Friday, May 26, 2023

a ghazal for the youngest among us

Greetings, Poetry Friday Fans! I missed last week and look forward to making some rounds this long weekend.  It being the last Friday of the month, the Seven Poetry Sisters are sharing their challenge, which is simply to write a ghazal.  Ha.

I've tackled this challenge before with the Inklings critique group and it was challenging indeed, but I came up with something that I was proud of (and which therefore is redacted from the post so I can submit it elsewhere). But luckily for busy me, I found another attempt in my notes which also looks pretty good.  It even touches on the Sisters' theme of transformation.

So here, in cheater-pants fashion because I have a MANUSCRIPT to finish, is a ghazal I wrote during the last trying days of PreK before the COVID-19 shutdown. The group of kids I had were unlike any group of 4's I've known, and in a way, the break in the routine of distress behavior and the switch to online school was a good thing.  It certainly saved my psychological bacon!

And how are you doing with that, folks? I'm realizing that this might be at the heart of what we keep calling "self-care"--not to take care of ourselves in addition to everything else we are doing and which leads to the distress in the first place, but to ASK FOR WHAT WE NEED, giving others the responsibility and the opportunity to carry some of the load in a way that actually helps. (As a teacher, for me that's never treats in my mailbox but a note acknowledging something hard or helpful that I'm doing.)

Ghazal-wise, this poem doesn't exactly follow the rules.  Each stanza is not "structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous," and I did get a little carried away with the rhyme scheme...but I'm sticking with this beyond-the-bandaid poem.

Thanks to our host today, Patricia at Reverie--go guzzle all the ghazals!

Friday, May 12, 2023

extra sensory perception

Greetings, Poetry People! You know how your TBR stack (physical or virtual) gets so deep you've forgotten what's in it? I went casting around in Audible to see what I had available to read and found AN IMMENSE WORLD by Ed Yong, a book about how animals have sensory "umwelten" that humans have, essentially, only just begun to think of understanding.

This coincides with the arrival home of my college-aged son, who is now a bio/psych major instead of a psych/bio major and who knows just an avalanche of fascinating facts about animal and mycological life.  This is a kid whose phone contains, among the various culture memes and plenty of music, a graphic of the life cycle of slime molds, which he describe as like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. (MEANWHILE, by Jason Shiga, was a seminal text in our house.)

Meanwhile, I'm trying to write a poem a day this month using quotes and phrases overheard and overread as starting points.  Here's the first inspired by AN IMMENSE WORLD:

Thanks to our host today, dear Robyn over at Life on the Deckle Edge! Bonus Mother's Day photo: me, my mom, my daughter.

Rehoboth Beach, Nov. 2015

Bonus music connection for anyone still reading: "Senses Working Overtime" by XTC.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

speedpost: inklings challenge

Giant UU Climate Convocation on Saturday; so many last-minute details like oh-yeah-we-probably-need--a-moderator-for-the-consensus-discussion-and-what-about-"Blue Boat Home?"***

So dear Linda made it easy for us with this:

Write a poem from your O-L-W for 2023
Find a piece of artwork that has a word(s) embedded and write an ekphrastic poem inspired by the piece
Go to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day (any similar site) and be inspired by a word from there
Just write a poem–about anything that needs to be written

Et voila here is a definito that is definitoly linked to my OLW hashtag CHANGE:

Merry May Friday to you all and don't forget to check out all the other Inklings and all the other goodness at the blog of our lovely host Linda, TeacherDance.

****Bonus "Blue Boat Home"

Friday, April 28, 2023

ode in the style of neruda

Greetings, all, and hoping you are blessed by continued energies for this end of National Poetry Month! April is a glory, and also, for those of us who are Poeting and Earthing to the utmost, kind of a long haul. Luckily, we have poetry to get us through Poetry Month. ; )

My NPM project continues over at WHISPERshout Magazine, where "we" are publishing 4-5 poems each Wednesday, from a deep stock of children's work that lurks in my photos, files and blog posts from the last 25 years.  I'm announcing on social media the opportunity for poetry appreciators of all ages to comment on the work, and for young poets to submit their poems and accompanying artwork.  As far as I know it's the only online outlet for kids ages 4-12 to publish, so I do hope you'll share with families, classrooms and programs (homeschool? library? festival?) where young poets may lurk.  Thanks!

I'm joining in the Poetry Sisters' challenge this month again because they are writing in the style of one of my favorite favorite poets--Pablo Neruda.  I love him because he manages always to draw out of solidly concrete and even childlike images the most soul-shaking revelations.  In his odes he speaks directly to dictionaries, bees and artichokes, to sadness, numbers and bicycles. He is extravagant in his choice of vocabulary but spare in line length, giving us the most delicious and demanding bite-sized mouthfuls. He is playful, and wore hats with aplomb. You can learn more about this grand and humble human by reading THE DREAMER by Pam Munoz Ryan. I hope my ode in the style of Pablo serves as an ode to the poet himself.

Friday, April 21, 2023

earth day climate poetry workshop

This post honors my dear friend V., currently in the hospital being treated for lymphoma+complications.  Please send a bolt of energy her way.

Greetings, poetry lovers and earth huggers! I know that poets come in all flavors, but honestly, is there a poet among us who is not dazzled by the daily marvels served up by our planet without any effort from ourselves? Simultaneously, is there a poet among us who is not touched by grief when we face the daily damage served upon our planet by our efforts to prosper, to profit?

Tomorrow at my congregation's annual retreat I'll conduct my annual poetry workshop, and it will be based on a book given to me by that dear friend V.  It is HERE: Poems for the Planet, edited by Elizabeth J. Coleman (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), and like me, you might have missed its glorious variety of work by living poets.  Part of its aim is to acknowledge our complicated emotions about our climate crisis through poetry. The entire collection emphasizes what W.H. Auden said about poetry:

“Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.”

I'm pretty sure we all suffer from some overwhelm and paralysis about the situation despite knowing at some level that there is good news out there (go here to hear my minister talk about some of it in the context of RESISTANCE). Thankfully, this anthology also emphasizes what bell hooks said about art:

"The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is--it's to imagine what is possible."

So in my little workshop, we'll read and write together to find spiritual grounding and resilience for the work at hand and ahead.

We'll start with my recent poem "Between Chapters of BRAIDING SWEETGRASS," published recently in The Bezine--the mother of all mixed-emotions poems.  Then we'll read one poem each from four of the anthology's five sections.  Participants will read to self, then out loud if they choose; we'll discuss, keeping always in mind the uncomfortable power that rises out of our mixed wonder and grief, despair and righteous anger; and then do a little drafting before moving to the next poem.

  • Where You’d Want to Come From: “Naming the Field” -David Hart

  • The Gentle Light That Vanishes: “First Verse”-Tim Seibles

  • As If They’d Never Been: “The Weighing”- Jane Hirshfield 

  • Like You Are New to the World–”A Small Poem” - Vievee Francis

Three of these poets are new to me--always one of the attractions of an anthology to discover new voices and personalities, don't you agree?  This one has an extra bonus feature which follows this last poem in the book:

A Small Poem | Vievee Francis

         for Jen Chang and Martha 


                             From a morning without expectations a surprise,

a word unanticipated and meant. Rare

and jarring. Syllables moving one to tears

when the winter sky is a simple blue, and nothing

is there to impede the dailyness of things. But

the word grows from a note a hello a salutation

and plants itself like a spring dandelion seed that by

afternoon is full grown and blowing more seeds,

lightly, sweetly, a coloratura of delight, and I 

feel as if I were both the plucked and the child

plucking the stem and twirling.  How a single word

can set the world turning from one moment into

the next in startlement.

What follows this poem "to set the world startlement" is an entire Guide to Activism by the Union of Concerned Scientists!  It's a 30-page summary of actions we can take, from the simple and individual to the loud advocacy we can lead, that contribute to change.  

[Don't forget, too, that our money talks.  This week I heard a presentation from the author of this article about social impact investing for people and planet.]

Poetry can be a tool for navigating your feelings about our climate emergency and then getting on with our day, whether it’s a day of activism or a day of rest & process. So, I wish you a Mixed-Emotions Earth Day full of whatever you need to live by Jane Hirshfield's words:

"The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it."

Thanks to our host Karen Edmisten for doing the honors today, and do take a moment to visit Issue 1.3 of The WHISPERshout Magazine featuring poetry by kids ages 4-12.

