Let’s make Mashed Potato Poems today! Take various lines from existing poems and write them on paper strips. Rearrange into the order you like best to create a whole new poem, and credit the original poets at the end. Here’s mine:

Carefree Days

The sky is big enough for all my dreams
As long as you know how to dream
I should like to rise and go where the golden apples grow
Where she has left her fragrance like a shawl
By the craggy hill-side through the mosses bare
And then my heart with pleasure fills
and dances with the daffodils
And all I ask is a cloudless sky with the bright sun burning
To fling my arms wide in some place of the sun
Shhh…..listen carefully, and you can hear
the crickets singing
Soon, there’s a comma of a moon.

(I borrowed lines from Pat Mora, Evelyn Wade, Robert Louis Stevenson, Langston Hughes, Edna St. Vincent-Millay, Lilian Moore, Robert Frost, Robin Blackburne, William Allingham, and William Wordsworth).

For the first day of National Poetry Month 2020, celebrate with a #hashtag acrostic.  Think of words or phrases that describe you and that begin with the letters in your first, middle, and last names.  Introduce yourself below!



Challenge from Sarah Donovan:
Write a Credo poem – – a mantra about what matters to you.

I see it in the old photographs –
   young minister at his desk
   books piled high
   baby in the middle
   wallowing in the books,
   chewing the pen
   two fully immersed
   in words, texts, pens, paper, creating,
   passion pumping through veins
    like ink through a fountain pen.
That baby was me. 
Literacy guaranteed.
But what about the Shunwells?
Who ignites their flames?
knowing about basketball
writing about basketball
watching a basketball game
isn’t enough.
and get my arms around kids
and perpetuate that legacy
and revise the playbook
-Kim Johnson
Inspired by my father, Dr. Felix Haynes, and the greatest of the great at showing up unannounced – Kwame Alexander  – watch here:

Challenge from Jennifer Jowett: write a haiku about a nature-oriented Japanese word character.

I chose the Japanese character for fire, which looks like a K with a wayward eyelash off to the side of its backbone.

flames licking upward
providing warmth on cold days
and light on dark nights

Challenge from Jennifer Jowett:  write an origin poem – what are your roots?

Waycross Welcoming

on Ware Street
in Waycross, Georgia
in the wee hours
of July 8
water breaks

Felix heart-pounding cool
Miriam painfully excited
about the happy and
interesting journey ahead

drama-filled waiting room
Felix sweating it out
family gathered
NO DADS ALLOWED! birthside

new parents, driving home
What are we in for?

beneath Plant Avenue
by the landmark Green Frog
I answered…
with an undeniable gas bomb…
they understood a little more

I was christened
with family tears of joy
Miriam as beautiful through birth
as when she left us in 2015
our mournful tears, deathside

welcomings, homegoings
different origins
little blips on the dash –
joys and sorrows
of consummation

Challenge from Jennifer Jowett:  Write a poem in a strong voice, with what X might say.  Example:  What Cornonavirus might say, what a hungry dog might say, etc.

What an Introvert, Faking It for Her Husband, Would Say

I’m not going!
Why should I want to
eat a formal dinner with
a tableful of self-showcasers
I don’t even know?
Round tables of 12, you say?
Okay, fine.
If it means your job, then I’ll dig out
my black dress and pumps.
Ignore my cussing.

Those sequined evening gowns
are breathtaking –
simply stunning!
How stirring you dropped
a cool mil to
impress people you barely know.
And those stylish updos,
perfectly coiffed.
Let me savor all the
glittery berry shades
of fake nails at this table.
Ignore my squinting as your
glitz and bling blind me.

And those matching designer evening bags
and stilettos!
I should be so envious of all of you,
with my leather backpack, book,
Moleskine journal, and fountain pen.
You are clearly all first-place trophy wives
of the year.
No one comes close to
competing with you.
Ignore my fumbling to touch
my book
for oxygen.

Really, Evelyn?
Five minutes in and already
gossiping ?
I don’t know your
but I’m sure that while all
their husbands are cheating
and they seem to be so hurt,
you might should shut up –
or, find a caring friend
who’ll slap you some sense.
You might jinx yourself.
Ignore me while I inspect the
craftsmanship of this sterling relish fork!

Oh, Victoria!
You don’t say!
Your son is expecting again?
And they just moved into their
mansion in Vail?
Where he’s the Pediatrician
of the year for the country?
And your beautiful grandchildren
are in the finest private schools?
Wait – don’t tell me – they’re all
on Headmaster’s Honor Roll?!
Those little geniuses!
Hahahahaha, you think
they get it from you?
Ignore me while I scroll to a picture
of my ill-behaved Schnauzer.

What, Gloria?
A brand new Rolls Royce?
I’m so sorry your heart is
hurting because
they were two shades of gray off
from your heart’s desire.
Maybe next year.
Ignore me while I kick my husband under
the table and lock glaring eyes on him.

Indeed, Elizabeth. I’d heard you mention
that your daughter is THE decorating queen
and is dressing department store windows
in New York City as a side job
while she awaits word on her lead role
in a movie. You say she even
came in with her design team
and redid your house?
There is no way that you can imagine how
honored I feel to be sitting at the table
with one who holds the title of the most
elegantly decorated home in the world.
Ignore me while I sneak a few sentences
of my next chapter….

Those pictures of your anniversary cruise
to Italy are totally gorgeous, Pandora!
No way!! You mean you actually threw a coin in the
world-famous Trevi Fountain?
AND saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?
I’m sure no one in this ballroom has ever
visited Italy in the winning way that you have.
Your moments outshine all of ours –
hands down!
Ignore me while I look at my phone screen
to see my husband and me smiling in Rome
before I go home,
choke him,
and nonchalantly finish my book.

How admirable, Lovey, that you
and Thurston
donated 10 million dollars
this week to help
those who are starving
and can’t afford
gala gowns and cruises!
Those destitute souls,
know-nothings who
cannot even take care
of themselves. And you.
Look at you, head tilted
at lost-in-deep-thought angle,
swept away,
fingering the petals of the centerpiece
as you crown yourself THE BEST EVER
in your daydream.
Ignore me while I write my annual
check to support public broadcasting.

I am truly thrilled to have met you all!
What? Christmas cards?!
Oh, believe me – I’ll be looking forward to the
Blessings of the season that you’ll sincerely
wish for me
as you share
all the successful accomplishments
of your year.
Ignore me while I jot key words
about tonight
so I can write a poem
for the 5-Day Writing Challenge
about why I’m glad to be
an officially diagnosed introvert.

-Kim Johnson

Challenge from Jennifer Jowett:  Write a poem intertwining color and Syntesthesia – igniting sensory pathways in the brain that mix up the senses (what does smell taste like? what texture is color?).

Polished Tarnish

glittery flickers and glimmers
of 1970s festivities, memories
of Miriam’s simmering skillets,
scents of Christmas dinner deliciousness,
mothering me: metallic fillings
of bitten aluminum foil, agitating
through the roof tooth nerves!
bidding forgiveness, then
tinkly and ringly tintinnabulation
such merriment foretells
of silvery and harmonistic bells, bells, bells

shimmer disappears, silver tarnishes

constipated cumulonimbus thunderheads –
threatening vistas, tinting windows
of diminished consciousness, disturbing
my mother’s pallor as she
relinquished this world –
the glitzy glamour girl
of the 1950s,
spirit withering,
dimming, sinking in 2016, sprinting
into the swirling, twirling,
Starry, Starry Night

re-enter the shimmer

visions of her inspiration
silly mirages?
optic illusions?
mistaken apparitions?
NO. miraculocirrus Miriam –
audible, visible, omniscient,

-Kim Johnson

Challenge from Jennifer Jowett: write a favorite word poem
Finding words from
Different categories to compose your poem

flights of fowl
at my feeder
busily bibbling and gobbling

their kerfuffled feathers
frumpy frippery

whifflers flummox
the bumfuzzled flocks
charms and chimes
flutters and shimmers
to flitter and scatter 

-kim johnson

Challenge from Allison Berryhill:  Write an Epistolary Poem today.

Image result for fountain pen

Braided Trio

Dear Moleskine Journal,
You’re a legend –
my favorite affordable luxury (don’t tell the Pilot).
You’re in MY hands, holding MY thoughts and ideas –
But before mine –
You held the depression of Hemingway- Ernest,
The renderings of VanGogh – Vincent,
And the adventures of Chatwin – Bruce –
Who first called you a Moleskine,
Packing you into his pockets for every journey.
If you can handle the depression and adventure of those explorers,
Surely you can handle my little old rural farm life and times.

Dear Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen,
You’re a classic –
My favorite affordable luxury (don’t tell the Mole).
You pick MY brain and share MY secrets –
But before mine –
You shared the side-splitting tales of Twain – Mark,
With his Conklin Self-Filling,
And the mysteries of Doyle – Conan,
With his Parker Duofold,
And the horror of Lovecraft – Howard (H.P),
With his Waterman.
Even Hemingway himself – Ernest,
Has Montegrappas designed for all the phases of his life –
The Soldier, The Traveller, The Fisherman, and The Writer.
If you can stretch into those deep-thinking wells,
Surely you can dip into my little old shallow basin.

Each of you has my heart –
And while I don’t play favorites
Or do love triangles,
I can’t choose between the two of you.

So we shall live our days as a braided trio –
My Pilot, My Moleskine, and little old me!

Challenge from Allison Berryhill: write an apology poem in the style of William
Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say”

this is just to say 
i should have been there
more days
you battled
that monster
when lewy body
played peek-a-boo:
cruel moments it
exposed the raw truth 
it torched memories
it kidnapped joy
it robbed futures