Advice for the Lovelorn

Comes a day when you say
make it all go away--
You cannot stay in a place
lacking grace, or recognize
your own face in the glass--
Time for hate has passed.
Freak flag’s at half mast,
but only for one day--
After that, be on your way.
In the end, you have yourself
and no one else--
Yours is the love that lasts.

Kim's weekend prompt to the Real Toads is Love After Love, which features a much better poem than this one, by Derek Walcott, so you should read it.


Big Girls Don't Eat Ice Cream Cake

The once-over
from the girl at Friendly’s
must have meant wow,
that woman
really rocks a short dress
for her age
and not
ugh, that lady’s legs
look gross
because if she could
reflect on my heart’s journey
to this ice-cream cake
she’d observe
more lost than taut thighs
and smooth skin.

Fireblossom asked the Real Toads to write about loss.


Sisyphean, Of Sorts

It’s like tossing love
into a ravine--
You labor every day
but there’s no chance
of filling it up.
Some days, your sentiments
echo back to you,
depending on the vagaries
of the wind.
So you just keep pitching.


Gudgeonville #2

You grow up in a place
so small as to have uncovered early
all of its contours
and hiding-places, none of them
your own,
and yet, on a day signaling your leave
you accept an invitation
to a heretofore unknown Wildness,
unexpected & electric--
And everything changes.
You drink because why not,
tuned to voices you’d swear
you never heard before in your life,
watch the way his lips pucker
when he sings along with Jim Morrison
Love me two times, baby
Love me twice today, I’m goin’ away--
Well, hell, baby, I ain’t loved you
even once, yet--
Join me in this stream, baby,
anoint my Youth with your own,
let’s make it all go away
before I leave this behind for good, man--
Hello, I love you.

Susie asked the Real Toads to write a poem inspired by Jim Morrison and to include one or more of his song titles.


On Kindness

There’s a lot we can learn from children
if we’d stop telling them what to do
long enough to hear them.

Like how to talk to a butterfly,
or what it would be like if the earth’s core
were filled with cats instead of lava.

But above all, if you listen,
the teaching of children is: Be kind.
Speak in a kind voice. Oh, she’s kind, mama.

Be kind. Isn’t that enough?
Kurt Vonnegut said kindness is the only rule.
And then there’s the golden rule. Same thing.

Why do grown-ups forget to be kind?
What makes us leave the simplest, kindest
notion behind, as quaint and unachievable?

If only we could greet our inner child
at the moment an opposing motivation presses
and say, I learned this from you. Be kind.

Corey asked the Real Toads to impart a bit of personal philosophy in the style of, or inspired by, Chris In The Morning from the television show Northern Exposure. I know I’m not alone in asserting that Chris the DJ is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. 

Be sure to read the inspiring and truthy essay Corey penned about writing and community for this prompt:


Hell, One L

as a “K”
in each class

on cheat Chart
for calling on

by Champion

Captain Torts
couldn’t contain


School Daze (1924)

Mrs. Hall told me
that I was to be
the valedictorian of the class!

Had to write a sentence
fifty times
for talking today in school.

Am reading Mark Twain’s
The Innocents Abroad.
It’s better than any geography
or history I ever read.


Young Existentialism

To be a child
riding in a backseat,
watching cornfields
fade into driveways
and suburban lawns,
whether it’s all Imaginary
and she’s the only one
who’s really Here--
Even the car, this road
and her parents
are outside herself,
so they don’t actually exist
if she is Alone


Caroline (1925)

Am mad at Carrie.
Not just exactly mad,
but we’re not on speaking terms.

Gave Caroline a compact
for a birthday present,
because I had to.
She’s trying to make up.

Made “B” in the Latin test.
Caroline and I have “made up”
after two weeks!

I guess maybe
I will go on some of the things
with Russell,
if he gets a boy for Caroline.

Russell wrote a note
saying he loved me
and things like that.
I hate that kind of thing.

When Russell sees me at school
he’s afraid to look at me
and he never speaks.
I don’t know what to do.

Carrie and I went to Westie
and got a sundae this afternoon.
We do that almost every Sunday now.


Ways of Seeing

Sometimes, a little
basic sustenance is wont
to really ramp up
an otherwise boring day.
Thanks so much for the flowers.

Inspired by Izy’s prompt to the Real Toads: Holy Motors


Pot Holes

pinned to glacial gash,
iced distance, generations



Barrier Placement:
Strategic requirement
of crawling back to You.


Tavern Wishes

Pour me one more glass, lady bartender
Then I’ll take my leave, my mistress calls me
To populate the night; never-ending
Questions swirl after the fog of today--
Cross-examination: How can this be?
There no convincing one who’s gone astray.
I wish I could escape this happenstance--
(Can’t live with women & can’t kill ‘em, see?)
Instead, perhaps I’ll ask my girl to dance.

Grace's weekend challenge to the Real Toads is the Nocturna.


Electroencephalography of the Soul

   A girl
goes to the hospital
for a brain test
because the doctors
might want to change the pills
she takes for seizures.
They stick wires
all over her head
with what feels like
and she wonders how she’ll ever
get all that gum out of her hair.
She doesn’t know
what they are measuring
   as their machines
start their scribbling,
but she hopes to hell it’s true
that they can’t
   actually read her mind
because she can’t stop
her thoughts from racing
      with monstrous imaginings.


If Birthdays Were Wishes

What if it were as simple
as knocking three times, blinking
repeatedly, & clicking your heels?

You’d be on your knees, lucky
stars kissed-blown, dandelions
conserved instead of holding breath

Because this could be your last.



with profuse apologies to Allen Ginsberg
Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder!
    Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder!
The earth is wondrous! Her people are wondrous! Her seas
    and trees and landscapes are wondrous!
Everything is wondrous! The eyes and lips and hands are wondrous!
Everyday is wondrous! Everywhere is an eternity! Everyone’s
    full of wondrous ecstasy and gin-juice and cunt-power!
    Wondrous sweat pooling under breasts, wondrous the cock, yes
    especially the cock is wondrous!
The typewriter is wondrous, words flying across ether is wondrous,
    all the mundane shit of everymorning and everynight is
    wondrous, tucking kids in bed at night is wondrous!
Wondrous dreams! Wondrous sleepless nights wondrous amber liquid
    sipped from a jelly jar wondrous!
Wondrous the farmer’s market! Wondrous children on the bike path!
    Tasty Top Soft Serve is fucking wondrous!
Wondrous the people protesting violence and tyranny! Wondrous
    the students facing down tanks! Wondrous tweeting through
    tear gas! Wondrous the people of Istanbul!
Wondrous protests!
The Internet is full of wondrous wonder!
Television is wondrous! Communication is wondrous! Wondrous your
    whisper in my ear, wondrous a phone call from my father,
    wondrous songs handed down generations, wondrous books
    of poetry passed hand to hand, wondrous Edith Bunker singing
    Love Can Make A Hero From A Chump!
Wondrous a lecture from a child about how trash can be useful!
Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder! Wonder!
Wondrous the children the love the sex the earth the super-goodness
    of the soul in the face of evil the notion that love
    trumps it all!


Kerry asked the Real Toads for an homage to Allen Ginsberg, whose birthday is June 3. Special favorite! And rest in peace, dear Jean Stapleton.