Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 133

Good morning, everyone! I hope you’ve all been staying safe with tornadoes ripping through parts of the country. Here in Georgia, things have been rather quiet all week. When tragedy strikes, it always makes people reassess their priorities.

For this week’s prompt, write a priorities poem. It can be a serious reevaluation or a light-hearted statement on the silly things we put on a pedestal over others. I hope you can make poeming a priority this week.

Here’s my attempt:

“The ATL”

The land of sandals and hip hop,
lazy days and late mornings
mourning the warnings we didn’t take
serious enough. The geese hid
from the sun. Not every city releases
people in the evening; not every
person seeks the moon reflected
in puddles or stars erased from the night
by street lights, but I found myself
in all four seasons wandering
across asphalt and concrete,
searching for signs of life and finding
my heart grows in the dark
like teenagers hiding in a park
to keep a spark sparking. You’d be
surprised what bothers me. The geese
hiss at the sun, but we all hide
desire. Only the small ones are on fire.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


Want to get a little more poetic?
Then, check out Writing the Life Poetic, by Sage Cohen. This is one of my favorite poetry books on the craft of writing poetry. It is loaded with tips and tricks for making poetry a daily part of your life.

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177 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 133

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Oregon Pioneer
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    It really didn’t matter that he’d already lost good horseflesh to the Comanche, his wife’s best cow to disease, his youngest to measles, or even his last nickel in a last minute, desperate whiskey-induced poker game. He was still going to Oregon come hell or high water, and nothing, absolutely unequivocally not a single dagnabit thing, was going to stand in the way of his getting there; not even the two days spent stuck under the back axle of the prairie schooner where he whiled away the hours thinking about rolling green hills and sharp river bends teeming with salmon before help came.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Henry Ward

    Congrats to Sam Neilson on his poem ‘Heading to Work’ Its positive
    bracing freshness stayed with me all day and I have read it several times.

  3. Sara McNulty

    Congratulations to Daniel Ari and all the other Bop winners.
    Welcome back, Bruce. You are the third person in one week to reveal the same medical news. Now that you know, you will fight to stay healthy.

  4. LBC

    spider webs connect curtain rods and ceiling fan
    dirty breakfast dishes sit in the sink
    dog hair drifts across the kitchen floor
    pushed into the corner by the breeze drifting
    through the open window
    the breeze whispering of beauty
    luring with a gentle fragrance of spring
    one glance out the window at
    morning sun diamond sparkled dew dropped grass
    and only one thing matters
    a dog walk on a glorious day
    all else can wait until I get back

  5. Sam Nielson

    Heading to Work

    The quiet storm in my aching head rolls
    In a mash, a swirl of soggy grey cells,
    Then waves of purple grape buds of lilac,
    Like sirens singing in the leafy green deep,
    They call, they beckon, with stubby fingers
    Waiting, soothing themselves for the morning’s
    Warm sun-rays to shoot bright over the east
    Mountains, under the heavy cloud-grey lid
    Before they open and express themselves
    In that white seductive scent just for me.

  6. Hugh V. Collins

    by Hugh V. Collins

    Sanity is slowly escaping me
    Helpless is the word that comes to mind
    Clueless I am on the path I travel
    Ignorance is certainly unkind

    Friends, they elude me
    Leave me to fend
    Where enemies amass
    And will die in the end

    In the midst of wind storms
    I cover my squinting eyes
    While temporarily unstable and blinded
    I am forced to realize

    I’m fighting a losing battle
    There is no way to win
    Maybe I am starting to pay back
    For the way I have been living

    I stand here in silence
    And try to listen for His voice
    I hear a feint calling
    That leaves me with no choice

    “I’ve been calling your name,
    And you ignore me as you please
    You seek comfort in places of despair
    And turn your back one me with ease.”

    I have been regretting
    The day I turned around
    I thought what I had was sacred
    I thought it was profound

    I begin to understand
    That only in you I will find true love
    A true friend that won’t leave me hanging
    And you have always been above.

    I say your name before I eat my meals
    But hardly when I awake
    I know you are there watching over me
    I knew you would be for old time sake.

    But while sanity is slowly escaping
    And helpless was the word that comes to mind
    I share my secrets with and you don’t judge me
    Loving me as I am your child

    The path that I trod
    Becomes clearer each day
    The mistakes I’ve made
    Are fading away

    The smiles on the faces
    Of sweet and dear friends
    Tells me one of two things
    They won’t be there in the end

    Truly, I have abandoned you
    Like I was when I was young
    I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you
    Just don’t stop putting your air in my lungs

    You’ve made me feel better in an instant
    Just by saying your name
    Filling my mind with thoughts of you
    And opening the page you claim.

  7. Willy

    PKP: Thanks for your tho’ts.
    Marie: Thanks for your blessing. Hugs from you always welcome.
    Counting blessings.
    Bruce: RE: diabetes. You’ve captured the very essence of "the Big D" in your words – what it is and how to manage/control/master it. You grok it. Stick with it Friend. (By-the-by, you nailed the diet and exercise thing, but add stress management to it; that’s a MUST.)

  8. Taylor Graham


    Every day he gave up daylight
    to go underground, mining the mother-
    lode of copper, and when that got scarce,
    tin. A job that paid a living
    by the god of gloom. John lived

    on poetry, scratched on hafts and
    rocks, scraps, whatever came to hand
    and mind. A hard-rock poet
    mines what he can, and must. And then,
    to leave that underworld

    and live as scripture-reader
    for the God of daylight, praising Him.
    John walks a paradise-garden
    of birds, learning their
    words, their mother-lode of song.

  9. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik


    Your absence has been noticed if you could not tell
    Good to have you back, in a new normal that shall have you well

    Diabetes can sound scary, annoying, or just a pain
    But diagnosis is terrific stealing the Reaper a potential gain

    So happy graduation to your son and congratulations to you too
    Digest your graduation from denial with all the knowledge to you due
    Enjoy the pleasure of healthy foods, in this new promised land of long years for you

    And while you are at this thinking and wondering what is for you to be
    Please get off that mental duff and grace us with another poem of priority

  10. Bruce Niedt

    I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks – a combination of a busy few weeks of major events (including son’s graduation) and a minor case of writer’s block. Also dealing with not-so-great medical news, as presented here:


    It’s not a very big number, six-point-five,
    but in the context of a blood test,
    it’s huge. It means I’ve crossed the border
    into another country, the Land of Diabetes.

    Suddenly, all priorities jockey for position;
    diet and exercise rise to the top.
    I have my marching orders, a regimen that says,
    Get off your fat ass, and stop scarfing
    anything down your throat.
    I don’t want to live in this country;
    I want to skip back over the border
    into the promised land of Normal.

    But I can’t slip through under cover of night,
    can’t snip a hole in a chain-link fence.
    Instead, I’ll have to walk or run a long way,
    and pack the right food for the trip.

  11. Colette ;D

    ~ Household Priorities ~

    The husband did the mopping.
    The wife said it was slick.
    The husband perspired.

    The husband paid the bills.
    The wife said it was a huge deposit.
    The husband felt well-endowed.

    The husband did the shopping.
    The wife said it was sexy.
    The husband felt inspired.

    The husband cooked dinner.
    The wife said it was HOT!
    The husband really lit up.

    Then the husband fell asleep with the light on.

  12. Willy

    Life’s priorities
    after tornadoes and rain
    food, shelter, clothing

    Great/appropriate prompt, Robert. Last night was another blinger! Power’s back and we’ve no losses. Luckier than many. Original piece on priorities changed with the wind – literally. W

  13. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Get it done

    Organize each closet, drawer and space
    Til all stands in perfect order…..
    Live amid a cheerful cluttered precious, memory jogging  jam
    Of things that shout I know, I know, I know, see just who I am
    Line your socks and undies too
    Like soldiers straight and pristine
    Throw your stuff into a basket as long as it is clean
    Plan your trips ahead of time with thought and care and pack
    See a photo, smell a remembered waft, run off, you will come back
    Read each book, each poetic line, every respected researched tome 
    React, respond, remember, integrate and create your own library of renown 
    Dress yourself appropriately, conduct yourself above reproach or scorn 
    Slide yourself into soft skin-pleasing swirls as close to how you were  then born
    Love decorously with patience, calm, understanding, expect nor give all yourself to the other one 
    Tumble madly, toss soul covers, cuddle, hold hands, suck and savor all given, taken, never done 
    Surrender childhood past- times consign them to the those behind you
    Take up the mantle of the world, of hunger, peace and see them through
    Know.  Finally there is no this or that, no way you must choose to be
    It is all this and more and more and more and infinitely more embracing life’s shifting priorities

  14. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    False Lists and Hubris

    Clean the house from stem to stern
    Organize your stuff so others learn
    The hours wasted in your day
    To fold the towels perfectly this way
    March through reams of papers read
    Keep the information in your head
    Do unto others and help them do the same
    Savor world offerings accept life as no game
    Yet do have fun and laugh on the callioped carousel led
    As you understand your created priorities will not outlast dead

  15. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik


    If you should fall into a place
    Where breath moves with symmetry of air
    And heart slows steady
    Glowing centered
    Where beauty gentles your eyes
    And all sharp edges round
    Where you live in every pore
    Opened to delights of every sense
    If you should fall into such a place
    Where living seems enough and
    Dying fearless
    Stay if you are there
    Return if you have left
    There is only yourself
    Blocking the door you now know
    Open flung
    Run through


  16. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Return to a lover

    Long ago in tight
    bodied bliss
    licked the length
    of muscled thigh
    to long passion tensed toes
    brushed with golden hair
    Up to eyes
    blazing blue fire
    in the soft turquoise air

    Years melted in distanced longing
    until this postponed later day

    Finally – flying
    held in soft parchment skin
    tongue tracing legs gone thin
    and tracked with geographic navy
    from thigh to curled arthritic toes
    stringed with white wild hair
    Up to eyes glowing pale cataract blue
    banked fire blazing
    in the soft turquoise air

  17. Dick Jones


    I believe at the root
    in breath as a first
    principle. Breath –

    the intake, the giving
    out – is our signature
    onto the air.

    Next I believe
    in the business
    of seeing and hearing,

    the processes of light
    and sound whereby
    we inhabit the cracks

    and corners of the earth –
    the guarded scrutiny
    of strangers, the ear

    cocked in a waiting room.
    Incidental revelations,
    accidental wisdoms.

    As for mortality,
    the cricket ticking
    in the long grass

    is timepiece enough
    for me. Wound up
    by the sun,

    his spring uncoils
    at night and
    he dreams in black.

    But, as a final article
    of faith, I believe in
    the heartbeat certainty

    of two adjacent hands
    on the parapet of
    a bridge somewhere

    touching, finger to finger,
    and breath quickening
    to mingle, and this

    causing the sun to rise
    and the moon to wax
    and all the tides to run.

  18. Janice Windle

    I posed a draft of this (twice!) yesterday and after talking with friends I have edited it a little. I think it will benefit from being read aloud and I plan to do that soon. It’s called "Priorities for Seven Ages"


    (now) milk warm want
    (now) must milk cry
    (now) hug sleep mother
    (now) sleep mother milk


    I I I I I I
    reach hug run mine
    mother play mummy
    no why can must
    can will must mine

    (yes yes can)

    friends them us we
    you he she

    (but if what if)

    reaching warming wanting
    finding losing liking learning

    (what if what if what if)

    learning failing winning anger

    (if only)

    missing wanting taking
    sex pleasure body
    paradise (not lost, not found)

    Rights. Pairing. Loyalty.
    Loving. Trusting. Forever.
    Relying. Giving. Wanting.
    Building. Money. Duty.
    Home. Hugs. Joining.

    (why not again why not again)


    (at last)

    a warm home
    no pain
    a good death.

  19. Taylor Graham


    Sun over Stone Peak –
    my shadow’s as short as that
    old gray cedar stump.

    Tiny bees – hundreds!
    on pyracantha blooms – carried
    off my train of thought.

    Sheep graze the pasture –
    I’ll get down on hands and knees,
    see what grass tastes like.

    Bullfrogs on the pond –
    how can I count so many
    deep voices? Slow down.

    After night-lightning –
    my hair in morning’s mirror
    sends wild messages.

  20. Michael Grove

    Painting Pretty Pictures

    I like to dream and paint my pretty pictures.
    I love to draw the future in my mind.
    I walk the canvas as it is unfolding.
    I live to bring forth visions that I find.

    Here I go painting out in the open.
    I’m setting up my easel in the yard.
    It’s raining cats and dogs upon my palette.
    Can’t keep the colors separate. It’s too hard.

    The toughest part it seems is painting over
    the pretty parts of pictures I can’t see
    anymore than I can make them my reality.
    Any more than I can walk on and let it be.

    If I quit painting on my pretty picture
    And hung it on a wall in a dark room,
    or stashed it in the basement or a closet
    and sang the little tune of doom and gloom
    it wouldn’t really matter to most people.
    I think that very few would give a care.
    The paints would dry up hard and loose their color.
    An ending to this lifelong love affair.

    But painting pretty pictures is so perfect.
    The brush in hand is everything to me.
    The painting never finished is the mission.
    The vision and the process is the key.

    By Michael Grove

  21. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Infant Future From A to Z and more  in 10×10

    All babes-born calm delight-eye-full gifted
     him-her in jeweled kaleidoscopic light
    moving nimbus of purpled quilted rain
    sparkling-sanded turquoise under-visioned 
    water-wafting xylophoned-chimes-into
    zone-unlimited-sight.  All babes-born calm 
    drizzle-dipped-desires each flowing-forward
    guided-gifted holding in-each joyed
    kick lazing moon notes of peaceful-purpose-
    prioritization quilted rising 

  22. Melissa Hager

    Nancy P! Sounds like you have your priorities in the right place with "First Things First". Love the imagery, especially this final line –
    "dragonfly nightlight so bright
    I could almost see her dreams." Awwwwwwwwwwwwww.
    And thanks for the mention, too!

    Pearl, you are on a tear this week! Wow! I love growing into self-hood with you. "Under the Frangipangi Tree" is haunting – and very thought provoking.

    Autumn – "Oblivious entitlement" – love that term! Love this poem! Many times we cannot see the forest for the trees – and the nature and nurture that gets us/got us where we’re going.

    Domino – "Bitterroot" touched me.

    Buddah -Whoa… You hit home with "Priorities" and especially the order of forgiveness – and thank God for it, yes?!!! I feel your pain as well – My blonde landmine is only 12 – Ahhhhhhhhhhh! And as for virtualpoetryreading, it rocks! Thanks, Mosk.

    RJ, you made me hungry! "Pie-ku" is adorable.

    Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, Michael Grove! Amen! Awesome line "Harvest crops and live abundantly."

    I’m so glad you are into thievery, de. "She steals these mom

    -ents when she can" – I do not know how you do it with small children, but you do it well!

    Wonderful double entendre, Joy Cagil, with "House Cleaning".

    Oh, Jane, yes! "Work is a necessity;
    a life with words is a priority."
    My favorite line so far and there have been awesome ones!

    Lots of wisdon, S.E., and sounds like a wonderful priority – enjoy that grandboy!

    I’m with you, Linda M.R.N. I’d rather be a starving artist/children’s librarian than an overstressed "somebody"!

    Ha, ha! Tracey Davidson! God save the November PAD!!!

    Megan, how sweet to find those letters of love from your dad to your mom. Love the way you relate your "horror" and awe.

    Keep writing, Mike Bayles. And get a webpage. Good luck! My hubby is beating the streets, too.

    Beatiful, Pam Redmer. Peace be with you!

    Janice Windle, a good life and put forth beautifully!

  23. Janice Windle

    milk warm want
    must milk cry
    hug sleep mother
    sleep mother milk

    I I I I why why
    reach hug run mine
    mother mummy
    no why can must
    can will must mine

    yes yes
    friends them us we
    but if what if
    reaching warming wanting
    finding losing loving learning

    what if what if what if
    learning failing winning anger
    if only
    missing wanting taking
    sex pleasure paradise (not found)

    Found. Rights. Pairing.
    LOving. Trusting. Forever.
    Relying. Giving. Wanting.
    Building. Money. Duty.
    Home. Hugs. Joining.

    why not again why not again

    mmemories questions pleasure body warmth clarity connection selection.

    a warm home
    no pain
    a good death.

  24. Janice Windle

    milk warm want
    must milk cry
    hug sleep mother
    sleep mother milk

    I I I I why why
    reach hug run mine
    mother mummy
    no why can must
    can will must mine

    yes yes
    friends them us we
    but if what if
    reaching warming wanting
    finding losing loving learning

    what if what if what if
    learning failing winning anger
    if only
    missing wanting taking
    sex pleasure paradise (not found)

    Found. Rights. Pairing.
    LOving. Trusting. Forever.
    Relying. Giving. Wanting.
    Building. Money. Duty.
    Home. Hugs. Joining.

    why not again why not again

    mmemories questions pleasure body warmth clarity connection selection.

    a warm home
    no pain
    a good death.

  25. Janice Windle

    milk warm want
    must milk cry
    hug sleep mother
    sleep mother milk

    I I I I why why
    reach hug run mine
    mother mummy
    no why can must
    can will must mine

    yes yes
    friends them us we
    but if what if
    reaching warming wanting
    finding losing loving learning

    what if what if what if
    learning failing winning anger
    if only
    missing wanting taking
    sex pleasure paradise (not found)

    Found. Rights. Pairing.
    LOving. Trusting. Forever.
    Relying. Giving. Wanting.
    Building. Money. Duty.
    Home. Hugs. Joining.

    why not again why not again

    mmemories questions pleasure body warmth clarity connection selection.

    a warm home
    no pain
    a good death.

  26. Pam Redmer

    A Measure of Peace

    When I was Young I laughed until the tears ran down my face.
    As I grew older I cried and cried ’til laughter brought me through.
    Now I am Old, but younger than I was back then.
    Now tears and laughter rise as one and I am graced with peace.

  27. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    WELCOME TO LEIGH SPENCER…. I’ve read Leigh elsewhere and I think you’ll agree quite a debut for "The Street" ….. Back for more comments later…..but must add to Michael Grove…your cardboard box stuck with me all afternoon…. I’d happily be your neighbor for such peace of mind…. KUDOS TO YOU BOTH!

  28. Leigh Spencer


    I don’t give a fuck
    what other people think.
    At least,
    I like to think that’s true.
    But what else could account for
    this morning’s rejection?

    My son
    hurt his hand
    and his pride
    on the playground
    while I chatted
    with another schoolmom.

    Held his hand to my mouth
    for healing kisses
    then cuddled into me
    for a dose of the magical elixir
    that makes all right in his universe.

    And I said “No.”

    Blue eyes bewildered
    Over trails of huge tears
    (this child does not cry easily)

    And I said “No.”

    His frantic appeal continued,
    gently poking my breast
    and signing “please”
    as fast as
    little injured hands can

    And I said “No.”

    I tried to distract him with
    offered hugs
    more kisses
    his favorite book.

    I only succeeded
    in adding betrayal to hurt.
    Heartbroken sobs
    ran in his place
    through the playground.

    And why?

    Certainly, my breasts
    have been exposed
    in public
    to strangers
    for lesser reasons.

    But he
    is not a baby anymore
    is in school (with his very own backpack)
    should be weaned by now

    Surely, that’s what Schoolmom
    and some of the voices
    (that are not mine)
    in my head would think.

    It’s all bullshit.

    Had we been home,
    I would have given in
    to this common sense exchange –
    a few drops of milk
    for contented sighs,
    wounds and woes forgotten.

    Such a bargain!
    For such a limited time…

    we walked to his classroom.
    He played with cars and blocks.
    Waved goodbye.

    I drove my full breasts to work.
    Out loud, cried

  29. Joseph Harker

    Delayed again, but hopefully I’ve put a stop to that as of this week… all moved out and re-settled for now. Will get to reading after this!


    Perched on the headboard is the deep, brooding bird
    which is fear. It whispers of fluids carbonated by disease,
    little mercenary viruses swimming downstream. It caws
    in the shape of a belly swollen with shame and sighs
    and someone else. He says,
    it will kill the feeling, like he’s some biologist who knows
    nerve endings. Miniature shields come in wrappers
    and unfurl down the sides of rain-slicked marble towers:
    should his nameless majesty speaks of sensation,
    tell him, there is still the thrill of pressure,
    heat, friction, sweat smells staining sheets. A flurry
    of lips and fingers and other electricities.
    Better a second skin of latex
    and a cap on the leaks than something
    we may both come
    to regret. The pole star is bright tonight, scratching out
    shadows from choices tumbled over the bedroom quilt.
    One deep, brooding bird flaps unsteadily,
    denied by the windowscreen.

  30. S.E.Ingraham

    no time, or very little (hmmm? priorities?) but had to say – de, "Gray Matters" left me shaken – esp lines like the beautifully enjambed (sp?)"…she steals these mom…ents when she can…" and "She kills trees and longs for breeze" – such an achingly poignant piece; it is staying with me and I keep going back to re-read it, even though I’m busy, busy, busy … but not too busy to do that …

  31. Daniel Ari

    I seem to have coined a word for this one. "Timbrous" I meant to mean "rich with timbre" or "with a resonant sound." I thought it was a word, but no dictionary shows it… yet!

    "Thanatopsis" on the other hand is in the dictionary. "A meditation on death" or "the specific poem of that name by W C Bryant"

                            for Paul C. McNees

    Since we don’t know the minute or the hour,
    when should we begin our soliloquy?
    It wouldn’t do to speak up too soon or,
    worse, start late and run out of energy
    before the coil of our wisdom finds air.

    Our speech grows solemn with priority
    as though this were our moment in the play.
    This statement—and this—take such gravity;
    but every scene and every act gives way
    to the next. The waitress comes. We order

    breakfast. I give my line, a throwaway:
    “Eggs over medium, sourdough toast.”
    Most words need no timbrous tenor. Each day
    some people exeunt. At who’s behest?
    After the service, we’ll saying something twee.

    Then it will be dinnertime. Time to rest.
    Time to let the silence express it best.


  32. Melissa Hager

    "Not Your Priority"

    Five generation shot missing its centerpiece
    A great big hole in the middle.
    Your mother and grandmother gaze upon the newest addition –
    A grandbaby girl she would have been for you.
    Your oldest son beams at three of the most important girls in his life –
    Only one is missing –

    But family was not your priority.

    We compared burgeoning bellies when pregnant,
    You were about to pop
    I had a ways to go.
    Our children? Great friends to this day,

    But friendship was not your priority.

    Our children were baptized together
    Giving over their lives to serve God.
    The whole church – your whole church –
    Promised to hold them up in Christ’s love,

    But following God was not your priority.

    Ever in search of the perfect high
    Or a valley low
    You found peace the night
    You took one pill too many.
    I sang "Amazing Grace" at your funeral,

    Because living was not your priority.

  33. Tracy Davidson

    My Dog Jasper’s Priorities

    The Jack Russell bitch round the corner.
    Going for walks.
    Playing fetch.
    Putting up with my owner cuddling me now and again.
    In return for food.

  34. Taylor Graham

    HARD-ROCK MINERS (a photo)

    Each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead
    into the lens. It’s dawning, above ground.
    They’re going down – however much, instead –
    each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead.
    Why think about a sweetheart still abed?
    Boss’s fortune, poor man’s pay. Pick and pound.
    Each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead
    into the lens. It’s dawning, above ground.

  35. Michael Grove

    Haiku (5) On Priorities

    Time to kick some butt.
    Enough messing around here.
    Major progress now.


    Just follow your heart.
    It continues to beat strong.
    Live for each new day.


    Begin the journey.
    You had me at Hi I’m Mike.
    Bright future ahead.


    Focus on the prize.
    Give it one hundred percent.
    Whatever that is.


    That is just perfect.
    Yeah, whatever, like I said.
    That is just perfect.

    By Michael Grove

  36. Connie L. Peters

    Good writing, everyone. My favorites: Eve Brackenbury (Gift Horse), Mike Bayles (Counting Pennies), Traci Davidson (Change of Plan), Nancy Posey (First Things First), Sharon Ingraham (At the End of the Day), PKP (Under the Frangipani Tree), Sara McNulty (Joplin), Jane Schlensky (Words and Lesson in Priorities), Sharon Lockard (Morning Priorities), RJ Clarken (Pie-ku), Michelle Hed (You), Buddah Moskowitz (Priorities), Rose Anna Hines (Tornado), Marie Elena (Fire Haiku), Kimiko Martinez (Currency), Salvatore (I Need To Examine My Life)

    Thank you to those who commented on my poem.

  37. Connie L. Peters

    Good writing, everyone. My favorites: Eve Brackenbury (Gift Horse), Mike Bayles (Counting Pennies), Traci Davidson (Change of Plan), Nancy Posey (First Things First), Sharon Ingraham (At the End of the Day), PKP (Under the Frangipani Tree), Sara McNulty (Joplin), Jane Schlensky (Words and Lesson in Priorities), Sharon Lockard (Morning Priorities), RJ Clarken (Pie-ku), Michelle Hed (You), Buddah Moskowitz (Priorities), Rose Anna Hines (Tornado), Marie Elena (Fire Haiku), Kimiko Martinez (Currency), Salvatore (I Need To Examine My Life)

    Thank you to those who commented on my poem.

  38. Joseph Beckman

    Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 133
    Good morning, everyone! I hope you’ve all been staying safe with tornadoes ripping through parts of the country. Here in Georgia, things have been rather quiet all week. When tragedy strikes, it always makes people reassess their priorities.
    For this week’s prompt, write a priorities poem. It can be a serious reevaluation or a light-hearted statement on the silly things we put on a pedestal over others. I hope you can make poeming a priority this week.
    Blink, blink, Blink, blink
    One more, just one more,
    inches,inches,inches and
    BAMMMM –
    IN THE LANE!!!!!!
    damn, close; damnclose
    Ok, I’m ok.
    Flash, flash, Flash, flash
    my son. my wife. my friends, my brothers, my sisters, my career…..
    damn, close; damnclose
    Ok, I’m ok.
    moving again.
    easy now, there’s a spot
    One more, just one more,
    inches,inches,inches and
    BAMMMM –
    IN THE LANE!!!!!!
    © May 26, 2011 by Joseph Beckman

  39. Michael Grove

    Cardboard Box

    I would be so happy
    living in a cardboard box
    under the overpass
    down by the railroad tracks.
    if I was living in there
    with a peaceful loving heart
    in a trusting partnership.
    Those are the facts.

    By Michael Grove

  40. Joe

    Ode to the Selfish

    We all have our burdens.
    I understand what you’re saying.

    You’ve laid it all on the line.
    I just honestly don’t have the time

    to take your call right now,
    I was just heading out the door.

    No, you’re not boring me with the details,
    though, I can’t help but think to myself

    I’ve heard this song a thousand times before.
    If you could read my mind, you’d know I think

    you don’t bring anything worthwhile to the table.
    That is why I’ll never be ready, willing, or able

    to share my precious time with you.
    Surely to God, I have better things to do.

    In the end, all that matters is “what’s in it for me?”;
    the selfish one’s priority.

    Priorities of Mine

    It’s not the money I earn, rather respect.
    It starts with self, or it’s not deserved.

    It’s not the money I spend, rather time
    well-reserved that makes one truly shrewd.

    It’s not the money I save, rather memories
    I make by applying more give than take.

    No sum of money
    can buy these priorities of mine;

    they’re not for sale.

  41. Eve Brackenbury

    This line in Robert’s opening poem really caught my attention: "Not every person seeks the moon reflected in puddles…" It reminded me of a poem I wrote; in fact it resonates with who I am…


    "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov

    I write across the frozen sludge

    of a pot hole, but only in the parts refracted

    by your light, making it a concrete poem.

    And I write about when a passerby runs over it

    without stopping, chipping off the endings

    and beginnings, creating an altogether new

    form of poetry.

    I write graffiti on a brick wall in a

    back alley to denounce beauty; I do it to

    proclaim grit the new edged-out, lacking,

    voice of truth.

  42. Eve Brackenbury

    Gift Horse

    I was given a horse once.
    The thing is, I never asked for him.
    So, I put him out to pasture.

    He had no other choice but to find a nice quiet meadow
    and realize he’d been all but forgotten.
    I never talked to him. I never learned to ride him.
    I never fed him oats and grain and juicy apples.
    He never conned me out of sugar cubes or
    Frosted Mini Wheats. He never looked at me with
    those big, spell-bounding eyes. He never gave me a
    look that understood the deepest parts of me.

    I found him, months later, with a belly full of tall grass,
    dying of abandonment and a twisted gut.
    I stared at his foaming mouth and cursed him
    for all the trouble he had caused me.

  43. Domino

    You know, I got so involved in reading, I forgot to say thank you. ^_^

    Thanks to Buddah Moskowitz, Autumn N. Hall, Marie Elena (I appreciate the ‘wow’!), M.A. Dobson (the title just poured out with the rest of it…weird how that happens sometimes), Jane Shlensky, Kimiko Martinez, and dear PKP (Not really to sorry to hear about your IRD, since we all get the benefit…LOL)

  44. cynthia stewart

    Coffee Priority

    I remember the first time I had a cup of coffee,
    It was in a spanking clean, depressing, high-school,
    Teachers lounge in Indianapolis, Indiana, northwest side.
    I wondered why anyone would drink it, really.

    Then, I kept returning to the lounge as an escape,
    And developed a taste for coffee flavor – or a warm drink.
    I drink it all the time now;
    I have made and drank many different coffees.
    I like Peet’s over any other brand.

    It is a morning thing, a cup in the morning,
    (Doesn’t matter if it is decaf or not) –
    With soy milk creamer, and some soy yogurt.
    The warmth is nice and has become the priority
    Over orange juice, kefir, or its runner-up: tea.

    Sometimes when I am feeling –
    Low, low, low,
    I drink an extra cup later in the day.
    Once, I gave it up for seven years,
    But then it was so prevalent and calorieless,
    I fell back into the habit.

    Cynthia Stewart

  45. de jackson

    Kimiko! You’ve been missed. So glad you’re here. Loved your "Currency." Not money, but moments…oh, how I need to take a "moment management" course! Excellent. Also, thank you for your kind comment on Buzz.

    Thanks also to MiskMask, Jane and Domino, and muchas gracias again to M.A. Dobson.

  46. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Thanks MiskMask
    Domino I think that neither Walt nor I would view our Muses contagiously, but I do appreciate the sentiment that you sent to me, and thank you most effusively… ( actually I have an IRD … INTERMITTENT RHYMING DISORDER manifested by copious amounts of verbiage when prompted :)

  47. barbara_y

    the man on the street in the eye of the storm

    our on the street reporter
    has asked the man on the street
    for his views regarding First Things,
    Life, and the Origin of the Universe.
    the man on the street
    appears in this segment as a blur on the lens
    magnified by trails of rain
    his windbreaker snaps and strains to fly away,
    and the man on the street
    embraces a telephone pole.
    he responds to our reporter’s question
    with one of his own.
    "What!" shouts the man on the street.
    our reporter seeks shelter inside a sturdy building,
    while considering how to define his terms.

    The man on the street flapped and cracked in the gale.
    He was a banner, an awning, a tough plastic bag.
    The man on the street was the wrath of angels.
    His eyes were shuttered by the wind.
    His ears were calibrated for the pitch of the jet stream.
    He felt his right Converse All Star (red) touch dirt.
    Once more, the man on the street has survived the Creation.

  48. Kimiko Martinez

    So much great stuff!

    Domino – felt it

    RJ – you always bring a smile

    Michelle Hed – been there!

    Walt and Marie – you two are silly

    Buddah – what a great idea. i’ve never read anything, but went to my first open mic last week. perhaps this is the perfect test run before a live reading

    de – Buzz was delightful

    Lori – love this line:
    And sometimes those comets we never see again
    burn the brightest path across our skies.

    M.A. – Thanks for picking up on all that! Also, this says it all to me:
    you go; she went;
    I have gone

  49. Mike Bayles

    Counting Pennies

    After the rent’s paid,
    what’s left of the Unemployment?
    I write all expenditures in a notebook,
    and regret the foolishness,
    of buying two gallons of gas,
    and buying packages
    of Ramen noodles,
    but I leave the magazine on the shelves.
    I beat the streets
    to find another job,
    but measure steps taken.
    Someone says another opportunity
    is lying just down the road,
    and I tell myself
    it has to count,
    every effort
    every word
    every measured breath
    to change my fortunes.
    The food that’s given
    I ration,
    to keep a supply
    until the next day
    when I can go
    to the food pantry again.
    I talk sparingly
    to save phone minutes
    and savor for moments
    the voice of a close friend
    and sit in shadows of my apartment
    trying to bear the weight
    that I cannot bare alone.

  50. Megan

    The Priorties of Downsizing Memories

    Downsize, prioritize
    Review discard keep
    Move on.
    In the first downsizing frenzy
    I started to open two unlabeled boxes.
    My mom’s eyes widened and she
    Snatched them away.

    My sister and I now continue the
    Downsize and sift memories.
    I point out the same hidden boxes.
    We shrug and put them aside for
    Downsize, prioritize
    Review discard keep pile.
    We gather up the unwanted items
    To recycle a life of discarded things.
    These are not what matter

    We hold the two boxes and
    Open the first box. I finger
    A silver coin dated 1928
    Mom’s birth date and under that
    Read the first letter from Dad
    Before marriage a wooful
    Letter and our minds go


    We cannot fathom Dad writing
    Love letters.

    I tell my sister this reminds
    Me of when Mom met Dad in
    Japan for R&R
    When he was in Vietnam
    And when we asked her
    How was Japan – she

    She didn’t know they
    Never got out of the hotel room.

    We laugh at our teenage horror
    Of the idea of parents having
    Sex –Now we finger the two boxes
    Of love letters and put them aside

  51. Domino

    Barbara Young – Function is my Master – I loved this little gem! 
    Connie L. Peters – People and God “what really matters” pierced me thinking of the loss of life with the tornadoes recently.
    Walt – I will Knock on Wood for you! Best wishes, you talented man!
    Kimiko Martinez – Currency – makes one prioritize better, spend one’s time more wisely and carefully; thanks for the reminder.
    PKP – I think you’ve caught Walt’s muse and tamed it to your use – you are most amazing, lady! I <3 them all!
    Marie Elena – “Dousing Fires” I swear, the story of my life!
    Autumn N. Hall – “O Brother” – such an opposite personality to my own two brothers, yet your words made me see him, you captured him so well.
    Rose Anna Hines – “Tornado” sucked me in! I so understand that life and let me say, this too shall pass. LOL
    Buddah Moskowitz – The images you create in “Priorities” break my heart and make me sigh with appreciation. You “running alongside as they try life without training wheels” especially hit me. Lovely, lovely poem.
    RJ Clarken – “Pie-ku” was absolutely delightful! I love pie –baking and eating!
    Rob Halpin – “Maladjusted Emotions” You see, this is what poets do: they paint an entire life in just a few words, and that is what you did in that poem. I can see the two of them. Thank you.
    de Jackson – “Buzz” captured me, of course. You always seem to know the words. I love the idea of naming oneself for what one is – Makes me want to name myself. “Whatever” “spend your gray matter accordingly.” Yeah, again, there you go shifting my world. ^_^ And then – “Gray Matters” blending all priorities from black and white to gray. So good.
    Cameron Steele – “Priorities” What a knack you have, I envy you your ability to put the hitch in the breath and the pain behind the tears. You put me right at that crux with you. Nice.
    Jane Shlensky: “Microcosm” Mayflies “in an air-born rave” I hadn’t really imagined this kind of priorities! You opened my mind again! “Words” – I remember first finishing Little Woman and being dismayed at the ending – but I understand it now. I hope you are at peace with the book as well! “Shame” – I can see those two beautiful trees. Funny how our cars seem to slow themselves when we in the vicinity of something a poet’s heart can really appreciate!
    Taylor Graham – “Gardens” was absolutely lovely! Thank you!
    MiskMask – “The Familiar Gardiner” was familiar to me, in that all my treasured family that have passed have looked just so. Thank you for the reminder. (And the “surprising shapes” tweak was just perfect!)
    Rachel Green!! – “A Writer’s Priorities” made me feel like I’ve discovered a long-lost friend! Hi friend! ^_^
    Nancy Posey – “First Things First” It is nice to see your priorities are straight! Thank you for your poem, it is a gift!
    Mariel – “Eat Cake” was very thought-provoking and lovely. I hope everyone is okay!
    Tracy Davidson – “Change of Plan” tickled me! ^_^

    It was a great prompt, Robert, thank you. You rock, as always!

  52. MiskMask

    Nancy, that’s absolutely beautiful.
    Pearl, a very impressive collection of creativity.
    S.E., my two grandchildren are coming for a 3-week visit starting Sunday. I think I’ll draw on your promise as well.
    de and Jane, always a pleasure to read.
    Walt, ‘Knock on Wood’ – delightful and brought a smile.

  53. Tracy Davidson

    Change of Plan

    I didn’t have any priorities
    in mind for this week
    because I had it on good authority
    that the world was gonna end
    last Saturday.

    I waited in all day specially.
    And what happened?
    Zip, nothing, not a sausage.
    No rapture, not even
    a slight buzz.

    Any why? Cos’ that old dude
    miscalculated a little.
    But he assures us
    he’s got it right this time –
    a huge fireball will consume
    the Earth on October 21st.

    Dammit – you’d think God
    would have the decency to wait
    until we’ve got the November
    PAD Chapbook Challenge
    out of the way.

  54. Tracy Davidson

    What’s Important

    Good health and happiness
    are more important
    than wealth
    and the possession
    of material things.

    But, having said that,
    if my lucky numbers
    should come up
    on the lottery,
    I wouldn’t say no.

  55. Mariel

    eat cake

    It doesn’t come easy
    Strapped to a hospital bed or fainting near the sun
    on a coast of a Peruvian island
    Sadness seems still and stupid
    to think of marshmallows and black cloves
    summers so thick of laughter and smoke
    my heart jumps as i hear anthems in my mind
    Needles drip and you figure time comes swiftly
    carrying out each day with life and bread
    rejoicing that the roads are paved for your feet to walk along
    fake smiles seem sinister while laying on a bed with exposed veins
    blood lost and regained
    So you dream of no-God and everyone
    locking fingers together that if you make it
    you won’t spoil the cake
    and hold back all you’ve been trying to say

  56. Marie Elena

    Thanks so much to Lori, M.A. and Jane!

    Nancy, First Things First says so much about you and your priorities. Beautiful sentiment, written in your usual impressive sit-across-the-table-and-converse style. Love it.

  57. Sally Jadlow

    P.S. Guess I should put a note to mine. Here in Kansas City yesterday, 5 tornadoes touched down briefly. Very little damage, thank God.

    Jane, thanks for your comment.
    Buddah, I will get to your phone line, eventually! Thanks for doing this!

  58. Nancy Posey

    I didn’t manage to post yesterday. Here’s why:

    First Things First

    Yesterday I didn’t earn a dime—
    nor the day before that or the day
    before that. I didn’t even write
    a single poem, though the words
    circled around inside my head,
    teasing and taunting. But

    I sat across the kitchen table
    from my father for the first
    time in months, sharing cup
    after cup of coffee, letting
    him open his shirt to show
    his newly healing scar.

    I sat on the edge of the bed,
    rubbing the smooth back
    of a three-year-old afraid
    of dark and storms, certain
    monsters lurk in shadows.

    I held a baby boy so young,
    so limber, his toes reach up
    to his mouth, his smile spreads
    all the way across his face,
    revealing toothless gums.

    I shared my granddaughter’s bed
    (even though sleep came easier
    on the sofa downstairs), telling
    “when your mother was your age”
    stories, then listening to her soft
    breath, against the loud tick
    of the clock, with the brand new
    dragonfly nightlight so bright
    I could almost see her dreams.

  59. MiskMask

    I’m going to repost mine. Tweak-tweak-tweak.


    his gnarled hands
    suggest age beyond numbers

    wondrous stories he could tell
    us if just someone asked

    but today
    he’s focused on priorities

    with his thoughts

    clipping away strays

    ancient box hedges

    to surprising shapes

  60. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas


    The sun shines bright
    amidst the rubble of our lives –
    manicured lawns, McCastles, SUV’s
    six-figure jobs, Ivy League educations,
    the best life has to offer –
    for what?

    Give me the hand of a child,
    the look of a loved one,
    the utterance of three little words
    said with all the sincerity of a saint –
    In those precious moments
    nothing else is as important.

  61. Rachel Green

    A Writer’s Priorities

    Amongst all the anthologies I want to write for;
    the calls for submissions of various genre
    the poems, the stories, the secular crimes
    the zombies are calling, the end of all times;
    the publisher’s calls for a novel or two
    kinky, erotica, LGB too
    but sat on my hard drive, awaiting completion
    the novel I started to break the tradition
    of humour with demons in quaint English towns
    where ladies drink tea in Edwardian gowns.
    Though daily I write about zombies and smen
    it’s time I came back to the murder again.
    A chapter a day? More like two in a week
    will make time for a script I’ve been meaning to tweak.

  62. MiskMask


    his gnarled hands
    suggest age

    beyond numbers
    wondrous stories

    he could tell
    if just someone asked

    but today
    he’s focused on priorities

    with his thoughts

    clipping away strays

    and restoring
    ancient box hedges

    to familiar shapes

  63. Clare de Loon


    papayas are thrown
    and bananas flung back

    this is love monkey see
    and monkey do style

    rattling cages

    a lot of teeth flashing
    but no real hurting

    just little pin pricks

    and that too

  64. S.E.Ingraham

    At the End of the Day

    What made me glance up
    In time to catch your sadness
    As you took "Goodnight Moon",
    Your new baby-doll, and Eeyore
    Off down the hall, I wonder

    After all, I needed to keep working
    If I had any hope of finishing
    My writing on time

    The look in your baby blues
    Held me suspended in that limbo
    Of skewed priorities – the ones
    I’m forever telling my daughters
    to avoid

    Those hackneyed phrases
    we’ve all heard
    Might be a cliche but that
    doesn’t make them any less true
    No-one reaches the end
    of their life and wishes
    they’d spent more time

    Doing laundry, vacuuming,
    staying late at the office
    Or any of the myriad things
    that do get done eventually

    But I think many of us regret
    time we didn’t spend
    with our loved ones
    Or just doing things we enjoyed
    And it bears remembering that
    early enough and often enough
    to change

    So, I dashed after you, my
    darling grandson
    And scooped you up –
    Was immediately rewarded
    By your sunshine filled face
    I told you honestly that I had
    Made a mistake, that I will
    Never be too busy for you

    And now that is going to be
    my main priority
    Keeping that promise.

  65. Michael Grove


    plead, bleed,
    heed, need,
    read, seed,
    feed, weed,

    To Do

    Past forgot, smile alot.
    Follow guide, swallow pride.
    Make effort, consult expert.
    Keep on writing, be more inviting.
    Find time, make climb.
    Work smarter, not harder.
    Spend some, send some.
    Laugh out loud, stand up proud.
    Keep on wishing, lots of fishing.

    by Michael Grove

  66. Jane Shlensky

    Finally, to be able to read! These caught my eye today: Kimiko, Andrew K, Connie, MA Dobson, Buddah, Marie Elena, Domino, Rose Anna, Sara, de, Sally. So many of these poems show that the storms and spiraling winds of life have reminded us of our priorities. Thanks, all. And thanks to Sara for the kind words.

  67. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Thank you Shannon – "quantity is not always quality"
    Rose Anna – thank you speaking of kindness and a "water-fall" makes me feel wonderful
    MA – deeply, humbly appreciate being seen as a wise woman
    Lori – Sounds trite but true – I don’t find the words the words find me..sometimes it feels like the story of the red shoes… once I start I sometimes feel that I will not stop… Thank you for the kind words but I am truly the translator.

  68. Sara McNulty

    Robert, Your poem is stunning.
    Elizabeth, Autumn, Shannon-Middle School Teen, Lori – What Mattered, Jane – Shame
    All wonderful poems!

  69. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Clean Floors and No Responsibilities

    A tiny ball of fluff appears outside the door
    Bringing the destruction of the perfection of the clean floor
    The floor that shines with lemon wax, glowing clean of dust and hair
    The only responsibility in a life, suddenly gone spare
    A tiny ball of fluff appears outside the door
    Let it in, and dull the floors, with responsibility and love once more

  70. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Under the Frangipangi Tree

    Sitting there in perfumed air
    counting blessings as they flew
    a family that loved her, a sparkling future due
    The boy had come and gone, one of the tourists passing by
    Her hand passes on her still flat belly as she imagines life scheduled to die
    A collection of cells, nothing much more than that, a passage of some tissue, her ticket to all that was to be
    Except for a tiny glitch, floating under that frangipangi tree
    As petals fall on shoulders, fragrant, fragile in the sweet night air,
    she is struck and stuck on the fact, that once she was that tiny unfelt possibility,

  71. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Keep the family

    Keep the family
    never let it break in two
    wear turtle necks in summer
    and never to a soul let on the
    why, the where, the who
    Keep the family
    never let it break in two
    Bruises fade, bones will eventually heal straight
    But a child deprived of a fantasied good father
    Will grow to be filled with vengeful or imitated hate
    Keep the family
    never let it break in two
    even when the choice is between the family and you

  72. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    The Final Choice

    On a night like any other shadows dipped and danced and played
    as his body stripped itself of cloth and laid
    upon her
    tearing flesh in unholy congress upon her bed for him freshly made
    tasting salted sweat his hand hard against her bloodied teeth
    On that night like any other when shadows dipped and danced and played
    Minutes pounded into hours, over, under, back front and side
    No need of the hand that held her, had been years since she had cried
    Transport the pain above push it toward the ceiling up and high and out
    On an night like any other suddenly a change as the door opened slipping in a softly whispered shout
    ‘Mommy? What is happening? Why are you fighting on the bed here in the night?’
    He did not even look toward the sound kept pounding with reinvigored might
    Came closer to the bed, the tiny child, of no more than just turned three
    Head resting near his mother’s face eyes locked confused, what could this strangeness be
    Frantically, mother telegraphed the child with her eyes to go back to his bed
    To slip beneath his covers feel her kiss and evaporate his blackened dread
    Of course that did not happen
    The child did not move away
    His face began that sliding scrunch that gave the coming tears away
    ‘Get outta’ here the sweated head atop the unstoppable body hissed into the air
    Spittled rage spraying her, face, bare breast, mucous dangling in her hair
    And on that night like any other with shadows dancing dipped and then
    As he rolled extricating himself from her body, to grip the child standing there in fear
    There was a singular, crystalized choice and she reached for the under there
    From beneath the mattress where long ago she had it hid
    She reached and felt with twisted finger that knife that waited her to bid
    In that night like any other in the shadow dip, dance and play
    Smiling coy as a virgin, up at him with blood streaked mouth she asked a little more for him to stay
    And in that night, in quiet, with that gentle smile upon her lip
    She opened her arms to hold the man and into his heart the knife did slip
    On a night unlike any other, the man slumped quiet on his side
    Filled the room with gurgles as she held the boy’s tiny hand, ‘Only a game’ she said and watched as sleepiness fill where he would have cried
    A night like no other she pulled the blanket up around the slack jawed man, and in that resurrected room of life, surprised, by a choice he thought she’d never make, she listened to the peacefulness as finally the man she had loved died.

  73. Autumn N. Hall

    g P e a c e

    Here, blue butterfly
    on this bone-white shaft
    which is white bone bared
    and was finger, one of five
    part of hand that grasped,
    still grasps, this olive drab
    egg which was grenade
    which is still weapon
    yet to birth its pin
    and this creation
    brought to mind within
    the mind of child not yet grown—
    wrought and fired by her alone—
    in the custom of one accustomed
    to a world whirled round by war.
    How, I question, can we face
    her face—or help her face—
    a lifetime in this place?
    When will we prioritize
    with minds and eyes
    the whisperings
    of butterflies
    whose wings
    wage only

    (Word "waging" in title should stair-step left to form antennae)

  74. Sally Jadlow



    The tornado sirens whined today.
    Weatherman cautioned, “Take cover.”
    I called my daughter;
    made sure they heard alarms.
    Grabbed my Bible,
    purse, and laptop.
    Headed for the basement
    to wait and pray
    until the all clear sounded.

  75. Taylor Graham


    The man who rakes and hoes,
    who plants seeds and saplings,
    then pulls weeds while hoping
    for a bountiful crop –

    what more could he harvest?
    What more could he harvest

    than birdsong? Buntings perched
    on his rake, goldfinches
    waking him to sunlight,
    psalms of each daily chore.

  76. Kathy Bowman

    free will, $169

    first on my list… but I forget
    oh that’s right. even though
    we’re apart, I jot down “thirty
    percent for you, my nearly ex”
    and the same for my beloved
    sister, and some for my parents
    and some for my only remaining
    aunt, and some to maintain the
    creatures who loved me along
    the way, should things not go
    just so. and some, for charity.
    so mote it be, my loved ones.
    and today the sun shines with
    a skiff of rain threatening.
    cuddle up for the rest of your life

  77. M.A. Dobson

    De, I read the prompt this morning and thought, “I’ll skip this one.” Then I read Robert’s poem “The ATL” and glommed onto it, and hung around PA long enough to hit on the link to Marie Elena’s interview w/ you at Poetic Bloomings ( I humbly submit that the poem you’ve admired was inspired by you, and Robert. I couldn’t get either of you out of my head this morning until I penned that little verse. Once it was posted, I had a most productive day. So thank you. ;-)

  78. de jackson

    M.A. Dobson: What an incredibly sweet and generous comment. Thank you so much. I am equally enamored of your "Backshifted," which is perhaps my new all-time favorite of your amazing poems. This line is amazing:
    …splinters leaves
    while conjugating verbs:
    you go; she went;
    I have gone—
    the last conveys a place
    where shattered things
    are a function of the light.

    Such longing there…vivid images, told almost matter of factly, as if grammar were their very guide. I cannot voice how much I love the feel of this piece.

  79. Sara McNulty

    Priorities poem


    I watched the people of Joplin,
    Missouri–dazed, devastated, in tears
    of desperation and anguish of loss–
    wander through the rubble
    that was their home town. A woman
    picked up a debris-covered book–
    torn, soaked in water–and rifled
    through the pages. She set it down.
    The book was not hers, but was someone’s,
    and might be the only possession
    they would recover. Many people said
    they were thankful to be alive. They put
    their picture albums, televisions,
    bicycles, and even the roofs they slept
    under, in second place, filing
    them away, trying to focus forward.

  80. Jane Shlensky

    Lessons in Priorities

    You’ll know a person by
    what claims his time, she said,
    trying to teach us something.
    What will I know, crazy old woman,
    except a person does what he does.
    Now, later, I’m clear that what claims
    my time is de facto what I give
    my life to, a frightening thought.
    And so I want this to be true—
    that my life belongs to good books,
    friends who will talk ideas
    and dance and make art, family happy
    to pull together, the love of a good man,
    the smell of a baby of any species,
    the clench in my chest when I can play
    a beautiful song or write a single line that is true,
    the crook of a tree limb where a child
    can sit with a book and a day-dream.
    I belong to seedlings, birds,
    and wild things, worms and crickets,
    to wind and kindly rains,
    to clouds and all manner of joys,
    and freshly baked bread,
    to travel that teaches me to embrace color
    and spices and smells and humanity itself.
    I want not to live in vain
    but to be emersed in
    loves that warm me,
    play that expresses me,
    actions that leave more goodness
    behind than I take away,
    and work that is so much
    in my nature to do that
    time falls away and
    it isn’t really work at all.

  81. Jane Shlensky


    A car talker,
    I save my most vehement
    discourse for drives to and from work,
    when I can run my arguments
    through several cycles for cleaner
    more reasoned discussion.
    I debate several sides of each issue,
    using a variety of voices
    from irate to conciliatory,
    magnanimous to mute.
    Sometimes after an irksome day,
    my liberating oratory expressing what
    I’d never say publicly,
    I drive alone
    through a neighborhood
    where I once lived
    to see two trees,
    solitary and un-crowded in their yards,
    trees that have fully realized
    the shape and reach of their kind—
    a huge dogwood,
    maroon leaves adorned with red berries,
    like a pretty woman wearing jewels,
    and a gingko, its leaves pure golden fans in fall,
    its branches reaching up like praise.
    Every time I visit them,
    I slow down
    and shut up
    and sigh, and
    feel ashamed
    for having
    so mistaken what is worthy
    of my attention.
    I can no longer remember
    the world noise I argued
    nor do I wish to,
    my attention focused now
    on the beauty
    that leads me
    to peace.

  82. Jane Shlensky


    Summer fields need tending,
    cows need milking,
    vegetables and fruits
    must be preserved,
    house cleaned,
    yard mowed,
    hay bailed and stored,
    and everywhere you look
    work is a necessity,
    a survival skill.

    But when she comes to rouse me
    from a lunch-time break
    to go back to the fields,
    while I sit with Little Women finished
    On my lap, inconsolable at a conclusion
    I would never have chosen,
    Mama can hear tears in my voice
    and asks, Did you finish the book?
    Yes, I say.
    Then there is a pause
    Before she tells me,
    Take your time.

    Work is a necessity;
    a life with words is a priority.

  83. M.A. Dobson

    Enjoyed Kimiko Martinez’s “Currency” (apt word for a priorities poem, both in its denotation of exchange and connotative sense of currents, currentness, especially when paired with “carelessly” and “moments”); nice!

    Andrew Kreider’s “Company Man” and Domino’s “Bitterroot,” two views of the absent father, both affecting in different ways (and a glorious title, Domino).

    Pearl’s “One on the list,” and “Empathy,” giving “priority” to the lines “to recognize that there are others there” and “Of course arranging, figuring, weighing this, that, when, and where / Can quickly devour the time that is afforded while you are here.” You wise woman you.

    And Marie Elena’s ironic little haiku; wouldn’t it be so much easier to prioritize if there weren’t so many fires in need of putting out?! Clever.

    AC Leming, I can relate; I hate working that calculation. In my experience, what comes after Z is more zs, as in Zzzzzzz. Really loved this response to the prompt.

    Ah, De. “words gotta get willed to the page / redemption and rage still have to tussle it out / toe to toe.” Truly. Lovely. And I dig how you split “mom /-ents.” You got the gray matter, lady, and a heart to match.

  84. Jane Shlensky


    Mayflies have a clearer set of priorities
    hot-wired into their tiny bodies:
    to make next year’s mayflies,
    accounting for the continuation of their species.
    Perhaps cave dwellers felt this driving need,
    living with the imperative to mate and bear
    young rock wielders and spear chuckers,
    knowing how delicious primates were
    to a slew of larger carnivores.
    But we, their upright relatives, look to mate
    without any real compunction to bear fruit,
    until a sniff of our mortality forces us to ask
    after the purpose of our lives
    when we get so mired
    in our answers that
    we become questionable parents.

    A small friend suggests that mayflies are
    born as food for birds and lizards,
    but that is not their goal but their fate.
    Newly hatched, they flit and emit
    their whirring come-on, surrounded by thousands
    like them—in an air-born rave, baffled
    by sheer numbers, everyone looking
    for someone but shy of selecting
    the first fly-by, lest a larger-winged specimen
    appear from across the crowded air space.
    Time restraints frenzy them
    in their mid-life crisis,
    as they bump into and away
    from one another,
    and being newborn,
    consider how to do
    what they were born to do,
    as quickly as possible,
    all while dodging predators,
    mate and die, their one priority,
    so rhyming with mayfly.

  85. Paula Wanken


    Here, I AM,
    exposed, as naked.
    My mind is
    a jumble.
    My life has filled with options,
    and You let me choose.

    Here, I AM,
    in all my weakness,
    having failed
    many times.
    Show me what is important:
    Your priorities.

    Here, I AM,
    forgiven, redeemed.
    You captured
    all my tears.
    Your love has washed over me,
    I can grin again.

    P. Wanken

    To read the "back story" to this poem, click here: Here, I AM.

  86. Lori Thatcher

    PKP – Hear Hear, empathy in them all, but wherever do you find all those words?
    Salvatore – Such a dilemma, and so well put.
    Barbara – The right bag can be so D____ important!
    Connie – People and God, Yes!
    Andrew – Such intricate images, loved it.
    Walt – I know it will be good.
    Kimiko – But there must be love of poetry – to write such beauty.
    Elizabeth – Beautiful hands.
    Shannon – Middle school teen rang so true.
    M.A. – Backshifted, I love “shattered things are a function of the light.”
    annell – Equation, “give thinks for” surprised me and then….
    Marie Elena – Oh the fires do get all the attention, beautifully put.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish all these wonderful poems – other priorities.

  87. Lori Thatcher

    What Mattered

    It always has been the ones
    that exist in the constellation
    within those stone-drop impression
    expanding circles in the still water.

    They hopscotch into different tiers
    near then far, loosening the ties
    physical or something deeper, far then near again
    switching places, little Pluto and Neptune.

    It only appears it was different then
    but it was just satellites emerging
    and dissolving, asteroids and planets
    with comets that arrive, fly by and are gone.

    And sometimes those comets we never see again
    burn the brightest path across our skies.

  88. AC Leming

    Daily Math

    Sit down and divide the day:
    X amount of time for you
    and your demands upon my time.
    That leaves Y to divide between
    the dogs, the cleaning, the trash,  
    & oh, yeah, my business which pays
    for what little fun it affords me,
    after IRA deposits and business expenses.  
    That leaves me with tiny bits of Z,
    the time I devote to inking my thoughts
    onto paper, which lingers in piles
    waiting for…wait! What comes after Z?

  89. Joy Cagil


    Look, the earth doesn’t come to an end
    when my habits full of mystery
    gather around me, but
    what if I didn’t mop the floors,
    wash the windows, or dust furniture
    before you come for a visit
    after you committed every filthiness?

    Maybe now I’ll reevaluate my heroes
    and my housecleaning criteria.
    Maybe next time I’ll pass by you on the street
    and wonder from where I knew you.

  90. de jackson

    Gray Matters

    A lot of it’s black and white, easy. Kids need
    fed, stories need read, skivvy drawers gotta

    get filled. But somewhere in between the lines
    get blurred, words gotta get willed to the page,

    redemption and rage still have to tussle it out
    toe to toe, wounded heel. She steals these mom

    -ents when she can, shades them in with bright
    colored pencils, hopes the sun won’t fade them,

    that the hues won’t wash out with the next load
    of whites. She fights to get some black on white

    before the school bell rings and her heart sings
    and sighs and fills with more tangible, squeaky

    wheel things. She kills trees and longs for breeze
    on naked sandy toes, even as she knows for now

    she is made for land. She stands, and the clock
    ticks and her silver keyboard clicks and the ebony

    and ivory plates spin, some color swirled in but if
    she is not careful it can all become one big broken
                                                                    gray mess.

  91. Autumn N. Hall

    Note: I simply had to do something to dispel the incredulity I was feeling upon reading this article at lunch. If I shook my head any harder in dismay, it might just fall off altogether. Some poems just write themselves; I have not changed a single word. Might just want to read the last stanza twice…it still speaks loud and clear to us today.

    Priorities in the Time of Carpet Bombing Campaigns

    (Found poem taken directly from the June 2011 issue of Harper’s magazine excerpts of the upcoming book, Listening to Britain, a collection of reports on public opinion based on observation interviews by Ministry of Information workers between May and September 1940, edited by Paul Addison and Jeremy A. Crang)

    There is evidence that the public
    is dissatisfied at the action
    of the police in collecting
    the German leaflets
    dropped on this country.
    These would be valued
    as souvenirs.

    Irritation about rationing
    among well-to-do circles
    shows itself in luxury restaurants
    such as Harrods.
    Customers walk out
    saying they will go elsewhere
    to get more generous portions
    of sugar.

    An investigation is being conducted
    into the attitude of the public
    towards the “blockade of Europe.”
    An interim report shows
    that the great majority
    of people are, at present time,
    unmoved by the prospect
    of starving populations.

    There are indications
    that young people will continue
    to withhold cooperation
    until they get some assurance
    that the future is being thought
    about in a constructive way.
    Reports show that young people
    are not content with
    “We are fighting
    for our lives.”

  92. Cameron Steele


    It isn’t funny,
    it don’t make sense:
    The dreams you got
    running dense
    behind my ears
    steep across my years
    I am not: Insane or Beautiful
    I got: Bills
    to pay
    for sleep
    Books of poetry,
    my soul to keep.

    Are you frightened?
    Is this my fault?
    My own enlightening,
    my days of salty
    like halting
    Do I dare dream: Fresh cotton
    upon calves?

    What should I do?
    Weep alone?
    Or sleep with you?

  93. de jackson


    Maybe the fly’s got it right.
    Call yourself what you are.
    Eat what you want.
    Getting in is easy. Getting out is not.
    Just make sure getting there is half the fun.
    Dig in with all you’ve got.
    Never mind the smell,
    it’s all worth it in the end.

  94. Michael Grove


    Live in service to brothers and sisters.
    See the world thru someone else’s eyes.
    Wisk away the doubt and pain and suffering.
    Grow tulips from the tears all the cries.

    Try to focus on all of the positives.
    See opportunity when it tries to knock.
    Understand your paralyzing tendencies.
    Push real hard and roll away the rock.

    Move a little forward every single day.
    Unpack the brown bag carrying old traits.
    On earth here find a little slice of heaven.
    Waters rise so open up the floodgates.

    Let someone in who sees the future brightly.
    Let yourself go and please hold nothing back.
    Give up all that stagnates you in shackles.
    Find peace somewhere off the beaten track.

    Seek freedom from the self imposed doubtfulness.
    Don’t take yourself so gosh darn seriously.
    Laugh about the consequence of action.
    Harvest crops and live abundantly.

    by Michael Grove

  95. Rob Halpin

    When I wrote this a few weeks ago, I called it "So Far Away." I think it fits this prompt by simply changing the title so here we go…


    Two lumps on the couch
    side by side
    near, but yet so far

  96. Autumn N. Hall

    Rose Anna Hines-Thanks for your comments (in which you unintentionally but synchronistically named my real brother, how weird is that?). As to your tornado, I can relate, having found myself in the midst of a similar storm. What I’ve learned is that it’s most often ME spinning myself around, and that if I just stand still a minute, the calm center returns of its own accord.

    Buddah-loved your stanza "–explosion management for my 14 year-old talking monkey blonde landmine" a perfect combination of visuals and sounds to describe your teen. And thanks you for your virtualpoetryreading site, which I am in the midst of listening my way through and will add to eventually!

    RJ Clarken-a very silly haiku take on the topic which made me smile…and hungry! It reminded me of the song Andi McDowell’s character sings in the movie Michael, "Pie. Me oh my, I love pie…"

    Domino-an honest, heartfelt and heartbreaking piece, aptly titled.

    Shannon Lockhard-terrific showing of the "terrible teen;" I particularly liked "I roll my daring, dazzling eyes"

  97. Shannon Lockard

    Morning Priorities

    At five a.m. the alarm starts to ring
    inflicted from motivation the late night brings.
    But in the morning priorities wane
    and sleep is the only thing I don’t disdain.
    I hesitate for just a moment before
    I slam my hand on the snooze once more
    and sink back in to my slothful ways;
    I’ll be more productive on another day.

  98. RJ Clarken


    In order of taste
    preference, at least as I
    see it, there’s apple,

    peach, lemon meringue,
    Boston cream, blueberry crumb,
    strawberry rhubarb,

    cherry cheesecake and…
    Wait. What’s that? I thought you said,
    “Write ‘pie-orities’.”

  99. Elizabeth Johnson

    Pearl and Rose, thanks so much for the mentions!
    Autumn, thank you for your kind words. I confess, I completely forgot about the problem/resolution aspect, was thinking more of the repetitive refrain idea. Hmm…

  100. Rose Anna Hines

    PKP, you are never behind and always seem connected by your kind heart to those you are around and those around you.

    Salvatore, looks like you have examined your life deeply in a poem which mirrors and reflects not only your struggle, but those of us who write.

    Connie, you clearly touched on what matters.

    Andrew, loved your "sensible shoes", you are clearly on the right path.

    Walt, no need to knock on wood. The challenge is to pick from so many beautiful children sprung for the union of your heart and mind.

    Kimiko, you are right on.

    Barbara, function can be a heavy master.

    Elizabeth, Great BOPS poem, I can totally relate. My hands sometimes seem to be where my brain and heart reside. I have totally related to a song by Jewell called hands. And by the way you are definitely much much more than your hands.

    Shannon, You totally captured being a teen.

    M.A., what a picture you drew.

    Annell, you covered simple to complex, emotions, spirit, mind
    and soul in a few lovely lines.

    Marie Elena, it is true great things come in small packages. Tiny, but potent and right on target.

    PKP, your pen is a waterfall overflowing with thoughts today.

    Autumn, A bitting Bob, worth rereading several times.

    Domina, to many more 50 page days.

  101. Buddah Moskowitz

    Hi PA Folks!

    Just a reminder, that you’re all welcome to come listen to many of the poems you read here at Poetic Asides at

    – or if you want to join in the reading, just call 951-665-8161 and read your poem into the voice mail box. I try to post new poems as soon as they come in and its a lot of fun to hear the poets in their own voice.

    Think of it as an online open mike that’s always waiting for you.

    Buddah Moskowitz

  102. Autumn N. Hall

    Elizabeth Johnson-(Hands) This is a wonderful subject for a poem, and your thoughtful composition captured it well. I especially liked, "Fingertips, knuckles, thumbs and palms, each their own royalty, each individual part of the whole the voice of my soul;" I also liked the way the second stanza painted a picture of a home humble in surround but rich in love. I hope you won’t mind one small observation regarding the "Bop" form, and that is that its problem/solution requirement seems at first glance to be absent in this otherwise lovely piece; perhaps you intended the disarranged letters, notes, colors, household, ingredients as the "problems" and your hands’ arrangement of same as the "solution?" Just curious…

  103. Buddah Moskowitz


    Looking at the list
    of all the things I want to be
    and then comparing it
    to what I’m doing,

    –explosion management
    for my 14 year-old
    talking monkey
    blonde landmine

    balancing and structural support
    for my two adult children
    as I run alongside
    while they practice
    riding through life
    without training wheels

    dream and wish fulfillment,
    with a side order of
    emotional, spiritual and
    recreational partnership
    to the most beautiful woman
    in the world

    cultivator and synthesizer
    of ideas, profound and trivial,
    and multimedia documentarian
    of this life

    willing follower
    critical deconstructionist
    and very flawed example of
    the power and the glory
    of Jesus Christ —

    I notice
    I put others first,
    then myself,
    then God.

    My priorities are not
    in order of importance,

    they are in order
    of grace and forgiveness,

    from the smallest
    to the Greatest.

  104. Domino


    As your daughter,
    I wanted to be
    part of your life.

    Of course I did, I loved you.

    But you were full of fear
    or pain
    that you hid behind,
    telling us kids:

    “It hurts too much
    to see you, and not
    get to keep you.”

    I try to imagine your pain.

    How can it compare with
    the pain of a child
    with no anchor?

    No father in the audience
    at recitals and plays.

    No father at home wanting
    to interview her dates.

    No father for the
    father/daughter dance
    at her wedding?

    I find myself
    on the sidelines.
    Hearing about you
    from others; witnesses to your
    life. They know you, I don’t.
    I hear them say, “Wow, you
    look just like your dad!”


    “He loved you so much.”

    Really? How can you tell?
    I want to yell at them,
    scream that he was not the man
    they thought he was,
    the man who raised my
    stepmother’s children
    so lovingly.

  105. Rose Anna Hines


    I live in a tornado
    lists, vacuums, dishes, washing machines
    kids and furry kids,
    novels, text books, computer/keyboard,
    blank papers, started poems/stories,
    friends, family, bosses, coworkers,
    newspapers, TV’s, DVD’s, CD’s
    agenda’s, web sites, ballot forms
    documentation, typed reports,
    breakfastlunchdinnersnackpotluckcookiebread preparation
    seeds, sprouts, plants, hoses, weeds
    recycling, composting, raking, sweeping,
    bills, Journals, research articles
    clubs, organizations, positions,committees, meetings
    classes, CEU’s, google,
    cars, bicycles, skates, Reeboks, Adidas,
    obligations, responsibilities, demands, regulations,
    whirl around me.
    Whirling me
    bumping, scraping, hitting, beating
    twirling, twisting, hurling me.

    I need to find my way to the center
    to the quiet center.

  106. Domino


    A page a day?
    You can do better than that.
    But the pressure
    of a page
    makes it much more
    to come up with prose.

    On the other hand,
    if I let myself
    (my imagination)
    run wild
    and write as much as I want
    as often as I can
    I have
    a fifty-page

  107. Autumn N. Hall

    Oh Brother, Where Art Thy Priorities?

    Oh, it’s not just that he doesn’t know
    where the moon rises in his own yard.
    He opts to discard other cards in blissful ignorance
    like the level of CO2 in our atmosphere, the circumstance
    and number of U.S. military killed so far this year,
    the long-term smear effect of oil spills on coastal environments.

    In his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

    It’s not that he was privileged to be born white,
    physically fit, good looking, talented and intelligent
    to college-educated parents who took out loans
    (when he was jonesin’ for a private school) on top of tools
    like home-cooked meals, NOVA, books, and music lessons in a house heated with love.
    He is a “self-made man” who, push to shove, “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps”
    (a difficult feat for feet which were never laced up neat in combat boots),
    and, to boot, he “works his bread-winning ass off” to rest on laurels in that upper 10%—

    in his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

    Top Shelf scotch-on-the-rocks while he rocks twin infant daughters,
    or rather jostles them in growing agitation at their fuss, cannot soothe;
    no wake-up call, that both his parents sleep in their own graves.
    So what might save him from himself? Perhaps a blow to his own health
    or a further crash of stocks would shock him into awareness beyond self.
    Defibrillation paddles standing by, but I do not hold out much hope for his predicament.

    In his mind, he’s earned the right to his oblivious entitlement.

  108. M.A. Dobson

    Pearl, I think I was prompted more by Robert’s amazing poem than the actual prompt! Love love love "The ATL"; back later to read ‘em all.

  109. annell livingston

    Equation Complex and Simple
    So what’s important
    After all
    I awoke each morning
    Give thinks for
    All that came before
    The complex mixture
    That I am

    An equation
    Both complex and simple
    Earth, sky and mountain
    Your soft purr
    Beneath my hand
    Your kisses upon my skin

    The air I breath
    The Mother’s gift
    I am her daughter
    From head to toe
    The complex mixture
    That I am

    Now to be specific
    Hand and eye
    Join the heart
    Beat the drum
    Magically the image appears
    I sing my song for you
    Give thanks
    That you are a
    Complex equation too

  110. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Posted this over at PA "Great prompt… will have to get rhyming out of the way… my goodness terrific content and ending with and "ee" or "ees" sound…
    Someone asked me if the Poet Laureate is charged with creating the prompts …Ha, ha… think it might cull those who might aspire! Going back over to post this prompt over at PA and THANK YOU ROBERT LEE BREWER!!!! Of course terrific kick – off!

  111. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    A few comments…

    Sal … so well put… perhaps writing on your loved one and reading to her?!!

    Connie – nothing like some drowning towns to put things in perspective

    Andrew – through tears I read – as I often find I do read your poems so authentic – this grandfather a man who had as I have a feeling he might have said “his priorities straight”

    Barbara – lovely spare jewel

    Walt – no knocks on wood needed…cannot comment on the poem … delighted at the thought of you gathering your self into a collection … Congrats!

    Kimoko ..Oh yes, this really resonated with me… GREAT LINE
    “spending my self on things
    I don’t love
    and people I never will…. A DEFINITE WOW!!!!

    Elizabeth… Such beauty.. to be touched by those hands… your hands… BRAVO! ENCORE!

    Shannon – Truly a brilliant piece… moving, shining images KUDOS TO YOU!!! (oh creator of PA Friends)

    MA I couldn’t get the connection to the prompt … but WOW MA mhmmmmmm…. Ahhh…. As always sheer beauty…

    Terrific place to sign off before needing to leave until the evening. Happy poeming all…

  112. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    One on the list…

    Shaking off the numbing dread
    that before long the sands will run
    and one will be dead

    And what one is to do when one can clearly see
    The staggering array of possibility
    Leading back to the importance of PRIORITY

    Of course arranging, figuring, weighing this, that, when, and where
    Can quickly devour the time that is afforded while you are here

  113. M.A. Dobson

    The moon breaks apart
    in trees, splinters leaves
    while conjugating verbs:
    you go; she went;
    I have gone—
    the last conveys a place
    where shattered things
    are a function of the light.
    The moon breaks apart
    in trees, splinters leaves.
    I know.
    I was there that night.

  114. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Priorities – on the precipice of adult-hood

    Hanging on the precipice perhaps by a hand or a toe
    Realizing with blazing clarity what is "right" what you now know, you know
    stunningly without finger wagging, nagging, cajoling, or another voice
    simply and certainly somehow, amazingly, in your own found morality rejoice

  115. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Priorities – Adolescent

    Growing up and out in the places that are expected
    Feeling heat and stirrings in areas never quite projected
    Stirring, settling, riding the coaster up and down
    Whirling on the emotional merry-go-round
    To the music of a billion chorded sound –
    As the solo-song of your self-hood forms forward bound

  116. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Priorities – Young Childhood

    Walking talking
    having fun
    how to handle or
    shun a gun
    Laughing, loving
    being kind
    Knowing when mischief is okay
    and when to mind
    Off to learn at home or school
    Hearing and living by the Golden Rule
    Learning that one can if one must give and take a punch
    And that the giving and taking of violence is not as natural as eating lunch
    Listening and speaking and forming an opinion that is ones own
    Blossoming from the seeds that were sown or from others blown

  117. Shannon Lockard

    Priorities if a Middle School Teen

    The bell is buzzing, beating, and bellowing in my ear,
    a horrible, heinous, hideous sound I always used to fear.
    But from years of obeying and observing, I know that it can wait,
    it’s only math, a mysterious monster, who cares if I am late?
    A moment in the bathroom, darn my wild, woolly hair.
    Fluff and frizz and frazzled, genes are just not fair.

    I saunter into the classroom, greeted by an agitated, angry man.
    I can tell by his irked, intense demeanor he’s not my biggest fan.
    He questions my priorities. I roll my daring, dazzling eyes.
    I balk his blabbering bombast, wishing I could curl up and die.
    He doesn’t seem to get it. He’s old, outdated, and obtuse.
    With computers and calculators, what’s the indispensable use?

    My priorites are just as they should be for a fledgling, feminine teen.
    My persona needs perfecting in this mind numbing, middle school scene.
    So I am gonna smack on some lip gloss, and polish up my nails
    in hopes of grabbing the attention of some magestic, marvelous male.
    You’ll see me in your classroom after the halls are hollow and clear,
    and as you tolerantly teach I won’t be listening; this just won’t be my year.

  118. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Sweet Milk

    Milk from a nipple warm sweet appearing
    from the warm haze ending desperate cry
    soft arms, blankets, all things that new skin
    should happen to touch
    warmth flowing in a lyric constant stream
    limbs curled and stretched in this new sudden space
    Milk again from a nipple warm sweet appearing
    from a warm haze enveloping all -panic primitive disappearing

  119. Elizabeth Johnson


    They waltz along familiar keys with
    graceful collision and passionate whispers
    gently caressing those eighty-eight notes,
    dancing out words from twenty-six letters,
    choosing the colors to abstract their world,
    watercolor phrases, free verse melodies:

    I am my hands.

    Captivating sunlight, composing a home,
    crafting a well-worn house into coziness,
    carving smiles with curtains and canvas;
    stirring love into homemade suppertimes,
    laughter into cake batter and cookie dough,
    life into canned soups and boxed macaroni;
    arranging, composing, harmonizing each room
    a lyrical refuge from discord, a haven:

    I am my hands.

    Fingertips, knuckles, thumbs and palms,
    each their own royalty, each individual
    part of the whole the voice of my soul;

    I am my hands.

  120. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    *sorry being "cute" and throwing off things too quickly results in errors.. here is the correct little ditty..

    Priorities Two

    This does not mean
    Nor should it imply
    That for the pain of another
    Your own heart can and will often cry

    Dedicated to those this morning who are horror and awe struck at the devastation in the Midwest and concurrently perhaps a bit humanly guilty at involvement with their own relatively insignificant concerns.

  121. Kimiko Martinez


    It occurs to me that
    the currency I
    so carelessly spend is not

    money, but moments. Like this
    one right now.
    And now. And, yes, now.

    Spending my self on things
    I don’t love
    and people I never will.

  122. Walt Wojtanik


    A file overflowing
    knowing that sooner or later
    the greater part of these
    collected works would amass.
    Lumped into a class by itself
    there on the shelf, I finally
    have the drive and gumption,
    for a poetry collection.
    I knock on wood it’s good.

  123. Andrew Kreider

    Company man

    My grandfather walked to the office
    Every morning in a pair of sensible shoes.
    He administrated diligently until noon
    Then returned home to eat his wife’s
    Homemade soup and two slices of bread.
    After lunch he changed into another pair
    Of sensible shoes and walked back to work
    Where he administrated some more.
    Finally, he walked home for supper.
    On Saturdays, he went back to the office
    To prepare his Sunday school lesson
    And wrote detailed lists of his week’s activities
    To his children, who had moved far away.
    Everyone he worked for loved him.

  124. Connie L. Peters

    People and God

    In America we prize
    houses, cars, clothes,
    trips, techno-gadgets
    but we know
    when winds blow
    trees fly
    houses crumble
    cars squash flat
    technology fails
    clothes tear
    ground splits
    buildings fall
    fires blaze
    foundations smolder
    walls of water take over
    towns drown
    what really matters.

  125. Salvatore Buttaci


    I forgot again to start the new day
    Exhaling the vapors of dead hours
    Left behind at the threshold of sleep
    I need to keep my priorities straight
    My wife insists at least twice a day
    What ‘s more important to you anyway
    Your computer that often fails you
    Or a wife who loves and never crashes
    Or pulls you down into the blue pits
    Where you sulk depressed with pen
    In hand feverishly jotting into your pad
    What you cannot key into your Gateway
    I need to examine my life and decide
    What is most important in my final years
    Writing till I run dry of plots and poems
    Or spending precious time with the one
    Who se company I could not live without


  126. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Priorities Two

    This does not mean
    Nor should it imply
    That for the pain of another
    Your own heart can and will cry

    Dedicated to those this morning who are horror and awe struck at the devastation in the Midwest and concurrently perhaps a bit humanly guilty at involvement with their own relatively insignificant concerns.