Reader Poem — Micki Blenkush

Micki Blenkush wrote this poem in response to the December Poetry Prompts:

Engine Red

When the Master who cast us
tires of our absurd stage
will directions come forth
beyond the signs foretold?
Not just the seven horseman
or the white buffalo calf
but actual words written on beasts.
Skunks with caution striped
across their backs or fish with listen
stitched in their scales.

Any language can already predict
propaganda past meaning
even as wolves and panthers arrive
with grief spelled down their sides.
In simple English we’ll call it luck
each time there’s a storm
and all we have to worry about
is what to eat first
when the power goes out.
No one yet at our door
with a machine gun
tells us how to believe.

This is the red of emergency.
Of persons stalled in the turn lane
unsure what to do for the sirens.
This is the color of a woodpecker’s head
persisting along the eaves
despite my banging at windows
and inspecting for holes.
This is the hue of a grandmother’s grief
when she wept my name.
I never heard that color before,
but wanted to move everything back
to let it pass through.


Reader Poem by Henry Medina

I’m taking a poetry workshop in Whittier taught by Eric Morago (check out his web site He gave us this prompt: write a poem in which you imagine/describe your own death. Here is what I wrote:


I will die
at 3 a.m.
trying to escape
the third-story apartment
of a sociopath
who swears
both parents
fucking him
in his crib
at age one,
cutting him
with blades
& even
inviting their friends
to the
bloody baptism.
having to pee
to exit his bedroom,
I will lunge for
the front door,
after being
tormented by his
ice pick,
two heavy butcher knives,
an arthritic gun
& dark rats
in that order.
I survived.)
I will run
into his courtyard,
him pursuing me
like an unstoppable memory.
As a last recourse,
I will climb
an eight-inch ledge,
cars honking
& fading far below me.
My right shoe
smeared in shit
from a streetwise cat
(that perhaps
in another life
could have been
loved indoors
by a caring family)
will slip
on the ridge,
& without time
to form a prayer
to accuse
or excuse my stalker,
without fully conceiving
the loneliness
that placed me on that edge,
I will fall
my heart
& beating
& faster,
a parachute
to open.
My head
made soup
will hear
the ambulance’s
distant howl,
“At last

Reader Poem — Dalwyn

Dalwyn wrote the following poem in response to the December Poetry Prompts:

Simple English

In very simple English they call it good luck
On an old silver platter it is often served up
In old fashioned English they call it fortuitous
In just plain old English it is always gratuitous

Some call her Tyche, Some call her Lakshimi
Most call her the Lady who hasn’t come lately
I asked the Gypsy she said make no mistake
Luck is the place where destiny meets fate

In very proper English they advise you to bless it
Drop a coin in the well and then simply confess it
In very simple English they call it good luck
Took mine to the laundry and told them to press it


We invite readers to submit their own poems based on this month’s poetry prompts. The best poem we receive before December 31, 2015 will win a $25 prize. All poems are posted to this blog.

Reader Poem — Daniel de Cullá

Daniel de Cullá wrote this poem in response to the December Poetry Prompts:


O sin i
My business daily
With the Seven Deadly Sins
Lust with the Sky
Gluttony with all its pearls on dishes
Envy with eye traffic
To facilitate explosions of creativity
In our king Pride day, livelong
Greed on a fried egg
On the floor of the Rainbow
Wrath blazing medieval shields
Of lives forgotten on a Planet drum
Bucking the Sloth
To begin this poem with a name.

Deadly Sins rise
From the Life’s current
Within the necessities of all the living
From sin to sin biting
As glad omelet from branch to branch
¿Why don’t we joy sins
If we’ll die tomorrow?
Says the scintilla of Life:
It’s lovely the Idolatry of Self¡
As Max Stirner said
In his “The Ego and It’s Own”
Knowing “the age of the mases”
And in his “The False Principle of Our Education:
Humanism and Realism
Are the history of the present experience
And tragedy of our time:
There is but one necessity for us all:
“Going On Sins”.
Everyone sin; Jesus sinned also:
“What is lovely? To sin for God”
Cheering us on his way to be full.
In a complete state of sin
One is in a sense with haughty eyes
Pride going before.

O sin i
I sin many a day
“I have yet to ask to myself
What do we use for Lifeboats
When the Ship goes down?” (My)
And answering:
Women have in her Bust two lemons
And more down the devil
Near the lemon tree’ flower:
I want to sleep with him¡
As a little sea boat
I’m coming and going with ups and downs
I’m going away from World
My lust unloved¡

Reader Poem—Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the November Poetry Prompts:


Huaraches across the borderlands or
dinghies on the open sea. Which shall
we choose, people of color — infantilization
or demonization? Migrants. Refugees.
Illegals. Terrorists. The rhetoric bears only
a partial relationship to reality.
Swaddle us and stick a big old plug
in our mouths. Restraint and silence.

You want to know why Latinos
like horror films? Maybe
because we know that kind of scary
is fake. We got enough real. Los narcos.
La inmigrácion checking for papers.
Le deportaron a mi tío. His baby girl cries
herself to sleep. Hatemongers splash venom
like red paint. Why can’t they see that the rapists
are the pinche coyotes that steal our money
and leave us in the desert?

So the Day of the Dead dances on.
Esquéletos draped in marigolds spin
clackety-clack before altars to the music of mariachi
and banda. If we stop dancing, we’re already dead.

Winner, dis•articulations Reader Poem for October — Liz Belile


Liz Belile studied poetry at the Naropa Institute and her work has been published widely. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family, where she  teaches screenwriting at a local film school and occasionally produces poetry readings and teaches yoga, among other subversive activities.
Her poem, “When You Call for the Dead, Don’t Say His Name” was published on this site on October 9, 2015.

Reader Poem — Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the October Poetry Prompts:

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died

Bobbed hair glistening black,
pedicure blood red. Some ghost. Five inches
of air between the stoop and her Jimmy Choo’s
gave her away. “Hey, Michi-chan,” I croaked,
“What’cha doing back here?? I thought –”
“Don’t say his name,” she warned, her raspy
voice from inside a black hole. Talk about
conspicuous omission. He was the reason
for this strange encounter, Michiko hovering
over the front steps and me sprawled out
in the gutter, blood and sewage a-swirl.

He couldn’t stand our friendship, always
wanted Michiko for himself. Ironic,
self-absorbed as he was. I told her
to dump him. He was too into himself.
Would never care about anyone else.
The first three steps are the acceptance
steps, they say, but Michi-chan wasn’t
interested in acceptance. She was interested
in revenge, and since no one can be slain
in absentia, she planned to find him
and drown him. In his own reflection.

Reader Poem — Shloka Shankar

Shloka Shankar wrote this poem in response to the October Poetry Prompts:


She looked at me
with sad, hurtful eyes

almost half-wishing that
I hadn’t said his name.

A death-like silence,
just enough to

weigh a
black hole the size

of my fist
balked about in

in absentia.

Reader Poem — Liz Belile

Liz Belile drew her inspiration from the October Poetry Prompts to write this poem:

When you call for the Dead
Don’t say his name
A father curled up in bed
skinny as a hound or
Christ on the cross
A boy in full flower
head thrown back laugh
knuckles green with morning glory
I wake up in sweat
I turn like a cyclone in my too-small sheets
the phone vibrates
I don’t know the number
so I pick up & pray
Don’t say his name
The bullet dodged
the ship I grazed
while at sea
the one who got away
with it
when I thought
the chamber was hollow
buried me in a shallow rut
that one
Don’t say his name
There is a god
so dark and unknown
unwilling to enunciate he drowns us all
in his muck
Don’t say his name
When they fuck
and all she can think of
the piercing blue
or the wolf scent
of the other
Don’t say his name
You can call me
tumble me in your open air
but when it all comes down
and the awards are handed over
Don’t say his name

Reader Poem — Charles W. Brice

Charles W. Brice wrote this poem in response to the October Poetry Prompts:

I Wrote Your Name in the Lake

then my name,
our son’s name,
our daughter’s name,
then the universe’s name,
then god’s name
in the lake. I swam

in our names, dove
below and felt how cool
our names were, how fresh
when our surface cracked.

I wrote your name on the brow
of your budded green profusion,
the leaf you became
stout, proud, frim—
how you trembled.
The season you had was grand
then gilded, crinkled, beldame,
you dropped
weary winds
blown undisclosed

I breathed your name
over snail, slug, toad and turtle
their days spent
from spore to tadpole to crick scum
the abundance of life
in your name
in every writhing arroyo
of your body.