Poetry Friday – May Days

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup is found here at Linda Baie’s Teacher Dance blog. She shares an “ahhh” poem called “Small Kindnesses.”

May has taken off like a rocket. I’ve enjoyed having our kids here this week. Monday through Friday they worked remotely, mostly from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm, (Central time translated to Pacific). However, we had the afternoons and evenings for eating, fun, and hiking.

So far, I’ve noticed something special about each day in May, so that is my offering for this Cinco de Mayo Poetry Friday. Have a happy day and may you enjoy some colorful and delicious Mexican-American culture this weekend.

May Days

Maypole dancing and International Workers’ Day
Here’s to flowers and fair wages for all someday

World Tuna Day calls for methods sustainable
Future recovery from overfishing is obtainable

Lindsey Graham’s tweet from seven years ago
Predicted the demise of the GOP–truthful blow

May the fourth be with you, Star Wars fans
For who doesn’t love Luke, Leia and Han?

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, just a minor celebration
but in the U.S. it has become a new joyful creation


Here are a few photos from our time together with my daughter and her husband. Sadly, we have to take them to the airport today.

Poetry Friday with April 27 #Verselove

Not Once
I taught for 22 years after Columbine,
And I have had to witness the gradual horror of
my country becoming
the only nation in the world
that accepts gun violence
as a part of going to school.

In Arizona, not once did we
practice for the inevitable.
We had just two lockdowns–
Once for killer bees in the yard
And again when a VP in a neighboring school
became an urban legend
by talking down an eighth grader with a gun.

In Iowa, there were no lockdowns.
For Austin’s hunting “how-to” speech,
He was asked to bring his rifle
to the principal’s office in the morning
instead of storing it his hall locker.

In Manama, the ancient-by-modern
capital city of Bahrain,
my students worried once
that America was going to bomb Iran,
but they never had to worry about
or practice for gun violence.

But now in this place,
it has become inevitable–
It’s a given:
Some American young people will die in their schools.
But all American young people worry and wonder.

They prepare, they lie quietly,
pretending an active shooter
Is in the hallway trying to kill their teacher
trying to kill their classmates
trying to kill them
with a gun.

Join tens of thousands of others on June 5th.
We are going to Denver to demand action.
We’re #Here4theKids.
Please join us.

Photo by @mrsdkrebs

I’m carrying this poem by Carl Sandburg in my pocket. Click the image to read the poem in text.

Today’s #Verselove prompt is “Place Tells Me to Be” with Chea Parton.

Today Ruth is hosting Poetry Friday at There is No Such Thing as a God-Forsaken Town. It’s her 17th blog anniversary, and she has pulled out a chair for us to sit down and rest awhile. 

Poetry Friday – On Gun Violence

Thank you, Karen Edmisten, for hosting Poetry Friday today and so glad you are here celebrating journals, life, and poetry month today.

This month I am digging through magnetic words with Laura Salas and others. We are making tiny poems. Yesterday, when I saw the words fear and arm in the upper left hand corner, I knew I had to write about guns.

The titles needed to be north, south, east, west or directions. While these titles didn’t really fit, I figured West was most appropriate. Historically, we’ve acted as if the west is more civilized–[read white supremacy]–but we are proving yet again this is not the case. Here is what I wrote yesterday for Laura’s challenge:

Don’t Go West
mind crush
armed up
for delirious fear

Then yesterday and today at #Verselove, I couldn’t write about anything else. Here is a Fibonacci poem inspired by some of the words above.

On Being Armed in America
crush life
with fear of losing–
Don’t drive. Don’t ring. And don’t mistake.
Don’t be six, and retrieve your ball from next door.

On Thursday morning, I heard Anand Giridharadas speak on “anonymous trust.” He also wrote a beautiful and haunting article called, “Kaylin, Ralph, and the death of anonymous trust.” After reading it, I wrote a septercet sonnet:

Anonymous Trust Cracking
Kaylin and friends are driving
by mistake to the wrong place
without a word, she’s shot dead
Ralph’s out to pick up brothers
by mistake he rings the wrong
door–no hearing why–just shot
the great accomplishment of
modern societies is
anonymous trust. But now
America’s is cracking.
We are reverting to past:
moated castles need defense.
Democracy requires
a bit of faith in others

April 7 – #Verselove Death in a Poem

Death in a Poem with Denise Krebs, April 7, 2024

Today’s Poetry Friday roundup and progress on the Progressive Poem and a Fibonacci poem can be found at Margaret Simon’s Reflections on the Teche blog.


“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: 24 Stories

Today is Good Friday and Poetry Friday. Over at #Verselove today, I have shared a prompt about writing a poem that includes some aspect of death.

I wanted to share with you all the two powerful mentor poems I used:

Mary Oliver ties her “When Death Comes” poem to living life fully.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Read Oliver’s full poem here.

Nikki Giovanni, in her poem “Rosa Parks,” ties the horrific death of Emmett Till with the Pullman Porters who helped him on his way to Mississippi and how, later that same year, Rosa Parks “sat back down.” Please take time to read this powerful poem. It begins:

This is for the Pullman Porters who organized when people said they couldn’t. And carried the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender to the Black Americans in the South so they would know they were not alone.

Read the rest of Giovanni’s poem here.

National Poetry Month 2023

Here are some of the projects I’m involved in during this year’s National Poetry Month. I’m posting for two reasons:

  1. to help me keep track of my poetry month commitments, and
  2. to invite you to join in for any National Poetry Month events.
Ethical ELA #Verselove

Free Minds – Read and respond to poetry of poets who are incarcerated

Work on Milo’s first year book
The #kidlit Progressive Poem in progress here on my blog
Digging for Poems with Laura Salas and my posts on Google Drive

This Photo Wants to Be a Poem on Wednesdays with Margaret Simon
Classic Found Poem with Jone MacCulloch  My poem here
2-Day Poem Contest, beginning on April 22-23. My poem here
#ClimatePoemProject on my blog and all the prompts with Laura Shovan
Poetry Fridays hosted by:

April 7 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
April 14 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
April 21 Karen at Karen Edmisten*
April 28 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town

Poetry Friday – A Street Poem in Yucca Valley

This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Rose Cappelli’s blog Imagine the Possibilities. She has shared some lovely springtime poetry. Thank you for hosting, Rose.

Last week, Susan Thomsen, at Chicken Spaghetti, wrote a post called, “Street Guide,” a  guide for writing her famous street poetry. She explains, “Street poems are what I call the found-language poems I’ve put together from lines I’ve overheard. They come from not only the street but also restaurants, museums, theaters, subways, etc.” I have seen Susan’s poems  and wondered about the process. This week I finally took time to explore and took myself on a date to listen. With my notebook (the one Jone MacCulloch gave me for a Poetry Friday poem exchange) and a favorite pen in hand, I went to town. (I wrote more about where I went and the process here in a Slice of Life this week.)

Here is my poem composed entirely of things I heard in Yucca Valley, California, on March 20, 2023:

I – At the café
It’ll be out in a bit.
Do you want water?
Yeah, you got it.
♫ You can call me Queen Bee
It was interesting
♫ I shake it off, And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake
The next day
♫ Lightning strikes every time she moved
No, I’m not
Sugar is over there.
We’ll see.
As C. used to say
I’m trying to keep up
♫ I just can’t refuse it, like the way you do this
Can I have another…oh, never mind.
♫ I heard that you’ve settled down
Hey, how are you?
Awesome, man.
And someone sat on it? Oh, my god.
Yeah, I had some.

