What Are You Looking At?

A couple of days ago, the prompt at OctPoWriMo asked us to write a poem inspired by one of several photos. I went a little different direction and used photos from a friend of mine instead of the ones from the prompt. But one of those photos kept haunting me. After I read poems by others based on the photo, it called to me more. I had to write this. The child gave me no choice. 

Fenced In 

What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see a boy or a girl?

Why? How do you know?

What if I’m neither… Or both…


What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see the color of my skin?

Why? Is it different from yours?

What if we look deeper that the surface…


What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see poverty?

Why? How do you know?

What if I’m better off than you…


What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see a victim?

Why? What makes you think so?

What if you’re the only victim here…


What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see the wall between us?

Why? Isn’t it just a fence?

What if there’s really no barrier between us at all…


What do you see when you look at me?

Do you see yourself reflected in my eyes?

Why? Are we the same?

What if we are…


Dreams – Then and Now

Once I read the prompt today at OctPoWriMo, I was grateful that we were offered an “out”. We were reminded that we didn’t have to share our poem if we didn’t want to. The prompt asked us to write about the dream(s) of ourselves at eight years old. That was a tough one for me. That age, in particular, was when things really began to go sideways for me. I poured this poem out in one shot and I gave serious consideration to not posting it. Then I remembered a promise I made to myself about three years ago. I promised that I would talk about what happened to me. Silence is part of the problem. So here it is… raw, ugly, and as real as it gets.

Self-Portrait Pieces of Me

I don’t want to write this poem today.

I don’t really have anything to say.

The prompt about our childhood dreams

Reminded me too much,it seems,

The dreams I had at eight or nine

Are dreams that are no longer mine.

My dreams were stolen away from me

By things that I could not foresee.

Child abuse and teenage rape

Imprisoned me beyond escape.

Beneath protective layers of fat

I hid away from life and that

Shut me down for many years

Until I shattered into tears.

I cried and cried and cried for hours

And freed my soul from the evil powers.

The wounds began to heal at last

When I forgave those from my past.

The little girl began to grow

And now, my friends, I finally know

That though I dreamt of life on the stage

My creative life now belongs on the page.

Fabulous Fibonacci

For those participating in OctPoWriMo, I hope today’s prompt didn’t throw you. It was yet another selfish prompt from me to push me to write more poetry related to my (former) career as a math teacher. In fact, I hope you were able to see the numbers in your life as a source of beauty. Personally, mathematics has always been the order in my chaos. I enjoyed the patterns that could be found in numbers. My poem today is about one of my favorite patterns. I am sharing reference photos linked back to websites with more information in lieu of footnotes. It is my hope that you will explore this pattern in more depth and find the same awe-inspiring beauty that I do.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34,...

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34,…

Found all around us

In nature, music, architecture, and art.

Bones in our body,

fingerOn a piano keyboard, 


Nautilus shells spiral,


And a tightly closed fist.


Close examination of

Cones from pine trees


Illustrates the repeating pattern.


Intelligent design of

So much of our world.


Bunny rabbit reproduction

Even follows the sequence.


And many plants show it, too.


Universal spiral in our Milky Way.


Tree branching is not random.


Illustrations of the sequence

For us to try to

Understand the mysterious world

Left here for us to discover.

To My Guardian Angel

The prompt at OctPoWriMo today asked us to write a poem inspired by a selection of images. While I loved the images offered, I chose to go off in my own direction. I have several friends that are incredible photographers, but I knew whose photos I wanted for this prompt. The images are courtesy of my long-time friend John Ashton-Keller. (Click his name to visit his gallery at deviantArt.) The poetry form I chose for this is called an etheree, though in this case, it’s a reverse triple etheree.




I heard you calling and I came running

Only to find the door was padlocked.

The lock was just like the one I

Wear around my heart, the chain

Like the one on my neck.

Cold metal designed

To protect from




ForAriellah 8

Me they

Failed. So here

I am, sitting

At your feet. I see

That you have a broken

Wing, too. No wonder you have

Not been able to protect me.

You have been fighting your own battles

With demons who would clip your wings and flee.

I understand now and I’ll be okay. Ariellah 6

I may still need your help sometimes but

I’m stronger than I used to be.

I can try to stand alone.

Just knowing how you’ve tried

To stand up for me

Is enough for

Me to use

My own


An Un-Love Letter

I must take a moment and give a shout-out to our amazing leader over at OctPoWriMo, Morgan Dragonwillow. She has been such an incredible inspiration to me and countless others with her thought-provoking prompts, her own poetic prowess, and her gentle support of her fellow poets. Today was no exception with the prompt she offered. She challenged us to write a love letter from one inanimate object to another. I spent six hours on the road today, so I had plenty of time for ideas to surface, roll around, and be thrown out the window. I settled on a break-up letter instead of a love letter, but I know I’ll be returning to this prompt again! Thank you, Morgan, for everything you do for the poetry community.

click image to view source

click image to view source

I should have listened to my friends.

They told me we were too different,

That you were not to be trusted.

But I didn’t listen.

I couldn’t resist your fresh scent,

Your beautiful yellow color

And your massive size.

In the end,

Your size proved to be too much for me.

You constantly overshadowed me.

You tried to hold me,

But I slipped through your fingers

And landed flat on my face.

I’m sorry, dear haystack,

But this is the last straw.

I lost myself in you.

Now I need to find myself again.


With pointed regrets,


click image for source mmp-stock

click image for source mmp-stock

On Writing a Rispetto

Today’s challenge at OctPoWriMo asked us to use a rhyming form in our poem. I use rhyme quite often, so I wanted to push myself into a particular form that I had not attempted before. My usual process for writing a poem begins with a concept, then I find a form that seems to fit. I had to reverse my process today, but I am grateful for my two favorite poetic tools: Shadow Poetry (where you can learn how to write your own rispetto) and Rhyme Zone. I also did a little research to learn more about the history of this form. So, I suppose my poem is also somewhat of a didactic poem, as well!

photo source Wikipedia

photo source Wikipedia

Rispetto is brand new to me,

An old Italian poem form

Made famous by De Medici,

The rhyme and meter must conform.


Politian wrote rispettos, too,

And from his earliest debut,

He wrote poems for the bourgeoisie

That’s why his style is right for me.