Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 127

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For this week’s prompt, I want you to respond to a poem that’s already been written. It could be one of Shakespeare’s sonnets or a more contemporary poem by someone like Mary Oliver or Robert Bly. Heck, you could even respond to other poems on this thread.

If you need some help finding a poem, respond to one of these:

Here’s my attempt (responding to Patricia Fargnoli’s “The Undeniable Pressure of Existence“):

“Fox trotting along the road”

Watch, if you must, the way I run and keep running
past one point and another without stopping
even as it looks like I must quit at any moment,
that the world and its gravity will finally pull me down
to the earth to rest, but I won’t let anything stop me
until that moment rushes in on me without warning,
just lights and metal, maybe the shrieking skid of tires
from the slow reaction of someone like myself running
on empty toward anything that gets in my way.

*****

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87 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 127

  1. Dennis Wright

    I apologise my responding to this prompt so late. I went on a bit of a search. I researched anthologies and books by poets, but nothing struck me. I grew weary of going to my library and picking up another book. I could respond to poetry street, but I’ve done that before.

    I went to a store, picked up poetry books randomly, and bought the first book that had a poem that struck me. The first poem I saw was "Outside the Diner". In the first verse the poet deescribe someone so low as being beneath cynicism. Wow!

    I use the word cynicism in the philosophical sense: That the ultimate in human behavior is to live like dogs. The central notion of this philosophy is anti-coinage and the founder wanted to destroy all the money in the world. The poets statement was drawn so clear in this verse it struck me as sharp and that I had something to say in response.

    Thom Gunn was a British poet who moved to San Francisco and took on a bohemian lifestyle. He wrote passionately about HIV Aids as he watched his partner die from the disease. I admire his advocacy and courage to stand up for himself as gay, even as I question his drug use. In his poem he writes about an addict.

    Different Diner, Same Outside
    (After Thom Gunn)

    There is a place and time
    where hunger strikes the youth:
    where hunger strikes the old.
    But mistake not conviviality,
    for fellowship upon the sea.

    For we often make this world
    garbage outside a diner where
    some will live and wait
    to eat what a dog leaves,
    on greasy paper with ease.

    And there are empty cars
    with front and back seats,
    that are rooms with wheels
    in a world without money:
    shelter for one and a buddy.

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    (Cheeky Response to the poem, "Red Red Rose," by Robert Burns)

    Get Over It
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Get over it, Burns.
    Roses are so … yesterday
    and dont’cha know,
    June is the new December?!
    I’ll never be your bonnie lass
    no matter how many times
    you fare thee well me,
    so tuck away your saber
    and sober up Mr. Burns
    for tomorrow
    this modern woman
    will be ten thousand more away
    from spooning your sorry
    backwoods hour glass!

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. Walt Wojtanik

    A SPARK OF MEMORY

    She lays confused, lonely, cold
    in a world where warmth was never
    her strongest point. But she waits

    unknowingly for the synapse to fire
    a brief link to past thoughts;
    sparks of memory to catch and ignite

    the life she has lived. It gives
    her as sense of self that lasts
    sometimes for the blink of her eye.

    She cries at the futility.
    Tears, the utility of every broken heart
    start to stream, teeming within red and tired eyes,

    a life as seen through her vision
    sits in contrast to her existence.
    Days numbered and passing unnoticed.

    She sees her young neice as an old friend
    from a neighborhood that had died years ago.
    A photo of the girl’s father, her brother,

    sparks a smile with the recognition.
    Then her condition takes control and
    her stroll down memory lane ends.

    Each day starts and ends in darkness.
    Every moment in between holds
    a murkiness of its own. Aunt Jane lingers.

    Fingers curled and fisted, clutching
    prayer beads, or maybe the last moments of life.
    Her memory fades and she does not remember.

    Prelude to:

    "She Does Not Remember" by Anna Swirszczynska

    http://www.poems.md/anna-swirszczynska/she-does-not-remember-1027.html

  4. Walt Wojtanik

    THERE IS NO BOOK I LIKE, SO FRIGGIT

    There is no book I like, so friggit!
    The labels on cereal boxes will suffice.
    Their worth is found without a turn of page,
    the nutritional information sure reads nice.

    But, when the crunch has left the flakes and bud,
    a new edition must be scanned and read;
    The Daily News is fine for bird and mutt,
    but, as for me I’ll take frosty flakes instead.

    Reply to:

    "There is No Frigate Like a Book" by Emily Dickinson

  5. Sam Nielson

    Broken Bones

    None of mine, officially,
    Though phlanges surely

    My father’s leg
    By a colony of honeybees

    At night. A daughters ulna
    On meeting a late night floor.

    Bone folding tool taken
    From the right rear shin

    Of a French cow forcing
    Paper pages where

    They ought not to go. A
    Deer scooped by car and helped

    Off the highway at dusk.
    A pedestrian near me hit

    By a flash past-ing bicyclist
    The thud felt, teeth & stomach

    Slow waltz cresendos in a
    Walking fractured foot

    A red-faced lion and multiple
    Cracks of springbok

    Pardon me Robert Frost,
    "These I can unlearn to love."

  6. Walt Wojtanik

    FEELING THE NEED

    Fingers poised over hard plastic,
    keyboard clicks and ticks of that internal clock.
    Three O’Clock and I toil at work and my craft;
    a multitask I am married to. Working to live,
    and writing my poems. One of these days I’ll
    show them what my muse brings to the table,
    no longer a storied fable, but a bonafide ride
    into poetry relevance. A chance to express
    to the masses what my heart has felt for years.
    But, the biggest fears I’ve always faced
    were laced with trepidation and embarrasment.
    Self-loathing and harassment make my criticism
    a scism to all that I’ve held dear. But, right here,
    right now, I vow to make a go of it for my protection.
    A poetry collection and a quarter won’t buy me coffee.
    But, I drink to much damn coffee anyway!

    Response to:

    "An Ode to Poetry Collections" by Robert Lee Brewer

  7. Uma Gowrishankar

    Sisters That Bet

    The sisters moved away from the valley –
    Kadru didn’t want anything of the forests and hills
    marshes and darkness that left her depressed;
    they moved to a low cliff close to the sea,
    she sunned on the rocks waiting for her thousand eggs to hatch.

    Vinata collected stones and twigs, built a nest
    with wind-swept feathers, dry leaves,
    cradled her golden egg in cosyness of care,
    bordered the nest with a levee of sharp stones.
    Waited warily for the serpents her sister would birth.

    Kadru was fatigued cracking the eggs,
    reaching for her thousand serpent babies,
    throwing away the shells that built like a small hill of foam.
    The children looked through slits of glass eyes
    reached for the warm crevices of rocks.

