It Had Been

his energy waned
he was fearful
he didn’t mind being alone
except that he was lonely now
it hadn’t always been this way

he had lived a life of adventure
his face had known many smiles
he had myriad loves
he could play music and jokes
it had been that way for a long time

he had wandered
and been lost
had looked for signs in headlines
and slept on concrete
it had been that way for too long

he regretted leaving the church
he remembered the circle of love there
he hoped the philosophy he’d cobbled together
would hold him in his final days

it had been his way
he just hoped it was the right one

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 24 a la Leo at The Sunday Whirl and Wither Goest Thou Kevin Bacon? – Prompt #23 at Poetic Bloomings.

I’m raising funds for The Office of Letters and Light, the nonprofit organization that sponsors National Novel Writing Month in November. Please check out my Night of Writing Dangerously post.

And, in case you missed it, there is my interview with Sherry Blue Sky at Poets United.


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.


I’m always looking back,
hanging around as I do.
That’s what I’m here for.

I see you as no one else does.
I look you straight in the eye.
I’m always looking back

at you when you’re looking at me.
I’m a good listener too.
I listen to you sing in the shower

and I pay special attention
when you practice asking your boss
for that raise we both know you deserve.

I wait for you to come home.
I’m always here for you,
morning or night. Just turn on the light

so I can see you better.
You’re looking tired now. Time
to brush your teeth and go to sleep.

* * * * *

This poem was originally written for the April 20, 2010 prompt at Poetic Asides to write a looking back poem. I was not posting poems last year, so while this is an older poem, it’s a fresh post. I’m posting it today because I remembered it when looking at this week’s Thursday Think Tank at Poets United.

Scriptures and Strictures

Wordsworth said nuns fret not / at their convent walls
I imagine Christians / are equally happy
with the walls / of their lives
for Heaven waits for them / the saved
space is saved for them / infinite space
in the presence of a God / omnipotent and omniscient
which messes with my mind / not bound by faith
Is God watching me write this poem?
Is He watching you read it?
Is it part of His plan / that I marvel
at the scriptures and strictures / I myself do not believe in?
in which I myself do not believe? / because that’s better grammar
another set of rules to differentiate / between how we talk
and how we write / just being literate is a threshold we must cross
and stairs to keep climbing / the great books we read in college
when we were too young / to truly appreciate the wisdom within
so limited we were / by our youth and inexperience
so we wrote poems with enthusiasm / with passion
as if we invented erotic love / or at least sex
and what was wrong / with all the old people anyway
who had given up / the pleasures of the flesh
for the mind / and they thought / and thought
and told us our poetry was no good / a vomit spreading out
it needed form / we were just playing with the net down
the tennis balls crossing that center line / with ease
it was too easy / the water needed some cold
something more solid / a little rime / a little rhyme
and how about some recognizable meter / just for good measure
and don’t even get them started / on light verse
or anybody popular / so we tried that / and it was mostly too hard
we liked it soft / but then we got all heady with linguistics
and the limits of language / to convey anything
of any substance / because they are insubstantial
a human invention / like God and religion and convent walls
just words / not the real thing / even words like Beauty and God
they’re intangible / vast concepts / vast beings perhaps
or maybe even something of which we can’t yet conceive
because we’re so limited / so finite / so the words
paltry stick figures that they are / shadows on the cave wall
of the real thing / but they’ll do / because they’re all we’ve got
so we muddle through in our one-way through time sort of way
wishing we could see the future / or recover the past
which we can’t / so we make the most of the moment
this now / these words / living a life with Love and Beauty
and God too if you’ve got room for Him / I don’t mind
because I don’t judge / I’m happy within my walls
and I’ll let you be happy within yours / even if I think
yours are the wrong color / and your fence a little too high

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the Take It to the Limit prompt at We Write Poems.