Friday, April 14, 2023

classic found poem a la Jone

Greetings, Poetry Paloozers! (Wait, that didn't come out quite right. We are not loozers; this month we are all winners!) Today I'll be joining in Jone Rush McCulloch's "Classic Found Poem Palooza," but not before I give another introduction to a project of WHISPERshout Writing Workshop...

the new online journal publishing poetry by kids ages 4-12, WHISPERshout Magazine! Issue 1.2 is now out; each month will have four Wednesday "episodes." We're keeping it small, in keeping with the audience--younger kids and classes of students through 6th grade. (When I say we I'm currently talking the Royal We, though I hope one or two of you might be interested in contributing to editorial duties...just let me know in the comments!) Please share the link to the site with kids and grandkids and teachers you know and encourage them to submit their work.  Here's a sample of the poem-accompanied-by-artwork presentation we're going for.

"paper" by Jordy, age 7, MD

Now, on to the classics!  Jone and her friend Moe have asked us to "Find a classic book.  Look for a poem in it." As I have four different editions of my namesake classic HEIDI on the shelf, that's my obvious source!  I searched a 2000 reprint of the 1880 original published by Aladdin, the first two or three pages of Chapter 4 called "A Visit to Grannie," and found this.

That was fun--not least the part where I broke a rule I didn't know I had and HIGHLIGHTED THE PAGES OF MY BOOK. It felt illicit and delicious!

It is really fun to see all the contributions to Jone and Moe's Padlet--thanks for this great opportunity, and thanks for hosting us, Jone!

Friday, April 7, 2023

WHISPERshout Magazine is live! and inklings challenge too

click to visit!

Greetings, Poetry People!  I know I've been hinting at this development for a while, and in fact the idea has been percolating since 2017--but this week, finally, the first modest weekly issue of WHISPERshout Poetry Magazine has appeared!  

Why this project? I'm hoping it will meet a simple need that most writers have--to share their work publicly. I suppose there are writers who are content to write and then tuck their work away (looking at you, Emily Dickinson), but most writers I know are COMMUNICATORS, and it's not communication if your writing isn't seen by, well, the community!

I began writing poems early on, while growing up with a dad whom I watched speaking from the pulpit every Sunday morning to an audience (looking at you, Bob Mordhorst). I learned early on the power of connecting with others through sharing your words--but for poetry writers especially, and for young poets even more especially, opportunities to publish their work are few and far between. (After all, they're competing with all of us adults trying to publish OUR poetry for young people!)

So I hope WHISPERshout Magazine helps to scratch that itch to be seen and acknowledged by the community, and I hope it opens visibility to a very wide range of young poets, whose voices may not easily find a platform otherwise. To my knowledge, WHISPERshout Magazine is the only U.S. online site publishing poetry by kids 4-12, and I'm asking you, if you're willing, to help it...


First, please visit Issue 1.1 and enjoy the featured work. Your comments, as always, will thrill and encourage the young writers.

Second, come back here and offer any constructive criticism about format, style, content, in the knowledge that I intended to attach it to my WHISPERshout website and was somewhat defeated by the Squarespace blog platform. (If you know a young person with Squarespace chops who would be willing to teach me, let me know!) 

Third, please share!  If you are a teacher, think of this opportunity for your students to see their poems (with accompanying artwork and photo) published on the World Wide Web!  If you are an author who does school visits, let those schools know that this opportunity exists!  If you are a parent or grandparent sharing poetry with your young ones, encourage them to consider submitting!

Thanks for supporting WHISPERshout Magazine, and thanks to Margaret of Reflections on the Teche, who has already been an enthusiastic facilitator and sharer of her students' work--I hope to be publishing some of it soon...BUT WAIT!  There's more!

It's also the first Friday of the month, and time for an Inklings challenge, this time set by Mary Lee of A(nother) Year of Reading.  In an edgy and daring kind of move, Mary Lee just gave us four random words to work with (knuckle, denial, turn, cautious) and opened the gate.  Luckily a poet can turn any group of words in any direction, right?  I commemorate the establishment of WHISPERshout Magazine thus:

The Challenge

There's no denying a poet who wants to be heard.
Throw caution away at this crossroads.
Turn to face each direction, seeking ears and eyes.
Knuckle down and work it; whisper it, shout it, show all your work!

You see I messed with a couple of the words--poets are rule-breakers, don't you know. Make sure to visit the rest of the Inklings to see how they messed with the words!