    Not one given to parenting she fed her babies
    for a day or two rats and fledglings,
    then she went to her favourite rock
    lay there looking at the clouds above the sea
    that changed shapes ever so often.

    Kadru was disgruntled with her brood – she
    had asked Kashyapa for a thousand sons, but Vinata
    as always outdid her, asked for one son to surpass Kadru’s thousand.
    Jealousy stirred like a python when Kadru saw Vinata’s golden egg
    as it lay on the rock to collect sunshine for five hundred years .

    Vinata kept busy having the egg warm at night time
    protected it from the cold sheets of wind that blew from the sea –
    she built a clay oven where she placed the egg ;
    through the day she watched the knotted coils of serpents
    as they moved on rocks, foraging for prey.

    Kadru annoyed with the clamour her hungry sons made,
    busyness of her sister clambering the rocks,
    moved close to the sea, walked on the cool strand of sand .
    She thought she saw an apparition in the horizon –
    just a family of clouds gathering into a thunder storm?

    That is Indra’s horse, Vinata pointed to the horizon.
    Kadru scowled. The seven headed white horse
    that emerged like a foam from the ocean of milk. Uchaishravas.
    Vinata’s lips rounded around the name
    the way it did sensuously when Kashyapa told her the story:
    distracted he had stooped and taken hers in his.

    Not all white Kadru said, let’s fly close to the horse,
    if it’s not all white I become your mistress.
    Running her fingers over the veins on the shell Vinata smiled.
    Spent with lovemaking as they awaited pink dawn
    Kashyapa narrated stories that she listened lying on her stomach.

    The sisters flew like wisps of breath emerging disappearing in the blue,
    the fish looked at the sprites waving thin arms, propelling as they flew,
    like little girls they giggled rolled over as their skirts tossed ,
    like translucent marble their thighs shone in the morning light.
    Uchaishravas looked at the two beautiful women skimming the ocean,

    unaware of the serpents, the ugly sons of Kadru, on his tail
    that crawled like lices, black shot trough silver – making him not all white.

    (This is the end part (beginning?) of the three poems that I have written on Garuda.

    Following time order becomes problematic when there is no linear narration of events. Time in Hindu belief system moves through cycles of creation and destruction, end and beginning become synonymous : Pralaya wipes away the world only for the creation to replicate the world that has been destroyed. Srimad Baghavatham begins with someone’s end, reading the puranas presupposes moving through narratives, going back to read a story that began at the end. The motif of a snake swallowing itself with its tail in the mouth explains the non linear, cyclic nature of story telling.

    ‘Sisters That Bet’ is written to the prompt from Poetic Asides where we are asked to respond to a poem that’s already been written. Yes, I am responding to Vyasa who is claimed to be the author of Srimad Baghavatham. But Vysa allowed his son Suka to narrate the stories to Parikshit the grandson of Arjuna. And the stories get their existence as a body of work only in this retelling. So who is the author? )

  8. Michelle Hed

    The Hostler

    In the dark old inn-yard, the barn door creaked
    where Tim the Hostler, out the door he peaked;
    He heard the trot-trot, trot-trot of the Highwayman coming near,
    here now would be his comeuppance,
    the highwayman’s comeuppance,
    Tim the Hostler’s face was grinning from ear to ear.

    He heard the musket boom that night,
    he could see her slumped form in the moonlight;
    She died to warn her one true love,
    never knowing another hovered near,
    always watching, hopeful, near,
    The tears slid down his face as he watched the mourning dove.

    The next day mad with grief, the Highwayman was shot down,
    they say the lover’s meet for all eternity when the land in darkness is bound;
    Tim the hostler went mad with rage,
    at being denied his prize,
    love unrequited, never his prize,
    He lived for years, blind and alone, his heart blackened and shriveled with its cage.

    In response to ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes

  9. Walt Wojtanik

    NEAR THE ERIE TRACK (The House With None of Us In It)

    I do not venture there anymore.
    The old homestead near the Erie track
    stands in an unrecognizable state.
    The tales I’ve been told of our old house are tragic.

    The house is empty, a haunted house bears more life.
    The sharp contrast cuts like a serrated knife,
    shredded, tattered edges and shards of memory
    laid to waste and leaving a bitter taste in our mouths.

    Generations stacked three high would cry
    a collective tear if they went near the Erie track.
    In fact, many more would shed when the fact enters their heads
    that there’s nobody in the house worth a mention.

    I cringe with a strain; a tension winding my spring
    until I release and cease to be rational.
    A right and traditional home; a suitable sanctuary,
    it is scary how quickly it has fallen. It is hard

    to imagine a manicured yard and bountiful garden left barren,
    I wouldn’t care if the years of my making weren’t taking
    their toll on my memory. There is nary a day that goes by
    that I do not try to recall her as our domain. All that’s left is pain.

    Indeed, she offered us all that a house should, it was good
    that warmth and shelter were felt in her embrace.
    We played no part in her disgrace; this place is no longer
    ours to concern over. We’ve grown stronger in our absence.

    I do not venture there anymore. That place,
    that house with none of us in it. I do not look back.

    Response to:

    “The House With Nobody In It” by Joyce Kilmer

  10. Walt Wojtanik

    I REMEMBER MAMA

    Winsome in her youth, a beauty
    in these eyes as seen over the distance
    of many years; many tears under the bridge.
    Photographs of her and my father,

    larger than life; man and wife combatants,
    rampant with passion and vitriole.
    A loving soul, mother of seven
    eternally resting in whatever heaven

    Mother are assigned. Always on my mind
    when the demons of youth rear their heads,
    ugly and demeaning as seen over the distance.
    She still offer comfort in every memory

    I can conjur. I see her in every new day;
    in the sway of wind swept leaves or
    the fragrance a new spring brings.
    It takes me home where she held fort.

    Inspirational and surely sensational
    you will always be, Mom!

    Reply to:

    “Memory of My Father” by Patrick Kavanagh

  11. Walt Wojtanik

    WE

    Like cats and dogs
    I see us. Confrontational
    and unconditional.
    All traditional modes
    of communication
    have been broken down
    and tossed into the street.
    We agree to disagree,
    and see both sides of
    every argument as winnable,
    as long we sit upon that fence.
    We have no defense
    except to claw at each other
    and let the chips fall.
    You meow and hiss,
    I yip and yap. Neither
    speaking the same language.
    We recoil; you skitter up a tree.
    I bark up the wrong one.
    I see us as cats and dogs.

    Response to: “You and I” by Roger McGough

  12. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Oh Robert…delighted that you were nit disturbed and count me as one of your merry band of supporters…. I just couldn t see the negative comments… for which I am delighted. May….hem away!

  13. Joseph Harker

    Well, I feel a little bit sheepish about this, but… I totally wasn’t even aware that there was a controversy going on until I was informed this evening. o_O It’s probably for the best that I’m unaware of everything that happened; but I want to say thank you to Amy, Barbara, Bruce, de, RJ, and Robert for your support, and to everyone who did not fan the flames of bigotry. You guys make this a place a pleasure to be a part of, and it’s reassuring to know that when one is too busy to check in on personal attacks that may or may not be happening, there are others willing to come to the defense of decency.

    Hopefully I won’t cause so much mayhem in the future… :)

  14. Mr. Walker

    Brotherhood

    I fell in love with a girl
    from the other village
    I was out with my brothers
    sowing their fallow fields with salt
    She was out with her sisters
    sinking arrows into our sheep
    We hate them and they hate us
    I was supposed to rise into love
    with one of my own, to belong
    But I loved the way the light
    gleamed off the sweat on her skin
    her skin that was the wrong color
    I wanted to sneak off at night
    to hold her in my embrace
    and look at the stars and listen
    to the stories of her elders
    the false myths of their sky heroes
    and the pagan gods they believe in
    My righteous passions would fill me
    and I would conquer her, invading,
    my sex touching her sex
    the two others meeting as they should
    But I told my brother of my love
    and now I scrawl these traitorous words
    on my cell wall in my own blood
    which my brothers will spill tomorrow at dawn.

    Written in response to "The People of the Other Village" by Thomas Lux.

  15. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Whoops! The above submission was actually another site…..but it works here for Emily Dickinson " …the thing with feathers.". Enjoy Sunday to all!

  16. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Hope 

    Skipping in her summer dress
    through green grassed
    yellow daisies
    singing wishes
    to a blown bare
    dandelion
    certain someone hears

  17. Taylor Graham

    James Wright, "A Prayer to Escape…."

    A PRAYER TO ESCAPE

    Give up the blindness of lies.
    I’ll lie down speechless as a dog,
    my hands to tell her there is no death
    inside of death, as breath
    is only wind.
    And then
    as a bird flies, she’s flown,
    her shadow skimming earth beside
    the trusting road.

  18. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    In response to

    …there was a young lady
    from Nantucket……

    Oh…….
    You know what it!

    ( is there really going to be more commentary on commentary! So, many wonderful responses to the prompt …but my response springs from my confusion about Joseph’s poem … and mean spirited comments… I am lost!
    As a child my grandfather would come into the middle of an animated family conversation and repeatedly ask " who? who?". I feel like he must have felt right now….
    Well enjoy the beginning of Spring and have a good weekend.
    Anyone who feels like enlightening me knows here to find me…
    .FYI I agree that no matter how egregious some might find another’s POV we have the ability to respond to the ideology NOT the individuals with an inspired poem…. )

  19. Daniel Ari

    One more, after "I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke, one of my all-time favorites, and linked from my name below.

    "This woman I know"

    Could I paint that woman’s truth in a trillion strokes,
    portray how her features—like white shorebirds in flight
    skim over sand skin in fierce flocks—before I’m stuck,
    transfixed on any bright detail—how she delights
    us both losing her whole sense in just the right joke—

    how she flies our lives in her whimsy’s winds, two kites
    held aloft—and held up—by the strings in her hand?
    Hers is the private tide of points and counterpoints
    at which I sigh, then rise to the acts of a man
    until I tire, until we retire—thus, lucky.

    She summons the council, advocates for the dance
    with dances of lavender buds and sandpaper.
    The same wind that whips her hair stills her turbulence.
    A soul warrior must be her own enabler.
    Standing close (except for hiccups), everything’s right—

    at the end of day to feel her rubbing the shape
    of infinity on my back, kissing generations on my nape.

    DA

  20. Daniel Ari

    Great poems this week!
    I think it’s empowering for us to tap excellent poetry as fuel for our own creation.

    de: wow! very nice take on cummings.

    RJ: you always make me smile.

    and Bruce — holy Toledo! "What’s Fixed" is a real gift – and I’m right with you.

  21. Walt Wojtanik

    VOX ANGELIS

    So he bores the masses.
    Any classless perversion of his vision,
    is in derision to the God who made him. And you.

    But, his words, they float;
    winged and flamboyant, spread to
    educate and extricate. Love lives

    within the heart of "everyman",
    beating; a pulse vibrant and liberated.
    Why should he be hated and denegraded when his voice smacks angelic.

    The relic of conformity has been worshipped to death
    and every last breath drawn becomes the one breath
    that rescusitates a brotherhood into action.

    Retraction is a horrid self-censoring whore.
    Contraction is a retreat from a life well lived.
    Distractions do not sway the voice as it plays

    in the ears of all that have once loved or crave to be.
    Sing the right song, Angel. Release the one hidden from view.
    It’s the one you love to sing. Most of us asses outside of the masses
    love the words you bring. Rule the day, you have much to say.

    Response to:

    "Voice of an Angel" by Byron D. Howell

  22. J. Walraven

    Technically, this is in response to a song, "Gone" by Ferlin Husky but I wanted to post this here in honor of his passing.

    "done gone"

    She called it hillbilly music.
    listening to tales of heartbreak,
    heartache,
    helping it down, first, with beer,
    then whiskey and water,
    wondering why her snow-white dove
    had been delayed.
    Shot down, I expect,
    like happiness in a world without horizons
    only haze filled yesterdays,
    already gone.

  23. Walt Wojtanik

    Clenched Soul by Pablo Neruda                                      UNCLENCHED by Walt Wojtanik

    We have lost even this twilight.                                   Night became what we were all about.
    No one saw us this evening hand in hand                      Whether seen or unseen holding you,
    while the blue night dropped on the world.                    I stole precious moments from the unaware

    I have seen from my window                                        We were bathed in the brilliance of love,
    the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.         in full view from the top of the world.

    Sometimes a piece of sun                                            You are life’s currency, as golden
    burned like a coin in my hand.                                     as the early rays of sunshine.

    I remembered you with my soul clenched                      Into the vault of my desire I kept you safe,
    in that sadness of mine that you know.                        And you were attune to my emotions.

    Where were you then?                                                 So, where is your interest?
    Who else was there?                                                    A love shared is not love divided.
    Saying what?                                                               Do my words speak to your heart?
    Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly           Will this emotion overtake your misgivings
    when I am sad and feel you are far away?                     when we are distant from each other ?

    The book fell that always closed at twilight                   Written upon your soul, the parchment lays
    and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.   content to lick your wounds and heal you.

    Always, always you recede through the evenings            It is forever in retreat that night recoils,
    toward the twilight erasing statues.                              the spoils claimed in victory; dispersed.

  24. Bruce Niedt

    Here is a sort of "response poem" I wrote a while ago – I hope no one minds me sharing it here:

    Slowing Down
    (after "Postscript" by Seamus Heaney)

    Keep the sun ahead of you, always the pursuer,
    to where rocks and green collide recklessly,
    and wind is substantial, an almost living thing,
    the light and the ocean, in the dance of shortening days,

    tearing, biting away at the season,
    where stones are marble-polished from years at sea,
    and further in, the lake moves with translucence,
    where swans glide, uncovering the water in flashes.

    They rear up and flap in protest to the animal wind,
    necks curling and uncurling, calligraphy S’s,
    that thrust underwater, where mud-bound frogs are not safe.
    Even with your camera, that most imperfect eye, you will not capture this.

    You are some place in-between, where time is on holiday,
    and everything comes uninterrupted, not caring whether you understand,
    and the wind rocks you, as though to tease the child in you,
    and creaks your rusty hinges into service.

  25. Bruce Niedt

    I must have missed whatever comments may have been made disparaging of Joseph, but let me add my name to the list of fellow poets who whole-heartedly support his work and his right to express himself here.

  26. de jackson

    Funeral Procession
    (pondering beyond the questions of Langston Hughes’ Harlem)

    What happens to broken dreams
    Once they have fallen, shattered, bled?
    Do angels ache for songs unsung,
    Unhealed heartbeats, words unsaid?

    Is there a haven for tattered souls
    When loneliness leaves them battered, torn?
    Who are the mourners of murdered minds?
    Are the faces familiar, lost and worn?

    Where do unraveled lifelines lie?
    In puddles of tears and unlived hours?
    Is love buried when it dies?
    And who, my friend, will bring the flowers?

    Harlem
    By Langston Hughes

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore –
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over
    Like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load

    Or does it explode?

  27. Robert Lee Brewer

    Just a quick comment on commenting. I’ve received a report of some "mean-spirited" comments. Since most of the commenters on here are adults, I hope I don’t need to remind everyone to be respectful of each other.

    Also, I will begin deleting comments that are significantly longer than a sestina in length. While 40-ish lines is okay, I consider comments that go much longer than that to be inappropriate for the comments of this blog. There are other ways to share your epic poetry–like in your own blog.

    I do appreciate each and every comment and poem left here, and I think the Poetic Asides community is amazing, but let’s not get into a habit of "spamming" and/or "judging" each other. There are plenty of other places in which poets can do that. I’ll probably post more on this topic as soon as I’m able.

    Thanks, everyone!

  28. Barbara Ehrentreu

    I popped over here to support Joseph Harker, whose poems are beautiful and spare evoking the essence of each of the poets that inspired them. I applaud Joseph for his honesty and his abilitto y to write about his life style with understanding and compassion.

    Amy, your response is perfect and not all too snarky.:)

    I miss everyone here, but my life has become too filled with promoting my new YA novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, coming in September as an ebook from MuseItUp Publishing. I need more time to think and I don’t have it now. If you are interested in learning more about my book you can go here: http://museituppublishing.com/musepub/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=155&Itemid=82

    I hope to be back for the April Poem a Day. You guys are still the best and I loved reading all of the poems.

  29. Walt Wojtanik

    Thanks yous: Joseph, Andrew, Kinga.

    Joseph – Both Errands and We Dance Fire have that Harker edge. I enjoy your work and flair. Great work.

    Earl’s "Fractured Fairytales" are witty. So Earl.

    Enjoy:
    Laurie K – Road Taken
    Barbara Young’s – Fracture

    Applaud:
    Connie’s "Springtime"
    Nancy Posey’s – "What’s Unbroken"
    Bruce’s "- What’s Fixed"

    Andrew – you are the "Pantoum Menace". Strong with poetic force.

    de – Great interpretation of cummings; always enjoy yours.

    The Daniels – Pai; Great to see your work again; Ari – Without you, the world would be a lesser light.

    Stu, Stu, Stu – Tsk, Tsk, Tsk!

    Vivienne – Message well received.

    Melissa H. – Your work warms my heart as well.

    RJ – You remain the Crowned Princess of mirth. I bow to your wonder!

    Kinga – Fairytales captures the darkness nicely.

    Amy – Glad to see your "snarkiness"; sad to have it taken away. Miss your voice. I understand.

    Sara Mc – The visual of "in response to water" intrigues; the message is colorful.

    Taylor – Glad I found your "Lost" before posting this. Your imagery, as always, shines brightly.

  30. Taylor Graham

    In response to "Lost" by David Wagoner

    WHAT’S LOST

    Stand still. Trees ahead, behind, on every side
    haven’t fallen. Even earthquake has not destroyed
    what’s rooted more cannily than highrise.
    Towhees keep their secret cubbies in twig-basement
    and crawl space. A hawk helicopters overhead,
    hunting. Phoebe sings from her slim balcony:
    “all is well as it will ever be.” Stand still and listen,
    till the evening news – earthquake, tsunami
    far away – merges into birdsong, thunder dark
    in the distance. Changing weather, changing day.
    This cedar-snag, its spiral lightning scar
    with charred edges. Beyond loss, the birds stay.

  31. Sara McNULty

    eXCUSE THE CRAZY PRINTING; IT IS A BORROWED Computer.

    iN RESPONSE TO "wATER" by pHILIP lARKIN

    raise a GLASS of water
    to the sun rise
    in the east

    Muted colors of dawn
    will filter through,
    whorls of enlightenment

    rAISE A GLASS OF WATER
    TO THE SUNSET
    IN THE WEST

    dARK DENSE SHADES,
    ORANGE, RED, PURPLE, SHINING
    SKINS OF EXOTIC FRUIT

  32. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Had to riff off Joseph. Am disappointed that hate speech is welcome on this page. Will not be back again until Robert starts keeping track on the crap that is posted on this blog. Amy

    You Are Queer

    You are queer. You
    are dear. You

    live free. You
    please me. You

    speak out. You
    whisper, shout. You

    are loud. You
    are proud. You

    were dates. You
    find mates. You

    live longer. You
    grow stronger. You

    catch hate. You
    know fate. You

    are shoved. You
    are loved.

    With love to the entire LGBTQ community, and thanks to Joseph Harker’s G. Brooks take for inspiring me into a brief return to this page to pick up that yucky, hatred-dripping gauntlet, you know the one. Not that you couldn’t do it yourself, you are the master of beauty – but I am the mistress of snarkiness!!

  33. Yoly

    In Response to: What’s Broken
    by Dorianne Laux

    What’s Not Broken

    Contentment that today
    Papa’s heart carries on
    as if nothing;

    David’s addiction
    to himself;

    a streak of blue water
    on my vehicle’s windshield;

    my white-frosted fingernails;

    hunger pangs to provide
    for the undersized
    and those under-construction;

    steam from a Matisse inspired
    mug placed on a coaster
    by thin-skinned hands;

    a sepia photo of Mama sitting on a fire
    hydrant in an a-line dress
    and pointy mules, before
    the reshaping of her wineskin,
    and papa, regal with youth
    in a floral shirt, stares at her delicate face;

    theme of my dreams
    where I’m on a journey
    by foot, car, boat,
    or God’s handcart;

    a circle of light
    pearling the corner of my desk;

    the sun’s bedtime since Joshua
    urged daylight to wing into evening’s
    blue until a battle was won.

  34. Mike Patrick

    I chose Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I Love Thee

    SHALL I COUNT THE WAYS
    by Mike Patrick

    How shall I count the ways you touch my heart?
    Enumerate each passioned breath I take
    as eagerly I wait for you to wake?
    Perhaps the seconds after love’s new start,
    since yielding to the proof of Cupid’s dart,
    would be the count my heart now needs to make.
    Or is counting love’s ways a grave mistake.
    A stronger love would never it impart.

    So, would a smaller number mean as much?
    The times I’ve whispered, "I love you,"
    or softly kissed the sweetness of your lips
    while wondering if dreams are made by such
    an angel. How can I count all through
    time, when yesterday’s love just gets eclipsed.

  35. Richard-Merlin Atwater

    To: Katrelya Angus

    Thanks for the compliment, very kind thoughts. May I quote you in my next volume of poems to be published in spring, actually 4 volumes–Perspectives on Life, Vols II, II, IV Just FYI–The Florda Writer’s Association Palm harbor group Presidnet nominated my poems fr the Nobel Prize in Literature earier this year.. I’d be interested to se what happens in october when the Swedish Academy meets to decide FATE. (Can obscure unknowns be recognized??!!) Respectfull. KIng Richard "the Lion-hearted" Coeur de Lion as it says on the name plate in front of the statue at Westminster Abbey since he was French and couldn’t even speak any English at all–and hardly ever saw England–of which he was KIng. Unfortunately he spent all his time in blood thurst killing Muslims in the Crusades. He should have NOT wasted his time and stayed home composing poetry! Hahhahahaha

  36. Katrelya Angus

    All That is Gold does not Glitter

    by Tolkien, in The Fellowship of the Ring

    "All that is gold does not glitter
    Not all those that wander are lost
    The old that is strong does not wither
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken
    A light from the shadows shall spring
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken
    The crownless again shall be king.

    (Thank you, Richard-Merlin, for giving Longfellow’s poem as well as your own; out of respect for Tolkien, I give Tolkien’s actual verse).

  37. Katrelya Angus

    I have chosen "All that is Gold does not Glitter" by Tolkien, as Bilbo Baggins, in Fellowship of the Ring.

    THE WONDERING ANGUS

    If "all that is gold does not glitter,"
    Then maybe I am gold after all,
    For many other Christian women
    Have told me about how horribly I dress-
    Nice ladies never wear strapless tops to church-
    Or perhaps they do in Southern California.

    If "not all those who wander are lost,"
    Then perhaps in my wandering through life
    I am doing what God wants me to do,
    Just as Aragorn does precisely
    What Tolkien wants him to do.

    "The old that is strong does not wither;"
    The cashier asked for proof of age this morning
    When I went to buy beer,
    And we laughed for I will soon be fifty-
    Perhaps I am strong.

    "Deep roots are not reached by the frost"
    I wear the green proudly,
    My heart in Ireland
    Where once I wandered with my father
    And wondered in awe of the rugged splendour
    Of the Emerald Isle.

    "From the ashes a fire shall be woken"
    Winter has been long and cold this year,
    And my heart turns to the fires in the hearts
    Of the brave strong beautiful people
    Of Japan – may they burn strong,
    And may the fires of grace and compassion
    Blaze so brightly that disaster dims by comparison.

    "A light from the shadows shall spring"
    The light has already sprung from the shadows,
    The soldier named Tolkien, who sat in the trenches
    Putting pen to paper in war-ravaged France,
    Never fearing the darkness,
    But reflecting the light of Christ.

    "Renewed shall be blade that was broken"
    The pen is mightier than the sword;
    Let all who have lost the desire to write
    Resume their works of beauty.

    "The crownless again shall be king."
    Angus for President!
    But I am not that Angus,
    Nor shall I be –
    But I have two nieces.
    Brave and sharp like Ireland’s queens of yore,
    And I wonder if someday should either be proven worthy,
    Perhaps I may shout loud and clear:

    Angus for President!

    Instead, I am content
    To cherish and reflect upon
    The mighty words of Tolkien.

  38. Kinga Sanford

    Walt, I loved your poem "The Devil Resides" I had to look up the original and I must say I really liked too!
    I wanted to write something dark, based on Anne Sexton’s Transformations, more specifically "Red Riding Hood" however, it came out more like another version rather than a response…

    Fairytales

    We have taken a turn for the surreal,
    The girls wait for the prince
    Up in his horse, smile drawn on his face,
    Others go for the awry temptation
    Of a vampire love.
    They befriend the animals
    And sing the simple life away,
    They pray not to a God but a fairy godmother,
    And then drink up their poison,
    In an apple or a potion
    And wait for resurrection.

    Where I come from…
    It’s a different story.
    Every Sunday to grandma’s house
    With my blood red hood,
    Sweet old grandma with her
    “you need a nose job” and
    “how come you are so fat!”
    I fell in love with the wolf to get out of there.
    The wolf, that lowly wretched creature
    Was a bipolar drunk.
    He could’ve killed grandma,
    But she died on her own,
    The bitter old lady.
    Now I’m stuck with the wolf,
    No spells involved.
    I spend my nights between beatings
    And plans to trick him and run away.
    I’m a different kind of prisoner,
    I can’t just grow my hair
    And climb off the tower…
    No one will rescue me,
    I was never that popular.

    So this is it, sink or swim,
    My assigned wicked witch won’t help me…
    I take off the hood and wear my cape proudly,
    I am the heroine of this story,
    I escape
    Never to be found again
    And lived happily ever after.

  39. RJ Clarken

    I may try something more serious later, but for now, here is my silly attempt:

    Trunk Calls

    I find it rather curious
    (just like the ouroborius)
    that calls from distances are called
    a ‘trunk’ – from elephants. Enthralled
    am I, because the meaning brings
    to mind a poem with such things
    as elephants and (land? cell?) phones –
    do they have parallel ringtones?
    And is it that an telephant
    can teleshop with elephant?
    Or are they detached entities
    with poemed-up identities?
    Coincidences do apply
    (just like the ouroboroii.)

    [Note – an ouroborus, often depicted as a serpent swallowing its tail while making the shape of a circle, is in fact a symbol for the circular. This poem is just that, although liberties have been taken with its name.]

    The poem I used was one I learned in childhood: Eletelephony by Laura Elizabeth Richards, 1850 – 1943.

  40. Melissa Hager

    In response to Section 22, "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman

    Days of Beach

    My year’s allotment
    Ocean’s roar cures my soul
    Whitman’s words to the sea
    – I agree –
    She won’t let go until she touches me.
    Sound penetrates through a crack
    in the door
    Consumes me,
    Rocks me in billowy drowse
    – like Whitman.
    Heeding the siren’s call
    Ocean’s spray rattles my bones
    Amazing how something this cold
    Warms my heart.

    Melissa Hager

  41. Walt Wojtanik

    GHAZAL SLAM

    I could love me some dark brown curls.
    Especially brown curls of dark brown girls. Curls

    that cascade and fall entice me, they call
    "Mister man, what you lookin’ at"? Curls.

    They unfurl, picked and combed, home boy’s dome
    swirls when curls come into view. Long flowing, short tight curls

    exude the beauty of Ebony cuties; mysteries of histories
    long past, hard and fast; stylish, my smiles stretch miles for curls.

    Auburn tresses repossess Walt, and blond pulchritude exudes
    a flair, but brown hair! Oh, dark brown hair, put it there. In curls!

    A play on:

    "Hip-Hop Ghazal" by Patricia Smith

  42. vivienne blake

    http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/repeated-lines-for-httpdjvorreyer-wordpress-com/

    Life – written in protest against Ted Hughes’ Examination at the Womb-door a poem which is morbidly concerned with death.

    Who owns these pink crinkly feet? Life.
    Who owns this screwed-up face? Life
    Who owns these noisy lungs? Life
    Who owns these kicking muscles? Life
    Who owns this unreliable stomach? Life
    Who owns this undeveloped brain? Life
    Who owns this vital fluid? Life
    Who owns these unfocussed eyes? Life
    Who owns this searching tongue? Life
    Who owns this waking wail? Life
    Given, relished, cherished for life? Love
    Who owns this miraculous earth? Life
    Who fills this universe? Life
    Who brings hope? Life
    Who is stronger than resolve? Life
    Stronger than love? Life
    Stronger than life? Nothing
    Stronger than death? Life
    Pass child and be loved.

    I think the layout may be messed up when this is posted, The qyestions are supposed to be in a single column.

  43. Walt Wojtanik

    THE TYRANNOSAURUS REX

    I’d fight Tyrannosaurus Rex,
    and I’m pretty sure he’d beat me.
    But I’d rather have him kick my ass,
    than to downright up and eat me!

    Response to:

    "The Hippopotamus" by Hilaire Belloc

  44. Walt Wojtanik

    CACOPHONY IN CRIMSON

    Hues aflame. burning the morning skies
         Creeping like a ruddy conflagration,
         or the blood shed to secure a nation
    a vision through angry eyes .

    Bushels and pecks of Red Delicious
         hand picked to feed the masses,
         a teacher’s prize from lads and lasses,
    a hearty bag of Swedish Fishes.

    Roses, born of beauty fair
         and fragrances to delight
         the wonder of a moonlit night,
    despite the thorns, beyond compare.

    Response to:

    "Symphony in Yellow" by Oscar Wilde

  45. Walt Wojtanik

    YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE

    Death has powers, while life remains strong
    long after death has faded.
    Jaded in your thinking,
    you have a sinking feeling
    that death will posses you.
    And although it’s true its hands will hold
    you in its time, it will not control you in yours.
    Sunshine warms you;
    birds sing and flit;
    flowers bloom before you;
    a beautiful life, live it!

    Reply to:

    "Résumé" by Dorothy Parker

  46. Nancy Posey

    Bruce, I like your take on the Laux poem. I chose that one too because she has been everywhere I have looked lately. Your ending–the reminder that broken things often heal stronger was just right.

  47. Walt Wojtanik

    ETERNALLY EQUINE

    Alabaster and roan, she was put down; a
    broken fetlock blamed for the turn lame.
    Certainly, a sad end for a once proud and
    determined foal. She was a true beauty;
    effervescent and ethereal.
    Furlong after furlong, a strong
    gait with the gallop of each
    hoof striking a counterpoint to the crowd.
    Indeed, now the odds were against her.
    Jockeys would run her hard and fast,
    keeping her on the track far
    longer than she should have been.
    Many years back, she was a champion, but
    now in her later days, she was not.
    Other trainers would have put her to
    pasture, but where her legs failed, her spirit remained strong.
    Question her determination, and she’d prove you wrong.
    Rest would have helped her for sure, but
    she knew she had one good race left in her.
    Three quarters of the way around the track,
    unknown to her owner, she fractured a leg.
    Very few horses would have continued, but
    winning her final race would reveal a true champion’s heart.
    X-rays would verify the sad fact. After
    years of racing, her fate was sealed. Outstanding in her field,
    Zenotrope’s Zip found her rest in eternal pastures.

    Responce to:

    "Heaven For Horses" by Lew Sarett

  48. stu pidasso

    The poem I chose to respond to is an actual Nike advertisement for women’s rugby.

    From a Flanker

    My knees
    are tomboys.
    They get bruised and
    cut every time I play rugby.
    I’m proud of them
    and wear my dresses short.
    My mother worries
    I will never marry
    with knees like that.
    But I know
    there’s someone out there
    that will say to me:
    I love you
    and I love your knees.
    I want the four of us
    to grow old together

    Just do it.

    Being a rugby player, myself, I know for a fact that I could love those knees and the woman who went with them. I just hope that I do not offend with my reply. My apologies, if I do.

    For a Flanker
    by stu pidasso

    If the choice were mine to make,
    a tomboy o’er a princess I’d take.
    Give me scrapes, cuts and a bruise,
    that hard-nosed woman I would chose.
    Simply for the respect of it,
    I’d know she wouldn’t take any sh!t.
    A short skirt and a shiner, too;
    anything less just wouldn’t do.
    Tell your mother "Have no fear.
    I’ve found a hooker to bring me beer.
    No, no, mom; not that kind of hooker.
    He’s a rugger and a dang good looker!!
    He’s content to sit and watch,
    as I make the other team my bi-@tch!!”
    Baby, I beg "Don’t quit, please!"
    Because I love you and I love your knees!
    So let’s to the pitch no matter the weather,
    just say y’all will grow old with me, together.

    I’ll do it.

  49. Daniel Ari

    "Keeping whole"
    -in response to "Keeping Things Whole" by Mark Strand

    I spend all day putting things
    where they need to go,
    or where I want them:
    the draft documents on the server,
    “Mama Tierra” in a new playlist,
    money to the admissions office,
    emails to the etrash

    coffee to the mug to the mouth,
    bananas and tinctures to the belly,
    urine in the urinal,
    a message on my Facebook to get
    a group of poets to The Firehouse Collective

    a boat on top of a house,
    a fire on another fire,
    and all this wood and metal…

    I consider each thing and where to put it,
    and why and how soon,
    and what it will gain, and what it will cost,
    and how long it will take.

    I put things on other things,
    order them one after the next,
    deliver them, check them off,
    look for the next thing to move.
    What would this world do without me?

    DA

  50. Daniel Paicopulos

    76
    by Philip Schultz
    My bones aren’t what they used to be; my eyes ache,
    as if I’ve been reading an ancient text by candlelight.
    My back and knees creak. I’m happy if the car starts
    and I can walk the dogs along the ocean which looks
    a little less robust. It replenishes itself with stretching
    and long cleansing breaths. The sun is another story.
    It’s beginning to show its age. Perhaps we’ve enjoyed
    enough springs and everything is getting a little redundant.

    67
    My bones are better than they once were,
    fragile as a child, broken as a young adult,
    strengthened now by age, by effort.
    My eyes see more, and better too, and when
    they’re tired, they rest, not needing to
    gather every word, sometimes happy to simply
    watch a young couple in love stroll by.
    My back and knees know how to bend, and how
    to lift, to stay away from trouble in its many forms,
    because my ears no longer hear the proud demands
    of youth. The sky is bluer than it’s ever been
    and I have yet to see a lake that did not calm me.
    I am warmed by the sun of the West, and can’t
    wait to see what each new daily appearance brings.

  51. Bruce Niedt

    What’s Fixed
    (after Dorianne Laux)

    My car’s transmission, its thin red serum
    no longer seeping. My wife’s pearl earring,

    with a tiny drop of epoxy. My wrist, shattered
    to an S-shaped monster of blood and bone,

    bolted together to knit almost whole.
    The garden hoe handle,

    through the miracle of duct tape.
    A friendship, torn apart by the lack

    of a thank-you card, limps its way
    back into the sun. A city, shaken down

    and washed away by a vengeful earth,
    re-collects its pieces. And we,

    under a reconciled moon, round again
    if only for tonight, hold each other

    together, our glue even stronger
    than the thousand shards it mended.

  52. Rachel Green

    Tired of Dancing (after Lewis Carroll)

    Whatever means you have to use to travel to the last
    you need to keep a wary eye upon the recent past.
    There is no shelter up ahead against the coming storm
    so rest your weary head, my love, and wish that you were born
    upon some distant shore under a different sort of sun.
    The race is almost over when it’s hardly just begun
    so strap a pair of skates onto those Doctor Marten’s boots
    and get yourself down to the edge before the camera shoots.
    It may all sound like nonsense but the lesson you must learn
    is the only thing you’ll ever trust is what you’ve worked to earn.
    The farther off from England’s shore the wetter you will be
    so never trust a whiting if he throws you out to sea.
    If ever you can find a route to get away from life
    remember that insanity is sometimes called your wife.

  53. Andrew Kreider

    Thanks, Barabara! And Walt, great response! This could become habit-forming:

    That narcissist likes to work solo,
    But lately I’ve felt my heart grow
    I love you, I quick-cried
    Just before he got freeze-dried
    His response was quite simply: “I know.”

  54. Nancy Posey

    (in response to Laux’s "What’s Broken":

    What’s Unbroken

    The line of firstborn daughters, going back
    farther than photographs record; the ground

    once tilled, turning up so many arrowheads
    they skipped them, she said, like rocks

    across the creek; the record set for fifty-
    mile dash, back before converting to meters,

    safe now that the local schools consolidated,
    forcing a merger of Bruins and Yellow Jackets,

    producing Falcons, progeny unheard of,
    unimagined, I’m sure, in the natural world.

    a single bone in his body, he swore, living
    and dying without ever spring a single night

    in hospital, not even to be born; the tiny glass
    figurine, a unicorn, that set on her dresser

    then disappeared, swept into the drawer, but
    still intact when I found it there, cleaning out,

    discarding, sorting, saving that with which
    I could not part—nothing practical, mere

    sentimental treasures, worthless to anyone
    but me; and, lest I forget: my heart.

  55. J. Martin

    The Wound

    If all you can imagine is a scream
    from out of a black and white silhouette
    that was really never seen, you might think
    someone died. And you would be correct.

    I imagine her a girl. With the eyes
    of her mother. And perhaps my nose.
    Too young to know, to feel the pangs
    against my palm to tell me she’s there.

    She is a scientist. Dissecting lifelike
    artists paint emotions, like poets devour
    words and spit them back up as songs.
    But I don’t really know. She never arrived.

    If you walk into the room, uninvited,
    and see me in the rocking chair, cradling
    air, don’t study the oddity. Instead, sense
    the glow left by the tiny angel in the storm.

    (a response to "The Gift" by Li-Young Lee)

  56. de jackson

    (In response to E.E. Cumming’s "since feeling is first." It’s included below, for the curious.)

    syntax

    first things first: feeling
    is as fleeting as spring; she who pays attention
    to the heat of kiss and whims of wind
    and beat of heart only is
    wholly fooled, sincerely broken
    sprung loose from the world.

    my, but we approve
    of fallen fates and stolen kisses
    lost wisdom
    ready to swear by daisy chain. Dead rose
    – gestures of romance, brainless. Then:
    your steadfast unfluttering which says

    we are for each other. And I
    laugh, leaning back in known arms
    (wholly kissed, sincerely loved)
    for this story’s no lone paragraph

    And death i think can wait for other pages

    by E.E. Cummings:

    since feeling is first
    who pays any attention
    to the syntax of things
    will never wholly kiss you;
    wholly to be a fool
    while Spring is in the world

    my blood approves,
    and kisses are a better fate
    than wisdom
    lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
    —the best gesture of my brain is less than
    your eyelids’ flutter which says

    we are for each other: then
    laugh, leaning back in my arms
    for life’s not a paragraph

    And death i think is no parenthesis

  57. Walt Wojtanik

    ALL IN THE FAMILY

    Lascivious and lewd,
    these instincts crass and crude,
    have this farm boy lurking,
    perking up at the site of the princess.
    Moisture vaporators bring some relief,
    but like a thief in the night,
    the Dark Knight brought an end
    to her "family" and friends on Alderaan.
    In the final con, I was in love
    at first sight, on my first flight
    on a real star-cruiser, I choose
    to set my sites on her Cinna-buns.
    Battles lost, now won and showing
    my wile with my light saber
    in favor of a kiss on the cheek.
    That one peck will wreak havoc
    on my libido. But against Galactic creedo
    and the laws of nature, I’m a cautious mister.
    I’ve searched my feelings; Han’s on my sister.

    Response to:

    "Leia" by Andrew Kreider

  58. Andrew Kreider

    Robert, your interview with Aaron Belz was a revelation. This is a response to his poem "Avatar" over on meaningless.com

    Leia

    White bathrobe princess, with your
    Hair twisted up in cinnamon buns,
    You are so brave, resourceful
    And quite short, really –
    For though your secret crush
    Is frozen in a block of carbonite
    And your twin brother has lost a hand
    You still have faith in the future
    And you can fire a gun.
    I know I said you were just another
    Holographic trust-fund woo-woo telepathic airhead
    But now I’ve seen you in a garbage compactor
    I take it all back.

  59. Connie L. Peters

    Great reading so far! Mine’s in response to George Herbert’s The Storm.

    Springtime

    If as the daffodils and lambs on earth
    Do bloom and birth
    Our laughs and songs as lively rung on high
    They would delight
    Your heart as much as light and warmth of spring
    Uplifts a human soul to dance and sing

    The angels do rejoice and spread their cheer
    As we do here
    A glowing gratefulness does rise and swell
    And is compelled
    To rise past budding trees as passion grows
    Like lilacs’ sweet perfume and grace Your nose

    And there it wafts about and covers pleas
    From those on knees
    And so Your loving heart responds in kind
    And then we find
    That as we praise and set aside our greed
    You will draw near to us and meet our need

  60. Walt Wojtanik

    THE DEVIL RESIDES

    Here in the details, a demon lurks.
    Recollections and distractions;
    interactions of our lives.
    I wear you like your comfortable coat,
    which I had spirited away from the home
    in which we lived; now abandoned.
    Its warmth still soothes an aching soul,
    and no one knows. No one knows.
    Your hat, a cap really, shields my eyes,
    the brilliance of daylight you cannot
    see, belongs only to me. Your vision
    lives in my vision; your bloodline secure.
    It was no disgrace that you had succumbed
    to the most vile of venom; your riddled body
    ravaged and recoiled, spoiled for your function.
    Your anger and denial fought weakly,
    and your resolve held gently to the slender
    thread, instead of giving up the ghost
    to live in that shroud ever-so-briefly.
    Then, your voice was silenced, a wretched
    cacophony that shouted through your vacant stare.
    And I was there, suspending my own life to share
    every last second of your diminished existence.
    In the distance you heard her calling,
    and I was stalling for one last word of love between
    estranged father and son. One last word; maybe “sorry”?
    It haunts me, your memory and all that had burned
    itself into my soul. There is no mending that could
    placate this pain. Again I search through something
    of yours to try to repair you to prominence. But,
    the predominance of your paternity will remain
    for an eternity, ever buried deeply in my memories.

    In response to:

    “Try to Remember Some Details” by Yehuda Amichai

  61. barbara young

    to the poem above, "What’s Broken" by Dorianne Laux

    FRACTURE

    leaving, she held the door for a woman and a boy with a fresh cast.
    when the thing behind her ear–the devil
    of cartoons and comic movies–cried out:
    I want a broken arm, too!
    she winced
    but went on as if no one passing had heard.

    it was not that she did not know she was broken.
    she thought perhaps something
    problematic
    had fractured as she exited the birth canal,
    aided by what she pictured as archaic iron ice tongs,
    their points biting into her baby temples.
    what leaked away must have been incinerated
    along with the afterbirth
    and the trailing clouds of glory. an absence
    she has known as a weight.

    now she passes an accident
    envies the victim leaning, stunned, head in hands
    from the crumpled car;
    needs to take his pain
    and hold it tight like a moist Tootsie Roll

  62. Laurie Kolp

    I have chosen “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

    The Road Paved in Gold

    I walk through life’s forest
    one step at a time
    angelic trees reach on high
    so I may see the light,
    flowing currents trickling by
    my stream of consciousness.
    Sometimes I trip
    on tangled bramble,
    I fall down, get lost and confused.
    Dark shadows, twisted paths;
    I know not which way to move.
    Indecision is a leaf is a whisper

    ~floating without recourse~

    until it lands right next to me.
    My eyes follow the path it has taken,
    up
    up
    up
    I’m on shaky knees,
    the path before me a cake walk
    immediate gratification
    sweet temptation.
    The other trail
    foggy, uncertain
    all I see is my feet.
    Faith is a road paved in gold,
    paved to heaven.
    I take that road to You
    one step at a time.

  63. Earl Parsons

    What Could Have Been

    Jack, be nimble
    Jack, be quick
    Jack, jump over the candlestick
    And then I’ll light it for you

    Jack and Jill went up the hill
    To fetch a pail of water
    Jack fell down and Jill did too
    Now they’ve got a lovely daughter

    Hey, Diddle Diddle
    The cat and the fiddle
    The cow jumped over the moon
    The fork, the knife and the plate stood still
    As the cow landed smack on the spoon

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
    All the king’s horses
    And all the king’s men
    Ate Humpty omelets with sausage and ham

    Hickory Dickory Dock
    The mouse ran up the clock
    The clock struck one
    And the other’s ran away

    Mary had a little lamb
    Its fleece was snowy white
    She sheared it and wove a blanket
    To keep her warm at night
    But things got bad
    Mary was broke
    The bank left her with nothin’
    So Mary did what she had to do
    Sure was delicious mutton

  64. Joseph Harker

    One more short one.

    WE DANCE FIRE
    (in response to Gwendolyn Brooks’ "We real cool")

    THE CLUB BOIS.
    PAST THREE IN HEAVEN.

    We dance fire. We
    don’t tire. We

    kiss queer. We
    sell sneer. We

    so slick. We
    trade tricks. We

    pop pills. We
    good kills.

  65. Joseph Harker

    ERRANDS
    (in response to William Carlos Williams’ "This Is Just To Say")

    This afternoon
    please buy
    four perfect plums
    in town

    because
    you have left us
    without sweetness
    in this house

    Once again
    I woke this morning
    to find myself
    going hungry

  66. Walt Wojtanik

    DIVINE WINE

    Intoxicant you are
    by far the easiest to sip
    and slurp. Do not usurp the
    life I have been assigned.
    My mind is muddled
    like sediment in the dregs
    of old casks and kegs.
    But I crave you. Your vintage
    is choice, and my voice
    has seen the light of every
    new day. Sobering to an extent,
    meant to breathe and savor;
    a flavor most acquired.
    You leave me wired for
    every electrical wave my impulse
    can trigger. Every jug or jigger
    leaves me wobbly at the knees.
    But please, allow me to uncork
    and kick back. Leave me slack jawed
    and demanding more. Life is fine.
    Fine as wine. Life, I am a drunkard
    to your whimsy. Pour me another!

    In reply to:

    "Life is Fine" by Langston Hughes

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