Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Violinist

with bow across strings 
a new world is created 
the grey of her despair melting 
transforming her world
by giving pain its own melody

The March of the Spin Doctors

The spin doctors march across the screen,  
Every channel pushing their own agenda
At the expense of the truth, 
Tossing sparks into the kindling 
Of dried out racial relations, 
Fanning the sacrificial flames, 
Tragedy’s ashes distilling humanity, 
Reducing the players in this drama 
To nothing more than empty symbolism…

Skittles, Arizona iced tea, and a hoodie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lilac Memories

The April breeze 
Jostles the tender blooms, 
Carrying the fragrant 
Remnant of a memory,  
Perfume lessening 
The sting of our last goodbye. 

Away from Regret

Regret does not have to be
A permanent wall, cold concrete
Built to trap the broken and assaulted.
Do not cultivate terror or fury;
Neither provides healing
For a scarred, bruised soul.
Prune the branches of despair
And open a window to the divine.
Angelic light allows redemption to bloom.

**Process notes**  The prompt from Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads was to create a "poetic sketch" using groups of words. You can find more information on this prompt here. Normally, I rely on free writing heavily when writing, but I've started using a similar process when working with the wordle words from The Sunday Whirl.  I simply write the words in "Poet's Sketchbook" and then end up with a bunch of squiggly lines tracking how I connect the words.  I basically did the same thing with this prompt, only I had several categories of words on the paper and then followed the connections that popped into my head.  I realize this sounds just a bit convoluted, so I'll include a couple of photos from my sketchbook that may clarify things.

This was my attempt at creating a poem sketch as based on the prompt.

My poet's sketchbook 

These were a portion of the notes I used to write my recent poem "A Modern Take on Fairy Tales."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chains of Life

Each moment
Links to the next.  Chains
Of life pull
Us forward,
Guiding our steps, leading us
To our destiny.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Joy and the Magic Man

Over the years, Joy’s name
Seemed to fit her less and less,
Her spirit eroded by
A river of responsibilities,
Once supple skin scarred
By the acid touch of time,
Myopia pushing aside
The artistic visions of her youth.
She almost did not recognize him,
Black hair lightened into gray,
His slower steps assisted
By a cane that mirrored her own,
Nothing to gauge that he even saw her,
Much less remembered
The time when she was “his Joy,”
Back before she had developed
Any acumen at the craft of love.

He had been her Magic Man,
An alchemist whose tender touch
Turned her tears to drops of gold.
He sprinkled her life with wonder,
A belief that life was larger
Than she ever dreamed possible.
He taught her how to embrace freedom
In a sensuous dance of hearts
Uninterrupted by the outside world,
Two artists in love feeding
On the creative juices of the other,
Stoking a fire that overtook them,
Consuming and eventually leaving
Only smoldering embers discarded
In search of the next inspiration.

She set aside her brush
And oil paints long ago,
Arthritic hands and withered dreams
Unable to give shape to her visions,
But as she sweeps past him
On that cold January sidewalk
In her sensible shoes and sturdy coat,
Shadows of Joy and the Magic Man
Float in the fog of yesterday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Between Darkness and Light

Copyright: James Rainsford, Used with Permission 
I walk the divide
Between darkness and light,
The darkness a magnet
Drawing me closer,
Wrapping me in metallic cool.
I long for the light, to dive in
And let my soul be cleansed,
Ready for rebirth, for redemption.
It’s a solitary journey,
One I know we each
Must negotiate in our own way.
I struggle to keep my balance,
Knowing that if I can persevere,
The best is yet to be.

In the Farmer’s World

Kat Mortensen©2012 

So much in a farmer’s world
Depends on chance:
Will the rains come?
Will the grain market be up or down?
Can that old combine survive
For just one more season?
Even as his fields lay barren
While the winter winds howl,
He takes comfort knowing
His greatest harvest,
The true bounty of his life,
Can be found within the walls
Of that old yellow farmhouse.

Friday, March 23, 2012


The moths draw closer to the light,
Seeking the love that never seems to find them.
They feed on whiskey and cigarettes and quiet desperation,
Placing an unwilling goddess on a trailer park pedestal
And offering beer cans and roach clips in homage,
Never finding the holy strength in themselves.


A poet who lived in Odell
Wound up trapped in a lyrical hell,
Oh, the rhyme scheme and meter
Are certain to beat her
While attempting her first villanelle.

There was an old man named McDougal
Who spent his time hunting on Google.
His internet history
Would spark quite a mystery,
He’s Googling bugles and kugel.

Our resident demon dog, Cheech

Our hyper young doggie named Cheech
Is proving to be hard to teach.
If his signals we miss,
On most anything he’ll piss,
Good thing I’m well stocked up on bleach!


as I’m lacing my new sneakers
I find myself wishing 
aglets came human sized,
something to 
keep my 
in check, 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How the Cynic Views a Compliment

I’ll believe it
When I sprout wings
And float on an updraft
Across the mountains
Of self-deprecation
That make my journey
More difficult than necessary.

I’ll believe it
When the truth
Becomes a parasite
In my gut,
Spawning endless worms
Burrowing through my flesh
In a symbiotic union.

I’ll believe it
When compliments
Erupt in seismic chaos,
Spewing acid and ash
Across my face,
Threatening to bury me
In the unstoppable flow.

I’ll believe it
Only when I cannot deny it any longer

Current Events (In Limerick Form)

A governor from Illinois,
Caught being a very bad boy,
Sent off on “vacation”
For incarceration,
And his stylist is now unemployed.

The Prez turned down the pipeline for oil,
And the voter’s blood started to boil.
As their gas prices rise,
There’s a fire in their eyes
As to fill their tanks, harder they toil.

Congress faces a huge budget gap
With spending they can’t seem to cap.
If they can’t plug that hole,
When we stand at the poll,
Let’s all give them an electoral slap.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Missed Connection

The airport terminal bustled
With other travelers hurrying
To catch their flights,
Grumblings about the security line
And the early hour
And the crying children
Echoing through the cavernous hallways.
As I braved the elbows
Of the inattentive crowd,
In a random moment
His brown eyes met mine,
A flicker of recognition
Of kindred spirits,
Perhaps lovers in another lifetime
Separated by the veil of death and years,
Another chance to heal
A reincarnated heartbreak.

We exchange smiles, words, numbers,
Then a first date leads to another
Ending with limbs and sheets
In a sweaty tangle.
Rekindled passion
Grows into a spiritual bond
Strong enough to withstand
The severing edge of time.
The wedding,
The children,
The grandchildren,
The waning years,
A timeless love story
That flashes by in a heartbeat….

Then I’m jostled back to reality.
He’s no longer there,
Vanished back into the crowd,
An unexpectedly missed connection.
Missed, at least, until the next time around.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Modern Take on Fairy Tales

I quit believing in fairy tales long ago.
These stories carry a promise of happiness
But baffle us when reality negates fantasy.

There are no glass slippers for these feet,
No magical delivery of an elegant gown
Spun from starlight by a fairy godmother.
I’ve never wandered the dark hallways
That lead to enchanted towers
Or alone through a haunted wood,
Basket of goodies in hand,
Anxiously listening for signs
Of a wolf stalking my footsteps.
An evil elf will never test my limits
In a sadistic guessing game.
Prince Charming and his meaningless gestures
Hold no substance behind the façade,
And kissing too many frogs
Only results in a trip to the free clinic.
I’ve never even seen a spinning wheel,
Much less pricked my finger on the spindle.
Singing in the forest to a gentle menagerie?
Housekeeping for seven short miners?
I don’t think so.

The drama in my life comes
From much more mundane sources,
My previous disappointments
Leaving an inherent lack of faith
And no drive to repeat an unhappy ending.

Still, sometimes, a random smile
Or an unexpectedly tender glance
Reminds me of my lost innocence,
Makes me wish upon my star
That someday, someone
Will make me believe again.

Note: This is my 200th posting here at Write Wing Conspiracy...can hardly believe it!


A little shadow of yesterday
Is all I have of you,
A lingering thought
Dancing in the light of memory
That cannot be eclipsed by my present.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A New Season

Warming rays
Bring a welcome thaw,
Ending my
Winter, leaving the drama
In my icy past.

Time has come
To spread my branches
In salute
To the sun,
Time to grow and blossom as
I always should have.

The Magic Within

There is no secret to overcoming adversity,
No need for a sorcerer’s incantations
Or wizard chanting over a cauldron
Brewing a potion to improve your fortunes.
Wear your faith like an amulet.
Allow it to strengthen your resolve.
Persistence, perseverance,
The power to rise above is already yours.
You simply have to believe.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Warning Signs

© Shanyn Silinski 

Warning signs
Mark my path
On all sides:
Do not enter.
Bridge out.
Dead end.
Catastrophe surely waits.
Too many hindrances,
Much easier to detour,
Make a U-turn
And avoid the hassle.

Easy never solves anything,
And I've no desire
To tread on old pathways again.

Obstacles be damned.
I choose to move forward.

This road may end
With no marked exit
For the next leg of my journey.
I may be forced 
To blaze my own trail
Through life’s rough terrain.

I will move forward.
Some signs are just meant to be ignored.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wrapped in Regrets

I wrap myself
In a blanket of regrets,
The edges frayed,
Worn nearly threadbare,
Pulled tight around me
But offering little protection
From harsh wintry winds.

Now the warming rays
Of spring approach;
Perhaps the time has come
To shed these regrets,
Allow a bit of new growth in my life.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Long Pause

Everybody knows you cried last night - jenbeez

She spent years trapped in limbo,
Trouble wrapped around her
Like a thousand writhing tentacles,
Squeezing, choking, suffocating.
She cannot blame some accident of fate
Or some menacing faceless stranger
For a plight caused by her own hand.
That bad decision mars her existence,
Keeping her trapped in her personal hell,
Not allowing her to step forward
And claim the life she was born to live.
She’s paid a hefty toll on this journey,
Confused emotions forced her to settle
For extended misery instead of happiness.

Overwhelming as it seems,
I know she still has plenty of resources,
An untapped strength to spur her on,
To handle the hard choices that face her,
To escape the sadness permeating her life.
Tears are not a permanent tattoo,
Only temporary tracks to be wiped
Away from a hopeful spirit,
One recharged with a new focus after a long pause.
Once again she will drink of joy’s libation
And realize life at its best is poetry;
That’s all she could ever ask for.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Farewell to the Yankee Clipper

In Memory of Joe DiMaggio, 1914-1999
Some are born to play,
The smell of pine tar
And the feel of smooth ash
Imprinted into their genetic code.
Joltin’ Joe defined greatness,
A worthy successor to Ruth and Gehrig.
Fearless in the face of any competitor,
But with the dignity and silent strength
That epitomized men of his generation,
Numbers that would be the envy
Of any of the chemically enhanced
Pretenders on the diamond today.
Cancer, however, is a merciless opponent,
The one that finally struck
The great DiMaggio out for the last time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Permission Slip

I give myself permission
To suck with no limitations,
To fill page after page,
Notebook after notebook,
With insipid drivel and worthless trash.
I am fully allowed to spout clichés
Until the cows come home
And engage in illogical rants worthy
Of any fringe conspiracy buff,
All in search of that rare poetic gem,
For the only way to achieve greatness
Is to be willing to risk complete failure.

Moonlight Minstrel

He plays at seduction like the moon,
His affections wax and wane.
The singer of a deceptive tune,
He plays at seduction like the moon.
When that troubadour starts to croon
The liar’s sweet refrain,
He plays at seduction like the moon,
His affections wax and wane.

Dark Refraction

A beam of love
Shining through 
An evil prism
Disperses and refracts
Into a spiraling spectrum of
And brutality

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Childhood Games for Grown-Up Days

Rock the boat
At your own risk;
The course of this relation-
Ship has hit a maelstrom,
An inescapable whirlpool
Of lies and misery.

Paper trails
Plot our journey
Through these rough waters,
Tender love letters
From the port of departure,
A marriage license
Once our voyage had truly begun,
Terse, angry missives
Intensifying with the swelling waves
Created in our personal hurricane,
Until the only action left
Is to drop anchor, take in the sails,
And end this expedition into chaos.

Scissors of sufficient strength
To sever the ties that bind
Me to this sinking vessel
Are best wielded
By a captain experienced
In navigating murky legal waters.

Woman of Clay

Inspired by In Bed The Kiss - Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892

He closes his eyes to reality,
Lost in his private passion,
Paying no mind to
The feigned ecstasy
Of yet another trivial connection.
She plays her role well,
Always the consummate actress,
The well-disguised deviant.
She is moldable and compliant,
Anything he needs her to be
With miniscule consequences,
As long as the price is right.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Broken Girls and Unheeded Warnings

I ignored the well-meaning advice
From friends and family.
They didn’t understand.
They didn’t know him the way I did.
We were in love, and love conquers anything.
In his arms this broken girl
Found salvation in a dream come alive,
A balm to ease the pain of a chaotic life,
Unaware the path I had chosen
Only led to more chaos.
Seductive words from his forked tongue
Slowly weaned me away
From those friends and family,
Leaving me wandering
Coatless through the wilderness
With only him to save me.
His sweet words soured over time,
Turning derisive and cruel,
Stripping away my sense of self
Until all that remained was
A drained vessel to be filled
With more woolly logic,
More twisted illusions,
His viselike grip on me
Suffocating in every sense of the word.
The dream deteriorated into an nightmare,
Days carefully calculated to avoid his wrath,
Nights waiting to see what torture
Lie in store should his temper rise again,
Perhaps another verbal assault
Spiraling into something more physical,
Unwanted invasions of my deepest self,
Lying awake wondering
If this was the night when the
Cold metal of a kitchen knife
Would slide between my ribs
Turning white sheets to crimson.
By the time enough fragments of myself
Had returned to identify the danger,
I was nearly incapable of escaping.
I almost didn’t.

I’ve watched her grow from
Chubby toddler into gawky adolescent
Into a young woman who could be my daughter,
A beautiful but broken girl
Whose steps mirror my own path.
I know his embrace eases that broken feeling,
Brings a fullness to her life she’s never known.
Today I am a much wiser woman
And can see the warning signs,
She thinks no one understands;
I understand far more than she,
Knowledge forged in an abuser‘s shadow.
She shapes her life as he prefers,
Days carefully calculated to avoid his wrath.
She is already slipping away
From the friends and family
Offering advice I know will be ignored.
I find I cannot admonish her.
I can only pray she learns
Before repeating all my mistakes
And walks away from him
While she’s still capable of escaping.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Poetry Lessons (For Emily)

I’ve tried to show you
The wonder of the ordinary,
Conjuring the magic Shel found
Where the sidewalk ends,
Watching the woods fill up with snow
While standing beside Robert Frost,
Sharing the joys of being nobody
With that other Emily;
Each poem an opportunity
For a new perspective.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Worst Nightmare

I’m grateful whenever life grants
A reason for a victory dance,
       But this day of my dreams
       Is just not what it seems.
I’m in public without any pants!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ghost Walk

No Song to Me in the Numb Hours - Kenia Cris

I feel your presence
As I wander through the woods,
Your phantom hand entwined in mine.
In my mind I can see you
In a simple wooden chair,
A reluctant angel
Emotionally bound to this world
That no longer holds you,
A vision that lingers
For just a moment
Before slipping back into vapor,
Leaving the chair
Just as empty as my heart.

Millstone Creek

Bridge from the Go Out and See series - Walter Smith

My best memories
Are wrapped up
In the summertime haze
Of Grandpa’s farm,
The rickety old barn,
The swirling waters
Of  Millstone Creek,
And you.

I remember the summer
I turned ten,
Our shoes and socks
Strewn on the bank,
Jeans rolled up to our knees
As we waded into
That cool Appalachian water,
Plastic cups in hand,
Chasing silvery-black minnows
Darting between our legs
And collecting them
In a bucket
To be used as bait
For larger targets later.
Afterward we lay in the grass
And painted our innocent dreams
Across the mountain sky
With the fearlessness
That only the young possess.

I returned the summer
I turned sixteen,
And more than just
Our shoes and socks
Ended up on the bank
As I waded back
Into those swirling waters
And into your arms,
Emerging a little less innocent
And lost in the first spark of love.
The promises we made
Lying in the grass
Fluttered around us
Like a thousand fireflies
Lighting the evening sky,
Promises we never realized
We could not keep.

Summer after summer passed,
But I never returned
To the farm,
To Millstone Creek,
Or to you.
Life has swept me up
In its swirling waters,
Altering my memories,
Fading the colors
Into shadowy remnants.
If I had just one wish,
I’d travel back down
That quiet country road,
Back to Millstone Creek,
Back to your arms,
Back to the promise
My heart never forgot.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Pain is my chrysalis
surrounding and protecting
while I transform
of mind
and soul
but completely
until the day comes
when I spread my wings
and leave that pain behind

Aging Gracefully?

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.   

It all started 
With a few crinkles 
Around the eyes 
(Laugh lines?  Do I look like I’m laughing?) 
They must have decided 
They liked the scenery 
And stuck around.
And they invited friends.  

Then the occasional ache
In my weary bones,  
Growing more and more frequent, 
Until the creaks and groans 
Became my morning mantra 
When rising to face the day,
Every day.  

And the hormones, 
The hormones,  
Oh my God, the hormones!
I’m too hot.
I’m too cold. 
I’m too hot.
I’m too cold. 
I need a new thermostat!  
And those mood swings 
Have me looking 
Not to my doctor 
But an exorcist 
For assistance. 

Oh, that cruel joke of gravity, 
Converting body parts 
From perky to plummeting?  
Not funny.  
Not cool.   

Mother Nature and Father Time, 
The banes of my existence, 
I demand a map, 
A schedule, 
Something to help me navigate 
This minefield of aging gracefully.  
You’ll be right on that, right?