I’d been trying to work myself into enough of a lather to satisfy Muri’s RANT PROSE prompt. Surely there was something in my life worthy of a two-page screed?  Silly team building exercises.  The word MONETIZE.  Paying $4.19 for a gallon of gas.  Driving in Cleveland.  A cat that can’t decide if he wants to be in or out.  Poetry getting celebrated only one month of the year.  Unfortunately, the rant part of my brain got short-circuited by a book I read for discussion group, The Story of More by Hope Jahren.  In summary, it’s about haves and have-nots and how the First World’s lust for meat and electricity and gas-guzzling SUV’s has pushed global warming almost to the tipping point.  Suddenly, every tirade I conjured up sounded petty and whiny.  I couldn’t roll out two pages, even just for kicks, without thinking to myself, Put a cork in it, why don’t you, Karen?  What right had I to grumble while others went without food and clean water?  While they were living in shanties and being buried alive by mudslides?  Fleeing with just the clothes on their backs to escape the war over fossil fuels going on in their back yard?  I decided to go with Muri’s alternate prompt on this one, beginning my BLITZ with the word BLIND.  Blitzes are fun and fast and, if done freely (without censoring), quite telling about the writer.  Buried in mine you will find faith and fathers and food.  Scammers and skivers and jailbirds.  180’s and superheroes and #2 pencils.  Viruses and ferocity and travels à la Gulliver.  Old-fashioned things, necessary things, and things found on Buzzword BINGO cards, the whole enchilada sprinkled liberally with homophones.  I challenge you to write a blitz and examine the flotsam that emerges from your subconscious. Maybe you’ll get lucky and end up where I did, alone with a slice of key lime pie. 

Thank you, Murisopsis, for making National Poetry Month special with yet another marvelous challenge!!!


Blind fury
Blind faith
Faith healer
Faith of our Fathers
Fathers and mothers
Father’s Day
Day of the Dead
Day lily
Lily pad
Pad the bill
Pad by the phone
Phone call
Fight or flight
Fight Club
Club soda
Club Med
Med Mart
Turn for the worse
A bout of the flu
Flu shot
Flew off the handle
Handel’s Messiah
Handle it
It’s a bird
It’s a plane
Plain Jane
Plain yogurt
Yogurt parfait
Yogurt and berries
Buries treasure
Buries the dead
Lock and key
Key players
Key lime pie


I wrested my 2004 Honda Element from the grasp of its first owner in 2008 when his wife gave birth to a third child and they had to upgrade to an Odyssey; his loss, my gain. Element owners are nuts about them; it’s almost like being part of a cult. To our dismay, Honda discontinued the Element in 2012. I have resolved not to let go of Egbert (that’s his name) until I find a compact SUV I like as much as I like him, and in all likelihood, that is never going to happen. Eggie is easy on gas, easy to clean, and his rear seats can be configured three different ways (or removed entirely) which enables him to accommodate a wide (and tall and long) variety of items. During my fourteen years of ownership, he has been remarkably trouble-free. Our new house came with a bonus upgrade–a two-car garage–so he’s got his own space and is thrilled to be spending his twilight years in comfort.

The poem below, a NONET, is part of Muri’s Poetry Month Challenge.


Miles on Egbert’s odometer
Irrelevant… he’s eighteen
and still humming along
I will keep driving
my Element
until the
wheels fall


So here I am, Muri, another few days into your National Poetry Month Challenge, trying out another new form. The WALTMARIE is a compact powerhouse: a small poem with an even smaller poem hidden inside. Like the fortune cookie of the poetry world.

