In the meantime, enjoy the responses I have made to other prompts.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Thoughts a few days into my 15th year as a 7th grade math teacher

Observations from the Classroom

Students these days
are pressured in ways
never pressured before.
With input they're flooded,
their confidence, gutted, 
truths we cannot ignore.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

My Tweet


When your primary characteristic
is perceived to be narcissistic,
just how are we to be optimistic?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Pond Poetry image prompt of hands tied together. It had to be the Kyrielle form.

We are Women

Although still bound, to some extent,
ropes have loosened for our daughters.
A growing force that won't relent,
we are testing deeper waters.

True we've yet to balance the scale,
but we see, at least, it totters.
In time parity will prevail.
We are testing deeper waters.

I wish Ms. Anthony could see -
the life we live now is not hers.
but close to one she dreamed could be.
We are testing deeper waters.

Although still bound, to some extent,
we are testing deeper waters. 

A Kyrielle - a 14 line poem with 8 syllables per line. The rhyme scheme is AbaB cbcB dbdB AB, which means the last line repeats and the first and last lines of the first stanza are the last two lines of the poem.

Another Writer's Cramp prompt - a 24-hour prompt-based contest - which was the title.

He was a Friend of Mine

Once upon a time,
that boy,
he was a friend of mine.
Our backyards, borderless.
His house was mine,
mine his,
as if we were brothers.

Once upon a time,
that boy,
he was a friend of mine.
Same classes, same sports, same teams.
He, a little better at baseball,
me, at soccer.
Neither of us showed any promise in football.
He struggled with school.
I did what I could to help him out.

Once upon a time,
that boy,
he was a friend of mine
until high school happened
and we no longer shared any classes.
Until my own studying, baseball and piano practices and participation on the math competition team left me little free time to help him out.
Until academic performance kept him off the baseball team.
Until the fence went up around our backyard and entrance into each other's house required knocking.
Until his dad left.

Once upon a time,
that boy,
he was a friend of mine,
but then he was put in the Alternate Program because he missed too many days of school and failed several classes,
so I heard.
But then he found new brothers and together they discovered ways to cope with the pressures of high school,
of life,
so I heard.

once upon a time,
that boy, -
that boy who died of "unexpected causes,"
(so I read) -
he was a friend of mine. 

A response to a Writer's Cramp prompt relating to Christmas in August.

Bah Humbug!

There's something wrong
when early Fall
I travel to
a shopping mall
and in the stores
what first I see
are garland and
a Christmas tree!

You merchants think
with this, somehow,
I'll start to shop
for Christmas now
and never stop,
I do believe,
until the night
of Christmas Eve.

But I'm afraid,
for me I'd say,
although I love
the holiday,
I cannot shop;
I have to wait
'til turkey's done
to celebrate!

It's not about
your corporate worth;
it is about
a savior's birth,
but this event
on you is lost.
You're focused on
an object's cost.

Your profit line,
I understand,
but your supply 's
not my demand.
To take a stance,
I must be gone
to shop at home
from this day on.

Friday, August 18, 2017

To the Alt-Right

How hard the heart you've filled with hate. 
How troublesome your mental state. 
Your stance with mine, I can't equate. 
But I'd be glad to educate.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Rhetorical Questions
What shallow minds consider birth
to be the measure of their worth?
If skin and looks are all you see, 
what narrow vision must there be?
How can we make this country great
when those within are filled with hate?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Long Live the Rhyme!

Once upon a recent time
in the land of making rhyme
people milled the streets all day
and spoke in rhyme along the way.

The best time of the year for all
was when the Poet King would call
his people to the palace moat
to hear what local authors wrote.

Each writer stood upon the pass
and read out to the eager mass.
Each clever word was well received.
Each story plot would be believed.

Though no one format would prevail
t’would often be the children’s tale
adored the most by young and old,
ahat mad applause once it was told!

But oh the year when Darkness came!
It set each poet’s work aflame.
It cursed the tongues so not a word
of rhyming verse was ever heard!

The people willed their words to come
but all were struck completely dumb!
The Poet King called forth his men
to slay the force that stilled the pen.

They rode through valley, glen and plain,
the wicked source to ascertain.
No matter what the soldiers tried
it was no use! Their rhyme had died!

And just when Hope at last had stood,
about to leave the town for good
Akeem, a boy, declared to know
how they could make the evil go.

“We must profess our love of rhyme!
We use the language all the time,
but others think it’s silly rot.
We have to show them it is not!”

“Akeem has rhymed!” the people cheered.
“The Darkness too has disappeared!
Let’s listen to this clever boy
and spread the word of rhyming joy!”

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Looking through some old pieces I wrote - some nonfiction, some fiction - and came across this one.

Uncharted Territory

When years ago
my ship set sail
rough waters ruled the way.
With frequent squalls
and thunderstorms,
my skies were colored grey.

But that was when
my helm was steered
by someone else's hands,
who never had
the kinds of skills
such seamanship demands.

Yet through those rough
and rugged seas
one vision kept me moored -
the dream to see
my words in print's
what kept my feet on board.

Then over time
when I took hold
and got my bearings straight,
I charted then
a different course,
one I could navigate.

I sailed along
life's ebb and flow,
rode steady with the tide,
kept out of way
of troubled waves,
held fast to leeward side.

Now decades past,
the waters calm
that dream's still in my sight -
to have the
to share the words I write.

Monday, August 7, 2017

On the Job Training

They made me get a license
before I drove a car.
To practice as a lawyer
I had to pass the bar.
To teach somebody’s children
demanded school and testing.
For me to be a parent
took only sperm and nesting.

Despite my lack of training,
when Casey Barr was born,
Nurse Nancy brought her to me
that cold December morn.
With all her toes and fingers
accounted for she said,
“Your daughter wants to meet you,"
then laid her in my bed.

“I don’t know what I’m doing!”
is what I wished to say,
but after some instructions
she sent us on our way.

The real chance I would drop her
was then my biggest fear
and second was a failure
to read the cries I’d hear.
I longed for a decoder
to tell which cry meant what,
so I could be more certain
instead of trust my gut.

But somehow we got through it,
albeit sleep deprived.
We added two more daughters;
all three of them survived.
I know at times I blundered; 
my husband did as well.
No doubt the repercussions
a skillful shrink could tell.

And yet, without the training,
I think we did alright.
With college years behind them,
their futures all look bright:
a vet, a first lieutenant,
and film producer too.
But don't believe it's over;
a parent's never through.

Inspired by a Writer's Cramp prompt asking us to write about learning a new skill.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sayonara Lenore

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over routes and into buildings where I’d walked before—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my
 condo’s door.
‘Cross the room I slowly traveled, to unlock my condo’s door.
Scarcely could I manage more.

As I crossed I knew the stranger came to tell me of the danger
Faced by both myself and by my missing wife Lenore.
Poor Lenore, she had been taken, at our home there’d been a break-in,
By some hoodlums, god-forsaken—while I tended to the store—
For the ransom they’d requested all the contents of our store—
Was she gone for evermore?

I unlocked the door and noted, Sherriff Jeffries (now demoted
Due to hashish use which he was rumored to explore).
“Sir,” he said, “I am disgusted. Those at fault are those you trusted.
Your best friend tonight was busted with your wife Lenore.
‘Twas a plan they worked together, crafted by your wife Lenore.
Caused by lust and nothing more."

“Sir,” I said, “I had suspected. From our bed I’d been rejected,
But she said the reason I was ousted was I snore.
Now I know I have been cheated (and my store is not depleted),
I’ll be strong and not defeated – not be broken by Lenore.
Now the woman I once married – once addressed as 'My Lenore,'
Shall be nameless evermore."

Bolded section is from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."  The prompt was to use the first line from the poem and to make it a mystery.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

For our anniversary - 28 years!!


For 28 years we’ve been happily wed.
(Well, maybe the happy’s for 20 instead.)
Our life has been good as we both often say,
with few major obstacles placed in our way.
Our highs or our levels are more than our lows;
as shared time increases, our harmony grows.
It’s quite a commitment to stay man and wife,
so thanks for devoting the all of your life.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Last Day of the 30 Day Image Prompt contest!!

Brush Strokes

You see the world in black and white;
you’re right and I am wrong.
Sometimes I have to let it go
for us to get along.

But how I wish one day you’d see
the colors in between:
how you perceive the words I say
is not the way I mean.

Our minds don’t process thoughts alike,
our genders aren’t the same,
nor is the way we each were raised.
It’s not a case of blame.

It’s understanding differences,
appreciating hues.
I paint my thoughts with reds and greens
and you paint yours with blues.

It doesn’t mean one’s right or wrong.
Respect each other's art.
There's truth in words we each convey
from palettes far apart.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

If roses are given to me
of course I’ll accept them with glee,
but the joy I impart
does not match with my heart
as the flowers do nothing for me!

My husband’s been told this is true.
Yet on holidays, what does he do?
Each of twenty-eight years
on the counter appears
a vase filled with varying hue.

He won't change his habits I've found
and I know how ungrateful I sound,
but I'd like it much more
if the man I adore
would just leave those stems in the ground!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In their million-year history, nothing like this had ever happened to the merfolk population before. Merdoctors in the Under-the-Sea Hospital worked to keep the baby alive with an oxygen mask and a water-proof holding tank until the village elders could decide the newborn’s fate. The boy’s parents, Merman Mike and Mermaid Sarah swam about in the waiting room, anxious to hear any news about their history-making child’s future. 

Mike feebly attempted to calm his wife, “Don’t worry my dear. I am certain the elders will do what is best.”

“How would they know? Our child is the first child to ever be born in this hospital without fins and scales. He has legs and arms! Our baby is human! He cannot survive under the water on his own and we cannot survive out of it!” She whipped her tailfin violently against a nearby coral. The pain from the contact felt good.

Mike let her swim out her anger as he moved to avoid her. He’d seen her upset before, but never like this. He didn’t know what he could do to comfort her since he was suffering from his own grief. How long had they waited to spawn a child? They’d been trying for what seemed like a lifetime. Their desperation pushed them to try in vitro fertilization. The doctors had assured them the egg and the sperm belonged to them. Now Mike had to wonder.

As far as he knew, no merfolk had ever been in contact with humans. They made it their mission to not be seen. So how could this have happened to their baby boy? Was it some sort of mutation or was there collusion between the human and merfolk doctors? Through advancements in technology it could now be possible to communicate with species outside of their village. As a computer programmer Mark should know. Mark also knew how closely the village elders monitored all progress, threatening death to anyone abusing their skills and attempting to make contact outside of their sea area. But still, the fact their son was the first ever to be born human made Mark a little suspicious. If he investigated, it would have to be without anyone else knowing. It would also have to wait. Right now both he and his wife were being beckoned by the head merdoctor, Dr. 

“Your son is doing well,” he said. “He is being sustained by the oxygen and although no mernurse can enter into his chamber, we are able to simulate contact with him. We know how important the merfolk touch is in the first months of existence.” He hesitated and then said, “You are aware you have not told us what name to call him?”

Though relieved to hear he was doing okay, both parents looked down, a bit embarrassed to admit the doctor was right, they had yet to agree on a name. It was supposed to be Mark Jr. until they saw he bore no resemblance whatsoever to his father. They weren’t sure they would ever even see the boy again after his birth, or whether he would live for more than a couple of hours. The fact he had made it this far was a small miracle, but the impossible would never happen. He would not be able to live with his parents. How do you name a child you will never see again? 

“Yes Dr. and thank you for finding a means to keep him alive,” Mark said. “Do you know if the village elders have come to a decision as of yet?”

“I do not. My job is his well-being. I will do whatever they recommend as long as it is in the best interest of the merchild – er, uh child. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go check on some other patients.”

Mark looked at Sarah. She seemed to have settled down a little bit after the doctor’s news. Now would be as good of a time as any to talk about their son’s name. “Sarah, my dear. I think we should stay with the name we had originally considered. We should call him Mark, Jr.”

Sarah looked at him, or more like through him. “You can call him whatever you want to call him because whatever it is it probably won’t stay with him. And even if he gets to live, it will be with someone else and they will name him what they want.” She turned and swam as far away from him as the room would allow. He chose not to swim after her. He knew better.

All Mark wanted now was for the elders to come to a decision. He could not do anything to help Sarah until he knew what the next steps would be. He wasn’t too sure even then he’d be able to help her – he suspected she blamed him to some extent because it was his idea to do the in vitro, but at least there would be a direction. 

