Sammi’s Weekender #258 (impromptu)

Click on Sammi’s graphic to open her page in a new tab and read other 48-word wonders.

Pointless vers libre

I wrote this poem
impromptu, an
extemporaneous literary
ejaculation written to a prompt,
which, oxymoronically, means
improvised unprompted.

An unemotional, virtuous
pronouncement, to wit, I was
fully unprepared
by the fulness of time
to provide profoundness
of contemplation.

In my vernacular,
I pulled it out
of my ass.


Look both ways even on one-way streets.
Some contrivances must be assembled quickly.
Mind the gaps because the Russians are coming.

Monday’s Rune: Sudden Snake Story


Watch My Step

On a recent sunny Spring morning I walked comfortably along the yellowish-brown path of a meadow trail. I thought I saw a snake stretched calmly across my path. The trail ground cover and snake were much the same texture and color. I removed my sunglasses, moved closer, and looked directly at whatever it was.

Sure enough, a three-to-four-foot-long Texas rattlesnake, one of our ten species, was calmly holding its head up and making eye contact. It was not coiled-up or making threatening rattle noises. I noticed its tongue sensing the air. Otherwise, it was motionless.

I decided the snake was probably a female, not that I could tell. I’ve always had better luck with female mammals, why not reptiles? It’s difficult to determine a snake’s sex unless you are an expert, a snake, or have a sexing kit. They cost about $70, if you have a need to know and are willing to get more up close and personal with snakes than most folks are, be my guest. That optimistic conclusion helped to keep me calm.

However, I was shocked when the snake spoke to me. She said, “Please, don’t make me move. It’s early and I’m still cold.”

I stepped back and looked around. I tried to speak but I only stammered stupid nothings. I wasn’t afraid and thought it might be a trick. Imagine speaking to any animal. My skepticism must have showed.

“Oh, please,” she hissed, “everyone knows snakes talk. The Bible? Eve? Don’t make me do that bite thing. Humans taste like soap. We don’t like doing that.”

No way! A talking snake. Unbelievable (except biblically).

I hoped no one would hear me, “So, what is your name? What should I call you?

She seemed to smile, “Call me Metaphor. We don’t use names. But, since I’m blocking your progress for a while, it’s apropos, don’t you think? What is your name?”

Holy shit. A philosophical, talking rattlesnake.

“I’m Bill. Do you want me to leave?”

She answered, “Not really. If you’re uncomfortable, walk around me and get on with your life. I’ll do the same. If someone else comes by, it may not go this well. But if you have a few minutes, let’s talk. Think of it as a game.”

Good grief. A fucking philosophical, bible-wise, talking lady-snake who wants to play mind games with me.

She seemed to like me. Other than Eve, who has ever encountered a talking animal? Ok, maybe the fish in that Hemmingway book. Wait. No, never mind. Now that I think about it, talking animals are everywhere in literature, TV, and movies. I couldn’t just up and leave without regrets.

She asked, “Which do you fear more, other humans, aggressively growling dogs, or snakes?”

I admitted it. Snakes scare me. “No dog has bitten me since childhood. People seem safe enough.”

“Why is that?” she asked, “Have you ever been harmed by a snake?”

I could see where her ‘game’ was headed. “I don’t know why. That is how it is with most people. No. I’ve never been harmed by a snake.”

She asked, “Has any human being ever harmed you in any way?”

“Of course.” I said, “Many times. We’re not very kind to each other. Humans have harmed me or threatened to do so.”

Then she asked, “Of the three, you fear least your own species even though they are the ones who have harmed you most?”

“That’s true. But most people seem harmless. I feel safe, most of the time.”

“How many people in your life have been killed by dogs?” she asked.

I replied, “Certain breeds and certain dogs can be dangerous. Most animal pets are innocuous, including pet snakes.”

“That’s my point, Bill. Some dogs, people, and snakes are dangerous. But everyone and everything is not out to get you. I can tell you are not worried about me, nor need I be concerned about you. It’s called discernment. You do that with people and dogs. Try it with snakes. Now we both better get going before someone comes. I enjoyed our little game. Goodbye, Bill.”

We maintained eye contact as I walked around her, getting no closer than she was long. I turned and walked away. It’s always best to let nature, dogs, snakes, and other people do the talking. When I listen, I learn.


Look both ways crossing meadows and encountering other beings in life.
Mind the gaps and learn your lessons well.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 29)

Click for the prompt page and more.

Today, I was to write a poem where I muse on the gifts I received at birth.


Forbidden to Miners

I call for my childhood muse
to whisper of the child, to
remind me, as Mnemosyne, goddess
of memory, me within and without,
of sorrows and gifts and that I am

a coal miner’s son, given blessings
and burdens, Irish Catholic (then),
yet named for mother’s father,
a Welsh Presbyterian, a coal man; me,
youngest with three half-blood sibs.

First of family raised by both parents,
by father’s discipline tempered
by mother’s love; I, imperfect in this
less perfect world, a boomer now,
some say a most hated gen.

No special gift, proudly average,
a boy being a boy, some friends,
learner of the hard way, too afflicted
by others, not an unhappy child,
but happy to have survived to 75.

Kismet, space dust, late bloomer,
they gave me life, what happened after
was up to me. Made good and done bad,
but here I am writing about it. A poet?
That was neither planned nor expected.


Look both ways. Try to remember.
But, above all, tell your story.
Mind the gaps and fill them as best you can.

Friday Fictioneers for April 29th, 2022

Yesterday, Fictioneers Mistress Rochelle dealt us an urban photo by Ted Strutz from which we were prompted to contrive, via inspiration, a micro-fiction story. May my tardiness be forgiven. Three more NaPoWriMo poems and my life returns to whatever my normal may be.

Click on the prompt picture to be hustled over to her purple majesty’s page for the plan.

Genre: urban fiction
Title: Tony Loves Rosie
Word count: 100

The slow walking old man stopped. He remembered this corner with ambivalence, but that day with dread.

The ironic sign was near where he’d shot and killed Ted Coffey during the gang rumble. Hearing the Third Avenue elevated pass brought a tear. The bike lay were he almost bled to death. Behind him the spot where Rosie died. Then, her loud voice.

“Tony fucking Del Toro. Is that you? Remember me? It’s Rosie Reyes. I heard you died in Viet Nam. Marines, right? Hey, let’s get a cup a joe and talk old times. Good memories.”

Seeing her changed everything.


Look both ways, even on one-way streets.
Mind the gaps hidden in the crevasses of your mind.

Click on the movie scene to read more stories inspired by the prompt.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 27)

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Today, I was to write a duplex poem, a variation on the 14-line sonnet form (also echoes ghazal and blues) developed by Jericho Brown. While I did not make the last line the same as the first, I think it still fits the form near enough.


Look Both Ways

In my seventh decade I can sense
How the shortened horizon stimulates me.

As near horizons power my desire
I feel impatient and curious.

Curious about much, impatient to learn
As my memory seeks its own beginning.

Like flashing movie trailers of memory
I feel a revival of haste when I see

Time is not long, and my need is urgent.
Reality has broken though my dreams

And my dreams bow to stark reality.
From this end I see better my beginning,

My story told from beginning till now.
My seventh decade has finally arrived.


Look both ways regardless of how near or far the horizon is.
Mind the gaps because memory is tricky business.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 26)

Click the NaPo button above to open today’s prompt page with links to more poems.

For my twenty-sixth daily, prompted, voluntary assignment, today I was challenged to write a poem that contains at least one epic simile. These (Homeric) similes extend and develop over multiple lines with decorative elements that emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject. As suggested, I chose to write a complete poem as one long epic simile theme (salted with some metaphor) to carry the poem.


Flying Like Dragons

Like unleashed frightening awesomeness,
like giant thundering flying dragons with
massive wings lifting us skyward, roaring, breathing fire;
my brain blends with this pestilent machine, as if I’m guiding
an iron plague with deafening noise to wreak death,
to pour vengeance down upon their wrongs, a bane
to my enemies, a scourge of fire-for-fire. Flying
at invisible heights, with a sharp stinging tail, breathing
radiation into electrons, as my stealthy flying monster
seeks annihilation of the unjust.

Like a beast, it sees over great distances,
it smells its enemies in total darkness; then skillfully, silently
we approach as offensive defenders with hidden talons;
without emotion or fear, as if by kismet we destroy our prey
with automatic, irreversible, unmerciful curses.


Look both ways to see what is nearby but accept the limits of sensory perception.
Mind the gaps and trust your dragon’s instruments.

Sammi’s Weekender #256 (provocative)

Click on Sammi’s graphic to open her blog and links to more provocative writing.

Now or Never

Sometimes, I thoughtlessly
sit down, grab my pen or something,
and dash one off.

Without thought, form, or plan,
I’ve lost control.
No time for provocative,
deep thoughts.

It’s just me in my do it now mode.
There’s no stream or flow of consciousness,
it happens without reservation,
absent of awareness,
I’ve no muse’s prompt.

When I’m done,
I turn the page.


Look both ways and write it fast, get it down,
save the insane. Mind the gaps and traps of the mind.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 19)

Click the graphic for the prompt page and more poems by other participants.

Today’s challenge is to write a poem that starts with a command.

I wrote my poem as a more respectful, loving plea rather than a command, but the words suit the prompt’s intent well, as far as I’m concerned. My inspiration was the Peter, Paul, and Mary song, Day Is Done.


Our Day Undone

Tell me why you are sad, my son.
Let me hold your hand and listen
as you speak of woe. Call me
to your side as we talk, and we walk.
Stay near me. Tell me your regrets,
intone unknowns we both fear.

Is it wise for us to ask why, sadness
so deep we must cry? Tell me,
my son. I’ll be right here
until my last day is done. Burden my
purpose of commitment. I ask no easement,
but for your silence to clear.

Allow me to share this distress and bother
just as I’ve carried you before. I rejoiced
in your life, now let me suffer with you
the worst of your troubles. Let us be
like some small support
as we lean upon each other
and lift this load
until the healing is done
and sadness has passed.


Look both ways mindful of love’s burden.
Let compassion fill the gaps,
allow time and love to ease the pain until the day is done.

If you’re not familiar with the tune:

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 17)

Click the graphic for prompt page and more poems.

Today’s assignment was to be another fun one. It was a prompt developed by the comic artist Lynda Barry, (see the full tweet prompt here). For NaPoWriMo, it asked me to consider dogs that I’ve known, seen, or heard of. Then I was to use those thoughts as a springboard for a poem.


Must I?

Must it be one or the other?
Either I prefer cats to dogs, or vice-versa.
Like I must take sides in some
canine versus feline conflict.
Must I own one to prove some
provocative preference?

Is it wrong to treat an animal as a loved pet,
or to suggest an aggressive breed as not the best?
Synonyms for pets include loved, not family,
not as human, and now here comes the guilt trip.
Others see pets like children. Fine for them. To be right,
must I see the world through their eyes?

I’ve had a few pets, loved most, regretted few.
Most memories are good when all was well.
But all my pets, like many
of my family and friends are gone.

Unlike the Billy Collins humorous poem,
The Revenant, most dogs seem willing to
let me be, the cats I’m still uncertain about.
And they like it that way.


Look both ways respecting nature’s fauna.
Mind the gap between the lion and the lamb.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 Day 13

Click the graphic for the NaPo prompt page and more poems.

Today, in honor of the “potential luckiness of the number 13”, I was to write a poem that joyfully states that “Everything is Going to Be Amazing.” If I couldn’t find the enthusiasm to write myself a riotous pep-talk, I was to muse on good things coming down the track. This world offers us the persistent possibility of surprise. Right. Reminds me of people who say “happy memorial day.”

I grudgingly wrote to this prompt today with a contrarian pall over my heart. When I feel something is wrong, but no one will tell me what, fear of the unknown weighs heavy.


Nope. It Ain’t.

I don’t mean nothin’, Man.
We jus’ gotta get out of this place.

Look up at the stars, forget the mud
and reality. Live the dream, Baby.

It ain’t easy being green, or stupid,
or a timid runt. But love conquers all,

What lives it don’t flat out ruin.
Up against the wall. The man gotcha.

It’s a meaningless number, three
little birds just told me, freedom,

It’s just another word. We can check out
anytime we like, but we can never leave.

Every little thing gunna be all right,
if it’s the last thing we ever do.


Look both ways at the pluses and minuses.
Mind the gaps for ways to escape.