April 21 #Verselove – House in the Sky

House in the Sky with Darius Phelps, April 21, 2024

Little ones, I will burn up all the guns for you
I will blacksmith them into plow shares and pruning hooks
And we will meet in the fields to plant hope and a future
The rains will come gently and just when needed

Little ones, I will burn up the carbon dioxide for you
I will fashion CO2 catchers to run your car and toys
And we will stop digging and warring over fossil fuels
Green spaces and clean air will fill our world

Little ones, I will burn up white supremacy for you
I will incinerate hatred in the world’s psyche
I will write peace and love in your hearts
And we will live, and we will live

April 19 #Verselove – Holding Hands with Poems

Holding Hands with Poems with Stef Boutelier, April 19, 2024


On Being Armed in America
A Fibonacci Poem

crush life
with fear of losing–
Don’t drive. Don’t ring. And don’t mistake.


Things About You I’ve Memorized

  • your enthusiastic exuberance
  • holding you before we sleep
  • your faith grounded in life
  • your life grounded in faith
  • your turning phrases into rhymes
    and making up songs on the spot
  • your hospitality that goes on and on
  • your work ethic and support
  • your self-deprecating sense of humor
  • your healthy ways rubbing off on me
  • growing old together
  • holding your hand
  • this birthday that belongs to you


April 17 #Verselove – Why Do You Write Poems When…

Why Do You Write Poems When…with Andy Schoenborn April 17, 2024

Why Do You Write Poems When Ralph Yarl Was Shot Yesterday Just For Ringing The Wrong Doorbell?

Because Ralph is in critical condition and the world needs to know him. Ralph is in high school, a musician who plays the bass clarinet, loved, beloved older brother. Gentle band member. He’s 16, so a fairly newly-licensed driver, but an auto accident didn’t get him in trouble yesterday. He forgot his phone when he was sent to pick up his two young brothers from their friend’s house. Without the address, he accidentally went to the wrong house and rang the doorbell. A “scared” white man with a gun shot him in the head. (Why would a white man with a gun fear an unarmed teenager?) While Ralph was down, the white man went out and shot him again.

Why Do You Write Poems When Ralph Yarl Was Shot Yesterday Just For Ringing The Wrong Doorbell?

Because the person who shot Ralph walked out of the police station and went home, not charged with a crime. (Did I say that Ralph is in the hospital in critical condition?) Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson (prosecutor@claycopa.com) and law enforcement in Kansas City, Missouri, we’re talking to you: You need to hold your folks accountable for hatecrime hatred and attempted murder—because what else could have been the possible purpose for that second shot?

Why Do You Write Poems When Ralph Yarl Was Shot Yesterday Just For Ringing The Wrong Doorbell?

Because I am white, and my adult children and their partners are white, and my grandson is white. What kind of world is it where all of them as a group, or one at a time, could have rung that wrong doorbell in Kansas City and not have been shot? But a young Black man from his own town, just a few blocks from home, can’t? I write poems because I need to remember that my white privilege needs dismantling, disrobing, demolishing, destroying. I write poems because I can’t stand by and allow our nation to pretend that racism is in our past.

April 16 #Verselove – Friendship Lost

Friendship Lost with Susan Ahlbrand, April 16, 2024


Kim, Tammy, Lisa, and Denise–we were a faction
of friends who dominated our fifth grade class.
The teacher thought he knew best, so we each
were placed in a different sixth grade room.

I find my way into Mr. Hargrove’s class.
My new friend here is Cathy L.
Cathy is a wild girl, popular and pretty,
Mean, sharp-tongued, and savvy.
It is not long before Cathy and I are one;
I cleave and comply under her authority.
We are mean to the same people,
We avoid trouble with dishonest charm,
We play softball during lunch recesses,
The only girls (it is a boys’ league, after all.)
We hold our own against would-be bullies,
and we are bountiful bulliers, ourselves.
I don’t mind when she’s absent because
Albert likes me instead of her those days.
We never go to each other’s houses, and I do
wonder what kind of trouble she gets in there.

When junior high comes,
we end up in different classes
(did someone arrange that, I wonder?)
We each find new friends to hang out with
and I find myself not mourning
that my “best” friend is no more.

April 15 #Verselove What You Missed

What You Missed with Allison Berryhill, April 15, 2024


What you missed on your walk yesterday
The precious sun-kissed purple blossoms;
(the ones that weren’t there the day before)
The bevy of quail whooshing and rustling
(out of that nesting bush on the south side)
The fuchsia fireworks of the prickly pear
(they hailed you to stop in awe)
The tickly breeze when you first walked over the pass
The lone jackrabbit dartleaphopping on the trail
(he went faster than you could aim your camera)
The great greening of the desert
(green green after those winter atmospheric rivers)
The pumping of your heart outdoors under a big blue sky