“Merman Mark?” Mark felt a nudge and it took him a few seconds to realize he was still in the waiting room. He must have fallen asleep. He was dreaming about playing tag with his son, Mark. Jr., but his son couldn’t swim and then the boy started drowning. He tried to shake the nightmare from his mind. “Merman Mark?” a voice said again.
“Yes?” Mark looked around for his wife. Sarah was swimming toward him with another merman. 

“We are the representatives of the village elders,” the merman said. I am Pete and this,” he said pointing to the merman accompanying Sarah, “is Sam. We cannot tell you how sorry we are for your situation and how difficult it was for us to come to an agreement as to how to handle it.”

Mark sidled next to Sarah, bracing for the news. Neither spoke to the elders, so Pete continued, “We know the only way for the child to live is for him to be taken ashore. There is a tremendous risk to our safety and secrecy in doing so, but our plan is to take him in the early morning hours, after the tides change, to where our research indicates is a well-attended beach. We cannot guarantee he will be found, but the likelihood is extremely high. I know it is not a perfect solution, but it is, nevertheless, the best solution we could devise.”

Still the couple said nothing. Although it was not easy to tell in the midst of the seawater, the wracking of Sarah’s body indicated how hard she was crying. Mark tried to console her by stroking her scales with his webbed hand, but the tears would not stop.

Pete tried to give them a few minutes before he continued, “The committee understands you might be tempted to leave a note with the boy, but must forbid you from doing so. No one can know from where he came. The transition will take place sometime tomorrow morning.” He wanted to add they could come say their goodbyes, but seeing Sarah had yet to stop her convulsive crying, he could not bring himself to say anything more. Pete motioned to Sam and the two of them left Mark and Sarah to their grief.

Author's note: this was a response to a prompt, but if you think it is a good start to a YA novel, please let me know.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Once Upon a Day - for Real

Today was like a fairy tale 
(without a noble steed,
or handsome prince or evil witch
or princess to be freed).

It did involve a girl and boy
who, when they tried to swim,
would always hold their noses
and the chance they’d stop was slim!

No coaxing from their caring aunt
convinced them to let go.
When urged to try without the plugs
they flatly answered no.

Until, that is, this morning when
their swimming class began
with young adult instructors
named Elizabeth and Anne.

They told them to blow bubbles
and to, at the same time, hum.
My nephew said he couldn’t 
and my niece looked somewhat glum.

But after many minutes
and their coaches’ repartee,
both heads were underwater
and they each had two hands free!

The grins upon their faces matched
the grin upon my own,
but tears were shed by only me – 
a trait for which I’m known.

This fairy tale continues
with an aging aunt of mine
whose health for fifteen years or so
has been on the decline.

Her long-term care insurance
covered housing for a bit,
but then, for reasons no one knew,
the server ended it.

She moved to cousin Billy’s;
he’s her second oldest son.
Though he’s known for many virtues,
having patience isn’t one.

So, Bev comes to the rescue;
she’s the only girl of four,
as well, the most persistent,
not a voice folks could ignore.

The care was reinstated
which is why this story’s told,
for I went to see Aunt Donna
in a setting to behold!

She has her own apartment,
plus her meals are all prepared,
her laundry’s done, her rooms are cleaned,
and company is shared.

A nurse is there to tend to her
at least two times a day.
I could not be more pleased for her
to know she lives this way! 

Next, as this tale comes to an end,
I’m heading to D.C.
to catch a flight to Hartford
where my husband waits for me.

With backpack on and bag in tow
I leave my aunt to find
a transport to the metro,
but I have no route in mind.

I bank on faith and maybe luck
to help me find a ride,
then added in some extra time
to search the city side.

But just as I had crossed the street
a woman stopped her car.
She asked if I could use a lift,
without a clue how far.

I cannot stress how strange it was
for her to stop right then.
It could not ever happen 
if I tried this trek again!

She drove me into Dulles,
but she would not take a cent.
She took the hug I offered her,
then on her way she went.

I journeyed on without a hitch,
but had to shake my head,
though life is not a fairy tale,
this day would do instead.