“She closed her eyes and began very gently picking imaginary flowers from the blanket.  Then, peacefully and without any struggle, she stopped breathing.  It was January 1930.” from The Woman Who Remembered Paradise [about Ascencion Solorsano] by Larry Engelmann, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 1988 as quoted in A Story Also Grows, poems by Charlotte Muse

anyone who was anyone
was lined up along El Camino Real
waiting his/her/they/them’s turn
i took my place, but dropped off
to visit penny arcade, it was
the day she ran out of quarters
sang “this’ll be the day that I die”
san francisco bay poured
into my lungs, filling them
it preached
life is death
death is life
penny’s head
rattled with plucked stars
and blue june descended
like a spontaneous smile
she chanted
free at last
free at last

then we strolled El Camino Real
hand in hand
waiting our turn
penny arcade
blue june
and me

© 2019, Jamie Dedes


This week’s challenge is to write about a suffocating situation. It may be a literal near-death experience as is mine or a figurative one, perhaps something stifling that went on or is going on politically/culturally in your country, or at home, school, or work.  Share your poem/s on theme  . . .

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose


Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, June 22 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know and befriend other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.

Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!


For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders

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


  1. Hello Jamie! Hope this week is going well for you. Here is my submission for this week. It also could have gone for last week’s prompt, but alas, it only made it’s way into my head this weekend. It’s a double nonet letter.

    To my Stubborn Father from your Stubborn Daughter

    Dearest Dad – You always stood your ground
    With standards high above my reach
    Standing on that moral hill
    Cloistered rules, you did teach
    I inhaled it all
    Principled breath
    Held belief
    You don’t know
    Of the “Other”
    Exhaled, these old rules
    No longer hold my views
    I have climbed another hill
    And stand on ground planted by you
    With love and principles – Your Daughter

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oxygen a Lifeline

    Then in hypoxic moments everyone must be
    sometime, in some moments of life, as human
    beings, me, a restless soul nurturing anxiety
    facing confusion, falling often suffering a neck
    injury at the age of six, unconscious, for long, I
    survived that hypoxic moment, to live with pain,

    a tiny insect that killed a powerful king, entered
    my body through the skin, injecting poison that
    polluted my blood, caused shivering, sweating
    intermittent fever and occasional hypoxic gaps
    a severe sudden abdominal spasm would
    put me off balance , gasping into oblivion.

    unconscious falling into a terrifying hypoxic
    moment,I survived,fortunately with help close by
    “Malaria can do anything”. The doctor said, “Keep
    quinine in your bag”, the sweaty feverish attacks
    would drain my energy leave me bedbound for
    days and weeks, the tabs prevented but did not cure.

    There would be recurrent attacks, more,what caused
    them, I never was sure,long time later, one night, a
    severe painful spasm twisted the system inside me
    nausea intense, vomiting gasps, seconds later collapse
    in a hypoxic moment, no breath, no consciousness
    lifeless, my head fell from side to side, darkness engulfed

    the door of light closed.
    “She is all blue, she will not survive”.
    All was dark again, no breath, no sound, no movement
    I sensed being lifted, hypoxic moment prolonged but
    I had time to stay on Earth, a fast falling drip hung by
    the window’s bolt, Father’s faint vision appeared before my
    eyes, I slipped back into darkness unknown unfelt,

    I could not breathe, someone rubbed the top of my head,
    someone my feet, this hypoxic moment finally faded away
    a new life blessed, my head felt empty I had no voice nor
    strength in the eyes. I lay in bed for days, sipping orange
    juice with glucose and D.vitamin,
    I saw the line between life and death is fragile and thin.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Terror”

    Step by step,
    unsteadily clawing
    away from the
    tentative comfort of my sanctuary –
    with even the moving molecules of air
    too public, too exposed, too raw,
    the corridor too wide,
    fingertips touching, clutching,
    tapping, groping, palpating
    wallpaper, columns, strangers’ doors
    before I drag my boulder-like body,
    mind lurching from lucidity,
    into an inescapable elevator
    I’ve waited a maddening current of minutes for,
    wobbling in loafers as a dry mouth
    panted, praying to God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary
    it’d be empty and no one would witness the
    trembling and fidgeting of feet and hands and
    the heartbeat hammering like the hits I
    used to dance to in nightclubs in
    less dangerous times
    (please don’t stop or retreat into an arrhythmia that’ll make me pass out or die and bang and crash against the tiles with the pattern of sixteen perpendicular lines I’m trying to focus on)
    and the smears of sweat on my forehead,
    only to scowl or snicker at a scapegoat
    perceived as a pale druggie on
    coke or meth or heroin or angel dust or bennies,
    a stain on sane society,
    instead of a frantic agoraphobe
    (a shut-in before it became fashionable)
    burdened by a daily panic attack
    on the way to check the mail.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ..ocean challenge..

    write the words, she says
    that helps.

    it is a drop in the ocean, and cannot
    help those already lost.

    it was said in depth we drown, and so
    it is

    we cannot rescue the drowning, record the names.


    so we draw dresses.

    black dresses do not sell so well.

    looks like you are drowning and
    hope i am wrong. i can see the
    the turn about in water.

    i have done that too
    pat says that i have paid the price
    but i wonder

    i hope

    you survive and come clean bare
    your feathers.

    fly high

    if not
    i will lay a petal
    and think of you

    as i think of the others
    that drowned before you

    to explain to you who cannot see,
    the cloy, the quantity of water, tasks, and other
    hurts, that fit into a day. the moment
    your feet slide into mud, with one word.

    heard , read, imagined, the sentence dives and plays
    whole, yet as days move on, flotation occurs,
    buoys, slowly we face back to sea , swim on.
    either that or drown.

    will you watch the world treading.
    water floats my heart high, reflected red
    below, sky above.
    will you hold me up when i am failing, no
    longer floating . will you play soft music
    that we are in this together. meanwhile shall
    we keep swimming

    5. will you save me from drowning?
    will you let me breathe?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. ..verdict..


    lay as dead did not speak nor ask for fear

    lay quiet did not write nor tell there were

    new shoes by the wardrobe at an angle


    did not move nor participate in anyway

    did not breathe nor cry there are new

    shoes by the wardrobe new shoes


    guilty always guilty

    there was no charge

    there was no trial

    there were no photographs

    no evidence no one talks of it no more

    she no longer breathes

    no more

    Liked by 4 people

  6. .. there is a dampness..

    they called it heavy

    the adults

    before a storm

    pits hang damp

    lips prickling then he said it

    he said it

    so I hid in the plant house amongst the smell; the frogs

    should I add fetid air or will that just be another cliché

    look my device added the required accent there

    so it was all dripping down reminding of grandma’s kitchen

    brown gloss paint & mustard walls running in cabbage juice

    she boiled it dreadful

    well they did in those days

    no al dente then

    it was after the war

    now where was i

    yes hiding

    my heart beating my head out

    breath catching

    oh no is this my asthma or the disease

    going round, have you heard of it

    if I tell him I have it will he go, leave me alone

    should I cough a lot or is that against the guidelines

    even in this situation

    I hid a long time, maybe days and when I was sure he

    had left

    I finally breathed out

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “Obsessions”
    (Raanana, November 6, 2015)

    The obsession of breathing
    In out, in out
    It doesn’t matter
    As long as it continues
    In out
    You think about it
    And you dream about it
    In out, in out
    But then the time comes
    And you hold onto it
    Until you can’t.

    The obsession of thinking
    The eternal internal babbling
    The great chain of associative thought
    One thought leads to another
    And another
    Without end
    Without silence.

    The obsession of loving
    So much that you cease to exist
    Against the other existence
    And how can you love
    If you don’t exist
    But your love swallows you
    And you try to escape love
    But it runs along beside you
    Holding your hand.

    The obsession of writing
    About my obsessions
    Because writing fulfills one’s obsessions
    In the imagination of following them
    And to write about her breathing
    And to write about thinking of her
    And to write about loving her
    Is all that a writer wants to do.

    The obsession of reading
    About other people’s obsessions
    If they are like mine
    And they write about her breathing
    And they write about thinking of her
    And they write about loving her
    And you can do anything in the world
    But look away.

    The obsession of living
    Of watching the sunset in the roiling sea
    And of watching it rise from behind the eastern hills
    Ex Oriente lux just one more time
    Of hearing the well-practiced flute
    From the open window of an apartment
    While I’m walking Daisy
    To feel the freshness of rainfall from the sky
    Like manna from heaven
    And her skin against mine
    To taste the tang of tangerines and bitterness of coffee
    To breathe the fresh washed smell
    Of my granddaughter’s hair
    Just one more time
    One more moment
    And not being able to let go of her hand
    Or to look away.

    (c) 2015 by Mike Stone (from Yet another Book of Poetry)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “In Cold Blood”
    (Raanana, September 7, 2015)

    Cold, oh so cold,
    The life and all colors bled from the air
    Too cold to breathe
    My lungs fill up with coldness
    And my blood carries only coldness to my dying limbs
    But my dying eyes still see you
    Moving away from me
    The summer warmth of your beauty
    The colors of your eyes and your hair
    The warmth of your breathing
    And the sound of it
    Retreating but returning
    Your arms open towards me
    To keep me from retreating
    But I’ve already gone
    Too far away
    It is night now
    And I am lost.

    (c) 2015 by Mike Stone (from Yet another Book of Poetry)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. “Last Will and Testament”
    (Raanana, February 2, 2013)

    I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
    Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
    To have a last will,
    Not to will or want anything more
    In this life, of this earth,
    Not to change my fate or my mind,
    Not to stop, turn around, and go back from the edge.
    I John H. Doe do solemnly wonder
    What it’ll be like to draw my last breath,
    To look around for more to breathe
    But to find none,
    To understand that that is probably that.
    I John H. Doe being of sound mind and body
    Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
    To lose my first marble
    My favorite Cats Eye memory of my very first love
    Or my last marble,
    My best won Dragonfly memory
    Of my last and lasting love,
    The smell of sunlight on her skin,
    The weight of summer against her thigh.
    I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
    Do solemnly bequeath my best memories
    To the wind whispering through her hair.
    I John H. Doe

    (c) 2013 by Mike Stone (from Yet another Book of Poetry)

    Liked by 3 people

  10. “The Mullet and the Osprey”
    (Raanana, October 7, 2018)

    O what a perfect day
    Fragments of dappled sunlight play on rocks
    Swimming is effortless as
    We fly over and between the smooth rocks
    One with the browngreen flow of water,
    My friends on either side of me.
    Days like these make me happy
    For no reason whatsoever.
    My friend leaps with joy into the breathless air
    And like a ripple, his friend leaps too.
    Now it is my turn to leap above the water
    O joy!
    O stabbing pain!
    I can’t breathe, release me, pray!
    O horror, stab and crush of talons,
    The thud of wings pounds the air
    Death awaits me in the nearing nest,
    Death, pray, release me from life’s pain.

    (c) 2019 by Mike Stone (from Call of the Whippoorwill)

    Liked by 3 people

Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s