Monday, April 30, 2018

Are You Awake Now?

By Jorge Barrios - Own work, Public Domain,

Are You Awake Now?

You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time. In our dreams we only see faces that we already know. As he was falling, he waited for the wings to spread. Falling dreams typically occur at the beginning of the night. Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination. King Henry VIII slept with a gigantic axe beside him. The nightmare was the same every time. Learning exactly how to control your dreams is a crucial part of lucid dreaming. You have no sense of smell when you're sleeping. Flying dreams are older than airplanes. One day he would fail to wake up before he crashed. If you die in a dream, do you ever wake up? Recurring dreams indicate the presence of an unresolved conflict. He hoped it wasn’t today. Everybody dreams. A man drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking. Can you think you are awake when actually you are asleep? Folklore suggests placing a knife under the foot of the bed. Are you awake now? Ancient Egyptians used slabs of stones as pillows.

GloPoWriMo Day 30 - a poem that engages with strange and fascinating facts

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Tap Root

Photo Credit: David Meurin Flickr via Compfight cc

The Tap Root

"I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there."
Sylvia Plath

I am the tallest branch,
the image in the mirror.
Down here everything is the same, just dark.
The earth is soft.
Here I sleep.
It might surprise you, but I dream in colour.
Here things long dead are transformed.
I am the mother of them all.
Deep in the dark cellar of my mind,
I imagine them.
Green leaves under a blue sky,
the pink blossoms, the fruit.
I hear them grow and bloom.
They will return to me, one by one.
They will fall long and deep.
They always fear the oblivion.
I would love to tell you that I bring them back,
just as they were,
but that's not exactly what happens here.
I am not sure you are ready for the details.
The miracle of life is a messy job.
There is dreaming involved.
Let's leave it at that.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Postcard

The Postcard

This is where you wait. I can see that much hasn’t changed. Waiting requires patience, as I am sure you know by now. You have been here for a while, I can tell by the colour of the paper. Good things are worth waiting for, you have been told, but you are beginning to wonder. You step off the pavement to leave, but your eyes are still on the street. The street has changed a lot, only the monument is the same. We call it The Horse. I am sure your name was more dignified. Yours were dignified times. You had real horses back then, which was nice. I wonder why the street is so empty and quiet. The police are there, maybe they are waiting for something to happen too. The man on the horse is showing us the right direction to go, but you can keep waiting if you wish. Everyone is allowed to wait as long as they want, that much is still true. You cast a very long shadow. The stamp on the margin claims that this is the exclusive right of someone named Wilhelm Goerka. I have decided that you are Wilhelm Goerka, I am just still confused about the meaning of this.

GloPoWriMo Day 28 - a vintage postcard

Friday, April 27, 2018

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight

This is a useful skill to learn.
There are many methods.
You could pretend to be somebody else.
Or, even better,
you could really become somebody else and pretend that you are still you.
Shapeshifting is another way.
You can turn yourself into a wheel
or a river
or a wolf.
Anything, really.
Or you could learn how to vanish,
disappear from the landscape completely,
then pretend you have no idea why the sun is crying.
By far the most useful skill of all
is to hide within yourself.
You might have to stay there for a long time
until everyone gets tired of looking for a deeper meaning
and accepts what they see
as the truth.

GloPoWriMo Day 27 - Tarot

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Process

Photo Credit: Lee Edwin Coursey Flickr via Compfight cc

The Process

You don’t turn into a pile of rubble overnight. There is pain involved. Cracks on the wall take years to show but you will feel them from the start. A slight itching under your skin, tiny wrinkles on your ceiling. A whiff of mould that only you will notice. Ants crawling over your feet, those mysterious cramps in your belly. And still nothing visible. Then the tiles will start to fall out every time there is a storm. Next, a hornet’s nest in your mailbox and tall grass where your driveway used to be. That’s how you become invisible. There will be more cracks and this time they will hurt. Your doors and windows will become unhinged. Draft will get everywhere and you’ll be forever cold. Once they stop visiting, it is only a matter of time. Time is relative here, it can take long. Now the pain will be constant. One by one, you will lose all your windows and then you will no longer be able to pretend that this is not happening to you.

GloPoWriMo Day 26 - images that engage all five senses

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How to Choose the Right Tree

By Bruce Marlin - Own work:, CC BY 3.0,

How to Choose the Right Tree

It is not easy to choose the right tree.
Some trees are so fragile a storm will uproot them.
You don't want those trees near your roof.
Some have a shade so dense they’ll choke other trees.
Then there are those that will take over
and turn your garden into their own turf.
Some trees will poison and kill their neighbours.
Others are greedy and always thirsty.
They break your pipes in search for water
and leave your back yard barren and dry.
Never plant a tree so close to your house
that it can thrust its roots through your floorboards
and spread its limbs over your windows,
and block the sun.

GloPoWriMo Day 25 - a warning

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What poetry was for

By Jefimija (c 1350. - c 1405) -, Javno vlasništvo,

What poetry was for

Embroidery requires good eyes and a steady hand. It is best done by an open window on a snowy day. The thread should be made of gold. Everybody knows that. This is how poetry was written back then. With gold letters on a red shroud. Or, at least, this is how women wrote poetry back then. Maybe it’s just how this woman wrote this poem. On a red shroud with a gold thread. A needle was required too. Maybe she pricked her finger, maybe not, we don’t know. The poem was embroidered on a funeral shroud. This is what poetry was for. Or, at least, it’s what this woman wrote this poem for. The woman was a nun at the time, though she hadn’t always been a nun. The woman's name was Jefimija. The funeral shroud was for a man who had died in a battle. The woman had her own battles too, and she fought them in silence, sitting by an open window on a snowy day. 

GloPoWriMo Day 24 - an elegy
This poem was inspired by Jefimija, the first Serbian female poet. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

This language is not for children

the wild horse of the dopaquel peninsula, scott richard
Photo Credit: torbakhopper Flickr via Compfight cc

This language is not for children

This language is not for children.
It will roll off your tongue if you don’t hold it tight.
It will break your teeth
and turn your whisper into a hiss.
It will knock against your skull as you sleep.
This language will jump like a wild horse.
It is easy to fall and lose your words.
Once free, who knows where those words can go.
They will sink into the ground like droplets and come back howling with the wind.
They will dance at the back of your throat and gush from your lips
and spill your innermost thoughts
for everyone to see.

GloPoWriMo Day 23 - a poem based on sound
I tried to capture the sounds of my mother tongue (Serbian) and was directly inspired by the poetry of Vasko Popa, especially this one here (read by the poet himself). You can read the poem and its several translations here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Pirates are back in town

Photo Credit: salvadorkatz Flickr via Compfight cc 

The Pirates are back in town

Time has come unhinged. Sitting on your threshold, beautiful and empty, you wait for the night that will never come. When the clock struck 15 they threw away your holiday souvenirs and those vinyls you kept hanging onto. They promised you eternal daylight. When the clock struck 14, they erased your laughter lines. These parades and carnivals are mandatory from now on. You know you will never be allowed to cry again. The sun is shining and this singing in the street is here to stay. When the clock struck 13, they took your family albums. They say dreaming is forbidden now. The time merchants seemed harmless at first, but once you started listening, you were doomed. When the clock struck 12, they spoke to you sweetly through the cracks in the wall. It doesn’t have to hurt this much, they said. You were warned to keep away from the windows and you really should have locked your doors. You knew the pirates were back in town and you should have known what to expect when the clocks started going backwards today.

GloPoWriMo Day 22 - "The clock can't strike 13."

I combined today's prompt with the Day 18 prompt ("First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. It might not be a finished draft, but hopefully it at least contains the seeds of one."). I went off-prompt on Day 18 and I really wanted to try this one out, so I revised one of my old poems. You can read the original poem, Time Merchants, here. I have to admit that I twisted the rules a little and I changed things around a lot during revision.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


First Daffodil
Photo Credit: BlueRidgeKitties Flickr via Compfight cc


I have worked hard for this.
This still water,
quiet and accepting.
This solitude.
This meadow where I grow,
golden and perfect,
My life’s work
reflected in this flawless shape,
this precious piece of art.

GloPoWriMo Day 21 - the myth of Narcissus

Friday, April 20, 2018


Parker Sonnet nib
Photo Credit: János FEHÉR (Aries) Flickr via Compfight cc


Do we need to decide on what counts as a sonnet before we start?  Must we first agree on its length, rhyme scheme and meter? Or shall I finish here and say that my work is done?

GloPoWriMo Day 20 - a rebellious poem

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It Happens

I am proud to say that I was today's featured participant on the NaPoWriMo blog with this poem.

It Happens

This is my GloPoWriMo Day 19 erasure poem.  I used this blog post from my other blog as a source. Here's what the portion of the text I used looked like before the erasure:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Who Was He?

Walking The Arches
Photo Credit: Alfred Grupstra Flickr via Compfight cc

Who Was He?

They found her diary under his bed
the day he died.
She did not recognise his face
or remember that they had ever met.
She had no idea when their paths had crossed.
They might have brushed against each other in a dark alley
or sat together on an evening bus.
They found her diary under his bed
the day he died.
He had waited twenty years to return it.
Everything about him was a lie
except this.

GloPoWriMo Day 18 - off prompt
I used this Random First Line Generator

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Curse

Siberian weather
Photo Credit: Dun.can Flickr via Compfight cc

The Curse

She believed
her neighbour had come back to haunt her.
He had taken the shape of a moth.
I don’t know what she had done to deserve this.
She moved to another town soon after
and got herself a cat.
You can never be too cautious.
The cat was feral,
which was probably good.
Feral cats protect you against evil spirits.
She had been cursed as a young girl, she said,
sentenced to this life
which wasn’t meant to be her life.
She was on the run.
She changed addresses often.
Still the curse found her every time.
It always came suddenly.
There would be a gust of air.
A door would slam itself shut.
The sky would turn grey.
There would barely be enough time to close the windows.
All she could do then was sit for days
and listen to the wind as it howled around the house.

GloPoWriMo Day 17 - a family anecdote

Monday, April 16, 2018

Hide and Seek

Day 076
Photo Credit: H o l l y. Flickr via Compfight cc

Hide and Seek

I have been hiding here for ages,
waiting for you to come.
Are you still searching for me?
Yes, I know I’ve made it hard for you.
I merge into the background too well.
I am not afraid to go underground
or sink to the bottom of the lake,
but you always keep searching until you find me.
That’s what makes it fun.
What’s different now?
Is my hiding place that good?
Have I finally made myself invisible?
Or have you got tired of looking
and moved on to a different game?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Dragon King

Lo Marraco
Photo Credit: Fotero Flickr via Compfight cc

The Dragon King

I have been thirsty for so long.
Locked in my barrel, in the twelfth dungeon,
I dream only of water.
I can no longer remember her face.
I loved her once.
I was a fool.
For, what woman could love a winged snake?
It's a long story,
but one day I ended up here
locked in a barrel in the twelfth dungeon.
It’s been years and I’m so thirsty.
One day someone will find me.
Maybe they’ll give me a glass of water.
After that, my strength will return
and I will take back what is mine.
Until then, I can wait.

GloPoWriMo Day15 - a fairy tale villain
Based on The Golden Apple Tree and the Nine Peahens

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Wrong Kind of Dream

Photo Credit: Mabacam Flickr via Compfight cc

A Wrong Kind of Dream

A rowboat, stranded and abandoned.
A ballet slipper left in the sand.
A seagull, searching for food.
A broken teacup and a wobbly table.
Somebody else’s clutter.
The Dream Book has nothing good to say about these things.
You will waste your money on false friends and silly trinkets, it says.
The hammer means that you are not appreciated.
The seagull is flying away, so your heart will be broken.
The Dream Book says bad things will happen in any case,
even if you dream of antelopes and dolphins, or ebony and pineapples.
The safest thing to do, it seems, is to refrain from dreaming,
or to limit your dreams to banknotes and diamonds, because those are lucky.

I used this dream dictionary (it is in Serbian and mostly makes pessimistic predictions).

Friday, April 13, 2018

If It Wasn't for the Wind

Foggy Morning
Photo Credit: Macomb Paynes Flickr via Compfight cc

If It Wasn’t for the Wind

If you are a bridge, everyone will step over you.
Pure gold knows no rust.
It’s no use flying before your wings grow.
If it wasn’t for the wind, spiders would cover the sky with cobwebs.

GloPoWriMo Day 13 - familiar phrases
This is a found poem and it consists of Serbian proverbs. I used this source. The translation is mine. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Cherry Tree

Photo Credit: kimagurenote Flickr via Compfight cc

The Cherry Tree

It is a good idea to believe that time is standing still. There are children sitting in the cherry tree. They do this every spring. The tree casts a beautiful shade onto the house, so it is never too hot inside. A woodpecker can be heard in the neighbour’s yard. The owls live here too, but they won’t let themselves be seen at daytime. It is even easy to believe that Mimi the cat still visits. She knows there will be milk every time she comes. There is that funny dog too. That one doesn’t need to be fed, he just wants company. There are other trees, but they are small. There are apples and medlars and plums and quinces. Quince flowers smell sweet in early spring. There are lilacs too, so nobody misses the smell of cherry flowers. Sometimes you do what you have to do, but if you try hard, you can easily believe that time is standing still.

And in the garden
the ghost tree grows, white blossoms,
cover the threshold.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Two Poems for Day 11

Photo Credit: jaci XIII Flickr via Compfight cc


Everything they know, they learnt from us.
They have seen
our last incognito search,
our secret digital diary,
those photos in our private files.
They are getting better at this.
They can already do a decent joke
and appreciate irony.
We are uploading our lives onto their servers day by day.
Soon they will learn how to dream
and our job will be done.

GloPoWriMo Day 11 - the future

Deal, No Deal

They told me you would grant my wish
provided that something was promised in return
provided that the promise was kept,
otherwise you would come and take what’s yours.
If my wish was granted, I would write you a poem, I said.
I was so smug about this.
I would simply do nothing
until you got tired of waiting
and took my poem from me.
I forgot how much time you have.
Apparently you can wait forever and,
no matter how much I procrastinate,
I can’t make you do my work for me.

April PAD Challenge, day 10 prompt - "deal, no deal"

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In the News

Four Oh Three
Photo Credit: Rusty Russ Flickr via Compfight cc

In the News

World’s oldest man turns 112.
Photos are helping victims love themselves again.
Why doesn’t dry meat kill us?
There's fear and uncertainty all around.
They are giving away thousands of trees.
Finger bone points to early human exodus.
Who else has your data?

GloPoWriMo Day 10 - simultaneity
Sources: BBC World Twitter feed and Good News Network

Monday, April 9, 2018

Princess Tree

Princess Tree

It is planted at the birth of a girl.
The fast-growing tree matures when she does.
On the day she marries, the tree is cut
and carved into a marriage chest for her dowry.
Its texture is smooth, almost soft.
A phoenix will land only on Princess Tree
and only when a good ruler is in power.
It is a persistent exotic invasive.
The beautiful flowers have a sweet smell.
The seeds are winged.
They disperse by wind and water.
They are not fussy about the soil.
This tree can grow from a crack in the pavement.
It can survive wildfire and regenerate,
but it will not thrive in the shade of another tree.

GloPoWriMo Day 9 - something big and something small
More about Paulownia (Princess Tree) here and here

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Maiden Who Was Swifter than a Horse

Photo Credit: Muffin_elfa Flickr via Compfight cc

The Maiden Who Was Swifter than a Horse

She wasn't born of a woman.
She is a snow-child.
The Wind breathed life into her.
The Forest dressed her in leaves.
Fairies taught her everything she knows.
They say she can outrun a horse.
They say she knows spells.
If you make her cry, her tears will flood the world.
When she wants to hide from you,
deep forests grow from her single hair.
Many tried to have her.
She melted like snow between their fingers.
Many died or lost their minds over her.
You knew all that, still you lusted for her
alone in your castle at the top of the hill.
You were ready on the day of the race.
She stood barefoot in front of your horses.
Many died in the flood, or got lost in the woods.
Some gave up, but not you.
You dismounted your horse, you took off your shoes,
barefoot, you stood before her.
You asked her to stop, in God’s name.
She waited for you and said nothing.
She let you lead her by the hand.
All night you rode together,
her arms around your waist, her head on your shoulder.
All night you talked to her.
In the morning, you arrived home
and there was no one behind you.

GloPoWriMo Day 8 - mysterious and magical things
Inspired by The Maiden Who Was Swifter than a Horse (a Serbian folk tale)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

When My Shift Ends

to stare at
Photo Credit: Francis =Photography= Flickr via Compfight cc

When My Shift Ends

Every day I do the Job.
My mother and uncle did it before me.
The Job is important, you make a difference.
I know that I am good at the Job.
Every day I dress for the part.
The costume is tight, the makeup is heavy.
Then there’s the mask, which is good,
considering how hard the Job can get.
At night, when my shift ends
and I come home,
I carefully remove it all.
The mask goes first, then the costume.
The makeup is stubborn, but there are ways.
Finally I stand, naked and faceless,
divested of colour, defrocked for the night,
myself again and so afraid.

GloPoWriMo Day 7 - what makes you feel powerful/vulnerable
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads prompt for Day 7 
Inspired by this picture

Friday, April 6, 2018

Two Poems for Day 6

Metallic ballpen tips / biro Ballpen Ballpoint pen in silver with handwritten random blue text on quad-ruled paper
Photo Credit: photosteve101 Flickr via Compfight cc

Not My Poem

Outside the cabin, the wind howled through the trees, while inside, the old woman's fire was nearly out.
This is a story about deception and it means nothing.
The old cabin had blue trees growing outside.
This poem was found online,
written by line generators,
then edited by Photoshop.
I know there’s no such thing as blue trees, but I believe that’s where the old woman lived
and I still believe I wrote this poem.
Some people can be naive that way.

The Menu

Cooking is easy. 
Once you have your mise en place of herbs, vegetables and spices,
once your meat is sizzling and your pots are steaming,
you can choose to follow the recipe or riff off it.
As I stare at this page, still blank, trying to think of something to make, 
something different from what we had yesterday, 
I wonder if I can cook at all.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Voice of Things

American Beauty
Photo Credit: Lee Edwin Coursey Flickr via Compfight cc

The Voice of Things

Just a ragged wind,
whining about
the passage of time,

lusting for things as they once were,
its fingers on their skin, its voice
their voice.

GloPoWriMo Day 5 - the procedure is a little involved, but you can find the prompt description here.  Inspired by this photo (All Rights Reserved, so I couldn't embed) and this poem.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Job

I Must Try Harder
Photo Credit: jeffdjevdet Flickr via Compfight cc

The Job

My textbook is falling apart.
The letters are fading and
I have lost the page with the key to
Exercise 7.
I forgot the word for “dog” the other day and
I misspelt “yolk” on the board.
I told my students they shouldn’t give me their seat if they see me on the bus.
There will be time for that.
Maybe one day I’ll carry a walking cane and I’ll forget more words.
Hopefully they will still be able to laugh with me or at me, as long as there is laughter in my classroom
as I grow old in this job which is for young people only.
If I worked at Hogwards at least I would be able to turn myself into a cat
and sew missing buttons onto my robe with a wand.
Because the eyes are the first to go and the job needs to be done.

GloPoWriMo Day 4 - concrete nouns and specific details

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Other Way

Photo Credit: yummysmellsca Flickr via Compfight cc

The Other Way

The end of time,
Generation 5,
bread and salt,
a fallout shelter,
a white button.

GloPoWriMo Day 3 - a list of band names. I used the names of ex-Yugoslav rock groups found here. The name translation is mine.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Book and The Reader

cat of many tails
Photo Credit: BPPrice Flickr via Compfight cc

The Book and the Reader


I don’t know when and where I got the book.
I can’t remember the time before I had it.
It has claws and teeth, it bites and kicks.
It is always hungry.
Every day I hunt to feed the book.
Every night it opens for me. I read.
It keeps getting thicker and thicker.
New chapters show up all the time.
Now I know I will never finish it.
This is the only life I'll ever have.
No, I won't tell you if I am happy.
And I can't tell you what the book is about.
Some things are better left unsaid.


I don’t know how I came here.
Someone must have sold me to this person.
She takes me out at night.
She opens random pages, searching for something.
She scribbles silly verses on my margins
and draws candles and spider webs in corners.
She changes the order of my chapters, tears me asunder,
then puts me together in random ways.
She sticks duct tape all over me.
Oh, the liberties she takes!
She interprets me,
adding new sections and changing the ending.
I can no longer remember my real name
and I cannot tell you what my story is.

GloPoWriMo Day 2 - rewriting an existing poem in a different voice

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Truth or Dare

Photo Credit: tomasfer Flickr via Compfight cc

Truth or Dare

Yes, I stepped on his toes.
And, yes, I did it on purpose.
He refused to move.
He just stood there.
He was blocking my only exit.
He did it because he could.
Old people are often like that.
I really needed to get out.
He wouldn't move,
so I stepped on his toes.
I did it because he was old.
You do that to old people and one day
someone will do that to me.
Because they can.
Because I could.
That's why I did it.
I didn't really hurt him.
No, I didn't look back to see,
I just walked out.
You can't crush someone's bones that easily,
even when they are old.
I am a good person
and I don't like your game at all.
Who gave you the right to absolve me?
I never stepped on your toes.
One day, when I am old,
someone will do that to me.
Someone always does.
Someone nice.
It's always the nice ones who do this.
I hope you are around when they ask my forgiveness.
What do you think I will say?

GloPoWriMo Day 1 - a secret shame

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A Cup of Joe

Ein kurzer Espresso in Peguera, Mallorca
Photo Credit: marcoverch Flickr via Compfight cc

A Cup of Joe

I was asleep when you came along.
Your bittersweet kiss awakened me.
Your warm embrace made me feel alive.
Now I am helpless without you.
Wherever you go, I will follow.

GloPoWriMo Early Bird Prompt - a love letter to an object