Sunday, October 7, 2012


10/7/2012 Two small leaves side by side, One green, one yellow. They are so bright and cheerful! Even though they rest on slimy gray rocks, Even though they are submerged under a foot of water.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


They are fervently playing at 10 p.m., My eight year-old daughter And her eight week-old kitten. Bedtime was 8:30. I feel like a villian For crashing their after-party.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Velvet Jesus After-Party

The Velvet Jesus After-Party The dog's name is Precious. He tried to bite me. I want to stick quarters between his cactus-spikey meth teeth, Shove them back into his smooshed face, Get a washer started, Wash his smell away. The baby's name is Mercedes, And they dress her in pageant clothes. Never mind the snot caked around her nose, Her Cheeto mouth, and brown baby teeth. The truck is bigger than the trailer. The license plate says: "My Toy," But it belongs to the bank, And they're coming to get it. The letter says so. The puppy-piss-soaked letter That no one in the house knows how to read. Velvet Jesus hangs on the wall...powerless. They know not what they do. He can only watch: The Mister and Missus in a fry-pan fight. The Missus goes to sleep with the neighbor. They pop commandments like bubble wrap. Velvet Jesus knows that: They all drink until 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, Just hours before sliding into the booth at his house, With their blood-shot eyes, With liquor on their breath, Because Mawmaw won't cook dinner Unless they attend the salvation after-party. Last call! Alter call! Communion wine.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

Easter Day 2012

Springtime and the leafy green
Has climbed back up to top the hills,
And four little calves are at play
In the valley, in the field.
Their curly, baby bangs
Are pristine and white.
They see it all with
Large, liquid eyes.

Today's sunrise brought a surprise!
The truck pulled up.
The four friends trotted in.
Was a new adventure about to begin?


First the slamming — a door of steel,
And now this long and winding road.
Four little buddies with fates that are sealed.
Veal! Veal! Veal! Veal!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I'm jealous of the kid at the ballpark
With his grandpa and his popcorn and his innocence.
I don't have any.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welllll I've finally lost it!

Ants have been aggravating me all year. Even in the dead of winter, there would be three or four meandering around my kitchen. Sometimes they wouldn't be on any food substances...just out for a leisurely stroll on their apparent mission to drive me crazy. I have gassed them with Raid, put out ant baits, sprinkled Boric acid, just started knocking the hell out of them with my bare hands. They. always. come. back.

I started studying them the other day. I wonder how much they are like humans. I wonder if they get in their lil colonies at night and talk about the tragedies they have suffered. I picture them gathered around their sugar-coated "gold" that they have been mining from my house all day. Maybe I'd gassed some of them that day. They would sit around in intense conversation:

"I was right behind Joe heading into the sugar mines this morning! I don't know why he was gassed, and I was spared. It came out of nowhere!"

"Sugar-mining just isn't safe anymore! Just last week Jimbo was crushed, and he had switched shifts with me! It should've been me!"

"I've told the children not to go around the humans, even if they have candy! But candy is so hard to resist! The humans have cannnnnndy..."

"We were lined up outside on the porch in peaceful protest of the rainy morning, and she gassed us! All of us! It was a peaceful demonstration."

"There are little hotels set up for us, but don't go in there! I heard that a member of a neighboring colony carried some Kool-aid home from that hotel, and it wiped out the whole colony."

"They let their offspring burn Susie alive with a magnifying glass. Just. because. they. could."

"Slim was out for a stroll...just minding his own business...wasn't even gathering food, and she mangled him. He'll never work again! And he has all those children..."

"Just when everything seems to be going well, the fist of the gods can smash you to bits."

"My cousins were climbing Mt. Dishcloth, and she water boarded them!"

"Oh yeah? Well she caught my brother stealing a bite of her Poptart, and she FRIED HIM before he even had a trial."

"Atrocities! Something must be done! Tomorrow we march! Tomorrow we invade...all over again! And we keep invading until the barbaric antics have ceased!"

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cheers, Ducky! (1/30/2012)

The kids' bubble bath bottle
On the side of the tub
Says "grape soda bubble bath,"
And in French underneath says,
"Soda aux raisins pour enfants."
Soda of the raisins for children?
And there's a yellow rubber ducky,
with a grape on his head,
which kinda looks like a beret.
He's sipping on an alledged soda bottle,
Which kinda looks like wine.
I AM sipping on wine,
And finding him amusing.
Cheers, Ducky, cheers!
Parlez-vous English?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

small stone 1/29/12 (cause your girl is on a roll...rock and roll)

It's 5 a.m.,
And I need something from the car.
It's so dark and clear and cold.
No one else is around
(They are all sleeping
On this Sunday morning.)
It would be the perfect time
For aliens to abduct me.
I stare at the skies
And imagine the local gossip
That would be my obituary:
She just disappeared!
She may have left her man,
But she never would've left those kids.
Creative types are flakey
And tend to wander off.
There's that one guy!
That drug addict!
He walks up and down the roads.
Maybe he got her?
Maybe she was abducted by aliens?
Maybe she ran off with Elvis?
Maybe it was the rapture? would not make the rapture!

The stars are just so pretty, I think.
And that is what I'd want them to know,
If I disappeared into forever this morning:
The stars were just so pretty today,
But you didn't realize it because you were sleeping.

Go! Go! Goooo buy a motorcycle!

I race in my little car
Up a one-lane country road.
The saplings hang over
And wave their arms to cheer me on.
They throw dried-leaf confetti.
The sycamores shake their pom-poms.
Go! Go! Go!
We are all in agreement that I need a motorcycle.


Last night's steady rain brought:
Smelly dogs on wet blankets,
(Why do they carry their blankets out into the rain?)
Mud oozing up between patio blocks,
Musty cigarette smoke smells from a million years ago,
The smoker doin' her dyin'.
But inside the grocery store:
Gerber daisies, Valentine's candy and Easter foreplay
Parley beneath florescent lights.

Wee, Wee, Wee (small stone 1/26/2012)

*Ok! I admit it! I've been SLACK! BUT! I did carry my small stones in my head...just didn't spill them onto paper. Once again rocks beat paper. And did you hear that? I just ADMITTED that there are rocks in my head, but that's better than rocks in my pockets and a walk into the river (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, VIRGINIA WOOLFE 1/25).

Annnnnnd I can't stand anymore of my own jokes so...on with THURSDAY'S small stone:

In front of me at the stoplight
Is a truck bed full of
Dead piglets
Irreverently thrown atop each other
In a heap
Pink and new
Soft and downy.
Their wee ears flap as the driver pulls off.
Wee wee wee...
Why? why? why?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

For Isa and Maddox and John Thomas (small stone 1/25/2012)

The first spring day
Brings the yearlings out to play.
Wild, wispy baby hair
Has been cut into conformity for the first time,
But it's covered with a primary-colored hoody.
Blue, Red, Green, Yellow
Bounce around the playground
Like rubber balls.
Their spring jackets combined with
Tiny, fresh, white sneakers
Running by in a blur
Look like a bag of marbles
Has been dumped out.
Newly discovered sand
Sticks to a chubby creased hand.
The other hand rakes a silvery snot trail
Across a pink, wind-whipped cheek.
Robin's egg eyes marvel at:
The clouds, an inch worm,
A stray gummy bear resting on a patio block.

Another year indoctrinated into humanity,
And they'll become the unabashed terrible twos.
Along will come the horrible realization
Of sharing and competition.
The toy wars will begin and stretch into forever.
But for now they are still wide-eyed with
Pure innocence from the other side.
They have seen spiritual beauty and truth,
And they still remember.
They would tell you, if they could talk.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kibbles n Bits (Small stone 1/24/2012)

What's the title of your book?
Did you make all the phone calls you should've?
Need to go start a load of clothes.
Do the kids have anything to wear today?
Have you paid the credit card bill?
Need to call and make that doctor's appointment.
Oh! my silent scream has woken
The neighbors eerie little dogs.
They are howling.
I picture the little one
Jumping back and forth
Over the big one.
Writing or sleep?
Writing or sleep?
You can only have one.
Writing or sleep?

1/23/2012 Small stone

I have 15 minutes to stop
And pick up some mascara.
Fifteen minutes only!
I never buy these things for myself,
But I have a coupon.

I dash in the store.
She comes outta nowhere...
Looking 80 years old and homeless,
with hair that wants washing.
"Hey!" She says.
There's nobody else around.
She's talking to me.
"Help me find Revelon Poppysilk Red lipstick. I can't see!"
"Um...okay, sister."
I search the rack. There are probably 200 shades.
The next to the last is Poppysilk Red.
I give her the lipstick and my coupon.
Twenty minutes have passed.
"Now!" she says, "Find one for my sister. She likes pinks!"
I leave the store 30 minutes late for work,
And I've forgotten my mascara,
But she and her sister are ready for Vegas.

