Prompt: Insomnia

Prompt: Insomnia

Like a mermaid supine, on the prow of a ship,
insomnia has me in her wooden grip.

Snakes climb the boney steps of my spine.
Alalia stitches my lips, but not my eyes.

I search for dreams. I search for Hypnos.
A cold breath crawls the stems of my collarbone.

A shadow looms in the dark, his stare unblinking.
A herald of my own insanity in the making.

The evil that lurks, this body-shaped phantom,
whether man or delusion, I cannot fathom.

My imagination, an infinite shuffling of cards
that weigh my nights, and limbs thick in tar.

Her thorny tendrils bind, drown me in my sheets.
Just another night cursed, without sleep’s release.

Written July, 2022.

This is July’s entry for The PoeTree House’s monthly contest. July’s prompt is “Insomnia.”

Will you always love me?

Will you always love me?
Will you always love me?

With cliff edges at my 
tigers at my heels, and
in my chest?

When ghosts cling to my back
while I flavor dinner
with my weeping?

When I come home hissing
like a glass-breaker?

When I’m sighing, 
sinking into sofa cushions,
and I have no strength
to pull off a smile,

so instead, I push?

Will you still think I’m strong?
Will you love me always?

Written May 20th, 2018.

A poem I wrote when I was grieving, and thinking of my significant other who had to live with me while grieving. Understandably, I was a depressed, anxious, weeping mess. It’s nothing fancy or full of any special techniques. Just feelings on a page.


“They look like you.”

My father says it like I’ve ascended, but it feels

From far away, the hipster’s coffee shop
looks like a gaping black hole
swallowing everything that was
like someone or something took a bite of that space
that space in the sidewalk
a mouth I won’t go into.

But others do. Some of ours do.

The mouth spits up. Something new. 
Offers organic after yanking the organic
that’d grown there before yanked it by the roots.
Bricks from before I existed. Before my mother existed. It existed.

An imitation.
It sits like a shiny gold tooth wedged between
venerable Italianate row houses.
Or like a rotted tooth, perhaps.
Which one of us is decay?
Our pain painted in black matte.

A puncture wound from a fang.

Black, white, gray, and glass.
They wash away colors
until it’s something cadaverous
or something that blends into the night
something that hides
a shadow in the dark
is afraid.

At least the barred windows with our flags, the graffiti that said “Jesus Saves” or “Say nope to dope!,” the mouldering, crowded stoops where we ate a dollar’s worth of candy, which back then, was a whole paper bag, the rusted fence that we tied our jump ropes to — 
they were honest.

“You know what you walkin’ into. What you see is what lies here.”
Brooklyn laid itself bare.

The coffee shop is the darkest thing around
even darker than us
darker than everyone else.

the drums the congas the heartbeat 
I barely hear it anymore.

“They look like you,” my father says, “You must feel right at home now.”

He says it as if we no longer share home. Share here.
Aren’t we walking side by side?
Reminds me of the story he’s always told me.
Grandpa’s first time meeting me as a baby.
White baby, rubia, blanquita, green eyes.
Grandpa raised me up with both hands raised me high
like a blessing
like a cure.

“Finally,” he told my father, “You’ve done something right.”
Aside from the earlobes, I don’t look like my dad.
More like my mother, but even she, I had surpassed.

I have ascended.

But if my skin — my casing — is ascension,
what of my soul?

Their skin might mirror mine,
but you raised me, daddy.
— in my soul.

A maw in disguise 
no matter how good their coffee
won’t make me happy.
In fact, I have never felt
farther from home.

Written today, July 14th, 2022.

The coffee shop pictured is not the one that inspired this poem. Please don’t be mean to the coffee shop. I’m sure their coffee is delicious… if you’re a coffee person. I’m a tea gal. Anyway, did a quick google search, couldn’t find the exact shop or one that looked like it, gave up. But just for the sake of a visual, I picked something.

Dekalb Avenue

Dekalb Avenue

Dekalb is titi’s house.
Grover Cleveland’s tracks lead to 
Dr. Mederos on St. Nicholas,
Chinese on Wyckoff by the B38,
Corner of Irving, a brick building — beige. 

Crosses jutting out all over.
My whole childhood, shuttered.
Sophi’s hair salon after.
Tony’s Pizza on the corner of Knickerbocker.

The cuchifrito, Cecilia’s, where titi always gets the mangú.
Next to the newsstand where uncle Louie gets the gum that tastes like soap.

This is titi’s block.

Across from the place you can rent for parties.
Three creaky metal studded flights up 
that are shorter than the length of your feet
so you always feel like you’re falling even when you’re climbing.

Her bell never works. Gotta scream.
From out her metal barred window, she drops the keys.
Dekalb is the turrón titi ate with me.
The clothesline outside her window, wooden clothespins pinched between her lips.
The Reggaeton, the Salsa, the Merengue, the Bachata,
at all hours of the morning, never letting poor titi sleep.

The only survivor now is the pizzeria, and the tracks.
The rest you can only visit in memories, photos, or Google Maps.
They even gentrified the piraqua stands.

Leave my ice alone.
Dekalb Avenue. Not “Deh-kolb.” The L train says it wrong.
Dee-Kalb. It’s titi’s house. It’s childhood. It’s home.

Feeling nostalgic. May polish it for “sound” later. Love you, titi! Muchiiisimo!

Prompt: Hollow

Prompt: Hollow

Her heathered hands gleam in the sun as
she hollows a hill with ease.
This hallowed being who speaks in harps,
her hair, the glimmering seas.

Her aura, heavy, as a hammer.
Like a feather, she hovers high.

Our holy Goddess hums her healing, 
as sweet as a lullaby.

Art by Yuchi

I had a hard time with this prompt. This was the last of 30 prompts. The deadline was May 7th for the Versification contest. Still waiting for the winners to be announced. I haven’t written this much poetry in years. I think focusing on a theme, and keeping them short helped get the gears turning. I had fun. 🙂

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad:

Prompt: Ephemeral

Prompt: Ephemeral
Life, ephemeral. Grief, perpetual.
How deep her knees burrow
into soil. A thumb of tallow,
a gasping candle, swallowed by gusts
of ramming winds. From the gravel,
handless arms rise, and tremble.
Endless sorrow, its cries guttural.
Those left after death face pain, insurmountable.

Art by FallanDark

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad:

Prompt: Isolation

Prompt: Isolation
An elven nation in isolation.
Hidden by enchanted vegetation.
One insurgent. Broke the spell.
All their safeguarding veils fell.
Destruction by fallacious ambitions.

Art by Hoàng Lập (Solan)

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad:

Prompt: Clandestine

Prompt: Clandestine

To the royal gardens, the Empress of the East retreats.
Heart torn by the Emperor, and his mistress. The Empress,
hair claret as rubies, waters her scarlet roses with her sorrow.

A clandestine letter from the unmarried King of the West.
Tied with carmine ribbon — a proposal.

Lovers from rival realms. On horseback, the Empress rides West with its King.
The red roses of the west are rumored to never be as radiant as the East’s.
The Western Queen’s vermillion smile, however, there is no comparable beauty.

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad:

Prompt: Angst

Prompt: Angst
With sharp jagged teeth, this angst gnaws.
My heart squeezed by the devil’s claws.
Dread carves in me like a pitsaw.
Fetor of bodies. Fresh, and raw.

No adventurer should wander these caves.
For treasure, I ignored human remains.
In darkness, I maunder. To Gods, I pray.
My life squandered. It is death I now face.

Art from:

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad:

Prompt: Escape

Prompt: Escape
An enemy country kidnapped a princess, already betrothed.
Locked her in the castle’s tallest tower, fortified with stone.
The uncaring prince did not agonize over her lover back home.

What he didn’t know, was the princess was a mage.
What he didn’t know, was she had means of escape.
What he didn’t know, was a dragon was her fiancé.

Her fiancé’s roar shook enemy lands like an earthquake. The princess grinned.
And with the twist of her fingers — she set the castle ablaze.

Art by Asur-Misoa

You can find this poem, and the rest for this contest on WattPad: