Wordle #205

Week 199

I am neither scrimshank nor martyr.
I am a perfectly ordinary woman
who stands accused, maligned by society
for a crime in which she took no part.

In this place monsters and men
can be said to inhabit the same bodies.
In this place I have seen nightmares manifest
but none of that compares
to losing my faith in humanity.

I have summoned demons from air,
from places deep and uncultivated
within my own brittle psyche.
I have taken my resentment and my blood
and made them into a fearsome warpaint.

My cellmate is panting obscenely from above.
The rickety scaffolding protests
nearly as much as she does
and I think, with some revulsion,
of all the absences I must now endure.

My torporific life rarely invites review.
It was an operation performed all in white.
My heart did not survive my dream’s pursuits
and my mind is no sharper for hindsight.

I haven’t received mail for many years
and I’ve had no visitors, I am negligible.
I have only my innocence as a consolation
but it may as well be a sack of potatoes
or a handful of worms in a paper cup.



The Sunday Whirl Wordles 360 and 362 and Sunday Writing Prompt “Quotes”

Nat Hawthorne.png

It’s 3am and I am walking backwards,

up and down the staircase in a faulty rhythm.

There is a knot in my throat the size of a fist

and whenever I speak it tastes of gravel.

My dress climbs higher with each step

the pattern indistinguishable at certain altitudes

and I reflect sadly on my once trim thighs.

Time forces the soul to the surface,

turns us inside out and right side up

or upside down depending on our persuasion.

My brain feels tight and heavy

and I can’t make out the path ahead.

Under siege, my emotions come one and all.

I take a sputtering, bloodied breath

but the moment for enlightenment has passed.

A spray of shrapnel catches my left ventricle,

I grip the edge of my kitchen countertop

to keep from spilling onto the linoleum tiles.

Between lakes and pines I feel invincible,

a beast can only live in wild spaces.

Low light softens even the gravest afflictions.

My thoughts are audible as they pass.

I travel landscapes like the simple quilts

woven by my grandmother’s hands

but the distance does not bring me

any closer to a sense of freedom.

I keep tripping over the same fork in the road.

Are these obstacles gifts or signs?

I spend my days fighting the fires in my infernal heart

and my nights closeted by baseless fears.

Is this my picture perfect, my life as I have willed it?





Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Wilderness

Within her eyes whole constellations ignite

And within her I am returned to ash,

To the same austere alter no wiser.

She will not accept my sacrifices

And I have made many, great and small.

She is wild, a wilderness unto herself.

I spend my days entrenched in her enigma

But she doesn’t find me unparalleled.

I am only a man and there are so many.

She is deep and labyrinthine.

I cannot reach her

though I have traveled long and without luxury.

I cannot create another in her image

There is no substitute.

How very slow this death

And how very patient a man

When he finds himself beguiled.

A lifetime is hardly too much to give

In the pursuit of one’s muse.



Wordle #361

I am bound to certain spaces
to the cracks, to the red tinged
and unadorned pages that cry out
when I am otherwise nameless.
I am in love with the notion of rebellion,
with the bitter taste of disappointment.
Can words undue eons of conditioning?

The darkness is strapping
like a valiant, young lover.
I take him into me as if I were
a cup waiting to be filled.
He is all calligraphy
and forbidden knowledge.
He taps into me
with his great piercing root
and suddenly nothing is certain.



I tried to brush the heat from my skin

But it could not be knocked loose.

I sat in silence, the room empty and bright.

I knew somewhere there were fires going.

Fires that my heart had not wept.

Fires that ate up whole landscapes.

And the whole time I was going insane

Quietly so as not to invite attention.

Without Poetry

A heart without a voice

May as well be a grave.

The ink hemorrhages

From my lips and ears.


my pain does not serve

But consumes

Everyone from the inside out.

I would laugh if I could

Bare the sound of it.

Amongst the nettles and stars

There are no men at all,

Only wafer-thin allegiances.

My blood hardens in my chest

Like an unfulfilled wish.

I have survived despite

My own ill chosen affinities.

I have survived with a sneer

And one eye cracked open

Like an old woman’s

Inexhaustible purse.

To whom should I assign my pain

When the burden of silence wears my nerves raw?

In each room, come a certain time,

You will find a shadow without origin,

A shadow autonomous and self-serving,

A shadow in human form

That draws closer when your legs are bare

And your principal is uncovered.

The abyss never flinches when in pursuit

and I dare not look askance for fear of collision.

Though the windows here

are too small for chance

I have opened them.

The air is nimble and the sunlight bold

Two finer companions I could not ask.

I fill three identical teacups

And arrange them in a semi-circle.

I am not asking for a miracle

Only a little warmth to dry my cheeks.

Nothing glimpsed in my nightmares

Prepared me for the mirror’s serrated edge.

There was no soul, no arabesques, no innocence

Only a scrap of burlap with the features sewn in.

Stitch by stitch I let down my smile

And laid my two button eyes in a porcelain dish.

I held my empty face over the basin,

But the water could not soften my flesh.

Should I surrender to apathy?

A ghost in a human carapace,

A rind pulled off in a single ringlet

And left to leather in the the trash.

Of what use is a mask

When it is only my own face

Doubled over on itself?

Give me another crime

For which I can atone

Otherwise I can’t guarantee coherence.

This is not my scene.

This is not my moment.

Regret is only wounded pride.

I pick the scabs as they accumulate

and let the ooze flow

According to its own currents.

The angels have all gone to sleep.

If I were to speak my truth now

No one would hear it.

The stone-faced people

Appear at each crossroads

With fingers fanned in every direction.

I sink to my knees

Pressing my forehead

Into the dust and the excrement.

They have no answers only jests.

(I have forgotten how to write poetry)

Bonus Wordle “State of Emergency”

State of Emergency.png

Have you ever known a thing to be certain even though it went against the evidence and your own common sense? I was resolved to marry her from the very first day we met. There were no alternatives to consider, it was my decision and on this single point I did not falter. I pursued her as if it were a state of emergency. My desperation did not appeal to her sensibilities and she was unusually sensible for a child. She found me uncultured and uncouth. My advantages could not possibly be understated. I, being a boy of meager means and manqué abilities, had nothing to offer her save for a heart wrung many times over with the stress of its own failings. Each time she would clench her delicate fist in my direction, I’d run away, a secret smile on my face. So long as I could provoke her the possibility of reciprocation remained.

Then suddenly after years of red tape she agreed to let me take her on a date. We were 16 and equally inexperienced. Everything I understood about love came from my maternal grandparents who’d managed to keep their marriage together through war, infidelity, and the death of three children. By the time I met them their relationship had reached a stage which I can only call Nirvana. I took their word as testament. My parents, on the other hand, barely spoke and when they did it was to shout absurdities at each other. They were quick to give advice, especially my mother, but I shut them out entirely. Whatever unknowns we faced I felt certain that we would overcome them. As the years rolled by we spent a lot of time weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various issues our marriage included. Now that we are old and have reached our own Nirvana-like state I am glad that I held fast when the tides courted and seized us. What a miracle, love, when given space to unfold.

Bonus Wordle “Wild West”

Bonus Wild West

The saloon doors swing open with a shrill sigh. A man steps in, spurs on his boots jangling like loose change, holsters loaded. A cowboy from the frontier he claims but he’s got a very specific aura, the sort that hangs over a man like a noose. His face and hands are cracked from weather exposure and emotions that I cannot discern at a glance. He takes the stool beside mine, elbows on the bar, gaze just to the right of the bartender’s suspecting frown. He orders Cactus wine and some victuals. He is in need of lodging but the barkeep insists that there are no rooms for rent. This, of course, is a lie there are always room for rent. Strangers aren’t welcome in these parts and the lawman is a no-account drunk.

I’ll only be needing a roof, a barn would do.” The man is undaunted by the bartender’s churlish demeanor and so it goes for a couple of rounds each man with his own agenda. I reckon this guy is an outlaw, he’s all gristle and grace, eyes as black and soulless as a lump coal but I’ve got a room and nothing fit to steal so I make the man an offer. He accepts. The bartender shakes his head slowly from side to side. I swallow my regret down with a pint and lay my money on the bar.

The man says nothing on the journey but on arrival he is compelled to tell his story. He was, in his youth, a gunslinger. Just like his old man and his five, now three, older brothers. Point of fact he comes from a long line of criminals. He didn’t have the stomach for blood though and picked up a lasso in his late 20s.

People judge on account of my appearance and my name once they hear it. Reckon I’m as low as they come. Don’t much care for proof, gossip should be a crime, can take away a man’s life as surely as a bullet.” He goes silent as smoke and I know he’s said all that he means to for now.

I have never written anything in this genre, ever




Wordle #203

Week 197
What can compare to a lover’s cri de coeur?
She is central, an illusion shattered
and reclaimed more solid than before.
She is finesse, a catalogue
tailored and caressed.
Within her I seem to find everything.
Beside her I am elevated.

Brevity proves nothing
What could time know that I do not?
If a nostrum I shall not resent her the deception.
Prey upon my empathy
Take my money, my heart.
I should be glad for the sacrifice
A moment of happiness false or otherwise
Is better than a lifetime of indifference.


I am so rusty!

Wordle #204 and Sunday Writing Prompt “Take a Walk”

Week 198

It was Tuesday when I killed him. To date it is my only kill. Given events I would do it again. I have no regrets. Had we met under different circumstances you would not think me a monster. I would have appeared to you very ordinary if I appeared to you at all. I spent the whole of my life wrestling the eaves, hidden in the umbra and dust like a forgotten dream. Nothing could compete with his ambition. You cannot possibly imagine what it is to be obsessed if you have lived only to endure. He was obsession itself, a force of nature held together only by enigma. You would have liked him, he was charismatic, everyone said so.

I do not wish to speak of our courtship. All things are beautiful and shiny in the beginning. The man that I met all those years ago was very different from the man who became my husband. To call him a man at all is blasphemy for he was something else entirely. Not a God but a Devil in plain sight. Once I saw him nothing, not even sleep, could persuade my eyes closed.

We lived on the marsh in a large grey house with stingy windows and heavy metal doors. The sort of doors that bar passage in either direction, doors to denote incarceration. Within his withered chest there was a muculant heart not fit for kindling. Never have I met a man so greasy and cold and him a sawbones no less. Ours was an unhappy marriage from start to denouement.  My life was a coffin, a mortared wall, a mournful sigh carried over from the moment before.

A heart can break many times over and mine clung to the sweat on my skin like a fine powder, it covered me from the roots of my hair to the tips of my toes. I was only that, a great, gaping black hole of a heart. When he beat me I did not feel it but for his subjects I felt deeply. Mournful and breakable his subjects were the sort not to be missed. He took to tying me up table side, he wanted a witness. Not for his crimes mind, he saw the murders as necessary, research he called them. I was there to witness his genius and of his genius he was fanatically proud. In the beginning I tried to reason with him but he was convinced of the validity of his cause. In the end my only purpose became to undermine him, to save as many people as could be saved. My efforts were met with force and cruelty the likes of which you could not imagine even if recounted.

It was broad daylight when I killed him in the cellar where he conducted his experiments. His face was cruel in the in dim light, like a sickle or a smile turned on edge. I crouched for hours beside his stiffening corpse, a pair of latex gloves peeping out from his white coat while my hands rested bloody and bare on the hilt. Finally, I thought and heaved a sigh of relief.

All my dreams cut and cauterized at his behest but as a murderess I suspect that I shall know fame if not gratitude. I have done the world a great service though the world may never know it. I dare say his crimes may be assigned my face and my name. He was a fantastic liar, good under pressure, a preta in human guise.