Community Collection 6: FAMILIAR SONGS with Lesléa Newman

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!


Today’s Guest…

made history in 1989 with her controversial picture book Heather Has Two Mommies, and has continued to be an important voice writing on women’s and LGBTQ+ topics ever since. Please welcome author, teacher, and advocate …







Pick a familiar song or poem and write an imitation of it, using the same form (number of lines, sentence structure, rhyme scheme if the poem has one, etc.). Take something old and familiar and make it your own.



1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!


I’ll Be Lookin’ at My Email

I’ll be lookin’ at my Email
all the live-long day.
I’ll be checkin’ out my Facebook
just to see what people say.
Can’t you hear the Twitter gossip
size up the matter in a phrase?
Can’t you see my time a-wastin’
as I fritter it away?
© 2018 Heather Kinser

I’ve Been Working on My Project

I’ve been working on a project
half the dag-gone day.
I’ve been working on a project
just to get an easy A.
Can’t you see my mother helping?
Hoping Miss Roberts never knows!
Can’t you hear my mother shouting,
“That’s not how it goes!”
“That’s not how it goes.
That’s not how it goes.
That’s not how it goes my dear!
That’s not how it goes.
That’s not how it goes.
That’s not how it goes my dear!”
Maybe I should alter the project.
Maybe it’s a little too great.
Maybe I should alter the project –
Miss Roberts knows I’m only eight!
Colleen Murphy
© 2018


Sew sew sew your coat
Fix that broken seam
Sleepily, sleepilly, sleepily,
Quick! Before you dream.
@Kirstine Call 2018


Amazing Grace, you’re still around
despite a life of crime,
your grace and blessings they abound,
with comfort so sublime.
T’was crime that kept me in its grips
and Grace, my sins revealed,
how precious You forgave my slips
and now my soul is healed.
(C) Sherry Howard

Side By Side

HE knows we’re ragged and funny
still gives the rich all the money,
But we’ll use protest songs
and vote out all the wrongs
as we defy.
We know how it’s working,
Wonder why others do not?
We’ll continue along,
sing “everyone’s” song
with great pride.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved

(Morning Has Broken) April

Open my eyes to beautiful sunshine,
Snow in my driveway, covers my shoes.
Wish I could fly off and land in the tropics
God, give me patience, for one more day.
(c) Wendy Bokovoy


The wiggly, squiggly caterpillar
crawls up a leafy tree,
spins a cocoon as cozy as can be.
After twenty days, a butterfly appears,
and the pretty, flitty butterfly
flies off and disappears!
(c) 2018 Dianne Moritz


Peddle. peddle my red car.
Off I go, but not too far.
‘Round and round the yard so fast,
Wave to Mom as I drive past.
Peddle, peddle my red car.
I’m a racing SUPER STAR!
(c) 2018 Dianne Moritz

Wine Glasses Shattered

Wine glasses shattered onto the carpet
Red liquid splattered, soaking the rug
Inside I’m screaming
I know the reason
I will be cleaning ’til morning comes
So glad my carpet, woven by Persians
has a slight scarlet thread from the loom
Thanks to the weavers for this insertion
The stain looks like flowers ready to bloom.
Thanks for the cleaning
Thanks for the cleaner
There’s hope for redeeming every mistake
Thanks to the husband who found the cleaner
and to his cousin who cooks a great steak
Wine glasses shattered onto the carpet
Red liquid splattered, soaking the rug
There’s no more screaming
I know the reason
I won’t be cleaning ’til morning comes
© 2018 Doraine Bennett

Take Me Out to the Ballroom

Take me out to the ballroom;
take me onto the floor.
Teach me some tango and East Coast Swing.
Don’t be surprised if I can’t learn a thing.
for it’s one, two, three count them, four steps.
Good gosh, I don’t feel the beat –
so it’s “Oops,”
“I’m sorry” now for my two left feet!
Colleen Murphy
© 2018

This Seat Was Made for You and Me

My horsey waits yonder the pasture
my horsey waits yonder the tree
my horsey waits yonder the pasture
please make sure he gallops to me.
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my horsey to me, to me
bring back, bring back
oh, bring back my horsey to me.
© 2018 Robyn Campbell


Lesléa Newman has created 70 books for readers of all ages, including the short story collection A Letter to Harvey Milk; the poetry collection I Carry My Mother; the teen novel-in-verse October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, and the children’s books Sparkle Boy; The Best Cat in the World; Ketzel, The Cat Who Composed; and the children’s classic, Heather Has Two Mommies, the first children’s book to portray lesbian families in a positive way. She has followed up this pioneering work with several more children’s books on lesbian and gay families: Felicia’s Favorite Story; Too Far Away to Touch; Saturday Is Pattyday; Mommy, Mama, and Me; and Daddy, Papa, and Me.

She is also the author of many books for adults that deal with lesbian identity, Jewish identity, and the intersection and collision between the two. Other topics Ms. Newman explores include AIDS, eating disorders, butch/femme relationships, and sexual abuse. Her award-winning short story, A Letter To Harvey Milk, has been made into a film and adapted for the stage.

Her literary awards include creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, four Pushcart Prize nominations, two American Library Association Stonewall Honors, a Muse Medallion from the Cat Writers Association and a Maxwell Medallion from the Dog Writers Association of America.

From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Currently she teaches at Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. Her newest poetry collection, Lovely, from which the poem “Wedding/Funeral March” is excerpted, was published by Headmistress Press in January 2018.

Discover more about the author and her books at and
(from the author’s website)



Lovely is an eclectic poetry collection that takes the reader on a journey as the speaker of the poems travels from childhood through young adulthood, to finally become a “woman of a certain age” who has gained insight and wisdom along the way. Many subjects are touched upon including loss of innocence, mother/daughter relationships, aging, self-acceptance, grief, the sharp pain of violence against women and the LGBTQIA community, and the deep pleasure of long-term love.

Written with Lesléa Newman’s signature passion and wit, these well-crafted and accessible poems are full of startling, poignant, and powerful imagery and will stay with the reader for a long time to come. (from the author’s website)






On the night of October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay, twenty-one-year-old college student was lured from a Wyoming bar by two young men, savagely beaten, tied to a remote fence, and left to die. Gay Awareness Week was beginning at the University of Wyoming, and the keynote speaker was Lesléa Newman, discussing her book Heather Has Two Mommies. Shaken, the author addressed the large audience that gathered and remained haunted by Matthew’s murder.

October Mourning, a novel in verse, is her deeply felt response to the events of that tragic day. Using her poetic imagination, the author creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company, and Matthew himself. More than a decade later, this stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life. (from the author’s website)




Casey loves to play with his blocks, puzzles, and dump truck, but he also loves things that sparkle, shimmer, and glitter. When his older sister, Jessie, shows off her new shimmery skirt, Casey wants to wear a shimmery skirt too. When Jessie comes home from a party with glittery nails, Casey wants glittery nails too. And when Abuelita visits wearing an armful of sparkly bracelets, Casey gets one to wear, just like Jessie.
The adults in Casey’s life embrace his interests, but Jessie isn’t so sure. Boys aren’t supposed to wear sparkly, shimmery, glittery things. Then, when older boys at the library tease Casey for wearing “girl” things, Jessie realizes that Casey has the right to be himself and wear whatever he wants. Why can’t both she and Casey love all things shimmery, glittery, and sparkly? Here is a sweet, heartwarming story about acceptance, respect, and the freedom to be yourself in a world where any gender expression should be celebrated. Sparkly things are for everyone to enjoy!
Don’t miss a prompt! Save this calendar to your desktop.


Check out the poetry video library!
“Wedding/Funeral March” and prompts copyright © 2018 by Lesléa Newman, from Lovely by Lesléa Newman
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Guitar photo by Tim Mossholder via Pexels (no attribution required).