The Rose



Tucked inside an old treasured book

I found something worth a second look

Once, the most perfect rose, a red so fine

Gifted to me with love, your eyes warm on mine

Now, just flat and dead


Gave it to me with such pure spirit

“Save it,” my sentimental heart said

One of the kindest gestures of my life, you

Spun sweetness from your soul

Now, just flat and dead


I sit, staring at this dried up flower I did keep

Thinking of you now, it makes me weep

Just as soft, vivacious petals are now cracked

You, Dear One, have turned to dust; it’s a fact

Now, just flat and dead


Brain can’t compute these truths that

Drain out the joy from within my life

Reside in fields of memories where roses

Abide, full of red love and you

Now, just flat and dead


So I pull the dead rose out from this book

And, shutting my eyes imagine it blooming once more

Vibrant, like you were the day you gave it to me

Beaming with optimism, both of us so unaware of this ending

Now, just flat and dead

Written for B&P’s Shadorma & Beyond’s prompt. This is written in a form known as a Group Effect. MLMM describes a Group Effect as follows:

I’m going to ask you to try to write a poem using a very complicated form I invented called the Group Effect ….

It’s 5 four line stanzas…with an added fifth Haiku type 5 syllable line at the end of each quatrain similar to the Haiku “cutting phrase”, the fifth four line stanza, at the end of the poem is in free verse. Outside of the last 5 syllable line in each stanza there is no set meter or syllable count.

The rhyming pattern is particular: aabbc aabbc aabbc aabbc abcd, but the first and third stanzas rhyme on the last word – the second and the fourth stanzas rhyme on the first word, “the cutting phrases and the last 4 line stanza have no rhymes the last stanza being completely in free verse.

I’d called this The Group Effect…in honour of the Group of 13 poets of the 13th Floor Paradigm (one day I’ll tell you all about them).  

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Nicotine in my Veins

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you lit my flame

like nicotine

in my veins

instantly addicted

to the feel of you

between my lips

smoking you into

my being

today, i

inhale you

into my lungs

one last time

then slowly

begrudgingly exhale

as wisps of smoke


into the night sky

curling upwards

leaving me





with my

intense need

for another

puff of you

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Fluff & Hollow

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As deep as you go

Is not deep enough

I want some substance

You only spew fluff.


Flowers and soft words

Can be oh so nice

But without challenge

They turn into vice.


Difficult questions

You will not follow

I wonder if your

Insides are hollow.


Pretty to look at

But not much inside

The depth in your eyes

I’m certain, has lied.


What a shame it is

That I’ll never drown

In depths of your soul

You can’t take me down.


Your potential, Dear

Dried on shallow ground

I’m parched and wanting

More than what I’ve found.

Today is the 16th day of NaPoWriMo where the challenge is to write 30 poems in 30 days. There are many bloggers participating.


Mental Feast


Hors d’oeuvres of horror

Little delicacies of despair

Served before

A steaming hot

Bowl of self-loathing soup

Then, the main course:

Slow cooked Madness

Marinated in grief

Roasted with regrets

And for dessert?

A triple thick slice

Of guilt

Drizzled with shame.

Madness Gets An Encore


On Insanity’s stage

The cacophony of voices

Full of holy fervor


As if performing a grand opus

Building to a crescendo

Before the stage fades to black

I slink down

Deeper into my seat

Pleading with the audience

Crowding the corners

In the theater

Of my disturbed mind

Not to rise to their feet

But, one by one,

They do

Chanting, jubilantly

“Encore, encore!”

And Madness,

Once again,

Gets a standing ovation

While I wither away inside.

Written as a continuation of yesterday’s Hello, Madness. Did I not warn you there would be an encore?


Hello, Madness


In the damp chambers

Of my anxious heart

In arteries yellowed by fear

Seven obstreperous worms

Entwine around the inner valves

Devouring all remnants of courage

Raping all natural emollients

Leaving me, in dysphemistic terms,

A pussy.


Hello, Madness

Welcome to the scene

(Forget the bouquet of crocuses

There’s sure to be an encore).

Written for Mind Love Misery’s Menagerie’s Wordle #56. We were given the following 12 words:

  1. Yellow
  2. Scene
  3. Dysphemism (the substitution of a harsh, disparaging, or unpleasant expression foramore neutral one.)
  4. Seven
  5. Crocus
  6. Worm
  7. Hello
  8. Damp
  9. Emollient (having the power of softening or relaxing, as a medicinal substance;soothing,especially to the skin)
  10. Valve
  11. Entwine
  12. Obstreperous (resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; unruly;noisy;boisterous)


Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem

The words can appear in an alternate form

Use the words in any order that you like.



I Come From Between Worlds


Earth boy - Africa

I am from warm equatorial air scented with red earth, drifting between Jacaranda branches and white coral sand beaches, from cashews roasted on the side of a dusty pot-hole ridden road, glass bottles of orange Fanta, blue toilet paper, and an audience of monkeys.

I am from “flamingo pink” lakes, dirt roads jostling with overcrowded matatus, a concrete jungle of high-rise apartments, freezing cold air conditioning and the pungent smells of slaughtered goats and Durian.

I am from flame trees, sweet scents of Frangipani, red bougainvilleas spilling off Acacia Court, fresh patriotic orchids, sakura blossoms, and wild remnants of pre-colonial island lushness.

I am from Swedish pancakes in bed, Vietnamese feasting for Christmas dinner, frugal hand-me-downs, grandparents on another continent and us four no more.

I am from the Equator; from overnight Tsavo train rides, headless chickens, an unobstructed view of the impala’s fate on the savannah, and “Africa time.”  I am from an island; from red double-decker buses, bumboats and pink dolphins, bomb threats, the Merlion, and blonde hair dyed green from too much pool chlorine.  I am from the Land of the Rising Sun; from Shinto temples, Zen gardens, harmony, and ofuros.

I am from airports, from never knowing if I am leaving home or going home, from the anticipation at arrival gate greetings to the inevitable devastation of departure gate goodbyes.

I am from authentic spirituality planted on the mud floors of ‘churches’ with no walls, where Poverty draws heaven nearer than the American Dream ever could, from beliefs cultivated on the hardwood floors of high rises where Bible is served over fish head curry and Tiger beer.  I am from faith fragmented and challenged on the carpeted floors of chapels with no feeling, where legalism and hardened proclamations promote rigid religion.

I am from East African drums and Chinese lion dances, by way of Irish and Scottish ancestry. I am from learning to speak English with a British accent. I am from the shock of moving from a place where “susu” is something you do to relieve your bladder to a place where “susu” is something you pour on your cereal.  I am from an American education in Asia.

I am from repeated interrogation by immigration officers, presumably as a suspected adolescent drug mule, or perhaps because the country of birth stamped into my ticket to sanity suggests I may be a potential terrorist.

I am from long-distance AT & T love, treasured postcards, long letters, and scrapbooks that contain flat, lifeless representations of identity-forming adventures.  I am from an unrooted, global childhood, from memories birthed on three continents, and from loyalties that lie divided somewhere in between.  I am from irretrievable loss and immeasurable blessing.

This is where I am from.

Sherry Blue Sky asked me once to share where I was from and I declined, partly because I blog anonymously and would like my location to remain private, but also because, “Where are you from?” is the most difficult question for me to answer. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about some of the other bloggers who share so personally here at Poet’s United so thought I would open up a little more about why that is such a difficult question for me to answer. So, today for Poetry Pantry #247 I’m sharing a shortened version of something I wrote several years ago in response to the dreaded question, “Where are you from?”

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