Time to Write

bird against cloud

I feel the ache in my bones

The need to get home

Seconds before

Becoming fully aware

Of what my world

Is telling me

Like the eerieness

Before the tornado siren


Certain details shout to me

Not everything

Just some things

The lone bird in the sky

Too big, too black

Against the too muted

Too bright clouds

Its song amplified

Notice me, it trills

While cars

Move beneath it

Muffled, too quiet


In comparison

With half an eye on the bird

Half an ear, too

I squash the urge

To go home, now

And enter the library

Spooked, knowing

Clutching a memoir

Just finished

Someone’s story

Another one imploring me

To write my own

I keep finding them

Or they find me

Reading them

As they read me

Recognizing that longing

To get it out

Preserve it

A wax man stares

As if expecting me

Already making eye contact

Before I’m even there

Holding it

Without moving

As I go by

And drop that memoir

That someone else’s story

Down the slot

He’s frozen

I know

Just so I will take in

All the details of him

That urge to write


The library, ahead

In slow motion

As I move quickly through it

To the holds

To a book I look forward to

On the shelf, in my slot

Where I’m expecting it

But still a surprise

I take it


As to how it got there

Another memoir

Another somebody’s story

Another person

Calling to know mine

The beep of my library card

Too loud, to me

But no one else hears it

No one notices

Just the one who needs to write

About what

The world is proclaiming today

Making me ache

To commemorate

The details

Take note, it screams

Make note, it pleads

I feel it

It’s time to write my story

But I’ve picked up this book

This book on hold

Now in my hold


Someone else’s story

And so I must decide

Write or read

Read or write

One makes me crave the other

The other has me coveting the first

A poem, I decide

Just for now

Satisfying, but fast and short

To the point

Its end in sight

So I can pick up that book

Get started

Knowing I’ll be moved

To write

My story


Next time.

Four Sons Plus a Sister


Six-foot-four walks through the door

In fatigues, fatigued

Fists tight, jaw clenched

Tears in eyes

Looks down on three-foot-ten

Counts to ten

One son, one of four

Plus a sister

Looks up to his father

Tears in eyes

Sorry he swung at a teacher

This son, one of four

Plus a sister

Angry, on the edge

Because dad went to war

Mom lost it, lost the kids

Four sons

Plus a sister

Then needed to be fostered

Dad came home

PTSD in his bags

No wife, no mother

For four sons

Plus one sister

Two sons

Plus one sister

Back with dad

No job, little income

Parenting experience near none

Another son, a toddler

Back home now

One father, four kids

Trying, struggling

Dads Group, therapy

Coping strategies

Visitations with the mother

Until this mother

Becomes another

No show

One father, four kids

The littlest son

Is yet to come

Fatigued father

Breathes now

Uncurls fists

And scoops up

His son

This one son

And hugs him

To his fatigued chest.

A Morning at the Lake

Highline Lake

Just past sunrise

With my training partner

We swam in shimmery water and bouncy raindrops

Rode along freshly-showered farm roads laced in sunflowers and blooming rabbit brush

And trotted ourselves up and down the lakeside trail and across the dam

To the finish line

Week seven of training

Next Sunday’s the real deal.

Highline 1

Highline 2

Highline 3

Highline 4



My father
A month in ICU
So far away
His wishes
He moved
To be left alone
I talk with his caregiver
Make arrangements to visit
Then pop the champagne
It’s all that’s in the house.


Her Countenance Alone


It doesn’t matter who she is

Her name

Nor father that created this beautiful piece of art

What she’s saying

In all those seconds

Over all that time

Utterly inconsequential

What I study instead

Is her countenance alone

That face

Living, expressing, growing, changing

Yet persisting

And prevailing

As the baby girl

Expressing without words

No words to express

How she is every girl

Every baby grown up

Every stage

Each different

All the same

She is my daughter

My first daughter

My second

She is every girl

I’ve taught over the years

At some point talking

To me

Without me hearing


Her countenance alone

Captured me

Raptured me

Entitling me to see, just see

To appreciate

To love

Every stage

Of every girl

Each different

All the same.

Remember Y2K?

Remember Y2K?

Seems it was just a few months ago

That I was shopping

For extra toilet paper

That’s all I got

To prepare for the end of the world

Or, rather, the end of everything

Dependent on computers

Some thought the rollover

Wouldn’t happen

That we’d be forever stuck on 1999

Or thrown back to 01/01/1000

But time marched on

As it always does

And my babies are

No longer two and three

But rather 16 and 17

And I’ve got things

Besides extra toilet paper

On my mind

Remember Y2K?


The Swing

Her little girl

In the swing

Curious, energetic, bright

She pushes her

Learn, move, create

Harder, faster, higher

And the girl smiles.

Her daughter

In the swing

Inquisitive, assiduous, gifted

She teaches her to pump

Push, produce, live,

Harder, faster, higher

And the girl does.

Her teenager

In the swing

Introspective, lackadaisical, artsy

She watches her change paths

Grow, change, become herself

Twisting, slowing, nearly stopping

And the girl cries.

This young woman

In the swing

Discovering who she is

She watches as she

Looks up, beholds the sky

And resolves to pump again.


10:23 p.m. on 12/6/13

in a bed

in a hotel room

snowing and a single digit outside

it’s so cold in here

even with the thermostat past ninety-five

and i can’t snuggle


not even my dog


won’t let my face touch the pillow

just my hair

won’t let my skin touch the blanket or the comforter

just the sheets

i assume they’ve been washed

stomach rumbles

was expecting some dinner this evening

that didn’t happen

lack of communication

too cold to go out and get some

wifi isn’t working

lamp is too low, too dim to read by

so i just lie here



While I’m here in this motel room, my daughter is in the hotel meeting room. She’s mingling with inbounders and rebounders and other outbound candidates like herself. It’s District Rotary Youth Exchange weekend. She and 39 other candidates from across the state are vying for 28 available spots in 20 different countries.RYE

Inbounders are exchange students from other countries who have landed in the state of Colorado. They’re here, at this weekend event, as ambassadors to their community and country. Tomorrow they will “sell” their country, trying to get the candidates to list it as one of the top five places to which they’d like to be assigned.

Rebounders are students from our state who were abroad last school year and are now back at their local high school. They attend to talk about their experience and answer any questions the candidates and/or their parents may have.

Outbounders are what the 40 candidates hope to be – leaving their family, house, school, friends, and community for the life-changing opportunity to be a foreign exchange student.

Also here this weekend are more than 50 Rotarians from around the state. They will observe the candidates all weekend as they participate in structured activities and less structured social time. And they will conduct 120 interviews, two with each candidate and one with each candidate’s parent(s).

After a three-hour parent meeting this evening, I have much to consider as I lie here–cold, hungry, alone, uncomfortable–but all I can think about is what my daughter, if granted this opportunity, might feel like those first few nights that she lies in a strange bed, in someone else’s house, on the other side of the world, a new family to get to know, with cultural and language barriers, an ocean away from her people, her home, her life, the bed that has held her all these years.

How will her poem read?


A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

To read what others were doing at this moment in time, click on the link below. And, think about participating in the next moment in time.  🙂


The Irony of It All


at work

kinda cold

not like your cold

been golfing a bunch

vacation coming up

prolly not gonna do much

nan isnt getting around any better

hows things w you


at home

noticed u have been abnormally quiet

cept fer yer creative writing

which needs no commending

crazy warm for November

u shood b making money w that

hey you’re getting in the middle of my poem



but not like your warm


been writing a bunch

poetry becomes u


weekend coming up

going camping, hiking, running, riding

you are?

all in one trip

jim’s got some time after months of working every day

and that’s how things are with me


well they sound very good

happiness becomes u as well

Maybe I’ll combine all of our mixed up lines and see how the poem turns out

do that

but dont blame me when it sux

It’s poetry, it can’t suck.

I will type up the poem after you go away, so that you don’t ruin it with your interjections.

Although your interjections made it what it will be.

How ironic is that??




Guess I kicked you out.

you are irony in prose

yes u did

i hate standing in the way of


then move it

move along now

Goal Setting and Grit

I asked a colleague of mine, Cindy Pearson, if I could share this poem of hers on my blog. She obliged, but said she might need to apologize to Maurice Sendak, the children’s author who wrote Pierre: A Cautionary Tale. I don’t think so; I’m sure he would appreciate her version of a cautionary tale. And I know you’ll like it, too.Pierre

Here’s the story of a family like yours

With a daughter and two sons, of course.

Their sweet daughter, it is true,

Always knew just what to do,

She was amazing as a learner

So this story does not concern ‘er.

Instead, the story I will tell

Is how these boys, both loved so well,

Took two very different paths

For learning reading, science and math.

One boy was praised for being smart.

The other learned to work with heart.

School was simple for Son One.

He passed with ease, had lots of fun.

“You’re very smart,” his parents cried.

“I know I am,” the boy replied.

“I don’t work hard, I just know it,

I get good grades and never blow it!”

Son Two was not as fortunate

He wanted to be lucky, but

He always struggled with his work.

“I just can’t do it.  I’m a jerk!”

His parents said, “You’re not, you see,

Your brain just functions differently.”

“Eat an elephant in just one bite?

It can’t be done; you know we’re right.

Dig in, work hard, and set a goal.

Your effort puts you in control

Of what you learn and what you know

You decide where you can go.”

So both boys went to college; though

For Son One it was a blow.

His grades were often very bad.

Which made him feel extremely sad.

“I’m not so smart any more,

I never had to work before!”

He said, “If I’m not really bright

Then going to college isn’t right.”

Son One decided to drop out.

He seemed paralyzed by his doubt.

Son Two was able to excel

Because of lessons he’d learned well.

Now the biggest regret for their mother

Is in the messages to each brother.

They praised Son One for being smart.

But Son Two got a stronger start.

Smart is good, but hard work’s better.

All kids should be great goal-setters.

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