Photograph courtesy of Jian Xhin, Unsplash

“All of us, whoever we may be, have our respirable beings. We lack air and we stifle. Then we die. To die for lack of love is horrible. Suffocation of the soul.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Hypoxic Moment,  June 17, which invited poets to share poems about situations that are suffocating, literally or metaphorically.  Thanks to Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Irene Emanuel, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone for this collection, which invites you to ponder and to sympathize.  Enjoy . . . 

. . . and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.

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

© 2020, Irma Do

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

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.

© 2020, 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

The Darkness
What blackness pulls me,
protesting that I prefer the light,
but still wrenches my soul
into its glacial madness.
What triumphant tentacle
tweaks my tiredness
into tedious paralysis.
What despicable emotion
delivers my self-respect
into oblivion.
What relentless ribbon
encircles my lungs and
rivets my breath
to my throat.
It is the dull depressive dankness
that deprives my brain
of its life-force
and I die by degrees.
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
Why is it called a “Heat Wave”
when it doesn’t wave;
it sticks around and burns
up all the moisture within its reach?
It feels like the heat is choking
the life out of everything;
it’s so still and oppressive:
Please let it rain soon
before the World shrivels
into the “Heat Age.”
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
You may read more of Irene’s poems by using the search engine on this site.

..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?

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher



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

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.. 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

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


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.

2020, Adrian Slonaker

You can read more of Adrian’s poetry using the search feature on this site andThe BeZine.


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.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

©  2015, Mike Stone  

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.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

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

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2013, Mike Stone  

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.

Excerpt from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.

Jamie Dedes:

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