Closet Monster

I wish you believed
I lived under the bed.
Dust bunnies aren’t bad
conversationalists, once
you get them talking.
and there’s a better variety
of books and toys there.

Of course it isn’t you
who decided I’d be a resident
of closets and nightmares.
Your parents did that.
Create something to fear
and you create obedience.

But what if you weren’t afraid?
What if you liked looking
into all the dark spaces
and asking hard questions
with complex answers?
What if you learned
to trust yourself in the dark?

Then child, you’d know not to fear
me. You’d have your own teeth
and voice to make the world listen.
Until then, I’ll pass the time
with your special occasion clothes,
giving the occasional growl
so you’ll hear how it should be done.

This poem was created by the prompt I gave over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: The Boogeyman. It is also linked to Poets United: Poetry Pantry 351

A Pirate's Last Request

You wanted the last thing
I saw with human eyes
to be faces taking satisfaction
from gasps stilled
by the crack of my neck.

I'll look to the sea instead.

A pirate’s corpse
is unfit to lay
with land bound lambs
you reminded me,
unless I renounce myself.

Keep your dirt patch.
I look to the sea.

It holds my heart and soul
with a more tender
and honest cruelty
than any you ever gave.

I want no sterilized afterlife
filled with more like you.
That would truly be hell.

The sea and I suit each other.
I belong there. 

Song Choice: He's A Pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean 

Process Note: A few years ago I visited an exhibition about pirates at one of the local museums. I remember reading a blurb on one of the displays that said pirates were not allowed to be buried in graveyards among the respectable citizens. I immediately had a mental picture of a pirate scoffing at that, which was followed by an urge to write a poem. I actually didn't then, due to having to wrangle my then-young children past the gift shop. But the combination of the two prompts reminded me of what I wanted to write.

Frost on the Tombstone. Photo by Liz Young.

This flash fiction poetry was inspired by the photo prompt at this week's Friday Fictioneers and the prompt at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Outsider Art.

Photogenic Pain

Tilt your chin a little that way
so we can get the full shine
from the tears in your eyes.

Maybe you’re born with it?
Who cares. Hold the pose.

But we should check that background.
Life complicates the composition
and there is no time for color correction.

We only want the pain
that looks the prettiest on camera.
If you’re not picture perfect
get out of the way of the lens.

In Samantha's Shoes

Dinner’s in the fridge.
Don’t forget Tabitha’s bedtime story.
Make sure Darren Jr does his homework.

I’ve laced up my take-no-prisoners,
Valkyrie-on-a-broomstick, hell-yes
you’ll-hear-me-roar boots.

You smiled at me,
while I decided between
belladonna or datura -
made me want to reach
for damania instead.

I love these boots.
But I also love the slippers
we’ve made of our love -

the warm, mmm-so-cozy,
still-sturdy-after-so-many-years slippers.

But tonight, there are great, odiferous, pestilent
hydras to contain and a coven waiting for me to rise.
“The hydra doesn’t stand a chance,” you say
before we kiss and I fly.

Shoes and Books by Magaly Guerrero

Process notes: Belladonna and datura are poisonous plants while damania has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. 

This poem was inspired by the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Poetry Through the Eyes of Carol Ann Duffey and the picture prompt given over at Friday Fictioneers. It is also linked up with Poets United: Poetry Pantry 350.

Returning the Favor

Don’t cry for the kid I was.
He was weak. An old man
had to teach that kid

his eyes wouldn’t be dried
by caring hands,
and his skin needed to be trained
to be harder than the fists that hit it.

I made my own lullabies
from the cracking of skulls,
the stomping of boots,
and cries for mercy.

I made lesser things
scream the pain I didn’t allow
myself to show, peaceful
until the next time anger howled

in my brain, demanding prey. 
(i can’t punch hard enough to save her)

Heaven gave me hell.
I’m just returning the favor. 

This poem was inspired by the prompt (I created!) over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: The Villain Speaks. I chose Turk, the Neo-Nazi character from Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. The poem also borrowed inspiration from a line spoken by the villain from one of my favorite animes, Nakago from Fushigi Yuugi ( "I'll have my revenge against the heaven which has only given me hell"), who, when I thought about it, had a fair bit in common with Turk, both being hurt children who grew up to do terrible things as a way to deal with their pain. This poem is also linked up to Poets United Poetry Pantry 349

Weeping With Joy

Among the boughs of the weeping birch
she discovered how far up she could climb
and which branches supported her
as she tried to touch a cloud.

Among the boughs of the weeping birch
he discovered how green looks at dawn and at dusk,
and which other colors dipped their toes
into the emerald sea he tried to capture on paper.

Under the boughs of the weeping birch
whose leaves form a curtain
giving those who love it sanctuary,
love unites, and births new loves too.

This is the sign I carry to rallies

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Out of Standard - Signs of the Times, where we were asked to create a poem including a slogan from a protest sign and write something not political.

Fine Indefinitely

I’ve made a sort of peace
with my chimera-like self.

Yes, I’ve envied
those whose lives were made
of uniform fabric, whose seams
always lined up with each other,

until I realized the beauty
in the patchwork of all my loves
stitched into my grinning soul.

I shall never be elegant.
I shall never neatly fit
into the costume of a role
not meant for me to play.
Those itch anyway.

Singing my praises to the beautiful blue
of a sky as high as I can imagine,
or murmuring prayers to the heart of a fire
that jumps and sparks in steps known only to itself,

I know that certainty sometimes equals confinement
and prefer to stay unconfined, undefined -
unless of course that’s what I desire
at that particular moment.

This poem is linked up to the Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads. Kerry asked us to contemplate if a song has ever saved our lives. I'm not sure about saving my life, but something about this song always comforts me and feels like home.

Delicately Bold

Demurring by day,
true night blooms are selective
binding up allure
into beguiling scents not hues,
beckoning night visitors.

Night Perfume (1950)
Kaoro Kawano
fair use

This poem was inspired by a prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Kerry Says: Let's Paint A Picture, which asked us to create a Tanka based on the art of  Japanese print maker, Kaoro Kawano


Spaces between can be stretched, like shadows lengthening in the fading day. Strange magic tugs on atoms, bending and pulling objects until they vanish. She does not understand that it is herself she wishes to make gone when she says her words into the waiting air. She only speaks the words, “Make it go,” and mass, neither created nor destroyed, rearranges itself elsewhere. It is simpler to make things disappear instead of feelings.

Easy to banish
a bowl or a trinket, still
the shadows remain.

Photo by Jellico's Stationhouse

This story told in haibun came from a combination of the picture prompt given over at Friday Fictioneers and the prompt from Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Physics with Bjorn: Space time and the theory of special relativity

First Green

They look like hope-
those first buds swelling,
with all the possibilities
of a life happily started
under a warming April sky
fed by vanishing March snow.

And I still hoped,
even as my roots told me
the earth is still cold.
The sun is lying.

I cannot lie.
I felt the buds
push towards the sunlight,
and dreamed
of the first green uncurling,

only to have
the March wind screech,
pulling me from dreams
to see stillborn green

devoured by a shroud of ice.

This poem was inspired by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Speaking For Spring's Stillborn Sprouts.