NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 28)

Day 28 prompt: describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem.


Noreen got Married

Circa 1899, a row of ten two-story homes were built. On the second floor of the third house down from Madison Street, toward Washington, we had four bedrooms, and one bathroom like the other nine, faux-fronted; leaky, flat, black-tar roofed, wood construction row, or block homes, in local vernacular. Now townhomes go up for sale.

Mom & Dad had a front bedroom. Danny was ten and had the other. Down the hall Shirley, about 14, had a room to the right, next to the one small bathroom. The largest room was Noreen’s, who was twenty. I cribbed in my parent’s room.

The house to the left had 11 (9 kids, mostly girls). To the right, a multi-generational family group of about eight, depending on who died or committed suicide. We were a lucky few.

I got Danny’s room when Noreen married and moved three blocks away, and Danny moved to hers. I recall feeling special. My own room, one size up from the bathroom, but mine. And a bed. No crib.

My room had a window but no closet. A chest for things and a small brown metal cabinet. I recall the room larger than it is. I don’t recall the wallpaper. Dad used a steamer to remove it. He painted over bare plaster and lath walls with textured green or blue paint that scratched if you rubbed against it.

Each second-floor room had one lightbulb hanging down in the center with a pull-chain. The only wall switches were push-buttons in the hall stairway, dining room, and going down into the cold, wet, filthy cellar. Electricity was an afterthought.

Rooms had capped, stubbed, pipes sticking out of a wall from when gas was used for lighting. Stubs were convenient to hang things but were live gas lines.

Wood plank floors were covered with linoleum in designs and colors I forget, but all showed traces of wear and the plank flooring beneath. Each ended about a foot from walls.

My room was directly over our living room, or parlor as they liked to call it. It had a vent for heat from a nineteenth century, coal-fired furnace in the dirt-floored cellar.

An old, unused chimney stuck out from my west wall. That prevented my bed from being against the wall, thus leaving a gap on one side, a place to hide magazines and things I did not want Mom to see. They were not nudes or porn, but risqué enough for me as I recall. I never told the priest in confession about the hiding place or what I stashed there.

The street was close below my window and Packy’s saloon was only two houses up, making noise a constant when my window was open, only a bit less loud when not. After we got TV, I’d fall asleep listening to the music of Perry Mason or whatever they watched.

When Danny finally left for the Marines, I moved to the back bedroom – a rite of passage. It had a door to the outside used to sneak out at night until I got caught. But my first bedroom has many stories, some remembered, most forgotten, many denied. It was a big deal in my life, until it wasn’t.


Look both ways in houses with more past than future.
Mind the gaps for cold drafts and loose boards.

Birthday Girl is Sleeping

It’s Yolonda’s birthday, y’all. Here’s my poem for her…


She fills up my senses,
like a fine wine after dinner,
it don’t get no mo’ betta
than this, and a kiss.

She takes care of me
not that I need it, maybe
a little guiding tap, now
and then. Keeps me right.

She tells me that she loves me,
god knows I deserve less,
and what I need to know
and her glowing
septuagenarian happiness.

Fifty-four year in a month
livin’ the dream, they want to know,
how? I really can’t answer.
Truth be known,
she shudda shot my effing ass,
many a year ago.

Happy dyslexic thirty-seventh,
of which ya put up with many
shenanigans galore.
May you and we go
fo’ 54 mo’.


Happy Birthday.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 17)

Day 17 prompt: write a poem that features forgotten technology.


It’s For You

Privacy was not an issue, there simply was none.
I vaguely recall the telephone first being installed,
owned and operated by the telephone company (till the break up),
on a party line shared with neighbors about four houses over.

It sat on a round table in a short hallway near the unlocked front door,
next to our living room, from where all could listen to every word I said.
I could listen back. Wires were straight or twisted, and got in the way,
or we fumbled with them. You only had to spin-dial three or four numbers.

Learning how to dial was like tying your shoes or walking. You just learnt.
Our number was Valley – forty – eight-hundred, and I’ve known that
for as long as I could say my name, maybe longer, like our address.
The farthest room from the phone was my parent’s upstairs front bedroom.

First my friends would call, mostly Jimmy or Jack. Then later, my girlfriends.
Only one at a time so no one had to ask her who was calling. But they did.
We had to turn down the TV so Dad could hear, but that was because
he couldn’t hear. The sound was always too loud. Dad did not like phones.

As I recall, no one called Dad until my half-brother went into the Maine Corps.
Danny called Dad. And when Danny was in a car wreck, Dad was called.
Few call my smart phone. I, too, have trouble hearing. I’m like my Mom.
Socially, I am like Dad, too. When the phone rang, someone answered it.

I remember when the scams and telemarketing started. If you wanted to text,
you needed to put a stamp on it, but it was only a few pennies for a post card.
Mom called family on weekends, and when I moved out, so did I. Sundays.
Long distance cost extra and over three minutes even more. No more.


Look both ways for someone to answer the phone.
Mind the gaps on a party line.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 13)

Day 13 prompt: write a poem of non-apology for the things you’ve stolen. (Lingo warning)


Ted P. stole your fucking car. Not me.
I didn’t steal it from you. I borrowed it from him.
Scout’s honor, it was just a lesson using locks and keys.

See, in my mind, it was no longer yours. It belonged to Teddy.
You left it unlocked—just gave it up. No key required back then.
Clearly, a case of baiting entrapment, don’t you see?

Use some logic here. Stolen property, like your car,
once taken is fair game. It’s still hot, just on loan. In a way,
it was still Ted’s, I stole nothing. He said it was okay.

From hood to hooligan, if you will. But he took it.
Then he called me. Wait’ll you see what I got, he said.
Holy shit, I said. Are you nuts? I don’t know why I asked.

Ted was a leader of loonies, among which I sometimes loomed.
Don’t ask me why. Doing dumb-ass shit is fun. You got it back.
Not trashed or nothing. It was a six, automatic. You fer real?

Yeh, I knew your black, with red leather bucket seats, Chevy
was cool and hot at the same time. I got blamed for re-stealing it.
If Ted could-a returned your car a little sooner, we’d all be good.


Look both ways with disambiguation.
Mind the mental gaps in the logic of youth,
but learn the lessons.

Sammie’s Weekender #148: Somnambulist


Acrostic Sleepwalker

Secrets we’ve never been told
Oceans nature never fully filled
Memories of loving happiness in eyes of laughter
Nights kissing when we’re young together
Amour aplenty to fill our hearts with passion.
Mysteries make us wonder why
Bodies, then so young and strong, a
Universe without chaos, and a cosmos within us
Lasting love that never leaves us
Innocent children who needlessly die, while
Some just pray and wonder why.
Time to take the dance into the street.


In the street, look both ways and be aware, or woke, as they say.
Mind the gaps as hidden happiness and sadness.

Poetry: Work through it

Work through it, he said,
more pain is good gain.
Can you go farther?
(implying the pain
I should endure)
To do more?
Through it, he said. I asked.

“I understand, Doc,
but do you?” Push
through — more pain—
limping, then numbness
and excruciating
pain, then physical collapse.
The pain.

Then I sense some gain.
Then more. Must I now confess
at the end of the battle?
Doc, you were right.
Muscles are tight
and sore as hell,
with pain and cramps,
but improvement costs,
some weight’s been tossed.

Should I go on, and on?

Pain goes both ways, some is beneficial, some is a warning to stop.
I Listen to, and learn, my body. I mind the gaps to learn the differences.