Monday, January 23, 2012

1/22/2012 small stone

Yesterday offered good friends,
good food, good entertainment.
But this morning came too soon
for sunnyside up!
I slowly opened my eyes
And attempt to hatch out of yesterday,
But tiny bits are sticking to me:
Yesterday's hair,
Yesterday's make-up,
Yesterday's perfume.

1/21/2012 small stone

I had a million things
All piled up to do today:
Laundry, paperwork, housework
But she is 88 years old,
And her great-grandbabies are just little
So we put the work away
And cooked us a dinner
And threw a lasso around this day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

small stone 1/20/2012

The old, rusted, broken down, Ford truck
is permanently parked by the abandoned farm.
I drive by and try to imagine:
Who wrecked it?
Who was last in the cab?
Maybe a young boy just learning to drive?
Maybe an old man who should've quit driving long ago?
What about the farm?
Who decided to stop painting the barn?
Who sold the last cow?
Who just stopped using the plow?
Likely nobody made these decisions.
Decline seeps in slowly, methodically, invisibly,
Like arthritis in the farmer's bones,
Like dirty oil in the truck's engine,
Like rain drip, drip, dripping on untended wood.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

stone 1/19/12

I take the dirty, rogue dishes,
And dip them under the water, cleansing them.
I find it gratifying to put them in the drainer,
Forcing them to line up into conformity.
I wonder...
If the local church folk
Wish they could do the same things to me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today seems extra bitterly cold (stone 1/18/12)

The bitter wind
Makes the missin you harder.
Lonely sinks deeper into cold bone.
The sky is so gray, so overcast
That even my shadow has left me alone.
My only companions are a few snowflakes.
They are refusing to allow sunshine,
But they aren't passionate enough to cause a storm.
I'm flaky and ungrounded enough join their tribe,
But the blanket of your memory is too thin to keep me warm
So I'm forced to go back inside.

(I don't trust the snowflake gang, actually.
They are meandering, indecisive, lacking focus,
And most assuredly on a downward spiral.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

small stone 1/17/2012

The happiest thing of the day
Was that I bought a clothes pin bag
And filled it with clothes pins!
Now we're ready for spring.
It reminded me of last summer.
I had just brought in some blankets from the line.
My daughter asked me why I hung them out
Instead of running them through the dryer.
I told her that hanging them outside to dry
Traps the summer and spring in the blanket.
"Smell them," I told her, "And you'll smell spring."
She inhaled the blankets deeply.
"I do! They smell like outside!
They smell just like the gas from Pawpaw's lawnmower!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thank you for helping me clean my desk (small stone 1/16/2012)

Thank you for helping me clean my desk,
But my coffee goes here
(Where you've placed this stack of notepads).
And under my coffee,
Goes that marble coaster.
(The one from Ireland! It was from a friend.
There's a small shamrock etched in the middle!
You really have to study it to notice.)
No other coaster will do.
Thank you for helping me clean my desk,
But I can't find my special notebook...
The one with the embroidered cover.
I write in it just before I fall asleep.
I'm sure it's in one of these NEAT STACKS.
Thank you for helping me clean my desk.
We're obsessive, but in different ways.
You've eliminated the chaos,
But you've reduced me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

He must be buzzing to come out in the cold....(small stone 1/15/12)

Tiny black wasper legs
climb up my curtains of cream.
He seems to be an early scout
For the other creepy things.
He'll doubt!
But he's a little messenger from spring.
And he's buzzing his promising tune,
And I can't help but be happy to see him.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sad Truth...(small stone 1/14)

You can't have your cake and remain a size 2. *sigh*

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mind Meld (1/13/12 small stone)

The beautiful, long-haired black cat
Thought about crossing my path.
The roads were icy.
The vehicle would be impossible to stop.
"Don't do it!" I silently begged.
"It would be a bad Friday the 13th for us both!"
We made eye contact.
She turned away from the road.
Apparently the witch in her
Heard and responded to the witch in me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

stone 1/12/12

The first of the newborn daffodil shoots
Erupted through the ground today,
Exciting as a baby's first tooth,
And they'll be gangly teenagers by May.
It amazes me how fast they grow!
They are on their way!
But first they'll be blanketed by snow,
As evidenced by these skies of gray.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

stone 1/11/2012

My favorite part of 3 a.m.
is the coffee pot, the friendly space heater, the pajamas,
the feeling that I'm alive and alone in my own little world.
The writing loft, the writing, and I are all unfinished, unpolished.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

stone 1/10/2012

I apologize if this is too obvious, but
That's the best and worst part of life.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1/9/2012 for MLK day but early...

