Adrienne Veronese


With Gratitude


 With Gratitude


(a Thanksgiving Poem)


I will eat these late-season berries


as the sky on better days.


I will roast this squash

with oils pressed

 from fruit of the the olive branch  

the one the dove carried in her heart

through a sky woven of prayers

for better days


days in which

gratitude was balanced

between thought and prayer

between branch

and wing,

between darkness

and blue that glistens

as these berries do,

and nothing


was taken for granted.



Photo by Daniils Petrovs on Unsplash



The Ceiling Stares Back (but never answers)

& so the question
comes down to
whether to
stay or go
after all.
although not even
the most prescient
among us thought to
ask the ceiling this:

          what cost does any kind
          of future come to?
          is this the day
          i grow the tiniest death
          within these walls
          hoping for a dirge
          to bring me out
          of this fatal ounce of living?

          how distanced must i become
          a poet growing smaller
          with each language forgotten
          - including the language of touch?

(i regret that i have
but one death
to choose)

& even though there is little chance
of remembering much more
than i could write
in any single space
i still distract myself
by calling memories
in the middle of the night

to remind me
of when i was never young
& so
less alone
than i am

(there is never any answer)

©Adrienne Veronese

from Poems Behind the Mask: 40 Quarantine Poems From Humboldt County

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash



He was woke.

He'd been on a pilgrimage to Maté Latte.

His man bun was untidy and his five-day growth perfectly trimmed.

His mother sent him skinny jeans and quinoa facial scrub for Samhain each year,

and his lover wore it natural downtown.


It was the best of times, it was the hipster of times

and none of us were sure we would survive reaping what the evangelicals liked to sow.


But he was doing his best to elevate his vibrational frequencies with crystals

and fresh cannabis leaf smoothies.


It was the most anyone could expect of a Prius owner.


© Adrienne Veronese






In dreams

the winter is deep

and children are taught the nature of cycles

as carefully as we teach the cycles of nature.


In dreams

symbols dance among the stars

where meaning is up to interpretation

and metaphor is the cornerstone of life.


In dreams

the matchstick girl does not freeze to death

because all people care for the weakest among us

and every child born is one of ours.


So in dreams

we celebrate every one of them

not just the birth of a single child

whose sigil we wear once a year

singing songs that never really change,

our loud sweaters draped in tinsel

and metaphor we pretend isn't metaphor,

insisting this one thing

this one literal story

devoid of any metaphor

must never change.


©2019 Adrienne Veronese


From the time when only men wrote about road trips

I squeezed myself into the narrative,

these winding roads my only companion

on this journey where mountains meet sea,

home neither ahead nor behind me

because it is a thing I carry with me at all times

& that is something which cannot change

any more than the migratory bird can change its flight path.


I revisit homesteads I passed through once

& in so doing pass by houses of the holy

lining rural routes on either side with their tidy facades

and biblical reasoning for paving over native lands,

promising sanctuary to anyone but women and children

because the order of the beast

is maintained only for the beastly rule that built it.


Ghosts of my future sneak up from behind,

the ghosts of my past still ahead

waiting as I travel down this lane

to a home that was never mine

not by title, not by birthright,

not even by DNA encoded in a golden band.

And yet these ghosts rattle their chains,

sandwich me between them

in a battle forcing me to see

they are little more than

digital apparitions

I cannot slay with my blade

or any other analogue device

proving once again no sword can vanquish

that which is little more than a projection of ourselves.


And the beastly rule

that renders the migratory bird flightless

brings charges against the displaced children passing through

when the only reason we stopped in the first place

was to defend them against the beasts in analogue armor,

protected in their pageantry as they try,


& sentence us for indecency

because of the language we used

when all we were doing really

was speaking in tongues

the analogue of which

is a two-edged sword.


The spirit of a one-eyed man

watches from the kitchen he built by hand,

his eye taken by a storm as unpredictable

as the ocean with a wagon chain in its hand

leaving him to spin fables about unruly mares

and their well-placed kicks,

passing on a legacy of chains

as invisible as those ghosts rattling them

while waiting for me in the lane



to challenge me to a battle

no one else can see

a fight with swords and wagon chains

and raging oceans, with only

the order of the beast in

those tidy houses of the holy

sitting in gleeful judgment

having tamed the mare

but not the ocean

knowing full well,

all it takes to start the storm

is a single well-placed kick

and if it keeps on raining

the levee will break



Leaving the art

of writing about leaving

up to the men in search of territory

not yet claimed by the beastly rule

while the women left behind

begin to suspect the best route

is that of the migratory bird,

claiming nothing while changing

the landscape with their very appearance

predictable to anyone paying attention

and terrifying to those ruled

by the order of the beast


as any ghost will tell you

appearance is everything

to those living

behind tidy facades

wearing analogue armor.



© Adrienne Veronese

Halloween 2019


skeletons of

blackened trees

erect a monument

to themselves

in this twisted landscape

where corruption

burns itself in effigy

and settles for pennies on the dollar

in which a spark of anything but Light

(well past the point

of redemption)

can signal the first shot fired

in this war of shepherds

versus those who want

nothing more than to see

the flock burn.

September 11, 2019

©Adrienne Veronese


Let us speak entirely in metaphor today

let us agree to believe

in a literal interpretation of this love only

as it passes between us in its journey

to places beyond the sun that remain unnamed

even in our wildest imaginings

(because the answers are never as important

as the questions.)


Let us give a name to nothing of any importance

if it does not serve this literal love

this bending of the will toward

giving something mutual and larger than us

wings, that it may take flight and find a way

to that unnamed place beyond the sun

where all of our memories for eternity are kept,

and let us do nothing usefully with them

but savor the moments

connected by love.


Let us write love poems

for no one in particular

because a love poem written for one

is a poem written for all

and a love poem written for many

is a poem written for you. 


So carry it with you everywhere

because the heart has places

we have never heard of

to keep things that are important

to not just this world,

but worlds unnamed

beyond the sun.


Photo by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash



(or... Love for Love's Sake, Ego for God's Sake)

If this is love, give me another metaphor

for Sisyphus rolling that stone uphill

to the feet of Prometheus,

only to watch myself devoured by crows

while repeating never more

again and again


bound to these roles

of impossible analogies.


If this is life, give me another religion

where I am not the second-hand

servant to a golden calf

created in the image and likeness

of a character named ego.


If this is second chances

or third

or even fourth, if one can trust carbon dating

on any day that's not Valentine's

then give me the left hand of darkness

and let me be the one to slip a ring on its finger

and pronounce us complete in the eyes of the

lords of any town that isn't claimed

in the name of ego's chosen ones.


© Adrienne Veronese

14 February 2019

There Might be Dragons

as unlikely as it is

there would be a savior

whose birthday still confuses us

with respect to what gifts to bring                             


and as unlikely as it is

there would be a jolly man

whose pastime fills volumes

with images of elves and flying reindeer


we stand on the edge of Christmastime

peering into the abyss

asking ourselves who

it would be best to bestow with gifts

wrapped in best intentions and ribbon


and only the wise men among us

think to prepare a gift for the least likely

to be flying through winter's darkness

less likely still to be savior of anything

– including jolly tinsel dreams

unless they encompass all of what might be


and when doing just that, stand on the edge

of that abyss with gift in hand

for what remains unknown

because, as any wise man knows full well,

there just might be dragons

and they might be bringing gifts of their own.


              ©Adrienne Veronese

                 Christmas 2018


Dragon and Man Exchange Gifts by Edward Gorey


The Knave Before Christmas


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

a rogue he was creeping, watchful for a spouse.

No husband to stop him from creeping and lurching,

no one to surprise him or stop him from searching.

Just that old rogue, once again sniffing

the delicates worn by ladies all drifting,

asleep unaware of this rogue's great weakness

which drives him their way in mid-winter's bleakness.


For this is the fate of knaves, thieves and rogues,

who live life in hiding and take the back roads.

Their weakness is women, plus mead, song and more.

And no one can bring it or land that great score

quite like the rogue archer, whose legend was lore.


As surely as archers pull back on their bowstring,

there will be mead and great songs to sing.

Songs of mischief and mayhem and thieving,

But none quite as wild as the night frost was heaving.

That night, some will say, 'twas the night of the Solstice,

and this rogue was down with a fever and poultice.

The herbs they were healing but not quickly enough

for the rogue accustomed to things that are rough.


For as he lay dreaming in fits and dark visions,

a thought came to him of a wonderful mission.

That mission, it seemed, could be done with great ease,

as it turned out to involve a flight on the breeze.

But that breeze, so he found, was colder than cold,

because the one breeze most needed blew from the North Pole.


Only it had the magic to lift him and carry

his rogue lusts into places most rogues wouldn't tarry.

But there's where he's likely to find what he seeks

those fine lacy things so perfumed they might reek

to any man but our rogue, whose nose was still clogged

from fever and cold air, so it had to be strong.


He had been to the North Pole on a time, maybe two,

but never quite saw the point of the crew

who planted the thing with its stripes and its spinning

in the middle of nowhere, probably grinning

as they left not a clue other than one:

A lacy thing designed for the delicate buns

of ladies most fancy and powdered and scented

the way some men love them, especially when rented.


And as luck would have it, most wives are alone,

for on such nights husbands are absent from home,

gone drinking and gambling on mid-winter's eves

down at the ale house where most knaves and thieves

will linger and wait for wits to be dulled

by too many mugs of wine that's been mulled.

When husbands aren't looking, those knaves they will grab

both wallets and watches and might take a stab

at gold-tipped walking canes, or fur-lined capes

whatever is easiest to snatch and escape.


But not our rogue archer, whose tastes have been shaped

by things that are harder to grab than a cape.

For once bitten by a flea on the ass of the North Pole

nothing mattered to this one but filling the role

most notably played by a man dressed in red

while ladies lay sleeping all snug in their bed.


So if you should hear on a late winter's eve

the cry of a woman float on the breeze

and it sounds like she's saying, “Who took my things”

just think of the rogue, then tie down your eaves.

For he'll study your lodgings, and then find a way

to paw through your drawers before flying away.


While the legend might live of a fat man in red

who brings gifts for children asleep in their bed

it is clearly a story designed as a ruse

so they won't suspect it's their mothers who use

the lace and the perfumes this one rogue most needs

which brings a man to their home at night on a breeze.


So if you should hear his nose as it whistles

late at night you should know 'tis our rogue with the sniffles.

Don't feed him, don't chase him, just let go your pride

and squeeze perfume onto something a bride

might remove for the first time on her wedding night.

A rogue will thank you as he swoons and then sighs

before mounting that breeze that carries him high

and draws back his bowstring as once more he cries,


“Merry winter to all, and to all some size fives.”



                             © Adrienne Veronese 2017


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