Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #487: Praise


In Praise of Allyson Rey Kelly

There are licorice lollies & Turkish Delights aplenty
for the President & Executive Director,
a little bit of this & a lot of that
for the other VIPs–
these community organizers
who meet & make Big Things happen
for the little people.
Ms. Kelly’s uniform is a stiff, navy blue blazer,
her lunch,
a cup of coffee hastily made by her eager assistant
& a grab-and-go sandwich,
grabbed & gotten by said assistant
on her own time.
Her life is serialized into board meetings–
after the other
In place of family photos,
there is a flattering caricature of herself
on the cover of South Alabama magazine.
Torso-sized & framed in silver,
the headline reads:
Allyson R. Kelly–a disciple of our time?
She laughs at all the right moments
& at all the right things
& with all the right people.
Her words are measured
as if she is making a souffle.
She does not understand the little creative writer
who sits at her desk quietly;
she cannot conceive of why she writes words
that do not inspire others to give money
to someone other than the writer herself.
In her world,
there are big raisers, big givers,
& those who serve both.
Allyson doesn’t bleed
but hemorrhages all over the pages
the writer gives to her,
for she is a little christ,
bleeding for the sins
of the little writer
whose words–
written all in fun–
will never compete
with all the good A.R.K. makes happen
with the words she speaks.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 487


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #483: On (Blank)


On Writing

Writers are like chemists–
the combination of words they choose
can either cause a person
(or group of like-minded persons)
to implode or explode–
& that’s before these readers even get
to the comments section.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 484

#Micropoetry Monday: Opposites


He was Shakespeare,
she, greeting cards.
She saw in him,
a man who took himself too seriously,
even as he saw her as a woman
who didn’t take herself seriously enough.
He exposed her to words
that meant something,
even as she exposed him to words
that had once meant something
to someone
on their best days &
on their worst days.

He wrote love stories,
she, romance novels.
Each believed the other
to be inferior—
hers in literary merit,
his in marketplace value,
though they both practiced
by doing what they loved.

She was finishing school,
he, vocational.
She made rumors people used
for the detriment
of their peers,
whereas he made things people could use
for the benefit of them.
When she decided she wanted
to “go slumming”
by trying someone new,
he told her that he only knew how
to work with wood,
not stone.

Truth is its own magic: A Mother’s Day message


When you’re a mom, some of the things that come out of your mouth may sound strange:  “Don’t chew on Jesus,” “Will you just hurry up and poop?”, and “Stop putting chicken on your head!”, are some of my greatest hits.

As I was getting my daughter ready for bed the other night, thinking about what I wanted to read to her (praying she wouldn’t mention Minnie, as in The Mouse), the Beatitudes of Jesus came to mind.  I realized then that I’ve spent so much time reading and singing to her and teaching her the things she will need to know to get on here–like letters and numbers, saying “thank you” and not littering–that I hadn’t focused much on the religious part of her education.

Thinking back, that’s exactly how my parents raised me.  For them, church was something you needed if you were an ass.

When I was in high school in the nineties, a lot of kids were self-proclaimed “Jesus freaks,” wearing “True Love Waits” rings and WWJD bracelets.  There was a lot of talk about the rapture and born-again virginity.  Church was their social life, Praise and Worship music their vibe.  Some of them even carried their Bibles around at school.  

Just as Felicity (remember that WB show?) followed a boy to college, I, a freshman, followed a senior boy to his church.  One evening, after service had ended, we sat in a pew as he led me through the salvation prayer, and I was like, “That’s it?  Are you sure? It’s that easy?”

I had been expecting a feeling–a total transformation like Saul’s to Paul–and now I wonder when Jesus told Doubting Thomas that (and I paraphrase) blessed are they who don’t see but believe, that “see” could also apply to “feel.”

Four years later, I joined the Mormon Church.  All the good feelings I had expected to feel when I had gotten saved, I felt then, but who isn’t going to feel good when they’re around so many friendly people who open their hearts and homes?  Even though it’s been years since I sent my name to Salt Lake to be expunged (er, removed) from the records, I will admit that the Church made me a more spiritual person.

In the Church, I was taught that the glory of God is intelligence and yet, according to these same people, for those who had mental challenges, the devil could not touch them. 

To my understanding, a lack of mental capacity (e.g. intelligence) saved a soul.  It seems contradictory, and yet, it somehow makes sense to me.

As I gaze upon my child, I see that light and intelligence.  She knows so much more than she communicates, which can be frustrating, but I have learned to overcome the need to explain why she is the way she is to people who don’t know her–to explain why she doesn’t respond when people ask her her name–but then, I have had several people who’ve taken one look at her and ask if she’s autistic.

I may never know how much she understands, but I do know that I will teach her everything I know and believe, whether it’s that adverbs are the enemy of good writing or that respect doesn’t have to be earned but it can be lost.  (You don’t disrespect people until they “earn” your respect.)

I’ve striven so much to give her a magical childhood through imagination and storytelling.  (Children’s author, Nancy Tillman, is a master at this.)  Nearly every night, since my mom passed from this earth, I ask my daughter to tell Grandma “good-night” and “I love you” and to blow her a kiss.  And then I seemingly catch that kiss in midair, letting her open my hand and take it; sometimes I place my palm on the crown of her head–a blessing from Heaven.

Of course, I don’t really know how things work up there, but part of parenting, for me, has always been teaching truths with just a pinch of magic.

C.S. Lewis did that very thing with his Narnia series, just as I will someday do with mine.

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: Stop/Don’t Stop #aprpad


The Pursuit of Happiness

Never stop pursuing your passion
because if you do,
it will always be a temptation
that will never be satisfied,
for any writer worth their saffron
will find the time—
even after time with family
& time with friends,
time at work
& time working out,
time with feeding the head
& time with feeding the mouth,
time spent sleeping
& playing
& running errands,
for those who love to write,
there will never be enough time,
but those lovers will make the most
of the time they have—
in the waiting times
& the lunch times,
in the television times
& the alone times—
the last of which they cherish,
for it is in that time
that they don’t feel like
they are taking it
from someone else
who needs it more.


Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #28. Theme: Remix #aprpad


A Truth Told as a Lie

When the hustle-bustle of the day died away,
and her cats had been put down for the night,
she poured out her frustration onscreen
through the filter of her stories,
as told in the third-person,
where she drafted the opposite of the fake memoir,
making her more of a truth teller
than the memoirists with their selective memories.