Each week in 2022, my partner, Antoinette, took a picture which I then used as a prompt to write an original poem. The result is a collection of 52 unique, compelling, and intriguing pairings… one from each week of the year.
Last weekend, Antoinette and I participated in a panel of authors and artists, where we read from the book and shared the photographs. We also talked about our collaborative process and how the book came to be—an accident, in a way.
It’s always a vulnerable feeling, sharing your creative output with the world. Going up on stage to read it out loud is a new thing for me.
It was a blast! And the audience members who stayed for the reception after had very nice things to say about it all.
In a sweltering kitchen—
curses and elbows
and the clatter of pan on stove—
patience gets minced,
and kindness pulverized.
Tempers simmer under jittery lids
until it feels like someone has attacked your soul
with a grater soaked in salt and lemon.
Although some romanticize this chaos,
calling it a vigorous dance
or a whirlwind of ecstasy,
it’s more like a knife fight—
a frenetic self-defense against
the relentless assault of little time
and vast expectation.
when you suggest
that someone pissed in your champagne,
I feel obligated to defend the staff,
who have no time for such shenanigans.
before you protest,
I feel further compelled to point out
that we do not
So, with this knowledge,
you may give careful consideration
to the possibility that,
in the end,
the one who pissed in your glass
It rests in the rolling shallows,
this boat that once had a name
and a worthy purpose,
bumping against its crumbling dock
in the absent-minded rhythm
of the water’s eternal rise and fall.
Cracked and clouded windows
stare at us with a vacant scowl
like marbled eyes in the rest home
when other people’s grandchildren
tiptoe past the open door.
You and I meander the trampled grass,
reminisce around rocky inlets,
taste the spiced breeze of low tide.
We stroll along the polished train tracks,
their shiny new gravel peppered with
discarded, rust-crusted spikes.
A snip, a slice–
One rose past its prime,
its petals turned sepia
left too near the hearth,
tips and tumbles
to thud in the dust
at my neighbor’s feet.
I watched her all morning
as she eyed the bush
not unlike the way a crow
inspects a squirrel carcass
squished on the street.
Three times her snips rose,
and thrice she relented,
retreating to survey the bush anew.
I finished two mugs of coffee
and one crossword puzzle
watching her seek
the perfect pruning position.
The bush, for its part, never flinched.
with her feints and posturing,
armored in her striped cloth gloves,
and flop-brimmed sun hat,
and flannel yard shirt,
glowered like crusaders of old,
the grim grime of eons
etched in wrinkles
on her face.
in the high branches
against the gales
pouring from stoic granite peaks.
A gray day.
I twist tight my scarf,
turn my face to the winds.
Only in their sharpness
does clarity come.
If it comes at all.
up this mountain
through hip-deep snow
for a dozen lifetimes,
and I will walk it
a dozen more,
building footprint stories
erased by time
and the failures
the lights of your cabin windows
gleam in the distance,
like a tiger’s eyes–
As I plunge forward ,
not for the first time
whether this climb
worth the effort.