Know it Alls


I have my eyes on you
mothers and fathers say
to their much-loved offspring

teenagers plead for mercy
not to disobey the rules

it’s a ruse
they merely pretend to be afraid

teenagers know it all
they have eyes
in the back of their heads

they see through doors
around corners

parents see nothing

teens do not intend to deceive
oh yes they do
let’s not kid ourselves

teens know it all

just ask them

For Peggy at Real Toads.. We’re writing about eyes while staying within a 75 word limit.


Expanded Territory

Written for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Open Link Monday. I’m new here, but have quickly come to realize the talent present in this fertile Garden.

I attempted to come up with something a bit more seasonal and cheery, but the funny stuff has its own schedule. 🙂  I wish everyone a joyous season, and look forward to getting to know everyone in the New Year.


©Matthew Smith

©Matthew Smith

in the dead of night
I wake
to foxes fighting
I hear their teeth
like mine do
when I’m cold
and then the high-pitch
like nails on a
it is not a mild
more a fight with a wounded warrior
tail between the legs loser
and a winner with expanded

you cannot escape your past
though I hadn’t planned to
I will visit
my little sister
I will tell her
my fox story
and we will cling
to each other
for dear life
knowing that our memories
are only that

Thanks for reading!

Fire & Brimstone


My parents once thought

or did they, think about it

I mean

or did they simply do what

their parents had done


They sent us, my two sisters

and me

to a Catholic elementary school

peopled with nuns


The nuns, all of them

no exceptions

were meaner than that

junkyard dog


Years later I learned

of the Magdalene Asylums

run by Catholic nuns

in Ireland


For the first time I

considered myself fortunate

to have escaped such a



My nuns weren’t so bad

in comparison


I watched a documentary on

Sister Wendy

a British nun who made great art



She was a nun every nun

should emulate

she believes in the kindness

of god


Not fire and brimstone


I have to believe in god

I was raised Catholic

in the way of ridicule

and guilt


If I don’t believe in God

I’ll burn in hell

for the sin of

not believing


On a documentary a man prays

for strength

to torture another man

for information


A woman attends church

every Sunday

on Monday she spreads

untrue rumors

another woman

loses her job


God Bless America

but not all America

only those who

can feed themselves


Food stamps take money

from the bottom

line of Form 1040


Our children will follow

our lead

as our parents followed their own


Thanks for reading!

Life Lessons (Ligo-Haibun Challenge)

courtesy: Penny Howe

courtesy: Penny Howe

I am twelve or thirteen. I sit across the small card table from my mother. Between us is a chessboard. I marvel at the solid weight of the thing, the chestnut brown squares alternating with creamy off-white. I listen carefully as my mother explains how each piece moves: the pawns, the bishops, knights, and the all-powerful Queen. Their identities feel exotic. I imagine that my mother and I have time-travelled to Medieval Europe. In the years that follow, a handful of times, my mother lets me win.

The exhibition of the famous twelfth century Lewis chessmen arrives at the New York Met, and I am in line to see it. I am in awe of the craftsmanship, and first consider the walrus that contributed the ivory. But then, the whimsical expressions of the figurines make me smile, and suddenly I am transported to that card table all those years ago. I see the concentration and focus in my mother’s blue eyes. I see her sturdy hand toying with my captured knight. I see her place a hand to her face like the figure of the Queen. It’s as if she stands beside me, and I suppose she does. I smell her perfume. I hear her laugh, and I laugh too.

in the museum
white queen advances
captures the night

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge. Click to read the entries of a very fine group of writers.

Thanks for reading!


Palimpsest (Ligo-Haibun Challenge)


Like a tree, arms outstretched, she stands amid waist high grasses warmed by the sun. It is her first time outside the city limits. The thrill of it is so much more than she imagined. Her books couldn’t have prepared her for the sublime touch of the reeds that nestle against her calves and thighs. The music they make as she wades through them is like a whisper of welcome. In lieu of the ceaseless sirens of her city’s streets, she listens to the songbirds chatter in the trees. She wishes that one might alight on the branches of her arms. She would give the bird her name, so he might echo it through the valley.

She is reborn. Not in religion, but in tense. Her past is distant, the future undetermined. Only the present has meaning, this moment. The trees glow, backlit by the sun. The breeze ushers the scent of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender. She feels gratitude to the women who brought her here, those who taught her the names of the flowers: narcissus and peony . She understands that she will never forget this meadow, the trees, and the blossoms for as long as she lives. They are part of her now.

braided blooms
of nature’s oath


This week is the Līgo Haibun Special – The Ligo Festival occurred this year on June 23-24. It is the world’s largest festival of nature and takes place in Latvia. Click on the link above to visit Pirate’s page and read more about the festival and this week’s challenge.

Thanks for reading!