January Fun-a-Day project

I have been horribly absent since last fall, and I am aiming to repopulate this space with posts over the coming year.  I have resolved to finally show up to myself as a writer.  For years, I have lamented the fact that I can’t seem to make space in my life for writing, and finally, I get it.  I actually have to carve out time, create a project, make it a priority.  No one else really cares if I show up and write.  I am not getting paid, my job does not depend upon it, my friends nod and say encouraging things when I wring my hands about the stagnation in my writing life.

This is not a new year’s resolution, but is more related to the fact that it will soon be my birthday, and after this one, I turn forty.  I suddenly thought, shit, it’s almost half over!  I’m still saying the same things about how much writing matters to me, yet I can’t find the time for it.  That’s bullshit, and I know it.  I always have.  Excuses are really convenient, comfortable, and easy.  I know very well how to not be a writer, how to fear risking exposure so much that I don’t even send things out for publication most of the time.  Well, that story is over.  I am becoming a writer again this year.  I am going to write a book this year if it kills me.

I read this article a few days ago called “25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (Right Fucking Now),” which served its purpose to wake me up to the coping mechanisms that keep me from writing.  One of the points, “stop playing it safe,” felt like it spoke my name.  So, in the spirit of risk, I have decided to share my January project, which represents completely fresh poems that have only had a quick edit.  I acknowledge already that some of them may be completely horrible.  So be it.  I’ll survive the shame.

My theme this month is water.  All of the poems ruminate on the subject of water in some way.  My hope is to create a book this year that is centered around the elements.  These are the first six water poems, and hereafter, I will post one poem a day.


Contrast   of   light   and    shadow

melting,       swelling against

the solubility of bark’s rough grooves–

drip      wind   swept    drip

slow    roll    halting   edge   fall–

cast    rooted   aside   to   sink   deep

absorb the sweat of ice,

the smell of slow decay–


Ice fishing season opens today with many
lakes too thin to support the weight
because of the warmest December on record.
Arctic air pushing south this week
will bring seasonable temperatures that may
allow ponds and lakes to freeze.
We are skating on thin ice this winter.
Child’s backyard rink full, ready for blades–
icing puddle on the road side–


Satisfying crunch     under foot

counters   the   anticipated   springing  return

earth saturated       now firm

the chill         of January

sinks below       green facades


The closer to water, the better,

she said                  smell of salt and fish

low  tide  moon  shines  on  ice  skids

drip of faucet,    whir of dishwasher

kettle boiling to keep the chill

at bay           Casco Bay shimmers

in the distance           eyes full,

then empty         memory of snow


made oatmeal, tea, tea

drank water, took shower

flushed toilet, washed hands

drank water, made tea and more tea

flushed toilet, washed hands

washed dishes, washed hands

made tea, flushed toilet, washed hands

cooked quinoa, rinsed kale

made tea, washed hands, made tea

washed dishes, made tea, flushed toilet

washed hands, washed face, brushed teeth

drank water


Slowly, I become aware

of this land locked mind — an identity

forged of ridge and valley, forest and field–

Here, you are a descendant of water–

Penobscot, Presumpscot, Kennebec,

Merrymeeting, Frenchman, Passamoquoddy–

possess knowledge of tides and the cries of loons–

This new country of thought

floods mountaintop views,  fills me

with longing to trace blood lines

along the veins of rivers–

If I belong to water, my lineage

is the muck of a river

overflowing,     the banks of the Conemaugh

too weak to hold back

the summer rains–

entire cities covered in orange clay,

hauling water             digging out,

hoping for sun’s return–


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