Twofer Tuesday Poetry: Lizard Smashed on the Sidewalk & Crossed Wires

Lizard Smashed on the Sidewalk

One evening
As I walked to work
I was cheerful
No concerns or
Worries at the time
Then I felt something
Beneath my foot
A crunch
But not like paper
Or plastic or word
What was it
I lifted my foot
To discover
A lizard smashed
Into the concrete
A small one
Who had barely lived
I didn’t see him
Or her or whatever
I think it ran
Under my foot
And wasn’t 
Fast enough
I felt like a monster
Why was fate so cruel
I spent 30 minutes
Fighting back tears
It was a senseless
Useless murder
One I could never
Take back
It got me thinking
What if I were crushed
Would anyone cry
For me or
Would they make
It about them
Like I am
Making this lizard’s
Death about me
Death never makes sense

Crossed Wires

Every day the
Wounds cut deeper
The ignorance
Of 30 years
The trauma
Lives again
The panic
The mistrust
The pain
The anger – 
I haven’t been
Angry in years
I fear it
Will bottle up
And I will
But I don’t
Know where
To put the anger – 
Nothing satisfies
The rage monster
Nothing satisfies
The angry child
Who doesn’t 
Know what
Love is
Who doesn’t
Know what
Friendship is – 
I always believed
I held a
Monster inside
Now I know
It’s true
And I’m
Afraid of him
What do I
Do with him – 
Part of me
Says to
Let him out
What Hell
Would follow him
What Hell
Have I
Locked away
Inside my mind – 
There are
No heroes here

From the poetry collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis.

6 Challenges for Every Poet

I have written poetry for almost 18 years. That has totaled about 500 poems. After so many poems, it becomes too easy. To stay invested in writing, to maintain interest and intrigue, you have to keep challenging yourself. There were days I didn’t want to write. Sometimes the only way to get me out of that mindset was to challenge myself. I tried to write a sonnet or something else I’d never done before. I expanded my knowledge and regained my interest in the craft. Most of these ideas, I don’t find challenging anymore because I’ve done them so many times. They’re still fun to do when everything feels stagnant. Try one or two or all of them.

1. Write a structured poem (sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, etc…)

Some people feel the constraints of a structure poem limit their creativity. I’m the opposite. I think those restrictions bring out more of my creativity. It never hurts to try writing one.

2. Write something with the same number of syllables in each line (blank verse)

Blank verse has ten syllables per line. But who says ten is the only number? Try eight or six. Or alternate and have odd numbered lines with eight syllables and even numbered lines with six syllables. Change up the rhythm of your poems.

3. Find an image, photo, painting and write a poem about it

I always have fun with this one. You immerse yourself in the world of the painting and create something new and different. Imagine writing a poem based on a painting by Salvador Dali.

4. Make the speaker of the poem an inanimate object

Change the POV. One of my poems was about a gladiator battle as told from the perspective of the Arena itself. Explore how a table lamp or a pencil might feel.

5. Take an emotion and replace it with something else. Use that something else to discuss the emotion

One time I decided to write a poem about feeling lonely. I replaced lonely with feeling hungry and wrote a poem about loneliness through hunger. Create and explore some metaphors.

6. Write something focusing more on the sounds of the words instead of the words themselves

Do a bit of research on Dadaism. The words were gibberish, but it was about sounds not meaning. Also consider nonsense poetry which Lewis Carol made popular. Make up new things or create one of those fun poems like Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

The first poem featured is “Running Nightmare Wake Up” from the collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis. The second poem featured is “Hungry” from the collection Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry.