FreeWriters Reply

Prompt:  A Lesson From Me

Liar’s Daughter

Lessens the weight of questions
held high on the balance beam,
adding little pebbles in the dish
to make things even in her head
over the times he insisted never lie.
Each word got a pebble, flipping
through pages, listening to tales
of mothers in brothels and sons
playing in crawlspaces.
Stay quiet! 

Dark walls covered in green
paper stashed inside tins.
Little boy outside grows up
staring inside. Strangers,
didn’t care if they knew him.
Nobody did.Lies poured out sweet
from his sisters and he –
denied remembering,
not even his dreams.
A moment’s golden silence
buried the burden deeper.
Nothing learned except
how babies and a wife
made him an honest man.~PY

Prompt:  This Time Around

This Time Around

I’m going to inhale silence, hold it in, let it fill my mind, exhale, and do it again.
The room fills with exhausted vices from voided days made long by wishful thinking.
Insecurity rattles are put to rest in the hope chest, underneath heavy white linen.
I’m going to open the windows and watch the little particles of dust float around.
I’ll catch them in the finest netting, place them safely in between roses grown out of lemons
arranged neatly from my garden of lust where desire lives with trust comfortably and quiet.
I’m going to watch the air turn warm, bubble up into a hot steam of force when I’m with you
and when you’re gone, I’m going to sing songs I heard in the quiet of my mind.

-PY, FreeWriter

Prompt:  Freedom Is

Freedom Cell

Divides and multiplies from the confines of the mond.

Heartless mind reaches in to pull out a twig from the tangled pile of branches cut down by those who wanted to see the clouds move across the sky.  The twig is examined as sufficient support to hold up the deteriorating walls put up to block the sun, the moon, the air, to suffocate those deemed unworthy of happy smiles form watching little hands play with wagging puppy dog tails.

Freedom rings through small holes of torn cloth used to wrap the wounds of soiled minds living in dark streets, long stretches of cement put down so progress could roll through faster, more efficiently than the weight of a man’s body at the bottom of his sou

It yearns to hold him up, give him the footing to climb the trunk, crawl out along the strongest branch, stand up with no hands, look down at the world full of little ants, look up with closed eyes, let loose his mind to find his heart as the wind blows away the dirt after the soul has been pulled out of deep wet mud.

It wants to dry the teardrops, let the muck fall away, reveal its true colors as they fall back down into the earth, reseed itself, grow into a new tree, small twigs and all, grow roots in fertile soil to give back to earth what earth created out of tiny synapses full of hopeful survival.

Like the sea turtle born in the sand as it crawls to swim in the sea; it wants to be free.


Prompt:  A Lesson From Me

Jack Sings In High G

There was a young man who stood on a hill
singing alone always looking down at his will
thinking it could be better than just his own
so he sought out another person named Jill.
She came from below looking up at his will
caught his eye through the holes in the parchment
made from the skin of an animal. Red ink lines
across the heart of the song sung in solo.
She sang the words back to him, backwards
as she read in a different language only their
will to be heard could make sense of how
songs can turn men into birds who sing on a hill.
They sang in sequence and in tandem, sometimes
mixing the lines up, one would stop while the other
kept going, waiting for the place to jump right in.
And he sang and he sang until he heard the
song of another solo on a hill unique to his ears
Jack sings his story with a different melody,
each time, looks down at the ground for his will to
sing each verse a tad richer than the last round.
He is still practicing his solo performance, the one
no one will hear but himself on his way out of the
empty room he thought was the highest hill.


Prompt:  The People I Love


Tender soft skin covers shaken nerves.
She arranges the tight rose bud stuffed
in among full bloom red petal hearts
protected and loved, unconditional,
thorns and all.

Grey eyes stare away from me, no words.
Truth is wrapped tight inside the inner core.
Flowers are beautiful and silent.

I hang on to the slimmest stem of love.
Snow covered face sees me unworthy
to know how her rose weathered the storm.

A dearest rose, inhibited by the
lack of nature’s nurturing to unfold
his beautiful multi-colored petals,
I call him my fiesta bud when I see
his happy smile as he drinks his hop-infused
elixirs concocted to forget how
nature forgot to hold him, baby him,
tell him he is loved.

Colorful petals fill empty space, once
swirling up to catch morning rays greet dark.
These roses wilted and weathered remain
the centerpiece on my table. The oldest ones are dead.
Their vase is fragile. Love holds them together.


