Tag Archives: poetry

Early Intervention

The wind blows through the windows
of the bus ruffling a student’s long hair.

She says, “I know how messed up
my hair is by looking at your face.”

What they don’t know is how long
it took for her to read facial expressions.

The wind brushes a tangle of curls
over the student’s eyes.

She says, “I know you’re laughing
because you think it’s funny.”

What they don’t know is how long
it took for her to learn what a joke is.

The wind stops when the bus stops.
She says, “I wish I had a comb.”

The mom beside me says, “You won’t believe
she was the quietest on the field trip.”

What I don’t say is, “You won’t believe
she’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s.”

With 1 in 88 children now diagnosed with either Asperger’s syndrome or Autism, the need for knowledge, research, and early intervention has never been more urgent.

For more information on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism and what you can do to help, please visit Autism Speaks.

Celebrating National Poetry Month


In honor of National Poetry Month, I am posting a poem for your enjoyment. It’s one of those “found” poems from my notebook in which I jot down observations, insights, snippets of conversations, and idiosyncrasies that simmer for months or sometimes years until a poem eventually emerges.

Hotel La Violeta

We step out of the elevator and into soft blue light—you in a red slinky dress with silver sparkles, I in a blue velvet dress with black high heels—swaying to Tracy Chapman’s sad serenade, “Give Me One Reason,” while a boy streaks through the lobby in his Spiderman underwear, his father waving the boy’s khaki pants and shouting, “You can’t escape!” We meander over to the bar with its brassy table top and you lean over the clear empty glasses and fall in love with the band instantly. I watch mermaids with broken bodies swim down the wall. Two college roommates play chess in the corner. The potted plant in the window sill reminds me of Patti placing a “Just Divorced!” sign on her window at work. The branch manager served chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream that afternoon. I drank a glass of champagne and thought about how I don’t want to be Patti, all grown up with no place to go because she still has Benjamin, 7, and Laura, 12. I want to be here, with you, away from kids in Spiderman underwear, kids who eat like chipmunks and scream like banshees. I want to know you will never leave me three days before the baby’s due for a business trip, only to visit an old lover whose flame has not fanned out. I want to wake up to red begonias on the night stand, not a fire in the wishing well. I want to hold you, as you held me, sharing joy like a lollipop. As I think these things, my hand lingers on your wrist. You glance up at me with a weak smile. I squeeze, Are you okay?, into your hand. You lean over and whisper, “Remember that floral stationery I bought when we were ten? The one that said, ‘I wish you’d plant your tulips on mine’?” I nod, remembering, just as your lips press against my skin, branding a memory into my body (which is no longer mine) but yours.

Another Way: a Poem

Wading through a sea of grass,
my daughter stands just a head taller
than the green reeds billowing around her.
She clutches her doll, Oprah, to her chest,
a plastic bottle full of fake milk in her fist.
She walks along the fence looking for a hole,
for a way out.

Childhood boundaries
transform into adult rules:
Ten Commandments,
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,
Shoulds and should nots
either binding us together or forcing us apart
when what we need is a third choice
because neither black nor white will do.

Forgive the dark hills of desire.
Forgive the rivers of guilt and lies.
In this valley, where we choose to travel,
let us walk together, side by side,
not for the moment, but for as long as it takes
to find the third way,
the only way,

More than Fan Letters, a Review of Letters to Kelly Clarkson by Julia Bloch

Letters to Kelly ClarksonLetters to Kelly Clarkson by Julia Bloch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More than fan letters, Julia Bloch’s Letters to Kelly Clarkson is a poetic masterpiece reflecting on our life and times. If Sylvia Plath lived during reality TV, one could image her writing these letters.

Bloch’s sensitivity and punch-in-the-gut precision hook the reader from start to finish, leaving one as breathless and captivated as Bloch’s narrator is with Clarkson’s performance on American Idol.

A must-read for anyone who loves reality TV, poetry, or the girl-(or boy)-next-door.

View all my reviews

Buy the book at Sidebrow Press.

Poetry…a Priceless Gift

My daughter hates when I write about her. But I’m so proud of her. I can’t help it.

Rose has always been good at math. She intuitively understands abstract concepts and algebraic formulas. But she has always struggled with language arts. She was slow to talk, slow to read, and slow to grasp the structure of a sentence.

A couple of years ago I purchased Rip the Page! by Karen Benke as a gift for my daughter. I had the pleasure and the privilege of meeting Karen at Hedgebrook, a writer’s retreat on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound in the winter of 1997. Karen is a creative writing expert and an award-winning writer. She is the author of the poetry collection, SISTER, and teaches as a Poet in the School. She also offers creative writing workshops for children and adults. Although our busy schedule conflicted with the workshops Karen offered, the book is written to mirror a writing workshop. Rose dove into the workbook-style writing manual designed specifically for children. By the time she finished the book, she had improved her writing skills and increased her confidence as a writer.

She was so confident of her writing skills that she wrote a poem for me on Mother’s Day.


Mom, you are like a colorful hummingbird
Your soft wings rub against me and comfort me when I am down
Your singing is so beautiful it comforts me more

You wake me up at sunrise with your singing
Then you sit on a branch and watch me
You will never leave my side
Soon I am walking on earth and you are flying right above me

You watch me move ever so softly
You are one of the closest people in my life
You understand me like how you understand the wind

Mom, you give me strength
You are always there for me
You are very special to me
You are my mom and I LOVE YOU WILL ALL MY HEART

After reading the poem, my eyes brimmed with tears of joy and pride. I know my daughter could not have written the poem without Karen’s wonderful instructive writing guide.

If you have a child who loves to read and write, Rip the Page! is a gift that will give back to you just as it has for me through my daughter’s poem.

Watch a video of Karen Benke promoting Rip the Page!