NaPoWriMo - 23-April - Apologies


When someone knows you
Better than you do yourself,
It does neither of you any good To hold a grudge.

The ability to move away
From mere mortals
And find a path
That allows you to avoid
The awkward confrontations Is easy to summon.

But when that one you're avoiding
Is a force of nature,
Someone who knows you
Someone who cares about you
Someone who defends you
Someone who would take a bullet for you,
There comes a time
To put away childish things
Like petty jealousy
Like pride
Like the inertia of silence
And put things right.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 22-April - Suburban Secrets

Suburban Secrets

The conversation is always casual
About the kids,
Or car trouble,
Possibly some other mundane
Subject that breaks the ice,
Or merely passes the time,
Before the “walkers” are dismissed.

In these days of online everything,
That casual conversation often continues
Beyond the carpool line,
After the kids go to different schools
As we connect
Via “mutual friends.”

We see different sides of the people
From the parents' club meetings,
And awards ceremonies.
If we observe how they talk
And interact
With their friends.

Perhaps those observations
Can lead to a different relationship,
Even if that's just coffee,
Or a very-casual lunch
On occasion,
Properly chapereoned
By “mutual friends.”

Those of us who have the ability
To detect feelings through the wires,
Wonder if there are stories
Waiting to be told,
Perhaps signals being sent
That could transform
The casual relationship
Into something deeper.
Not necessarily progressing to
Daytime trysts,
But just the comfort
Of shared experiences
And Suburban Secrets.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 21-April - Hotels


The hotel room is a blank canvas,
Painted on by many, only to
Be wiped clean with strong chemicals
Upon the departure of the artist.

The paintings are various portraits:
Of lovers
Of secrets
Of ideas
Of lonlieness
Of despair.

Some portraits are completed by
Check-out time.
Others are unfinished works
That can't be completed,
But rather a new painting
Is started
When the artist finds a new hotel.

The portraits are rarely viewed
By anyone but the housekeeping staff
Who can look at the works in progress
And feel the emotions
The anticipation,
The excitement,
The passion,
The disappointment,
The finality.

Then the linens are replaced,
The furniture reset,
And the bathroom sanitized,
As the canvas awaits
Its next painter.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 20-April - Freshman Crush

Freshman Crush

She's the girlfriend
Of the junior,
The guy everyone wants to talk to,
Because he's moving up.

She's the “big sister”
Of the girl you know
From debate tournaments last year.

Or perhaps
She's the senior
Taking that one freshman-level class
In your newly-chosen major
That stands between her
And life beyond
The Lakefront.

She wouldn't give you
The time of day
Back when you first arrived
On the scene
In the University Center.

Or maybe that's just your perception,
Because now,
Thirty-plus years later,
She'll talk to you as an equal,
Making you wonder,
Did you have a shot when you were seventeen?


©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 19-April - Budweiser


In these days of microbrews
Craft beers,
And local samplers,
The humble Budweiser
Of our youth
Is often forgotten.

Yes, the hoppy taste
Of the local IPA,
Or the crisp bite
Of the super-cold Pilsner
Make us smile,
As they pair up nicely
With a meal,
Or an occasion,
Possibly even a liaison.

No matter how chocolaty the stout
Or authentic the cask ale.
No matter how imaginative the name
Of the local lager,
Nothing can quite compare
To that first Budweiser.

Whether it was knocked back
Along the river,
Out at the lake,Budweiser
Or in a parking lot,
After a satisfying practice,
Where everyone marched in step,
That cold can of Bud
Stays in the memory,
Transforming the old man
Right back to the fourteen-year old.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 18-April - Foggy Bridge

Foggy Bridges

We build bridges to open ourselves
And our hearts to others in this world.
On occasion, we look out
And all we see is the remains
Of a bridge that's been burnt.

The image of a broken link
Is only visible through the smoke,
Of changes in our lives.

These masks confuse our eyes,
And what we think is a bridge destroyed
Is really still a link to a dear friend.
If we can muster the courage
To step through the fog.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 17-April - Privacy


We say we value our privacy,
Expressing outrage that the government
Is able to listen in on our phones,
Read our email
And look at the photos
We take more and more often
Now that all to many of us
Carry a camera everywhere we go.

For all of our outrage,
We still come back on the grid
In the hopes that the ex
Will see we're doing OK without them
Or to make sure they're miserable
Without us.

We don't want to talk to people
With whom we went to high school,
But we want them to know,
We're still here,
And we're not living
In a van down by the river.

There are times
When someone we don't want to know
Our deepest secrets
Discovers them online.
We then rush to wipe the grid clean
Of our presence,
Only to return in some new form
So we can make sure that person
Knows what we are willing to reveal
About our lives,
About our dreams,
About our desires.

Because it wouldn't satisfying
If all we did was ignore them.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 16-April - Connections


It's possible now to be connected
To the world beyond the four walls
Of the room we're now in
Or at least until the batteries run out.

We explore, read, discConnectionsover, or just chat
When we connect.
Most of the time, though,
We really do just admire cats.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 15-April - On the Virtues of Tequila

On the Virtues of Tequila

Tequila is so much more
Than shots
To be consumed
With salt and lime.

Tequila is so much more
Than the alcohol
In a Margarita,
Frozen or on the rocks.

Tequila is a gateway
To the appreciation and
Consumption of quality whiskey.

Sipping a fine Añejo
On a sunny spring afternoon,
Confident that clothes
Will not fall off,
But happiness will abound.

©2014 Edward Branley

NaPoWriMo - 14-April - Dragon's Defense

Dragon's Defense

It's not about reward
That we defend the dragon
As she matures,
As she learns,
As she transforms,
Into a powerful being.

It's not about love,
That we defend the dragon,
When she lands,
When she feeds,
When she lowers her shields.

It's about destiny,
Because we made the decision
To become one with the dragon,
Before we even knew
The risks that entailed.

We are the blood bound.

©2014 Edward Branley