Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Before we get started today, I just want to take a moment to thank all our guest judges for volunteering their time, energy, and talents to this year’s April PAD Challenge. Be sure to find their poems online and if you like them, buy their books! Click here to review the complete list of our 30 guest judges.

For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem. For me, back to the basics means jumping to the fundamentals. Maybe it’s me re-learning (or practicing) fundamentals–like running or writing–but it could also be a child learning how to tie his shoestrings, which can be a unique experience for both the child and the adult trying to give instructions and advice. Back to basics could also be re-setting a state of mind or getting back into a routine. In a way, spring is a season that gets back to the basics.


Get feedback on your poetry!

If you want some professional feedback on your poeming efforts, the Writer’s Digest Advanced Poetry Writing course is a great place to start.

Click here for more details.


Here’s my attempt at a Back to Basics Poem:


forget websites & blogs
what i need is a business card

i miss the tactile presence
of a name and job title

displayed with contact info
& sometimes a logo

but what i miss most
is the blank slate back side

on which i could jot notes
& random couplets

sometimes i’d sketch pictures
or get the contact info

of someone i actually
intended to contact

that cardstock carried no
analytics but it was

useful in a way only
a human could measure


Today’s guest judge is…

Deborah Ager

Deborah Ager

Deborah Ager

Deborah recently co-edited The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (2013) and Old Flame: Ten Years of 32 Poems Magazine (2013).

The latter is a finalist for the Forward Book of the Year prize.

Learn more at: http://www.deborahager.com.


PYHO_Small_200x200Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. The collection has a recurring theme of pushing the re-set button and getting back to basics. Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Get back to basics with these poetic posts:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

602 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

  1. Angie5804

    Give me a small plot with a bit of grass
    Some water to help it grow
    A bit of sunshine – for happiness
    Some flower seeds for beauty

    Some water to help it grow
    Blue and clear and cold
    Some flower seeds for beauty
    Petals soft and scented

    Blue and clear and cold
    A little wind, a little sun
    Petals soft and scented
    A place to lay my head

    A little wind, a little sun
    Work for hands to do
    A place to lay my head
    A friend and a smile

    Work for hands to do
    A bit of sunshine – for happiness
    A friend and a smile
    Give me a small plot with a bit of grass

    Angie Bell

  2. Andrea Z

    Writer’s Block for Beginners

    A wad of paper sails through the air
    and lands just short of the wastebasket;
    my latest poetic effort
    is nothing but rubbish.
    I impatiently tap my pen on my notebook
    waiting for some inkling of inspiration
    to make its way into my brain.
    Eventually I throw the pen down,
    and reach over to the bookshelf
    for an old writing textbook –
    perhaps going “back to school”
    will jostle some inspiration loose.

  3. seingraham


    The aroma is the first give-away
    Not really anything so fine as an aroma
    More of a stench when you consider
    It fries the tiny hairs in my nostrils

    But, as soon as that acridity fills
    me up, I know where I am without
    even having to open my eyes
    Not that that eventuality holds
    any charm, no, not in the least

    Vague bubbles of thought careen
    down the synapse paths upstairs
    and I catch the odd one before
    it shatters; I think, therefore I guess
    Whatever the fuck that means

    There is rumbling or something
    near where I am; maybe a rumble
    I find one of the bubbles filled
    with words that don’t make sense
    but it bursts before I can grasp
    it and with a whoosh

    There is light filling my space
    and no help for it, my eyes fly
    open and everything bad I
    hope isn’t possible is confirmed
    A man who likes to hurt me
    is standing too close to my head

    I see his hole opening and closing
    but all I hear are his regular words
    “Base Sick Lee…” then my head
    fills with bees again and I don’t
    see him, or anything else…

  4. j.wessier101

    The Basics of Harmony

    You start out playing by ear,
    You have to hear her music
    before playing along.
    You have to learn the do, ray, me
    before you can put the shooby
    in the do wop do wop.
    You learn her everything;
    her descant and ostinato,
    absorb it all until it becomes part of you,
    then you add your trill,
    your passing tone,
    your appoggiatura,
    bridging one melody note to another
    until you both finally give in to the song,
    improvising harmonies,
    playing by heart.

  5. IndiFox


    I want to go back to that night
    Where it was just you and me
    Against the inevitable
    I remember I placed my hands over you
    I pictured your tiny hands pressed into mine
    Pretending I didn’t know
    What would happen the next day
    Do you forgive me?

    I remember I sang to you
    A lullaby, so befitting
    I remember I said I was sorry
    But there was really no other way
    I want to go back to that day
    Back to that night
    Maybe I could have acted differently
    Found another way..

    No. There’s no going back
    But sometimes I like to pretend
    I place hands over my tummy
    The place where you were
    Try to remember what it felt like
    Because I can’t sing anymore
    And I ask you to forgive me..
    But I get no answer

  6. ianchandler

    Opening Your Eyes

    is a daunting task
    that requires want and wonder
    to wrangle with the sleep mob of the morning,
    paid to get up earlier than you do
    to weigh you down
    and convince you that the world
    is not worth seeing.

    Why do we climb in our sleep?
    Why don’t we acknowledge the cruel world
    and remain motionless?
    Wouldn’t the velvet of night be a much
    softer place in which to dwell?
    Like a cave, it would encapsulate us
    and ward us against rich tongues and sick clouds,
    and we would never go past the iron guardrails
    of our eyelids.

    Like children, we don’t listen.
    We defy any sense that may be lingering
    on the fringes of lashes,
    brush it off and call it crusted dreams
    still trying desperately
    to get back in our heads.
    We swivel out of bed, yawn, and open the curtains,
    make coffee to assuage our newly conscious selves,
    and watch the horizon, perhaps in hope,
    perhaps in boredom, but definitely
    in a sense of renewal
    that sleep leads us to.

  7. foodpoet

    Back to Basics

    After the winter
    That would not end
    I watch the scattered
    Pots left with the debris
    Of the year behind.
    This year will be grounded
    No pots carefully watched
    For shoots of
    All the pots are dark
    With no sleepers through
    The snow.

    Now the pots are empty
    Waiting the

    Megan McDonald

  8. Alaska Christina

    Back to Basics

    Little seed
    Tucked deep down into the soil
    Nestled safe where it is warm
    Taking root
    Sprouting shoots
    Head poking up towards the sky
    Seed, roots, shoots
    Lean in to your lengthening stalk
    Greeted by the sun
    Quenched by the rain
    Caressed by the wind
    Breaking through the brown earth
    Little sunflower

  9. shethra77

    Basic Motion

    We begin a new school year
    in the autistic support class.
    There is an exercise to do with Luis.
    He must put objects in a hole in a jar’s lid
    using only his right hand
    because he uses only his left hand.
    There are probably ten different sorts of containers
    and ten different sorts of little objects.
    I gently hold his left hand on the container
    so that he must use the right to pick up and poke in the objects.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    Luis always sighs because it is
    so horribly boring,
    and he would rather look out the window—
    there might be a dog walking by.
    Dogs are very interesting.
    I sigh because it is
    so horribly boring,
    but necessary.
    Developing more brain is necessary.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    Luis continues using only his left hand.
    I get tranquilizers from the doctor, because
    it makes me crazy—
    so deadly boring, and
    it’s not working.
    However, I live in hope.
    Every day we do his exercise.

    one day in April,
    Luis voluntarily picks something up
    using his right hand.
    There is great rejoicing in the room.
    The next day he lets his hand droop.
    But it has begun. I live in hope.
    Until the end of school that year,
    every day we do his exercise.

    We begin the next school year.
    All the kids have had a great summer.
    So have the staff members.
    I have acquired tranquility and am off the meds.
    It’s my turn to work with Luis, so I get out his containers.
    He sighs. I say,
    “Sorry, dude. You know we have to do it.”
    And Luis
    picks up each container in his left hand, and
    fills it using his right hand.
    I don’t have to tell him or do anything—
    he just does it.
    “Wow! That was so cool! Way to go, Luis! High five!”
    He fives me, then pops up from his seat on the floor,
    knowing he has just earned his break,
    not knowing why I’m so happy that
    every day we do his exercise.

  10. Rolf Erickson


    When the rhododendrons exploded
    everything stopped.
    Even the crows paused
    for a moment of reverent silence.

    The sky turned suddenly
    a deeper hue of blue.
    Trees held their breath
    and stones stayed stark still.

    Then the sun came out
    from behind the clouds
    wondering what all the
    shouting was about.

    There was a new song
    in the wind and a fragrance.
    The earth whispered
    how proud it was.

    And we think we know
    how to start over again.

  11. PenConnor

    Start Again (a rispetto)

    If you love me, don’t say anything at all;
    just let me go, and if you can’t say something,
    put me back together. It was a great fall.
    No stitch in time can save us, horses or kings.
    Men! This is how walls and cookies crumble. Rain,
    on every red sky morning, falls on the plain.
    We spilled the milk, take warning: you can’t know what
    – until I am gone, don’t cry over what you got.

  12. horselovernat

    Less is More by Natalie Gasper

    Not a day goes by without constant updates,
    some from Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter.
    Feeling the need to share every thought,
    no matter how small or worthless.

    Nothing was wrong with how things were once,
    when cell phones were brand new
    and people took the time to write letters in cursive,
    carefully crafting every thought.

    What I miss most is the poems from my youth
    when their topics were simple and fun.
    Some about getting a dime for a tooth,
    others about reaching the sun.

    I can’t help but think about what went wrong
    that life is so hectic and full of stress.
    Maybe, one day, humans will remember
    the peace that comes from napping in a tree.

  13. bookworm0341

    “Communication 101”

    Instead of the walls
    Which were built up over time,
    Let us go back to the beginning,
    Back to basics.

    Uncross the arms
    Unclench those teeth
    Take a deep breath
    And then softly start to speak

    You listen to me
    I listen to you
    There is much good to come
    Going back to basics with you

    By Jennifer M. Terry
    April 21, 2014

  14. cam45237

    Bookseller Training

    Alphabets are important
    Because that’s how we organize our books
    Creating order from a chaos of words
    Each volume to its own home.

    Failing the alphabet
    Guarantees that we will not be able to find the ones
    Hiding out of order
    In the wrong place
    Just like playful children who
    Know their parents will forgive them

    Like it or not, we cant stay
    Mad at the ones we love
    No, we will
    Open them after we
    Pluck them from their shelves and with a
    Quiet voice we will read them to children
    Rendering the words into pictures that float in our heads
    Savoring the scenes, the story.

    Try to imagine the two of
    Us, lost in these pages
    Villains or heroes or just plain folk
    Who wander on earth, in earth, past planets
    Xenophobia has no place here
    You know; this is a
    Zone that welcomes all comers

  15. jean

    Back to Basics: Common Meter Hymns

    Eight syllables to start the song
    Six more to build this frame
    The third line might or might not rhyme
    Though two and four are same

    “O Little Town of Bethlehem,”
    And, too, “Amazing Grace”
    Quatrains with four iambic feet
    Perhaps anapaests replace

  16. Reynard





    expand your lungs- think clearly

    don’t get caught up in all the details

    this world can bring you down – trip you up on your best day

    just take yourself back to the basics, like there is nothing in your way and all the world is before you

    concentrate on the breathing, know that as long as you breathe – you live- all the rest is just the details of the world. Don’t get bogged down by everything around you-and just breathe.

  17. Mariya Koleva

    Back to basics
    when two and two made four
    without too much complication
    or small print
    outside printable area;

    when no one signed contracts
    over the phone
    to learn a week later
    that their ‘Yes, mail me the offer.’
    was interpreted as a ‘Yes.’ only;

    Back to the time
    when the streets were empty of cars
    and mainly served as the topic
    of romantic city poems.

  18. JRSimmang


    As you walk forward,
    I can see in you
    the blues and reds and yellows,

    and I know that if they were
    separated indefinitely,
    I may have to bathe in
    each and every part of you
    to try and make you my
    Warhol and my Mondrian,
    color-blocked with
    your smile forever suspended
    in squares and triangles,

    and when I am finished and dyed
    purple and orange and green
    I would be satisfied
    in knowing that
    you cannot be
    apart from me.

    -JR Simmang

  19. Anvanya


    of Darkness –
    so, okay, I kind of stole that title from
    Ursula K Le Guin, and I’m pretty sure
    she wouldn’t mind at all. Bradbury, Azimov
    LeGuin, and Norton overturned my world view long ago.

    Each one messaged me on the touchable page:
    Think about this idea, imagine that situation,
    how will you handle this dilemma, what if all
    you know about your life, beliefs, block, city,
    town, planet – might not be unassailable?

    Too old now to go to Space Camp,
    Nevertheless, I travel among the stars.
    My Foundation underpins a world-view
    which includes all the imaginable
    Universes here and out there.

    They taught me hopefulness and it’s
    where I go when reality threatens
    to overwhelm. I pick up the pages of
    Vulcan Science Academy Murders or
    The Martian Chronicles; maybe
    Forerunner Foray and, lost in other realities,
    I learn again that all is not lost.
    To be able to imagine things as they once were
    and might again be so, is to know that
    all is redeemable.

  20. lily black

    Back to Basics

    We went to Luckenbach
    And could not find the “basics of love”
    We drove in an ancient truck
    Three on the tree
    Through fields and fields of blue painted with an Indian paintbrush
    We sat on Mexican Blankets and searched and searched
    But there was no love to get back
    I saw your face against my sky
    You never looked at mine
    You kept your eyes closed imagining some far off lover or man
    You could never face in yourself
    We went to Luckenbach
    And no music played
    There was no dancing
    No guitars
    No cowboys
    Nothing at all
    For us

  21. Deri

    Friday Night Bar Hop

    It’s all a dance
    if you look at it closely
    the men advancing,
    then two steps to the right,
    back, turn around,
    the women following,
    retreating to the beats
    careful not to inhale
    the stale whiskey breaths
    all believing in their own minds
    that they are creating
    a unique choreography
    not realizing this age-old dance
    will never change
    sometimes aggressive
    other times playful
    but serious business
    this carrying on the music
    of an entire species
    which is fully capable of achieving
    the exact same results
    if they would just say “hello”

  22. jean2dubois

    by Jean Dubois

    why does the future have to be
    back to basics for folks like me?

    we’d do everything from our phones
    info would come to us from drones
    I should settle down and be
    privy to every possibility

    but no I do not want to be
    dependent on a battery
    I want to hold a book and feel
    its weight its texture know it’s real

    why does the future have to be
    back to basics for folks like me?

    d’rather sit in the corner of the couch
    read the books I have in the house
    feel a frisson deep in my ear
    when I re-read frankly my dear

    Black Elk Speaks Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
    Fleurs de Mal sends shivers down my back
    the future doesn’t have to be
    back to basics for folks like me

    I’m going back to the past today
    not that I’ll throw my phone away
    I might fall down a time or two
    and need to call a rescue crew

    the future doesn’t have to be
    back to basics for folks like me
    instead I’ll read Pilote de Guerre
    C. P. Snow and maybe Moliere

  23. BezBawni

    From Scratch

    a friend of mine once said that
    this world is simpler
    than we’d like it to be
    in order to understand it
    go back to basics
    to its origin—to God
    by Lucretia Amstell

  24. Michelle Murrish

    Back to the Start
    By Michelle Murrish

    The spoon wobbles as it makes its assent
    Spilling half of its content back in the bowl
    Before it reaches her lips
    She never would have imagined
    That age would not only steal her beauty
    But her proficiency with silverware
    Time has reverted her back to infancy
    No longer able to care for herself
    She waves off the help of her nurse
    The soups gone cold but still tastes sweet
    It’s her taste of a small victory, three times a day

  25. PSC in CT

    Arsenic and Old Lace
    (or: An apple a day keeps the doctor in business)

    What once was
    so wholesome, basic
    has become contaminated.
    Cash waxed as nutrition waned.
    Meddled with and mucked up over time
    when money became the bigger prize.
    Historically the healthy one, but
    greed in the Garden of Eden
    has left behind a legacy
    of arsenic & lead.


  26. Yolee


    The plan to love
    pray incessantly
    & eat less chicken
    wings sometimes
    gets pushed out
    of the to-want list.
    They fall on hard
    surfaces one must
    bend like windblown
    wheat to pick up.

  27. lethejerome


    The words align to outline
    The chaos and the insignificant
    Acts of creativity that might
    make it all worth aching for.
    Centuries of relative success
    At making a decent living
    At replacing trees with cows
    At butchering cows and preserving
    something of life for others
    At repeating a cycle slightly behind
    seasons left to themselves
    At wooing and charming
    to see that horse, to get the girl
    At learning to tell the story
    Left only opportunity and a taste
    for the world
    as it is.

    Instead of fences meats jugs piles suits
    words align align align

    and eventually they’ll explain, when
    you ask with the right intonation at
    the right time
    how you and your sister were made in the same
    abandon and thoughtlessness and thoroughness
    as the lot of us.

    Jérôme Melançon

  28. TuLife

    “Technical Difficulty”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    My best friend had never seen The Notebook.
    So we had to do a movie night, right?
    Planned the date, picked the snacks. Just
    needed to find the movie.

    Redbox. Nope, that won’t do. Only
    current films there. Limited availability.
    Netflix it is.

    Took my besty only
    a whole thirty
    minutes to figure out how to navigate it.
    I didn’t even bother trying to assist. Everybody
    who knows me knows that technology
    is not on my “can-do” list.

    $5.99 to rent a flick.
    I said we should watch it
    now and again tomorrow when we
    join our other friend Tee, since she
    hadn’t seen it either. We
    can only watch it once, my best friend told me.

    Whatever happened to wanting
    to resurrect a classic movie, driving
    to Blockbuster, $3.99 for a 2-day rental, watching
    it as many times as you like?

  29. Heidi


    Chromatic prisms
    ruptured seeds, shrewd word paintings
    in naked palms cupped.

    Wake up and rethink
    the dream paper stripped stark bare
    feet planting fig trees.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  30. Penny Henderson


    Over and over my son’s coach yells, “tackle!”
    The boys hit the bag and each other.
    Again and again I tell my stupid self,
    “slash those excess adjectives!”
    The guys will miss tackles in the big game,
    and I miss twelve verys in my manuscript

  31. Jaywig

    Returning Outdoors

    Autumn leans across the paths
    and droops. Callistemons light up
    the yard and bees fuss.

    At last I collect seedlings
    I actually plant them
    I water them. And then it rains.

    I’m sure there used to be sunshine.
    I add worms bought from a store
    to compost and beds.

    Daylight scurries behind
    sheets of cloud – diffuse,
    corrugated or puffy-cheeked.

    I forget to draw curtains against
    the dark. Luckily the television
    is brightly coloured, cheerful.

    This season will bury itself
    in Winter. Beetroots and kale
    take root, take heart.

  32. robinamelia

    Dream waste

    We sing through our diminishments
    fewer octaves, diminuendo,
    croak to whisper

    Rainbows split off
    monochromatic snakes
    slithering to black

    Robin Amelia Morris

  33. Ciel_

    Learning English

    I learned to use
    there not their for
    It’s over there

    and hear not here for
    Can you hear me?

    Sometimes it’s easy
    like when what I refuse
    turns into refuse

    but it can be confusing when
    sounds like

    and polish is a person –
    Polish –
    When there’s a capital P.

    By Ciel Haven

  34. Linda Hatton

    (B)Asics in Love at the Track Meet

    My biceps femoris have not relaxed
    since I held my breath at the news:
    We need to take a break.
    Hamstrings pulled and stretched
    on the track of one-hundred meter dashes
    ‘round my heart, left behind
    in the stands, cheering you
    on as I watched you take off
    into the distance, running
    as though I had lit you on fire,
    the heat too much for you to handle,
    you, with your tepid preferences,
    you, fanning my flames, doused
    out with no way to find my way
    back to the light, hobbling with each foot-
    step around in circles, from barefoot
    back to wearing (b)asics tied up tight
    ‘round my ankles, ‘round my life,
    towards the finish, back to the start
    where you wait, your hands now calloused
    from the fight, finding your way
    back to that place where you can relax into me,
    relax into you-
    th’ timer resetting, settling
    into fleshy thighs
    that don’t want to watch you from the stands.
    Wanting you to take a stand.

    -Linda G Hatton

  35. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 21

    Write a Back to Basics poem.

    Simple Life Dilemma

    We’ve contemplated moving
    downtown by the river,
    downsizing, paring
    down to essentials.

    Yet if we move, we’ll be
    missing the simple life
    of a close-knit community
    where every member feels pulse of others.

    I’ll no longer crane my neck and ears
    on neighborhood walks, listening for
    horse whinnies or seeking bison sightings.
    The cows won’t bawl their ridiculous “moos.”

    Still, walking on the bridge or river walk every
    single day is tempting. But what am I
    thinking, when before we stake “For Sale,”
    we need to pay off debts?

  36. SuziBwritin

    PAD CHALLENGE 2014 #21 Back to Basics Poem


    I love fundamental
    I also love plain
    I love sturdy and functional
    It’s the way of my brain

    Don’t get busy or frilly
    don’t add too much “bizzy”
    if you make it expensive
    it just makes me dizzy

    I love clean lines and neatness
    I love lots of space
    give me plenty of ballroom
    to show off my grace
    don’t clutter with knick-knacks
    to gather more dust
    no fussy curtains or drapes
    just a shade if you must

    and the lighting I like
    well, it has to be bright
    no subtle low candles
    no softening light
    it’s just that I like
    a place clear and plain
    it feels good and comfy
    and matches my brain

  37. Nanamaxtwo

    Back to Basics

    ‘Remember the day the pig fell into the well?’ she asked.
    John Cheever

    Back to basics may turn life inside
    out like the black sock on your bed,
    adorned with classic, grey stripes,
    seam strings dangling at the toes, may need
    you to push in your hand, grip the sole
    and pull. King’s Passion and vodka blur
    the common clichés, no, more the uncommon
    cliché that works in a form with few inhibitions,
    that writes its own laws on the stage and
    perchance sober, walks the streets of your life
    and seems neither comforted nor affrighted.

  38. encrerouge

    14 thoughts and a head ache

    No, If I painted my hair to the rhythm of coins
    the spirit of a cry will be lost in every strand
    this is who I am, bare and full of mazes
    between thoughts an bookshelves
    who speak of a thousand variations
    and reclaim only a whisper of sincerity
    to build the rise of arrows detaching
    attaching to fruits of forbidden trees

    and yes, these are gloves which will disappear
    shortly after my thumbs don’t ache from their loss
    of identity, do not pity me out of abundance
    when it is the basket that is lacking
    a curvature from the throat up
    Adan’s apples won’t rejoice to the thought
    of pears and sunflower seeds in the menu

    Back to the facts that conquered the headlight
    a voice never reached the bottom of the well
    my yell crisped the skies with rain showers
    today is when melancholy over powers
    to excel in what forever shall be mine:
    they will to grasp a present by a natural right.

  39. Michael Wells

    Back to the Basics

    Why a 120 crayon box when an 8 crayon box
    will do. Most of our options coax us to
    extremes. Standing in front to the toothpaste
    aisle I’m a babbling idiot. Fresh breath, fight cavities
    whiten, repair enamel— the choices— complexities.

    Maybe I don’t want a black rotary dial or maybe I do.
    We talk about going back to the basics
    we experiment with turning our smart phones off
    for the evening but we are drawn by some unseen force—

    slaves, we are to the time in which we live. what did we do
    when we only had a home phone, went out for the evening
    and no one could reach for hours. Can you remember
    what that was like?

  40. LeighSpencer

    Peanut Butter and Jelly

    I was dreaming
    about mutton and fry bread

    They still serve that
    in places on the reservation
    through New Mexico
    or maybe Utah?

    I don’t even remember
    where we were that trip

    Except that we were hungry
    and it was the middle of nowhere

    Gas station

    Truly last stop
    maybe forever
    and fifteen minutes before closing

    My older son and I ran in
    scouring the scant aisles
    like we were stalking prey
    in the first world

    We captured
    a loaf of soft white bread
    a jar of creamy, no-name peanut butter
    and two jars of strawberry preserves

    (one that my son broke in his hunting haste
    and the one that we took with us,
    not needing to be cleaned up
    now 10 minutes before closing)

    I don’t know why we had a plastic butter knife
    in the glove compartment

    I do know those sandwiches were delicious
    sitting on the tailgate with my family

    Eating and laughing
    as a glorious sunset
    painted the middle of nowhere

  41. Funkomatic

    Tinder, kindling, fuel, fire to start
    Easy to flame the young and tender
    Handle with care affairs of the heart

    Sparks jump from flint fast as a dart
    When bodies are lithe and slender
    Tinder, kindling, fuel, fire to start

    Flaring embers, both played their part
    The Young Lover now a pretender
    Handle with care affairs of the heart

    Then children arrive, drive you apart
    Against the rain a tired surrender
    Tinder, kindling, fuel, trying to start

    The devil is a rake or tart
    Swirling in mysterious splendor
    Handle with care affairs of the heart

    Love, the long game, a patient art
    Old sparks needs an audacious defender
    Tinder, kindling, fuel, fire to start
    Handle with care affairs of the heart

  42. Mickie Lynn

    The Basic Three R’s

    Remember back to the basics of our youth.
    Was it reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic?
    More like
    relaxation, raunchiness, and randiness.

    Relaxation under the shade of a tree
    with the books we had been reading
    shading our eyes from the sun.
    While we waited for lines drifting in the lake
    to catch something,
    we enjoyed doing nothing.

    Raunchiness was the main means of humor.
    Burping contests,
    farting in confined spaces,
    writing off color jokes,
    the passing of notes,
    all helped school become bearable.

    And randiness-
    everything turned us on-
    a look in the eye, a brush of a sleeve, a slight breeze.
    When we passed bases and started hitting homeruns
    ‘rithmetic was used to boast batting averages-
    numbered notches on a bedpost.

    Relaxing reading
    Raunchy writing
    Randy ‘rithmetic
    We knew it all…

    Until the chasm of living opened up to swallow us whole,
    spitting out these old gray bones,
    then we realized how much we would never know.

  43. Zeenie


    Introspection, they said.
    Miniscule moments,
    car-parts, battery-size –

    this is how we will
    understand the defects.
    Their eyes blinking

    in milliseconds, nanoseconds,
    heads jumping off necks:
    we can fix what’s wrong with you.

    My eyes blink back.
    A full second.

    I will not be broken down
    into bite-sized pieces,
    you cannot chew through

    this oil-leaking knitting knot,
    this electrical minefield –
    there is nothing to deconstruct here.

  44. Blaise


    Sentry shouts rend the dark – who goes there?
    Train grinds to a stop and armed men
    in dark uniforms demand identification.
    Guards at the gate scan lanyards
    to protect government secrets.
    In the age of retina and fingerprint scans
    a simple business card no longer an ID.
    In my lifetime countless identities long discarded.
    Who speaks when there is no I to speak?
    What card do I hand to God after my last breath?

  45. J.lynn Sheridan

    “Writing our story”

    We’re travelling barefoot and scruffy acting
    lost when we’re really found no matter what
    anyone says. To us, the back roads of
    mosquitoes are comfy In the fogged rain,
    our beat-up Ford pick-up moans off-key,
    between us is a jar of pickles and a bag of
    Macintosh. We toss the cores out the broken
    windows, aiming for tree trunks, trying to reclaim
    the first laugh we shared, trying to remember
    the name of the lady in the blue dress who sold
    us eggs and honey last summer. Your hands
    are sweaty My hair swirls in my teeth, I try
    to say your name but the wind takes it away.
    I know I’m not the answer to your dreams
    but we’ve learned to love the simple and let
    go of the imperfect one mile at a time.
    At home we stand in the grass—the sod
    of the grandfather you fashion your
    goatee after—staring at the ark we
    built out of gopher wood and decades
    of losing. I’m not asking for an award
    or a scepter. I’m just asking to be part
    of your story all the way to the end.

  46. Delaina Miller

    Dirt Roads and Forgotten Highways

    She squeals, Road Trip!
    Steering off the fancy paved
    toll road we veer onto a path
    few still travel.

    Dark tar lines stretch
    like veins for miles and miles.
    The tires thump a baseline
    our souls can put melody to.

    Abandoned mills, family farms
    and wooden fences
    line the worn roads
    the map marks as thin black lines.

    Two lane roads
    double yellow lines.
    No fast lane
    only No Passing signs

    until the curves straighten
    and the hills flatten. Enjoy
    the view. Watch the hawks
    ride the currents

    and the hay stacks blur
    against tender grasses.
    In still ponds
    the sky reflects.

    Today we escape
    the hustle — the bustle
    back to basics
    a halcyon country drive.

  47. David Walker

    Puzzle Piece

    Break everything down into the smallest
    of steps. You can’t just say, “Go in and brush
    your teeth.” It’s one action for us, but for them
    it needs to be simpler and more complex

    at once. A child with autism may know
    how to hold an object at an angle, but
    they may be too scared to put that object
    under running water or too excited or

    too fixated. Your job is to get them back
    on track. Teach them that when you say,
    “Time to brush your teeth” that means
    to grab the toothbrush, place that end

    under the water, and put it in their mouth –
    no toothpaste for now, we don’t want
    them ingesting fluoride. We need to teach
    them real, practical skills. We are the teachers,

    even though they teach us compassion
    and patience, and how easy it is to feel
    better when you’re life seems too heavy.
    They teach us how discriminating we

    were and how we never want ourselves
    or others to use that horrible word again,
    and I don’t think we could break down
    the steps to teach these things if

    we tried.

  48. emmaisan0wl

    I Breathe Night
    “a darkening sky
    will forever be my one
    true source of freedom;

    the twilight hours, the
    earth as my pillow, and the
    galaxies above.”

  49. Monique

    Getting It Down

    My muse turned into a white rabbit
    And I was Alice, forced into chasing it

    I looked around the store for something to place my ideas into
    Do I choose my phone?
    My fingers aren’t quick enough to keep up with the rabbit
    Do I choose the laptop?
    While it’s been helpful, I can’t take it with me everywhere
    Besides, there’s no wi-fi

    It comes back to basics
    A notebook that any student uses
    That appeals to the rabbit

    I buy the cheapest one in the store
    And I let the rabbit hop onto the paper
    As I write down every thought in my head

    Although I’ll never know why,
    The feeling I get when I get it all down
    Having inked words on ordinary paper
    Is the best feeling in the world

  50. Kevin D Young


    Jim (not his real name), here to make
    an estimate suddenly asks,
    Can I use your facilities?
    I am about to answer. I think,
    He’ll take his boots off, the driveway
    (our unofficial designation
    for this medieval paveless muck
    chucked up by last night’s rain) being
    a mental figment. But Jim is already
    peeing on a tree in the back yard.
    I think, What the? The houses
    are graced apart by spinster-thin
    graticules of unlumbered wood,
    but it’s deep Fall, the normal gown
    of leaves in a dresser drawer somewhere,
    so, well, the sight lines are somewhat
    virginal. When the mini-monsoons
    pale the driveway gets poured
    and when the rain returns it vomits
    down this plow-hard throat into drains
    where it goes wherever rain goes
    when tamed and denied a proper burial.
    What will the dog think? I think.

  51. SestinaNia

    Silly site was down last night–so I didn’t get a chance to read–maybe tonight! Here’s my offering for yesterday:


    You scratch glass
    with your wit,
    and when cut,
    your facets refract
    simple truth into
    dazzling light pictures.
    The world regards
    you as the emblem
    of loyalty—as the epitome
    of clarity,
    and the embodiment
    of strength of will.
    You are even more priceless
    than rubies.

    Yet a shadow that lingers
    just behind your eyes
    suggests that if the pressure
    that surrounds you
    should be released, dissipated,
    it would reveal an incomplete
    transformation—and you
    would be nothing more
    than a cold, black
    lump of coal,
    with no inherent spark
    to set the world on fire.

    –Sara Doyle

  52. Scott Jacobson


    It is nearly all presperation, but it is so hard to begin.
    The great fright of rejection and the feeling of failure
    make the eyelids twitch and the heart freeze.
    It makes common sense throws up its hands and crawl into its
    nonexistant center void to decide on what not to do next.
    Exercise hurts too much, giving you muscle spasms,
    cramps, and the occasional pulled groin.
    Painting costs too much, and your last self-portrait
    looked like a stick figure trying to hang itself.

    Even cleaning your desk makes you wonder if you are doing life right.

    A glance over the surface
    reveals the moldy pizza and beer can pyramid
    of a writer’s sloth like life.
    But the real horror lies underneath amongst
    the rejection letters, the unsent love notes,
    and the candy wrappers -there sits the journals
    where you sacrificed your heart.
    And if you cleaned and found
    one peice of your heart left,
    would it be enough inspiration
    to start your life back up again?

  53. Renada Styles

    Growing Up

    Take the hand
    And counter it
    To a moment passed
    In a forgetful state

    Games of 1-2-3
    Tie my shoe
    Let’s play

    Into measuring cups
    And velcro sneakers
    Through Park Avenue

    Soon simple talk
    Was too much trouble
    As laceless heels
    Impatiently tapped

    Take the hand
    And counter it
    To a moment before
    She grew up

  54. modscribery

    Day 21: Back-to-the-basics poem

    “A Child of the Wind”

    I am a child of the wind,
    made of mud, sweat and tears.

    I exhale for the first time,
    sending ripples
    into the swirling orb,
    and find myself
    laying next to you –
    a child of the light,
    the bright and morning star –
    on a hill far away.

    As I wake,
    you slip into sleep
    your last breath my first,
    perpetuating the pulse of
    the womb of existence,
    your hand still holding mine.

    My first breath rises
    and I lean across your chest
    to exhale
    my last breath
    perpetuating your pulse,
    the rhythm of existence.

    For who am I
    but a child of the wind?

  55. lionetravail

    “Broken At Nineteen”
    by David M. Hoenig

    He’s walked as far west as he can.
    Came out in a convertible Chevy Conestoga
    which moved fast, almost faster than
    the speedballs which had left Saratoga

    with him and his friends, looking for
    the magic of Cal-i-forn-eye-A.
    The dreams, fueled by coke and demer-
    ol, were bright things, showing the way.

    But the crash was both metaphoric
    and literal. Only survivor, he shook
    in guilt, in fractures, in less euphoric
    nightmares, which showed the roads he took

    and the corners he’d cut, in sharp relief.
    Recovery was rough, of both the physical
    and spiritual kind, requiring some belief
    in a future less harsh than the past. Quizzical,

    he looks out at the Pacific in the weak
    sunlight of a new day, the sands beneath
    his feet not shifting, for a change. The bleak
    feeling he has makes him grit his teeth,

    as he remembers how foolish he’s been
    til now. He sees gulls by the water, picking
    at things in the surf, and thinks with chagrin
    on his awful choices, which are again pricking

    his conscience into tears. It’s been years
    since he’s thought of home, back in New York,
    and boring sounds good to him. He fears
    going back, and thinks just stick a fork

    in him because he’s done. Salty water streams
    from his eyes to join the Pacific, his wasted
    frame a shameful echo of the bursting at the seams
    muscles with which he drove west. Lambasted

    by pain he’s had, pain he’s caused, he breathes
    in the ocean’s air and out with some of the sickness
    in his soul. It feels better, so he repeats, and it wreathes
    around him before dissipating with quickness

    into the limitless potential of the ocean stretched
    out before him. Tears dry on his cheeks
    and his eyes close, and, though farfetched,
    he considers if any coping techniques

    can get him back across the miles, east,
    to when he was a younger, nicer, different person.
    A place and time when he was a boy, not beast,
    when life could only get better, not worsen

    into the view off an abandoned beach, overlooking
    an ocean of regrets. The ache from the pin
    in his shin grounds him suddenly, overbooking
    his attention from the catalog of sin

    he’s been maintaining. He breathes, again,
    and exhales pain which has his head spinning.
    He stops thinking about what he’s done, and when,
    and just breathes, inching towards a new beginning.

  56. ToniBee3


    take my hand and write the script
    like you did from the first…
    slant forward and kiss me a kiss
    as long as the expanse of Arabian sands
    ascend upon me and recite your soliloquy
    descend and flatter me with your calligraphic tongue
    caress around the arcs of the arches you’ve memorized
    until we lie like clasped sculpture
    love me again and again in cursive
    like you did from the first…

  57. PatsC

    Math Anxiety

    It’s time to admit,
    My arithmetic bewilderment,
    Impossible to add and subtract,
    Without fingers and toes.

    The dreaded call,
    The chalkboard problem,
    Highlights ineptitude,
    Teaches no numbered skill.

    Talent in letters,
    Silent reading brings comfort,
    The turning of pages,
    My home in a book.

    Perfecting of penmanship,
    Pen upon paper,
    The forming of words,
    Permanence of thought.

    Through university,
    Into adulthood,
    An easily hidden flaw,

    Calculators know the rules,
    Cash registers bestow proper change,
    Apps for tipping, discounts, and taxes,
    Math made simple with a click.

    Time to start anew,
    Learn the basics,
    1+ 1 = 2,
    Racing heart, frozen mind.

    Teaching an old dog,
    An unlearned trick,
    Ever perplexing,
    The bones of numbers.

  58. Mustang Sal

    Fashion Basics

    It all comes down to this I guess.
    Here’s the secret to dressing success.
    Beauty and poise may attract all the boys.
    Just stuff it in a little black dress.

    Don’t primp or preen. No need to stress.
    Don’t over-jewel, ‘cause more is less.
    In flats or high heels, you’ll ooze sex appeal.
    When you put on that little black dress.

  59. joanne.elizabeth

    Road Trip-
    ping down the highway-
    farer sunglasses, looking cool-
    ing temperatures on tap-
    ping toes on the dash-
    es of white splitting the blacktop-
    ping speeds of 80-
    miles from home so far-
    thur yet to go today-
    light waning, pink clouds overhead-
    ing away from the sun-
    flower-seed puckered lips and bubbly soda pop-
    song singalong-
    ing to escape life-
    time memory-making fun-
    ny jokes, quiet rest-
    stop breaks, long hours stretch-
    ing landscapes, towns and formations of rock-
    ing gently on a windy road-
    sign games coming over the pass-
    ing car after car-
    go filling the back seat-
    belts tight, engine opened wide-
    open road-

    Joanne Edgington Henning

  60. Snow Write

    Eat your vegetables, mom said
    They really are a healthy treat
    They’re so fresh from the garden bed
    Eat your vegetables, mom said
    Your uncle didn’t and now he’s dead
    Since all he chose to eat was meat
    Eat your vegetables, mom said
    They really are a healthy treat

  61. cbwentworth

    Laces untied,
    dust gathered
    I lost my way,
    sold to slack

    Excuses banned,
    time to roll
    Back to the path,
    soul in reach

    The trail ahead,
    crunching sand
    Just one more mile,
    sole to dirt

    Forget pavement,
    climb each stone
    Unplugged silence,
    soul to earth

    – – –

    C.B. Wentworth

  62. Amy


    I heard
    her in the wind
    a rose that bloomed again
    and again but now she’s running

    You won’t
    always see me
    on the glass she whispered
    I am the past you passed just press

  63. Cameron Steele


    “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

    I woke just before morning this morning
    heavy eyes just barely open window the tiny
    shuddering bodies of yellow-headed blackbirds
    my swollen tongue they flickered
    like fireflies stringing themselves
    through dark pasture barn roof
    dripping eaves tiny golden throats
    opening in song tucking black against breast.
    I hungered to find a glass jar catch them
    poke holes through to my childhood
    a place I didn’t know I knew
    until it was gone. The seconds
    before the sun pop of a bulb
    over a barn the mothy earth
    throbbing against its walls
    buzzing with the promise
    of lighting up just like magic
    just like a midsummer night’s dream.

  64. gloryia

    Just Another Day

    Bang went the door,
    and the floor sang
    with heavy footsteps
    before the thud of
    his satchel hit the table –
    guess it’s that time again,
    Harry’s home from school.

  65. novacatmando

    child’s play…

    ring rosy, ring rosy

    slip n-hide a’cozy

    seek and snoop
    like daylight coons

    loop to loop
    string a-beads on braids

    see where I lead

    flight, flight
    let’s fly kites

    the father’s cry


  66. Mokosh28

    The Root of Courage

    A policeman once told me how he
    kept from panicking at a moment
    of crisis: shadow flicker
    down the long alley,
    gun in a crowd,
    stalking the knife blade. How he could
    sort the dead from the dying on the
    highway. “You go back,”
    he told me, “to the first things
    you know. The basics. What you learned
    as a Rookie and rehearse every
    day between speeders and
    shop lifters.” He explained
    that the active mind is enemy; this is not
    the time to choose. The body goes
    where the mind might stumble.
    “It’s the bones that know how
    to stay alive.”

    – Joanne M. Clarkson

  67. jsmadge

    For My Great-Grandmother

    White walls in an immigrant’s kitchen
    Gleaming grateful, aprons to protect
    This newness: wedding ring, running water,
    Family fed and tissued letters.
    Your chicken-feet soup fed your world –
    One block long, then another, wound
    Down to the church, then to the mills –
    You fed those with husband, then children.
    The basics were these:
    You wanted more.
    You came here.
    So now, I have
    And stay.

    Jo Steigerwald

  68. ambermarie


    Little child picks her favorite smell
    Washing the filth in the darkness
    Not caring to show her face in the light of day
    Too ashamed to walk uprightly
    Rocking in the fetal position, letting the water scald her body
    Protected by locked doors
    Soothed by the noise of the falling water
    Cleansed of her fears
    Absolved of her crimes
    Alone and safe in the shadows
    Until she realizes
    It’s herself in the nightmares –
    The one she hopes to keep at bay
    The terror and disgust don’t respect superficial borders
    Fate is boundless
    Grace her only hope
    Praying for salvation, she begins a long wait
    Tainted but divine
    Knowing herself yet striving for that lost perfection
    She remembers who she is
    But is frightened of what she has become

  69. Clark Buffington

    Starting Fresh

    When I feel lost and I am wandering blindly it is time
    start fresh by getting back to the basics in life

    Take a step back from the crushing pressure of responsibility
    find the joy in the simple things that are right in front

    Breathe and find the quiet peace that is always present
    hidden by the noise and chaos of the world

    Look and see the beauty of life so apparent everywhere
    camouflaged by the visual pollution of technology

    Whenever it all becomes overwhelming and oppressive
    I just need to stop and get back to the basics in life

  70. Mark Danowsky

    Night Spaces

    I got up to use the bathroom
    and all was dark. No little red
    or green points of light.
    Only the blue beams
    seen from the stovetop
    at the right angle.
    This has not happened
    since we lived in Autumn Park
    after graduation. Before the advent
    of smartphones. Before we had
    a decent coffeemaker or wireless
    towers, routers, printers—friends
    I sometimes try to make them
    when I can’t find sleep
    and end up sitting in near darkness
    among the false stars.

  71. Laurie G

    This Dark Couch

    This dark couch is as rough as a nun’s two hands,
    as hard as steel wool.
    This navy couch won’t yield.
    It is a stout ship journeying upon shag-rug waters,
    covered in crayons, Matchbox cars and cat hair.

    This couch will withstand us all.
    Stout, stripped of slip covers, it bares all to bear all.

    But once, this dark couch was silken and bright,
    as my mother was, young and blonde, early in the marriage.
    I’ve seen proof: her, curled up on the white silk damask, glowing,
    smoking a slim cigarette.
    An arcing, scalloped pattern fanning out across the cushions.

    All sweetness and light until the boys cracked a single egg,
    smeared French’s mustard
    long before I was born.

  72. lidywilks

    Basics of Poetry

    To write the words
    we cannot say,
    first pen your hearts
    in a rhyme, meter
    and verse.

    Gather the chaos
    and mold your words
    in the form you’ve chosen
    to face the world and
    then let it loose.

    by Lidy Wilks

  73. Emma

    One for the Boys

    They like natural beauty these days –
    Perfect white skin (baby soft),
    Shiny blond hair (only on her head),
    Bright blue eyes (with childlike energy).
    They don’t want a woman like me –
    Dark red lipstick, thick black eyeliner, hair held with spray.
    They want a girl who doesn’t
    Waste hours with such ‘trivial’ things.
    That’s what they tell themselves.
    They want a perfect girl and a
    Woman in red lipstick breaks the illusion.
    These siren shades of crimson, ruby, scarlet,
    Might be artificial in their eyes,
    But really, they serve as a warning sign.
    Reminds them of scars, spots, cracked heels.
    The truth that lies behind the make-up even the perfect girls wear
    (those pretty little pageant girls who choose to obey):
    Dark circles, chapped lips, the rainbow bruises
    Painted on clumsy, oblivious girls.
    The extra flesh hugging my hips.
    The stretch mark stripes that adorn my thighs.
    The soft, downy hair that decorates my forearms.
    ‘Natural’ or not, we’re all real:
    Blood and guts and gore.
    Red lipstick just says it louder.

  74. shellcook

    Breath and heartbeat,
    I can hear,
    I can touch,
    I can see these things.

    I cannot, however, hold them,
    sacred and safe
    away from the ravages of time.
    As I would, could I.

