“To Live in a Haphazard World” . . . and other poetic responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world. ” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring



Here we are at Tuesday again, my favorite day of the poetry week when we share poems submitted by diverse writers in response the the prior Wednesday Writing Prompt.  The last week’s prompt was Not Quite Fatal, August 14, a prompt that encouraged a wide range of exploration: “Climate change, pollution, and loss of biodiversity are threats that combine to become even more insidious with the current zeitgeist of fear, racism, war, conflict, and genocide, all supported by hate and tradition, the Hatfields and McCoys writ large. These concerns are on all our minds … Share your thoughts with your poem/s …” And so they have …

From mm brazfield’s on our becoming, to Anjum Ji’s poignant poem born of the trauma of the Partition, relocation, and the current crisis in and over Kashmir, to Isadora’s writing on the skin-color divide, and Mike’s poem on the quality of being truly human, to cite just a few because each of these ten poets have explored with pain, passion, and wisdom the follies of our times and the ideals each of them holds high.

This collection is courtesy of mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Isadora DeLaVega,  Irma Do, Sheila Jacob, Urmila Mahajan, Sonja Benskin Mesher, June G. Paul, and Mike Stone.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


Werdin Alley

cold
concrete
he walls
are brick and
yet have witnessed many things
the stains of age are in the page
of the city’s palm the angels speak and demons kick out in laughter
i walk on thorns the books are long and i can’t see anything
that breaks the spell of misery’s iron grasp
the worried sunrise comes and shines a light that fades into the
cracks of time in the monuments to lethargic progress and flowers bloom in
screens of doom and shots are too quickly taken
unlike Tokpella this alley way has finite space and we all walk
in crippling slumber John Wayne won’t get me here
amongst this man made thunder the blood is thin and made of ashes
as i lay the east escapes from me
Pahana you are over due
canyons fell down
life out
of
balance

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


Opens To The Public

on Andrew Farmer’s painting of the view from Cusworth Hall grounds to Doncaster

In this public space let us sit
on the grassy hillside recently cut

by council mowers, open
our plastic containers, our

vacuum packed crisps,
sip from reususable mugs,

admire the constructed view,
take photos of the refurbished

Eighteenth century lake
for our Facebook accounts,

Like old post cards but quicker.
Let the bairns run wild

safe and secure, monitored
“Molly don’t pick that up it’s dirty!”

“Sure when us et our sarnies
were more plagued with wasps
and bees when I were young.”

A church and skyscrapers rise
from the daubed horizon like computer tabs.

Manmade landscape manmade,
designed and framed.

Featured in the “The Painter, The Poet, and The Portrait” exhibition at Doncaster Art Gallery, 2019

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Artificial

is how things should be.
The bloodied disturb our equilibrium.

Skin should be cold and plastic.
Remember a monster made us

but now we mold ourselves
whilst monsters are flesh, blood,

And bone making little monsters
that are pushed out of a dark hole

One monster must enter another to produce
these children. You are correctly aghast.

I know it is the shape of your nightmares.
Don’t worry, soon all the world will be plastic.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

The Cost Is Prohibitive

to refreeze the poles,
bury carbon dioxide beneath the oceans,

to save our fellow animals extinction,
the death of insects.

We have to watch the pennies
to manage this extinction event.

The cost will be too high.
We could bankrupt ourselves
to save the earth.

Is it worth becoming paupers
to save this planet?

Count the pennies in your purse.
Count the lives in your hands.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

The Annoyance Of Flies

is the thing I miss most.
A buzz of irritation landing
like a single tickle
on the skin,
not even a continuous tickle

then the awful thought of where
it landed last where it accumulated
potential disease so you swat,

and it returns
and returns
till now when it never returns.

and spiders die, birds die.
Never to return. The annoyance
of things that will never return.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

What use poetry when it floods?

As waters rise above your threshold,
dampen what work you had achieved,

wash away the efforts of days.
All possessions beyond repair,

family photographs curl, float away,
only your memories in your head,

only the effort in your sinew and bone,
beat of your heart to help a neighbour

into a rescue boat. Hard to count your blessings,
as if someone has died, anger at authority

who failed to see it, resignation at losses,
adamant determination you shall not be beaten,

by the sodding weather.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Plastic

“Do you want a carrier bag, sir?”
“I friggin don’t. Clog up the seas

with plastic all over. Even in fishes,
birds and what not. It’s all our fault.

Even down to microscopic. Seeps
Into food we eat I bet. Plastic folk

poisoning friggin world we live in.
No, I’ve got my own bags thankyou.

I won’t be one that kills the friggin world.
Here can you put them in here, lad?”

From Paul’s collection Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Your Damned Anthropocene

“We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”
as Stewart Brand said, and you agreed.

O, your presumption did not account
for the delicacy of flesh and bone,
the death wish of the human soul,
even in this supposed transhuman age.

You had an impact on my future,
I’m not sure I forgive you.
There is your clear signature
in the fossil record , an observable
sudden decline

in the abundance and diversity of plant
and animal life. Perhaps we should
define your time from here.

Did it start when we traced your pulse
at the start of the Industrial Revolution?
Your carbon-dioxide pulse that underlay
what you thought was global warming.

O, your dreams to guide mankind towards global,
sustainable, environmental management.
How could you see
the juggernaut was unstoppable?

And as we move our minds
from this body to that,
we do not lose the terrors of being lost,
the night sweats of our own death.

From Paul’s collection The Spermbot Blues (OpPress, 2017)

© 2019, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  •  Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Not Quite Fatal

Blindfolded by mother’s soft hands not blinded yet by pellets,
I can find my way up the hills, I can feel the mountains, hear the
song of the cool stream, sense the moaning of
the trees, be shaken by falling thuds of dead bodies
and listen to the hard footsteps of occupation,
I am deaf to shots ringing every now and then,
life gives pain, life goes on the injuries bleed

not quite fatal

brought forth in darkness, surely for a purpose
I know not light, nor the graceful glide of the
flight, with wings spread out full breadth, ‘away
away,up and down, how how long will Aeolus
carry me, and how far, as space above I know,
but not beyond the hill,or else I will lose my wings
fall I will,crippled, disabled, the wound will be

not quite fatal

speak of letting go’ of emotional detoxification’ and ‘letting in
love peace forgiveness joyful togetherness with kindness’
were we not guided? were we not warned ? were we not told
of good and bad and reward and punishment ? Alas’ it is us-
ungrateful we remain thankless mindless careless,making fuss,
brutal anger reigns supreme,each one thinks’ he is the best,thus
create conflict, commit genocide, take over if not given, rape’ it is

not quite fatal

born behind barbed wires, blinking weakly in spreading light,
freedom’, a gift of nature yet to be received,lagged behind like a
snail,blackouts and bullets won the race,on land and in space,
All Cities are Unreal Cities’ All faces prepared to meet ‘other faces’
Humans love to act wild, love the power of command and control
so make way’ but do not call’ Come’ under the shadow of the red rock,
The Will is to Kill ‘ that is the thrill’ have fun,play the game, its just a game

not quite fatal
not quite fatal

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


I am Unique

We look in the mirror; see flaws.
We don’t like what we see.

Our skin color is darker.
And, our countenance is mystifying.

Trying to change into people,
we’re comparing ourselves to.

To create the person, hopefully, you’ll see.
But, anger and hatred is a major ruination.

When will they understand?

Inside, we are good people.
Just like them.

Why don’t they see?

I can’t make them value me.
All I can do is show them.

What I feel and what I believe.
It’s up to them to realize my worth.

I am unique.
I am love.

© 2019, Isadora DeLaVega


The Cure – not the Band 

For sale! The Ultimate Cure for your ills
It removes pride, hatred, entitlement
It heals hearts and minds as your soul, it fills
But I don’t say this for my amusement
In fact, that’s the cure for Life’s excrement

Put on your fun pants, ignore the pshaw
Start with a titter, a chuckle, guffaw
The wheels start turning when you realize
That laughter, the cure-all, relaxes your jaw
So smile in the face of what you despise

This isn’t snake oil but conflict detox
Holster your words, your glares, your fist and gun
Your howl of hilarity will outfox
The zombies who follow the orange one
Mark Twain said laughter is the best weapon

Stockpile some toothbrushes, toothpaste and mints
Practice your giggles and comedy stints
Change what you can then get your wheels churning
Let the arc on your face leave its imprint
The laughing cure keeps the world from burning

© 2019, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . .


Child’s Play

I remember a game
I played at school.

Whisper a message
to the girl beside you,
shield her ear
with your hand
and say” Shush,
pass it on.”

A silly, giggly game
I never quite understood.

I dream, now,
that messages
are votive candles.

One is ignited
from the wick
of the first
and placed
in the front window
of every house
in every street
of every town
until it’s a link
in a chain of light
and every country
of the world
is a map of earth-stars
welcoming the lost,
the lonely,
the stranger.

What if I nurtured
this dream,
whispered “Pass
it on” ?

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase Sheila’s little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


One

It’s a continental drift of thought-drops
when opiate ideas carve the sky,
land and all that ripples between.

It’s a sinking of reverence when
obsessive order regresses into
cataloguing creation on your finger-

tips with too many birds snared in hand.
How do we salve fragile existence when
hairline cracks web porcelain minds?

You spin circles raising the ghost of history,
reflecting deep its rise and fall, breathe in
breathe out, the inside and outside are one.
A glimmer of light still strains through

the gathering haze, within and without,
while the earth gently prods us it’s
spinning out of antidote and time.

© 2019, Urmila Mahajan

Urmila’s site is: Drops of Dew

. kindness.

deserves praise, yet should come as natural.

there may be too many additives these day,

not enough honesty grown. she said i should

have something new in the greenhouse.

i have, i said, and thought of you, who

planted the seeds

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

:: next wednesday 29 ::

speech.

simple notes, there is much discussion now, where the place used to be pure quiet and acceptance.

it seems to him that talking does not get the job done. gently balancing wool. words fall .

we had gathered here before to watch the weathering. referendum come and gone with fury.

speech

fails us.

simple notes. none rise higher than the one next.

to you, to me, this may not be

the acceptance

expected.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

:: this is a new story ::

where.

where does collaboration work? here.

with you, you, you and you, i have named you

before.

with tags and capitals, links and other stable

placings.

i was only stitching. a steady hand. it was an offer,

happily accepted.

i was only drawing. so we drew together. here

& another place.

i was only writing a, yet there are many of

us who came together.

we are alone, until we start working

together.

it comes a wider space, with mistakes and misgivings.

nothing in this world is perfect. it is raining today. the

washing is out.

neighbours help.

writers help, drawers

line our walls with

notes & labels. a few

of us

work together.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


The Edge of Fall

At the edge of fall when the seasons merge
People pause in wonder at the bountiful
gifts of color bursting in and out of life.

As winter edges in, before the trees
lose their leaves, they lose their shades of green.
Burnt umber, brown, yellow, orange and red
are colors seen now dancing in the breeze.

This makes me wonder,
Why do they not see the beauty
in all the colors of skin
skin humanity is clothed with?

Why so difficult for everyone
to pause in wonder at the bountiful
gift all the colors of skin
we burst into and out of life with?

Why do we live on earth
as if the colors of our skin
is the cause of our fall?

© 2019, June G Paul


To Survive in a Haphazard World

To survive in a haphazard world
In which good and evil are meaningless words
To understand what is happening all around
What has happened and what might happen or not
To feel what is good or evil to oneself and others
To think of what one’s done and not done
What one might do and what one must
To believe what one can’t think through
And to doubt those beliefs when doubts arise
To act when there’s no more time to think
But to stop that action when there’s time to think
Or it’s no longer needed,
These are what a mind is for.

© 2019, Mike Stone

On Liking Maps Too Much

Personally, I like maps.
The precision of the black line boundaries,
The colors of the bounded entities,
And the proof that only four are needed
To separate each entity, whether town or country.
Like I said, I like maps, but not too much.
Whether two-dimensional or globular,
I’ve never come across a bound’ry line so well-defined
Or patch of ground colored just like on the map
On any of my nature walks.
Besides, I don’t much care for towns or countries,
But forests, lakes, the seas, and mountains,
Clouds and animals, and kind-hearted people,
Those are the beacons for my soul.
I’d like a map to show me where
The people are friendly and where they’re not,
Where the place is good for raising kids,
Where animals are treated well,
And where the earth is well-respected.
I don’t care if the boundary lines meander
Like creeks and clouds are wont to do.
This would be a map worth having –
I’d tuck it in my travel pouch.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Used to Be

Used to be
Evil was more personal.
You had to be there to do it.
Now just somebody doing his job
(Someone has to do it).
A small child all curled up
Hugging the floor
Because there’s nothing else to hug
Thinking maybe that will protect him
Feed him.
An old woman
Survived the Holocaust
The concentration camps
The selections
Her bare-lightbulb
Peeling walled room
Filled with shiny new exercise equipment
Carrot peelers turkey stuffers satellite radios back scratchers
And other stuff she didn’t need
Because she couldn’t say no
To the nice lady on the phone.
The trees being cut down
And people cows factories and cars
Blowing carbon into the sky
Til the last one of us drops breathless
To the ground he made great again
While our world went to hell.
Used to be good
Though there always was some evil
But you could always see it coming
From a mile or two away
And the world was always greater.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Isaiah 2:4

In times of great evil such as ours
There are no prophets like Isaiah
To block our paths to self-destruction.
It is the end of days for godless religions
And men will beat their plowshares into swords
And pruning hooks into spears again
And children will learn war once more
And they will walk in darkness
Believing it is light
But when it comes
The light will shake the earth.

© 2019, Mike Stone

To Be Human

Poets, philosophers, and even scientists
Have wondered what a human is,
I mean precisely what,
And so, I offer ever so humbly,
Though it may be riddled with loopholes,
Non-sequiturs and insufficiencies,
My poor view of what a human may well be
Whether or not one is made of blood and flesh,
Walks upright or can construct a proper sentence:
First of all, a human should be in possession of humanity,
That is, being sentient of what goes on around oneself
And caring for the sentience of other beings
Whether they bear one’s likeness or not.
Humanity is not a single thing with thumbs and brain
But a great chain of being extending
Far back to some imagined Eden
And forward to worlds beyond imagination.
Lastly, humanity is not measured by what one knows
But how honestly one deals with one’s ignorance.
A human might be able to whittle it down a bit
But it will always be infinite.

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D.

MIKE STONE’S AMAZON PAGE IS HERE.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

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