From Redditch to Redcliff

A poem addressing some of the misconceptions associated with “moving up in the world.”

I used a cut-up, collage technique (and an old encyclopedia) to construct this poem.

From Redditch to Redcliff

A life submerged, largely cloistered,
nocturnal, clinging to the ants and termites,
becomes alpha at the high water mark.

The son of former slaves building monastic homes
marked by prosperity and the naming of plants:
A centre of culture, harvested from the plump and rat-like.

A long, sticky tongue tears open nests
already badly damaged by the bombing of frequent storms.
Powerful, resigned, parallel rods strung with beads, inaugurated.

© Lisa Mulrooney


A lipogram (LIP-uh-gram) is a piece of writing that omits a certain letter or letters.

For more information on lipograms (and more), here’s an interesting site:

I recently took up the challenge of writing my own “univocalic” lipogram – a poem that contains only one of the five vowels (a-e-i-o-u). Here’s what I came up with . . .

Gin Kisses

His gin kisses fill my dim night
thick with chill mists, ill
bringing first his fights, his right
his fists – killing highs
this silly pill insists it fills

this night finds its trick
his will, my will dying
finding kissing sighs, bliss
thick with chill mists, stripping
birds in flight.

© Lisa Mulrooney

Tags on Towels

I recently completed my first MOOC or, for those not in the know, “massive open online course.” A MOOC is a FREE (or at least very affordable) course that is available online to a huge, often unlimited, number of participants. Since much of my work life has centred around improving and increasing access to higher education, I was excited about discovering MOOCs and even more excited to participate in one. The course that I took was entitled “Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop” offered by California Institute of the Arts.

While the course did not teach any poetic techniques that were unfamiliar to me, what it did do was refresh my memory and encourage me to flex my poetic muscles. I highly recommend the course to anyone, even though it may be focused slightly more toward beginning writers.

For more information on the course, click here.

Following is a poem that I worked on for the course . . .


Tags on Towels

Your sigh is a tag on a towel.
“Wash with like clothing”?
I have no clothing like towels – just towels.

It scratches and I keep meaning to cut it off
until the next time it scratches
my naked body, caressed and reminded
of its vulnerability.

Threadbare confidence, fraying, the damp
wet cleanliness clinging
in defiance, on the line
because “low heat” is impossible.

I ruined all my clothes once – with a towel.
Or was it the other way around?
They all came with labels I never read.

My clothes are new but I still use the same towels.
Debris clings to everything.  Little bits. Little tags
on towels – little sighs.


© Lisa Mulrooney

Be Careful What You Wish For

Inspiration shows up unexpectedly. While it probably isn’t always a good idea to rely on inspiration (at the expense of regular ol’ discipline and hard work), it’s still a good idea to capitalize upon it when it does show up!

The following poem came to me in a moment of sleepless frustration. Wishing my infant son would just stop crying, I pulled myself back from the moment and realized how awful it would be if he actually did stop crying – and never cried again. While the poem may seem negative, it really reflects a moment of profound gratitude.

In the space where poetry takes on a life of its own, this poem also explores the depths of desperation beyond the initial spark of inspiration that generated it.

Wishing Away

Just . . . ?”


And it stopped
and it stopped
and it all stopped.

As the nightmare began

with the sight
and the silence
and the still realization
of a stillness that could not be


What was,
was no longer . . .

A Tragedy.

©Lisa Mulrooney