Day 30 (the last day)

Challenge: For this last poem, end on a note of hope.

A Taste

The cedar dances again
waking the maple 
whose leaves give off 
an invisible hiss 

breaking free
from winter’s bare skin in
red tufts that unfurl
at the speed of light

while pregnant clouds
hang over
promising baptism
and the grass
beautiful uncut hair

lies lush and waiting
for mounds of tight 
daffodil to add yellow glee
to the scene

now a rabbit leaps in 
to nibble the stumps 
of stubborn bushes
and I tap this out

in the same spirit 
of natural joy 
capturing a taste 
of renewal

feeling myself melt 
just a bit
into the earth’s yearning 
its delicious hope

Day 29

Challenge: Enumerate today’s complaints.

Today’s Complaints:

First, I feel like a snot sandwich. 
It’s possible that I’m allergic 
to everything, but especially to 
this house. (“A booger box,” Dad
would have said.)

Second, I hate cleaning it.
What a waste of time and 
energy (which is in short supply.)
It just gets dirty again, because 
we insist on living in it.

Third, my back hurts, 
as it always does.
My back and, of course, 
my butt. Yes, I am an eternal
pain in the ass. 

Fourth, it’s Friday and 
I don’t want to go to work. 
Don’t get me wrong — I love 
the classroom, I love students and 
the curiosity bubbling just under the surface
of their fake disdain, I love the crackle
they create around writing and literature — 
but today I just want to disappear 
into a show hole and knit another
ugly blanket. 

Fifth, the dog just unleashed 
an epic fart 
right under my feet 
and now I’m a bit dizzy (but hey
at least it’s cutting through my
hay fever daze). 

Finally, I have no idea how
to end this poem, 
which seems to be a metaphor
for something deeper and 
more significant 
that I am too tired, lazy and itchy
to investigate.

The dog has her own complaints.

Day 28

Challenge: Start with ”You can drive all night”

Wherever you go, there you are

You can drive all night, through 
black country roads, blaring Boston, 
more than a feeling, or Kansas —

dust in the wind, baby! all we are is —

blank fields flanking you, 
daring suicidal deer to leap
into your lonely light, 

pedal to the metal, bat out of

hell, grim jawed, grip fisted, 
aimed like an arrow
at the western edge of 

everything you already know —

but when the sun rises
you’ll find yourself back 
where you started, trapped

in the same old funky container.

Day 27

Challenge: Include a fictional character, a plum, some cheese, and one of your ancestors.

Elizabeth Bennet walks into a bar —

No, that’s ridiculous. She’s in the park,
the one with the swings, idly munching 

half squashed plums and brie on Triscuits, 
reading Sue Grafton and trying to find

a way to sit on the old Mexican blanket 
she borrowed from my trunk that doesn’t

fry her back. Good luck with that, Lizzie.
She’s waiting for Darcy, who, at last check in, 

was just finishing 3 holes at Hilly Haven 
with a guy he met at the driving range

last Saturday. Not too long from now, 
they’ll walk into a bar and order a round of

brandy Old Fashioneds, muddled, forgetting 
poor Lizzie in typical bad boy married style,

so that she, like my favorite grandmother,
will roll up the blanket, pack the cheese, 

bury the plum pits, clap a hat on her head,
and march off to the river to watch pelicans

dive and swoop in formation, delighting
in their freedom and precision, and plan

her next solo trip to Italy, or maybe Japan.

Day 26

Challenge: Offer some instructions.


First, start planning your escape routes. 
If you want your freedom, you’ll have to stay

clever, secret, and silent. 
Stash your resources somewhere safe 

and don’t tell anyone, not even your mother, 
that you plan to pull up roots.

Decide what’s absolutely necessary, and 
steel yourself to lose the rest. 

Say: things can be replaced.

Choose an ordinary day, like an April
Tuesday. Like today. 

Put on your coat. 
Forget the note — 

words are meaningless —
and step over the threshold for

the last time.
Leave this place the way

a soul takes its last leap
out of the body.

Day 25

Challenge: Use a random word generator to come up with 10 words to use in your poem. (The words that popped up for me today are: rhetoric, payment, root, scenario, spider, magazine, walk, shiver, contempt, copy.)


I would like, at last, to 
acknowledge the debt I
created with all of this
relentless rhetoric. Rooted 
in my childhood as a girl, 
I’ve explored every scenario 
of impotence assigned me,
and my words (black
widow spiders) have
webbed the delicate cuts 
men’s magazines etch 
into our female bodies. 
But even so, by ten I
couldn’t walk. I shivered in
my bed, aching. Then,
fifteen, my girlfriends 
expressed contempt for every
thing intellectual until I 
became this mere copy 
of woman: plastic, smiling, 
with blue eyes that close 
when you put me down.

Day 24

Challenge: Find solace in nature.

The Dance

Gray Sunday but 
the shaggy cedar rides
the wind, 

bowing and flaring,
bending against our
sagging wires, 

just rubbing into
the budding maple. 
It’s a dance, 

how the two trees
sway and tremble, 
shiver and

lean together,

singing over grass
grown, in a night,
a magical green.

Day 23

Challenge: Make 2 lists — 10 things you hate and 10 things you crave. Then mix them all up in a poem.

Declaration of Independence

Like cigarette butts tossed out of car windows, laughter’s release 
will set us free, free to wave our confederate flags over summer’s 

bright territory, signaling to all those patriarchal gits we love so 
much to dress in their very best, to invest in funky new hair cuts --

because, my friends, WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED, no, it’s our time 
to blaze, to say you can’t look away from our brilliance as we 

quaff ambrosiadillas by the shining river, roll naked in the grass, mad,  
baring our chicken livers to a holy sun, massaging the piriformis pain 

from our collective asses with its golden fingers, melting us into 
glorious show holes and happy endings, knitting us together 

into sanctified sand and gentle breeze and waves of love that rise up 
to drown April’s bone eating cold in daffodils and lilies -- I tell you 

we will surf capitalism’s fickle internet as long as it takes to spend
all our time with sacred children; we will play phone games 

in “democracy”’s wall to wall construction traffic; we will lick ice
cream in the endless burgermeister meetings our enemies have

designed to suck our very souls from our tired asses -- we will devour
this their corporate shit and call it chocolate!

Day 22

Challenge: write about an emotion.

It’s easier to throw open the doors

to all your rage, to let it
plump your veins, and be swept
high by ecstatic panic — 

to let that hot drug prickle 
your dull skull alive —

than to stay inside, to allow
the clouds to soak 
your old brain, 

to carry your dark water
deep down 
in mud muscles,

and smile like a
distracted angel through 
that ordinary pain.

Day 21

Challenge: write a list poem.

Today’s Complaints

The woman who cuts my hair is moving 
to Washington.

The weather app tells me that today 
will be mostly cloudy. Again.

My writing hand is gnarling up
with arthritis and I dreamed last night

I was once again reading books 
about T. S. Eliot.

This house needs a vigorous cleaning.
The dog is losing track of time.

When I scan my brain for ideas
I don’t find anything and

if given the choice between going 
to a party or 

staying home,
I will choose home most of the time.

The flowers are up in Chicago 
but here it seems they’ll never

break through, that the ground will stay
frozen forever, the world 

here smote with another ice age, and
we’re going to be stuck

waiting for warmth that never comes,
that our promised rebirth

has been rescinded, reconnection

It’s not even 5:30 AM, my windows
glazed frigid with darkness, and 

the damn dog insists I
take her out.