Garbage Day–Poetry Potluck and NaPoWriMo Day 10

March 7 - Wind Blown Recycling

Image by Scott Hamlin via Flickr

Submitted to Poetry Potluck: for the theme of 

Environment, Evolution and Survival 




 Garbage Day

We roam the neighborhood,
the dogs and I,
on garbage day—
a day of wind and
every kind of March weather
all at once.

Litter nestles between the curb and
winter-damaged asphalt.

I carry small pouches to pick up dog poop,
(the ones the city provides
at the entrance to the park
on our street near the river).
In my left coat pocket—a plastic sack,
from Wal-Mart, to seal the
little ones tight.

Smashed on the sidewalk,
a plastic container
informs me of the nutritional
value of a single portion of applesauce.
I grab it and the caffeine-free
diet Pepsi can
from the middle of the street.

Confetti clutters a lawn—
shredded financial documents.
Detritus of people’s lives
(Upper Middle Class Waste)
defiles our surroundings.

Two doors down,
cardboard boxes from Costco
wait on the curb—
purchasing power folded into
squares and rectangles.

A lid with Xerox
stamped in red, over and over again,
leans against the mailbox
in my rose garden.
I chuck it in my Waste
Management receptacle.

In the house, I make rounds,
gather our rubbish,
chuck a cylindrical cardboard package,
emptied of individual plastic cups of Crystal Light,
share the shame.

I chosen to use Poetry Potluck’s theme for NaPoWriMo This old brain can only produce so much poetry and, to be honest, this is a rewrite. It is, after all, a day of rest! 


Connearthection–NaPoWriMo Day 4

Quercus pyrenaica seedling 20090813

Image via Wikipedia

Written for NaPoWriMo, Day 4:


care for our Mother
for to her we shall return
when our spirit’s freed

she tends to our needs
but often we ignore her
fragile caregiver

walk in mindfulness
listen to her whisperings
embrace her beauty

Here’s the prompt the NaPoWriMo gave, but my word inspired a bit of haiku to follow:

Because April is National Poetry Month, there are a lot of poetry-related things going on besides NaPoWriMo. One I thought people might be interested in is InterNaPwoWriMo, or International Pwoemrd Writing Month, a project sponsored by visual poet Geof Huth. What’s a pwoermd, you ask? It’s a one-word poem! Sometimes they are made by shoving two words together to form an interesting new word, but there are a lot of ways of going about it.

Today, if you’re looking for a challenge, why not try your hand at a pwoemrd? They might look easy, but it’s actually pretty hard to come up with an interesting one – something that works visually and also makes some kind of sense.

Wordsmith Wednesday–7 Things I’ve Learned So Far

For this weeks post, I’m going to share my article which was published on Sunday, August 29th on the Writer’s Digest blog hosted by Chuck Sambuchino:


1. Cultivate Beginner’s Mind. Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned writer, approach your work as though you were a novice. Read good writing in many genres. Subscribe to magazines such as Writer’s Digest. Devour books about the practice of writing. Reread classics and explore contemporary work. Give a book 50 pages then, if it isn’t working for you, put it aside. Never, ever become complacent. The day you believe you have arrived, you will cease to develop.

2. Refute the Myth of Writer’s Block. There are days when the last thing you want to do is face the ominous blank page—and sometimes that’s okay. But when one writing-free day leads to another and another, you are at risk of slipping into writer’s entropy. Devise a treatment plan that will free your creative muse from its self-imposed exile. Brainstorm with a friend; write a poem; revise a short story you’ve previously abandoned; take a walk in nature; pick random words from the dictionary and use all of them in a paragraph, poem or short, short story. Find a remedy that works for you.

