d’Verse MTB; Hopscotch with anapestic tetrameter

Björn is manning the pub for poets this evening and has challenged us to try our hands and feet at anapestic tetrameter. (Think Dr. Seuss or T’was the Night Before Christmas.) The pub is open. Go by d’Verse to visit and write with a fine bunch of poets.

We have marked hopscotch squares with our feet. Here’s a stone

to be tossed, should you dare, in soft measured manner.

You’ll be lost should your muse skip and leave you alone

on the track. Don’t look back! Tripping feet slip, stammer.

#Friday Fictioneers; Emerging

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

Emerging by D. Avery

Even a child knows where babies come from— eggs!

But though even a child knows otherwise, adults taught that there were only two kinds of eggs; boys emerge from blue eggs and girls emerge from pink eggs. When eggs of different shades of pink or blue occurred the adults generalized to declare one or the other.

But the lavender shaded eggs! Were they more blue? Or more pink?

Finally it was realized that pink and blue are a part of lavender; maybe all eggs are shades of lavender!

Finally, all came to realize the color of one’s shell doesn’t matter.

It has been a too long time since I have participated in the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge. But this photo of eggs inspired these 100 words. Thank you Rochelle for hosting and David Stewart for the photo.

CRLC Challenge; Generosity

Another response to the April 15, 2021, Carrot Ranch prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that seeds generosity. Who is generous and why? Think of generosity as planting a future outcome. Go where the prompt leads!” 


People even ranked on the new kid’s lunch.

Surprisingly, Chet actually offered him his sub. The kid refused it.

“What? Ever… Loser.”

I went and sat with the new kid. “Trade?”

Honestly, mom’s sandwiches are as good or better than Chet’s deli subs. But don’t go thinking I’m generous or anything; honestly, I just wanted to show up Chet.

The second day— that was generosity. Again I choked down his bland bologna sandwich while he enjoyed mom’s egg salad.

But these days? It’s just lunch with my new friend. We split our lunches, share what we have between us.

CRLC Challenge & SixSentenceStory

A two part response to the April 15, 2021, Carrot Ranch prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that seeds generosity. Who is generous and why? Think of generosity as planting a future outcome. Go where the prompt leads!The second part is 99 words and six sentences for Denise’s Six Sentence Story prompt, “walk”.

A Good Fit

“You’re very kind, but you don’t need to buy me clothes.”

“I expect reimbursement. I’m not that generous. But I saw these pants and thought they’d look good on you. Try them on.”

“They fit just like all my slacks— no slack. Ugh. Just break out the ice cream. I give up. I’ll be a size 14 forever.”

“That’s less than16. Plateaus happen. Besides, look at the tag— 12! You’re going down, Girl.”


She smiled, knowing that this “success” would motivate her friend in her weight loss efforts. It had been worth her effort in changing the tag.


“Forget the ice cream, it was too long a battle getting down to these size 12’s, I don’t want to lose ground; let’s go for a walk while you’re here.”

To her surprise, her friend set a faster pace than usual.

“You’ve got some real pep in your step today!”

“Be honest, do these pants make my ass look fast?” and she walked even faster, breaking a sweat. “Maybe I should buy them in another color.”

“Um, you know what, I am feeling generous after all and so in celebration of your success, the next pair is on me.” 

#SixSentenceStory; Home

It’s Wednesday, Six Sentence Story link up day, with the word of the week being “home”. Use that word or some form of it in exactly six sentences between now and Saturday. Find the linky at Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge blog. This Six is also in 99 words, the form used at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community for their weekly flash challenge. I’m too late for the recent “swift passage” challenge but it helped me here. Speaking of the Saddle Up Saloon at Carrot Ranch, there are now poetry challenges to be sampled there every first and third Monday, each open for a month, and this Monday, the twelfth, our own Clark Farley will be interviewed by fictional characters Kid and Pal.


Guides met me right away, with assurances of swift passage and a guaranteed berth. They would have preferred I take their advice but they have to honor the wishes of their charges and I’d made a promise to myself and to my family.

And so I am not where the guides advised me to go but neither am I where so many others, in stunned and stubborn denial, remain.

No. I promised those I love that I would come home.

I’ve been mourning my decision though, for I’m learning that we ghosts feel more haunted even than the living.

CRLC Challenge; Escape

Rumi said,  “You have been released from ten successive prisons/ Each larger and containing the last.”  (Coleman Barks translation)

I thought of that quote when I saw the prompt for the Carrot Ranch challenge this week. I used it in one of my poems in Chicken Shift, where escape is a recurring theme.

It’s a great quote; at it’s worst, escaping the pan for the fire; at it’s best, a comforting delusion of linear progression.

But here we are.

            “Here’s the pisser, here’s the catch

            Any one could peck the latch.”

And then where are we?

Here. Alone together.


Charli’s post and prompt led me back to Robert, my fictional Civil War vet.

Did he imagine as a seventeen year old farm boy that going off to fight the Rebels would be an escape from the Vermont farm, or simply an escape from the perceived limits of childhood? I had some vague idea of showing Robert back on the farm trying to escape his memories of the war through hard work but the flash went differently and upon completion had no mention of “escape” other than stalled development. So I cheat, and use the prompt in the title.


No Escape

She wiped her eyes with her apron when he came through the gate. Standing awkwardly with her, his eyes rolled quickly over the headstones, finally settling on his own feet. “You’re mourning the young’uns?”

“No. That’s past.”

A thrush called. He looked at her tear stained face, waited.

“I’m mourning Robert.”

“Robert? He’s home Anna. We haven’t lost our oldest boy.”

“He’s not the boy he was.”

“He’s a man now.”

“He’s a broken hurt child. You must see that it’s Thomas, all of seven, looks out for him. I’m mourning the man that our Robert will never become.”


With no argument left, he embraced his wife and mourned with her, allowing his own tears to fall for Robert’s pain, witnessed only by her and the granite markers of their other lost children.

Walking together back to the farmhouse they met Robert carrying a bundled rag.

“What is it Robert?”

“Mice. From the kitchen.”

“Oh, just kill them!” Anna instantly regretted her command, but Robert smiled forgiveness.

“A mother and pink babies. Surely you could allow them to live in the stonewall.”

“Anna, maybe our boy isn’t the man we’d expected. He’s different. But he’s a good man.”


Saddle Up Saloon; Serious Fun

For fun, come by the Saddle Up Saloon, just over the line at Carrot Ranch. Open 24/7 and serving something fresh every Monday.
This week Kid takes humor seriously.
Next week meet author Pete Fanning.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

“Pal? Pal, where ya at?”

“Pal’s not here, Kid. Just me.”

“What? Why’re you here at the Saddle Up, D. Avery? Where’s Pal?”

“Pal asked me to fill in this week. Said it might do you some good to touch base with your writer.”

“Hmmph. Ya know well as me I kin write m’sef.”

“I do know as well as you Kid. But Pal thought maybe I should check in on you.”

“Hmmph. But I s’pose ya knew I was gonna say that.”

“Kid, I know a lot of people identify me as your writer, but the fact is I don’t often know what you’re going to say or do. So why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you.”

“I ain’t quite sure either. Guess it’s this writin’ thing.”

“I saw that you wrote a short story for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat! Congratulations, Kid.”

“Yeah. Thanks. It’s jist that…

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#SixSentenceStory; Service

This introduction will serve as my Six Sentences this week, as I am storied out. Trust me, it would be a disservice for me to force myself to write and then force that gibberish on you, dear reader. So after these six sentences you can read on or not— the quota having been met, you are under no obligation to read more, but there are extra servings. Actually I am serving leftovers, a remake of a November 2019 post where I followed our own Sixer  Lisa Tomey to LivingPoetry because I was intrigued by the prompt to show gratitude to another poet. I immediately thought of Robert Service, whose poetry I’ve known and related to since a youngster fortunate to have crossed his path if not in time, then in place, and so first I present one of his poems (not The Cremation of Sam McGee) and then one of mine in humble imitation. As always, thank you to hostess extraordinaire Denise for the weekly serving of prompt.

The Amateur Poet, by Robert Service

You see that sheaf of slender books

Upon the topmost shelf,

At which no browser ever looks,

Because they’re by . . . myself;

They’re neatly bound in navy blue,

But no one ever heeds;

Their print is clear and candid too,

Yet no one ever reads.

Poor wistful books! How much they cost

To me in time and gold!

I count them now as labour lost,

For none I ever sold;

No copy could I give away,

For all my friends would shrink,

And look at me as if to say:

“What waste of printer’s ink!”

And as I gaze at them on high,

Although my eyes are sad,

I cannot help but breathe a sigh

To think what joy I had –

What ecstasy as I would seek

To make my rhyme come right,

And find at last the phrase unique

Flash fulgent in my sight.

Maybe that rapture was my gain

Far more than cheap success;

So I’ll forget my striving vain,

And blot out bitterness.

Oh records of my radiant youth,

No broken heart I’ll rue,

For all my best of love and truth

Is there, alive in you.

Thank You Robert Service by D. Avery

Robert Service, Yukon poet,

You’re read, please rest assured!

Even doubt, you dare here show it,

Yet raised me on your words;

I’ve walked the land that you once tread

You inspired me, you know;

Your poems, first I ever read,

Your shared words like sourdough.

You grounded me with your meter,

Gave wings to me with rhyme;

Gave me poetry! What sweeter?

Gave courage to write mine;

Your ballads inspired children’s play,

When young I lived up north;

Further reading, you’d more to say!

I learned a poet’s force.

You wrote of war, you wrote of love,

Wrote life, great and tragic;

You brought to Earth the stars above,

Wakened me to magic;

Sometimes still, when I take up pen

It’s you who shows the trail,

Leads on, into the wild again

Courting heaven and hell.

From you I learned of garrets bare

of mining phrase and rhyme

panning for all that sparkles there

rich treasures writ sublime;

Upon my shelves your books still stand

Precious alchemic gold

When reading you I’m young again

Imagination bold.

CRLC Challenge; A year later…

The Carrot Ranch Literary Community March 18, 2021, prompt challenge, in 99 words, no more, no less, is to “write a story that takes place a year later. It can be any year. Explore the past year or another significant passing of time to a character. Go where the prompt leads!” Check out Charli’s post. I previously reflected on this past year HERE. My response below, I assure you, is fiction. You have until Tuesday, March 23 to respond with your own 99 words at Carrot Ranch.

Putting By

She’d known it’d be best for him to go missing before he was missed. Leaving the keys and his packed bag, she’d slipped out of his truck. Then, masked of course, she walked a different route home, hooded against a chill spring wind. Should the truck ever be found the search would begin there, but disinterested authorities had quickly concluded that her husband had simply fled, fed up.

She wondered what she might prepare for dinner. Almost a year, but the chest freezer still contained plenty of stockpiled food, packets of meat, vegetables and casseroles concealing his frozen body.

#SixSentenceStory; Filter

It’s Six Sentence Story time again, in which we are given a prompt word and the challenge to write a story in six sentences, no more, no less. Sometimes, while the end marks may only number six, the sentences get stretched, the syntax strained, semi-colons and conjunctions pushed to their limits, as in the following. Regardless, here’s Ernest and Marge, actually working in Ernest’s two bay garage. Thank you Denise for the prompt and the link up.


“Mrs. Blanchard, what a surprise, that is, well, I thought, since that last time, that is, well, I thought you only went to Henry’s now for your auto repair needs.”

Sensing Ernest’s discomfort, Marge shut the hood of the car she’d been working on, stepped forward, and extended her oil stained hand to the infamous Hildegard Blanchard.

“Hello, I’m Marge Small; I can have a look at your car for you Mrs. Blanchard,” but the infamous Hildegard Blanchard just stared at the extended oil stained hand, then looked Marge up and down, and snorted “Small?” before turning back to Ernest.

“Henry has become simply impossible, like all the others, Mr. Biggs, but tell me,” she said, hitching her chin towards Marge, “are you really this desperate now, or is this some sort of equal opportunity employment scheme?” which caused Ernest’s eyes to grow even wider as he watched Marge over the infamous Hildegard Blanchard’s shoulder but to his surprise Marge just shrugged and said again that she’d be happy to let Mrs. Blanchard know what was wrong with her car, so Ernest assured Mrs. Blanchard that Marge Small, in addition to being his fiancée, was a top notch mechanic and diagnostician.  

The infamous Hildegard Blanchard snorted again but led Marge to the parked vehicle that blocked the open garage bay door, and after wondering aloud how someone like Marge could land a man when she clearly had never even heard of a manicure, she explained that while she couldn’t say what was wrong with her car, she was certain it wasn’t running properly but that none of the auto shops could be bothered to look at it, let alone fix it for her.

Even wide-eyed hand-wringing Ernest seemed surprised by Marge’s immediate and incisive diagnosis, when she said, “I can tell you right now, without even lifting the hood, Mrs. Blanchard, if you had a filter this car would be running smooth as silk,” so he asked Marge what kind of filter she thought the car needed, but she clarified; “I’m talking about Mrs. Blanchard, Ernest, the car’s needing a tune up is just a symptom of her problem.”