Words on Fire V2E3 [revised]

Words On Fire
…Imagineers of Pyrotechnic Poetics
Volume 2 Edition 3
( for March 15 – April 25, 2015)
We Didn't Start the Fire


  • Elusive Me
  • Mickey Draca
  • Late Night Mike
  • Michael French
  • David Kernohan
  • Moon Sonata
  • K. Leigh Thoma
  • Denise Baxter Yoder
  • Vicki Bashor
  • S.L. Weisend
  • Splaetos
  • José Coelho
  • Kristy Rulebreaker
  • Robert Horton
  • Rosa Bizzintino
  • Priya Patel
  • Frank Ramon
  • Weak Perfection
  • Fergus Martin
  • Obadiah Grey
  • Kelly Gunter
  • Michele Johnsen
  • Michael Veloff
  • Portia Burton
  • Birdie Rae Lee
  • and moderator, Rick Andrew
Nothing in His Sunshine by Elusive Me

With ease
He slips through the layers
Melting away the walls in places
Slipping between sub spaces
Like silken fingers, he traces
My pulse races
His fingers moving me on strings
My heart sings
Sliding me into his world
Pulling me gently
Damn he is like sunshine on a stick
Enticing, slick
Enchanting me quick
Melting with lyrical heat
Acoustic caresses to beat
Kryptonite terrain I want to explore
Want to know more
Play in his musical score

Doing nothing in his sunshine is my daydream.
He is my lullaby under the stars…

“Working with Monk is like falling down a dark elevator shaft” - John Coltrane,
untitled by Mickey Draca

Steel strings are pulling my soul
Towards birth of
Infinite fortune
Gypsies’ palms

I have breathed in
Poison of envy
Since childhood

My routine is
Stretch do not drink and eat well

I have been there
In butterflies’ souls

Queen of slipped

“All That Shit I Said” by Late Night Mike

The bottom of your dress
It is a mess
You ran about 13 miles
More or less
Coming straight
For my chest
Full steam
Fueled by all
All that shit
That I said.

Translation* by Michael French (*from The Song)

It is here
Long breath is needed
Only the Great Ones will reach
The small ones must wait for their return

The Season is coming
The time of New Life
There is a long journey
And the timing must be correct

There has been Death
The Song still rings the World
But there are fewer singing
I remember their Voices

When we go down
We will sing the names of the Great Ones
Those who have passed from the Song
Their echoes will show us the way

It is not down in any map;
 true places never are.
–Herman Melville

The Turning by David Kernohan

I used to look
For the seasons turning
Green leaves crumpling
Into brown
The airs
Cold kiss, caressing
Goose bumped skin

I used to look
For the turning
When days
Stayed under
Star lit quilts
Taking time
To wake

This year
The turning
Came to me
Those first leaves
Scuffed against me
Jolting me from
My busy slumber

I realised,
Nostalgia tinged
With sadness
I’d missed the turning
But the turning
Had not
Missed me

There is a
Turning, taking
Place in me
A wrinkling, precursor
Of the crumpling
Though pretence
Still works for now

There is a turning
A craving to cease
My busy slumber
And waking,
To watch,
In silence
This turning

To feel again
The still breeze
Of eternity
Flowing through
Time’s transience
To feel it’s kiss
Welcoming me

STANDING BY by Moon Sonata
Here I am
standing bashfully
in front of your gates
black hair slick with rain
and blue eyes, shining
shelter me ceaselessly
in the secret of your palms
and breathe warm breath
over my locked up heart
enfold all our faux pas
in a ragged overcoat
break through the shell
of worn-out words
and eclectic assumptions
illuminate the gloomy
pathways of my soul
invade me with your
Duality by K. Leigh Thoma
The silent house
Confined within its walls
Collides with the madness
Seeping from my brain
Time Spent by Michael French

I work a great deal
on the how and the why
The connection to the wherefore
and the whatnot
Tick Tock

There are hours
devoted to the question posed
Thought given
to the consequence
and the recompense

There are cultural issues
to be referenced
Consideration to be given
to the inputs and extracts
Respect for the facts

Layers of thought processes
are taken for granted
While the ramifications
get spelled out
And deal with doubt

The figures have to add up
Permutations lead to
And the exploration
of diversification

The objects have to be able
to be nailed down
There is a right way
a wrong way
and layers of grey

Then I take all of that
…..the entire structure
pieces still moving
elements hovering in the air
Place it aside with care

And ask how your day was.

Tick Lock by Denise Baxter Yoder
Tick Lock
Bound by clocks
Accessorizing my day
Time  wraps around my wrist
With a set alarm
To insist I not miss a minute
Of coming or going
Or staying or leaving
Or beginning or ending
Time designs memories
With enhanced story lines
Anklets of shimmering movement
Telling me I’ve been here
At some point in the past
Wearing a  tiara whose stones slip their mountings
Even as I’m lighter for every memory lost

John Coltrane, 1961

i feel by Vicki Bashor

i feel the
special words
and pauses

yet universal
references, ours.

i smile
when i read
his pearly scribes,

ruby glistening

never for me-
but for
the world.

Aching Heart by Elusive Me

I know not, who you once seemed to be
I feel not, the joy of you in my veins, endless
Even the laughter is but a weak hollow echo
For even thy shadows art friendless

Take thy grip from my fragile throat
Lift this worldly weight from my chest
Let me no longer breathe this insidious spell
Let my wearisome soul find rest

Unhinge me, that I may find peace
Release me from this ensnared state
Let my blood run cold and congeal
There’s an icy numbness that lies in wait

Unhook thy claws from my flesh
I writhe and groan, but I shall not cry
You’ve tortured this wretched soul weak
And my eyes, once wet run dry

Release me, to exhale my long held breath
Lift from me this memory, like a dove
What was once filled with promise, rots
Resembling not, what was once sweet love

The Miracle of Life by S.L. Weisend
If it weren’t for the might of time
and its imperative to nudge us toward the night,
we would never make it through the day,
but stay there forever staring at things,
maybe a sink full of dishes,
or an unopened can of tomato sauce-
and obsess about how impossible it’s going to be
to cook dinner before the children starve
and clean up the mess before it festers.
It seems everything we do to create, or maintain,
leads to some kind of destruction – at least – twice as great,
making us Sysiphi trying to build a life when life keeps falling away.
But, life doesn’t really fall away    that way.
even though the impossibility of our daily tasks
would lead us toward this conclusion.
Ultimately, we do get things done at a hare’s pace
and somehow manage to keep Zeno’s paradox
swept beneath the Oriental carpet.
And, for that, we can thank the infinity of stars
and their irreducible light
for proving that it is only possible to be impossible, and
completely impossible to be perfectly right.
Divinity by Splaetos
I’d spend my worship breathing sacred sin,
upon the silken secrets of your want,
in studies rapt, becoming the savant,
of coaxing from you sighs and all their kin.
Bedeviled by this hunger honed within,
of every blessed pore my tongue would taunt,
until your helpless climax was my haunt;
my life’s pursuit, to dwell upon your skin.
Yet truly, I would beg but one bequest,
to bathe my pagan heart in heaven’s care,
by granting me the gift of one embrace.
Enamored of your soul I’d cede the rest,
for but a moments breath within your hair,
and but your hallowed warmth upon my face.
As We Know It! [spoken word] by José Coelho
22 Cats Who Definitely Just Saw A Ghost1
Only Darkness by Kristy Rulebreaker
Your absence
is filling
with pain
my every cell
This tunnel
has no end
I want to
cut my veins
but there is
nothing there
I am afraid
You lived
only once
You loved me
only once
Now everything
you know
is darkness
Once you were
my brightness
Now I know
only darkness
Under A Larch Wood Bench by Robert Horton

Beside a limpid pool
Of mirror carp and tench,

Who dip and bob in rythmn
Within the moonlight drench,

Upon we, two parting lover’s
Whose hearts did sorely wrench.

A care not feigned, nor to have,
Not to stir nor make a sound

Asleep, with one eye open,
Laying silent on the ground,

Unhindered by our parting
Until, in dreams, we’re found

In the wrack and ruin of sorrow
Where to the stars we are bound.

Yet cruel, the moon and stars
Across the surface skim

Distorting our reflections
Among the carp that swim,

Kissing the stillness of beauty
Upon a desperate whim

Under a larch wood bench
Where hearts now flutter dim.

