Second Chances

the protagonist will struggle in a work of fiction
and that struggle gives
us a perverse pleasure we don’t want for us
ourselves, but which we know is one of the
pleasures of reading, even as we read for a second
time, knowing full well the chances
the protagonist will take that
are in vain and will harden their fictional life
against them, as the plot continues to unfold and denies
them repeatedly, yet gives what we want to us

/ / /

This poem was written to the second chance prompt at Poetic Asides.


A Test of Suitability

walk on the cement
to the booth of wares
but tread soft on the grass

take note of the living around you
the song in every heart
the hope in every bloom

don’t turn
your back
on this

walking through
the gate of heart’s hope
what trials will await you then

when hope will return
and softly lift your heart
for your kindness

don’t turn back

walking through
the gate of mercy’s surprise
what trials will await you then

when surprise will return
and you will be repaid
for your mercy

/ / /

This poem was written using the twelve words of Wordle 404 at The Sunday Whirl.


Permission (I)

It was through the alley behind our houses
That permitted us to move stealthily

We were able to sneak up on the thieves
Take them alive, without shooting, sometimes

Playing cops and robbers, our siren whoops,
Imagining the flash of red and blue lights

At other times, when the thieves had escaped,
We had to investigate for clues, find some insight

Into how they had escaped us, leading us to track them
Block by block, peering over back fences

Until we found them and brought them to justice
Then our shift was over, we self-styled heroes

Permission (II)

We might as well give them / a permit to shoot up
Shift the blame away from ourselves / and onto them

The alley is long enough / that our view from the street is blocked
And the lights are broken / casting shadows, hiding clues

They have the insight / to find and use this location
Wear long sleeves / to cover their tracks

We walk by, secure in the sirens / and flashing red and blue lights
We style ourselves compassionate / but we’re as alive as they are

Permission (III)

When did that shift happen? Were there clues
That was the direction we were heading?

When did our light dim? When did our alleys darken?
When did we permit tracking and profiling?

Why did we style some blocks as safe?
And others where shootings took place?

Where sirens wailed and families cried
Because one of theirs was no longer alive.

Did we lack insight? Or was it something else
That we lacked to find within ourselves for others?

/ / /

This trio of connected poems was written using the twelve words of Wordle 403 at The Sunday Whirl.

Empty Dining Room

A mixtape playing / on the old boombox
Cookbooks on the shelf / leaning against it
Vibrating softly / the alchemy of music

Listening to Sting singing
“Moon over Bourbon Street”

The pull of the music moon / upon us both
The pull of wine / upon you
The pull of gin / upon me

The dull glow of the cloudy moon / upon us
I pull you close / a quick kiss
As the spirit / the spirits / move me

Back to cooking / its own alchemy

Part of the alchemy / of us
You with a pinch of salt
Me cracking the pepper

The music swells and subsides
Into triphop / something chill

And dinner is ready / almost without us noticing
But we eat standing up / in the kitchen
Waiting for the end / of the tape

/ / /

This poem was written to the twelve words of Wordle 396 at The Sunday Whirl.

As the reality of writing poetry again throughout April was approaching, I thought that writing a poem or two in late March was a good idea. This is one of the poems I wrote then but didn’t post at the time.


The blooms on the plum tree are falling,
Their time spent as flowers gone,
In joyful anticipation of new fruit,
And spring for me too is done.

The school year rushes to a close,
Memorial Day ahead to slowly wake,
Giving us one more long weekend,
A paltry reminder of the joy of spring break.

/ / /

This poem was inspired by “May” by Sara Teasdale over at the imaginary garden with real toads.

You learn theories of pedagogy

You learn theories of pedagogy
While earning your teaching credential

So many bright sparks in your mind
As you consider each new theory

But so much of that gets left behind
When you’re in the classroom

The theoretical doesn’t seem so important
When you’re standing before so many young people

Your pedagogy shifts to the methodical
The practices that will get you through the day

Then in the midst of teaching algebra
You see all the Xs as kisses rather than unknowns

Days later you’re teaching a bit of geometry
And the circles are hugs rather than areas to be determined

Your pedagogy takes on a mathematical process
Looking carefully, almost scientifically, finding solutions

But it has a creative bent, almost poetical
That acknowledges the art in the theory

And the bright sparks in the young minds
That look up to you for knowledge, not theories

/ / /

This poem was written to the theory prompt at dVerse.