Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 131

For this week’s prompt, write a “when you’re not paying attention” poem. The “you” could be the speaker in the poem, the reader of the poem, or even a character in the poem. All manner of good and bad things can happen when we’re not paying attention. Let’s see what we discover.

Here’s my attempt:

“The Lions Will Be Waiting”

He hides behind a bush, but those girls
are patient and have him figured out,
know he doesn’t want to deliver
the message–only wants to write it.
Those bees buzz through the garden without
wondering why he crouches, what he
fears, and the birds search for somewhere else
to land. He hides and looks between leaves
and hopes for a distraction. Those girls
are patient, and he is patient too.
Meanwhile, the snakes sneak up on them all.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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201 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 131

  1. Julieann S Powell

    Unsuspecting Heart

    My heart is fragile,
    Tender, not to be trifled with
    Not to be broken
    A heart should laugh,
    And sing, and tell love’s story
    I will protect my heart.
    I will not give it away.

    Too many times my heart’s been broken,
    Torn asunder, shattered,
    And like Humpty-Dumpty
    It cannot be glued back
    Together again.
    I will protect my heart.
    I will not give it away.

    You try wooing me with your winning smile,
    And your engaging blue eyes,
    I won’t be taken in by your
    Charismatic magnetism
    And boyish charm.
    I will protect my heart.
    I will not give it away.

    “No” I will not go out with you
    I say, and then you show up at my door
    With flowers and wine
    Just this once, I tell myself,
    It would be rude to turn you away.
    I will protect my heart.
    I will not give it away.

    Time heals all wounds
    Even a shredded heart
    I take the chance
    You are there, with love in your eyes
    As I walk down the isle
    I am no longer able to protect my heart.
    I have given it away to you.

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Serenade of Neglect
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    The sideway glances almost gives her away,
    as does the sudden flush of cheeks, or
    the sound of her smitten voice catching in her throat
    every time she sees your Seraph around campus.

    She wonders what your hands would feel like
    against the short curls on the nape of her neck,
    the small of her back, the back of her hand.
    Would she ever be able to breathe again?

    She adorns you with devotion like ribbons of crepe
    across a clothesline, to flutter ethereal behind you
    in operetta each time she closes her door to pine
    away the infatuation pooling inside.

    You are the Antony to her Cleopatra
    Bogart to her Bacall
    precious Elixir of Brangelina,
    a sentimental nod to the pathos that is Cupid.

    Her worth is in full bloom now, fool
    the palest of blush among a serenade of tie-dye roses
    although single-pedaled but thornless,
    only you’re not paying attention.

    Pity, for you could’ve been her King.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. LBC

    When you’re not paying attention
    the teacher calls on you to read
    aloud from the novel she finds
    so engaging and you find
    incredibly boring. You feel the
    heat rise burning red your cheeks
    because you can not find your place.
    The girl sitting next to you, the
    usual object of your practical jokes
    and put downs, slides a manicured
    finger across your book to point to
    the paragraph on the page.
    Embarrassment rises to shame,
    regretting your actions. Your voice
    breaks the awkward silence of the
    classroom. As you continue reading
    where the teacher left off, you make
    a mental note to pay attention
    to your actions and words.

  4. Catherine Lee

    There is so much good work here this week, as always. Some of my favorites:
    Cameron Steele
    Salvatore Buttaci
    Joseph Harker – I still hate you, by the way. Mwah!
    Andrew – Barry IS a cool cat!
    Corrine Dixon
    Rachel Green
    Elizabeth Johnson

    To the PA family, you all have an open invitation to coffee if you are ever in central Texas. :)

  5. Catherine Lee

    Other than a quick post on Sunday, I haven’t been able to read until now. To David, I do not know Sara Gwen, but feel blessed to be part of a community with such a big heart and open arms. My prayers go out to you both.

  6. de jackson

    David, sincere apologies for jumping to conclusions. Many, many prayers and good thoughts for Sara. Her voice is dearly missed in this place. Thank you for your kindness in keeping us updated.

    Everybody, it’s been a weird week and I haven’t had time to read. I’m sure there is some amazing work here. I caught a couple of comments, in passing. THANK YOU to all who took the time to comment.

  7. Dennis Wright

    A Waiting Room

    I pick up a magazine,
    to read in time I spend.

    Our nation cries out lonely –
    through out this aching land.
    The people are tired and weary
    as they live hand to hand.

    I read and thought of my garden,
    and the weeds I had yet to attend.

    These are the young faces,
    who of freedom dream so true,
    and hold the soul of their nation,
    in the pipe we once knew.

    I read and thought of someone,
    Now my lost and good friend.

  8. Catherine Lee

    Hi all, sorry for the late post. Glad I could squeeze one in.

    In the passage of time

    In the dripping of minutes and days,
    Life is poured out on the floor
    Of hearts and minds,
    Hands and feet,
    Dreams and fields,
    Emptying down the drain
    Into the desert places
    Of waiting rooms,
    Holding patterns,
    And last shreds of hope,
    A hospital of broken things
    Pushed out of the nest
    That did not fly.

  9. S.E.Ingraham

    Marie Elena – what a lovely thing to do – and such brilliance we are privileged to enjoy again as we are reminded of the remarkable talent that was and is, sara gwen … your note to David said what I would like to say but ever so much more eloquently.

    And David, you are certainly replying in kind, keeping those of us on the street who have been sara’s admirers for some time up-to-date in the most candid but gentle manner … I only want to thank you for letting us know how she is doing, and by extension how you are managing as well – it’s wonderful that you continue to read to her and I too, believe she hears you. As someone once said, "this living thing is not an easy gig" – they sure had that right – but it’s people like you and your sara gwen who make the living worthwhile … be well; may you find peace, and take comfort from the love and caring of others.

  10. Marie Elena

    I’m glad David can take our words of support to Sara Gwen. God, please help us to remember to pray for her.

    For those of you who are not FB friends with De Jackson, she found the last poem Sara shared with us. Here it is:

    The Thirtieth, Because Of …

    That was the last. There won’t be any more
    I’d bother you with, hoping you might stay
    a moment further, far enough away
    from where the bed extends beyond the door
    into the street, uptown, outbound, offshore,
    with no way home. I didn’t know to play
    I’d have to fight against, not with. Hooray,
    you won. I didn’t know we were at war.

    You’re good at this. What would you recommend
    I learn from it? What should my love withstand
    to get me through this final twisted bend?
    So well you’d memorized which word to send,
    you even wrote it down. In your own hand
    you said this wasn’t how it’s meant to end.

    sara gwen

  11. Yoly

    Autumn, wow, your take is so thoguht provoking and poignant &
    "A popcorn orchid bursts into bloom,
    raspberries you with a hundred" Hooray for verbing rasberries. :)

    Pam, Rice Pudding is endearing. Jane, I can relate to "A Matter of Time" Your voice feels honest.
    Maria Elena, yes thank God.
    Cameron Steele, the poem reads as if you’re digging through something poignantly & deeply rooted within.
    David, my prayers go out to Sara.

  12. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Filling in the blanks

    Thank you Dear David for updating all here
    Keep reading to our Sara Gwen
    Who still is Sara Gwen in there
    She who knows far more than others might hear
    That it is all a complex computational numbers whirl my dear
    She who might now write a sestina or so
    In concrete form just so we would certainly know
    Of the wonders uncovered inside that brilliant unique mind
    That forever legacy that floats free from her present physical bind

    I have not her facility to imagine just how
    She would let us know where she is in this now
    Perhaps a phoenix with wings folded on the precipice of flight
    Perhaps a princess from some fairy- tale deep slept night
    I presume not to know how she would chose to manifest here
    And in the not knowing Sara Gwen uniqueness remains ever clear

    So I close this cliched tired old-fashioned thing of a rhyme
    By saying, Hello Sara Gwen, thank you for sharing, your heart, mind, vision, and time

  13. Judy Roney

    When You Aren’t Looking

    Brilliant colors incorporate
    on the black and white background

    A childs first mumbling words
    recited like a bird’s cawing

    Cascading brooks glisten
    over cool mountain stones

    Loved one glances at you
    with eyes that say forever

    Just when we aren’t paying attention
    glorious and abundant happens.

  14. David

    What kindness! It’s clear why she loved you all so much.

    But first off I must apologize to you all if my reference to Sara’s presence here in this community coming to sad end gave the wrong impression. She has been very very ill since late last year, and she has suffered severe damage that her doctors tell us will prevent her from being herself ever again. I and several who knew her stubborn determination have not lost hope, so I’m sorry if my bad choice of words suggested finality.

    Have I known her better than her friends here in this community? I think your words shared here this past day prove the contrary. I knew her touch and her smile and her voice. Just barely enough to know that you knew her heart. I only met her and got close to her late last autumn, and it was clear from the start that her life here was not a mere obsession. She found poetry here in your voices, and that was her true love. I have visited with her every day since December, and what I read to her frequently includes your words, which she had always been so hungry for. I hope every one who shares their writing here feels your love as deeply as she has. It means so much. Your Sara Gwen. Yes, you would all smile if you knew how much she truly was yours. She does belong to you.

    I had been helping her prepare for what she had been working on for a followup essay to the article that Tilt-a-Whirl just now published. And from how much she chattered on so happily about her plans, I know that what she aimed for most in her last writing was to come to this community with poems based on the studies she had been working through. She always enjoyed it here immensely, and many of you I feel I already know from poems of yours that she used to read aloud over many a cup of coffee. No doctor will ever convince me that she doesn’t still feel you when I read your words back to her now.

    Thank you all for allowing me to interrupt with all this. It must be very obvious by now that you all HAVE been paying very close attention. To your poetry. To your friends. To your love. And it does matter. It always will.


  15. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Dear David

    I echoe Marie Elena’s cogent sentiments and thank you for sharing this leg of Sara Gwen’s journey with us here. My deepest sympathy to you, one who knew Sara far better than any of those of us here. Hopefully, you can see that whatever this community meant to her was totally reciprocal. We will miss her new words as the ones she has shared live on forever.

  16. Marie Elena

    Dear David,

    I’m just one of hundreds of poets who frequent this little niche that Robert has carved out for us. Though the circumstance is sad and sobering, I’m very pleased to meet you here.

    The fact that you poetically shared Sara’s passing says as much about you as it does about Sara herself. What a wonderful friendship you must have shared. I’m so very sorry for your loss, David.

    I won’t dishonor Sara’s memory by pretending I truly knew her. Though I’ve become quite close to some in cyberspace, Sara and I did not share that closeness between us. But we did share a love of this community, and passion for poetry – both reading and writing. We also shared comments back and forth on each other’s poems. Sara’s style was intelligent, forthright, creative, unapologetic, and completely unselfish. Though we were not “close,” I was one of her admirers here. She had many.

    The use of past tense in describing Sara seems not only unsettling, but disingenuous — for surely her words will live on, and so also her heart.

    David, thank you again. I hope you will feel welcome to drop in here any time to write what is on your heart. In the meantime, my prayers (and I’m sure the prayers of many here) are with you.

    Very sincerely,
    Marie Elena

    I must also say, De Jackson, your tribute poem is stunning and touching.

  17. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    De,,,, I truly feel that there is something mystical and magical in the relationships that we have with one another here that are separate from physicality…there is an almost, dare I say etheral spiritual bondedness that this spaced affords us,…. an ability to connect in a way that is different from other earthly interactions. It is this I cherish.

  18. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik


    a dropped cup
    a relationship messed up
    a baby boy
    a broken toy
    a flower bouquet
    a deflowering day
    when she was not paying attention

    all manner of things that come here and there
    that jump out at you from on top of a chair
    a chair that you did not even know was standing right there
    when you are not paying attention

    a baby boy, throws his toy, toward his waiting mother
    who stands, on that chair, tears streaming here and there
    as she holds a bouquet from another
    she drops the cup, the toy breaks up,
    when she is not paying attention

    removes the rope from around her neck and climbs down from that chair there
    throws away the deflowering day arrived bouquet
    picks up the cup, whispers relationship not messed up
    repairs the toy, lifts and kisses her baby boy
    fully now she is paying attention

  19. de jackson

    Pearl, just this evening I was describing to my husband how very strange it is to know someone so well, and yet not at all. We read each other’s most intimate thoughts, most terrible tumbled times, greatest joys…and yet have not shared a single cup of coffee. Today I mourn the loss of that cup of java I might have one day had with Sara.

  20. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    When you are not paying attention

    aeries beaks cackle/cry, denying each fact given, held in juxtaposed keen
    like-minded Neverlanders of praise quixotically ramble/on sara/stunned
    torn underbellies vulnerable while xiphoids yield zone/breath/machine/gunned

    when you are not paying attention

  21. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Brenda… THANK YOU once again… but please no apologies for being "vague" I absolutely cherished your mention and now am humbled once again by you taking the time to repeat particular lines that you enjoyed. So very deeply appreciated.

    My own apologies.. the news about Sara Gwen blind-sided me and I did not get to either read or comment as I had hoped to this morning.

    Sam I do remember Sara’s comment to you .. it was all in great fun imagining us all getting together for a PA convention.

    I do continue to believe that this has and continues to grow into a unique community, where there are to paraphrase Marie and Walt’s feeling about each other.. "best friends who have never met" and yet "know" each other in a way that is often far more intimate than ‘actual’ friends in the so-called "real" world. These connections, support, encourage, challenge and most of all provide a place where we interact only with words, words that we feel safe enough to share and which are accepted, challenged and even decried but always in this special environment of safety…. As De once said .."a safe haven for your words."
    I am both continually intellectually fascinated, but moreover emotionally and creatively sustained by this "place" which exists as a combination of Never-Never-Land and Eden, the place that I and others sometimes like to call The Street.. On this Friday the 13th I feel only the good fortune of all of us individually and together connected in some mystical , magical way as one.

  22. Walt Wojtanik

    David, Add my name to the list of those touched greatly by Sara. I have only her to credit for the ability to write my concrete poems with such success. In that one "gift" which Sara shared with us, she showed her true heart and her love of the poetic process. To paraphrase cummings:

    we carry your heart.
    we carry it in our hearts…

  23. Joy Cagil


    You, foolish about images,
    do not sense the stealth in the air.

    You do not see today’s dust
    sneak into a whirling tomorrow.

    You stare into mirrors,
    in sharp stabs of recall, to find
    the you, leftover from yesterday,
    the one with flair,
    powerful limbs, and intensified grace.

    Yet, you fail to notice the abyss
    with arches and spires
    sharpening its lynx claws
    plotting to grab you
    when this day darkens into the next.

  24. Sam Nielson


    Thank you for the information about Sara Gwen. For quite some time she was one person whom I always read and reread and had to reread. I appreciated her skill at writing. I am sorry to hear she has gone. I have missed that strong, careful, voice I heard on the page here.

    She offered to ride in the cab with me, heading to the airports, so I could hear her own real voice speak her written voice. And I didn’t get that chance. If any here remember, it was if/when the PA group ever decided to congregate for real somewhere to poet jam on a weekend.

    She definitely will be missed.

  25. Brenda Olmsted

    Pearl I apologize for being vague. A few notes.
    While looking at the Flowers–
    "grasses tumbling in transcendent fragrant flow." I have tried to write several poems about grass in the wind and never got it as good as this
    Eating Tuna Sandwiches–
    "illuminates love unbenched"
    In the Alley–
    "the spectre of the villained vicious man" reading as I look over my shoulder
    Pay Attention–
    "beckoning whispery tales of possibilities"
    While you raise them–feels just like that
    Don’t Look–
    "suckle life’s joy" if only I could
    When you’re not paying attention….fairies fly–
    "a cell in solitude searches another" wonderful

  26. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Just when we were paying attention

    to all those lyrical and logical
    mythical, magical and mundane
    avenues of life that cried for expression
    for transliteration from feeling to
    Just when we were paying attention
    to how others had strewn their
    struggle onto the street until
    it was littered with the glistening
    of our collective leaves of leavings
    Just when we were paying attention
    to what was here
    We lost one who was not
    As Sara Gwen underwriting
    order in the Universe of emotion
    became one within the whole
    and the Sense of Sara shines
    as a mystical, muse-ical beacon
    lighting the way as we continue
    paying careful attention to the
    whispers in the wind
    the fire in the sparkle
    Gone from us, as she remains within us and All
    Sara Gwen
    in the magic of the order of things she so loved
    twirling in a sestina

  27. Elizabeth Johnson

    David, our deepest sympathies to you! I never knew Sara outside of this community, but even here she was an inspiration to so many. I was actually thinking about her a week or two ago and missing her contributions to this wonderful community of poets. She is missed!

  28. de jackson

    I am now a bit raw today, so this will be, too. David, I hope you see it, know that she was loved.

    For Sara Gwen

    While we were writing
    she was maybe fighting
                           for one last breath
          g  a  s  p
                one last grasp
    of phrase
               in that delicate way she
      s   p   r   i   n   k   l   e   d    

    Somehow gifted
                  with both
          l   y   r   i   c
    she taught us how to coax our
    concrete feet
                      e in ways we never knew
    b   r   e   a   t   h   e    differently in this cloud of white
             l     just right
                                          s      c      a      t      t      e      r

    here and                                                                                              there
    unfettered by their own weight
                t  o  s  s  e  d   loose with precision and grace.

    To hear that she is gone
    steals breath
    robs phrase
    leaves a terrible

    H                                               O                                                      L                                               E


  29. Bruce Niedt

    Melissa: the form is the "villanelle". Two of the most famous poems in that form are Dylan Thomas’ "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" and Elizabeth Bishop’s "One Art."

    I, too, am very saddened to hear of Sara’s passing. We conversed on the art of poetry several times, and appeared together in a recent issue of Tilt-a-Whirl. My deep condolences.

  30. Sam Nielson

    Tempus Fugit

    All experience can stay
    In your mind, if it will.
    But the supple muscle and
    Limber limb movement
    Like a persistant cat
    Illicitly runs into a room
    While your back is turned
    And hides until you leave.
    Then it sleeps on the bed
    Stealing comfort, softness,
    Warmth, and politely sheds
    A hairy mess, nest-like, and
    Then only leaves under
    Mouth wide open protest.

    Sometimes this occurs in rooms
    Less frequented so the behavior
    Is trapped there until someone
    Wonders where it went, and
    Wonders how we can get it back,
    Or we hear protestations across
    Several closed doors and we
    Wonder if we can ever get
    It back.

  31. Mike Bayles

    Corner of my Eye

    A whisper of intuition
    and a flutter of yellow
    calls for my attention.
    My glance stirs frenzy
    in the cage
    when Tommy Bird, my parakeet,
    dances along his perch
    and the cage sways
    when he sees me look.
    An unspoken language
    says he wants to fly to me.

  32. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    SARA GWEN …. A BRILLIANT MATHEMATICAL MIND SND WONDERFUL POET HAS NOW MOVED FOREVER BEYOND THE HORIZONS OF P.A. STREET….Apparently, she had been ill for quite some time….and a message was left that our community meant a great deal to her…
    In terms of cosmic irony on this Wednesday’s post " just when you are not paying attention…". A bright star no longer walks " our street" but continues to sparkle in the hearts of all who knew her. Ohhh Sara Gwen, I hope you did know how much you meant to all…♥

    Dear David…is there somewhere that those who might like to could pay tribute to Sara Gwen?
    I have posted the above meager message to
    Poetic Asides on Facebook and on a new group called PA Friends….Sara Gwen touched the hearts of so many…let us know if there is a place other than right here,where so many of us deeply enjoyed her words,
    where whoever wishes to do so could leave a thought.

  33. David

    Please pardon if I intrude.
    Not meaning to be crass or rude.

    When you’re not paying attention, perhaps,
    the moment this takes might elapse.

    I’m just here on behalf of a friend,
    whose presence here came to sad end . . .

    And that’s about as much as I could hope to manage toward what you real writers achieve here. But I wanted to drop by to pass along my own appreciation for what this community meant to Sara while she was here. She learned so much from reading all that was shared here, and grew so much by having these challenges motivate her own attempts. I thought perhaps it might be of some interest that the last thing she was working on while writing here before she took ill, an essay on some of the types of poetry in which she was interested, has just been published by Tilt-a-Whirl: A Numbers Theory of the Sestina and Similar Repeating Forms.

    Thanks, Robert, and thanks to all. Sometimes when you’re not paying attention, you’re meaning very much to those with whom you’ve shared your time. I know Sara would warmly echo my appreciation for all you all meant to her.

    – David

  34. Daniel Paicopulos

    Life Happens

    When did it happen,
    that all my friends got old?
    Not all of them, but most.

    When was it, exactly,
    that running became impossible?
    And, recently, walking sort of hurts.

    When were the years
    that my parents died?
    I think I’ve now outlived them.

    When did we stop traveling,
    was it after that long September?
    Maybe we live now where we used to go.

    When was it, I wonder,
    that bananas lost their flavor?
    Though I think, lately, they found it.

    When was it, at which point,
    that I started looking back,
    trying to remember?

  35. Miskmask

    Taylor, Blacksmith Song is rhythmic and for some reason brings to mind velvet. Cameron, Wow!

    Thank you for the mention, Connie and Brenda

    Zeb, very, very good. Is that the Fry-effect?

  36. Melissa Hager

    Wow, Walt, on the “opportunity” missed.
    Thanks, Connie, on the mention. You are on a roll! Please tell me they stop defying you after the teens…please!
    Wow, Joseph Harker, you can even make a milk thistle beautiful!
    Annell, I like the way you hearken to the muse! One does have to pay attention when she visits!
    Oooh, Autumn, I like all of your haikus – especially the one with a friend sweeping you off your feet! But “The Pedophile’s Prayer” ewwwwwwwww. How awful for you and your family (if that’s true).
    Hilarious, Jane S., on “Shades of Silence”! And “A Matter of Time” has a lot wit and honesty about a love gone awry and getting over it. In my humble opinion, you seemed to have awakened your poetic jones quite well!
    Thank God for you, Domino!
    Loved the whole poem “Epiphany,” but particularly this one stanza, Buddah,
    the memories
    stuck somewhere in the back
    require a more complicated
    set of cues
    to loosen them
    from their
    hiding space…………Sounds vaguely familiar, but I can’t think where! LOL
    I love a twist, Pam Redmer! Funny it takes a burn to get something right!
    Love your form, Bruce, on “Disasters”…what is it called for the unenlightened as myself? I would like to use that with my teen poets!
    Here! Here! P. Wanken
    Scary, Benjamin! Glad you escaped an awful fate there.
    Ooh, bad day, Ann. Nicely conveyed.
    Yes, Nancy, technology can take us so many places, but what about here and now? – as I listen to my teen’s cranking Skillet song on his radio! You – as always – write so lovely!

  37. Joanna aka Zeb

    And after many years, the bitterns…

    Finally push away from desk, grab keys
    Seize the moment and down to Ham Wall
    Cormorants hanging out to dry, ears cock for the bittern’s bottling boom
    Room to breathe, wait and pay attention
    Mention blackcaps, whitethroats, twist behind, glance around.
    Graoh like foxes, the bitterns rise and fall orange and gold – black cloud
    Proud against the sky and the reeds soughing
    Whispering, topnote warblers flutey callsong
    Long for a pee, no cover here, drop to ground,
    Find a space where no one sees a thing –
    Fling arms high with joy as bitterns float
    Coat cast aside on scarred old landscape mined for peat
    Feet wander softly down walkways, into the past
    Fast and slow, the watcher’s attention darts everywhere
    Fair doesn’t come into it. Sometimes the bird
    Heard is unseen – sometimes he pours himself into the sky.

    Graoh is the sound the bittern makes in flight. something like a fox… should be in italics but don’t know how to do it.

  38. barbara_y

    Change is just outside my range of vision.
    I look around. I pivot, bassackwards,
    trying to cover my own back.
    I’m afraid to close my eyes.
    Like the pod people–
    things change.
    icky, sneaky, creepy, change
    get back, loretta!

  39. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Tomorrow hopefully reading and comments… tonight thank yous…
    Have been distracted by an injured xiphoid process… (as doc said great Scrabble word) simply top of sternum.. that’ll teach me to try to be healthy and work out.. and trying to fall in love with a new computer….
    So sorry….

    So thank you….so very much … to those who read and took time as I know how time consuming it can be to comment on my poems… it really is so deeply appreciated…

    Dare.. I did like that “suckle joy” line (don’t know where these things come from)
    Benjamin … very sweet!
    Jane… I agree with your comment on my comment who knows what “it “ is all about
    Or what “it” is? Thanks again

    Dominio ,,, so happy you enjoyed the scene
    MiskMask … enjoyed your ‘yummy’ comment
    Connie Peters..
    Brenda… wow enjoyed them all?

    Okay goodnight to all and to all a goodnight…. Scrolling through I caught lines here and there and am tempted all too tempted to stay up all night and read and comment …. But I know that just when I decide to read just a few and am ‘not paying attention…”

    I will wrapped in the worlds of images of
    All the wonders on this Street
    Look up and find that morning light
    Is streaming through my window
    And I will face the day beat

    So while I am still paying attention. I will force myself to close out and wish all (again!) a good night and sweet dreams when you get to them…..

    Until tomorrow

  40. Brenda Olmsted

    Wow, the poems are really wonderful this week, not sure if mine will work but I’ll give it a try.
    Autumn the Pedophiles Prayer is chilling
    Pearl you are so prolific. I enjoy them all.
    MiskMask disturbing and sad.

    Blink, Blink

    The tenor in your voice
    Changed to a staccato
    And I blinked in disbelief.
    You had turned into Mary Poppins—
    Magically delightful,
    But with no intentions of staying

  41. Corinne Dixon

    Thank you, Susie T. I appreciate it.

    And thanks for the mention, Connie.

    I did get in and read a little today. Still not absorbing much just now. But do want to stay with the community for the weekly prompts.

  42. Benjamin Thomas

    Jacqueline Hallenbeck: Thanks Jacqueline. I appreciated your triolet.
    I have not experimented much with the triolet. But I’ll have to give it a try.


  43. Connie L. Peters

    My favorites this week: PKP (Tuna Sandwiches), Autumn Hall (Snowflake), MiskMask (Tom and Recollection), Dheepikaa (Conference), Jane Shlensky (Shades of Silence), Domino (Pool Party), Buddah Moskowitz (Epiphany), S.E. Ingraham (Innocence), Michael Grove (Blinded), Traci Davidson (Chow Time), Nikki Markle (Every Day Magic), De Jackson (Repeat the Prompt), Andrew Kreider (Cool Cat), Bruce Neidt (Disasters), Benjamin Thomas (Missing a Slice), Corrine Dixon (For Rachel), Vivienne Blake (Not Paying Attention), Joe (In a Fog), Ann (Afternoon Nap), Nancy Posey (Road Trip), Elizabeth Johnson (Watching the Wind), Kim Lehnhoff (Life Goes On), Melissa Hager (Five Flats), Michelle Hed (Disappearance), Cameron Steele (Upon the Dying Mare)

  44. Connie L. Peters

    Elizabeth Johnson, My answer to your question.

    Just Write

    What do you do
    when you’re completely stumped?
    For the life of me,
    I can’t think of anything
    that works.
    Tried brainstorming,
    writing it down,
    sleeping on it
    … Nothing.
    Guess I wrote a poem
    without paying attention.

  45. Walt Wojtanik


    Don’t let a lifetime pass you by,
    for in the end your heart will survive.
    But will love appeal to your eye?
    Don’t let a lifetime pass you by.
    Take it to heart; give love a try,
    and let that emotion keep you alive.
    Don’t let a lifetime pass you by,
    for in the end your heart will survive.

  46. Lori Thatcher

    Just while I wasn’t paying attention
    the poets are back throwing words into cyberspace.
    and I wanna play.

    While He Wasn’t Paying Attention

    She considered the details of the vein on the leaf,
    the cat tracks marring the yellow pollen
    on the hood of his truck, the streaks of rain.
    Stars built and died far away as she remained
    writing him into her poem.

    While he wasn’t paying attention
    she watched and guarded the battlements
    tied her shoes and walked through his dark spaces
    holding the lantern high and enlightening the way
    singing him in a song to anyone who would listen.

    But while he wasn’t paying attention
    she crossed the starting line and embarked
    though mermaids voiced their caution.
    The ground had hardened and
    even solitaire was becoming unbearable
    so she rose, hugged herself and walked on.

  47. Cameron Steele

    Upon the dying mare

    He will pull
    her slackened snout
    wet as it is
    into his lap
    and weep.

    The many mornings
    and moons
    he found his calves
    hitched against
    her breathing flanks
    as they picked
    paths along the Concho.

    And the San Angelo
    nights he twisted
    his thumbs
    through her knotted hair –
    he thinks
    prolly knows
    if he lets himself
    turn over those
    mudstones bottoming
    out his stomach –
    he should have never slept.

    Calm as the stars, she was,
    he still shouldnt of let tire sand
    over his eyes
    for a second
    in that gaping, gypsum eve.

    All it takes
    is some
    streaky thing
    a rush of rain
    or a pop
    of some dumb guy
    with an old gun
    and her skittish
    nerves will open
    some road
    the boy can’t take.
    Just something like that.

    He will miss her shelter
    her blood
    slick, thick
    animal as his own.
    He rolls away the river
    for her grave.
    He weeps.

  48. Taylor Graham

    [Buckland Brewer]

    The sun has turned its journey west
    when you happen on the smithy –
    coal-smoke wafting on late-afternoon
    warm-cool summer air like wings
    of the unconscious. Tribal memory.

    And here’s the blacksmith,
    leather-apron’d; here’s the donkey
    to be shod. Image of a forge burned
    into your DNA. Where there’s smoke,
    the lungs are coal-grimed.

    Still, you could pass a day here,
    feeling the heft of sledge,
    the grip of tongs. There’s history.
    The voice of an ancestor who sailed
    his trade to the New World.

    Has this Buckland smith a song
    for the occasion? Yes, tuned
    by his own iron-making.
    There’s nothing like the tap of tools
    on metal to give meter

    to a verse, and the flame of forge
    to spark the words. Without your
    noticing, the sun might set
    all crimson-gold and shining
    with history’s smoke and song.

  49. Joe

    this is a repost with a change to the last line…should read "hefty price"

    Warning Signs

    A light went off, a bell rang,
    Proceed with Caution signs
    flashed in my mind.

    I paid no heed to the warnings.

    I dug in my heels and cast a good
    spin. “Don’t tell me what to do “
    repeated in my mind.

    I paid no heed to the warnings.

    I gambled away my earnings under
    the guise of investing. Sleepless nights
    now weigh heavy on my mind.

    I paid a hefty price for it all.

  50. Autumn N. Hall

    Elizabeth Johnson-Just add the end lines "So intent is she on her wind-blown world, she doesn’t even notice her To-Do list, wafted off in its wake." and your poem will match the prompt perfectly! Wink!

  51. Melissa Hager

    "Five Flats and Cut Time" on the Night of May 11th

    A piercing sound is emitted from my silver flute –
    one usually with a more concordant tone.
    Discovery of a note played
    A half step too high, too late.

    The music director’s shoulders
    Threaten to rise to new heights and
    Four pairs of praise singer eyes
    Turn in unison at my gaffe.

    Not paying attention to the most important facts,
    The piece, I observe in horror,
    Has five flats and is in cut time –
    quite obviously not followed by me.

    I sheepishly laugh and say to the ensemble,
    "It has five flats and cut time.
    Sounds like a poem!"
    Little did I know, I would write it that night.

    True story! Thanks for the prompt, Robert!

  52. Kim Lehnhoff

    Life Goes On

    Somehow, along the way

    I must have lost my focus

    While living life, day by day.

    When I wasn’t paying attention

    My daughters became women,

    One a mother now, both are wives.

    While I was working and paying the bills

    They went on with their lives –

    When I was doing laundry or making the bed

    My son, he grew taller than me, by more than a head.

    He’s not a little boy, he’ll soon be a man

    Careful observation, that was part of my plan.

    But I failed in my task, and I missed many times

    As the seasons changed, kids went from reciting rhymes

    To work of their own, and paying their bills.

    Had I been watching, I’d have urged them to stay still

    Little children who needed me, and wanted my time

    "Pay attention to me, mommy!", I heard all the time.

    But trivial things often got in my way,

    and I found myself wishing their childhoods away.

    Be careful what you wish for, it may just come true.

    Now I sit, all alone, with no mothering to do.

  53. Megan


    You lose the smile
    the fraction of a smile that shines
    behind the fog of the daily immersion
    in lostness in a solitary break
    you miss the flash
    the streak
    of mind shorn free of blankness
    and it is gone and again
    the glass eyes of frosted thought |
    greets you

  54. Elizabeth Johnson

    Hm, googling it and ignoring it. Best two suggestions I’ve read all day. Will have to remember those next time…

    Watching the Wind

    She sits, listening
    to a world lately
    weaned off winter,
    bare toes tickling
    dandelion stems,
    resting in the shade of
    trees reaching sunward,

    feasting on lilac and
    sipping honeysuckle,
    eyes mirroring the sky,
    blue looking into blue,
    watching the wind

  55. Autumn N. Hall

    Domino, Jane S., and MiskMask-thank you all for your comments (especially the "wows, " which I will save for a rainy day, writing-wise!).

    Elizabeth Johnson-What to do when stumped by a prompt? Google it and see what comes up. Look the main words up in the dictionary or thesaurus in case the definitions and counterparts spur any ideas. Think of a person who didn’t pay attention to you and write a persona poem from their perspective. Write about ways of paying attention and negate them. Take a walk. Take a bath. Write the prompt on a piece of paper and sleep with it under your pillow. Or, like the proverbial something loved, let it go and wait for it to come back to you. Write something else in the meantime…smile.

  56. Rachel Green


    They creep up on me in the night,
    when I’m watching television
    or walking the dogs through the rain.
    Little ideas.
    Plots and counter plots.
    Characters at a bus-stop, half remembered
    like the boy in the park the other day;
    a ten year old while boy with his trousers around his knees
    Gangsta style
    only they showed the flowery knickers his mum bought him
    and ruined his street cred
    until he popped a cap in yo’ ass.

    Except that since this is England,
    his cap was really a cap
    and his gun still had ‘sheriff’ on the grip.

    Still, I expect he went home
    and had fish fingers for tea
    then got out the X-box
    like real Gangstas do.

  57. Walt Wojtanik

    EJ – you’re caught off gaurd; a surprise party, doing something for someone when they least expect it, a softball to the face (my sister), old winning lottery ticket, a dog running out in front of a car, a car running out in front of a car. Or doing something to catch someone else unaware. Texting while driving (I break thumbs for that one), having a coughing jag in a quite theater… I may or may not continue…

  58. Yuri Slopov

    If I’d paid more attention
    and not behaved like a farce
    she was mine a year ago
    blind jerk that I am

    I think I’ve blown it
    nothing to show for it
    myopia is my thing
    in its advanced state
    has sprouted little wings

    looks as if I’ll be flying
    without her this Spring

  59. Joe

    thanks Marie:)

    Warning Signs

    A light went off, a bell rang,
    Proceed with Caution signs
    flashed in my mind.

    I paid no heed to the warnings.

    I dug in my heels and cast a good
    spin. “Don’t tell me what to do “
    repeated in my mind.

    I paid no heed to the warnings.

    I gambled away my earnings under
    the guise of investing. Sleepless nights
    now weigh heavy on my mind.

    I paid a heavy price for it all.

  60. MiskMask

    Elizabeth: Perhaps it’s the watched pot syndrome. Try not thinking about it, and see what happens.

    Mentions and shouts and thumbs-up to RJ (Wise), Walt (Hard Knocks: talk about a punchline), Pearl (Tuna Sandwiches: a very yummy poem), Joseph Harker (you never disappoint), Autumn, Jerry (Soap bubbles), Cameron (Saturday), Dheepikaa (Conference), Jane (Matter of Time, always a pleasure to read your work), Domino (well done!), Buddah, Michael (Blinded), S.E. (great story – next chapter please?), de (Muse on the Loose – so cute).

    Thanks to Amy, Marie Elena, and Domino for your kind comments.

  61. MiskMask

    Her Teacher’s Remarks

    She disturbs her neighbours
    Disruptive behaviour
    Detention suspension
    She can’t pay attention

    Disruptive behaviour
    But I’m bored, so utterly bored
    She can’t pay attention
    Yes, Miss – Sorry, Miss

    She disturbs her neighbours
    Yes, Miss – Sorry, Miss

  62. Nancy Posey

    I’m signing in late after a long road trip!

    Driving Along the Coast

    Our destinations and timing may seem eerily similar,
    both taking all the same highways, exits, rest stops,

    sometimes riding side-by-side, you moving out front,
    then me taking the lead, like some leisurely horse race,

    I’m suddenly aware we aren’t taking the same journey
    at all. While you’re busy manning your cell phone,

    checking in with the main office, calling ahead to confirm
    your reservations, keeping up with facebook, emails,

    texts, in what I’m sure you believe is a surreptious manner,
    barely a glance, you’d claim, always one eye on the road,

    you’d fail a pop quiz at the end of the road: Are peaches
    already for sale, at stands alongside the boiled peanuts?

    Where was the terrain scarred by recent storms, pines
    splintered like so many broken pencils, chainsawed

    off the lanes of the interstates, still lying as evidence?
    Who’s playing the Crawfish Festival next week?

    Can you report accurately the number of armadillos,
    possums on the half shell, lying dead in the road?

    The woman in the car near you most of the way—
    Was she cute? Was she interested? Should you wave?

  63. Susie T.

    Corrine- So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you.

    Pam Redmer- Enjoyed your poem "Rice Pudding" very much!

    Haven’t been able to read many other poems- but you all have been doing great work!

  64. Josephine Lark

    a cloud of confetti
    swirled in the sky
    must be a wedding somewhere
    and a beautiful day for it

    if she had been paying attention
    she would have realised
    this was a host of golden mixed messages
    sent to her but as they did not have her name
    on them she was reluctant to look too closely
    prying eyes being irredeemably vulgar
    in her book

    besides today was too lovely
    to decipher frail sanskrit print
    so she put them in her too hard
    basket and skipped along her merry way
    with thoughts of the one with warm hands
    that made her smile

  65. Susie T.

    Sorry- a couple revisions:

    While We Weren’t Looking

    You furtively slipped in,
    Melting all around you
    With your genuine warmth,
    Simple charm,
    Tropical accents,
    Carefree ways.
    Finally once-for-all destroying the allure of
    Self-imposed house-arrest,
    Making us happy to be alive.
    This time were you here to stay?
    Or did you slip out yet again,
    While we weren’t looking?

  66. Susie T.

    While We Weren’t Looking

    You furtively slipped in,
    Melting all around you
    With your genuine warmth,
    Simple charm,
    Tropical accent,
    Carefree ways.
    Finally once-for-all destroying the allure of
    Self-imposed house-arrest,
    Making us happy to be alive.
    This time were you here to stay?
    Or did you slip out yet again,
    While I wasn’t looking?

  67. ann

    Afternoon Nap

    Out the window, the laundry
    flapped on the line in
    the alleyway. The sun blazed
    and I slept blissfully
    while babies napped and
    the day went by
    and the water left on
    in the sink overflowed
    onto the floor
    through the ceiling,
    dripping silently,
    damaging tile
    and wood,
    soaking all until
    it was an emergency
    with a landlord screaming,
    babies crying,
    and the laundry
    flapping in the sunlight
    while I still slept.

  68. Elizabeth Johnson

    So, a question for all you seasoned poets out there… what do you do when you’re completely stumped by a prompt? For the life of me, I can’t think of anything that works with this one. Tried brainstorming on paper, sleeping on it… and nothing.

    Suggestions, anyone?

  69. Joe


    I can get away with not paying attention
    at work once in awhile. After all, I’m not
    operating heavy machinery. Luckily, my
    inattention has no measurable span that’ll
    land me in hot water.

    I can get away with not paying attention
    while I’m reading a book, or staring at the
    TV screen for awhile. Getting lost in thought
    is not a Federal offense, and doesn’t typically
    land me in hot water.

    But should I inadvertently ignore my loving wife
    for any quantifiable moment of time, I’ll
    suddenly find myself in an ocean of trouble
    and can only hope and pray that, God willing,
    I bubble back up to the surface soon.

  70. Joe

    In a Fog

    Snap out of it!
    The fog you’re in
    hasn’t lifted for days.

    These ideas I keep
    trying to fly by you
    are unable to land.

    They’re just circling
    around with the fuel
    gauge almost on empty,

    so snap out of it!

  71. vivienne blake

    Not Paying Attention

    While I wasn’t looking,
    my life whizzed by uncounted.
    Too busy living it
    to wonder where it went.
    Youth a crawling century –
    through hindsight, a blur.
    Middle age a whirl of work
    and care, but oh, what bliss to stop
    and stare, with time to think
    of why and where.
    I pay more attention now I’m old –
    not to miss a single moment.

  72. Corinne Dixon

    Thanks, Sharon… I found another ending due to your post.

    And now you watch us.
    No gasp too frantic, no panic great enough to equal
    this travesty, this vicegrip that wrangles us to the ground.
    The disjointed limbs of our anguish splay freakishly,
    the spine of our sorrow ground into the grit.
    We flail. With our fists, we beat back the advance that wants to inhale us,
    pushing back against something that if it gives – or we do –
    hints at bottomlessness.

  73. Jane Shlensky

    OK, before bedtime, these caught my eye: Bruce(Disasters), Andrew (Yes! A cat that fetches tea), Yoly (faith…bare feet); Nikki, Buddah, Domino, and Autumn (your Pedaphile’s Prayer has some shades of silence too,hm?) Nice work, all. And good night.

  74. Domino

    Rob Halpin: You’re right, Nothing IS Trivial.
    mike Maher: “When You’re Not Paying Attention” took such a twist, took me by surprise and was fascinated by your depth.
    Patricia Watson: “Seeing Things” is very good advice.
    A lovely limerick by Connie L. Peters (Is your maiden name Irish, by chance?? LOL)
    PKP – “Eating Tuna Sandwiches” Love that scene you put in my mind. ^_^
    Jerry Walraven – So THAT’s where all my brilliant ideas have gone, “Ether, Either Way.”
    Joseph Harker “Dissemination” is so lovely. I want milk thistles in my yard, now, no matter how prickly.
    Autumn N. Hall: “When You’re Not Paying Attention” Just, Wow. The last verse especially put my heart in my throat. ^_^ AND, “The Pedophile’s Prayer” just did the same thing… made me go “Wow.”
    MiskMask – “A Flame Requires Attention” truly made me laugh out loud. ^_^
    Buddah Moskowitz – “Epiphany” is something we will most all of us have to come to. And it will always be better than the alternative, don’t you think? – that of not being around at all.
    S.E.Ingraham – “Leave My Innocence Intact Please” was so perfect. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of that trip.
    Michael Grove – “Blinded” is so tightly written, I feel it must be a song. Now I want to hear it too…
    de Jackson – “Could You Repeat the Prompt Please?” Love it so much:“(There’s a nap for that)” You crack me up, I’ve lived that life. ^_^ AND “While You Weren’t Looking” Yeah, I’ve lived that life too. :(
    Andrew Kreider “Barry’s a Cool Cat” – I enjoyed every bit of it. And cheered with the class.
    Pam Redmer – “Rice Pudding” – So THAT’s how she did it. I’m gonna try that next time, by golly. ^_^
    Taylor Graham – “Paradise Garden” was so perfectly lovely, but I do love birds…
    Benjamin Thomas – “Missing a Slice” Yow – you were lucky today – so thank your lucky stars! I’m glad you’ll be with us a while longer!

  75. S.E.Ingraham

    Ah Corinne – beautifully told, so full of anguish I can taste the regret – "this vicegrip that now wrestles us all to the ground" – so vivid, so true. Well done.

  76. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    John Pupo,you scared the crap out of me. I mean this in a good way!
    Benjamin, glad to hear your escaped a calamity… talk about timing for this prompt!
    Paula, you are NOT middle-aged. You are seasoned – wait, that’s a prompt from another blog, right? :)
    Jacqueline, I love that movie, too, and loved your poem. re: Triolets Anonymous: "Hi, I’m Jacqueline, and I write triolets." "Helllloooo, Jacqueline…" and the meeting starts, LOL.


  77. Corinne Dixon

    Somehow your little rosebud knees,
    sweet toddler chortle and
    impish waddle gave way to
    full-fledged teenage caprice,
    seemingly overnight.

    A second ago, we were fingerpainting
    and all of a sudden you had
    grown up so gravely
    that you took it upon yourself
    to flee a police cruiser,
    hurtling impossibly fast along the unknown highway
    to meet the unforgiving stance
    of a telephone pole, your end
    captured on video and watched on youtube
    by thousands.

    Oh, how did we all turn around
    for that split second? I would not permit
    this disaster. Across the country, we
    adults, left to rummage through the aftermath
    and plan your service, droop together in disbelief.
    We comb the beaches of our memories,
    looking for the key to unlock that split second
    that holds your life in suspense, willing it
    to retreat, and let us all have you back.

    No gasp too frantic, no panic ever to equal
    this travesty, this vicegrip that now wrestles us all to the ground.

    For Rachel Merredew, with love.

  78. Jane Shlensky

    Thanks to Cameron, Amy Libertore, Autumn, PKP, and Marie Elena for kind comments. Pearl, I’ve no idea what it’s all about, but most days, for me, it’s about fun, and sometimes that translates something worthwhile. Love you guys. Such good poems today.

  79. Sara McNulty

    When You’re Not Paying Attention

    How Suddenly, Winter

    Canopies of peach roses blush above
    heads of purple and yellow pansies,
    smiling Spring all along the walk.
    Hummingbirds perched on feeders
    turned toward raucous bluejays.
    By the time he paused
    to look out his
    window, all
    limbs were

  80. Benjamin Thomas

    Walt: Taking a shot. I Loved the style and flow of your poem.

    RJ Clarken: Nice

    Mike Maher: Thanks for posting Mike!

    Pearl: There can be only Pearl!

    Annell Livingston: When you are not paying attention.

    Tracy Davidson: chow time

    Gotta get some shut eye

    You guys are awesome poets!

    see ya

  81. John Pupo

    like something out of a movie

    exquisitely comfortable
    conscious creeping
    starting, first, at a
    and sudden
    but deliberate
    pace –
    carving out edges;
    etching and inching
    subtle movements
    something in the mirror –
    a light refraction? encroaching
    entirely in a reactionary way
    crescendos chopping

    sudden silence



    then it’s too late

  82. Benjamin Thomas

    This is an attempt at today’s prompt "not paying attention".
    This poem is a true story of what happened earlier today. I was at a stop sign about to make left turn. There was a huge Suburban SUV approaching at high speed from my left. So I knew not to turn and proceeded to keep my foot on the brake. However my foot didn’t seem to agree with me and slid off the brake to the accelerator just enough to put me in the path of a flying heap of metal at warp speed. But by God’s mercy I had just enough time to hit the gas and escape harms way. Whew! THAT, was a little scary. Talk about not paying attention. It happened so quickly, I’m not sure what had happened.

    Missing a slice

    One minuscule miscue
    One miscommunicated command
    There could’ve been
    a more than serious
    problem at hand

    A split second daydream
    And yet, a slice of pie
    unattended, unaccounted for
    Would’ve been a different story

    One little misfire
    One botched direction
    A small misunderstanding
    One second less
    And an inch less of coordination
    From my head to my foot

    Someone would’ve
    been making funeral plans

  83. Marie Elena

    Some favorites of the day: Paula (I’m with you!), M.A. Dobson’s Default (SOOO well done!), Bruce (a WOW), De Jackson (While you weren’t looking), Yoly, Nikki (Absolutely, hun. Love on those little ones.), Sharon I. (fascinating!), Buddah, Domino (Thank God for you!), Pearl (then when), Jane (all), Misk (all), Joseph Harker, Chev, & Mike Maher.

    Autumn: Speechless. Just speechless.

    Great work, all … as usual. What a place this is.

  84. Paula Wanken


    When I wasn’t paying attention,
    I began squinting in bad lighting,
    their music became too loud,
    and I bought shoes that were sensible.

    When I wasn’t paying attention,
    I become a middle-aged woman.

    2011-05-11 8:20 p.m.
    P. Wanken

    Click here to read the accompanying notes: When did it happen!?

  85. M.A. Dobson

    When we give it up,
    will we go willingly
    or will what went unnoticed or undone
    take precedence over
    tunnels of light and pearly gates
    and wings and mansions in the clouds
    and the swift, sweet blessedness of peace?
    Will that lingering remnant
    of ourselves feel the imprint
    of what’s been loved and lost
    as sorrow, or merely passing strange?
    Just passing through we are, we say,
    and living, cling to what was not,
    what could not be and what we
    should (should not) have undertaken—
    Griefs, the things that went unheeded,
    things we did not do or say or mean;
    will it matter, the burden of the missed,
    that we failed to pay attention
    to ourselves and those we loved?
    Will we cling to it?
    Or will misgiving and regret
    evaporate, resolve
    into farewell, our abandonment
    forgiven in a moment,
    embraced, and gently kissed?

  86. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    While I was sleeping (a triolet) (inspired by one of my favorite movies)

    While I was sleeping
    You fell in love with another
    Gave her your heart for safekeeping
    While I was sleeping
    Your once tear-drenched eyes stopped weeping
    And I could do nothing but loathe her
    While I was sleeping
    You fell in love with another

    (c) jh 5/11/11

  87. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Thanks Dare ( didn’t mind the double post and doubled mention at all., lol)
    Back to read in a bit…..

    Jane….. Beautiful authentic poem…great image of giving up on those oil sorting drink bearing guys…..well nit giving up just not paying attention to them!

    Andrew …cool cat …delightful from top to bottom

    Ahhhhh more more and have to leave ….

  88. Joseph Beckman

    Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 131
    Posted by Robert

    For this week’s prompt, write a "when you’re not paying attention" poem. The "you" could be the speaker in the poem, the reader of the poem, or even a character in the poem. All manner of good and bad things can happen when we’re not paying attention.

    The whats so funny bone.
    When the trip started out, I had
    You’re funny bone. Long drive laughing
    Not a care. After much work, investments
    Paying off. You’d rightly say, “On small things,
    Attention matters most”. I said, “Sign what?..Stop what?………..

    © May 11, 2011 by Joseph Beckman

  89. Bruce Niedt


    I should have paid attention to the signs –
    I never would have crossed before that train.
    That’s me in the debris between the lines.

    The market crashed, economy unwinds,
    my money-making schemes are all in vain.
    I should have paid attention to the signs.

    Tornadoes ripped my house and stripped the pines,
    and I just thought we’d get a little rain.
    That’s me in the debris between the lines.

    My cornfield had unusual designs.
    Now aliens have landed; terror reigns.
    I should have paid attention to the signs.

    I seldom check my mirrors, look behind –
    I didn’t see that truck while changing lanes.
    That’s me in the debris between the lines.

    My love life’s like a field infused with mines;
    I write to dodge the traps, avoid the pain.
    I should have paid attention to the signs;
    That’s me in the debris between the lines.

  90. Taylor Graham


    [for Elihu Burritt & John Harris]

    Why did they come here, a blacksmith-linguist
    and a poet-miner? From Carn Brea
    and Connecticut, they came to listen to birds?

    Here’s a Quaker garden of paradise: groves,
    pools and fountains, flowers of every persuasion;
    and birds. While no one was paying attention,

    birds watched the holder of this place, followed
    him at work. Swallows swooped for insects,
    Dunnocks pecked worms turned up by his spade.

    When he softly praised their song, they hopped
    on the head of his rake. They urged him,
    by bright-eye inquisiting the trigger of his gun,

    to leave off shooting crows. At last, they
    came to his hand – Robin Redbreast
    and Blackcap Warbler, Goldfinch. Perched

    on his bedpost, they wake him every morning;
    they escort him with bird-psalm to Sabbath-
    service in tongues unknown to his fellow

    worshippers. What could a blacksmith-
    linguist and a poet-miner hope to learn here?
    To translate the first-light of song.

  91. Pam Redmer

    Tracy – Chow Time brought a laugh of recognition. With me it was a brownie out of my hand while deeply engrossed in a book.
    Pool Party – Domino thanks to those who are there and aware in astory well told.
    Autumn – love all the turnings and returnings, snowflakes and fox kits.
    PKP – While Looking at Flowers "Seeing what the the whispered wind does yield." lovely.
    Yoly – "That which is compassion whistles from the unattended sky" opens my mind to otherness, that’s what poetry does.
    and so many more … Glad I found you all.

  92. Pam Redmer

    Rice Pudding

    Husband’s favorite rice pudding, his mother’s recipe,
    she makes it many times. It never comes out right.

    Four boys under ten, she tries the pudding once again.
    Laundry’s in the washer, more hanging on the line

    The twins are scrapping, the youngest skins his knees
    the eldest busy trapping a dozen bumblebees.

    Rice pot boils over, the bottom grains are schorched
    she makes the pudding anyway and sets it on the porch.

    Husband comes home early, hungry from his day at work.
    She hears the porch door slam, the silver drawer slide shut.

    Spoon to pudding, spoon to mouth. Triumphantly he shouts,
    "Darling, you’ve done it. Just like mother made!"

  93. Andrew Kreider

    Barry’s a cool cat

    It’s really the most awful dilemma:
    You know full well you should be listening
    To your teacher, but you also recognize
    That she is just incredibly boring.

    Your mind, like a feral cat, keeps straying
    To forbidden ground, seeking adventure.
    You search for it fitfully while staring
    Two inches above your teacher’s right ear.

    The occasional nod normally works
    With a few lines scribbled in your notebook.
    Meanwhile, the cat streaks into a building
    And is brewing you a nice cup of tea.

    The ginger snaps are stale, and the milk’s off
    So puss pulls out a bottle of scrumpy
    And you share it between you, telling jokes
    That you would never share with your mother.

    Then in an unguarded moment you boast
    That you really like Barry Manilow
    And your new friend just smiles and starts to sing:
    Ohhh… At the Copa, Copacabana….

    And meanwhile your teacher’s mouth keeps moving,
    Flapping up and down like a mad cat-flap,
    Asking you a geography question
    Like, “What is the capital of Cuba?”

    That cool cat keeps singing, and you join in
    With: “The hottest spot north of HAVANA.”
    You yell the last word with your arms flung wide
    Like a showgirl with feathers in her hair.

    The rest of the class bursts into applause
    Your teacher says, “Correct – now please sit down.”
    The social worker contacts your parents.
    And the cat slopes away to lick his paws.

  94. de jackson

    While you weren’t looking

    the salt I cried all dried
    evaporated until the air between
    us was filled with molecules
    and microscopic slivers
    of why I should maybe stay.

    While you weren’t listening
    all these phrases, tired phases
    wrapped themselves in wind
    found the moon again
    (she had nothing left to say).

    While you were gone
    my heart broke clean in two
    and I gave half away.

  95. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Keep on trying to find a way to comment that honors the writer and makes some sense time-wise… thought I hit on something…. In terms of Pearl’s pearls… yuck, how self-indulgent and moreover… doesn’t work… I got through 5 ‘pearls’ before I ran into Mike’s students running through the paths of the graveyard and needed to give a nod to that entire image…

    Well nevertheless, from the top this is as far as I have gotten…

    RC – “check your shoes before you leave the lav”
    Marie- “Toes playfully plunging in”
    Walt – “Sorry I’ve missed you!” …I’ve moved on to the next stop instead.
    Rob “time darts past laughing all the way…
    Laurie “you wore panic well”
    Mike Maher.. The student runs through the paths in the graveyard
    and imagines his name on the headstones,
    his body beneath his own feet

    THANKS TO…..
    Scrolling through… I wanted to thank Jane…ah Jane you write sooo beautifully your mention means a great deal.. then again it’s all about “quality” not “quantity” is it not?
    Amy – ha, ha on the irony of not paying attention and posting incorrectly.. good one

    Yes Autumn … sometimes it does ! thanks for the response

  96. de jackson

    Could you repeat the prompt, please?

    She musta dozed off there
    sort of zombied her way through
    the morning.
    Breakfast. Carpool. Help at the school.
    Swing by the store.
    Just one errand more. Wait. What am
    I here for?

    Attention span ain’t what it used to be
    and there isn’t
    enough caffeine in all the universe
    for this phase
    of her crazy, hazy life. (Is it really
    Wednesday already?
    What happened to Monday and Tuesday?
    What time is it?

    Where is pen? Computer’s out of juice.
    Muse is on the loose.
    Energy level just went SPLAT.
    She’s pooped.
    (“There’s a nap for that.”)
    What were we talking about?

  97. Shannon Lockard

    Don’t Blink
    Don’t blink
    or turn you back
    Needles can stick you.
    Terrorists might attack.
    Behind you there might be a trap.
    Look both ways.
    Intersections can be dangerous.
    Nothing appears as it seems.
    Kind of makes me think I should go ahead and blink.

    Alphabet Poem
    Always be cautious,
    dangers escape.
    Frightening, genuine horrors
    invading, jostling, lurking.
    oppressing possible queries.
    Relinquishing self-worth to
    undeniable, veritable,
    yearning zoomed-in.

    Blitz Poem

    Pause Before Frustration

    Don’t blink
    Don’t pause
    Pause causes pain
    Pauses causes accidents
    Accidents happen
    Accidents harm
    Harm seeps through
    Harm remembers
    Remembers the moment
    Remembers the silence
    Silence of disaster
    Silence of moments lost
    Lost from not looking
    Lost from not wanting
    Wanting to escape
    Wanting to avoid
    Avoid the memory
    Avoid the loss
    Loss of love
    Loss of innocence
    Innocence of a child
    Innocence of a heart
    Heart on fire
    Heart broken
    Broken wings
    Broken bones
    Bones of legs
    Bones of life
    Life evolved
    Life enlightened
    Enlightened by people
    Enlightened by process
    Process of hoping
    Process of dreaming
    Dreaming of love
    Dreaming of escape
    Escape from reality
    Escape from death
    Death of innovation
    Death of intonation
    Intonation of emotions
    Intonation when reading
    Reading in a vacuum
    Reading in a bubble
    Bubble of desire
    Bubble of frustration
    Frustration in waiting
    Frustration in watching

    I decided to do a trio of form poems today. I hope it’s not spaced weird…iPAD (enough said)

  98. Autumn N. Hall

    Yoly (When You’re Not Paying Attention)-very Zen, beautiful in its simplicity and truth. I love "Clouds may look at you with a wishy-washy countenance" and "the wishbone of a chicken snapped in two near hands that cannot recollect broken things." Lovely.

    Thanks to Jane and Dheepikka for your kind comments.

    And Jane (Shades of Silence), while I’m at it, I loved your assessment that "nothing fine happens in certain shades of silence," which could imply an eery outcome, but in this case begets "a vivid new world on the living room wall." Oh, for the simple complications of those days….

  99. Yoly

    When You’re not Paying Attention

    What you have faith in
    can be brought down
    to the rank of bare-feet.

    The mind may hold its breath
    as if the trick it is playing on
    in its own territory
    has roots in another ground.

    Clouds might look at you
    with a wishy-washy countenance.

    You doze off with the wishbone
    of a chicken snapped in two
    near hands that cannot
    recollect broken things.

    But that which is loyal
    to compassion, whistles
    from the unattended sky.

  100. Nikki Markle

    “Everyday Magic”

    The drone of the vacuum
    Smothers all other sounds,
    Its pull and push painting
    Pyramids on the deep green

    On a handmade blanket, a
    Little one balancing on her
    Belly, head wobbling on a
    Fragile neck, polka-dotted
    Diapered bottom wiggling.

    Pulling out chairs and
    Maneuvering around end
    Tables, a milestone is crossed. A
    Helpless baby a little less
    Helpless as she rests on her
    Back, legs kicking, giggling at the
    Antics of the ceiling fan.

    Right in the middle of the
    Everyday living, a little bit of
    Magic pokes in; until one day the
    Vacuum is switched off and
    You’re surprised to find
    She’s all grown up.


  101. Autumn N. Hall

    The Pedophile’s Prayer

    Please don’t question whether 8 and 10
    are ages too tender to worry with words
    like “inappropriate” and “fondling”
    such lewd and lascivious lingo.

    Pay no attention to the fact that it’s June
    yet I’ve asked for a blanket
    (and the cover of darkness) to
    cozy-up to the kids on the swing.

    Don’t think to wonder why I’ve folded all
    6 foot 4 of myself into the back seat
    of your station wagon; just keep
    your eyes on the road and drive.

    Count on the fact that I’m their Uncle,
    a garment-wearing member of the LDS church
    a first-time father to a new baby girl
    a visiting guest in your home.

    And God forbid, when the truth comes out,
    don’t call 911 and tell the police
    that, YES, you’d like to press charges;
    don’t drag us ALL through the courts.

    Know that even a two-year trial,
    your tortured testimony and my 20 year sentence,
    won’t give back their childhoods
    your marriage, or your mutual peace of mind.

  102. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    J.D., sounds like an autistic boy? Asperger’s, perhaps. My daughter has it an walks into doors – only no one will believe her.
    Sal, "in a thought-beat they are gone," what a great word within that line.
    Sharon, thank you for reaffirming the humanity of city folk. Most people think people who live the concrete life are made of the same.
    Buddah, bruddah, we are all better for your survival. Long may you reign!
    Pearl Girl, did you notice the irony that you weren’t paying attention when you posted the wrong draft, considering the prompt? Loved the end product, lush and lively. And "the things you do not miss," as Grandma Blanche used to say, "The things you worry about most never happen." Loved it. Productive day for you!
    Jane, your meditation on the beauty of long-term relationships (resentment becomes contentment) was lovely.
    Misk, your "Flame" had me laughing out loud, as did the "massage."
    Joseph, your milkweed (given spines, turned to ten thousand blades). Astonishing that you can turn a mundane plant into this type of art.
    Marie Elena, "eyes, oblivious," yes! Handful of words, a thousand pictures.
    Mike M., congrats on joining the Street. Your poem was very good, especially the part about imagining his body beneath his own feet, planted for eternity. These are the musings of youth… Keep ‘em coming!
    Robert started us all off with a bang. As Indy says, "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"
    RJ, I once went the length of a ballroom at a GIG with a toilet paper tapeworm attached to my heel. Couldn’t figure out why folks were smiling so broadly… Loved it!

  103. Michael Grove


    Your head was turned away.
    Your eyes were closed to tight.
    You thought you knew the way.
    You thought you had it right.

    Your dreams were all that mattered
    You thought you had it all.
    You gave it everything.
    You were set up for a fall.

    Blinded by agendas of another soul.
    Blinded by a vision in your mind.
    Blinded by a sharp stick while out running.
    Blinded since no trust was there to find.

    Open up your eyes and see the future.
    Open up your mind to find the truth.
    Open up your soul and feel the glory.
    Open up your heart. Reclaim your youth.

    By Michael Grove

  104. J. D. Mackenzie

    His Latest Lapse

    Your most frequent reminders:
    set his alarm
    brush and floss
    watch where he’s going

    So it’s no surprise
    when he forgets
    clangs into an unyielding light post
    while deep in thought
    or thinking about girls

    As injuries go
    these are minor
    only a swollen lip
    and a lacerated ego

    His visit to Nurse Jamila
    a reminder it’s National School Nurse Day
    and this latest generation to
    treat the hurts
    hear the confessions
    save them from themselves

  105. Kris K

    The World Will Pass You By

    Behind closed doors and out of reach
    The world will pass you by
    See me, hear and know me, you cry
    Come find me, help me, you beseech

    Make known, cry out, let them know, teach
    Don’t wait and wonder, and sit and ask why
    Behind closed doors and out of reach
    The world will pass you by

    Don’t be afraid, you won’t be a leech
    Peek out the window, give it a try
    The world is safe for you to fly
    Whatever you do, please don’t stay, I preach
    Behind closed doors and out of reach

  106. Salvatore Buttaci


    your astral selves take to flying
    far from inner-self dungeons
    you built to confine them
    so engrossed in life
    you hardly notice their departure
    nor even sense the empty cell

    life holds your full attention
    you watch it tock away in feeble time
    as though by watching it pass
    you remain aloof and ageless
    but in the wind’s excursions
    astral bodies cruise new worlds

    in a thought-beat they are gone
    while you rooted here for now
    believe yourselves in control
    sidestepping temptations
    those upturned palms seeking
    what compassion you will not give


  107. S.E.Ingraham

    Leave My Innocence Intact Please

    “How is it possible to expect that mankind will take advice, when they will not so much as take warning?” Swift

    She was all business, walking briskly – headed for the turnstile
    When she wheeled around and came back to where I was
    puzzling over the Metro sign, trying to figure out what I needed

    “Hon?” Her voice though soft, had an edge, fine as a carving knife
    “Before we get you your tickets, you do that bag up right now, hear?”
    I glanced behind me at my large tote, gaping wide, as per usual

    Bemused, I looked into her eyes and was met with unflinching grey steel,
    “You’re in New York City girl,” she chided. “If you haven’t been robbed
    already – well, I’m going to stand right here until you zip up that bag.”

    True to her word, she stepped back, crossed her arms across her chest
    and waited and watched while I squatted beside my over-packed bag,
    re-arranged things, so I could finally push the sides together and zip it

    “Mmmm hmm – there you go,” she said, turning to the board with me
    “Now, where you off to?” And I showed her and told her I only needed
    a one-way ticket and how did I go about getting one of those …

    To her credit, she handled me with great forbearance from there on
    explaining that no-one would buy just one ticket – ever – insisted
    I buy at least five dollars worth – and was I glad I did when I missed a stop

    Who knew you had to pay to get back on and go the other way?
    Well – I would have had to if a kindly Metro worker hadn’t spotted
    me, helped me carry my luggage across 42nd and told the woman manning

    The gate there – “she missed her stop boss – she’s a Canadian – let her on”
    And, they did – just like that – as if being Canadian was like being
    Handicapped, they opened that gate (for my luggage, but still)

    And my extra ticket was saved for the return trip back to Penn Station
    Wherein a whole other story was born but that’s for another time

  108. Anders Bylund

    Too Late
    I found you under the cedars
    but I couldn’t read
    the enticing tales
    you wove in the ether —
    what did you mean?

    So I pushed you away, running scared.
    I wouldn’t dare
    trying to steal
    your heart of your soul for three
    years; hardly spoke your name.

    For all that is sacred
    I should have held you dear,
    but our connection grew stale
    though you were always there.
    Too little, too late? Amen.

    (An experiment in anagrammatic form, based on a true story oft invoked in this forum.)

  109. MiskMask

    Fragmented Recollections

    It’s coming on five years
    since he died. I can only say
    that time is a saboteur.
    Memories intact but nothing

    spurs my recollection of
    the senses. I’m left with
    a blur that even tears
    can’t stir. A void replaces

    his scent. I can describe it,
    like sweet strawberries, but
    the scent is gone. Emptiness
    is now the sound of his voice.

    I remember what he said but his
    voice is gone. Is it that I
    didn’t pay attention or that
    time erases all in the end.

  110. Buddah Moskowitz


    Before I knew it
    there were wrinkles
    taking up residence
    by my smile,

    stray gray hairs
    curling wildly from
    my sideburns,

    my aching, crackling
    knee joints
    betrayed me,

    the memories
    stuck somewhere in the back
    require a more complicated
    set of cues
    to loosen them
    from their
    hiding space.

    I needed longer arms
    to read the small print
    on my blood pressure

    and I understood
    the necessity of
    euphemistic language like
    “erectile dysfunction”

    and I smiled because
    these were proof
    that I beat the odds

    and have lived
    longer than I thought
    I would,

    long enough
    to be an old man.

  111. Domino

    Pool Party

    It was the 4th of July
    a few years ago.
    a friend of my brother-in-law’s cousin
    had a party;
    invited everyone.
    Not like we know them
    all that well.
    Plus, our kids are grown,
    and my husband is not fond
    of little kids.

    We arrived
    carrying misgivings with our
    potato salad
    and pie.

    The scene by the pool was
    As an experienced mom
    (and having had CPR training
    on countless occasions)
    I was worried.

    No one was watching the kids.

    And sure, they were swimming like seals
    dipping in
    and out
    of the water like

    But no one was watching them.

    And so, as the afternoon
    turned into evening,
    I was a constant presence
    at the pool side.
    Not swimming,
    But quietly chatting
    with the ever-increasingly

    And soon enough,
    my fears were realized
    when one tot
    slipped under the water
    and didn’t come up.

    But I was there
    before she could panic
    and lifted her out of the water
    crying (the both of us).

    Her mother never noticed.

  112. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik


    then when you’re not paying attention….fairies fly ( a big 10 + 2)

    then when you are not paying attention
    fairies fly sprinkling golden dandelion
    dust on dreams exhaled in the soft spring air
    then when you are not paying attention…
    a cell in solitude searches another
    to dance the dance of disease and new life
    then when you are not paying attention
    the final kiss is kissed, the last touch felt
    unannounced – eternally remembered
    then when you you are not paying attention

    ephemeral, illusory, actual all become one, present and invisible
    then when you are not paying attention

  113. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    when you’re not paying attention….fairies fly

    then when you are not paying attention
    fairies fly sprinkling golden dandelion
    dust on dreams exhaled in the soft spring air
    then when you are not paying attention…
    a cell in solitude searches another
    to dance the dance of disease and new life
    then when you are not paying attention
    the final kiss is kissed, the last touch felt
    unannounced – eternally remembered
    then when you you are not paying attention

    ephemeral, illusory, actual all become one, present and invisible
    when you are not paying attention

  114. Jane Shlensky


    Numbed by mourning
    keening in a silent dullness
    pieces of memories
    decoupaged into unstoried nonsense
    where loss and need clutch for control
    over new identities
    lost and stricken
    she sits
    and does not hear the small voice
    or notice the warmth of the small hand
    that wraps its fingers around her palm
    squeezing her into full focus.

  115. AC Leming

    Very rough draft. Didn’t see any bright red feathers when I arrived home. Maybe he’s safe.


    Cardinal hops across blacktop,
    gains lift just as my car swerves
    out of it’s way. My eyes shift
    to side mirrors but can’t see
    if the birds flew away as I hurtle
    down 17 at 65 mph.

  116. Jane Shlensky

    A Matter of Time

    Time and proximity wear away inhibitions
    and living with another erodes what we
    mistook for Self into deeply gullied landscapes
    of acceptance, fantasies fled shrieking into the night
    of new realizations and bearable revulsions.

    Knowing that your love sweats and snores,
    breaks wind or scratches, ignores the garbage
    or carries it for ever-ripening days in his car trunk
    informs romance of delusion’s work ahead.
    The persnickety self, nose pinched in horror
    or outrage, pushes the panic down into the stomach
    and bowels where it settles into burgeoning flesh,
    nurtured by the knowledge of your own short-comings.
    Things you swore you’d never do, never tolerate,
    become your daily fare, not monstrous as you once
    believed, but just a variation of life.

    Then one day when you’re not thinking of it,
    when you’re not entertaining thoughts of running
    away to a sun-baked luxury island where bronzed
    and smiling young men flirtatiously mist you
    with oil and serve giant frozen cocktails
    with brightly colored paper lawn furniture in them,
    you realize that the panic is gone. When you least
    expect it, when you’re not paying attention at all,
    doubts are replaced with the comfort that familiarity
    breeds not only contempt, but humor and forgiveness
    and love.

  117. Dheepikaa

    RJ Clarken: Really funny, your poem.
    Time passes more quickly than flowers ever know is such a warm expression. I enjoyed those two lines best.
    Your ‘Pay attention’ poem was so school-stern! Smiles.
    Autumn Hall: Love every stanza of your poem. Beautiful imagery. Specifically liked those popcorn orchids. Wow.

    Robert – Thanks for such an uber cool prompt. :)

  118. Jane Shlensky

    I’m always gratified and alarmed with the speed with which you poets crank out such wonderful images: Walt (ouch!), RJ, Mike M, PKP, Joseph and Autumn (beautiful) and Jerry. Wonderful. I’m still reading. Here’s a start for me.

    Shades of Silence

    It isn’t often that you have another family
    to dinner, an opportunity for adults to talk
    together while their children play together
    quietly, using their best manners, outdoing
    one another at being the best kid in the world,
    so smart, so well behaved, so pretty and calm
    and mature for his or her age, clearly a well-
    mothered child. Those dreams still ring
    in your ears so loudly that you cannot hear
    the sofa move, the argument over paints and
    crayons, the children’s discussion about the
    mural’s design, color choices, and intention,
    a siege that gets one visiting child pinched
    into cooperation. After all, the home team
    provides both the canvas and the colors.
    Respect must be paid.
    No, all that is buried under the quiet adult talk
    at table of gardens and work and vacations,
    of church committees and hopes and fun, feeling
    as if you’re teenagers again on a double date,
    until both mothers realize with a start
    that they have not heard children for too long,
    that nothing fine happens in certain shades of silence,
    the menacing, concentrated white noise of secrecy
    and great surprises,
    that while you were happy and young, lost in
    fantasies of childlessness for one short evening,
    while you were not paying attention,
    your darlings, such good kids, had created
    a vivid new world on the living room wall.

    Jane Shlensky

  119. Karen Legg

    Freeway Helicopters

    Every morning they rise – the unarmed army
    of freeway helicopters on high.
    Think of them, chasing the rolling
    morning crush as its flow and ebb
    span America, coast to coast; reporting
    waits and stoppages to the travellers causing them.
    They show up, ineffectual as dogs at backyard fences,
    harrying garbage trucks until they give up
    and roll away to steal other families’ trash.

    Their only interest is being where
    the traffic shouldn’t be.

    A friend of mine won a contest –
    a ticket to ride the sunrise with KFOG
    over the Golden Gate Bridge.
    Hanging in the sky, un-earthbound
    — ears thrumming, equilibrium challenged —
    witness to the daily influx that runs the city,
    attention torn between the machine in the air
    and the life on the ground it lived to serve.
    Leaving the firmament for terra firma she found

    a traffic ticket tucked under the wiper
    of her parked groundmobile.

  120. Dheepikaa


    Your deep afternoon voice
    and your slightly exaggerated laughter
    reminded me of teachers I hated in school.
    I drifted in no time to the morning
    when I was exchanging hearty whispers
    with my wife under thin bedsheets,
    about love and sweetheartness and a few
    early morning paraphernalia,
    careful to make sure not to wake up
    our two year old son;
    ‘Thud, thud’ and I leapt up
    from my chair to notice that you had
    caught red-handed
    my drifting eyes in the conference room.

  121. MiskMask

    Tom’s Beach, Scène Thirteen (and I Won’t be Superstitious): A Study in Attention to Detail

    It was a moment or two
    about the time it takes
    to flick a fly off your shoe
    when Mimi’s bottle and
    message came back into view.

    It was a green gleaming gem
    surfing the crest of the waves.
    It bobbed and it ducked
    rolling over and under one
    wave after another. Adieu

    was the last thing that
    bottle intended to do.
    Slowly it made its way back
    toward shore, waves licked at
    its side, rolling it, nudging it

    inching it ever forward,
    closer and closer toward their
    saltwater-soaked, squidgy feet
    where it abruptly came to a stop,
    dripping with what looked like
    …well … foamy shampoo.

    “Snafu!” blinked the periwinkle.

    The whelk gyrated about, and sang,
    “… Return to sender! Ah-huh …”

    “Not enough stamps,” said Tom
    who pulled a smiley face sticker
    from the depths of his pocket.

    “You’ll need two of those,” said the whelk
    “International surface mail,” confirmed the periwinkle.
    “EU,” said the whelk still gyrating.
    “Eeeouw, to you, too,” said the periwinkle.

    Tom ignored their banter
    planting two smiley face stickers
    on the side of the bottle
    securing it with a hammering
    from the side of his fist.

    Then he drew back his arm and
    with a twist of his wrist
    hurled the bottle back into the sea.
    They sat on a log that served
    as a bench wondering how long

    until their ‘massage’ was picked up
    by the French. And their bottle
    spun round and rolled nowhere fast
    in that stuff that looked like
    … well … foamy shampoo.

    Forlorn, Tom stared off toward
    France. A bit of attention
    might’ve prevented the return
    of Mimi’s bottle. No one however
    noticed the tidals were rising

    and that foamy shampoo stuff now
    clung to the log where they sat.
    And Tom still had 77 yellow
    smiley face stickers
    left in his trouser pocket.

  122. Dare Gaither

    Pearl: Don’t Look…"suckle life’s joy"
    Great words, especially for us worriers. :-)

    Jerry Walraven: loved the fragile beauty of "soap bubble" words

    Walt: I felt that! Jagged edges can leave deep scars!



    A hundred species
    Each day
    Erased Forever
    Who will notice when
    We’re gone

  123. Dare Gaither

    Pearl: Don’t Look…"suckle life’s joy"
    Great words, especially for us worriers. :-)

    Jerry Walraven: loved the fragile beauty of "soap bubble" words

    Walt: I felt that! Jagged edges can leave deep scars!



    A hundred species
    Each day
    Erased Forever
    Who will notice when
    We’re gone

  124. Cameron Steele

    When you leave me by myself on a Saturday

    I want to cut my teeth
    on that pointy moon.
    I am filled with what
    it would take to leap
    from this porch
    or balcony
    into fragments of
    incisored existence
    so few ever know.

    They are tricky:
    Nights like these
    looped around my wrists
    am I licking concrete
    or air?

    Once, when I was a girl
    I awoke to feel her
    chalking touch
    over my knees.
    Weak as I was
    I knew:
    It’s easy to love
    take what you need
    from what you see.

  125. Autumn N. Hall

    Pearl (While Eating Tuna Sandwiches)-Yes, that’s just how it happens, isn’t it…?

    Marie Elena (Autopilot)-a prayer which could use saying all too often!

    Joseph Harker (Dissemination)-Another lovely vision: "dandelions, fat-headed and drooping with dew-sweat" "Respect their prickly Scottishness" "What congress of thistles made such swift decisions?"

    Jerry Walraven (Ether, Either Way)-I like the idea of "words which exist as soap bubbles" both in terms of a writer’s illusive vision and also in terms of all those notions we try to communicate which somehow get lost in the moment.

  126. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Don’t Look

    There are a million billion gazillion
    things that happen when attention
    you do not simply pay
    So do not worry about what you
    do not see and what you do not say
    There are things moving up behind you
    Surprises at your back
    Some will bring joy, some will
    as a sharp honed knife attack
    But while you are not looking
    Do not worry that you will miss
    The thing that you most fear
    Might never come, replaced instead
    with an unexpected kiss
    Kick up your heels and try
    to not fret about what happens when
    you are not attention paying
    the truth is that there is little that
    we actually control
    might as well suckle life’s joy
    That’s all – I’m just saying…

  127. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Pay Attention

    Sit up straight eyes straight ahead
    Do not let an idle thought drift into your head
    Tear your eyes from the willow tree
    bending, beckoning whispery tales of possibility
    Things must be learned and must be learned well
    Sit up straight, on the wonders floating endlessly do not ever dwell
    Shake off Pegasus flying in the air
    Banish mermaids floating languid hair
    Sit up straight, eyes straight ahead
    Learn the lessons taught so you shall be well read

  128. Autumn N. Hall

    When You’re Not Paying Attention

    A snowflake with all six thumbs out
    hitches a last ride
    on your left eyebrow

    A popcorn orchid bursts into bloom,
    raspberries you with a hundred
    spotted yellow tongues

    One onions tries to transport
    itself from the bin on
    pungent emerald shoots

    Six fox kits smuggling
    half-a-dozen new goose eggs
    slink back into their den

    An eighteenth syllable whistling
    with hands behind its back
    sneaks into your haiku

    That cloud which was three
    balanced elephant acrobats
    becomes the Happy Buddha

    The friend you’ve known
    for fifteen years suddenly
    sweeps you off your feet

  129. annell livingston

    When you are not paying attention
    All kinds of things can happen
    Take your eyes off the ball
    You can become lost
    Miss the catch
    Lose the game

    As an artist
    It is the muse
    For which you must
    Pay attention
    For surely
    As you nap comfortably
    She comes
    She will not wake you
    You will not know

    It is your job
    To be at your post
    To pay attention
    You are waiting
    Otherwise you will not
    Even be aware
    That you have arrived

  130. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    In The Alley

    While walking in the alley
    late and dark at night
    alone and watching shadows
    certain of hidden threatened fright
    While walking in the alley
    prototypical cat knocking clattering can
    Heart pounding in the throat
    The spectre of the villained vicious man
    Who lives as a troll forever in the alley
    Waiting spittle drooling in delight
    For just a person such as you to take a stroll
    in a dark tonight
    While walking in the alley
    Heart pounding, cans clattering, waiting for the attack
    With flaming face and icy hands turn and see nothing there in back

  131. Joseph Harker


    Without warning, the milk thistles opened: they were
    formerly a fence of green spines walling the road.
    Constantly-alert plants whose hair (given backbones,
    turned to ten thousand blades) stood always on end.

    It was a perilous way to walk, past the thistles. Now,
    they move through purple. Breakneck speed, seeing as
    roots keep other motions to a crawl. Not wild rose. Nor
    dandelions, fat-headed and drooping with dew-sweat.

    Milk thistles flutter with leaves like great spinebacked
    moths-of-paradise, dark green religion tacked to a stem
    best left unmolested. Respect their prickly Scottishness,
    their upstanding benevolence. And how fast they turn–

    Seeds plume into white puffs that separate and uplift,
    most unexpectedly. What congress of thistles made
    such swift decisions? Their rapture populates the road
    and breathing tickles ignorant lungs so soon forgiven.

  132. Jerry Walraven

    "Ether, Either Way"

    Steathily downstairs,
    against the light,
    hoping to capture words
    which exist as soap bubbles,
    real one moment,
    the moment your vision shifts
    and the moment
    back into the ether.

  133. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Eating Tuna Sandwiches

    While eating tuna sandwiches
    Yours on white and his on rye
    Sitting on a lunch park bench
    Watching time go by
    While eating tuna sandwiches
    Exchanging the day-to-day
    Who and what happened
    And what might this or that one might say
    While eating tuna sandwiches
    Sunlight pouring down on a bench of two
    An accidental hand brush
    Illuminates love unbenched,
    Surprisingly stunning both of you
    While eating tuna sandwiches

  134. Katie Dixon

    "Waa woh waa waa"

    My tape recorder voice cycles through repeat.
    I wonder if it could be recycled for better use.
    My mouth moves on muscle memory, and now,
    Even I am tuning myself out, just like you.

  135. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    While Looking At The Flowers

    While stopping to smell the roses
    and watch the daisies dotting sunshine gently
    in the field
    While blowing wishes on the mystic dandelion
    seeing what the whispered wind does yield
    While heady with the scent of lavender
    grasses tumbling in transcendent fragrant flow
    Time is passing more quickly
    Than flowers ever know

  136. Patricia Watson

    Seeing Things

    This is what happens when you daydream.
    Trying to live as if things are not what they seem.
    Stop talking of these frivolities.
    You have to see things’ as they should be.
    This is no way to live your life.
    Put down the glass go home to your wife.

  137. mike Maher.

    Hello, Wednesday poeteers! Here is my first attempt at my first Wednesday poetry prompt. Be gentle! :)

    When You’re Not Paying Attention

    They didn’t stop the game
    but the crowd kept chanting USA!
    and the center fielder admitted he had no idea why.
    It was confirmed later we had killed a piece of evil
    but little has changed.
    Not paying attention can be dangerous
    but paying too much attention will tear you apart.
    My pens keep disappearing.
    You never showed up at the festival
    and so many of the singers mentioned the coasts.
    Someone’s nephew once told me
    this is all supposed to be musical,
    even the stainless steel grill clicking as it heats up,
    even the poetry clicking through the keys onto the screen.
    If you look closely enough
    you can see the faults in anyone,
    but when you too leave my presence
    tell no one of mine,
    let them experience the irrational anxiety
    over situations out of my control firsthand.

    Some amnesia is self inflicted by a brain
    which decides to decide to forget everything.
    The student runs through the paths in the graveyard
    and imagines his name on the headstones,
    his body beneath his own feet.

  138. Laurie Kolp

    Pay Attention in Times Square, Lady

    Under a cheap umbrella
    I stood in Times Square
    when it started to rain
    that popped out of nowhere.

    I knew you were close
    yet lost in the crowd,
    ants scurrying about-
    dense streets, noise loud.

    That’s when I saw you
    hurrying along with the flow,
    you wore panic well
    failed to notice below

    a cement pole, waist high
    you ‘smack’ ran right into,
    must have hurt like hell
    but you moseyed on through.

  139. Walt Wojtanik


    Lessons learned the hard way,
    every day; every way possible.
    I heard the sound, quite profound,
    and I disregarded the noise.
    A tapping, gentle rapping.
    It did not grab my attention.
    The tension that arose
    with the gradual increase
    in volume and import, irked
    and perplexed me; the knocking
    continued unabated. I waited
    and it eventually stopped.
    Posted on my door frame,
    addressed to my name – a note.
    "Sorry I missed you!" it said,
    "I’ve moved onto the next stop instead.
    Maybe next time, if there is one,
    you’ll answer. I will only knock.
    I will not break down your door."
    It was signed "Opportunity".
    Maybe if I get the bell fixed…

  140. RJ Clarken

    Wise Too Late

    I should have paid attention
    to the voice inside my head.
    Instead I disregarded it
    and now my face is red
    because the voice said, “Check your shoes
    before you leave the lav.”
    I did not pay attention so
    this shame is what I have.

  141. Walt Wojtanik


    Tetanus shot,
    thumb ravaged and bleeding,
    needing some attention
    not to mention some gauze.
    It was a pause; a distraction.
    And my action was careless.
    I should have been watching
    what I was doing.
    A 55 gallon metal barrel,
    edge jagged and serrated.
    A dirty gash ensued.
    Safety procedures being reviewed.
    I should have been paying attention.