June 23

Anagrams – #EthicalELA Open Write #4

Prompt #4 was to create an anagram poem based on a word or phrase that spoke to us. We were invited into this write on the date of the summer solstice, so what came to mind was “beginnings,” a time to (re)set focus and intentions.


letting go of
leaving behind
the negs
sprinkling ginseng
on my outlook
using my nib
to declare,
my intent
to sing

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June 20

Word Association – #EthicalELA Open Write #3

Today’s prompt asked us to look around our space and notice an object, then go through an exercise of word associations with the object. I cheated… only a little… and took the idea of the prompt. Word associations are commonly used in improv warmups and practices as a way to help the players focus and really connect with their fellow performers, so that was the first word that popped into my mind.


hands loosely grasped
circled together
heads bowed in concentration
listening, observing
waiting, focusing, seeking
that one mind
that leads all
to the same conclusion
and a bout of laughter


June 18

Things you can do with… #EthicalELA Open Write #1

For five days in June, Ethical ELA is hosting a poetry “open write.” Today’s prompt used “things you can do with…” as the opener. The first noun that popped into my mind when reading the introduction was “slug,” because they are the nemesis of Pacific Northwest USA gardens, especially during years like this, when cool, wet weather lingers. I spent several hours in the garden today, and dispatched quite a number of them!

Things you can do with a slug

sprinkle salt on it
chop it in pieces with a spade
feed it some beer
or sourdough starter

invite snakes
and frogs
and songbirds
into your garden
to dine on it

surround plants
with copper bands
to zap it

but ultimately
slug is here to stay
and so am I

May 8

#VerseLove Day 28, By My Self-Love

I am who I am

When I’m by myself
and I close my eyes

I’m flaunting my floppy purple hat,
finding a kindred soul with whom to chat

I’m digging, on my knees
surrounded by lushness and bees

I’m connecting imagination on stage
with life’s realities we all wage

I’m studiously scouring the internet
where next to explore on our planet?

I’ve learned, to me
what is important to be,
and as I gaze
into the mirror,
I am who I am.

May 7

#VerseLove Day 27, Re-Encounters


I remember
taking care of
younger siblings,
in some ways
being alone
in a very
large family.

Younger siblings remember
teaming together,
creating mischief
(and suffering
the consequences).

I hold
both of these
as truth.

Why did I feel alone?
Why was I
(real or imagined)

Was my sense
of responsibility
innate or
imposed by
my parents?

I doubt the prisms
will ever merge into one;
what is important
is to know and be myself.

May 6

#VerseLove Day 26, Found Poetry

The prompt for this piece was, “To start, find a text (e.g. a novel) or series of texts (e.g., novel, poem, article) and pull out words, phrases, sentences that stick out to you. Play around with the words. Rearrange them until a thought or theme jumps out at you. Continue until you’ve created a cohesive text.” I took pages from Wood and Garden Notes and thoughts, practical and critical, of a working amateur by Gertrude Jekyll and highlighted them into a “traditional” found poem, without re-arranging the words.

the handsome group,
singular beauty and refinement
through the hollows
remains running,
three or four together
side by side.
when one
became too worn
another was by its side.
planted in the old ways,
waving rivers of bloom
accidents of cloud and sunshine.
much better
where they are planted
in haphazard sprinklings.

May 5

#VerseLove Day 25, Scientific Method


I observe
my students are
100% racked
with spring fever.

I wonder whether
they hear a word I say?

I have nonetheless
100% confidence
they take pride
in their work
and won’t
let themselves down.

I have 100% confidence
their showcase
next week
will demonstrate
their fervor,
their desire
to be the best
they can be.

I have 100% confidence
they will melt my heart
with joy,
and sadness
to see them go.

May 3

#VerseLove Day 23, Rolling the Dice

This prompt asked us to roll three “metaphor dice” for inspiration. Mine arrived as “home / midnight / dance.” Here goes.

be home from the dance by midnight

which is to say

only dance with nice boys
drink only water, the
punch might be spiked
the world is scarier after dark
nice girls go home early
dancing is only safe
in the shelter of
an overheated gym

I say
dance like no one is watching
have mace at the ready
look all boys in the eye,
seek their truth
the world is scary
at any time of day
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong

May 1

#VerseLove Day 22, All Things Cheese

This topic took my mind in several directions… varieties of cheese, cheese as in cheesy smile, cheese platters/grazing tables, memories of debates about cheese…


I love cheese
they all
have their charm.

What, you don’t say!
I am too
too lacking in

Maybe I need to
cough and sneeze
stand at ease
enjoy the
evening breeze
or simply watch more
John Cleese.

it would
greatly pain me
to abandon