Sunday, 30 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 091

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “The (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “The Poets,” “The Good Guys,” “The Bad Guys,” “The Last Thing She Said,” and so on.

Last Slap (I)

The time you slapped me
so hard my cheek split open on my tooth
was the last time I ever let you.
I walked out that day
and even though you told the police
I was a 'missing person'
I was easy to find
at the local hospital.

Last Slap (II)

I pulled the punches, the kicks.
I was told to hurt you
but I didn't really want to
and you cried anyway.
Consensual non-consent
anything goes, so long as it doesn't damage
or leave a lasting mark.
I think I was more shaken than you,
though the last smack
made you yelp
and to be honest,
my hand stung, too.

poetry 2017 / 090

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story at Thanksgiving every single year. It could be the swallows returning to Capistrano or how, without fail, you will lock your keys in the car whenever you go to the beach.

Through the Crescent

They know the houses where the dogs live.
Every day, pulling at the leads to get to the collie's house,
the black lab's house; the shepherd's house.
Later it's the Jack Russel's house, the spaniel's, the Doberman's
and that little dog behind the gate that barks unseen.
Pull, pull
bark, bark,
pull, pull,
bark, bark.
The third dog is blind and deaf.
He doesn't care about where they live
just what scents they've left behind.

short forms 30th April 2017

lost forever
a victim to the end
as dead as her brother became
Thanks, Dad

© Rachel Green 2017

white flowers
the delicate heads of wild garlic

© Rachel Green 2017

fortune telling
at the bottom of a vitamin drink
powder scum
I can see my future
heart attack and stroke

© Rachel Green 2017

my finest novel
released to the wild

all I have to do now
is sit back and watch
is it sinks to oblivion

no point in writing

© Rachel Green 2017

the diet progresses. The flab increases.

© Rachel Green 2017

Saturday, 29 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 089

For today’s prompt, write a metric poem. Most of the world uses the metric system to measure things out; not so much in the States. But there are meters and liters, and the occasional millimeters. Also, poetry uses metrics (the study of meter in poetry). And metrics, in a general sense, can measure various things by a common denominator–even inches and/or teaspoons.

Travel Metrics

a photograph
of my long dead mother
faded into seventies amber
like the walls of my father's house.
Taken when I was...ten?
Sent off, processed, printed,
sent back by second class mail
(transport, weather and strikes permitting)
stuck in a album
left in a drawer until my father died,
stored in a cardboard box in my sister's cellar.
During a clearout
she scans it, emails it;
a packet of data sent by a path
calculated by router metrics
for path length, bandwidth, load and hop count,
path cost, delay, MTU, reliability and communications cost.
I receive it seconds later.

poetry 2017 / 088

Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

Benwell Boys

Our mam was still alive
when we were a skinhead;
bleached jeans, polished Docs
buzz cut over a tee shirt
(and no jumper – they was for southerners).
We listened to the bands what made us pop
Ska and Punk and some of the Glam gurus
Ziggy Stardust and Alice
and we hung around Granger Street
playing coins-against-the-wall
and wasting tens on the Asteroids machine
in the warmth of the chippy.
I never went a bundle on the racist shit
but them lads from Gateshead
were the scum of the earth in our books
we'd be belting down the back streets
looking for a bin to hide in.

short forms 29th April 2017

let out at last
only to discover
they weren't his secrets after all
They knew.

© Rachel Green 2017

moonless night
illuminated by garden lights
black tulips

© Rachel Green 2017

Looking for Sally
released to the wild
transman issues
spoiler alert:
John's hiding something

© Rachel Green 2017

phone call
"Your computer is sending malware"
I settle in

The poor call centre dude
becoming more irate
as I explain his own scam

Eight minutes before he hangs up

© Rachel Green 2017

She feels lazy today. And fat.

© Rachel Green 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 087

For today’s prompt, write a poem about a smell. Similar to Day 6’s prompt about writing a poem about a sound, today’s prompt involves thinking about the various good and bad smells that fill the world. Pick one smell (or a variety, I suppose), and write a poem.

Catherine 1979

She wore patchouli
and a ragged hippie skirt
drinking lager by the pint
and telling stories of her youth.
She was all of seventeen
and I loved her passionately
albeit briefly,
like the flourescent stars
on her bedroom roof.
Thirty years have passed
and more
but the scent still makes me smile
and wonder what happened
to my darling Clementine.

poetry 2017 / 086

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:

Existential Guinea-pig

Existential Guinea-pig
in a cage, not too big
waiting for a music gig
that never comes. Fig.
Not that he can play a note
but what he wrote
would float your boat
arranged for quote
string and voice unquote
contents devote,
beloved sounds
in squeaks and bounds.
Beloved clowns
in rainbow gowns
surround the towns
and charge a measly forty pounds
to watch them jig
to Existential Guinea Pig.

short forms 28th April 2017

Who would have them
when they're decrepit crooks?
Time for some hard thinking about
plot holes

© Rachel Green 2017

thyme seeds
sprouting madly
I foresee tea

© Rachel Green 2017

new TV show
The Handmaid's Tale
dystopian future
As compelling as the novel
and as modern as Trump

© Rachel Green 2017

throwing practice
he shows me variations
on Uchi Garame

There's one I can't get
thanks to my flat feet
and broken knees

dance move practice

© Rachel Green 2017

bulging stomach denies her positive mind

© Rachel Green 2017

Thursday, 27 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 085

Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste! This could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.


Blood fills my mouth
sudden, unexpected,
the sharp tang of iron
sweet; sugar in a cup of mead
when I was five years old;
the tang of parsnip wine
when we got back from Midnight Mass
with my mother in her best fur coat
and the promise of Christmas on the morrow.

The grating of one tooth out of alignment
sandpaper on rough enamel.
I can feel the chip with my tongue.
Too late for a guard
(She should have kept her mouth shut)
Penny cracking me across the face
and a quick trip to the A&E for stitches.
You can still see the scar.

The razor blade that caressed my skin
when I was at my weakest
felt like blood tastes.
Thin, metallic, something only noticed
when out of context.
How often do you think about blood
in the course of a normal day?

Don't take my word for it,
I'm anything but.

poetry 2017 / 084

For today’s prompt, use at least 3 of the following 6 words in your poem (using a word or two in your title is fine); for extra credit, try using all 6:
  • pest
  • crack
  • ramble
  • hiccup
  • wince
  • festoon


Sunlight in the window attest
to rainbows jumping from scattered prisms
hung on nylon strings and plucked
in off-key melodies dancing upon the crack
of an eye.

She sleeps fitfully, a scramble
amongst dreams that leap and twist like a mandrake
on a hot griddle. The frogs don't care
but move their feet among the sausages
and mushrooms
wondering why they came.

Tadpoles have no conscience. They hiccup
from memory to prescience. Mayfly larvae prown
the depths. A wince of pain
hungry mouths beget hunger
while water spider watches close; fies
of embarrassment – blushes festoon
the rough walls of her life.
It matters little.
When everybody dies.

short forms 27th April 2017

Stevie points out
an eight year-old black belt
with no concept of rectitude.

© Rachel Green 2017

on my windshield
evening gnats

© Rachel Green 2017

editing Sally
the mystery of Stevie's dad
finally solved
But will he find Sally
in the last thirty pages?

© Rachel Green 2017

friend's birthday
but what to get
a jiu-jiteroo?

I find a book on Kindle
and buy it for myself;
give him my hard copy

also: bookshelf space win

© Rachel Green 2017

Realising she's only a white belt

© Rachel Green 2017

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 083

For today’s prompt, write a regret poem. Most people regret some action they’ve taken over the years, whether it’s saying the wrong thing, making the wrong choice, or putting off something for a tomorrow that never comes. Write about your own regrets, or the regrets of others


I wish I hadn't hurt you
I wish I hadn't let you down.
When you were trying to retain my love
I was hoping you'd reject it.
We didn't understand
We were both too young to say
for sure.
The taunting of the other boys
became too much--
I didn't want to be that way.
You were proud to be the person you were
but I could never be the same.
Perhaps we could be happy
if I hadn't been a coward.
I should have seen my self from your eyes
(at least the one you still retained.)
I still have that piece of art you gave to me
I'll never let it go again.
Wherever you go
a piece of me will follow –
a shadow of my past
desecrated ground will sprout again.

poetry 2017 / 082

Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.


Screws and buttons
a long wire to connect to--?
Obviously a machine of some sort.
A robot's hand?
One of the early designs;
late twenty first century?
But why, then, no appendages?
Not an android's hand, then, but
ergonomically pleasing to fit a hand
but one with only three fingers.
Were they less evolved that us?
Or more so – Our five digits
must seem an excess to these proto-humans
who must have counted in base six
(one, two, three, four, five, one-zero)
and why a window on the underside?
What a strange civilisation they must have had
and so short-lived. Hardly any time
between Mesozoic era
and the abrupt end of the Cenozoic
Almost a half-life.

short forms 26th April 2017

Young lad
out for vengeance
skins the flesh from his arm
police confiscate katana
and bones

© Rachel Green 2017

blue sky
after the hailstorm
cherry petals

© Rachel Green 2017

Old song
takes me back to schooldays
Edmund the twin
His favourite band
Electric Light Orchestra

© Rachel Green 2017

software bundle
seems to good to be true
anti malware

twelve quid for full licences
anti malware, optimiser
registry cleaner

worth a try, maybe

© Rachel Green 2017

muscles growing. Hundred pound back-pull

© Rachel Green 2017

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 081

Write a love poem. The poem could be about lovers, but also the love of family, love between friends, or even loving your job, chocolate, or music. Or…
Write an anti-love poem. Maybe you’re a hater; that’s fine. We’ve got the anti-love poem prompt for you.


I used to keep a picture of you
in my wallet, among my credit cards
and loyalty tickets.
I never realised how appropriate it was
to have you next to my organ donation
until you extracted my heart
and chewed it up
like a broken timing belt in a speeding car
waiting for the wreck to happen.
Your image faded with time,
years passing with the loss of reds, of blues
until only the yellows were left
a voodoo doll to your jaundiced heart.

poetry 2017 / 080

In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

Stands for Comfort

Mother's wardrobe was filled with furs
but there was no back way into Narnia
no matter how hard I looked.
A darkness filled with musk
the softness of pelts
the scent of my mother.
I could almost imagine she was holding me close
her voice murmuring comfort,
still alive.
But she was long dead
and I was no Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve
to claim a throne at Caer Paravel,
Just a lonely White Witch
in the darkness of a wardrobe
and the scent of old musk.

short forms 25th April 2016

young thugs
with baseball bats
what happened to cricket?
Less aesthetically pleasing, I

© Rachel Green 2017

night frost
dissipating in morning sun
cherry petals

© Rachel Green 2017

movie night
we see a horror-comedy
"The Belko Experiment"
Ultimately forgettable
DK has a better ending

© Rachel Green 2017

a short essay
on politics in novels
by Christopher Fowler

My politics are clear:
my novels have diverse characters,
LGBTQ themes

and murders. Always murders.

© Rachel Green 2017

Breaking Bread: Manufacturing a new religion.

© Rachel Green 2017

Monday, 24 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 079

For today’s prompt,write a faith poem. For some people, faith means religion. For others, faith means trusting in science and mathematics. Still others, think George Michael’s “Faith” just as some immediately conjure up Faith Hill. Regardless of where you put your faith (or don’t), today’s poem gives you an opportunity to express yourself.

Sticks and Stones

I'll never understand
the casual cruelty
with which you put me down.
Your voice is like a shard of glass
in a velvet glove.
The bruises on my legs will fade,
my arm will heal
but I'll never be the same
after those jibes.
They say that words can't hurt,
that they mean nothing 'less I let them
but they've never heard you say
how weak I am.
All that I have left is faith
you love me
and hope you will repent;
that perfect lie still beckons with
the taste of fear
another birth of pain and blood
and broken bones
but will you stay
and love me
or will panic still prevail
upon these empty rooms
and fears.
And will I cry
into a hollow void
or die a lonely death.
Please just stay.

poetry 2017 / 078

Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts.

Manuscript of a Young Monk Buried Outside the Abbey Walls

Friar Donal is a fool
to think two hours' illumination
is a vengeful punishment
when I can light all the candles
and draw whatever I like
Let's see how he likes it
with an illustrated psalter.
His eyesight is so bad
he'll think I've drawn jousting snails
and miss the phallus topped by testes
with the faces of the elders.
Bugger them all, for I'm out of madder
and the box of gold leaf is unlocked.

short forms 24th April 2017

the status of
a fourteen year old boy
changes faster than a dessert

© Rachel Green 2017

glum schoolchildren
tulip leaves falling

© Rachel Green 2017

hedge cutting
sending pain to my arms
lelandii sap
At least the garden
looks a lot tidier

© Rachel Green 2017

planting seeds
visions of the future
in bloom

I effectively invite
slugs and birds

slime on my dreams

© Rachel Green 2017

Working hard does not equal pizza

© Rachel Green 2017

Sunday, 23 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 077

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Last (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “Last Starfighter,” “Last Unicorn,” “Last Day of Summer,” “Last Cookie in the Cookie Jar,” and so on.

Last Carl

Shouting in the street
the neighbour, drunk,
shouting at his daughter.
We go out
offer safety to her
and her mother, her kids.
I stand, impassive, waiting
while DK phones the police.
He can shout if he likes
but if he hits her I'll step in.
He's bigger than me
but I'm not afraid.
His drunk friend comes,
leads him away.
Peaceful street.

Four police cars arrive.

poetry 2017 (un-numbered)

Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above.

A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all.

fox's scent
found by dogs
rolled and frolicked in
makes misery
foul fruity smells
why are we punished?

short forms 23rd April 2017

through the edits
oh that I could process
manuscripts whilst in the land of

© Rachel Green 2017

with bright yellow faces
jaundiced partners

© Rachel Green 2017

insubstantial rubbish
written down
That's the trouble with strict prompts:
I write utter drivel.

© Rachel Green 2017

blue skies
a list of chores
to perform

Mow lawns
cut hedge
clean pond

Clear out the concrete shed

© Rachel Green 2017

she fails to gain an edge

© Rachel Green 2017

Saturday, 22 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 076

The Dog and the Walnut Tree

A monkey and a lion cub
were arguing one day
about the need for belly rubs
and whatever game to play.
“It's delightful in the shining sun”
said lion to the chimp
“Why don't we see who's fast to run?
And which of us will limp?”
“Better still,” replied the chimp,
“Why don't we climb a tree?
“Award a prize for dexterous imp
I bet you cant beat me.”
“A tree like this?” said little cub
and lifted up a stick.
“Don't be stupid, that's a stub,
“You're really rather thick.”
“Am I?” said the carnivore
and proceeded to explain.
“There really isn't nothing more
than delicious monkey brain.”
The moral of this loss of life
is really rather glum.
the thickest stick to beat a wife
has a general rule of thumb.

poetry 2017 / 075

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.


the comfort and safety
of an internet browser
behind a virtual private network
order online for discreet service,
delivery in a plain brown parcel.
Growing mediums of composted soil,
Coco Coir or hydroponics –
adequate lighting for maximum yield
choose your bulbs carefully.
Germinate seeds in rooting plugs,
seed trays or paper towels,
with the second pair of true leaves
transfer into growing medium.
Grow on, water well without soaking,
plenty of light for eight hours a day,
add nitrogen to encourage growth.
Check the leaf shoots for buds or pollen sacs
and remove plants with pollen.
At half full size adjust the daylight
twelve hours on, twelve hours off,
watch the growth spurt for six weeks.
Slow down the nitrogen;
Phosphorous and Potassium
are good for developing flowers.
After four to six weeks the buds should be ready
look for the white hairs to turn inward--
some might turn yellow--
harvest the buds and hang upside down.
After two weeks, hang in mason jars;
check to avoid dampness
cure for another two weeks to several months
longer makes smoother.

poetry 2017 / 074

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates overheard speech. It could be something you’ve heard on the radio, or a phrase you remember from your childhood, even something you overheard a coworker say in the break room! Use the overheard speech as a springboard from which to launch your poem. Your poem could comment directly on the overheard phrase or simply use it as illustration or tone-setting material.

Black Bags

Dog waste bags stuck in trees look like crows
she said, as if the horrors of the A61
were something she'd been forced to witness.
Sometimes they fly away,
cackle at the passing cars
and the full ones just hang, limp,
like a farmer's spoils on the barbed wire.

But if the waste bags are crows,
then supermarket bags
are the plastic equivalent of pigeons
flocking together,
scavenging in shopping malls
and market outlets,
clustering high on chimney pots
and sycamore trees,
tattered and resilient
spreading disease the colours of petrol
and suffocating sparrows.

short forms 22nd April 2017

new twist
the weed changes
without the distinctive
decomposition undertones.

© Rachel Green 2017

light breeze
a flurry of cherry petals
my vision obscured

© Rachel Green 2017

jiu-jitsu skills
failing miserably
strong men
Give me three months
I'll pump some iron

© Rachel Green 2017

birthday meal
for eldest daughter
pleasant time

chain store food
a tad mediocre
overpriced water

buy hey! free apples

© Rachel Green 2017

no one knows about Soylent Green

© Rachel Green 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 03

For today’s prompt, pick an object (any object), make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “Toothbrush,” “Rake,” “Pilot G2 Premium Gel Roller Pen,” or any number of other objective titles. Have fun with it.


Pure white
the purity of thought
cleanliness of mind,
of body.

Grip, flow
use his momentum against him
let his strength move through you
and around you
when he is gone only you will remain.
The correct lever can move a mountain.

Be the lever.

short forms 21st April 2017

a place to grow
leaves much more desired.
Underground facility needs

© Rachel Green 2017

exposing its tiny flowers

© Rachel Green 2017

increasing slowly
jiu-jitsu skills
ultra-fit guys grapple like sodium on water
maybe one day...

© Rachel Green 2017

page by slow page
creeping forward

I recall a plot point
from later in the book
I want to change

head it off now, girl

© Rachel Green 2017

early jiu-jitsu. Her poetry comes first.

© Rachel Green 2017

Thursday, 20 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 072

For today’s prompt, write a task poem. The task can be some glorious duty, or it can be a seemingly small and insignificant job. Or the poem can take someone to task. It’s your task to figure it out and write it.


Bright flowers
almost artificial in the trolley
outside the supermarket.
I buy two, take them home
a delicate operation to dig
two holes with a trowel,
add compost, bonemeal
puddle them in.
Bright spots of colour
counterbalancing black tulips.

poetry 2017 /071

Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. Your poem could invoke chess or baseball, hopscotch or canasta, Monopoly or jai alai. The choice is yours!

Powers and Perils

Merry, we travel the land
avoiding goblins, Bards we have,
with skills of singing and music making;
crafting stories of gods and men,
elves and creatures of the dark.
A magician, too, travels apace--
an illusionist who deals with the knots
and ribbons of a man's mind; an
engineer, crafting energy into light
and bare earth into money-making roads.

Merry, we travel the land,
accosted by trolls and goblins,
beset by traps and unscrupulous mayors,
Telplars of an angry god preaching death.
We pass them by, and wish them well,
these sirens of a secular night
who seek our death in dungeon dark
while those in light face flame and foe.

Merry, we walk the land
we demons of the Queerest sort;
our blunted swords of liberal hope
and rainbow shields chipped and nocked
against the tide of evil Right
and commonplace complacency.

We walk the land.

short forms 20th April 2017

a plan
to start anew
allotment greenhouse
is still subject to council regs.
weed free

© Rachel Green 2017

as the drizzle ceases
furled umbrellas

© Rachel Green 2017

he keeps his opinions
to himself
It doesn't change the fact
that I'm still his student

© Rachel Green 2017

sometimes as simple
as a mistype

'cat' for 'cut'
still a real word
missed by the spellcheck

semi-colons for apostrophes

© Rachel Green 2017

an easement of anxiety. Facebook status

© Rachel Green 2017

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Poetry 2017 / 070

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a creation myth. It doesn’t have to be an existing creation myth, or even recount how all of creation came to be. It could be, for example, your own take on the creation of ball-point pens, or the discovery of knitting. Your myth can be as big or small as you would like, as serious or silly as you make it.

Lucy Allcott (b1965)

We all have our creation myths
Gods and heroes to populate the sky
or the earth and the Underworld.
I had a friend at college,
the child of a pair of dope-smoking hippies
who thought sex with men was fine
but attachment was too personal for her.
She believed in the Great Old Ones,
who seeded the earth with life from a distant plane
for the purpose of later consumption.
She was destined for great things,
since she could see the Lords of Creation
in a mirror held just so.
She drew them, these lords,
their subordinate creatures who scuttled
between one plane and the next
feeding on dreams and the shallow breaths of sleepers.
She got a first in her Art degree,
travelled the world documenting monsters,
modelling them in wire and clay.
Collections in London, Paris... I still have
the tiny wool and wire maquette she gave me at graduation;
a quadruped with one eye on a long stalk.

Sometimes it blinks.

Poetry 2017 / 069

For today’s prompt, write a memory poem. Pick a memory, any memory. It can be a significant event, but sometimes there are beautiful insignificant moments (that ironically are very significant–quite the paradox). Mine your memories to come up with something good today.

A View to Rowney Green

The loft at my father's house
had no ladder
just a dressing table and bookcase
followed by a chin-up
and a foothold on the picture rail.
The room was vast,
warm from the east-west windows
and an acre of glassfibre matting.

Dead flies crowded the windowsills
their dying breaths looking out over the fields
they would never visit.
House spiders roamed among the mortar dust
spinning webs across the steps between joists
and shunning the dips of lathe and plaster
of bedroom ceiling ankle traps.

Old copies of Popular Gardening,
my childhood farm and doll's house,
the metal trunk of my mother's wedding dress
and funeral veil. My sisters African doll,
her dress grimy with unshod tears,
still able to groan out Mama
when tilted on her back.

The open window
and the drop to the pavement below,
emptying the attic space for the house to be sold,
the redemption of childhood
under the hammer.

short forms 19th April 2017

Mill House
long abandoned
and dilapidated.
Moss-covered brick and sagging roof.

© Rachel Green 2017

on my new-seeded lawn
chocolate egg foil

© Rachel Green 2017

does my sensei know I'm trans?
we'll find out
I may be leaving jiu-jitsu
or it may be nothing at all

© Rachel Green 2017

edits bring
smooth transition
a question remains

I they knew John
fourteen years ago
did they know Sally?

Can the tell the difference?

© Rachel Green 2017

National BJJ polarisation. She's somewhat tearful.

© Rachel Green 2017

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 068

Here are the two prompts for today:
    Write a life poem. The poem could be about the miracle of life, the complexity of life, the game of Life, or anything else that means life for you. Or…
    Write a death poem. For most organisms, life leads to death. So this should be as full of possibility as the life poem.


I'm pretty sure I killed the dog.
All these years, and that last breath
still haunts me.
Wrapped in his favourite blanket,
the hole dug at the edge of the field
where he used to chase rabbits
I gave his broken, road-torn body
one last hug.
I heard his breath.
I'm sure it was just my pushing the last air from his lungs,
the broken ribs scraping his sternum,
the tiny spirit leaping to the sky
but years later,
years later,
I worry that I buried him alive,
and the tears return anew.

poetry 2017 / 067

 Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.

Jasfoupian Envies

The eighties were spent in art colleges,
garrets and studios. And public houses, obviously,
for what can one do but drink whilst talking about art?
It was a divided community; the Flesbians avoided
the Metalheads, the daubers avoided the figurmans
and the queers avoided the non-fluidians.
We got along, mostly, if you glossed over the backbiting
and the gender bending antics of guys
who were just there to pick up straight girls.

A dear friend had her top surgery in Bangkok
which made her a transcontinental. We fell out
before she took it further. Dramatoes, she called us,
though she was just upset because we took a lover
that wasn't her. Just upped and went.
We always knew she had balls.

Among the liberati and the pursuers of dreams
were the meatheads and the pencilscratchers,
the lifts descending to the pits of hell,
organoids and graphic design.
We avoided them, depraved Jasfoupians
in suits and ties, neat portfolios
and not a smear of Crimson across their flesh,
nor even our beloved Paynes.

short forms 18th April 2017

admits he lied
but in an honest cause
to get to the truth of two deaths
long past

© Rachel Green 2017

blackbird hen
collecting lawn moss
watchful cat

© Rachel Green 2017

consumer opinions
require further investigation
deadlines piling up
I really ought to take a couple of hours
and write outstanding reviews

© Rachel Green 2017

transgender competitor
in BJJ community
deluged with hate

It gives me a crisis
in my perception of community
as all-welcoming

should I give up too?

© Rachel Green 2017

She's out and dirty. Transgender woman.

© Rachel Green 2017

Monday, 17 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 066

For today’s prompt,write a dance poem. The poem can be about the process of dancing or just somehow incorporate or reference dancing in the poem. There are so many styles of dance out there and even more occasions for dancing: school dances, daddy-daughter dances, wedding dances, people who dance when they are happy, people who dance when they are sad, people who dance in large groups, and those who dance alone. And, of course, there are so who just won’t dance for anything.

Open Casket

She would have loved this,
dancing without repression,
the music loud and rhythmic
bass pounding and the air
hot and sticky with sweat.
Half-naked women,
shirtless men,latinesque beats
against a candlelit darkness;
whirling away the hour
until her coffin slides into the fire.

poetry 2017 / 065

Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form! Need more inspiration? Why not listen to one of history’s most famous nocturnes, Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2?

Summer Night 2016

Evening dome, Phthalo blue above
paling to a tint of neon at the horizon
fingers of dark cloud
deepest Indigo
breaking the cumulus into
echoes of recent rain.
The groan of a passing car
and distant buzz of a motorbike on the back lanes
stabbing a beam of light into the night.
A dog voices thought with
a further-off reply. Twilight barking.
A shower of sparks as a piece of pine
slides into the bonfire.
Two gardens away
someone calls for their cat
while overhead satellites blink
red, green, red, green
monitoring communications
listening to an English garden
for the threat of terrorism

short forms 17th April 2017

John Salt
making progress
in the recovery
of a relationship with Steve.
Old bones

© Rachel Green 2017

morning rain
amongst the shooting peonies
tulips stand proud

© Rachel Green 2017

from family life
appear in novels
Salt's gifting mistake
based on number one son

© Rachel Green 2017

two hours of podcast
requires dedication
to endure

the subject is close to my heart
transgendered athletes
competing in bjj

worth my attention

© Rachel Green 2017

birthday party food. Gym time required.

© Rachel Green 2017

Sunday, 16 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 064

Today I challenge you to take your inspiration, like our featured interviewee did in the chapbook she co-authored with Ross Gay, from the act of letter-writing. Your poem can be in the form of a letter to a person, place, or thing, or in the form of a back-and-forth correspondence.

Dear John

I wish I could apologise
face to face with you
for taking your name, your life
(though I didn't kill you
I took your college place,
your family,
claimed your history as my own)
but we'll never meet again.

Maybe one day,
I'll come clean;
tell the truth about That Night
and maybe give you peace.


poetry 2017 / 063

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) System,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles could include: “Weather System,” “Solar System,” “Writing System,” “Ecological System,” or any number of other takes on systems.

Triangle System

I'm not saying it's a pyramid scheme,
I'm just saying it seems suspect
that your redemption depends
on how many people you recruit.
And exactly how many
does it take to get into Heaven?
You never made that clear.

What I do understand
is the monetary tithe,
the restrictions on liberty,
and the vetting of who I talk to
and who I date.

Isn't it in the constitution
that we are all equal?
Or is it just that some
or more equal than others?

short forms 16th April 2017

her Easter speech
based on Christian rules
"People are coming together"
Hate crimes

© Rachel Green 2017

nasturtium seeds
sprouting toward the sun
summer's promise

© Rachel Green 2017

chocolate day
I decline the chocolate
opt for salad
Heading off to the gym
early training

© Rachel Green 2017

a few details
about Salt's life

Comments about his sister
skillfully deflected
testosterone bonding

his brother, confused

© Rachel Green 2017

learning to attack the farthest arm

© Rachel Green 2017

Saturday, 15 April 2017

poetry 2017 / 062

For today’s prompt, write a “one time” poem. This poem could be about a once in a lifetime experience. Or it could be about something a person wants to try just one time (good or bad). Or take it where you will–as always.

Summer 1982

She tasted of cream and caramel toffee
under a polka dot tablecloth
and white cotton napkins.
Putty under my experience
she was the younger woman
and the one and only time I ever cheated.
She cheated too; her boyfriend
a college buddy. I can't remember him
but she still lingers in my memory
and on my tongue.

Poetry 2017 / 061

our prompt for the day: Because we’re halfway through NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that reflects on the nature of being in the middle of something. The poem could be about being on a journey and stopping for a break, or the gap between something half-done and all-done. Half a loaf is supposedly better than none, but what’s the difference between half of a very large loaf and all of a very small one? Let your mind wander into the middle distance, betwixt the beginning of things and the end. Hopefully, you will find some poetry there!

Reginald Claude 1928 - 1996

Clearing out the house, where thirty years
had left their mark in dust and memories,
left us with the last vestiges of your presence.
Why did you never get rid of Mum's clothes?
Would that have been such an offence
against her memory? Or were you saving them
for us? Smelling her perfume, her face powder
on the collar of her fake fur coat brought
unexpected tears in the middle of house clearance.
She gave me your mug – the one that held a pint
of stiff black tea though I'd never use it.
You gave me the love of tea but not the capacity
to drink it all day. Your ashtray, too; the one I'd
given you for your birthday. I don't even remember
how old you were when you died. The tin of farthings
at the bottom of your wardrobe, your de-mob suit,
a box of out of date condoms, bought when Mum
was still alive. I had little use for memorabilia,
still don't now, thought it's taken fifty years
to cull my need to hoard the past like ripples
on an oyster shell with you, the pearl in the middle.

short forms 15th April 2017

new tale
written over years
still doesn't have ending.
Does everyone need to be killed?
Of course

© Rachel Green 2017

nesting pigeon
among the fresh willow shoots
barking dog

© Rachel Green 2017

more edits
I forget how well I write
compelling tale
a lot of bad language
but that's boys for you

© Rachel Green 2017

ad-hoc jiu-jitsu
he teaches scissor takedown
and mounted triangle

double attack
from top S mount
cross choke and spinning arm bar

much enjoyment

© Rachel Green 2017

sudden attack if diarrhea. Training delayed.

© Rachel Green 2017

Friday, 14 April 2017

poetry 2017 NaPoWriMo prompt 14

Day 14 NaPoWriMo prompt:

Because it’s Friday, let’s keep it light and silly today, with a clerihew. This is a four line poem biographical poem that satirizes a famous person.

Donald Trump, elected POTUS
should have kept true to his voters
instead of axing civil rights
and bombing allied terror sites.

poetry 2017 / 060

For today’s prompt, pick a popular saying and make that the title of your poem; then, write your poem. Some possible titles might include: “Blood Is Thicker Than Water,” “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” “More Than You Can Shake a Stick At,” and so many others. Click here if you want more ideas.

He Wouldn't Hurt a Fly

E.W. Jackson, bishop of the
Christian News Service and
the Exodus Faith Ministries
claims birth defects are due to mother's sins
(but not the father's, obviously)
and that Yoga leads to Satanism
but he wouldn't hurt a fly.

His assertion, as a Christian man,
the University of California
(with its queer and Bi and Transfolk students)
is Ungodly and Sinful
but he wouldn't hurt a fly.

“Sin never gets enough,” he says,
“There’s no end to this. It has no end.
There will always be something more,
something more,
something more
because what they’re really looking for
is they’re looking for
looking for
acceptance in society
and Christians will never ever,
never, never,
never, ever give it to them.”

But he wouldn't hurt a fly.

short forms 14th April 2017

John Salt
and his brother
fighting over the house
Steve wants John to have it but John

© Rachel Green 2017

glistening on a tulip bud
black ladybird

© Rachel Green 2017

regarding ashes
just more stuff
Why do I feel the need
to hang on to the past?

© Rachel Green 2017

editing LfS
some amusement
about characters

The wife of an old friend
appears as a social worker
taking babbies

DK's pet burial services

© Rachel Green 2017

fitness fail. Her drooping stomach flab.

© Rachel Green 2017