Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Me, In My Mother's Hat - HAPPY NEW YEAR

                                     Silver Birch - Me, in My Mother's Hat

To read a poem that was SO much fun to write, click on title under photo. A little sad and whimsical, too... I miss my mom. This is a tribute to her. 

Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah 2016

I haven’t missed Facebook nearly as much as I thought I would. I do jump on every now and again to have a look at poetry/writer’s sites but staying away has afforded me a huge (sorry, very overused word this last year) amount of time.

If anyone wants to keep up with me my blog is available at and while it’s not as newsy as Facebook, it does give a glimpse into my life. Frankly, that’s all anyone needs: a glimpse, if they are interested at all.

It’s not a secret I was devastated by the election. Without going into detail (who wants that anyway?) it’s been a pretty tough year on other levels and it seemed like icing on the cake. (The cake was made of dog poop and glazed with battery acid.)

I'm happy to share that the edit of my book is in the final, excruciating stages before it’s sent back to the small press that has temporarily accepted it. The temporary part has to do with their marketing director’s encouragement for me to seek bigger publishing houses in the meantime, and though I’ve had some interest from various agents, no one has given me the big YES, other than PageSpring, 

I continue to blog for clients and have had a lot of fun writing about Panama and Columbia this year, while keeping up with my Mexico pieces. The BIG DEAL was a poetry competition I entered, which has resulted in publication in the Sixfold Anthology.  I was amazed since the opposition was not only heavy (253 finalists) but I haven’t felt my poetry was at that stage. The first place winner received $1000 and I will admit, his poems are extraordinary. I came in at 17th and almost fell off my chair when a fellow poet pointed out the significance of my placement. The anthology will be out sometime in the spring and I will surely be announcing that on Facebook.

In other news, I’m making some changes to my eating habits at my old age. My daughter, Olivia has recently become a consultant for a nutrition/skin care line and we’ve seen several people have amazing results. I only recently got on the bandwagon myself. I’ve dropped significant weight, not hungry and don’t miss the foods that were doing my body harm. Anyone who wants to know more, I am glad to expound. J
My plan is to get my butt down to Puerto Vallarta in January. I have to pay my property taxes and take care of my place, which sits mostly (sadly) vacant. Once I deal with all my personal tchatches and do some serious donating, it will be ready to rent out for a great price.

My biggest revelation of the year was how to use my cell phone as a tool I can like, rather than hate. (Texting and autocorrect drive me nuts. I wish we could just go back to the phone on the wall with the cord that stretched around the corner. But that’s not going to happen, so adjustments are required.) One thing I do, which could be a sign of my doddering: I make elaborate lists for errands or groceries, whatever… I get in my car and arrive at my destination to realize I’ve left the list on my desk. Argh. My new MO is to take a photo of the list! Yay! All I have to do it remember the phone!

That brings to mind a tale worth telling: Yesterday I was at Pike Place Market with a friend. Anyone who isn’t familiar with the place, I will say it was packed to the rafters with tourists and indigents, a typical combination. I left my phone in the ladies room. We had visited at least two shops until I discovered it missing. Panic ensued, of course and my friend was probably a lot more supportive than I might have been. It turned out a young woman found it; she’s from Hawaii, in Seattle visiting her family for the holidays. There are angels everywhere. We do need to keep our eyes peeled for them; they might be standing right by you.

I can’t write a true Christmas letter without mentioning the Grands. They are the smartest, best looking kids I have ever known. Mila will be 13 in May and is a budding actor, singer, lawyer and a diplomatic wonder. Coco, who just turned 12 this month is a piano composer, violinist, and artist of incredible talent. Luca, who will be 9 in May is an aspiring magician who also plays piano and violin and can tell you facts about the Titanic that you probably never knew. I adore them, all three.

It’s time for us all to be kind. Be kinder. Be kindest. Give. Smile. Laugh and sing out loud. Do things you’ve always meant to do. See old friends and make new ones. Hug lots and often. Cry, if you need to; it’s good for you. Hug. Hug often and long. Give thanks. There are so many who are so much less fortunate. 2017 is going to be a great year, because we are going to make it so. Spread love; I am right now. 
 Photos are of a house that 12-year-old Coco made. The details are remarkable and I had to share.

                                                                        A sled made from popsicle sticks! 

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Busy Editing, Re-writing and Querying

First paragraph of Chapter One
Full manuscript available upon request. (That's my baby we're talking about.)
We left on a frosty morning. The crunchy gravel stuck together with bits of ice as we walked to the end of Main Street, staying low on the side of the road, waiting for trucks. We half hid in the ditch and turned our faces from anyone who’d cheerfully report to our parents that they’d seen us loitering. When we climbed a ladder into the cab of a huge semi, I burned my hand grabbing an exhaust pipe next to the door. In the next few days, every time I gripped the neck of my guitar, I pictured that exact spot in the road. 
Thank you for reading...........

Thursday, September 1, 2016

This, the Life

Last year there were big full moons (all summer
from the back deck); August
was no exception. We began a cycle that
voyeurs, vagrants and tomato aficionados
missed out on.  Guests
filled our house with odors of sizzling fish
frying in the pan, saffron and rosemary, yellow
corn with melted butter between our teeth
oozed down our chins. Drinks mixed in
tinkling glasses. Summer ended with a sigh and we rolled
into autumn with untypical fears of the future, questions
of what might come of us. Us. There
was uncertainty and not a lot of rain; we could never
locate a damn umbrella.
sunk her uncaring teeth into our ankles and
we were uprooted, tossed over like so many
unwanted used women, skirts in the air, grasping
for whatever we could hold onto, slipping away, greased
by old gripes about things that no longer
mattered. Spring was an illusion; filled with cigarette smoke,
bad breath and messy hair.  The trap
that turned into summer
was nothing like what we expected; sunshine
eluded us, not one day at the lake… for a walk
or a sleepy blanket spread out on the lawn, corners
all bunched and sandals lost in the disarray. We
wouldn’t have cared but our spirits were wounded, like
bird wings after an unnatural beating. This year
we can put up with noises in the night, men
in bad shirts who give us a fright, not
knowing where the money went and giving in to
suitcase-dreams and ships that never reach the
shore. August
came and went twice while we waited for friends
to make a new acquaintance. We
waited for things to change. We waited for a miracle.

Thanks for reading........

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weather Balloon

A narrative poem about a

Weather Balloon

It was dusk and sure, we were tired. Just kids, they said.
We sat around the kitchen table, weary
after skiing all day and walking home in
heavy boots, skis and poles hefted on shoulders and
almost empty knapsacks slung over aching arms. Perhaps
we were affected by some brandy we pretended
we didn’t drink or possess but that was
hours ago
and our heads were clear. Clearer than those
who had wisdom with age.
Whatever it was, it flew. It hovered and
Don’t cause trouble, we were told. We weren’t
afraid, we said. It didn’t scare us, we said, and
You don’t either.
The back yard was lit up by a January full moon.
Sheriff said It was a weather balloon.

He smoked cigarette after cigarette and
tapped the red formica with his pointer finger
every time he talked. Our feet itched
from woolen socks and our joints ached from
all day up in the valley.
It was a flash over our heads and then it
like it was looking at us and then it shot away
and held a space over the elementary school.
Then it went straight up. Hot
chocolate went cold and had an
unappetizing scum on top, lifted off
in one piece with a spoon.
It must have been a weather balloon.

The wash machine in the basement shook
like it was walking to Port Mary. Sheriff said
Can you turn that thing off, and
shoved butts around in the
ashtray. It was fast, faster
than anything we’d seen. No,
it was not a plane, sir.
The phone rang it was Teddy’s mom saying
There’s school tomorrow…
Can you send him home soon?
We must have seen a weather balloon.

We were just kids and we could hardly
know what we were talking about. Maybe
we were making it all up and
Plates with biscuits and gravy
were sat in front of us. We picked
and muddled. Why did they
call this old man to question
us? He was a buffoon.
He just knew it was a weather balloon.

Thank you for reading............

