This is the kind of writing that haunts me. Something to think about…

The Reluctant Poet

By Charles Robert Lindholm

My brother’s keeper

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Self-Respect Means Knowing What Love Is & What Love Is Not

I was lucky enough to find this post through my friend, The Reluctant Poet. http://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com/

I highly recommend following both his blog and this one. Powerful writing!

Writing With Hope

Self-Respect Means Knowing What Love Is & What Love Is Not5 years ago…

My face hit the floor, as I was literally brought to my knees, begging and pleading with snot and tears running down my face. I might as well have been kissing his feet, and all to make him reconsider ending our marriage.

The response I received started as an arrogant scoff that accumulated into explosive laughter. He rolled his eyes at me with not an ounce of sympathy or concern and mockingly spit out, “Get up off the floor and stop making a fool of yourself.”

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The Poet

the poet


Words fell from her lips

pooling on the floor, shimmering


Her body almost invisible as she read

moving with rhythm and purpose


Her shadow dancing on the wall melded with peeling paint

punctuating stories only she could tell


There was beauty to its ugliness


Her voice soft, almost a whisper

echoing in a room greedily swallowing all sounds

except for the scraping of our chairs against a cracked tiled floor


We pulled them forward to hear her speak


And when she was done, she sighed and bent her head

spent, drained, delivered


Power, her gift

Our attention, its vehicle


photo: Free Vectors



I wrote this after watching a woman perform at The New World Deli for the 2017 Austin International Poetry Festival. She was very unassuming when she stepped on stage and then came to life as she read. She was amazing!






Woman on sunset

With a penchant for following her heart,

being driven mad by inconsistent expectations became familiar territory

Choosing this path, choosing to follow a heart made vulnerable

created the woman she’d hoped to become, one bolstered by conviction

where despair held no claim

Strength defines freedom

blazing a trail through chaos

to a place of peace

photo: Bing Images

prompts: MLMM Heeding Haiku, #BentHalos, #SableSwanV, WordPress Daily Prompt

Rose-colored Glasses

Reblogging an old post…fits perfectly with this prompt!


Subtle shades of pink

soften the edges

in a black and white world


Streaks of vibrant salmon

dance across stormy skies

in the midst of chaos


A rush of crimson

decorates chapped faces

in the coldest winter mornings


Cuddly carnation blankets

swathe crying babies

in the in-between hours of dusk and dawn


Sweet cherry Lifesavers

shared between young girls

in the gestures that comfort


Endless fields of poppies

celebrate the wonder of creation

in the face of sorrowful destruction


Rose-colored glasses

frame my endeavors

in all that I do


I live in a pink hued world

and leave the black and white




photo: Google Images

prompt: Music Prompt # 11


By Chance

mindlovesmiserysmenagerie photo challenge 179

Barraged by noise, the clanging and banging sounds of industry insidiously

creeping into every corner, every moment, every thought

I lost the ability to find silence

and when faced with adversity, issues and challenges relentless in their pursuit

of chaos, of turmoil, of white-hot anger, of well-planned revenge

I lost perspective

I met a woman once by chance as we shared the same road

Content as cold winds blew through our common space, she smiled

The jostling of irritated commuters vying for optimum position didn’t bother her

She sat, hands folded, smiling at anyone who happened to look in her direction

Intrigued, I had to know more

and so I slid into the seat beside her

to listen to her story

Her days were not long for this earth, she shared

as she took my hand and patted it without reservation

Her words spoken next cut above it all until there was nothing else to hear

When all options are stripped away

without warning or consideration

for what might have been,

only one choice remains


She told me she imagines herself

a cathedral

where quiet serenades her soul

and soft beauty cushions her fear

She told me she imagines herself

a vessel

something to provide comfort and shelter

as she anticipates this next journey

We spent the last few miles alone together

in imagined places the outside world could not reach

When the last stop was called and we turned to go separate ways

I wished her well and thanked her

a gift of perspective

I cherished it as I continued alone

a walk in silence to find my way


photo: Peterio – MLMM Photo Challenge 179

prompts: WordPress Daily Post, #writingandhealing, #becomingfragile

Change of Season

sunrise7164 (2)

Sultry days retreat into cool nights where stars explode on velvet ink skies. We slip down that old dirt road past the soaring birch dropping its golden leaves to collect dew covered one-eyed susans before frost claims their waning blooms.

Like runaway children, we laugh as we traipse through the mud to reach the top of the hill that overlooks the sea below, pointing to forgotten clothes that dance on a line strung between cottages packed up for the season. A finale of sorts in a small tourist town.

The moon casts a beam that cuts through the darkness as we wave to ships returning to port. They’ll never see us but we wave anyway. Traditions embedded in the fabric of this enchanted place die hard. I shiver as you tuck a flower in my salt-sprayed hair.

And when our lips finally meet, we celebrate this last kiss of summer.



photo: mine

prompts: Sunday Whirligig 126, Sable Swan Verse, #InkMine


dark line poetry

Like the ground, sunbaked and barren,

a wasteland built on years without rain

Desiré becomes complacent

seeking to quench her thirst

with a single tear

Choking on silence

that rambles across ruined lives

Desiré becomes frail

seeking to satisfy her needs

with a single word

Existing in perpetual darkness,

a world without connection

Desiré becomes desperate

seeking a sliver of sunlight

with a single plea

When lightning finally struck

and everything burnt in a spectacular blaze,

desire became intention

A new path to follow

created with a single step

photo: Dark Line Poetry

prompts: #DarkLines, #SableSwanV, #IntrigueVerse, #BentHalos

Art as Freedom

mlmm haibun aug 2.png

Metamorphosis defines shadows clinging to stark white walls —worlds all at once lost and found. Complete surrender dressed in submission, he was without regret. The choice to step away from colors that bled, he sought serenity in simplicity and found it in the quiet lingering on pages yet to be filled. An artist of masterpieces yet to be created.

The final break, the transition from rules created in a spirit meant to break them to that place where need overcame desire was made the instant he let go.

Importance is lost

when monetary gain trumps

the beauty in art


rare, elusive, undefined

exists without rules

art: Matteo Pugliese

prompt: Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille

Ode to a Kiss


Gifted by time’s sweet perspective,

twists and turns defined a solitary kiss

To heal the hurt, his simple objective

a lingering embrace, a rescue from the abyss

And in that moment when time stood still,

when faith and trust meant letting go

I felt these intentions of his

A connection meant to chase away that chill

A chance to erase the trials of long ago

I understand now what love is

Battle scars bent on naming me defective

I wandered about feeling amiss

Defense tactics, my shield deflective

Never afraid of those things I’d miss

I was content sliding downhill,

adept at being invisible, a lonely shadow

but something in those eyes of his —

a plea to trust, a promise of good will

and with that, I offered hope in escrow

to take a chance without analysis

Years and laughter mark this retrospective

spent mostly in moments of bliss

A life built on this chance collective

forgotten by a past I now dismiss

Dreams we take care to refill,

an insurance on each blessed tomorrow,

knowing he is mine and I am his

That sweet kiss, the start of promises to fulfil

Watching this love grow and grow,

this is what love is

photo: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

prompts: Tale Weaver #129, #TastyPoem, #SWPrompts

Summer Memories

grandma and grandpa.jpg

They used to take us to the beach on Sundays.

My grandfather’s rust-colored Oldsmobile packed to overflowing,

a cooler filled with cooked chicken, polpette, and roasted peppers

in the trunk. Glass jars filled with water jostled next to mini-bottles of cola

and brown paper sacks bursting with peaches, plums, and blood-red cherries.

Beach chairs – the kind with woven plastic ribbons of aqua and white

shared space in the trunk with the obligatory umbrella, slightly rusted from years of use.

My sisters and I squished into the couch-like backseat.

Those were the days no-one bothered with seatbelts.

It was about an hour’s drive from Hartford to Rocky Neck.

About halfway there, we’d pass one of those electronic signs

that warned drivers if they were speeding.

My grandfather, his summer Fedora cocked to one side, set it off every time.

I can still hear him laughing.

We’d get to the parking lot early to claim a picnic table under the trees.

Some of my grandparent’s compari would already be there, setting up their own tables.

A sea of oilcloth covered tables was laden with containers wrapped in tinfoil.

The aroma of our ethnic food filled the air as barbeques were fired up.

As we got closer, old friends exchanged the usual greetings.

It was the same every Sunday.

My grandmother pushed us to go say hello.

Our faces would ache after from all the cheek pinching.

Figlia bedda, they’d say.

We just smiled and nodded.

We’d eat lunch, sharing dishes between tables.

After a while, my sisters and I would get bored and

wander off to explore the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

The thick carpet of pine needles in the woods hid the sharp stones

that punished our bare feet and it wasn’t too long before we’d head back.

By the time we’d return, lunch was packed up and the picnic tables were cleaned.

My grandfather in his sleeveless t-shirt, umbrella slung over one shoulder led the way

to the crowded beach where we’d spend the rest of the day.

We had to pass through a tunnel that ran under the railroad tracks.

The air was stagnant there, the stone-lined walls always damp.

Our feet made scratchy sounds as we walked and our laughter echoed,

bouncing off the narrow walkway.

Once through, we had to shield our eyes

as they adjusted to the sunlight reflecting off the water.

We trudged behind grandma until she found the perfect spot.

Grandpa set up the umbrella as we stretched our towels across the hot sand.

We’d spend hours there, listening to conversations in a mix of languages.

Teasing and fun, the same in any tongue.

Crashing waves and salt-filled air somehow made time go faster.

We always left exhausted and yet perfectly refreshed.

It was the perfect summer day, each and every time.

Decades have now passed since we lost Grandma and Grandpa.

My children, now older than I was on those Sunday trips to the beach.

But I remember…

I feel them with me, especially on warm sun-filled days like today.

The call of sandy beaches is strong and I can smell that ocean breeze.

My childhood is calling.

Time to go to the beach.

photo: mine


Gift of Indecision


It’s a blessing, this indecision

No more hesitating to count what’s mine

although a tear may blur my vision

This choice, a final baseline

No more hesitating to count what’s mine

I’ll erase those mistakes and call it revision

This choice, my final baseline

for a future free of derision

I’ll erase those mistakes and call it revision

Surely a gift from above, some kind of sign

A future free of derision,

a blessing borne of indecision

photo: Flickr

prompt: Sammi Cox – Weekend Writing Prompt #12


IMG_0358 (2).JPG

Below the city’s cobblestones,

it shifted, restless and hungry

Its assault knew no bounds

I never saw it coming

Intent on satisfying a lust for chaos,

it lingered in the night

calling my name

And I, already astray on tumultuous seas,

sought refuge on its false oasis,

believing its promise of safety

Its lighthouse, sweeping lights spewing gentle rage,

deceived this lonely sailor

desperately grasping at lifelines

I bathed in its devious beams

Bruised and battered, I climbed its rocky shore

My boat, nothing but splinters, lay strewn against its bluffs

My tender feet masticated by skeletons of those who came before

Lured by its siren call, I persisted,

dragging myself to a gleaming gate

swung open in grand gestures of welcome

City streets, cold and empty, warned of danger

Still, I fell to my knees

thankful to be on solid ground

I never felt its knife plunge into my back

photo: mine

prompts: MLMM – First Line Fridays, #SW Prompt 04, #Written River, WordPress Daily Post

Bridging Time

friends at bridge

Funny how years can melt away, slipping down those walls we built. A shared smile slipped in the locks of time and toggled open each yesterday. We fell into a familiar routine, one that lived in a place before a hinged door hesitated and shut with a whispered click.

That day of goodbyes, the one roaming the corners of my mind, tugged on tethers we spent years cultivating.
I saw them wrapped around each signpost I passed, and wondered..

Can burned bridges be reconstructed?

Silhouettes contrast
light and dark, past and present
with simple beauty

So it was there in a small café we became engineers, designing this new trestle.
Two women gossiping like the old women we would become.
Minutes became hours as the past came alive in a room full of strangers,
each memory a steel crossbeam spanning distances time held dear.
Wide-open acceptance built a deck, well-worn cracks bolstered by connections.
And those once tenuous tethers wound together in unpliable strands connecting light and dark, past and present.