Catherine @ Reading to the Core

Mary Lee Hahn @ A(nother) Year of Reading
Molly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone
Linda Mitchell @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
 , again our host today, with the Progressive Poem as well! Whoo-hoo National Poetry Month!

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

#ClimatePoemProject at Authors Take Action!

In my view it's no accident that Earth Month and National Poetry Month coincide.  To celebrate, I'm participating in a project of the Authors Take Action group! Many of us are joining in suggesting prompts for a climate-themed poem, open to writers K-5 and up. You can find all the prompts at this Authors Take Action page.  Here's mine...

Some people are taking recycling to a whole new level! Watch this video about schools built out of plastic bottles, and then imagine sitting inside a school like that.  Write a poem describing what you see, hear, and feel around you. How is it different than a regular school?



Or... imagine building a school out of something else that usually gets thrown away, like tires or old washing machines or cardboard boxes.  Maybe your poem will sound like an engineer's structural drawing or an architect's blueprint or a TV commercial advertising your new recycled school!


Thanks to Laura Shovan and the other members of Authors Take Action for inviting us all to play along!

Sunday, April 2, 2023

welcome to npm 2023 & progressive poem line 2


combine an illustration by Marc Brown of ARTHUR fame with a line from the current adult poet laureate Ada Limon?


open a colorful vista and suggest that each of us, however small in the landscape, has an essential role to play?


(if you can't center poetry every day of every month of every year) make April the epicenter of poetry in the nation's calendar?

As for me, I'm certain that this opening page from the book that taught me to read also taught me what I was meant for...

"a poet writing poems" in her garret

This makes it look like poeting is a solitary activity done with eyes lifted to the heavens, but we all know that poetry happens in community.  First of all, poets write to communicate, and the moment anyone reads our words--even if we don't know them--community begins to develop.  Secondly, poets help and support each other as they change and experiment and learn and grow.  Thirdly, poets play and collaborate, as we are doing again this year with the Progressive Poem!

Irene Latham began this tradition in 2012 and hosted our month-long collaboration through 2019, when Margaret Simon took over. (Early archives here; recent archives are tabs at the top of Margaret's page.)

Mary Lee Hahn kicks us off this year, following these few rules:
  • Each poet-blogger adds a line, creating a poem for children
  • by copying the previous lines exactly as written (unless permission from the previous poet is obtained).
  • Commentary on the process is welcome but optional.

Here is Mary Lee's opening line, which is gloriously "opening" by any definition of the word despite having a happy-ending sound to it.

                                        Suddenly everything fell into place.

At first I thought I wanted that place to be a crossroads of some kind, to lead in many directions, but I spent time yesterday gardening and watching little spring storms come and go, showers of wind and hail between stretches of sun. I thought about what it's like when rain lands in its best destination, when we find we've landed just where we're meant to be. And so...

                                        Suddenly everything fell into place

                                      like raindrops hitting soil and sinking in.

But think also of all those raindrops that hit rooftops or pavement or other hard places far from soil or stream...they have a ways to go, a more strenuous journey. Do they all get there in the end?  Do we?  As Mary Lee says, "I love stories that start at the end...Write me a story that ends with sudden clarity."

Our poem will continue tomorrow with Tabatha's line, which you'll find at The Opposite of Indifference.

April 1 Mary Lee Hahn, Another Year of Reading
April 2 Heidi Mordhorst, My Juicy Little Universe
April 3 Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference
April 4 Buffy Silverman
April 5 Rose Cappelli, Imagine the Possibilities
April 6 Donna Smith, Mainely Write
April 7 Margaret Simon, Reflections on the Teche
April 8 Leigh Anne, A Day in the Life
April 9 Linda Mitchell, A Word Edgewise
April 10 Denise Krebs, Dare to Care
April 11 Emma Roller, Penguins and Poems
April 12 Dave Roller, Leap Of Dave
April 13 Irene Latham Live You Poem
April 14 Janice Scully, Salt City Verse
April 15 Jone Rush MacCulloch
April 16 Linda Baie TeacherDance
April 17 Carol Varsalona, Beyond Literacy Link
April 18 Marcie Atkins
April 19 Carol Labuzzetta at The Apples in My Orchard
April 20 Cathy Hutter, Poeturescapes
April 21 Sarah Grace Tuttle at Sarah Grace Tuttle’s Blog,
April 22 Marilyn Garcia
April 23 Catherine at Reading to the Core
April 24 Janet Fagal, hosted by Tabatha, The Opposite of Indifference
April 25 Ruth, There is no Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town
April 26 Patricia J. Franz, Reverie
April 27 Theresa Gaughan, Theresa’s Teaching Tidbits
April 28 Karin Fisher-Golton, Still in Awe Blog
April 29 Karen Eastlund, Karen’s Got a Blog
April 30 Michelle Kogan Illustration, Painting, and Writing

Thursday, March 30, 2023

the #climatepoemproject, and multiform poetry

'Twas the night before April and in poets' houses
the creatures were stirring, including our mouses...

Greetings to all who are vibrating with excitement for the opening of National Poetry Month!

First up:

I'm participating in a project of the Authors Take Action group! Many of us are joining in suggesting prompts for a climate-themed poem, open to writers K-5 and up. You can find all the prompts at this Authors Take Action page.  Here's mine...


Some people are taking recycling to a whole new level! Watch this video about schools built out of plastic bottles, and then imagine sitting inside a school like that.  Write a poem describing what you see, hear, and feel around you. How is it different than a regular school?



Or... imagine building a school out of something else that usually gets thrown away, like tires or old washing machines or cardboard boxes.  Maybe your poem will sound like an engineer's structural drawing or an architect's blueprint or a TV commercial advertising your new recycled school!


Thanks to Laura Shovan and the other members of Authors Take Action for inviting us all to play along!


And now, I'm playing along with the Poetry Sisters, who are writing etherees this month.  I've combined the 1-10 syllable etheree with my own creation, the definito.  Enjoy the layers of form; I certainly had fun with them, and came up with something that is kind of the opposite of a school built out of plastic bottles!


barely there

     a definito



fog or mist.

a ghost. a hint

of something that fleets

         away as you reach it.

           disappearing atmosphere.

                transparent. neither solid nor stiff.

                   something here and yet not here. feels as 

                      real as air, as ether. ethereal.



Finally, next Wednesday I'll start my National Poetry Month project. Assuming that I can get to grips with Squarespace's blogging platform, I'll be adding kids' poems weekly on Wednesdays to the new WHISPERshout Magazine, publishing poetry and art by kids ages 4-12.  The link is here:

 Let the wild rumpus begin!!!*

And THANKS to Mary Lee for hosting us today at A(nother) Year of Reading, where she'll also be kicking off this year's Progressive Poem.  She's one of my favorite trailblazers! 

*Yes, I know Maurice wrote "start," but the rhythm is so much better with "begin," don't you think? 😊

Friday, March 24, 2023

unexpected grass poem

Greetings from the south coast of England, Poetry People. It's a pleasure to have not written for quite a few days, so that when one finally has a moment, a sunny moment for a walk by oneself, the impulse arises and lines are tried and, well, one still has it. One's identity, I mean.

And then there's Poem-a-Day, just to keep one in mind of all the possible poems there are out there.

Ordinary Grass Grows Where It Must

We all own mowers.
The grass is lowly, struggling always up but
not far, blades
bent down by feet and paws
and wheels but standing high enough to cast
a sunrise shadow on its downslope self.
It always comes back,
surges up through sidewalk or churns of mud,
tenacity outsizing its minute green tips.
It feeds a passing cat needing a tonic, or a kid
needing a slice of whistle or chlorophyll juice,
or in some places actual sheep who crop it as
soon as it can stand on its own one foot. 
Not to notice is normal,
but grass takes that personally, threatens to
strike, stop growing, but doesn't really mean it.
Do grass a favor and lie down, accept its edge
of itch and its inhabitant insects, the histamine tickle
that has cushioned centuries of outdoor couplings.
Submit to the sky,  
which is all grass can see save the forest of siblings
surrounding it. The damp skin of the earth is a
platform for viewing the wind at work, and if
it's dry instead, let green go and lie down golden-
grained, brown meeting the granulated ground,
and grass will weave 
a dying nest for you to leave in, but only until
the next rain, the next worming invigoration
that commences its endless sunlit revival.
instadraft ©HM 2023

And here's my Poetry Project for National Poetry Month...I'll finally be getting WHISPERshout Magazine up and running.  Check it out here!  And if you have class or kid or grandkid poems to submit, send them to!

