May, 2017

Phew! We poets who were writing 30 poems in 30 days during April have made it through another National Poetry writing Month.

This is when I disappear into the small-press publisher’s world of collecting, editing, proofreading, et cetera until Autumn.  I’m also trying to submit more of my own poems to journals; nobody can read my work if I never publish it. Sadly poems lack wings, so they can’t fly themselves to literary journals and squawk, “Read me! Read me!”

Both the print anthology Extra MoJo! series (Hidden Charm Press) and the print journal Tell-Tale Inklings (via Tell-Tale Chapbooks) are open to submissions this spring and summer. Please go to the web sites for details; nothing adds grief to the days of editors and publishers like submissions from writers who haven’t bothered to familiarize themselves with our Press websites, much less read the Guidelines pages.


NaPoMo 2014


Well, the NaPoMo poems have turned into a chapbook!  I’ve been very busy fighting my aching back/neck to do a lot of typing (30 poems plus editing volume three of the poetry trilogy to mail by May 1st); standing and sitting at readings.

So, pictures being worth the thousands words I haven’t posted this month, here are a few thousand words for you 😎

Making-DreamOn-SS-3.10.14Mignon Ariel King singing “Dream On” (March 10) in honor of Stephen Tyler’s birthday (March 26) – from the poem “gone girl” in What Goods a View of the Charles…?  (ALL CAPS Publishing, 2013).

photo by chad parenteau

Making-BPLminifeature-4.12.2014SURPRISE!  I read two poems in the Feature portion at the BPL, Copley for the Boston National Poetry Month Festival.  Read two on the open mic too.


Making-Rene.PTAO-April2014-chadpWith the Co-host of PTAOW (and my pal) Rene Schwiesow.  The features Timothy Gager and Chad Parenteau and the open mic were amazing!

April 13, 2014, Plymouth, MA


Happy National Poetry Month!  I’ll be writing 30 poems in the next 30 days, posting some of them here.  As an added challenge, I’m doing 26 Massachusetts-related poems in alphabetical order.  Cuz that’s the kinda Masshole I am!

April 1 


It isn’t Brookline.  Nor Brighton.  Between the A-Line
-used-to-be-here streets, fine Swiss sweets or plain
Dunkin crullers.  Food from West India. Brazil.  Italy.

“Funky” write-ups from new locals on Yelp. Used to be
an embarrassing zip code but full of one-bedroom steals.
So close to Harvard, now: solar-powered condominiums.

November 3, 2013: The State of Words Address

There isn’t much to report in the bookmaking world.   It’s no secret that a lot of small-press publishers have taken a beating in this economy.  But, more disturbing, is how crabby and nasty some writers have gotten.  We’re all poor, but some folks are more bitter about it.  No small victory goes unpunished.  So, here’s to writers, editors, publishers, book designers, et al. who are making it work somehow.  Scale back where you must, but keep going!

This is actually the bad news section of my post.  I started Hidden Charm Press in 2011 with hopes of pumping out 2-3 books per year.  So far, Extra MoJo! (Feb. 2013) stands alone.   I’m determined to publish my memoir 2013-2014, but I’ve given up hope of having a poetry chapbook contest this year.  My goal is to keep the fee low yet be able to offer a cash prize as well as publication.  Perhaps next year.

For a variety of reasons, my poetry has ground to a halt.  I chose to focus on my neglected genre, fiction, this year and will be self-publishing my first novella within months via Tell-Tale Chapbooks (TTC).  Of course, sacrifices had to be made – the biggest being the online journal U.M.Ph.! Prose; it will become an anthology via TTC (in collaboration with Stone Soup Poetry host Chad Parenteau) … hopefully next year.  So I’ve produced two decent poems this year.  It’s been a lonely summer without poetry, not something I can explain unless you’re a poet too 🙂 .

Now for the good news.  This month, as I enthusiastically await the publication of my second book of poems What Goods a View of the Charles…? (ALL CAPS PUBLISHING), I’m also trying to prime the pump and get into poetry writing for the winter by writing 14 poems in November.  A lot of people are writing 30.  Hurrah to them, but not my goal!  My point here is simple.  We’re all struggling; we’re all discouraged.  But we who are lucky enough to have words are holding onto them.  We’re doing what we can, no matte rhow small or large, to keep the written word relevant, important.  We need words…and they need to be written…and a lot of people are still comforted by reading them.


May 1, 2013

[Sorry about the format.  Have to stay as is for now.]

April was the cruelest NaPoMo ever here in Massachusetts for some obvious reasons, some personal ones.   But poetry always adds some bright spots to my life.  So I’m just going with two poems, kinda Best of Times/Worst of times instead of an entry.  The first is here; the second is published in a special Boston Marathon 2013 tribute issue of my online journal of city narrativesU.M.Ph.! Prose.  God Bless Us, Everyone!

A Love Song for Moby

I’ve tried so hard to share the ambiance,
revealing why your tail’s transfixed so long.
It’s lulled me, like a babe, into a trance,
and I alone must sing the white whale’s song.
I want to lure you too up from the deep
– so you can write a line or two for me!
And dreaming of your tale (when I need sleep),
I write pelagic tableaux that I see.
I’ve read your book four decades in the past
and never felt a need to log critique.
But now I must synopsize what I grasp
– my memory is growing so oblique.
Land’s sake, I’ll have to finish all alone, for
yellowed pages don’t list your hydraphone.

[April 23: My annual Shakespearean sonnet]

April 1, 2013

Nothing to report here.  Slowly but surely plugging away at getting all 5 parts of my autobiography published.  So, I won’t do it before I’m 50, but by golly I’m taking a stab at coming very close – maybe “while I’m 50” 🙂   3 down, 2 to go.  More info to come on who’s publishing “__: poems of tribute, volume two.”  Woo hoo!   The memoir is done in terms of revising.  I’m dragging my feet trying to figure out how to format and upload the dang thing myself.  It makes my brain hurt.


Gotta go hang up my laundry.  No, not a glamorous writer’s life, but at least I wear clean socks.

I’ll be back….





Annual Sonnet

Perhaps Love?
Perhaps Love?

If one is going to post only 1 poem for NaPoMo, ‘Od’s teeth, let it be a Shakespearean sonnet!  Don’t try this fast and loose version at home, kids.  Your English teacher will give you an “F”!

Oh, Husband…Poetry

This love affair has gone on
… long enough that friends
now voice concern
about my lust.
“Please, leave the house,
go try some other stuff,”
is what they plead.
“Variety’s a must.”
But you and I transcend
what others think.
Inherently, we’re bound
til death and past.
You breathe through me.
You are my food and drink.
“Unhealthy” is a charge
we will outlast. Variety is not
the spice of love–as committing
to a goal is our forte.
Our bond is a rare gift
from high above. Ignore
naysayers. They will go away.
And when I close my eyes
it will be clear that God spoke you
to life. His words are dear!

NaPoMo: Week Three

NaPoMo 2011: 15-21

15 Deadline 

This is the day set to stop calculating,
to stop saving for something special.
He’ll never be enough, just a tax
on what’s left of my emotional budget.

16 What Longing Means

Sufre mas el que espera siempre
que aquel que nunca espero a nadie?

[Does he who always waits suffer more
than he who never waits for anyone?]
Pablo Neruda

When we were twenty-five a friend snorted
at the notion of deep love.  She said that if
her fiancé died, maybe mowed down by a car,

in ten years she’d be sad, but not devastated.
“As long as the mortgage is up-to-date…oh,
and my two children are well-fed, of course,

I’ll go on, be fine.”  She had never been madly
in love.  I sighed, said I envied her.  Then words
escaped me: And I feel very, very sorry for you.

17  In the Act

He came in like a monsoon, whining buckets about some chick.