II – At the thrift shop
Yeah, they’re kind of hard to find.
They go fast
Ok, I do have my glasses.
Yo, dog
I have something for you
Thank you.
You’re welcome, you’re so welcome.
It came from my heart.
Can you get me some more?
It has to be the right stuff
I don’t know if you like it,
but I like it.
I think we should get it.
It’s beautiful.
I think you two are in cahoots.
Is that in your way?
I put it over there.

III – At the library
Oh, we don’t take checks.
You can pay for it at the kiosk.
Is it #6? I said, is it #6?
Everyone else’s computer is still working.
It says #6 is offline, but #7 is on.
You have the keys
No, you do
You can take those out to the van
Look at this
Is that a spaceship?
Are you kidding?
Yes, I am. Yes, I am kidding.
Can you tell me how long you will be?
I can’t log on to #14.
Does it think I am still logged into #6?
I need to do some work.
N, did you put paper in the book drop?

IV – At Aldi
Do you have a quarter?
I do, but thanks for asking.
So, I’ll get salami,
and what’s the other one?
Pep? pep? Pepperoni!
Gelato. Gelato, fun.
Oh, I thought those apples were on sale.
I’m sorry.
Don’t worry about me.
I’m in no hurry,
the curse of being retired.

Lyrics footnotes (the music was the main thing I could hear at the café, thus so many lyrics made it into my street poem)

1 “Royals” by Lorde
2 “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift
3 “This is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris
4 “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rhianna
5 “Someone Like You” by Adele


Poetry Friday – ACT now

Heidi is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today here at her blog, “my juicy little universe.” Be sure to read her amazing collection of odes to the month of March across the centuries. And a happy birthday to Heidi tomorrow!

I’ve had thoughts of my mortality this week. (No particular reason, except I’ll be 65 this year!) Today I woke up thinking about my one word for 2023–ACT–and wrote this acrostic (with my new Sharpie markers).

A reason to thrive
Cherished time
Ticks on

Last year, my word was PURPOSE. I felt I spent the whole year with vague wonderings like, “Could this be my retirement purpose?” Then in 2023, I thought I just need to ACT on the needs around me. I won’t be here forever.

Last week in the Slice of Life challenge I wrote a golden shovel poem based on a quote from Irene Latham’s Poetry Friday post last week. Read Irene’s post here; it’s beautiful, and she is a good example of someone who acts–making opportunities for living well and doing good. The quote I used is “What if our only purpose really is to be present?”

What can I say except this day is precious and
if it must be my last, I will live it contentedly.
Our world will go on without me, and finally
only LOVE will prevail. But if I get another day, on
purpose I will live it–
really live it. Even if it
is just sitting inside, staying warm,
to read and write, I can still
be here, in this place, fully alive, opening this sweet
~Denise Krebs, after Irene Latham

Poetry Friday – For Milo and Jane

Thank you Tanita S. Davis at {fiction, instead of lies} for hosting the Poetry Friday community today. Read her post about the seed of hope a garden can bring even during these tough times, her developing process of writing poetry and their changes, and a poetry challenge for the end of March.

I tried a haiku in Spanish today, written about my dear baby’s baby, who has been visiting us this week, but will be leaving Friday:

Ay, mi nieto
precioso, hoy no quiero
decirte adiós

Oh, my precious
grandson, Today I don’t want
to tell you goodbye

~Denise Krebs

I read a poem this week by Kate Rushin: “Meditations on Generations.” The first stanza reminded me of my sweet grandson (as well as so many other babies and toddlers I have loved over my lifetime).

However, Kate Rushin’s poem goes on, after this stanza, to describe something so deplorable that I can’t quit thinking of Jane. I find myself grieving for her and “all of the girls and women who were bought, sold, lost, forced, coerced, confused, misnamed…” Because of Rushin’s matter-of-fact language, piercing questions, and rich details, I will keep thinking about Jane long after today. What a world we live in, what a history we have! We must not neglect to talk about it and teach it to the next generation. Read the rest of “Meditations on Generations” poem here.