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Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 271

Categories: Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

Before we get to the prompt this week, a few things: first, don’t forget to write a golden shovel (or three) for the latest WD Poetic Form Challenge (click here for guidelines); second, Dressing Room Poetry Journal published one of my poems (click here to read it).

For this week’s prompt, write a poem in which you’ve imagined a story for a stranger. Maybe someone you see on public transportation, a couple at the laundromat, or a neighbor. Is the person more fabulous than expected? Fallen upon harder times? Exactly as one might guess? If you need ideas, use this prompt as an excuse to do some “research” by getting out and about in the world today/this week.

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Here’s my attempt at an Imagined Story Poem:

“the cashier at kroger”

as she leaves gives a high five
to the guy who collects carts

in the parking lot passing
the folks hidden in their cars

scanning their social profiles
or staring into futures

that seem impossibly bleak
but she’s not interested

in the sad & lonely not
today with the sun pounding

the pavement & a little
hitch in her step & a song

on her lips & a man who
can’t wait for her to return

*****

roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and the author of Solving the World’s Problems.

His collection has recently been named an Editor’s Pick by Crab Creek Review, and includes a poem about a guy sitting in a Kroger parking lot, because apparently he spends a lot of time (and money) there.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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About Robert Lee Brewer

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301 Responses to Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 271

  1. Julieann says:

    The Streetcar Conductor

    He sways with the movement
    Back and forth, back and forth

    The bell clangs, the car jerks to a stop
    With a jolt, it begins again

    He and the car reach the end of the line
    He shifts the lever walks to the other end

    To start his trek all over again
    I see him daily, this glimpse into his life

    A life of monotony, slowly swaying
    Back and forth, back and forth

    With only minor jerks and jolts along the way
    He sways with time, keeping time

    This lonely little man with nowhere to go
    Except the end of the line

  2. TomNeal says:

    Gulf Noir

    The rain that hit the paving stones snaked back up
    In grey coils of steam that hung above
    The street making for sweat with no labour.
    On the brow there was no relief: no breeze,
    No smell but mold and decaying orange,
    No sound but a crying cat seeking friends,
    No sight but her at the window staring
    Down at the square from a room bathed
    In urine yellow light with a soon dead
    Man on its ledge preparing to fall
    With the rain to the stone
    Reciting a prayer
    As I turned away
    From the story
    Of his despair.

    • PressOn says:

      I think this is a superbly haunting poem, and the shape of it coincides with the “soon dead” man’s fall.

    • gmagrady says:

      Wow! TomNeal the desperate images you create in words and format are wonderful. The saddest part of this poem, for me, is the hopelessness of not being able to stop the rain from falling, nor the man.

    • BDP says:

      I’m definitely engulfed by a humid despair upon reading this poem. The woman staring and the man on the ledge have no movement (watching and preparing, yes, but not yet moving), which leaves the saddest feeling for me in how, like the narrator, we have to turn away sometimes, albeit with prayer–how we sometimes, no matter what, cannot change shrinking hope and another’s fall.

    • Julieann says:

      I’m glad to know I not alone in feeling the sadness and hopelessness of this situation. You’ve done a marvelous job. This one will stay with me for quiet a while.

  3. BDP says:

    “Strangers, One Bottle”

    A neighborhood stroll, ring moon night, we heed a shout.
    Teens bunk a few houses ahead—they must be back
    from snowboarding, their weekend junket, the Cascades
    still in their swivel-hipped rowdy blood. We’re spotlit
    ten strides to the next lamppost, see no one. More yells, we swing
    elsewhere. A woman crab-steps a late-model Ford,

    her shoulders tight. I glance away. A blur. The Ford
    obscures what soon breaks just feet from us. “Yikes,” I shout.
    The woman bursts in tears. She threw that! My guy swings
    round to her. She skips off. Righting wrong, he won’t back
    down, enters the garage. “You can’t throw stuff!” He’s spotlit
    by one bulb, a kitchen beyond him. “Your broom, please.” Cascades

    of sounds, harsh. I add, “Sweetheart, we’ll do it”: cascades
    against my burble. She appears, crying toward me. The Ford’s
    between us. We choose a path around pineapple pulp lit
    in contrast to the asphalt noir. A man growl-shouts:
    “Mind your own business, get the fuck out!” He’s in back
    by the fridge, lifts something—hard to see—from a baby swing?

    My husband stays, I call to go, the woman swings
    from me, speaks to him, he turns, “No worry,” cascades
    soft words, and helps her steer the garage bay, her back
    a slouching apostrophe (can’t, won’t, don’t). “Your Ford?”
    A friendly bait, then switch: “We all make mistakes, shout
    when we shouldn’t.” (I don’t want my doozies spotlit.)

    She kneels, her fingers touch glass, jump as if all lit
    at once by sparks. “Let me hug you,” she stands, swoon swings,
    and falls to my arms, sobbing. “The tires will push out
    the slivers,” my husband assures. A cascade
    of sharp splinters belies him. “No flats.” Pats the Ford.
    She smiles. “You can get over this.” But she moves back

    away, soon gone. We pile small heaps curbside, head back
    home. “Coward, he grabbed the baby after he tried to split
    her head.” What? I ask. “She ducked, the bottle missed the Ford.”
    But she did it! “I saw him throw it, and then swing
    down for the child. Bet he thought I’d hit him.” This stuff cascades!
    He’ll throw something again! “We’ll listen for a shout.

    He knows we’re here.” We spy, true, the groomed backyard shouts
    perfection, honeysuckle cascades and blocks most fence slits.
    The swing set’s stock-still. And tonight the Ford’s missing.

    –Barb Peters

  4. marsca says:

    Hope it is not too late to post this poem. I have watched and worried about this neighbor for awhile. The prompt gave me the push to write what I have seen…

    The Cafeteria Lady
    The cafeteria lady lives next door, she parks her car
    In the numbered space and goes inside.
    She hardly ever smiles. She hardly ever speaks.
    She must be too tired at the end of the school day,
    She has talked and smiled to at least 500 hungry kids each and every school day.
    The last kids boarded the buses saying their summertime goodbyes to teachers, friends and all
    Saying goodbye to homework and books and the cafeteria lady last of all.

    Her car is sitting in the parking spot, lights out next door,
    Her children never come around, I wonder if she is okay
    I haven’t seen my neighbor much since the last school day.

    Every afternoon she comes out of the house around four.
    Plastic cup in hand, ice cubes tinkling as she walks
    Today‘s no different than all the other days
    Slowly and carefully she climbs Into the driver’s seat, she drives away
    Creeping into the parking space, she is back,
    Exiting the car like a thief with stolen goods, furtively carrying a sack
    She scurries inside her lair, privacy a must; that is understood
    The neighbors never bother, no one says hello,
    Passersby turn their heads, avoiding to ask her how she is.
    Today was different than the rest. The neighbor children ran over to her,
    they see their old friend, the cafeteria lady.
    She puts down her sack and her plastic cup and gives them each a hug.
    They do not notice that she slurs her words and she seems to lose her balance.
    She is smiling and talking just for today.

    • BDP says:

      This captures a stretched-out loneliness, of one person, of the possible situation of all us. I like that you chose to write about a job/person that might be largely overlooked, except perhaps by kids in line getting their food from the cook-servers–I fondly remember my school’s cafeteria ladies, and that was quite some time ago. Each had a particular personality. Though this lady has a sad story, I’m now thinking of all the ladies I used to know. Thanks!

  5. RuthieShev says:

    I have been away all week couldn’t get online so I apologize for the quickness of this writing and if it is not folowing the prompt right. I missed reading all the wonderful poetry here.

    A Reflection on St. Therese, My Hope
    By Ruth E. Shevock

    You amaze me St. Therese, You amaze me.
    With your continuous shower of roses
    As you help the depressed and defeated
    Rise above their hopelessness here on earth.
    I have been lucky to have received your favors
    On several different occasions in my life.
    Roses, roses, and more roses
    Any color, any size, any species
    What a sign of your great love
    For all other human beings.
    You are a great saint
    Who gave of yourself here on earth
    And continues to give after death.
    I think of how people don’t understand
    Why women can’t be priests
    I believe that women have greater aspirations
    For, like you, they can be the spouse of my Lord
    Which is a greater honor than any priest could ever have.
    Those who think women are ignored in the Bible
    Need to realize that only a woman can be God’s Mother
    As our Blessed Virgin Mary was
    And only a woman can be Jesus’ betrothed.
    A man can be a friend or a brother to Jesus
    But only a woman can be the other half of Jesus.
    Only a woman can be his spouse, his bride.
    As I ponder on your life, St. Therese
    And realize the pain and suffering you had
    Which never deterred you from your true purpose
    And that was to bring souls to Jesus
    So He can save us in this life
    To join him in Heaven in the next.
    Thank you St. Therese,
    who along with the Blessed Virgin Mary
    set the best example anyone could ever follow
    In the name of Jesus our Lord.

  6. JRSimmang says:

    LET SLEEPING DOGS LAI

    He’s a drifter, sure,
    but his heart’s child-pure
    opal.
    So, what’s the allure,
    no car, no home, nor
    postal
    code? This life demure
    must be the true cure
    for all.

    -JR Simmang

  7. gmagrady says:

    A WALK IN THE PARK

    I walk.
    She walks.
    We walk
    around the park, our paths converse so that
    we meet two times with every lap we tread.

    I walk
    past lighted baseball fields where years ago
    my son was on the mound and tipped his hat
    at me, and with a beaming nod I’d clap
    so loud, so proud, but now that boy is dead.
    She walks
    past swings and slides. I wonder if she has
    sad memories like me of kids who sat
    beneath the bench, a perfect spot for hide
    and seek, before they spied his peeking head.
    We walk
    past garden grasses, yellow petals fill
    the field, and as we pass, I want to chat
    but simply nod when she, with steady stride,
    just smiles at me. I look away instead.

    I walk
    past swings and slides and think of years ago
    when Daddy’s hand he took to see the cat,
    a stray we kept, a pet he named Meow.
    If only I could change what lied ahead.
    She walks
    past lighted baseball fields. I wonder if
    she, too, had players there, to hear the bat
    meet ball and crush it hard to clinch the win.
    His foot hits home in dreams when I’m in bed.
    We walk
    the bridge above the murky water, still.
    She says, “Hello.” I find my voice, though flat,
    and say, “Hello” but can not slow my pace,
    for fear she might see tears I haven’t shed.

    I walk.
    She walks.
    We walk
    around the park, our paths converse so that
    we meet two times with every lap we tread.

  8. Marie Therese Knepper says:

    Acceptance
    by Marie-Therese Knepper

    You dress like
    think like
    talk like
    me.
    I like you.

    Your dress is unconventional.
    I don’t like you already.

    Who would name their kid Moo Bounce?
    I click my tongue in disgust.

    You honor me

    Maybe there’s more to you than I thought.

  9. De Jackson says:

    Luna, Naked

    Imagine
    if you will, her house
    on that golden hill
    and all those dark firs
    pining for some summer
    breeze. Picture those trees
    humming some gospel good
    news song, some hummed long
    -ing of light loosed to ebony
    shroud.

    Give her back
    her other, better half
    and all the cheesy
    men you’ve ever seen
    in her bright sheen. Beg her
    forgiveness for the
    tears you’ve shed to sea
    instead of sky, the where
              (with all)
    and how and when and
    why you breathed in
    salt, when clouds
    made finer sheets.

    Make it her own
    fault she hides, dissolves
    with time, wanes when
    tides complain and fades
    within the milky veins
    of her own shallow,
    swollen skin.

    Begin
    to hear her violent
    violet roar, the stored
    up rage she holds close
    and closed in slatted,
    starry cage.

    Then,
    give her some small
    space to erase her
    self
    again.

    .

  10. monkeymanpat says:

    *Language alert* and a bit low brow….

    Bad Driver
    Garret Patton

    Driving up
    You must be doing 80
    Sliding between lanes
    Like butta

    In my rearview
    Coming up from behind me
    Flashing your headlights
    “Move ova”!

    Blinkers on
    Hold your horses just a sec
    Baby on board here
    Mutha fucka

    Passing lane
    You’re not paying attention
    Head down hands on phone
    Bad driva

    Shake my head
    Turn up “Rock-a-bye-baby”
    Oops! Look at you now
    Got pulled ova!

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Thanks for the language alert. It’s been said that a man/woman’s real personality comes out when they get behind the wheel. I’ve spontaneously (and regrettably) let loose with foul language and some obscene gestures over these 34 years of driving. I make no claims to perfection.

      Your poem conveys in artistic language the reality faced by drivers the world over. I enjoyed your use of ova, driva, etc.

    • monkeymanpat says:

      Thank you both. I wasn’t sure what to expect as a reaction to this piece, and it is not what originally had in mind, but I like it.

  11. drnurit says:

    So real – I feel like inviting her to come in, sit across from me in the therapy room, and tell me. So real – I want to help…

  12. Cynthia Page says:

    (I seem to see the homeless everywhere I go now. I can’t get them out of my mind.)

    A Sad Angry Man

    At two o’clock in the morning, he rants,
    waving his arms all about. He shouts
    at no discernable audience about
    every pain and slight in his life. He curses
    a woman, now absent, far in his past.
    She hurt him, betrayed him, ran him out
    of her home without a dime. He cries
    for his babies, now grown and lost to him.
    He yells at every car that passes in the night
    for not ending his pain. He falls silent
    to drink from his brown paper bag.

  13. drnurit says:

    To the Stranger in the Moonlit Dream

    By: Dr. Nurit Israeli

    She has never met you −
    her all-too-familiar stranger −
    but on enchanted nights,
    as she drifts off to
    faraway lands of dreams,
    you shine in like a moonbeam
    through an open window.

    She has never met you,
    but when you arrive −
    the moonlit room
    becomes a wonderland,
    where all that has been lost
    is found, and all that has
    never been is discovered.

    She has never met you,
    but when you enter −
    she no longer knows
    how real, or when, or where;
    but it no longer matters −
    like once upon a time,
    when there were no questions.

    She has never met you,
    but when you appear −
    there are no more
    endings or misgivings,
    just echoes clear and pure
    and images reflecting beauty
    that comes from within.

    A full moon emerges
    from behind the clouds
    when you arrive.
    She holds its radiant face
    between her palms −
    embracing this graceful light
    floating above all earthly things −
    and it becomes her mirror.

    But in the morning,
    you slip away
    just beyond reach –
    along with the moon
    and the rest of her dream –
    like a wave full of promise
    flowing back to sea.

    Still − the promise remains,
    and the passion that
    intoxicates the morning air
    like the sweet scent of her
    favorite flower.
    And she breathes in the
    sweetness till it fills her.

    And though she learned
    to be reasonable,
    she captures the fleeting
    dreamy likeness of you −
    her unreal real stranger
    in the moonlit dream −
    and you become her poem.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      Your words are like gold strands finely woven into the jewelry of royals.

    • PressOn says:

      This poem, for me, creates an elevated mood with everyday words. Marvellous.

      • drnurit says:

        Thank you very much, William. In retrospect, this is exactly what I was trying to do (still trying to hold on to simple words good enough to live by…)

    • TomNeal says:

      This is a fascinating poem. In its first stanza the reader encounters the “Stranger”. Four times the narrator tells this Stranger, this “other of the unconscious”, “She has never met you”. However, this is never voiced as a complaint: the presence of this Stranger from the unconscious is ‘like once upon a time,/when there were no questions.’

      This, it would seem, was a time before ‘she learned/to be reasonable.’ Was this a time of fairytales and a free imagination? The language would seem to suggest that it was. It was a time the “real” was not fixed in time or place (knows/how real, or when, or where). I infer that this was a time of innocence; a time in which there was an easy interchange between the conscious mind and the stranger- perhaps facilitated by fairytales. Some literary theorist refer to this as the “imaginary” phase.

      However, as an adult she has “learned to be reasonable” to enforce distinctions and repress the imagination. Nonetheless, the stranger still visits her, but slips away “along with the moon . . . like a wave full of promise/flowing back to the sea” (that is a beautiful image). These visits give her the opportunity to capture the ‘fleeting/dreamy likeness” of the stranger, and then significantly, the stranger (unconscious) becomes her poem.

      A literary theorist might explain that the language of poetry allows the unconscious (the stranger) to enter into her understanding of the world, and “dissolves essential distinctions between the unconscious/fantasy and conscious constructions of reality.’

      In Lacanian terms, this poem, and the “stranger” poem within it, brings the reader into contact with the unconscious and its luminous qualities. Although Lacan might not agree in theory, this poem sets its reader on a path toward healthy mindedness, and that I would suggest is a hallmark of your poetry.

      • drnurit says:

        Tom, your thorough analysis leaves me at loss for words. I am very grateful that you take the time to read so attentively and write comments I learn from. I am familiar with Lacan, but did not make the connection till you pointed it out. True, Lacan would see poetry as a discourse operating across the unconscious-conscious divide, dissolving essential distinctions between fantasy and reality, the imaginary and the symbolic. What I now see − with your help − is that this poem conveys my own deeply held belief that the unconscious, the world of fantasy and dreams (and poetry too − permeated by symbols and images) supplement reality and add layers of meaning to our lives. Hence, the “unreal real stranger…” By the way, I love your term “healthy mindedness” – I am going to use it… Thank you very much for your insightful comments.

  14. TomNeal says:

    The Stranger in the Shaded Space

    The surly sun beat down upon the weavers on the street
    Who moving with quick feet upon an indifferent pavement
    Created patterns that would not survive the afternoon
    Yet with infinite precision would recreate the weave
    Upon the morn; an endless procession of new weavers
    To work old looms, Penelope’s creating shrouds by day
    To be unwoven by night.

    It was there in that shaded space where walk and wall conjoin
    That a ragged stranger sat; his clothes unpicked by time;
    His silent voice still did speak: it conjured thus upon my mind:

    You exist under the sun as a slave
    To an eye not satisfied by seeing;
    In your world of endless repetition
    Striving is vanity that yields vexation:
    What profit does your labour bring?

    I shall weave this question upon my shroud
    Today and tomorrow and tomorrow

    • TomNeal says:

      The spellchecker strikes: “Penelope’s” should be “Penelopes”.

    • Interesting play on the daily travails of the labor force on its way to work being a daily weaving like Penelope’s in the Odyssey. Were she wove to keep her suitors at bay, what do these weavers keep at bay? Your stranger answers with that vexing question.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      My first thought – actually a response to the last two lines – were “Me, too.”

      My second thought is that I see this poem as part of a larger work. I would be most eager to read more, if you decide to expound on this masterful piece.

    • Cynthia Page says:

      “His clothes unpicked by time” and “To an eye not satisfied by seeing.”
      I love your lyrical way of depicting decay, speculation, and futility. Using Penelope”s weaving to represent their endless path to and fro was genius. For some reason it brought to mind a street in Dublin during the shipyard’s heyday.

    • drnurit says:

      Very powerful and masterfully written poem, Tom. I feel haunted by the “question” too, and by a sense of resignation: weavers’ patterns that “would not survive”, Penelope’s burial shroud “to be unwoven”, “slave”, “endless repetition”, “striving in vanity that yields vexation”, even the environment – a sun that “beat down”, an “indifferent pavement”… Also: “an endless procession” of “new” and “old” , “morn” and “afternoon”, “day” and “night”, “today” and “tomorrow” – “time”… Life?

    • PressOn says:

      In addition to Homer, I am picking up a taste of Ecclesiastes here. The images of workers striving, only to strive again, recalls for me steelworkers in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. This is powerful, vivid writing.

    • TomNeal says:

      I want to thank each of you for your very thoughtful and helpful comments.

    • BDP says:

      Nice job, TomNeal.

  15. Cynthia Page says:

    For a Song

    She passed him by every day for many weeks
    dropping change in his jar now and then.
    One day last week she heard a familiar tune
    and stopped to listen. As he played guitar
    and sang, his little dog danced about upright,
    prancing on hind legs, and pawing the air,
    her little paws held together as if in prayer.
    When the song was over, she clapped and dropped
    five dollars, and all her change in his jar.
    When the coins clanked to the bottom,
    the tiny terrier barked thank you and bowed.
    Encouraged, she asked him a few questions
    about his life and how he gets by. He said,
    “I don’t mind being homeless quite so much
    now that I have Ginger for company.”

    “As I scavenged for food behind a store,
    I heard her weak whimper from nearby.
    I found her at the bottom of another dumpster.
    She was just a little thing, starving and cold.
    I fed her what I had, and bought more.
    Ginger and me, we may be homeless,
    but a happier pair you couldn’t find.
    We suit each other. She likes my music
    and I love her dancing. She learns quick,
    and nobody has loved me like she does.”

    The terrier watched him with adoring eyes.
    The man would not take a large donation.
    He would rather have dog food for a month.
    I saw her give him a 25 pound bag.

  16. Cyrelia J says:

    Not my best work but I found this rather challenging.

    Buy One Get One

    I don’t know your name.
    To me you’re all the same
    slick talking Mr. Misters
    and tawdry Twisted Sisters
    sipping bonus baited malice
    from a golden sales chalice-
    and knowing your name
    only ruins the game.
    Don’t tell me, let me guess
    you drink your goals and piss success
    and pass the savings on
    the right night flyer dawn-
    And in thirty days you’re going going gone.
    I forget your “unforgettable” face
    The second you leave this place.
    I once met a man
    said he’d travelled to Japan
    with a vintage low man low key
    biffed and buffed life history.
    And like any good sales ghost
    he’d travelled every coast
    skirting the Grand Funk Line
    and winning every time.
    I asked if he’d been to Innisfree
    And he said to me “Well golly gee
    t’aint nothing in this world that’s free.”

    • PressOn says:

      For me, the rhyming helps fix the imagery in this poem. I love it. “Grand Funk line” recalls the Grand Trunk railroad. This whole poem is like a trip through memory, for me anyway.

  17. monkeymanpat says:

    “Sidewalk Observation”
    Garret Patton

    There they sit on front porch steps
    Are they neighbors,
    Or bestest friends?

    Perhaps if friends
    Then lovers too?
    Some time away from the old milieu?

    And if not friends
    Perchance are they enemies
    Leaning on laughter or other such remedies?

    I glance their way
    While walking by
    Another snapshot for the scrapbook of life.

    Ones legs are crossed
    Cigarette in hand
    Blonde hair pulled back with elastic band.

    And the other brunette
    With a small smiling face
    Her hands in her lap and she quite at peace.

    Both modestly dressed
    No necklace or rings
    Their only extravagance the jewelry joy brings.

  18. usedname says:

    *That beauty with purple hair*

    Like a stork you walked tall,
    thin stilt like legs carrying you
    above all the cares of the world,

    You slopped above me,
    a slight tilt to your gait,
    confidence not contained in your slender, tall frame,

    You smiled to me with,
    effervescent eyes that hid behind a shaggy mess
    of bright, unashamed, neon purple,

    I was captured by this bewitching mess,
    of heavy silver chains strewn about
    your slim neck, your bag, your belt

    Etching the image
    of your poised arched back,
    into memory — i wondered

    as only i could,
    so shy and so uninspired,
    what expression you had as you turned the corner.

  19. Amaria says:

    “The Singer”

    she sings her pretty red heart out
    wanting to please this timid crowd
    her mind drifts to a far-off place
    she is no longer on that stage

    she feels her soul rise above
    getting lost in the soft music
    and I can see it on her face
    she is no longer on that stage

  20. PKP says:

    Disembodied NatGeo Voice From The Other Room

    I hear you floating from NatGeo
    speaking in crystal clear images
    of far away places where you squat
    with your camera and ignore a bead
    of sweat rolling down your brow as
    the shutter clicks
    again and again
    until you head on home
    cameras slung in the overhead
    sleeping until you record
    in your chipper crystal clear
    voice all that you have
    borne
    witness
    to
    Now a background sonata
    accompanying the keys
    beneath my hands

  21. dhaivid3 says:

    Poem Title: We remember

    Innocent we fly

    Watch the earth pass by

    High up in the sky

    Gravity defy

    But the earth is packed

    With men whose hearts are dark

    They aimed their hatred high

    And hit us in the sky

    And now the world can see

    Where such anger can lead

    But we pray this PRICELESS price

    Will open up men’s eyes

    We did not choose the day

    Nor choose to go this way

    They robbed us of our time

    Hitting us in our prime

    We hope that after this

    Bullets’ll no longer hiss

    Their shooting spree will cease

    And earth once more know PEACE

    Amen.

    We remember the victims of the tragic crash of MH17 – and their beloved ones

  22. DMelde says:

    Monday Merlin
    you’re invisible at work.
    Dressed in your fishing vest and hat.
    Walking down the street
    with your fishing pole bobbing up and down.
    Do you eat the fish from the chemical river?
    Fertilized by the run-off of manicured lawns
    and perfect flower beds.
    Or are you a sportsman,
    man versus fish,
    catch and release.
    I want to fish too!
    Or walk, or go play, do anything else.
    But here I stand in my father’s worn suit
    waiting for the ancient bus,
    with shoulders slumped on no fun Monday.

  23. grcran says:

    Why Not?

    My wife and I would sit in eateries and order
    food and drink
    Then watch the other diners
    The waitstaff
    The cooks
    We’d make up stories about their lives
    Well, she’s gone now
    But they were all true

    by gpr crane

  24. grcran says:

    A Stranger to War

    Had a chance encounter at the walmart near my house
    I don’t go there much but needed a new sheet
    pillowcases and the like. Drank wine went there as a souse.
    Checker sized me up and never missed a beat
    She had peace sign buttons all along her lanyard thing
    My agenda long includes the anti-war
    I ventured a probe, wow, listen to peace sing
    She replied that’s nineteen sixty four
    I said Good year and not the blimp, right on!
    Not enthused she told me that’s the price
    Twas then the bottom button on her lanyard gave a dawn
    Fuck War it said I had to read it twice
    I asked if walmart bosses ‘llowed that sort of rhubarbry
    Demurring, she covered it back
    Transacted, we moved on but later thoughts came round to me
    Is this what makes our country out of whack?
    A nation of peace-lovers constantly in fights
    To keep what we have got from those who don’t
    We train our rifles sighting in our sights
    To kill. Even though we know in our guts we won’t.

    A stranger to war I am, and I’m glad.
    War never preserved any love I’ve ever had.

    by gpr crane

  25. Jane Shlensky says:

    Mustang Sally at 87

    She drives. So short is she
    that if she is to push the gas
    and brake, she must sit low
    behind the wheel, scarcely
    visible to other motorists.
    She squints at the slice of road
    caught between her dash
    and steering wheel, a narrow
    slip across her rusting hood,
    that pony galloping along
    the shoulder of the road.
    This needs careful steerage.
    That translates to slow.

    Her glasses are new, her license
    good until one more birthday.
    Why then do others beep her
    at the stop lights, pass her with
    their mouths twisted, glower
    and shake their heads? She is legal
    and safe, even as they speed past
    cutting in again too close for comfort.

    “Dumb old woman,” she imagines
    they say. “Hag at the wheel” or
    or DWA (driving while ancient).
    They don’t know she taught at
    university for 40 years, could
    dance the watusi and hang glide,
    and speaks three languages.
    They take one look of disgust
    and wonder who let her drive
    a vintage car, once red and fast.
    She glances at herself in the rearview
    mirror. Should have washed my hair,
    she thinks. People can judge so.
    If she were pulled over, a policeman
    would take her for a homeless hag
    living in her car, afloat on the mean
    streets, slowing up for pocket change.

    Such thoughts make her tired.
    There is no defense for the ancient
    who, though battle weary, are still
    game to drive across town to play
    mahjong and hug someone. Why
    must she be made to apologize for
    having survived into blind slowness?
    She lets the traffic surge ahead
    then gooses her gas pedal just enough
    to hear the growl of her engine,
    the lurch of the Mustang running wild
    and free with the thrill of pushing ahead
    before falling back, remembering.

  26. Marie Therese Knepper says:

    I Don’t Get You

    I gave up trying
    to put myself in
    your shoes

    I don’t know how
    you can walk

    Marie Therese Knepper

  27. shellcook says:

    Smartly she stood on the inbound train,
    her red high heel pumps
    nicely showing off the turn of her
    lovely ankle.

    Deep in thought,
    she carefully pulled
    her very smart phone
    from her top of the line purse,

    also, red,
    of course.
    Her screen lights up,
    much as her face,
    when she powers on
    the phone, red,
    of course,

    and sees the picture
    that stole her heart,
    of a little boys face,
    much like her own,
    but smiling, brightly
    if not smartly.

    In yellow and red,
    of course,
    swim trunks.
    And where once her heart
    was breaking,
    now she began to heal.

    Copyright 2014 @ Anne Michelle Cook

  28. jhowe says:

    “Good morning,” he says as patrons file in and out.

    “Good morning,” they listlessly say in return.

    “Good morning,” he says again and again.

    “Good morning,” they echo without zeal.

    “Excuse me,” he says as a buzzer sounds.

    “What’s the problem?” she quips as he checks her cart.

    “Have a good day,” he says motioning her along.

    “Good morning,” he says as he checks his watch.

    “Good morning,” they drone.

    “Hello Wanda,” he says as he eats his meager lunch.

    “Good afternoon,” he says as patrons file in and out.

  29. writinglife16 says:

    The Lost Princesses

    I sat down in the front of the bus.
    The lady sitting next to me started talking.
    I tried to look at her, but couldn’t
    breathe when I did so.
    Her breath smelled like something had
    crawled into her mouth and died.
    I just listened to her talk about
    the history of the city.

    Another gray haired lady got on the bus.
    Hat, lace dress and gloves, a shawl and a purse.
    It was ninety degrees outside.
    My seatmate said they grew up together.
    She told me the other lady was an only child.
    A wealthy heiress and some kind of royalty.

    I looked at her shabby dress
    and worn shoes.
    And I wondered.
    Was she an heiress or
    royalty?
    Or was this just a tale.
    From another one
    of life’s lost princesses?

  30. dhaivid3 says:

    Poem Title: Hollow sorrow

    I sit in the church, an eager Youth Corps member
    Serving my country whether by fire or by force
    In this new community
    And I am amazed at your life – you, a child who has, by some feat of nature birthed a child
    And yet in your eyes, as you look down at your future I see a smile
    You seem happy but I can only imagine what you have been denied
    The chance to grow up
    To pick, to choose
    To go to school
    Alas – in my mind’s eye – I see you
    Cooking and cleaning and groaning at the sky
    While the clouds gather threatening the washing that you have hung out to dry
    I can see – in my mind’s eye – the barbarian who put you in this state
    Four times your age with much silver and gold
    And I know for sure that he is cold
    For who takes a child and steals it’s youth?
    “Ah, there are many men like him” I am told
    “They like them younger even as they themselves grow old”
    I turn away, my own tears those of sorrow
    As the Deacon begins the homily re-telling some of the oldest stories ever told
    I wonder if things will somehow be different come tomorrow

    • TomNeal says:

      Four times your age with much silver and gold
      And I know for sure that he is cold
      For who takes a child and steals it’s youth?
      “Ah, there are many men like him” I am told
      “They like them younger even as they themselves grow old”

      This is an uncomfortable, but well narrated, story. The introduction of rhymes towards end of this poem (gold/cold/old) reinforces the revulsion one feels for “the barbarian”. Rhyme’s come naturally to children, but in this text they have been stolen from the children by cold gold laden old men.

    • Marie Therese Knepper says:

      You’ve given us so much in your poem, and I say we’re the better for it :)

    • PressOn says:

      For me, this poem’s ending makes me wonder if the “old stories” have any effect on the old men. Excellently developed work, this.

  31. Out with the Homeless

    In a daze, he sits on a curb.
    He doesn’t know where he’s from.
    Or where he’s going.

    A scruffy looking guy approaches.
    Dirty, dark complected.
    Homeless?

    Scruffy guy speaks,
    “Hey man, where’s your home?
    You shouldn’t be out in the street.”

    You should know, he thinks.
    “I’m fine.
    Just resting.”

    And then he remembers.
    Ah, the party.
    Those pills he took.

    He reaches in to his pocket.
    A cell phone
    He calls home.

    Mom’s not going to like this.

  32. TomNeal says:

    Wednesday’s Child

    As the tower clock marked 06:30
    I noticed a man on the street weeping
    White tears. He was a stranger I knew
    From the news. The Opposition Leader
    Displaying weakness in full public view
    And without bodyguards to protect him
    The people on the street composed him
    In raven words and slurs- the dark discourse
    Of politics- the narrative of hate
    On the day his six year old Ivan died.

    [Some observers criticised him for it, thinking that grief
    and difficulty of this kind should be kept private.
    Others said Ivan was being used as a political tool.
    (Jenni Russell, The Guardian, Wednesday 25 February 2009)]

  33. Marie Therese Knepper says:

    You’re Good

    I imagine us laughing at my favorite movies,

    and you calling me as much as I call you.

    You love it when I make unplanned visits,

    and you never tire of my company.

    It’s only when you turn on your million watt smile for the next customer that I realize you are

    just
    doing
    your
    job.

    Marie-Therese Knepper

  34. Couple in a Jeep

    I pull up behind them at the light,
    The canvas rolled back, the jeep old,
    A relic of a bygone era. There’s a man
    Slouched at the wheel, ubiquitous
    Baseball cap low on his head,
    A woman beside him, her gray hair
    Piled in a top knot. She sits straighter,
    Is more animated, talking with her hands.
    An old married couple, I think, and
    He’s in charge of this flighty bird.

    The light changes, and they’re off.
    The dude behind me in his black Mustang
    Honks, but must have turned down
    The slacker rock jabbering from his speakers.

    The jeep ahead of me climbs the hill,
    And suddenly the wife swings a sinuous arm out.
    She porpoises her hand through the air
    And tosses her head, laughing, I think.
    Hers is a beautiful arm. Then she pulls it back
    And lifts both her arms, moving them side to side,
    And bouncing in her seat. She’s surely dancing
    To some music I can’t hear. Her husband looks
    Aside, disapproving, but then he’s bouncing, too.
    Around the curve they hurtle, and I see

    I’m wrong. They’re young, he in his baggy shorts,
    She in a skimpy blouse and short dress,
    Her hair golden, not gray. And that slacker rock?
    It’s their music, perhaps even their song.

    Ah, let me guess. Young lovers on a Wednesday
    Afternoon. They’ve just made love. She’s basking
    In afterglow, and he’s impatient for more
    Even though they’re on the way to jobs
    That don’t pay, he a barista, her, more made
    Up, a bartender at a sports bar. He’s the laid back
    Dude, she on fire with life. She’s dancing
    In her seat again, her beautiful arms fluttering
    With life. He steers, adoring her, but already
    She’s lost to him, he too small for her spirit,

    It’s plain as day. It’s still about the sex
    For them, but that will change. He bops
    Because she bops, but soon she’ll want a man
    Not a boy who thinks sex makes him one.

  35. Sara McNulty says:

    A Woman’s Preparation

    Hard to concentrate, sitting
    in this subway car, with air-
    conditioning stealthily slipping
    away. Close my book, and look at
    the woman directly across from me.
    Her heavy makeup is on the fringe
    of a meltdown. Soft auburn waves
    are strategically placed
    to conceal the sides of her face.
    She look down at a folder, flipping
    the pages back and forth with
    perfectly manicured fingers.
    I dream her on way to an interview,
    looking over materials, hoping
    to make a good impression, hoping
    they will not notice that she
    is of that age where the line
    is drawn like a wall between
    east and west. On the west side
    of the wall, women dye their hair,
    get contacts, even suffer injections
    into their faces–all in an effort
    to not be left behind, to not let
    the east side become a dictatorship.

  36. Hannah says:

    Stranger

    I’ve storied you into a poem –
    one that spreads butter onto dry toast,
    one that drinks bitter-black coffee
    and smokes too many cigarettes.
    I’ve fabled you into an ode –
    one that waters drying-dying flowers,
    one that sings life into wilting blooms
    and sits solitary in a waiting room.
    I’ve flung words to white about you –
    in this space of eyes opening-closing,
    seconds-minutes-hours-days-years
    of waiting on this earth rotating.
    I’ve plinked into space a notion about you –
    you – turning a hopeful thought
    writing a hopeful poem,
    Stranger.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  37. julie e. says:

    A little tattered
    around the edges
    in this vacation town
    walking down

    the street
    daughter and
    smile lined mother

    chatting laughing
    in the cool air
    Reebok footed

    locals headed
    to the Brew and
    Barbeque to

    blow off steam
    before tomorrow
    brings another

    workday
    cleaning up after
    uptight city folk

    in their new pinching
    mountain walking
    shoes.

  38. julie e. says:

    Love your poem Robert!

  39. icandootoo says:

    “Toll Booth Operator”

    He sits, modern priest in his iron shrine
    his hand extending, barely touching mine
    as I offer oblation to Hermes.
    I peek at his desk, where a Chocolate Flake,
    some change, and wrappers from fresh Jaffa Cakes,
    lie strewn on his table. Pause my journey
    enough to also see a travelogue,
    for Athens. Is this yawning demigod,
    cleric of my twice daily offering,
    a weekend sleuth, digging in ancient tels?
    The lout in the Volvo behind me yells.
    I drive. My mind returns to wandering:
    I see him, crouched, triumphant, over one
    small, silver, sacramental steer, the sun
    glinting off its hand-turned horns. He gloats,
    this modern Andronikos, turns the bull
    in his hands, writes in a sketchbook so full
    that the pages are darkened. He notes
    the size and shape and outward dimensions,
    and probable use, paying attention
    to a small signature on the left side.
    He stands, stretching cramped limbs and aching back,
    the precious find clutched tightly, fingers black
    with ink and callused by stone dust. He strides
    to his tent, triumphant and tired. He’ll sleep
    well tonight. This ancient Greek rubbish heap
    will be the making of him, and this find
    will launch his career. He’ll ascend Olympus,
    enshrined in history and leave the business
    of taking tolls from empty souls behind.

  40. priyajane says:

    Airport Pick Up
    Unsure of her steps
    she disembarked hesitatingly
    trailing, a bit sluggish
    on her cramped feet
    gathering her thoughts
    practicing her smile
    as others raced by
    dragging their heavy shoulders

    He was there waiting
    unsure fingers clutching delicate flowers
    pastels, nothing loud
    A telepathic moment of silence between them
    A handshake searching through lost and found
    and then an unrehearsed hug that spoke
    in muted languages profound
    and hand in hand they walked,
    oblivious to the swarms and sounds .
    all her doubts evaporated
    and his hopes validated

  41. seingraham says:

    HERE’S WHAT I THINK

    Today they cancelled
    the Amber Alert,
    arrested a suspect,
    and declared the case
    a homicide, even
    though they
    haven’t found
    any bodies,
    and the suspect
    hasn’t confessed.

    So, here’s what I think.

    No matter what the police
    say, no matter what the
    DNA evidence is, or says,
    they aren’t dead.
    No bodies. No proof.

    Is this wishful thinking?
    Of course it is.

    But we are grandparents
    and we have
    a five year old grand-son
    who sleeps over
    “on-the-fly”, as it were,
    just as this little boy did.
    Is it any wonder, I am
    writing my own ending
    to this story?

    • PressOn says:

      This is as spot-on as a headline, in my view.

    • Yes, the way we want and hope it turns out.

      • seingraham says:

        This is as tragic a story as I have heard. For two weeks, the police have been upbeat and optimistic about this child and his grandparents, reluctant to say much more than they were encouraged to continue a “search and rescue” operation,and asking for as much help from the public as they could get. Then it came out that there was evidence that someone had left the house “in medical distress” (they’d already said, the house appeared in “an unnatural state indicating that the three had left unwillingly” – nothing more than that, but the cars were still there and I assume purse, wallets etc. were there as well). The more time went by, the more nervous everyone was getting and the police kept arresting this one man who had previous “police problems” and some vague connection with the family. They also started searching his acreage, outside Calgary. I assume they didn’t have enough to hold him, as he was released. Several days later, he was picked up again and charged with murder and the case was changed to a homicide…The man’s been charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of man-slaughter but no bodies have been recovered. It’s surreal.

        Thanks for your comments William, Sara, and James.

    • drnurit says:

      I love your ending, Sharon. No, it is no wonder…

  42. Jen York says:

    Lunatic

    Lunatic… electrocuted hair on his head;
    and a scraggly beard
    matches the rusting truck bed.

    Look away, glance back, no presence ‘til he goes;
    then a smile reveals eyes,
    friendly as the dog’s nose

    that pops out the window and licks my outstretched hand.
    Then drives off – a
    lasting impression in the sand.

  43. HE AND SHE

    Hand in hand
    they sit on a park bench
    as unspoken words engulf them.
    Arthritic fingers rest on hard-earned callouses.
    Still a sparkle in her pale blue eyes.
    Still a smile that melts his heart.
    A grin creases the old man’s wrinkled face
    unmasking the mischievous fair-haired lad.
    He first fell in love with that curly-headed lass
    before he knew what love was.
    Even as a girl, though she didn’t know why,
    her heart belonged to him.
    When twilight begins to fill the park with shadows,
    they struggle to rise from the bench.
    On unsteady feet, a lifetime’s devotion
    gives them strength to continue their journey
    hand in hand.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  44. Azma says:

    THE SPECIAL STRANGER

    I first saw that stranger
    last month on this day
    He was waiting at the bus stop
    just a feet away
    He had features so striking
    like that of a movie star
    the one that you’d see
    going around in a fancy car
    Everyday, he got less stranger
    the more I got impressed by his style
    And then one day I was surprised
    as he gave me a smile
    I thought we would talk,
    maybe go on a romantic walk
    But just then the alarm went
    and woke me from the dream
    of a stranger I never met

  45. laurie kolp says:

    The Neighborhood Lady

    cries as she exits
    the vet’s office, cries
    in the parking lot,
    this lady with an off-center
    ponytail and lines on her face
    like the palm of her hand, lines
    emphasizing her pain.
    Did she euthanize the Vizsla
    I usually see by her side,
    the one she walked nightly
    down my street until
    just last week? I hold
    tighter Sadie’s leash
    and wait for her to pee.

  46. PressOn says:

    MOURNER

    When she cries,
    souls
    cry along too.

  47. WRITING A STRANGER’S STORY

    His entry has no doormat.
    He sits under the J St. overpass
    in an easy-chair with arms wide enough
    to hold his book and a cup of coffee.
    A briefcase, open, beside the chair,
    and a floor-lamp to illuminate his reading;
    perhaps he’s rigged a solar panel.
    Under the chair, the lamp, the briefcase
    lies a richly woven carpet of perhaps
    Turkish design. He sits observing traffic
    with the assurance of a landholder,
    one who makes allowance
    for grinding gears, exhaust, the stares
    of motorists. To each his own,
    he might be thinking.
    Could he have been a professor,
    attorney, a broker before he came here?
    A blade of sunlight strikes his
    face, clean-shaven but for the neatly
    trimmed goatee. He returns
    to his book. Who would presume
    to evict him from this space,
    this state of mind?

  48. candy says:

    PressOn

    He’s a short man who wears
    thick glasses and has a
    shiny pate. A hand

    carved pipe is clutched
    between his teeth but its never lit.
    Reams of paper are stacked to the

    ceiling in his dormer office and he
    clacks out poetry on an old
    Remington typewriter.

    The bing of the carriage wakes
    a yellow tabby cat that sleeps on a
    green tapestry pillow on the corner

    of his scarred oak desk. A smile of
    friendship accompanies him everywhere,
    even to the stationary

    store for paper and typewriter ribbons
    and correction tape.
    And no poet goes unnoticed.

  49. RJ Clarken says:

    Subway Series

    I wish I had the nerve to take a snap
    of the person standing across from me
    on the subway, wearing a baseball cap
    and a pink cummerbund. It’s the Marquis
    de la F Train. He’s got a front tooth gap
    but for coin, he’ll dance or maybe emcee.
    I imagine that maybe he’s a spy,
    I give him loose change; don’t ask myself why.

    ###

  50. candy says:

    Who Are You?

    He moved in across the street two years ago

    There is a bird feeder in the tiny yard
    and two canvas chairs on the porch.
    They’re always empty

    Every morning his significant other
    drives off to a job but not him.
    Always alone in the small four room house

    Who are you?

    A secret government spy with high
    tech equipment in the spare bedroom?
    The dish installed on the side of the
    house receiving signals from orbiting
    satellites

    Who are you?

    Maybe in the witness relocation
    program waiting to testify against a
    Russian mob boss. Moved to this
    inconspicuous neighborhood after
    plastic surgery to change his face
    but not his memory.

    Who are you?

    Most likely a man retired from decades
    of working, looking for solitude, reading
    spy novels and playing video poker

  51. barbara_y says:

    A Liar

    I think they met first in the rain. A lie
    that I can tell you without any guilt.
    Guilt is better saved. Here, it’s not vital.
    Such a small lie, this. Like a paper pill.
    I know they first kissed in the snow. And with such
    a passion. Every ice crystal dissolved;
    they wasted everything, they were that much
    in love. They were like two beautiful red coals.
    This, I can tell you as the truth: It snowed,
    beautifully, white as down, white as paper
    that day the world became white and obscure.
    The first time I saw them kissing, I knew
    two fellow liars. Knew that all our later
    guilts were sanitized by that fury.

  52. LeeAnne Ellyett says:

    Crazy Hailey

    She’ a little edgy,
    in her black wedgies,
    and long black trench coat,

    It is 90 degrees, no breeze,
    Crazy Hailey, we see your knees,

    She walks the streets,
    smoking’ and mumbling’ in beats,
    billowing like sheets,

    We watch and guess,
    is Crazy Hailey in distress,

    She knows her role,
    doesn’t bother a soul,
    perhaps whole,

    She’s just short a card,
    one lost in the deck,

    She’s probably sharper than we guess,
    a scholar no less,
    plays chess with finesse,

    A stranger with a name,
    That’s my game.

  53. vjohnso1 says:

    She walks down the street
    It’s about 86 degrees outside the kind they call ‘dry heat’
    She’s wearing a hat, a sweater, and some boots
    The look on her face shows me there’s more to her than we see
    Pills, alcohol, drugs or maybe all three
    She’s scared, fearful, and hurting in pain
    I wish I could help her but I don’t even know her name
    Or if she’ll talk to me
    So she continues to walk day after day
    I watch her in the most unusual way
    Trying to figure out her story
    While praying to God
    I sigh with a worry
    Help this woman God with all of your glory
    Give her the understanding and help she needs
    She’s a stranger to me but a child to God indeed!

  54. Michelle Hed says:

    Sleep Deprivation

    You’ve seen the couple in the car
    gesturing wildly
    in what you assume is an argument …

    or is it?

    Perhaps there is an infant
    in the backseat
    who won’t go to sleep
    but really loves opera
    (yes, I said opera)
    and the parents are adding
    crazy gestures
    as they dramatically sing
    anything that comes to mind
    in an operatic voice
    because this is what desperate,
    sleep-deprived parents will do
    to get their baby to sleep…
    they will do ANYTHING.

  55. DanielR says:

    BUS STOP SALLY
    Her silver hair shimmers in the blistering sun
    and she might be getting a burn
    but who could tell with all that blush
    she wears a flowery dress every day
    even when it’s raining; and that
    black leather purse that long ago went out of style,
    she clings too it tight like it’s one of her children
    that she hasn’t seen in thirty years
    because she walked out on them
    and the white picket fence life she had.
    She scurries to the bus when it arrives
    like she’s in a hurry and has someplace to go
    but riding the bus around town all day
    is a journey, not a destination.

    Daniel Roessler

  56. annell says:

    Early Wednesday Morning
    Middle of the week
    All is quiet
    The sun in up and
    The sky is a beautiful blue
    A beautiful New Mexico blue
    White clouds are spread
    Like peanut butter on toast
    Their bellies grey

    Yesterday again I spent
    Time at the dentist who looks
    Like a nice enough guy
    Keeping the teeth sound
    When you are growing older
    Than they are expected to last
    It is hoped you live long enough
    And your teeth last long enough
    And both will last the same
    If not and your teeth begin to fail
    You will spend time and a fortune
    At the dentist begging him to
    Hurt you one more time

    Since I already have a pain in my heart
    It was like having someone
    With a hammer hit your toe
    To get your mind off the original hurt
    Between my tears
    And the splashing of the technician
    Washing out my mouth
    It was a watery business

    Dentistry seems not to have come
    Far out of the dark ages
    And there is still much pain
    The arrangement of the patient
    And the tools of torture
    Are situated so that the patient
    Doesn’t see all that is happening
    And the dentist likes to sneak up
    With his syringe and plunge
    It into your gums

    When I asked
    Why did you hurt me
    He was in complete denial
    I didn’t hurt you
    Now who did he think
    Hurt me
    He’s probably a sadist

    July 16, 2014

  57. Michelle Hed says:

    The Scarf

    Your busy running errands
    kind of a stressful day
    and you are, for the most part, oblivious
    to those around you –
    until you get to the checkout line.

    The lady in front of you
    putting her bags in her cart –
    looks a bit gaunt,
    her skin an unusual color
    and she has a scarf on her head,
    no sign of hair.

    You realize she’s fighting a battle
    the likes you hope you never see
    and all the stress leaves you –
    for your grievances are petty…

    The guy that cut you off –
    perhaps his wife is in labor
    and he’s rushing to the hospital.

    The little old lady
    driving so, so slow –
    it’s her last drive
    before giving up her license.

    The list goes on and on
    and we all fight battles –
    big or small,
    seen or unseen
    and if we could remember this,
    perhaps the world would be
    a little nicer.

    • PressOn says:

      Nice, and wise. I love this.

    • Sara McNulty says:

      Good one, and point taken, Michelle.

    • Yes, a great reminder that we don’t really know what’s going on in the lives around us when we get impatient or worse. . . .

    • dhaivid3 says:

      I sighed after reading this – the sighed again after glancing over it. It carries a kind of “all-knowing” message. There is truth in these words. Well done.

      This poem reminded me of an experience I had many years ago: I was travelling in a car with some friends and an old man was driving very slowly in front of us. One of my friends was not too pleased with the speed he was therefore forcing us to travel at and complained loudly about this to anyone who would listen. I replied saying that she should probably consider that the old man was recently retired and had just purchased this new car with his savings. I suggested that she should leave him alone and let him enjoy his ride since he had most definitely earned it!

  58. DanielR says:

    A WAITRESS AT SID’S DINER
    I watch her dance and gracefully glide
    a customer passes and she steps aside
    greasy Sid hollers out a loud “order up”
    as she pours more coffee in my cup
    under the fluorescent sun all day
    her highlights fade into her gray
    and through it all she serves with a smile
    rain or shine her walk home’s a mile
    her drunk husband meets her at the door
    tells her she should have been home by four
    punches her face and calls her a whore
    then leaves her laying on the kitchen floor
    tomorrow arrives and she starts another day
    knowing it will go mostly the same way

    Daniel Roessler

  59. vjohnso1 says:

    Entering into this lonely world
    Looking for a friend to have
    Not giving a lonely word
    To this tid bits of joy we found
    Taking your inner circle
    And folding it into to two
    I’m a stranger to good luck and blessings
    And more so to even you
    Smiling because there’s no other way
    Crying behind your door
    Settling upon your fears of life
    Complacent with nothing ever more

  60. PressOn says:

    Robert, your poem is neck-snapping; no mistake about it Congratulations on the publication.

  61. Maashellee says:

    A loose tribute to Frank Sinatra

    What way is this
    that leads us home together
    From High Road to a house on Gordon Road?
    The moon is showing me the way and whispering
    of stranger’s steps behind
    Do strangers say hello?
    Or they just smile while walking home through town.
    We pass a bar and seven shops
    I want to offer you a glass of wine
    But we are after all just strangers
    walking through the night.

  62. Nancy Posey says:

    The Scar

    She could be anybody’s sister—
    prim and pert, not too prissy
    in her shirtwaist dress and ponytail
    that declare: Somebody’s mother.
    The neighbor who bakes cakes.

    Pretty, in a wholesome,
    fresh-scrubbed way,
    a ripe peach, she’s not one
    to overwhelm. Knockouts
    aren’t threatened; homely girls
    don’t wince in her shadow.

    Everything’s perfect
    but the scar,
    one you’d hardly notice,
    etched in her chin,
    like a secret she’s keeping
    a story she’ll only tell
    when she knows you well.

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