Wildfire — After Christina Perri, Human (a golden shovel poem)


The fire is in the chasing, and I’m 
burning to break free. There’s only
one remedy for being this human.
The road less traveled is calling and 
the sun is fading, curling at the corners.
long to run through the trees, to bleed 
the sorrow from my bones, to gasp when 
my lungs can’t swallow enough sunlight.
want to run until I find your feet, and fall 
like the last leaf, let the wind carry me down —
The fire is in the chasing, and I’m
burning to break free. There’s only 
one remedy for being this human.


golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.




For today’s prompt, write an echo poem.

Phoenix Reborn — After Electric Light Orchestra, Strange Magic (a golden shovel poem)


You might not know, I’m watching you 
as you spread your tired wings and fly.
You’ve had it all along, this strength — so 
I’ve been waiting just to see how high 
you’d soar, once you found courage.
knew you’d see it in yourself, you’d get 
the gist. Now I’m watching you with
smile. I can’t help but admire, this strange 
new fire you’ve got in your eyes. It’s magic! 



golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.




For today’s prompt, write a strange poem.




Without Relent — After Frank Sinatra, Fly Me to the Moon (a golden shovel poem)


I will wander, I will fly — 
will plunder your dreams of me.
I’ll wobble and dance, without relent, to
the night music, spent from my veins. The 
silvery light of the fullest moon
(a mirrored lagoon) and 
the velvet midnight sky, (let 
me assure you) will whisper me 
to sweetest of dreams. So, play 
a gypsy lullaby. Lull me to sleep among 
the branches of your arms. The 
light in your eyes will be my stars.


golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.


For today’s prompt, write a poem using at least three of the following six words: relent, horrendous, artifact, lagoon, wobble, and plunder.

If you want extra credit (and who doesn’t), try using all six!




Carry You — After Coldplay, Fix You (a golden shovel poem)

Photographer – Ryan McGinley, 2010
I know your wild heart — running from city lights.
I’ve heard your howls, and I’m determined, I will 
run beside you. I will trust your instinct to guide 
us. When the chasing steals your sleep, when you 
need my love to find your way, I’ll carry you home 
I’ll hold you — though you bite and struggle, and 
though my bleeding flesh burns with the fire you ignite 
— I’ll lean into you, shoulder your body in spite of your
claws. I’ll lend to you all the strength in my bones.
golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.
For today’s prompt, write an ekphrastic poem.

Next to You — after In This Moment, Sick Like Me (a golden shovel poem)


The primal truth is what it is.
I am changed, ever-evolving — it
happens — and I’m sick
of apologizing for it, tired of
explaining why you are Wolf, to me.
This is why I choose — surrender to
your strength and love, why I feed
you. I see fierce strength in the
woman you awakened, this animal
in me — she shines, in your love — in
truth. Isn’t she better, next to you?



golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.


For today’s prompt, write an animal poem.
For more information, check out– http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-11.

Burned Upon Her Skin


I wrote a poem a few weeks ago, about my girlfriend, and her love of the woods. She and I have been enjoying this brief Autumn season, and escaping to the nearby hiking trails as often as the weather and our schedules allow — sometimes together, sometimes separately, chasing light and shadows, solitude and mental health. I posted more recently about how that is affecting my personal journey, in a post titled “The Way of Beauty”.

I’ve been sharing poetry with this amazing woman since we started dating, two months ago. I’ve introduced her to my favorites, like Tyler Knott GregsonBilly Collins, and Rives. She seems to love my addiction to language, and to not mind that I write poetry about my love for her.

In fact, a little over a week ago, she was planning a trip home to visit family (and her tattoo artist) and asked me how I felt about her incorporating some of my poetry into a tattoo. My immediate response was, “Of course! Once I share my poems, they belong to whoever reads them!”  She didn’t tell me which poem; she wanted to keep that a surprise, so no photos or hints until I picked her up from the airport on Sunday.

She’d been gone for four days, and when I met her in the waiting area just outside the terminal, I was breathless, struck by how amazing she looked in my favorite black shirt and some new plaid suspenders. I couldn’t stop  hugging and kissing her — and more than once I caught random strangers smiling at us.

I didn’t see the tattoo on her arm until she was loading her suitcase into my car, and though I expected to love it, I didn’t anticipate the feelings that washed over me. My throat constricted on the word, “Oh!” and my eyes welled up with tears. My words, spilled for her from my own pen, were etched into her beautiful skin, so she could see them for the rest of her life. I couldn’t stop touching them, tracing the letters with my fingers. I’ve been lucky enough to have my work published before, but I don’t think I will ever feel the way I felt standing there, reading her arm.


The fantastic thing, is that the words are hers. They belong to her — belong on her body. They fit, and always will. That’s what happens when we send our words out into the world. Those who read them make them their own, bring them to life. They are made richer, deeper, and more breathtaking. It’s a thing that always amazes me about writing poetry. What a wild, wonderful privilege it is to witness!


The poem in its entirety, is posted below. I hope you find something in it, gentle reader, that speaks to you, and as always, I thank you for doing your part, reading my words, and making them live.




The scent of wind is burned upon your skin —
You’ve run with wolves, while howling at the night,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

I know the weight of life has worn you thin —
Within your eyes a hunger burns so bright,
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin.

I hear the echoes of your howls again —
I hope that you’ve been strengthened by your flight.
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

You look at me, and my head starts to spin —
I find my thoughts are rude and impolite!
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin.

I can’t control this flood I’m holding in —
I ache to break for you, to scream and fight,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

The smell of you turns all my flesh to sin —
till every touch becomes a sacred rite,
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.



The villanelle is a French form, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. The first and third lines of the first stanza become refrains that repeat throughout the poem.





With You (a quatern)


With you I find a concrete peace,
though life may tilt and earth may slide.
We chase the light, we find release.
I fly when you are by my side.
We find the woods; we breathe fresh air.
(With you I find a concrete peace.)
We make a path we two can share —
feet in the earth, heads in the trees.
My worries quiet, my fears decrease.
I’ll follow you to any length.
With you I find a concrete peace,
and in your eyes I see my strength.
Though it may be the darkest night,
I feel my confidence increase.
Your hand in mine, my world’s set right —
with you I find a concrete peace.
A sixteen line French form composed of four quatrains similar to the Kyrielle and the Retourne. The 1st line of stanza one is the refrain, which becomes the 2nd line of stanza two, 3rd line of stanza three, and 4th line of stanza four. A quatern has eight syllables per line. There are no requirements regarding meter or rhyme scheme.
line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5
line 6 (line 1)
line 7
line 8
line 9
line 10
line 11 (line 1)
line 12
line 13
line 14
line 15
line 16 (line 1)

The Way of Beauty

“You can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

“This has the power to fill you up again, if you’ll let it.”

“My life -like all lives- mysterious, irrevocable and sacred, so very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The Creek – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

I am fortunate to be in a new, long-term, romantic relationship with a fearless, beautiful, loving, polyamorous woman, who calls me her Mond (the German word for Moon.) I call her my Wolf. On one of our first dates, my she-Wolf and I watched the movie, Wild, with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role. Throughout her excellent performance, I was struck by the courage of Cheryl Strayed, who set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail, and succeeded, then wrote her memoirs about the life-changing experience of finding herself, and the woman her mother knew she could be.

I was also touched by the several literary references, the quotes of poetry, and the quotable passages from Cheryl’s book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It has now found it’s home on my ‘books to-be-read’ list. Watching the movie planted a seed in me. It made me ache to push and challenge myself in a new way. By the time it was finished, I was determined to find opportunities to ‘put myself in the way of beauty’.

I have, for too many years, been the girl who let her physical limitations get the best of her. I’ve been out of shape for a long time, and haven’t chosen to do much about it. I have been convinced that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t risk it, when it came to intense physical activity, and though I know that intensity is relative, what I previously considered too risky, and a bad idea, really isn’t. I’m learning I was wrong.

My Favorite Bridge – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

The past several weeks have been both wonderful, and deeply stressful, and that is nothing new. I’ve chosen a complex, crowded, polyamorous life, with a house full of my three adult children, a son-in-law, two grandsons, my husband, three pets, multiple polyamorous lovers and metamours, and often more people than beds or chairs in which to sit– and with it comes all the agony and ecstasy one person can hold.

I wouldn’t trade my life for the entire world.

The thing you should know about my she-Wolf is that she is strong, and fierce, and physical! She’s a master welder, a hiker, a runner, a primal, dominant woman who is most at home in the woods. Our very first date, we spent sitting on a huge bolder overlooking a ravine, and we talked about everything under the sun, as it set behind the trees. Even that evening, she challenged me to face my fear of heights, and trust her to keep me safe.

Her quiet strength has been something I needed before I ever knew I would. She came along and made a place in my heart and life, just in time to offer me a very different kind of strength from any other I know, which is remarkable, because I have several amazing, rewarding, romantic relationships with incredibly strong, smart people. I spent some time on the phone this morning with my she-Wolf’s wife — an equally beautiful, strong, intelligent woman, and we both agree — we are stronger, empowered beside her. She brings out belief in ourselves, and that is an incredible thing to discover next to someone so very generous and strong.

Mirrored Trees – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

My she-Wolf pulls strength from me; she challenges me to be better, to try harder, and to attempt new things I wouldn’t have tried six months ago. In the past few weeks, because of her, I’ve found my feet climbing over stones and boulders, stepping around sleeping snakes and poison ivy, standing on remote, rocky paths through thick underbrush and magnificent trees — chasing sunlight, chasing shadows, chasing peace.

I’ve often sat listening in the woods — where the nearest human being was well out of sight and earshot. No doubt there were birds, snakes, beavers, mice, deer, badgers and a host of other animals much nearer than any person who might be able to hear my voice. I have found, as I stood or sat in this wilderness, I am mostly listening to myself. I have been pushing myself farther down the trail, deeper into the forest, stretching my sore muscles, and I’ve kept going when before, I might have given up and turned back.

My Feet on the Path – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

It’s an amazing feeling to step off of the well-traveled road, and onto the rocky path through the trees like Robert Frost. It feeds my spirit to see such beauty — the sinking sun setting the the trees on fire, the stillness of a creek so placid that it mirrors the sky, the rocks that look like the back of some great dragon beneath the earth, and even the leaf-strewn dirt beneath my feet. It feels incredibly satisfying to challenge and push myself this way — and it is partly inspired by the way she looks at me, the way with all her strength and beauty, she believes in me.  She makes me want to be a better version of myself, to be the stronger, brighter light she sees in me. I am different, because of who she is when she’s with me, who she is with everyone I’ve had the privilege to see and know, and that is the most incredible gift.

I am changing. As I mentioned, the days of my life are filled lately with turmoil. My family is fighting for one of our own, as she battles against insidious mental illness. There are days when I feel powerful and determined. There are also days when I am not sure how much more I can take. But I usually find strength I didn’t know I had. I love fiercely, and am well aware that the love I’m given strengthens me for the days ahead. I purposely step into the woods, once or twice a week, just to replenish the well of reserve that we, as a family, so desperately need.

I put myself in the way of beauty, and I find it… in the trees, and on the path, in the eyes of my She-Wolf, and in other lovers who are amazing in my world. I count my blessings, and I draw from the gifts I hold in my open hands. My life is changed, and I hope every day that the people I love, find beauty and strength in me — as I do in them.

Billye Lane


She’s a red-head, gypsy
a highway child —
with earth stains on her feet.
She’ll woo you with whimsy,
and drive you wild —
then leave you in the street.


Alchemical flames
from the moment you touch her
Abandon your hope
Let go of your goal
The picture you take is all that you’ll
keep of her —
Except for the brand that she
leaves on your soul.





I wrote the preceding poem for the August Postcard Poetry Festival, and mailed it off to fellow festival participant, Lucia Sanford.  She replied a few weeks later, with a response poem, indicated above with italics.

Wandering (a nonet poem)


I want to lie with you ‘neath the stars
two gypsy lovers with paint stains
on our fingers, on our souls
I want our words to paint
across the night sky
fill our dreams with
as we




a 9-line poem that has 9 syllables in the first line, 8 syllables in the second line, 7 syllables in the third line, and continues to count down to 1 syllable in the final (9th) line.