poetry friday

It's Easy For Him

It’s Poetry Friday! First off I’d like to point you to This week’s Poetry Push poems where readers have shared their poetic response to a Poetry Push prompt for a list poem. I’ve decided to point to the original link for Poetry Friday, rather than repost the poems here because that way people can respond to any of the individual poems that might speak to them.

I started to panic when I realized that it was Poetry Friday because I’ve been flat out on the couch with the flu all week with my husband stuck taking care of me and the dog and the house and still going to work each day. So with Valentine’s Day around the corner, and the knowledge that I have one the best husbands ever, I decided to write a love poem for him.


It’s easy for him to say I love you
on the good days,
days when I’ve decluttered the house,
caught up on the laundry and
finally changed the sheets on the bed.

It’s easy for him to say I love you
on the pretty days,
when I dress up just a little,
days I let mascara wake up my tired eyes
and my clean hair falls to my waist
like strands of sunshine.

It’s easy to love
when life is beautiful.
Not so easy
(or so I thought)
to say I love you on the down days,
the not feeling like myself and
I’m getting sick days.

But he notices something about me
and asks are you okay?
I shake my head no and he holds my hair
away from my face,
and I lean over the bucket
while my stomach rebels.

I camp on the couch and
he brings me clear liquids
and soda crackers
and makes sure the remote control and the phone
are close at hand when he has to leave.

He comes home carrying every comfort food
he can remember I’ve ever mentioned,
alternates his day between letting me nap
and bringing me more foods
to tempt my lack of appetite.

He keeps the house running quietly in the background
while I do battle with the flu,
rubs my back,
tucks the comforter up under my chin,
blows me a kiss good night,
and oh, all the ways he tells me
he loves me
the good days and the bad days
he loves me
it’s so easy for him.

Susan Taylor Brown
All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 11, 2011|Categories: Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , |8 Comments

Poetry Friday – Poems by incarcerated teens

It’s Poetry Friday! And I’m trying to jump back on (and stay on) the Poetry bandwagon. I don’t know why it’s so tough for me except that I am in short supply of confidence in the poetry department so it always makes me hesitate and then, usually, the time has passed.

Tonight I realized I’d never posted more poems from my incarcerated teen poetry project. The past month their work has been on display at the deSaisset museum at Santa Clara university as part of the ArtsConnect program sponsored by Arts Council Silicon Valley. Below are the displays they made with their poems (kind of a 3D effect). The backgrounds are a combination of paint and collage. You can click on each photo (they are all different) to see the larger version which makes the rest of the poems legible but I’ve put a few here in the post as well.

It’s so very hard to get teenage boys to dig deep about the emotional stuff in their lives. Compound that by trying to get boys who are locked up, away from their family, their girlfriends, and in some cases, their children, and asking them to write about their feelings is rarely embraced. And yet that’s just what these boys did. Session after session they wrote their hearts out for me.

For those of you who don’t know about the project, there is a list of links at the bottom of the post to tell you a bit more.

Now, the student work.

From Arts Connect 2010

I’m the aspirin always getting taken from the medicine box
Trying to fix for a minute but it never lasts too long
I wanna be like a giraffe with my head about it all
I’m at the top of the ladder where I can never fall
I’m an eagle, a leader, I soar through the sky
I don’t play with the pigeons because their mind is not right
I’m caged like an animal but want to be set free
I’m a lion in the jungle I run my domain
Reality hits
I’m Daniel
an 18 year old looking forward to tomorrow

~~~ Daniel

From Arts Connect 2010




I’m a strong individual
Power so strong, the guy who couldn’t get visible
People get a visual
See, but they don’t,cause my life is invisible
Do what I want and times can get critical
Powers so strong, it feels like life is a miracle
but still
I’m invisible

~~~ Rudy

From Arts Connect 2010

I feel motivated to strive
And eat cuz I’m hungry,
I feel like a dodgeball
Being thrown around
I’m feeling sleepy
And language can’t explain
The unhappy thoughts in my  mind
I want forgiveness
And to wake up to a better day


From Arts Connect 2010


I’m like the devil in disguise
I sound like bombs going off in a city, like death to a man
I look nice but inside I’m crazy in the mind
I smell like gun powder, evil in its darkest form
I taste bitter and sour, like snakes venom and nothing more.
I’m nothing nice

~~~ Sergio

Kelly Polark has the Poetry Friday round-up today. Check out some of the other great posts.

*** For those of you who missed the series of posts about my 10 sessions teaching poetry to incarcerated young men, you can read them all here, in order:

Family Stories

Here we are, at the end of National Poetry month and this is my last poem in the series about my father. I wasn’t quite sure what would happen to me during this month but I knew that I would be changed by the experience because that’s what writing does, it changes you. What I was hoping for was to find a way to finally heal, after all these years, and let go of any of the anger and frustration I have had at the man who was my father only in the biological sense. I’m tired of carrying all that hurt around. It’s a heavy load and it slows me down. I’ve tried to let go of it all before and never had much luck but this time, things were different. I could tell that right from the start.

These have all been first draft poems written late at night after I’ve forced myself to sit still and quietly revisit those old hurts. I don’t have a lot of memories so as the month went on, it got a little more difficult to mine the past for new poems but somehow, every night, something bubbled up that needed remembering so it could be put to rest. I didn’t revise the poems or sit on them overnight so often, in the morning, there were mistakes in grammar, bad line breaks, even a few facts I got wrong – all stuff that needed fixing. Normally the idea that I’ve been posting poems with mistakes in them would make me cringe but this time, I was okay with it because in the writing of every poem I’ve been feeling myself heal. There’s a scar, there always will be, but I no longer feel defined by the fact that I grew up without a father. I am who I am because of the things I’ve done in my life, the choices I’ve made, and while I am far from perfect, I’m pretty happy with how I turned out.

For all of you who read and posted comments and sent me emails offering support on this emotional journey, I thank you. I could feel you all holding me up when I was trying so hard not to fall apart. And for those of you who read but didn’t comment, I could feel you there too. Really.

So here’s my final poem of the series with an afterward worthy of an after-school special movie.


I grew up a lonely, only child in a
neighborhood of other people’s grandparents.

Imaginary friends kept me company in my attic bedroom
except for those few weeks during summer vacation
when grandkids came to visit
up and down the street.

What I wanted as much
or maybe even more than a father
was a sense of family,
of feeling like I belonged,
a chance to find myself
in the faces of my family.

My mom and I
were the only Webbs I ever knew
and I felt the absence of that family
nearly every day.
It didn’t seem to matter to me
if they were good or bad
what mattered
was that they were someplace
that I wasn’t and for the longest time
I translated that in my mind
to mean that I was less than everyone else.

I learned to tell stories by watching television
and rewriting the endings of my favorite shows
when I was supposed to be asleep.
I’d hide under the covers
and rearrange the scenes in my head
so the star of the show had to search for someone,
a missing daughter
a missing sister
a missing someone,
who always
turned out to be me.

All I ever wanted
was to write a happy ending
to my family history.

I think I’ve finally figured out
that family stories are different for everyone
and it’s up to you to do the research
to fill in the blanks
of what you don’t know
and then rewrite your story
so it all comes out
just the way you want it to.

Who I am
is not because of him
or in spite of him.

Who I am
is because of me
because of all I have experienced
because of all I have done (and not done)
because of the choices I have made
to live the life I am living.

Who I am
just fine
just right
just who I am
supposed to be.

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved

In My Dreams


Sleep rarely came easy to me
so I made up stories
about how my father traveled
the world doing important work
and how one day, soon, he would
come back to find me.
My audience of stuffed animals,
crowded around me on the bed,
listened intently and never disagreed
with my expectation of his return.

My mother came before she went to bed
and tucked me in real tight,
Snug as a bug in a rug, she said
leaving me trapped beneath the crisp, cotton sheets
unable to run from the bad dreams ahead,
the nightmare that he came back
in the middle of the night not to stay,
but to steal me away from my mother, my grandmother
the only life and family
I had ever known

I’d wake up screaming
and my mother would run to me
but I could never tell her
my dream.

I wanted him in my world.
I didn’t want to go into his.

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved

From Father to Son


His father, my grandfather,
was a music man
with so much talent running through his veins
he could play just about anything he wanted to play
and he sang, they said, like an Irish tenor
even though he was born, most likely,
on the Indian reservation.

Music wove in and out of his life
braided with bottles of alcohol
that brought on a giant case of mean
and chased my grandmother,
my father, and his big sister
out to the barn to hide in the hayloft
until it was safe to come out again.

Eventually Grandma ran away
taking my father, and his big sister
across the country where she could
work in the factories like Rosie the Riveter
to help the war.
But she kept making poor choices
when it came to picking men,
giving my father nothing but bad examples
of how to be a father.

If I close my eyes
and let myself imagine my father
as a little boy
hiding in a hayloft
from his angry, drunken father
who beat up his mom,
I can feel sorry for him.

But when I open my eyes
and think about what
he might have learned,
all I feel
is sad.

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved



In the wedding picture they printed
in the newspaper,
now faded black and white,
my mother’s smile
is the same smile
I saw
every morning when I woke up and
every night before bed.
It was the smile that
told me she loved me
told me I was her entire world
told me everything was going to be okay.

In the wedding picture they printed
in the newspaper,
torn just a little bit between the two of them,
my father’s smile


@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved

Poetry Friday – Poems by incarcerated teens

I’m so proud of the writing my incarcerated teens did with me that I decided to share some of it for Poetry Friday. Below are just a few of my favorites from what they did in 10 sessions of us working together. Because they are incarcerated I can’t post their names.

Don’t know why nothing goes right.
I try. I try. I try.
But it’s like one of the three little pigs . . .
Devil is the wolf.
I build.
It gets blown down every time.

I remember the day I would never forget
I remember it like it was yesterday
I remember something I would never get and never say cause I’m not strong enough yet,
but still I stand.

How Do I Love Thee?
I appreciate what you do for me.
I will always care for you.I’m grateful to have you in my life.
I’ll always respect you.
I will try to understand you.
Listening to you will be my first priority.

I remember when I was little and got raped without my consent.
I remember I hurt and I passed out.
I remember I was scared to get hurt.
I remember it went by slow.
I remember. I remember. I remember.

Looks like a new life, but not for me

I am a father, a son.
I wonder what life has in store for me.
I hear my family telling me to do good.
I see my son graduating.
I want to be free.

I am a father, a son.
I pretend to hold my son in my arms.
I feel hopeful.
I touch people with my words and make them believe in me.
I worry for my family’s safety.
I cry when I see my son cry for his daddy.

I am a father, a son.
I understand that it is up to me to change.
I say it is time for a change.
I dream the outs and being with my son.
I try to show my son I’m not a failure.
I hope to be home soon.

I am a father, a son.

Something I can share most people won’t bare
The staff or teacher will say don’t go there
Something I can share some people in here won’t care
They think they know it all inside and out there
Something I can share me I guess
I have a lot to say but some ain’t the best
Something I can share is my family with you
You’ll beat them til their face turns blue
I’m sharing right now my feelings with you
I’m not trying to talk down but I gotta
Let it out and if I can’t do it like this
Then someone please tell me how.

Lee Wind has the Poetry Round-up today.

Friday, February 12, 2010|Categories: Incarcerated Teen Poets 2010|Tags: , , , , |9 Comments

First Kiss

It’s Poetry Friday! I’m trying to get in the habit of posting more poetry. This week I decided to let one poem do double duty. Gotta ease back into things slowly. Tricia offered up a great  and I finally got around to writing mine about an hour ago. It’s a first draft but I’m going to go ahead and post it anyway. The stretch prompt was to write about “a first something” and my mind, like many others, went to my first kiss.


Not my first kiss
not my first boyfriend
but a first kiss from
that friend
who knew me better than anyone
that friend
who happened to be a boy
that friend
who rode his bike
miles and miles
to my grandmother’s house
to stand like a shy soldier
on the yellow front porch,
the dirty screen door the only thing
that separated us,
until he finally asked me
to come outside.

I let the screen door slam behind me
but for once
Nana didn’t yell
or issue warnings
of what we should or shouldn’t do
(that would come later.)

He didn’t speak
that boy
that friend
so I tucked my words beneath my tongue
and followed him
while he leaned against Nana’s blue Oldsmobile
until the door handle jabbed him in the back
and he didn’t move,
he just watched me,
watching him

His hair,
red like strawberries,
tempted me
and I wanted to touch it
to feel its heat
to connect the dots of freckles on his face
to hear his voice
that voice I talked to on the phone
every day
every night
say something
but the silence continued to simmer
and melted my anticipation
until I felt lost
like we were playing musical chairs
and the music had stopped
and I had nowhere to go.

I moved to the shade of the orange tree
inhaled the citrus perfume
let the sturdy trunk support me
and waited.

Overhead bees buzzed
dancing from flower to flower flower
mission accomplished
again and again.

He spoke
at long last
that boy
that friend
about going home
about his paper route
about not being late
headed for his bike
to ride those miles and miles
home again
but before he left
he joined me under the orange tree
and kissed me

for the very first time.

©2010 Susan Taylor Brown
All Rights Reserved

The Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Great Kid Books today.

Friday, January 15, 2010|Categories: Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , |27 Comments

Poetry Friday Roundup

The Poetry Friday round-up is here so leave your links in the comments and I’ll round them up through-out the day. (Note, I’m on West Coast so expect some delay.)

I had so much fun doing this audio of the first poem in my book Hugging the Rock that I thought I would repost it for Poetry Friday. It’s called, NO ROOM. I hope you like it.
Read about the evolution of the poem NO ROOM from its inception here or read about the $1000 schloarship contest for teens who create a book trailer for Hugging the Rock here.

CREDIT LINE: Posted with permission from Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown.  Copyright © 2006 by Susan Taylor Brown, Tricycle Press, Berkeley, CA. www.tenspeed.com.

NOTE: I have removed the played due to some issues with LJ Embed. You can listen to it by going here instead.

The round-up – a little later than I planned but life had other ideas for me today.

Nandini Bajpai has an original about an Itchy Dog at Notes from New England.

Jama Rattigan is celebrating Johnny Appleseed’s birthday with a poem by Marge Piercy and 4 apple cake recipes:

It’s a feast for the eyes and the ears over at Educating Alice where Monica Edinger shares about the forthcoming book Sweethearts of Rhythm.

Julie Larios offers us a poem by Margaret Gibson titled “Autumn Grasses” – it’s based on an Edo painting by Shibata Zeshin.

A Year of Reading has a poem about fall by Georgia Heard, along with information about her upcoming blog tour!

Today at My World/Mi Mundo the celebration continues for Hispanic Heritage Month with a poem by celebrating Gabriela Mistral, the first Nobel Prize Latina Woman winner in 1945.

Laura Salas shares an original poem called “Without” (not the same as last week’s Without Rancor):
And this week’s 15 Words or Less poems are here.

Heidi Mordhorst is pointing everyone toward the important not-exactly poetry book If You Find a Rock  by Peggy Christian.

Gisele LeBlanc gives us an original poem for children, titled, “Magic Cure“.

Kurious Kitty shares “Invictus” and Random Noodling celebrates the International Day of Peace.

A Sleepy Elf is in with a poem about sleeping (and other things), called “Things” by William J. Smith

Linda is in with four original tanka.

Sara Lewis Holmes blogged about Sherman Alexie yesterday and today she is featuring his new collection of poetry, FACE, and one of the poems in it, “How to Create An Agnostic.”

Laura @ Author Amok says, “Donald Hall is reading here in central Maryland next weekend. I’m sharing his seasonal poem, “Ox Cart Man,” to welcome fall.”

You can find a little bit of Eugene O’Connell posted here.

Tabatha A. Yeatts offers some ancient Greek poetry by Sappho today.

An original cinquain for dog lovers by Kelly Polark.

Poetry Friday on The Stenhouse Blog shares “The Light of September”  by W. S. Merwin.

At Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro has a poem for Banned Books Week. It’s a revised version of Book Talk 2007, a poem about censorship that she wrote because of the kerfuffle caused by a certain word that Susan patron included in her book THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY. At Political Verses, Elaine has another original–“Dirty Dancing with the Stars: A Poem about Tom DeLay.” And at Blue Rose Girls, Elaine shares a poem by Elaine Equi titled “Ciao Bella Chocolate Sorbet.”

Semicolon is highlighting Felicia Hemans’ poem: “The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck and its imitators.”

Karen Edmisten brings us Taylor Mali’s “Undivided Attention” this week.

Today at Teaching Authors April Halprin Wayland shares a lesson in writing about uncomfortable feelings and an original poem about jealousy.

Lectitans is in with “Against Cinderella” by Julia Alvarez.

Susan at Chicken Spaghetti chimes In with a post that links to poetry by Colin West, including two tongue twisters.

In Honor of Fall the Write Sisters share a favorite from Robert Louis Stevenson at

After reading The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker, an enjoyable book about a poet with writer’s block who has to write an intro to an anthology of rhyming poetry, Emily Cook looked up Sara Teasdale and found a poem perfect for her day.

Jules from 7-Imp says, “I’m in today with a poem from a friend, Shannon Collins“(And some picture book art, too.)

Father Goose shares his original poem “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis“.

Jiill Corcoran put together Poetry for the Classrom: 6 fun poetry lessons for teachers and visiting authors.

Tracy Marchini has an original about a prom date related break-up.(not autobiographical! 🙂 )

Lorie Ann Grover has the I’m missing-my-daughter-blues and shares an original poem titled “Off to College” and at readertotz they have “There was a Little Guinea-Pig”.

Bildungsroman posted lyrics from the song More than Fine by Switchfoot.

Jone at Check It Out has some fun haiku riddles inspired by Tricia (The Miss Rumphius Effect)

Carol of Carol’s Corner is in with a review of Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough’s new book, A PLACE FOR WONDER

Friday, September 25, 2009|Categories: Poetry Friday|Tags: , , , , |53 Comments

Original Garden Haiku

For National Poetry Month I made a personal challenge to write a haiku a day based on my California Native Plant garden. After rereading them tonight I thought I would share a few of my favorites for Poetry Friday.

Catalina Ironwood
beneath feathered bark
alligator lizards hide
blue jays go hungry

Woolly Blue Curls
royal fuzzy blue
ballarina Arabesque
dancing with the bees

Mountain Mahogany
from exploding seeds
sparkling feathers light the sky
somewhere a child smiles

Western Redbud
spring unleashed, it blooms
pink kisses flirt with the sun
Kool-Aid explosion

Flannel Bush
careful where you plant
giant sunshine on a stick
where did that house go?

All poems @copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009|Categories: Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |23 Comments

Listen to Me Read – No Room From Hugging the Rock

When I was thinking about Poetry Month for this year I knew I really wanted to find something different for me to do in order to feel more involved. So in addition to my native garden inspired Haiku per day I asked my publisher if I could have permission to do a few audio recordings of some poems from Hugging the Rock.

And they said YES!

I have permission for do one audio recording for each Poetry Friday in April. I knew which poem I wanted to do first but I’m still trying to pick out the other three. If you have a favorite, let me know.So here, for the very first time, is an audio of the first poem in the book. It’s called, NO ROOM. I hope you like it.

CREDIT LINE: Posted with permission from Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown. Copyright © 2006 by Susan Taylor Brown, Tricycle Press, Berkeley, CA. www.tenspeed.com.

Poetry Friday – Incarcerated Teens Group Poem

I recently completed teaching a series of seven sessions in a poetry workshop for incarcerated teens and on the last day they spent nearly an hour writing the following group poem. Though I posted it in my blog post on Wednesday when I talked about the session, I wanted to post it again today as it really touched my heart.

has a beautiful life to it.
You sound like happiness, sadness, love
taste like fresh strawberries and feel like soft skin, sandpaper, a brick wall.

Poetry is all the colors of the rainbow
and smells like freedom, incarceration, a sexy girl.

Oh poetry, you drive me crazy.

You make me want to scream, to feel, to heal.

You look like sunshine and moonlight in the city.

Poetry is feelings on paper.

The round-up today is at Adventures in Daily Living.

Poetry Friday – Haiku

It seemed like a good idea at the time – go through my folders of old writing from back in Junior High and High School and post an old poem or two for Poetry Friday. Then I started to read them. Oh my. They were bad. Some of them very bad. (And yet, I always got “A”s in class). The themes were easily categorized into:

I love you now and forever no matter what
(complete with product placements like Bic Click pens and historically correct details like tie-dyed t-shirts)

You broke my heart and I will never be whole again
(tear stains still quite evident even after almost 35 years)

(and how they helped heal my broken heart)

Hmmm. Not quite what I was looking for and I’m not anywhere near brave enough to share them. After a bit more digging I found some early haiku, (dating back to around 1971/1972 – 7th/8th grade) that doesn’t embarrass me too much to share here.


wet with morning dew
I watch the flowers open
early comes the dawn

a kite in the sky
and the sun is overhead
picnics can begin

flowers in the field
I silently stalk my prey
picking some for mom


My previous Poetry Friday entries can be found here:

Evolution of a poem from Hugging the Rock

Current WIP – Character update in a poem

Haiku to honor Poetry Friday

Thursday, June 15, 2006|Categories: Random|Tags: , |8 Comments

Evolution of a poem from Hugging the Rock

For this week’s Poetry Friday I thought it might be interesting to go back to the first poem in HUGGING THE ROCK and see if I could trace it from idea to finished poem. So here you have it from raw idea to what you can read on the first page when the book comes out. I didn’t journal much as I wrote this book so there aren’t a ton of notes.  Some, but not a lot.

Summer of 2002
What’s the point of this book? Mom leaves. Okay. So what. Big frigging deal if Mom is such a creep to start with. She can’t be a total creep. Who wants read a book about a kid who misses a rotten Mom? I need to go back to basics. Start with the day that is different.

(This first bit – below – was originally written in the margins of an agenda for a meeting I was attending. The words wrapped around the border of the typed part of the agenda. I would have turned it over to write on the blank back but then it would have been too obvious that I wasn’t paying full attention. The writing is big and loopy, the kind I used back in high school, which means I was definitely “in the zone.” I was still thinking prose novel at this point, not verse.)

Don’t go. When my mom decided to run away from home she packed up her car with all the little things that mattered most and when she was done there was no room left for Travis her dog or my dad or me.

November 2002
From an email to a friend.
Prepare to be whined at. I have no idea what I am doing with this book and why I am crazy enough to want to write about divorce because mine still hurts too damn much. Don’t worry, I AM happy NOW but when I think about writing this story it means dealing with all that old crap all over again and I don’t know if I can handle that and all the other junk that is going on in my life too. My body hurts too much. I am physical pain and then I come up with the frigging brilliant (insert sarcasm here) idea to go back to the worst emotional pain in my life? I must be  crazy. I need drugs. That’s it. Medicate me and then maybe I can handle it.

From email to a different friend.
I just wanted to say thank you. A few months ago you recommended that I try working in poems for the short bursts of time I have for my own creativity. I wanted to tell you that it is working pretty well. I wish I had more time but I can see progress and that’s what counts. I have tried to write this MG novel 5/6 times before without much luck. So I’m trying it in free verse. I can rough one out (or at least the idea of it) during downtime at work. In bed, just before going to sleep, I’ll work on it a little more by hand in my notebook and then the next time I have computer time, I type it in and revise a bit more. The story is slowly unfolding, I’m getting something new down on paper, and it all feels good. So many thanks for the nudge at a time I needed it.



When Mama decided to run away from home
she packed up her car
with all the things that mattered most to her.

Her guitar (of course)
and cookbooks (good riddance)
all her CDs
her clothes
her shoes
and Grandma’s music box..

Just before she left
she threw in some dishes
and a plant from the front porch.
She put a bunch of plastic grocery bags
with who knows what in it
on the floor in the front seat.

When she finally started the car
there was no room left for anything else
and dad and I were leftovers in the driveway.

Okay, it’s got a hint of a voice and idea but nothing really reaches out and grabs me except for the feeling of being leftover. The title doesn’t work. Not yet. There might be too much information and I’m not sure at this point what I am going to do with it.




When Mama decided to run away from home
she packed up her car
with all the things that mattered most to her.

By the time she was done
there was no room left for anything else.
No room left for dad.
And no room left for me.

I was hoping for impact with this shorter version. No such luck. Alas, there isn’t enough specific detail to make you care enough to read anything else. And where the heck is the voice? And crud, does this character even have a name and if she does, do I need it here, at the beginning of the book? How long will a reader read without a name? 

Email to a friend in February 2004.
This book still scares the hell out of me.

Reply from friend.
Good. Keep writing. The more you hurt the stronger the connection with the reading. Let yourself cry. You’re safe now.



When Mama decides to run away from home
she packs up her car
with all the things that matter most
to her.

Her guitar
and some books
all her CDs
her clothes
her shoes
the quilt from the bed she shares with Dad
and Grandma’s music box
that sits on the fireplace mantle.

At the last minute
she throws in some dishes
and a potted red geranium that keeps guard on the front porch.
She jams plastic grocery bags filled with odds and ends
into the small spaces left in-between things
and ties a couple of suitcases onto the roof.

By the time she is done
there is no room left for anything else.
No room left for Dad.
And no room left for me.

Better. It is more specific and the ending leaves a specific image in the reader’s mind which is what I wanted. 

For the next year and a half, as I went through the various revisions for myself, my critique group, my old agent, my new agent and editor, this poem didn’t change very much. A word here, a line break there. What follows here is the final version (I think – there might have been an odd change that I can’t find in my emails) that will appear in the book (September 2006, Tricycle Press).


November 18 2005

No Room

When my mom decides to run away from home
she packs up her car
with all the things that matter most
to her.

Her guitar
and some books
all her CDs
her clothes
her shoes
Grandma’s music box from the fireplace mantle
and the quilt from the bed she shares with Dad.

She jams plastic grocery bags filled with soap and shampoo
into the small spaces left in between things
and ties a couple of suitcases to the roof.
At the last minute
she throws in a few dishes
some towels
and a potted red geranium that guards the front porch.

Dad tells her not to pack stuff too high
so she can still see out the back window
but she ignores him
and shoves her pillow
between her guitar case and the portable TV.

By the time she’s done
there’s no room left for anything else.
No room left for Dad.

And no room left for me.



Thursday, June 8, 2006|Categories: Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |24 Comments

A Single Haiku

In honor of poetry Friday, a haiku that sums up my writing progress on MTLB.

Poetry lets me
stand naked wearing only
emotional threads

And fun stuff, the wonderful reading advocate Esme Codell of Planet Esme now has a blog! For those of us here at LJ, I’ve syndicated it at:planetesme so you can read her on your friends list.

More writing updates tonight.

Slight update – changed the last word of the haiku from clothes to threads (it was early and I had only drank a cup of coffee before posting!)

Also, I just checked on Amazon and the link to Hugging the Rock is up with the art! Yeah! Go ahead and pre-order now. You know you want to. 🙂

Really, I promise writing updates after work.

Friday, June 2, 2006|Categories: Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , , |10 Comments