Prompted Writing: Unedited Poem

British Twin pounding beneath me

Exhaust notes echoing in the valley

Cold winter air numbing my face and freezing my smile

Rounding a corner I missed it

Gravel on the asphalt

My tires failed, reflexes failed

Stars beneath me, gravel and grass above me

And the earth spun off axis

Gasoline, motor oil, heat

Blood in my face, burning my pride

Dust halo surrounding me

I stood up

Stood it up

And got back in the saddle

Giggling and thanking God

[JK]

(Written in response to a daily writing prompt for WriteYourselfAlive:  Write an unedited poem without changing words or order once written.)

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A King’s Vindication

We snared him overnight
Cabled and held tight to a silver maple
A circle of turned earth
He ravaged everything within reach
Trying to simply be free

He looked me in the eyes
Popping fearsome jaws, snorting
Swiping paws in the air
As my needle found it’s mark
Ketamine in those rippling flanks
He fought but it took him
And he drooped and fell

We said it was in the name of science
Tags, tattoos, collars, pulled tooth
Deep down it seemed sacrilege
Human trappings
Defacing this giant
This Appalachian King
Science. Management. I wonder.

When we finished he was stirring
Under the blindfold his eyes rolled
Lightning in his veins
And the pungent reversal found his heart
Waking him. Back to the light
Grunting, stumbling
Drunk and debauched

Later we saw him
A mere hundred feet up trail
He sniffed the air, winding us
And brazenly shit in our path
Vindication steaming there on the ground

[JK]

Frost

Frost creeps in
And you would assume
it were winter here
But no
This is a supposed summer
If not late spring

How long sneaking in?
I would say a season
But I know better
It shows every time
I marvel a bit
At each arrival

I rub my eyes
Look in the mirror
Lines show there
Laughter? Tears?
And there it is
White in the margins

[JK]

Prompted Writing: It was in her eyes

I sat at my usual spot, back to the wall with journal open in front of me and my second pale ale settling in a glass just within reach. I abandoned typewritten word on a glowing screen for the familiar scratch of a fountain pen’s nib on toothy paper. It seemed to fit the setting better. A man can produce on a keyboard, but he can lose himself in ink. The crowd was energetic and spanned age and gender – a normal Tuesday night at the neighborhood brewpub. Friendly banter and alehouse philosophy filled the air and added to my reflective mood. I’m at home in the noise and movement. As much as I’ve tried to avoid it I’ve found that I love the distraction.


Two young ladies sat nearby, tasting each other’s beers and laughing about work and school, while two old men sat a foot away recalling the automobiles of their youth. A row of regulars sat at the bar watching sports on the muted TV, joking with the bartender as he polished glasses. Barley, the brewery owner’s Weimaraner, owned the floor and visited each table for belly rubs and scratching behind the ears in turn. A young man appearing to be an M.D. and a couple of nurses sipped stouts at a long table after what must have been a long shift, while a couple of auto mechanics in greasy shop shirts sat at the same long table enjoying pale ales. This town is like that. It may be the mid-south but we mix well. I found myself drifting in thought, writing less and thinking more, so I closed my journal.


To my left, two couples were seated together catching up on their lives. They were immersed in laughter when one of the men asked the other about something – I have no idea what – and he pulled out his phone to illustrate his reply. As he did, I saw his companion rub him on the shoulder and look at him with the unmistakeable look of a woman who was proud of her man. I don’t know what he was sharing, and it didn’t matter. What I focused on was her. She moved her hand from his shoulder to his knee and squeezed it, all the while her eyes never moved from his profile. He didn’t notice, but I did. I have had that in a woman and lost it more than once, and I know it’s value. A man can have everything but without that in his relationship with a woman he loves he has nothing. It was there between them. It was in her touch and her gaze. In her eyes I saw admiration.

[JK]

(Written in response to a daily writing prompt for WriteYourselfAlive:  Introduce strangers in a public setting as if they are characters in a book.  {with a deviation to simply tell the story of a crowd of people in a brewpub})

No Quarter

I don’t want to fight my demons anymore.
I don’t want to lay in trenches with enemy fire marking the night sky
Huddling, afraid to raise my head above the ground for fear of taking another wound.
It’s time for this war to draw to a close. I’ve waged it far too long.
And I have survived, though not without my scars and
Coming dangerously close to my own mortality in the fray.

It’s time to declare victory and deal with dark agents
And give them a fitting end.
I want to call them by name. Fear. Shame. Countless others.
And march them out in front of a crumbling wall.
Giving them no quarter, no final words, and take the last cigarette myself
Look them in their hollow eyes, and let the smoke curl around us
Foreheads almost touching
And face those soulless sons of bitches one final time,
Showing them I am not afraid. Let them feel the weight of my resolve.
And drill the glowing butt between their eyes
Burning them with my anger.

When I’ve named them and faced them I will stand at close range,
Close enough to smell their fear and so they can smell my sweat
Raise my pistol, cock the hammer,
And coolly place the muzzle against the scar I burned,
Pull the trigger, and send them back to the abyss
Never to torment me again.

[JK]

Prompted Writing: One Week

I am going soon.  I would leave you now with these words.

May they serve you well, even if perhaps I wasn’t able to fully

Live by them.  I wanted to.  Yearned to.

There is beauty in this world, painted in greens, golds, grey.

Acknowledge it.  Live in it.  And do not let the clouds

Trick you into hiding from the rain.

We were made to love.  Live that purpose.

Never shy from it.  We were created by the Great Author to

Shine light and love into the darkness.

Live bravely, love fiercely, and offer His gifts generously,

For in this world there are few second chances, and the arc

Of your story will be the legacy you leave.

—–

(Written in response to a daily writing prompt for WriteYourselfAlive: Imagine you had one week to live.  What is the last story/poem/letter or reflection you would write?)