Burn it Down

burn it all down, down to the ground
this turbulent house filled with scorn
a place where love cannot be found
emotions left will go unmourned

arrogant king can roast in hell
who will tell…? not this jezebel
gleefully, she’ll light the bedsheets
flee his castle, life now replete

©2023 jai

Italian Rispetto

Image by Николай Егошин from Pixabay

Broken Things

how do you mend broken things
can you mend broken things
that can’t be seen...

cracks that splinter a bleeding heart
clefts that rend a battered soul
chasms that cleave a suspicious mind

empty words are not Band-Aids
good deeds are not splints
love is not glue...

to things that were broken so long ago
that crucial pieces were forever lost
to the merciless left hand of Time

©️2023 jai

Image by Pam Simon from Pixabay

The Old Woman

the old woman rises at dawn
cooks breakfast for the old man
as she stirs the bubbling gravy
turns the sizzling bacon
her eyes stray to the open window
where the newly-plowed earth awaits

dishes stacked in the sink
she joins the old man
beneath the cerulean sky
laying out the rows
mounding the hills
dropping in the seeds

as the days grow longer and warmer
the old woman weeds and waters
tending the green growing plants
with love and care
as if they were her children
who all have grown and gone

the old woman picks the lettuce first
along with green onions
she drizzles them with bacon drippings
and while they eat in front of the TV
she and the old man
talk of long-ago gardens

a passel of barefoot kids
running up and down the rows
more hindrance than help
so sent off to play
while the young old woman and the young old man
do the work

in the height of summer
the old woman picks juicy tomatoes
and the last of the cucumbers
she and the old man
eat them with a little salt
while watching Wheel of Fortune

the old woman rises at dawn
cooks breakfast for the old man
as she stirs the plopping oatmeal
butters the toast
her eyes stray to the frosty glass
at the barren, snow-covered garden

arthritis torments the old woman’s joints
her heart flutters in an unsteady rhythm
keeping time with a lonely mind
that is muddled with yesterdays
she wonders if she will see another spring
or if she even wants to

©2023 jai

Image via Shutterstock


it starts

and it ends
takes flight on dark wings
and soars from my pen

hell rises up
heaven falls
demons rush in
and pass through the walls

of the human psyche shored up
by gossamer gods and magic pills
tromping through mires of disbelief
brandishing swords, counting kills

nothing can save you now
not pleas, prayers, nor unholy deals
from the monsters I’ve set free
to sink barbed teeth into your heels

and drag your evil carcass down
into the tenebrous pits below
to rip apart your foul flesh
and feast upon your black soul

it starts
and it ends
takes flight on dark wings
and soars from my pen

©2023 jai

Image by steven underhill from Pixabay

You Want More

People are looking at me funny, especially the ladies at the registers, ’cause I come here nearly every day. But I can only buy what I can carry home. Mama can’t come and we need food, and if anyone finds out Mama can’t come, me and Lizzy and Josh will have to go to one of those foster homes. And they ain’t good places to be.

I know ’cause I was put in one last year. Lizzy and Josh was put in them too.

My third-grade teacher, Miss Fincher, had seen my busted lip and had called someone and they’d picked me up at school and taken me to this place where a woman in white had looked at me all over, my privates too. I hadn’t liked that one bit. Then she’d told a big woman with red hair that I had been “physically abused.”

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Earworm—two interlocking tanka

told too many times

“be quiet, child, you talk too much—

be seen and not heard”

she finds friends under her bed

who listen in the deep dark

dark has its own voice

a twisted cacophony

of hurt and anger

it plants a vengeful earworm

that screams day and night for blood

©️2023 jai

(Note: Some of you guys may have read this a few days ago. Somehow, I inadvertently moved it to a draft, so am republishing.)

Above Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay


I’m tired, so very tired

of love, of so-called life

of all the countless heartaches

and years of endless strife

can’t undo what been done

too late to re-roll the dice

time to pay the penurious piper

but can’t afford the price

the velvet black void beckons

sweetly calls my secret name

offering silence I can rest in

tranquil and godless, free of pain

an endless, empty nothing

to pillow my weary mind

hopes and dreams fizzle out

as I blissfully, beautifully unwind

©️2023 jai

Image by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay

Sleeping Dogs

stretched out like a sorrowful slithering snake
no warm sun, no cool moon to light its way
dank and dismal, ceiling scaly with stunted stars
purgatory’s hallway, colored tear-stained gray

barred doors line its bowed-in, petrous walls
fashioned from lies and anger, jealousy and greed
keys without locks, and locks without keys
hiding haunted hearts that eternally bleed

cold bricks weep night sweats, whiskey, and coke
discordant screams slide underneath sallow doors
unanswered prayers seep through crumbling cracks
curdle into a slippery stigmata upon the frigid floor

don’t break the painted-over seal, don’t peer inside
don’t look upon fractured faces hiding hurts and slights
don’t ask questions you don’t want answers to
don’t offer false salvation...let sleeping dogs lie

©2023 jai

Image by Alexa from Pixabay