Porcupine

I feel prickly today
Like a porcupine
Don’t worry I won’t bite
I’m not really mean
I’m just drawn that way

Written for the Living Poetry Monday Prompt

Meet Teddy Bear the “Talking” Porcupine.

He lives in Zooniversity, a wildlife-rescue and animal-education center in Dallas, He’s known for his squeaky mumblings that sometimes sound a bit like words. In the wild, porcupines aren’t so talkative. Porcupines are solitary creatures, so there’s not really anyone for them to chat with. A mother and her young is considered a family group called a prickle. Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.

Free Online Poetry Workshops

How do you learn how to write poetry? In addition to reading it and, books and articles about it, I have learned the bones of poetry through attending workshops. If you are looking for a place to get started with poetry or you want to tune up your skills, consider taking this FREE, ONLINE two-part workshop.

The workshops are sponsored by the Orange County Public Library. You do not have to live in Orange County, OR North Carolina. You don’t even have to live in the United States! You don’t even have to be a poet! What? Sure. Anyone can get stuck in a writing rut. Boost your writing game by dabbling in another genre, .

Part One: Titles and Beginning Lines
Sunday, January 29th, 1:30-3:30 pm

Part Two: Turns and Endings
Sunday, February 26th, 1:30-3:30 pm

Go here for more info on the workshop and register (by the Thursday prior to each class):
https://orangecountync.librarycalendar.com/event/online-poetry-workshop-pam-baggett-part-1.

A note from the facilitator, Pam Bagette:
Please have several of your poems-in-progress available to work on during the workshops. If you can’t attend the first workshop, you’re still welcome to attend the second. Writers working at all levels and in other genres are welcome.

A note about Pam Baggett:
I met Pam at a poetry reading at a local bookstore. Naturally! North Carolina has a large and thriving poetry community and she is one of our stars. I own a copy of her poetry chapbook, Wild Horses, and I’ve been in her workshops. She’s a Pushcart Prize nominee and a 2017 recipient of the Ella Pratt Fountain Emerging Artists Grant.

It’s that time of year

It’s December again, and time to gather my submissions for the North Carolina Poetry Society annual poetry contest. I’m sifting through my poetry to find the right poems to submit. Inevitably I find myself editing work previously considered finished and in one case, revising a poem to fit the line length requirement. As usual I like the edited versions better. Of the six or seven categories I am targeting, I only have a poem ready for three of them. But I’ll get there.

I don’t think I mentioned that for the 2022 contest I won First Place in the Poetry for Children category. I never got around to posting it on my blog after the Pinesong book came out with all the winners. This year I discovered the whole book is available online! I hope you’ll check out my poem The Frog Prince (page 18) Pinesong 2022 Contest.

Happy Holidays everyone! No matter what you’re celebrating, I hope it’s a good one. If I could I would throw a party and invite all of you to come. Instead I’ll share this one with you.

The Holiday Party
Mother Goose is having a party
It has to be a potluck because last year
the Dish ran away with the Spoon

The Christmas tree is decorated
The yule log and the Hanukkah Menorah
are lit as well as half the guests.

The farmer’s wife ran out of eggs for the pudding
but then Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
The funeral was held in the pantry.

Last year Peter brought pumpkin pie
but Georgie Porgie ate it all
then went to the bathroom to purge and cry.

Jack Sprat brought a tossed green salad
His wife brought home-made 
Apple Streusel Bread Pudding.

Jack B Nimble, put that candlestick down.
Mary, get that lamb out of here.
Wake up Little Boy Blue and valet park the cars.

Secret Santa gifts will be given
Some have been given before
It’s the thought that counts. Enjoy!

So Much Stuff

I have a confession to make. I am a hoarder. I’m not like the hoarders you see on the TV programs that are surrounded by overflowing stuff and trash. My house is roomy and airy. My computer is a different story. I am a digital hoarder.

I compulsively save memes, jokes, interesting lists, screenshots and image grabs, PDFs of interesting articles, short stories and whatnot from the interne, and years of emails. Of course, there is plenty of poetry, mine and others, and a packed file of “In progress” work.

Here is an example to illustrate the depth of the issue. In just one folder in Outlook, I have over 1100 emails from Merriam Webster Word of the Day. I’ve subscribed to the daily email since 2018 and used to save every one of them but finally stopped doing that. Now I only save the odd or fun words, or the words that I can’t seem to hold onto, like “defenestration.” Sure, I know the meaning of many of those words. However, they usually go beyond the common usage of a word and provide the second or third definition or historical usage. I have to have that information available! Right?

This year has been full of health challenges and I’m currently nursing a recalcitrant foot. My ability to walk and stand is currently compromised, and I can’t do much in the house. Instead, I am playing around in my files and working on digital decluttering. It feels good. It gives me the same sense of lightness that I get from dropping off usable goods and clothes to the charity thrift store or getting a haircut. As I make room on my hard drive, I’m also making space in my soft drive.

My hope for myself as well as you, Dear Reader, is that we all have plenty of space in our lives, both physical and mental, to write, make art, and create in all the ways that make us happy.

Names, dates, and pictures
All this data doesn’t mean 
wisdom will follow

*Defenestration:

  1. a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
  2. a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office)


A few things

One of the best things about Facebook are the memes, jokes, and funny tweets. Well those and the cat videos. One classic meme that I still find funny: You know you’re an adult when you get mad because the grocery store rearranges the shelves. Truth. But I can one up that one. You know you’re old when you get mad because a phone or computer “upgrade” changes the look of your icons.

The last update to my android phone changed my messenger icon and screwed up the settings. I can no longer send or receive pictures or gifs. (Confirmed it was the upgrade when I heard the same complaint from another android phone user.) The pain of this development is exacerbated by the fact that I can’t fix it. Or not yet. I will need more help. I’m getting old. I’m no longer interested in technology for the novelty of what I can do with it. I don’t need New. I just need Functional.

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Further proof that I am getting old was the birthday I had a couple of weeks ago. It was not a milestone year (ending in zero) and it wasn’t a half decade year either. A woman of my advanced years doesn’t need a lot of fanfare. Some friends came over for a low-key pizza party and it was lovely. I did not serve cake. I went with some nice cookies instead. Besides, if the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we should not blow (and/or spit) on food other people are going to eat. Still, there are rituals to this thing.

I had some potting soil in a small container. I stuck a few candles in the dirt; my friend lit the candles and they sung to me! And There were two children there, ages 8 and 3 and they blew out the candles. It was kind of adorable and a lot of fun.

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Two questions: How do you improve your writing craft? Are you currently seeking publication and need help?

I highly recommend signing up for the Author’s Publish free email newsletter. It is a great resource for finding current calls for submission for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. There are no ads and I’ve never experienced an uptick of spam as a result.

In addition to calls for submission they offer online craft workshops in various aspects of writing and publishing. Some cost money but many do not. I signed up for their 2021 webinar series. Each month was a different topic with a variety of writers presenting. Next week they are offering a free lecture “Shaping your Poetry Manuscript.” presented by Kim Addonizio. She is the real deal. Check out her poem First Kiss on the Poetry Foundation website.

Wasteland

In response to the Living Poetry Monday Poetry Prompt

Wasteland
America has a waste problem

We waste our people
by failing to stop gun violence

We waste our people
by fighting in the wrong wars

We waste our people
by incarcerating two million citizens

We are four percent of global population
and hold sixteen percent
of all incarcerated people in the world

We waste food
Over twenty million tons of it a year

The road to hell
is paved with rotting vegetables
and gallons of pudding in wrestling pits

I should cook more
instead I drop wrappers and cups
from the drive thru into the trash

We buy, buy, buy recklessly
and throw most of it away
wasting two million tons of trash a year

Don’t look at the plastic unicorn
on my shelf which serves no purpose
If I am not part of the solution
I am the problem

Let’s get radical.
What is a landfill but a cemetery in waiting
No one can live forever
but for those chasing immortality
we will bury you in used plastic
bags and bins sealed with duct tape
Your bones will outlast life on Earth

For more information:
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-recycling
https://www.vera.org/ending-mass-incarceration

It’s an Honor to be nominated

My lovely poetry colleague and friend, Lisa Tomey of Prolific Pulse has nominated me for a Pushcart Prize.

Since there’s no little “reblog” button on her page, please click here to read about it:
https://prolificpulse.blog/2022/10/18/pushcart-nominations-2022/

Today is a day
that we accept ALL
compliments received.
Oh, we may grin or blush
and give an ‘aww shucks.’
But we take it all in and say,  "Thank you.”

FOMO

This poem was first published in The Fears of Us All: a collection of poems & short stories, Cherry House Press, 2018.

FOMO
I don’t need a pseudo-science charlatan
to tell me that my Fear of Missing Out
and thumbs-up connection obsession is unhealthy.
I always knew other people had more fun than me.

FOMO The Next Big Thing
Chasing the cool I never had, never will.
All of the all ̶ of everything ̶
fiction and non-fiction, Hollywood, D.C., music and sports ̶
It’s more than any one person can know or track.

FOMO Technology
Streaming digital data and entertainment,
endless updates, advances and improvements
have me on a short bus to rage town.
I’m becoming irrelevant.

FOMO Fun
I’ve peered over the edge
of the YouTube rabbit hole
and Googled myself into a Wiki Wonderland.
It wobbles my brain like a roller coaster.
The swirly whirly kaleidoscope makes me dizzy.

The riders on the outside lane of the carousel
reach for the brass ring from the back of a leaping horse.
I used to do that before I was sidelined
by an invisible age line, and motion sickness.

Watching other people have fun
my Fear of Missing Out is manifest.

Have you seen this one?

A while back a friend of mine declared each other Poet Laurette – of a few square miles of our respective adjacent towns. I don’t remember the specifics now but I don’t see anyone in the neighborhood writing poetry so it works for me. If you’re wondering what that looks like, see below. The cartoon was done by John Atkinson of Wrong Hands. I encourage you to check out his witty and often literary themed cartoons. There’s also an interview with him here.

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