Friday, April 12, 2013

For Wile E. Coyote

In his own name, sarcasm and irony
were embedded like his own head stuck
right through the edge of
the cliff he tried crossing
with all those light-bulb ideas—
skis on wheels,
bow with himself as the arrow,
hot-air balloons stocked with sticks
of dynamite. Road runner always
took off with a beep-beep and a puff
of dust like the one he left at the bottom
after falling off the edge. Fade out,
fade in, and he’s still alive to dream up
another over-complicated contraption
only to get blown up by his own
dynamite again. And he could’ve made it
so much simpler if he realized
road-runner meat
won’t satisfy
after all.

(This poem submitted for Dragons and Creatures month at Tweetspeak Poetry. Add your contribution to the mix!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leaf by Laura

A man who was a weaver of fairy-stories told
a tale about Niggle, who was a painter.
And a neighbor.
And Niggle, wanting to paint
a tree, painted only a single leaf.
The storyteller didn't know, did he,
that his story Leaf by Niggle
would also weave, once upon another time,
a heart-tie between me
and another—an artist like Niggle
who painted

a leaf, very green
vibrant, her veins
heavy with sap,
her homeward bend
her deepest
Look close at her
and you can see
the red

(Photo of the painting "Leaf by Laura")

Monday, January 7, 2013


For The High Calling book club (led by the amazing Laura Boggess):
Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me
by Karen Swallow Prior
This week we're discussing chapters 1-3. Join us! Christian Blog Network

I remember the first time I read Goodnight Moon. I read it over and over again, excited for each page-turn so I could search for the little white mouse and see the minute hand on the clock advance, little by little.

I remember the first time I read Ramona the Brave and all the other Ramona Quimby stories. I knew exactly how she felt when that mean ol' German Shepherd harrassed her. I knew how she felt and also looked up to her, for she was braver than I. I would have had neither courage nor creativity enough to defend myself by throwing one of my shoes at the growling menace.

I remember, too, the first time I read Charlotte's Web. When I read these children's books for the first time, I was not a child. I was a mother in my late twenties and early thirties, taking one son, then two, then three, to the weekly storytimes at the Rockrimmon library branch. There I discovered, and became enamored with, childre's fiction. I probably would never have read much children's literature if I had not had children of my own.

Unlike Karen Swallow Prior's, my childhood included no Grandma and Grandpa On-the-Farm; no love for or even exposure to animals; no experiences, really, outside the concrete of the L.A. suburb that was my stomping grounds. Yet if I were to write my own Booked, Wilbur and Charlotte would get a chapter all to themselves too. I think it's because they were friends. And because I have always, always wanted a friend like Charlotte.

As she weaves words about Wilbur into her web, Wilbur tries to live up to the meaning of the words. . . . Like the old riddle of the chicken and the egg, the power of giving something its proper name, in turn, empowers it to become the name it is called.

- Prior, p.42

I recognized the great power in Charlotte's words when she called her friend Wilbur "terrific."

Wilbur blushed. "But I'm not terrific, Charlotte. I'm just about average for a pig."

"You're terrific as far as I'm concerned," replied Charlotte, sweetly, "and that's what counts. You're my best friend, and I think you're sensational."

- from Charlotte's Web, p.91

It's the power of encouragement and the wonder of generous love. Years after I read that for the first time, a friend told me, "Monica, I think you're terrific!" And the effect of those words coming over the phone was just as powerful as when I read page 91 of Charlotte's Web. Even more powerful, because the "terrific" was not meant for a fictional pig. It was meant for me.