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!



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.


If you eat something
you’ll feel better.
Like a full belly means
a full me.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: No poems are flowing, but the wind is blowing.

Wild Purple Violets

The quarter-sized leaves
of these wild purple violets pulse green
beneath morning’s tangle of death.

Battered brown oak leaves veil
mangled fur and flesh.

A hint of cottontail peeks
above back legs, oddly stretched out
like when they propelled its living hop,
shining up against the green,
before last night’s violence
made this baby bunny scream.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The annihilated bunny was near the bird feeder this morning. It’s April, so it became a poem. Poor little critter. If it screamed, I didn’t hear it, but this was certainly a proper occasion.


He Laughs

Scars that you can’t see
get their ache all up in me
reverberating memory
of he who claims to be
a prophet.

His tools of madness
climb my sin.
Up and in.
Unholy visions
smoke and wine
hills too steep for
light to shine.

Everything we don’t do now
we’re going to do later,
he laughs.

I hide fire
close beneath my naked

Scars that you can’t see
get their ache all up in me
reverberating memory
of he who claims to be
a prophet.


Brenda Warren 2016


Visit The Sunday Whirl





Notes: I downloaded a magnetic poetry app that allows me to create my own words and use my own pics. It’s one way I can coax my absent muse into playing along. Other than my name, I only used words included in the app. I did change tenses.

Piggy the Wonder Dog

Get away from me you dumb flipping dog.
You circle around with your stinky oozing paw, limping.
The floor recoils from your touch.
You are oil to my water.
Piggy the Wonder Dog. You used to jump through
hula hoops in a single bound, sporting that Mohawk
like nobody’s business. Looking so fine, like a circus dog.
What is he? people would ask. ‘e’s a Dingo! we’d say.
Jonesing to ride a monkey’s back into somebody’s notice me life,
insistent like rain that won’t let up.
You make me want to shoot you in the head.
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
You are our escape from reality
and no one wants you to die.
I imagine playing with you when you were a puppy.
We could have gone camping to Yellowstone
or chased our dreams across Hill 57.

Brenda Warren 2016


Piggy the Wonder Dog 2015

If you want to see the prompt that brought me here visit Elizabeth’s 1sojournal. Piggy deserves a long story, and one of these days he will get one. He is still here, but age and infirmities complicate things for him.


Maybe it was a mistake to stop breathing,
to audibly gasp at absurdity.
Death needs no reason
to creep its rattle up your throat
and turn you into glue
like so many spent horses.


Brenda Warren 2016

Giving Chase

Stretching toward tedium, I look out the window.
Squirrels run across the stones outlining my flowerbed—
pieces of petrified wood that hold ancient secrets,
old stories that rattle with feather and song.
Thomas Little Shell looked out the hole of a sweat lodge where his friend
walked toward an aspen grove before the edge of sight.
Thomas blinked and a deer was there, blinking back at him.
It lifted its chin toward Thomas, then vanished beyond the grove.
Pieces of petrified wood carry lost stories and whisper
against the rain of forgotten years.
I am the stones that line my garden. I am Thomas. I am the deer.
It is April and it rains all day.
Mary Oliver wrote of rain. and stone. and deer.
I remember holding her tree filled with stars.
I am the stars. I am that tree. I am Mary Oliver. I am rain.
I am dreaming. Away from this garden, I fly. Above
this poem rising from petrified forests morphing into deer
where squirrels give chase to stories past my window.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: The block announces itself whenever I sit down to write. Today I tackled it with an old prompt that I first used in 2011. It’s strangely convoluted, and grappling with it this morning was both arduous and fun. Of course, I took plenty of liberties with it.

If you feel so inclined, take the prompt and give chase. Let me know if you do. I’d love to see what it helps you produce.

1. A feeling
2. Observe the scenery of your immediate surroundings
3. Personification of an inanimate object
4. Use a metaphor
5. Spend four lines recalling a prominent memory
6. Use symbolism in a statement
7. Associate some form of weather to the feeling in #1
8. Tell a lie, about anything
9. Make a reference to a holiday or season
10. State a fact about a favorite artist or poet
11. Compare yourself to a specific piece from the artist/poet you used in #10
12. Negate the lie you told in #8, or further support or restate it
13. Describe a daydream or parts of a dream you’ve had
14. For the last two lines, refer to a vacationing location


Visit The Sunday Whirl

I’m also writing at Elizabeth’s place this month, where she has been providing helpful daily fodder.