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.



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

be careful what you wish for

for Philip Seymour Hoffman

Relief becomes addiction,
a gutsy routine,
needled into flesh.

It plucks your empty body from the flow.

Heroin rings around the rosy,
rippling your trunk as it
lists toward a needled stream,
craving escape from the dream.

Ace in the hole.

Be careful what you wish for,

struggle no more.

Brenda Warren 2014

Our Plastic Soul

A continually conjured death storm
churns through ocean gyres,
where albatross gather trinkets of death
then carry them back to their family nest.
Human neglect slides down necks.
Bottle caps, lighters, tubing, and knobs.
Fishing twine: human dreck.

Stomachs impacted with plastic trash
albatross struggle and moan.
Disregard sighs as bird spirits die beneath
consumption’s immortal disguise.

Ashes to ashes and plastic to bone
back bending vertebrae of the unknown
filaments flutter as feathers unfurl
through garbage that haunts
and ever uncurls
reflecting our plastic soul.


Brenda Warren 2014

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Sisu of Kaleva

It must be hard to be almost dead
when the only thing sassy and sumptuous
is vanishing faster than you can breathe.

Tomorrow grows vacuous and absurd.

Violet memories slather your vision
with short vibrant breaths—
single moments that shine in your life.

A spread of final. vivacious. splashes.

A cheek on the top of your head—
your grand finale.


Desperation grows pointless under death’s auspicious power.


Brenda Warren 2013


I love you such my boy.


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Three Crows

There’s a bird that nests inside you
Sleeping underneath your skin.
~ Adam Duritz

A scarce rain slapped the side of the hospital in sheets.
He sat, rooted in a chair near a window.

His spirit eroded as he imagined
cells from his loins scraped from his
girlfriend’s womb like vegetation detached at its roots.
His first child killed, like one sorry weed.

Afterward, she had no strength for talking.
Three crows perched on her Jeep’s
roll bar and she shooed them
away, as the last of his
mercy wove a path into oncoming darkness
then shattered glass against her heart.

Those three crows came up each time
his fist revisited her face.

“You shooed off


our family


sure as you shooed off


them crows.”

She took it until her own soul shattered,

then left him, trying to piece together
the jagged shards of everything she once was.

Brenda Warren 2013

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.


The colonel twitched
bloodied to a pulp in media gutters
he longed for a bottle of water
sitting at a sidewalk café
looking always looking
anywhere he wanted
glasses dark
fear flickering in everyone
who knew who he was
as he thumped his fist
against the side of his crooked legacy
carved out in bloody revolts.

He tried to control
the viscous gurgle
filling up his throat
and died sounding
like a weak man vanishing
while cell phone cameras clicked.

Brenda Warren 2011
I wrote this piece from some words pulled from Mike Patrick’s poem, Singing on Murkle. While the gory ending certainly evokes the spirit of the season, it didn’t come out as a Halloween poem. It is what it is.

I used one of the 12 words this week in the title. To see more pieces comprised of words from Mike’s poem, visit The Sunday Whirl.

we all go sometime

smoke and mirrors don’t change anything
slanted reflections always portray partial truths
cutting flesh a raven screams
and I want to go into hiding
somewhere with no windows
where my carriage spreads beneath trees
nourishing roots
and is not preserved in
satin-lined extravagance
under cemetery granite
where lights fade slowly
for the sleeping dead

bury me deep
beneath a cold night sky
while friends drum the Earth
that forms my body into place

with the children build a cairn
of smooth Montana river stones
and with each balanced rock
place a memory
a little me
a little you
a little we
a little them
laugh and talk about me
like I’m not even there

spill a little whiskey for my soul

In good health, I wrote this piece and have tweaked at it for a few days to post at One Shot Wednesday.  Thank you for reading at undercaws.

Freeing Liana ~ free verse

Liana cuts a trail
with the thrust of her tail
through the deep wet ocean so blue,
so blue.

Becoming one
with the current’s hum
she taxis the dead
to eternity.
Their rotting flesh
feeds gastropods
who wait at the bottom of the sea
oh yeah
(they wait at the bottom of the sea)

Eating up eternity
the ocean’s energy shifts, and
Liana gets off on the folds of change.

(Poseidon is water
Poseidon is water)

She ignores the voices in her head
preferring her oneness with ocean instead.
Water’s movement through her gills
gives Liana silent chills.


I wrote Fulfilling Liana ~ A Shakespearean Sonnet for a prompt at One Stop Poetry. This is the free verse continuation of Liana’s story. Freeing Liana.