A Rant About Healthcare

True story

On Thursday late afternoon our son who attends college in Vincennes, Indiana, texted to tell me he was out of one of the three drugs he uses to control his seizures. He must take his drugs or he will have a seizure. He told me he had enough to last to Saturday. I called the pharmacy that told me-“Nope-not up for refill for 8 more days. Call your doctor.”

Of course one can’t call the doctor until business opens the next day, so Friday at 8:00am I called his neurologist. Meanwhile, I have my son hunting high and low for apparently 8 days worth of missing pills.

The outgoing message at the neurologist’s office asks you to choose an option: press one for appointments, press two for prescriptions, press three for a nurse and so on. I pressed three for the nurse and got voice mail and left an extensive message detailing our problem. Her outgoing message tells me I will wait up to 48 hours for a reply. Also, ironically, the outgoing message says that if I have a problem with a scrip to call the pharmacy. There is almost always a black hole of bureaucracy between these two entities. I can’t tell you the number of times the pharmacy has told me to call the doctor and the doctor has told me to call the pharmacy.

I wait 20 minutes and call again, this time pressing the buttons to get me to a live human who reassures me that the nurse is there and working her way through the voice mail, and she should get to it at any minute.

At 11:30,  I had not heard from her, so I called again, pressing buttons to get me to a human and this time the nurse herself answers the phone. She tells me that she will talk to the doctor and can handle it immediately, and I also ask her to send the scrip to Walgreens in Vincennes. Walgreens is the pharmacy closest to campus.

BTW—she acknowledged that it was the doctor’s office who called in the wrong scrip initially. Our son didn’t lose his pills, he simply was not given enough. “Oops, I’ll send in the correct scrip this time.” The nurse apologized and we told our son to stop hunting for the missing pills.

Now,  I pass the task  to my husband Geoff. It is his job to call Walgreens and give them our insurance and make arrangements to pay for the drugs that our son needs. He calls me shortly after to tell me its all set. Walgreens helped him set up a special payment account and took our insurance information. “No problem.” he said.

But wait, an hour later he notes on this special payment site that, Walgreens has posted that our insurance will not work with Walgreens and they will charge us $1200 for the 30-day supply. For those of you who do math that is $20 per pill twice a day for 30 days.

So he calls back to the Doctor’s office. Now it is about 2:00pm on Friday. Geoff talks to the nurse again, and she says that she will talk to the doctor again and send in a new scrip to CVS in Vincennes. We wait for confirmation. Nothing comes. Geoff drives to the doctor’s office at 4:30.  The nurse is still there, but the doctor is gone for the weekend, and she apparently never asked him to resend the scrip to CVS in Vincennes. She tells Geoff, “He’s driving to Louisville for the weekend. I’ll try to get ahold of him and have him call it in.”

Well nothing comes through. It is 8:00pm. No doctor response at all. The outgoing message on the doctors voicemail says simply to hang up and call 911. We think perhaps we need to go back to Walgreens and pay for 4 pills ($80) to get him through till Monday and then try again on Monday for CVS to fill the full scrip. Perhaps we can get the doctor to call next week?

I call CVS one more time, and after much discussion of the situation, (We have been on the phone with them three times now. They know us well.) the nice lady at CVS reveals that in fact they can call Walgreens and get the scrip from Walgreens. Who knew! At 8:45pm the pharmacist from CVS calls to tell me that not only does he have the scrip ready and waiting for my son to pick up, but there are coupons that can get us a 14 day supply for free and money off on the rest. Who knew!!

The moral of the story. CVS in Vincennes really helped us. I am switching all my scrips there even if they charge more. They came through for me. The pharm tech and the pharmacist were the heroes.

The second moral: The system is really messed up. It took two adults a whole day of head scratching, texting, phone calling and waiting to get doctors, pharmacists and insurance companies to come together to get two weeks worth of little white pills, SO MY SON DOESN’T HAVE A SEIZURE.  What happens when a parent who doesn’t have a decent employer who lets her make calls while at work needs to fix something like this?  What happens to people who don’t have insurance and  need to get meds to stop seizures?  What happens to someone who just can’t figure out how to make it work tries to get medicine? It should not be this hard.

Ask me sometime how often stuff like this happens.

Please please someone out there. FIX the HEALTHCARE SYSTEM!!!!

June 2018!

And I thought Jesus would come before I turned 30! I’ve more than doubled that projected year, and the thought of Jesus’ return is no longer troubling for fear of my friends and loved ones (unrepentant and unsaved) missing the gloryland boat.  And no longer anticipated for my personal translation into a heavenly body–able, willing, and eager to sing with the angel choir for 10,000 years! No, quite to the contrary,. When I think of how much I would’ve missed out on had my holiness preacher’s prophesying come true, I praise my lucky stars and the gravity that keeps me grounded that no matter how intensely you believe or perpetuate a myth, the reality of what is just keeps on keeping on–waking, sleeping, waking, sleeping, and all the life that happens in between as the seasons turn around again and again–summer, fall, winter, spring. And here we are planting, hoeing, harvesting our way into another summer. And here I am only a week from celebrating–Yes! Celebrating!–my 68th anniversary of spiraling down the birth canal and gulping my first lungful of this planet’s precious oxygen! And celebrating that I’m not into my third or fourth decade of singing praises to the god of my youth, who seemed to be (more often than not) angry, vindictive and a card-carrying member of the “tough love” society.

In my defense, I didn’t know any better back in the 50s and 60s. Of course I believed in my parents’ god, my teachers’ god, my preacher’s god! My world was small, secure, all that I knew. My imagination for anything different feared hell too much to risk breaking through those fundie walls. Ah, but thank God or Dog, or maybe Toad and Frog, or common sense and holes, lots of huge, crawl-throughable holes in the fence that kept me bound far longer than seems reasonable from this side of that fence, for my escape from fundamentalist dogma and, more importantly, I think, my discovery of this great big beautiful world in all its diversity. My discovery of love big enough to include everyone at the dinner table, or in the manger in that long ago stable, and not insist upon one size fits all, one faith suits all, one nation (under God!) with justice and liberty for all.

Is that the last line of the Pledge of Allegiance? Justice and liberty? Or is it liberty and justice? Either way it’s a farce to anyone who has struggled or still struggles year after year to put food on the table, pay the rent, make a better way for their kids, prove they’re worthy (ready, steady and prepared as much as anyone can be prepared) to walk through fire if need be for that liberty and justice. And why does it have to be so hard for some when it’s handed to others on a silver platter? And how in the world did I get here from the Second Coming of Jesus, the Rapture, the end of time as we know it? Ah… myths, I was talking about myths. And this liberty and justice for all myth is one that I do wish could blossom into reality by the very act of placing hand over heart and repeating, day after day, as the seasons turn around again and again. Yes, I was talking about myths….

And gratitude…
thank god and dog
toad and frog
my lucky stars
and holey fences

Glenda Breeden for the Poplar Grove Muse


I have a basket in my bathroom filled with make-up; 2 or 3 eyeliners, several shades of blush and too many to count colors and types of mascara.  I admit it, I am a make-up whore. No, I won’t perform sexual favors for a new lipstick, but I will give up other things for the latest and greatest lash-lengthening, lip-plumping and cheekbone-enhancing product . Every morning before work, I would spend an inordinate amount time looking for the same eyeliner, blush and mascara that I used yesterday and the day before and the day before. It was always there, seemingly, right in front of me.

A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to stop this insanity and place these items in the front of the basket so they could be easily found. God forbid I should throw anything away! Or maybe I should have held the items in my hands and determined whether they brought me joy, but hoarders don’t have time to do that.  Anyway, as I looked in the mirror I almost didn’t recognize myself – I was attempting to eliminate chaos, which is a what I do in my work life, but at home, in my personal life, I typically created it if I couldn’t find it.  Let’s be honest, it always found me, like attracts like as they say.  But I stopped liking it.  I wanted peace, calm, solitude.

Under the hot glare of the Hollywood style lights of my mirror, this desire for calm became very clear and by mid-day, was in my face.

I was at work, doing chaos control, and calling my youngest brother’s cell in between fire-fighting.  He rarely answered his phone – no one called him but me.  At the time, he was 53 years old, a developmentally delayed, man that came to live with me after our mother died in 2005.  I had consciously or unconsciously been seeking peace by been putting pressure on him to have a life, to get a job, maybe live on his own. He was very high-functioning but hadn’t worked since I fired him from our family business in the 90’s.  He called me around noon that November day, hysterical. He wasn’t sure where he was.  He had driven to Cincinnati with the intention of killing himself. 


Throughout his life, I had always been my brother’s “person”.  I had helped him overcome his fear of driving.  With the help of my grandfather, I helped him get back on his feet after a broken leg and a year of inactivity led him to believe he couldn’t walk. He was ruled by his fears. The idea of living on his own or getting a job triggered those fears again. I shouldn’t have been surprised, it was right in front of me. 

For the next six months we were drawn into a cycle of admissions to different mental health facilities and then being released back to me, followed by some event that would result in him being admitted again. Each cycle included a new batch of diagnoses with matching prescriptions, leaving him unrecognizable to me. 

The day I got the hysterical call from him started this journey which has, ironically, led to peace, not just for me but for him as well.  Last week was the one year anniversary of his placement into a nursing home where his meds are monitored and he is happy, and so am I. 

I often wonder what would have happened if I had been in a meeting that morning.  Would he have succeeded, as so many others do, in his search for calm?  A suicide attempt was the last thing I thought he would ever contemplate and I saw him every day. Yet I know, with absolute certainty, that in the midst of chaos, it is hard to see what is right in front of you. 

Sherri Walker for the Poplar Grove Muse

Ode to the Yellow House

Ode to the Yellow House

Both of my babies were born
in front of a blue couch
inside a little yellow house
we named after the radical socialist
Eugene V. Debs.

Alice came in August
the house still adjusting
to our presence
our belongings
and we offered it
our baby’s first cry,
late-night sleep-deprived quarrels,
the soft touch of
small hands and knees
across its carpet.

People joined us in this house
Elaine, rest in peace,
early to rise and battle with the coffee pot,
Robert, who lectured while he cooked for thirty.
Scott, a jolly wandering philosopher and
Josh, whom we never should have
left home alone while on vacation in Colorado.
Now we know.

Then Leo came on the coldest day in February
a little blue at first
and quiet
until he realized there was no going back to the womb.
I remember how he dozed, swaddled
in a bouncy seat in the living room
as I devoured sleep,
and David composed
original music
about the warming of this planet
and our eventual fate.

More people joined us in the house after that.
There was Peggy who swept the floor
with a magic broom and
Michael who planned BBQs and read books to the children and
Crystal who was so broken
her brain could not make sense
of our reality.

Little yellow house, you have been so hospitable.
Even the bed bugs liked it here, for a time.

From the south facing bedroom window
we have watched the giant maple sprout
small red buds in the spring
and grow its leaves
into green hands that spread open for our shade.
We have watched them turn yellow,
the ones at the top first,
and float down to cover the
garden, the driveway,
the tree’s own massive roots.

Little yellow house,
yesterday morning I sat in your quiet embrace
the morning sun beaming through your windows.
I looked out at the garden beds, the blueberry bushes.
I breathed in the bright walls and exhaled.

I am letting go, I said out loud.
I am letting go of the gardens.
I love them
but they are not mine.
I am letting go of this house.
I love you
but you are not mine.
I am letting go of my life here
I love it
but it is not mine to keep.

So we will empty your rooms of our things.
We will take stock of our memories.
We will summon courage and faith
for a journey that will lead us into the unknown.
How strange in this moment
to stand before two paths
and choose
the mystery.

Oh Spirit!
Take our tears and water the seeds of hope
within our souls.
Take care of our deep roots
and transplant us in fertile soil.
After we blossom, send our fruit
back here to nourish our friends.
And tell my little yellow house,
Thank you.

— Laura Lasuertmer

LINGERING, on Mary Oliver’s “Invitation”


Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.*

Lingering.  Even the word itself seems leisurely, relaxed, languid. It makes me think about how so many people would linger in my mother’s kitchen, having just stopped by, in the most walkable neighborhood in town, not wanting to let the moment of being in her calm, engaged acceptance go. Few visitors sat, and certainly not the beloved ones we children most wanted to sit and share their stories and jokes and good will; their refusal to commit to a chair made their presence all the more desired and valued, since it manifested their understanding of how much my mom was always trying to do.  People knew that my mother rarely sat herself, how she was usually multitasking, and so they stood, on the verge of departure, yearning to stay. When I think harder, this standing-in-the-doorway sometimes meant that these were people who had nowhere to go, no one to listen, who needed something even they couldn’t name. So maybe that isn’t really lingering. But my mother listened, deeply, and often quietly went about a task in the kitchen while she did so.

Her close friends–all busy so-called-stay-at-home women definitely not staying home, making things happen, growing their town, lifting the weight–I think we could say they mini-lingered. Like my mom, they all had a mental list years long of the responsibilities they had taken on in family, church, community, school, what were called “civic arts” at the time.  These moving and shaking women truly did linger, on a tight schedule, enjoying the deep understanding and discreet knowledge they shared but did not share out loud, exchanging anecdotes about their kids, just drinking in each other’s presence, being in true company.

My mother was, however, also an expert and efficient lingerer. When she made her cup of herbal tea of an afternoon and braced her aching varicose-veined legs straight up on a chair or a wall, she was instantly and completely relaxed, free of thought, basking in the relief of a well-earned break. When she laid down for a nap (again on the floor), she was out like a light, immediately.

Of course, the direct opposite of lingering, in my book, is procrastination.  My beloved says procrastination is the hardest work we do.  Avoiding hard tasks that make demands of us, whether by screwing off, doing busywork, or perhaps most painful of all, pretending to address the task at hand, yet knowing we are not doing what needs to be done, is exhausting and demoralizing. Two years ago, my New Year’s non-resolution was to attack the tasks I most dread, which have, perhaps, been lingering the longest. (I’ve done reasonably well, but you are next Direct TV, who courted me under false pretenses and have overcharged us from the beginning, although I know it will be a multi-hour phone call, hence the procrastination….)

I guess, when it comes down to it, there is way too little pure, unadulterated lingering. Here’s to a summer of straight-ahead, unimpeded work when work must be done, and delicious, intentional lingering in the in-betweens.

* Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo struck me in the heart when I first read it, in German, with a little translation help, at 22.

Mary Peckham for The Poplar Grove Muse

The State of Our Union

Riding the roller coaster of network news is exhausting.  Since November of 2016, many of my evenings consisted of fixing dinner then watching MSNBC. Chris, Chris, Rachel, Lawrence and, when awake, Brian.  One night in January I hopped off the ride. I ate my dinner, sat down in front of the television, but my hand refused to go near the remote.  I didn’t want to hear a word, a clap. I didn’t want to see more standing up and sitting down than a Catholic Mass. I refused to watch Pence and Ryan raise stiff arms when “Heil to the Chief” played. Oh, did I spell that wrong? Oh well. I didn’t want to hear what I was sure would be the misrepresentation of accomplishments – the same reason I don’t watch the press conferences, except the ones on Saturday Night Live.  So, I played soothing music instead, Women Writing for a Change kind of music, and I breathed deeply.

Damn notifications!  I didn’t think about turning them off of my phone or my computer.  The New York Times, keeping me in the loop, CNN letting me know they were streaming live.  I don’t give a flying…well you know what flies.

One thing I am certain of is that I have to stop letting him take up residence in my brain.  I need to do something rather than get tearful every time I think about the environment, the parks, the dreamers, the poor…our rights.  I wonder how I will look in  a red cape?  No, I forgot,  it will be green for me – not my favorite color.

I want to sit in front of the TV, at work, like we did in 1973, when we watched John Dean testify and do his part to take down a president.  Nixon’s crimes stand in the shadow of the crimes of the current resident of 1600.  But most of all, I want to turn on the TV and see what I saw on  August 9, 1974, a disgraced President boarding a helicopter. Will he wave, or will he flip us off?  I want to see his followers, in lock-step, boarding the copter behind him.  Heil to the Chief.

It is May now – no helicopter yet.  I cancelled my cable last month.  I had to look in the mirror and realize that I was doing the same thing I freely criticized others for doing. The only difference – the network I was watching. I admit, the first night, the withdrawal was intense. I do find that I am happier with my head in the sand just a little.  I still get CNN notifications and subscribe to the Times and the Post. I didn’t cancel my passion about the state of our union.  I know there are many working very hard  to get someone to do what John Dean had the courage to do.  Who will it be?  Who will stand up? It needs to be soon.

Sherri “Martha” Walker for the Poplar Grove Muse

Mother’s Day Letter (May 7, 2018)

My mother, Pauline Baker, is 91 years old, has been a widow for almost two years, and lives alone on the family farm in Southeastern Indiana. My blog entry today, a Mother’s Day letter to her, is about connections—family, community, earth.  Picture Mom walking out her front door, holding onto the rail beside her front steps as she makes her daily trip to the mailbox, then going back into the small, two-story farmhouse, opening the card addressed to her, and sliding both card and letter from the envelope. She’ll let you read it when she’s finished—she always leaves her cards and letters on the kitchen counter for at least two weeks for family and neighbors to read when they drop by. She’ll probably even pour you a cup of coffee to sip along with the reading. Enjoy.

Dear Mom,

Next Sunday is Mother’s Day so I thought I’d better get started on a letter to you—you know how I am about remembering things at the last minute, a day late and a dollar short, sometimes a month late and ten dollars short, but I usually manage somehow and don’t mind that my last minutes and shallow pockets have become part of family lore.

Yesterday didn’t meet the criteria for a day of rest that Sundays have traditionally honored in our family, but we took time to smell the roses along the way—metaphorically, of course. Roses aren’t blooming yet, for one thing, and if Bill had taken time to smell them, his allergies would’ve clobbered his head and mucous membranes—not the optimum combination for a preacher! No roses, but red buds, dogwoods and crab apples, blankets of yellow wildflower fields, and the many shades of spring green as far as our eyes could see filled our senses as we buzzed along the roads, to and from our destinations.

We left the house (and our sad-eyed puppy) at 9AM and didn’t get home till after dark, after 10PM, after the chickens were roosting and the duck had given up her vigil at the open chicken house door and was sleeping against the far wall in a pile of hay with her head tucked under her wing. It was a long day, a full day, brimming with friends and community—a hundred and forty-mile zig-zag from home to Terre Haute to Bloomington and back home again.

We didn’t linger long after Bill’s preaching gig at the Terre Haute UU Church—grabbed a cup of coffee for the road and drove to our Bloomington church to help with the annual talent auction. We arrived just in time to get the last two bowls of Vivian’s vegetarian noodle soup for lunch, which brought us back to earth and ready for the task at hand.

Darrell was auctioneer, as usual, and Bill was his sidekick, so you can imagine their twin antics, unrehearsed, feeding off each other’s spur of the moment commentary and quips. It was a fast paced, laughter filled, lucrative fundraiser. It amazes me that Bill and Darrell still crack me up after more than fifty years of hanging out with them! And I was one of the two “Vannas” who held up auction items, paraded them up and down the aisles for all to see, and, in general, added to the spectacle. Neither of us Vannas have long slender waistlines or glitz and glamour like the real Vanna, and we both wear comfortable shoes, but our unaltered, aging beauty and genuine connection to the gathered community far surpasses hers—at least that’s my biased opinion.

