“Identical with a Twig” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

I shed more than one tear when reading these responses to Our Small Beginnings, the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, April 11. May you be touched and inspired.

Thank you to bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), Paul Brookes, Frank McMahan, and Sonja Benskin Mesher for coming out to play. Of special note, Sonja has once again shared her art along with her poetry. Paul has created an ekphrastic poetry challenge for himself in honor of  National Poetry Month. Visit his blog to see what he’s been up to.  Worth your time.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

New Soft

nervous she does
what she knows
pushes a pram
cuddles a baby

moves others’
toys that get
in her way

chews her toast,
sups her juice
asks where mummy is.
where her sisters are.

sobs at a boy
in a Spiderman mask,
rough and tumble
older boys.
wants her comfort cloth

climbs, head over heels
explores a soft world

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Cuddled Sobs Cradled

hawk back shudder
at vacuum absence
of hugwarm.

Gutempty, boneneed
heartgripe ache
for those once close
now ashed in earth.

in my arms she sobs
for her mam’s voice,
and my heartsob
for my late mam’s voice.

Rhythm of her grief
as she nods on my chest
almost lulls me to sleep.

She shudders awake
heaves herself to the floor
as her mam, only on an errand
walks a smile through the door.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Fixes It

As a parent you believe
you can fix everything.

when they’re in pain,
regrow bones, restore lost

blood, a pillow for their head,
neck hugged in bright,

playcentre foam
while enquiries are made,

you cry hugfulls,
then, you drive

as fast as you can,
imagine their absence as the worst

now, you make them laugh
warm their cold hands

push their hair away from their eyes
hold it, together

hold it …..together
hold it together

I can’t have

dogshit on surfaces,

settee and chairs,
kids in mucky diapers.

hold it together

but I have.

hold it together

but I have.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Identical with a Twig

At some unnamed night,
and it will be bright,
I’ll go away.

The door I will never
the flowers will keep
My children will have fallen asleep
the most deeply
covered and caressed
and somebody will cant to them again
a cradle song.
It will be light like in a temple
and clear like a voice
in mountains.
Then I’ll leave
forgotten all the words…

A branch in the white snow.

© 2018, bogpan (bogpan – блог за авторска поезия, блог за авторска поезия)


Silence was your fortress. Sometimes you would

venture  to whisper through its narrow slits,

granting entry to very few across

the drawbridge, nursing your tenderness while

watching for wolves prowling from the forest.


Time and the winds brought seeds, sun, soft  rain.

Now kingcups fill the moat, campion the keep.

Briony and rose are capturing the walls;

swallows return  to their niches every year

and  in the valley, blackbirds sing your songs.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


You would converse with otters if you could,

count the bubbles as they break the river’s

sheen, your mind a submarine to follow

them wherever they and the waters run;

surface then to roll amongst the meadow

-sweet  and thyme, newest of their brood.


You would take a felucca on the Nile,

cresting its yearly flood, turning back time

to  etch hieroglyphs on the temples’ walls, grind

corn in a quern, dine at the High Priest’s

table, look up as the Pharoah passes.

© 2018, Frank McMahan


We were all ready, our homes and our

imagined worlds, waiting to give you,

day by day and year on year, the best

of our  imperfect selves, to watch you

climb the branches of our love

and catch the world’s excitement.

But you were overwhelmed.

Our earth-bound pathways have diverged.

Yet you will voyage with us, there

in every season,in the dappled sunlight

of our days, learning all the steps

of your childhood’s dance.

© 2018, Frank McMahan

.. boy ..


some shops

sell fairy dust in                 small bottles,

various shades of pastel.                 cork

stoppers, a wee note inside at just £1.99.


i bought you      one,

to treasure. to place

on your bedroom shelf,

in case.

of emergencies.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)

.. driving past woods..

oh you are a beauty, showing your legs,                dress swinging.


in rhythm. in photos , little gifs,                                      to share.


how can we  look the same?                   i think i look different


now. now that i have grown,                          watched you grow.


now. now.


now that i helped  when you were sick.                   now.now.


now i am older and watched you die.                          all of you.


i say goodnight to some and remember                       all of you.


how can i look the same.                                                  now. now.


remember all that has been done.                                           how

can i look the same?


you are still a beauty.


dress swinging.

© 2018, poem and illustration, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)



“enough, Enough, ENOUGH!” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

The responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, April 4, Where is the will of the cup to overcome the sword?, are marked by compassion, concern, insight, and sadness. A collection of heartfelt works by three poets new to Wednesday Writing Prompt (June G. Paul, Frank McMahon, Siobhan Tibbs – bios included by way of introduction) and by three of our dear regulars (Paul Brookes, Sonja Benson Mesher, and Mike Stone).  As a part of her response, Sonja has treated us to some of her artwork this week.

Thanks to all six poets for generously sharing their work and coming out to play. We hope you’ll join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome – encouraged – novice, emerging or pro.

The Golden Shovel Poem

The bar brawl began after midnight, blood and wine splattered where
she was sitting and asking herself, Has everyone gone out of their mind? Tell me if this is
real? Is it true that some people still do not believe that the holocaust has happened?  The
ignorance and denial of people, the erasing of and rewriting, of the history of mankind will
certainly be the cause of the end of
us all. And will the end of the world come before the end of all time? The
woman wondered, as she leaned over to pick up the cup
he had dropped during during the brawl. Standing there with the empty cup she opened her mouth to
speak, quietly asking him in whispers, Why is it so hard for you to overcome
your past, your addiction to alcohol and fighting about the weapons of warfare when it was the
Word of God, who spoke before and on the cross, offering peace with his two edged sword?
“Where is the will of the cup to overcome the Sword?”*
© 2018, June G. Paul
* line in the poem:  time for the temple whores to sleep with insanity, and take the war from it,   (c), 2017 by Jamie Dedes
enough, Enough, ENOUGH!
We drink the cup of the new covenant without
taking in its meaning, for God’s sake
Jesus Christ
turned water, into wine, into blood.
The blood of the Passover lambs replaced with
the wine in the Passover cup he called the blood of the new covenant.
There is wine to be shed, wine to be poured out at the altar
instead of blood being shed all over this earth.  Enough!
Enough drinking from this cup without living into its meaning,
without remembering Jesus Christ and his will for us – Peace.
Enough! Overcome the sword, wake up, stay, and pray, save yourselves.
Enough of the drunken soldiers drinking, trying to forget, and crying over
the blood shed from all the wars they’ve fought on this earth, Enough!
Enough! Drink, all of you, the cup of the new covenant and remember
Jesus Christ
lifted the cup in his hands while speaking his will for it and for all –
Drink, all of you, it will be shed for the forgiveness of sin.
He poured out his life of prayer for us, remember Jesus,
Remember his will for us – Peace.
It’s time we sacrifice our sin for Him, to overcome the sword,
for our own sakes and for God’s sake, to save ourselves from
the hell we’ve been causing on this earth – Nuclear blasts and bombs
bursting over and under and into the air, the land and the sea
we’re polluting ourselves and our own eternity.
enough, Enough, ENOUGH!
Now is the time to cease our fighting, now is the time to bring an end to war.
enough, Enough, ENOUGH! the battle cry of peacemakers,
Kings and Queens and Princes of Peace on earth are crying out.
Now is the time to call out and bring out the peacemakers
Those who believe in the will of the cup and the new covenant
will overcome the will to draw their swords, setting world at ease
There is time, Today, time to fill and bless the cup and lift it up
There is time, Today, time enough to be forgiven of sin,
There is time, Today, time enough for us all to sacrifice our sins and live
There is time, Today, for us to live in peace with all nations.
Now is the time to set the nations at ease instead of keeping them on edge
Now is the time for the will of the cup to overcome the sword and the world.
In peace, let the people of the earth, heal and forgive,
In peace, let us all find joy in co-creating Heaven on earth,
for that and therein is where the will of the cup is found.
(c) 2018, June G. Paul

June G. Paul

JUNE G. PAUL is an aspiring poet, wife and grandmother who enjoys creativity.  She and her husband live in Portage WI.  She recently scheduled a series of monthly poetry readings with featured poets and open mic time.  June is currently working on several different writing and art projects.  She has self-published two books and will be soon coming out with her first Chapbook which she is titling, My Poems: Chapped not Trapped.



Find me words to stop the slaughter.
Find me words which will be heard
and  not just heard but taken up,
amplified and echoed. But not

just  voiced by millions or painted
onto banners. Find me words which
will pierce concrete walls and steel-clad
minds, find me words which will stop.

Find me powers to lay across
their desks and war-room floors broken
bones and flesh, find me powers to
make them cradle in their arms

the headless child, to salve her mother’s
napalm-shredded skin, unclog
the students’ gas-filled lungs, prise out
the shards of shrapnel while they order

more assaults. If they will not desist,
then give me power to move them
to the cellars, the shattered streets
and farms and make them wait alone
while we decide their future. What
can they offer to atone? The dead
and maimed must speak, pronounce. Find
them words to write the final page.

© 2018, Frank McMahon, originally published on Reuben Woolley’s I am not a silent poet

FRANK McMAHON is a professional social worker in the UK and includes work with the Red Cross. He’s written several plays and more recently had a creative burst writing poems. His publications include I am not a silent poet, The Cannon’s Mouth, and Cirencester Scene. Frank lives in Cirencester. He’s had two more poems to appear later this year in other journals and is also a member of a local writer’s group.


a few help the others, while the others suffer


there was a picture of a bomb   in blaenau, next

to a drawing of a dick, and a passage from the bible.

hash tag.


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


Opportunity Knocks

ARTEMISpoetry, the bi-annual journal (May and November) of the Second Light Network, published under their Second Light Publications imprint, has an open call for submissions for the November 2018 issue for poems by women of any age. Poems should be typed or, if written, then very neatly. Each poem should commence on a new page, headed “Submission for ARTEMISpoetry”. Please send two copies. Do include your name with each poem and include your name and full contact details in your submission. Long poems are considered. Submit up to four poems to a maximum of 200 lines in all. DEADLINES: Poetry by 31st August 2018, know by 31st October 2018; Artwork by 14th September 2018, know by 31st October 2018; Members’ News & Readers’ Letters by 14th September 2018. Further details HERE.

CAGIBI, /kä’jēbē/ ▸n. a literary space, accepts submissions year round for fiction, nonfiction, translation, poetry, visual arts and graphic narrative. Submission fee: $3. The deadline for the Special Section Issue 3: Recovery is Tuesday. Details HERE.

COPPER NICKEL, a national literary journal housed at the University of Colorado and founded by the poet Jake Adam York, publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and translation with a special but not exclusive focus in work with a sociohistorical context. Submissions for the next issue are open between September 1 and December 15. Modest payment.  Details HERE.

CRAZYHORSE, a premier American literary magazine, publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Reading period is through May 31. Submission fees: $3. Details HERE.

THE ENCHANTED CONVERSATION FAIRYTALE MAGAZINE is open for submissions of stories (700-2,000 words, 1,500 preferred) and art for its June issue entitled A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paying market. There’s also a opportunity for flash fiction publication. Details HERE

EYE TO THE TELESCOPE of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, an online journal of speculative poetry is published quarterly. The  October issue, which will be edited by Ashley Dioses, is themed Witches. Deadline: July 1st. Details HERE

FRONTIER POETRY, “a quality home for new poets” is an online publication open year-round for submissions by new and emerging poets who have not published more than one full-length collection. Payment: $50 – $150.  Details HERE.

SETTING FORTH! ON A LITERARY ITINERARY has an open call for submissions of fiction, memoir and other creative nonfiction and poetry on climate change. This is an Deadline: July 1, 2018. Details HERE.

 SPECULATIVE MASCULINITES, an anthology to be published by Galli Books “Socially Conscious Speculative Fiction” is open through April 15 for fiction, poetry and nonfiction. The editors seek “submissions from authors from marginalised identities and backgrounds, especially where those identities complicate the author’s relationship with masculinity, including but by no means limited to disabled writers, trans writers, and writers of colour.” Paying market. Details HEREWatch the site for announcements late in 2018 on another planned anthology, Rosalind’s Siblings.

THEMA LITERARY MAGAZINE seeks “to provide a stimulating forum for established and emerging literary and visual artists. The second is to serve as source material and inspiration for teachers of creative writing. The third is to provide readers with a unique and entertaining collection of stories, poems, art and photography.”  Themes and deadlines: Where’s the Food Truck?, July 1, 2018; The Critter in the Attic, November 1, 2018; and, Six before Eighty, March 1, 2019. Details HERE.

TRAMPSET, a literary journal for tramps, Let’s be friends seeks short fiction (short stories, flash fiction, one-act plays, excerpts from longer works), nonfiction (personal essays, micro-memoirs, culture and criticism, reviews), and poetry.” Submission fee. Details HERE.

WIGLEAF [very] short fiction is open for submissions of stories up to 1,000 words in the final weeks of March, April, August, September, October and November. Details HERE

The BeZine

Call for submission for the June issue.

THE BeZINE, Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be. Submissions for the June issue – themed Sustainability – close on May 10 at 11:59 p.m. PDT .

New rules: Please send text in the body of the email not as an attachment. Send photographs or illustrations as attachments. No google docs or Dropbox or other such. No rich text. Send submissions to bardogroup@gmail.com.

Publication is June 15th. Poetry, essays, fiction and creative nonfiction, art and photography, music (videos or essays), and whatever lends itself to online presentation is welcome for consideration.

No demographic restrictions.

Please read at least one issue and the Intro/Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines. We DO NOT publish anything that promotes hate, divisiveness or violence or that is scornful or in any way dismissive of “other” peoples. 

  • June 2018 issue, Deadline May 10th. Theme: Sustainability
  • September 2018 issue, Deadline August 10th, Theme: Human Rights/Social Justice
  • December 2018 issue, Deadline November 10th, Theme: A Life of the Spirit

The BeZine is an entirely volunteer effort, a mission. It is not a paying market but neither does it charge submission or subscription fees.

Previously published work may be submitted IF you hold the copyright. Submissions from beginning and emerging artists as well as pro are encouraged and we have a special interest in getting more submissions of short stores, feature articles, music videos and art for consideration. 


THE FRONTIER NEW VOICES IN FELLOWSHIP offers opportunities twice yearly and  is open for summer applications from January 1st – May 1st and  winter applications from July 1st – November 1st. Details HERE.


AMBIT 2018 POETRY COMPETITION is themed Home and the deadline is July 18, 2018. Submission fee: £6. Details HERE.

CRAZYSHORTS, an annual contest sponsored by CrazyHorse Literary Journal will open for submission of 1-3 shorts up to 500 words on July 1st. Submissions fee. Cash award and publication. Details HERE.

THE FRONTIER INDUSTRY PRIZE to be judged by Don Share (Poetry magazine), Nicole Sealey (Director of Cav Anem, and Matthew Zapruder (Editor of Wave Books) awards $3,000 to the top winner of the competitions and $100 each to two honorable mentions. Submission fee, $20. Deadline: May 15, 2018. Details HERE.

THE JAKE ADAM YORK PRIZE, a collaboration between Copper Nickel Journal and Milkweed Editions, will open for submission by U.S. poets only in July 2018. To be eligible for the prize, poets cannot have published more than one full-length book of poetry. (Chapbooks and individual poems in magazines are okay.)  Cash award ($2,000) and publication. Reading free: $25, which comes with a subscription. Details HERE.

REFLEX FLASH FICTION SUMMER 2018 CONTEST is open for entries through May 31, 2018. Cash award and publication. Entry fees. Details HEREWatch the site for info on the August 2018 contest.


  • Book Festivals U.S., 2018, Book Reporter
  • 2018 Independent Bookstore Day (U.S.), April 30, check HERE to find celebrations in your area
  • Poetix: Poetry Events for Southern California 
  • UK Poetry Festivals,The Poetry Business
  • National Poetry Month, Academey of American Poets, 30 Ways to Celebrate
  • Check out poet Anne Stewart’s poetrypf for events in London and surrounding area.
  • The arc 26 public reading April 10, 7pm – 10 pm UTC+3, 17 Rashi Street, Tel Aviv; a public reading of poetry and prose featuring contributors to arc 25 (A Calm Inside a Storm), the latest issue of the Journal of the Israel Association of Writers in English (IAWE). Details HERE.


How much of how we suffer makes us who we are and results in the art we create? How much of these feelings are the natural experience of the artist, and when is it time to seek help? What do those forms of help look like?

After a sold-out debut at Queens Council on the Arts in February 2017, Audrey Dimola’s “HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE: intersections of art & mental health/mental illness” arrives in its next generation at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center’s ROUGH DRAFT FESTIVAL 2018. #awarenessisempathy
Join us for another angle of ROUGH DRAFT- vibrantly pieced together from a group of artists and performers viscerally experiencing their personal realities of mental health. Hosted and curated by

Queens native and poet/curator Audrey Dimola, “HOW WE CREATE & HOW WE COPE” is an open and honest evening of multidisciplinary performance and presentations about the too-often stigmatized topic of mental illness, particularly in connection to creativity as an outlet, outcome, or survival mechanism.

Throughout our cultural history, many of the legendary artists we know today, from painter Vincent Van Gogh to writer Virginia Woolf, grappled in this way- yet it becomes a passing line in their bio, a tragic footnote- and their brilliant work remains. In the present day, a rapidly increasing number of individuals of all ages are struggling in similar fashion, frequently in silence and shame, due to overwhelming fears regarding judgment, job security and social status, and access to help.

A variety of local featured artists will present their stories, poetry, dance, and more, in addition to a sharing of resources and experiences on these topics. All are welcome- this is a safe space. ///

Olena Marukhnyak
Deborah Emin
Bryan Bruner
Nick Neon
Steven T. Licardi
Richie Alexandro
Keys Will
Dina Gregory
Danny Matos
Bri Ana Onishea
Jonathan Cherlin
Lynne DeSilva-Johnson
Lauren Hale Biniaris
Buttered Roll / Jason Swartwood
Sam Combs
Rachel Brown / Oikofugic Rchl
Audrey Wildfire Dimola

Roll up early, as of 4:30pm Steve Vazquez of Queenscapes will be on hand taking portraits of ALL attendees and participants for a special version of his #CapturedInQueens series designed to help build awareness and attention to art & mental illness ♥ !!!

5-8pm in the LITTLE THEATRE
FREE event, please bring a friend who feels or needs this ///

RSVP @ http://siteline.vendini.com/site/lpac.nyc/how-we-create-and-how-we-cope-intersections-of-arts–mental-health-mental-illness

Rough Draft Festival is a one of a kind series curated by LPAC’s Associate Director Handan Ozbilgin. As a window into the creative process, The Rough Draft Festival is a celebration of artists/organizations and their work under development. RD features a wide array of artists whose work is at various levels of development all striving towards a finished product. Each year we push the boundaries of theater presenting pieces that give a voice to meaningful works. #IAMARoughDraft

CHECK THE REST OF ROUGH DRAFT FESTIVAL’s performances & offerings through APRIL 21 http://siteline.vendini.com/site/lpac.nyc/rough-draft


“I had to get old to understand that almost nothing in the world is personal.
You get rejected; you get hurt; you feel betrayed. It’s not personal. It’s the world having its way with you the way it has its way with everyone. You learn to handle it well.
You can’t eat or yell or fuck your way out of it.
You ride through it. Find the means to ride through it.
It’s not personal, and it is temporary.” Marlon Brando (via the poet Amy Barry)

YOUR SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS may be emailed to thepoetbyday@gmail.com. Please do so at least a week in advance.

If you would like me to consider reviewing your book, chapbook, magazine or film, here are some general guidelines:

  • send PDF to jamiededes@gmail.com (Note: I have a backlog of six or seven months, so at this writing I suggest you wait until June 2018 to forward anything. Thank you!)
  • nothing that foments hate or misunderstanding
  • nothing violent or encouraging of violence
  • English only, though Spanish is okay if accompanied by translation
  • your book or other product  should be easy for readers to find through your site or other venues.



PLEASE do not mix the communications between the two.

Often information is just thatinformation – and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.



How to Be in the World

This was posted by someone on Facebook. I do not know the provenance, but I do know it’s worth sharing. Wonderfully brief, it expresses sensible ways to be in the world, well-considered habits of mind and action, that do no harm, minimize stress, and support creative productivity. No wasted emotion.