We Wordle #23


Hey Red Wolf community:

We did a cool thing. Nicole prompted us to write a collaborative poem and WE DAMN WELL DID IT!! Hooray. It’s not crap either. It confirms for me that you guys have the heart and soul of living poets.

You know, it’s like what Christopher said. Musicians get together and each play their instrument and voila, we’re making music. Or in this case, poetry. It’s more like the process of it is so cool. Know what I mean. I know you do.

In the interest of economy, I am selecting one word each from the participant poets.

Barbara: blues
Irene: birds
Viv: chestnut
Rosalyn: shining
Nicole: monsoon
Debi: fluty
Jules: peacock
Marilyn: trills
Jennifer: ping
Christopher: blends
Donald: rocks
Rick: lungs
Abby: swallow

I was reading Nicole’s blog post where she talked about being called a “poet of excess…packing my poems with image and detail, putting in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.” Poetry is a rhapsody, a long jazz blues number. How to not let a poem contain everything? I used to be so in love with that idea. I still am. That’s why I fear haiku like the plague. Yet contained within the long poem are moments and each moment can contain everything. How, you ask? Or I ask. Because poetry is so concentrated, so attentive. That’s why it can “hold Infinity in the palm of your hand / And Eternity in an hour” (William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”).

My friends were talking about grief this week. How grief becomes a part of us, never really leaves. How it traces our heart like veins that pump it in and out. How we come to grief in so many aspects of our lives. Every time a chapter closes, there is spiritual death. Grief. How do we hold our grief but in a moment of crying inside a toilet? How do we hold our grief but in fragments of remembering? How do we hold it but in lighting a candle or joss stick? And then there’s poetry:

How invisibly
it changes color
in this world,
the flower
of the human heart.

There is an icy undercurrent of grief in a few lines. Concealed. Pouring blues. So our color changes. So our heart changes. So we change, are changed.

A poem including wholeness in a brief glimpse.

Speaking of which I am pleased to announce that Sabra Bowers will be one of the Reds, hosting prompts for our site in the coming months, along with Barbara, Marilyn and I. I noticed that Sabra’s blog title has the tagline “Writing for Wholeness”. Is that a coincidence or what? Her blog’s titled “Later, Miss Slater”. Maybe Miss Slater is her alter ego? You can read her bio in the “About” page. Welcome on board, Sabra!

And dear Nicole who’s embarked on her MFA studies, we wish her well. I trust she will still check in on us. Nicole, my co-administrator, has been a pioneering member of our team and has always been such a terrific supporter. Tawnya, my other co-administrator, is also starting graduate school this Fall. Is this a conspiracy or what? Stick around, gals!


Red Wolf Community Poem: The Dance

Howdy folks! With some minor editing of line breaks and punctuation, here it is….our Red Wolf community poem. Isn’t it just gorgeous? We give you, “The Dance”.

by the Red Wolf Poems Community

What’s that sound? Like a piccolo. Does anybody know?
It’s heaven’s refrain bouncing off ethereal eaves.
Summer rain patters on chestnut leaves
as soul does weep at what this world does cruelly show.

We wear masks, move deftly through plastic crowds
un-noted. Polymer minds are willfully deaf, implausibly blind.
Listen, listen to the piccolo’s call. See, see each rounded, sweet note.
Better the sound of the piccolo than the call of the peacock --
must art make noise?

Trills snagged in the clouds, carried and there to tote,
notes ride rain drops back to Earth.
Silvery ping with thunder for bass
as the albino peacock looks for color
in those reflective crystal drops of life.

Crystal curtain beads, white peacock blues,
and the piccolo blends with the peacock’s call
backed by monsoon drumbeats on concrete veins;
one would think the death of the day would be enough,

yet the waters flow through an ancient channel,
challenging the rocks of time,
using time’s own acid to etch stone. Tracks
bleed. We are drunk in time. And truths,
we like them black-and-white: a zebra crossing,
skunks lifting their tails tall. Instead, we clench
cinereal clouds in our fists.

Color: we sink briefly in rainbows. Where are the pots
filled with gold? Or a pirates chest filled
with silver pieces of eight? Who will lift my veil?
Are there no charmings? I want to dance,
to be the dance so you’ll not know the dancer from the dance.

Piccolo music slithers, weaves through vertebrae, plays Kundalini.
Prince or thief...woven mystic; who am I? Silver piccolo,
etched with a peacock feather.
Ocellus, look and see, fan your lashes, lavish love on me
sing your flutey siren song of come hither, whether,
come dance with me as the leaves dance
on the branches of the chestnut tree.

Beneath the sheen of chestnut leaves
in silvered moonlight glow I dance into the piccolo
as the shining darkened skin of Soul encases
the tender, precious nut of Self.
Hold notes like gumdrops on my tongue, hope to never swallow
the bitter rind of gossiped words that paint false pictures
of true loves’ spirit. They cling to my teeth, stick inside my jaw --
a plaque of jelly-bellied unused words, unsung, unheard,
each word a world that seeks a voice within my lungs.

Release these birds. They carry current breath.
Render the unknowable in misty mountains
and fly through hallowed heart where heaven
breathes the dust of earthy dreams.

To see individual contributors to this poem, go check out the original prompt.

Guys, it’s been a blast. I’ll be around, albeit more in the background. Best wishes to all you poets, artists, misfits, freaks, truthspeakers, windtalkers, spiritwalkers, and fine human beings.


Prompt #217: Yes, the River Knows

Greetings poets! This prompt is a community prompt which asks you to do something a little out of the ordinary. Together, we will all write a poem. So, we will behave like a river, flowing together with our poetic contributions — hence the title of this prompt, borrowed from the title of a song by The Doors.

How, you ask? Borrowing a little from the Surrealists’ “exquisite corpse” method, each of you will write one line at a time. In this case, of course, there really isn’t a practical way of being true to the original method (which would only allow you to see the last few words of the previous contributor’s lines), so we are modifying it a bit as described below:

  1. Someone here should start — post the first line of the poem.
  2. Then, other poets chime in, each adding a line in succession to continue from the previous line.
  3. You will be able to post a line more than once, but try to allow a few poets to contribute lines after you before adding another one (maybe 3-4?).
  4. If you want to suggest a stanza break, please indicate at the end of your line when you contribute. (Final formatting decisions are made by me, of course, but I will remain as true as possible to what I read from your contributed lines — no editing otherwise except for obvious typos.)

To allow the madness to continue as long as possible, comments will be open on this prompt until 8:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, July 30. After then, comments on this post will be closed. The lines will be collected and then posted as one long poem, here, in a blog post sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Thank you, everyone, for making my time enjoyable with Red Wolf Journal. I am stepping down as an regular editor on the RWJ staff effective August 1 due to upcoming MFA studies, but I remain here in the community as Red Wolf Poems co-administrator and honorary RWJ editor as well as poet writing along to these prompts. It has been a pleasure helping put out such a fine journal.


We Wordle #22


We Wordle #22

Yousei created a recipe for fun with her prompt 216, Cooking Poetry. I hope that it stirred everyone’s muse. Selected from the poems of her prompt, here are this week’s wordle words.

As always, there are no rules to follow. Choose one word, choose all, and let your imagination fly. Post your poem to your blog with a link back to your creation in the comment field below, or post your poem here, if you haven’t a blog. Enjoy this week’s words!

Yousei: rabbit almond color
Irene: first grass steps
Debi: charmed dress sip
Viv: soaked dreams days
Misky: chop spring stars
Barbara: toasted belly sparks
Raoul: bake mark deep
Roslyn: bubbled broth steaming


~ Misky


Prompt #216: Cooking Poetry


Red Wolf Journal now has poetry collections (two so far) which you can download and read–poetic reading as part of your beat the heat strategy.

Speaking of heat, at my last visit to my mother’s home, she gave me a cookbook.  It was not just any cookbook.  It was Maya Angelou’s Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes.  In it Angelou had paired stories with recipes, culinary haibun.

Why not cooking poetry then?  For the prompt, I offer you choices which you are free to take, transform, or discard:

  • Sift through a cookbook and write down all the verbs that stir you.  Use some or all in a poem.
  • Use a recipe (your favorite or one you find most interesting) to create a framework for a poem.  Substitute unusual nouns, adjectives, occasional verbs and phrases for ingredients and cooking methods to create a new poetic dish.
  • Create your own culinary haibun.  Pair a prose poem with a simple recipe.

For an example read something I tried here, and I always get hungry reading at Irene’s blog.

Bon appétit.


We Wordle #21


Howdy poets,

Summer wind. Feeling any of that in summer? I love strong gales. I get high.

I’m prompting early. Bored already. Here’re the words from poems submitted to last Thursday’s prompt #125 “Talk Back to a Poem.” If you’re already brewing something for that prompt, don’t let me stop you from submitting your link.

Irene: crystalline, lullaby, vibrations
Viv: God, bucket, kindness
Rosalyn: shining, blackened, arched
Stimmyabby: waterlily, green, swaying
Barbara: scattering, opal, surface
Hannah: pearl, verse, sacred
Misky: leaf, boat, fish
Jules: heaven, secrets, writing
Hala: bewilderment, horses, plank

Use a handful or all of these words to create your poem. Alter the form of the words if you wish.

Here comes the interesting part. This week, I’m giving you an additional video prompt for the inspiration. It’s a haiku video by Rick Daddario.

Rick, as you may or may not know, works in haiga. Haiku and visual. Here, he’s experimenting with haiku and video. I’m not sure what you call it. Any suggestions?

Soak in the imagery of the video and let it inspire you. Obviously the theme is…”Wind”. God’s breath.

There you go.

But before you do, have you gotten wind of what Red Wolf Journal’s put out? It’s two new poetry collections. The first is Christopher Hileman’s Having Taken Vows. You’ll love it or … really love it. The second is a collaborative work between Christopher and myself titled Duet. Poems written in conversation. Of course when we did that, we were inhabiting our poem personas, as maybe a novelist would do speaking in character. The work came out of the exchange of poems we had in April 2014, in conjunction with what you’re all familiar with, NaPoWriMo 2014. You may download the collections here and read it at your leisure during the long weekend. Hope you find it as pleasurable as the experience I had winging through the writing process with my collaborator. Happy reading.