June Theme – Nightmare

It looks like June’s theme got some creative juices flowing! We have a nice selection of submissions based on the creative trigger: Nightmare.  Scroll down to see this month’s offerings.  Leave some comments to let us know what you think!   Thanks for participating everyone.   Good luck with July!




From  Tyler Call – piano improvisation:

Click here for music.




From  Alisha Geary – poetry:



By Alisha Geary


Rise through darkest slime,
extract of fear—eager demons
claw. I slide through the grasp
of talons—shards of shadows with
raw red edges.
Words echo, scream, sing, dig
at soulstring’s tender 
fleshy heart.
Evil lurks, breathes in curl of ear
sits on shoulder, stains footprints
that try to rise 
and rise 
shatter like light streaming in through
morning’s window—




From  Denise Mutch – traditional painting:





From  Shar Abreu Petersen – spontaneous poetry:



by Shar Abreu Petersen

in between
living in the world of 
what i have
watching the one 
i want
it has more 
so much more
but less
what i have 
is what i want
am i not satisfied
one’s not 
just different
now can be




From  Cyndal, age 12 – drawing:

“Tiny Nightmare”




From  Ginny Tilby – poetry:

Devil’s Mine
by Ginny Tilby
Once upon a time

You traveled to Devil’s mine.
He presented you a cave.
Only your toes felt brave.
His eyes widened blood red.
“Go inside,” slow hand motions said.
You walked on until a rat
The size of an overgrown cat
Flung to your feet from behind a rock
And screetched, “Give me your right sock!!!”
Frightened, you dashed to the left
Running hard, quite out of breath
Your brave toes soon reached a hole
After you jumped, you watched your soul
Floating softly away
Blank, cool, and gray
…………..THUMP and draaaaaaag.
You lifted your eyes to find what was had…..
“Good morning Sweetie”
Mom sang as baby Jimmy
Clumsily crawled up your bed
“Phew!  Just a nightmare,” you said.




From  Stewart Craig – digital painting:




From   Kenna Hennefer Rieske – concept sketches:

(Kenna has been ill and promises to submit a final creation when it’s finished, in the meantime, here are some development drawings:)





From  Cyndal, age 12 – traditional painting:

(Cyndal was ambitious this month and submitted two pieces!)





From  Catherine Lehnardt Hess – photography and poetry:

I used to dream of alligators, crocs, strong tooth filled jaws.
They’d chew my brains and leave me dead just before I woke.
They slowly morphed to grizzlies, black bears, claws, and fur and fangs.
Chasing, climbing, reaching, snatching, shredding, oh the pain!
‘A dream is a wish your heart makes’ says my blonde and song filled friend,
But when the dream is unwanted, then my heart shrieks ‘make it end!’
From  Alicia VanNoy Call – prose/short story:
(Note from Alicia: “This is only the beginning…”)
Red Handed
by Alicia VanNoy Call

NewsFEED – District 23 – 1147hrs: D23 man loses hands in freak accident.

Story of the hour: D23 employee Chet Carter lost his hands during a routine Decommission & Dismantle of outdated factory machinery.  According to witnesses, a large section of the machine in Carter’s detail dropped downward, loosened from above by another D23 employee who believed the area was clear.  Carter’s arms were stretched through a crevice as he worked to unhook delicate elements that can still be used with our current technology.  He had no time to react as the machine block slid across his unprotected wrists.  Carter’s hands were caught, severed and crushed under the falling machinery.  The D&D supervisor commented: “Carter’s a good guy. There aren’t a lot of people who work with their hands anymore.  It’s a real tragedy to lose your trade.”  Carter is currently being treated at D23H.  There is no word on his current condition.


You wake up in a dark room, choking.  Choking on something.  Can’t breathe.  You fight to untangle yourself from a shroud of sheets.  The fabric is damp, hot with your sweat.  Can’t breathe.  Reach automatically for that glass of water, only to knock it over.  Water spills across the tabletop.  Try to make the hands obey and pour a new glass in the dark.  Fingers tremble.

