Technology Tanka

My response to the Monday poetry prompt.

The machine age brought
ease, comfort, new ways to war
and a race to space.

What will be our epigraph 
when at last we destroy ourselves?

Author’s Note: Don’t mistake me for a luddite. Some of my favorite things are electricity, WiFi, my devices…. You get the picture. But I worry sometimes about the ethical implications brought about by the leading edge of science. As to what the epigraph will be, that’s up to some alien archeologists to figure out.

My Sins are on Whispers and Echoes!

I am pleased as punch to see my poem Seven Deadly Sins published on Whispers and Echoes.

I submitted this poem for the submission call for Sorta Sonnets, And what exactly are those? Well, here in his own words, W&E guest editor Bartholomew Barker

“I’ve been taking poetry seriously for more than a decade and I’ve been posting poetry to my website for nearly as long. I’ve noticed that in many cases, poems naturally to resolve themselves in about fourteen lines which is why I assume our predecessors, Petrarch and Shakespeare, developed and perfected the sonnet. But getting things laid out in iambic pentameter with the appropriate rhyme scheme is a lot of work. So, that’s why I tend to write “Sorta-Sonnets,” brief poems of fourteen unrhymed lines. If there’s a rhyme it’s only the final couplet. Of course one good Turn is well deserved.

High on Helium

Image curtesy of the Monday Poetry Prompt.

Brightly colored orbs
against a clear blue sky
Smiles for young and old

Guilt for deadly consequences
for marine life eating them.

Did you know, helium is not just for balloons and squeaky voices? MRI machines and super computer use helium. A few years ago there was a shortage of helium in the craft stores and talk of running out of helium. It turns out private companies that extract and sell helium are just running down the stockpile

Free to be squeaky
Just do it responsibly 
From tanks, not balloons

There will be blood

Accident Type: Unspecified Motorized Vehicle Incident

I was in a hurry and hit the throttle too hard.
The impact was so hard
I felt my body vibrate like a struck bell.

I was focused on the destination
and didn’t notice the pool of blood
I stood in until I was ready to sit.

Eww. This bathroom is disgusting.
That’s mine.

I didn’t panic.
Left that for my cool, authoritative
In Case of Emergency contact person.

So. Much. Blood.
I stumped the pharmacist and paramedics.
Are you sure you’re not on blood thinners?

It wasn’t deep but I had been flayed
by a bathroom stall door
while driving my mobility scooter.

The thin sutures slipped out
of my leg like like topsoil blowing away
in the Dust Bowl.

The TEN heavier sutures poked into the air
from my shin like eyelashes
on a child’s monster drawing.

Changing the dressing stung
causing the thin skin between stitches
to roll up like wet tissue.

Hospital discharge notes indicated risk
of “poor cosmetic result.”
Please send thoughts, prayers and chocolate.

Return to the Moon

Last Friday evening, three poets from Living Poetry, attended the NC Museum of Natural History’s Sciences Astronomy Days lecture “Return to the Moon.” The headliner was Matt Funke, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. After his talk there was a Q&A followed by our poets reading the poems they had just written during the show. I have yet to sign up for a Science Cafe but I tried my hand at a poem while watching the show on You Tube. My attempt is down below. For more poems, click the link above to watch the event. The poetry starts at the 59 minute mark but the whole presentation is interesting, even for someone with only casual interest in the topic.

Living on the Moon

The hum of life support equipment
is the white noise soundtrack
thrumming in my bones

Chief Botanist, I spend my time underground
with plants in the greenhouse
but I miss barefoot walks on the beach

My mother worries for the wrong reason
Fear of disaster has mostly been
replaced by loneliness and boredom

I used to talk to everyone that came
through on their way to outer space
but it was too depressing

Soon there will be no one left on Earth
which will be a fine time to return
I am not a space junky


Poem Shorts

When you don’t have time to write but your friend sends you pictures from dog walking and the Monday Poetry Prompt is “Frost,” you end up writing poem-lets, poem shorts, not-haikus because you can’t be bothered counting syllables, or whatever you want to call them.

The night was painted
in ombre tones of gray
Silence pierced by feet on snow
The city sleeps with a blanket of snow
lovely, dark and deep
but there are miles to go before we meet
so your kiss can melt this frost
in my heart and on my feet
this doggo love white fluff
hooman put shoes on ur paws
let’s go!

Photo credit Lillie Delott

Howl for 2022

I feel like I’ve been on hiatus for a month; but really I’ve been consumed by health issues (not mine) and the endless treadmill of laundry and chores. Last week I was talking to my Chewbacca about the January 10 Monday Poetry Prompt. When he told me the epigraph he was writing to, I knew I had to write one as well. Mostly because I just like to howl my complaints into the void and certainly not because I could do “better.” However, you can judge for yourself. Check out this well-done update and homage to the original: A 21st Century Howl.

Howl for 2022
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed …”
~ opening line of Howl by Allen Ginsberg, 1956

I saw great minds
beaten down by anti-intellectuals
drowned out by science deniers

Howl for the brave
Howl for the honest

I saw ordinary people
leave reason, like luggage, behind
and plunge into a broth of vitriol and conspiracy

Howl for the misguided
Howl against social media

I see rich white men tell women
your body doesn’t belong to you

Howl for the pregnant and desperate
Howl for the unwanted

I see mater and millions more
lose their minds as plaque spreads
like cement, destroying memory

I see millions of people nursing
parents and spouses
the children we never wanted

Howl for the demented
Howl for the caregivers

I see privileged wealthy men
protect the right not to get a vaccine
and not protect the right to vote

Howl for the public good
Howl for the disenfranchised

Howl when you are destroyed by madness
Howl for the angry fix

Untitled Job

My motto when I worked in an office was, better late than never. I’m sure my employers didn’t agree. But here’s my response to this week’s Monday Poetry Prompt.

I have not worked
a full-time, corporate job in years
My career cut short 

Illness followed illness
My labors have been survival
It takes work to live

And now I am 
Guardian and Caretaker
of the Demented

cook, laundress, chauffeur, nurse
Saturday night spent
explaining adult diapers



not quite a full moon
days away from perfection
she’s lumpy like me


I love your round beauty
Selene!! You are hot tonight!
shine on sister mine


every full moon
I collect the white orbs
to be my playthings

Photo credit: Moonrise over Plymouth Bay, Catherine Penafiel

Follow the Prompts

Writing prompts are a great tool to have in your writing repertoire. Many writers have an over abundance of ideas, and they claim they don’t need writing prompts. However, many of those writers aren’t actually putting anything down on paper. A idea that comes from outside of your own brain can be just the impetus you need to Make Creation Happen. I find that to be true, but I am a poet and a quick poem or just a few lines of verse that will be used in something, is probably easier than writing a story. IDK.

Mark Paxson from Writers Supporting Writers recently (ok, like a week or so ago) posted A Writing Exercise: one word every day for seven days to be incorporated into a story. I don’t have time at this point in my life for a story and I primarily write poetry. When I mentioned that in a comment, the response was something encouraging about writing. I don’t quite remember. Anyway, here’s a poem. And since I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the point, err, prompt – I bolded the words Mark posted.

My spelling is not unrepairable
but my reputation might be irreparable
if I use double negatives.
I am an editor and these redundant
syllables require elimination.

I do my best to serve delicious
and nutritious Word Salad
But please don’t peek into my kitchen.
My frontal lobe thoughts
might be quite the shocker.

The final verse of this poem
is a reflection on my final verse.
My swan song will be written
by someone other than me.
I hope my obit writer will facilitate
my place into history.