Once Upon Time

2019 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

For today’s prompt, write a once upon a time poem.

Once Upon Time

Old Time


“Old time”

Five hours ago we were chasing rainbows in the cold sun,where rain and our bare feet slapped against the sidewalk. In her mind she keeps all the treasures she misses— not a birthday, not a rag doll, but her mommy and her doggies. She has lined the couch cushions with pretend puppies—what’s real is fake to her, what’s dead lives, where the rain ends she explores the map in her mind, where dreams are caged in the wrinkleless years of Pond’s cold cream and mirrors, this is where she lives, remembering when mirrors were a pleasure vane and I was the one mimicking her every move. At midnight she changes out of her pajamas for a walk to the park in search of dogs that died twenty years ago. There are no dogs.

There are no rainbows. There is only time, the same time, same old time with nothing in between.



Written for: Poetic Bloomings Prose Poetry

Lost words

Take the pieces of your day, wrap it in cotton, saturate it with rubbing alcohol and set it on fire.


I offer you the mind of one who suffers with 
dementia. Follow me as I follow my mother’s journey
into this insipid disease so when your turn comes,
you will know.


“Lost words”

Judge her not—
for loss of familiar

words in her runaway time—

mislaid time is no time for tucking words
away into her lost mind,

but time is all she has—this rare day
she finds lost beauty praised

while lost sorrows increase
time and time again

I glance into tomorrow’s certainty
of lost words
and hug her
against my soul.


Written for Poetic Asides Wednesday prompton Memory

and for Poets UnitedVice Versa

Familiar/Rare & Diminish /Increase & Doubt / Certainty

Thinking about Thinking (Weird Poets/Normal Earthlings)

This is going to be short.

Super short.

Because thinking time is short.

Because attentions are short.

Because we have too many other things to think about that keep us away from thinking about poetry. Normal earthlings don’t think about poetry. And if they do it is only when they are cleaning the bathroom to keep their minds off . . . okay, that’s enough of that.

Last Normal Earthling/Weird Poet (See Round I and II and III for review or just review the list)  I left off at the struggle for contemplation. Or lack of it because one our poets said that people don’t want to think anymore and that is one reason they don’t read poetry.

According to the FreeDictionary (which I love) “contemplation is thoughtful or long consideration or observation.”


Thinking means: “to have or formulate in the mind.” (And then there’s a whole ton of other definitions you can read and ponder.)

As best as I can see it, contemplation piggybacks on thinking.

So, getting back to the idea that people don’t want to think anymore idea, this is an incalculable concept. I can’t have a month of thinking, or a teaspoon full of thoughts, or an ounce of reflection.

Poetically speaking, I can. In the measurable math world, I can’t.

But, we all think. We all contemplate. About something–our to-do lists, our Weight Watcher Points, the score of the Cub’s game (only because the Cubs have no enemies), the cute sandals on Zappo’s, how we are going to split the name TomKat, and why the heck do the Olympic beach volleyball players wear headbands to cover their lady parts? (rhetorical.)

We can choose our thoughts like I said last time.

But, if we don’t have TIME like people say, how can we think or contemplate about poetry?

. . . oh, wait, I get it.

No time. Therefore, no thinking.

No thinking; therefore no poetry.

Then what is everyone so busy doing?

We’re busy not thinking?

Maybe, we poets are weird after all. I think I’ll talk about that next time.


Time for Six

It’s time to revisit our Earthling vs. Weird Poet chat.

Let’s review the reasons “normal earthlings” don’t read poetry:

1. They don’t understand it.
2. It doesn’t make sense.
3. They are “too stupid” to understand it. (Not my words.)
4. And it’s boring.
5. Poetry takes time—they’re short, but require contemplation.
6. Their 10th grade English teacher destroyed all possibility of enjoying poetry.
7. Lots of poetry seems like “nose-in-the-air-difficult-philosophical-clap-trap.”
8. Nobody likes to be looked down on.

Today I’m going to harken back to number six on our list why normal earthlings don’t read poetry.

Who has time for poetry?                    


“Poetry takes time – they’re short, but require contemplation – and nobody has time.” says ericmwebb.

Now, Eric is a student of poetry. According to his blog, he’s in his second year of a Poetry MFA at Old Dominion. That’s pretty classy.

And a bold statement—nobody has time.                                                     

Yet, last I heard, we all have the same amount of time in a day. For most of us our time is used up by the responsible stuff of life—work, sleeping, snacking, driving, cooking, hanging up on telemarketers, attempts at pretending to exercise, personal hygiene, kid stuff—for the mom’s who have endured the blessedly agonizing throes of childbirth and for the dads who made that a reality.

The rest of the hours or minutes we devote to what we want to do. Mostly, that involves not thinking, unless you are a fan of Sudoku. Usually most of us are just tired.

Perhaps, Eric has it right. Who in their right mind would choose to read a poem and ponder it when we can passively be entertained by what my mother used to call the “The idiot box?”

Me, for one.

I like my idiot box. I like my “RAM, CPU, GPU, USB” box, too.

How much time do I spend with these two boxes?


Am I an idiot then? (Say it isn’t so, Mom.)

Yet, in my teensy allotted time here on earth, I take the time to read a poem or thirty/day. My daughter sews or crafts, another daughter collects recipes and runs, my son plays video games, my husband . . . oh yeah, he’s an idiot box guy. 

We’re given time to use as we wish.

It’s all about choice. Most choose something other than savoring a passionate delectable poem.

I’ll get back to the Contemplate word in the next post.

Who wants to think?                    1022921_79425194

But, we need to add a ninth one that goes with number six.

In response to this conversation, Zongrik.com wrote that “Poetry was ruined for the masses when the masses stopped wanting to think.” (She’s an an aerospace engineer. I take what she says very seriously.)

This is  a really loaded statement. I don’t use really a lot. But, this is really loaded. Let’s turn it around. The masses stopped wanting to think therefore poetry is ruined.

In my initial post on this topic, I mentioned that my husband doesn’t read poetry. One reason he gave was that he decided he was too stupid to understand it. Hear the cynicism in that statement? It’s unsettling. This is not a stupid man. He can add numbers faster than a calculator.

There’s a silly sign hanging around Facebook that reads: “How I see Math word problems: If you have four pencils and I have seven apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? My answer: Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.” I am not ashamed to confess that for me math is little like the sludge in the bottom of a hot water tank. You could stir it up inside my brain and it will still just be sludge.

I don’t want to think about math. But, because our world revolves around order, I have to. At least the basics. But, I have a calculator for that sort of thing. I don’t have to think too much.

And the Mister, because he’s a married man, must venture into the world of poetry only two times a year—my birthday and Mother’s Day. But he just needs to take a trip to Walgreen’s, close his eyes in the card aisle and pick one. Anyone. I once got one that said, “Belated Sympathy.” I appreciated his sentiments. Hallmark did the work for him. He doesn’t have to think.

Who helped us not to think?

Technology? Poets who sell their poems to card companies? Has our not thinking ruined poetry for us? Or was poetry ruined for the masses?

Or did culture ruin poetry for the masses?  Or . . . 
is there just too much competition for our thinking time?