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Searching for: Piddleville ; 2016 Challenge



Distance is Shortest

Distance is shortest
where time is forgotten
and the line that's between us,
undrawn and unmeasured,
isn't a line but a thought
we have shared
and both are still thinking,
suspecting the other
may feel as we do,
and think as we are
thinking just then,
forgetting the distance
between us.

(54 words)


I liked that book
when I first read it.
I do not like it
when I read it now.
That is the wonder
of all good books
and the unravelling
of a life.

(33 words)


Girl Standing on a Beach

Red shoes, red hair
blue ribboned;
your waist encircled
by cobalt blue;
the bleached sky dress
touched by a breeze
so light it's not there
on the beach by the water;
your eyes that glance down
and see nothing,
not the even the sand,
smudged by your shadow,
where you stand...
What are you thinking?

(Sorry...I don't know the name of the artist or the painting. But I like it!)

(75 words)

Urban Eyes

A field of bituminous pitch
spread in a spill of black
for cars to park and
shopping carts to clack,
surrounded by stores so large
they have time zones,
and stores so small
they only sell spatulas,
or toilets that glisten,
sized and shaped for every bum,
or linens and mats,
or cards for occasions
that are not occasions,
and shops for all the other
urban trivialities.
History is erased here;
beauty shunted aside.
Water is rerouted,
grasses plowed under,
deer sent away
(they cannot chew asphalt),
as we renew with our
forgettable kingdoms
and tell ourselves
one hundred lies
as we choose to see
with urban eyes.

(This one needs work. [?] )

(116 words)



coffee cups
a street
of ideas
to go

(20 words)

Love that phrase: doodle wander. Very evocative!

(7 words)



You hide within crowds,
saying nothing,
a peripheral guest in places
you'd prefer not to be,
at parties you feel
no desire to attend--
and don't, the soul of you
somewhere else,
in a dwelling
we see only
in the distraction of your eyes.

(46 words)

Thank you everyone! This one may be a wee bit autobiographical. [?]

(12 words)



Why is it surprising
when I raise my head
or glance for no real reason
and see it's you that's there?
You're the least expected;
the one we all neglect,
the one whose steps are softest;
whose easy touch we need.
You move about unnoticed;
you don't make any noise.
You smile and no one sees it,
and heal without display.
I hope that I will know you
and that I'm not surprised
when glancing with no reason
I see it's you that's there.

(85 words)


Urgent Defense

You can say I am a bitter man,
angry, and not one to trust;
you even could suggest I'd been
turned by alcoholic lust.

But none of these would ring with truth;
What I did, I had to do.
I had no wish to hurt the man;
I simply had to have the loo.

In my defense I argue, sir,
the moment cried for urgency,
as you would understand, I'm sure,
faced with such insurgency.

I yanked him from his seated place;
I don't deny that here today.
But when a man must defecate
a man must sit down right way.

(103 words)


Questions on a Bus

I note a faint cadence in my ear:
a sotto voce memory
of you as you spoke to me on the phone?
Or a poltergeist of sound
disrupting with a quiet tantrum
of the mind? What did I hear?
And how in this world could it be you?
And why would you apologize?

(57 words)


The Last Woman and Man in All of the World Settle for One Another

She is not what he would have asked for
if he had had a choice.
But then he isn't what she would have asked for;
if she had had a choice.
They must settle
or choose to be alone.
At their impossible ages
no one else exists.
So with skeptical eyes,
rheumy, glaucoma-ed,
they study each other
with too much experience.

They stand side by side at a window.
They are looking out at the sun as it droops.
For a while they are quiet
and the stillness reminds them
of what it is like
to be living alone.
And finally he says,
in a challenging way
"You ought to know that I fart."
"I take up most of the bed,"
she says, equally defiant,
adding, "There won't be any sex!"
"Thank God!" he says back.
And then they are quiet
looking out a window
at a reddening sky.

He thinks she's as cranky
as all of the others.
She thinks he's an ass
as big as the others.
Silence surrounds them,
solitude both have known
and was welcome for a time
but then came the operations,
the pills and the bones
that ached and creaked
like unoiled doors.
And the friends and the lovers
that vanished as if never there.
So they both make their way
to a bed that is empty
and waiting on them to lie down.

And they do, together.
She takes up most of the bed
and he begins to fart
and soon both are snoring,
counterpoint, lying
settled with one another.

(This is a VERY rough first draft.)

(278 words)



When I abstain from obligation,
forego responsibility,
I write the prettiest of my poems.
I paint skies so blinding bright
with stars and brilliant galaxies
the universe implodes and then
explodes again to hold them all.
I wonder why and wonder too
what trouble I'm in now.

(48 words)

Love this one!

(3 words)


Man with a Secret

A lavish vessel held a tooth,
gem-stoned and gaudy, and a ring with a stone
so flat some said it was little more
than a single piece of parchment.
But a man from a crowd said it held more
and in saying so was placed on a blacklist
of dubious men who could not speak the truth.
But in secret they came to the man on the list
and asked what it was in the vessel he saw.
It was only a bowl mirrored within
and held just a tooth and a ring and reflections.
The man smiled his secret; then finally he said,
"Should you look again you will see that it holds
the waste of everything all of us prize."

(126 words)


Urban Deli

The faces in the Deli always
are garnished with an unforced smile,
and of eager busy-ness
that will pause to hear a story.

The Deli hands are always holding
more than sandwiches they've plated;
they hold New York and Montreal
and one thousand deli menus.

The names fall out as history:
Reuben, Chicken Schnitzel,
Philly Beef, Ham & Swiss and
The foundation called Smoked Meat.

It's just a lunch--but such a lunch!--
in this unlikely east coast city:
the Maritimes, in New Brunswick,
on King Street, Uptown in Saint John.

NOTE: That is VERY raw. It needs work! :)

(100 words)


Sunday Haiku

dawn and light, writing
obligations after noon
waltzing motes of dust

(13 words)


Working Day

cubicle man
cellular phone
ninety-five percent

he knows
his 80s
TV shows

(17 words)

Springing Into Summer

When spring is aspiring
to become a summer
a morning will start
with a chill.

You wait for a bus,
a little bit huddled,
and question the choice
of your coat.

But with the sun's reaching
the tip of the sky,
that which was cool
is something uncool.
The day becomes one
that's perspiring.

(57 words)

Thumbs up! I like that.

(5 words)

Daily Living

We sat side by side.
We watched the TV,
each in their own
bubble of thought.

Later, we slept
in our single beds,
both of us dreaming
dreams of our own.

We got up for work.
We both brushed our teeth.
We entered the day
through the same door.

Nobody mentions,
when they speak of love,
how we is together;
how we's one and one,
a singular boulevard
made of two lines;
how we is a two
and a one.

(82 words)


Why I Can't Write Poems about Cats

Because of you,
I cannot write
a poem about a cat.
It's not because your poetry
is so finely written;
and it's not because I lack the knowledge
of the world
to make a poem
about a cat
and the reason I can't write a poem
about a cat
and make it whole,
stamp it done,
sigh my name to it
and whisper, "Finished,"
is not because
I am not you.

It's because your poem reminds me
cats alone are perfect.
My poetry is not.

This poem responds to Pablo Neruda's Ode to The Cat. In case you're interested, it is here:

(111 words)

Oops. One of the lines should read: sign my name to it.

(12 words)

I like that. And a neat trick with the opening line! [?]

(12 words)


Star Flakes

When the moon
in a certain way
a night in January,
snow falling
as it will,
and you lift your head
tilting it
in a manner that's just so,
snow's not snow
but slivers of stars;
equal particles
of a length of wave
specks of travellers
who've journeyed far
with dignity and grace;
a revelation
of light

(66 words)

I'm with the others. Wow!

(5 words)

That ending really makes it. Great poem; observations.

(8 words)



Scuffed as soon as you leave the store
with me; as if you have travelled
all of the miles we will travel
taken the more than
ten thousand steps
we will take, as one,
to the destinations we will reach,
remembering only a few;
unlacing along the way,
laces like bodies gone limp with exhaustion,
like the pale stems of weeds
yanked from the ground;
like dangling roots
from a plant that has died.

Scuffed as soon as you leave the store
as if a seer that already knows
every footfall that numbered
will be a tomorrow,
that numbered
will be our tomorrow;
scuffed as if knowing
all that will be
and eager to get to
everything hidden
in asphalt and dirt
and disclosed in two-step
time, and in time,
by a pair of shoes.

- William Wren

(As always, a first draft.)

(145 words)

I like the theme of this one. I've heard both terms used. (Maybe thongs when I was young, flip flops these days?) For me, whatever they're called, I can't wear them. I've never mastered keeping them on my feet. :)

(39 words)



Each day is the same:
"Where did I put them?"
and the day has begun
in our standard routine
of both of us looking for keys.

I always find them:
on the counter, the table,
under the papers we moved
to make room for the dinner
we had last night.

Then, it's step two:
"Where are my glasses?"
and the questing renews
with the sun always seeking
a position somewhere
in the day's sky.

I always find them:
in the bathroom, the bedroom,
under the blanket she has
on the couch and uses
for the comfort of dogs.

Now we both wonder
how she will find them:
her keys and her glasses
since I'm not there
as we wonder as well
where I'll find a home.

- William Wren

(130 words)

I shouldn't do this but for what it is worth I posted to soon. This is the revised version (which actually looks more like what I originally wrote):

Each day is the same:
"Where did I put them?"
and the day has begun
in our standard routine
of both of us
looking for keys.
I always find them:
on the counter, the table,
under the papers we moved
to make room
for dinner
last night.
Then, it's step two:
"Where are my glasses?"
and the questing renews
the sun searching too,
rising to find
a place
in the sky.
I always find them:
in the bathroom, the bedroom,
under the blanket she has on the couch
and uses for the comfort
of dogs.
Now we both wonder
how she will find them:
her keys and her glasses
since I'm not there;
we wonder as well
where I will settle
and find another home.

(153 words)


("Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers." - Leonard Cohen)


a poem
is a puzzle
of words
a writer
will exercise
of meaning
but never
one word away

- William Wren

(46 words)

Very nice. Excellent!

(3 words)


(1 words)

I very much like this one.

(6 words)

That was a wonderful poem to read aloud. And it also creates a vivid, truthful picture.

(16 words)


I Distrust Expressions of Love

When anyone says they understand love
you can be sure they know nothing at all.

Love of what? Of whom? And how?
Some say they love their lover
with the same voice by which they state
they love their car and cell phone.

Some love the water; some love the land,
some love the sky and an aunt they have living
somewhere in Rochester.
Some love their mother (their father, not so much)
and some love their dog, while others their cat.
And some love baguettes just out of the oven;
myself, I love strawberry-rhubarb pie,
among all the other
things that I love.

I distrust expressions of love.
They're spoken as easily as snowflakes fall
and with as much thought.
Love doesn't exist in a four letter word.

Your love's in your eyes
and the way that they look
when they are looking at me
and it lives in your voice
and the cadence it has
when you are speaking to me.
Your love is tactile; I feel it each time
we touch.

And my love for you is in how I lay
still in the morning, unmoving in bed
as I wait for the tumbleweed hair of your sleep
and the stupid look on your face
as ever so slowly
you wake.

As far as I know, there isn't a word
for this, unless
that word
is your name

- William Wren

(A VERY rough first draft again.)

(245 words)

Thumbs up. Very good.

(4 words)

Wow. That was great. I particularly like
"...melding into day, and day
I like the repetition of day and use of the word segues.

(25 words)


My Little Quirk

I took off my sleep with the morning.
I washed off the dust of the night.
I put on the fresh clothes of morning.
I put on my glasses for sight.

I took off the day for the sunshine.
I took off; it's my little quirk
to slip on my shoes and go walking;
to tell them that I cannot work.

When I am dressed for the sunlight
I lose all the weight of routine
I float as I'm an idea;
I swim as if I'm an undine.

I took off my clothes with the nighttime.
I bathed for the job of the night.
I put on pajamas for sleeping
and the dream of a day of delight.

- William Wren

(124 words)

Robert: I got a smile from that brief poem of yours today. It reminded of some lines I wrote a while ago about poems:
I always get a headache
choosing where to break

(33 words)

Important Time

is my
time for

the rise
of six;
the pull
of eight,
is when
I write

time for
who and how and why I am

- William Wren

(37 words)

Very nice and very true.

(5 words)

I love this. Perfectly captured and rendered.

(7 words)


Haphazard Cartography

I took out the ramshackle map of my life
determined to uncover some sense.
Why this? Why that? And what in the world
is this bit of chaos about?
Nothing is linear; it's higgle-dee piggle-dee.
It's forward and backward and then
off to this side and off to that side
and circular on occasion.
What is the meaning? Where is the point?
And where the destination?
My map is a cartographical mess
etched my a monkey, I think.
And where it goes next is a crapshoot at best.
But I'll give it this: never
has it failed to surprise me.

- William Wren

(105 words)

I loved reading this, particularly since I have so many seasonal and/or weather related poems of my own. This is a wonderful perspective on April. Thank you!

(27 words)

I can picture this. I know where this is! [?]
Nicely evoked. Can't say I'm a huge fan of Munro though. But I admire her writing.

(26 words)



no ends
she said

what is dead
lives anew
in forms
we don't

what is gone
is not gone
to energy
to water
to mist
and cloud
to water
as rain

no dead ends she said
only beginnings

the way a poem
will mean
other than what
it did

the way stories
have no ends

what happens next

- William Wren

(75 words)

Beautiful. And very accurate. This is my uncle.

(8 words)

Beautiful. And very accurate. This is my uncle.

(8 words)