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 unsolicitedย 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 โ€œhint hintโ€ 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.


42 thoughts on “11 Poems in 20 Minutes and House Update

  1. Impressive. I love the tone of the poems and the first person sense of having worked out one of life’s problems. I do this speed poetry myself but not ready to share them yet with the world.

  2. alright….the roller coaster is about to go over the hill….smiles….no turning back….i know you will love your house…

    # 8 is my fav, but 9 has an interesting feel in that last question…the point in pulling the trigger…ha…

  3. I think one of the reasons I love poetry is because I am always surprised–at where people go, at how the words come together, at how perfectly it can reflect the interior of our lives–loved, loved this

  4. I like all 11 poems. Especially, “Expectations are only defined when unmet” – so true. And, “decompressed wings”.
    The bathroom Reno sounds like fun. Go with the flow and enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Stream of conscious is good. While I do know some who love to edit and rework pieces – well my own opinion is that you can change the flavor too much. I had submitted a piece to an online zine and the editor made changes, I made changes, The barter back and forth of what to take out, change and leave in left me not wanting to submit to that publication again. After all the changes – I think the piece ended up on the cutting room floor so to speak. I always keep originals. I am not a fan of ulterior motives and making a poet change their view. While I am more creative than correct in grammar – I don’t mind gentle nudges and corrections. I just am not fond of complete renovations.

    Speaking of which…been there done that with a bathroom. Only one in our first home was so small, the pipes so old and corroded everything had to be redone. Switching the tub onto the window wall helped to create just a tad more room when ‘sitting’.

    Just got wind so to speak that our fire place chimney needs some repair – so any thoughts of current bathroom updates (just having more or less update our kitchen) – will be on hold for a bit.

    Continue good luck with your new home to be.

  6. I used to delete all the poems I was dissatisfied with but now I work through them and try to bring them to some sense of completion. The work I do edit I try to keep to fixing grammatical errors and/or clarifying awkward sentences. I try to avoid the self-effacing pruning. I haven’t tried to submit my work and that is probably a big part of it I don’t want to be marketed or to have my work be compartmentalized or something

  7. This is such a wonderful response, rather responses, to an fun inspiration prompt (the idea that originally intrigued you) – and you’ve offered it to us too. Just brimming full of possibilities to let the mind flow and wander at will.

    Clearly you are a poet of high order, (I’m not -but that’s okay) as your verses, each within the other, or standing alone, paint such incredible images. Truly fascinating and wonderful exercise.

    1. Thank you so much for your incredibly generous compliments! I am in awe of your writing, the depth, the sophistication, absolutely stunning. I can’t tell you what an honor it is to have you participating at prompt XD

      1. Thank you – I am flattered that my writing moves you. Certainly what anyone would consider a very wonderful compliment.

        I’m enjoying participating in the prompts – not only because of the challenges they pose to me, but as I read how others respond, my world expands and I have the opportunity to learn and encourage others as well. So many ideas and inspirations, and words in all styles and forms to be sampled – it is simply amazing.

        Actually, I find your words and responses very moving. I often sit with them and let them linger in my mind; it’s as if I can taste the images as they are absorbed; perhaps that sounds odd? I find your work very evocative. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. Thank you so much that is a tremendous compliment and I am very moved by it. I love hosting the prompts and seeing the different perspectives it never ceases to be illuminating and I am always amazed at the creativity/talent. Every person’s response is unique and often completely unexpected.

      3. And therein lies the beauty — perhaps one of the best things about being “connected” and finding groups like this.

        And a huge thank you to you – for all your work and efforts in hosting this and providing so much content for inspirations – this is a huge job in itself – and clearly, you are very good at it – as there are a fair number who are engaged and entertained by it ๐Ÿ™‚

      4. My group is quite intimate. I don’t get 50 or 60 responses per prompt as some sites do but I have people who return again and again, there is a real sense of community, we comment to each other and everyone is so talented and kind. I don’t restrict on length or number of submissions, I like to offer inspiration but I don’t wish to be restrictive in the process. When I started the prompt originally on my blog I didn’t know if I would get a single response! It is a labor of love. When I move though I might have to recruit a little extra help especially since I might simultaneously be starting Swedish classes again

      5. Well, sometimes the smaller groups are better — it can be less overwhelming and threatening, as well as leaving people more time to read and consider what others are doing. There is nothing quite like getting lost in the shuffle of prompts that end up with a huge amount of participants.

        I do hope your move works out well – and if this means language classes too – well, certainly you’re hands will be full.

        I’m sure if necessary, if you ask for help, you would receive offers. ๐Ÿ™‚

      6. I love being able to read and respond personally I think it’s important to do so but if I was getting hundreds of entries a day that would be very hard to manage on my own. I have helpers now as I don’t do all the prompts.

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