Poems in Progress: #26–April 26, 2016

Number 26

The Value of Pennies

My dad
used to hide them
instead of Easter eggs,
rare steel  War coins. We had to find
each one.

Leslie Schultz

Personally, I am partial to pennies. When I see one, I pick it up. I love the hues of copper, polished red or patinated green.

Yesterday, to create this number twenty-six, I used pennies on hand. This morning, I remembered how my father, an amateur coin collector,and my mother would hide one hundred of his steel pennies around the house on Easter Sunday. My brother, sister, and I would seek them on window ledges, behind doors, under furniture. We had to count our finds–accounting for each hidden coin–and return them to Dad, who would exchange them for standard issue coins (heavier and shinier, but paradoxically less valuable).

My dad, born in 1938, became interested in coins when he was a boy with a paper route and collected money for subscriptions. He remembered these valuable but ugly WW II pennies minted when all available copper was needed to manufacture ammunition and wiring. Compared to standard pennies, these ‘steelies’ were too light, too rough and easily corroded–often with a tacky white coating forming–and too dull. They were also magnetic. It always amazed me that these coins, inferior in beauty and function, were so much more valuable due to rarity and historical imprint. But what did I know?

That memory morphed into this cinquain.

Until tomorrow!


Poems in Progress: #25–April 25, 2016

Number 25

Accessorizing for the Beach

In February, I dream of beaches.
In frozen, landlocked Minnesota
I dream of sand, tides, and warm sea breezes.

I wake, down coffee, don a blue parka,
drive to a shopping place where I can hear
the sounds of water running, echoing.

Here beige floor tiles approximate sand.
All the merchants have anticipated
my dream of beaches, our collective dream.

Mannequins would shiver if they could. Nude,
mostly, and headless, or clad in motley
triangles of scanty muslin or net,

they are amply equipped with accessories—
purses as large as apartments, wedges
of footwear angled sharply as ski runs.

They hold dark glasses and umbrella hats,
stand ready to protect their endangered,
essential, but currently vanished heads.

Leslie Schultz

In February, when I began thinking about participating in National Poetry Writing Month, I decided to try to begin each post with a photograph of the number corresponding to the day. And I decided I would try to find examples of numerals out in the world.It was harder than I expected to find numbers–especially in differing fonts. There is much more variety in terms of script in the world at large than there is for numbers, I found.

When Julia needed to get a few things at the Mall of America, I found a several in the Mall itself and in the parking garages. (My favorite is #9–the enormous “9” on the back of a man’s jersey–taken that same day.) Today’s mercantile signage was the first image I took. Along the way I learned that house numbers, license plates, and highway signs have rather little by way of variation, but with a little blunt cropping they were serviceable. By the end of March, I had secured photographs of numbers from “1” to “30”–with a single exception: “26”.

Perhaps if I lived in a larger city equipped with elevators rising to twenty-sixth floors or streets or avenues running to higher numbers, I might have spotted something during the past three months of watching and hoping. The number I need for tomorrow’s post seems rarer than a unicorn in my world!

Have you sighted one?  If so, and it is possible to snap a digital photo and emailing it to me by midnight, I would love that. Otherwise, I will create something out of found household objects!

Meanwhile, speaking of found objects, here are some images from a 2011 trip to the Georgia coast.

Sea Two

Sea One

Until Tomorrow!


Poems in Progress: #24–April 24, 2016

Number 24

Driving Through Rain

The sweeping arm
of the rear-view wiper
slices through rain
like a metronome.

Reliable reaper
creates,  recreates
one brief shape
of singing water.

Palladian window,
open an instant,
allows a glimpse
of the recent past.

I travel through
dissolving tunnels,
collapsing time.

Leslie Schultz



Until Tomorrow!


A Poem in Progress: #23– April 23, 2016

Ryan's Friend, Will

Celebrating William Shakespeare
on the Four-Hundredth Anniversary of His Death

Four centuries gone, but still we fill our lungs,
vying to offer praises just to you.
You enrich our minds and silver our tongues
and help our souls enlarge a little, too.

As English speakers in a brave new world
of cyber snares and near-constant streaming,
we raise pixilated banners, all unfurled,
in homage to you, who sets us dreaming,

bequeaths us gems like “All the world’s a stage”
from the golden casket of the First Folio;
allows immortals to leap off the page.
(Recall those capers cut by grim Malvolio?)

Today, we’re all your inheritors still,
receiving from you, sweet William, what you will.

Leslie Schultz

Today, April 23, is the day I (like most people) celebrate as Shakespeare’s birthday, and it is also the day of record for his death in 1616. After seeing Hamlet at the Guthrie (with Randall Duk Kim in the leading role) and then two classes at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Professor Standish Henning, I had fallen in love with Shakespeare’s sonnets and his plays and knew it was a lifelong passion.


Until tomorrow!