Sherri Dunn (prompt: name in title)

If I say we are
less like cousins
and more like siblings
that’s self-serving
on my part.

When she speaks
it’s a bubbling stream
of chaotic joking,
uncertain confirmation,
hopefulness and love.

She comes off
likes a bubble headed
bottle blonde,
but I know the truth.

Through it all,
the abused childhood
and neglected teenage years,
the “college” widowhood
and now the onset of lupus
she survived and
fought back
the only way
she could.

With love
she raised
Amanda, Carissa and Melanie
and their light-
her joyful sunlight-
will shine and
shine and
long after
Sherri has moved on.

The ability to
take all the sadness
all the darkness
and turn it into
double bright
sunlight and laughter,
isn’t magic,

It’s heroic.

Sherri and her Dad

To All My Loyal Readers (prompt: To _____ )

I apologize in advance

for the weakness

of the most recent offerings.


Life has been

throwing hell

at me

and I’ve been

waving a white flag.


Give me enough time

and I’ll try to turn this excrement

into gold

but I make no promises.



to all my loyal readers

who see me

and steal my invisibility,

your slightest notice

sends me into a drug like high.


Merely being seen

keeps me going

when I cannot understand

the  point of any of it.


Nothing is better than

someone telling me

I have touched them.


It’s the ultimate triumph 

of my spirituality over materialism.


I am transcendent

typing mad fury

these stray thoughts knowing

there is some understood

underlying code

in all this spilled blood.


I keep trying to make connections

because it doesn’t matter

if you’re in public library in New York

or a jail cell in Texas

a bakery in Oregon

a pub I Australia


for a moment

we are in the same place

and it feels good to me.


Ultimatum (Prompt: deadline)

She sat in
the beanbag chair

guilty but not
a child caught
in a lie.

“You gotta decide
whether you want
to stay married to me.”

She just stared into space
not taking any
just wanting it all
to be over.

Then I issued
the ultimatum:

“I’m giving you
two weeks to decide:
it’s either him or me.”

The Lesson In Retrospect:

if your beloved
takes more than

three seconds

to decide
if they want to
be with you,



Calliope Loves Me (Parts 1 and 2) (prompt: love poem and anti-love poem)

Part 1. Calliope Loves Me


“Lie back, dear man,

I know I haven’t been here for awhile

but I’ll make it up to you now.”


She is all thick eyelashes

and curved breathlessness

as she lays me down

on the silk chaise

and undresses me.


Closing my eyes

I surrender

and expose my

every weakness

and she tenderly

kisses each one.


She is gentle and purposeful

as she strokes me

until I am at once both

focused and

completely lost

in the rarified perfume

of her unconditional love.


I forget we are estranged lovers.

I forgive her wanton unfaithfulness

and I sacrifice it all to her

in a shameless worship.


We move together

in an ballet that

no other human has ever known

or could devise

and we make something

that is completely pure

until we in erupt in soft thunder

and I collapse

in her embrace,

her sweet short breaths

coaxing my soul

into narcosis.



Part 2. Calliope Doesn’t Love Me


“You’re pathetic.

And you’re so stupid.

Did you think you were special?”


She laughs

as I hurry to cover

parts of my naked body

but find I’ve run out of hands.


“I just come around

when I’m bored or

when the real poets are busy.”


I avert my eyes

as a trickle of flop sweat

makes its torturous path

down my neck and spine.


“And, oh my God,

is there anything you won’t eat?
Look at you,

you’re a friggin’ Jabba the Hut.”


I frantically search

for my clothes hidden

in the bedsheets,


“Just for the record,

as a writer, you ain’t shit.

Now, that guy, Bukowski?

He knew how to give it to me good.

Nope, I never had to fake it with him

or finish myself off with the vibrator.”


I look away

trying to wait it out.


“Yes, after I did Bukowski,

he’d write an epic.


You? You can’t even write

a goddamn fortune cookie.”





The Cautionary Tale (Prompt: horror)

“I almost didn’t recognize him.


Remember back in the day

he was a Bad Ass’ Bad Ass?


Remember when

he cut that punk

at the Taco Bell

when he thought

they shortchanged him?


Yeah, it was right after

he outran that motorcycle cop

on La Cienega.

He had to –

he had just scored

and he didn’t need

that bullshit.


He used to just take

whatever he wanted

from that Korean guy

who ran that little market

on the corner.


Yeah, he was the man

but all of a sudden he

dropped out if sight,

like overnight.


Then I was over

at the Wal-Mart in Pedley

and I think I see him

and guess what?


He’s pushin’ a stroller!


No shit.   He’s just there

leaning on the handles

next to some nothing chick.


She’s all talking away

right there in the diaper aisle

and he’s just staring

blank straight ahead


like they took his brain,

or his balls

or something.


Yeah, you’re right,

like a zombie.


Yeah, maybe he’s

a zombie now.


In the diaper aisle.


That’s some fuckin’

scary shit, man.”



My Slab (Prompt: self-portrait)

You start out

as a giant slab

of some malleable



an obelisk

of possibility.


With every experience,

every temporary setback

and the even more

transient victories


you chip away

a little more 

from the slab.


The goal is to make

a breathtaking


of your life.


My slab

has its dramatic edges

and its comforting curves


but it is

still a fair distance away

from my vision.


Only now

it’s a race

against time,



I suppose

it’s been

all along.



Screwdriver (Prompt: tool)

I was made
to do one thing,

but in a pinch
I can hammer a nail

and tear through
packaging when you're too lazy
to get a proper knife.

I impatiently pry nails
out of the packing crates
that finally came

and can crudely chisel
the initials "DT + AT 4 EVER"
on a sturdy tree trunk

and I'm better
than a handgun
when carried
in the pocket
through unfamiliar
darkened streets.

I do all these things
only second-best.

What I do best

is screw.


Until Next Time, America (Prompt: Until _____)

It is a daily

train wreck

and I cannot

turn away.


The crowd rivals

the Roman Coliseum

with its screaming

bloodthirsty hordes

as the epic tragedy

unfolds daily

in multiple syndicated



They want more

than bloodshed

and authentic gore,

they demand

shame and humiliation.


The irony is these victims

offer themselves

to the gods of

daytime programming,

for mere attention,

their amorality

paraded as

so many different

vaudeville acts.


Unrepentant liars,

illegitimate children,

adulterous and ill-formed


inbred, cuckolded

and ultimately emasculated



judged neither by a thumb

either up or down,

but rather by

the high technology

of lie detector and

DNA tests.


Proving paternity

and confirming the basest,

most unflattering

truths of humanity,

the curtain comes down

on this daily spectacle,

as Maury Povich intones,

“Until next time, America.”