some thoughts are afraid to be finished
half sentences hang in the air
one after another,
they build a mesh
between self and event
a key to obliterating
those solitary moments in time—
one among the 10,000 things that happen

a tear in the room of a lifetime
driven by longing
driven by night
driven through a slate-lined soul
fragile and layered—

it hangs in the air, that tear

opening a desert chasm
of scattered skeletons where
skulls pop up like boulders
casting a pall of horror and grace
over what we become
a fitting mix to dis-repair
all that we witness,
again and again,
wondering why no one
does anything

finally, we disintegrate to sand

Brenda Warren 2013


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Process notes: After posting the wordle words on Facebook, I sat down to watch “Attack on Darfur” on Netflix. In the first scene, journalists are talking together. They all start to say something, but don’t finish their sentences. It is unsettling because it is unspeakable. I started writing the piece based on that idea, and it came quickly. The skeletons show up because they showed up in the movie while I was writing. It felt personal, like running thoughts, so I didn’t capitalize or offer much punctuation.


Pressure built from desire
billows in her chest until
she risks self betrayal.
It escapes in smoke from her ears
in voices that blister orders
for her to stay put.
She listens as the voices dissipate in whispers,
whispers that scare her into thinking
it might not happen.

She shudders and climbs out of her head
passing that place
where impossible meets absolutely.

She brushes against a mannequin draped in silk,
and relishes the fabric as it swishes on her skin
soft, made by worms, resilient and coveted.
She laughs, and imagines herself Cinderella
swirling at the midsummer ball
in fabric spun from worms.

Her spirit
silences the voices
with its song.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process Notes: I watched the Australian film Mental a few weeks ago, and its characters have been hanging around in my head. A few of them were literally crazy, but one gist of the movie may be that we are all a bit mental. It’s a quirky film. In this piece, I explored the feelings of character that have permeated my imagination since watching the film.

Mental ~ 2012 Universal Pictures Australia

Mental ~ 2012 Universal Pictures Australia


Visit The Sunday Whirl.

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.

a war whore remembers

Metallic memories billow
silver flashes in staccato formation
one after another
recollections rise from exile
through rebellion’s scar,
pulsing through thought’s ruins.

Metallic memories dart like bullets
whizzing raw channels into
flesh left bleeding.

Nothing fuses any more.
Everything is dubious.
Latch onto me,

shield me from those churning metal blades.

Brenda Warren 2012

process notes
The Whistleblower is a film based on the experiences of a female cop from Nebraska. Kathryn Bolkovac served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia, and uncovered a sex-trafficking ring involving international aid workers, police officers, and government officials. I watched the movie last night, and heard the phrase “whores of war.” These war whores are girls.

I wrote my piece for The Sunday Whirl this week before I titled it. After reading it, I thought of the girls trafficked in Bosnia, and other places in our world. In many cases, they are abducted, sold, and then told they must “work off the debt.” What will their lives be like if they “earn” their freedom? What will they think of at 50? Can they ever work through the memory of being chained, filmed, and violated by men in power? The Whistleblower is whirling those girls through my head, and will for some time. We are lucky to have the lives that we do.