Poesia. by Rosa Bizzintino
Ecco l’alba,
ecco la luce,
che scende nelle strade,
che riscalda le terrazze
dai panni appesi,
in balia del vento.
E’ sui tetti,
sui vetri delle finestre,
che il sole accarezza.
E si spande,
e gioca
nei vasi di gerani,
nei prati,
nei fiori,
e nell’erba bagnata di rugiada,
e le sue gocce all’alba
sembrano diamanti.

Here is the dawn,
here is the light,
running down the streets,
that warms the terraces
from the clothes hanging,
at the mercy of the wind.
E ‘on the roofs,
on the windows,
that the sun caresses.
It spreads,
and plays
in pots of geraniums,
in the meadows,
in the flowers,
and the grass wet with dew,
and its drops at dawn
They seem diamonds.

Control No More by Priya Patel
He tickled my feathers,
teased and caressed them;
fanned the beauty of my plumes
perfectly, until I was the perfect
way he wanted me to be
and then trampled me to the ground
How clearly I remembered his sound,
his thunderous roar
with the hunger of a lion,
his hunger for my peace,
his insatiable desire
to have complete control of me
But I fought back;
perhaps only in the end
when all of my feathers
were but a wilted lament
of what was once me
I fought silently,
no blood or tears
and certainly no fears
I simply walked away
A timelapse of the Sun in 4K
Last by K. Leigh Thoma

The first breath you take
Is the beginning of the last
The silent clock keeps counting
Neither slow nor fast

A final time you see a face
The sweet kiss you receive
Did you realize it was over
Or was it too hard to believe?

The days tick toward tomorrow
The outcome remains unknown
There is no absolute to offer
Not always reaping what you have sown

The memory of a favorite song
With a lover or a friend
Did it cross your mind to think
That this might be the end?

The finale of a moment
The curtain slowly drawn
With you remaining on a stage
Neither the player nor the pawn

A bow toward the audience
A smile in the looking glass
Did you finally understand it
That every day begins your last?

igor morski_6 (1)
Paloma’s Eye by Frank Ramon
I went down to the ocean
and the ocean said
walk on my shores
and let your mother’s
hands guide you
and I was a childI went down to the ocean
and the ocean said
bring your children to me
and let them run in my coves
and I was a fatherI went down to the ocean
and the ocean said
I give thee life
and the wind at your back
and I was a sailorI went down to the ocean
and the ocean said
I have life that gives light in the dark
and in the depths of my distress
there was light in meI went down to the ocean
and the moon smiled
quicksilver lines on the waves
and I was alive
Beautifully Terrifying! Tornado
A few moments today by Michael French

He was standing there alone
On a sidewalk, late in the morning
The sun shining and mostly blue sky
Not much in the way of traffic
No one else
around that I could see.
He had white hair and a white beard
The effect, the first thought…
was Santa


One arm was raised slightly
while the other hand was at eye level
and the look on his face….
I have no way to describe it except…
And it stayed that way….
for long seconds as I drove by
parked and walked across the street
And he remained, the expression as well
The effect, the first thought
was Madness


And I use that word intentionally
as it was like the breaking of a spell
He turned, took hold of a cane
and began to walk slowly
back toward the building…
a Hospital
There was no trace of what had held him
so captive just a few moments before
The effect, the first thought
was Pity

But then

I took a few moments to stop
and to look up at scudding clouds
skating an azure vault, alive with birds
The first day of another Spring….
The Equinox

I will make no claims to understanding
and would not wish insanity on anyone
However, the effect, the first thought…
was Wonder

Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves”
― E.E. Cummings

TICK TOCK by Weak Perfection


“Paint a picture for me;
Draw with your words.”
He whispers as time moves
More quickly and more slowly than ever before
Odd, isn’t it? Time in love.
Gone in the blink of an eye
But drawn out, savored, enduring.
I look at my feet in the midst
Of forming a sentence.
Opening my mouth to speak, but he speaks first

Tick tock

“Tell me a story;
Can I see what you think?”
Did time pass from one utterance to the next?
My. Goodness.
So much time.

Tick tock

So little time.
A storyteller? Me?
An artist? Me?
I am thinking. I am remembering.
I do have stories.
Focus, focus. You have thoughts.

Tick tock

“Are you alright?
Would you rather not talk?”
“No! I mean, yes. I’m alright;
I want to talk. I’m sorry.”

Tick tock

I need to speak; I’m so foolish.
So many thoughts that aren’t words.
Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Tick tock

He sighs.
I’ve wasted so much time
Trying to mentally articulate prior to speaking
And now our time is up.

Tick tock

And a single, silent tear is all that remains.

3 poems by featured moderator, Frederick Andrew


oh where to begin
or not
for to begin implies an end

perhaps it’s best
to stay afar
and savor what could be

anticipation is
an agony far sweeter
than the ashes
of a fire gone cold

 threadbare hearts

threadbare hearts
are often clothed
in wardrobe harlequin
the patterns and the colors
give the lie to
where they’ve been

and form a shield of comedy
about the weakened thread
upon the point of parting
which would lead to being bled
of the little life remaining
‘neath the manic, grim facade

threadbare hearts
so chafed and worn
deserve a second chance

the weaver and the seamstress
distant cousins to the fates
may sort between their charges
and transcend the bitter past

darning one from threadbare two
a garment that will last.



a study of the universe
its constants and its laws
is said to give us insight
when it doesn’t give us pause
and pause is just where I am stuck
as deadlines loom and tasks accrete
and things that I should care about
rain with an unrelenting beat


the speed of light is constant
independent of the frame
time’s the rubber band
upon whose snap depends the game
depends a pretty potent word
hangs cutlery above
and us the game above abyss
await a little shove
or snip
it’s only details in the end
the rest’s the same


so time or its perception
often stretches and contracts
to preserve the constant speed of life
through waters calm and cataracts
the cataracts like pinball bumpers
endless pings and ticks and tocks
we bounce between considerations
attain no purchase only knocks
emerging in the waters calm
we left less than an hour before
to find what has in fact elapsed
a week a month a year or more


and finite is allotted time


that’s Deity’s punchline


“Devi Prayer” by Jenna Rivera

“Insects And Silk Sheets” by Late Night Mike

The warmth has left your cheeks
The sugars on your lips
Lost their sweet
A long time ago

Your eyes went empty
Grey and alone

I can feel your ribcage
Taste your marrow
And kiss your earth covered bones

Listening to you sleep
Still bones lay gently
With insects and silk sheets
In the ground below

ILLUSION  by Birdie Rae Lee
She is full of anger, overcome with outrage
He played her smooth as a virtuoso violinist
Working on a standing ovation, sitting center stage
Secretly smiling, believing he is the grand illusionist
His melody full of lies and deceit
Sounded as though it could make angels dance
How can something so mendacious sound so sweet ?
Blindsided by love ,her only view was askance
His encore is done , he sits down his bow
The beautiful devil in his disguise
that the lady now disavows
For every note played was a move in the game of lies

Flowering by Portia Burton

After roaming in  lush meadows
Under the indulgent eye of  sun,
We lay happily among  tall grass,
Pressing our bodies into the earth,
Giving our laughter and whispers
For keepsake to the blades of grass…
We never knew when we became plants,
And our kisses blossomed into flowers,
To give off the fragrance of our love.

Poplav by Michael Veloff
(in Croatian dialect)
zhivimo danas u poplav
dan po dan
noc po noc
nema dihati
nema zrah
i bogatstvo na chamce
ne bi dal nas kruh
(English translation)
we live today in the flood
day by day
night by night
no breathing
no air
the rich in their boats
would not give us bread
14 - 12

The Stone by the Stone by Kristy Rulebreaker

Decorated with chewing gums
Unwashed for days
The city asphalt
in many shades of gray

In vertical the huge
stained glass
with the “Sale” sign

A carton somewhere there
in some ragged hands
with the sign “Help
my kids have no bread”

Some unique and old
motorbike attracts
attention of passers-by

The stone by the stone
The stone on the stone
The big city wall

In the corner near it
isolated, thin
the city tree

Moonrise 2:41am by Michael French

The window at the top of the stairs
faces south
I don’t know what woke me up
That pale light coming in at
that narrow angle
moving so slowly

That immense clockwork

My thoughts go to those
who originally mapped those
Meanings were invented
The timing does have real effects
but not the ones they said

Half the orb visible

Odd to think of the back of the moon
the part that we never see
except on video
Fully lit like the part
we do get to see
Once a month

A day, if you are there

But I am not
I am standing at the top of my stairs
at 2:55am
Thinking about patterns
that run my life in ways…
and in terms of that big clock.

