Saturday, October 29, 2011

Season Of

I gather my ghosts
close and still closer when frost
laces the pumpkins.

But, what of the moon?
What of the turning that comes
with the dying light?

I gather my chains
tight and still tighter when leaves
pile into grave mounds.

What if what's buried
refuses to rest beneath
your fragile curses?

I gather my breath
deep and still deeper as the
veil between grows thin.

What if the ashes
of all that you've burned come back
together and dance?

For Haiku Heights and the "Call and Response" prompt at dVerse

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I pray like I floss my teeth.
and with considerable guilt.
It's as if God is the great dentist in the sky,
rubbing his gloved hands together in gleeful anticipation
of smugly judging me
for my plaque and gingivitis.
Open wi-iiide!

The voice is hot and loud in my ear.
Dirty fingers push and pull at my lips.
I whip my head from side to side,
tendons taut and screaming.
through teeth clenched so hard they crack
no . . . no . . .

No, I don't pray as much as I should.
Or floss often enough, for that matter.
Both leave a bad taste in my mouth.

A conflation poem for Meeting the Bar at dVerse

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Continuing Education

Today, I learned . . .

that even while we make love,
some asshole is making war.

that the only "change you can believe in"
is nickels and dimes.

that social justice
is just a new reality program on MTV.

that no matter how much horseshit you shovel,
you never find a pony.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I'd curse the failing light
of autumn,
but dying hard
is the fate of a woman.
You can't shrug off the shroud
when the grave dirt's climbing up your knees.

So bury me high above my raising,
by my family tree,
just below my station.
Let the tangled roots embrace me,
take me home,
or set me free.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Fool

You know, I wasn't always white haired and wise.
I had my time of giddy girlhood.
Even had a steady beau once,
though we had a falling out.

What's that?  Oh, I heard rumors
that he had wandering eyes and hands that followed.
Not that it matters now;
he never came home from Korea.

No, I really can't say if the rumors were true.
They seemed true enough at the time,
and I wasn't about to let a man make me look like a fool.
Never have, never will, in all my eighty years.

Heaven forbid, I look like a fool.

For "The Other" prompt at dVerse

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Messy Girl

You have antiseptic eyes,
untested hands,
and a heart that dare not falter.

I'm a messy, messy girl.

You have expectations high
polished till they shine and
shoved on the altar

of a messy, messy girl.

Dead incense snakes
circle dusty saints.
Wasted candles fall to laughing.

I clean up pretty well
but every tarot card can tell
tales of a rich man and his passing

fancy for a messy, messy girl.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pulse Points

Words on the page
are like lips on skin.
I bare my throat.
You bare your fangs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Prosecution Exhibit C

It's the empty womb that torments.
The hollowness is a constant echo
that will not silence 
until it is filled.
Not with seed,
for nothing will grow again
in this diseased and barren space,
but with flesh, yes, flesh,
young, uncorrupted, and

Fragment of writing found in the home of accused serial killer / cannibal Arlene Townsend.

"When it came to the dark fuckery of the human heart, there seemed to be no limit."
--- Stephen King, Full Dark, No Stars

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Summer

It was little summer,
and I'd promised you I'd come.
So, I packed my bag
and left my pride
and took the last train out of Bedlam.

When you met me at the station,
I turned the other cheek,
but your scent
(richer than remembrance)
left me breathless on my feet.

There was a ride I don't remember.
A meal I didn't taste.
Careful conversation saying nothing.

Till I said,

"Walk me up the stairs.
Pretend that I'm your wife.
Swift and sure unhook my dress
like you do it every night.
Push aside the velvet.
Claim me with your kiss.
You've promised her forever;
all I have is this.
It's little summer,
and fall is closing in."

We made love in a strange bed.
We'll never have our own.
Then I packed up what was left of me
and took the train back home.

You returned to Autumn.
Some seasons never change.
Me, I reaped our season's planting;
Little Summer is her name.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011


For you,
I'd stand for my
fitting, be it veil, weeds
of black, or halo set slightly

A cinquain for the Sunday Challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Hey, Mama, whatcha doing?
Where do you want to be buried?

I'm just hanging out, watching the game.
Feeding tube?  Ventilator?

Is everything okay down there?
Living will?  DNR?

Let me know if you need anything.
Health care proxyPower of attorney?

Talk to you later, Mama.
We're gonna have to talk about this.

Love you.
But, it's too much like saying


For Taboo Topics at dVerse

Friday, October 14, 2011

As The Holidays Approach

When it comes to family gatherings,
one must have a limit.
Yes, blood is thicker than water,
but you can still drown in it.

At dverse, we're imitating our favorite poets.  Can you guess mine?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Work Of Art

Pablo Picasso. Monolithic Nude.
Picasso. Monolithic Nude

I run my hands over my breasts, then turn to give the mirror my good side.  In a strong, clear voice (as per my therapist's instructions), I say to my reflection, "I am a work of art."

With a bawdy wink, my reflection replies, "A fucking Picasso, baby!"

Perhaps, self-esteem is not my real issue.

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The King

The king whispers to me
things only I can hear.

when my medication runs out
when my medication runs out

The king blacks out faces
and tells me not to fear.

when my medication runs out
when my medication runs out

The king rides in my pocket
everywhere I go.

when my medication runs out
when my medication runs out

When the state shuts down the clinic,
the king is everything I know.

A Magpie Tale

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Botanist

Was it love
that thrust your hands
into my dirt
and sent your fingers searching
until they found
my tender roots?

Was it love
that had you lift me high
and carry me
like a prize
through my wild and tangled woods?

And, was it love
that made you give me
pride of place
in this manicured space
of choking tidiness?

If so, I don't think that I care for love.
It feels too much like dying.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, October 10, 2011

She Sleeps

Brittle bones.
Shallow breaths.
The crone sleeps
and starts to dreaming

of a fertile womb
and pliant skin
and nimble hands,
her time of bleeding.

Slick with sweat.
Breathing fast.
I'm jerked awake
by my own screaming.

In a ragged tomb
of wrinkled skin
and a strange heart's
fragile beating.

For Open Link Monday at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Just In Case

I set the bush on fire
and watched it burn
right down to dirt,
but not a word

was spoken.

I watched the clouds suck smoke
and choke,
turn black and spit back
but not a drop

of rain ever fell.

I keep collecting boards and nails
and wearing walking shoes
just in case.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dead Letters

I planted acorns
on Houdini's grave, and a
tree escaped the ground.

Branches unfurling.
Leaves greening, golding, falling,
filling the air like

the ashes did the
day the Dead Letter Office
caught fire and burned down.

Did you see the smoke?
Or, was it one more note from
me you didn't read?

Friday, October 7, 2011


Every morning I start my day
wishing I could find a better way.
Then I dream my time away and stay up all night.
And when I watch the sun through the falling rain,
I feel the time has come for me to make a change.
Gotta get myself arranged, Lord knows I try.

And, my conscience cuts me like a knife.
Hear me cry spare me my life.
Peace it seems to come so slow.
I'm at war with me wherever I go.

I try so hard to understand,
but I'm up to my neck in shifting sands.
If I can't meet my demands, I guess the fault is mine.
Moving backward if I move at all.
I try to run; I've been taught to crawl.
I bare my back for the whip to fall; it proves I'm alive.

And, my conscience cuts me like a knife.
Hear me cry spare me my life.
Peace it seems to come so slow.
I'm at war with me wherever I go.

It takes too little to make me bleed,
too much to stop my pain.
It's funny even the simple things get complicated just the same.
I get real pleased with myself sometimes.
It lasts for a day or two.
But in the end I'm never good enough
no matter what I do.

And, my conscience cuts me like a knife.
Hear me cry spare me my life.
Peace it seems to come so slow.
I'm at war with me wherever I go.

This is an old piece that I reworked a bit for the "Name" prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  My first name is Irish in origin and means "warrior" or "warrior-woman."

If you're interested, here's a snippet of what the original sounded like.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scarlet Woman

Must I always play the devil in our dime store dramas?
The wicked vamp,
the wayward wench,
the wolf slavering and slobbering after innocence
through dark thickets
and yellow lit min-marts
long after decent people are asleep in bed?

Truly, I have no taste for tender hearts.

But, I do look damn good in scarlet.

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Help

I make excuses
and call them reasons.

I'm older and fatter.
We're busy.
You're tired.

The truth is much simpler.

No one really sees the help.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Nestled deep in the vines
is a flash of bright red -
the last fruit of the season.

My knees in the dirt, I reach
inhaling the earthy greenness
of lingering summer

cupped in my hand
is a tomato
so sun warmed and perfect
that I am tempted
to pierce the tender skin with my teeth
and let its juices wet my tongue.

Instead, I halve
its beauty with a knife,
then scoop the flesh and seeds
into a watery jar
to ferment and mold
like a family secret.

In a day or two,
I'll scrape and rinse,
collect the heavy sinkers from the bottom of the jar,
and carefully wrap them in netting to hang and dry

through the cold, dark months of another winter;
an unbroken line
to another spring.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, October 3, 2011

As If

Someday, I will live as if . . .

I believe in happy endings,

my kisses really mend scraped knees,

and my thighs are perfect.


And, someday . . .

winged elephants will fly out of my butt.

A Magpie Tale

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Let's Call It . . .

The cat puked up an odd-shaped hairball.
I slopped red wine on the living room rug.
The neighbor's dog is a half block of roadkill.
Fuck it.  Let's just call it art.

Unemployment is blood on the bar graph.
Bills are stacked in unsteady piles.
Pink slips fill the street like confetti.
Fuck it.  Let's just call it art.

Dark spots on the chest x-ray.
Canyons on the EKG.
Purpling bruises on a child.
Fuck it.  Let's just call it art.

It's all graffiti on the gravestone.
It's all billboards on the brain.
It's all Coke straight to the cortex.
Fuck it.  Let's just call it art.

For Poetics at dVerse

A Shout-Out:  Over at Word Garden, Shay's piece had this line:
"You smear brimstone on the hearth stone
And tell me its pop art."
Either it just wormed its way into my brain, or I steal from the best.  Probably both.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

As I Do

Cradle gently,
as I cradled you.

Speak softly,
as I spoke to you.

Love deeply,
as I loved you.

Learn from me,
as I learned from you.