Day 11 Highlights

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Paper clips! There were a lot of paper clip poems written on Day 11--when I asked you to write a poem describing a thing. Actually, I found that your focus on description led to some really, really great poems. One of my favorites, in fact, is a poem about--you guessed it--the paper clip "Bent into a 'u', then bent again,/another 'u' into itself, this bit of wire/we entrust to keep our documents secure." Check out all of today's highlights below.

*****

Calendar Above My Desk

Every month a new world

bubbling brooks

scarlet sunsets

sailboats idling in the harbor

words like

Winnipesaukee

Ammonsoosuc

Mt. Monadnock

days morph into months

months yearning for vacation

a glance up from my monitor

is a journey away from here

Teri Coyne |tmc329AT NOSPAMaol dot com

*****

Everything Must Go

In the parking lot, behind the dollar general, at 2

in the afternoon, a young man thrust hands

into pockets of an old three-button suit fit

for someone half his size—as if he might

have fished it from a thrift-store or a pile

of clothes at a yard-sale, estate sale, auction

for the peeling home behind the elementary

school where people pick and peck at tables

on the outgrown lawn, silent as hungry

blackbirds after grubs. Nobody looks

into windows, knocks on doors. Nothing

to see here. Nothing they haven’t seen before

on every street in town. Another sign goes

up. Another. And someone gets a tax break

when they buy the place on Market for half

of what its worth. And damn, if they’d a let us

pay that price to start, we could a kept

the bastard. Or if the Ford plant didn’t move or if

And the walls ache empty as the stomachs

of strays who wade sunsplashed in river water

with a girl off route 222. Everything idles,

engines low on gas, turn, sputter out a grinding

song. Everything’s for sale. For rent. Fore

closed. Everything must go. And the young man

hums a melody that could be a spiritual, though

he doesn’t look like a boy to sing spirituals. Too

mod, too hip, too fashionably poor. And no-one

sings those old songs anymore, having lost the feel,

the touch that looks you up and down and says, “I know”

because we do. Or should. After all, it’s nothing

we haven’t heard before: the way we mutter

to ourselves, taking as we do what falls

to us with hands open as any supplicant’s. How

many doors swing idly in and out? And tell me who

wore the jackets we are wearing now?

Joel Peckham |joel_peckhamAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

The Nose

Well, as the old saying goes.

The thing you overlook’s your nose

A nose is such an odd looking thing

A bump, two holes, graced with wings

It blesses you with fragrant smells

Like cookies, lilacs, caramels

Or it curses you with things malodorous

Skunks, dirty diapers, a diesel bus

But above all, its kindest grace

Is to keep your glasses on your face

Connie |CoFun77AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

WINDSHIELD WIPERS

Back and forth

back and forth

We wipe the tears of the sky

off the glass shield

to give you safer travels

while on slick roads

back and forth

back and forth

We remove debris and dirt

that has piled up in your neglect to clean

as often as you should

back and forth

back and forth

We grow weary from the frequent use

but keep going at whatever speed you choose

back and forth

back and forth

You get frustrated with us because

we aren't as sharp as we once were

Smears and smudges leave a trail

because YOU refuse to keep us up

The next time you are squinting from the

glare of oncoming lights

because there is no more fluid

and we can't wipe the glass clean dry

maybe you'll decide to stop going

back and forth

back and forth

without giving

CHANGING THE WIPER BLADES

a try!

Christa R. Shelton |c_writesAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

*****

In Consideration of My Left Eye

Today will I consider my left eye.

Not my metaphorical eye,

nor the third eye my sister's friend

the astrologer says is wide open

even when I sleep. No, today

I will look directly into my own left eye,

taking into account everything I see.

First, my upper lid obscures the iris

unless I pretend to be surprised. The fine

window cracks of blood vessels in the whites

flow like mapped roads, driving beneath

the skin where I cannot follow.

On the inner wall of my pupil, beneath

the green ring which precedes the blue

for which I have received so much praise,

something geometric grows, straight, angled,

and a complete mystery. It catches the light,

making the study of whatever it is

quite impossible.

Approaching the mirror, I can see in the black,

the reflection of me, looking at myself. I am

small, as if I have captured myself, imprisoned

more than my reflection, more than myself.

When I turn and look straight at my eye,

I notice how part of my eyeball is darker,

almost jaundice. I pause to consider the line

between bright and dull, wonder if it cuts me

in half in other ways, intersects my life,

determines for me who I really am.

With nothing more to observe worth mention

inside my left eye, I think it best to avoid

the symmetry of my right eye, or perhaps

the disappointment of learning

they are in fact not the same as each other.

My final consolation is this:

At least I was, after all has been seen and said,

wise enough to avoid observing my nose.

Justin Evans |evjustinAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

Moss

When we say “moss” in the South,

we specifically mean Spanish moss,

that kinky, grey wig that drips

from the old oak branches,

that red bug-infested parasite

that (with the smell of wet

cow pastures) reminds me of home.

JL Smither |jlsmitherAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

*****

Manure

Every time you

spoil the lilt of my potpourri,

every time you stick to my feet or

my thoughts along

that path I want pristine,

I need to remember

that you are the Limburger cheese

behind all things verdant.

Maria Jacketti |medusashairdresserAT NOSPAMmsn dot com

*****

The Tree

stood in the front yard, next to its

brother on the other side of the

walkway. Small maples, beautiful

lush leaves. One of the reasons we

bought the little fixer-upper in the

first place, the nice visual at the

front door. One tree continued to

grow and thrive. The other seemed to

shrink into itself. As the seasons flew

by, the brother grew tall and strong,

while the sibling’s branches stopped

growing and curled up toward the

center. Then the bark started to peel

off, and we knew the end had come.

