Write After Breakfast

Write After Breakfast: A writing workshop following the Breakfast Program at St. Andrews Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Breakfast Program provides a free meal for anyone who wants one, every single day of every single year. Write After Breakfast meets every Tuesday -- right after breakfast.

September 9, 2014

We read selections of the GQ essay “The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit" and wrote poems about solitude and being alone.


A Hermit finds things in solitude.

The convict finds silence in attitude.

Alienation in both, grinds gratitude.

Somewhere between life and death, a song?

No one hears the time, it is strong.

Silence is a prayer, that breeds happy wrongs.

At that point, no need to come along.

What one hears in solitude and silence,

Raises perplexing questions, namely in science,

Somehow we know direction.

Somehow between peace and violence.

                                                                By Donnie


Listen to Outside

Outside –

Stop –

And listen

The trees

The tapping of the branches

Moved by the mild wind –

Roots, slant underneath the ground.

In a frenzy to chase –

A hurried scene rushed by water.

I listen to them

After it rained –

The trees

Like the white, fluffy clouds –

Who wept in vain, to clean me.

I stood still –

Outside –

And watched

The top of the turquoise colored lake

I studied the increase of the ripples

And the lavender colored petals

Which floated all over the place

                 by Mark


Alone in Michigan

Here we are, once again.

Just when I thought my problems licked, here we go again.

If the curse of history is to repeat itself, everything makes sense to me.

If life has a way of repeating itself, I am definitely in the loop.

The quality of nothing, is to what we aspire.

It seems that life is nothing more than a Progressive commerecial, and we are left, chasing our tails.

If eternity is so important, who do we focus on what we can keep.

The rainbow is in the awning, when nothing else can do.

Casual experiments.

 A plate full of leftovers, is what we are found looking for.

The hermit is in the shack, and I’m stuck in a pickle between Home and Third Base.

What I want is a friend, and all I’m left with is a bowl of cold cereal.

Don in your pajamas, and wait for the wind.

The sidewinder missile, is careening toward my brain.

What I want is a bowl of captain crunch, and what I got was a dirty jar of uncooked oatmeal.

What is the answer, then?

It is found in uncertainty, with nothing left at the end.

                                                                                                                                                By Matt

August 26, 2014

Today we read poems of self-portrait and looked at several self-portrait paintings. We tried to write poems that worked as portraits.

Buck Naked
by Matt

If I was a rose, I’d want to be stalwart.

On the other hand, if I was a Bush, I’d like to be a poem.

Crayons, crayfish and cell phone chargers.

What I wished for, is almost always unseen.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

A bowl of cereal, a box of wax candles.

Why couldn’t we try, then, to be a little bit more like ourselves?

 The doom of eternity is like an onion.

Barb, parry, lunge, thrust.

I’ve often felt the most important things in life, can be found in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

When we cheat ourselves, we only cheat what we could’ve been.

The Roman candle is found in the spawning.

What we need, is not what we think of.

Why then, do we unearth such hypocricy?

A bag of cereal, a bowl of rice.

Sometimes what we need is lightyears ahead of what we wanted.

In a world of absolute poverty, why then do we despair?

The needle and thread, is all we ever needed.

But we’re only content, when were aided by an ox.

Lead then, unto the television.

By the way, paper, or plastic?


Self Portrait

by David

I go to the mirror
Not of want, but necessity.
It does not flatter.
History shows in scars
The self-abuse
Of hands upon flesh,
Of meanness inflicted
As I am wont.
I turn then to mortals
Who each have their design
On my life, on my person.
Flattery abounds.
My self expands into
Bloated esteem for words
Which deceive, which portray
Me as bellwether of
Future delayed too long.
In reflection,
I appeal to the mirror;
Fact confronts fantasy.
My image betrays truth,
And balance is reinstated
To an eye— to eyes
Which long for the light
Of a day which leaves me
Pauper of conceit,
Unchained from a grandeur
Which would suffocate a
Longing to walk planted
On earth common to all.

April 8, 2014

Flowerless Pursuit

This is no secret.

A twist here and there.

Thorns along the smooth black roadside.

Pink roses here.

Each step relates to the road –

Of a different type.

Flowerless roads equal someone who hates


The smoothone is for those individuals –

Who are attracted to the light.

Some curve while others loop.

I didn’t say the travel would be easy –

But do not lose your soul in the pursuit.

Just keep watching the horizon which stretches thin.

But do be wary to stay on it.

Never get off

Not even to smell the sweetness of the flower.

For that is when sorrow begins.

                                                                                                                                                By Marcus



Here is Life And

It stretches out Far

But there are crevices

That shade or Hide

Eternal Secrets

Or Canyons that

Even you dare to descend

Or admire from the precipice of precarious life.

