on a whim and a whisper, a poem

over the woman’s left shoulder
your breath hummed
a background dirge…
for the echo of her lonely feet
plodding the snow-covered streets
to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital,
dripping shame with her broken water
while you wed another in the Byzantine manner
No used-goods for you though you were the user
The child born saw the mote in your eye
growing like Pinocchio’s nose
when, as kin to a secret vice,
you kept her in your dresser drawer
to be pulled out on a whim and a whisper
Is anyone looking?
You missed the wedding
and the short tortured marriage …
You were never there
to teach her how to be with men…
and you weren’t there
when the sweet boy was born
Then, one year,
in honor of Father’s Day,
they dug up your casket
popped the lid open
and set themselves free at last

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes; Phoenix Rising photograph courtesy of morgueFile

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the hawk has flown, a poem … and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

black and white
“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
― George Carlin

a ghostly memory
of damask roses
night-booming jasmine
olive trees, heavy with fruit

reimagined into white and
gone the fear of bombs
gone the crumbled buildings and crushed hearts
the abandoned cities, the empty streets
now the children play, they study
the houses stand and the gardens grow
hope towers, a moral high-ground
the ghost is the dove
and the hawk has flown

© 2016, poem and Illustration, Jamie Dedes; All rights reserved; the Bleeding Heart Dove photo below is courtesy of morgueFile.


Times and places of peace leave no scars to jog our memories and stoke the fires of our hope. Remember peace or imagine it: What would a world at peace look like?

If you feel comfortable, leave your poetry or prose or a link to it in the comments section below.  All work shared in response to this prompt will be published in a post here next Tuesday.

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abridged. and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“I think that were beginning to remember that the first poets didn’t come out of a classroom, that poetry began when somebody walked off of a savanna or out of a cave and looked up at the sky with wonder and said, ‘Ahhh.’ That was the first poem.” Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)

Celebrating American She-Poet (8) Lucille Clifton, homage to my hips

LAST WEDNESDAY’S WRITING PROMPT June 14, 2017 What are you’re thoughts on soulmates? Tells us in prose or poem.

Thanks to Sonja Benskin Mesher and Paul Brookes who came out to play and to all who read a thank you too!

The To And Fro

to and fro the iron
over bedsheets, his shirts,
as she stands three hours

hot poker of pain
in the small of her back,
lists what else to do,

take down window nets,
wash and iron,
vax front room,
lug it upstairs for bedroom,
hoover front room,
lug it upstairs for bedroom
clean windows inside
to and fro,
to and fro
polish beneath knick knacks
bought on holiday,
to and fro
strip and remake beds,
make his tea,
always meat and two veg

He arrives home and says,
“What have you ever done for me?”

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Womwell Rainbow)


She loves him
though he is water.

Her mam says “When I gift you
a fishes tail it will hurt
every time you use it
to and fro like a wave.

It’ll seem to him
a beckoning.

I’ll give you a tongue.
Every time you sing to him
you’ll drown a little more.

You’ll have each other,
but I’ll lose you.”

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Womwell Rainbow)

abridged .

she said they were soul mates, with a yorkshire accent.

both much the same. it lasted a while with ups & downs.

the usual.

then it ended.

this is the shorter version.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA)

© 2017, photograph, Jamie Dedes

Jamie’s THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers

SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Competitions, Events and Other News and Information


Opportunity Knocks

THE TISHMAN REVIEW is a literary magazine that publishes four times a year with a current call for submission open for the October issue. Submissions of short stories, micro and flash fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, book reviews, craft essays and art are welcome. “The Tishman Review pays all of our text contributors, according to the genre. Poems are paid on a sliding scale between $10 and $25 per poem. Creative nonfiction and fiction is paid a minimum of $10.00 for a piece under 1000 words and for a piece over 1000 words at .01 cents per word. Craft talk articles are paid at .01 cents per word.  While we realize this is a small payment, our hope is (with continued support and growth) to be able to increase the amount we pay.” Deadline September 15 for October issue. Details HERE.

HAUNTED WATERS PRESS “is the annual literary journal of Haunted Waters Press. Featuring works of prose and poetry, the journal is released in both print and digital formats in the fall of each year. Described as ‘one of the most compelling and beautifully illustrated literary journals,’ From the Depths was created to showcase and celebrate the writing of new, emerging, and established authors. We offer contributors several paths to publication.” Reading periods vary. Payment is 1¢ (US) a word or fiction and $20 a poem. Calendar and other details HERE.

THE ARTIST UNLEASHED seeks feature articles to inspire writers and other artists. These should be based on your experience. Pay $0.015 AUD per word. Details HERE.

LITERARY MAMA, writing about the many faces of motherhood welcomes submissions that are “rooted and inspired by the experience of motherhood.” Themes change monthly. Literary Mama publishes blog posts, book reviews, columns, creative nonfiction and essays, fiction, literary reflections, poetry, photography and profiles and interviews. General guidelines are HERE. Poetry guidelines are HERE.

THE BeZINE submissions for the July 2017 issue – themed Prison Culture/Restorative Justice – should be in by July 10th latest.  Publication date is July 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration. Please check out a few issues first and the Intro./Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. No demographic restrictions. We would encourage submissions from people who are involved one way or the other in the justice system and former youth “offenders.” Critique along with constructive suggestions or tested solutions and best practices are welcome. We do not publish anything that promotes hate or violence. Heads-up on August: The theme is Theatre. Deadline: August 10.

BLACK HEART MAGAZINE, We Heart Art will begin reviewing submissions in August for its anti-gun anthology. “In the wake of only our latest most-deadly shooting here in the U.S. – the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting that left 50 dead and more wounded – we feel it’s time to take action. No more “thoughts and prayers.” No more fuzzy sentiments. No more excuses. No more bullshit. We’re looking for stories to include in an Anti-Gun anthology, which will wholly benefit the Gun Control Lobby. (See Everytown for Gun Safety for more info on our proposed beneficiary.)” Black Heart Magazine publishes poems, short stories, essays and narrative nonfiction  Deadline for the next issue is July 31.  Details for the magazine and the anthology are HERE.

SLICE magazine publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Details HEREIt’s current reading period for issue #20 closes on August 1.

THE WALLACE STEVENS JOURNAL (John Hopkins University Press) “welcomes submissions on all aspects of Wallace Stevens’ poetry and life. Articles range from interpretive criticism of his poetry and essays to comparisons with other writers, from biographical and contextual studies to more theoretically informed reflections. Also welcome are previously unpublished primary or archival material and photographs, proposals for guest-edited special issues, as well as original Stevens-inspired artistic and creative works.”  Details HERE.

PLOUGHSHARES AT EMERSON COLLEGE Look-to series seeks essays about underappreciated or overlooked writers. “The Look2 essay should take stock of a writer’s entire oeuvre with the goal of bringing critical attention to the neglected writer and his or her relevance to a contemporary audience. Examples of such essays include Stewart O’Nan’s piece on Richard YatesJoan Acocella on Sybille BedfordGore Vidal on Dawn Powell, and Ploughshares’ DeWitt Henry on Brian Moore. The writer can be living or dead and from anywhere in the world (if there are good English translations available). Essays should make note of biographical details that are pertinent to the writer’s work.” Look2 essay queries may be submitted between June 1, 2016 and January 15, 2017 and the guidelines are HERE.


Opportunity Knocks

HAUNTED WATERS PRESS annual Fiction and Poetry Open will close on the 30th. $10 reading fee. Grand prize is $250 and publication. Details HERE.

THE TISHMAN REVIEW 2017 Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize is open to poets worldwide. The call for submissions opens on October 1 and closes on November 15. $15 reading fee per submission. First place wins $500 and publication in the January 2018 issue of The Tishman Review. Second place wins $100 and Honorable Mention wins $50. Details HERE.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS CENTER FOR THE BOOK and UNO PRESS “is accepting previously unpublished submissions of book-length fiction, novels or short-story collections. The winning author will receive a $1000 dollar advance and a contract to publish with UNO Press. The selected manuscript will be promoted by The Publishing Laboratory at the University of New Orleans, an institute that seeks to bring innovative publicity and broad distribution to first-time authors. We read submissions from April 5th to August 15th. Abram Shalom Himelstein is the editor-in-chief at UNO Press. Submission guidelines HERE.

THE 2017 BARBARA MANDIGO KELLY PEACE POETRY AWARDS “is an annual serious of awards to encourage  poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit.” The three age categories: Adult, Youth 13-18, and Youth 12 and under. The contest is open to people worldwide. Poems must be original, unpublished, and in English. Deadline: July 1, 2017. Cash awards. Entry fees. Details HERE.


SPLIT THIS ROCK Calling poets to a greater role in public life and fostering a national network of socially engaged poets “invites proposals for workshops, panel and roundtable discussions, and themed group readings for the Sixth Biennial Split This Rock Poetry Festival, scheduled for April 19-21, 2018, in Washington, DC. The festival, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Split This Rock, will feature Kwame Dawes and Solmaz Sharif!” Details HERE.



to all the dads and to the moms, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and older siblings who serve as loving surrogate dads for those who abandoned or have been lost.

Jamie’s THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers