Poetry Marathon 2024

June 15, 2024

Hour 1

After the surgery, I woke up
feeling fine, but I wondered
why I didn’t feel anything in
my knee. Did they give me
pain pills? I thought they
weren’t going to because
of the baby. But my knee
didn’t even have a bandage.

The nurse came in, taking
my vitals, quiet.

I spoke first, shouted really,
“Where is the bandage on my
knee?” Your knee?
“My knee!” I threw off the
bedsheet and showed her
the Sharpied X on my right
knee. Let me get the doctor
for you.

In the hallway, fierce whispers
and silenced gasps, but I
made out the one word
that mattered, Abortion.


Hour 2

We have lost our way again
We’re not on Route 66
any longer. Only dirt.

The impetus for this road
trip to hell? The Grapes of Wrath
My dad’s favorite novel

I was a kid when it raged
onto the best seller list.
My dad wanted to feel it.

So we drove from home toward
California. Now we keep
getting lost along the way

Because he takes every one
of the diversions that come
along the Route. Wait, what’s that?

My dad has pulled something out
of his pocket. A mirror?
A shiny, but black mirror?

There’s a button on the side.
He pushes it and bright light
floods the mirror. “Hey, Google?”


Hour 3

These poets
are the impetus of identity
the providers of peace
in knowing myself
loving myself better
and in finding the truth
about the world as it
really is and not just
as I know it

These poems
are the tingling fingers
of an adventurous and risky
ascent into knowing

These interactions
are the honeyed
story of life


Hour 4

We live off a T-Circle. Turn right
at the mailboxes, then left after
the electric box. Go until you get
to the house. Beep the horn and
I’ll come on out.

Today the road is clearly marked
Hamilton Road–
that’s what Grandpa always called it,
after his own family name.
When the sign posting division
of the County came by and asked,
we told them the road’s name.


Hour 5

The Dress Aunt Thelma Made Me for the Beginning of My Sophomore Year

This: a new way to express
myself in high school. Address
the tomboy–wear a dress.

It had been a minute, yes.
I was ready to impress
A new hairdo and fresh dress.

Aunt Thelma, her steady bless
of me, took my fear and mess
And stitched for me a dress.

A new chapter, to assess
what end hair and a brace-less
smile could have on me, your guess

But this dress! I was princess
No fame, just her love accessed


Hour 6

I’m climbing into that ginkgo-
reflected car hood, climbing
that tree of my youth and my
children’s childhood.

As I climb, I tie all the loose
ends together—the places
we have loved and left and
moved again to love anew.

Some yards grew ginkgoes,
and some, only cactuses.

If I could go into that heaven
and stitch together the memories—
home would become one, and we
wouldn’t feel homesick again.

Hour 7

Flying breezily is not the description for this swan. This swan is melancholy and woeful and yet full of peace and harmony. Peace, peace to all who enter in. There is joy and hope and everlasting consolation in the things left undone, the things one has broken and left the pieces unclaimed. A future of neverending growth and renewal.

Hour 8


For every chapter of our lives–

All the heart- and mind-breaking

Mistakes made–and yet you and

I remain together and that

Leaves me believing again that

Yesterdays remain into the future


Hour 9

Thank you for the waterfalls.

Thank you for the bike crash falls

where I escaped with only a bruise.

Thank you for the babies.

Thank you for not getting rabies

When the dog bit me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Hour 10

In the shadows of the high rise,

The old mill rests its bones after

A century of carrying

the employment load

of the growing county.

It’s earned a greening

rest now in the hollow.

The high rise will

takes its turn.

Hour 11

“The tall, majestic redwoods standing high above the ground
Hundreds of years of living, never making a sound”
That’s what she wrote in high school.
And now she knows these trees do make sounds–
Sounds of splintering and cracking in icy winds
And sounds of crying out for their lives.
Crying out for us to do something
To do something to reverse
The global climate catastrophe
We have created.


Hour 12

Use 5 or more of these words: Wave, Sneakers, Yell, Stew, Linger, Ginkgo, Soft, Math, Sliver, Magazine

So much depends upon

The soft lingering touch

Of the ginkgo leaf

In your hand as it

Brushes my cheek

And the sliver of

Coconut cake we eat

On the back porch

after we have our fill of your

homemade chicken stew


Hour 13


Sweet sorrow

Juicy bone

CatDog borrows

Only choice

Genuine fake

Loyal opponent

Controlled chaos

Random order

Silent scream

Quiet roar 


Hour 14

You can dance,
Watch the lights out
they play
You come to look for anybody
the music’s everything fine
mood for a dance
get the chance
You can dance,
Feel the beat 
Oh, yeah
Having the time
of your life

Found poem from Abba’s “Dancing Queen”


Hour 15

Satisfaction is knowing life
And contentment with
The gifts of this world.
I have always been easy to
Satisfy. I can
Fill my cup with gladness
And joy and still have a
Cup full to give away,
Tonight the moon
Is half full and highlights
Orion’s belt. The wind blows
Northeasterly and all is well.


Hour 16

I just answered this question from my niece at dinner.
She wondered how and why so many of our family
Ended up in the desert of California. “Your great
Grandfather started it. After WWI and mustard gas,
He was advised to come to the desert.” We went on,
Telling how others in that generation came–her great-
great uncles and aunts. Then two more generations,
Joined them. Now there are two more generations
who have been born and raised/being raised here.
We didn’t discuss who the land originally belonged
To before Grandpa homesteaded it, but that should be
Our next discussion. 


Hour 17

These breezes are delicious
And cool the sweat on my neck
As we climb the summit

These wildflowers are gentle
And rainbowful of fragile petals
Promise we’ll reach the summit

These bottles are quenching
Hydrating each cell to help us
Reach the summit

These feet are strong
And walked all the miles
To enjoy the summit

Hour 18

We cut the wall out
between the living room
and the kitchen.
We left the small, dark
space back
where it came from.
We opened a window
into family gatherings,
laughter, listening,
rubbing elbows
with our guests
as they sit at the bar
and visit while we
finish preparing
the meal.

Hour 19

Their Eyes Were Watching God* 

(A Double tetractys)



Time, their bent

Perspective grew

Until God became small enough to tame

So God said, wait a minute, let’s try that

Again, shall we?

God took care




*From book title by Zora Neale Hurston


Hour 20

Home is where our hearts grow fonder
After four decades spent to wander
We settled back, the state of our birth
Came home to rest, our home of worth


Hour 21

Love of Tea
My sweet drink
Hot milky

Spicy cold
Green Matcha
Flavors bold

All the teas
Bring me joy
Tea of love


Hour 22

I fought the law
And the law won

I fought the sleep
And the sleep won

I fought the hunger
And the sleep won

I fought the poem
And the sleep won



Hour 23

Tender, Tender

My hope for you is to be
Tender, tender–strong
And tender. To be
all you are destined to be
All the good, for which you
were created can fill the
tender spots in you.
The strong and tender
spots, filled with you,
filled with love.
This is my dream for you.


Hour 24


My wish for all of us is to
see more sunrises.
(And each morning we see one,
we get to wish for more wishes.)
Today I am awake at dawn
because this is Poem 24–
24 hours in a day of poeming.
Would I have missed this layered sky?
Yes, this sky! Where blue and
orange look so good together,
this sky was here so briefly
inviting us to drink it up.
It still would have come with
no witnesses at all. Any
other Sunday morning,
I would have missed it.
But this day, this poem
beholds the sunrise.
The birds are here too,
giving witness.
They just began their
Sunday morning
worship, rejoicing
together and alone.
My wish for you
and for me is to see
more sunrises–
together and alone.



2 thoughts on “Poetry Marathon 2024

  1. Congratulations! The opening poem gave me chills—a nightmare. I know it will stay with me for a long time. Poems in hours 19 and 22 moved me also. The model from “So much depends…” is beautiful. William Carlos Williams never imagined his poem would be so inspirational, “the gingko leaf/in your hand as it/ brushes my cheek…” So much to love.

    1. Trish, thank you so much for reading. That was very kind of you! Thank you for pointing out the poems you liked. Yes, that first poem really was a nightmare I work up crying from once.

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