We had only two hours, not enough time to drive home, love on our puppy and take naps before the concert we had tickets for at 7PM, and Bill had worked up an appetite since that bowl of noodle soup, so we went to Nick’s and shared a fish sandwich—my share was about five bites.  Of course, I always think of you when there’s fried catfish involved—so glad you enjoyed the first catfish out of our lake this year.  I can pretty much count on Bill to follow through when I ask him to: “Go catch a catfish for Mom.”

The concert we attended was the final performance of an acapella women’s group, Kaia, that has been part of Bloomington’s music scene for fourteen years—songs from around the world, in their traditional languages, and songs for justice and peace. We know most of the seven women who sing in it and love their harmonies and rhythms and message. It was a beautiful and bittersweet concert (since it was their last), and a worthy ending to our long day.

So now, on this blue-sky, sunny Monday morning, Bill has gone again to Terre Haute, to visit Chad, the young man he mentors on death row; Obi (that aforementioned “puppy” who’s almost three years old!) is on the rug at the back door, watching for squirrels, and hoping I’ll close this missive (her vocabulary is quite advanced for a dog of her age) and take her to the creek soon. I’m supposed to go to a meeting in town, but think I’ll beg off—I need to spend today at home—all day long.

Wishing you were here to hang out with me, to see the hostas, ferns, wild phlox and azaleas in my front yard. To walk up to the garden and see where we’ve tilled, weeded, trimmed and planted a few seeds; to see the pear tree, apple trees, and blueberry bushes in bloom. To eat some leftover beef stew with me for lunch and read a few chapters of whatever books we’re into before taking an early afternoon nap. (Obi will let you have her recliner since you’re the honored guest.)  And I have a couple of pieces of peach cobbler left that we could put a dipper of ice cream on and have with our three o’clock coffee. I do wish you lived closer, Mom, so we could spend more time together. I love you, I’m glad you’re my mom, and I am so very grateful that you are still at the hub of our opinionated, story-telling, diverse, loving, and mostly functional family.

Happy Mother’s Day!

With love and gratitude,




Some Things I Wish I’d Asked My Grandfather

I recently did a big splurge and subscribed to The New Yorker. It’s the gift that keeps on giving in ways that I hadn’t imagined. As I sat in my cozy apartment on a rainy Saturday holding an actual paper copy of said magazine, I had a visceral flashback. All it took was the wetting of my finger to get a recalcitrant page to turn and I was holding a copy of my grandfather’s beloved Saturday Evening Post, which he and I devoured as though it were our last meal on earth. He sat in his chair, smoked his pipe filled with sweet smelling cherry tobacco, and read it from cover to cover. I could even feel the stickiness of the pages on a humid summer afternoon, smell the ink, see where it rubbed off on my fingers. I loved watching him read. It was comforting somehow to a little girl whose home life was chaotic. For him, a respite from a wife who was inexplicably mad at the world. I spent as much time with him as I possibly could. As soon as he left for work I curled up in that hard chair and read the Saturday Evening Post with its Norman Rockwell covers.

My mother was a reader of paperbacks, Dad consumed two daily newspapers, and my brother read comic books. But it was Grandpa who inspired me. He looked so wise smoking his pipe, wearing his reading glasses. I wanted to be like him, patient, kind, and loving. My mother got her beautiful name, Thea, from a story he read in that magazine.

After I recovered from the shock of the realness of that memory, I got to thinking about the stories that we both read but, sadly, never discussed. And I thought of questions I wished I had asked. First I focused on reading then expanded out to more personal questions.

  • Who is your favorite writer?
  • Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
  • Which stories stay with you the longest?
  • Do you think Rockwell really captures the lives of the majority of Americans?
  • Did you ever write anything besides letters?
  • What attracted you to Grandma beside her beauty?
  • Do you have a secret dream?
  • What was it like being in the Navy?
  • What was your childhood like?
  • If you had plenty of money where would you like to travel?

The question I wouldn’t ask would have been am I your favorite? I knew I was. Although, as an adult, I found out that each of his ten grandchildren thought we were his favorite. That’s how good he was. I still think I was his favorite.

Rebekah Spivey for the Poplar Grove Muse







The Stars Decide to Rearrange Themselves


Old Orion got tired of his reputation
For hunting innocent animals
All for food
So he became a vegetarian
And turned his bow into a plant pot
Where he would grown herbs to
Flavor the salads he now favored.
The twins learned that there were now
Operations that could safely separate them
After all of the millennia of being
Bound to one another
So they underwent the scalpel
And  finally free
Went their separate ways..
Virgo was really tired of being virtuous
And saw one the freed Gemini
Looking for a new mate
She hooked up with him
(poor twin with such a short-lived freedom)
And a nova was born..
Meanwhile, Aquarius tired of his watery burden
And smashed the pot
Leaving his hands free to hold the moon..
Pisces fell out of Aquarius’ water pot
And landed on Mars
Where he grew legs and developed into  a land animal.
Leo chased Pisces, thinking of his next meal
But found Mars too hot and so decided to chase his own tail
The twirling turning him into a fire-breathing dragon.
Cancer wanted to lighten up a bit
And so left his shell and became
A happy octopus floating in the night sky
Looking for Taurus
Who had tired of his own beastly nature
And become a reef in the night sky
Perfect for the Cancer octopus
To befriend.
The Large Dipper was weary of being so easily spotted
By the amateurs below
And so changed its handle into a ladder to the sun
Where it would be lost to the sight-seers
By the glare of fire ball.
All in all,
It was a busy night,
They all agreed.
Happy in their new selves
Looking for some adventure
Out there in the universe.

Bev Hartford  For the Poplar Grove Muse

It’s NaPoWriMo Day #3—a poem that plays with voice

Some of us live, deep inside, for NaPoWriMo, or, now, Na/GloPoWriMo, formerly know as National Poetry Writing Month, now National/Global Poetry Writing Month

We at WWf(a)C have a “secret” Facebook page (I personally figure the more anyone hacks and knows about poetry writing, the better!), and anyone who wants to join at any point in the month is welcome to join us.

We write to a daily prompt provided at   http://www.napowrimo.net/
each day at midnight EDT, or to our individual muses, post our writings on the page, and share responses to our writings (mostly in the affirmative “readback lines” style Women Writing generally uses). Consider yourself invited to join the fun, at any point in the month, as an appreciator or a participant.  Watch out, this writing practice can be addictive, causing serious withdrawal symptoms in May, and anticipatory tremors in February and March….

Here is today’s rough response from me:

The Voices

Hey, how are you? (I miss you every day, wish you well every day, You are my child, my heart.)

I’m doing well.  (Not sure I can let you in. Or if I even want to. At least today.)

So, what’s going on? (Trying so hard to be light, to make space for you to be, to share. DO NOT ask for information. Accept what is offered. Gratefully. Be cool.)

Oh, not much. (Everything. You couldn’t possibly understand. Could you?)

We’re plodding along here.  No big changes. (Not since the seismic departure of essential you.)

That’s good.  (Whew, don’t have to worry about you guys. Grateful you are grownups.)

How are classes going? (I mean, how is your stress level, NOT how are you performing?)

Okay, my prof really liked my paper for the last senior seminar. (Can we not do this?)

That’s great. (I think you are fabulous. I love you. Everything you do is wonderful. Can we not do this?)

Well, it sounds like this might not be the best time to talk. (Please do not let this blow up now.)

Yeah, well, I’ve got lots to do, and laundry, and a meeting in an hour. (Please don’t blow this up.)

Okay. Don’t want to keep you. We love you so much. (Whew. Didn’t blow it up.)

Love you so much Mom.  (I do. Why is this so hard?  Whew.)

Love you so much.  (SO, so much.  You have NO IDEA. And that’s okay. That’s as it should be.)