11 Poems in 20 Minutes and House Update

Brooke Shaden

Brooke Shaden


Innocence can neither

Be claimed nor extinguished

The older I get the younger

Everybody else seems

And we are all just scraping by

No matter how it appears

In our experience of envy.

Every war ever fought

Starts within a heart

So wounded that it cannot

Comprehend its own means


I think I might be

Beautiful after all

Because I have never met

In another man a mirror that

Could encompass me entirely


I don’t remember

Much after birth

It’s as if I’d died

Right there, unfinished

Wearing nothing but a shriek

And life is nothing but

A protracted declaration

Of all that we mean

But never achieve


Hesitation is the subtlest of poisons

Its occasional necessity makes

It especially hard to distinguish

I have imbibed more than most

And in every window there are

Two hand prints emblazoned

Like leaves suspended in

A perpetual state of Autumn


Your smile siphons speech

Perhaps I’ve always been mute

A shaft of lightening

Portentous and labyrinthine

Perhaps I’ve stood here

Intermittent as an exhale

Staring into the immensity

Of your salacious curvature

As lifetimes flit by unseen


I should have torn my sleeves

Left them folded on the duvet

Like a pair of decompressed wings

Anything to prevent the transmission

Of my ailing heart into your likeness


I hate the way you

Turn my tears into artillery

And if I am nothing

But a circuitous means

To an unsatisfactory end

What’s the point of pulling

The trigger?


Sometimes I follow

The flight of swallows

Thinking that if angels

Existed they’d also appear

Ordinary when dismissed


Every time I close my eyes

I see the blush of the universe

Undressing and everything

I need to know can be found there

In those bloody silhouettes


Who determines excess?

I’d rather my emotions be

Heightened than abridged.

There’s always someone

To edit my silences

No matter how gratuitous

The endeavor there’s always

Someone, palms twitching,

Waiting to refer my pain

To the next unsolicited suitor

And justifications always refrain


I have always been afraid

Of expectations knowing

That they are only ever

Defined when unmet


I saw this 10 poems in 20 minutes and thought what a great challenge “hint hint” I thought I’d give it a go I didn’t bother numbering them as I was typing and apparently I lost count. This was hard but fun. I didn’t have time to think or quibble with myself over vocabulary so it is all pretty much stream of conscious.

Inspiration for this challenge can be found here


If you’ll recall from my last update the upstairs bathroom is one of our primary concerns (financially speaking it has in no way discouraged us from going through with the sale) and I’ve just received an update on the situation from Sam.

The insurance company suspects that the leak may be occurring underneath the floorboards, a misaligned drain pipe or some such thing. They are planning on drilling a hole in the living room ceiling to investigate. If the problem is easily rectified they will fix it which will allow Sam and I more time to save up for the remodel. If they find that the problem is serious they will have no choice but to redo the whole bathroom.

Now the insurance company doesn’t care about aesthetics so if they redo the bathroom they will likely keep the old bathroom suite and replace the walls and floors using the cheapest available options. The home owner’s daughter figured we might not want that so she said we can buy whatever we like and the insurance company will use that instead. So we wouldn’t be doing the renovations at all just picking the decor. Since the insurance company will be paying for quite a bit that does make renovating the bathroom cheaper in the long run (not to mention neither one of us has ever actually redone a bathroom) and since we would be paying for whatever decor replacements we want the sellers have offered to lower the price of the house. We knew we’d have to redo the bathroom so it makes sense to do it this way but on the other hand remodeling a bathroom is not cheap. We were planning on saving up a little first but we’ve decided to take the offer and hope for the best! I don’t know at this stage though if the bathroom will even require an immediate remodel but it doesn’t that should give us a little more time.

The Realtor is working on the contract now with the stipulation that the bathroom still needs to be repaired by the seller.