Psychotic Break

And so I wandered. Lonely as a cloud, seeking some break in the darkness you left behind. How did I get to this point?

Your proposal caught me off guard. I craved love for so long, my heart could not believe your words. We spent those next weeks in pure bliss. I asked to meet your family. “Soon enough,” you said. Then one day I came home to an empty apartment. Your clothes were gone. Your side of the bathroom, pristine. You’d stood there that morning, shaving off your beard until a fresh unfamiliar face looked out from the mirror. “I’ll have to get used to that,” I said. Did you want me to? They found me, wandering through the house. Incoherent. The darkness was everywhere.

I’ve spent years in this institution now, wondering if you were real.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. EXCEPT, today, we’re not writing poetry. We’re writing PROSERY! This is a form of creative writing, developed at dVerse. The prompter (today it’s me) gives a line or two from a poem of her/his choosing as the prompt. Writers must then write a piece of prose, think flash fiction, that contains the given line(s) word for word, within the body of prose. The punctuation may change….but the word order must be the same and it must be word for word. The prose must not exceed 144 words in length (sans title). As the pub tender/prompter today, I’ve selected the line “I wandered lonely as a cloud” from Wordsworth’s poem I Wander Lonely as a Cloud. The line must be used word for word within the body of prose (punctuation may vary), and the prose must be 144 words or less in length, sans title. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

And the Evil Shall Continue . . .

They lived in the forest. Two offspring of Elsinora, the Witch of Evildore. They’d been learning her trade for many years. Memorized spells, chopped beetle wings, boiled cat’s blood. Now the time had come. Elsinora smiled through blistered purple lips. They were ready. They’d consumed all her ancient books; syphoned memory strands from her pustule covered head.

“Rest now, my dearies. Come to me and bring no book. For this one day we’ll give to idleness. Let’s take your measurements as you rest. Boot size for broom stirrups. Breath velocity for hexes. Quickly now, my loves, as the spirits have ruled. I shall disappear when the moon ebbs and you shall rule the lands. Control those naive two-legged creatures who assume they are the dominant strain. Come sit with me and I shall gift you reign over all, on this my dying day.”

Written for the prosery prompt at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Ingrid hosts and asks us to include the line “And bring no book for this one day we’ll give to idleness” within our work of fiction that is 144 words or less in length, sans title. The line must be used word for word, but the punctuation may be changed. The line is from Wordsworth’s Lines Written at a small distance from my house which is included in the collection Lyrical Ballads. Image from Pixabay.com

Beware the Evil Tra-La-Lah

She sweetly sings Come be with me,
lullabyes them deep in sleep to kidnap.
Children, her calliope.

She crashes children’s dreams with glee
mists their minds, makes one commanding clap
and sweetly sings Come be with me.

Spins dulcimer tones in heads so wee,
savors treble clefs, craves their fiddle-dee-dee.
Children, her calliope.

Plants cotton-candy poisonous tree
in tussled heads so sweet, such evil trap.
She sweetly sings Come be with me.

Disguised she devil-sings come follow me,
codas dream with one giant gingersnap.
Children, her calliope.

Parents, heed my tale and listen carefully
lest you lose your children as they nap.
She sweetly sings Come be with me,
children, her calliope!

Bjorn is hosting Meet-the-Bar night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. He asks us to write a nonsense narrative poem. We must clearly tell a story. “The characters and their actions may seem absurd or playful, but what they do makes sense in a nonsense way. It is fine to use invented words, but it should be clear from the concept if they are creatures, things, or even verbs.” Photo from pixabay.co

The Darkest Day

Mother Nature chagrined,
shrouded in grey low-slung sky.
Rains gush, pummel sideways
as she weeps beyond control.
Strong oaks uprooted,
her scalp bared in raw splotches.

Gales punish the unrepentant.
We the offenders struggle
bending at right angles from the waist,
plodding toward imagined escape.
Our feeble umbrellas abandoned,
their broken ribs litter the sodden path.

Has her sun forsaken us, our sins too great?
Depression’s black hole inverted,
is this vortex our fate?
It drowns even the most optimistic,
hope abandoned in storming grief.
We fear the apocalypse has begun.

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Idea for poem came from yesterday — waking up at 6 AM and finding trees outside our windows blowing like crazy in the midst of a Nor’easter that lasted for almost 12 hours. It downed many trees across the area. Many across
Boston and surrounding area lost power from pummeling rain and wind gusts up to 80 mph. We remained safely indoors. Photo is in public domain in Pixabay.com and is not from Boston.

**I am a positive person – really I am! Sometimes I have no idea why the pen turns to the dark side.


Come, Tituba

Tituba, ‘tis time to rise.
Come thee from thy grave.
Tis one year since last we caroused
‘mongst these Salem fools.
Help me tip the stone o’er my pet, Peeves.
Though his skeleton be small,
his rattling shall join ours this night.
His, the only kindness in that cellar,
waiting for the gallows to call.
No human came to visit that dank hole.
No other animal dared approach.
Feared the noose be looped
round their scrawny neck as well.
Only Peeves, my dearest black cat,
came and stayed,
curled atop my feet to the last.
Come Tituba, our metatarsals
brittle though they be,
shall haunt this town tonight.
Plod these desecrated streets
once again reminding all,
we were unequivocally wronged.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Lisa asks us to consider our pet peeves, some human characteristic that irritates us and then somehow connect that in a poem with a Halloween or Samhain theme. I admit. I struggled with this prompt and so took a bit of poetic license here. This poem is in reference to Salem, Massachusetts’ infamous witch trials and the scores of people who descend on Salem over Halloween night.

Tituba was the first girl to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 witch trials.

For those of you who’ve never been to Salem, it is replete with witch museums, wicca stores, and even a sculpture of Elizabeth Montgomery as her character in the television sitcom Bewitched. Lest one think that is the totality of Salem, it is also home to the amazing Peabody Essex Museum, PEM for short. For over 200 years it has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and showcasing compelling artwork throughout history and from around the world.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Sunburst

She becomes the sun in his world.
Dazed, stunned, smitten. Emotions whirled.
Fierce sunbeam.

Parhelion in mocking sky,
her beauty shines to mystify.
Burned. Sunstruck.

Moist tempting lips smile to ensnare.
Hips beckon, sway in daylight’s glare.
Felled. Sunstroke.

Obsessed he beds her day and night
primal, neurotic appetite.
Sunscalded.

His money spent, he’d been cajoled.
Drugged. Job over, she leaves him cold.
Done. Sunset.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Grace hosts today and introduces us to the Compound Word Verse:

This complex form was created by Margaret R. Smith:
Five 3-line stanzas. Fifteen lines total.
Last line of each stanza must be a compound word.
The compound words must share a common stem: IE sun, sunbeam, sunstruck, sunstroke, sunbathing, sunset.
Rhyme scheme must be aab.
Syllable count must be 8, 8, 3.

Parhelion: a sun dog or mock sun called a parhelion in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the sun.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Witch Trial Residuals

Hanged in 1692,
they haunt the streets of Salem still.
Blood-drained ashen apparitions
unabashedly bitter,
they wander far beyond their graveyard.
October tourists beware.
They seek revenge from you who gawk,
bring money to town’s coffers.
Fury unleashed, ashcans ready
to harvest your souls.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to use the word “ash” or a form of the word, in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. I’ve used the word “ashen” and the word “ash” is hidden within three other words – can you find them?

Salem, Massachusetts is the home of the infamous Salem witch trials. Begun in the spring of 1692, Bridget Bishop was the first to be hung in June at Salem’s Gallows Hills. Nineteen more were hung that month. Some 150 were ultimately accused. There were other means of execution. Today, almost a half-million tourists flock to Salem in the month of October, frequenting the various witch museums, related shops, and of course, the graveyards.

No Escape

I couldn’t sleep. Walking the streets I came upon a small sign: Séance Sessions. Ten dollars.

“Letting go. Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end to this labyrinth called life. In reality”, said the medium, “you were here before your time and you will reappear many times after your body succumbs.” The lights suddenly flickered. The charlatan’s fingernails dug into my palms. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as her mouth moved in synch with Jim’s booming voice. “You killed me. I shall never forget. You shall suffer all the days of your lives and . . .” The medium’s body lurched forward. Her head crashed onto the table. She was obviously dead. I could see the dagger I’d carefully buried in my garden, sticking out of her back. Sirens began to wail.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril is hosting and asks us to insert the following line from Joy Harjo’s A Map to the Next World: “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.” Image from pixabay.com

Prosery is a form created by dVerse. One line from a poem must be inserted into a piece of flash fiction, word for word. The punctuation may change but the word order must replicate the line as it appears in the poem used for the prompt. The flash fiction must be 144 words or less, not including the title.. No Escape is exactly 144 words.

Horror in the Hazel Woods

I met her most nights – somewhere between  succumbing to sleep and waking fever-drenched at dawn. Unable to meet the woman of my dreams in reality, I’d created her in my mind. But she was not the image that came to me night after night. This was a half-woman, half-monster, chasing me through horror. There was always a knife. Next morning my bedding was always bloodstained from the self-inflicted scratching of old wounds.  

This night, whiskey drunk, I avoided my bed. Stumbled  instead into the moonless night. I went out to the hazel wood. Because a fire was in my head, I tripped over  roots, crazed to find this she-devil. I wanted to kill her. End these nightmares. Instead, I died that night, victim of her crazed claws  They found me in light snow, hazel tree branches clicking in winter’s wind.

Note: Hazel trees are noted for often having protruding roots. They can be either trees or shrubs.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today is Prosery Monday where we’re given a specific line from a poem, and we must insert it, word for word (although the punctuation may be changed) into a piece of flash fiction. We must have a beginning, middle and end to our story. It can be no more than 144 words sans title.

Kim is hosting today and asks us to include this line from Yeats’ The Song of Wandering Aengus: “I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head.”

All Hallows’ Eve . . .

Caldron nearby
she is the enigma,
silver flowing garb
white hair plaited high.
Index fingers encased in wax,
flame extinguished
by gust from fleeing bats.

Eyes heavenward, pointing skyward
she seeks illumination.
Answering nay, consumed by clouds,
lunar glow dims and disappears.
Tear soaked cheeks
dried on thinnest cloth
sHow dwindling faith . . .

     consumed moon
          pearls from tissue
               candle salve
                    skulls of saints
                              spiritual songs


her crooning voice cracks
this hallowed eve.
This burial ground,
last chance
to find her gods.
All sounds, all hopes
cease.

Pleas unanswered
she returns to abysmal cave,
forsaken and alone.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Laura hosts and refers us to the American Poet, Samuel Greenburg. His “…feverish tubercular episodes gave him a verbal recklessness that lent itself to surrealism.” In The Pale Impromptu, written in 1915, he strings words together in indentations and to Laura, they appear like charms on a bracelet. She has listed for us twenty-one of these “charm” phrases from The Pale Impromptu and asks us to use five of them in our poem. I’ve attempted to use his form as well as five of his “charms” which are italicized for easy recognition. My apologies to Laura and Samuel Greenburg if I’ve not explained this very well.

Photo from Pixabay.com