not yet now

Into the couch of your grave I fly,
never questioning why to your eye.

I watch you die.

Day by day
machine play
in never-lounge cushions.
Cards against humanity.

A symbol-grinding ending to the groove of who we were.

Echoes of flies
fill time’s windows.
A volume of buzzing collides
with words set fire.

You are almost gone,
like syllables stoked to ash.

Brenda Warren 2016


Visit the Sunday Whirl

and so I sit

They hide in the house of my soul,
these stones—
ragged and heavy and thrown.
Igneous monsters
churning their grit
thick with inevitability’s spit,
they become increasingly intimate,

and so I sit.

Practicing maitri, polishing stone,
befriending my body,
befriending my home,
with its stones of anger,
its stones of shame,
its stones of loss, betrayal, and gain,

breathing in, I sit.

Becoming intimate with stones—
ragged and heavy and thrown,
bringing my monsters closer to home
raw with energy seething
befriending my spirit
befriending my soul
in an intimate act of breathing.

Breathing out, I sit.

Exhaling self-acceptance,
possibility opens—
shining and spacious and free.

Brenda Warren 2016


Arlee 2015        b.warren

Elizabeth’s Creativity Challenge Day 3 asked us to explore the word acceptance. After reading one of Elizabeth’s pieces, I decided to explore acceptance through the Buddhist lens of maitri. Maitri can be defined as loving kindness towards oneself. It takes practice. To really love yourself, you have to face your demons. When I turned my monsters into stones, this piece resulted. The ending feels abrupt to me. I may play with it later.

Caw! Caw! Caw!

Like a crow without wings,
I fall toward syllables
exploring the dark
searching for light
recording caws climbing up from cracks in my soul.

Brenda Warren 2016

The first line of this poem is adapted from a line in Linda Hogan’s poem “Skin.” Her line is “like crows without wings.” For our final poem of April, Elizabeth suggested that we write a piece to anchor our work this month.

A big thank you to Elizabeth, whose suggestions have driven and inspired a large number of my poems this month. She created the badge below to honor our achievement… 30 poems in 30 days! Caw! Caw! Caw!



Remembering Helena

I remember throwing my first punch into Robbie Johnson’s third grade nose.
Blood and tears.
He started it.

I remember marching around the block.
Scott led the way in one of mom’s shag wigs,
a yellow polka dot bikini, and high heels.
We used sticks for scepters.

I remember when Davey Jones broke up with my Barbie after she cut her hair.
She knew things would never be the same and spent the rest of her days hiding in the garage.

I remember Trixie Belden books under the covers
with flashlights becoming a cross round my neck
to finger while reading Salem’s Lot.

I remember Hash jeans with a crescent moon on one back pocket,
and bells so big they could ring.

I remember Cheryl M, mean girl. Snake.

I remember loving Kirk until his fists hit my face
while his friends did bong hits in the other room
ignoring my pleas.

That’s what I get for punching Robbie Johnson.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The prompt at NaPoWriMo today suggested we write a based on things we remember. An excerpt from a memoir piece, “I Remember,” by Joe Brainard was provided there as an example. I liked the excerpt and tried to follow suit.

Broken Water

He puttered away.

Her tide of tears like broken water fell,
salting the zinnias
while he stood behind her
talking to air.

Backpedaling through the corners of his muttering mouth,
he changed his story,
sputtering through earlier accusations
of trespassing,
of scaring the neighbor,
of police call threats.

She began to unravel.
Letting him know she’d look into it.
Letting him know she’d talk to the village police herself.
Letting him know she’d verify his bullshit story with the neighbor.
Her shoulders heaved.

Upstairs, her husband slept
as she defended his character
to this tottering fool who stopped by
to spread his own form of bitter
ill will.

His red golf cart puttered toward her
already tensing form.

She relished releasing earth’s scent
when she bedded her zinnias, dreaming
of their blooms.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The NaPoWriMo prompt asks that we tell a story backwards, and Elizabeth provided a word list that got me started on this piece. A bit more prosy than poetic, each stanza of this piece represents a moment in time, not each line, as the NaPo prompt suggested.

This story happened to me two days ago, when I was planting some flowers at the base of a large boulder in our front yard. I was feeling extremely homesick for Montana, and know that gardening will deepen my connection with our place here in Ohio. My homesickness was abating when this little old man stopped to brighten my day. We have been here for almost a year, and we have a new neighbor across the field. The little old man backpedaled enough that I know his story is filled with holes. He absolutely did not want us to verify anything with anybody. The last thing I said to him was “Why do we have a target on our backs with you?” He started sputtering. I turned my back with my floodwaters flowing and continued to plant. He left. Such a lovely morning.


She feels like a fragment of who she used to be.

Salty and still,
swollen on the wreckage of her own pathetic life,
she dreams in sirens
wailing against day’s angst.

Nothing ever changes
except what stays the same.

Nail gun in hand,
she hangs another empty shelf,
then proffers her palm
for impaling.

She hopes that pain dissuades the anguish
wailing will not cease.

Brenda Warren 2016


Six for Wednesday / The Sunday Whirl