i am brushing
my teeth then
climbing a tree then
making a list then
flying away-
wait, so,
i hate flying
because, well 
falling and flailing
that is to say
i keep reaching
into near distances
to lift a curtain
behind which
i find instances
of myself
looking back at me
holding the same 
diaphanous fabric
beholding the same
stage and audience
its more than 
that keeps me
pulling at threads
of reality.
its always the 
last time,
near the last line,
where i accept,
‘okay fine’
that all i am
sits here in this room
dreaming wandering
avoiding the
gloom and 
escaping tasks
that are  
launching me,
out of me
just to see
if i should be
doing anything
other than 
brushing my 

Notice ~ Vol2 Issue6 Prompt39 #WKWAB

Greetings Creatives,

How to notice?

Funny, as I wrote that last line I wonder if I should put a question mark on it.

Regardless, the shapes of relationships are constantly on my mind right now.

I am a teacher and I support students and we are in virtual classrooms during the day, but what that means feels so loose.

Not being around people, or not accidentally bumping into people, or not seeing that dude around 8:15 AM every day having a smoke out on his front porch because life is not scheduled anymore is really squashing me.

My commute is now measured in flights of stairs or the distance between keyboard and kitchen. And what I want most right now is to see clearly the connections and complications that come from being around people.

In my empty head. I like to say your name when you’re not here. I feel it tighten in my chest as I pull you out of thin air. I remember when you used to say that it’s time that complicates you. I remember it like it was yesterday. Fill me in on all of your secrets. Tell me what you’re thinking.

bend + expose + absorb

I think that this past year, like my front step, has slowly been sinking.

And the year, like my front step, has underlying conditions that are hidden from me.

Its remarkable how I am able to imagine purpose for the broken things around me. And in some ways I remain oblivious to the sinking feeling because of this.

And because there is a canyon of cloudfilled space between what I know and what I truly understand. I am trying to take in broad swaths of material that eventually I will review and try to decompose and deconstruct and likely reconstruct in the next year after the past year and a half.

My phone is full of photos.

Some are purposeful and some seemed purposeful at the the time but since time is no longer a reliable marker in my day, volume and assorted geotags serve as reminders of where I have been and maybe where I could return to sometime.

It’s funny when I consider the thousands of photos that I have taken in my iPhone’s lifetime, all with coded identifiers of place and time and memory, and so few of the places will I ever return to.

Despite the digital breadcrumbs that trace my travels I rarely circleback and return to the pictures or the sites where they were captured.

REsist + impede + annoint

Some things that I have noticed recently:

My front step has sunken. 

Nobody hates dandelions anymore.

People wear masks while driving alone.

Purple flowers outnumber humans 1 000 000:1.

Taking a shower is a sign of hope.

Children don't laugh and run and scream in the park.

The longest takeout lines are mostly filled with lonely looking people.

Though I barely drive my car, gas prices still piss me off.

I feel this constant low vibe of nostalgia.

Languish is the most beautiful sounding ugly word.


Last year the step was fine, this year not so much. 

I suspect that there are underlying issues here. 

Aren't there always?

Often my spouse will have worries. She will ask me- Do you worry about X? No? Why don’t you worry about X?

I don’t have a transferrable or translatable answer. Me saying ‘just because’ only confuses. But in truth I do not worry about anything that I do not have direct control over.

I can’t make that make sense outside of my head.

There is so much right now that I do not want control over.

behold + admit + comfort

When I need someone to express my thoughts and feels for me, I know that Andrea Gibson has already put pen to page and drafted out my mantras and mental medicine.

Returning to her writing is at best a meditative practice. At worst, it is that screaming hockey coach ensuring that I feel inadequate.

I often feel as if I could be the rough copy for her polished pieces.

If you are interested in attending a monthly Words Keep Wolves At Bay meet-up, please drop a comment below and we can make arrangements for you to share your email with me. 

The link for monthly digital meetups will be shared on the day of meeting.  Meetups are on the 3rd Friday of each month at 8:00 PM. 

June 18 - Light and Dark. Creating balance. 
July 16 -  Loved and Lost. Pieces that broke, burned, or bothered you. 
August 20 - Supporting people who don't support your Creative. 
September 17 - Can I have more ham? Eff you it's called Prosciutto. And other misunderstandings. 
October 15 - Ozymandias 
November 19 - Baring bones. The structure of a Creative. 
December 17 - Polymath 

Post your work wherever you feel most safe and tag it with #wkwab. Feel free to let other peeps know about our circle. 

This circle is not just for words, please explore any element of your creativity. 

Consider the 'Words' in #wkwab to be our ongoing conversation and fellowship in this space. 

Be well,
@chrisjcluff on twitter / insta / fb


writing poetry is like craving coffee. one bad cup, one bad line and the day is ruined. and i hate knowing that in order to love that first sip i gotta drink like 15 cups to find it. and the problem in processing caffeine is that everything starts happening at the speed of sound. shit gets missed. light becomes leaden. time blinks in and out while my senses try and make sense. noticing focuses then snaps like an oversharpened pencil. yet i keep writing with that hobbled tool making word shapes and letter sounds and sentence pictures. i once cut the line of a funeral procession because of over caffeination. i felt so bad that i wrote a poem about it. but i never apologized to the family in the lead car.  i keep looking for the line that was waiting in line. scanning for a raised hand at the back of the stanza. for the voice simmering just under the noise and the scribbles. coffee in coffee shops is easy, asking someone else to grind it out and brew it means that you are in their hands for the gift of the sip. hell you can even hand it back and ask them to make it again. and again. yet when these ridiculous dancing ideas meet dark roast and accepting paper, i light up. and if it rhymes easily, everything stops. and i stop. my heart stops. my coffee cools and i wonder if i should rewrite the whole piece around it.