Following directions

after a long day of kindergarten

you were tired and hungry
but I needed a book and
took you in with me
while your brother and sister
waited in the car
at the checkout
you asked to go wait with them
in the van
I said
“sure – stay on the sidewalk”
you knew better than to play
in traffic at 5
you were far more mature
than other 5 year olds
from having older siblings
and the van was parked on the
sidewalk curb
I knew you would go straight there
to the back seat
lie down
and fall asleep
next stop: grocery store
for a gallon of milk
bottleneck rush hour traffic
heading off-island
cruising to the tunes
on the radio
ready to get the milk
and get home
thirty minutes later
me: “anyone want to go in?”
mallory:  “no”
marshall: “no”
mallory: “ansley’s not here”
me: “she’s on the back seat
don’t wake her
I’ll just be a minute”
mallory:  “she’s not here, mom”
the kind where you’re not sure
if your heart stopped or you
plummeted in an elevator
straight to hell
for your mom failure sin
you were not here with us
Barnes and Noble
Hilton Head Island, SC
someone found a little girl
and took her inside
turned her in to the manager
who took her
to the children’s department
where she recognized her former
pre-k teacher and
picked a book and
crawled in miss maury’s lap
and stayed cradled
in the comfort of words
as we flew
abandoned all fear of
speeding tickets
straight to you
red lights, slow zones,
out of control mother
plagued with fear:
will they take her away from me?
it was all an honest mistake

I abandoned my child at the bookstore
and was
on a mission to get to get you back

who did exactly as you were told
you stayed on the sidewalk


Takes what he wants
Thinks he is the
    Greatest of All Time
Doesn’t pay kid support
Butts heads with others
Seeks nannies
   to take advantage of
Loves animal crackers
Tricolor Pygmy
Cuteness forgives

The Octane Trio

Years of blessed miracles

Mallory Michelle: first-born
Sunday, January 25
Visual artist

Marshall Wilson: middle child
Monday, March 27
Running athlete

Ansley Claire: youngest
Friday, September 24
Vocal artist

Octane Trio

Sweet Tea

steeped leaf brown
with ice cube spots
sugary sweet

kid on the playground
she’s the loudest
of the herd
sure to be heard

she’ll prop on a tree
a sexy pole-dancing stripper
causing a scene
sure to be seen

then jump on the stage
perform a twisting dive
through the air
Gypsy Rose Lee’s
reincarnated heir

playful kid
to get the most
animal crackers

loving little show off!

Great Horned Owl hooting
at 5:15 AM
July 27, 2020

not the kind of sound anyone wants to hear any time
let alone on a Monday morning

owls know things that we don’t see coming

heralds of death
like foreshadowing in books
where doom looms a few pages ahead

anxiety hangs heavy in the air
like an unlifted veil of fog
a warning to pay attention
and be on the alert

Native Americans believed it –
And Isaiah brought one in, too
humans of Babylon face destruction

Today’s inspiration comes from Brian Glaser of Orange, California: write a variation of a praise ode, blending two different concepts to show similarities or relationships.  


back and forth in constant motion
Jean Foucault’s Pendulum
360 degrees every 24 hours
spinning earth and swinging cord dancing a tango
overhead a magnetic kick
replacing energy lost with each swing
52 foot cable, 240 pound ball
vertical and horizontal lines
a dance floor of circular movement
side by side, front to back, clockwise
counterclockwise, elliptical paths
motion making sense of the universe

spiritual dowsing
physical healing
inner peace
invisible energy
balancing chakras
cleansing divination
holistic healing
changing perspectives
influencing decisions
affirming actions
spawning growth
broadening horizons

back and forth in constant motion
the reader’s eye
foveal, parafoveal, peripheral visions
250 millisecond fixations
with intermittent spans of
7 to 9 letters right, 3 to 4 letters left
in lock-step moving-window paradigms
a rhythmic textual tango of
fixations and saccades, scanning
alphabets of right to left, left to right, up and down
neurological networks using syntax and semantics
motion making sense of life

Today’s inspiration comes from Tracie McCormick, who inspired our writing group to write a Monotetra – one quatrain or a series of quatrains, rhyme scheme AABB, with the last line of each quatrain becoming a repeating 4-syllable phrase, and all lines containing 8 syllables.

