Slice of Life – My Week in Black and White

Sept. 19, 2023

I was inspired by Jennifer Floyd’s post last week, “The Colors of My Day,” so I’ve been noticing color. However, today I opted for the beauty of black and white, which I also noticed this week.

My Week in Black and White

Black blanket dances
brilliant lights filling the sky
while Moon waits backstage

first under-blanket
morn of fall; pumpkin spice tea
latte in new mug

 Specialized motor
gives me fresh legs fit to move
through sand, rocks, and time

sitting in love with
feeding birds; this ladderback
comes to sip nectar

Reading in my bed
Prose and poetry good nights
Sweet dreams on the page

On another note:

In March, Sally shared this template that she uses to record her monthly literacy life. I finally tried it for September, but I let it spill back  into the whole summer, since I couldn’t really remember when I finished these books. I’ll need to start listening to some meaningful podcasts and audio books. About that speaking, though, I’m unconvinced.


Poetry Friday – Evidence and Morning Glories with Mary Oliver

Today is Poetry Friday, and our host is Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities. She has a successful first reverso poem to share! 

My husband has been reading Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. In this book, Keith is finding much truth about his second half of life. Rohr claims: “Poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Denise Levertov, Naomi Shihab Nye, Rainer Maria Rilke, and T.S. Eliot now name your own inner experience…” My husband jumped right in, especially to Mary Oliver, and he has been devouring her collection Devotions. This morning I woke up to have him right away share the poem “Evidence” with me. Here’s just the very beginning:

Where do I live? If I had no address, as many people do not, I could nevertheless say that I lived in the same town as the lilies of the field, and the still waters.

I couldn’t find the poem “Evidence” online, but it is in the book Evidence and in her Devotions collection.

It’s been very rewarding to read poetry about the second half of life with my love.

Here’s another Mary Oliver poem, and a response poem by me.

Morning Glories

Blue and dark blue
     rose and deepest rose
          white and pink they

are everywhere in the diligent
     cornfield rising and swaying
          in their reliable

finery in the little
     fling of their bodies their
           gear and tackle

Read the rest of her poem here


Desert Weeds
A Golden Shovelish Poem after “Morning Glories”
Draft by Denise Krebs

After Hilary came 
     through with four inches of 
          summer rain, weeds

have been popping up
     around here, but
          they are weeds without

a season, short-lived– 
     for the days will grow shorter 
          and cooler, but they add value

to this desert of sand 
     and value to my vision–
          eyefuls of glorious humorous

green to surprise us 
     in the heat of summer 
          bridges of the beautiful

will we ever take the  
     lessons and learn from 
          our friends the weeds 

Striking line is taken from the last two lines of Oliver’s “Morning Glories” poem: “weeds without value humorous / beautiful weeds”

Slice of Life – A Hiking Photo Album

Sept. 12, 2023
It sounded worse than it was, I think.
So much greenery and water on the trail, which is unusual for late summer in California.
We saw several little waterfalls.
Evidence of boulders blasted to make the trail more passable.
Panorama image from our picnic spot
Epilobium canum (California Fuchsia) – These were such pretty wildflowers dotting the landscape
Tahquitz Rock from where we started our hike
Tahquitz Rock (on the right) from the highest climb of our hike. Do you believe some people climb that face!?

In other news this week…

¡Lo hice! Aprendí español por ocho cien días. Realmente, 803 hoy!

Poetry Friday – The Poetry Marathon Report

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is happening over at The Poem Farm with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. “You asked how to write a poem?” Amy has some good advice! Thank you for hosting, Amy.

Last Saturday was The Poetry Marathon. It was a challenge to write 24 poems in 24 hours, but I did it, writing a lot of drivel, especially in the middle of my disrupted sleep.

Below is one of my favorite concoctions, which was based on listening to a music prompt. One of the songs that was suggested was without lyrics and lasted about six minutes. I just typed while I listened to the song; I was also listening to the birds outside my window. Two additional minutes of minor editing, and then I posted it. I want to experiment more with this kind of writing.


Daylight beckons me
spilling out of darkness
the day begins with
breezes of breath
tears of joy
crags of a life
without regrets.
The birds are
playing and
humming their songs
sometimes screeching,
but always authentic.
Oh, to be like a bird
on the wing of this new day.

Inspired by Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight”

Prompt for Hour Eight

I posted all 24 poems and the prompts here at their own post.

Join me next year?

I made it!

Spiritual Journey Thursday – Grace

Patricia Franz is hosting Spiritual Journey Thursday today. I am here on my phone, with so much joy about the theme of “Life at the Speed of Grace.” We took a little trip to the mountains and just got back from a hike–six miles round trip, but it seems like 12! Now we’re off to eat Mexican food.

I took a beautiful striking line from Patricia’s post to write a Golden Shovel poem about today: “I am learning to live life at the speed of Grace, letting God catch me, surprise me, love me, right where I am.” Thank you, Patricia, for the wonderful inspiration.

I won’t be in such a hurry, because I
am here now in this moment. If I am
learning anything, it is
to be present in this gift of Grace, to
live in Hope today because
life isn’t promised tomorrow. Hiking
at San Jacinto Wilderness today with
the four of us 60-somethings, turtle
speed at times, we were hikers
of sore knees, fall risks, and only
Grace to make it 6 miles up and down,
letting me know to thank
God for tiny big miracles that
catch me off guard. Dazzling
me with no twisted joints, but
surprise and pinecones. Finding
me in
love with life and lizards.
Me, who am I
right here
where God can Grace me?

am a grateful child caught by Grace.

Slice of Life – Ten for Tenderness

September 5, 2023

Last Saturday, I participated in a fun event: The Poetry Marathon. I wrote 24 poems in 24 hours. We were given two optional prompts each hour–a text prompt or a photo. I chose to use one or the other of the prompts each hour. I’m sure I will revisit them, and consider the ones I didn’t try. I posted my Poetry Marathon poems with links to all the prompts here.

Now during the last couple days, I’ve gotten even more inspirational mileage from this event. As I read and comment on poems of other participants, I’m getting more ideas. I modeled this poem for my Slice of Life after a similar one someone wrote. Here’s a taste of my tender week:

Ten for Tenderness

Keith squeezes and says
“I’m holding Denise Reed in
the desert,” then sighs.

I loved meeting sweet,
Blessen LaFleur, written by
Margaret Simon

Amber cuts my hair
the soft touch of scissors and
comb makes me tingle

Lori brings a box
of treasures from the sale, things
she knew I would love

Lotion plumps my skin
with “overnight Retinol
therapy” for dryness

The Hilary storm
helped a tall cactus send a
late bloom for the world

Move the couch in place
Popcorn and movie ready
watching in his arms

Funny joke, Milo!
“Jabber, jabber, jabber,” laughs
like a kookaburra

Three meals lovingly
made Saturday while I wrote
Then he did dishes

Sonny comes running
to get his treat then lies down
for a belly rub

Poetry Marathon 2023

6:00 a.m. Hour 1

A Golden Shovel Poem

Our journey on this sphere is limited in
time. Cliché, yes, but true. I think so much about life
and its ending now that I
am old enough for a senior discount. Some say–
“I won’t write to her, let
our sister be alone. She made her choices,” but me,
I can’t. I’ll keep reaching out and come
to the end, hopefully more healed and closer.
What happens in those in-between odd and even
years that breaks relationships? if
we knew would we fix it?
It is bitterness and apathy that kills
not forgiveness and love, which I choose for me

My striking line came from “Divergence” by Diana Khoi Nguyen
“In life I say let me come closer even if it kills me”

Prompt for Hour One

7:00 a.m. Hour 2

A Lai Poem

What will fill this need?
To the voices heed?

Plant in love the seed
Grow at great speed

Spirit at last freed
Climbing up to feed
Blue Moon

I have been meaning to write a poem using the lai form, since I read one by Kat Apel here. I gave it a try using this photo as she climbs the ladder to this week’s blue moon.

Prompt for Hour Two

8:00 a.m. Hour 3

Twenty Little Poetry Projects

You are my pot of gold
The mint plant of life singing
I taste the soft breeze on my face
What would I do without Keith in Joshua Tree?
Though sometimes he’s a dipshit
“Can I have a rainbow, Mom?”
The sweet stone of freedom beams me skyward
As we walk in the desert in order for democracy to be saved.
Do you smell that basil plant singing?
I am pricked by the cactus spikes every morning for breakfast
The arc melts into the future
Keith and Ditz will dance in fragile freedom
I see the olla de oro
The pot of gold calls out to us
Golden these years

Prompt for Hour Three

9:00 a.m. Hour 4

A Pantoum on Connection

Will I be content to stay this way?
Or will I take the difficult path to connect?
With you, unperfectly perfect for me
Let’s commit together

Or will I take the difficult path to connect?
It is always tempting to remain an island
Let’s commit together
For we can offer ourselves as one

It is always tempting to remain an island
An island of selfishness and fear
For we can offer ourselves as one
One of the many, but one of our hope

An island of selfishness and fear
We can sail with our connection
One of the many, but one of our hope
After forty years, I am sure

We can sail with our connection
With you, unperfectly perfect for me
After forty years, I am sure
to be content to stay this way for more

Prompt for Hour Four

10:00 a.m. Hour 5

A Found Poem about a Crime

Accused persons

Commission of a
Crime together
in Fulton County,
Conspired and
Endeavored to
Conduct racketeering
in violation of
O.C.G.A. § 16-14-4(b)
Contrary to the laws–
The good order

Prompt for Hour Five

Source: The Georgia Indictment

11:00 a.m. Hour 6

Over the Edge

I gasped at the vastness,
it seemed as large as
the parking lot at Walmart.
Only there was
no pavement and
no painted lines and
no RVs free camping and
no shopping carts running amuck and
no conspiracy theories.

In fact, there was no solid ground,
except under my feet,
and the view was breathtaking
and reminded me to stop
and reevaluate
before I fell into oblivion.

Prompt for Hour Six

Noon Hour 7

Whispers of Courage

Whispers of courage
fill each drop of rain
until they become
a force to sustain

life and fill each with
whispers of courage
breath of heaven
and strength to forage

a  future replete
with newness of life
whispers of courage
confidence in strife

the strife to overcome
and to discourage
environmental crises
whispers of courage

Prompt for Hour Seven

Viator at Writer’s Digest

1:00 p.m. Hour 8


Daylight beckons me
spilling out of darkness
the day begins with
breezes of breath
tears of joy
crags of a life
without regrets.
The birds are
playing and
humming their songs
sometimes screeching,
but always authentic.
Oh, to be like a bird
on the wing of this new day.

Inspired by Max Richter – “On the Nature of Daylight”

Prompt for Hour Eight

2:00 p.m. Hour 9

Bicycle Cruisers

so much depends upon
the teal and cinnamon cruisers
with their elk-antler handlebars
elbowed in on the cobblestone bridge
with the row houses jacketing the street
and our satisfied tremors of delight
as we clamber up onto the bikes.

First line taken from William Carlos Williams ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’.

Photo by Aswathy N

Prompt for Hour Nine

3:00 p.m. Hour 10

What is Grammy Love?

Every move you make
Every dance you shake
Every smile you give
Every day you live
I’ll be loving you

Every time you cry
When life goes awry
Every stint you’re mean
Whether dirty or clean
I’ll be loving you

Every time
Every day
Every season
Every life
Every being
I’ll be loving you
I’ll be loving you

Inspired by Sting’s “I’ll Be Watching You”.

Prompt for Hour Ten

4:00 p.m. Hour 11

The Path – A Ninette to the Mosquitos

the green
trail, we hiked–
dancing light entranced
so we forgot
to itch the
bites you

Ninette poetry form

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Prompt for Hour Eleven

5:00 p.m. Hour 12

My Closet

I wish I had a photo of the little holes in the closet wall in our den when I was a child. After removing the rag bag and iron and spray water bottle and what-have-you, I could crawl up on the shelf into my closet; it was at about waist high to an adult. There were some decorative holes on the back of a curio shelf on the other side of the wall. They were perfectly situated for me. When I was sitting on my closet shelf, it was a perfect secret agent perch to look out at the goings-on of my family. I was the captain of a ship peering through the spyglass. I was taking detective notes. I was making subtle noises to try to get family members to wonder what they heard. It was my closet and no one could have convinced me otherwise.

Prompt for Hour Twelve


6:00 p.m. Hour 13

Retired Teacher

There once was a woman in J.T.
who gets to hike & sip iced tea.
She made her mark
retired with a spark,
now she’s a school absentee.

Prompt for Hour Thirteen

7:00 p.m. Hour 14

Prompt for Hour Fourteen

8:00 p.m. Hour 15

The Unhoused Woman Notices the Housed Woman

Maybe I should make a new
sign for tomorrow. Today
I got enough dog food
and water to last awhile.

(Actually, how am I going to carry this bag of dogfood
when the store closes and I have to go “home”?)

She looked at me
and saw my sign,
“Need dog food and water”
and the dogfood and water
that someone bought me earlier.
She kept walking. I
do need another sign,
but what if she stopped and talked to me?

It’s pretty hot out here, I know.
She just got out of her A/Ced
car and she went into Von’s–
they have A/C too.

It’s hot out here.

9:00 p.m. Hour 16

Dictionary Entry

Poetry Marathon



  1. to create confidence
  2. to whisper creativity
  3. to meet and bless a worldwide poetry community
  4. to climb expectations

as in We’ve been Poetry Marathoning for 15 hours so far.

1. a chapbook full of admirable achievements
Bring on the Poetry Marathon! 

2. a day of hope in the life of a poet
It’s been a Poetry Marathon day.

3. a gift of love from Caitlin and Jacob
Thank you for that Poetry Marathon.


10:00 p.m. Hour 17

Stop Kaleidoscoping Me

I’m a beautiful form watcher
or as the Greeks would say
Kalos – eidos – scopos
I know you love my
reflective symmetry,
but stop grinding my wheel!

Prompt for Hour Seventeen

11:00 p.m. Hour 18

The Crows are Back

They arrived at dusk.
It was light
enough to see them gather
and crowd in along
the electrical wiring
above the ancient
Road house.
When the little old woman
fell, they swooped in on her doing
what carrion crows do, even
she’s yet to die
and begin the rotting process.

Midnight Hour 19

Yellow Sand

It’s an eerie chromatic primary land
where red are trees and yellow is sand

1:00 a.m. Hour 20

Disrupted Sleep

Going to bed every night is such a treat
I lotion up my body, floss and brushes
Then jump in bed, nestle up to sleep
But today, every hour my alarm rushes

2:00 a.m. Hour 21


Running :
for cover :
into the ground :
around in circles :
running a temp : a foul :
a tab : hot and cold :
on empty : wild :
out the clock :


3:00 a.m. Hour 22

Appian Way Pizza

Not to be confused with the road in Italy,
this Appian Way came in a box.
Not a pizza box, but a box right on the pantry shelf.
“Make your own for only 55¢” was their slogan.
It was always a special night
if our parents were going out
and we got to make our own pizza.

Weekend Event - Pizza: 1954 Appian Way Pizza Kit: vintage_ads — LiveJournal


4:00 a.m. Hour 23

A World Away

The soldiers rally on, working to defeat the intruders.

After a late night invasion, the attack is doubled.
The forces surround the invaders, like skin tight around a sphere

The capture are conquer, divide, and dismember
They are sent out to do the bidding of King Acid.
In the world of Stomach, battles fire up, then cool.


Cherita poem


5:00 a.m. Hour 24

Hope is…

something I always write about.
In fact, in a quick search, I used hope in
three poems in the last 24 hours: here and here and here
(And seven times the last time I did a Poetry Marathon.
And, on my blog, don’t get me counting. I seem to include
Hope more than anything else.) Hope is here,
the perfect little handful of a word.
A perfect world-full remedy to heal our brokenness.
If we lose hope, we’ll fall out of the sky,
plucked like Emily’s thing without the feathers.

Let’s keep hope.


Poetry Friday – Bananagrams Poetry

It’s Poetry Friday and the host today is Ramona at Pleasures from the Page, with some back to school poetry goodness. Thank you for hosting, Ramona.

This summer I got a new Bananagrams game. I play with other people as often as I can, but I also have a brain-game hobby to play an almost daily game of solitaire Bananagrams. First, I choose 21 tiles and use them up in a grid, just like in the real game. Then, I choose 7 more and use them all, continuing to take 7 at a time until they are gone. (If needed, I also allow myself to “dump” one tile and pick 3 different ones, which is one of the rules in the real game.)

Some of my solitaire grids. (You may find a rotten banana or two if you look closely.)

One time I played making all “Rotten Banana” words. Silly, I know, but the words are fun to read.

Needing some more creativity, I guess, I thought to try some Bananagrams poetry. Here’s what I do:

  1. Choose 15 tiles and create a word or two or three.
  2. Commit to one or more of those words as a topic or part of a poem.
  3. Then the whole pile of letters are available face up to create a short poem on the topic.
  4. If there is more than one person participating, first come on the letters remaining.

Here are my first attempts with the caption telling the words I first saw in my 15-tile start.

“BAILEY” stood out, which was the name of a boy I bullied in sixth grade.
“Quiet” and part of “Bible”
“helix” and “lover”

Then I got the tiles out when my family came for dinner. There were five of us, and it was the first time I had ever asked them to “think poetically,” so it was awkward and the results were mostly silly. However, look at this beauty my sister-in-law created called “Hummingbird.”

Her first words were “sweet” and most of “song”

What other guidelines might you make for Bananagrams Poetry?

And just like that we’re finishing up the Sealey Challenge. The month went quickly, and I loved reading poetry each day. I hope I will continue reading more poetry. Hopefully it is becoming a habit.

August 25One Last Word: Wisdom from The Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

Have you read this book? Nikki Grimes takes poems from the Harlem Renaissance and creates golden shovel poems for them. Here are the first two stanzas of her poem based on the first two lines of “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I needed to read some poetry like this when I was in junior high:

August 26A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood lyrics by Fred Rogers

Did you know 143 was Fred Rogers’ favorite number. It represented the number of letters in I Love You.

August 27Library of Small Catastrophes by Alison C. Rollins – Though every poem is not related to Rollins being a librarian, there is so much she taught me about history and the world. Teacher-librarians and others, you will want to read this one, if you haven’t already.

August 28American Faith by Maya C. Popa

From “Lewisburg”
From “On the Forces of Improvisation Under the Gun Law”

August 29Ellington Was Not A Street by Ntozake Shange – This is a beautiful book about the musicians and activists who visited the family home of the author as she grew up.

August 30Hey, You! Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitos, and Other Fun Things selected by Paul B. Janeczko

This was a delightful surprise of children’s poems from so many greats. The surprise started on page 1 with this beauty by George Ella Lyon.

August 31Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten by Laura Purdie Salas

What a sweet picture book by Laura! Here’s one of my favorite sections. After a full day of over-stimulation, Clover, melts down when a tail gets brushed in her face. “Clover spit. She bit. She threw a fur-flying hissy fit. ‘I quit!’ Clover fled.” The illustrations by Hiroe Nakata are precious. It’s a perfect book for a child who gets overwhelmed with sensory overload, or for friends of children who do. And bonus: the book is still on sale this week.

From Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten