rumor has it that the honey bee population is in decline

rumor has it that the honey bee population is in decline

a palindrome



the bees and i share stories
as we flirt with pink primrose blooms.
we tease lavender—fragrant and seductive.
(gardening comes easy in the company of friends.)
today, the bees are abuzz.

today, the bees are abuzz.
(gardening comes easy in the company of friends.)
we tease lavender—fragrant and seductive
as we flirt with pink primrose blooms.
the bees and i share stories.

Thanks to Mary over at dVerse Meeting the Bar for sharing this fun form–a palindrome or mirror poem. You will notice that the second stanza is the reverse of the first. Try one of your own and join us at the pub!

That Was the Year of Black and White

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

That Was the Year of Black and White

That was the year of blackbirds feeding
on the lush lawn outside the window
of the room where my sister lay dying.

That was the year of black aphids
on the cherry trees—slowly gnawing,
slowly sucking dry hope of harvest.

That was the year of black clouds
pushing in from the West, banking
over the Sierra, withholding rain.

That was the year of a white hummingbird,
feathers like snow on that Easter morn.
That was the year of faith.


Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Linked for the “Black and White” prompt at dVerse Poetics–please join us. These little scenes are true, but actually occurerd in different years.

according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses


Photo: V. Slotto


according to andy warhol, we should create art for the masses
a tanka

paint that can of soup
beauty in the produce aisle
touch the smooth texture
revel in green orange and red
art on display everywhere

When I was a docent at the Nevada Museum of Art, I was especially impressed by the life and art of Andy Warhol, whose goal was to create art for the populace. I liked to challenge the school children to discover art all around them–for example in the grocery store.

Posted to dVerse Poets OLN where we have now reached a milestone of 150 Open Link Nights. We hope you will join us today.

I’m adding an older poem that I wrote at the time of the exhibit. It’s been around, but for those who haven’t read it…


Maybe Andy was on
to something.
screen-printed cans—
Campbell’s soup:
red and white,
silver and gray,
navy blue with a gold seal.
An icon of comfort in
the midst of so much dismay.
Tomato, Chicken Noodle,
Split Pea,
Bean with Bacon, Pepper Pot.
Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Comfort.
Bring it on.

Did you ever stop?
Really look at art?
I mean art in a grocery store?
“Wake up!”
Andy would say.
Listen closely.”

I pick up a navel orange.
Its dimpled skin
leaves a scent-mark
on my fingers.

“If you want to know me,
look at my art,”
“I’m a deeply superficial person.”

So I stare at him,
but he doesn’t glance back.
Eyes drifting to some
far-away place where
wholeness waits,
or to a party where
touching never held room
for emptiness.
The pull of gravity so great
the Mass collapses in
on itself,
Black Hole. Black Whole.

All that sparkles is
not diamond dust.
Even that wouldn’t adhere.
Your world
became glittered in so
much plastic.

Redemption plays in
pink and yellow
electric chairs.

Curl up,
snuggle in its lap
and die alone
while the nurse who
was there for you,

Oh my God,
I am heartily sorry,
So much pain.
I repeat, I repeat.
Marilyn in
black and gray
and brown,
blue and pink.
We are heartily sorry
who we aren’t,
what we are
and what they made us.

The woman handed
the boy
a piece of dense bread.
“It’s dry,” he said.
“Dunk it in your soup,”
she answered.




Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto


bearded irises

like so many tongues of fire

consume my garden.


Photo: wikipedia

Photo: wikipedia


digging damp spring soil,

i disrupt your enterprise;

back to work my friend.


Linked to dVerse Poetics where Patti Wolfe invites us to share our Microworlds. I’ve spent the better part of the past week or more in the garden, so this was perfect timing.

this is not a poem about a dream

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

this is not a poem about a dream

when, at night, the wind howls
and branches of a dead oak scratch the skin
of our world,

when rain puddles on the brick path,
in smeared reflections of an other
-worldly moon,

when screaming silence drips
steadily, steadily
in the gutter, on the roof,

and the old neighbor-dog howls in the distance
conjuring up an image of
grandmother’s banshee

and the rhythmic cadence of real-time fear
beats, beats, beats
on the window

when beating still
in a desperate soul who’s
alone in the darken corner his room,

alone in the chill
of a sweat-drenched bed,
alone in the bleakness of
an empty life

that’s thrumming,
thrumming, thrumming
to its hollow demise

then (i tell you this—)
this is not a poem about a dream
though it could be.)

The title and the final two lines of the poem are from Mary Oliver’s poem Five AM in the Pinewoods, published in House of Light.

Linked to dVerse Meeting the Bar where Bryan Ens is guest-hosting. He asks us to explain our choice of poetic form. I enjoy form poetry, though I most often turn to free verse because it allows my thoughts, that come from who-knows-where, to flow quickly. I chose a couple of poetic devices in this to create intensity:

  • Repetition
  • Onomatopoeia

I also omitted use of Upper Case, also to promote a sense of stream-of-consciousness thinking. When I’ve fallen out of the rhythm of writing daily–in this case, due to other responsibilities which are slowly easing–I turn to other poets for inspiration. I selected a quote from a Mary Oliver poem to set this one in motion–without any idea of where it would propel me. Erasure poetry is also a great way to jump-start the inner poet.

the great wheel of growth

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

the great wheel of growth

on my knees, praying that great prayer of creation,
i turn dark, dank soil, inhale earth’s sweet-pungent scent,
pluck spent blooms to make way for new growth
and wrestle weeds.

around me, colors explode—buds unfurl.
a lady bug emerges from the depths of a peony
while bees delight, dance with lavender.

there it is (in the sacred sanctuary of my garden)
that peace enfolds me.

The title is a line in Mary Oliver’s Poem “Stanley Kunitz” published in “Dream Work,” 1986.

Shared today with dVerse Poetics. Today’s prompt is to write about our daily life. Since returning from the desert, I’ve been spending much time in my garden–hard, but fulfilling work.