The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: Poetry

Falling Into A Poem

Falling into a Poem

Tripping along
over your words
accents to ride
like waves
crashing over ideas

There are so many grains of sand
indistinguishable on the beach
until you bend, scoop, and pick,
isolate one to look at closely
there may be a microscopic statue
smaller than the needle of an eye

I wheedle I need to needle
this idea through
my noodle beyond a doodle
one accent syllable, one non
dactyl or anabastic bliss
lending an outline to the guts of the operation

what could be better than this

it all rests upon one reality:
look close and there is Alice;
whom you’d thought you’d inhaled.

by Sheila Feb. 18, 2009
edited Nov 2, 2011


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.

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.

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?

It just goes.

I don’t know what to write.

I set my pencil to paper, and it goes

it just goes.

no deep thought

certainly no structure

no counting syllables

for me

nary a rhyme

I have no scheme in mind

or at least I try

because the patterns

have been patted

and the sayings

have been said

but doesnt matter anyway

I just need them

out of my head

so teetring on iambic feet or

flowing out in waves

the words I write

go forth to meet

and who knows who they’ll save

many, some, or none.

I’ll write til my hand goes numb

and I’ll talk until I’m dumb

and read your words until I’m blind

or til I’m out of time and rhyme

I would rather expire than lose my desire

to share this fire.  🙂

The Polar Opposite of Nothing

Noun. A person, place, or thing.

No such thing as a neutral noun

never needing nothing.

Nouns require something

simply because they are there.

Accept or reject – two choices

it all boils down to a binary code

right or wrong, yes or no, on or off, in our out

cower or shout

it’s the grammar of my life

words, choices, compound sentences

involving conjunctions and various functions

I must make these choices

respond to these nouns

be the agent of action

be the verb

do something

some nouns make it easy

food? eat it.

water? drink it.

yarn? knit it.

concrete nouns call for concrete responses

abstraction blurs the choices

how you respond to them

love, life, death

is everything, the polar opposite of nothing.

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