My Valentine for the Brokenhearted

Click for a description of the book

Contest is now CLOSED. Congratulations to all the Winners! Check your email inbox for results.

Fill in the form below for your chance to win one of fourteen FREE Chatterbox Poems Ebooks. Three lucky winners will win an autographed paperback edition. Contest closes at 11:59 pm, February 13, 2018. Winners will be chosen by a random draw by my eighty-six year old Mom – I trust her. Good luck, my lovelies!

A Valentine for the Brokenhearted

Cover art by Ciara Crozier

Revised, re-covered, and re-released, Chatterbox, 2nd Edition, is available just in time for the dreaded chocolate-filled holiday in the middle of February. Inspired over the course of a tumultuous year, told in a four-part sequence: Chattering, Cracking, Craving, and Knocking, Chatterbox will entertain every cynical heart. Raw, honest, irreverent, and tender, Chatterbox Poems delve into life’s losses: divorce, abandonment, infidelity, and faith.

Order in paperback from the author or Amazon. Also available as an ebook at your favourite online bookstore. Click here for links.

Photo Credit: Tony Hicks


I have been spinning
my poor-me’s into gold
for all the days
I can recall.
And using that gold
to buy everything
that I can hold.
But there is more to spin
each night

I am standing in the rain
wondering when
you’re going to show up?
Cold, and soaked,
with all this gold
in my pocket.
And I am only going to wait
another hour
or two
then you can go
and get your gold
from some other soul.

To all you fools
who didn’t buy,
my outrage is screaming
from the tallest tower,
naked and bullied
and ashamed.

I’ve told you,
now you know my name.


From Poems from the Chatterbox

photo credit

Safe Word

Hands bound, spread eagle
America murmurs a safe word,
but the rape
(consent now withdrawn)

America struggles
her eyes pleading
as lawlessness spreads
and permissions fall
slapping her faster
than vanishing web pages
With each angry thrust
she sputters a safe word,
but another jab tears through her
sending millions of huddled masses fleeing
Oil gushing
Carbon belching.

America whimpers a safe word,
but this plunder is just getting started
He twists her over
like she is nobody
rams his hateful missile
into her exit
his puny but deplorable hands
on her neck
he squeezes
as her children run sorrowfully
down her cheek, bleeding
she gasps, pleading.

She is out
Stars and stripes swirl into darkness
Safe word, Hope
Safe word, Pardon
Safe word a lie.



I’m haunted by words I said yesterday
they won’t let me go.
Promises, vows, intentions,
blowing the curtains on a windless night,
but they’re just the soul
of a dead decision.

I’m afraid
nothing is so simple.
To fall in love
was dead easy
but not simple.
The ghost is numbing, dumbing, humming.

And I am boarding up the old house.
The weeds will grow
and the ghost will stay
but I will go
because my heart has learned new words
that I am dying
to say.


From Poems from the Chatterbox

Walking the Garden Streets in Fall


Walking the garden streets in fall
colours kaleidoscope in misty tableaux
burnt red of dogwood, yellow ash.
The fog clings to a thousand depths of green.
Blossoms of beet juice bloom impossible dahlia blades.

My eyes drown in the dreary beauty
walking the garden streets in fall.



I am going to take fear out back and shoot him.
Stand him up against the shed
and blow his fucken head off.
I want to see his brains scatter
gritty and grey
like a cremated body.
I am so sick of fear
want a divorce
from this decrepit old man.
Sick of listening to him
waking with him
feeding him
tucking him in at night.
Courage is not the absence of fear
but moving on
dragging fear along behind.
So maybe courage is the creak
of the rocker on the porch
which continues even as the wind blows
or when I sit to contemplate
what’s what?
If I keep one toe to the floor boards
there is courage
creaking as I rock.
The mound of earth
by the shed
which worries the dog
none of my business anymore.


From Poems from the Chatterbox




The long cold silent winter
stretches out like a thin blanket
on a loveless bed.
I trust that
there is life there –
a barely beating heart
in hidden leaves and sunken acorns
frigid bulbs.
It’s the silence that deafens me.
No birds
no dogs
no screen doors slamming.
No ribald teenage calls
at two in the morning
from the bus stop across the way.
No songs
ringing out on six strings
sung with laughter
and too much red wine.

The sun colours the sky as it rises.
The bleakness blushes
and I am reminded
that this too shall pass.
The patience taught by winter
cold but not frozen
nor forgotten.



From Poems from the Chatterbox



My lips shall not speak a resolution this year.
Instead they will whisper a prayer
kiss a hand
press it to my cheek.
Bereft and longing
but I cannot resolve a path –
Will not resolve a path.

I pick my way through the orchard
stepping over ancient fallen branches
and rotting fruit corpses.
The sun
sinking into the horizon
blinds me, though there is a tree in the distance
a silhouette
black and invisible
and I am pulled forward
even as it disappears.
I say to Adam,
get out of my way,
you’re blocking my view.

I am mesmerized by that tree.

I hear my beating heart
a serpent hissing
a bird in laughter.
Trust that God does not mock us.

Turn over the hand
kiss the palm
let it happen
without resolution.



from Poems from the Chatterbox

Baby Zombie







I am trapped
can’t escape
banished to the cellar steps
examining my shoes
through my tears.

Living in this house
moving room to room
singing behind the curtains
floating in the bath.

I am a baby zombie
bumping into walls
while everyone
goes about their day.

How can I know
what I missed
if I never knew
it was missing?
My heart knows.

I am broken.
Need a doll doctor
to sew me up,
clean these eyes
bend back my leg

And walk out
the door
and keep on walking
til this house
is far behind.

But I am trapped
by the fear
that there is nowhere
but here.

Chew my arm off instead.


from Poems from the Chatterbox








I peel a clementine
and contemplate the world.
My world.
Soft little peel
spongy, barely clinging to the fruit
gives way easily
like a thin chemise.
He handed me this orange
so perfect and round
absolutely quenching
sweet and bursting in my mouth.

The sky storms
winter falls
the sun obscured
by a million miles of frozen tears.
I know what I want
what my heart wants.
The lingering bitterness of citrus on my fingers.
for more of this magnificence
this sun in the palm of my hand.

Pray for wisdom.
Fill me up.

From Poems from the Chatterbox








I say yes
to this gift
on my knees
fumbling for words

You want me this way,
this madly?
Then I am yours.
And I say yes
to this gift

I didn’t see to read
I couldn’t find the lock
I wouldn’t turn the key
I didn’t hear
what I could not say
it was there in my mouth,

The light pours in
the early morning
I feel a whisper
and it wakes me
my first thought is of him
your prayer on my lips
lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.

I say yes
to this gift
this prickling quenching numbing
and humbling
I am blessed.

I say yes.

From Poems from the Chatterbox

The Apple Tree


Gnarled old thing
with twisted limbs
and thick grey bark.

I lean on the fence
as birds fly in
disappear into the leaves
flutter off drunkenly.

The fruit glows
dark and shining
like eyes across a room.
I wonder
for I’ve ate apples
sweet and new
but I’ve picked apples
wormy and dry.

Such a divine old tree.
Somehow so familiar.

This fence is falling down.

From Poems from the Chatterbox

Hello Winter

jack-o-lantern-hello-winterThe winter is coming
the colour falls from the trees.
Soon the boughs will be barren
outside the window.
The light goes faster,
the day is gone before I know it,
and the candles want lighting.

I carve a pumpkin,
numbing my hands
in frozen pulp.
Stabbing eye holes
and a maniacal grin.
I light the jack-o-lantern
and watch it giggle
at the darkness, flickering
and cooking
its own brain.

A scarecrow
comes to life.
He stands before me,
plaid shirt, cocked head.
Makes me follow him into friendship
with his sad stupid eyes,
fools me down
a long, long path.

While he’s sleeping.
I find the matches.
Light his shoulder,
watch it smoulder.
Watch him blacken,
curl up and, fry,

Hello winter.

From Poems from the Chatterbox

Last Whisker

How can it be?
I strain to see
and pluck and pull –
futility –
and feel the prickly
little wire
poke through again
each week, each hour,
like a menopausal weed
upon my witch’s chin.

And then
the old man, afraid and spent,
fingers frail as chicken bones,
pulled down the shades,
lost his stones,
bid goodbye,
death by poverty,
alack, alone.

And as I stroke
my soft new chin
in pleasant contemplation
I feel no more
the stubborn prick
of days of sin.
My inner whore delighted
to be free and faithful
gorges on gingerbread,
little boys,
and wild boar.witch-1461961_640

Green Stone

lake-996634_640 green stone poem







I am hopeful.
It comes in waves.
you will discover
you love me.
My despair
keeps crashing
battering at the break wall
says you won’t.

But I am as hopeful
as the large sky
and blue lake
that filled my eyes
and the tiny green beach stone
I pocketed
on this
St. Patrick’s Day.

Odd Ball

blue moon

This moon
this changing mood
am I waxing
am I waning
am I full?

These empty ovaries
twin moons
white nodules in the sea
of me
stony and silent.

My mood slithers from orbit
like a cracked egg
down my thigh
I’m moving
toward uselessness.

My mother
assures me,
the time beyond this time
this night’s passage
these moonless days.

Last night
a shine penetrated
my sleep
and when I drew aside the curtain
to curse my neighbour
it was the moon!
and glaring
a full spot light of insomnia
burning through
my stony odd balls.

© Sandy Day 2013


b&w fish single

I’m fishing
in a fathomless pond
reeling in six today
no seven
piscine quicksilver so easily
dragged from depths below
I remember.
The water tranquil
mere ripples across the deep
dark green
a verdant vast pool
of whispers and secrets.
I pull them gasping
for life
breathe into them
they don’t die
dancing in the pail
spider web tails.
I write their weight
and tip it
to be caught again.

At the fish & chip shop
I watch the greasy cook
smoking in the kitchen
something sizzles
the pimply limp girl says,
that’ll be fourteen ninety-five
and I believe her.

From Poems from the Chatterbox


If I were to lose my nouns now
as many women do
what would become of my poetry?
It would blow into nothingness
a silent storm waving beyond air-tight windows.
But I am blessed.
As the hormones rearrange my brain
and life, my nouns stick to me
like magnetic poetry on the refrigerator.
I am still able to summon a fleet of words,
flutter them down onto papers
like fighter jets to air-craft carriers.
I am not bereft
of nouns
just melancholy and moony,
wishing for certain aspects of the past to return,
not many,
just some.
I am still forging on with my flotilla of nouns
feathering and peppering the words in my arsenal.
I am still bleeding, breathing, scribbling
in the heat of this aging, flashing,
summer in winter.
I am hot with the change,
sleeping long and longing for a safe hearth
a peaceful heart
comforted in the scrawny arms of my cats
candles aglow.
I’ve begun building a house out of gingerbread.

Losing You

I did not love you well enough
or deep enough.
I held back,

And now regret
rains on me
for there are no further years
to fill with opportunities
for sunny affection
or daisy days.

I cared.
I took care.
I tended
but I did not love.

I crack open and leak
from these wicked eyes
because I hate myself
for my lukewarm neutrality.
Why did I withhold?

I know the answer,
but wish not to reveal it,
for it sounds like blame,
but I was taught it.

is irresistible.
There are no fences.
It slips into my blood
like a snake into a river.
I am flooded with a gnawing gloom
a distracted inertia
a sore this and aching that.

It compounds.
Piling up
like flotsam on the shore
tamped down
like heat baked sand.

I sway
between the remorse
and the grief
of losing you.
Losing you now
to time
I can’t recover.
And to love


Pink rose in full bloom.
I am weighted down
by the beauty of the full-blown bush.

Once upon a time
I grew a rose
but snipped its buds
in their rolled and soft perfection.

I prefer the unbloomed rose
before it opens
and begins
to drop its petals.

These bushes sag,
burdened by their aging beauty
it is too much!
And too plentiful for me to look upon too long.

I wonder
of the mistress of this house,
with shiny parked Mercedes,
she is
secure enough and loved enough
she needs not
risk the thorns
shears in hand
and sweaty cotton gloves
to offer her own
unfurled heart
a clutch of roses?

And then
there are the peonies.

It sinks in today, I’ve been dumped!
I fought this sad truth for so long; made excuses for my own and his bad behaviour; dismissed the obvious as unhealthy doubt. Ha! Today I laugh. I’ve been dumped!
Yesterday I felt unloved. I envied everyone alive because I thought you were more loved than me. The one I hung my hopes on, and whose specific love I need, is gone.
I am not asking for pity. He left me; he had his reasons, and none of them was me. What is pathetic is I persisted for so long. But believe it or not, this is an improvement. I once clung to hope about an ex-boyfriend for over ten years, right through marrying Mark.
I have no time to waste. I am almost a half-century old. I have much to give and I am open to everything. I am the rose bush in full bloom, almost obscene in my aging beauty, Ha!

From Poems from the Chatterbox


the insides of my ears are wet
I put down my chore
and heed the Q-Tips’ call.

I must
swab out my canals
while the wax is soft,
and dry them
so the wind no longer
tingles through
cooling them.

Some people, I’ve heard,
see their livingroom askew
and rush to dust and straighten,
vacuum and pick up.

The only whistle I hear
is soft-headed
from hundreds of perfect white soldiers
lying pom to pom
head to toe
like cotton drones
waiting to fly
into my glistening


The long cold silent winter
stretches out like a thin blanket
on a loveless bed.
I trust
life is breathing –
a barely beating heart
in hidden leaves and sunken acorns
frigid bulbs.
The silence menaces me.
No birds
no dogs
no screen doors slamming.
No ribald teenage calls
at two in the morning
from the bus stop across the way.
No songs
ringing out on six strings
sung with laughter
and too much red wine.

The sun colours the sky as it rises.
The bleakness blushes
and I am reminded
this too shall pass.
The patience taught by winter
cold but not frozen
nor forgotten.

From Poems from the Chatterbox

Fruit Flies

I watch the winged
drown in the cider

a tinge

for their floating bodies
no longer flitting
annoying gnats
helicoptering the tomatoes
the pears
the compost bucket.

I rationalize that
their last moments were
at least
for flies.

Then I reflect on
the soldiers
drowning in mud
swatted from this planet
so I might eat this fruit
in freedom.

California Cold

I flee outdoors
to the sun.
in California
where the altitude
or latitude
or some other damn thing
like oceanic air
renders caffeine neutral
in my blood.

and drunk on words
from my host’s stack of books
or read
in our parallel universae
a year ago
or ten.

He laughs at me
‘cause I am cold
and reminds me
You’re from Canada!
as though I could forget.

And I marvel at this
October morning glory
and blooming
a violet trumpet
in the Hallowe’en sun.

A golden copper bug lands
on my fingers and
I am warming
to this country.

Air Show

Just wanted to say,
on this fine dull morning,
how yesterday
you sat at a picnic table
grinning at me
from a face
I’d never seen.
And you reached out
and into me
and expelled an obsession
taxiing there for take off.

My ears are open
not full of sand
or pain.
Open to hear the wind
and the rumbling thunder
of a stealth bomber.
I look up
and see a gull gliding
and a kite flying.
And all that sound,
all that noise,
is in my head.

Your kindness flies
like sand over my feet
like music and swaying hips
like laughter on my lips.
And I hear you
and feel you.
The comfort as big as the sky,
as opaque
as this overcast day.



From Poems from the Chatterbox

Right and Left

Pooh Bear by E.H.Shepard“Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.

“‘Well,’ he said slowly-”

from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A.Milne

from Poems from the Chatterbox

Salt & Pepper

We match
like a set.
A slight difference
the hand detects
as it reaches for
a dash
of seasoning.
But matching –
meant to stand next –
lonely if the other breaks
bereft, and pairless.

The Collector finds us,
dusty and alone,
at separate Church bazaars
and cries, Eureka!
Sets us together
at His feast.

And I am shaken
this sweat
these tears
These years of searching
in my match
my sombrero
my windmill
my ceramic heart
stops breaking.


Memories of a Sister

A Spaniard in the Works
I sold it
not worth much now
on eBay
Would you have kept it?

You bought
at the United Cigar Store
a yellow lion coin bank
honeysuckle incense cones
and a tiny carved box
with a hidden panel

I remember your hamster
in his glass fish bowl
and smelly wood shavings

I remember the banjo
I broke
into a stringless

I remember the scarf
you knitted
on number one needles
so long
it unfurled across the basement floor

I remember the smell of vinyl wallpaper
in your forbidden bedroom
paisley and teal

That’s all

I was your sister
Do you
remember me?

Linked to the Open Link Night at dVerse on July 26, 2011

I declared “I don’t think the universe intended for me to be a retailer.” It was a glib comment. And when I thought about it, possibly untrue. I’ve had the itch to sell stuff since I was a child.
When I was seven or eight I dragged the piano stool out of the house onto the lawn and set up shop. One of the first items sold was my eldest sister’s first edition copy of John Lennon’s A Spaniard in the Works. Boy, was she cross. In my defense, it was the 60s, and no one knew all things Beatle would become collector’s items.
For inventory, a few years later, I made stuff. I created crayon pictures. I don’t know where I learned my technique but I would draw a picture and cover the entire paper in waxy colour. Then I would outline each colour with black. My mom had to buy me whole boxes of black crayons from the art supply store. I wish I had some of those pictures now, particularly one series which was a depiction of the four seasons. Honestly, none of these pictures remain in the family archives because they were hot sellers!
I also scavenged leather scraps from stores on Yonge Street and sewed them into wallets and purses. Rounding out the inventory was a collection of painted beach stones, sometimes “lucky stones” which had holes right through them and could be sold on a leather string.
My first jobs were in stores, a bakery, and a head shop. After university, where I studied English literature and dreamed of becoming a poet like my professors, bp nichol and Michael Ondaatje, I took up retailing. I bought the head shop and turned it into a popular home decor and gift store. It was exciting and I had a tremendous amount to learn about running a business. Buying items for the store fed a shopping and selling addiction beyond compare. It was fun and satisfying, and I rarely thought about poetry. Sometimes I pondered the meaning of my life and decided it was noble to provide aesthetic beauty to my customers’ lives.
When my business failed after 18 years I went to work at the University of Toronto Bookstore as a marketing and merchandising manager. Friends and family thought it was an ideal job for me: I like stores, and I like books! But I didn’t like the job. The universe, however gave me the opportunity to learn about book retailing, and peripherally about publishing. As I scanned publishers catalogues, wrote book reviews, and fingered newly minted volumes of poetry a whiff of a desire rose in my mind. Write, Sandy, it whispered.
So now, a couple of years after leaving the University, I am holding a copy of my own book of poetry. My desire to “sell” Chatterbox is not the same impetus I have to sell dog halters (which I do as a part-time job). It is a desire to share my story. To share my writing. To connect with a readership. It is a different desire than my entrepreneurial streak. And I think the universe meant me to be a writer.


Born with this big bundle
and chattering
scattering love like dropped petals
from wildflowers
carelessly and carefully.

what I picked
for you, mommy! From my
hot and sweaty hand
she takes them, but
later I find them
on the sand.

But still
I am alive with love.
Its pulsing
Never sure
it’s wanted

She tells me
my love’s too big
to sit on her lap
breaking her knees
her arms won’t reach ‘round it.

My love in me is
You squeeze my shoulder
and I turn
to see your eyes
so dark
so glowing
your smile

I love you
and it settles
smoulders like a smoky fume.
I love you
and it flares
my kindling
and crackling
consumed in moments.

I love you
and I’m lost in it.
Inside me
outside me
flowing like a lifeline.

Hang on.
I pull you out
from drowning.
I warm you up
and set you breathing.

I love you in
I love you out
teeth chattering.

First published June 3, 2011 Dr Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure.


photo of watery fishThe tide is turning
and in the draw
the green frothy murk
of the undertow.
I see the flotsam of his needs
the sad rotting angels swirling,
the helpmeet dying,
the precious words decaying –
what am I saying?!

It’s pulling –
the setting sun
and dragging love
backwards down.
I’m finding
my warped and silty dreams
not drowned.

This mess
this murkiness
dark becomes clear
I know but I fight, there’s nothing
for me here.

I call the lifeguard
down her ladder climbs
her red and white
a clap on my heart
a blow to my head.

The desire
and fervour
washed away far.
The sinking dreams
the dithering star.
And I’m not blaming –
there’s no moon now.
And the water
swirls round
in the undertow.

Originally published in Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure April 2011