“Alphabetical Order” / “Jam Session–No Riffing”

In my house dust is a noun, not a verb. I’d rather tip back the ol’ cowboy hat and leave the bunkhouse in the dust while I ride off to do a bit of word wrangling. Why, the other day I rounded up words for an alphabet poem and had so much fun, I dusted myself off and did it again the following day. There’s nothing like a little word herding (or a lot) to put a smile on my face. Peace to your ♥ !

 Alphabetical Order

Ah, yes, I’ll
Begin with a
Caesar salad. I
Eat breakfast, and I’m
Famished. Then your
I’ll have it with the
Lettuce, and
Queso fries,
Root beer, and a
Slice of
That pineapple
Upside-down cake with
Vanilla ice cream,
Which sounds
Yummy and looks ama-

© 2019 Stephanie Malley

 Jam Session--No Riffing

You gotta fiddle
to use every letter once,
particularly x (clever, huh?),
while keeping it zippy.
Quite vexing, alright,
but manageable. Duh.

© 2019 Stephanie Malley


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.]

“Swan Song”

A swan song is a person’s final performance before retirement. Since this is an acrostic poem, there’s a hidden message spelled out by the initial letters of each line. Peace to your ♥ !

 Swan Song

Forever. To go on and on and on
And on (my finite life a Father’s loan).
Redeemed from gravity—the earth’s, my own.
Euphoric! So what, that we’re here and gone,
When hope like this exists to dream upon?
Each night I’ve found my heavy wings now grown
Light-feathered, strong, and through the darkness flown,
Long-necked and honking madly, toward dawn.

© 2019 Stephanie Malley

“Breaking the Spell” / “Applesauce”

I’ve never specifically tried writing abstract or sound poetry, where the emphasis is on sound rather than meaning, until now. It tops Robert Lee Brewer’s list of 100 poetic forms, which I’m using as poem prompts. I experimented with two poems. You’ll see that I loosened up quite a bit with the second. Applesauce, by the way, is slang for nonsense–pure serendipity. :) Peace to your ♥ !

 Breaking the Spell


© Stephanie Malley


Slapdapple gingersnapple,
Vim-vigorous fruit.
Vavoom, kazoom,

Speedster and speed star,
Go-go-going ape.
Mishmash apple smash,
Eppal, paple, plape.

© Stephanie Malley

Here a Prompt, There a Prompt

Although I generally wait until I’m inspired to write poems, there have been two exceptions. I regularly submit children’s poems to Guardian Angel Kids ezine, which has themed issues such as Conservation for Kids, Hidden Treasure, and Hot Summer Nights. Also, I’ve participated in National Poetry Writing Month (April) since 2016, responding to daily prompts from Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo site. After my first round of poems, I summed up the experience:

NaPoWriMo Conclusion

Yeah, me!
A month of poetry
Goes into the binder,
A timely reminder
That a little prompting
Can be a good thing.

Prompts and themes are like seeds. The poet’s imagination and effort are the sun and water that help the seed grow into a mature plant. You may end up with tomatoes or an orchid or a palm tree. That’s where the (ad)venture comes in.

Now that I’ve started blogging, I’m thinking I should challenge myself to write poetry more regularly. I’ve decided I’ll use Robert Lee Brewer’s list of 100 poetic forms as prompts, aiming for two new poems a month (the four-year plan :) ). Peace to your ♥ !