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Big of Small

The smallest things
happen in a short
period of time and
we find our lives changed in
a big way.
The human blink is a
fraction of a second.
The trajectory of a bullet
can’t be changed once it’s released
but it takes almost no time at all to
pull a trigger.
A germ can float around forever
and land in a healthy system
with less time than it takes a
hummingbird to
The word
is one of the shortest in any language,
yet it can create the longest sentence,
as can a
The biggest things that happen in life
are often committed by the most
minimal acts.
We are all created in
less than a minute,
less than a second,
just a wink of an eye.

Thank you for reading......

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

PROSE Acrostic

Poets, writers and lyricists are ultimately
Responsible for everything magical, historical and imagined that
Occurs in and out of the world and common
Sense tells us that words are not only
Essential, without them we would be nothing


Challenge of

Thank you for reading.......

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I don’t have personal history so
I can’t truly speak of inner and
constant fear,
threat to safety,
misery of concealment.
What I have is familiarity,
memories of mirror balls and strobe lights,
techno decibels and Gloria Gaynor,
beautiful sweaty bodies,
glistening with rendezvous and desire,
walking home in a tropical dawn,
laughing with my gay boys, arm and arm,
one last cigarette and
maybe a splash in the pool in the dark.
Gathered in clubs with smiles large and
laughter unbound,
modified salsa way past midnight.
Never a thought of danger,
nor an allusion of dread,
no panic, no fright.
Shaking the images in my imagination
is not a simple process.
I can no way comprehend
the terror.
I cannot accept the anguish.
These feelings of loss and sorrow
are not mine personally but
they could have been
We could have been
My mourning is not extinguished.
My grief is still twirling on the dance floor.

Orlando June 12 2016

Thank you for reading.......

Monday, June 13, 2016


They told me M&M’s melt in your mouth and not in your hand.
And then they told me that Jesus loves all the little children.

Harsh reality is when you realize the teachers are not on your side and the principal is not your pal.
Boys only want one thing. 
That was wrong, too. 
They want much more.

Thank you for reading.......
(From Prose Prompt June 13, 2016)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The prompt for this Wednesday is to write a poem about something that is Nothing Important

Saturday is your birthday. 

How could you think it would be important to me? 
It is certain to me that there is nothing important 
about my celebrations that make you 
notice insignificant numbers 
that rotate on your calendar. 
Days, months, years pass and the vacuum grows. 
Someday it will be a cave for me to fall into. 

Saturday is your birthday. 
I will go to sleep Friday with birthday cakes, 
old photos, labor pains and 
the scent of vernix filling my dreams. 
Saturday night I will sleep with a different type of ache. 
I never lost you because we don’t lose some things; 
they simply develop a distance and 
then we mourn in a visceral way. 
Living, parting and dying are on the same path 
and though it is certain to me that there is nothing important 
about your celebration that I would be a part of, 
I can keen if I want to. 

Saturday is your birthday. 

Thank you for reading........

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 5, 2016 A Poem about LOVE and OTHER Things

Babies and young lovers 
kiss in much the same way. 
Open mouthed 
full of love 
willing to take in everything. 
When does the face seal up in a manner 
to stop the flow of 
love and knowledge, 
vulnerability and tenderness? 
Why do we become guarded, wary, 
timid and judgmental? 
We begin life, 
with submission, 
rolling onto our backs, 
exposing the soft flesh of our bellies. 
Then we turn to jade, 
a process that involves betrayal, mistrust, 
little murders 
and colored lies. 
We die, 
tightlipped, underwhelmed, 
secrets buried; our goodness 
tied up in old photos, 
winners’ ribbons, 
perfume tainted with age.

Thank you for reading......

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Am White

I am white.

You are also white.

But you have a palette of other colors I do not have.

We both come from Mother Africa but you have the beautiful genes that document your claim. Mine have been washed away over decades, centuries, travels and time.

Danish butter rolls through our veins, you and me, and you also have Norwegian, making you more of a Viking than I am.

Your skin is the color of honey… well made bread… fine sand, ground to softness by tides controlled by the moon.

My skin is old now but when I was younger, my skin was taut and inflexible. Now it gives you something to tease me with.

You were born blue. Your eyes were black like the depths of an underworld cave, and sparkling like an ancient fire. You turned pink within moments after your entrance and later, you began to take on the hues of an Egyptian Queen.

We are Cherokee, you a little more than I, making you braver, more stealthy and able to lean into the wind.

We are French, and English, and maybe a wee Irish, and German, too. There are many colors within us, shapes and sizes.

In our bones, we have the ability to break chains, sail tall ships, write ghazals of love, wipe tears off the face of defeat, leap in the name of victory, count stars and follow comets.

We are connected, like a fragile feather to a wing.

We are the threads of a tapestry and we are here to protect the colors.

for Mimi

Thank you for reading..........


Getting everything you want while

Risking friendships and your reputation

Even if it means having no one to love and being

Empty and devoid of compassion or mercy because the

Dollar is what you worship and there is never, ever enough.  

Prose Monday Challenge - Greed - Acrostic

Thank you for reading.......

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Pinhole of Light in the Darkness

There are so many
bits and pieces of information
floating around the universe
and sometimes
I catch something I want to share but
not everyone is willing to always listen.
Like for example,
I’ve always thought it
a fascinating concept that
soldiers in early
before infrared and such farfetched ideas
found their way to battlefields,
men would cover their eyes
with their palms,
blocking out all light and
until the moment
they opened their eyes again
could detect light
in the darkness. 

Thank you for reading.....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thoughts Floating in the Path of Memories

Wednesday prompt - Write something about a napkin.....

We drove high into the jungle
A café spread over the grounds of an old hacienda
Clay oven under a brick and palm-frond shelter with the scent of maize escaping into the mist
We sipped sweet sticky drinks, fanned ourselves uselessly
You told me about the child, never born, and you wept for a girl whose name you could barely remember
A huge butterfly, the size and color of a paper napkin, floated by and another and another
Like thoughts spiraling over our heads
Words unspoken
Floating in the path of memories

Thanks for reading..........

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Personal Hijab

Sometimes I wonder, if I was a guy, I’d get more respect if I was a drug addict, alkie, street scum.
As a female, I get less respect in any corner standing next to any man.
I shake my head when I hear scornful talk about “those poor women who are forced to wear a hijab.” Besides being a religious preference, a hijab actually makes a statement in many ways. It says I am not a man. Just call it; tell it like it is. Let me wear my egg on my face and you can know what I am. I will own it.
In my personal world, my hijab is invisible.
It doesn’t matter if I’m in a discussion about the NFL; NBA; construction; traffic; electrical systems in foreign autos;  building management…  I am talked over, ignored, looked down on, and I’ve felt it all my life.
All my female, second class citizen life.
It’s going to take a long time for this treatment to run its course.
Am I voting with my vagina? You can bet your balls I am.

Thanks for reading……….(Wednesday prompt)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nightmare Behind the Bay Laurel

bay laurel branches loom over head, my arms aching with grocery bags carried eight full blocks, while emaciated filthy blond ponytail in pants that slide down his thighs follows me right to my own back door, can’t remember code, punching in all wrong numbers, over and over and over, and he is closer, closer, closer, I smell his meth, his mess, his aggressive stalk, one long blade held tight to his chest and it is my knife, from my own kitchen, I know that knife, bones my chickens, cars race by on the other side of the tall protective laurel bush that I pluck my bay leaves to use in my soups and stews, no one sees, no one knows what happens on this side of the bay laurel, and his stink is on me and I open my mouth to nothing coming out and punch numbers, punch numbers, arms weak with heavy bags hanging from crooks in elbows, sagging, dropping, eggs, orange juice, soft red grapes, push little buttons harder, not working, fingernails breaking,  mouth, throat, lungs not working, wake up, wake up, wake up from this nightmare...........haunts me. haunts me, time and time again…….

thanks for reading.......
(prose challenge - nightmare)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3 - Still missing Mom....She would have been 95 today.

April was an interesting month.

April 1, April Fool’s Day, I helped my former husband celebrate his 73rd birthday. He was 37 when I met him, and a party would likely have included a bevy of friends in those times. Things change; sometimes drastically. When I received an email from him inviting me to join him for a drink, coffee, whatever… to keep him from observing the day alone, I felt bad. We had a lovely time reminiscing with our dear mutual friend, Jim. This news will surprise some people but I’ve always felt that Breeze got robbed. I did, too, of course, but if you could see him now, having a hard time walking, hearing, multiple health issues that can’t really be solved. I’m the lucky one. Whoever would have seen that back there in the mid-‘90’s, when my life crumbled, over and over again and people disappeared off our radar like gypsy spies.

