Editors Blog

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Triversen

We’re going to try and get a WD Poetic Form Challenge going leading into the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

This time around, we’ll be writing triversen, an 18-line poetic form developed by William Carlos Williams. Compared to many previous poetic forms, the triversen seems pretty “free,” but it’s not without rules. Click here to read how to write a triversen.

Once you down the rules of triversen, start writing them and sharing here on the blog for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on April 6, 2014.
  • Poets can enter as many triversens as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new triversen.
  • I will only consider triversen shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!


Workshop your poetry!

Click here to learn more.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a collection of poetry from Press 53. He’s also Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he edits books (Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing), manages blogs, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, speaks on publishing and poetry nationally, leads online education, and more. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Robert is married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who will be traveling out to the Austin International Poetry Festival this April. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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240 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Triversen

  1. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Body surfing
    was my sport
    for years.

    Adrift on ripples
    of waves until
    the big one came!

    Remembering my love
    of moving through
    natural ebb and flow,

    Late one July day
    heading to my favorite beach
    I took my two kids!

    Teaching them to read the waves
    and how to ride
    the best of the incoming set!

    Three of us bobbed, body surfed
    laughed, swam, sitting in the warmth
    until the sun ushered us home, happy!

  2. Jane Shlensky

    Take 2 on this one. Sorry.

    Slow Melt

    Ice rides the daffodils’ necks,
    jealous of green and gold, pushes
    purple down cold crocus throats.

    Trees and shrubs unshackling glaze
    throw crystal tubes of ice to earth,
    each lightened load a crisp “oompah!”

    A slip of sun and hours of rain
    run rivulets beneath windows
    of ice, as stubborn winter melts.

    Flocks of robins bob and slide,
    their migratory signals crossed,
    confused by skies scheduled for blue.

    Who knows why Winter bullies Spring,
    its frozen bluster rampaging
    until it’s led away in chains?

    Forsythias’ encrusted blooms
    shake off this wintry tantrum’s bling;
    they won’t be victimized. It’s spring!

  3. Jane Shlensky


    “I’d give my very life for him,”
    she said and we believed
    but felt raw fear unfurl.

    She traded bits of life for life,
    her donation one step with him
    up Golgotha.

    His organs failed on Easter eve,
    for miracles require release,
    an open hand.

    We take pains to avoid pain,
    keep death away with whip and chair
    and brace ourselves for answered prayer.

    We each kneel at Gethsemane
    upon the rocks of painful lives,
    begging another day of hurt.

    “Let go, let God,” she hears them say
    a platitude, but no relief for grief:
    forgive our unbelief.

  4. Emma Hine

    ‘Night Falls’

    A blanket of dark
    billows down,
    enveloping the Earth.

    Birds cease their song –
    their tiny beaks stilled
    until the morn.

    Sparkling stars shine,
    shimmering above,
    like tiny tears in the sky.

    The pale crescent moon,
    a curved sideways smile,
    watches the sleeping world.

    with nowhere to play,
    hide and sleep.

    The Earth is waiting
    for the new day
    and the hope it brings.

  5. Jane Shlensky

    In Defense of Night

    I side with possums and raccoons
    with owls and all nocturnal things
    who question daytime’s privilege.

    Bright flashy sun, day’s diva,
    makes showy entrances,
    her exits rose bouquets on blue.

    All animals that fear lost sight,
    all nested birds and insects rest
    at night but praise the day.

    The ancients villainized the dark
    when winds and waves joined miscreants
    to steal away security.

    Even night-howlers fear night life
    that’s destitute of neon’s glare
    or gentle shadow casters’ wick.

    Dark deeds are done by light of day
    if we but take our eyes away;
    soft night is innocent.

  6. Jane Shlensky

    Divinum Mysterium

    Sometimes a stream goes underground
    and flows into a waterbed,
    its tracks covered with prairie grass.

    Years pass as cedar saplings grow
    with briars on this patchy place
    where only dowsers sense a stream.

    Divining rods of hazel, peach,
    or willow bow where water lies,
    twitching as living nerve revives.

    Men with water wizardry
    will walk a wasteland guided by
    a slender branch of memory.

    The way the rod dips down to drink
    at what is absent makes us think
    that spirits flow beneath the soil.

    We watch as water wisdom’s tapped,
    as dowser resurrects a soul
    we felt but never saw.

  7. Marjory MT


    When night slips past its fullness,
    quietness is found
    and poems are born.

    The last low rays of light
    from the departing moon
    leave all the stars to lag.

    Each star now shines as light
    fragmented from the moon
    to aid the birth of thoughts and words.

    Words written o’er the seas of time,
    that will remain
    caressed within the shifting sand.

    Each bit of sand a thought,
    voices that all the stars will hear
    throughout the ebb and flow of life.

    The night and day, the moon and stars
    still ebb and flow a beating serenade
    as yet another poem is born.

  8. Kit Cooley


    The water stopped
    and we were left
    with dirt and grime.

    It is surprising
    how quickly we devolve
    into unwanted sloven ways.

    To shower once a week,
    at friends’ houses or at work,
    becomes routine.

    Unwashed floors and clothes,
    soon we get used to wearing
    the same jeans every day.

    Inconvenient and a burden,
    yes, but at least there is some
    clean water available.

    Each precious drop,
    hauled in from elsewhere,
    reminds us of finite resources.

    ~ Kit Cooley

  9. seingraham


    When you leave me
    I am in the shade
    becoming dark and drab

    Wondering if you will
    come back ever
    and share with me your warmth

    Let it spread throughout
    my veins, bring my heart
    alive to pulse again

    With each beat I will get to
    step a little further out
    and back into the sun.

    When you are gone
    I am but a shadow lost,
    forlorn, and only just alive

    Wondering if it is over now,
    if I am fading to naught,
    in torpor, soon to disappear.

  10. Nancy Posey

    Willing Suspension of Disbelief

    All it took
    was a big eraser
    and a Xerox machine.

    He deleted the space
    after Father: “Unknown”
    careful not to make a hole.

    With carefully honed skills
    at cut and paste
    he began deliberately.

    He had thought for weeks,
    deciding his perfect choice,
    the father he would prefer.

    Mysteries were fine in books,
    but not in real life,
    not in his real life.

    Disregarding chronology,
    embracing anachronism,
    he wrote “William Shakespeare.”

  11. Nancy Posey

    first and last

    Only in the rarest of events
    do we get only one try
    to get something right.

    We focus on first times,
    first loves, first blind leaps,
    recorded in locked diaries.

    No one gets a second first kiss
    no chance to wipe the slate clean,
    to choose another partner.

    Even the first heartbreak,
    if possible to mend,
    leaves its tiny fissures.

    But every time is a last time
    until we give it another go,
    climbing back on the bike—or horse.

    We trade the opportunity
    to try again
    for the mystery of uncertainty.

  12. Megan Easley-Walsh

    Waltz of Light and Sea

    The sea upon
    the shore awaits
    the glowing dawn.

    Beyond the scattered pebbles
    craters beckon to
    the skipping tides.

    Stillness sweeps the sands
    and gentle waves
    keep time as metronomes.

    Beaming light
    waltzes across
    the opalescent dance floor.

    Serenades of seagulls
    call out in song
    to dancing shells below.

    Euphoric notes of water
    raise their hands
    to the depths of the sky.

  13. Alfred Booth

    alone in a single armchair
    the screens blink messages
    urging me to belong

    does the truth glimmer
    while these would-be actors
    dance instead of sunlight

    inside my four windowed walls
    I am a small fragment
    uprooted from life

    unnoticed sunsets
    trail behind your shadow
    where I walk, look at me

    through dismembered branches
    don’t let me fall
    into forgetfulness

    like a tear, what love illuminates
    beyond these dark nights
    is not a trophy

    a twig

  14. seingraham


    Enter centre stage my darling;
    is there any other way,
    I think not.

    You hold us in your thrall
    with innocence blessed,
    the promise of yet to come.

    The scent of the future
    accompanies you,
    as does that of hope.

    And clutched in your tiny fist,
    you clasp our hearts
    and souls.

    Babies put paid to the notion
    of giving up, the idea
    that all is lost.

    Welcoming a newborn’s akin
    to renewing the faith,
    the dawn of a renaissance.

  15. Margie Fuston


    You don’t have to fear your drink
    when you leave it with him
    on your way to the bathroom.

    He thinks too highly of himself
    to cheat in a game
    he’s mastered with practice.

    He’ll watch it with one clear eye
    and watch a blonde with the other,
    just in case you don’t pan out.

    You should fear the honey
    dripping from his smooth lips:
    sticky sweet muddles your brain.

    In the morning you’ll wake up
    in your own twisted bed sheets,
    but you won’t remember them.

    You’ll remember your martinis tasted
    fine and you’ll wish you had
    someone to blame besides yourself.

  16. Emma Hine

    ‘Discovering Love’

    I thought I knew
    what love was
    when I met you.

    I had been in the dark
    playing games
    with love’s shadow.

    I thought I knew love
    when your arms
    wrapped around me.

    I was only dreaming
    waiting for life
    to wake me from my slumber.

    I thought I knew love
    until a new love
    opened my eyes and my heart.

    When I heard my newborn’s cry
    and felt her at my breast
    I discovered true love.

    1. Emma Hine

      I wrote this for the poem-a-day challenge today (day 5, discovery prompt) so it is also posted in the comments there. I hope that does not disqualify it from being previously unpublished.

  17. novacatmando


    We left the Finger Lakes
    and five states in-between

    to rest in the palm of the plains.

    A dry wind pushed our car
    away from tree-lined roads,

    into a gulley of a hometown.

    We always miss the deepest blue

    of Seneca when burrowed
    in tan & beige back at our house.

    My favorite summers drift
    too fast, drowning weeks into days
    counted five on one hand.

    I tried dreaming to remember
    how morning danced on Honeoye,
    or moon entranced along Hemlock.

    Five sunsets after our trip
    I no longer see or hear
    the playing across lake water.

  18. joshuapoet


    The jazzman in my head
    is in a cutting contest with himself,

    A young woman in a blue shirt with white polka dots
    sambas in her bare feet
    through the puddles left by last-night’s rain.

    When I was a child
    I threw stones at other children,
    and I am hurtling stones.

    She eats Greek yogurt with pineapple chunks,
    her mind flaps away in her joy,
    a sheet on the line.

    My father scuba dived in the Pacific Ocean,
    touched the fin of a tiger shark,
    chatted with Bing Crosby walking his dog on the beach.

    Small birds skittishly fly
    between her swift feet and their reflections,
    bathe their wings in the tiny ripples of now.

    –Joshua Michael Stewart

  19. stacylaurel13

    Stalwart Sentinels

    They stand patiently
    Dangling chains and
    Seats without riders

    Snow-covered picnic
    Tables and charcoal
    Grills awaiting embers

    A frozen swimming pool
    With lounge-less chairs
    Amidst the towering mounds

    A lonely, red-checkered flag
    The only indicator
    Of the 18 holes below

    Slides, benches, and sand traps
    Are poignant scenes
    To a bystander

    But these are
    Stalwart sentinels
    Their day will come again

  20. Jane Shlensky


    He’s got some questions about faith
    and how it works in farmers’ lives
    to put to practice love and skill.

    A farmer learns to fix what’s broke,
    mend fences, care for beasts and crops, and kindle
    kindness in his hands like squeezing soil.

    He tries each day to understand, to watch
    earth taking what sky gives without complaint,
    to help his neighbors, and to raise his kids.

    He knows he’s not as good as some profess
    to be but can’t help being what he is,
    for heaven and hell are where he stands.

    When days are hot or hard as stone,
    he looks for something lost, unsung, alone
    and gives it company and praise.

    He’s quiet when folks speak of God
    as if they know him very well—
    who knows what in a heart may dwell?

  21. Jane Shlensky

    Slow Melt

    Ice rides the necks of daffodils, jealous
    of their green and gold, and pushes purple
    down the throats of crocuses caught by cold.

    Trees and shrubs unshackling glaze
    throw crystal tubes of ice to earth in melting’s
    dance, each crash resounds with crisp oompah!

    A slip of sun and rivaling rain
    run rivulets beneath the glassy ice,
    as stubborn winter melts at last.

    Flocks of robins bob and slide,
    their migratory signals crossed,
    confused by skies that should be blue.

    Who knows why winter bullies spring,
    its frozen bluster stealing time
    until it’s led away in chains?

    Forsythias’ encrusted blooms
    slough off this wintry tantrum’s bling;
    they won’t be victimized. It’s spring!

  22. Jane Shlensky

    Bird Man

    He broke his arm trying to fly
    from off the barn; the swallows lifted up
    as down he came, a big boy leaving his nest.

    He’s learning from his feathered friends:
    to wait in silence, by watching cranes and ibises
    stalking gullible fish swirling at their feet before they sprang.

    He studies finch and mockingbird
    to whistle, sing, impersonate whatever sounds,
    to find songbird trust in time and place, instilled within.

    Surely men harbor ghostly guides
    somewhere inside them, for all birds do,
    migration nigh, some reverence that points them home.

    The only difference he can see
    is people’s fears and doubts, heavy as iron,
    can weigh them down to wondering, flightless lives.

    He watches birds to see how freedom flies,
    how each relies on what is there before them, nature’s grace;
    he thinks he has a trace of what they’ve got, enough to praise the air.

  23. Marjory MT

    TRIVERSEN: Poetic Form

    By Marjory M Thompson

    Since time began,
    I’ve been connected true to you
    and you to me.

    Connected ‘fore the stars were hung,
    before the moon reflected light
    before the earth began to spin.

    Connected by a golden thread
    woven through all time and space,
    binding we-two to be as one.

    Long and gold, vibrating thread
    moved by a summer’s breeze
    and captured for a robin’s nest.

    Lifted by winter’s harsh storms,
    it flies,
    but does not break.

    Holding fast,
    connections do not end,
    that started when all time began.

  24. joshuapoet


    My Grandfather raised his rifle,
    fired a round into a game warden’s chest,
    dropped the body in an abandoned well.

    My grandfather would show us
    the false teeth too small for his mouth
    that he kept in his sock drawer.

    He had the voice of a striking match,
    flash incisors shaped like flames,
    and had a tongue made of smoke.

    We never called him by name
    or looked him in the eye
    or held our plastic folks like daggers.

    My grandfather died with his ribcage
    between the ground and a tractor engine,
    the fat wheel slowly rotating under a cloud.

    I once made a suit of armor out of tinfoil,
    stomped off into the woods to slay dragons,
    and I’ve yet to return.

    –Joshua Michael Stewart

  25. MarieTherese

    My Purpose
    Marie Therese

    Here I am,
    lost and broken
    fear is at my door.

    I don’t know who to turn to
    I don’t know where to go
    to find what I am looking for.

    I’ve searched for many hours
    I’ve wandered day to day
    looking for something, anything, some way.

    Can I get some help please
    my voice so small in the dark of night
    doesn’t even sound like me.

    I sit in the eerie silence
    when I feel a gentle breeze
    a Whisper speaks to me.

    I have a purpose for you
    trust, ask, you will receive
    look to Me, you will find peace.

  26. Keith


    I am like a
    Chameleon that’s on
    a paint sample pamphlet.

    Changing my stream
    of consciousness
    at every rock.

    Fractal-ing into a
    river system subtly
    destroying continents.

    My thoughts running on and
    my thoughts running off while
    I stare off at the view.

    I have more than a few,
    I haven’t a care in
    this world, this head.

    Then, Bang! the globe breaks and
    the earth pieces
    fly out into blank space.

    Keith Beekler

  27. taylor graham


    Here, I’m holding the door for you.
    You used to open doors for me –
    canoeing a stormy Kenai lake,

    following scent trails in the dark,
    calling a stranger’s lost name.
    All those adventures.

    Now the nurse calls your name.
    You gave up driving a year ago.
    Blindness opens the other senses,

    a journey we never wanted to make.
    I’ll lead you out into natural daylight.
    What does green smell like?

    Do you hear the heartbeat
    of that blackbird on the sidewalk?
    Tell me the texture of morning

    after rain has sharpened edges,
    washed them soft as watercolor
    halos against your cheek.

  28. JopoRyk

    Karaoke Cabaret

    That silly bird is squawking,
    calling my name and whistling
    about what a pretty bird she is.

    I humor her by whistling
    a few bars from a song she likes:
    “I Was Walking Through the Woods One Day.”

    She can only whistle one bar –
    “in the merry, merry month of May”
    so I always give her the chance to do so.

    After we whistle, we move on
    to “Hello” and “Pretty Bird”
    and “Emily” – that sweet girl’s name.

    She is a multi-talented bird
    who coughs and laughs and barks and meows
    and echoes the world around us.

    She’s a minor celebrity,
    performing karaoke cabaret
    exulting in our adoration.

  29. Raymond Maxwell

    beginning a poem a day

    three days in
    might be three days late
    for a beginning poem.

    my compass was confused,
    I lost my way
    in the thickness of the fog.

    a late start
    is not the end of things –
    it is still a beginning:

    and I still have you,
    and you, me,
    and we, each other.

    So let’s make a go
    of this poetry month
    and celebrate each day,

    early or late,
    lost or found,
    beginning to end.

  30. Pengame30

    Title:He Knows

    Gunhill road is close to home
    and the boys see me looking
    waiting for the sun to speak

    The clouds separate revealing it’s glory
    ever so gently, while
    a group of saggers pass my stoop

    Snap crackle and pop
    my neck goes as I remember
    that those are just the bros

    While they weave in and out
    of eachothers space
    holding onto their wake and bake

    They turn and head into the garden
    when one of them looks back
    and winks as if he knows

    “I want that one,” I said to myself
    because he’s so cute
    and he’ll keep me on my toes

    Written By: Sean Drew

  31. taylor graham


    He fidgeted with his clipboard,
    clouds kept erasing the sky.
    My dog so eager in her traces,

    a falcon to be unfettered.
    Scent, invisible bird on the wind.
    Translate your dog, he said,

    his voice already trailing behind
    numbers on old spreadsheets.
    Hide-&-seek lurked in the teepee

    schoolkids built without a plan,
    cedarbark over dreams
    before they came to be tested.

    The man checked his clipboard.
    My dog ran after the sky,
    fragments of shadows turning

    morning to noon, to discover
    a child lost, the trail
    leading so fleetingly away.

  32. Clae

    A Song for Atlantis

    Atlantis wondrous place
    A city time misplaced
    In ocean’s deep embrace

    Atlantis of the past
    Left us no map or path
    Our minds keep it intact

    Atlantis city bright
    Coral claimed columns height
    Submerged in ocean’s night

    Atlantis ever sleeps
    Sea monsters roam the streets
    Forgot by earthbound feet

    Atlantis never found
    Buried deeper than the ground
    Where whale-song voices sound

    Atlantis now long lost
    Grown over with sea moss
    Our dreams preserve its gloss

    T.S. Gray

  33. bjzeimer

    “today the sun was shining”

    today the sun was shining
    where there used to be ice and snow
    the townsfolk sitting on their front porches

    remembering how we waded
    through five foot high drifts of snow
    just a few short weeks before

    I call to memory my new red car
    that’s still in Charlie’s auto repair garage
    with the transmission leaking

    and wonder where the tree sparrows
    went and when they’re coming
    back to the budding crabapple trees

    a proud new grandfather brought his
    child outside to show her the grass, the trees
    to let her feel the warm sunny sidewalk

    she doesn’t remember the piles of snow
    but only what she’s seeing for the first time
    the townsfolk sitting on their front porches

    “today the sun was shining”

    today the sun was shining
    where there used to be ice and snow
    the townsfolk sitting on their front porches

    remembering how we waded
    through five foot high drifts of snow
    just a few short weeks before

    I call to memory my new red car
    that’s still in Charlie’s auto repair garage
    with the transmission leaking

    and wonder where the tree sparrows
    went and when they’re coming
    back to the budding crabapple trees

    a proud new grandfather brought his
    child outside to show her the grass, the trees
    to let her feel the warm sunny sidewalk

    she doesn’t remember the piles of snow
    but only what she’s seeing for the first time
    the townsfolk sitting on their front porches

    — beverly zeimer

  34. PressOn


    See that two-legged down there?
    Notice the new binoculars?
    That’s the Flat-footed Newbie.

    Over there’s a white-haired
    chap wearing coveralls;
    the Retired Knuckle-buster, I believe.

    Way back there, I see
    a woman person with a crooked scope.
    She’s the Tripod Tripper, you know.

    Hmmmm. Right below us
    are people peepers without glasses.
    Wandering Soreneckers, no doubt.

    Most of these peepers
    are nondescripts with old hats and glasses;
    we just call them Big Brown Jobs.

    That’s all the sightings for now.
    We’ll be back tomorrow, though:
    migration is in full swing.

    William Preston

  35. vocativecomma

    Tasha Raella Chemel

    You sang to me on the way home,
    your voice choir-boy smooth
    like a hand-made flute.

    There were some nicked notes
    places where you groped
    for mis-remembered words.

    Until now, all I have been shown
    is your containment—clenched fists
    an unrevealing gaze.

    Tonight you chose
    to lift the illusion
    of your carved perfection.

    My voice and eyes will never obey me,
    but I see a fellow strategist:
    our every offering is a calculation.

    SO I place myself at the mercy
    of your lips, and my desire
    to call you master.

  36. laurie kolp

    Pushing 50

    Looking back,
    the streak of gray
    forebode trouble.

    A seasoned charm
    of sparkling winter,
    her hair seemed fine.

    Amid the snow,
    his stolid heart
    formed fractals.

    Lashes flaying,
    a tongue of sleet
    on her senescence.

    One drunk slip-up–
    when he called her
    a worn-out harridan.

    With the divorce
    came a boob job
    and bleached hair.

    1. PressOn

      Wow. This is such a vivid and disturbing picture, and the twist at the end actually accentuates that sense, for me anyway. All too real. Wonderful writing.

  37. newbie44

    The Walk
    Renee Meador

    I walk
    measured steps
    along dirt track.

    leaf buds dress
    the stretching

    sagebrush march
    spring growth silver
    in slanting light.

    mountains run
    across the sunset.

    memories stir
    shadow companion
    for company.

    teardrops mourn
    endless cycle
    death to new life.

  38. Clae

    Fantasy Formula

    Here we go on a quest-
    search for greatness, treasure,
    or just some grand adventure.

    We gather up our band,
    travelling companions,
    each with some skill to lend.

    Along the way we fight,
    solve problems, stop to save
    odd folk in dangers grave.

    Collect odd artifacts
    like magic rings or swords,
    gain repute, earn rewards.

    At last we reach our goal,
    dread thing we must defeat,
    the end- our job’s complete.

    Now heroes journey home,
    our tale fades with the fog-
    the rest is epilogue.

    T.S. Gray

  39. Azma


    Something I find very tough
    is trying to fall asleep
    in an overnight bus trip.

    I slither, like a snake
    down a narrowing tunnel,
    till I get comfortable.

    Every corner gets even harder,
    my head is not fated
    for a pillow tonight.

    I look around to find
    not a single other open eye,
    very cruel- this sleep is.

    Even the wailing baby
    has finally come to peace
    with his mother’s arms.

    Crammed, I finally drift off
    before being shaken up-
    ‘Wake up! We’re here’

    -Azma Sheikh

  40. JRSimmang


    While we build ours
    from branches and stone,
    we weather wood and mortar.

    So weathered are her matchsticks,
    like burned wicker ends,
    and too large for her mouth.

    And yet…
    she is content to gather,
    that spry, inky blackness.

    I notice I stopped walking,
    for the sound of her rustling
    forgets me.

    I pick up a twig,
    pacified for now,
    and hold it close.

    A home from this
    is certainly a home
    for the birds.

    -JR Simmang

  41. RebekahJ

    Arjuna of the Internet

    For Bill, with thanks

    We each have our dharma
    Our sacred mission, gift
    Though we often think it’s nothing.

    We forget we live
    In Indra’s jeweled web
    Interlinked, and each reflecting all.

    In fact, each act can ripple
    Through more hearts than we can see
    And there are all kinds of princes.

    Some use swords and arrows
    Lead warriors in the fray
    Charge and bleed and roar

    But others quietly type
    Day in day out day in
    Stroke after stroke of kindness in the void

    Press on, he says, it’s good
    You can do it, I am listening
    I’m here, he says, press on

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  42. joshuapoet


    The blue jays are eating the cat food
    that flung to the ground
    when I slipped on the icy back step.

    I caught myself by grabbing the rail,
    but the Meow Mix in the plastic cup
    scattered among grass and pinecones.

    I didn’t know it at the time,
    but my neighbor was dead by then,
    blood from his mouth staining his sheets.

    The hallway between our apartments
    began to reek of rotten eggs
    tinged with a sickly sweetness.

    The building manager came with a key,
    and opened my neighbor’s door
    to a silence that spread the news.

    Maintenance is in there now
    ripping out the carpets,
    and I haven’t seen the stray cat all week.

    –Joshua Michael Stewart

  43. awheeler1965

    Hearts Desire

    God gave me the desire of my heart
    And showed me genuine love
    But it only lasted for a season

    I had to let go of her
    Much sooner than I wanted to
    Or ever planned on doing

    Now there’s this place
    In my heart and soul
    Filled with only memories

    One thing stands out in my mind
    And burns like fire
    I finally understand my true hearts desire

    I want a Godly woman
    A real daughter of the King
    To be my wife, my loving bride

    I see a beauty in a woman
    Who genuinely and deeply loves God
    And that, I tell you, is my hearts desire

  44. PressOn


    The snow is still there,
    scattered amongst downed trees
    and mingling with mud.

    Puddles form where mounds
    used to stand tall
    amongst the bushes and rocks.

    Amongst all this mixture
    a sound resounds
    and excites the quiet wood.

    I peer into the morning
    greyness and try to find
    the sound amongst the silence.

    There it is!
    A hermit thrush is looking
    puzzled amongst the pines.

    Now I know that spring
    has come amongst us
    for yet another year.

    William Preston

  45. Bruce Niedt

    For 370

    “A prayer to the takeoff and landing of everything…” – Elbow

    Here’s to the beat of oscillating wings,
    feathers turned into the wind,
    the downward flap, the thrust and soar.

    Here’s to our weightlessness
    as wheels lift off the tarmac, and engines
    push into a corridor of sky.

    Here’s to updrafts and tailwinds,
    gliding over canyons and lakes
    above the sharp-beaked predator’s eye.

    Here’s to Armstrong and Superman,
    and here’s to the traffic helicopter,
    the hummingbird’s blur at the nectar jar.

    Here’s to coming down again,
    tires chirping, talons clutching,
    welcome rest, firm feel of home.

    And here’s to those lost at sea –
    let’s hope their souls have gone where
    everyone lands where they want to be.

    1. RebekahJ

      Love the fourth and fifth stanzas—a great vision of the variety of types of flight, and of the much-less-often-discussed experience of landing.

  46. Domino

    a blank white page
    holds no terror for me.

    I see it as a conglomeration
    of all possible opportunities.

    to mar the pristine beauty?
    Indeed, the opposite is true.

    actually, and excitement.
    I can’t wait to start writing words.

    is an invitation to me
    to pour my inky life onto the page

    the perfect, clean perfection
    with two parts lifeblood, one part soul.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  47. DanielR

    The road hums to me
    through open windows,
    as I drive slowly by.

    Remnants of shattered glass
    mixed with amber shards
    glimmer on asphalt edges.

    Twisted metal fragments create
    a scattered collage of carnage
    in a damp, overgrown ditch.

    Strangers’ paths colliding here,
    destinies intersecting
    in an eternal linking.

    Like roadside dandelions in spring,
    white wooden crosses will bloom
    in remembrance of life and death.

    When the traces of wreckage
    wash away with heavy rains,
    mourning hearts will linger.

    Daniel Roessler

  48. RebekahJ

    L.A. Story

    At the Museum of Tolerance, April 2004

    In Poland, she said, her aunt Dinah
    Worked in the clinic
    Used mostly for show

    Inside the wire, she said, Dinah
    Saw life turn on left or right
    But she still found room to move

    For two years, she used every trick
    Lied hid stalled and stalled
    Until some of them walked out.

    Later I tell David
    On ten lanes of speeding sun
    And he asks, where’s the aunt now?

    I roll the window down
    Watch pink cactus blossoms float
    And smell the warm red sand

    I asked her that, I say:
    She’s ninety-six
    And she lives in L.A.

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  49. MarieTherese

    Gone by MarieTherese

    What use to be
    is no longer here
    to be had.

    It seems so long ago,
    since yesterday,
    when you were mine.

    Everything we shared,
    do you remember,
    is now gone.

    Even should I look again
    I would not find it,
    nor you, anywhere.

    Sometimes I feel sad
    at days gone by,
    I sense the loss.

    But in my heart
    I know this is right,
    that we were wrong.

  50. lionetravail

    “Scents and Scents-Ability in the Arctic”

    The old guy is a real veteran,
    survivor of an uneven dozen skirmishes,
    and he has the scars to prove it.

    He has more white in his beard
    than browns, and has forgotten
    what it feels like to be young.

    It’s been a while since he’s gotten
    that ‘come hither’ kind of look,
    but he’s still ready to step to the plate.

    Winter’s icy grip hasn’t crushed
    his enthusiasm, and its exhaled breath
    hasn’t sliced through his outerwear.

    He stops, nostrils flaring, and smells
    something he hasn’t in a long time,
    something he can almost remember.

    It’s in a slight softening of the wind-
    something green poking out of the snow-
    and it reminds him how it felt to be young.

    1. PressOn

      Just wonderful and evocative. This reminds me of an old saw: “just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace.”

  51. JRSimmang


    “We’re moving down the street,”
    wrinkled nose, old glasses, and squatty eyes rustled,
    “because it’s warmer.”

    Most of her things came from chain stores,
    like her smoking habit,
    and her dishes were still spotty.

    But we soon found her last will,
    a crumpled piece of possibleness
    once carried in her breast pocket.

    Odd, I hummed to myself,
    that she should lay that here
    where the birds can carry it away.

    “That’s why it’s here,”
    she clucked, and shuffled back
    to her rattan garden chair.

    I touched my chest and hummed again,
    odd still that it’s just like the one
    I have on me.

    -JR Simmang

  52. laurie kolp

    Morning Run

    Dewdrops sparkle
    in the waking sun
    on my morning run.

    Pale pink petals
    sprinkle a path
    beneath pear trees.

    A squirrel stops
    and strikes a pose
    then darts across the road.

    From afar,
    a dog barks
    as car door slams.

    The subtle breeze
    like a whisper
    stills my feet.

    What is it
    about bacon
    that makes me drool?

  53. stoland1999

    Sherry Toland

    Dusty old roads that
    lead to nowhere are
    ill equipped for travel.

    The curves and hills
    that peak and wind
    are meant for a meander.

    Nowhere is the place
    to be and no one
    must get there fast.

    Up the slope you
    slow to a crawl
    and enjoy your view.

    Down the slope you
    feel the wind and
    race against the sky.

    On the curves you
    glide and flow
    keeping your pace.

    Enjoying your trip
    on the dusty old road
    that leads to nowhere.

  54. DanielR

    Remembering is hard
    when it is forced on you
    by unexpected death.

    Flowers adorn the altar
    sowed by gardeners
    and placed on wreaths.

    Pews of nicely dressed strangers
    have come to say goodbye
    and offer condolences.

    The organist plays
    mournful, moaning sounds
    in a symphony of grief.

    Watchful eyes anticipate
    me breaking down
    in anguished sobs.

    I step to the podium
    exhaling a heavy sigh,
    beginning, “My father was”.

    Daniel Roessler

  55. Keith

    “I’m prescribing a lot of love”

    I’m on a train headed home
    to visit my parents on a
    whim that was convenient.

    there’s a woman stitching up
    her granddaughter’s stuffed animal
    because it was ripped.

    she said she was doing surgery
    and not to worry, because the
    little guy was gonna make it.

    her little granddaughter asked
    if he was asleep, if it would
    hurt when he woke up.

    the grandmother said, “He just needs
    to rest and to take it easy;
    I’m prescribing a lot of love.”

    a lot of love is all a stuffed
    animal needs when he’s
    getting stitched back up at the seams.

    by Keith Beekler

  56. lionetravail

    “I Can’t Figure It”

    I beat my head against
    things less hard than he does,
    but I suffer and he does not.

    While I’m reaching for drugs,
    he’s reaching for seeds, bugs,
    nuts, and suet to make his day.

    He’s beautiful in zebra waistcoat
    and Cardinal’s crimson skullcap,
    as he smashes his head at work.

    Undaunted, his skull can handle
    about twelve hundred g’s decel-
    he’d make an amazing fighter pilot.

    I’m less successful with head bonks,
    but, as he, I’m perfectly adapted
    to the tasks required of me.

    Maybe it’s his nature,
    and certainly not mine,
    which explains the painful dichotomy.

  57. Tracy Davidson

    Hidden Love

    His birth certificate
    lies flat in a folder,
    untouched over the years.

    His death certificate
    is crumpled and creased,

    I found both hidden
    at the back of mum’s drawer
    beneath a pile of hankies.

    In all my forty two years
    I never knew
    of his existence.

    My brother, older by a year,
    he lived for three days
    and his name was Joseph.

    I grieve for them both –
    the one I thought I knew
    and the one I didn’t know at all.

  58. Azma


    For long a door lay closed,
    down a lonesome corridor,
    against a bare brick wall.

    The cobwebs collected overtime
    told tales of mystery
    and haunted uncertainty.

    The onlookers remained onlookers
    except a curious little girl
    who decided to face the doubts.

    She slowly walked towards the door,
    surrounded with desperate gasps
    and pushed the door with all her might.

    The door remained unmoved
    as if another brick wall
    stood on the other side.

    And somewhere in the distance
    another door flew open
    with promises waiting for the girl.

    -Azma Sheikh

  59. laurie kolp

    Stilling Mourning Calls

    After midnight
    shooting stars
    call out to me.

    Crashing echoes
    from the sky
    ripple down.

    They splash
    into rough seas,
    a buoy.

    are the waves
    that fill my mind.

    Visions of your smile
    and warm embrace
    drown the ache.

    Serene at last–
    wonder dims,
    grief recedes.

  60. RebekahJ

    Apologies for the repost—I decided one line was not right and fixed it. Next time I will wait a few days to post after I think a poem is done! :)

    Baby Wash, October 23, 1962

    For Jeanne Jackson

    While Cuba waited
    My mother-in-law wept
    Into the washing machine

    She thought her three boys
    Might never grow
    To be anyone’s husbands

    If those men with missiles
    Exchanged swelling clouds of ash
    Across the seas

    All the bedtime naptime mealtimes
    Lullabies, purees and games
    Would vanish in a single flash

    But if those idiots don’t do it
    She thought, I’ll need clean diapers
    So she did what women do

    Mix your tears with soap and bleach
    Turn the dial to extra hot
    Press go

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  61. The Captain


    The frost on the window
    tells a tall tale
    of a spirit– happy, whole, and hale.

    His fingers dance
    along the pane,
    those fingers long and pale.

    The frost on the sidewalk
    tells a sweet story
    of a spirit– calculating, kind, and quick.

    Both of his feet
    dance on this path,
    his feet both bare and fast.

    The frost on the leaves
    tells a long narrative
    of a spirit– loving, lost, and lithe.

    All of himself
    is in this task,
    himself and him alone.

    (By: Staten Ell)

  62. barbara_y

    How to Beat the End of Winter Blues

    Winter revives without warning,
    a broken, dying bear;
    its teeth can still break bones.

    Addition is homeopathy:
    touching ice to your tongue
    like a wasp’s blunt sting.

    In response to the wind, sing,
    like a barbershop quartet,
    harmony in four parts.

    Contradict its throat
    with warm honey tea,
    a grind of broken pepper.

    What better rival to winter,
    plenty and plenty and plenty,
    everything-pizza and beer.

    We twirl our red capes
    in the face of the natural,
    pretend we change its course.

  63. Alfred Booth

    tell me how to sort out this puzzle
    called time, a crowded labyrinth
    of minutes ticking loudly

    hours dream of tomorrows
    dawning through coal-tinged ideals
    before sunlight emerges

    with stiff, unwilling limbs
    I rush into the last list of undone
    elements, like rainclouds

    bursting into activity
    a sense of guilt conquers me
    running naked, bathed in roses

    they perfume these vast garden alleys
    pruned, weeded and nourished
    by coarsely nimble hands

    only one way to wander in
    one breath at a time, I wonder
    will I have time to leave?

    labyrinth by Alfred Booth

  64. lionetravail

    “The Other Universal Element”

    Through the farthest reaches of space,
    indeed, as far as we can see,
    we can find it, out there, like here.

    Across that other, vasty deep,
    come limping here at humble C,
    dispossessed refugees in tears.

    Tales of destruction and woe
    clutched like last, treasured belongings,
    in clenched fingers made of light.

    Mute witnesses of misery,
    of giant, clockwork mechanisms
    broken and molten like Dali’s.

    “Natural processes” some say,
    or “Entropy must have its way”,
    but sorry sophistry won’t wash.

    Pain: of a tree, or distant star,
    or treasured friend, heard or unheard
    when it falls, is universal.

  65. RebekahJ

    Baby Wash, October 23, 1962

    For Jeanne Jackson

    While Cuba waited
    My mother-in-law wept
    Into the washing machine

    She thought her three boys
    Might never grow
    To be anyone’s husbands

    If those men with missiles
    Exchanged mushrooms, heat and ash
    Across the seas

    All the bedtime naptime mealtimes
    Lullabies, purees and games
    Would vanish in a single flash

    But if those idiots don’t do it
    She thought, I’ll need clean diapers
    So she did what women do

    Mix your tears with soap and bleach
    Turn the dial to extra hot
    Press go

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  66. KIMOCO01

    (Robert, please note that some of us have accidentally posted our poems under the “Triversen: Poetic Form” page that is linked from this page. I hope you’ll count those entries in the challenge too–clearly I wasn’t the only one to get confused about which page I was posting on. Just in case, though, I’m reposting my submission again here.)


    The day my son left home,
    I picked up his guitar
    like I picked up his socks.

    A red Fender Stratocaster,
    all he ever wanted, before
    he wanted something else.

    Before he snuck out early
    and stayed out late,
    and told me charming lies.

    Before, it was only
    “three chords and the truth,”
    an amped-up version of a classic song.

    Before, when the music
    was the sweetest,
    he was banging on pots and pans.

    So I pluck the strings, discordant
    and hollow, unable to fill
    all that remains.

    — Kim O’Connell

  67. laurie kolp

    Learning to Live Without Your Three Calls a Day

    I never thought
    I’d miss your calls
    but now my phone is dead.

    Eight o’clock seems okay
    because I’m busy cooking
    eggs and bacon for the kids.

    At noon I’m in a new class
    exercising at the gym
    with mothers unlike you.

    Youthful bodies twist and turn
    without fear of spongy discs
    falling down like Jenga blocks.

    Sometimes they get winded
    so the women take deep breaths
    but never quit.

    By six fifteen I’m aching
    as I listen to saved voice mails
    and try to wish you here.

  68. laurie kolp

    Learning to Live Without You

    I never thought
    I’d miss your calls
    as much as I do now.

    Three times a day
    once drove me crazy
    but now my phone is dead.

    Eight o’clock seems okay
    because I’m busy cooking
    eggs and bacon for the kids.

    At noon I’m in a new class
    exercising at the gym
    with mothers unlike you.

    Youthful bodies twist and turn
    without fear of spongy discs
    falling down like Jenga blocks.

    Sometimes they get winded
    so the women take deep breaths
    but still keep moving.

    At six fifteen I’m tired
    and your affirming words
    would sound great by then.

    I listen to saved voice mails
    as I try to comprehend
    the fact that you’re no longer here.

  69. taylor graham


    On my circuit of the park
    I watched geese grazing on lawn
    wildflower-fringed in bloom,

    a vernal pool that’s gone by summer,
    and a woman no longer young
    who raised her arms against sky

    with such a far-off sunset look,
    a memory-knot, an inside
    itch like needing to fly, to run.

    And then the geese rose, shivering
    the heart with that migratory call
    overhead, circling, searching

    for beginning of an end, a skein.
    They start, unraveling sight
    and vanishing sound as they depart.

    No trace, except the single one
    who lags and hurries,
    trailing the ones already gone.

  70. PressOn


    Everett is still talking.
    He has been talking for two hours.
    Well, he should.

    The people expect this of him:
    to take this field in Pennsylvania
    clear back to Thermopylae.

    Men, living and dead,
    struggled here
    that a nation might live.

    They will little note nor long remember
    what I say, but they must remember
    what the men did here.

    I have a few words
    to say about that.
    Will they hear?

    They are tired.
    I will make this short and sweet,
    like the old woman’s dance.

    William Preston

  71. Azma


    I was leaving home that day
    fetching fragments of reminiscence
    into my paltry backpack.

    I was going to be on my own
    to pursue a career
    to be self-sufficient.

    My continuous contemplation
    beginning with adventurous imagination
    reached a despairing low.

    The nest created
    with folks and fellows
    had become too snug.

    But time healed faster
    and I blended better
    than I felt passive.

    No matter how timid,
    even the hardest shell cracks
    and every bird must fly.

    -Azma Sheikh

  72. PressOn


    Today, grey wraps green
    in softly muted tones
    and flows quietly onward.

    In passing, it bids the yellow
    stop its shouting
    and hushes reds and oranges.

    It greets blues and purples
    with knowing smiles
    and winks as it goes by.

    It even charms the browns,
    kissing them all
    with glistening glances.

    Only the blacks
    are impervious to its passing;
    they snort as it goes by.

    Still, it is not perturbed
    as it wraps the fevered land
    in graces of grey.

    William Preston

  73. DanielR

    On a long walk in the meadow,
    I spotted a shack far away,
    causing me to change direction.

    Its purposeful hiding betrayed
    by a cold, cruel December
    that stripped the Dogwoods naked.

    I thought it must be vacant,
    what fool was likely to live
    in so remote a place, but me?

    A ragged fence slowed my journey,
    but rusted barbs and leaning posts
    proved no match for this trespasser.

    I trudged on through winter bog
    until chimney smoke rose nearby
    mixing with the misty haze.

    A dog barked out a warning
    which I ignored, proceeding,
    determined to be neighborly.

    Daniel Roessler

  74. dpnowell


    by Daniel Nowell

    I display my district with
    poached pride and discretion;
    a newcomer knowing his place.

    The assortment of action
    fits the bill of even
    the most fault-finding visitor.

    High-rises and stores top
    the transit below in this
    small slice of an oversized city.

    A compound of cultures
    From San Salvador to Seoul are
    wrapped inside a few square miles.

    Bar ballads pour onto the
    streets to compliment the
    chatter of strangers.

    The nights are never ending
    and the citizens confirm
    that closed signs are solely suggestions.

  75. Michelle Hed

    False Leads

    My doctor is a detective
    he searches for the clues
    for what is ailing me and you.

    He starts with your symptoms
    eliminating this and that,
    storing possibilities in a white top hat.

    He sends you off for testing,
    takes weeks to be seen,
    and days before you learn what he’s gleaned.

    Depending on the results,
    an item may be crossed and removed,
    but then you draw again, still more to be unproved.

    This journey might take months
    as he slowly draws each slip,
    your mind frets and your spirits dip.

    Finally you come to the end
    there are no more slips to draw
    the answer was the final straw.

    1. PressOn

      For me, this captures the reality of dealing with doctors these days, especially if one has a chronic disease. The rhymes act like punctuation, in my view, much like each visit: a waypoint to who know what. For me, this is a highly effective poem.

  76. Michelle Hed

    Nature’s Treasure Chests

    Hollows in the snow
    formed by the wind
    filled with little treasures.

    A stick and old leaf
    nature’s junk yard
    in a hollow made by wind.

    Along the shores of the ocean
    tidal pools burst with life
    formed by the receding waves.

    Sea anemones and urchins,
    crabs scrambling up pool walls
    and shells for the treasure seekers.

    Buried beneath the sand
    treasures lay sleeping
    waiting to be exposed by wind.

    Preserved by the dry heat
    the bones of beast long gone
    surface once again.

    1. PressOn

      It strikes me that all three treasures are in hollows. For me, this poem makes the subtle point that natures treasures need not necessarily be blatant. Marvellous.

  77. lionetravail

    “And Time Is Done”

    by David Hoenig

    Whipped to frantic movement by frenetic skirl,
    I’m abruptly caught in winter’s frigid breath
    which intrudes, rudely, on fall’s demise.

    Dry as death itself, I mutter
    and mumble with sisters and brothers,
    all caught in this chaotic kaleidoscope.

    We rest a moment, only to dash and twirl,
    no thought among us; waltzing with abandon
    to the wild, keening obsequise.

    I pace a fast circle, spiraling higher
    and higher in my exuberance,
    and suddenly I am alone and free!

    Cast, finally, in my own solo piece,
    life long gone, the dance is nearly done
    as I wander far from where once I fell.

    And now it is the world which falls
    away, as exhaled requiem spends its last,
    and I, like autumn, am gone, gone, gone.

  78. lionetravail

    “The Men Under the Hill”
    by David Hoenig

    The men under the hill
    are smiling, though the chill
    does not treat them kindly.

    Their eyes stare out, blindly,
    at uneasy rest, finally,
    their mouths in fiendish grin.

    Clothed in harsh linen,
    forsaken by their kin,
    hollow hearts emptied of all rage.

    Unforgiving through every age,
    their lives scribed into stone’s page,
    they have no care for me or you.

    They’ve forgotten all they knew,
    drank deep from cup of rue,
    succumbing to the antic in the end.

    Envy the empty men
    for whom life is no friend:
    the men under the hill.

  79. Amy


    it could have been the light,
    burning fractals on the floor,
    a sepia kaleidoscope.

    it could have been the air,
    late and bitter as it hung
    upon my tongue.

    if only I had known
    the hour had turned an acrid sour,
    rotted through in its youth.

    what could we do,
    when all we threw were promises
    that scattered to the breeze?

    it could have been the light,
    reflecting heat in passing moments,
    fleeting beats.

    it could have been the air
    between us, thick and rouge,
    wrenching me from you.

    Amy Glamos

    1. PressOn

      I am in a bit of awe here. This poem is full of memorable constructs, painting a sweeping picture and leaving a heavy, blue feeling. I especially liked “the hour had turned an acrid sour.” Marvellous.

  80. taylor graham


    At the dingy end of winter,
    March, a young man was walking
    the creek grade out of town.

    Hunched dark under his daypack
    he dimmed against a bridge parapet.
    In the curve, my low-beams flashed

    panache of wild-plum blossoming.
    What’s in the mind of youth
    marching head-down up the grade –

    his thought as deep as canyons?
    I had to swerve to miss him.
    Absorbed, and almost invisible;

    and so, imprinted on my mind
    as faceless hero of a story
    yet to write grace-lines on dawn,

    sun over ridge in my rearview.
    He kept on climbing the steep
    line of guardrail, out of my sight.

    1. RebekahJ

      This is great and really memorable—we have all had those brief seconds that just miss being tragic, and it is a wonderful subject for a poem. It is moving the way the speaker and the subject become connected, although the latter (the walker) will never know it.

  81. CMeyers

    We said goodbye at the curb,
    the wind bit at our cheeks
    and I looked away before you saw.

    The sun strained to shine
    and a black cloud of birds
    swirled as I wished for sunshine.

    The silence waxed on
    like the wandering road
    that we used to walk along together.

    I imagined the sun
    peaking out of the clouds,
    warming the sand beneath your toes.

    Waiting for a simple reply
    the silence stalked along beside,
    enveloping any opportunity.

    Then a single stream of light
    reflected against the window
    and a sliver of blue erupted.

  82. nin

    Love to Hate by Nin Nguyen

    The most popular
    thing we write about
    seems to be love.

    Whether we know a lot
    or so very little,
    it always comes up.

    What about the other side
    of the same coin
    that we know as ‘hate’?

    The foolish ones
    say they only love,
    and do not know of hate.

    The sun does not
    rule the world
    without the moon.

    We could all be
    a little loveless until
    the time comes for us to be loved.

  83. The Captain

    My “Self”

    I try so hard
    to maintain my “self,”
    but still it slips.

    I feel like a jigsaw
    of all the wrong pieces,
    pressed together to fit.

    I feel like a painting
    that’s been painted over
    till nothing showed: not a bit.

    I try too hard
    to maintain my “self”
    when who else could I be?

    I’m not like a jigsaw,
    patchwork or no,
    set flat for all to see.

    And I paint myself,
    with all colours and shades,
    till the picture shows you me.

    (by: Statten Ell)

  84. dawndmc

    The Big Boat

    My, what a big boat,
    my husband said,
    glancing up at the screen.

    A cruise ship
    was set on a collision course
    with an oil rig.

    I barely looked up
    from my laptop
    and he returned to his paper.

    But awhile later I looked again
    and the big boat was heading
    straight for a city.

    What’s up with that boat?
    my husband asked,
    will it climb a mountain next?

    Sure it will, I said,
    it’s circling the world,
    look out the window.

  85. dawndmc


    Two days after the solstice
    the world had not come
    back to life yet.

    The air was gray and cold
    but not cold enough
    to be interesting.

    We tried to work or play
    but our brains resisted,
    wanting only food or sleep.

    Curled up on the couch
    with a small blanket and a dog
    we watched the same show all day.

    This is why people kill themselves,
    one brain mused, because they think
    it won’t ever be any other way again.

    But even on that day there were
    signs of resistance: a yellow
    flower gripping its seven petals.

  86. taylor graham


    Between dark and Anna’s bedtime
    the two of you walk out together.
    You promised her the vault of heaven,

    a phrase that lulls your tongue
    like a remembered book of verse
    from childhood – one lit lamp

    behind you, and above your head
    the stars are gathering their planets.
    What kind of columns hold

    the vault of sky up there?
    You should have studied harder.
    But there – isn’t that Jupiter

    straight up, splendid as a headlight?
    Anna peers into bright-speckled
    blackness, “Look, a necklace of stars.”

    She points at the Big Dipper.
    “And there, the princess in a bracelet.”
    Each star a gem of common dreams.

  87. Nancy Posey

    Language Barrier

    I’m almost ashamed to admit
    I only learned a handful of words
    the whole time in Port-au-Prince.

    I could tell them to sit down, get back,
    in English, Creole, and French,
    and bid them hello and goodbye..

    Instead I spoke the language of smiles,
    welcomed touches of small brown hands
    stroking my pale, white arms.

    The music of their tongue
    wrapped around me all day long,
    a song playing in the background.

    French, the language of power,
    Creole, the language of home;
    both leave me, the other, speechless.

    Even the pair of guard dogs,
    more ferocious in theory than in fact,
    pretended not to understand me.

  88. MarieTherese

    Missing Part of Me by MarieTherese

    I don’t remember how it was
    before you came to me
    I only know it was meant to be.

    A part of me was missing
    I know that it’s true
    that missing part is you.

    I don’t know how you found me
    I’m thankful for that day
    you’re all I ever wanted.

    What were you looking for
    did you find it in me
    did I make you complete?

    I want to know your heart
    and just how much you care
    show me everything you feel.

    Will you be the one to share
    the part of you that seems to be
    the missing part of me?

  89. dawndmc

    Spring Walk

    After weeks of lingering
    around the house
    I step out for a walk.

    I’m amazed to find nature
    really contains the colors
    purple, fuchsia, magenta, plum.

    After winter they seem
    more the colors of jellybeans
    than of flowering trees.

    From the corner
    I can see
    schoolkids playing.

    That’s not grass
    they play on
    but at least it’s green.

    They all run around
    like they know
    what they’re doing.

  90. kmary


    Today I woke up
    gazing out at the horizon
    only buildings I saw, only things and nothing more.

    Today I walked the streets
    gazing at the “productive” humans, all asleep
    and the enlighten beggars on the sidewalk.

    Their eyes filled with despair
    their arms extended, as if expecting
    the touch of life another skin would conjured up.

    Today I gazed at the sky with
    It’s reminiscent blue lost
    hollow black of society polluting its luminosity.

    Today I stopped, waited for the bus
    the imaginary bombardments of propaganda
    screamed I was not tall enough, pretty enough, dumb enough.

    Too much madness invaded
    every fiber of my being
    so I ran back to safety, to the solace of my dreams.

    Kirsy M. Muniz

  91. DanielR

    I climb over limestone rocks
    twisting among their jagged edges
    until my perspective changes.

    Ascending toward the azure sea
    the pastel clouds drift by
    like warm, soft memories.

    The winds quiet whisper
    swells into a symphony
    constantly playing in my ear.

    A red-tailed hawk takes flight
    rising from the depths below
    to meet me eye to eye.

    Sweat droplets trace a curved trail
    over the contour of my cheek
    as I gasp for my stolen breath.

    When my feet finally rest
    on the summit I have chased
    I see new possibilities.

    Daniel Roessler

  92. MarieTherese

    Dance of Love by MarieTherese

    Don’t try to reach for me
    I move along as the mist
    with the intent for you to hold me.

    I am a solitary vision in your mind
    you may want to touch me
    yet I am only within.

    Our hearts are one in ecstacy
    pulsing as a quiet flame
    the presence of my soul in yours.

    I am the whisper of your breath
    I float as a shadow at day
    to embrace your existence.

    Our spirits consummate
    our deepest yearnings
    no boundaries to hold us back.

    Within the Universe and beyond
    there is no space and time
    you will create us with just a thought.

  93. Imaginalchemy

    “Snail’s Conundrum”

    I find it rather odd
    That Nature bequeathed unto me
    These ironic love-darts.

    I mean, I know I’m slow,
    But do I have to hunt for love
    With such piercing parts?

    Would it not be easier
    To have been given legs or wings,
    Maybe wheels or springs?

    Or a pheromone
    So saccharinely seductively sweet
    To attract a lovesick fleet?

    Instead, when I see
    A mate so shiny, sleek and fine,
    I must shoot it in the behind?

    Cupid’s arrow, it’s not,
    But I suppose it could be worse
    I guess it’s true: love hurts.

  94. TexasBigJ

    What can I do?
    By Jennifer Johnson

    A child in the mud on the side of the road
    too tired to move her lips
    and ask for my help.

    A country at war
    killing the innocent, stealing freedoms
    usurping power and oppressing.

    Students at home
    posting cruelty and slander
    children feeling worthless and alone.

    Hungry people everywhere
    hands red with cold
    and bodies stiff from concrete.

    What can one person do
    against all of this ache
    to make the smallest difference?

    Start with one hungry soul
    begin with one angry heart
    heal one lonely wound.

  95. lionetravail

    by David Hoenig

    The winds of change don’t ever tell
    of the coming of a savior
    to pick us up since once we fell.

    Bootstraps we have, with which to lift
    ourselves back up again from depths
    are, sometimes, an unwanted gift.

    But precious treasure of free will
    is all we need, for thought and deed
    to choose our acts for good or ill.

    It’s looking to that which is next,
    sought, but never caught, like a rare
    a butterfly never indexed.

    Power to decide what we will be,
    to rise or fall, to seek out truth
    or lies, to hide our eyes, or see.

    If we want it, we must show it:
    through will, and choice, and thought, and voice,
    we plant a seed, and then grow it.

  96. TexasBigJ

    Strong Woman
    By Jennifer Johnson

    Is she the tough, tanned
    climbing trees type
    who always had scraped knees?

    Is she the suit-coat
    high heeled climbing wonder
    who everyone fears?

    Is she the fearless negotiator
    ruthless, driven and competitive minded
    who never sleeps?

    Is she the independent and sassy juggler
    forever busy, outspoken, and brave
    who questions her worth?

    Is she the fun organizer
    creative, careful, and kind to many
    who always nurtures?

    Is she the gentle example
    wise, thoughtful, and true to herself
    who others follow?

  97. Demetra

    By: Demetra Gregorakis

    I stand here staring around.
    All the good quiet girls like me; standing in the back, waiting to be found.
    Yet to be touched, full of hope, life and innocence.

    A flower that has yet to be plucked from the soil to just be withered away,
    just being admired from the garden
    unlike all the other girls you decide to choose, chase and play.

    Tossing their hearts around like it’s a game.
    Girls with no value to what they could be,
    a boy running around free, thinking he’s a king.

    Is it me? Should I change? One day you’ll regret you didn’t try.
    Didn’t try for the unique flower that is standing tall.
    You tried to pluck my beautiful petals, tried to throw me to the ground.

    No matter how much you’ve made me wither, I will still look to the sun.
    Something’s you will never take from me.
    And my petals are one.

  98. JessRussellWrites

    Cabin Fever

    Winter started early this year,
    in November on Thanksgiving,
    and hasn’t eased up since.

    Arctic temperatures
    and endless snow storms
    that leave piles up to my waist.

    The bitter cold
    and icy roads
    make it impossible to leave our home.

    Can’t even run to the liquor store
    where they keep the medicine
    for cabin fever.

    It’s been months of being stuck
    inside my tiny house
    with screaming kids who want to play.

    Even now that Spring has come
    it’s still too cold to go outside
    where freedom waits.

  99. Amy


    The snow melt trickles
    over stones smooth and sharp,
    each stream a ghost of surging swell.

    I watch the puddles separate
    and meet again as old lovers,
    blurring lines in rendezvous.

    The blades of grass rise
    to greet the light,
    supplicants from colder days.

    And I rise, too,
    baring skin white as snow
    that promptly blushes.

    The liquid lovers fade
    on steaming concrete
    as if lost in their passion.

    I squint to the west
    where heavy clouds hover,
    holding restitution.

    1. PressOn

      I think this is a marvelous piece. The imagery of puddles meeting as old lovers is revitting, as is your final line and the tension it creates. Wonderful.

  100. JessRussellWrites

    Missing the Optimists

    It’s hard to love someone
    Who is always sick
    And is never willing to get better.

    First, it was your back
    That was hurting you so bad
    You could barely move at all.

    I took care of you and helped you
    The best way I knew how
    And in two months, it was better.

    Then it was your stomach
    That plagued you every night, for weeks
    Until the CT scan showed nothing.

    Now it’s your head and sinuses
    Giving you a four month long infection
    That three rounds of antibiotics haven’t cured.

    Do you ever wonder if
    It’s not your body that’s broken,
    But your mind instead?

  101. lyttleton


    Don’t forget to look down
    when the pilot speaks
    or you’ll miss the memories.

    I’m nowhere when you’re gone
    and gone in my mind
    when you call to say, “Alright.”

    If the distance weren’t enough
    the winter never ends
    when you’re not shining near me.

    Now you’ve been missing
    one hundred days or more
    and I’m losing track of the stars.

    There’s an end in sight
    you swear to me,
    but you swear a lot these days.

    Like how you swear you’ll be better
    and all I can ask is

  102. Walt Wojtanik


    Another challenge offered
    I proffer my poetry,
    it’s all I have in me.

    I tell myself each time
    I will hold onto my rhyme,
    let these challenges be.

    I’ll sound repetitive,
    but I’m not competitive
    despite my poetic voice.

    I’ll never be the first choice,
    I’m seldom in the top ten,
    yet submit again and again.

    Old Laureates never die,
    they only lose their forms,
    sweaters keep their muses warm.

    So, I’ll write my rhymes, so sweet,
    for the joy, not to complete,
    and stay home to pen my tome.

  103. Walt Wojtanik


    Many splendored is love,
    a truly pure emotion
    a notion of the heart.

    She has marked your place,
    sharing a space together,
    love will blossom and grow.

    You know her like she knows you,
    knowledge gives perspective
    each reflective thought says so.

    In the closeness of a breath
    we’ll go from birth to death
    joining our hearts as one.

    When our lives are all done
    we find our love continues,
    love keeps our hearts alive.

    We live to love each other,
    we are sisters and brothers,
    we are friends and lovers.

    We sing of pure devotion,
    a notion of emotion,
    a many splendored love.

  104. Jacqueline Hallenbeck


    I found Death
    at the bottom of the stairs
    looking for someone.

    How she got inside our building
    with all the security we have here
    is quite a mystery.

    She seemed busy
    reading tenants’ mailbox names
    to even notice me.

    Folks who volunteer info
    freely and on a daily basis
    are, what I call, statistic seekers.

    I, however, change my mailbox
    name every day to protect myself
    from stalkers, intruders and the like.

    Drives my mailman crazy
    but I think I would much rather get
    another day than another bill.

  105. taylor graham


    The black cat skulks by the door
    hoping to slip out unseen,
    chasseur under shadow of moon.

    Does he know the haberdasher
    who trims his foxes in dark sable,
    and looks down appraising this scene,

    this rock-heap den under mountain?
    Such dimity-shade the moon casts
    through gambrel and oak-bough.

    The wind speaks in sibilants,
    holy wounds and hunters turned
    on their arrows, saint in a stag.

    The owl stoops to bear away
    the lazar rabbit, as coyote
    brings down the palsied ram,

    and we sleep inside safe walls
    to the purr of the cat who dreams
    tooth and claw of the hunt.

    1. PressOn

      Wow, this poem is loaded with imagery and stunning sounds, notably, for me, “The wind speaks in sibilants”; “saint in a stag”; and “dimity-shade the moon casts / through gambrel and oak-bough.”

  106. PressOn


    Migration has begun;
    the blooms and birds
    are coming with the sun.

    Northward through the sky
    the sun and snowbirds fly
    in search of zenith.

    They pull the days along
    on threads of scent and song;
    I marvel at their power.

    While the sun climbs,
    the moon goes in decline
    and all the nights retreat.

    It all seems irreversible
    but, come the last of June,
    the shorebirds will start south.

    Then I will concede
    that all I would believe
    is going with the sun.

  107. priyajane

    Walking In The Woods
    A lonely contentment is present in here,
    where morning shouts with a golden gaze
    exposing, all kinds of misty shades

    Where scrawny timbers hold their head high
    and scarred is not victim, just half awake
    hanging on, to love and ache

    Everything is breathing, even me
    woven in windswept moments of dreams
    emptying, and sweeping me clean

    Life and death walk hand in hand
    unafraid of each other’s gallows
    gleaming, in each other’s shadow

    The chilly air breathes warmth
    as I gather and separate my thoughts
    drifting, in between the cradled rocks

    And I pick a path amongst the clouds
    and walk with this unknowing plough
    and walk with this, — knowing somehow

  108. DanielR


    The infinite depth of darkness
    found in the crevices of night
    is scary for any child.

    Stillness and shallow breathing
    slow the approaching enemy,
    though the refrain is temporary.

    Then the turning comes
    and you grow into courage,
    but even bravery knows doubt.

    A new nemesis calls your name,
    introducing itself abruptly,
    among a crowded room of strangers.

    Panic grasps your throat,
    choking you at arm’s length,
    like an angry, drunk father.

    A long ago memory whispers
    the comfort of a mother’s voice
    “Do not be afraid.”

    Daniel Roessler

  109. nin

    Only Yesterday by Nin Nguyen

    I often think of past-me
    meeting current-me now,
    and wonder if they’d be proud.

    They dreamed of wings
    to soar above the clouds,
    but I made them fall back down.

    They got back up and
    promised to walk the Earth
    in search of a tomorrow.

    But as adolescents do,
    they met new loves and dreams,
    eventually followed by goodbyes.

    Not once did they lament
    even though they knew of
    the final goodbye I currently faced.

    And with my final breath
    I say that regardless of it all,
    current-me was proud of…

  110. Walt Wojtanik


    Winter holds animus.
    She refuses to depart
    to allow Spring to start.

    We languish in her grip,
    slipping on her icy floor
    & more snow than we’ve needed.

    We’ve pleaded for an end,
    offering to send her
    on the vacation of choice.

    But inside our heads, her voice;
    a sinister laugh and taunt
    and howling winds that haunt

    and toss us, to boss us
    into cowering here
    where it should be flowering.

    Whither goest Spring?
    Come prove you don’t hate us
    and end your hiatus.

  111. rubypearl.nathan@gmail.com

    I am Happy I Quit! (by Ruby Pearl Nathan, @rubypearlnathan)

    I loved my job
    that was more of a passion
    and not any routine work.

    I loved to contribute
    so I could help the team
    meet our corporate goals.

    But my good work was not valued
    and I was treated like cheap dirt
    that triggered an acute dissatisfaction.

    My work-life-imbalance whirled
    my family’s strong foundation,
    causing unhappiness everywhere.

    My seniors schemed against my corporate role
    that eventually took its toll on me
    until I could take it no more.

    I quit my 12-12 routine job
    and here I am having fun
    learning to write a Triversen. :)

  112. rubypearl.nathan@gmail.com

    The Power of Zero (by Ruby Pearl Nathan, @rubypearlnathan)

    Everyone calls me a zero,
    but I call myself a hero
    ready to create a furore.

    By myself I am nil,
    almost silent and still
    having no power or will.

    Surrounded by a hollow,
    my pride I swallow
    and in all humility I follow.

    In great power I revel,
    by following numerals,
    either singles or in multiples.

    I am equalled to a space,
    that is empty without a brace,
    and can explode at a speedy pace.

    Fret not if they call you a zero,
    just ensure no likeness to Nero,
    and revere yourself as a hero.

  113. JWLaviguer

    What Season Is It Again?

    It looks like a winter wonderland
    for a few hours, and then
    the snow turns black with filth.

    The cars are covered with it
    that stuff they throw all over the roads
    to melt the ice; now my car needs a bath.

    Spring is on the calendar for today
    and yet they’re predicting snow again
    next week; car wash will have to wait.

    When we were younger did daylight
    savings time start later in the year
    and end before Halloween?

    Or was that just a perception
    things that children sense differently
    before life’s responsibilities invade.

    I love the sunshine and warmer temps
    but what I’m most looking forward to
    is finally getting the potholes fixed.

    JW Laviguer

  114. Walt Wojtanik


    Words are the currency spent
    in the expression of love
    in a true poetic heart.

    We start with an idea,
    a thought that permeates
    through to our very souls.

    It controls our feelings
    leaving us reeling with heat
    from that smoldering ember.

    We choose to remember it,
    to hold it in our hands
    and write the way it feels.

    Then, as our hearts reel
    it steals a bit of us
    to share with all present here,

    all are willing to spend their words,
    investing in the thoughts
    other words have inspired.

  115. FidaIslaih

    Rise Again by Fida Islaih

    Our world is falling apart
    and we are just sitting here
    not doing anything about it

    We need to rise again
    where every country thrives
    on it’s best quality

    We need to rise again
    not letting something get destroyed
    and see blood shed

    We need to start with ourselves
    push ourselves to do what we love
    and give love to everyone

    Once others receive love
    feel and see what good can do
    they will respond

    We need to rise again
    so no innocent has to answer for us
    but we answer, help and change.

  116. FidaIslaih

    First Day of Spring by Fida Islaih

    It’s the first day of spring
    and the weather is cold
    in some places it’s not

    Two days ago
    it was warm
    for more than a day

    Today and then
    should have switched places
    it would have made more sense

    I’m tired of the cold
    I have no energy
    to do anything I want

    I miss the warmth
    it will give me the energy
    to do anything I want

    It’s the first day of spring
    it’s cold instead of warm
    I hope it changes soon.

  117. lyttleton

    City of Strays (for New Orleans) by Lyttleton

    Mother tells us we don’t belong here;
    still, we drank until sunrise
    and left the tab open for the cats to walk in.

    Shane is a prissy thing, turning gray,
    but he’ll rub your leg for attention,
    all any of us want.

    Neighborhoods are like tombs, filled with names unremembered,
    like Molly, the calico-coated recluse
    who recoils from hands, kind and cruel alike.

    Then there’s Frank who cries half the night away
    until someone throws their shoe and he scampers
    into another pint.

    This city has the rot about it
    a town awash with a Mother’s tears,
    and it’s home to ungodly beasts nobody else would want.

    We can’t stay here forever, Mother warns,
    but if there remains a warm breeze to coax new strays out of the alleys,
    who is to say we aren’t eternal?

  118. lyttleton

    Adolescence by Lyttleton

    The language between our spoken words
    has a masked urgency,
    a soft sell in a down economy.

    You fret over nerve endings
    and chemical spills
    and sleeping over.

    Your father gets one phone call
    away before you second guess yourself, then me,
    answering every question with a gesture.

    You’re lying down next to me
    and lying
    about how tired you are.

    Never turning your head or raising your voice,
    you address the ceiling
    like it could judge.

    I don’t know how this world works any better than you,
    but I’m not afraid of the dark
    or who I am within it.