Thursday, April 9, 2015

Featured On Writers Almanac 11/3/14

First Love

My first boyfriend was my second choice:
Beth got Gerry Jenson so I got Billy James
whose jaw hung, his tongue showing.

I looked down on Billy: girls were taller
in seventh grade. I wore his ID bracelet
and a motorcycle cap with his initials.

When we hugged, he smelled like Ivory soap,
his cheek smooth and soft—a Norman Rockwell boy.
Walking me home from school he carried my books,

and looked forward to a kiss at my door.
I knew he was trustworthy and true,
reliably mine, but Billy didn't know me:

I'd met a tall guy who drove a Ford.
His cheeks were sandpaper rough
and he French kissed.

And on this day on my front porch,
when Billy handed me my books,
I handed him his ID bracelet

and watched his face redden, his eyes tear,
hurt bursting his seams. We both cried
soap-opera style, and Billy ran home.

In my room, I draped myself over my bed,
like an actress far away from home,
pained and in love with drama.

"First Love" by Jeanie Greensfelder from Biting the Apple. © Penciled In Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The sun sears hot this morning,
comes down hard.

At breakfast, we stop to laugh.
He laughs when I say
we need to do something
when I mean he needs to. I just said
we need to get the ladder to change a light bulb.

We laugh extra as we age,
look at each other a second too long,
see our inner roulette wheels spin,
and know the one left standing
will remember this moment.

The sun sears hot this morning,

comes down hard.

(from Biting the Apple, Penciled In, 2012

Friday, August 8, 2014

Biting the Apple by Craig Michael Davis

Three of my poems set to music by Craig Michael Davis

Fullerton Recital Hall April 17, 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Poetry Foundation and At American Life in Poetry: Column 477


When a poem has a strong story to tell, the simplest and most direct language is often the best choice because the poet may not want literary effects to get in the way of the message. Here’s a good example of straightforward language used to maximum effectiveness by Jeanie Greensfelder, who lives in California. 


We didn’t like each other,
but Lynn’s mother had died,
and my father had died.

Lynn’s father didn’t know how to talk to her,
my mother didn’t know how to talk to me,
and Lynn and I didn’t know how to talk either.

A secret game drew us close:
we took turns being the prisoner,
who stood, hands held behind her back,

while the captor, using an imaginary bow,
shot arrow after arrow after arrow

into the prisoner’s heart.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright © 2012 by Jeanie Greensfelder from her most recent book of poems,Biting the Apple, published by Penciled In, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of Jeanie Greensfelder and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

The Morning Tangle

I walk and meditate, and I’m famished.
My husband returns from swimming laps.
With unplanned synchronicity
we take our places in the kitchen.
He hoards the cutting board,
slices a peach and banana.
I prepare coffee. We pivot for a
choreographed collision at the refrigerator,
him for almond milk, me for an egg and jam.

We exchange no words, for
we are dangerous before we eat.

With our preparations complete,
I covet his bowl of cereal and fruit,
and he eyes my lightly-over egg and toast.

Safely seated in a no-chatter zone,
we take favored newspaper sections.
Earlier I meditated on wherever I go, there I am.
My mantra shifts: wherever I go, there he is.

     (from Biting the Apple, Penciled In, 2012)
     (posted on Your Daily Poem)

Midnight in the Fakahatchee Preserve

Like a searchlight,
the moon
moves over the swamp,
spies a ghost orchid,
lingers, and lets
white on white
mirror one another
in the black of night.

The moon sees a star
misplaced on earth.
The orchid sees an epiphyte
lost in the sky,
looking for its way home.

     (Published by Everyday Poets)