The Illustrated Woman [Poem]

She came through my door full of history,
her cheeks polished silk smooth
by the soft erosion
of bitterly fallen teardrops
and her hands wrinkled
like the crumpled and torn first pages
of unfinished novels –
written, erased, crumpled, and tossed
in the wastebasket.

Her shoes etched
thousand mile indents,
marking my entryway with
traces of old alleyway shortcuts
and once familiar roads.
Each pace down my darkened hallway
recited episodes of the solemn journey
that first led her to the promise of warmth
behind my door.

In the dim light of the doorway,
the colorful stories etched into her skin
flickered in and out of focus.
I had to trace the outlines with my fingertips,
so that no detail would slip through the cracks.
She had chronicled all her stories in her skin,
so I tried to grasp every detail,
but so many times
I didn’t know where to begin.

Edible Artwork [Poem]

Do you feel some strange desire,
when you look at a beautiful painting,
to consume it, to swallow its entrails,
to expose the finer details hidden within
that no eyes can truly see?

I want to sink my teeth into meadows,
gnaw valleys into cliff faces
brushed from water and oil,
and lap up the churning waters
of acryllic oceans and clay rivers.

I want to taste how
the air must have tasted
that spring morning, or fall evening,
or summer dusk, or winter dawning,
the painter so fully contemplated.

Greedy poet that I am,
I want to leave this world and enter another,
where I can open my mouth and ears and hands and nose and eyes
to a reality far more true than this musky museum
I’ve grown to despise.

The King’s Last Stand [Short Story]

The king lay in bed with a fever. He had been this way ever since three days before, when the peasants had waged an uprising in the town outside the castle’s walls.

He could hear them dancing and singing through his window. It made him sick. How dare they take his kindness for granted?

A servant entered the room: “My lord, the people are asking you to forsake the throne. What will you do?”

The king curled up under his blankets: “I will do no such thing! Woe is me! I am bombarded yet I stand here still! I will not give up my kingdom. It is my right to rule!”

The servant slid a long dagger from the sleeve of his robe: “I have enjoyed serving you, my lord. I am sorry to hear you feel that way.”

At DVerse today, the prompt is to write a piece of flash fiction or other prose of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line: I am bombarded yet I stand.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

The Time of Night That is Quietest [Poem]

There is always a time of night that is quietest,
whether you are awake to hear sounds absence
or whether you rest tucked beneath a comforting blanket of dreams.
That is the moment when thoughts seem to linger longer
in the spaces between dreams or nightmares or fantasies.

Though when the seas of sound part, for that one moment,
my mind, whether awake or dreaming,
cannot help but drift to you, to us,
to those visions of the future that are too far away to seem real and too close for comfort,
those visions that pause in the space between dreams and memory,
forming a perfect future from the fragments of you, of us,
of the walls we tore down
to let each other in,
and the shadows that stretch from the walls
we are still working to climb.

The quiet is so deafening is that moment
that I cannot help but to seek solace…
but you are my solace and you are not beside me tonight.
When I turn over in bed,
my hands feel empty air
and my eyes see nothing but a blinking green light
at bedside
with no late night context.

I check my phone and see you wished me a good night four hours ago,
before the quiet and the tossing and turning.
Before I woke,
temples sweating
and temple crumbled.
I smile,
hearing whispers in my ear in the tune of your voice
and I roll over into a deep sleep,
the subtle sounds of summer returning
with the chirp of crickets
and the soft hum of streetlight bulbs.

Photo by Josh Marshall on Unsplash

A Kind of Library [Poem]

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library”

– Jorge Luis Borges


Shards of light
through dust particles
flicker like fireflies
dancing through dim-lit rooms
in unpredictable flight patterns.

The yellow sun of noontime
shakes off its rays
across the spines
of yellowed and crackling books,
abandoned to time’s hands.

The air is stale-sweet,
the musty heaviness of sweating books
mixing with the scents of vanilla
and tobacco
that linger among the pages like memories.

Shelves born mahogany
have washed themselves
pale-brown
with the soft-bleaching sunshine
of many forgotten years

and lines of paleness have been etched
across shelf and book alike
at the angle of sunlight
through windows
to mark time’s passing.

My fingers trace this discoloration
from book to book
towards the small window
as my eyes slow-adjust to the dim light
and the ghosts that float around me.

I must be the first visitor
in ages,
my mere presence mixing up the dust
as I crack open a random book
to its first page.

There is no one here but me
and all of human history,
bound in fraying spines and crackling covers.
The solitude feels almost like how
I would imagine paradise.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

For Eugi’s Weekly Prompt, we are asked to craft a poem from the following prompt:

sun kissed paradise

ours is a world of our own

serendipity

My Hotel Heart [Poem]

My heart has always been a hotel –

a passing through point
on the road to somewhere else

or else a place to drop off bags
and lighten the load for a short time
during one night stays and brief layovers.

The only signs
there was every anything there
at all
are
ruffled sheets, indented pillows,
the odd forgotten sock or sweater,
a short letter,
scrawled on hotel stationary,
hidden
in the drawer
of my mind.

My arteries are clogged
with the mass
of small trinkets and memories
left behind by people
who have
long-since forgotten
staying
the weekend
within my walls.

