OLWG# 183- Hookahs and Callipitters

Written for OLWG#183

she lies beneath the willow

recovers, beneath the tree

thinks about tea parties, and

all the things she’s seen

“drink me”, “eat me”

she cannot reach the key

the bandersnatch…

a jabberwock…

the white knight…

and a hare…

she decides she’s gotten over it

she no longer cares

it wasn’t she who stole the tarts

and yet, was swarmed by playing cards

no more looking glasses

there’s been enough for her

all done with rabbit holes

haddock eyes

and queens

especially the queens

This week’s prompts were:

  1. she just gets it
  2. she lies
  3. all done with mirrors

OLWG# 182- Trevor

Written for OLWG#182

When Trevor first learned of his posting to the Queen’s Guard he was so excited he couldn’t hardly breathe. He was gonna be a ‘Flash Harry’ with a bearskin hat.

Along with his orders he got an economy class ticket on Continental Airlines. He was supposed to leave from HOU to LHR in ten days. He never questioned why a farm boy and a US Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic from Texas would be posted to Buckingham Palace, charged with guarding the Queen. He didn’t question the orders though. He was happy to leave Fort Drum even if it was only for a little while before they discovered their mistake.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. couldn’t hardly breathe
  2. Oh Boy
  3. I got tired

OLWG# 181- Bluegrass Anonymous

Written for OLWG#181

Martha could hear it from halfway down the block, maybe even further but she became conscious of it when she was abreast of the Burton house, halfway down the block.

“Damn him,” she hollered as she broke into a run. She had to stop it before it got out of control. It was unmistakably ‘Bluegrass Music.’ It was loud, and that could only mean one thing, Cooper had fallen off the wagon, and he’d been doing so well.

As she neared the house, Martha began yelling for him, “Cooper? Cooper? Are you here? Are you all right?” She turned up the front walk to the house that she and Cooper had shared for the last eight months. Bursting through the front door, she was shocked by the number of people in her Living Room. Most of them were sitting around the perimeter of the room on furniture that had been pushed away to the fringes. The ages of this group ranged from pre-teen kids to grandmas and grandpas in their sixties and seventies.

The elderly women wore paisley print, or flowered, house dresses, sensible shoes, and “cat-eye” glasses. Some had their glasses hooked to rhinestone chains that wrapped around the backs of their necks. The old men primarily wore black or khaki trousers over their boots and long sleeve white shirts; tucked in and buttoned high. Some sported western hats, but most were bareheaded.

The younger men and boys wore three button shirts with white piping around the neck or button-down shirts, but the trousers they had chosen were the same as what their elders wore. Young ladies and girls wore pastel blouses with Peter Pan collars. They had skirts, cut just below their knees that would flare out if they twirled. Flat or low heeled Mary Janes completed the young women’s attire and provided a solid thump when they danced.

They were all clapping and stomping their feet as they watched two young men clog dancing in the middle of the floor, where Martha’s couch used to sit.

The sliding glass doors to the deck were all open wide. There was a band playing out there. They were playing loud. This was what Martha had heard from down the street. The band consisted of an elderly gentleman, wearing a string tie and playing a brass body National Guitar. Next to him a thirty-something-year-old woman pounding on a dog house bass, you could almost see smoke coming from the F hole, the music was so hot. A middle-aged fat guy with only a couple of teeth visible was picking a four-string tenor banjo that was traditionally tuned to provide that punch, that twang, that sound that could cut through the band’s mix. The fourth guy: Martha had seen at the market a couple of times, she didn’t know his name but knew he must live around here. He had patchy white hair and a white fiddle to match.

She looked around and spotted Cooper leaning against the deck rail and wove her way through the crowd to confront him.

“Goddamnit, Cooper! What the hell are you doing? You promised me. You promised, No more bluegrass. Remember?” Cooper couldn’t look around her, but it still took him some time to realize that she was there.

When he did, he smiled that lazy smile of his. That smile that was probably the reason Martha had fallen so hard for him in the first place.

“Coop,” she said, “Are you going to throw all your hard work out the window? The Rehab Centre? The twelve-step program? The meetings every morning? You’ve come so far Coop – you can’t backslide now! Not now.”

She saw clarity bounce back into his eyes. “This is my group, Martha we’re having one of our meetings now. We’re having it here, at our house. See that guy leaning by the kitchen sink? He’s my sponsor. I called him when I began to feel the mountain music coming on. Do you know what he did? He started clogging. I could hear it over the phone. He’s good too. I’m not going to fight it anymore, Martha. I love bluegrass. I think you do too.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. bluegrass
  2. the center of my world
  3. seeking Amrapali

OLWG# 180- New Mexico Territory- A Poker Game

Written for OLWG#180

There was five of us sittin’ ‘round the felt-covered table. Six if you counted Miss Fannie who perched on the Kid’s knee showin’ a lot of cleavage. She was certainly a distraction an’ Kid Hicks knew it. There was a lot at stake. Ever’one was strapped.

English Satchell carefully shuffled the cards and dealt. His every move was slow and deliberate and he dealt from the pack of cards lying facedown on the table in front of him. The first card went to Hicks. Miss Fannie scooped it up and showed it to him. Arnold Macy got the second, he didn’t take his eyes off ‘a Satchell and left it where it landed. The next card was mine. I left it facedown, didn’t look at it, but pulled it in closer. Luis got the fourth card. He reached towards it and drummed his fingers on the back. English pulled a card to himself and repeated the process four more times.

Miss Fannie was grinnin’ like a Cheshire cat and holdin’ all the Kid’s cards where he could see ‘em.

“I’ll open fer a hunnert,” he drawled and Miss Fannie snaked her arm around his neck, “oh,” she whispered and kissed his cheek. Kid Hicks shushed her. He tossed a stack of chips into the pot.

“I’ll see yer hunnert,” Macy intoned and he slid a black chip forward. He studied his cards.

My cards were all still facedown. “See the hundred,” I said, “and raise another.” I tossed two black chips in.

Luis said nothing, barely glanced at his hand, and counted out two hundred dollars’ worth of chips. He offered them into the growing piles near the centre of the table. He went back to drumming his fingers.

All eyes were now on the Englishman. He drew a deep breath and looked at each of us, in turn. Finally, he dropped his cards face down on the table, “Fold.”

Miss Fannie giggled and fanned Kid’s cards so that he could see them. He twisted his mouth a bit and put his hand on her ample bottom.

“Hey,” Macy hollered. “Keep yer hands where I can see ‘em.”

When Arnold started to stand, I reached out and stilled him, “Easy there, Mr Macy,” I said, “He didn’t mean nothin’.” Arnold slowly lowered himself back into the chair, shaking his head as he sat. The kid brought his hand up from the whore’s bottom and showed it to everyone. It was empty but Miss Fannie grabbed it and placed it roughly on her breast. The kid squeezed once and then, using both hands pushed all his chips toward the centre of the table.

“All in,” Kid Hicks announced. From his lap, Fannie Parmalee squinted to study his cards.

Macy reached for his drink, amber liquor that Luis made in the back and sold as whisky. He leaned back and made a show of thinking ‘bout his hand. Then, he placed his cards face down on the table and pushed his chips forward. “All right” he said and leaned back in his chair once again. He crossed his arms, waiting.

I was working the math, calculating the side pots and still hadn’t looked at my hand. I had figured out that this could be lucrative for me, if my cards were any good. “I’ll stick around,” I said as I moved my chips forward.

Luis raised his eyebrows and addressed me, “Doc, you haven’t even looked at your cards.”

“It’s OK, Luis,” I replied, “I feel good about this one.”

Luis took a sip of his drink, a clear liquid that I suspected was water. When he sat the glass down he pushed his chips forward too.

