He Did (an erasure poem)

He Did (a redacted poem)

It is a Friday,
three days after I go straight–
and I don’t know who will
walk up the street to
see the poets these days.

I go on, and he
doesn’t even look up.
I get a little ink,
but I don’t go to sleep.

I just stroll into the lane
and ask where
I came from,
in the heat.

I am sweating
and thinking of
leaning on John,
while he whispered.

He stopped.

-Pen Connor 2015


POETIC FORM: An Erasure Poem




To earn the “Redacted” badge, visit http://www.erasures.org and follow the directions to drag the blackout icon to your tool bar. From there, navigate to a website or other source text. Click on the blackout icon to activate the tool, then use your mouse to highlight words on the screen. As you highlight sections and release your mouse, you will see a black bar appear over them, digitally blacking them out. Leave only the words that comprise your poem exposed. Take a screenshot(s) of your finished product and post it to the site. To learn how to take a screenshot based on your operating system, visithttp://www.take-a-screenshot.org/. Credit your source text at the bottom of your post.

PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scouts)
Found Poetry Review’s 2015 National Poetry Month Project

– April 2015 – 213 poets joined together as a troop to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.
– Prompts are divided into five categories – remixing, erasure, out and about, conceptual and chance operation.
– Each category offers six distinct badges to be earned.
– Poets choose their own source text.
– For more information, check out pomosco.com.

A dear friend and fabulous poet, Von Thompson, is a participant. When she told me about the challenge, I decided to play along at home.



The Poetry Foundation (http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171368)
Frank O’Hara, “The Day Lady Died” from Lunch Poems. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O’Hara. Reprinted (on the Poetry Foundation site) with the permission of City Lights Books.
Source: The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara (1995)

Squall (a quatern)


She’s the squall that loves the dry-line,
begs him chase her from east to west.
With her stormy hips she teases,
draws his gaze, she’s working her spell.

He’s got swagger, keeps his cool–and
she’s the squall that loves the dry-line.
Blowing kisses, tossing her cape,
she invites him to come and dance.

Shaking moisture from her skirts, she
catches his eyes, flashing lightning.
She’s the squall that loves the dry-line–
wild, unstable–still he’s tempted.

This electric charge they share is
passion, stormy and explosive.
If you hear their cries, you’ll know her–
she’s the squall that loves the dry-line.



16 lines broken up into 4 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas). Each line is comprised of 8 syllables. 1st line is the refrain (R). In the 2nd stanza, the refrain appears in the 2nd line; in the 3rd stanza, the 3rd line; in the 4th stanza, the 4th (and final) line. There are no rules for rhyming or iambics.









“For today’s prompt, write a work poem. For some folks, writing is work (great, huh?). For others, work is teaching, engineering, or delivering pizzas. Still others, dream of having work to help them pay the bills or go to all ages shows. Some don’t want work, don’t need work, and are glad to be free of the rat race. There are people who work out, work on problems, and well, I’ll let you work out how to handle your poem today.”

Sea Nymph – Instagram poetry


Sea Nymph

She dances with dolphins.
With glee, she skips and grins under
a sky bright with wonder.
She does not fear thunder or rain.
She dances through her pain.
She knows the sun, again will shine.
The hurt cannot define
her dance.  She’ll be just fine. She spins.


(for Deborah-Anne)

(provided words:  dolphins, sunshine, rain, thunder)

@ConnorPenelope on Instagram



luc bat –   (vietnamese “six-eight”) Alternating lines of 6 and 8 syllables. The rhyme scheme renews at the end of every 8-syllable line and rhymes on the 6th syllable of both lines: xxxxxA, xxxxxAxB, xxxxxB, xxxxxBxC, xxxxxC, xxxxxCxD, xxxxxD, xxxxxDxE. No set length or subject matter.

Telling Myself the Truth


Some days when I think about writing poetry, the right words hide behind clouds, and the phrases sound like children’s songs… very sad, awkward, nursery rhymes… and so, I pick up my pen and write a letter, or pick up my paintbrush and dabble in color, or I cover my head with a blanket, and read a fairy-tale that sounds like …a thousand, awkward, sad nursery rhymes.

Some days, when I want to write memoir, I worry that my life is too boring. I can’t think of anything good to say, and I can’t complain, because life is okay. I think about the past year, and the road ahead, and today looks so much like a hundred before, that I am bored. Thankful, but not really living a life I’d want to read about.

Some days I just focus on Facebook, and catching up on the shows that fill my DVR, and folding laundry, or washing the same dozen dishes, again… and again… and again.  Sometimes the real poem, the real story is going on under the surface, behind the scenes. Sometimes it looks blurry, and I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t really know how to tell it anyway. Even now, as I type those words, Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the truth but tell it slant —” slides across the backs of my eyes like a ticker-tape.

The truth is, I’ve been stacking writer’s blocks.

The ink in my veins is sitting patiently, while I stare out of the window, and wonder where the muse went. She is here, too. Waiting for me, to pick up my pen and “keep your hand moving”  like Natalie Goldberg taught me. I know the answer is in this simple movement… this reflex gesture that has become my auto-response to life… until it isn’t.

They say it takes two and a half years to get over the death of a five-year relationship. I’m thirteen months in, and I just want to take off this heaviness, like a winter coat, toss it onto the floor, and stand in the sun.

But baby, it’s still cold outside.

I’ve been afraid to break open my heart, and spill its contents onto the page, because I’m tired of finding the same, dry, tired grief inside. So I’ve been stealing masking tape, and twine, sealing wax and chewing gum, I’ve been sealing up the edges and binding up the seams so that nothing can escape.  Still I’ve been smart enough to pour in good poetry, great fiction, hopes and dreams and watercolor paintings. I know how my heart works.

While the ink waits, I feed it, with these things. So when my courage finds the right crack, The language will be there to push the ink out.

Today, I’ll just go through the motions, and hope.

The Fiend (a gwawdodyn)


Grief comes, and it chooses the hour
it torments as I’m in the shower;
There’s really no trick for not getting sick,
on my swallowed tears turning sour.

For today’s prompt, write a monster poem. There are the usual suspects: zombies, vampires, werewolves, and mummies. But monsters can take any form and terrorize a variety of victims. So have fun playing around with this one, because we’ve only got a few days of April left.


The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and matching end rhymes on lines 1, 2, and 4. The variations are made in that third line:
One version has an internal rhyme within the third line. So there’s a rhyme somewhere within the third line with the end rhyme on the third line.
The other version has an internal rhyme within the third line that rhymes with an internal rhyme in the fourth line.

In both cases, the rhyme starts somewhere in the middle of the third line and it is a unique rhyme to the end rhyme in lines 1, 2, and 4.

Here’s a possible diagram for the first version (with the x’s symbolizing syllables):


Note: The “b” rhyme in the middle of line 3 could slide to the left or right as needed by the poet.

Here’s a possible diagram for the second version:


Note: In this version, both “b” rhymes can slide around in their respective lines, which affords the poet a little extra freedom.

FOR MORE INFO ON THIS FORM: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/gwawdodyn-poetic-forms



Tell it to the Moon


I lay in the dark,
wish my wolf-heart wasn’t pierced,
longing for your touch.
I failed you, still love you, hate
some of this and all of me.

Tell it to the moon:
howl your wish that we were whole.
Howl your broken heart;
Wish to turn back that damned clock.
Or live with choices you’ve made.

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Tell It to the (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Tell It to the Hand,” “Tell It to the Judge,” “Tell It to the Six-Foot Bunny Rabbit,” and so on.





Dead Too Soon (a Collum lune)

Love letters straight from your heart

an unsealed envelope
addressed to a valentine gone
gathers dust, unsent


For today’s prompt, write an elegy. An elegy doesn’t have specific formal rules. Rather, it’s a poem for someone who has died. In fact, elegies are defined as “love poems for the dead” in John Drury’s The Poetry Dictionary. Of course, we’re all poets here, which means everything can be bent. So yes, it’s perfectly fine if you take this another direction–for instance, I once wrote an elegy for card catalogs. Have at it!


The lune is also known as the American Haiku. It was first created by the poet Robert Kelly (truly a great poet) and was a result of Kelly’s frustration with English haiku. After much experimentation, he settled on a 13-syllable, self-contained poem that has 5 syllables in the first line, 3 syllables in the second line and 5 syllable in the final line. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poets/poetic-form-lune



Just Go (A Chant)


For months I’ve held your place.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
I trusted the hope in your face.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

You’ve kept me here on a string.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
You’re protecting me from the sting.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

You just couldn’t face hurting me.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
While bending to another’s decree.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

You hid the truth in your silence.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
You covered up reality’s violence.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

You’ve never had the strength.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
So you held me at great length.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

She took matters into her hands.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
Cut me deep, so I’d understand.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

Still, you cannot speak what’s true.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.
You chose, and our future is through.
Just go. Just — go, please. Go.

Prompt #11 of the April 2014 Writer’s Digest Poem-A-Day Challenge

For today’s prompt, make a statement the title of your poem and either respond to or expand upon the title. Some example titles might include: “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy;” “Guns Don’t Kill People, I Do;” “This Is Your Brain on Drugs;” “Smile for the Camera,” and “Be Kind Rewind.” Of course, there’s an incredible number of possible titles; pick one and start poeming!

The chant poem is about as old as poetry itself. In fact, it may be the first form poetry took. Chant poems simply incorporate repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat, or every other line. It’s easy to find many poetic forms that incorporate chanting with the use of a refrain. However, a chant poem is a little more methodical than a triolet or rondeau.


Not Now (a Lai)


Tomorrow I’ll smile,
like it’s out of style.
I vow.
Though my heart breaks, I’ll
be quite versatile,
but how?
Can’t I rest here, while
tears proclaim my trial?
Not now.

Prompt #10 of the April 2014 Writer’s Digest Poem-A-Day Challenge

For today’s prompt, write a future poem. The future might mean robots and computer chips. The future might mean apocalyptic catastrophes. The future might mean peace and understanding. The future might mean 1,000 years into the future; it might mean tomorrow (or next month). I forecast several poems in the near future to be shared below

The lai is another French form. It’s a nine-line poem or stanza that uses an “a” and “b” rhyme following this pattern: aabaabaab. The lines with an “a” rhyme use 5 syllables; the “b” rhyme lines have 2 syllables. It feels kind of like organized skeltonic verse.


Night Cycle


nothing can quiet the voices
in my head, in my heart, the
grief of hearing you explain
how you have no choice, but
to choose her and leave me

noises that mask themselves
in the silence of darkness
go ringing through my head
heedless of my weary state
torturing me with insomnia

no hope of sleep can reach me
i am a record stuck on repeat
grasping for shadows of silence
holding too tightly to the past
tomorrow i’ll forget you more

now i can only stare at darkness
imagine this life without you
gods know in time tears will dry
hey, i might nap in the morning
there’s hope for me after all

Prompt #6 of the April 2014 Writer’s Digest Poem-A-Day Challenge

“For today’s prompt, write a night poem. Vampires and werewolves? Cool. Clubbing and saloons? You got it. Lovers together alone? Right. Ex-lovers alone on their own? Sure thing. You figure out your night poem–and, yes, (k)night poems are fine too.”

The poem is a repeated acrostic of the word “night”.

Link to the prompt: