Monthly Archives: December 2010


Christmas—it’s all about the memories. It’s all about the family. It’s all about waking up first thing in the morning to a house full of life.

It’s all about those Christmas smells.

Christmas morning, 2005. It was still dark. My littlest brother was the first one to wake up, like youngest siblings the world over. My brothers, when they are home, share a room together, so young Tom  was able to whisper over to Sam (my second youngest brother),

“Sam—I think there’s something burning,”

Sam was older and wiser and asleep. “Whuh. It’s like six o’clock, go back to sleep”

Tom saw the logic in this and returned to visions of sugarplums etc. Pretty soon, however, these visions melted away—things were heating up.

“Sam…we have to get up…”


“There’s a big black hole in my mattress and…smoke is coming out of it…”

Sam leapt from his loft bed and started beating the bed with a blanket as Tom clambered out—this let more oxygen into the mattress, which was stuffed with smoldering flames! Sam then grabbed a fire extinguisher, but it was DEAD! My oldest brother ran to my parents’ room, shouting!

In the room adjacent, I found myself awake. What noise was this? Yelling? Crying? Barking? Stamping? An acrid smell, too? I tried to pull the comforter over my head and keep sleeping, but my curiosity got the best of me. I opened my door in time to see my father and one of my uncles running down the stairs at top speed with the burning mattress, followed by two brothers. A plume of smoke gushed from the mattress, like some kind of a surreal locomotive.

I followed its progress through the house to the back door, where it was flung into the drizzly alley. Tom, face awash in tears and snot, stumbled to the open door to catch his breath and shiver. His twelve-year-old-nerves were shot and he could say nothing! We gave him some water.

A quick inspection revealed that the fire was caused by an old artificial Christmas candle from the window over Tom’s bed. The cord, it turned out, had been laid across Tom’s covers and toys and electronics and books and gotten tangled up—the flame-shaped bulb burned its way slowly but surely down inside the mattress to smolder away. After determining this, we woke up my Uncle Billy (who managed to miss everything!), more family arrived, and it was time for coffee and Christmas stockings.

There’s a Christmas lesson to be taken from this.


Birthday Poem for my Friend Leah

Lulu, Lulu
You’re Twenty-Two-oo
Whatcha gonna do-oo
About it?

Fun Poems and a Fun Fact

Bad Summer

I remember the first time I ever broke a bone–
And the last time
I ever went to the Hall of Paleontology.


My heart
My heart
Yes, Love can die
It crawls in a wall
In the back of your mind–
To puff and putrefy.

Meaning Fills Our Purpose!

Everything is as fresh and as new
As a tree unfurling from its egg
Today, she is just a little broccoli
But like the ugly duckling
Will tomorrow be a beautiful Swan
And all she needs is some rainstorms
And sunshine
And Love
And she will be tall enough to touch the sky
And get a Christmas STAR/ANGEL for her head
And underneath?
A gift for every person on the Earth
A gift from me to you
“My gift is my song and
This one’s for you”


What is the best way to ride a crocodile?
Probably by lying on your side, like it’s a Roman litter…
Or a divan.
You’d look a fool, straddling it.

Fun Fact About Anna (Not a Poem!)

This one time I tried to take a REALLY BIG BITE out of an apple and my Grandmother had to cut it out of my mouth with a knife.

A Birthday Poem for Artemas

This is a little late (his birthday was the 12th!) but I wrote a little birthday poem for my older brother, who is stationed on the other side of the country!


It’s big brother’s birthday
That one day a year
When Big Birthday Barnstable
Deigns to appear
With a great sack of cakes
In the trunk of his car
He’ll find you, my brother!
Wherever you are!

(Psst! Readers! Want to see some different birthday poems?)

Big Cranberry

“Well, well! Look who it is! What’ll it be today? Half & Half? Pomegranate Pear? Peach Orange?”

“Big Cranberry, actually.” Jess handed a couple of dollars to the cashier, who chuckled amicably.

“Big Cranberry for the little lady! Aaand here’s your change.”

Jess pulled a tight smile, took the change, and hurried out to the parking lot. Even though it was getting dark, the air was still muggy, oppressive. The air conditioning at Flo’s Fabric Barn had been out again, and Jess had stayed late doing felt inventory.

But none of that mattered now.

When she got home, the house was empty. Her mother was probably at Applebee’s with Dillon, her new beau. She’d be back in a few hours, unless they went back to his place. Jess went into her room, closed the door, and opened the bottle of Big Cranberry.

“There are no skunks on Nantucket,” she mouthed. No skunks. She’d gotten that one already, but not for a while. She got on her hands and knees and pulled out one of the many shoe boxes from under her bed.

“ANIMAL FACTS,” it read.

She gently placed the cap with its sisters. A smile lit up her face as she glimpsed one of the first facts she had ever gotten: Tom Scott’s dog Becky is part lab, part springer spaniel, and part shortstop. She closed the lid and pushed it back under the bed. Leaning against the box-spring, Jess closed her eyes and took a long sip of cranberry juice. When she was a little girl, she’d hated the stuff, but today, at 25? The sweet, dry flavor transported her.

She could just smell the ocean air. Some day, she would stand under the shadow of the second oldest lighthouse in the United States, watching for whales on the horizon. If it was April, thousands of daffodils would bob their heads in the breeze. She liked to imagine autumn most of all, though, when the Halloween Parade would march right down Main Street–which, like all streets on Nantucket, has no traffic lights! Just imagine! Maybe a young man in Nantucket Reds would be standing near her in the crowd.

“Did you buy those at Murray’s Toggery Shop?” she would ask casually, and he would grin with surprise.

“Why yes! How did you guess?”

“Well, that’s the first place they were ever sold, you know.” And she could see her breath fogging the air in front of her. And his.

“Hey, do you want to get a cup of hot cocoa or something, uh–”

“Jess,” she would say. “And sure–I know just the place.”

A Man Saying Hello

Monday Lunch: History, Victory!

I have been busy as of late with rehearsals and such, and have not been BLOGGING nearly enough! So here are a couple of lunchtime freestyle poems I just wrote for you personally, MINUTES AGO!

Oh, to walk in the footsteps of
My ancestors!
I would just love to sit in a cold cabin,
Speaking French,
Peeling some beavers and minks.
Or perhaps to chill in
The Caribbean!
Signing deposit slips for privateers!
Sint Maarten?
Nee dank je.
I guess I have a lot of other options, too.
Pretty cool.

Have you heard the news?
Sexism is dead!
An attractive woman can do anything a man can do.
Brains and beauty? Yes please!
A tigress in the bedroom and in the boardroom.
Behind every great man is a great woman:
His equal.