For such a short time.

“Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.” 
― Khaled Hosseini

Dandelions by Denise Baxter Yoder
Dandelions fuzzily fierce
Natural brilliance
You weather the fields
Under rays of the sun
Ready to roar
Bright little soldiers
Not outdoneBright little soldiers
You weather the fields
Natural brilliance
Not outdone
Dandelions fuzzily fierce
Ready to roar
Under rays of the sun

Emily And The Silvery Moon by Robert Horton

How voluptuous your were,
despite your appearance,
Strutting your stuff
like a beauty sale clearance,
Yet wholly unattractive
in that plumage hat
But I was and am smitten
and that was that.
A bit of
an old has been,
With the airs and graces
of a theatre queen,
Mutton dressed as lamb
you bowed to the crowd,
Over pretentious
yet immensely proud.
Emily, Emily,
your make-up becomes you,
In the dark your image
is still and true,
The morning
will never be your friend,
So to you,
my last penny I’ll lend.
Buy yourself
an eiderdown quilt,
Stay in the hovel
where reputations are built
And I will play you
one last tune
For old times sake
and the silvery moon.
Buy yourself perfume
befit a bride,
There’s been so many chances
all denied,
And now Emily,
as you sleep safe and sound
The curtains are drawn
and the clock unwound.


I watched from the window by Vicki Bashor

I watched from the window
as water kissed water
in a collision of memories-
the long legs of rain
slipping into the lake,
the handsome expanse
holding her heart and home
and he took her back
as if she’d never been gone.


The Missed Kiss by Michele Johnsen

I miss wanting to kiss you,
When your words drew your portrait,
That of a man
United with the passions and suffering of all humanity,
That of a spirit
Winged, wise and free
The surviving sage of a thousand ancient lifetimes.

I miss wanting to kiss you,
Before the curtain rose
And your acts performed your non-fiction story,
That of a beast that consumes a woman’s curves
And the softest parts of her flesh,
With no taste for the true primal feminine,
Spitting her out
Before ever knowing the sweetness of her essence.

So please, don’t kiss me,
But oh, how I miss wanting you too.


Impossible Fights by Kelly Gunter

The aching annoyance of pain
Pricks on the edge of consciousness
Waiting in the shadows of doubt
To lead a lost thought astray
Weary limbs move erratically
Missing intentions cause chaos
One mislaid emotion that brings turmoil
Nothing makes any sense now
In this dark hour of confusion
The body fights the intruder
Failing at every turn to eject
The foreign body that wreaks havoc

The foreign body that wreaks havoc
Pricks on the edge of consciousness
In this dark hour of confusion
Nothing makes any sense now
Missing intentions cause chaos
The aching annoyance of pain
Waiting in the shadows of doubt
To lead a lost thought astray
Weary limbs move erratically
Failing at every turn to eject
One mislaid emotion that brings turmoil
The body fights the intruder


“Couch” by Late Night Mike

I’m still in the jeans
I wore last night
Her and I
And our abilities
She stopped me
From reading her
In her bedroom
She blocked me
From dreaming
As I slowly fell into sleep
On the couch

Fiddler’s Green by Robert Horton
Keep me near
Where I want to be,
The Tudor taverns,
The lapping sea,
Where I can breathe
The salty air
And remember ships
Tall and square.These old sea legs
Can stand no more
Upon the decks
Or a foreign shore,
So a tot of rum
And a quart of ale
Will do me well
Before I sail.Sail not the oceans
Nor across the seas,
No trade winds blow
My breath the breeze,
But to Elysian Fields
Of aquamarine
Where old sailors dance
Upon Fiddler’s Green.


