Field Note

birds have problems
dark clouds
to dodge, stalking things

and claws that catch

if someone bigger
wants to eat

clipped wings, ruffled

feathers, windy days
and at the end of each, night

wrecked nests, eggs snatched

the scattering
of sticks or shells

clues to where their life went while they

looked away, scratched the dirt
stretched their wings

seeds are small and worms

live underground 
unless it rains

a window sometimes stops

their flight, drops them
right out of the blue

but still birds sing

it seems there must be 
something in the song itself




"What I want to do is nab something of life in motion.  All too frequently, however, the shape of the sentences elude me, the tone of voice for them eludes me, the characters who will be strong enough in themselves to bear the weight of what is on my mind elude me.  What remains undone is what art can do when it lays its light hand on the heavy materials of life.  I know that although the passion for communication drove me to become a writer in the first place, passion does not always guarantee progeny.  I am impatient with myself, annoyed that it is taking so long, that I cannot yet capture even the shadow of what I have begun to see.  But it may be that I will have to settle for nothing less than a full-term pregnancy."

-- Ingrid Bengis, 
"The Middle Period"

"The Writer on Her Work
Seventeen Essays 
by Twentieth-Century
American Writers"

Yes yes yes!..."what art can do when it lays its light hand on the heavy materials of life..."

Fantastic book! Whether you are interested in writing, or what women think, or what women think about writing.  Highly recommended.




some day I may require
more than this

fingers laced, one sun, a pebble
kicked back and forth
and by the way

I confess I am recording this
for future reference

-- smh

A late entry but I had to mull it over for a bit...click HERE for more Magpie fun from this week's sweet photo prompt. 




awkward as a knitting accident
three-sleeved, holes too small or
tight in every wrong place, puckered
pilled and pocked, ill fitting
ugly colored and all made up of purls
(where there ought to be anything else)

she sits, a wooly sweater in hot weather
a clearance rack of mishaps, a dropped
stitch, wishing someone had followed 
the pattern, hoping for anyone 
to try her on, imagining that she could  
be in season or that someday she might 
meet the one she was made to fit


(my thanks to Magpie Tales for the photo prompt...
and to jr. high for the painful inspiration)



Rhetorical Question

Epic saga, romantic heroine, rags
to riches and famous to boot, practically
perfect in every way, the stuff
legends are made of
do the people these words apply to know it
or do they feel, like me 
mouse-brown and peering from a hiding place
wanting to leave any room they are in, walk
away from themselves and keep going
while secretly hoping to be noticed
just the same?




What if I told you I was going through one of the hardest times of my life EVER? That might leave you thinking one of several things..."So what?" perhaps being the one that springs most immediately to mind, but there could also be "I just saw her earlier today and she seemed fine" or "I wonder what that's about" or "she should have a donut, I just did and it helped a lot".  But you might squash that last thought if it made you feel guilty. 

You could think, "drama queen -- living with her must be exhausting" or maybe "I bet her husband deserves a medal" or "oh yeah? I don't think you know the meaning of hard".  You might concoct ideas about what could be troubling me, ideas which might be even more complex and interesting than any of my actual problems. I wouldn't mind if you did that, particularly if it had some entertainment value for you, however brief... but then don't underestimate my ability to have complex and actual problems. 

The only thing I can say about hard times for certain is that you cannot go to your doctor and get a cast.  You have to fall off a ladder or slip on a just-mopped floor for that (which would require mopping), and then everyone feels sorry for you, calls, comes to visit, or even asks how you hurt yourself while you're limping through the grocery checkout line.  Even people who are not in the habit of caring about you one bit are made curious and sympathetic by a cast.  If only we could check them out at the library and slip them on as needed...now there's a useful idea!  And if you've ever been through a really hard time, you know exactly what I mean.

Now...what if I told you I was perfectly content, could not be happier, happy as the happiest clam anyone had ever eaten or even considered throwing in a pot of Friday chowder?  Equally possible, of course. So I will leave you to speculate. You were going to anyway.





This is not what I signed up for, when I
registered for this, I had no idea  
it was a class and I would be expected 
to learn things, do hard stuff, attend 
and being handed
every type of day, pick ways to pass 
my time while never being sure 
of any end from the beginning --

How can I be responsible for what comes
if not knowing, never knowing, is 
the one condition I can count on 
and the only thing on which
to base my choice, 
on which to write the final paper, sure 
to come due well before I ever
finish all of my assignments?



image by Daniel Murtagh


I have loved you at first sight, and second glance
and every chance that I could get

Loved you from across the room, in hallways
under street lights, trees, the moon

Loved you across time zones, miles
by keyboard, mailbox, minutes on my phone

Loved you on white sheets, green grass, bus seats
on avenues, in parking lots and parks

Loved you on cold walks, and in hot places
in your hands and arms, by memory and eye to eye

Loved you all the way from brown 
to gray, too young, too old, and at wrong times

Loved you with one breath, one laugh, my voice
and all my words, my whisper and my cry

Loved you with my secret self, as I walked by
and in your car, and as you drove away, your tail lights

Loved you, waiting days and weeks
through years, by nights, and as we came around again 
or as we went, and still --

I have not loved you quite enough
not all the way, and not complete

Not loved you right until the end, through our last beat 
and with my every bit, all in, time fully spent, at least --

not yet.


This poem is a Magpie Tale...
to explore other ideas, click here


I am going to write a book.  
There will need to be characters.  
You know, people.  Real ones.  

They have not yet materialized on the page, but I have met plenty of people and therefore I feel I must already know them.  I hope they will introduce themselves when they arrive.  Anyone is welcome to audition for the role. There are plenty of possible attributes that could make a person a suitable character.  These include, but are not limited to:

Sometimes they tell the truth and sometimes they lie.  And not always when they should. 

Our secrets are the same.

They have enough discipline to stay in character, but can also still surprise me.

I have known someone exactly like them...even though it will (of course) be a work of fiction....it always is.

We remember the same things but sometimes differently.  And they can prove I may be wrong.

Sometimes they behave so badly, it makes me feel good about myself.

They understand things that I do not.  And they are good at explaining.

They can stand the noise in my head -- they will have to spend a lot of time there.

They are willing to be told what to do, but also know when to put their foot down.

They have plenty to say, and can provide their own words.

They think about stuff.  Sometimes it even changes their minds.

If you know someone who fits that description, send them my way. If it's you, we can change your name to protect the innocent.  Whether you are innocent or not.  I may even let you pick the new one. Always wished for a cooler name?  Let's find one together. As long as you don't want something really stupid. 

Oh! -- and please bring your story when you come.  That's important. At least a synopsis.  Something we can work with.  If you don't know the end of your story, I can help you find it.  Or we can just make one up that we both like. That's the beauty of writing...you get to write the book you want to read.