Tag Archives: dVerse Poets

Canned Cantos


Canned Cantos

Behold the simple can of soup.
Outside it’s hard. Inside it’s goop.
Cream of mushroom, turkey noodle—
kids adore the whole kaboodle.

Crass men raid the chicken coop
to gather poultry for our soup.
They chop up onions, slice potatoes,
murder mushrooms, slay tomatoes.

Must Warhol then immortalize
this canned concoction I despise?
The world agreed. He must. He should.
They called his canned art very good.

Yet this icon that he chose
to paint and to overexpose,
I could easily view myself
lined up on my kitchen shelf.

Why pay a thousand bucks or more
for something that each day I pour
into a pan and then ingest?
I think, friends, that it was a test

to see how gullible we are.
As we made this elf a star,
fanned his fame, increased his rank,
he laughed his way right to the bank.

For dVerse Poets Andy Warhol prompt.

Portrait of the Artist

My husband was an artist and so it seemed fitting to write a profile/portrait of him that described him primarily in terms of color.

Portrait of the Artist

The artist in you
understood color so well.
And yet, even as you layered on
red and green,
so much of you was blue.

Your white hair,
loosened from the pony tail

and streaming down your back
in your wild man look,
prompted strangers to ask
if you were a shaman,
or declare you to be one.

But there was
that black in you
that altered it,
that shade created
by the blend
of white and black
you knew so well.

The red that flamed out from your work,
subtly put there even in places
where it had no logical purpose for being,

that red tried to make things right.

Yet all of us
who knew you well

knew the blue.
It was the background color
of all of your days.

It was the blanket
in which we wrapped
at night,

trying to be close,
but so often

by it.

For fifteen years, I tried
to paint you yellow.
There were splashes of it, surely,

throughout our lives together.
You on the stage, reading your heart,
me in the audience, recognizing
all the colors caught within you.

Finding the pictures you had taken of me
studying your work at the art show,

those pictures you had snapped surreptitiously
even before we  met,

I discovered, after your passing,
that you had recognized
me even then, when I thought
I was the only one
angling for a meeting—
sure of my need to know
those secret parts of you

that I will never know
now that you have given yourself
to whatever color your ever-after
has delivered you to.

A new life later,
I am suffused
by my own canvas
of memories of you—
every other pigment
splashed against
a vivid background
of yellow.


The dVerse Poetics prompt is to create a profile or self-profile in verse. Go HERE to read additional poems written to this prompt by others.

For dVerse Poets Quadrille: Extinction

jdb photo

Today I read a story about a man who led big game hunting expeditions whose claim was that he could guarantee a kill with one hundred percent surety.  Ironically enough, after shooting a water buffalo and posing with his kill, he was fatally gored by another water buffalo. This was perhaps on my mind as I wrote this poem on the subject of extinction for the quadrille challenge. Please note that I am not in favor of big game hunting. In the last lines, I’m talking about luck in a general sense, not in terms of big game hunting. I took this photo in Kenya in 1967.



If we all were always winners, winning would lose distinction.
Every hunter bagging game would lead to their extinction.
So to qualify my wishes, I guess that I’ll just say
I hope when it’s your turn for luck, that it will come your way!

for dVerse Poets

Waiting in the Dark


Waiting in the Dark

Why are you waiting in the dark
listening to the wind’s sharp bark?
Elsewhere is diversion enough––
Internet and other stuff.
Distraction is the modern mode,
emoticons to speak in code.
Don’t place yourself upon a shelf.
Come take a photo of yourself
and post it on your Facebook wall.
Introspection won’t do at all.
Log onto Tinder and make a date.
Only losers sit and wait.


For the dVerse Poets theme of “Waiting.” But, since I missed the post cutoff by 54 minutes, I’ll post it here! 


A room. A window. Outside the window, an entire world that I have not moved through for so many years. Some of the world comes to me, it is true, and I am not so reclusive that I do not let it in. Marietta brought her newest baby just yesterday, and I held it as though I have held a baby every day of my life in spite of the fact that I have not held a baby since that first baby slipped away from me, into the arms of another woman I have never known the name of. That baby was ripped more violently from my arms than it was from my body hours before. I was not given a choice. No one knew. The baby vanished and then I vanished, off to another country. Off. . . .a cough. I spin around and look behind me. It is a new intruder. After so many years alone, two people entering my world. Perhaps if I’d kept the door unlocked all these years, more people would have come other than the boy who brings my groceries and the other woman with the many layers of skirts who brings me new medicine when I have need of it.

I do not know this new person. It is a young man who carries a machete in his hand. He is very tall. Very very tall for a Mexican, so perhaps he is a Bedouin or some other Arab from a tall tribe, plopped down in America in the way many of us have been positioned here by fate, by circumstance or by force. His skin is that beautiful golden coffee color of someone naturally dark who has also been in the sun for long periods of time or for a long lifetime.

“Disculpe, senora,” he says, as he moves into the room. When I speak to him in English, he switches to English. He has seen my tall palm with the fruit and the seeding husks hanging dangerously loose. He can scale this tree and cut them for me. It needs to be done, senora, and if I have no money to pay, he will do it for no more fee than my friendship. And if I have no friendship to offer, then he will do it for the good grace it will bring him in the universe and perhaps an easier ingress into heaven.

It is an omen, I think, and I surprise myself when I give him permission to trim the tree. He cannot know how much he looks like a young man in my past and he cannot know how uncharacteristic it is for me to allow anyone at all into my life, my room, my trust. Now I have an obligation to this man I know nothing about. He may be dangerous. Certainly, he carries a weapon. The branch of the pomegranate tree taps taps on my window, as though a strong breeze has come up in this still day. It is the fingers of the afternoon reminding me. Warning me. But then I see that it is the movement of the young man as he brushes past the tree that has set it in motion.

A large turquoise dragonfly rests on the branch that has stopped moving and that now sits isolated. Another dragonfly approaches it and seems to attach itself in an arch and they go flying away together in this impossible configuration—a broken circle. How two creatures can move as one is not something I have ever learned, not since the one person who was a part of me for so many months was pulled from my arms still weak from childbirth. If they’d waited, I would have been strong enough, I tell myself. I have been telling myself for most of my life.

After they took from me what was mine, we took a drive to a large place with many chairs. Many chairs and many people, then a corridor. Then I was on an airline and in spite of my terror, I fell asleep. I was a thirteen year old girl, accustomed to doing what I was told to do. I woke up in America, where I was driven to the beautiful house of my aunt. It was here I lived for ten more years. Here that they expected to give me a new life to encourage me to forget my old life, but as I sit for all these years in my isolation, it is the old life that I remember and remember and remember.


for dVerse Poets Pub.

Dream Journeys

He woke up agitated and sweating, turned over to face in her direction. She lay on the adjacent pillow, staring at him with a haze of dreaming still over her eyes.
“I dreamt I got the job,” he said, his mind swarming with the details of discarding, packing, arranging for the move.  Then, his mind switched quickly to the alternative. What if he didn’t get the job? He had been in this state of agony for weeks. Either result contained grounds for worry.
She stirred.  Reached out for him. “I had a dream,” she said.
“Oh, yeah?” he said, intent on his own quandry, barely aware of his own mechanical response. “Anything pertinent? I’m looking for signs.”
“I dreamt I was the moon.”


For the dVerse Poets prosery prompt: The Prosery prompt starts with a line taken from a poem, and asks you to write a piece of flash fiction incorporating that line, in full, somewhere in the piece of prose. To make it a little more challenging there’s a word limit of 144 words. The line they chose was “I dreamt I was the moon.”


Confessions of Hatface

Confessions of Hatface

My father calls me hatface because of my addiction
for wearing things upon my head because of my conviction
that I look prettier in hats or hairdos most original
to make me look exotic––French or Greek or aboriginal.

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I wear my cat under my arm, my socks upon my head.
Rather than be ordinary, I’d rather be dead.

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Sometimes I walk my rabbit. When he walks on his hind feet,
for sure, we’ve the attention of everyone we meet.
My rabbit sheds his rabbit skin and wears a shirt instead,
and me? I change my head socks and put bows upon my head.

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Our skin is very pliable. It stretches like Band-aids,
so Sis and I just pull it up in pretty little braids.

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In sunlight, flowers surprise me by sprouting from my head.

I never know what to expect when rising from my bed.

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I have two patron blackbirds perched one upon each shoulder.
They’d be perching on my head if they were any bolder.

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A bluebird doubles as my kite, the string held in its mouth.
Sometimes he flies me east or west, and sometimes we fly south.
I’m a very special girl. I’m not at all predictable––
a miracle that Jackie Hurlbert found me this depictable!


Thanks to Charmed Chaos for thinking up this picture prompt for dVerse Poets and to jackie Hurlbert for letting her use her beautiful paintings as prompts.  We were to choose one to write about, but I chose all of them. Click on her name to see more of her work.