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.




True Red — After Flyleaf, All Around Me (a golden shovel poem)

I have the writer’s luxury of words (my 
body is a thesaurus) and my tongue 
drips with vocabulary like a child dances 
— with complete abandon. No hiding behind 
the expectations in my imagination. My 
poet’s fingers paint love upon these lips 
before I speak. I promise will ever search for 
the perfect shade, and always be kissing you.


golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.




For today’s prompt, write a luxury poem.

Ceremonial Cranes (an out-and-about poem)


Ask Vitruvius about beauty,
and look at the exalted cranes–
common and blue, red and
mechanical–models of
mathematical mythology.
A thousand timeless folded,
flying roosting and rusty,
they are positioned for power–
craning necks to extend
an eternal inked invitation
to vigilance, a visit from
Hiroshima, a ceremonial
origami celebration that
square by square calls out,
“Be here. Be. Here.”
with gregarious vocabulary,
in Tulsa, Oklahoma or
welcome, wherever you are.


POETIC FORM: An out-and-about Poem



To earn the “Off the Shelf” badge, head to your local library or bookstore, making a mental note of things you see on your journey there — you might, for instance, see construction taking place, drive by a used car dealership, pass a printing shop or spot a group of birds  in the trees. Make one of the things you saw your research topic for the day and find five books related to that topic in your library or bookstore’s stacks. Compose a poem using only the words and phrases  found on the first five pages of each text, excluding introductory matter. Make a note of your sources and include the citations along with your completed poem. ( I used websites, and only words from the main page in each case.)

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

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.



Topic – Cranes


There is a growl that lives within
the dark cave of his throat.
His eyes contain a beacon fire
against the black, I note.

While standing in the moonlight here
back pressed against a tree–
I watch him lick his twitching lips
as he is watching me.

I’m drawn like moths to amber flame
to his hungry restraint.
For, though he’s quite the gentleman,
I’ll wager he’s no saint.

I’ll whisper softly, laugh aloud
I’ll taunt him with my eyes–
eventually he’ll drop his guard.
I’ll get past his disguise.

You see, it’s that low growl I seek–
the hunt, the wolf, the prey.
I want his fire, his energy–
the lust he holds at bay.

(A haiku)


tilt my face tasting
rain—a tomato
burst from your lips




“For today’s prompt, write a vegetable poem. I once wrote a poem titled “Tomatoes,” and that would count. If you want to write a poem about a specific vegetable, go for it. If you want to write a poem that just has a vegetable mixed in somewhere, go for it. If you want to praise or curse vegetables, go for it. If you want to play with the idea of vegetables, including a vegetable mental state, couch “potato,” and so on–well, you know, go for it.”

Coffee Kiss (a Somonka)


I long for your lips
as warm and red as this cup.
The coffee, I sip,
to wake me from my dreaming,
of you in your pajamas.

We’re out of coffee;
you left the empty pot on.
I long for a sip,
but I’m running late. I’ve time
for a quick, red, coffee kiss.


For today’s prompt, pick a color, make the color the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. You can make your poem black, white, red, purple, turquoise, puce, or whatever your heart desires. And the subject of your poem can cover any topic–as long as you’ve plugged a color into the title. Let’s do this!


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. A refresher on the tanka: If a haiku is usually (mistakenly) thought of as a 3-line, 5-7-5 syllable poem, then the tanka would be a 5-line, 5-7-5-7-7 syllable poem. However, as with haiku, it’s better to think of a tanka as a 5-line poem with 3 short lines (lines 2, 4, 5) and 2 very short lines (lines 1 and 3). While imagery is still important in tanka, the form is a little more conversational than haiku at times. It also allows for the use of poetic devices such as metaphor and personification (2 big haiku no-no’s). Like haiku, tanka is a Japanese poetic form. (for more on the tanka, see: for more on the somonka:


And Then the Rain Came


It was a long night.

I won’t lie, I took a sleep aid.   I actually went out to the drugstore, specifically to buy something I don’t even keep in my house, because I needed sleep more than anything. I’m not as strong as I might like to be, and I couldn’t face the barrage of questions that have woken me for weeks,  at all hours of the night. Insomnia, on a night like this, is debilitating.

Still, I woke in the wee hours. Focusing on every breath, pushing out every thought. — In. — Out. — Praying for sleep. Eventually I dozed and found relief.

I woke to rain. He tossed himself against my window, reminding me that he and I are friends. He matched the tears on my face, trying to bring me some measure of peace. He invited me, as he always does, to come outside, lift my face to the sky, and be washed by the same refreshing that falls everywhere, on everyone I have ever loved, in an unending cycle of quenching thirst, and healing this broken earth.

I did not go out. I could not find the strength. But I listened.

I listened too, to the wisdom of a lover. He is new in my life, We first exchanged words at the beginning of Autumn.  He has been on this road, before, and his passion and life’s work are inextricably tied to the study and practice of loving more than one. His insight and love, along with the loving support of my husband, have been indescribable strength for me.  Early this morning, he said,

I would recommend you assess the core concerns that underpin the tortuous questions and fears. Face them with courage and determined perseverance. As you do this, you erode the basis of the crippling fears, and are able to choose a healthy response.

(I love his scientific mind. His voice of reason, and gentle tenderness. He is amazing.)

I suspect, in fact I know, that deep within me is a well of strength. I have stored up courage, and perseverance. Today, I feel very weak. I know fear as she lies beside me, sits at my elbow, follows silently in my footsteps. I accept that today, she is my companion. I am trembling and bleeding, but I am not crippled. Today, that rain provides a buffer of white noise against the torturous questions. I am resting, and drinking in strength, hope, love and peace.

I know that whatever tomorrow brings, I will survive. The sun will come; her warmth always follows the rain. I will greet her. I will face my fears, and choose a healthy response. I will let life show me what I cannot now see. I will grow, love, and keep walking.


Image Credit:



I say to you, “Please don’t jostle
Don’t bump me, today.
I may get a nosebleed, heart
might tumble from my chest,
shatter on the floor.

Either way —
you’ll get blood
on your shoes.

“Please note the bright, red
sticker on my chest:
Fragile – handle with care!
(or better yet – don’t handle at all)

Unless you don’t mind
getting your hands dirty.”
You say to me,

“Tell me about
the not so good parts.”
and it happens:

the slow trickle,
the single drop
followed by a splash
and another… another.

You smile, gather an armful
blood-red poppies,
from your patient feet.
“Yes, they are lovely.

You are lovely,
your pain, just one shade
from a palette of reds.”

I stand, mouth open,
tears of grief and wonder
diluting the crimson
petals in your hands.

Maybe you are right.
Maybe they are — maybe
you are lovely.

You don’t mind stains
on your shoes or
your fingers, after all.


Photo Credit:

Three Notes on Love


Sometimes love happens
in small ways
a smile
a touch
a conversation

Like a handful
of heart-shaped candy
a paper valentine
you’re offered something
to connect hearts
by a thin, red thread

If you’re willing
to risk
to trust
love blooms…
a cluster of petals
tinged with color

Sometimes love happens
in great big ways
a confession
a commitment
a lifetime

Like a forest
of hundred-year trees
a worldwide, forty-day rain
you find yourself
forever changed
bound to another
by thousands of crimson threads

For your willingness
to trust
even when
it wounds your soul
love soars…
a million feathers rise
ink-black on the wind
to write forever
across the sky

I’ve woven myself
a cloak of love
of countless
carmine spools
bright and warm

I wrap myself
against the winter
whisper a prayer
into the night

For lovers
down every road –
a song of gratitude
an incantation

May each of you ever
spin these threads
that bind us
may a handful
at the very least
lead you back
to me