Poetry Month is Here Again…

April was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 as National Poetry Month.  It’s a time when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country celebrate and honor poetry, reminding us all of its vital place in our history and in our culture and to our future.  See http://www.poets.org for more information on ways to celebrate the month – my favorite is Poem In Your Pocket Day, April 26th.

The writers at The Last Sunday Writers celebrate with a month of poetry…


By Mary Rose Betten

I am seventy-six years of age, newly divorced after 41 years of marriage and a retired Member of 53 years as an actress with The Screen Actors Guild. I am applying for the Position you advertised as a receptionist. I am good with people on the phone and in Person, but prefer not to use a computer. I can bring  my own portable typewriter.  As an applicant I have signed many leases as an occupant and currently live a full life in a one bedroom apartment and can offer you much experience also as a pedestrian, Able to cross the street within  the space  of time required while the light is green.   As a shopper I have been commended for my ability to recall my pen number by memory and swiftly swipe my card on the first try,  I only require glasses  to sign my name.  A good driver I boast only two speeding tickets thus far this year and those were limited to the same thing of going 80 on the freeway, I have no offenses driving within the city limits. As a passenger I require no assistance getting in and out of an automobile and as an active parishioner I volunteer to arrive early to unlock the side door to the church to enable the disabled to enter.  My Pastor is proud to write a reference should you be Interested in my auditioning as your employee to be considered as your  receptionist.

Desire (43)

by Laura Beasley

I’m lost and cannot find my way back home.
A princess who can’t sit upon her throne
I need to be swept up and carried there,
To live a life that’s just and kind and fair.

My needs will be scaled back for just today.
Another game of Mother If I May.
Decisions careful will grant me some peace.
For now, my fears for days to come can cease.

The care I crave must come from only me.
I know exactly what I want, you see.
I need to pull back, help myself emerge.
Protect myself, remembering this urge

And when I feel the need to scream and yell,
My pen is where my story I can tell.

When the Day Comes…

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine sharp.”
That’s a pro.

Stephen Pressfield
from The War on Art

Two major hurdles to sitting down and writing: time and finding inspiration!  The writers of TLS can’t help with time – you have to create your own habits for the work of writing, but we can offer monthly prompts to wake up that muse sitting at the edge of your computer screen.  We always begin our writing sessions with a prompt and five minutes of journal writing.  This month’s prompt comes from a student of mine who stepped up to the opportunity to lead and I hope the day comes when she finds her inner leadership and goes on to great teaching!

We invite you to use the comment section to post your own journal response to our monthly prompts.

Here’s to daily writing…

The Writers at The Last Sunday Writers Blog

When the Day comes…

Venus is in her ascendency
winging her way through the night sky
a lantern for the homeward bound
at dusk or dawn in a half-lit sky,
enticing the big one, Jupiter, to play
tag among the twinkling stars,
to follow on the path she treads,
to make a twin lantern to her glow
to smile in tandem on the earth.

By Laura Hoopes

I in the last twelve years at least have been working out everyday in some way at the gym or taking long walks to the beach and back home. But, as I look around me at the gym and see the hordes of beautiful young bodies and way folks are able to move compared to the older folks who walk all bent over or with canes, I wonder when the day will come when I can no longer keep up my pace. Right now I don’t have any aches and pains, my hips and ankles and knees are still supporting my purpose, but I can already tell I’m moving slower than I used to. My problem is that I’m always challenging myself and trying to work through any resistance I feel in my body. But how much longer can I still do it. My husband always says it’s hell to grow old, and I always tell him it’s a matter of attitude. So I press on mainly because I know the benefits are tremendous. I don’t want to wither away like some of the older folks I’ve seen. I don’t want to sit on my couch and eat bon-bons and watch TV. That will only take me to the hell of old age way too soon. So until that day comes along, I’ll be doing my workout thing every day, day after day. And that’s a good thing.

by Madeline Sharples


When the day comes… that no one tells me what I ought to be doing, or asks, “Why don’t you…” or “Why didn’t you…” or “You really should…” I’m not sure that I will know what to do with myself.
At my age, as social standing is no longer at stake, I hear things coming out of me like “I don’t want to…” or “That’s not important or of
any interest to me…” as I look over my shoulder to see who said that.  Is it beginning Alzheimers or Maxine?  I feel me patting myself on the back.  Hey, I’ve never done that before.  I like these new shoes I’m wearing.  They don’t have to be the kind everyone else wants anymore.

By Rity Keeley Brown

When The day comes I finally believe in myself I hope I won’t be dead.
I want to develop thought patterns that say; NOW.  Always now. Heaven is now.  Not tomorrow or next week when it will be more comfortable.
I want to sit in God’s lap as the grown up schooled by “little Mary Rose,” with the golden curls.
I want my hopes for others to be sacred,  the “I believe in miracles kind of hope, ” the “We can go far on God’s love ,” kind of hope.
I’ve started not getting out of bed until I’ve thank God for the idea that joy is learnable.   I can do it, I can, learning joy is feel-able.
Even if Frances the feral cat walks on my head I stay there in bed till I’ve checked where in my body I feel joy
and it doesn’t have to be in my vagina, it can be in my heart or my toes.
And I’ve decided I don’t believe in original sin.  I believe we were born into bliss and all we need to do is breath bliss out and in.
The day will come when dawn becomes  a joy exchange between me and the world
so the joy I learned joy will become a light for others to see their day come.

By Mary Rose Betten

I hear that line, when the day comes, and I wonder what day?  It sounds religious – when the day comes all men will be free, family feuds won’t involve the imprisoning of children or the bargaining over virgins, drugs won’t take our good and bad men, the dispute over gay marriage will be nothing but a footnote and abortion questions will permanently be locked in discussion between pregnant mother and whoever she sees fit –

Or is it more global; shining lights, freedom and peace for all – the rapture?

I keep seeing this day some eighteen months from now when my son leaves for college – when my son leaves.  Will we expand into the open spaces his absence creates?  Or will we tip toe over his footsteps not wanting to disturb his imprint?  And it comes with its own religiousity, no more praying to the late night gods of safety and speed limits and good judgment.  What I don’t know, I can’t wait up for…I am an imbecile, I believe in the joy of the innocent – when the day comes where love is wagered on a phone call and the by yearly bill from the registrar’s office.

By Erica Jamieson

When the day comes that I am all alone; no cat, no dog, no kids, no man–

No house, no job, no obligations, no ambitions—

That is the day when my life ends.

 For life is: cats and dogs who wag and purr

And life is: kids who love fully and laugh loudly—

And life is relationships—the tug of war

And life is built inside houses

And jobs are what fill our days

And obligations are as basic as our inhalations and our exhalations—

For without them

We die.

By Lisa Solis DeLong


Stopped in my reading tracks…

a comment  by Erica Jamieson (with a little inspiration from Alice McDermott)

“She sat on the edge of the bed.  She wanted to take her glasses of, fling them across the room.  To tear the new hat from her head and fling it, too.  Put her hands to her scalp and peel off the homely face.  Unbutton the dress, unbuckle the belt, remove the frail slip. She wanted to reach behind her neck and unhook the flesh from the bone, open it along the zipper of her spine, step out of her skin, and throw it to the floor. Back, shoulder, stomach, and breast. Trample it. Raise a fist to God for how he had shaped her in that first darkness; unlovely and unloved.”

                                                                                    Alice McDermott
                                                                                    From Someone

I was reading McDermott’s short story in the New Yorker Magazine on my Kindle Fire (best magazine app!) and was struck by this paragraph.  In the over exhausted mantra that emerging writers chant “Show don’t tell” I was overwhelmed with the intense emotion shown in this writing.  Although most good reading is a twisting exchange between showing and telling – was it Richard Bausch in a classroom at Breadloaf last summer who called the mantra an old saw?  Reading this over and over again I am exhausted by Marie’s self hatred, her embarrassment over her short comings, over having dressed for the unexpected break up, over her looks, her body, her fate in life – there isn’t one among us who can’t relate to that feeling and yet never in the paragraph are we told she hated herself, or that she was embarrassed or disappointed.

Here is showing at its best.  And I’m telling you – that’s the goal we should strive for in our own writing!

Feel free to comment with posts of other writings that have stopped you in your reading tracks…

New Year’s Wishes…

Writers, dear writers
As we enter this new year may
Our thoughts resonate as a gong
Our meaning reflect our Ommmm
Our words find a place to  belong

~Mary Rose Betten


After discarding the party hats, alleviating my overindulgence with an alka-seltzer or two, and venturing on this exciting new chapter titled 2012, my wish for all of you, my friends, is simple.  May we always continue to find fascination with the simple things that surround us, create never-ending awe inspiring wonder from within, and tirelessly work in seeking remarkable words to fill this brand new clean slate.

– Rossana D’Antonio


In the year to come, may our eyes be open to colors and shapes, may our ears hear the birds and laughter of children, may our tongues taste sweet, salt, and umami and a trace of bitter and sour, may we smell the onions and the roses, may our fingers run over velvet and the ‘cro’ side of velcro, and may we write our experiences into our work so it comes alive for all of our readers.

– Laura Hoopes


The old year exits bitter sweet.  How to judge the passing time. Pages filled on journals line, stories edited, abandoned, rejected,  –

Should I judge the year in words?

To rise with the dawn of a new day, A New Year! Pen and paper at the ready, fill my cup o’Joe and open my heart. Let words wander my way thus –

To those like me, and you know who you are, we troll in letters, fish for scaled sentences, scrape the depths of soul for pearled paragraphs –

The old year escapes bitter sweet, but in it’s wake empty journal pages unfurl, lines untangle, dare I say stories begin -Poise your pens, troll away, dear friends, write, write and write again!  Celebrate the coming 365 with words, words and words again!

– E.W. Jamieson

12 minutes left on the clock and my first thought is that Jacob, 12 years old, 6 years post leukemia, asked me last week if he could get a new pair of shoes.  He showed me the bottom of his soles and they were worn out.  I asked “how did you wear out your shoes so fast?”

 His reply,  “From shuffling Mom,” and he began sliding his feet back and forth in the popular dance.  This is the first time Jacob has ever worn out a pair of shoes.  To do so dancing is the best!  

May you wear out a pair doing something playful and full of joy!

– Lisa De Long

Mrs. Claus Learns to Blog

written by Mary Rose Betten

Dear Erica Jamieson

Santa assures me you’ve been a good girl so I’ll answer your blog.  To be honest with you Erica I’m not exactly sure what blogging means. It sounds like it has to do with snow.  Does it involve reindeer?  Like tobogganing?  Or is it an inside activity like yule logging?  Well, sweetie by the time I find out Christmas will be over so I’m just gonna do what you asked and call it blogging.  Hope it isn’t something dirty, but then l ike I said, I know you’re a good girl so I’ll do what you asked and describe my interview with the man his followers call, “The voice in the wilderness.”  Child, he is a man of few words, well, one word to be exact, whoops, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Here is the best I can recall of my interview on the River Jordan…

“Yew, hoo, yew hoo,” I kept callin’ out till I got where I could see him…at first I thought it was a bush…the man never combs his hair…Santa sent him some chocolate-covered locusts, I hollered ‘cross the river…”John, John, the Babptist?”…I thought he was waving, (he might have been swatting at locusts – they just swarm ’round his hair, it’s all matted with honey.  “John the Baptizer”.. he’s really sunburned, very, very brown, camels hair, not a coat, a sorta of what to call it?  Off the shoulder, camels hair…bushy eyebrows, you wouldn’t wanna be too close if he sneezed. When he yells REPENT he puts his whole self into it, you can see his teeth, course they’re brown too.

“John,” I called, well actually I called, “John….the…Can I call you Jack?”

Again, he kinda waved.  “Jack, sweeties, yelling REPENT all the time, it’s pretty tense.  How ’bout ‘hello’ first?  One quick hello.  People don’t cotton to being yelled at. ‘REPENT’ is…kinda… piercing. Ya know?  Not festive for Christmas time. So, Jack, hope you like the chocolate covered locusts Santa sent…I didn’t say REPENT.

“Santa wanted me to offer you a makeover this year, ya know?  LIke those folks at ‘What Not To War.’  Whadaya say? Replace that camels hair…No…REPLACE, I did not say REPENT!…Jack, you need a hobby. Cross word puzzles!  Learn new words!

“These days real fur isn’t…well, it’s just not worn.  Fake fur would be good. Cover both shoulders?

“How ’bout this…we print a card, like a business card that says ‘REPENT!?’  That’s all it says.  You don’t yell ‘REPENT’ you just hand ’em the business card, stroke your beard, course you’d have to shampoo first so your hand won’t get stuck.  Bells, maybe a little jingle jangle?

“Next on the makeover…Jack…I don’t know how to say this…Jack, we need to discuss your breath.  All those dead locusts, and …working so close to people.

“And Jack, this constant…’I must decrease.  He must increase.’  Where’s your self image?  Step outta the widnerness…maybe book your act on a cruise ship?  You’d have enough water to dunk everybody…a combo behind you…singing: ‘REPENT, REPENT!’

“Listen Jack, The Messiah is your cousin.  You must’ve noticed he told stories, he drank wine. Sure, everybody noticed…it’s there in writing: ‘Jesus, and the twelve apostles went to the wedding feast at Cana. The wine failed.’

“And your diet…Let’s teach you the four food groups.  Locusts…are they meat or vegetable?

“You do everything the opposite of the Messiah.  Why is that?

“To prepare His way?  Prepare His way???  What kinda answer is that?  I know all about preparing the way. But you don’t see me riding high, chug-a-lugging hot chocolate, munching home-made cookies, popping out chimneys.  Oh no, I’m preparing the way, keeping elves out of egg nog, nobody suggests I go on a cruise ship. Who do you think prepare Santa’s big night in the clouds yelling, ‘ On Dancer, On Prancer?’ while I stumble over elves checkin’ off who’s naughty and nice?  Well, I’m spent!!  I tell you.  I’m spent.  I did NOT say REPENT.  Don’t start with me. Whatcha coin’ Jack swaying back and forth…is it the wind?  The chocolate too rich on the locusts?  Sing?  Sing with you?  You sing, I’ll hum.

“Pre-e-e-pare yee the way of the Lord…Pree e-e pare yes the way of the…Jack we’re dancing’!

“Your breath, Jack, it’s sweeter than wine.  I’m sorry I hollered at you dear boy.  I really am sorry.

“Your eyes are so clear, but you’re fading.  Jack, you’re decreasing.  He must be coming.

“Jack, I think I see him!!!

“I do, oh Jack, he’s a little baby, small as a lamb.  Jack…Jack, where are you?

“Can you see them?  His mother, His dad, and a lamb, a tiny lamb.

“Jack, he has your eyes, the Christmas lamb, he had your eyes.”

The End.