It was time to cut our losses and let

it go. I watched the saw cut into one

of the reasons we bought this small

fixer-upper and felt a sense of loss.

Susan M. Bell |maylandwritersAT NOSPAMgmail dot com

*****

The Treadmill

Symbol of my hope, my will,

rubber walk on frame of steel,

How I wonder how you feel,

my poor neglected treadmill.

She who walks you nowhere goes,

yet we keep you, I suppose,

not for walking, heaven knows.

I need a place to hang my clothes.

Nancy |nposeyAT NOSPAMembarqmail dot com

*****

Paper Clip

Bent into a “u”, then bent again,

another “u” into itself, this bit of wire

we entrust to keep our documents secure,

has been attached to unexpected lore.

The story goes that some Norwegian

was the first to patent this invention,

and much later, in the Nazi occupation,

his countrymen wore paper clips

on their lapels, a secret solidarity

against the Reich and for their king.

Eventually this morphed into a symbol

of the Holocaust, and recently some kids

from Tennessee collected paper clips,

six million plus, to represent

the Jewish victims of that hellish time.

A humble turn of wire for a soul,

something we must fasten,

never to forget.

Bruce Niedt |jackbugsAT NOSPAMcomcast dot net

*****

Baby Fingers

Impossibly small

Perfectly formed

Lilliputian mimics

Of my ten digits

So tender and soft

Pink and clean

Translucent

Like a sea anenome

Exploring, reaching

Waving at the breeze

Giving my Gulliver sized

Finger a squeeze

SaraV |slvinasAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

his ear

shiny skin pulled tight over stiff cartilage

soft down covers boneless earlobe

the swirl and whirl of light and shadow follows

the sinuous curve which doesn't seem to end,

like a nautilus circling ever more tightly

around the auditory canal, which waits to

hear the words, "I love you..."

A.C. Leming |fackorfAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

*****

Spoon

It's a big and made of plain metal

with a wood handle worn by use,

by washing. It stirs the pasta

or the onions, the peppers in olive oil,

it serves wherever it is needed.

How bright the sun poured

as we walked out our new door,

under the thick leaves of old trees,

past the jail, circles of razor wire catching the light,

and onto the broad boulevard,

or that's what it was called.

Our first night in our first apartment

together, our first morning

and a trip to the diner for breakfast.

We lingered by the tables

of the church ladies' sidewalk sale,

and we bought this practical spoon--

our first utensil in our new life.

After two decades,

I'm on the other side of the country

and the husband has passed,

but the second-hand spoon keeps

its place in the drawer, more

treasured than the meat fork it came with

or the glass bowl I bought

when I was twenty, even

the colander handed down

from my grandmother

that has a dent and is missing

both handles and that I can almost

let go of. The spoon stays.

Joannie Stangeland |joannieksAT NOSPAMmsn dot com

*****

My father’s shirt

My father’s shirt,

Soft brown cloth

The color of his cigars

When he smoked them

With the stitched deer head

On the pocket

That I’d snuggle

My cheek against

I snuck it from

The garage sale box

And wore it

For a few years

Now it’s folded

In my drawer

Sometimes

I take it out

To trace the stitches

On the pocket

And hold the worn cloth

Against my cheek again

Mike Barzacchini |mjbarzAT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

My Parents’ Marriage

It will be 52 years this summer

And it is a hand played with finesse.

I watch them and soak them up,

Their fealty, concern for other.

How tenderly and diligently she

Cushions his world as the Parkinsons advances,

How dignified he is as his body cripples.

No trumping each other, though there were the years of that too,

Now transcended.

And when they were describing the accident

To me

(20 years ago, now?)

Each of them said, separately,

How when the car started to spin out of control

That they instinctively just

Reached

For the hand of the other, and held on.

No panic, like that, together.

Corinne |c dot dixonAT NOSPAMtelus dot net

*****

Canvas

What colors cast their spells

against this void of fabric

and gloss, blended from brushes

and thinners into magic potions

or portraits of the serene. Bleeding

fingertips of horses’ hair splash,

sling, and dapple, creating the shadows

and highlights, and highlights

inside the shadows of faces, of hands,

of trees. Reality is captured

or captured and bent through a diffuse

set of eyes and a prismatic lens

to give the world a taste and a glimpse

of something as pure and intangible

as a snowflake on the tongue.

It’s a hymen, a gateway, to all secrets untold,

but before that, it’s blank,

like this empty page, I filled with words.

Jay Sizemore |vader655321AT NOSPAMhotmail dot com

*****

Sleek brown fox

peers over his shoulder

at his identical mate.

Ears sharply alert,

eyes deep and penetrating.

He poses with one paw

held in mid-air.

A sentry on my mantel;

Carved by great grandpa,

now guards our family.

Sue Bench |hd_ultra_96AT NOSPAMyahoo dot com

*****

and i will make you a mixtape

music holds

a history: i laugh

at my age

when a girl

asks me

about cassettes

and how

we used them

in the wayback

and bygone

era

i still

listen to tapes

and their hiss

and watch

as the toothy

gears spin

inside

the deck

the sound-

track of three

years

together and three

apart, the friendship

spanning

an ocean, a first

boyfriend, the saddest

songs known: all

recorded

magnetically

for me

and frozen

in time

i have sat

for hours

pushing record

and pause

to give someone

a rectangular, musical

reminder of who

we were

if only

for a little

while

sometimes

a love letter

finds its way

into the case

or a collage

from old

magazines

and sometimes

just the handwriting

from a friend: every

song inside

a little gift

k weber |ilovehateyouAT NOSPAMhotmail dot com