20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


How can I preserve that physical place you have left on my heart?
With-out ever truly knowing,
The misty reaction of our embrace.
Would we falter, or become wound so tightly into one another,
Like kites stuck between branches.

Or would we float off into other directions,
Like leaves in a storm.
The crisp sounds of our bodies,
Caught up on the pavement,
Running away,
As we leave pieces of ourselves behind.
And not enough words to be cried.

We become archived as if we are nothing more than a record,
Of something too accessible, too obvious,
Though not apparent enough,
As our hearts that were once left skipping,
Now sink.
Likes stones carelessly skimmed.
Our weight too heavy to carry, or understand.

Instead we let the current pull us away,
Towards more precious objects that help us forget for a while.
Until we open up those archives, and spit at the rain, the wind,
Everything that tore us a part.
Never to become wound in one another.

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“What You Throw Away”

I love old stuff.  Whether this is cars, houses, furniture or music-even tools.  As long as it’s dated, I love it.  These items tell their own story.  Though we might not know what that is, we can imagine.  Let’s take these kitchen utensils for instance. 


Photo Credit: Oksana at Etsy.com

You can tell by the wear on the handles that they were loved once.    They were probably a wedding gift, or maybe even a birthday gift.  I love how each piece shows different signs of wear than the one next to them.  Each chip in the paint, crack and splatter of rust can tell you many things about the person who once owned them.  First, the woman was gentle, clean and took good care of her belongings.  I can see that the peeler in the middle was used most often by the wear of paint, and the melon baller used the least. I can tell you this woman didn’t host many parties, and made do with what she had.   In today’s society, we overbuy, fail to appreciate and quickly throw away what we consider, clutter.   Machines do everything for us, contributing to this laziness.  Reaching further, I wonder…just how else this may be affecting people today.

I love going to thrift/antique shops to find old stuff, this way it can have a place again.  This past week Carlie and I went to see what they had. She is so much like me, in the fact that she tells a great story, writes a great poem, and can find one specific piece in the local Goodwill store and will quickly tell a story about it. As we walked through the isles hand in hand, she stopped. I didn’t notice right away as I was inspecting a dated piece of furniture.  I felt the tug of her hand soon after, and turned to find her inspecting two antique dolls.   I watched her as her eyes went back and forth from each one, her gentle hands carefully touching their vinyl and porcelain parts.  She whispered,” Mama these babies haven’t had much love.”  “They have all their parts.” “They do not look like your old babies at all” She was right, the dolls that my Great-Grandmothers had given me were in far worse condition than these.  One is missing both legs, one arm and its face has cracks all over it. The other two that were given to me, were in better shape though not perfect like these.  I asked Carlie, “Do you think that if we brought these babies home that you could love them more?” To which she replied, “Yes, but we need to keep them with your other babies, Mama.” “This way they have friends to tell their own stories with.”  

You can observe and understand many things about others by what they throw away.

You can see their stories, their needs, desires as well as their frustrations.  

We are never truly alone.

Take notice of the small things, they matter too.

Finger Print Hearts


This is the place where we love.

Where you are like comfort food,

Resting openly upon a small breast,

Like fingerprint hearts on a dusty Pontiac.


This is the place the fire is censored.

Where the only cries are that of your voice,

That comes through in reverse,

On an old mixed tape.


In the blackness of my winter,

I am hunger less and without answer.

Will you have a match?

When your light sputters and dies.

This burden you carry like an ant in June.


Tonight, I turn back the clock,

I am without reaction and wings.

The hands move, like swings in an empty playground.

Where we trip on the road,

And get up to brush the spiders off.


This is where we create love,

Bodies pass like masses of air,

Creating a storm that runs through our veins.

Leaving us with stillness,

In search of the sun.  



Hoover’s Departure

Today I lost another dear friend. Two, now, within the past 9 months. Can you guess what I lost with this here poem??


I sit here, watching you lay lifeless in the corner.


Grey cords and empty hoses border you.


My fingers itch, my eyes sting.


I sneeze, and then sneeze again.




I know you must be sleeping.


Dreaming happy little dreams, of work and our family.


You have to be.




We went everywhere together.


I never held anyone the way I did you.


No stand INS and no guarantees.



Any mess I had, you were there to help clean it up.


Tickling me, and making funny noises.


Blowing air in everyone’s faces,




and the occasional motor boat you would give the kids.


Eating up and spitting out  unwanted leftovers.


Like a garbage disposal.




Coughing up earrings and string like a robin building her nest.


Tonight, as we climbed the steps, you began to jerk.


Smoking like a hooker in January.




Leaving me with nothing but a blackened, burnt up Barbie shoe.


And…..an absolute mess.




Today’s “Little Old Woman” – 21ST Century Style


I was laying in bed, one night last spring (after a hard night of playing with kids, cooking, cleaning-and all the other things us moms do) and out the blue I felt remarkably similar to the little old woman who lived in a shoe. So, I thought I would have some fun with it. I mean no offense to anyone by this post. This poem was written last May.

There was a little old woman, who lived in the projects.

She held an infant, and paternity the father objected.

She appeared on Maury, and the answers were read.

It was finally established, he WAS the dad.

A Paper Doll’s Reflection



© 2012


It’s now just a profile,

In between the dog-eared pages of an old book.

The same one you browsed through many times before.

An obsession of,

Simple dated pictures-in color.

A paper dolls reflection.

Though, I am still naked and dimensionless in your mind.


You would explore my body with one hand.

The art of silence and curve of my hips inspired you.

Your fingers moving carefully-

Amongst my paper thin parts.


You had emulated the perfect outline,

Forgiving skin.

Thick hair.

Dark wet lips.

Manufactured only for your pleasure.   


Scantily dressing me in skimpy pink dresses,

The color of vomit and immaturity.

Oh, how I loathed that color.

You knew this-

But still…


You cursed me and spit-

When I lost my temper and,

Ripped off the ugly pink dress you purchased.


A thousand dollar gown,

On a ten cent body.

I will never truly be your Betsy McCall.

And you will never be my Dr. Kildare.

We were merely playmates,

And I…

I am only just paper.

Recyclable, replaceable and






Loose Buttons

We were like condensed soup.

No liquid to make our time together consistent,

Let alone feed our hunger.

We were like crabgrass,

Spurns that slowly eat into the bottom of a foot.

No patches to cover up the bloods slow pouring tears.

To clean up the mess of shit that’s been left behind.

We were irrational and impulsive,

Ignorant of the seasons which stood against us.

They knew we-

Were not.

We were our grandmother’s loose buttons,

Just carelessly placed in a baby pink Sadler sugar bowl.

Sinking down among granules.

I lift my head; I can taste bits of sweetness on my tongue as it dissolves,

And fades away.

Never there.

Closing my eyes,

I feel your lips frame around mine.

Tight like a zipper.

Never again.

I long to face the storm’s currents.

My mouth puckered up slowly,

Blowing through that flimsy yellow wand.

As bubbles form, then snap against my nose.

Under pressure, and cold.

The seasons against them.



Partial prints

It was a letter written of love,

Not to be misconstrued of anything more or less than a poignant goodbye.

The dark ink incontinent,

Like a child sleeping sound.

Ink drooled.

Wet, and leaving behind one partial print.

A keepsake, an ornament to place next to your pillow as you sleep.

With one slow flick of my tongue,

Our fate was sealed.

We will never be justly blended,

Or paint each other in soft acrylic hues.

The smell of paper,

As it falls slowly into a slivered space.

As my forest burns a thousand words.

No longer left bottled.

Tiny prisms that leave behind ruined tomorrows.

With my signature godless and grey.

A postage due,

I can no longer afford.

 I finger this forgotten letter.

Now dressed in dust, crumbs and

What I once viewed as loss.


The Salt (Weekly Challenge-Ocean)

You laughed when I told you I had never smelled the ocean.

You’re your eyes and dialect tangled together sparkling.

As an image of the gentle wind gladly carrying the weight of your burden,

Rested itself quietly within my thoughts.

On the curve of a broad shoulder.


I want to taste the salt from its waters-just once.

Just once on the tip of my cool gel-like tongue.

Like a toddler chewing on a ladybug-unintentional,

A process only of growth and exploration.


I dream of playing telephone with a cotton candy colored sea shell.

Pressing it next to my tiny ear,

Softly kissing the right lobe.

As the water whispers to me its secrets,

In a language I cannot comprehend,

But only pretend to understand.


A vision of the livid waves as they splash,

Against my mid-west, tanned calves.

And then fall,

Like opulent tears down my chest,

A tiny ant- like trail,

Forming in perfect succession.


Communications through two separate bodies,

Create a uniformed balance.

Carry me.

Carry me away from this mundane maze of fields.

Away from small minded peoples.

Wearing John Deere Green.


If, for only a moment.

I laugh, realizing I would be out of my element.

Like you, the ocean would only reject me.

Spitting at my presence.

As I turn to the farm houses, tractors, and open minded people.


 I listen to the song of the wind chime,

Beg me to stay.

In a language you could never comprehend,

Or pretend to understand.

No longer wearing the weight of your burden,


smelling the ocean.    





The Laundry Maid


The Laundry Maid

Last March I was inducted into The All-Iowa Academic Team through my sorority Phi-Theta-Kappa. I got the privilege of attending a beautiful awards ceremony banquet (and I got to dress up for the evening). This photo was taken at my brothers prior to the ceremony. It was a beautiful banquet and I was able to enjoy a few child-free hours which doesn’t happen often. Though I will admit that after an hour I was ready to be home with my babies and get out of those heels.



Peter, do you recall that first glance?

It was nothing much of fancy,

A paltry church that at one time housed a sandwich shop.

Sitting neatly between rows of turn of the century houses.

You and I on the edge of holding hands,

And exchanging awkward giggles instead of dialogue.

In between rinsing brushes,

And caulking cracks in the window sill.

Peter, does the taste of bitter lemonade evoke

The time in which your thirst for me became sound

We paid no mind to those heat advisories.

Or the absence of sugar within our mouth,

As ice cubes clicked loudly against our teeth.

Cassette singles and letters each week,

Over mundane things we thought to consider.

I think of hiding the phone bills from our parents,

And smile.

I cannot find you anymore,

Except in my head, Peter.

They plucked that church down and swapped it with a parking lot.

I long to sit on its back steps one more time with you.

To feel the sweat fall from your palm,

And pore over your Andrew McCarthy blue eyes.

Schedules and abortions took you,

Along with that sandwich shop church.

The timetables were wretched and unstable.

There was nothing Del-Amitri or Bon Jovi could do for us.


Waiting on Candy (July 4th Photo challenge-I think?)


Waiting on Candy (July 4th Photo challenge-I think?)

I have always been fond of “in the moment” photographs. There is something about catching youth’s innocence within their element. It was around 100 degrees this morning for the parade. Way too hot to enjoy it. Yet, these youngsters were not fazed by it at all. I remember a time when I wasn’t affected by the weather-seems so long ago now.

I shot this photo of my youngest (center) at the parade this morning. Beside her were two girls from Connecticut that she had befriended. one girl wore a pink skirt, the other blue. They were friendly and sweet. They told me they were “Irish twins”. I am now giggling at the thought. In front of them was an old rusted tractor that was put puttin’ by. My daughter took a break from waiting for candy to observe her shadow.


The Bagpipes Account (July 4th Weekly Challenge)

My girls with their blonde tresses and summer bussed freckles.

Pause hungrily for the procession of screaming fire trucks and,

Inexplicable clowns throwing candy and miles of uninspiring advertisements.

Their immature hands softly grasp a tiny miniature flag.

As their bare feet swing indolently back in forth.

We wait,

In this sticky July sun.

Like broken dolls on a shelf that nobody wants to buy.

Candy is chucked,

Then lands like small stones on the filthy curb around us.

I observe,

Little petite people run.

Their chubby little fingers fight for that satisfying morsel.

As if this was their last meal.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I remind my girls to share.

As people rise for the caparisoned Veterans who traipse proudly by.

The bagpipe clarifies the account through song,

To all willing to pin their ears back and listen.

For a moment.

Just listen,

To the true description of love, war and loss.

Not candy in the street.

Or slapstick comedians in cars.

But freedom, values and family tradition.

Those memories that were neatly framed and handed down to us,

                                   Old sepia colored photographs,

That rest on a bedroom dresser.

People we never knew physically.

Only their story.

Our story.


Signs and their purpose.

Sometimes, life can just be blase`. It is these times when we need to be mindful and make use of the moment. I often find myself snapping away images of life at its finest. Just a little something that I can look back on when I am no longer making snacks,doing laundry, helping with homework and “reminding my kids to clean their ears and brush their teeth”. A moment I cannot bare to think about. Being alone. I have found myself capturing pictures of signs lately simply because I feel they tend to get ignored. These signs alone allow me to remember to pay close attention to those augury’s within my heart and mind.  Here is one image I captured last May after dropping my kids off at school. It was horribly foggy and hard to see that morning. I felt it was apt because I was just beginning to recover from a failed relationship.  Image

Life molds us and allows us to be more efficient people. Appreciate those times which are trying because they too….have a purpose. 


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