Mourning Cloaks Rising


image by Martin Stranka


After gashing her soul through yesterday’s mirror
her blood spilled in fallow fields
nurturing tomorrow’s sacred grove
whose leaves swirled around her rising form.

Her body settled into the low spaces
placing her life on hold.

Thought dissipated
into a kaleidoscope of mourning cloaks
whose collective fluttering murmured
liniment across a darkened sky,
surprised into night by a flight of butterflies.

Brenda Warren 2014

Note: The Mourning Cloak is a butterfly; it is also Montana’s state insect.

Thank you to Tess at The Mag for the ekphrastic inspiration.


Mourning Cloak image from Wikipedia

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.

Let My Finnish Bones Sweat

finland 1968 george f mobley

Finland 1968 George F Mobley

Nothing matters but the rain
beating glory from balloons
driving our clothes heavy
in sheaths against our cemetery sides.

We came to heal,
we came to mourn,
all in all we came newborn
to the possibilities your deaths open.

Later, saunas will welt it out of us
until we’re left with all we’ve got
a collection of pebbles
and livestock bones
enough for some

strange for others.


Brenda Warren 2014


Thank you Tess, and The Mag, for ekphrastic inspiration.

His Perfect Other

Ophelia by Odilion Redon

She appears to him everywhere
in frozen snapshots of time.
Freeze frame gestures
capture her stoic form,
thin lips rounded into cherries
ripe enough to pluck.
Her neutral expression
stands unconcerned
her utter disregard for him
hanging beneath the surface
of his mother’s birdbath.
Her black hair, an act at play
against smooth alabaster skin.

He reaches out to touch her cheek
and like the reflection of the fox’s grapes,
she disappears.
He’s left with a handful of water-laden butterfly wings
and an intense desire to encapsulate her.
His perfect other.

Brenda Warren 2012

The photo at The Mag inspired The Sunday Whirl words to form an obsession. I think the narrator is a serial killer, but who knows? Visit The Mag and The Sunday Whirl both for some fabulous Sunday writing. You’ll be glad that you did.


Edward Hopper House at Dusk

Niagara roars beneath her cement window
eating the night with its powerful mist
barreling thunder, escapading cascades.
Her constant companion,
the river washes over the night
—ravenous and surging—
embossing landscapes with its power,
luring her to this tower—
this home upon its bank
this castle where she frees herself
night after night
deep in the beat of Niagara’s feast.


Brenda Warren 2012

Check out The Mag for more pieces inspired by Hopper’s painting. The painting reminded me of this building above Niagara Falls in New York. Each time I visit, I imagine living in the building. That imagining added inspiration to today’s Mag.

Above Niagara 2011


The Circus With the Yellow Clown, 1967, Marc Chagall

Voices dance blue circles around his head
whispering their lemony secrets
beneath his clown-capped curls.

flowers and chickens
and handcuffs and fish
a man with his arms raised
his hands tight in fists

An audience of bobbing heads
applauds the shenanigans
and yellow begins to drip from his curls
down his nose, cross his brow
and into his normally so blue eyes
now swirling in voices round his head
and dripping cerulean
between the yellow lines of gingham
ruffling his clown suit collar.

He hates it when this happens.

Brenda Warren 2012

For The Mag.

Lemons and Plantains

Paul Gauguin The Meal 1891

Sadness washes down Benita’s features
as her brothers’ eyes try to salve her spirit.
On this day of celebration,
she watches Miguel kiss his new girl
and starts to think of all the ways
that he might die.

Emptiness rushes over the life she’ll never have
as she reaches for the knife. Diego grabs her hand
and holds it in his own beneath the white cloth
that skirts abuela’s table laden with lemons and plantains.
Benita shudders, as Diego squeezes her hand.

Brenda Warren 2012


Visit The Mag for more offerings inspired by Gaugin’s work. Thank you to Tess for the inspiration.

Maple’s somewhat sarcastic rant against Weeping Willow

Look at her—
the drama queen.
Every spring,
she falls into the river weeping,
commanding the “Ooos and ahs”
of walking humans,
drawing birds to nest beneath her green shimmering tears—
while I sit here,
barely budding
waiting for sister sun’s warming
to break apart night’s cold rear end
just a little bit earlier
so I can leave already.

Brenda Warren 2012

Visit The Mag for more words that explore the same photograph.

jarred man

image by Manu Pombrol

jarred man
knocked from his senses
floats in a bell jar
reading the last words she’ll ever write him
before she lets loose the tap
then cans his ass
sealing him up
in her soul’s hollow cellar
fluid and jostling
keeping her words to himself

Brenda Warren 2012

NaPoWriMo 29: 1 more to go….

This piece was written to the prompt at Magpie Tales. It whirled its way out rather quickly.

Reincarnated Rant ~ A Magpie Tale

I didn’t get spoons in coffee when I was human
and I don’t get them now that I’m stuck in this fat little king statue
trying to pull this scepter outta my ass.
Paperweight City had such a good deal on them,
little did I know it would suck me into it
when I fell in my eagerness to grab one.
Not this one, Heaven forbid,
I was going for a statue of Saint Francis
with birds flitting about my head
(my head…good god).
Forever made of heavy resin polymer
I hold down this blowhard’s morning news
while he tink-tink-tinkles the frickin’ spoon
over and over again
against his boring blue cup.

At least this morning I can read the news.

Didn’t Dominick Dunne die?
I wonder if he got the Saint Francis statue?

A shout out to Tess for the image this week at Magpie Tales. The king would not let me go, he wanted his say.