Editors Blog

2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

Spent yesterday catching up on sleep after attending the super fun Austin International Poetry Festival with Tammy. If you’ve had any issues with posting or anything else related to the challenge, please send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. I hope everyone’s been having fun!

Today is a Tuesday, so two prompts:

  • Write a violent poem. Could be person on person violence, person on animal, animal on animal, nature on person/animal/nature, and so on (insects, erosion, cosmos, etc.).
  • Write a peaceful poem. I suppose this might be the opposite of a violent poem. But perhaps not.


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Here’s my attempt at a Violent and/or Peaceful Poem:

“opportunity: threat”

he presses a gun to your head
says you have just one shot at this
so you darn well best get it right

and you think i’ve never been right
in a lifetime of bad mistakes
missed opportunities always

revealing themselves afterwards
like that night in alabama
when it might have been more than lust

but then you realize the gun the man
held to your head is no longer
present and neither is the man


Today’s guest judge is…

Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley

Tom is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University, the director of Steel Toe Books, and the bassist for the litcore rock band Manley Pointer. Forthcoming are his fourth full-length book, Plunk (Wayne State College Press), and an edited collection of essays called Creative Writing Studies: An Introduction to Its Pedagogies (Southern Illinois University Press).

Tom’s poems have been featured three times on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor and five times on Verse Daily. Among his publication credits are Atlanta Review, New Orleans Review, Five Points, TriQuarterly, North American Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and New York Quarterly.

He divides his time between Kansas and Oz.

Learn more here: http://www.steeltoebooks.com/books/70.html.


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. He’s fascinated by the constant balance (or lack of) between violence and peace. Learn more about him here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.


Don’t get violent; find your inner peace with these posts:


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681 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 8

  1. Suzanne_Noelle

    Self Harm

    Shiny silver leaves
    Deep red rivulets
    In a pristine
    Blank white expanse.

    Pain, but why
    Why is it
    So enjoyable to
    Feel such hurt?

    Angry world, angry
    At her, but
    She is angry
    At them, too.

    If they won’t
    Stop creating such
    Hatred and fury
    Why should she?

    Watch their expressions
    Turn from hate
    To pity, to
    Pain and sorrow.

    If they exist
    Only to feign
    Care, however, then
    Why should she

    Exist at all?

  2. IndiFox

    Breed Violence

    He was raised on bitter milk
    And an uncaring mother
    She was raised with a harsh hand
    And an authoritarian father
    Breed violence
    From the same rotten tree

    Years later
    Side by side and face to face
    Meeting for, what felt like, the first time
    Days later
    In secrecy their minds entwined
    While others wagged their tongues

    Two distinct pieces
    From a broken puzzle
    They shared something deep
    A rarity
    While their lovers could only dream
    Of obtaining such favour

    They would dream of alternate universes
    Of meeting, and not being family
    She wants to run, it’s all she knows
    But he must stay, and do right by them
    Forget the feelings
    And just be friends

    In secret they still meet
    In thoughts and dreams
    They converse with their minds
    And the vaguest words
    Knowing what they have
    While the world sleeps

  3. bbjzmn

    day 8
    he sat there anxious, waiting for the weight of what he did to beat him senseless

    but in the end it was the calm that he felt that haunted him.

  4. dixonlm2

    The Library- Location Poem for April 23, 2014

    The library is such a wonderful place,
    One can visit regardless, of case.

    Whether simply looking for a good read,
    The printed word can plant a valued seed.

    Then there is the Internet wait line,
    For researchers or jobseekers in a bind.

    Vast spaces for simple quiet peace.
    Troubling, conflicting thoughts can cease.

    The library – a place open to all,
    Doesn’t matter if one is short or tall.

    Keep the library! It is such a sacred space,
    Which meets many needs, no matter the taste.

    Lynn M. Dixon

  5. bxpoetlover

    If You Had Called

    I would have gone to that empty house
    and talked that gun away from your temple

    For the sake of the three children
    you would leave behind. You had such
    a talent for writing and computer technology.

    I wish you had gone for help
    rid yourself of the demons that plagued you
    and found peace.

  6. azkbc

    He’s Sleeping

    “Let’s be quiet,” Mommy whispered
    and held her finger to her lips.
    She said “Shhh”
    as she looked at you and me.
    Hunter had fallen asleep
    nestled deep in his swing.
    You stood and watched as he slept
    and squirmed a little in his nest.
    I stepped back and watched you both.
    Then you put your finger to your lips,
    patted him on the head, turned to me
    and said, “Shhh, Hunter sleeping.”
    You backed away, ran to the playroom
    and loudly whispered “Wow” as you stacked
    and toppled towers of blocks
    as Hunter slept on into the afternoon.

  7. TuLife

    “Betrayal with a Kiss”
    By: Tuere Aisha

    What I fail to understand is this:
    why you betray me with a kiss.
    Your breath is bittersweet,
    blazing my face as they meet.
    Your lips are firm and chapped –
    with every touch, another slap.
    Your tongue – a scathing whip;
    my flesh and skin it’s sure to rip.
    Why not simply stab me with a knife –
    rid me of the hurt and strife?
    Why not shoot me with a gun,
    that I may die swiftly and let it be done?
    Why not use a sword to pierce me straight through?
    Just let me go quickly, whatever you do.
    Use any weapon that you wish.
    But please, do not betray me with a kiss.

  8. larrywlawrence


    spreading like a disease, with over 800,000 hits,still going
    they’re fighting in the streets,kicking each other in the ribs,
    dragging women by their hair,beating each other down in
    school yards,restaurants,on city buses,put it on You Tube.
    Bystanders,no longer stand by,they hold their phones up high.

    Commenting on the action,laughing at the poundings,gasping
    at the beatings,shocked by the blood flow,but still recording.
    No one tries to break it up, avert the crisis,diffuse the conflict,
    or call the cops, happy to push record,glad the beating is not
    on them,while others sit at home- clicking, watching, sharing.

  9. Mr. Walker

    Every Red Light

    driving makes me crazy

    so every red light now
    is a moment of peace

    a time to sit
               to breathe
               to be

    not driving
    not thinking

    not worrying
    about the other drivers
    or the time
    or my destination

    this red light
    this time now
    is for me
    to be at peace

  10. LCaramanna

    Daffodil Bouquet

    A daffodil feels no peace,
    sunshine yellow face
    no opposition to flakes of swirling snow.
    Though the calendar marks spring,
    a daffodil feels no peace.
    scissors of good fortune shear her
    peaceful admiration
    in a coffee table crystal vase display.

    Lorraine Caramanna

  11. kimberleetm

    Scurrilous Furrilous

    A cat fight,
    Scraps of fur
    Littering the rug,
    Always looks worse while
    The claws are out.
    Pick up the patches
    And see
    It does not add up
    To one whole cat.
    The loser washes up
    Nervously. The winner?
    Takes the same

  12. ianchandler


    found you tearing open the postscript
    & we bursted the glass bubble you held
    so dearly because we grew jealous of your
    illusion. saw you running through fields &
    eclipsed your jaunt with pocketknives and
    a terrible cold. heard your dentist appt. went
    well & we took our grubby little fingers to
    your molars, one by one, like the whole time
    we were sitting in a gas station while it
    rained, trying to catch a squinted glimpse
    at the blood moon, the hill that painted
    itself real in my mind, the voyeur’s precipice,
    the one we could never find, so we took
    iron and wire and tore you apart like that
    was us, because it was.

  13. schmads09

    “Finding Your Inner Peace”

    A past family vacation. A night out with friends.
    We all have our own vision of perfection.
    Find yours and use it as a buffer.

    Bad days are as certain to happen upon us
    As the sun is to set each day.
    You cannot avoid them, but you can lesson their impact.

    Think back to a happier time.
    What better way to show yourself
    That your current struggles will pass?

    Whether your happy place is a beach,
    Or the living room couch with your pets.
    Commit that image to memory and visit it frequently.

    The psychological impact of happy memories
    Can have a reverberating effect on your mindset
    And thus, the remainder of your day.

    These memories may not make the bad times disappear.
    But they will remind you, if only for a moment,
    Of the better times that are sure to find you soon.

  14. Erica


    You could never tell unless you looked for it.

    Stitched on his back between strips of

    scratched flesh, lay her name written with razor blades and lust.

    Across his shoulder, her bite marks

    as deep as a 30 day fast and

    licked clean.

    Dead centered on his chest,

    her hand print dented into his bones.

    You could see it from a mile away.

    Her face bright like sunshine from

    the movement of his hips. The way

    he covered her like rain, dove into her

    and never remainder further

    away than her shadow.

    -Erica Jeudy©

  15. ambermarie

    Lynch Me

    A gas chamber of negative thoughts pollutes my insides
    Spiced cupid wakes me with a crossbow
    Cursing parents who gave me diamonds
    I wash the gambled gems in the hollow stairwell, alone
    Déjà vu – a pink salamander going down into danger
    An anonymous room for dancing
    Eating fire and brimstone
    Holding hands in hiding
    With men misunderstanding my quest

    For travel I go to the world within
    For outside it’s always more of the same –
    Pretending and competition
    The styles forever in fashion
    I lost my ticket to a funeral
    The final part of this journey
    My baggage doesn’t quite fit
    En route to our absolute destination

  16. Yolee

    The City Gal Visits a Friendly Farm

    Thru slats of the cattle gate, a chicken
    gets pecked until gutted by two carrion
    crows. They dig into the fowl’s eyes then
    flap shiny wings and stamp perspective
    with an impossibly blue sky. But to her,
    purple and green plumage hacked
    into the horizon.

    The City Gal Receives an Unexpected Guest

    She listens to nature’s eternal dialogue
    and comes across frizzy wigs topping
    tall peaks. Other than that, the thin
    trees are branchless. The sandy trail
    disappears in a weave of fog and wet
    ground. Is it possible for there to be
    greater peace beyond the pond of light?

  17. Brandi Beck


    Hulking black goliath roars down the gravel road
    churning up gravel and spewing grit,
    announcing itself in shuddering rumbles
    and bright cracks in the sky.

    Birds fall back in a flurry of feathers and fear.
    Small prey retreat to burrows and holes.
    Herds scatter in panic to outrun the beast
    as it advances with rage upon the field.

    Without mercy it flogs its way forward,
    chewing a path through slender reeds and wild roses,
    leaving lush cattails ripped from their roots and
    young saplings torn at their throats.

    Leveling the rank and file of summer corn,
    it gnarls and growls unhindered in its trek.
    The wind ravaged tree break drops branches in defeat
    as the valley surrenders in a volley of hail and rain.


    Soothing rays of warming sun
    reach between the slits in the lightening sky.
    Lingering dew drops kiss quivering leaves
    then softly slip into the sleeping pond.
    Chirps and croaks and whistles welcome the morning
    and life scurries awake in the lush green valley.

  18. Jezzie

    On waking from violent dreams

    And after the thunder and lightning
    that tormented me during the night,
    while I lay there tossing and turning
    in my tangled sheets convulsed with fright,
    came the sweet melody of morning

    Bleary eyes opened wide to the sight
    through the closed curtains in the dawning
    where I could see a small chink of light,
    and I wondered if there was meaning
    to my nightmares or if my dreams might
    be wrong.

    And I drifted again into sleep
    to the chorus of birds’ “cheep,cheep, cheep”.

  19. Megaparsec

    . On the day I graduated
    . I knew all was soon to change
    . I looked up at the
    . Stars
    .And saw my finite in your infinite
    . And felt your
    . Peace

    . On the day I traveled
    . At night alone through Africa
    . I looked up at the
    . Stars
    .And saw your knowing in my unknown
    . And felt your
    . Comfort

    . Today I am sitting
    . By myself on the balcony
    . Looking up at the
    . Stars
    . I am waiting and am not afraid
    . I feel your
    . Smile

  20. jacq

    Green Lizards and Yellow Cupcakes
    by Jacqualine Hart

    With lizards and cupcakes on my mind
    bubbles erupt as the cool water
    flows between my fingers and the
    ivory bar. Washing away my colorful
    façade. Despising him as my true mask
    is revealed. Now vibrant eggplant, oh
    how I long for pale eye lids and cheek
    bones free of reddened hatred. A time
    where hands delivered warmth instead of
    heat. Back when laughter filled our home with
    birthday wishes. For our son, won’t you
    reconsider. Shred this masquerade,
    cleanse your soul. Take me back to a time
    when the three of us would play with
    green lizards and eat yellow cupcakes.

  21. Glory


    Dark, sulphurous, shadows
    leaping high on walls lit
    by firelight,
    calling, whispering.
    as fear, hot and strong
    weaves deep within her.

    Madeline, do it now,
    they call, voices blending
    with their song,
    rising high, do it now,
    never ending words that
    burn within her soul.

    Cold, the knife held tight,
    ice within, all feeling fled,
    an empty heart
    that fuels her hand and slices
    deep, releasing blood,
    red blood, crimson, warm.

  22. pamelaraw

    To The Woman Who Called at 7:15 AM to Break Up with Her Man

    I overhear him tell you
    he told you up front
    that he lived with his mother
    and worked at the college
    but didn’t have a degree.

    I believe him, just like I believe
    you knew even at that hour,
    even on the bus, he’d answer
    your call. I’m not saying
    he’s a good man or the right

    man, but must you break
    a brother down at the start
    of his day like all those cardboard
    boxes stuffed in blue
    recycle bins by the curb?

    All day I thought about your call,
    the everyday violence we endure,
    the words that slice us open,
    the cicatrix that seals our souls
    so we can move through.

  23. emmaisan0wl

    ‘Peaceful’ Is A Prison
    “I tried to write a poem about peace,
    but my nails grew long and sharp and
    forbade me
    from holding a pen. when I opened my lips
    to speak my heart gentle, my teeth
    drew blood
    from my stuttering mouth. in truth,
    I cannot be happy
    while blood beats its way slowly
    through my veins. I cannot live
    without a racing heartbeat. in truth,
    I am only at peace
    when I am at war.”

  24. Poetic_line

    They Know Your Name

    Your mother’s lover
    lies on a slab,
    your DNA on his lips
    from the blood in your punch
    delivered like dinner
    and last rites all at once.

    Your phantom knife
    cut his flesh so fine;
    lye in a bathtub
    can’t dissolve
    your guilt.

    You wear handcuffs
    like gold bangles
    and dance on tiptoe
    down the last hall
    you will ever see.

    Rosalyn Marhatta

  25. cdonnelltx@yahoo.com

    Am I too late for day 8? I am running behind but trying to catch up. Like my sloooow keyboard…..

    A Perfect Fit

    My hands fit around
    the marble of her throat
    like Michelangelo had carved
    the groove for my
    fingers alone.

    My first and only
    love so true
    I thought
    for a few brief moments

    Bliss until I saw
    her smiling
    at everyone
    but me.

    They pulled the switch today
    The drugs presented me
    For the first time
    in my hard life
    A few moments
    of peace.

  26. Andrea Heiberg

    Dressed in Dinner Jackets

    they fight
    scream loudly
    at four o’clock in the morning
    before battling during the day
    only just now
    the seagulls stand in pairs
    proudly looking somewhere else
    having their own way of
    daylight saving,
    peace written
    all over place.

  27. emmaisan0wl

    A Drink To Your Demise
    my autocratic jawline rips the nerve endings in my teeth exposed
    and that,
    that is what you feel like.
    you’re the screech in my pain receptors when I bite down.
    I dig half-moons into my pulsing palms
    imagining dissecting your bones with my bare hands,
    pushing threaded needles through your lips
    to keep your stupid, stupid, clever mouth from mocking so.
    I will tear gaping fissures in your throat so that you
    will always have the last laugh,
    just as you wanted, my dear. just as you always wanted.
    you are the only person I’ve ever hated
    and my god, do I have good reason.

  28. kimdorfman


    It was a card game,
    A long time ago,
    At school.
    played behind doors,
    of conference rooms,
    closed off from the library.

    Several of us played,
    Furtively, daily.
    We were 13, maybe 14 years old.

    I have forgotten the rules,
    But I know that when you lost a round,
    Your fisted knuckles got whacked with
    An entire deck of cards
    Until you bled.

    The boys were bold,
    Swaggered and sucked blood
    As it pool down the back of their hands,
    Then moved on to each next game.

    The girls,
    I remember we didn’t cry,
    But winced or flinched.
    Standing, in our jeans, breathless,
    Waiting to lose
    And get smacked.

    I don’t know about the others, but for me,
    That strong whap of cards brought peace,
    The wounds making me feel cared for.

    Looking at my knuckles, scraped raw of skin,
    White before blood drew up
    I always remembered, warmly,
    That it was David who’d hit me
    Of the strong thighs, and a voice that rumbled
    kind and disparaging.
    He hit me harder than he did the other girls.

    It never hurt, my hand.
    And afterwards, I’d roam from class to class, dreamy,
    Eyeing the rawness of my knuckles,
    that losing, and David,
    had created.

  29. Earl Parsons

    Why Rant?

    Why do we rant?
    Why do we complain?
    Why are we so dissatisfied with the way things are?
    Why do we worry about things we have no control over?
    Because we’re human
    We have a lot of passion
    And we care deeply about things in our world
    Even though most of our concerns are beyond our control
    So we speak our mind
    And reach out for support
    Knowing that we might strike out
    And draw out those who would silence us if they could
    But we believe
    In all that we believe
    And for those of us who truly believe
    There is no way we will be silenced as long as we have breath
    So we rant
    With a peaceful soul
    Because our beliefs carry us
    And we are strong and will not bend
    No matter what the opposition brings into play
    Because where there is peace in the heart, there is absolute truth
    And where there is God
    There is His Son, Jesus Christ
    He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
    No man will see the face of God without Him
    And so we who truly care about the lost and misled
    Rant for God
    Rant for Jesus Christ
    Rant so the lost will find eternal life
    Rant with a peaceful heart and a loving spirit
    And that’s why I rant

    © Earl Parsons

  30. grcran

    Malice of a Rainbow
    By gpr crane

    He had a fish in his boat already, plenty of meat to feed two.
    He kept on fishing ‘cause he liked the violence, liked the fighting venue.
    Hoping to hook a really huge one, wanting to wrassle that guy,
    Soon enough then came attacking big boy, this fish was born to defy
    Line left the reel as the trout showed his power, hated the steely hard hook
    Rainbows get mean when they’re schooling and growing, vying for bait in the brook
    The angler’s equipment wore out that rascal, along with a measure of skill
    Fish came alongside, speckled and coloured, fisherman poised for the kill
    Beauty in sunlight of pink blue-green silver, fisherman couldn’t not see
    Reason to release the proud strong predator, swam away healthy and free

  31. Delaina Miller

    River Ends

    From the head it rages down
    moving earth reflecting sky.
    It pushes and shoves
    in rumbles and roars.
    A violent lullaby.

    Swift current rushes
    around that which refuses
    to move. Never looking back
    never to return
    as time passes by.

    At the river’s end
    an artist paints
    a skimming dragon fly
    above a placid pan
    that reflects the sky.

  32. Jaleese Nicole

    Running, I stumble
    I trip over my own emotions.
    The wall I built has long since fallen
    But yours remains strong.
    I turn away so you can’t see me.
    I won’t allow it
    Because I am afraid.
    Because I am mad.
    It will not happen.
    Now I run but you are close.
    A hopeless battle but
    You won’t know that.
    You don’t know what I hide
    And therefore you will blindly kill me.
    I cannot make myself fit your shell but
    You will still try anyways.
    I escape but you find me.
    You always find me.
    Hold me down until I can’t breathe.
    It’s what is best, you think.
    Once death has taken me
    You begin your incisions, cutting away at me
    Until I begin to somewhat resemble an image of you.
    But we are made differently so
    You cannot continue.
    I am left on the floor,
    Blood pooled around me.
    Parts missing open wounds.
    I don’t resemble myself anymore
    But I don’t quite look like you either.
    You don’t look back as you walk away.
    Blood covered mouth.
    Hand dripping with my now cold blood.
    -Jaleese Nicole, Running

  33. AC Leming

    two fer, a bit late


    At the same time I wanna hug you, I wanna wrap my hands around your neck
    “True Love”, P!nk
    I tamp down my rage
    both types learned from my parents.

    Dad’s violent flare up which burns out —
    is forgotten, forgiven in five minutes
    and the long, slow burn my mom perfected.

    I can’t carry them both any longer.
    I can’t haul this stomach full of acid around.
    It burns every word I don’t utter
    and swallow instead, to keep the peace.
    It etches into my skin
    the faint smile I muster for you
    when you enter a room.

    I know it’s there,
    the voice I packed away on dry ice,
    pock-mocked and faint with disuse.

    I know I can revive it.
    But only if I can control
    my urge to scream out my frustration.
    If I breathe in calm and exhale
    the urge to follow that song’s suggestion
    a wrap my hands around your neck.

    Losing Custody

    He looks so peaceful
    paws up around his nose,
    head tucked between his legs.
    Curled up on his dog bed,
    full of fur and dander.

    I’m losing him too,
    in my quest to break free
    and find myself again.
    To see if I can excise
    the guilt and expectation
    of perfection imposed from
    the outside and from within.

    I’ll miss those slightly different
    colored brown eyes,
    the drool left upon my lap
    when he removes his dark chocolate head
    from its usual resting place.
    I may miss the dog more,
    to tell you the truth.

  34. georgiana


    It started with a calm day, hot, humid, summer.
    But there was more: an anticipation. A sense of
    What was coming.
    Get ready, we were warned. Run from the rain
    They said, but hide from the wind.
    We waited until the last minute
    When paranoia and the eerie empty feel of the streets,
    And the closing of the texmex place around the corner
    Prickled our fear.

    So we packed up.
    We took the dogs and the cats and
    Our youngest son, still at home.
    We stacked in all the photo albums
    And the plastic box with passports medical records
    And birth certificates.
    “Should we take both cars?” I asked.
    “We have insurance.” He said.
    It is just stuff and
    Stuff is replaceable.

    The wind came, and not finding us,
    Twisted the trees and played tiddley winks with shingles.
    And the rain came, and couldn’t catch us,
    but still the carpets were soaked and smelled bad.
    Green slime filled the sparkling pool
    While the temperature climbed
    But the linemen couldn’t.

    So we lit candles and perspired
    And taught our kid to put together puzzles
    Since his beloved Xbox took power.
    And when we finally got news
    And the count of the dead
    We learned that the surge had swept away
    Houses, streets, whole villages.
    But they didn’t say what everyone knew
    That no one would ever know the real number,
    bodies might never be found.
    Mostly the old ones, who knew that evacuation
    Could be like war.

  35. jean

    A Peacefully Violent Haiku Stack —

    Coyotes howling
    Over the mauled, wild turkey
    Hidden harem moaning

    Hawk circles closer
    Zeroing in to see it
    Carcass remaining

    Quiet, lazy loops
    A beautiful scavenger
    O’er peaceful meadow

  36. tradford

    The Knife

    A missile-flash, a chopper-crash,
    a field of charred debris –
    A team of five are burned alive
    and that leaves only me.

    A stranded man in hostile land,
    a radio that’s cracked,
    a uniform that’s soiled and torn –
    at least I’m still intact.

    A dire strait – I’ll lie in wait
    until it’s safe to go,
    a star-less night, no moon in sight –
    the clouds are hanging low.

    I take a fix – it’s twenty clicks
    from here to friendly ground,
    the path I take is one I’ll make –
    there’s danger all around.

    The woods are dense – my warrior’s sense
    will help me stay aware,
    each step I take, I leave no wake –
    it’s like I wasn’t there.

    I reach the ledge at river’s edge –
    I think I’ll cross it here,
    the dogs will fail to find my trail –
    my scent will disappear.

    I’m tired and sore, but distant shore
    is not beyond my reach,
    a current-flow that’s smooth and slow –
    I crest the muddy beach.

    It’s just my luck, I clear the muck
    and there – a border post,
    a band of men who’ve settled in –
    a dozen at the most.

    Their numbers show by ember’s glow –
    a fire they failed to keep,
    I pan the scene and all’s serene –
    the sentry’s fast asleep.

    The coast is clear, I’m leaving here –
    I’ll keep my head down low,
    but in the midst – a sordid twist
    I notice as I go.

    While sneaking by, I realize
    there are fewer than I thought –
    just four at best and all the rest
    are women that they caught.

    I’ll change my plan – no decent man
    could leave this group of slaves –
    a forced consort, secured for sport
    and surely bound for graves.

    Like napping cats on woven mats
    and each beside a gun,
    I’ll take each life with just my knife –
    I’ll kill them one by one.

    I hug the ground and make no sound,
    I’m one with shadows – still,
    a deadly storm in human form –
    a viper trained to kill.

    The ground is damp around their camp –
    the brush is soft with dew,
    it’s sure to mask my pending task –
    by methods tried and true.

    The first I reach – I have to teach
    him what it’s like to die,
    I move behind and slice his spine –
    make sure he doesn’t cry.

    I feel him tense, the pain immense –
    he takes his final breath,
    without a peep, eternal sleep –
    the peacefulness of death.

    The second one is just a son,
    no bigger than a speck –
    I know my cause, but still I pause
    before I break his neck.

    Despite his size, I rationalize
    that what I do is right,
    a brief remorse, then back on course –
    I can’t afford a fight.

    So discreet for twenty feet –
    I’m poised to make my play,
    no need to hide, he’s on his side
    and faced the other way.

    I cup his mouth and flip him south –
    I’ve caught him by surprise,
    my painted face and foreign race
    put terror in his eyes.

    I have my blade already laid
    an inch below his ear,
    he tries to move – I have to prove
    the reason why I’m here.

    A sudden twitch and like a switch,
    his blood begins to flow –
    I hold him close in still repose,
    when limp – I let him go.

    The last to kill is lying still –
    no longer prone to snore,
    a chance I take, perhaps awake –
    less movement than before.

    A dozen feet before we meet –
    it may be no surprise,
    I move in haste, no time to waste –
    and then I see his eyes!

    He grabs his gun – I can’t just run
    or he’ll surely cut me down,
    without my knife, he’ll own my life –
    but I drop it on the ground.

    Before he stands – with gun in hands,
    he sends me to my knees,
    the muzzle placed against my face –
    his trigger gets a squeeze.

    I’m almost sick when I hear a “click” –
    and that’s all the time I need
    to grab my knife and end his life –
    I watch him fall and bleed.

    I’ve won the fight, but now the night
    has changed to light of day –
    a welcome sound, we’ve all been found –
    a Huey’s on the way!

  37. Andrea Heiberg

    Dressed in Dinner Jackets

    they fight
    scream loudly
    at four o’clock in the morning
    before battling during the day
    only just now
    the seagulls stand in pairs
    proudly looking somewhere else
    having their own way of
    saving daylight
    giving me a break.

  38. ToniBee3


    I collapse to my knees
    After the blow to my gut then
    Fold in a coil to cope
    Which leaves me bent sideways

    Shuddering and clenching my fingers
    Together like dead spider legs
    On that cold slippery floor
    Howling like a wolf

    Praying these inhuman attackers
    Would just go away
    Because it’s not like I can escape
    So I suffer through the process

    As they take their time
    Torturing me with unceasing
    Stabbings to my abdomen
    Erupting something internal

    Forcing me to vomit hysterically
    Until I shrink
    That’s when it settles down
    And I mull over all of this

    Questioning why they violated me
    But more so
    Why I even considered
    Slurping them from a half shell

  39. Snowqueen

    I see a bench it waits for me nearby
    The sun and puffy clouds float in the sky
    Gently a breeze dances across my skin
    The entertaining squirrel he makes me grin

    How sweet the bird song from the Maple tree
    The cheerful laugh of children sets me free
    A passing dog gives me a little kiss
    This bench, this day, it’s magical, it’s bliss

  40. PenConnor

    The Eye of the Storm

    You might think I’d rage in my grief,
    and cry till I shook like a leaf.
    Although it won’t show,
    and no one may know,
    today, all I feel is relief.

  41. Kay Kauffman

    Noisy Peace
    Kay Kauffman

    Thunder rolls across
    The prairie in advance of
    Some much-needed rain.

    Windows rattle in
    Their frames, but the sound fills me
    With a profound peace.

    (c) 2014. All rights reserved.

  42. Louise Findlay

    Title: Peace and War, War and Peace

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    One extends the other,
    The never-ending cycle.

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    Two states of time,
    Never overlapping.

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    Death resides in both,
    Safe in neither.

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    The same,
    But different.

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    The end of one,
    Starts the other.

    Peace and War,
    War and Peace.

    May one,
    End the other.

  43. Geoffrey

    How you got that impressive black eye

    There’s something clean and exhilarating about getting into a fight.
    A burst of pure wild joy about walloping some asshole with all of your strength, feeling your fist connect.
    Tomorrow your knuckles are going to hurt, oh boy, will they ever, you’re going to think you broke two maybe three fingers, but no hurt today, no just incandescent electric fire pumping through your muscles, through your brain.
    You’re a beast, with anger burning through you like 150 proof white lightning, you are the vengeance of God, and God it feels good.
    It’s not likely that any of your punches does any real damage, and he tags you about three times for every hit you manage to land, but you don’t feel any of it, at least, not until the next day, when it’s all going to go hit you at once
    And you’re not likely to even see the punch that takes you out.

    All you can say is: you should have seen the other guy.

  44. mimzy13


    I lift the gun,
    its long weight towards the high speck.
    Rhythm of the sickle

    shaped wings, my heart
    thumps where the wooden stock
    makes its bruise. Gray feathers

    raining on the blind: no sound,
    numbness below the shoulder.
    Around me the air sharpened

    with sulfur and charcoal,
    my tongue recoiling too.
    I wanted to say I didn’t know.

    Watching it plummet
    achingly, beak first as into a bristling
    golden sea. It could not hit the ground
    hard enough.

  45. BezBawni


    some news may be a sea to deep to delve;
    death after death, depression, overdose,
    and, let’s be honest, deep down to ourselves
    we think, ‘Thank God, not me, not someone close.’

    I’d watch, I’d say, “Oh, my!” and for a while
    I would be shocked or sad, but then I’d go
    about my business, chanting from my isle,
    ‘Not me, not mine, not somebody I know.’

    with all the losk and comfort of our lives
    it’s hard to see: the world’s not just the West;
    there’s hunger, destitution, human hives. . .
    ‘Not me, not mine, not dearest or nearest!’

    who knows, maybe, it is our only way:
    to watch the world like through a mired lens
    and thus survive, in peace and calm, but hey,
    indifference is peaceful violence.
    by Lucretia Amstell

  46. JamesW

    War and Peace (Or a Civil Peace)

    We are at peace now, thank you
    In the war we fought and killed, now we leave that to disease
    Those who won had the strongest barricades and sandbag walls
    Now they are behind stone walls that hide well-kept lawns
    Our women who were ravished have peace now
    Their broken husbands touch them not
    The children carried guns that are now quiet
    Grown into gangly adolescents, they miss the power of those days
    And contend with shafts of blunt axes instead
    I see that when you are running for dear life you don’t feel hungry
    For now our tummies rumble in peace,
    Where we shouted and screamed with conviction
    We now ramble peacefully in insipid talk
    And all around stubborn bits of wall of torched houses
    Stand as monuments to that time
    As tombstones to those who were lucky enough to die
    To not see the gnawing calm of this civil peace.

  47. shethra77

    Here is a poem about violence.

    The R Word

    So one day she called him to explain
    why her mother said
    he should not come over any more,
    and in the course of her explanation said,

    “Of course it was rape, honey.”

    He objected so to
    her use of That Word.

    You would think that it was her
    who’d taken him to a place miles away
    from family or friends
    and told him with her knife in her pocket
    that she couldn’t be responsible for her actions
    if she were denied.

    You would think she had been the one
    to wake him every night
    with calls to the cell phone she’d bought him
    to leave him stumbling through his high school day.
    You would think she had threatened to hurt his family,
    had told him all the time how little they loved him,
    and how,
    if they knew what he really was like, they
    would kick him out into the street.

    You would think he was the one
    who’d been wronged,
    for whom anyone would feel sorrow.

    But my god no.
    What he’d done
    wasn’t that.
    Not rape.

    Here is a peacetime poem.


    Isaac Rosenberg
    haunted me for years.
    I’d no idea
    where the picture in my mind
    came from–a man
    by himself, in the midst of a war,
    surrounded by blasted gray buildings,
    with a poppy in his pocket.
    I didn’t know his name.
    or which war.

    Many years later
    Susan and Stan
    found Isaac for me
    in a volume of poetry of the Great War.
    Really, the poppy was tucked up
    in his ear.
    He was not alone–fellow soldiers
    slept around him.
    Also that rat was scampering along.
    And he pretended
    his poppy was safe with him.
    Both safe.

    Of course he died in World War I;
    brilliant people could hardly die quickly enough then.
    One report online said his burial place was unknown.
    I refused to believe that, and
    hunted until I found a picture of his gravestone.

    And then
    I cried and cried
    for my friend
    the artist and poet
    who died in 1918,
    six months before the Armistice.

    It was good of him to take the time to haunt me
    and bring me poppies.
    Shalom, Isaac.

  48. Amirae Garcia

    She – Amirae Garcia

    She comes home and we are hiding under our beds,
    the real boogeyman in the flesh lurking in our hallways.
    She puts on a mask and invades the house.
    She calls it protection, disguising it under the pretense of family.

    The chains fall onto our backs as we fall onto our knees; and she,
    plucking the forgiveness out of our mouths as if it was owed to her,
    stalks through the house until the unruliness settles.
    But we do not settle. This is not how it is supposed to be.

    She adorns herself in flowers and wonders why we are still shaking.
    We are still in the middle of her war, trekking through her tornado.
    We cannot know what to expect. The violence in our minds have left
    scars that cannot vanish. These scars we don’t know how to be without.

    She hurts. Family does not hurt; and how heavy are our hearts
    with such oppression, with the daggers in her eyes and words.
    She swears that this is love, but this is not love.
    She is acid down my throat and I can’t spit her out.

  49. Jay Sizemore


    They took turns. She let herself go numb, blood running down her thighs, her screams muffled by the football helmet they had forced onto her head backwards, her own ragged breath loud in her ears. They used the facemask as a handle to leverage their thrusts. Butterface, oh, Butterface, they moaned in sarcastic pleasure. She didn’t remember blacking out, but she woke in the dark locker room, her panties twisted around her left ankle, used condoms littering the floor like deflated jellyfish. The taste of sweat was rank in her mouth until she pulled the helmet off.


    In the gym, she lets them look at her. Some of them must recognize her from her films. She’s famous among certain circles of men, those who delete their internet history before their wives get home. She works out in a sports bra and hot-pants, shows off the tattoos on her midriff and left thigh: a series of black birds cascading up into her ribs, and on her leg a pink flamingo. They don’t know her, and this is good. The exercises she chooses are not subtle. Squats, so they can see her ass. Dead lifts, to let them look down her shirt. A few glances and naughty smiles and they want her. She wants them to want her. A meet-up by the water fountain or near the exit usually seals the deal.


    It’s the best sex of their lives. It always is. The power of porn worship. She wants them to remember it forever. The way the memories chased after her, chased her across fifteen states and countless years. They go multiple times, no condom, her tubes are tied. She lets them do whatever they want, says she’s had it all before. She tells them their dicks are huge, even when they’re not. They sleep like dreamless babes. It’s so easy to find them. Only a few left to go. Since she ran away from home, changed her name, changed her face, became the big star. They don’t remember what they called her. So, she leaves them notes. “I’m not a porn star any more. I have A.I.D.S. Now, so do you. Love, Butterface”

  50. Aberdeen Lane

    peace after pirates

    clinging to a crumbling plank from her ship
    she washes into shore
    exhausted she grabs onto the sand

    the sun is setting
    the orange glow
    the fires of hell
    behind her

    her clothes in shreds
    around her skeleton

    she rests for a moment
    yet in that moment
    the wisdom of ages
    the energy phages
    in steady stages
    she begins to raise her head

    hair tangled with seaweed
    she pushes up to her knees
    the waves still lapping up from behind

    she steadies herself
    pauses and readies
    then on to her feet
    hands still in the sand
    arching up
    still with the plank in her hand
    she uses it as a cane
    and steps slowly

    confidence no longer marginalized
    she stands tall
    and slowly
    one finger from the plank




    and slowly it falls to the sand
    and she rises
    into the moonight
    to find herself at peace

    for now

  51. k_weber


    Recently, I screamed
    on the inside. At 36.
    That shriek was so sharp
    and ripped through
    muscle and cut my bones
    to splinters. There was
    heat and my knees
    wanted to give
    and leave me in a pile
    of myself on the floor.
    This is the shit
    that I am: invisible
    and without a sound.

    The nine medications
    can’t seem to touch
    a fucking thing and I
    am 16 with no pills
    and screaming on the outside
    and ripping fingernails
    down my face, my arms.
    Only enough scratch
    to break the skin
    and maybe bring blood
    to the fresh wound
    because scars should
    not form and end

    up in conversation.

    — k weber

  52. Julieann


    Late in the evening the sky is alight
    With a spectacular fireworks display
    Of pink and red and blue streaks
    As the sun slips below the horizon

    I walk along the water’s edge
    With ripples gently lapping at my toes
    Stopping time and time again
    To watch the day end and night begin

    The last rays vanish, the show is over,
    The sun is gone, the sky is black –
    For a moment, before the full moon rises
    Over that selfsame horizon

    Casting its silvery light onto the sand
    Shinning moon beams play across the
    Water’s surface, inviting me in for a cool swim
    To rinse away the cares of the day

    Afterwards, I sit on the sandy shore to watch
    In awe, as the moon creeps higher and higher
    Its light growing and glowing and I wonder
    What must it be like to be that man in the moon?

  53. JoCam

    Peaceful Poem

    Today I am not mad at anybody.
    Today I wander about in a cloud of
    friendliness, like cotton candy,
    no particular taste, but oh, so sweet!

    Today the clouds wander about in a sky of
    pale robin’s egg blue,
    like puffs of meringue
    floating on a thick but still liquid jello pudding

    No thoughts of thunderstorms,
    regretful of yesterday’s rain,
    today, only wanting to float, offending no one,
    no threats, no uncertainties…
    Well, is it going to rain or is it?
    They say it’ll go to freezing in the north.

    No freezing here. Nor torrid humidity.
    Bees are starting to buzz, although there are few flowers.
    I shake the clouds’ hands and sail along my way
    As they sail along theirs.

  54. JoCam

    Violent Poem

    A kid knifed his buddies today,
    sweeping downstrokes into their backs,
    their arms, their necks.
    Before that it was all about guns. We
    all advocated getting rid of guns,
    or at the very least, strictly regulating
    who could have them.
    So now, here are these knives.
    Shivs, I suppose, or maybe
    hunting knives, the kind any Maine boy
    carries in case he runs into a deer.
    Or butcher knives,
    or carving knives, like the old lady
    who off’d the three blind mice
    or pen knives, the kind
    we used once to play mumbledepeg,
    with no idea of hurting anyone,
    just enjoying the risk
    of shearing off a toe.

  55. clcediting


    There is a moment
    just before the storm
    when the world is silent
    holding its breath.
    She’s always holding hers.

    Storms are unpredictable
    sometimes dying out
    sometime gaining intensity
    violence right under the surface
    often times unseen
    until it’s too late.
    And it’s always too late.

    She used to chase storms
    running after danger
    if she could just catch the tail
    she could somehow tame it.

    All she ever got
    was battered
    and bruised
    and tossed around.
    Storms don’t care that you love them.
    They can’t see that you’re trying
    to help.
    They don’t realize
    that they’re causing you pain.
    That you, like the girl,
    think you deserve it.
    Because storms;
    they can’t be tamed.

  56. hohlwein


    What is it about squirrels?
    They run across the street and when traffic is coming. Stop.
    Then run almost all the way back to the curb and stop.
    Turn and run right under the wheels of the truck.

    I am in the car behind.
    I see this happening.
    I pray it won’t do what I know it will do.

    It is back safe, almost to the curb
    It turns, runs exactly right under the wheels of the truck.
    I swerve, but look in the mirror.

    I see it flopping in pain,
    its front half, flattened,
    its beautiful tail
    as if it is the hand of someone drowning.

    I thought: I’ll forget about this little fella
    before long but my day is winding down
    and I still see that tail, flag of hopeless hope,
    lit flickering bronze in the light of morning.
    His body has probably been run over thirty times since.

    I think: this is what it has been like – loving those I need the most.
    I see phantoms of them, one by one,
    waving in my rear-view mirror.

  57. KiManou

    Peaceful Coexistence

    In between e-Minor and e-Major octaves
    In between jagged cracks in the concrete with the weeds
    In between patterned seat cushions loose
    In between noisy rusted train cars
    In between dog-eared pages of a mystery book
    In between the rich mahogany shelves
    among tiny dust particles
    My peace is in the details
    I choose to find it


  58. Zeenie

    conversation with my future daughter

    There are maps on the insides
    of my wrists she will see
    when she holds my hand –

    thwarted cartography,
    highways she has not noticed
    on other bodies, spilled ink
    from the poet’s cold pen.

    My beautiful child, I’ll say,
    I want you to trust maps,
    use them to find your way.

    Do not paint yourself with guilt
    for pain the explorer endured
    to create the paths you walk –
    these roads of violence

    are now strong enough
    to carry you, the most
    peaceful beat of my life.

  59. danceoftheletters

    Peace and Me

    Silence beckons with an invisible finger and no voice
    summoning me from task
    from mind moving faster than body
    from time to timeless,
    do to be—
    to Now.

    A great whirl of doing and thinking,
    I suck myself into the eye of this storm,
    stillness a stranger those first awkward moments—
    as I, gawky and adolescent at being intimate with peace,
    learn what to do with my lanky, knobby limbs.
    I fold them like table legs beneath me, squat
    in front of Peace and propose to her that we marry,
    that we live happily ever now.

    She smiles, shy and brave at once, and I know instantly
    that she has many lovers. Peace
    was never meant to be monogamous,
    caressing with her countless unseen arms, the
    restlessness of millions. But I
    can stay as long as I want, she whispers like a sensual wind.

    As long as I wish, I can remain under the spread of her skirts
    not for the sake of hanky panky, but for shelter
    from the curse of haste, the normal of speed, press of deadline, lack of rest.
    Peace allows me to lay my head in her lap as if I were her only love
    and I do. I say I do without words, taking vows to stay true to her
    for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health til death do us make one.
    When Peace smiles, the sun rises in the space where thought was
    and for just the blink of her eye, I forget who I am without her.

  60. Heidi


    Great Aunt Martha
    testifies stories
    at the farm wood table
    of searchlights in the night
    scouring a black sky white
    while crawling belly
    down in the mud trench
    sneaking to a boat waiting
    hope to a new country,
    North Dakota.

    She gives me a dill pickle
    whole, from the mason jar
    heavy with garlic and brine
    one, she chides, only one.

    To mom and dad
    resting arms on
    worn wood and checkered cloth
    she continues the story.
    Uncle Adolf hidden
    three weeks standing
    in the hollow of a barn post
    while the Russian troop
    searched and searched
    with blood tipped bayonets,
    all in their wake.

    I want another pickle
    Great Aunt Martha
    instead gives me one sausage,
    only one, butchered and cured
    on Grandpa’s farm.

    Great Aunt Martha says
    mustard gas knocked down
    Grandpa’s lungs when he
    was young and strong.
    Soldiers with blood tipped boots
    dumped the dead on top of him.
    Somehow, he dug his way out
    through spilled guts and
    maggot stench.
    He crawled on his belly
    away from the blood soaked fields,
    to a boat and a hope
    to a new country,
    North Dakota.

    Heidi R. de Contreras

  61. jsmadge

    Coming Home

    Fragile steps
    Through broken glass, candy wrappers, tires propped
    Against chain link fences bent to salute
    The unmanagable master.

    This world: where wood rectangles represent
    Windows, where weeds sprout thrilling through asphalt
    And empty swimming pools collect cracks, crack
    Pipes, and jump rope cries cruise overhead,
    Through air filled with the sounds of us living broken
    Lives, frayed beyond mending, but oh so sweet
    So fine
    Because they belong to us.

    Jo Steigerwald

  62. Mariya Koleva

    Suddenly we think it is OK
    to throw empty plates,
    or even full and dirty,
    around and down,
    smash them on the floor
    or on the walls,
    although we run the risk
    of leaving stains
    that we will have to clean
    later on.

    Stains tend to remain
    and tarry on,
    if only in our minds.

    If only in our minds…

  63. jadetney

    This is definitely not a finished product but I’m posting what I have because I’m tired of working on it for now.

    think of are vastness
    fields glowing gold
    pressing against the straight edge
    of brilliant sky

    think of heights and crevices
    great hunks of rock and dirt
    papered over with pines and firs
    stomach dropping into unknown valleys

    think of green green coasts
    twisting, hopping, doubling back
    dark grey waves
    rushing up and down misty beaches

    think of something frozen
    something white grey brown
    and skinny shrubs guarding rushing rivers
    patches of tiny, tenacious flowers

    we are all full of imaginings
    of this deep empty landscape
    imagining ourselves out there alone,
    spinning into the sublime

    but we are enveloped, haunted by
    ghosts shimmering above the corn
    sliding between conifers
    bloodying the coasts

    the ghosts push through us
    swell and crash amongst us
    and we shiver
    and wonder why everything still feels so cold

  64. Funkomatic

    Anyone can love a mountain
    It takes a soul to love the prairie

    Each bill arrives devoid of procession
    Fanfare is for the caring spectators

    I’m angry at the men waiting for the train
    All daughters should walk in safety

    The newscasters vomit after the show
    No one can stomach so much poison

    Pile those hates and rages in the basement
    Let’s tend the foxtail tonight

  65. derrdevil

    The Observer
    By Derryn Warwick Raymond

    She was the one that stilled his heart to chill
    A beat between the past and now, yet still
    She knew not of her power over him
    He smiled and quieted breath, he drew her in
    He watched her walk in hand with him afar
    His heart, it skipped, but still he’d wait for her

  66. Michelle Murrish

    Mountain Top
    By Michelle Murrish

    Pushing through the bramble, cutting at my flesh
    I see the mountain peak, calling me to climb on
    My foot slips sideways into a hole
    And I can feel the muscles stretch beyond natural
    Yet still the summit beckons me, promising the view of a lifetime
    By now more then half of her is behind me
    My head has already headed back
    But my heart is two steps ahead
    Desperately seeking a glimpse of eternity
    Scabs are forming, only to be ripped anew
    I can only hope then when I reach the top
    All my scars will be worth it

  67. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Man-made Violence

    Twin Towers Down,
    School Shootings,
    Boston Bombing,
    A plane GONE,

    Human Nature’s Path

    Natural Violence

    Land Slides, Floods,
    Polar Vortex,

    Mother Nature’s Wrath

  68. Penny Henderson


    He throws his words like knives,
    aimed like the bullets of an expert sniper.
    They enter her heart
    through the vulnerable neck,
    avoiding her bullet proof vest-
    hardened and strengthened
    by years of deflection.
    She staunches the wound
    and grows another callous

  69. lily black

    Two 4 Tuesday
    He came in soft as a bear with a t-shirt stating I Heart NY you might buy at an airport for a child Playing guitar like he was Keith or Eric or someone you follow for years on the open road. Planting gardens of purple veined okra and peppers that brought tears to your eyes they were so sweetly hot.
    Not one to whisper I love you since he didn’t I pretended that he did and he wanted me for more than a tin roof and a cold meal. Giving giving giving gave what I could but he wanted my blood.
    Vintage dress torn off in the driveway in front of another man who ran away. Head cracked against old Texas limestone. Teeth loose in my head they rattle still. Smashing a heart does not show or make a sound. No one knows but sunglasses for a week to work in an office? Deserted on a country road in gloom running not knowing I could keeping the pace never finding solace but running still I hide from a bear that was not soft at all.

    Peace Man

    She stands with two fingers in the air singing to an uninformed uniformed Rhode Island National Guardsman.
    She demands the war stop now!
    Forty years later
    She yells at drivers who get her in way
    Her car covered in peace signs and hearts
    Peace is elusive and love is too.

  70. mrs.mjbauer

    I try to avoid violence
    Protect my mind from darkness
    I try to shut out
    What happens to others
    I want to believe in a world
    That is good and bright
    This is your reality
    If I want to help
    I won’t pretend
    It didn’t happen

    by Mary Bauer

  71. modscribery

    Day 8: Violent/Peaceful poem

    “A Thorn”

    I’ve had one in my thumb for some time.

    You know how thorns are.
    You don’t notice one
    inserting itself into your thumb.
    But later, a certain spot hurts,
    though you can’t see anything there.

    Faintly at first, you notice it there,
    beneath the layers of your skin.
    It doesn’t belong there,
    but how can you say that of
    something so deeply embedded in your thumb?

    It may take a long time
    to work its way out.
    But it’s something that must happen,
    even though it is painful
    and a little disgusting.

    that pricking, painful thing,
    will ooze out from under your skin.
    There will be a hole in your thumb,
    because even though it didn’t belong there,
    it created a place for itself,
    a place now empty.

    Over time, I have heard,
    the memory of pain becomes less painful.
    Wounds heal,
    leaving scars,
    a reminder to be more careful.

    I have heard that thorns in thumbs are not usually fatal.
    I hope this is true.

    * * *
    Find a few more of my poems here: http://ascribescommonplace.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html

  72. acele

    2 Mourning Doves

    2 mourning doves pecked side by side
    In the whet crack in a parking lot
    I observed them as I backed into my slot
    Suddenly the radio seemed so raucous and brash
    The engine so guttural
    I turned back the key and listened
    Birds singing in inches distant trees
    Glancing now and again at the doves with their side by side love as the waddled and pecked at the ground
    For they are partners for life
    Glancing back again, they were gone

    A. Cele

    Gave my attempt at violent poetry yesterday. Today this peaceful poem landed in front of me!

  73. gus

    Day 8: Razor Blades

    The fine blade sinks
    Deep into my arm.
    I feel the pain,
    I feel something again.
    I’ve been so lost
    I haven’t felt anything
    In so long.
    Nothing but sadness,
    But it was all kept inside.
    And as the blood flows
    From my wrists,
    The pain flows
    With it.

    -Gus Gonzalez

  74. carolemt87

    Tell me Detroit

    Tell me Detroit
    what you were thinking
    in August of 1968
    in the relentless summer heat
    cops raiding that party
    Vietnam vet returning home.

    Tell me Detroit
    do you still bear the scars
    of that burning
    of those wounded and dead
    your belly full of hate?

    Tell me Detroit
    in this great city
    of glass, concrete and steel
    this city of dying neighborhoods
    has all hope abandoned you?

    Tell me Detroit
    why those six men beat Steve Utash
    and stole his money and credit cards
    after the accident when he tried
    to help the boy, David Harris,
    who stepped off the curb
    in front of his truck.

    Tell me Detroit
    I want to understand
    my hometown
    with our proud heritage
    our Beirut-like neighborhoods
    is this the new face of our city?
    a city starving for heroes
    festering again
    in its own rage.

    Carol J Carpenter

  75. Melahlah

    (My Violence Poem)

    Her mouth
    is a sawed-off shotgun
    loaded with the carefully chosen
    ammo of her words
    aimed to do the most harm
    to their target
    Her fingers
    are a machine gun
    typing rapid fire keystrokes
    obliterating anyone within range
    She is an unpinned granade
    A verbal hit-woman
    A killer of peace
    War in haute couture

    (My Peace Poem)

    Peace floats through the soul of time
    Drifts through its spirit
    Gracing all who reach for it

  76. Blaise


    How can the priest dare
    to offer us his sign of Peace?
    History of Crusades and Inquisitions
    Holy wars and torture
    centuries of tithes and tributes
    unabashed wealth
    to now support oppression
    and pedophilia.
    Can forgiveness be so easily bought?

  77. robinamelia

    Apocalyptic Dream Variation #118

    Rocking gently on the porch swing,
    balcony with a view of the great city
    Babylon, we whisper, affectionately.

    The old porch swing’s arcs turn jagged:
    what train charges below us here?
    The buildings across the river start to crumble.

    We count, triumphantly, as they fall,
    but we are sinking too.
    Hold hands. Pray fast.

    Land in the rubble,
    Do our cell phones work?
    We must call our dead mothers.

    Robin Amelia Morris

  78. Jaywig

    Violent/ Peaceful

    Hard to imagine
    flash flood, raging torrent,
    a dam ready to burst,
    coastlines vanishing under
    rising imperatives.

    Outside crickets chirrup,
    The blackness is warmly
    wet, water drops gently,
    quietly, as if
    telling you a secret.

    Drive safely, I say.
    She toots three times.
    Wet tail lights shimmer
    like jewels in amber.

  79. maxie409

    I Didn’t Know

    Those of us who go
    for country drives
    and stop to exclaim
    “Oh look at the cute little fox”
    obviously have no clue.
    On hearing of the decimation
    of your flock I have had to
    redefine my definition cute.
    And though I know
    it will do nothing
    to restore peace in the hen-house
    I still feel the need
    to apologize to your chickens.

  80. sharon4

    Pittsburgh, Fierce Endings
    Sharon Fagan McDermott

    Shared it vibrant with the stars, those happy hours
    of small town beers and barbecued wings
    Aloft above the brimming streets, the sellers
    with their Steeler tees and hats have all gone home,
    and the gravel-voiced swinger of blooms, today some shamrocks
    tucked around green-dyed carnations.
    Before the moon made all pale the night,
    We tried once more to make it right, the lights
    against the PPG, more castle now than commerce.
    Three rivers flow against, within, they confluence
    and flatten with the barges progress on the Mon.
    No better sight than bridges far as sight can see,
    a galaxy of boats upon the star-filled swells
    and in the blue lit baseball stadium, a roar’s gone up
    another score.
    We’ve scarce begun to find our way
    back, no road, not hacked up trail. the incline’s jaunty red
    stays silent on the hillside. Only the evening fills
    with classic rock, the clack of pool balls
    at Dee’s and the hostile jostling from the crowds
    on Carson. Between us, all is cracked, lost: old love, new love.
    This brick, this girder, the sure shellac of mortar
    is all illusion in this city made of every solid thing,
    but man-made, darling, man-made and there’s
    where all the crumbling begins.

  81. anneemcwilliams


    New nurse, first job, night shift.
    A man with Alzheimer’s roams
    the halls, lamenting his past.
    Night after night, pacing, tearful,
    he’d grab my hand, confess, always
    the same, every bit unchanged:
    In 1940, while working in the rail yard,
    he and a coworker left a drunk man
    lying on railroad tracks, knowing
    what would happen. And it did.

    I once read a story about sick animals
    being pushed off the decks of ships,
    how they’d swim as long as they could,
    never to reach land. This is information
    I wish I didn’t know. I am unable to use
    the kinds of words, that under different
    circumstances, might be easy to speak
    or hold up to morning light

    first draft 04/08/2014

    my house

    is full of books
    a home full of dog-eared
    specimens with circled bits,
    underlined sections and marginal
    notes, my very own autobiographical
    fossilized records piled high, everywhere.
    I imagine my retirement a lesson in living
    with far less space and much more elucidation.
    who cares about a neat house, a made bed, or good food.

    first draft 04/08/2014

  82. Bakhtiar Ahmed


    Now I turn my back on you,
    Now I take revenge,
    Now my love has turned to hatred,
    No more can I pretend

    I will take you down,
    Before I self-destruct
    Now is my time,
    Now is my day,
    I will take you down to hell,

    Endure the burning, the pain,
    And enjoy,
    Eternity will be your only friend,
    The pain and the misery,
    There will be no end
    Enjoy !!!

    Now I am what I never was,
    Now I am what I always wanted to be,
    I am the devil and I am taking you down,
    To the deepest circles of hell,

    Now you will know the pain that you never knew,
    Rot in there forever,
    And enjoy
    Eternity will be your only friend
    The pain and the misery,
    There will be no end,
    Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
    Burn! Burn! Burn!

    I am the devil,
    I am the demon,
    I am the nightmare,
    I am the evil,
    I have traded all my feelings,
    For the one I need the most,
    I am full of hatred now,
    And would love to see you roast,
    In the deepest circles of hell
    Eternity will be your only friend,
    The pain, the misery,
    There will be no end,
    Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

    I am the one,
    Who will stand with you till the end,
    I am the one,
    Who will relish your pain till the end,
    I am the one,
    Who will revel in your misery till the end,

    I am here to help you,
    Go through all the agony,
    Suffer all the pain,
    That you once give me,
    With scorn and disdain

    Burn in the deepest circles of hell,
    Eternity will be your only friend,
    The pain, the misery,
    There will be no end,
    Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

  83. ina

    I guess this is my peaceful poem…Ina Roy-Faderman

    Insulin Pump, From Medtronic

    Movies give needles
    such a bad rap, a rap-utation, you might say.
    A false calm glinting from a close-up hand,
    in the deaths of unwanted dogs
    and tied-off gasps of rock bottom or
    street corner deaths.

    But I live a life of peaceful needles.
    A tiny shish-sh, shish-sh as the suture goes
    in and out, in and out, in
    the quiet of the white
    operating tile. The birth of a baby bunting –
    bamboo needles clicking-clack
    clicking clack. The stab in miniature every morning,
    watching a needle finer than a hair
    reach under my skin,
    touch my blood, making my cyborg self
    whole again.

  84. lionmother

    Phone Call

    The doctor’s words cut
    like glass and I wanted
    to throw the phone through
    the window to erase them
    I seethe inside as I realize
    I am not the driver here
    This is not a fender bender
    no this is a five care pile up
    of one upon another
    assaulting your body
    and keeping you away
    from me.


    Dark green leafy trees
    stand tall as a shaft of
    sunlight bathes the scene
    creating peace in my soul

  85. Scott Jacobson


    The expression of your body exhausts the philosopher’s daily meditations.
    The painters caravan in to document the silhouette of your hip.
    And then the doctors show up to try to replicate you
    using botox, silicone, plastic wrap, and duck tape. The television
    folks fired all their actresses and made you a reality TV star.
    It was the saddest thing, you became everyones sweetheart
    so decided not to return my calls so I wrote you a book
    of sonnets so big it accidently killed a reporter doing
    a documentary about you. The spectators demand
    a clean cut followed by fireworks and a personal
    appearance. She wants to accept but she is under
    contract to make a lifetime worth of life’s sequels.

  86. seingraham


    When I grow up I’ll go to war
    I’ll learn to shoot a gun
    and go far away and I’ll kill
    people I don’t know…
    lots of them
    And I’ll be glad to do it,
    all for a flag
    When children are asked,
    what do you want to be when
    you grow up
    None of them answer, a soldier,
    a marine, a mean-lean, killing
    And yet, and yet…


    It never occurred to me how impossible
    it might be to describe a concept to a child
    An innocent whose frame of reference
    doesn’t yet extend to encompass such
    atrocities as war
    So how to explain the need for peace

    I give him a teddy-bear that is tie-dyed,
    a souvenir from a trip to New Orleans;
    I don’t notice until he’s holding it that
    the bear is sporting a peace sign on its
    miniature T-shirt, and naturally the 2 year
    old wants to know what it “says”

    He understands the hexagonal red road
    signs mean “stop”, and the inverted yellow
    triangles mean “wait” (yield actually, but
    it’s a word still beyond him)
    But peace? I try to explain about fighting
    and then no fighting
    He nods wisely, asks me if it’s like when he
    and his brother “hit” and then get into
    Is it “peace” when they both stop hitting
    In a way, I tell him, in a way…

  87. silencebreaksyourheart

    There are blades under every angle of your body;
    you pretend to hide them but when the lights go dim,
    you can’t help but use them on your skin. There is
    violence that abounds every night and I can
    never convince you of your worth beyond what
    those razors will tell you; you see, your worth is
    only measured in the weight of blood but it,
    no, it will never be enough. Because those thin
    sheets of metal have become insurmountable walls
    that surround your fragile heart. If someone were to do
    to you what you have done to yourself, they would be
    sentenced to life in prison for the violent torture
    perpetrated against your body and your mind. So I
    will ask you again and again, until the day you can,
    to put down the blades and shake yourself in the sun
    where that darkness can’t touch you anymore.

    -S. Monahan
    All Rights Reserved

  88. FaerieTalePoet

    What Would you be?

    If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

    I would be unicorn so that only those who believed in me could see me.

    Idealistic, you may say. But for me, the little girl, who cried herself to sleep every night during grade school, bullies taunts echoing in my mind. I didn’t turn towards violence, no Columbine rebel, no fierce wolf, not even a cowardly lion. No, instead my inner child chooses the unicorn. That symbol of innocence, of peace, of magic.

    Dana A. Campbell

  89. ina

    More poems about cats and autopsies

    This lack of empathy is disturbing.
    Like the man come down in a UFO whose
    rays can’t penetrate a tinfoil cap,
    I cannot understand you when
    you wear a Caterpillar cap, especially
    if it’s backwards.

    I do not comprehend comparison
    shopping for HumVs or glitter jeans.
    I do not understand the impetus for
    writing poem after poem about
    the goodness of God without ever
    using an interesting adjective, or
    the need to strap a bomb to your chest
    before you ram your car into a busload
    of boys who need a job and have signed up
    to direct traffic through the desert.

    I cannot believe in the grapefruit and
    egg diet, your need for speed, conspiracy
    theories about the moon landing,
    or competitive parenting.

    When you tell me that HIV is a government
    plot against you, or that cancer is visited on
    people who eat the flesh of animals,
    or trickle down economics is
    raining money down if those people weren’t too
    lazy to grab it, I may have my head cocked as
    if I’m listening but inside my head,
    my fingers are in my ears and
    my mouth is saying, “Lalala I can’t hear you.”

    I cannot manage a single poem about the
    woman in the grocery store whose sweatshirt
    bears the symbols of the sorority she joined 57
    years ago come October. I cannot write
    about eggplant, or shattered light bulbs,
    or the suit who always orders a soy latte
    before going to see his mistress.

    Snow shovels. Snow shovels, I get.
    But no one writes poems about
    snow shovels. So I’m left with writing
    poems about cats or autopsies.
    I’m sure that I will think of something more,

    –Ina Roy-Faderman

  90. Nanamaxtwo

    The Bridge

    ‘There is no peace / outside the song’
    John Berryman

    Henry down beats on the bridge;
    contrails of formation, exhaustion
    parallel to memoirs of loss
    soar beyond false expectations.
    He makes ‘ready to move’
    from shame, liquor, need need
    that joyful gaiety swimming the depths
    of alcohol, rising to fall
    on death’s freedom rock.

  91. Mokosh28

    The Threat of Butterflies

    She had come to visit in the midst of
    extermination. On lemon tree leaves
    worms gorged and writhed. Men in hazard
    gear aimed hoses full of poison.

    The mistress of the orchard apologized, explaining
    that caterpillars had been legion
    this year. Every seven summers
    they come like this, she frowned.

    But the guest believed in promise, the will to wait
    out sleep. Secretly, she let three or
    four crawl upon her fingers. Then a few
    more. Eased them in

    her handbag. On the journey home, she
    stopped for lemon trees which
    she later bedded between roses and
    gardenias. By late August

    the yard was argentine festooned
    with glancing wings. Butterflies licked
    honey from her fingers while, across town, her friend,
    was left with perfect lemons.

  92. tbell

    Help Me Hurt

    Help me hurt, O God.

    Not just a little bit
    a passing sensation
    to appease my sense
    of righteous kindness

    help me hurt big, deep

    for the orphan
    barely surviving in squalor
    her worm-filled stomach
    crawling with death-ache

    help me hurt big, deep

    for the mother
    with AIDS who numbs
    despair with alcohol cradling
    the child she infected die

    help me hurt big, deep

    for the innocent
    his just-learning-to-walk legs
    blown off by a land mine left
    as offering in so-called holy war

    help me hurt big, deep

    for the daughter
    holding her mother’s wrinkled
    hand in a hospice-vigil-goodbye
    to the woman who birthed her

    help me hurt big, deep

    never content to forget
    the overlooked and perishing
    never comfortable to turn
    away too long from suffering
    including my own

    help me hurt big, deep

    that I might always desire
    to do something about the hurting
    even when the only something I can do
    is to remember not to forget
    to feel the wounds of the world.

    Copyright © TD Bell
    All Rights Reserved

  93. P.A. Beyer

    The Prisoner’s Dilemma





  94. Ashley Marie Egan

    I only had time to write one poem today, and I wrote a “violent” one. I was planning on writing a “peaceful” one, but life got a little busy.

    The Execution of Greed
    by Ashley Marie Egan

    “Aren’t you tired,
    of all the cruelty?
    Of the heart wrenching,
    bullshit on TV?” he asked,
    He paced with purpose,
    Explaining his motivation,
    It seemed important to him,
    That I understand why,
    It was the only way,
    He wouldn’t kill me,
    He wanted to see,
    If I regretted my choices,
    If I had any humanity left.

    The Truth is,
    If it weren’t for my pride,
    And the sweet taste of greed,
    Maybe I would tell him,
    That my choices haunt me:
    Every forest I’ve burned,
    Oceans I’ve polluted,
    Animals I’ve poached,
    And the people who’ve died,
    Because of my companies’ deeds.

    “You don’t feel anything,
    Do you?” he pulled out a gun,
    Ripped the duck-tape,
    Off my mouth,
    Blood spewed out,
    From my previous beating,
    “Not Enough.” I said,
    With bated breath,
    As he pressed the barrel,
    Against my head,
    I understood why.

    There was nothing,
    I regretted enough,
    That I would change,
    No matter what,
    I was destined,
    To be here,
    In the cold,
    On my knees,
    Receiving judgment,
    I understood,
    That my entire life,
    Was leading to this,
    And I greeted death.

  95. poetrycurator

    Here is my Peaceful Haiku for day 8


    Meet the manatees
    Kayaking Three Sisters Springs
    Crystal blue waters

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  96. Alaska Christina

    Violent Peace

    Shame holds me to her breast
    where she smooths my cheek with callused fingers
    her smiling gums pulled back against rotting teeth.

    Here now I pull the cord
    on the flashing neon sign that keeps score
    while my successes and my failures take rest.

  97. poetrycurator

    Here is my Violence Haiku for day 8

    Media Circus

    Senseless violence
    Caused by bewildering laws
    Suspects on trial

    By Denise Fletcher Copyright © 2014

  98. Linda Hatton

    The One

    She brought me home to meet her new guy.
    The one with kindness like no other, she said.
    He’d doctored the tear in her fleshy knee, the one
    she got on their mid-morning hike, after tripping
    over a stray piece of barbed-wire fencing hidden
    under crushed brush. He’d knelt down
    to take a look, then placed his chubby lips around
    the gash, sucking all poisons away, even pecked
    it like he was kissing his princess.

    My feet cracked over grainy feed of gritty pellets
    scattered up the walk to his house where we came upon him
    —that guy she called The One—he stood beside that mutilated
    stump, bits of wood sticking up like wishbones, young rooster’s
    neck strung up in the grip of his meaty fingers, dangling
    like we’d missed the act. He tossed us a glance,
    then laid lifeless chicken down, gave my friend a big grin,
    came in for a landing, his chunky arms swooping
    around her waist, taking her for a circular flight. Then setting
    her back down to the blood-spattered ground,
    presented his hand outstretched to mine. She looked my way,
    eyes glassy with enchantment. Ain’t he something, she said.

    -Linda G Hatton

  99. iris dunkle


    The hills are scattered with rotgut. Houses
    or barns left for winds picking – paint sun-bleached
    and peeling. Windows shot or shattered, broke
    like history. A garden gone feral
    in the front yard; generations upon
    generations of kale and fennel knuckling
    out of the weed infested ground.
    My friend says when she dies she’ll come back as
    a ghost and haunt us all. I don’t doubt it.
    Funny how a life is looking back, how
    it grows long as an afternoon shadow
    how it doesn’t blink out but lingers on—
    like a bleached house on a hill half covered
    in blackberry bushes where memory
    however broken or faded grows on.

  100. jasonlmartin

    At Peace

    Surrender, two foes,
    this is where we are at peace.

    I wish we could walk these fields
    to rest our battles, sleepwalk off
    this mayhem, lay to rest our shields
    and ammunition. We’d be better off

    waging conflicts
    while deep in sleep,
    where we find a little peace
    to welcome in a vigilance to dream.

  101. GirlGriot

    I am traveling for a conference and had the strange experience of walking down the street tonight to find some dinner and finding — in addition to dinner — a distressing series of drunk and angry twenty-something men, several of whom spoke to me — not really to me, but to whatever person they happened to career into. So I wanted to write about them — I suppose there’s some violence and peace in there after all.

    Vine Street, 9pm

    men — boys
    really — stalk
    my path. Drunk, sad,
    one curses, complains.
    has left him
    bare and in pain.
    One misses his mom,
    to call
    but fears her
    many questions,
    stinging rejection.

    freshly inked,
    boasting manhood,
    craving touch, comfort.
    in their
    sharp sadnesses,
    they see only hurts.
    calls me.
    Says, “Mama,
    you hold me back.
    You leave, I’m nothing.”

    hands want
    to hold them,
    to offer balm,
    but I know better.
    words call,
    but their eyes
    are empty, flat,
    rage too near the surface.
    walk fast,
    trust the bright,
    silver glow-light –
    DANGER! — down my spine.

  102. toujourskari

    Violent Sonnet

    When night descends and shadows bare their fangs
    beneath the waxing moon of velvet skies
    Like Pierrepoint’s noose your wicked whisper hangs
    around my throat which murmurs ardent sighs

    Your blood lust drums its beat to fevered heights
    provoking you to fits of murd’rous rage
    You cut me down with claws and brutal bites
    as I ascend the sacrificial stage

    Your violence swells with every frightened cry
    Reducing me to crouch in craven fear
    Then torn to bits my eyes look to the sky
    and pray to God he has the will to hear

    Yet darkness reigns and holds me in its sway
    until the wolf devours his smitten prey

  103. Yerma Skyflower

    A Taste for Pain

    I love the wind when he is violent.
    I like it when he forces up my dress or
    Slaps my face. I am the opposite of a sadist,

    Finding pleasure in displays of power and
    Being taken without warning
    In broad daylight.

    When he comes, bending trees,
    Moving seas inside me,
    Sometimes I find myself crying—

    I am a child of water—
    Holding back is no option
    When I love the way he loves.

  104. cam45237

    Collateral Damage

    There were sheep in the road that day. They choked the intersection.
    The girl with her dog and her staff
    Could not control them, could not get them
    To move out of the way.
    They moved when machine guns fired. They fled
    Thistles before a hard wind.
    A few fell, puddles of wool and blood at the side of the road.
    The girl fell too, hands clutching her ears to block the constant cracks of guns,
    Body condensed to a question mark in the dust

    When the guns fell silent the boy came forward.
    He stepped over the body of the dog and stopped beside the girl.
    He noticed that her hands were trembling as she gathered her blue burka
    And tried to stand. He noticed that her eyes were dark, her lashes dark,
    Thick with tears. He pushed her to her knees and with soft fingers he tilted her chin
    Till their eyes met.

    Collateral Damage
    There were sheep in the road that day. They choked the intersection.
    The girl with her dog and her staff
    Could not control them, could not get them
    To move out of the way.
    They moved when machine guns fired. They fled
    Thistles before a hard wind.
    A few fell, puddles of wool and blood at the side of the road.
    The girl fell too, hands clutching her ears to block the constant cracks of guns,
    Body condensed to a question mark in the dust
    Of the road that day.

    When the guns fell silent the boy came forward.
    He stepped over the body of the dog and stopped beside the girl.
    He noticed that her hands were trembling as she gathered her blue burka
    And tried to stand. He noticed that her eyes were dark, her lashes dark
    And thick with tears. He pushed her to her knees and with soft fingers he tilted her chin
    Till their eyes met.

    Collateral Damage
    There were sheep in the road that day. They choked the intersection.
    The girl with her dog and her staff
    Could not control them, could not get them
    To move out of the way.
    They moved when machine guns fired. They fled
    Thistles before a hard wind.
    A few fell, puddles of wool and blood at the side of the road.
    The girl fell too, hands clutching her ears to block the constant cracks of guns,
    Body condensed to a question mark in the dust
    Of the road that day.

    When the guns fell silent the boy came forward.
    He stepped over the body of the dog and stopped beside the girl.
    He noticed that her hands were trembling as she gathered her blue burka
    And tried to stand. He noticed that her eyes were dark, her lashes dark
    And thick with tears. He pushed her to her knees and with soft fingers he tilted her chin
    Till their eyes met.

  105. cam45237

    Helpless butterfly?
    He offered
    Don’t mind if I do
    There is nothing I would like more right now
    Than something delicate
    To gnash between my teeth

  106. Alphabet Architect


    Lying in bed on the third floor-
    All is quiet but for a rooster crowing and oldies
    Playing in the courtyard, which seems odd
    On this continent half a world away from my own.

    My senses are overloaded
    …Inhale, Exhale, relax, pray…
    So many needs, so much to think about;
    Scenes of poverty, sickness, starvation
    Haunt me, tug me in all directions.

    Screams –those of a child-
    Pierce the evening and the silence;
    Terror fraught screams, increasing in volume
    Punctuated by an adult’s booming voice
    And whipping sounds …and Incessant horrific screaming.

    I race to the balcony and look
    Out, out, over the town
    But I see nothing. No one moves or comes
    To the rescue. No one seems concerned or even
    Curious. No one.

    I want to do something; I want to run up
    And down the streets until
    I find the right house where so much is wrong;
    I want to stop it
    And take that screaming child far, far away…

    But a mzungu must not interfere
    With the accepted order of things
    Such as the routine beating
    Of women and children and dogs
    On this continent half a world away from my own.

  107. bookworm0341

    1. Violent Poem
    “Good Friday”

    Battered, beaten, bruised
    Pierced, but not crushed
    tried and hung, yet not guilty
    Jesus died for my sins
    at the hand of the Romans.
    It should have been my bare hands
    to nail Him there-
    for it is my sin that sent Him
    to a violent death on the cross.

    2. Peaceful poem
    “Easter Morning”

    That morn-
    dew on the native trees
    footsteps soft on the path…
    as the sun lifts higher into the sky.
    Just peaceful.
    and then?
    What’s this?
    Is this some joke?
    Where has He gone?!
    Jesus has risen from the dead
    and all of heaven rejoices.
    Death takes a back seat.
    Peace reigns supreme!

  108. LeighSpencer

    The Secret’s in the Sauce

    Tough skins split
    in the boiling water

    Pink innards puff
    through the scar lines

    that sound
    is just a final release of steam

    But I like to think
    I hear my victims

    One at a time

    Until all that remains
    is a tide of red foam
    rhythmic, gurgling bubbles

    Stir through
    looking for survivors

    Wood comes back
    awash in crimson

    Washed thus
    never to be clean again

    Stained weapon
    now particularly purposed
    year after bloody year

    You smell fragrant orange and clove
    a chunk of crisp walnut to finish

    Cheery cranberry color
    like a bowlful of delicious rubies
    next to the comparably peaceful turkey

    I could give you the recipe
    but it will never be the same

    So much more
    than the sum of raw ingredients

    The sadism of the chef
    is the secret of the sauce

  109. Rolf Erickson

    Hanging By A Thread

    When the car stopped
    spun backwards
    on the shoulder
    of highway 34
    it was so dark
    and so quiet
    I thought I was dead.

    So I said, “Hello?”
    my eyes still closed.
    And she said, “I’m here.”
    That’s when I knew
    it wasn’t over yet.

    For two weeks I walked
    through space with a
    clear sensation of
    my body suspended by
    a thin string attached
    to the top of my head.

    And I knew in my heart
    that at any moment
    this string could be cut
    and I’d be dead.

    This is the truth of life
    that we are all
    hanging by a thread
    and deep down we know
    but don’t want to.

    If we admit we know
    then we can feel the
    grip of fear like a
    cold hand on our throat.

    If we admit we know
    then we can feel the
    release of peace like a
    soft palm soothing our brow.

    Whether grip of fear
    or release of peace
    either way the message
    is always the same.

    Such a thin string.
    So many sharp edges
    in this big raw world.

    Nobody knows.

  110. DCR1986

    City of Tranquility

    Everyday joy finds a way
    To wake me up,
    Holding up a sign saying,” Your Savior is Saving Again”
    Then, there is the sun
    Birthing the shadow of humanity holding hands.

    –Danielle C. Robinson

  111. Anvanya


    when we struggle out of bed early enough –
    probably on a day we’re set to have coffee with friends
    at ten o’clock –
    it’s a treat to see the chickadee poppa or momma
    flitting in and out of the birdhouse
    in our front yard.

    this is the second year they have taken up residence
    in the wooden domicile that sits atop a steel pole.
    our luck at hanging the birdhouse on a tree limb
    was nil – no local fliers came near it.
    but last year the nesting couple arrived and flew like crazy
    in and out and in and out, building a soft landing place
    that is unviewable from the house.

    I smile, my sweetie whispers there they are,
    so I grab the field glasses, swipe mine off, and
    peer through the kitchen window intently –
    poppa pokes his yellow beak in the air and sits
    unmoving for two or three minutes – then swish,
    he’s off – maybe for more bugs from the creek?


    I used to joke that if it wasn’t for the kids, I’d never teach again.
    You see, the adults who “ran the show” were incompetent
    and dealing with them on a daily basis drove me into
    burn-out in the mid-nineties.

    I tried audio tapes, self-help books, meditation –
    lots of stuff. Too bad I’m a teetotaler, drowning my problems
    in alcohol was not available. Working harder didn’t
    bring relief. Working less brought no solace.

    Spring came and with it the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.
    On a warm day in San Bernardino, dressed in my finest wencherie,
    off I went with a friend to curtsy and bow
    and curse in Shakespearean English. ZOUNDS!
    Whilst cruising the shoppes and gaming zone we
    tumbled upon a saucer toss – hmm: one inscribed the name of
    a hated villain or villainess upon the plate
    and hurled it with all one’s might at a back wall,
    whilst cursing and cussing and wishing the
    worst in the world for the foe. What a rush!!
    I contributed nearly thirty dollars to the gamesters
    and felt increasing relief with each shattered plate.

    The pleasure of secret revenge, of names broken and unmendable,
    of silent and never-to-be-known “gotchas”
    blunted the edges of my interior despair.
    On Monday morning I posted my favorite insults
    on the bulletin board and there they stayed until June.
    No one ever notices quotations from Shakespeare.

    Many’s the secret smile that escaped my lips
    when tempted to succumb to the everlasting
    power games run by those around me. HUZZAH!

  112. Kimiko Martinez

    Oh heck. It’s Two for Tuesday. Why not another?


    My dad drank too much.
    He shot bourbon at bars
    and barbed insults at home.

    The anger brewed inside him,
    a biting mash of memories
    aging in rows of barrels

    running from breast to bowel,
    pickling his insides as he
    forced us each to drink

    the poison of his past.

  113. inkysolace

    I sit with splayed arms,
    with eyelids left alone
    and a bullet two seconds from rapture

    It is not perfect.

    I stand with arms taut
    with unresolved ambitions, people I gave up meeting

    It is not perfect.

    I suspend myself
    with puppet strings spun from silk
    spread like clouds before condensation

    It is not perfect.

    I sit myself in front of a blind marksman
    call to him with the seventy years
    I would pay for perfection
    he lifts me above gravity with a twitch of his head
    and empties cold bullets into waxed arms,
    flowing hair, unkissed lips
    bullet shells collapse like ocean-smoothed stones in the whitewashed dirt

    My eyes are blank with promise of finality
    I have pushed myself into a small room with invisible walls
    looking for an early meeting with death
    to watch pale fingers stir ice water
    and clasp a gun in front of someone who has already seen me die
    again, please. It wasn’t perfect

  114. encrerouge

    Cornering the whispers that are left…

    In dreams and in the coffee steam
    she saw the thud curl on someone’s neck.
    When he drank from the misplaced cup,
    all went dark, the mouth running
    stepping over the castles of misfit




    and war was already arching the backbone
    breaking ligaments and attachments to the center
    of what kept everything round, now enter
    the ring awaits you with temporary lights
    and know that…

    from this beam, electricity will strike
    from this temple, the hit will suffice
    cracking and snapping what you call a meadow.
    She saw the thud curl on someone’s neck
    and his hairline seemed as something you fed.

  115. EbenAt

    Macho males
    who like to go out,
    get drunk and
    pick a fight.
    You don’t get it.

    Those of us who
    have genuinely
    fought for our lives,
    we don’t play that.

    A fight ain’t a game;
    it’s survival
    and as such,
    you lose.

    A lover of violence
    is a sadist.

    A lover of killing
    is a psychopath.

    Lovers of
    is what we
    are called to

  116. alana sherman

    Be nice, don’t fight, eat a piece of fruit
    Day 8 Peace/Violence

    What Falls

    I stand on the porch
    looking at what survived
    last night’s thrashing
    winds, the downpour
    beating on the tin roof.
    A puddle shimmers
    Two catbirds toss droplets
    off their wings. A red squirrel
    leaps from branch
    to fallen branch in the rickety pines
    I guzzle my morning
    coffee, black, listen to
    the trees’ moaning and cracking
    while my husband, reading, laughs
    about the latest research
    on what dogs’ tail wagging means.
    Maybe this month wild roses
    will smother the corn crib.
    I would rather get tangled
    in their barbed wire
    than be lost in the mob racing
    into the azure heavens.

    So Angry

    I explode in frogs and toads
    like that girl in the fairytale– rage
    pours out of me
    I woke up this morning furious:
    smash around the kitchen
    cursing— yell at the dog,
    snub my husband—
    Mad at the world,
    got up on the wrong
    side of the bed. And the world
    doesn’t care if my head aches
    or my stomach hurts.
    It’s a stupid world. I’m so livid
    my teeth hurt. Holding
    a grudge is bad for the complexion–
    that must be why I’m erupting
    in boils. I could hiss
    at my neighbor, hurl stones
    through windows.
    I am shackled by this anger,


  117. Deri

    A Woman’s War

    On a peaceful Saturday
    I heard the screams.
    A woman in fear,
    in pain that is more
    than physical.

    He had her
    by the throat
    against the front wall
    of their house.
    Across our sunbaked yards
    I could hear the thickened thuds
    of skull — coup contracoup–
    knuckles, then brick, knuckles
    and in between, the curses
    spitting from between his teeth.
    Blunt oaths worse than any blow.

    I called the police.
    I grabbed my gun.
    I walked outside
    with a calm that comes
    from having once lived
    against the bricks.
    I got her away, the promise
    of a bullet revealing
    his true cowardice.

    They were arguing over a phone.
    Who was right,
    who was wrong,
    when a woman continues
    to battle for the right
    not to lose every argument
    with her life.

  118. christinamcphee

    Please don’t be afraid
    its tearing me apart
    To see you try and stay with me
    knowing I pained your heart
    I would do anything to take it away
    But since I put it there,
    what do I say?
    I’ve never felt so helpless,
    standing in the dark
    I don’t want to scare you more
    trying to ease your heart
    I want to give the peace you once had
    Even if it means you leave without looking back
    Please don’t stay afraid
    its torn my heart apart…….

  119. Alpha1


    Nature’s fury unleashed
    Knows no bounds
    Treats all life the same
    Does not respect
    Person place or thing
    But in the aftermath
    When the clouds pass through
    A rainbow of peace appears
    In the sky

  120. Linda Lee Sand

    The Knock

    I heard the knock before anyone else and
    it woke me out of a sound sleep. Before I really
    knew what I was doing I was creeping down the stairs
    in the dark, hugging the wall as I went. I could smell the wall,
    the plaster, the fried potatoes we had for supper. Could feel the skin
    around my toes and the carpet that flattened out into separate, shaggy
    worn-out bits underneath them. My heart felt huge and was pummeling
    the inside of my chest. Every moment ticked separate from the one
    before it. I was thinking, a robber wouldn’t knock would he? When
    I opened the door I knew it was the worst possible news. Knew
    it by the way the policeman seemed to work against gravity
    to walk inside and by his eyes, swollen as plums. I
    stopped breathing until I saw Dad behind me
    standing there in his ratty blue robe,
    holding himself up with the
    air around him.The cop
    swallowing hard,
    ‘I regret to inform
    you there’s been
    a shooting…’

  121. RebekahJ

    For those interested in form: this is an attempt to use traditional Tibetan poetic form, which (according to one source I found) involved lines of seven or nine syllables, and a mix of trochees and dactyls.

    Shitro Mandala Of the 100 Wrathful and Peaceful Deities
    Asia Society, New York City, April 2014

    High on the ocean of blood waters
    Burning haired, triple-eyed Shri Devi
    Rides, skull cup raised, to protect us all
    Slaying red demons, saving knowledge.
    Consorts embrace gods with twenty arms
    Snake-cloaked kings guard libraries
    Goddesses lift their heels, dancing while
    Golden Tara smiles, silent. She
    Knows we are grains of sand, tenderly
    Held within ancient princely footprints

  122. Jane Shlensky

    War and Peace

    Not knowing which Dad
    you’ll get from day to day
    can make kids edgy,
    cagey about revealing
    their hearts. Eager to leave.

    The laughing singing Dad
    is dangerous, drinking,
    throwing us up too high
    and barely catching us
    on our way down. Toughen up.

    Putting us bareback thrilled
    atop the wildest horse
    stampeding into slapping limbs
    through woods toward a highway.

    Laughing Dad burns things,
    plays guitar and sings,
    tells ribald jokes we don’t
    understand until we do.
    He can dance a little.
    He is scary fun.

    Angry Dad saves up rage
    just for us, punishes for past
    crimes we barely remember,
    pick your own switching limb
    and make it good, what are
    you looking at I’ll give you
    something to cry about.

    He collects guns and keeps
    them loaded. He says words
    Mama won’t let us say, not ever
    but we say them in our heads.
    His blue eyes are slate clouds
    before a storm and he
    is the storm. We look busy
    you don’t yell at an avalanche,
    you don’t stir a volcano.

    Keep your eyes down and give
    him no reason to explode.
    Mama’s premise. She knew
    him when he was gentle,
    funny, not the father of five
    with responsibilities.

    He didn’t use his fists back then;
    he didn’t drink and rage
    or carry a knife. He was sweet,
    she says. Just pray for him
    and us and think of happy things,
    dream of peaceful things.

    I’ll toughen you up, he says.
    You’ll be able to handle
    anything that comes at you,
    (except me), and he did.
    Don’t be like that, she says,
    but love him anyway,
    she pleads, and we do.

  123. Sara McNulty


    A tunneling in the sky,
    funnel-shaped charcoal
    whips its way
    down to earth
    overturns cars
    rips off roofs
    buries people alive
    in a savage show
    of nature’s
    utter power.


    Nurturing Power

    Early morning mist
    kisses heads
    of flowers,
    blades of grass,
    leaving a delicious
    dew to moisten
    the earth. When mist
    tiptoes out of sight,
    sun shines on all
    of nature, a ball
    of yellow protein.

  124. Michael Wells

    What The Twister Didn’t Touch

    Block after block of neighbors homes
    gone missing from foundations.

    People like chickens poked the yards
    to scavenge for recognizable belongings

    Three blocks into the subdivision
    our own house rose from the ground

    as did two adjacent homes.
    Upon arrival the north side missing.

    The garage, the family room nowhere
    to be found and the exposed

    dining room and kitchen walls splintered
    as if the missing portion was just twisted off.

    Slowly we walked in the gaping end
    to stand in the remaining half of a kitchen.

    Window over sink blown out and torn
    curtains like a flag flapped in the light

    breeze. Two of four chairs nowhere
    to be found. A third knocked over

    a fourth remaining where we left it
    and half my buttered toast on a plate

    and glass of juice remained on the table
    untouched by the violent storm.

  125. SestinaNia


    This road that whips
    through a sagebrush sea,
    is busy tonight—
    full of travelers wrestling
    with wild gusts that seek
    to shove them off
    the ribbon of asphalt.
    Here, under a twilit, mosaic sky,
    only the strong arrive.

    In the distance, wind turbines
    turn—metal arms tumbling
    around and around—
    their red signal lights
    flashing a message,
    the mantra of the West:
    withstand, withstand,
    and withstand.

  126. Kevin D Young


    After you blot her tears she will ask
    why. You will answer. She will not
    understand. She will never understand
    because she will remember everything

    differently. You will remember
    only one thing. You will remember
    she is. She is. Otherwise, you will
    remember what she remembers.

    You cannot do that.

  127. SuziBwritin


    All people are different
    God did that on purpose
    In His lab one day, He mixed chemicals
    heated them up and stood back
    to see what would happen
    His prescience got in the way
    So He made Christ to pull the wool
    over His own all-knowing eyes
    attempted to make it “fair”
    pretended He didn’t know how it would end
    And let the fireworks begin
    granted free will
    and has never had a moment’s peace since

    If all the mothers
    Of all the children in the world
    Got together
    They could agree their sons and daughters
    Would no longer make good collateral
    For wars

    If all the mothers
    Of all the children in the world
    Held their babies close
    And refused to let the
    world corrupt them, hurt them, ruin them
    It might not end the violence in
    all the world
    But it would be a good start

  128. PKP

    She walks

    before her the distant
    horizon of Humvees
    whirling red dust –
    Behind her boyhood
    playmates hurl rage
    at her breast
    a suckling infant
    velvet skin, soft
    hands stroking
    the flow of milk
    As Peace walks
    Hope in aching
    arms – Walks
    on and on
    and on
    leaving bloody
    in the dust

  129. Dennis W

    Two for Tuesday. The first is a Ballade, the second a Triolet.

    She Might Have Dated Him, But For The War

    She was just the age to be on her own
    with no one to cover her with blankets
    through the winter of the cold storm alone.
    She found her place with tomorrows poets
    riding her bicycle which swayed her locket.
    She held stories like an open door.
    She kept a picture of Jesus in her pocket.
    She might have dated him, but for the war.

    Someone knew someone so he would be home
    and serve his time with no need of mess kit
    standing in a paddie that had overgrown.
    He never thought he would hear load and lock it.
    His throat was dry his eye moved in socket .
    He said a prayer the day would hold no more.
    His shoes would shine from but polish and spit.
    She might have dated him, but for the war.

    There had been those who had cast the first stone
    at those who dreamed themselves the one target
    as both froze in what was true but not known.
    For fear and anger were but a silhouette.
    They cared often too much for little depth.
    Violence was where the universe was tore.
    Innocence left no print on racing rockets.
    She might have dated him, but for the war.

    We could print her poems in a packet.
    Then we would not still feel so sore.
    He does not know for sure and may forget.
    She might have dated him, but for the war.


    The problem with peace, our teacher taught us
    Each side sees war ends when they hold shovels.
    There seems such high ideals causing a fuss
    The problem with peace, our teacher taught us
    Is we won’t throw ideals under a bus
    Even when war reduces our homes to hovels
    The problem with peace, our teacher taught us
    Each side sees war ends when they hold shovels.

    Dennis Wright, April 8, 2014.

  130. flood

    Under A Box Of Matches

    All of the kitchen utensils
    are conspiring, using
    the cover of darkness
    to hide their motives.
    They tuck their evidence
    under a box of matches
    and a crumpled handful of
    half-used twist ties.
    This night will not end well.
    The empty door frame
    hits harder than any closed fist
    and the calendar whispers
    that another day
    is almost over.

  131. fahey

    “Sturm & Drang”

    It’s in the calm before
    the calm before the storm
    that the greatest storm is formed;

    the moment you don’t expect to drive there,
    you’re driven.

  132. Jane Shlensky

    Peace and Quiet

    Can we have peace and quiet
    in this house? Her question,
    rhetorical, we answered
    with mute rage .

    Peace and quiet are not bound.
    Quiet’s ceasefire is not serenity;
    peace’s treaty is not forgiveness.
    Silence is not agreement.

    We won’t speak a word,
    but beneath that silence
    middle earth smolders,
    lava rises to explode.

    Is that the kind of peace
    you had in mind?

  133. Benjamin Thomas

    Drinking the Rain of War

    Nation rises up
    against nation.
    Anxious to defend,
    or extend it’s borders.
    Each vying for position,
    as the tension mounds.
    Until swords are drawn,
    and the first shots are fired.
    Spilling the precious
    life-blood of men;
    again into the earth,
    who’s forced to drink the pain.

  134. Laura Romero

    Sailor’s Dream
    -Laura Romero

    Beyond the salt white dunes
    Under the blue green waves
    Beneath the turbulent tide
    Minefields of seashells are strewn
    Where fishermen have made their graves
    And tales of myths and legends reside.
    An agitation becomes a perfect pearl
    Storms rage violently in the air above
    While silent ships rot miles below
    Foam from waves twirl and swirl
    Letters in bottles will never reach their love
    While the hypnotic sea roar comes and goes.
    The sea is no mistress with which to trifle
    She will hold you in her grasp, her icy depths
    The sea breeze through your hair is intoxicating
    Her salty, liquid fingers will choke and stifle
    Lost forever beneath the ocean’s breadth
    I fear you will find her to be forever captivating.

  135. Sharon Ann

    Three Shades of Violent

    I’ve never been the violent kind,
    but I have seen them.
    I’ve never been the soldiering kind,
    but I have thanked them.
    Two different kinds of minds,
    two different persons behind their guns.
    And there are a few that walk a fine line between them.

    The Solid Shade of Peace

    “Thank you,” the soldier said to me
    as I handed him the card that I had made
    with a drawing of an American flag.

    “Thank you,” I said with the emphasis on the ‘you’
    as I shook his outstretched hand.
    I noticed then the gun strap on his shoulder,
    the lines around his eyes.

    He, having seen my glance, said,
    “It was a violent place, a violent time.”
    My face slackened, tears came to my eyes.
    He continued,

    “There are times when we must lift our guns
    in the preservation of peace
    even when our souls may say otherwise.”

    He stood taller then,
    adjusted the strap on his shoulder and moved on
    to the next person in the line of people
    welcoming our soldiers home.

  136. candy

    My Childhood Violence
    bang- bang you’re dead
    i tought i taw a puddy caat
    waskely wabbit
    colonel mustard in the libray with a candlestick

  137. Shell

    Down in it
    By Shell Ochsner

    Violent passion, quickened pulse brings about the point of heavy breaths in thick air perfumed by sweet sensuous aroma. The torment of it, maddens greatly with quaking movement’s that rock in perfect unison. An end to such pleasure stirs an animalistic craving driven by nothing but pure instinct with great effort to climax once more.

  138. Natasa Bozic Grojic

    I combined this prompt with the one on the NaPoWriMo site and rewrote Rae Armantrout’s Generation: http://www.poeticous.com/rae-armantrout/generation?locale=en and turned into something more sinister:

    The Fairly Tale

    We all know the story.

    She turns
    back to find her mother
    devoured by dinner guests.
    The bones, the
    tree branches.

    If you want to know more about the tale I am referring to, please read my blog post here: http://natasa-summerblues.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-fairy-tale.html

  139. Bartholomew Barker

    Boiling Water

    Despite the proverb
    I watched a pot boil

    In the beginning
    A still lake
    With metal banks
    Upon my stove

    Small bubbles form
    Randomly rise
    Like shooting stars
    Reflected in a mirror

    Then they cascade
    As the surface quivers
    And quakes under
    The onslaught from below

    Steam flowing
    Water shuttering
    No meaningful boundary
    Between liquid and gas

    And the frogs
    Now dead
    Remain peacefully seated
    Around their TV set

  140. Reynard

    he fishes
    and enjoys the
    the peace

    and then he
    catches one

    yanking it
    from the water
    pulling hook
    from mouth
    tossing it into
    a basket
    where it lies

    until it can breathe
    no more

  141. Christi

    1 WTC

    There’s something about you, giant,

    striking a pose, elegant in the corner.

    From twenty miles away,

    I can see you in the morning.

    If I squint,

    You’re the syringe on the skyline

    that will never take the plunge.

    From Midtown, I catch you peeking

    up avenues, suddenly there

    when I least expect it,

    but always shrinking away.

    Young king, calm down.

    You didn’t ask to be cold

    and twisted in steel for all to see.

    History swallows all monuments.

    Soon you’ll settle. And so will we.

  142. matthew

    Creativity Marches Along

    What has not been burnt up
    is at peace with the ashes
    that choke off the landscape
    from the replenishing sun

    The sun burns violently
    without regard to our attention
    or lack there of
    the atmosphere is a magnifying glass
    the rabbit a pacemaker
    and bakers are fine people
    that beat eggs whip cream and knead the dough

  143. peacegirlout

    I’ve heard violence doesn’t have to hurt
    That it’s good to have an outlet
    That smart phones make us safe
    To unplug is to plug in
    dead people raising dead children
    the violence we practice is by omission
    aroused by the pain of others
    What if nobody cares
    And no one touches
    Are we dead yet
    Honey, are we dead yet
    Strangle me so I can post it
    Blood splatters on the wall
    Are suddenly so much more meaningful
    Then flowers.

  144. barton smock


    I didn’t see it
    like some kids
    saw it-

    as clay.

    a swat here or there
    to the back
    of a mother’s

    a man who took a bowling ball
    into a closed garage
    had no sadness
    I could pray

    …Santa smoked on the roof
    of my father’s house
    while I
    with a noiseless

    that hunger.

  145. laurie kolp

    Last Dance

    it’s visceral…
    basic, really
    in the scheme of things:
    her ritualistic sex
    appeal that kills

    take Mickey.
    he fell for her

    ~act as if you need him~

    from entr’acte to curtain call
    a bulletproof ballet
    building their rapport,
    cocktails shared at bar
    then a walk back nightcap

    ~ bait him into bed~

    acting quite risqué
    in the way she teases
    with tongue licks,
    unzips him with her lips
    rides and grinds him
    to the bone

    ~cut his heart out~

    she takes the bloody knife
    and cuts another tally
    mark on her bellied
    scar. poor Mickey.

  146. nmbell

    Here’s the peaceful to go with the violent poem posted earlier

    Peaceful Poem

    I stand on the cliff at Carn les Boels
    Where the Michael and Mary earth energy lines
    Come to shore in this remote spot in Cornwall
    The power shimmers in the air, a palpable thing

    I place my bare feet on the blue-grey granite
    Where the two lines cross, the node that connects
    Overhead the gulls wheel and call
    A falcon comes and lands on the rocky outcrop

    I close my eyes the better to hear the song of the earth
    It sings in my bones, connecting me to the All That Is
    Here is peace and harmony and balance
    There is no language to express the music

    I am one tiny part of the magnificence
    That is the crystalline structure of the Universe
    I am at peace

    Nancy Bell 2014

  147. Elizabeth Koch

    Cubs Fan

    home run
    this is the game
    no, the year
    did you see that blast?
    he’s our answer

    head in hands
    what a bum
    down by 3
    how many now
    since 1908?

    bottom nine
    bases loaded
    last chance

    I’ll buy a new tv

  148. cobanionsmith

    My Father Kicked Dogs

    I even knew him to take aim and gun it anytime he saw a stray
    crossing the dirt road that cut through the river bottom
    on the way home. Should put him out of his misery
    and save some livestock. If I see him again tomorrow,
    I’ll take care of it.
    Most days, the critters on our place
    heeded the pain and regret promised in his raised voice;
    but a superior hunter, Daddy was stealthy too,
    and sometimes they were too slow. He’d swoop
    and grab supple ears, floppy or pointed, or the scruff of a neck,
    soft dewlap yanked up and backwards, my favorite parts
    to pet once a pup trusted me enough
    turned on them in his hands. Usually, the dog
    went stiff, yelped, and squealed
    and squealed and squealed;
    rarely did any try to turn and bite.

    After a massive heart attack, diabetes, and rheumatism
    reduced his domain to the La-Z-Boy and the remote control,
    he bought a chihuahua at his favorite flea market
    and named him Ike, dropping the M of his own name.
    Before bed, Ike would snooze in Daddy’s lap while his gnarled
    fingers absentmindedly rustled the thick, honey-colored fur.
    Just the right size for a good grip given Daddy’s debilitation,
    Ike got a good rag-doll shake whenever Daddy deemed
    he deserved it. But he would always come right back,
    silently wait at my father’s feet with adoring
    black bug-eyes, one slightly crooked,
    his curled tail tucked, one pleading foot
    pawing the air in supplication.

    Well, get up here then. And without hesitation,
    Ike would leap into my daddy’s lap,
    pant, curled tail wagging with a vengeance.
    Tongue lolling, he’d proudly prance a circle or two
    then fall against his father’s unquestionable authority,
    look up at that force beyond reckoning,
    and revel in the peace of Daddy’s temporary good graces.

    (c) Courtney O’Banion Smith

  149. elishevasmom

    Truce (From the Migraine Chronicles)

    The brutality has finally
    The visceral torture
    done — for now.
    Daylight no longer
    an obscenity.
    At last.
    At least — for now
    this migraine is over.

    Still, it has left
    footprints where
    none should be.

    Ellen Evans

  150. Genevieve Fitzgerald

    loosely, this is both a violent and a peaceful poem

    Hunting Prayer

    He forces the blade
    Through the resistance of hide
    Relives shafts of light between birch trees

    Catching the graceful move of haunches
    Crackle of brittle leaves
    Thud of the branch that gave passage

    Feels a fear brother to his own,
    Fast pushed aside with knowing
    Today is not his turn

  151. mshall

    Mirror, mirror burning bright
    In the forests of the heart
    What dreadful face you frame
    Revealing jagged symmetry

    Violence, violence, citizen of my soul
    Hidden deep, for none to see
    In shame I search others’ eyes
    A balm for misery

    Relief, relief I find from none
    For in their hearts I see
    The same woeful state of sin
    Reflected back at me

    Mirror, mirror have mercy
    Mine eyes do bow and break
    I seek my peace
    Bless the jagged symmetry

  152. Angie5804

    A Kyrielle Sonnet

    End of Day

    Sun sparkles on the water clear
    Laughter trickles from children dear
    The breeze kicks up at end of day
    And so we praise and so we pray

    The crickets now begin their song
    Evening begins to hum along
    Last bit of warmth from sun’s last ray
    And so we praise and so we pray

    On the wind floats gardenia’s scent
    And sleepy eyes are just a hint
    How full the hours of love and play
    And so we praise and so we pray

    Moon sparkles on the water clear
    And so we praise and so we pray

  153. nmbell

    Violent Poem

    The Nightmare gathers her herd about her
    Swirling clouds of black and grey
    The thunder of their hooves shaking the ground
    Throwing their raging breath to bend the trees

    Holding fistfuls of lightning bolts writhing in her hands
    The Nightmare leads the charge from the northern skies
    Tears of fury sear the skies stripping leaves from trees
    Her anger solidifies and turns her heart to ice

    Hail slashes across the prairie, the great white combine
    Harvesting the farmer’s future and handing it to him
    In a bucket full of holes and empty of hope
    A blue-black fist punches a hole in the sky

    The whirling dervish of the Nightmare’s displeasure
    Dances over the barley, twisting the hollow grain bins
    Like a spoiled child wreaking havoc
    Her rage finally satisfied, she moves off toward the mountains

    Where the storm demons cry as they bruise themselves
    Against the distant rocks.

    Nancy Bell 2014

  154. BDP

    Happiness is a bag of warm bread.

    –The local baker this morning

    “Reflections On a Walk”

    Leaves lace upon the storm drain grill—lift up,
    rainwater forms brief doilies, whirl and spin.
    Or white star quilt, blue ground, draped over top
    of wing chair street lit. I seek to peer in,
    consider when I thought antimacassar
    against slaughter, war, five years old, but once
    explained, we laughed, fingering, grandmother
    and I, the couch crochet. What of the dunce
    who swore he heard an “Okay, Donkey” for
    my “Okey Dokey”? Grade-schoolers on swings,
    he jumped, grabbed my seat, flung me down, a chore,
    because I fought. Complex yet simple things,
    these clapboard houses, windows, the stories told
    and tatted in our brains, some mad, some peaceful.

    –Barb Peters

    1. elishevasmom

      25 years ago I lived overseas, and every morning, the little mom and pop stores would have screen -fronted shelves full of fresh warm bread. Yum.

  155. Reynard

    created in his image
    the one who destroyed
    the earth with
    a flood
    the one who made the rules
    about being a sinner
    for eating the wrong
    the god who made his follower
    begin a sacrifice
    with his only son
    and then said
    no just joking
    there’s a ram
    if that god
    created us in his image
    no wonder
    there is so much violence

  156. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    In the furrowed field,
    pockmarked with raw earth and bone,
    sprigs green, flowers bloom.

  157. sdwc8181

    The First Night of Vacation

    The vantage point from the rental cabin in the woods
    Rewards me with a view of treetops
    Of jagged heights
    I wonder what creatures live out there.
    I’m too far in the wrong direction
    To see the sun blaze its way toward the horizon
    Steadily, slowly at first then
    Pffft! It melts to the surface
    Smiling in its afterglow.
    I smile back.
    It will be dark soon
    No matter
    There’s plenty to remark at in the dark.
    Expecting night noise, I listen
    But my thoughts are the only sounds
    Out here, in the woods
    We have tree frogs where I live
    That make big songs in the night
    (I tuned them out a long time ago).
    These folks have the mountains
    And fireflies that watch me watching them
    No doubt not as fascinated as I
    I wonder about them
    Out there in the darkness
    Doing whatever fireflies do
    While I rest in the rocking chair I found
    On the porch of this old rented cabin
    And admit
    I am at peace.

  158. kldsanders

    There is a peace that prevails
    after the release of
    the scream that rips its way
    out of my throat.
    Rage can only be choked back
    for so long.

    There is a silence that settles
    after the shattering glass
    and the bright red blood
    dripping from my knuckles.
    Anger will never
    be denied.

    There is an absolution that arrives
    after I stare down the demon
    in the mirror and realize
    that she is me.
    Pain will always be
    a part of myself.

    -Karen Sanders

  159. Nancy Posey

    Still haunted by the story of the mother of a small boy I met when out of the country in March. Still not sure about indention.


    She would lay no claim to peace of her own.

    After a time, she’d tried to stop screaming,
    stop fighting them off,
    but she could not.

    What kind of men raped a blind woman
    day after day
    just because they could,
    just because she could not turn them in?
    She never saw their faces,
    never knew their names.

    But when the boy was born, she prayed
    that he’d grow up a better man, would live
    to grow up at all.

    The nearby women came when they heard
    her birthing cries
    (Where were they before?)
    and moved her to a safer place, a home
    within a wall topped by broken bottles,
    cheaper than concertina wire.

    One day they found her resting, peaceful, safe
    inside her grey stone wall,
    unaware her boy, not even two,
    teetered atop the roof of her small house.
    They begged her, Let us take him to someone
    who can watch him, keep him safe.

    They did not need to beg.

  160. Angie K

    be still and know

    Be still!
    The wind obeys
    The waves listen
    I reach the shore
    And step from the boat
    The wars move on
    The storms rage
    I saw His hand
    Heard His voice
    And I know…
    No storm
    No war
    No plague
    No hurt
    None is stronger than
    His peace.
    “Be still and know that I am GOD.”
    I’ll try, Lord. I will.

  161. dandelionwine


    Maybe if I’d gone to India
    and meditated nonstop
    for 40 days, I’d have returned
    to see right through the lines
    that form your picture,
    and when I’d said namaste
    in greeting and passing, you,
    attuned, would have known
    I’d said something heavy,
    like I’d really seen your
    particles radiating,
    and when I’d invited you
    to my dad’s field to spin,
    you’d have followed me
    and spun, a whirling dervish
    of New England, my voice
    several some odd decades
    later still connecting you
    to this peace that passeth all.

    Sara Ramsdell

  162. cbwentworth

    Pastel petals,
    innocent face
    Elegant curves,
    long and slender
    The siren calls,
    baiting the trap

    Thorns lay hidden,
    ready to strike
    Bloodthirsty fangs,
    aching to bite
    To eat her fill,
    Venus will lie

    – – –

    C.B. Wentworth

  163. MeenaRose

    Peace Seeking Missile
    By: Meena Rose

    As we
    from definition,
    action from
    conscience –
    time for change.

    the rush of blood
    blinds, deafens;
    muted reason,
    escalation bound –
    time for change.

    Clenched fists,
    shoulders hunched,
    sweat beaded brows;
    ego’s firm grip gaining –
    time for change.

    Permitting trust
    a life liberally littered
    betrayal grenades
    and senseless deception –

  164. christianwriter

    With Us In Mind
    by Gwennet Henry

    stripes sliced his back
    thorns punctured his head
    hair yanked out of his face
    pain etched on his brow
    beaten unrecognizable
    battered, banged about,
    blood mixed in every cry
    nailed, hammered and died
    for you
    for me…

    Risen in victory

  165. Cameron Steele

    Window Seat Spring

    I could cross my fingers and
    legs, thigh against quad
    and ankle to calf, all for good luck.

    I sat here for days, forehead
    to glass, watching my breath
    soften the violence of new green.

    If the rain’s not beating the red cedars,
    it’s making them bleed like April wind
    on the wings of bobolinks and short-eared owls.

    I’ve considered before and will again
    twisting myself up just to unfurl
    my sore limbs like the messy birth of a calf.

    I hear her bawling in the night
    when the moon snatches the window
    into her teeth, at last, and scatters the trees with a sigh.

  166. Grey_Ay


    There is an unending in this feeling
    a calm beneath this skin
    a contrast to the ragged heart,
    to the fire is is akin

    There is a comfort in this quiet
    a connected distance from all men
    So different from the push and pull,
    daily action and tedium

    I am at peace here in this moment
    at the crux of now and then
    A better rest could never be
    The thought, the only zen

    -A. Ault-

  167. PressOn

    Robert, I enjoy reading, learning, and commenting on this blog, but some days just won’t scour. Or, to borrow from Ira Gershwin:

    The night is ending;
    the task is so unbending;
    no chance for reading;
    my poem is bleeding,
    and all because of the day that got away.

  168. Emily Cooper

    Peaced Off

    When war was “hot”
    it left us cold.

    We’d learned that lesson
    when “mission” started

    as “accomplished”
    and ended
    nine years old.

    War’s the answer not
    but we ought
    to be as bold

    and make peace
    the cause
    for which we fought

    not just ’cause
    we said
    “We fold.”

  169. brandonspeck

    this one won’t make me any friends.

    bear mauls a logger who
    wandering too deep into the woods.
    this is a natural instinct for mother bears
    when another animal approaches their cubs.
    bears will stop at nothing to defend their children.

    bear is hunted down by the logging company.

    dog attacks police officer
    because she sees the cop
    cuffing her companion.

    cop shoots dog.

    white guy with dreadlocks
    tells me that there’s no love
    in fighting back.

    how love and violence
    are separate of one another

    wearing a necklace adorned
    with a peace sign made of wood.

    //brandon speck

  170. PressOn


    A Quaker and a Mennonite
    once got into a helluva fight,
    each claiming to be the better brother
    and each more peaceful than the other.

    They fought in church and parking lot,
    so much so, no blood would clot;
    they would have died, that very night,
    had not an atheist stopped the fight.

  171. bethwk

    In the spring, there are skunk cabbages,
    purple pods rising from the marshes,
    spathe and spadix (look them up)
    scenting the air, first in the race
    to lure the waking pollinators.

    Snowdrops and aconite bring the wood alive,
    their blossoms whispering amid breezes,
    the buzz of the first honeybees,
    the Louisiana waterthrush singing
    about the creek that mutters over stones.

    And at night, while the owls utter longing
    to the moon, and a drizzle coats the moonlit branches,
    the mud salamanders wriggle from their winter burrows
    and slither down to the vernal pools to lay their precious eggs.

    What will they do when the bulldozers come?
    When the trucks arrive with their gravel and pipes?
    Where will the birds find quiet branches for nesting,
    the spotted salamanders find soft muddy springs for their young?

    Someone has studied it, surely,
    made a proposal based on plan
    which is based on a study
    which dismisses in fine language
    the impact of pipelines on wildlife
    in tender wild places.

    The chances of leaks in the pipe
    are slim to nothing, so they say.
    Tell that to the ducks of Mayflower,
    to the marshes of Ripley, Missouri.
    Tell it to the wheat farmers of Tioga,
    to the wildflowers of the Oak Glen Nature Preserve.

    Tell it to the tender dogtooth violets
    before you tear them from the soil,
    to the otters who dance on the creek banks.
    Tell it to the shy hermit thrush
    before you slash through the wood
    with your heavy machinery.

    We cannot unring this bell.
    We cannot unkill the wild.
    We cannot unbreak our hearts.
    –Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider

  172. MeenaRose

    Flash Point
    By: Meena Rose

    Cyberspace has enabled many;
    For introverts – the perfect buffer zone;
    For extroverts – an expanded platform;
    For the troubled – a network of support.

    Yet, the bad has always accompanied the good;
    Opinions will differ and passions will rise;
    For better or worse, the line is drawn in
    Virtual sand – the showdown at someone’s high noon.

    Flashes ignite as the hurt becomes real;
    Emotions flame when re-entering the atmosphere;
    This is not at act between two but rather before
    An audience no different than those of yore.

    Rome’s Colosseum filled with patrons;
    A flash mob if not kept under control;
    This is no different than the flame wars
    That go on today in a cyber arena of judgment.

    A sole lightening flash captures
    Hunter and prey in a virtual landscape;
    Taunted in real life with not cyber reprieve;
    Persecution continues – endless and enduring

    Before an apathetic audience only concerned with the drama;
    Group think and mob rule have made their virtual leap;
    Many are the injured who can’t seek help;
    Shunned in real life and vilified online.

    To the hunted and the bullied – you are not alone;
    There is help out there;
    To the hunter and the bullier – you are not alone;
    There is help out there for you too.

  173. Catherine Lee

    The Chase

    She moves like a caged animal
    who remembers the smell of fear.
    Her desire is for release–
    it drowns the oxygen from her blood,
    clogging thoughts with thickening dreams
    of warm earth and wild spaces.

  174. MeenaRose

    By: Meena Rose

    Overly delighted, hopefully excited
    That’s how my day started

    Easy smile, sassy style
    That’s my state of denial

    Profoundly hurt, externally inert
    That’s me associating with dirt

    Persistent lies, silent cries
    That’s me perpetuating lies

    Endless shame, bottomless blame
    That’s me extinguishing my flame

    Rejecting life, accepting strife
    That’s me contemplating the knife

    Flawed solution,flawed evolution
    That’s me choosing persecution

    Patterns shattered, patterns tattered
    That’s me finally deciding I mattered

  175. MeenaRose

    That’s Them, Not Us
    By: Meena Rose

    A busy Sunday night where
    People race through aisles
    Stocking carts with food;

    Just then you hear it;
    The ear curdling screech
    Followed by sudden silence

    Exploding into a plaintiff wail;
    You can’t help but tighten shoulders
    As the wailing child walks by.

    Yup, that’s them alright;
    At least, it is not us;
    We are doing things right.

    His mother in a harsh stern tone
    Threatening punishment should the noise
    Not subside using such terms of endearment as

    Idiot, moron, demon child,
    Crazy, pitiful, a disgrace;
    Punctuated by the promise

    I could, no, I should
    Slap you silly.

    Yup, that’s them alright;
    At least, it is not us;
    We are doing things right.

    Enough! When will this folly end?
    When will you see that there never
    Was a them? It has always been us.

    What? Is it too painful to acknowledge?
    Too much to bear? Your plate’s too full?
    Or better yet, do you just wring your hands?

    Thinking yourself unable to affect change?
    Have you been lulled by this atomic life?
    Have you washed your hand clean?

    Yup, that’s them alright;
    At least, it is not us;
    We are doing things right.

    Enough! We race for cures –
    But what of society’s ailments?
    What of society’s cures?

    Policy can drive change yet
    People define culture;
    Peel off the social band-aid;

    Break the silence for
    There never was a them;
    It has always been us.

  176. Linda Voit

    There’s More Than One Way to Pet a Cat

    Back when our daughter was a child
    three kitchens ago, something
    in our conversation called for a comment
    about efficiency because I remember saying
    You can kill two birds with one stone.

    She paused, her face crinkled in thought.
    I don’t want to say that. I think I’ll say
    free two birds with one key

    From that moment, I’ve said the same
    And I still don’t miss the taste of violence
    coming out of my own mouth.

    Linda Voit

      1. Linda Voit

        Thank you for reading and commenting! Over the years, so many people have thanked me for the alternative wording my daughter created. Turns out, very few people actually like saying the cliche as-is. Interesting, the power of small changes in the words we choose to use. Thanks for the three kitchens comment, too.

  177. MeenaRose

    The Eyes Never Lie
    By: Meena Rose

    Two feet planted on ground,
    Head held high – darting wary eyes;

    An angelic face – sad and ashen,
    An endless winter trapped in bottomless eyes;

    A meek presence mastering the art of invisibility,
    Flighty eyes ensnared by a passerby;

    A soul battered – full surrender before the battle was done,
    Bleak eyes that no longer see;

    My eyes overflow with tears when we pass each other by,
    A sisterhood bound by pain coerced into loyalty;

    Starting now, I stand with you,
    Let’s break the silence.

  178. PSC in CT

    A Violent Truth

    Violence pervades nature,
    permeates, percolates,
    all as a matter of course.
    Supporting survival instincts –
    food, protection, self-preservation –
    it provides a natural balance
    sans maliciousness, minus malice.

    What lion harbors enmity for appetizing zebra?
    Does delectable gazelle abhor hungry hyena?
    Both dragonfly & praying mantis
    are predators & prey
    on any given day.

    Violence in nature is a common phenomenon
    occurring without malevolent intent.
    The natural world thrives on it.

    on the other hand,
    is mostly man-made;
    a toxic human concoction,
    unnatural, unnecessary –
    more greed than need;
    destructive, unproductive,
    it rarely profits anyone anything
    and offers no portion of peace.


  179. De Jackson

    ::Pieces of April::

    Puzzle yourself this breeze,
    these willowed trees in all
    their slow dance sway. Say
    you’ll tumble barefoot with
    me from here to mumbled
    (come what) May.

    Did the sky just sigh?

    If I inhale slow, I’ll know these
    things; that wayward cloud
    caravan cottoning its way
    across this indigo trail, first
    a lamb, now a sailboat drifting
    toward dusk.

    See that ebony pin-pricked blanket
    pulled up, tucked deep? These twink
    -led bards, shards of skyglass will
    keep our secrets.

    Let’s cobblestone some quiet
    semblance of lullaby from the
    lap of sea, this silken sky.


  180. DanielR

    I part the ropes and step into the square ring, asking myself
    “aren’t rings supposed to be circles without corners or sides?”
    My opponent releases a savage grunt and stares me down
    searching my steady eyes for fear, either his own or mine
    The bell begins the battle and we race toward one another
    like fierce, caged animals, instinctual in fighting for our lives
    and we dance and weave and punch ourselves into a frenzy
    returning to the same, repeating sequence round after round
    Blood, sweat, and spit flung through the air, mixing, bruises swelling
    In the tenth his legs start to go and through my weariness I land
    a flurry to his body and a right that sends him backwards
    With an uppercut I finish him off and watch him slowly fall
    Standing over him I realize that boxing is a violent sport
    Arm raised in the air, I find peace in knowing it was him or me

    Daniel Roessler

  181. carolecole66

    Night Storm

    The wind and rain beat against the roof
    violent as my dream, me, running from the armed
    intruder through hallways of my childhood home,
    he, unseen, more terrifying than a slash and cut
    produced by Hollywood. I lie in bed, listen to
    the drumming of . . . my heart? The rain? A palm
    frond beating on the glass? A tense tattoo
    of ancient longing drives me out of bed to stand
    outside the door, pulls me to the street, a primal
    howling beating in my chest. I bare my teeth
    and taste blood in my throat.


  182. beale.alexis

    “My parents ignore me.”

    I bet they wouldn’t, if I had gone through with it.
    I was ready, everything was all set up.
    My hands trembled as I grabbed the scissors on my desk.
    I flicked the blade back,
    not the sharpest I know, but I had no interest in dying.
    I just needed to make the voices stop.
    My neck was throbbing
    from all the
    My scull was rattling back and forth
    I’m not a violent person, I swear.
    I mean, does it count as abuse
    if you’re doing it to yourself?
    I bring down the blade to my
    pretty brown wrist and pause
    Do I dare? Am I that weak?
    I scream
    and throw the blade across the room.
    I sit in the fiddle position
    for thirty minutes, sobbing.
    I never wanted to hurt myself,
    I just wanted a little peace,
    that’s all.

  183. beale.alexis

    Dark wooden
    Rocking chairs close knit in a semi-circle
    Old hags, witches who have stood the test of time
    All seing, all knowing ghost pearly eyes
    Is it personal choice?
    Is it?
    No, it’s the knife that cuts the cords
    Slices the throat
    Dices the the odds
    In or out of our favor
    It’s nothing personal of the sorts, my dear
    Who else, who else
    Could deal out this sort of indifference
    Who else,
    Bui the fates.

  184. shellaysm

    Where Sound and Silence Synchronize

    Twinkling chimes clink with the soft breeze
    wafting an ever-changing tune
    and send the mind to reverie
    where sound and silence synchronize

    Bubbles burst gently overhead
    like liquid rainbow fireworks
    released by the pressure of air
    where sound and silence synchronize

    Rhythmically pelting summer rain
    the ballad of joyful heartbeats
    pitter-patter, rat-a-tat-tat
    where sound and silence synchronize

    Foamed waves splash onto scalding sand
    satiated beach lullaby
    a horizontal waterfall
    where sound and silence synchronize

    Michele K. Smith

    1. shellaysm

      And this version follows true Kyrielle format, with rhyme scheme:

      Twinkling chimes clink in afternoon
      wafting an ever-changing tune
      and in reverie hypnotize
      where sound and silence synchronize

      Bubbles burst overhead–their quirks
      like liquid rainbow fireworks
      by pressure of air minimize
      where sound and silence synchronize

      Rhythmically pelting summer rain
      heartbeat ballad mixed with champagne
      pitter-patter soliloquized
      where sound and silence synchronize

      Onto hot sand, waves purify
      satiated beach lullaby
      sideways waterfall visualized
      where sound and silence synchronize

  185. rachelgrace

    peace in violence

    “Tell me a story”, she said looking into his eyes
    I have become my story he replied.
    Looking into the dark pools of his eyes she found wonder
    Fascinating turns of tricks from spirits long gone
    She closed her eyes to the dark heavily recessed night
    In the background she felt hands slowly holding her
    Warmth in drowning.
    I will never let you go he said
    With a slight smile that she never saw he lifted her into the water.
    I will never let you go

  186. Brian Slusher

    Home Movie: My Brother and I Go to War

    In the super 8, we shoot
    silence, our plastic helmets
    keep dipping over our eyes,
    new soldiers with fake
    jungle fronds for camouflage
    and Vietnam playing in
    the TV room beyond this shot,
    a villager’s head left on a stool
    as a calling card, and we fire
    at the camera our father holds,
    bucking the toy guns so hard
    it looks like we’re hammering
    nails into the air, and outside
    the fireflies seem tracers or
    sparks from a burning hut and
    our cousin is already in country
    collecting ears and getting drunk
    and at seven and eight we know
    we’re next, so we practice
    our marksmanship in utter peace,
    our cherubic lips unleashing

  187. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Peaceful poem:

    Peace Is

    The fed infant falling asleep
    In the crook of your cradling arm.

    The cat beside you on the bed,
    purring all night long.

    As you meditate in your back yard,
    he songs of small birds in the trees.

    The face of a beloved friend
    smiling to see you again.

    Standing under a warm shower
    as the water runs over your shoulders.

    Arriving home on a cold night,
    coming inside and closing the door.

  188. Kendall A. Bell

    This time, he didn’t make it home

    What left you shoeless and face down
    in the dirt in someone’s backyard?
    Two black eyes, bruises all along
    your side – did you get into a fight?
    When you stopped for a slice of pizza
    one town away, did some one steal it
    from you? Knock you down and put
    a heavy boot into your octogenarian
    body? Or, was this some kind of karmic
    payback for pushing your wife down
    to the low pile of carpeting on the
    steps? Those questions died with
    your voice along side the soft whir
    of machines that held you for a week.

  189. J.lynn Sheridan

    “He says he’s a guy”

    His feet own the couch where
    a double-decker sandwich shakes
    crumbs that I don’t want to vacuum
    but we are discussing books and
    I wouldn’t trade this time for brownie
    ice cream until he bursts out with,
    “Why don’t more authors end their stories
    with the hero gouging out his own eyes?”
    Now I know that we differ on what makes
    a character interesting. I don’t even bother
    with a bowl. Nor do I share.

  190. Emma Hine

    ‘Peace in Pieces’

    P iece it together piecemeal –
    E ntirety broken down,
    A cents floating, fragmented.
    C atch each one, before they drown.
    E mbrace the peace of the whole.

  191. LizMac

    Peace & Violence

    As long as there are bunnies
    To blow up on screens
    Real violence remains uncomprehended.

    Where is the line
    Dividing Peace from Fear
    And are you outraged I ask?

    Peace that passeth understanding.

    Violence that is pushed down to lurk
    In the unplumbed recesses of our inner space.

    Peace and Violence, straddled
    By modern inoculated privilege.

  192. priyajane

    Mosquito attacks make my blood boil
    and evoke my killer instincts
    of razor sharp edges
    laced with ashen words
    Loud finger flashing darts
    are no match for this skillful invader
    and , when I deploy chemical warfare
    their unflinching spirit stings back
    with nasty itching hives!
    Somehow, sunshine yields a gentle breeze
    of a soothing ceasefire
    at last!

  193. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    The violent poem:

    War Games

    When I bought my Kobo WiFi
    (which is now obsolete and dead)
    it came with 101
    free downloads from Gutenberg.com —
    classics, including
    Homer’s Iliad. Well!
    Always wanted to read that. Felt I should.

    It was the great Alexander Pope’s translation,
    so I thought it must be good
    (forgetting I was never mad on Pope).

    Every male friend who saw me reading it
    seized the e-reader out of my hands
    devoured a few paragraphs,
    then handed it back reluctantly, exclaiming,
    “Such good stuff, isn’t it?”

    I must say, I didn’t quite get it,
    but I persevered. For several chapters.
    By which time it gradually dawned —
    it’s a boys’ book. This one fights that one,
    these ones fight them. And in between
    they give rousing speeches
    urging each other on,
    or occasionally chiding the few cowards.

    They do like a bit of biffo, blokes.

    Not me. I deleted Homer.

  194. Lana Walker

    Crazy 8

    He was certifiably insane,
    that man in the window.

    Blood was everywhere,
    and I mean everywhere.

    The mood and the air,
    they were heavy, so heavy.

    Hardly anyone talked,
    except for that man.

    He had witnessed everything,
    and had things to say.

    So many things that happened
    day after day at the slaughterhouse.

  195. Gwyvian

    The formula

    balance is the decisive observer, that blends
    right and wrong with a pattern of chaos,
    the lifeblood of the universe, omnipresent
    and callous to our wants:
    balance sets the cost.

    betrayal is the blade that digs deepest,
    a crushing of a seed planted in harmony,
    the force that drives the sane to insanity and
    puts us into dreamless sleep:
    betrayal is the key.

    blood is the price exacted, when words
    have failed and damnation is accepted,
    when reason is left adrift a sea of anguish
    and the essence is stolen:
    blood is cold vengeance.

    breath is all that is left when the curtains fall,
    the last bow to an empty theater, a slow
    ethereal glimpse into the beginning and end
    and only silence reigns:
    a single breath is all that is left to say.

    April 8, 2014

    By: Lucy K. Melocco

  196. lshannon

    Peace be with you

    Long ago I left you
    Your ritual and incense
    Hard benches as
    life is not comfortable.

    Come to you for answers?
    that is the unmistakable fallacy.

    Come to you for calm
    peace and meditation?
    A chorus of voices that
    call and respond.
    May peace be with you
    and also with you

    Come to you to
    be with her.
    Peace be with me.

  197. lshannon

    A price to pay

    Words and unpredictable anger
    bracing myself for the wave
    of nervous energy-
    electrifying the room
    A haze of alcohol fumes
    and frustration
    even the dog can tell
    and moves closer
    I do not believe you
    would ever hurt me
    but words bruise too
    Under the surface slow to heal
    it is your past and my past
    Baggage and confusion
    unresolved that crack
    open the calm surfaces
    Tears and silence
    sleep and restoration
    A price to pay for your service
    and my judgement

  198. James Rodgers

    A Poem About Peace

    I wanted to write
    a poem about peace,
    about the calmness
    needed in our world,
    but the Nightly News
    keeps reporting
    on Afghanistan,
    Somalia and Crimea,
    the sabre rattling
    of North Korea,
    and the Chinese.

    I wanted to write
    a poem about peace,
    but my brain is fighting me,
    refusing to cooperate,
    preferring to shoot out
    words of pain and anger.

    I wanted to write
    a poem about peace,
    but I don’t believe
    it will happen today,
    and I don’t want to force it.
    So, I’ll turn off the news,
    turn off my brain,
    and try to be satisfied
    with a piece of pie.

  199. MMC

    The Violence of Gravity

    Invisible force
    pulling me down, always
    down. An unwelcome
    anchor, no chance
    to float free through space
    no effortless tumble
    through air, no giant hops
    skips or jumps. Only one
    direction for everything
    from stars to salamanders.
    Someday maybe we’ll learn
    how to live without it:
    world peace will come at last

  200. beachanny


    In those day s of black & white TV
    we were listening to Joan Baez and P,P,&M
    on the stereo. He came over to see my
    husband (they’d roomed together in grad school).
    “We’re in the midst of a peace scare, I tell you
    and I’m damned scared”. I thought he was joking.
    I looked up from the baby to see he wasn’t.
    “Those guys at the pentagon are shakin’ in
    their boots. If something doesn’t happen soon
    the whole country’s in trouble. It’ll be downhill
    from here.” I began to glower. I didn’t ask him to
    leave. I just endured his bluff and blow.
    Not long after that Viet Nam blew up. Thousands
    were shown dying every night on nightly news.
    I still can hear Robert McNamara’s name and
    I shudder.

    © Gay Reiser Cannon * 4.8.12

  201. James Von Hendy

    Missing Grace

    Well now, he could shatter peace a bullet
    At a time, sheep grazing on the hillside pasture,
    A broad-winged hawk circling overhead,
    And beyond the failing fences at wood’s edge,
    A doe and fawn nibbling grass in sunlight.

    “300 yards,” he said, and chewed a blade of grass
    Seeming as lazy as the heat of day.
    He took his time loading lead, sighting down
    The barrel, lifting the rifle hillward,
    Scoping and taking aim. The shot alone

    Took me down. Dirt kicked up above the field,
    And then in motion far too slow they turned
    And fled, doe, fawn, and woodchuck. Disruption’s
    Echo died the valley down. “Shoot,” he said,
    “I missed.” At my feet wild strawberries bloomed.

    1. miaokuancha

      Nice one!! Love the specificity of broad tailed hawk, blade of grass, wild strawberries. This poem brings to me the sharpest image of a farm I have known in northern Vermont. Lazy as the heat of day, Echo died the valley down — these are just wonderful turns of phrase. Lovely work.

  202. madeline40

    Not A Two-way Attack

    A violent woman sat
    across from me
    spitting venom like a snake
    spewing out profanities
    in a voice so loud
    the room shook –
    and so did I.
    I could do nothing to stop her tirade
    her cruel and vicious words.
    When I tried to defend myself
    she got up and walked
    out the door.
    She had had her say,
    too bad for the guys
    she wounded with her verbal cuts.

  203. susanjer

    Photographs from Number Three Erla Work Camp
    Germany, April 1945

    It was necessary
    to draw the veil
    over my mind,

    to give up being
    Margaret Bourke-White,
    like the unknown dead.

    It was necessary
    to put the camera
    myself and what was revealed:

    blackened bodies
    some with an arm
    stretched beneath
    coiled barbed wire

    charred rib cages

    graniteware feeding bowls

    a scattering

  204. muse60

    Too Late

    The hours accumulate
    Like weight
    In tonnage on every pore
    I’m sure they’ll be breaking the door down
    Any second
    Coming to the rescue

    I’m sorry it had to turn out this way
    I mean, it was your choice, really
    You could’ve answered
    The notes I left on your windshield
    And you didn’t have to laugh
    At my stutter

    That smile you flashed me once
    Told me you were different
    So I sent you my feelings
    On Hallmark, with crayon
    But you had to show them, mockingly,
    To your friends

    And now it’s just the waiting
    A honeymoon of sorts
    Our time of intimate exploring
    Tasting the nectar of each others’ souls
    I want to say it’s not too late
    But it is

  205. Emma Hine


    It takes two to tango, to dance that way
    On that battle ground. A dangerous game to play.
    He said, she said, you said, I said.
    What’s in your head’s not in my head.

    Vitriolic words like poisoned arrows fly.
    Sheath that verbal dagger, far too young to die.
    How to calm a rage when it’s eating you inside…
    Need to walk away, need your time to bide.

    Abusive accusations bouncing off the walls.
    Hard to stop the flow, to not respond when anger calls.
    Walking on a tight rope, never saw the knife.
    Words were stopped mid-sentence when he took away her life.

    Had to stand her ground, didn’t want to appear weak.
    Never played the victim, never turned the other cheek.
    Doesn’t seem to matter now – she’s gone in just a blink.
    He says its her fault that she died, she cannot even think.

    Rumours spread when people talk and tongues begin to wag,
    Who should take responsibility for when he lost his rag?
    Did she drive him to it or is he entirely to blame?
    Does it even matter when blood’s the price of this sad game?

  206. susanjer


    Urban deer graze windfall apples
    from our neighbor’s counterfeit
    green grass. The four-point buck poses,
    best side turned to our headlights.
    The docile curve of the doe’s neck
    is the story whose ending
    I never believed—where the meek
    claim their inheritance.

    Some night, if we turn the corner
    fast enough, I expect to see
    Frida Kahlo’s little stag has leapt
    from the canvas, escaped
    its nine piercing arrows and conscripted
    the deer into an archery brigade.

    Their arrows are aimed,
    for now, at the highest branches
    where the last of the blood red apples
    still dangle.

  207. Melissa

    Life Cycle

    The land screams

    The land mourns

    The land rejoices

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      Nice one, Melissa . . . love the powerful feeling to the poem and using the short words and seen through the eyes of the land! Brilliant!

  208. DanielAri


    the outbound B at a quarter to six Thursday
    has no two contiguous unoccupied cubic feet
    of airspace. Summer, and every interior trends
    toward sauna anyway. And in that long stretch
    between Grand and DeKalb something I’ll never
    know happens. Scream speed stops too fast—
    train cries high to a standstill in black tunnel
    as someone or many release hand straps all
    at once and everybody falls against the next,
    timber and topple over tight packed in a fallen
    wheat wave of recline—ending on me, pressed
    against the car’s rear door. The first sound’s
    a sigh of relaxed surrender, then even laughter.
    It’s unmistakable, but gone like the metal whiff
    of ozone as we all start to complain then to
    speculate on whether there’s been a jumper,
    but no rumors corroborate that story. Driver
    says nothing more than mechanical error as
    we all pick ourselves up from the collective bed,
    put our hats back on, unrumple our clothes and
    brace—those not in seats—for acceleration.


  209. CathyBlogs

    The Crime Inside My Head

    Resolve yourself already,
    damned insidious plot,
    creepy cold-blooded crime
    disguised in cerebral scenes —
    murder on repeat,
    anyone’s nightmare!
    His malevolence is
    just an act, right?
    He’s shooting blanks
    and talking trash;
    she’s a child star
    reading lines
    for an unblinking audience,
    resurrected after the fall.

    Let the film end
    credits roll
    theater empty and
    the cleaning crew enter;
    somebody wake me up
    take my hand
    and let’s go home.

    by Cathy Dee writing at CathyBlogs

  210. pomodoro

    She was a small woman
    says the size of her shoes
    on the broken glass of the deserted lot.
    A young one, too.
    The flush of the motel sign gilds
    the pointy toes and spiked heels.
    A man lived with her, they say,
    All charm and fast talk,
    drove a two-tone Coupe de Ville.
    But something went wrong
    and now her shoes lay on the ground
    like spit on a tavern floor.

  211. cholder

    She Hits
    -a cinqku chain

    she hits
    chases white
    smoke the dragon
    vaporized by fire
    she hits

    each time
    never again
    euphoria’s gone
    she hits

    devil dust
    chases spectrums
    of light dancing ’till dawn
    she hits

    the match
    strikes until
    a spark lights the
    way home to her final

    Chi Holder

  212. Lori D. Laird

    Our Continuing Dance Recital

    I’ve had clinched fists.
    You’ve packed your suitcase.
    My fears came home to roost.
    You desire a different face.
    Oh the horror!
    My blood grows cold.
    My heart is frozen.
    My soul grows mold.

    What happened to the peace?
    Where is the white hot lust?
    What’s wrong with me?
    My love turns to rust.
    Where do we go from here?
    Can we turn the tables?
    I can’t hear your heart anymore.
    That’s what I get for believing in fairy tale fables.

    You’re the only one who knows
    what the future holds.
    Yet you miss every sign before you.
    Can my heart grow, once more, bold?
    Just think about this.
    If I’m only to live in your memory
    you’ll miss what made us us.
    You’ll grow to hate me.

    But if you can turn it around
    and make it right right now
    we can learn to accept
    the here, where, and how.
    Look at me and see
    this isn’t a perfect ending.
    Not when everything points
    to another new beginning.

    Please give my soul peace of mind.

    © LDL 04/08/14

  213. Taylor Emily Copeland


    Your cheeks were pinked over
    and puffed out. Your bloodshot
    eyes could barely focus while
    you told me that he apologized,
    more than once, kissed your
    forehead, the one place he
    didn’t punch. This day, you
    met his frustration. This day,
    you met the bottom of your
    stairs. He dragged you like
    a corpse through the long hallway,
    your feet banging against cold
    hardwood floors, your voice
    echoing through the silent house.
    Your pin straight light brown hair
    taut, became his rope. You told
    me that you were sure he would
    kill you in your backyard, over
    a social media post, over silence
    after his frantic texting. I told
    you this would be the last time,
    that there are thousands of places
    I could hide his body.

  214. keepkeepingmesane

    By Jeremy Johnson

    Roots pop through my cuticles,
    cold like open nerve endings
    extending like dirty tendrils
    from tiny blood sleeves.

    My fingers flex, skeletal
    as my knees snap diagonally
    and push through my skin
    like branches through black yard bags.

    The roots pour into the ground.
    I open my jaw to scream.
    Wreathes like thorn’d coils spring
    from my stomach, plucking tonsils,
    vocal chords, and throat muscles,
    and leave them dripping down my
    unhinged jawline like succulent berries.

    I’m spread over the earth,
    praying for winter, when
    maybe, I could rest?

  215. DamonZ

    Okay, did the violent one, now the peaceful one. Lol

    “Kind Skies and Wet Sand”

    Capriciously dancing atop a broad, endless blue,
    Under a kind sky with a pinkish velvety hue,
    Whips a topsail being unfurled by her crew.

    The view from our chairs sunk in the sand,
    Our drinks held in our hands so tanned,
    This is more relaxing than I had planned.

    The gulls soar, dip, and squeal.
    Out on the rocks lay the sunbathed seals.
    Down the beach guys work the rod and reel.

    This vacation is just what I needed.
    Here time and stress are heavily impeded.
    Our own little paradise ー I think we succeeded.

    By: Damon Zallar

  216. Andrew Kreider

    Dealing with it

    When he continued to hang around the ad building
    they decided to go the traditional route of “shunning”
    and for the next three weeks simply ignored him.

    When he spoke they did not hear. When he smiled
    they did not see. When he reached out they were not there.
    Redemptive or not, it was Amish justice at its finest.

    Eventually he stopped coming, leaving a slightly
    awkward gap in the morning routine. Of course,
    they were proud of their peaceful intervention.

    But I couldn’t help thinking it would have been a lot
    cleaner if someone had just pushed him up against
    a wall and said, Stop now, or I’ll break your wandering arms.

  217. MaryAnn1067


    the mountain, riven open with
    a single slash of her hand, reveals the
    veins of precious metals, jewels,
    hid beneath the dun, grey

    exterior, the cheerful trees topped
    with snow toppled, toothpick-splintered, the picture postcard
    torn in two, jagged edges
    fanning her cheeks, hot with

    anger. she picks the jewels out,
    one by one, cracks them between
    her teeth, as the wastewater,
    grittily thick, tears down in rivulets

  218. theDolphin

    Mama’s Lament

    That your fist-print on my wall?
    Yeah, have a ball.
    You got it rough.
    Got it so tough.
    You in a prison
    ‘cause you can’t stay out till midnight, bra?

    I tell you,
    you don’t look at me that way,
    don’t even play.
    Then you scream, call me mean,
    rage and blow, run out the door.

    You think you hard done by, boy?
    You don’t know what that means,
    what it is,
    what life could be,
    what it was for me.

    You got it made
    in the shade, young punk.
    You just suffering
    White Boy Angst.

  219. poetbeta154

    Silent shore

    She walks onto my shores, bake-o-lite sands
    Swallowed by my rolling thumbs, without coke-
    Nails for the running of the spinal olympics.

    The moon is obscured by the scarring sun
    Leaving its blush on the formerly blue sky
    Where the airplanes leave finger food flesh.

    Her toes gring and melt until she kneels in tan
    Lines. There’s a sea shell inbetween her thumb
    And palm chilled by the loss of its former resident.

    Until she found it, it was a symbol of death, but,
    In her hands, where the cycle began, the warmth
    Begins to molt into twilight when the ocean replies.


    Pushes and pulls
    Grates and gradients
    Cohesion and clot
    Flush and flank
    Glomb and glimpse
    It is as it has been
    As it it will be
    Until there is no more

  220. lionetravail

    “Jack and Jill, Redux”
    by David M. Hoenig

    There was this hill we climbed, y’see,
    and up, and up, it went.
    For water, we did both agree,
    and the thirst-quench it meant.

    But there were other thirsts I knew,
    for drink as red as rum.
    And in that morning’s mirror-view,
    I saw my madness thrum.

    Quite grim, the top of hill you stayed,
    in place where none heard noise.
    You learned that worked, but never played,
    made Jack of the dull boys…

  221. Linda Rhinehart Neas


    He never hit her
    but his words
    cut with the surgical accuracy
    of a rapier, shredding her

    He held her tenderly –
    his words balm for her soul
    spoken and lived – proof
    that this was
    the man of her dreams

  222. Bucky Ignatius

    Needed the ‘violence’ prompt to write about this again—thanks.

    Derecho Wind

    Two yeas ago, end of June,
    my garden was smashed
    by a killer storm ripping
    a trail from West Texas
    to the Atlantic, a straight
    line wind, the weathermen
    called it, I know other names.

    It caught the top of a giant
    hackberry, four feet thick,
    split the crotch like an evil
    wishbone, taking everything
    it could reach along. The oldest,
    tallest tree in a copse
    never goes to ground alone.

    Where once was a canopy,
    now a wide swath of sky—six
    trees down, half of two others,
    a tiny deep wood, centuries old,
    gone to the wind in a blow.

    Today with the same
    indifferent violence, hands
    and spade, cut and yank
    great clumps of lariope,
    last of the old friends
    to go, who weren’t happy
    here anymore, couldn’t
    take the heat.

    Bucky Ignatius

  223. Debbie


    SOMETIMES man can hide his dreams
    not knowing what those dreams can mean.
    Then other times he finds some gold
    that doesn’t mean a thing.

    OFTEN times a dream comes true
    even though the thought is very new
    and through this gift comes life
    selected for only few.

    NEVER is there want for hurt;
    a cause unable to divert.
    Yet, somehow man’s aware of this,
    both painful and inert.

    But, ALWAYS there is flowing love
    when tenderly shared like a cooing dove
    that dwells from deep within
    being carefully controlled from above.

  224. lionetravail

    “Why Can’t It Last?”
    by David M. Hoenig

    For peace is a phoenix, born in the flames,
    only to crash and burn, and die again.
    Bloody midwife, the scorched earth of war’s games;
    for peace is a phoenix, born in the flames.
    She is lovely in aspect, glorious by all names,
    and always the first, sad casualty of unwise men.
    For peace is a phoenix, born in the flames,
    only to crash and burn, and die again.

  225. Emma

    Civil War

    If I’m honest it probably began with the cancer.
    That’s gone now.
    The cells ate away at me
    Malignant. Malign. Malicious.
    And now they are gone
    Leaving me hollow
    Now I battle heavy walls:
    Skin I have grown so thick.
    I fight myself
    To keep from caving in.

  226. Gabrielle Freeman

    This is a combo with today’s PAD prompt and NaPoWriMo’s prompt.

    What’s on your mind?

    I will die and my ashes will be filtered through baleen along with tiny krill and plankton and you better
    damn well post that shot on Instagram with the Rise filter so the trail of my cremated self will glow
    as it slides out of the cardboard box and into the sea which will sparkle in the summer sun. It will
    be summer and maybe a Saturday when I die ’cause I sure as hell don’t want to die at work.

    It will be a summer Saturday because I’m posting this blog entry on a rainy day in April in my windowless
    office and my yoga fix from yesterday has worn off and I need, really need, to finally get that namaste
    tattoo on my wrist because I find myself without peace often and need a reminder: there’s something divine
    in each of us, even when it feels like all there is are walls, walls, endless hours where I stand alone.

    I will not pretend to be dead, but I will die and someone will try to friend me on Facebook and
    my husband doesn’t know the first thing about social media, so someone will have to let that person know
    I’m dead. Post pictures you think would make me laugh to my wall. Wish me a happy birthday with

    a gift card from Starbucks. Tag me in your photo taken on a Saturday night dancing on the bar
    at Cowboy Ugly in Vegas. Check me in at McGuire’s in Pensacola and staple a dollar bill
    with some word written on it in magic marker like peace. Update my status with lights, light, and the sun…

    See the post at http://www.ladyrandom.com and thanks for reading!

  227. Autumn

    I decided to merge the two prompts together. Hopefully that’s acceptable :p


    Silent waters wait
    Animals are in hiding
    The peace is too calm

    And then…

    Sudden thunder cracks
    The rains flood down in blankets
    Violent winds churn

    And the peace succumbs
    To violence once again
    Story of my life.

  228. pcm


    “Sensual objects,” says the Buddhist master Shantideva,
    “are like honey smeared upon a razor’s edge.”
    “Merit…ripens in happiness and peace.”
    Good Buddhist monks must renounce
    the sentient pleasures of the world
    for the path of peace through non-desire.
    Yet from the sweet intoxication through your nose
    to your mind’s eye is fruit
    borne into sticky succulence in your mouth.
    Air and substance become one.
    Without scent, there is no taste.
    We are sensual creatures endowed
    with the gift of perceiving the delights of this world.

    As winter’s barren rest withholds the tremors of spring,
    so too we may withdraw from the world for a time.
    But merit must reside with engaging
    in the splendor of the world and its beings.
    To take in the messy wonder of this world
    is to regale in the divine cornucopia of life.
    I want to feel the icy sharp energy of reason,
    piquant and precise
    as much as
    the unpredictable meanderings of fancy
    in sweet cinnamon with baselines of turmeric.
    The one spins me to action, the other lulls me to peace.
    An unseen third dimension lies
    beyond action and tranquil peace.

    Unseen yet felt;
    heard not with your ears;
    known not with your analytical mind.
    It is the space between the words,
    the breath between the notes,
    the beat that is not played.
    The true essence of engagement
    through shared higher purpose
    brings joy, a state beyond time and space.
    There too is love.
    And with love we experience true freedom
    in this world and beyond.

    When those we love harm themselves
    or others, our sorrow is unbearable.
    At that brutal moment
    the violence of life is tamed
    only through not with or in
    though these may be a way to

  229. Hannah

    Cops and Robbers

    I know that’re many wishing that conflict could just be benign
    like in the beginning of time – just a few snot-nosed-kids with sticks.
    Yes, if only it was simply children armed with bark peeling branches,
    mouthfuls of sound effects, bubble gum and bellies full of laughter-
    just empty ammunition on a Sunday afternoon, harmless child’s play.
    Today and always it’s altogether different than what most dream.
    If only the collective could see that arms are for hugging not warring
    and that words, they’re the only potent ammunition we’ll ever need.
    The potential for peace and the adverse lives inside each breath,
    it’s a choice that resides within each chest and once its set free
    it could become quite infectious – I hope we’ll learn to exhale carefully.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  230. jakkels

    The crystal rivulet chuckled past mossy stones
    Over time smoothed boulder it rippled playfully
    Gently caressing the tiny fish in the sun warmed pool
    Green were it’s grassy banks with wild flowers peeping through
    And here and there a rabbit nibbled in contentment
    Some days a gentle misty rain would hang Diamonds from the stems and leaves
    And other days the rain would stiffen
    And the stream go muttering between its banks
    Leaves and twigs chased on by the speeding water
    Then the annoying rain would lash the hillside

    And the lively river would jump it’s banks
    it’s troubled rushing brown water
    harrying the stones and bushes clinging to the gorge
    Sometimes the rain would pour from tortured skies
    Sending the torrent roaring
    through the gorge
    Dragging trees and smashing boulders
    against the clinging rocks
    In a foam flecked fury of maddened water
    stampeding towards the coast.

  231. Emma Hine


    On the surface he seems such a likeable guy.
    His wife would tell you he couldn’t hurt a fly.
    He’s always dressed smartly in suit and tie
    But in his head repeats the single word ‘die!’

    Now this gentleman goes by the name of Pete.
    A more amiable fellow you could never meet.
    Wouldn’t look twice if he walked down your street.
    But beware! He considers murder a treat.

    Deep in the shadows of dark, Pete goes crawling.
    Not for him, the after pub brawling.
    Instead for fresh meat, the alleyways trawling,
    Pete starts his quest as nighttime is falling.

    His wife sits at home, innocently waiting.
    Unaware that her man is out ‘young girl baiting’,
    His unbridled lust for fresh female flesh sating.
    His method of capture is Internet dating.

    He lurks in the shadows, as his victim draws nearer.
    She waits. She’s been stood up, it couldn’t be clearer.
    She starts to grumble; he’s so close he can hear her.
    She has no idea, poor innocent Kiera.

    Just as she’s ready to give up, go home,
    Pete makes his move with this girl all alone.
    As she’s about to reach for her phone
    He grabs her and smiles as he hears her moan.

    Her draws the poor girl to the shadows of dark –
    Kiera, the prey of that predatory shark.
    As somewhere nearby they hear a dog bark,
    Pete rapes her before on his kill, he’ll embark.

    His hand on her mouth, none shall hear her screams
    As her life is about to be ripped at the seams.
    The knife plunges in, from her body blood streams.
    Her worst nightmare and his living dreams.

  232. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Peaceful, Placid

    I’ve never know a world at peace,
    free of war, since I was born,

    World War 1,2, we count them,
    Vietnam, Afghanistan,
    conflict in all lands,

    Our Soldiers fight for a world free of strife,
    bombs and blasts, gun and knife,
    A change of life,

    Peaceful, Placid, serenely, my grandchild sleeps,
    in his life, will there be peace?

  233. DamonZ

    Please don’t think I’m a violent person by any means, quite the opposite really. Anyway, this is a product of my mom telling us not to do to haunted houses when we were kids. She always said real crazies could hide there to kill people and you’d never know it was real till it was too late. God bless over- protective mothers everywhere. Hsha.


    At first, in good fun the trick or treaters think the carnage staged.
    Until their pain is real, and firsthand see the devil’s helpers enraged.

    The moon the only witness to the devil’s smite. Blood red this shadowy October night.
    It’s crimson scintilla glow, useless.
    Before its dimness, it’s victims bear witness.
    The desperate screams and throes of death
    At the devil’s hand they draw their dying breath.

    The thought of death heavy upon their shoulders.
    The creeping, incessant fire of fear- it smolders.
    Biting at their survival instinct so dogging.
    Their courage weary from the the constant flogging.

    By midnight the crescendo reaches its apex.
    A real life version of The Devil’s Rejects.
    Bodies and parts strewn everywhere.
    Those alive stay silent and move, they don’t dare

    The night of horror finally wains.
    The aftermath, streets glazed in bloody stains.
    The crazies who committed the violent act,
    Gone with their identities still intact
    But all over town, written are the words “We’ll be back.”

    By: Damon Zallar

  234. geetakshi

    Zones of Pain

    She loved her father,
    that little girl with her curly hair,
    she always resembled him more,
    others always said;
    save one thing:
    She had finger marks
    on her fragile neck,
    so easily snapped in two
    like a tiny, trembling twig;
    She remembers the night her fears returned
    as she walked alone at night,
    the embracing dark suddenly repulsive.
    She wanted to go to some kind of home;
    For her home was where pain ruled,
    Every single day of her life.
    Her memories failed her
    after that,
    there were so many things she feared:
    shy, unassuming and gentle,
    she kept to herself
    till she had to raise her hoarse voice
    (A childhood scar that never healed)
    to scream in the dark;
    For once,
    reaching out for a voice that might echo hers:
    A fairytale dream of sorts

    © Geetakshi Arora
    April 8, 2014

  235. feywriter

    Alert the town, the enemy draws near
    retreat into your homes ’til danger’s past
    the creatures feed by soaking in your fear
    so calm your children and you will outlast

    The demons circle, hunting as a pack
    our rangers find high ground for the attack
    let loose the arrows, let their mark be sure
    the demons’ deaths our safety will ensure

    by Mary W. Jensen

  236. lionetravail

    “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy”
    by David M. Hoenig

    It was nine
    when I read the news,
    and I stopped


    It was nine
    the size of the handheld
    which is today’s
    first equalizer and
    last argument of kings.

    It was nine
    the age at which his whole future

    It was nine,
    it was nine,
    it was nine-
    Tailors, Circles, Wraiths, all-
    and I found myself holding my head in my hands,
    the text on the page transformed
    to a lump in my throat.

  237. Liliuokalani

    I tried a paradelle today, for Billy Collins, and for fun…and for peace – I realize the combination is a little disturbing…

    For Pazita (paradelle for a little peace)

    “You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”
    “You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”
    Her ear’s tiny first curl – upsidedown in grief –
    her ear’s tiny first curl – upsidedown in grief –
    absolutely she curled in ears first, you see
    her tiny upsidedown grief had nowhere else to go.

    “Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much
    (Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much)
    but that’s how life is.”
    (but that’s how life is.)
    I’m sorry, but that’s how life is much deceived –
    You have to cry, so don’t.

    “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
    “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
    But is he of playful silence?
    But is he of playful silence?
    he is always a fancy murderer, but of silence,
    prose style counts – can play you on for a fool.

    He is always a fancy murderer of silence.
    I’m sorry, but that’s how life is much deceived.
    Absolutely she curled in ears first, you see
    her tiny upsidedown grief had nowhere else to go.
    (Prose style counts – can play you on for a fool
    You have to cry, so don’t.)

    *Quotes are from Nabakov’s Lolita

    1. Liliuokalani

      A bit modified to be a better sport with the last stanza…

      For Pazita (paradelle for a little peace)

      “You see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”
      “you see, she had absolutely nowhere else to go.”
      Her ear’s tiny first curl – upside down in grief –
      Her ear’s tiny first curl – upside down in grief –
      Absolutely she curled in ears first, you see
      Her tiny upside down grief had nowhere else to go.

      “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
      “you can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
      But is he of playful silence?
      But is he of playful silence?
      Prose style always counts – can play you on for a fool,
      but he is a fancy murderer of silence.

      “Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much
      (Don’t cry, I’m sorry to have deceived you so much)
      but that’s how life is.”
      (but that’s how life is.)
      I’m sorry, but that’s how life is so much deceived – 
      You don’t have to cry.

      I’m sorry to cry on how much a murderer deceives ears-
      but, you don’t see, he is so absolutely playful,
      had her always upside down in fancy curls-
      she is for nowhere else.
      You have to go counting griefs first-
      that style of a life can silence prose.

  238. skanet

    It’s good to hold hands
    After a long talk
    Skin on skin keeps us sane and grounded
    Why is a hug so hard to master?
    The disassociation in our hearts
    Creeps in and fosters itself
    Until contact is difficult
    Until you only touch certain people
    At certain times

    But we are human, and we need each other
    Up close, too close
    To keep from killing ourselves in order to kill each other
    In this, we may be saved by our only true companions, our pets
    To remember that to be human is to be animal,
    And we need to be touched\

  239. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Secret Slaughter

    Off the seas of Taiji, Japan,
    fishermen practice the battle plan,

    Under cover of night,
    barb wire fences,
    “Keep Out”, no defenses,

    Herded into the isolated cove,
    Dolphins selected, sold,
    Revenue to behold,

    An underhanded market,
    Mercury tainted meat,
    in school lunches to eat,

    Government man, commission the plan,
    Hiding the Hunt behind Police vans,
    Chilling, dark reality,

    Spears and knives, still life,
    in a sea of red, all dead, a massacre.
    Senseless, Secret Slaughter.

  240. starrynight3

    My Great Grandfather’s Bastards

    As Cheerful might recall, their mother
    Was eating a plum, ripe, right purple.
    The fruit squirted when she bit. She
    Made sucking sounds to catch
    The juice in her mouth.

    Lonnie’s memory was probably
    Different. He thought it was a tomato,
    Fresh from the vine at the back of the house,
    Warm from the sun. He picked it for her,
    Carried it in his hand.

    Neither remember any blood, just
    The man walking up the yard, then a
    Popping sound as he held the gun to her head,
    How she slumped before she fell sideways off
    The porch. Cheerful remembers her like that.

    How she lay, her skin pale and the buttons
    Of her violet gingham shirtdress.

  241. Pat Walsh

    Not entirely sure if I’ve written to the prompt(s) today, but I do like the result, regardless. Hope you do, too :)

    Little Plastic Men / Ceramic Ingenue
    by Patrick J. Walsh

    Descending on the western playset town
    loosing guns and making noise
    little plastic men ride horses
    and have no thoughts of anything
    larger than themselves

    Splayed lazily around in mahogany attire
    making rules and rheumy rationales
    little plastic men make speeches
    and have no thoughts of anything
    larger than themselves

    folded in its case
    the western town sits
    dusty alongside a box
    of ceramics tightly wrapped

    Sprightly turning in sash of gold
    one hand splayed with glee
    the ceramic ingenue fairly glows
    with no need of anything
    other than the light

    Waiting alone in the darkened hall
    she nods again to me
    the ceramic ingenue center stage
    with no need of anything
    other than the light

  242. drnurit


    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli


    Struck by lightening –
    abruptly, fiercely,
    my life sharply divided
    into a Before and an After,
    and the marks of the incision hurt…


    A single 6 mm tumor
    turns light into darkness –
    like a small but ominous cloud
    on an innocent bright horizon,
    threatening to cover the sun…


    Measuring life units:
    How many more Springs?
    How many more grandchildren?
    Will I be there when…???


    My body a combat zone,
    with parts Missing in Action
    never to be recovered,
    the scars – inscribed memorials
    to all that was lost…


    On the operating table
    I die a little, but waking up –
    I greet life once again:
    from the window, I see
    the blue sky with new clarity.


    Life is pulling me back,
    whispering to me in
    alluring playful voices:
    “Come back…
    There is so much worth fighting for…”


    Time and time again,
    I have conceived new paradises
    To replace paradises lost.
    Now, still bleeding,
    I am beginning to dream
    my new Garden of Eden…

  243. intheshadowofthesoul

    Violent Peace
    Lydia Flores

    The waves slam against docks.
    harsh white peaks clash with sand
    like the fight of my heart and mind.
    my heart sits like a bruised apricot in
    calloused, stern, wrinkled hands.
    I am floating against the bed of the river
    trying to keep my head above the water
    I taste the salt of it’s skin in my mouth.
    What happens when I stop holding my breath?
    when I release my muscles of their tension and
    let myself become one with the glory of the sun?

    The waves will knock me like his white knuckled fist
    The wind will slap cold with the sting of running winter
    For I have let myself become the boxing ring
    with flimsy ropes for hope. rage and peace
    with bloodied lips continue to raise their fist.

    The horizon line sits ahead and
    it whispers in changes of light…
    Where there is light there is shadow
    where there is roaring waves there is shore
    where there is driving thought there is choice.
    It’s a hell of a war but one thought could command
    the sea to be still. baby, breathe, baby don’t you see?
    The shore waits away but if you look to me,
    the one who stills the sea and tumult of the peoples*,
    the waves will hit you with a heavy, violent peace…
    That transcends all understanding.**

    The war of the waters rages on foaming
    white, but they relent to the sun ‘s rays
    I walk upon the waters and
    the war dissipates at my disposal.
    at the shore the waves come and go
    each time meeting me with a cool, calm kiss.

    (*Psalm 65:7 / ** Philippians 4:6-7)

  244. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 8

    Write a violent poem
    write a peaceful poem.

    Silent Strings

    on a guitar that won’t feel his hands again.
    Who knew that the last time he plucked and strummed
    would be the last time?

    If he taught all the music lessons mentioned
    on Facebook, if he made the church house sing,
    why did he feel he had to leave?

    Why was the God Who is Enough, not enough?
    Did those who knew him fail in some way
    to say or do what would make him stay?

    Death sounds so final, so permanent,
    for one so young. Maybe he found Jesus’s peace and left
    everyone else with the pieces.

    Dreamy Peace

    While I’m tasking today, I’m daydreaming.
    Picturing the puffy clouds that drift
    through the spring blue with my body
    floating on sun-drenched grass.
    I close my eyes and the warmth soaks my lids
    while a lone songbird cheeps for effect.
    Open them. I’m back at the laptop,
    struggling to write a poem, pay bills,
    think about how to clear the fridge for the new
    one coming tomorrow.
    Still, I feel centered, at peace, knowing
    God and I have this,
    keeping the spring and the spring day in my heart.

  245. Eibhlin


    You stood in the Garden of Remembrance
    with Mary McAleese,
    you laid a wreath,
    bowed your head;
    perhaps you prayed.

    You laid a wreath to honour those
    whose guns and bombs and burnings
    won our freedom
    from your people’s rule.
    (And yes, of course, they lost their own lives too).

    You bowed your head
    and prayed (perhaps) for those
    who blew your cousin’s brains to smithereens,
    your Philip’s uncle, who gave his adolescent years
    some semblance of normality.

    Today, they say your standing there,
    your laying that wreath,
    advanced the cause of peace by many steps.

    White coat, black gloves; God Save the Queen;
    your silent dignity, your majesty.

  246. sbpoet

    Mother is angry.

    The boys have vandalized the garden.
    Their science experiment has filled the house with fumes.
    They have sealed their sisters in the basement.

    The parakeet lies dead on the floor of his cage.

    Father has locked himself in his Den with the Financial Times.
    He smokes his cigar and closes his ears.

    The bathrooms are flooded.
    The kitchen’s on fire.
    Someone peed in the fishbowl.

    Mother is angry.

    She grew this garden.
    She made this house.
    She will bring them down with her own hands.

    She raises her fists.
    The foundation crumbles.
    The roof shakes.

    Her eyes turn dark as dung beetles.
    Her hair hisses.

    She is Kali. She is Medusa.

    Mother is angry.

    She has booked a flight.
    She has called a cab.
    She is leaving us in our own mess.

    She’s had enough
    of two a.m. feedings,
    midnight vomit,
    four o’clock nightmares.

    Let someone else walk the dog,
    clean the cat box,
    soothe the sibling-inflicted wounds.

    She doesn’t give a damn
    who Father fucks when he works late,
    how many D’s on report cards,
    whether that rash is measles or malaria.

    When the children are hungry
    let them raid their father’s cupboard.
    Hers is bare.

    ~ sharon brogan

  247. Amaria

    Violent Poem:

    Mother what have we all done
    to deserve this hateful wrath?
    You ravish us with fire,
    drowning us in high waters,
    scorching the ground with heat.
    You send twisting dark clouds
    leveling all in its path,
    falling mounds of fluffy snow
    covering the earthly grass.
    You have been shifting fault lines
    causing the ground to tremble.
    Mountains spewing out liquid
    turning us all into ash.
    Have we angered you so that
    you would obliterate the
    beauty which you created?
    Is there a way we can help
    make this raw fury within
    wither, so we do not all
    end up in ice or ashes?

    Peaceful Poem:

    What is peace?
    Is it the tranquil waters of a lake,
    a blue sky or sunshine on a Spring day?

    What is peace?
    Is it people all living in harmony
    helping those when they are in need?

    What is peace?
    Is it knowing that you are loved
    and that you will never be alone?

    What is peace?
    Can anyone ever truly know
    when the world is always arguing?

  248. DanielR

    Burdens of darkness can still encumber
    the innocent who succeed in slumber
    unaware of your impending doom
    as evil creeps into the room
    a pillow covers mouth and nose
    flopping, flailing, as panic grows
    gasping for breath and in despair
    you break the surface to find air
    Your heart pounds hard against your chest
    A violent thief has stolen your rest

    Daniel Roessler

  249. gmagrady

    The whistle

    Did he whistle?
    He did.
    No, sir.
    I do not recall.

    Who the hell cares about the whistle?

    The Chicago boy
    just 14
    that Chicago 14-year-old negro boy
    who whistled
    whistled while down visitin’ in Money
    Money, Mississippi
    whistled at a white woman—
    He shoulda known not to
    not to whistle at no woman
    no white woman
    shoulda known not to whistle at no white woman
    while down in
    when you’re a 14-year-old boy
    from Chicago
    when you’re a negro boy
    no matter the age and
    but especially when you’re a
    14-year-old negro boy from up north
    from Chicago.

    But they say he did it
    that he done whistled
    that he done whistled at the white woman

    and so they came for him
    the white woman’s husband and his brother
    they came for the negro boy who whistled

    found him in his uncle’s house
    asleep in the black of night
    found the negro boy asleep, not thinking
    about the whistle
    but the husband and brother sure were
    and they roused that boy
    that negro boy and kidnapped ‘im
    took ‘im away to teach ‘im a lesson
    teach ‘im a lesson is what they done did

    carry ‘im out back
    to the car
    drive ‘im down the road
    to the farm
    shoot ‘im in the head
    to the sound of drunken laughter
    tie ‘em with wire
    to the cotton gin

    cut up his face and ears just for fun
    cut off his parts before they’re done
    drag him to the river ‘fore the rising of the sun
    walkin’ aways as if a battle they’d won

    a battle between
    power and powerlessness
    a battle between a
    deranged society and a boy

    a 14-year-old boy

    a 14-year-old Negro boy from Chicago

    who whistled
    who dared to whistle
    whistle at a white woman
    while visiting Money, Mississippi

    That whistle.

    Did he whistle?
    He did.
    No, sir.
    I do not recall.

    Who the hell cares about the whistle?

      1. gmagrady

        Delete the line “cut off his parts before they’re done”
        Emmett’s mother was actually relieved that the boy was in tact in that sense. This line was confused with a lynching from another victim.

  250. Margie Fuston

    Killing Unpoetic

    If I were Porphyria’s lover,
    I would twist your greedy gold hair
    around your once fair neck
    until you breathed
    your last breath
    for me.

    If I were a duke,
    and you
    my last duchess,
    I would paint your face, immortal,
    on our closet wall,
    hidden behind the stained red dress
    you never wore for me.

    But I am me.
    A bullet and a Polaroid will have to do.

  251. Mustang Sal

    A Prayer for Peace

    In my sighing,
    in my trying,
    in my whying,
    give me peace.
    In my worry,
    in despair,
    in all trouble everywhere,
    give me peace.
    In the face of fading hope,
    when I’m on a slippery slope,
    at the end of every rope,
    give me peace.
    In the glaring light of dawn,
    in the work when day’s moved on,
    in the dark when sight is gone,
    give me peace.
    When life escapes my clutch,
    when I need a healing touch,
    when the world is just too much,
    give me peace.
    When I find my vision blurred,
    When I cannot form a word,
    When I struggle to be heard,
    give me peace.
    Til the final trumpet sounds,
    Til I’m lifted, heaven bound,
    Til in You I can be found,
    give me peace.

  252. Joseph Harker

    …and the more peaceful side of things:


    Blessed are the peacemakers
    who come to the beds of strangers.
    Blessed are the warm, mechanical boys
    who courier amends from hand to hand
    and make no noise. Blessed are
    those carved from steel that can withstand
    the force necessary to prevent divorce,
    and remain miraculously unbent.
    Blessed are the doves who build
    bridges out of olive branches, from one side
    of love to the other. Blessed are those
    who are double desired, conducting
    his craving with hers like a skin-wrapped
    length of wire. Blessed are the ones
    who care too much and occupy themselves
    with the marriage’s repair. Blessed are
    the peacemakers that the couple
    tries out together. Blessed are third parties
    giving back what they take,
    who triangulate the romantic lie and
    resolve it for some others’ sake.

  253. Joseph Harker


    In the thick of the moment, he slapped me
    twice across the face, hard enough to slick
    blood along the inside of my cheek,
    chips of ice lacing his eyes as he growled,
    yes, faggot. He was there, but the rest of him
    had vanished someplace else: his shyness
    draped like a towel over an easy chair,
    his fear and shame leaving only a vapor trace
    like steam on the mirror. After the strikes
    came a wad of spit that dripped down my nose
    to soak my lip, which he sucked and bit hard,
    desperate and crying as he lets it all out:
    every barb of passion suppressed with I’m trying,
    holding down this fire he does without until
    he sees red– then it must erupt. But he loves
    his wife. Her body will not do for his fury,
    whose allocated space, like love’s, lives below
    the waist. He’s explained all this before
    as an apology for what I’ve seen: now,
    he rakes his stubbed nails down my bare back,
    clutching the wants he can’t quite burn down.
    Tell me you like it, he begs. This is how
    evenings pass in our sleepy suburban town.

  254. shellcook

    The Violence of a Peaceful Dream

    I am dreaming,
    I know that right?
    Damn it’s the moving dream again.
    I can’t wake myself up in this one.
    Gotta see it to the end.
    Gotta live it, for as long as it goes.

    This isn’t the home we bought,
    when we decided to buy.
    Where are my things?
    What is wrong with me?
    I don’t remember this.

    Is it someone else’s life that I live?
    An elegant stranger, who looks like I might have,
    if I had chosen an easier life path.
    Things are different in a way I can’t name.
    Is this illusion, is this a game?

    A pattern in everything I see, there are numbers,
    I press the buttons to call my beloved.
    ‘You have used your allotted phone minutes.’ says
    a voice from the phone.
    Curious I think and turn to the fridge.
    I mash the button to get some ice.
    ‘You have used your allotment of fridge time.’
    says a voice from the fridge.

    My handsome husband arrives at the door, he says
    ‘I don’t know what, but I’ve done something wrong.
    My allotment of work time is all gone.’

    I look around this house, that is lovely and serene.
    As the pool disappears, then the fountain and stream.
    What is this, what’s happening I cry in extremis!
    I hope, how I hope, this is only a dream.

    From the sky there arrives a coarse lightning blast,
    it wipes out the swings, it wipes out my plants.
    Grab the kids and pack up your stuff,
    If this isn’t an illusion, it’s turning us to dust.

    I run to the neighbors, I shout and I cry
    ‘Get out, get out if you don’t you’ll all die.’
    I turn and I look and cry in distress.
    Oh my God, oh my God, what is wrong in this place.

    The ground shaking sharply, I fly out of my skin,
    This is it, now I know.
    This is the end.

    At that, I peer up at the burgeoning sky,
    Dusty with the remains of this horrific day
    As pods drop down,
    Cocoons they might be.

    I awake with a cry.
    And I hear, with my hammering heart loudly
    Is the stuff of nightmares,
    or deranged poets.

    ‘Soylent Green’ is the whisper,
    ‘Illusion or not…’

  255. kelleyc416

    Nothing is Sacred in Civil War

    No hallowed hush on the fields,
    But corny jokes by history buffs
    Echoing death threats that laid
    50,000 men to rest in neat artillery rows,
    And the curt hiss from diet coke cans
    Stilling southern drawls and nasally Yanks
    With a sip to answer cannon blasts.

    My man could not understand why
    We went again and again to hear empty
    Rounds fired, more shooting from
    Camera phones capturing Armisteads’ hill
    For Instagram. “Nothing is sacred in Civil war,”
    He said on loop in my head
    The whole stroll up Pickett’s charge.

    Cities burn while the whole world turned
    Its back toward Gettysburg,
    Remembering suffering now alive in Syria.
    “It was the safest country in the world,”
    he told me, “growing up.” Now a man
    will slit his friend’s throat where they
    kicked soccer balls around, and playgrounds
    rot with corpses shot into the river.

    His brother makes medicine in Aleppo,
    Dodges street assassinations to reach
    His pharmacy. And his fiancé
    Is kept away by a sniper
    Between their apartments.

    Democracy costs wars between states
    Of mind. Muddled in Guernica—
    Picasso painted a Spanish still life,
    An answer to whose right
    Mutates civilians when pens sprout arms:
    Devil’s Den still burns ghosts
    With noontide heat at 3 am effulgence,
    An insatiable spark in Syria centuries later.

  256. acele

    4/8 Morning Battle

    My eyes open slowly.
    I check the current conditions: time, weather, latest electronic communications

    As always, the enemy has taken hold overnight as I slept,
    strategically finding warm, dark corners in which to take up their position,
    feeding on bits of food between my teeth.

    I feel their slimy nature on my tongue and taste their unsavory character.
    I perceive their attack on the pearly structures of my bones,
    which stand as the gateway for all that enters into the belly of this temple

    I dash to grab my liquid weapon and load it into my mouth gargling and swishing to draw them out of their holes.
    This stage of the battle continues as long as my cheek muscles can endure.
    Then I violently spit all of the captive enemy soldiers down the drain in a great torrent.

    For stage 2 of the battle I choose my clear blue bristly weapon and load it with pasty ammunition
    I aim for their hideouts on my gum line and between the fortresses of my teeth, attacking with the sharp bristles.
    finishing with a firm scouring of the broad field of my tongue

    I spit out the remnant of their army and rinse their stronghold with sparkling, clean water
    I smile then run my tongue over the smooth surface knowing I have kept the enemy at bay and prevented their acidic erosion.
    May this first victory of the day prepare me for whatever battles lie ahead.

  257. Lori DeSanti


    Before we knew violence,
    we knew peace; when we

    spent summers trying to
    catch hummingbirds with

    our bare hands. How can
    a child’s fingers, so gentle,

    grow to learn hate? We
    were born to trust velvet

    silence in the sky, soon
    breathing wrongs like air.

    Now we spend nights with
    windows open, searching

    for Wordsworthian moments
    as if they were a super moon,

    forgetting the scent of freshly
    cut grass, and the patience it

    takes to build an anthill. I recall
    the day I learned to count the rings

    of a sugar maple, but didn’t see them
    until the day I cut one down in my

    yard. I wonder what happened to
    those nectar flowers in my parents’

    garden, and the tiny feathers glossed
    with iridescence on a fleeting wing.

  258. kelleyc416


    “A minute on your lips is a lifetime on your hips,”
    Grandma says.
    Aged doll painted over botulin toxins,
    Wizened from osteoporosis,
    Always denying nourishment when young
    To keep a scary “waste-line.”

    I hear her complain:
    “Eat like that, how will you ever find a man?”
    as though that were the only
    reason to live
    off morsels at a feast:
    Starving for real goals.

    Magazines agree:
    I see skin so smooth they must have bathed in stardust
    Limbs cut, shaped free from all fat
    Mutilated into a truth of beauty
    That thousands of women have no choice
    But to believe they will never achieve.

    There’s no space on the covers
    Left for reality:
    Photo chopping’s the standard, sets a precedent
    Ruins self image for each individual body
    Each face, and rips the person in the mirror
    When each glossy lie should be torn to pieces.

  259. Jenn Todd Lavanish

    The Accident

    Sharp loud screeching breaks,
    White van slams into my side,
    Broken on pavement.

    Summer Evenings

    Songs of insects play,
    Gentle rhythmic lullabies,
    Beneath soft moonlight.

  260. candy

    Hands of War

    Hands of a warrior
    with wooden tubs
    and harsh soap for weapons.
    Gentle hands of compassion
    easing pain, calming
    fears of boys fighting boys.
    Strong, work-worn hands
    scrubbing battle stains from shirts once white
    while sweat and tears combine to stain her heart.
    Raw, bleeding hands
    whose blood mingles with
    the blood of soldiers – blue and gray.
    Hands spreading heavy woolen uniforms
    to dry under the bright yellow sun
    like so many corpses left behind.
    Hands mending holes
    in socks for blistered feet
    that march in line to die.
    Faithful hands
    praying nightly for
    the carnage to end.
    Hands of a washer woman.

  261. Michelle Hed

    I decided to combine today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo (rewrite a famous poem) with today’s “peaceful” prompt.

    The Firefly
    -after William Blake ‘The Tyger’

    Firefly, firefly, burning bright,
    in the pastures of the night;
    Who made you, so you would glow?
    Who could make you light just so?

    How many years have you been here,
    chasing away midnight fears?
    Who gave you wings to flit and fly?
    Dreaming humans would want to try.

    And what heart, filling with joy,
    could make me feel like a boy?
    Who fills my spirit and soul
    with magic, instead of coal?

    What the paper? What the ink?
    My words fall from what I think.
    What the needle? What the thread?
    How much blood drips from your head?

    When the heavens burst with light
    and darkness banished to the night;
    Did he smile to see you glow?
    Will he make something new for show?

    Firefly, firefly, burning bright
    in the pastures of the night;
    Who made you, so you would glow?
    Who would make you light just so?

  262. mandygirl238

    Day 8.

    It lifted her higher, almost to the sky
    Only to pull her back, deeper, darker
    Twisting and turning like some perverse dance
    She gasped for air, a burning fire
    Filled with the sting of salt, a bitter taste
    The roar in her deafening.

    Alone, afraid beyond their grasp
    Beyond their grasp
    Pulled out to sea
    Weightless, floating
    No more pain
    Somehow her loss
    Is also her gain.

  263. shelaghart@yahoo.com

    Screaming wind rips trees
    Scattering branches like toys
    Stopping everything

    A Lovely Day
    Gentle breeze ripples
    Green fronds, aqua sea, white clouds
    Gently floating by

  264. Shennon

    Not only out of touch,
    But also a world away.
    To say I’m stunned
    might be a start,
    But the dust in my lungs
    Aches through to my soul.
    I think the crowd is
    yelling, through the haze
    clouding my mind.
    The ride’s behind me now
    But an inescapable fear
    of falling haunts my memory
    While dirt and sweat mix with
    blood in my mouth
    Making each ragged breath
    more unendurable than the last.
    Exhaustion provoked by
    helplessness overwhelms me
    As my wild spirit finally
    submits to sleep.


  265. Andrea

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
    – Isaac Asimov

    Domestic Tranquility

    Was it a thought:
    Act out your inadequacies
    on me

    At first,
    you had less
    I loved your faults
    saw past your affliction

    At next,
    you saw yourself a deterioration
    and limp arms became strong
    against me

    I was
    an unwitting adversary
    in the kitchen,
    the garden,

    You became cocky,
    like an easy A
    chased me out of safety

    When faced with
    Mom or Kids

    It was an easy one

    I was a brick wall
    around them

    No, I was the Berlin Wall
    a barrier with abandoned
    guard towers

    I nightmared
    the kids would defect to the east
    when we left

    They didn’t

    An anti-harass clause in a contract
    doesn’t stop you
    when I bump into furniture
    or when the morning alarms me

    what I never saw for myself
    I see in others around me

    You can’t put a name
    with the face
    of violence—
    the shapeshifter
    that it is
    smiling in hate
    shrinking in love
    congested with indifference

  266. HoskingPoet

    Hamster running free
    scurries for the door
    Mom, who did not see
    Hamster running free
    tries to stop his spree
    Fear, he is done for
    Hamster running free
    scurries for the door

    I’m not sure if this is a violent poem or a peaceful one. The violence – I almost squashed said hamster in door. The peace – said hamster lives to run free again.

  267. PKP

    Children Listen

    They crouch in the dark
    behind their shared bed-
    room door and listen to
    words that are too loud
    to have meaning beyond
    ugly – they can feel walls
    shake with rage feel the
    spray of spittle as parents
    massacre each other – only
    to live again -reconstituted
    in the always sudden quiet –
    the clinking of a glass or two
    and finally the sound of their
    tip-toed walk-to their softly
    shut door and then the loud
    inexplicable, creaking sighs
    of bedsprings in the night

  268. Zart_is

    Hobbled unable to escape
    cranked tight piercing
    helpless victim harmed
    a fine and subtle torment
    glass shattering
    trees felled
    buildings tumbled rubble
    a mindless vicious meanness
    the brute, a ferocious urge
    bright angry aggressive force
    fierceness unleashed
    wild and profound.
    Like war without reason
    But to trap.
    But to spoil.
    But to destroy.

    The silent perfect moment
    at the end of a sigh
    in accord with present with past
    consideration between calm and eager
    of ones potential expectations
    stillness in harmony with serenity
    the sound of a gentle rain
    the scent of an Earth in flower.
    The gently ruffled twinkling of I.

  269. Janet Rice Carnahan


    The light we carry
    It will speak for itself
    It is about Peace
    And genuine Compassion!

    The light we carry
    Is about Oneness
    And genuine Connection!

    The light we carry
    Seeks nothing beyond
    Positive energy
    And a genuine YES!

    The light we carry
    Cannot be put out
    Refuses to be extinguished
    We are not separate from it
    It is sincerely who we are
    It extends in all directions
    And a genuine Reality!

    The light we carry
    Is our way to manifest Peace
    To end violence
    To silence
    Need . . .

    And a genuine, most positive Self!

  270. Janet Rice Carnahan


    In a world,
    Where survival speaks,
    Fear is strong,
    Love is not,
    Unless people remember,
    Who they are inside!

  271. Janet Rice Carnahan


    As socialized
    Human positive exchanges
    Dotted with respect
    Of ease
    Can be
    Beneath the surface
    True rage
    Can linger!

    Not dissolved
    Lack of love
    Gut reaction
    Full of traction
    Energy of no satisfaction
    Can attack
    Our system and back
    With verbal violence
    Or quietly
    But with the full
    Of blatant negativity
    Even hatred,

    The raw root,
    Hidden response
    Triggering violence,
    Making one blind,
    To their depth of darkest passion
    Lies in the sub-conscious
    Of mankind, or any animal,
    It is the fear of not surviving.

    With emotions that raw
    Everyone they saw
    Is a threat
    Even the letters,
    What they feel,
    Even if the enemy isn’t real
    They steel themselves
    Spelling raw backwards
    Shows us what’s more
    Its war!

    Once that level of awareness is attained
    Human beings will defend their turf
    Property With fierceness
    Head on
    Backs arched
    Stance steady
    Because the signal has come,
    Fighting has begun,
    Something must be done
    They must show,
    They have to know . . .

    They have unequivocally, won!

  272. KS20x1

    All of My Love

    by Kelley Stephens


    You tell me to come over
    And that I cannot stay in your bed that night
    But your voice shakes when you say it
    Like your hands do when you finally grab tenderness
    I feel you love me
    Even though you tell me otherwise


    Do you hear me when you sing in the shower
    And do you read my poetry
    Did you know that I love you
    I think you do
    And I pray that one day you will tell me so I can hear it


    Even though I seem unabashedly reckless
    I am only demonstrating the hell I would go through
    To what lengths I will ‘sit tight’
    To what ends I would go and devils I’d barter with
    You once told me it was action that mattered


    I’m still on the bench where you left me
    On the shelf where you placed me
    And if ever you aren’t ‘too busy’
    You can find me never leaving


    If I ever go outside at night
    If I ever dare to look into space
    I’m reminded of how some stars fall in love with earth
    And how much a heart can break


    I’ve said it a million times on my own
    You can look in almost any poem
    I love you and you may love another
    She will come invited
    And I will walk to your door
    As mine goes unanswered


    When you remember that the world is a vast and endless
    If you fail to show off
    Remember how it felt to feel so small
    Safe with me


    No longer would distance matter
    If you could reach in
    Like I have been reaching for your hand


    I am out of place and awkward
    Maybe that is why I am constantly running towards you
    Towards memory
    The comfort of home


    You say ‘tell me everything’
    I say ‘please talk to me’


    When it is air that you need
    I will breathe for both of us
    Even when your chest is growling
    Like an animal starved
    I will breathe and show you affection
    Knowing what it feels like to have been bitten


    I am not Britannica
    I am poetry
    And possible theory
    You can’t read me
    Understand to know me
    You have to hold me
    Antiqued and slightly misshapen

    ****-After/Inspired by excerpts of “I Wrote This For You: Just The Words” by Iian S Thomas****

    PAD Challenge Day 8- Write a peaceful poem.
    NaPoWrMo Day 8- Today, let’s rewrite a famous poem, giving it our own spin.

  273. CLShaffer

    High School Cafeteria in Eastern Kentucky by C. Lynn Shaffer

    Into the crowd of siblings, cousins
    once and twice removed,

    ballplayers and their girls,
    third-generation teachers,

    walked Johnny Montgomery,
    dark skin at least as strange

    as his last name in these parts.
    He opened up

    a swath of silence that closed

    as he moved past. The quiet
    was so great it buzzed the ear

    and felt like a hand
    clutching the throat.

    He set down his tray
    of square pizza and two cartons

    of milk at the only open spot,
    he on one end of the table, the oldest

    Fultz boy on the other,
    the one who’d stabbed his brother

    in the local pool hall.
    He looked up from his free lunch

    and tilted his head to one side,
    cuing the chatter to build again

    as he took a large bite.
    Johnny held chin down, eyes up,

    the look of a child
    pleading for a trinket.

    Outside a murder of crows
    flew and turned in unison.

  274. Daniel Paicopulos


    All of man’s seasons
    bring natural inventions,
    peace the best of them.

    Spring is not summer.
    Pickles can’t be cucumbers.
    Peace is who one is.

    One sings of summer,
    winter’s grip soon forgotten.
    Peace always trumps fear.

    Summer’s final breath,
    ravens scouting new year’s nests,
    monks still pray for peace.

    Autumn’s first breezes,
    humans spy as birds build homes,
    wrens find peace mid-air.

    Days of thanksgiving
    abound with friendship and joy.
    There is bliss in peace.

    As winter draws near,
    perhaps we’ll tread consciously.
    Peace is every step.

    Winter’s fire is banked,
    air dancing above hard coals
    At peace in one’s bed.

    Living mindfully
    in the holiday bedlam.
    Peace is a challenge.

    No dark without light.
    No seasons without changes.
    No hope without peace.

    There’s but one question,
    spring, summer, fall and winter.
    Will one work for peace?

  275. Andrea Heiberg

    Dressed in their Dinner Jackets

    they fight
    scream loudly
    at four o’clock in the morning
    before battling during the day
    only just now
    the seagulls stand in pairs
    proudly looking somewhere else
    on my field.

  276. Azma


    I pushed the toys aside
    and picked up the cranky kid
    Being past his afternoon nap-time had given away.
    With his head on my shoulder
    and arms delicately around my neck
    I rocked him as if on a swing
    my pace and rhythm.
    Soon his irritable wailing
    toned down
    to a slight snore
    which went in harmony
    with my soft humming
    and the swing motion.
    I settled
    Oh so carefully on the couch
    I felt his stomach rise and fall
    in short deep breaths.
    This tender warmth on me
    was peaceful enough
    to put me to sleep

    -Azma Sheikh

  277. stargypsy

    Here are my poetry contributions for today:

    Poem 1 –

    Sudden Storm

    A sudden shuddering gust
    Thunder booming
    Rain pounding
    the Earth

    Trees lash in the downpour
    Illuminated by lightning
    as leaves turn
    heavenward for a
    deep drink

    Lightning continues
    to split the blackened
    Adding to the sudden
    violence only
    nature can bring

    Rain slows
    In the distance
    a thundering sound
    Not of thunder

    Frozen tears to
    punctuate Mother Nature’s

    The storm…
    gone as quickly
    as it appeared

    Poem 2 –

    the Earth sighs
    Relieved of the
    sudden storm’s

    Blinding rain…
    Pounding hail…

    The Earth drinks deep
    the sudden Fury
    that is Mother Nature

    Copyright © 2014 Annie – Original Poetry
    Always…I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you Love.
    As Ever, Annie


  278. DanielAri

    “My forfeited mancave”

    When the puppy cried, I woke beside myself in grief
    for the writing studio I lost ten years ago.
    We had almost finished building a two-story keep
    between the boxelders, my treehouse above, below
    my wife’s kiln room. It had a mansard roof and three

    large windows—all unpermitted, posing as storage,
    poorly. An absentee neighbor made us take it down.
    We gossiped about his old drug conviction, although
    he helped us pay to finish it as one story when
    he had no obligation to do so. We broke up

    the mansard roof, the three large windows, stepping around
    shattered lumber and fresh nails. We hired a truck to haul
    it all to the dump. Most of the details are gone now,
    but the puppy’s plaintive cry—prosaic as bowel
    pressure—plus some steamwisp of dream…
    Outside in the glow

    of porchlights and streetlights and the moon’s semicircle
    cleanly halved, I wish against the umbilical past.

    1. BDP

      Mancave treehouse: the loss is keenly felt, by me, too, after reading this poem. Nice. Love: some steamwisp of dream after puppy’s cry prosaic as bowel pressure.

  279. PKP

    Coffee Time

    They spoke of poetry
    she said something witty
    over steaming mugs of
    coffee in pottery cups
    they bought together
    at the outdoor market
    They spoke of poetry
    and his soft -sudden
    cold eyes flashed as
    back handed the cup
    against the wall
    coffee dripping in
    dark streams
    shards of bright
    colors stuck in
    her bemused cheek
    sparkling in the sun
    light – he shouted
    sounds without sanity
    words without meaning
    as blood flowered
    on her cheek
    outside cherry blossoms
    bloomed and
    He bathed her cheek
    with cool water on
    a clean dish towel
    she swept the floor
    and he cried as she
    watched pretty cherry
    blossoms bloom outside
    over his shoulder as he
    clutched her close

  280. Lady S Poetic Thickness

    In The Garden

    She sits

    The air is crisp
    Yet, the sun warms her
    She sighs deeply

    He is there
    His presence is felt strongly
    He comforts her silent cries

    She opens her eyes
    No one is visibly seen
    But she knows she is not alone

    In the garden
    Among the beauty of His hands
    He talks to her

    His amazing presence
    Humbles her to tears
    As she raises her hand in praise

    She is not worthy
    She fails Him daily
    She struggles with her purpose in life

    His arms embrace her
    Peace fills her being
    As He tells her…You are Mine

    She is overcome by His sincerity
    He created her, knows her better than anyone else
    He loves her unconditionally…without a reason why

    He sees her tears
    Feels her agony
    She wonders if she will survive this pain again

    He touches her face…smiles
    Scenes flash through her mind
    Moments she has been through

    She raises her head towards the sky
    She realizes everything will be fine
    Because of Him…it will all be just fine

    (c) Sheila Moseley
    Lady S- Poetic Thickness

  281. Jacqueline Casey

    “Reflection in a Dead Man’s Eye”

    Suspended in a dead man’s eye, a “So long!”
    He sees his death before him, flash deflected.
    Quickly took his shower breath and blocked his song.
    One-sixtieth light speed the orb reflected.
    Jodi’s a blaring, shattered, blasting cauldron.
    And in her left hand shines the sharper weapon;
    Her right hand, camera aloft; her symbol.
    And Lady Justice sparkles and she trembles.

    (referencing enlarged photo of the left eye of Travis Alexander; the photo
    shows the last instant of his life before Jodi Arias kills him).

    (Rispetto , Hendecasyllabic (11 beats), abab;ccdd)

  282. Alfonso Kuchinski


    Stretched out sideways
    in between alpha states
    the bed diffuses taxing extracts
    thought dreams come and go.

    She said;
    I hear the low rumbling bass,
    it’s been in the distance for some time,
    jets circling in the wings
    perched vultures waiting for a sign,
    just outside the city walls now
    invading the airspace overhead.

    These sounds augur
    an approaching detonation,
    these planes are coming for us
    atomic bomb cargo,
    in a comatose state
    Stretched out sideways

  283. PKP

    She walks

    before her the distant
    horizon of Humvees
    whirling red dust –
    Behind her boyhood
    playmates hurl rage
    at her breast
    a suckling infant
    velvet skin, soft
    hands stroking
    the flow of milk
    As Peace walks
    Hope in aching
    arms – Walks
    on and on
    and on
    leaving bloody
    in the dust

  284. Gammelor

    Prompt: Write a peaceful poem.

    My heart as wide as the ocean
    Where I float effortlessly
    Out beyond the crashing waves
    Cradled by brine of origin
    Salt blood in my veins.
    Skin sack that divides us,
    I feel it melting away.

    Gammelor Goodenow

  285. Lady S Poetic Thickness

    Love Games

    He came to her
    Held her close
    Whispered promises
    He never intended to keep


    A ring placed upon her finger
    I love you’s falling on empty space
    Plans made to become one
    Cancelled two days before


    Secrets uncovered
    Hidden conversations
    Unforeseen moments developed


    Her bitterness overflows
    She has been his pawn
    A game he chose to play


    She smiles in his face
    While her mind plots his demise
    Dreams of his life ending
    Bring her happiness


    The room is layered with red rose petals
    Candles glowing
    Soft music fills the air
    Her body naked on the sin-filled mattress


    He drools seeing her there
    She pleases him one final time
    Sitting atop him, she glares at his face
    Slamming the knife in his chest


    The blade shimmers in the candlelight
    As she stabs him repeatedly
    Watching the life leave his body
    Just as it left hers months ago


    His blood drips from the blade
    Glistens upon her sweaty flesh
    She laughs aloud
    Knowing she saved the world from him

    (C) Sheila Moseley
    Lady S-Poetic Thickness

  286. Anya Padyam

    Lurid quietude

    Plagued by nightmares,
    My life takes a turn,
    Blood and gore don’t fare,
    Still makes my heart churn.

    Waking up in cold sweat,
    There are visions, that stay,
    Tragedies that torment,
    Life turns into gray.

    Like dementors to my soul,
    Gnawing away the calm,
    Smells so acrid and foul,
    Seem to all over, embalm.

    Knee jerk tears flow,
    Swaying in the anguish,
    Nothing stems the throes,
    In desolation, I languish.

    Respite, there isn’t at all,
    From the infinite agony,
    Ordeals continue to whirl,
    Dissipating all harmony.

  287. PowerUnit

    This is taken from an early scene in the novel I am working on.

    The lunch box falls
    One, two, three clunk
    His left fist mauls
    Dropping the punk

    Another fist cocks
    No time to think
    Another head rocks
    Smashes a sink

    Young faces bloody
    Senses all blurry
    An old body ready
    To pounce with more fury

  288. Ravyne

    The Demolition

    Your voice slams into my face
    and I brace for the full-force wrecking ball
    that I know will come next
    You crash into me
    again and again and again
    ’til I am in manageable pieces
    ’til you can remove my esteem
    one brick at a time
    And all the while, you are building me anew
    Forcing me into new molds and crevices
    until I barely exist
    just the exterior looks familiar
    Shaking and alone, I await your voice
    and the demolition begins
    over and over and over
    until I am dust beneath your feet

    “Peaceful” Haiku Series

    Spring, early morning
    the dew drips from daffodils
    I mindfully watch

    the sun scurries up
    tree branches raised in honor
    praise for a new day

    a calm and a hush
    descends upon park benches
    squirrels quietly play

    a moment of peace
    before humans awaken
    springing forth blinded

  289. foodpoet

    Peace or Not

    Peace is a room full of books
    Each page turned is
    An escape from today
    Capturing a moment away from
    Eroding minutes chained to work waking

    Only to find the books out of

    Now I have to put away books pen to return to

    Megan McDonald

  290. dextrousdigits

    Muscles wilt, legs fail
    Hair gone, vomit hourly, yet
    Spring brings new life, hope

    The infection spread
    despite the team of doctors.
    Spot licked her face.

    She flipped pancakes.
    Blue skys, pear tree blossomed.
    She took no more pills.

  291. laurie kolp

    The Figure Eight

    My son learned how to use knives
    in cub scouts by carving soap.
    One day he borrowed a bar
    of Ivory and whittled
    away while whistling
    (because he knew how
    & his older siblings did not).
    When his work was complete, he
    walked up to me and showed me
    what looked like a figure 8, his smile
    wider than mine. It could have been
    a cloud, a snowman or white polar bear.
    Perhaps an off-color peanut or wavy grey hair.
    Maybe a slip knot, or the obvious—
    his age. I love it, I said, explain it to me.
    Can’t you see, Mother, it’s eternity
    like our love for each other.

  292. donaldillich


    When my parents argued, tossing
    each other against walls, breaking
    cheap plates and glass vases,
    I stopped listening to their hatred
    by exiting the back door, quietly
    closing it and ambling through
    the backyard, where a trail led
    to the tennis courts, dull green,
    nets barely hanging on, a metal
    fence enclosing it, as if some secret
    lived inside. I would stare at clouds
    as if they were destinations I could
    reach, if I just had the right air ship.
    On the ground dandelions rose
    in the morning heat, and I picked
    them, as if seizing them meant
    grabbing my parents, choking them.
    Blowing their seeds, I felt calmness
    enter my body, as if I were a source
    of life just by scattering the kernels.
    I felt like staying here all day, night,
    sleeping on the court’s bare surface,
    wrapped up in the dangling net.
    But I had a home, and their anger
    would be settled, as if everything
    was normal again. Each step away
    from this spot was a dare to enter
    pain. But maybe I could imagine it,
    when the battles started again.
    See myself a witness to the sky,
    a helper of plants of the earth.

  293. Misky

    Sleep Icy Sky

    The common,
    the deep melting into bloom,
    ride the rising return of the day —
    from trees,
    from hills
    at distance looking.
    There green and dark,
    and higher in rank
    above cloudless sky.
    Tedious time,
    floundering night
    on the lee side of starry sleep.
    Icy sky be brooded breath.


    Originally written for the Found Poetry Review

  294. Jacqueline Casey

    “The Lost”

    It’s not so keen as what you feel within;
    It’s not apparent from the outer show.
    Our loss of friendship molders from some sin;
    some violence the both of us should know.

    How could old friends, then, suddenly depart?
    Did I say something smug or out of turn?
    Unheard within my phrasing, for my part,
    my speech made her heart start a slow, slow burn?

    They say true friendship is a kind of place
    where natural forgiveness hangs its hat.
    The trust we had for many years_ disgraced!
    So mystical, our friendship died for that?

    She flounders as she will not port with me;
    I’m here, conjecturing her stormy sea.

  295. Poetess

    Pond Mourning

    Morning greets me
    I’m here to say goodbye
    I hear innocent voices
    A cardinal sings to me
    Sky’s gray with
    God’s gauze
    Protecting my world
    Bandaging doubt
    With a cloud of truth
    Wrapped up healing me
    Finding me…this time
    Like a warm hug
    My mother earth

    Tears surface peace
    Dropping from the sky
    Sprinkling me with
    Little circles of love
    Overlapping waves
    Upon my reflection
    Are part of me now
    I feel her farewell
    Setting me free
    Forever finality
    Deeply in my depth
    I hold her here
    This pond mourning

  296. Poetess


    the boy was rescued
    he wanted to kill
    evil eyes and teeth
    showing panic
    dread horror and fear
    hating the human
    that put him there
    drooling danger
    a mouth of foam
    where is home?
    until one day a god
    a silent whisperer
    pinned him down
    and calmed his soul
    leading him
    to freedom whole
    out of the red zone
    into a new place

  297. Phil Boiarski

    At peace with the past

    When he bathed his father,
    he saw the old man,
    who had beaten his as a child,
    was now frail and helpless
    and beaten down by time,
    and he forgave him.

    In the old house, every
    door had been closed,
    every bed, hidden under,
    and soon as he could he ran.
    Long ago, he had grown
    past it and tried to forget.

    Forgiveness he’d
    given and what use was
    holding the old man
    accountable, who
    couldn’t remember
    any of it, anyway.

  298. BethBrubaker

    The Unknown Hell

    The flames crack and spew their heat around me
    I feel it sizzle on my outer skin
    as I am forcefully held above it’s searing breath.

    I cannot yell, cannot alert anyone to my peril
    mastering my misery as I keep it to myself
    knowing my fate, yet denying it still.

    My skin blackens and crisps, to the delight of my captor
    turning me ever so slowly as the licking flames taste
    I feel my very essence boil within me.

    Just as I feel myself slipping away I hear a cry-
    I am taken from the heat and breathed cool
    Only to be popped into my captors mouth and consumed.

  299. GarrinJost

    I can’t know anymore
    why sharp metal moves
    directed towards pillowed arm.
    Why the head
    careening angle
    is bent hideously towards shoulder
    and the chassis seeks the ground below.
    Why the bomb’s catharsis
    is sought by it’s steward
    and how they both feel the pull
    of the passion to come.

    I can’t know the slow ache
    of the stomach pit
    that eats and eats
    and sets such an example
    that the other parts follow.
    Or the weight
    of a new life that never flew-
    God, why didn’t it fly?

    One day, I’ll be gashed
    a smooth gash
    to the temple
    to the eye
    and I’ll sob solidarity
    to the wound-
    then I’ll know
    that the hurt becomes us.

  300. rlmatt7

    Run on a winter’s evening

    In minutes, defences are tested
    sharp cold fingers search
    for access to my body,
    fill up my lungs,

    choking, my gloved fingertips
    feel the bite, five more minutes
    don’t give up, gushing warmth begins,
    five more minutes, gulp.

    The reflective print lights up
    oh, for the warmth of heated cars,
    I push against the ascents,
    the violence of my intentions, sears my breath

    the dark cold fades defeated
    by a pulsating heat, drenched
    in perspiration, ah peace, I emerge victorious.
    The best of battles I win, are always within.

  301. Mr. Take The Lead

    Eye of the Storm
    Daniel R. Simmons
    In the midst of life’s most violent storms, we can always find peace and sweet serenity in our passions.
    You see, when we do what we love most, what we are most passionate about- carrying out our innermost desires as our passion erupts, somehow those storms don’t seem so violent anymore. When we get engulfed in our passions, those stormy winds begin to die down, as the thunder and lightning doesn’t frighten us any longer.
    When we carry out our passions the rain and hail can beat down on us, as we feel the weight of the world pulling and draining us, but somehow we don’t seem to mind as we continue on.
    When we fulfill what we are most passionate about, where there was dark skies, now there is sunshine,
    where there was booming thunder, now there is the sound of birds signing,
    where there was rain ,now there is a perfect summer breeze,
    and what the winds have torn down, now there is restoration.
    because our passions lie WITHIN us so it doesn’t matter what is going on around us, when we carry them out.
    So do what you’re most passionate about each and every day of your life
    Doing so doesn’t place you in the eye of the storm it IS the eye of life’s storm.
    Yes, doing what we love is an outlet and safe haven we can always run to during life’s most pressing storms.
    So forget about the rain, winds and thunder, and enter into your world of peace and sunshine, found in your passion.
    Carry out your passion
    For passion is peace amidst life’s most violent storms

  302. Domino

    Peace on Earth

    Pouring in through eyes and ears
    played by mesmerized folks, thumbs
    rapidly moving across the controllers
    bodies filled with adrenaline with nowhere to go.
    So they channel it, use it, make those
    eyes and ears and thumbs move faster,
    fast-twitch brain activity,
    and they destroy the enemy combatant
    or are themselves destroyed.

    When they come out of the trance,
    likely because their bodies’ needs
    can no longer be ignored,
    they have that long-distance stare
    snipers have and they look around them as if
    to refamiliarize themselves with reality.

    “Supper’s almost ready.”
    “Oh good, I’m starving.”
    “So, is there peace on earth, yet?”
    I ask it sarcastically, but they answer seriously.
    “No way, mom, there’s no peace on earth
    til everyone’s dead.”

    That thought, though harsh, rings true. Because we humans,
    we strive and fight and struggle and compete.
    And when people ask for peace on earth,
    what they mean is for everyone to get along
    and play nice. But what they don’t realize is that
    it means they also must play nice.
    For true peace, they can no longer complain
    about the neighbor’s muscle car or their sister’s new husband.
    They can no longer gossip about
    the new woman at the church and question her morality.
    For true peace, they can no longer fight with their spouse
    about bills or cheat on their taxes or
    keep the extra change they mistakenly got from the cashier.
    And though some may try, it would be untrue to believe
    that everyone could or would try.

    So, the frank honest truth is, there really can’t be peace on earth.
    Not unless all the people on it have gone.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  303. Carl Palmer

    Family Ties

    I love you, Daddy.
    Sissy and I both love you.

    Sissy didn’t mean to be so loud.
    I tried to get her to hush,
    but the tape was pulling her hair
    and the plastic wire ties were much too tight.

    Mrs. Temple’s dog heard Sissy crying
    and wouldn’t stop barking at our garage door.
    When Mrs. Temple came to fetch Queenie,
    she heard Sissy crying, too.
    She said she’d go get help.

    I tried to tell her not to, Daddy,
    but Mother had put tape on my mouth, too.
    Mrs. Temple couldn’t understand my screams.

    I’m sorry, Daddy.
    Sissy and I will miss you,

    and we’ll miss Mother, too.

  304. CristinaMRNorcross

    Your Body Hears What You Are Thinking

    There is no light in your cup.
    You kick the stone down the road,
    following its arc –
    it’s jumping dance from pavement
    to puddle.

    Be careful.
    Your body hears
    what you are thinking,
    and it hurts.

    Be kind to your feet –
    they walked you out of that house
    where the boogie man groped you.

    Be kind to your hands –
    they comfort fevered brows
    and make bowls of spicy chili.
    Everyone loves your chili.

    Be kind to your eyes –
    they need not see the open wound
    to know it needs to heal.

    Be kind to your readers –
    they are looking for something
    to lift them up –
    to lift them out of the violence of this world –
    an invisible cloak
    of good.

    Cristina M. R. Norcross
    Copyright 2014

  305. Deborah Hare

    Be Not Afraid

    satan saw they had left without Him
    and he poured his great violence into the sea.
    The wind listened and the sea obeyed
    and he thought himself master-for a while.

    satan saw I had left without Him
    and he dispatched every evil demon.
    they listened and obeyed
    and he thought himself master- for a while.

    But in that dark terrible moment
    when my strength to oar the boat was lost,
    The Master of all Heaven and earth came
    and whispered, “It is I, be not afraid.”

  306. Nancy Posey

    For Mature Audiences

    Someone should put up a warning sign
    at the city limits of this town, a caution
    in this neighborhood where next-door
    neighbors fear to stop and chat, where chains
    are kept on doors and deadbolts serve
    to bolster confidence. Never picture perfect,
    even years ago, when in houses
    with pickets fences, moms in aprons,
    pearls, and heels, served dinner on TV,
    this town garnered notoriety,
    the opening story on the local evening news
    too many times to count, almost cliché:

    Another drive-by shooting in West Arcadia. . .
    Police are on the lookout for a suspect. . .
    The parents of a one-year-old are being held. . .

    Instead of blaming something in the water,
    some primal toxic sludge flowing in from far way,
    and instead of blaming genes or race or history,
    we diagnose deficiency of hope—failing schools,
    factories shut down, moved overseas, a culture
    of drugs and guns and hate, self-loathing and despair.

    The pressure cooker world cannot contain
    the seething turmoil boiling up, the rage
    exploding one fatality at a time—one more
    fatherless child, one more mother racked with grief.

    * * * (Ouch. I’m ready for some peaceful poetry now!)

  307. Margot Suydam

    Don’t Wait For Me

    I will die on a strand, a blistery Irish day.
    Like I worried as a child, when I strode
    too deep into the fast September swirl
    that jostled my fading Summer tan.

    It will be in May before the tourists flock
    because still I will feel alone on the wide
    sun-blocked field of sand and tinted sky
    a single speck swept up by a distant sea.

    I know my fate. I often dream of waves
    violent somersualts amidst salty foam
    my face and knees gravel as my lungs

    fill, a quick and painless washing
    away as hurt and happiness meld
    with no one around as witness.

  308. Clae

    Storm Surprise

    A sudden storm
    without thunder
    on a calm day appears
    runs in circles
    thrashes branches
    tosses a tree on its head
    then departs
    as suddenly as it came
    leaves no evidence
    except wet pavement
    one downed tree
    a sense of wonder

    T.S. Gray

  309. Other Mary

    Eye Site

    Sometimes if we look
    too long at the trees
    we forget the stars,
    forget the seas.
    When our eyes are filled
    with the everyday,
    of with solid pigment
    and heavy clay
    we forget there is more
    than the scene before
    our face.
    That’s why we read,
    that’s why we dream,
    it’s our salvation,
    our grace,
    our imagination.

  310. Linda Goin

    Family Cookbook

    Mom is self destructive and dad,
    he’s downright dangerous. The kids
    try to find peace, but you can’t suck
    ecstasy through a straw, even
    in the eye of a hurricane.

    Defensively, they say their blood
    is salt in humanity’s dough.
    Mix one cup of free fall, a dash
    to miss a bullet, and a spoon
    of bitter grinding against flesh.

    The result is a piece of cake
    iced to coat the next tsunami,
    the next uprooted tree, the next
    shift in a fault line, the next fruit
    to rot in artless recipes.

  311. Jane Shlensky


    There is no sound, not bug or bird,
    no human noises pound the clay,
    no lowing from the grazing herd.
    Would you call this a peaceful day?

    Without a chatter, tweet, or call
    squirrels and birds perch on the trees
    as if they’re dazed after a brawl,
    no hint of wind, no breath of breeze.

    Have I grown deaf during the night,
    ears innocent of mankind’s laws?
    The quiet crows that crowd my sight
    squabble over remembered caws.

    No bombs, no bullets hiss and thud,
    no cursing eyes or screaming fear
    no growling armor, spurting blood.
    I’ve left it all behind. I’m here.

    I’m here; I don’t hear. I’m away
    from war. Is this a peaceful day?

  312. taylor graham


    A bunch of cornflowers blue
    as childhood – my dog ignores them,
    keeps on searching among all
    the spoiled, disposable refuse of a city.
    Banana peels, cartons of spilled
    milk. If she weren’t on duty,
    she’d snatch up that half-eaten
    bologna sandwich.
    A headless doll. Red sweater
    unraveled. So much leftover human
    scent, but my dog knows
    the one she’s looking for. Rosie,
    six years old, last seen
    playing in her own front yard.
    If she’s in this heap of trash,
    she didn’t come on a lark; some-
    body dumped her.
    I watch my dog stepping carefully
    over discard. If I hope
    hard enough, will we find Rosie
    somewhere else,
    maybe picking buttercups
    on a green hill where a little girl
    might wish to be?

  313. emsytraut

    2014 April PAD Challenge Day 8
    Prompt: Violence/Peace


    They go each day into a seemingly endless battle
    Gunshots, gases, bombs, broken bones and hearts

    Some have homes that they won’t return to
    Some have lovers and little ones who will never see them again

    Some are looking for their place in the world
    Some may fall thinking they never found it

    But others WILL come home
    There are others that WILL embrace their sweethearts again
    An embrace so powerful that silent tears are being shed even before arms intertwine and lips lock

    Some return
    Some will fall
    But ALL have answered Honors’ call

    Thank You Soldiers

    Emily Trautman

  314. Connie Peters


    I travel through this country, east to west
    And north to south, and long to visit more
    It’s hard to pinpoint what I love the best
    The rocky coast, the lake, the peaceful shore
    The redwoods standing high above the floor
    The distant islands and their mystery
    The countless hiking paths here to explore
    The mountains, deserts, and the churning sea
    The bubbling streams and shady trees at rest
    To see all of these things I am most blessed

  315. Connie Peters


    V iciously claiming what’s their own
    I ntense and willing to be cruel
    O penly aggressive, on attack
    L etting hostility reign
    E nding peace in the land
    N otoriously brutal
    C ruelly sadistic
    E ndlessly callous. Bloodshed. War.

  316. Connie Peters

    Mightier than the Sword

    Tiny targets tremble
    as monsters rage in anger.
    Hope glimmers, skitters, snuffs,
    and comes to a complete stop.
    In the downward spiral of violence
    a sharpened pencil pierces
    and pushes through to pillows,
    sunlight, azure skies, laughter,
    and delicate petals of orange tiger lilies.
    Ah! What poetry can do!

  317. Mark Conroy

    “Brutal Beauty”

    When my dog bit me
    I had to protect
    I had to defend
    His teeth sunk
    Into the back of my hand
    He had to do
    What was expected of him
    I had to defend
    The fear in his eyes
    Was the truest thing
    I had ever seen
    I had to defend
    It was not an attack
    Not of me
    But in defense of you
    I never knew
    My strength
    He flipped over
    In the air
    All in one motion
    A thing of beauty
    I had to protect
    Instinct in an instant
    By both of us
    For you

    Mark Conroy

  318. elledoubleyoo

    Teaching Ninth Grade Lit

    Talk of heroic archetypes and homeric similes
    is hard enough on a Monday morning, especially
    when your partner in this dialogue is a group
    of half-asleep freshmen, who only really like the part
    with the Cyclops. But one raises his hand and I call
    on him half expecting, “Can I use the bathroom?”
    Instead he asks, “Why does everyone die in everything we read?”
    and platitudes come to mind and lips about themes
    and cautionary tales, but falter, unuttered.
    A look at their syllabus tells me he’s right:
    Romeo and Juliet, Antigone,
    To Kill Mockingbird. Night. I close the textbook.
    Odysseus took ten years to get home; what’s one more day?

    “Hope is the thing with feathers,”
    I write — upon the board —
    memory — and love — bringing to light
    Emily’s sweetest words –

  319. lina

    anja’s photographs

    concrete wall
    face on window
    blue burqa
    suicide car bomber
    lucky charm
    toy gun
    food voucher

  320. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 8 Peaceful Poem

    Going Under

    On the surface
    the swan glides
    slowly without effort,
    and the water’s surface
    seems unbroken
    as it softly bends
    to form graceful
    sparkling ripples.

    But your hand smooths
    the waves in fabric
    before the heavy iron
    comes pressing down
    forcing searing steam
    into its very fibers.

    Only the others
    pressured to hide
    into the depths below
    know how frantically
    I’m paddling.

  321. Erynn

    Violent are my troubled dreams
    Full of anger and regret
    They taunt me thorough the night
    Telling me lies

    Why did they come to me
    What great sin did I do
    Do I deserve this torment
    Taking my sanity

    Twisted faces and toothless smiles
    Fill the darkness in my head
    Their laughter is loud in my ears
    I can’t hold on

    I found a way to end this curse
    Cowardly though it may be
    A few second of blinding pain
    Is small price to pay

    Their mocking faces fade away
    Silence rings in my ears
    Peace surrounds me like a shroud
    Finally I’m free

  322. Amy


    Covered faces, broken skin;
    the squalor of black and blue
    smothering you.
    Anger beats the concrete,
    beliefs thrash and gasp
    for dying air.

    A boy throws hope across the crowd;
    its silent arc cuts a path-
    the peace before the break.

  323. Kathy

    When The Conversation Ends

    Pacing back and forth
    inside the small cage
    he carries on a monologue
    with himself
    tries to justify the past
    desperately imagine any future
    his reality inside this tiny room
    filled with the despair
    of former inmates
    he feels a burden to family
    a loser to his friends
    invisible to the world
    his music disappeared
    in the fog of meth
    and the smoke of weed
    somewhere between sentences
    he ties his shirt to the bars
    around his neck
    strangles and escapes

  324. mfitts847@gmail.com


    He came blameless to the world
    Setting an example of how we should live
    He was persecuted, whipped and beaten
    For what “we” did
    He died a violent death
    Hanging on a tree
    Hands and feet pierced by nails
    A mocking crown of thorns on His Head
    Put to death by His People
    They called Him The King of the Jews


    He loved us enough to take our punishment on Himself
    He overcame the grave
    He ascended into heaven…but what does “he ascended” mean except that
    He also descended to the lower, earthly regions? (Ephesians 4:9)
    He went through Hell for you – atoning for your sin debt
    He came in peace
    He lived in peace
    He died for you so that you might experience that same peace
    The Peace that surpasses all understanding
    He Arose and
    His Holy Spirit lives in my heart – won’t you invite Him into yours?

  325. Roderick Bates

    You Can’t Leave

    by Roderick Bates

    You can’t leave me alone cold and afraid like when my mother sent me outside after supper because her new boyfriend didn’t want the brat around and I would cry in the dark afraid my sobs would call rats wolves bears lions witches big snakes and once a spider inside my shirt and I peed myself and I can pound the lid down tight with my fists against your head until you are the one who is afraid and you cry that you won’t leave me and we go back inside together where it is warm and there is light.

  326. Lindy™

    Fighting for Peace

    A solitary tear
    fights to get out
    once war is declared in the heart
    acridly building intensity
    pounding in the blood
    echoing in the dark
    until it erupts from the eye
    in a flood of emotions
    powerful, strong
    right or wrong
    still being pulled back
    fighting for the freedom
    of its kind
    tug of war
    just a glance, loss in silence
    or the wiping away
    empathy’s grace
    is all it takes
    a peaceful glide down the cheek
    stop, drop, fall
    into a deep breath
    exhaled and let go
    a slow death
    to birth a memory.

  327. C.

    Pieces of sand come to settle
    Daylight breaks awake
    Heat boiling in a kettle
    Mirage glimmers by a lake.

    All the while eyeing, watching, lurking nearby
    A black beast, winged shoulders erect
    Plunging, lunging, it’s stomach rumbling inside
    Awaiting, waiting to slowly descent.

    A baby’s cry, starvation, hear it calling
    Blowing in the wind
    A camera outside watches crawling
    A shot, forever caught in time.

  328. JWLaviguer

    The Lone Rose

    The peaceful misting rain
    kisses each petal of the flower
    this rose alone in a vacant lot
    as out of place as a smile in war
    it opens to the rays of the sun
    and sings the song of a thousand rainbows.

    JW Laviguer

  329. diedre Knight

    Sometimes it’s not safe to cross the street…

    Dance with a Dust Devil

    From the head of a line of after-work cars
    I witnessed a harrowing sight;
    A man was pursued by a demon, not far,
    prodding his feet to take flight.
    Soft dusty tendrils wisped from behind
    He hastily hopped from the curb;
    The gust spiraled high with menace in mind
    Snatching his hat—and reserve
    One glance behind had him running
    The devil stalked steadily after
    Notably shocked by what he’d seen coming
    dodging debris with mock laughter
    Arriving as one on the opposite side
    The devil grew bored causing grief,
    Aborting the onslaught; end of the ride
    The man gaped in disbelief.

    diedre Knight

  330. David Walker

    Bottoms Up

    A boy kicks an empty
    nip bottle into the street
    and laughs when a tire
    skitters it away. His friend

    points to it pin-balling
    from oncoming to oncoming
    traffic, changing lanes.
    I wonder if I’m too young

    to be a curmudgeon. I’m
    twenty-four and I want
    so badly to pull my car
    over to the side and push

    their faces to the asphalt,
    shake them, embed their
    cheeks with pebbles because
    the world is withering fruit.

    I sprayed an aerosol can
    towards a lit Bic lighter
    when I was younger.

    Surely I’ve done worse.
    But I was born earlier and
    kids these days, age in dog years.

  331. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Patricia A. Hawkenson’s Day 8 Violence Poem

    What I Learned From My Master

    Watch what the others do.

    But leave your name tag
    without embellishment,
    no smiley faces, sparkle,
    or color
    to give a hovering eye
    a reason to comment.

    Sit in the middle
    with desks and classmates
    protecting you;
    the teacher’s aggression
    falls on the sacrificial child
    who sat in front.

    Curl your arms
    around your possessions
    keeping a sharp pencil
    tight in your grip.

    Blend your colors in
    until the graphite gray
    you feel inside
    mixes with the red blood
    of your arm.

    Blend in.

  332. mbramucci

    Pilgrimage of Penitence

    Woe be the wretched mongrels
    With piercing, savage glare
    Whose hunger won’t be sated by
    The prey caught in their snare

    Whose withered, seething, sinew
    Stretches thin between the bone
    And lay their heads on pillows
    Made of fiery rock and stone

    They’re marching on in masses
    Throbbing heads and blistered paws
    Strain through the din, the tumult
    List’ning for their master’s calls

    Squinting through the cataracts
    Wrought by their blinding fear
    With eyes so spent from sniveling
    They’re far too weak to tear

    They smell of rotting abscess
    Like fermented maggot stew
    The musty whiff of corpses
    In a shroud of pussy goo

    So be the endless suffering
    Of evil, twisted men
    Who’d have lived life benign if
    What they know now, they knew then

  333. novacatmando

    Brother’s Push

    it never seems too wrong just this one time
    blue embrace, hypnotic dance, the reason’s not important.
    a drag and pull that feels like movement
    like doing something, anything, an important thing
    hands bound, legs disabled, I can do everything:
    toss my appendages in human arch,
    plunge my atoms in universal synch,
    a writhing spin is important to this dance.
    this lick with death, an invited assault, so no big thing.
    my bid, foe, I beg your tremendous push, crush,
    press on me, and on to me, and all over me, my freeing.
    now vicious hand uproot my face and form, no longer
    down! as I dangle, I wait, I dance, I love, I hate,
    I feel this importance, this grab, a pending move,
    my wishful moment before pitched aside in pile.
    but the fall is not important, it’s just gravity.

  334. DanielR

    These words I speak bear repeating
    gentle winds can be misleading
    innocent when softly blowing
    just beware their fury’s growing

    And when you least expect the change
    dust swirls across the open range
    let it serve as your forewarning
    gales will greet you with the morning

    Naïve trees will tremble and shake
    and the most fragile boughs will break
    Afterwards, clear is the squall’s path
    from wreckage in its aftermath

    But those with roots deep in the ground
    will likely survive safe and sound
    So for violent gusts be prepared
    that your unsavory life be spared

    Daniel Roessler

  335. DanielR

    The gentle roll of grassy fields
    entices me to the place where
    still waters reflect orange hues
    as evening turns on my childhood

    Grandpa’s pond waits for me
    except that it belongs to others now
    and in hidden places lurk the watchers
    as a bullfrog croaks of my presence

    I sink into warm depths of memories
    squishing soft mud between my toes
    and in the pleasure of remembering
    I suddenly feel whole again

    Daniel Roessler

  336. kingac

    Another Tuesday Night in Beverly Hills

    A motherfucking handbag,
    knock-off; is all you brought
    as an offering to K’haLli’Thal –
    patron demon of the Tribunal Council?

    You saw what happened to
    Judy last week, when her Manolo’s
    clacked across the Venetian tile,
    bringing only a bottle of Screaming Eagle.

    Or when Blanca showed up wearing
    that not quite floor length gown, with
    cheap sequins and plastic rhinestones –
    those were hard to get vacuumed up.

    You might as well step up into the
    wood chipper outside, your net worth
    alone should buy our group another month –
    do it with dignity, but leave your earrings.

    -John Pupo

  337. Mark Danowsky

    Say the Worst Thought, First

    You think to say the worst
    first. What comes to mind
    like an engineer seeks out
    the faults—what might
    go wrong. If a car hits
    a deer at precisely this angle
    both with implode.
    It’s not actually a joke.
    Just trying to lighten up
    since I know how I get.
    We all know how we get
    don’t we? Old habits
    don’t die, typically.
    Blanco is an engineer
    and writes a mean poem—
    by which I mean good.
    Not mean. Look
    it’s all relative.
    Not related, but similar.
    To kick the habit
    of saying the worst
    we need to stop thinking
    the worst of everyone.
    They have their reasons.
    We have our own.
    I have been duped
    a number of times
    just recently. Incidents
    I’m embarrassed about.
    And I want to blame
    utility companies.
    But it’s not their fault
    I felt humiliated.
    Maybe justifiably.
    That’s OK though.
    This is not all I’m about.
    I’m getting to the bottom
    of why we think to say
    what we think to say.
    But first I need to think
    about what I think about.

  338. Walt Wojtanik


    Sleep continues to elude
    and no good thing can come of it.
    I come undone by it and maladies
    of the mind I find disturbing
    my lumbering slumber.
    There is no sleep number
    that can figure into this equation
    of sleep evasion. Disorders
    and syndromes causing twitches
    and spasms, leaping off cliffs
    into chasms to land; a hard fall.
    In the silence, violence becomes
    the norm. Never feeling safe and warm,
    my restless legs have me
    kicking and screaming. No R.E.M.,
    no dreaming, just a battle
    for my survival. Sleep! My foe,
    my rival – a fight to the death.
    May be then I can get some rest!

  339. aphotic soul

    I correlate love as peace, and betrayal / heartbreak as violence, so I will be posting one of each. The flip side of the coin.

    (The peace / love poem)
    Hidden Treasure
    by Paul Andrew Ryan

    Day after day I’ve started by seeing you,
    I could wish no more from my dreams,
    Since that alone so subtlely means,
    That they’re already partly coming true,
    But I desire it all,
    Even if it means I must take a fall,
    And although I’ve been reluctantly hesitant,
    I can resist no longer when I see that magnificent smile present,
    For I have yet to see a sun rise brighter than that apathy hidden treasure,
    Seeing your smile is the greatest of my life’s simple pleasures,
    Second only to writing about that sight,
    Just so others can see the essence of your illuminated light,
    It seems the barrier I felt is only the darkness of my isolation that had set in,
    The way your life also appears to have been,
    But I must wait for past feelings to subside,
    Before I inform you that your heart is where I wish to reside,
    I don’t even know if I’ll remotely stand a chance,
    But I’ll keep on writing until I decide firmly on a stance,
    Your smile I simply cannot forget,
    That I’m happy to state with no regret,
    I still remember the day when we first met,
    The feelings the same before as they are now but with no outlet,
    For I didn’t know in all of this what to expect,
    But I can tell you honestly I would leave you never with an ounce of neglect,
    For these feelings have had time to collect,
    And ever more you gain my accumulating respect,
    But for now I await patiently for the scars on your heart to mend,
    Before I give to you this love that I wish to send,
    A love for which I hope you can comprehend,
    Or maybe my feelings I will give to you on lend,
    To help you cope with all of life’s bends,
    And maybe just maybe our conjoint love will transcend,
    And bring about some meaning before life’s inevitable end,
    So I say this now ever so bold,
    It is you that I wish to hold,
    Whether it is to simply just keep you from being cold,
    Or to stop your heart from growing mold,
    These feelings are those that cannot be bought nor sold,
    Only ones that can be poetically told,
    It is you that I wish for to ever closer be pulled,
    And to see that magnanimous smile every day until we’re both withered and old.

    (The Violence / betrayal poem)
    Search Through Sadness
    by Paul Ryan
    All too often I search through the sadness
    Reflecting a deeply impaled madness,
    Memories like a clouded stream,
    Are there jewels in the water that still might shine with a gleam?
    Question after question of what does it all mean,
    I fear happiness lies, only in my dreams,
    I long and desire to be connected to someone,
    But memories still torment me of the damage from that one,
    Still I try to keep my eyes open for happiness, at least some,
    Hoping there is another to come,
    Alas my memory is all too clear,
    Strangled in the waves of your lies,
    The realization of my darkest fear,
    The one you made happen before you said your goodbyes,
    And though I swam through the tears,
    My heart still bleeds despite how hard it tries,
    And regardless of the never ending years,
    My love never ceases nor dies, and still continues to cry,
    Deeper and deeper I get pulled down into the stream,
    All these feelings and empty regrets,
    Look how many lives love persistently wrecks,
    Fucking horseshit, All of it,
    It makes me want to spit,
    You used my money so you could meet him and see,
    didn’t listen to the simplest of my demands…
    Just wanted to fuck him regardless of what it did to me,
    all I wanted was the truth…
    but you persisted with your spoof,
    so now I spend each night,
    miserable while looking back through all the sights,
    Never understanding,
    Never comprehending…
    why you brought my only happiness to a crash landing…
    the good guy had finally got his happy ending,
    until you revealed you were only pretending,
    and since that moment my emotions have been continually deadening,
    Yet no matter how hard I try, I cannot escape these tears that You’ve forced me cry…
    And they will continue on until the day I die,
    But for now it is time to say goodbye,
    For the heart’s darkness grows nigh.

  340. lucboyd


    Do not fear your own peril
    For there is no darkness where there is fire
    As there is no journey so harrowing
    To make you question, nor tire

    A thousand murdered men
    Don’t roam undetected
    Without justice, then
    Their screams are not protected

    Stare at him through his eyes
    Cut a gaze deep into his soul
    For a coward filled with lies
    Without confrontation will still hold

    Stand strong and return the knife
    Stand tall and light your fire
    For a coward cannot take your life
    Nor can the darkness make you tire

    Copyright Luc Boyd 2014

  341. writinglife16

    War and Peace

    The daughter screamed
    and the father yelled.
    He demanded that she do as he said.
    Without any questions
    or hesitation.
    He was the adult.

    But she had the knowledge of a teenager,
    so the nightly wars continued.
    The pain seeped into everything
    in the house.
    Until one night, he yelled
    And she didn’t scream back.

    She turned and went to her room.
    He yelled at her to come back,
    But she didn’t.
    She had decided to stop fighting.
    She did not like who she became
    In those battles.

    He shrugged and went to have another beer.

  342. haynicole

    Inner Me (A look inside a teenage girls mind)

    Thoughts consume me
    which is how it’s meant to be
    but not this way
    it’s like i’m full of rage
    Like what I see
    Doesn’t make me happy
    My mind conflicts my heart
    I just want a new start
    Because what I see in magazines
    Is How I feel I have to be
    My mind fights with my heart
    To my heart, I’m beautiful and tough
    To my mind, I’m never quite good enough

  343. Walt Wojtanik


    Soft, sanguine,
    the yin/yang of silence
    expressed in the raucous ripple
    set into motion. No ocean or lake
    can make your anger boil,
    it is a royal rain that is fed
    by vanquished fears and
    unstained by tears laid bare.
    It is there that peace resides.
    It hides in the juxtaposition
    of shadow and a light bright.
    You come to calm yourself
    without qualm or trepidation.
    You discover your heart’s elation,
    a celebration in serenity.

  344. lidywilks

    Shattered Cities
    Every city seems to be the same
    as if they’re all in the middle of a
    trench battlefield.

    Taking back their territories, they
    move in sleek, branded companies
    in place of the mom & pops, bodegas
    and $1 stores.

    Living day to day becomes a
    mounting, expensive chore
    wearing the people down to bits.

    Soiled and inheriting their parents
    detached future, they pick up
    the broken pieces and take aim.

    by Lidy Wilks

  345. AleathiaD

    Perpendicular Generations

    Somewhere in the house
    my man is playing air guitar
    to Jane’s Addiction.

    At the table my daughter
    is reluctantly doing homework
    while I pay bills.

    She pauses to say, “Wow,
    these guys really like S-E-X”

    I stop and think how funny it is
    that she has to spell the word
    when she knows
    that I know
    that she knows
    what it means.

    I try to find the right way
    to explain the music
    and the lyrics
    and the general sense
    of disconnect in the 90’s

    that we were all on drugs
    and being violent to our souls
    was what you did to be cool
    and how the song is less about sex
    and more about the torturous freedoms
    of mankind and the disregard for human emotion.

    I think better of it
    partly because I don’t want
    to taint her image of me
    and partly because she
    just wouldn’t understand.

    Her generation is a world away
    from mine, so much more
    violent and harsh
    than it should be,
    riskier than explicit music;
    they play for keeps now
    all cocked and loaded
    and ending dreams
    before they begin.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 8 Violence

    High Street

    After my mother died
    I went to stay with my grandmother.

    I drove 6 hours home
    to be sure she would be okay.

    We stayed up late watching bad television
    until I had a headache so blinding I could not see.

    Eventually I fell asleep and woke
    tucked and covered like when I was a child.

    She slept long into the morning.

    Quietly I made instant coffee and smoked
    a cigarette in the cold abrasive morning.

    I called my best friend to hear his voice,
    just to remember what I had to return to.

    When I went back inside my grandmother
    had emerged from her cocoon

    with her hair standing up straight
    like in “Something About Mary”.

    I laughed harder than I thought possible at the time.

    There was an unmitigated peace
    nestled around her eyes.

    I knew then it was all going to be ok.
    We’d survive, even grow, into bold women

    we were never allowed to be
    in the shadow of my mother’s fire.

    Aleathia Drehmer 2014
    April 8 Peace

  346. SeekingSoltitude

    Violent Poem- The other side

    Born in the lands of guns and wars
    Brought up in the midst of Fights and frauds
    Learning to use a grenade at five
    that is the Preamble to my life

    Never did I flinch on the sight of blood
    Never did I pause when I killed someone
    I wasn’t the man I was born
    I was the man the world had formed

    I was taught to fight for injustice
    By violence and destruction
    I was taught to believe in revenge
    and take out anyone who didn’t

    Massacres and deaths hardened me up
    made me the demon you think of now
    yet I haven’t come from hell or banished from heaven
    I have come from this very world you call Earth.

  347. Walt Wojtanik


    Heart-to-heart, they were warriors;
    hand-to-hand combatants suffering
    the slings and arrows of outrageous accusation.
    Shaken to its core, the love once shared
    is no more. She held firm, her tongue in silence
    and all the fierce violence he had perpetrated
    only exacerbated their animus. It was a blessing
    that her rugged resolve would hold her; solid marble
    with a tender touch. In the remote reaches
    of her time-worn soul, she saw herself a vision
    in splendor and grace. The memory of his face was filed
    away like the other cows who attempted to graze
    in her verdant pasture. The bastards
    should have known, Love is a battlefield.

  348. Taylor Mali

    The Bells of Newtown: A Sonnet for Nancy Lanza

    In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, churches in Newtown commemorated the victims by ringing their bells twenty-seven times, until the governor of Connecticut asked them to stop after twenty-six.

    At Sandy Hook in Newtown in the middle of December
    a troubled boy named Adam looked up in the sky,
    stole his mother’s Bushmaster rifle, then—no one knows quite why—
    he murdered twenty of God’s smallest creatures,
    twenty kids at Sandy Hook and six of their teachers.
    The final gunshot wound, self-inflicted to the head,
    brought the total at the school that day to 27 dead.
    But here’s what we all choose not to remember:
    Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, also died that day,
    shot four times by Adam while in her bed she lay.

    The bells of Newtown churches no longer ring for you.
    Nor for you do any mourners cry.
    It may not be fair, Nancy, but fair or not it’s true:
    You’re no longer thought a victim, though you were the first to die.

  349. Cin5456

    Robbed at Gunpoint

    It was so exciting to shop with my first
    five hundred dollar commission.
    I could buy something sweet,
    something satisfying, instead of
    red beans and rice. I forgot
    I lived in the bad part of L.A.

    I rode my Yamaha 175 , so
    I could only buy what I could carry.
    Still, eyes round with avarice
    I bought canned salmon instead of tuna
    and pudding instead of jello.

    I struggled to balance two bags
    on my gas tank and pulled out of the lot.
    I stopped at the street to look both ways,
    and found a gun barrel in my face.

    I remember it was big, and blue
    and solid steel. The street lights glinted
    on the rim of the lethal round hole.
    I gasped and my hands went limp.

    The bike stalled; my groceries fell;
    my purse was yanked from my arm.
    The bike fell over as I screamed for help.
    The guard stood ten feet away. He saw me
    see him; he shrugged and entered the store.

    Take my advice. Don’t ever move
    to the Alvarado district in L.A.
    And don’t go shopping on a motorcycle
    when you have too much money
    for your own good. The criminals
    have an instinct for the vulnerable.

  350. Susan

    Science Fiction: Peaceful Violence and Violent Peace
    by Susan Chast http://susanspoetry.blogspot.com/2014/04/science-fiction-peaceful-violence-and.html

    Peaceful violence and violent peace
    were names of two new drinks on the boardwalk
    and we watched from the dry bar of sand far
    out in the bay as our friends took one each.

    Peaceful violence was redder than toe-
    mate-O juice formed by crushing the ripest
    feet in shoes with no room for growth, squeezing
    lemon juice on them and serving on ice.

    Violent peace was clear of blood, but full
    of the seeds of pomegranates preserved
    in tequila swarming with full-grown worms
    screaming eat me, eat me until some did.

    You said Violence was safer than Peace
    because it had no alcohol in it
    but I think it is better to be drunk
    than to be cannibals enjoying blood.

    And we wondered if Peaceful Peace could be
    and if the bar also served Violent Violence
    thinking the first would be lemon and ice
    with pomegranate juice and the second—

    Violent Violence—would be a tincture
    of toe meat mixed with writhing worms and blood
    preserved in tequila. We laughed at this
    imagined horror but also feared it.

    We knew the human race we were part of,
    guessed three of our four drinks would please most and
    wondered if bartenders only mixed us
    opposites to prevent mass poisoning.

    Oh, well, we sighed as we left in search of
    liquid we could swim in—cool like water,
    wet like a drink—no longer available
    in the junk-yard bays devoid of oceans.

  351. Walt Wojtanik


    I’ve lived without my words – a mime
    keeping each one all to myself
    like lost thoughts sitting on the shelf.

    In the ways of my prose and rhyme
    I have arrived to hit my stride
    expressing all these thoughts inside.

    For I found that in all that time
    my words were squandered and wasted,
    their sweetness was never tasted.

    It was a felonious crime
    punishment: echoing silence,
    to a man of words, it’s violence.

    Since early man stepped out of slime,
    he wanted to communicate
    but sounds that rhymed still had to wait.

    He was fascinated with rhyme,
    and now he writes them twice as fast,
    evoking emotions at last,

    a poet ahead of his time!
    A trendsetter in thoughts and words;
    writing the sweetest rhymes you’ve heard!

  352. Kimmy Sophia


    We all heard about it,
    Rwanda, 1994.
    Unthinkable unleashing of blame,
    merciless tirade of murder.
    Two decades later,
    ghosts still reeling,
    traumatized still tremble,
    Bewildered, innocent, guilty,
    scarred to the core.
    The landscape still howls.


    A mason jar on my table,
    five sunflowers.
    A gang of suns,
    petals like wrinkled rays of light.
    They look at me
    like children
    awaiting a story.
    I wish to see them fully,
    with the gaze of Van Gogh.

  353. Tashtoo

    We can turn away
    Pretend we’re better
    Let on
    The sorry state of the world
    Has nothing to do with
    Our apathy
    Our indifference
    Our anger

    I was taught
    To hold it all inside
    To smile in the face of adversity

    I did
    And I do

    I have injected & digested
    The violence
    The cruelty
    The selfishness
    The hate

    The battle ground’s within me

    Bleeding ulcers
    Sleepless nights
    Self medicating
    Over the counter
    Bic pens
    Peace pipes

    What say you
    Of the one who knows not sanctuary?
    The one who swallows
    Forgets to breathe
    Until the fever breaks
    Purging the body
    Of hidden armies
    Hidden hates

    Evidenced in the corpses
    Of the hearts
    That didn’t deserve to die

    Natasha Head

  354. Scribbling Sue

    (I met this old man many years ago but I never wrote about him until today).

    MID-MARCH SEARCH (a pantoum)

    In mid-March search for missing sun,
    I walk by river rippling, lapping,
    Arms of ash against grey sky,
    Dark shapes in the distance fishing.

    He walks beside the river sighing,
    Grey hair, grey skin, grey hollow eyes,
    Dark shapes in the distance diving,
    Exchanging nods, he stops and smiles.

    A sadness in grey hollow eyes,
    Wind whips trees, behind him flailing,
    No longer nods, he turns and cries,
    Divers in the water searching.

    Wild arms thrash at river flailing,
    Weeping willows sympathize,
    Dark shapes in the water dredging,
    Mid-March search for missing son.

    Suzanne Lalor
    8th April 2014

  355. Clark Buffington

    The Two sides of Sissy

    How are you capable of such violent acts? You, who are so sweet and loving, seem to have a switch that flips from loved one to killer. The focus and the intent are terrifying to see when that switch is flipped. Where did my sweet girl go in those moments? The shift from peaceful, serene, and guileless to the violent, aggressive, and relentless is done in an instant as I disappear from your heart.

    I had thought at one time that it was the chase you loved but then I saw you wait with patience and intent. That was the first time I felt the stirrings of fear and an echo of admiration. One cannot discount your skill, strength, and speed as you pursue you quarry. Just as one cannot help to feel a bit of pride in the precision and talent you show in your heartless joy as the chase comes to an end.

    The little stray that showed up on our porch, half grown and pathetic in demeanor, hid a bundle of violence that is a killing machine. I blame you not as you shift from a thirty-pound soft adorable friend into a thirty-pound ball of murdering muscle and teeth. This is your nature, hidden behind those soft peaceful brown eyes is a hard eyed violent killer that shows no mercy.

  356. uneven steven


    “Blood of my blood” the supreme viral condition
    of the human race
    Beautiful candor we are born into
    this tribalness
    naked on the outside
    we are clothed in rules
    of engagement
    and the naming of things –
    Blood of my blood
    I say to you
    the world is an ocean
    just waiting
    to wash us away

    8 years old
    father of a friend
    balding head, basketball belly
    smirking about the black player on his
    favorite team arms so long
    fingers drag the ground when he’s standing
    he said there once was a boy, when he was young,
    who buried kittens up
    to their necks in the ground
    and used the lawnmower
    on them

    28 years old in the adolescent wing
    of the long term psych ward
    “They’re gonna eat you alive” the supervisor
    said shaking his head – the torture of small
    animals leading to the killing of them stopping just before
    the neighborhood kids start disappearing
    paper cups with meds QID BID every shift
    lift up your tongue let me see
    promiscuous manipulators screaming in rage
    not getting their way
    monitored continuously a danger
    to themselves and others just
    batshit crazy
    everyone said
    the hardest days were always
    when the families came
    to visit

  357. miaokuancha

    April 8

    Prompt: Violent, or Peaceful

    — Hiboryuku —

    A thousand paper cranes,
    Folded one by one
    Strung on red thread
    They made festoons
    Like the wisteria blossoms that
    She would sit under that summer
    Listening to an old monk,
    With cicadas, yokan, and green tea.
    Carried carefully in a plastic bag.
    On wings over ocean.
    And then on foot.
    Tokyo to Hiroshima.
    They were laid at the shrine of the dead.
    Paper left to the elements
    Reappears as drones over villages
    Whose names
    Once again
    We don’t learn how to pronounce.

    ~ miaokuancha

  358. RamblinRose

    The squawking grows louder and more intense
    I fly out the door to see what the ruckus is about
    All goes quiet and appears normal
    Back inside the house the alarm goes up again
    This time the crows and squirrels join in

    I catch a glimpse of red and black on the fly
    And notice a motionless heap on the ground
    Soon all is made clear
    The cycle of predator and prey closes in
    Reducing the flock by two

    The entrances blocked, I return to the kitchen
    Only to be roused again by the siren call
    .22 rifle in hand, I’m ready to kill
    I spot the culprit but not before she sees me
    And makes her escape

    Another heap of lifeless feathers on the ground
    The hen’s neck bleeding and bent, eyes glazed
    After a few days segregation
    She rallies and returns to the flock
    But the scars remain