Adrienne Veronese


Giving in the Key of C-19


What if I were to say

I did nothing more

last Christmas

than pick tinsel

from my teeth, dismissing

the customary Christmas poem

as nothing more than a pathogen

of dubious origin?


(Would you point out

the obvious, that

most good poems are,

whether written for Christmas

or not?

           Or would you inspect

           every verse for evidence

           of poetic malfeasance

           hidden between the lines?)


What if we were to wrap

these gifts of pure intention

in nothing more

than naked metaphor

and let it seduce us

with its promises of warmth

on a mid-winter’s night?


If I found peace in my heart

and you found peace in yours

would it be the Christmas miracle

we have waited for,

measured in magnitudes of joy

so big it can’t possibly all fit in

a single heart?


Who is more surprised, then

when we open our eyes on

any given morning,

be it Christmas or not

to find it’s the gifts

we give ourselves

that matter most?



Adrienne Veronese

© Christmas 2021


Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Weapons System

They accuse us of weaponizing our tears,

yet when those tears are spent 

and we have no choice but to 

wave the white flag 

and change the locks, the 

best we can do in the endless cold war

we’re left with 


file the necessary forms 

in the bureaucracy they built 

on the proliferation of war.

A war that allows for

the weaponizing of our children 

so they might better deliver 

lethal payloads 

sent in retaliation 




aimed directly at hearts 

already broken 

      ( leaving a scorched earth in which

       spirits die at the bottom of their bomb craters 

       where collateral damage is considered

       fair game, 

       and children with battle fatigue

       are left to dig their way out

       and struggle with the fog of war

       in which 

       all of it is the mother’s fault.)

So in learning how much there is to gain 

from endless war 

they doubled-down 

and weaponized our sons 

even further,

sending them to die thinking of their mothers

in their final embrace with that war machine 

that was built to last 



And because there were those 

who saw how little there was to gain 

from allowing us to connect 

on the deepest level, 

they weaponized intimacy 

and gave us 


placing emphasis on the construct that 

it’s woman who gave us original sin,

so man had no choice but to invent war 

and blame her 


making him do it.


© Adrienne Veronese

International Women’s Day

       March 2021



Photo by Stewart MacLean on Unsplash

It's All of Us


To know this the way I know

we can make music together

when separate,

to know this palpable presence

in the emptiness of silent rooms

& then embrace it for what it is,

and to know it isn’t just the singular you

but the plural when I consider

your survival is ours,

is to know I have not arrived

on this great big spinning rock


and neither have you.


©Adrienne Veronese

Photo by Marina Khrapova on Unsplash

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


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