Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Warm Summer in San Francisco by Carolyn Miller

This poem made me cry.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


On Games We Once Played


Take me out to the point of failure—
where picking up twelve
is my whole ambition, because you,
my friend, have missed one.

Follow the bouncing ball
one, two, three times in a row
thrown high for extra lift
thrown wide to miss the pile.

Give me a concrete floor
wiped by blackened hands
and the sound of a hundred
tiny teeth ringing in my ear.

Hunched over,
youthful backs
pray for hours
for time to stand still.



My brother chooses names
he doesn’t think I know:

Mongoose- eight dashes below
the hangman’s noose.

I never did like violence.
I get a head first, then a body,

one arm, then I see three ‘o’s’
and an N for my name.

‘-on-oo--.’ If only I had a ‘g’
I wouldn’t die.

I squeal. He adds feet,
starts to hint with flying arms.

I wonder if he would have added toes,
just to keep me in the car a little longer.


Skipping Stones

It begins with a search by water’s edge
for something palmable, pocket-sized
handshakes smoothed by time. A pursuit,
when done alone, that has a way of bending
sorrow inward. With a friend, it pokes
fun at almost any kind of day.

The object is to waste time, to put all your
seconds in a row and spin them out beyond
the undulating brim. Then count the fractal
spaces: one-two-three-four, splitting
the distance between now and then.

The object is to bring the edge of the horizon
closer, to etch steps into the valley’s ridge
where we can never go. The rings
are calling cards, a way for us to intersect
and to forget.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sijo- Left Hanging

Phone calls from an old friend
stopped coming years ago.

Photos fade from black&white
to grey. Something happens when we die

but when a friendship ends, lost time
is hard to comprehend.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Gnats are easy

I’m brave with gnats, crush them
quick on my LCD. But when

some frantic long-winged thing,
comes by, I squirm like I do

when you tell me you’re angry
and you don’t want me to fix it.

Sijo- Summer Orange

On summer nights I keep
an orange near my bed

to fingernail a plume of mist.
The scent is like the sun on rainy days.

I palm the world, dream the Taj; white sand,
I and thou in sweet repast.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Returning to the River

Returning to the River

I wanted to return to that place,
the small boat club on the river
where my father’s Saturday sails
slapped their mooring in a gentle breeze.

To orient myself between home
and that low place, where sunsets
beam off the rippling water-
signaling the end of day.

I’ll listen for the train,
the iron line my father rode
all week into the sea of city
traffic and blinking lights.

Then I’ll drive the winding hills
like we did a thousand times.
I’ll point the car and let my spirit
find the way. But most of all

I want to return to the secret places
my father never knew, tucked high
in the old estates, land that was never
mine, but always felt like home.

There I’ll stand on the hilltops,
where the valley shimmers
like a bowl of silver, on the day
when I return to the river.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

challenge at Wild for May 10

Wearing Orange in Reading, Pa.

The line of stragglers
down the hall has already heard the clink
of the keys on the chain. The sound is vulgar
to your ear, even though you claim you’ve never been to Reading
in your life. It'll be years before your sundown,
yet you wonder if your number
is up and all your hopes have faded like oranges to apricots.
You blame the strange solar
wind that keeps you wearing
that t-shirt look-a-like from Ocean Park.
They say New Jersey is as far from California
as hope is from freedom, yet you’re bound in the same sandwiches
you were last year, even though you hate being between pig’s ears.
Don’t look now, but you’ve turned as gray
as the windows where you used to walk.
I’ve heard of some ragged felonies
before, but this one takes the cake, your cadence
in the orange line is the same. They all say it’s inconceivable
that this little episode
is the last time you’ll have to walk this Berks County Property line.

This is the result of a challenge that required the use of each of these last words except for the last line last word which we could choose. It got an honorable mention at Wild Poetry Forum in May 09.

Friday, May 01, 2009

End of Poem a Day

Below are 30 poems written to prompts, one for each day of April. To view all the poems in the series go to the archives on the right-hand side and open "April".