Posts Tagged ‘2010’

far sighted

prompt # 033
Say what you want…
by staff@wwp

Write a poem about what you want.

far sighted

see with the eyes of a dog.

take that walk across the street.

broken doubts can wait by the curb.

I want a boat and tree, escaping town.

I want to fall under the wheels of your fuzzy face.

I want to scratch eager chins.

my willing belly awaits rolling affection.

I want every dog and cat on the street,

running water under the road.

I want you to lick my face.

no, I don’t mean dogs and cats.

I mean raining you.

I mean without a hat.

I mean winter skies exposed.

I mean every touch, every drop.

I mean everything counts.

some waves look like birds like clouds.

unabridged beneath the pier.


notice how our language leans.

meaning with all your words.

meaning with all your blood.

meaning with all your breath.

graze the field full of moons.

fill the bowl, bring your spoon.

the delight of homeless dreams.

meaning nothing much.

meaning every glance.

each brow the roof of truth.


I want your poems.

tuck them inside pillow seams,

where gulls proceed a storm.

I want wet kisses.

meaning you.

I want your smile close.

fly where eyes go underneath.

I want the sky like breath becomes.

that’s not a lot to ask.

see with the eyes of god.

neil reid © december 2010

Want? So easy to think, less so to say. Another poem that feels somewhat drafty, this one. Not trying to answer any great scheme. Merely one moment that came into view and grew from there. I’ve got boxes of stuff; I’m not impressed. One simple face more fills my sky. But how do “we” relate? What lines emboldened by language keep some distance close? (Ha! Even this comment could be better writ! It’s been a too long stretched out week.)

Of poetic form, I wanted to keep a simple map. Thanks Elizabeth for a poem of yours that sent me this way, although this is still more verbose as yet. Smaller can be bigger too.

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the pursuit of happiness

packing for mars seems the perfect thing to do,
more than over the moon, a fortnight at least away,
a perfect disunity letting the garden go to seed

turn your back and everything goes to rain,
falling deeds, erosion’s hoe, blankets scattering
soft sleep on a hard carpet floor

the preface, it fills one person’s looks,
meaning not what but how they see, you see?
riverbed pebbles being merely consequential history

we eat the world, a long long thread of it,
no body an island, yet water all around is the root,
real truth just as sprouting from an open palm

a hand sewn meal rising and tucking back
inside water’s shoreline face, constellations
we name as memories dot for dash

so we’ll lay in sweet socks and brimming full
only those delicate memories of no consequence,
just ripe for unknown harvesting arms

a bottle of breath, a loaf of shoes, a comb for
remembrance, an empty bowl for sleep, two hats
for heading east, pen and paper, words to map

come to my bedside at the end of all things
and I’ll tell you, unashamed, how it was to drink
and pass the cup, lips to lips, satisfied

neil reid © december 2010

Might be a part one, so it feels to me. I’ll have to leave the window open, see what else might arrive. Didn’t so much want to list what might be more obvious, but rather just let play the thoughts beneath those other thoughts. Getting lately in the habit of packing my bags, considering what honestly matters most to me. (yea, and always gotta make room for socks!) And wouldn’t we like to go to “Mars”? (even if it ends the way Ray Bradbury suggests)

prompt # 032
The Pursuit of Happiness
by staff@wwp

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possibly this

prompt # 031
by staff@wwp

Write a poem about love. Where and how you find it. Seems simple, huh? Well…

possibly this

maybe it’s in plain view at the boundary of
knowable possibility, seen from inside the flame.

maybe like your socks or like your chair, gravity
seems likewise unconditional, like fingers will do.

maybe like your bed while you sleep,
maybe like your favorite fork.

maybe it’s dark matter and we’re mere guests
in a greater blink of an eye with more to learn,

more than what we have added up.

maybe like dusty skin illuminated by summer talc.
maybe like clockwise romance that isn’t yet ripe.

if I say, maybe symbols aren’t enough.
maybe it’s not about me at all, nor even you.

maybe it is rain on your face, hat left home.
maybe it is a second chance stray cat in a box.

do I give you air to breath? any more than
fish make the great seas wet? and yet,

maybe I’m just a messenger at best.
maybe when I say I love you

it is like the mirror sky. inside each breath.

neil reid © december 2010

So, a poem about love that doesn’t use that word. Seems like right in a way to come in through the side door perhaps. Less obvious to see what is (or isn’t)! And like many, seems only a first page of more that might become. (Honestly, I have a pretty clear understanding, but how to say that in a poem… that is less obvious for me.) (I feel myself “participant”, rather than “owner” if you will.)

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shaggy dog socks

shaggy dog socks

I’m reading backwards today.
like maybe what already is will change
again. or is it just pulling the sock
inside out?

same sock, just different flax
awash in mirrored thought.

like saying excuse me please,
but there seems to be some lint
on your blouse just there and there.

nimble fingers with a wish
all their own. And she just smiled.

clever enough, I wish I’d thought
of it first. or even last. hormones
don’t listen much, that smell of cookies
fresh warm from the oven.

not what you’d expect from a
newborn load of laundry just out
of the dryer.

and still, that one missing sock.

neil reid © november 2010

some poems don’t care to explain, just speak their piece and walk away

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prompt # 029
by staff@wwp

Write a poem about swimming. Simple as that. Seems simple, yes, it does. I even had a moment fixed in time. But the words didn’t want to be pronounced (or was that me?). I’ll leave it to the poem to say what changed.

don’t swim, so

this is the poem that doesn’t want to swim

used to think calm and melancholy were my requirements
(to make words float) like water and flailing limbs

used to think it was because my arms weren’t enough,
too thin (to do), and all that mattered was, be invisible

or maybe it was her fault (mother, that was a word)
so no surprise that day (after school) when

she announced I was gonna learn to swim and
(you might now be amused)

I gave her “the finger” (backed into a wall),
how dare she make me visible!

not even knowing what it meant,
(only that it was bad), small gesture changing

not even shame (funny reflection, huh?)

and what significance now? (none)
don’t even matter if you read or if I swim
(I do)

buoyancy (more than merely good idea)
because I do float (as struggle don’t)

even when words don’t have a clue
water is easily amused

neil reid © november 2010

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I’m a dolphin gone fishing south
a bottle-nose in my ear, listening dear
every contour visible
swimming hungry near your bed

I’m a school of tuna on the hoof
a post-graduate silver tongued flutter
sniffing creekside close
one hundred mirrors to the foot

I’m an ol’brown bear knocking at the door
a rambling paw scratching in the dirt
savory roots in shoes
raining fingerprints upon your face

I’m the big black crow you gave a crumb
sitting on a wire like a fence outside
the nature of eternity
I’ll brood eight hundred miles patiently

give me honey-milk to comb my coat
stroke what might be yours for a song
lay face to face in the dawn
there’s an old road at your fingertips

I’m the soup beneath your spoon

neil reid © november 2010

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prompt # 028
Color Me a Wordle!
by Nicole Nicholson
Read the full prompt and poem responses by other participants.

This week’s WWP prompt is a colorful “wordle”. Use all (or some) of the words you see in the image below.

random loaves cooling from the oven

give blood wisdom (it begins like tattered clothes)

resident life divine (truth defined by “is”) (and “is not”)

know mockery (read broken crockery, mosaic, amused)

night wine   ancient hour (evading face forward glance)

forgotten life within (awake, that’s the prayer) (awake!)

forgotten death within (would we be surprised?) (implied)

(in white, every bride) (your face sleeping bright)

(warm bread with cool butter) (perfect light)

(fish and loaves) (mending threads)

neil reid © november 2010

Process journal:
Maybe something of a change of pace from the prior prompt. I just let this poem, this “wordle” fall like leaves, not intend for it to be anything other than what fell to the ground. Mostly just free image association, but of course nothing is completely “unattached”. I did however want the primary words to stand more by themselves, see what meanings they might imply, not “try” to force a cohesion of my own.

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Pony tales

Would you love me if I was Chinese?
Or one of the Mongol horde fresh from the Steps?
Would you love me if I was a November bird
plump and ripe? Cranberries, gravy, right?
Would you love me if I was a humble-bee
trying to land atop your nose?

Would you love me if I wore a monkey sock
on my head? Or maybe the monkey itself?
Would you give me bananas through the bars?
Would you love me if my hair was long and
grey and tied in a pony’s tale? Or if I had
not one bare shiny posy to my name?

Would you love me if societal rules said
walk ten steps behind or before depending
on geography? Could I carry you?
Would you love me if I washed your feet
in oils and bitter herbs? Or if I was the
raging passionate island volcano god?

Would you love me if there was only one cup
of coffee left in the world? Or no chocolate?
Would you think me sweet on your tongue?
Would you love me if the price was to write
me inside your poems, one each and every
solemn day? Dress me in your vowels?

Tell me, do I get the pony ride?
My smile is written in your hands.

neil reid © november 2010

Don’t blame me. When that girl wore that monkey sock wool hat on her head, that simply took over my day, set the mood to wandering near and far. Is it my fault that made me smile?

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prompt # 027
H e a l i n g
by staff@wwp
Read the full prompt and poem responses by other participants.

Write a poem that heals.    So states the prompt:

This means directly, immediately. Mind, that we’re not asking you to write “about” healing. Rather, look for and allow the poem to be healing in and of itself. We acknowledge this may not be an easy prompt. Maybe you’ll look, you’ll write and not feel you have reached where you want to go, not completely. That’s alright. Consider it a beginning.

In preface I’ll only say, only ask, that you take this poem at face instruction.
It is intended for you to read it aloud.  ~neil

Read this poem aloud

This is a healing poem.

Read this poem aloud.

Meaning is in what we pronounce.

Let us say what we mean to be.

Sky is inside this poem.

Doubt falls like rain falls.

We lay together, water soaking in.

River is filled, swallows us whole.

Sun, moon, we hold these mirrors.

Child, let us open our hands.

Every breath knows the possibility

of pain. And. Every breath heals.

Hold nothing more than a moment.

Mother, hold us to your breast.

Wise sayings heal nothing.

Saying does. Speak to me.

Feel your voice make waves.

Inside of you. Into the lips of air.

Feel the vibration spreading.

Listen. Beloved, feel our voices.

All movement is one motion.

More than mere sum, it is one.

Read this poem with your voice.

What you say has meaning here.

Read this poem aloud.

This is a healing poem.

neil reid © november 2010

Process journal:
This was a particular challenging prompt to address. It is one thing to engage thoughts and write “about” healing, but a whole other animal, one that is a real and living thing, to write a poem that directly intends to produce healing. How ever does one do that?

I considered some my own thoughts and feelings about doing this, then also did some searching and reading on the topic. In that second regard it became quickly clear that such study would become a whole second career. And I didn’t really feel study of that sort was going to answer the question for me, not personally, of how to do this seemingly improbable thing. That meant I would need to rely on primarily what I already could sense, my own experience, and what some meditative regard would suggest to me. (That’s what you have in this poem here.)

The clearest sense that arrived for me is simply stated in the poem’s title – read this poem aloud. Not meant as any poetic “device” or art of “craft”, but directly as a means of creating energy and movement. Illness tends to pull a person inside themselves. Illness tends to reduce the ability to see, reduce movement and outward participation. So healing is then encouraged by movement outwardly and more awareness of self at a very elemental level of engagement. That was the key realization for me in the process of looking itself as well.

Does this poem accomplish that? First answer is, I don’t know. Yet if you ask, here, this is my answer today. I do feel at least for me that poems are about more than merely craft or some art for only art’s sake. I would like them to have more meaning than only that. And this is about as directly physical as I know how to write a poem addressing this improbable yet intended result. It is what it is.

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Questions of a sleeping bed

How long can an arm be raised compass north
before pillows are asked to surrender their root?

Then there’s the issue of how river wide the
night window will be allowed to yawn.

No quilt no blanket tossed toward feet. Bare sheet
will commence. Fire kindling starts first under skin.

Arms legs like restless burnished oars stir the soup.
What gradient meters dream’s first sentences?

Eddies awake transient fireflies of thought shy
by day, yet how many remain in one sidling grasp?

Names only visible behind bright sight, threaded
beads. Open your hands, do they dissipate?

Seems a thousand words, but all, one by one,
stand alone, meanings too. Torso navigates.

What purpose then our simple math?
Time indivisible? Can if be only one o’clock?

Must be some water inside feet, already breathing
like a fish, open mouth, flopping on the deck.

It all made sense until first foot touched the floor.
True language of sleep is lost yet again.

Will I ever see, even dim, the full meaning
of being me between shared sheets?

neil reid © november 2010

Not only dreams, but anything inside closed eyes is hard to keep on the tongue more than brief once feet touch the floor. Sleeping with someone beside after months and months of sleeping alone, I can only approach tangentially now. Second night is nothing like the first, is also true. Elusive me!

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ferryboat crossing

ferryboat crossing

gull on top of sand

sand on top of preening shore

shore on top of feathered feeding

feathers on top of cormorant curving neck

cormorant on top of placid waveless sound

salted ocean limb on top of serpent coiled mist

mist on top of farside shore

far grey procession on top of snowed summit teeth

brilliant white on top of rock

rock on top of swimming lifted clouds

sky held in place by wind water rock and gull

wet sand beneath my feet

here I stand

servant eye

neil reid © november 2010

Might perception be linear? Directly in experience (meaning to say) not later, inferred by memory. How so then, does it organize itself? Not so simple to envision afterword, as here, to write the words. Even stacked, it spirals upon itself. Object and background interchange.

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Do poems burn?

Do poems burn ?

Words like to keep me awake.
They are not really so polite.

They land from the sky the same way
bison do. Not wise to divert your gaze.

Sometimes they laugh, maybe smirk,
sometimes jump right into the pan,
bringing their own kindling along.

Yet oft only a spoon’s full falls
no matter how much salt I shake.

Sometimes it rains whole words,
but that’s only seasonal whim.

Or campfire days in the wilding woods,
and surely bubbling phrases will arise
if only there’s some birds for broth.

So, do poems burn?
It’s cold this morning. I hope they do.

neil reid © november 2010

Making empty my pockets here. Back from two weeks apart from this one home (a moreover better home away, but not yet to keep). Some say there’s no “excuse for vacationing”, that it’s just another place, not another life. Suppose I agree. But writing is a little fussy for me I have learned; I like my usual chair, my usual routine. Till that arrives new found, here are some few that came along for the ride back with me.

And all mere things here do also sit aside a dear companion in some considered pain yet unresolved. I’ll write, because that’s what I do. It is largely what I have to offer you. Although honestly I’d be as happy or more just to go fetch some milk from the grocery store. Honestly.

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Gone sour

G o n e   s o u r

Maybe the milk’s gone sour.
“Here, taste it”, we say.
We think that’s a joke,
a ploy on our better senses.
But only our tongue will honestly say,
and only afterward.

Someone is going over the side today.
The rope will be let go or cut or fray and break.
Or they’ll just plain let go, what’s left of them.
It makes only minimal sense
inside the boat we call alive!

A good sound sturdy rope seems imperative that way.
Some study the craft, some hope for the best.
Either way, read, don’t read, it’s a long book to navigate.

And all the while, hands
are like scissors too.

neil reid © october 2010

So, what do you think, feel, when the brand new adopted cat is wonderful in all regards but one – she won’t eat. (And it’s not even my cat. One step removed is not near far enough!) So here too I am, in the pot. Still too early to say, soup or stew?

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What mother doesn’t say

What mother doesn’t say

Conform to a contour of sky, allow to cool, pronounce a name,
given thus – a fool in paradise. A purposeful fit found by inches,
by words. Some might say, doubtful grace.

Holding sentiment kin to heart. So slight then the word frayed
by ambling hooves as can render sight by such applied discord,
cast like granite – trembling.

Doors were never locked when the grass was first short.
Then I remember quiet private words above my head (not
a child’s choice). There are strangers in town.
Nothing same after that.


Here, take this poem, bury it in the dirt. Tell no one.
Forget where, yourself.

There it can welcome wet threads and grow long whiskers
and someday feed the world again. One word by one word.
Just the way it all began. You might call it, rain.


What matters, a mineral tongue given free vein, is that
eventually everything, every motion, every sigh, buttons
in hand, undraped torso set loose on the wildness, and
all, all she does becomes fascination’s plum.

I’ll steal anything to see her that way. Even this!
(Did you think it was mine to own?)

How oft has even the moon been so stolen, pocketed?
And each morning, there it is, fading to dawn.

neil reid © october 2010

Bury this poem in the dirt. Good wisdom here I suspect. Not meaning disregard, but just good farming sense. And “drafty” by either count.

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I’ve hardly written at all of late. I rub, there’s sparks, yet no flame consumes. Well, there’s an excuse, being busy rightly so to other concerns. Even so, excuses don’t much satisfy. I miss poems that follow me home. Then this painting arrived on the scene. Right one I guess. (And yes, abstract! My cup of tea.) (So’s the poem too, abstract. Abstract like listening without getting in the way.) I thought calm was in short supply, but rather perhaps I was holding the wrong set of crayons instead. Here’s the poem that arrived, changing color and form into words.

letter from a painting on your wall

you came up from the earth
you climbed on ribbons of color rock
you wore crimson radio activity
you painted history
you will be written about by archeologists years from now
you allow rivers like blue steam
you call out loud and seagulls scream

me, I open a mouth like a cloud
me, poems on the left, pens on the right
me, rain sweet soft black
me, a cumulus pyramid pointing down
me, abstract, a perspective in one hand
me, like a high green sky
me, drinking mountains in oregon

we have lightning storms
we have the great flood in our eyes
we gather dust, make coal fathoms deep
we sleep beneath bright roses red
we march forth at dawn
we wear nile reeds for feet
we respond to every touch

We lay on the walls making love

Children will come with open tongues

Stars orbit this question we pose

neil reid © october 2010

With appreciation:
Words lifted from the painting, Two Ways to Organize, 2006, Leslie Shows.
acrylic, charcoal, metal, mud, rust, and collage on panel, Collection of SFMOMA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (October 2010)

wonderful ingredients!

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Evening mail

E v e n i n g   m a i l

Sometimes into your evening comes an email like this. What to say, that’s hard to say. But rather something than nothing, don’t even care if the gathered words make a good poem. Sometimes that just shouldn’t matter.

You get the news of nothing’s bloom.
As predictable as any car crash down the street.
Unexpected noise. Clothes on the laundry line.

You interject, it is only ink. Or less.
But not so much little less as another made.
It comes, it sits on my lap like some cat.

How unextraordinary.

Here’s the part that burns like a match.
When someone dies, that means one thing.
When it is by their own hand, meaning
is draped in silence, lips unmoved.

Half a hand. Meager mean pen.

I wanna write a poem. I trust what words
imply. Let pigeons loose on the roof.
Find home.

Circled flight.

And it is. Whether I speak or not.
But what shame not to bleed once more
life just exactly what it is.

