The Apparition

Scaffolding The Revenant by Billy Collins

I am the beloved white converse,
you bought to match all your petty friends,
come back from the garbage to tell you:
I never fit you — not one bit.

When you forced me onto your wide heels,
I thought of placing blisters on each one.
When I watched you primp before floor length mirrors,
I wanted to bust every stitch of my seams.

I resented the way you danced,
tacky flailing of limbs,
the way you would wouldn’t wear socks,
a basement of grime, scuffs on my once pearly lips.

I would have run away,
but I was broken in, crunched beneath your footprints
while I was taught to walk pigeoned toed,
and — greatest of insults — how to Dougie.
I admit the sight of Brooklyn
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to be near converse worn without flannel.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated campus, the leggings,
disliked your friends and, worse, your boyfriend.

The sound of girls screeching pop covers drove me mad.
You always wore me in all the wrong places.
All I ever wanted from you
was one Panic! at the Disco concert.

While you strut, I watched you pose
as the fake you are.
It took all my strength
not to throw myself at the punk skinny jean teens.

Now I am free of the booty shorts,
the overflowing closet, monogrammed Starbucks cup,
the absurdity of frat house croquet,
and that is all you need to know about this state

except what you supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner —
that everyone grows up and gets jobs,
stuffs wide heels into loafers, pinching into profession.


My Five Dollar’s Pay

Scaffolding Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day

Who made coffee?
Who made espresso, and pour overs?
Who made cold brew?
This cold brew, I mean-
the one that has filtered and dripped drop by tiny drop for nine hours,
the one that is as black as bubble gum dried into cement,
that is potently robust and bitter begging for creamer-
that is cascading in a cloudy haze of rosy chocolate brown and milky streamers.
Now I lift the cold dewy glass and inhale a small waterfall onto pebbly taste buds.
Now my brain snaps awake, and simmers to the caffeine routine.
I don’t know exactly what routine is.
I do know how to gather friends, and murmur velvety gossip
into the steaming black mugs, how to pay five dollars,
how to be embraced in the atmosphere of friends, how to love cozy cafés
which is what I have been doing all day.
Do tell, what better way to get work done?
Doesn’t everyone need a healthy addiction?
Tell me, what do you devote your five dollars to?
with your small chaotic and beautiful time?


Sonnet Scaffolding David Livewell’s  Fatigues

I stood head below seventies style counters
My grandma, slicing strawberry jello
Us kids playing “bar” in the room below
Pouring air and thought into decanters
Grandpa bleary-eyed watching his war shows
Didn’t see him drink but his glass stayed chilled.
Grandma silently lived love unfulfilled
Now lives alone with her memory froze.
And although she doesn’t remember much
Her tongue, rolls over french and past travels.
We cannot see what she knows or dreams of
Or when reality ceases. And such
I wonder at what her eyes unravel.
A picture clouded by regret or love.

I really struggled with the iambic pentameter, yet loved the rhyme scheme of the sonnet structure. However, revising my whole sonnet to have correct iambic pentameter would have changed the meaning and word choices I made in the original poem. In order to resolve this, I have written a four new lines for the start of another sonnet as a demonstration of my understanding of iambic pentameter:

Confronting you was the ravine between
Both you and I. Breathe deep, stand up and go
Place pride aside and quickly strike the scene.
Diplomas kill the risk and chance to know.

Secrets and Shutters

I love to set myself up
setting my eye upon the ones
that I know I can’t 
or shouldn’t have.
The continual tragedy.

The feeling of fingers
brushing, passing small
tightly rolled cylinders of film
between our webbing
of skin and bones.

the very presence of you
your shoulders 
the great wall of china
just beside my own
narrow chain linked fence.

from the delicate
murmur of your cologne
which I have to breathe deeply
just to get a whisper of taste.

Which I can’t breathe
when you are near.
My eyes thin lined shades
fluttering open and shut
like a Canon lens
my aperture spinning.

My mind a shutter speed of 500
as you send your perfect beam
of a lunar smile;
even lines of pink lips
cropped over your perfect teeth. 

Sometimes those mini moments
those pictures in time
make me forget you
and I can’t be.
Leaving us overexposed.

Table Of Contents

Home Page: Carolyn

 Featured: Running Circles, About the Author, Common Threads


  1. Poetry
  •  Running Circles-Workshop Poem/Pantoum
  • Summer Simplicity
  • What Every Good Friend Should Know
  • The Apparition
  • Culaccino-Sonnet
  • My Five Dollar’s Pay
  • Secrets and Shutters

2.  Narratives

  • New Leaf – Narrative 1: Fiction
  • Common Threads – Narrative 2: First Edition
  • Common Threads – Narrative 3: Post-Workshop Revision

3. Artist’s Statement

What Every Good Friend Should Know

Scaffolding Brian Turner’s What Every Soldier Should Know

If you hear the agonized sigh after a hollow text tone,
it could be a candy crush request, or it could be from you know who.

Always tread three am conversations lightly;
lest you get embraced in the sweet chokehold of loneliness.

What is your middle name? Is rarely the deepest secret.
It means Unfold! Tell me your bloodied red and buried desires.

You must be tired is effective.
It means Are you sure you really mean that?

I miss you means many things.
Dig a trench between the muddied lines, for many times it means boredom.

You think you will hear an artillery truck racing, rattling, crashing towards you
Not so the friend, who can flatten you too.

There are borrowed cologne stained sweatshirts,
and sand from twilights under shadowy mountain moons.

There are memories of being lifted over a rickety fence
to feel cold chlorine lick our bodies, in forbidden fun.

Conscience hammering alongside a straightjacketed heart,
He is only playing with you.

Men dragging their hearts as small pets on long tattered leashes,
walk up, circle their arms and whisper everything but I want You.

There are men who earn a crowd of followers
by looking good, five thousand by playing a good game.

Small boys in big looming bodies,
become old men whose ageless alluring eyes will forever roam—

and any one of them
may roll you over tomorrow.

Summer Simplicity

Inspired by Charles Simic’s Summer Morning

Cuddle under the covers,
All morning,
Waiting till grandfather clock chimes,
Noon, listening.

Outside mother is watering
Little daffodils and
Hydrangea’s full of misty dew yet
Still thrusting thirsty necks upwards.

There’s a smell of windows open,
Blowing out the aftershave of eggs,
And blueberry flavored coffee in
A chilling french press.

I know all of the soft places
Where the sun settles into a yellow nest,
Where the trees create
Abstract art; with their negative spaces
And paintbrush arms
Stretching out of an early afternoon nap.

I pass over the side of the house
Bordered by mini mountains of stolen rocks,
Glimmering in the sun past lives and long ago coasts.
The street over, a young man, naked to the waist,
Pushes a mower as sweat bobsleds,
Down the rivets of his body.

The good tree with its budding fingers
Smells of memories of the sack swing
Cutting deep into the branch.
Overgrowing into its new transplant.

I stop and listen:
Somewhere off to the left
A grasshopper coughs,
And a bush shutters awake.

I taste smoldering grass
Inside the cave of my mouth,
I hear the moss chattering
Over brunch in the stoney cracks.

Power walkers pass on far ahead,
Moving legs opposite the
Rotation of the earth,
Without stopping it.

And I realize,
In the midst of that quiet
It seems lovely
How simply incredible it is to exist.

Running Circles

Class Workshop Formal Poem Pantoum

Running Circles

It started as the best escape,
Running in circles till everything fades away.
Some days were for thundering teams and patterned practice,
Yet others days were simply for me.

Running in circles till everything smolders away.
Intervals forcing, lungs pulsing oxygen and fire,
Yet some days those muscle licking aches were for me.
Murderous 200’s + sandy long jumps = after school therapy.

Stress throbbing, my chest collapsing oxygen and fire
No more coach — yelling bring it home.
Abandoned sidewalks + chain-linked trails = free therapy
My legs beg me on trembling knees, “take up yoga or bubble baths.”

No more coach — calling bring it home.
Running over the heart blood coating the ground and soul.
My legs beg me to get over this shattered glass heart faster
Emotions crave exercise more than thirsting muscles.

Running a tireless treadmill on the mushy pavement of the mind.
Breathing out thick clouds of our memories
Emotions burn more calories than muscles.
Toxins can store in immobile limbs.

Shedding chilling drops of memories
Wishing you were burning me with your smooth flame words,
Instead of these tasteless calories.

So I’ll run in circles till you fade away.