Counting Cars at Lunch

Sitting on the front steps
and eating lunch on a warm day–
but not a hot day–
we picked colors
and counted cars
with those colors
zipping down the street.
(the cars zipping, not the colors)
Silver won a few times,
then we kicked silver out
and picked other colors.
The clouds filled in when
we grew tired of the game,
and we told each other
about the shapes we saw.
Dog to dragon to bear to evil monster.
There’s a whole busy world up there
floating along.
We left them alone as we went
back inside the house
to read and work.

Empty Boat

How many years
had Julie prayed for this?
Didn’t matter if Caleb
had slipped off the boat
or a monster octopus
pulled him under
the water.

The waves delivering
the empty fishing boat
to shore also delivered
freedom from the
demeaning yells
Julie had to endure
for most of her marriage.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

William Carlos Williams Stole My Plums

Photo of a wooden bowl containing several dark plums
by Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

I bought the plums
at last Sunday’s
farmer’s market

then put them
in my fridge

because 
I like them
sweet and cold

This morning
my eager hand
opened 
the fridge’s door

A blank spot
weighed
the shelf

where the plums
rested yesterday

I found 
Mr. Williams’s poem
on a
scrap of paper
on the 
kitchen counter

and now
I’m left
to think about

burglary
bitter disappointment

and the
possibility of forgiveness.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

The Poetry Foundation has the poem that inspired this one: “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams

Omeleto Films released the short film (7.5 minutes) Sorry, Not Sorry that has a darkly humorous take on the poem.

Book Review: ‘Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings’

front cover of book. The background is a painting of the back of two women. They are nude and gazing down.

Before I get to the review, Gabriela Marie Milton is holding a poetry contest around her new book Woman: Splendor and Sorrow. Head on over to her blog post for details!

Now on to the review of her previous book…


Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings by Gabriela Marie Milton

Let’s say you’ve walked through a few houses with blank walls. Maybe these are show houses in a new development in town. The blankness of the houses reminds you of routines: doing the same things every day, eating the same foods.

Then you enter a house with tapestries hanging on the walls. The tapestries are filled with vibrant images and suggestions of senses. That’s the kind of feeling given by Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings. Each poem is like a tapestry. 

You walk up to each tapestry and absorb the images woven into the fabric. Some images give the suggestion of aromas (cinnamon, “braid my hair with smells of lavender and roses”). Some images invite touch sensations (wind, “running barefoot on cobblestone streets”). Others conjure sounds (purring cat, whispers, “you make pianos sneeze old rhapsodies”). Others serve up tastes (passion fruit, “destinies melt in the taste of coffee and mistrust”). Others give glimpses of places around the world (Florence, Granada, Rio de la Plata).

The poems are celebrations of language, locations, emotions, and senses. These are Flamenco dancers, characters from myths, kisses, flowers, wooden beds, a woman being called Beatrice and wishing that was her name, “pigeons guide ships lost at sea,” wine, dreams, and a lot more.

The poems invite you to take in the images from those tapestries. Remove each tapestry from the wall and wrap it around you. For these bright emotions and senses enrich our lives. These keep our lives from become stale, monotonous. 

Most of the book is comprised of Ms. Milton’s poems, but there are two other sections. One includes poems by Flavio Almerighi, and these are split into columns: English translation on the left and the Italian version on the right.

The final section includes prose poems and flash fiction. The rich language continues in these, now with more narrative to sew together more concrete scenes. I enjoyed the poems in the book, and I enjoyed these fiction pieces more. I felt the fictional pieces were easier for me to enter the scenes and take in what was happening there.

This is a lovely book that’s like taking a vacation from the ordinary.

You can by this book at Amazon here.

More of Ms. Milton’s writing is at her blog.

Book Stack

Illustration of girl sitting on a large stack of books, and she's reading a book.

Sylvie’s parents said,
“You should make a list
of all the books you read this summer,
so when school starts,
you can see how many books you’ve read.”
Sylvie thought that was a nice idea,
but instead of writing a list of books
(which sounded boring to her),
she decided to stack the books she read.

While reading,
Sylvie had adventures in fantasy lands,
fought evil dragons,
helped good dragons,
soared in a hot air balloon to a tropical island,
solved the mystery of a missing key,
flew to a space station near Jupiter,
went up secret stairs to a laboratory.
She stacked book upon book upon book,
making a tower in her bedroom.
Books she had received as presents,
books bought at bookstores and yard sales.

She climbed the stack,
worried as it wobbled,
and sat at the top to read each new book.
She liked looking down
at her bed and toys and chest of drawers,
seeing them from a giant’s point of view.

At summer’s end,
she didn’t bother counting the books in the stack,
as she just liked looking at the tall tower
and remembering the many adventures.


DON’T TRY SITTING ON A TALL BOOK TOWER AT HOME!
The illustration is available on T-shirts and other products on my Redbubble store.
copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Audio of 4 ‘Dancing Fish’ Poems

I dipped my toe into the audiobook world by narrating four poems from my book The Dancing Fish.

This is something I’ve wanted to try and see how it goes. A different way of experiencing the poems. At first recording (using my cell phone), I sounded dorky and stilted. Then practice, practice, practice. Until I sounded more natural. And narrating became more fun as I relaxed more.

The four poems that I read on the video are:

  • “The Dancing Fish”
  • “Popcorn Tree”
  • “Quirky Miss Q”
  • “Xob of Chocolates”

If you’d rather see the video on YouTube, click here. If you watch it, please remember that I’m not a professional audiobook narrator 🙂

Veni, Vidi…

Photo of a valley with green covered hills and a stream flowing in the middle of the valley
by Tomoe Steineck/Unsplash

I came,
I saw,
I stopped.

I placed
my sword and shield
on the 
blades of grass
and I sat beside them.

You see,
the view
was magnificent.

I had packed
pencil and notepad
in my rucksack—
along with bandages 
and an orange.

I began sketching
the setting before me:

valley down
to a curving river,
then rising
to hills across the way
Castle on the hills.
Everywhere, 
the grass, shrubs, trees
were lush.

I knew my sketch
couldn’t match
the real thing.

But no matter.
My trying and enjoying
conquered
my previous plans.

And the orange
tasted sweetly delicious.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams