Renga – “Road of Ashes” Charley/Jilly


Jilly has taken up this crazy challenge!  I will update our ongoing collaboration through 10 couplets.  Stop by and see what insanity she & I cook up!  If you are interested in joining in, stop by the original post for On the Road of Ashes and let me know!  This is a part of the September Challenge of Casting Bricks; join us!  (plagiarized from Jilly’s blog almost verbatim)



I was on the way, on the way
and suddenly, precipitously, I wasn’t

I wasn’t
more than a shard of glass

reflecting the distant light
of “had been” back

grinding image of a bad roll

of aching bones
blow-for-luck wind, shot glass

tossed back
chaser of bitters, straight

from paradise found
to snake bats eyes by the fruit stand

I would sell it all
for a do-over

Reflecting back to what had been
I see the distant light, a shard

Flotsam of ashes
blown down the path


Renga Challenge: On the Road of Ashes*

On the Road of Ashes

Ivan Bilibin (from Pinterest)

I was on the way, on the way
and suddenly, precipitously, I wasn’t.

[Your couplet…]

[Repeat 5x]


Administration, Thoughts, Plots, Plans &tc:  (Which have been ‘borrowed’ directly from Qbit because I’m too lazy to reinvent this wheel! Addtionally, he gets credit for the title of this one.)

OK, I think this is a Renga of unstructured couplets for two people, but certainly fun if folks want to do one with more people, although then we’d probably want 20 couplets instead of 10.

I’m hoping that by keeping each writer to two lines, our push/pull on each other stays strong, but leaves enough room to develop a new idea, pivot, etc.

PLEASE SIGN UP IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, and we will work out logistics and kick off the working version in another post.

This is another attempt at a group Renga, part of Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge.

* — “The road of ashes” was coined by Robert Bly

Wake of a Storm


photo by Charley, Hurricane Irma


For days it lurks
in the back of your gyring

You stay busy.

The reality creeps
forward and you sleep-
walk.  The mad rush
becomes a numb panic.

Between chasing
your preparation kit
and drilling to board
up, you talk together.
Maybe we should move
someplace that’s safe.

The dilemma that drives
the discussion is deciding
where is “safe.”

Key to sanity is to not look
over your shoulder – to ignore
the feral yammerings of third-
party administrators; who take
hold of reality, up the color
and the contrast, making
everything about the storm HEADLINES.
They emphasize the threat,
ignore meteor-logical guidance,
aim it for City Center.

Panic is that minuscule bug that crawls
in your ear and explodes.  You lose
reason: you’ve sinned, God is pouring
out wrath, you still drive a car, change
is your fault – this has never happened
before!  Nature hates you for voting
for anybody but my candidate.  Board
up doors and windows to keep
the loonies at bay.

The storm is terrifying
and cleansing.  It strips
away weak trees, clears
dead limbs.  It reminds
you that it’s time to seek
a reliable roofer.

Co-workers and your family leave
you alone after you tell
them you didn’t watch
coverage, won’t watch
it because death and destruction,
and the miraculous are reruns.

Your life needs to come
back, feelings must return.

You thank
them for their thoughts
and their prayers.

Then you move on.

Hurricane Irma Update

hurricane Irma

Here’s the latest.  We thought we’d caught a break here in Orlando.  The hurricane came up along the coast of Cuba, and turned to catch the Keys.  Progs had it running up along the west coast of Florida.  We would have felt the force of a Cat 3 or better hurricane, but we would’ve been farther away from the center of the action.  It’s the kind of a thing where you don’t know which way to hope for.

Now the storm is heading almost due north up the center of the state, still packing serious winds, and drawing in significant moisture from both bodies of water — the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.  Unless this thing turns to the west northwest again, we are going to have a major hit a la Hurricane Charley (2004) — which devastated huge portions of the Orlando area.

We still have power, and haven’t lost any trees.  We keep hanging on.

Continue to Carry On


Cultivating Hope – Project Heal


When it seems all hope is faded, gone,

We must make up our minds to carry on,

As heart beats ever steady as a drum,

As doting doe spurs on her newborn fawn.

For hope’s seeming fade may not be true;

It might be only sent to make you blue.

Your heart deserves cake, not just a crumb.

Hope doesn’t come from, but abides in you.


So this is my take on Jenna’s (revivedwriter) really cool challenge poem, called “Finish This Poem.”  This is part of Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge.  Poets are posting half-poems, and other poets are taking a try at completing them.  The trick is to be yourself but not lose the tone, voice, and intent of the initiator.  Feeling brave?  Come give it a go!

Blue-Bottle Whistle… Stop!

Blue-bottle Fly

Baroque-Gothic — DeviantArt

drifting into the Vanguard
in ’61, Trane blows a blue-bottle
fly into my silken ear

a nightmare
pursues me
through the streets
allowing a taxi
to precipitate me
home where I have never been

the blue-bottle fly beats
on the window of my aching,
jazz-torn crux.  He wants

I let the blue-bottle fly slouch
in across the threshold
and watch him dance
around the swirling

Now he’s beating
on the window to get
out.  Where’s the swatter?


So this is my take on Jilly’s really cool challenge poem, called “Trane Blows.”  This is part of Jilly’s September Casting Bricks Challenge.  Poets are posting half-poems, and other poets are taking a try at completing them.  The trick is to be yourself but not lose the tone, voice, and intent of the initiator.  Feeling brave?  Come give it a go!

Update: Hurricane Irma

Hurrican Irma

We are still a fair distance away from this beast.  Cuba is getting pounded.  The sane people have departed the Keys.  And we in Orlando are watching ONLY the National Weather Service.

Advice to all my friends.  This is not the end times.  This is not the result of human climate change.  This is meteorology.  Spin happens… naturally!


One Should Always Have a Plan


Hurricane Irma passing Puerto Rico


The wine does not answer
for the hurricane that comes.

It does not answer,
but it lifts away the pulsing
dread that comes
with spaghetti forecasts
that leave us unsettled
as live oaks under tropical sway.

The wine sets aside
for the night the uncertainty –
hop a flight to Alaska where it’s free
from hurricane parades
and storm-surge floats, or crawl
inside the dishwasher, firmly mounted
under the counter.

With wine we ride
waves so like pressure changes
the nearer you find
yourself to the cyclone’s
singular glance.