#14 – Chief Injun Joe (Nature – Different Twist)

Barren boughs arch upward like broken puppet arms
askew and akimbo on invisible tangled strings
while leafless gnarled finger branches give the shadow shape

against the hoary winter skein and the black lined horizon
The wind blows, swirling up white snow, puff tornadoes
dancing along the rocky ground in haphazard patterns of chaos,
defining cold and aridity on the great plains of the Dakotas

A fractured, ancient pyre rests disassembled beneath the tree
a memorial to some warrior or chief long since forgotten
whose exploits earned a privileged place, once green and sacred

The people knew nothing of oil and pipelines and uranium,
exploration of nature, of the Mother, were solitary walks and berries,
hunting, with great thankfulness, the vast herds of bison and deer,
stalking the giant grizzly, knowing the bear most often escaped

Beneath the snow and rock, and, in the path of progress
lay his bones, ashen gray and brittle, just as the soul of his progeny.
The oil will flow and pipelines built and flowers planted in the spring
but we will miss his tree and the old man’s spirit dancing to life.

#13 – Memengwaa (Missing Person)

She lived in East Vancouver,
or, Edmonton, or, Winnipeg, or, Toronto
She left the Rez when at thirteen.
Young, thin, single, beautiful and battered.
It’s said she met the pig farmer once,
but to this day no one knows that for sure.
She was last seen in two thousand and twelve,
in a needle exchange shop in B.C..
She asked if she could get needles for a friend.
Alberta was cold on January 5th,
the baby’s untimely reception even colder
Daddy was dead, frozen in a field,
the family claims it was the police, no one knows
Mommy was addicted to crack, as too the baby
The child lost a child at twelve
A picture shows a smile and dark eyes to adore
There are only two and the second is blurry
She left an unknown life to a life unknown
Is she missing? Is she dead?
The question is, does anyone really care?

#12 – The Girl of ’92 (Word List 8 of 8 used)

I knew i liked her from the start
eighth grade glory at the lake … and girls
she was tall and lanky, just like me
no fat to spare and ribs like the grill of a jeep
with two little headlights adjoining her breastbone
her blond hair dyed green like an amazon canopy
hiding the eyes and smile held underneath
She played baseball, swam, and liked to moon
We met at noon, became friends at one,
by two we were rowing clear across the water
to the island of romance and sandy rendezvous
and panic at three when she asked, may i kiss you?

(words used — moon, lake, glory, jeep, breastbone, spare, canopy, panic)

#11 – Salvation’s Mistress (Persona as someone without a home)

I needed her like a jilted lover.
There was comfort when she was open,
but, too often she was unavailable.
I despised her in those awkward moments,
when I registered as Robert Flynn
and they eyed me, judging up and down,
whether or not to let me in.

She’d serve you breakfast, if you were willing,
scrambled eggs and toast, maybe a sausage.
I rarely ate her food, the boarders bothered me
with their gripes and lonely disrespect
They’d borrow your cigarettes, like their clan
but rob your backpack blind in a heartbeat
Life was tough at the Sally Ann.

Mr Flynn, they called my name, You must leave
Someone said I fought in the TV room, and I did
There are rules to follow and lines to be drawn,
or, you’ll be low man and pushed to the side
Nothing counts but a man’s fear or a bit of clout
and if she seems to like you just a little bit,
in the winter, there’s a chance she won’t kick you out

I got to stay that night, you’re lucky Mr Flynn,
it’s below zero outside and she says you can sleep
One night, not two, it seems I just caused problems
I grabbed my mat, my number, and a sheet
The backpack was a pillow and the sheet a cover
I spent the night half awake through droning snores
remembering why Miss Sally was my jilting lover

#10 – kenetei (Praise)

We sat for days, in those hours,
in the morning, before the sun,
before the world caught up to us.

We talked of mysteries and hopes,
of spirits, the lack of god, and pain,
the pain that fathers know and elders.

You gave me breath, kenetei, breath
to live another day, another moment,
and the life you said they expected.

You gave me two feathers, my brother.
I touch them every day, with my heart,
and I feel the strength still within you.

I hear your laugh and I laugh,
through the struggles and ignorance,
knowing all the things we never knew.

My name was bestowed by you,
cherished for what it is and where it’s from,
and, the magic it has given me.

We shared tears for our children,
those born and those yet to be born,
we shared them, as we shared our blood.

Was there a better man? A more imperfect man?
A more wondrously caring and devoted friend?
We taught each other. What greater gift?

There is no place that you are not already there,
waiting as you always did, seeking to guide,
seeking to be led, seeking the unknown connection

Our animals mingle as we once did, playfully,
yet always with soul and spirit balanced
frightened to upset the junction already given.

You were brave and kind and strong, kenetei,
If I can achieve half of your wisdom and carry you
with me forever, my dreams are made whole.

It is an honor to have known you, a blessing
to be your brother in spirit and in blood,
an inspiration to face each new day with you.

Apache Tears washed away the facade,
leaving us with our naked souls and
the heart-drum of loyal warriors.

#9 – Surrender (Image Prompt)


She breathed life to me by Carter’s mill,
beside the walk cradling the edge of the river
I didn’t know it at the time,
I was full of myself and the future and grandness
but I learned, eventually, those are illusions
created by ourselves and fostered by others
to make life more bearable
If I had known it then, perhaps …

Perhaps? No, she is lost to me,
except in my meanderings of possibilities
and those things I sometimes regret
Not the knowing, but the escape, the avoidance
I lived and questioned it,
foraging for some answer, some explanation,
accepting eventually, the acknowledgment of life

The mill has been gone for twenty years now
The river diverted for a power plant installation
Yet, that moment still lives
There is the spot, the place
There is her breath and there is me,
as I should have been, not as I was and am
He is much more real than what I have become

#8 – Humanization (Pantoum)

I stand upon the precipice of knowledge,
knowing the world revolves around nothingness.
Red, yellow, black, and white learned this lesson once,
before man discovered himself as different.

Knowing the world revolves around nothingness,
I prayed to my scarred ancient ancestor,
before man discovered himself as different,
and, he blessed my sword and shield as one.

i prayed to my scarred ancient ancestor,
How may i survive such a world?”
And, he blessed my sword and shield as one.
His reply was a touch, and said, “Be true chowilawu.”

How may I survive such a world?
I stand upon the precipice of knowledge.”
His reply was a touch, and said, “Be true chowilawu.
Red, yellow, black, and white learned this lesson once.”

#7 – Broken Dreams (non-cliched angst)

The eggs were dry yesterday,
and, each day after I bought them.
It’s true the refrigerator leaked,
but I covered them in plastic wrap
and moved them to the front,
where the leak was minimal.

My girlfriend is coming tonight,
and yes, it is to be a special night.
We will see a play at the Plaza,
followed by a horse carriage ride,
and then, dinner prepared by me,
of an omelet exactly to her order.

She’s in the living room,
watching the Summer Olympics.
Its never been her style to watch,
but she knew I was busy,
dicing her ham pieces into hearts
and slicing the peppers into rings

I assembled the ingredients with care
never letting her know of my proposal
I cracked an egg and another
and the sulfuric smell was intolerable.
I knew they would be bad. I knew life sucked.


#6 – Christopher (English Halibun)

Nestled in the vast pine forest of northern Minnesota, my dog and I lay in a small two-man tent. It was the last night of our canoe journey. Slowly, we were awakened, a buzzing sound surrounded us and curiosity made us look outside. Blocking the view of the lake and giant pine trees, were a zillion white flies. More individual life forms than I had ever seen before in one place. I found out later they live that one night and all die after eggs are spread. Shortly after this trip, I was looking for a closest of close friend I hadn’t seen in years. I was to apologize for something. Two years earlier, he had died. I never knew.

Circles engulf us
Never knowing where we are
Death remembers all

#5 – The Price of Urination (Technology)

android, robots, and neo-plastic killer drone
time for this one to go home

i see the future as if it’s now
i see the past and wonder how
i see the present in undertow
i wonder if, they’ll ever know

our brains are melted and filled with chips
under skin implanted with program scripts
mechanical eyes to display our soul
chemical exercises to hide our roll

3D goggles to show us life
intelligent robots to be our wife
kids conceived in gelatin
modern metals used as skeleton

veggie pills, invented meat, and drinks unknown
time for this one to go home

re-clone the runners to be fast
each new race will be their last
breathing water makes good dives
defecating honey for people hives

the air is bad, you cannot breathe
invent a plasma replicate sheathe
alloy toes and silverware for fingers
create new lungs for better singers

GMO seeds all freshly sown
fields of corn bizarrely grown
frogs with whiskers in a swamp
lions and lambs perform detente

computer buttons, fake kittens, and bone
time for this one to go home

we cut the mountains down to half
we force the cow to stay a calf
we mine the world of silicone
tits are bigger and overblown

we push the needles in our head
stuttering stops but drools instead
a pill for this and a pill for that
underground structures as habitat

test tube babies and test tube food
it all depends on how it’s viewed
so, last night while i was peeing
i saw the life of a human being

nature, goodness, and hair wind blown
time for this one to go home

i see the future as if it’s now
i see the past and wonder how
i see the present in undertow
i wonder if, they’ll ever know