berry, banana and apple smoothies

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy. One each day of the month.

Today, day seven: berry, banana and apple smoothies


searching for the cool
I open the freezer door
air billows meeting

the heat of my face
caressing my nose, cheeks, ears
I stand soaking up

artificial frost
seeking the bag of berries
a sweet tart jumble

balanced by creamy
too sweet banana apple
liquifies the blend

day 7, national poetry month, 2021





time to read the Sunday newspaper

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy. One each day of the month.

Today, day six: time to read the Sunday newspaper.

The following contains a golden shovel poem in the last stanza from a headline in the April 4 issue of the New York Times. Scenes from a city holding its breath waiting for justice

Sitting with the paper.
Fresh and untouched.
Sections folded inside
one another.
Waiting to be spread out.
Held open
positioned alongside
coffee and a bagel.

Last Sunday, most Sundays, articles overwhelm me.
Others that make me laugh
or send me on journeys to books, shows, art, food.
All of the horror and beauty that make up people.

Rich, wise, devastating words.

In my quiet space scenes
unfold as I turn pages that take me from
Myanmar turn, fold, to Minneapolis a
heartbeat away. Back to the front, to a city
where ball players exert power, holding
out for Atlanta, holding on to the rights of its
people. Turn, fold, quarter the newsprint take a breath
and scan for the good, waiting
with the belief and hope for
the better side of our kind to secure justice.

day 6, national poetry month 2021

tea towels

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.
My goal is to write a poem a day for each day of the month of April.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy. One each day of the month.

Today, day five, tea towels.

The first tea towel I ever used was a flour sack towel. The softest, whitest, cleanest towel dried quickly and lint free. Not to be confused with a hand towel or a bar towel, a tea towel has so many uses and a fascinating history. Read a bit about it here.

My mother called them dish towels; she had a drawer full of these fine white towels. She used one every evening to dry the dishes. Before she turned off the kitchen light, she’d drape it over a metal rack to dry for the next day. I wish I had thought to get her collecting them. Just as she did silver spoons and tea cups.

Now I have a drawer full. Some simple, some fancy. Last week I bought a set of four for my girl’s first home of her own.

what
she called a dish towel,
utilitarian and simple

could be

a coveted collection in the late 1800s

a medium for flour and sugar marketers

a canvas used by Van Gogh

a secret message sewn into a jacket

a place to develop embroidery skills

a tool to polish, dry, mop, wipe, wrap,
cover, crisp, strain, protect, pad, decorate

a tradition to pass down

lives on in my kitchen
destined to drudgery,
draped over my shoulder,
always at the ready
to clean what need be

day 5, national poetry month, 2021

yunomi, a ceramic cup with no handles

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.
My goal is to write a poem a day for each day of the month of April.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy. One each day of the month. Today, day four: yunomi, a ceramic cup with no handles

My love of handless tea cups is connected to the love warming my often cold hands, but also because of its aesthetic. The shape makes me happy. I am drawn to them. Read more about the history and art of yunomi here.

born of clay and potter’s hands, irregular at times
passed from Chinese tradition, the tea is
steeped in boiling water and
cooled, so when
held at top and bottom it
reveals the perfect cup of tea

day 4, national poetry month, 2021

the color of my kitchen, buttercream

I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by writing and reading poetry, every day.
My goal is to write a poem a day for each day of the month of April.

For writing inspiration, I decided to write from a list I made last month of 30 things that make me happy.
One each day of the month. Today, day three: the color of my kitchen, buttercream

light brewing before dawn

morning is slow to enter
trees, fence, hills shield
the rising sun

light

from windows counter
the dark morning song
of coffee

brewing

beginnings of sweet
possibilities that paint
the space

before

dampening
anticipation of the day
buttercream walls soften the breaking

dawn


day 3, national poetry month, 2021


steel-cut oatmeal with raisins

I love making lists. Sometimes, most of the time, I do nothing with them. But this time, my list has become my poetry project for National Poetry Month. It’s perfect because there is one for every day of April, they are all simple things, and they make me happy.

day 2: steel-cut oatmeal with raisins


The no nonsense-ness of oatmeal
doubles down when it’s steel cut,
the coarse-ness is a luxury
of time and forethought.

A breakfast born of boiled
pieces takes patience
waiting for the inner kernel
to soak though and blossom to softness.

The whiteness in warm milk
accented by speckled sweetness
of black and golden raisins.
Sunday treat.

day 2, national poetry month 2021.

holding a warm cup of anything when I’m cold

The month of March warmed up my writing muscles and heart. Rather than being tired and done with daily writing on April first I want to keep going. Fortunately, April offers many possibilities.

Poetry calls from everywhere. Poets have found themes and created projects. Groups such as Ethical ELA have amazing poet teacher prompts. Inviting communities.

