Iron Poet Challenge #35


Iron Poet Challenge #35
Poetic Form:  Haiku
Theme/Prompt: Anticipation

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.

Writers: Nerisha Kemraj, Michael Cottle, Wes Choc, Maureen Larter, Mamie Willoughby Pound, M. Henderson


Nerisha Kemraj

Dusky sun glowing,

Mountains await chilly night

Fire burning bright


Michael Cottle

I await for you
In the early pouring rain
Sunshine never came


Wes Choc
Eyes cannot fathom

What a broken heart finds missed

Unless there are tears.


Maureen Larter

Sitting and waiting

Air clear, fire warm, clouds forming

Moon lighting my way


M. Henderson

cold night–warm hands wait
where the borderline divides
the elements’ edge.


Mamie Willoughby Pound

drowsing daffodils
grass-green lizard pink with love
dandelion suns




The Iron Poet Challenge #33

The Iron Poet Challenge #33

Poetic Form: Free Verse

Theme/Prompt: Fear of Missing Out/Fear of Regret

                            (either or both fears– stated or implied)


Ode to Tommy Tucker

Sean Bracken

Tommy Tucker traipsing
Through thoroughfares thronging
Thrusting thriving thieving

Listless loiterers lingering
Leering, longing, lusting
Letching lurking langered

Sirens soliciting seduction
Storyville  suggestive
Salacious sensual sensation

Promising promiscuous persuasion
Personal procurement providing
Pleasure pain perversion

Tommy Tucker trembling
Thinking terror tumbling
Troubling thoughts tormenting

Fearing finding failure
Fearing faking feelings
Fulfilling final fantasy


Nerisha Kemraj

Turning back the hands of time,
Would things work out some other way had I chose different?
Trying to step in a new direction to make things work but thoughts bring forth hindrance.

Should I stay or should I go?
Lest I should lose it all,
I’m caught between the two.
On either side mountains loom,
A raging river in between

Music in the distance,
An air of melancholy,
Adding to my blues,
The horn blows,
And a clock rings in a new hour

The road forks out,
Waiting to be tread on,
Stuck where I am,
My decision holds me back,
My fear of the unknown.

Escaping Time

Michael Cottle


Flows into itself with the passing of things


Escapes us as we slip in the midst of things


Paths that we could or should have taken

Our Road

Stretches on to leave behind the forsaken


Not for the lack of the branch we are on

But Sadness

Simply for the opportunities that are gone


la douleur exquise

    Violet Teagan

honeyed blues
stretched beneath the sky

and diamond lit

makes wish upon a star

the shadows-maker
half-hidden in the dark

with cresting, lotic waves

but even in her blackest depths,
he mirrors other fire

every night a war,
a Pyrrhic victory

the salt-mouthed gulf,
it swallows him

he pulls her to the sea


Josh Flores

Artificial clouds swirl around:

Thickening the air,

Obstructing vision,

Obliterating musky scents.

The round shrine

Acts as an alter

To the bronze-skinned

Soul-eating Goddess.

A bottle of spirits,

A glass of tallowed flame,

A dish of smoldering ashes.

Missing a willing sacrifice.

Drumbeat matches

The cadence of my chest.

The horns draw out my

Deep dark desire.

The piano keys whisper, beckon.

The singer’s sensuous voice

Licks my ear, sending chills

To my groin.

Brown jades set in pearl

Find me looking.

Legs tremble. Don’t move

Don’t fall. Don’t go!

Feet propel forward.

Time does not pause.

Standing to be judged or

Worse yet, be dismissed.

Her full red lips

Acknowledge my want

With a slight smile.

Turn!  Run! But I can’t.

Though the promise

Of her touch and the night

Will curse me forever,

I am tonight’s victim.


 Shine Over Storyville

Matt Henderson

Oh, Storyville moonshine
that great blind orb shines on you
cool level even
and deadly indifferent
It just shines
all the way, all the way,
all the way down
It ain’t taking nobody’s name
and no one is giving out real names

It is just shining light
as far as it can reach
all the way
down to the deep and the dark
and the into the dirty
casting shadows on faces
who know shadows
and alleys, and ten cent cribs or better
if you’re rolling high
these faces know shadows
better than they know the light of day

This is where people make deals
or play games with the night
heat rising on the dark streets
Summertime jazz or a doorway
lit up all red and full of hum and buzz
calling card for a little queen of spades
hearts hard like diamonds
Everybody wants something and nobody wants to miss it
My favorite little red rider broke me down hard
when she wouldn’t let me take her away and
she knew I couldn’t hide my heart in the Storyville shine.



Iron Poet #15


Iron Poet #15

Meter / Style: Free verse
Theme / keyword: madness

No more than 36 lines (including blank lines)

The word “madness” itself does not have to be used. Any form of the word, synonyms, concepts, etc. may be used. The Iron Poet allows thematic reference as opposed to the use of the actual keyword.

An Autumn Madness – Matt Henderson

Four times, you will fall into a certain kind of madness
this is as constant as the moon and sun
the four seasons and four directions will lead you there
each time
if you ignore it, you will miss the beauty of its lesson
but it may be easier for some avoid it
than to hold a course and face it full on like a gaze inside the sun.
Midsummer glinted an early autumn madness, moving westward
carrying me along
I longed for it, the crystalline wildness, a sound carries, a space expands
the geomancy of the axis mundi in the space
behind her heart, electric impulses
beating under the buzzing current of surface flow
She thinks it is her– ah, it is her– it just isn’t of her doing
I look at her from here and back, three decades down
stretched like lengths of shining fiber shimmers
I see her suspended in the present, rising
from the pluperfect subjunctive, straight lines of bending time
smelling like berries and flowers and sweet herb dust
her eyes, her nose, her perfect lips, the mercurial ways
she carries herself, a lighter floating, a higher glide, crossing rooms
ahead of every angle’s focal point, she lives from her center
two inches below her navel, as she moves the earth’s own umbilicus
she reels herself in and lets herself out as she is compelled
spinning smooth and silky dreams of sight and sound
My sweet saving madness is reflected in the symbol that she holds
in every part of her, from every angle, and any hour.
all things beautiful, all things good, all familiar comforts,
hidden in the unfamiliar.
the sound of the heater coming on when I was a baby.
the glint of sun on the lake I tried to catch in my hand as a toddler.
the smile of every pretty girl who ever turned sidelong to face me
music, art, a delicate meal, a light rain, a bird’s song, a baby’s tiny laughter
a fireplace, a cool breeze, a promise kept, the ocean the first time I saw it,
the great expanses of desert and the majestic blue-grey mountains
My sweetest madness, all there, hidden safely under her sundress, so I won’t see it all at once.

That Mile Below – Wes Choc

Helmet snug, pants tight … looming over the metal edge …
… my stance tugged by rolling eyes and scrambling guts as roads and trees swished by …
… a mile below.

Hurricane hands scrubbed my face …
while collars and cords flapped my chin,
snapping my ears … slapping my smile.
Cheeks reddened as a readying stomach read my mind …
… choosing a fall …
… to that mile below.

Knees bent … shaking, making those trembles tickle …
… leaning fore, meaning to squeeze that …
… madness … that moment’s recklessness … that flashing unfolding folly
of deciding … justifying risks clutched for just a second more … before …
… falling into that mile below.

Then, parachuting shooting stars sparked, whizzing by my head …
… daring me …
… and then fingers opened … soles arched … letting go …
… waist lunging … body plunging
with arms spread wide as an empty cliff of fate was tested
and life itself abandoned in another trice.
And this soul got sucked, plummeting down, whooshing through that mile …
toward that mile below.

B Y Rogers

My mother taught me
To kneel before her god.
I was young, hoping her hope
I obeyed, unknowing, faithless.
When I was eight,
I heard a warning voice.
I disobeyed, causing pain,
A sin my father paid in my stead.
I prayed, not daily, for years.
The voice never returned,
I lived alone in silence.
I prayed sometimes, in fear.
An infant girl, heart torn in two,
A vision came, to heal us both.
She lives today, a mother now.
Growing old, cynical, confused,
Consumed by theodicy and insanity.
My prayers waned in doubt.
Unheard, unknown, unloved.
No longer kneeling,
My Mother died.
My Father followed.
I watched them leave this life
In blessed peace.
I search for that path,
To leave this world like them.
It hurts here,
It makes no sense
This madding orb
That binds me tight
There is no peace, nor love
Only hate and sadness.
I knelt this morning, crying,
My simple broken heart.
Decades from my mother
I wait.

Desperosis – Johnna Murphy

Listening to the voice, it’s talking about trains
or is that just a dream,
just a perfect living in memory, a lifetime while sleeping?
Hearing the darkness and waiting for the beast.
The sky is melting and it tastes like sour cream.
But where are the chives? and why aren’t there potatoes?
I think there was a needle, but actually it was a pill,
and I thought I saw the doctor, but I wasn’t feeling ill.
Running on a treadmill that is slowly speeding up
But I’m told it is walking pace, so why do I run ever faster? ever faster.
and where is the beautiful?  Did it join those avoiding me?
I am in the corner, too big and too small, to loud and too soft.
There’s an SEP field around me.  Somebody Else’s Problem.
There go people, walking over, under, around, and through me.
Some even talk to me, but am I really there? who cares.  SEP.
The voice is saying good night.  The voice has a true love.
My true love is fading to darkness and I wonder if I will follow.
While the moon smells of cheese and the air tastes of gray.
I sit in the quiet, Listening to the voice now talking of traffic.
The silence is screaming, as it awaits the beast.  Or is this just a dream?

This is the way to Madness – Maureen Larter

Tinkling of ideas down the cracks of my mind
Finding reason in irrationality
Always feeling outside of every sphere
of humanity.
To see the space warp here  to grind
the seeds of impossibility
Forever touching pointless thoughts
of my own mortality.
Future images of every kind
shall feed my immaturity
Eternally groping towards a fragility
that’s my finality.