Leaving Montana

It is not stroking kayaks across Holland’s morning mirror
winter’s lifeblood trailing streams along my arms.
It is not dipping paddles through a gleaming glassy surface,
fishes floundering in a space that disappears.

It is not breaking branches along glacial mountain passes
heightening a sense of something near.
It is not snowmelt mounting, forcing channels through rock canyons
weeping diamonds in a forest of steep fears.

It is not a red winged blackbird admonishing existence
as I wander on the walkway near its nest.
It is not the thrumming wings of pelicans, against an ancient sky
over Buffalo Creek in deep July.

This is dripping salt from my eyes.

Brenda Warren
April 2015


If I make it through a month of writing it will be my sixth year participating in National Poetry Month’s poem a day during April, or NaPoWriMo. Here is the prompt for today:

Today’s prompt is a poem of negation – yes (or maybe, no), I challenge you to write a poem that involves describing something in terms of what it is not, or not like. For example, if you chose a whale as the topic of your poem, you might have lines like “It does not settle down in trees at night, cooing/Nor will it fit in your hand.” Happy writing!

As it is, poems have a mind of their own. While this one speaks of what it’s not, it’s also what it is. Makes sense to me.

I reserve the right to edit these pieces as moments pass. Nothing is every really finished.



Prologue: the poet’s thoughts

All saintly people
help me know I am a pebble in their shoe.
even my angel backs off for a few days.


Possible Part One:

Science calls bullshit
on righteous theories that trot spite
around godless traditions.

Poetic cue:

Self-awareness wrestles with a crack that opens
as tons of water pull roots away from memory
and me-me-me’s heartbeat accelerates
into shimmering droplets of yesteryears
that fade into tracks
held deep within

Bereft of me,
light opens.

Brenda Warren 2015


Visit The Sunday Whirl


She asks for grace to regenerate us
in big bold words on her page.
Resolute, her pencil pirouettes
proffering graphite salvation,

erasing our stains.

Brenda Warren 2014

Note: I used only three of these words.


Visit The Sunday Whirl

cause & effect

The teeth of self-pity had gnawed away her essential self.

The rest of us were left with her self-pitying self,
her seeking recognition self,
her feeling beat down self,
her high-chinned, red-faced
dead to anything but hallelujahs self.

So we turned away.

Brenda Warren 2014

Process: A search for quotes on self-pity brought the first line of this piece, and the rest escaped quickly.

The teeth of self-pity had gnawed away her essential self.
—Willa Gibbs


Magpie those diamonds
glint in dark eyes
silent, like strangers
stroking my thighs.

Smooth secret steel
sheds feathers like martyrs,
crazy black crispy
childhood lies.

Sharpening shivers,
Trickster wisps by,
prisoner of laughter,
mimics my cry.

Beneath the tree
upon my back
into the sky
I stare.

Your feathers shine
iridescent circles,
shadows that fan
the biting flames I hide.

Brenda Warren 2014


Notes:  I started this piece yesterday, and was not satisfied.  Three times, while walking the dogs, a magpie yelled at me.  The magpie worked its way into this piece.  The piece started with “you” rather than “I” but confusion between the narrator and magpie ensued.  Thus, the narrator is an “I.”

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl



my name falls broken from your lips
hidden beneath sheets of speech
decoding my existence

is it me you hate?
or is it the reflection of yourself
you sense in my life
like unwritten poems
vital but stripped bare
where gnats
swim circles in goblets
and red wine sighs its ripples
down your throat

turning away you mutter about
irony, signs, and metaphors
while I tread wine
with the gnats
in your glass

Brenda Warren 2014



Visit The Sunday Whirl

Rockford’s Files

James Garner ate potatoes and apples.
He’s dead now.

Connections shatter and form,
as Rockford’s files
flutter through television’s memoried past.

Model tobacco scratches my back.
Oranges are not the only fruit.

The smell of potatoes frying
lights me on fire,
as apples delicious
drip juices suspicious
across Jim Rockford’s smile.

Brenda Warren 2014

Visit The Mag

Visit The Mag




Swarming through summer
words without sound
heel toe their way across
needle and stone,
log and bone,
rotating forests
and flushing creatures,
feathered and formidable
out of magic’s cauldron
onto passion’s page.


Fluttering throaty calls
lumber around deadfall
where shadows form a hum
that hangs fear between ears
storming insistence
spreading a buzz
while words without sound
heel toe retreat
striving to thrive in silence.

Brenda Warren 2014

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl