Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash


The hedgehog
craves closeness of warmth
and comfort
but it can’t
risk hurting those they care for
or wounding themselves

nature or nurture
emotions flatlined and taut
growing defective

not seeking the gaze
apparitions, illusions
flowing refractions

by adding my quills
I will wound
pricking with lethal absence
living detachment

defies all reason
yes I care
but won’t share
reason, nature can’t undo
an inert hedgehog.
** *

Written for dVerse MTB: Phantom Form — Shadorma, hosted by Gospel Isosceles. Poets have contributed to this prompt here.

*EDITED: to fix the erroneous syllable count. It’s kinda cool what two extra syllables per stanza can do to add a wee bit of spice.

Monkey Pause


Photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash

Monkey Pause

A troop of

young Japanese macaque

frantically chase

evening moon’s reflection

upon hot spring’s surface.


Moonbeams reflect,

refract, fragment, flitter,

fleeing tiny grasping fingers

scattering light

leaving callow plunderers only shivers

for their boundless efforts.


Matriarch and Alpha

observe the scene

sitting in silent stillness

warming, cooing,

grooming one another in the depths

content with the moon above

its countless illusions below

and the crisp air between.


Nothing is obtained

this moment is now

everything is as it is

what should be is trickery; just

moondust eluding monkey paws.

** *

Written for dVerse I Once Used an Earthquake–dVerse MTB: Symbolism, hosted by Victoria Slotto We were encouraged to write a symbolic poem. This one still feels a bit “on the nose”, but meh, I’ll take it.


Go here to read other poet’s contributions to this prompt.

Left Hand

Left Hand


she plays with me

in familiar keys of

The song

pulsating with a vibrancy

she glides with me


she comes

spiraling from soprano

rafters like a raptor


I am captured flat and

sharply raptured back


into wry smiles

within her rhythm,

her movement

moves Miles


currents swelling

from fingertips,




spilling vibrations


sonically caressing,


undressing her expression,

tingling a taut spine,

into loosening,

expressing what

we want

which is to tap

our foot in time

with her universe


increasing rapidly



muttering a curse


as the floor is felt no more

as our rapport

goes on unrehearsed

awe is dispersed

and then

what comes

is the melody

she played for me

in invented keys, free

to romp

pulsating with a vibrancy

she glides for me


we stomp

diving from soprano

alighting near the altos

capturing counter-tempos

we come

baring nimble fingertips

ruling our rhythmic hips

soaring above mundane grips

we jaunt

and then we thump

to her melodic




it pumps

and then it jumps


exchanging tempo

in time with

refined lines

I skip it

with her,

slightly behind,

but shit,

nobody minds,


we balter

her id

leading evocative

moonbeams to traverse,

as planned


I skid,

reading provocative

loony dreams,

unrehearsed, and

I miss it

we falter

she has me

right where she wants us


at her fingertips,

and her fingers slip-weave



she baits,

but will not wait

for me to map her

destination, so I

play catch up

while she plays

parlor games with my soul

using only her right hand

she kissed it

with her left.

** *

Inspired by dVerse’s Jazz poetry with Amaya, hosted by guest poet, Amaya Engleking. We were encouraged to write some jazz poetry, or jazz-inspired poetry. Go here to read other dVerse poets’ contributions to this prompt.

I guess my whole vibe is that I kind of accidentally already live in this jazzy poetic realm. Still, this challenge reminded me of a recent jazz session.

I had the privilege of taking Wifey out to Jazz Alley for her birthday earlier this month and catching Hiromi Duet featuring Edmar Castaneda. They were amazing together, and Hiromi was especially mesmerizing in her solo piano work. I found a clip of her performing a song that just knocked the stuffing out of me live. It’s called Sicilian Blue. Anyway, my poem isn’t exactly about her, but it is most certainly inspired by her music.

(Also, sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve been struggling with depression and some unexpected life-altering changes. No one is in danger or poor health, but there were changes that I’m still struggling to adapt to. I ask for your continued patience and kindness. We’ll survive this. If I don’t see you again by year’s end, I’ll see you on the other side of 2018.)

Lumpy- Headed Sonnet


Image source: google

Lumpy- Headed Sonnet

Greetings! And what has brought you to see me, Mr. Dawson?

You see, I’ve found a small lump that has amassed mass distress

And would you say from day to day that you feel mad depressed?

A curveball, but yes, I confess feeling less than awesome.


Do you drink too much? Feel out-of-touch? And if so, how often?

Maybe… Yes… I guess the process has me viewing my own coffin.

Do you feel like a let-down to all who love you in life?

Is your med-degree in poetry? Why yeah, I bear that strife.


And how often would you say that you indulge in marijuana?

What? I’m here for my lump. Kindly address that instead.

Evading the question? But why on earth would you wanna?


No answer? Let’s refocus. My prognosis is something you’ll dread.

How much time do I have left? I know that I am a goner.

There is no lump, Mr. Dawson. It is all inside your head.

** *

Inspired by dVerse MTB – Neruda and the free verse sonnet, hosted by Bjorn, but not shared there, as this is not quite what he was looking for in a Petrarchan sonnet. The subject matter is inspired by actual events. When I saw Bjorn’s post, it gave me the idea to create a conversation in sonnet form. [EDITED: Bjorn suggested that I share it on his prompt anyway, so I did! I also tightened a few lines in my poem. The flow was bugging me.]

Did I just invent a new form? Surely someone has already done this. Meh. It was a good de-stressing exercise anyways.

If you’re curious about Petrarchan sonnets, head over to dVerse. Also check out some examples here.


Company Time

images (2)

Image source: Google

Company Time

Morning alarm pierced my skull.


As I groaned to silence it,

I locked eyes with Wifey.


Words needn’t pass between us,

but they did, as microbursts

of shorthand dialog tends to form

invisible webs between vessels.


“I think I’m staying home,”

my mouth and eyes said.

My head pounding,

the weight of my own body

collapsing my bones

into the lush comfort of our bed,

the covers embracing me,

bracing me for non-stop cartoons

and marathon Texas hold ‘em drawls.


Wifey peered through my marrow,

doing the math in her head.

“You had too much Irish Death last night,”

she deduced,

“and now you’re waiting to die.”


I am wounded,

but I never shy away

from a game of cat

and also-cat.


I pivot and counter, declaring,

“Theoretically speaking,

we’re all waiting to die.

It’s all a matter of degrees.”


Score one point for the good guys.


I elucidate some concessions,

hoping to persuade her to my side.

“But my head is pounding,

possibly from too much Irish Death

I suppose,

but mainly from spring allergies,”


I sniffle unnecessarily,


“and I didn’t drink enough water last night,”

because I’m no lush with self-control issues;

this is biology’s fault, dammit!


“And my body aches from

too much young man work,”

c’mon and pity my

alcohol-soaked marrow;

I know you’ve seen it!


“And I’m depressed,”


“and so yes, I am lying here, waiting to die,”

which was the truth; I mean I was lying there,



Wifey’s eyes smiled

the way they did

when we use to play Texas hold ‘em together

before I gave up on playing with her

because it was no fun

playing against someone

who didn’t have a poker-face.


Then she began;

“Well while you’re lying there waiting to die,

take a look at our bank statement

and weigh it against our mortgage,

our utility bills, and our

ballooning credit card statement, including,

yes darling,

the very comfortable bed

you hide from the world in

as you lie there waiting for death;


“Yes, please lie in your holy sanctuary

that we have yet to pay for.”


Our bed

wasn’t quite as comfy as it was earlier,

but I still had the river card to turn.


“One day of my waiting to die won’t kill us!”

I counter, in vain.


Suddenly, my day of rehydrating while

binge-watching cartoons

feels further from my grasp.


Her smile widens. I can hear

the poker analyst in my head yelling,

“No help on the river for this groggy

hungover desperado!”


She gloats,

her pair of aces

staring daggers through

my sob-story.


“True, I cannot refute that,” she begins,

“but while you lie there waiting to die,

consider my role in management.”




“I would love to curl up next to you

and wait for you to… well, not die…

I kinda like having you around…”


She’s setting me up…


“…but I cannot indulge my wants…”

 I don’t like where this is going…  


“…because I need to go to the place

that pays me to make decisions…”




“…like the ones I have to make today

to set the apparatus in motion to sanction

a few troublemakers

for not being team-players

and setting all I built aflame

just so they can rule over the ashes.

I guess in their own way,

they’re waiting for death too.

Sadly, I don’t have that luxury.”


The poker analyst in my head bellows,

“He’ll be spending the next few hours

on the bus

wondering where it all went wrong…”


With the microburst of

unspoken conversation ended,

where seconds felt like minutes,

I drag my undead carcass

from the world’s most comfortable

unpaid mattress

and shuffle to the bathroom

to brush my teeth.


That foolish woman!


She actually thought she’d bested me,

but unknown to her,

I can still lie and wait to die,

even on company time.

** *

Written for dVerse’ Meeting the Bar: Irony hosted by Frank Hubeny. I’m a sarcastic a-hole by nature, but irony is a wee bit subtler than that. Still, get me started on irony and suddenly I need an editor. I know it’s a long one, and I’m sorry. Hopefully, you were entertained by it a bit.

And since you’ve made it this far, why not head over and read other poets’ contributions to this prompt.