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?



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.


Wordle #297


Prayers spiral from your flaccid, gaping palms
it’s not a question of sums, it’s a matter of compassion.
Poverty keeps me grounded but it is of little external use.
I am no saint, I’ve suffered more than I have saved
but whenever I give, I give fully and without regret.

My heart is a mobius strip, an itch that never settles.
I tear myself in great strips like wallpaper
but there’s always a room to be made, a custom
to which I must adhere even if my presence appears aberrant.
I lay my chips on the table but my intuition betrays me.
My life isn’t special but to me it means everything
and I won’t let you have it, not for all the lace in the world.

Lists orient me, without them I might remain
locked in the diagonal, a hapless mote
swathed in whatever light the window weeps.
I run from myself but she always gives chase.
She is singing and pleading and I cannot imagine
her face without distress. I do not welcome her,
I even question her loyalty.

Wordle #294


A grinning shell of a man,
a slack-jointed vagabond
extends his hands
in mimicry of cheer.
I was happy once,
still am mostly
that’s the thing about
these overcast days
they give way in time.

A fugue of a woman,
a line of bent stars on her wrist
looks down the length of a leather strap.
Venting is one thing but hatred is another.
I’ve seen more faces than I can count,
same man different seasons.
Lies create their own realities.

A sun-weathered man,
a proud, strait-backed farmer
grips the handle of his shovel.
You have to trim away the excess
otherwise there’s no room for growth.
That’s the paradox of modernity
we have everything we could ever need
and we still live beyond our means.

A single woman,
a book-bargaining teacher
draws her name on the blackboard.
Talent isn’t god-given its achieved.
You can’t undo mistakes with nostalgia.
The mind is full of fractures and snares,
live forcefully as the heart decrees.

Wordle #288A


Who will bleed for my words,
for my dreadful inclinations?
No one for I would ask neither
violence nor charity.
Will the planets align just so,
a jinx on my interstellar passage?
No I move as my spirit moves me, I go
wherever there is a need for growth.

Ours is not a cult but an affinity.
We wear feathered headdresses,
in reverence for our Avian progenitor
and white silk tunics slit to the hip
that we may dance without impediment.
We seek a life beyond shallow pageantry,
we seek the truth as it arises
within each heartbeat.

There is no news here,
not so much as a sigh
for we are peace-seekers.
The goddess teaches us love,
the goddess teaches us
to decide for ourselves.
All doctrine, whatever its original intent,
leads to hypocrisy and bloodshed.
Be only as you are intended
for there is no more thoughtful gift.

Wordle #289


Smoke leaks from your open window
and I know that you are deep
within the temple of your unsound mind.

I cannot compete with your subconscious
with what you have not seen but undoubtedly know.
I miss you, your eyes swaddled in my gaze,
your words nestled deep in the base of my spine.

I no longer sense an intimacy between us.
We are strangers, our tracks having diverged.
I escape into our memories, the bits that were good
overshadowed by the bits that were bad.

You are not wrong in citing incompatibility
but for you I was willing to reconcile our differences.
I swing first with my right hand than with my left
but the debris overtakes me
and with one final gulp, the air.

Wordle #290


Guide: Revenge is only a delusion. What has been done cannot be reversed, least of all with violence. Are you beast or man? Choose or be consumed.
Grieving Man: I mean not only to bruise his flesh but to splinter his psyche. I am entitled to blood.
Guide: Nothing entitles a man to murder. You will only rob the world of the man she loved.
Grieving Man: I will relish his death, this is my justice.
Guide: And who granted you this boon? This burden? Only fools play God. What you speak of is madness. Your grief is justified but your grief does not justify your current course of action.
Grieving Man: The moment of her death flashes before my eyes even as we speak. My heart brims with rage. I am only a man weak from suffering.
Guide: Then let her story serve as a warning, a reminder than one death does not erase another. Will you bathe her legacy in blood? Will you peel the soul from your body and crush hers with the weight of your sins?
Grieving Man: I have nothing left, my future is blank. I would that my heart too were blank.
Guide: Then you could never have loved her. Is that the world you wish to create? In such a world you could very well have killed her. Tell me would you knowingly become the object of your revenge?

Since I don’t usually write stories I don’t have much opportunity to write dialogue. When I saw the words though the scenario just made sense.

Wordle #291


Hers was a green, recumbent fire
a kind of homicidal neutrality
for which no solution was forthcoming.
Hers was a bag of tricks both
precious and terrifying.
Together we were as orange
as a sunrise, a spectral
and uncompromising flame.
I loved her and that goes without saying.

We did not coincide harmoniously.
She was a bell sanctimonious and habitual
and I was a poor godless church mouse.
How she pained me, day after day,
furnishing me and saving me scattered
onto unlabeled disks and I unable
to discern from any of my pieces
a reconcilable identity.
Had I been a board she would have
reduced me to splinters.

I, the love-struck penguin,
forgave it all
in the pursuit of monogamy.
I loved her as a dying man
loves atonement.
She fed me lies on silver trays
and dreams simultaneously
measurable and misleading.

Wordle #292 and #293


With the abyss glaring intently
from a sea of thorns
I dare not follow you.
A kiss sustained and unpalatable
sinks its velvety fangs in me.
I stammer out of reach,
my cowardice, my shame
as resilient as sunshine.
The primal need to persevere alone
when love would only rip asunder.

My garden has no secrets,
death lives in plain sight
and only lifeless things rejoice in me.
Why do you continue to stew
in the residuals of my touch?
My shadow is only smoke,
a touch unfathomable and incomplete.
This is all that I can offer.

Months pass and you persist,
virulent and fiercely unmanageable.
How long with you wait?
There is not a drop of sweetness left in me
the bees have taken it all
and so much more.
My once red heart sits idle,
a cask of fire and gristle,
foothills in an autumnal slumber.

I have always hated basements,
the kind with no eyes
and a damp pendulous sneer;
a place where curiosity gives rise to taboo.
In time you’ll furnish me
with an appropriate excuse
or else I’ll invent one
meanwhile avoidance serves
a worthy anodyne.

Wordle #268


Another brown day stripped
of all but the ligaments.
Must I remain here
sick with what ails me?

My prayers fall to the ground
like soldiers claimed by war.
I have bled my last albatross.
I have dreamed with and without fire.

I drag my fingernails across
your obligatory ghosts.
We met, diminished by artifice.
A smile carved of balsam and ash,
your body is my mourning stone.

I stitch doors into each of your palms.
Receive me with the equanimity of paper,
love me, punish me, punctuate me with ellipses.
I have only regret to lose.

(now to remember how to write!)