life and stove-top kind, did all the rest.

My grandmother became barely recognizable; crooked fingers, bent over back, a sad look of pain in her eyes, and eventually a stroke had made her an invalid. Now you stood by the hospital bed, holding her hand, and talked. If she answered you it was in a series of loud moans and jerks, just before a nurse changed her diaper.

Today is her birthday, and I woke up with a craving for her…

April 11, 2013


Rocks and Green and Darkness and the Surface

There is more distance today when I dream of her. Not the pink and lace and smiley faces of hanging grade school crayons. But of claws and festering wounds and racing heart beats of wolves and the running within their nightmares. Wadded pieces of trash with only lips and cheeks line a cliff’s edge; exposing torn flesh, peeling it back until something unrecognizable surfaces, red black, underneath slippery moss. As its blood oozes, dries and is wiped away, curious strangers begin to emerge. Lifting hand to face, eyes bleed fear; all of the bodies turn white, leaving no trace of human existence as juggling seals move in, fin by fin, braking, bones fly through the soul, reminding us of healing— Seas crash onto rocks to renew its sand. Mermaids reach for answers on sinking ships; breathe is taken, reborn, and the moment we wake, those fading brown eyes, they simply follow as you walk around the room, from their perch on the wall. Safely, away from ones thoughts.


(Click photo to enlarge)

Tick tick tick

March 25, 2013

As time ticks on my writing style is ever changing. I have been encourage to use punctuation over free verse, void of any. Also a poet friend suggested I study someone who has mastered the art of no punctuation, and I will, but for now it will be more of a challenge to find my way around commas and semi-colons. Enjoy this prose written a few weeks ago…

Entertaining Your 60’s

Do you ever miss the simpler days of one room bullshit; beds were crumpled war plots, bad coffee played on every street corner, rats tussled trump cards when neglectful four in the mornings dragged on, a stack of books perky rabbit ears were waiting in the afternoon, and no one cared what your mode of transportation was? And washrooms were no more or no less than the sculleries they represented.

In present rooms— crap piles up year after year; trips to foreign countries, magazines picked up in airports, trinkets once gifts, are at odds lying about with little or more sentiment on shoulders, and everything has at least one dark secret within its refuse. Showrooms built with coffinesque facade. Its gloomy corners lurk behind every piece of dark furniture housing the lost, covered under plastic recyclables, frilly useless pillows, and only during insomnia nights do they speak the peace.

Damned if you do markers, yellowing and peeling off milestones worth stumbling over as the clock now loudly ticks. ‘Thieves are welcome’ sign painted on the back of a cardboard game box, torn by hand, and goes into the window. Please come in and clean out every expression of the former owner. With help, they can carry out the aging, and take them to a new home.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.