20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

Say you love me (Prose)

as for words sometimes spoken
that make us think
why others speak them, take
three syllables
we long to hear, sealing anxious
weeks or months after we ceased
being a singular I

the anticipation of who will
speak first, should I, should they

I love you
why, I ask what makes you love me
because I’m kindhearted
smile at strangers, a good hostess
in and out of bed, love all creatures
great and small, or perhaps my humour
that can turn your furrowed brow
into whipped cream smoothness

Is it any of these things or these and more
we wait, it’s said, what we started
pure and raw, now concreted with three simple words
and it’s not perhaps till time has passed

when we have grown old together
we look back and it wasn’t about who spoke first
that we see love for what it is
the importance of why it was said
no longer just syllables

©jmtacken Feb 2014

Tommy and Faye (Prose)

ocean coloured eyes, auburn curled hair
nestling on her shoulders, stuck with him
the restaurant, crushed napkin folded
kept safe in his worn wallet

her phone number
scribbled in ink, bled from his
sweaty palms over weeks
yet he hadn’t dialed her number

small town, back woods, trying
the best she could, to get out
leave the trailer park, an inner strength
held behind her cerulean eyes

words spoken of her existence
showed determination, he felt weak
amidst her charms, her softness
his a different pain to hers

the napkin dropped near his plate
alongside remnants of mashed potato
beans and meat, he stared at it a while
did she find him attractive

then left, closing the door to her world
to begin again with his, yet
she kept dragging him back, without
a word between them

just this napkin, he couldn’t throw away
she wanted out, she told him so
was he her meal ticket to a better life
to get somewhere, was this his doubt

and then he threw her number away
‘coz he knew he didn’t have the courage
to find out, the risk of being hurt again
to try and make it work

until one summer’s afternoon
when she played so badly on his mind
like a sweet violin
he made a sign

nailed it to the pole
in the street where she worked
and he waited near by
waited and watched for Faye to see

how much she meant to him
how proud he was of her
and how, with lives so different
they were meant to be

©jmtacken Feb 2014



Three years ago, I lost my mom.

She had been fading for years, but we still talked,

we laughed and loved.


It seems like since then loss and loneliness

have been so much of my life.

I feel like I am drowning.


After loosing my child, hope, faith,

and that special closeness with my family,

I feel I will never capture the joy in life again.


I can only beg you, young people,

to take that joy, when you find it,

and treat it as thought it was glass, because it is.

Kipling’s: Ignoring Eternal Truths

The Gods of the Copybook Heading

 AS I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn.

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breath of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome. With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things. When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.” On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.” In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “If you don’t work you die.” Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not God that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four-
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man-

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:-
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! Rudyard Kipling


A Bit of Grandma’s Wiisdom

Once, as autumn was blowing away

on  crunchy brown leaves,

and frost had appeared, taking the last asters,

I sat on my porch, shivering,

thinking how long it was until spring.

I longed for daffodils,

and warm breezes.

I looked deep inside and realized

that I longed for my past.

When my kids were little,

before I lost my son and health.

When my marriage made me smile.

When I was young.

Then two of my grandsons ran up the street.

They hugged me so tight,

“I love you, Beebee” they smiled.

And I smiled too.

I remembered my grandma used to say,

“We should never wish time away.”

She lived to be 96 years old.

She was so brave and so wise.

I smiled and hugged my grandsons,

and tried to appreciate the biting winds

yet to come before daffodils.

1 Comment

Nature as a Child

After the darkness,

Blue skies surround me

Clouds drift on the horizon

Drifting away at last

Every day is different

Fresh and exciting.

Gladly, I look for

Hovering bees and bugs

Ice melted at last.

Just one warm day

Keeps me hoping

Long after cold returns

Moonlight sparkles

Night times stars

Overhead-your head and mine.

Perhaps I treasure nature

Questioning it’s rhythms

Reining in its surprises

Turning from chill to warmth

Until I come upon the first

Violet, a sure sign of spring.