Thanks to Rose at Imagine the Possibilities for hosting us today.  Go see everybody else exercising their identities!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

poetry friday is here...along with the odes of march


Welcome, all, to your March 10th-not-yet-15th Poetry Roundup. I'm here first to share some poetry history with a few selections that may be considered the Odes of March, and then to share a couple of my own before you share your offerings for today.  Let's get jigging!

 Elizabethan: Edmund Spenser

How bragly it beginnes to budde,
  And utter his tender head?        15
Flora now calleth forth eche flower,
And bids make ready Maias bowre,
  That newe is upryst from bedde.
Tho shall we sporten in delight,
And learne with Lettice to wexe light,   


 Romantic: John Clare

Yet winter seems half weary of its toil
And round the ploughman on the elting soil
Will thread a minutes sunshine wild and warm
Thro the raggd places of the swimming storm

Victorian: Algernon Charles Swinburne

Fain, fain would we see but again for an hour what the wind and the sun have dispelled and consumed,

 Dear March—Come in—
How glad I am—
I hoped for you before—
Put down your Hat—
You must have walked—
How out of Breath you are—

 Turn-of-the-Century: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Severe of face, gaunt-armed, and wildly dressed,
She is not fair nor beautiful to see.
But merry April and sweet smiling May
Come not till March has first prepared the way.

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee 

The moon is naked.
The wind has undressed the moon.
The wind has blown all the cloud-garments
Off the body of the moon
And now she’s naked,

Midcentury: Anne Sexton

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.

 21st Century: Catherine Pond

                      Sometimes the medicine works
and sometimes it doesn’t. The fact remains
that it’s warmer than ever: 76 degrees today
in Central Park. A silver maple burns beneath
the bridge. A sailboat comes apart in the pond.


And now, a couple of odes to March 11, because my birthday gift to myself is hosting you all here at my juicy little universe



10,000 miles from Fukushima

On my birthday this year I turn

into an ostrich

take a shallow breath and bury my head

in a desert of pixelated particles.

Am I the pivotal generation,

the last of the predigital baby boom

weaned on Sesame Street and Electric Company

Zoom Z-double O-M slipping into the future?

Do I regret my thrill and amazement that in one office

of the university I typed on carbon sets

while in the science library I clicked a key,

ejected research papers from a hulking printer?

Do I regret the newborn internet, how

electronic mail let me cross generations,

3000 miles and an ocean to explain “bisexual”

to my father sheltered from proximal storms of hurt?

I thought these things were like cassette tapes, 

microwave ovens and MTV: tool-using humans 

applying their powerful brains to create 

simple solutions for better living.

If I had known what we would become, what

my children would become, I would have said no 

to these harmless, genius tools–no to the cell phone 

and the laptop, no to the internet and to Facebook.

A hole is to dig, and I want to go into the field

with you, my children, and you, my child.

I want to use my hands, my muscles, my fingernails

like tools, like humans, to dig a hole 

that I can bury us in together, just for a while,

while the scandals and the earthquakes

and the tsunamis and the secret maneuvering

make us forget that from that dirt 

seeds will sprout and bulbs will burst,

fission at the nuclear level, a splitting of 

ostrich eggs

unearthing us 3D and breathtaking again.



The Green Sofa of Ezra Jack Keats (born 3.11.1916)

is where I sat every Wednesday night for weeks, writing, in 

a tiny apartment not far from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

where Claudia and Jamie slept on the canopied 16th century bed,

which was not far from the brownstone on East 87th Street

where Harriet had cake and milk, milk and cake every afternoon.

I didn’t know in 1986 that it was the green sofa of Ezra Jack Keats.

I did not realize he had only just left us, and left the green sofa

to this young family friend, a writer. I settled into that green sofa

of Ezra Jack Keats, into a colored collage that dizzied, did not need 

to pin everything down, showed me not cool consumption


but cozy creation, how I might go beyond black and white

with a narrow red stripe, how I need not grow up according 

to the Plan but might run away alone like Sam Gribley

carrying the contents of the New York Public Library in my head,

to a place of my own making, like Peter on the sidewalk with

all his most important things, a picture of me as a baby.



Add your link below, and thanks for Marching with me all these years!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!