I Know a Place

I know a place where lovers go
in wintertime to feel the snow
who love fresh air and balsam pine
and sweet red wine, and sweet red wine

I know a place where good friends go
on autumn days when breezes blow
who love crisp leaves and crackling pine
and dry red wine, and dry red wine

I know a place where families go
on warm spring days, trails to follow
who love to hike among the pines
and dry white wine, and dry white wine

I know a place where teachers go
in summertime when cool springs flow
who read and write and sip and dine
on sweet white wine, more sweet white wine

Today’s inspiration is from Mo Daley and Tracie McCormick, who have challenged my writing group to write a Ghazal – 5 to 15 couplets, refrains of 1-3 words in the second line of each couplet, with the word prior to the refrain the rhyme scheme word.  And today, I go back on contract – – back to work!  I’m looking forward to our Literacy grant and all of the possibilities for our students. 

I’m Going Back!

since March 13th, we’ve stayed home: Covid 19
four months and one week later – today – I’m going back!

today begins a new chapter: 2020
new challenges and opportunities I seek – I’m going back!

we’ll mask up and sanitize all the way to ‘21
cautiously distance and crowdsurvey peek – I’m going back!

will outings be safer in 2022?
surely by then we’ll be past the peak – I’m going back!

my 5-year grant term will close in ‘23
I stand boldly with literacy, cheek to cheek – I’m going back!

Today’s inspiration came from Mo and Tracie, writing buddies at, who chose the ode as today’s writing form. 

Ode to the Girls’ Getaway

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW PEAKS –
Blood Mountain, where Appalachian Trail hikers fling
worn victory boots across tree branches at Neel Gap,
creating a collective celebration canopy

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW CREEKS –
Wolf Creek, where the tranquil trickle of water
braves the rock rapids by our picnic table, laden with an
eclectic assortment of shared QuikTrip snacks

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW BYWAYS –
roller coaster hairpin turns, where scenic panoramas
resplendent with art shapes in the earth and clouds
invite us to spy fire-breathing dragons and Indian maidens

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW HIGHWAYS –
connecting veins that turn a Honda CR-V into a whitewater
adventure down back roads to Three Sisters Vineyards
where we stop, admire, and savor the taste of the hillside

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW LODGES –
Lily Creek, a hobbit-style European cove
with rounded latched doorways and log ceilings,
rustically absent of all toilet paper, soap, TV, and wi-fi

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW STODGES –
lobster ravioli at Grapevines, where splitting an entrée
and uncorking a bottle – clinking cheers! –
with sisters is always on the menu

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW SHOPS –
stores with spinning sticker displays, perfect
for my planner, proclaiming my travels
like so many bumper-stickered hippie vans of the 1970s
Girls’ getaway, you take me to MORE STOPS – 
new boots, a $29.99 clearance steal

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW CHAIRS –
plush perches for pajama’ed pals,
where we sit sipping sparkling sangria
and sharing aloud from our current books:
our adhesive

Girls’ getaway, you take me to OLD TOWN SQUARES –
places of ghostly wonder
about historic brick sidewalks and buildings,
of delectable discovery in hidden cafes where
absolutely! we’ll have dessert, too!

Girls’ getaway, you take me to NEW TREEHOUSES –
where a carelessly flung donut during early
morning writing brings fears of bears and
shivery scares at the rustle of leaves beneath

Girls’ getaway, you bring me home to NEW ME HOUSES –
ironic twists of friendship trips
where I discover that in building my sisters,
I build me

Today’s inspiration comes from Mo and Tracie, writing buddies at, who chose the Rondeau as today’s form.  A Rondeau has nine lines (or can repeat a sequence for more lines) with 8 syllables per line except for the refrains, which have 4, and an AABBA, AABArefrain line sequence. 
Inner voice 
mountaintop treehouse, pen in hand
high atop trees like a deer stand
tasted a donut, threw it down
thought, “oh no!” as it hit the ground
what if bears inhabit this land? 
climbed back down into Wi-Fi band
downloaded prompt: for gold I panned
climbed back up, set my writer’s frown
“retire here and…”
mountaintop sunrise: ain’t life grand!?
writing footprints left in this sand
high in north Georgia, each new sound
awakens senses all around
flames of north Georgia passion fanned
“retire here and….”