The Quality of Removal

The Quality of Removal
or Removal

Not so much the undesirable.
Not that that’s always possible.
Not when it’s beyond your control.

Consider yourself.
Value yourself.
Know yourself.

Your self-worth.
Your peace of mind.
Your own wellbeing.

Only then can you
extract yourself
from the undesirable.

This is my response to Poetics: Quality Poems, the prompt from Kim at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem titled “The Quality of […]” Kim also asks that we emulate the form of Les Murray’s poem The Quality of Sprawl, by starting each stanza with “[…] is/does.” I didn’t have it in me, so maybe this should be titled Removal.

The Price of Insomnia

The Price of Insomnia

Late at night, with sleep a fairy tale
that wouldn’t come true, I’d lie
on the couch staring at the tube.

Long before satellite and cable
connections, when streaming
meant getting your feet wet.

When an antenna on the roof
was the primary connection
to the outside world.

When programming ended
for the night and infomercials
were the only thing on the air.

I’d watch them hawk their wares
until I finally fell asleep to their voices
fading into the white noise of test patterns,

with visions of the highest-grade zirconium
or Teflon-clad pots with an ironclad guarantee,
the stuff that dreams are made of.

This is my response to Sarah’s prompt at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, Acting like animals! We’re asked to used the name of an animal as a verb.

Obscurity ~ American Sentence

Obscurity is a matter of perception, subject to bias.

This is my response to An Artist Gets His Due, the prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem inspired by one of five portraits by Thorvald Hellesen, a Norwegian abstract artist known for his Cubist paintings. I have chosen “Portrait of Elvind Eckbo,” painted in 1914.

The American Sentence was created by Allen Ginsberg
~ loose American form of haiku, with 17 syllables
~ represented as a sentence
~ reference to a season is not required
~ similar to senryū
~ read more here & here

Image source: ACC Art Books

Just a Memory ~ haibun

Just a Memory

We often treasure what is hardest to obtain, or retain. So it is for me with memories. They say that every time we remember something the details of that memory are altered. If only that were the case for me. Details are the first to go, so altering them is an entirely different matter. If I have to re-enter a room to remember why I entered it to begin with, what are the chances that I will remember specific details, whether from distant or recent past?

Consider a recent conversation I had with two people. I might recall part of the conversation, but I’m just as likely to credit a statement to the wrong person.

And a specific event? I might be able to visualize it, but there is no guarantee that I will remember anything other than a snapshot. It’s always been this way for me, compounded now in my later years. At least, that’s the way I remember it.

leaf falls and is gone
tree waits for return of spring
just a memory

This is my response to Haibun Monday 5-22-23: Memory,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

By the Stars ~ quadrille

By the Stars

No map exists for the course
that brought me to you. Yet,
with the stars as my guide,
there was but one path.
Once a heart knows the way,
it cannot be denied.
Mine would not stop
until it found its way to you.


This is my response to Quadrille #155 – Mapping out our poems, the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word map in a Quadrille – a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.

Image source:

Post Na/GloPoWriMo 2023

National/Global Poetry Writing Month is now over, and I met 10 of the prompts from Maureen Thorsen at, plus the warm-up prompt on 31 March. I posted a total of 31 poems in April, including 2 with audio. I responded to various other prompts, including those from Ronovan Writes (Weekly Haiku & Weekly Sijo Challenges), The Sunday Whirl, Misky’s The Twiglet (here, here, here, & here), and dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

My responses were in various forms, one of which – a sonnet – is among my least favorite to write. All are listed here:

1 palinode (in free verse)
3 ekphrastic poems (in free verse)
21 free verse (in total)
1 sea shanty
1 gogyohka
11 senryū (including 8 in 2 sequences of 4)
1 magnetic poem (one of the senryū)
1 tanka
1 American Sentence
1 sijo
1 sonnet


In addition to these poems, I kept busy during National/Global Poetry Month. I participated in several Zoom open mic events and viewed a Zoom event with three authors that included Lynne Burnette. I participated in three live open mic sessions, one at Gumbo Bottoms Ale House in Jefferson City, Missouri, one at Barb’s Books in Belle, Missouri, and one at Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri. I was the featured reader at a poetry open mic at Savannah’s Coffee Corral in Pevely, Missouri. Also, I had poetry published in two anthologies – six poems in Reflections and Revelations, from Editor Susi Bocks, and three poems in Wolf at the Door, Nobody Home, from The Gasconade Press. I received notification that three of my poems are forthcoming in a “Well Versed” anthology from Columbia Writer’s Guild (Columbia, Missouri).

This year seemed harder for me than in the past. Thirty-one is close to the fewest poems I have written in the ten years I have responded to this challenge (thirty in 2015). This may be due to my busy month, or it may be this sign of my commitment to meet this annual challenge: Including the five poems I wrote about writer’s block there were a total of eleven poems that did not meet a prompt and that I might otherwise have saved for submission elsewhere.

It was National Poetry Writing Month that inspired me to start this blog in 2014, and I have participated and completed the challenge each April since then. I always enjoy reading the many wonderful prompt responses from other poets at, where I’ve been introduced to many of the poets that I follow on WordPress. I look forward to next year’s challenge. Thank you to all who read my poetry this past month and especially to all who commented.

Ken Gierke


More or Less About Time ~ palinode

More or Less About Time

blank, black disc
tells me nothing
until a quick tap
or flip of the wrist
brings it to life
shows its face
chosen by me
to emulate analog
in a digital world
the only gear here

appearance simple
yet detailed
time a primary concern
weather at a glance
health in numbers
pulse, steps
another tap
exercise calories
and another tap
phone texts for eyes
younger than mine
still adjusting to digital

 I’m closing out National/Global Poetry Writing Month by actually being on prompt for
Day Thirty at, where Maureen asks us to write a palinode
– a poem in which you retract a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem.
Compare this to Watching Time, a poem about my heirloom pocket watch
written for an April 2017 challenge.