April 30 #Verselove – Thirty Thanks

Thirty Thanks with Sarah Donovan, April 30, 2024

Today was a day to say goodbye until June and write a poetic response to this month of writing poems. I stumbled around for a while, and then I wrote a silly limerick.

There is a sweet group of #Verselove poets
Whose give-and-take melts me, though it
sounds today 
like a cliché
But I still wanted you to know it.

Earlier attempts:

Bandage burns with words
Breathe fresh life into the broken–
Balm of a poem
Drive the poem
a journey of new life
with words you’ll make it
Life is full as the sea
Waiting for your nascent words
A poem to float on
Words rather than guns
Your life, a scope of grace
Shooting only poems

April 29 #Verselove – Rewrite, Redo

Rewrite, Redo with Scott McCloskey, April 29, 2024


What Francisco Oropeza Could Have Said Last Night Instead of Shooting and Killing His Neighbors

Oh, yes, of course, I’ll stop shooting in my yard!
I guess I didn’t realize it was already 11.
I probably didn’t need that last beer.
Yes, yes, your baby needs to sleep.
How about if we sit outside and visit?
I know we’ve quarreled in the past,
and I’m sorry about that.
But I’ve heard you are a kind bunch—
You have a big family, don’t you?
Can I get you a Coke or a cup of herb tea?
Let’s sit on the porch and visit for a while.

April 28 #Verselove – Come, Join My Reality

Come Join My Reality with Amber, April 28, 2024

Barreling through time the steam engine
roars down the track with hope and a
future–the baby, child, teen
never (adult now and
again) thinking
that the track
will soon



Snap the whip

Grasp the grip

Plug the ear

Do not hear

Break the mood

Feel screwed

Ban the book

Before a look

Don’t lose control

April 26 #Verselove – Borrowed Lines

Borrowed Lines with Donnetta Norris, April 26, 2024

I borrowed the last line of Stacey Joy’s genetic cinquain poem for my title today.

Their Heir
How else would I know
Where this work ethic came from
Or the demand to be cute at all costs
Or this wide nose

How else would I know
That this desert is where I would take off
Or that wisdom is here in this time
Or that cheese makes everything taste better

I’m their heir

April 24 #Verselove – Forensic Poetry

Forensic Poetry with Susie Morice, April 24, 2024


I gave myself a drawer to store
a lifetime of toys and memories:
· Precious bookmarks–each with a story
· my Covid diary
· a 50-yen bank note from 1940 (I just used Google Lens to identify that)
· other currency—riyals, rupees, dinars
· coins—including three silver dollars with the birthyears of my grandparents
· a tiny worry doll
· a homemade piano solo CD of my daughters’ playing
· my birth year coin set
· early publications of mine
· Fazal, (a little frog a student made for me)
· a Tell-A-Tale Disney book called Beaver Valley (that my mom bought me in the grocery store in first grade when I learned to read. Mrs. Rhodes had one at school too.)
· a letter from my older brother about my upcoming wedding
· the original Life magazine issue with an “unprecedented photographic feat in color” of the “Drama of Life Before Birth”—from 1965–the same year my very first nephew was born with multiple birth defects from first trimester rubella
· a manicure set my brother gave my grandma in 1954
· 28 peace doves from the hearts of sand dollars
· my first passport
· dried flowers and a journal from a trip across the west when I was a junior in high school,
· Fonzie socks my mom and sister got me (randomly for Valentine’s Day one year)
· my baptism certificate
· my husband’s baby book (holding his only keepsakes, safely tucked into the mess of mine)
· my first letter to the editor (when I finally became brave enough to speak up in public),
· a folder of letters from authors to my students (before the Internet and webpages)
· a tiny wool lamb (remnant of an over-the-top sheep collection I once held)

The drawer is accessible,
next to my bed in the bottom drawer of my nightstand.
I look forward to the day when my grandson will sit on the floor,
looking through my riches,
asking “What’s this?”
and I will give him
whatever he wants.

April 23 #Verselove – The Room Where it Happened

The Room Where it Happened with Alexis Ennis, April 23, 2024


My inspiration for this poem is three-fold–A revisionist history prompt from Amy Kay, today’s #Verselove prompt, and the 2-Day Poetry Contest, where we have to use ten words and write a poem in two days. This year’s words, which some of them undoubtedly stick out like sore thumbs in my poem, are:

quiz, squirrels, concatenate, set, phosphenes, clasp,
abyssalpelagic, brisk, syzygy,
and gadding.

Here are links to my 2021 and 2022 2-day poems.

George Washington Carver Goes Back to Iowa in 2023

He didn’t learn the grave import of “1619,”
but he knew McGuffey readers and slates
and slavery. Enslavers killed his mama.
Today’s children have a place to learn
the truth about human enslavement.
And those colors on the murals—
so bold, so brisk, so bright!
The artist shows him modern acrylic paints;
and he longs to clasp and squeeze each tube.

Iowa’s premier middle grade STEM
magnet school has his name out front.
Dozens of Black and brown-skinned children
greet him. He closes his eyes and rubs them,
the phosphenes fire-worked behind his eyes,
deep recesses of memory appeared.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
he reads over the door of a science room at Simpson College,
where he sees his name on a plaque (And on a building.)
Students set about to quiz the professor
on life and learnings of the 19th century.

Differences between then and now
are immeasurable. Cars? Computers? And NO polio?
The contrasts seem as wide as the space between
the abyssalpelagic depths and the intergalactic reaches
of infinity and beyond. Ah, but the squirrels!
The squirrels gadding about on the grounds
at Iowa State make him smile; they are the same.

What brought him here? What science?
What magic had to transpire to concatenate
systems to form this bewitching syzygy?
In any case, maybe tomorrow
he’ll take the bus to Diamond Grove,
where he grew up with Moses and Susan.
He heard about a National Monument there.
Then he’ll go on to Tuskegee, Alabama,
and spend time in the farm classrooms
and catch up on history.

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