One Among


When the church purchased the building that shared the back wall of the education wing, I had visions of it becoming either a youth activity center or the new home of our food pantry.  The day the keys were handed over to me, I went into this obviously limited but amazingly cool space. Long and narrow – barely twenty feet wide and ninety feet of open floor with a cast iron spiral staircase in the very back – it drew me in.

What held me was the wall of exposed brick, a hundred years or older, with slap-dab mortar slopping out between the rough red masonry.  The bricks all were stamped with an eight-pointed star, a logo, and the name of the defunct and forgotten company. Every brick of a piece; uniform red, uniform shape.  But for the one with the fatal flaw.

One brick among the many had obviously been handled roughly.  A corner of the brick, about a quarter of its length, was broken away.  The mason had simply tapped the brick into place, slapped on extra mortar and kept moving.

I considered that one brick for a long time.  I don’t know how long.

In it I found my own failure.


a rock covered beach
ocean waves lift and drop them
every stone a voice


* * *


Haibuning at dVerse Poets Pub with guest artist… host, qbit (Randall).  The prompt is One Self, En Masse.  Come along and see what all that entails!

Charley/qbit Renga


Saturdays are promises misspoken that carry
ammunition for the week.  We enter

a range of exhaustion,
bullet bright, concentric motifs

that rifle us past the Sun.  Mooning our loss
of respite from the race, a legion rattles

Is velocity even a question?
What deserts scorched at perihelion?

Melting sands swirl – camels in glass.
Weapons droop into ploughshares.

Still the hardened days untillable,
“until” hocked like a promissory

note.  Hooked on through dies Martis.
Humpday comes as oasis breather.

Then Fire-day our trial by splitting
the distance between caravanserai

and the Gobi-tween.  Dates blend.
Hookah left at the next pyramid.

Time burnt in offering, smoking skyward.
The camels shift nervously in their traces.


qbit has taken up my Renga Challenge as a part of Jilly’s January Casting Bricks to Attract Jade Challenge

Renga Challenge — Maserati (Charley/qbit)

Neptune 3


Neptune is demanding back royalties;
Wants a comped Maserati GranTurismo

Rome burns with news of the deal
The other Gods inflamed with jealousy

They have a pyro-manic-depressive emperor,
Goes from Nero to Legion at the drop of a toga

It’s all maximum circus now,
Romulus pulls a knife on Remus

You know how cubs can be; wolfing-
down competition in the mything world

Drunk and stumbling down the Appian way
Zeus:  “By Jove, I was a Greek God when I was young!”

While Ares is reading a book on Mars
Jupiter’s fowling up the human’s bars

Gods, men and boys,
Tridents of wantonness and toys

Neptune’s drop-top impresses no Nereids;
Arethusa isn’t seeking a Poseidon adventure.

Water Virgins and Juno lawyered up
Another Archaic Triad bites the dust


qbit has taken up the challenge!  We are doing a collaborative Renga; alternating couplets.  Gods know where we’ll end up.  Fasten seat belts!

Yep!  I called it!  This was a wild, top-down ride, roam’n along the Appian Way (way!).  It’s a land of allusions….  How could it not be?

Shared on dVerse Poet Pubs Open Link.

Renga – “Road of Ashes” Charley/qbit

qbit has taken up this crazy challenge!  I will update our ongoing collaboration through 10 couplets.  Stop by and see what insanity he & 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

Tourmaline voices cracked like stones in a fire
Broke my path wide into rust or grey choices

To labor as herdsman over sheep seeking knowledge
or waste my life recumbent on a hammock

Such are the sheep of Yeats
The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Cry out agonies in languages better gauged
to bear pain than in lingua hominibus

Vulgate promises
That will not redeem

Poets and educators study
apocryphal prophecies, end-times data chats

Revelations recursed through paths
Of unstable destination

Fire cracked through the Tourmaline
path broke wide with several choices

Flame buoyant, boreal –
The shattered colors of the compass


Woohoo!  We did it!


Antithetical Redux — Colin and Charley

Happiness of Fish

The joy of the fish whosoever would know
Must as the fish be spawned and grow

Okay, so I was reading the back and forth between Qbit and Jilly on Qbit’s latest Antithetical Couplet (which is Colin’s contribution to Jill’s Casting Bricks July challenge… which Colin… well, click on the Casting Bricks link and you can read the whole story), and as I was reading the back and forth it suddenly hit me …either like a brick or as a piece of jade!

Dark Sonnet (At Dante’s Casino)

The Devil rolls some teeth like dice,
Says your bones are for the gamble —
Wants to know your wager price,
And if the payout you can handle:

He’ll use your ribs for a picket gate,
Ligaments to string a violin’s regret,
Skin to stretch the truth from here to fate,
A fool’s errand to play the Devil’s bet.

The sulfur becomes your betting pyre.
Don’t enter The Lord of the Flies Club
And place a wager at a table afire;
The odds are rigged for Be’elzebub!

Don’t become obscene bone pottery.
You get better odds playing the lottery.

Qbit offered the first half of a fiendish sonnet in response to Jilly’s Casting Bricks July challenge, and bid us to go dark and vibrant (cue the maniacal background laughter and howling dogs).  So, here is my response.  Have mercy!

Oh yeah, if you’re wondering about that long, sustained bass note you’re hearing… it’s a deep, blue C.  🙂