The Seduction of Alternative Facts


When truth provides
no real comfort,
hope wraps her
like sturdy arms,
murmurs alternative facts
with conviction in her ear.

Sometimes, she takes refuge there:
a home with unlocked doors,
words pretty as sunrise,
futures rich and enticing as crème brûlée.

NaPoWriMo Day 23

Best Left a Mystery


Every neighbor was doing it. The noise
would be the first thing to give them away.
The banging sometimes went on for hours.
People seemed downright prideful about it,
like they were eager for everyone to know,
like they were showing off about it. When she was younger,
such things were simply not done. People tried to keep
all that hidden. Although, obviously, everyone
knew that it was happening in every home,
it was considered impolite, improper, vulgar,
and social inappropriate to make a public display of it all.
Well, at least it had become that way as civilization evolved.
We didn’t live in caves all crowded together anymore!
The mechanics of it all was now kept a much more private thing.
She preferred it that way. Sparks, heat, electricity,
it was necessary for human survival, exciting even,
if she was being totally honest with herself.
And, once or twice, she did catch herself wondering
about what might be happening in certain friends’ homes…
But really, it was none of her business, and she most definitely
felt very strongly she shouldn’t be forced to be confronted
with other folks choices in regards to those personal matters.
What they did within the confines of their own walls
was their own business and none of her concern.
So why, now, did they insist on covering their roofs
with those hideous solar panels and make her look at them
every time she gazed out her windows?! Solar energy, peeshaw!
Give her a good old basement boiler or furnace any day.

NaPoWriMo Day 22




She didn’t want to shop at Ross
for her prom dress, but since she
had only $35 to spend, she couldn’t
think of anywhere else to go
where she might procure the impossible
for nearly nothing.

Sure, she could have combed
consignment shops, if only
she didn’t wrangle
with a nearly debilitating case
of OCD. Nothing used. Hermetically
sealed everything a necessity for
her sanity.

The dress was simple. A pretty
sky-blue. Long, with a longer slit
up the right leg. The fabric was cheap,
but in dim light or from a distance,
it didn’t look all that bad. It fit her

She was pleased, but forgot about tax.
There were tense moments at the check out,
her digging through the “take a penny” cup
in hopes of scoring a total of a $1.79. Still
$1.07 short, the tears welled up in her eyes
she started to apologize,
and prepared herself to walk away.

Behind her, the woman bouncing a crying baby
on one hip while a sucker sucking toddler
tugged at the back of her tee-shirt whining
he had to pee now, sighed. The red-haired girl
whose blue eyes matched the blue dress,
reluctantly asked to cancel the sale and
for her $35 back. She was handed a bag
with a dress and receipt instead. The man
behind the register smiled.

She rushed away without thanking him,
embarrassed. On her walk to the bus stop,
she thought about her prom date,
his easy manner and odd choice
of instrument: a banjo. She imagined
dancing in her dress, her hair pulled up
in a soft bun, dangling, fake diamond earrings
catching the light.

The first bang brought her out of her reverie
and she noticed she’d almost reached
the corner and bus bench.

The next pop made her turn
and look for the source of the sound,
now coming in a steady,
staccato rhythm, bodies falling
across the street from her in sync
with each volley. She ran and crouched
behind the cement and wooden
bus bench with two others, first looking
to where the shots were coming from,
and then over to where the injured
were dropping.

Across the road, a baby wailed
next to the unmoving body of a tiny
boy. Near the children, a woman
lay on her back, her chest rising
and falling unsteadily,
a widening pool of blood gathering
on the ground beneath her tee-shirt.
Her arm moved slowly in the direction
of the crying child, reaching.

As shots rang out, the safely hidden girl stood
and moved quickly to the injured woman
and children. “Are you okay? Can you move?”
she asked, as she lifted the baby
into her arms, noticing the
lollipop still clutched in the lifeless boy’s

“Get down!” the woman groaned,
her face reshaped by pain and fear.
The girl laid down on the hot
asphalt between the woman
and the body of the boy. She placed
the baby near the mother’s outstretched
hand. As soon as their skin touched,
the child quieted.

The Ross bag still hooked
over her arm, the girl reached in
and pulled out the $36.79
sky-blue prom dress,
balled it up in her fist
and pressed it to the hole
in the young mother’s side.
She curled her body tightly
around the baby’s, red hair
falling over wet cheeks,
and waited for her future.

NaPoWriMo Day 21

Gen Next


Sometimes you need to move seats,
change your view, to change
your mind.

I’ve spent 25 windowless years
in a heavily windowed building.

The work done gives me glimpses
of a different world, one much
kinder and more caring than
what flickers on television.

I see hope on the papers
I push. On display: small hands
and hearts about to alter everything.

Don’t fear the message of the moment
being broadcast … or the messenger.
The fleeting old. They are already lost.

Who I work for matters most.
I put my trust there, in their
Snap-ing fingers
and inclusive composition.

Sometimes you need to move.

NaPoWriMo Day 20



You wouldn’t know it from the photographs,
moments chosen so they wouldn’t forget,
not to deceive. Corroborative images showing
that they smiled and laughed. Incontestable
evidence that despite assiduous heartache,
joy and hope burrowed in and fought
to regain solid purchase.

NaPoWriMo Day 18

Misery And A Flower


We are only allowed
the immodest nosegay
that is springtime
for a few remarkable
weeks. The glorious
overlapping fragrance
from an opulence of blooms
unfurling from tree branches,
pushing upward
from the loamy soil,
awakens hibernating
senses. I cannot grieve
properly in a garden.
I cannot hold misery
and a flower.

NaPoWriMo Day 17