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Excuse Me, Can I Help You?

Response to a GIF prompt from Aneesa


Excuse me, can I help you?
Am I the card that life has dealt you?
If so you can shuffle again
There’s been enough of you men
And your solicitation
Sole recitations
Like your soul resonating to some
Pitch or some brand
I understand; you need to pay bills
But I’m a hard sell
And don’t have time to monkey around
With some junk you have found
Like some knives
Or a cause I, frankly,
Don’t have the bandwidth to help a hand with
So you might as well be a bandit
Cause you won’t get my cash willingly.

What’s that? Oh, silly me.
You’re not looking for money?
So tell me,
Which church are you pitching me?
Because if you’re wishing we can listen
To some scriptures and you’ll be switching me
To worship a difference scene, you best believe
You should just up leave, turn the ignition key
And pick a different street.

Oh, not that then?
What could you possibly be at my door knocking —
Wait, I know
I should have recognized you when we began talking
Normally I can tell you when you walk in
And I ought to have known then
Cause I’ve brought your ass home
More than enough times
I’ve grown to be cynical
And here you come to my doorstep
Though normally, you look like Pinnacle
Or a fight after I’ve been ridiculed
Or something I catch that’s clinical
Or a red flag that looks too good to say no to

So it’s clear I was having far too good a time
Minding my own damn business
With my shit together
Well, our get together has come to a close
So turn your hiney around and march off on the double
I don’t hate to burst your bubble
But I’m fine without you
Cause I know your face and

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Where there’s smoke

Response to a GIF prompt from Lara

It can take less than a minute for a fire to take your life
As it swallows the oxygen from the air around you
When you are near me
Is this how you take my breath away?
Why I lie in unconscious shock
As your tongue like flame laps at my skin?
Are you merely too hot for my senses
That you burn away my nerve
To escape what I know could be agonizing?
I said
It took less than a minute for you to take my life
Or did I offer it to you?
I’m choked up,
Clean fires burn without smoke
So I am grateful our passion is impure
Because I am the smoke to your blaze
I cannot exist without you, it feels
It’s been too long now
We’re like an ever burning coal mine
Want you to be the one I call mine
And if you left me to smolder
I would cling to the last ember I remember
Until I grew cold and died
But where there’s smoke there’s you
So you are never far from my billowing step
Or my pillow; we slept only an hour that night
But it felt like the light and warmth of day
Or a twilight bonfire
Or my heart combusting
It makes me want to stop, drop, and propose
Ashes to ashes
dust to dust
Til death do us part

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Bathe in Night-Sun

Response to a GIF prompt from Michael

The sleepy sun releases her grip from
Where she hangs in the sky
Floating slowly and gently to the ground
Like a child-blown bubble
Made of match flame and filled with joyful breath
She settles on the horizon, softly pops
Flooding open roads
And overflows into the city streets
Her golden glow quickens into life
And ignites each building
In the chilly heat of the Burning Bush
The vault opens into blackness
Celestial wheels turn and push
Swinging open heaven’s gates
Starlight peaks down into the illumined roads
Struggling to compete, breaching sky
To dissolve on asphalt
Like autumn snowflakes
The town sparkles and citizens dance in the bath of night-sun
Keeping twilight at bay as they
Lengthen the day carrying torches of solar shards
And celebrate the melting of daylight

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Mote of Dust

Cosmic existential woes
Pour with the torrential flow
Venture toward the center
And I enter elemental glow

Space and time are bent and go
Ancient lights are sent to show
Lost potential all eventual
Tell me what I’m meant to know

Quintessential densities
Pull me toward my destiny
All intentions ever mentioned
Now I know what’s meant to be

Insubstantial entities
Man and his amenities
Was lent plenty, still all empty
Lost in the immensity

Earth and all her citizens
Measure insignificance
Meaning mythic, monolithic
Crumbling is imminent

Extinct over six events
Infinitesimal incidents
Every epoch is specific
Lacking in magnificence

Innocent antipathy
From the cosmic symphony
Ever vast an epitaph
Floating in infinity

Written in a litany
Author anonymity
All that’s past prologues last
This is my epiphany

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Rise, Phoenix, Rise

Response to a GIF prompt from Jonathan


Rise, phoenix, rise
To the zenith in the skies
You’re the freest as you fly
You’re surprised
But you survived

So rise, phoenix, rise
Undefeated, couldn’t die
An elite who dared to strive
More than tried
You made the stride

Yes rise, phoenix, rise
As you bleed and as you cry
Lay the edict as your prize
You decide
For you are wise

Oh rise, phoenix, rise
Antecedent was your pride
I can see it in your eyes
You’ve arrived
Oh phoenix, rise

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“Why”s Make the Wise


In search of answers
The mystic would suggest
To look within and everything can be known to us,
I find this erroneous,
When I read the book within
What is shown is just
A lonely question.

The question resembles the answer
Like the lock resembles key
Necessity is the silhouette of a solution
And as the Chasm is also the shape of what is yet to fill it
It chooses to call rather than announce
Emptiness is a gift
Not one given
But that it allows to be taken

Silent questions are the emptiness of the wise
A philosopher stoned turns silence golden
Pontificating only in questions
Responding only in wonder
So speak less
Or declare your emptiness
As fools do.
Attend to your ears
And let the answers in.

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You’ll get it in the end

Response to a GIF prompt from Lucky

Everyone’s ex is crazy
Including your ex’s ex.
And maybe your next.
She has received harsh names
But Karma is nothing but elegant
With a fierceness you could call regal
Karma is a stern and kind maternal
Who’s patience bleeds through
Whether she is taking or giving.

Karma fights my battles
With violence like silent poison
The judgment of the hunting hawk
Confident, she denies validation
She needs no believers
No congregation
Neither can you pray for her favor.

Karma weighs and measures
But she is not justice
She just is.
She is not the package
But only the postage.

I see you
Karma sees you, too
When your package arrives
The kind get kindness and the cruel, cruelty
Consider the name you’d offer Karma
Is your own

Because she only gives you what is yours
And you’ll get what’s coming to you
In the end.

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A Toast

Response to a GIF prompt by Jackie


At an after party and I’m mingling around
Kareoke contest women all singing aloud
Ain’t nobody knowing what a single thing’s about
Barely even spit a word of English from my mouth
Potables are potent and they’ve been since seven shots ago
State inebriated, call my Uber, I have got to go
Tapping on my shoulder, I look over and I nod the host
Called to be a speaker, it’s the spotlight I’m about to toast
Climbed a straight ladder
Just to place my mind over my grey matter
Stay scatter brained prattle lines lame chatter
“Cheers!” Look away, glass of champagne shattered
People gather rather fast. Faces worried
Safe enough to say that I was celebrating early
Pedastel descending like an elevator, surely
Always make a scene. Actors, places! Hurry!

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Response to a GIF prompt from Abe:

An embrace is a tragic reminder
That I can hold on to love
But never possess it.
Phantom limbs leave a numb tingle where they used to surround me
And I chuckle when it occurs to me I can no longer juggle your emotions
Without your arms.

Loneliness feels like the texture of sand grains flowing through amputated fingers.
It has the same hollow rasp as the last breath of hope.

I defy my parents decades too late
I stop making the bed
I don’t wear my scarf in the cold
I stand in the puddle during the rain
I sit too close to the TV
The more childish the tantrum the deeper the wound must be
But you are too far now to chastise me like in my daydream.

I hurt myself when I lose someone because if I sense pain it means at least something is still there.
I hurt someone when I lose them because if they hurt me back it means at least in some way they are still there.
But you stop responding
You’re the bigger person
It stings but not the way I want
I can’t cry when you won’t let me.

I keep forgetting that you keep what you hold on to
Until you let go
And I let you go
Now I can’t let go

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Running From my Fear

Response to a GIF prompt from Danny. A sonnet.


Again I have been running from my fear
And for a minute there, I lost my self
From darkness did the terror swiftly near
Unsettling as night, my path engulfs
A stumbling escape on weary legs
A chariot by motored wheel brings death
The road before obscured both dark and vague
And panicked air left hanging on my breath
My hands upon the steering wheel stay
My feet pound pavement just to stay alive
For I am both the man who runs away
And also I’m the man who crue’ly drives
Now I have naught to fear from enemies
Because the fear I run from is named me