The swallow of water unclenches your throat.  You fall back into the mattress and gasp, gasp, gasp for breath.  Until the throb at your wrists and the pound of your heart recede away.  Until you can blink up at the ceiling and remember where you are.

Your own room.  Your own apartment.  Two-hundred block, District 23.  The city lights are dimmed by smart-shades across the windows.  You’re not in the hospital anymore.  Safe.

A deep breath.  A shuddering breath.  Fingertips brush the cooling damp of the sheets.  Phantom feeling, you tell yourself.  No, not phantom feeling.  Not anymore.  Real fingers now, real bone and sinew and flesh.  A second chance.

Stretch the fingers, clench the fists.  The hands relax.  Eyes closed, scenes quiver behind your eyelids.  Scenes that chase you through sleep; rust-red images with the screech of metal on metal.  Had to be lulled to sleep with drugs in the hospital.  Not anymore, you think.  Second chance.  A dream come true.

A dream.  A nightmare: the howling images that won’t let you sleep.  Black and steely machineworks, threaded with cables, leaking rust.  A piece comes loose, screams downward in a guillotine slice.  The excruciating jerk, the twin fountains of blood, the numb horror as you stare at the stumps of your wrists.

You open your eyes.  Gaze at the ceiling.  You listen to the drip, drip, drip of blood and realize the sound isn’t blood at all, but spilled water off the table’s edge.  It gathers in a puddle on the floor.   It was never this bad in the hospital, you think.  The dreams were never this bad.  I’ll talk to the doctor.  He’ll give me something.

The hands rest, like sleeping crabs, on either side of you.

No, you think.  Not “the” hands.  My hands.




(All creations are copyrighted by their creators.  Do not copy, post, or use without express permission.)


New poetry by caricature by Jay Fosgitt Marshall!


Time by Marshall Call

Screaming, cold, light
lungs fill with air
something waiting, lurking, old.

Playing, laughing, loving
stomach full of food
something waiting, lurking, old

Kissing, Hugging, Touching
Heart full of Joy
Something Waiting, Lurking, Old

Slipping, Falling, Dying
Home Full Of Sorrow
Something Waiting, Lurking, Old

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Tick Tock
silence full of sound
Something Waiting, Lurking, Old

Valentine to a Bus Driver

Alicia here.  This post will present a piece of poetic prose written by myself and Karla Perez Scarff.  But first, some background.

Many years ago, Karla and I were partners in crime on many creative missions.  We started a poetry club at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, AZ.  It was called the Bread And Cheese Club, and as far as I know, it operates to this day.  We left Cans O’ Fun on people’s doorsteps, kept poetry and sketchbooks, conducted ten hour photo shoots and left poetry and prose written on whatever we had for blue-collar workers to find, guerilla style.

Here are some of our incarnations:



One year, we wrote a Valentine to our high school bus driver.  It was composed with an excess of adjectives and laughter, as most of our cooperative work was at that time.  We made it as verbose as possible, something we’re good at.  Composed in AZ, circa ’94.  Here it is, for your enjoyment:

Valentine to a Bus Driver by Karla Perez and Alicia Gardea

Dearest Chauffeur of our yellow Stretch Limousine,

‑‑‑‑‑‑We do not yet have the honour addressing thee 
by thy true and lasting name, 
as thou hast not as of yet informed us of it.­ 
following our scholarly endeavours, 
in the midst of these long and empty hours 
that haunt the minds of this lonesome pair 
of aspiring poets, 
we hath employed our wandering mentalities 
upon pouring out to thee these humble lines 
of heartfelt appreciation. 

‑‑‑‑‑‑First, and of utmost first importance, 
please forgive us for the belatedness of this missive;
but we were so caught up 
in the webs of the mundane and worldly aspects of our nature, 
that we lost all recognition of the hour 
therefore forgetting the coming of 
this very glorious and lovely occasion 
that bears the name of Saint Valentine.­ 
Saint Valentine, 
that sublime and cunning hero 
with a gleaming heart of gold, 
who on that fateful February Fourteenth 
in the year of our Lord Thirteen Hundred and Seventy-Two,
o'er the raging black tide of Lucifer's host 
who marched upon fair England with the intent 
to frost the heaths of men for all eternity.­ 
Thus, do all men know, 
the courageous Saint Valentine 
did gaze upon the sweet face of victory, 
whereas this year, as in in years past, 
men do melt the bleak frost within their hearts 
to allow gentle Cupid, son of Venus, Goddess of beauty, 
to prick their frail hearts, 
calling them to love's tender flame.­ 
Thus they exchange symbolic tokens 
of their esteem ­for one another. 
And so vis a vis
this collection of lines, 
we extend our hands in a symbolic gesture of friendship.­ 
O dearest faithful chauffeur!

We are thankful for thy watchful keep, 
and for thy blessed eyes which caress the steering wheel
upon which thou dost place thy firm hands 
to deliver us to that place of learning 
that is our destination upon each 
morn as the sun awakens to this land 
which dost possess the winding roads 
upon which many a sad fatality hath occurred 
most frequently.­ 
But over these sad souls lost, 
thou hast no power to redeem, however,
we forgive thee for thy human shortcomings. 


‑‑‑‑‑‑Thank you. 

‑‑‑‑‑‑Most Sincerely, 

‑‑‑‑‑‑Thy Seemly Weary Passengers Upon the Road of Life

May Theme – Music

Here are the submissions for the May Creative Challenge: Music!  We had five participants this month.  Hopefully, just thinking about the trigger word inspired some new creative ideas in all of you, even if you didn’t create something specific to share.  Time to get started on June!  Thanks to those who decided to take up the challenge.  Great Job!

From  Tyler, photo collage:






From  Alisha, creative writing piece:

Rach of Hope

 Listening to Rachmaninoff is like walking down a hall of mirrored doors. Each note is an opening to an emotion; one’s life caught in neatly staffed lines on a white page of manuscript. When the door is opened a tidal wave of the actual feeling, the love, the loss, the joy, the hope, the despair hits the listener before there is even a chance to breathe. The notes create a deep jungle of our own experience that must be traversed with a machete, a sense of humor, and plenty of snake bite remedy.

On the surface Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini” may seem to be the ardent explosion of love, longing, and lust that accompanies romantic scenes in movie after movie. A frenetic opus to the disquietude of romance it may well be, but to me, when heard in the context of the complete movement, the rhapsody is less about romantic love than the love of survival. The music is the clinging to life, heart pulsing in chest and throat and wrist. Each breath, each beat, each pulse building the bittersweet fragility of life. It is the morning dawn soft and smudged across the dark memory of night:

A glimpse of genius in a life that seems dull and spent,

The cry of a baby,

The blossoming of a rose.

The prayer of longing from one soul to another to be heard and loved,

To be known for who one truly is and not what one seems to be.

The quieting of the inner voices.

The knowing of self.

The shaft of light through the darkening cloud,

The sea of calm surrounded by the maelstrom of hurricane.

The breathing point between one despairing disaster and the next reversal of life.

A flickering candle in a livid tinged nightmare,

The ease of somnolence after a sleepless night,

The transparent, unbelievable moment of casting aside pain,

Rejuvenation after chronic illness.

These moments will never be trite, never melodramatic. As with all of Rachmaninoff’s music, though it holds a promise of respite, it also holds the reality of hardship. This most beloved variation of Paganini’s theme is so beautiful because it occurred to Rachmaninoff to turn the notes upside down on the staff, to invert normalcy and discover the unexpected beauty in a reversal. Each bright note is paired with darker notes. The dark underpinnings of life, the heartbreak, the hurt, the finality of death may be real, but the “Rhapsody” encapsulates

the eternal pulse of life,

of breath,

of hope.    





From  Kenna, sketch art:





From  Ginny, original song:

(Note:  Dear Creative Fiends!  Friends too.

I decided to use this month’s theme, MUSIC, as an excuse to write my first song.  🙂  Yay!  Funny thing though.  I worked out a pretty happy tune, with a chosen uplifting topic that floated in words around my head all month, as I prepared to sit down and write.  Very excited!  And then… I had one of “those weeks.”  Feeling low, in a pretty rare (for me) bad mood, I decided to express my feelings through song one night.  So this happened instead.  But ya know what? . . . No regrets.  🙂  Can’t wait to see what you all came up with!  Hope your summer goes well!!
Love, Ginny
P.S.  Now, if anyone knows how to write accompaniment… we might need to get together!)
Locked Inside Me
By Virginia Marie Tilby
I wish I was an open door
Could look inside and see
The color of my heart today
And hear the melody
Walk in, sit down, turn pages
Of stories kept inside.
Swim the seas of grayish tears
My eyes couldn’t cry.
I wish I was an open door.

Instead I’m locked up
Inside me
Outside’s lookin good
Door shut
Chained in 
Dead bolted like it should
Boards up
Nailed down
Thick glue
A pretty sign
That says: 
She’s doin fine.
I wish I was a golden key
I’d give myself to you
I wish I wore the secret code
So you could see this too
Stroll through the gallery
Of my life’s history
Pictures display
What makes me me
Why can’t I be an open door

Had enough
Time to fly
Time to sing
Before I die
Courage sprouts
Grows and grows
Walls break down
And now you know

Cuz I’m open
Hello, world! 
The outside’s lookin gray
Door’s open
Chains broken
Locks melted away
Eyes wet
Tears falling
A pretty sign
That says: 
She’s doin fine.
From  Lee, photography and poetry:


Spring unfolds itself
petal upon petal.

Tulips poke through the snow,
shy displays of color
promising warmer days ahead.

Birds shake frost
from their beaks
to twitter thin threads
of sound.

The sun rolls back
a bank of clouds:
blue sky above.
At last.

Until, all at once,
the trees are draped
in bold hues,
and irises thrust upward,
and dandelions
spread like wildfire,
and the last of winter
is a grey memory,
beyond the song of spring.




Wonderful work, everyone!  Thanks for joining in.  Good luck on June!

Mad Hatter Poetry Slam II

Our second Mad Hatter Poetry Slam was held on April 29th, 2011.  We met in Sean and Catherine’s home with mad hats and prepared poetry to celebrate the advent of spring (it was snowing), the end of the semester, and our love of art and literature.  Everyone brought something handcrafted for participants to choose from as party favors.  There was a wide selection of items to fight over: a luscious pound cake, hair accessories, a pillow sham, print reproductions, and fine art pieces in an array of media, including sculpture and pottery, watercolor, acrylic and pastel.

We had two visitors this slam: Karen Call (Tyler’s mom) and Erik Neibaur.

We made introductions and participated in a creative activity.  Each person filled out a questionnaire without writing their name on it.  They were then passed out at random.  Each person had to guess who’s paper they had received.  Here are some fun entries in the slot “What would your gravestone read? (Make it rhyme.)”:

Mathias: “There once was a man named Clyde; Who fell down an outhouse and died.  Off in another; fell down his brother, and they lied interred side by side.”  ————– Mathias’s five word description of his ideal funeral: “funny, relaxed, family, calm, explosion at the end”.  (That was three more words than five Mathias, but you made us laugh.)


Kenna:  “She had to write a gravestone rhyme/And it hurt her head/It looks like she ran out of time/Look, now she’s dead.” —————-Kenna’s five word funeral: “Good food, good stories, family”

Marshall: “Roses are red now I am dead.” ————– Marshall’s five word funeral: “Belly dancers, guitar hero, family.”


Tyler: “Here lies Bob, that punk I robbed.  He looked at me and sobbed.  So off his head I lopped.” ———— Tyler’s five word funeral: “Funky, Jiggy, Icecream, Smelly, Zombie”.  Then we joked about how we would have to have a second funeral for after we killed the Tyler zombie off!

