“I had been experiencing brief flashes of disassociation, or shallow states of non-ordinary reality.” Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge


We love living in the shadowlands that ride our backs,
pregnant with dream demons and rhinestone illusions ~
On such days we come crashing at the abrading edges
of narrow channels and wide-open oceans

………………………………..’till we are

caught between moon-sight and sun-gold distortions
Easy then to precipitate bursts of chaos in the
hoary hibernation of our soul’s winter, denying the truth
in our own voices, the god-awful transience of our bodies

……………………….Yet here we are …
………………………………Yes! Here we are

awakening on our rocky, rebel road …
serving up our spiny poetry
like Don Juan his peyote buttons

© 2011 poem and photo, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


Share with us the poet in non-ordinary reality, the doorways that lead from the physical to the spiritual. Leave your poem/s in the comments section below … or, you may leave a link to it/them instead. All poems shared on theme will be published next Tuesday. Please do NOT email your poem to me or leave it on Facebook.

IF this is your first time participating in The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at in order to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-).  These will be partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

Deadline:  Monday, June 11 at 8 p.m. PDT.

Anyone may participate, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, sharing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you. This is a discerning nonjudgemental place to connect.



  1. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my second response:

    This Poem Must Be Taken Literally

    My body is a rainbow
    My blood is an explosion
    My heart is a rusty cage
    These are not metaphors

    Please take this literally
    That cloud is my opinion
    That road is an orange
    That wish is my house
    That burnt toast is my belonging

    These are not metaphors
    This hand is a metal spade
    This foot is a knife edge
    This mouth is a dark valley
    These words are made of light

    This is not a poem
    This is the ultimate answer.
    This tells you how to live
    This tells you the only truth

    This Mop And Bucket

    are poetry to me.
    My pen is a mop

    I stick in a bucket
    of disinfectant floor cleaner

    pull out mop sodden
    with words and splash

    them backwards and forwards
    slop lines one after the other

    Until the floor fair shines,
    My mop is dry, needs another dip.

    I squeeze out the gunk
    back into the bucket.

    More the floor shines,
    dirtier the bucketful gets.

    A good poem is a clean floor.

    Liked by 2 people


    To the memory of Ralph Vaughan Williams

    I just don’t understand how it is done
    the translation of sound to notes on a stave
    not even for one voice or solo flute.

    But I grasp the drive to capture bird-song,
    wind -howl and the cries of the bereaved,
    to work; no slackening before death took you

    plans for weeks and months ahead, the only way
    to face each day before the void. Melodies
    drawn thread by gossamer thread:

    I am there in the meadows when I hear
    them played, in the woodlands and the salt-marsh,
    music arcing back to a vanishing

    world , to its ancient taproots, gifted free
    to any willing listener. Our music teacher told us you had
    died and all I knew then was Greensleeves .Now

    your music threads my clothes and weaves
    its way into my dreams. When it is my turn to leave,
    Elihu’s Dance, larks and blackbirds will sing me home.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response. A few non ordinary realities:

    A Smooth Skin

    is ugly. Trace beauty
    in bloody edges of scars.
    Tattoo your face and hands
    with raw wounds. Glow.
    Bruises brighten your looks.
    Pimples and spots mark sexiness.
    Wrinkles entice awe.
    The look is all in scabs.


    do not contain. Vacuum
    is packed with it all.

    I wish you were more obtuse.
    I can’t understand this clarity.

    All is tightly enclosed in open space.
    All is nebulous.

    Please talk in riddles. Plain
    Sentences confuse my head.

    Exactitude is imprecise.
    Clarity is obscurity.

    Distance is not a measure.
    I need you to be woolly with words.

    Only The

    incompetent do their jobs properly.
    Ensure you are only partly trained.

    Half skilled emergency services save lives.
    It’s what you don’t know that counts.

    Amateurs are the only professionals.
    Fully trained and experienced cause accidents.

    Complete competency leads to lack of trust.
    Once experienced you are useless to society.

    Successful people are always trainees.
    They are oil in the cogs, ensure smooth running.

    Mistakes ensure a job is done thoroughly.
    They ensure society is rectified.

    Be Promising

    There are no promises.
    Money does not exist.
    Nothing to breach.
    No agreements or vows.

    One can never be broken.
    You can never be on one.
    No laws, no lines can’t be crossed.
    You promise not to promise.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In response to the prompt, “Share with us the poet in non-ordinary reality, the doorways that lead from the physical to the spiritual,” I’m submitting the attached poem, “Fog,” in .dox format. Please let me know if you have any difficulty opening the attachment.

    /Users/michelestepto/Desktop/poems/fog/Fog, for The Poet by Day.docx

    I have taught literature and writing at Yale University for many years, and recently at the Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont. My work has appeared online at Verse-Virtual, What Rough Beast (at, Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, Mirror Dance, Lacuna Journal, and One Sentence Poems, which nominated “The Unfinished Poem” for a Pushcart Prize this year. Along with my son Gabriel, I translated from the original Spanish Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World.


    Michele Stepto

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lovely background. Thanks for the bio. I seem to be unable to pull up the links. Or, did you mean to connect with Sandburg’s fog. ??? At any rate, I can’t pull up the image either. Sorry! Maybe just provide a URL or post the poem in comments. Thanks.


      1. Here’s the poem, Jamie. (No Sandburg intended, though his fog poem was the first poem I remember memorizing!) I don’t know what to do about the photo.


        She received as a gift a carpet
        with fog in it and moved
        the furniture and rolled
        the carpet out in the middle
        of the room and found
        that fog was rising out of it
        in little wisps
        and that when she stood
        at the edge of it it
        was just like standing at the edge of a cliff
        high up over the ocean in the evening
        when the fog is coming in

        She moved the furniture back
        and it did not
        fall through the carpet
        it did not disappear
        she sat down in her old
        armchair next to the lamp
        and thought
        she was floating in mid-air
        on a foggy day
        or flying a plane in the fog
        everything feeling pleasantly
        cold and damp as she closed her eyes

        She sat there for a long while
        dreaming about trees seen in fog
        and things coming toward you
        out of the fog small birds
        who stayed put and didn’t fly in the fog
        as she was staying put
        now in her chair
        their heads tucked
        under their wings and dreaming
        as she was of paradise
        of their own Shambhala
        high in the mountains
        girdled in fog
        or clouds
        it hardly

        Liked by 3 people

  5. REALM

    Sleep deprivation
    May lead to conversation
    That you wake up inthemiddleof
    Even though it is you who is talking.

    The Goddess of Sleeplessness
    In that other underworld
    Has made you an emissary of her
    And conferred on you
    The demigod’s trick
    Of creating monsters.
    Become eyes…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. REALM

    Sleep deprivation
    May lead to conversation
    That you wake up inthemiddleof
    Even though it is you who is talking.

    The Goddess of Sleeplessness
    In that other underworld
    Has made you an emissary of her

    Liked by 2 people

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