Slice of Life – True or False? Perhaps?

9 April 2024

True or False?

  1. I saw the eclipse on the sidewalk on Monday.
  2. I drove through the Morongo grade and spied a big horn sheep on the mountain.
  3. I am hosting over at Ethical ELA’s Verselove today.
  4. I saw two baby giraffes yesterday.

Three of those things are true. One is false. Any guesses?

First, look at these beauties.  A one-month-old and a two-month-old!

Second, the sun was eclipsed by the moon by about 62% where we were Monday. The maximum view happened at 11:14 a.m. We had  finished walking at the zoo at about 10:30, so I didn’t want to leave and find myself sitting in a restaurant at the max time. So we got a sandwich at the zoo snack bar.

I guess I thought it would get noticeably darker, but that sun didn’t miss a beat! I didn’t notice a smidgeon of darkening in the sky. I didn’t have any glasses to look up at the eclipse, so instead I found a shaded spot that allowed tiny images of the sun to shine through. I stood enjoying the view under this trellis at the zoo. When people would venture by, I’d tell them they could see what was happening in the eclipse in the shadows on the sidewalk. It was a conversation starter and fun to see the shadows move about as the flowers above were blowing in the wind.

The third truth is that I am hosting at Ethical ELA today. We are writing True/False poems, and you don’t have to identify which lines are true or false. (If you read my “True or False” post last month, you might want to join us. If you didn’t read it, you still might want to join us!) Click here to check it out.

The lie, you may have figured out, is that I still have not seen another big horn sheep in the wild in Morongo.

#Verselove 2024 – A Week of Poetry 1

7. Things (Better) Left Unsaid with James Coats

Seattle, 1:04 p.m.

it happened that second
in time, after much pushing
groaning and sweating

the world grew by one
and I knew reality
would never be the same

another life
another personality
our family has grown

the world has grown
then I held you as your
bright eyes gleamed

and I was a new person
a grammy first

6. Photographic Poem with Katrina Morris

Holds on, but
Your dimples dance,
Feasting on freedom,
Sipping steep grades, your joy.
Restrain your rapture? Never!
When you summit this stony slant
You’ll keep going, for you carry stars

5. Friday Date Night with Leilya Pietre

We went to that park in Long Beach
With the beautiful walking path around a lake
I thought a break-up was imminent

We walked and then sat looking at the water
And you asked me to marry you
It took me awhile to say, Not yet.

Seven years later, I nestled into your safe yes.

4. Alphabeticals with Jennifer Guyor-Jowett

a’s bobbed tail
b’s oft flip fail
c’s open quote
d’s half note
e’s toothy grin
f’s shelf built in
g’s beckoning
h’s reckoning
i’s reaching
j’s leaching
k’s a kicker
l’s a licker
m’s a mountain
n’s spilled fountain
o’s looking round
p’s feeling proud
q’s dainty
r’s fainty
s’s slither’s slow
t’s a compass rose
u’s embrace
v’s a vase
w’s two vases
x’s holding spaces
y’s the wise owl
z’s zigzag scowl

3. Inspirational Places with Wendy Everard

Pittsburgh’s in Jack Gilbert

As we rode Duquesne Incline,
he already was old and in Berkeley. Steel City
watches over the growing of knowing,
for heirlooms of progeny. But this
morning, the three rivers backdrop
for thunderstorms, Andy Warhol and
the bridges of a city bring light to our
dark, pathways of connections.
To this city we came just to
give our kids a taste of Primati Bros.
(way too much cole slaw),
and the Pirates, and Randyland, a
show of hue saturation and celebration.
His hometown was the
landfall of his view from Paris,
the eye of his childhood, always
new. As each of us have our own past, in city or
country, we are products of our nurturing.
His lifetime weaving carried the thread of his
native city, coloring the world, his poetry with
land-roots of comfort and claiming.

Golden shovel striking line is “As he watches for morning, for the dark to give way and show his landfall, the new country, his native land.” By Jack Gilbert in “Looking at Pittsburgh from Paris”

2. The Magic Box with Bryan Ripley Crandall

List of ten that started this Magic Box poem: a green thumb, “beam me up” travel, lie detector machine, ointment to remove the pain in my right hand, reading and reducing and replacing tsundoku, Colin Kaepernick protest redo, Palestinians having their own homeland again with a good and fair government, connection with others, an organized email with an inbox that gets emptied daily, peace on earth really.

A Redo of Kneeling

My visitor today is a green thumb–
my plants clothed in need
now fed and watered with a hum

The smooth slander spotter,
reviler revealer, lifts
the weight of the world
and clears out the system

Beaming to Pennsylvania on
the wings of hearing,
really hearing you this time,
better beside the blooms,
not a long way from heaven,
not killing time,
but living and breathing freedom

Freedom tastes gentle
It’s never-ending relief
instantaneous sustenance
of hope and release

Transporting success
on the creaking knees of the old
and the knowing knees of the young
A redo please
of a quiet anthem
that hears
and finds

1. #hashtagacrostics with Kim Johnson


Poetry Friday – My Week in Poetry and Future Poetic Opportunities

Today is Poetry Friday. Tanita Davis is rounding up the posts for this Ides of March at {fiction, instead of lies}

This week has been a week of poetry reading (as well as writing regular shitty first drafts of poems for the Stafford Challenge).

First and most importantly, I read poetry by my daughter Maria. She took an advanced poetry class as a senior in college and made this beautiful book of poems:

My favorite poems of this collection are Maria’s Sonnets i and ii, written about her spring break trip 14 years ago. She experienced a vastly different spring break than is typical for a college junior.

I’d never seen my Grandma grey and worn.
This shrunken woman in the hospice bed
cannot be my grandma. My grandma lives alone
in Yucca Valley, hiking on the dirt

roads with muddy furrows that sink like
the laugh lines on her cheeks. She conceals
wispy hair under immaculate wigs. Despite
sore hammer toes she works her sky-high heels.

That day I hiked the furrowed roads alone,
adrift amidst waxy creosote.
Stringy jackrabbits, baby quail gambol,
flitting through dry gulches like rowboats.

Somehow I didn’t want to be inside
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died.

Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died,
I arrived in time for bon voyage,
the convalescent odors scattered by
tamales, Spanish rice, tortillas, guac,

and Grandma, a bit tipsy on boxed wine.
One last boisterous fiesta while the Reeds
were still a family, whole and feeling fine.
The jalapeño sweat displaced the needs

that lay beneath the cornered hospice sheets.
The jalapeños were what got to me,
the smiles against those hospice whites.
The laugh of one you love is therapy

with nebulizer and glass of sweet rosé.
I’d never seen my Grandma grey and worn.

~By Maria C. Krebs, reprinted with permission by the poet

Another book I’ve read this week is Counting Descent by Clint Smith. Last year I won a Barnes & Noble gift card from Carol Labuzzetta from a promotion on her site The Apples in My Orchard. I “lost” it for several months, and when I found it recently, I added Barnes & Noble on my to-do list when we were in Temecuela last week. For more than one reason, I wanted to buy a book of poems, but I also got this package of beautiful origami paper.

I’ve been wanting to read more of Smith’s poetry because I knew him more as a journalist with his podcast Justice in America and his book How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. Here is Clint Smith reading the poem titled, “Counting Descent.”

Another book I read was this 40-year-old verse novel. The Donner Party by George Keithley is the evidence I’ll bring to the next meeting of our Friends of the Library. It is convincing evidence, I believe, for the request to be less picky about the books we place in our book shop. I was volunteering on Saturday, and I found this book in the box to be recycled (not to sell in the bookshop):

It is beautifully-written and full of detail of the horrors of the cross-country trip to California that the Donners, Reeds, and others made in 1846. There are some offensive and archaic references, which were revised in a 2012 reprinting of this book, but it’s a worthwhile find for 50 cents or $1–the price we charge for books at our Friends bookshop.

Tomorrow the March Open Write begins at Ethical ELA. Do join us!

Another opportunity on Ethical ELA: Verselove is coming in April. If you are looking for community and 30 days of writing prompts for April’s National Poetry Month, you will be coming to the right place. You’re welcome to join us. Sign up for Verselove here.

Finally, for those who are still here. If you’ll be writing a #poetrypals animal pantoum, have you seen the Pantoum Tool here? I find it very helpful.

April 2 – #Verselove Coffee Poem

Weekend Coffee Share Poem with Kim Johnson, April 2, 2024

If we were having coffee, I’d have tea, a nice London Fog latte with oat milk or a sweet and spicy masala chai. (But, I understand that most people prefer coffee, so I still say, “Let’s go out for coffee,” like I call tissue Kleenex.)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about February 26, 2020, when the government shut down schools because a bus driver in Bahrain had Covid-19 and dropped off children at three different schools the day before.

I’d tell you that I started writing in March with the Slice of Life story challenge, and then on into April with this group of poets. I’d tell you that poetry and this community filled my sails during those following months of isolation, fear of the unknown, and virtual teaching. And then I’d smile and remember that this community has been filling my sails ever since.

I’d ask you about your story of writing. What sustains and keeps you on this journey? Then we would laugh and read poems to each, our favorites that we have written and our favorites that others have written deep within us.

I’d also have to tell you that I normally drink tea in my jammies, and the photo my husband snapped is me ready to go out the door on an out-of-town adventure.

April 1 – #Verselove Haibun

Haibun with Glenda Funk, April 1, 2024

Today the prompt encouraged us to consider rest and resistance. Glenda was inspired by the book Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey. I had this community help me today with a found prose section. The overwhelming pace of teaching that I wanted to describe is getting away from me as a retired person. As a teacher I never seemed able to rest, even on breaks my to-do lists never stopped. Now that I’m retired, I feel that I have again begun to live, but now with so much time, I can’t help but wish I would have done better before I retired.


Rushing, dizzying tasks await. High performances exhaust heart and mind. Buzz-humming frenetic pace. Exhaustion. Stress. This tempest. I lie awake in my bed. How do you turn your mind off?
Retirement senses
renewed, peace, sleep. Maybe…
more than I wanted?


Found attributions, by phrase:

Jennifer K.
James E. Coats

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 and Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, and thanks to Anna J. Small Roseboro’s #Verselove prompt today, it made me think to write a Good Friday poem.

Flirty Venus’ namesake day
Relinquishes the work week
Into reassuring rest–
Day of finis. This Friday they call Good
All the more, when
You declared, “It is finished.”

Today is Poetry Friday, as well. Thank you to Matt Forrest for rounding up all the Poetry Friday posts here, with an interview with children’s author and poet, Leslie Bulion.

Image by AlexandruPetre on Pixabay

Poetry Friday – three poems

Happy Poetry Friday. Thank you to Amy at The Poem Farm for hosting today. Stop by and read about her Pick-a-Proverb project for April. You can also read a lot of other poetry delights by others.

This past week was Ethical ELA’s Quick Write. Here are the last three days of the five-day March Quick Write, including one ekphrastic dodoitsu, inspired by the Poetry Sisters.

With each swing of the
hammer, I have more respect
for carpenters and

painters and builders.
I would much rather stop and
look up at that sky.

The prompt for the poem above was called “Look Up” by Chiara Hemsley.

The photo below came from Twitter. When I saw this image on Twitter, posted by Kevin Rothrock, a journalist in Russia, I thought of the mosaic of this young person’s life and all the choices that have brought them to this place in life. According to Rothrock and commenters, the translation on the back of the coat says, “This is my grandfather’s coat. During WWII, he starved as a child in occupied territory. Why do the gruesome themes of [those] long-ago stories echo in my time? I feel pain and I’m scared. I don’t want war!”

Grandchild of promise hopes for
a future of peace and gets
remnants of terror, for we
cannot remember.

The prompt for the above was for a Mosaic Poem offered by Wendy Everard.


Generations linger and then go
The years with you flew, Grandma
My mom was young, just 43
When my sister was due. Grandma?
Yes, she was a grandma many times
Over. 25 years later, still a new Grandma
Now her grandchildren are grown
My sister siblings too: grandmas
It’s Denise’s turn soon to join the club
Precious baby, I love you, Grandma

The poem above is an attempt at a Ghazal poem, prompt by Wendy Everard.

During April we will start a month of writing poems at Ethical ELA called #verselove. You are welcome; sign up here.