identity / 21



identity is a mathematical construct.
identity is a plastic card.
identity conglomerates me and teeth and titty.
identity is how you see my pigment
which is a differently loaded word than color

because being colored means something
different in South Africa than Mississippi than Crayola headquarters.
Quarters are a mathematical concept.
You have four: one
from each grandparent

who each identified themselves as being
from somewhere, some land mass, some quivering village
on the Mekong or Yong or Vistula rivers
but which no longer exist
due to meandering

or concrete, in the same way they no longer exist
except in this sentence, or in the air we breathe,
or in the dirt.
Identity is a quarter is a head is a word is nothing
more than what you say it is.

I am me. You are not me. You are me. You are you
which is the same as me is me.
you are me, and I am you
to everyone who doesn’t know us.



a day late for Susie’s cool prompt on identity, and so offered to The Tuesday Platform in the imaginary garden with real toads.

linked to Day 26, NaPoWriMo 2016, though not to the call and response prompt

link / 20

Toblerone (R) white chocolate
Toblerone white chocolate


I had a dream about Toblerone
but instead of chocolate connected at the hip
it was a rainbow of butterflies

and each one would break the link itself.
First white, the hue of hope, broke
then pink – lust (in this dream)

succeeded quickly by envy green, sorrow blue,
rage red, fearful yellow, muck-yuck brown
and finally depressed black flew off.

They each spread wings wide – translucent seraphim –
fluttering to the four corners of a round earth
and I was left

awake without chocolate
which may not normally be breakfast
but one should always begin the day with hope.



off prompt to Day 25, NaPoWriMo 2016, where Maureen suggests beginning with the line from another poem.

not written to Susie’s excellent prompt on where do we come from, in the imaginary garden with real toads, so not linked, but pay a visit…


greys / 19

via real toads, and Shay
via real toads, and Shay


So, I’m behind
I’m behind, so
I’m so behind

the grace of thick skin
and long eyelashes, and a drink
/er is always near

we have many grey days.
they are the best days
when there are many greys.

but I don’t forget
I don’t

so that is the hope of thick, grey skin.
that we may remember
us. remember us.

we have fewer grey days.
these are those days,
with fewer greys
so we cannot say
these are the better



for Shay’s Elephant prompt, in the imaginary garden with real toads

linked to Day 22, NaPoWriMo, where we are asked to write of Earth Day

14 to 16 hour workdays have cut into writing time… but I’m hoping to make a push to catch up next week, when I have a brief respite…

switch / 18

Being a parent has not been the same as being apparent. I struggle
to remember 17, and why I forgot – the brick wall towering
between that child with a fearful heart and the exposed-nerve world
and this one, here, raging again
/st those profanely boring comfortable shoes
worn by his teachers, and their teaching
to the tests.

Where was he happy?
Either he.
Is, I suppose. Is.

Maybe by flipping the bird lid and asking the most obvious question:
how to cut through the poetic bullshit
the candling words, the license to lie
because turning a noun into an adjective is cute
but doesn’t show him happy.

Maybe it’s this backflip into the waves. Maybe it’s the fine arc
inscribed by a frisbee, from his hand to mine. Maybe it’s not
any of these, just the steady breathing that you hear
when sharing the same room, which isn’t something
you can do when you live apart.

Maybe here’s the switch: to take the lines on this screen
and turn.



for Brendan’s Turns of the Tale: Poetic Surprise prompt, in the imaginary garden with real toads.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
and linked to Day 18, NaPoWriMo, where Maureen prompts us to look for the sound of home. This would be its antonym, perhaps.

(t)ripple / 17

the Blind Melon version: 3 is a Magic Number

one’s too lonely
two’s quite homey
but three make family

it’s always 3
for bad news or babies
not to conflate the 2

supple ripple
couple triple
three the witchy nipple

I shouldn’t go on. It’s past 3. But something wrinkles
the blanket, burrs the saddle, spurs the flank
even when little’s left in the tank



more fragments and NOT haiku, this time for Hedgewitch’s Poetry to the Third Power prompt in the imaginary garden with real toads.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

off the almanac prompt, but linked to Day 17, NaPoWriMo 2016


main / 16

image by Karin Gustafson, via real toads
image by Karin Gustafson, via real toads


tongues. get lost in tongues:
French say ‘main’ for hand

so is remain
hand it over again?
over your eyes a visor
under your pits: cold
wave in the air like you just don’t care
is the main thing

main once meant open ocean
so is remain
being again at sea?
do you squint at the distance?
or shiver in her somber embrace
as each wave brings you closer, takes you far
from the main thing



fragment for Karin’s In the Remains of the Month prompt in the imaginary garden with real toads.

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
linked to Day 16, NaPoWriMo 2016, if not really to the prompt

remainder / 15


for the remainder of the month I’ll count
backwards, reverse, but if I start

today I’ll be one short
and not know what to do

at the beginning, at the end
with one shiny day

empty of slanted words
waiting words

weighted words.
perhaps you’ll tell me: start

again, perhaps

there will be enough light



a 55 with a twist on the doubles prompt for Day 15, NaPoWriMo 2016





not linked, but visit Angie’s challenging word list prompt in the imaginary garden with real toads

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads