gone fishing…

greetings.  on the small chance you haven’t guessed by looking here, this blog is no longer actively in service.  it served well in its time (and really I mean you, the many of you who participated with me in a variety of writing communities).
thank you.  no interest in the story of why or what changed to put this blog to sleep.  so it is.  however nothing new will be posted here.

what’s here?  most of what was written 2009 – 2014.  some good (hard for me to say), some not much.  thought of editing out my notion of “lesser” poems, but I’ll let that go.  there’s some merit in transparency.  and writing is a process, not a single result.  and the process paints something of the community engagement, which is always a part of what poems mean.

do I still write poems?  yep.  but the process is different.  I am different.  I am seven hundred miles from where I used to be.  judgment is pointless, but it is different being here.  I produce poems less often.  I am less willing to write for the sake of craft.  genuine honesty of self expression has more of my attention, whether realized so well or not.

there is a new poetry blog.  words were poems first  you’re welcome to visit.

neil reid


ears: bowls that fill without your hands, that left right mirror, generous.
sand: reasonable between your toes, don’t question obvious.
ribbons: scribbled in rock, gravel, dirt, feet, then too there’s wind making curls.
sapphire: mother’s color between fingertip thoughts, nearly sparks,
(ruby: the passion idea left behind while running from the flood).
starfish: when he got just rewards, bending over to steal stars from the sea. patience does.
Eugene: she was almost there, clueless from either lighted door.
rain: her waterfall hair, an island culling blues, yet I still said no. pigments dry.
the road: the ribbon the sea the sand, the crusade. a banner lurches to steady itself, touches earth.
memory: how I story myself.

neil reid © 2014 march

looking at poem

l o o k i n g   a t   p o e m
nose nose.  mirror close.
smell poem’s breath.  poem
breathes mine.  steam reveal,
fingers paint.  inhale, lay
motionless.  awake,
disguised under sheets.
poem inside, doesn’t sleep.
here, feel, dusty feet.
cat leaps onto bed.  unfed, leaves.
some poems too, closing their eyes.
mother father, child.  reflection bears
no fault.  if you had a thousand eyes
that’s exactly who I’d be for you.
language contains this bowl.  monarch
wings.  see how they heel counter
compass into lofted wind.  see
how poem measures itself.  knotted
twine that holds the sway.
some other sail, bent, bitten word.
what calls itself, newmoon face.
poem, mirror, me.
and when it stands alone, one breath,
the way wind breathes on leaves

neil reid © 2014 february

maybe possibly the first in a group, not so much “progressive” but looking to say what this poem really wants to really say. ie. if a poem could speak, what would it want to say? (without my help to stir up the mud)

go see the WWP prompt, if for nothing else save the video included.
about poems, about you

Seikou Yamaoka

wet brushes

wet brushes
open palms
walking beside reveals grey to grey
eyes drinking rain, one answer to thirst
color undresses, a falling cloud
robin’s egg blue, witness feathers
above canvas line-of-sight, on my cheek
standing in glass, water
dried paint becomes memory
laying down, here’s one stain
legs measure first day fog
begin to swim,
although you’d think, uphill
how do the handles lean?
toward, or away from you

bristles splayed arms wide
neil reid © 2014 january

a storm about four in the morning
indivisible from the shell of our sleeping house.
picasso windows shy to reveal their version
of night rain’s residue.
invisible hooves finding roof.  imagination
swaying neighbor trees.
my slight ears witness from a universe
far, dry, motionless, sheltered within.
one desire craves tea, blind.
waits the threshold, forgotten,

neil reid © 2014 january
I suppose. has it been a million years?, so gotta make a new category, “bad poems”, just for me. and the horse is about how high did you say? but it would have been 100 this year if William Stafford was yet with us here. worth remembering. worth even writing bad poems, so here. ~neil

beside the road near Mt. Shasta
assume words haven’t decided their meanings yet.
assume that field of stones are lovers teeth, and
what stone means or teeth or lovers, you don’t know.
your senses breath, unlike books, unlike words.
assume that field is earth and me and field, they
are the same.  and if you strode onto that field
there would be no waiting given leave.
assume the very air agreed.  wind written
into curving pliant skin.  another moon.
exposing meaning like rain unpeels.
and your belly, a white translucent thaw.

neil reid © 2014 january

2014 0102 reasons


reasons are so needless blunt.
your voice here, the warmth
of a match atop winter snow.
good to read. that’s a verb

neil reid © january 2014, numerics

might be a goal, but no, merely on the road to what is next, unknown.

We Write Poems

red wolf eyes
We’re excited to present you the Red Wolf collection, the first We Write Poems prompted-poem anthology.
This first anthology is the culmination of roughly three years of work – people writing poems in response to prompts presented at this site. So prompts and the Internet were the great enablers of the creative process by which these poems were written and shared.
The title of the anthology, “Red Wolf”, reflects the art banner of our site. We think it helps define who we are, who we want to be – poets who look to play a little dangerously, realizing the hungry teeth also of our natures, and with willingness in allowing risk. Real writing calls for nothing less. But then again, we’ve nothing against also having fun.
And because prompts played such an integral part in triggering the poems we write, we decided to feature the prompts…

View original post 294 more words

Nelson Mandela

how do we let you know

how do we let you know
the cat walked out the open front door. that was three days ago. then the phonecall letting you know. nothing more to do.
then four, then five. imagination calling out a name, a click of the tongue. not like a child lost, but barrels more than losing keys. now six. now seven. time gets pale.
then today, leaving for work, and how do we let you know? the cat waiting outside the black front door.
quick, set out some food in that bowl I’d set away unused. you come, you must be famished, you sniff, no thanks, you say.

neil reid © november 2013

let the oceans be milk

let the oceans be milk with the gathered light of old photographs
wrap me in a blanket, something soft. no box. something with your scent, the way coyotes recognize home.
do you think when dogs or cats circle their bed before lighting down, that what they are doing is erasing the history of that spot? that way dreams are more direct.
swift, these people inhabiting this space surrounding me. I’m so still. things to tend, no rush, my feet like fallen leaves on the ground. do you suppose dead folks decided to sit down for a while, then just thought they’d stay? even my thoughts are maple sap, my most busy right now, being you.
why is it eyes seem like windows to us? not figurative but literal. really. who do you see in a stranger’s eyes? maybe the earth is a lens. one moon soaking into light?

neil reid © november 2013
credit due. writers do steal another’s words. as I did with the title here, slightly paraphrased from a poem by Tung-Hui Hu, Greenhouses, Lighthouses. with thanks.

eating this

eating this
here, describe this meal.  burning
bread and crying cheese.  just like poems
are not about rounding words, but rather
fingering spoons.  hand to mouth and it’s
the motion that counts.  your hand inside
mine at the eating tabletop.  tell me how
it is your little finger moves, pull that string
to the beginning end.  tell me where the
nurture is.  cooking, we begin.  hunger
don’t mean what goes in mouth.
please or no, another dawn.  whether
or no, you think your hands assemble
a prayer, you do.  one cat whose nose
made home in my scent, dirty shirts
waiting turns on the closet floor.  did
she recall that first open door not lost?
and fed me wanting for months and
days.  here, here’s a mouth.

neil reid © october 2013
written for We Write Poems prompt Food, Glorious Food by Pamela
with thanks and credit to Dylan and his mom Liz for that phrase, “crying cheese” (cheese crying). please do read her post about her autistic son and how his experience reveals something new about our regard for language.

thanks Nicole for leading me here. I hope someone else can thank me here, my turn sharing this post. much worth listening from what this mother and writer has to say.

found in a museum attic somewhere I don’t know
there’s an old tender touch shirt, red dimly
in the shadowed sky-blued glass above wooden
floor. it creaks upon meeting your feet. oh yes,
soft patterned, it’s flannel, that’s what it is.
was it mine or hers? yet there upon her contours
that dark mountain grove where kissing discovered
itself, and fumbling at buttons beneath the fleece.
standing night trees said nothing but blind.
eagerness wanted to become something more.
it didn’t rain till morning then.

neil reid © october 2013

accidentally written for Margo Roby’s Poem Tryouts: If You Build It

you know, if you’re walking in a museum and this or that thing pleases or interests you and all that is nice enough. then unexpectedly something becomes personal, and you recognize yourself in what you discover, find, not for the first time. like this. and pardon my being roughshod with this prompt, but it was just that one word, museum, that kept coming back to me. here, one very brief touch.


like an arrow only rarely, spent
bending bow or tense impending shaft
choose or not, you will, you do
soft soles no matter what
blister feet, turn aside, whistle midnight
and dawn, or a blanket drawn, out of sight,
just plain forget, trinkets in a closet box,
maybe wind on your face, doubting clouds,
thankful for shade, some say pray, some
meditate, you do, you don’t, another spoon
on the table, or resist, same meal in the
bowl either way
then there’s a mule on the road
here’s the choice, obstacle
or ride

neil reid © october 2013

for we write poems, the road, prompt by Pamela

me thinks, not so bad this poem if you only change the beginning and the end, oh yea, and rewrite that middle too. participation got the better of me. my excuse.

transparency, a conversation
what flower are you blooming in night?
water.  I rest beneath your sighs, enter, leave,
become the contours of your sleeping breath.
what purpose your scent, lingering?
that you remember me inside candle dreams.
dreaming what into my sight?
dreaming light.  light.  moon faced by night,
then cloud belly sky by day’s surrendering.
all dreams begin with some light inside.
what wandering sense, your words?
between your toes, what fingers thread,
thinking, not theirs.  devoted better leaves, stars
moons, binocular, listen.  falling.
what harbor where lines draw taut?
here before mother turned to grass.
follows father, fish beneath sheets, becoming
dawn.  eclipse.  you inside these lips

neil reid © september 2013

the rabbit and the moon

the rabbit and the moon
the rabbit rose early that eve, nibbling at the sliver moon.
I am the moon, rabbit said.  maybe moon won’t see.
the moon rolls into shadows.  playing with the day.
playing with the night.  he smiles, the way moons do.
rabbit nibbled at both the dark and the crescent, bright.
I am the moon, she thought.  maybe moon won’t hear.
moon pours himself into the sea.  closer now.
moon feels shy so he sings.  song becomes water,
raining stars into the ebbing sky.
rabbit hears.  she knows, moon was listening.
rabbit sees the moon in the sea, looking back.
rabbit feels the grass beneath her feet.  then
the grass becomes waves, becomes a song, then
the moon.  then her cloak, then her belly full.
now that you’ve climbed into sky, rain becomes
my voice.  I am the rabbit, sings the moon.
and here, beneath the empty sky, and then
the dream began.  closer now.

neil reid © september 2013

image: Lunar libration with phase Oct 2007, via Wikipedia in the public domain

too small to be a door

too small to be a door
the window was weeds because that’s what you saw.  the window was a ship counting souls.
the window sent them on their way, north or south, obvious enough.
although some walked on into the east.  west being reserved for falling gulls.  the window each day kept some of the sun for itself.  of the moon, it gave everything.
the window is a plate for spiders who are spent.  the window keeps no book of dates, yet soup is hot, poured into a bowl just when it’s due, ready to be sipped.  here, rest your feet.  windows are the last pocket you’ll ever need.
windows are the space between walls.  try calling them by names of your ancestors.  dead is not exactly what you think it means.
windows come home Sunday eves.

neil reid © september 2013

red skirt

red skirt
the girl in a short red skirt, reading those same familiar white shells, washed and burnished in years of salt, twice more than tides reveal.
sugar and lemons, someone danced as absence bleaches tender bones. the way sand is window to waves.
then, someone said then, and it all resolved itself.  the way sleep does and doesn’t do.
roof-top sun on drying stone.
earth don’t change.  sea don’t change.  even gulls.
yet put hand to where land ends.  you feel the difference.
     she was here.

