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.

That Math Problem

Some fifth graders want to give up / too soon
Say it’s impossible / to solve

But I’ve never given them a problem
That can’t be solved

From time to time / some of the problems
Have more than one solution

Those are the most fun
The opposite of impossible

But that still misses the point
The fun is not in the solution

It’s in the solving

/ / /

This poem was written to the impossible poem prompt at Poetic Asides.


In a few weeks / the school year will end
The summer weeks / will begin

After that / we’ll all start / again
Next school year

Me with new students
You in a new grade / with new teachers

You won’t stop being my student
You just won’t be in my class / everyday / anymore

/ / /

This poem was written to the day thirty prompt at Poetic Asides to write a stop or don’t stop poem.

River Remix

I sat on the rock just down from the bridge,
Its steel looming there, a confirmation
That, though I had crested the hill, the ridge,
I could not escape civilization.
It is not that I had turned my back
On humanity, but that I had put
Before me what I had sought to unpack,
Why I had come to the river barefoot:
To think, yet to slip into unthought,
To listen to and watch the river flow,
And to regard fully what I had brought:
Feeling ungrateful and a little low.
And as I climbed again back to the road,
I found my shameful thoughts dimmed and slowed.

/ / /

This poem was written to the day twenty-eight prompt at Poetic Asides to write a remix poem. I’ve remixed “River” – a free verse poem from day two over at NaPoWriMo – into a sonnet.

Duplex (Though I read the directions)

Though I read the directions
I did not know how to get there

     Not knowing how to get there
     I asked for help

I asked for help as best I could
But did not make myself understood

     Making myself understood
     Has long eluded me

What has long eluded me
Is understanding myself

     Trying to understand myself
     Has lead me to many places

For all the many places inside myself
There are no directions to read

/ / /

This poem was written to the day twenty-seven prompt at Poetic Asides to pick a direction. I also incorporated the day twenty-six prompt at NaPoWriMo to write a poem centered around repetition. I was very much inspired by Jericho Brown’s poem “Duplex (I Begin With Love)”.

Evening Dress

I put on my evening dress
And went out for a casual stroll

The sidewalk grew perfectly flat
Tree roots subsided / cracks disappeared

Wheelchairs and strollers rolled smoothly
People began to dance

A little soft shoe / a little slide
Music came from everywhere

Measured was the music
And the hearts of the people were calm

As their bodies swayed into parallel lines
New line dances were invented

Every move was so smooth
All rhythm no blues

A steady beat to the music
Everyone finding a partner

They were on the same level
They looked directly into each other’s eyes

Everything was right
Everything was true

Until I ended my stroll
In my evening dress

/ / /

This poem was written to the prompt at Poetic Asides for day twenty-six to write an evening poem.