A poem for poem in your pocket day

A poem I wrote this morning


It is hard to make a decision

in relentless rain

when you have no idea how things are


when normal is a stray dog, anyway.

You saw it through the window

on a highway once

before it disappeared

in the scrub.

“Go with your gut” we say.

You want to punch us

in ours.

No blame here.

We struggle to help

We being parents

We being friends

We being the guy behind the mask

at the grocery checkout

We being the people who say

“This is your life.”

“These are your years.”

“There are no bad choices.”

You are smart enough to know that

(though they may be true)

these are all clichés.

Spit on them, then.

Disinfect yourself

from our dreams

(if the stores have even restocked on disinfectant.)



milk tea

money –

all go into a spreadsheet

that pretends this is obvious

or logical

that pretends this isn’t hard.

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Writing prompt: For the birds

Hi, all. A new writing prompt today. You can write a poem or a paragraph or even turn this one into a comic. What I want you to do is look at the animals around you — birds, squirrels, pets, deer. Watch them for a few minutes and imagine a conversation they’re having with someone else. It could be another animal. It could be you!

Here’s something I wrote this morning based on two cardinals that I like to watch from my office window. If you have something you’d like to share, please let me know, I’d love to see it!

Before the Rain

He might say: Come this way.

And she might ignore him

For awhile

Before flying down and taking a peck

At the railroad tie

Before flying up and balancing triumphant

On the phone wire.

She might say: You’re late again

And he might ignore her

Before raising his wings in an almost-shrug

A way of secretly showing off his red,

A way of making her wonder why he’d never been

a model in an LL Bean catalog

(fall, not spring).

They’ve been together, these two

For all of the seasons now

And he hasn’t put a ring on it

Not even a Swarovski crystal.

She might say: It doesn’t matter.

She might mean it.

(Photos by my kiddo)

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Grim Nursery Rhymes

Some of you have probably heard the theory that the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” is actually rooted in the plague. (Scholars say the rhyme actually predates the plague, but I grew up hearing that the “rosie” was a rash, and that falling down meant we all fell… dead.

Nursery rhymes (the tree limb breaks and the cradle falls, for instance) didn’t always attempt to spare kids from horror. Some of them brought it on.

Lizzie Borden had an axe
She gave her mother 40 whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father 41

So this prompt is dark, but if you want to try it: Write some nursery rhymes for COVID-19. Social distancing. Physical distancing. Hand washing. Coughing.

Touch your mouth

Touch your cheeks

And  you’ll be sick

Within two weeks

(Well. You get the idea.)

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Writing prompt: Spring

It’s spring. And, okay, maybe that’s not the first thing on everybody’s mind these days, but it’s here. It’s happening. I’ve loved seeing photos of flowers blooming and of that fresh, yellow-green color of new growth. Today’s writing prompt is simple and broad.

Write about spring.

You can try a poem, rhyming or not. You can write a prose paragraph.

You can sit outside and listen and just make a list of sounds that you hear. You can make a list of the colors that you see.

Share if you’d like. I’m glad to be your audience!

If you’re interested in more prompts, go here: WRITE.


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Writing prompt: Writing out your fears

Had some fears over the past few days (or weeks)? Let’s write about them. If you’ve had something cancelled that is making you hugely disappointed? Let’s write about that, too.

Let’s start with a phrase you’ve heard recently, and that will be your first line of a poem or prose paragraph. Something like:

I’m sorry. An abundance of caution. Cancelled. Social distancing.

Line two and three: tell us what today was supposed to be like.

Line four and five: tell us what today IS like.

Line six: Repeat line one.

Line seven: End it how you want to end it. You can be positive or you can be negative — just get some thoughts and feelings on paper.

More writing prompts are here. 

If you want to share something I’d love to see it.


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