With a rebel yell….prompt whatever for hour 24!

80s tunes were all about punk…no rock anthems here.


from the first sound of feedback,

my career started like that Billy Idol tune about

dangerous liaisons with

dangerous broads from parts of town no one wanted to see:



and a little arrogant.

fist in the air for strength and power

for those who could not speak truth to power

to teach them how to speak truth to power

so I didn’t have to keep doing it for them…

“teach a kid to fish,” and all that.


turns out

all that rebel yelling

is helpful…

even if it irritates the ones around me who do not want to see

the youth around them…or anything beyond the tips of their noses.

for them, I have saved my favorite gesture…

(c) r.l. elke

prompt 29: the truth about darkness

the truth about darkness (homage to Billy Ray Belcourt and his numbered poems)

  1. re-occurring nightmares about monsters in cellars with no ladders indicates deep, hidden secrets
  2. the deeper the secret, the more painful the removal – like a jagged, rusted storm drain pipes through the middle of one who happened to be in the wrong time at the wrong place
  3. the rest of the world speaks in joyful whispers, gifting balms of prayers to wounded souls, so the frayed edges of those Hiroshima fingerprints cool enough to allow others to touch us
  4. new siblings bring so many headaches….like the many, many, many moves made so dad could work those gypsum – dust jobs he chased so we could eat
  5. those voices in my head were not demons, like my grandmother said. The world chose me as their mediary and I promised to honour them by doing the best job I could. Ask my “invisible friend” Arthur (who turned out to be a dead relative from the Great War).

those early days were not so bad,

between the live in aunts and uncles

and short distances to Granny’s house,

I had joy sometimes, too.

(c) r. l. elke

prompt 27: ode to Joni Mitchell or “they paved paradise…”

“they paved paradise”

I always wondered what those trees,

with the metal grates around their trunks,

say to each other –

reaching for the sun

from concrete or asphalt

they must wonder where the rest of their families live –

“movin’ on up”

to the tops of high rises

where too many fallen leaves kill passers-by.


Can they hear the whispers of their family

in the wooded lots in suburbia,

where petitions,

written on paper,

saves trees –

the irony is not lost on them

(they are a clever lot).


I worry for them,

those Grandmother Cedars

and Grandfather Oaks,

living in these silent, concrete wastelands

where roots get revenge on water mains

and dandelions force themselves through cracks in concrete

to tell the urban dwellers

that beauty is possible where nothing seems to grow –

until you look for it.


(c) r.l.elke

prompt 26: Animkiig (Thunderbird) – aaand…a holla back to an older poem…two prompts in one!

Because I am a keener and because I am ready to fall over,  I have decided to pull two prompts together – I am replying to an earlier poem in this one about an animal that I have mentioned earlier.




I have seen you wandering from here,

on your shores of slate-black lakes,

from this storm I call home

in the heart of lightning’s transformative medicine

where fire opens life

for seeds shut to all but heat…

like you.


be careful what you wish for.

you gazed into the centre

to learn teachings of butterfly.

now you know what transformation feels like,

my claws in the flesh of your left shoulder,

as I know how it feels to

touch the face of the sun to hear Creator’s voice.


because of my flashing eyes,

this world still dances with life

and you still dance, too.


what will you do with that gift?


I hear your prayers in the tobacco smoke,

echoing them in whispers

to Creator’s heart.


you’re welcome.


(c) r. l. elke

Prompt 25: this deep and wicked love

this deep and wicked loves

(inspired by phrased found in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot.  These phrases will be in italics in the new poem)

we fell into this love

deep and wicked

piled high with sharp-sided facets

we chose not to feel.


let us go, you and I

to those places we long to be

and hide our intentions

when we meet the faces that you meet,

for shame of wagging tongues and fingers.


do I dare disturb the universe,

with my wicked love

for your beautiful face?

and how should I presume

that your youth and beauty

could ever make space for

my dusty ways, when it malingers.


you gaze upon me,


but I am no prophet;

yet I see all kinds of trouble

if some talk of you and me

lands in the wrong ears.


if we lose everything…

your beauty…

would it have been worthwhile

to live this love at such a cost?


in these days without you,

I grow old

in these dark days,

I have heard the Mermaids singing

but I don’t think they sing for me;”

they see your face and fall in love with you –

like I have.


For me,

I will close my eyes

to dream of our lives together –

till human voices wake us.


(c) r.l.elke



prompt 23/24: reply to a favorite poem

Reflections on an experiment in self love

  1.  my mixed blood waters down my colour but not the weeping of our people when my head turns to face the land no longer ours – which feels the same as when he looks at me through blurry eyes
  2. those boys I loved, with obsidian hair, could not enter my house because my mother couldn’t see the pieces of herself my father loved to deny
  3. the deeper I look into my dancing DNA, the more closely I feel to language I can only feel
  4. sometimes I wish my skin did not give me the privilege I could not recognise.  It seemed to be disguised as hubris.
  5. there are times when I feel sick to know I am part of the colonial problem
  6. at those times I smudge and my Ancestors hold me to their drumming hearts
  7. “queer definition: knowing your body is both too much and not enough for this world.”
  8. I can’t hold myself now – my arms are not long enough anymore
  9. at the end of it all, this flesh is dust…my spirit lives in love forever.

(c) r. l. elke

In honour of Billy Ray Belcourt’s “Love and other Experiments” in This Wound is a World

prompt 20: forward



one foot in front of the other

to keep our heads above water

when paths wash out

in flash floods

forcing us into kayaks

when we thought running shoes would do.


having a compass


star chart

is good practice

even if their appearance makes no difference

to the direction the wind blows.


intention is great:

set the destination,

leaving room for adventures

off course

where the Sirens call

and beasties chase us into caves

where our best selves await

in gold-hinged treasure chests

sometimes not guarded by dragons.


(c) r.l.elke

prompt 22: Dear Peddlers of Chocolate,

Dear Peddlers of Chocolate,

I have to take a second to tell you that you are a hazard.

Your wares are worse than crack or flesh or slangers of “happy pills”

made to make us forget ourselves and how we hurt.


My beautiful waist has been wasted on your product.

I cannot seem to fit into

my life

as it was before you arrived in our neighborhood.


Please, do take your trade

and fuck off.


Love Ramona’s once lovely ass.


(c) r. l. elke

prompt 21: pools of colour


pools of colour


these rainy streets feel like Christmas

when streets are dressed in light

like whores on their days off

waiting for a new date:

all flash

no fantasy.


these night bus rides make me sad:

the farther I get from you

the colder it gets

but I can’t see the street for rain on the windshield

and the driver cares less than I do

to see the mess the rain makes of the road

or anything else around us

while the world melts

into pools of coloured light.


(c) r.l. elke

prompt 19: the end

the end

The farther away we get from our Mother,

the more of Her we break


heap with hatred.

We demand our desires be filled

at Her expense

at our peril.

Our wounded egos filled with all manner of things

to feed our starving souls

made obese on all manner of images made to make us blind,

hate our neighbor,

deaf to the weeping willows begging us to remember our beginnings

when love made us all.


When love made us all,

we could not know our destruction did not hide in darkness or hate

but in greedy indifference.


(c) r.l.elke

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