My Red Mother

Pain, a herald of her coming.
I prepare with clean wrappings,
Fresh linens to swathe her in.

The gift of life, so often cursed,
The banner unfurled, guarded,
Hidden in the womb of woman.

Send the men away to be men,
Let the women gather instead
For this is the time of sisterhood.

My red mother comes,
A blessing and a mourning together:
Another month without child,
Another month without child.

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© Suzanne Miller

The mountains exhale.

Pools of mist ebb and flow among the trees, obscuring the path.  The air, thick with pine and green tea, awakens the senses and beckons toward enlightenment.  Every breath a renewal of spirit, a coaxing of the waters of life which glisten from gossamer designs.  Hands unseen paint ferns of frost upon nature’s canvas, the eternal persistence of night to create that which daily is lost.

Purification by ice.

The cold sun has lost its power.  Indigo hills float against the sky, seduced by freedom’s lure.  A single crane calls to a mate unseen, perhaps absent.  Symbols turned from their meaning, to mingle hope and sorrows in the warp of life.

Aloft on red pillars.

The temple stands at the gates of heaven.  Dharmic harmonies resonate from prayer wheels, turning turning turning: the spin of earth, the passage of seasons, foot following foot.  The journey undertaken is a sacrifice; a thousand steps ascend among the echos of chanting, the singing of bowls, which compel the traveler onward.  Until, at the end of the corridor, the curtains part, opening onto a balcony which stands upon the precipice of the world.

there at the summit
the universe is revealed
as breath is lost

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Washed smooth by nature’s caress, the jagged edge is eased.  Beside lapis waves which kissed the ocher shores we plucked our wind-worn memories from the sand to leave in our wake a mark of passing.  A tenuous journey across time where two paths cross – the wanderer and the placer.  It takes a steady hand to find the balance; unsettle even one, they fall.  The strength of the offering is in the leaving, an act of faith in defiance of gravity.   Poems precarious, they stand as testaments to the impermanence of creation.

silent words of stone
whisper to the next who pass
you are not the first
follow in my footsteps and
for a moment we are one

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Self Help or Help Yourself?


Sauteed sorrows with a dash of guilt
And topped with crispy, baked depression
Served on a bed of promises of I won’t cry.

A glass of numbness to wash it down,
Then dessert of ice cream and caramel
To finish off my meal of fractured feelings.

Follow up with a midnight raid on the fridge
Where I help myself to seconds of self-help.
Good thing I made plenty.

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

For today’s prompt, write a self-help poem. It can be written in the style of a self-help article or book. Or you can take it in a more subtle self-help direction.

Days Gone By

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Just a bit before me and you
And yet the repercussions of that year
Echo still within my ears
Each time I hear the news stories
Of Reservation tragedies

The fifteen hundreds ushered in
European trade in black human skin
From ruled to rulers they became
About-face in a vicious game
Intent on turning blood to gold
One nation to the devil sold

By sixteen hundred, Irish, too
Were slaves across the ocean blue
In seventeen seventy-six we see
The lie of a land of liberty
Eighteen hundreds, gold rush days
Chinese labor, and trails blazed

Nineteen hundred, suffrage passed
The other half can vote at last
But only if your skin was white
Another bloody fight for rights
A war that’s waging still today
Unequal schools, unequal pay

Two-thousand thirteen’s almost done
Yet so many fights still to be won
History is replete with stains
So can someone please explain
Why we still nostalgically cry
About the bloody days gone by?

Bastet’s Pixelventures: November 12, 2013

Prompt:  I’m walk down memory lane!  Take a walk down memory lane too and show me something that reminds you of by-gone days!  For those of you who prefer to write rather than snap a photo, you can participate by writing a piece of flash fiction or a poem about by-gone days.

Two by Two

T S, “Hakuna Matata, 1″ (via 1stDibs)

Two by Two

When Noah brought into the ark
Animals of every kind, packed full
Leaving to the coming floods
The all-but-two, the majority cull.

Rising waters made the sheep
Look like fluffy clouds upon the sea;
Elephant trunks turned into snorkels
As fish explored new reefs of ivory.

And for a while the arrogant birds
Thought themselves above the tides
Until, one by one, their wings gave way,
Exhausted stars falling from the skies.

Still it rose and swelled until
The last giraffe became aware
Her neck was not quite long enough
To take another breath of air.

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 11

For today’s prompt, we’re going to write ekphrastic poetry–or poetry based off another piece of art. In the past, I’ve provided paintings, but today, I’m picking photographs (for something a little different). You may use one of the images below or choose your own

Or in this case, the photo above.  Now I’ll admit, when I saw the *thumbnail* of the above, I thought it was a surreal picture of giraffe up to their necks in water.  It wasn’t until I saw the large version that I realized they were clouds.  Still, I liked the image it brought to mind, so I stuck with it.  Eye of the beholder and all that. 🙂

Do check out some of the other pictures in the link above, they’re really quite pretty.

No White Knight

Ugly.  That’s what you are.  I’m getting sick just having to look at you.  Red blotches on your face and pimples on your chin.  And don’t even get me started on your weight.  Fat.  Fat and lazy.  You ate a whole cake for dinner.  Why don’t you try getting off your ass and doing something instead?  Stupid.  Are you too stupid to realize that your fat is your fault?  It isn’t a medical condition, it’s stuffing your face until you want to throw up, you disgusting pig!  You can’t do anything right.  Oh, you’re crying now?  Pathetic.  You won’t get any sympathy.  Don’t deserve any.  This is why no one will ever love you.  Worthless.  Useless.  Why don’t you just kill yourself.

She let her tongue fly
Rapier sharp words, striking
At the mirror’s face

Side Quest

The sun had crested the mountains to the east.  An eagle circled overhead, searching for prey in the tall grasses that grew along the road through the forest.  A rabbit hopped onto the path, then froze when it saw the group before darting back into the undergrowth.

The group had been walking for hours.  Yolo67 kept complaining his feet hurt, and finally xSlayerx agreed it might be better to stop and have a rest and some food when Carwen spotted an old man in a hood step out from the woods and block their path.

“Welcome, travelers, to my forest,” he said, voice raspy from too many tobacco pipes.

Yolo67 drew his sword and held it up menacingly.  “Who are you?” he demanded.

“My name is not important,” the old man said, “but what I have to offer you may be.”

“You speak in riddles?” xSlayerx asked, one eyebrow raised.

“That wasn’t a riddle,” Carwen said.  “That wasn’t even vague.”

xSlayerx dismissed her impudence with a wave of his hand and turned his attention back to the old man.

“Tell us what you have, old man, and what we can to do obtain it.”

The old man pulled back his hood to reveal that he was, indeed, very old.  His hair was stark white and his face deeply lined.  He leered at Carwen, which made her skin crawl.

“I have within my possession, passed down to me by the great Sage Dunhard, translated at great pains into the common tongue…” He looked around conspiratorially and partially drew forth a bit of folded parchment from beneath his cloak.  Two leaned forward expectantly, Carwen rolled her eyes.

“This is a map of the Dark Lord’s fortress that lies at the end of this road.  It will help you get inside.”

“You mean a schematic,” Carwen said.

The old man eyed her with displeasure.  “What?”

“Schematic.  Or layout.  Or floor plan.  It doesn’t make sense to say it’s map of the fortress.  Maps are used for areas of land.”

“What difference does it make?” he snapped, “I’m offering to give it to you!”

“Okay, so what do you want in return?” xSlayerx asked.

“Winter is approaching,” he said, “and I have not finished stocking my house for the snows to come.  If you will go into the woods and bring me back the thick hides of ten brown bears, and the rich flesh of ten hill bucks, and the tough sinew of ten wild boars, then you may have this map.”

xSlayerx tugged the other two back several paces so they could talk amongst themselves.

“That sounds fair.”

“You can’t be serious,” Carwen said.

“If we each take one part of his request, I’m sure we can be done in no time,” Yolo67 ventured, despite Carwen’s gaze piercing his soul with promises of pain later.

“He gives us a map, but only if we spend the next three weeks helping him get ready for winter?  I’m pretty sure my mom told me a story about this when I was a kid,” Carwen said.

Ignoring her, xSlayerx went right on ahead making the plans.  “Right.  I’ll take the deer.  Yolo, you kill the boar, and Carwen, you can off the bears.”

She folded her arms, her eyes narrowing.  “I have a better idea.”

“Sorry, but I’m allergic to bears,” xSlayerx said.

She sighed and turned, nocked an arrow, and let it fly.  The old man let out a cry of pain as he clutched at the shaft jutting from his chest.  A moment later he fell over dead.   Carwen walked over and relieved him of the map.

“Carwen, what are you doing?” Yolo67 cried.  “He was going to help us!”

“I’m not on this quest to run errands for lazy, creepy old men who can’t be arsed to prepare for their own needs,” she said, handing the map to xSlayerx.  “What would he have done first if we hadn’t come along, starved or frozen?”

xSlayerx opened his mouth, then shut it again.

“He probably had plenty and just wanted to get rid of us.”

Yolo67 couldn’t come up with a counter-argument to that.  Now that she mentioned it, it did seem a bit fishy.

“And you have to admit,” xSlayerx said at last, “it is quicker this way.”

Carwen rifled through his belongings to see if there was anything else of value to take while xSlayerx examined the map.

Yolo67 looked at the old man dead on the ground, at xSlayerx, then to Carwen.  “Yeah, I wasn’t really looking forward to hunting boar, anyway.  They’re nasty suckers.”

Carwen divided the dried meats she found into three portions and handed Yolo67 and xSlayerx their share.  “Come on, we can probably make the fortress by nightfall now.”

Yolo67 and xSlayerx looked at one another and nodded.

“Yep, good point.”

“Alright, let’s keep going.”


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Someone Else’s Dirt

She stepped across the threshold
Into a land of laundry mountains and
Cat-hair grass
Dishes piled in jagged rocks at the edge
Of a sea of soapy water gone cold
And unfamiliar odors which warred against her senses

She tried not to notice the fresh cut lawn
Creeping in the back door
Or the canopy of webs with polka-dot flies
Which hung gracefully over every window
But the mildew vines growing up the shower curtain
Were just too much.

It wasn’t that the house was dirtier,
It was just someone else’s dirt.

Writer’s Digest 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 6

For today’s prompt, write a poem from the perspective of a person who either works at and/or visits a place you like to visit (that’s not yourself). For instance, a fry chef at the Krusty Krab, a bouncer at a nightclub, waitress at a restaurant, etc.

I’m sure we’ve all been there, visiting someone’s house that isn’t any worse than ours, we just notice it more because it isn’t ours.  It’s like they say about the art on your walls, rearrange it occasionally and you’ll notice it again.  The above is my impression of what someone else would think of my house.  I did exaggerate a *touch*, the mildew is just on the very bottom of my shower curtain, it isn’t growing quiet yet. I need to soak it in vinegar, just haven’t gotten around to it.  Like I haven’t gotten around to folding my laundry, or finishing the dishes, or sweeping the kitchen floor… I’ve been too busy painting and making zucchini-crusted quiches.  🙂

Enticing to Play

Vacation Poetry Challenge # 1 by we drink because we’re poets (wdbwp)… it hurt not to make it rhyme.

It consists of 50 lines.  The first two begin with the same word, the second with the last word of the second line,..until we get to line 48, when you take the last two words of lines 47 and 48 to conclude the poem…I goofed on mine, the last two words should come first from line 48 then end with line 47. There should be no punctuation…and when read aloud pauses should only be made for breath.

The phrases should be brief but at least two words should be used.  The title must be just 3 words this is what Shadow Poetry tells us about the title:

The title must be only three words, with some sort of preposition or conjunction joining the first word from the third line to the first word from the 47th line, in that order.

Oh…by way…use the acronym wdbwp as the first word of the first two lines of your poem.

Enticing to Play

wdbwp proposing
wdbwp enticing
enticing dancing with my muse
enticing kindling inner desire
desire for the creation
desire to then create
create a connection
create a reflection
reflection of meaning
reflection of soul
soul caught in a picture
soul of the moment
moment caught my eye
moment sliding
sliding between us
sliding beyond
beyond the rivers
beyond the hills
hills of purple and emerald
hills of sacred stones
stones set and aligned
stones of stars ringed on earth
earth, fire, and water
earth, air, and dreams
dreams of distant landscapes
dreams of sidereal times
times yet approaching
times racing away
away through my fingers
away through my mind
mind wandering in ethers
mind altering thoughts
thoughts jumbled together
thoughts strung out on a line
line up one by one
line carved in the sand
sand flowing seas
sand flowing through glass
glass though unbroken
glass under my feet
feet travel without aim
feet weary with every fall
fall colors crimson gold
fall into a pile of leaves
leaves like dried words
leaves me a child playing
playing with nature
playing with sounds
sounds of


Now a picture dump of what I’ve been painting lately 🙂  I’m not happy with all of them, but they’re all helping me grow, and definitely helping me understand how the medium works.  Enjoy!

Rain © 2013 Eliza Murdock

© 2013 Eliza Murdock

White Tree © 2013 Eliza Murdock

White Tree
© 2013 Eliza Murdock

Islandscape © 2013 Eliza Murdock

© 2013 Eliza Murdock

Edge of Night © 2013 Eliza Murdock

Edge of Night
© 2013 Eliza Murdock

Blue Islands © 2013 Eliza Murdock

Blue Islands
© 2013 Eliza Murdock

Autumn Sunrise
© 2013 Eliza Murdock