Writer’s Island Prompt #9, “If Only”


Circling Flashbacks

Ah yes, those famous “If Only’s.”
Vultures that visit in loneliness
of after midnight hours, trip mind,
pecking to find thickening shadows,
actually cramp bowels of a darkness
long past, dragging out ugly clothes
of yesterday in forever tangled,
jangled fit of disarray.
What awful nurture they provide
for torturous slippery ride
down crooked highways,
slanted byways that move
down and downward,
fast, then faster and only end
at shame and all her wicked
little sisters, twisting moments
until all those nasty whispered
names have been named
and dread must slink away
beneath covers of a bed
no longer comfortable,
but filled with thorns pricking
at thickening shadows and only
words left to be whispered, are
“Aw, If only…”







About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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15 Responses to Writer’s Island Prompt #9, “If Only”

  1. p1ece5 says:

    my if only’s come to me in the night, and you’re right, they ruin the comfort sometimes only a solo bed can provide. I like what you did with the bed; makes me think. . .


  2. 1sojournal says:

    Am glad you liked it, and hope that bed is one of ideas and images mated to words, of which you are so good at.



  3. diddums says:

    That’s wonderful, I really like that. And there are a host of ‘if only’s… some large, some small.


  4. 1sojournal says:

    If only’s are regrets, whether they are small or large, and as such can be incredible traps for all kinds of other things. I, personally, try hard not to step into them, but obviously still know them quite well, as do most of us.



  5. Your poem made me feel so many emotions…very powerful and visual.


  6. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you, Fledgling Poet, those are high compliments. I wrote it this morning, as a matter of fact, It started forming the minute I saw the Prompt on Writer’s Island. When that happens, I know its important. and means everything else gets dropped until I am satisfied. So, my shower was late, but some things can’t wait.

    Thanks again,



  7. stan says:

    They say ‘He who never made a mistake, never made anything’ – we live and learn. If only’s are part of the process.

    Stan, thank you for stopping by and for your comments. But, I must disagree. If only’s redefined as mistakes are opportunities to learn and thus, become something else. If only’s may also be redefined as wishes, also allowing them a different definition and therefore a change of meaning. In this poem, I am definitely pursuing the idea of those if only’s that don’t change or take on different definitions. I am specifically speaking to those that are not resolved and thus remain regrets that feed on self-image, esteem, confidence, etc. And often become the food we eat at the center of a lonely night, creating dis-ease and discomfort.



  8. Robin says:

    If only’s as vultures – that pretty much nails it, doesn’t it… Very evocative piece.


  9. 1sojournal says:

    Robin, glad you think so and thank you for your comments.



  10. Gemma says:

    Powerful! And I love how you speak of “if only” as a scavenging vulture! Great metaphor that suggests how regrets can be like carrion and never really satisfied!


  11. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Gemma, now if I could only figure out how to save the poem as I originally structured, I’d be much more satisfied, lol. The new system has a few kinks that I have yet to figure out.

    But I do appreciate your words and response to the piece.



  12. totomai says:

    a visual treat here. really liked the flow of the poem. the first 3 lines kinda reminded me of autumn (lol, im just thinking that way) and the last part are just wonderful.


  13. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks totomai, when I finished the poem, I thought I had jammed a few too many diverse images into it, and yet that also makes me think of how those If only’s sort of ride herd on the psyche when they come slamming into view. And you are right, autumn seems to be when I see the turkey vultures circling more than usual.

    Appreciate your comments,



  14. beyourownstory says:

    I hate this poem! The images rush at you with power, hurtling into the abyss where my “if only”s have been hiding.
    Seriously. The divers images help to build the power, create the rush, the intensity.


  15. 1sojournal says:

    Hey, where you been? Missing the chats. Wasn’t sure about this one, just sure of all those messy feelings. Guess that’s why the piled on images, lol.



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