Posts in poetry
a warning


a warning devon fitzgerald ralston

Beneath the leaves, scattered like forgotten paper decay grows in silence, twisting away at strength knotted, ingrained, until the heartwood weakens

and becomes something else, entirely.

a reminder. a metaphor. a photograph. a poem.

a ghost.

No longer an escape route, a way for me to get from here to there;

I stand at the edge, arms open, head to the sky;

I am still. I am never still.

As a girl, my mother called me her bee, and as I watch one go from flower to flower taking in what is offered, before moving to the next I understand why

someone once told me I was like a slow burning fire.

I want to be light and sweet, spinning in circles in fresh cut grass, making shapes out of clouds the way I was


I began rotting under foliage tethered to darkness and poison, splintering

becoming something else.

a ghost. a poet. a reminder.

a warrior.

a bridge not to be crossed.

waiting for you

It's April! (wait, how is it already April?) April means it's National Poetry Month. Any chance I get to experiment with, read and write poetry makes me happy. We'll be studying it in my freshman class this month along with working on creative assignments. And I'll be sharing some of my favorite poems and maybe some things I write in class. 

What I love about this Whitman line is that I think of poetry, of writing like it's always waiting for me. If I miss the opportunity in one space, I'll find another space, like the words, the sounds, the stuff I have to say waits. But at the same time, I can stare at blank pages for days; grind my teeth out of frustration and feel my head heavy with tension because I haven't written. 

I've been intermittent on the blog lately, tough to find mental space for everything. I have folders, scraps of paper, things I want to write and share and say. I'm starting with this.

Here are 2 found poems I wrote using features from USA Today. The first is my favorite, but the second is growing on me.

Like a Knife

by Devon Ralston

Carefully sharpening the tools of the trade:
the way you work,
your craft
resonates delicately.

The kitchen is quiet.

There's so much about a story,
THE story

your day looks borrowed.


The Idea Revolution

by Devon Ralston

to slip into my life
is to weigh in on 
a half-dozen forgotten wrongs,

limited power in divided hands.

Observers have a point:
the transaction of enthusiasm
is likely to win.
(A round of nods).

I grew up in Alabama,
emotionally connected,
putting it out there,

a dream state
of mind.

recharging with words

What a whirlwind the past month has been. I am completely freaked out that June is almost over. I need a recharge. I marvel at people, like M, who seem to just go and go and go. But then I look at my own calendar/schedule and realize how I often I do the same thing. We do the things we have to do and we prioritize what we can. 

For a few weeks, I was silent here on the blog. I had a weird stomach flu-type thing and then was in Louisville to score AP exams and didn't feel much like saying anything to anyone.  

But this week and next, I get to talk and play and explore writing with middle-schoolers and high-school students. And I've been thinking about how much writing recharges me, how it helps to connect and create. I often lament that I do not make things; I do not crochet or knit or sew. I cannot quilt or make Pinterest projects come to life.

I study rhetoric. I play with design. I see connections among all these things I'm interested in and things I don't know but want to. I complained once that I felt not niche enough for certain job descriptions or even blog readers. I find it difficult to boil things down. But then today, as I described why I write or why it can be fun to see where a word or line takes you, how you can craft meaning, it occurred to me.  

My students get tired of me asking them, "what does it mean?" or "how do you create meaning for your readers; how do you connect the dots with them?" But I think of what I do and how I live my life as making meaning.  

That's what I do. In my bio, I describe myself as a storyteller, a wish-maker, a believer of love and magic. And all of those are true, but wrapped up in that description, I believe is meaning-maker.  

It's what we all want, isn't it? Someone or something to make sense of us? I have been on that journey a very long time and I use this space to help me create meaning in my life, to make sense of my heart, my head, my thoughts and feelings. For me, writing has always been about trying to figure myself out, whether I'm writing fiction or not. I'm always trying to get at something true.  

This morning, we played around with short poems and I wrote the following

When I kiss you, 
it is not only your mouth
that taunt me 
but the words, 
(those you do not say)
the ones on the tip
of your tongue. 

I had not planned to share it but the group I was working with were mostly in high school and when they asked what I wrote, I read it.  

One of the students said, "I never knew poetry could be so sexy."

I smiled. "Just you wait," I thought.  

But I said, "Words are infinitely powerful." That is, perhaps, my strongest belief. 

I was concerned that heading into this next week and a bit, I would be run down, not quite re-charged. But of course, I forget how inspired I get from other's enthusiasm and excitement. Maybe it's just the recharge I need.  

What recharges, inspires, and/or excites you these days? 

your catfish friend

I stumbled across this poem in a collection, made note of it and then forgot it again, until I woke this morning after a fantastic night with one of my oldest friends. We didn't do anything particularly special. We ate Chinese take out and watermelon, watched birds as we sat on her mom's back deck and talked. It was lovely.

Your Catfish Friend

 by Richard Brautigan

If I were to live my lifein catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers 
at the bottom of a pond 
and you were to come by 
   one evening
when the moon was shining 
down into my dark home 
and stand there at the edge 
   of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful 
here by this pond.  I wish 
   somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish 
friend and drive such lonely 
thoughts from your mind 
and suddenly you would be
   at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder 
if there are any catfish 
in this pond?  It seems like 
a perfect place for them."