It’s always the same.  She done broke my heart sniffle-sniff,

and now she’s after my money.  Sure, sure, he’d had his share

of tarted-up dames on the side.  That was different, though.

When a woman cheats, it actually means something.  True.

It probably means this whiner adds nothing to the sheets 

but a lotta sweat.  The guy should carry a mop with him.

But I took his money, retained to shoot cheap photographs

of his wife’s cheap affair.  But, the “other man.”  He was

something special.  So I took him instead.  Left those two

cheaters with a full refund and their bigass house in Weston.

18  Not So Fast

I barely budged from the couch, per usual.

Watched half of Massachusetts descend

on Kenmore and Copley Square.  Saw 

the shot heard round the world refired 

on the six o’clock news.  So hard to turn

pages of the free magazines picked up

from various spots all week to prep

for the Monday holiday.  Carbing up on

canned roast beef hash, I flip to an ad

for running shoes or Gatorade or….

Yay, Japan!!!  Nap time.  Again.  

19  The Rest


Oh, the rest of them, lying under sod,

their work all done now.  The sweetness

of resting under their laurels. Tourists walk

over the mossy mouths of them, bones

legendary, some cryptic.  And it’s what

we all want on some level.  Just want

each time to finally get the writing right,

to leave a mark that warrants having

one’s name inked next to a tiny dot

on that map.  For one well-read girl

to become excited on a dreary field trip

for once:  Really, Teacher?!  She’s

buried here?  Oh, where?  She’ll march,

practically run, to the other side

of Mary’s columned gazebo, to where

I’ve left my permanent marker.  There

she’ll sit, legs pressed to her chest,

shaggy-edged, raggedy-paged, 

marked-up book of poems propped

on her knees.  She’ll smile, that very same 

odd smile I had first time my fingers 

traced “Longfellow.” And knowing

that she’s there, I’ll deliberately send 

a shiver through the page.  Just for her. 

Because she had the decency to care.

[“Before I Sleep” prompt]

20 Ran Into Tim in the Square

When I ran into Tim
in the Square, he said,
“Five bucks for a sandwich
over there!”  Really needing
some lunch and a poem,
I bought one, got one free,
then bounced home.

21 Wedding Bells

We were always better in the dark,
whether so heated by fierce debate
that we didn’t bother getting up
to turn on post-dusk artificial lights
or warmed through by the taste
of each other’s steaming tongue-tips.
Now we suffer congregate afternoons
of backyard barbecues with his oh-so
dull boss, my ever-so witty colleague.
Then there’s a ringing in our ears,
all other sounds moot as lips still move
in the fading sun.  All we hear is
a promise, a call that links our arms
in the crowd until one heartbeat
drowns out the sun, drives home
the crowd, and we begin once again
to honeymoon under the stars.

[Prompt: Illumination]

NaPoMo Poems: Week Two


8 Am I Up Yet?

It’s too early for this,

the furious sounds of hunger

and pure agony dueling

for my belly

as the sun beams obnoxious,


then kicks my back

once I’ve rolled away

from its insulting glare.

Haunting shouldn’t happen

after night.


9  “You’re an adult. You have a life.”*

Sometimes a girl-woman needs a reminder.

Maybe while eating microwaved-for-55-seconds meatballs

for breakfast…off toothpicks, like Cher’s kids in that movie.

DYS shoud’ve showed up long before Bob Hoskins.

No Bobby to cook me Easter ham, so after teaching

a night course, what will I eat for dinner at 11pm?

I’m a big girl now.   Defrosted block of broccoli

with grated cheese?  Wash it down with Sam Adams? 

*Poster on the T** for Cambridge College

**Footnote to footnote:  The Tis the public transportation system in Boston, MA


10 I Get My Best Moves from Rockers

With each bus lunge, I nearly lap a stranger,

words–racing around the solitary track

in my brain that makes room once per year

for relay–knocking me off balance, almost 

onto my cowboy booties.  This passenger

doesn’t look too upset.  Latino dude,

maybe 30, almost getting a free lapdance

from this black velvet stretch of sistah.

Nigerian beads tap together, gypsy blouse

wafts a puff of grapefruit in his face.

He stares at the hipped belt that proclaims

Love in sweetheart pink, black-lined letters.

I’m a rock poet, baby, feel free to watch me

disembark from the ordinary then walk away.


11  Published in MoJo! Issue 9 


12  Soft Apprehension

I feel a soft apprehension in the dark,

a tiny fear at best gripping my chest.

Well, really, it’s the memory of fear.

Then I hear the hollow yet comforting

roar beside me and slide one knee

up and across the hair-covered beast.

He wakes as my hands press his wrists

to the bedpost, wrapping one with his tie,

the other with my bra.  He growls,

“Uh-oh.  Looks like you got me.”


13 What Was I Thinking?

If this isn’t a wish, it ought to be:

You, annoying as ever yet suddenly

too unusual to pass up.  Me, unusual

as ever, however annoying that is.

Then, there’s the drone of everyone

else.  But we don’t notice them enough

to be unsettled by their nice-nice

ways.  Did we ever really care

whether or not they’d just go or why

they’re here at all?  Well, don’t ask me. 

I just produce fleeting thoughts, never claim

they are, or might grow up to be, true.

[Prompt:  Write for 5 mts. only about something speedy.]


14 Branded for Life

Our mother thought it was dumb to toss perfectly good salt over one’s shoulder.  

Morton’s belonged on the shelf next to Durkees’ black pepper and the Lawry’s 

that made fried egg sandwiches even before Sam and I splatted ketchup on them.

I sprinkle white grains on pre-molded chicken burgers, then add curry powder 

and garlic, wrap them in Saran for tomorrow.  And I text Sam, who gets up early 

to cook his three sons pancakes before school.  I tell him I went into the downpour

to get Fritos to go with my Spaghetti-O’s, just like when we were kids.  Why does 

rain make me feel 6?  I ask.   Sam texts back Cuz it makes me feel 5. 


NaPoMo Poems: Week One

The annual challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Month (NaPoMo).  I’ll post seven at the end of each week.  Enjoy!

1…The Look of My Life

I can stride far enough away
to outwalk his voice,
Sleep late enough
–with all the covers–
to outlove his touch,
And taste so many
sweet treats that make
the salt of him obsolete.
Oh, but the silhouette of him,
alone there against the sun,
That’s what gets me each time.

2  How to Begin Writing Poetry

Begin with haiku.
Simple-looking lines, I know.
It’s all downhill now.

If you’re good enough
The wind will start to follow.
Run. Fill your word-kite.

[A loose take on a Japan tribute prompt]

3  The Bachelor King 

He’s in charge alright
of days and knights,
of jesters and astronomers,
commander of the gardeners
ruling the attendants
to his spleen,
but would he give
his kingdom
for a queen?

[Prompt: king]

 The Real “Reasons”

“La la la la LA la la la…

This sistah is fed the heck up

with scrubbing. Sweeping, tolerating

two trifling-mean half-witches

who’d stomp another woman to ashes

or chop off their own big toe

to get a man and their reasons have no pride.


Oh, maybe they’re right.

Why save it up for the ashes?

And love is great, a castle greater,

maybe someone to talk to

other than doves and squirrels.

I want out—don’t care who I have to

sleep with. I’m longing to love him

just for a night.  Kissing and hugging

and holding him tight…


Too bad Black girls never get

fairy godmothers.

–Oh! Hey, who are you?

How did you get in here anyhow?

‘Scuse me?!  I’m going to the ball!

In a carriage a la pumpkin?

Only a special kinda fool

would believe that!

What are you selling…Avon?

–Whoa!  The room is spinning.

Nice threads. Smashing shoes.

Get it?  Glass slippers?  Smashing-shoes?

No?  You’re kinda strict to be

in the bippity-boppity-boo business.

Fine, I’ll play along.  Let the laundry wait.


Well, here I am at the ball,

dancing with him!

Mmm.  A prince indeed.

What did those chicks

put in my tea?  Now, I’m craving

his body. –Is this real?

Temperatures rising I don’t wanna feel.

I’m in the wrong place–!

Uh-oh!  I’m out of here.

Click, click, click, click, click, click


Stop chasing me, Mr. Perfect!

You only want me ’cause

I’m the one who’s running.

–And he stopped, looked confused,

like he’s never heard “No!” before.

Gave me time to get away,

his voice following, completing

…Please let me love you with all my might!!!


I dreamt, alone in my little hearth bed

until he manned up, figured out

how to find a lady—on one knee.

And,  in the morning when I rise,

no longer feeling hypnotized,

I find reasons, reasons, as his bride.

[Tinkered-with song lyrics from “Reasons” by Earth, Wind & Fire]

Prompt:  Rewrite a fairy tale.  This was a tough assignment for an alumna of the Grad Program in English at Simmons.  Feminist writers have rewritten –and feminist scholars have analyzed hell out of — fairy tales.  What’s left to say?

5  Funny Bones

It’s the stillness of this moment,
not the long-ago actions of making love,
that we treasure now.
Breath to breath and memory to memory,
fully clothed, with two Others
in the room.
These are the tests of love,
but also its marrow,
thinking together of when
our skin couldn’t get close enough
so we rubbed and pressed closer
trying to make our bones touch.
When they did, we fell off the bed.
We both laugh out loud now,
post-coital over after-party chat
that suddenly halts.
My husband shrugs at your girlfriend
as if to judge,
“What are these two fools
giggling about now?”

6  The Third Wheel

There is no reason for me to be here,
a part of extended foreplay as you two
play a maybe dance built for two.
Nasty business to build up the longing
in front of company that loves you well
but sleeps badly alone.  Buy a doll.
Let her pucker up for unrequited pleasure.
That’s what toys and kinky videos are for.
I was manufactured for unconditional love.

7  Spring Outfits

The city is no longer
a curtain of cold frost
that laces over sidewalks.
Now the sun crochets
leafless trees’ branches
onto pavement instead.

[Prompt:  write a poem, 6 lines max, using curtain, cold, frost, lace]

NaPoMo Poems: 20-30

30  Words Are Not All

Poetry is not everything.  It’s neither vacation
from reality nor vocation to keep a roof
overhead.  It will not patch that roof’s leaks
or repair broken relations or teach a teen
to make his bed.  Not everyone considers
it useful to hear or worthwhile to write.
Most, actually, do not.  Perhaps some day
when I am colder than ever and hungriest
for something tangible to digest, I will then
renounce poetry for a hot sandwich and a
soft, cozy blanket.  I do not think this is so.

29 “Rolling Stones Steal Show!”

They were the headliners who stole my glory,
which is especially rude since family rumor
has it that I wasn’t supposed to make it.
Too tiny, too weak?  More like, already bored.
Then I saw it, out of the corner of my left eye:
snow.  Oh, what a lovely world to be part of.
I wondered what it felt like, how it tasted, and
the smell.  What does cold white smell like?
Then again, I could just disappear, and know
the world as a perfect blank slate.  But, wait!
What was that?  Not another newborn whining,
not whirring incubators, not even the lovely hum
of my father’s heart as he held me close, got me
to drink from the bottle.  It was music.  Sweet!
Not just any sound blew the world’s mind, stealing
my tragic little deathbed scene.  It was Jagger.
It was Rock ‘n’ Roll!  It’s really why I’m here.

[Prompt: Write about the day you were born, from your perspective.]

28  What This Poem Will Do

[Removed 5/3/10]

27   “Don’t Tread on Me!”

We were just oddgirls trying to be
normal, but it was so exhausting.
Yet, I kept it up, up to 25-ish.
All my best college friend’s pals
thought I was weird, didn’t get
why she hung out with me at all,
hated that I hated arguing, didn’t
need to make a point all the time.
I ignored them when I couldn’t
smile or change the subject, mostly
sat in the livingroom at parties,
watching TV with the guys.  Then
we were on Mass Ave, going to see
Mapplethorpe at the ICA.  That
tedious girl who always said mean,
mean things laughed,  “I can’t wait
to stomp on that damned flag!!”
I stopped mid-step:  What flag?
“Old Glory!”  She laughed, with
a chorus of hee haws.  You’re
kidding, right?
They were
serious, and I wouldn’t budge,
didn’t care about being yelled at,
insulted, told about freedom
of speech.  I exercised mine:
Go straight to hell! stomping
away.  I never went back, and
nobody ever, ever mentioned
that day again.

[Prompt:  Write about the day you first knew who you are.]

26  Usually, It’s Buy One Get One Free

It works with laundry detergent,
maybe go with the original scent
knowing you can break loose
with lavendar spring some day.
And two kielbasas is almost
unimaginable decadence: turkey
for your health on Wednesday,
but Saturday is full, fatty beef
with sauerkraut and noodles
wafting through the hallways.
Yet, the perfect One, that sweet,
sensible man you deserve will
make you cry out loud for more
over a sunny Saturday clothesline.

[Prompt:  Write down the next thing you hear and build a poem around it]

25   Removed for submission

24   At the End of the Day

After the ghosts have gone, we must pick up
chairs with broken rungs, whiskey glass shattered
on the bar.  Then there’s the half-hinged door
to mend, slat by slat.  One cheats at cards
and digs his spurs into the floor, always gouging
the newest planks of wood.  How do they manage
to tear the curtains?  We’d tell them to keep out,
run them out of town, but they draw a crowd
that more than pays for the mess, and the girls
just love them.  That’s singing cowboys for you.

23  Hapless Evil

I could have been that muse that causes men
to tear their hair out, pound upon their chests.
I could have been a vampish heroine
who haunts ex-loves with my round, silky breasts.
Or, what about a gypsy, tramp, and thief
they’ll miss when I am led away for good?
I’d steal the gold out of their very teeth
but make them feel that I’m misunderstood.
Fair Circe would have built a shrine to me.
Mae West would say, “Now that’s my kinda broad.”
Black widows would find other industry,
while strippers slid off poles just to applaud.
Yet all this time the world was not spellbound…
Oh, silly me, this charm book’s upside down!
[Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday!!]

22  Tree

I thank you, tree, for
tossing pink petals on me.
They smell mighty sweet.

How I agonize
that someone might chop you down
to make a journal.

Yet without your help,
no one would know what I mean.
I must write things down.

[I lost the prompt, something like write three haiku(s) that are connected to the same title/concept]

21 Possible Confusion

Am I “sad, feeling guilty, maybe anxious?”
The women in the drug ad look thrilled
to feed the dog and take out the trash
wearing mint-green blouses and pearl earrings.

Are they immune, I wonder, to spiders
in the garbage pail, ringworm in fur?
Usually they don’t have paid work,
so somehow manage to keep perfect house.

I’m mad, feel boredom, perhaps rage.
If I had  a job, I’d fire me.

[Prompt:  Use the five bolded words, in fewer than 20 lines.]

20  Quoth the Author?

Dear Diary,

They call me paranoid, then talk about my low birth, drinking, penchant for young girls in white death gowns. Yet every word I write gets snapped up, no matter how gorey, sadistic, self-loathing.  The cursed, hypocritical snobs!  I’d like walls, ceilings, chandeliers to fall on their foolish, mulish heads.  Being walled up to smother is too good for them.  Fiends, I say.  Fiends!  A pox on them all.  I would gladly die at 40 just to mock them forever as they try to equal my talent. Envy!  Envy!  But I grow weary.  It’s midnight, and quite dreary.



[Prompt: Pick a historical figure and write a diary entry from his/her perspective…]