Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 143

For this week’s prompt, write a normal poem. I know some of you may be thinking that every poem is normal or that there’s no such thing as a normal poem. However, what I’m thinking about is a situation that may seem normal (even if only to the narrator of the poem or a character in the poem) or the longing to return to the normal way of doing something. There are a lot of interesting ways to attack something normal. I’m looking forward to what everyone creates.

Here’s my attempt:

“and this time, and this time”

and this time you pick up the ringing phone,
and this time you answer it, and this time
you speak quickly and quietly before
hanging up, and this time you call a cab,
and this time you don’t even pack a bag
before waiting beside the curb, and this
time you go to the airport, and this time
you buy a ticket, and this time you board
the plane, and this time you read an inflight
magazine about the city where you’ll
land, and this time he’s waiting with open
arms, and this time you won’t have to return.


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190 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 143

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    natural selection
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    she just wanted to feel normal again,
    remember what it felt like to walk amongst
    gulls and sandpipers and horse-necked clams,
    feel the salt air bandana hair across her forehead
    while saltwater tugs at the sand under her feet,
    feel the giant ball in the sky redden
    the back of her hands held over her eyes
    escaping the glare, the temptation to stare
    directly into the rays and perhaps spontaneously
    combust into flaming molecular confetti,
    instead of lying now in bed, watching one’s muscles
    break down, and cells sloughing off one by one
    until one day, the powers that be, decide to stop
    taking turns urinating in a petri dish and just
    let nature finally take it’s course.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. cstewart

    Day Sometime

    The traffic was moving –
    Early, buzzing engines, soft motors.

    It was six o’clock.
    The air was still cold,
    The bed was still warm,
    The light was still low,
    I could hear the ocean,
    Making itself known,
    To the shore.

  3. Michelle Hed


    We are all normal.
    For we all have abnormalities
    which make us unique,
    for we all have problems
    which we might not share.

    For we all suffer
    during life’s downs,
    for we all rejoice
    during life’s highs.

    For we all wish
    For a better world,
    For we all hope
    For a good life.

    For all our idiosyncrasies,
    and thoughts –
    We are all human.
    We are all normal.

  4. Dyson McIllwain

    It Is What It Is

    Somewhere to be heard,
    a chance for expression’s
    voice to come to life.
    It is absurd to think
    that a change of venue
    can render you silent.
    We have penned with paper,
    and posted to the cyber sycophants
    in their comfort zones.
    Stepping out causes one to shout.
    But resistance is futile.
    I smile; my wordplay stays
    where I lay it. It is what it is.
    They’ve closed the tent;
    all were voted off the island.
    They’ve changed the look and feel?
    Let us be real. At least
    we still have a place for poetry
    to prosper. It is what it is.
    And poets are grateful for that.

  5. DrPKP

    I do not like the new normal
    That is here to stay
    It does not feel normal
    Though clean crisp, some say
    I do not like the uninspired typeset
    I do not like the way replies one does get
    I do not like the bright page of white
    I do not like it no I do not
    I do not like it with Seuss or with sonnet
    or haikued what-not
    I do not like the corporate feel
    That from me a daily simple pleasure did steal

    Okay for now over and out
    Forgiven I hope for this indulgent frustrated shout

    1. Colette D

      I love your poem, Pearl, but I must be the opposite of most everyone else, and abnormal to boot, because I really like this new blog format. Well there is one drawback — it won’t let me be Colette ;D — but other than that it’s pretty spiffy. ;D

    1. De Jackson

      Here’s the sad part…I have no idea. Since I hadn’t logged in for awhile, apparently I had to start over…and when I re-registered, viola! There was my website photo. Mind you, I have no idea how to change it if I want to. Ha.

          1. Marie Elena

            Oops. Hee hee! THAT didn’t work. Now I know why Joseph explained it the hard way! ;) Okay, so look below the comment box, and it will show you the HTML tags. The one that looks like this: is for italics. Bookend whatever words you want italicized with two of those, and it will italicize the words between them. Probably I’m just making it more confusing.

  6. De Jackson


    She looks in the mirror
    sees what’s left of her
    knows it’s wrong,
    this beast that has lopped off
    entire pieces of her
    stolen both breath and breast,
    turned routine into
    hazy scorched nightmare.

    She looks in the mirror
    sees his smile
    hears him say
    You’re beautiful,
    knows he’s right.

  7. Dyson McIllwain

    In and Out

    My routine is simple.
    Eyes open with the sun’s coming.
    Stretch and adjust, my focus
    becomes more aware. Duty
    pages and I raise in stages.
    My breaths are metered
    and precise; very nice
    to be living in normalcy.

  8. Marie Elena

    Goodness, gracious … “busy” has become “normal” for me of late. I long to read and read and read, but truly lack the time these days. Hoping for things to slow down and get the chance to drink in the awesomeness out here. Take care, all!

  9. AC Leming

    The New Normal

    When were we last normal?
    When did we stop trying to understand and begin our cold war?
    When did the scent of despair permeate our relationship?
    When did we roll over and expose our bellies?  Our throats?
    When did we give in to the numbing effects of mindless TV?  
    The anesthesia of scotch?  
    The futile escape of another body?
    Were we ever normal?
    Or is this the script most marriages follow?  
    The new normal?

  10. Michael Grove

    HAIKU (7) on Normal

    What is typical?
    There is nothing typical.
    Say that’s typical.

    Another surprise.
    Just when you least expect it.
    Keeps things exciting.

    Wake up every day.
    Find something to laugh about.
    It helps keep you young.

    Carry a big stick.
    Or perhaps just speak softly.
    Did Teddy know best?

    Just live for each day.
    Still try to plan your future.
    Seems like a conflict.

    Why so much trying?
    Doing seems so much better.
    Efforts and results.

    Sing a song a day.
    Sing more than one on Sunday.
    It helps bring you peace.

    By Michael Grove

  11. barbara_y

    Art Anatomy and Spring

    ever it was
    who decided man was logical
    never noticed the clocks wringing their hands
    bending backward over daylight savings time, becoming the norm

    whoever it was
    who decided time was orderly
    never noticed spring jolting out of winter,
    until the week it snows cherry blossoms one day, snow the next.

    whoever it was
    who decided a fig leaf was chaste
    never noticed how quickly its buds swell
    bursting with the urge to photosynthesize, and sprout fat seed-filled figs

  12. Colette D

    ~ Seeing ~

    I see you in my eyes,
    even when I close my eyes.
    Is that normal?

    I see a photo of you
    and zoom way too far in.
    Is that normal?

    I see me in your irises,
    but wish I were in your eyes.
    Is that normal?

  13. Jane Shlensky

    OK, Daniel, here is my attempt at Queron, which I finished yesterday and realized I’d misread the rhyme scheme (which is quirky but interesting). The question got buried somewhere in there, but maybe it’s close to being correct.

    Return to Normalcy

    The circus was a grounding force
    That made long summers happier—
    The dancing girls atop a horse,
    The juggling clowns were snappier,
    The ticket sales were brisk, of course.

    All farmers’ children gathered ‘round
    And dreamed of riding elephants,
    Delighted by their trumpets’ sound,
    Their trunks and eyes and baggy pants,
    The trembling earth jogged new remorse

    And rendered every child entranced;
    Each tiny laborer could see
    Himself in wondrous circumstance
    In sequins now, worldly and free—
    Their old lives now seemed crappier.

    The freak show made them all agree:
    Farming was grand—to some degree.

  14. DrPKP

    “Just one of those things??”

    Pain grabs her from her sleeping bed
    Kicks  her to the kitchen counter
    Clutching her swollen belly as warm blood
    Drips down thighs and a three-year-old 
    Awoken almost-brother asks  
    In high pitched wind-chimed clarity  
    No more baby?

  15. Ellie.C

    normal needs odd needs normal needs odd
    needs normal. without the odd,
    the two-headed calf
    the straw driven through an oak door,
    normal stands featureless
    on a flat graph
    bribing judges, and dying for strangers,
    every time
    what is, is

  16. Benjamin Thomas

    Dear Lord,

    Why did you have to create mosquitos?

    All they do is buzz and bite
    suck your blood
    then take flight

    in the air
    and everywhere
    who or when?
    they don’t care

    They just chomp and bite
    without concern
    until you notice
    and feel the burn

    A scratch, an itch
    Now you see the bumps
    Lord, I hate those
    blood sucking chumps

  17. Benjamin Thomas

    Normal Growth

    Can’t wait til’ kids grow up
    and do normal things
    like get jobs, pay bills
    cut grass, life’s thrills

    Boys will be boys
    and girls will be girls
    with their GI joe figures
    with their barbies and pearls

    Thank God for growth
    when they lengthen and sprout
    Leap and bound, spring and shout

    Can’t wait til they grow
    That’ll be the day

  18. taylor graham


    By dawnlight a doe
    with fawn cross the road,
    my headlights catching
    Gone. This road
    climbs up toward sunrise,
    I’m eye-struck
    cresting the east ridge,
    in love with light.
    Nothing more common
    than a love-lit poet-
    about to metaphor
    with Thursday-
    morning’s sun
    already changing
    its slant.

  19. RJ Clarken

    Hey Daniel! I made my first attempt at writing a Queron. However, since I have a short attention span, I decided to make it only 4 syllables per line. Hopefully I’m on the right track, but here goes:

    Contradiction…A Queron

    I like blue eyes
    (‘though I have brown.)
    I like storm skies.
    I’m verb, not noun.
    I improvise.

    I won’t back down
    and that’s what’s what …
    I wear a crown
    of if and but.
    It’s no disguise.

    Am I a nut?
    Then, what’s the norm?
    Deep in my gut?
    It’s “Don’t conform.”
    (Yeah…got that down.)

    I’m plexiform*…
    but that’s my norm.


    (*I found the word ‘plexiform’ in the 1913 Webster’s dictionary. It means networked or complicated.)

    1. DanielAri

      Yes, yes! That’s the form – and a perfect self-expression, too :)
      I love the questions you’re engaging: “Am I a nut?” Also that line “I’m verb, not noun.”
      May I keep this in my files (credited, of course)?

  20. Colette D

    just 4 funny 2:

    ~ The Confessions of Abby Normal ~

    Sunday morning S&M
    Christian music in the can
    hemp for paper
    dirt in the shower
    call me abnormal — if you can!

    Colette ;D

    r u abby normal 2?

  21. Bruce Niedt

    Bell Curve

    Most of us ride
    the hump of mediocrity
    throughout our lives, while some
    of our brothers and sisters
    need a hand up the hill.
    But the exceptional among us
    coast down the other side,
    accelerating into the extraordinary.

    1. Bruce Niedt

      Actually, I think I like this better as a semi-concrete poem:

      Bell Curve

      of us ride the
      hump of mediocrity
      throughout our lives,
      while some of our brothers
      and sisters need a hand up the hill.
      But the exceptional among us
      coast down the other
      side, accelerating
      into the extra-

  22. viv

    Normal – a quasi-sonnet

    Just an ordinary day like any other
    though I think it may have been a Friday,
    a stranger crashed into my boring life
    and turned it absolutely upside down.
    I knew that nothing would ever be normal again.
    It’s unfamiliar territory, to be in love –
    disruptive, disturbing – I couldn’t surrender
    or roll with the punches, accept whatever came.
    I fought every step of the way to rid myself
    of such unwanted turmoil in my life;
    vowed to establish a shatterproof routine
    to master passion , control unruly moods.

    But love is surely normal, isn’t it? Why fight?
    Oh, what the Hell – l might as well give in.

  23. Michael Grove

    Typical Day

    The dog wakes up first
    and needs to go outside.
    He interrupts my dream.
    The ending is denied.

    I stumble out of bed.
    My feet hit the floor.
    We both go downstairs
    and I let him out the door.

    I jump into the shower.
    I’m still waking up
    quickly in and out,
    then I let in my old pup.

    I make a fresh fruit smoothie
    and check the internet.
    I work on a new poem
    before the theme I would forget.

    I go and face the world
    and try to make a buck.
    Sometimes it is skill
    other days, no luck.

    I do all that I can
    to make the day go good,
    taking care of business,
    and doing what I should.

    These are troubled times
    for so many that I know.
    I plant seeds every day,
    and pray a few will grow.

    I lay awake at night,
    In my lonely queen size bed.
    I write another poem
    as the thoughts race thru my head.

    Eventually I fall asleep
    with dreams of carefree larks.
    A somewhat restful sleep,
    until my faithful old dog barks.

    By Michael Grove

  24. Michael Grove

    Taxman Waits

    It was another tricky day.
    So you went outside to play.
    You skipped along without a single care.
    You gave your all for every minute.
    Still no way that you could win it.
    The taxman has to wait to get his share.

    By Michael Grove

  25. Michael Grove

    This Silly Game

    Placed the ace of spades there
    with a clothespin on a spoke.
    Another day, another dollar.
    That is one big joke.

    You dealt the queen of hearts
    a new experience.
    Remembered things undone.
    Dreamed of the picket fence.

    They threw the king of diamonds
    right under a bus.
    The people turned their heads.
    No one made a fuss.

    The two of clubs was all you had
    to play this silly game.
    They all called your bluff.
    It was such a shame.

    By Michael Grove

      1. Michael Grove

        For me it was baseball cards in my spokes. My best friend took all of his Mickey Mantle cards and punched holes in the top of them to make a mobile with coat hangers and thread. I’d think he has kicked himself over that one more than just a few times now.

          1. Michael Grove

            Yes I do. @ ’64 there were color photos and Black and White. Those cards in mint condition today are worth a small fortune. Too bad nobody cared about “mint” back in the mid 60’s…

  26. LindaCS

    I wasn’t sure where to leave my ‘Big 10′ poem so I’ve included it here. I enjoyed the challenge and incorporated a different rhyme scheme too (ab, ba, cc, de, ed). The “Hodag” is, I think a localized term. The poem explains what they are.


    The broken branch resembles a grey cat
    Perched, waiting, twig tail twitching in the breeze.

    “Hodags” he calls them. Lurking in the trees
    And at the corner of your eyes. Leaf bat,

    Bear stump, moss toad; visual delusions
    Bark owl, shade wolf; optical illusions.

    Hodags. He calls them when we go walking.
    Turn again to leaf and moss, shade and bark.

    To stump and branch, silent now, but after dark
    Hodags wake, smell my scent, and go stalking.

  27. taylor graham


    The sheep wander from dry to dry, pausing to
    nibble at this or that. They’ve lost their faith in
    green. Their rounds go counter-clockwise to
    the sun, the shade. Some instinct that we’ve
    lost, or gotten past. They pause to dip soft
    muzzles through a scrim of dust on water in
    the trough. Nomads of sparse living, hunger-
    maggots moving from field to swale with low-
    ered heads, as if they always hope but never
    trust what earth or master or government may
    provide. Sheep know how the world survives.
    Count the dawns and darks and pray for rain.

    1. Joseph Harker

      Normally (aha!) I wouldn’t think a sheep poem could engage me, but this is astonishing. Love that last line especially, the “dawns and darks and pray for rain”… rhythm and language perfectly crafted.

  28. SaBlonde

    Shape of Fear

    An egg-shaped bulge adhered
    to the side of his leg. He did not
    wait six months as his personality
    predicted, but leaned over
    me in bed and said, look
    at this? Could it be
    a cyst? I looked, I swallowed
    and somehow kept panic
    at bay. He had noticed
    the strange oval two days
    ago. He wanted me to tell him
    to call the doctor. I did. Contrary
    to his code–ignore the problem
    and it will go away–he made
    that call, had all necessary
    tests performed. We prayed
    it was a benign cyst. We found
    out that anyone can get cancer.
    There are no immunities.
    After two years of abnormalities
    he is fine, and maybe a bit
    more forthcoming than his
    old definition of normalcy.

  29. Shannon Lockard

    Normally the day flies by
    but today it drags,
    draining every ounce of
    energy from my body
    until I am an empty shell;
    zombie wandering.
    My heart and mind on
    vacation, and not the good kind
    where the sun beats down
    on shimmering water
    and thoughts drift on ocean waves,
    but the kind
    where vast emptiness encompasses
    Making normal tempting and
    desirable and

  30. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Can’t even balance my checkbook

    i wish i were normal like you
    no more walls to hold on to, no more walking slow
    i’d give up ten years of my life, plus two
    i wish i were normal like you
    no one knows what i have, have you a clue?
    meniere’s? early insanity? vertigo?
    i wish i were normal like you
    no more walls to hold on to, no more walking slow

    (c) jh 8/3/11

  31. DrPKP

    Pearl Girl is helping me post until Writer’s DIgest gets their mishigoss figured out.  Thanks, PKP!  This poem can be found on my blog as well; just cut and paste into your browswer:  http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/normal-is/    Thanks and peace, Amy

    Normal Is


    Normal is the everyday stuff

    Normal is eating McDonald’s for breakfast

    and Arby’s for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner

    Normal is going to work at a job you hate

    Normal is stopping off for a couple-five drinks

    to cool off from the job you hate

    Normal is shlepping home and sitting in front of

    the TV computer IPad video game

    Normal is shopping for crap from China

    that used to be made by your neighbor whose job

    was outsourced, and he’s about to exhaust his unemployment

    Normal is watching silk-suited fresh-water sharks

    swimming in the the DC pool on Avenue K

    as they rape the economy and hold the future ransom to

    a whim, a personal profit, a new McMansion

    Normal is ignoring homeless Americans begging

    Normal is meth-addict soccer moms, the super-achievers

    Normal is Asian kids winning spelling bees and science fairs,

    but children of Anglos winning legacy admissions to Ivy League schools

    Normal is Black kids, Hispanic kids, all those “little brown ones”

    sentenced to the street or “would you like fries with that”

    or being coerced into developing a taste for Afghanistan sand

    Normal is no longer single moms, but two parents

    kissing hello/goodbye in the hall as one goes to sleep

    and the other goes to work at WalMart with no health benefits

    Normal is skipping worship to work a crossword puzzle or to

    see your kids’ soccer games or whatever else the school scheduled

    for Sunday morning, thank God Blue Laws were repealed

    Normal is one appendectomy in a 14-year-old ends up

    with the whole family living in a camper or a car

    Normal is abnormal

    The American Dream is no longer the norm.

    The American Nightmare has taken charge.

     © 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

      1. Sharp Little Pencil

        Thanks so much, and now I’m embarrassed because I don’t know your name. But your comment was very touching.
        Amy Barlow Liberatore

        PS Kudos to Pearl for posting in my stead until I could wrangle Writer’s Digest!

        1. Joseph Harker

          1. Unapologetic and honest… I think you covered a great deal of what goes on the surface of the whole. When you stand far enough back, all the extremes blur together into “normal”.
          2. Glad you managed to get your name back, and thanks to Pearl for passing these on in the meantime!

  32. DrPKP

    Just a short note…..
    If you are, and have been, a regular contributor to the “original Poetic Asides” and are Facebook Friends with some other regulars, contact an independent closed group called PA Friends if you are interested in continuing contact off the “street.”  

  33. SalvatoreButtaci


    she fed us kids Saturday franks & beans
    like as far back as we could remember.
    sad and silent, Mom served our plates
    and even when Paulie and me started
    kicking each other under the table
    looking for enough trouble
    to bring an end to silence
    she just shook her head,
    took grandpa’s seat at the table’s end
    and led us all in grace.


  34. Jane Shlensky

    I’m having trouble discerning who each writer is unless I recognize a portion of your name. Is there some icon or picture penetrating secret you’ve discovered to help us comment on one another?

    Anyhow, I enjoyed Iain’s Norm/Al humor, Andrew’s tough little woman (I know her too), Connie’s world, the couple and circumstances in Love is Deaf and Blind and the beautiful words and images of Wetlands Field, whoever you may be, Buddah’s life of making things, Joseph’s wonderful coupling normalcy, Nancy’s old norms, and P. Hawkenson’s images. Be back later for the next batch.

  35. Jane Shlensky

    Hubert by Day

    The hawk youngling has walked our yard for three weeks,
    shrieking like a storm warning day after day, an emergency cry,
    flying low in circles or walking from tree to tree, his critical
    eye searching for something I can’t know. Something is wrong.

    He perches in the lower oak or in a crepe myrtle by the bird bath
    and waits for a familiar call or span of wing; song birds avoiding him
    at first finally go about their business unmolested. Even they
    know that this is not normal, that something is wrong.

    He swoops to grab a snake, a lizard, or a cicada. A big boy must eat.
    But his feeding skills and diet are unhawklike as he treads his meal,
    dangles it from his beak, his massive wings lifted, revealing his
    freckled belly and fluffy leg feathers, looking like a heavy big-footed

    dancing lady with a frilly petticoat, fastidious rather than threatening.
    He doesn’t fly high or away, but walks or hops like a great chicken
    to movements in the grass, letting his human neighbors marvel at him,
    a grounded bird of prey, and name him Hubert, and own him in their way.

    Something is wrong, this wild thing tamed. Is he injured? Learning disabled?
    A hawk orphan brought up by woodpeckers and chickadees? When he discovers his true nature, will he wreak havoc on rodents and song birds, no longer serpent fed or bug hungry? I ache for him; something is wrong for a hawk
    to shriek mateless for hours into the evening, the loneliest bird in the world.

  36. Jane Shlensky

    At the Spa

    For thirty years they have been friends, their memories
    flecked with one another and their yearly escape
    to a spa, away from families and jobs and problems

    where they exercise, get facials and massages, eat
    Tiny food and cleanse themselves of the world,
    going at night to eat red meat and drink red wine.

    Detox by day, retox by night, they laugh at the same
    joke for thirty years and it’s still funny to them as they
    share what they have fled from in their regular lives,

    their youthful stories of men, job security, and womanhood,
    giving way to marriage, kids, divorce, aging parents, finances,
    and weight loss programs, normalcy shifting with their

    circumstances and waist lines. They are friends who share
    their funerals and weddings, graduations and hospital bedsides,
    this year’s spa conversation hinging on retirement and cruises,

    life after the classroom, dreams that haven’t shriveled, and health.
    This time they’ll grieve their dead, assess their stock portfolios,
    and laugh at memories of themselves when they were young,
    determined, healthy, righteous, skinny, sexy, and stupid.

  37. Justine Hemmestad

    The Normalcy of Truth

    Truth is normalcy, without is chaos –
    The breadth of normalcy, meant to flow free;
    Truth is courage to live with purpose,
    Free of cowardice, full of dignity.

    The bond of the ancients to raise order –
    Sunk the drunkenness of manipulation;
    With falsity there is none but danger,
    And without jealousy, no deception.

    As the river level rises and falls,
    Truth remains steady, written by author.
    Hold fast the knowledge in faith, less appalls;
    For time will pass like ringlets of water.

    Though lies like whirlpools surround in a rage,
    My heart’s truth is the reserve of a sage.

  38. Jane Shlensky

    Jim’s Heart

    When I see you on the porch, that cigarette
    poised at your lips, I am instantly angry.
    Fresh from heart surgery, you offer me a beer,
    your own sweating in your hand.

    When the red meat goes to the grill, I am sick with
    your slow death and my own hypocrisy eating at me—
    I want a beer too, maybe a cigarette if the music
    is good, but I don’t to be a part of your choice.

    Your question stops me pondering in my tracks.
    “Would you be angry with me if I had a good ticker?” No.
    “So you’re angry that I’m living with a bad one?” No.
    “If I were normal, would you have a beer, a steak,

    and a cigarette with me and talk about something else?”
    Yes. If you were normal, your heart beating right on time,
    the surly scar down your chest never necessary.
    If you were normal, my fear would not cripple my love,

    but you’re not. Your tiny piece of heart will not brook
    poor choices, will not beat to the rhythms of your old life.
    Knowing I’ve come to sing with you, to share what’s in
    my heart, you open an icy beer and pass it to me.

    It’s your life, but it’s not just your life. Love makes
    your life mine too, your family’s too, and as I cry,
    you hug me and begin our first song of the night,
    “Open up the door, friend, come on in.”

  39. DanielAri

    “Under the red cover”

    Have I any evidence of a baseline between the red cover and the cardboard back?
    Here, the pentatonic melody of wind chimes for sale brings on a lemonade mind.
    Next it’s the poem of blue paint stabbed into the grief of her mother’s passing.
    Once, a rose looked as though it were falling asleep, reaching down for the desk,
    Singing with its last fragrance, “I am weary. Let me rest.”


    1. DanielAri

      I posted way too soon. Here’s a more final version. It’s a queron, BTW. You can find the form at

      “The red notebook”

      Where’s the evidence of a dependable baseline between the red covers, front and back?
      Here’s the poem-dance of blue paint stabbed into a backbone of grief (for her mother, suddenly);
      but next, the pentatonic melody of wind chimes brings a lemonade lackadaisy.
      Once, I watched a rose get so sleepy it bent over the vase’s rim, reached down easily
      singing with its last pinkish fragrance, “I am weary. Let me rest,” until it found the desk.

      Now there’s a yellow cover over the sky I see, but the clouds are clouds, just and only—
      not the pictures I make of them. They aren’t the brown scorpion emerging from a shadow
      nor the imperturbable fingers of cedars that soothe the star-dappled ceiling as we
      nod off. So much depends on the weather. Letters fill lines fill pages fill books, come and go
      non-stop. When you remain close enough to it, the sound of the river sleeping or waking

      fills you like a journal—but you are not a journal. You’re a leaf in a bittersweet flow,
      the same one that always ushers you through orgasms of purple fury, through clear eddies
      of abject joy—when your daughter ate squash with her whole face—and on through the silence of snow.
      What’s next: that’s the baseline, the standard, the normal: the thing that happens next to you and me.
      Reviewing the tide of scrawls under the red cover, that’s the gist as far as I can see.

      The next is just and only next, and this is just and only this. My love, that’s the beauty.
      Tears dry, laughter fades, and stillness glazes into the hiss of the river’s eternity.


      1. DrPKP

        Daniel….you do realize of course they are two completely different poems…each beautifully crafted in its own form, content and tone…. You did not post too early you posted again…” lemonade mind” is a lovely image in first…the second lemonade lackadaisy” ..sets the mood for the love of which you write…. Both lovely….

  40. Nancy Posey

    The Old Normal

    Today the alarm clock rang on time,
    no one catapulted in a panic
    from the bed, fearful of running late.
    The coffee pot, set the night before,
    performed its task right on cue.

    You remembered the kiss
    and “I love you” before driving away.
    I found the keys right where I left them,
    no need for hunting beneath the sofa cushions,
    rummaging through the bottom of my bag.

    My percentage of red and green lights
    averaged fifty-fifty, no need to stew,
    no miracle squandered on traffic.

    I don’t care if navy is the new black,
    if fifty is the new forty.
    Don’t talk to me about the new normal.
    I’m fine with the old one.

  41. phawkenson


    Someday this will all seem normal
    light will dapple on curling bark
    and I can swing in slow waves
    of sky and words will flow
    cigarette puffs of elegance
    with pinkie twisting tea
    for there will be time
    to linger on a hammock
    creating poetry
    not cursing a blog
    that just wanted to put pearls
    and by happenstance
    forgot to tell the bouncer
    to let me in.

  42. Joseph Harker


    Like anyone else, they keep framed photos of their Hawaiian vacation,
    mow the lawn every two weeks, enjoy a glass of white wine once in a while
    in front of the television. They cheat a little bit on our taxes and say

    it’s because they’d be lower if they could get married. In the mornings,
    he puts on a tie and jacket and catches the 8:14 bus to work, thinking of
    him still lying in bed. (Lucky bastard). And like anyone else, there are

    little things about each of them that irritates the other. He snores at night,
    while he always leaves the fridge door just an inch open. They scream;
    they make up. On Saturdays they hang at their friend’s house. She makes

    cucumber sandwiches and Russian tea balls, and her girlfriend plays
    classical guitar in the backyard. They sit around the firepit and talk about
    mortgages and kayaking trips. They tell dirty jokes. Like anyone else,

    they all have dirty secrets and quiet fears. She is afraid that one of them
    will end up in the hospital, and the other won’t be able to visit, will have to
    breathe rosewater steam on the glass panes of the door. And he worries

    when they hold hands, that some sidewalk fanatic will pounce at them with
    a baseball bat and a thousand spittle words. (On the other hand, they all
    enjoy a good porn.) In the evening, his mother calls with a new pie recipe;

    across town, her father calls and asks if they’ve talked to the adoption
    agency yet. They go to bed at twelve, curled up like anyone else,
    in pairs. Their houses are full of moonlight, cat steps, ordinary dreams.

    1. Sharp Little Pencil

      Ordinary dreams. It doesn’t take extraordinary steps to give these two the marriage license they might want to use, and I’ll be damned if I stop fighting til it happens!

      Joseph, your Day In The Life musings on a typical couple are just that. It’s not like gay guys sit around making flower arrangements all day, or my daughter dresses only in leather and is a member of Dykes on Bikes 24/7. It’s about LIFE. I love you and your poetry. Amy

  43. Buddah Moskowitz


    My normal state is

    making myself get up
    making all the green lights
    making small talk
    making quotas
    making deadlines
    making compromises
    making a reputation
    making a scene
    making documents
    making mistakes
    making a name
    making arguments
    making dinner
    making grownups out of children
    making an ass of myself
    making masks
    making chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms
    making memories
    making poems
    making a good argument for invisibility.

  44. barbara_y


    normal is the state
    normal is the condition
    normal is the average of
    normal is the means of measure
    of and or but however since because
    normal is a compromise
    between the blues and the rapture
    between sand and water
    between live chickens and dead heros
    between beating your neighbor over the head with a crowbar
    and painting his house while he’s recovering
    normal is what you say you are
    normal is what you say you want to be
    normal is what you know you aren’t
    normal is what you know isn’t enough
    normal is Wednesday August 3.

  45. leatherdykeuk

    Wetlands Field

    Through the tall grasses weaving whispered salutations
    in the languages of mistlethrush and crow we walk,
    where knapweed and thistle hold high their purple crowns
    while hoverflies are still in teasel-scented air.

    Through bramblesnares and stingy nibnobs,
    bare arms held not high enough to miss the venom’s bite,
    companion’s paws in dressage dance above the thorns
    we pass, to reach the field of chamomile and clover.

    Through cabbage white and meadow brown,
    past cinnebar and clouded yellow;
    past ant hills build like fortresses along the path,
    through willow, birch and broom we pass.

    And then at last a shady spot where crickets chirp in love and war,
    a concrete seat as relic of a factory wall
    among drifts of orange hawkweed, where clouds of feathered seed
    draw airborne sigils for the mistlethrush and crow.

    We rest awhile. I stare at silent cirrus clouds
    while the dogs seek scent of fox and spoor
    of rabbit in the grassy tracks about, and then we turn
    to homeward trails where water bowls and tea await.

    1. Sharp Little Pencil

      On the botany, I’m with Joseph! This is a portrait in three dimensions. I swear I can smell that earthy scent of the wetlands. The final line, with water bowls for the dogs and tea for the humans, is a very nice ending. Thanks, Amy Barlow Liberatore

  46. Domino

    Love is Deaf and Blind

    She looked so average
    so pretty and normal.
    He fell in love at first sigh,
    yes sigh, not sight,
    he was blind.

    She, of course, did not hear him
    because she was, naturally,

    She fell for him at first touch.

    But having no common means of
    their relationship was difficult.

    She could read his lips,
    but he kept his head down
    to hide his eyes.

    He could not understand
    her words, for though
    she would talk,
    the words were not clear.

    Still they persevered
    having four normal children
    between them.

    These were the gifted ones,
    able to communicate with
    deaf and blind
    and translate the
    and anger
    of their parents,
    who truly did love each other,
    into love.

  47. Connie Peters

    My World

    Interpreting sounds and gestures
    Hearing my own voice calling me
    from a communication device
    Serving weird food combinations
    like smashed spaghetti, mayo and onions
    Chasing him around with a piece of toast
    Listening to tunes from Elmo
    or from a vacuum cleaner hose
    Cutting food in bite size pieces
    Brushing her teeth
    while she’s patting my face
    Him walking into the kitchen
    with his pants around his knees
    Maneuvering a wheel chair
    through narrow doorways
    While I’m writing, his head resting
    on mine, drooling into my hair
    My bumps, burns and mistakes
    being a form of slapstick comedy
    Feeling like a three-ring circus
    when we do groceries
    Being wonderfully welcomed
    when I return from a trip
    Doing what I want to do
    in the in between times
    Afraid that it will end
    Afraid that it won’t
    This is normal for me

  48. RJ Clarken

    Sonnet CI – Lurking is the New Normal

    O truant Muse what shall be thy amends
    For thy neglect of truth just ain’t normal!
    Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
    But I need your help to write poems formal.
    Make answer Muse: can we not then return…
    ‘Truth needs no colour, and beauty’s not fixed;
    Else, who could write Ode to a Grecian Urn;
    But best is best, if never intermixed?
    Because…what is normal and what is not?
    Anymore, I can’t say with certainty.
    Sounds to me like a ‘word’ Gordian knot,
    which leaves me frustrated, I guarantee.
    So, c’mon, Muse; let’s both get back to work:
    In the background, kindly cease to just lurk.

  49. Andrew Kreider

    To have and to hold

    She is five-feet-one,
    White-haired and probably weighs
    Less than the wheelchair
    She is grimly manhandling
    Into the trunk of their car.

    He sits bent over
    Like a sack of groceries
    Dumped on the front seat,
    Unable to turn and look
    Even if he understood.

    “Can I help?” I ask.
    “It looks like you are having
    A really hard day.”
    She just slams the trunk and says:
    “See you for supper at six?”

  50. DrPKP

    Summer DInner

    Time will come and sun will fade
    breeze blown on hot skin as
    supper drifts
    there sitting father
    black hair shaken back
    from smiling eyes
    mother just finishing
    a laugh
    little brother waiting
    one small leg dangling
    off the edge of chair
    as we finish
    listening for the
    bell of the iced cream truck
    coming soon

    1. Sharp Little Pencil

      That small detail of the little boy’s leg dangling from the chair… it’s those small moments that fill your poetry like jewels, Pearl Girl.

      Thanks for posting for me – I’M HERE! AT LAST! (Cue Etta James) Amy

  51. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Business as Norm-Al

    We are ever calm under pressure
    we take every hurdle in our stride
    we are not unusual
    oh no! we are normal.

    We solve problems with ease
    we take each day as it comes
    we are not strange
    oh no! we are normal

    We fix taps and leaking pipes
    we unblock drains and sinks
    we are not expensive
    oh no! we are normal

    We are not Italian brothers
    we are not graphically designed
    we are just plumbers
    oh yes! we are normal

    We are known by nick-names
    He is Alan and I’m Norman
    but we are Al and Norm for short
    oh yes! we are normal

    We can bend and weld
    we cannot rhyme or write
    we are plumbers not poets
    Oh yes! It’s business as Norm-Al


  52. Domino

    This is for my mom who’s been there, done that.

    We’re All Fine Here

    You’re driving me mad
    and I don’t quite know
    what to do.

    Be angry and yell
    and leave?

    Continue the passive
    so stubbornly
    refusing to see what is right there?

    Or act like

    Pretend I don’t see
    the women
    the drinking
    the late nights
    the insanity
    you’re taking our family through?

    But then, what am I thinking?

    This is normal for you.