The Tarnish Of It All

everything in between and old
face challenges
because life is hard

wrestling with new circumstances
fighting off the elements
or facing our inadequacies
it’s all hard

the sweetness of a day
momentarily interrupts the savagery
nestle into those pockets of goodness
because life is nothing if not hard

accept the consequences of living
ride out those storms
and delight in the journey
but hold fast, there will be bruises

Reblog – Ali Grimshaw & Sadje

The internal and external forces of nature can be relentless in what they will dole out to us. Be aware, understand, and live as best as you can.

And so… by Ali Grimshaw

golden smoke blocks the sun as I stand witness 
while winds shift to blow barging into planned days 
and so… 
I am listening. 
What better offering could I make 
while extending my reach to you? 
My throat burns with an ache to howl. 
As the people flee, where is safety now? 
So many blue sky days  
led us to false views. 
We are all running from something. 
walking away from something else. 
I’m sending my love on the wind, 
the force that both heats and cools. 
Both helpful and harmful, depending, 
contradictions of the mingled smokey fear. 
Tangles of the unknowable  
ringed history, as mystery  
held by the forest guardians 
now ash returning to soil. 
As flames fly from tree to tree, 
igniting compassionate hope or hatred 
I see through the window 
goodbye waves from living limbs of the still green. 
and I feel your heat from miles away. 

Weathering the storm of time by Sadje

ravaged inner space 
unable to account for 
entries and exits 
who came, who destroyed, who left? 
a soul transformed forever 


The sands of time are relentless 
The grains tumbling down without ceasing 
What changes, what stays the same, it doesn’t concern it 
Slowly the scenario changes, focus shifts 
Lives are built, fortunes rise and fall 
Time passes uncaring and unconcerned 
Insidiously, it changes us all within and without 

Imminent Danger

survival hits different
for every being on this earth
adults and children
kept and free animals
even our beloved planet
facing physical hardships
whether risking living
with little food
or minuscule comfort
or none at all
whether beat into submission
before they could find their voice
or any number of unbearable situations
through no other reason
than a perfect storm
coming together by chance
life’s variables colliding just because
those unlucky enough
to always be on the end of surviving
the punishments doled out
by indiscriminate and unfortunate circumstances
or by forceful, living monsters
created by an evil social consciousness
insinuating their vileness
into the vulnerable lives of the innocent

survival hits different
and sometimes
not at all

Duane L. Herrmann


Steady candle flames
did not dance
but bent horizontal
in unison,
then stood upright again,
then bent opposite
and stood again
with no wind
in closed room.


My Granpa’s hands
were always old
as I am now.
I watched him age
as I am now,
and now, too,
a grandfather
with wrinkled hands.


Purple streaks across the sky,
oranges and reds,
set the autumn sun
over prairie grasses,
tan and yellow blowing,
waving under wind.
Any wonder why
I love this world
which welcomed me?


Tractors, mowers, rakes,
even manure spreaders,
find new homes
in retirement
by grandsons
of the farmers who
had worked them,
now resting
in the front yard!


Bridge by the side of the road
in the ditch
where road once was,
bridge remains
making the way
to small cemetery
new road goes around,
as I do too.


We thought we
were going to the moon
but found the earth instead:
blue-white ball
suspended, alone and single
in expanse of empty space:
one home
for one mankind,
we are one together.


The work of Duane L. Herrmann has been published in print and online, in over a hundred journals, more than fifty anthologies, plus seven volumes of poetry, more chapbooks, a history, and a sci-fi novel; all despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Duane was first featured on June 19, 2020, and again on December 4, 2020. Some of his thoughts were also selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


Reblog – Jude Itakali & Ali Grimshaw

Whether referring to ourselves or nature, we are masterpieces. Deliciously so, every day.

Masterpiece. The Value in us all. by Jude Itakali

What I’ve done 
What has been done to me 
Encounters of every ilk 
Trials that have shaped my resolve 
Nightmares that have come true 
And dreams that are now due. 
Not many see 
The good I’ve done 
The kindness I show 
The subtle trims I make 
And the happiness designed for others. 
None can ever know 
The struggles I face 
The battles that constantly wage 
The shameful losses I endure 
And the narrow victories I cherish 

I have turned my pain into empathy 
I have sculpted love from a broken heart 
And painted sorrow with hope 
Yes, I am a museum full of art 
And a deck full of music 
But what I truly am, 
Is a masterpiece.  

Delicious by Ali Grimshaw

What happiness can arrive 
when sunlight’s retreat paints 
leaves cherry crush, berry swirl 
butterscotch eye candy 
walking through an ordinary Monday 
your hand in mine, we breathe the awe 
street lined masterpieces 
colored by a lack of chlorophyll 
less of something  
created more today 

John Grey


It’s where water and reeds
go dark together,
a frog sends word
via deep-throated bloop.

Where a solitary hill,
just by being in the way,
extinguishes the sun.

Where cricket chirr
is the last sound
the wildflowers hear for the night

Where fading light,
gives way to slate sky,
and white sparkle
on the backs of the deer.

Stay put
if these apply.  


Was I the only boy
who, on rainy days,
made a paper boat
out of yesterday’s newspaper,
launched my vessel
in the gutter
at the top of the hill,
then ran alongside its maiden voyage,
as it rode high on slimy water
a hundred yards or more
before that final swerve,
into the drain hole,
and the plummet out of sight?

