Poem of the Week–Before You Were Born

Before You Were Born

My arms caressing my basketball sized stomach
I held you
as I spoke to you
holding long conversations
telling you everything I was doing every day.
You were for that interval detained,
floating dreamlike within your aquarium globe.
I would speak to you whenever the outside volume
became too distracting–
when the threat of impending violence tensed the surrounding air.
He would be ranting about something,
and so I would sit on the edge of the bed
and sing to you,
“Don’t you listen to him; mommy loves you”–
my arms around the you inside of me–
placing my palms just where I thought your budding ears might be,
to keep you, I hoped, from hearing his voice.

Once, before you were born,
I ran from him down the street,
and again my arms desperately held you.
This time they formed a kind of lift, a restraint
against the jostling of juices
as I held my bountiful belly
like a young boy who has just kidnapped a prized ripe watermelon
from the neighbor’s yard.

Before you were born,
as your first endocrinological seas were forming,
establishing their own recipe transmuted from his ocean
and mine,
I did not know then you would always hear those voices
that you would always be running.

D. Marie Fitzgerald
Palm Springs, Ca. Branch

Publications News and Poem of the Week-For Kate

The Pen Woman magazine is hot off the press and will be going out in the mail shortly. Members will be receiving the magazine in a few weeks to a month. click here to visit our Pen Woman magazine page to subscribe if you aren’t yet a member or to order additional copies. Winter2015cover

The deadline for The Light Between Us submissions is February 25, 2015. NLAPW members, please submit your true story of the impact of creative expression on a personal healing experience or the impact of a life experience on your artistic expression in 1200 words or less.
Use 12 point type and Times New Roman Font.
Submit your manuscript to: penwomenpress@nlapw.org with Light between Us in the subject line.
Include your name, address, phone number, email address and branch affiliation or Member-At-Large in the upper left hand corner of page 1.

Order our upcoming anthology, Poems of the Super Moon, on our bookstore page:poemsofthesupermoon6x9

Click here to visit the NLAPW BOOKSTORE

Poem of the Week

For Kate

Your hair smells like gin.
Crisp, of-the-forest, cold.
You spent a day hoarding
sunlight, posing on one
windowsill after another.
Washing yourself of winter.
You followed the light
east to west. By evening
you’d soaked so many
rays, you were gravid
with heat, gold, and
that juniper

scent. You hold my wrist
between your teeth, your
pupils dark moons, your sky-
blue eyes. You do not break
skin. I push my face into
your flank. I cannot resist you.
You murmur, one-syllable
seduction. Throw yourself
onto/into weave, stories,
oriental rug. Bare pink,
pink belly to night’s

Rachael Z. Ikins
Central New York Branch, NY

Poem of the Week–

All That’s Mine

It’s an ugly, ugly word
It’s an alien, foreign word.
Difficult to say,
Difficult to spell,
Difficult to live
It ravages through brain cells like Nazi troops
Razing, burning, taking no prisoners.
It’s a terrifying word, a thunder jolt,
Jarring and scarring time
A lightning bolt zig-zagging across minds
Setting fire to tangled piles of dead dendrites
that smolder, turning all memories into smoke
Taking all that’s mine

Oh, give me a kinder word
Like dotage or a softer word like senility
Give me an old fashioned, fuddy-duddy word like forgetfulness
Or a new self-conscious word like senior moment
Or deceptive words like mild cognitive impairment
Maybe a funny group of words like
Off your rocker, lost your marbles even geezerhood
That’s a word that makes me smile- geezer
Better yet
I’ll take Shakespeare’s hand and walk across the stage of life
“Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything” into my second childhood
But speak not the ugly word, the hated word, the terminal, terrifying word of

Susan Bassler Pickford
Member at Large, ME

Poem and Art of the Week and a simple New Year’s wish

Click on the image to see it larger.

Yosemite in Winter White, Meggie Raeder, Santa Clara Co., CA

Yosemite in Winter White, Meggie Raeder, Santa Clara Co., CA

There’s Always Tomorrow

Whenever bad things happen
Think about tomorrow.
Tomorrow is another day
And may erase your sorrow.
So wake up, get going
Forget a face that’s grim.
Exchange it for a smiling one
To hide the state you’re in.
If you smile at others
They’ll smile right back at you.
Suddenly your outlook
Won’t make you feel so blue.
Tomorrow is another day
New mornings offer hope.
Keep busy and productive
It doesn’t pay to mope.
No one said life’s perfect
Our plans often go astray,
Don’t give in to sadness
Tomorrow is another day.

Marlene Klotz
Boca Raton Branch, FL

Happy New Year to everyone. Many blessings for health and happiness for 2015. May 2015 be filled with music, art and meaningful words.

Treanor Baring
Website Editor

Poem of the Week–December Delights II

December Delights II

a ride through our neighborhood
is filled with lights pulsating to music,
scintillating crazily,
outlining window frames,
roofs and doors,
a manic celebration,
full of high energy and intensity.

My favorites are still
the large tear-shaped
bulbs that glimmer mutely
red, yellow, blue green, white —
over-sized versions of the ones that decorated our tree
when I was young,
the ones that glowed softly
after I turned off all the lamps,
sat in the living room
filled with anticipation

Nancy Haskett
Modesto Branch, CA

Blessings to all of you for a safe holiday and may we always be mindful of the needs of others.–
Treanor Baring
Website Editor
Poetry Editor

Poem of the Week–A Leave Taking

A Leave Taking

This is what I look forward to every year:
watching A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life with you—
our bodies like crescent rolls on the couch each on opposite ends,
our heads resting on pillows borrowed from our beds,
our feet touching under a shared afghan.

This year something was different—
I reached for your hand
but you withdrew it,
and some part inside of me imploded
like a flower wilting in time lapsed photography.
Your hand from mine took with it
all of our traditions and all we have been to each other,
causing me to file us away into some dark corner of a closet
where I keep cards, photographs, report cards, graduation announcements,
all the evidence of your life.

I never wanted to put your love there,
retire it to some dark recess,
even if only for the time needed
for you to place your hand in mine again.

by D. Marie Fitzgerald
Palm Springs Branch, CA

Pen Women Press News

Spirit, Peace and Joy 2nd edition is available. Take care of your last minute shopping with a click at our bookstore!
Please note: the deadline for members to submit poems for our literary press’s upcoming Poems of the Super Moon anthology is December 20, 2014.
Please send submissions to the Poetry Editor, Treanor Baring, at pwpoems@aol.com with Moon Poem in your subject line. Be sure to include your byline and branch on the page with the poem. For complete submissions guidelines click here to visit our Publications page. Book orders will pay for the printing, so please think about ordering several as gifts. To pre-order, click here to visit our Bookstore.

Poem of the Week–At Miss Kitty’s Home for Wayward Girls

At Miss Kitty’s Home for Wayward Girls

In the aftermath of winter storms,
broken marriages, death, and a quest
for independence a group of women
various ages, hair colors etc. gathered before a fire
to roast marshmallow Easter candies called
Peeps. Creme brûlée on a fondue fork.

Good scouts that they were, creativity
& indoor fireplace saved dinner. A sudden rainstorm
soaked the plan to cook wieners over a bonfire
in the back yard. Every single woman lost a father
to heart disease when those fathers were fifty.
A strange, sad community.

But the elders, this tiny group of survivors,
delighted to shock younger, tales of sex,
older women & erotic experiences, LOL,
collect sex-toys, dream of lovers. One dreamer,
a poet. She read to them while embers, eyelids simmered
low. They slept with dogs, woke up, faced new
adventures. Next morning, poet noticed the fire.

Rekindled through night, ash-camouflaged coals.
Not unlike a metaphoric older woman; holds heat.
One candle continued to waver from mantelpiece after
they’d gone to bed, guarding all sleepers and travelers
through darkness with fragile
constant magic.

by Rachael Z. Ikins
Central New York Branch, NY

Note to NLAPW members: The deadline for submissions to the Pen Women Press Poems of the Super Moon anthology is now December 20, 2014. Poets will be officially notified of inclusion after the deadline. Address any enquiries and submissions to the Poetry Editor, Treanor Baring, at pwpoems@aol.com with the subject line Moon Poems. Be sure to include your name and branch (or MAL) on the page with the poem! For full submission guidelines, click here.

Full Moon Poem–The Moon and the Stars

The Moon And The Stars

When I awaken in the night
full of longing and loneliness
thinking of him,
I close my eyes, pull the covers closer,
and return to the music of the forest.

Crossing all boundaries,
I find my way back
to the golden meadow,
the glowing embers of the campfire,
the smell of wood-smoke and pine.

And once again,
beneath a silver moon
and an eternity of stars,
I fall asleep in his arms.

JoAnna O’Keefe
Cape Canaveral Branch, FL

Pre-order the Poems of the Super Moon anthology from the Pen Women Press here.

Poem of the Week–Escape


On the plane
In a row by myself
I don’t have to talk
I don’t have to listen
Soothing hum of the motors
Air pressure so loud
It blocks out other voices
Look out the window
Why can’t troubles,
Heartache – hurt
Be as quiet as
Those clouds.

by Bea Doone-Merena
Boca Raton Branch, FL

About this poem: This poem was written by Boca Branch art member Bea Doone-Merena at a recent poetry workshop conducted by Marlene Klotz, Boca Raton Branch Poetry Chair. Ms. Klotz describes the workshop:

Marlene Klotz, left, Boca Raton Branch Poetry Chair, at a recent poetry workshop

Marlene Klotz, left, Boca Raton Branch Poetry Chair, at a recent poetry workshop

Our workshop turned into a memorable experience.
Everyone got into the act, even the nurse who accompanied
a member who has trouble walking. I based our theme on
the inspirational poetry of Maya Angelou, with special
emphasis on her book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”

Our ladies are not caged birds. We give ourselves the
freedom to be our own selves. At the same time I introduces
the women to the poetry and quotes by Angelou, I made sure
to throw in lots of humor. We had a noisy and happy afternoon.

Some of the poems were funny. Joni Sack made us all laugh.

As I explained, poetry begins with a thought, a feeling, well chosen words,
then best words in the best order.

Poem of the Week-The Ice Queen


Moon-white the Snowy Owl flies
swallowing December’s darkness like prey,
waiting for the sun,
being the one
instinctively driven
to hunt by day
scanning an Arctic tundra.
Through amber goblets
she spills lasered beams earthward
pearl talons in tandem impose closure,
marking an Athena victory
melding wisdom with vision
in a twice turned head,
ready to avenge a counter attack.
Flaunting she rises,
her conquest grasped in flight,
then swoops to a-light an Arctic rise.
Momentarily she sits, an alabaster statue
carved in ice.

Joyce Gregor
Pikes Peak Branch, CO