1/9/2012 stone
(for MLK day but early)

I go to visit her in her home.
No one else is there.
She sits at the head of the table,
But when I arrive,
She gets up to give me her chair.

She is 88 years old (and demented)
With light brown skin, chocolate eyes,
year after year woven into the plaits of her hair.

I stand before her in my apologetic whiteness.
Again she tries to rise on unsteady legs.

"I would not take your seat," I say.
"Please sit."
I don't know where she is in time,
But I sense that our generations just met.
I'm here in the now taking care of her,
wondering what she's been through,
That won't allow her to forget.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

stone 1/8/2012

I helped her get all dolled up.
We hosted a party
with yellow and pink and blue cupcakes!
Later, but while still in her party dress,
we excavated a dinosaur!
She takes me so far away from:
work, worry, debt, regret.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Small things you don't miss until they're gone...

The smell of coffee wasn't there,
And not one sweet whiff from the cinnamon bun.
I tried in vain to smell my little daughter's hair.
Having a cold is no fun.

Friday, January 6, 2012

stone 1/6/2012

On the floor,
Beside my furry, winter boots,
Lies a small plastic palm tree.
Either it belongs to Malibu Barbie,
Or the gods are mocking me.
Perhaps it's a sign
That I should jump on an airplane and flee
Down to Florida.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

stone 1/5/2012

She jogs toward me,
a bounce in her step,
(like she is coming to tell me something! Something exciting!)
her fur sticky matted,
one wet ear,
white powder dusting her black face mask.
What have you been into now, my toddler kitten?

Great Mother

I wrote this poem a long time ago and didn't like it at first, but this morning I'm liking on it. I wrote it in response to a man I overheard talking about how he hated living in WV. Love it or leave it, buddy, and blessings either way. I don't really hope he is eaten by a black bear...maybe.

He says that mountains don't talk,
But he just doesn't listen.
The wind gossips behind his back,
making the creek giggle.
The wind tries to be sneaky,
but the chimes report his every move.
Leaves drift around like teenagers gathering
to share their secrets and then just as quickly scurrying away
not to be seen talking together about who's crunching who.
The crows watch it all
and CAW! CAW! CAW!
And there's no telling what the fairies are up to.

He says mountains are obstacles,
things to be moved.
I look at the same gentle hills,
And I see the Great Mother.
Her bosom and arms cradling the valley,
Her swollen womb
nurturing seeds of every kind.
And I know that she will produce spring.
And when spring arrives,
if you dance barefoot outside,
you will feel her pulse.
(He only sees dead things everywhere,
And dreads the god-awful mountain winter).

He looks up and sees the trees
as a circle of barbed wire,
trapping him.
I agree that they are barbed wire,
put in place by the gods to keep
less hardy, less determined people
out of this sacred place.
(And I ponder how he got to our hills in the first place and why.)

He pities us poor, uncultured hillbillies.
I pity him because he is blind to our culture,
And, therefore, will never have a chance of
fitting in or being accepted.

I get my morning hug from the mountains
by sitting outside in the sun,
draped in a quilt sewn by my West Virginian granny,
and eating toast topped with homemade blackberry jelly.
I hear the chatter of the wind, the creek, the chimes, the birds, the leaves.
I feel the pulse of the earth beneath my bare feet.
And I secretly hope that he is eaten by a black bear.

(c)TNicholas 2010

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to School (stone for 1/4/2012)

I drop her off at germapalooza.
She quickly joins the other poppets,
Schoolhouse glue dripping from their noses,
tiny, sticky, grubby hands linking best friends.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I awake at 5 a.m.
and climb into the writing loft
with a bowl of oatmeal,
steaming coffee, the best of intentions,
but the kitten and ADHD,
have followed me...again.

Lukewarm oatmeal!
Thank you for sustaining me all these years.
I close my eyes and try to remember
what salsa tasted like.

Monday, January 2, 2012

small stones 1/2/2012

Jealous am I of things that can fly.
I hook my thumbs and make finger wings.
I follow birds in their flight,
But they continue into the sunlight
And leave me spellbound, earthbound, (hellbound).

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Small Stones 1 1 2012

I took a walk with spring today!
Wild winds! Plants danced!
But now the sky cries
Because tomorrow that cold-hearted wintry bitch moves in next door.