Emily, Unleashed (and perhaps rolling in her grave)

Poems of Emily Dickinson - Easton Press Edtion

4/29 Daily Prompt: Unleash Your Inner Dickinson
National Poetry Writing Month is nearly at at end. To celebrate it, try your hand at some verse.


Sullen though it and I may be,
The morning has arrived, and I must greet it.

The coffee tastes the same as yesterday,
breaking my fast and turning my feet toward the door,
Grateful to see the sun ascend the heavens once more.

Still, I long for days hence
when the morning will arrive gently, warmly,
And I may greet it with sleepy smile.


photo credit Jemimus

Dave’s Diabolical Den – an Introduction

This is a poem I wrote in honor of my most diabolically masterful massage therapist, Dave.  It is only half in jest.  He said I could post it.  However, DJ has not said I could post the business card.  Actually, I haven’t asked, yet.

Disclaimer: this is not Dave’s card. This is DJ’s card.

Dave’s Diabolical Den

Welcome, all souls, to the Dungeon!
Please abandon your hope at the door!
And surrender yourself in the interest of Health
Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe more.

When you come, you know David will greet you
With a soft-spoken, “Go right on in.”
What you see is a freshly made table
What you don’t see is Dave’s wicked grin.

It’s deceptive, his comforting manner
He’s a calming and spiritual guy.
You’ve now willingly entered the mystical center
Of the spider web, Bold little Fly.

You admire the room’s decoration
And although you might not comprehend,
In no time at all, you will hear the strange call
Of Dave’s Diabolical Den.

For the devil is in all the details
From the music to soft leather mocs
This warmly lit room’s an enveloping womb;
And when you are settled, he knocks.

The warmth of the heat pad relaxes
You hear the most soothing of sounds
He happily hums as he presses his thumbs through your body
Right down to the ground.

You marvel where he finds your muscles –
You don’t really give it much thought.
Then you are reminded – and instantly blinded –
When his elbow discovers that spot.

He twists and he tweaks and he presses
He rubs and he shakes, and he pokes.
He gives one last push to the bones in your tush
While cheerfully telling you jokes.

As soon as it starts, then it’s over.
Once again, you’ve been saved by the bell.
You’re stiff and you’re sore, but you’ll come back for more
To the therapy version of Hell.

“Oh, surely you jest!” you are thinking.
Brave Reader, allow me to speak.
I’d never regale you with falsehoods, or fail you
By lodging my tongue in my cheek.

Dear Client, don’t let me dissuade you
From seeking the care that you need
I’m not here to scare you, or double-dog dare you
Just hear what I say, and pay heed.

I’ve rested my bones on this table
I’ve hollered and groaned with the best
I’ve had pain with no bruises! – The technique he uses
Would put the Marquis to the test.

I admit that it’s quite masochistic
To submit to the pain like I do.
I find it quite freeing to torment my being –
The question is – what about you?

I leave you with one final message:
Forget everything you’ve been taught.
For once you have braved through the torture of Dave
“Relaxation massage” is just rot!


photo credit dj

No Secret

I wrote this poem for the Daily Press Weekly Writing Challenge
and because April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).

bubble shot

There’s no secret to poetry.
It can’t be forced out like toothpaste from a tube.

That just makes a mess.

You have to coax it sometimes,
Word by hesitant word,

Entice it
With promises

Caress it
Until it relaxes and opens and comes of its own.

When it blooms and hovering bees taste the nectar

When it ripens and its full aroma floods

When you feel the weight in your hand, on the air

That’s when you know it has burst forth of its own accord,
Willingly, eagerly, uncontained

And it’s no longer about you
Or the effort,
Or the desire.

Your control is an illusion. The words are eternal, and they’re not yours.

You can borrow them for a while,

Roll them around in your mouth and spit them out,

Teach them to dance your way,

Dress them up or dirty them,

But they’re not yours.

In the end, you set them free

To soar again.

photo credit rhett maxwell

Passages (a Song)

Passages – Wilson-Phillips


photo credit dok1

This is a song that came from a poem I wrote around 10 years ago.  My friend is a musician and singer/songwriter, and he wrote the tune to go with it.

Vietnam Vets Memorial

photo credit Jamie C2009

The poem was written for a friend of mine after a long conversation about his service in Vietnam and how it changed him.

Vietnam Vets Memorial

photo credit LongitudeLatitude

Passages 3/27/02

Indifferent, counting slain illusions
Remember when you played the game?
The years gaze back above the razor
Older, wiser, honor, blame.

Naked truths and fallen heroes
Conscious shift from then to now
Playing from the hand they dealt you
Mindful what your thoughts allow.

At times, the commonplace is foreign
And the foreign, commonplace
Faintly glint the knowing moments
Drawing dark across your face.

Early in the quiet mornings
Doubtful little whispers creep
Though daydreams promise simple pleasures,
Restless minds make fitful sleep.

Paid your dues and paid respect
Tipped your hat and moved along
Perspective changes everything —
Love and war and right and wrong.

Where pale and hollow words fall short,
One silent look the thought conveys
A small but tender reassurance
Affection, borne in little ways.

Fill the void with flights of fancy
Think a lot, but when you’re through
Keep in mind that what you’ve given
In the end, returns to you.

*Wrote this for a friend.  It was subsequently made into a song by another friend, a musician, and published on one of his CDs.

2/23/2007 part 2

When we turn and gaze behind, we’re never sure what we might find
Opportunities we’ve missed, regrets too numerous to list.
So turn around and look ahead — sometimes, the past is better dead.
The wise man learns from his mistakes to help decide the path he takes.

We live, we love, we laugh, we cry — we wave as the parade goes by
and pretty soon, we realize our life has passed before our eyes.
The sun will rise, the sun will set — it hasn’t reached its ending yet
and once our earthly time is gone, eternity goes on and on.

2/23/2007 part 1

It wasn’t all that long ago I set my expectations low,
and promises from empty heads my doleful disappointment fed.
They filled my ears with empty praise and fixed me with their hollow gaze,
and over time, with wounded pride, my youthful, trusting nature died.

For all those years I’d tried to find a way to leave the crowd behind,
results were never what I’d sought — “trust nobody,” is what it taught.
I’ll never be the President — success will be by accident.
I wonder, every now and then, the differences that could have been.

But, honestly, though I may fail to win a prize or blaze a trail,
Whatever else that I have done, I want to know that I had fun.

For Sylvia (another little poem)

When you hear a sigh  but no one’s there
When your neck is cooled with a breath of air
When there’s but a trace of the faintest scent
You know an angel came and went

When you notice things for the very first time
When your heart is full of song and rhyme
When you start to laugh but you don’t know why
You know an angel is nearby

When the unexpected comes to be
When you’re blessed with serendipity
When the world is yours in every way
You’ve had an angel share your day

Even That

What if we

Could slow down the time we have?

What if we

could simply arrange it?

We could live

a couple of lifetimes, but

Even that

would not be enough.


Children hate

to wait to get older

When we do,

it’s not like we thought

Spend your life

Chasing your days to bed

Comes the day

you’ll never wake up.


What if we

could live out the moments

stretch them long

and linger awhile?

Tilt our heads

to taste all the raindrops

Save the days

and live them again?


Halt the sun

ablaze in the morning sky

Stop the clock

and don’t let it change

past mistakes

will soon be forgotten

Spend your nights

together in love.



What if we

Could slow down the time we have?

What if we

could simply arrange it?

We could live

a couple of lifetimes, but

Even that

would not be enough.





In a dream I was once a SWAT team scout

Fighting crime all the time with a rainbow trout.


The place where I lived was a carnival ride

And the neighbors would stand in a line outside.


My dog, who could talk, had a terrible cough

Which he got from the chill when he took his hat off.


Inside of my fridge lived a family of four

Which sure made it difficult closing the door.