    But for one brief memory in time,
    you are my heart, safe,
    my soul, sound…

  75. anneemcwilliams

    In prison

    two people live
    in one hundred
    square feet
    with a set of bunks

    & lock boxes that contain
    no more than fifty pounds
    of stuff, which is all
    your worldly goods.

    you travel
    chained up
    at the ankles and waist
    and petition for privileges
    like the dentist, or a visit
    from mom.

    inside, inside, inside,
    your long life waiting
    inside, where nothing
    is everything. and you
    can look back into what
    yesterday you called
    the future.

    first draft 04/21/2014

    1. anneemcwilliams

      In prison

      two people live
      in one hundred
      square feet
      with a set of bunks

      & lock boxes that contain
      no more than fifty pounds
      of stuff, which is all
      your worldly goods.

      you travel
      chained up
      at the ankles and waist
      and petition for privileges
      like the dentist, or a visit
      from mom.

      inside, inside, inside,
      your long life waiting
      inside, where nothing
      is everything and you
      can look back into what
      yesterday was called
      your future.

      first draft 04/21/2014

  76. pamelaraw

    Army Regulation 670-1 (Hair and Other Normal Activity)

    Females must not be ragged,
    unkempt, or extreme,
    but may be fastened,
    pinned, plain, and limited.

    Be proper soldiers, not:
    lopsided, standing, free-
    hanging, improved,
    individual, natural, or

    Likewise, butterflies,
    flowers, sparkles, or gems
    are excessive and prohibited.

    Do not protrude
    from the head—in uniform
    or in civilian clothes—
    or be widely spaced.

    Only conservative and small
    are authorized at any time.

    Females, comply
    with the standards.
    Do not interfere.

    This includes hair.

  77. drwasy

    After You Left

    Once I thought
    there was something quaint
    and precious
    about folding shirts
    and sorting socks,
    making meatloaf
    and mashed potatoes
    rather than paying
    the maid
    and ordering Chinese,
    but now, these things
    no longer
    hold allure.

  78. FaerieTalePoet

    Dragon Girl

    Many heroes tried their hand
    at the quest
    parents, teachers, and friends
    tried to teach me.
    All of them failed.
    Dragonlike, I defeated
    questor after questor.

    Until finally there came a girl,
    a girl who was special.
    Her favorite movie was Pete’s Dragon
    and when we would play
    she would fashion herself Pete.
    She was untouched by gender roles.
    Like my brother, she had Down’s Syndrome,
    but she was much higher functioning.
    Years later, she worked at McDonald’s
    because, despite non-discrimination policies
    they were the only ones who would hire her.

    I was in third grade,
    all the other kids
    had learned to tie their shoes
    but I still hadn’t.
    I would struggle with my laces,
    fighting back tears,
    afraid of the names I’d be called
    if I asked for help.

    She was labeled, by so many as slow.
    But it was her slowness, her patience
    that finally got through to me.
    That helped me finally learn
    how to tie my shoes.
    Bunny ears and loop de loops
    finally made sense
    in her thick fingers.
    And though some might label her
    unteachable, because
    of an extra chromosome,
    something she was born with,
    something she couldn’t control.
    On that day, she was my teacher.
    She will always be one of my heroes.
    Dragon girl, the one
    who finally taught me
    to tie my own shoes.

    Dana A. Campbell

  79. Emma Hine

    Back to Basics

    Begin at the beginning
    And end at the end.
    Chanting in rhythm,
    Keeping time.

    Take a step backwards
    Or maybe two…

    Be the person you were.
    And always who you’ll be.
    Show me once again
    Inside your soul.
    Come out of the dark…
    Surpass yourself.

  80. P.A. Beyer

    Everything is final

    While the cat tail clock slides back and forth,
    Jill stirs with her mom’s wooden spoon –
    a half stick of butter, a cup of milk
    two cups of sugar, and a dash of vanilla.

    Sure, she could have picked up some Pillsbury or
    Duncan Hines frosting, but today is supposed to be
    special. Today is about self-sufficiency. It’s
    about independence. It’s about saying “I can and will do this.”

    Jill received a call from her attorney. “Everything is final.”

  81. lionmother

    When he read for me I knew
    the skips and the falters
    the omissions of words
    his whole demeanor as he
    pored over the words
    his eyes scrunched with
    frustration as he missed
    more and more

    I knew he needed to
    start over and relearn
    all that had somehow
    slipped over him as he
    struggled engulfed
    with sadness to make sense
    of a foreign world each time
    he saw a new task

    He needed to go back
    to before he saw words
    so I showed him diagrams
    and matching picture to
    picture in an attempt to
    fill in the blanks of a child
    whose lack of ability
    probably stemmed from
    his loss of understanding
    somewhere along the way

    He needed the basics of
    recognizing shapes to read
    words and soon he was reading
    those words and soon he was
    reading paragraphs and soon
    he no longer needed me.

  82. pcm

    Back to Basics

    How to inhabit your earth body:


    Exhale everything you ever knew.

    Breathe again.

    Repeat until you know nothing.

    Be fearless. Walk, gimp, crawl or roll outside.

    What you do or do not wear does not matter.

    Breathe in the day.

    Listen to the morning.

    Feel the air that fell from the stars

    to embrace you.

    Share the wonder of all this with a friend.


  83. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    The Basics

    Now that I’m old and widowed
    I meet up with my kind,
    and all those single ladies
    are of a single mind.

    All their immaculate houses
    quite put mine to shame.
    In Domestic Goddessry,
    they’re at the top of their game.

    “I don’t want Help,” they tell me;
    “It gives me something to do.”
    They wait expectantly,
    quite sure I’ll say this too.

    But I’m a weirdo poet
    and live a different life.
    I like my house OK
    but I am not its wife.

    We all get back to basics
    our own ways, I suppose.
    I should pay more attention
    to vacuum and garden hose.

    But needing something to do
    that badly fills me with horror.
    I have poems to write —
    the dishes can wait till tomorrow.

    (Also getting back to basics poetically with loose ballad style.)

  84. GirlGriot

    Re-imagining family … yes, of course, still working through all the thoughts and feelings of all this genealogical discovery that’s been going on round my way the last 10 days.

    a new
    meaning, a
    of family. One
    limbs. Searching
    lost histories,
    us now.
    Each has a name,
    all living on, here.

  85. Sara McNulty


    Run to the playground.
    Ride on swing,
    climb those bars,
    pay softball or iron tag.
    Springs is here-outdoors!

    Unplug yourself from
    phones, ipods,
    ipads, nooks.
    Talk face-to-face, if you dare.
    Spring is here-fresh air!

    Childhood creeps away
    far too soon,
    like a string
    you let go from a balloon.
    Spring is here-be young!

  86. inkysolace

    I live through a rhythm
    of air absorbed and sighs expelled
    through a common melody of rescuing myself without
    thinking about how close
    I come to stillness every minute

    I learned to breathe differently in the room
    where I met you,
    told to pull power from my diaphragm
    and release it with control built by practice
    and I’ve been caught within my exhales,
    dizzy over you ever since

    –jessica marino

  87. cholder


    It can never be the way it was
    before I knew what I know
    Knowledge is an unraveling–
    a separation of verities
    that was once recognizable

    It can never be the way it was
    My love wrapped in tissue
    tied with pink satin ribbon–

    Chi Holder

  88. beachanny

    Practice Makes Music

    Returning once again each day
    I build technique and strengthen play.

    Those Hanon exercises yield
    great benefits each time I feel

    the music slipping in between
    the keys. I need to find pristine

    delivery with high and lows
    then punctuated with sforzando.

    Beginning with controlled forté
    I learn to play with no delays.

    An hour scheduled every day
    my basic plan — producing art

  89. susanjer

    Waiting for Mount Baker

    Day one of yoga class we learn Tadasana,
    Mountain pose. We become mountains
    rising from the islands of our yoga mats—
    aqua, purple, coral—anchored
    on the bamboo floor sea. Feet and legs
    together, we lift our chests, fill the twin sacs
    of our water wings, breathe steady
    as a mountain. Like Mount Baker
    with its white cap, active volcano, avalanches,
    glacier, the Sisters peaks to one side
    I wait.

  90. msmacs3m


    PAD Day 21
    3 Back to Basics Haiku
    by Sandy McCulloch

    A simple pleasure
    Flour soda buttermilk salt
    Irish Soda Bread

    Back to childlike faith –
    The Lord is my Shepard and
    I will follow Him

    Be still and know – know?
    Know that in stillness one finds
    the essence of life.

  91. Emily Cooper

    She Carries On

    Keep calm
    and turn eighty-eight
    years old

    and be admired
    by the descendants

    of the hardscrabble farmers
    and newly-Industrial laborers
    who would’ve rebelled

    (or at least stood
    on the soapbox
    in the center of town

    yelling about how unfair
    it all was

    to a sympathetic crowd
    before retiring to the pub)

    or the somewhat more
    upper-class people
    who just happened not to be

    too tired to become
    a righteous revolutionary mob
    in the same day

    and did.

    Keep calm and be noticed
    for your “very kind eyes
    with a mischievous glint”

    by the photographer
    who captured you.

    Keep calm and despite
    your station
    and now mostly-symbolic title

    continue to be seen
    as a living how-to guide
    on the basic traits of womanhood
    (and humanhood)

    looking good
    and taking charge.

  92. Margie Fuston

    A Lazy Sonnet

    Whatever happened to old-fashioned notes:
    words passed between lovers lost in rhyme,
    two hands interlocked by strings of words that float
    from page to ear and conjure pure sublime?
    you’re lucky to get
    a U R Purdy
    text message,
    a #loveyou,
    or call me,
    Let us go back to basics, stitching songs
    together from words found in the wings of swans.

  93. Kit Cooley

    A Time to Sow

    Rake in hand and all the garden
    before me, debris strewn by wind
    and decay, needing care, and so
    I bring order, bed by bed, and dress
    the soil with the elixir of aged compost.

    Soon will be the time to sow,
    new rows of green shoots follow,
    there is a quickening, and the solid
    feel of earth beneath my feet,
    while starting again from seed.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  94. Hannah

    Returning as Moths to the Light

    As moths to the light…we return.

    It’s just me and it’s just you,
    it’s merely the pale, blue moon
    sending silver to puddle in our room;
    silent slivers pool across our backs,
    our breathing rises and falls – speaks of peace.

    We’re complete in this cycle
    in this forever returning to rest –
    in each other’s arms again.

    Still it’s just me and it’s just you
    it’s the golden glow of sweet sun
    slipping through thin curtains
    lighting on our sleeping bodies
    holding us in its amber cocoon.

    We’re fulfilled in this progression
    readied for what day will bring –
    singing of spring and one another…

    and as moths to the light…we’ll return.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  95. Sharon Ann

    A Back to Basics Poem

    Thinking about the times
    I first started rhyming
    the insides of cards
    for family and friends.
    So long ago now,
    years back, it’s true.
    To get back to the basics
    I need crayons and
    any old piece of paper
    that I can find.
    Whatever the occasion
    I would scribe you a rhyme,
    or not.
    My poems were true to the heart,
    short and sweet,
    with your name in there somewhere.
    Through schooling and practice
    I learned about frames and forms
    to build my poetry on.
    Challenging, not really with my beat.
    Now, as early on, my poetry
    must be true
    and have the right beat for me.

  96. intheshadowofthesoul

    Going Back Home
    Lydia Flores

    It was 9:30 when I knocked on your house door
    You let me in with furrowed brows of concern.
    “Please hold me, just hold me” my throat squeezed
    out this plea, with a crack in inflection, but you did it.
    There was a knife in my gut and I let myself bleed all
    over you, but you didn’t mind at all. You held me close.
    I’m losing a lot of my blood tonight, tonight I’m letting
    the meat of my flesh show, to give my soul a way out.

    I want to go back to where I came from, back to those
    yesterdays of skinned knees and courage. Back home.
    I’m undressing myself, in every line of scar there is a
    zipper and I am coming of my skin tonight. I’m scrubbing
    away the apologies and I am cutting the split ends of this world.
    I’m going back home, so kiss me hard before I go because I want
    to remember your mouth. I will remember all the truths you tied
    to my tongue and I will seal every envelope tonight. The next
    time I am in your arms you will have to rip me open to get my love.
    I want to be a love letter addressed only to you. I’m going back to
    snail mail, a slow growing flame. To love you fearless of burning you.

    I will strip myself to the darkness tonight
    and I will give up trying to be a cluster of stars
    I will be the moon I have always been, with all
    my craters, maria and hidden parts only meant
    for telescope hearts. I will go back home, back
    to the night’s fog and cicada lullabies singing to my
    dreams. I will relearn to love the painting in the mirror
    relearn to clasp my hands and talk to a God I have
    long since abandoned for someone that talks back.
    I will go back to God on my knees and give all of me.
    I will go home to spring and let myself sprout from the
    mulch of time when the sun calls me out to see her glory.

    I wipe all the snot from my nose but I do not force the tears
    away, Your hands grasp mine and your voice whisper to my
    nerves. “what’s wrong baby?” and I fumble with the puzzle
    pieces of my thoughts, but through the crack of my throat
    I let myself melt into vulnerability. I tell you everything.
    Tonight I tell you everything, Tonight I take you back home
    with me and I let you inside the labyrinth of my thick silence.
    I go back to a face without make-up and salon done hair.
    I go back to acne skin ahd cigarette stained fingers
    I pull off the bandages, I roll up my sleeves, and I
    undress myself from the gown I sewed together.
    I look you right in the eyes, I lower the city scape
    and give you the roaring ocean that I am.

    I’m going back home to embrace the storm
    I’m going back to the feet of God to give
    him every part of me. Even the shedded skin.
    I’m going back to the wild, to the open sea
    to dig up the rawest part of me. The shipwreck.
    I’m going back to the sky to let myself shine
    craters, maria, and the whole moon of me.
    I’m going back to my soul, back home
    I’m going back to your arms to kiss you hard
    and let you love me with all the lights on.
    I pull the knife from my gut and let the blood
    drain, I go back to me and let love in.
    I let love seal the wound. I let love close
    the door, I tell myself I’m home.I am
    home. I wrap my arm around you and
    I fall asleep.

  97. Alfonso Kuchinski


    Thoughts fail
    to follow through
    rigid patterning
    my attention
    wanders aimlessly
    while uncovering
    neural networks
    and sensory pathways
    springing outward
    diversity of geometries
    gravitates toward evolving centres
    radiating from resistance
    to preformed topographical destinations.
    Words and language
    serve symbolic appointments
    a starting point
    only the primary colors
    when mixed in new proportions
    make a scene, unexpected

  98. MaryAnn1067


    the flax that makes Ferguson’s
    finest linen under a
    Northern sun,
    pierced with bloodred threads, the
    dictum: In Adam’s fall we sinned

    free of slubs, the damask fit
    for Judy’s Dinner Party, where
    women’s voices are heard above
    the clatter of knives and forks
    battling against the chicken cutlet.

    time for a new embroidery:
    back to the basic equality
    of all beings.

  99. Angie K

    The bicycle (in the world of MS)

    Walking is simple, they say.
    I just take a step, and I won’t fall.
    It worked when I was 2; it’s easier now.

    Biking is supposed to go the same way.
    I just peddle, and I won’t fall.
    It worked when I was 10; it’s easier now.
    Mmm hmm.

    But what if it’s not easier?
    And what if I fall?
    Not “if,” but “when.”
    Get a cane, sell the bike. And shed a silent tear.

    But must that be the end?
    What else worked when I was 2?
    The red tricycle, ridden on fantastic adventures, with great fanfare
    … confined to our driveway.

    My balance is closer to 2 than 10,
    so perhaps the adventures can begin again.
    The red trike is long gone, but could a big blue one work?
    …and can it leave the driveway?

  100. mshall


    In the beginning was the Silence,
    and the Silence was good,
    pregnant with promise,
    a pulsating heartbeat of a moment.

    The snare drum begins his steady march
    From Lucy’s earliest foot falls
    To today’s rattling of the Chicago trains

    A solo flute dances
    Silver in against the darkness of the
    Empty spaces
    Lucy dances out of the dust
    A young woman on the Southside
    Says no to Mary Jane’s darkness and goes to college
    Lonely velvet in the night

    Scaling the notes and returning
    With the grace of a cat arching her back
    An oboe joins the flute for a spin through
    The blank spaces in the tapestry of space and time
    Banded together
    Against the wilds of the African night
    Against the social pressures of this turbulent age

    Relentless rhythm
    One by one more join in
    At first in harmony,
    Then in necessary strife
    To pull us further
    Chords become discords
    To resolve into a more
    Perfect harmony
    Note racing further upward
    Into undiscovered edges of their range
    Plunging downward
    To pull a purple beauty
    From the depths of bassness

    A steady rhythem
    And suddenly it is done
    We allowed to rest in the perfect moment
    Of silence
    Between the dying of the last note
    And the clatter of the applause
    At this ending there is Silence,
    and the Silence is good,
    pregnant with promise.

    1. PressOn

      The short lines have their own rat-a-tat-tat cadence, and your descriptions, such as ” pull a purple beauty / from the depths of bassness,” add color, much like music does, I presume. I love this.

  101. Linda Lee Sand

    Empty Me – A prayer poem

    Strip down
    all thoughts,
    all fires to

    Empty me

    Wash out
    every hue
    any view
    all colors

    Empty me

    Drive out
    all emotions
    all supplications to

    Empty me

    Interrupt any
    all choices,
    to noiseless
    to nothing

    Empty me

    all striving
    be still

    Empty me

    1. msmacs3m

      Like one of David’s Psalms which uses ‘cleanse’ rather than ‘empty.’
      Psa 19:12
      Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

  102. GarrinJost

    I am tired.
    My bones send up tired little
    sighs about their making marrow-
    my cheeks flush
    (at those sights we all know)
    but their luster is lack
    and their red less ruddy-
    my nose breathes
    (in and out)
    like always,
    but devoid of their
    nostril flare.
    Speak up-
    you weary components.
    For my ears are tired too-
    and they are the heart’s only messenger-
    and the heart is too tired
    to go check the mail
    and see that it needs
    to come back come back come back come back

  103. BDP

    “Napoleon’s Answer”: Ghazal

    When Russia flogged his army, drove them back to bases,
    you think that he declared, “It’s time for back to basics”?

    Swamp water shot with wee red worms, his soldiers’ clothing
    smoked with dust, then frost: “If only I’d kept track of basics.”

    Four hundred thousand dead, one hundred thousand caught,
    few troops slogged home: “I feel so bad they lacked in basics.”

    Quick blade, slow death from dysentery trots—so which is worse.
    What bits of food were combat fought. Mere scraps for basics.

    Or rather said: “God blessed my men, rewards ambrosia sweet,
    though still I fret the books will state I gobsmacked basics.”

    “Those rank historians, they’ll pick my bones apart!
    Let’s march. More victories will save me. Back to basics.”

    –Barb Peters

  104. RebekahJ


    When you are worried
    Work; and when you can’t sleep, too
    Garage or desk or
    Kitchen; rain or shine. You’ll find
    Great thanks to give tomorrow

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  105. cobanionsmith

    I Recite One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

    as you run from the love seat to the front door.
    You count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6, 2…
    You love two’s because that’s how many you are
    and it’s something you can know for sure.
    But words are my expertise despite our shared passions
    for sums and differences, breaking things down
    and putting them back together.

    Two feet to run. Two shoes. Two wings. “Match!”
    you yell, as you zip past the butterfly pictures
    and point. But then you remember
    how a little girl at the butterfly center
    hollered when she saw a fraction missing
    from the hindwing of a longwing. You stop.

    “Broken!” you say panicked like she was,
    the trauma of the absence coloring
    your perception of simple pictures
    even now. I confirm again that it was,
    but my reassurances that it could fly
    despite the deficit
    still does not comfort you.

    “Broken,” you repeat, resigned.
    Like your age, you’re positive
    it’s permanently incomplete,
    some irrational number more than zero
    but less than one, a negative
    that nobody can fix.

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  106. bethwk

    by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

    It’s the original kit:
    everything included,
    just add water.

    And perhaps to make it right,
    a little soil,
    a little sunlight.

    Nothing more basic,
    more primal,
    more holy in its simplicity
    and its intricate complexity
    than a seed.

    Strew them wildly.
    Blow dandelions,
    break open milkweed pods
    and send them wafting
    wantonly over the fields.

    Scatter the seeds of the plantain,
    joe pye, and stinging nettle.
    Broadcast your wild oats
    like hope,
    like joy,
    like a revolution.

  107. MichaelMcMonigle

    Phoenix Days

    Take this world
    Bare in its hatred
    And scratch it out
    Until remaining is only
    The essential equal
    To paradise.
    Restart the erosion
    And let it landscape at will
    For new horizons
    Must bring new changes
    To meet in compliment
    Not as adversary.
    Take the mountains
    Bring them back
    To our understanding,
    Empathic sky,
    Sympathetic sea,
    Disconnected selves
    Of one beginning –
    Begin again.
    Begin anew.

  108. Alphabet Architect

    Just the Basics

    All I need is a
    Bible and books
    Daily dose of
    Faith in
    Hope and health
    Inner peace
    Lemonade fresh made
    Melodious music
    Nighttime snuggles
    Open doors
    Peanut butter
    Quiet times
    Roses in pink
    Summer and spring
    Time to reflect
    Windows and willows
    X-tra sleep on Saturdays
    Zest for today

  109. utsabfly

    God’s Basics

    God’s shaping me every day
    Fundamentals of life are disclosed
    In pieces I can grasp
    As not to overload

    Gotta learn the basics
    To live this life right
    To be who God wants me to be
    So in peace I’ll abide

    I’m tested on life lessons
    If I pass then I advance
    If I fail I can take the test over
    I’m grateful He gives me the chance

    When it comes to spiritual maturity
    There are many developmental stages
    While each requires effort and sometimes pain
    I look forward to more of God’s “basics”

    ©E.D. Allee
    April, 2014

  110. Lori D. Laird

    What We’ve Lost To Gain

    We’ve come so far.
    Does anyone still wish upon a star?

    Everywhere you look there’s lattes and espressos.
    Where did the good old plain cup of joe go?

    Desktops, handhelds, and laptops.
    Will technology ever stop?

    Cell phone voicemails and emails.
    Can I not send anything by snail?

    Back to basics is what I say.
    But I’m overruled by the majority today.

  111. miaokuancha

    April 21, 2014

    Prompt: Back to Basics

    What do you expect?

    That’s the basic question, isn’t it.
    What do you expect?
    ‘Cos that’s what you’ll get
    every time.
    Better to lower expectations
    That way won’t
    Be disappointed.
    How’s that workin’ for ya?
    This life around.
    Don’t mistake fear
    For humility.

    ~ miaokuancha

  112. Clae

    Basically Bored

    Another empty morning
    lost to a vacant afternoon
    evening collapses into night
    soon smothered by sunrise
    Another empty morning

    T. S. Gray

  113. beale.alexis

    “Back to the Basics”

    Friendly smile
    Eyes low
    Fingers twitching
    Glances up
    Opens mouth
    You –

    Quickly look away
    Closes mouth
    Mentally curses
    Hears footsteps
    Click Clack. Click Clack.

    Turns head

  114. PowerUnit

    Said With A Smile

    Slow down, I tell them
    Remember to breathe
    Stop thinking with your fingers
    Don’t get up and leave

    The problems we’re solving
    Are limited in scope
    This isn’t rocket science
    It’s learning to cope

    Think about basics
    Remember the fundamentals
    The problem is easy
    if you apply the elementals

    You’re right they all say
    As they figure it out
    It’s not that hard
    There’s no need to pout

    And then they go home
    And I hack up their tests
    With red fountain pen ink
    And a pain in my chest

    We’ll start over tomorrow
    I’ll pound it into their heads
    Jeremy’s, Natalie’s
    Corey’s, and Fred’s

  115. MyPoeticHeart

    Back to the Basics

    It has been a very long time since my first step
    Soon, I will be getting back to the basics of walking
    Relearning the basic maneuvers of balance and strength
    One baby step at a time, this is all new to me.

    I can imagine the fear of letting go that first time
    I feel fearful yet excited all rolled into one
    Walking for fun through the shallow waves on the beach
    Ended in 2003 then in 2004 I had yet another spine injury.

    Four spinal injuries in a lifetime a bit much for any one person
    I am limited now in the distance I can walk
    Even in my own place
    Thankfully a friend told me about a new health program.

    They start with the basics one day at a time
    A new personal trainer, a teacher of hope
    I am looking forward to the day when I can walk more than 25 feet
    Alone, without help, getting back to the basics of living.

  116. De Jackson

    Square One

    When I am finally ready to admit I don’t know how it will end, I go back to the beginning: The moon, bone white and beaten still in an inky sky. You, hands open as though you are trying to catch something that’s falling. A star, perhaps. Or me, teetering on the edge of loneliness, sanity, that tiny shivered sliver of gold up there in all that black. Looking back, I think I thought you were Orion himself, some warrior in waiting. And I, a damsel damned and destined to be broken open. Have I not spilled my whole self for you just yet? Let me offer you these last pieces, the shatterings of one unsaved. I craved that sky. And you were just a hunter longing for something to capture, conquer, own.

    Me, Love?
    I just wanted to be known.


    1. Daniel Paicopulos

      thank you for this…and for all your work. I come here to read – you and Daniel Ari and Nancy Posey and that Purple gal from Portland, who’s raw beauty is the opposite of yours. Thank you. You bring me such joy…no, that’s not it…you bring me such pleasure.

  117. matthew

    A Most Certainly un-Easter Poem

    Easter Sunday afternoon
    on the south side of Toledo
    after the honey baked ham
    and cheesy potatoes were gone
    I reclined in the back yard
    under the holy sunshine
    I heard the bagpipe player
    from Woodsdale park
    and it seemed solemn drifting
    so far through the air

    Today the holy water
    has been washed away
    and to prove it I was inside
    this morning silently reading
    when a car zoomed down my street
    bass thumping rattling my
    house so disruptive
    the holiday is no more
    and the south side
    is back to its old self again

  118. Lindy™

    Native Words

    I wrote my first poem in grade school,
    an assignment from some teacher
    I’m sure I didn’t like.
    I wrote about a bird,
    it might have been haiku,
    though it most likely rhymed
    out of cue.
    I could barely write then
    with paper and pencil
    my only tools,
    as in high school
    discovering Poe.
    Now I’m typing on my phone
    which may be more productive,
    but not near as eloquent.
    The beautiful handwriting
    I once owned
    has been reduced to chicken scratch
    from typing alone
    and my vision requires
    from staring at a computer screen.
    There is a gentle art,
    an intangible essence of life,
    to writing by hand…
    a lost soul-pencil-paper connection
    I’ve often considered
    returning to

  119. Alpha1


    Last winter will not
    Be soon forgotten
    Record snow fall
    Across the nation
    Each week a new storm
    Out doing the last
    Winter straying into
    The next season staying
    Past it’s normal time
    Left no chance for
    Ice to melt
    Left frozen mounds covering
    The ground like
    Relics from an ancient
    Culture paying tribute to
    A long forgotten way of life
    But this life is still here
    Still thriving
    Still driving to work
    Happier now that things
    Are getting back to the
    Real next season
    Spring taking us where
    It’s warm
    Where we can survive
    On the surface again

  120. nmbell

    Learning to Walk

    I am forced back to basics
    Learning how to walk again
    With a wounded limb
    Hard to put one foot in front of the other
    And keep my balance

    Such a simple act
    That most take for granted
    Never appreciating the ease of movement
    Or the freedom the ability to walk affords us
    So simple a child can do it

    But not a woman with a broken drumstick
    Clinging to the rail to climb the stairs
    Teetering on crutches, flailing with the injured leg
    So simple even a child can do it

    Back to basics
    Learning to walk again

    Nancy Bell 2014

  121. Grey_Ay

    Moon, my Sun.

    There was a whisper
    and a sky
    and it spoke, wholly
    When it was night
    but awake
    the sun no one’s

    There was a voice
    and my heart
    and nothing but blood
    When my lungs
    were listening
    and the voice was

    There was a time
    all was one
    and our beats
    breathed at once
    When the thought
    was a whisper
    and a voice
    my sun.

    -A. Ault-

  122. Gwyvian

    The Grave Robber

    I unearthed the casket at last,
    and – unbecomingly for a grave robber—
    I shuddered at the thought of what I’d find;
    but as my associate whispers down softly,
    we’ve got it to do yet, and I think, disgruntled,
    that he’s not the one down in a grave;
    she is the lady of a ghost town in truth, but she
    was, in life, notoriously vain and avaricious—
    so the treasure maps said, those codices
    that spread all her secrets; the casket is opened
    with a few quick punches of an axe, and
    I soothe my temple with the bland thought that
    she won’t be getting deader as time passes—
    but we could certainly get caught; my light
    shines through the splinters and catches
    on dull hair so wispy, she could be a wraith:
    I queasily set my light down, and the shadows
    play a nasty trick on me: her lips may be gone,
    but her mouth seems to move, her eyes
    are mere puffs of memory’s cloud, but I’m sure
    that she’s staring at me, deploring; but that
    is not what haunts me – she is like no other,
    a prize for a grave robber: a ghastly sight, but
    with vestiges of what must have been beauty once;
    philosophy is ignited in thought’s barren expanse
    sparked by a corpse, that stares at me with pity, flesh
    long unburdened off bones of an almost pure white,
    and, even staring at me without eyes, surrounded
    by her gems that I came for and her otherworldly hair,
    she seems more beautiful for the kinship we share:
    we live, we rob, we die – that endless cycle,
    unknowable and omnipotent forces that give me
    an edge in getting to know her even here—
    she is locked in a spiral of decay, that I know
    is only barely kept at bay inside my living,
    writhing body – and maybe she is dead, but she,
    unlike us lucky robbers still in the game of
    mortality pitted against a need for survival, she, in
    the simplest place, the last place one strives to
    achieve it, but gets it whatever we scheme – she
    has found peace…

    April 21, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  123. lsteadly

    imagine them
    living their lives
    as you develop scenes
    create shape give take destroy
    forever changing their fate
    with one stroke
    of your

  124. arlingtonscribe

    Back at the Beginning

    It starts in its proper
    place more or less,
    too cheap to valet, I park
    a few blocks away
    (walking always gives me focus)
    the crowd is enormous,
    e-cigarette trails bouncing
    along the dark night air,
    conversations sounding
    like hornet’s nests overheard,
    I enter the restaurant
    checking my text messages
    as I give my name

    you write: “are you here yet?”
    “how will you recognize me?”
    “i’ll find you.”

    the woman at the podium smiles
    warily. “I’m sorry,” I say. “What
    did you say?”

    and she asks again for my reservation,
    but I push past her, saying only,
    “I know the way, thanks.”

    the corner of your wine glass
    is stained with purple lipstick,
    and the dress you’re wearing
    reminds me of the elliptical
    dance of planets and stars;
    it hugs you like a solar flare
    erupting, and my heart loses inertia;
    my eyes, restless orbs, trying
    desperately to lock onto
    your gravitational pull

    I introduce myself again,
    and you extend your hand to be
    we’ve been married over fifteen years,
    but we’re starting over at the beginning
    Big Bangs and cosmic irreverence aside,
    the only way forward sometimes is to
    simply go back, and it occurs to me,
    in that moment punctuated by visual
    feedback, that you’re more beautiful today
    than I’ve ever known

  125. Julieann

    Cursive Writing

    Does anyone write any more
    Using pen or pencil
    Not haphazardly printing
    Your name
    But taking notes
    Or journaling
    Or, heaven forbid,
    Writing a rough draft
    Of a poem or story
    Or even a letter
    With the prevalence
    Of computers
    And laptops
    And tablets
    And even apps for
    The phone
    One need never
    Touch a pen or pencil
    Highlighter or marker
    But give it a whirl
    Remember how to form
    The letters
    The big letters or capitals
    The small letters or lower-case
    Boy how it hurts the hand
    To use a writing instrument
    It even taxes the brain
    To remember how to form
    The letters and numbers
    Is the writing legible
    Once it’s cold
    As they used to say
    Can it be read
    Try every day to
    Exercise the creative
    Craft of actually writing
    Taking the time to
    Enjoy the flow of ink
    Watching words form on paper
    And savoring
    The greater meaning
    Those words have
    When you need to spell
    Them and use them correctly
    Yourself rather than relying
    On an imperfect spellchecker

    1. PressOn

      I love this. Years ago I took some writing classes led by Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones), and I recall her saying something to the effect that the physical act of writing yields connections with the mind that nothing else can do. This poem recalls that for me.

    2. Julieann

      I thank each of you for your kind comments. I am left to wonder, though, just how many students getting out our school will actually be able to “sign” their signature rather than “printing” their name? Just a thought.

  126. tunesmiff

    From triolet to vilannelle…

    G. Smith
    Please and thank you, if you please,
    Always with a pleasant smile,
    It all comes back to rules like these.

    Say, “God bless you,” if I sneeze,
    It helps to go the extra mile;
    Please and thank you, if you please.

    These niceties that hold the keys,
    You’ll find are never out of style.
    It all comes back to rules like these:

    Don’t mumble like the bumble bees;
    Speak clearly, not with any guile.
    Please and thank you, if you please.

    Dot your i’s and cross your t’s;
    You’ll find the effort well worthwhile.
    It all comes back to rules like these.

    These simple common courtesies,
    Will lift you high above the pile.
    Please and thank you, if you please;
    It all comes back to rules like these.

  127. dandelionwine

    Back to Basics

    Two smiling
    paper cutout
    friends walk
    side by side
    but never meet.

    The simple
    parallel lines
    turns wistful.

    Sara Ramsdell

  128. shellaysm

    Light Returns

    Yesterday I watched the sunrise
    Well, sort of, you see
    I couldn’t quite sleep again, restless
    awake in the hour that lead to dawn

    Realizing dark was untombing
    I felt compelled to venture outside
    It only feels a new day when light returns
    and this, after all, was about to be Easter

    There’s something transfixing
    about watching the dawn on Easter
    more than any other day of the year
    This one: my private sunrise service

    With eastern view obstructed
    until nearly halfway
    I felt cheated of the full-on
    awe-inspiring experience

    Moving around almost frantic
    front to back yard, inside and out
    leaning and searching
    for a peep hole that doesn’t exist

    Then, finally, I relented
    accepting my fate
    I found, as often I do
    a lesson was what arose

    Being still, I focused on the light
    not the one intended
    but the palette surrounding the main event
    gorgeous neon fuchsias melting into molten golds

    It’s okay, I needed reminding
    to just be still and know
    The new day is coming, returning
    in view or not, blue skies or cloudy days

    Hard as it to believe, I, too
    am almost halfway in journey
    I can’t and won’t see it all
    but know it’s there–still like me–in faith

    Michele K. Smith

  129. carolecole66

    Back to Basics

    Start again: this is a noun, this, a verb.
    That’s all you need. Everything else is floss,
    obfuscation, outright lies. Go back to step one:
    See Dick, see Jane. Dick runs; Jane jumps.
    Watch their eyes. They give nothing away. What
    does Dick run from? What causes Jane to jump?
    No one will say. No one wants to approach
    the adverbs here, wrestle with cause and effect,
    with what goes on in that house behind the white
    picket fence. Spot cowers in the hedge
    and will not come no matter how long
    Mother calls. Here are the nouns: house, Father,
    suit and tie, Mother, apron. Forget the verbs;
    they will tell you nothing. They have all been
    co-opted, re-defined, diluted. The last noun
    is this one: silence.


  130. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Please and thank you, if you please,
    Always with a pleasant smile,
    Say, “God bless you,” if I sneeze,
    Please and thank you, if you please.
    These niceties that hold the keys,
    Help us go the extra mile.
    Please and thank you, if you please;
    Always with a simple smile.

  131. Jane Shlensky

    Ladylike Behaviors

    “You have to teach each daughter rules
    to live by so she won’t run wild.
    You can’t entrust this to the schools;
    start young while she is still a child.

    Teach her to clean and cook and sew,
    to garden, play an instrument,
    to be polite and always know
    her place, and never show a hint

    of temper or rebellion—
    a gentleman won’t care for that;
    no man will wed a hellion,
    a militant, or Democrat.”

    We let Aunt Glenda have her say
    with her Victorian advice.
    Our smiles reflected no dismay
    that she espoused our sacrifice.

    Instead, we listened carefully,
    remembering each word of it.
    We thanked her kindly, prayerfully,
    and then we did the opposite.

  132. Amaria

    I wish we could go back
    to the way things were
    when we could just hold hands
    and be satisfied at night’s end
    but we wavered from that path
    and went beyond our hands
    and moved onto lips and thighs
    tongues merging inside
    my bedroom or hotel rooms
    now when I look into your eyes
    all I see is flesh upon flesh
    not the innocent of your smile
    I wish we could go back to
    ice cream socials and not
    mojitos in darkened bar rooms
    that leads to rendezvous under
    the moonlight instead of pecks
    on the cheeks goodnight
    I wish I knew how easy
    things were back then
    we wouldn’t have rushed
    into this realm where
    there is no going back

  133. Jane Shlensky


    I’m told they need a basic English course,
    enough to get a GED. I ponder possibilities,
    considering just where to start, how to give
    each student the most in the time allotted.
    Maybe we will begin with vocabulary,
    phrases, clauses, sentences from simple
    to compound-complex, parts of speech,
    conjugations, punctuation, grammar
    rules. They will write and see lessons
    come alive in their words. I’ll give them
    an over-view of the basics, I decide.
    Their lessons are individualized, so
    each can move at his own speed.
    Teenaged drop-outs grasp the plan
    but still prefer to dawdle, begging
    breaks for smokes. Single mothers
    slog along in teams to understand.
    An older woman at seventy-two says
    she will graduate with her grand-daughter,
    a goal that makes her head of class.
    But one middle-aged man sits alone
    leafing through his book as if he searches
    for a passage he loves, smoothing and
    petting each page. I go to sit with him.
    “I need to start earlier,” he says, laughing.
    I think he means that he should rise at dawn
    to get a jump on his assignments or
    on the day, but he pulls from his notebook
    a weathered alphabet chart, points to B,
    and says, “How does this one sound?”

  134. DanielAri


    walk and you walk, turn and you turn; but TRY to walk
    or turn and you’re suddenly worried about where your
    arms are, which way your face is facing. Alice tells me
    I shouldn’t hate our dance coach, Hector. I said I don’t
    hate anybody, but I hate Hector. He’s a scapegoat for
    feeling like a toddler, plus I hate how he counts “one
    two three four and turn and turn and through.” What
    kind of grammar is that? It throws me off, and that’s
    his fault. But because this whole swing thing came out
    of Alice’s impeccable head, I muddle through, counting
    and walking and turning two three four in this new and
    retro, natural and hectored way where at least there’s
    good, old music. At last, Hector ushers us to the ball
    where there’s a live band and people who have been at
    this for a while. We do our four moves and we do them
    again. And again. And then we have a couple of beers,
    Alice and I. And then we take to the dance floor with
    lead and follow and turn and through gone right out
    the transom because the best dance coach is beer.


  135. diedre Knight

    In the Presence of Children

    The wind is a feather that tickles your face
    and you can smell the flower fumes
    clear to the neighbor’s house,
    He knows because he’s the ninja
    with the most eggs in his basket.
    The little hunter will keep looking till bedtime,
    because that’s what hunters do.
    The magician has cast a spell to hurry up
    and find all the eggs,
    because he needs to eat chocolate–now.
    While the miniature carrot-top is elbow-deep
    in the ice bucket; eating ‘ice-tubes’,
    because her favorite color is red.
    Random observations delivered with whimsical flair,
    and fairy laughter as they lean in to plant
    jelly bean kisses on the keeper of half-eaten Peeps.
    Their company a pleasurable retreat; I’m consumed
    by a palpable sense of sweet and utter peace.
    Because children at their magical best
    are reminders of necessary basics.

    diedre Knight

  136. Daniel Paicopulos

    Back to Basics

    I don’t live in the past,
    yet I have fond memories of
    things long gone.
    We lived in a village,
    a resort town with a lake.
    Maybe 1500 souls,
    in summer many more,
    when the Milwaukee people came to play.
    None of us had much,
    and we sort of knew it,
    when the Millers and Pabsts
    and Johnson Cookies folks
    were at their lake homes.
    Some of us worked for them,
    others served them, in some way or another.
    Our service was mostly to the locals,
    an IGA store, part grocery, part meeting place.
    There were no ATM machines then,
    so we were sometimes a bank
    when someone needed to run a tab
    or borrow five bucks until payday.
    I did everything in that store,
    marking cans and stocking shelves
    and trimming produce and delivering eggs,
    everything except the butchering.
    That was just too basic for me.
    My folks said I should learn to cut,
    it would pay my way through college,
    but I just couldn’t take the blood.
    Come to think of it,
    I never ate deer or rabbit or duck or goose, either.
    But I grew some great potatoes and tomatoes,
    made some fabulous puddings and potato salads.
    Lo and behold, my best recipes now
    are the ones without meat.
    I’m not your basic vegan,
    but sometimes it sure looks that way.
    I make no claim to being clean and virtuous,
    and my eating has nothing to do with religion.
    I guess
    I was just born this way.

  137. Lewis Lunde


    I am not an older man, but I am old school, man.
    I breathe in and breathe out and write my poems longhand.
    With a ball point pen I sling only black ink across the page,
    feeling the flow of knowing the moment first,
    and then watch the form take shape in layers like a painting.

    When I walk, I stroll, breathe in deep, and exhale long and slow.
    I go barefoot because earth transmits her poetry though my toes.
    Putting one foot in front of the other keeping a beat,
    the tempo matches my pulse which gives rise to echoes of ancient songs,
    revealing the lyrical wisdom of firelight and oral storytelling traditions.

    The best of my mystical meandering is in company of the moon.

    I breathe in and breathe out and contemplate the lost practice
    of writing personal letters, licking stamps, and sending snail mail.
    And what it means that the art of prolonged phone conversations
    are being replaced with snippets of quick wit texts and emoticons.

    I don’t rehearse my expressions of love or anger, but let it fly
    out of reverence for the pure inspiration of emotional response.

    My food comes directly from earth, or I have to make it dead first.
    If I had the skill to spear a fish, I would, and then eat it raw like Gollum.

    I drink water from the tap that I pour in a glass, and my whiskey neat,
    but if I order a cocktail, damn you to hell if you give me straw.

    I take my coffee black, thick, with the grit of grounds in it.

    And if I smoke a cigarette, make it filterless,
    and I prefer the satisfaction of rolling it up myself.

    I am not old, but I am old school.
    If I’m a Luddite it’s not an innate hate of technology,
    but I take cues from the likes of Vonnegut and other humanists.

    I live in a small town, in a modest house,
    and desire no more, no less than the simple pleasures
    of home cooked meals, books, music, and conversation with friends.

    I know most of my neighbors by name,
    and still read newspapers and magazines.

    I am not and older man, but I am old school, man.
    I write out my poems longhand.

  138. Kendall A. Bell


    You mold the fritters in your bare
    hands, the couscous gets in between
    your fingers, under your nails.
    A drop into the oil splits them
    down the middle and I hear a sigh
    from three rooms away, a dish
    angrily smacking the counter.
    Your failed attempts rest on a paper
    plate in a circle, a crown of failure.

    We forget sometimes how to do things
    we’ve done for fifteen years, like
    sitting at the same table or sleeping
    next to each other. We come home from
    work and our arms hold lunch bags
    and water bottles, lattes and junk
    mail, never our own weary bodies.

    We offer I love yous in passing,
    while running through doorways,
    over wireless messages to pick up
    bananas on the way home from work.

    We forget to remember sometimes,
    our pieces can fall through our fingers.

  139. DanielAri

    “Mad youth”

    The antihero lost his virginity
    in a flashback, in a brothel, in the eye
    of a stormy upbringing. After TV,
    she says she’s always told her story with wry
    humor—how with pill, condom and IUD

    she still made the guy withdraw. The guy was just
    some guy. Now in the darkness, she feels peeled back,
    squandered as the hours we’ve lain side by side
    watching a made up romance full of breakers.
    Where was our sense of art when we were puppies?

    I spilled mine with a one-time lover, too, drunk
    and long overdue, but it makes me happy
    to think of her now, her presence on Facebook.
    She seems to be married to a man though she
    identified aggressively as a dyke

    last I saw her in Tempe, Arizona
    in our late twenties and starting to congeal.


  140. Bruce Niedt

    Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a “New York School” poem. I haven’t read a lot of poets in this subcategory, so I don’t know if this one qualifies, or it’s just a “New York poem on steroids”, but here it is. As for the “back to basics” tie-in, I guess the contrast of the working class persona against the rich and famous has kind of a “basic” theme. Note: I almost never drop the f-bomb in my poetry, but this was kinda fun.

    I Don’t Give a Fuck About Justin Bieber

    who says he’s retiring from show biz.
    You whiny little prick, what do you know
    about real work? I put in thirty-eight years
    with ConEd, asshole. Every day I do something
    you’d never touch, ‘cause it might muss up
    that sissy hair of yours. Don’t talk to me
    about retirement – I got a toolbelt
    that’s older than you – Sears Warehouse, 1989.
    I take the L to work every day, not some
    fancy-shmancy limo. I eat at McDonald’s,
    not the Russian-fuckin’-Tea Room.
    So help me out here – what makes you
    deserve to retire before me?
    Oh yeah, the money – you make more
    in a week than I do in a year.
    Let me tell you something, punk –
    when I retire, and hand to God,
    it’ll be before I die – I’ll still have my
    little bungalow in Flatbush with the wife.
    Maybe we’ll do it a couple times a week –
    I still got something left in the tank.
    I’ll drink beer and watch the game at night,
    but maybe I’ll buy me a truck, nothing fancy,
    maybe an old Ford F-150, and I’ll cruise
    out of town when I feel like it,
    head over the GW to see my brother in Fort Lee,
    and the windows will be down and the radio
    will be blasting Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith
    or maybe even Toby Keith,
    not some Justin-fucking-Bieber.

  141. Ravyne

    Back Back to the Beginning

    I’ve traversed rocky paths
    my feet so tired, so numb
    headed anywhere away
    from this tortured heart
    I’ve been both cold and giving
    but I’ve never stayed long enough
    never crossed bridges wide enough
    never opened my arms far enough
    to let anyone else in

    I am paper black filled from edge to edge
    with nonsense
    If I could but find a way to omit myself
    a new clean sheet —
    remove that frigid exterior
    and rewrite our history
    We could be happy again
    We could

    Copyright 2014
    Lori Carlson

  142. Amy Pimentel

    Love, Basically

    Start at the Beginning
    Before calls were ignored
    Before we even knew how to work a phone
    Before love was questioned
    challenged with storms of words
    overcooked, sloppy, inedible
    to the point they just spit out mouths
    sticking to any surface vulnerable
    enough to hold it

    Start at the Beginning
    Before he cheated
    with me/on me
    Before you loved
    a child as your own
    knowing he wasn’t yours
    Before cement walls
    and Lady Justice absent

    Start at the Beginning
    Before parents disappeared
    without the flair of Houdini
    but with the same questions
    of darkness
    in our minds
    leaving hearts burnt

    Start at the Beginning
    Before we learned to question
    Before skewed reflections
    in enchanted mirrors

    Start at the Beginning
    when our souls sat on clouds
    amongst transparent oceans
    and pure sand
    signing a contract
    to love
    teach love
    to one another
    to abandon abandon
    out of fear of abandonment

    Start at the Beginning
    and we are there
    promising to find
    each other
    fulfilling that promise

    Breathe with me
    Close our eyes
    our ears
    to the white noise

    Stop before
    we get to the ending
    that shouldn’t be

    Because in the beginning
    we made a promise
    sealed with interlocked pinkies
    crosses over hearts
    with holy hands
    we would find and love
    each other

    We’ve been at the end
    we know we don’t
    belong there
    So, we come back
    to the beginning
    from contracts on clouds
    to sweaty August nights
    that leave you no choice
    but to be honest
    no mask can stick
    to you in 110 degrees

    Come back to the beginning
    on midnight walks
    laughing orgasms
    to my empty finger
    reaching for you
    Stop walking towards that finish

  143. DamonZ

    “We the People(need a leader)”

    Our leaders of late have been mediocre.
    Where are the souls of great men?
    Ones who made great progress by deals they brokered.
    Changed the world with an idea and pen.
    Men of action, men of grit.
    We need leaders who can produce.
    Ones who know when to fight or submit.
    For the greater good not greater excuse.
    Men like Kennedy, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.
    Men that history will always note.
    Men of true distinction.
    Like ones still worthy of a quote:

    “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature”. ー President Lincoln.

    By: Damon Zallar

    1. PressOn

      I think this is a fascinating piece, The quotation from Lincoln is from his (I think) first inaugural, and a great war followed. The implication, I suppose, is that he had the grit to lead through that war.

  144. Kimiko Martinez


    Lay in bed
    Consider getting up
    Cry if you feel like it
    Acknowledge the anger
    Stare at the ceiling
    Remember what it was like
    when she was still in bed next to you
    Remember that she is now in
    bed with someone else
    Fight the numbness
    Try to feel anything
    Close your eyes
    Consider staying here all day
    Instead sit up and put on your socks
    Walk down the hall
    glad for the cushion against
    the cold hardwoods in the morning

  145. priyajane


    Basically its all about
    drinking in the dew
    soaking in the sun
    moving with the clouds
    resting under trees
    dancing with the wind
    riding on the waves
    talking to the moon
    breathing in the salt
    opening up like flowers
    rooted to the ground
    and reaching for the stars

  146. James Brush


    The burned land around the lake is dead 
    while up above the sky glows red.
    Is this the song you longed to sing?
    Because now it doesn’t mean a thing.
    In this wasteland rid of wildflowers,
    my watch ticks away the painful hours.

    I walked these ruins for many hours,
    imagining the ancient dead.
    Around the tombs, funerary flowers
    plastic yellow, orange and red.
    You once asked if I knew anything.
    I said perhaps we should just sing.

    Remember all the kids out cruising?
    Driving fast through midnight hours
    stupid believing we knew everything
    we just jammed to the Grateful Dead.
    Now I search the books you read,
    and find, pressed, your favorite flowers.

    I asked an expert the meaning of flowers.
    She smiled and asked what I was using.
    She said, You tremble and your eyes are red.
    Never mind
    , I said, it was this love of ours,
    and these flowers have long gone dead
    so now their meaning isn’t anything.

    She said, Don’t you think love’s a thing
    that we can write in old pressed flowers?
    In these pages they’re not dead,
    and if you listen, you’ll hear them sing
    that lovely forgotten song of hours
    spent watching as the sky turned red.

    And so I stop and think of you, Mildred,
    and I search for a trace of anything
    that might speed up these lonely hours
    and help me find the proper flowers
    to answer you in pages pressing
    as if you weren’t these ten years dead.

    As I read a guide to pressing flowers,

    it was an odd thing to hear young birds sing
through the afternoon hours of the buried dead.

  147. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Seeds appeared to sprout
    Earth’s soil was a rich ground
    Designed to nurture

    Sustaining life came
    Naturally up from the seeds
    Mother Earth gave gifts

    Fruits, vegetables, grains
    Came to be harvested, used
    Feeding all aspects

    All life forms could eat
    With abundance provided
    Only if all shared

    Hoarding is just fear
    Stand back, there is plenty there
    Balance is the key

  148. Janet Rice Carnahan


    You start with your heart
    Listen to it like a friend
    Trust how it guides you
    Your heart carries true strength
    Loving you with every beat!

  149. Pat Walsh

    Back to Basics
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    Somewhere in the woods
    there is a stone
    etched with the rainfall
    of the thousands of storms
    that have swept through here
    since I was a child.

    There are mossy spots
    where crevices in the rock
    have collected wisps of dirt
    during many days and nights
    to make unintentionally fertile ground
    for the thick greenery.

    Beneath a tiny ledge
    a red spotted salamander
    tests the rich damp soil
    beneath the cover of leaves
    by spreading the fleshy webs of his feet
    to feel the coolness.

    Looking like a child’s toy
    a good-sized robin
    flits across the stone
    trilling nervously as I pass by
    to warn of rain to come and memories
    of storms long past.

  150. CathyBlogs

    It matters if you’re black or white

    when you’re a pixel.
    You are mine, all you
    pretty pixels, and I am
    your Geppetto
    your Annie Wilkes
    your Christian Grey
    and I am screwing*
    with you, character by
    character over and over
    my minions, my toys
    my little silent soldiers
    click and delete,
    return and repeat,
    words longing for #000000
    and finding only #FFFFFF.

    *There’s another word I’d like to use here that’s closer to the sound and meaning I want, but am trying to avoid being lost in the black hole of moderation. Click below for the authentic version.

    by Cathy Dee writing at http://www.cathyblogs.com

  151. AleathiaD


    Today I go
    back to the beginning
    back to form is emptiness; emptiness is form
    back to when my hands did not cling
    to grief-anger-envy-pride
    back to the silence of the first step,
    to the head touching the floor in submission to suffering,
    as an offering that I was ready to let go.

    Today I unwrap
    the chains I place on those I love,
    let them discover who they are
    without my muffled directions.

    I go
    back to simple sitting
    with thoughts and not
    punching myself in the face
    for having them.

    I let it ebb and flow
    back to the beginning
    back to time having no meaning,
    space no shape, and light the only thing I see.

    Today I live again
    outside the walls I’ve allowed
    to grow tall again.

    I’ve learn to love
    for the sake of love
    with no invisible strings attached.

    I go back
    back back
    to the beginning,

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 21 Back to Basics

  152. geetakshi

    In the beginning

    Autumn sprung
    with colourful leaves:
    red, bronze, orange and golden,
    and the flowers were generous,
    they donated their colours for a bit;
    “Do you know that leaves are living things?”
    Mother’s voice came grudgingly
    from memories long forgotten,
    (I was five);
    Crunching my way across
    the sunset rug,
    I recall and bend,
    touching a few small ones gently,
    they were too young to have fallen
    like all the others;
    There was one though,
    like an old lady
    after her chemotherapy,
    tired and scared,
    with bright smiling eyes,
    waiting for some well-earned peace;

    I run across the russet spread,
    still clutching the shrivelled small leaf
    in my hand,
    not so small anymore,
    I could have crushed it in my hand
    with a satisfying crunch;
    I gently set it in the book:
    “She felt the abyss of disenchantment.”

    © Geetakshi Arora
    April 21, 2014

  153. Michele Brenton

    Basic survival.

    I live in the UK.
    I grew up in Wales.
    My father came over from France,
    His father arrived there from Poland
    leaving family who had fled Ukraine.
    My father was the first who had not
    left to seek safety,
    the concentration camp he’d escaped was gone
    but the memories remained.

    My son was born deformed.
    His father born to a mother
    who had already lost one son
    to a birth defect that drowned
    and starved before it was detected
    their father carrying a hidden gene that killed him
    and his brother before they grew old.
    My son was the first to be diagnosed
    we thought knowing would mean
    avoiding the pitfalls, protecting our son,
    preventing the damage so he could grow
    with a father who survived and lived.
    We thought that would be the
    main battle and we were ready.

    I live in the UK.
    I grew up in Wales.
    My menfolk are disabled
    and the message we are getting
    from the things that are being done
    by the people who have power

    We despise you.
    You are not wanted.
    You are not safe.

    A basic story begins the same way every time…

    Michele Brenton 21st April 2014.

  154. Gammelor

    For today’s prompt, write a “back to basics” poem.

    Techniquarks and technicolor—
    does it get more basic still?
    Every proof brings new discovery,
    particles break to smaller parts,
    mass eventually yields to energy,
    energy on energy turns to mass.

    Water enough and food to eat,
    someplace to sleep and not get rolled,
    clothes or rags to keep from freezing—
    does it get more basic still?
    The jagged space of each inhale,
    the beating of your captive heart.

    Gammelor Goodenow

  155. Andrea

    Basic Training

    Risk may sometimes be bliss
    Fear is most always a bubble

    Uniforms don’t usually mean uniformity
    Dress lightly; don’t always lace tightly

    There is always someone smaller
    So always act bigger; stand taller

    Stand back and go last so you may see
    The beauty of those who go before you

  156. Brian Slusher

    POETRY 101

    Forget the critic, sharpening his pencil,
    And the audience, eyeing the page like
    It might have mange dipped in leprosy.
    Unmoor from history, the dead bigwigs
    Bloating the anthologies, shrug them
    Off your chest! Even shatter the mirror
    Full of your profiles and poutings, bury
    The shards with your generic rejections.
    All you want now is the word, one word
    Floating, a possible, mysterious collection
    Of breath born in letters upon emptiness.
    Take it by the capital and don’t let go,
    Wrestle it into submission, admission,
    Make it tell you what it needs to say, then
    Set it free—that’s the basics of poetry.

  157. DCR1986

    First Thing Monday Morning

    Beep. Beep. Beep.
    6:30 A.M.
    Birds flirting,
    Sun smiling,
    in front of window.
    Inside voice whispers, “Not yet,”
    Index finger aim for
    the letters that read SNOOZE.
    Toss. Turn.
    Ruffle mauve satin sheets.
    Massage pillow.
    Another toss. Turn again.

    Fifteen minutes later,
    Beep. Beep. Beep.
    Eyes adjacent to ceiling fan.
    Counting the number of spins.
    Feet walk the ercu hooked rug.
    Knees bend to pray.
    Dear God,
    Protect. Guide. Cover.
    Me through another week.
    As before, center me
    in the direction of you.

    —Danielle C. Robinson

  158. uneven steven

    Back to basically breathing
    chest and abdominal muscles contracting
    with a will to force such sick lungs to inflate
    and let go
    I watch her breathe
    from a hard backed chair by the window
    and can not help
    the first green of spring
    feasting my soul with a hope
    that my grandparents once bottled
    into a tonic for their lean bodies
    after long winters of want
    Each breath I breathe with her
    is a season
    and all this small body knows
    of the world anymore –
    the air feeding her blood
    with each arc of her struggling
    her soul fighting for the faith
    to keep releasing it
    again and again

  159. ninocka


    Raw meat glistens in the woods,
    luring the hunter ̶
    Catch me not.
    I need my skin and fur,
    even between the flowers.

    Stone, Earth, Kiss,
    attracting the primate ̶
    Divided we’ll live.
    You need money and fame
    even when inheriting a castle.

    What else? Food and sleep.
    That’s simple.

  160. peacegirlout

    Back where I started

    Basically I’m still there, back there
    In the beginning, in the starting box
    Quietly kicking my hooves against
    These makeshift plywood walls
    Oh, there hasn’t been a lack of courage
    No shortage of luck or ability on my part
    I’ve run a hundred times and more
    Around this park, head to head
    Countless nights and endless races
    All to the finish line, it’s true
    It’s that damn goal I just can’t
    Seem to visualize, all that dust
    Those others have been kicking up
    Blindly pushing, sweating senselessly toward
    Artificial bliss and empty reward
    I’m too caught up in watching them
    Narrow-eyed and breathless, determined
    To win at any cost
    So I’m still here, whispering into
    Their ears before each start:
    “You’re trying to hard
    To get lost”

  161. writinglife16

    Starting Line

    Start where you began.
    I wrote short stories, not poems.
    My heart said, “You lie!”
    Songs you sang to me
    When I was broken and scared,
    Poems put to music.

    Note: I started with senryus.

  162. flood

    10 Items Or Less

    Tonight, I am passing the grocery,
    even though there is a knot in my gut.

    I will leave my back porch as the sun sets,
    will try to stay upwind of my prey.

    I will need to take each step with caution,
    will need to maintain my balance and keep
    my light-deprived eyes focused ahead of me.

  163. Domino

    Recession Lingo

    Dead mall
    Second job
    Not retiring
    Zombie bank
    Great recession
    Motivated seller
    Recession beard
    Dumpster diving
    Groupon remorse
    Financially fragile
    Ditchin’ the coasts
    Not in this economy
    Foreclosure discount
    Shopping your closet
    Make do or do without

    Diana Terrill Clark

  164. mfitts847@gmail.com

    Our Little Town – Marie H. Fitts

    Badminton tournaments
    Or a Croquet Match,
    Playin’ hide and seek and
    A game of catch.

    Ridin’ bikes all day
    ‘Til the sun went down.
    That was Summer fun
    In our little town!

    Makin’ mud pies
    And playin’ hop scotch,
    Sittin’ in the bleachers
    A baseball game to watch.

    Doing Cartwheels and
    Swingin’ on the front porch swing.
    Spinning 45 records and
    We’d Sing and Sing and Sing!

    Climb the Red Bud tree
    In Mom’s front yard,
    Hangin’ from a limb
    Like they were monkey bars!

    Much simpler times,
    Nothin’ seemed hard…
    Not even catchin’ fireflies
    in a mason jar!

    Gettin “squirted” with
    the water hose,
    Takin’ Polaroid Pics
    Y’all strike a pose!

    Ridin’ bikes all day
    ‘Til the sun went down
    That was Summer fun
    In our little town!

    No Playstation
    Or MP3,
    No cell phones,
    Or games called “Wii”!

    That’s how it was
    Way, way back…

    Whether to the movies or
    The Go Kart track,
    We ate homemade concessions
    From a paper sack!

    No money or treasure
    Could buy its worth,
    Just fun in the sun
    On God’s green earth!

    Ridin’ bikes all day
    ‘Til the sun went down.
    That was Summer fun
    In our little town!

    To the Methodist Church
    Every Sunday morn,
    We learned about Jesus
    And got re-born!

    That’s how it was
    Don’t you remember when?
    Life was so much simpler then.

    Ridin’ bikes all day
    Til the sun goes down!

  165. Taylor Emily Copeland

    One tenth

    They don’t tell you that part
    of your heart dies when you
    have a heart attack. It’s
    something you end up reading
    in a book. They don’t know
    that parts of my heart are
    already dead and I am carrying
    little corpses in the hollow
    of my chest. They tell me that
    things will go back to normal,
    that kids are still an option,
    to just take it easy for a while.
    They don’t know that I have
    nothing to return to, that I will
    take soft, hesitant steps to the
    side of my bed and hope that next
    time, there’s no one around to
    pull me out from drowning. They
    roll me out in a wheelchair to
    my parents, my friends, tell them
    to take care of me. I will learn
    to live with one tenth of a heart.

  166. Beverly Deirocini

    Ink and Paper

    The kids shuffled into the classroom,
    They were ready for a world full of new,
    But one administrator had dictated
    What this composition teacher should do.

    “Take out your electronic devices,
    There’s a ban on all paper and pens.
    You will complete your journals online
    Then share them in Google docs with your friends.”

    So the teacher began her teaching,
    To the rhythm of clicks, dashes and taps,
    She wondered how much they were getting
    Was this the cream of the crop or the scraps?

    You see, in between each sentence construction
    She saw birds who knew how to flappy,
    There was a forest of fruit and clans that were clashing,
    All the things that made her students seem happy.

    Day after day, she banged her head in frustration.
    All she wanted to do was inspire.
    But when they watered themselves down with their iPads,
    It was impossible to light a fire.

    So one day she declared her classroom
    An electronic device-free zone.
    Of course, her students didn’t like this,
    And they let her know with a groan.

    But they did just as she commanded,
    And now they became the creator.
    As she made her way around the room,
    She saw the pens bleeding onto each paper.

    There was no more beautiful sight
    Than the craft of writing that day,
    No tap, tap, tappy, tap, taps,
    Their compositions took them far away.

    The pen is mightier than the stylus
    And parchment more permanent than screen
    Just go ahead and power on down
    And soon you will be set free.

  167. Gabrielle Freeman

    The Audacious Canvas
    by Gabrielle Freeman

    The Lucian Freud paintings at the MOMA
    in 2005 arrested me from around
    a corner artificially made
    for just such effect. The breasts like albino
    watermelons, flesh stretched beyond
    the capacity of comprehension.
    Bellies slack in sleep on couches, reclined
    in regular chairs like no one would ever sit
    at home but for those who make a study
    of themselves. Have you ever rested, spread-eagle
    on your La-Z-Boy watching Big Bang Theory
    or Chopped? Maybe it’s just me, but even
    all alone, kids and husband out of town,
    I wear my most comfortable clothes, threadbare
    but covering flesh I might pinch or grasp
    in both hands and jiggle like my diabetic
    grandfather attempting to terrorize
    his grandchildren. “Cm’ere Gabrielle,” he’d leer,
    pull up his tobacco stained t-shirt, jab
    his fat with the orange-tipped syringe. Shake
    the significant segment of skin,
    navel like a blind eye, the plastic plunger
    shimmying in grotesque display. Freud’s nudes
    demand attention in their natural-ness,
    the anti-selfie, the true portrayal
    of the body. The flaccid penis,
    the diminutive buttocks topped with a torso
    like a bloated carcass three days
    on the side of the road. I don’t mean
    to denigrate, though I know I sound
    disparaging. The body is the body
    is the body. Freud’s Kate Moss is as likely
    to make me want to avert my eyes
    as Benefits Supervisor Sleeping;
    have you seen them? Maybe it’s that I am just
    as fucking convinced of my own body’s
    shortcomings, of my own fat deposits
    and ill-conceived imperfections as the next girl
    grown on lingerie catalogues and swim suit
    models, soft-focus lighting and Spanx.
    If I knew an honest artist like Freud,
    I would beg to pose, skin loose in repose,
    not arranged like poppies in a vase of blue glass
    on a Moroccan table inlaid,
    but a woman whose beauty lies in her eyes,
    closed against the end of the long work day.
    Whose body is a study in color,
    hollow, shadow, and bulge. I would see this shell
    as it is, and I, too, would gape.
    Stand before the audacious canvas and stare.

    Check out my writing process site at http://www.ladyrandom.com. Thanks!

  168. Eibhlin


    Let us go and find the ruins of the tower,
    the one they built on Babel field.
    Underneath the old foundation there lies buried
    treasure. We will need
    to translate from a long-forgotten language
    a message. It will yield
    the knowledge of what’s really, truly, basic.
    Let’s find it! All agreed?

  169. HoskingPoet

    School days are long in my past
    Report cards a student’s woe
    First quarter has slipped by fast
    Who has time to lament so?

    English class we’re taught to rhyme
    Writing poetry in verse
    My attempt is thought no crime
    Could this poem have been worse?

    There is but one verse to go
    My teacher gives me cool praise
    Other students curse blue though
    Maybe there were good school days.

  170. mbramucci

    First Thing’s First
    By: Michelle Bramucci

    Fruit has a core where the seeds are kept
    When fruit is devoured, the seeds are to sew
    Cradles are soft for where baby slept
    They need to rest well if you want them to grow
    A point is where two lines intercept
    Creating new angles above and below
    Bakers warm milk so their yeast is prepped
    They’re taught to bake bread from a well risen dough
    Under horizon the sun has crept
    Just before nightfall the sky was aglow
    Not to trip, I looked before I leapt
    I learned that the hard way a long time ago

  171. Mama Zen


    Find the chemistry
    between the hard consonants
    and the lush, organic vowels.
    Experiment with the explosive
    “S” in a variety of positions.
    Vary the swell and sway,
    the pulse and pound of your rhythms.
    Rhyme only when it rides just right
    on the ridge of your tongue.
    and hold
    each caesura until it melts.

    Kelli Simpson

  172. mandygirl238

    A childhood basic

    The butter and sugar spun round
    Creamy, fluffy like air
    Threw in an egg for a beating
    It didn’t really care.

    Adding dry ingredients with a poof
    The mixer going too fast
    There’s flour, soda and powder too
    Once baked, they won’t last

    The kids watch the oven
    Oh they can not wait
    The buzzer sounds
    Too brown if you’re late

    Basic plain sugar cookies
    Yes it’s true
    plain or add frosting
    It’s all up to you!

  173. Kimmy Sophia

    If I just had myself
    and no possessions,
    no home,
    and no family,
    I could still trace my molecules
    back to the Big Bang.
    No matter the baggage I’ve gathered,
    No matter the distance I’ve traveled,
    I’ve been here all along and
    that’s immensely comforting.

  174. jakkels

    A Portrait

    Smoke stings the eyes when the wind 

    Whips into the cave 

    Fear, as the wind, shakes the barricade of thorns 

    Preditors in the mind, roam the darkness just outside 

    Then your mate stirs the pot and hunger makes you forget 

    The eyes of your children shine like wet pebbles above the skins 

    As they nestle like baby birds on the cosy sleeping pile 

    And you sigh and dream of hunts in the easy summer time

  175. laurie kolp

    First Visit to Graveside

    Even though
    the headstone’s
    not there yet,
    we knew
    which mound
    was yours
    by the sink-
    I wanted
    to worm
    my way
    the dirt maze
    until I found you
    plant kisses on your cheeks
    & whisper in your ear
    how much I miss you, lie
    with my head
    upon your chest,
    but instead I
    in the abyss.

    1. drnurit

      The poems I love most are those where readers can nod: “yes, I know… or, yes, me too…” Well, I am still nodding (a few tears too…) I have chosen the fresh-cut flowers route before too… Touching…

    2. Brian Slusher

      Strong finish. really like “fresh-cut” and “abyss.” For the speaker, it is a “fresh cut”–an unhealed wound. Might just call it “First Visit,” though, as the poem clearly establishes the setting without “Graveside.”

  176. Walt Wojtanik


    Sailor boy meets girl,
    they go for a whirl.
    His world’s her oyster,
    and she was his pearl.

    Seven children in a life
    rife with all the strife life held,
    interwoven with twice as much love.
    But sadly, my parents now reign from above.

    My poem writing would be delighting no one,
    had Popeye not found his Olive Oyl goil.
    Here’s some basic congrats (the least I could say)
    to the young couple who’d have been married 63 years today.

    **Mom and Dad were easy to love and easier to miss. How I wish…

  177. elledoubleyoo

    On the Nature of Nature
    The entirety of a mountain beneath my feet,
    I can see the infinity of the horizon,
    the curve of the earth, the river below
    carving through the earth
    as it finds its way to the sea.
    At night, the shadowed moon hides her face,
    and without our flashlight’s beam,
    no man-made light blots out the brightness
    of stardust that streaks across the sky.
    The river roars, louder than any man
    and yet it lulls me to sleep,
    the canvas of the stars above me,
    a mattress of earth beneath.

  178. Lori DeSanti

    The Garden

    At first it all was green—Eve
    counted lily pads, and Adam
    married mum stems into tiny

    garlands for her to braid into
    her hair. Her hair; wild and
    overgrown, teased by wind

    and lake water. She felt no
    shame in all her beauty, and
    he felt no greed for her flesh.

    But Milton knew the green
    of Eve’s eyes could change
    in one shift of the sun; the

    light reflecting each jaded
    color of the serpent’s scales
    hidden from her, by the Son.

  179. Debbie


    One plus one is two, we know
    But the pencil and paper ran the show
    Bring on the calculator.

    Two plus two is four, of course
    What happened to the cart and the horse
    Bring on the automobile.

    Three plus three is six, no tricks
    Baseball was played for kicks
    Bring on the high-paid professionals.

    Four plus four is eight, so true
    Inside the stock pot is savory beef stew
    Bring on the microwave.

    Five plus five is ten, amen
    Get off the telephone, I need to call a friend
    Bring on the mobile devices.

    I could go on and on, yes sir
    And I know you would concur
    Bring it on!

  180. Joseph Harker


    Marion said they’d read about it on the Internet
    drunk on 151 some Thursday night in the kitchen,

    and twisted a clothes hanger into the right shape
    and let it smoke on the stove until the loops

    gleamed gold, then she rolled down her stocking,
    laughing and biting down on somebody’s wallet

    as they stroked it to the skin just above her ankle,
    and she doesn’t remember much after that except

    white stars, a meteor shower crowding out vision,
    finding the broken chair later, the door she pulled

    right off the cabinet in that moment of animal panic,
    and now she unwraps the gauze to clean it,

    the disinfectant bubbling into seafoam when she
    spritzes it on the red-black garden planted deep

    into her shin, so deep in fact that the legbone
    has cracked in five places, the doctors say, and

    no hoped-for decoration furrows up from this flesh
    she re-binds, only this strip mine dripping oil sand,

    a scorched canyon on which she slowly balances
    one ounce at a time as she re-learns how to walk.

  181. Gwyvian


    The sky is a mosaic of roses and sunbursts as the sun sets,
    pastels swirling into majestic clouds complex, and the
    breezes are whispering of night to come: no less of a frenzy—
    focus is dimmed, compressed…
    but vivacity never ceases completely: it only latches on
    to mysterious longings, the intrinsic race to the center
    of the maze;
    I stand amongst shimmering lights bathing me from
    above and around, heavenly darkness cloaking globes of
    an occult light that quivers curiously;
    the noise is pervasive, too many voices to pick one out,
    the smells are a divine cauldron of sickening sweet spice—
    and feelings swell into a tangle beyond explanations,
    I am growing numb, the ecstasy becoming agony; I
    am lost in a grand tapestry of schemes and dreams,
    a vapor of a flame holding out against a hurricane—
    but beneath the crushing deluge,
    a single note cuts
    through the clamor to reach my bleeding ears and silence comes,
    a single second peaks out
    from millennia, hesitantly stretching its meager muscle to
    grab my attention, standing at attention amongst
    the green shield of woven branches that hide my figure as I was;
    silence, and emptiness coalesce in my overburdened mind
    and I witness a single drop falling from the sky:
    the quintessence of fluidity,
    flooding my mind with its astonishing simplicity.

    April 21, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  182. julie e.


    There was a
    single bed back in that
    apartment she shared with
    other young hopeful girls
    all starting out on
    their own, barely eating,
    barely getting by, back
    before she fell for a
    boy harder than
    she ever had

    Then there was a
    king bed in the
    apartment they shared
    and a child and lots
    of avocado green and
    orange, and loving
    and fighting and
    making up

    Then a house
    where the king bed
    got new legs and
    there were more children
    and she loved that happy
    chaos of voices and
    laughter, but him
    not so much

    And when those
    cheerful noises flew
    off to different
    nests the silence
    became overwhelming
    and the TV grew louder
    as did his complaining
    and she finds herself
    elsewhere, back in
    a single bed,

    wishing she
    could barely

  183. madeline40

    Back to Basics
    (Another Twitter 140 character or less poem)

    I’ve been meditating again
    for over a week.
    It’s hard to focus
    to stay centered, but this time
    I’m going to
    keep on. It’s basic
    to my health.

  184. Connie Peters

    ABC’s of Writing

    A void passive verbs.
    B e succinct.
    C liche’s are old hat.
    D on’t use two spaces between sentences.
    E xamples should be specific.
    F ind the funny, even in serious pieces
    G et a second pair of eyes to critique your work.
    H ang out with other writers.
    I nterview people in the know.
    J ust keep writing, writing, writing.
    K eep your project to yourself until the rough draft is complete.
    L iteral is the strict definition of a word or phrase, not figurative. Don’t take “G” literally.
    M isspelled words speak of your incompetence.
    N ever say never or always, or at least, almost never say never or always.
    O bserve the world using all of your senses.
    P lease, respect your readers’ time.
    Q uerying editors can prevent unpublished manuscripts.
    R esearch, using primary resources when possible.
    S how don’t tell.
    T oo many adjectives is like a cake that’s too rich.
    U se adverbs sparingly.
    V ery, so, really, just, interesting, got (among others) should seldom be used.
    W rite what you know.
    X ylophone starts with a Z sound. Writers have been confusing early readers for years.
    Y ou are a writer if you write. Improve your skills by studying and practicing the craft.
    Z ero in on your project: complete rough draft, revise and submit.

  185. Roderick Bates

    Back to Basics

    by Roderick Bates

    Yesterday I spent more time writing
    than doing anything else. A short story
    bubbled up, and demanded me —
    one dying man, one lover, a third party,
    a death and its unexpected aftermath.
    I juggled timing and details and voices
    and surprised myself as it unfolded.
    It was done before I went to bed —
    as done as anything can be until
    the return after time has passed.

    Today I stomp down on a shovel,
    remove earth and fill holes with water,
    drop bushes in and backfill and tamp.
    Later I adjust a gate, puzzle through
    the effect on that end of the rectangle
    of a slight shift to this end. Next
    we remove sagging wire fence,
    build a sturdy frame of pressure treat,
    cut and nail down wooden lattice.
    I bleed and sweat and know that
    despite my aches, tonight I will sleep.

    Yesterday was a day of the mind,
    today a day of the body. My pride
    is satisfied more by yesterday’s work,
    but the bush that will flower,
    and the gate that swings,
    and the trim beneath the porch,
    these simple human tasks,
    these are good for my soul.

  186. CristinaMRNorcross

    Bare Necessities

    It is here that I lay myself bare.

    No purse needed –
    there are no shops here.
    No fancy coat –
    just a light jumper will do.
    No lipstick –
    you need not impress the sheep.

    We ramble on the Lake District trails –
    our thoughts rest on stones –
    daydreaming our way
    through moss covered branches
    and bird songs carried by lake air.

    It is in this light
    that everything becomes crisp and clear,
    as if my eyes have vision for the first time.

    It is here that I lay myself bare.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  187. Lori P

    Basic Concepts

    Two and two add up
    B follows A
    Plants use sun to help us breathe
    Legislative branches work in counterbalance
    Subject, direct object, action, verb make a sentence whole
    Language is the vehicle of culture

    When things add up and follow, help and counterbalance,
    As well as you and I together.
    When we make each other whole and our love is the vehicle of our joint culture
    That’s basic.

  188. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 21 Back to Basic poem

    Encyclopedia Salesmen

    They came door to door
    selling us
    the world,
    but we were already
    our collected
    our hunger
    for the taste
    of yesterday’s satisfaction
    despite the bitterness
    of knowledge learned
    from the gentle touch
    of our mother’s hand
    who was powerful enough
    to open or close
    any door.

  189. Joseph Hesch

    Chōchins and Kigos

    See this line up here?
    Now this one right smack after it?
    That’s how I started.
    I wrote a poem about
    writing poetry.
    I lit Japanese lanterns
    the dark places I couldn’t find
    until I strung rows
    of five counts and then seven.

    A simple structure,
    meant to mine feelings buried
    close to the surface.
    In the Springs since I began,
    when I lost my way,
    chōchins and kigos led me
    back where I came from—
    my land of a rising sun
    and lowered expectations.
    Works every time.

  190. jojo1127

    All Comped Out

    Something strange happened today in the amidst of my mail I’ve notice a handwritten envelope.
    Now this is something you don’t see everyday. So different..So rare in this world of of high tech too complex for my mind to grasp. So I tossed aside my bills and what I assume to be junk mail and concentrated my energy on this beautiful envelope and what exists inside. I carefully opened it my heart jumping for glee what could be inside waiting for me. I smiled some more as I unfolded this letter written in cursive on stationery of wildflowers and hummingbirds. Something you don’t see everyday. Back to basics. Old School. The penmanship so beautiful, cursive writing so rarely seen. Complete sentences, no abbreviations LOLs, Ks, or IDK that I can’t understand. Handwriting so legible, sentences that I can understand I didn’t have to search on the internet for any acronyms. Back to basics. I was so impressed overjoyed with tears. That someone took the time to hand write it all out not just one page but many pages. Something you don’t see everyday in a world so busy. But at the end of this letter I was caught by surprise of the written words: Bye Cousin, hit me up on FaceBook. Back to basics.

  191. James Von Hendy

    Tennis with the Net Down

    He worked his meter well, his rhyming too,
    I’ll give him that, the hillwife said, but now
    He’s dead I’d play the game my way with you,
    And drop the rules. It’s just more fun somehow.

    He shook his head. Well that depends. I’d say
    He said the rules you break you hardly know.
    It makes of games a folly when you play
    It so. Yet still I’d rather hear you though.

  192. lina

    Emalee in Hensley

    The yard is muddy
    with a rug on the grass
    and a playset without swings.
    There is a stove on the porch,
    a bike on the steps,
    twin satellite dishes on the tin roof.
    I wear my granddad’s slippers
    and my own jeans
    and i tell the dog to jump
    for his biscuit
    but the cat’s hungry, too,
    and everyone else
    is still asleep.
    My long hair swings
    when I turn,
    and the dog barks,
    and the sky through the trees
    is white like
    this is the beginning
    or is this the end.
    I can’t decide which
    it is.

  193. elishevasmom


    It’s never quite the same.
    You can try, try again—and should.

    But there is no reset button.
    The you that tries this time

    can never be quite the same
    as the you that tried the last time.

    Which is actually a good thing.
    That you got it wrong.

    Ellen Evans

    1. k_weber

      love the encouragement of the second line followed by that slight hesitation of the reality of it all in the third line. the last two lines offer a reflective punchline of sorts. this is a very nice piece. i could only relate 1000% percent :]

  194. Misky

    Back to the basics with just a glance —
    Sometimes a Glance Holds You Forever

    I was caught in that moment of breath
    as he left like the pale draw of death,
    and for some purpose beyond the might

    of my knowing, some passion of night
    in me growing, twilighted, unrequited,
    a harrowed heart calling that realm sent,

    he departed. Yet for a glorious moment,
    I was caught in the lusty and long regret
    in his glance, and it held me hungry forever.

    (c) Misky 2014

  195. EbenAt

    Counter Spin

    Joni sang of
    the carousel of life,
    the circle game.
    So it is, indeed.

    We don’t start out
    angry or hateful.
    We enter
    a bit scared,
    then connected,
    then wide eyed;
    eager to take it all in,
    to be a part.

    Is it all those revolutions,
    that spin away
    our innocence?

  196. k_weber

    begin the begin

    it’s easy
    to go back
    to the salad, the glass
    of water next to a hand-
    ful of walnuts
    where everything you
    eat is in tableau
    next to sunrise-ripe fruit
    and you are taking
    a brisk walk today
    in cotton clothes

    it’s easy
    when it’s a golden day
    and you live for every
    step in time with heart
    and blood beating

    it’s a battle
    to go back
    to eating lawn, drinking wet
    nothings and you hate biting
    the sinew of a nut and everything
    you need to survive
    is on a crooked table
    right next to the spoils
    of spoiled fruit and you
    won’t go outside today but sit
    in your jeans and smoke
    the tv instead

    it’s a battle
    when you want to shut down
    and scoop your heart out
    like ice cream with cherry syrup

    – k weber

  197. Mr. Take The Lead

    What happen ChildHood Dreaming?
    Daniel R. Simmons
    I find it truly amazing how when you’re little you’re told you can be anything you want to be, anything you can dream of, you can become. Then we get a little older and we start to weigh all the odds and hindrances that will stop our dreams from coming true.
    We stop being that optimistic dreamer and instead become “realistic”, ultimately neglecting that childhood dream.
    You see, we can learn a lot from children, because they are unafraid to dream big, to think big, to be as creative as they want, worry free about what society or the odds have to say about it.
    There is no such thing as dreaming too big, or thinking too big, never let anyone tell you to tone your thoughts down, or to become realistic about your dream. You are not limited to becoming what your degree concentration said you studied, or the skills you learned on the job. You have a limitless amount of possibilities to do whatever it is your mind sets out to do. I don’t care of it hasn’t been done before, tested before or everyone who has ever tried it failed.
    You have to be the trend setter and venture out and do what hasn’t been done before.
    When the odds says you can’t, or when society say you can’t , when everyone around you says it can’t be done; you have to go back and be like that unafraid child, take a deep breath and step out on your dream and say I CAN do this!
    So, If somewhere along this journey called life, you lost your childhood dream or you gave up on it, pick it back up and go after it.
    After all you are never too young our too old to do something great, success carries no age restrictions.
    Get up, and take a chance on your dream.
    Never be afraid to succeed far above and beyond ALL boundaries
    Remember that childhood dream?
    It’s not to late to achieve it

  198. Azma


    We plan on treading miles
    sprinting at speeds
    beyond perceive
    But how far will our road last
    if the first step
    was meant to deceive

    -Azma Sheikh

  199. MMC

    Color My World

    In watercolor class we make a wheel,
    starting with primary colors: red, yellow,
    blue. I press the brush into the paper,
    watch the edges spread
    and contemplate this ancient rite
    of making something into
    something else. White receives red
    and I think of blood, roses,
    valentines. Yellow blooms next,
    the color of suns and dandelions.
    Finally, a bold stroke of ocean
    and indigo bunting, though they say
    bird feathers aren’t really blue.
    Something about the way light
    shines when reflected. Like many
    things in our universe, colors,
    no matter how basic,
    are mostly illusion.

  200. lionetravail

    “Laugh And The World Laughs With You, Cry And It’s At You”
    by David M. Hoenig

    Another day I’m ready to tear my hair out, but
    only after beating my head, a lot, against the
    handiest wall that’s more solid than my cubicle.

    How did life get so complex that it speeds my
    breath, and that I have so much to think about
    that it makes my head hurt day after day?

    Emails flood in, and my box beeps to let me know
    we’re in danger of sinking, O Captain my Captain,
    no matter how fast I bail by clicking ‘send’.

    My phone grabs my pants leg and pulls to see
    if I’ll I give permission for it to update
    programs I’ve never even freaking used!

    And really- Corporate compliance wants that
    thing by tomorrow, and committee B
    wants the other thing by yesterday?

    And that’s when I finally get the joke- Presto,
    it’s impossible!- and I know the secret:
    I’ve got to laugh at it all, or else I’m going to cry.

  201. Michelle Hed

    Hitting the Books

    She was old…
    not so old she was growing mold
    but middle aged.

    Her brain was not as nimble,
    leaving her feeling humble –
    her brain raged.
    She sat in class with young pupils
    who quickly grasped the lessons
    while she felt her brain was in neutral –
    within her brain a war was waged.

    Yes, it is hard to go back to school
    when you’re no longer hip and cool
    and your brain is a bit disengaged.

  202. taylor graham


    This clay tablet
    as small as the mouse I click
    to move around the screen,

    but so much older – here’s the beginning
    of the written word. Marks
    to represent things, ideas, equities:

    beer-rations for the workers.
    They say, writing was born
    out of need for such practical matters.

    But history, stories, poems
    had been living in human memory
    for ages – the spoken

    word, formed of lips, tongue, palate;
    air exhaled and released
    free again into air;

    rhythm of body
    labor eased and livened
    by singing; creative pulse and breath

    more basic
    than what could be caught
    in marks on clay.

  203. candy

    April Daily Basics

    Hit the snooze and
    dream some more
    Roll out of bed and
    check the daily prompt
    Stumble down stairs and
    eat some yogurt
    A little yoga – Namaste
    Write a poem –
    or two
    Think about dusting
    Read a few chapters
    Think about gardening
    Opps – lunchtime
    Make some tea
    Write a poem –
    or two
    Read a few chapters
    Really must make dinner
    Think about doing dishes
    Write a poem –
    or two
    Watch the sunset
    Read a few chapters
    Sleepy eyes –
    ready for bed
    Dream of poems unwritten

  204. dextrousdigits


    B e sure you start with the
    “A” “B” “C”s
    S ee with your heart and
    I ntestines often simply referred to as guts
    C reat word paintings to
    S hare your existence


    B e sure you start with the
    “A” “B” “C”s
    S ee with your heart and
    I ntestines often simply referred to as guts
    C aress each
    S econd


    B e sure you start with
    A n idea, pen and paper
    S ome quiet place
    I nclude music, nature
    C reat your own unique and
    S pecial place to paint word umbilical cords.


    B end your mind to word picture paint
    A pply writing, editing, re-writing
    S hare with others for fresh eyes
    I nclude writing it again in another form
    C lose your eyes, breathe
    S tart again

  205. purplechair

    There are Times

    there are times
    probably every hour
    every day
    without any conscious effort
    when my brain just
    a quick little
    quiet little
    a visual jump in an otherwise
    wiggly green monitor line

    I usually ignore it

    almost every hour
    of almost every day
    because it’s telling me
    to write
    or wait . . . actually
    details are important
    it’s telling me that I want to be a writer

    there’s a difference

    one is basic—a simple course of action
    if I want to write, then I write

    one is not—necessitating some type of science-fiction leap
    to when I’m established
    and confident
    and words stream out effortlessly
    right into the waiting arms of agents
    and loyal readers
    whose open wallets pour another steady steam
    right into my bank account
    an ideal symbiosis

    my bottom line excuse
    is that ours is not the time for basics
    ours is time for details and choices
    and paths and branches and endless possibilities
    to be anything, anyone, any way we want
    but not
    to focus
    because that is limiting
    that would prevent us
    from indulging every whim and fancy
    that would be to deny
    our basic right to life
    in this spinning, rocking, never-pausing
    twenty-first century

    when slowing down is as unnatural
    as walking was natural
    for the prolific and healthy
    in the days of Dickens and lore

  206. JadeWr1tes

    Back to Innocence (4/21)

    What happened to that
    happy girl, so much energy

    every smile is a
    distant memory

    of everyday that was
    stripped away

    from her innocence and
    purity, she strays

    looking for a validation
    of who she is and

    who she could be,
    afraid to be herself

    what would they say,
    what would they think

    abuse harms the psyche
    of a very young girl

    afraid to face herself
    and face the world

    how can that little girl
    be a woman now

    and still have the happiness
    of that little child?

    Back to her confidence,
    her purity, she stays.

    Back to her innocence
    before that day.

    © 2014 Jada Lopez Poetry

    *This is for the hard topics no one likes to talk about;
    its hard to let it go if you can’t let it out!” -Jada Lopez 2014

  207. viv

    Basic cookery

    Take a sackful of words
    Throw them into a basin with a heap of imagination
    Stir them around with grammatical precision
    Add a drumroll of rhythm
    Insert a soupçon of symmetry and a trace of mystery
    Concoct a metaphor or two to confuse
    Beat them together with a modicum of skill
    Prepare a piece of clean new paper
    Spread the mixture with a light hand
    Allow to stew a little, rise a lot
    Rest overnight before adding a few second thoughts
    Eliminate drips and tidy the kitchen
    Bake in the cauldron of poetry
    Serve with humility.

  208. alana sherman

    A tough challenge for Day 21 Back to Basics

    Garden Planning Basics
    A Waterfall Should Always Face The Moon

    Stones in the garden
    stand for sun, moon and planets;
    sand and pebble,
    raked in looping arcs,
    the sea and sky.
    As we search for
    substance and delight
    in our gardens,
    in our work,
    we live and die craving purpose
    conscience and connection.
    In the waning hours of light
    an excess of happiness comes
    like first love . Our first loves
    forever with us, are a cathedral,
    cool and still, where memory
    leads us upward.
    It’s a luscious fairytale,
    full of perilous splendor
    and there is no
    ordinary anything.


  209. SeekingSoltitude

    Words without meaning

    It was when I learnt
    my ABC”s that,
    my imagination explored the world
    with the simplest of words,
    But know even the most labyrinthine
    words fail to unbar the doors
    of the same curiosity I had
    once when I was young.
    Even the most eloquent people
    fail when it comes to understanding
    outside our unoriginal circle of captivity,
    Our static thoughts, all same for us
    bind us to the poles, while,
    a child’s little fingers travel
    the world effortlessly,
    His every word brings
    elation and drama to our life
    and our monotonous phrases
    make people wait anxiously for
    the break,
    Its pitiful to see the art
    we learnt without realising
    was suppressed by our
    perfectionist ideals,
    And left us with
    words without meaning.

  210. barbara_y

    Your Basic Doggerel

    If I had winter whites, I’d pack them all away
    today. If I had energy, I’d wash the windows,
    I suppose. Sunday’s blue has turned all gray.
    Today is uninspiring. As this puppy shows.

  211. Yolee

    Elegy to the Homeless Man

    I remember you sitting in a vine ripe
    tomatoes box one rainy day eating
    mashed potatoes or cauliflower from a plastic
    spoon and bowl. Raincoats and umbrellas
    were blurred by a rush too cold or shielded
    to notice. Your snowy beard was a proverb
    falling out of a worn page. The boots, jacket
    and pants seem to have been mourning
    their demise. Before you had the chance
    to finish eating, a terrier came along and
    licked the bowl clean. You let the dirty little
    stray take your last. Shadow and light
    monogrammed your face, and left signatures
    on that memory. Unspoken words roll restlessly
    in that empty space on Wilson Street.

  212. PKpoet

    to Basics

    Let’s just sleep here in the this big fluffy bed
    the one with the feathers and room for two heads

    Allow me to ponder the great mystic seaboard
    and allow the food to wait in the cupboards

    Listen to the Sunday sirens yelling down the highway
    and Sinatra. Not a thing to do my way.

    Let’s just sleep. Do you remember how
    to close your eyes and sleep in the now

    of rest and relax and Angel smiles
    the way a baby just breathes up and down

    the belly full and fall and sleep and sleep and sleep.

  213. Shennon

    Back to the basics,
    Done that before.
    Back to the beginning,
    Before I was a hor-

    -ibly bad person,
    Naughty to the core.
    Spinning lies and evil thoughts,
    Never one for bor-

    -ing conversation.
    The clothing that I wore!
    But now back to basics,
    No longer time for spor-

    -adic behavior of any kind.
    Only fate sees what’s in store.
    I’ll battle these demons on my own.
    This is a personal war!


  214. candy

    Learning to Breathe Again

    Breathe in
    feel coolness rush
    past nostrils
    Breathe out
    hear the whistle
    of air released
    Breathe in
    see the rise of
    Breathe out
    watch the abdomen
    slowly deflate
    Breathe in
    elements of vitality
    and life
    Breathe out
    noxious gasses that
    snuff out souls
    Breathe in me
    Breathe out you

  215. pomodoro

    Starting Over

    A bleak morning.
    Ground fog, again.
    It never used to rain so much.
    And then,
    the mist bows to a casual cumulous,
    and evening cadences fall from a cloud-mouth of stars.
    The future catches in my throat,
    musky and delicious.
    Its name is Begin Again and
    it sits between us
    like the last piece of candy in the box.

  216. Kathy

    Spaces for Growth

    A firm foundation
    for life is built upon
    living souls
    who clink and clank
    rubbing off rough edges
    smoothing out discord
    by learning to laugh
    and accept annoyances
    that appear in the guise
    of siblings who torment
    or parents expecting perfection
    without meltdowns
    or cuss words

    It is allowing spaces
    in the togetherness
    a private place
    one soul can call their own
    and repair ravages that hurt
    or contemplate
    ideas that rquire solitude
    to bloom into reality
    Family is the firmament
    of strong world citizens

  217. Linda Goin

    If we’re getting back to basics,
    I don’t want to go.

    I want to live in complicated
    with chaotic, with five unknown
    languages spoken at once
    in one room. I want cat hair
    sprinkled on morning poetry, spiked
    by coffee that sparks ambition.
    I want chords that inflate lungs.
    I want to sing love, love, love
    that bends the world
    like an archer’s bow, we
    the arrow driving straight
    into that next

    I want you to tell me
    these basics soon will be over,
    with bills paid, mortgage cleared,
    cars and plumbing repaired.
    I want to shed the punishment
    I feel when knees are planted
    in petition for a life
    I was told would be best.

      1. TomNeal

        I agree.

        There is a lot going on in this poem. Linda’s lines are always full of energy. I think if I touched the screen I’d probably get a jolt.

  218. LizMac

    Back to Basics

    When time begins to run away
    Before I’m ready to see it go
    I grab on to the small things
    That once I never noticed.

    Once, all pointed to tomorrow.
    “Now” was future’s slave.
    Until one day, fleeing Future
    Turned suddenly to face me.
    For one instant I glimpse
    Its surprising face:
    Sad, old and full of longing
    For its lost love – the Past.

    Concerned, I slow down
    And try to reacquaint with “Now”
    Over a smile and cup of coffee,
    Trying to taste the goodness to the last drop.
    Together, we watch moments
    Round out to fullness and drop gently
    Barely noticed, but captured gratefully;
    Imbibed, sealed and stored in cells
    Now carefully prepared to receive them.
    We focus, not on the downpours
    Of an overburdened existence,
    But on the soft distillations
    Caught carefully out of time
    And synthesized with the trapped sunlight of
    Love, friendship, and random beauty
    That illuminates and filters incessantly
    Through the complex patterns of our lives.

  219. Andrew Kreider

    Fergie’s Wake

    So maybe he wasn’t the chosen one
    running around after a legend
    with scarcely enough paper for the cracks
    The experiment went off in curious rhyme.

    Fergie wanted Moyesy, and Moyesy
    bought Fellaini – partly to replace Scholesy
    but it was a waste of money. Up front van Persie
    was a shadow, and no one heard from Rooney.

    And now they’ve lost to Stevie G,
    it’s curtains – time for Giggsy
    He’ll go back to basics, set the rhythm
    put the world back how it’s supposed to be.

  220. SeekingSoltitude

    Stealing Cookies

    As my boy skulks behind the counter
    I’m ready for the encounter,
    He leaps in the air
    concealing his booty but failing
    from my adept eyes,
    I bend down and pick one
    for myself,
    Bringing back memories of
    late night rendezvous,
    The days of
    tip-toeing on the marble floor
    to get my unearned prize,
    with chocolate coated hands
    would I be found,
    And the punishment later they
    said would help lose my pounds,
    I take the jar and hand it to him,
    And quickly sneak out
    with a smile on my face
    No doubt, I’m proud.

  221. AC Leming


    It’s all in the placement of the foot,
    where the toe points — at your target —
    how the heel cocks out just so.

    While the hip provides the pendulum
    swing power of the front kick, the hinge
    of the roundhouse, the circular arc
    of the crescent kick, the planted foot
    serves as your steady base. The ball
    of foot, the pivot point, so do not rock
    back awkward and off balance on your heel.

    If you watch Sensei eyes,
    they pass over the rest of the body,
    note the incorrect hand placement,
    where the nose, and therefore the head,
    points in relation to the karate-ka’s uke,
    your partner, your opponent,
    your receiver of pain.

    But if you watch closer still,
    Sensei eyes spend the most time
    on your feet. If your base is off,
    so follows the rest of your body.
    You learn karate-do from the ground up.

  222. Taylor Mali

    The Secret Sisterhood of the Sneezy Feeling

    for Rachel

    When my father gave me the talk about sex
    I was six, and we sat before the embers of a fire
    from the night before, a party I don’t remember.

    He spoke best when he had something to do
    besides speaking, let love happen while we work—
    morning, men, and the tools of the fire.

    Everything I learned about sex and love and making
    babies, I learned while conjuring a steady flame
    from the ashes of last night’s laughter and song.

    I love him for calling orgasm “the sneezy feeling,”
    as much for its accuracy as for its understanding.
    But then he exhaled a heavy sadness, and said

    As wonderful as it is, the sneezy feeling—and it truly is—
    there are some women who love it so much that they—

    and that’s where our talk about sex ended!

    Either because we were interrupted, or else
    he thought his son too young for the truth
    about some women, the ones who love orgasm so much

    that they . . . I don’t know! Wear certain kinds of hats!?
    Or smile in a special way? Like they have a song on their lips?
    Or maybe a secret kind of fire in their eyes?

    To this day I have no idea. And I blame my father
    for my ignorance. As well for the tears of every woman
    I have ever loved insufficiently. My father never

    finished telling me about what you crave,
    about your Secret Sisterhood of the Sneezy Feeling
    and the things desire has driven you to do.

    My father and his son, spellbound by the fire
    before them, the fire we built together,
    the one I see even now in your eyes.

  223. CLRichardson


    Do you remember when
    a phone meant having conversations?

    Do you remember the happiness (or dread)
    when your phone rang?

    Do you remember when phones
    became a playground for games?

    Do you remember when phones
    turned conversations into emoticons?

    Do you remember when phones
    put the whole world in our hands?

    Do you remember when a simple phone
    became so complicated?

    Christy Lynn Richardson

  224. De Jackson

    Sevenling (KISS)

    Keep it simple, Sweet:
    (mind) reading, (sky) writing
    (And let’s just skip the ’rithmetic.)

    I’ll buy you the moon,
    then swallow the sun;
    we’ll both be stars.

    The sky and all its knowledge shall be ours.


  225. Liliuokalani

    There Are Two Kinds of Days

    Some days are receipts creeping in –
    where words criss cross like bad traffic,
    a buzzing swarm of summer gnats
    for me to unknot,
    then catch each one,
    and spelunk my way to substance.
    Others days are a dog on its side,
    panting in dandelions
    relaxed as dirty laundry,
    who wags its tail with both eyes open
    and watches bees vibrate from bloom to bloom –
    legs swollen turkey drumsticks from pollen picking.
    The neighbors sprinklers
    are watering the street.

  226. Shennon

    The separation was painful at first.
    In fact, for a very long time.
    To have memories invading the
    Caverns of my mind – pushing down
    all the barriers I was trying to build-
    was an internal torture, made real,
    by my acceptance of it.
    The memories hurt, but not so much
    as the uncertainty of our future together.
    Many disturbing thoughts rampaged
    Relentlessly through my head,
    til all inside turned numb.
    Now, every memory has been reduced
    To a dull ache, and only a
    Slight yearning for home.


  227. BethBrubaker

    Simpler Times

    Get rid of the tech
    and all the ‘lectronics
    let’s teach our kids morals
    let teachers teach Phonics;

    Go outside to play
    with kids at the park,
    play with pets without wiring
    just happy loud barks.

    Play baseball, play football
    play soccer, have fun!
    The kind not with screens
    but out in the sun.

    Talking with friends
    without beeping or blips
    no keypads or touch screens
    just using your lips.

    Life would be better
    much simple-er too,
    If we had no gadgets
    to spend time with you!

  228. Shennon

    I thought I was grown-up
    I knew my way around.
    I knew the facts of life
    I stood on solid ground.

    But then I moved away
    From all I loved and knew.
    Daily life became total hell
    Yet there was nothing I could do…

    Til I realized
    That fate was in my hands.
    The simple pleasures of life
    Can be felt in any land.

    So now I seek the good
    Which comes from day to day.
    But always thoughts of home
    Are never far away.


  229. Snowqueen

    Back To Basics

    It seems right to try new things
    How could it be wrong to
    Improve on a process or product

    Yet over and over again
    We go back to basics

    Seems so right to stay the same
    How could it be wrong to
    Stick with the process or product
    That works

    Basics are good and should be
    Revisited when necessary
    Still one has to agree that
    Challenging basics gets the
    Creative juices flowing
    And holds the potential for
    New basics to get back to.

    Karen D

  230. aphotic soul

    Back to the basics for me, is writing without rhymes, so here’s a product of that.

    Black and White Rainbow
    By Paul Andrew Ryan

    I find with heartbreak and age, emotions seem to fade,
    I’m able to craft my writing better, but have so much less to say,
    Where there used to be an intense passion of love or hatred,
    There is only an empty insatiable void,
    It consumes everything that a life should be,
    And leaves me colorless, black, grey, and white,
    The only things I have now are rhymes to create melodies,
    But when you take those away, what is it that I write?
    Is this a poem? Is it just thoughts to myself?
    I don’t know. Maybe it’s a mix of complexities that I don’t fully understand,
    For while I think I want to feel again, I don’t want to deal with the side effects of feeling,
    I don’t want to hurt, I don’t want to care about those who are apathy stricken,
    I don’t want my heart broken, for it has been reshaped and reformed with putty and clay,
    Solids and manipulatives to keep the pieces protected and in place,
    To stop it from ever being shattered again,
    The putty and clay are simply apathy and melancholy,
    Fused together with the remainders of the pieces that were me,
    Just sweet nothings of a past that’s gone and faded.

    When I look out the window I see a grayscale rainbow,
    Shadings of black and white with no special traits,
    Where normal people see beauty, I see a fictional disguise,
    But where they see plain sights that they overlook on a daily basis,
    I see unique individuality in things with substance,
    Without dressing up meanings, and painting it with lipstick and makeup,
    Maybe that’s what this poem is without rhymes,
    The meaning and substance, without the inherent beauty,
    The jaded rainbow that sees and shows no color,
    It takes rewriting my past to be able to display the ultraviolet lights I once felt,
    The extreme emotions rewritten with an aged mind,
    To craft the feelings for poetry that started my love for it in the beginning,
    But this isn’t one of those poems… for this is a melancholy retrospect,
    Pondering the questions that grow with age, while letting the weather wear you down,
    Like rocks in the ocean, slowly breaking down, slowly decaying,
    Until there is no rock left, no emotions to care,
    And when I look back, I question if it was ever really even there.

    1. PressOn

      There are so many images here, it’s almost breath-taking. For me, one phrase, “grayscale rainbow,” encapsulates this. Thanks for posting this marvelous piece.

  231. grcran

    Roundcomingsoul *

    Most basic thing in poetry
    Speaks easy as a one-two-three
    Singsong clichés, say, can’t you see?
    Most basic thing in poetry

    Repeat some words you love to hear
    And you’ve got music for the ear
    It makes you feel good, lose your fear
    Repeat some words you love to hear

    Two frigatebirds in Babylon
    True fav’rite words to rhyme upon
    With spirit singing, carry on
    Two frigatebirds in Babylon

    Until your soul comes round at last
    Your peace arrives, your troubled past
    is done. Let bygones be recast
    until your soul comes round at last.

    By gpr crane
    *Note: this poem is best read slowly and sing-song-ily, until memorized, or perhaps mesmerized

  232. dianemdavis


    Mama didn’t say a word
    just rose from the makeshift table
    and walked out to the street.
    She filled her apron with broken bricks
    then struggled over mounds of debris
    to a crater, all that was left of our old apartment,
    and dumped the bricks
    into the hole.
    I watched her walk– bricks to hole to bricks.
    But when I shouted–
    she didn’t answer.

    Another woman filled her apron.
    Not a word passed between them
    as they worked, focused on a task
    as deliberate as they were.

    Before long, a line meandered through the rubble.
    They no longer stumbled over the mounds of rock and stone
    but passed the bricks, woman to woman to hole.
    A bucket appeared, and bricks moved more quickly
    until I could see an empty spot
    where the street showed through.

    When the hole was filled, Mama wiped the dust
    from her hands and went inside.
    She sat down at the table, picked up her cold cup
    of tea and sighed–
    Tomorrow is a new day.

    1. De Jackson

      Diane, this calls to mind (and beautifully so) the scene of Mattie’s dream in The Women of Brewster Place, where they tear down the wall…except in a sort of silent solidarity reverse. Wonderful.

  233. JanetRuth

    Back to the Basics of Love

    Let’s get back to the basics of love
    Slip out of haste’s sterilized gloves
    And re-familiarize our touch
    With words like ‘long’ and ‘slow’ and such

    Distraction fits in pockets now
    A world at restless finger-tips
    Robbing romancers of a long, slow
    Afternoon intent on eyes and lips

    Perhaps, if I were two by two
    And on my forehead was a screen
    You’d touch me like you used to do
    Instead of only ‘in-between’

    Darling, lets get back to love’s bare facts
    Seems these days way too much distracts
    …the devil laughs in dings and beeps
    Technology gathers its sheep

    Love craves long, blue-eyed afternoons
    Of slow-dances to paradise
    Before we sacrificed heart-tunes
    To curs-ed gadgets pocket-size

    We trip over love-miracles
    And God-granted ability
    Of have-hold, live-laugh, touch and taste
    Forgetting to just, simply. Be.

    © Janet Martin

    We will be concentrating on some basic spring clean-up today:)

  234. Phil Boiarski


    Child sleeps,
    stirs, restless
    before he starts
    to whimper.
    Is it time, the old
    man wonders,
    the sun, is it
    coming up or going
    down? Time to be
    fed or changed?

    Man sleeps,
    stirs, restless
    before he starts
    to whimper.
    Is it time, the old
    child wonders,
    the sun, is it
    coming up or going
    down? Time to be
    fed or changed?

  235. Margot Suydam

    Temple of Dendur

    Ported to New York bedrock from cliffs
    near the Nile, you were re-built block
    and stone at the Met.

    I was twelve and marched up and down
    the museum mile because it was
    my home. I watched the careful

    men lift your heaviness only to place
    it down again and again, nudging
    gigantic puzzle pieces over time.

    It’s not like I knew how to erect
    the past in the present, and let
    hordes enter its smallest spaces

    touch the holy interiors with grimy
    hands like mine, erase sandstone
    crevices made by the fingers lost

    looking for succor in landscapes
    of temple and Egyptian sand. Yet
    I will never forget not knowing

    how death traveled upstream with
    a wooden spoon or how ancient
    slaves ever managed to lever

    the burden of pharaohs yearning
    to ride a cloud, be like sky holding
    its weight with the moon.

  236. DanielR

    It’s called snail mail these days
    I’m told there are now better ways
    IM, tweets, email, text and such
    maybe I’m just out of touch
    but words across a notebook page
    for me are still all the rage
    the envelope travels many miles
    to lift spirits and bring smiles
    take the time to show you care
    send a letter if you dare

    Daniel Roessler

  237. DanielR

    Summer days were full of joy
    from waking to night slumbers
    when life was not scheduled by
    our cell phones and computers
    there was no daily soccer
    practice for seven year olds
    or tournaments on Sundays
    which were reserved for God and church
    when people still respected that
    neighbors knew one another
    their kids played outside together
    tossing footballs, throwing Frisbees
    running barefoot on hot pavement
    and chasing lighting bugs at night
    now the only things most kids chase
    are terrorist on video games
    in between posting selfies
    And we think we have made progress?

    Daniel Roessler

  238. CLShaffer

    My Daughter Sleeping

    takes as much as she gives—
    like water filling a waterskin
    air enlarges her lungs
    rounds out her young stomach

    Beneath the thin skin of eyelids
    she watches the future
    more experiences I cannot share
    as real to her as the ground
    to me strange
    as the microscopic water bear
    grown large
    and sleeping at the foot of my bed

    Her breath travels along my collarbone
    small hand on my shoulder
    Each breath leaves her
    a room without chair or bed

    In and out
    Each moment
    ticks into the past

    By C. Lynn Shaffer

  239. cindikenn

    On Starting Over at Thirty
    (Newbie luc bat)

    Misfortune comes to good
    people and if I could I’d go
    back and alter the flow
    of events that bestowed steel clad
    bad, ruined what I had,
    sent me home to my dad. Instead,
    I choose to cut the thread,
    put yesterday to bed, start new.
    Don’t look here for boo-hoos.
    Don’t want sorry-for-yous or scorn.
    The past is dead and mourned.
    The future’s yet unborn. Short stint
    sleeping in a basement
    is better than a tent outside.
    Faith plus hard work applied.
    Return: honor and pride. New life.

  240. break_of_day

    remember when you
    marked your favorite poems
    with pencil lines and dog-ears
    carried books of poetry
    in you backpack
    wrote songs about the boys
    you saw in the hallway
    between classes
    and did not realize
    until years later, when you
    began to write poetry again
    how it was a kind of freedom
    to write anything
    and wash the grit from your bones

  241. mzanemcclellan

    Where Did We Go Wrong?
    Proliferation of the Mega Marts
    Multinational companies so smart,
    make for one stop shopping with little choice,
    political systems without a voice.
    Plethora of jobs for minimum wage,
    lying politicians smiling on stage.
    “I’m going to do this, and of course that.”
    Once in office promises just fall flat.
    Blame it all on the “whatever-o-crats,”
    who blame the ‘cans, but they’re both really rats,
    whose interest is only serving themselves,
    money from fracking natural gas wells.
    Better health care for you? Of course, you bet!
    Simple truth lies with an injured war vet.
    Paperwork galore to see to their needs,
    no doubt at all where this debacle leads.
    A two tier world with a very wide gap.
    Haves and have-nots, red/blue pins on the map.
    Educational systems that don’t teach.
    Yet the prisons ever expand their reach.
    A complex world with more complex problems,
    might need simple solutions to solve them.
    Remove voter apathy from the mix
    one person, one vote, get back to basics.

    ~ M. Zane McClellan

  242. acele

    4/21 Going Back

    Going back…
    to review
    It’s not quite a redo
    a chance to find sticky habits,
    old and new
    clear the clutter
    widen the view

    To the basics…
    what I need
    not the extras in between
    the ground I walk on
    the air I breathe
    the early watering
    of the seed

    Going getting moving there
    back to bended knees in prayer

    to the One,
    the first
    my love

  243. TomNeal

    Basic Writing Advice
    (an intertextual subversion)

    Seeking Sophia in verse, I came to know
    That She did take some pleasure from the pain
    Caused me by my attempt in poetry to show
    Her fair aspects to scoffers who denied the gain
    That knowledge touched by Her might bestow
    On life. I searched through words in books to sustain
    My quest to display Her charm in poesy, but woe
    found me- other men’s thoughts became my bane,
    Taking their words caused my own not to flow
    In fresh and fruitful ways that would entertain
    Sophia and Her court; I had erred, strayed
    From the truth I knew; a self-inflicted blow.
    Cliched verse will never earn its way
    Into Wisdom’s chambers; but in my throes
    She came to me and brought a brief respite,
    ‘Lover,’ she said, ‘look in your heart, and write!’

    1. Linda Goin

      Beautiful (and soothing rhyme), but what have you done here? The closest thing I can find with your rhyme scheme is the Ottava Rima. What have you done here? =)

  244. Walt Wojtanik


    “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.” ~ Samuel Beckett

    We begin again.
    Maybe things didn’t work out like we planned.
    Maybe we liked how it felt and wanted it repeated.
    Maybe we just like being busy; a dizzy go-round we’re on.
    We start.
    We fail.
    We begin again anyway.
    We fail again,
    to begin again.
    It gets easier.
    Each time we fail tells a tale.
    We’ll do it a little better next time.
    A constant rewind.
    We begin again,
    being Finnegan.

  245. donaldillich


    I thought I could be a member of a clean-up crew.
    At the site of messes I would brandish my broom,
    say, “Excuse me, folks,” and swipe and scoop
    whatever needed to be deposited in a buket.
    Everyone would clap, some parents pointing me out
    to their children, “Here’s a man who can clean!”
    I’d bow before them, receiving roses and kisses,
    even carrying kids around on my wide shoulders.
    At home, I swept the kitchen, picking up bits
    of trash, prepared to finish the job with the dustpan.
    Then my wife saw me, and took away my broom.
    “You haven’t done a good job here,” she said.
    Suddenly, I was given a lesson in the basics.
    She invaded the cracks, she took over the sides.
    She moved things expertly, she found many spots
    that I simply neglected or overlooked. Suddenly,
    I felt like a child being taught how to do a simple task,
    like tie a shoe, or pour milk in a glass. I looked up
    at her gratefully, as if she had changed my world.
    By the time she was gone to check her e-mail,
    I was left imagining myself as a lowly intern
    in the clean-up crew. Left to pick up the rest,
    to sinch the bag, while they gathered the applause.

  246. Walt Wojtanik


    You awaken to the alarm clock’s incessant tug,
    a daily bug up your ass that tells you it’s time
    to start over and face the world anew.
    It’s just you (it’s always just you)
    who begins the day the exact same way:
    brewing a pot of liquid motivation,
    dressing for your (misguided) dreams of success,
    and holding hope that expressing your heart
    in the guise of your poetic ponderance
    will exorcize the demons buried deeply
    in the center of your worn and tired psyche.
    You might be too old for this shit, or might not,
    but it beats the alternative, so you live
    one day at a time and you never mind the burden.
    Some days are like that; some days are better.
    Let her dictate the dance and take your chances
    while you still have the gumption. Your major
    malfunction is that you wouldn’t be in this position
    if you didn’t have the heart for it. You use your poet words
    to both curse the darkness and shed your single light
    on unsuspecting souls. It’s you who controls the emotion,
    your iambic devotion to the process gives you
    strength to battle the elements that surround you;
    should it confound you, than you’ll be no worse
    that the rest of the populice. A cathartic release,
    a “do as you please” attitude that will serve you well.
    What the hell, you were built for days such as these.
    Get back to start and basically begin. Again!

  247. Quaker

    I watched two teenagers texting each other
    while next to each other. I did not understand.
    Why? Whatever happened to face-to-face?

    The text language looked alien.
    They were unlearning spelling.
    At that moment I felt like my own grandfather.

    He kept basic: outhouse; horse and buggy;
    nothing electric; wash clothes in the creek;
    no clocks, just roosters, well into 1970.

  248. RuthNott


    Sometimes when I’m quilting
    I want to rush along,
    Forget to press a seam
    Or use thread that isn’t strong.
    Perhaps I didn’t square it right
    Or my seams are a bit too wide.
    Sometimes it seems like little wrongs
    Are just too big to hide!
    That’s when I have to stop and think
    “Now how did Lois do it?”
    ‘Cause back to Beginners Class
    She said it was easy, “Nothing to it!”
    But many years have come and gone
    Between those days and now
    Old age has made my fingers ache
    And I can’t remember how
    To do the simplest little things
    The way that I was taught.
    So what the heck am I going to do
    With all this fabric that I bought?!

    ©2014 by Ruth Nott

  249. Nancy Posey

    No. 2 Pencils and Loose-leaf Paper Poems

    Too young, in fact, to mourn the loss
    that comes with change,
    she nonetheless begins to recognize
    the cost that comes
    with innovation, the way her fingers
    on the keys can’t hope
    to replicate the way her brain worked
    years ago, as she sat
    in the hard molded plastic chair
    in a fifth grade class
    tight grip on her yellow No. 2 pencil
    as she held her place
    in the arithmetic book, half listening
    as the teacher droned
    on and on about numerators, divisors,
    foreign words to her
    as she slipped and wrote the poems
    as they came to her
    on the pale blue lines of the loose-leaf
    paper of her binder,
    her highest thoughts contained within
    the thin red lines
    of the margins, marching down the page.
    These days, her thoughts
    played hide-and-seek, now you see it,
    now you don’t, looking
    for all the world like anyone’s words,
    no determined left slant,
    no deep, swooping tails on her y’s,
    disappearing as the screen
    goes dark at her slightest inattention.

  250. EeLas6678


    Sometimes I wonder if one can only truly fall in love once.
    Eh, I hate that phrase,
    “Fall in love”-as if one doesn’t have a choice.
    One can get back up after the fall,
    that’s also a choice,
    but she has scars.

    I have scars.
    They are noticeable, raised, and carry a weight that holds on strong and
    covers progress,
    a blanket bordered with rough, uneven stitches that even a homeless man would deny.

    spreading with each interaction.
    I thought I knew the cure,
    but it too was the disease.
    Symptoms were apparent,
    white textured patches imbedded in the open sea.
    The beach was supposed to be closed that day, but I wanted to wait and see
    how nature would unfold,
    and it did.

    Emotions surged and raged, but I was helped back to shore…then.
    Witnessed the unnatural; the spite of Mother Nature bringing a hell storm as a party gift,
    can’t be the life of the party when others are swept away by what she calls a gentle breeze.

    I can’t blame her, for I was aware of the storm.
    the sun was shining, but it did not gently caress my face,
    only provided enough light for me to see, yet I was blind.
    I even heard the thunder, but possibilities fueled my ignorance.
    The wind tossed me into a whirl pool,
    moving counterclockwise on hell’s time.
    Bullets pelted my skin,
    lightning struck trees,
    vivid sights and sounds,
    a nightmare in slow motion.
    It had to be, for I was not awake.
    With my body, mind, and soul numb,
    I drowned that day.

    Not sure how long I was submerged, but somehow I eventually surfaced,
    experienced a rebirth of heightened awareness.
    At first I screamed for help!
    Nobody came, and the wet environment I was immersed in made it easy for the disease to spread.
    Hope lost an unfair battle to loneliness,
    the mental voids became physical ghosts,
    weighed me down, but also kept me afloat.

    Years have gone by and many ships have come by to save me,
    but I don’t want to be saved-don’t need it,
    I’ve become a decent swimmer.
    Don’t want saved, but helped back to shore,
    to be covered with a warm, oversized blanket,
    and allow these flaky parts of my flesh
    be devoured by the sea.

    As for Mother Nature’s accomplice,
    I do not seek vengeance-no pay back,
    this heartbreak brought me back,
    water-logged rewiring.
    I wish only to tell him of the disease,
    for he is also infected.
    And although I’m still at sea,
    and he is enjoying the sunset from the shore,
    one day his scars will become apparent and haunt him.
    After all, all is fair in love and war.

    -Emily Lasinsky

  251. Jerry Walraven

    “The seven year old workout”

    Ignoring this idea
    that I am an adult,
    I obey my daughter’s command
    and follow:
    Up the stairs,
    hand over hand across the bars,
    then up the rock wall
    to the platform
    where we slide back down
    while static electricity
    builds and releases.
    Before I can comment,
    we are off again,
    repeating variations
    on the pattern
    until we collapse
    on the ground,
    face up,
    taking in the simple wonder
    of a cloudless spring sky.
    And Time,
    radiating like energy from a child,
    and allows me to gape in wonder
    at her magnificence
    before winding her arms
    and starting again.

  252. kelly letky

    long division

    there are 51 ways to leave your lover
    but only if you’re good at math

    a tree learns early on that survival
    depends on your ability to bend

    the penultimate beat of a dying heart
    echoes perpetually through its last

    odd numbers belong to odd people
    and we’re all stuck at seventeen

    being less than whole takes up more space
    than the chance of being well rounded

    there are zero degrees of separation
    between you and your last neighbor

    if you look into the eyes of pi
    you will meet eternity’s maker

    ~Kelly Letky

  253. bxpoetlover


    I learned how to type in fifth grade
    on a typewriter. My teacher Mr. Gerber
    was grouchy and sarcastic but I loved
    the sound of 30 people tapping out
    the lines of monosyllabic words–
    cat bat hat sat vat–at the same time
    and feeling proud when I had not one

    My father’s old typewriter is still
    in my mother’s house, tucked
    away in a one of the closets–
    we don’t remember which–
    and I keep thinking I should
    search for it and tap out poem,
    just to get back to basics.

  254. drnurit


    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    Is it a memory
    Or is it a dream?
    Is it laughter
    Or is it a scream?

    Is it for real
    Or does he pretend?
    Is it the start
    Or is it the end?

    Is he a rival
    Or is he a friend
    Should I agree
    Or should I contend?

    Am I weak
    Or am I strong?
    Am I right
    Or am I wrong?

    Is it a pleasure
    Or is it a pain?
    Is it a loss
    Or is it a gain?

    Is it the present
    Or is it the past?
    Will it vanish
    Or will it last?

    Is it good
    Or is it bad?
    Am I happy
    Or am I sad?

    Is it love
    Or is it hate?
    Is it too early
    Or is it too late?

    Is it near
    Or is it far?
    Is it a void
    Or is it a star?

    Is it old
    Or is it new?
    Is it me
    Or is it you?

    Is it up
    Or is it down?
    Should I smile
    Or should I frown?

    I guess…

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much TomNeal for reading, for commenting, and for the wise feedback. And, true – my definition of a basic decision is the admission of some indecision…

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much, Andrea, for your supportive comment. As per my beloved Rainer Maria Rilke – I am trying to live the questions now… and even love them… and perhaps I will live along some distant day into the answers… and perhaps not…

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much, Linda, so glad you could relate (more and more I see poetry as a unique bridge between people, emphasizing our common core – across time, across differences…)

  255. Poetess

    Back To The Heart

    The baby steps
    I take each day
    Follow my path
    Carry my way

    Purpose I have
    To see in you
    Myself and love
    See in me too

    Discovering you
    Mirrored I see
    Reflecting light
    I need for me

    Weight lightens
    Burdens bevy
    Muscles stronger
    Gone the levy

    The old refrain
    Lugging along
    Shedding sanely
    My baggage song

    Difficult rhymes
    Expressions true
    Reading them now
    Seeing them new

    Blinders lifted
    The core I see
    Life birthing
    Me in thee

    Look inside
    Feel our fears
    Melt away
    The gone years

    We inspire me
    On this page
    Collective wisdom
    My new sage

    Perhaps you see
    In me yourself
    Letting you feel
    Newfound wealth

    This road’s rich
    Divinely smart
    Doubts? Dare me
    Back to the heart

  256. lshannon

    One eye, arm,
    one leg thrown
    over the bed,
    then the other follows

    Breathe, get up
    breathe, get going
    breathe and walk
    and walk faster

    Wet pavement
    cold dream sweat
    tension and triggers
    breathe and then run

    Down the stairs
    out the back
    beside the river
    away, she flies

    Put in the past
    relax the stress
    tense shoulders
    lost chances

    Failed sources
    and conflicted
    messages gained
    start again

    Jerking forward
    looking back
    building with basics
    doing it over

    One eye, arm
    one leg thrown
    over the bed
    then the other

  257. courageousdreamer

    Back to Basics Night

    I scour my closet,
    For the perfect outfit,
    The little black dress,
    That always turns heads.

    So, I’m back to basics,
    Back to black,
    Back to the shoes,
    Which give me blisters.
    I’ll take the flats,
    Just in case,
    I’m fed up,
    Looking myself in the mirror.

    Reflecting is my face,
    Covered in unsightly spots.
    So, tonight it’s back to basics.
    No bronzer, no eyeshadow,
    Nothing but a light foundation.
    I powder upon my blemished skin.
    I put on my blush,
    I put on my red lipstick.

    And now I’m ready to go.
    Because I’ve got my outfit,
    Dressed from head to toe,
    With the final touch,
    Of a diamond necklace,
    The classic look is complete.
    Black will always be the new black.
    I am a minimalist, after all.

      1. courageousdreamer

        Oops. I didn’t mean to make it sound sad but reading it back, I can see that. I just wanted to do something simple that didn’t need any confusing metaphors. It’s just someone getting ready. Thank you very much, PressOn! You’ve been absolutely fantastic with commenting on everyone’s poems. I really love yours too.

  258. Walt Wojtanik


    Starting from here;
    going on from now.
    A fresh start is at the heart
    of all that is to come.
    A brand new day
    comes to call, and all
    that transpires grows
    from the seeds planted
    in the twenty days prior.
    That fire in your belly
    spurs you on, a prodding
    giving the nod to better things.
    A fresh start is at the heart
    of perfecting your art.
    It all up to you
    to begin anew.

  259. Espen Stenersrod

    Day 21


    Closed mouth
    So many words
    Sentence after sentence blossom
    The respondent nods
    With a peaceful look on his face

    With a closed mouth
    Speaking out from his heart
    He truly understands
    With no sound
    Yet so loud
    Emotions worn around his vocal chord
    As he drags it out
    And places beauty on a thin line
    From the corner of his mouth

    The respondent cries
    He just knows
    It is mutual

  260. dsborden

    Basic Bread Making
    by D. S. Borden


    yeast package rip
    warm water
    frothy bubble
    beer scent

    abandon spoon
    fingers soft and sticky
    billow white
    tickled nose and sneeze

    roll a ball
    olive oil
    rest and rise
    punch and gasp

    oven heat
    a tender face
    watch and wait
    don’t cut
    pull and tear
    butter there
    smile and share

  261. Mark Conroy

    “Someone New”

    I knelt in front of the fireplace
    Reached in and took out the blackened host.
    Joey was there.
    This was our communion made from the heat of the day.
    We grew up together next door born only 10 days apart.
    I was older. He was the brother I never had as a friend.
    Joe and I shared everything and fought to see who was right.
    We played in the basements and attics too.
    They were our only places to get completely away.
    They shot Stevie in Joe’s outside cellar.
    He was sick and bit someone. We were maybe five.
    The basement was full of tools from his Grandpa’s glass factory.
    There was a lead melting machine that made toy soldiers.
    We stood together looking down at the crucible.
    As the treasured scraps melted in, they settled together.
    And shined back up at us from a pool of silver.
    A crust cooled and darken the top, so you couldn’t see in anymore.
    We were close, our heads together, watching who he would be.
    Joe tipped the bowl and poured out an Indian.
    We had made someone new, Joey and me.
    Only one perfect circle of crust remained to be scraped away.

    Mark Conroy

  262. LCaramanna

    Rocket Science

    I read the book,
    that was that
    key to success in school.
    I read the book,
    that’s all, that’s that –
    no smart boards, no Google,
    just books to devour
    with eager read.
    Not rocket science,
    I read the book.

  263. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Solid Foundation

    Can’t place a roof, until the foundation is set.
    Can’t write a sentence, ’til the letters are learned.
    Can’t calculate, until we learn the feel of mud between our toes.
    The Arts are essential, the nuts and bolts of the Three R’s.
    Without them, we no longer have our roots,
    rather, we become robotic, spewing facts and figures
    without the ability to critically think matters through.
    The future cannot be built on standardized flotsam.
    In order to take solid first steps, we must first
    master knowledge, dancing, singing and painting
    with words or on canvas the wonderment of now.

  264. Sasha A. Palmer

    “Don’t shoot me I’m only the piano player” (or haiku writer) – I’m adding another one to the string of haiku I’ve been writing. 21 prompts, 21 haiku. Have a great Monday everyone.

    beyond the welkin
    a sleepy angel awakes
    off to work wings brushed

    the commute is quick
    one giant leap for mankind
    for angel one step

    the task is simple
    persuade men to be happy
    that’s what angels do

    since the creation
    happiness has been men’s foe
    men prefer ruin

    men long for passion
    harmony unsettles them
    men would rather burn

    men inhale cities
    drink beneath the rural moon
    on the airplane wings

    ever amateur
    created in God’s image
    hopelessly human

    torment their lovers
    dance themselves to destruction
    ever lonely men

    finding no refuge
    men cry when they see the Pope
    vagabond pilgrims

    empires rise and fall
    look back foresee the future
    humans do not change

    men bend their beliefs
    divide sex and sentiment
    still believe in love

    strolls through central park
    wild quarrels starting over
    beautiful and damned

    men battle their beasts
    walk along the precipice
    all the sad young men

    if i were God i
    dancers and storytellers
    always reasoning

    love is all there is
    still men crave bitter in sweet
    never satisfied

    men beat on borne back
    ceaselessly into the past
    silent tombstones speak

    lost generation
    paradigmatic writings
    jazz age any age

    winter dreams wear off
    the prickly dust of late spring
    freshness of lilacs

    pink floating dresses
    pink babies in pink bonnets
    it all starts anew

    a tight fellowship
    flappers and philosophers
    a curious case

    men tamper with faith
    yet at the end of the day
    all want to come home

  265. RuthieShev

    I Think I Can
    Like the Little Engine that could
    I finally think I can.
    Lose the weight I know I should
    Cause I actually have a plan.
    I’d wake up each morning and tell myself
    Today is the day I succeed
    I will take out every book off the shelf
    Till I find the one I need.
    I’d start off each day with a vengeance
    Like a masked crusader of old
    But I couldn’t go the distance
    So my efforts would often turn cold.
    I tried every diet I could find
    From every place or venue
    By bedtime I’d go through my mind
    Wondering why I couldn’t follow through.
    Then one day it hit me
    Back to the basics is the way to go
    Exercise and counting calories
    Losing weight steady and slow.
    So this morning I am feeling great
    Because I have a plan
    To eat healthy and not another day wait
    To get healthy like I know I can.

  266. Andrea Heiberg

    Writing on The Door

    Like always wondering
    what’s going on
    I close the door
    I leave the phone
    no need for fun
    I’m writing poems.

    Only I love poems
    love wondering
    my kind of fun
    like going on
    forever on the phone
    when you’re at the door.

    I look up at the door
    when reading poems
    sensing my phone
    I’m wondering
    like something’s going on.
    Is this fun?

    I’ll define fun
    I say to the door
    need to know what’s going on
    it’s there in the poems
    I can’t help wondering
    I reach for the phone

    No, I will not phone
    not even for fun.
    Who needs wondering?
    No one’s at the door
    no new poems
    don’t know what’s going on.

    Nothing’s going on.
    Where did I put my phone?
    Found some old poems,
    where’s the fun?
    Why no knocking on the door?
    I’m wondering.

    Being with you is fun
    I must open the door
    and define wondering.

      1. Andrea Heiberg

        I’ve been up all night writing because Robert Brewer kept “going on” with these form poems … so I decided to have a go. So during these holidays I studied sestinas. And here I go. At 5 o’clock in the morning I really wished that it would fit the prompt and I think it does.
        Best wishs Linda … go, go, go

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        Andrea, I did indeed read this. I love the concise nature of your words in a form that can get rather verbose to make a point. But, that is what you did. And you made it LOOK easy. I know what a struggle a Sestina (and I love Sestinas) can be. That your are working basic forms tells me that you are constantly striving to improve, and that’s what we are about, isn’t it? I enjoy your work (you know that) and wish I had more time to comment on it. Keep on the journey! We travel the same road.

        1. Andrea Heiberg

          To read these words from a Sestina expert is so wonderful. And yes, I started writing about a poodle dog because the Sestina prompt was about animals and then I ended up with this. So yes, writing a Sestina is hard work … so when I finally got there, I hoped so much that it would fit today’s prompt and I’m so grateful that it did because today there were no more poems in me.
          I love your view about improving your work.

      1. Andrea Heiberg

        Thank you, I feel so honored. And I’m so sorry that I don’t dare comment that much … but it’s also because I’m fighting to get online and to enter the website. So just now, I guess that these lines – already prepared in Words – will be online in around an hour, hopefully. Anyway, if I could call you on the phone, I’d tell you what poems of yours work for me … but as it is, I just tell you here that I enjoy your poems very much.

  267. Walt Wojtanik

    start the day

    the day begins nestled, snug,
    hugging the pillow adrift in misty dreams.
    there a vicious rumor the alarm will intone
    in five or seven, and every nine minutes
    thereafter. you know you have to wake up,
    you’ve been tired since you retired and you’ve
    tossed and turned all night. but you’ll be alright,
    you’ll not fight it. instead you decide to go back to bed.
    say goodnight, gracie!

  268. Jezzie

    Back to Basics

    Quill pens, ledgers – bring them all back.
    Throw away computers on a disused railway track.
    Bury them deep and plant over lots of trees,
    or take them to the bottom of the deepest seas!

    I don’t think that we were this stressed fifty years ago.
    except when we couldn’t get through the driving snow.
    So much information, how can one take it in?
    And do we really need it for our happiness within?

    I remember when we had our first computers.
    They were bigger than a pile of invalid scooters!
    There was an army of personnel pumping info in,
    and a forest load of trees spewed out, which ended in the bin.

    Clerks used to write neatly and were proud of their work,
    and typists got it right first time, or else it would irk.
    Information came from an encyclopaedia,
    and we didn’t have to believe all the rubbish in the media!

    People had conversations, using their voices,
    not their fingers texting, making irritating noises.
    Next door neighbours would come in for some tea.
    Now they’re in all alone, playing on their Wii!

    So I think IT is a four letter word.
    We’re out of control, it has become absurd.
    Bring back politeness, contentment and some cheer
    and let’s communicate again with our neighbours near.

    1. Julieann

      Oh so well said. It is time to get back to basics and what really matters. I also love the line “So I think IT is a four letter word.” The picture of computers being bigger than a pile of invalid scooters is priceless! Well said!!