Wonder if other over it as much

X-citined as I am

You may know-tell me

Zestfully smiling.


One photograph or 20 lines or less, every day.

Are you writing every day?  Or taking a photograph?  Or doing one creative act that stimulates your mind outside of the routine?

20 Lines a Day is about feeding that creative part of you, to keep you writing, even a little, every day.

Whether it’s a prompt, or an image that moves you, write it down and share it with us.  It does not have to be a finished work — not at all.  The point is to keep writing.

I’ll share an image today.  What will you share?



Esta fuga de mi mismo

De pie, ella recargada sobre mi mesa de trabajo, hicimos el amor.

Fantasía o no, cuando la tuve entre mis brazos, se me olvido todo lo que había planeado hacer con ella, las palabras llegaban quebradas a su oído y los gemidos que lograba hacer me parecían espantosos, un poco ajenos y sentí que la mitad de lo que estaba sucediendo solo ocurría en mi cabeza. Ella era guapa, no de las mujeres guapas con las que pierdes la cabeza, era guapa incluso hasta en el olor y ella: estaba enamorada incluso de su color, que llegue a pensar que un día se volvería lesbiana. Me despertó el sonido de un auto. Pensé que había despertado antes por el sonido del teléfono, pero no fue así. Pasaban de las dos de la mañana, pero aún faltaba un rato para amanecer, me le quede viendo y no lo podía creer aún. Ella abrió los ojos, se levanto y comenzó a ponerse la ropa. Habría deseado que se quedara dormido de nuevo y despertar con ella, en mi cama, pero era imposible, ella tenía que regresar a su casa antes de su novio o lo que él fuera empezara a preguntar por ella. No habíamos salido de la casa cuando sonó su teléfono. Ella me hizo un gesto con la mano para que guardara silencio. Le estaba llamando el novio o lo que él fuera para ella. Aproveche el momento y entre una especie de sonambulismo la desvestí de nuevo, pero seguía sin acordarme de todo lo que deseaba hacer con ella.
Mientras ella se llevo la mitad de lo que yo sentía, yo me quede en casa suspirando y con mi otra mitad de esa realidad que ella me había regalado esa noche, me habría gustado emborracharme, perderme en los rincones de su piel, atravesarla con el olvido de su otra vida, la vida normal, la que la hace ir todos los días al trabajo y los lunes de compra, al mandado, para abastecer sus necesidades, me habría gustado robarme su mirada por todo el tiempo posible, comprarle el cachorro que tanto quería para su hija, porque ella en su vida diaria tiene una hija y una madre que se enoja sino llega temprano a casa y lo que hice fue borra su número de móvil para evitar pasar por las puertas del infierno sin ella. Pero ocurrió lo mismo, pues como otra veces hice trampa y tenía escrito su número en mi diario y la volví a llamar. Seguí pensando en ella durante una o dos o no sé cuantas semanas. Me sentaba todos los días frente al escritorio tratando de escribir algo, pero no se me ocurría nada, a veces me paraba a las cinco de la mañana y me entraba la noche sin que lograra siquiera un par de líneas y me quedaba con un cansancio que no puedo explicar o describir. Borre su nombre no sé cuantas veces del móvil, pero siempre experimentaba la misma recaída y los mismos deseos. Su cuerpo tenía en parte la culpa, la otra parte era por su sonrisa y más de la mitad tenían que ver con mis fantasías o mi extraña realidad.

La invite una o dos veces más a desnudarnos, pero ella me dijo que la estaban cuidando. ¡No!, no era el novio o lo que él fuera para ella, se trataba de su madre que se había dado cuenta o intuía lo nuestro, aunque lo nuestro a veces pienso que no era nada, como sea, ella decidió guardar silencio y yo me pase cientos de horas sin escribir nada. Supongo que eso es lo que llaman estar muriendo, pero desde luego que no tenía ganas de morir. Lo bueno de estar muriendo es que no te importa nada y haces cosas que de otra forma nunca harías. Pensé que cualquier mujer me sería accesible, no sé porque lo hice, pero una vez que lo haces ya nada te detiene o casi nada. Mi problema en realidad tiene que ver con que suelo hablar dormido, todo eso no sería problema de vivir solo. Una vez recuerdo que me puse a contar cosas cuando dormía y mi mujer me despertó entre murmullos y me decía no sé cuantas palabras incomprensibles y se quedo de nuevo dormida. Al otro día me dijo:

—Cuando estas dormido y te gusta mucho una mujer, hablas de ella, lo cuentas todo, lo que sientes y lo que quieres hacer o hiciste con ella; a veces creo que se trata de una fantasía, pero otras veces pienso que algo tiene de verdad.

Después siento el cuerpo de mi mujer ligeramente más frío, supongo que es algo que me gano por mis acciones y extraño su calor pero no digo nada, quizá es porque me siento culpable. Después de un rato todo vuelve a la normalidad.

He tenido días un tanto normales. Lo de escribir me viene dando vueltas en la cabeza. Una de mis amigas se fue del país para aprender a escribir y me sentí frustrado, no porque ella se fuera a aprender a escribir, sino porque yo no puedo ir por no saber nada del pinché inglés, pero tampoco he hecho nada por aprender ese idioma. Supongo que algo anda mal en mí, pero dejo que los días corran y no hago nada por resolverlo. Mi proyecto de novela esta estancando o eso quiero creer, desde luego que todos los días se me ocurre algo, no sé qué tan nuevo, pero tienen una constante y es que en todas esas ideas alguien tiene que morir y me pregunto qué sentido tiene una historia donde en las primeras páginas se muere un personaje. Este personaje siempre llegaba tarde a sus citas o se inventaba lugares complicados argumentando que si alguien estaba interesado en él encontraría con facilidad dicho lugar. Una historia sin pies ni cabeza, eso supongo que son las ideas que se me ocurren.

Había pensado en bajarle el calzón, pensé en que serían negros y que la pasaríamos muy bien. Pensé en la casa de ella y en ese viejo sillón que me describió mil veces, pensé en sus tetas y no pude evitar pero recordé que ella le había puesto nombre a cada uno de ellas, pero en ese momento no recordaba los nombres y ella no quiso decirme de nuevo, como que no le interesaba o tal vez era que yo no paraba de hablar y no la dejaba decir nada. Con el tiempo comencé a sentir celos, ¿celos de qué?, la verdad es que no tengo ni puta idea, pero esos sentimientos estaban presentes. Muchas veces pensé en ir a su trabajo y hacerlo de nuevo, en su escritorio y burlarnos de todos. Hacerlo con movimientos felinos, lentos, suaves y cautelosos. Dejamos de hablar. No recuerdo cuanto tiempo paso, las cosas se fueron enfriando, ligeramente pero cada día dejaba entre los dos un espacio imposible de salvar y un sabor extraño, un sabor fuerte como el de un whisky doble. Ese día después de dejarla me fui a un bar. Necesitaba distraerme, me hice de un amigo para no beber solo, hablamos de libros, de mujeres, pero sobre todo de fútbol. Yo le hable de ella, le dije que era guapa, no de las mujeres guapas con las que pierdes la cabeza y le conté acerca de mi sospecha: ella se estaba volviendo lesbiana, supongo que la mitad de esa sospecha puede ser verdad, pero lo grave no era eso, sino que esa misma noche ella me empezó a olvidar y yo me tuve perder sin decir nada, sin parpadear y cada que la veía me sentía desnudo, ridículo, lo suficientemente mal como para no volver a decirle: todas las pinches ganas que tenía de estar con ella. Un ligero aroma a sexo impregna mi cerebro cada que la veo y recuerdo muy bien que ese día ella traía un calzón rojo. No era nada difícil imaginarse lo que había pasado, lo difícil era tener que olvidarme de ella. Me salió barato tenerla entre mis brazos, solo tenía que pasar por las puertas del infierno, yo de saberlo, la hubiera cruzado desde el primer día antes de que ella atravesara toda la ciudad con sus ilusiones y antes de que todos los lunes fuera hacer las compras para sobre vivir durante la semana, de haberlo sabido yo le habría demostrado que los escritores, a veces también decimos la verdad.

La última vez la vi con tristeza.




draped the angel sleeps
the cold of stone not felt beneath
surround her not with pity
she no longer feels her pain
blind to acts of cruelty
deaf to words of hate

as on earth
an angel once again

do not weep your tears
though your heart may break
as you stand before her
rest a marigold where she lays
remember not her sorrow
her soul now free to touch

the face of the stars

brush the dirt away from her
so she maybe cleansed
from those that caused her death
sit and talk with her a while
and you will hear her plea

I sleep, I ask ~ no tears be shed
just remember me

©jmtacken Sept 2013




I dream of the day we first hugged, my arms
around you holding tight; never letting go
for a million years

Oh how I loved you THIS much

I remember the flower that you picked
a yellow daisy from the ground
I loved you as wide as my arms could spread
those days seem so long ago, through childhood
and adult years;  you kept me safe
I hung on every word you said
back when we were innocent


innocence does not stay around
captured moments as a photograph
replaced with pain, lies and distrust
and as I sit amongst the daisies
remembering what we had

I whisper in one breath
don’t ever come near me


©jmtacken Sep 2103



Street corners

Prostitute Approaching Car on City Street

sounds of revelry 
the night
split skirts
ride high on corners
trading skin for money

eyes of youth through
windows stare to lie on backs
open legs - knees bent


 ~ but never kiss

the lowly have it tougher
battering or death, risks
lined up on the street 
calling 'honey what you want'

are they empty


the little girls they were
and how they sell themselves
exhibiting their wares
but who am I to judge

the top girls don't have corners 
there's no mayhem in their world
unlike the street lamp hussling
tease and flaunt their 'goods'

they do 'a job', as I do mine
and who am I to say
this is how they live their life
from day ..to day..to day

©jmtacken Sep 2013


against the doorway
I am pushed; that edge I love
the masculine boss

violence not shown
no hate unleashed or anger
piercing stare I swear

the heat extracted
burns hot, as a blacksmiths iron
soft, intense blue eyes

my breathing quickens
I anticipate your move
it is milk chocolate

smooth as silk against
my tongue, swallows and wants more
do not hesitate

your first move,  your voice
perhaps soft sweet whisperings
body beckoning

how shall you begin
hot breath on quivering skin
nibbling with your teeth

gentle, with power
my resistance is futile
I need, I want ~ now

whisper words of lust
I implode with what will come
feet unsteady sway

hands upon my cheeks
lips velvet brush against mine
giddiness begins

within my cells
I awake, body arches
foreplay has begun

I evaporate
languishing into your arms
like chocolate melting

©JMTacken 2013


A mother says goodbye

My fingers wrap around your wrinkly hands

vision blurred, as my eyes well with tears

my lips touch velvet; your soft brown hair

and I do this ov’ and over again

in the short time that we have

rocking gave us comfort cradling you in my arms

with tears that touched your lips

that now would never speak

another chance I beseech, to gaze into your eyes

that are the colour of the sea; embrace your warmth

against my skin, but this will never be

a mother should not outlive her child

I begged take mine, in place of yours

I laid my hand across your heart

a heart that beat no more

why was life so fleeting, the time we had too brief

you were ripped away from me, I’m left behind to grieve

there are no answers

life we know at times so cruel

how do I go on living – living without you

try to remember me, you were called away too young

there is no rhyme or reason, for why this has been done

time they say the healer; one last hold, one kiss, I beg

so as I hold you to my breast, this torment that I bear

know that I so loved you and this last wish I share

wrapped in cotton white, take your pastel coloured wings

my angel child and fly

and with each breath I’ll think

of you, till my time comes, to die 

©JMTacken Sept 2013


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,374 other followers

%d bloggers like this: