Prompt 443: Matins 4

Time flies. 2020 flew by, and is now gone. We were all grounded, and then now we’re poised to expect release. The release came but partially, and we’re in fact still grounded. Like our wings are wet and we cannot fly.  They weigh us down. How then did you find solace? I thought we’d given up on capitalism, in early Covid. But actually there was so much consumption, online at first then it’s online and bricks-and-mortar. Devil may care! Maybe it’s a different story for you. Whatever it is, let us hear it. 

Details here.

For a while now I’d feel muffled.
No sound ensued. How does it feel like
to live in a soundless world?
When words inflate and pop,
are of no use, and everyone had gone
back to science, tech and engineering–
I say go there, feel the fullness in
change in the real world.

One day you’ll come back,
searching. You’ll look different,
feel different, and I’d say
this isn’t vanity.
I’d slayed a few sacred cows myself
in the muffled light.

Prompt 442: Matins 3

How has the pandemic affected you and those around you? With hitherto unknown restrictions in our daily lives, with aviation and tourism having taken a bad beating, with rising unemployment and shuttered businesses, we’ve all entered the same storm. Same you say, but not the same effects obviously for every one, depending on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I wonder, does poetry help as if by sharing we all understand better what this pandemic means for every one differently? How do we continue to find beauty and joy in our struggles, in spite of our struggles? Red Wolf’s The Coronavirus Poetry Issue hopes to stir up the conversation. Details here.

The world violently sundered
into pre and post Covid, and so I write on
and on, asking for a donation
from the stars.

My lips smeared by tea,
my mismatched pearls, luminous
and blue. We graze together
as you meant, ex racehorses.

O so many people on this planet,
every soul counts?
But yes, your secret grace–
that, I know.

Prompt 441: Matins 2

I was just reading Louise Glück’s October poem. And there’re these lines:

Between herself and the sun,
something has ended.
She wants, now, to be left alone;
I think we must give up
turning to her for affirmation.

I don’t know what language does, but it does something. It digs. It reflects. It creates. That’s why we turn to language: we must speak, or we die. The world was spoken into creation wasn’t it? So why don’t you pick up a pen and write about what language does.

Here’s mine for today:

It sounded like an incantation,
or church bells tolling, musical
tinkling sounds of the evening.

Don’t we want a slower pace now
that we’re bruised, nursing a bad knee–
ah, kneeling would be a bad idea.

I needed her words, deep echoes
my permeating ears solaced in,
burying toes in sand.

Prompt 440: Matins

I am terribly conflicted when it comes to writing poetry. You know, whether to write poems, whether to publish poems, whether poetry is useful (the answer: it depends), whether there is better employment of my time elsewhere. I’ve left poetry and I’ve come back to it again. So I’m returning. For one last leg, at least. I’ve still got a current thematic issue running, called The Reaper. Find it at Red Wolf Journal.
Submit if you like.

Sometimes a broken thread like here.
I stopped and went away, left this stranded.
Am I to bow to you, acknowledge you?
I covered my eyes and looked away.

Then I felt stranded, rudderless again.
The killer whales attacked viciously.
You rose like the sun, reclaiming me?
I was drowning, you saved me.

My story anyway, on repeat.

Prompt 439: Isolation Diaries continued

Hi poetic folks,

I didn’t lag in my poem a day practice. I was forced into practice by this lockdown. And everywhere I looked folks are in a similar stranglehold. The universality of the coronavirus is amazing even if in a bad way. I mean, one day I was telling Alan Walowitz about Singapore being the epicentre of the virus and now New York is the epicentre. I had started a new thematic issue for the Red Wolf Journal in March 2020 about journeying and now we’re in lockdown in April. I did not miss the irony.

Anyway, I thought I’d check in here and share my today’s poem. I am in the middle of watching Jane Eyre directed by Sally Cookson, a free National Theatre performance on Youtube. So this came up…If you do write, please share your links.

Often I turn and see the light
murmuring through the clouds,
the sky pale blue, this
day that began like so
many other days.

Even so, I like my isolation,
it becomes me, surrounded by
a few choice persons and
I’d be content.

I fell to watching Jane Eyre,
how the world changed for her
the moment Mr Rochester embraced
her poor, trampled self, how
literacy had made her who
she was.

I’d not yet seen the madwoman
in the attic–but knowing already
the story, there’s her too,
lacking redemption in this
life, she would leap
to her madness.

But Jane–there goes a woman
with agency, said the narrator,
and a steadfast purpose.

Prompt 438: Isolation Diaries 5

The world has been forced online. That has been foregrounded somehow. It’s like, we’re forced to occupy digital spaces now. But of course we occupy physical space. Our bodies are ground zero. Ground zero: the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change broadly.

I’m in the middle of a novel–
about a third through and came
to the end of chapter one–
it deals with trauma, so it
fills me with a sense of dread,
all consuming, so one has to
look askance, look at surfaces.

We’d all crept back into
our living space, voluminous,
and it’s up to us to discover
the depths of all it contains,
the dark places. I’ve done that
and taken body temperatures
at regular intervals.

And you said, that doesn’t have
anything to do with anything,
and you would be wrong.
We inhabit all things.

Prompt 437: Isolation Diaries 4

The sun this morning infused the air with light, and with light comes a feeling, a feeling of being able to carry on. It’s important not to be overwhelmed, I guess, but to just do your thing. The healthcare workers , they’re doing their huge thing. They’re the people who believe. It’s important to believe.



I imagine it’s hard putting out a poem
a day, like a chicken laying eggs.
But it’s a kindling, you know.
I got kindled, and then you got
kindled, and then the rest of you.
It’s a fancy way of living,
inviting your demons out.

I listened to Billie Eilish, while
you got out at 8pm to clap, clap
for the frontline people.
And then this morning some doctor
had said, “If not us, then who?”
While we cower, staying put,
there go the death angels.

Prompt 436: Isolation Diaries 3

I write poetry fast. So to those who write and revise and revise and revise, well, I don’t think I could do that. I write it all in one sitting usually, so you could almost say it’s an act of stream-of-consciousness. I try not to feel embarrassed about what I’d written, since you know it came out of some stream of which I would not be aware if I had not written. It’s about fiction as much as it’s about truth. Fiction is truth, and truth is fiction. Maybe you can try what I did and post it here?

Some days I didn’t look at you.
You looked away first, I would say.
So I looked at the ground.
What difference does it make, anyway,
who cared whether I wrote, do you,
wouldn’t you rather go look
at clouds, or birds, or girls–
oh yes, girls.

Me in my airy fairy world,
you doing your math, or not doing,
we’re being as comfortable as we
can. Then suddenly this coronavirus
made it seem the world is in a spin
and it’s the same spin, we’re spinning
into more isolation while being
drawn even closer.

Prompt 435: Isolation Diaries 2

So Josh said to “put one poem in front of the other” and get them out. So I’m getting another one out today. I hope you guys will also hunker down to write your own isolation diaries. You may post your poem links to the response to this post or my future posts. Hopefully I will be posting every other day and you can check back here and then breathe and then maybe you’ll want to try, and then maybe be able to write a poem. Maybe.


A hideout meant anonymity as if we
wore an invisible cloak, being
soaked in the ether of death. Aren’t
we given a death sentence anyway?
I think about that constantly.
But if the world could change like
it has, radically, has us hanging onto
our breaths, maybe it’s all meant to
change, and we’re both changing.

Still it’s hard, oozing our breaths
out, bit by bit, till we lie quite dead.
And then this coronavirus outbreak would
have us breathing again. Isn’t life strange
like that? So I could learn to lose my self-
consciousness, keep projecting my moods
out to the world, so I could learn, so I don’t
have to give up, so I don’t have to lose
breath at the end of the line.

Prompt 434: Isolation Diaries

Hey everyone,
Surprise! It’s been a while. I never thought I’d live through a worldwide pandemic but here we are, we’re all together in this. We’re forced back to our foxholes. I thought poetry might save me, as it did before. I thought, let’s live day by day, through poetry. What sort of journey it’ll turn out to be, only time will tell. For now, for today, a poem. Hope it inspires you to write again.


So you got isolated too.
Guess the universe wants us
to shut ourselves out, stay within–
within is the place where we tend
to ourselves, our souls.
It’s been a while since I did that
or at least it felt like it,
not writing poems, not wanting to,
not wanting to open up, speak
the truths that somehow crept
into old crevices.

It’s hard. As soon as the words dry
they’re dust, and I can’t even remember
our final conversation.
I want to bend over crying.
A couple of barks, that’s all
I’m capable of now.