Feeding the Darkness

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.


It’s nearly four, and Darkness comes to nudge me from the depths of dreaming. Her cravings won’t be sated. Outside the window, a cry echoes once, then again — the black dog’s voice is neither howl nor bark, and yet both.

Darkness paces impatiently, her boots echoing with my heart’s “too much, too little, too much, too little” syncopation. I feel her in my skin and my soul sighs out a name. I feel the cold and warming bodies of my children and their children pressed to my naked breast, see my mother’s dry lips pursed in disapproval.

I invite Darkness to dine with me, again — to dine on me — as she has done before. It’s a borrowed, black, denim work-shirt she wears, and though it fits poorly, it pulls at me, like a black hole collapsing my lungs.

The distant black dog mimics a wolf — calling again, and the Wolf who shares my bed doesn’t flinch. She doesn’t sleep anymore, my Wolf. Instead, she warily watches as Darkness takes a seat at my table.

I offer my heart as an appetizer, always too eager to see this inky void filled and satisfied. The Wolf who used to lay her head in my lap now growls at the riverbank, staring into shadows. The new moon has drawn the clouds up over her head, trying desperately to sleep in peace. I’m not certain there’s any peace to be found in these small hours when the black dog calls.

Darkness eats daintily, wipes her mouth on my skirt, then flicks her ravenous eyes at my Wolf. Her greedy, plucking fingers are alder branches, stirring widdershins in the murky water of my soul.

She draws the tarot from her pocket, and the cards fall before me like winter leaves, thin and colorless. Five coins tumble into lonely orphans, with no bread. King of Cups stands on his head, angry and brooding, while the Lovers gaze anxiously on. The inverted Moon stares at her confused reflection in the water. High Priestess is here too, offering a hand through the labyrinth. But Darkness exhales a thick, wet fog, and gestures toward my Wolf. “Feed me.”

I attempt a bargain, counting out five coins, like sweet cakes, and my desperate heart breathes a name into the darkness. The Wolf’s fur bristles along her shoulders and I close my eyes, slipping finally into the deep end of the pool, where sleep swims elusively upriver.



Arc – a November Poem-A-Day Challenge – Diminishing Somonka

Need is a live wire —
arcing in me, a tripped switch,
setting flesh afire.
Tell me now, my charming witch,
can you scratch this constant itch?
Chaotic moon child,
I can see, you’re all aquake,
your pulse running wild —
watch you tremble, feel you quake.
Do not doubt, I know your ache.


PROMPT: 2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 5 

For today’s prompt, write a wire poem. A wire poem could be about something that needs wires–like maybe a robot, TV, or automobile. But birds huddle on telephone wires, people wire money to each other, and kids can get wired off of too much candy and/or caffeine. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t written more wired poems over the years.

Diminishing Somonka

A form I created by marrying the Somonka and Diminishing Verse poetic forms:
  • two Tankas (5-7-5-7-7), written as two love letters to each other.
  • remove the first letter of the end word in each successive 7 syllable line.
Variation: Poets can remove sounds if they wish like “flies” to “lies” to “eyes.”




Nightly – a November Poem-A-Day Challenge – Diminishing Somonka

My Wolf, can’t you see,
how I long to hear you speak,
feel you howl at me —
slowly climbing to my peak
as more night with you I eke.
Throughout this dark night,
I have watched you, rising slow,
felt your beauty bright —
drawing out my howl from low
in my body, until — Ohhh!

PROMPT:2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 2

For today’s prompt, write an animal spirit poem (or spirit animal poem). What I’m thinking is to make the title of the poem the animal and then write a poem as if you are that animal. Or look at ways you identify with that animal. Another possibility (if this is too New Age): Write a poem about an animal. Period.


Diminishing Somonka
A form I created by marrying the Somonka and Diminishing Verse poetic forms:
  • two Tankas (5-7-5-7-7), written as two love letters to each other.
  • remove the first letter of the end word in each successive 7 syllable line.
Variation: Poets can remove sounds if they wish like “flies” to “lies” to “eyes.”




I was the moon rising
in your eyes, and you
the wolf–laying a rope
of stars at my pale throat.

They cut my tender skin
with diamond blades,
and my flesh wept
blood red with joy. 

Their surrender-song
still echoes in my head
–as the sun spills golden 
into our bedroom window.

I will sing their fading notes
–each one my gift to you.



Chasing Light

The pear tree overhead
drips honey gold
as the retreating sun
caresses its leaves.
The day fades to
the sound of your voice,
and shadows chase light
from the sky.

Our conversation
drips honey gold
as Cheshire cat moon
parts the clouds.
Her light fills the night
while you whisper
goodnight wishes
in my ear.

Across the way,
two little girls
are giggling
at the magic of
fireflies in the gray.
Isn’t everyone
chasing light,
after all?



Something Red

@Benedict Gacutan


There’s something
about white underthings
under other things
a red dress and
black strappy sandals
lips painted red.

There’s something about
white, pure and sacred
something holy
in the pulse
beating red
under milky flesh.

There’s something
in a whispered prayer
a hard swallow
past a tight throat
a trembling hand
touching your hand
your face.

There’s something
about the look
in your hungry eyes
black and dark
an iron wolf’s gaze
white teeth, red tongue.

There’s something
in that fairy tale
a girl in red, walking
in a dark forest
wide eyes, white
seeking wild.

There’s something
holy and sacred
in these trees, on
this hallowed ground
blood and hunger
spilled and sated
— something.



Hungry Moon (a #NaPoMo #APRPAD poem)



that first meal we shared
at a full moon table with
silent dueling pianos
your blue wolf eyes
across the narrow table
nervous smile dancing
over a barely touched
plate of french fries

the waitress laughed
as at her question
you insisted on paying
we could not swallow
more than a few bites
but as you held my hand
I was so hungry the world
could see it on my face

the full moon closed
within days — for weeks
I wondered to myself
what that might mean
now I know, that night
you left that place with
the moon on your arm



Poetic Asides #April Poem-A-Day Challenge – PAD #16:

For today’s prompt, write a poem about (or at) a food establishment. You could pick on a chain like Taco Bell or McDonald’s, sure, but maybe there’s a local favorite–or some special dive. Heck, maybe that place where you took your first date or got your first job. Have fun with it, and if you need to do a little research, go out for something to eat.




Insistent Moon


Full Moon Tonight by The Dark Silhouette


I woke missing you,
the moon’s face in my window.
Did she let you sleep?
Or were you awake, like me —
thinking of the way we kiss?

I could not find sleep.
Staring into the darkness,
the moon tapping on
my window, in the wee hours.
I imagined you with me.



The somonka is a Japanese form. In fact, it’s basically two tankas written as two love letters to each other (one tanka per love letter). This form usually demands two authors, but it is possible to have a poet take on two personas. Click here for a refresher on the tanka.





I believe in fairy tales,
in love,
and lust,
in the honey beneath a lover’s tongue,
in the full moon,
and a sky brimming with stars,
in a good cup of coffee,
that poetry is necessary to keep society from falling apart.
I believe we were truly meant to fly.
I believe in the right to love whomever I choose,
radically and extravagantly
and that every relationship is unique.
I believe there is pleasure in pain,
that vulnerability is a well of strength,
in trusting my heart, even if the world spins backward —
and I believe in the taste and sound of words —
in my mouth, my ears, and inked into the skin of a page.