Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Painting

The painting was a gift,
the kind you don't want
but have to accept with manufactured grace.
It's not the first such lovely
that I've had forced down my throat,
but it rankles more than most;
its mandatory display a knife
that never stops twisting.

And, there it hangs.
A loud declaration of wealth and taste.
A scream of influence and importance.
A nagging, insistent clamor for admiration and acclaim.
A demand for submission and gratitude.

I avert my gaze out of spite
and picture a wall
blank and mine.

A Magpie Tale
Submitted to dVerse

Monday, January 30, 2012


If I give myself to any stranger,
and lie beneath their barren hands,
then I can close my eyes,
and I won’t see the sunrise
Just a morning
by the wayside.

And, if I give myself to quick emotion-
I'm easy to anger,
then I forget -
in a moment or two,
I won’t feel a thing for you.
I left my feelings
by the wayside

So, if I give myself to you tonight, boy,
and let you do all the things you say you’ll do.
You can touch me,
but you’ll never reach me.
I left that part of me
by the wayside.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Photo by Daryl Edelstein

You caught the moon when it fell.
It turned to a pearl in your hand.
Placed on my tongue,
it dissolved to salt and sweet.
Then, wrapped in constellations
from your head down to your feet,
you commanded me
to navigate
by the stars.

For the photo prompt at Real Toads

Friday, January 27, 2012

Footsteps Of A Cat

Her breath balances earth and sky.
Her toes caress the weathered wood.
The loft has never felt so high,
and fear has never felt so good.
Far below, where she once stood,
are those who watch her high wire act.
Faith places each step where it should,
soft as the footsteps of a cat.

That's how she came to crave those eyes,
and seek them every way she could.
Risking the fall, she felt alive.
But landing's price, she understood,
would bleed her, break her like dry wood.
A part of her, it welcomed that.
To fly, then go to ground for good.
Soft as the footsteps of a cat.

Ask her now the hows and the whys;
you'll hear no tales of reaper's hood.
She'll faintly smile and then reprise
the day that she first walked the wood
rafters of the big barn that stood
till time and tempest knocked it flat
and brought her high wire down for good,
soft as the footsteps of a cat.

So, should you stand where she once stood,
the curtain closed and stage gone black,
be glad you flew when fly you could,
soft as the footsteps of a cat.

A Ballade (that's French for "kicked my ass") for dVerse.
Also submitted for the "balance" prompt at Theme Thursday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sniff Row Manifesto

Silhouettes with strobe-light hair
and shadow necks that slip the noose
firm to flesh in floodlight eyes
and hang at dawn.

For the "futurism" prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Sign

Pressed against the Kissing Door;
should I let you kiss me more?
Or heed the hard and hateful sign -
how worn the wood beneath my spine?

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wallflower Row

Photo by Margaret Bednar

The Rapture came
and emptied Wallflower Row.
Wouldn't you know
I almost missed it?
I was slow grinding a boy
and enjoying myself,
when, all of a sudden,
nobody interesting was gone.

For the picture prompt at Real Toads

Need a Daphne fix?  A new column is up!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


There are new maps
in your war-worn eyes

new maps
with strange names
and shifted borders,
and I am lost

lost and hesitant with my steps,
unsure that the old, familiar path
of "I'm Sorry, I Love You"
will get me home.

For the "borders" prompt at dVerse

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shakespeare's Fall

You like the way
I drop my g's
when I read Shakespeare to you
in bed,

the way my r's are soft
as the side of my breast,

and the way I lick my fingertips
before turning the page,

And I . . .

I like the sharp intake of your breath
just before Shakespeare hits the floor.

55 words for my G-Man

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Highway 53

Picture courtesy of ze Great and Powerful Google

There is a stretch of Highway 53
that God forgot,
hell wouldn't have,
and I called home 
for a lost year or two.

The half-mile that optimists claimed as "town"
wasn't much to speak of.
Meth cooking up in the weeds.
Jesus preached behind stained glass.
A single, screen door store
where you could get a beer
if the other two didn't suit you.
All of it strung together by the highway
that rolled out either side back into Nothing to See Here.

Except in the summer.

In the summer,
the sun baked that blacktop
until it was blister kiss hot.
And, for some reason, that burning blacktop
drew tarantulas.
Lots of them.

You'd start seeing them four or five miles outside of town.
Just a couple, at first.
Then, suddenly, you'd top a hill,
and they'd be so thick the road was moving.
And, someplace in the back of your brain
would just convulse.

Now, logically, you knew that those things
couldn't crawl up into the undercarriage of the car,
couldn't scratch through the windows,
couldn't get to the tender flesh of your thigh,
but the terror was pure and silver
and your foot was stomping the accelerator
and logic was drowned
in the rush of your adrenalin
and drowned out
by the crash of your heart.

Until you hit the town line,
and they were gone.
Just . . . gone.

And, meth, Jesus, or a cold beer
sounded pretty damn good.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, January 16, 2012


Bubbles pop
like points
of punctuation,
like gassy leavings
in a landfill,
like vessels
in your asphyxiation 

Submitted to Real Toads

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Angel

Photo by Isadora Gruye
No futures could be read
in the cloudless sky
so I asked an angel
on a pedestal nearby,
"What's the good word?"
She did not reply.
She's not much of a talker.

So, we shared the silence
through a shift of light.
Then I mentioned 
if she had no plans for the night,
we could go do something.
She did not reply.
She's not much of a talker.

But, she listened
without pity or pretense.
The way she listened
almost had me making sense.

When they came to take me to my room,
I promised that I'd see her soon.
And, I would have fought to kiss her
if she'd answered my goodbye.
But, there was no reply.
No reply.
She's not much of a talker.

For the picture prompt at Real Toads

Friday, January 13, 2012

You Did

I said
sing to me
in every shade of blue.
Swear the sky cerulean,
and the ocean aqua, too.
And, you did.

I said
judge me
with your jealousy
in every shade of green.
Damn me with your emerald eyes
and all they haven't seen.
And, you did.

I said
humble me
with half truths
in every shade of gray.
Tourniquet the truth
until all feeling dies away.
And, you did.

For Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Thursday, January 12, 2012

St. Pauli Girl

The arrowheads that I hunted as a child are gone.
Dug up,
plowed under,
paved over.

Today, kids scavenge through wet leaves
discarded Frito bags,
and the occasional used condom
("Is this a balloon?")
for bottle caps.

"Look, Mom!  I found a St. Pauli Girl!"

The American childhood just ain't what it used to be.

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man

I interviewed Coal Black at Real Toads today.  Don't miss it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


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my shirt
he loves me
my bra
he loves me not
my jeans
he loves me
my panties
he loves me not

leaving a stigma.

For the Wednesday Challenge at Real Toads

I'm interviewing Coal Black over at Real Toads.  Don't miss it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


"Speak plainly, poet,"
you say with a laugh,
and my words fly
like startled birds
so I kiss you.

before you can speak.
until we sink
to the ground together,

and our lips' simple couplet
says more
than a sky full of verse.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, January 9, 2012

This Page

This page is old,
and wrinkled.
Erased clean through in places.

This page leaves dirty socks on the floor
and dishes in the sink.

At times, my fingers itch
for the feel
of a fresh, clean sheet.

But, as long as my pen bleeds
the same old stories
turning the page is a waste
of paper.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Empty Sky

You kissed me
and called it a star.
I wanted a constellation.

You brought me the moon
in a jar.
I cried for Saturn's rings.

Wrapped in the Milky Way,
I demanded the sun
to warm me.

You emptied the sky,
but couldn't please me.
Now, there's nothing left to bring.

Friday, January 6, 2012

In The Wild

Raising a Leopard

A female leopard
lives alone
and likes it.

She casts a solitary
on the savanna.

She is a ghost
of the gorge,
a wraith
at the waterhole.

and nomadic,
she hunts,
and wanders the night
ever establishing
a permanent den

she has a cub.

Finding the animal within for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Walking away
you made the blues turn black
and the rivers run red
as my first time.

Walking away
you shouldn't turn your back
on the girl you made
and then made cry.

Fretting your frets
and worrying your whimsy.
No queen in the hive,
the honey is gone.

Don't the spotlight burn
with the set list empty?
Turned your back on the girl
birthin' the songs.

Lord, don't it make the blues turn black?

A little jam for Poetry Jam.
Don't forget to check out my interview at Real Toads!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Swimming

I wasn't prepared
for the curl of your river wet hair
against my fingers.
Or, for the thousand bits of sky
reflected on your skin.

And, as all of my years of kick and stroke and breath
left me
you gathered me and whispered,

"Shhh . . .
It's only drowning."

A Magpie Tale

I was interviewed over at Real Toads today.  Mary did a fantastic job of keeping me from sounding like a complete moron.  Check it out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wish You Were Here

You are the dark laugh
at the bottom of the glass,
the icy glint of ten till two,
the telltale scrapes
of a key
trying blindly to find its way home.

Your are your own perpetual night
emaciating bone and blood
to attitude in thigh high boots
and sighs.

You are a mess
of merging melancholies,
pheromones, and phone numbers
sticking to the floor.

You are a Wish You Were Here  postcard
fluttering to rest
on the thrift-store rug
of memory

For dverse

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Your Flower

I pressed your flower between the pages
of a book I hadn't written
as the words you hadn't spoken
worked their way into my ear.

Crushed by the weight
of all that hadn't happened
your flower fell to nothing.
Was it ever really here?