This bridge, resilient
light and dark silhouetted
against still shadows

photo: Pexels

prompts: WordPress Daily Post, Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Saturday’s Mix

Healing Hands

nurse's hands.jpg

In the end, hands told the story

a common denominator among the dying


Some clenched in anger or pain or both

grasping sweat-soaked sheets on a rented hospital bed

that had taken over the room where family meals used to be shared

white gladiolas, long neglected, wilt in an empty vase


Some folded to accompany fervent prayers

offered by a minister speaking in thunderclaps and cloudbursts

as the faithful gathered with perfect posture to welcome the hereafter

a child, ignored, sleeps in a corner


Some reached out as if to delay the inevitable

begging for reprieve, an end to this suffering

immured in a place that reeked of antiseptic and rot

vials of medicine, insulin perhaps, untouched as morphine pumps whirl


Some were limp as if in acquiescence

relaxed as stories of days gone by were shared without regret

a last celebration of sorts, glasses of wine filled and refilled

containers of food from a favorite restaurant growing cold on the counter


Some were given to shake and tremble

the only obvious movement of a body in a seemingly endless slumber

an errant interruption of feigned peace on display by the light radiating from a single bulb

his slovenly dressed son rubs his scraggly beard and weeps


And she, as witness to final moments, embraced each one,

providing comfort and compassion and a hand to hold


photo: Pixabay

prompt: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie Wordle #161


Family Ties


Elusive, like shadows in the water

Static electricity that hums just before it sparks

A vanishing point that disappears just beyond awareness

There’s an invisibility to it, this connection

A chain-reaction that builds as one after another after another

is born to women who are sisters, to women who are daughters

in a family creating its own legacy

Bonds illuminated by the blood they share

strengthened when challenged

enhanced when needed

nourished unapologetically

Deepened by years that crawl through experiences

collectively perceived as each is individually held

a gift, this alliance bequeathed by birth

a treasure. each defining my

past, present, and future

photo: mine

prompt: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie writing prompt #213

Scarlet Letters

scarlet letter


She was somewhat of a local legend

what with the way she always dressed in black

An obsidian obelisk stuck in the candy-colored swirl of clouds,

her youthful face obscured by the weight of her grief

Still, she was woven into the community fabric,

an example of the perilous journey betrayal invites

A warning

Trust long since left behind, scattered in the days

when she existed in another life, another place

A perpetual hiatus

Even casual observations painted her heartsick regret

with a brush heavy with accusation

Commonly held belief held her accountable

for his permanent departure, that night he did it

that morning when she found him, lifeless

when even a spectacular sunrise could not

undo what he did, what she did

Discarding the rule of law that called her blameless,

this tight-knit town handed down its own sentence,

ostracizing her in a place that had always been home

She would never again belong



photo: Google Images


prompts: #HeartToPoetry, WordPress Daily Prompt






La Gaudiere


Maybe it was the summer heat

a perceptible shift from the mundane

maybe it was the summer heat


first attempts washed away the stain

a tentative push toward rebellion

a perceptible shift from the mundane


tired of leaning backwards, of the Machiavellian

a nudge to stiffen the spine and vent

a tentative push toward rebellion


partial became whole with each voice of dissent

even the timid found smiles as they set to oppose

a nudge to stiffen the spine and vent


A chorus of voices — oh, how it rose

collective power under that blazing sun

even the timid found smiles as they set to oppose


a spark to set that fire, not to be undone

collective power under that blazing sun

Maybe it was the summer heat

Maybe it was the summer heat


photo: Pixabay


prompt: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie wordle #160



I dreamt of my past last night…

the ultimate paradox

that place where my dreams lived

when all the edges were smooth and

promises opened to possibilities that

blossomed in the night

where even the tension that beckoned

each morning serves now as my muse

and the drama it owned told stories

that would fill any playhouse with audiences

who urged the ingénue to bite a poisoned apple


I suppose I’m stuck in still believing

you get what you deserve and maybe

this is where I belong

this stalemate I call home

so familiar in its restlessness

that claims hope each day

where thieves disguised as

faith and belief and ambition

steal a little more as I continue

to sleepwalk aimlessly


Or could it be, as I’m exploring this

self-indulgent note in this dream I had,

that the message is there, waiting

a way to find freedom from this lot

I’ve cultivated, I’ve carelessly encouraged,

Might be I’m holding the trident of Neptune

as I play on the rocky shore

Might be I’ve been treading water for long enough

and it’s time to sink or swim

Might be that dream last night was so commonplace

I’ve forgotten to fear it

A paradox, this future tangled in the past

where nightmares masquerade as dreams


photo: Pixabay

prompt: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie wordle #159








Each Small Moment

Each Small Moment.jpg


A quest for instant satisfaction drives fools to the edge,

a rush of adrenaline to fuel fleeting desires wrapped in pretty packages

It’s never enough to satisfy the need lurking just beneath

Disjointed ambition pandering to greed, to need, to concede

Settling for less when what the heart craves, what the heart knows,

seems too daunting a task


Take time with the things that matter


An intention made, whispered in a quiet moment,

is a cause worthy of time and patience and strength

It allows room to let frustration linger, turning slowly

until obstacles become stepping stones and each small victory

blazes a trail toward fulfillment

Because when it is important, each step fits

even when it leads to the same road block

Sometimes spinning in circles reveals the right direction


Take time with the things that matter


A quest for inner satisfaction drives the determined to the edge,

a foundation built to support enduring goals wrapped in careful planning

Just enough to satisfy the need lurking just beneath

Bounded ambition attending to identity, to integrity, to serenity

Demanding more even when what the heart craves, what the heart knows,

seems too daunting a task


Take time with the things that matter


photo: mine

prompt: Ripen the Page




With parallel experiences, our lives are intertwined

though you tend to get lost in spice and smoke, preferring to walk blind

Your strong desire to please, a dangerous mission leads you astray

These roads you follow, silent footsteps on a fool’s array

Wander as you must, choices and consequences become solidly combined


Your blood running in mine, spirits before us whisper and remind

our background, this history we share, make us forever aligned

You may go, forgetting as you disappear into the fray,

our lives are intertwined


Awestruck by this sorrow I feel, to grief I am resigned

With nerves bent and frayed, I accept this sentence you’ve assigned

and when hope withers, almost left to decay

I’ll look for you on my darkest day

A candle in the window, a call to remind

our lives forever intertwined


photo: Flickr


prompt: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie Wordle #158



a moment to collect these fragments of time

by chance, a moment to turn it inside out

if only for a moment


scaffolds of despair layered under a rain-kissed sky

imaginary temples to honor seclusion beneath a nectarine sun

as the wolf, beaten, howls at the door

for a moment


a woman, more than blood and bone, seeks truth

aspirations drawn out on willowy planks

wobble in this moment


keenly aware as it all tumbles down

she delights in destruction

as the wolf becomes her faithful companion

if only for a moment


a moment to skim these fragments of time

by chance, a moment to turn it inside out

moment by moment by moment


photo: drawing by T. Lao-ang, my student


prompts: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie Wordle #157, #MadVerse, WordPress Daily Post, #TastyPoem



Silent Detonation


Scenes played out, familiar but not quite intimate.

A slight detachment between performers and audience, yet a story shared by many.

Mutual connection separated by varying degrees of separation.

If each experience is unique, is the collective result skewed?

A responsibility to warn of dire consequences

hangs in the air, drowning out

voices repeating

old lines


a silent witness

unmasked as worlds come undone

Contrition does not absolve


one chance

to stop duplicating

past choices too many made

A responsibility to warn of dire consequences

Is this collective experience skewed when nothing is really unique?

Varying degrees of separation are still the same color bathed in different hues

A story shared by far too many persists without an alliance between each one of us

The familiar, intimate on any stage


photo: publicdomainpictures.net


prompts: Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie, #MSpoetry, WordPress Daily Post



the power of memories

a trip to what had been

I let go

I surrendered


the power of a song

a reminder of what had been

I heard echoes of laughter

I danced with ghosts


burdens of today weigh heavy

a prison made from scars

I needed to slip away

I cast a lifeline to yesterday


If for a moment, relief


nostalgia infused in this blue mood

a few hours lost in old songs

I let go

I surrendered



photo: mine


prompt: WordPress Daily Post