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


One thing I looked forward to in retirement was an untainted calendar, rows of empty days to be filled however I wished. Retired folks I knew told me they were “busier than ever,” but how was that even possible? It sounded ridiculous but it has turned out to be true. Age muscles in, bearing its own agenda.

The following poem is an OTTAVA RIMA, which is, for all intents and purposes, a miniature sonnet. In case you are busy (like me) and don’t have time to write a full-length one. Thanks, Muri, for taking it easy on us (a little) as your Poetry Month Challenge winds down.



On Mondays, weekly shots for allergies
On Tuesdays, chiropractic for my back
On Wednesday mornings, I must do PT
because I threw my shoulder out of whack
On Thursdays, social worker sees hubby
The calendar’s perpetually jam-packed
But Fridays stay reserved in all this mess,
for therapy to reckon with the stress


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


In 2007 we traveled to Colorado to buy an old VW Bus we saw on The Samba.com. The trip was quite an adventure. Since then, we’ve been fixing her up when we can find extra money and craftsmen willing to work on her at the same time. Presently, she is mechanically sound, sporting white walls and a renovated body with a fresh paint job, new windshield glass, LED headlamps, and those adorable white bumpers that were standard back in 1966. We found an auto upholstery guy in Dayton who recovered her front seats in leather back in 2019 and will be making rear cushions to match as soon as we get the bed installed. When we moved here, we got lucky and found Dave, a guy who works exclusively on old Volkswagens. You might think, with so few old Bugs and Busses still out there, that Dave is a starving artist, sitting around like the Maytag repairman, waiting for the phone to ring. You couldn’t be more wrong. Vintage VW’s in various states of disrepair are parked all over his property, eagerly awaiting their turn in the garage. Last week when Dave texted and said he was ready to do the interior, we wasted nary a minute getting her there. She’s got seatbelts now, the floor is in, and her interior panels are being crafted as we speak. Next, he will install the furniture I built last year (from a kit custom-made in the UK that cost us, like, a bazillion dollars), reframe and seal the pop-out side windows, fabricate new windows for the snow top (Google it), and install a new roof vent. I’m hoping she’ll be show-ready soon, and come October, we’ll be riding across Lake Erie on the ferry for Kombis on Kelleys (Island), sponsored by our local VW league, appropriately named LEAKOIL.

The poem below, an ESPINELA, is part of Muri’s 2022 Poetry Month Challenge.


The renovation has begun
at last, on our Volkswagen Bus
With luck, she’ll be returned to us
in time to have some summer fun

Windows sealed, door panels done,
Z-bed and cabinets in place,
we’ll journey in our groovy space
to campgrounds hosting Kombi shows
and gawk all day at rows and rows
of Splitties, Vanagons, and Bays


Last summer my husband was in the hospital for three weeks. The grass quickly went from kempt to shaggy to knee-high. Not inclined to mow it myself, I explained my plight to our neighbor, Mike, who mows the lawn next door to ours with his Toro rider. I said I would pay him whatever he thought was fair. He offered to do it for free but I insisted he should be compensated. He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Hmmm, those chocolate chip cookies you bake are the best I’ve ever had” and a deal was born. He mows the lawn and I deliver a batch of cookies to his house, always chocolate chip. Our deal worked out so well, my hubby’s never had to mow the lawn again. Mike’s three kids now refer to me as The Cookie Lady. People tell me I should “monetize” my baking talents. Lord, I hate that word. As if hobbies that don’t make money (poetry, for instance) aren’t worth doing. Moreover, who wants to fool with W-2s or 1099s and cut the IRS in on their profits?

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


Mike mows my lawn
for chocolate chip cookies
A perfect arrangement

Every Saturday afternoon
from April to October
Mike mows my lawn

His kids know the drill
He finishes and they clamor
for chocolate chip cookies

He does his thing; I do mine
We both get what we want
A perfect arrangement


Successful adulting involves toleration of the mundane.  Moving into your first apartment and living on your own is magnificent…  until it isn’t.  Adult life, to your dismay, turns out to be 5% exciting and 95% taking care of everyday shit.  Welcome to the real world.  But wait, there’s more!  As you get older, the definition of “exciting” changes.  Once upon a time, it meant you threw a wild party or went skydiving.  Now it means you spotted a robin at the birdfeeder, the dentist was able to re-glue your crown, or there’s a new episode of NCIS in your queue.