3. Listen to Others, but Be True to Your Vision. Participation in critique groups and workshops is of immense value. Objective, balanced advice from fellow writers helps you develop your skills and improve your manuscript. Learn to listen to suggestions with an open mind and hone your ability to give feedback that is both constructive and encouraging. Take notes while your work is being reviewed. Soon after the session, correct typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, but defer making changes related to plot or character until you have completed your first draft. Hold onto the reins of your story: the plot, story arc and characters belong to you at this point. Don’t do radical surgery until you are know it will improve the prognosis of your story.

4. Embrace the Process of Revision but Keep on Writing. I wrote my first novel in a little over a year and revised for eight years before it was accepted by an agent. Don’t be afraid of the hard work of writing. Take a break after you’ve completed the first draft—let your manuscript gestate. Be creative in the process of revising and editing: read your novel aloud; read it backwards, beginning with the last chapter, to discover unresolved story lines and inconsistencies in characters; read it with a focus on grammar, on active verbs, on tightening the narrative, eliminating unnecessary adverbs and adjectives; look for word echoes—you get the idea. But, in the meantime, move forward. Outline your next novel or book proposal. Write in a different genre. Try to balance your time between the new and the old. Finally, know when it’s time to give birth.

5. Query with Care. You will save yourself some of the heartbreak of rejection if you attend well to the process of submitting your work. Ask other writers for feedback on your query letter, synopsis and outline. Make them as succinct and compelling as possible and tailor your presentation to the agents or publishers to whom you are submitting. Do a thorough review of their websites to assure that you are meeting their requirements and that your masterpiece matches the type of work that they represent. Don’t send more than they request. And when you’ve accumulated your fair share of rejections, keep on trying—don’t give up. If you’re lucky enough to receive a personalized note of rejection, consider any advice that’s been offered and if necessary, be willing to take another look at your manuscript and, if needed, initiate CPR.

6. Manage Your Time and Organize Your Space. The creative process can be messy, even chaotic. Disorganization, however, can take over our lives and waste time. How can you maximize efficiency? Develop processes that work for you such as computer files, folders for research and document back-up systems. Decide whether you will work from an outline or if you prefer to let your characters lead the way. Before beginning to write, consider fleshing out character profiles and detailed setting descriptions. Avoid or limit time-busters such as computer games, surfing the Internet and other writing-avoidance gimmicks that have inched their way into your routine. Finally, design or discover a sacred space that invites you to unleash your creativity.

7. Adjust Your Definition of Success. Ask a writer how they define success. You will hear responses ranging from winning a Pulitzer to multiple weeks on the NYT Bestseller List. While I couldn’t argue with those answers, I’d like to think that, along the way, we achieve many smaller successes. From my agented-but-not-yet-published place on the continuum, I’d like to focus on some of the other achievements that have had meaning in my writing life: making the effort to show up at the blank page, publishing my first short stories and poems in small literary journals, completing those first drafts, finding the perfect word that expresses what I want to say, experiencing the zone outside myself when the writing just happens guided by the creative Spirit, receiving a complimentary rejection, knowing at the end of the day I’ve worked toward what I’m here on earth to accomplish. Celebrate success!

I strongly recommend this site, especially if you are looking for an agent. All of the Writer’s Digest blogs are well worth book-marking.

Poem: “The Photography of David Maisel”

A couple of years ago, the Nevada Museum of Art featured the photography of David Maisel. It presented numerous opportunities for us as docents to work in concepts of both science/math and art as we toured school-age children. Maisel’s work appears to be a canvas of abstract art from a distance, with a heavy emphasis on color, shape and line. In reality, he is an aerial photographer and captures scenes that show the effect we have had on the environment. Examples of his work included photos of the Great Salt Lake, Owens Lake and the greater Los Angeles area. I’m “pimping” this poem for those of you who might want to check out his art online.

The prompt was “Science.”


The Photography of David Maisel

Microscopic photos of
blood samples, or so you suppose.
Red corpuscles, lymphocytes,
a few eosinophils,

macrophages swallowing
alizarin crimson slides
beneath a lens.

Deceptive art, Maisel,
arial photographer of
Great Salt Lake.
Pollution, masquerade.