No Sense to It

Sunlight in the Bedroom 3

Sunlight in the Bedroom 3 (Photo credit: AMD5150)

The dun wanna is upon him again,
sapping his heart’s autonomic urge
to keep expressing blood and words.
You have to burn with The Urge
in order to be one of Us,
the voices of the blue angel chorus
hissed from shoulder-left. Burn.

Better you should just burn altogether,
for all this is worth, said the fallen
angel posing as fickle muse to starboard.
He sighed and thought to throw the wanna on
his unlit pyre pillow of kindling woven of
other broken wannas and those heavy haftas
that he had no fire left to ignite.

Instead, he sighed, dipped it in milk,
rolled over and wrote a note on his sheets.
It said, Can’t do it no more. None of it.
He closed his eyes and lost the fight to dawn.

The Denver Stage ~ A Story


The Old Stage-Coach of the Plains, 1901, Amon ...

The Old Stage-Coach of the Plains, 1901, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A Five Sentence Fiction

Thick, prairie-yellow dust floated all around them, even clouding the view a passenger in the forward seat of this Butterfield stage had of his bone-rattled fellow traveler sitting knee-to-knee with him in the opposite seat.

“You know, friend,” the thick-set man who called himself Grimes said from that seat beneath the driver and guard, “I always thought these Kansas plains were supposed to be dead flat, and they’re anything but, and I hoped we’d be able to see anything coming after us from miles and miles away…you know, like a Cheyenne raiding party.”

“No sir,” said Lucius Sherwood, a railroad accountant from Chicago, “besides being damned bumpy and rutted, they kinda roll likes waves on Lake Michigan or for sure the ocean, and any scoundrels could hide beneath the swells anywhere around us and you’d never see them until they were right on top of you…not hardly limitless views.”

Grimes coughed, wiped his mouth and eyes with the once-clean lacy handkerchief he’d bought in Kansas City for his wife in Denver, strained to see any movement out along the seemingly table-flat horizon, and said, “I’m sure glad these three soldier boys from Fort Wallace happened along to see us to their station.”

Sherwood took a pull from the passenger canteen, nodded and said, “Me, too…not a thing to worry about…Seventh Cavalry boys…tough as old leather and been out here since the War…know the plains like their own beds,” just as three riderless horses bolted past his side of the coach, one with an arrow sticking from its right haunch.

Here’s a Five Sentence Fiction using Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word LIMITLESS.

Only Words

Mine is a life of words, I fear.
Any deeds I’ve lived solely in my head
as I would the lines of this story
I shall never write.
They are threads of worthless language
strung over and over,
woven into the discomfiting comforter
I wear each night, eyes open,
staring into the dark ceiling,
where brightly plays the fantasy journal
of the young, brave, athletic, loving
writer’s days that never were.
Then comes the eye-blink sleep
without dreams and, too soon,
creeping dawn. It drags with it
my hope merely to stand and
sumnambulistically beat my breast
from inside out through another day,
only to live again for those seconds
in which I lie and lie, playing once more
with the words that are my life.


When the lights came on and I awoke, I noticed the walls
had risen again, trees and years of hiding now diminishing
any hint of my old sky’s grandeur–its tangerine dawn and
glowing ember sundown–from my sight. Or merely from my vision?
Have the trees really grown so tall over these years,
or have I dimished in size or soul? Maybe so.
I can’t recall if it was I who wished to be shut off
from the flora, the fauna, the coarse or silent vox populi
that vexed my shallow self. I was the architect
and builder of these barriers between me and them,
you and me, but these blocks of words upon which I built
my own prison have lost the strength to hold me anymore.
The words, the blocks, have become mere tokens in a game,
a test of strength none of us have the strength to play anymore.
No longer can I buttress this keep in which I keep my feelings;
hell, I couldn’t even turn locks tagged
Exit and Shut Down.


Remembering Dave Carter, who saved me…again

Dave Carter

Dave Carter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before I became what some call a poet, I couldn’t tell a Sara Teasdale from a Saran tea cozy, a Billy from a Tom Collins. But I recognized what I considered mastery of words and how some men and women gave them a heartbeat that mine would echo, a vision that I could see.

Besides Dylan, (Bob, not Thomas) Paul Simon (to whom I give thanks for that last bit), Leonard Cohen, Nanci Griffith and their rarefied ilk, there came late to grace my mind’s ear a songwriter most of you probably never heard of named Dave Carter.

And seemingly as soon as I “discovered” him, Dave was taken away, at age 49, by a heart attack just a few counties east of here in Hadley, Mass., on the morning of July 19, 2002.

This passing hit me in a way I did not expect…harder than I would imagine during this time of my depression and illness. And, in retrospect, I think the poet (for he was a poet of brilliant gifts) Dave Carter’s death may in some way have been a spark toward my becoming a writer again after I came through my little heart and head issues a few years ago. You never know when that tap on your shoulder will come again, so I decided to become the me you’ve come to read.

I was feeling a little blue today and wasn’t sure exactly why, I’m sure it’s a compost heap of things, from which I hope someday something fine will grow. But, once I remembered the date and listened to a bunch of Dave’s songs with his partner in music and life Tracy Grammer, I remembered how lucky I am to still be here and able to express myself as I now do. Certainly not so well as that poet of the plains, Dave Carter did. More like a poet of the plain, and that’ll have to do.

I may never be published, may never submit again, but I can’t deny what I’ve been given.

Do yourself a favor and check out some of Dave’s lyrics someday, particularly The Mountain and Tanglewood Tree.  Until then, here’s a glimpse of Dave and Tracy doing his song that I want played on my way outta this somewhat brightening world. Maybe I’ll meet Dave then in Happytown. It’s called When I Go.

Heat Wave


Record High Temperature

Record High Temperature (Photo credit: NickWarzy)

All day, for six straight steaming sun-ups
and a half-dozen retina-searing sundowns,
the people who bemoaned their frigid snowy winter
wipe their wet cheeks over the heat this July week.
Their faces shine in the dawn light these mornings,
when 9s are hung in the wide-screen, surround-sound
public square and the talking hairdo town crier
warns of the approach of certain writhing death
for those who do not sufficiently hydrate.
My dog knows this.

I would hear the bump-whir of the air conditioning
kicking in again, but the hi-def Hark the Herald of doom
puts on her drama mask and serious tone megaphone
to relate how tempers sparked in street-length saunas
have claimed four lives overnight. Janus-like,
she flips her mien, and then her mane, smiles wide
and tells me we’re going to see how the penguins
at the Sea-quarium handle this heat wave.
But first these words…

Clan Nobody


Window Rain

Window Rain (Photo credit: Martin Cathrae)

Miss Emily and I are related,
we pair being Nobodies from the
looking out the window branch
of the Nobody clan.
We sit our watch and record
the muffled and twisted
passing-by that runs bleary
across the rain-spattered glass.

Tunnels we dig from scarred
and calloused hearts onto
this bog of white.
Our dreams and hopes
we make flesh like Jesus.
He, scourged with quills
and bleeding ink, raises our
unsaveable souls, turning Frogs
to June-baptised princes.

Are you — nobody — too?

Written — too-quickly — for Miss Kellie’s Free Write Friday prompt of escape, the great getaway.

And shared with the Open Link Night crowd at dVerse Poets.

Dawn Flight ~ A Story

Alpine Barn

Alpine Barn (Photo credit: Petur)

A Five Sentence Fiction

Captain Bobby Rossi, late of the 307th Fighter Squadron, United States Army Air Corps, was awakened this fourth morning of his escape from Locano Canavese prison camp by the rumble of the heavies–B-24 Liberator bombers–overhead, just like he was back in his airfield bunk in Sicily.

But, feeling the week’s worth of beard stubble and the smell of goats on him, he remembered he was in a barn only a few miles from the Swiss border owned by signora Lenzi, who he surprised the night before with his hidden presence and ability to say to her in Italian, “Aiutami, ti prego, io sono un pilota americano, do you understand?…an American flyer.”

Signora Lenzi told him he could spend the night, but must leave at dawn, lest the German soldiers patrolling the border passes to Switzerland find him and kill them both.

“I wonder if any of my guys are up there supporting those Libs,” he breathed as he opened the barn door and peered at the sky for any specks that might be 307th Squadron Spitfires and wishing he was flying in one instead of in the midst of an entirely different type of flight.

Between his heart pounding loudly and the roar of 200 Pratt & Whitney engines aloft, Rossi never heard signora Lenzi’s appasionato, Unteroffizier Gunter Grenze slip up and place the muzzle of his Mauser pistol behind the pilot’s ear with a whispered, “Hallo, amerikanisch.”

Here’s a Five Sentence Fiction using Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word FLIGHT.


Vintage Coffee Pot - Gold

Vintage Coffee Pot – Gold (Photo credit: Ann Douglas)

An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.
Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.

I am a vessel, probably more empty than filled,
not a glass holding a metaphysical question of fullness,
but more a coffee pot with a permanently stuck-on top.
My contents will pour, if I decide to share,
but it will be damned difficult for you to share yours,
if I decide to let you share. I’ve never gone dry,
though I’ve known more dregs in my heart
than overflowing sloshes.

To slosh connotes a messy decanting
and I am careful to be free yet neat in that
which I share. I locked on my top a long time ago,
not to keep all to myself, but to keep yours to yourself,
your splashes of vitriol, anger, acrid and sour.
I have enough of my own poison settled there
at the bottom of this tin pot, dented by time.

But, please, if you wish to mingle the nectar
of kindness, love, and peace with my poor pour,
I shall turn absolutely acrobatic to help you.
I shall respond with the cream of all I am
if you wish to mingle with the remains
of this old vessel, this heart, scarred
and still more empty than filled.

I wrote this free-write poem in response to a prompt from my friend Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday for June 29, 2013. This week she asked us to write something inspired (and you never know where inspiration might take me) by the quote at the top of this piece. So there you are.