The inspiration for this one came from a Christmas gift I bought myself. My old pillow had lost a lot of feathers (thanks to Tailor) and was flat as a pancake, flatter than even I like it. I’m mildly allergic to feathers so I bought a synthetic PrimaLoft one from LL Bean; it was too poofy and I had to return it. In December, I wound up with $15 of Kohl’s cash in my wallet. The shelf life on Kohl’s cash is short and if you don’t use it, you lose it. So I puttered around the store looking for something to spend it on. Lo and behold, I found a premium king-sized memory foam pillow that retails for over $100, on sale for $49. With my Kohl’s cash, it would be just $34. I don’t usually care for memory foam—it gets too hot—but this pillow has a “soothing, cool gel cover.” I pressed my hand into the floor model and it was, indeed, cool. It was of a suitable height, about four inches, and could be returned if it didn’t live up to my expectations. What did I have to lose?? Cha-ching went my credit card. I took it home, wrapped it, and slipped it under the Christmas tree. The next morning, I woke up with my neck stiff and sore, as if my old pillow had beaten me during the night. I made a command decision; I unwrapped Mr. Memory Foam, sheathed him in a clean pillow case, and propped him on my bed. I carefully re-wrapped the box he had come in and slid it back under the tree. So it wouldn’t look as though St. Nick had snubbed me, you know? I’ve slept on it every night since and attest that it’s worth every penny I paid for it.


Every night,
I rest
comfortably and easily,
my head
warm and heavy
on your
broad, memory foam
where I release my cares
and dream


WARNING: This post is rated “T” (Tear Jerker) 

Those of you who read my Christmas letter know my beloved fur-baby Tailor passed away last summer. His final chapter began with a lame leg. His left rear leg had always been problematic; he had been born with a luxated patella and undergone knee surgery when he was four, so it made sense for the vet to hitch her wagon to the simplest explanation, a torn ACL. She gave him Rimadyl and referred him to an orthopedic vet. I took him there ten days later. After reviewing his chart and x-ray, the specialist could tell me only three things for sure:  his ACL was fine, he had lost thirteen pounds in a month, and there was ‘something’ in his belly that didn’t belong there. The writing was on the wall but the doc was hesitant to drop “the C bomb” and I wasn’t ready to hear it.  So he mumbled something about inflammation and sent us off with a short course of Prednisone, the pharmaceutical equivalent of a Hail Mary. It didn’t cure anything, of course, but it blunted Tailor’s pain, boosted his energy, and revved up his appetite. It bought him two joy-filled weeks of rolling in soft spring grass, feasting on prime rib and fried chicken, and watching every dog movie available on Disney Plus.  Raging, as it were, against the dying of the light. You can hold the pedal to the metal, but you can get only so far before you run out of gas. He fell in the screen porch on a Saturday night and spent Sunday on the couch, weak and shaking. We found a mobile vet willing to euthanize him at home on Monday. When she arrived, Tailor was curled up on his zebra blanket (the one pictured above) watching his fav movie, Ratatouille. She gave him a sedative and encouraged us to talk to him while it took effect. “He’ll be groggy,” she said, “but he can still hear you.” I couldn’t talk without getting choked up so I just thought the words in my head. He’d always been able to read my mind and I hoped his internal battery still had enough juice to tune in to our shared frequency. When we see each other on the flip side, I’ll ask him what he remembers.

The following poem is both a response to and a GOLDEN SHOVEL of Dylan Thomas’s famous work.


Poets can be wrong; do exactly what he says not to do.
When your eyes feel heavy and begin to droop, do not
resist.  You have fought bravely, earned the right to go
to The Rainbow Bridge.   I stroke your paw with gentle
fingers…  Daddy is singing “You are My Sunshine” into
your ear; can you hear him?  Relax now, and allow that
dopey sleepiness to engulf you, whisk you away. Good
job.  Good boy.  Go gentle, Tailor, into that good night.

If you would like to participate in my friend Muri’s Poetry Month Challenge, click HERE for the details.


A few days ago, heavy wind caused the power to go out 6:00 am.  No biggie, right?  But our house is like Motel 6, where they leave the light on for you.  An illuminated clock face, a nightlight in the bathroom, a soft table lamp in the living room.  It felt eerie to close my eyes in the total darkness and I didn’t sleep a wink.  At 7:00, I got my fidgety self out of bed to phone Ohio Edison and report it.  That turned out to be unnecessary as the lights came back on while I was brushing my teeth, but it brought to mind an outage that occurred a few years ago.  We were sitting at the dining room table, hubby and I, playing Scrabble, I think, when the house went dark.  I waited to see if the power would come back on quickly, as it usually does.  Hubby, however, grew antsy.  Ninety seconds in, he said, “Are you going to sit there all day?  Or help me find an extension cord and get the generator going?”  Before we could locate a working flashlight and the key to the generator, power was restored.  If you wait patiently, many problems solve themselves.  Like this BOB AND WHEEL poem, which practically wrote itself once I figured out the subject.  If you would like to participate in my buddy Muri’s NPM Challenge and want the details, click HERE.  


No power!
Lake wind in its sharpness
has downed pole or tower.
We squirm in full darkness,
the minutes like hours.


I dial,
hold for operator.
Eager husband, meanwhile,
fires up generator.
Waiting isn’t his style.


My friend Muri hosts a poetry challenge every April. If you’d like to participate and want the details, click HERE. I didn’t recognize most of the poetic forms on her list, so it’s going to be a steep learning curve for me this year. This first poem is a DECIMA. Years ago, I had a coworker who was a real practical joker. She lived for April Fool’s Day and got one over on just about everyone. No matter how determined I was not to bite, she would reel me in. My determination may have made me an easier target. Pranking isn’t complicated, but it requires two essential things: a poker face and a plausible lie. I got her once, almost by accident. I took a message for her from the school principal, asking her to call in about her son. She agonized about it all day. Had he picked a fight or gotten himself suspended? It turns out he had been selected for induction into the National Honor Society. Without further ado…


I’m feeling like an April Fool,
sitting here hoodwinked and bumming,
too naïve to see it coming.
A plausible lie, her only tool,
told straight-faced, her manner cool.
“There’s a policeman on the phone,
a stoplight camera thing, he said…”
My heart speeds up… I ran a red?
With shaky hands and a sickly groan,
I say hello to Sergeant Dial Tone.


Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #13 is “Get extra points and bragging rights by writing a poem using the following words – basil, candle, ink, tub, bread, lace.”

A strange grouping of words, no doubt… They painted a picture in my mind of a long soak in a clawfoot tub with a few tealights burning, the window open, lace curtains fluttering in the breeze.  On the vanity lies
a longhand letter half-tucked into a matching envelope.  But the bread did not materialize.  Neither did the basil.  Even if they had, how would
I write a poem about a scenario I know zilch about?  I can’t sit still long enough to enjoy a bath and neither of my bathrooms have a window, not to mention nobody in their right mind brings a treasured piece of correspondence into a space full of puddles and poo molecules.

Writer’s rule #1 is “Write what you know.”  When one of my crowns fell out, I had a story to tell.  But how would I get all the compulsory words to fit?  Poets are masterful at finding ways to break the rules while still operating within them.  They might even throw in a rhyme scheme just for shits and grins.

Yuge thanks to Muri for hosting this NPM challenge and providing the prompts.  I don’t know which was more fun, writing my own poems or reading the other submissions.


An upper crown
fell out of place
and left behind
an empty space

A jack-o-lantern
sans the candle
chewing things
it cannot handle

A trap for dough
and basil shreds
from Italian subs
on crusty bread

Off to Drug Mart
I boldly went
for a jar of DIY
tooth cement

The fix felt weird
My bite was off
It proved no match
for dental floss

The options suck
A vexing wobble?
Or a tender stub
to mollycoddle?

I’m on the brink
Should I endure it?
Or have an expert
resecure it?

Despite the risks
of COVID’s scare,
I guess I’ll brave
the dental chair

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Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #12 is “Write 3 haiku.”

I have two journals.  One allots five lines a day, just enough space to jot down the important and unique.  Gas 1.59 today!  Cardinal got trapped in squirrel feeder.  First daffodil.  Eyeglasses arrived by mail.  M-I-L sent Thanksgiving card for Easter — LOL.  You know, that sort of thing.  The other is a black and white composition book for dissecting my feelings.  That’s my “Angst Journal,” unlimited real estate for longhand bitching.  There are stacks of them in a carton in the attic.  I may bequeath them to my sister when I die so she can marvel at how I managed to maintain such a sunny disposition when my whole world was falling apart:  the furnace repair that took seven service calls, the dental visit where Dr. Dingbat drilled my tongue, the painful backlash of having reported a boss to her superiors—it’s all in there.

Haiku is the pocket journal…  full of interesting tidbits, small wonders, and existential questions that lead the writer down a familiar road only to take her somewhere she did not expect.


Dug out winter gloves
Spent morning cleaning freezer
Found bacon—woo hoo!

BLT for lunch
Spinach in lieu of lettuce
Tasteless tomato

Took long, hot shower
Drank coffee, got on WordPress
Umm, what day is it?

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Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

Prompt #11 is “Write an acrostic poem using a word to describe your worst enemy.”

Menopause hit me like a ton of bricks.  Fat cells gathered for a family reunion in the space between my armpits and knees.  When the party was over, I couldn’t get them to leave so I let them hang around.  I fed them cheese manicotti and Pringles.  I encouraged them to be fruitful and multiply.  “Size doesn’t matter” became my mantra, along with its pants tag cousin “16 is the new 14.”  But those extra pounds caused a lot of old friends to turn on me.  Suddenly, everything felt tighter—elastic waistbands, t-shirts, armchairs, the space between my car and the garage wall, my chest when I walked a couple blocks with the dog.  There were more and more things to avoid—fitting rooms, swimsuits, photos that showed my chins, high school reunions, rickety lawn chairs, Spanx garments capable of suffocation or entrapment.

When I resolved to lose weight, the cosmos used every trick in the book to try and stop me.  NOOM proved too technologically challenging.  The local gym was pricey and required an extra pair of shoes, ones that had never set foot in the outside world.  Nine days after I joined, they shut down due to Coronavirus.  The same week, the nurse called with my lab results; I was to decrease my thyroid medication, which would make my mission even more difficult.  The grocery store ran out of low-fat mayo and multi-grain flatbread.  But the more the universe thwarted me, the more determined I became.  I counted calories, swore off snacking, and upped the daily dog walk to a mile.  I crocheted to keep my hands busy.  Over a period of six weeks, my afghan grew and I shrank.  Not so much that I’d blow away in a strong wind, but my enemy is not as formidable as he once was.  I’m on the road to victory!


Worrying about BP, diabetes, heart attacks
Every year, buying new jeans in a larger size
Insecurity, avoiding mirrors, dodging selfies
Going toe-to-toe with the fridge and losing
Hating the scale with its big black numbers
Trying to squeeeeze into a shrinking world

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Today’s response to MURI’S 2020 CHALLENGE FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH.  Like the 2019 challenge, this consists of 13 prompts, one for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in April. They can be completed in any order.  If you are interested in participating, click on the above link for the prompts and posting guidelines.

In an “economy of creativity,” I have combined prompts #9 and #10:
“Explore your feelings about deceit in a poem.”
“Write about 2 opposites using an Etheree and a Reverse Etheree.”

There is none so blind as he who will not see.  I find it astonishing that so many people dismiss the difficult truths before them and put their faith in fairy tales.  A lie dressed up in a thousand-dollar suit is still a lie.  Repeating it doesn’t make it true.  Calling it an “alternative fact” or a “spin” doesn’t make it true.  We are all culpable to some degree for the problems plaguing our country and planet.  Rather than accepting our share of the blame and working toward solutions, we bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine.  Well, it isn’t, and it isn’t going to get better until we open our eyes (and minds) to the truth.


Alternative facts
Out-and-out bullshit
Misleading information
False promises, propaganda
Contradictions, inconsistencies
So many eager to drink the Kool-aid

Deceit assaults our every sense and yet
we believe what we want to believe
instead of seeking out what’s real
Straightforward information
from credible sources
Trustworthy advice
The facts

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