Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

Tokens of the Way

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~~ 1 ~~
Rocking in her chair,
the wizened grandmother
dreams of growing tall.
~~ 2 ~~
each Sunday morning
stirring the pancake batter
with a wooden spoon
~~ 3 ~~
Halfway to nowhere,
while longing to be somewhere,
she loses her map.
~~ 4 ~~
needing words of grace
to sustain her famished soul—
bread is not enough
~~ 5 ~~
on a rock alone
daughter of the sea lion
fending off suitors
~~ 6 ~~
sipping from the glass
while slapping at mosquitoes—
sloshes of whisky
~~ 7 ~~
the seams of her dress
unthreading in the brilliance
from a thousand suns
~~ 8 ~~
crisp October air—
she hikes the mountain pathway
breathing clouds of frost
~~ 9 ~~
shattered glass and thorns—
beneath her feet these tokens
of the way to come

Haiku © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #274
More Sunday’s Whirligig #29


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~~ 1 ~~
sharpening pencils
with the word vicinity
niggling at my mind
~~ 2 ~~
some magic liquid
to summon seven wonders
from the shallow pond
~~ 3 ~~
three shorebirds piping
songs to the dunes at daybreak—
their liquid voices
~~ 4 ~~
lying down to dream
after bicycling twelve miles
buffeted by wind
~~ 5 ~~
a big bowl of dreams
swimming in natural broth
spoon ready to dip
~~ 6 ~~
a thin stream of juice
thinner than water or light
in leftover dreams
~~ 7 ~~
dreaming at midnight—
in the distance a cabin
with an open door

Haiku © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #273
More Sunday’s Whirligig #28

Teaching Forever

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Sometimes I think I can teach forever.
Sometimes the dark circles under my eyes
tell me that it’s foolish to try to teach one more hour.
Last night the angels of sleep
abandoned me,
interrupted my erotic dream,
laughed at me in my distress!
Now it’s five o’clock Monday morning
and I’m propping up my head with one hand
while writing this lament with the other.
I’d like to forget my lesson plans
and start reading a good book
until I fall asleep again,
waking up around noon
to write fragments of poetry
or a letter to a friend.
Instead, I have to eat breakfast, shower
and change into something suitable for work.
Then I have to drag my weary body
into my classroom where sixteen sullen students
with learning disabilities
will watch me impassively as I try to teach them
about figurative language:
Simi—what? Meta—who? Personifi—why?
We don’t care.

Is their theft of my time worth it,
their theft that leaves me wasted?
Today, probably not.
But tomorrow or the day after
something might change.
And that is the hope that keeps me going,
the grace that spurs me on,
even when all the light is gone
and all I want to do
is crawl back under the covers.


© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #272
More Sunday’s Whirligig #27

Seeking Sugar

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~~ 1 ~~
last year’s ornaments
still shining in their splendor
for a few more hours—
a luxury to see them
among the pots and kettles
~~ 2 ~~
Where do they come from,
these poems at break of day,
wild as mists rising
high above the balcony?
Even ravens flap away.
~~ 3 ~~
brown wicker hampers
with dirty clothes poking out
spilling to the floor—
you’ve seen them in apartments
where the water’s been shut off
~~ 4 ~~
Behind closed windows
someone is brewing coffee—
a curtain flutters
and dancing daydreams scatter
like a flock of frightened hens.
~~ 5 ~~
Even coming twice
the horses seeking sugar
do not get enough
to satisfy their hunger—
they press against the railing.
~~ 6 ~~
Whose old singing voice
nestles in the empty pot
in front of the redbrick wall?

Tanka and haiku © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #271
More Sunday’s Whirligig #26


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~~ 1 ~~
murmuring prayers
that could double as weapons—
a renegade priest
~~ 2 ~~
secrets of the moth
dazzling the shaman’s daughter
in her quest for truth
~~ 3 ~~
Old men in turbans
move with deliberation
toward the temple square.
~~ 4 ~~
deserted mission—
adobe bricks eroding
in the wind and rain
~~ 5 ~~
for seventy years
choking on her resentments
bitter old woman
~~ 6 ~~
a dusty garden
its broken-down gates groaning
with every stray breeze
~~ 7 ~~
the drooping candles
on a chocolate birthday cake—
each forgotten dream
~~ 8 ~~
lighting up her dreams
sparks of remembered gunfire
from Afghanistan
~~ 9 ~~
pared to her essence
by an explosive device—
only stumps for legs
~~ 10 ~~
bits of body parts
left beside the road to rot
where the bomb went off

Poems © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #270
More Sunday’s Whirligig #25

Coming Up for Air

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~~ 1 ~~
on my homeward way—
sunset pulsing vermilion
atop the mountains
~~ 2 ~~
A talkative guest—
powerless to quiet her,
I gulp my brandy.
~~ 3 ~~
graveyard at twilight
children rolling in the grass
near grandma’s headstone
~~ 4 ~~
up and down the field
a farmer and her husband
sowing dust from stars
~~ 5 ~~
into a furrow
dropping corn seeds at daybreak—
glint in the crow’s eye
~~ 6 ~~
toad in the bean row—
the way it moves at twilight
toward a hapless fly
~~ 7 ~~
a forgotten name
surfacing like a turtle
coming up for air
~~ 8 ~~
on a moonless night
burrowing into her box
the homeless woman
~~ 9 ~~
white eagle feather
floating earthward from a nest
hung where cliff meets sky
~~ 10 ~~
for the mongrel dog
a rub behind both his ears
then a tummy pat
~~ 11 ~~
timeless afternoon
hitchhiker by the highway
waiting for a ride

Poems © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #269
More Sunday’s Whirligig #24


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Fanciful blue house, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México

at the dead man’s house
mice tugging another thread
from his winter coat

Haiku and photo © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Blue Monday
More Poetry Pantry #268
More Carpe Diem: “Lolly’s ‘Another Anchor Thread'”

Bread and Broken Dreams

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~~ 1 ~~
tangled old orchard
filling her with fear and dread—
the fruitless plum trees
disguise themselves as women
spilling vowels from their tongues
~~ 2 ~~
first calligraphy
written in the wilderness—
foxes sniff the lines
of a swart poem, wanting
to brush dark things of their own
~~ 3 ~~
In the dusty streets
she stabs the tip of her cane,
dotting her way home—
beside her hobbles a crow,
who imagines it’s her child.
~~ 4 ~~
She hears a drummer,
and then with new clarity,
understands her call:
to live among the poorest,
sharing bread and broken dreams.
~~ 5 ~~
Uncanny vision—
she smothers it with cobbles
lifted from the street,
where dreams run down the gutter
over broken bits of glass.

Tanka © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #267
More Sunday’s Whirligig #22

A Poet Is Born

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The first line of each breath-of-a-poem is taken from The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle.

~~ 1 ~~
In some hut of mud
with a floor of dry, tamped dung,
a poet is born.
~~ 2 ~~
inventing verses
that rise and fall with seasons—
the farming poet
~~ 3 ~~
on flimsy paper
writing words that reach thousands
with pathos and light
~~ 4 ~~
A fragrance of words
flows from the child poet’s mouth—
honey on his tongue.
~~ 5 ~~
the whispered daydreams
of corn pushing toward the sun
during tassel time
~~ 6 ~~
a woman running
from the seed about to split
into lightning songs
~~ 7 ~~
The fragrant garden—
she comes each day at twilight
to sip with the bees.
~~ 8 ~~
No one is looking
as she enters the courtyard
to steal a mango.
~~ 9 ~~
after the harvest
every vine stripped of its fruit—
season of waiting
~~ 10 ~~
Count the songs growing
in the tunnel of the mole—
ten thousand or more.
~~ 11 ~~
Even a free bird
cannot sprout another wing
when one is broken.

Poems © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #266
More Sunday’s Whirligig #21

Mariachis and More

Old Mariachis
Painting at Fábrica La Aurora San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México
THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “No More Cake Here” by Natalie Diaz: mortuary, motor, many, midnight, mouths, mariachis, mutants, magician, meth, missed, more, maybe

~~ 1 ~~
old mariachis
their faces creased with music
tumbling through the night
~~ 2 ~~
A little more time—
the cobblestones will crumble
and fresh woods will sprout.
~~ 3 ~~
Maybe the ravens
know more about nasturtiums
than ever I will.
~~ 4 ~~
old poet hobbling
near the pond’s edge at midnight
ripple of water
~~ 5 ~~
Sing me a riddle:
How many crooked pathways
make a journey whole?

~~ 6 ~~
It is a sonnet,
and anything can happen—
pour it in their mouths!
~~ 7 ~~
an old motor home
clunking along the highway
gypsy at the wheel
~~ 8 ~~
thinking once more of
those missed opportunities—
sixty untold tales
~~ 9 ~~
the old magician
seeking advice from ravens
on a windy night
~~ 10 ~~
one breath from heaven
mortuary director
waits for the next call
~~ 11 ~~
sudden explosion—
a meth lab in his kitchen
blows the guy to hell
~~ 12 ~~
seventeen mutants
singing alto in the choir—
the strange ways of God

Poems © 2015 and photo © 2013 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More Poetry Pantry #265
More Sunday’s Whirligig #20


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