Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)


Photo by Timon Klauser on Unsplash

Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

What if I unglossed our painting before it dried?

What if my tears smeared our indigo finish?

What if I painted midnight horizons into pastels?

What if each correction lightened and undefined?

What if each stroke unburdened texture of weight?

What if ink flowed from canvas to brush?

What if I dabbed brush into pigment to clean it?

What if our cleaner lines were gobbled-up by my pen?

What if I sketched our imperfect borders into nothing?

What if I created perfection; a blank slate?

What if I swallowed the wrong words instead?

What if I said the right thing and you stayed?

My final poem of the year, written for the final Real Toads prompt ever: PLAY IT AGAIN! with REAL TOADS, hosted by  Kerry O’Connor. I chose to write to Kerry’s LET’S FIND OUR POETIC VOICE prompt and then – as a tip of the hat – to erase, clean, or “un-write my voice”, as many of the wonderful prompts here directly contributed to my poetic voice growing and stretching in ways I never imagined possible.

Thank you to everyone at Real Toads – both the hosts and the contributors – for all of your efforts, encouragement, and support. I know this isn’t goodbye, so I’ll see you all out there next year.

11 thoughts on “Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

      • You take your time. I’m going to browse and read both WP and Medium in the morning tomorrow, but I’ll log off for the rest of the day to rest, reflect, and watch meaningless television while cuddled up with Jernee.


  1. Ah, these are really refreshing questions and I’m musing on their possible answers. It’s wonderful, and I love that anime video at the end, too. 🙂
    Happy New Year, Barry!


  2. “What if I said the right thing and you stayed?” Wow, that is a fantastic line. Finding those magical words at just the right moment – and sometimes, having them appear fully formed from who knows where – is what poetry is about. Lovely to read you, Barry.


  3. A clean slate, pure white paper..I feel it. You have so creatively expressed change and new beginnings. Always a blessing to read your work.


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