These memories may thaw but 
they refuse to melt away — 
stubborn stains impervious to
my meticulous clawing. 
Blankets and band-aids cover scars
but the scorn burns — contempt 
for what was and won’t be.

We lack agency in our most
chilling moments, coughing 
against whatever fate has consigned
to us (Did I cough when
you left? That particular
memory escapes me) futilely
clutching a blanket for warmth.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Written for Free Verse Revolution October Writing Prompt #4 : scars

A catalyst

The flamboyant flame stands before me,
framed by garish smoke rising
to meet an aloof sky. The crackling embers — 
embarrassed to be seen laying down 
on the job — pop out of sight, 
making way for flashier lights.

The bonfire demands to be seen, illuminating
places undiscovered, too dark to survey. 
Is it possible my caustic humor burns 
those who venture too close? Do I dare
take stock of myself now — already gray — 
looking to pop where I lay?

Perhaps, just as winds breathe smoke 
unexpectedly back in our faces, 
I merely shift my perspective. 
There’s magic in turning sticks into wands

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Balefire #writephoto
Photo by Sue Vincent

Cosmic quiver

He chose life because he did
not consider the alternative
poor man.

He quivered
with the thought of the after –
overwhelmed – life,
a cosmic conviction
that on such scale
(weighing on him still) he is
insignificant but

remains a light in the void.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Written for the dVerse Poets Pub Quadrille #90 – quiver

Nightmare flower

There’s not enough coffee in the pantry
to poison the nightmare flower
growing inside my mind this Monday morning –
a menacing thought blooms in shadows.

What phantoms creep in darkness,
wakeful vigils watching
through keyholes while moonless skies sway
then give way
to the quiet sun cheering for someone to hear?

The sun is too loud.

She dropped the seeds in my ear while I was sleeping
then evaporated, leaving me
a farmer diluted, hosing my brain with
caffeine while my wetter winks paint sorrow
in neat rows not yet tilled.

What blossom sprouts in dejection,
rotten and unwanted
I sit wishing the sun would retreat or retract
or simply retrace its steps in reverse?

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Submitted for Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt : “Nightmare flower”

Written for Sunday’s Whirligig 235 : keyhole, hear, menace, sleeping, phantoms, swaying, cheer, creep, wetter, quiet, winks

Submitted for dVerse Poets Pub. Lillian asked for treats … though this may be more of a trick?

Serenity now?

We are all connected. The woman
in line at the grocery store
too tired to say no to one more question.
The young man scanning the Skittles
his arm a pendulum absentmindedly marking
time. And me at attention
with the world while my phone
shows zero bars and I long to march on.

We all crave serenity. The woman
thinking of a euphoric cacophony of silence
that a mouthful of candy may bring.
The young man clocked out and finding
ecstasy absent the din of beeps, glorying
in his moment. And me raptured
from this world and returned home
where my wifi vigorously absolves me.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Written for the Go Do Go Cafe Tuesday Writing Challenge. Today’s prompt is “serenity

Should I even get out of bed?

I woke up early today, sitting in bed
not sure if I should get up
or roll under my bed and hide
from the black – dark that tastes bitter
like dry arugula stuck in my teeth.

The silence is numbing and scrapes
inside my head, nails scratching
a blackboard with rambling scribblings
pushing me in spirals. Sometimes
the world hops out of view.

What is life, if there is no afterlife?
A prefix for nothing, a start missing
an ending, a fire extinguished
eventually. What is life without a spark
divine or otherwise brightening dark?

We live, we love, we work, we die,
circles overlapping as we mark time
like fireflies enjoying the dusk aware
that night must inexorably snuff
the light we flash for as long as we can.

I swing my feet to the floor, facing the day
or whatever may barrel headfirst
before night, realizing life isn’t meaningless
for those we share meaning with, more lamps
to illuminate even the largest room.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Posted to dVerse – join us?

On the clock’s face

The hands on the clock
slowly orbit the pale, dull face,
seemingly unaware

that the snow brought
a chill (or
at least a hint.)

The sun almost
shone as babies blinked,
staring at nothing

a general malaise that
lay beneath bubbles and
banana pudding breath.

snow covers the grass

a cold chill echoes through
the last

of a winter storm that turned whatever
we had planned black and cold,


Depression cries out
through the seemingly endless black
(where noise blinds us,

not so long ago
this all made sense).

Amid the senselessness
of another terrifying flash
of lightning –
of the fury

that flares for an instant
then recedes

to background noise – we
find solitude, short

of understanding.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019

Reflections upon death

Is that really my face, framed
by white hair like a cabin
standing alone in the too-early
winter snow, lazily gazing
back at me in the old mirror?
My grandmother’s old mirror, lined
with old photos of people now dead,
frozen in black and white eternity
where they face no end nor
remember any beginning.

Pictures remain, moments,
faces without context, smiling forever
in the face of fewer people
remembering them,
a majority of their moments forgotten
hours at a time. Every minute spent alone
was one
that dissolved into nothing.
No one shares, no one reflects.
They may as well never happen
for all the universe


We do death all wrong. Tombstones
list our birth and death dates, ignoring
what’s in the – , distilling a life –
all those moments before condensing
existence into a name and two dates.

Obituaries summarize
a life
in a few sentences – the view
from 50,000 feet where angels
are introduced to the new meet –
before painstakingly listing all those left
behind. We choose to focus
on the living
while burying the lede. The living find time
to move on.


When I die, god forbid, I want them to show
pictures of me in my youth. Not some wrinkled, 
white-haired, bloated version I will
have grown to be (god willing) even if I myself have long
forgotten what it was to be young,
vibrant, alive. Iron out the creases and
gloss over the pot marks
of a life, if not well-lived, at least survived.

Is this now? And if we get an afterwards
what words will follow after? If time is not a
straight line
have we already seen what follows and
does it match what came before? In the
end does it matter if I won’t notice?

Will others?

And do I think too much of death?
Do I waste much time
on that which comes to each
in time
though I rush not into
that particular adventure?

And is it ironic that the less time we have
the more we waste thinking
about something we can’t do
anything about. Is that irony?
It’s something I won’t waste time

thinking about.


This mirror, my grandmother’s old mirror,
awaits one more picture,
another face,
wherever it now goes, whenever we choose,
and I, red eyes puffy and moist,
think that I have one less Christmas
present to buy.

Phillip Knight Scott | © 2019