“Let’s see what we all have,” Luis said and he lay his cards face-up on the table. He had three aces, Spades, Clubs, and Hearts.

Fannie fanned the Kid’s cards on the table. “Royal Flush, Spades” she said laughing.

“Cheatin’…” was all Arnold Macy said as he pulled his Colt and stood. He was quick. His bullet hit Fannie at the base of her neck, passed through and caught Hicks in the face. It shattered his jaw and the chair tumbled over backwards. Fannie was clearly dead, blood spurting from the hole in her neck. The Kid moaned from beneath her.

By this time we were all standing with our guns drawn. Navarro and Macy fired at the same time and they both went down.

I looked at Satchell and he looked at me. “Wadda ya say, Doc?” he asked, “Wanna split the pot?”

I smiled at him and shook my head, “Don’t think I do,” He was surprised when my bullet pierced his chest and went through his heart. He crumpled I leaned down gathering all the chips from the table. I bundled them in a bandana and with my gun still at the ready I took them to the cashier’s cage.

I handed the scarf full of chips to Mrs Parmalee. “I wanna cash these in please,” I said. “Sorry ‘bout what happened to yer girl.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. playing a poor hand well
  2. not a sound for miles around
  3. like a poem without words

OLWG# 178- A Formal Affair

Written for OLWG#178

Michelle wore a 4-button black barathea wool tailcoat with satin-faced peak lapels. The tails hung to the back of her knee and the sleeves were short enough to show some cuff. Her wool trousers were cut high to accommodate the waistcoat. They had double satin braiding on the outseams and plain bottoms, no cuffs. Her waistcoat was rounded bottom; made of white cotton with a piqué weave. It was fastened with three buttons.

She wore a white cotton, single cuff, wing collar shirt with a piqué bib (to hold the starch) and a tab that fastened to her trousers. On her feet she wore cap toed calfskin shoes with a high shine. Her accessories were a top hat, mother of pearl studs and cuff-links, but she forwent the white scarf due to the time of year. Of course a white bow tie and a white pocket square completed her outfit.

She and Daniel were dressed identically, but somehow Michelle pulled it off better.

Daniel asked if, during the course of the evening, she would humour him and pull a rabbit out of her hat.

She replied with her crooked grin and a quick peck on his cheek.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. call him out
  2. a matter of magic
  3. the carousel only makes you dizzy

OLWG# 178- Maybe Not Such a Good Idea

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice.
Practice makes perfect.

I met and fell in love with Esme twenty-three years ago. Of course, I never told my wife about her. On her part, Esme never told her husband, Angel, about me either. Our lives were both busy, but somehow we always managed to sneak in a few days together three or four times a year.

I loved Esme in all the same ways that I loved Becky. I loved both of them emotionally, physically, and intellectually. From my perspective life and the universe were perfect; the stars aligned.

And then the pandemic.

First Esme was taken. Less than a month later, I lost Becky.

I met Angel at Esme’s service. He seems like a great guy.


When Esme and Ted met and fell in love, they carried on in a wild affair for years. They met a few times a year to spend three or four days together. She knew Ted was married to Rebecca, but that never mattered. She had been married to Angel since she was eighteen. She loved them both equally.

When Angel was taken early in the pandemic Esme was shattered. She tried to call Ted. Becca answered his phone.

“Oh, hello,” Esme introduced herself, “I work out of the Roswell office with Ted.  I’m trying to get in touch about the ‘Two Rivers Dam Project’ we’ve been collaborating on.”

“I’m sorry, Ted’s not available now. He’s been admitted to hospital. The kids and I are in lock-down. He’s not expected to survive the virus and I’m not even allowed to go visit him there.”

Esme’s breath caught as she re-cradled the phone.

I may have messed up on my numbering. I have called this #178 as I believe that there were two with #176. Sorry ’bout that. This week’s prompts:

  1. the observable universe
  2. good ideas will survive
  3. love during the pandemic

OLWG# 176- Benjamin Thorne

This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The words below were written for practice.
Practice makes perfect.


“Miss Tess, there is a rather unsavoury character to see you. He had the gall to come to the front door, but I have seated him in the pantry so your parents won’t have to deal with him. You might want to hurry before he finds the cooking sherry. Would you like me to accompany you?”

“Thank you, Gillian. What do you mean, unsavoury? Do you truly believe that I require an escort?”

“I’m sure I don’t know, Miss.”

“Very well; in the pantry you say? That seems a rather uncivilized waiting area for our guests, don’t you think? I’ll attend to him myself. Your presence will not be required.”

“Yes, Miss,” Gillian replied as she backed from the drawing-room.

Tess straightened her skirts, pushed her spiral curls up and headed towards the pantry. She found a tall lean man there, of indeterminate age. The skin on his hands and his face had leathered as though he had lived outdoors all his life. Crow’s feet radiated from the corners of his eyes; they etched and furrowed deep. He turned upon hearing Tess enter and his eyebrow twitched upward before returning to its rightful position on his face. He smiled displaying a mouthful of broken and rotted teeth along with a few gold ones. He wore a sailor’s tricorn hat pushed to the back of his head. The smell in the room was horrific.

Tess wrinkled her nose against the overripe aroma that emanated from the man.

“May I help you, sir?” she asked.

“Be you Tess Chadwick, the daughter of Lord Thomas, and acquaintance of Captain Thorne, master of the schooner, Quail?”

“I am,” she answered.

“The Captain sent me with a message for you Milady. He said to tell you that The Quail sails for the China Sea with the tide. Until that time he will be at the Black Horse Tavern on the waterfront. He asked me to give you this note.” He proffered a small envelope which Tess eagerly took and tore open. She read the note written in Benjamin Thorne’s hand.

She read:

My darling Tess,

I am sending this note in the hand of my trusted mate, Mr Géroux. 
You can rely on him and he knows not what I write. 
My ship sails with the tide, bound for the South China Sea. 
I need to see you, Tess. 
I want to ask you to wait for my return. I will wait for you 
to come to the Black Horse, but the rising tide lifts all boats. 
I cannot wait for long. Please come.

All my love,


Tess turned her face toward Mr Géroux, “When is the tide?” she asked.

“Not more than six hours, Milady.”

“Can you take me to the Black Horse?”

“Indeed, I can. We should make haste yet, time is getting short.”

“Wait here;” she instructed him, “have you a means of conveyance?”

“I have a steed Milady, but he is tired. It would be best if you had your own mount.”

Tess ran from the pantry to the kitchen where she knew she would find Gillian lurking nearby. “Gillian? Quickly have Matteo ready Dancer. I need a regular riding saddle, not a side-saddle. Make up a story to tell my father.”

“Very well, Miss. Safe travels. Come back again, please.”

This week’s prompts:

  1. what I write
  2. rising tides lift all boats
  3. I’ll be at the Black Horse Tavern


OLWG#174- Pentastich

This piece was written for OLWG# 174

It’s chill up here, but you take warmth from the blanket of stars

It’s dark up here, but you’ll see with the sunrise

It’s bright up here, but you cannot touch the sun

It’s clear up here, but you can smell smoke from the fires

It’s quiet up here, but you can hear the world breathing

The prompts were:

  1. the world breathing
  2. it ain’t gonna be pretty
  3. lust or love

OLWG#172- Micro Poetry to Celebrate our Dystopic Past

This piece was written for OLWG# 172

rocket girls have choices, but rocket boys always become rocket men


it’s as clear as the nose on his face; the boy’s a scrapper – always was


“I don’t wanna do this”
“you’re the one who wanted babies”
“but can’t there be another way?”
“maybe we could steal them”
“OK lets get to it”


The prompts were:

  1. the nose on his face
  2. can’t there be another way?
  3. rocket boys