Some of these poems are for Breeze, but not many. Most of my April Poem-a-Day poems are based on real life. As are my books, which take chapters in my own life and fictionalize characters who have painted my personal canvas with gorgeous, bittersweet, splendid colors. The good news about my novels is the phone call I had April 5th with the marketing director for a small press, Pagespring, who boosted my ego, gave me great advice and promised great things for my future, after I put in a few more drops of blood, sweats and tears.

I’ve lost some followers in the past few years and picked up a few, as well. I won’t troll for followers and realize Blogspot is not an easy site to leave comments on, but I do invite those who like poetry (or enjoy voyeurism) to read April. There's a poem every day. 

Thanks for reading…

Monday, May 2, 2016

LINES - a few minutes past midnight - May 2.........................

Shakespeare wrote lines
My friend Jennifer snorted them
We stood in lines to get food for our babies
While other mothers aborted them

Thank you for reading.......
(prose challenge - "lines")

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016 - For today’s prompt, write a dead end poem.

I heard on the radio that railroad crossing bars
are stuck in the down position in SODO
where there’s a baseball game tonight and
Big Bertha is drilling a tunnel under Seattle,
moving the earth and shaking the land
causing the viaduct to be closed,
the whole purpose to make commuting easier
but right now everywhere you turn it’s a dead end.
Drivers give each other the one finger salute
and the sun shines on those who have no idea
where they put their sunglasses seven months ago.

Thank you for reading....

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016 - For today’s prompt, write a haphazard poem.

a children’s’ story

down the rabbit hole
teacups rattle and teapots talk
heads are rolling and
minor disputes have turned into wars with
marching, shouting, slaughtering soldiers.
little girls, offered wine, eat
mushrooms and tablets
of questionable origin.
cats, mind you, excuse behavior with
“we’re all mad here”
AND it’s well known the best people usually are.
rabbits run, they truly RUN.
impossible things happen to the
curiouser and curiouser.
lazy, lascivious larvae smoke unknown substances.
and Disney has no problem with any of this


Thanks for reading

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016 - For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Important (blank)"


When I speak of My House
My Street
My Neighbors
My Children
My Cat, My Dog, or the Birds in My Yard
I am commenting as a thief.
Innocently so, and yet….
These things are, none of them,
For a short time I might embrace them, admire them, chase them, hug them,
Clean them, shun them, break them, mend them.
All these things are simply on loan
For my use, while I’m here;
And when I leave
I am expected to leave them in good condition,
Unharmed, repaired, cleaned up, left in their proper place.
The Mother allows us to borrow, make use of her things and
Treat her with respect and love.
She gives; we are to give back.
We have learned to kill and maim and sunder and sully.
We have tarnished, defiled, raped and stolen.
We are beggars, not choosers.
She will charge us with interest we cannot remit.
We are the stealing borrowers; borrowing thieves.

Thanks for reading.......

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016 - For today’s prompt, write a take off poem.

My daddy raised some hell in
until he was a wise guy at the age of
and decided to take off
for parts unknown
and rode rails,
picked watermelon for pennies
and played his harmonica for company.
It was 1919.
People were lonely everywhere.

Daddy was deathly afraid of snakes and
all things that moved across
the face of the earth
without feet.
This would include
which scared him more than

He came back to Montana as a young man
And chased smoke for a living;
a dangerous pastime
that brought him to familiarity of deep fear
and profound courage.
Mother Nature, out of control.

My daddy was a humble man in many ways
but he could stand up to a fight
with little compunction
and was always on the side of
the underdog,
the Cinderella team,
the downtrodden.

a place named for mountains ,
known for a vast sky;
where my daddy’s heart yearned
and his mind imagined.

My daddy was a Capricorn,
an earth sign,
as am I, a Virgo and
my mother, a Taurus.
These are feet that sense
the dense physical world.
Like Montana.

Thank you for reading.....