POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.


With the onset of February, we begin with our series of guest hosts helping present our poetic prompts.

Paula Wanken

Paula Wanken

The title of our prompt is no reflection on our co-host by any stretch of the imagination. The guest this week has done much behind the scenes in the production of our anthology book(s). Paula Wanken is always willing to go that extra mile to assist us and was Marie Elena’s right hand in the editing of the POETIC BLOOMINGS: The First Year. You see her work around the sites most of us frequent and her acumen with Shadorma and Pi-Ku forms makes her work quite distinctive. On her blog, Echoes From The Silence , Paula splays her heart, emotions and faith in a most compelling way. Far from the neophyte she proclaimed herself to be when she first burst onto the scene, Paula has an outlook we all should look to emulate. She’s one of the truly good people! For more about Paula, visit her POET RECOLLECTION page under the Poetic Bloomings tab.

And with that thought, we tend to always look for the good in people (or at least we try). But sometimes it isn’t always a fairy tale existence. The rosiest colored glasses often fail us. Sweeping naivete to the curb, we realize there are some not so nice folks out there.

Yet still believing we “pay for our sins”, make a list of seven things that could happen to bad people.

Use one of them as the title of your poem. No one is asking you to judge anyone. Just come up with ideas and let your muse do the rest!



From across the room she caught his eye,
winsome beauty in a pert upturned nose.
He chose her from the bevy and left no doubt
he was out of her league. He was intrigued
and determined to meet her, If he could unseat her
in the direction of the dance floor he was sure
he would woo her. He saw her as his new addiction.
Her appeal bolstered his conviction. He’ll plead insanity.

© Copyright 2014 – Walter J Wojtanik


SERVING TIME (a shadorma)

For a year
he wronged her with lies
and deceit.
He now serves
a life sentence regretting
the mistakes he made.

© Copyright 2014 – Paula M. Wanken

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  1. William Preston on said:


    Come to me
    with your cash in hand:
    you get drugs;
    you get highs
    and I get all the riches.
    Snitches get stitches.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  2. Snitches get stitches- hahahha. Walt, Paula, clever.


    We liked you
    was happy she was happy
    you were a computer whiz
    very successful and driven
    but no one knew about your…
    sideline, tightrope walker
    and juggler of clandestine

    Yes, you were confidant,
    cocky even, worked without a net.
    We saw you lying on the mat –
    it was such a satisfying splat!

  3. William Preston on said:


    With the cars and the girls and the bling,
    he seemed to have most everything
    save a good reputation;
    he was a pariah
    but, all in all, the
    that crime

    copyright 2014, William Preston

  4. Pingback: Worry About Yourself | Metaphors and Smiles

  5. Worry About Yourself
    Misfortune can mean opportunity
    adversity could be our university,
    trouble overcome
    becomes life’s ultimate lessons
    for ourselves
    and maybe
    an example for others.
    We get to decide how we’ll respond
    to our specific set of circumstances.
    Will we allow difficulties to be a disability
    or choose to embrace the plan?
    What was considered to be a weakness
    has the ability of transforming
    into our greatest strength.
    Will we shape our own plot?
    Will we choose
    to make a university from our adversity
    or will we hinder our personal evolution
    with doubt and despair
    becoming our own worst enemy?
    Will we step forward with courage
    earning our deserved diploma honorably?
    We’re the student of our one individual life,
    we must only learn our own set of lessons
    we needn’t impose our curriculum upon others
    they have their own design and time-
    their own free will and choices.
    Worry about yourself.
    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    And this is sure to make you laugh…or at least smile… 🙂

    Happy weekend poetic peeps!

  6. Thank you for the co-hosting and examples Paula and Walt!


    He loved you.
    Three simple words
    At which you laughed
    As if your heart
    Were made of stone.

    He loved you.
    You led him on.
    You made him think
    You truly cared
    For him alone.

    He loved you.
    He told you so.
    You wore his ring.
    Why play that game?
    You broke his heart
    And now he’s gone.

    He loved you.
    Three simple words
    You used to hear,
    But not again.
    You’re on your own.


  8. flashpoetguy on said:


    It is not a packaged gift
    You unravel and voila!––LOVE!
    That would be too easy.
    The fearful and the lazy
    Would line up, take all they could
    And keep love hidden in a chest.

    To find love you need to search,
    Not the Earth, but Heaven on Earth,
    Sacred places of fertile ground
    Where love can flower freely,
    Blossom color miracles
    Meant, not to hoard, but give away.

    Above all, you must be brave.
    Cowards go through the motions
    Pretending they will vow their hearts,
    But never do. They die loveless.
    Fear becomes the sin they answer for
    Somewhere in a fiery ring of hell.


  9. flashpoetguy on said:


    Lies never shine
    Like sun, or even moon.
    They leave the mouth

    Bats from a cave
    Flapping dark wings
    The wind carries skyward

    Lies only harm
    They never help
    Those whom they malign

    They drive a wedge
    Between good and better
    Making things worse

    Lies can even kill
    Or break a heart so bad
    It longs for death

    They twist the truth
    Into a sharp stick
    And stab relentlessly

    Lies never die
    They outlive the liar
    And they seethe in dark stew


  10. Brought to Her Knees

    She fell,
    Brought to her knees
    By the weight of her sin,
    Hanging about her in thick shrouds:
    She prayed.

    © Copyright Erin Kay Hope – 2014

  11. There’s no justice in desserts.
    Maybe honey, if you’re lucky,
    maybe nuts; maybe not.

  12. May you write bad cat poetry

    May you write bad cat poetry.
    Bad, really bad – not just ho-hum,
    but truly, objectively speaking, awful.
    May T.S. Eliot turn in his grave. A lot.

    May you feel eternally inspired
    by all things feline, to the point
    that nothing else matters, and all
    you want to do is write poems about cats.

    May it be the kind of precious
    rhyming verse that fits perfectly
    in oversized fuzzy-edged greeting cards
    and Reader’s Digest collections.

    May people love your cat poetry.
    May it be picked up by Public Television
    and turned into a regular feature
    on a famous children’s show.

    May your fans send you an unending supply
    of cat-related mementos, so that your home is
    overflowing with stuffed toys and blurry
    five by sevens of animals named after you.

    May you become known only for your
    cat poety. May this not bother you.
    May you embrace your identity to the point
    that you purchse a vanity plate that reads “MEOW”

    May your cat poetry plum ever-increasing
    depths of inanity. May this please you.
    When it occurs to you to write something else
    may you think, Why bother? I like cats.

    May you keep writing for the rest
    of your life. Always about cats.
    And nothing else. Lots of bad cat poetry.
    An unbelievable amount.

  13. Wanted:

    Posers for glossies Posers for film
    Paid in cash and Super-model fame.
    (Paid in peepers’ want and need)

    Head shots. Body shots Wanted
    to lure myriad minions, yearning,
    beguiled Just smile Just pose
    Just slither and glide One black strap
    over-the-shoulder slide, One stiletto
    and one long-legged twirl, One slow-mo
    swirl of blond-streaked curls.


    For glossies Wanted for film.
    Promoters Photographers of
    Underage girls. Wanted: your
    mug shot. Wanted: your hide
    on a post like a roast locked
    behind bars.

  14. I have to admit to cheating, guys. It happened this way. I read this immediately before the Friday Flashy Fiction prompt for the week. The one overlapped the other and voilà, a poem is born, though not what I had anticipated. Here you go.

    Soul Cycle

    They called it art;
    A circle of metal
    Standing between roads
    Moving in opposite directions.

    They called it art;
    Spikes, bars, darkness and light,
    Flowing in circular movement
    A never-ending dance in view.

    They called it art;
    Though few spoke of the
    Smaller circles pierced by spikes,
    Forever climbing toward the next.

    They called it art;
    Never knowing souls climbed there,
    Ever-pursuing rungs not achieved
    On roads moving in opposite directions.

    • Marie Elena on said:

      I have to admit that this one escapes me. I’m trying to envision … trying to grasp. But although I can’t claim to understand it, I find it disturbing. Especially the final stanza.

      • MEG, I don’t doubt that you find disturbing, especially that last stanza. My thought on it was that for all the scrambling man does on this world to climb the rungs of success, few of those scrambles are without harm to others in some way or another, some more ruthless than others, and that in the end, the soul of those who seek such things, the cycle or the hunt doesn’t cease, but continues throughout eternity–in a circle of continuous striving without fulfillment.

        I hope that says it a bit better.

        My Thought Verb challenge for this month kept me from using words I would have normally used to express the ideas. Maybe that’s why it felt so foreign to you.

        • Marie Elena on said:

          That is what I was envisioning, so you actually did a great job at it. But it also had a story quality to it, so I thought there was a background I might be missing.

          Well done!!

          And yes, the thought verb challenge looks daunting to me! Great exercise in restraint. 😉

    • I read this over and over and enjoyed exploring it. I wasn’t sure of your intended message but came up with a few ideas of my own and loved the layers and mystery to it.

    • William Preston on said:

      The thought that keeps coming to me as I read this, “they can call it whatever they want, but….”

      • Yeah, but … The circle, with its protrusions and rising symbolism, looks like something that should stand in front of a concentration camp. Sorry, just my opinion. Thanks for the comment, William.

    • Though few spoke of the
      Smaller circles pierced by spikes,
      Forever climbing toward the next… that is the strong image for me and could be interpreted in many ways as Linda stated. I esp think what you mentioned about it standing in front of a concentration camp is powerful and accurate.

      • thanks, Deb. I agree that my meaning can take on many colors. Perhaps that aspect helps make it what you see. When I look at that “art,” I see struggle and pain. No beauty or positive aspects shine forth for me. It helps that others react to it as I do.

    • I love when prompts overlap to produce ART. 😉

      • Hahaha. Paula, my hope remains that my “art” doesn’t approach the pain portrayed in the picture of the statue shown as the prompt.

        But you hit the point of the exercise. Our inspiration comes unasked and we take advantage of it while it stands before us. I enjoy writing to image prompts, since no two interpretations ever coincide completely.


    Sometimes the worst thing
    a human being can do
    is nothing at all.

  16. connielpeters on said:


    Like water dripping
    from the rain gutter
    wearing down
    the rock underneath,
    guilt beat a rhythm
    in his mind,
    until he had to show them the rock
    which marked the grave.

  17. Sheriff Renkins

    By David De Jong

    Been a few tales about these parts, still bein’ spread
    Mustang horse an’ saddle, long Hawkins lead
    Old time sheriff, star on his buckskin shirt
    Ya’ll draw on him and ya’ll be eatin’ dirt

    Renkins and Chennoah still on the trail
    Ridin’ so law an’ justice always prevailed
    He’s tracked killers an’ gamblers, thieves, and scum
    Brought em back to trial, where most were hung

    He was honest, stern, and a darn good aim
    Could just as easy kill ya, as make ya lame
    Be best to stay clear his sights, wary his lead
    If he comes a-callin’, yer good as dead

    Mind yer manners, give listen to yer ma
    Best keep yer boots on the right side the law
    Be mindful, whate’er deed it is you do
    Last thing ya want, is Renkins trailin’ you


    I wallow in depravity.
    A hand reaches out to me,
    Willing to lift me from the mire.
    I respond with closed eyes
    Clenched fist
    Padlocked soul.
    For I am weak, ill
    Of heart, suffering defeat
    Of my own making.

    © Marie Elena Good, 2014

  19. Marie Elena on said:

    Paula, I am just tickled pink to see you out here as the very first guest host! EXCELLENT, provocative prompt!

  20. Marie Elena on said:

    Walt and Paula, you both started us out in grand style. 🙂

  21. A Black Mark against Her

    A new one the shape of Lake Superior surfaced,
    swimming across the front of her left leg,
    a raw red stain that will soon change
    to a patch of purple body paint,
    gradually turn to a mix of green and yellow,
    eventually fade to a smaller brown fleck.
    These bruises come again and again,
    linger on her skin the way you sometimes,
    without warning, sweep into her memories.

    She remembers the day the two of you
    argued, how you cursed her like she were
    the epitome of evil for speaking with your sister.
    She didn’t know how to explain or how things
    even came to that point, just that all the colors
    of the rainbow kept falling from the sky
    and swirling together in one big pool of black.
    You thought this was her true color.

    Until then she’d always looked upon you
    with giant rose-colored glasses, likened you to
    you to heavenly love, but the memories are now
    tinged with a broader spectrum of colors–
    golden sunshine moments,
    pretty pink fields of heather flowers blossoming
    then turning bitter burnt sienna, their dried petals
    sprinkled across white sands of time like a bunch
    of tiny bruises right before they heal.

    Each time a new bruise shows up on her body,
    she’s reminded that some things never heal.
    Burns can leave permanent scars. Broken
    friendships remain lodged somewhere deep
    within the chambers of one’s heart, and
    terminally ill women one day die, whether
    old lost friends are looking or not.

  22. Troubled

    His slack hand caused rapid poverty
    His weary feet tread a darksome path

    The heavy hand of law slaked his thirst for trouble
    But he only stirred the pot and tasted wrath

  23. Losing Everything

    He worked the Street, Wall
    by name. He achieved fame,
    and fortune by fiddling
    with other people’s money.
    With glee, he plundered
    pensions, stole life savings,
    lived well. But, I’m here
    to tell you that he was caught,
    brought to trial, vileness
    of his actions spoken aloud,
    printed in papers. He finds
    no kindness in prison,
    and many enemies
    less evil than he.

  24. Ill-Fated Merchant

    Crime payed him well
    But robbed his soul of wealth

    Committing all to the game
    But in the end the game played him

    Like a fool he craved a name for himself
    Toiling in pain reaping only the vanity of dust

    He thought he made his bed in stout paradise
    Yet arising in thorns his dream was a curse

  25. Wm Preston on said:


    Sinful days
    primeval ways.

    © copyright 2014, William Preston

  26. Pingback: A Shady Weasel | The Chalk Hills Journal


    So often have I dreamed
    of this day, this hour
    Imagining you on my lap,
    your warm body resting
    against mine; you sleep, your
    chubby thumb firmly in mouth.

    There is an air of reconciliation
    about the place that almost
    covers the scent of death,
    and the stench of men afraid,
    men preparing to be put to death.

    I arrive as early as they
    will allow; the moon is
    well up, and fully waxing
    It seems to bode well;
    “a good night for dying”
    I whisper as we enter
    the prison

    Time seems to both
    race and stand still
    as we wait with the others
    All of us on those hard
    wooden chairs
    Still, light as air, you sleep on

    Finally, the sound of doors clanking,
    locks being shot open,
    and I know he’s being brought in
    I sneak a peek at my watch; almost midnight
    We hear them strapping him to the table…
    The well-worn drapes are screech-owl
    loud when drawn

    I shift you carefully before I look up
    And into your killer’s icy blue eyes.
    As if beseeching something from me,
    he stares into mine

    Minutes tick off the wall-clock audibly;
    I hold my breath, know an eleventh
    hour phone-call can still save him
    And, you will never be free

    He holds my gaze
    unblinkingly and tears
    slide down the sides of his face
    Do you stir? I glance away
    for a moment
    and miss something

    His last words…?
    I look back and
    he still seeks my eyes,
    but the poison is flowing
    and there is such a sense
    of loss…

    I feel you float up
    off my lap at exactly the
    same moment all life leaves
    his eyes and he closes them,
    and also leaves the earth.

    Even though you are both free
    I feel such a sense of peace now
    I wonder why I didn’t expect

    ***Sent to Six Fold’s January 24, 2014 contest

  28. Regarding “Retribution Day” – it’s not supposed to have the “Six Fold” info on the bottom (the contest was cancelled for Jan and I’m pulling this poem before the April round…) Sorry about that…

  29. Wm Preston on said:

    It just occurred to me: with Paula and Walt working together, I guess we could say it’s Christmas time in the garden.

  30. WmPreston on said:


    When love
    is counterfeit,
    it cannot countenance
    passion without its counterpoint:

    © copyright 2014, William Preston

  31. In Exile

    from society,
    physically disowned
    but mentally linked, forever,
    by invisible chains of memories.


  33. Pingback: Serving Time | echoes from the silence

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