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Whirl #116


Much earlier than my last couple tries, here’s my attempt at a poem using the words above, a prompt from the wonderful site, The Sunday Whirl.

The pressure accumulates of everything that
has ever happened to you or might.
It climbs into bed with you every night, whispering
and smoking. It’s scary, that voice, as it builds its case:
Calamity upon risk, impossible change, disaster. It builds
from an ember to a slow fire that can smolder all night
If fed. This slow, hypnotic voice coaxes, says
Attend to this jumbled order of what could be,
what never was, and what there is no more time to Accomplish.
Oh that voice will keep you company all night long,
If you listen.

Encourage The Bears


The Sunday Whirl, #115 Below, my attempt at using all these words, though this turned more storyish rather than poem-shaped.

Next life, I’ll move to a wild island in the sea. This when regrets and bridges in cinders are so thick on the ground that I can’t sweep them up or move through them for one more day. The weight of them, once like piles of fallen leaves or heavy snow become heavier and unstable, a loose scrill of rocks, shale that flakes and cracks, crumbles at every step. Moving cautiously has got me exactly here.

So then, the island. It is difficult to find. In truth, I bent reality, curved the oceans oh so slightly, just enough to make it a challenge. The birds, of course, have no trouble finding it by the scent of green and the whisper of insects. There are bears. Or, at least, a bear. And a sign.

One country lane meanders across the island, linking beach to meadow. I live at one end, the beach end, to get the spectacular view. The bear lives at the other end of the lane, in thick woods beyond the edge of the meadow.

I hear him sometimes, snuffling along through the woods, hunting the wild raspberries we both crave, both the taste and the shape of the word. When he stands at the edge of the wood—Seven feet tall? Nine feet? Who can tell? Who would dare measure? When he stands so tall, it’s hard to follow the directions on the sign I found posted at the edge of the meadow. This small wooden sign says, in careful block letters: Encourage The Bears.

When he’s eating flowers in the meadow, down on all fours, or picking at the berry bushes delicately, his paws careful as hands, and his fur shines so soft and warm in the sunlight, well it’s easier to imagine then, and I shout Positive Messages to him: Looking Good! Nice Fur! Excellent Berry Foraging!

That kind of thing.

The bear, he’s gone with me everywhere in this life. Is he Fate? Chaos? Or just a lost bear, dragged here to keep me company, to fit inside my head, my stories? Maybe, in the beginning, his whole existence was so I’d never heed, or even find, the piece of sign fallen long ago into the tall grass, disintegrated. The part of the sign that said “Don’t”.

In any case, story contrivance or accident, he’s here and real as teeth now.

The Opposite of Serious Moonlight

I just discovered a site called The Sunday Whirl, from writer Brenda Warren. What a fun way to loosen up words.  Once a week, she posts a Wordle as a poetry prompt. I can see I’m late to this particular show, since the Wordle I used is #113.  Here it is, with my response below:


The master of revelry answers,
Again—The important thing
is to step out of the cave.
Along the way, scoop up
crazy big loads of
anything that giggles.
Then, break open the moonshine
which wakes everybody up
enough to cut through
the daytime world’s chattering
So your day begins to make sense.
Face it, after enough moonshine
anything makes sense. The first
step is to get out of the cave.
Only then can you see the light—
bathe in that moon,its shine,
till you glow. You’ll know the cure is working
when the world splits,
cut into before and after
you remembered how to giggle.


is the prescription
when all my cords are frayed
from being wound so tightly
and I no longer remember
how to,
when clearly there is
for a refresher course,
busy as I am
in this hectic, important life.
But that tiny part of me
that is not insane,
not addicted to the word
Calmly writes this cure
in the margins of novels
I want to read this summer,
writes it across the top
of the dusty picnic table
waiting in the yard,
writes it in sunscreen and lemonade
across the wide lawn
till it meets the trees.

Late, Again

Welcome back to the tightness in the chest, the almost-frantic voice demanding, Hurry, from between clenched teeth. Hurry means wrong again, means miscalculations in the intricate morning mix, ingredients that must be layered in particular order, precisely measured, a cake that never rises, a dance the whole household knows and nobody greets with joy. Hurry means measured wrong again, one shower too long, or shampoo in somebody’s eye, lunch boxes left on yesterday’s bus or we’re out of bread. Again. No one can find a pen for the permission slips that appeared in the night and so they pile up, years of field trips, from zoos to Shakespeare festivals, signed in crayon or eyeliner or not at all. But there are shoes on every single foot and each delivered to its proper place to spend the day. By the time you reach the office, someone should be there to greet you with a medal, a fanfare, at the very least a gold star and a mug of coffee, crowds applauding all you’ve achieved before 8 a.m., followed by space inside a quiet room with a soft chair where time stops sprinting towards the finish line. This room is yours for as long as you need to breathe, to settle your racing heart, a room where absolutely nobody ever says You’re Late.

The Moon’s Report

She writes:
You asked about humans.They are easy to describe, since I see everything in my light—with some small help from the Sun. I’ve watched and I know. I can tell You all about humans. As You hoped, they are very wise.

But, really, how could they not be filled with wisdom? You handed them understanding on a silver moonlit platter. Honestly, not that it’s my place to criticize, but their world is a little too obvious. Look at the hints You gave—on their round home, with their round heads and round babies, they couldn’t possibly miss the point. Then, all those wheels and spirals everywhere—seashells, seasons, nests, rings buried in tree trunks. And besides that, all the going and returning—tides, of course, but flowers, blizzards, leaves…oh, the list goes on and on.

How lovely it is for them, how clear. My advice: It would have been more interesting to give them a challenge, or at least a tiny puzzle. A static world, or one where all movement was linear. It would have given them something to figure out, instead of surrounding them with answers.

Look how they dance, how they gather together for births and weddings and deaths, living their circled lives on their round planet, calm and joyful, with so much evidence to show them the difference between finished and unfinished.


sounds cold, no
humor or passion.
Instead, see
as ballet—perfect timing,
gears in pink tutus.

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