What to do?

I wanted to continue daily writing, but I was focus-less. Until I thought of a list I made last month: 30 things that make me happy. One for each of day of April. Why not? And with that, my first poetry project has begun.


30 things that make me happy for the 30 days of April

day one: holding a warm cup of anything when I’m cold

My hands are susceptible to the cold. And they take a long time to warm up. It is something I’m used to, sometimes I not aware of it until I touch something warm. When I am aware, I’m usually bone cold and that is when nothing is better than holding a warm cup of anything.

It starts with the finger tips and works its way down to the palms. Holding
on to the grocery cart, reaching for a
bag of frozen berries I warm
up to the task, checking off the must haves on the list, pleased until I cup
my hand on the side of
my daughter’s face; she recoils, cold Mommy! Shamed, I rub my hands together, anything
to reconnect this foreign extremity. When
I test my palm, on my arm, gooseflesh follows. I’m
sorry, sweetheart. Tenderly she wraps her hands around mine, Mommy cold.

day 1, national poetry month, 2021

writing meditation

Habit is persistence in practice.

Yesterday’s quote from Octavia Butler made me wonder about habits. What I persist in and why. And as a believer in practice, what should I practice? What habits have I created? What could grow from the past 31 days?

I came to the March daily slicing challenge after a long period of not writing. Wary of the stress that daily publishing and commenting could create, I was on guard. Protective, I suppose.

I was surprised to find the work a pleasure.

I managed to banish my inner critics, Brilliance and Failure. For some reason, I don’t know why, I let both go. Most of the time. It’s not to say, I didn’t have moments when their cousins Perfection and Doubt threatened. But most days I allowed myself to ignore them.

Perhaps it’s Vanity that has waned, knowing it lives in an imaginary place.

Stepping out of March and into April, I’d like to think a habit has started to form. One that dismisses criticism that gets in the way of doing things that create an interesting life.

And on that note, what follows is my attempt at “a golden shovel poem” for the final day of March 2021.

I question my landscape, searching, to attach value, to identify a habit

worthy of pursuit. Does it require ability to sustain, or, is

knowledge a deterrent to dreams? Is persistence

bequeathed genetics that conjure tenacity in

spite of fatigue and obstacles? Or, is it faith that compels the spirit to practice.


Day 30 slice of life daily challenge 2021
Read more slices here

30 things that make me happy

For March 30th, I collected 30 things that make me happy. Each could be a slice. Maybe I should have started with this list!

Inspired by Elisabeth Ellington at The Dirigible Plum and Caitlin, at Love Always, Caitlin

  • holding a warm cup of anything when I’m cold
  • steel cut oatmeal with raisins
  • the color of my kitchen, buttercream
  • yunomi, a ceramic cup with no handles
  • tea towels
  • time to read the Sunday newspaper
  • berries, banana and apple smoothies
  • bamboo sheets
  • reading a hand written letter from a friend
  • writing back to that friend
  • the way my cat curls on my bed
  • lemon ginger tea in the afternoon
  • a throw over my legs and feet
  • ironing cotton napkins
  • good reading light
  • notebooks, books, pens, paper
  • book stores with comfortable chairs
  • anticipating the weekend
  • red wine with pasta and pizza
  • shopping with my daughter
  • finding sea glass
  • bouquets in short tumblers
  • finding the perfect book for a friend
  • exchanging books with a friend
  • foreign language television shows
  • poetry podcasts with Tracy K. Smith
  • listening to my friend’s voice as I walk
  • the way melaleuca tree trunks bend with the wind
  • the unfurling of leaves of an indoor plant
  • finding buds on the fruit tree in the front yard
  • my dad’s bird bath in the back yard
day 30 slice of life daily challenge, 2021
read more slices here.

the road between

“Let’s do something,” my daughter said.

“What do you want to do?” I replied.

“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

“How about a Beach Bowl?”

The drive to get a Beach Bowl is one of my favorites. I’ll take this road even though it takes longer. I’ll shop in stores along this road, even if they might not have the best choice. Along this road, I pass my childhood home, my old high school, the Little League field my brother played at, the homes of my friends, roads I ran. I ended up raising my family about ten miles from my childhood home. The road is a repository.

The road between my house
and my childhood home
holds
play in the back yard
birthdays and holidays.

It holds
damp mornings
sleepy sweatshirt bundled children
smeared in sunscreen.


Windy afternoons
sand covered, salty, and starving
bodies bounce along
the road between my house and
my childhood home.

It holds
family outings
shopping trips
dropping off and
picking up
doctor’s appointments.

Shifting
moments
that mix and fold
as I travel on the road
between my house
and my childhood home.



day 29 slice of life daily challenge
read more slices here