I’ve been in plenty of company
but I’ve not heard it mentioned.

Please, go fold your own schooner,
cast off and ride shotgun,
or childhood dies with me. 


The mountains are not going anywhere
and yet why do I watch them, not just in awe,
but for conformation.

And why are you beside me,
on this chair cut from oak,
wedged safely in rock at this overlook,

with the Catskills stretching before us,
so many peaks, so many names,
the landscape entrusted to their granite,

their greenery, streams etched into the dips,
waterfalls dispensing winter snows,
and the occasional shadow-rippled lake

to draw in the wildlife with a siren’s
silent song that echoes from a glacial age.
We too are staying put, our belief

in each other just as grounded and an occasional
glimpse presenting itself to a glance returned,
a skim that barely realizes the depths it encounters:

love, that fish that thinks it’s a dragonfly.
Sun’s setting now, stripping some of the scenery
away from us, so it’s time to leave before

the chill, the blankness, stake their claim
for sense and scenery. It’s a slow walk back to the hotel.
Direction would be darkness if we weren’t the lamplights. 


When sorrow needs words,
I am at your disposal.

I do pain, heartbreak,
diseases of the body,
mind and soul,
and the only charge
is that you read what
I write when I’m done.

I also do
love and happiness,
but rarely.

For that’s when
poetry about something
can’t compete
with that something.

People seldom come
to me for joy. 


Sun fades
on granite ridge.
Shadow celebrates
the last rites
of rock and pool.

Trees fuse together,
become shape.
Half-blinded hills
close the other eye.

I look out from the veranda,
take kindly to the grayness,
the tamped horizon fires.

Birds roost, bats emerge,
my mind retreats
from spectacle to musings.

The moon’s let loose.
Sky breaks out in stars.
I’m under no pressure
to go in.

In so few places,
can I be
one of a kind. 


He poured out his heart
and many listened in.
Despite the alcohol,
the man’s emotions were genuine.
And they found doleful
but vigorous expression.
He talked of a departed loved one,
though whether dead or just moved on,
he never did make clear.
And it could have happened yesterday
or a quarter of a century ago.
Whatever the combination,
it had all been too much for him.
He told, in great detail,
the elements of a thousand dreams,
except they were all the same dream –
that he and she,
whoever she was,
be reunited again.
He must have found some relief
in the telling
because he went on and on about it
and, as long as the passion was there,
he had an audience.
He got it all out.
He got it all out a second time.
But then he started to fatigue.
He began to waver,
looked likely to totter
and fall any moment.
He went out looking for a little sanity.
He found a couple of guys
willing to help him into a cab.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review. John’s work was first featured on The Short of It on July 17, 2020, and again on December 31, 2020. He had several pieces selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


Lorraine Lewis


Darkest mystery
Pure gems within the darkness
I walk in the dark


As light lifts me
As I walk the unknown
Pastures in the shadow of death
By the silent still waters deep
In the ocean of love
I never knew
In life


Over the bridge mists
Sigh out love songs divinely
Calling me to life


Willow you weep dawn 
Brings tears in dew to your leaves
Glistening with hope


Forest green deep joys
Draw me to your chanting prayer
Divine sacredness


My name is Lorraine Lewis. I have always written poetry but began to write more in earnest following having serious advanced blood cancer and going blind and becoming wheelchair-bound. I greatly enjoy experimenting with different forms of poetry, preferring shorter forms. 

Lorraine was featured twice in 2020 – March 27 & December 18, and published in The Sound of Brilliance.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.


Chaotic Journey

like wet sand clinging
cobwebs of old memories
hold me from action

tides begin shift
the mind starts to consider
beginning again

changes bring on joy
taking a big risk paid off
bliss came after all

Inspired by Eugenia’s Weekly Prompt – Island & Reena’s Exploration Challenge #233

Beautiful Ugly


Originally published on I Write Her 5/24/18, presented here with revisions.

i’m simultaneously surrounded
by the good i enjoy
and all that i despise
life is a constant shifting of emotions
to achieve balance between distaste and harmony
looking for homeostasis
i hope i manage it
it gets difficult some days
at times, yin yang forces me
beyond my capabilities of juggling
then i struggle to keep both sides
from crashing into me

Carolyn Crossley


The journey
Is so exhausting.
I am weak,
So weary,
I could lay my head down and
Just give up right now.


I like to find the witch in me,
sometimes it is so hard to see.
I use magic so I can be,
daughter of the earth, set free.

I attune with the turning earth.
Seasons can bring sorrow and mirth.
Then for what it is truly worth,
of happiness, there is no dearth.

Find answers wherever they hide
That still, small voice that lives inside.
For you have searched both far and wide.
Now manifest a smoother ride!


forgive yourself first
then forgive everyone else
no matter the crime…

Shadow Self

you will have to learn
to accept this part of you
the dark to your light.


Carolyn Crossley, known as the ©🦊VixenOfVerse, is a poet and writer based in the Greater Manchester area of North West England in the UK. She enjoys spoken word events very much. Carolyn is a prolific blogger and can be found here: Podcasts will be coming! Carolyn’s first feature on The Short of It was on November 20, 2020, and had pieces selected for The Short Of It anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.


Submissions are now closed but if you’d like to be featured on The Short of It in the future,
click here for the submissions guidelines.