Prompt:  Truth Is


Time inside myself
watches who I am
on the outside as I walk
on past. my reflection
catches wrinkles in my skin,
my clothes, my lies.
Three dimensional
between points of
valor, sadness, strength.
The sun shines gold rays
on ashes in the ground,
branding it a solid bar
of history from my heart.


Prompt:  If Walls Could Talk

Unrequited Love

The walls echoed your voice
and I heard vibrations hum
a tune the birds knew by heart.
They heard you were coming
and the house grew warm,
threw open its arms when
you walked through the door,
moved your finger along smooth
walls covering the different
colors lying beneath stark white.

You were the one who mixed
the bluest blue into crystal clear
drops of rain dripping down
the walls in a winter storm,
smearing the high gloss shine
with the palms of your hands,
and you molded the walls
with the pain of feeling lost
sleeping between sheets that
smelled of us after the sweat dried.


Prompt:  Where I’m From

Where I’m From

Land of the red man
from the Choctaw: Oklahoma.
Where the wind goes sweepin’ down the plain!
(Like we all haven’t heard that a million times before.)
We Okies know it ain’t all golden fields of grain.
What happened there? What dread things took place
so every time an Okie answers where you from?
a sympathetic look befalls a face?
What do travelers-through know of our birth state?
Can they tell us: is it worse than New Jersey?

I regale askers with Oklahoma’s glorious populist past
greenbacks and oil gushing pumpjacks,
say folksy things I don’t quite know I believe:
Her wealth is in her people.
but think Why God? Why
have you forsaken Oklahoma? 

Free land! the feds said.
Nobody volunteered.
Removed Indians “shared” land
with hungry immigrants,
squatters cheating for what wasn’t for sale,
farmed sections into dusty bowls.
Oklahoma has mountains and rivers and forests
I inform anyone wanting to know.
And Bingo on the rez and casinos and Indian scholarships,
football fight songs popular
as Sunday hymns:
good Lord gonna carry you home
to the land of grassy plains and truckstops
colossal crosses and Creationist bumper stickers
race riots and billboards about immigrants stealing jobs.
Oh dear, the face says, sorry, you’re from there.
Isn’t that the Bible belt?
Not too far from God at all.

The buckle, I say.
And too damn close to Texas
to be anything but underdog.
Home of downward facing horns,
the Sooner born and Sooner bred.
It might be where I’m from
I say, but it ain’t where I live,
where crimson comes ‘fore cream
in this sea of red: red man, rednecks.
Each and every county red.
My bleeding heart needs more color.


Where I’m From
I am From…
from banana seat bikes, coasting downhill in gutters after it rained.

a mother that loved two families, one in Mexico and the one I was in.

Spanish novellas, Sunday baseball games on TV, and drunken fights with the carpet after the babysitter went home.
a neighborhood where all of us kids played in the street and yelled “car!’ whenever one came passing through.
no answers and “I don’t care what you think” from my dad and mom’s “only happiness.”
late-night summers in Monterey, Mexico, guitars playing, relatives singing, soda, beer and Vampiros.
“beautiful lips”, unfaithful hearts, and “be nice to your aunt, she might have money for you one day.”
lost shoes, banging pots and pans, and tough meat at dinner.
always rushing, never on time, walking in a row like ducks.
Sunday mornings at church and the newspaper in the afternoon.
an old Dodge Dart totaled by a drunk twin sister but blamed on me because I should have known better than to let her get that way to steal the car.
marijuana leaves,  “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” scribbled on yellow Pee-Chees, mushrooms, Microdot, Black Beauties, acid, hash, cocaine, and crank.
a fallen mom in the hallway and a dad that says, “Come back in the morning and we’ll see if she is alive” when my sister knocks at the door
in the middle of the night to pick up her kids from grandma’s house.

a fake-smiled father on Father’s Days and a true-hearted mother at Christmas.
I am from two sides; one white and stiff, the other soft and huggable.

– PY

Come here little woman I want to tell you a story.
No need to sit on my knee, I’m flat out on the street
claiming name to your daddy and his sister –
well I hope she marries well, if she’s lucky.
I’m doubled over, head between my knees,
people walked on past as an obstacle in the street.
I was busted up crawling before you ever did.
There are no pictures to show you proof of how I lived.
You might hear it from a second cousin of a second cousin
(and after, if you’re sorry you’re part of me, it’s just as well)
– about the town madam’s daughter who married a drunk
and their kids were only seen playing under the house.
The rest is just hearsay about how the story ends.
Some say the old man’s son did better than lay in a gutter
but nowadays some gutters are better than others.
The “just know it was a happy” was for the school year book.
There’s always hope when you think what lays dormant like
the surprise party that hasn’t happened is going to be good.
Dear Granddaughter, I don’t want you to know me all wrapped
on the street with a bottle and blanket. Just keep living
like you never knew me. It’s just as well I never knew you. 
Prompt:  Recipe

Recipe For Snowflake Cake

Mix two parts sifted reasoning with one part wild hair
picked fresh from a garden high up in a cloud.
Add ten drops of tears to every half smile that comes
out of the box labeled Insecurity.
Mix together thoroughly until it resembles one big mess.
Get out the bag of crushed hearts, pick out the biggest one,
wrap in a piece of old news and place in the middle
of said mess until it resembles a big happy cake complete
with dreamy piping and thick sweet frosting.
Batter will be lumpy so use your imagination of what resembles happy.
Make filling and frosting of your choice, but not vanilla
Adding vanilla will only ruin the unique character of what’s inside.
Bake thoroughly and as often as necessary.
Pay no attention to all the smoke –
It’s part of the process that goes into the processor.
You’ll need a big apron to catch all the splatter.
After you’re done creating and there’s nothing
but Me standing in front of you, we’ll go dow
to the local bar and have ourselves a toast to
the craftiest, tastiest people-maker recipe ever written.


Prompt:  My Life As A Collage

My Life Is A Collage

My life is a collage,
built steel and metal frames.
Images of bare knuckl dreams–sometimes you gotta
suckerpunch the living daylights out of them to fall
asleep at night.

My life is a gun aimed at the night,
shooting ’til she bleeds sunshine.
My life is a knife thrusted into the
day, hoping he’ll bleed moon beams and ocean
tides come rippling through.

My life is a lot like a metaphore
enclosed behind clenched teeth,
barred tongue, tight throat and conjested chest–sometimes it’s
easier to think of but harder to explain.

My life–a page in a chapbook yet to be read.


My Life Is A Collage

In Miami, my skin soaked in chlorine,
I chased lightening bugs with kids
from down the block—walked our bikes
to the park and played kick ball in the street
after trying to climb palm trees.

A teen, growing roots in the desert—
I find the mountains confining.
I make friends with girls and we smear glitter
on our skin, send SOS notes in pens and calculators.

At 18 I became obsessed
with the arch of Edie Sedgwick’s brow,
I rode shotgun in Bettie TwoGuns’ red Malibu.
We listened to rockabilly and painted our face
like Varga Girls and drove through the mountains
to watch the stars fade into the early morning.

Staying in a hostel above the Louis Blanc Metro Station—
I try to buy train tickets in broken French.
I prefer the pub in Dublin or the ghost tour in Edinburgh,
walking the steep cobblestone streets at night, wandering
the Royal Arcade and eating violet creams with friends
on the late night bus home.


My Life Is a Collage

My thoughts are scattered,
always in short bursts
as I move on to the next one.

Sometimes I make poems out of them.
I put them down on paper constantly.
Like a mad woman the thoughts keep flowing,
fluttering like little pieces of tissue in the wind.

They land in different colors
on the lens of a kaleidoscope
making multitudes of patterns.

Turn the wheel one way
and you’ll see my life as a collage.

Turn it the other way
and you’ll see all black.
There is nothing there but emptiness.

I look into a person’s eye,
up close, and see the little flecks of colors.
Like my collage,
his mosaic is different than mine,
but on the inside when he closes his eyes,
I know he can see the same bits of black that I do.
It’s why I’m here writing it all down,
my life.

My eyes change colors.
I think they are hazel,
then no, they’re brown,
then green.
The eye doctor told me
they were definitely gray.
I said gray?

Hmm…my father had gray eyes.
Did I dream about him?
Was his spirit present inside
trying to see out of my eyes
that day I read random letters on the wall?
The signs read something I can’t make out.

Life doesn’t make sense,
and yet here I am
trying to write it all down
as if I could tell you what it all means.

What it means to me,
how I see it
and how you see it
and how she sees it,
is what makes me want to laugh,
rip it into pieces,
toss them up,
watch them float slowly in the air,
gravity pulling my thoughts,
my stories,
my rhymes
back down
and then I ask myself again
what it all means.

The words make different pictures.
This time I see a little girl
hiding behind her mother’s legs
because she’s too scared to say hello
to Minnie Mouse
and there’s another one
hiding in the closet
because she’s scared of the secrets
she swore she’d never tell
and she’ll write it all down someday
on a little piece of paper
when she’s supposed
to be listening to her teacher
tell her how i comes before e except after c,
and there’ll be a woman spread eagle
naked on a giant web of  ropes ready
to feel the next lash of her lover’s flog
in front of thousands of people
on a stage so big she looks like a tiny spider;
It’s too exotic, too erotic for anyone
who believes marriage is for raising babies.

There’s a house full of people dancing inside,
their smiles of love covers the peeled paint on the walls
and their brown skin matches the brown empty bottles
of beer stacked neatly in plastic bolsas
ready for exchange at the corner cerveceria.

On the other side, there’s room
so white you can hardly see the people in stiff chairs
staring politely in starched dresses at their immaculate floors.
Look closer and you’ll see a story
of an old dog’s vigil at his master’s grave
and the one about the family
who fell asleep in the hospital
waiting room after too many hours
of not knowing if death would
bring them to fight and point fingers
over whose fault it was,
blaming blame and feeling shame.

Stand across the room,
see if there’s a story in big red letters
you just couldn’t see when you were up close up.

Life is a collage
of more than just a forest through trees.
It’s painfully delicious.

As we learn our ABC’s,
it’s something that looks ugly,
all mish mashed and divided
into two’s, threes, fours and fives.
I am so fascinated by it;
I call it beautiful under my breath
when everyone said it wasn’t worth
thinking too hard about it.
They didn’t even look
through the kaleidoscope peep hole.

Sitting so high up in their chairs they call thrones,
it was too low for them to bend down to.
The art that makes their heads turn is high priced,
offered only to the elite of the elite,
and this collage of mine is just pieces of paper,
half the ink smeared from my years
of tears in happiness and pain,
with glue on cardboard to hold it all down.

– PY

My Life Is a Collage

My Life as a Collage
is all scattered, bit and pieces flailing across the page, across the paper, across
the room
flashes of light and scenes
from a comedy, then a tragedy
a love story, a drama, tears in the rain
and dancing on the steps with Rocky, gloves aloft
a little girl with hair so long she can sit on it
and dark dark eyes
running, playing, smiling
but always serious
always wearing dresses
with Vans tennis shoes
remember those?
I had to sew up the holes myself
I had to make my own lunch in kindergarten

My Life as a Collage looks pretty to you
but there aren’t any photos for lots of it
there aren’t any pictures for what was
really going on lots of times
behind the scenes, inside of me
being smarter than everybody but always feeling stupid
wanting to make friends and making friends but
feeling lonely anyway
always being good but being treated like I was bad
never good enough
so strong, so talented, so beautiful
as a young woman
I see more smiles
more tears
more of my eyes
flashes from high school English and seventh grade English and sixth grade, third and fifth grade
all these Strong Black Woman who taught me
but were also afraid and trying to maintain
I was afraid of them, especially Mrs. Scott and Ms. Lake
who was five feet tall with four inch heels
and a nine foot high personality
but I think in lots of ways
they raised me

This collage is running like a movie in my mind’s eye
ticking by like the reel movies they would show us in my ghetto school
remember those?
they’d have to stop in the middle and rewind
just like when Bert and I would go down the street with Chris and watch movies at the school in our actual neighborhood.
I could buy popcorn and red punch for ten cents each I think
(can that be right?)
but I wouldn’t leave the movie to go pee
because I didn’t want to miss one minute
of Herbie
even though our doubled-over laughter would
make my bladder want to burst
because I wasn’t used to drinking red punch
cuz in our house we never had any

Fast forward to my eighth grade graduation
I actually loved my dress for once
I was excited for Hovel to see me in it
He was in ninth grade
My grandma later called him Black
and that was one of the first times I knew there was racism in my family
Speaking of which, I see my mother’s hands
so brown, arranging the fruit in the fruit bowl
and I took a picture of this
personal family still life
in our kitchen
I did that a lot, taking pictures
if it hadn’t been for me being thirteen
and loving my camera
there would be no photos of my baby sister
My mother hated that photo, she thought her hands looked ugly and veiny
and old
but I thought they were beautiful
I think my mother usually felt ugly and stupid and out of place
I knew she struggled
I knew she was brilliant
and I think I always knew she had painful secrets
but I always thought she was beautiful
even when she was mad and
even though I didn’t like her very much
and I couldn’t really love her until after she died
and I was safe.

I actually got a 2 a.m. phone call from thousands of miles away and I prayed
it wasn’t about my fiance
the one I had ended it with in the middle of the night on the beach
ten years earlier
when we were 19
until then he had been the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen
the one who had saved my life when I was 17
the only one I thought had ever loved me
I prayed and it wasn’t him
it was my father telling me my mother was dead
and I wonder now what would have been different if it had been him instead
since 2 years later
he almost killed me

My life as a collage includes a lot of drinking
and dancing
and being happy
making up for lost time
realizing it’s better to act like a teenager in your twenties than
always so serious, so responsible
an orphan
working 30 hours a week at 3 jobs and still graduating
magna cum laude
while being a newspaper columnist
and a dancer on stage and a community volunteer
and an activist, staring down the barrel of a gun
of an LAPD officer
the day after the LA4 were set free

I see colors
all the green, and red, and white
el tricolor
el mariachi
tequila tabaco y ron
all my years en mi México lindo y querido
where I became a woman
and finally felt like I had a family
I belonged
and people actually loved me
I learned how to cook and wash clothes
Angela was my first real girlfriend who treated me well
and I finally lost my virginity
and learned I was more than just smart and strong
where I felt beautiful for the first time
could breathe and enjoy and be ALIVE
and the happiest day of my life
which was just an ordinary day
full of fun and friends
I found peace and order within gorgeous chaos
love from strangers who had no reason to be kind
took real risks like wandering off into the jungle alone
and finding the waterfall that was totally worth it
and the scent of copal and tacos de la calle
feeling God for the first time in the Catedral de Coyoacán
México, where
I learned just how poor I was before

And later in Nuevo Mexico, a calm sea with raging currents underneath of
hard earned lessons, betrayal and growth
laughter, friendship, more tragedy
coming into the full bloom of
my life
and true riches

My life as a collage looks strange to me now
so many pieces I no longer feel
so many stories that don’t feel like mine
so many feelings as I look at it now
that I can still feel
but no longer identify with
why does my life as a collage look incomplete
leave me
feeling dissatisfied
making me
why do I identify
with pain and drama so much?
When that is only one theme in my life
the one
I used to focus on and the one
I no longer choose to leave
on center stage
A collage by definition is incomplete
like the travel collages I used to make for my Dad
for fun
that he actually kept at work for years until they yellowed
like the one of New Zealand he kept almost until
he actually went there, just a few years ago
Because life IS a collage, we are
homo narrans
know ourselves by telling ourselves
the story of our lives
the stories and the lies
of who we were, so we can know who we are
but it’s always incomplete.

Time to make a new collage
of My Life
more joy
less strife
less fear


Prompt:  If I Were President

Dinner Bell

If I were president sitting in my white house, each Friday night of the week I’d ask my spouse to pass the peas at a dinner table set for twelve-

twelve thugs, twelve CEO’s, twelve teenagers, twelve illegal immigrants, twelve lobbyists, twelve teachers, twelve of everyone from all parts of society, filthy, rich and filthy rich, fifty  times in all to represent the fifty states  of confusion, arrogance, deceit, happiness, security, defiance, rebellion, conformity, hunger, production, mourning, euphoria before the apocalypse.

The only hidden agenda would be the destination. The invitees taken hostage, blindfolded by surprise from behind, wrists tied with rope. They wouldn’t know they were going to break bread, share wine, create an evening of no barriers with no masks for more hours in a day and a night when the moon gets stuck and doesn’t move until reset by bats flying in the sun.

My white house would be set in the deep woods, hidden behind a thick forest of trees, a cloud of smoke piping out of the chimney. There would be a big pot of honey warmed over a fire in a grand fireplace as we ate sweet baby meat served to us on silver platters.

“Please have some olives, picked fresh from my tree.”  As olives are passed everyone would know how to converse with ease. Music would be heard by the trees and they’d sway back and forth with the wind applauding the great president who knew how to please each person’s heart with comfort and grace despite painful restraints.

The lull of conversation would be filled with my voice asking each what they are doing, how they are doing, if they’ve any plans for the future. “Please tell me your story of working in such and such place or perhaps that wooden cane all covered in lace?”

I’d take it in all their words, have them written on paper, spray painted on walls overlaying murals of mushroom clouds over mutated beings my country has created along its way to stardom, flying on stardust, on its way to the moon. It left me behind to counsel the last of a dying race. I would cease to rule.

And so if I were president, at the beginning of the week, I’d be happy to retire to my bedroom with the sound of the bell, go rest, and never wake up.


Prompt:  If I Could

The Break Up of Mother Earth and Father Science
If I could save the world from Evil, I’d wrap her in bubble wrap, protect her from Evil’s incredible grip, let his pointy fingernails pop each protective cell of plastic before he opens the Red Door and throws it down the cellar stairs and Earth bounces off each stair, higher and higher, rebounds out the broken window. She flies away into a solar space, finds warmth from a different Mother. Father Science sends his love every day. He learned to let go a long time ago.
Prompt:  Hands
Population Overgrowth

Five fingers reach out
like the fly touches
a piece of crusty bread,
presses down –
Is the mattress firm?
Will she like
soft pillows, lights on?
Her voice comes stealthily
behind me, I jump.
My hands turn around
grab her, fingertips
touch skin silky soft,
propagation begins
and the eggs hatch clean
hands, body, and soul.



Closed fists or open palms
I never saw those brown calloused hands
Stunned by bright sparks dancing across my eyelids
Barely felt the second round landing like fury on my back.
purple welts rising under thinly veiled smiles
His exerted breath fans my flushed face.
Tears echo as footsteps fall in
empty hallways.

“Why you limpin?” her well coiffed hair like a border wall blocking the view in her own house.
Leg muscles connected to broken back muscles
And I say, “I just like the Pachuca style.”
Flinch as she slaps my backpack with exasperation to my shoulders.
I pachuca myself all the way to school.
the kids think I am a nerd.
that I love the feel of chalk in my hands
The sound of grind as I guide it into loops and letters on the board
always raising my hand to be next.

Her eager, cheap red lips relax into relief
She calls on me.
Her favorite.
The one who saves her from awkward silence
Nervously buttoning and unbuttoning her hipster vintage cardigan
brown like the children she pretends not to be afraid of
I save her. And she still pronounces my name like a retarded seven year old.
Her untrained tongue too swollen to roll the r’s.

I push the chalk, white as the laws that brutalized him into brutalizing me.
forming letters, like the A’s she hands out like candy to prevent her imagined classroom race riot
into stories, I can live with.
I always raise my hand.
So my bruises have time to heal.



Gone just a few hours ago,
how do I miss you this much?
Last sighting: a smile in a backseat
a quick wave goodbye for a drive around
the block to your “other” home.
I imagine you doing happy things
in your first few hours there.
Trying to place a happy image in the hole
where my hands stroke your smooth
cheek, stand shoulder to shoulder
with my son at home.

I was there when he was gone.
The moment his deft hands
turned the doorknob, entered
the next room.
In a snap flatline palms
slats on a lap laid out like horizon
even in Dead’s calm
Grandpa’s hands were awake,
awaiting the next chance to draw
the most perfect line to pull
someone up by a slack shoulder.



Closed fists or open palms
I never saw those brown calloused hands
Stunned by bright sparks dancing across my eyelids
Barely felt the second round landing like fury on my back.
purple welts rising under thinly veiled smiles
His exerted breath fans my flushed face.
Tears echo as footsteps fall in
empty hallways.

“Why you limpin?” her well coiffed hair like a border wall blocking the view in her own house.
Leg muscles connected to broken back muscles
And I say, “I just like the Pachuca style.”
Flinch as she slaps my backpack with exasperation to my shoulders.
I pachuca myself all the way to school.
the kids think I am a nerd.
that I love the feel of chalk in my hands
The sound of grind as I guide it into loops and letters on the board
always raising my hand to be next.

Her eager, cheap red lips relax into relief
She calls on me.
Her favorite.
The one who saves her from awkward silence
Nervously buttoning and unbuttoning her hipster vintage cardigan
brown like the children she pretends not to be afraid of
I save her. And she still pronounces my name like a retarded seven year old.
Her untrained tongue too swollen to roll the r’s.

I push the chalk, white as the laws that brutalized him into brutalizing me.
forming letters, like the A’s she hands out like candy to prevent her imagined classroom race riot
into stories, I can live with.
I always raise my hand.
So my bruises have time to heal.


Lava Monster

I held my hand out, looked you in the eye,
there was hesitation in the air that night
we stood close. I wanted you to like me.
But instead you turned and walked away.
My hands return to neutral position.
My heart covered in soot still flickering
a tiny bit in the red hot middle,
throws out sparks that extinguish on landing.


Prompt:  Thinking Outside the Prompt

Prayer for Robert* and His Gun
Love openly. Live freely.
Run for your life.
Live fully until you can’t
take it any more.
Can’t take the pain.
Can’t take the fear.
Can’t take the loneliness.
May you run into yourself
on the other side of midnight.
Live in light and peace.
Here I am now without
fear of losing you,
losing myself in madness
we call crazy if we don’t
sit square
in the face
of conformity.
~PY – Free Writer

*Inspried by the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People

hope rises within.
open minds behind closed doors.
slit of light peers out.


Hat on a Hot Head

No one knows who lives there
in the mansion on the hill
with its faintly bleached garage,
all cement and empty.
People want to be known as unknown.
Anonymous makes a person feel safe,
puts them way up high above the riff raff as if
they’re Holly Wood herself living in satin sheets
unyielding to the crowds
yelling in the streets, more, more, more.
They’ll read all about him in slick lines
written to entertain but never tell
how he lives like the homeless person
who forgot who he was,
before society took over, took away his soul –
and people say they want to be like him
Don’t say a word about who you are, what you think,
just drive and look pretty.

You’ll be first in line for the identity card that reads:
M T  High. 2 Good Foya St. Ignore Everyone, USA
Even some movie stars take a stance but you can’t
because anyone you don’t know, doesn’t matter,
and being private means you’re better than
the same human being who wants to make their
life blank, would give a million dollars
to start over, wash it in the same bleach
you use to rinse the walls in your house
to get rid of the staleness you breathe out.

One day the dirt will fall out from under
the foundation, give way to the heavy
burden of keeping it all locked up and safe.
And we’ll all read about it in the media how
this person no one knew looks just like you –
the man who broke down one day,
went berserk running in between all the cars
cruising the strip yelling his name and address.

We all showed up, took pictures of the fancy columns
covered in mud, windows broken, curtain pulled back
so we could all enjoy the show of what it’s like to
live inside your private life.


Border Brown Crayons

My momma had two brown eyes
she used to watch her two brown
children playing in the brown dirt.

She wore a brown dress cinched
at the waist with a big bow in
the back pew at church on Sundays.

She saw a big brown man who looked
like her husband get into a Cadillac
all long and brown, engine running.

It had a black top and racy chrome wheels
loaded with gangster guns in the trunk
no one could see ‘cept for momma.

She ran into the house calling our names
wiped her hands on her apron before
tossing it aside, grabbed a suitcase
full of money from the top shelf behind
the empty tequila bottles she saved for
decorative memories when they made me.

We went out the back door all holding
hands, running together, ducked our heads
when we heard the bullets shatter the windows.

We ran for our lives, blood rushing under
our skin as we found shelter in the house
of a white dog in the middle of the yard.

No one was home and the dog didn’t bark
when we opened the door and saw the
note on the table:

Please come in. I’m hurt and unable to
see you in the dark of my light-hearted

She came out of the bedroom and said
she could only see in shades of brown,
offered us a place to stay since we were
the only people she had seen since the
day they took her sweet children away.

Said they promised them rolls of gold
ribbons unraveled in bottom of a river,
lured them into cold water when she
knew they could not swim.

Momma said we could hug her and
the old lady started crying when she
said she could see again.
All it took was the mixing of crayons on skin.


Trampoline Brain on a Solid Rock Heart

I jump high. I jump low, even when there’s no one there to catch me.
I see the highest apple, the ugliest worm in the dirt and all the
people stretched and scrunched in between the high and the low.
My heart thumps faster and my eyes open wide and then close tight
as I try to hold back the tears, hold back the fears that all of what I see
and feel inside is too true for all the images that go blurring by.



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