The KYRIELLE, with its (tiresome?) refrain, seemed a good fit for my subject matter.  The A rhymes push the oblique-est of boundaries but chores are what they are and when they don’t rhyme, you make do.  I just noticed the alternate prompt for this one is “write a poem about servitude” so I think I’ve earned a bonus point!  (Exciting, am I right??) It’s not too late to hop on the bandwagon if you’d like to join Muri’s NPM Challenge

Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly



Walk the dog, bring in the paper
Sweep up crumbs on the kitchen floor
Work out what to have for supper
Every day, it’s the same old chores

Take out trash, fill medi-planners
Shop for food at the grocery store
Wash whatever’s in the hamper
Every week, it’s the same old chores

Give the rugs a quick once-over
Arm the pets for the flea-tick war
Rid the fridge of green leftovers
Every month, it’s the same old chores

Change the oil and furnace filter
Purge the overflowing junk drawer
Spring and summer, fall and winter
Do-si-do with the same old chores


As part of Muri’s NPM challenge, I have written an IRREGULAR ODE. I recalled an ode I wrote a few years ago, a sonnet entitled How Do I Love Cheese? and considered re-posting it. But it no longer rang true, as the situation in my body is different these days, age having relegated me to the ranks of the lactose intolerant. So rather than venerating cheese, I shall sing the praises of my new bestie:



Since the day Dairy turned on me,
you have been my rock and salvation
She stirred up an intestinal ruckus and
you marched straight into the battle zone,
neutralizing her weapons
and hammering out a peace treaty
worthy of a Nobel Prize

You have rescued me from a lifetime
of embarrassment and shame:
eating pizza, then excusing myself to the john
thrice during a single episode of Law and Order,
asphyxiating subsequent lavatory users
in a lingering cloud of Glade,
blaming the dog for crop dusting

You’re cheap enough for average Joes
and available over-the counter
in every size from the mammoth bottle
to the individually-wrapped singlet
You’re small and discreet,
caplet-shaped and easy to swallow
You are virtually free of side effects

You make the impossible possible
Half-n-half in my coffee
Milk on my cereal
Cheese on my burger
New England Clam chowder
Redi-Whip on my pumpkin pie
Even ice cream sandwiches!

Lactaid, you are my hero!


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.


They say you’ve “gotta pay your dues to sing the blues” and I’ve paid those dues—with sixteen years of calling senior citizens from my desk in Internal Medicine.  This poetry form, the BLUES STANZA, might be the most formidable challenge in your Poetry Challenge, Muri.  The rules are blurry and the end product seems like it ought to be crooned rather than read, accompanied by the world’s saddest harmonica.  But once I got started, it all just came pouring out. I tossed an extra rhyme in each mirror line, just for kicks. To family and friends who wondered why I never answered my home phone, I hope this explains it. 


I take call after call after call… as an office nurse
Gotta be calm and professional… as an office nurse
I keep a big bottle of Excedrin… in my purse

My snowbird patients are gone… in Florida until spring
No cell phone to reach ‘em on… down in Florida until spring
Their voicemail is full… their home phones ring and ring

Some patients live alone… and want to jabber on all day
Don’t wanna hang up the phone… just jabber on all day
Tell me their socks don’t match… and the mailman’s late

Book the next guy to see the doc… for results of his MRI
Poor guy’s in for a shock… looks like bad news on his MRI
Guess he’ll find out on Tuesday… if he’s gonna live or die

Lady calls, says she’s only got two… of her little pink pills
Needs her prescription renewed… for those little pink pills
She don’t know what they’re called… but she’s hopin’ I will

When I return from lunch… it’s overdue mammogram calls
Got me a whopping bunch… of overdue mammogram calls
By three, I’ll be floatin’ in excuses… up to my eyeballs

My ears and brain ache… after a long day on the phone
Had about all I can take… a long, long day on the phone
Gonna shut my ringer off… the minute I get home