Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 263

What an up and down week I’ve had! While it started on the down side, it’s definitely finished way up. Last night, our bid was accepted for the house we want (it’s difficult raising kids in an apartment), and a poem of mine was published yesterday by iARTistas (click here to read my poem–and while you’re there, check out Laurie Kolp’s poem too).

For this week’s prompt, write an object poem. Pick an object and write about it. Or pick an object and make it a central piece of your poem. Or pick an object and make it the title. Or pick an object and write an acrostic. Or come up with some other way to combine an object with your poem.


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Here’s my attempt at an Object Poem:


at first glance
it doesn’t seem much

in fact
it’s transparent

but it shows what
is hidden on the other side

the sun & moon
birds & trees

things you don’t see
without it


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. He loves the old Universal horror films and would check out little books devoted to them from his local library when he was a boy. While Godzilla and King Kong are cool, he was really fascinated by Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, and The Mummy.

Learn more at www.robertleebrewer.com.


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310 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 263

  1. Julieann

    The Object of My Affection

    You came to me
    When I was very young
    Daddy brought you into my room
    I stretched out my arms to
    Get you, to hold you, to cuddle you
    From that inauspicious beginning
    You spent years being there for me
    You listened when I cried
    You listened when I laughed
    You were nonjudgmental when I was mad
    You were comforting when I was sad
    You arrived in a fluffy pink skin
    And wearing a big, pink, fluffy bow
    Through the years you wore
    Out a number of replacement skins
    And now you reside in my closet
    I know where you are
    And I know if or I when I need you
    You will be right there for me
    As in days long past
    You are my “Hey There”
    You are my first Easter bunny

  2. veronica_gurlie

    The Old Carousel

    It usually rides in on a black horse,
    catches my attention, and pulls me around me in circles.
    It cast spells on me, with ballets of faded metallic colors.
    It surprises me when it stops, and lets me go.
    It’s the dream, of ancient loneliness,
    the one I only see, in my own eyes.

  3. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Big Mama’s Bible sits on the mantle,
    Dust a testament to her going home;
    Leather cover; pages onion skin thin,
    Edged not in onion silver but with gold.

    Her begats begin before Genesis,
    In a firm hand and in blue or black ink (Red was reserved for the words of the Lord,
    But you know that without being told)

    Births and marriages, and the deaths of kin,
    Ev’ry day she took up the Spitit’s sword
    Each Christmas Eve she read us Luke’s story
    No room in the inn, and the night so cold

    She had her sorrows and her share of sin,
    But grace insured she’d recieve her reward.
    Well, I guessed I missed the bref double deadline for this one, but still…

    1. tunesmiff

      Formatting edit:

      The second stanza SHOULD read:

      …Her begats begin before Genesis,
      In a firm hand and in blue or black ink
      (Red was reserved for the words of the Lord,
      But you know that without being told)…


  4. BDP


    Your back seat pooled with fabric flowers, waves
    of silk, my rider’s window open, air
    stream warm, you state he was a partier,
    I laugh: your friend, at ninety, brave
    to dance on tables. Wrinkles plus risqué?
    Then lean, and you repeat: “He was a part
    of here.” Our town. You wake my distant heart,
    as always, Cousin, down the lane, at end of May.

    I’m home so rarely, you choose wreaths, the where,
    direct the nestling of the pots. We brush
    moss granite, dried pine needles jab our palms,
    sweet Nellie drowned at nine, and there’s your dad, my mom,
    too soon. We siphon color from your car,
    set plots afloat with petals. Bow, a hush.

    –Barb Peters

  5. De Jackson


    How often do we think
    of it, link our hearts to its
    spill, will our
    selves to fill
    just one

    How often do we smear
    it in our veins, let rage
    be stilled by some stub
    -born stage of black
    clacked loose to breathe?

    How long do we be
    -lieve it will free
    our stains, tame
    our troubled waters,
    stay our salt? Shall
    we find fault in ivory
    spaces yet untold?

    If we’re bold
    and brilliant, born
    ebony in our font
    -ed skin, when
    should we begin
    to blink in muttered
    morse, and
    our think?


  6. Michele Brenton

    Pretty Objects.

    I look at things,
    their colours,
    how they drape
    or shine
    and how light plays
    with them.

    Light loves to play,
    each thing
    depending on the mood
    at hand.

    My mind loses itself
    in the game,
    forgets context, history,
    not that it ever knew
    those things
    for memories transform events
    the way light changes objects
    so we only glimpse versions
    and I don’t hold much store
    that truth be told.
    But the colours,
    forms and textures
    are pretty enough for now.

    Michele Brenton

  7. RuthieShev

    Momma’s Flowered Apron With the Eyelet Lace

    I can still see the smile on my Momma’s face
    Wearing her flowered apron with the eyelet lace
    With a spot of flour on her little pug nose
    In her old worn out often mended cotton clothes.

    Her love for her family would often show
    Through simple things she did like kneading dough
    To make the sweetest bread all around
    And baking it until it was a perfect golden brown.

    In her flowered apron with the eyelet lace,
    You could tell the kitchen was her favorite place.
    Baking cinnamon rolls to complete perfection
    Or making some new scrumptious cupcake confection.

    With sticky maple icing falling unto the plate,
    Her crullers were the best anyone ever ate.
    Before you came in the kitchen you could tell
    You were in for a treat by that wonderful smell.

    Now my Momma’s gone; it’s my turn to bake
    Her special recipe for a delicious coffee cake
    I can’t wait to see the smiles on each family member’sexcited face
    As I stand in the kitchen wearing Momma’s Apron with the eyelet lace.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    1. TomNeal

      You have woven remembrance, love, melancholy, and joy together in a most meaningful way- the past and present blend in your recipe and cake.

  8. cstewart

    Flap, Ball-Change

    Hot Pink and Hot Damn
    That case was a jamming miracle,
    Found at the base of a bookcase
    Where joy and Edith Wharton met.
    Classical and impudent,
    Ecstatic and dancing.
    The jewels within the suitcase
    Were my long lost tap shoes,
    Ready for another go at
    Ballin’ the Jack.

  9. seingraham


    It’s almost hideous really; a patchwork
    of colours so diverse
    You can’t help wondering what the
    knitter was thinking
    When she decided to put this blanket
    together…crazier than the craziest
    And while an attempt has been made
    in places, it seems, to make some patches
    Most bear no resemblance to their
    neighbour, in size nor colour

    The finishing touch is the linking stitch –
    a pale blue wool — mostly —
    That outlines each patch, making it even more
    obvious that no two are nearly the same
    And a variation of that blue, binding the whole
    of the thing in a loose blanket stitch
    for the most part, but even that is not a given

    So…is this someone’s beginner afghan?
    Something a person just learning the stitches
    and how to design a piece would make?
    No — perhaps it should come as no surprise
    that this is work that an accomplished
    knitter took up
    when she was being slowly driven out of
    her mind
    by circumstances in her life over which
    she had no control

    When things reached a point where she
    couldn’t stand another moment
    When she felt like she might implode
    or do something really rash
    She would grab up the afghan and whatever
    materials she had on hand
    and began knitting, and stayed knitting until
    the feelings were under control again

    It was unlike anything she had ever
    done before…
    A habitual perfectionist, to work on
    something where she just let fly,
    just knit and knit until she had a piece
    that might be finished
    enough so that she could carry on with
    her life
    a means to an end —
    She found it oddly liberating

    She valued her hideous afghan,
    considered it a personal badge of honour
    It was keeping her sane and she knew it
    And when the bad times were past and
    the afghan finished
    She put it away, but she never got rid of it
    She wanted to always be able to look at
    her imperfect piece that kept her from
    losing her mind.

  10. taylor graham


    She didn’t want visitors, wanted
    to be remembered as she was – skiing ahead
    of us over the pass, following her
    golden dog on scent; and on the lake,
    her hair the color of summer-burnt grasses
    in a wind.
    At the memorial, her widower handed me
    a paper bag of her things
    he had no use for; they reminded him.
    A compass, Sierra cup. This blue
    nylon leash. I clipped it to my own dog’s
    collar. Would it give her
    the watch-me! obedience of my dead
    friend’s dog? Every handler
    gets the dog he deserves, she was fond
    of saying. I find
    there was no magic in her nylon
    leash. Look how my young dog leaps
    ahead, tugging to show me
    something my friend never saw.

  11. grcran

    r and r

    my tool
    my old friend
    i rinsed you after last usage
    you are a little stiff
    but you loosen up nicely
    you have such a wonderful balance
    as I hold you, right-handed
    using the left to check the movement
    swing back then forward
    deliver the goods

    there it is, now strike, just hard enough
    that’s it
    and play…
    be flexible
    let line go out instead of breaking
    easy does it…
    and, task complete!
    fish in the boat
    my rod and reel
    my old friend

    by gpr crane

  12. Al-Logaha Hand

    A poet’s chains by Al-Logaha Hand

    A new word
    A carving in of time
    It takes sap from the trees and is at once uprooted
    Not a commercial you but a subtle and long sensation
    Above me something is melting
    It is snow becoming filtered letters
    Old friends pronounce the lack of your presence as being in denial
    Glass chains are a Chinese artifact
    Full of intriguing colors making a pact with an angel
    A grown up child is detested by the masses for all the messes it makes
    A golden plate is delivered with cake
    My blocked self hesitates to take the first bite
    It just might taste too good and I might consume it all by myself
    Like my words
    I keep eating until I am way past full
    And my fingers are indented and cracked
    Confusion sets in on this powdery morning
    I am all set to overstate the facts and build a poetry mantle to set all my future books on
    And then it explodes into the hearts of others
    I can’t sit still
    It’s not my willpower at stake
    But a rake full of tomorrow’s leaves of absence
    So as far as the story goes
    I will let my woes fall asleep on this page and let rage dine into purgatorial descent
    Where I don’t have to lie but lay my soul before you
    Open and delivered by the postman of posthumous dreams

  13. carolecole66


    The July sun beats on my head as I crouch by my front border, clippers in hand.
    They are old and dull; the vining jasmine resists the blade and I crawl along
    the sidewalk, trimming back tendrils that want to swallow the stone edge.
    My back aches and I think of both my grandfathers standing on their hay
    wagons in the blazing summer, think of them in their fields wrestling plows,
    lifting great bales of straw, doing this day after day, twelve hours, fifty years
    of shoveling corn and pulling combines forward to couple with their
    John Deeres or McCormicks. And how their own backs must have ached
    as they stopped to stretch a moment, to look out across the fields they disked,
    the hay they raked. The new sprouts of corn, showing lightly against the black
    earth like shy girls, must have been a glory to them, must have felt like God’s
    offering if only they could be worthy, work hard enough for the blessings
    of good weather, for the grace of harvest as they grew the wheat for bread.
    This was their labor and this is my meager homage to them as I straighten
    my own back, wish for a straw between my teeth, wish to know the two men
    whose struggles formed me as I work my own small plot of land,
    tiny clippers in my delicate white hands.

  14. candy

    Garbage Can

    we ate our lunch in the
    car – burgers with mayo
    and pickles and fries with
    ketchup from the drive thru
    at a fast food joint

    we didn’t want to waste time

    when we got to Charleston
    we dumped It all – the bags
    and half eaten burgers, left
    over fries, cups with straws –
    In the green cage-like garbage
    can on the corner

    we didn’t want to waste time

    we hurried away, sites to
    see souvenirs to buy, history
    was waiting for those just
    like us

    we didn’t want to waste time

    back at the garbage can a
    man with dirty ripped clothing
    was scavenging for his next meal

    we didn’t want to waste time

  15. candy


    better one? better two?
    new glasses, black and yellow,
    correct eyesight to 20/20
    phone book print is readable

    street signs are clear enough
    to find my way across town
    faces are in focus again
    vision improved but do

    I overlook the homeless,
    the imprisoned, the weak
    do I turn away so I don’t
    see injustice, cruelty, waste

    my eyesight may be 20/20
    but how do I measure my humanity

  16. JohnLY


    The object of the exercise is to be
    As uncontroversial as ever,
    To write a poem that reflects
    An objectionable object whenever
    One has an earthy need to free
    The bowels from a blockage, wherever
    The need for relief arises

    To find oneself in a situation,
    Where the object is not available
    To fulfil the need for evacuation
    Can be really quite uncomfortable.
    To ponder the problem of the shortage
    Of these objects for general use
    People on high sit on the throne
    Write poetry and generally muse.

  17. veronica_gurlie

    What I Saw Through My Camera

    A few crabs had slipped and fell in the pool and was stuck at the bottom,
    I noticed the house seemed frozen under water, and you were sitting on the patio,
    so sun fried and drinking yourself up, while listening to “Crazy” by Patsy Clien.
    Your eyes were scoping the naked ocean,
    as if you were imagining, you were taking your x wife,
    out there, on some old boat, and throwing her in.
    I can tell, that is what you were thinking, as a smile almost formed on your face.
    I wish I had taken a picture of you, in that moment,
    then who you do think they would believe?

    1. veronica_gurlie

      rewrite: I took the question mark out.

      What I Saw Through My Camera

      A few crabs had slipped and fell in the pool, and was stuck at the bottom,
      I noticed the house seemed frozen under water, and you were sitting on the patio,
      so sun fried, and drinking yourself up, while listening to “Crazy” by Patsy Clien.
      Your eyes were scoping the naked ocean,
      as if you were imagining, you were taking your x wife,
      out there, on some old boat, and throwing her in.
      I can tell, that is what you were thinking, as a smile almost formed on your face.
      I wish I had taken a picture of you, in that moment,
      then who you do think they would believe.

  18. veronica_gurlie

    While Making a Lunch Meat Sandwich

    I say, “I like Salome, this kind of Salome the most. But not matter what, it’s always seems slimy to me,”
    and he says, “It’s all the same. It’s just that one is hard, and one is soft.”
    “It don’t matter, I enjoy them both.” I say.
    He then looks over at me, like he is thinking of sex, in a different way, that we’ve never had,
    and then he chuckles, and says, “Salome is Salome”

    1. veronica_gurlie

      sorry typo fixed. Please read this one.

      While Making a Lunch Meat Sandwich

      I say, “I like Salome, this kind of Salome the most.
      But not matter what, it always seems slimy to me,”
      and he says, “It’s all the same. It’s just that one is hard, and one is soft.”
      “It don’t matter, I enjoy them both.” I say.
      He then looks over at me, like he is thinking of sex, in a different way, that we’ve never had,
      and then he chuckles, and says, “Salome is Salome.”

      1. veronica_gurlie

        edited. find another typo.

        While Making a Lunch Meat Sandwich

        I say, “I like Salome, this kind of Salome the most.
        But no matter what, it always seems slimy to me,”
        and he says, “It’s all the same. It’s just that one is hard, and one is soft.”
        “It don’t matter, I enjoy them both.” I say.
        He then looks over at me, like he is thinking of sex, in a different way, that we’ve never had, and then he chuckles, and says, “Salome is Salome.”

  19. veronica_gurlie

    The Plant I Put On the Porch

    “Oh My God, I killed it!”
    I say, when I see the burnt jaws,
    and the shriveled up noses,
    and all the pretty little heads of it, slumped over.
    I carry it back inside the house, as fast as I can,
    and stare it, like I hurt something again,
    ruined something that was so perfect,
    trying to move it, to where I believe is a better place,
    like it was my sensitive young heart, my love, my love.

    1. veronica_gurlie


      The Plant I Put On the Porch

      “Oh My God, I killed it!”
      I say, when I see the burnt jaws,
      and the shriveled up noses,
      and all the pretty little heads of it, slumped over.
      I carry it back inside the house, as fast as I can,
      and stare at it, like it’s something that hurt,
      I ruined something that was so perfect,
      trying to move it, to where I think is a better place,
      as if it was my sensitive young heart,
      my love, my love.

  20. veronica_gurlie

    The Comforter (blanket)

    My comforter, tries to keep me inside of it,
    so nude, like my poetry. It’s always all over me, like it’s my love,
    even when I don’t respond, and treat it, like it’s a sick dog in my heart,
    dragging one of its back legs, on the floor,
    never out of touch, though I just throw it, any tired old bone.

  21. veronica_gurlie

    The First Sight of Your Own Blood

    The first sight of your own blood,
    is like the moment you realize, you’re alone in the room, with your ideal,
    or quick little guesses,
    suddenly the room is shady and obviously cold.
    and people you don’t like, got less on their plate than you do.
    Up until then, blood is just some “thing” that is always with you,
    and like gravity, some force you knew existed, but didn’t feel,
    at least, not while strutting, like you’re new to this world,
    thinking you’re right about the time, when you say it’s going to rain,
    and just nobody believes you.

    1. veronica_gurlie


      The First Sight Of Your Own Blood

      The first sight of your own blood,
      is like the moment you realize, you’re standing alone in the room, with your ideal,
      or quickly given little guesses, suddenly the room is shady and obviously cold.
      and people you don’t like, got less on their plate than you do.
      Up until then, blood is just some “thing” that is always with you,
      and like gravity, some force you knew existed, but didn’t feel, trying to take you over,
      at least not while strutting, like you’re new to this world,
      thinking you’re right about the time, when you say it’s about to rain,
      and just nobody believes you.

  22. veronica_gurlie

    The Music Boat (From One Of my Hobby’s).

    It’s like my one true love, it’s all brassy,
    with a little bit of bad wiring, and some kind of rainbow watercolor effect, on its face.
    It use to play a song I liked, but I don’t remember what,
    and I confess, I haven’t touched it, since I discovered it,
    it’s really from a place, much deeper than me, but don’t I know from where,
    but I tell you, if I did, I would get another.

    1. veronica_gurlie

      sorry typo::0)
      please read this one. thanks.

      The Music Boat (From One Of my Hobby’s).

      It’s like my one true love, it’s all brassy,
      with a little bit of bad wiring, and some kind of rainbow watercolor effect, on its face.
      It use to play a song I liked, but I don’t remember what,
      and I confess, I haven’t touched it, since I discovered it,
      it’s really from a place, much deeper than me, but I don’t know from where,
      but I tell you, if I did, I would get another.

  23. Al-Logaha Hand

    The Plume which speaks your language

    the plume picks up its pidgeon feathers
    makes a mate of meeting other small birds
    heading north for the winter
    preferring the chill of stillness
    smiling and fluttering before a preferred audience
    singing for surveys of mountain passes
    I need to cry
    to stick to treating happiness with a piece of my mind
    to write out of sight
    i need to think out of space undefined
    out of sight from the wind’s sweet curtain
    to remind myself of other worlds before time split in half
    with flying trucks and cars
    flying carpets too
    squeaking as if wheels were turning that mountain view of you
    I am stuck laughing with myself
    to make faces in the sand
    to throw dirt like a free child
    in order to apply justice
    by making my plume less a bird and more a mime

    1. TomNeal

      i need to think out of space undefined
      out of sight from the wind’s sweet curtain
      to remind myself of other worlds before time split in half
      with flying trucks and cars
      flying carpets too

      These are exceptional lines. I especially appreciate “space undefined” picked up by “before time” .

      1. PressOn

        Yes, and startling too, for me anyway, mainly in the vision of birds flying north for winter. it makes sense, though, in the context of the final line. “Stunning” applies to this whole work, in my view.

        1. Al-Logaha Hand

          Thank you PressOn, I feel honoured from all of you. yes I often think in opposites and here I am in North Africa and Pidgeons are everywhere in all seasons, always flying and then I have this thing with mimes and birds, talking in silence so it made sense to me

  24. veronica_gurlie

    The Plant

    In my candle lit living room, there’s a boring looking plant, on the shelf, and it has my spirit,
    it doesn’t think before it moves, and it’s always moving, and no one ever hears it move.
    I look over at it, and it seems to be hanging in a different way, like an old man whose got his groove back,
    I tell myself, I grew it, so I must check on it, and see if it still has a pulse like mine,
    so I gently sweep its hair with my fingers, and if nothing falls off, I know it does.
    Like something I love to do, but don’t do well, every day, I realize, it has found away to stay alive,
    it has found a way to thrive, no matter how long, it’s kept in the shadows.

      1. veronica_gurlie

        thank you very much, you’re comments are really encouraging, and shows me that I’m going into the right direction with my own personal writing approach. I’ve been reaching more into stay true to the image of things, and how I connect to them. I find it easier for me to do this, with objects that I own. Thank you again:0). Someday, I would love to receive a review from you for one of my upcoming books.

  25. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    the object of my affections

    the object of my affections
    with a glance brightens my day
    doesn’t think so but is quite
    handsome; makes me sin with idolatry

    collects coins and plays with puzzles
    is my friend, my world, my lover
    if kidnapped, I’d pay his ransom
    in every storm, he stands by me

    makes me laugh till doubled over
    through the years, come what may
    he’s been home to me, I can’t think of
    any other place I would rather be

    two decades strong will mark October
    I wouldn’t have it any other way

    1. veronica_gurlie

      this is a great poem!! I was wondering if you was open for a suggested ending using what you got, moving your ending up a little sooner:0). Let me know. It is such great poem, with solid imagery like little snapshots. I love how you see and make me see in little fine glances. Great work!

  26. veronica_gurlie


    Your pain, real pain, can be too purple, with a cold look back,
    and you can’t deny it, like the taste of grape juice in your mouth.
    You’re just standing around with smarter people, and looking all too well,
    and slowly imagining, coming out of your skin,
    and right when you go to sip your grape juice, for the first time,
    it twists up your guts, and makes you choke on your thoughts.
    Your pain, real pain, is just so sure of itself, it’s just so there,
    that it just takes all the attention, like a splash of grape juice, on your white shirt.

    1. PressOn

      Wow. The imagery is so startling, yet so apt, or so it seems to me. I keep associating the grape juice with blood. Powerful and sure-handed writing here, in my opinion.

  27. veronica_gurlie


    Grandmas glass cup, is like the spirit of my heart,
    you got to touch it gently, for it can easily break,
    and it can not hide what’s inside of it, nor does it try to.
    It may look so cold, and blue, and frail, from a side view,
    but if you really look down inside of it, you’d see it, it has held so much,
    it has enjoyed the touch of many things, like grandmas, little old hands.

      1. veronica_gurlie

        thank you very much:0). this poem is very true. I drink from my grandmother in laws glass cup almost every day, she has passed now and she was a religious woman who was very affectionate with those she loved. I think of her, every time I drink from her glass cup.

  28. grcran

    vested nest

    this kit came late, stirred up the deal
    made old boss cat’s mad bile congeal
    so at the pet store, found the thing
    a cat-tree multi-layering
    stands six foot tall, round nest on top
    tormented young cat’s place to plop
    a refuge vantage point on high
    i see escape that’s good i sigh

    Now three years later old cat-tree
    is used and dirty place to flee
    it wobbles teetering when climbed
    hair-cushioned worn and grossly grimed
    i yearn to clean it fix it up
    it’s worked so well a loving cup
    for well-loved cat not fitting in
    The only place that he can grin
    i pet him there he arches proud
    it’s smiles, away from madding crowd
    the cat-smile purring furry face
    i cannot change it, it’s his place
    the old one bully-bums around
    my baby’s six feet off the ground

    by gpr crane

  29. grcran

    inanimately ired

    of late, I cry “Really?”
    things inanimate not going my way
    stuff spills out of spoons, the moons and the tides
    pulling oddly, light bulbs go out
    up high
    inside tiny closet
    almost inaccessible
    the entire fixture
    zipper pull pulls loose
    zapping my slacks selection
    tent pole snaps
    whap wind flap
    perfect pen slides out of pocket
    deep into underseat bowels of car
    user error, I am told
    I agree, half the time
    you, you mindless thing, you’ve done what, now?

    by gpr crane

    1. grcran

      thanks to all of y’all!… I still haven’t found that pen, can no longer go camping, cannot see inside that closet, and got no pants to wear ;~( …at least I have my laptop on which to write my screeds (learned that word from you, PressOn, thanks for that too ;~)

  30. annell

    Today is grey
    A day without sunshine
    A day in May
    A day of grey
    The grey of a dove
    Calling for morning
    The grey of a mouse
    As he sits in the shadows
    Of the house
    Many birds are grey
    Sometimes hard to tell apart
    Grey is the color of my
    True love’s eyes
    Often grey is the shadow
    Of brightly colored things
    A song can be grey
    A mood can be grey
    A memory can be grey
    Grey holds everything
    Only holds it a little lighter

    May 23, 2014

  31. Clae

    Only At A Job

    Work computer:
    my enemy, my nemesis,
    bane of my professional life.
    Why do you refuse
    to let me use
    necessary features
    when system support is closed?
    why do you hate me so?

    T.S. Gray

  32. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    This White Shell

    This white shell
    has whorls and curlicues
    crinkling its rim

    and soon I fall
    into childhood memories,
    tracing them …

    I stand on the sand,
    with the song of the ocean
    held to my ear —

    a hushed sound
    as of waves in motion,
    but muffled, far.

    I’m four, I’m eight,
    I’m nearly thirteen,
    beside the sea

    where I watch and wait
    for the tide to turn
    and rush to me.

    But the white shell
    next to my face
    sings me back in

    with a tidal pull
    to this present place …
    where lost girls drown.

  33. shellcook

    For Cheryl


    Rock paper scissors
    a child’s game is played.
    Scissors cut paper
    when the cutting of the written word
    isn’t enough to stall the debts we receive in the mail,
    where paper certainly then
    undoes both rock and scissor.

    Hair cut,
    Cutting ties,
    Tying up those loose ends,
    Tying the knot,
    Where paper stands the strongest,
    vows cannot be broken with
    rock paper scissors.

    The world of my faithful scissor hand
    does much more than shrear and trim.
    It shapes the lives of all it touches
    with curving taloned bend
    round arching
    slips my fingers through.

    My need to prune the dead
    or nearly yet departed whole,
    to hear the whick whick of lives remade
    when nothing else is clear.

    Rock paper scissors,
    Thats still the game right?
    Who knew when just a child,
    that this is how our lives are hewn,
    from stone to cycle,
    when all is finally said.
    And done…

    Rock paper scissors
    fill up a lfe
    without ever being told
    that is what they are doing.

  34. De Jackson


    She’s got a big one in her throat
    and two a little lower, teeny tiny,
    really, just be
    -low her heart. She starts
    each day with a prayer and a sigh,
    tries to do the normal, everyday
    things, wondering
    if they are time
    bombs ticking, or
    a whole lot of nothing
    sticking to her ribs, a
    temporary hiccup waiting
    to be exposed.

    She palms psalms and
    kneels on weak knees,
    breathes in blue sky
    and promises of strength
    and joy and hope. She
    imagines herself bald and
    beautiful and fighting like
    a girl and standing strong,
    but isn’t sure she really be
    -longs in that gorgeous rebel
    crowd. She cries out loud,
    a puddle of herself spilled
    loose; truth be told she’s
    somewhat made of salt.
    She knows He’ll give her all
    she needs, but still she pleads
    for a simpler path
    -ology, with a sheepish
    apology for her lack of true
    and lasting trust.

    She’s thrust for weeks into
    a world she doesn’t know, of
    tests and waiting and waiting
    and questions and fears
    and more tears. But she’s
    prayerful and careful and
    cared for and held,
    all in His perfect time.

    And finally, results: Be



    1. TomNeal

      but still she pleads
      for a simpler path
      -ology, with a sheepish
      apology for her lack of true
      and lasting trust.

      But she’s
      prayerful and careful and
      cared for and held,

      There are so many good lines (as above), so many good descriptions (as above), and the narrative is perfectly paced. Well done.

    2. James Von Hendy

      Quite a lovely and breathless ride that captures well the uncertainty and angst of not knowing and waiting. Also wonderful, the apology for lack of true and lasting trust as singled out by Tom, a nice true touch. And I love the ending “Be [yes] . . . nign.”

    3. PressOn

      Once again, your mastery shines. For me, it all is clearest in the ending: the lone bit of word sits there, like a benign lump. The long, thin form accentuates the sweating-it-out process. Just superb.

  35. annell

    Bird’s Nest
    Place of rest
    Up close
    Far away

    What birds do
    Without hands
    In spring
    Gather materials
    Carefully selected
    From far and wide
    Bits and pieces
    Twigs and string
    Make a whole
    Master weaver
    Thing of beauty
    The inside shaped
    By thumping his breast
    Something no man
    Can master

  36. lina

    Into the Sky

    Unlike the roads and
    mile-wide farm plots,
    the horizon in Chancellor, SD,
    is not a straight line.
    It shifts on the yellow wind
    from the ethanol plant
    and bends at the edge
    of the soybean field
    where the coyotes yelp at dusk.
    In winter, the horizon is low
    as the blowing snow,
    pushing cars into ditches,
    taking our breath away.
    When the weaning calves
    cry out in May,
    the horizon lowers still,
    until it is the window frame
    and wood slat walls.
    Some of us won’t ever leave.
    But on Saturday, the blue Ford–
    trailing graduation ribbons–
    races down Route 44
    with Meghan at the wheel
    gunning the engine,
    riding the center line
    into the sky. No limits.

  37. Andrea Heiberg


    Darling, I sold our house
    I go to the window and stare outside.
    “Darling, I sold our house.”
    I touch the window.
    You almost killed me once, because I couldn’t keep it steady when you from the outside tried to fit it in.
    “Darling, I sell your wooden constructions. I sell all your staircases. I sell it all. I sell the heavy stove.”
    The heavy stove!
    How did we get it inside?
    You found out!
    “Darling, I sold it, too.”
    Everything will be gone.
    I know
    when whispering:
    “I cannot reach you anymore.”

  38. Jezzie


    You sit draped over her chair,
    still scattered with her hair,
    wondering where she went
    leaving a familiar dent
    still holding her smell.
    I feel like you as well.

  39. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Congratulations to you and Laurie! Laurie’s poem is stunningly powerful! And Robert, even before I saw that I was indeed reading yours, just the first lines that caught my eye told me it was — you have a recognisable poetic “voice”. :)

  40. jasonlmartin


    I kept this word ready in my back pocket
    for impressing and to keep them guessing,
    for its sex appeal, and maybe to conjure up a spirit.

    The first time I dared let it stumble off my tongue
    my fifth grade girlfriend was a tad more disturbed
    than mesmerized. She dumped me, which stung

    almost as badly as the final time I tried to be exotic,
    at a corporate tradeshow with all of my fellow suits.
    Uttered it as I showed off our logo pens, but no hypnotic

    trance of oohhs and aahhs would follow. Instead
    I found no free drinks at the happy hour, just like when
    I lost my top spot at the school lunch table for cool kids.

    I’ve since put a lid on it. Have resigned to call it a trinket.
    In America you cannot intermix your ancestral vocabulary
    and expect no aftermath. I don’t say it. But I still like to think it.

    1. James Von Hendy

      I say tchotchke away all the live-long day! It’s a grand (Yiddish?) word.

      As a lover of language and all its glorious words, I very much appreciate the sentiments in this poem, having experience versions of it myself. Nicely done.

  41. taylor graham


    Trails with footprints dust-drifted
    away – and a lost man laying out puzzle-
    pieces of prints as he goes
    still farther astray; leaving his scent,
    a trail of invisible crumbs
    for your dog to follow; a man you once
    saved. And here are your boots
    from that years-ago journey, leather
    so stiff now, you can’t fit
    arthritic feet in them anymore.
    Throw them away?
    Boots scuffed with memories
    worked into the leather, intricate
    stories knotted in their laces.
    Might there be some-
    one left to save? Remember

  42. Sara McNulty

    My Pen

    An extra-fine tip–not gel, not marker,
    not fountain pen, nor Parker–qualifies
    as my ideal writing instrument.
    Of course it must pen only in
    a lively shade of purple. I cannot
    be bothered to deal with uneven
    clots, large blots, or skips. A smooth
    exterior fits perfectly in my hand.
    I do not care for grand, thick pens,
    or rubberized grippers that click,
    or caps that stick, which often
    is the case with those troublesome
    Bics. Keeping backups in stock will
    serve to protect against the shock
    that accompanies the need of having
    to use a different pen, and watching
    it bleed black or blue, nubby-tipped
    letters onto your virgin page.

  43. LeeAnne Ellyett

    It’s a magic wand,
    that cast spells,
    if held the right way,

    a tool we use,
    to express ourselves,
    in magical ways,

    a paintbrush, broadstrokes,
    a quill, inkspills,
    a pencil, potential,

    With pen & paper,
    We create.

  44. Nancy Posey

    The Buckeye

    He gave it to me because I asked
    simply because I wanted it—
    that had belonged to him,
    that he’d carried in pocket
    every day
    for as long as I could remember.

    And when I asked
    he did not hesitate;
    he reached in
    with his left hand
    and placed it,
    round and smooth,
    in my palm and from there
    I transferred it
    to my pocket.

    Long after he was gone,
    I could reach for it,
    feeling the way it fit
    so perfectly in my hand
    and remember
    that he gave it to me
    simply because I wanted it,
    because I asked.

    Yet I am surprised
    to learn its story,
    one my father had thought
    I knew,
    had thought his father
    had told me when bestowing
    this simple gift—

    how he’s picked it up
    from the ground
    when he landed
    after flying over
    and floating down
    into the church yard
    at St. Mere Eglise,
    the buckeye trees
    bearing silent witness
    to the liberators
    appearing out of the sky
    that longest June day.

  45. break_of_day

    old, worn weapon of mine,
    around as long as I can remember,
    floppy pink plastic and
    skeletal metal stem
    whose white paint has passed its prime,
    never much to look at,
    no action hero hands to hold you,
    no gunpowder or glittering blade
    to bedazzle your death blows
    as you, with swift, sweeping motion,
    crush another critter to its end

  46. barriebright

    I see an island from the sky
    If the sky looks down on me
    Am I an island?
    Am I ?
    The clouds revolve around,
    Full,fluffy, all encompassing,
    Am I?

  47. James Von Hendy

    I, Object

    The Other, Sartre said, is all
    We make of those around ourselves.

    We can’t begin to know the who
    Of them, no more than we can know

    A hairbrush, nail clippers, toothpaste,
    Any bathroom implement. In fact

    They’re Objects all. But worse besides,
    The Other thinks we’re Objects, too,

    And being sentient, strives to make
    It so. The struggle we face and fail?

    Otherness denied. Look, he said,
    Deny Otherness in yourself,

    You deny it the Other, too,
    And that can’t be. They are just things

    We manipulate for gain, sex,
    Whatever we strive to use

    To stave away the awful truth:
    We live alone and die there, too,

    Only ourselves what we can love,
    For we’re all we know, and even

    That’s no sure bet, the Object I
    Yet another lie. I look past

    The soap, shaving cream, and razor
    At that Object in the mirror,

    And watch it touch my nose and lips.
    It runs its fingers through my hair

    And smiles with me. I wonder then
    If Sartre ever smiled. He seemed

    A bitter man, and dry, remote,
    Without humor, love, or passion,

    Dead, but then, if I, too, had lost
    The Objects of my affection

    In war, my world undone, perhaps
    Undone myself, I’d find solace

    In unrelenting bitterness
    Or some Other thing unknowable.

      1. James Von Hendy

        Thank you Linda. I read the prompt this morning, and later went to shave (or not, as it turned out), and staring in the mirror suddenly flashed back to a more youthful day in college having dragged myself through Being and Nothingness, a philosophy paper due, and the seed of the poem sprouted. I’ll shave another day.

      2. TomNeal

        James, I agree with Linda.

        With this poem, I think you have demonstrated Sir Philip Sidney’s argument in his Apology on how and why poetry is superior to philosophy.

        This is simply an outstanding poem!

    1. PressOn

      I think this is magnificent, and I include the humor (as it seems to me) of the objects of your affection. I think there’s a sly needle in all of this, elevated tone and all. Simply breath-taking.

  48. candy

    Old Hands

    Her hands told
    the story of a life –
    rough and calloused
    from cooking and
    cleaning for family
    and neighbors –
    brown spots evidenced
    of years in the sun
    growing vegetables
    to sustain her children –
    ridges on short broken
    nails that never had a manicure –
    gentle hands that rocked
    babies to sleep –
    helping hands that never
    turned away a request –
    healing hands that soothed
    troubled souls with a touch –
    beautiful hands

  49. taylor graham


    A friend snapped a photo
    of an owl in the grain of a stump –
    what had been a great oak
    among other oaks in sparse woods –
    image of a bird etched
    by years of rain and drought
    in the rings of the tree; by lightning
    strike and natural healing.
    In woodgrain, the idea of bird.
    He said he felt it –
    Owl watching him
    with sharp-taloned eye.

    Did the men who felled
    the tree and loaded its wood
    in their truck
    and drove away,
    did they know
    they released the eye
    of a bird? A spirit
    from every thing that dies.
    Let it out again.

  50. LeeAnne Ellyett

    OBJECT, Decide / Divide

    The words unsaid,
    our lifeline dead,
    we were one,
    now undone,

    What started as fun,
    What have we become,

    Sitting side by side,
    silent, alone,

    On our own,
    you have cried,
    I want to hide,
    we won’t be snide,

    We are sorry inside,
    Object, divorce to divide, decide.

  51. Linda Goin

    Cleopatra Honeybee Goin Ferguson’s
    White Bag of Birds
    1869 – 1929

    As Cleo lay dying in the North Carolina sanatorium,
    she dreamt she found a white lace bag filled
    with the bodies of dead baby birds
    as she walked along Virginia’s hills
    near Holliday Lake. She thought she buried
    their broken wings nearby, but roots stuck out everywhere
    in tireless, thoughtless impersonations of everyone
    she thought she loved.

    Infant Ferguson, Infant Ferguson, more Infant Fergusons,
    and Van Ferguson were in the bag; but, Andrew and Major hovered,
    waiting for her to open her mouth to feed them news about the family
    farmland she lost to an attorney in nineteen-oh-two, leaving
    her family homeless, her brother homeless, her other kin
    forced off to cities to sew pockets onto blue jeans,
    to sew soles onto shoes, to engineer trains back and forth
    across country so swollen with life they couldn’t adopt.

    No one remained behind to learn about Cleo’s bag of birds.
    Andrew and Major left shortly after Cleo, not lingering, not offering
    offspring to learn how to mend the lace on the white bag of birds,
    not waiting to learn how the attorney sold the farmland
    to Virginia for a state park along the Appomattox
    Buckingham county line. Many baby bones
    are buried there, but we don’t tell the tourists.

    The other thing Cleo left behind
    was her Honeybee name,
    a name so sweet it forgot its own sting.

    1. TomNeal

      I have read, and re read this poem several times. It is one of the best new poems I have read in sometime. Every detail, down to the dates in the title, speaks to me- from Reconstruction to the brink of the Great depression, with WW1 in between, and the reference to Appomattox speak of the ordeals that shaped a national and regional character, but this poem brings it down from an abstract comment on historical forces to a personal life.

      Your use of imperfect rhyme in the first stanza is brilliant. The thoughts are in the mind of a dying lady. The thoughts connect, but not perfectly- birds/buried and everywhere/everyone. There is a logic, but not a quite a perfect logic.

      That logic carries over into the second stanza. In a gilded age the dispossessed find themselves in a land ‘so swollen with life they couldn’t adopt.’ Perfect.

      As this is a comment and not a critical essay, I’ll skip over much that I shouldn’t to note that ‘Honeybee’ my be sweet enough to forget its “own sting”, but it still stings.

      Well done.

        1. Linda Goin

          hahaha — Poor Clee. She was snookered, and her actions destroyed a family to the point where some of my cousins spell their surname “Gowin” or “Gowen.” And, that attorney — what a bastard. But, that has nothing to do with the poem’s structure — this one needs a lot more work, but I thought I’d slap it up to get some feedback. I’m not happy with the last stanza at all, but it needs to be said to balance the rest of the comic tragedy. I AM very happy with the “so swollen with life they couldn’t adopt” line. That was a happy typo that I kept. Thanks for reading and rereading, Tom! Go enjoy your coffee. =)

          1. TomNeal

            When I first read the line, I thought you probably intended “adapt”, but the more I thought about it, the more “adopt” seemed the better choice. Not sure about the structural concerns you have- I think you have it roughly right. Whatever you do with the last stanza, I urge you to keep the last line intact.

            PS I do think you allusion to The Waste Land is powerful and appropriate.

  52. michigoose


    impaled by this year’s shootings
    as the little girl called them
    doing her childish violence
    to the word

    I’m surprised

    after all that winter
    you’re not quite broken

  53. Jane Shlensky


    The garage is full of important items,
    things we will need someday when
    we least expect it, things that belong
    with other things, some of which are
    long gone, but we keep these random
    pieces because they might be of worth
    once we figure out what they are and
    where we will need them when that
    unknown need arises. Every single
    widget is perfectly good, some brand
    new, still in tiny plastic zip-locks with
    accompanying screws. Anyone can see
    this is something we might purchase
    again if we don’t keep these. Besides
    which, they are not hurting anyone,
    these objects, no animals harmed in
    keeping them housed, stored, stacked,
    boxed, and moiling in our basement.
    All we need is study, imagination to
    divine their uses. Time to study unknown
    but perhaps necessary widgets, then.

    I open each box and peruse its contents
    for something to tease my eye into further
    exploration. Not so for him; he has to
    “go through” each box, read each slip of
    paper, make a meal of each tiny item that
    may well look like horded, meaningless
    junk kept by an addict, but which is, upon
    further examination, a perfectly good
    stash of ancient National Geographics,
    one here, see, with an article about
    weevils that attacked crops in 1972
    Sudan. A lot of good research went into
    writing that, he reasons, no, not by
    anyone he knows personally, no, not
    that he has had an over-riding interest
    in African growing and distribution, but
    still, our memory of weevil destruction
    needs periodic refreshing and the pictures,
    lord, this is great photography. These
    small wood and tile scraps could come
    in handy; these rusty nails are fine.
    Really. Look, these scraps of cloth and
    dried paints I could use in a craft he
    cannot possibly imagine I will take up.
    He is not handy himself, he apologizes.
    He pulls up a stool, sorting objects
    into stacks, knowing he must let go,
    but weighing each smallest item for
    painful minutes before deciding its fate.

    Meanwhile, I have loaded a truck
    with boxes of perfectly useful goods
    that will go to a recycling center,
    a church bargain basement, or a friend
    with a need. I’m gunning for his stacks
    of marvels and he knows it. He hovers
    like a brood hen, his wings shaping
    the air above his boxes, unready for
    good-byes, squawking at my haste.
    Twenty years is not long enough to
    house objects he has only now
    rediscovered. I hear his argument
    for leniency and ask him one question:
    “What is it?” Here’s my thinking: if
    I don’t know what a thing is, I don’t
    need it, can’t use it, won’t miss it.
    He doesn’t know precisely what it is,
    its purpose or reason for being, but
    look at it, befriend it, imagine it.
    Like Nixon, he won’t be confused with
    the facts. Someone thought enough
    of this object to package it, he says.
    Someone knows what it’s good for!
    Give it one more day! I stand grimly
    reaping, my scythe hankering after
    emptiness, clear floor space,
    lightened loads. He tries his most
    effective appeal: “But it’s my stuff!”
    A fellow doesn’t have to explain
    keeping his stuff.

    1. PressOn

      This calls to mind all the rationalizations we come up with for keeping stuff till we’re stuffed with stuff. It’s also another sample of superb storytelling, in my view.

  54. veronica_gurlie

    Excuse typos, i typed this in my cell while in hospital today.

    Poem title: What about the time

    Late last night, I couldn’t stop staring at the fat clock in the red necklace, on the wall in my hospital room, as if it was a full moon, and like the full moon. It seem to exist just to scare me, or to keep my head down. It wouldn’t stop looking at me with 12 big eyes and tiny ones inside, as if it wanted me to just go to sleep, so it can stroke itself til it’s swollen, or just do its job, without someone looking at it, like its not doing it fast enough, as if it’s really not in charge, and it’s just like the sun, it’s really only significant in the morning, significant like the spirit of a dying dream, once it has really, risen above.

  55. Amaria

    A diamond ring you gave to me
    as a promise of your loyalty
    to think a metal band held such sway
    that it made me turn my head away
    from the omens written on the wall

  56. Michelle Hed

    Letting the Light In

    I would put you in my pocket
    and take you everywhere
    but you are to large
    to fit in there.

    In fact, you have too many pieces
    and I never know which one,
    I may just need
    depending on clouds or the sun.

    So instead I lug a bag
    far larger than my purse
    which holds my precious cargo
    like a big, black hearse.

    The most precious tool I own,
    one I could not live without.
    My camera is the cargo,
    did you have any doubt?

  57. Nas

    The blank screen
    shines on the back of my lids.
    A great glowing pit I cannot fill.
    I wrap my fingers around the letters–
    the cursor blinks like a throbbing vein–
    and toss them in.
    Dog-eared backspace and delete keys wait expectantly.
    So much space to cover,
    with a surfeit of time,
    and dearth of words–
    (and never the right ones).

  58. Azma


    I know you’re hiding
    your cheeky smile
    I know you’ve been plotting
    this for a while
    To attract me towards you
    To surrender myself to you
    I have been there before
    I have lingered long in front of your open door
    But today is a new day
    My cravings won’t go astray
    Nothing more than a glass of water I say!

    -Azma Sheikh

  59. candy

    Play Dough

    Play dough dinosaurs
    clash on a cardboard
    battlefield and a two
    year old’s squeals echo
    down the hall
    The blue and yellow no
    longer have separate
    They have morphed
    into stripes of an
    unidentifiable color
    Little fingers poke holes
    in the lumpy dinosaurs
    and little feet stop them
    out of existence once again
    And after a nap they will
    be reimagined into
    another toddler fantasy

  60. RJ Clarken

    The Flip of a Coin

    A quarter of a dollar, stamped
    with Washington’s head on one side
    and a picture of New York State
    on its other silvery face

    is worth only twenty-five cents,
    but if it were to be revamped?
    Should it be worth more money – and –
    should another image replace

    Washington? Is New York State cramped,
    stuck on Side B with a mint year?
    Do other states feel they are tramped
    on, too? Or do they just embrace

    their art (and value?) I’m verklempt
    from coining poems in this space.


  61. BezBawni

    It’s been a tough week for me too. Could it be a poet’s crisis week or something?)) Robert and Laura, the poems are wonderful.

    My Homeland

    Quiet. Too quiet. Random cars.
    I can hear a train thumping in the distance,
    and the staring, unblinking stars
    are my only witnesses.

    My balcony is my cell, my prison,
    and the way to freedom where I breath smoke,
    every night here is a self-treason.
    I’m a lonely criminal, but a lenient judge.

    These several feet under open sky
    have been my country for so long
    that here is where I want to die
    now, or after a cup of tea.

    Wars happen here, blood feuds:
    reason fights against heart.
    Gifting evils, trading goods,
    I am the only citizen.

    The country is torn apart
    between what I do and what I wish I’d done,
    reign is a tricky art
    that I am no good at.

  62. candy

    Time machine

    It sits unobtrusively in
    a corner of the front room
    Not blue, like the Doctor’s
    but nubby dark green,
    with a purple wool blanket
    carelessly thrown over its back
    A refuge for a pretend wayfarer
    Not sleek slivery steel, like
    Dr. Brown’s but slightly worn
    through by years of gallivanting
    around the world
    A resting place at journeys end
    An aeroplane, a hospital, an overgown
    jungle, the countryside, a city, a train
    Tucked between bookcases
    my favorite chair

  63. PKP

    Robert and Laurie

    Wow! Each poem so different –

    Yours Robert so beautiful spare – stark visceral images and Laurie’s those blood stained sheet and the multidimensional pain are vividly impressed in my heart

    Wonderful pieces !

  64. PKP


    You taught how
    to play “hit the penny”
    in the summer
    bright copper balanced
    on cemented lines
    We ate Popsicles
    after – sitting on the
    stoop as the sun went
    down and all was right
    with the world
    and now – so right that
    as I place a bright copper
    penny on each of your closed
    eyes – it is August – it is steamy
    and I hear our laughter and taste
    orange iced sweetness whirl – again

    1. Nas


      The imagery, the mood, how it all came full circle with the pennies! That line about the pennies on the closed eyes really hit me (as I’m sure it was intended), but you didn’t take it where i thought you would– you went right back to happy. Nicely crafted poem!

      1. PKP

        Aww thank you Nas – I actually wrote these sitting in the dentist’s reception room after a root canal waiting for the delicious nitrous oxide (sweet-air) to fade away…

  65. PKP

    crumpled photo

    In my hand
    a crumpled
    photo -captured
    dimples and velvet
    skin melted into
    mine almost as
    one as once we
    were and never
    shall be again
    unless you count
    a crumpled photograph
    secreted against my
    fast beating heart
    as you wait with
    dimpled smile and
    those wet wondrous
    eyes – for
    your vision walking
    through the liquid
    shimmer of time
    past me
    as it should be
    to your side

  66. Alfonso Kuchinski

    Time = Distance

    Making good distance
    Driving down the back roads
    Solitary tree fades into the horizon
    But there’s no need for great haste
    Fields and fields into the fold
    Slow motion becoming
    The further apart we roll
    I’m feeling a strange sensation
    The haze is now overhead
    Halfway through a cosmic shift
    Potential energy has been spent
    My field of view is greatly expanding
    Geographic features and invisible ties
    Finely laid out on an uneven landscape

  67. Misky

    The Basilisk

    I have a menagerie of fabulous beasts,
    and I mention here but one, a creature
    rare of kind, and often told of local tales.
    Twas found on slopes of south down dykes,
    an oval egg of no discerning scent or hue.

    Twas thought it of a chicken’s, so it was put
    to hatch with hens, but come some few weeks
    later, it, the beast, it did arrive, and it ate up
    all those hens. The creature, it had wings
    of fowls’ feathers, and a dragon’s narrow tail,

    and a crested cockerel’s head with deadly
    footed spikes. Most odd of all though
    was that it spoke in language that we all
    clearly understood. Basilisk, it said, you
    may call me, as Basilisk is my name.

  68. writinglife16


    She picked up the orange,
    plastic ring that had come from
    the cap of the juice bottle.

    The plastic rings mattered to her cat
    who carried them around and dropped
    them when he was done.

    She fingered her worn wedding ring
    and dropped it in the trash.
    She was done too.

  69. priyajane

    The Object Of My Affection

    Those ancient stolen glances
    gifts from you to me-
    that dug their feet in grains of sand
    and opened skies to colors grand
    treasures, that got lost at sea
    those, that belonged, just, to me

    I gathered them in broken shells
    and tattooed them, inside a cove
    in a sepal of my heart

    I still hear those distant oceans near
    and savor in their feathery salt
    of knowing that they existed-
    after all–

  70. Michelle Murrish

    My Morning Cup

    I dive into my morning cup
    Stealing time away from the world
    Floating, the heat seeps in
    Thawing my mind,
    Warming my thoughts.

    The sound of my responsibilities
    In the form of tiny footsteps
    Force me to climb out
    And face the day

    The warmth from the cup in my hand
    Fades quickly
    But the promise of tomorrow’s swim
    Keeps me going all day

  71. foodpoet

    Can a cold be an object?
    It can’t be held but can be given away.
    It has weight, coating the throat with pain
    Weighs heavy on the chest.

    It can’t be held but given away
    So as long as sniffles last I can’t come hold your hand
    This weighs heavy on my chest
    You will not miss me I Know

    So as long as sniffles last I can’t come hold your hand
    Be your failing memory for another day
    You will not miss me I know
    But still the visit tempers me.

    I will be your failing memory another day
    It has weight, coating the throat with pain
    The visit would temper me
    A cold is an object…

    1. writinglife16

      This is great. I almost hurt when reading “coating the throat with pain”. That is my usual signal I have a cold or my seasonal allergies are arriving.

  72. PressOn


    Home is
    Our place of rest,
    Unless it’s also a
    Sanctuary; our mother church,

    NB: Robert, this is a bit ham-handed, attempting to meld a cinquain with an acrostic, but I wanted to celebrate your news in a small way. Congratulations.

  73. laurie kolp


    Is there something distinct

    about an abandoned red wagon

    in a flowerbed overcome with weeds

    collecting prickly rain

    falling down in sheets,

    each plop overflowing,

    green grass growing

    taller with each drop

    and two scraggly kids peeking

    through their bedroom window

    waiting for the sun?

  74. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: Lines

    Lines, lines, so many lines
    Running from this end to that
    Straight lines, curv-ed lines
    Some even criss-crossing my heart

    Lines join enemies and friends
    They’re linking together our world
    Lines keep us humans on the straight path
    Lines turn us around and around

    Take heed and always use the right lines
    When trying to express yourself
    The lines you use determine a lot
    They’ll earn you a pat or a welt!

  75. creilley


    While I was here, and you were there
    There was nothing but Gray
    at Christmas revelries. I was alone.

    Through crowds of seasonal gaiety
    My leaden steps passed un-heeded
    The tears that fell dried without notice.

    When once you were mine, I had magic.
    Yet there was no trick to undo my loss,
    No secret word to stop missing you.

    I spat my loathing on the joyous,
    Turned away from Yuletide revels
    Defined myself by the dignity of anguish.

    Until I found the Christmas snapshot,
    The one where your smile warmed the frame
    Delighted by being together.

    The memory of your fragrance
    Breathed life into the photograph
    And you were with me once more.

    The falling snow around me
    Created a white canvas for me
    To paint my dreams of you upon.

    The jingle of carols became angel song
    And my Christmas gift was the knowledge
    That you had loved me at all.

  76. DanielR

    In woodworking class
    at seventeen
    I sawed, glued, and sealed
    until you had a cedar chest
    the one like Grandma had
    it was much more than a box
    because it was filled with love
    and through the years many
    other things like blankets
    and family photographs
    but mostly with memories
    that spring to life when opened

    Daniel Roessler

  77. DanielR

    Orange and yellow sunset hues
    spread across the pond’s smooth blues
    with no whisper from nearby pines
    you blended shades and curved lines
    until your story could be told
    living art framed in tones of gold
    your heart in pieces on display
    the beauty of your subtle way
    a family heirloom left to me
    each time I gaze at it I see
    your painting and my memories.

    Daniel Roessler

  78. Connie Peters

    Pill Box

    A little plastic row of boxes
    atop my microwave
    reminds me I’m getting old.

    Take these pills SMTWTF.
    Your blood pressure’s too high
    and so is your glucose.

    Don’t forget the one
    that forces you to exercise
    as you dash to the bathroom.

    And especially remember
    the one that numbs your pain
    and helps you sleep at night.

    And if it wasn’t
    for that little row of boxes
    I would forget.

    Forget to take the pills
    and forget
    I’m getting old.

  79. DMelde


    Fruits and vegetables budding
    Bitter Fiery Robust and Sweet
    Spring up in city garden beds
    In neat little squares of green and brown
    In squares clumped together like a checkerboard
    These new plants boldly grow
    To play the game of Life

    1. TomNeal

      I like this. It brings up visions of a nearby allotment.

      If Captain Kirk had an allotment, the vegetables would no doubt boldly grow . . .

  80. Jezzie


    I gazed up at the bright light
    in the early evening sky
    and said my evening prayer
    for the dog that I had lost that day.
    And above the light, that was Jupiter,
    were the twin stars of Pollux and Castor.
    And I knew I had done right
    to release my beloved dog
    to join her twin sister.

    1. Jezzie


      I gazed up at the brightest light
      in the west at the fall of night
      and to it I felt I should pray
      for my dog that I’d lost that day.

      Close by the light of Jupiter,
      shone twin stars, Pollux and Castor,
      I’d never seen them there before
      but they were sent to me, I’m sure.

      Gemini stars brightly twinkling,
      telling me I’d done the right thing
      letting my beloved Myschka
      reunite with her twin sister.

      (I didn’t actually mean to post the first draft of this which I hurriedly wrote during a break at work!)

  81. Cynthia Page

    Out of Hand

    The pencil spills me out.
    Graphite – a pedestrian mineral
    spends like liquid gold,
    or fairy dust affixed to wood pulp
    in shades of shadow
    pushed into patterns that spell
    an incantation of incarnation
    I inhabit.

  82. Walt Wojtanik


    Its rhythm is unmistakable,
    but until it is made unbreakable
    the heart with tell its many tales.
    It never fails to expose to those
    who are close to hear it, the spirit
    of love that resides there.
    It hides there until we least
    expect it; to rise in defiance
    to any lonely though that invades.
    We embrace the love past and present,
    gifts of emotion rife with devotion.
    All traces of former faces ensconced
    there become heart tattoos.
    We choose to keep remnants
    of love as reminders that sometimes
    find us lost in the euphoria
    of all that was once good
    and can be good again. And then,
    the tale begins anew. Once upon a time…
    and the beat goes on!

    1. TomNeal

      I hope I am not being presumptuous, but I think your comment is in response to The Crayon Circle (below), and I want to thank you for it.

  83. TomNeal

    The Crayon Circle

    Smiling unnoticed
    As you stand
    On the outer circle

    Of a world that
    Does not yet know
    Rejection or death

    Of hope, and clasping
    Your crayoned vision
    Of how life works

    As you call “Sedgewick”
    Hoping today
    He will reveal

    Himself to your
    Unbelieving friends,
    Serious children

    Of serious parents
    Unwilling to share
    Your innocent

    Art of happiness,
    Or your crayon
    Bribe- you stand

    On the outer circle
    Facing an inner
    Circle without

    Crayons, Hope,
    Fairies and rhyme,
    But filled with love

    That hurts.

    1. Linda Goin

      Ah, and here you are — first in! Where do I begin — “crayoned vision” — such a rainbow, such a smile, despite rejection. But, it’s good to be rejected by such “serious children / Of serious parents,” no? And, then, the vision becomes a bribe that’s rejected. That, my friend, is the downfall of great empires. When we reject our visionaries, our creative souls, our fairies and rhyme…that is failure. But, you say this at the end. Thank you!