When I try to start a poem with,
“If I could only be an elephant,”
it ends with too much sadness
to begin.

Fierce love disrupted
through culling’s lethal game.

Circus crowds
with ooooos and ahhhhhs,
pay for elephant chains.

It’s over before it begins.

Humanity holds the trump card
yearning for cash and coins.

They win.

Ladies and Gentlemen!
In the center ring!

Brenda Warren 2014


Your ghost lingers
in the eyes of buildings
afraid to blink,
afraid I’ll disappear.
Salty trails trace my cheeks
like tracks of rain on windows,
tickling me awake,
taking me back
to your breath on my spirit
lacing words through life’s
lost condensation.

Looking up,
I close my eyes and open them
diminishing the possibility of you.

Brenda Warren 2014

Thank you Elizabeth for this Day 21 prompt.


Let My Finnish Bones Sweat

finland 1968 george f mobley

Finland 1968 George F Mobley

Nothing matters but the rain
beating glory from balloons
driving our clothes heavy
in sheaths against our cemetery sides.

We came to heal,
we came to mourn,
all in all we came newborn
to the possibilities your deaths open.

Later, saunas will welt it out of us
until we’re left with all we’ve got
a collection of pebbles
and livestock bones
enough for some

strange for others.


Brenda Warren 2014


Thank you Tess, and The Mag, for ekphrastic inspiration.

Villanelle’s Ache

A hidden ache enunciates her sway
as broken bridges sink beneath her gaze.
She gathers words within a public bray,

some purloined bones to read another day.
She mends them into limbs amid the lace.
An open ache enunciates her sway,

it sings out sounds with all she does not say.
She strives to hide the phonemes she’s displaced.
Her stitches filter out the public bray

as mending meaning takes her ache away.
She waltzes secret stories under lace
like water whirling rhythm through her sway.

Embroidering the words her heart betrays,
she craves release from graphemes’ sharp embrace,
and hides again beneath the public bray.

Sometimes her needle stitches up the day,
arranging messy words she can’t displace.
A hidden ache enunciates her sway
and keeps her secrets from the public bray.

Brenda Warren 2014


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Between the Roots of Things

Dwelling between the roots of things
the body rotted, devoid of clothing,
wrapped in a bright flannel shroud
that became jelly as it folded into decaying flesh,
moistening the soil, an energy exchange.

Waking beneath winter
baby’s breath grew like weeds
ripening summer in white ripples of rare sweetness
defended against an age of debauchery

that left only bones and threads of brilliant cotton
to feed the tiny white flowers
breathing toward eternity.

Brenda Warren 2014

Thank you to my poet friend Elizabeth for the inspiration to keep writing, and the words provided on Day 14. She wrote a poem that I spring boarded into this piece. You can find hers here:  Down Beneath the Roots of Things.


Porcelain Memories

Porcelain memories
wrapped in burlap,
trapped beneath a moonlit chant,
lie shoveled-over in limbo
and left for dead.

A deeply wet spring germinates
gaudy paper poppies
that briefly turn their translucent
wrists in the wind,
until seasons dry and snap
their heads, and then start
swearing their secrets in seeds.

Porcelain memories
packaged in poppies
bubble to the surface
of everything
they never claimed to be.


Brenda Warren 2014





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