August Morning Walk with Chihuahua





Buddy and I amble through sensory snapshots.

Buddy wriggles on his back in freshly mown grass,

breathes deeply of daylight damp;

memories of black Chihuahua captured by camera phone.


Lula’s garden thrives on Carolina humidity;

Blooms change hue as blue hydrangeas give way

to purple pansies, shrimp plants;

bees buzz pink snapdragons as sunflowers reach skyward.


Green Cherry tomatoes ripen, become red bursts

of sweetness planted next to three types of peppers,

garlic bulbs, onions, scallions, oblong eggplants, and zucchini.

Small lemons will turn pale yellow on the tree.


Midday heats up as we drive into town,

oil mirages rise in rainbows from the highway.

We pass the pungent smells of local turkey farms,

contrast with floral scents of sunrise walk.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

August 20, 2016

Goldsboro, NC

Mental Health, Poetry

Life Redefined

bike leggings budo club email

Once a wife of anonymous character,

a nobody in the not quite dark

stripped of the original appeal

to which he was drawn.


After the divorce, I wander

into the mind-fields of random men;

his angry word-wounds, fresh

in the aftermath, block my clarity.


Isolated, aloof to trust,

haunted by vengeful whispers,

midnight air disturbed by fitful dreams

of an ill-defined self.


Hope stirs after three years,

no longer hostage to less-than-love.

Freedom, complicated and confusing

awakens a future of choice within me.


I simplify life, say farewell to false friends;

show naysayers I am not obliged

to make sense to them. Their words

can’t hurt me anymore.


I paint a dark berry lip, don Doc Martens

Punk Poet persona, alter-ego protects vulnerabilities.

I learn to dream large, forsake lost love

for loyal dogs. Find true self beyond the past.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

August 14, 2016

Goldsboro, NC



Being a Writer, Poetry, prose, Recommendations/Things to Check Out

Throwing my hat into the ring –

After many years, I have decided to start collecting rejection slips again – who knows, I have been mildly published and I know it is to some extent a numbers game. If I don’t submit, I will never know if I can tip the odds in my favor.

In the interests of sharing the bounty with fellow writers and poets, I am putting links here to journals and contest that I have found to be of interest. Good luck!

About dogs (because, well, dogs rock, and what could be better than writing about dogs?) :


Poetry South out of Mississippi:


For microchapbooks :


For poetry, The Tishman Review:

Submission Guidelines






Mental Health, Recommendations/Things to Check Out

Book Recommendations: Grit by Angela Duckworth and Choke by Sian Beilock

I first read Dr. Duckworth’s journal article several years ago. Please see the links to her TED talk and the book itself : Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

It’s an easy read and makes a cogent argument for the power of persistence and commitment, the willingness to fail and see mistakes as learning opportunities, in order to achieve goals. I highly recommend it to anyone who has experienced either the “choke” phenomenon (another good book, btw :  Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To, by Sian Beielock) or who has been told they are “smart” but can’t seem to follow through from plan to success. I’ve included a link from an NPR editorial from a psychology professor who is not as enamored with the theory as I may be, just for reference. The last link is to the Sian Beilock’s blog and site.







Baking, Poetry

Michael Makes Cookies

Michael would be a proud house-husband

hang at the dog park with mommies and au pairs

compare recipes for homemade bread, piquant Eastern NC barbeque,

perfect Mexican wedding cookies for holiday giving.

Jen, his “fun sized” powerhouse fiancée , engineering genius

works the power tools while Michael makes a tasty lunch.

He starts dinner by late afternoon because Jen prefers eating before 10 pm.

Michael sees food as performance art beyond nourishment;

their gender-specific roles are clearly defined,


when the planets align, Jen will concede tradition.

The day they tie the knot will be Michael’s turn

in Wing Tips and Top Hat, to be the “pretty pretty princess.”

Bride and Groom will dance to The Great Pumpkin Waltz,

will always defy convention.

Michael will empower his daughters to be mighty girls

paper-bag princesses, slaying dragons

saving princes and their loyal hounds.

The Yates-Yeagley children will snuggle

on Michael’s chest as cartoons lullaby from the television.


Shari Elizabeth Berk

June 26, 2016

Goldsboro, NC