Giving Parts by Kristy Rulebreaker

This is not
about the sound
nor about rhyme
or not to rhyme

This is about
giving parts
of my soul
to this world
where the souls
love to hide

I took the courage
to show mine
and now you can
rip me apart

Lao Tzu

The Boy with the Hazel Eyes by Weak Perfection

I met him in the midst of disaster,
That boy with the hazel eyes.
His smile. And those eyes.
They shined and glowed and would read me,
A talent possessed by one.

The boy with the hazel eyes
Unaware of what he’d done.

See, I was young and reckless,
But that boy with the hazel eyes
Was calm. And had peace.
He embraced and subsided and would hold me,
And I felt no need to run.

The boy with the hazel eyes,
Unaware of what he’d done.

I laughed in the years to follow,
With that boy with the hazel eyes.
His warmth. And that grin.
It stayed and invited and wrapped me in delight,
In a game we both thought won

The boy with the hazel eyes
Unaware of what he’d done.

And all along the process,
The boy with the hazel eyes
Gained my heart. My trust.
He loved and restored and pointed to faith,
His father’s beloved son

The boy with the hazel eyes,
Unaware of what he’d done.


“Phoenix Of A Liar” by Late Night Mike

The pages worn and red
Ripping through the bindings
Until her fingers bled
As I look on quietly
From inside of her head

The words are too short
And the pages too long
As I look on quietly
Allowing the story to go on
Making her remember
Everything that went wrong

Her tears set fire
To each stained page
I am the phoenix of a liar
Rising from the memories
Of where my words lay


“- Ergo sum -“ by Obadiah Grey

There is a brilliance
in the darkness-
that only the blind
will see.

There is a symphony
in the silence-

a heaven – for me.

But a breeze amidst
a storm at sea
this precarious spark – we,



Fractures by Fergus Martin

Coffee cup nurtured at the kitchen table
Pining over moments that are gone forever
Drowning in the sorrows of distorted memories
Haunted by the shadows of living nightmares

Lost, in a moment’s madness, the world unravels
Time, the perpetual healer, is losing this battle

Simmer on a cocktail of internal conflict,
Picking open sores of a fractured conscience
Seeping wounds feeding on delusions torment
Hidden in the darkness of tainted reason

Overdose on memories
That write their own obituaries
Overload on bitterness
Smothering the innocence
Words that have no alibis
Words that only paralyse

Shattered, the soul cries

Broken, the heart lies


The Magnificent Seven [Moderators/Co-Owners/Co-Editors]:
RC deWinter
Chris Flegel
Uma Venkatraman
Mary Macharia
Arthur Turfa
Frederick Andrew
Michael David Saunders Hall (aka the 21st Century Griot)
BigUps & Much To All Contributors. Remember: the poet tree will be streamed…so, let’s forever indulge in the balance of delicious agony and suite ecstasy of our everlasting leaves, always writing what the moment recommends to infinity and beyond. Till next time, Write On/;-)
©2015 Words on Fire (in association with AfroDamus & the Conscious Matter Collective).


  1. Reblogged this on Wandering Words and commented:
    Some absolutely wonderful pieces in this edition of the e-zine. I’m always amazed when my work appears alongside the work of these people.

    #poetry #prose


  2. Reblogged this on Stevie Lynn and commented:

    I am proud and excited to have my poem, Miracle of Life (pasted below), included in the last edition of Words on Fire along with the time work of several of my writerly friends. Please check it out!

    Miracle of Life

    If it weren’t for the might of time
    and its imperative to nudge us toward the night,
    we would never make it through the day,
    but stay there forever staring at things,
    maybe a sink full of dishes,
    or an unopened can of tomato sauce-
    and obsess about how impossible it’s going to be
    to cook dinner before the children starve
    and clean up the mess before it festers.
    It seems everything we do to create, or maintain,
    leads to some kind of destruction – at least – twice as great,
    making us Sysiphi trying to build a life when life keeps falling away.
    But, life doesn’t really fall away that way.
    even though the impossibility of our daily tasks
    would lead us toward this conclusion.
    Ultimately, we do get things done at a hare’s pace
    and somehow manage to keep Zeno’s paradox
    swept beneath the Oriental carpet.
    And, for that, we can thank the infinity of stars
    and their irreducible light
    for proving that it is only possible to be impossible, and
    completely impossible to be perfectly right.

    Liked by 1 person

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