I know
those eyes
those teeth
that varnished

I know
these woods
these paths
the allure of
pretty words—

I know to cover 
my ears
with my hands.


You know
you’re clever. 

I am slayed
by a dozen
paper roses
at my feet.


I know
the Grimm tales
the wives’ tales
the warnings.

Not one tells
how to cover
two ears 
two eyes 
with two hands.


You’re clever,
you know. 


I'm willing
to be hoodwinked.

are my hands.
Teach me
your oralgami.

NaPoWriMo23 day 21 – Prompt from, to choose an abstract noun from the list provided and use that as a title for a poem with very short lines and at least one invented word. I was torn between Deceit and Cleverness for the title–posted it first as Deceit and then switched. I’m thinking Cleverness is the better title–any thoughts? I didn’t invent oralgami myself. I heard the word in a Flying Karamazov Brothers video I watched and wrote it in my poem starter notebook.

I’ll be on retreat this weekend and will respond to any comments when I return. Also I’m posting a second poem today since I won’t be around tomorrow. Peace to your !


Recently I read the book Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World, in which author Brooke McAlary writes about keeping up with the Joneses. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (and any number of curated websites), it’s not just the Joneses next door or across the street anymore. But we have to keep in mind that no post paints a complete picture. A photo of someone else’s kids in their Halloween costumes in front of a pristine coffee table won’t show the hasty tidying that preceded the click of the camera.

Although I don’t use social media, I fall into the comparison mindset in other ways. The trick, when that particular temptation comes knocking, is not to invite it in for afternoon tea but to firmly close the door in its face. Peace to your ♥ !


You, too? Tired of cosmetic
Truth, the Facebook and Twitter
Make-it-look-good aesthetic,
Glamour that’s mostly glitter?

Yet real life feels so plain-Jane,
You brush on blush—yep, you do—
And then, like a pro, maintain
(The lie) that "they" forced you to.

© 2019 Stephanie Malley

[This is an ae freislighe, an Irish poetic form.]