The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Category: Poetry

Winter Muse

Cold cold lady – you wend your way past windows a chill thought crossing my forehead as I dream , just a hint, a mist of inspiration – could be the onset of a headache as easily as a new idea to write. Frosting my thoughts


Visiting with the Dead

sacrificed everything through no intent

wanted to hold on, yet there it went

no hand holds in reach now

just one cold marble stone

and memories ricocheting

song fragments say it best

and allow me to lay my head

down to rest in a world

where a 21 gun salute

or a memorial held in a gym

are all that’s left of

him and him, those events

and the thoughts in my head

my unreliable, mortal memories

I hope they are enough.

The Second Order of a Minute

The ghost of Tyrone Guthrie

wavers and walks again

across the city in which he slept

built dreamed thought acted

action impacting thousands

even as his body rests

and his face, always larger than life,

stares for a time down Washington Avenue

while we walk, jog, run

acting on the small stage of Minneapolis

under the influence

of the flour sacks

and the ruins of mills

We know our bones won’t last as long

as the stone arch bridge

even with its trusses

its heart surgeries and such

our time is a moment

and we still do not understand the nature of time.

An Afternoon on the Farm

Two hour van ride, carsick in the back.  My family, actively a family, even during mundane tasks. Not like some families- mine loved to be together.  Playing games and laughing.  Listening to Dad’s jokes.

The only time we got upset was helplessly watching cars pass us in the left lane – admonishing dad, Step on it!  Step on it.  We’d wail like greek mothers upon learning a child was fated to die.The farm was like no place else we visited – even a gentler purgatory than the one we believed in.  Illisium fields, had we ever heard of such a place, we would known we were there . Timeless, detached from space – country road C wound by like a thread back to the rest of the world = a world easily forgotton as a we walked back and forth on the gravel road from the mailbox to the farmouuse – Dad maintains that it had electricity in the end, but that’s not my memory of the place.  Farmhouse.  Still with it’s original tarpaper sides

Looked crooked as though it had been dropped by dorothoy’s tornado.  No ruby slippers, though, I checked.  Just field after field, on Grandpa’s poorly farmed farm.

With nothing to do, mom would say Go Play!  And we would.  Trounce out to what must be the center of a field of hay, my brother and sister and I would use our forearms to press down the grasstalks, forming mazes to crawl through.  We marveled at bugs and flies, stalks that bulged with baby insects frightened and fascinated us.  Our skin grew tan in the unending golden sunshine, and we didn’t run away from anything.


Falsifying my way

through reality

to a reality

that better suits me

Fake it till you make it

How will I know

when I’ve got it made?

humid as hell

People say it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.  But on a day like today, there is no heat.  I mean there is no humidity – only heat.  Heat and a dry, cooling breeze.  This breeze is the raw breeze of an emotion  –  the planet in turmoil, not unlike my turmoil – dry, no tears.  Save the refreshing rains for another day.

Dry, scorcher thoughts chafe each other in my mind.  A dessert.  No, a desert.

The sun beats down, wind shoos it away, but it doesn’t go anywhere.  Like how thoughts can chase away other thoughts, but the problem still radiates down from on high – from on high?  That’s not exactly true either.  If I want to get this right, to track down how I really think, I have to admit that the beating, heated energy my thoughts try to whisk away comes from somewhere other than outside.  Inside.  What’s it called?  If I name it will it go away?  Sure it’s not too dull?  It’s called guilt and shame, just like evryone has.  You, too, I’m sure.

Sorry I Really Can’t

Sorry I really can’t.

I could try to think

of some sort of

existential excuse

my soul is in a downturn

my life is too taciturn

my energy won’t return

all your efforts my brain will spurn…

that’s why I can’t write today.

🙂  Sheila

If I Take the Time

If I take the time

to write small

and with good penmanship,

maybe that part of me

which is always in hiding

will come out to play.

Maybe she’ll kick out some rhymes

she’ll be ahead of her times –

you know she’s always there

but a true, complete sighting

is very rare.

Sestina for Carol

On the happy occasion of my second cousin’s birth
we were also visited by Death
it was almost hard to see the joy
flitting in and out behind the grief
we all felt ———-mixed-up
a funeral is no time for Wisdom?

We heard plenty of lines – wisdom
of the ages – saying death was birth
from this crazy ~~~~~~~~~~~~mixed-up
world – a new life, death
was not an occasion for grief
but instead for uncontainable joy

We strove to find the joy
we had heard, and could see the wisdom
of it- but all we felt was grief
at the thought. We gave birth
to new questions for Death
all of which he’d heard before mixed-up

with curses, mixed-up with prayers, mixed-up
in general, with the continued joy
of living even in spite of Death
stealing a source of Wisdom
from us, earned by an ancient birth
we lost the wise one with a jolt of grief

which, when~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mixed-up
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(what joy)
was, there was~~~~~~~~~~~~~Death

death grief wisdom mixed-up joy birth

mixed-up joy birth.



You wrote

about a nightmare world

Brothers Grimm

dialed one notch grimmer

Where every soul mirrored


a dark twin lurking

And you

sharing so much of my name

Sylvia Plath, Sheila Path

Your name asphixiated my hopes

as much as that oven

killed you

Only by changing mine

could I begin to think

I might escape your fate

But I still wonder:

Was it the gas or the

poems that finally did it?

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