Cracked not Broken

Slivers of breath sent her plans clattering through to
that place
where nothing ever mattered but now.

How did the light dim?

Where did her angels go?
Dancing on pins,
deep , where secrets whisper,
they move through the crack in her everything.
Light against dark –
tracing paths to summon themselves.
Nothing works like it used to.

When she walks, feathers fall from her feet.

She laughs.

~bw 22

Day Ten — off prompt. This one came after I tried to construct a cento from some of my older poems. While pieces of other poems are present, this is not what I expected to write. Like so many poems, it became itself.

She believes God was in the trees.

“The bones of the dead
are excavated, scattered, and sold.
Shrines are blasted from sacred
rock in the name of patriotism.”
-Tiffany Midge “Night of the Living Dead”

She follows patterns of shadows
that dance across the wall
lengthening dusk toward the
closet, where high on a shelf she rattles
the bones of the dead.

Culled from forest floors
each bone holds the secrets of
stardust tracing lines within a void.
She misses the trees
where patterns of shadows, like bones,
are excavated, scattered, and sold.

Her dad said trees were sentinels of time
always watching. She believes that trees
held stories forever remote and inaccessible
bulldozed by the highest bidder,
Shrines are blasted from sacred

places where patterns of shadows
no longer fall. She opens the box of bones
and inhales the forest floor grateful for
secrets and shovels. Grateful for her bravery
against the movement to destroy what’s gone
where every lie was a
rock in the name of patriotism.

~bw 22

Day Three

Glosa One

Monster Haibun

The monsters in my closet were real. They had three names: Crush, Kill, and Destroy. During the daytime they’d chase me with snakes or meet me in the garage where fear met darkness in cracks of light and my little heart beat holes in 4 year old me.

stitch up my spirit
secrets bloom on thorny stems
monsters lie in wait

Years later, undefined panic sent me to a seer, a shrink with a gift. Blurred lines cleared into cracks of light in the walls. My story made sense. The sacred book that is my life reveals itself in unwritten pages.

crush, kill, destroy me
meet me in the dark garage
where sacred books begin

Brenda Warren 2016


Garage by Randall Talbot

For day 2, Elizabeth prompts us “to write about something we have never written about before: a secret, a childhood fear, something avoided or purposely ignored. Something we have left unwritten.” She provided six words to include in our writing today.

undefined, book, lines, fear, gift, secret

When I saw where this was headed, I decided to write a haibun. A haibun is prose interspersed with haiku. There are holes in this story that may never get filled. Still, it was good to explore it. Thanks for the prompt, Elizabeth.


Against your angry words
like a worm she writhes,
astonished at the rising of her hard rock secret
set in memory’s amber.

Beneath life’s chirping rays
darkness covers her me place,
where angst rots fecund
and quiet fosters balance.

Rock lifted,
secret exposed.
What’s easy vanishes.
Like a worm she writhes.

She speaks in scattered syllables,
denying any deal
denying any lie.

Stop. Here.

Put back the rock.

Brenda Warren 2015

Note on the title* A leaverite is a rock that you should put back. You should leave ‘er right where you found her. A leaverite. My dad told me about leaverites to discourage childhood’s bulging pebble pockets. My pockets continue to bulge.

Whirl 214

Visit The Sunday Whirl




Built upon the wreckage of myself
I am a madwoman
Bleeding secrets like a mouthless doll
Words are blind howls
Mouthed beneath a werewolf moon

Surrender to the tingling burn of scorpion stings
I am a madwoman
Incessantly spinning spells like a branded witch
Ear to the ball
Mouth on fire
Hunted and alone
Words are werewolf howls
Left beneath an empty moon
Sacred and afraid

Built upon the wreckage of myself
I am a madwoman

Annihilating ire
I rise

Brenda Warren 2015

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Notes: The first line came from ‘Incendiary’ by Chris Cleave. In it, the narrator writes “I am a woman built on the wreckage of myself.” pg 80 – I spent the last two days steeped in that book, witnessing the narrator descend into madness. This is my reading response.

Eden’s Promises

Apples hold secrets like forests hold trees
deep in the husks of their seeds.
Secrets like cyanide can become lethal
and exile desires to breathe.
Screaming for freedom, secrets are stories,
peering up from beneath our dis-

Three blind spiders spinneret nests
and cosset enigmas in spirit,
piles of promises (cradled arachnids),
clues to secrets’ deep web,
like cyanide in apple seeds
buried in flesh
through stories wrapped round in red.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process Notes: The first two lines are from The Soul’s Arsonist, a poem I wrote in June. After writing about three blind spiders, the piece stopped.  Clicking on the apple tag in the sidebar I found apples and secrets in two lines of a piece, and started over using them for this week’s Whirl.  It was nice to see the spiders spin in again.  Little pieces can form bigger pieces. Eden’s Promise is best served aloud. I like it. I didn’t use the words rash or claws from the wordle.


Visit The Sunday Whirl

No Rest on Avenue B

The neighbors howl in the night
allowing sick family values
to spill across their lawn
into Luna’s waning light.

In my bed, I translate words that slur
through the air to my window
and detect escalating anger.

It’s seconds past 2 a.m.

Intractable accusations
lead to F-bombs and wailing
and I wonder if they’re drunk enough
to forget the mistakes they weave together
in the small hours of day.
These eruptions leave traces
of angst across our yards
that linger like confiscated notes
exposing secrets between friends

My conscience tells me to shut the window,
to call the police, to confront them,
but instead I lie here and listen.

There’s no rest on Avenue B tonight.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process notes: These words were difficult for me. I did not use “lab.” I wanted to write a piece about summer, but the darkness in the words prohibited its completion. So instead, I wrote about my neighbors. Although this happens a few times a year, they are generally nice people.


Visit The Sunday Whirl

The Soul’s Arsonist

Prevaricating bushes lie low,
singeing an edge round his soul.
Apples hold secrets like forests hold trees
deep in the husk of their seeds.

Tracks in the cracks
of his memory’s files—
a mess too complex
to unravel.

Serpents still tempt him
and steal his intention,
splitting his answers
down forks in his tongue.
They snake through branches in bushes
as he douses the branches in gas.

He thinks about playing with matches
and laughs, losing his pale to the glow—
to the flickering trail of lies that writhes
at the edge of his deep apple soul.

Damming its freedom to flow,
oh yeah,
he damns its freedom to flow.

Brenda Warren 2013

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Visit The Sunday Whirl

Note:  The word “class” from the wordle, did not make an appearance in my piece this week.

August will come, and you will go.

for Thyra Louise

I force craving through my throat’s long passage
and place it in the vault of my chest
where nimble, it twirls
like wind dancing channels through prairie grass seas
echoing all we used to be.

Soon, each yearning will rise through my limbs
forcing me outside,
forcing me to swirl trains of thought
into the same stars you see.

We can meet to paint the night
somewhere over Indiana, or Michigan
dissipating my desire to hear you laugh
or touch your skin,
rapturing among constellations.

Fierce, you will glance back at me through Luna’s full face
hinting at the secrets her shadowed halls hold.

Brenda Warren 2013


Visit The Sunday Whirl

Your Poems

You are a moon poet
standing on a hole
of dark stillness
forgetting how to write.
Slowly your emptiness
to the heavens
in blocks of
freezing sea.

You are a drought poet
above a new
vibrant rain
starting dry, shriveled
poems. As you begin,
your poems quickly
come home
and stop outside
country roads
between grassy fields.

You are a shore poet
ridden by a
beach bum after
you forget to write.
Your poems walk home
and hate,
drowning with birds
in red shimmering

You are an outside poet
without floors
forgetting to write.
Your poems rise
from prairie grasses
and whisper secrets
to you.

You are an Earth poet
ridden by
trees, and stones, and people.
Your poems come
warm and glowing
in the present moment
right before your eyes.

Brenda Warren 2013


Here is the prompt for the final day of NaPoWriMo: “Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite. For example, you might turn “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” to “I won’t contrast you with a winter’s night.” Your first draft of this kind of opposite poem will likely need a little polishing, but this is a fun way to respond to a poem you like, while also learning how that poem’s rhetorical strategies really work. (It’s sort of like taking a radio apart and putting it back together, but for poetry). Happy writing!”

The piece I chose was written by a sixth grade student on the Utah Navajo Reservation. It is called “My Poems.” I found it in the book Rising Voices.