Nostalgia for Death

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a “book spine” poem. We are asked to write down the titles of books in our bookcases and use them to construct a poem, interspersing a few words of our own. I used titles of both poetry and fiction.

these are not sweet girls

we gather, writing poems, protest and a dream

simple verses

in Neruda’s garden

with only the light from a nearby window

weaving nostalgia for death and

carving the hieroglyphs of desire

inventing a world

of poet and politician

warring with broken spears


we dream of owls and other fantasies

of finding the prophet

the invisible presence

a healer

a phantom that saves

still life

a ghost shadow

occupying the house I loved


watching the dark

the chaperone protects us

against our wicked appetite

the English girl thought she saw the devil riding

a wolf in the shadows

demons running through broken promise land

but I secretly hoped it was

my guardian angel


has my time expired?

in the house of blues

where echoes live

I hear a steel guitar

I always wanted a jazz funeral

now I stare at the shape of dread

and see nature’s end

God calling

fade to black


One True Love

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt challenges us to write about the food we love most. Enjoy!


I was happy when all I knew was Red Delicious

Was there really any other?

Back then, the firm, crimson crunch was all I knew

Until I met a Golden

He was smooth like 24 karat

Rich and robust

All I wanted or could ever want

Until I had a McIntosh

He was tarted out

With creamy white flesh

That was juicier than juice

But I quickly bored of shallow beauty

And moved on to Royal Gala

He was the master of my soul

Or at least my taste buds

Succulent, satisfying

Shortly I became aware of Fuji

He was far more fashionable

And mellow

Almost zen

But soon I needed to party

With a Pink Lady

A departure for me, to be sure

But one must experiment

And then I met my soulmate


Nectar dripping from my mouth

With every playful bite

Tantric, skin-on enjoyment

At last, love



Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is inspired by spring plantings. We are challenged to pick the name of an heirloom seed, and incorporate or use that name to set the theme for our poem. I chose the Molokai Purple Sweet Potato.

My poem is informed by both the beauty and the heartbreak of Molokai.

Molokai is a small, gorgeous island in the State of Hawaii, formed two million years ago by two volcanoes. One of these collapsed into the Pacific, leaving half of the volcano intact to form dramatic cliffs at the edge of the island. At the base of the highest, most impenetrable cliffs, King Kamehameha V established a leper colony in 1866 and exiled thousands of Hawaiians to life imprisonment there.

Molokai is also home to Hawaii’s largest coral reef, a massive and beautiful but endangered species.


Molokai, the mysterious island

Goddess Laka, giving dance and music

teaching hula on the sacred hill Pu’u Nana

handed down through generations

Goddess Hina, giving life to the people

goddess of the moon

goddess of fishermen

Hina, who gave birth to the coral reef

and all spiny ocean creatures

mysterious isle

basking in the glory of nature

forests and waterfalls clinging to cliffs

the island’s only dangers

limited to the vagaries of native weather

and the multitude of falling coconuts


Molokai, the forsaken island

the Goddess Hina weeping

the people clamoring

haunted by heartbreak

the ghosts of panic and greed

a colony under the cliffs, where the dead roam

exiled by the king

comforted by saints

Father Damien

Mother Marianne

recovered from sickness and loneliness

with compassion, love

the eradication of ignorance

and the advent of modern medicine


Molokai, the friendly island

reborn from beauty and tourism

native charm

no traffic lights

no building taller than a coconut tree

renewed with hospitality and hula

intimate beaches, hiking and mule rides

helicopter tours

modern coping mechanisms

modern problems

marvelous ecosystem

dead-drop cliffs and waterfalls

fruitful bounty of ranches, farms

economics vs. erosion

and endangered species along the shore



Read more about Molokai’s endangered coral reef at the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.



Look Beyond

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise! Especially mine…because it is poetry rather than prose. I hope you enjoy it.

The photo prompt this week is courtesy of fellow Fictioneer Doug MacIlroy. Doug’s photos are always intriguing. When I saw this sculpture, I wondered about the process of the artist. I wondered how this sculptor might look at the world, and how s/he would ideate and create other forms of art, such as painting, photography or music.

If you would like to read other Friday Fictioneers’ work, click the blue frog below my poem. If you would like to create your own 100-word work of art, visit our fearless leader’s website–Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

she made sculpture
from junk
it was art

she drew success
out of dismal failure
it went viral

she captured humanity
in the world’s ugliness
it was beautiful

if you wondered how
she would say simply
look beyond the visible

beneath the sadness
of the homeless man’s smile
a reflection of heaven

through the heart’s eye
the colors of the city
swirl and come alive

each image
a multi-layered mystery
ready to unfold

each soul
a beautiful gem
ready to sparkle

each song
a thrilling aria
striking the clouds

this voice
inside a broken heart
ready at last to speak


At the Gate – NaPoWriMo Day 30

It’s the last day of NaPoWriMo, and we are challenged to examine the way that we begin and end our poems. One way we can do this is to take a poem we have previously written, turn it upside down (with the last line becoming the first), and edit it so that it makes sense.

I chose to do this with the poem I wrote for Day 1 of NaPoWriMo. The original poem started in a place of darkness and proceeded to a hoped-for state of light. Of course, reversing the order gave a different feel. With only a few words changed, the poem now ends by advising the reader not to be afraid of the dark (i.e., pain and suffering). I hope I can follow that advice myself!

I think the poem still retains the essence of hope and healing. If I have learned anything, it is that without hope, we cannot move forward.

angel statue

as you stand before the gate

she brushes off the snow and makes you beautiful

she carried you in a blithe but urgent rush

to your yearned-for destination

you ascend on angel’s wings

when light has failed you

so welcome the dark

Golden Gate – NaPoWriMo Day 28

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to write a poem about a bridge. For me, the choice was obvious. I have a love/hate relationship with the Golden Gate bridge. Well, mostly love. But read on….

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

I left my heart
in The City
just like the song says
but only part
it is split apart
by the beautiful bridge
its imposing structure
orange, not gold
and no golden gate
still, it is the gateway
to two halves of my soul

it always seems too long
vibrating beneath me
whining against
the texture of my tires
lanes too narrow
always nervous
always wondering
if I’ll make it across
without incident

then I am on the other side
and northern California
opens up to me
I sit for hours
in Sausalito
gazing across the bay
and watching seagulls
feast on human food
I bask in the shade
of Muir Woods
I don’t feel so old
amongst the ancient trees

it’s a white knuckle drive
back across the bridge
my reward, the skyline
The City sparkles
lit up in evening dress
inviting me to dinner
(I accept)

finally, to bed, to dream
of waking Rodin’s Thinker
to ask what he is thinking about
of basking in the sun
like lazy seals on the pier
of seeing a different
view of The City
from every hilltop
of driving over my beautiful bridge
that whines when I leave

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Photo Copyright: Janet L. Brown

Jack of Hearts – NaPoWriMo Day 23

This NaPoWriMo challenge asks us to pull a card at random from a deck, free-write about the card for five minutes, then create a poem from that.


you are a knave

a valet to the brave knight

requiring no bravery of your own

a handsome profile

an empty crown

a servant in aristocratic dress

a contradiction

someone, ironically, without a heart

but who collects others’


do you take

the shards of each broken heart

and sharpen your sword with them

preparing for the next victim

how does a heart heal

after an encounter with you


deal me instead

the ten of hearts

ten juicy red hearts

no fancy dress

what you see

is what you get

no facade

no attitude

no lies

no airs

no regrets


yes, deal me instead

the ten of hearts

and I will win the game


How Not to Heal a Broken Heart

The NaPoWriMo prompt for April 18th is to write a poem about a rushed delivery of an urgent message. 


She sang

As naturally, as beautifully
As a siren
Once that sound
Had cured me
Of a broken heart
It only wounds more deeply
I squirm in the back row
Hold my chest
Lest my heart jump out
And pursue her
She trills her last note
And I wend my way forward
Rushing as fast as I can
Against the movement of the crowd
To hand her roses
A symbol of our love
Black roses
Desiccated, lifeless
She drops them
Knowing the message they convey
A death knell
For her
For me
Like the opera
She just performed
I’m closer now
I plunge the knife
Before security hauls me away
And I swallow the capsule
Taking one last look
At a dying diva

Dear Poetry – NaPoWriMo Day 15

The NaPoWriMo challenge for April 15th was to write a poem that addresses some aspect of itself. So….I’ve written a letter of sorts, to my dear friend, Poetry.


Dear Poetry,

You are my closest ally

As I strive

To understand the pain

And the process of healing

Or not


My interim comfort

As more familiar comforts

Elude me

And the prospect of normalcy



My lifelong companion

Who wants to be normal? You ask

I have to answer, Not me!

So we walk toward the future