Tessa, A Mother’s Love

I wanted to quote Plath,
love set you going like a fat
gold watch, then growing loquacious
like your squalls of colic
I’d thumped your back
and all emptied out
you’d quietened down
leaving echoes in the hall.

Then there’s the constipation
and no one dared speak
roughly; cooing like pigeons,
we’d coaxed out the poo
while your face contorted with
extreme overstrained effort,
but at least you didn’t
turn gray blue.

Grandpa had examined your face
and pudgy hands, gamely toes
so nothing else would matter
as much as you. Mostly I remembered
you’re playing with the angel,
conversing out of customary politeness
so only the stars could listen to
you came you came.


Day 29

“We’re once again doing two-for-Tuesday prompt. So pick one, combine both prompts into one poem, or write two (or more) different poems. Here are the prompts:

Write a love poem. A poem about love, people who are in love, attempting to woo, or some other lovely spin on the subject. Or…
Write an anti-love poem. I know that for every lover there’s an equally powerful hater.”

Tessa, I Want To Know How To Deal With Menopause

That day I showed up
in a twitchy blue dress
you’d crotcheted–
one of those homespun
crafty types.
You said something nice
by way of apology. It’s almost winter.
We’d turned into stiff old women
with no eggs left.


Day 28

“Take the phrase “I Want (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem. Possible titles include: “I Want Money,” “I Want a Second Chance,” “I Want My Name in Lights,” “I Want an Extra Hour of Sleep Each Day,” etc.”

Tessa, Things Fall Apart

She’d confessed to him–after
the mess, place all tidied up,
that one secret let out
–then the door swung open,
in came the nurse, waspish
as usual. Turned out

he’s had a stroke, gone all
rigid while she’d been all
bound up in herself, and so
she’d call a doctor, no more
mooching–hadn’t they known
all in the fullness of time.


Day 27

“Write a falling apart poem. The poem could be about a crumbling house, tree losing its leaves, or a car that’s breaking down. Of course, people break down and fall apart all the time–in both large and small ways.”


Tessa, About A Visitor

Bottled up: a genie.
My black soul.
O help me god.

She’d offered some dry kind words.
Wine-colored. I never knew what it was
hidden within. That puffy smile.
All I knew, it must be what
I’m feeling too. A tobacco-stained
heart. Moping and churlish.

I’d arranged the flowers
in a vase. The shape of which
mattered in the way a body does
all the aesthetic work but
the soul, ah–the bloom
in a room.

How it’d went, I asked,
benevolent now. And it all depended
on the way–whether perfunctory
making, or tremulous as if coming
to something resembling peace.
The voice stoic, shaking.


Day 26

“Write a visitor poem. The poem could be about being a visitor to somewhere new. Or the poem could be about hosting a visitor. Write about an expected visitor or someone who shows up by surprise.”

Tessa, About That Tape

Not all doom and gloom
staring at the configuration
of the stars, maybe even
smoldering flames,
a fated labyrinth.

What? A bouquet you’d clutched
of orange lilies? Bestowed
so you’d felt satisfied,
as if prayer could move
shimmering stars.

The tape’s still running–
said matter-of-factly.


Day 25

“Write a tape poem. The poem could be about transparent tape, duct tape, video tape, or even tape worm. Anything that you can bend into a tape poem is fair game.”

Ewww, tapeworm?!!


You guys, it’s post Thanksgiving, Black Friday. I’ve not been prompting but still writing. Sometimes I wonder if prompting helped, seeing it as a black hole. You know what happens when you get sucked into a black hole? You get stretched like a strand of spaghetti. Don’t believe me? Watch this.




If you watch till the end, you’ll get a fascinating scientific statement as to why you are the center of the universe.


Hmmm, from Black Friday to Black Holes…so what about the prompt? Precisely that..Black Friday, black holes, black anything! Or even anything holey! Holy moly!





Tessa, So Were We Original At All?

For too long I’ve been a historian,
documenting, archiving photographs
–oh look how geeky we used to look,
with the bangs and other unbecoming
hairstyles–the eighties, oh god!
And then another time you’d lived
in a trailer, smoking marijuana.
Hadn’t we always been complicit
with the times? Time it was when
we’d turned up slavish, predatory,
banal, inhaling the same air.

Those were turbulent times, alive
in the living, all that growing up
being sacred and tangled in blue.
You’d asked. I’d said, we wouldn’t
have done it any differently honey,
steadying ourselves on foal legs.
We’d believed in those values, co-opted
as our own, so why ask again if there’s
a way of holding back. And what of bad
decisions? Doesn’t time heal every damn
thing so there’s nothing to forgive?


Day 24

“Write an imitation poem. Some folks say imitation is the best form of flattery. So with it being Thanksgiving in these parts, I thought it appropriate to pick a poem you enjoy and write an imitation of it. You can include poet and poem of the original if you’d like; or see if others can guess.

If you don’t have time to write an imitation poem, then try writing a poem about the act of imitation–whether people, animals, or even robots.”

Tessa, When The Morning Bus Came

In the soft darkness
we’re rehearsing. Instinctive,
dealing with this ragged
thing, foreign, and intimate
as cave paintings.

We’d twitched, and swished,
and in the greenish yellow light
walked around dazed,
jammed into rock,

The frogs’ swampy song
conspiratorial and lewd.
When the morning bus came,
all that seemed superfluous
succumbed to sun.


Day 23

“Take the phrase “When (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write the poem. Possible titles include: “When in Rome,” “When Doves Cry,” “When You Can’t Say When,” “Whenever You Want,” etc.”

Tessa, A Destiny Shared

Everyone said to stay positive,
even pale-skinned Paula, who’s
sharing a milk shake with Mala,
easing up to the news.
The colossal lie. Lulled
into belief.

Bryan was so grumpy-looking.
Behind his gray eyes, desolate
cries. So I said with half-joking
urgency, maybe he’s high-minded
after all. Muffled a sulk, so
pallor leaked.


Day 22

“We’re on our fourth two-for-Tuesday prompt. So pick one, combine both prompts into one poem, or write two (or more) different poems. Here are the prompts:

Write a sharing poem. A poem about somebody sharing something. Or a poem about receiving something that was shared. Or witnessing an act of sharing. Or…
Write a selfish poem. We can also consider this the Ebenezer Scrooge poem (pre-ghosts).”

Tessa, Just Thinking Out Loud

Truth is, my thoughts are mush,
black, gray, dingy–
oh let me try another tack,
rowdy, hankering after love,
conspiratorial–wink wink,
good vibrations, hopeful, serious,
cross my heart

all of which should cancel out
the mildly depressing,
the sallow looking, the wintering,
the hollowed out,
the pious people who’d turned and
given a flat look secreting


Day 21

“Write a thinking out loud poem. If you’ve ever been caught thinking out loud, this poem does that. If you haven’t done it yourself, chances are you know someone who thinks out loud; channel that today.”

Tessa, My Heart Will Go On

O my sovereign heart,
are you commonplace, given to
intense fits of prudence,
standoffish, hidden like
a turtle, sunk into
boggy places?

O life is hard enough already,
all the molestations that go
on from out of the blue,
so we’re tethered to
urban detachment, sing of
harmonies not present.

You turned and smiled,
and I’d yearned it was genuine
even now I’d known it’s
bright as a sari,
and dark, decrepit
when the tide turned.


Day 20

‘Pick a popular saying, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “May the Force Be With You,” “It’s a Bird; It’s a Plane; It’s Superman,” “Just Do It,” or “Break a Leg.” I hope you break many legs with this prompt–in a poetic sense.”