When I met you,
my hotel heart
did not know what it felt like
to feel like home,
which may be why
we began in stops and starts,
departures and returns,
each return uncertain.

When we would fall
into a comfortable silence,
each on our own phones, in our own worlds,
connected by nothing
but your head on my shoulder,
I would fear
we were falling apart
and wait for the comfortable feeling to leave,

but it never did.

In those silences,
we no longer felt
the distance of being two people,
no longer needed words
to convey
our thoughts –

just being together was enough.

In those silences that we shared
my hotel heart
began to feel
more like a home.


Photo by Dominique APPIETTO on Unsplash

A Plant Growing in Wintertime [Poem]

The small, jagged seed
lies silently in the dirt,
swept there by the soft caress
of a summer breeze
which welcomed it
into this unfamiliar home…
in a neighborhood
of ancient and calming trees.

No sooner is the warm seed sown
than he blossoms,
birthed by the bright light
of a brilliant summer sun
and cast forward into the palms
of an old world,
which held him with care
so he was not overrun.

He grows strong in the comfort
of those light dripped days,
limbs sprawling out
across the whole expanse of sky,
longing to breathe in every ray
through tender skin –
never imagining those days
would one day die.

As he grows stronger,
the days begin to shorten,
each imperceptible second
of daylight lost
adding on to a steady stream
of misplaced time,
the breeze hinting the coming
of a killing frost.

The wide-spread, high-stretched arms
of the reverent plant
are first to catch the harsh rays
of frigid sunlight
and he cannot help
but recoil uncertainly,
afraid of the creeping winter wind’s
vicious bite.

His ancient companions
arise dispassionate
at the dawning
of each shivering winter day,
old eyes watching him near death
in cold dirt below,
knowing that to save him
is naught but death delayed.

His outer skin grows strong
under freezing wind and rain,
callused by fierce elements
that cut to the root,
drawing him closer
to his elderly neighbors,
who despite shared time
held him in such low repute.

Rising from the dirt
in steady contradiction,
his soft heart and harsh skin
resonate with the land.
His roots mingle with thousand year roots
of the trees
and his swift bloomed mind
slowly starts to understand.

The summer sun returns
to find him different,
his seed born world shattered
and reformed at the seams
so that when his tempered skin
feels warmth once again,
his young heart will begin
to fathom ancient dreams.

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

Blinding [Poem]

Her glasses sit lightly
across the bridge of her nose,
reflecting early autumn sunlight
so that to my unaccustomed eyes

< She is blinding >

even after the sunlight recedes
and I close my eyes to sunset hues,
sun-spots bleed deep blue across my vision
in the shape of her name.

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

On DVerse this Tuesday, the challenge is to write a poem about bridges OR write a Puente (Spanish for “bridge”), which is a poem that uses a line with a tilde (~) to connect two stanzas.

A Romantic Dinner For Two [Poem]

Fried chicken, texas toast,
hold the slaw,
and add an extra texas toast.
A large sweet tea for her
and a lemonade for me.
Some extra sauce packets in the bag,
Please!

A meal fit
for a prince,
or a king,
or a god,
or just me and you,
two broke 20-somethings
with no pretenses between us.

The dining table is set across the dashboard
in a mess
of haphazardly stacked
sauce containers
and 32oz cups
packed into
already over-flowing cup holders.

The air is humming
with soft background beats
as we trash talk
and watch the street roll sleepily by,
streetlights and neon flashing
and reflecting
off the dash.

You kick your feet up
on the steering wheel mid-joke,
and my distracted hands
spill sauce down my shirt,
freezing us
in a moment
of silence.

We break the silence
with a flurry of laughter,
tears mixing with the sauce
until it seems
like the whole world
is nothing but
an absurd joke

and all
I want to do is
laugh at the world
in my sauce-stained shirt
with you
next to me,
laughing too.

Photo by Andre Ouellet on Unsplash



The Howl of a Wolf [Poem]

In late evening,
I sit on the porch
washed purple
and grey,
criss-crossed
with fireflies
and echoing
with silence.

The howl of a wolf
splits my silence
in an instant,
rending open the sky
to let all
of the passions
of the world
pour across my head.

That lonely wailing
is jazz
to my ears,
played to an audience of one
long after last call,
when the low lights
still glow
faint-mysterious.

I feel
almost sacrilegious
bearing witness
to the world’s heart
poured forth,
but I cannot help
listening to
that heartbreaking solo
drip from
the wolf’s throat
somewhere out
in the darkness.

My heart
knows all of the notes
of this haunted ode
but as it begins
to synchronize
to that arrhythmic howling,
the howl of a second wolf
join the first
with piano key-soft tones
and a third add drums.

A spark of warmth
appears
and the wolves howls
harmonize
across an otherwise
lonely night.
I feel my howling heart steady,
comforted in knowing
I have a pack
to run with
when the night
grows long.

.

Photo by Miti on Unsplash

On DVerse this Tuesday, the challenge is to write a poem in the first person that compares some trait of ours with something animal. It should not be a whale, but another creature (mammal, fish, bird, insect, etc.) with which we have something in common. The title should be the animal thing, in the same way Marjorie Saiser chose ‘The Print the Whales Make’.