Friday, November 28, 2014

I Don't Feel Right

I don't know if I was born ambivalent
or became that way when my brain
broke in the street or my daddy
beat feet or, or, or . . .

but, I don't feel right anymore.

Joy might be a boy
dark haired and dumb
who doesn't call.
Grief tastes
like the novels
I haven't read.
I have all these signs,
sounds, and symbols
in my head;
but what are they for?

I don't feel right anymore.

My take on Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving In Flyover

The menu skews southern,
as does the company,

gathering like clouds
in a November sky.

Football on the living room tv,
NASCAR in the kitchen -

tight, small circles
and swapping paint.

We gossip sinners from saints
while we're waiting for the crescent rolls.

We plan futures and funerals
while the ice tea brews.

Finally, it's time for blessing the food.
Grannie gives us pure, born again Baptist,

but Mama always slips
a little Native in there.

I share a grin with my little sister
and mutter my own prayer.

Oh, Great Spirit, 
work the wishbone in my favor.
I cheat like a white man, 
but my sister cheats better!


For Grapeling's prompt at Real Toads.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014


Peering at her dinner plate
my only child intones
"You have died of dysentery."

If Emily were here and me
I wonder, would she know
how to make poetry
from the beautiful misery

of a snot smeared sleeve.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Friday, November 21, 2014


"Still Life with Fruit," Severin Roesen, 1852.  iPhone image by M. Bednar.

When none of the fruit was forbidden,
I tasted as I pleased,
but none of it pleased me.

It was too easy.

And when some of the fruit was forbidden,
I got tangled in my choice
for the choicest piece

and couldn't eat.

But when all of the fruit was forbidden,
I fell fast to the feast.
More left me hungry.
Less left me replete
and choking to chew and swallow
another sickly sweet
seed and slice

of rich, ripe vice.

I'm no wiser than Eve.

For Margaret's Artistic Interpretations prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Use Your Words

A four-year-old Baby Puppy pretending to be me

"Use your words," I tell her.
God knows I use mine.
Long, stretched out sentences
with places I can hide
and syllables to squeeze between till I
get lost inside my mess/age.

"Use your words," she tells me.
"The small ones are the best.
Yes, no, stop, go,
love you more, and bless.
If you keep the truest ones,
you won't need all the rest

to dress up your MESSage.

Mama, talk like me.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.  Hope it fits!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Driving teaches the shit and skin of it.

Road rage guy blows past.
By the next red light you're sitting side by side.
I get it.

But getting it doesn't grow the lotus.

For The Mag

Monday, November 17, 2014


I choked on the bones of a blackbird
you'd baked into a pie.
You pried my locked jaws open,
held me in your vise-like thighs,
and slinked your fingers down my throat
till they willowed; now they won't
unring the bell.

Star scorned ribs
Sugar skin.
Hammer heart
with the nail half in
the hickory tree dressed in a noose
swinging -

I turned that blackbird loose.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads