Fire Dominates

we are turning toward the fire
some with dove tails think
it will protect us from the dark
others with hawk tails feel
the dark has fallen against them
they think the fire can be used
to push the twilight away
still others fear that the wind will rise
fanning the flames and the leaves will catch

we are all afraid
some of us cry tears
others cry out, striding forward in  anger
that has been shaped
and layered on the fear

and the Earth spins and orbits
around its solar bonfire
caught between planets named for old gods
one of love and one of war

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 6, using twelve words from “Domination of Black” by Wallace Stevens, from a wordling whirl of Sundays.

No Sacrifice

Before the gods, titans, and giants,
there were beings whose names are lost
in the vast passage of time. Perhaps they lived
before time in a place we cannot know.

Some believe they fought amongst themselves.
Their spilled blood formed worlds
and all the things that lived on those worlds.
Our world, our universe, is not one of those.

Some believe that they sought to create.
They fashioned worlds, created beings and life
to flourish. But these were shadows, disappointments,
failed experiments. Our universe is not one of those.

I believe there was one of those beings
that understood what was truly necessary.
He gave of himself, unfolding all that he was.
Our universe is his body, mind, and spirit.

Everything around us is alive.
The rocks may seem dead, but they are not.
Every particle of our universe is sacred,
a gift freely given, an ongoing song of love.

Those who fight are foolish and deluded.
Those who create without the gift of love fail.
We must accept more than we can know
from our lives. We must believe in stories.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the We Write Poems prompt to write about how the universe began.

And added to One Shot Wednesday.

Dream of a Superman

my power waned

I was the problem

things got better
when I decided to surrender
myself to the light
of that beautiful yellow sun

I took flight
too seriously
it was supposed to be a joy
not a burden

I had forgotten that

I floated for a moment
saw myself reflected
in a window
thirty stories up

the people beneath me
gathered on the sidewalks
to look up
utter trust on their faces

if there are angels
it is they

for all my power
it is not absolute

but when they work together
they can solve
almost any problem

the only risk
is that the lull
lasts too long
that we fail to act
when we should

that thought startled
me awake

I turned over
rearranged my bedsheets
into a cape on my back
and returned to sleep
and to joyful flight

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the Wordle 5 prompt at a wordling whirl of Sundays.

And added to The Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

I’m a full week late on this one. I’m getting back into the swing of things now that my school year is over. As I respond to certain prompts, I’ll be catching up with others’ poems.

Two Hands

my wife has some lovely
Mother’s Day cards
from our sons
made at school

     Father’s Day
     comes after school is out
     for the summer
     I get store-bought cards

I think it’s great
that women and men walk
twenty miles a day
for three days
wearing pink

     it’s not the cancer
     that kills the most women

     and where’s the three day
     walk for prostate cancer?

this man is probably
too logical for you

     but I write poems

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the prompt at Poetic Asides to write an “on the other hand” poem.


opening day / of summer vacation looms
hours and hours of unstructure / waiting to be filled
no lesson plans to write / no other people’s children to teach
no papers to read and grade / just notebooks to fill with poems
titled or not / capitalized or not / punctuated or not
let ungrammar reign / and feelings and meaning rain / down on the page

don’t title / don’t limit or restrict
don’t set up preconceptions / let them discover
let that be the joy / not the cleverness of your title
forms or free verse / whatever the poem wants to be
just let it / give it permission to be / itself
just to be / to come into being
it doesn’t have to do anything / let it be
listen to the Beatles / write a song / let the lyrics flow

give yourself permission / daydream / write
compose in your head / read some untitled poems
journey into their territory / with an incomplete map
you fill it in / they aren’t blanks
it’s not that kind of not / there is no negativity
just potential / energy inside you / just wanting to be kinetic
but it’s not work / it’s play / kinetic and kinesthetic

give it voice / fill the air with your words
we need them / I need them / keep them coming
like air / there’s more there than you think

go out / and photosynthesize
take in some vitamin D / turn that into a poem
it doesn’t need to be a thesis / a funky synthesis will do
a little antithesis / if you want
that goes with untitled / right?

/ / /

This poem was written to the prompt at Poets United to write a poem titled “untitled”.

I really needed this. Tomorrow is the last day of my school year. I will be promoting 32 fifth-grade students to middle school. I have been working my tail off to be ready for tomorrow, and I am so ready for a break. Poetry is my sanity.

The Young Hero

The young Hero was foolish
to act with such relish
in his own power.

He did not stop to think
of mercy because his mind
was set on justice.

It was the old Villain,
in his death, who taught
him his foolish ways.

He whispered to the Hero
as he died: I would
have granted you mercy.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to a prompt at Three Word Wednesday: foolish, mercy, relish.

Making Vegan Burgers

Getting the water just the right
temperature for the cool
dorsum and the warmer palm,
then the liquid soap,
antibacterial or not, to cleanse.

Feeling calmer now, measuring
out the ingredients into the curve
of the bowl, no anticipation,
just action, kneading the gluten
with clean hands and a clear mind.

Forming the burger patties,
ready for the spring grill,
I notice that my anger
has melted away, and I have made
food for my family with love.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to a prompt from Three Word Wednesday: cleanse, knead, and melt.

This is the third of four poems I wrote over the last week for Three Word Wednesday. Number four will be along tomorrow, and then I’ll be taking a short break. My school year ends on Friday, May 27. I have to finish grading papers and I haven’t even started on report cards yet. Once my summer vacation starts, I will be much more active here, and I promise to get caught up reading and commenting on your poems.

Today also happens to be my younger son’s seventh birthday. (Happy birthday, Aidan!) He likes my vegan burgers, and he likes helping me in the kitchen to make them.

Tonic Town

i wanted to surrender
to love of grace
but she made it so hard

she would thin her gin
her evening meal
every day except sunday
she didn’t eat at all
on sundays
which is how
she stayed so thin

god, she was beautiful

empty calories
for an empty heart
that i wanted to fill

my better self wanted
to fill it with love
my baser self just wanted
to fill it
with a need for me

and she smelled so fine
that i was rarely thin
when i was near her
i would say her scent
was intoxicating
but that would give
the wrong impression

i joked that she had
surrendered to grace
the baser grace
that was a mirror of me
but it wasn’t funny

a jigger of this
a jigger of that
then the jitters set in

i wanted to surrender
to grace
but i didn’t

she had already
surrendered herself
to something greater
than me

i’m sorry, grace
that i couldn’t save you
from your surrender

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the Take the driver’s seat! prompt at We Write Poems:

First consider what prompt would be an interesting and challenging prompt for you, including then what you think would be good for the group. Then 1) write a brief paragraph describing the poem prompt itself, and 2) go ahead and write your own poem to that prompt.

For my poem, I used surrender as the theme from Sunday Scribblings, and grace, thin, and jitter from Three Word Wednesday.

So, here’s my prompt:

One, select a prompt from a site like Poetic Asides, Writer’s Island, Sunday Scribblings, or One Single Impression. This will be the topic or theme of your poem. Two, select some words from a site like Three Word Wednesday or a wordling whirl of Sundays. Now, consider your theme/topic and your words. See if those words will help you explore or expand on your theme, or see if your topic opens up, leading down unexpected avenues, as you play with those words. Trust your poetic intuition and imagination. You could choose prompts that you haven’t previously responded to, or revisit ones you’ve already done, or find a prompt that previously stumped you, and see if this take on it will help you get a poem written.

Public School Teachers

We brandish respect
and knowledge
for we are mighty inside.

We forbid no one.
All are welcome
to enter and learn.

We manage this daily
with little compensation
and little complaint.

I challenge you to do the same.

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to a prompt at Three Word Wednesday: brandish, forbid, and manage.

Paula suggested that this poem might work for the Poetic Asides prompt to write a telling it like it is poem. I agree. Thanks, Paula.

Riding in the Passenger Seat

we were driving to see a covered bridge
in Moscow, Indiana, a rural configuration
that can barely be called a town.

it’s hot and humid, salty drops
on our foreheads, so we’re slurping
down sweet tea made with filtered

water, just as we take in
the fields and the big sky,
unmarred by hills or mountains,

textured by the low soybean fields
and the tall corn, the gold inside,
brandishing our cameras, so it’s obvious

we aren’t locals, a California infusion
to the local economy, because long ago
my parents substituted that home

for this one, when it occurs to me
that these farmers do not just eke
out a living, that life is all around.

sure, there was the wooden house,
abandoned, imploding in geologic time,
the bricks of the chimney the only

straight lines to be seen, but that
was the exception rather than the rule,
when my uncle brings the car

to a stop, and we’re at the bridge.

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to Wordle 4 at a wordling whirl of Sundays. Thanks again to Brenda for hosting this wonderful site.