Stewart:  “Here does lie an artistic guy, when push came to shove, he always showed love.” ————— Stewart’s five word funeral: “music, food, family, friends, stories”.

Catherine: “Beloved Mother, above any other.  She was the best, and now she’s dust.” —————- Catherine’s five word funeral: “Celebrate good times, come on! (na na na na nana na na)”

Alicia: “Here lies Lee, the famous artist.  About heart disease, she wasn’t the smartest.” ————– Lee’s five word funeral: “ninja, cheesecake, bluegrass, karaoke, spectacular!”

Jorge: “He done did gone an’ died.” —————– Jorge’s five word funeral: “A kick ass super party.”

Karen: “She was laying in bed but now she’s dead.” ———- Karen’s five word funeral: “quick, packed, tissues, Bloomington, casket”

Geary: “Here she lieth/All men dieth/The sun will always return/Hope it springeth/Love redeemeth/Live my children and learn.” ————– Geary’s five word funeral: “Roses, Sunflowers, Jazz, Orchestra, Chocolate-Cake”

Ginny: “The Favorite Aunt”.  (Ginny didn’t catch the part about it rhyming.)  ————– Ginny’s five word funeral: “ALL the people I love are able to attend & share memories & stories w/each other.” (Guess Ginny didn’t catch the part about five words either!) ❤

Beth‘s five word funeral: “short, sweet, to the point”

James: “A life that’s well lived is full of good friends.  When things go awry, they’re there to the end.  The man who lies here was loyal to his, they trusted and loved, and much more than this.” ————- James’s five word funeral: “friends, family, fun, good times”

Sean: “Here lies a man who’s dead/They pumped him full of lead” ———— Sean’s five word funeral: “Happy, Family, Short, Good Food.”

Erik: “This man had serious clout.  It took an army to take him out.  He may be dead, but let it be said, ‘Even Death mourned his passing.'” —————– Erik’s five word funeral: “Paragon of mourning and parties”




Slam time!

Tyler went first.  He delivered an original poem, complete with costume pieces:


A Close Shave by Tyler Call

I’ve a poem I’d like to share.
Listen closely if you dare.
It’s not about bears, it’s not about beets.
It’s not about stinky skin-shluffing feets.

It’s been seven years since I first shaved.
I had heard that it was great.
One of friends said, “It’s all the rave!”
I got in the bath and picked up the blade.
Like a master I prepared my lathe,
only to slice off my face!

Needless to say, I hate razor blades.
I’m done with my face… now… onto my legs?

I’ll make an end by putting to bed,
your thoughts of how my face bled.
Like that one guy, Confucious said:
“Wise men never shave face, they shave their head!”


Tyler also recited a well known verse, delivered in a serious tone:

Roses are red/Violets are blue/Sugar is sweet/And so …. are…. you.

After which he took a very deep bow.


Marshall presented three pieces: one of his own making and two that he chose for personal significance, since three of his brothers are in the military.

Roses are red/Violets are blue/Welcome to Poetry Slam number two!


The Touch of the Master’s Hand by Myra Brooks Welch

It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

And many a man with life out of tune
All battered with bourbon and gin
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.



Daddy’s Little Girl

Her hair up in a pony tail, her favorite dress tied with a bow
Today was Daddy’s Day at school, and she couldn’t wait to go
But her mommy tried to tell her, that she probably should stay home
Why the kids might not understand, if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid; she knew just what to say
What to tell her classmates, on this Daddy’s day
But still her mommy worried, for her to face this day alone
And that was why once again, she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school, eager to tell them all
About a dad she never sees, a dad who never calls
There were daddies along the wall in back for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently, anxious in their seats.

One by one the teacher called, a student from the class
to introduce their daddy as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name, every child turned to stare
Each of them were searching, for a man who wasn’t there

“Where’s her daddy at?” she heard a boy call out
“She probably doesn’t have one,” another student dared to shout
And from somewhere near the back, she heard a daddy say
“Looks like another deadbeat dad, too busy to waste his day.”

The words did not offend her, as she smiled at her friends
And looked back at her teacher who told her to begin.
And with hands behind her back, slowly she began to speak
and out from the mouth of a child, came words incredibly unique.

“My Daddy couldn’t be here, because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could, be with me on this day.”
“And though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know
All about my Daddy, And how much he loves me so.”

“He loved to tell me stories, he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses and taught me to fly a kite.”
“We used to share fudge sundaes, and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him, I’m not standing here alone.”

“Cause my Daddy’s always with me, even though we are far apart.
I know because he told me, he’s forever in my heart.”
With that her little hand reached up, and lay across her chest
Feeling her own heartbeat, beneath her favorite dress.

And from some where in the crowd of dads, her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter, who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love, of a man not in her life
doing what was best for her, doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down, staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft but its message clear and loud.
” I love my Daddy very much, he’s my shining star,
and if he could, he’d be here now but heaven is much to far.”

“but sometimes when I close my eyes, it’s like he never went away.”
And then she closed her eyes, and she saw him there that day.
And to her mother’s amazement she witnessed with surprise
A room full of Daddies and Children all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them, who knows what they felt inside
Perhaps for merely a second they saw him at her side.
“I know you’re with me Daddy,” to the silence she called out
And what happened next made believers, of those once filled with doubt

Not one in that room could explain it for each of their eyes had been closed
but there placed on her desk was a beautiful pink rose.



Stewart performed three original pieces.  The first he wrote in eighth grade.  The second two he wrote ten years ago.


The second two were performed rap style.


 Then Stewart and Alisha presented a mash-up of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and A Whole New World by Tim Rice from the movie Aladdin.


 They performed spoken lyrics as Beatrice and Benedick, playing off of Benedick’s assertion that “There’s a double meaning in that…”.


Their lines could barely be heard over the laughter…


Geary shared a piece by Shel:

Sick by Shel Silverstein

I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox,
And there’s one more - - that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue –
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke –
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose I cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have hangnail, and my heart is – what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is … Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play.


Karen shared an original piece:

Untitled by Karen And Calvin Call

I came to the house of Tyler and Lee.
I’m really glad they don’t charge me a fee.

I traveled to Provo from off very far.
A plane would be faster, but I brought my car.

I came all this way for more reasons than one.
At the top of my list is my daughter and son.

I came for Women’s Conference, but now that it’s done,
Let’s all go to Arizona to soak in some sun.

It’s a little bit farther from here to there,
But Arizona is far from everywhere.

We want to spend time with Lee’s father and mother.
And let’s not forget her sister and brother.

And then there’s Lee’s kids, we’ll spend time with them.
Each one to us is an absolute gem.

There’s Cyndal and Luke, the first two you see.
Then Calista and Sam on the family tree.

We’ll enjoy the music and concerts down there.
Then we’ll pick up Ty’s dad who is traveling by air.

After that comes a much longer trek.
We all will be praying we don’t have a wreck.

We’ve saved up the money as if we were misers,
So we could go to Yellowstone and check out the geysers.

We hope to see elk and bison and bears.
This time of year we should see them in pairs.

We hope that the bears are in a good mood.
We don’t want to become some of their food!

If all of our carefully made plans go well,
We’ll spend our nights in a comfy motel.

Then it’s back home to Denver we go.
I hope we don’t encounter the snow.

Although it’s been silly, my rhyming is done.
If this were a contest, I probably would have won!


Mathias shared quotes:

To every man there openeth…
A high way and a low, And every man decideth. The way his soul shall

– John Oxenham


We are all blind until we see That in the human plan Nothing is worth
the making If it does not make the man. Why build these cities
glorious If man unbuilded goes? We build the world in vain Unless the
builders also grow.

~Edwin Markham

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

~William Wordsworth

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson


He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist.

~T.V. Smith




Kenna shared Rumi, a 13th century Persian mystical poet.  She also performed two original pieces:

Cry Out In Your Weakness by Rumi

A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.

A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.

And they can’t be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those, “Why did you come
so quickly?” he or she would say, “Because I heard
your helplessness.”

Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes. All medicine wants
is pain to cure.

And don’t just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music.

Push the hair our of your eyes.
Blow the phlegm from your nose,
and from your brain.

Let the wind breeze through.
Leave no residue in yourself from that bilious fever.
*             *                    *
Tear the binding from around the foot
of your soul, and let it race around the track
in front of the crowd. Loosen the knot of greed
so tight around your neck. Accept your new good luck.

Give your weakness
to one who helps.

Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning whimper,
and she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
so that it might cry out,
so that milk might come.

Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent
with your pain. Lament! And let the milk
of loving flow into you.

The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.

Be patient.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.



Untitled by Kenna Rieske

Springtime bird of thunder grey,
How proudly you hold out your chest.
And there I spy a pleasant flash
Of radiant blue upon your breast.
The epitome of optimism,
Your presence is such a treat.
Surely your song would be transcendent!
Grace us, please, with notes so sweet.
Oh! Most abhorrent, hideous beast!
Of dismal grey and dingy blue!
Such ugliness has no place
In this season!  Get away! Shoo!
I Can Tell That We Will Never Be Friends by Kenna Rieske
On the bus, next to you.
Introductions, how’dee do?
You like books, so do I.
Did you say you like Twilight?
I can tell that we will never be friends.
I can tell that we will never be friends.

Excuse me if I seem terse
The writing couldn’t be much worse.
People of intelligence
Know the plot does not make sense.
It’s dumb and shallow and a waste of time.
It’s dumb and shallow and a waste of time.

And what kind of icky creep
Watches girls when they’re asleep?
He is manipulating
Trust me, he is not worth dating.
What’s to like about this Edward guy?
What’s to like about this Edward guy?

Bella’s smart, supposedly
Yet she has no self-esteem.
She’s pathetic on her own
Needs a man, can’t be alone,
Is that what you think a woman should be?
Is that what you think a woman should be?

This has been the longest bus ride.
Hopefully, you get off soon.
You may think this comment rather snide,
But I can feel my IQ dropping
Just by listening to you.

What I’d hoped was just a phase
Has turned into a Twilight craze
Artists, writers: let’s unite
Against the fans of Twilight!
Just can’t see how we could ever be friends.
Just can’t see how we could ever be friends.




Jorge shared some found poetry:


Catherine performed an original piece:


Sean shared two original pieces:

Angry Words … (Pause for Laughter) Get It? Or, Why I Hate Valentine’s Day by Sean Hess

Roses are red / Violets are blue / But you are undead / And this poem is NOT funny.



Different  by Sean Hess

Back when I used to write poems —
Good ones, mind you, not these soft self-referencing ones —
I ate big, ripe emotions.
The kind you bite into and they drip juice onto the floor,
then you forget to wipe it up and wonder why your socks are sticky.
But then someone tells you that for 10 bucks you can buy them
pre-sliced in bulk from Costco.
So you put them in a bowl,
and eat them slowly with a fork while you read the news,
Forgetting that you liked them the other way.



James presented an original piece from eighth grade about choices and consequences.  He also shared a poem by Walt Whitman in the style of Garrison Keeler.


O Captain, My Captain by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.
Beth shared some Shel:

Reflection by Shel Silverstein
Each time I see the Upside-Down Man
Standing in the water,
I look at him and start to laugh,
Although I shouldn’t oughtter.
For maybe in another world
Another time
Another town,
Maybe HE is right side up
And I am upside down.
Alicia shared some Rumi, illustrated in the Crazy House Sketchbooks:
Various Selections by Rumi:
Rise up nimbly
and go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings.
The stream knows
it can’t stay on the mountain.
Leave and don’t look away
from the sun as you go,
in whose light you are
sometimes crescent,
sometimes full.
Let yourself
be silently drawn
by the stronger pull
of what you really love.
Keep walking,
though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see
through the distances…
that’s not for human beings.
Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Let the beauty we love
be what we do.
What strange beings we are,
that sitting in Hell at the bottom of the dark,
we’re afraid of our own immortality.
I have lived
on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door.
It opens.
I’ve been knocking
from the inside.
A night full of talking that hurts,
my word held back secrets:
everything has to do
with loving
and not loving.
This night will pass.
Then we have work to do,
painstaking work,
then the swan spreads its wings.
Alicia also shared two original works, one published and one not.
Small Robot by Alicia VanNoy Call
Sweep in concentric circles
Scour the floor
Brush and mop

Under beds
In every corner
Search for debris
A dust mite
An eyelash
A speck of soil

quest to maintain
a perfect spotless expanse.

And yet,
a leaning back,
the rest of wired arm on canister body
(almost hand on hip),
the invisible desire for something more
than an endless clean.

A longing,
the flash of visions:

A taste of strawberries,
shimmered with dew,
plump, red.

Barefoot stroll on spring grass
as sun arches down through layered clouds.

The stroke of paintbrush across canvas,
of bow across strings,
the ache of art.

A smiling woman
twirled around a dance floor;
she wears a green dress,
her yellow hair tied back,
pearls at her throat.

An emerald pool
in a cleft between hills
full of fish and starlight.

The brush of eyelashes on skin.
A whispered secret.
A haircut.
A bee sting.
The flutter of birdsong.

The mechanics of straightening,
a whir that is almost a sigh,
the vibration of movement as brushes are activated.



Gap by Alicia VanNoy Call
The child of my body
is a shadow
on the rising sun
so far
from me.
bruises the hollow of my throat
and speaking
like a bone stuck to stop my breath.

Swallows dance
among curled green leaves
nest deep with twigs
and feathers
to protect their young.

But you
my child
far from me
downy, flightless:

What will you be
when I see you again?

Ginny shared a poetic MadLib she created, with our help:
Creature Crashes Poetry Slam: MADLIB
By Ginny Tilby

This is my poem.
The poem that I wrote.
And so did you and you and all of you!
As you’ll soon hear me quote.

Soon as in …now.
There was a dark and stormy cow.

A superfluous creature
Carrying some garbage
Defenestrated through the woods
Til he came upon a cabbage.

He danced his head
And picked up a cloud.
He sat on a dragonfly,
And remembered his shroud.

A bird named Griffindor
Started singing runningly.
Unlike Bubba the frog,
Who was croaking quite swimmingly.

Our creature grew bored.
Something he can’t afford.

Said he.
“I’ve a brilliant idea!
Hee hee hee!

For why didst I not consider this sooner?
I art such a silly mantis!”

He snorted and leapt
Upon his large desperate feet.
He scratched his neck,
Waved goodbye to his fleas.

“Tis the 29th April Evening of Friday!
I go where the most spiky people be!
Required is just a hat of mad, a cool craft,
And a piece of my own defensive poetry!”

Trembling with excitement,
And very toothy grinned
He knocked on the door
And was invited right in!

Our creature blinked twice
And looked from poet to poet
The remembered their hands
And said, “Dontcha know it!”

Some poets read of hats,
Some about snow.
Some were exhausted,
And the rest were aglow.

The creature was delighted.
Twas the best night of his fat life.
He finally stood to read
And he read with all his bird house.  And might!

Upon finishing the poets cheered,
And said, “BANZAI!!”
He asked them in great hopes,
May I have that cool craft? That looks like Grom’s eye?

“Yes!” exclaimed James.
“That one is mine!”
And the creature went home happy.
When he slept, he dreamt of spine.

As for the lovely poets,
They decided to lift
For the rest of their lives,
In honorable remembrance of the gift.

Geary was encored to reprise her Jabberwocky from last slam:
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

  The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.



Tyler holds aloft the flame of inspiration!


Tyler and Marshall create the heckling couch.

Sean said that this could be some kind of show.  We all agree.


Thanks everyone!  The next slam is in four months.  See you there!

Inaugural Mad Hatter Poetry Slam