day 29

lace curtains spiral patterns on the floor
mimicking breezes
sending prayers to the saints who can save her life

for RB

Paint her a saint
To stand by her side
Righteous & unafraid
A sum of all prayers
Wavering curtains
Veil the pain in her eyes

Regret forms like foam on the sea

Paint her a saint
With anchors to hold her
Tethered & grounded
Through life’s torrid swells
Teach her to weather
Storms that she runs from

Her body lists left when she sings

Paint her a saint
Covered with flowers
Vibrant & benevolent
Settle her sullied spirit
With blooming white zinnias
Wreathed and weaved into wings

She knows she’s alive when she bleeds

Brenda Warren 2017



Bittersweet regret
Remains beneath my tongue
Hiding its lashes
Fighting its voice
It hisses
It stings
And it stutters
Trying to lose its place
In this life
So far from home

Brenda Warren 2017


Two Elevenies

1. Portrait

Projects worldview
Shiny bald head
A red-circled swastika

Consumes him
Confederacy, leather, guns
Running with white brethren

2. Resist

Becomes king
Trumpeting retaliatory tweets
While nothing gets done

Boosts buffoon’s
Body of power
His pundits beat drums

Don’t normalize
This scheming GOP
Distracting us from evil

Brenda Warren 2017



I’m nailed to the middle of nowhere,
a barrier to breezes.
Listen as I stretch nothingness
behind these battered eyes
beneath their lidded skin
where faltering birds perch
their silent screech
ridiculously indistinct.

Brenda Warren 2017

Tick Tock

Tick tock
Poppy cock
Hickory dickory dock

A scarlet harlot
A scheming starlet
Creates a hullabaloo
For howdy doody
Her hallowed booty
Reeks hither – ability

Celebrity snatches
At pussy galore
What more
Should a woman
Strive for

Come hither then wither
You dithery dick
Miles from slick
You’re sick

The dominoes will drop

Tick tock
Poppy cock
Hickory dickory dock

Brenda Warren


A skeleton of word pairs took shape quickly following yesterday’s prompt requesting assonance and alliteration. I left them for future use. Struggling to construct a Ghazal for today’s NaPo prompt, I returned to yesterday’s word pairings. This raunchy little rhyme resulted.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar, strap me down
Black my eyes, paint me clown
Lobotomize my heaving
Your needles trim this slack
Lift the edge from my back
Brown sugar, keep deceiving
Let loose the rubber straps
I’ll fall into your lapse
Brown sugar, cease my grieving

Brenda Warren 2017


The NaPo prompt asked that we write a nine line poem, and provided several forms that we could chase. I chose the Balassi Stanza which has a specific rhyme scheme and syllable count.

aadbbdccb / 667667667

This started as a poem about a circus side show, but forms almost always force something other. It became a poem about heroin addiction. I looked up nicknames for heroin, and chose brown sugar for this piece. Heroin draws people in and kills them. I’m thankful that I never tried it in my youth, and now I am wise enough to avoid it.

Forms provide fun word play. Even though this is dark, it was fun to piece together.

Immigration Pantoum

The tears you shed for children dead
Defy principles you proffer.
Months ago you rallied hate
And cheered an “immigration ban.”

Defy principles you proffer.
Form them into nails for your palms.
Go! Cheer your immigration ban,
While sarin gas dissipates.

Pound the nails into your palms;
You do so much for everyone!
While sarin gas dissipates
And Syrian people die,

You do so much for everyone.
Months ago you rallied hate
And Syrian people die.
Please, dry tears shed for children dead.

What right do you have to cry?

Brenda Warren 2017



Whenever children laugh,
stories stir within the tiny green she bear
peeking out from the grass
at the base of the ginkgo tree.
Here, in Pandora Park.

Years past, her hard plastic body
shielded her from the onslaught
of angry green army men—
bayonets poised,
rifles aimed.
Rising up,
the she bear lumbered toward them.
She bellowed outrage as
bullets bounced off her hard plastic shell
and bayonet blades broke.
Chunks of army men litter
her hibernation’s wake.

These days, the she bear sits
camouflaged by grass,
there beneath the ginkgo tree.
Sometimes, she pictures the plastic parts of army men
bulldozed into the baseball diamond
on the other side of Riley Creek.

Those were the days.

Wistful, the she bear waits.

Then, as spring’s first butterflies flutter,
and turtles rise from the muck of Riley Creek,
a child’s hand surrounds the she bear
and whispers fill her ears.

Laughter bubbles through promises
the child can’t wait to keep.
They arrive at Barbie’s Dream House
just in time for tea.

Brenda Warren 2017

Recent Road Kill

A flattened brown tabby marks the parking turnout
near the nature preserve, where morning’s breeze
animates wisps of hair across its lifeless form.

I park V Otis Walter* as a kettle of turkey vultures
considers that recently smacked down cat,
circling blackness,
red heads tilting to meet my eye.

One, two, three of them land.

Commencing this feline feast,
the largest vulture hisses,then rips
into the belly of the road killed beast.
The other two dance,
leg-to-leg,wings spread wide,
while the kettle circles.
Red heads tilting, they hiss messages
like tears through heavy fabric
swaddling the dead,
dressing them for the belly of hell.

Brenda Warren 2017

*V Otis Walter is my trusty Volvo wagon.