I want that poem writ that says better
right. But what better words now lost.
Two fewer ears to receive.

Some lack of grace, but this poem now
don’t want to end

not even to be polite

neil reid © october 2010

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Cheshire bemused

Cheshire bemused

Jagged teeth make bipolar
words, scattering

Is there a question
about honesty?

Here’s a rock
Me more soft easy to rend

I want calm
no matter storms

said enough to make believe
myself (repeat) (like brakes?)

Hours making boxes swell
Good she said in quotes

yet these ragged tatters
amend, suggest nearby edge

shape (see) meaning

How do they relate?

some full shallow dish?

no not pain just self
in a new pair of pants

is dangerous word
sweet like a spider bite

dare tattle in dirty clothes

when the surprise resigns

what would I say, two
years old

Then maybe I’d be
the storm

no quest about

just wonder
raw, dripping in light

neil reid © october 2010

What to do when poems don’t wanna be done, just a smattering of first words? Busy mind leaves little room for much else. Dare to write what comes anyway? (Not all, not yet.) Nothing but rough edges on draft, then did more to remove than much else. Basically I don’t know the result. More childish would be better said than is – just a hint.

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Dear Dad, this letter begins

Dear Dad, this letter begins

Dad, I wanna be a writer.
That’s how I wanna spend the dime of my life.

Funny cause you never spoke volumes,
well, actually, nothing at all (to me).
But abstinence spoke.

Would you say, be practical? You weren’t.
I’m the image of your photograph, dot for dash.
And a fool about money, but not that dime.

You were too, weren’t you dad?
Gambled that winning was worth the price.
Did you bow your head as you left the table?

I wanna say all the words you couldn’t keep
in your pockets, that never gained your lips
marching on their way to silence, gone.

Got me a willing dictionary and some ink.
I wanna fill ears with rightful regard.
Shall I also sign your name to the card?

I wanna say what mom didn’t hear from you.
Meaning what she didn’t have by ear to repeat.
She really tried, working hard, no complaints.

Said to me, do what you want to do, but
could’ve been more right if she’d meant
it for herself as well. You could’ve said thanks.

That’s the pudding proof.
I mean to say it all. I mean to write,
and like mom, no complaint.

Stumbling don’t matter. Fear don’t matter.
Shyness lost count a long time ago,
along with half my hair!

No matter now. What I don’t say but know, that does.
That way you made my life exactly shaped as I am.
Even vacant ether connects. No walls, you see?

Wasted my own share, like you, same for same.
But I still got a dime to my name, same as yours.

So dad, I wanna be a writer and give that last coin
a better toss. Heads or tales! Surprised?

Your son.

neil reid © september 2010

Not an epiphany, maybe nothing at all, maybe enough, maybe a first volley. Hard to say. Dad was a ghost, alive but gone – all I ever had was his name and a photograph. But can empty space even contain meaning all the same? I never knew the man in any other way. This is the first writing I’ve ever directed his way. And neither “poor me” in any way, not meant at all, yet space too does make a difference, so fair to take a look, announce myself even if he didn’t stick around. Just a small gamble I suppose!

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WI Prompt 22, September 25
prompt topic: Whimsy
Please read the full description and prompt responses.

Write something whimsical. Very well. As you wish.
My turn, blowing out the candles on my archaic cake!

Poems on the verge of being writ

The lost art of undercoating sentences.
Living the large life of a dog below the pier.

Splash-water bones, old man of the sea.
Sand-castle fishermen, whole grain toast.

I used to see the puddles, now I see the splash.
Big boy talk, showing off like a child again.

Sleeping right through morning doldrums.
Ten alternate recipes for self-doubt.

Spray paint poems, pros and cons.
Solvents for repetitious thoughts.

Part religious journal follows swiftly here.

A decadent chocolate cake on the floor.
Despite the swelter, think I’ll have another bite.

Which I do by the way, bite I mean.
But I’ll smile and say thanks very much.

Hope that will satisfy iconoclastic dreams.
I believe in the whimsy of you and me.

neil reid © september 2010

Postpartum description: Well, whimsy to me includes the absurd. And such this poem is. Nonsense makes sense to me! Or at least good company. A break with the doldrums, or at its best, playful too. Here offered in that same sensibility, besides it was my birthday, so I get to have my way at least for the day!

The “puddle” line I lifted from a television commercial about cars, and my response to that sentiment used that way.

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prompt # 020
Exceptions To The Rule
by staff@wwp
Read the full prompt and poem responses by other participants.

Rules are made to be broken, some would say. Tell us about the rules you are willing to break, or not. What rules do you see carved in stone, or not. Any golden rules? Or how do you feel about others and their rules. Simmer, and see what poem comes. (Such was the prompt.)

Exception to the rule

Take one step forward. I didn’t.

Didn’t seem to disqualify conventionally.
Just that one unstep left to me.

Set loose the dogs of war. Slowly.

Took years of quandary to address.
Dire results either way perhaps.

Real consequence.

One I was willing to suffer, one not.
One marriage on the side, foolish counterweight.

An angel who saw and said the better truth.
Made the dogs surrender their bite.

Never happened, he said. So did they.

Not dismissed, rather, full measure expunged.

A lesser bitter after-taste I wondered about,
bare beyond that public field of debate?

Then one day a man shook my hand,
said, let me buy you lunch!

Honestly, that felt as odd as all the rest.

neil reid © september 2010

Process notations:
Obtuse, I know. Doing poems on the dime makes for unexpected results. This one is yet some uncomfortable to write. Obvious. (And my thanks for this prompt.)

Are you my generation? You’ll more understand (one way or the other way perhaps). Came a day when they said, son we want you to fight. I was perhaps agnostic at that time (no longer so), uncertain of near everything, yet one rule that seemed right when read to me, Thou shall not kill. Never heard an exception to that rule. No fight, no run I wanted to make, only one stance to adopt and so I did – refused to step into line. About as scared as I’ve ever been, but what other choice? Thus my stance and consequence.

More personal than political, although our actions do produce what result they do. Longish life as its been has taught me not to caste judgements so easily – of anyone, yet also that first I need answer to my own heart. Maybe admitting this might make you think the less of me? Yours to say, not mine. But ask me about “rules”, and here’s what I remember first. Maybe some rules are made to be broken. And others to be tested by the measure of our lives. ~neil

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Two thirds

Two thirds


Two-thirds of who we are we don’t know.

Don’t even know one whole first name,

just a fraction bitten in.

Red reveals ripe inside. And white.

(Same as dark.)

Darkly mattered they say, but that’s only

like saying “Smith” to the universe.

What it means really is, we don’t have a clue.

Could be Fred, Ethel, or Ginger, even God

I suppose. (Somehow that comforts me.)

To hide right in plain sight, delicious disguise!


(This two-thirds invisible.)

(Although it just might explain everything.)



neil reid © september 2010


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Circling Mount Kailash


(Another day in the rocks.)

Maybe I did read all these pages before!
Didn’t mark my spot yesterday.

Thought by now I was into fresh clear words again.
But then, there’s a passage I know I read last day.

Lost in tattered breeze like colored flags.

Wanted to underline in ink, but didn’t.
A hardbound book – is that my rule? Only paperbacks?

But it’s not about preserving paper, it’s about
retaining the track. Understanding wants to fill the bowl.

A better student I imagine possible, need to be.
Here’s my pen. Here’s my hand. Eyes to see.

Easy to fall asleep on the freeway driving home.
It could end (tear, wither the bloom) just like that!

You don’t have to fall off a mountain to loose your place.
Any ravine will do, especially an idyl thought.

Following is not a passive path.

neil reid © september 2010

Suppose like real life, doubts, stubbed toes, plenty of rocks and what to do? Exclude nothing, no editing what lands in my hand. Landslides do happen. Observe how life moves, unexpectedly.

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Circling Mount Kailash, i.

Circling Mount Kailash


I have always imagined myself a childless man.
A man without any enduring consequence beyond myself.

Just myself. Just one man. My best, my worst.
My singular joys. My singular sorrows.

What matter if one day, no dawn?
Surely my cares would wash away.

Honestly, I always imagined myself alone.
If another, more like a cereal box illustration than real.

And if painting the room is unfinished, what difference?
No wife, not even a cat, so who’s to care, including me.

Might not wear that like a flag, nor any pride.
Yet scratch aside the sand and there’s one mask.

So am I honed of that mask or bare, one face?
And poems aren’t writ for art, but for sake of

a genuine life, a better heart. First step.

You’ll know when it reaches you.

neil reid © september 2010

Circling Mount Kailash. Just a distant second-hand participant. This high climb even to approach. The reality of that would likely be the end of me. However, listening here, my life is yet real enough, this part I’ll keep for now. More of where and why I’ll leave for another time, another page, and now mostly the words of a poem will begin. Only slight to say that looking near the face of god, truth becomes inevitable. One circle begins.

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prompt # 019
Begin With Music
by staff@wwp
Read the full prompt and poem responses by other participants.

Take one lyric line from a video song given (fireflies) and use that as the starting seed for a poem to write. Simple enough, and can go anywhere of course. (Song credit and youtube link given below.)

Rush rush rush. But pressure is good sometimes. Here, an odd flashback memory, and oh so serious at the time. Maybe I yet cringe at bit at my once depth of shyness, but aptly thought a first title now might be “nothing serious” in glad contrast to the event. (If only I’d had even a clue, once upon a time!) The way memories are, here strung together mostly continuous without much glue. And just the same, left open at the end (story not yet done). Just a spoonful here, about twenty minutes worth. That’ll be one E-ticket please (shamefully dating myself). Care to dance?

Ten million fireflies

   make bright out’a sight

should I let go my grip
as they try to teach me how to dance
knuckles near white, back of the bench
cafeteria cleared away
boys to the south and girls northernly
no I won’t, won’t dare to say, so
please no, don’t ask, bitter joke
of course. No one does.
already estranged from
my own gender kin, and
now their’s as well, complete
except as obvious, I’d by then
already gone much farther south
away away, shy boy, no space
empty hands, and it would be
years later when

neil reid © september 2010

as they try to teach me how to dance, lyric line from “fireflies” by owl city
Link goes to the youtube video.

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prompt # 018
Need to Know Basis
by staff@wwp
Read the full prompt and poem responses by other participants.

Write three attributes of yourself, important for someone else to know. Write three attributes of another person(s) or group you know about them. Having those, tie the two lists together in a poem.

This wasn’t so obvious or easy actually. I imagined myself and just one other person; that simplified it some. Culling just three, and three that had some meaning was still some challenge – and how personal to get? Magnify that some for the “other” person imagined here. Wrestling those in turn was actually the easier part of the prompt, although I used a some fanciful and abstracted restating of both positions attributes. They are here intermixed, sort of almost a third unison of persons I suppose. Think this is a prompt that might well be addressed again and again, getting to better illumination. But as it is, so be it.

Thimble and needle

Like sparks, like something is broken.
Dare to look, even more to say?

Words, hands, old worn tools in the box. Red rust.
Words are like paint; brushes spread them about.
Splashes will do like continental pioneers.

Edges of maps imply more than otherwise said.
Somewhere witches just might be real.
Confusing sometimes, holding all of that.

Meals on the counter know how to combine
but like me, they like our company all the same.
Wild roots, rambling limbs, all genuine.

Some maps will conspire. Others remain
tattered in another room. Odd moments
assemble themselves.

Stories only suggest bare ideas.

neil reid © september 2010

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