                                Rivers that carry away dreams

                                                Or bring them from distant places.



                                                And mountains that keep

                                                Growing or

                                                Suddenly stop and sit beside






GPS Obstacle

Turn left.  Then go toward the center of the road.

Turn right, and proceed to the obstacle course.

What the fuck does this mean?

Why does everything have to be a cyborg algorithm, when simple simplicity would suffice?

Eat your vegetables.  Then, eat your meat.

As if we had some kind of Herculean object to behold, this has become the meaning of everything.

Money, Sex and Drugs are the rhymes of the future.

Cheating?  Honestly, what did you think would happen in the first place.

Ruminations are the ripple of the wind.

Before we stop this, please consider:

What was it that you were doing before that makes you so goddam important?

Juices are for the cheating, not for the underclass.

I’ll draw you a map, and here you will find me.

Otherwise, you could be looking for the post.

What we do to ourselves, is likewise what we do to other people.

Cheat the Gods, and surely you’ll be ruined.

Run up the bill, and edge toward eternity.

A simple postage stamp would do, but YOU need to be a goddam symphony.

I’m dead to myself, and Gone with the Wind.

                                                                                                                                                By Matt

April 1, 2014

Holy Shit!!!

                It’s decrepate!!!

                I’m dilapidated, my feet stink, and my head hurts.

                I think the only thing we need to get over today is fear itself.

                Henry Covington and Mitch Albom are from Detroit.

                So is my back surgeon.

                What are we going to do with them?

                Get rid of the Pistons, Lions, Tigers and Red Wings?

                Jaundice is only for the truly paranoid.

                If we can’t walk through the streets, then truly, we are in jeopardy.

                There should be no place on Earth, we can’t truly Roam.

Look, people.  If we are going to run down Detroit, and run around afraid of people, then truly we are dead.

                I’ve walked through the streets of Harlem, with a lot of money, and I’m still not dead.

                Folks is folks.  And people are people.

I truly believe we should all do 1,000 hours of community service, in a blighted area, before we are allowed to function in the rest of society.

                I think if anyone’s to blame, then it’s the unions and the white collar workers.

                So polarized, they didn’t have the sense to compromise, and succeed.

                To simply give a crap, seems to be what God is looking for.

                To blame someone else, for the problems of the world, is the beginning of losing it altogether.

                I’m quite happy with who I am.

                                                                                                                                                By Matt



                                                                                                                                                By Sebastian Phillips

Industrial cities in  formation

For what once was is now for the present.

To leave suggest the unwillingness to stay to endure adversity.

Can we proclaim the agenda is the title in despair.

Can we pave a new road out of its origin.

Can we remember the path.

Do we emulate the procession or the D in Old English.  And P is for present.

Let’s reinstate the comeback.  In consideration of due repair.









                                                                                                                                                By Marquis Canaday

I walk through the broken streets

Half black and red –

Part steel and tar.

Half bricks scattered along the unkept sidewalk.

Tarnishe scarlet covered car parts –

Resting forever the the vacant lots.

Telephone polls guard the alleys.

Looking away from the rooftops –

of homes

Stores with faded signs.

If you stay still and look,

You can see the ghosts.

You can speak with them

Her or him –

As the sun sets

Creating the chilly urban silhouette.




Eternal City

A 98 year old once told me

That Detroit is a garden spot

Surrounded by water.

And the whole wide world

A civic soul.

Cannot be renovated.

Transformed into something new.

Gentrified to House Foreign entities.

And silvery Chrome Street Lights.

And Paris or London.

In the middle of

Hart Plaza.

                                                                                                                                                By Christopher

March 11, 2014

Drive-By Romance

by Matt

Love, ain’t in grant.

Take my wallet.

Take my keys. Take my money.

But whatever you do, don’t take me to the movies.

If love was like a tarantula, I would’ve done this sideways, like I should’ve done before.

Flu shot. Bed rock.

Actually, you are as dumb as a bag of rocks.

R.S.V.P. But not today.

When you go that way, you should’ve done something. But not now, to the sound of sirens.

What we wished for is something we are incapable of giving.

If you were a rat trap, I would’ve made you that way.

Silly scorn.

Dazed at the labyrinth.

What the kitten was saying was everything I’ve ever wished for.

Undying crap, to roll over in the grave.

I’m already dead, so why don’t you see me that way?

A pair of toenail clippers, for that $5 you owe me.

What a waste of time, as time keeps a ticking.

Give me the grace, until you are old.

A pair of socks, for a host of sandwiches.

Never you tell, hereby we lie with a pair of lying lips.

The cornish hen is dead.

He is found, lying in the tulips.


Herself, Myself

by Anonymous

She told me —

It was right there.

Underneath the white clouds —

the rays shone on her hair

making her my queen —

with a crown.

Her soul sat in the middle —

not for everyone to see.

Just me.

It was right there —

but I am special —

to her.

I held her heart —

next to mine.

So even if she left —

I would know where 

to be.



by Christopher

Mackinac Island in

fall September

and our world of romance

semi-chilled as autumn air

paradox, desire all to human anger

Do I love you in hot July

sweat pouring

Sunday mornings

baby Christopher



by Priscilla

I especially love me because I have a beautiful apartment and I sit and watch out the window. I sit on my couch which is blue with two cushions and the couch is at the sliding glass windows in the living room almost to the edge of the heating metal vents. I can see West Park out my windows, sliding glass windows. Out the windows there are trees with no leaves, large trees with medium-sized branches, tiny branches, groups of trees, tiny birds (white chests and dark tops), large groups of birds, gossamer large bird (one), red-headed woodpecker, black birds, chipmunks, squirrels, people walking (young, thin, dark clothing, one lime jacket, dogs about all the same size).

I mostly love me when I come home and sit on the couch and start watching the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels.

I love me most when I am able to get a snack or light dinner and eat it on the couch.

I am loving myself when I get my things to eat (napkins, pens, small notebook, things from the cupboard, my stack of things to do), cell phone, and money.

February 18, 2014

We read Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo” and wrote poems about changing your life.


Spin Doctor

by Matt

P.R, O.R., rippening grapes.

Damage control.

What we do better than anything else.

Quite frankly, nothing is almost always better than the something we could have.

Chasing the wind is all we are up to.

I’m wiping the toilet seat with the doily of serenity.

Tooth fairies. Tinkerbell.

If only the world could be under the control of Walt Disney.

May the masked man of the orange cleaner come flopping to your door.

Death is the only sense we can make out of it.

Image of the death reflection.

Looking good. Looking really, really, really good.

The carrot is in the yard, and it’s coming after us.

Pass me the wine and the superglue so I can simply close my lips.

The hand grenade of reason is upon us.

I wish I was better than the worst of you could’ve been.

If only I’d run charging for the bank, then all could be complete as it should’ve been.

Seal the scroll.

Tiptoe to the crush of nothing.

Remember the dead, but bury them there.

If only I had this one simple thing, my problems would be solved.

Pass me the gravy, to douse with the onion.

Why do we always have to be so finely tuned vegetables?


by Christopher

I see the torso

 As basic me; still

   I want to release

         And be moldable


Remove my old defenses

The core is good

                but alone inside itself

Which might be archaic

                Then rancid


                Tired and Sad

                Afraid to breathe

                And see



[Feel the new days breeze or

                Love a pretty smile]

February 11, 2014

We read Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day” and wrote poems praising the day.

In Praise of Richard Nixon

by Matt

Hey, if you can praise for Richard Nixon, you can praise for anything.

Seriously, though, why is there so much negativity in the world?

My dog ate my homework: sorry, but I’ve got this prior commitment.

You’re a piece of crap. You’re an idiot.

He’s this, he’s that. Everyone belongs to a boxed-in stereotype.

Really, though, how well do we know each other?

Are you absolutely sure he’s absolutely this way?

What about him makes you know everything about him in the first place.

If we were all born to sterile jars, you’d be right.

In the meantime, get off your goddamn precipice, and try to commune with the rest of us earthlings.

What made you so sure you were better than me in the first place?

And how did you know you were smarter than anyone else to begin with?

Kiss my ass, and grow a pair.

Practice some humility and the world will come down to meet you.

Take a vacation from reason at your own peril.

The God of Reason is within us.

If you’re so sure of yourself, why did you forget to wipe your ass in the first place.



You miss your parents

As I have missed mine.

Let’s exchange something

a bottle –

last weekend –

I have no sunshine

Like the weather –


You come and go

Like me –

when I close me eyes

I wake up at four

Missing Sunday

Like you                                                                                                               Anonymous

Rite of Passage

Social things and social


                                moving inside this

                                time of day

                A moment or twinkling

                                Or Eternity

                Mundane Fire Hydrants

                                Or incessant green weeds

Automobiles as Cross Walk

                Waiting, Waiting

                                Impatient, Cross

                Cross over

                                Cross over into

                                our daytime

                                our day is

                                our Living

                                breathing lives                                                                  Christopher Ellis

You slacker I’m gender who slacked jack get back add tack It’s not a remedy Just a fact to ge on trackle fame & Fortune Limited Time Portions a Wheeling and Dealing Game not Silent But just the same Love

Dear Sabbath in the Week

My mommy lies over the Ocean

My Daddy lies over the Sea

My mommie lied over my Daddy & that’s how they got me??


February 4, 2014

We read “Silence" by Billy Collins, and wrote poems reflecting on silence.

by Maurice

Silence when you can’t say something nice then why speak at all, Silence calm before the Storm, Flee from me, you worker of iniquity.
Silence the leaf that floats with no sound. The head nod you give, when passing by
The deaf guy that speaks with no sound, Silence when you can’t say something nice, then why speak at all.

by Patricia

Silence is being by yourself, sometimes you just want to be alone, being around people, and being calm.


by Christopher

The choirs voice rose in joyous sound.
The pews were full – the choirs voices rose
There is a silence
That I am trying to break
It follows me everywhere – at night, it keeps me awake
I listen closely, intently for a voice
to speak to me
Give me a guiding path
But every waking hour it is
drowned out by Satan’s wrath
I still my mind and body – in a warm bath or a cup of tea
And then so softly
The voice whispers to me
The silence is receding
And now I hear the voice – a still, small every so faint voice
And now I hear the voice
After I have communed with it for at least an hour
I make my next choice Silence, by Lit
Between noise and noise
Turmoil and the screeching;
Anxiety and calm
Darkness then Light
True things and things untrue
Spoken words
And words unspoken
Imagination and vivid
Stark Realness
Time and Timelessness
Flowers that whisper
To ears that listen
Songs that sing
o their own
divine silence



by anonymous

Let me see
Can I hear without seeing
Eerie and deafening.
Like the deepening of feelings
The opposite of swearing
Let me hear it.
One word –
It can cause disappearing
A visible word to the wise –
In between coherent rants –
and raves
Visible yet invisible
to the audience
on the stage



by Nina

Shh be quiet I can’t focus, there is too much noise coming out your mouth, sometimes you need to turn that smile into a frown
Know when it is your turn to speak, I do not need to hear all your meaness.
Sometimes people talk too much.
Sometimes you need to be quiet and listen so you don’t be missin what good things I’m saying.
If you can’t do it, then fake it
cause I need to focus, and I can’t with all that negativity, so if you simply can’t get away from me
Cause what I need is you to be slilet.

January 28, 2014

by Christopher

I am outdoor and
The Sun is bright
So is My Spirit
The basement is Not
Nor is my Mother’s wrath
Or innocent security
And confidence
I will ascend, and burst
Into the Light again
Own Reborn
My Lost blue Skies
Little Red Wagon
And brown Lunch Bag,
The Little grey
Pebbles Rolling me


by Mike C.

Red Rover and Tetherball
Mononucleosis and and Bag of Weed
SST Concord Rise and Fall
Mom a Me a Fourth at Poker Plus Cigars
Kitty Kitty Cincinati Joe & Pete
I got a Mr. Wolf Music teacher
Teacher Music Wolf Mr. Got I
Pete & Joe Cincinnati Kitty Kitty
Cigars Plus Poker at Fourth a Me a Mom
Fall and Rise Concord SST
Weed of Bag and Mononucleosis
Tetherball and Rover Red


Nicotene in Chronicle(Unnamed)

by Mike

O Throughout the Ages unto Ages
A The start of Peer Pressure is the
Subtle Left Right Soft Sell
B Coolness is Administered by other
Add in Commaraderee, Jesus is there But
Does a child Hear this Introduction.
C Those who’s growth, conjunction of a
Gatered hunger tested the Water of Fire
Your into 1 = ! and a Cooperation begins,
With love Not Habit forming Chronicles.
Love = Life and O is a number

January 21, 2014

We wrote poems reflecting on our own names.

Take me to Ur Mascot

by Mike

My name is Mike.  I’m a rattlesnake.

Able, but not willing.

I Mike my name is set in the Animal Record be it Michael the Rat with a happy face of grandeur

I, Michael, bequeath, as a frog, my colors of allegiance.

Me, a doe, but me as a fawn, has a penguin in bodelero, piddle paddle of Michael a buffalo, or friendly beaver, eats the munchies of Human French Fry Party.

Just little bits from Michael the carpet smelling doggie.

As the mole & owl of a Magical Mike the doggie whom saw the half-breed Kapuckie Wizard with Mike the owl

Just dust of the caskit where the cat sat and tell Mike arevadoershe.


I am Will, Will I am.  
By Will

I am Will, I am Homeless, less a Home, I am.

Suffered from one place to the next, we find time in corners of new places, faces anew to whom I am blind.

I am Will, a will I will find.

My way is not lost, just undiscovered.

At the end of my journey, I will uncover only to discover that I a Will & Will I am.


My Mom named me Nina Rose
by Nina

She named me Nina Rose, because Nina is a name of a Rose.  I was adopted and take from her a long time ago.

But my name is beautiful because it came from her.  And now I am about to finally meet her.

Nina Rose, sometimes I wished that I were around her, growing up, cause I always wanted to feel her love.

But I know she loves me, that is why she named me, Nina Rose.

My Mom named me Nina Rose