• Freedom

    A crack zigzags across the old sidewalk
    And wrenches apart the hot concrete,
    Exposing a tiny sliver of earth
    That for years untold
    Has known only crushing pain and darkness.

    While above . . . days pass, weeks pass,
    And Summer relinquishes its sovereignty to Autumn.
    Leaves fall, scarlet and saffron and umber tears
    Scurry and dance across the sad gray surface.
    Revivified wings flap overhead, rain patters down.

    A frigid gale rides in on the back of the North Wind.
    Ice crystals settle in the divide, cold elbows
    Pushing against the argentine walls
    That are desperately struggling to hold together.
    The frozen earth shivers beneath this fresh onslaught.

    While above . . . days pass, weeks pass,
    And Winter reluctantly surrenders its silver crown to Spring.
    Lightning splits the sky, thunder rolls and rumbles.
    A deluge pounds the sidewalk; a cool river races through the cleft,
    Torturously prying it open to the warming world.

    The raw earth nestled in the crack feels a pleasant stirring.
    A tiny fledgling breaks its surface and stretches toward the sun.
    Oaken soldiers flanking the sidewalk tip their glossy green heads
    To watch the miracle of birth arising from the ashes of neglect.
    The dandelion nods its golden head . . . free at last.

    ©️2023 jai

    Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

  • God’s Eyes

    God’s Eyes
    My own watercolor painting.
    remote mountain lake

    sparkles in spring’s noontime sun

    for God’s eyes alone

    ©️2023 jai

  • Broken

    broken inside
    broken in two
    broken promise
    that didn’t come true
    broken happiness
    broken joy
    broken life
    all destroyed
    broken dreams
    broken hope
    broken will
    no way to cope
    broken spirit
    broken mind
    broken in pieces
    and left behind
    ©copyright 2023 jai
    unbounded quatrain

    Image via Pixabay

  • Johnnys

    The morning is heavy, pregnant with spring.
    Dew sparkles on the new blades stretched in mass,
    Testing their new-found strength; in shouts of green,
    They greet the rose-soft sunrise, raise their glass,
    Salute their warm savior with verve and sass.
    “Hello!” shout the iris, waving blue heads.
    “Hello!” shout the tulips, white, pink, and red.
    Near the barn, johnny-jump-ups perk their ears,
    Wonder why the fuss from their vain cousins.
    After all, from early March they’ve been here,
    Yellow and purple, dozens and dozens.
    Popping up while the ground is yet frozen,
    Johnnys are trailblazers, fearless and bold.
    What’s the big deal about a little cold?
    ©2023 jai
    rhyme royal

    Image via Gerri Duke

  • Striptease

    some spirits are as fragile as a rose

    sweet as honey, lovely to gaze upon

    but easily damaged

    by callous souls who heartlessly ravage

    scribbling hateful words with sharpened crayons—

    soft petals wilt ‘neath weight of heavy prose

    leaving door open to rot and disease

    rose abandons hope, does a sad striptease

    ©️2023 jai

    wounded couplet

    Image by Jiří Rotrekl from Pixabay

  • Penance

    the wolf is at the door
    he howls…I moan
    he knows I am in here
    afraid and all alone

    the wolf is at the door
    he claws the ancient wood
    he knows I am behind it
    he knows I will taste good

    the wolf is at the door
    his nose draws in my smell
    tastes the sweetness of my fear
    his appetite I will quell

    the wolf is at the door
    I rise to let him in
    this night will witness penance
    past time to pay for sins

    the wolf is at the door
    I gather my courage close
    my fingers curl round the icy knob
    I let in the lupine ghost

    the wolf is in the door
    he growls...I scream
    thrust my dagger into his heart
    carve out his bloody wet dream

    the wolf is on the floor
    I smile in satisfaction
    he thought I would be an easy meal
    too weak to take bold action

    the wolf dies on the floor
    no longer a threat to me
    I write my name in his cooling blood
    for other wolves to see
    ©2023 jai

    Image by Peace,love,happiness from Pixabay

  • Ghosts

    My own watercolor painting.
    childhood ghosts

    haunt dusty dirt road

    footprints gone

    laughter gone

    the brother and two sisters

    grown and gone away

    ©️2023 jai

  • Love Hurts

    Love Hurts

    John Parker stepped into his pants, glanced back at the woman sleeping in the bed he had just vacated. And the guilt hit him. Why did he do it? Why did he have to nail some bimbo he’d just met when he had a beautiful, willing wife at home?

    He almost always questioned his actions after the fact. But never before. When he met a pretty young thing, every thought in his head was crowded out by the one imperative: get her in the sack. And since he fit all the prerequisites—tall, dark, handsome, successful—most A-list women had tucked away in their minds when eyeing a potential hookup, he seldom struck out. It was just so damn easy.

    He left three hundred bucks—cab fare plus a little something extra—on the bedside table, and after looking around to see if he’d left anything behind, slipped quietly out the door. He hated goodbyes, some more than others. That’s how he’d ended up married to Liv: he couldn’t tell her goodbye.

  • Morning Coffee

    Morning Coffee
    There was a young man named Bobby,

    whose girlfriend made him a zombie.

    When he started to rot,

    she kicked his butt out,

    without even his morning coffee.

    ©️2023 jai


    Image by Russell Holden from Pixabay

  • Rivers

    In her life, she has crossed many rivers.
    Some she swam with sure, steady strokes;
    Some she walked over on burning bridges;
    Some were so shallow, she easily waded.
    But fording the last one, she almost drowned,
    Failed to reach the other side.
    The swift, black waters dragged her down,
    Filled her lungs with life’s heartaches,
    Then cast her battered body back to shore;
    Left her choking, gasping, gagging,
    Down, but not defeated.
    Never defeated.
    Older and wiser, she bided her time,
    Waited at the river for the dire wolves to come drink,
    And built a raft from their strong bones,
    Made a cape from their warm, gray fur,
    Then floated across the cold choppy surface
    And stepped off safe and warm on the other side.
    She fashioned a home from the raft bones,
    Made a bed from the sleek fur cape,
    And she abided there in the high desert
    Content and happy as she grew old
    Until the time came for her to leave.
    For there was one more river yet to cross.
    ©2023 jai

    Image by freddy urbina from Pixabay