On Parkwood Avenue, Toledo

On Parkwood Avenue, Toledo
(after William Carlos Williams)

Across the street
an old woman
in a see-through
pink housedress
hoses off the porch

Dark-rimmed
glasses and grey hair
perched atop her head in a bun

Toilet brush in hand
she scours the lime-green vinyl

hose scrub sweep hose

Her shrubs wriggle under a spray
of droplets and dirt
until she’s satisfied

and shifts
her pots back into place


(Original draft Spring 1995 while living in Sarah Lundquist’s house after bad breakup with boyfriend–also while studying WCW in graduate seminar.)

Revised in 2010.

Revised today 5, April 2015.


I am taking advantage of NAPOWRIMO to dig out and re-work older work, as well as a way to prod me into doing more new work. I have had ideas percolating for a long while, but have not forced myself (or allowed myself?) to carve out any time in my very long days to do any writing for myself.

I have been a fist for so long–clenched and angry over things I cannot control–that I shut off/down the part of me that plays with words and meaning.

Four things are opening the fist:

  1. My students in my creative writing class, who daily impress me with their willingness to take risks
  2. Re-reading my favorite Modernist poets (Frost, Eliot, Williams, Stevens, HD) in order to teach them to my literature students
  3. My association with Cyprianism and its tenets. More about which at a later date.
  4. My husband’s own creative endeavors, most recently with handmade shaving brushes and imported cream and unguents through Bare Knuckle Barbery .

For my own sanity, I open my fist and words fly out.

Almond Blossom, 1890 Vincent Van Gogh Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Almond Blossom, 1890
Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

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