Driving Home

driving home
from home
as white as the roads
the sky
the trees
my face
on white
on white
on white
binding my freedom
filling it with thoughts of ditches
of metal on metal
bleeding oil
bleeding gas
bleeding me

my side of the highway
drifted over
it pulls Mona’s wheels like an undercurrent
this way
and that

her electric blue must look beautiful from above
straining against the white
striving like a salmon to get back home

~bwarren 22

Sing a Song So Senseless

My flimsy memory falters
In traces ‘round the sun
Seemingly undone

Sing a song of poesy
A pocket full of lines
Where messages
Composed in threes
Like waiting wishes lie

Flooded trips
That hide their shine
Forever wonder why
That run of blackbirds
Circles by

I’m baked into a Big Sky pie

Brenda Warren 2017


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Fleeting Snippets

This town is feeding on my heart.
I hope it gets indigestion
I hope it belches snippets
of the moments we once shared—

walking dogs along the river’s edge,
twirling in the halls at school,
feeling breezes atop Hill 57,
these fleeting snippets of heaven.

Brenda Warren 2015


Twinkle, twinkle little jar
filled with memories and scars
let me throw you to the stars—
primordial shining bards.

Saturated galaxy milk
spin your orbit white,
translucent strands of who we are
thread their way through night.

Blood moon round and red
illuminating sacred,
stars sing while we shed skin
beneath their camera, naked.

Release my sheep from counting,
interrupting bliss.
This interim is hounding me
I want Ohio’s kiss.

Brenda Warren 2015

The prompt was stars.

A Montana Sentence for the New Year

Sitting beneath ponderosa’s
sparse, but rising skirt,
where life precedes death
in the underworld of winter,

a human breathes in
cold Montana forests
and exhales extraneous adjectives
while sister wind shakes winter
from ponderosas’ green-needle reach,
and branch-covered darkness dissipates
promising hope
in the first morning
of tomorrow’s new year.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process notes: My goal was to imagine being in a place that I would like to be, and write a piece in one sentence from that space regarding the new year.

Thank you for your time in this space last year. I will go outside and caw into the darkness a few times this evening. Happy New Year!!

Unbidden Recollections

for Dave

Driving east on Montana 200,
Unbidden recollections spill over buttery fields.
Floating like ghosts between Square Butte and the Little Belts,
They swarm through the shadows of life’s early hillsides
Back there, where we worshipped no god but Now.

Passing Moccasin, your death
Breathes deep curves in the road.
falling into patches of darkness
As time sharpens the edges of forgetting
Who we were.

Brenda Warren 2013


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Bird Woman Falls is Weeping


Bird Woman Falls ~ Glacier National Park ~ June 28, 2013 ~ Photo by Brenda Warren

Bird Woman Falls is Weeping

As light bends shadowed lanes across glacial faces,
my insignificance tumbles thoughts of self
through the hollow bones of birds
that hop in puddles through highway tunnels.

Unstable walls of ice edge stretches of the road,
forcing fallen streams of winter across our drive.

Beyond the vast and wild expanse,
Bird Woman Falls weeps showers of diamonds
over stone cliffs into a small steep meadow,
a glittering emerald island,
greened by melting glaciers
that carve a hanging valley
to feed Bird Woman’s flow.

The highway pivots mountains left and right,
a dizzying dazzling retreat for cars Going to the Sun
to bear witness to Bird Woman’s weeping
on this road that bridges canyons to heaven.

Brenda Warren 2013


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Place, Sense, and the Mizquicks

(never been to Hawaii)
(never even imagined being there until now)

Waves must sing delicious on volcanic island shores,
projecting ocean mantra into foam against the stone.

But technology encroaches roads with parasitic people,
beaches swarming, merging masses, leaving splashes
of anxiety in my quiet Montana mind.

In Montana, a stellar sense of solitude
urges road trips over Bridger Canyon Drive,
where clover’s sweetness inundates my senses,
and paints ditches with its hues.

At the summit of the highway,
just past the road to Brackett Creek,
I stop and smudge the four directions.
Burning sweet grass, ancient blessings
that linger in my hair.

Dropping down out of the Bridgers,
Montana’s high plains start to show.
Rising in a sea of quivering prairie grasses
the Crazies kiss the sky, this is what I think
is meant by candy for the eye.

Crazy Mountains - B. Warren

Crazy Mountains – B. Warren

Inquisitive seedlings of imagination take root.

Years ago, a fleet of Mizquicks landed in the Crazy Mountains
they feasted on its craggy peaks. The minerals activated wild
hallucinations that made the Mizquicks laugh. They mined
the rocks with picks, not unlike our own, put them on their ship,
and flew back home to Zortan, where other Mizquicks dine
on compost rich fecundity, and peaks do not exist.

In the off chance they return,
I’ve left maps with arrows from Montana to Hawaii
on the top of Crazy Peak.

Brenda Warren 2013


Well that was an interesting journey. I used a list of 12 words from The Sunday Whirl, and Miz Quickly’s prompt for day 7 of NaPoWriMo. Her prompt asked us to combine sense and place.  Quickly says, “include a place you’ve never been, a place you know well, and a place fictional or imaginary. For each place, appeal to a different pair of senses . . . Do be specific. Beautiful, delicious, loud: nice words, but fuzzy.”

This was a fun exercise.  I do think the break (picture) in the poem would be a nice place to stop. Then again, it was fun to envision the Mizquicks’ eating habits.  😉

Keeping Ahead of Jimmie

for Thyra Louise

Most parents of deaf kids applaud conversation.
Your parents, grandparents, and family friends
paid for your silence with quarters in cars.
Soon, we collected bills,
and fanned them in front of your eyes.
After a specified amount of time,
we would rain dollars down on you
paying for quiet on long distance road trips,
where your incessant observations never ended.

Every now and then,
you’d ask us to slow down,
so your invisible friend Jimmie
could keep up with the car.


No wonder we left our family.
We both needed Len,
who told me once with jewels in his eyes,
“Everything children say is fascinating.”
He laughed, then added,
“How can anyone not listen?”

Years of your imagination were lost
in silent cars,
running down roads I don’t remember,
trying hard to keep ahead of Jimmie.

Brenda Warren 2013


The prompt for this piece came from the Trifecta Challenge. Click on the tricycle to visit their site, and read some more pieces that used the word “rain” in a rather odd fashion. I will also share this at open link night at dVerse Poets Pub. Thanks for being there.

This is my third piece for April. Thyra likes it. I am grateful for her life, her wisdom, and her kindness.  Len is the light in my eyes; he inspires me to listen harder.

March 10, 1998

Snow dusts an upturned circle of earth
like powdered sugar on brownies
as sun blues Montana’s unrestrained sky.
A train masters rails through fields of calving cows
while fat bellied sheep stretch toward next month’s labor.
Its faint wistful whistle colors my coffee richer,
ushering in morning’s promise of a day to work dirt.
Gardens root me to earth and create space to thin thinking.

While mentally mapping out zinnia streets lined with thyme,
a rap on the door pulls me present.
Farmer Tom steps inside.
Working the bill of his hat with his hands,
words spill beneath sober blue eyes
words about school buses and trains
words that shouldn’t be paired
words that Farmer Tom shared:

“Two brothers died.”

Morning’s lovely face
swallowed them up
and their young bodies flopped like fish in a basket
when metal hit metal.

“Two brothers
were killed
at the crossing
on Buffalo Canyon Road.”

My shaken neighbor, forever changed,
apologizes to me for tuning in calls on his emergency scanner,
he apologizes to me for sharing the news,
and he apologizes to me
for being the only person he can find any place
on this still spring morning.

“Oh God,”
Farmer Tom puts his head in his hands
and he weeps.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process Notes:  This is a true story, except that I did not hear the train’s whistle that morning.  Poetic license placed it there. Tom and I also joked about how strong my coffee was, trying to make life seem normal. The oddness of that morning keeps it fresh enough to revisit in this piece. Ben and Christopher Petersen would be adults with rich lives now.

This is for the 100th Sunday Whirl.  Thanks for your continued support there and here.  You all rock!