Complex Lessons


I studied her,
from the safety
of the stairs – at just
the right point
where I could watch
but not be seen –
my gaze
hidden by the banister…
I learned about life.

From my perch
I could see her
busy herself,
cleaning the home
of her family –
lovingly, yet rapidly
she worked
to complete her tasks…

Other times I witnessed
her inner strength
amidst crises of all sizes –
misplaced papers,
or times when lives hung
in the balance –
her words comforted
loved ones; her prayers,
eloquent; perfect…

My lessons about birds
and bees
came through
the banister rails as well,
I caught glimpses
of a painted coral fingertip
curling seductively,
the swivel of hips,
a wordless call
to her lover…

Some people  say
I developed a complex –
I believe I learned
the best lessons in life;
I fell in love with my mother
which helped me find
my soulmate, my wife.

P. Wanken

Written for Poetic Bloomings prompt to write a “love” poem; and The Sunday Whirl prompt to use these twelve words: bees, balance, cleaning, coral, finger, eloquent, motionless, point, rapidly, safety, strength, swivel.

Secret Observations


sitting motionless
we observe the world
outside our window

jostle back and forth
to school

strolling leisurely
in one another’s clutch

old men
sit on the stoop
and “talk shop” of days gone by

laden with boxes
as the neighbors move out

meet on accident
and stop to chat

the passers-by
occasionally look up
and see us

their secrets
are purrfectly safe
with us

P. Wanken

Written for The Sunday Whirl, using their twelve-word prompt.

In My Head


In my head I paint a picture
Of life’s goals as taught to me:
Love, marriage and kids,
A happy home and family.

Instead, the canvas of life
Has rendered naught, for me.

In my head I paint a picture
Of the way things ought to be:
Freedom and justice,
peace and harmony.

Instead, the canvas of life
Has seen wars fought, to free.

In my head I paint a picture
So different than reality.

P. Wanken

Written for Poetic Bloomings prompt to write a “goal” poem; and Carry On Tuesday’s prompt to write a poem using all or part of this line from Amy Winehouse’s song, Valerie: “In my head I paint a picture.”

Ominous Observation


Emerald eyes observe her
from the shadows
high above, in the balcony.

Like no other: a divine creature
sent from her celestial home,
for his pleasure.

He does not look away for fear
her presence is mere illusion
and his gaze would return void.

He watches as she moves
with rhythm and grace,
bending as if bones do not hold her.

Her body calls to his,
through movements,
an expressive pantomime.

Unable to contain his desire,
he slips through the curtain’s flap;
the slit of light jostles her attention.

She watches him descend the stairs
she knows will lead him to her;
he will be waiting stage left.

Just as he does every night.

P. Wanken

Written for The Sunday Whirl prompt to write a poem using the 13 words pictured above.

I’m interested in your feedback on this one. It’s unlike other pieces I’ve written and I want to know what works…and what should be thrown out!  🙂