Crazy Angel

Chair with the Wings of a Vulture ~ Salvador Dali

Chair with the Wings of a Vulture ~ Salvador Dali


Orbs in rows
shine hallelujahs
as the crazy angel
spreads vulture wings
above strait jacket spoons
that nail her to the wall.

Her restricted thoughts radiate
like spokes in a tireless wheel,
a beautiful nimbus flowing
beneath the cross of Jesus.

A nautilus shell
spins circles beneath stories,
and the crazy angel wonders
why she never bleeds.

Brenda Warren 2014

Thank you to Salvador Dali, Tess Kincaid, and The Mag for ekphrastic inspiration.


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.    ~ Anais Nin

What if the only thing nurtured is violence?
What blossoms then?

Dead ends with shotgun shells?
Petals pulsating pools of blood?
A tired earth that constantly quakes?
Flakes over cities that never see snow?

Where did all the flowers go?

Brenda Warren 2014


For Day 4, Elizabeth asked us to write a poem in a form we seldom use.  For me? Questions.  In its entirety.  I like it.  But I didn’t like it until the last line landed.  Sometimes that last line evades you for awhile.   The Anais Nin quote floated through a Facebook post and became fodder for this piece.


Fields of Forever

Thundering jets,
hooves spew fountains of dirt
as arrows arc from rider’s bows
into rows of Saladin’s Ayyubid army,
lances forward,
fighting on fields of forever.

Silver shimmers on hilts spilling blood
slashing as swords clash and clang,
amputating hands, answering God’s mighty call.
Knights Templar wield their holy swords
warring for Jerusalem,
an unfolding jihad.

Overhead a crow caws,
a tether rippling from its talons
as it scans the warring hordes.
A page of history rises like a status update
while the black bird circles the two Gods’ fighting yard,
an unholy park of steel and flesh—
spilling blood for a city,
spilling blood to prove which God is just:
Allah or Yahweh,
Allah or Our Father.

Horses step and scream.
Chinks in chain mail armor open,
as Ayyubid spears thrust through warrior chests.
Knights Templar rise and fall.

Neither side rests
unable to curb adrenaline’s slice
until death does them part
fervently falling into fields of forever.

Brenda Warren 2013


VIsit The Sunday Whirl

Process Notes: Salah ad-Din, or Saladin lead an army called the Ayyubid army (I did some searching to find that name, as I wanted to be historically accurate). He captured Jerusalem, defeating the Knights Templar in 1187. I’ve been steeping myself in medieval movies, and watched Arn twice yesterday on Netflix. It is also a six episode series on Netflix. The series goes into far more detail. Both or either are worthy of watching. Arn is a Knight Templar. War in the name of God seems contradictory, yet it is common.


Words are bullets.

Letters, spit by storm clouds, fill puddles,
inhaled alphabet soup, garlicky red,
dimming Count Dracula’s Transylvanian charm
as graphemes drip from his fangs.

He turns his eyes toward Beethoven’s fifth,
it bloody well always grabs him by the throat,
catching his breath in the snow where
the untenable touch of a thousand tomorrows
echoes blood’s thunderous pulsing
as he walks into the light of day.

Chuck watches,
hoping immortality will one day be hers.

Once his ontogeny recapitulates its phylogeny,
she will chop off his head.

The dish runs away with the spoon,
splashing through red graphemes,
while Chuck shoots words
at morning’s fading moon.

Stepping in front of the Count,
her words ricochet back in
garlicky red puddles
uttering messages,
dressing April in words.

Brenda Warren 2013

Weird. It came from an aside Miz Quickly offered up during NaPo. It was stranger than it is now before I tweaked it away from the prompt a bit. If you check out the prompt, you might get an idea where this came from, but I’ve butchered its beginnings. This was a fun one. If you’re stuck, give it a try. Come back to it later… Tweak the bugger.

It’s funny.  The entire piece started with a metaphor.  Words are bullets.  I chose it to reflect the cover of Billy Collins book, Ballistics.


Caw! to Miz Quickly for being there last month. The prompts you provided wove their way through me to undercaws.  Caw!

Like madder root

the blood
of birth exerts
its red upon the spring’s
white snow. The ewe she bleats, the lamb
it breathes

(its fleece not white as snow).

Brenda Warren 2013


Process Notes: This piece is written to the April 5 NaPoWriMo prompt for an American Cinquain, a form that has specific word and syllabic requirements for each line. Click on the button and check out the parameters if you’re interested. The parenthetical addition is not to form.

Descending Book Spine Cento Ends in Blood

cnto1Descending Book Spine Cento Ends in Blood

Behind the beautiful forevers,
blinking with fists
the sun came down,
sailing alone around the room,
raising the dead,
parading through history.
Spirits, light and dark,
counting coup and cutting horses:

killing Custer.

Perma Red,
winter in the blood.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process Notes: My poet friend Richard Walker, Sadly Waiting for Recess, shared the idea of a book spine cento. In a cento you use lines or titles from another work(or in this case, book spine titles) as the lines in a poem. This is my third attempt. It was fun to pull out books and play with the titles. I am currently reading the top book on the stack.

Fish Food


Warden is married to his keys –
keeps them on a cord
snaps them back to hip.
Chink, step, chink, step–making rounds.

Twenty years, I worked these walls.
Last month, finished a forest,
a world blooms in my cell.
Swirling clouds cover my sky.
Branches beckon above my bunk.
Eyes of squirrels and other critters
peek from the umber of brush.

Chink, step, chink, step.
Today I rise. Warden pulls his keys
unlocks my cage.
Back to hip.
Sending me home—
Sending me where I began.


Forest insists I visit.
In twenty years,
pine trees stretch,
trails disappear.

Tracing paths on Ponderosa’s skin,
I place my cheek against her sturdiness,
and beg for answers to time’s sweet passage.

Considering all this forest holds,
I course through memory.
A snort disrupts my reverie.
I feel eyes upon my flesh.

Never losing contact with Ponderosa’s trunk,
I turn.
Rising up this she bear towers–her broad head
bruises the underside of branches
until she knocks something loose.

Maybe that’s all she wanted.
On all fours she turns,
and lumbers deep into dense dark woods.

My breath whooshes out
as I settle in a crumpled heap at the base of the tree.
The sun’s light draws my eyes to the ground.
There–what the she bear knocked down.

A key.
A skeleton key.
The skeleton key.

My laughter resonates through every tree’s being.


Twenty years ago, I climbed this tree.
Twenty years ago, I hid this key.
The key to a secret chest I’d stolen
from the cup on my brother’s desk.
The cup with
Don’t Touch
(this means you Bitch)

scrawled on its side.

When confronted, I told him
I threw it in the lake.
At that, one hand grabbed the back of my neck,
the other engulfed my wrist.
He half-pushed, half-pulled me to the lake—
a back and forth waltz to the shore’s rocky edge.

“Get it!” he said.
“Make me!” I dared.

He danced me through the icy wet
until water lapped at my waist.
“Where is it!” he screamed.
No answer.
“Where is it!”

He grasped my hair
in both his hands and
shoved me under.
I struggled to hold onto
the limited air in my lungs,
letting it out in stops and starts.
I tried twisting, turning, kicking.
He jerked my head back,
and got in my face.
“Where is it, you little bitch?”
Nothing but heaving gasps with time for one deep breath.
Under again—I forced myself to open my eyes.
Mossy stones summoned through the muck.
My hands felt for stones with substance.
My hands felt for stones with sharp edges.
I let myself go limp.

He yanked me up.
I swung behind me.
A crack of stone on skull
punctuated the morning air.
He let loose, stunned,
blood dripping from his temple
and slid beneath the surface of the lake.

I held him there, under the water
until his bubbling ceased, thinking
he’d become part of the lake, and
nourish its fish with his blood.

This prose poem is my first contribution to Open Link Night at dVerse The Poet’s Pub.

Process Notes:
The first draft of Fish Food was constructed from an intense prompt during a writer’s workshop I attended two years ago. The prompt was delivered an image at a time as we were writing, and the story unfolded from each image. The prompt was designed to explore Jungian archetypes. The images included key, forest, cup, bear, and body of water. The person who delivered the prompt had us close our eyes, and paint each new image into our piece mentally before writing. I revised this piece last summer, but still felt it was unfinished. I cut about 20% tightening it up today. This may be the final draft…but who knows? It just might beckon again some day.

The Resurrection of Eve

Restrictive imagination envisions stories of lust run amok. Fueled with late night cocktails, Eve chases comfortable fantasies down familiar avenues that always end in bed alone staring at the ceiling wishing it were anything but beige. Until Play posits its challenging proposal and

intuiting illuminated spirit, lilies tilt toward her. Eve dances out a current that calls upon her blood. Gyrating, she spins and whirls— pulling spirit threads from her beginnings, from long before she ever took a breath.

Waking, Eve rocks teetering her totter in her birth’s very bed. Night’s nourishing thread fills her emptiness. Restriction lifts and Play laughs aloud, as Eve strokes its appled cheek.


The Prompt at We Write Poems came from poet Richard Walker.  First, the prompt, then I’ll tell you what I did with it. “One, select a prompt from a site like Poetic Asides, Writer’s Island, Sunday Scribblings, or One Single Impression. (Maybe even select two, letting them modify the other in some way!) This will be the topic or theme of your poem. Two, select some words from a site like Three Word Wednesday or A wordling whirl of Sundays.

Now consider the intermix of your theme/topic and your words. How might those words help you explore, expand or define your theme? Or does your topic further open, leading down unexpected avenues as you play with your set of words?

Trust your poetic intuition and imagination! Please don’t feel restricted to the “current” theme/word postings for these sites referenced. Use prior postings if that’s what most serves the new poem you’re beginning to envision. Make your poetic cocktail something comfortable, or something challenging – all your choice.”

That was the prompt. After reading Irene’s post, I shot off from her idea and selected twelve words from the above prompt to create a wordle. If you use the wordle for a poem of your own, let me know! My only other prompt to myself was to write a prose poem. So there you have it, The Resurrection of Eve.

(I did not use the word “prior.”)