neil reid © september 2013

adam’s apple

adam’s apple
a prose poem in ten parts
8 AM, fan pretends the day won’t scorch. purgatory rolls off the tongue. adam awakes upside down in bed. the usual.
the snake was just a dream he thought, but the apple was good. she even had a name if he could remember it now. he couldn’t. like ripe fruit, he fell.
word was on the tip of his tongue. remember that taste? lightning scratched on bare thighs. desire? if only he knew! 9 AM. he had to think about work.
a warm sand beach. what am I doing here? unreasonable, but shy about the serpent story, and everywhere he turned another apple burst into flame.
adam’s gaze lingers outside the bus window. placards at the intersection proclaim “remember me”. remember what? but he takes it personally. smiles.
she says to him, here be dragons. my life will be like a single breath. he lunges. smoke through his fingers. again. nothing makes sense. desire remains.
falling remains. dark, he remembers, no, feels like a twisting rope. two limbs surrender words. bright nonsense. he fills a book. lets go that breath cupped in two hands.
a blue boat with yellow sails. another made of glass, swans for heads. anomies between salt wet rocks. it was there from the beginning. desire’s waves.
what if the sky loved me, and I never guessed? is wind a kiss? more than thought, sensibility. in his pocket, a compass, circled by finger’s touch.
childless he thought. but words pour out. what began as a seed becomes a fruit. and the snake was always meant as a kindly cheshire jest. just like dawn.

neil reid © june 2013

Written for the We Write Poems prompt series the protagonist
being a ten part series by Irene, beginning with prompt 154 who is your protagonist? and concluding with prompt 163 found treasure Please go read.

First, with thanks to Irene for doing this wonderful series of prompts. Second, I haven’t written much of anything for several months. Don’t believe in writer’s block, but still, no poems had room to find place with me. Third, didn’t want to let this series pass without some contribution in appreciation. So my response, all ten prompts written in one brief prose poem. Dusty me.

not winter not snow

it isn’t winter. it isn’t snow. it isn’t visible.
no limbs broken in a turbulent storm.


      writing poems with beginnings, endings.
      no middle feet.
      meanings like waves, then gone.

smaller than a morsel of salt.
dissolved in a sea of words.
and drink.

neil reid © june 2013
comment: not writing a poem.

untitled love poem number two

lips finding me    e v e n   i n   d e a d   o f   n i g h t
mid-stride in thought, then    t o s s e d   a s i d e
rosetta flowers pressed    i n   t h e i r   b o o k
poured ladles wanting more    a s   e a c h
breath    e s c a p e s
lips and teeth and jaw
just that fierce,    b o n e   t o   p u l s e
fire    w a s   a   t e n d e r n e s s

coda pas de deux:
a kiss decades close    l a y i n g   h e r e
h o n e y   a s h e s   o n   t o e s


neil reid © june 2013



i s a a c

standing on the edge, the eve
seen from these eyes surely will
unfurl to be untrue, colored as it is,

and falling will begin to welcome
rising truth

the colors of far valley trees
the colors of our eyes, the mirror
bent inside itself

and falling will be the unshaken

meanwhile old coats old shoes will
fall away, inks will change their hue,
none of which I can say from here

write me when the apple lands


neil reid © april 2013


morning poem

morning poem

bright early morning sun taking turns with lumbering clouds overhead.
this morning wasn’t meant to be a poem but here’s what it is.

I slept in my bed again, rather than just where I happened to be.
there’s a difference between which floor you choose to sleep upon.

then again it matters
what you bring inside
into your dreaming self.

I listened to a native man on TV the night before.  His words well observed, sharp like a knife, bright like an arrow point found in the dirt.  But under the sharp was the dull ache of being hurt, a shaft broken that won’t come out.  He was a good heart, suffering.  He had no god.  Not ours, no matter that, nor of his people from whom he stood alone, but neither any plural he could feel of his own inside.  So he just had his beautiful words to live within, kind of lonely that way.

a scentless bloom.  truth don’t like sleeping alone.
neil reid © april 2013

Written for the We Write Poems prompt #151,  morning poem.
And maybe it’s my NaPoWriMo poem too (if one will count?)

But really, written for me. How long long since the last I wrote. Neither was I even trying and mostly this is from a conversation I was having, then thought, well it all counts, all the words, and shouldn’t it all be poems anyway. So here, a ball of mud tossed onto the wall.